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their honors and glories, and the Woodvilles and the rest
were disgraced. The King-Maker, less sanguinary than the
King, shed no blood except tliat of the Eari of Worcester,
who had been so cruel to the people as to have gained the
title of the Butcher. Him they caught hidden in a tree, and
him they tried and executed. No other death stained the
King-Maker^s triumph.

To dispute this triumph, back came King Edward again,
next year, landing at Ravenspur, coming on to York> cans-
ing all his men to cry, '* Long live King Henr}- ! " and swear-
ing on tlie altar, without a blush, that he came to lay no
claim to the crown. Now was the time for the Duke of
Clarence, who ordered his men to assume the White Rose,
and declare for his brother. The Marquis of Montague,
though the Earl of Warwick's brother, also declining to
fight against King Edward, he went on successfull}* to Lon-
don, where the Archbishop of York let him into the City,
and where the people made great demonstrations in his favor.
For this they had four reasons. Firstly, there were great
numbers of the King's adherents hiding in the City and
ready to break out ; secondly, the Kijig owed them a great
deal of mono}', which they could never hope to get if he wore
unsuccessful; thirdly, thei*e was a young prince to inherit
the crown ; and fourthly, the King was gay and handsome,
and more popular than a better man might have been with the
City ladies. After a stay of only two days with these wor-
thy supporters, tlie King mai*ched out to Barnet Common to

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give the Earl of Warwick battle. And now it was to be
seen, for the last time, whether the King or the King-Maker
was to carry tlie day.

While the batUe was 3'et pending, the faint-hearted Duke
of Clarence began to repent, and sent over secret messages
to his father-in-law, offering his services in mediation with
the King. But, the Earl of Warwick disdainfully rejected
them, and replied that Clarence was false and perjured, and
that he would settle the quarrel by the sword. The hattle
began at four o'clock in tlie morning and lasted until ten, and
dm-ing the greater part of the time it was fought in a thick
mist — absui-dly supi)osed to be raised by a magician. The
loss of life was very great, for the hatred was strong on both
sides. The King-Maker was defeateti, and the King tri-
umphed. Both the Earl of Warwick and his brother were
slain, and their bodies lay in St. Paul's, for some days, as a
spectacle to th^ people.

Mai-garet's spirit was not broken even hy this great blow.
Witliin five days she was in arms again, and raised her stand-
ard in Bath, whence she set off with her arm}-, to try and
join Lord Pembroke, who had a force in Wales. But, the
King, coming up with her outside the town of Tewkesbury,
and ordering his brother, the Dukk ov Gloucester, who was
a brave soldier, to attack her men, she sustained an entire
defeat, and was taken prisoner, together with her son, now
only eighteen years of age. The conduct of the King to this
poor youth was worthy of his cruel character. He ordered
him to be led into his tent. ^' And what," said he, ^^ brought
you to England ? " ^' I came to England," i*eplied the prisoner,
with a spirit which a man of spint might have admired in
a captive, '' to recover my father's kingdom, which descended
to him as his right, and from him descends to me, as mine."
The King, drawing off his iron gauntlet, struck him with it
iu the face ; and the Duke of Clarence and some other lords,
who were there, drew their noble swords, and killed him.

His mother survived him, a prisoner, for five years ; after

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her ransom by the King of France, she survived for six years
nore. Within three weeks of Uiis murder, Henry died one of
those convenient sudden deaths which were so common in the
Tower ; in plainer words, he was murdered by the King's oixler.

Having no particular excitement on his hands after this
great defeat of the Lancaster party, and being perhaps desir-
ous to get rid of some of his fat (for he was now getting too
coi*|)ulent to be handsome) , the King thought of making war
on France. As he wanted more money for this purpose than
the Parliament could give him, though they were usually
ready enough for war, he invented a new way of raising it,
by sending for the principal citizens of London, and telling
them, with a grave face, that he was very much in want of
cash, and would take it very kind in them if they would lend
him some. It being impossible for them safely to refuse,
they complied, and the moneys thus forced from them were
called — no doubt to the great amusement of the King and
the Court — as if they were free gifts, *' Benevolences." What
with grants from Parliament, and what with Benevolences,
the King raised an army and passed over to Calais. As no-
body wanted war, however, the French King made proposals
of peace, which were accepted, and a truce was concluded
for seven long years. The proceedings between the Kings
of France and England on tliis occasion, were very friendl\%
ver}' splendid, and ver}- distrustful. The^' finished with a
meeting between the two Kings, on a temporaiy bridge over
the river Sorame, where they embraced through two holes in
a strong wooden gi'nting like a lion's cage, and made several
bows and fine speeches to one another.

