PAMPHLETS, TRACTS, AND BALLADS, 1569-1574
OF THE BALLADS, tracts, and pamphlets relating to the Northern Rebellion, three important items appeared while the rebels were still in the field. The first of these is a pamphlet written by Thomas Norton and entitled To the Quenes Maiesties Poor Deceiued Subiects in the North Countrey ( 1569). Since Norton was most prominent among the loyal polemists, he merits our attention before we turn to the pamphlet itself.
A native of Bedfordshire, Thomas Norton is not to be confused with any of the Yorkshire Nortons who were so notorious as rebel leaders.1 He is best known, of course, as the coauthor of Gorboduc ( 1561), a tragedy dealing with the problems of succession and the evils of civil war. Norton is famous also as the translator of Calvin Institutes, the great work of the reformer whom Professor Allen has described as the most important figure in sixteenth-century political thought.2 The Institutes, a work of accretion first published in Basle in 1536, is especially notable for its lucid chapter on civil obedience. Norton's translation, which appeared in 1561, was reprinted seven times before the end of the century.
Norton was the friend of John Foxe, whose Actes and Monuments incited the growing anger of the antipapists and led Roman Catholic polemists to denounce the "Foxe-made martyrs" of the Protestants. As a lawyer and member of Parliament, he was appointed official censor of the Queen's Roman Catholic subjects and performed his duties with such zeal that he became known as the "rackmaster."3 There is no evidence that Norton's pamphlets were officially sponsored; but it is probable, as Dixon