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then, that the estates of the kingdom unanimously concurred, and that the sacred ceremonial would render sacred the person of the sovereign. But Henry's first care was to provide himself with another and less spiritual kind of protection: he ordained a number of chosen archers, being strong and hardy fellows, to give daily attendance on his person, and these he named Yeomen of the Guards. This body-guard was considered at first as a startling innovation, and excited some jealousy and disgust among the people.*
On the 7th of November he met his parliament at Westminster for the proper establishing of all things. It seems quite certain that Henry, from the battle of Bosworth Field to the last days of his life, considered himself indebted for the throne to his sword, and he always fixed that battle as the epoch of his accession.† Now, when the commons waited upon him to present their speaker, he told them that he had come to the throne "by just title of inheritance, and by the sure judgment of God, who had given him the victory over his enemy in the field." The hereditary right thus asserted was at once a lie and an absurdity, but there was little fear of its being challenged; the second clause scarcely contained more truth, for Henry had prevailed and Richard had fallen, not by the sword, but by treachery and disaffection, and the claim was of far too dangerous a nature to be put forth in its nakedness; seeing that the right of conquest, if allowed, would vest in Henry the honours and estates of all men, since they had held them of the prince conquered. This clause, which was made secondary, was therefore accompanied by an assurance that every man should continue "to enjoy his rights and hereditaments, with the exception of such persons as in the present parliament should be punished for their offences against his royal majesty." It was found immediately that a great many of the members of the new House of Commons were persons attainted and outlawed by Richard or his brother Edward, for their adherence to the House of Lancaster, or for other causes; and it was also remarked that Henry himself, who had called this parliament, had been attainted. The commons therefore questioned whether their house were lawfully constituted, and the king, to his great displeasure, was obliged to refer the case to all the judges, who assembled in the Exchequer Chamber. The opinion delivered was prudent, and of a just temperament between law and expediency. The judges determined that such members of the House of Commons as were attainted by course of law must forbear taking their seats till an act should be passed for the reversal of their attainder: as for what regarded the king himself, they asserted it as a maxim, that the crown takes away all defects and stops in blood; and that, from the time the king took upon himself royal authority, the fountain was cleared, and all attainders and corruptions of blood
discharged.* Common sense and sincerity might have dictated a shorter answer, but it was deemed expedient to observe the technicalities and forms of law even in breaking the laws. The elections had been made before the blood was well dried upon Bosworth Field; the spirit of the aristocracy (and the people were as yet too weak to oppose the royal power without it) was broken and degraded,― porated with the noble blood shed in the score of battles fought during the Wars of the Roses, or upon the scaffold; and men of all classes had acquired, by long practice, a wonderful facility in discovering and siding with the strongest party. No Yorkist opposition of a serious nature was therefore to be expected in the house which not many months before had rung with the unanimous praise of King Richard, and, by a single act, all the attainted members were restored to their rights and then took their seats. Separate bills were afterwards passed in favour of the Dowager Countess of Richmond, the king's mother, the Dukes of Bedford, Buckingham, and Somerset, the Marquis of Dorset, the Earl of Oxford, the Lords Beaumont, Wells, Clifford, Hungerford, de Roos, and several others.†
Henry in reason ought to have been satisfied with the declaration which effaced all former blemishes and deficiencies and made him a good and lawful king from the time he assumed the crown,-which was on the field of battle ;-but he resolved to be a king even before that time, in order to punish men for treason which had never been committed, unless he could antedate his royal existence. This antedating involved some very curious points: if he claimed the crown by right of his descent from the House of Lancaster, he might have been expected to date from his boyhood or from the murder of Henry VI.; if people looked to the rights he would derive from his marriage with the Princess Elizabeth of the House of York, though they could not help knowing that this marriage had not even yet been celebrated, they might have allowed him the latitude of dating. from the murder of Elizabeth's brothers in the Tower; but Henry took a very different course, and with characteristic nicety, as if so small a theft from time were no theft at all, he only antedated by a single day, making his reign begin on the 21st of August, the eve of the battle of Bosworth, when the crown was on the head of Richard, and he, Henry, was nothing but Earl of Richmond. In this manner the marches and counter-marches and all the long, preparations of the friends of Richard to meet the invader were overlooked, and they were accused of nothing treasonable before that day. In the preamble of the bill which he caused to be introduced in parliament, after a recital of the unnatural, mischievous, and great perjuries, treasons, homicides and murders in shedding of infants' blood, with many other wrongs, odious offences and abominations against
Bacon, Life of Henry VII.-Rot. Parl.
