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EDWARD V. and RICHARD III.
Edward V. - State of the court. The earl of 'Rivers
arrested-Duke of Glocester protector-Erecution
of lord Hastings--The protector aims at the crown '. --Assumes the crown-Murder of Edward V. and i of the duke of York, Richard 111.-Duke of
Buckingham discontented— The earl of Richmond --Buckingham executed— Invasion by the earl of
Richmond Battle of Bosworth-Death and cha-racter of Richard III.
C HA P. URING the later years of Edward IV. the XXIII. |
U nation having, in a great measuré, forgotten
nation having incre 83. the bloody feuds between the two roses, and peaceState of ably acquiescing in the established government, the court.
was agitated only by some court-intrigues, which .. being restrained by the authority of the king, seemed nowise to endanger the public tranquillity. These intrigues arose from the perpetual rivalship between two parties; one consisting of the queen and her relations, particularly the earl of Rivers her brother, and the marquis of Dorset her son ; the other composed of the ancient nobility, who envied the sudden growth and unlimited credit of that aspiring family. At the head of this latter party was the duke of Buckingham, a man of very noble birth, of ample possessions, of great
alliances, * Sir Thomas More, p. 481.
alliances, of shining parts; who, though he had CH A P. married the queen's sister, was too haughty to actual
XXIII, in subserviency to her inclinations, and aimed ra- 1183 ther at maintaining an independent influence and authority. Lord Hastings, the chamberlain, was another leader of the same party ; and as this nobleman had, by his bravery and activity, as well as by his approved fidelity, acquired the confidence and favour of his master, he had been able, though with some difficulty, to support himself against the credit of the queen. The lords Howard and Stanleyi maintained a connection with these two noblemen, and brought a considerable accession of influence and reputation to their party. All the other barons, who had no particular dependance on the queen, adhered to the same interest; and the people in general, from their natural envy against the prevailing power, bore great favour to the cause of these noblemen.
BUT Edward knew that, though he himself had been able to overawe those rival factions, many disorders might arise from their contests during the minority of his son; and he therefore took care, in his last illness, to summon together several of the leaders on both sides, and, by composing their ancient quarrels, to provide, as far as possible, for the future tranquillity of the government. After expressing his intentions that his brother the duke of Glocester, then absent in the north, should be entrusted with the regency, he recommended to thém peace and unanimity during the tender years of his son ; represented to them the dangers which must attend the continuance of their. animosities; and engaged them to embrace each other with all the appearance of the most cordial reconciliation. But this temporary or feigned agreement lasted no longer than the king's life : He had no sooner expired, than the jealousies of the parties broke out afresh : And each of them applied, by separate
CH A P. messages, to the duke of Glocester, and endea
voured to acquire his favour and friendship. .
THIS prince, during his brother's reign, had endeavoured to live on good terms with both parties; and his high birth, his extensive abilities, and his great services; had enabled him to support himself without falling into a dependance on either. But the new situation of affairs, when the supreme power was devolved upon him, immediately changed his measures; and he secretly determined to preserve no longer that neutrality which he had hitherto maintained. His exorbitant ambition, unrestrained by any principle either of justice or hu-manity, made him carry his views to the possession of the crown itself; and as this object could not be attained without the ruin of the queen and her family, he fell, without hesitation, into concert with the opposite party, But being sensible, that the most profound dissimulation was requisite for effecting his criminal purposes, he redoubled his professions of zeal and attachment to that princess; and he gained such credit with her, as to influence her conduct in a point, which, as it was of the utmost importance, was violently disputed be. tween the opposite factions. • The young king, at the time of his father's death, resided in the castle of Ludlow, on the borders of Wales; whither he had been sent, that the influence of his presence might overawe the Welsh, and restore the tranquillity of that country, which had been disturbed by some late commotions. His person was committed to the care of his uncle the earl of Rivers, the most accomplished nobleman in England, who, having united an uncommon taşte for literature to great abilities in business, and valour in the field, was entitled, by his talents, still
y This nobleman first introduced the noble art of printing into England. Caxton was recominended by him to the patronage of Edward IV. See Catalogue of Roval and Noble Authors.
more than by nearness of blood, to direct the edu-CH A P: cation of the young monarch. queen,
anxi. ous to preserve that ascendant over her son, which she had long maintained over her husband, wrote to the earl of Rivers, that he should levy a body of forces, in order to escort the king to London, to protect him during his coronation, and to keep him from falling into the hands of their enemies. The opposite faction, sensible that Edward was now of an age when great advantages could be made of his name and countenance, and was approaching to the age when he would be legally intitled to exert in person his authority, foresaw, that the tendency of this measure was to perpetuate their subjection under their rivals; and they vehemently opposed a resolution which they represented as the signal for renewing a civil war in the kingdom. Lord Hastings threatened to depart instantly to his government of Calais :2 The other nobles seemed resolute to oppose force by force : And as the duke of Glocester, on pretence of pacifying the quarrel, had declared against all appearance
of an armed power, which might be dangerous, and was nowise necessary, the queen, trusting to the sincerity of his friendship, and overawed by so violent an opposition, recalled her orders to her brother, and desired him to bring up no greater retinue than should be necessary to support the state and dignity of the young sovereign.
The duke of Glocester, mean while, set out from York, attended by a numerous train of the northern gentry. When he reached Northampton, he was joined by the duke of Buckingham, who was also attended by a splendid retinue; and as he: heard that the king was hourly expected on that road, he resolved to wait his arrival, under colour of conducting him thence in person to London. The earl of Rivers, apprehensive that the place
would Hist Croyl. cont. p. 564, 565. "
a Sir T. More, p. 483.
CHA P.would be too narrow to contain so many attendXXIII.
sants, sent his pupil forward by another road to 1483. Stony-Stratford; and came himself to Northamp
ton, in order to apologise for this measure, and to pay his respects to the duke of Glocester. He was received with the greatest appearance of cordiality: He passed the evening in an amicable manner with Glocester and Buckingham: He proceeded on the
road with them next day to join the king : But as The earl of he was entering Stony-Stratford, he was arrested by Rivers arrested. “ orders from the duke of Glocester :b Sir Richard lay. Gray, one of the queen's sons, was at the same
time put under a guard, together with Sir Thomas Vaughan, who possessed a considerable office in the king's household; and all the prisoners were instantly conducted to Pomfret. Glocester approached the young prince with the greatest demonstrations of respect; and endeavoured to satisfy him with regard to the violence committed on his uncle and brother : But Edward, much attached to these near relations, by whom he had been tenderly educated, was not such a master of dissi
mulation as to conceal his displeasure.. 4th May. · The people, however, were extremely rejoiced
at this revolution; and the duke was received in London with the loudest acclamations : But the queen no sooner received intelligence of her brother's imprisonment, than she foresaw that Glocester's violence would not stop there, and her own ruin, if not that of all her children, was finally determined. She therefore fled into the sanctuary of Westminster, attended by the marquis of Dor. set; and she carried thither the five princesses, tógether with the duke of York. She trusted, that the ecclesiastical privileges which had formerly, during the total ruin of her husband and family, given her protection against the fury of the Lan
.." castrian 'Hist. Croyl. cont. p. 564, 565. Sir T. More, p. 484.
Hist. Croyl. cont. p. 565.