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HISTORY OF THE REIGN OF KING HENRY VII.
To the Most Illustrious and Most Excellent Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall,
Earl of Chester, &c. IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HIGHNESS, In part of my acknowledgment to your highness, I have endeavoured to do honour to the memory of the last King of England that was ancestor to the king your father and yourself: and was that king to whom both unions may in a sort refer, that of the roses being in him consummate, and that of the kingdoms by him begun: besides, his times deserve it. For he was a wise man and an excellent king: and yet the times were rough, and full of mutations, and rare accidents. And it is with times as it is with ways; some are more up-hill and down-hill, and some are more flat and plain; and the one is better for the liver, and the other for the writer. I have not flattered him, but took him to life as well as I could, sitting so far off, and having no better light. It is true your highness hath a living pattern, incomparable, of the king your father : but it is not amiss for you also to see one of these ancient pieces. God preserve your highness. Your highness's most humble and devoted servant,
FRANCIS ST. ALBAN.
After that Richard, the third of that name, king jigrominy or contumely unworthy of him that had in fact only, but tyrant both in title and regiment, been the executioner of King Henry the Sixth, and so commonly termed and reputed in all times that innocent prince, with his own hands; the since, was, by the divine revenge favouring the contriver of the death of the Duke of Clarence, his design of an exiled man, overthrown and slain at brother; the murderer of his two nephews, one of Bosworthfield; there succeeded in the kingdom them his lawful king in the present, and the other the Earl of Richmond, thenceforth styled Henry in the future, failing of him; and vehemently sus. the Seventh. The king, immediately after the pected to have been the impoisoner of his wife, victory, as one that had been bred under a devout thereby to make vacant his bed, for a marriage mother, and was in his nature a great observer of within the degrees forbidden. And although he religious forms, caused “'Te Deum laudamus” to were a prince in military virtue approved, jealous be solemnly sung in the presence of the whole of the honour of the English nation, and likewise army upon the place, and was himself, with ge- a good law-maker, for the ease and solace of the neral applause and great cries of joy, in a kind of common people; yet his cruelties and parricide, military election or recognition, saluted king. in the opinion of all men, weighed down his virMeanwhile the body of Richard, after many in- tues and merits; and, in the opinion of wise men, dignities and reproaches, the diriges” and obse- even those virtues themselves were conceived to quies of the common people towards tyrants, was be rather feigned and affected things to serve his obscurely buried. For though the king of his no- ambition, than true qualities ingenerate in his judgbleness gave charge unto the friars of Leicester ment or nature. And therefore it was noted by to see an honourable interment to be given to it, men of great understanding, who seeing his afteryet the religious people themselves, being not free acts looked back upon his former proceedings, from the humours of the vulgar, neglected it; that even in the time of King Edward his brother, wherein nevertheless they did not then incur any he was not without secret trains and mines to man’s blame or censure: no man thinking any turn envy and hatred upon his brother's govern
ment; as having an expectation and a kind of di-| that time secret rumours and whisperings, which vination, that the king, by reason of his many afterwards gathered strength and turned to great disorders, should not be of long life, but was like troubles, that the two young sons of King Edward to leave his sons of tender years; and then he the Fourth, or one of them, which were said to be knew well how easy a step it was, from the place destroyed in the Tower, were not indeed murdered, of a protector, and first prince of the blood, to the but conveyed secretly away, and were yet living :
And that out of this deep root of ambition which, if it had been true, had prevented the title it sprang, that as well at the treaty of peace that of the Lady Elizabeth. On the other side, if he passed between Edward the Fourth and Lewis the stood upon his own title of the House of LancasEleventh of France, concluded by interview of ter, inherent in his person, he knew it was a title both kings at Piqueny, as upon all other occasions, condemned by parliament, and generally preRichard, then Duke of Gloucester, stood ever judged in the common opinion of the realm, and upon the side of honour, raising his own reputa- that it tended directly to the disinherison of the tion to the disadvantage of the king his brother, line of York, held then the indubitate heirs of the and drawing the eyes of all, especially of the no- So that if he should have no issue by bles and soldiers, upon himself; as if the king, by the Lady Elizabeth, which should be descendants his voluptuous life and mean marriage, were be- of the double line, then the ancient flames of discome effeminate and less sensible of honour and cord and intestine wars, upon the competition of reason of state than was fit for a king. And as both houses, would again return and revive. for the politic and wholesome laws which were As for conquest, notwithstanding Sir William enacted in his time, they were interpreted to be Stanley, after some acclamations of the soldiers but the brocage of an usurper, thereby to woo and in the field, had put a crown of ornament, which win the hearts of the people, as being conscious Richard wore in the battle, and was found amongst to himself, that the true obligations of sovereign- the