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which the advocates of this opinion are supposed to have obtained from the late researches among our records. This evidence is given correctly, though with a great bias towards the opinion of Mr. Tytler and the others, in the preface to a late publication of the Historical Society, Le Chronique de la Traison et Mort de Rich. II., from a MS. in the King of France's library (see Appendix, 273). The main reliance is placed on a confession of one Pritewell, the gentleman in whose power the Earl of Huntingdon was found and arrested by Henry IV., and the confession of Thomas Abbot of Bylegh. These two confessions, however, are really only one statement; for Pritewell tells a conversation he had with one Blyth, a knight, on Richard being still alive, and the abbot only tells that Pritewell and Blyth spoke together first apart, and then in the abbot's presence; so that all turns on Blyth’s story; and it is to be observed that the abbot's account and Pritewell's materially differ. But Pritewell himself deposes that he gave no credit to Blyth, because he found him out in two falsehoods, and he relates what these were. One was that Blyth said he was brought up in Richard's household from a child, which Pritewell says he himself knew to be untrue ; the other was his saying he had been knighted by Percy on the field of battle, and alone so knighted, and also that he and Percy had the same coat armour, all which Pritewell knew to be false by a creditable man (Treval) who had seen “ Percy both quick and dead." The abbot adds that Blyth tried to borrow armour and money of him, and he lent him some shillings. He further says that the abbot of Colchester had stated in council his having sent a man with a ring to Richard in Scotland, with directions to return if he found him alive, and that the man came back and was thrown into prison. All this plainly amounts to nothing. The existence of a Pretender or impostor is not denied, and that will account for all the stories in question. The concurrence of historians probably would be of no importance on this subject if they all copied one another, or all took the facts from one authority ; but the concurrence of contemporary writers which we have seen is very material.
NOTE XXIII.—p. 50. At Windsor a banquet and council was holden 1st of January, 1399, when the archbishop and others on their knees besought Henry to put Richard to death. He said No, but promised on the first insurrection that broke out that Richard should be the first to die. This having happened at a council is probably the origin of the story given by historians of a statute having been made to this effect. No doubt the parliament were obsequious enough to pass any such law had the usurper deemed it necessary for his security; but his having the power of assassination rendered any precaution of the kind superfluous. But it appears clear from what has just been stated that the time-serving dignitaries who surrounded him regarded complacently whatever he chose to do against his victim.
NOTE XXIV.—p. 55. How little reliance is to be placed on Shakspeare's account of Henry V. is plain from his gross perversion of Sir J. Oldcastle in Falstaff. The accounts in the Chronicles are extremely meagre respecting Henry's youth ; though all agree in describing it as dissipated, if not dissolute. “ Aforetime,” says Holinshed, “ he had made himself a companion unto misruled mates of dissolute order and life.” (iii. 61.) “ This man,” says
Fabyan, “before the death of his fader, applyd him unto all vyce and insolency, and drewe unto him all ryotous and wylde disposed persons” (577). T. Walsingham says he was suddenly changed into a new man,“ honestati, modestiæ, ac gravitati studentem” (Hist. Ang. 426; Ypod. Neust. 178). “He had passed," says Hall, “ his yonge age in wanton pastyme and riotous disorder ;” and he gives the incident of his striking (as he asserts) the Chief Justice for an instance (46). “Changed from all vyces unto vertuous lyfe," says Hardyng, 371. Stow speaks of his “insolency in youth," and of “his youthfulnesse,” and gives his frolic of setting on his own receivers as an example (344-5). All these charges, however, clearly refer to dissipation, and riot, and keeping wild company.
Note XXV.-p. 59. It is strange that the authorities so vary as to the date of James's capture, and, consequently, the period of his detention : most of them are agreed that he returned to Scotland early in 1424. T. Wals. (417) gives 1406 as the year he was taken, Hardynge 1408, Holinshed 1406, but admitting that the Scotch writers make it 1404 (iii, 41). Hall and Stow give 1407. Fordun, however, may in this instance most safely be relied on, and he gives 1404 as the date, which may probably mean 1405, as the event happened very early in the year (Scoti-Cron. xv. 18). One authority says he was only fifteen years confined, which would make his capture have happened in 1409. The homage said by both Holinshed and Hall to have been done by him to Henry VI. before his return appears to be a mere imagination.
