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N the preceding Book I have set forth what Richard did after the death of Edward, the defection of the nobles, and also his death. It is now convenient for me to relate the sequel. Having gained control, right from the beginning Henry made up his mind that sedition was to be quashed. Before leaving Leicester, he sent Robert Willing into Yorkshire to fetch Edward Earl of Warwick, the fifteen year-old son of George Duke of Clarence, whom Richard had been holding in the castle of Sheriff Hutton. It was indeed not without cause that Henry feared that some very bold fellows might harm him by means of this boy, since, having been vexed by evils ever since coming to manhood, he hoped for nothing more than to live in peace. Traveling there, Robert took the boy, handed over by the castle governor, and brought him to London, where the poor lad, born for misfortune, was immediately imprisoned. In the same castle was the maiden Elizabeth, Edward’s eldest daughter, whom Richard had been reserving as a bride for himself, as I have shown above, and yet the girl was so far removed from finding this agreeable that she greatly loathed and abominated him. What shall we say about the fact that the entire populace greatly blamed not only Richard for this most importunate lust, but also his Privy Council for endorsing the man’s criminal plan? And yet God aided the maiden’s chaste mind and defended her from this, and within a short while she returned to her mother at London, escorted by many men and matrons. Meanwhile Henry began to make his way towards London, with the country folk everywhere rejoicing, congratulating, and hailing him as king. And when he drew close to the city, Lord Mayor Thomas Hill, Sheriffs Thomas Bretain and Richard Chester, together with all the aldermen and the entire city most dutifully came to greet him, and not only did each and every man offer his greetings, but everybody desired to clasp the victorious hands of the approaching men who had killed the tyrant, as one man offered his congratulations, another gave his thanks that by their doing the republic was safe, the authors of those evils having been done away with. And so rejoicing was celebrated by all orders of society, and in all the saints’ churches throughout the city God was honored with thanksgiving for several days. But Edward’s friends were particularly happy because in their minds they perceived that the opposite faction was doomed to destruction. Following these things, a parliament was summoned in the traditional manner and day appointed for Henry to wed the girl Elizabeth, something which increased the joy of the Peerage and gained Henry great popularity with the Commons, since it was assured that the day had dawned upon which the the fount and seedbed of factions had been exhausted. Afterwards, when a parliament had been convened at Westminster on October 31, by the bidding of Peerage and Commons Henry was crowned king, under the name of Henry VII. This was in the year of our salvation 1485. Thus Henry gained the throne, as had been preordained by God’s will and plan, since, as I have recalled earlier, 797 years previously Cadwallader had forecast that his stock would reign once more. Men’s minds had already been gripped by the belief that Henry had been brought to the throne by this prophecy, and Henry VI had also predicted it.
2. And so Henry, duly crowned, thought he should imitate the ancient Athenian custom (as it is said to have been) of declaring an amnesty for all deeds and injuries committed. Thus, after the state of the realm had been established by Lords and Commons in that parliament, it was his pleasure, by public edict, to spare all men who had been loyal to Henry VI and had sworn him their fealty, and to restore to them their goods; and whatever men did not come forward within forty days after the power of obtaining this pardon had been granted were to be accounted public enemies. Whereby it came to pass that many men who had been maintaining themselves in asylum returned to their senses, forgetful of partisan enthusiams. Then consideration was had for his friends, of whom some were enhanced in rank, and others in wealth, according to their individual merits. Among these, Henry’s uncle Jasper was created Duke of Bedford, Thomas Stanley Earl of Derby, and Giles Dabney and Robert Willoughby were made Lords. Likewise Edward, eldest son of Henry Duke of Buckingham, was restored to his father’s title and holdings, which King Richard had confiscated along with the goods of the other exiles. In that parliament, finally, certain decrees of Richard and the Londoners were nullified, and laws passed which appeared to be opportune and useful for the realm. With these public affairs set in order and the parliament dismissed, Henry, thinking that even absent men should be remembered, arranged for Thomas Marquis of Dorchester and John Bourchier, who he had left behind at Paris as bondsmen for money he had borrowed, and also John Bishop of Ely, then in Flanders, to be brought home. He likewise appointed a Privy Council by whose advise all things might be governed properly and justly, and by which causes could be settled without the bitterness of the courtroom. He initially chose for this council men famed for their singular prudence, faith and gravity: Earl of John Oxford, Duke Jasper of Bedford, Thomas Stanley Earl of Derby, his son George Lord Strange, his brother William (his First Gentleman of the Bedchamber), Robert Lord Brook (his Lord Chamberlain or Steward), Reginald Bray, John Morton, Bishop of Ely, Richard Fox, John Dynam (whom he subsequently created Lord Treasurer of England), Giles Dabney, Richard Tildford, John Cheney, Richard Tunstall, Richard Edgecombe, Thomas Lovell, Edward Poynyng. And later he selected other men of wisdom as councilors, and constantly consult them about how to transact business. In their number were the Welshman Richard Thomas, Morgan Kidwell, Thomas Gray Marquis of Dorchester, a good, prudent, man, George Talbot Earl of Shropshire, a noble man, wise, and moderate in all the departments of life, John Risley, Earl Thomas of Ormond, an Irishman, Henry Marney, William Say, a leading member of his knightly order, William Ody, Gilbert Talbot, William Udall, Thomas Troys, Richard Nanfant (a sometime Governor of Calais), Robert Point, James Hubert, Charles Somerset, a ready and noble gentleman, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, a man of consummate prudence, gravity, and steadiness, Henry Bourchier Earl of Essex, endowed with singular goodness, John Fiennes, Peter Edgecombe, Hugh Conway, Thomas Tyrell, Henry Wyatt, Robert Throckmorton, Thomas Brandon, a doughty and experienced gentleman, John Wingfield, distinguished for his nobility and virtue, Edmund Dudley, Edward Belknap, Richard Hemson, and many others of good counsel. To consolidate the present state of affairs, it remained that Henry should marry Edward’s daughter Elizabeth, in accordance with his promise, and so he did. After this it appeared as if the people of England had achieved tranquility, because Lancaster and York, those two families most preeminent for wealth and nobility, had at last combined into a single house from which an undoubted royal child was destined to be produced, who in later years would gain the throne. Although everything seemed safe and sound after these these things had been done, nevertheless Henry, schooled by his past misfortunes, thought he must still be fearful of his enemies’ schemes, because mortals who had been brought up from the cradles steeped in factional hatred could not easily rid their systems of this poison. Therefore he was the first of all the Kings of England to have a bodyguard, a feature he is said to have acquired from the sovereigns of France. But since arms abroad sometimes fail to ward off peril unless there is counsel at home, he gathered to himself the most grave and wise men, particularly those who from the outset had been his allies, helpers, and partners, being a man who believed all his cares should be concentrated on governing the kingdom aright, mindful that was why he was called to the throne by the English people. He therefore thought it was of great importance to take care that the realm might flourish once more in its laws, institutions and manners, and that hopes for its further improvement would be reborn for all men. Such was the foundation for his government that Henry laid from the outset.
