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then, that the estates of the kingdom unanimously discharged. * Common sense and sincerity might concurred, and that the sacred ceremonial would have dictated a shorter answer, but it was deemed render sacred the person of the sovereign. But expedient to observe the technicalities and forms of Henry's first care was to provide himself with law even in breaking the laws. The elections had another and less spiritual kind of protection : he been made before the blood was well dried upon ordained a number of chosen archers, being strong Bosworth Field; the spirit of the aristocracy (and and hardy fellows, to give daily attendance on his the people were as yet too weak to oppose the royal person, and these he named Yeomen of the Guards. power without it) was broken and degraded,-evaThis body-guard was considered at first as a porated with the noble blood shed in the score of startling innovation, and excited some jealousy and battles fought during the Wars of the Roses, or disgust among the people.*

upon the scaffold; and men of all classes had On the 7th of November he met his parliament acquired, by long practice, a wonderful facility in at Westminster for the proper establishing of all discovering and siding with the strongest party. things. It seems quite certain that Henry, from No Yorkist opposition of a serious nature was the battle of Bosworth Field to the last days of his therefore to be expected in the house which not life, considered himself indebted for the throne to many months before had rung with the unanimous his sword, and he always fixed that battle as the praise of King Richard, and, by a single act, all epoch of his accession.t Now, when the commons the attainted members were restored to their rights waited upon him to present their speaker, he told and then took their seats. Separate bills were them that he had come to the throne " by just afterwards passed in favour of the Dowager Countess title of inheritance, and by the sure judgment of of Richmond, the king's mother, the Dukes of God, who had given him the victory over his Bedford, Buckingham, and Somerset, the Marquis enemy in the field.” The hereditary right thus of Dorset, the Earl of Oxford, the Lords Beauasserted was at once a lie and an absurdity, but mont, Wells, Clifford, Hungerford, de Roos, and there was little fear of its being challenged; the several others.t second clause scarcely contained more truth, for Henry in reason ought to have been satisfied Henry had prevailed and Richard had fallen, not with the declaration which effaced all former by the sword, but by treachery and disaffection, blemishes and deficiencies and made him a good and the claim was of far too dangerous a nature to and lawful king from the time he assumed the be put forth in its nakedness ; seeing that the right crown,---which was on the field of battle ;-but he of conquest, if allowed, would vest in Henry the resolved to be a king even before that time, in order honours and estates of all men, since they had held to punish men for treason which had never been them of the prince conquered. This clause, which committed, unless he could antedate his royal was made secondary, was therefore accompanied existence. This antedating involved some very by an assurance that every man should continue “to curious points : if he claimed the crown by right enjoy his rights and hereditaments, with the ex- of his descent from the House of Lancaster, he ception of such persons as in the present parlia- might have been expected to date from his boyhood ment should be punished for their offences against or from the murder of Henry VI.; if people looked his royal majesty.” It was found immediately to the rights he would derive from his marriage that a great many of the members of the new with the Princess Elizabeth of the House of York, House of Commons were persons attainted and though they could not help knowing that this outlawed by Richard or his brother Edward, for marriage had not even yet been celebrated, they their adherence to the House of Lancaster, or for might have allowed him the latitude of dating other causes; and it was also remarked that Henry from the murder of Elizabeth's brothers in the himself, who had called this parliament, had been Tower; but Henry took a very different course, attainted. The commons therefore questioned and with characteristic nicety, as if so small a theft whether their house were lawfully constituted, and from time were no theft at all, he only antedated the king, to his great displeasure, was obliged to by a single day, making his reign begin on the refer the case to all the judges, who assembled in 21st of August, the eve of the battle of Bosworth, the Exchequer Chamber. The opinion delivered when the crown was on the head of Richard, and was prudent, and of a just temperament between he, Henry, was nothing but Earl of Richmond. law and expediency.1 The judges determined that In this manner the marches and counter-marches such members of the House of Commons as were and all the long, preparations of the friends of attainted by course of law must forbear taking Richard to meet the invader were overlooked, and their seats till an act should be passed for the they were accused of nothing treasonable before reversal of their attainder : as for what regarded that day. In the preamble of the bill which he the king himself, they asserted it as a maxim, caused to be introduced in parliament, after a that the crown takes away all defects and stops recital of the unnatural, mischievous, and great in blood; and that, from the time the king took perjuries, treasons, homicides and murders in upon himself royal authority, the fountain was shedding of infants' blood, with many other cleared, and all attainders and corruptions of blood wrongs, odious offences and abominations against

• Bacon, Life of Henry VII.-- Rot. Parl. • Hall.-Stow.

