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was the foremost of these instigators to rebellion. June 22. Having occasion to preach a sermon at Paul's
Cross, that is a pulpit erected under a cross in St. Paul's Church-yard, this hireling shepherd took for his text these words of the apocryphal book of Wisdom *; " The multiplying brood of the ungodly shall not thrive, nor take deep rooting from bastard slips.” And instead of feeding those who looked up to him with the bread of life, the word of God, he filled their ears with those slanderous assertions which others had propagated in the taverns; and pronounced his young sovereign to be illegitimate. “But in the lord protector," said he, "we see the true marks of the duke his father, as well in all princely behaviour, as in the lineaments of his face." It had been agreed between the duke, his tempter, and this priest, that he should so time this part of his discourse, that the duke might make his appearance amongst the hearers whilst he was thus speaking, to take his chance of being hailed as their king, by any whom the preacher's eloquence should have won over ; but, delaying by the way, he arrived after the priest's flattering description of him was ended. And when Dr. Shaw, in consequence, turned once more to the same subject, exclaiming, “ There is the very face and figure of the noble duke of York his father," the hearers blushed in the preacher's stead; and every countenance told him, that he was either despised or pitied. So that, when he went home, he sickened with shame and dread of the general abhorrence; and soon after died.
The duke of Buckingham was the next person to attempt to raise a popular cry, to make the protector's ambition pass off as compliance with the public wish. On the Tuesday following, he went with a large train to Guildhall, where the mayor, and the commons of the city were met, and putting them in
ATTEMPTS TO SEDUCE THE CITIZENS.
mind of the late king's personal vices, of the execution of Burdett, and of the benevolences which Ed. ward had extorted from them, he contrasted these things with the virtues which he chose to ascribe to the duke of Gloucester; and bade them rejoice that they might so justly claim the duke for their sovereign, since those named Edward's sons were but the children of adultery. “The nobles of the north, said he, will not allow any such base-born person to rule over them; and have therefore resolved to petition the protector that he would take upon him the governance of the realm as his own. Wherefore, my dear friends, speak openly : What say you ?" Here he paused for a reply. But the citizens stood dumb, like men astounded by what they had heard. To plain people it seemed monstrous, that such language should be addressed to them by one unnatural uncle to serve the wicked designs of another ; for the duke of Buckingham, though not standing strictly in that relationship, would be commonly styled the uncle of those young princes, whom he thus sought to spoil of their inheritance and their honour at once, inasmuch as he was the husband of their aunt*. And as to his assertion that the queen, his sister-in-law could not have been lawfully married because of a pre-contract, his hearers knew it must be untenable, or he and Gloucester would have taken good care to bring public proof of the fact.
The duke was not, however, to be easily rebuffed. He harangued the hall again. And when his artful speech was once more followed by a reproachful silence, Shaw, the mayor, excused it to the duke; telling him that the citizens were not used to have any important measure proposed to them, but by their recorder. Fitzwilliams, the recorder, was therefore commanded to speak to them; and obeyed. Yet he showed his reluctance to share the guilt of his superiors, by repeating at the end of every sentence “ So the duke bids me say.” And when his speech had won, as he intended, no converts, the duke made a last effort to pique them into assenting ; by telling the citizens, that the wishes of the lords and commons of parliament, were quite enough, without needing their sanction, though his personal respect for the city had tempted him to wish for their approbation. These words were followed by a cry of king Richard ! king Richard !' from the noblemen's servants at the bottom of the hall; who were weary of waiting for the citizens to begin. And then a few voices from the crowd joined in the shout. On which the duke said, " It was a goodly cry; and that he observed no man said nay to it."
The next day Buckingham took the mayor and aldermen to wait upon the duke of Gloucester, and request an audience. At seeing such a train, the protector affected to be alarmed; declined admitting them; and would, at last, only shew himself at a 'window, to hear the duke of Buckingham read a petition, purporting to be that of the peers, commons, and citizens; and stating that, whereas the children of Edward IV. were illegitimate, and those of the duke of Clarence incapable of inheriting, on account of the act of attainder passed against their father, they besought his grace to be their king. Having heard it to the end, the protector replied, that he had no desire to wear a crown-was much attached to his brother's children
and was resolved to be the faithful guardian of his nephew's rights. But Buckingham replied, “Sir, the free people of England will never crouch to the rule of a bastard; and if you, the lawful heir, refuse to reign, they know were to look for another, who will gladly be their king.” At these words the protector paused, as if in much doubt; and then said, "It was his duty to obey the voice of his people; and, at their petition, he would take upon him the government of the two
THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
noble realms of England and France ; the one from that day forward, the other, by God's their good help to get again and subdue.”
These last words were thrown out to gratify the national pride with the hope of a conquering reign. And after this hypocritical scene, Edward V. was no longer reputed king.
Had they, whom the world called brave and valiant men, possessed that true courage which was seen in the humble martyrs it despised, who chose rather to give themselves up to the most frightful deaths than to act against their consciences, the miserable cunning of the dukes of Buckingham and Gloucester would never have brought about so unnatural an usurpation, without a single battle fought for the rightful king. But lord Cobham, and Badby, and Sautre, feared God; and therefore thought light of any other fear. Men of the world had their affections set upon things on the earth; and therefore shrunk from contending with a prince, who would venture on any crime to cut off his adversaries from the face of the earth. Whilst some of them were ready to go
hand in hand with him in sin; to earn a share in the spoils, which his guilt was to place within his reach. Thus the duke of Buckingham had been hired to sin by the promise of receiving, for his wages, the estates of the Bohuns, earls of Hereford; which the Lancastrian kings had inherited by marriage, and to which he had a similar claim. In like manner the dukedom of Norfolk, first given to a Mowbray, for being a tool of Richard II. in his worst crimes, and now vested in the young duke of York, as affianced to the infant heiress of the Mowbrays, was bestowed by Richard III. on a remoter heir, lord Howard; as the price for which he was to be bought to connive at the murder of that unoffending boy, in whose royal father's court he had found promotion, instead of receiving the punishment he deserved for fattening on bribes from France.
Hence, a forged petition ; the duke of Gloucester's declaration that he would take the kingdom to himself, to satisfy its prayer; and the acclamations of the mayor of London and a few citizens, were accepted by the archbishop of Canterbury and by the July 6. nobility, as warrant enough for proceeding to
crown, and to proclaim him as king Richard III. ; without any meeting of the parliament to sanction, by its votes, the deposition of Edward V.
When the new king thus trampled on the natural desire of fair fame, and the love of kindred, to usurp the English throne, he was but thirty years of age. And one part of his character betrayed a weakness which men are generally found to have shaken off whilst yet younger than he; being so fond of tawdry dresses, and of gaudy shows, that an observer might have thought that he had coveted the crown but