Billeder på siden

days after. It was a pestilent fever, but, as it moned immediately after his coming to London. seemeth, not seated in the veins or humours, for His ends in calling a parliament, and that so that there followed no carbuncle, no purple or speedily, were chiefly three: first to procure the livid spots, or the like, the mass of the body be- crown to be entailed upon himself. Next, to ing not tainted; only a malign vapour flew to the have the attainders of all of his party, which heart and seized the vital spirits; which stirred were in no small number, reversed, and all acts nature to strive to send it forth by an extreme of hostility by them done in his quarrel remitted sweat. And it appeared by experience, that this and discharged; and on the other side, to attaint disease was rather a surprise of nature than ob- by parliament the heads and principals of his stinate to remedies, if it were in time looked enemies. The third, to calm and quiet the fears unto. For if the patient were kept in an equal of the rest of that party by a general pardon; not temper, both for clothes, fire, and drink, mode- being ignorant in how great danger a king stands rately warm, with temperate cordials, whereby from his subjects, when most of his subjects are nature's work was neither irritated by heat, nor conscious in themselves that they stand in his turned back by cold, he commonly recovered. danger. Unto these three special motives of a But infinite persons died suddenly of it, before parliament was added, that he, as a prudent and the manner of the cure and attendance was known. moderate prince, made this judgment, that it was It was conceived not to be an epidemic disease, fit for him to hasten to let his people see, that he but to proceed from a malignity in the constitution meant to govern by law, howsoever he came in of the air, gathered by the predispositions of sea- by the sword; and fit also to reclaim them to sons; and the speedy cessation declared as much. know him for their king, whom they had so lately On Simon and Jude's even the king dined with talked of as an enemy or banished man. For Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury that which concerned the entailing of the crown, and Cardinal: and, from Lambeth, went by land, more than that he was true to his own will, that over the bridge to the Tower, where the morrow he would not endure any mention of the Lady after, he made twelve knights bannerets. But for Elizabeth, no not in the nature of special entail, creations he dispensed them with a sparing hand. he carried it otherwise with great wisdom and For notwithstanding a field so lately fought, and measure: for he did not press to have the act a coronation so near at hand, he only created penned by way of declaration or recognition of three: Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, the king's un-right; as, on the other side, he avoided to have it cle, was created Duke of Bedford; Thomas, the by new law or ordinance, but chose, rather, a Lord Stanley, the king's father-in-law, Earl of kind of middle way, by way of establishment, Derby; and Edward Courtney, Earl of Devon; and that under covert and indifferent words: though the king had then nevertheless a purpose" that the inheritance of the crown should rest, in himself to make more in time of parliament; bearing a wise and decent respect to distribute his creations, some to honour his coronation, and some his parliament.

The coronation followed two days after, upon the thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1485; at which time, Innocent the Eighth was Pope of Rome; Frederick the Third, Emperor of Almain; and Maximilian, his son, newly chosen King of the Romans; Charles the Eighth, King of France; Ferdinando and Isabella, Kings of Spain; and James the Third, King of Scotland: with all which kings and states the king was at that time in good peace and amity. At which day, also, as if the crown upon his head had put perils into his thoughts, he did institute, for the better security of his person, a band of fifty archers, under a captain, to attend him, by the name of yeomen of his guard : and yet that it might be thought to be rather a matter of dignity, after the imitation of that he had known abroad, than any matter of diffidence appropriate to his own case, he made it to be understood for an ordinance not temporary, but to hold in succession forever after.

The seventh of November, the king held his parliament at Westminster, which he had sum

remain, and abide in the king," &c., which words might equally be applied, that the crown shall continue to him; but whether as having former right to it, which was doubtful, or having it then in fact and possession, which no man denied, was left fair to interpretation either way. And again, for the limitation of the entail, he did not press it to go farther than to himself and to the heirs of his body, not speaking of his right heirs, but leaving that to the law to decide; so as the entail might seem rather a personal favour to him and his children, than a total disinherison to the house of York; and in this form was the law drawn and passed. Which statute he procured to be confirmed by the pope's bull the year following, with mention, nevertheless, by way of recital, of his other titles, both of descent and conquest: so as now the wreath of three was made a wreath of five; for to the three first titles of the two houses, or lines, and conquest, were added two more, the authorities parliamentary and papal.

