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A.D. 1487.]



cessors would no doubt have established, on the ruins of the feudal system, a despotism similar to that which arose on the Continent.

Henry's severity towards the Yorkists led to a singular attempt against his government, by Lambert Simnel, a baker's son, and his tutor, an Oxford priest, Richard Simon. The former personated the young Earl of Warwick, who had been confined in captivity since the murder of his father, the Duke of Clarence, in the reign of Edward IV. and who was residing in the Tower at the time of Simnel's adventure. Simon and his pupil landed in Ireland, where the House of York was popular, and there Simnel's pretensions met instant credence; the Earl of Kildare, deputy or viceroy, paying him homage under the title of Edward VI. Henry, on hearing of the adventurer, produced the real Earl of Warwick, and allowed the Yorkists free access to him; but the Irish, notwithstanding, persisted in believing the impostor to be the genuine Warwick. The Duchess of Burgundy, whose court was the focus of opposition to the Lancastrians, sent over 2000 German troops under the command of her nephew, the Earl of Lincoln, and Lord Lovel, to support the counterfeit. But the king's stern, vigilant, and sagacious administration had produced its fruits. The industrious classes who had been protected and encouraged were contented, and refused to rise, and, when Simnel and the Earl of Lincoln appeared in England, few rallied to their standard. With their German and Irish troops they tried the issue at Stoke, and were completely beaten by the king's army, under the Earl of Oxford (1487). The Earl of Lincoln, and other chiefs of the insurgents, fell in the action. Simnel and Simon were taken prisoners. The king, either from clemency or policy, made Simnel a scullion in his kitchen, and afterwards promoted him to the rank of falconer. After this attempt he had his consort Elizabeth crowned, in order to propitiate the Yorkists; and, further to consolidate his kingdom, concluded a treaty with his neighbour, the King of Scotland, James III., which he renewed with his successor James IV.

Henry initiated the great scheme of diplomacy which now knits


Europe into one system, and which seeks to solve by negotiation and mediation difficulties which, in ruder times, were solved by His own character, and that of his great and wily contemporary, Ferdinand, king of Arragon, eminently fitted both to be masters in this new school of politics.


In 1488, the province of Brittany, the last great fief that remained unincorporated by the French monarchy, devolved on Anne, daughter and heiress of Francis duke of Brittany. The candidates for this lady and her possessions were Maximilian king of the Romans, Charles VIII. of France, and Louis duke of Orleans, afterwards Louis XII. of France. All parties sought the alliance of Henry VII. Anne's ministers reminded him that it was at the court of Brittany he had passed the years of his exile. Charles VIII. pleaded the army at the head of which Henry fought at Bosworth Field, in which was a subsidy of 3000 French troops. Henry listened to all parties, and avarice being his dominant passion, he availed himself of the situation to obtain subsidies from Parliament. While collecting the taxes that followed the vote of money, disturbances occurred in the north, in which the Earl of Northumberland, who had been appointed to enforce the subsidies, and who had done so somewhat roughly, was killed by the insurgents. Henry put the money voted by Parliament into his coffers, and compelled Anne to refund the cost of 6000 men he nominally despatched to her aid, while Charles paid him liberally for keeping the same men in a state of inaction. The issue of this war was, that Charles VIII. compelled the young heiress to marry him, and by doing so united Brittany to the French monarchy. On this, Henry applied to Parliament for fresh subsidies, in order to punish the French king's alleged perfidy. The Parliament proved liberal; and Henry sailing to Calais, proceeded to a pretended siege of Boulogne, but, in point of fact, he had already entered upon negotiations, and a treaty was soon concluded at Etaples, by which Charles agreed to pay Henry £400,000 sterling, besides a yearly pension, on condition of his withdrawing his army.

A.D. 1492.]



Meanwhile, the Duchess of Burgundy had found in Perkin Warbeck, another pretender, the means of disturbing Henry's government. The young man was handsome, courteous, and clever, and trained by the duchess to personate her nephew, Richard duke of York, the same that with his father, Edward v., had been murdered in the Tower by the order of Richard III. As the bodies of the young princes had not been discovered, Henry had much trouble in proving the adventurer's account of himself to be a fiction. Warbeck landed in Ireland (1492), where he was acknowledged as Duke of York. He next proceeded to the Court of Charles VIII., who, in order to extract certain conditions from Henry at the treaty of Etaples, just referred to, acknowledged Warbeck's pretended title; but, the treaty once concluded, Charles ordered him to quit his kingdom. The pretender then retired to the court of the Duchess of Burgundy, in Flanders. In the meantime, Henry employed spies to find out the real history of the impostor. They learned that he was the son of a Jew residing in Tournay, and that he had been born in London in the reign of Edward IV. Henry demanded of the Archduke Philip the expulsion of Warbeck. On his refusal, Henry interdicted commercial relations with the Low Countries. Several of the pretender's English partisans were executed. On the evidence of Sir Robert Clifford (who, whilst acting as the agent of the Yorkists, was bribed by Henry to betray them), and that of Sir William Stanley, the Earl of Derby was tried, condemned, and executed; his estates being forfeited to the crown.

