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1483.

Strange to say, Richard seems to have been supported in

this usurpation by the aristocracy and the church.

Cotemporary Sovereigns.--France: Louis XI. Scotland: James III.

Questions.-1. Who was appointed regent during Edward v.'s minority; and what step did he take in order to secure sole power over the person of the young king? 2. What steps did he take in order to prepare the way for his own usurpation of the crown?

4. Richard III.

A.D. 1483-1485.

DEATH OF THE YOUNG PRINCES IN THE TOWER-REVOLT OF BUCKINGHAMREORGANISATION OF THE LANCASTRIANS UNDER HENRY TUDOR, EARL OF RICHMOND RICHARD'S REFORMS OF THE LAW-BOSWorth field.

Richard and the Duke of Buckingham soon quarrelled, it is supposed on the subject of the reward promised to the latter for his services; but it is not easy to account for Buckingham's sudden desertion of his old friend. The duke lost no time in looking about for a rival to Richard. The young king and his brother the Duke of York had been smothered in the Tower, by two hired assassins, Forest and Dighton, under the eye of Richard's agent Sir James Tyrrel, who in the Tower buried their bodies; but another candidate for the throne was forthcoming in the person of Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, whose mother Margaret was daughter of John duke of Somerset, and great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and as such regarded by all Lancastrians as heir to the claims of that house. The Earl of Richmond's grandmother was Catherine of France, widow of Henry v., who had married Owen Tudor, a Welsh gentleman, and this connexion secured him the support of the Welsh. The English malcontents, with Buckingham at their head, and acting on the advice of Morton, bishop of Ely, invited the Earl of Richmond to claim the crown, and by marrying Elizabeth, eldest

93

A.D. 1483.] HENRY, EARL OF RICHMOND, INVITED OVER. daughter of Edward Iv., to unite the two houses of York and Lancaster, and thus bring to a happy conclusion the long and bloody quarrels of the two factions.

Richmond, who, with his uncle the Earl of Pembroke, had found an asylum at the court of the Duke of Brittany, and afterwards at that of the French king Charles VIII., assembled a fleet, and a few thousand men, with whom he resolved to effect a landing in England, trusting to the support of the Lancastrian party who had made extensive preparations for his expected arrival. Stormy weather prevented the embarkation, and Richard hearing of the projected insurrection of Richmond's partisans in England, levied an army and marched to Salisbury, where, in a few days, the Duke of Buckingham, whose plans had failed, was brought prisoner, and by Richard's order forthwith executed (November 1483). Richard next determined to avail himself of the idea which had been started of uniting the red and white roses, and as Anne Neville, whose husband he had murdered, had married him without scruple, he thought Elizabeth of York, whose brothers Edward v. and the Duke of York he had secretly made away with, might also consent to a union. But Anne was still alive, though in delicate health. She soon died, and it is supposed that Richard hastened her death. He then proposed for Elizabeth of York, and was accepted (1485). Happily for this

lady the plot was rapidly ripening.

Before proceeding to the concluding scene of Richard's life, it is only due to a king whose character has deservedly been overwhelmed with obloquy, to say, that, during his short reign, many laws were passed of a most salutary kind, and that Acts of Parliament were now for the first time printed, that they might be more extensively known. Among other enlightened measures, he made a special exception in favour of books and materials for printing, admitting them to the country free of impost: he annulled the asking for benevolences, and thus relieved the people; but what is of still more importance, he facilitated the transfer of land by securing property to a buyer against the claims of the

heirs of the seller. This act did much to hasten the downfal of feudalism, admitting, as it could not fail to do, a new race of proprietors to the soil, who possessed none of the hereditary attachment to the feudal system, and thus opening a further means of advancement to the middle classes. Posts for royal messengers were first established under Richard, and consuls to foreign countries appointed to protect the interests of Englishmen.

The Earl of Richmond landed with an army of 2000 foreigners at Milford Haven (7th August 1485). Though adherents hourly flocked to his standard, Richard's army was superior in number, and the issue of the contest depended on the course to be taken by Lord Stanley, whose conduct hitherto had been loyal to Richard, who held his son as a pledge of the father's fidelity. Stanley's tie to the other party, however, was strong, he being the husband of the Countess of Richmond, mother of the claimant of the throne. The battle which terminated the war of the Roses, was fought at Bosworth Field (12th battle), in Leicestershire (22d August 1485). Soon after the action began, Lord Stanley, with 12,000 men, went over to Richmond. Richard fought desperately but was killed, as were also Howard duke of Norfolk, and his minister Sir Richard Ratcliffe. Catesby, another of Richard's agents, was executed after the battle. Thus ended the sanguinary Wars of the Roses, after having raged for thirty years, and having cost the lives of 100,000 men.

