Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 99. COPE'S BOOK OF LORD COBHAM, ANSWERED

99. COPE'S BOOK OF LORD COBHAM, ANSWERED

S I was entering into this story of the Lord Cobham, after the tractation of all the former histories hitherto passed, having next to set upon this present matter, luckily, and as God would, in such opportunity of season, as God may seem to work himself for defence of his saints, cometh to my hands a certain book of new-found dialogues, compiled in Latin by Nicholas Harpsfield, set out by Alanus Copus, an Englishman, a person to me unknown, and obscure, hitherto, unto the world, but now, to purchase himself a name with Erostratus, or with the sons of Anakim, cometh out not with his five eggs, but with his six railing dialogues; in the which dialogues the said Alanus Copus, Anglus (whether he, under the armour of another, or another under the title of his name, I know not, nor pass not,) uncourteously behaving himself, intemperately abusing his time, study, and pen, forgetting himself, neglecting all respect of honesty, and mild modesty, neither dreading the stroke of God, nor caring for shame, neither favouring the living, nor sparing the dead, who, being alive as they never offended him, so now cannot answer for themselves, being gone; thus provoking both God and man against him, after an unseemly sort, and with a foul mouth, and a stinking breath, rageth and fareth against dead men's ashes, taking now the spoil of their good name, after their bodies lie slain in the field; his gall and choler being so bitter against them, that he cannot abide any memory after them to remain upon earth; insomuch that for the hatred of them he spurneth also against me, and flieth in my face, for that in my Acts and Monuments, describing the history of the church, I would say any thing in the favour of them, whom the Romish catholics have so unmercifully put to death. The answer to whose book, although it would require a several tractation by itself (as, if Christ grant space and leisure, hereafter it shall not be forgotten) yet, because such opportunity of the book is offered to me at this present, coming now to the matter of the Lord Cobham, Sir Roger Acton, and others, with whom he first beginneth to quarrel, it shall be requisite a little by the way to cope with this Cope, whatsoever he be, so much as truth shall give me for their defence to say something. And here, to cut off all the offals of his railing talk and unhonest rebukes, which I leave to scolds and men of his profession against they list to brawl, let us briefly and quietly consider the matter for discussing of the truth; wherein first I shall desire the reader, with equality and indifferency, to hear both the parties to speak, as well what the martyrs, hence gone and slain, could say for themselves if they were present, as also what this man here doth object against them now being gone. And so, according to the same, to judge both upon them, as they deserve, and of me, as they shall please.

Now to the scope of Master Cope's matter, which is this: whether this aforesaid Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham (first to begin with him), is rather to be commended for a martyr, or to be reproved for a traitor? and whether that I, in writing of him, and of Sir Roger Acton, with others more, in my former edition, have dealt fraudulently and corruptly, in commending them in these Acts and Monuments, or no? Touching the discussion whereof, first I trust the gentle Master Cope, my friend, neither will nor well can deny any part of all that hitherto, touching the story of the Lord Cobham, hath been premised; who yet all this while was neither traitor to his country, nor rebel to his prince, as by the course of his history hitherto the reader may well understand. First, in the time of King Henry the Fourth, he was sent over to France to the duke of Orleans, he did obey. Afterwards King Henry the Fifth coming to the crown, he was of him likewise well liked and favoured, until the time that Thomas Arundel, with his clergy, complaining to the king, made bate between them. Then the Lord Cobham, being cited by the archbishop, at his citation would not appear: but, sent for by the king, he obeyed and came. Being come, what lowly subjection he showed there to the king, the story declareth. Afterwards he yielded an obedient confession of his faith; it would not be rcceived. Then did he appeal to the bishop of Rome, for the which the king took great displeasure with him, and so was he repealed by the king to the archbishop, and committed to the Tower; which also he did obey. From thence he was brought to his examination once or twice; there, like a constant martyr, and witness of the truth, he stood to his confession, and that unto the very sentence of death defined against him. If this be not the effect of a true martyr, let Alanus Copus say what he will, or what he can: this I say, at least I doubt, whether the said Alanus Copus, Anglus, put to the like trial himself, would venture so narrow a point of martyrdom for his religion, as this Christian knight did for his: certes, it hath not yet appeared.

To proceed: After this deadly sentence was thus awarded against him, the said Lord Cobham was then returned again unto the Tower, which he with patience and meekness did also obey; from the which Tower if he afterward by the Lord's providence did escape, whether hath Alanus Copus herein more to praise God for offering to him the benefit, or to blame the man for taking that which was offered? What catholic in all Louvain, having his house over his head on fire, will not be glad to have, if he might, the door set open to fly the peril? or else why did Alanus Copus fly his country, having so little need, if this man, bleeding almost under the butcher's axe, might not enjoy so great an offer of so lucky deliverance?

Thus hitherto, I trust, the cause of the Lord Cobham standeth firm and strong against all danger of just reprehension; who being, as ye have heard, so faithful and obedient to God, so submiss to his king, so sound in his doctrine, so constant in his cause, so afflicted for the truth, so ready and prepared to death, as we have sufficiently declared, not out of uncertain and doubtful chronicles, but out of the true originals and instruments remaining in ancient records: what lacketh now, or what should let to the contrary, but that he, declaring himself such a martyr, that is, a witness to the verity, for the which also at last he suffered the fire, may therefore worthily be adorned with the title of martyr, which is in Greek as much as a witness-bearer.

But here now steppeth in dame η διαβολη [Greek: E Diabole], with her cousin-scold Alecto, &c., who, neither learning to hold her tongue, nor yet to speak well, must needs find here a knot in a rush, and beginning now to quarrel, inferreth thus "But after," saith he, "that the Lord Cobham was escaped out of the Tower, his fellows and confederates convented themselves together seditiously against the king, and against their country." A great crime no doubt, Master Cope, if it be true; so, if it be not true, the greater blame returneth unto yourself, to enter this action of such slander, unless the ground whereupon ye stand be sure. First, what fellows of the Lord Cobham were these you mean? "Sir Roger Acton," ye say, "Master Brown, and John Beverly, with thirty-six others, hanged and burned in the said field of St. Giles's." A marvellous matter, that such a great multitude of twenty thousand, specified in story, should rise against the king, and yet but three persons only be known and named. And then to proceed further, I would ask of Master Cope, what was the end of this conspiracy; to rebel against the king? to destroy their country? and to subvert the Christian faith? for so purporteth the story. As like true the one as the other: for even as it is like that they, being Turks, went about to destroy the faith of Christ wherein they died, and to subvert their country wherein they were bred; even so like it is that they went about to destroy the king, whom God and their conscience taught to obey.

Yet further proceeds this fumish promoter in his accusation, and saith, moreover, that these aforesaid fellows and adherents of the Lord Cobham were in the field assembled, and there encamped in a great number against the king. And how is this proved? By Robert Fabian: which appeareth to be as true as that which in the said Robert Fabian followeth in the same place, where he affirmeth, that John Claydon and Richard Turming were burned in the same year, being 1413, when indeed by the true registers they were not burned before the year of our Lord 1415. But what will Master Cope say, if the original copy of the indictment of these pretensed conspirators do testify that they were not there assembled or present in the field, as your accusation pretendeth? "But they purposed," you will say, "and intended to come." The purpose and intent of a man's mind is hard for you and me to judge, where no fact appeareth. But grant their intent was so to come, yet might they not come to those thickets near to the field of St. Giles's, having Beverly their preacher with them, as ye say yourself, as well to pray and to preach in that worthy place, as to fight? Is this such a strange thing in the church of Christ, in time of persecution, for Christians to resort in desolate woods and secret thickets, from the sight of enemies, when they would assemble in praying and hearing the word of God? In Queen Mary's time was not the same colour of treason objected against George Eagle, and others more, for frequenting and using into back sides and fields, who suffered for that whereof he was innocent and guiltless? Did not Adam Damlip die in like case of treason, for having a French crown given him at his departure out of Rome by Cardinal Pool? What cannot cankered Calumnia invent, when she is disposed to cavil? It was not the cardinal's crown that made him a traitor, but it was the hatred of his preaching that stirred up the accuser.

In France, what assemblies have there been in late years, of good and innocent Christians congregating together in back fields and coverts, in great routes, to hear the preaching of God's holy word, and to pray; yea, and not without their weapon also, for their own safeguard; and yet never intended nor minded any rebellion against their king. Wherefore, in cases of religion it may and doth happen many times that such congregations may meet without intent of any treason meant. But howsoever the intent and purpose was of these aforesaid confederates of the Lord Cobham, whither to come, or what to do, seeing this is plain by records, as is aforesaid, that they were not yet come unto the place, how will Master Cope now justify his words, so confidently affirming, that they were there assembled seditiously together in the field of St. Giles against the king? And mark here, I beseech thee, gentle reader, how unlikely and untidely the points of this tale are tied and hanged together, I will not say without all substance of truth, but without all fashion of a cleanly lie; wherein these accusers in this matter seem to me to lack some part of Simon's art, in conveying their narration so unartificially. First, say they, the king was come first, with his garrison, unto the field of St. Giles; and then, after the king was there encamped, consequently, the fellows of the Lord Cobham, the captain being away, came and were assembled in the same field where the king was, against the king, and yet not knowing of the king, to the number of twenty thousand, and yet never a stroke in that field given. And furthermore, of all this twenty thousand aforesaid, never a man's name known but only three: to wit, Sir Roger Acton, Sir John Brown, and John Beverly, a preacher. How this gear is clampered together let the reader judge, and believe as he seeth cause.

But give all this to be true, although by no demonstration it can be proved, yet by the pope's dispensation, which in this earth is almost omnipotent, be it granted, that after the king had taken the field of St. Giles's before, the companions of the Lord Cobham afterward coming and assembling in the thickets near the said field, to fight seditiously against the king, their country, and against the faith of Christ, to the number of twenty thousand, where no stroke being given, so many were taken, that all the prisons of London were full, and yet never a man's name known of all this multitude, but only three; all this I say, being imagined to be true, then followeth to be demanded of Master Cope, whether the Lord Cobham was here present with this company in the field or not? "Not in person," saith Cope, "but with his mind and with his counsel he was present:" and addeth this reason, saying, "and therefore he, being brought again after his escape, was convict both of treason and heresy, and therefore, sustaining a double punishment, was both hanged and burned for the same," &c. And how is all this proved? "By Robert Fabian," he saith. Whereunto briefly I answer, that Robert Fabian in that place maketh no such mention of the Lord Cobham assisting or consenting to them either in mind or in counsel. His words be these, "That certain adherents of Sir John Oldcastle assembled in the field near to St. Giles, in great number, of whom was Sir Roger Acton, Sir John Brown, and John Beverly: the which, with thirty-six more in number, were afterwards convicted of heresy and treason, and for the same were hanged and burned within the said fields of St. Giles," &c. Thus much in Fabian touching the commotion and condemnation of these men; but that the Lord Cobham was there present with them in any part, either of consent or counsel, as Alanus Copus, Anglus, pretendeth, that is not found in Fabian, but is added of his liberal cornucopiæ, whereof he is so copious and plentiful, that he may keep an open shop of such unwritten untruths, which he may afford very good and cheap, I think, being such a plentiful artificer.

But here will be objected against me the words of the statute made the second year of King Henry the Fifth, whereupon this adversary, triumphing with no little glory, thinketh himself to have double vantage against me; first, in proving these aforesaid accomplices and adherents of the Lord Cobham to have made insurrection against the king, and so to be traitors: secondly, in convicting that to be untrue, where, in my former book of Acts and monuments, I do report, how that after the death of Sir Roger Acton, Brown, and Beverley, a parliament was holden at Leicester, where a statute was made to this effect: That all and singular such as were of Wickliff's learning, if they would not give over, as in case of felony and other trespasses, losing all their goods to the king, should suffer death in two manner of kinds: that is, they should first be hanged for treason against the king, and then be burned for heresy against God.

Whereupon it remaineth now in examining this objection, and answering the same, that I purge both them of treason, and myself of untruth, so far as truth and fidelity in God's cause shall assist me herein. Albeit in beginning first my history of ecclesiastical matters, wherein I having nothing to do with debatement of causes judicial, but only following the simple narration of things done and executed, I never suspected that ever any would be so captious with me, or so nice-nosed, as to press me with such narrow points of the law, in trying and discussing every cause and matter so exactly, and straining, as ye would say, the bowels of the statute law so rigorously against me; yet, forasmuch as I am thereunto constrained now by this adversary, I will first lay open all the whole statute made the second year of this aforesaid Henry the Fifth, after the death of the aforesaid Sir Roger Acton and his fellows, at the parliament holden at Leicester, A. D. 1415. That done, I will note upon the words thereof, so as by the circumstances of the same may appear what is to be concluded, either for the defence of their innocency, or for the accusation of this adversary. The tenor and purport of the statute hereunder ensueth:

"Forasmuch as great (A) rumors, congregations and insurrections here in England, by divers the king's majesty's liege people, have been made here of late, as well by those which were of the sect of heresy called Lollardy, as by other of their considerations, excitations and abatement; to the intent (B) to annul and subvert the Christian faith and the law of God within the same realm, as also to (C) destroy our sovereign lord the king himself, and (D) all manner of estates of the same his realm, as well spiritual as temporal, (E) and also all manner of policy and the laws of the land; finally, the same our lord the king, to the honour of God, in conscrvation and fortification of the Christian faith, and also in salvation of his royal estate, and of the estate of all his realm, willing to provide a more open and more due punishment against the malice of such heretics and Lollards, than hath been had or used in that case heretofore, so that for the fear of the same laws and punishments, such heresies and Lollardies may the rather cease in time to come.

"By the advice and assent aforesaid, and at the prayer of the said commons, hath ordained and established; that especially the chancellor, the treasurer, the justice of the one bench and of the other, justices of assize, justices of peace, sheriffs, mayors, and bailiffs of cities and towns, and all other officers, having the government of people either now present, or which for the time shall be, do make an oath in taking of their charge and offices, to extend their whole pain and diligence to put out, to do to put out, cease and destroy, all manner of heresies and errors, commonly called Lollardies, within the places in which they exercise their charges and offices, from time to time, with all their power; and that they assist, favour, and maintain the ordinaries and their commissaries, so often as they or any of them shall be thereunto required by the said ordinaries or their commissaries; so that when the said officers and ministers travel or ride to arrest any Lollard, or to make any assistance at the (F) instance and request of the ordinaries or their commissaries, by virtue of this statute, the same ordinaries and commissaries (G) do pay for their cost reasonably. And that the services of the king, unto whom the officers be first sworn, be preferred before all other statutes for the liberty of holy church and the ministers of the same, and especially for the punishment of heretics and Lollards, made before these days, and not repealed, but being in force; and also that all persons convict of heresy, of whatsoever estate, condition, or degree they be, by the said ordinaries or their commissaries left unto the secular power, according to the laws of holy church, shall leese and forfeit all their lands and tenements which they have in fee simple, in manner and form as followeth: that is to say, that the king shall have all the lands and tenements which the said convicts have in fee simple, and which be immediately holden of him, as forfeited; and that the other lords, of whom the lands and tenements of such convicts be holden, immediately after that the king is thereof seized and answered of the (H) year, day and wast, shall have livery thereof out of the hands of the king, of the lands and tenements aforesaid, so of them holden, as hath been used in case of attainder of felonies, except the lands and tenements which be holden of the ordinaries or their commissaries, before whom any such impeached of heresy be convict, (I) which lands and tenements shall wholly remain to the king as forfeit. And moreover, that all the goods and chattels of such convicted be forfeit to our right sovereign lord the king, so that no person convict of heresy, and left unto the secular power (according to the laws of holy church), do forfeit his lands before that he be dead. And if any such person so. convicted be enfeoffed, whether it be by fine or by deed, or without deed, in lands and tenements, rents, or services, in fee or otherwise, in whatsoever manner, or have any other possessions or chattels by gift or grant of any person or persons, to the use of any other than only to the use of such convicts; that the same lands, tenements, rents, or services, or other such possessions, or chattels, shall not be forfeit unto our sovereign lord the king in any manner wise.

