- Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay. Volume 1 by George Otto Trevelyan
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SmartBook TM is the first and only adaptive reading experience designed to change the way students read and learn. In order to dis, cover the secret source of the contrivance, and take measure. The first event which followed these deliberations gave sur. This crime, which was now become obsolete, and might admit of alleviations, was therefore suspected not to be the real cause of the severity with which she was treated; and men believed that the king, unwilling to accuse so near a relation of a conspiracy against him, had cloaked his vengeance or precaution under color of an offence known to the whole world.
The next measure of the king's was of a less exceptionable nature. He ordered that Warwick should be taken from the Tower, be led in procession through the streets of London, he conducted to St. Paul's, and there exposed to the view of the whole people. He even gave directions, that some men of rank, attached to the house of York, and best acquainted with the person of this prince, Should approach him and converse with him: The expedient had its effect in England: This nobleman, who possessed capacity and courage, had entertained very aspiring views; and his ambition was encouraged by the known intentions of his uncle Richard, who had formed a design, in case he himself should die without issue, of,'eclaring Lincoln successor to the crown.
The king's jealousy against all eminent persons of the. York party, and Bacon, p. Margaret, Widow of Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, not having any children of her own, attached herself with an entire friendship to her daughter-in-law, married to Maxi.
By her virtuous conduct and de. The resentments of this princess were no less warm than her friendships; and that spirit of faction, which it is so difficult for a social and sanguine temper to guard against, had taken strong possession of her heart, and intrenched somewhat on the probity which shone forth in the other parts of her character.
Hearing of the malignant jealousy entertained by Henry against her family, and his oppressinn of all its partisans, she was moved with the highest indignation; and she determined to make him repent of that enmity to which so many of her fiiends, without any reason or necessity, had fallen victims.
The countenance given by persons of such high rank, and the accession of this military force, much raised the courage of the Irish, and made them entertain the resolu. The poverty also ulnder which they labored, made it impossible for them to support any longer their new court and army, and inspired them wvith a strong desire of enriching themsel e: Henry was not ignorant of these intentions of his enemies and he prepared himself for defence.
He ordered troops to be levied in different parts of the kingdom, and put them under the command of the duke of Bedford and earl of Oxford. He confined the marquis of Dorset, who, he suspected, would resent the injuries suffered by his mother, the queen dowager and, to gratify the people by an appearance of devotion, he made a pilgrimage to our lady of Walsingham, famous for miracles; and there offered up prayers for success, aid for deliverance from his enemies. Being informed that Simnel was landed at Foudrey in Lancashire, he drew together his forces, and advanced towards the enemy as far as Coventry.
The rebels had entertained hopes that the disaffected counties in the.
Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay. Volume 1 by George Otto Trevelyan
The earl of Lincoln, therefore, who commanded the rebels, Efnd. The hostile armies met at Stoke, in the county of Nottingham, and fought a battle, which was bloody, and more obstinately disputed than could have been expected from the inequality of their force. All the leaders of the rebels were resolved to conquer or to perish; and they inspired their troops with like resolution. The Germans also, being veteran and expprierlced soldiers, kept the event long doubtful; and even the Irish, though ill-armed and almost defenceless, showed themselves not defective in spirit and bravery.
The king's victory was purchased with loss, but was entirely decisive. Lincoln, Broughton, and Swart perished in the field of battle, with four thousand of their followers. As Lovel was never more heard of, he was believed to have undergone the same fate. Simnel, with his tutor, Simon, was taken prisoner. Simon, being a priest, was not tried at law, and was only committed to close custody: Simnel was too contemptible to be an object either of apprehension or resentment to Henry.
He was pardoned, and male a scullion in the king's kitchen. A strict inquiry was made after those who had assisted or favored the rebels. The punishments were not all sanguinary: Heavy fines were levied upon the delinquents. The proceedings of the courts, and even the courts themselves, were arbitrary.
Either the criminals were tried by commissioners appointed for the purpose, or they suffered punishment by sentence of a court-martial. And as a rumor had prevailed before the battle of Stoke, that the rebels had gained the victory, that the royal army was cut in pieces, and that the king himself had escaped by flight, Henry was resolved to interpret the belief or propagation of this report as a mark of disaffection; and he punished many for that pretended crime.
But such in this age was the situation of the English government, that the royal prerogative, which was but imperfectly restrained during the most peaceable periods, was sure, in tumultuous or even suspicious times, which frequently recurred, to break all bounds of law, and to violate public liberty. After the king had gratified his rigor by the punishment of his enemies, he determined to give contentment to the people in a point which, though a mere ceremony, was passionately desired by them. The queen had been married near two years, but had not yet been crowned; and this affectation of delay had given great discontent to the public, and had been one principal source of the disaffection which prevailed.
The king, instructed by experience, now finished the ceremony of her coronation; and to show a disposition still more gracious, he restored to liberty the marquis of Dorset, who had been able to clear himself of all the suspicions entertained against him. T'he kingdom of Scotland had not vet attained that state which distinguishes a civilized monarchy, and which enables the government, by the force of its laws and institutions alone, without any extraordinary capacity in the sovereign, to maintain itself in order and tranquillity.
When he bestowed his confidence on any of the principal nobility, he found that they exalted their own family to such a height as was dangerous to the prince, and gave umbrage to the state: Had Henry entertained the ambition of conquests, a tempting opportunity now offered of reducing that kingdom to subjection;' but as he was probably sensible that a warlike people, though they might be overrun by reason of their domestic divisons, could not be retanied in ohedience without a regular military force, which was then unknown in England, he rather intended the renewal of the peace with Scotland, and sent an embassy to James for that purpose.