3. In the same year a novel kind of disease spread throughout the realm, introduced at the time of Henry’s first entry into the island. This was a deadly plague and one which, as it is agreed, no previous age had suffered. For a deadly sweating suddenly attacked the body, and at the same time an ache tortured the overheated head and stomach. At first some victims of this disease, unable to bear the heat, cast off their coverlets if they were abed, or stripped of their clothing if they were dressed. Other, parched, drank cold water, while yet others, who were able to tolerate the heat and the stench (for the sweat very much stank), piled on the blankets to summon the sweat, yet everybody died as soon as they started to perspire, or not much later, with the result that scarcely one percent of the sick survived. Meanwhile, no art or science of the physicians was of any use, since the novelty of the disease baffled their skill. But when the sweat disappeared after twenty-four hours (for such was the time the power of the disease lasted), some regained their strength. And yet they were not so completely cured that they did not fall into the disease again and again, of which many died. But in the end this thing showed its own remedy. For those who had had the sweat before and fell ill again observed the things which helped them in their previous cure, and, using these things as a treatment, they were always adding something useful for a cure. And likewise those who suffered the same kind of disease yet again relied on their observation of the things by which they had regained their strength, and so they easily tolerated the attack of that sweating. Thanks to which things, it came about that, after a great loss of life, a very useful remedy was discovered for every patient, which was as follows. If somebody should be overcome by the sweat during the day, he should immediately go to bed with his clothes on. But if at night, while he is in bed, then he should lie still and not move from there until twenty-four hours have passed. And in the meantime he should cover himself with blankets, not to the point that the sweating is provoked, but so that perspiration will gently flow of its own volition. He must take no food if he can bear such a long fast, nor should he drink more than he is accustomed to consuming, warmed, in a moderate amount only sufficient to quench his thirst. During this cure he should take especial care not to stick his foot or hand out from under the blankets to cool them, to do so is fatal. This remedy was devised for the new sweat, which at the time invaded England alone, and afterwards often greatly afflicted it. So the first year of Henry’s reign was marked by such a plague, which at the time created a popular opinion that the king’s reign was destined to be a harsh one. But rather, if such vain superstition can reveal any truth, it portended that throughout his life Henry was destined never to draw a peaceful or idle breath, since right from the start he began to be vexed by the seditions of his subjects, so much so that, because of these, he was never permitted to be relaxed or carefree. I return to my subject.
4. After Henry had settled affairs to his satisfaction at London and saw they were in good condition, he decided to visit the remaining parts of this realm, so he might castigate the minds of men contaminated by the plague of factions, and especially so he might reduce to obedience Yorkshire, which had particularly supported the opposing factions. Therefore at the first possible moment he set out for York, and, because it was the season of Easter, for that reason he turned aside at Lincoln. While he tarried there he was informed that Francis Lord Lovell together with Humfrey Stafford had quitted the asylum at Colchester, but no man knew for sure where they had betaken themselves. For this reason thinking it less important to attend to, he hastened on to York, as planned. And as soon as he arrived there a rumor flying throughout the city proclaimed that Francis was at hand with quite large forces and was attacking the city with hostile arms, and that in Glocestershire Humphrey, together with his brother Thomas, had been stirring up sedition among the rural multitude, and that between them they had parceled out the responsibility of who should occupy the city gates, who the walls, and who the streets. The king was unmoved by this first report, since it was uncertain, but when he learned by a letter from his supporters that what rumor had previously announced was indeed true, he was affected by great fear since he had no army, no weaponry with which to arm his followers, and no place where he could enlist soldiers at that time, in a city which was hostile, in whose mind the memory of Richard’s name remained fresh. But since this development called for diligence, lest time be given his adversaries for increasing their forces, he commanded Duke Jasper of Bedford to go against the enemies with three thousand lightly-armed men, a goodly part wearing leather breastplates, and advised him of his own plans. In the meantime he himself gathered what soldiers he could. Bedford, having setting out immediately with an unruly army, when he had approached the enemy encampment and briefly consulted with his officers how he could suppress their endeavors without a battle, immediately ordered his heralds to offer impunity to all who had thrown down their weapons. And this was a thing of great importance. For Francis, either not trusting in himself or terrified, furtively absconded from his men in the night. And all of them, perceiving the flight of their general, without delay cast themselves at Bedford’s feet, begged for pardon, and surrendered themselves to the Crown. Thus this enemy assault against the king, which could have led to great slaughter, was settled by Bedford’s timely plan, and Francis, more fearful of danger than avid for glory, ran non-stop into the country of Lancaster, without having attempted a battle, and came to Sir Thomas Broughton, a man of great authority in those parts, with whom he remained hidden for several months. And Humphrey, thrown into a panic by Francis’ flight, abandoned his men for that asylum they call Colnam, about two miles away from Abingdon But, since that asylum was no refuge for those who had acted against the royal authority, Humphrey was dragged forth and beheaded. But Thomas, who had been together with his brother, was pardoned because he did not join in that war of his own volition, but at the insistence of his brother. With this upheaval, which had filled his mind with great fear, put down, and the state of Yorkshire carefully settled, he went back to London and after a few days left for Winchester, where his wife Queen Elizabeth had given birth to a son whom he named Arthur, and a short while thereafter returned to London.
