1450: The Rebellion of Jack Cade

Classic Pamphlet

Helen M. Lyle, last updated: 3rd June 2015

Tudor Rebellion

‘When Kings and chief officers suffer their under rulers to misuse their subjects and will not hear nor remedy their people's wrongs when they complain, then suffereth God the rebel to rage and to execute that part of His justice which the partial prince will not.'

Thus did the Tudor pamphleteers of The Mirror for Magistrates, writing a hundred and twenty years later, complacently dismiss Cade's Rebellion. They were enjoying securely the benefits of a system of strong central authority and active local government which the men of 1450 were groping towards in the chaos of their own times.

In their eyes, the problems with which they were concerned had little to do with the Divine purpose for the country, except in so far as the breakdown of long familiar institutions, held for generation to be part of the Natural Order, was one of the most distressing symptoms of the time. The elaborate system, devised for an age of comparative honour and poverty, no longer worked in the late fifteenth century, which was becoming increasingly faithless and wealthy...

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