But the Scots, who never desired a durable peace with England, rnd who deemed their security to consist in constantly pre. Spain, which had hitherto been almost entirely occupied within herself, now became formidable by the union' of Arragon and Castile in the per;ons of Ferdinand and Isabella, who, being princes of great capacity, employed their force in enterprises the most advantageous to their combined monarchy.
The conquest of Grafiada from the Moors was then undertaken, and brought near to a happy conclusion. And in that expedition the mil-itdry genius of Spain was. Maximilian, king of the Romans, son of the emperor Fred erick, had, by his marriage with the heiress of Burgundy, acquired an interest in the Netherlands; and though the death of' his consort had weakened his connections with that country, he still pretended to the government as tutor to his son Philip, and his authority had been acknowledged by Brabant, Holland, and several of the provinces.
But as Flanders and HainauIt still refused to submit to his regency, and even appointed other tutors to Philip, he had been engaged in long wars against that obstinate people, and never was able thor. That he might free himself from the opposition of France, he had concluded. But this alliance had not produced the desired effect.
France, during the two preceding reigns,. Most of the great fiefs, Normandy Champagne, Anjou, Dauphiny, Guienne, Provence, and Bur gundy, had been united to the crown; the English had been expelled from all their conquests; the authority of the prince had been raised to such a height as enabled him to maintain law and order; a considerable military force was kept on foot, and the finances were able to support it.
On the contrary, this princess formined the great project, which at last she happily effected, of uniting to the crown Brittany, the last and most independent fief of the monarchy. The nobles of Brittany, displeased with the great advancement of this favorite, had even proceeded to disaffection against their sovereign; and after many tumults and disorders, they at last united among themselves, and in a violent manner seized, tried, and put to death the obnoxious minister. Dreading the resentment of the prince for this invasion of his authority, many of them retired to France; others, for protection and safety, maintained a secret correspondence with the French ministry, who, observing the great dissensions among the Bretons, thought the opportunity favorable for invading the duchy; and so much the rather as they could cover their ambition under the specious pretence of providing for domestic security.
Lewis, duke of Orleans, first prince of the blood, a-id presumptive heir of the monarchy, had disputed the administration with the lady of Beaujeu; and though his pretensions had been rejected by the states, he still maintained cabals with many of the grandees, and laid schemes for subverting the authority of that princess. Finding his conspiracies detected, ne took to arms, and fortified himself in Beaugenci; but as his revolt was precipitate, before his confederates were ready to join him, he had been obliged to submit, and to receive such. Actuated, however, by his ambition, and even by his fears, he soon retired out of France, and took shelter with the duke of Brittany, who was desirous of strengthening himself against the designs of the lady of Beaujeu by the friendship and credit of the duke of Orleans.
This latter prince also, perceiving the ascendant which he soon acquired over the duke of Brittany, had engaged many of his partisans to join him.
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The barons of Brittany, who saw all favor engrossed by the duke of Orleans and his train, renewed a stricter correspond. Desirous, however, of preserv ing its independency, they had regulated the number of succors which France was to send them, and had stipulated that no fortified place in Brittany should remain in the possession of that monarchy; a vain precaution, where revolted subjects treat with a power so much superior! The French invaded Brittany with forces three times more numerous than,,those which they had promised to the barons; and advancing into the heart of the country, laid siege to Ploermel.
To oppose them, the duke raised a numerous but ill-disciplined army, which he put under the command-of the duke of Orleans, the count of Dunois, and others of the French nobility. The army, discontented with this choice, and jealous of their confederates, soon disbanded, and left the4r prince with too small a force to keep the field against his invaders. He retired to lannes; but being hotly pursued by the French, who had now made themselves masters' of Ploermel, he escaped to Nantz; and the enemy, having previously taken and garri. The barons of Brittany, finding their country menaced with total subjection, began gradually to withdraw fromm the French army, and to make peace with their sovereign.
This desertion, however, of the Bretons discouraged not the court of France from pursuing her favorite project of;educing Brittany to subjection The situation of Europe appeared favorable'to the execution of this design. Maximilian was indeed engaged in close alliance with the duke of Brittany, and had even opened a treaty for marrying his daughter; but he was on all occasions so indigent, and at. Ferdinand was entirely qecupied in the conquest of Granada; and it was also known, that if France would resign to him Roussillon and Cerdagne, to which he had pretensions, she could at any time engage him to abandon the interests of Brittany.
England, alone, was both enabled by her power, and engaged by her interests, to support the independency of that duchy; and the most dangeious opposition was therefore, by Anne of Beaujeu, expected from that quarter. In order to cover her real designs,,no sooner was she informed of Henry's success against Simnel and his partisans, -than she despatched ambassadors to the court of London, and made professions of the greatest trust and confidence in that monarch. The ambassadors, after congratulating Henry on his late victory, and communicating to him, in the most cordial manner, as to an intimate friend, some successes of their master.
They told him that the duke having given protection to French fugitives and rebels, the king had been necessitated, contrary to his intention and inclination, to carry war into that duchy; that the honor of the crown was interested not to suffer a vassal so far to forget his duty to his liege lord; nor was the security of the government less concerned to prevent the consequences of this dangerous temerity: But all these artifices were in vain employed against the penetration of the king.
