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which is joined by Warbeck.


upon trying his fortunes in Cornwall. He landed at Whitsand bay, and proceeded to Bodmin, where he unfurled the standard of Richard IV. The Cornishmen had not acquired wisdom by their recent defeat, and when he laid siege to Exeter it was at the head of more than 6,000 men. When, however, he was driven from this city, and his troops approached the royal army near Taunton, his heart failed him, and he fled to the sanctuary of Beaulieu Abbey (October 6th, 1497). His followers submitted next day, and were generally pardoned by Henry himself at Exeter. The pretender's wife, who had been placed for shelter in the castle of St. Michael's Mount, was received into the Queen's household. Warbeck, after surrendering, at first experienced the same scornful treatment which Simnel had received, and was allowed to walk about London, where he excited the wonder of the populace, and was the object of their base sports. But having escaped to Richmond, he was brought back to London, and placed twice in the stocks, reading a confession of his imposture on both occasions (June 14th and 15th, 1499). He was then committed to the Tower.*

7. The difficulties connected with the history of Perkin Warbeck. In reading the generally-received accounts of Perkin Warbeck's imposture it must be remembered that our chief sources of information are the ex-parte statements of Henry VII. If Perkin was really an impostor in Henry's estimation, and, therefore, worthy only of contempt, it seems strange that he should have taken such pains to unravel the mystery; that he should have made a hasty peace with France, and inflicted the most serious injury upon the commerce of England, by removing the mart of English cloth from Antwerp, merely to drive the impostor out of France and Flanders. It is also incredible that, if the young man's origin and education were such as Henry stated them to be, that they should not have been known to the Archduke Philip, in whose dominions Tournay was situated; and that Philip should have encountered the hostility of the English King, merely to encourage one of his own subjects in an imposture. The conduct of James IV. of Scotland, and the behaviour of Warbeck in Scotland, are again incomprehensible. The abilities and acquirements of the adventurer must have been thoroughly tested at the Scottish court; for James himself was a poet and a patron of letters, and had introduced the art of printing into his kingdom; and Gawin Douglas and William Dunbar, famous Scottish poets, were resident at his court. If, therefore, Warbeck was the low-born youth that Henry represented him to

* Read the account of Warbeck's rebellion in Knight's Pop. Hist., II., chap. 14.


be, without any education, he must have found himself ill at ease in such company. But the case was exactly otherwise. For years, surrounded as he was by Henry's spies, he sustained his part without betraying, by a single act of self-consciousness, that he was a deceiver; while the support which he received from all the princes who espoused his cause was open and continued, and the money and men with which they furnished him were placed entirely at his sole disposal. Yet the contradictory evidence obtained by Henry's spies, and other reasons which have been incidentally mentioned before, will not allow us to yield an unqualified belief that Perkin Warbeck was Richard, Duke of York, the son of Edward IV.*


8. Execution of Warwick, the last of the Plantagenets. Between the capture of Simnel and the appearance of Warbeck, many plans had been adopted to liberate Warwick from prison, but, though aided on one occasion by Charles VIII., they had all failed. A report was now spread that Warwick was not in the Tower, and one Ralph Wilford, encouraged by an Augus- wilford's tine friar,put himself forward as the unfortunate earl, and imposture. endeavoured to raise the men of Kent. Such a foolish attempt was put down at the very outset; the pretender was executed; the monk was allowed to retire to the continent; and it was generally believed that the whole business "was but the King's device," in order that he might entrap more of his enemies. Henry did not scruple to employ these treacherous means of ruining his opponents is proved by the fact, that he now excited Warbeck to inveigle Warwick into a scheme for their joint escape and deliverance. The pretender won the favour of his keepers, who undertook to murder the governor, give up the keys to Warbeck, and conduct him and the Earl of Warwick to a place of safety, and there proclaim him by the title of Richard IV. Such was the plot which the law officers of the crown said the two prisoners entertained: but there are the strongest reasons for supposing that the two captives were encouraged to make some attempts for their liberation, and that the criminal portion of the plot was an invention of Henry's officers, in order that the prisoners might be brought to trial and execution. Whatever may have been Henry's motives in pardoning Warbeck for his treasons and rebellions, and now bringing him to the scaffold for attempting to effect his escape, we certainly know some of the reasons why the last of the Plantagenets was executed. Henry had been for some time engaged in a negotiation for the marriage of his eldest son • Knight's Pop. Hist., II., c. xiv.; Lingard, V. appendix, C. + See Mackintosh, II., 85.


Arthur with Catherine, Infanta of Spain. In the course of their correspondence, Ferdinand, King of Arragon and Castile, wrote to Henry in plain terms, and said "that he saw no assurexecuted. ance of succession as long as the Earl of Warwick lived, and that he was loth to send his daughter to troubles and dangers." The negotiations, therefore, were protracted till it could be seen how Warwick could be put out of the way, and when this came to pass, the marriage was celebrated by proxy in Spain, six months before Warwick was executed. Such were the motives which led to the murder of the Plantagenet earl-such were the base interests to which he was sacrificed Well might the Spanish princess, in aftertimes when she remembered the circumstances, exclaim, "The divorce is a judgment of God, for that my former marriage was made in blood."+ Warbeck was executed at Tyburn (August 23rd), and Warwick on Tower Hill (November 28th, 1499).

