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husband. While they were carrying off the queen,
Edward, turning to the prince of Wales, asked him
how he came to have the boldness to enter his
dominions? To which the young prince replied:
" I am come into my father's kingdom to avenge

Edward IV., Etc. 255

his cause, and rescue my inheritance out of your
hands." Edward, incensed at the freedom of this
reply, struck him over the face with his gauntlet,
and historians tell us, that immediately Edward's
two brothers, the duke of Clarence, whom he had
lately restored to his favor, and the duke of Glou-
cester, with some of their followers, fell upon the
young prince like so many wild beasts, and hewed
him to death with their swords on the field of battle.
If such are the manners of the chiefs of the people,
what must be those of the commonalty? They put
all their prisoners to death, and at length determined
to murder Henry himself. The respect which, even
in those times of brutality and cruelty, had for
upwards of forty years been paid to the virtues of
this monarch, had hitherto stopped the hands of
assassination ; but after the inhuman murder of the
prince of Wales, very little regard was shown to
the king; and the duke of Gloucester, who had
before dipped his hands in the son's blood, now went
to the Tower, and put an end to the wretched
father's life.

Queen Margaret's life was spared, because they
were in hopes that the French court would purchase
her liberty ; and accordingly, about four years after-
ward, when Edward, after being settled in quiet
possession of the throne, went to Calais with the
intention of making war upon France, and Louis
XL, by a sum of money and a shameful treaty,
prevailed on him to return, this heroine was

256 Ancient and Modern History.

redeemed for fifty thousand crowns. This was a
considerable sum to the English at that time,
impoverished by their wars with France, and their
troubles at home.

Margaret of Anjou, after having fought twelve
battles in support of the rights of her husband and
son, died in 1482, the most wretched queen, wife,
sister, and mother in Europe; and, but for the
murder of her husband's uncle, the most respect-



EDWARD IV. now reigned peaceably. The house of
York was fully triumphant, and its power was
cemented by the blood of almost all the princes
of the Lancastrian family. Whoever considers the
behavior of Edward will look upon him as no other
than a barbarian, wholly devoted to revenge; and
yet he was a man given up to pleasure, and as busied
in the intrigues of women as in those of the state.
He did not stand in need of the title of king to
please; he was formed by nature one of the hand-
somest men of his time, and the most amorous ;
and, by an astonishing contrast, she had, with the
tenderest sensibility, given him the most bloodthirsty

Edward IV.- Richard III. 257

and cruel disposition. He condemned his brother
Clarence to lose his life upon the most frivolous
suspicion, and only granted him the favor of choos-
ing the manner of his death. Clarence desired to
be drowned in a butt of wine. What reason can be
given for so unaccountable a choice?

He knew the surest way to please the nation was
to make war with France. We have already seen
that in 1475 Edward crossed the sea, and that Louis
XL, by a shameful policy purchased the retreat of
a prince not so powerful as himself nor so well
settled on his throne. To purchase peace of an
enemy is to furnish him with the means to make
war; accordingly in 1483 Edward proposed to his
parliament a fresh invasion of France, and never
was proposal received with more universal joy;
but while he was making preparations for this great
undertaking, he died, in 1483, in the forty-second
year of his age.

As he was of a very robust constitution, his
brother Richard, duke of Gloucester, was suspected
of having shortened his days by poison. The public
suspicion was neither rash nor ill-founded; Glou-
cester was a monster, born with a disposition to
commit the deepest and most deliberate crimes.

Edward IV. at his death left two sons : the eldest
of these was thirteen years of age, and succeeded
his father, by the name of Edward V. Gloucester
formed the design of taking these two children

from their mother, in order to put them to death
Vol. 26 17

Ancient and Modern History.

and seize the crown for himself, and spared no
kind of dissimulation, artifice, and oaths, to secure
their persons, which he no sooner accomplished
than he lodged them both in the Tower, that
they might, as he pretended, be in greater safety.
But he met with an unexpected obstacle in putting
this double assassination in execution. He had
caused Lord Hastings, a nobleman of a violent char-
acter, but firmly attached to the person of the young
king, to be sounded by his emissaries: this lord
had given plain intimations of his horror at being
concerned in any such crime. Gloucester then, find-
ing his secret in such dangerous hands, did not
hesitate an instant in the part he was to act. The
council of state, of which Hastings was a member,
sat in the Tower ; thither came Gloucester, attended
by a band of armed followers, and addressing him-
self to Lord Hastings, told him that he arrested him
for high crimes. " Who ! me, my lord ? " replied
the accused nobleman. " Yes, thee, traitor,"
answered Gloucester; and immediately, in presence
of the council, ordered him to be beheaded.

