To accusations of grave abuses and malversations in money matters was added one of even more importance. In July, 1451, Jacques was at Taillebourg, in Guyenne, whence he wrote to his wife that "he was in as good case and was as well with the king as ever he had been, whatever anybody might say."

In fact, so far was this hostility carried, that secret measures were taken to investigate his malversations, and to collect evidence against him; and it was resolved in parliament that, should the testimony collected justify their suspicions, they would have him seized and brought before them; would give him a brief trial, and, if convicted, would hang him in the courtyard of the palace, and throw open the gates after the execution, that the public might behold his corpse!

"Nothing but deceit is lurking in the Spanish proposals," he said. "Every man here wonders that the English government does not comprehend these malversations. Truly the affair is not to be made straight by new propositions, but by a vigorous resolution of his Majesty.

Unfortunately, his successors here soon destroyed the good effects of his measures by continual variations in the system, and in the commercial tariffs. They attempted to prevent smuggling by increasing the duties, the very means of encouraging contraband trade, and the old mismanagement and malversations in the custom-houses revived.

The devotion to the heavenly saints, of which he made such a parade, was upon the miserable principle of some petty deputy in office, who endeavours to hide or atone for the malversations of which he is conscious by liberal gifts to those whose duty it is to observe his conduct, and endeavours to support a system of fraud by an attempt to corrupt the incorruptible.

Still preserving an appearance of moderation, he forwarded to the court a plausible list of grievances, asserting that when these were redressed, and Lord Say, the treasurer, and Cromer, the sheriff of Kent, had been punished for their malversations, he and his men would lay down their arms.

What venality! what disorder! what wastefulness! everything put up for sale: places, provisions, clothing, and military, all were disposed of. Have they not actually consumed 75,000,000 in advance? And then, think of all the scandalous fortunes accumulated, all the malversations! But are there no means of making them refund? We shall see."

The trial lasted five years, and, on the 9th of April, 1527, a decree of Parliament condemned Semblancay to the punishment of death and confiscation of all his property; not for the particular matter which had been the origin of the quarrel, but "as attained and convicted of larcenies, falsifications, abuses, malversations, and maladministration of the king's finances, without prejudice as to the debt claimed by the said my lady, the mother of the king."

What venality! what disorder! what wastefulness! everything put up for sale: places, provisions, clothing, and military, all were disposed of. Have they not actually consumed 75,000,000 in advance? And then, think of all the scandalous fortunes accumulated, all the malversations! But are there no means of making them refund? We shall see."

The party must have been less numerous than by the romantic tradition or confused notation of my youth, and what I mainly remember of it beyond my sense of our being at once an attendant train to my aged and gentle and in general most unadventurous grandmother, and a chorus of curiosity and amusement roundabout the vivid Gussy, is our collective impression that State prisons were on the whole delightful places, vast, bright and breezy, with a gay, free circulation in corridors and on stairs, a pleasant prevalence of hot soup and fresh crusty rolls, in tins, of which visitors admiringly partook, and for the latter, in chance corners and on sunny landings, much interesting light brush of gentlemen remarkable but for gentlemanly crimes that is defalcations and malversations to striking and impressive amounts.