It was time, now, tliat the Duke of Clai*ence should be
punished for his treacheries ; and Fate had his pimishment
in stoi*e. He was, probably, not tnisted b}- tlie King — for
who could trust him who knew him ! — and he liad certainly a
powerful opix>nent in his brother Richaitl, Duke of Giouce*-
tcr, who, being avaricious and ambitions, wanted to many
that widowed daughter of tlie Enrl of Warwick's who had

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been espoused to the deceased young Prince at Calais. Clar-
ence, wkM> wanted all the family wealth for himself, secreted
this lady, whom Richard found disguised as a ser\'ant in the
City of London, and whom he married ; arbitrators appointed
by the King, then divided the property between the brothers.
This led to ill-will and mistrust between them. Clarence's
wife dying, and he wishing to make another marriage, which
was obnoxious to the King, his ruin was hurried by that
means, too. At first, the Court struck at his retainers and
dependents, and accused some of them of magic and witch-
craft, and similar nonsense. Successful against this small
game, it then mounted to the Duke himself, who was im-
peached by his brother the King, in person, on a variety of
such charges. He was found guilty, and sentenced to be
pabHcly executed. He never was publicly executed, but he
met his death somehow, in the Tower, and, no doubt, through
•ome agency of the King or his brother Gloucester, or both.
It was supposed at the time that he was told to choose the
manner of his death, and that he chose to be drowned in a
bott of Malmsey wine. I hope the story may be tine, for
it would have been a becoming death for such a miserable

The King survived him some five 3'ear8. He died in the
forty-second year of his life, and the twent3'-third of his reign.
He had a very good capacity and some good points, but he
was selfish, careless, sensual, and cruel. He was a fhvorite
with the people for his showy manners ; and the people were
a good example to him in the constancy of their attachment.
He was penitent on his death-bed for his ''benevolences,"
and other extortions, and oitlered restitution to be made to
the people who had sufi*ered from them. He also called about
Im bed the enriched members of the Woodville famil}', and
tbe prond lords whose honors were of older date, and en-
deavored to reconcile them, fbr the sake of the peacefhl
»n of his son and the tranquillity of England.

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The late King's eldest son, the Prince of Wales, called
Edward after him, was only thirteen years of age at his
father's death. He was at Ludlow Castle with his uncle, the
Earl of Rivers. The prince's brother, the Duke of York,
only eleven years of age, was in London with his mother.
The boldest, most crafty, and most dreaded nobleman in £ng«
land at that time was their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester,
and everybody wondered how the two poor boys would fare
with such an uncle for a friend or a foe.

The Queen, their mother, being exceedingly uneasy about
this, was anxious that instnictions should be sent to Lord
Rivers to raise an arm}' to escort the 3'oung King safely to
London. But, Loi*d Hastings, who was of the court party
opposed to the Woodvilies, and who disliked the thought of
giving them that power, argued against the proposal, and
obliged the Queen to be satisfied with an escort of two thou*
sand horse. The Duke of Gloucester did nothing, at first, to
justify suspicion. He came from Scotland (where he was
commanding an army) to York, and was there the first to
swear allegiance to his nephew. He then wrote a condoling
letter to the Queen-mother, and set off to be present at the
coronation in London.