The detention of James may be regarded as one of the darkest passages in the English history, and it is rendered still more discreditable to the nation by the abuse which some of our older writers lavish on that amiable and accomplished prince, charging him with black ingratitude, because on his return to Scotland he inclined occasionally to the policy of his country, and prosecuted the French alliance. The education which he received while detained, nay, the expense of his maintenance, is made the ground of this charge, equally ridiculous and unjust ; and even Mr. Hume valued so highly the benefits of his forced training, that he actually thinks “it made ample amends for his imprisonment,” which he only says proved Henry IV. somewhat deficient in generosity. (History of England, chap. xviii.) Surely the historian is highly censurable who utters sentiments so subversive of all just moral feelings. As for the zealots of national prejudice, who tax him with ingratitude, it would be difficult for them to show how James, after his best days had, against all law and right, been spent in a cruel captivity, could ever hear the name of England pronounced without horror.
Note XXVI.-p. 62. Nothing but ignorance both of our history and our ancient law could ever have led to any doubt of Sir J. Oldcastle's being a peer. In that age the husband of a baroness in her own right was not only in practice summoned by writ to sit for her barony, but was held to have a right to the summons (Collins, Bar. by Writ—Maddox, Bar.); and Sir John Oldcastle, having married the heiress of the Cobham barony, was summoned to sit in the four last parliaments of Henry IV. and the first of Henry V. It is now settled law that any one summoned and sitting takes a barony in fee (or rather in fee-tail); therefore Sir John Oldcastle had such a barony, whether he took in right of his wife or not: the only doubt might be whether, had his wife left no issue by him, his barony would have descended to the issue of another marriage-probably it would not; for the summons calling him by his wife's barony might be supposed to resemble the calling up of an heir apparent by his father's barony, which does not create a new peerage, but only advances a person alioqui successurus. However, this is not the same case, though it may be a similar one to the marital summons, as the party so called is not alioqui successurus. The peerages of which we are speaking were said to be by the courtesy; and, like estates held by that tenure, only vested if there were issue born of the marriage. It must, however, be admitted that the subject is not free from difficulty. But nothing can be more certain than the existence of such peerages, and that Sir J. Oldcastle enjoyed one is beyond all possible question. Considerable doubt prevailed in Lord Coke's time and later as to the right of persons who had married peeresses in their own right to a courtesy in these dignities. Lord Coke (Co. Litt. 29, a.) will not pronounce any opinion, but after citing two cases adds, “ Utere tuo judicio, nihil enim impedio.” Hargrave (note 167) appears not to have been aware of the many cases of summoning by the courtesy to parliament in older times. Lord Hale (MS.) expresses no doubt of the title by courtesy. Com. (Dig. Estates, D. 1) seems to incline to the same opinion, for he speaks of a dignity as holden by the courtesy, but he cites as the only authority Co. Litt. 29. Certain it is that no such claim has ever been allowed (perhaps none has ever been made) since Lord Coke's time.
This great man (Cobham) is the original after which Shakspeare drew his Falstaff, as we learn from Fuller's Church History. At first he retained the name, as we perceive, by a vile pun adapted to it, and not changed when the name of Oldcastle was dropped. “My old lad of the Castle,” says the Prince to Falstaff. Sismondi (Hist. des Fran. xiii. 97, et passim) always calls the General Sir J. Fastolf, Falstaff. M. Barante (Ducs de Bourg., Phil. le Bon, liv. ii.) has not been misled by the comedies : he gives the General his right name. Perhaps it may not be thought much to the honour of our national taste, or our refined ideas of the dramatic art, that in our most popular comedies we still have one of the most brave, virtuous, and pious men of his day figuring on the stage as a buffoon, a coward, and a thief.
Note XXVII.-p. 66. The story told by Bale (Brefe Chronycle of Sir J. Oldcastle, the Lord Cobham, Har. Mis, ii. 259) and credited by some others, that before the King he said he appealed to the Pope, and therefore declined the Primate's jurisdiction, must be wholly groundless. Such an appeal was not only sure to irritate the King (the tale, indeed, says “he was moche more displeased than afore, and spoke angrily to him "), but it was wholly inconsistent with Cobham's known principles ; and the sentence against him which recites all the proceedings before the King,