5. Meanwhile a greater commotion had its origin in a trifling fiction, which for the artfulness of the thing deserved to be regarded as a daring crime, but was unremarkable when you consider the times. For there already existed a large number of men who were born or reared amidst the seditions I have recorded in my previous Books, who were unable either to remain under arms or at peace for a long time, for they partly sat at home nursing evil thoughts, partly desiring that, by means of the license of wars all things be made their prey, and they burned to avenge partisan injuries. These men wished neither the rules of peace or war to apply, and so, being rogues, were readily driven to wrongdoing either by hatred or hope of profit. Nor were there wanting leaders and authors of rioting and sedition. Among whom was Richard Simons, a base-born priest to whose heart cheats and swindles were dear from the outset, but otherwise not unlearned. So he selected as his disciple Lambert Simnel, a boy not entirely of bad character, and, using him, he devised a swindle of this kind. It entered the head of this traitorous gentleman, both wicked and felonious, who had already been bribed by the leaders of the opposing faction, to make his Lambert king and himself primate of England. Substance for his plan was supplied by a popular rumor that Edward’s sons survived and had secretly fled somewhere, and that Edward Earl of Warwick, the son of the Duke of Clarence, had either been murdered, or soon would be. These rumors, although quite false, encouraged Richard Simons, so that he fancied the time would come when Lambert could plausibly assume the guise of one of those royal boys and claim the kingdom, being assured that he would not lack helping hands, since most of the hatreds arising from factions are everlasting (for he measured others according to his own standard). And so, led by this hope, he took his Lambert to Oxford, where he studied letters and with wonderful zeal began to acquire royal manners, the goodly arts, and to memorize the royal pedigree, so that, when the need should arise, the common people might admire the boy’s character and more readily believe this lie. Not much later a rumor went abroad that Earl Edward of Warwick had died in prison. When Simons learned this, thinking the time had come for his intended crime, he changed the lad’s name and called him Edward, the name of the Duke of Clarence’s son, who was of the same age, so that neither was older than the other, and immediately took him and crossed over to Ireland. There he secretly met with some of the Irish peerage whom he had learned by rumor to be disaffected towards Henry, and when they had taken an oath of secrecy he told them that he had saved from death the Duke of Clarence’s son and had brought him to that land, which he heard had always uniquely loved King Edward’s name and stock. This matter gained their ready credence and was then revealed to others, and was taken as Gospel truth to the point that Thomas Fitzgerald, the island’s Chancellor, was especially deceived by this show of truth and offered the boy his hospitality, as if he were born of the royal blood, and began to help him with all his might. For first, having called together his dependents, he told them about the boy’s arrival and how the throne of England was his by right, since he was the sole surviving male member of his race. And so he exhorted them that they should be willing to follow him, both for his own sake and that of the boy’s, and that each man ought to strive to restore him to his ancestral kingdom. Then he shared the news with the remaining Peers, and when they had learned of his plan, they showed themselves considerably more obedient to him and promised their aid. In this way the report quickly spread to the other towns of Ireland, which immediately pledged their loyalty to the boy, vying with each other to proclaim him king, to much so that a very powerful movement was created and the lords decided that they should acquire more allies elsewhere. So they immediately sent chosen messengers into England, to those men whom when knew had been Richard’s followers, who were to beg, ask, and beseech that these men remain in the faith and agree to help the young king with their resources. Likewise they sent other messengers into Flanders, to Margaret, Edward’s sister, who was married to Duke Charles of Burgundy, also asking for help. For Charles, having gotten no children from Margaret, had left behind him a single daughter from a former wife, named Maria, who had been married by Maximilian, the son of the Emperor Frederick, on whom he had fathered two children, Philip and Margaret. Charles’ second wife Maria (who did not survive long after) embraced them with maternal love and reared, accepted, and cherished them with wonderful affection, earnestly devoting her attention to domestic affairs, and by performing these duties she gained great prestige among the Flemish. And so this Margaret, although she knew full well that her House of York had been quite cast down by her brother Richard, nevertheless had not slaked the hatreds by which nearly all of the progeny of Henry VI had been destroyed, and paid no heed to the affinity by which in the end, as I have shown above, the remaining blood of the one family was mixed forever with that of the other. So she bore a grudge against King Henry, being at the same time enflamed with wrath, and had not ceased trying all means whereby she might ruin the man, regarding him as the head of the other family, as if wishing by his blood to requite the downfall of her own house. Such is the great power of civil strife that it sometimes turns the wisest of men from the way of righteousness and makes them rash. Therefore the woman, having learned of this new faction that had suddenly arisen against Henry, although she regarded the business as fraudulent (as it was), and yet of no small importance, she not only promised the messengers she would give her aid, but also would assist in recruiting greater support for the confederates in this conspiracy.
6. When these things were reported to Henry in England, he was greatly disturbed (as was only reasonable) that by the fraud of a single mean, wicked fellow such a war was being prepared against him. But, being a knowledgeable, prudent man, he adjudged this would be the cruelest kind of war if it came to the battlefield, which is often the arena of many crimes, and therefore he decided, first of all, to try if without resort to arms (for their outcome is always uncertain) he could recall his subjects to sanity before this evil became too widespread throughout England. Therefore, calling a parliament of his lords to a Carthusian monastery near the royal manor which he himself later named Richmond, he earnestly sought a plan whereby the storm of the moment could be avoided. From their first meeting, it struck everybody as useful if, before anything else was done, amnesty for prior offenses be offered to all men who would henceforth remain loyalty. For, were this not to be offered, in the meantime Sir Thomas Broughton, who had long harbored Francis Lovell and was with him now, and his friends, despairing of pardon at such a difficult and perilous juncture, would openly revolt. For although these gentleman were deemed to be associated with the plotters in that conspiracy, since there was no sure evidence of this, for the moment it did not appear advantageous to take any harsher measures against them, partly lest the upheaval be increased, and partly so that if henceforth they strayed from their dutifulness, they could justly be held responsible. And so, by an edict published throughout England, a general pardon was granted even to those condemned of capital crimes, and the punishment was remitted. Next, after lengthy deliberation, some advisors’ opinion inclined to producing the Duke of Clarence’s son to be shown to the people, so the false opinion that the boy was in Ireland might be erased from men’s minds. Many other decrees were promulgated pertinent to the condition of the realm. Among other things, Elizabeth, the one-time consort of King Edward, was mulcted of all her possessions because she had entrusted herself and her daughters to King Richard, contrary to what she had promised at the beginning of the conspiracy against Richard, and undertaken for those lords who, turning their backs on all the fortune they had in England, had, chiefly at her behest and for her sake, crossed the sea to Henry in Brittany, and had extracted from him an oath binding him to marry her eldest daughter, and yet she herself had not stood by this agreement, rendering it void and consigning those lords who had followed Henry to perpetual exile. This assuredly was a grave offence, but its outcome had seemed much less in need of legal reprisal, since, thanks to it, King Richard dared pile crime on crime and had neglected religion in seeking marriage with his niece, and for this reason had made God all the more angry at him, so that his downfall ensued. From this we may assuredly learn that the wicked are not impelled by human counsel but by the will of God, just as if they were voluntarily hastening to their deserved ruin. And so in her light-mindedness the queen earned herself great unpopularity, and, after achieving this, she henceforth led a wretched life. Our affairs are always as inconstant as we ourselves are. But fortune could not diminish one of her accomplishments. During Edward’s reign, at an excellent place in Cambridge she founded a college for young students of the best disciplines and arts and gave it an endowment for their living. This is called Queen’s College, and it is assuredly worthy of that name, because at all times it abounds in right learned men, educated by their assiduous study. But let me return to my subject.