Having thus rid himself of one who was privy
to his secret, he, despising the forms of law with
which the English always covered over their
most wicked attempts, gathered together a rabble
from the dregs of the people, who, assembling in
the Guildhall of the city, cried out that they would
have Richard of Gloucester for their king ; and the
mayor of London went the next day, at the head of

Edward IV.- Richard III. 259

this mob, and made him an offer of the crown,
which he accepted, and was crowned without call-
ing a parliament, or offering the least show of reason
for such a procedure. He only caused a rumor to
be spread that his brother, Edward IV., had been
born in adultery, and made no scruple of thus dis-
honoring the memory of his mother. Indeed it was
hardly possible to think that the same person should
be father of Edward IV. and Gloucester. The first
was remarkably handsome, and the other deformed
in all parts of his body, with an aspect as hideous
as his soul was villainous.

Thus he founded his sole right to the crown on
his mother's infamy ; and in declaring himself legit-
imate, made his nephews the issue of a bastard.
Immediately after his coronation, in 1483, he sent
one Tyrrel to strangle the young king and his
brother in the Tower. This was known to the
nation, who only murmured in secret; so much do
men change with the times. Gloucester, under the
name of Richard III., remained two years and a half
in quiet enjoyment of the fruits of one of the most
atrocious crimes that the English had ever seen per-
petrated amongst themselves, though used to many.

During this short enjoyment of the royal author-
ity, he called a parliament, to which he had the
audaciousness to submit his claim to be examined.
There are times in which the people are dastardly,
in proportion as their rulers are cruel ; this parlia-
ment declared the mother of Richard III. an adul-

260 Ancient and Modern History.

teress; and that neither the late Edward IV. nor
his brothers, Richard only excepted, were born in
lawful wedlock; and therefore that the crown of
right belonged to him, in preference to the two
young princes who had been strangled in the Tower,
concerning whose deaths, however, they came to
no explanation. Parliaments have sometimes com-
mitted more cruel actions, but never any one so
infamous. So vile a condescension requires whole
ages of virtuous conduct to make amends for it.

At length, after two years and a half had elapsed,
there arose an avenger of these crimes in the person
of Henry, earl of Richmond, who was the only
remaining branch of the many princes of the house
of Lancaster, that had fallen sacrifices to the ambi-
tion of the York faction, and who had taken refuge
in Brittany. This young prince was not a descend-
ant of Henry VI., but derived, like him, his pedi-
gree from John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, son
of the great Edward III., though by the female
side, and from a very doubtful marriage of this
John of Gaunt. His right to the crown was also
still more doubtful; but the general detestation
in which Richard III. was held, on account of his
crimes, fortified his claim, and added strength to
his party. He was as yet very young when he
conceived the design of avenging the deaths of so
many princes of the house of Lancaster, by punish-
ing Richard, and reducing England to his obedi-
ence. His first attempt proved unsuccessful, and,

Edward IV.- Richard III. 261

after having been witness to the defeat of his party,
he was obliged to return to Brittany and sue for
an asylum. Richard treated in secret with the
minister of Francis II., duke of Brittany, father of
Anne of Brittany, who was married to Charles VIII.
and Louis XII. This prince himself was not capable
of doing a base action ; but his minister, Landois,
was, and promised to deliver the earl of Richmond
into the tyrant's hands. The young prince, coming
to the knowledge of this, fled out of Brittany in dis-
guise, and got into the territories of Anjou only
an hour before those who were sent to seize him.