"And moreover, that the justices of the king's bench, the justices of peace, and justices of assize, have full power to inquire of all such which hold any errors or heresies, as Lollards, and who be their maintainers, receivers, favourers, and sustainers, common writers of such books, as well of their sermons, as schools, conventicles, congregations, and confederacies, and that this clause be put in the commissions of the justices of peace. And if any persons be indicted of any points abovesaid, that the said justices have power to award against them a capias, and that the sheriff be bound to arrest the person or persons so indicted, as soon as he can find them, either by himself or by his officers. And forasmuch as the cognisance of heresies, errors, or Lollardies, appertaineth to the judges of holy church, and not unto the secular judges, that such persons indicted, (K) be delivered unto the ordinaries of the places, or to their commissaries, by indentures between them to be made, within ten days after their arrest, or sooner, if it may be done, to be thereof acquitted, or convicted by the laws of holy church, in case such persons be not indicted of any other thing, the cognisance whereof appertaineth to the judges and secular officers; in which case, after they shall be acquitted, or delivered before the secular judges of such things as appertain to the secular judges, they shall be safely sent unto the said ordinaries or their commissaries, and to them to be delivered by indentures, as is aforesaid, to be acquitted or convicted of the same heresies, errors, and Lollardies, as is aforesaid, according to the laws of holy church, and that within the term abovesaid; provided, that the said indictments be not taken in evidence, (L) but only for information before the judges spiritual, against such persons indicted: but that the ordinaries begin their process against such persons indicted, in the same manner as though no such judgment were, having no regard to such indictments. And if any be indicted of heresy, error, or Lollardy, and taken by the sheriff, or any other officer of the king, he may be let to mainprise, within the said ten days, by good surety, for whom the said sheriffs or other officers will answer, so that the person so indicted be ready to be delivered unto the said ordinaries, or to their commissaries, before the end of the tenth day abovehere recited, if he may by any means for sickness. And that every ordinary have sufficient commissaries or commissary abiding in every county, in place notable, so that if any such person indicted be taken, the said commissaries or commissary may be warned in the notable place of his abiding, by the sheriff, or any of his officers, to come unto the king's gaol within the said county, there to receive the same person so indicted, by indenture, as is aforesaid; and that in the inquests in this case taken, the sheriffs and other officers unto whom it appertaineth, do impanel good and sufficient persons, not suspected, nor procured, that is to say, such as have at the least, every one of them that shall be so impanelled in such inquests, within the realm, a hundred shillings by the year, in lands, tenements, or rent, upon pain to leese to the king's use twenty pounds. And that those which shall be impanelled upon such inquests or sessions and gaols, have, every one of them, to the value of forty shillings by the year. And if any such person arrested, whether it be by the ordinaries, or the officers of the king, (M) either escape or break prison, before he be thereof acquit before the ordinary; that then all his goods and chattels which he had at the day of such arrest, shall be forfeit to the king; and his lands and tenements which he had the same day be seized also into the king's hands, and that the king have the profits thereof from the same day until he render himself to the said prison from whence he escaped. And that the aforesaid justices have full power to inquire of all such escapes and breaking of prisons, and also of the lands, tenements, goods, and chattels of such persons indicted. Provided, that if any such person indicted do not return unto the said prison, and dieth, not being convict, that then it shall be lawful for his heirs to enter into the lands and tenements of his or their ancestor, without any other suit made unto the king for this cause. And that all those which have liberties, or franchises royal, in England, as the county of Chester, the county and liberty of Durham, and other like; and also the lords which have jurisdictions and franchises royal in Wales, where the king's writs do not run, have like power to execute and put in execution in all points these articles, by them or by their officers, in like manner as do the justices and other the king's officers above declared."

Thus having recited the words of the statute, now let us consider the reasons and objections of this adversary, who, grounding peradventure upon the preface or preamble of this aforesaid statute, will prove thereby the Lord Cobham and Sir Roger Acton, with the rest of their abettors, to have been traitors to their king and their country. Whereunto I answer, first, in general, that although the face or preface prefixed before the statute, may show and declare the cause and occasion original why the statute was made, yet the making of the statute importeth no necessary probation of the preface always to be true that goeth before; which being but a colour to induce the making thereof, giveth no force material thereunto, nor is any necessary part of the body of the said statute, but only adhereth as a declaration of the circumstance thereof, and sometimes is clean omitted, and differeth much from the substance of the same. For, as statutes in civil policy most commonly do tend to a public end, and are general, so prefaces before statutes, which most commonly declare the cause or beginning thereof, are private, and do stand only but upon particular facts, which either of ill-will or displeasure may be suggested, or by colour may be exaggerated, or for fear may be believed, at least suspected, as many suspicions do ofttimes rise in princes' heads through false surmises, and malicious complaints of certain evil-disposed about them, whereby many cruel laws, rising upon a false ground, are promulgated, to the ruin of much innocent blood. Example whereof we have not only in this present statute, but also in the like statute, commonly called the statute Ex officio, vel de comburendo, made by this king's father and predecessor. In the preface of which bloody statute is contained another like complaint of the prelates and clergy, not only as heinous, but also as shamefully false and untrue, against the poor Lollards, as by the words of the complaint may appear; wherein most falsely they slander and misreport the true servants of Christ to be Lollards, heretics, subverters of the commonwealth, destroyers of the Christian faith, enemies to all good laws, and to the church of Christ. The words of which statute, proceeding much after the like course as doth this present statute, may easily bewray the untruth and false surmise thereof, if thou please, gentle reader, to mark and confer the words according as they are there to be read and seen, as followeth: Conventiculas et confederationes faciunt, scholas tenent et exercent, libros conficiunt atque scribunt, populum nequiter instruunt et informant, et ad seditionem seu insurrectionem excitant, quantum possunt, et magnas dissensiones in populo faciunt, et alia diversa enormia auditui horrenda in dies perpetrant, in fidei catholicæ, et ecclesiæ subversionem, divinique cultus diminutionem, ac etiam destructionem status, jurium, et libertatum dictæ ecclesiæ Anglicanæ. And after a few words, Ad omnem juris, et rationis ordinem atque regimen, penitus destruendum, &c. He that is or shall be acquainted with old histories, and with the usual practices of Satan, the old enemy of Christ, from the first beginning of the primitive church unto this present time, shall see this to be no news, but a common, and, as one would say, a quotidian fever among Christ's children, to be vexed with false accusations and cruel slanders.

Nemesion, the Egyptian and true martyr of Christ, was he not first accused to be a felon? And when that could not be proved, he was condemned at the same judgment for a Christian; and therefore being cast into bands, was scourged, by the commandment of the president, double to the other felons, and at length was burned with the thieves, although he never was found thief nor felon.

Against Cyprian, in like sort, it was slanderously objected by Galenus Maximus, proconsul, that he had long continued with a mind full of sacrilege, and that he had gathered unto him men of wicked conspiracy.

So Justin Martyr, what false and criminous accusations suffered he by Crescens! Cornelius, bishop of Rome, and martyr, was accused of Decius, that he wrote letters unto Cyprian against the commonwealth.

To consider the laws and statutes made by tyrants and emperors in the first persecution of the primitive church, against the innocent servants of Christ, and to compare the same with the laws and statutes in this latter persecution under antichrist, a man shall find, that as they agree all in like cruelty, so was there no great difference in false forging of pretended causes and crimes devised. For as then the Christians were wrongfully accused of the Gentiles for insurrections and rebellions against the emperors and empire, for being enemies to all mankind, for murdering of infants, for worshipping the sun, (because they prayed toward the east,) for worshipping also the head of an ass, &c., upon the rumours whereof divers and sundry laws and statutes were enacted, some engraven in brass, some otherwise written against them; so in this aforesaid statute, and in such other statutes or indictments made and conceived against the Lollards, the case is not so strange, but it may credibly be supposed, that the making thereof did rise rather upon malice and hatred against their religion conceived, than upon any just cause ministered on their parts, whom they did wrongfully charge and accuse. Like as in the time of Domitian, for fear of David's stock, all the nephews of Jude, the Lord's brother in the flesh, were accused to the emperor. And also the like fear and hatred stirred up other emperors and the senate of Rome, to proceed with persecuting laws against the Christian flock of Christ; whereupon rose up those malicious slanders, false surmises, infamous lies, and wrongful accusations against the Christians; so that what crimes soever malice could invent, or rash suspicion could minister, that was imputed against them.

Not unlike also it may seem, that the pope with his prelates, fearing and misdoubting lest the procceding of the gospel preached by these persons should overthrow the state of their majesty, did therefore, by sinister accusations, inflame the hearts of princes against them, and under some coloured covert, to shadow their cloaked hatred, devised these and other like crimes which were not true, but which might cleanly serve their purpose.

This hitherto have I said as in a general sum, answering to the preamble of the aforesaid statute, for the defence of Sir John Oldcastle, and Sir Roger Acton, and others, as not defining precisely what was, or was not; (for here I may say with Hall, that as I was not present at the deed doing, so, with him, I may also leave the same at large;) but as one, by tracing the footsteps of the truth, as by all conjectures hunting out in this matter, what is most like, would but only say my mind.

Now consequently it followeth that we descend to the special points and particulars of the aforesaid preamble; to consider what thereof may be collected, or necessarily is to be judged, either for proof or disproof, of this aforesaid Sir John Oldcastle and his fellows.

(A) And first, where the proem of this statute beginneth with "rumours, congregations, and insurrections," &c. As it is not like, that if these men had intended any forcible entries or rebellion against the king, they would have made any rumours thereof before the deed done; so is it more credibly to be supposed, all these flourishes of words to be but words of course, or of office, and to savour rather of the rankness of the indicter's pen, who disposed either to show his copy, or else to aggravate the crime; and to make mountains of molehills, first of rumours maketh congregations, and from congregations riseth up to insurrections; whereas in all these rumours, congregations, and insurrections, yet never a blow was given, never a stroke was stricken, no blood spilled, no furniture nor instruments of war, no sign of battle, yea, no express signification either of any rebellious word, or malicious fact, described neither in records, nor yet in any chronicle. Again, if these rumours were words spoken against the king, as calling him a tyrant, a "usurper of the crown," the "prince of priests," &c., why then be none of these words expressed in their indictments, or left in records? Doth Master Cope think for a man to be called a traitor, to be enough to make him a traitor, unless some plain and evident proof be brought for him to be so indeed, as he is called? "Rumours," saith he, "congregations, and insurrections were made." Rumours are uncertain, congregations have been, and may be, among Christian men in dangerous times, for good purposes, and no treason against their princes meant. The term of insurrections may be added εκ του περισσου[Greek: ek ton perisson] by practice, or surmise of the prelates and penmen, who, to bring them the more in hatred of the king, might add this rather of their own gentleness, than of the others' deserving. Certain it is, and undoubted, that the prelates in those days, being so mightily inflamed against these Lollards, were not altogether behind for their parts, nor utterly idle in this matter, but practised against them what they could, first to bring them into hatred, and then to death.

Examples of which kind of practice among the popish clergy have not lacked neither before nor since. Moreover, if these men had made such a rebellious insurrection against the king, as is pretended in the preamble before this statute, which were a matter of high treason, how chanceth then that the whole body of the statute, following after the said preface or preamble, runneth in all the parts or branches thereof, both in matter of arrest, of indictment, information, request, allowance of officers, cognizance of ordinaries, of the forefact, &c., upon cases of heresy, and not of treason, as by particular tractation shall be, Christ willing, declared.

And, forasmuch as these men be so grievously accused of Alanus Copus, for congregating and rising against their king, and the whole realm, if I had so much leisure to defend, as he hath pleasure to defame, here might be demanded of him, to keep him some further play, touching this mighty insurrection, Where they came in number twenty thousand against the king? in what order of battle-array they marched? what captains, under-captains, and petty captains they had, to guide the wings, and to lead the army? whether they were horsemen or footmen? If they were horsemen, as is pretensed, what meant they then to resort to the thickets near to St. Giles's field, which was no meet place for horses to stir? If they were footmen, how standeth that with the author, which reporteth them to be horsemen? Moreover, it is to be demanded, what ensigns or flags, what shot, what powder, what armour, weapons, and other furniture of war? also what treasure of money to wage so many, to the number of twenty thousand? what trumpets, drums, and other noise necessary for the purpose they had? All these preparations for such an enterprise, are requisite and necessary to be had. And, peradventure, if truth were well sought, it would be found at length, that instead of armies and weapons, they were coming only with their books, and with Beverly their preacher, into those thickets. But as I was not there present at the fact, as is before said, so have I neither certainty to define upon their case, nor yet, Master Cope, to exclaim against them; unless, peradventure, that he, taking an occasion of the time, will thus argue against them, that because it was the hot month of January, the second day after the Epiphany, therefore it is like that Sir John Oldcastle, with twenty thousand Lollards, camped together in the fields in all the heat of the weather, to destroy the king and all the nobles, and to make himself regent of England: and why not as well the king, as regent of England, seeing all the nobles should have been destroyed, and he only left alone to reign by himself?

It followeth more in the preamble of the aforesaid statute, (B) to annul, destroy, and subvert the Christian faith, and the law of God, and holy church, &c. He that was the forger and inventor of this report, as it appeareth to proceed from the prelates, seemeth no cunning Dædalus, nor half his crafts-master in lying for the whetstone. Better he might have learned of Sinon in Virgil, more artificially to have framed and conveyed his narration; which although in no case could sound like any truth, yet some colour of probability should have been set upon it, to give it some countenance of a like tale: as if he had first declared the Lord Cobham to have been before in secret confederacy with the great Turk; or if he had made him some Termagant or Mahound out of Babylonia, or some Herod of Judea, or some antichrist out of Rome, or some grand paunched epicure of this world, and had showed, that he had received letters from the great Soldan, to fight against the faith of Christ, and law of God; then had it appeared somewhat more credible, that the said Sir John Oldcastle, with his sect of heresy, went about to "annul, destroy, and subvert the Christian faith and law of God, within the realm of England," &c.

But now, where will either he or Master Cope find men so mad to believe, or so ingenious that can imagine this to be true, that the Lord Cobham, being a Christian, and so faithful a Christian, would, or did, ever cogitate in his mind to destroy and annul the faith of Christ in the realm of England? Whatsoever the report of this pursuant or preface saith, I report me unto the indifferent reader, how standeth this with any face of truth? that he which before, through the reading of Wickliff's works, had been so earnestly converted to the law of God, who had also approved himself such a faithful servant of Christ, that for the faith of Christ he, being examined and tried before the prelates, not only ventured his life, but stood constant unto the sentence of death defined against him, being a condemned and a dead man by law, who had, as much as to devotion and fear appertained, "suffered already what he might or could suffer," as Cyprian said by Cornelius; that he, I say, which a little before, in the month of September, stood so constant in defence of Christ's faith, would now, in the month of January, rise to destroy, annul, and subvert Christ's faith, and the law of God, and holy church within the realm of England?

How can it be, not like only, but possible to he true, that he, which never in all the time of his life denied the faith; which ever confessed the faith so constantly; which was for the same faith condemned; yea, and at last also burned for the faith; would ever fight against the faith and law of God, to annul and subvert it? Let us proceed yet further, and see when he should have so destroyed and annulled the Christian faith and law of God in England, what faith or law then could he, or did he, intend to bring into the realm of England? the Turk's faith? or the Jew's faith? or the pope's faith? or what faith else I pray you? for he that will be an enemy to the faith of Christ, and will show himself a friend to no other faith besides, I account him not out of his right faith, but out of his right wits.