The king likewise, in the reversal of the attainders of his partakers, and discharging them of all offences incident to his service and succour, had his will; and acts did pass accordingly. In the passage whereof, exception was taken to di

tempts against him, so as they submitted themselves to his mercy by a day, and took the oath of allegiance and fidelity to him. Whereupon many came out of sanctuary, and many more came out of fear, no less guilty than those that had taken sanctuary,

As for money or treasure, the king thought it not seasonable or fit to demand any of his subjects at this parliament; both because he had received satisfaction from them in matters of so great importance, and because he could not remunerate them with any general pardon, being prevented therein by the coronation-pardon passed immediately before: but chiefly, for that it was in every man's eye, what great forfeitures and confisca tions he had at that present to help himself, whereby those casualties of the crown might in reason spare the purses of the subject, especially in a time when he was in peace with all his neigh

vers persons in the House of Commons, for that they were attainted, and thereby not legal nor habilitate to serve in parliament, being disabled in the highest degree, and that it should be a great incongruity to have them to make laws who them selves were not inlawed. The truth was, that divers of those which had in the time of King Richard been strongest, and most declared for the king's party, were returned knights and burgesses for the parliament, whether by care or recommendation from the state, or the voluntary inclination of the people; many of which had been by Richard the Third attainted by outlawries or otherwise. The king was somewhat troubled with this; for though it had a grave and specious show, yet it reflected upon his party. But wisely not showing himself at all moved therewith, he would not understand it but as a case in law, and wished the judges to be advised thereupon; who for that purpose were forthwith assembled in the Exche-bours. Some few laws passed at that parliament quer Chamber, which is the council chamber of the judges, and upon deliberation they gave a grave and safe opinion and advice, mixed with law and convenience; which was, that the knights and burgesses attainted by the course of law should forbear to come into the house till a law were passed for the reversal of their attainders.

almost for form's sake; amongst which there was one to reduce aliens being made denizens, to pay strangers custom; and another to draw to himself the seizures and compositions of Italians' goods, for not employment, being points of profit to his coffers, whereof from the very beginning he was not forgetful; and had been more happy at the latter end, if his early providence, which kept him from all necessity of exacting upon his peo

therein. He added, during parliament, to his former creations, the ennoblement or advancement in nobility of a few others; the Lord Chandos of Britain was made Earl of Bath; Sir Giles Daubeney was made Lord Daubeney; and Sir Robert Willoughby, Lord Brook.

It was at that time incidently moved amongst the judges in their consultation, what should be done for the king himself, who likewise was at-ple, could likewise have attempered his nature tainted? But it was with unanimous consent resolved, "That the crown takes away all defects and stops in blood: and that from the time the king did assume the crown, the fountain was cleared, and all attainders and corruption of blood discharged." But nevertheless, for honour's sake, it was ordained by parliament, that all records, wherein there was any memory or mention of the king's attainder, should be defaced, cancelled, and taken off the file.

But on the part of the king's enemies there were by parliament attainted, the late Duke of Gloucester, calling himself Richard the Third; the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Surrey, Viscount Lovel, the Lord Ferrers, the Lord Zouch, Richard Ratcliffe, William Catesby, and many others of degree and quality. In which bills of attainders, nevertheless, there were contained many just and temperate clauses, savings, and provisoes, well showing and fore-tokening the wisdom, stay, and moderation of the king's spirit of government. And for the pardon of the rest that had stood against the king, the king, upon a second advice, thought it not fit it should pass by parliament, the better, being matter of grace, to impropriate the thanks to himself, using only the opportunity of a parliament time, the better to disperse it into the veins of the kingdom. Therefore, during the parliament, he published his royal proclamation, offering pardon and grace of restitution to all such as had taken arms, or been participant of any at

The king did also with great nobleness and bounty, which virtues at that time had their turns in his nature, restore Edward Stafford, eldest son to Henry, Duke of Buckingham, attainted in the time of King Richard, not only to his dignities, but to his fortunes and possessions, which were great; to which he was moved also by a kind of gratitude, for that the duke was the man that moved the first stone against the tyranny of King Richard, and indeed made the king a bridge to the crown upon his own ruins. ment brake up.

