Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
The Protector Somerset and His Brother
By John Hayward (1564?1627)
From History of Edward VI.
WHILST these two brothers held in amity, they were like two arms, the one defending the other, and both of them the king. But many things did move together to dissolve their love, and bring them to ruin: first, their contrary disposition, the one being tractable and mild, the other stiff, and impatient of a superior, whereby they lived but in cunning concord, as brothers glued together, but not united in grain: then much secret envy was born against them, for that their new lustre did dim the light of men honoured with ancient nobility. Lastly, they were openly minded, as hasty and soon moved, so uncircumspect and easy to be blinded. By these the knot, not only of love but of nature, between them was dissolved; so much the more pity, for that the first cause proceeded from the pride, the haughty hate, the unquiet vanity, of a mannish, or rather of a devilish woman.
For the Lord Sudley had taken to wife Katharine Parr, Queen-Dowager, last wife to King Henry the Eighth: a woman beautified with many excellent virtues, especially with humility, the beauty of all other virtues. The Duke had taken to wife Anne Stanhope, a woman for many imperfections intolerable, but for pride monstrous: she was exceeding both subtle and violent in accomplishing her ends, for which she spurned over all respects both of conscience and of shame. This woman did bear such invincible hate, first against the queen-dowager, for light causes and womens quarrels, especially for that she had precedency of place before her, being wife to the greatest peer in the land; then to the Lord Sudley for her sake, that, albeit the queen-dowager died by childbirth, yet would not her malice either die or decrease, but continually she rubbed into the dukes dull capacity, that the Lord Sudley, dissenting from him in opinion of religion, sought nothing more than to take away his life, as well in regard of the common cause of religion, as thereby happily to regain his place. Many other things, she boldly feigned, being assured of easy belief in her heedless hearer, always fearful and suspicious (as of feeble spirit), but then more than ever by reason of some late opposition against him. Her persuasions she cunningly intermixed with tears, affirming, that she would depart from him, as willing rather to hear both of his disgraces and dangers, than either to see the one or participate of the other.
The duke embracing this womans counsel (a womans counsel indeed, and nothing the better), yielded himself both to advise and devise for destruction of his brother. The Earl of Warwick had his finger in the business, and drew others also to give either furtherance or way to her violent desires; being well content she should have her mind, so as the duke might thereby incur infamy and hate. Hereupon the Lord Sudley was arrested, and sent to the Tower; and in very short time after, condemned by Act of Parliament. And within few days after his condemnation, a warrant was sent under the hand of his brother the duke, whereby his head was delivered to the axe. His own fierce courage hastened his death, because equally balanced between doubt and disdain, he was desirous rather to die at once, than to linger long upon courtesy and in fear.
The accusations against him contained much frivolous matter, or call it pitiful, if you please. The Act of Parliament expresses these causes of his attainder. For attempting to get into his custody the person of the king and government of the realm; for making much provision of money and of victuals; for endeavouring to marry the Lady Elizabeth, the kings sister; for persuading the king in his tender age to take upon him the rule and order of himself. The proofs might easily be made, because he was never called to his answer. But as well the protestations at the point of his death as the open course and carriage of his life, cleared him in opinion of many. So doubtful are all weighty matters, whilst some take all they hear for certain, others making question of any truths, posterity enlarging both. Dr. Latimer pretending all the gravity and sincerity of a professed divine, yet content to be serviceable to great mens ends, declared in a sermon before the king that whilst the Lord Sudley was a prisoner in the Tower he wrote to the Lady Mary and the Lady Elizabeth, the kings sisters, that they should revenge his death; which indeed the Lady Mary afterwards more truly did, by executing the Earl of Warwick, than either she was, or at that time could in particular be required. Many other imputations he cast forth besides, most doubted, many known to be untrue. And so, whereas Papinian, a civil lawyer but a heathen, chose rather to die than to defend the murder which the Emperor Caracalla had done upon his brother Geta, some theologians have been employed to defile places erected only for religion and truth by defending oppressions and factions, staining their professions and the good arts which they had learned, by publishing odious untruths upon report and credit of others.
O wives! the most sweet poison, the most desired evil in the world! Certainly as it is true, as Syracides saith, that there is no malice like the malice of a woman, so no mischief wanteth where a malicious woman beareth sway. A woman was first given to man for a comforter, but not for a counsellor, much less a controller and director; and therefore in the first sentence against man this cause is expressed, Because thou obeyedst the voice of thy wife. And doubtless the Protector by being thus ruled to the death of his brother, seemed with his left hand to have cut off his right; for hereupon many of the nobility cried out upon him, that he was a blood-sucker, a parricide, a villain, and that it was not fit the king should be under the protection of such a ravenous wolf. Soon after it was given forth, and believed by many, that the king was dead; whereupon he passed in great state through the city of London, to manifest that he was both alive and in good health. Whether this speech were spread either by adventure or by art, it is uncertain; certain it is, it did something shake the strength of the kings affection towards the Protector.