7. Dismissing the parliament, the king came to London, and on the following Sunday he commanded that Edward, son to the Duke of Clarence, be brought out the Tower and led through the middle of the city to St. Paul’s cathedral. This young man showing himself to everybody, as he had been instructed, and participated in a thanksgiving and the the rest of the rites, and at same time had conversation with many lords and particularly with those thought to be participants in the conspiracy, so that they might more readily understand that the Irish were foolishly making an uprising because of a vain thing. But this medicine did nothing to cure their diseased minds. For Earl ofJohn Lincoln, the son of John Pole, Duke of Suffolk and King Edward’s sister Elizabeth, thought that this opportunity for rebellion was in no wise to be ignored, and that the Irish enterprises were to be supported by all means, less they come to naught. Indeed this man, possessed with a contentious, ill-advised character, having long ago been poisoned with the venom of civil hatreds, could not bring his mind to witness calmly Henry, a man of the opposing faction, on the throne. And so he took counsel with Thomas Broughton and a number of other associates and decided to cross over to his maternal aunt Margaret and, relying on her aid, join himself to the authors of this new sedition. And so, as soon as the king had dismissed the gathering of lords, the earl came secretly to Margaret in Flanders, where some days previously Francis Lovell had betaken himself. Here, in accordance with his feeling and desire, each man spoke his mind regarding what things were to be done, and after a lengthy debate the upshot was that the earl, together with Francis, should hasten to Ireland and ensure that their spurious nephew Lambert would be treated with royal honor, and, together with the new king, bring Irish auxiliaries into England, call their friends to arms from all quarters, wage war against Henry and, if the thing turned out happily, then to reduce Lambert in rank, first free from prison their genuine nephew Edward Earl of Warwick, and then, by the authority of their leading friends, crown him king. Meanwhile King Henry, who hoped that the lords, after seeing the duke’s son Edward, would grow quiet (for he did not imagine there was anyone so depraved as to invent anything about him, nor so crazy as to believe it), only strove to quell the boldness of the Irishmen. Then he suddenly learned of the flight of the Earl of Lincoln, and for this reason was very disturbed in his mind and decided that it was now time to prosecute and avenge the insults of his enemies, which he realized he could by no means avoid. Therefore he sent captains of war in all directions with orders to prepare and assemble an army, so that with the entire multitude they might make an impression on that place where he decided his enemies would come. In the meantime he himself, fearing lest more men cross over to the earl in Flanders, began to defend the entire eastern coast with garrisons, guardians and watchmen, and now he had come to the Abbey of St. Edmunds when he was given to understand that Marquis Thomas was approaching in order to purge himself, And he sent Earl John of Oxford to meet him and escort him from the road to the Tower of London, so that, if he were a friend (as in truth he was) he would scarcely take amiss this small indignity for the sake of his own safety; or, if he were an enemy, lest he work harm. When this had been done he sought out Norwich and, having spent Christmas Day there, he proceeded to Walsingham and entered the church of St. Mary, because in that part of the world she is revered as most holy because of the miracles she works. There he prayed that with divine and the guidance of the Virgin Mary he be permitted to guard against the deceits of his enemies, defend himself and his nature from the impending peril, and cleanse its vicious parts. Having thus prayed, he quickly returned to London by way of Cambridge.
8. In the interim John Earl of Lincoln and Francis Lovell, having received from Margaret an army of about 2,000 Germans under the command of Martin Schwartz, a high-born German outstanding for his skill in war, crossed over into Italy and at Dublin they treated the boy Lambert just as if he were born of the royal blood and deserving of being crowned king in the traditional way. After this, having scraped together a multitude of impoverished and all but unarmed Irishmen, whose general was Thomas Fitzgerald, they sailed to England with the new king and, having made the effort, came to land not far from Lancaster. They were relying on the assistance of Thomas Broughton, the leading conspirator. But King Henry, who was not slothful in his own cause and who had anticipated this which happened, had a little previously dispatched some squadrons of cavalry both to keep watch for his adversaries’ arrival and also to arrest certain men come from Ireland so he might learn his enemies’ plans. He himself, having assembled forces, over which he placed Jasper Duke of Bedford and John Earl of Oxford, went to Coventry, and had scarcely arrived there when the cavalrymen, having done their duty, reported that the earl with his scratch army and the new king had landed on the Lancashire cast. Understanding this, with his Privy Council he discussed the possibility of going to meet them, since this scarcely unimportant business appeared to demand circumspection as well as speed. They unanimously gave their approval that he himself should confront his adversaries as they advanced, whatever direction they took, lest they be granted the time to enlarge their army. Thus having been decided, the king went to Nottingham and to a nearby forest called Banrys, where he pitched camp. Not long after George Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury joined him with a large company of armed men, together with George Lord Strange and John Cheney, commanders of great military glory, together with a number of other skilled men at arms. For out of the nearby counties Henry had summoned to himself the noblest and stoutest men and also commanded those able to bear arms to come to his aid, as ready as could be, whose captains and commanders were Ralph Longford, John Montgomery, Henry Vernon of Peck, Ralph Shirley, Godfrey Folgehan, Thomas Grisley, Edward Sutton, Humfrey Stanley, a second Humfrey Stanley, William Hugton, William Merings, Edward Stanhope, Gervase Clifton, Brian Stapleton, Henry Willoughby, William Pierpont, John Babington, William Bedill, Robert Brundell, John Markham, William Merbury, Edward Abrough, William Tirwytt, Johan Husey, Robert Sheffield, William Newport, Roger Ormeston, Thomas Tempesta, William Kynvett, Henry Willoughby, Edward Lord Hastings, John Digby, Simon Digby of Harington, Richard Sacheverell, John Villiers, Edward Fielding, Thomas Pultney, Nicolas Vaux, Thomas Green, Nicholas Griffen, Edmund Lucy, Edward Belknap, Robert Throckmorton, George Gray of Ruthyn, Guy Wolston, Thomas Finders, David Philipps, Thomas Cheney, Robert Cotton, John St. John, John Mordant, Thomas Terell, John Rainsford, Robert Payton, Robert Daniel, Henry Marney, and Edmund Armidell. From the most distant regions came running other leading men and captains, among whom were George Ogle, Ralph Nevill, Richard Latimer, William Bulmer, John Langford, William Norris, John Nevill of Thortonbridge, and John Williams. Thus hour by hour the royal army was wonderfully increased.
9. Meanwhile, having entered into Yorkshire with his allies, the Earl of Lincoln progressed slowly, without doing any harm to the inhabitants since he hoped the people would come flocking to him. But when he saw few men following him and that he had no reason for turning back, he nevertheless decided to try the fortune of war, knowing that Mars is a god common to all, and mindful that two years previously Henry, with a small band of fighters, had conquered King Richard, who had great forces with him. And so, trusting in his strength, he began a march from Yorkshire towards Newark, so that there, his forces supplemented, he might head straight for the king, whom he had learned was coming to meet him and was scarce two days’ distance away. But before he arrived there, Henry (to whom the earl’s doings were at no hour unknown), arrived at Newark to meet the approaching enemy quicker than anybody expected, on the eve of the battle. And having lingered there a little while, he continued for three miles, and there he pitched camp and spent the night. But the earl, learning of the king’s arrival, was unafraid and continued his march, and on that same day came to a village called Stoke, near his enemies’ encampment, and there he made camp. On the following day the king formed all his forces into a triple battle-line, marched to Stoke, and came to a stop near the earl’s camp, where he offered him the opportunity for a fight on level ground. Given this opportunity, the earl brought out his forces, gave his men the signal, and joined battle. Both sides fought very stoutly and fiercely, nor did the Germans in the forefront, rough men and exercised in arms, yield to the English, just as not many men excelled their captain Martin Schwartz in power of mind and body. On the other hand the Irish, although they conducted themselves with great courage, yet since in accordance with their national custom they fought with bodies unprotected by any armor, they fell more than anybody else, and their slaughter was a great source of fear to the others. The battle was fought on equal terms for more than three hours, when at length the king’s first battle-line, by far the strongest and best manned, which alone had joined and continued the fight, made such a vigorous attack on the enemy that first it killed the opposing captains, then turned all the rest to rout, and in the flight these men were killed or captured. But when the battle was finished, then it was more evident how much courage had existed in the enemy army. For their leaders John Earl of Lincoln, Francis Lovell, Thomas Broughton, Martin Schwartz and Thomas Fitzgerald, the commander of the Irish, all died at the posts they had occupied while fighting when alive. About 4,000 men were killed, and among these the five leaders I have named. The king lost less than half as many of his men, who had launched the first attack. Young Lambert the pretender was taken, together with his tutor Richard, but the lives of the both of them were spared, because the former was innocent and, thanks to his youth, had done no wrong, as being incapable of doing anything in his own right, and the latter was a priest. And yet, so that he might learn (as they say) that a rock hangs over the head of the man who has cast it aloft, he was remanded to perpetual darkness and chains. Lambert is still alive, made a falconer by the king after he he had turned the spit for a while in the royal kitchen and performed other base tasks. And so Margaret’s first attempt came to nothing, and as soon as she learned this from a rumor carried into Flanders, she began to be miserably afflicted, to mourn, grieve, and at the same time to scheme how she might hatch some more serious trouble for King Henry, as I shall show below in a convenient place.