(C) And therefore, even as it is true, that Sir John Oldcastle with his confederates and abettors were up in arms to subvert and extinguish the faith of Christ and law of God in the realm of England, so, by the like truth, it may be esteemed, that the same persons rose also "to destroy their sovereign lord the king and his brethren." First, thanks be to God, that neither the king nor any of his brethren had any hurt by him. But his intent, saith the preface, was to destroy their sovereign lord the king. Whereunto I answer with this interrogatory, Whether was his intent privily to have destroyed him, or by open force of arms? If privily, what needed then such a great army of twenty thousand men, to achieve that secret feat? rather I would think that he needed more the help of such as were near about the king; as some of the king's privy chamber, or some of his secret counsel; whereof neither chronicle nor record doth insinuate any mention. If his intent was openly to invade the king; you must understand Master Cope, that to withstand a king in his own realm, many things are required: long time, great preparation, many friends, great assistance, and aid of kindred, money, horse, men, armour, and all other things appertaining for the same.

Earl Godwin of Westsax, who had married Canute's daughter, being a man both ambitious and as false a traitor, for all his six sons and great alliance, yet durst not set upon King Edward to invade him in his realm; although he sought many occasions so to do, yet never durst he enterprise openly that which his ambition so greatly presumed unto.

In the time of King Henry the Third, Simon Montfort, earl of Gloucester, Gilbert Clare, earl of Leicester, Humfrey Rone, earl of Ferrence, with a great number of lords and barons, thought themselves to have great right on their sides; yet durst they not, for all their power, openly assail the king in his realm, before great debatement and talk first had between.

Likewise, what murmuring and grudging was in the realm against King Edward the Second, among the peers and nobles, and also prelates, only Walter, bishop of Coventry, excepted, first for Gaveston, then for the Spencers, at what time Thomas, earl of Lancaster, Guido, earl of Warwick, with the most part of all other earls and barons, concordly consenting together to the displacing first of Gaveston, then of the Spencers, yet neither rashly, nor without great fear, durst stir up war in the land, or disquiet or vex the king; but first, by all means of moderate counsel, and humble petition, thought rather to persuade, than to invade the king.

In like manner, and with like grudging minds, in the reign of King Richard the Second, Thomas Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, the king's uncle, with the earls of Arundel, Warwick, and Derby, with the power almost of the whole commons, stood up in arms against the king; and yet, notwithstanding all their power joined together being so great, and their cause seeming to them so reasonable, yet were they not so hardy, straightways to fly upon the king, but by way of parliament thought to accomplish that which their purpose had conceived; and so did, without any war striking against the king.

After King Richard the Second was deposed, and was in prison yet living, divers noblemen were greatly inflamed against King Henry the Fourth, as Sir John Holland, earl of Huntingdon, Thomas Spenser, earl of Gloucester, the earls likewise of Kent and Salisbury, with Sir John Cheiney, and others more, whereof divers had been dukes before, and now deposed by King Henry the Fourth; although they had conceived in their hearts great grudge and malice against the said King Henry yet had they neither heart nor power openly, with man's force, to assail the king, but secretly were compelled to achieve their conceived intent, which notwithstanding they could not accomplish.

Thus you may see, Master Cope, or else Master Harpsfield, or whatsoever ye be, to gainstand a king, and with open force to encounter with him in his own land, and in his own chamber of London, where he is so sure and strong, what a matter and of how great achievance it is, wherein so many and so great difficulties do lie, the attempt so dangerous, the chances so uncertain, the furniture of so many things required, that scarce in any king's days heretofore any peers or nobles of the realm, were they never so strongly assisted with power, wit, or counsel, yet either were able, or else well durst, ever to enterprise upon a case so dangerous, notwithstanding they were of themselves never so far from all fear of God, and true obedience. And shall we then think, or can we imagine, Master Cope, that Sir John Oldcastle, a man so well instructed in the knowledge of God's word, being but a poor knight by his degree, having none of all the peers and nobles in all the world to join with him, being prisoner in the Tower of London a little before in the month of December, could now, in the month of January, so suddenly, in such a hot season of the year, start up an army of twenty thousand fighting men to invade the king, to kill two dukes his brethren, to annul Christian faith, to destroy God's law, and to subvert holy church? And why doth not he add, moreover, to set also all London on fire, and to turn all England into a fish-pool? Belike these men, which give out these figments of Sir John Oldcastle, did think him to be one of Deucalion's stock, who by casting of stones over his shoulder, could, by and by, make men at his pleasure; or else that he had Cadmus' teeth to sow, to make so many harvest-men to start up at once.

But let us consider yet further of these twenty thousand soldiers, so suddenly, without wages, without victual or other provision, congregated together, what they were, from whence, out of what quarter, county, or counties they came. In other kings' days, whensoever any rebellion was against the king moved by the commons, as when Jack Straw and Wat Tyler, of Kent and Essex, rose in the time of King Richard the Second; when William Mandevil of Abingdon, Jack Cade of Kent, in the time of King Henry the Sixth; in the time of King Henry the Eighth, when the commotion was of rebels in Lincolnshire, then in Yorkshire; when in King Edward the Sixth's time, Humphrey Arundel in Devonshire, and Captain Kett in Norfolk, made stir against the king, the country and parts from whence these rebels did spring, were both noted and also defamed. In this so traitorous commotion, therefore, let us now learn what men these were, and from what county or counties in all England they came. If they came out of any, let the chroniclers declare what counties they were. If they came out of none, as none is named, then let them come out of Eutopia, where, belike, this figment was first forged and invented. Wherefore, seeing neither the county from whence they came, nor yet the names of any of all these twenty thousand, do appear, what they were, either in chronicle or in record, but remain altogether unknown, I leave it, gentle reader, to thy judgment, to think thereupon, as thy wisdom shall lead thee.

(D) It followeth more in the aforesaid preface: "And to destroy all other manner of estates of the same realm of England, as well spiritual as temporal," &c. By the course of this preamble it appeareth, that the said Sir John Oldcastle was a wonderful cruel tyrant and murderer, who, being not yet satisfied with the blood of the king, nor of the two dukes his brethren, would also make havoc and sweepstake of all manner of estates in the realm of England. What! and leave no manner of estate alive? No! neither lords spiritual nor temporal, but all together shall be destroyed. And what had all these estates done, thus so miserably to be destroyed? Although, percase, the mood of this man might have been incensed and kindled against the king and the lords spiritual, by whom he had been condemned, as is aforesaid; yet why should all other manner of other estates both spiritual and temporal be killed? If none of all the estates in England, neither duke, earl, baron, lord, knight, or other gentleman had been his friend, but all his enemies, how then is it like, that he, having all the estates, peers, nobles, and gentlemen of the realm against him, and none to stand with him, either could or durst attempt any commotion against the whole power of the land, he being but one gentleman only, with Sir Roger Acton and Master Brown left alone? At least, good reason yet would, that those hundred knights should have been spared out of this bloody slaughter, whom he offered to reduce unto the king, before, for his purgation. And, finally, if this was his purpose, that all these estates both spiritual and temporal should have been cut down, what needed then that he should have made himself a regent, whenas he might as well have made himself a king, or what else he would, being left then prince alone?

(E) The preamble, as it began with untruth, and continued in the same figure, heaping one untruth upon another, so now endeth with another misreport as untrue as the rest, showing and declaring that the intent of Sir John Oldcastle was also, "To destroy all manner of policy," and, finally, "the laws of the land," &c. We read of William the Conqueror, otherwise named William Bastard, who, being a puissant duke in his country, when that the crown of England was allotted to him, and he coming over with all his peers, nobles, and barons of his whole land, into this realm, and had with great difficulty obtained victory against King Harold; yet to alter and destroy the policy and the laws of the land, it passed his power; insomuch that it had not been permitted unto him to have proceeded so far as he did, unless he had first sworn to the nobles of this land, to retain still the laws of King Edward, as he found them. And albeit he afterward forswore himself, breaking his oath in altering and changing many of the aforesaid laws, yet, wild he, nild he, he could not so destroy them all, (for the which much war and great commotions endured long after in the realm,) but that he was constrained, and also contented, to allow and admit a great part of the said laws of King Edward. And if he, being king and conqueror, with all his strength of Normans and Englishmen about him, was too weak and insufficient to destroy all manner of policy and laws of this land which he had conquered; how much less then is it to be supposed that Sir John Oldcastle, being but a private subject, and a poor knight, and a condemned prisoner, destitute and forsaken of all lords, earls, and barons, who, to save his own life, had more to do than he could well compass, would either take in hand or conceive in his head any such exploit, after the subversion of Christian faith and law of God, after the slaughter of the king and all manner of estates, as well spiritual as temporal, in the realm of England, after the desolation of holy church, to destroy also all manner of policy, and finally, the laws of the land? Which monstrous and incredible figment, how true it may seem to Master Cope, or to some other late chroniclers of the like credulity, I cannot tell.

But here will it be said again, perhaps, that the matter of such preambles and prefaces being but pursuants of statutes, and containing but words of course, to aggravate and to give a show of a thing which they would have to seem more odious to the people, is not so precisely to be scanned, or exquisitely to be stood upon, as for the ground of a necessary case of truth.

This is it, Master Cope, that I said before, and now do well grant and admit the same, that such preambles or forefaces lined with a non sequitur, containing in them matter but of surmise, and words of course, and rather monsters out of course, and many times rising upon false information, are not always in themselves material or necessary probations in all points to be followed; as appeareth, both by this statute, and also by the statute of this king's father. And yet, notwithstanding, out of these same preambles and forefronts of statutes, and other indictments, which, commonly rising upon matter of information, run only upon words of course, of office, and not upon simple truth, a great part of our chroniclers do often take their matter, which they insert into their stories, having no respect or examination of circumstanccs to be compared, but only following bare rumours, or else such words as they see in such fabling prefaces or indictments expressed; whereby it cometh so to pass, that the younger chronicler following the elder, as the blind leading the blind, both together fall into the pit of error. And you also, Master Cope, following the steps of the same, do seem likewise to err together with them for good fellowship. And thus concerning the face of this statute hitherto sufficiently.

Now let us consider and discuss in like manner, first the coherence, then the particular contents, of the said statute: as touching the which coherence, if it be well examined, a man shall find almost a chimera of it, in which neither the head accordeth with the body, nor yet the branches of the statute well agree with themselves.

For whereas the preface of the statute standeth only upon matter of treason, conceived by false suggestion and wrong information, the body of the said statute, which should follow upon the same, runneth only upon matter of heresy pertaining to the ordinaries, as by every branch thereof may appear.

(F) For first, Where he saith, "At the instance and request of the ordinaries or their commissaries," &c.: hereby it appeareth, this to be no cause of treason nor felony; for that every man, of duty, is bound to, and by the laws of the realm may, arrest and apprehend a traitor or a felon, if he can; where otherwise by this statute, an officer is not bound to arrest him which offendeth in case of this statute, without request made by the ordinaries or their commissaries; and therefore this offence seemeth neither to be treason nor felony.

(G) Secondly, Where it followeth, that "the same ordinaries and commissaries do pay for their costs," &c.: this allowance of the officers' charges in this sort proveth this offence neither treason nor felony.

(H) Thirdly, Where the statute willeth the king to be "answered of the year, day, and wast," &c.: by this also is proved the offence not to be treason; for else in cases of treason, the whole inheritance, I trow, Master Cope, (speaking as no great skilful lawyer,) is forfeit to the prince.

(I) The fourth argument I take out of these words of the statute, "Whereas such lands and tenements which are holden of the ordinaries, are willed wholly to remain to the king as forfeit," &c.: whereby it is manifest, that the prelates for their matter of Lollardy only were the occasioners and procurers of this statute; and therefore were barren of the benefit of any forfeit rising thereby, as good reason was they should. And thus it is notorious, that the preface running specially and principally upon treason, and the statute running altogether upon points of heresy, do not well cohere nor join together.

(K) Fifthly, In that "such persons indicted shall be delivered unto the ordinaries of the places," &c.: it cannot be denied, but that this offence concerneth no manner of treason, forasmuch as ordinaries cannot be judges in cases of treason or felony, by the laws of our realm, Bract. in fine libri 1.

(L) Sixthly, By the indictments provided "not to be taken in evidence, but only for information, before the judges spiritual," &c.: it is likewise to be noted, to what end these indictments were taken; to wit, only to inform the ordinaries, which cannot be in cases of treason.

(M) Lastly, Where it followeth, toward the end of the statute, touching escape or breaking of prison, &c.: by this it may lightly be smelt, whereto all the purpose of this statute driveth; that is, to the special escape of the Lord Cobham out of the Tower, to this end, to have his lands and possessions forfeit unto the king. And yet the same escape of the Lord Cobham, in this statute considered, is taken by Mr. Justice Stanford, in the first book of the Pleas of the Crown, cap. 33, to be an escape of one arrested for heresy, where he speaketh of the case of the Lord Cobham.

Moreover, as touching the parts of this aforesaid statute, how will you join these two branches together, whereas in the former part is said, "That the lands of such persons convict shall be forfeit to the king, not before they be dead:" and afterwards it followeth, "That their goods and possessions shall be forfeit at the day of their arrest to the king?" But herein standeth no such great doubt, nor matter to be weighed. This is without all doubt, and notoriously, evidently, and most manifestly may appear, by all the arguments and whole purport of the statute; that as well the preamble and preface thereof, as the whole body of the said statute, were made, framed, and procured only by and through the instigation, information, and excitation, of the prelates and the popish clergy; not so much for any treason committed against the king, but only for fear and hatred of Lollardy tending against their law, which they more dreaded and abhorred than ever any treason against the prince. And then, to set the king and all the states against them, whereby the more readily to work their despatch, they thought it best, and none so compendious a policy, as prettily to join treason together with their Lollardy; wherein the poor men once entangled, could no ways escape destruction.

This, Master Cope, have I said, and say again, not as one absolutely determining upon the matter. At the doing whereof, as I was not present myself, so with your own Hall, I may and do leave it at large, but as one leading the readers by all conjectures and arguments of probability and of due circumstances, to consider with themselves what is further to be thought in these old accustomed practices and proceedings of these prelates. Protesting, moreover, Master Cope, in this matter to you, that those chronicles which you so much ground upon, I take them in this matter neither to be as witnesses sufficient, nor as judges competent; who, as they were not themselves present at the deed done, no more than I, but only following uncertain rumours, and words of course and office, bringing with them no certain trial of that which they do affirm, may therein both be deceived themselves, and also deceive you and other which depend upon them.

And hitherto concerning this statute enough: out of which statute you see, Master Cope, that neither your chroniclers, nor you, can take any great advantage, to prove any treason in the Lord Cobham, or in his fellows, as hath been hitherto abundantly declared in the premises.

