« PreviousContinue »
"takes away all defects and stops in blood: and that "from the time the King did assume the crown, the "fountain was cleared, and all attainders and corrup "tion of blood discharged." But nevertheless, for honour's sake, it was ordained by parliament, that all records, wherein there was any memory or mention of the King's attainder, should be defaced, cancelled, and taken off the file.
But on the part of the King's enemies there were by parliament attainted, the late duke of Gloucester, calling himself Richard the third; the duke of Norfolk, the earl of Surry, viscount Lovel, the lord Ferrers, the lord Zouch, Richard Ratcliffe, William Catesby, and many others of degree and quality. In which bills of attainders, nevertheless, there were contained many just and temperate clauses, savings, and provisoes, well shewing and fore-tokening the wisdom, stay, and moderation of the King's spirit of government. And for the pardon of the rest, that had stood against the King, the King, upon a second advice, thought it not fit it should pass by parliament, the better, being matter of grace, to impropriate the thanks to himself: using only the opportunity of a parliament time, the better to disperse it into the veins of the kingdom. Therefore during the parliament he published his royal proclamation, offering pardon and grace of restitution to all such as had taken arms, or been participant of any attempts against him; so as they submitted themselves to his mercy by a day, and took the oath of allegiance and fidelity to him. Whereupon many came out of sanctuary, and many more came out of fear, no less guilty than those that had taken sanctuary.
As for money or treasure, the King thought it not seasonable or fit to demand any of his subjects at this parliament; both because he had received satisfaction from them in matters of so great importance, and because he could not remunerate them with any general pardon, being prevented therein by the coronationpardon passed immediately before but chiefly, for that it was in every man's eye, what great forfeitures and confiscations he had at that present to help him
self; whereby those casualties of the crown might in reason spare the purses of the subject; especially in a time when he was in peace with all his neighbours. Some few laws passed at that parliament, almost for form sake: amongst which there was one, to reduce aliens, being made denizens, to pay strangers customs; and another, to draw to himself the seizures and compositions of Italians goods, for not employment, being points of profit to his coffers, whereof from the very beginning he was not forgetful; and had been more happy at the latter end, if his early providence, which kept him from all necessity of exacting upon his people, could likewise have attempered his nature therein. He added, during parliament, to his former creations, the ennoblement or advancement in nobility of a few others; the lord Chandos of Britain, was made earl of Bath; Sir Giles Daubeney, was made lord Daubeney; and Sir Robert Willoughby, lord Brook.
The King did also with great nobleness and bounty, which virtues at that time had their turns in his nature, restore Edward Stafford, eldest son to Henry, duke of Buckingham, attainted in the time of King Richard, not only to his dignities, but to his fortunes and possessions, which were great: to which he was moved also by a kind of gratitude, for that the duke was the man that moved the first stone against the tyranny of King Richard, and indeed made the King a bridge to the crown upon his own ruins. Thus the parliament broke up.
The parliament being dissolved, the King sent forthwith money to redeem the marquis Dorset, and Sir John Bourchier, whom he had left as his pledges at Paris, for money which he had borrowed, when he made his expedition for England. And thereupon he took a fit occasion to send the lord Treasurer and master Bray, whom he used as counsellor, to the lord mayor of London, requiring of the city a prest of six thousand marks; but after many parleys, he could obtain but two thousand pounds; which nevertheless the King took in good part, as men use to do, that practise to borrow money when they have no need. About this
time the King called unto his privy-council John Morton and Richard Fox, the one bishop of Ely, the other bishop of Exeter; vigilant men, and secret, and such as kept watch with him almost upon all men else. They had been both versed in his affairs, before he came to the crown, and were partakers of his adverse fortune. This Morton soon after, upon the death of Bourchier, he made archbishop of Canterbury. And for Fox, he made him lord keeper of his privy-seal, and afterwards advanced him by degrees, from Exeter to Bath and Wells, thence to Durham, and last to Winchester. For although the King loved to employ and advance bishops, because having rich bishopricks, they carried their reward upon themselves; yet he did use to raise them by steps, that he might not lose the profit of the first fruits, which by that course of gradation was multiplied.