He clearly, saw that France had entertained the view of subduing Brittany; but he also perceived, that she would meet with great, and, as lie thought, insuperable difficulties in the execution of her project. The native force of that duchy, he knew, had always been considerable, and had often, without any foreign assistance, resisted the power of France; the natural temper of' the French nation, he imagined, would make them easily abandon any enterprise which required perseverance; and as the heir of the crown was confederated with the duke of Brittany, the ministers would be still more remiss in prosecuting a scheme which- must draw on them his resentment and displeasure.
Should even these internal obstructions be removed, Maximilian, whose enmity to France was well known, and who now paid his addresses to the heiress of Brittany, would lbe able to make a diversion on the side of Flanders; nor could it be expected that France, if she prosecuted such ambitious projects, would be allowed to remain in tranquillity by Ferdinand and Isabella. Above all, he thought the French court could never expect that England, so deeply interested to preserve the independency of Brittany, so able by her power and situa.
This reasoning of Henry was solid, and might justly engage him in dilatory and cautious measures: His frugality, which by degrees degenerated into avarice, made him averse to all warlike enterprises and distant expeditions, and engaged him previously to try the expedient of negotiation. He despatched Urswic, his almoner, a man of address and abilities, to make offer of his mediation to the contending parties; an offer which, he thought, if accepted by France, would soon lead to a composure of all differences; if refused or eluded, would at least discover the perseverance of that court in her ambitious projects.
Urswic found the lady of Beaujeu, now duchess of Bourbon, engaged in the siege of NIantz, and had the satisfaction to find that his master's offer of mediation was readily embraced and with many expressions of confidence and moderation. That able princess concluded, that the duke of Orleans, who governed the court of Brittany, foreseeing that every accommodation must be made at his expense, would use all his interest to have Henry's proposal rejected; and would by that means make an apology for the French measures, and draw on the Bretons the reproach of obstinacy and injustice.
The event justified her prudence. When the English ambassador made the same offer to the duke of Brittany, he received for answer, in the name of. When this answer was reported to the king, he abandoned not the plan which he had formed; he only concluded that some more time was requisite to quell the obstinacy of the Bretons, and make them submit to reason. And when he learned that the people of Brittany, anxious for their duke's safety, had formed a tumultuary army of sixty thousand men, and had obliged the French to raise the siege of Nantz, he fortified himself the more in his opinion, that the court of France would at last be reduced, by multiplied obstacles and difficulties, to abandon the project of reducing Brittany to subjection.
He continued, therefore, his scheme of negotiation, and thereby exposed himself to be deceived by the artifices of the French ministry; who, still pretending pacific intentions, sent Lord Bernard Daubigni, a Scotchman of quality, to London, and pressed Henry not to be discouraged in offering his mediation to the court of Brittany. No effectual succors, meanwhile, were provided for the distressed Bretons.
Lord Woodville, brother to the queen dowager, having asked leave to raise underhand a body of volunteers, and to transport them into Brittany, met with a refusal from the king, who was desirous of preserving the appearance of a strict neutrality. That nobleman, however, still persisted in his purpose. He went over to the Isle of Wight, of which he was governor, levied a body of- four hundred men; and having at last obtained, as is supposed, the secret permission of-Henry, sailed with them to Brittany.
This enterprise proved fatal to the leader, and brought small relief to the unhappy duke. The Bretons rashly engaged in a general action with the French at St. Aubin, and were discomfited. Woodville and all the English were put to the swora, together with a body of Bretons, who had been accoutred in the garb of Englishmen in order to strike a greater terror into the French, to whom the martial prowess. The death of the duke, which followed soon after, threw affairs into still greater confusion, and seemed to threat. Though the king did not prepare against these events, so hurtful to the interests of England, with sufficient vigor and precaution, he had not altogether overlooked them.
Determined to maintain a pacific conduct, as far as the situation of affairs would permit, he -yet knew the warlike temper of his subjects, and observed that their'ancient and inveterate animosity to France was now revived by the prospect of this great accession to her power and grandeur. He resolved, therefore, to make advantage of this disposition, and draw some supplies from the people, on pretence of giving assistance to the duke of Brittany. He had summoned a parliament at Westminster; t and he soon persuaded them to grant him a considerable subsidy.
The counties of Durham and York, always discontented with Henry's government, and further provoked by the late oppressions under which they had labored, after the suppression of Simnel's rebellion, resisted the commissioners who were appointed to levy the tax. The commissioners, terrified with this appearance of sedition, made application to the earl of Northumberland, and desired of him advice and assistance in the execution of their office.
That nobleman thought the matter of importance enough to consult'the king; who, unwilling to yield to the humors of a discontented populace, and foreseeing the pernicious consequence of such a precedent, renewed his orders for strictly levying the imposition. Northumberland summoned together the justices and chief freeholders, and delivered the king's commands in the most imperious terms whbh, he thought, would enforce obedience, but which tended only to provoke the people, and make them believe him the adviser of those orders which he delivered to them.
Having incurred such deep guilt, their mutinous humor prompted them to declare aga. Henry was not dismayed with an insurrection so precipitate and ill supported. He immediately levied a force, which he put under the command of the earl of Surrey, whom he had freed from confinement and received into favor.
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His intention was to send down these troops, in order to check the progress of the rebels; while he himself should follow with a greater body, which would absolutely insure success. But Surrey thought himself strong enough to encounter alone a raw and unarmed multitude; and he succeeded in the attempt. The rebels were dissipated; John Achamber was taken prisoner, and afterwards executed with some of his accomplices; Sir John Egremond fled to the duchess of Burgundy, who gave him protection; the greater number of the rebels received a pardon. Henry had probably expected, when he obtainel this grant from parliament, that he should be able to terminate the affair of Brittany by negotiation, and that he might thereby fill his coffers with the money levied by the imposition.