{Ornamental Capital ?86}Thus then having sufficiently cleared the Lord Cobham and his partners, from all that you can object unto them out of records and statutes, let us now come to your English chroniclers wherewith you seem to press me, and to oppress them, whom ye name to be Robert Fabian, Edward Hall, Polydore Virgil, Thomas Cooper, Richard Grafton, with other brief epitomes and summaries, &c.; concerning which authors, as I have nothing to say, but to their commendations, in this place; so, if that you had avouched the same to the commendation rather than to the reproof of others, I would better have commended your nature, and believed your cause. But now, like a spider-catcher, sucking out of every one what is the worst, to make up your laystall, you heap up a dunghill of dirty dialogues, containing nothing in them but malicious railing, virulent slanders, manifest untruths, opprobrious contumelies, and stinking blasphemy, able almost to corrupt and infect the air. Such is the malady and cacoethes of your pen, that it beginneth to bark, before it hath learned well to write; which of yours, nevertheless, I do not here reproach or contemn, as neither do I greatly fear the same. God, of his mercy, keep the sword out of the papists' hand: it is not the pen of the papists I greatly pass upon, though twenty Copes and so many surplices were set against the Book of Monuments, were I so disposed, Master Cope, to dally, or, as the Greeks do say, αυτος εοη[Greek: Autos eoe] and to repay again as I am provoked. But, in despiteful railing, and in this satirical sort of barking, I give you over, and suffer you therein to pass not only yourself, but also Cerberus himself, if ye will, the great ban-dog of Pluto. Mildness and humanity rather beseemeth, and is the grace of the Latin phrase. If ye could hit upon the vein thereof, it would win you much more honesty with all honest men: but the Lord hereafter may call you, which I beseech him to do, and to forgive you that you have done.

In the mean time, seeing this your prattling pen must needs be walking, yet this you might have learned of these your own authors whom you allege, more civilly to have tempered your fume in exclaiming against them whose cause is to you not perfectly known. And now briefly to answer to these your aforesaid writers, as witnesses produced against these men: there be two things (as I take it) in chronicle writers to be considered; first, the grounds which they follow; secondly, in what place they serve.

As touching the order and ground of writing among these chroniclers, ye must consider, and cannot be ignorant, that as none of all these by you forenamed was present at the deed, nor witness of the fact, so have they nothing of themselves herein certainly to affirm, but either must follow public rumour and hearsay for their author; or else one of them must borrow of another: whereof neither seemeth to me sufficient; for, as public rumour is never certain, so one author may soon deceive another.

By reason whereof it cometh oft to pass, that as these story-writers hit many times the truth, so again all is not in the gospel that they do write: wherefore great respect is here to be had, either not to credit rashly every one that writeth stories, or else to see what grounds they have whom we do follow.

Now to demand, Master Cope, of you, what authority or foundation hath your Robert Fabian, have Polydore Virgil, Edward Hall, and other of your authors, to prove these men to be traitors? what authority do they avouch? what acts, what registers, what records, or out of what court do they show, or what demonstration do they make? And do you think it sufficient, because these men do only affirm it, without further probation, with your αυτος εοη[Greek: Autos eoe], therefore we are bound to believe it? Take me not so, Master Cope, that I do here diminish any thing, or derogate from the credit of those writers you allege, whose labours have deserved well, and serve to great utility: but coming now to trial of a matter lying in controversy between us, we are now forced to seek out the fountain and bottom of the truth, where it is not enough to say, So it is, but the cause is to be showed why it is so affirmed. And what though Robert Fabian, Polydore Virgil, and Edward Hall should altogether (as they do not) agree in the treason of Sir John Oldcastle, and of the rest? yet neither is this any sufficient surety to prove them traitors;; considering that writers of stories, for the most part following either blind report, or else one taking of another, use commonly all to sound together after one tune, so that as one saith, all say; and if one err, all do err. Wherefore you see, Master Cope, how it is not sufficient nor sure to stick only to the names and authorities of chronographers, unless the ground be found substantial whereupon they stand themselves, which yet in none of these whom you have produced doth appear.

Secondly, In alleging and writing of chronicles, it is to be considered to what place and effect they serve. If ye would show out of them the order and course of times, what years were of dearth and of plenty, where kings kept their Christmas, what conduits were made, what mayors and sheriffs were in London, what battles were fought, what triumphs and great feasts were holden, when kings began their reign, and when they ended, &c.: in such vulgar and popular affairs the narration of the chronicler serveth to good purpose, and may have his credit, wherein the matter forceth not much whether it be true or false, or whether any listeth to believe them. But where a thing is denied, and in cases of judgment, and in controversies doubtful, which are to be decided and bolted out by evidence of just demonstration; I take them neither for judges of the bench, nor for arbiters of the cause, nor as witnesses of themselves sufficient necessarily to be sticked unto: albeit I deny not but histories are taken many times, and so termed, for witnesses of times, and glasses of antiquity, &c., yet not such witnesses as whose testimony beareth always a necessary truth, and bindeth belief.

The two witnesses which came against Susanna, being senators, both of ancient years, bare a great countenance of a most evident testimony, whereby they almost both deceived the people and oppressed the innocent, had not young Daniel, by the Holy Spirit of God, taken them aside, and severally examining them one from the other, found them to be false liars both; leaving to us thereby a lesson of wholesome circumspection, not rashly to believe all that cometh, and also teaching us how to try them out. Wherefore, Master Cope, following here the like example of Daniel in trying these your records which ye infer against these men, we will, in like manner, examine them severally one from another, and see how their testimony agreeth: first, beginning with your Robert Fabian; which Robert Fabian, being neither in the same age, nor at the deed-doing, can of himself give no credit herein, without due proof and evidence convenient.

How then doth Robert Fabian prove this matter of treason to be true? what probation doth he bring? what authority doth he allege? And doth Robert Fabian think, if he were not disposed to conceive of the Lord Cobham and those men, a better opinion but to be traitors, that men are bound to believe him only at his word, without any ground or cause declared, why they should so do, but only because he so saith, and it pleased him so to write? And if ye think, Master Cope, the word only of this witness sufficient to make authority, speaking against the Lord Cobham, and proving nothing which followed so many years after him; why may not I, as well and much rather, take the word and testimony of Richard Belward, a Norfolk man of the town of Crisam, who, living both in his time, and possibly knowing the party, and punished also for the like truth, is not reported, but recorded also in the registers of the church of Norwich, to give this testimony, among other his articles, for the aforesaid Lord Cobham, viz. that Sir John Oldcastle was a true catholic man, and falsely condemned, and put to death without a reasonable cause, &c.

Against this man if you take exception, and say, that one heretic will hold with another; why may not I, with the like exception, reply to you again, and say as well, one papist will hold with another, and both conjure together, to make and say the worst against a true protestant?

Further yet to examine this aforesaid Fabian, witness against Sir John Oldcastle, as Daniel examined the witnesses against Susanna: I will not here ask under what tree these adherents of Sir John Oldcastle conspired against the king, and subversion of the land, but in what time, in what year and month, this conspiracy was wrought? Fabian witnesseth, that it was in the month of January. Contrariwise, Edward Hall, and others our abridgementers, following him, do affirm that they were condemned in the Guildhall the twelfth of December, and that their execution upon the same was in January following, so that by their sentence the fact was done either in the month of December, or else before; or, if it were in the month of January, as Fabian saith, then is Hall and his followers deceived, testifying the fact to be done in the month of December.

And yet to object, moreover, against the said Fabian, forasmuch as he is such a rash witness against these burned persons, whom he calleth traitors, it would be demanded further of him, or in his absence of Master Cope, in what year this treason was conspired? If it were in the same year, as he confesseth himself, in which year John Claydon, the skinner, and Richard Turming, baker, were burned, then was it neither in the month of January, nor in the first year of King Henry the Fifth, for in the register of Canterbury it appeareth plain, that John Claydon was condemned neither in the time of Thomas Arundel, archbishop, nor yet in the first or second year of King Henry the Fifth, but was condemned in the second year of the translation of Henry Chichesly, archbishop of Canterbury, the seventeenth day of August, which was the year of our Lord 1415: so that if this conspiracy was in the same year, after the witness of Fabian, in which year John Claydon was burned, then doth the testimony of Fabian neither accord with other witnesses, nor with himself, nor yet with truth. And thus much concerning the witness of Robert Fabian.

Let us next proceed to Polydore Virgil, whose partial and untrue handling of our history, in other places of his books, doth offer to us sufficient exception not to admit his credit in this: and yet because we will rather examine him than exclude him, let us hear a little what he saith, and how he faileth, and in how many points, numbering the same upon my five fingers.

First, ending with the life of King Henry the Fourth, he saith, that he reigned fourteen years and six months, and two days, which is an untruth worthy to be punished with a whole year's banishment, (to speak after the manner of Apuleius,) when, as truth is, he reigned, by the testimony of the story of St. Alban's, of Fabian, of Hall, of our old English chronicle, and of Scala Mundi, but thirteen and six months, lacking, as some say, five days; Hall saith he reigned but twelve years.

The second untruth of Polydore is this, whereas he, speaking of this sedition of Sir John Oldcastle and his adherents, affirmeth the same to be done after the burning of John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, which was, saith he, A. D. 1415, in which year, saith he, Thomas Arundel died: in which words he not only erreth, falsely assigning the cause and occasion of this sedition to the death of John Huss, and of Jerome, but also misseth as much in the order and computation of the years. For neither was Sir Roger Acton, with his aforesaid fellows, alive at the time of the council; neither doth he agree therein with any of our English writers, except only with Hall, who also erreth therein as wide as he.

For the third and fourth untruth I note this, where he addeth and saith, that after this rebellion raised against the king, the said Sir John Oldcastle, being there present himself, was taken and imprisoned in the Tower, and afterward escaped out of the said Tower by night: wherein is contained a double untruth; for neither was Sir John Oldcastle there present himself, if we believe Fabian and Cope, neither yet did he ever escape out of the Tower after that conspiracy, if ever any such conspiracy was.

His fifth, but not the last untruth in Polydore, is this, that he states Thomas Arundel to have died in the same year, noting the year to be A. D. 1415, whereas by the true registers he died A. D. 1414.

To this untruth another may be joined, where he, erring in the computation of the years of the said Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, reporteth him to sit twenty-two years; who was there archbishop but only eighteen years, as is to be seen in the records of Canterbury. Albeit in this I do not greatly contend with Polydore, and, peradventure, the adversary will find some easy shift for this matter.

But let us now pass from Polydore, not, as they say, out of the hall into the kitchen, but out of the kitchen into the hall, examining and perpending what saith Edward Hall, another witness in this matter; upon whom Master Cope bindeth so fast that he supposeth his knot is never able to be loosed. And, moreover, he so treadeth me down under his feet in the dirt, as a man would think him some dirt-dauber's son, "so that the spots thereof," he saith, "will never be gotten out while the world standeth, and a day longer." Notwithstanding I trust, Master Cope, that your dirty pen, with your cockish brags, hath not so bedaubed and bespotted me, nor yet convicted me to be such a depraver of histories, but I hope to spunge it out. At least with a little asperges of the pope's holy water, I trust to come to a dealbabor (i. e. a whitener) well enough. But, certes, Master Cope, your mastership must first understand, that if ye think so to depress and disprove me of untruth in my history, you must go more groundly to work, and bring against me other authors than Edward Hall. You must consider, Master Cope, if you be a controller of story-matters, it is not enough for you to bring a railing spirit, or a mind disposed to carp and cavil where any matter may be picked: diligence is required, and great searching out of books and authors, not only of our time, but of all ages. And especially where matters of religion are touched pertaining to the church, it is not sufficient to see what Fabian or what Hall saith; but the records must be sought, the registers must be turned over, letters also and ancient instruments ought to be perused, and authors with the same compared: finally, the writers amongst themselves one to be conferred with another; and so with judgment matters are to be weighed, with diligence to be laboured, and with simplicity, pure from all addition and partiality, to be uttered.

Thus did Aventine, thus did Sleidan, write. These helps also the eldest and best historians seemed to have, both Livy, Sallust, Quintus Curtius, and such-like; as by their letters and records inserted may well appear. The same helps likewise, both in your Fabian, and in your Edward Hall, were to be required, but especially in you, Master Cope, yourself, which take upon you so cockishly, rather than wisely, to be a controller and master moderator of other men's matters: in which matters, to say the truth, you have no great skill, and less experience; neither have you such plenty of authors meet for that purpose, nor yet ever travelled to search out the origins and grounds of that whereof ye write; but contented with such only as cometh next to hand, or, peradventure, receiving such alms as some of your poor friends bestow upon you, you think it sufficient if you can allege Fabian and Hall for your purpose.

Now what purpose and affection herein doth lead you, or rather doth drive you, to the carping and barking against the history of these good men that be hence gone, and had their punishment, all men may see it to be no simple sincerity of a mind indifferent, but the zeal only of your sect of popery, or rather of fury, which setteth your railing spirit on fire. But now, out of the fiery kitchen to come to the hall again, let us see what matter lieth in the testimony of Edward Hall, to prove these men to be traitors. And here forasmuch, Master Cope, as you seem neither sufficiently acquainted with this your own master and author, Master Hall, nor yet well experienced in the searching out of histories, I will take a little pains for you, in this behalf, to certify you, concerning the story of this author, whereof, percase, you yourself are ignorant.

The truth whereof is this, that as the said Edward Hall, your great master and testis, was about the compiling of his story, certain there were which resorted to him, of whom some were drawers of his pedigree and vineat, some were gravers, the names of whom were John Betts, and Tyrral, which be now both dead. And other there were of the same sodality, who be yet alive, and were then in the house of Richard Grafton, both the printer of the said book, and also, as is thought, a great helper of the penning of the same. It so befell, that as Hall was entering into the story of Sir John Oldcastle, of Sir Roger Acton, and their fellows, the book of John Bale, touching the story of the Lord Cobham, was the same time newly come over: which book was privily conveyed, by one of his servants, into the study of Hall, so that in turning over his books it must needs come to his hands. At the sight whereof, when he saw the ground and reasons in that book contained, he turned to the authors in the aforesaid book alleged; whereupon, within two nights after, moved by what cause I know not, but so it was, that he, taking his pen, rased and cancelled all that he had written before against Sir John Oldcastle and his fellows, and was now ready to go to the print, containing near to the quantity of three pages. And lest, Master Cope, you or any other should think me to speak beside my book, be it therefore known both to you, and to all others, by these presents, that the very selfsame first copy of Hall, rased and crossed with his own pen, remaineth in my hands to be shown and seen, as need shall require. The matter which he cancelled out, came to this effect. Wherein he, following the narration of Polydore, began with like words to declare how the sacramentaries here in England, after the death of John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, being pricked, as he saith, with a demoniacal sting, first conspired against the priests, and after against the king, having to their captains Sir John Oldcastle the Lord Cobham, and Sir Roger Acton, knight; with many more words to the like purpose and effect, as Polydore, and other such-like chroniclers do write against him. All which matter, notwithstanding, the said Hall, with his pen, at the sight of John Bale's book, did utterly extinguish and abolish; adding in the place thereof the words of Master Bale's book, touching the accusation and condemnation of the said Lord Cobham before Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, taken out of the letter of the said archbishop, as is in his own story to be seen.

And thus Edward Hall, your author, revoking and calling back all that he had devised before against the Lord Cobham, (whereof I have his own hand to show, and witness substantial upon the same,) in his printed book recordeth of him no more, but only showeth the process between the archbishop of Canterbury and him, for matters of religion. And so, ending with Sir John Oldcastle, he proceedeth further to the assembly of Sir Roger Acton, (whom he falsely calleth Robert Acton,) John Brown, and Beverly, the narration whereof he handleth in such sort, that he neither agreeth with the record of other writers, nor yet with the truth itself. For where he excludeth the Lord Cobham out of that assembly, he discordeth therein from Polydore and others; and where he affirmeth the fact of that conspiracy to be wrought before, or at the twelfth day of December, that is manifestly false, if the records before alleged be true. And where he reporteth this assembly to be after the burning of John Huss, and of Jerome of Prague, therein he accordeth with Polydore, but not with the truth. Moreover, so doubtful he is and ambiguous, in declaration of his story, that no great certainty can be gathered of him.

