A recently released book by Michael Blanding and Dennis McCarthy titled North by Shakespeare claims that Sir Thomas North may have inspired most or all of the plays of Shakespeare and/or that William Shakespeare may have copied or plagiarized the works of Thomas North.
Scholar and co-author Dennis McCarthy claims that the phrase “after them” followed by “next them with” followed by “them” and “after them” is so rare, that the odds of someone else writing these simple phrases (along with describing a procession of Cardinals) is astronomical.
According to McCarthy, “The odds of the two men writing the same phrases cannot be coincidental.” And, “William Shakespeare must have borrowed directly from Thomas North”. Or did he? I disagree. Because I found another book that was not written by either Thomas North or William Shakespeare that includes the magical phrase of “after them”, followed by “next them with”, “then”, and “after them”. I found it by accident.
I posted a video about my finding on YouTube and if you are here, it could be because my video sucked. I was NOT crystal clear. (I got interrupted while making the video and lost my place.) So, perhaps the images below will help you better understand what I was trying to say in the video.
Now, it may have been an accident or I might have been just goofing around, but I capitalized the word “After” which automatically changed the search results.
Bottomline: doing this brought me to what is called “Hardwicke papers 1501 Volume One”.
On page 98, I found an account of the procession of Cardinals from 1555 written by Bishop Thomas Thorlby who had traveled to Italy to witness the coronation of Pope Paul IV.
You can do a Google search for the term “Hardwicke papers 1501 vol 1” and retrace my steps. Just remember, it’s found in Volume one. The book is available for free through Google books.
Next, go to page 98 to find the “magical phrase”. (See below)
Obviously, Dennis McCarthy is a brilliant researcher and a smart guy. My point is not to claim I am any better or smarter than anyone else. I am just trying to solve the mystery of who really did write the Shakespeare canon as I do not believe it was the man from Stratford. Nor do I believe it was Thomas North either.
Please note: Thomas North did accompany Bishop Thomas Thorlby to Rome. But, did Thomas North also write two separate and different accounts of the trip to Rome? Or was one written by Bishop Thorlby and the other by North? If so, it appears that Thorlby’s version was kept in the crown’s State Papers where it was found in the early 1700’s and published by Hardwicke.
What were the crown’s State Papers? The term State papers is used in Britain and Ireland to refer to government archives and records. They were the “Top Secret” or “Classified Documents” of their day so who would have had access to them? Technically only the secretary of state.
John Vere was the secretary of state under Queen Mary and Lord Burghley was secretary of state under Queen Elizabeth I.
I believe Edward de Vere could have read these state papers. He was the precocious son of John Vere. Could he have read Thorlby’s travel journals at age seven? Considering that Edward de Vere attended Queen’s College Cambridge when he was only eight years old, it does not seem out of the realm of possibility.
After his father’s death, Edward de Vere was raised by Lord Burghley and lived with him at Cecil House for nine years. So, could he have read the travel journals at Cecil House where the state papers would have been kept? Again, it does seem possible.
Also, Edward de Vere’s secretary was Anthony Munday who was Thomas North’s book editor, so who knows? Thomas North may have lent Munday his travel journals to read and his boss, Edward de Vere managed to read them.
In other words, if Dennis McCarthy is saying Thomas North was the only person who could have read his private travel journals to write the scenes described in the play King John, it’s not exactly true. Edward de Vere certainly could have read North’s travel journals as well as Thorlby’s version found in the state papers, right?
As for William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon? Would he have had access to Thomas North’s travel journals? No. What about the state papers of Bishop Thomas Thorlby’s journey? No.
Still, William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon should be commended for not saying or writing a word to anyone. These days, people would immediately rush to social media to spread the word.
However, my words may not convince you of anything. If so, not a problem. If you wish to discover the reasons why I doubt his authorship, please check out The Real-Life Mystery of Shakespeare’s Lost Years: solving the mysteries, myths, and mistakes of William Shakespeare.