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18. The great uncertainty regarding the fate of the two sons of Edward IV. giving rise to numerous idle speculations and conjectures, and offering to evil-minded and self-interested persons a wide field for imposture, it was not long ere a claimant to the crown appeared, who, diverting the public attention from the young princes who were supposed to have been smothered, or otherwise disposed of by Richard III., turned it on the young Earl of Warwick, the son of the Duke of Clarence, said by report to have contrived his escape from the Tower, where he had been confined ever since the accession of Henry VII. to the throne. The history of this wild and seemingly insane conspiracy is perhaps one of the most extraordinary records of barefaced fraud that was ever conceived, or attempted to be executed, the real Earl of Warwick being at that time not only alive, but in safe custody of the king, and his person well known to all the nobility, and many of the people. The agent selected to represent the young earl was a youth of fifteen years of age, called Lambert Simnel, the son of a baker, who, suborned and instructed by a wily priest of Oxford, called Richard Simon, and possessing a handsome person, and superior manners and understanding, found little difficulty in creating a sensation, and raising partisans. He was first carried to Ireland, his tutor, Simon, considering that place the most favourable for the enterprise; there, throwing himself at the feet of the Earl of Kildare, the deputy, he claimed his protection as the unfortu nate Warwick, and acted his part with so much skill, that the generous and credulous Irishman, not suspecting so bold an imposture, gave credence to him, and after. consulting some of his friends as weak as himself, it was determined to receive Simnel as a genuine Plantagenet, He was lodged in the castle of Dublin, a diadem taken from a statue of the Virgin was placed on his head, and he was publicly proclaimed Edward VI., King of England, and Lord of Ireland. The example set by the capital was followed by the whole island, and not a sword was anywhere drawn in Henry's quarrel. Simnel shortly afterwards having mustered an army of his Irish friends, among whom were the Earls of Lincoln and Kildare, and Lord Lovell, and some German mercenaries, determined to invade England. He landed at Fondrey, in Lancashire; continuing his march he met the king at Stoke, near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, where an obstinate battle was fought, and Simnel and his tutor were taken prisoners. Simon being a priest was not tried at law, and only committed to safe custody. Simnel was too contemptible to be an object of either apprehension or resentment to Henry; he was pardoned, and made a scullion in the king's kitchen, which very dignified office, for one who had worn a crown and claimed to be sovereign of
England, he continued to fulfil until he was advanced to the rank of falconer.-Kings of Eng.
The Two Rebellious Johns.
19. His taxation of the people, on pretence of war with France, involved at one time a very dangerous insurrection, headed by Sir John Egremont and a common man, John à Chambre; but it was subdued by the royal forces under the command of the Earl of Surrey. The knighted John escaped to the Duchess of Burgundy, who was ever ready to receive any one who gave the king trouble; and the plain John was hanged at York, in the midst of a number of his men, but on a much higher gibbet, as being a greater traitor. Hung high or hung low, however, hanging is much the same to the person hung.-A Child's Hist. of Eng., by Charles Dickens.
20. The Yorkists now pretended they had found the Duke of York, the little prince who had been in reality murdered in the Tower with Edward V.-Darton's School Hist. of Eng.
21. The person chosen to sustain this part was one Osbeck, 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. The Duchess of Burgundy found this youth entirely suited to her purposes; and her lessons, instructing him to personate the Duke of York, were easily learned and strongly retained by a youth of very quick apprehension. In short, his graceful air, his courtly address, his easy manner, and elegant conversation, were capable of imposing upon all but such as were conscious of the imposture.-Pinnock's Goldsmith.
22. Another pretended Earl of Warwick next arose, one Ralph Wulford, or Wilford, the son of a shoemaker, whose attempt, however, was immediately nipped in the bud by his apprehension and execution, in March, 1499.--Penny Cyc.
Proceedings and Fate of Warbeck.
23. His first attempt was upon the coast of Kent; being here repulsed and many of his followers taken prisoners, he retired to Scotland. Here he was so well received, and his title so firmly believed, that the Scottish king gave him in marriage his niece, the Lady Katherine Gordon, Supported by the Scots, he invaded England, having first dispersed a manifesto, setting forth his pretensions, and calling upon his loving subjects to expel the usurper, whose oppressions and rapacity rendered him
justly odious to all men. The licence and disorder of the Scots struck terror into the English; and Perkin, to support his pretensions to royal birth, feigned great compassion for his plundered subjects, and remonstrated with his august ally against the excesses of the Scottish army.
After experiencing a variety of fortune, he was at length taken prisoner, and conducted in mock triumph through London. His life was granted him, but impatient of confinement, he broke from his keeper, and flying to the sanctuary of Shene, put himself into the hands of the prior of that monastery. The prior again prevailed upon the king to pardon this restless adventurer. But in order to reduce him to greater contempt, he was set in the stocks at Westminster and Cheapside, and compelled to read aloud to the people a real account of his origin and history. He was then confined in the Tower, but the same restless spirit accompanying him, he was detected in new plots and intrigues. Having by this new attempt rendered himself unworthy of mercy, he was arraigned, condemned, and soon after hanged at Tyburn.- Kings of England.
The Affection of Lady Catherine Gordon.
