18 AUGUST 1877, Page 18


A STATESMAN OF THE REFORMATION EPOCH.* MAJOR STONEY has given us too, much of a history, and not

To say nothing of Fuller and his epigrams, the life and character of Sir Ralph have been sketched in outline by the greatest literary artist of the nineteenth century. Tho publication of the State Papers, however, has enabled Major Stoney to correct several errors and to supply several deficiencies in Sir Walter Scott's pic- turesque and vigorous narrative ; and on the whole, he has fully justified his attempt to throw fresh light on his ancestor's career. These minute points we must leave to those who have made a special study of the period to take note of, and will only touch briefly on a few scattered episodes, taken almost at random, in Sir Ralph Sadleir's busy life, from which the reader of more catholic tastes may gather that he will find much in this modest volume to interest and amuse him.

Born at Hackney in 1507,—he was one of the only two Middle- sex soldiers whom Fuller thought deserving of a place in his Gallery of Worthies,—Sadleir became at an early age secretary to Thomas Cromwell, who speedily preferred him to the King's service. N ow, " henry understood two things,—first, a man ; second, a dish of meat ; and was seldom deceived in either." He promptly recognised Sadleir's talent for diplomacy, and during the rest of his reign kept him constantly engaged in sundry negotiations with Scotland. In 1540 Sadleir was sent as an Ambassador to James V., and a letter from him to one of the Privy Council gives an interesting glimpse of the state of man- ners and learning in the Scottish capital at the time, and of the theological stand-point of the Ambassador and his Master

* .A Memoir of the we and Muds of the Riot Honourable Sir Ralph &vilely, Knight Ranneyet, .Cc, Complied from Slate Paper@ by his Descendant, Major F. Sadleir Stoney, Royal Artillery. London Longman@ and Co. 1877. "I humbly thanked his Grace [the King], and anewored that was belied and untruly said of, for I eat no flesh, nor none of my folks, nor is it permitted in England in Lent. Marry, I confess I eat eggs and white [i.e., boiled] meats, because I am an evil fishman, and I think it of none.offence, for if it were, I would be as loth to eat it as the holiest of your priests that have thus belied me.'—' Oh !' quoth he, know yo not our priests ? A mischief on them all! I trust the world will amend here once.' Thus I had liberty to oat what I would. Another bruit they made that all my mon were monks, and that I had them out of the abbeys in England, and now they were serving-men. I gave a Greek word on my men's coat-sleeves, which is mr;y6,0 &'vaars Souxstled, tho Latin whereof is. ,Soli IVO $87111.0. Now the Bishops hero have inter- preted my word to be, as they call it, monachulus, which, as they say, is in English, ' a little monk,' as a diminution of monachus, and thus they named of a verity. Whereupon they bruited that all my men were monks ; but it appeareth they aro no good Grecians. And now the effect of my word is known, and they be woll laughed [at] for their learned interpretation."

It seems probable that the Bishops were more ingenious than candid in their construction of the Ambassador's motto. Sadleir always set before himself, as the object of his diplomacy, an ulti-

mate union of England and Scotland, for " if Scotland is sure," he writes to Cecil, "Spain and France can do us little harm,"

though personally he always disliked the Scots, whom he styles 4 4 an unreasonable people, a rude, inconstant, and beastly nation,"

"the false and beggarly Scots." In 1543, he was sent to nego- tiate a marriage between the young heir to the English throne and Mary Queen of Scots, then but three months old, "as goodly a child as I have seen of her age, and as like to live, with the grace of God." But national jealousies were too rancorous, Scottish politicians too astute ; and an incessant state of war cul- minated in the battle of Musselburgh or Pinkie, where the fortunes of the day were restored by Sir Ralph Sadleir, and the Scots suffered a crushing defeat. It has always been repeated, after Fuller, that Sir Ralph, who was created a Knight Banneret on the field, was the last of that order who survived ; but Major Stoney reminds us that Charles I. created a Knight Banneret on the field of Edgehill, and George II. another at Dettingen. Sadleir's history proves that in those troublous times tact and circumspection would bring even a prominent statesman safely through all difficulties and dangers. Lloyd says of him that " he

saw the interest of this State altered six times, and died an honest man ; the crown put upon four heads, yet he continued a faithful

subject ; religion changed, as to the public constitution of it, five times, yet he kept the faith." Sadleir had been the creature of

Cromwell ; Secretary of State ; a Privy Councillor through two reigns ; he had taken part in suppressing the Pilgrimage of Grace, Ket's rebellion, and other risings more or less remotely

connected with the religious policy of his party ; he had been rewarded with immense grants of Church lands, so that he died " the richest commoner in England." He had cast in his lot warmly and decisively with the Protestant party, and had even signed his name to Northumberland's " device " for settling the

crown on Lady Jane Grey, yet in spite of all, Mary suffered him to retire into private life, and left him unmolested throughout her whole reign. Juvenal has drarwn for us an imperishable picture of a statesman in a yet more perilous Court, in words not wholly

of praise, which seem equally applicable to the cautious diplomatist and statesman of the Reformation epoch :—

"Ille igitur nunquam diremit brachia contra Torrentom, nee (Avis erat qui libera posed Verbs anind proforre et vitam impendero vero. Sic multas biomes atque octogesiala vidit

Solstitia, his armis ilia quoque tutus in auk."