Rot. Parl.-Bacon.-Marsolier, Histoire de Henri VII., surnommé Le Sage, et le Salomon d'Angleterre.
God and man, committed by Richard late Duke of Gloucester, it was shown how John late Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey, Francis Viscount Lovel, John Lord Zouch, Robert Middleton, Robert Brakenbury, Ratcliffe, Catesby, and others had, "on the 21st day of August, the first year of the reign of our sovereign lord, assembled to them at Leicester, in the county of Leicester, a great host, traitorously intending, imagining, and conspiring the destruction of the king's royal person, our sovereign liege lord. And they, with the same host, with banners spread, mightily armed and defenced with all manner arms, as guns, bows, arrows, spears, gleves, axes, and all other manner articles apt or needful to give and cause mighty battle against our said sovereign lord, kept together from the said 22nd day of the said month then next following, and them conducted to a field within the said shire of Leicester, there, by great and continued deliberation, traitorously levied war against our said sovereign lord and his true subjects, there being in his service and assistance under a banner of our said sovereign lord, to the subversion of this realm and common weal of the same."'*
Henry most forcibly displayed his wary, hesitating, and equivocating character, was the settlement of the crown by vote and enactment. The act was dictated by the king himself: all mention of the Princess Elizabeth, and of every branch of her family, was carefully avoided; no stress was laid on his descent from an excluded and illegitimate branch of the House of Lancaster; he satisfied himself with repealing in his own favour all such acts as treated Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI., and Edward of Lancaster Prince of Wales, as usurpers and traitors; and in favour of Elizabeth, he merely revoked the bastardy act which had been passed against her and all the children of Edward IV. and Elizabeth Woodville at the accession of Richard III. He ordered that every record of parliament which contained any mention of his own attainder should be taken off the file, that the original of the bastardy act should be burned, and that all persons who kept copies of it, after a certain day, should be fined and imprisoned. Dropping the high tone of hereditary right and heavenly judgment "shown in issue of battle," he caused it merely to be written in the act of settlement that "the inheritance of the crown should be, rest, remain, and abide, in the most royal person of the sovereign lord King Henry VII. and the heirs of his body lawfully coming, per
The absurdity of this antedating by a day was too manifest to escape observation, and the whole tendency of the bill was dangerous and startling. It 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 committed treason against Henry, then only Earl of Richmond, and at a time when he had never publicly laid claim to the crown. All constitutional and legal objections were, however, overruled, and, in spite of a faint opposition within doors and a louder outery without, the subservient parliament passed the bill as required, and attainted the late king, the Duke of Norfolk, his son the Earl of Surrey, Lord Lovel, Lord Ferrers, and twenty-five other noblemen and gentlemen. Henry thus obtained what he much wanted,-an immediate supply of money: some of the confiscated estates, the largest and finest in the kingdom, he kept to himself, and others he distributed among his needy followers. Of the thirty persons thus attainted, some had fallen with Richard and the Duke of Norfolk at Bosworth; some, like Lord Lovel, had taken sanctuary, and some had fled beyond sea. The new king was only fond of executions on great state occasions, and the only blood which was shed at this revolution was that of Richard's confidential adviser Catesby, and of two persons named Brecher, who were put to death immediately after the battle. Stillington, bishop of Bath, who had made himself very useful to Richard by his pen, was thrown into prison, and at first treated very harshly, but he made his peace with King Henry, who probably thought that the services of such an unscrupulous penman might be of use to him.