The king resolved therefore to engage as auxiliary to Brittany; and to consult the interests, as well-as desires of his people, by opposing himself to the progress of the French power. Besides entering into a league with Maximilian, and another with Ferdinand, which were distant resources, he levied a body of troops, to the number of six thousand men, with an intention of transporting them into Brittany.
Still anxious, however, for the repayment of his expenses, he con. The forces arrived under the command of Lord Willoughby of Broke; and made the Bretons, during some time, masters of the field.
The French retired into their garrisons; and expected by dilatory measures to waste the fire of the English, and disgust them with the enterprise. The scheme was well laid, and met with success. Lord Broke found such discord and confusion in the counsels of Brittany, that no measures could be concerted for any undertaking; no supply obtained; no provisions, carriages, artillery, or military stores procured.
The whole court was rent into factions: The English, disconcerted in every enterprise by these animosities and uncertain counsels, returned home as soon as the time of their service was elapsed; leaving only a small garrison in those towns which had been consigned into their hands.
During their stay in Brittany, they had only contributed still further to waste the country; and by their departure, they left it entirely at the mercy of the enemy. So feeble was the succor which Henry in this important conjuncture afforded his ally, whom the invasion of a foreign enemy, concurring with domestic dissensions, had reduced to the utmost distress.
The great object of the domestic dissensions in Brittany was the disposal of the young duchess in marriage. The rmareschal Rieux, favored by Henry, seconded the suit of the lord D'Albret, who led some forces to her assistance. The chancellor Montauban, observing the aversion of the duchess to this suitor, insisted that a petty prince, such as D'Albret, was unable to support Anne in her present extremities; and he recommended some more powerful alliance, particularly that of Maximilian, king of the Romans.
But this magnificent appellation was all she gained by her marriage. The French court now began to change their scheme with regard to the subjection of Brittany. Charles had formerly been affianced to Margaret, daughter of Maximilian; who, though too young for the consummation of her marriage, had been sent to Paris to be educated, and at this time bore the title of queen of France.
Besides the rich dowry which she brought the' king, she was, after her brother Philip, then in early youth, heir to all the dominions of the house of Burgundy; and seemed in many respects the most proper match that could be chosen for the young monarch. These circumstances had so blinded both Maximilian and Henry, that they never suspected any other intentions in the French court; nor were-they able to discover that engagements, seemingly so advantageous and so solemnly entered into, could be infringed and set aside.
But Charles began to perceive that the conquest of Brittany, in opposition to the natives, and to' all the great powers of Christendom, would prove a difficult enterprise; and that even if he should overrun the country and make himseilf master of the fortresses, it would be impossible for him long to retain possession of them. The marriage alone of the duchess could fully reannex that fief to the crown;: Above all, the marriage of Maximilian and Anne appeared destructive to the grandeur and even security of the French monarchy; while that prince, possessing Flanders on the one hand, and Brittany on the other, might thus, from both quarters, make inroads into the heart of the country.
The only remedy for these evils was therefore concluded to be the dissolution of the two marriages, which had been celebrated, but not consummated; and the espousal of the duchess of Brittany by the king of France. The measures of the French ministry in the con duct of this delicate enterprise were wise and political. While they presed Brittany with all the rigors of war, they secretly gained the count of Dunois, who possessed great authority with the Bretons; and having' also engaged in their interests the prince of Orange, cousin-german to the duchess, they gave him his liberty, and sent him into Brittany.
These partisans, supported by other emissaries of France, prepared the minds of men for the great revolution projected, and displayed, though still with many precautions, all the advantages of' a union with the French monarchy. They represented to the barons of Brittany, that their country, harassed during so many years with perpetual war, had need of some repose, and of a solid and lasting peace with the only power that was formidable to them: These suggestions had influence with the Bretons: That princess had imbibed a strong prepossession against the French nation, particularly against Charles, the author of all the calamities which, from her earliest infancy, had befallen her family.
She had also fixed her affections on Maximilian; and as she now deemed him her husband, she could not, she thought, without incurring the greatest guilt, and violating the most solemn engagements, contract a marriage with any other person. Mareschal Rieux and Chancellor Montauban were reconciled by his mediation; and these rival ministerx now concurred with the prince of Orange and the count rf. By their suggestion, Charles advanced with a powerful army, and invested Rennes, at that time the residence of the duchess; who, assailed on all hands, and finding none to support her in her inflexibility, at last opened the gates of the city, and agreed to espouse the king of France.
She was married at Langey, in Touraine; conducted to St. Denis, where she was crowned; thence made her entry into Paris, amidst the joyful acclamations of the people, who regarded this marriage as the most prosperous event that could have befallen the monarchy. The triumph and success of Charles was the most sensible mortification to the king of the Romans. He had lost a considerable territory, which he thought he had acquired, and an accomplished princess, whom he had espoused; he was affronted in the person-of his daughter Margaret, who was sent back to him, after she had been treated during some years as queen of France; he had reason to reproach himself with, his own supine security, inr neglecting the consummation of his mar'riage, which was easily practicable for him, and which would have rendered the tie indissoluble: The king of England had also just reason to reproach himself with misconduct in this important transaction; and though the affair had terminated in a manner which he could not precisely foresee, his negligence, in leaving his most useful ally so long exposed to the invasion of superior power, could not but appear on reflection the result of timid caution and narrow politics.