It was to the interest of Charles VIIL, at that
time king of France, to protect Richmond. The
grandson of Charles VII. had been wanting in the
principal point of politics, by suffering the English
to remain unmolested when it was in his power to
distress them; and on this occasion Charles VIIL
furnished Richmond with only two thousand men.
These would have been sufficient had Richmond's
party been considerable : this however was the case
soon after, and Richard himself, as soon as he heard
that his rival was landed only with those small
numbers, rightly judged that he would not be long
without an army. The whole country of Wales, of
which this prince was a native, took up arms in his
favor, and a battle was at length fought between
Richard and the earl, in 1415, at Bosworth, near
Leicester. Richard wore the crown on his head
during the engagement, thinking to animate his

Ancient and Modern History.

men by showing them that they fought for their
lawful king against a rebel. But Lord Stanley, one
of the tyrant's generals, who had long beheld with
horror the crown usurped by such a monster,
betrayed a person so unworthy to be his sovereign,
and went over to the earl with the corps he com-
manded. Richard was possessed of courage, and
that was his only virtue. When he saw the day
become desperate, he furiously threw himself into
the midst of his enemies, where he received a death
too glorious for his deserts. His naked and mangled
body was found buried under a heap of slain, and
being thrown across a horse, was carried in that
manner to the city of Leicester, where it remained
two days exposed to the view of the populace, who,
calling to mind his many cruelties and crimes,
showed no signs of sorrow for his fate. Stanley,
who had taken the crown from his head after he
had fallen in the field, carried it to Henry of Rich-

The victors sang "Te Deum" on the field of
battle. When it was over, the whole army, as
inspired with one voice, cried out, " Long live Henry
of Richmond, our king." Thus did the fortune of
this single day put a happy end to the desolations
with which the factions of the white and red roses
had filled England ; and the throne, which had been
so often stained with blood and undergone such
frequent changes, was at length settled in peace and
security. The misfortunes which had followed the

Edward IV.- Richard III. 263

family of Edward III. were now at an end ; and
Henry VII., by marrying a daughter of Edward
IV., united the rights of the two houses of York
and Lancaster in his own person.

As he had known how to conquer, so he knew
how to govern ; and his reign, which lasted for
twenty-four years, during which time he was almost
constantly at peace, somewhat humanized the man-
ners of the nation. The parliaments which he fre-
quently called, and with whom he always kept fair,
enacted wise laws; justice once more resumed all
her functions, and trade, which had begun first
to flourish under the great Edward III., and which
had been almost entirely ruined during the civil
wars, was again revived. Of this the nation stood
greatly in need. We may judge of its poverty by
the extreme difficulty which Henry VII. found in
raising a loan of two thousand pounds sterling from
the city of London, a sum which did not amount
to fifty thousand livres of our present money. Henry
was, through inclination and necessity, avaricious.
Had he been only saving he would have showed his
prudence ; but the sordidness of his disposition, and
his rapacious exactions have tarnished the glory
of his reign. He kept a private register of what
he gained by the confiscations of estates ; in short,
no king was ever guilty of more meanness. At
his death there were found in his coffers two mil-
lions of pounds sterling, an immense sum for those
times, which might have been much more usefully

264 Ancient and Modern History.

employed in public circulation than in lying buried
in a prince's treasury ; but in a country where the
people were more inclined to raise seditions than to
give money to their kings, it was necessary for a
prince to have a treasure always at hand.

Two adventures, each extraordinary in its kind,
rather disquieted than troubled his reign. A jour-
neyman baker, who called himself the nephew of
Edward IV., disputed the crown with him. This
person, who had been trained up in his part by a
priest, was crowned king at Dublin, the capital of
Ireland, and ventured to give Henry battle near
Nottingham, in 1487; who, having defeated him
and taken him prisoner, thought to humble the
revolters sufficiently by making their sham king
one of the scullions in his kitchen, in which post he
continued for many years.

Daring enterprises, though attended with ill suc-
cess, frequently encourage others to imitate them,
who, stirred up by the glory of the example, go
on in hopes of meeting with better success : witness
the six false Demetriuses, who rose, one after
another, in Muscovy, and many other impostors.
This journeyman baker was followed by the son of
a Jew broker of Antwerp, who appeared in a more
exalted character.