Now, the young King, journeying towards London too,
with Lord Rivers and Lord Gray, came to Stony StratfcHtl,
as his uncle came to Northampton, about ten miles distant;
and when those two lords heard that the Duke of Gloucester
was so near, they proposed to the young King that they

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shonld go back and greet him in his name. The boy being
very willing that they should do so, they rode off and were
received with great friendliness, and asked by the Duke of
Gloacester to stay and dine with him. In the evening, while
they were merry together, up came the Duke of Buckingham
with three hundred horsemen; and next morning the two
lords and the two dukes, and the three hundred horsemen,
rode away together to rejoin the King. Juat as they were
entering Stony Stratford, the Duke of Gloucester, checking
his horse, turned suddenly on the two lords, charged them
with alienating from him the affections of his sweet nephew,
and caused them to be arrested by the three hundred horse-
men and taken back. Then, he and the Duke of Buckingham
went straight to the King (whom they had now in their
power) , to whom they made a show of kneeling down, and
offering great love and submission; and then they ordered
his attendants to disperse, and took him, alone with them, to

A few days afterwards they conducted him to London, and
lodged him in the Bishop's Palace. But, he did not remain
there long ; for, the Duke of Buckingham with a tender face
made a speech expressing how anxious he was for the Royal
boy's safety, and how much safer he would be in the Tower
nntil his coronation, than he could be anywhere else. So, to
the Tower he was taken, ver}' carefblly, and the Duke of
Gloucester was named Protector of the State.

Although Gloucester had proceeded thus far with a very
smooth countenance — and although he was a clever man,
fair of speech, and not ill-looking, inspite of one of his
shoulders being something higher than the other — and al-
though he had come into the City riding bare-headed at the
King's side, and looking very fond of him — he had made
the King's mother more uneasy yet; and when the Roj-al
boy was taken to the Tower, she became so alarmed that she
took sanctuary' in Westminster with her five daughters.

Nor did she do this without reason, for, the Duke of Glou-


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oestor, finding that the lords who were opposed to the Wood-
viUe flBimily were faithful to the young King nevertheless,
quickly resolved to strike a blow for himself. Accordingly,
while those lords met in oouncil at the Tower, he and those
who were in his intei^st met in separate council at his own
residence, Crosby Palace, in Bishopsgate Street. Being at
last quite prepared, he one day appeared unexpectedly at the
council in the Tower, and appeared to be very jocular and
merry. He was particularly gay with the Bishop of Ely :
praising the strawberries that grew in his garden on Holboni
Uilli, and asking him to have some gathered that he might
eat them at dinner. The Bi8h<4), quite proud of the honor,
sent one of his men to fetch some ; and the Duke, still veiy
Jocular and gay, went out ; and the council all said whmt a
very agreeable duke he was ! In a little time, however, he
came back quite altered ^— not at all jocular — frowning and
fierce — and suddenly said, —

" What do those persons deserve who have compasaed my
destruction ; I being the King's lawful, as well as natural,

To this strange question, Lord Hastings replied, that they
deserved death, whosoever they were.

'' Then," said tlie Duke, " I tell 30U that they are that
sorceress my brother's wife;" meaning the Queen: "and
that other sorceress 1 Jane Shore. Who, by witchcraft, have
withered my body, and caused my arm to shrink as I now
show you."

He tlien pulled up his sleeve and showed them his ann^
which was shrunken, it is true, but which had been so, as
tlie}' all verj^ well knew, from the hour of his birth.

Jane Shore, being then the lover of Lord Hastings, as she
had former!}' been of the late King, that lord knew that
he himself was attacked. So, he said, in some confusion,
*' Certainly, ray Loixi, if tliey have done this, they be worthy
of punishment."

'* If ? " said the Duke of Gloucester ; ''do you talk to me

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of ife? I tell yoa that they have bo done, and I will make it
good upon thy body, thon traitor ! "

With tliat he struck the table a great blow with hiR fist.
This was a signal to some of his people outside to cry " Trea-
son ! " They immediately did so, and there was a rush into
Uie chamber of so many armed men that it was filled in a

*^ First," said the Duke of Gloocester to Lord Hastings,
^^ I arrest thee, traitor! And let him," he added to the
armed men who took him, "liave a priest at once, for by
St. Pan! I will not dine until I have seen his head off I "

Lord Hastings was hurried to the green by the Tower
diai>el, and there beheaded on a log of wood that happened
to be l}ing on the ground. Then, the Duke dined with a
good appetite, and after dinner summoning the principal
citizens to attend him, told them that Lord Hastings and
the rest had designed to muixler both himself and the Duke
of Backingham, who stood by his side, if he had not provi-
dentially discovered their design. He requested them to be
so obliging as to inform their fellow-citizens of the tiiith of
what he said, and issued a proclamation (prepared and neatly
copied out beforehand) to the same effect.