But the most important operation pursued during this session of parliament, and that in which
in none other." But this excess of caution excited suspicions and discontents which might have proved fatal had Henry not been ready to fulfil a contract of a more private nature, through which only-gloze it as he would-he could pretend to any right to the crown. He was well aware of all the manœuvres of the Queen Dowager and the Princess Elizabeth; he knew that the first had fallen in with the views of the late king, and that Elizabeth had consented to marry Richard and convey her rights to him. These circumstances were not likely to conciliate Henry; but affection and respect had no part in this political match; his great object in delaying the union was to avoid making the rights of the House of York too prominent, to disguise the fact that, in law at least, he owed the crown to a woman. Perhaps a mean nature like his was the more susceptible of a pride of this kind; and even at last he made it appear that he yielded to the prayer of parliament. The friends of the House of York, the parties who had contracted for the marriage in France a year before, were irritated at seeing no allusion made to the Princess Elizabeth; and the nation at large felt that if this new revolution were to have any value, it would only be inasmuch as it put an end to civil war by uniting the White and Red Roses. When the commons presented to the king the grant of tonnage and poundage for life (now a usual grant), they saddled it with a plain and direct request that he would "take to wife and consort the Princess Elizabeth," which marriage, they hoped, "God would bless with a progeny of the race of kings." When this petition was read,
the lords, both spiritual and temporal, rose from their seats and joined in it, by bowing with proper solemnity to the throne, and then Henry graciously replied that he was ready and willing to satisfy them on this point.*
In the same parliament all grants made by the crown since the thirty-fourth year of Henry VI. were resumed; and thus Henry acquired the power to take from the partisans of the House of York, or to confirm to them the possession of whatever property they had obtained in this way. There was also passed a general amnesty in favour of all such adherents of Richard as would submit to the king's mercy and take the new oath of allegiance. But here, again, Henry showed his character: he would not allow the houses of parliament to have any
thing to do with this act of grace, which was published and proclaimed as originating in his own royal breast, and emanating solely from his own royal mercy. All these things were sufficient indications of the spirit of absolutism-a spirit which would not have been tolerated by the proud and bold aristocracy of former times, but which there was now little to oppose. Many that now came out of sanctuary, or from places of concealment, were received to grace; but others, placing no confidence in the act, remained abroad or in sanctuary at home. In addition to Bishop Stillington, several of Richard's adroit agents were presently employed about the court, and among these were Sir John Tyrrel, the reputed murderer of the sons of Edward IV. in the Tower.*
Rot. Parl.-Bacon, Life of Henry VII.
A.D. 1486.-On the 18th of January Henry married the Princess Elizabeth; and thus, at last, after so many intrigues of various natures, this heiress of the House of York became Queen of England, and the long-desired blending of the rival roses was accomplished. But her jealous husband allowed her the smallest possible share of authority or influence: her coronation was indefinitely postponed; and, until policy obliged her husband to adopt a different course, she was little more than a queen in name. Nor did her mother, Elizabeth Woodville, reap any great benefit from the revolution; for though the opprobrious act of Richard III. was reversed, and she was restored to her civil rights, with faculty to plead and be impleaded, and
to receive and grant lands and chattels, she did not recover her dower, but lived, it should seem, on an allowance made by Henry, who was too fond of money to be liberal.
The Bishop of Imola, papal legate, had given the dispensation considered necessary for the marriage, as Henry and Elizabeth were related; but the king was determined to make more of this opportunity. The tendency of the times, at least in all the sovereign courts of Europe, was certainly not to revive the power of the popes in cases of disputed successions; but Henry, who had little to fear from any hostile interference or dangerous intermeddling on the part of the church, thought that he might gain some