Sir Harris Nicolas, Chron. of Hist. + Rot. Parl.-Bacon.-Marsolier, Histoire de Henri VII., sur * Hume, Hist. Eng. nommé le Sage, et le Salomun d'Angleterre.

same."*

God and man, committed by Richard late Duke of Henry most forcibly displayed his wary, hesitating,

, Gloucester, it was shown how John late Duke of and equivocating character, was the settlement of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey, Francis Viscount the crown by vote and enactment. The act was Lovel, John Lord Zouch, Robert Middleton, dictated by the king himself: all mention of the Robert Brakenbury, Ratcliffe, Catesby, and others Princess Elizabeth, and of every branch of her had, on the 21st day of August, the first year of family, was carefully avoided; no stress was laid the reign of our sovereign lord, assembled to them on his descent from an excluded and illegitimate at Leicester, in the county of Leicester, a great branch of the House of Lancaster; he satisfied host, traitorously intending, imagining, and con- himself with repealing in his own favour all such spiring the destruction of the king's royal person, acts as treated Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI., our sovereign liege lord. And they, with the and Edward of Lancaster Prince of Wales, as same host, with banners spread, mightily armed usurpers and traitors; and in favour of Elizabeth, and defenced with all manner arms, as guns, bows, he merely revoked the bastardy act which had arrows, spears, gleves, axes, and all other mann

nner been passed against her and all the children of articles apt or needful to give and cause mighty Edward IV. and Elizabeth Woodville at the accesbattle against our said sovereign lord, kept together sion of Richard III. He ordered that every refrom the said 22nd day of the said month then cord of parliament which contained any mention of next following, and them conducted to a field his own attainder should be taken off the file, that within the said shire of Leicester, there, by great the original of the bastardy act should be burned, and continued deliberation, traitorously levied war and that all persons who kept copies of it, after a against our said sovereign lord and his true sub- certain day, should be fined and imprisoned. jects, there being in his service and assistance Dropping the high tone of hereditary right and under a banner of our said sovereign lord, to the heavenly judgment “ shown in issue of battle,” subversion of this realm and common weal of the he caused it merely to be written in the act of

settlement that "the inheritance of the crown The absurdity of this antedating by a day was should be, rest, remain, and abide, in the most too manifest to escape observation, and the whole royal person of the sovereign lord King Henry VII. tendency of the bill was dangerous and startling. and the heirs of his body lawfully coming, perIt was asked how Richard, and Norfolk, and Surrey, petually with the grace of God so to endure, and and the other adherents of the late king, could have in none other." But this excess of caution excommitted treason against Henry, they only Earl of cited suspicions and discontents which might have Richmond, and at a time when he had never pub- proved fatal had Henry not been ready to fulfil a licly laid claim to the crown. All constitutional contract of a more private nature, through which and legal objections were, however, overruled, and, only-gloze it as he would-he could pretend to in spite of a faint opposition within doors and a any right to the crown. He was well aware of all louder outcry without, the subservient parliament the mancuvres of the Queen Dowager and the passed the bill as required, and attainted the late Princess Elizabeth; he knew that the first had king, the Duke of Norfolk, his son the Earl of fallen in with the views of the late king, and that Surrey, Lord Lovel, Lord Ferrers, and twenty-five Elizabeth had consented to marry Richard and other noblemen and gentlemen. Henry thus ob- convey her rights to him. These circumstances tained what he much wanted, -an immediate were not likely to conciliate Henry ; but affection supply of money: some of the confiscated estates, and respect had no part in this political match; the largest and finest in the kingdom, he kept to his great object in delaying the union was to avoid himself, and others he distributed among his needy making the rights of the House of York too profollowers. Of the thirty persons thus attainted, minent,—to disguise the fact that, in law at least, some had fallen 'with Richard and the Duke of he owed the crown to a woman. Perhaps a mean Norfolk at Bosworth; some, like Lord Lovel, had nature like his was the more susceptible of a pride taken sanctuary, and some had fled beyond sea. of this kind; and even at last he made it

