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Henry, afterwards Henry the Eighth. From such an association, which necessarily plunged him into scenes of the most fascinating gaiety and dissipation, no other result could have been expected than what actually occurred, an addiction to wasteful expenditure and thoughtless excess.
Of this we have a melancholy proof in a letter from the old lord, still existing among the family papers, and addressed to a privy counsellor of Henry the VIIIth, with the view of having the grievances which it enumerates placed before the eye of the young monarch. It appears to have been written, though without date, about 1512, when Henry Clifford was in his twentieth year, and paints in strong colours the disobedience and even violence which he, the father, experienced from the misconduct of his son, who, he tells us, scrupled not to spoil his houses and seize his goods for the maintenance of his “ inordinate pride and ryot, as speciallie dyd apere when coming into ye contrie, he aparellyd himself and hys horse in cloth of golde and goldsmyth's wark, more lyk a duke than a pore baron's sonne as
hee ys;" and then, after recounting his many acts of personal disrespect to himself, he adds, “ moreover he in his countree makyth debate betweene gentilmen, and trobleth divers housys of religioun, to bring from them ther tythes, shamfully beting ther tenaunts, and s’vants, in such wyse as' some whol townes are fayne to kepe the churches both nighte and daye, and dare not com at their own housys *.”.
From the quarter, however, to which these com, plaints were addressed there could be little probability of interference; for Henry Clifford was à great favourite with the new monarch, and this, as the countess of Pembroke has remarked in the Memoirs of her family, “made him more stout and less submitting to his old father, Henry, lord Clifford, than otherwise he would have been t." In short, presuming on the affection of his sovereign, so far as to believe that his conduct in a remote part of the north of England, however dissolute, would be overlooked, he became, in fact, the leader of a troop of banditti, committing in the idle levity of his heart, or for the sake of plunder, all the wanton mischief and spoliation of which his father so justly complains.
History of Craven, p. 255. + Censura Literaria, Vol. vi. p. 404, from Harl. MSS. 6177,
To this lawless and degrading career, there is reason however to conclude, that an early stop was put by the humanizing power of love; for he must have married shortly after the letter which I have quoted was written, being a father by his second wife, lady Margaret Percy, daughter of the sixth earl of Northumberland, at the age of twenty-four ; and, as it is not likely that he would continue this irregular line of conduct after he had entered into the marriage state, we may flatter ourselves that his father's closing years were cheered by beholding him a wiser and a better man.
The next view, indeed, which we have of this nobleman, presents him to us under a much more imposing aspect; for scarcely had two years elapsed after his accession to the lordship and honour of Skipton, when Henry the Eighth, who had not forgotten their former intimacy, conferred upon him the dignity of earl of Cumberland.
Of his lordship’s expenses to London on this occasion, and during a residence there of five weeks and one day, a very curious account has been
preserved by Dodsworth, from an original in Skipton Castle which has now perished ; and from this document, and from Dr. Whitaker's observations
upon it, I shall present my readers with a few facts which will throw no uninteresting light upon the manners and modes of living which prevailed during the reign of Henry the Eighth.
It was during the months of June and July, and in the seventeeth year of Henry's reign, that this journey was undertaken ; a period of the year somewhat different from that which a nobleman would now select for a visit to the metropolis ; but, at that time, the badness of the roads was such as to render an early spring or winter journey to town an achievement not only difficult but hazardous. It appears
that the new earl was attended on this expedition by thirty-three of his servants on horseback. How many days were occupied in travelling is not mentioned, but his expenses on the road are put down at 71. 158. ld. On his arrival in the capital, he was lodged at Derby-place, now the Heralds’ College ; and we find, from the first list of charges, that his expenditure in house-keeping for himself and his whole retinue, including horses, did not amount to more than forty-six pounds, seven shillings, or about nine pounds per week; a circumstance which will the less surprise us, when we read, under the same head, that his wine for five weeks
amounted to the sum of three shillings, and his desserts, consisting of cherries, to two-pence ! There is an article also for rushes, which, even in the apartments of the palace, had not yet given way to the much more cleanly and elegant accommodation
of the carpet.
Yet immediately afterwards, under the title of “ Household Stuff bought,” we discover that both napkins and table-cloths, a luxury which many might suppose of much later date, were purchased both for the parlour and hall of this earl in 1525.
Then follows an account of the sums expended for new liveries, which, on such an occasion, it was thought necessary should be of the most sumptuous kind ; and they are accordingly described as consisting of coats laced with gold and silver, faced with satin, and embroidered with the cognizances of the Cliffords. But one of the most extraordinary items in this part of the expenditure is, “ To the parson of Guisely for his livery, 13s. 4d. ;” a strange term for the robes of one who appears to have acted as chaplain to the family.
We have seen, from the complaints of his father, that this nobleman was in his earliest youth a great lover of dress'; nor did the partiality appear to desert