First, as touching the confession of them, he confesseth himself that he saw it not, and therefore leaveth it at large; and as concerning the causes of their death, he leaveth the matter in doubt, not daring (as doth Master Cope) to define or pronounce any thing thereof, but only recite the surmises and minds of divers men diversely, some thinking it was for conveying the Lord Cobham out of the Tower, some that it was for treason and heresy. And here cometh in the mention only of a record, but what record it is neither doth he utter it, nor doth he examine it; otherwise again affirming, as he saith, that it was for feigned causes surmised by the spiritualty, more of displeasure than truth. And thus your author Hall, having recited the variety of men's opinions, determineth himself no certain thing thereof; but, as one indifferent, neither bound to the conjectures of all men, nor to the witnesses of all men, referreth the whole judgment of the matter free unto the reader. And so, concluding his narration, forasmuch as he was neither a witness of the fact, nor present at the deed, he overpasseth the story thereof.

And what witness then will you, or can you, Master Cope, take of Edward Hall, which denieth himself to be a witness? will you compel him to say that he saw not, and to witness that he cannot? Wherefore, like as Susanna, in the story of Daniel, was quit by right judgment in the case of adultery, because her accusers and witnesses, being examined asunder, were found to vary and halt in their tale, and not to agree in the two trees; so why may not, in like case of treason, Sir Roger Acton, Sir John Oldcastle, Brown, with the rest, claim the same privilege? seeing among the accusers and witnesses produced against them such discord is found, and such halting among them, that neither do they agree in place, person, year, day, nor month.

For first, Where Fabian and his fellows say,that they were assembled together in a great company in the field near to St. Giles, the forged indictment above alleged saith, they were but riding toward the field.

Secondly, Where the aforesaid indictment, and Polydore, give the Lord Cobham to be present personally in that assembly, Hall, and Alanus Copus, Anglus, do exclude his personal presence from thence; and so doth Fabian also seem to agree, speaking only of the adherents of Sir John Oldcastle.

Thirdly, Where Hall and Polydore report this assembly to be after the burning of John Huss and of Jerome, at the council of Constance, which was A. D. 1415, that cannot be; but if there were any such conspiracy in the first year of Henry the Fifth, it must needs be in 1413. And here, by the way, why do certain of your epitome-writers, speaking of the Lord Cobham, committed first to the Tower for heresy, refer the said imprisonment to the year 1412, whereas by their own count, reckoning the year from the Annunciation, it must needs be in the year 1413, being done in harvest-time.

Fourthly, Where Hall with his followers affirm that Sir Roger Acton, Brown, and Beverly were condemned the twelfth day of December, the record is evident against it, which holdeth the fact to be in working, the tenth day of January.

Fifthly, Whereas the aforesaid record of the indictment giveth the Wednesday next after the Epiphany, which was the tenth day of January that present year, both the fact to be committed the same day, the commission also to be granted and delivered to the commissioners the same day, the said commissioners to sit in commission the same day, the sheriffs of Middlesex to return a jury out of the body of Middlesex the same day, and the jurors to find the indictment on the same day; and yet no juror in the indictment named the same day.

Item, the Lord Cobham the same day to be found conspiring to make himself regent, whenas the king, that day and year, was not yet passed into France -- how all these can concur and hang together, and all in one day -- I suppose it will cost you two days before you, with all your learned council, will study it out; and when you, in your unlawful assemblies, have conspired and conferred together all ye can, yet will ye make it (as I think) three days, before you honestly despatch your hands of the matter.

And where ye think that ye have impressed in me such a foul note of lying, never to be clawed off while the world standeth, yet shall the posterity to come judge between you and me, whether shall appear more honest and true, my defence for that worthy lord, or your uncourteous and viperous wrangling against him, moved with no other cause but only with the peevish spirit of popery, which can abide nothing but that savoureth of your own sect. For else, how many loud lying legends, yea, what legions of lies, are daily used and received in the popish church! What doltish dreams! what feigned miracles! what blasphemous tales, and friarly fables, and idle inventions, fighting against the sincere religion, doctrine, and cross of Christ! And could you hold your pen from all these, and find nothing else to set your idleness on work, but only to write against the Lord Cobham, Sir Roger Acton, Brown, Onley, Cowbridge, with a few others, whom with much ado at length you have sought out, not so much for any true zeal to rebuke iniquity, as craftily seeking matter by these to deface and blemish the book of Acts and Monuments? which seemeth belike to make you scratch there where it itcheth not. And if I should after the like dealing take in hand your popish portues, and with the like diligence excuse every popish martyr and saint there canonized; think you, Master Cope, I could not make you out half a dozen as rank traitors and rebels to their kings and princes, as ever were any of these of your picking out? What pope almost hath there been these last five hundred years, which hath not been a traitor to his emperor and prince, and to his country? either openly rebelling against them, or privily conspiring their destruction, or proudly setting their feet upon their necks, or spurning their crowns off from their heads, or making the son to fight against the father? How many have they deposed, and set up other in their seats! How many emperors and kings have they wrongfully cursed! What consuls of Rome have they resisted, deposed, and put to death! What wars have they raised up against their own country of Rome! Yea, the continual holding of the city of Rome from his lawful emperor, what is it but a continual point of treason?

What will you answer me, Master Cope, to the pope, which conspired to let fall down a stone upon the emperor's head, kneeling at his prayers?

And though this treachery, being as big as a millstone, seemed but a small mote in your eye, that it could not be espied, yet what will ye say of the monk of Swinstead, that poisoned King John, who was both absolved by his abbot before his treason committed, and after his treason had a perpetual mass sung for him, to help him out of purgatory? And what think ye in your conscience is to be said of Thomas Becket, who did enough, and more than became him, to set the French king and the king of England together by the ears? Of Anselm likewise, and of Stephen Langton, who departed both out of the realm to complain of their princes and sovereigns? The like may be said also of John Peckham. John Stratford, archbishop of the same see of Canterbury, notoriously resisted the king's commandment, being sent for by King Edward the Third, to come to the parliament at York; through the default of whose coming the present opportunity of getting of Scotland was the same time lost.

Richard Scrope, archbishop of York, was openly in arms to rebel and fight against King Henry the Fourth, for the which he was condemned and put to death: and yet, notwithstanding, commission was sent down from the pope shortly after, to excommunicate them which put him to death, his treason notwithstanding. Read the story sincerely of Pope Benedict the Twelfth, and of Pope Clement the Sixth, and see how the traitorous rebellion of these two popes against Louis, their rightful emperor, can be defended; which emperor at last was also poisoned, and not without the practice of Pope Clement, as Hieronimus Marius doth credibly witness.

In the reign of King Edward the Second, mention was made before of Thomas, earl of Lancaster, who, with a great number of other nobles and barons of the realm, rose in armour against their prince, and, therefore, at length were put to death as traitors. And yet, notwithstanding this treason committed, Master Cope, if you be so ignorant in our stories that you know it not, set your setters-on to search, and you shall find it true, that certain noblemen went up to Rome, for the canonizing of the said Thomas of Lancaster to be made a saint, and obtained the same; insomuch that in a certain old calendar, the name of the said St. Thomas of Lancaster is yet extant to be seen.

In the fourth book of the Acts and Monuments, mention was made of Edmund Abbingdon, archbishop of Canterbury, whom although I do not disprove, but rather commend, in my history, for his bold and sage counsel given unto King Henry the Third, and also for offering the censure of excommunication against the king in so necessary a cause, yet, notwithstanding, the same Edmund afterwards, about his latter end, went up with a rebelling mind to complain of his king unto the pope, and in his journey died, before his return; who, afterward, for the same was canonized by the pope, and now shineth among the saints in the pope's calendar.

Let us come more near to these days and times, and consider the doings of Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, who being first deposed and exiled for his contemptuous deserts against the king, and afterwards coming in with Henry Bolingbroke, duke of Hereford, in open arms, and with main force, rose against his natural and lawful king. Think you, Master Cope, this is not as great a point of treason, as that which was done in Thickets' fields? and though he be not placed among the portuous saints, yet I think nothing contrary, but in your heart you will not greatly stick to say, Holy St. Thomas, pray for us.

All these things well considered, tell me, Master Cope, I pray you, is treason such a strange and uncouth thing in your pope-catholic church, that your burning zeal of obedience to kings and princes cannot read the story of the Lord Cobham and Sir Roger Acton, but your pen must needs be inflamed to write against them, and yet so many traitors in your own calendars neither seen nor once spoken of? And if the traitorous conspiracy and rebellion of so many your calendar saints, committed against emperors, kings, and princes, cannot stir your zeal, nor move your pen; nor if the treason of Pope Gregory the Ninth, raising war against his own city of Rome, and causing thirty thousand citizens in one battle to be slain, deserveth not to be espied and accused, as much as this treason of the Lord Cobham; yet what will you or can you answer to me, Master Cope, as touching the horrible treason of Pope Gregory the Seventh, committed not against emperor nor king, nor any mortal man, but against the Lord himself, even against your God of your own making, being therein, as you say, no substance of bread, but the very personal body, flesh, blood, and bone of Christ himself; which body, notwithstanding, the aforesaid Pope Gregory the Seventh took and cast with his own hands into the burning fire, because he would not answer him to a certain doubt or demand? Soothly, if Sir John Oldcastle had taken the body of King Henry the Fifth, and thrown him into the fire, the fact being so notoriously certain as this is, I would never have bestowed any word in his defence. And could this, and so many other heinous treasons, pass through your fingers, Master Cope, and no other to stick in your pen but the Lord Cobham?

Finally and simply to conclude with you, Master Cope, and not to flatter you, what is the whole working, the proceedings, actions, and practices of your religion, or hath been almost these five hundred years, but a certain perpetual kind of treason, to thrust down your princes and magistrates, to derogate from their right and jurisdiction, and to advance your own majesties and dominations, as hath been sufficiently above proved and laid before your faces in a parliament holden in France, by the Lord Peter de Cugneriis? Wherefore, if the assembly of these forenamed persons, either within or without St. Giles's field, be such a great mote of treason in your eyes, first look upon the great blocks and millstones of your own traitors at home, and when you have well discussed the same, then after pour out your wallet of trifling dialogues, or trialogues, if ye list, against us, and spare us not. Not that I so think this to be a sufficient excuse to purge the treason of these men, if your popish calendars and legends be found full of traitors: but this I think, that the same cause which made them to suffer as traitors, hath made you also to rail against them for traitors, that is, mere hatred only against their religion, rather than any true affection you have to your princes and governors, who, if they had been as fervent in your popery, and had suffered so much for the holy father of Rome, or for the liberties of the holy mother church of Rome, I doubt not but they, as holy children of Rome, had been rung into your Romish calendar with a festum duplex, or at least with a festum simplex, of nine lessons; also with a vigil, peradventure, before them.

Now, because they were of the contrary profession, and enemies to your great Diana you play with them as the Ephesian carvers did with St. Paul, and worse. Ye thrust them out as seditious rebels, not only out of life and body, but also cannot abide them to have any poor harbour in their own friends' houses, among our Acts and Monuments to be remembered. In the which Acts and Monuments, if gentle Master Ireneus, with his fellow Critobulus, in your clerkly dialogues, will not suffer them to be numbered for martyrs; yet speak a good word for them, Master Cope, they may stand for tests or witness-bearers of the truth. And thus much for defence of them.

Now to the other part of his accusation; wherein this Alarms Copus, Anglus, in his εξαπλα [Greek: exapla], or six-fold dialogues, contendeth and chafeth against my former edition, to prove me in my history to be a liar, forger, impudent, a misreporter of truth, a depraver of stories, a seducer of the world, and what else not; whose virulent words, and contumelious terms, how well they become his popish person, I know not. Certes, for my part, I never deserved this at his hands wittingly, that I do know. Master Cope is a man whom yet never I saw, and less offended, nor ever heard of him before. And if he had not, in the front of his book, entitled himself to be an Englishman, by his writing I would have judged him rather some wild Irishman, lately crept out of St. Patrick's purgatory, so wildly he writeth, so fumishly he fareth.

But I cease here, and temper myself, considering not what Master Cope deserveth to be said unto, nor how far the pen here could run, if it had its scope, but considering what the tractation rather of such a serious cause requireth; and therefore seriously to say unto you, Master Cope, in this matter; where you charge my history of Acts and Monuments so cruelly, to be full of untruths, false lies, impudent forgeries, depravations, fraudulent corruptions, and feigned fables; briefly, and in one word, to answer you, not as the Lacones answered to the letters of their adversary, with si, but with osi; would God, Master Cope, that in all the whole book of Acts and Monuments, from the beginning to the latter end of the same, were never a true story, but that all were false, all were lies, and all were fables! would God the cruelty of your catholics had suffered all them to live, of whose death ye say now, that I do lie! Although I deny not but in that book of Acts and Monuments, containing such diversity of matter, something might overscape, yet I have bestowed my poor diligence. My intent was to profit all men, to hurt none.

If you, Master Cope, or any other, can better my rude doings, and find things out more finely and truly, with all my heart I shall rejoice with you and the commonwealth, taking profit by you. In perfection of writing, of wit, cunning, dexterity, finesse, or other endowments required in a perfect writer, I contend neither with you nor any other. I grant that in a laboured story, such as you seem to require, containing such infinite variety of matter as this doth, much more time would be required: but such a time as I had, that I did bestow; if not so laboriously as other could, yet as diligently as I might.

But here partly I hear what you will say -- I should have taken more leisure and done it better. I grant and confess my fault; such is my vice, I cannot sit all the day, Master Cope, fining and mincing my letters, and combing my head, and smoothing myself all the day at the glass of Cicero; yet, notwithstanding, doing what I can, and doing my good will, methinks I should not be reprehended, at least not so much railed on at Master Cope's hand; who if he be so pregnant in finding fault with other men's labours, which is an easy thing to do, it were to be wished, that he had enterprised himself upon the matter; and so should have proved what faults might have been found in him. Not that I herein do utterly excuse myself, yea, rather am ready to accuse myself, but yet, notwithstanding, think myself ungently dealt withal at Master Cope's hands; who, being mine own countryman, an Englishman, as he saith, also of the same university, yea, college and school, that I was of; knowing that the first edition of these Acts and Monuments was begun in the far parts of Germany, where few friends, no conference, small information could be had; and the same edition afterward translated out of Latin into English by others, whilst I, in the mean time, was occupied about other registers; and now the said Cope, hearing moreover and knowing that I was about a new edition of the same Acts and Monuments, at this present time to be set forth, for the amending of divers things therein to be reformed, if he had known any fault needful to be corrected, he might gently, by letters, have admonished me thereof; gentleness would so have required it, time would well have suffered it. Neither was he so far off, but he might sooner have written a letter to me, than a book against me; neither was I so ungrateful and inhuman, but I would have thanked him for his monition; neither yet so obstinate, but being admonished, I would have corrected willingly, where any fault had been committed.

But herein your nature, Master Cope, doth right well appear. First, in the said book of Acts and Monuments, where many other good things be contained, not unfruitful nor unprofitable, peradventure, for the instruction of your conscience, and wherein my labours perhaps might have deserved your thanks, all that you dissemble and pass over, only excepting those matters which make for cavillation. Thus the black spider out of pleasant flowers sucketh his poison. And what book is so pleasant and fruitful, though it were the pope's own portues, yea, his own decretals, yea, his own very mass-book, to the reading whereof if I brought the like mind so disposed to cavil, as you brink to the reading of my history, but I could find out twice as many "lies," "faults," "follies," as you have done in these Acts and Monuments? and yet you have done pretty well.

Besides all this, yet better to mark the goodness of your gentle nature: be it so that I had been in some piece of my story deceived, as I do not justify myself in all points therein, yet you, understanding that I was about the correction of my book again, might either have taken the best, and left the worst, or else have gently taken the pains to have advertised me of such notes as you had, without further exclamation, or at least might have deferred your dialogues for a time, till the coming out of my book, to see first what would in the later edition be altered. But belike your gall was full, your haste could not tarry, your venom must needs burst out.