This young Jew, whose name was Perkin, pre-
tended to be the son of Edward IV. The French
king, who was always attentive to cherish the seeds
of sedition among the English, received this pre-

Edward IV.- Richard III. 265

tender at his court, acknowledged his assumed title,
and gave him all encouragement : but having soon
after reasons to keep fair with Henry, he left the
impostor to shift for himself.

The old duchess dowager of Burgundy, sister of
Edward IV. and widow of Charles the Bold, who
first put this spring in play, now received Perkin
as her nephew. The young Jew enjoyed the fruits
of his imposture much longer than his predecessor,
the baker; a majestic air, a finished breeding, and
great personal courage, seemed to make him worthy
of the rank he assumed. He married a princess
of the house of York, who still continued to love
him, even after the discovery of the cheat. He
maintained his claim by arms for five years, found
means to raise the Scotch in his favor, and met
with unexpected resources even in the midst of his
defeats. But being at length abandoned by his
party, and delivered up to the king, Henry had the
clemency to condemn him only to perpetual impris-
onment, from which in attempting to make his
escape, he was seized, and paid for his rashness
with his life.

And now the spirit of faction being entirely
quelled among the English, that people, no longer
formidable to their prince, began to be so to their
neighbors, particularly at the accession of Henry
VIII. to the throne, who, by the extreme parsimony
of his father, was in possession of immense riches,
and, by the prudence of the administration, the

266 Ancient and Modern History.

absolute master of a warlike people, who were at the
same time in as much subjection as the English are
capable of being.



THE beginning of the sixteenth century, upon which
we are already entered, presents us at one view with
the noblest prospects that the universe ever fur-
nished. If we cast our eyes on the princes who
reigned at that time in Europe, we shall find that
either by their reputation, their conduct, or the great
changes of which they were the causes, they made
their names immortal. At Constantinople we see
a Selim reducing under the Ottoman dominion
all Syria and Egypt, of which the Mahometan
Mamelukes had been in possession ever since the
thirteenth century: after him appears his son, the
great Solyman, the first of the Turkish emperors
who carried his standards to the walls of Vienna:
he also caused himself to be crowned king of Per-
sia in the city of Bagdad, which he subdued by his
arms, and thus made Europe and Asia tremble at
one time.

At the same time we behold in the North, Gus-
tavus Vasa rescuing Sweden from a foreign yoke,
and chosen king of the country of which he was the

In Muscovy, John Basilowitz delivers his country

General View of XVI. Century. 267

from the Tartars, to whom it was tributary. This
prince was indeed himself a barbarian, and the chief
of a people yet more barbarous; but the avenger
of his country merits to be ranked in the number of
great princes.

In Spain, Germany, and Italy, we see Charles V.,
the sovereign of all those states, supporting the
weight of the government of Europe, always in
action, and always negotiating, for a long time
equally fortunate in politics and war, the only pow-
erful emperor since Charlemagne, and the first king
of all Spain since the conquest of that country by
the Moors; opposing a barrier to the Ottoman
Empire, making kings, and at length divesting him-
self of all his crowns, retiring from the world, and
ending his life in solitude, after having been the
disturber of all Europe.

Next stands forth his rival in glory and politics,
Francis I., king of France, who, though less power-
ful and fortunate, but of a more brave and amiable
disposition, divides with Charles V. the admiration
and esteem of all nations. Glorious even in the
midst of his defeats, he renders his kingdom flour-
ishing, notwithstanding his misfortunes, and trans-
plants the liberal arts into France from Italy, where
they were then in the height of perfection.

Henry VIII., king of England, though too cruel
and capricious to be admitted among the rank of
heroes, has still a place among these kings, both
on account of the change he wrought in the spirit

268 Ancient and Modern History.

of his people, and by having taught England how
to hold the balance of power between sovereigns.
This prince took for his device a warrior bending
his bow, with these words : " Whom I defend is
victorious " a device which his nation has at
certain times verified.