Thus the parlia

The parliament being dissolved, the king sent forthwith money to redeem the Marquis Dorset and Sir John Bourchier, whom he had left as his pledges at Paris, for money which he had borrowed when he made his expedition for England. And thereupon he took a fit occasion to send the Lord Treasurer and Master Bray, whom he used as counsellor, to the Lord Mayor of London, requiring of the city a prest of six thousand marks; but after many parleys he could obtain but two thousand pounds; which, nevertheless the king took in good part, as men use to do that practise to borrow money when they have no need. About

this time, the king called unto his privy council | ment the king despised and continued his journey John Morton and Richard Fox, the one Bishop of to York. At York there came fresh and more Ely, the other Bishop of Exeter; vigilant men and certain advertisement, that the Lord Lovel was secret, and such as kept watch with him almost at hand with a great power of men, and that the upon all men else. They had been both versed Staffords were in arms in Worcestershire, and in his affairs before he came to the crown, and had made their approaches to the city of Worceswere partakers of his adverse fortune. This ter to assail it. The king, as a prince of great Morton soon after, upon the death of Bourchier, and profound judgment, was not much moved he made Archbishop of Canterbury. And for with it; for that he thought it was but a rag or Fox, he made him lord keeper of his privy seal, remnant of Bosworth-field, and had nothing in it and afterwards advanced him by degrees, from of the main party of the house of York. But he Exeter to Bath and Wells, thence to Durham, was more doubtful of the raising of forces to reand last to Winchester. For although the king sist the rebels, than of the resistance itself; for loved to employ and advance bishops, because, that he was in a core of people whose affections having rich bishopricks, they carried their reward he suspected. But the action enduring no delay, upon themselves; yet he did use to raise them he did speedily levy and send against the Lord by steps, that he might not lose the profit of the Lovel to the number of three thousand men, ill first fruits, which by that course of gradation was armed, but well assured, being taken some few multiplied. out of his own train, and the rest out of the tenants and followers of such as were safe to be trusted, under the conduct of the Duke of Bedford. And as his manner was to send his pardons rather before the sword than after, he gave commission to the duke to proclaim pardon to alı that would come in; which the duke, upon his approach to the Lord Lovel's camp, did perform. And it fell out as the king expected; the heralds were the great ordnance. For the Lord Lovel,

At last, upon the eighteenth of January, was solemnized the so long expected and so much desired marriage between the king and Lady Elizabeth; which day of marriage was celebrated with greater triumph and demonstrations, especially on the people's part, of joy and gladness, than the days either of his entry or coronation, which the king rather noted than liked. And it is true, that all his lifetime, while the Lady Elizabeth lived with him, for she died before him, he show-upon proclamation of pardon, mistrusting his ed himself no very indulgent husband towards her, though she was beautiful, gentle, and fruitful. But his aversion towards the house of York was so predominant in him, as it found place not only in his wars and councils, but in his chamber and bed.

Towards the middle of the spring, the king, full of confidence and assurance, as a prince that had been victorious in battle, and had prevailed with his parliament in all that he had desired, and had the ring of acclamations fresh in his ears, thought the rest of his reign should be but play, and the enjoying of a kingdom: yet, as a wise and watchful king, he would not neglect any thing for his safety, thinking, nevertheless, to perform all things now rather as an exercise than as a labour. So he being truly informed that the northern parts were not only affectionate to the house of York, but particularly had been devoted to King Richard the Third, thought it would be a summer well spent to visit those parts, and by his presence and application of himself to reclaim and rectify those humours. But the king, in his account of peace and calms, did much overcast his fortunes, which proved for many years together, full of broken seas, tides, and tempests. For he was no sooner come to Lincoln, where he kept his Easter, but he received news that the Lord Lovel, Humphrey Stafford, and Thomas Stafford, who had formerly taken sanctuary at Colchester, were departed out of sanctuary, but to what place no man could tell: which advertise

men, fled into Lancashire, and lurking for a time with Sir Thomas Broughton, after sailed over into Flanders to the Lady Margaret; and his men, forsaken of their captain, did presently submit themselves to the duke. The Staffords, likewise, and their forces, hearing what had happened to the Lord Lovel, in whose success their chief trust was, despaired and dispersed. The two brothers taking sanctuary at Colnham, a village near Abingdon; which place, upon view of their privilege in the king's bench, being judged no sufficient sanctuary for traitors, Humphrey was executed at Tyburn; and Thomas, as being led by his elder brother, was pardoned. So this rebellion proved but a blast, and the king, having by this journey purged a little the dregs and leaven of the northern people, that were before in no good affection towards him, returned to London.

In September following, the queen was delivered of her first son, whom the king, in honour of the British race, of which himself was, named Arthur, according to the name of that ancient worthy king of the Britons, in whose acts there is truth enough to make him famous, besides that which is fabulous. The child was strong and able, though he was born in the eighth month, which the physicians do prejudge.

