… By W. S., Gentleman’ (T. Marsh, London, 1581, 4to). A second edition appeared in the same year; it was reprinted in 1751, when the publisher attributed the authorship to Shakespeare. This ridiculous assumption was easily confuted by Farmer in his ‘Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare’ (1821, pp. 81–4). The book, which has also been attributed to Sir Thomas Smith (1513–1577) [q. v.] and his nephew, William Smith, was republished in the ‘Harleian Miscellany’ (1808, vol. ix.) and in the ‘Pamphleteer’ (1813, vol. v.); and a German translation, by E. Leser, appeared in 1895. In 1876 it was edited for the New Shakspere Society by Dr. Furnivall, who combated the authorship of William Stafford, pointing out the absence of evidence and the absurdity of making the allusion to ‘undutiful behaviour,’ written in 1581, apply to treasonable practices committed in 1586. But no satisfactory attempt to investigate the authorship was made until 1891, when Miss Elizabeth Lamond contributed to the ‘English Historical Review’ (vi. 284–305) a conclusive refutation of Stafford's authorship. She discovered two extant manuscripts of the work—one belonging to Mr. William Lambarde, and the other formerly belonging to the Earl of Jersey (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. App. i. 92) and now in the Bodleian Library (Add. C. 273). A third, which escaped her notice, is is among the Hatfield MSS. (Cal. Hatfield MSS. i. 52). The Lambarde manuscript was written not later than 1565, and the Historical Manuscripts Commissioners erroneously dated the two others 1547. From internal evidence it is evident that the work was written in the summer of 1549, and it gives an invaluable account of inclosures, debasement of the coinage, and other causes of social distress during the reign of Edward VI. Miss Lamond attributed the authorship, with considerable probability, to John Hales (d. 1571) [q. v.] The work was not published until 1581, when W.S., whoever he may have been, brought it up to date, and issued it as his own composition. The alterations are clumsy; but one added passage, attributing the rise in prices to the influx of precious metals from the Indies, is notable as the first indication of the perception of this truth in England. The Lambarde manuscript was published by Miss Lamond in 1893 with introduction, appendices, and notes.
[Cal. State Papers, Dom. and Addenda, 1580–1625; Cal. Hatfield MSS. pt. iii.; Harl. MSS. 36, f. 357, 288 ff. 170–1; Camden's Annales, ed. Hearne, ii. 526–8; Wood's Fast, i. 378; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ix. 375–6; Dr. Furnivall's Forewords to the edition of 1876; Miss Lamond's Introd. to her edition of 1893; English Hist. Rev. vi. 284–305; authorities cited in text.]
STAFFORD, WILLIAM (1593–1684), pamphleteer, born in Norfolk in 1593, was the son of William Stafford (1554–1612) [q. v.], by his wife Anne, daughter of Thomas Gryme of Antingham, Norfolk. He matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 8 Nov. 1611, graduated B.A. on 4 July 1614, and was created M.A. on 5 March 1617–18. On the death of his uncle, Sir John Stafford, in 1624, he succeeded to the estate of Marlwood Park in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, and, according to Wood, was at one time a member of the House of Commons (perhaps he was the W.S., member for Stamford in 1661). He was the author of ‘The Reason of the War, with the Progress and Accidents thereof, written by an English Subject’ (London, 1646, 4to). He writes as a moderate parliamentarian, and evinces great desire for peace on the basis of a constitutional monarchy. In the preface he mentions that parts of his work had been published in the previous year ‘in much imperfection and some haste.’ Wood conjectured that this treatise might be identical with a pamphlet entitled ‘An Orderly and Plaine Narration of the Beginnings and Causes of this Warre. Also a Conscientious Resolution against the Warre on the Parliament Side’ (1644, 4to). The works are, however, entirely different, and the latter publication, which was written by a staunch royalist, bitterly attacks the action of parliament. Stafford lived to a great age, and was buried at Thornbury on 4 July 1684. By his wife, Ursula Moore, he was the father of John, and the grandfather of Richard Stafford [q. v.]
[Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 378–9; Fosbroke's Hist. of Gloucestershire, 1807, ii. 131; Notes and Queries, III. ix. 375–6; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 14409, f. 307.]
STAGG, JOHN (1770–1823), Cumberland poet, known in Cumberland as the blind bard, was born in 1770 at Burg-by-Sands, near Carlisle, where his father, a tailor, possessed a small property. The boy showed unusual promise, and his parents decided to educate him for the church, but while he was still young an accident deprived him of his sight and put an end to his studies. For some time he made a livelihood by keeping a library in the little town of Wigton and playing his fiddle at local merry-makings. In his twentieth year he married, and at the same date published a