Seeing therefore the order of your doings to be such, and disposition of your nature so far from all humanity, dealing with me so extremely, if I, thus provoked with your extremity again, should now after this your currish nature shape you a name accordingly, and instead of Cope, godfather you to be a perpetual sycophant, could you much blame me? and doth not your sycophantical book well deserve it? or think you I could not repay you again with like extremity as you bring, and dress your drowsy, or rather lousy, Dialogues in their right colours, if I were so disposed? But my purpose is with patience to spare you, and rather to pray for you: God make you a good man! Peradventure he may hereafter call you; and rather had I to win you, than to sting you. Leaving therefore the consideration of your ungrateful doings, I will now consider only the points wherein you charge me in your book, answering briefly unto the same: briefly, I say, because the greatness of this volume, and abundance of other more fruitful matter, giveth me little leisure at this present to stand about brawling words.

First, he seemeth to be highly grieved with me for my calendar prefixed before the Book of Monuments; wherein he hath no cause either to be offended with me, or to chafe with himself. As touching which calendar I have sufficiently and expressly declared before so much, as might quickly satisfy this scruple of Master Cope, if he either would have taken the pains, or else had had leisure to read the words contained in the Latin preface before the book prefixed, which are thus: Quanquam a me quidem non aliter Calendarium hoc institutum est, nisi ut pro indice duntaxat suum cujusque Martyris mensem et annum designante, at privatum lectoris serviret usum, &c.: in which words preventing before the cavilling objection of the adversary, I forewarned the reader aforehand touching the calendar, wherefore it was ordained and prefixed; for no other purpose, but to serve the use only of the reader, instead of a table, showing the year and month of every martyr, what time he suffered, &c. What hurt, I pray you, is in this calendar prefixed; before the Book of Monuments, more than in the table of Master Cope's book set after his Dialogues? But Master Cope had no leisure to peruse this place; it made not for his humour.

But this grieveth him in the calendar, and that very sore: for that I place in this calendar, Sir John Oldcastle, Sir Roger Acton, Brown, Beverly, and other for martyrs; and displace for them other holy, ancient martyrs and saints, as Anatholius, Sother, Dorothea, Clarus, Lucianus, Severinus, &c. -- Answer. If Master Cope cannot abide the Lord Cobham, Sir Roger Acton, Brown, and Beverly, which were hanged, (as he saith, for treason,) to have the name of martyrs, then let them bear the name of witness-bearers, or testes of the truth, because they were also burned for the testimony oftheir faith: seeing there is no difference in the said names, all is one to me by which they are called. And where he chargeth me for thrusting and shouldering out the old and ancient holy saints aforenamed out of this calendar, and placing other new-come saints in their rooms; this is not the first untruth that Master Cope hath made in his Dialogues, nor yet the least: unto whom I might, therefore, fitly answer again with his own familiar phrase, or rather the phrase of Cicero, which he doth so much affect: Quod nimirum hic ipse Alanus Copus, Anglus, unde me mendacii coarguit, inde sibi ipsi sempiternam ac indelebilem turpissimi mendacii ac singularis impudentiæ notam inurat; for why have not I as just cause to say this to him, as he to me? forasmuch as in the first beginning and preface of the said book of Acts and Monuments, I so diligently and expressly do warn all men beforehand, first, that I make here no calendar purposely of any saints, but a table of good and godly men that suffered for the truth, to show the day and month of their suffering. My words be extant and evident, which are these: Neque vero ideo inter divos a me referuntur isti, quod inseruntur in calendarium, &c.; and declaring afterward how the said calendar doth stand but instead of a table, my words do follow thus: Haud aliter calendarium hoc institutum est, nisi ut pro indice duntaxat suum cujusque martyris mensem et annum designante, lectori ad usum atque ad manum serviat, &c.

Again, neither did I receive these men into that calendar, that holy Anatholius, Sother, Dorothea, with other ancient holy saints, should be removed out, as you do falsely and untruly affirm, but because the course of that story, reaching but five hundred years, did not comprehend those former times of such ancient martyrs, but only of such as suffered in these latter days: therefore, requisite it was, that in the table such should be placed chiefly of whom the whole book did then principally and only treat; to demonstrate thereby the time and day of their martyrdom. Neither yet were the other excluded out of this new calendar, which were never inserted in the same before, but only because both together could not there have standing; necessity so there required these in no case to be omitted; and yet no injury meant to the other to be excluded out of their own calendars, whereto properly they did pertain. As for this calendar, or this table, because they were not pertinent unto it, they could not therein, neither was it necessary they should, be included: and yet neither did I, Master Cope, without due and solemn protestation omit the same in my aforesaid catalogue, to prevent and stop all cavilling mouths; as by special words in the said proem of my book unto the reader doth appear, following in this wise: Interim nullius ego boni sanctique viri (modo qui vere sanctus sit) causam redo, nec memoriam extinguo, nec gloriam minuo. Et si cui hoc displiceat calendarium, mimineret, non in templis a me collocari sed domesticæ tantum lectioni præparari, &c. And where is now, Master Cope, this your rejecting, expelling, removing, expulsing, exempting, deturbating, and thrusting out, of Anatholius, Sother, Dorothea, and other holy saints, out of Catalogues, fasts, and calendars? or what man is that, or where dwelleth he, "which tumbleth down true martyrs from heaven into hell?" which if ye mean by me, in one word I answer, ye falsely belie me, Master Copus; I had almost called you Master Capus, so like a capon you speak. Neither have you, nor any other, ever heard me so say. Neither have I ever heard of any so mad, to play so the giants with their mountains to climb the heavens, to tumble down God's true and holy martyrs out of heaven into hell, unless it were yourself, (as yet ye are, ye may be better,) and such other of your gilded and popish fraternity, which make of God's true saints stinking dunghills, (for so ye term them in your books,) and not only thrust into heaven your pseudosanctos, saints of your own making, whom God by his word, doth not allow; but also depulse down from heaven, and make dunghills of God's well-beloved servants, his faithful people and blessed martyrs, which have died for the word of God. And what marvel then, if in your blasphemous books ye cast down from heaven to hell the poor saints of Christ, when in effect you deject also the blood and cross of the Son of God, Christ Jesus himself, setting up the blood of St. Thomas in his office and place. Say, Master Cope, your conscience indifferently; set all popish partiality apart; whereas the Scripture teacheth us simply, "Without blood there is no remission;" whether ye think, by this blood of the New Testament is meant the blood of Christ alone, or the blood of other more besides? If the blood of one must stand alone, why do ye then with the giants build up your mountains, and make a ladder of Becket's popish blood, for men to scale the heavens? Or in so doing, how can you, but either with the protestants wipe out of your calendar the blood of Thomas, or else demolish from heaven the blood of Christ, with the papists?

Now what will the reader say, or what may he judge, considering and conferring this your cavilling with the matter of my premonition made before, but that you are altogether set to play the perpetual syc -- : I had almost called you by your right name, Master Cope. But God make you, as I said, a good man! -- Reading further in your book, I could not but smile and laugh at this your ridiculous and most loud-lying hyperbolismum; where you, comparing my making of saints with the pope's making, can find, as ye say, in the pope, no such impudent arrogancy in presuming, as ye find in me, &c. If the pope had not abused his arrogant jurisdiction in canonizing and deifying his saints, more than I have done, the year should not be cumbered with so many idle holy-days, nor the calendars with so many rascal saints; some of them as good as ever were they that put Christ to death.

But where will you find, Master Cope, any man to believe this your hyperbolical comparison to be true, which seeth and knoweth the infinite and unmeasurable excess of the pope's arrogancy, not only in shrining such a rabble of blind saints of his own creating, but also in prescribing the same to be received universally in the whole world; and not to be received only, but also to be invocated for gifts and graces; also to be worshipped for advocates and mediators? wherein riseth a double abomination of the pope, the one for his idolatrous making and worshipping of saints; the other for his blasphemous injury and derogation to Christ in repulsing him out of his office of mediation, and placing other mediators of his own making.

And now, to consider what saints these were, or what were the causes of their sancting: what saint almost among all the pope's saints shall you find, Master Cope, made within these five hundred years, but commonly he was either some pope, or some rich bishop and prelate, or some fat abbot, or some blind friar, some monk or nun, some superstitious regular, or some builder of monasteries, or some giver and benefactor to the popish clergy, or maintainer, agonizing for the dignities and liberties of the popish church? What poor layman or laywoman, were their lives never so Christian, their faith and confession never so pure, their death never so agonizing for the witness of Christ and truth of his word, shall find any place of favour in all the pope's calendar, either in red colour, or else in black?

But here, Master Cope, if ye had the wit so much to defend as ye have to overthwart, you might take me with the manner, and reply again for the defence of your great saint-maker, or rather god-maker, of Rome, that he maketh more martyrs and saints of these aforesaid poor laymen and laywomen, than ever he did of any other: for he burneth them, he hangeth them, he drowneth them, imprisoneth and famisheth them, and so maketh truer martyrs of Christ, than any other of his new shrined saints, whom he hath so dignified in his calendar; for the one he doth rubricate only with his red letters, the other doth he rubricate with their own blood. And, therefore, to answer you, Master Cope, to your comparison made between the pope and me, for making of holy martyrs and saints: briefly I say, and report me to all the world, that therein is no comparison; for if ye speak of true martyrs, who doth make them, but the pope? if ye speak of false martyrs, who doth make them, but the pope? And, furthermore, to compare together the causes of these martyred saints in my calendar with them which shine shrined in the pope's calendar, taking the same proportion of time as I do, within these last five hundred years, why may not I have as good cause to celebrate these in my calendar, which lost their lives and were slain principally for the cause of Christ and of his word, as the pope hath to celebrate his double and simple feasted saints in his calendar; who in their doings, doctrine, and life, as they seemed rather to serve the pope, than Christ the Lord, so in their death appeared no such cause why they should be sanctified in the church beyond all others? Let not the church of Christ, Master Cope, be deluded with hypocritical names, nor feigned apparitions and fabulous miracles, neither be you deceived yourself, but let us resort sincerely to the word of God.

What was in St. Francis, (look upon his superstitious life and presumptuous testament, wrought no doubt by Satan to diminish and obscure the Testament of Jesus Christ,) why he should be made a saint, and not an enemy, rather, of Christ? What was, likewise, in friar Dominic, who, before Francis, ten years together persecuted the poor Waldenses to death and destruction? why should he stand a saint and a pillar of the church? I pray you what see you in Thomas Becket, but that he died for the ambitious liberties of the popish church? What in Aldelm and in Anselm, but only that they chased away married priests from the churches, and planted in idle monks in their stead? The like also did Dunstan, who was rubricated with a double festival. Elizabeth, who was the wife of the marquis of Thuringia, when she had, with much persuasion, got out her husband to fight against the Turks, and he was there slain, she afterward encloistered herself, and was made a nun. And do ye think these causes to be sufficient why they should be made saints, worshipped in churches, and set in calendars? Long it were to make rehearsal of all this riff-raff, and almost infinite. One example may suffice for many. St. Gilbert of Sempringham was the son of Jocelin, a knight, who, for the deformity of his body, was set to learning, and afterward made canon, and was author of the Gilbertines in the time of King John.

This Gilbert, after he had erected thirteen monasteries of his order of Sempringham, was afterwards laboured for unto the pope to be made a saint, who, hearing of his miracles, wrote his letters to Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, in the behalf of the aforesaid Gilbert, willing and commanding that the feast of the said Gilbert should be solemnized through all the province of Canterbury; whereupon, Hubert, the archbishop, directeth down his writings to all the bishops within his province.

The sum of the which writing of the archbishop tendeth to this effect: That forasmuch as the pope, hearing of the life and miracles of Gilbert, master of the order of Sempringham, by sufficient witness and testimonies, hath in his letters commanded him, by the advice of his cardinals, that the said Gilbert should be canonized and ascribed in the catalogue of saints, and that his solemnity should be celebrated solemnly throughout all the province of Canterbury; and also his body to be taken up and shrined to the honour and glory of God; he, therefore, at the pope's commandment writing unto them, willeth all the suffragans within his province of Canterbury, yearly to solemnize, and cause to be solemnized, reverently, the deposition of the said St. Gilbert, confessor; to the intent that their devotion may be commended of the Lord, and of him. And also that the humble intercession of the said saint, may profit them to their salvation.

Furthermore, for the more full canonizing (canvising, I had almost said) of this new-made saint, the said Pope Innoccnt, writing to Hubert aforesaid, adjoineth withal a collect of his own making, which is this: "Work in us, O eternal Saviour, full remedy of thy virtue, that we which worship the worthy merits of blessed Gilbert, thy confessor, being succoured by his suffrages, may be delivered from all languors and diseases of our souls; who livest and reignest," &c.

The consecration of this one saint, who perhaps was not the worst, I thought here to commemorate, to the intent that the reader, measuring, by this one, the canonization of all the rest, may judge the better upon this comparison of Master Cope, whether of us doth vindicate more impudent authority, the pope in his calendar, or I in mine; or, to make the comparison more fit, whether is more impudent, the pope in his calendar, or else Master Cope, in his Dialogues, more doltish.

But, briefly to make an end of this matter with you: to canonize or to authorize any saints, for man it is presumptuous; to prescribe any thing here to be worshipped, beside God alone, it is idolatrous; to set up any mediators but Christ only, it is blasphemous. And whatsoever the pope doth, or hath done, in his calendar, my purpose in my calendar, was neither to deface any old saint, or to solemnize any new. In my book of Acts and Monuments treating of matters passed in the church, these latter five hundred years, I did regulate out a calendar, not for any canon to constitute saints, but only for a table of them, which, within the same time did suffer for the testimony of the word, whom I did, and do, take to be good and godly men. If any have other judgment of them, I bind no man to my opinion, as the pope doth to his. The day will come which shall judge both them and you. In the mean season it shall be best for you, Master Cope, in my judgment, to keep a good tongue in your head, and to quiet your railing mood. A hard thing it is to judge before the Lord. Man's judgment may fail and is uncertain, the judgment of God is always sure. Best it is, therefore, either to be sure by the word and judgment of God before, what you do say, or else to say the best. Of such slanderous and intemperate railing can come no good; neither to them whom ye rail upon, nor to yourself which raileth, nor to the church of God that heareth you rail. For them you cannot hurt; they are gone: to yourself, though your matters be true, yet little honesty it will bring to be counted a railer; and if it be uncertain, your state is dangerous, and if it be false, most miserable: and as to the church, what great edification can proceed of such contentious brawling and barking one against another, I do not greatly see. And if the zeal of the bishop of Rome's church have so much swallowed you up, that you cannot but stamp and stare at traitors when ye see them put in calendars, first, Master Cope, be ye sure that they be traitors (wisdom would) whom you call traitors. And if ye can so prove them, (as ye have not yet,) then let your Irenæus, or Critobulus, tell me, why doth not this flagrant zeal of yours, as hot as purgatory, burn out and flame as well against your own traitors, having so many in your own calendar and church at home?

And if there be such a catholic zeal in you, that hath set your gentle breast on such a pelting chafe, why then is not this your catholic zeal equally indifferent? What indifference, Master Cope, call you this? or what zeal make you this to be? albeit, your zeal I judge not, as I know it not. Swift judgment shall not become me, which go about to correct the same in you; but this I exhort you to beware, Master Cope, that by your own fruits and doings evident, ye do not bewray this zeal in you to be not according to knowledge, nor such a zeal as fighteth pro domo Dei, sed pro domo pontificis. As I said, I judge you not. You have your Judge to whom ye stand or fall. My counsel is, that you do not so zeal the bishop of Rome, that for his sake ye lose your own soul. Ye remember the old vulgar voice, it is not good Ludere cum sanctis; worse it is Illudere; worst of all it is Debacchari in immerentes; because that Deus ipse ultionem Dominus many times taketh their cause in hand, according as it is written, The rebukes of thy rebuker fell upon me. And seldom have I seen any such blasphemous railers against the end or punishment of God's saints and servants, without great repentance, to come to any good end themselves.

