+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

whaling a less profitable business than it
used to be. The American vessels are usually
fitted for a four years' voyage, and often
remain that time at sea.



WE now come to King Henry the Eighth,
whom it has been too much the fashion to call
"Bluff King Hal," and " Burly King Harry,"
and other fine names; but whom I shall take
the liberty to call, plainly, one of the most
detestable villains that ever drew breath.
You will be able to judge, long before we
come to the end of his life, whether he deserves
the character.

He was just eighteen years of age when he
came to the throne. People said he was handsome
then; but I don't believe it. He was
a big, burly, noisy, small-eyed, large-faced,
doubled-chinned, swinish looking fellow in
later life (as we know from the likenesses of
him, painted by the famous HANS HOLBEIN),
and it is not easy to believe that so bad a
character can ever have been veiled under a
prepossessing appearance.

He was anxious to make himself popular,
and the people, who had long disliked the late
King, were very willing to believe that he
deserved to be so. He was extremely fond
of show and display, and so were they.
Therefore there was great rejoicing when
he married the Princess Catherine, and when
they were both crowned. And the King
fought at tournaments and always came off
victoriousfor the courtiers took care of
thatand there was a general outcry that
he was a wonderful man. Empson, Dudley,
and their supporters were accused of a variety
of crimes they had never committed, instead
of the offences of which they really had been
guilty; and they were pilloried, and set upon
horses with their faces to the tails, and
knocked about, and beheaded, to the satisfaction
of the people, and the enrichment of the

The Pope, so indefatigable in getting the
world into trouble, had mixed himself up in
a war on the continent of Europe, occasioned
by the reigning Princes of little quarrelling
states in Italy having at various times married
into other Royal families, and so led to their
claiming a share in those petty Governments.
The King, who discovered that he was very
fond of the Pope, sent a herald to the King
of France, to say that he must not make war
upon that holy personage, because he was
the father of all Christians. As the French
King did not mind this relationship in the
least, and also refused to admit a claim King
Henry made to certain lands in France, war
was declared between the two countries.
Not to perplex this story with an account of
the tricks and designs of all the sovereigns
who were engaged in it, it is enough to say
that England made a blundering alliance
with Spain, and got stupidly taken in by that
country, which made its own terms with
France when it could, and left England in the
lurch. SIR EDWARD HOWARD, a bold admiral,
son of the Earl of Surrey, distinguished
himself by his bravery against the French
in this business; but, unfortunately, he was
more brave than wise, for, skimming into the
French harbour of Brest with only a few
row-boats, he attempted (in revenge for the
defeat and death of SIR THOMAS KNYVETT,
another bold English Admiral) to take some
strong French ships, well defended with
batteries of cannon. The upshot was, that he
was left on board of one of them (in consequence
of its shooting away from his own boat),
with not more than about a dozen men, and
was thrown into the sea and drowned: though
not until he had taken from his breast his gold
chain and gold whistle, which were the signs
of his office, and had cast them into the sea
to prevent their being made a boast of by the
enemy. After this defeatwhich was a great
one, for Sir Edward Howard was a man of
valour and famethe King took it into his
head to invade France in person, first executing
that dangerous Earl of Suffolk whom
his father had left in the Tower, and appointing
Queen Catherine to the charge of his
kingdom in his absence. He sailed to Calais,
where he was joined by MAXIMILIAN, Emperor
of Germany, who pretended to be his
soldier, and who took pay in his service: with
a good deal of nonsense of that sort, flattering
enough to the vanity of a vain blusterer. The
King might be successful enough in sham
fights, but his idea of real battles chiefly consisted
in pitching silken tents of bright colors
that were ignominiously blown down by the
wind, and in making a vast display of gaudy
flags and golden curtains. Fortune, however,
favoured him better than he deserved, for,
after much waste of time in tent pitching,
flag flying, gold curtaining, and other such
masquerading, he gave the French battle at
a place called Guinegate: where they took
such an unaccountable panic, and fled with
such swiftness, that it was ever afterwards
called by the English the Battle of Spurs.
Instead of following up his advantage, the
King, finding that he had had enough of real
fighting, came home again.

The Scottish King, though nearly related
to Henry by marriage, had taken part against
him in this war. The Earl of Surrey, as the
English general, advanced to meet him when
he came out of his own dominions and crossed
the river Tweed. The two armies came up
with one another when the Scottish King had
also crossed the river Till, and was encamped
upon the last of the Cheviot Hills, called the
Hill of Flodden. Along the plain below it,
the English, when the hour of battle came,
advanced. The Scottish army, which had
been drawn up in five great bodies, then
came steadily down, in perfect silence. So
they, in their turn, advanced to meet the