Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

About this time the nobles of Britany, being di gusted with their minister, Peter Landais, role a D in conspiracy against him, and put him 1488.

" in death. Willing to defend one crime

0by another, they called in the aid of the French monarch, to protect them from the resentment of their own sovereign. The French monarch quickly obeyed the call ; but instead of only bringing the nobles assistance, over-ran and took poffeffion of the greatest part of the country. The aid of Henry was implored by the distressed Bretons ; but this monarch appeared more willing to aslift them by negotiations than by arms; but though he determined to maintain a pacific conduet, as far as the situation of his affairs would permit, he knew too well the warlike disposition of his subjects, and their desires to engage in any scheme that promised the humiliation of France. He resolved, therefore, to take advantage of this propensity; and to draw some supplies of money from the people, on pretence of giving assistance to the duke of Britany. He accordingly summoned a parliament to mect at Westminster, and easily persuaded them to grant him a considerable supply. But money was, at that time, more easily granted than levied in England. A new insurrection began in Yorkshire, the people resifting the commissioners who were appointed to levy the tax.

The earl of Northumberland attempted to enforce the king's command ; but the populace, be• ing by this taught to believe that he was the adviier of their oppressions, flew to arms, attacked his house, and put him to death. The mutineers did not stop there; but, by the advice of one John Achamber, a feditious fellow of mean birth, tiey chose Sir John Egremont for their leader, and prepared then selves for a vigorous resistance.

The The king, upon hearing this raih proceeding, immediately levied a force, which he put under the earl of Surry; and this nobleman, encountering the rebels, disipated the tumult, and took their leader Achamber prisoner. Achamber was shortly after executed; but Sir John Egremont Aed to the court of the dutchess of Burgundy, the usual retreat of all who were obnoxious to government in England.

As Henry had gone thus far in preparations for a war with France, he supposed that it would be too fagrant an imposition upon the credulity of the nation, not to put a part of his threats in execution. France was by this time possessed of all Britany; and a marriage had been lately concluded between the French monarch, and the dutchess of the last named territory. This accefsion of power, in a rival state, was formidable not only to Henry, but to Europe. He, therefore, prepared to make a descent upon France; and accordingly landed at Calais, with an army of twenty-five thousand foot, and fixteen hundred horse, which he put under the command of the duke of Bedford and the earl of Oxford, but notwithstanding this appearance of an hostile disposition, there had been secret advances made towards a peace three months before, and commissioners had been appointed to treat on the terms. - The demands of Henry were wholly pecuniary; and the king of France, who deemed the peaceable possession of Britany an equivalent for any sum, readily agreed to the proposals made him. He engaged to pay Henry near two hundred thousand pounds sterling, as a reimbursement for the expences of his expedition; and he stipulated to pay a yearly pension to him, and his heirs, of twentyfive thousand crowns more.

Henry,

kinds how tied thans was de ce could

Henry, having thus made an advantageous a peace, had reason to flatter himself with

• the prospect of long tranquillity; but he 1492. was miltaken; he had ftill enemies who found means to embroil him in fresh difficulties and dangers. One would have imagined, that from the ill success of Simnel's impofture, few would be willing to embark in another of a similar kind; however, the old dutchess of Burgundy, rather irritated than discouraged by the failure of her paft enterprizes, was determined to disturb that government, which she could not subvert. She first procured a report to be spread, that the young duke of York, raid to have been murdered in the Tower, was still living; and finding the rumour greedily received, she foon produced á young man, who assumed his name and character. The person pitched upon to sustain this part, was one Olbeck or Warbeck, the son of a converted Jew, who had been over in England during the reign of Edward IV, where he had this son named Peter, but corrupted, after the Flemish manner, into Peterkin or Perkin. It was by some believed that Edward, among his other amorous adventures, had a secret correspondence with Warbeck's wife, which might account for a striking resemblance between young Perkin and that monarch. Perkin, following the fortunes of his father, had travelled for many years from place to place; so that his birth and circumstances became thereby unknown, and difficult to be traced by the most diligent enquiry. The variety of his adventures might have contributed to assist the natural fagacity, and versatility of his disposition; as he seemed to be a youth capable of sustaining any part or any assumed character. The dutchess of Burgundy found this youth entirely suited to her purposes, and her lessons, instructing him to perfonate the duke of

York,

York, were easily learned, and strongly retained by a youth of such quick apprehension. In short, his graceful air, his courtly address, bis easy manners, and elegant conversation, were capable of imposing upon all but such as were conscious of the imposture.

The kingdom of Ireland which still retained its attachments to the house of York, was pitched upon as the proper place for Perkin's first appears ance, as it before had favoured that of Simnel. He landed at Cork; and immediately assuming the name of Richard Plantagenet, drew to him numerous partizans among that credulous people. He wrote letters to the earls of Delmand and Kil. dare, inviting them to join his party; he dispersed every where the strange intelligence of his escape from his uncle Richard's cruelty; and men, fond of every thing new and wonderful, began to make him the general fubject of their discourse, and even the object of their favour, From Ireland his famne foon ipread over into France; and Charles sent Perkin an invitation to bis court, where he receive ed him with all the marks of consideration that were due to his supposed dignity. The youth, no way dazzled by his elevation, supported the prepoffeffion which was spread abroad in his favour; so that England itself soon began to give credit to his pretensions; while Sir George Neville, Sir John Taylor, and above a hundred gentlemen more, went to Paris to pay him homage, and offer their services. Upon the peace being Thortly after concluded between France and England, the im, postor was obliged to make his residence at the court of his old patroness, the dutchess of Burą. gundy, and the interview between these conscious deceivers was truly ridiculous. The dutchess af. fected the utmost ignorance of his pretensions,

and

fo that En which was levation, Tupo The youth, that

and even put on the appearance of distrust; have ing, as she said, been already deceived by Simnel. She seemed to examine all his assertions with the most scrupulous diffidence ; put many particular questions to him, affected astonishment at his answers, and at last, after long and severe scrutiny, burst out into joy and admiration at his delivery, ac. knowledging him as her nephew, as the true.image of Edward, and legitimate successor to the English throne. She immediately affigned him an equi. page suitable to his pretensions, appointed him a guard of thirty halberdiers; and on all occasions honoured him with the appellation of the White Rose of England.

The English, ever ready to revolt, gave credit to all these absurdities; while the young man's prudence, converfation, and deportment, served to confirm what their disaffection and credulity had begun. All such as were disgusted with the king, prepared to join him, but particularly those that were formerly Henry's favourites, and had contributed to place him on the throne; thinking - their services could never be sufficiently repaid, now privatély abetted the imposture, and became heads of the conspiracy. These were joined by num- . bers of the inferior class, some greedy of novelty, some blindly attached to their leaders, and some induced by their desperate fortunes to wish for a change.

Among those who secretly abetted the cause of Perkin, were lord Fitzwater, Sir Simon Mountfort, Sir Thomas Thwaits, and Sir Robert Clif. ford. But the person of the greatest weight, and the most dangerous opposition, was Sir William Stanley the lord chamberlain, and brother to the famous lord Stanley, who had contributed to place Henry on the throne. This personage, either moved by a blind credulity, or more probably by

a restless

« ZurückWeiter »