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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 419



nearness of kin, between Jane and Henry, tbe latter of whom, be tbe relationship what it might, certainly obtained by this marriage a brother-in-law who bore the not very aristocratic name of Smith, and another (the son of Cromwell), whose grandfather was a blacksmith at Putney. A few days afterwards, the King summoned a new parliament ; and he there, in his speech, made a merit to his people that notwithstanding the misfortunes attending bis two former marriages, he had been induced, for their good, to venture on a third. The speaker, the notorious Richard Rich, received this hypocritical profession with complacency; and he took thence occasion to load his oration with the most fulsome and false flattery of the King, comparing him for justice and prudence to Solomon, for strength and fortitude to Samson, and for beauty and comeliness to Absolom. The King replied by the mouth of the Lord Chancellor Audley, that he disavowed these praises, since if he were really possessed of such endowments, they were the gift of Almighty God only. This obsequious parliament, being willing to go any length in encouraging the King's vices, and in gratifying his most lawless passions, ratified his divorce from Anne Boleyn, attainted that Queen and all her accomplices, declared the issue of both his former marriages illegitimate, made it treason to assert their legitimacy or throw any slander upon the present King, Queen, or their issue ; settled the crown upon the King's issue by Jane Seymour, or anv subsequent wife, and in case he should aie without children, empowered him by bis will or letters patent, to disposo of the crown ;—an enormous authority, especially when entrusted to so capricious, so self-willed a tyrant as Henry the Eighth. Before her marriage, Jane Seymour was personally acquainted with the Princess Mary. Afterwards she remained on terms of friendship with her, and although Cromwell was the real agent, Jane was the ostensible mediatrix of the reconciliation between Henry and the Princess Mary. It is on account of this partial intercession for Henry's ill-used daughter, and also out of malevolence to Anne Boleyn, that the Catholic writers have lavished such praiseon Queen Jane ; whilst the Protestants, equally actuated by party motives, have extolled her, not from any real merit, on her part, but solely from complaisance to her son, Edward the Sixth, and to her brother, Somerset. Jane whilst Queen, warned by the fate of Anne Bolcyn, of the impropriety of a too great freedom of speech and manners, took to the opposite extreme, put a bridle on her tongue, and led such a passive existence, that until the birth of her son, we have nothing of importance to record of her. In June, 1536, she accompanied the King to see the procession of the city watch. In the sharply freezing January of 1537, she crossed the frozen Thames with him on horseback to Greenwich palace ; and she went with him in the spring to Canterbury, his purpose being to sec that the shrine of Thomas à Becket had been demolished, and that he was not cheated out of his share of tbe plunder. Henry was particularly desirous that Jane Seymour should receive the honours of a coronation ; but the prevalence of the plague at Westminster, and Jane's advanced state of pregnancy, caused the ceremony to be put off till after her confinement, when her unexpected death prevented her from being crowned at all. The Queen took to her chamber, at Hampton Court, on the sixteenth of September, 1537. She was taken in travail on the eleventh of October. Her sufferings were severe, and at length, on the following day, her physicians, through one of her female attendants, admonished Henry of her dangerous condition, and asked whether he would wish the mother or the child to he saved ? " If you cannot save both, at least let the child live," was Henry's characteristic reply; "for other wives are easily found." A few hours afterwards, Jano was safely delivered of a Prince (afterwards King Edward the Sixth) ; and the appearance of the long-desired heir to the throne so intoxicated the King and the court, that, overlooking the very delicate


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