This act of ingratitude towards a man to whom Henry owed his throne, created an unpopularity which was much increased by the exactions of his ministers, Empson and Dudley, who, being lawyers, knew how to cover, under legal forms, the iniquitous means they employed for indulging the king's avarice,-imposing fines for the breaking of obsolete laws, selling privileges, and compromising offences for money.

When Warbeck landed in Kent, the men of that county repulsed him, and took 150 prisoners, all of whom Henry hanged.

Warbeck returned to Flanders, to the court of his protectress, Margaret of Burgundy. The Archduke Philip, moved by the complaints of the Flemish merchants on account of the suspension of commercial relations with England, consented to the expulsion of Warbeck, who next took refuge in the court of James IV. of Scotland. This monarch recognising his title of Duke of York, gave him in marriage his cousin, Lady Catherine Gordon, and headed an army in support of his claims to the English throne. The Parliament voted money to enable Henry to repel this invasion. The collecting of this tax raised a serious insurrection in Cornwall. James finding himself not supported by any party in England, concluded, through the mediation of the Spanish Ambassador, a treaty with Henry, on which Warbeck betook himself to Cornwall, where the discontented inhabitants flocked to his standard. On the approach of the king's army toward Taunton, Warbeck deserted his followers, and fled to the sanctuary of Beaulieu, and soon after, falling into Henry's hands, he was hanged at Tyburn.

Another impostor at the same time counterfeiting the Earl of Warwick, Henry determined to sacrifice that young prince to the security of his throne, and the last male of the line of the Plantagenets was accordingly condemned and executed (1499).

To give greater regularity to the government of Ireland, and to bring it into harmony with that of England, the king sent to that country Sir Edward Poynings (1498), by whose means was passed a law preventing the introduction of any measure into the Irish Parliament which had not been previously sanctioned by that of England.

Henry VII.

Margaret married James IV. of Scotland.

James V. married Mary of Guise.

Mary Stuart Queen of Scots.

In 1502, Henry concluded a treaty of perpetual alliance with James IV. of Scotland, upon the latter's marriage with Margaret, his eldest daughter. In the same year, his eldest son, Arthur, married Catherine, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Arthur died a few months after; and Ferdinand, desiring to preserve the English alliance as a counterpoise to the



aggrandizing spirit of France, at once proposed that Catherine should marry Arthur's brother Henry, to which the English king, rather than restore the Princess's dower, consented. Henry's queen, Elizabeth of York, survived prince Arthur only a few months.

It was in 1506 that the Archduke Philip and his wife Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, while travelling by sea to Castile, were driven by a tempest to take refuge on the coast of England. Henry resolved to avail himself of the opportunity, and keeping his guests in a sort of magnificent captivity, extracted from Philip a treaty drawn up entirely in his own interest. Henry died in his palace at Richmond (1509).

There was, no doubt, a despotic tendency in Henry VII., and this is sufficiently indicated by the fact that few Parliaments were called in his reign. Both Lords and Commons seem to have surrendered their powers into the hands of this astute monarch; and the sagacity of his administration, and the tranquillity which he succeeded in maintaining, are the best proofs that he made a good use of the power intrusted to him. His avarice, combined with the fact, that, in order to free himself from the control of Parliament, he dispensed with frequent subsidies, and had consequently to procure money where best he could, led to numerous acts of personal injustice and oppression; but the disaffection so caused was not such as to rouse the nation to resistance.

During this reign the doctrines of the Reformation began to make way among the more thoughtful. The superstitious practices of the Church were despised by the more educated, and its enorinous wealth was at once a source of danger to the state, and a cause of envy to the nobles.

This was the period of the revival of learning occasioned by the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. The Greek scholars of that capital were dispersed; and these carrying with them the great works of their ancient poets, philosophers, and orators, led to their reintroduction into Italy. There, the magnificent protection accorded them by the Medici family, gave a fresh stimulus to modern civilisation, and the spread of the ancient

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