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Henry, earl of Richmond was at that time detained in a kind of honourable custody by the duke of Britany. He was one of those who had the good fortune to escape the numerous massacres of the preceding reign; but as he was a descen. dant of John of Gaunt, by the female line, he was for that reason obnoxious to those in power. He had long lived in exile ; and was, at one time, delivered up to the embassadors of Edward, who were preparing to carry him over to England, when the prince, who delivered hiin, repented of what he had done, and took him from the ambassadors just as they were leading him on thipboard. This was the youth on whom the duke of Buckingham cast his eye, to succeed to the crown, and a ne. gotiation was begun between them for that puro pose. Henry's hereditary right to the throne was doubtful, but the crimes of the usurper served to strengthen his claims. However, still further to improve his title, a marriage was projected between him and the princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the late king, and the queen dowager was prevailed on heartily to accede to the measure,
Richard, in the mean time, either informed by his creatures, or kept distrustful by conscious guilt, began to suspect Buckinghain's fidelity; and the secret informations which he daily received, left him no room to doubt of the truth of his sufpicions. Impressed with this jealousy, therefore, he formed a resolution of fending for him to court; and the duke's refusing to obey the summons, confirmed him in his fears. But he soon had the plainest proofs of Buckingham's enmity, intelli. gence arriving that this nobleman was at the head of a large body of men in arms, and marching to. wards the western shore, Richard, whose conrage no danger could allay, immediately put him
felf in a posture of defence, by levying fome troops in the North, and prepared tð meet the insurgents with his usual expedition. But fortune seemed his friend on the present occafion, and ren. dered all his preparations unnecessary. As Buckingham was advancing by hafty 'marches towards Gloucester, where he designed to cross the severn, just at that time the river was swoln to such a degree, that the country on both sides was deluged, and even the tops of some hills were covered with water. This inundation continued for ten days ; during which Buckingham's army, composed of Welshmen, could neither pass the ri-. ver, nor find subsistence on their own side ; they were, therefore, obliged to disperse, and return home notwithstanding all the duke's efforts to prolong their stay. In this helpless situation, the duke, after a short deliberation, took refuge at the house of one Banister, who had been his servant, and who had received repeated obligations from his family. But the wicked seldom find, as they seldom exert, friendship. Banister, unable to resist the temptation of a large reward that was set upon the duke's head, went and betrayed him to the sheriff of Shropshire; who, surrounding the house with armed men, seized the duke, in the habit of a peasant, and conducted him to Saliibury; where he was instantly tried, condemned, and executed, according to the summary method practised in those
In the mean time the duke of Richmond landed in England; but finding his hopes frustrated by the failure of Buckingham, he hastily set sail again, * and returned to Britany. Thus every occurrence
seemed to promise Richard a long posseffion of the crown; however, the authority of parliament was ftill wanting to give fanction to the injuftice of his proceedings; but in those times of ignorance and
quilt that was easily procured. An act was passed, confirming the illegitimacy of Edward's children; an act of attainder also was confi, sed against Henry earl of Richmond ; and all e usurper's wishes seemed to be the aim of thei 'berations. One thing, however, was wanting complete Richard's security, which was the death of his rival ; to effect which, he sent ambassadors to the duke of Britany, seemingly upon bufiness of a public nature ; but in reality, to treat with Landais, that prince's minifter, to deliver up Richmond. The minister was base enough to enter into the negotiation ; but Richmond having had timely notice, fed away into France, and just reached the confines of that kingdom when he found that he was pursued by those who intended giving him up to his rival.
Richard thus finding his attempts to seize his enemy's person unsuccessful, became every day more cruel, as his power grew more precarious. Among those who chiefly excited his jealousy, was the lord Stanley, who was married to the widow of Edward; and to keep him steadfast in obedience, he took his son as an hostage for the father's behaviour. He now also resolved to get rid of his prefent queen, Anne; to make room for a match with his niece, the princeis Elizabeth, by whose alliance he hoped to cover the injustice of his claims. This lady, whom he desired to get rid of, was the widow of the young prince of Wales, whom he had murdered with his own hands at
Tewksbury; and it is no flight indication of the barbarity of the times, that the widow should accept for her fecond lord, the murderer of her former husband. But she was now rewarded for her former inhumanity, as Richard treated her with so much pride and indifference, that she died with grief, according to his ardent expectation. However, his wishes were not crowned with success in his applications to Elizabeth ; the mother, indeed, was not averse to the match ; but the princess herself treated his vile addresses with contempt and deteftation.
Amidst the perplexity caused by this unexpected refusal, he received information that the earl of Richmond was once more making preparations to land in England, and assert his claims to the crown. Richard, who knew not in what quarter he might expect the invader, had taken post at Nottingham, in the centre of the kingdom; and had given commissions to several of his creatures, to oppose the enemy wherever he should land. The account received of Richmond's preparations was not ungrounded; he set out from Harfleur in Normandy, with a retinue of about two thousand persons; and after a voyage of fix days, arrived at Milford-Haven, in Wales, where he landed without opposition, Sir Rice ap Thomas, and Sir Walter Herbert, who were intrusted to oppose him in Wales, were both in his interests; the one immediately deserted to him, and the other made but a feeble opposition. Upon news
of this defeat, Richard, who was poffeffed of . courage and military conduct, his only virtues, in
Itantly resolved to meet his antagonist, and decide their mutual pretensions by a battle. Richmond, on the other hand, being reinforced by Sir Thomas Bourchier, Sir Walter Hungerford, and others, to the number of about six thousand, boldly advanced with the same intentions; and in a few days, both armies drew near Bosworth-field, to determine a contest that had now for more than forty years filled the kingdom with .civil commotions and deluged its plains with blood.
The army of Richard was above double that of Henry; but the chief confidence of the latter lay in the friendship and secret assurances of lord Stanley, who, with a body of seven thousand men, hovered near the field of battle, and declined engaging on either side.
Richard perceiving his enemy advance, drew up his army, consisting of about thirteen thousand men, in order of battle; he gave the command of the van-guard to the duke of Norfolk, while he led the main body himself, with the crown on his head, designing by this either to inspire the enemy with awe, or to render himself conspicuous to his own army:
The van of Richmond's army, confisting of archers, was commanded by John, earl of Oxford; Sir Gilbert Talbot led the right wing, Sir John Savage the left; while the carl himself, accompanied by his uncle the earl of Pembroke, placed himself in the main body. Lord Stanley in the mean time, posted himself on one flank between the two armies, while his brother took his station on the other which was opposite. Richard seeing him thus in a situation equally convenient for joining either army, immediately sent him orders to unite himself to the main body, which the other refusing he gave instant orders for beheading lord Stanley's son, whom he ftill kept as an hostage. He was persuaded, however, to poltpone the execution till after the fight; and attending to the more important transactions of the day, he directed the trumpets to found to battle. The two armies approaching each other, the battle began with a shower of arrows, and soon the adverse fronts were seen closing. This was what lord Stanley had for some time expected, who immediately profiting by the occasion, joined the line of Richmond, and thus turned the fortune of the day. This measure, Vol. II.