appear The new king was only fond of executions on that he yielded to the prayer of parliament. The great state occasions, and the only blood which friends of the House of York,—the parties who was shed at this revolution was that of Richard's had contracted for the marriage in France a year confidential adviser Catesby, and of two persons before,—were irritated at seeing no allusion made named Brecher, who were put to death immediately to the Princess Elizabeth; and the nation at large after the battle. Stillington, bishop of Bath, who felt that if this new revolution were to have any had made himself very useful to Richard by his value, it would only be inasmuch as it put an end pen, was thrown into prison, and at first treated to civil war by uniting the White and Red Roses. very harshly, but he made his peace with King When the commons presented to the king the Henry, who probably thought that the services of grant of tonnage and poundage for life (now a such an unscrupulous penman might be of use to usual grant), they saddled it with a plain and him.

direct request that he would "take to wife and But the most important operation pursued during consort the Princess Elizabeth,” which marriage, this session of parliament, and that in which they hoped, “ God would bless with a progeny of • Rot. Parl.

the race of kings.When this petition was read, the lords, both spiritual and temporal, rose from thing to do with this act of grace, which was pubtheir seats and joined in it, by bowing with pro- lished and proclaimed as originating in his own per solemnity to the throne, and then Henry royal breast, and emanating solely from his own graciously replied that he was ready and willing to royal mercy. All these things were sufficient insatisfy them on this point.*

dications of the spirit of absolutism-a spirit which In the same parliament all grants made by the would not have been tolerated by the proud and crown since the thirty-fourth year of Henry VI. bold aristocracy of former times, but which there were resumed; and thus Henry acquired the power was now little to oppose. Many that now came to take from the partisans of the House of York, or out of sanctuary, or from places of concealment, to confirm to them the possession of whatever pro- were received to grace; but others, placing no conperty they had obtained in this way. There was fidence in the act, remained abroad or in sanctuary also passed a general amnesty in favour of all such at home. In addition to Bishop Stillington, several adherents of Richard as would submit to the king's of Richard's adroit agents were presently employed mercy and take the new oath of allegiance. But about the court, and among these were Sir John here, again, Henry showed his character : he would Tyrrel, the reputed murderer of the sons of Edward not allow the houses of parliament to have any- | IV. in the Tower.* • Rot. Parl.

Rot. Parl.-Bacon, Life of Henry VII.

[graphic][merged small]

A.D. 1486. — On the 18th of January Henry to receive and grant lands and chattels, she did married the Princess Elizabeth; and thus, at last, not recover her dower, but lived, it should seem, after so many intrigues of various natures, this on an allowance made by Henry, who was too fond heiress of York became money to be .

England, and the long-desired blending of the rival of The Bishop of emola, papal legate, had given

roses was accomplished. But her jealous husband the dispensation considered necessary for the marallowed her the smallest possible share of authority riage, as Henry and Elizabeth were related ; but or influence: her coronation was indefinitely post- the king was determined to make more of this poned; and, until policy obliged her husband to opportunity. The tendency of the times, at adopt a different course, she was little more than least in all the sovereign courts of Europe, was a queen in name. Nor did her mother, Elizabeth certainly not to revive the power of the popes Woodville, reap any great benefit from the revo- in cases of disputed successions ; but Henry, lution; for though the opprobrious act of Richard who had little to fear from any hostile interIII. was reversed, and she was restored to her civil ference or dangerous intermeddling on the part rights, with faculty to plead and be impleaded, and of the church, thought that he might gain something, over scrupulous minds, by obtaining the sively bishop of Bath and Wells, Durham, and express sanction of the pope to his elevation to the Winchester. Morton and Fox became, in fact, throne; and for this he determined to apply in his Henry's favourite ministers and chief advisers. usual indirect manner. Pretending scruples, or According to the old historians, Henry loved apprehensions as to the lawfulness of the marriage churchmen on account of their calling, and “dehe had contracted, he applied for a second dispen- lighted to choose a convenient number of right sation, to be given by the pope himself. As we grave and wise priests to be of his council.” The cannot fancy for a moment that Innocent III. could great Bacon hints at another motive,-observing be ignorant of the real facts of the case, we must that he loved to employ prelates, because, having accuse his Holiness of some wilful, deliberate, and rich bishoprics to bestow, it was easy for him to impudent falsehoods. In his document every

