« PreviousContinue »
happy pauses; yet they did ever hang over the king dom, ready to break forth into new perturbations and calamities. And as his victory gave him the knee, so his purpose of marriage with the lady Elizabeth gavė him the heart; so that both knee and heart did truly bow before him.
He on the other side with great wisdom, not ignorant of the affections and fears of the people, to disperse the conceit and terror of a conquest, had given order, that there should be nothing in his journey like unto a warlike march or manner; but rather like unto the progress of a King in full peace and assurance.
He entered the city upon a Saturday, as he had also obtained the victory upon a Saturday; which day of the week, first upon an observation, and after upon memory and fancy, he accounted and chose as a day prosperous unto him.
The mayor and companies of the city received him at Shoreditch; whence with great and honourable attendance, and troops of noblemen, and persons of quality, he entered the city; himself not being on horseback, or in any open chair or throne, but in a close chariot, as one that having been sometimes an enemy to the whole state, and a proscribed person, chose rather to keep state, and strike a reverence into the people, than to fawn upon them.
He went first into St. Paul's church, where, not meaning that the people should forget too soon that he came in by battle, he made offertory of his standards, and had orizons and Te Deum again sung; and wentto his lodging prepared in the bishop of London's palace, where he stayed for a time.
During his abode there, he assembled his council and other principal persons, in presence of whom he did renew again his promise to marry with the lady Elizabeth. This he did the rather, because having at his coming out of Britain given artificially, for serving his own turn, some hopes, in case he obtained the king dom, to marry Anne, inheritress to the dutchy of Britain, whom Charles the eighth of France soon after married, it bred some doubt and suspicion amongst divers that
he was not sincere, or at least not fixed in going on with the match of England so much desired: which conceit also, though it were but talk and discourse, did much afflict the poor lady Elizabeth herself. But howsoever he both truly intended it, and desired also it should be so believed, the better to extinguish envy and contradiction to his other purposes, yet was he resolv. ed in himself not to proceed to the consummation thereof, till his coronation and a parliament were past. The one, lest a joint coronation of himself and his Queen might give any countenance of participation of title; the other, lest in the entailing of the crown to himself, which he hoped to obtain by parliament, the votes of the parliament might any ways reflect upon her.
About this time in autumn, towards the end of Sep. tember, there began and reigned in the city, and other parts of the kingdom, a disease then new: which by the accidents and manner thereof they called the sweating sickness. This disease had a swift course, both in the sick body, and in the time and period of the last ing thereof; for they that were taken with it, upon four and twenty hours escaping, were thought almost assured. And as to the time of the malice and reign of the disease ere it ceased; it began about the one and twentieth of September, and cleared up before the end of October, insomuch as it was no hindrance to the King's coronation, which was the last of October; nor, which was more, to the holding of the parliament, which began but seven days after. It was a pestilent fever, but, as it seemeth, not seated in the veins or humours, for that there followed no carbuncle, no purple or livid spots, or the like, the mass of the body being not tainted; only a malign vapour flew to the heart, and seized the vital spirits; which stirred nature to strive to send it forth by an extreme sweat. And it appeared by experience, that this disease was rather a surprise of nature than obstinate to remedies, if it were in time looked unto. For if the patient were kept in an equal temper, both for clothes, fire, and drink, moderately warm, with temperate cordials, whereby nature's work were neither irritated by heat, nor turned back by cold,
he commonly recovered. But infinite persons died suddenly of it, before the manner of the cure and attendance was known. It was conceived not to be an epidemic disease, but to proceed from a malignity in the constitution of the air, gathered by the predispositions of seasons; and the speedy cessation declared as much.
On Simon and Jude's eve, the King dined with Thomas Bourchier, archbishop of Canterbury and cardinal; and from Lambeth went by land over the bridge to the Tower, where the morrow after he made twelve knights bannerets. But for creations he dispensed them with a sparing hand. For notwithstanding a field so lately fought, and a coronation so near at hand, he only created three: Jasper, earl of Pembroke, the King's uncle, was created duke of Bedford; Thomas, the lord Stanley, the King's father-in-law, earl of Derby; and Edward Courtney, earl of Devon; though the King had then nevertheless a purpose in himself to make more in time of parliament; bearing a wise and decent respect to distribute his creations, some to honour his coronation, and some his parliament.