10. After this momentous matter was settled without great commotion, this supreme danger overcome by a brief disturbance, this civil war by a happy outcome, at one stroke the king was freed from a double fear, for the present and for the future. For when he had perceived that his adversaries, whom he himself greatly surpassed in number of soldiers and in resources, was bearing arms against him with such steady courage and at the end had shown no hesitation in joining battle, he had the suspicion that they had more accomplices in their scheme, who would come to their aid at an opportune time and place. And so when he saw the enemy’s van manifestly failing in the battle, he proclaimed that no man should kill Earl John of Lincoln, so that by means of that man the entire source of the conspiracy could be revealed. But they say that Henry’s soldiers declined to spare him, fearing (as would perhaps have come to pass) that the sparing of a single life would destroy the lives of many. This domestic war occurred in the year of human salvation 1488, the third of Henry’s reign, a year also marked by the death of Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, a man most distinguished for his learning and character. In his place was substituted John Morton, Bishop of Ely, a prelate of equal virtue, whom Pope Alexander VI created a Cardinal, and Henry appointed Lord Chancellor of England, and he was the sixty-fourth Archbishop of Canterbury. After this, the spoils of the dead gathered up and their bodies given to burial, the king traveled to Lincoln, and while he was there he arranged for a three-day thanksgiving to be celebrated, and he immediately sent his battle-standard to the church at Walsingham, to be dedicated to God as a trophy and monument to the victory he had gained with the help of the divine Virgin. Then he visited punishment on some captives, and after a few days sought out York, traveling all over the shire in which his adversaries had gathered an army against himself, and he strove to chastise it severely, casting into chains many man whom he found to be tainted with any guilt. Doing these things, he came to Newcastle, and spent a great part of the summer in that region. Then at length he sent Richard Fox, recently created Bishop of Exeter, together with Sir Richard Edgecombe as ambassadors to King James in Scotland. The aim of their mission was to forge a treaty and truce with the King of Scotland. For Henry set great store on maintaining peace and friendship with his neighboring kings, and especially with King James, in order that his English subjects, learning of this and therefore despairing of gaining sanctuary in nearby realms, could more readily be kept in their loyalty. The ambassadors were received very kindly and given a hearing by King James, who frankly admitted at the outset that, although he himself had the greatest liking for King Henry, the greatest good will and excellent loyalty, he could not say it was likewise with his subjects, who, being different in nature and disposition, could not readily enter into general consent with the English. Therefore, lest he offend them, he asked the ambassadors to be content with a seven-year truce, promising them that he would secretly maintain a continual peace with Henry, and intended in the future frequently to renew the truce for the same number of years. James acted thus because he knew that his name was hateful to a goodly portion of his people, which would approve of no deed of his. The ambassadors, having perceived James’ goodwill towards Henry, exercised their initiative in confirming the truce he had offered, and returning home reported their embassy to the king. And he, estimating that it was very greatly in his interest to have the Scottish king well-disposed towards himself, was wonderfully gladdened. But these things happened somewhat later.
11. Meanwhile, while Henry was on the road from Newcastle to London, ambassadors sent by King Charles of France met him at Leicester, who indicated that he had recovered some places previously held by King Maximilian, and that he was at war with Duke François of Britanny because he had given hospitality to some hostile French lords. The head of these was Duke Louis of Orleans, and in the name of their common association and guest-friendship he asked that Henry would either consent to assist him or to remain neutral and favor neither side. The king was fond of Charles because a little earlier he had gained the kingdom with his help, and yet, knowing the reason he had undertaken this war against the Bretons, he was not happy to hear this news. I mean that the French were waging war against the duke for no other reason than to enlarge their territories, since he was a helpless old man with no male children, so that they readily entered into hopes of occupying Brittany. And so they scarce unwillingly began the war, although they slyly dissimulated their motive. Perceiving this in his mind, Henry thought it by no means to his advantage for Britanny, a friend to the English people and often useful to it, to be occupied by the King of France, and so he decided that he should aid the duke when he saw his affairs to be endangered. And he was also inspired to do this by the paternal affection with which the duke had always embraced him, from his first arrival in Britanny. On the other hand, the fresh memory of the kindness he had received from Charles made him abhor the crime of ingratitude and urged him not to undertake anything against the French king for which he could be blamed for unkindness. Thus the matter itself was thorny, the king left no stone unturned in his deliberation and yet could find no expedient which satisfied him. But in the end he decided he should shape his plans according to the course of the war: if it should come about that the Breton, who had done him the greatest benefit, should be endangered, then he would openly come to his aid, defending him from injury by force of arms. But in the meantime, so as not to occur the dislike of either side, he replied to the ambassadors that he would strive that some kind of reconciliation might occur between the king and the duke, his common friends. Therefore, having dismissed Charles’ ambassadors, he immediately sent Christopher Urswick on a mission to Charles with the instructions that he should first congratulate Charles in his name for the victory gained over Maximilian. Then he should inform him that he had defeated his own adversaries, and finally that he was offering himself as a mediator between King Charles and the duke. And, should this be agreeable to Charles, then he should hasten to the duke and earnestly seek to arrange a reconciliation in his name. And when Henry announced his victory at London, this gladdened the townsmen, since they perceived that the dangers they had suspected were menacing their affairs were not removed, the disturbers of the peace having been overcome. And the king himself, thinking that the fires of his enemies’ hatred which had lately burned were now put out, could not help but rejoice, and so he showed himself most kindly and liberal towards all men who had risked their goods, their fortunes, their very selves in the shared perils, and not long after he freed Marquis Thomas and received him back into his former grace and favor, since his virtue and loyalty had been adequately demonstrated.
