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late and fresh, as it was no time for the Prince to displease the people. Nevertheless for form's sake, by way of requital, the archduke did likewise banish the English out of Flanders; which in effect was done to his hand.
The King being well advertised, that Perkin did more trust upon friends and partakers within the realm than upon foreign arms, thought it behoved him to apply the remedy where the disease lay: and to proceed with severity against some of the principal conspirators here within the realm; thereby to purge the ill humours in England, and to cool the hopes in Flanders. Wherefore he caused to be apprehended, almost at an instant, John Ratcliffe lord Fitzwalter, Sir Simon Mountfort, Sir Thomas Thwaites, William D'Aubigney, Robert Ratcliffe, Thomas Cressenor, and Thomas Astwood. All these were arraigned, convicted, and condemned for high-treason, in adhering and promising aid to Perkin. Of these the lord Fitzwalter was conveyed to Calais, and there kept in hold, and in hope of life, until soon after, either impatient or betrayed, he dealt with his keeper to have escaped, and thereupon was beheaded. But Sir Simon Mountfort, Robert Ratcliffe, and William D'Aubigney, were beheaded immediately after their condemnation. The rest were pardoned, together with many others, clerks and laics, amongst which were two Dominican friers, and William Worseley dean of Paul's; which latter sort passed examination, but came not to public trial.
The lord chamberlain at that time was not touched; whether it were that the King would not stir too many humours at once, but, after the manner of good physicians, purge the head last; or that Clifford, from whom most of these discoveries came, reserved that piece for his own coming over; signifying only to the King in the mean time, that he doubted there were some greater ones in the business, whereof he would give the King farther account when he came to his presence.
Upon Alhallows-day even, being now the tenth year of the King's reign, the King's second son Henry was created duke of York; and as well the Duke, as divers
others, noblemen, knights-bachelors, and gentlemen of quality, were made knights of the Bath according to the ceremony. Upon the morrow after twelfth-day, the King removed from Westminster, where he had kept his Christmas, to the Tower of London. This he did as soon as he had advertisement that Sir Robert Clifford, in whose bosom or budget most of Perkin's secrets were laid up, was come into England. And the place of the Tower was chosen to that end, that if Clifford should accuse any of the great ones, they might, without suspicion, or noise, or sending abroad of warrants, be presently attached; the court and prison being within the cincture of one wall. After a day or two, the King drew unto him a selected council, and admitted Clifford to his presence; who first fell down at his feet, and in all humble manner craved the King's pardon; which the King then granted, though he were indeed secretly assured of his life before. Then commanded to tell his knowledge, he did amongst many others, of himself, not interrogated, impeach Sir William Stanley, the lord chamberlain of the King's houshold.
The King seemed to be much amazed at the naming of this lord, as if he had heard the news of some strange and fearful prodigy. To hear a man that had done him service of so high a nature, as to save his life, and set the crown upon his head; a man, that enjoyed, by his favour and advancement, so great a fortune both in honour and riches; a man, that was tied unto him in so near a band of alliance, his brother having married the King's mother; and lastly, a man, to whom he had committed the trust of his person, in making him his chamberlain: that this man, no ways disgraced, no ways discontent, no ways put in fear, should be false unto him. Clifford was required to say over again and again, the particulars of his accusation; being warned, that in a matter so unlikely, and that concerned so great a servant of the King's, he should not in any wise go too far. But the King finding that he did sadly and constantly, without hesitation or varying, and with those civil protestations that were fit, stand to that that he had said, offering to justify it upon his soul and life; he caused him to be removed. And after he had not
a little bemoaned himself unto his council there present, gave order that Sir William Stanley should be restrained in his own chamber where he lay before, in the square tower: and the next day he was examined by the lords. Upon his examination he denied little of that wherewith he was charged, nor endeavoured much to excuse or extenuate his fault: so that, not very wisely, thinking to make his offence less by confession, he made it enough for condemnation. It was conceived, that he trusted much to his former merits, and the interest that his brother had in the King. But those helps were over-weighed by divers things that made against him, and were predominant in the King's nature and mind. First, an over-merit; for convenient merit, unto which reward may easily reach, doth best with Kings. Next the sense of his power; for the King thought, that he that could set him up, was the more dangerous to pull him down. Thirdly, the glimmering of a confiscation; for he was the richest subject for value in the kingdom: there being found in his castle of Holt forty thousand marks in ready money and plate, besides jewels, houshold-stuff, stocks upon his grounds, and other personal estate, exceeding great. And for his revenue in land and fee, it was three thousand pounds a year of old rent, a great matter in those times. Lastly, the nature of the time; for if the King had been out of fear of his own estate, it was not unlike he would have spared his life. But the cloud of so great a rebellion hanging over his head, made him work sure. Wherefore after some six weeks distance of time, which the King did honourably interpose, both to give space to his brother's intercession, and to shew to the world that he had a conflict with himself what he should do; he was arraigned of hightreason, and condemned, and presently after beheaded.