Why War

wick was


Causes of

1500-1509. 9. Change in European Politics during the Fifteenth Century. The revolutions which took place during the fifteenth the change. century, entirely changed the face of the continent, and introduced a new system of politics in Europe. These revolutions were the result of those progressive changes which had been produced in the ideas and understanding of the nations of Europe, by the improvements and institutions of preceding ages; by the inventions of paper and printing, of gunpowder, and the mariner's compass; and latterly, by the spread of Greek literature and civilization consequent upon the fall of the Eastern Empire, and the capture of Constantinople by the Turks. Owing to these Nature of causes, letters and the arts were greatly extended; knowthe change. ledge and civilization were revived; the nations shook off the yoke of barbarism, superstition, and fanaticism, which the revolutions of the fifth century had imposed upon them: and from the fifteenth century, the states of Europe began to acquire strength, and to assume the form which they have since maintained. The vices of the feudal system were seen, and men, therefore, sought to correct them; governments were better organised; the doctrines and principles of Christianity were eagerly investigated and discussed, and the superstitions which had so long burdened religion were exposed and destroyed; while the power of Rome, which had been supreme in Europe for centuries, was generally disregarded, and no longer feared.

In the midst of these changes, a new system arose in the cal system. political government of Europe. Before this period, the.

New politi

* Bacon's Henry VII. + Mackintosh, II., 88.


European states were feeble, because they were isolated and detached. Each nation occupied itself with its own particular interests and quarrels, was little acquainted with other nations, and seldom had any influence on their destinies. The faults and imperfections of the feudal system had crippled the power and energies of Europe; sovereigns being continually at war with their factious and powerful vassals, were unable either to form plans of conquest, or to carry them into execution; and their military operations were prosecuted without unity or design, and were, therefore, generally fruitless in results. Hence, during the middle ages, there was no system of politics in Europe, and nations were hardly conscious of each other's existence, unless they were neighbours.

10. Origin of the Balance of Power, and of the Law of Nations. But a change came over these things. On the decay of feudalism, organised governments were established, and regular and permanent armies were kept up; and sovereigns, freed from the turbulence of the barons, began to extend their political views, and to form projects of aggrandisement and conquest.

The ancient states of Europe which still existed, formed The Statesamongst themselves closer relations than had hitherto system. existed; they became, as it were, one great political states-system, in which there were certain points affecting the common interest: e. g. the Italian wars; the affairs of religion after the Reformation; the necessity of opposing the advances of the Turks; the commerce of the colonies, &c. The facility of communication which printing and the establishment of posts afforded, tended to strengthen this union; and the Christian nations of Europe became a community morally united, but politically divided. In this system there was a predominance of monarchies, and republics were only tolerated. This produced two important consequences: the people were prevented from taking an active part in public affairs, and government, therefore, became more and more concentrated in the hands of princes and their ministers; the cabinet policy which particularly characterises the European states-system thus arose. The principles which held this system toge- Principles ther were of various kinds. A law of nations was gradually it together. developed, resting, not merely upon express treaties, but upon general tacit convention. It enjoined the observance of certain usages in peace, but more particularly in war; and though its maxims were often violated, its influence was very beneficial. A second support of the system was, the sacredness of a recognised legitimate possession-it resulted from the law of nations.

which held



third support was the adoption and maintenance of a balance of power, i.e., the attention paid by the different states to the preservation of their mutual independence, by preventing any particular state from rising to such a degree of power as should seem inconsistent with the general liberty. The maintenance of this principle led to the following consequences: the states of the second or third order became more important; a general feeling of respect for independence was established, as well as a system of politics of a higher order than that arising from individual gratification. A fourth support of the states-system was the establishment of maritime states, by which land forces were prevented from alone deciding everything. And a fifth was the custom of princes marrying none but the daughters of princes, by which the ruling families of Europe became closely connected; and the control which they thus obtained over the politics of Europe proved an important bond of union, when all other ties seemed nearly dissolved. The first state against which the principle of the balance of power was directed was France, and after that, Austria. Both Henry VII. and his son, as members of this new confederacy, took a prominent part in continental politics.†

annexed to

11. The War concerning the Duchy of Brittany. There were two great states-systems in Europe: the northern, comprising Russia, Sweden, Poland, and Denmark; and the southern, to which England and the remaining states belonged. This latter was considerably disturbed by the extinction of the male descendants Burgundy of the reigning house of Burgundy and Brittany. Charles France. the Bold, the last Duke of Burgundy, had sought to increase his territories by the conquest of Switzerland and Lorraine; but he was defeated and slain before the walls of Nanci (Jan. 5th, 1477), and his rich and extensive provinces, which were inferior to few monarchies in Europe, fell to his daughter Mary. Louis XI., in order to add these fiefs to the crown, sought the hand of the Burgundian heiress for his son Charles VIII. But the impolitic rapacity with which he seized Burgundy and part of Picardy, as fiefs which had lapsed to the crown through the want of an heir, offended the princess and her people, and she married Maximilian, Archduke of Austria and King of the Romans, the son of the Emperor Frederick III., by which the Netherlands fell under the dominion of the empire. The princess, however, was accidentally killed soon after; her infant daughter, Margaret, was espoused to the Dauphin; and the provinces which Louis had Brittany seized were ceded to the crown as her dowry. France thus became a great and powerful state; all the ancient * Heeren's European States-System, 6-10. + Koch's Revolutions, Period VI.

annexed to France.

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