thing, over scrupulous minds, by obtaining the express sanction of the pope to his elevation to the throne; and for this he determined to apply in his usual indirect manner. Pretending scruples, or apprehensions as to the lawfulness of the marriage he had contracted, he applied for a second dispensation, to be given by the pope himself. As we cannot fancy for a moment that Innocent III. could be ignorant of the real facts of the case, we must accuse his Holiness of some wilful, deliberate, and impudent falsehoods. In his document every clause was inserted that Henry required, and contradictory rights were heaped one upon another. It was recited that the crown of England belonged to the gracious Henry by right of conquest,-by notorious and indisputable right of succession,by right of election made by all the prelates, lords, and commons of the realm,-and by right of the act of settlement passed by the three estates in parliament assembled; but that, nevertheless, to put an end to the bloody wars which had risen out of the claims of the House of York, and at the urgent request of parliament, King Henry had consented to marry Elizabeth, the eldest daughter and true heir of Edward IV., of "immortal memory." The pope, therefore, at the prayer of the king, and to preserve peace in the kingdom, confirmed the dispensation. So far the dispensation did not very much exceed its proper office: but the pontiff proceeded to confirm the act of settlement passed by the parliament, and to define and fix irrevocably the meaning of that act. According to his interpretation that act meant that, if Queen Elizabeth should die without issue before the king her husband, or if her issue should not outlive their father, then, and in that case, the crown should devolve to Henry's children by any subsequent marriage. Sentence of excommunication was pronounced against all who should call in question this interpretation, or who should hereafter attempt to disturb Henry in the present possession, or the heirs of his body in the future succession:-and so ended this extraordinary bull.*
During this first parliament Edward Stafford, eldest son of the Duke of Buckingham, whose death had been caused by plotting with Henry, was restored to the estates as well as to the honours of the family; Chandos of Brittany was created Earl of Bath, Sir Giles Daubeny Lord Daubeny, and Sir Robert Willoughby Lord Broke. After the dissolution the king remembered his friends whom he had left as hostages beyond the seas (that is to say, the Marquis of Dorset and Sir John Bourchier), whom, with all convenient speed, he redeemed he also sent for Morton, the astute Bishop of Ely, who, on the failure of Buckingham's ill-concerted insurrection, had fled into Flanders. Morton instantly got back his see of Ely, from which, soon after, he was raised to the see of Canterbury. Richard Fox, another divine who had been a companion of Henry in his exile and misfortunes, was made privy seal, and succes• Rymer.
sively bishop of Bath and Wells, Durham, and Winchester. Morton and Fox became, in fact, Henry's favourite ministers and chief advisers. According to the old historians, Henry loved churchmen on account of their calling, and "delighted to choose a convenient number of right grave and wise priests to be of his council." The great Bacon hints at another motive,-observing that he loved to employ prelates, because, having rich bishoprics to bestow, it was easy for him to reward their services: and it was his maxim to raise them by slow steps, and make them first pass through the inferior grades or sees. The practice
of translation, by which bishops are tempted to be obsequious to the power in whose hand is promotion, was certainly no novelty, any more than the employing of churchmen in the offices of government; but Henry seems to have systematised it, and to have made more of it than his predecessors.* He generally employed priests both as avowed ministers or ambassadors, and as secret agents; and if he employed lawyers more frequently than priests for his tax-gatherers and revenue-officers, it was because the canons of the church stood in his way. On many occasions we have seen the church stand foremost for the defence of the national liberties; but now the bishops, like the lay barons, were all on the road to become mere courtiers.
When parliament was dissolved, and Henry had "set and appointed all his affairs in good order and sure state, as he himself conjectured," he prepared to make a royal progress through the kingdom, with the more express object of staying some time in the north, in order to gain the good-will of the people in those parts. "In the prime time of the year he began his journey towards York, and, because the feast of Easter approached, he turned aside to the city of Lincoln, where he tarried during the solemnity of that high feast." Here he was informed that Lord Lovel, with Humphrey and Thomas Stafford, "had fled from the sanctuary of Colchester, and had gone, with dangerous intentions, no man knew whither." On the 6th of April Henry left Lincoln for Nottingham, well attended; by the 17th he was at Pontefract, where he was stopped for awhile by the intelligence that Lord Lovel, with a considerable body of insurgents, had thrown himself between Middleham and York. To retreat might have proved more dangerous than to advance, even in face of an equal force; but the insurgents were greatly inferior, and, on seeing that the enterprise was hopeless, Lord Lovel disbanded them, and fled into Lancashire. After lying concealed there for a short time in the house of his friend Sir Thomas Broughton, he passed over to Flanders. A few of the men who had taken up arms with him were seized and executed. This failure wholly disconcerted the project of the Staffords, who had prepared an insurrection in Worcestershire. two brothers fled for sanctuary to the church of Colnham, near Abingdon; but this time their
sanctuary was not respected: they were dragged by force from the church, and had sentence passed upon them as traitors. Humphrey, the elder, was executed at Tyburn, but Thomas, the younger brother, was pardoned.*