spoils, upon King Henry's head, as if there ty in him failed, and were wanting. But King were his chief title; yet he remembered well Henry, in the very entrance of his reign, and the upon what conditions and agreements he was instant of time when the kingdom was cast into brought in; and that to claim as conqueror was his arms, met with a point of great difficulty, and to put as well his own party, as the rest, into terknotty to solve, able to trouble and confound the ror and fear; as that which gave him power of wisest king in the newness of his estate; and so disannulling of laws, and disposing of men's much the more, because it could not endựre a de- fortunes and estates, and the like points of absoliberation, but must be at once deliberated and de- lute power, being in themselves so harsh and termined. There were fallen to his lot, and con- odious, as that William himself, commonly called current in his person, three several titles to the the Conqueror, howsoever he used and exercised imperial crown. The first, the title of the Lady the power of a conqueror to reward his Normans, Elizabeth, with whom, by precedent pact with yet he forbore to use that claim in the beginning, the party that brought him in, he was to marry. but mixed it with a titulary pretence, grounded The second, the ancient and long disputed title, upon the will and designation of Edward the both by plea and arms, of the house of Lancaster, Confessor. But the king, out of the greatness to which he was inheritor in his own person. The of his own mind, presently cast the die; and the third, the title of the sword or conquest, for that inconveniences appearing unto him in all parts, he came in by victory of battle, and that the king and knowing there could not be any interreign, in possession was slain in the field. The first of or suspension of title, and preferring his affection these was fairest, and most like to give content to his own line and blood, and liking that title ment to the people, who by two and twenty years best which made him independent; and being in reign of King Edward the Fourth had been fully his nature and constitution of mind not very apmade capable of the clearness of the title of the prehensive or forecasting of future events afar off, white rose, or house of York; and by the mild and but an entertainer of fortune hy the day; resolved plausible reign of the same king towards his latter to rest upon the title of Lancaster as the main, time, were become affectionate to that line. But and to use the other two, that of marriage and then it lay plain before his eyes, that if he relied that of battle, but as supporters, the one to appease upon that title, he could be but a king at courtesy, secret discontents, and the other to beat down and have rather a matrimonial than a regal power : open murmur and dispute: not forgetting that the the right re naining in his queen, upon whose de- same title of Lancaster had formerly maintained cease, either with issue, or without issue, he was to a possession of three descents in the crown; and give place and be removed. And though he should might have proved a perpetuity, had it not ended obtain by parliament to be continued, yet he knew in the weakness and inability of the last prince. there was a very great difference between a king Whereupon the king presently that very day, that holdeth his crown by a civil act of estates, and being the two and twentieth of August, assumen i one that holdeth it originally by the law of nature the style of king in his own name, without men and descent of blood. Neither wanted there even at tion of the Lady Elizabeth at all, or any relation
thereunto. In which course he ever after persist- | after upon memory and fancy, he accounted and ed: which did spin him a thread of many sedi- chose as a day prosperous unto him. tions and troubles. The king, full of these The mayor and companies of the city received thoughts, before his departure from Leicester, him at Shoreditch; whence with great and hodespatched Sir Robert Willoughby to the castle nourable attendance, and troops of noblemen and of Sheriff Hutton, in Yorkshire, where were kept persons of quality, he entered the city; himself in safe custody, by King Richard's command- not being on horseback, or in any open chair or ment, both the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of King throne, but in a close chariot, as one that having Edward, and Edward Plantagenel, son and heir been sometimes an enemy to the whole state, and to George, Duke of Clarence. This Edward a proscribed person, chose rather to keep state, was, by the king's warrant, delivered from the and strike a reverence into the people, than to constable of the castle to the hand of Sir Robert fawn upon them. Willoughby: and by him, with all safety and He went first into St. Paul's church, where, diligence conveyed to the Tower of London, not meaning that the people should forget too where he was shut up close prisoner. Which soon that he came in by battle, he made offertory act of the king's, being an act merely of policy of his standards, and had orisons and · Te Deurn" and power, proceeded not so much from any ap- again sung; and went to his lodging prepared in prehension he had of Doctor Shaw's tale at the Bishop of London's palace, where he stayed Paul's cross for the bastarding of Edward the for a time. Fourth's issues, in which case this young gentle- During his abode there, he assembled his counman was to succeed, for that fable was ever ex-cil and other principal persons, in presence of ploded, but upon a settled disposition to depress whom, he did renew again his promise to marry all eminent persons of the line of York. Wherein with the Lady Elizabeth. This he did the rather, still the king out of strength of will, or weakness because having at his coming out of Britain given of judgment; did use to show a little more of the artificially, for serving of his own turn, some party than of the king.
