Showing posts with label bastardy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bastardy. Show all posts

Tuesday, 27 December 2016


" The . . . Act of Succession had specified that a legal royal heir must be 

issue of her body lawfully to be begotten.” 

In 1571

“lawfully to be begotten” 

was struck by Parliament, permitting royal bastards to be legal heirs to the Crown. "

Legitimacy, Illegitimacy and Sovereignty in
Shakespeare’s British Plays
A thesis submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of
PhD in the faculty of Humanities
Katie Pritchard

" By means of this extraordinary clause [in the 1571 Act], Elizabeth was opening the door to the possibility that even if she refrained from naming an illegitimate child as her successor, 
others might in time take the opportunity to do so. "

Red Hair is associated with True Royalty.

 If my dear love were but the Child of State,
It might for Fortune's bastard be unfather'd'
As subject to Time's love or to Time's hate,
Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers gather'd.
No, it was builded far from accident; 
It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls
Under the blow of thralled discontent,
Whereto the inviting time our fashion calls:
It fears not policy, that heretic,
Which works on leases of short-number'd hours, 
But all alone stands hugely politic,
That it nor grows with heat nor drowns with showers.

To this I witness call the fools of time,
Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.

Red Hair is associated with True Royalty.

It is associated with the bloodline of the last of the Neanderthal Augments.

Human-Neanderthal Hybrids.

Homo Sapiens
Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis
Earth-Gods created via genetic, psychosurgical and vivisectional augmentation by Space Gods.

Men like Arthur, Conan, Richmond or Aurakles.

Bastardy in Shakespeare

William Shakespeare, King John (1594-96):

  [K. John.]  Why, being younger born,
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?

  Bast.  I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
But whe’er I be as true begot or no,
That still I lay upon my mother's head,
But that I am as well begot, my liege
(Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!),
Compare our faces and be judge yourself.
If old sir Robert did beget us both
And were our father and this son like him,
O old sir Robert, father, on my knee
I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee! (1.1.71-83)

  Bast.  Brother, adieu: good fortune come to thee!
For thou wast got i' the way of honesty.

Exeunt all but Bastard.

A foot of honour better than I was;
But many a many foot of land the worse.
Well, now can I make any Joan a lady.
'Good den, sir Richard!' – 'God-a-mercy, fellow!' –
And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter;
For new-made honour doth forget men's names;
'Tis too respective and too sociable
For your conversion. Now your traveller,
He and his toothpick at my worship's mess,
And when my knightly stomach is sufficed,
Why then I suck my teeth and catechise
My picked man of countries: 'My dear sir,'
Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin,
'I shall beseech you' – that is question now;
And then comes answer like an Absey book:
'O sir,' says answer, 'at your best command;
At your employment; at your service, sir;'
'No, sir,' says question, 'I, sweet sir, at yours:'
And so, ere answer knows what question would,
Saving in dialogue of compliment,
And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
The Pyrenean and the river Po,
It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
But this is worshipful society
And fits the mounting spirit like myself,
For he is but a bastard to the time
That doth not smack of observation;
And so am I, whether I smack or no;
And not alone in habit and device,
Exterior form, outward accoutrement,
But from the inward motion to deliver
Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth:
Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising. (1.1.180-216) 

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99):

  D. John.  I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdain’d of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any. In this (though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man) it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchis’d with a clog, therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking. In the meantime let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me. (1.3.27-37)

  [Bene.]  If their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practise of it lives in John the Bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies. (4.1.187-89)

William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida (1601-03):

  Ther.  What art thou?

  Mar.  A bastard son of Priam’s.

  Ther I am a bastard too, I love bastards. I am bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valor, in everything illegitimate. One bear will not bite another, and wherefore should one bastard? Take heed, the quarrel’s most ominous to us. If the son of a whore fight for a whore, he tempts judgment. Farewell, bastard.(5.7.14-22)

William Shakespeare, King Lear (1605):

  Edm.  Thou, Nature, art my goddess, to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition, and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land.
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word, “legitimate”!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards! (1.2.1-22)

  Edm.  This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon's Tail, and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous. Fut! I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar –  [Enter Edgar.]  and pat! he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy. My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! Fa, sol, la, mi. (1.2.118-37)

William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale (1610-11):

  [Leon.]  My child? Away with't! Even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence
And see it instantly consumed with fire.
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight.
Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,
(And by good testimony), or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine. If thou refuse
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire. (2.3.132-41)

William Shakespeare, The Tempest (1611):

  [Pros.]  This misshapen knave –
His mother was a witch, and one so strong
That could control The Moon, make flows and ebbs,
And deal in her command without her power.
These three have robb'd me, and this demi-devil
(For he's a bastard one) had plotted with them
To take my life. Two of these fellows you
Must know and own, this thing of darkness I
Acknowledge mine.