On the same daj* that the Duke did these things in the
Tower, 8ir Richard Ratcliffe, the boldest and most undaunted
of his men, went down to Pontefract ; arrested Lord Rivers,
Lord Gray, and two other gentlemen ; and poblidy executed
tiiem on tlie scaffold, without any trial, for having intended
the Duke's death. Three days afterwards tlie Duke, not to
lose time, went down the river to Westminster in his barge,
attended by divers bishops, lords, and soldiers, and demanded
that the Queen should deliver her second son, the Duke of
York, into his safe keeping. The Queen, being obliged to
coinpl}', resigned the child alter she had wept over him ; and
Ricliard of Gloucester placed him with his brother in the
Tower. Then, he seized Jane Shore, and, because she had
been the lover of the late King, confiscated her propei-ty, and

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got her sentenced to do public penance in the streets bj
walking in a scanty dress, with bare feet, and carrying a
lighted candle, to St. Panl's Cathedral, through the most
crowded part of the City.

Having now all things read^' for his own advancement, he
caused a friar to preach a sermon at the cross which stood in
front of St. Paul's Cathedral, in which he dwelt upon the
profligate manners of the late King, and upon the late shame
of Jane Shore, and hinted that the princes were not his chil-
dren. '^ Whereas, good people," said the friar, whose name
was Shaw, "my Lord the Protector, the noble Duke of
Gloucester, that sweet prince, the pattern of all the noblest
virtues, is the perfect image and express likeness of his
father." There had been a little plot between the Duke and
the friar, that the Duke should appear in the crowd at this
moment, when it was expected that the i)eople would cry
" Long live King Richard 1 " But, either through the friar
saying the words too soon, or through the Duke's coming too
late, the Duke and the words did not come together, and the
people only laughed, and the friar sneaked olf ashamed.

The Duke of Buckingham was a better hand at such busi-
ness than the friar, so he went to the Guildhall the next day,
and addressed the citizens in the Lord Protectcn^s behalf.
A few dirty men, who had been hired and stationed there for
the puq^ose, cr}ing when be had done, " God save King
Richard!" he made them a great bow, and thanked them
with all his heart. Next da}', to make an end of it, he went
with tlie ma3'or and some lords and citizens to Ba^'ard Castle «
by Ihe river, where Richard tlien was, and read an addi*ess»
humbly entieating him to accept the Crown of England.
Richard, who looked down upon them out <^ a window and
pretended to l)e in great uneasiness and alarm, assured them
thei% was nothing he desired less, and that his deep affectioo
for his nephews forba<le him to think of it. To this the
Duke of Buckingliam replied, with pretended warmth, that
the free people of Englaml would never submit to his nephew's

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rnle, and that if Richard, who was the lawful heir, refbsed
the Crown, why then they must find some one else to wear it.
The Doke of Gloucester returned, that since he used that
strong language, it became his painful duty to think no more
of himself, and to accept the Crowa.

Upon that, the people cheered and dispersed ; and the
Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Buckingham passed a
pleasant evening, talking over the play they had just acted
with so mudi success, and every word of which they had pre-
pared together.

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King Richard the Third was up betimes in the morning,
and went to Westminster Hall. In the HalL was a marble
seat, upon which he sat himself down between two great
noblemen, and told the people that he began the new reigo
in that place, because the first duty of a sovereign was to
administer the laws equally to all. and to maintain justice.
He then mounted Ids hoi*se and rode back to the City, where
he was received by the clergy and the crowd as if he really
had a right to the throne, and really were a just man. The
clergy and the crowd must have been rather ashamed of
themselves in secret, I think, for being such poor-spirited

The new King and his Queen were soon crowned with a
great deal of show and noise, which the people liked very
much ; and then the King set forth on a royal prepress
through his dominions. He was crowned a second time at
York, in oixler that the people might have show and noise
enough ; and wherever he went was received with shoots of
rejoicing — from a good many people of strong lungs, who
were paid to strain their throats in crying, '* God save King
Richard ! " The plan was so successAil that I am toM it has
been imitated since, by other usurpers, in other progresses
through other dominions.