hopes, in case he obtained the kingdom, to marry For the Lady Elizabeth, she received also a Anne, inheritress to the Duchy of Britain, whom direction to repair with all convenient speed to Charles the Eighth of France soon after married, London, and there to remain with the queen- it bred some doubt and suspicion amongst divers dowager, her mother; which, accordingly, she that he was not sincere, or at least not fixed in soon after did, accompanied with many noblemen going on with the match of England so much deand ladies of honour. In the mean season, the sired: which conceit also, though it were but king set forwards, by easy journeys, to the city talk and discourse, did much afflict the poor Lady of London, receiving the acclamations and ap- Elizabeth herself. But howsoever he both truly plauses of the people as he went, which, indeed, intended it, and desired also it should be so bewere true and unfeigned, as might well appear in lieved, the better to extinguish envy and contrathe very demonstrations and fulness of the cry. diction to his other purposes, yet was he resolved For they thought generally, that he was a prince, in himself not to proceed to the consummation as ordained and sent down from heaven, to unite thereof, till his coronation and a parliament were and put to an end the long dissensions of the two past. The one, lest a joint coronation of himself houses; which, although they had had, in the and his queen might give any countenance of times of Henry the Fourth, Henry the Fifth, and participation of title; the other, lest in the entaila part of Henry the Sixth, on the one side, and ing of the crown to himself, which he hoped to the times of Edward the Fourth on the other, obtain by parliament, the votes of the parliament lucid intervals and happy pauses; yet they did might any ways reflect
her, ever hang over the kingdom, ready to break forth About this time in autumn, towards the end of into new perturbations and calamities. And as September, there began and reigned in the city, his victory gave him the knee, so his purpose of and other parts of the kingdom, a disease then marriage with the Lady Elizabeth gave him the new : which by the accidents and manner thereof heart; so that both knee and heart did truly bow they called the sweating sickness. This disease before him.
had a swift course, both in the sick body, and in He on the other side with great wisdom, not the time and period of the lasting thereof; for ignorant of the affections and fears of the people, they that were taken with it, upon four and twenty to disperse the conceit and terror of a conquest, hours escaping, were thought almost assured. had given order, that there should be nothing in And as to the time of the malice and reign of the his journey like unto a warlike march or manner; disease ere it ceased; it began about the one and but rather like unto the progress of a king in full twentieth of September, and cleared up before peace and assurance.