Yet is it to this day left but in dark memory, both what the case of this noble person was, for which he suffered; and what likewise was the ground and cause of his defection, and the alienation of his heart from the King. His case was said to be this; That in dis
course between Sir Robert Clifford and him he had said, "That if he were sure that that young man were King Edward's son, he would never bear arms against "him. This case seems somewhat an hard case, both in respect of the conditional, and in respect of the other words. But for the conditional, it seemeth the judges of that time, who were learned men, and the three chief of them of the privy-council, thought it was a dangerous thing to admit ifs and ands, to qualify words of treason; whereby every man might express his malice, and blanch his danger. And it was like to the case, in the following times, of Elizabeth Barton, the holy maid of Kent; who had said, "That if King Henry the eighth did not take Catherine his "wife again, he should be deprived of his crown, and "die the death of a dog." And infinite cases may be put of like nature; which, it seemeth, the grave judges taking into consideration, would not admit of treasons upon condition. And as for the positive words, "That he would not bear arms against King Edward's "son;" though the words seem calm, yet it was a plain and direct over-ruling of the King's title, either by the line of Lancaster, or by act of parliament :* which, no doubt, pierced the King more, than if Stanley had charged his lance upon him in the field. For if Stanley would hold that opinion, that a son of King Edward had still the better right, he being so principal a person of authority and favour about the King, it was to teach all England to say as much. And therefore, as those times were, that speech touched the quick. But some writers do put this out of doubt; for they say, that Stanley did expressly promise to aid Perkin, and sent him some help of treasure.
Now for the motive of his falling off from the King; it is true, that at Bosworth-field the King was beset, and in a manner inclosed round about by the troops of King Richard, and in manifest danger of his life; when this Stanley was sent by his brother, with three thousand men to his rescue, which he performed so, that King Richard was slain upon the place. So as the condition of mortal men is not capable of a greater bene
fit, than the King received by the hands of Stanley; being like the benefit of Christ, at once to save and For which service the King gave him great gifts, made him his counsellor and chamberlain; and, somewhat contrary to his nature, had winked at the great spoils of Bosworth-field, which came almost wholly to this man's hands, to his infinite enriching. Yet nevertheless, blown up with the conceit of his merit, he did not think he had received good measure from the King, at least not pressing down and running over, as he expected. And his ambition was so exorbitant and unbounded, as he became suitor to the King for the earldom of Chester: which ever being a kind of appenage to the principality of Wales, and using to go to the King's son, his suit did not only end in a denial but in a distaste: the King perceiving thereby, that his desires were intemperate, and his cogitations vast and irregular, and that his former benefits were but cheap, and lightly regarded by him. Wherefore the King began not to brook him well. And as a little leaven of new distaste doth commonly sour the whole lump of former merits, the King's wit began now to suggest unto his passion, that Stanley at Bosworthfield, though he came time enough to save his life, yet he stayed long enough to endanger it. But yet having no matter against him, he continued him in his places until this his fall.
After him was made lord chamberlain Giles lord D'Aubigney, a man of great sufficiency and valour: the more because he was gentle and moderate.
There was a common opinion, that Sir Robert Clifford, who now was become the state informer, was from the beginning an emissary and spy of the King's; and that he fled over into Flanders with his consent and privity. But this is not probable; both because he never recovered that degree of grace, which he had with the King before his going over; and chiefly, for that the discovery which he had made touching the lord chamberlain, which was his great service, grew not from any thing he learned abroad, for that he knew it well before he went.
These executions, and especially that of the lord