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a little before them, and had added 300 horse to Gloucester's followers. Both dukes joined in giving them a courteous reception; and, after supping together in the duke of Gloucester's quarters, the
earl retired to his chamber, congratulating himself on the prudence of having gratified the first prince of the blood, by the deference to his superior rank which this visit manifested.
But the next morning, when he would have ridden back to resume his charge about the king, he found the gates of the town locked, and every outlet strictly guarded. These precautions, he was informed, had only been taken to prevent any person from being earlier than the duke in proceeding to pay his respects to the king. With this excuse he thought it best to appear satisfied. And presently the whole of the noble party rode on together, in a seemingly friendly manner. When, however, they had got so near Stony Stratford as to prevent the intelligence from affording time to the friends of the Wydviles to carry Edward off, the duke of Gloucester began to reproacli earl Rivers and his nephew with having estranged the young king, by calumnies, from his father's relations; and after a few words, he ordered them both under arrest. The duke then went on, and found the king already on horseback; but uncovering themselves and saluting him on their knees, they requested him to let himself be reconducted into his lodgings. There they further arrested his tutor, bishop Alcock, and Sir Thomas Vaughan * with several other connections or friends of the Wydviles, immediately attendant on his person; and told the king, that family had conspired to ruin him and the nation. The poor boy was terrified at seeing himself thus deprived of the company of men whom his late father had placed about him, and to whose pleasing attentions he had been accustomed;
See Vol. II. p. 585.
THE QUEEN'S RELATIONS ARRESTED.
and he assured his uncle Gloucester, with tears, that his other uncle, Rivers, and his kind brother, Richard Grey, could mean him no ill. But the duke of Buckingham replied, " they have kept your good grace in ignorance of their plottings.”
Thus overruled, the king was fain to sit down to a sad dinner; and the duke of Gloucester, to make him believe that there was no serious ill will entertained against Rivers, sent the earl a mess from his own table, with a request that he would be of good cheer. The earl sent back his thanks for this outward courtesy; but requested the dish might rather be carried to his young nephew, Lord Richard, to whom adversity was a stranger thing than to himself.
They and Vaughan were, the next day, sent prisoners to Pomfret castle, under a strong guard. And by midnight the news of what had passed at Stratford was brought to London. Lord Hastings, exulting in the fall of a nobleman, who had once persuaded the late king to send him a prisoner to the Tower, had no sooner received the intelligence of earl Rivers' arrest than he sent a servant to communicate it to Rotherham, archbishop of York, and chancellor, with an assurance from himself, that all would turn out well. The archbishop was in bed, but he immediately arose ; armed his household servants; and went with them to the queen. He found all her attendants busy in preparing and removing chests of apparel and furniture, to be carried to the sanctuary at Westminster; and to furnish rooms for her within its precincts. She herself was sitting among the rushes on the floor *, weeping and terrified. And when he would have comforted her, by repeating the last words of lord Hastings's message to himself; she told him, that Hastings had no stronger desire than to destroy her, and all her kin. On this the archbishop assured her, that if any one
* See Vol. I. 362.
thought to obtain the crown of England by prevent-
Sober citizens looked to their arms. Some
with assurances of fidelity to Others offered their services to lord Hastings. The peers in London assembled; but instead of taking any measures for the king's security, they contented themselves with lord Hastings' declaration, that he knew the duke of Gloucester meant no harm to his royal nephew, and had but arrested the Wydviles, for plotting the destruction of the old nobility of the realm. Whilst the archbishop of York, staggered by the indifference with which they heard of these illegal arrests, thought his own zeal rash; and begged back the seals from the queen.
The next day came news of the king's near approach to London. Upon which the mayor and aldermen in their robes, with 500 citizens in violet mourning, went out to meet him as far as Hornsey park; where the sight of the duke of Gloucester riding before him bare-headed, and making humble bows, as he introduced different persons to their young monarch, soothed their fears of his being ill used. They escorted him to the bishop of London's
* It is from his keeping this seal always in his presence that the lord Chancellor is sometimes called the lord Keeper.
+ See Vol. II. p. 585.
palace; and there he received the homage, and the oaths of fealty, of the nobles and prelates.
A short parliament met, some days after, in the king's presence; and a minister of state, speaking in his name, requested the lords and commons to let the king have the satisfaction of saying to the duke of Gloucester, “ Uncle, I am glad to have you confirmed, in this place, to be my protector.” It was also then discussed where it would be most suitable to have the king lodged, till the 22d of June ; for which day his coronation was put off. Some one proposed the
priory of St. John's, Clerkenwell; but the duke of Buckingham mentioning the Tower, it was agreed that he should be removed thither.
The supporters of the duke of Gloucester vaunted his moderation, in asking for the title of protector rather than regent; reminding the public how, in the case of duke Humphrey, a former parliament had declared the authority of a protector to be altogether inferior to that which would belong to a regent. Indeed, it is not improbable that, as yet, the new protector scarcely contemplated usurping his nephew's crown. But the leading events of his past life bad all been such as must have strengthened, instead of aiding him to subdue, the evil propensities of his heart; and temptations now pressed upon him. Even this reference to the protector of Richard the Second's minority would serve to remind him, that the only two princes who had borne the title of dukes of Gloucester before him, had both, like himself, seen their nephews succeed, whilst but children, to the crown; and had both been murdered, through the treachery of court favorites, when those nephews grew up to man's estate. And then the tempter would draw him on to think, that he had no alternative, but either to seize the kingly power; or to live amidst fears, and to fall at length a victim to other men's ambition. Besides, his father and his elder brother had coveted the crown
of England, and had treated oaths as things of no moment, and the shedding of blood as no more than the pouring out of water, to obtain the royal title ; and yet they were held in honour. Why, therefore, should he be more scrupulous than they?
Thus assailed by evil thoughts, the duke of Gloucester saw the 22d of June approaching; when it might be urged against his continuing in power, that the office of protector must terminate with the king's coronation, according to the precedent established in Henry the Sixth's reign*. It so happened, too, that, on the 9th of June, some person in office got the young king's name affixed to an order for restoring the estates of a monastery to its prior, without adding to the document, that it was signed by the protector's advice; and the duke, who had an insidious lawyer, named Catesby, seeking preferment from him, might have his attention directed to it hy this person, as a proof that his authority was undermined. The very next day, he sent sir Richard Ratcliffe, a confidential agent, with a letter to the mayor of York, urging him to hasten to London with all diligence, at the head of as many armed men as he could muster, to assist us,” said the letter, " against the queen, her bloody adherents and affinity, which have intended, and daily do intend, to murder and utterly destroy us and our cousin, the duke of Buckingham, and the old royal blood of the realm.” The two following days he was shut up
in his house, at Crosby-place, Bishopsgatestreet, in close conference with the duke of Buckingham, whom he had made constable of all the castles in five counties; the lord Howard, whom he had appointed high admiral; and lord Lovel, to whom he had given lord Rivers' office of chief butler of England. Whilst the royal council, evidently less in his favour, sat in the Tower without him, making arrangements for the coronation.
* See Vol. II p. 496.