At last, upon the eighteenth of January, was solemnized the so long expected and so much desired marriage, between the King and the lady Elizabeth; which day of marriage was celebrated with greater triumph and demonstrations, especially on the people's part, of joy and gladness, than the days either of his entry or coronation; which the King rather noted than liked. And it is true, that all his life-time, while the lady Elizabeth lived with him, for she died before him, he shewed himself no very indulgent husband towards her, though she was beautiful, gentle, and fruitful. But his aversion towards the house of York was so predominant in him, as it found place not only in his wars and councils, but in his chamber and bed.
Towards the middle of the spring, the King, full of confidence and assurance, as a prince that had been victorious in battle, and had prevailed with his parliament in all that he desired, and had the ring of acclamations fresh in his ears, thought the rest of his reign should be but play, and the enjoying of a kingdom yet, as a wise and watchful King, he would not neglect any thing for his safety; thinking nevertheless to perform all things now, rather as an exercise than as a labour. So he being truly informed, that the northern parts were not only affectionate to the house of York,
but particularly had been devoted to King Richard the third, thought it would be a summer well spent to visit those parts, and by his presence and application of himself to reclaim and rectify those humours. But the King, in his account of peace and calms, did much over-cast his fortunes, which proved for many years together full of broken seas, tides, and tempests. For he was no sooner come to Lincoln, where he kept his Easter, but he received news, that the lord Lovel, Humphry Stafford, and Thomas Stafford, who had formerly taken sanctuary at Colchester, were departed out of sanctuary, but to what place no man could tell: which advertisement the King despised, and continued his journey to York. At York there came fresh and more certain advertisement, that the lord Lovel was at hand with a great power of men, and that the Staffords were in arms in Worcestershire, and had made their approaches to the city of Worcester, to assail it. The King, as a prince of great and profound judgment, was not much moved with it; for that he thought it was but a rag or remnant of Bosworth-field, and had nothing in it of the main party of the house of York. But he was more doubtful of the raising of forces to resist the rebels, than of the resistance itself; for that he was in a core of people, whose affections he suspected. But the action enduring no delay, he did speedily levy and send against the lord Lovel, to the number of three thousand men, ill armed, but well assured, being taken some few out of his own train, and the rest out of the tenants and followers of such as were safe to be trusted, under the conduct of the duke of Bedford. And as his manner was to send his pardons rather before the sword than after, he gave commission to the duke to proclaim pardon to all that would come in: which the duke, upon his approach to the lord Lovel's camp, did perform. And it fell out as the King expected; the heralds were the great ordnance. For the lord Lovel, upon proclamation of pardon, mistrusting his men, fled into Lancashire, and lurking for a time with Sir Thomas Broughton, after sailed over into Flanders to the lady Margaret. And his men, forsaken of their captain, did presently submit themselves to the duke.
The Staffords likewise, and their forces, hearing what had happened to the lord Lovel, in whose success their chief trust was, despaired, and dispersed. The two brothers taking sanctuary at Colnham, a village near Abingdon; which place, upon view of their privilege in the King's bench, being judged no sufficient sanctuary for traitors, Humphrey was executed at Tyburn; and Thomas, as being led by his elder brother, was pardoned. So this rebellion proved but a blast, and the King having by this journey purged a little the dregs and leaven of the northern people, that were before in no good affection towards him, returned to London.
In September following, the Queen was delivered of her first son, whom the King, in honour of the British race, of which himself was, named Arthur, according to the name of that ancient worthy King of the Britains, in whose acts there is truth enough to make him famous, besides that which is fabulous. The child was strong and able, though he was born in the eighth month, which the physicians do prejudge.
There followed this year, being the second of the King's reign, a strange accident of state, whereof the relations which we have are so naked, as they leave it scarce credible; not for the nature of it, for it hath fallen out often, but for the manner and circumstance of it, especially in the beginnings. Therefore we shall make our judgment upon the things themselves, as they give light one to another, and, as we can, dig truth out of the mine. The King was green in his estate; and, contrary to his own opinion and desert both, was not without much hatred throughout the realm. The root of all was the discountenancing of the house of York, which the general body of the realm still affected. This did alienate the hearts of the subjects from him daily more and more, especially when they saw, that after his marriage, and after a son born, the King did nevertheless not so much as proceed to the coronation of the Queen, not vouchsafing her the honour of a matrimonial crown; for the coronation of her was not till almost two years after, when danger had taught him what to do. But much more when it was spread