With Richard III. the Plantagenets ceased to occupy the English throne.*

Cotemporary Sovereigns.-France: Louis XI. Charles VIII. Scotland: James III.

Questions.-1. What became of the young princes, Richard III.'s nephews? 2. What improvements in the law did Richard III. effect? 3. What was Henry Tudor earl of Richmond's claim to the throne? 4. What motives induced the nobles to support his claim in preference to that of Richard III.? 5. Where did the two rivals meet, and what was the result of the battle?

* Shakspere's account of the closing scene of Richard the Third's reign is so illustrative of this period of history, that it should be read in connexion with this chapter.

A.D. 1486.]

HENRY VII. MARRIES ELIZABETH OF YORK.

95

5. Henry VII.

A.D. 1485-1509.

SUPPRESSION OF THE FEUDAL ARISTOCRACY-IMPOSTURES OF LAMBERT SIMNEL -PERKIN WARBECK-INTRIGUES WITH FRANCE-ALLIANCE WITH SPAINAVARICE AND EXTORTION OF HENRY ALLIANCE WITH SCOTLAND-DOCTRINES OF THE REFORMATION-REVIVAL OF LETTERS-EXTENSION OF PRINTING-DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.

Edward III.

John of Gaunt (third son)
John Beaufort, earl of Somerset

John duke of Somerset
1

Margaret Beaufort married Edward Tudor

Henry being a descendant of the illegitimate branch of John of Gaunt's family, had no inherent title to the Crown. Though fully sensible of this, his hatred Henry VII. earl of Richmond. of the house of York made him unwilling to owe the consolidation of his dynasty to his union with Elizabeth, Edward the Fourth's daughter. Accordingly, before marrying her, he had his own pretended title to the Crown recognised by Parliament and sanctioned by the Pope. To supply his empty treasury, he had recourse to confiscations and revocations of grants; after which amnesties were proclaimed.

The Parliament petitioned for the king's union with Elizabeth of York, and the terms of this petition are worthy of remark, as showing that the House continued to retain the old custom of either electing to the kingly office, or of confirming, and so legalizing the title of the heir. It was petitioned, that "in consideration of the right to the realms of France and England being vested in his person and the heirs of his body by the authority of the Parliament, he would be pleased to espouse the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of King Edward IV." Early in 1486 he married Elizabeth, and then made a royal progress through the kingdom. Lord Lovel and the Staffords, who had been attainted in the early months of the reign, took up arms, but Henry, offering a general pardon to all rebels who returned to their allegiance, their followers

dispersed, and Lord Lovel himself retired into Flanders to the Court of the Duchess of Burgundy, sister of Edward IV.

The birth of a son, to whom he gave the name of Arthur, added to the satisfaction with which the king viewed the working of his policy, the great aim of which was to complete in England the task Louis XI. had accomplished in France, namely, the destruction of the feudal system, and the concentration of full power in the Crown. The fall of many great families during the Wars of the Roses, the forfeiture of the estates of others, and the extinction of the resources of all, made this a favourable time for bringing his monarchical policy to a successful conclusion. The feudal aristocracy were henceforth regarded as subjects in the same sense as the rest of the population, and they ceased to exist as a distinct and predominating caste. In order to weaken the influence and power of the barons that remained in possession of their estates and influence, an act was passed, forbidding the enlistment of retainers, who, wearing the liveries and badges of their masters, and bound to fight their quarrels and defend their interests, had been a constant source of disorder by supplying leaders of parties and factions with an army ever ready to oppose legitimate authority. To check the turbulence arising from this feudal custom, was one of the motives that led to the creation of the Star-Chamber, through which the king exercised an arbitrary and illegal authority much abused in future reigns. Some time after, an Act was passed (or rather confirmed or renewed, for it was introduced by Richard III.) empowering the nobility to break entails and alienate their estates to purchasers. While pursuing this policy, Henry encouraged commerce, with a view to the creation of a powerful burgher class, and selected his ministers and agents chiefly from the middle ranks. The towns continued to grow in importance. Serfdom had by this time disappeared. Meanwhile, the privileges and powers of the House of Commons were not sufficiently defined, and it consequently presented a very insufficient counterpoise to the growing royal prerogative; but had no such comparatively free assembly existed, the seventh Henry and his suc

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