Pope Leo X. is a name justly famous for the
noble genius and amiable manners of him who bore
it, for the great masters in the arts which have
immortalized the age he lived in, and for the great
change which divided the Church during his pontif-

In the beginning of this same century we find
religion, and the pretext of reforming the received
law, those two grand instruments of ambition, pro-
ducing the same effects on the borders of Africa
and in Germany, and among the Turks and the
Christians. A new government and a new race
of kings were established in the vast empire of Fez
and Morocco, which extends as far as the deserts
of Nigritia. Thus Asia, Africa, and Europe under-
went at one and the same time a change of relig-
ions ; for the Persians were separated forever from
the Turks, and while they ackowledged the same
god and the same prophet, confirmed the schism of
Omar and AH. Immediately afterward the Chris-
tians became divided among themselves, and wrested
one-half of Europe from the Roman pontiff.

The old world was shaken, and the new one dis-
covered and conquered by Charles V., and a trade


General View of XVI. Century. 269

opened between the East Indies and Europe by the
ships and arms of the Portuguese.

We behold on one side the powerful empire of
Mexico subdued by Cortes, and the Pizarros making
the conquest of Peru with fewer soldiers than is
necessary to lay siege to a small town in Europe;
and on the other, Albuquerque, with a force very
little superior, fixing the empire and trade of the
Portuguese in the Indies, in spite of all the opposi-
tion of the kings of that country, and the efforts of
the Moors, who were in possession of its trade.

Nature at this time produced extraordinary men
in almost all branches, especially in Italy.

Another striking object in this illustrious age
is, that, notwithstanding the wars which ambition
raised, and the religious quarrels which began to
disturb several states, the same genius which made
the polite arts flourish at Rome, Naples, Florence,
Venice, and Ferrara, and which thence diffused
its light throughout Europe, quickly softened
the manners of mankind in almost all the provinces
of Christendom. The gallantry of the French court
in the reign of Francis I. operated partly toward
this great change; there was a continual emula-
tion between this prince and Charles V. for glory,
the spirit of chivalry and courtesy, even in the midst
of their most furious dissensions ; and this emula-
tion, which communicated itself to all their courtiers,
gave this age an air of grandeur and politeness
unknown before.

.170 Ancient and Modern History.

Opulence had also a share in this change; and
this opulence, which became more general, was, by
a strange revolution, partly the consequence of the
fatal loss of Constantinople; for soon afterward
all the trade of the Turks was carried on by the
Christians, who sold them even the spices of the
Indies, which they took in at Alexandria, and car-
ried in their ships to all the ports of the Levant.

Industry was everywhere encouraged. The city
of Marseilles carried on a great trade. Lyons
abounded in fine manufactures. The towns of the
Low Countries were still more flourishing than
when they were under the house of Burgundy. The
ladies, who were invited to the court of France,
made it the centre of magnificence and politeness.
The manners of the court of London were indeed
more rude, by reason of the capricious and rough
disposition of its king, but that city already began
to grow rich by trade.

In Germany the cities of Augsburg and Nurem-
berg, which dispersed through that empire the riches
they drew from Venice, began already to feel the
good effects of their correspondence with the Italians.
In the former of these cities there were a number of
beautiful houses adorned on the outsides with paint-
ings in fresco, after the Venetian manner. In a
word, Europe saw halcyon days appear; but they
were troubled by the storms which the rivalship
between Charles V. and Francis I. excited, and the
disputes which now began to arise about religion

State of Europe. 27 1

sullied the end of this century, and even rendered it
terrible, by giving it a certain cast of barbarism,
scarcely known to the Huns and Heruli.



BEFORE I take a view of the state of Europe under
Charles V., it will be necessary to form to myself a
sketch of the different governments into which it
was divided. I have already shown the state of
Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and England. I
shall not speak of Turkey, and the conquests of the
Ottomans in Syria and Africa till I have first exam-
ined all the wonderful and fatal events which hap-
pened among the Christians ; and have followed the
Portuguese in the several voyages they made to
Asia, and the military trade they carried on in that
country, and have taken a view of the eastern world.

I shall begin at present with the Christian king-

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