While he was on this journey, King Richard stayed a week
at Warwick. And from Warwick he sent instructions home.
for one of the wickedest murders that ever was done — the
murder of the two young princes, his nephews, who were
shut up in the Tower of London.

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Sir Robert Brackenburj' was at that time Governor of the
Tower. To him, by the hands of a messenger named John
Green, did King Richard send a letter, ordering him by
some means to put the two young princes to death. But Sir
Robert — I hope because he had children of his own, and
loved them — sent John Green back again, riding and spur-
ring along the dusty roads, with the answer that he could not
do so hoiTible a piece of work. Tlie King, having ftowningly
considered a little, called to him Sir James Tyrrel, his mas-
ter of the horse, and to him gave authority to take command
of the Tower, whenever he would, for twenty-four hours, and
to keep all the keys of the Tower during that space of time.
Tyrrel, well knowing what was wanted, looked about him for
two hardened ruffians, and chose John Diohton, one of his
own grooms, and Miles Forest, who was a murderer b}^
trade. Ha\ing secured these two assistants, he went, upon
a day in August, to the Tower, showed his authority from
tlie King, took the command for four-and-twenty hours, and
obtained possession of the keys. And when the black night
came, he went creeping, creeping, like a guilty villain as he
was, up the dark stone winding stairs, and along tlie. dark
stone passages, until he came to the door of the room where
the two joung princes, hanng said their praj-ers, lay fast
asleep, clasped in each other's arms. And while he watched
and listened at the door, he sent in those evil demons, John
Digliton and Miles Forest, who smothered the two princes
witli the l>efl and pillows, and earned their bodies down the
stairs, and buried them under a great heap of stones at
the staircase foot. And when the day came, he gave up
the command of the Tower, and restored the keys, and hnr-
rietl away without once looking behind him ; and Sir Robert
Brackenbury went with fear and sadness to the princes' room,
and found the princes gone for ever.

You know, through all this histoiy, how true it is that
traitors are never true, and 30U will not be surprised to learn
that the Duke of Buckingham soon turned against King Rich-

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aid, and joined a great eonspiraej that was formed to de-
throne him, and to place tlie crown upon its rightful owner's
head. Richard had meant to keep the murder secret; but
when he heard through his spies that this conspiracy existed,
and that many lords and gentlemen drank in secret to the
healths of the two young princes in the Tower, he made it
known that they were dead. The conspirators, though
thwailed for a moment, soon resolved to set up for the crowu
against the murderous Richard, He^^t Earl of Richmond,
gi-andson of Catherine : that widow of Henry the Fifth who
married Owen Tudor. And as Henry was of the house of
Lancaster, they proposed that he should many the I^rinccss
Elizal>eth, the eldest daughter of the late King, now the heir-
ess of the house of York, and thus by uniting the rival families
put an end to tlie fatal wars of the Red and White Roses.
All being settled, a time was appointed for Henr^* to c*orac
over from Brittany, and for a great rising against Richard to
take place in several parts of England at the same hour. Ou
a certain day, therefore, in October, the revolt took place ;
but unsuccessfull3'. Richard was prepared, Henry was driven
back at sea by a stonn, his followers in England were dis-
persed, and the Duke of Buckingham was taken, and at once
beheaded in the market-place at Salisbury.

Tlie time of his success was a good time, Richard thought,
for summoning a Parliament and getting some money. So,
a Parliament was called, and it flattered and fawned upon
him as much as he could possibly desire, and declared him to
be the rightful King of England, and his only son Edward,
then eleven years of age, the next heir to the throne.

Richard knew full well that, let the Parliament say what it
would, the Princess ElizalK»th was rememlK^i'ed by people as
the heiress of the house of York ; and having accurate infor-
mation besides, of its Inking designed by the conspimtors to
marry her to Henry of Richmond, he felt that it would much
strengthen him and weaken them, to be beforehand with them,
and marr3' ^^^ ^ ^^ son. With this view he went to the

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SADctaar}' at Westminster, where the late King's widow and
lier daughter still were, and besought them to come to Court :

Online LibraryCharles DickensCharles Dickens' complete works → online text (page 23 of 84)