12. Meanwhile Christopher, departing for France with his instructions, was given a friendly reception by Charles, and after Henry’s instructions were announced, he agreed (as he feigned) that Henry should be a mediator of peace. This being seen, without delay Christopher crossed into Britanny and met with the duke on behalf of his sovereign and earnestly explained his instructions. And since as the result of a protracted illness François was not of sound mind, Duke Louis of Orléans was fetched, who, together with the other counselors, gave the ambassador an audience. And when this man learned from Henry’s ambassador that peace was afoot, which he did not think suited his purpose, he immediately responded that it was more suitable, in view of the old guest-friend relationship he had enjoyed with the Britons, for Henry to give aid to his close friend François, resisting his enemies’ steel, strength, and forces, than to seek for a pointless treaty of peace. And if Henry had no recollection of the benefits that had been conferred on him, he should nevertheless consider that Britanny served the English as a very strong rampart against the French, and if the French overcame this, his enemies would come much closer to his realm. At this juncture Orléans (a Frenchman) was compelled to say these things out of self-interest, since he was a traitor to his nation, knowing full well, and also aware that it had not escaped Henry’s attention, that it would scarcely be advantageous to the English if Britanny were to be gained by the French. But Christopher, receiving this response from the duke, who said that if Henry would act for the sake of a reconciliation, he would easily be content with reasonable conditions, first returned to Charles and remained with him for a few days while he reported what he had done with François concerning peace, then he returned to England. While these things were in hand, Charles harassed Nantes with a harsh siege, and the more he hastened this forward, the more earnestly he employed letters, messengers and urgings to press Henry about a peace treaty, complaining about the treacherous delay in completing the business. For he was afraid lest, because of Henry, he would not be permitted to enjoy the victory he had all but gained, since he suspected that any day now Hnery was going to send aid to the Bretons. For this reason he hastily sent Bernard D’Aubigney, an honorable knight, to him, requesting him to make an end to this controversy by any means at all. The king, who also desired this, preferring to make an end to the business with peace rather than by fighting, and not wishing to enter into a league of war against the French, gladly threw himself, as it were, anew into this peace negotiation, being confident it would succeed. And he immediately appointed three ambassadors, the abbot of the Benedictine monastery at Abingdon, a devout monk, Giovanni de Gigli, a citizen of Lucca and papal tax-collector, who was a legalist and endowed with a good character, and Sir Richard Tunstall, a man grave for his age and prudence, who went first to Charles, then François, for the sake of reconciling their friendship, and he gave them timely instructions for accomplishing this. But since at that time Giovanni de Gigli was suffering from the gout, Christopher Urswick was substituted in this place, and so the ambassadors set out for France. And when they had treated with Charles about framing a peace treaty, Richard and Christopher departed for the duke. Here they negotiated about the gist of the matter, but in vain, for the Breton consistently rejected all the ambassadors’ proposals, since he had an inkling that the French king was aiming at something other than the King of England imagined. And since this was the case, the ambassadors, their hopes of gaining a peace frustrated, returned to Charles and told him what they had done, and at the same time wrote letters to Henry, reporting everything.
13. While these things were transpiring, Edward Woodville, a stout and courageous man I have mentioned in my preceding Book, either to avoid the tedium of peace or moved by his love of the duke, earnestly beseeched King Henry that by his permission he might go to Britanny with some band of soldiers to aid his friends. And, lest the King of France could reproach Henry for this, he said he would go secretly with no supplies, which would give a show of unfeigned flight. The king, who hoped that a peace would be arranged by his ambassadors, was so far from indulging Edward’s ardor that he strictly forbade him to undertake any scheme of the kind, thinking it foreign to his dignity to offend Charles, to whom he hoped to ingratiate himself in a matter of little importance which he thought would do nothing to aid the Duke of Britanny. But Edward, when the king had forbidden him to do as he wished, decided to act without his knowledge, and quickly and secretly went to the Isle of Wight, of which he was lieutenant. And from there, having gathered a band of soldiers to the number of approximately four hundred, he crossed over to Britanny and joined with them against the French. Rumor of this, brought to Charles’ court, inspired no little anxiety in the English ambassadors, who were well aware that the national character of the French was quick to avenge insults, and so they were afraid the French would be unable to keep their hands off them. Yet international law prevailed, and at the same the truth protected them from harm. For while the ambassadors were in this state of fear and the French were suspecting that this was done by Henry deceitfully, behold, a messenger came to Charles from Henry himself, who desired to purge himself in the eyes of his friend, informing him of Edward’s expedition to Brittany, stating most truthfully that Woodville had departed with a trifling contingent, such as, obviously, neither befitted a king to send, nor could do Britanny much good. Although the French king did not put much credence in this message, nevertheless, his anger soothed for the moment, he put a good face on the thing. After this, when a twelve-month truce with Charles had been renewed, the ambassadors returned home. The king, having been much more clearly instructed by the ambassadors concerning overseas affairs, understood that the King of France transacted all his business by artful deceit, and that nothing was more foreign to him than peace, nothing dearer to him than war, which, manifestly, he preferred to all things. When he understood this, thinking that he should proceed with his original decision, he immediately called a parliament of his lords and deliberated about supplying aid to Duke François, and money was decreed to subsidize the coming war. Afterwards many statutes were enacted which appeared to be most useful for the realm, in consideration of the time and circumstances. And, having dismissed the parliament, the king swiftly ordered a levy of soldiers to be had. But, lest he appear to be severing the friendship he enjoyed with Charles, he continually sent ambassadors to France, explaining he had recently convened this parliament for the sake of his realm, and in it all the lords had chosen to supply speedy aid to the Bretons in view of their ancient guest-friend relationship and common interests, for the Bretons had long been under English government and had often come to the aid of England with arms and other timely forms of assistance when it was striving against enemies foreign or domestic. An therefore, since these lords had so many arguments for championing and defending them, it seemed that they could not fail in their duty towards their friends without committing a very great offense, and therefore the lords advised him either to desist from this war or, if he should refuse, to take it in good part if he were required by the will of his lords to aid, assist, and help the Bretons. But that this could be done without damaging their friendship, on his behalf the ambassadors should promise that his army was going to assist the Bretons, not to vex the French, except while they were lingering in Britanny. Charged with these instructions, the ambassadors hastily departed for France and explained everything to Charles in due order, who appeared to attach small importance to this business, since he hoped the aid would not arrive in time. While the king was doing these things, the Bretons joined battle at St. Aubin, a place of theirs, and fought badly against the French. There, among others, Duke Louis of Orleans was taken prisoner, who was long kept in the castle of Bourges, and in the end would have forfeited his head, were not his wife Jeanne the second sister of King Charles, who persuaded her brother to forgive her husband this insult. Many captains were killed, among whom were Edward Woodville and Giacomo Galeotto, a Naples-born Italian, most skilled in warfare. When this battle was reported in England, King Henry, seeing the need for haste, as quickly as possible sent Robert Lord Brooke, John Cheney, John Middleton, Ralph de Helton, Richard Corbett, Thomas Leighton, Richard Lacon, and Edmund Cornville, energetic captains, with 8,000 choice soldiers he had readied as an aid to the Bretons. Enjoying a favorable wind, they arrived there swiftly and, after recovering from the exertion, stood in battle array in front of the enemy camp. Learning of the coming of the English, the French, who had other occasion to learn that the English were all but invincible in battle, particularly when they were fresh, at first sensibly and intelligently kept themselves in their camp out of fear, and then sent out light cavalry who skirmished with them here and there in order to tire them out. And so for a number of days they contended with minor battles, but the French received the greater loss, being vigorously savaged by the English bowmen. Then Duke François died, at which time the lords of Britanny divided into differing parties, partly for the sake of money and partly out of factional zeal, so much so that they seemed no longer to be defending their nation, but rather to be bound for perdition. The English appreciated this, and, being excluded from fighting by the time of year (it was the beginning of winter), out of necessity they returned home the fifth month after they came. In death François left behind him a daughter named Anne, and also a younger one who died not long after him.