the end of October, insomuch as it was no hinHe entered the city upon a Saturday, as he had derance to the king's coronation, which was the also obtained the victory upon a Saturday; which last of October; nor, which was more, to the day of the week, first upon an observation, and holding of the parliament, which began but seven
days after. It was a pestilent fever, but, as it moned immediately after his coming to London. seemeth, not seated in the veins or humours, for His ends in calling a parliament, and that so that there followed no carbuncle, no purple or speedily, were chiefly three : first to procure the lisid spots, or the like, the mass of the body be- crown to be entailed upon himself. Next, to ing not tainted ; only a malign vapour flew to the have the attainders of all of his party, which heart and seized the vital spirits; which stirred were in no small number, reversed, and all acts nature to strive to send it forth by an extreme of hostility by them done in his quarrel remitted sweat. And it appeared by experience, that this and discharged; and on the other side, to attaint disease was rather a surprise of nature than ob- by parliament the heads and principals of his stinate to remedies, if it were in time looked enemies. The third, to calm and quiet the fears unto. For if the patient were kept in an equal of the rest of that party by a general pardon; not temper, both for clothes, fire, and drink, mode- being ignorant in how great danger a king stands | rately warm, with temperate cordials, whereby from his subjects, when most of his subjects are nature's work was neither irritated by heat, nor conscious in themselves that they stand in his turned back by cold, he commonly recovered. danger. Unto these three special motives of a But infinite persons died suddenly of it, before parliament was added, that he, as a prudent and the manner of the cure and attendance was known. moderate prince, made this judgment, that it was It was conceived not to be an epidemic disease, fit for him to hasten to let his people see, that he but to proceed from a malignity in the constitution meant to govern by law, howsoever he came in of the air, gathered by the predispositions of sea- by the sword; and fit also to reclaim them to sons; and the speedy cessation declared as much. know him for their king, whom they had so lately
On Simon and Jude's even the king dined with talked of as an enemy or banished man. For Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury that which concerned the entailing of the crown, and Cardinal: and, from Lambeth, went by land, more than that he was true to his own will, that over the bridge to the Tower, where the morrow he would not endure any mention of the Lady after, he made twelve knights bannerets. But for Elizabeth, no not in the nature of special entail, creations he dispensed them with a sparing hand. he carried it otherwise with great wisdom and For notwithstanding a field so lately fought, and measure: for he did not press to have the act a coronation so near at hand, he only created penned by way of declaration or recognition of three : Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, the king's un-right; as, on the other side, he avoided to have it cle, was created Duke of Bedford; Thomas, the by new law or ordinance, but chose, rather, a Lord Stanley, the king's father-in-law, Earl of kind of middle way, by way of establishment, Derby; and Edward Courtney, Earl of Devon; and that under covert and indifferent words : though the king had then nevertheless a purpose 6 that the inheritance of the crown should rest, in himself to make more in time of parliament; remain, and abide in the king,” &c., which words bearing a wise and decent respect to distribute might equally be applied, that the crown shall his creations, some to honour his coronation, and continue to him; but whether as having former some his parliament.
right to it, which was doubtful, or having it then The coronation followed two days after, upon in fact and possession, which no man denied, was the thirtieth day of October, in the year of our left fair to interpretation either way. And again, Lord, 1485; at which time, Innocent the Eighth for the limitation of the entail, he did not press was Pope of Rome; Frederick the Third, Empe- it to go farther than to himself and to the heirs ror of Almain; and Maximilian, his son, newly of his body, not speaking of his right heirs, but chosen King of the Romans; Charles the Eighth, leaving that to the law to decide; so as the entail King of France; Ferdinando and Isabella, Kings might seem rather a personal favour to him and of Spain; and James the Third, king of Scot- his children, than a total disinherison to the land: with all which kings and states the king house of York; and in this form was the law was at that time in good peace and amity. At drawn and passed. Which statute he procured which day, also, as if the crown upon his head to be confirmed by the pope's bull the year folhad put perils into his thoughts, he did institute, lowing, with mention, nevertheless, by way of for the better security of his person, a band of recital, of his other titles, both of descent and fifty archers, under a captain, to attend him, by conquest: so as now the wreath of three was the name of yeomen of his guard : and yet that it made a wreath of five ; for to the three first titles might be thought to be rather a matter of dignity, of the two houses, or lines, and conquest, were after the imitation of that he had known abroad, added two more, the authorities parliamentary and than any matter of disidence appropriate to his papal. own case, he made it to be understood for an or- The king likewise, in the reversal of the atdinance not temporary, but to hold in succession tainders of his partakers, and discharging them forever after.