As he' valued himself on his extensive foresight and profound judgment, the ascendant acquired over him by a raw youth, such as Charles, could not but give him the highest displeasure, and prompt him to seek vengeance, after all remedy for his miscarriage was become absolutely impracticable. But he was further actuated by avarice, a motive still more predominant with him than either pride or revenge; and he sought, even from his present disappoint. Bacon says that the benevolence was nvied with consent of parliament, which is a mistako. This violence for such it really was fell chiefly on the commercial part of the nation, who were possessed of the ready money.
London alone contributed to the amount of near ten thousand pounds. Archbishop Morton, the chancellor, instructed the commissioners to employ a dilemma, in which every one might be comprehended: This device was by some called Chancellor Morton's fork, by others his crutch. So little apprehensive was the king of a parliament on account of his levying this arbitrary imposition, that he soon after summoned that assembly to meet at Westminster; and he even expected to enrich himrself further by working on their passions and prejudices.
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He knew the displeasure which the English had conceived against France on account of the acqui sition of Brittany; and- he took care to insist on that topic, in the speech which he himself pronounced to the parliament. He told them, that France, elated with her late successes, had even proceeded to a contempt of England, and had refused to pay the tribute which Lewis XI. France was not now in the same condition as when such successful inroads had been made upon her by former kings of England.
The great fiefs were united to the crown; the princes of the blood were desirous of tranquillity; the nation abounded with able captains and veteran soldiers; and the general aspect of her affairs seemed rather to threaten her neighbors, than to promise them any considerable advan. The levity and vain-glory of Maximilian were supported by his pompous titles; but were ill seconded by military power, and still less by any revenue proportioned to them.
The politic Ferdinand, while he made a show of war, was actually negotiating for peace; and rather than ex. But all these obvious considerations had no influence on the parliament. Inflamed by the ideas of subduing France, and of enriching themselves by the spoils of that kingdom, they gave into the snare prepared for them, and voted the supply which the king demanded.
Two fifteenths were granted him; and the better to enable his vassals and nobility to attend him, an act'Was passed, empowering them to sell their estates, without paying any fines for alienation. Many of them borrowed large sums, or sold off manors, that they might appear in the field with greater splendor, and lead out their follow ers in more complete order.
It was therefore of no consequence at what season he began the invasion; especially as he had Calais ready for winter quarters. The better to reconcile the minds of men to this unexpected measure, the king's ambassadors arrived in the camp from the Low Countries, and informed him, that Maximilian was in no readiness to join him; nor was any assistance to be expected from that quarter.
Soon after, messengers came from Spain, and brought news of a peace concluded between that kingdom and France, in which Charles had made a cession of the counties-of Roussillon and Cerdagne to Ferdinand. Though these articles of intelligence werecarefully dispersed throughout the army, the king was still apprehensive lest a sudden peace, after such magnificent promises and high expectations, might expose him to reproach.
In order the more effectually to cover the intended measures, he secretly engaged the marquis of Dorset, together with twenty-three persons of distinction, to present him a- petition for agreeing to a treaty with France. The pretence was founded on the late season of the year, the difficulty of sup. In consequence of these preparatory steps, the bishop of Exeter and Lord Daubeney were sent to confer at Estaples with'he mareschal de Cordes, and to put the last hand to the treaty.
A few days sufficed for that purpose: He engaged to pay Henry seven hundred and forty-five thousand crowns, near four hundred thousand pounds sterling of our present money; partly as a reimbursement of the sums advanced to Brittany, partly as arrears of the pension due to Edward IV. And he stipulated a yearly pension to Henry and his heirs of twenty-five thousand crowns. Thus the king, as remarked by his historian, made profit upon his subjects for the war, and upon his enemies for the peace.
Maximilian was, if he pleased, comprehended in Henry's treaty; but he disdained to be in any respect beholden to an ally, of whom, he thought, he had reason to complain: The peace concluded between England and France was the more likely to continue, because Charles, full of ambition and youthful hopes, bent all his attention to the side of Italy, and soon after undertook the conquest of Naples; an enterprise which Henry regarded with the greater indifference, as Naples lay remote from him, and France had never, in any age, been successful in that quarter.
The king's authority was fully established at home; and every rebellion which had been attempted against him, had hitherto tended only to confound his enemies, and consolidate his power and influence. His reputation for policy and conduct was daily augmenting; his treasures had increased even from the most unfavorable evenw the hopes of all pretenders to his throne were cut off, as well by his marriage as by the issue which it had brought him. By means of her emissaries, e propagated a report that her nephew, Richard Plantagenet ike of York, had escaped from the Tower when his elder mrother was murdered, and that he still lay somewhere concealed: Having had opportunities of being known to the king, and obtaining his favor, he prevailed with that prince, whose manners were very affable, to stand godfather to his son, to whom he gave the name of Peter, corrupted, after the Flemish manner, into Peterkin, or Perkin.
It was by some believed that Edward, among his amorous adventures, had a secret commerce with Warbec's wife; and people thence accounted for that resemblance which was afterwards remarked between young Perkin and that monarch. The variety of his adventures had: In this light he had been represented to the duchess of Burgundy, who, struck with the concurrence of so many circumstances suited to her purpose, desired to be made acquainted with the man, on whom she already began: She found him to exceed her most sanguine expectations; so comely did he appear in his person, so graceful in his air, so courtly in his address, so full of docility and good sense in his behavior and conversation.