There followed this year, being the second of the king's reign, a strange accident of state, whereof the relations which we have are so naked, as they leave it scarce credible; not for the nature of it, for it hath fallen out often, but for the man

ner and circumstances of it, especially in the be- | such an abject fellow to enterprise so great a matginnings. Therefore we shall make our judgment upon the things themselves, as they give light one to another, and as we can dig truth out of the mine. The king was green in his estate; and, contrary to his own opinion and desert both, was not without much hatred throughout the realm. The root of all was the discountenancing of the house of York, which the general body of the realm still affected. This did alienate the hearts of the subjects from him daily more and more, especially when they saw, that after his marriage, and after a son born, the king did nevertheless not so much as proceed to the coronation of the queen, not vouchsafing her the honour of a matrimonial crown; for the coronation of her was not till almost two years after, when danger had taught him what to do. But much more when it was spread abroad, whether by error, or the cunning of malcontents, that the king had a purpose to put to death Edward Plantagenet closely in the Tower: whose case was so nearly paralleled with that of Edward the Fourth's children, in respect of the blood, like age, and the very place of the Tower, as it did refresh and reflect upon the king a most odious resemblance, as if he would be another King Richard. And all this time it was still whispered everywhere, that at least one of the children of Edward the Fourth was living: which bruit was cunningly fomented by such as desired innovation. Neither was the king's nature and customs greatly fit to disperse these mists, but contrariwise, he had a fashion rather to create doubts than assurance. Thus was fuel prepared for the spark: the spark, that afterwards kindled such a fire and combustion, was at first contemptible.

There was a subtile priest called Richard Simon,* that lived in Oxford, and had to his pupil a baker's son, named Lambert Simnell, of the age of some fifteen years, a comely youth, and well favoured, not without some extraordinary dignity and grace of aspect. It came into this priest's fancy, hearing what men talked, and in hope to raise himself to some great bishoprick, to cause this lad to counterfeit and personate the second son of Edward the Fourth, supposed to be murdered; and afterward, for he changed his intention in the manage, the Lord Edward Plantagenet, then prisoner in the Tower, and accordingly to frame him and instruct him in the part he was to play. This is that which, as was touched before, seemeth scarcely credible; not that a false person should be assumed to gain a kingdom, for it hath been seen in ancient and late times; nor that it should come into the mind of

* The priest's name was William Simonds; and the youth was the son of , an organ-maker, in Oxford, as the priest declared before the whole convocation of the clergy,

at Lambeth, Feb. 17, 1486.-Vide Reg. Morton f. 34. MS. Sandcroft.--Note from a former but not the original edition.

ter; for high conceits do sometimes come streaming into the minds and imaginations of base persons, especially when they are drunk with news and talk of the people. But here is that which hath no appearance: that this priest, being utterly unacquainted with the true person, according to whose pattern he should shape his counterfeit, should think it possible for him to instruct his player, either in gesture and fashions, or in recounting past matters of his life and education; or in fit answers to questions, or the like, any ways to come near the resemblance of him whom he was to represent. For this lad was not to personate one that had been long before taken out of his cradle, or conveyed away in his infancy, known to few; but a youth, that till the age almost of ten years had been brought up in a court where infinite eyes had been upon him. For King Edward, touched with remorse of his brother the Duke of Clarence's death, would not, indeed, restore his son, of whom we speak, to be Duke of Clarence, but yet created him Earl of Warwick, reviving his honour on the mother's side; and used him honourably during his time, though Richard the Third afterwards confined him. So that it cannot be, but that some great person that knew particularly and familiarly Edward Plantagenet, had a hand in the business, from whom the priest might take his aim. That which is most probable, out of the precedent and subsequent acts is, that it was the queen-dowager from whom this action had the principal source and motion. For certain it is, she was a busy negotiating woman, and in her withdrawing-chamber had the fortunate conspiracy for the king against King Richard the Third been hatched; which the king knew, and remembered perhaps but too well; and was at this time extremely discontent with the king, thinking her daughter, as the king handled the matter, not advanced but depressed: and none could hold the book so well to prompt and instruct this stage-play as she could. Nevertheless it was not her meaning, nor no more was it the meaning of any of the better and sager sort that favoured this enterprise, and knew the secret, that this disguised idol should possess the crown; but at his peril to make way to the overthrow of the king; and that done they had their several hopes and ways. That which doth chiefly fortify this conjecture is, that as soon as the matter brake forth in any strength, it was one of the king's first acts to cloister the queen-dowager in the nunnery of Bermondsey, and to take away all her lands and estate; and this by a close council, without any legal proceeding, upon far-fetched pretences that she had delivered her two daughters out of sanctuary to King Richard, contrary to promise. Which proceeding being even at that time taxed for rigorous and undue, both in matter and manner, makes it very probable there was some greater