of all offences incident to his service and succour, The seventh of November, the king held his had his will; and acts did pass accordingly. In parliament at Westminster, which he had sum- the passage whereof, exception was taken to di
vers persons in the House of Commons, for that tempts against him, so as they submitted themthey were attainted, and thereby not legal nor ha- selves to his mercy by a day, and took the oath bilitate to serve in parliament, being disabled in of allegiance and fidelity to him. Whereupon the highest degree, and that it should be a great many came out of sanctuary, and many more came incongruity to have them to make laws who them- out of fear, no less guilty than those that had taken selves were not inlawed. The truth was, that di- sanctuary. vers of those which had in the time of King Rich- As for money or treasure, the king thought it not ard been strongest, and most declared for the seasonable or fit to demand any of his subjects at king's party, were returned knights and burgesses this parliament; both because he had received for the parliament, whether by care or recommen- satisfaction from them in matters of so great iindation from the state, or the voluntary inclination portance, and because he could not remunerate of the people; many of which had been by Rich-them with any general pardon, being prevented ard the Third attainted by outlawries or otherwise. therein by the coronation-pardon passed immediThe king was somewhat troubled with this; for ately before: but chiefly, for that it was in every though it had a grave and specious show, yet it man's eye, what great forfeitures and confiscareflected upon his party. But wisely not show- tions he had at that present to help himself, whereing himself at all moved therewith, he would not by those casualties of the crown might in reason understand it but as a case in law, and wished the spare the purses of the subject, especially in a judges to be advised thereupon; who for that time when he was in peace with all his neighpurpose were forth with assembled in the Exche- bours. Some few laws passed at that parliament quer Chamber, which is the council chamber of the almost for form's sake; amongst which there was judges, and upon deliberation they gave a grave one to reduce aliens being made denizens, to pay and safe opinion and advice, mixed with law and strangers custom; and another to draw to himself convenience; which was, that the knights and the seizures and compositions of Italians' goods, burgesses attainted by the course of law should for- for not employment, being points of profit to his bear to come into the house till a law were passed coffers, whereof from the very beginning he was for the reversal of their attainders.
not forgetful; and had been more happy at the It was at that time incidently moved amongst latter end, if his early providence, which kept the judges in their consultation, what should be him from all necessity of exacting upon his peodone for the king himself, who likewise was at- ple, could likewise have attempered his nature tainted? But it was with unanimous consent re- therein. He added, during parliament, to his solved, " That the crown takes away all defects former creations, the ennoblement or advancement and stops in blood : and that from the time the in nobility of a few others; the Lord Chandos king did assume the crown, the fountain was clear- of Britain was made Earl of Bath; Sir Giles ed, and all attainders and corruption of blood dis. Daubeney was made Lord Daubeney; and Sir charged.” But nevertheless, for honour's sake, Robert Willoughby, Lord Brook. it was ordained by parliament, that all records, The king did also with great nobleness and wherein there was any memory or mention of the bounty, which virtues at that time had their turns king's attainder, should be defaced, cancelled, and in his nature, restore Edward Stafford, eldest son taken off the file.
to Henry, Duke of Buckingham, attainted in the But on the part of the king's enemies there time of King Richard, not only to his dignities, were by parliament attainted, the late Duke of but to his fortunes and possessions, which were Gloucester, calling himself Richard the Third ; great; to which he was moved also by a kind of the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Surrey, Viscount gratitude, for that the duke was the man that Lovel, the Lord Ferrers, the Lord Zouch, Richard moved the first stone against the tyranny of king Ratcliffe, William Catesby, and many others Richard, and indeed made the king a bridge to of degree and quality. In which bills of attain the crown upon his own ruins. Thus the parliaders, nevertheless, there were contained many just ment brake up. and temperate clauses, savings, and provisoes, The parliament being dissolved, the king sent well showing and fore-tokening the wisdom, stay, forth with money to redeem the Marquis Dorset and moderation of the king's spirit of government. and Sir John Bourchier, whom he had left as his And for the pardon of the rest that had stood pledges at Paris, for money which he had boragainst the king, the king, upon a second advice, rowed when he made his expedition for England. thought it not fit it should pass by parliament, the And thereupon he took a fit occasion to send the better, being matter of grace, to impropriate the Lord Treasurer and Master Bray, whom he used thanks to himself, using only the opportunity of as counsellor, to the Lord Mayor of London, rea parliament time, the better to disperse it into the quiring of the city a prest of six thousand marks; veins of the kingdom. Therefore, during the par- but after many parleys he could obtain but two liament, he published his royal proclamation, offer- thousand pounds; which, nevertheless the king ing pardon and grace of restitution to all such as took in good part, as men use to do that practise had taken arms, or been participant of any at- to borrow money when they have no need. About