The lessons necessary to be taught him, in order to his per. He landed at Cork; and immediately assuming the name of Richard P'antagenet, drew to him partisans among that credulous perlke. He wrote letters to the earls of Desmond and Kildare, inviting them to join his party: The French courtiers readily embraced a fiction which their sovereign thought it his interest to adopt: Perkin, both by his deportment and personal qualities, supported the prepossession which was spread abroad of his royal pedigree: Wonders of -this nature are commonly augmented.
From France the admiration and. Sir George Nevil, Sir John Taylor, and above a hundred gentlemen more, came to Paris, in order to offer their services to the. When peace was concluded between France and England at Estaples, Henry applied to have Perkin put into his hands; but Charles, resolute not to betray a young man, of whatever birth, whom he had invited into his kingdom, would agree only to dismiss him.
The princess affected ignorance of his pretensions; even put on the appearance of distrust; and having, as she said, been already deceived by Simnel, she was determined never again to be seduced by any impostor. She desired before all the world to be instructed in his reasons for assuming the name which he bore; seemed to examine every circumstance with the most scrupulous nicety; -put many particular questions to him i affected astonishment at his answers; and at last, after long and severe scrutiny, burst out into joy and admiration at his wonderful deliverance, embraced him as her nephew, the true image of Edward, the sole heir of the Plantagenets, and the legitimate successor to the English throne.
The Flemings, moved by the authority which Margaret, both from her rank and personal character, enjoyed among them, readily adopted the fiction of Perkin's royal descent: It was not the populace alone of England that gave credit to Perkin's pretensions. Men of the highest birth and quality, disgusted at Henry's government, by which they found the nobility depressed, began to turn their eyes towards the new claimant; and some of them even entered into a correspondence with him. Sir William Stanley himself, lord chamberlain, who had been so active in raising Henry to the throne, moved either by blind credulity or a restless ambition, entertained the project of a revolt in favor of' his enemy.
Such positive intelligence, conveyed by a person of rank and character, was sufficient with many to put the matter beyond question, and excited the attention and wonder even of the most indifferent. The whole nation was held in suspense; a regular conspiracy was formed against the king's authority; and a correspondence settled between the malecontents in Flanders and those in England. The king was informed of all these particulars; but agreeably to his character, which was both cautious and resolute, he proceeded deliberately, though steadily, in counterworking the projects of his enemies.
His first object was to ascertain the death of the real duke of York, and to confirm the opinion that had always prevailed with regard to that event. Five persons had been employed by Richard in the murder of his nephews, or could give evidence with regard to it; Sir James Tyrrel, to whom he had committed the government of the Tower for that purpose, and who had seen the dead princes; Forrest, Dighton, and Slater, who perpetrated the crime; and the priest who buried the bodies. Tyrrel and Dighton alone were alive, and they agreed in the same story; but as the priest was dead, and as the bodies were supposed to have been removed, by Richard's orders from the place where they were first interred, and could not now be found, it was not in Henry's power to put the fact, so much as he wished, beyond all doubt and controversy.
He met at first with more difficulty, but was in the end more successful, in detecting who this wonderful person was that thus boldly advanced pretensions to his crown. This latter part of the story was immediately published for the satisfaction of the nation: Margaret had interest enough to get his application rejected; on pretence that Philip had no authority over the demesnes of the duchess dowager. And the king, in resentment of this injury, cut off all commerce with the Low Countries, banished the Flemings, and recalled his own subjects from these provinces.
Philip retaliated by like edicts; but Henry knew, that so mutinous a people as the Flemings would not long bear, in compliance with the humors of their prince, to be deprived of the beneficial branch of commerce which they carried on with England. He had it in his power to inflict more effectual punishment on his domestic enemies; and when his projects were sufficiently matured, he failed not to make them feel the effects of his resentment.
All these were arraigned, convicted, and condemned for high treason, in adhering and promising aid to Perkin. Mountfort, Ratcliff, and Daubeney were immediately executed: Fitzwater was sent over to Calais, and detained in custody; but being detected in practising on his keeper for ar escape, he soon after underwent the same fate. The rest were pardoned, together with William Worseley, dean of St.
Paul's, and some others, who had been accused and examined, but not brought to public trial. Henry then told him, that the best proof he could give of penitence, and the only service he could now render him, was the full confession of his guilt, and the discovery of all his accomplices, however distinguished by rank or character.
Encouraged by this exhortation, Clifford accused Stanley, then present, as his chief abettor; and offered to lay before the council the full proof of his guilt. Stanley himself could not discover more surprise than was affected by Henry on the occasion. He received the intelligence as absolutely false and incredible; that a man, to whom he was in a great measure beholden for his crown, and even for his life; a man, to whom, by every honor and favor, he had endeavored to express his gratitude; whose brother, the earl of Derby, was his own father-in-law; to whom he had even committed the trust of his person, by creating him lord chamberlain: Clifford was therefore exhorted to weigh well the consequences of his accusation; but as he persisted in the same positive asseverations, Stanley was committed to custody, and was soon after examined before the council.
But princes are often apt to regard great services as a'ground of jealousy, especially if accompanied with a craving and restless disposition in the person who has performed them. The general discontent also, and mutinous humor of the people,- seemed to require some great example of severity. And as Stanley was one of the most opulent subjects in the kingdom, being possessed of above three thousand pounds a year in land, and forty thousand marks in plate and money, besides other property of great value, the prospect of so rich a forfeiture was deemed no small motive for Henry's proceeding to extremities against him.