At least let us set it down to the credit of a Queen of whom little good has been or perhaps can be said—that she showed no ani- mosity against one who had been such an active enemy of her person and her faith.

Already, before the close of Mary's joyless and disappointed life, Sadleir had turned to the rising sun, Almost on the very day of Elizabeth's accession he was at Hatfield, at her side ; within a few months, he was formally restored to the place which he had resigned in the Privy Council, and a few years later he was ap- pointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. His policy hence- forward in religious matters was summed up in his maxim that " zeal was the duty of a private breast, and moderation the in- terest of a.public State ;" "the Protestants he would have kept in hope, and the Papists not oast into despair." As a politician, one of his great aims was to secure the marriage of Elizabeth, so as to exclude Mary Queen of Scots from the succession, or in default, to settle the crown on Mary's son, James. One or two of his speeches on this great marriage question show a recognition of the growing power of public opinion which is noteworthy in his generation :— " Ism sure," he said at the council-table, in one of the first years of Elizabeth's reign, " that by the same your Majesty shall win the hearts of all your people, which is the greatest strength and safeguard a prince can have. If your Majesty should now and your Parliament, and leave your people void of hope and desperate of the succession, which is now BO much urged and required at your bands, and so your Nobles and Commons go home grieved and discontented, and when they come home, their countrymen shall enquire of them what is done (for your High- ness may be sure that all men hearken to this matter), and some of them permute will advisedly answer, and some others peroase rashly and unadvisedly will say, 'We have done nothing but give away your money, the Queen bath what she looked for, but she bath uo care of us,'—how your people's hearts will be wounded with this I"

And again, some twenty years later, when the marriage with the Duke of Anjou was proposed, Sir Ralph. after setting forth other objections—among them, that "her Majesty was of such years as, by the natural course of the same, her Majesty might be his mother "—Sir Ralph clinched his arguments by urging

There is another cause of inconvenience depending upon this mar- riage, and that is. that the same is universally inisliked of throughout the realm,—which is a matter not to be neglected, for in mine opinion, it is not good to do things to the general discontentment of the whole realm."

For most readers, no part of Sir Ralph's career as soldier or as statesman will possess so deep an interest as that during which his history is bound up with the destiny of Mary Queen of Scots. He had seen her in her cradle. He was perfectly assured of her twofold guilt when she took refuge in England, but though ho strongly advised Elizabeth to take her life by due course of law, he was always in favour of mitigating the rigour of her con- finement, and gave such a favourable report of her, when she had been for a month in his custody in 1572, that Elizabeth remarked that "there was something incomprehensible about her, who compelled her very enemies to speak well of her." In 1584, lie was again appointed to take charge of her, with a promise that he should be relieved of the burden as soon as might be. He super- intended Mary's removal from Sheffield to Wingfield, and thence to Tutbury. He was too old for the arduous task, complicated as it was by a hundred treacheries and intrigues ; and his dignified protest, when Walsingbam rebuked him for allowing his prisoner to accompany him in his hawking excursions, is worth quoting in part,— " The truth is that, when I came hither, finding this country com- modious and meet for the sport which I have always delighted in, I sent home for my hawks and falconers, wherewith to pass this miserable life whip li I lead hero ; and when they came hither, I took the commo- dity of them sometimes here abroad, not far from this castle ; whereof this Queen hearing, earnestly entreated mo that she might go abroad with me to see my hawks fly,—a pastime, indeed, which she had sin- gular delight in ; and I. thinking that it could not be ill-taken, assented unto her desire, and so bath she been abroad with me three or four times, sometimes two miles, but not past three miles, when she was

furthest from the Castle Wherein I thought I did well, but since it is not so well taken, I would to God some other had the charge,

that would use it with more discretion than I can A greater punishment cannot now he ministered unto mo than to force me to remain hero in this Bert, being more moat now in my old end later days to rest at home, to prepare myself to leave and go out of the miseries and afflictions whereunto we are subject in this life, and to seek the everlasting quietness of the life to come, which the Lord Almighty grant to us, when it shall be his good pleasure."

Within a few months, this faithful servant of his Queen and country was relieved of his thankless post ; but in 1586 he was sent down to Fotheriugay, as a Commissioner for the trial of his former prisoner ; and, as was to be expected from his opinion pronounced long before, he found her guilty of the crimes laid to her charge. Only seven weeks after her execution he died, at the ripe age of eighty years. He was buried at Standon, in Hertford- shire ; and by his stately altar-tomb there remains to this day a tall standard-pole plated with iron, which tradition asserts to have been the Royal standard-pole of Scotland, captured by Sir Ralph with his own hand at Musselburgh fight. Although his talents and career have been illustrated by the genius of Fuller and Sir Walter Scott, Major Stoney has no reason to be ashamed of the unsparing, if not altogether judiciously expended labour which he has bestowed on the work before us.