[Notes 20, 21.]
24. In the history of Perkin Warbeck, there is one, and only one circumstance which arrests the attention of the reader, and demands his sympathy. Though convinced of the imposture to which she had been made a party, his beautiful and high-born wife never forsook him, but continued to the last the boundless affection with which she seems to have regarded him on the day of their marriage.-Gleig.
[Notes 20, 21, 23.]
Person and Conversation of Henry VII.
25. He was tall, straight, and well shaped, though slender, of a grave aspect, and saturnine complexion, austere in his dress, and reserved in conversation, except when he had a favourite point to carry, and then he would fawn, flatter, and practise all the arts of insinuation.-Smollett.
26. Henry VII. bitterly persecuted the Wickliffites. priest who once argued with the monarch in favour of their doctrine, though he confessed his inability to cope with royal logic, was immediately committed to the flames.-Massingham.
The First Female Protestant Martyr.
27. All the highest and most influential offices in the state were in the hands of churchmen, and the management of ecclesiastical and civil affairs were under their control. Their power and authority were so great, that they were led to persecute those who adopted the opinions of Wiclif. In the year 1494, the first English female martyr, Jane
Boughton, suffered martyrdom for holding these opinions, and her death was followed by numerous others throughout the country.-Farr.
Poetry: England and Scotland.
28. The reigns of Edward IV., Richard III., and Henry VII., extending between the years 1461 and 1509, were barren of true poetry, though there was no lack of obscure versifiers. It is remarkable that this period produced in Scotland a race of genuine poets, who, in the words of Mr. Warton, "displayed a degree of sentiment and spirit, a command of phraseology, and a fertility of imagination, not to be found in any English poet since Chaucer and Lydgate."-Chambers' Cyc. Eng. Lit.
29. The greatest change of all that happened at this time, was the increase of knowledge among the people. They now began to read for themselves; for books were no longer written at a great price with a pen, but printed much more clearly and cheaply. Before this, not one man in five hundred could spell through a psalm; for very few, even of the richest, could afford to buy a copy of the Bible, much less learn to read. But now that books began to be printed, things began to change for the better. Men and women began to read and think for themselves, and search in the Bible for the truth.—Johns.
Royal Extortion.-Empson and Dudley.
30. While the king sought by foreign alliances to add to the security of his family, he was equally solicitous to amass riches at the expense of his subjects. What they termed avarice, he denominated policy; observing, that to deprive his adversaries of their wealth, was to take from them the means of annoyance; but Henry's rapacity was not very scrupulous in its selection; it fed with equal appetite on his friends and his enemies. The men whom he employed as the agents of oppression, were Sir Richard Empson and Edmond Dudley, both lawyers of inventive heads and unfeeling hearts, who despoiled the subject to fill the king's coffers, and despoiled the king to enrich themselves. By the arts of these men (who revived long dormant statutes, brought false accusations, and condemned their victims to imprisonment or death, which illegal punishments they afterwards commuted to a heavy fine), every class of subjects was harassed and impoverished, while a constant stream of wealth passed through the hands of Empson and Dudley, of which part only was suffered to reach the treasury, the remainder they diverted into their own coffers.-Lingard.
Henry's Visit to Henningham Castle.
31. If we may credit a story related by Bacon, Henry was not less adroit, or less unfeeling than his two ministers. Of the partisans of the house of Lancaster there was no one whose exertions or sacrifices had been greater than those of the Earl of Oxford. That nobleman, on one occasion, had entertained the king at his castle at Henningham, and when Henry was ready to depart, a number of servants and retainers in the earl's livery were drawn up in two lines to do honour to the sovereign. "My lord," said the king, "I have heard much of your hospitality, but I see it is greater than the speech. These handsome gentlemen and yeoman that I see on each side of me are surely your menial servants ?" The earl replied with a smile, "That, may it please your grace, were not for mine ease. They are most of them mine retainers, come to do me service at a time like this, and chiefly to see your grace." Henry affected to start, and returned, "By my faith, my lord, I thank you for your good cheer, but I cannot endure to have my laws broken in my sight. My attorney must speak with you." He alluded to the statute against retainers, which had been passed in his first parliament; and the earl, for his misplaced generosity, was condemned to pay a fine of ten thousand pounds; an almost incredible sum, if we consider the relative value of money at that period. It is said that Henry, at his death, left 1,800,000l. sterling in gold and silver, about three millions of our present money.-Charles Selby (Events to be Remembered).
32. Maps and sea charts were first brought into England by Bartholomew Columbus, who came here to make proposals to the king respecting the projected voyage of his brother Christopher, his object being to obtain ships and money, in return for which, king Henry was to be sovereign of all the countries which Columbus might discover. Henry was willing to accede to these terms, but before Bartholomew could get back to Spain, his brother Christopher had sailed in the service of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the Spanish became masters of the New World.-Corner.
Poyning's Law in Ireland.
33. During the wars of the roses, the great Anglo-Irish families had generally supported the house of York; but as might be expected, where the chieftains were so powerful, and the laws so weak, their wars were conducted more on their own account than on that of any claimant of the English crown. After the accession of Henry, many of these restless chieftains were distinguished by their support of the impostor, Lambert Symnel. To attach them more firmly to the English