1571 | History of Parliament Online

3rd Parliament of Elizabeth I, 13 Eliz. I
17 Feb. 1571
2 Apr. 1571
29 May 1571
2 Apr. 1571-29 May 1571

Long description

In the interval of five years since her last Parliament Elizabeth had faced an uprising of rebellion fomented by Catholic nobles in the north of England, and received a bull of excommunication from Pope Pius V.1 Discontent and pressure for change was mounting on both sides of the Elizabethan Settlement of religion. Her current negotiations for marriage with the Catholic duke of Anjou (future Henri III of France) furthermore added to the anxieties of Protestant reformers. Anticipating that the Commons would be eager to enter into religious debates and again press for the royal succession to be settled, Elizabeth instructed them at the opening on 2 Apr. to ‘meddle with noe matters of state but such as should be propounded unto them, and to occupy themselves in other matters concerninge the commen wealth’.2 The selection of a royal serjeant-at-law, Christopher Wray, as Speaker was perhaps intended to ensure that this injunction be strictly enforced; it was he, sitting as an assize judge, who had recently dealt with the northern rebels at Lancaster, York and Carlisle. Fewer privy councillors than hitherto were available to help manage the Commons. Elizabeth’s right-hand man Sir William Cecil now sat in the House of Lords having been ennobled as Baron of Burghley shortly before the election writs were issued. It may be for this reason that conferences between the two Houses, which had previously been unusual, gradually became a standard parliamentary procedure on major subjects of debate during the rest of the reign.3
The size of the Commons had risen by nine percent since 1559, to a total of 438; at a call of the House on 5 Apr. several boroughs were found to have returned Members that had not done so in the last Parliament, prompting the appointment of a committee to investigate.4 This is the first Parliament of Elizabeth’s reign for which unofficial diaries of the Commons’ proceedings are extant; one was kept by an anonymous MP covering 2-21 April, and another of the whole session by John Hooker, burgess for Exeter. These provide a much fuller account of debates than the Commons Journal, which also became more detailed than in preceding Parliaments following Fulk Onslow’s appointment to replace John Seymour† as clerk.
The session began with an attempt to re-introduce several religious measures known as the ‘alphabetical bills’ that had failed in 1566. On 6 Apr. two notable parliamentarians, William Strickland and Burghley’s client Thomas Norton, made a ‘motion for uniformity in religion’ whereupon a committee was immediately appointed to confer with the bishops. A new bill to enforce church attendance was also read twice and committed. Thereafter things rapidly began to go awry. Strickland introduced a much more radical bill to revise the prayer book; this clearly did not have official backing but by association sabotaged the bishops’ programme of moderate reforms. Only two religious measures were eventually enacted, namely an ‘Act to reform certain disorders touching ministers of the church’ that required all clergy to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Article of religion, and an Act against simony in ecclesiastical leases. Elizabeth vetoed the bill ‘for coming to the church and receiving of the communion’ despite considerable support for it in both Houses and the Privy Council, and put a stop to further debate with a message on 1 May that ‘concerninge rytes and ceremonyes she, beinge supreme hedd of the Church, wolde consider thereof as the case sholde require’.5
At the first mention of a subsidy the notorious troublemaker Robert Bell (nicknamed “Bell the orator” for his role in 1566) raised a number of complaints particularly concerning the abuses of purveyors and royal licencees, and demanded redress of grievances before supply. In addition to the appointment of a committee to draft the subsidy bill a general committee for grievances was established for the first time, but Bell did not escape the queen’s displeasure. She sent a message on 10 Apr. that the Commons was not ‘to make new motions every man at his own pleasure’ or discuss matters touching her prerogative without prior permission.6 Both Bell and Strickland were summoned before the Privy Council and reprimanded; Strickland was even sequestered from the Commons for a short time before being permitted to resume his seat. After the Easter recess Peter Wentworth, whose brother Paul had defended freedom of speech in 1566, made an impassioned appeal against the intimidation of Members and called for the preservation of the Commons’ liberties. Speaker Wray restored order by reporting that the queen had promised ‘to take order for licences, wherein shee had bene carefull and more carefull woulde bee’, but in fact this ugly clash over the prerogative foreshadows the end of Elizabeth’s reign when monopolies granted by royal licence and letters patents would become a source of serious conflict between Crown and Parliament.7
Several important pieces of social and economic legislation were passed in 1571 including statutes legalizing usury (moneylending), and for the maintenance of tillage and the navy. A further government-sponsored bill made it treason to uphold the Pope’s bull of excommunication. This passed after heated debate, and at the close of the Parliament on 29 May elicited the comment from Elizabeth that at first sight ‘it lyked us not’, and particularly after revision by the Commons she ‘myslyked it very miche beinge not of the mynde to offer xtremitie or iniurie to any person’, though she consented to an amended version. A total of 29 Statutes and 12 private measures were enacted.
For further information on this Parliament, see the Appendix to the Introductory Survey for 1558-1603. 

