Abbildungen der Seite

bare-footed through the city, and to do penance in St. Paul's church in a white sheet, with a waxtaper in her hand, before thousands of spectators. She lived above forty years after this sentence, reduced to the most extreme wretchedness; and Sir Thomas More, in the succeeding reign, assures us. that he saw her gathering herbs in a field near the city for her nightly repait; an extraordinary example of the ingratitude of courts, and the reverses of fortune.

The protector now began to throw off the mask, and to deny his pretended regard for the fons of the late king, thinking it high time to afpire at the throne more openly. He had previoully gained over the duke of Buckingham, a man of talents and power, by bribes and promises of future favour. This nobleman, therefore, used all his arts to infuse into the people an opinion of the battardy of the late king, and also that of his children. Doctor Shaw, a popular preaches, was hired to harangue the people from St. Paul's Crots to the same purpose; where, after having displayed the incontinence of the queen, and insisted on the illegality of the young king's title, he then expatiated on the virtues of the protector. “It os is the protector, cried he, who carries in his “ face the image of virtue, and the inarks of a 6 true descent. He alone can restore the lost “ glory and honour of the nation.” It was hoped, upon

this occasion, that some of the populace would have cried out, Long live king Richard ! but the audience remaining filent, the duke of Buckingham undertook to persuade them, in his turn.

His speech was copious upon the calamities of the last reign, and the bastardy of the present race; he saw only one method of shielding off the miseries that threatened the state, which was, to elect the protector ; but he seemed apprehensive



that he never would be prevailed on to accept of a crown, acompanied with such difficulty and danger. He next asked his auditors whether they would have the protector for their king ; but was mortified to find that a total silence ensued. The mayor, who was in the secret, willing to relieve him in this embarrassing situation, observed, that the citizens were not accustomed to be harangued by a person of such quality, and would only give an aniwer to their recorder. This officer there. fore, repeated the duke's speech, but the people continuing still filent, “ This is strange obstinacy, « cried the duke; we only require of you, in " plain terms, 'to declare whether, or not you u will have the duke of Gloucester for your “ king; as the lords and commons have sufficient

power without your concurrence ?” After all these efforts, some of the meanest apprentices, incited by the protector's and Buckingham's fervants, raising a feeble cry of, “ God save king Richard !" the mob at the door, a despicable class of people, ever pleased with novelty, repeated the cry, and throwing up their caps, repeated, A Richard! a Richard !

In this manner the duke took the advantage of this faint approbation; and the next day, at the head of the mayor and aldermen, went to wait upon the protector, at Baynard's Castle, with offers of the crown.

When Richard was told that a great multitude was waiting at the door, with his usual hypocrisy he appeared to the crowd in a gallery between iwo bishops, and at first seemed quite surprised at such a concourse of people. But when he was informed that their business was to offer him the crown, he declared against accepting it; alleging his love for the late king, his brother, his affection for the children under his care, and his own insufficiency. Buckingham


66 I pero

seeming displeased with this answer, muttered fome words to himself, but at length plainly told him, “ That it was needless to refuse, for that “ the people were bent on making him king; that " they had now proceeded too far to recede, and " therefore, in case of his refusal, were deter" mined to offer the crown where it would meet

a more ready acceptance." This was a resolution which the protector's tenderness for his people would not suffer him to fee effe Eted. " ceive, cried he, in a modeft tone, that the “ kingdom is refolved to load me with prefer« ments, unequal to my abilities or my choice; yet “ fince it is my duty to obey the dictates of a free “ people, I will, though reluctantly, accept their “ petition. I therefore, from this moment, enter “ upon the government of England and France, o with a resolution to defend the one, and subdue « the other.” The crowd being thus dismissed, each man returned home, pondering upon the proceedings of the day, and making such remarks as passion, intereft, or party might suggest.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

c H A P. XXI.
NE crime ever draws on another; justice

will revolt against fraud, and usurpation requires security. As soon, therefore, as

A. D. Richard was seated upon the throne, he

1483 sent the governoi of the Tower orders to put the two young princes to death; but this brave man, whose name was Brackenbury, refused to be made the instrument of a tyrant's will; and submissively answered, that he knew not how to embrue his hands in innocent blood. A fit inftru. ment, however, was not long wanting ; Sir James Tyrrel readily undertook the ofice, and Brackenbury was ordered to resign to him the keys for one night. Tyrrel choofing three associates, Slater, Deighton, and Forest, came in the night-time to the door of the chamber, where the princes were lodged; and sending in the affassins, he bid them execute their commission, while he himself staid without. They found the young princes in bed, and fallen into a found sleep: after suffocating them with the bolster and pillows, they thewed their naked bodies to Tyrrel; who ordered them to be buried at the fair-foot, deep in the ground, under an heap of ftones. These facts appeared in the succeeding reign, being confefied by the perpetrators; who, however, escaped punishment for the crime. The bodies of the princes were afterwards fought for by Henry VII. but could not be found ; however, in the reign of Charles II. the bones of two persons, answering their age, were


[ocr errors]

found in the very spot where it was said they were buried; they were interred in a marble monument by order of the king in Westminíter Abbey.

Richard had now waded through every obstacle to the throne ; and began' after the manner of all usurpers, to strengthen his ill-got power by foreign connections. Sensible, alío, of the influence of pageantry and shew upon the minds of the people, he caused himlelf to be crowned first at London, and afterwards at York. The clergy he endeavoured to secure by great indulgencies; and his friends, by bestowing rewards on them, in proportion as they were instrumental in placing him on the throne,

But while he thus endeavoured to establish his power, he found it threatened in a quarter where he least expected an attack. The duke of Buckingham, who had been too instrumental in placing him on the throne, though he had received the greatest rewards for his services, yet continued to with for more. He had alieady several posts and governments conferred upon him ; but that nobleman, whose avarice was insatiable, making a demand of the confiscated lands in Hereford, to which his family had an antient claim, Richard, either reluctantly complied with his request, or but partially indulged it, so that a coolness soon ensued; and no sooner had Buckingham supposed himself injured, than he resolved to dethrone a monarch, whole title was founded in injustice. At first, however, this aspiring subject remained in doubt, whether he should put up for the crown himself, or set up another ; but the latter resolution prevailing, he determined to declare for Henry, earl of Richmond, who was at that time an exile in Britany, and was considered as the only surviving branch of the house of Lancaster.


« ZurückWeiter »