reward their services : and it was his maxim to clause was inserted that Henry required, and con- raise them by slow steps, and make them first pass tradictory rights were heaped one upon another. through the inferior grades or sees. The practice It was recited that the crown of England belonged of translation, by which bishops are tempted to be to the gracious Henry by right of conquest,—by obsequious to the power in whose hand is promonotorious and indisputable right of succession, - tion, was certainly no novelty, any more than the by right of election made by all the prelates, lords, employing of churchmen in the offices of governand commons of the realm,--and by right of the ment; but Henry seems to have systematised it, act of settlement passed by the three estates in and to have made more of it than his predecessors.* parliament assembled; but that, nevertheless, to He generally employed priests both as avowed minisput an end to the bloody wars which had risen out ters or ambassadors, and as secret agents; and if he of the claims of the House of York, and at the employed lawyers more frequently than priests urgent request of parliament, King Henry had con- for his tax-gatherers and revenue-officers, it was sented to marry Elizabeth, the eldest daughter and because the canons of the church stood in his way. true heir of Edward IV., of “immortal memory.” On many occasions we have seen the church stand The pope, therefore, at the prayer of the king, and foremost for the defence of the national liberties; to preserve peace in the kingdom, confirmed the but now the bishops, like the lay barons, were all dispensation. So far the dispensation did not very on the road to become mere courtiers. much exceed its proper office : but the pontiff pro- When parliament was dissolved, and Henry had ceeded to confirm the act of settlement passed by “set and appointed all his affairs in good order the parliament, and to define and fix irrevocably and sure state, as he himself conjectured,” he prethe meaning of that act. According to his inter pared to make a royal progress through the kingpretation that act meant that, if Queen Elizabeth dom, with the more express object of staying some should die without issue before the king her hus- time in the north, in order to gain the good-will of band, or if her issue should not outlive their father, the people in those parts. “ In the prime time of then, and in that case, the crown should devolve the year he began his journey towards York, and, to Henry's children by any subsequent marriage. because the feast of Easter approached, he turned Sentence of excommunication was pronounced aside to the city of Lincoln, where he tarried against all who should call in question this inter during the solemnity of that high feast.” Here he pretation, or who should hereafter attempt to dis- was informed that Lord Lovel, with Humphrey turb Henry in the present possession, or the heirs and Thomas Stafford, “had fled from the sancof his body in the future succession :--and so ended tuary of Colchester, and had gone, with dangerous this extraordinary bull.*

intentions, no man knew whither.” On the 6th During this first parliament Edward Stafford, of April Henry left Lincoln for Nottingham, well eldest son of the Duke of Buckingham, whose attended; by the 17th he was at Pontefract, where death had been caused by plotting with Henry, he was stopped for awhile by the intelligence that was restored to the estates as well as to the honours Lord Lovel, with a considerable body of insurof the family; Chandos of Brittany was created gents, had thrown himself between Middleham Earl of Bath, Sir Giles Daubeny Lord Daubeny, and York. To retreat might have proved more and Sir Robert Willoughby Lord Broke. After dangerous than to advance, even in face of an the dissolution the king remembered his friends equal force; but the insurgents were greatly infewhom he had left as hostages beyond the seas (that rior, and, on seeing that the enterprise was hopeis to say, the Marquis of Dorset and Sir John less, Lord Lovel disbanded them, and fled into Bourchier), whom, with all convenient speed, he Lancashire. After lying concealed there for a redeemed: he also sent for Morton, the astute short time in the house of his friend Sir Thomas Bishop of Ely, who, on the failure of Bucking- Broughton, he passed over to Flanders. A few of

A ham's ill-concerted insurrection, had fled into the men who had taken up arms with him were Flanders. Morton instantly got back his see of

seized and executed. This failure wholly disconEly, from which, soon after, he was raised to the certed the project of the Staffords, who had presee of Canterbury. Richard Fox, another divine pared an insurrection in Worcestershire.

The who had been a companion of Henry in his exile two brothers fled for sanctuary to the church of and misfortunes, was made privy seal, and succes. Colnham, near Abingdon; but this time their • Rymer,

• Bacon.-Hall.

sanctuary was not respected: they were dragged We left the young Earl of Warwick, the son of by force from the church, and had sentence passed

the Duke of Clarence, safely lodged in the Tower. upon them as traitors. Humphrey, the elder, was

In the month of November a young priest of executed at Tyburn, but Thomas, the younger Oxford, and a beautiful boy, landed at Dublin. brother, was pardoned.