Historians are not agreed with regard to the crime which was proved against him. The general report is, that he should have said in confidence to Clifford, that if he were sure the young man who appeared in Flan. The sentiment might disgust Henry, as implying a preference of the house of York to that of Lancaster; but could scarcely be the ground, even in those arbitrary times, of a sentence of high treason against Stanley. It is more probable, therefore, as is asserted by some historians, that he had expressly engaged to assist Perkin, and had actually sent him some supply of money.
The fate of Stanley made great impression on the kingdom, and struck all the partisans of Perkin with the deepest dismay. From Clifford's desertion, they found that all their secrets were betrayed; and as it appeared that Stanley, while he seemed to live in the. The jealous and severe temper of the king, together with his great reputation for sagacity and penetration, kept men in awe, and quelled not only the movements of sedition, but the very murmurs of faction. Libels, however, crept out against Henry's- person and administration; and being greedily propagated by every secret art, showed that there still remained among the people a considerable root of discontent, which wanted only a proper opportunity to discover itself.
But Henry continued more intent on increasing the terrors of his people, than on gaining their affections. Trusting to the great success which attended him in all his enterprises, he gave every day more and more a loose to his rapacious ten per, and employed the arts of perverted law and justice, in order to exact fines and compositions from his people. Sir William Capel, alderman of London, was condemned on some penal statutes to pay the sum of two thousand seven nundred and forty-three pounds, and was obliged to compound for sixteen hundred and fifteen.
This was the first noted case of the kind; but it became a precedent, which prepared the. The management, indeed, of these arts of chicanery, was the great secret of the king's adyninistlation. While he depressed the nobility, he exalted, and honored, and caressed'he lawyers; and by that means both bestowed authority on the laws, and was enabled, whenever he pleased, to pervert them to his own advantage. As Perkin found that the king's authority daily gained ground among the people, and that his own pretensions were becoming obsolete, he resolved to attempt something which might revive the hopes and expectations of his partisans.
Having collected a band of outlaws, pirates, robbers, and necessitous persons of all nations, to the number of six hundred men, he put to sea, with a resolution of making a descent in England, and of exciting the common people to arms, since all his correspondence with the nobility was cut off by Henry's vigilance and severity.
Information being brought him that the king had made a progress to the north, he cast anchor on the coast of Kent, and sent some of his retainers ashore, who invited the country to join him. The gentlemen of'Kent assembled some troops to oppose- him; but they purposed to do more essential service than by repelling the invasion: But the wary youth, observing that they had more order and regularity in their movements than could be supposed in new levied forces who had taken arms against established authority, refused to intrust himself into their hands; and the Kentish troops, despairing of success in their stratagem, fell upon such of his retainers as were already landed; and besides some whom they slew, they took a hun.
These were tried and condemned; and all of them executed, by orders from the king, who was rsso. This statute might be exposed to some censureq as favorable to usurpers; were there any precise rule, which always, even during the most factious times, could determine the true succcessor, and renider every one inexcusable who did not submit to him. But as the titles of princes are then the great subject of dispute, and each party pleads topics in its own favor, it seems but equitable to secure those who act in support of public tranquillity, an object at all times of un doubted benefit and importance.
Henry, conscious of his disputed title, promoted this law, in order to secure his partisans against all events; but as he had himself observed a contrary practice with regard to Richard's adherents, he had reason to apprehend that, during the violence which usually ensues on public convulsions, his example, rather than his law, would, in case of a new revolution, be followed by his enemies. And the attempt to bind the legislature itself, by prescribing rules to future parliaments, was contradictory to the plainest principles of political government.
This parliament also passed an act, empowering the king to levy, by course of law, all the sums which any person had agreed to pay by way of benevolence; a statute by which that arbitrary method of taxation was indirectly authorized anrd justified. The king's authority appeared equally prevalent and uncontrolled in Ireland. Sir Edward Poynings had been sent over to that country, with an intention of quelling the partisans of the house of York, and of reducing the natives to subjection.
He was not supported by forces sufficient for that enterprise: By this statute, all the former laws of England were made to be of force in Ireland; and no bill can be introduced into the Irish parliament, unless it previously receive the sanction of the council of England. This latter clause seems calculated for insuring the dominion of the English; but was really granted at the desire of the Irish.
The Italians, who had entirely lost the use of arms, and who, in the midst of con. Their effeminate troops were dispersed every where on the approach of the French army: The maxims which the Italians during that age followed in negotiations, were as ill calculated to sup. This league was composed of Ludovico himself, the pope, Maximilian, king of the Romans Ferdinand of Spain, and the republic of Venice. Henry too entered into the confederacy; but was not put to any expense or trouble in consequence of his engagements.
The king of France, terrified by so powerful a combination, retired fron: Naples with the greater part of his army, and returned te: Ferdinand died soon after, anci left ns uncle Frederick in full possession of the throne. But Poynings had now put the affairs of that island in so good a posture, that Perkin met w;th little success; and being tired of the savage life which he was obliged to lead, while skulking among the wild Irish, he bent his course towards Scotland, and presented himself to James IVW, who then' governed that kingdom.