On the 26th of April Henry entered York, in which city the memory of King Richard, his mortal enemy, was yet "recent and lively, and not all forgotten of his friends." But the visitor, on necessary occasions, could relax his avarice: he reduced the town-rent to the crown from 160/. yearly to 187. 5s. ; he dispensed favours and honours; held feasts; exhibited pageants and miracles; fed some poets who recited some bad verses in his honour; and distributed money among the people, who cried, lustily, "King Henry! King Henry! Our Lord preserve that sweet and well-favoured face!" Having spent nearly a month at York, he turned to the south-west, and visited Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester, and Bristol. In the course of his slow and stately progress he was very attentive to the public observance of religious worship; but he chose his own subject for the sermons that were preached. On every Sunday or saint's day one of the bishops read and expounded from the pulpit the bull which he had obtained on his marriage from Pope Innocent, and which, as we have seen, declared him to be king by all manner of rights, and threatened his enemies with eternal perdition. On his return to London, in the month of June, he received an embassy from the King of Scotland, who joyfully consented to a treaty of truce and amity, to be followed in due season by a matrimonial alliance between their families. This treaty was important to both sovereigns, who had need of peace and tranquillity, and who each dreaded that the states of the other might be made a place of refuge and rallying to his domestic enemies.†
During Henry's royal progress the people had everywhere been disappointed at not seeing his queen with him. Still jealous of his own wife, in a political sense, he had sent her to keep court with her mother and sisters and his own mother, the Countess of Richmond, at Winchester; and here she remained, little noticed by him, till she was advanced in her pregnancy, when he went to hunt in the New Forest, which brought him to her neighbourhood. On the 20th of September, eight months and two days after her marriage, Elizabeth was delivered of a son, who was christened Arthur, after the hero of ancient romance, with whom Henry claimed relationship on the father's side through the Tudors and Cadwalladers. So good an opportunity for panegyric was not lost by the writers of the day: the birth of the infant was celebrated in prose and verse, in Latin and English; and the Hermit of Guy's Cliff confidently predicted that this Arthur would surpass the fame of him of the Round Table.
We left the young Earl of Warwick, the son of the Duke of Clarence, safely lodged in the Tower. In the month of November a young priest of Oxford, and a beautiful boy, landed at Dublin. The priest gave out that the boy was Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, who had escaped in a marvellous manner from the Tower of London; and among a people of lively imagination and warm feelings a ready belief was accorded to the story, and a generous sympathy spread from heart to heart for the young hero of it. What was credulity in the common people was design and craft in some, possibly in most, of the Anglo-Irish nobles, who were averse to Henry, who had scarcely submitted to his government, and who were ready to adopt all such measures as chance might offer, provided they held out a prospect of overthrowing the new order of things in England. Thomas Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, and lordlieutenant or deputy of Ireland, received the priest and his pupil with open arms, and presented the latter "to all his friends and lovers, and such other as were of bond or affinity, declaring the coming of the child, and afterwards affirming that the crown and sceptre of the realm of right belonged to this young prince, as sole heir male left of the line of Richard Duke of York." Ever since the time that this Duke of York, the father of Edward IV., had governed Ireland, the country had been greatly attached to that house; his son Clarence had also been lieutenant, and his grandson, the real Earl of Warwick, had been born in Ireland, and was therefore, in addition to other claims, endeared to the people as their countryman. boy now presented to them was not only beautiful and graceful in person, but witty and ingenious: he told his touching story with great consistency, and, when questioned, he could give minute particulars relating to the royal family. He had been well taught; and the Irish gentry and burghers, who had probably not lived much about the English court, and who were at the same time carried away by their enthusiasm, were not very critical judges. The citizens of Dublin declared unanimously in his favour; and his fame was "shortly bruited throughout all Ireland, and every man was willing to take his part, and submit to him, calling him, on all hands, king." At the same time certain privy messengers were sent into England and others into Flanders. When news of these doings reached King Henry, "he was sore vexed and moved; but still, like a circumspect, ingenious, and prudent prince, well considering and politically foreseeing, he adopted such means as he hoped would reduce this insurrection without any battle or strokes stricken." He summoned a great council to meet in the Charter House, near his royal manor of Richmond. His bad faith had made many men desperate; and, in the homely saying of the chronicler, "had set all things at sixes and sevens." The pardon which he had granted in the first parliament was not only hampered with exceptions and restrictions, but the parts that were