ter matter against her, which the king, upon rea- | Plantagenet. The earl presently communicated son of policy, and to avoid envy, would not pub- the matter with some of the nobles, and others lish. It is likewise no small argument that there there, at the first secretly; but finding them of was some secret in it, and some suppressing of like affection to himself, he suffered it of purpose examinations, for that the priest Simon himself, to vent and pass abroad; because they thought it after he was taken, was never brought to execu- not safe to resolve, till they had a taste of the peotion; no, not so much as to public trial, as many ple's inclination. But if the great ones were in clergymen were upon less treasons, but was only forwardness, the people were in fury, entertainshut up close in a dungeon. Add to this, that ing this airy body or phantasm with incredible after the Earl of Lincoln, a principal person of the affection; partly, out of their great devotion to the house of York, was slain in Stockfield, the king house of York; partly, out of a proud humour in opened himself to some of his council, that he was the nation, to give a king to the realm of Engsorry for the earl's death, because by him, he said, land. Neither did the party, in this heat of afhe might have known the bottom of his danger. fection, much trouble themselves with the attainder of George, Duke of Clarence; having newly learned, by the king's example, that attainders do not interrupt the conveying of title to the crown. And as for the daughters of King Edward the Fourth, they thought King Richard had said enough for them; and took them to be but as of the king's party, because they were in his power and at his disposing. So that with marvellous consent and applause, this counterfeit Plantagenet was brought with great solemnity to the castle of Dublin, and there saluted, served, and honoured as king; the boy becoming it well, and doing nothing that did bewray the baseness of his condition. And within a few days after he was proclaimed king, in Dublin, by the name of King Edward the Sixth; there being not a sword drawn in King Henry's quarrel.


But to return to the narration itself: Simon did first instruct his scholar for the part of Richard, Duke of York, second son to King Edward the Fourth; and this was at such time as it was voiced that the king purposed to put to death Edward Plantagenet, prisoner in the Tower, whereat there was great murmur. But hearing soon after a general bruit that Plantagenet had escaped out of the Tower, and thereby finding him so much beloved amongst the people, and such rejoicing at his escape, the cunning priest changed his copy, and chose now Plantagenet to be the subject his pupil should personate, because he was more in the present speech and votes of the people; and it pieced better, and followed more close and handsomely, upon the bruit of Plantagenet's escape. But yet doubting that there would be too near looking, and too much perspective into his dis- The king was much moved with this unexpectguise, if he should show it here in England; he ed accident when it came to his ears, both bethought good, after the manner of scenes in stage cause it struck upon that string which ever he plays and masks, to show it afar off; and there- most feared, as also because it was stirred in such fore sailed with his scholar into Ireland, where a place where he could not with safety transfer the affection to the house of York was most in his own person to suppress it. For partly through height. The king had been a little improvident natural valour, and partly through a universal in the matters of Ireland, and had not removed suspicion, not knowing whom to trust, he was officers and counsellors, and put in their places, or ever ready to wait upon all his acheivements in at least intermingled, persons of whom he stood person. The king therefore first called his counassured, as he should have done, since he knew | cil together at the Charter-house at Shine; which the strong bent of that country towards the house of York; and that it was a ticklish and unsettled state, more easy to receive distempers and mutations than England was. But trusting to the reputation of his victories and successes in England, he thought he should have time enough to extend his cares afterwards to that second kingdom.

Wherefore through this neglect, upon the coming of Simon with his pretended Plantagenet into Ireland, all things were prepared for revolt and sedition, almost as if they had been set and plotted beforehand. Simon's first address was to the Lord Thomas Fitz-Gerard, Earl of Kildare, and deputy of Ireland; before whose eyes he did cast such a mist, by his own insinuation, and by the carriage of his youth, that expressed a natural princely behaviour, as joined perhaps with some inward vapours of ambition and affection in the earl's own mind, left him fully possessed that it was the true VOL. I.-41

council was held with great secrecy, but the open decrees thereof, which presently came abroad, were three.

The first was, that the queen-dowager, for that she, contrary to her pact and agreement with those that had concluded with her concerning the marriage of her daughter Elizabeth with King Henry, had nevertheless delivered her daughters out of sanctuary into King Richard's hands, should be cloistered in the nunnery of Bermondesy, and forfeit all her lands and goods.

The next was, that Edward Plantagenet, then close prisoner in the Tower, should be, in the most public and notorious manner that could be devised, showed unto the people: in part to discharge the king of the envy of that opinion and bruit, how he had been put to death privily in the Tower; but chiefly to make the people see the levity and imposture of the proceedings of Ire

« ForrigeFortsæt »