The priest gave out that the boy was Edward On the 26th of April Henry entered York, in Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, who had escaped which city the memory of King Richard, his in a marrellous manner from the Tower of London; mortal enemy, was yet“ recent and lively, and not and among a people of lively imagination and all forgotten of his friends."

But the visitor, on warm feelings a ready belief was accorded to the necessary occasions, could relax his avarice: he story, and a generous sympathy spread from heart reduced the town-rent to the crown from 1601. to heart for the young hero of it.

What was creyearly to 181. 5s. ; he dispensed favours and dulity in the common people was design and craft honours; held feasts ; exhibited pageants and in some, possibly in most, of the Anglo-Irish miracles; fed some poets who recited some bad nobles, who were averse to Henry, who had verses in his honour; and distributed money scarcely submitted to his government, and who among the people, who cried, lustily, “King Henry! were ready to adopt all such measures as chance King Henry! Our Lord preserve that sweet and might offer, provided they held out a prospect of well-favoured face !” Having spent nearly a overthrowing the new order of things in England. month at York, he turned to the south-west, and Thomas Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, and lordvisited Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester, and Bris- lieutenant or deputy of Ireland, received the priest tol. In the course of his slow and stately progress

and his pupil with open arms, and presented the he was very attentive to the public observance of latter to all his friends and lovers, and such other religious worship; but he chose his own subject as were of bond or affinity, declaring the coming for the sermons that were preached. On every of the child, and afterwards affirming that the Sunday or saint's day one of the bishops read and crown and sceptre of the realm of right belonged expounded from the pulpit the bull which he had to this young prince, as sole heir male left of the obtained on his marriage from Pope Innocent, and

line of Richard Duke of York.” Ever since the which, as we have seen, declared him to be king time that this Duke of York, the father of Edward by all manner of rights, and threatened his ene- IV., had governed Ireland, the country had been mies with eternal perdition. On his return to greatly attached to that house; his son Clarence London, in the month of June, he received an em- had also been lieutenant, and his grandson, the bassy from the King of Scotland, who joyfully real Earl of Warwick, had been born in Ireland, consented to a treaty of truce and amity, to be fol- and was therefore, in addition to other claims, lowed in due season by a matrimonial alliance endeared to the people as their countryman. The between their families. This treaty was important boy now presented to them was not only beautiful to both sovereigns, who had need of peace and and graceful in person, but witty and ingenious : tranquillity, and who each dreaded that the states he told his touching story with great consistency, of the other might be made a place of refuge and and, when questioned, he could give minute partirallying to his domestic enemies.t

culars relating to the royal family. He had been During Henry's royal progress the people had well taught; and the Irish gentry and burghers, everywhere been disappointed at not seeing his who had probably not lived much about the English queen with him. Still jealous of his own wife, in court, and who were at the same time carried away a political sense, he had sent her to keep court by their enthusiasm, were not very critical judges. with her mother and sisters and his own mother, The citizens of Dublin declared unanimously in the Countess of Richmond, at Winchester; and his favour; and his fame was "shortly bruited here she remained, little noticed by him, till she throughout all Ireland, and every man was willing was advanced in her pregnancy, when he went to to take his part, and submit to him, calling him, hunt in the New Forest, which brought him to her on all hands, king.” At the same time certain neighbourhood. On the 20th of September, eight privy messengers were sent into England and months and two days after her marriage, Elizabeth others into Flanders. When news of these doings was delivered of a son, who was christened Arthur, reached King Henry, "he was sore vexed and after the hero of ancient romance, with whom moved; but still, like a circumspect, ingenious, Henry claimed relationship on the father's side and prudent prince, well considering and politically through the Tudors and Cadwalladers. So good foreseeing, he adopted such means as he hoped an opportunity for panegyric was not lost by the would reduce this insurrection without any battle writers of the day: the birth of the infant was cele

or strokes stricken.” He summoned a great counbrated in prose and verse, in Latin and English ; cil to meet in the Charter House, near his royal and the Hermit of Guy's Cliff confidently pre

manor of Richmond. His bad faith had made dicted that this Arthur would surpass the fame of many men desperate ; and, in the homely saying of him of the Round Table.

the chronicler, “had set all things at sixes and

sevens.” The pardon which he had granted in • Yrar Book.

the first parliament was not only hampered with + Herald's Journal, MS. Lel. Collect.-Hall.-Bacon. Rym.:

exceptions and restrictions, but the parts that were

Roose.

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