14. As I have shown above, the lords chose to subsidize this war in Brittany by imposing a poll tax. Afterwards the inhabitants of Yorkshire and County Durham refused to pay this tax, either oppressed by its magnitude, or by the advice of certain men who were secretly striving to create new trouble for King Henry. When the tax-gatherers saw that they were making no progress, they brought their problem to Henry Earl of Northumbria, the governor of that district. And he, not behindhand in this business, wrote a letter to the king indicating that the grieving people was crying out that, through no fault of its own, over the past few years it had been afflicted by a multitude of difficulties, and neither could nor would pay the demanded money. The king ordered the earl to collect the money by all means, using compulsion on those who refused, so that parliaments decrees would not be nullified by the common folk. Hearing the king’s reply the people attacked the earl, as if he were the author of the injury, and killed him. And this crime they committed was immediately followed by a far greater one. For next all men snatched up arms and set up Sir John Egremont, a contentious fellow, as their leader, bawling that they were going to march against King Henry for the sake of defending their liberty. But when it came to a fight, their fury suddenly subsided and abated. For (as usually happens in a business where no planning is employed), this band dissolved into a mass of fugitives, and while each man strove to rescue himself, almost every one suffered his penalty. For the king, hearing of the rioting, immediately betook himself to York, and at his arrival every rebel suddenly became panic-stricken and took to his heels, and those he marked down for punishment and were captured paid a heavy forfeit. But John Egremont, their commander, fled to Margaret in Flanders. When the upheaval was settled to the king’s satisfaction, he assigned the task of collecting the remaining tax to Richard Tunstall, a very wealthy knight, and returned immediately to London, having correctly learned the lesson that his English people would henceforth offer no great resistance to being taxed, only to being over-taxed. This was the year of human salvation 1489, and the fourth of Henry’s reign.
15. At this time Scotland suffered a deadly blow, inflicted because the name of James was regarded by his nobles with the greatest loathing. For the nobles had been held in disdain by the king, as I have recorded at the end of Book XXIV, and when the had suffered this unpleasant situation for a long time, and had observed that in employing this great patience they had not done any better in managing their affairs, they formed a conspiracy to murder the king. But, lest they gave the appearance of acting against the nation, they set up as their leader (albeit against his will) his son James, a lad born to virtue, giving out that their intention was to overthrow, overwhelm, and destroy a bad king, but not the kingdom, thus distancing themselves from any blot of treachery. When he perceived this, James was suddenly gnawed at, tormented, and anguished by a twofold evil. For he considered coming to blows with his subject, whose leader was his son, whom (second to himself) he loved dearer than anything on earth, as nothing else than having the head fight against the other parts of the body. Yet it would be perilous to put up no resistance, which would enhance his enemies’ confidence. So that he might make trial of a remedy for both evils, first he levied an army to suppress the rage of the excited citizenry, then he sent ambassadors to his son and the lords to deal of peace, and likewise sent others with letters to King Charles and King Henry, asking them to agree to put an end to such an evil war between himself and his subjects, begun at the instigation of certain vile persons. At the same time he sent a letter in the same tenor to Pope Innocent, asking that, in accordance with his faith, grace and uprightness he send a legate to the lords his enemies, who in the Pope’s name might order them to cast aside their arms. This unhappy old man, hoping hoped that time and his prayers, and likewise the requests of his friends, would abate their anger and heal their minds, chose to apply all these remedies to such a great illness while it was a-borning rather than enter into most disagreeable strife. And yet, the nobles’ minds being inflamed, no wholesome remedy could be found. First a brutal answer was given to the ambassadors he had sent to the lords, that is, it would possible to treat of peace, were he to abdicate the throne. Those sent from King Charles and King Henry, regretting their friend’s misfortune as if it were an injury they themselves were suffering, brought back the same answer. But the legate sent by Pope Innocent, of whom I will say more below, arrived too late. So, since nothing could sway the lords’ minds, in the end both sides resorted to arms, and after a great slaughter King James was killed. Then the Scots lords, thus avenged for the insults they had received, crowned his son king under the name of James IV.
16. Pope Innocent had chosen Adriano Castelli, a man of Tuscany born at Corno, which the ancients called Castronovo, who came to Scotland for the purpose of banishing these quarrels from the lords’ minds by invoking the Pope’s authority. Although he hastened on his journey, arriving in England he learned from King Henry (for whom he also had papal instructions) that he had come later than the matter required, and therefore, thanks to this warning, he thought he should turn back and not depart from England, where he had stayed barely two days when news came of the murder of King James. Adriano subsequently remained in England for several months, and from the beginning of his stay John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, strove to treat him with all kindness, for he was attracted by the man’s learning and manners, and he brought it about that he was also in the king’s very good graces. And Henry, seeing that the man came recommended by Morton, made no little use of him, began to love him wonderfully, and relied on his help in dealing with Innocent, and later with Alexander VI to the extent that he first made him Bishop of Hereford, and, after he vacated that see, Bishop of Bath and Wells. But Adriano soon return to Rome and passed through all the steps of honor until he arrived at the College of Cardinals. For Innocent first appointed him papal tax-collector for England, then one of his seven protonotaries, and afterward Pope Alexander employed him as a secretary and made him a cardinal. But who is surprised that such honors can be given to, or taken away from, the slothful and the energetic alike? And Adriano is praiseworthy for another reason, this one everlasting. He was deeply learned in literature, classical but not vernacular, and he was a lover of fastidiousness in diction, the first man of our age, after that very learned epoch of Cicero, who by his writings has inspired men to adopt a pure style by going back to the sources of the most learned authors, and he taught a manner of pure, neat, and elegant writing, with the result that, by his instruction, nowadays Latinity has been wholly reborn the world over. Now back to my subject.
