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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 267



stomach and courage. Therefore, I fear that he, through his high mind, will make some enterprise against thec, in tending to usurp upon thee, which I know thy stomach will not abide easily ; and for dread thereof, as oft as it is in my remembrance, I sore repent me that ever I charged myself with the crown of this realm.'' The Prince answered : " Sight redoubted lord and father, by the pleasure of God your grace shall long continue with us, and rule us both ; but if God so provides that I ever succeed you in this realm, I shall honour and love my brothers above all men, so long as they continue faithful and obedient to me as their sovereign lord. But should any one of them conspire against me, I would as soon execute justice upon him as upon the worst and meanest person in this your realm." Pleased with this reply, the King, after exhorting the Prince to avoid sin and crime, and live a life of virtue, wisdom, and valour, blessed him ; and whilst the attendant priests were reading the Miserere, breathed his last, without a struggle. Henry the Fourth died on the twentieth of March, 1413, and was buried with solemn pomp in Canterbury Cathedral, close to the grave of Edward the Black Prince.* By his wiU, dated January, 1408, Henry the Fourth bequeathed the duchy of Lancaster to Queen Joanna, commanded that restitution should be made * Clement Magdeatone, who wrote about the year 1440, assures us that whilst the royal corpse was being conveyed by water from London for interment at Canterbury, a storm arose, and so alarmed the mariners, that they threw the dead body of the King into the river, and proceeding to Canterbury, deposited the empty coffin in the grave. To ascertain the truth of this statement, the grave was opened in 1832, when the remains of a body, but to all appearances not that of the defunct King, were found in the coffin ; it is therefore probable that although Canterbury Cathedral contains the tomb of Henry the Fourth, the dead body of that monarch perished in the sea, to all persons whom he had wronged or unjustly deprived of their goods, and named Henry the Fifth, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and four others, as his executors. This curious document, the first of the royal wills written in the English tongue, was dis covered by the industry of Sir Simon d'Ewes, and commences thus :— " In the name of God,Fadir, Son, and Holy Gost, three persons and one God, I, Henery, sinful wretch, by the grace of God Kyng of England and Fraunce, and lord of Irland, being in my hole mynd, mak my testament in manere and forme that suyth, Fyrst, I bequeth to Almyghty God my sinful soul, the whyche had nevere been worthy to be man, but thro' hys mercie and hys graee, whiche lyffe I haveth myspendyed whereof I put myseltb wholily in his grase and his mercye with all myn herte. Also, I thank my lordis and trew peple for the trew servyse that they haves dune unto me, and I ask them forgyvnis if I haveth mysentretcd hem in anywyse." In the reign of Henry the Fourth, the government assumed a form and liberty hitherto unknown ; the distinctions between the nobles and the people were rendered less considerable, and the magistrates were less arbitrary and less venal than in times previous. In 1402, the long existing practice of holding fairs and markets in churchyards was prohibited, excepting in harvest time, and in the same year the spread of Lollardism so alarmed the clergy, that they prevailed on the King to call the attention of parliament to the subject. How reluctant soever the Commons might be, to prosecute a sect whose only crime was error, an act was passed for the protection of the church, and the burning of obstinate heretics. And "William Santre, rector of St. Oswyth, London, an enthusiastic follower of Wickliff, was burned alive by virtue of the King's writ, delivered to the Mayor of London. This was the first man in England who suffered death on account of his religion.


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