And admit this, as granted unto you, Master Cope, that these men had been traitors, which ye are not able to prove: Well! they had their punishment therefore; the world can go no further, and what would you have more? who, if they repented, why may they not have as good part in Christ's kingdom as yourself? Now, forasmuch as the said persons also suffering a double punishment were so constant in the way of truth, and most principally for the same were persecuted, and chiefly therefore brought to their death: that part of example, because I saw it pertain to the profit of the church, why might I not insert it with other church stories in my book? Let the church take that which belongeth to the church. Let the world take that which to the world pertaineth, and go no further. And if ye think it much, that I would exemplify these whom ye call traitors in the Book of Martyrs; first, ye must understand, that I wrote no such book bearing the title of the Book of Martyrs; I wrote a book called the Acts and Monuments of things passed in the Church, &c., wherein many other matters be contained beside the martyrs of Christ. But this, peradventure, moveth your choler, that in the calendar I name them for martyrs. And why may I not, in my calendar, call them by the name of martyrs, which were faithful witnesses of Christ's truth and testament, for the which they were also chiefly brought unto that end? Or why may I not call them holy saints, whom Christ hath sanctified with his blessed blood? And what if I should also call the thief and murderer, hanging on the right side of the Lord, by the name of a holy saint and confessor, for his witnessing of the Lord? what can Master Cope say against it?

And as for colouring the names of certain martyrs in the said calendar in red or scarlet letters, (although that pertaineth nothing to me, which was as pleased the painter or printer,) yet, if that be it, that so much breaketh patience, why rather doth he not expostulate in this behalf with the great saint-maker of Rome, who hath redded them much more than ever did I? for he did red and dye them with their own blood, whereas I did but only colour them with red letters. And thus for matter of my calendar enough.

Proceeding now out of the calendar unto the book, wherein he chargeth me with so many lies, impudencies, vanities, depravations, and untruths, it remaineth likewise I clear myself, answering first to those lies and untruths, which to the story of Sir Roger Acton, and Sir John Oldcastle do appertain; and after to other particulars, as in order of my book do follow. And first, where he layeth against me whole heaps and cart-loads, I cannot tell how many, of lies and falsities: I here briefly answer Master Cope again, or what English Harpsfield else soever lieth covered under this English Cope, that if a lie be, after the definition of St. Austin, whatsoever thing is pronounced with the intent to deceive another; then, I protest to you, Master Cope, and to all the world, there is never a lie in all my book. What the intent and custom is of the papists to do, I cannot tell: for mine own part I will say, although many other vices I have, yet from this one I have always of nature abhorred, wittingly to deceive any man or child, so near as I could, much less the church of God, whom I with all my heart do reverence, and with fear obey. And therefore, among divers causes that have withdrawn my mind from the papists' faction, almost there is none greater than this; because I see them so little givcn to truth, so far from all serious feeling and care of sincere religion, so full of false pretensed hypocrisy and dissimulation; so little regarding the church of Christ in their inward hearts, which they so much have in their mouths, so as under the title thereof they may hold up their own estate. Otherwise, so little reverence they yield to the true and honourable church of Jesus the Son of God, that what unworthy and rascal ministers they take into it they pass not; what fictions, what lies and fables, what false miracles and absurd forgeries, they invent to delude it, they care not. I speak not of all.

Some there be of that sect unfeigned in conscience, and more religious and better disposed natures, only of simple ignorance deceived: but such commonly have been, and be, the chief guides and leaders of the papists' church, that little true care and small zeal hath appeared in them toward the church of Christ, not much regarding what corruption increased therein, so that their commodity might not decrease. Thus out of this fountain have gushed out so many prodigious lies in church legends, in saints' lives, in monkish fictions, in fabulous miracles, in false and forged relics; as in pieces of the holy cross, in the blood of Hales, in our Lady's milk, in the nails of Christ, which they make to a great number. Likewise in their false and blind errors, corrupt doctrines, absurd inventions, repugnant to the truth of the word. Item, in their bastard books, forged epistles, their Apocrypha, and Pseudopigrapha. Here come in their forged canons, their foisting and cogging in ancient councils and decrees, as in ως απο εμου πετρου[Greek: os apo emou petrou], in Canons of the Apostles, (if those canons were the apostles',) foisted into the decrees by Gratian, also the cogging in a false canon to the Council of Nice for the maintenance of the see of Rome, as appeareth in the sixth synod of Carthage.

Here come in also the epistles of Clement, and other sundry epistles decretal, which as they are no doubt fastly inserted by others, so are they the wellhead of many superstitious traditions, oppressing this day the church of Christ. To speak, moreover, of the liturgies of St. James, of Chrysostom and others, of the first mass said by St. Peter at Rome, and that St. Peter sat twenty-five years bishop of Rome. To speak also of the works of Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, and Gregory, what doctor or famous writer hath there been in the church, under whose name some counterfeited books have not falsely been fathered, and yet stand still authorized under their patronage, to the great detriment of the church? What should I speak of Abdias, Amphilochius, Dionysius Areopagita; the Dialogues of Gregory, which falsely to this day have been ascribed to Gregory the First, whereas indeed they were first written in Greek by Gregory the Third, and afterward translated out of Greek into Latin by Pope Zachary, vide supra. Likewise that worthy and imperial sermon entitled, Eusebii Pamphili Sermo ad Conventum Sanctorum, hath to this day wrongfully borne the name of Eusebius; whereas, in very truth, it was made by the good emperor Constantine himself, in his own heroical style in Latin, and afterward translated out of Latin into Greek by Eusebius, as he himself confesseth in his work De Vita Constant. lib. 4. But as touching this sermon, although the name be changed, so godly and fruitful it is, that it mattereth not much under whose name it be read, yet worthy to be read under the name of none so much, as of the emperor Constantine himself, who was the true author and owner thereof.

Briefly, except it be the books only of the New Testament, and of the Old, what is almost in the pope's church, but either it is mingled, or depraved, or altered, or corrupted, either by some additions interlaced, or by some diminution mangled and mutilated, or by some gloss adulterate, or with manifest lies contaminate? so that in their doctrine standeth little truth; in their legends, portues, and mass-book, less truth; in their miracles and relics least truth of all. Neither yet do their sacraments remain clear and void of manifest lies and corruption. And specially here cometh in the master-bee, which bringeth in much sweet honey into the pope's hives; the master-lie, I mean, of all lies, where the pope, leaving not one crumb of bread nor drop of wine in the reverend communion, untruly and idolatrously taketh away all substance of bread from it, turning the whole substance of bread into the substance of Christ's own body; which substance of bread if the pope take from the sacrament, then must he also take the breaking from it; for breaking, and the body of Christ, can in no wise stand literally together by the Scripture. Thus, then, as this is proved by the word of God to be a manifest lie, so think not much, good reader, hereat, as though I passed the bounds of modesty in calling it the arch-lie, or master-lie of all lies; because upon this one, an infinite number of other lies and errors in the pope's church, as handmaids, do wait and depend.

But, forasmuch as I stand here not to charge other men, so much as to defend myself, ceasing therefore, or rather deferring for a time, to stir this stinking puddle of these wilful and intended lies and untruths, which, in the pope's religion, and in papists' books, be innumerable, I will now return to those untruths and impudent lies, which Master Cope hath hunted out in my history of Acts and Monuments, first beginning with those untruths which he carpeth at in the story of the aforesaid Sir John Oldcastle, and Sir Roger Acton, Brown, and the rest.

And first, where he layeth to my charge, that I call them martyrs, which were traitors and seditious rebels against the king, and their country; to this I have answered sufficiently before.

Now here then must the reader needs stay a little, at Master Cope's request, to see my vanity and impudency yet more fully and amply repressed in refuting a certain place in my Latin story, concerning the king's statute made at Leicester, which place and words by him alleged, be these, page 107: Quocirca rex indicto Leicestriæ concilio (quod fortassis Londini ob Cobhami fautores non erat tutum) proposito edicto, immanem denunciat p?nam his, quicunque deinceps hoc doctrine genus sectarentur; usque adeo in eos severus, ut non modo hæreticos, sed perduelliones etiam haberi, ac proinde gemino eos supplicio, suspendio simul et incendio afficiendos statuerit, &c.; et mox: Adeo ille vires, rationesque intendebat omnes, adversus Wicklevianos. Wickleviani id temporis dicebantur, quicunque Scripturas Dei sua lingua lectitarent, &c.

Upon these words out of my aforesaid Latin book alleged, Master Cope persuadeth himself to have great advantage against me, to prove me a notorious liar, in three sundry points. First, in that whereas I say, that the king did hold his parliament at Leicester, adding this by the way of parenthesis, quod fortassis Londini ob Cobhami fautores non erat tutum, &c.: here he concludeth thereby, simpliciter and precisely, that the Lord Cobham and Sir Roger Acton with his fellows, were traitors, &c.; whereby a man may soon shape a caviller, by the shadow of Master Cope. For whereas my Dialysis out of the text speaketh doubtfully and uncertainly, by this word fortassis meaning indeed the king to be in fear of the gospellers, that he durst not hold his parliament at London, but went to Leicester: he argueth precisely, therefore, that the Lord Cobham, Sir Richard Acton, and his fellows, went about to kill the king. Secondly, whereas I affirm that the king in that parliament made a grievous law against all such as did hold the doctrine of Wickliff, that they should be taken hereafter, not for heretics, but also for felons, or rebels, or traitors, and therefore should sustain a double punishment, both to be hanged, and also to be burned, &c.: here cometh in Master Momus, with his Cope on his back, and proving me to be a liar, denieth plainly that the king made any such statute; see page 853, line 6, where his words be these: Atqui quod hæretici pro perduellionibus, et deinceps geminatas p?nas suspendii et incendii luerant, ut nugatur Foxus, nullo modo illic traditur, &c.

First, here would be asked of Master Cope, what he calleth patriæ hostes, et proditores? If he call these traitors, then let us see whether they that followed the sect of Wickliff were made traitors and heretics by the king's law, or not. And first, let us hear what saith Polydore Virgil, his own witness, in this behalf, whose words in his twenty-second book, page 441, be these: "Wherefore it was by public statute decreed, that whosoever were found hereafter to follow the sect of Wickliff, should be accounted for traitors; whereby, without all lenity, they should be punished more severely and quickly," &c.

Thus have you, Master Cope, the plain testimony of Polydore with me. And because ye shall further see yourself more impudent in carping, than I am in depraving of histories, you shall understand, moreover, and hear, what Thomas Walden, one of your own catholic brotherhood, and who was also himself alive, and a doer in the same parliament, being the provincial of the Carmelites, saith in this matter, writing to Pope Martin, whose very words here follow, written in his prologue to the said Martin, in this wise: "And it was not long after, but a public law and statute came out, by the common assent of the general parliament of the whole realm, that all Wicklevists, as they are traitors to God, so also should be counted traitors to the king and to the realm, having their goods lost and confiscate to the king; and, therefore, should suffer double punishment, as to be burned for God, and to be hanged for the king," &c. And thus have you, Master Cope, not only my sentence, but also the very words of my story confirmed by this author; because ye shall not think me to speak so lightly or impudently without my book. And, moreover, to confirm the sentence of Thomas Walden, it followeth also in another place of the aforesaid author: "And yet when the noble King Henry the Fifth, who as yet doth live and reign, began first to reign, he began to set forth a law, by his learned catholics which were about him, against the falseness of these men; so that whosoever was proved to be a Wicklevist, through the whole realm, should be punished for a traitor," &c. What words can you have, Master Cope, more plain these? or what authority can you require of more credit, which lived in the same time, and both did see and hear of the same things done? who, also, writing to Pope Martin, was by the said Pope Martin allowed, approved, and solemnly commended; as appeareth by the pope's epistle to him, wherein the pope declareth how he caused his books "by solemn persons to be seen and examined," &c. So that you must needs grant either this to be true that Walden writeth, or else that the pope, in allowing his writings, may err and be deceived. Choose ye, Master Cope, of these two opinions whether you will take.

And if ye think this my assertion yet not sufficiently rescued with these authorities aforesaid, I will also hereunto adjoin the testimony of another writer, named Roger Wall, who writing De Gestis Henrici V. and speaking of the said statute of this parliament something more plainly than the rest, hath these words: "Also in this parliament the noble king, reputing Christ's enemies to be traitors to himself, to the intent that all men should know, without all doubt, that so long as he lived he would be a true and perfect follower of Christian faith, did enact and decree, that whosoever should be found followers and maintainers of this sect, which is called the Lollard's sect, ipso facto, should be counted and reputed guilty of treason against the king's Majesty," &c.

By these hitherto alleged, if Master Cope will not be satisfied, yet let the reader indifferently judge. And yet, moreover, to make the matter more certain, mark the exclamation of the said Roger Wall added to the end of those words above recited, whereby we have to understand more clearly both what were the proceedings of the king in the said parliament, and also what was the blind affection of monks and priests at that time toward their king and prince, which was then called Princeps sacerdotum, in condemning and destroying the poor Lollards. The words of the monk be these: "O true friend, who taketh and reckoneth that injury no less done to himself, which is done to his friend; and that prejudice which is intended against him, reputeth to be as his own; and, to bear together the burdens of his friend, sticketh not to lay to his own shoulders, for the easing and helping of him," &c.

How can it now be denied, Master Cope, in reading these authors, and seeing their testimonies, but that Lollardism in the parliament was made both treason and heresy, and had, therefore, a double judgment of punishment annexed, to be hanged for the one, and to be burned for the other; according as in my former Latin story I recorded, and yet I trifled not?

But you will say again, as ye do, that there is no mention made for heresy to be made treason, nor of any double punishment to be inflicted for the same. In the body of the statute, I grant, there is no express mention in words of heresy to be made treason, expressly signified in rigour of words; but that inclusivcly it is so inferred, it cannot be denied. For, first, where lands, goods, and cattle of the said Lollards were lost and forfeit to the king, what doth this import else, but treason or felony?

And where the Lord Cobham, for whose cause specially this statute seemed to be made, did sustain afterwards both hanging and burning by the vigour of the same statute, what is here contained, but a double penalty? Again, where in the beginning of the statute mention is made of "rumours" and "congregations," and afterwards upon the same followeth "the services of the king, whereunto the officers be first sworn, should be first preferred for liberty of holy church, and punishment of heretics, made before these days and now repealed," ut supra: what meaneth this, but to make these congregations of the Lollards to be forceable entries, riots, great ridings, unlawful assemblies, affrayers of the people, armour, routs, and insurrections, and so sendeth them to the former statutes not repealed; that is, to the statute, Anno 13 Hen. IV. cap. vii., where the punishment is left to the discretion of the king; or else to the statute, Anno 15 Rich. II. cap. ii., where the penalty is made fine and ransom; or else to the statute, Anno 5 Rich. II. cap. vi., where such assemblies be made plain treason. And as here is matter of treason sufficiently contained, so for heresy, likewise, the same statute referreth them to the ordinaries, and to the laws properly to heresy appertaining, and to the statute, Anno 2 Hen. IV. cap. xv., where the penalty is burning: also to the statute, Anno 5 Rich. II. cap. v. vi. So that in this present statute here, mention is contained, as ye see, although not in express words, yet inclusively (by referring to other statutes not repealed) both Lollardy, which is punished with burning, and forcible entries, which are punished at the king's pleasure. And thus much concerning the second untruth, which Master Cope untruly noted in me.