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

End Notes

The Royal Succession Under Elizabeth

Author: Rosemary Sgroi
Even before her accession to the English throne Elizabeth was expected to marry and had no shortage of suitors. Once queen her prospective marriage became a matter of national importance and parliamentary debate because it was inseparable from the questions of who would succeed her on the throne and whether they would maintain the Protestant religion of the church established by the Elizabethan Settlement. Although she accepted in theory that it was her duty to provide an heir, Elizabeth clearly had a deep-seated aversion to the idea of marriage and was loath to be advised concerning either matrimony or the succession. Both Houses of Parliament saw fit to petition her repeatedly on these issues despite her evasive answers and attempts to block discussion of all such prerogative ‘matters of state’. In the Commons this was taken to impugn freedom of speech; it remained a source of tension even after pressure on Elizabeth to marry had been eclipsed by the problem of how to exclude undesirable contenders such as the Catholic Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, from taking the English throne. By refusing to name her heirs Elizabeth managed to manipulate the succession as a political tool throughout her reign, to the intense frustration of her counsellors, but ultimately as an effective strategy of self-assertion at home and abroad.
An impressive array of European princes including her sister’s widower Philip II of Spain, Archduke Charles of Austria (brother of the Holy Roman Emperor), and Eric of Sweden vied for Elizabeth’s hand at the start of the reign, as did English noblemen such as the earl of Arundel; however, she took none of them seriously. Rumour instead connected her with Sir Robert Dudley†, whom she appointed Master of the Horse upon her accession, and later created earl of Leicester. Marrying Dudley, the son and grandson of executed traitors, would have been unpopular and divisive; it is unclear whether Elizabeth ever really considered it, although many believed that this relationship was the true reason why she refused betrothal to anyone else. It was perhaps to combat scandalous gossip that in her reply to the Commons’ petition of Feb. 1559 she announced: ‘in the end this shalbe for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a queene, having raigned such a tyme, lived and dyed a virgin’. (Proceedings in the Parliaments of Elizabeth I, ed. T.E. Hartley, i. 44-5.)
By the mid-1560s Elizabeth had certainly ruled Dudley out. Her renewal of interest in the Catholic Archduke Charles’s proposal at this time was at least partly motivated by the desire to avoid pressure from Parliament, having received separate entreaties to marry from both Commons and Lords in 1563. She dispatched ambassadors to Vienna to negotiate terms with Charles ahead of the 1566 session but further clashes over the succcession were unavoidable. Of particular concern was the birth of James Stuart, who had a claim to the English throne via his mother, Elizabeth’s cousin Mary Queen of Scots. Elizabeth quashed parliamentary agitation by reminding a delegation from both Houses of the danger of being ‘a seconde parson as I have byn’, arguing that to limit the succession as they requested would entail ‘sum peryll unto yow, and certeyn dangere unto me’. (Procs. i. 145-9.) By 1572 Mary was a prisoner in England; however, Elizabeth refused to put her on trial for conspiring with the traitorous duke of Norfolk, and also vetoed a parliamentary bill excluding the Stuarts from the succession which had passed both Houses.
During the 1570s Elizabeth was courted first by Henri, duke of Anjou and then by his younger brother Francis, duke of Alençon. Parliament petitioned Elizabeth to marry for the last time in 1576 although by this time her prospect of having children was extremely unlikely. In her mid-forties she began to flirt more seriously with Francis her ‘frog’ after learning of the earl of Leicester’s secret marriage; Francis visited the English court in 1579 and his proposal received greater consideration than that of any previous suitor. However, the French match was unpopular, even amongst the privy council. When MPs John Stubbe and Philip Sidney wrote tracts against it Elizabeth was so offended that Stubbe’s right hand was cut off for sedition and Sidney was banished from Court. By the 1580s the marriage question was dead and Elizabeth instead cultivated the image of a glorious virgin queen.
The discovery of further treasonous plots involving Mary Stuart kept the succession in the spotlight throughout the period 1572-87. Following her eventual execution her son James VI of Scotland became the obvious frontrunner to succeed Elizabeth. Parliamentary feelings towards him were mixed; despite his appeal as a Protestant male heir to the throne Job Throckmortonargued against placing too much faith in the ‘younge impe of Scotlande’, while others conceded Elizabeth’s point that it might be dangerous while she lived to have ‘two suns in one firmament’. (Procs. ii. 264, 285.) In 1593 Peter Wentworth, the Commons’ most ardent proponent of free speech who had until recently been imprisoned in the Tower for writing a tract advancing James’ title as the future king of England, concocted a petition ‘for intayling the succession’ with the support of several Members including Henry Bromley. Unsurprisingly Elizabeth was ‘highly displeased therwithall as a matter contrarie to her former strate commaundement’ and Wentworth was recommitted to the Tower where he languished until his death. (Procs. iii. 68.) Over the ensuing decade James’ candidature became increasingly secure. While publicly refusing to formally acknowledge him as her heir Elizabeth and her counsellors, particularly Robert Cecil, did begin to conduct a secret and coded correspondence with James so that his accession to the English throne was automatically proclaimed at her death in March 1603.