The coronation followed two days after, upon the thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord 1485; at which time Innocent the eighth was Pope of Rome; Frederick the third Emperor of Almain; and Maximilian his son newly chosen King of the Romans; Charles the eighth King of France; Ferdinando and Isabella Kings of Spain; and James the third King of Scotland: with all which Kings and States the King was at that time in good peace and amity. At which day also, as if the crown upon his head had put perils into his thoughts, he did institute, for the better security of his person, a band of fifty archers, under a captain, to attend him, by the name of yeomen of his guard: and yet, that it might be thought to be rather a matter of dignity, after the imitation of what he had known abroad, than any matter of diffidence appropriate to his own case, he made it to be understood for an ordinance not temporary, but to hold in succession for ever after.
The seventh of November the King held his parlia
ment at Westminster, which he had summoned immediately after his coming to London. His ends in calling a parliament, and that so speedily, were chiefly three: first, to procure the crown to be entailed upon himself. Next, to have the attainders of all of his party, which were in no small number, reversed, and all acts of hostility by them done in his quarrel remitted and discharged; and on the other side, to attaint by parliament the heads and principals of his enemies. The third, to calm and quiet the fears of the rest of that party by a general pardon; not being ignorant in how great danger a King stands from his subjects, when most of his subjects are conscious in themselves that they stand in his danger. Unto these three special motives of a parliament was added, that he, as a prudent and moderate Prince, made this judgment, that it was fit for him to hasten to let his people see, that he meant to govern by law, howsoever he came in by the sword; and fit also to reclaim them to know him for their King, whom they had so lately talked of as an enemy or banished man. For that which concerned the entailing of the crown, more than that he was true to his own will, that he would not endure any mention of the lady Elizabeth, no not in thenature of special entail, he carried it otherwise with great wisdom and measure: for he did not press to have the act penned by way of declaration or recognition of right; as, on the other side, he avoided to have it by new law or ordinance, but chose rather a kind of middle way, by way of establishment, and that under covert and indifferent words: "that the inheritance of the crown "should rest, remain, and abide in the King," etc. which words might equally be applied, that the crown should continue to him; but whether as having former right to it, which was doubtful, or having it then in fact and possession, which no man denied, was left fair to interpretation either way. And again, for the limitation of the entail, he did not press it to go farther than to himself and to the heirs of his body, not speaking of his right heirs: but leaving that to the law to decide: so as the entail might seem rather a personal favour to him and his children, than a total disinherison to the house of
York. And in this form was the law drawn and passed. Which statute he procured to be confirmed by the Pope's bull the year following, with mention nevertheless, by way of recital, of his other titles, both of descent and conquest. So as now the wreath of three, was made a wreath of five; for to the first three titles of the two houses, or lines, and conquest, were added two more, the authorities parliamentary and papal.
The King likewise, in the reversal of the attainders of his partakers, and discharging them of all offences incident to his service and succour, had his will; and acts did pass accordingly. In the passage whereof, exception was taken to divers persons in the house of commons, for that they were attainted, and thereby not legal, nor habilitate to serve in parliament, being disabled in the highest degree; and that it should be a great incongruity to have them to make laws, who themselves were not inlawed. The truth was, that divers of those, which had in the time of King Richard been strongest, and most declared for the King's party, were returned knights and burgesses for the parliament; whether by care or recommendation from the state, or the voluntary inclination of the people: many of which had been by Richard the third attainted by outlawries, or otherwise. The King was somewhat troubled with this; for though it had a grave and specious shew, yet it reflected upon his party. But wisely not shewing himself at all moved therewith, he would not understand it but as a case in law, and wished the judges to be advised thereupon; who for that purpose were forthwith assembled in the exchequerchamber, which is the council-chamber of the judges, and upon deliberation they gave a grave and safe opinion and advice, mixed with law and convenience; which was, that the knights and burgesses attainted by the course of law should forbear to come into the house, till a law were passed for the reversal of their attainders.
It was at that time incidently moved amongst the judges in their consultation, what should be done for the King himself, who likewise was attainted? But it was with unanimous consent resolved," That the crown