He had been previously recommended to this prince by the king of France, who was disgusted at Henry for entering into the general league agaihnst him; and this recommendation was even secondeA by Maximilian, who, though one of the confederates, was also displeased with the king, on account of his prohibit. The countenance given to Perkin by these princes procured him a favorable reception with the king of Scotland, who assured him, that, whatever he were, he never should repent putting himself in his hands: James, whom years had not yet taught distrust or caution, was seduced to believe the story of Perkin's birth and adventures; and he- carried his confidence so far as to give him in marriage the' lady Catharine Gordon, daughter of the earl of Huntley, and related to himself; a young lady, too, eminent for virtue as-well as beauty.
Perkin himself dispersed a manifesto, in which he set forth his own story, and craved the assistance of all his subjects in expelling the usurper, whose tyranny and maleadministration, whose depres. But Perkin's pretensions, attended with repeated disappointments, were now become stale in the eyes even of the populace; and the hostile dispositions which subsisted between the kingdoms, rendered a prince supported by the Scots but an unwelcome present to the English nation.
The ravages also committed by the borderers, accustomed to license and disorder, struck a terror into all men, and made the people prepare rather for repelling the invaders than for joining them.
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That prince now began to perceive that his attempt would be fruitless; and hearing of an army which was on its march to attack him, he thought proper to retreat into his own country. Tlhe king discovered little anxiety to procure either reparation or vengeance for this insult committed on him by the Scottish nation: He summoned a parliament,'to whom he made bitter complaints against the irruption of the Scots, the absurd imposture countenanced by that nation, the cruel devastations committed in the northern counties, and the multiplied insults thus offered both to the king and kingdom of Ellgland.
The parliament made the expected return to this discourse, by granting a subsidy to the amount of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, together with two fifteenths. After making this grant, they were dismissed. The people, who were acquainted with the immense treasures which he had amassed, could ill brook the new impositions raised on -every slight occasion; and it is probable, that the flaw which was universally known to be in his title, made his reign the more subject to insurrections and rebellions. When the subsidy began to be levied in Cornwall, the inhabitants, numerous and poor, robust and courageous,, murmured against a tax occasioned by a sudden inroad of the Scots, from which they esteemed themselves entirely secure, and which had usually been repelled by the force of the northern counties.
Their ill humor was further incited by one Michael Joseph, a farrier of Bodmin, a notable prating fellow, who, by thrusting himself forward on every occasion, and being loudest in every complaint against the government, had acquired an authority among those rude people. Thomas Flammoc, too, a lawyer, who had become the oracle of the neighborhood, encouraged the sedition, by informing them that the tax, though imposed by parliament, was entirely illegal; that the northern nobility were bound by their tenures to defend the nation against the Scots; and that if these new impositions were tamely submitted to, the avarice of Henry and of his ministers would soon render the burden intolerable to the nation.
The Cornish, he said, must deliver to the king a petition, seconded by such a force as would give it authority; and in order to procure the concurrence of the rest of the kingdom, care must be taken, by their orderly deportment, to show that they had nothing in view bul the public good, and the redress of all those grievances under which the people had so long labored. Encouraged by these speeches, the multitude flocked together, and armed themselves with axes, bills, bows, and such weapons as country people are usually possessed of.
Flammoc snd Joseph were chosen their leaders. They soon conducted the Cornish through the county of Devon, and reached that of Somerset. At Taunton, the rebels killed, in their fury, an officious and eager commissioner of the subsidy, whom they called the provost of Perin. When they reached Wells, they were joined by Lord Audley, a nobleman of an ancient family, popular in his deportment, but vain, ambitious, and restless in his temper.
He had from the beginning maintained a secret correspondence with the first movers of the. Proud of the countenance given them by so considerable a noblemtan, they continued their march, breathinrg destruction to the king's ministers and favorites, particularly to Morton, now a cardinal, and Sir Reginald Bray, who were deemed the most active instruments in all his oppressions.
Notwithstanding their rage against the administration, they carefully followed the directions given them by their leadern; and as they met with no resistance, they committed, durilg their march, no violence or disorder. The rebels had been told by Flammoc that the inhabitants of Kent, as they had ever, during all ages, remained unsubdued, and had even maintained their independence during the Norman conquest, would surely embrace their party, and declare themselves for a cause which was no other than that of public good and general liberty. But the Kentish people had very lately distinguished themselves by repelling Perkin's invasion; and as they had received from the king many gracious acknowledgments for this service, their affections were by that means much conciliated to his government.
It was easy, therefore, for the earl of Kent, Lord Abergavenny, and Lord Cobham, who possessed great authority in those parts, to retain the people in obedience; and the Cornish rebels, though they pitched their camp near Eltham, at the very gates of London, and invited all the people to join them, got reenforcement from no quarter. There wanted not discontents every where, but no one would take part in so rash and ill-concerted an enterprise; and besides, the situation in which the king's affairs then stood discouraged even the boldest and most daring. Henry, in order to oppose the Scots, had already levied an army, which he put under the command of Lord Daubeney, the chamberlain; and as soon as he heard of the Cornish insur.
Not to leave the northern frontier defenceless, he despatched thither the earl of Surrey, who assembled the forces on the borders, mnd made head against the enemy. Henry found here the concurrence of the three most fatal incidents that can befall a monarchy; a foreign enemy, a domestic rebellion, and a pretender to his crown,; but he enjoyed great resources in his army and treasure, and still more in the intrepidity and courage of his own temper. HIe did not, however, anmediately give. After all his forces were collected, he divided them intio three bodies, and marched out to assail tle enemy.
The first body, commanded by the earl of Oxford, and under him by the earls of Essex and Suffolk, were appointed to place themselves behind the hill on which the rebels were encamped: