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571 [547]

K. Henry. 5. Defence of Lord Cobham agaynst Alanus Copus.

owne letters and stile. MarginaliaSyr Robert Morley.
The L. Cobhā returned agayne to the Tower.
After all this, the sentence of death beyng geuen, the Lord Cobham was sent away, syr Robert Morley carying hym agayne vnto the Tower, where as after he had remayned a certayne space, in the night season, (it is not knowen by what meanes) he escaped out and fled into Wales, where as he continued by the space of. iiij. yeares.

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¶ A defence of the Lord Cobham, agaynst Alanus Copus. 
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Defence of Oldcastle

In his influential attack on the Acts and Monuments, Nicholas Harpsfield repeatedly declared that Oldcastle was not a religious martyr, but was a traitor who raised a rebellion against the Crown and who deservedly met a traitor's death (Dialogi sex, pp. 747, 833, 837 and 953-4). Harpsfield supported these claims by citing the chronicles of Robert Fabyan and Edward Hall. In the 1570 edition, Foxe responded directly to these charges with a mixture of special pleading and incisive research. After a bitter diatribe against Alan Cope (Harpsfield's work was printed under Cope's name, and in 1570, Foxe believed that Cope was the author of the Dialogi sex) and rather improbable denials that there had been been a rebellion at all, Foxe gets down to the heart of his rebuttal. This falls into two parts. The first part consists of a printing and analysis of crucial documents: the statute 2 Henry cap. 7 (which deals with the rebellion), the commission against Oldcastle and his indictment. The second part of Foxe's rebuttal was an ingenious, if rather tendentious attack on the credibility of the chroniclers Fabyan and Hall, and on chronicles in general. Foxe also attacks the credibility of Polydore Vergil. It should be remembered that Foxe would, despite his professed doubts, make great use of all these sources when it suited his purposes. What appears to be impressive source criticism is merely sophisticated polemic. In fact, this section shows Foxe at both his best and his worst as a historian: on the one hand, his finding of documentary evidence to support his claims, and, on the other hand, his willingness to twist their contents and contexts to support his claims. Finally, Foxe also attacked the validity of De heretico comburendo, the statute mandating the death penalty for heresy. This was not directly germane to Foxe's rebuttal of Harpsfied, instead, it reflects his intense opposition to capital punishment in all heresy cases. This material remained unchanged in all subsequent editions.

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Thomas S. Freeman,
University of Sheffield

AS I was entring into thys story of the Lord Cobham, after the tractation of all the former histories, hetherto passed, hauing next to set vpon this present matter, luckely, and as God would, in such oportunitie of season, as may seeme, God to worke himself for defēce of his saintes: MarginaliaAlanus Copus Anglus, with his sixe Dialogues.cōmeth to my hands a certayne booke of new found dialoges, written in latine by one Alanus Copus Anglus, an Englishe man, a person to me vnknowen, and obscure hetherto vnto the worlde, but now to purchase hymselfe a name wyth Erostratus, MarginaliaErostratus to get him a fame set Dianas temple on fire.or with the sonnes of Enachim, cōmeth out not wyth hys fiue egges, but with his sixe rayling dialoges. MarginaliaAlanus Copus, intemperately abuseth his penne.In the which dialoges the sayd Alanus Copus Anglus (whether he vnder the armour of other, or other vnder the title of his name, I know not, nor passe not) vncourteously behauing himselfe, intemperatly abusing his tyme, study, and pen, forgetting himselfe, neglectyng all respect of honesty, and mylde modestye, neyther dreading the stroke of God, nor passing for shame, neither fauouring the lyuing, nor sparing the dead, who beyng alyue as they neuer offended hym, so now cannot aunswere for themselues beyng gone: MarginaliaCopus a barker agaynst dead men.thus prouokyng both God & man against him, after an vnseemely sort, & wyth a foule mouth, & a stinking breath, rageth and fareth agaynst dead mens ashes, takyng now the spoyle of their good name, after their bodyes lye slayne in the field. Hys gall & choler beyng so bitter against them, that he cannot abyde any memory after them to remayne vpon the earth. In so much that for the hatred of them, he spurneth also agaynst me, and fleeth in my face, for that in my Actes and Monumentes, describyng the history of the Church, I would say any thyng in the fauour of them, whom the Romishe Catholikes haue so vnmercifully put to death. MarginaliaAnswere to Alanus Copus.The aunswere to whose booke although it would require a seuerall tractation by it selfe (as if Christ graūt space & leysure, hereafter it shall not be forgotten) yet because such oportunitie of the booke is offred to me at thys present, commyng now to the matter of the Lord Cobham, Sir Roger Acton and other, wyth whom he first beginneth to quarell, it shall be requisite a little by the way to cope wyth this Cope, whatsoeuer he be, so much as truth shall geue me for their defence to say somethyng. And here to cut of all the offals of hys rayling talke and vnhonest rebukes, which I leaue to scoldes and men of his profession agaynst they lyst to braule, let vs briefly and quietly consider the matter, for discussing of the truth. MarginaliaIndifferencie of the reader craued.Wherein first I shall desire the Reader wyth equall indifferencie to heare both þe partes to speake, as well what the Martyrs hence gone & slayne could say for themselues, if they were present, as also what thys man here doth obiecte agaynst them now beyng gone. And so according to the same to iudge both vpon them as they deserue, and of me as they shall please.

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MarginaliaWhether the L. Cobham be to be iudged a traitour, or a martyr.Now to the scope of master Copes matter, which is thys, whether thys foresayd syr Iohn Oldcastell, L. Cobham (first to beginne wyth him) is rather to be commēded for a Martyr, or to be reproued for a traytor. And whether that I in writing of hym and of sir Roger Acton, wyth other moe in my former edition, haue delt fraudulently & corruptly in conmmending them in these Actes and Monumentes, or no. Touching the discussion whereof, first I trust þt gētle M. Cope my frend, neither will, nor wel cā deny any part of all that hetherto, touching þe story of þe Lord Cobhā hath bene premised. Who yet all this while was neither traytor to hys countrey, nor rebell to his prince, as by the course of his history hetherto the reader may well vnderstand. MarginaliaThe Lord Cobhā true and obedient to K. Henry. 4.First in the time of king Henry the fourth, he was sent ouer to Fraūce to the Duke of Orlyance, he did obey. MarginaliaThe Lord Cobham in the beginning fauoured of kyng Henry the. v.Afterward K. Henry the fift, comming to the crowne, he was of him likewise wel lyked and fauoured, MarginaliaThe kynges displeasure procured agaynst the L. Cobham by popyshe prelates.vntill the time that Tho. Arundel with his clergie, complaining to the king, made bate betwene thē. Then the Lord Cobham beyng cited by the Archbyshop, at hys cytacyon, woulde not appeare. But sent for by the kyng, he obeyed and came. Being come, what lowly subiection he shewed there to the king, the pag. 536. declareth. After he yealded an obedient confessiō of his faith, it wold not be receaued. Then did he appeale to the byshoppe of Rome, MarginaliaThe L. Cobhā obedient to the k..for the which the kng toke great displeasure with him, and so was he repealed by the kyng to the Archb. and committed to the tower, which also he did obey. MarginaliaThe L. Cobham constant in hys fayth, to the sentence of death.From thēce he was brought to hys examination once or twise: there like a constant martyr and witnesse of the truth, he stood to hys confession, and that vnto the very sentence of death defined agaynst hym. If this be not the effect of a true Martyr, let Alanus Copus, say what he will, or what he can. This I say, at least I doubt, whether the sayd Alanus Copus Anglus, put to the like triall himselfe, would venter so narow a point of martyrdome for his religion, as this christiā knight did for his. Certes it hath not yet appeared.

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To procede, after this deadly sentence, was thus awarded against him, the sayd Lord Cobham was then returned agayne vnto the tower, which he with pacience and mekenes did also obey: from the which tower if he afterward by the Lordes prouidēce did escape, whither hath Alanus Copus herein more to prayse God for offering to hym the benefite, or to blame the man for takyng that which was offered. What Catholicke in all Louen hauying hys house ouer hys hed on fire, will not be glad to haue if he might, the dore set open to flee the perill? or els why did Alanus Copus, flee his country hauing so little nede, if this mā, bledyng almost vnder the butchers axe, might not enioye so great an offer of so lucky deliuerance?

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Thus hitherto I trust, the cause of the lord Cobham, standeth firme and strong agaynst all daunger of iust reprehension. MarginaliaThe L. Cobham worthy the name of a martyr.Who beyng (as ye haue heard) so faythfull and obedient to God: so submisse to his kyng: so sound in his doctrine: so constant in his cause: so afflicted for the truth: so ready and prepared to death: as we haue sufficiētly declared not out of vncerteine and doubtfull chronicles, but out of the true originals & instruments remayning in ancient records: What lacketh now, or what should let to the contrary, but that he declaring himself such a martyr, that is a witnes to the verity (for the which also at last he suffered e fire) may therfore worthily be exorned with the title of a martyr, MarginaliaThe name of a martyr what it signifieth.which is in Greke as much as a witnes bearer.

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But here now steppeth in Dame xxx, with her cosen scold Alecto, &c. who neither learning to hold her tōg, nor yet to speake well, must nedes find here a knot in a rush, and beginning now to quarell, inferreth thus: MarginaliaCalumnia.But after (sayth he) that the Lord Cobham was escaped out of the tower, his fellowes and confederates, conuented themselues together, seditiously against þe king & against their country: A great crime no doubt M. Cope, if it be true. So if it be not true, the greater blame returneth vnto your self, so to enter this action of such slaunder, vnles the ground wherupon ye stād, be sure. First what felowes of þe L. Cobhā, were these you meane of? MarginaliaSyr Roger Acrō knight.
M. Iohn Brown Esquier.
Iohn Beuerley preacher.
Syr Roger Acton, ye say, maister Browne & Ihon Beuerley, with 36. other hanged and burned in the sayd field of S. Giles. A maruelous matter, t such a great multitude of xx. M. specified in story, should rise against the kyng, & yet but iij. persons only known and named. Thē to procede further, I would aske of maister Cope what was the end of this conspiracy, to rebell agaynst the kyng, to destroy their country, and to subuert the Christian fayth, for so purporteth the story. As lyke true the one as the other. For euen as it is like, that they being Turkes went about to destroy the fayth of Christ wherin they dyed, and to subuerte their country wherin they were bred: euen so like it is, that they went about to destroy the kyng, whom God and their conscience taught to obey.

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Yet further procedeth this fumish promoter in his accusation, and sayth moreouer: that these foresayd fellowes and adherentes of the Lord Cobham, were in the field assembled, and there incamped in a great number agaynst the king: and how is this proued? by Robert Fabian. MarginaliaRob. Fabiā proued with an vntruth.Whiche appeareth to be as true, as that which in the said Robert Fabian followeth, in the same place where he affirmeth that Io. Cledon, and Richard Turmin, were burnt in the same yere, beyng. 1413. When in dede by the true Registers, they were not burnt before the yere of our lord. 1415. MarginaliaAn vntruth in Alanus Copus.But what wil maister Cope say, if the originall copy of the inditement of these pretensed conspirators do testifie, that they were not there assembled or present in the field as your accusation pretendeth? But they purposed (will you say) and intended to come. The purpose and intent of a mans mynde is hard for you and me to iudge, where as no fact appeareth. But geue their intent was so to come: Yet might they not come to those thickets nere to the field of Saint Giles, hauing Beuerly their Preacher wyth thē (as ye say your self) as wel to pray & preach in that woody place, as wel as to fight? MarginaliaPraying & preaching in backe corners a commō thing in tyme of persecution.Is this such a strange thing in the church of Christ, in time

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