The third untruth which he noteth in me concerning this matter is this, wherein he reporteth me, that I say, there was no other cause of devising this sharp law and punishment against these men, but only for having the Scripture books; and, therefore, here is to be noted in the margin Foxi dolus malus; but let Master Cope take heed he deceive not himself and others. For my part I remember no such place in this my Latin story where I so say. Only my words be these, added in the latter end of the place above recited: "They were called Wicklevists, whosoever at that time read the Scriptures in English, or vulgar tongue," &c. I say not, that for the Scriptures being read in the English tongue, therefore the law was enacted; but so is Master Cope disposed to construe it. What law and statutes were made against writing or reading of any book in English, or in any other tongue, contrary to the catholic, that is, the Romish faith, or to the determination of the holy church, that is, of Rome, read, I beseech thee, the bloody statute made Anno 2 Hen. IV. cap. xv., above specified. Also read the constitution provincial of Thomas Arundel above-mentioned, where it was decreed that the text of Holy Scripture should not be had, or read in the vulgar tongue, from the time of Master John Wickliff for ever after, unless the said translation be approved first by the ordinary, or by provincial council, under pain and punishment of heresy. Now let the reader judge whether the reading of Scripture books in the English tongue, by the making or translating of Wickliff, or from the time of Wickliff downward, be counted heresy, or not. As for the approving of the ordinary, or of the provincial council added in the end of the said constitution, it maketh more for a show or pretence, than for any just exception, or any true intention: for what man, having those Scriptures translated into English, would either present them to their ordinaries being so set against the reading of such books? or what ordinary would, or did ever yet, since Arundel's time,approve any such translation, presented unto them? Or else why did the good martyrs of Amersham suffer death, in the beginning of King Henry the Eighth, for having and reading certain books of Scripture, which were, as is said, only four epistles of St. Paul, with certain other prayers? and the others which heard them but only read, did bear faggots; and the same time, the children were compelled to set faggots unto their fathers, at which time Longland, being then bishop of Lincoln, and preaching to them at the stake, said, that whatsoever they were that did but move their lips in reading those chapters, were damned for ever; as when we come to that time, by the grace of Christ, shall hereafter more amply and notoriously appear. And where then is this dolus malus Foxi margined against me, for crafty dealing in my story?

Moreover, where Master Cope, proceeding further in this matter, asketh me, "How was the Lord Cobham obedient to the king, whenas for the fear of him the king durst not then keep his parliament at London? "To whom I answer again, asking likewise of Master Cope, How was the king then afraid to hold his parliament at London for the Lord Cobham, when the Lord Cobham at that time was in Wales? And here Master Cope, thinking to have me at a narrow strait, and to hold me fast, biddeth me tell him how it could be otherwise, but the Lord Cobham must needs have favourers? "And who should these favourers be (saith be) but Sir Roger Acton, Brown, and their fellows?" The which mighty question of Master Cope, I answer again; How could Sir Roger Acton, Brown, and their fellows be then favourers of the Lord Cobham, for whom the king durst not hold the parliament at London, whenas the said Roger Acton, Brown, and the rest, were put to death, a whole year almost before the parliament at Leicester began?

And now, as I have hitherto briefly and truly answered your askings, Master Cope, let me be so bold with you again, to propound to you likewise another question, forasmuch as you have put me to the searching of the statutes in this matter, wherewith before I was not much acquainted. Now, out of the same statutes riseth a double scruple, or question, worthy to be solved. The case is this, that forasmuch as so many good martyrs and saints of God hitherto, in this realm of England, have been burned from the time of King Henry the Fourth, Henry the Fifth, Henry the Sixth, Henry the Eighth, to the time, and in the time of Queen Mary, my question is, that you, with all your learned counsel about you, will tell me, by what law or statute of the realm were these men burnt? I know the ancient custom hath been, that heretics convicted by a provincial council were wont to be left to the secular power. But how will ye prove me, these heretics were either convicted by such provincial council, or that these secular men ought to be your butchers in burning them whom ye have committed to them? If ye allege the six articles made in the reign of King Henry the Eighth, those articles neither did serve before the time of King Henry the Eighth, neither yet were they revived after his time. If ye allege the statute made Anno 5 Rich. II. cap. v., in that statute, I answer, is contained no matter of burning, but only of arrest to be done at the certifications of the prelates, without any further punishment there mentioned. To conclude, if ye allege the statute made Anno 2 Hen. IV. cap. v., and revived in the reign of Queen Mary, mentioned before; to that statute I answer, that although the pretended statute appeareth, in form of words in the printed book, to give unto the temporal officers authority to bring them to the stake, and to burn them whom the bishop delivereth, yet is it not to be proved, either by you or any other, that statute to be law, or warrant sufficient to burn any person or persons committed to the secular power by the clergy. And that I prove thus: for although the statute of King Henry the Fourth, in the books printed, appear to have law and authority sufficient, by the full assent both of the king, of the lords, and of the commons; yet, being occasioned by Master Cope to search further in the statutes, I have found, that in the rolls and first originals of that parliament, there is no such mention either of any petition or else of any assent of the commons annexed, or contained in that statute, according as in the printed books usual in the lawyers' hands, too craftily and falsely is foisted in; as by the plain words thereof may well appear.

In searching of these statutes, as you have occasioned me to find out these scruples, so being found out, I thought here not to dissemble them, forasmuch as I see and hear many nowadays so boldly to bear themselves upon this statute; and thinking so to excuse themselves, do say, that they have done nothing but the law, the law! to the intent that these men, seeing now how inexcusable they be, both before God and man, having no law to bear them out, may the sooner repent their bloody and unlawful tyranny, exercised so long against God's true servants, yet, in time, before that the just law of God shall find out their unjust dealings; which partly he beginneth already to do, and more, no doubt, will do hereafter.

In the mean time, this my petition I put up to the commons, and to all other which shall hereafter put up any petition to the parliament; that they, being admonished by this abuse, will show themselves hereafter more wise and circumspect, both what they agree unto in parliaments, and also what cometh out in their name. And, as these good commons, in this time of King Henry the Fourth, would not consent or agree to this bloody statute, nor to any other like; for so we read that the commons in that bloody time of King Henry the Fourth, when another like cruel bill was put up by the prelates in Anno 8 Henry the Fourth, against the Lollards, they neither consented to this, and also overthrew the other: so in like manner it is to be wished, that the commons, in this our time, or such other that shall have to do in parliaments hereafter, following the steps of these former times, will take vigilant heed to such cruel bills of the pope's prelacy being put up, that neither their consent do pass rashly, nor that their names in any condition be so abused; considering with themselves that a thing once being passed in the parliament, cannot afterward be called back; and a little inconvenience once admitted, may grow afterward to mischiefs that cannot be stopped. And sometimes it may so happen, that through rash consent of voices, the end of things being not well advised, such a thing may be granted in one day, that afterward many days may cause the whole realm to rue. But I trust men are bitten enough with such black parliaments, to beware of after-claps. The Lord Jesus, only protector of his church, stop all crafty devices of subtle enemies, and with his wisdom direct our parliaments, as may be most to the advantage of his word, and comfort of his people! Amen, Amen.

And thus much having said for the defence of the Lord Cobham, of Sir Roger Acton, knight, Master John Brown, esquire, John Beverly, preacher, and of other their fellows, against Alanus Copus, Anglus, here I make an end with this present interim, till further leisure serve me hereafter, Christ willing, to pay him the whole interest which I owe unto him: adding this in the mean time, and by the way; that if Master Cope had been a Momus any thing reasonable, he had no great cause so to wrangle with me in this matter, who as I did commend the Lord Cobham, and that worthily, for his valiant standing by the truth of his doctrine before Thomas Arundel, the archbishop; so touching the matter of this conspiracy, I did not affirm or define any thing thereof in my former history so precisely that he could well take any vantage thereof against me, who, in writing of this conspiracy laid against Sir Roger Acton, and Sir John Oldcastle, do but disjunctively or doubtfully speak thereof, not concluding certainly this conspiracy either to be true, or not true, but only proving the same not to be true at that time, as Polydore Virgil, and Edward Hall; in their histories do affirm; which say, that this conspiracy began after the burning of John Huss and Jerome of Prague; which could not be. And thereto tendeth my assertion.

But to the truth of the matter: as I said before, so I say again, whatsoever this worthy, noble, virtuous knight, Sir Roger Acton, was otherwise, this is certain, that he was always of contrary mind and opinion to the bishop of Rome, and to that kind of people; for the which cause he had great envy andhatred at their hands, and could as little bear it: neither do I greatly dissent from them, which do suspect or judge that the Lord Cobham, by his friendly help, escaped out of the Tower; and that, peradventure, was the cause why he was apprehended and brought to trouble, and, in the end, came to his death. Other causes also there might be, that these good men percase did frequent among themselves some conventicles, (which conventicles were made treason by the statute aforesaid,) either in those thickets, or in some place else, for the hearing of God's word, and for public prayer; and therefore had they this Beverly, their preacher, with them. But to conclude: whatsoever this Sir Roger Acton was, this is the truth, which I may boldly record, as one writing the Acts and things done in the Church, that he was at length apprehended, condemned, and put to death or martyrdom, three years and more before the Lord Cobham died. Likewise Master John Brown, and John Beverly, the preacher, suffered with him the same kind of death, as some say, in the field of St. Giles, with others more, to the number of thirty-six, if the stories be true; which was in the month of January, A. D. 1413, after the computation of our English stories, counting the year from the Annunciation; but after the Latin writers, counting from Christ's nativity, A. D. 1414, according as in this picture is specified.

Illustration -- Lollards hanged and burned

These men, as is said, suffered before the Lord Cobham about three years, of whose death divers do write diversely. Some say they were hanged and burned in St. Giles's field; of whom is Fabian, with such as follow him. Other there be which say that some of them were hanged and burned. Polydore, speaking only of their burning, maketh no mention of hanging. Another certain English chronicle I have in my hands, borrowed of one Master Bowyer, who, somewhat differing from the rest, recordeth thus of Sir Roger Acton, that his judgment before the justice was thus; to be drawn through London to Tyburn, and there to be hanged; and so he was, naked, save certain parts of him covered with a cloth, &c. "And when certain days were past," saith the author, "a trumpeter of the king's, called Thomas Cliff, got grant of the king to take him down, and to bury him; and so he did." And thus have you the story of Sir Roger Acton, and his fellow brethren. As touching their cause, whether it were true, or else by error mistaken of the king, or by the fetch of the bishops surmised, I refer it to the judgment of him which shall judge both the quick and the dead; to whom also I commit you, Master Cope: God speed your journey well to Rome, whither I hear say you are going, and make you a good man.

After the decease or martyrdom of these above mentioned, who were executed in the month of January, A. D. 1414, in the next month following, and in the same year, the twentieth day of February, God took away the great enemy of his word, and rebel to his king, Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury; whose death following after the execution of these good men above recited, by the marvellous stroke of God, so suddenly, may seem somewhat to declare their innocency, and that he was also some great procurer of their death, in that God would not suffer him longer to live, striking him with death incontinently upon the same: but as I did the other before, so this also I do refer to the secret judgment of the Lord, who once shall judge all secrets openly.

In the mean time this may seem strange, that the same Thomas Arundel, who, a little before, sat in judgment against the Lord Cobham, and pronounced sentence of death upon him, did himself feel the stroke of death, and the sentence of God executed upon him before the other. Who would have thought but that the Lord Cobham, being so cast and condemned definitively, by the archbishop's sentence, should have died long before the archbishop? But such be the works of God's almighty hand, who so turned the wheel, that this condemned lord survived his condemner three or four years.

In the death of this archbishop, first Polydore Virgil is deceived, who affirmed his death to be A. D. 1415, and in the second year of King Henry the Fifth, also after the beginning of the Council of Constance; who, indeed, never reached the beginning thereof, nor ever saw the second year of that king, unless ye count the first day for a year, but died before, A. D. 1414, February the twentieth. Furthermore, concerning the death of this Arundel, and the manner thereof, who had been so heavy a troubler of Christ's saints in his time, because the thing seem eth worthy of noting, to behold the punishment of God upon his enemies, this is the report, as I have found it alleged out of Thomas Gascoin, in Dictionario Theologico, whose plain words be these: "Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, was so stricken in his tongue, that he could neither swallow nor speak for a certain space before his death, much like after the example of the rich glutton; and so died upon the same. And this was thought of many to come upon him, for that he so bound the word of the Lord, that it should not be preached in his days." Which if it be true, as it doth well here appear, these and such other horrible examples of God's wrath may be terrible spectacles for such as occupy their tongues and brains so busily to stop the course of God's word, striving but against the stream; against the force whereof neither are they able to resist, and many times in resisting are overturned themselves and drowned therein. And thus much for the death of Thomas Arundel, who continued archbishop in the see of Canterbury the space of eighteen years.

After this Arundel, succeeded next in the said see of Canterbury Henry Chichesly, made archbishop A. D. 1414, and sat five and twenty years. This Henry, following likewise the steps of his predecessor, showed himself no small adversary against the favourers of the truth. In whose time was much trouble and great affliction in the church; for, as the preaching and teaching of the word did multiply and spread abroad daily more and more, so, on the contrary side, more vigilant care and strait inquisition followed and increased against the people of God, by reason whereof divers did suffer, and were burned; some for fear fled the country; many were brought to examination, and by infirmity constrained to abjure; of whom hereafter, Christ willing, particularly, in order of their times, we will treat.

As true piety and sincere preaching of Christ's word began at this time to decay, so idle monkery and vain superstition in place thereof began to increase. For about the same year the king began the foundation of two monasteries, one on the one side of Thames, of Friars Observants, the other on the other side of Thames, called Sheen and Zion, dedicated to Charter-house monks, with certain Bridget nuns or recluses, to the number of sixty, dwelling within the same precinct, so that the whole number of these, with priests, monks, deacons, and nuns, should equal the number of twelve apostles, and seventy-two disciples. The order of these was according to the description of St. Paul the apostle, Col. i., Eat not, taste not, touch not, &c.; to eat no flesh, to wear no linen, to touch no money, &c.

About Michaelmas, the same year, the king began his parliament at Leicester, above mentioned. In the which parliament the commons put up their bill again, which they had put up before, in the eleventh year of Henry the Fourth, that temporalties, disorderly wasted by men of the church, might be converted and employed to the use of the king, of his earls, and knights, and to the relief of the poor people, as is before recited; in fear of which bill, lest the king would give thereunto any comfortable audience, as testifieth Robert Fabian and other writers, certain of the prelates and other head men of the church, put the king in mind to claim his right in France: whereupon Henry Chichesly, archbishop of Canterbury, made a long and solemn oration before the king to persuade him to the same, offering to the king, in the behalf of the clergy, great and noble sums: by reason whereof, saith Fabian, the bill was again put off, and the king set his mind for the recovery of the same: so that soon after he sent his letters and messengers to the French king concerning that matter, and received from him again answer of derision, with a pipe of tennis balls, as some record, sent from the Dauphin, for him to play with at home. Whereby the king's mind was incensed the more toward that voyage; who, when furnishing himself with strength and armour, with powder and shot, and gun-stones, to play with in France, and with other artillery for that purpose convenient, so set over into France, where he got Harfleur, with divers other towns and castles in Normandy and Picardy, and, at Agincourt, had a great victory over the French army, they being counted but seven thousand, by pricking sharp stakes before them, &c. After that he won Caen, Touques, Rouen, with other towns more, as Meldune, or Melione, and married with Katharine, the French king's daughter. And yet, notwithstanding, the third time he made his voyage again into France, where at length, at Blois, he fell sick and died: concerning all which voyages, because they are sufficiently discoursed in Fabian, Hall, and other chronographers, referring thereforethe reader unto them, I will return my story to other matters of the church more effectual.

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