17. Meanwhile the discords, which were not yet settled, troubled affairs in Britanny one more. For Maximilian, unmarried at the time, had married Duke Francis’ daughter Anne by proxy, and so that the girl would be legally bound to observe the marriage, it was conducted in a novel way. For the following night Anne, naked, entered the marriage bed, with several matrons and nobles serving as witnesses, and his agent, acting in lieu of the husband, put his leg on the bedspread as far as the knee, so that, just as if he has slept with the girl, the marriage was deemed to have been consummated. But this form of contract had no force in the eyes of a man bent on snatching his prey from someone else. For King Charles was eager to marry Anne, and considered the one made with Maximilian to be invalid. In the meantime he did not cease his war against the Bretons, so he might at length gain both the girl and the dukedom, as he assured himself he would do. He thought that Henry was the single impediment to his having his way, fearing he would send a new army against himself. For Henry and joined with King Ferdinand of Spain in deciding to send great help to Anne and the Bretons, so they might not be compelled to come under French rule against their will. They had leagued together to defend against this injury. So Charles sent Francis of Luxemburg, Charles de Marigny, and Robert Gaguin, so-called Minister of the Order of the Holy Trinity, as ambassadors to Henry to treat for peace. Arriving in England, the king received them honorably, and, invited to present their instructions, they requested that he allow Charles to decide Anne’s marriage as he saw fit, by right of the dominion he possessed over the land of Britanny. Henry for his part asked that the girl, who was now duly married to Maximilian, should not be required to take another husband against her will, which was contrary to right and law. And thus they wasted many days, but at length it appeared that this negotiation about conditions for a treaty would not be pointless, since for the sake of making one they agreed that Henry should send to Charles his own ambassadors, who, acting likewise in his name, might bring this business to a speedy conclusion. Therefore the king dismissed the French embassy as soon as he could, laden down with gifts, and sent as his own Thomas Goldstone, Abbot of the monastery at Canterbury, and Lord Thomas Ormond, prudent and very upright men, and he commanded them to follow the other, to whom he had disclosed all his thinking, to the King of France. Amidst these things, Pope Alexander VI, who had succeeded the deceased Innocent a little earlier, had sent to France Leonello Bishop of Concordia as his legate to Charles, a man of great industry and proven achievement, and, among his other instructions, he was to achieve a reconciliation between the kings. When he had come to France and set forth the Pope’s instructions, and had easily gained nearly all he asked from the king, he then turned to the other business and in a lengthy speech urged Charles and the French nobility to make their peace with Henry. When he perceived that the French were not averse to this, he quickly went to England to perform the same office with the English king. On his journey he encountered both the English and French embassies at Calais, and after they had had a useful conversation about their common business, he went to England, and they to Charles. Henry gave Leonello a friendly reception upon his arrival, and listened kindly to his elegant oration urging him to gain and maintain the friendship of the French. And he made his own hope clear to the legate, which was that by means of those deadly hatreds he might now be able to gain an honorable leisure. Leonello, earning the king’s view, as if he had no doubt that peace could be achieved, quickly returned to France, desirous (as a Bishop of Concordia ought to be) that concord should be introduced and confirmed, with all the grudges of bygone days eradicated. Meanwhile the English ambassadors met again with Charles and his councilors and began to negotiate this business concerning a peace, which was managed with great artfulness by both sides. For the English ambassadors, so as to gain at least a few of their points, demanded very many. But French, so as not to make any concessions in the end, rejected, grew peevish at, and flatly denied everything. Meanwhile, relying on bribery (which, in accordance with their national habit, the French frequently do in all their affairs, sometimes trusting less in their arms than their bribes), did not cease trying to persuade, seduce, and convince individual Breton nobles that they use all their eloquence to entice the girl Anne to consent to entrust herself to Charles. But most particularly they attempted to work on the girl by means of those honorable matrons to whose care she had been entrusted, that she should not refuse to be joined in a resplendent marriage to Charles, that puissant prince. And lest the girl be intimidated by fear of religious rules and shut her ears to this thing, they kept drumming into her that this betrothal to Maximilian had no validity, because it had been done without the permission of Charles, to whom belonged feudal dominion over Britanny, and the marriage had not been consummated. This was the reason why no contract could be valid. Furthermore, since Charles had for a long time been keeping at his court Maximilian’s daughter Margaret, betrothed to himself, the French maintained that he was not bound by that arrangement, since the girl was not yet of marriageable age, and so Charles was at liberty to repudiate her. By these artifices they brought over this naive girl to their way of looking at things, so that in the end, helped along by some of the Breton nobility who had been corrupted by their bribes into ignoring their duty, she did not refuse to place herself in Charles’ trust and marry him, imagining that she could lawfully do as the French asked, so that in this way she might free herself and her nation from the war that was harshly oppressing them. And those of the Breton nobility who sided with the French were convinced this was in the public interest, since they were sure that they were waiting in vain for any help from Maximilian. Then Charles, having in this way secretly concluded his business with Princess Anne to his liking, easily gave the English ambassadors leave to depart, and did what he could to hurry the marriage along.
18. Meanwhile Henry continued to use patience until he could see in what condition matters stood. Before his ambassadors returned, he observed that the French were doing everything by they slyness, and decided that henceforth all their controversies must be concluded by arms rather than diplomacy. He would not have been untroubled by this, since the memory of the kindnesses previously done him by Charles remained fixed in his memory, were he not summoned to war by such a just cause. But, since he was free of guilt, he did not hesitate to adopt a counsel adopted out of necessity. Therefore, having summoned a parliament of his nobles, he first set forth his reasons for declaring war on the French, and then asked them for money to support it. They all approved his reasons, and each man pledged his aid. The king praised his subjects’ virtue. And so as not to burden the people with a tax (for he thought he needed to ingratiate himself with them), he wished to extract the money gently from the more wealthy as a benevolence. This was a form of exaction invented by King Edward, as I have written in his life. Therefore he dealt with his friends so that they would voluntarily contribute money to cover the costs of the war, in such a way that he could measure each man’s benevolence towards him: namely, the thought the man who gave the most loved him the most. From this we can see that in a commonwealth whatever is once done for the benefit of the sovereign persists thereafter, just like a judicial precedent, once established, guides those trying a case. And thus the king readily amassed a suitable amount of money. In that parliament other things were decreed which are beneficial for England’s present state of affairs.
19. While these things were happening in England, Maximilian conquered the people of Flanders, by whom a few days previously he had been taken captive during a riot and imprisoned. To help him, Henry had sent to Flanders Giles Daubney, the governor of Calais, with 3,000 armed men. But this had occurred a little earlier. Finally getting his revenge on the Flemish, Maximilian decided to avenge himself on Charles as well, since at that time Charles had repudiated his daughter Margaret and returned her to himself, and because, as he suspected, he was going to attempt to steal a march and get his hands on Princes Anne of Britanny. But since he could not long sustain the burden of such a great war by himself, he thought he needed to acquire King Henry as an ally. Adopting this counsel, he sent Giacomo Contebaldi, a grave man, to England, to urge the king to join in such an alliance and on his behalf to promise his service in that war for more than two years, with a minimum of 10,000 soldiers. And, if he were the first to ready himself for war, he was to advise Henry six months before he marched against the enemy. By this message Maximilian greatly aroused Henry. For, as I have recorded above, he had decided to aid the Bretons, at least if they were reduced to extreme peril. Thinking the time had now come, he voluntarily prepared for war, since they were gravely troubled, so that he might check, curb, and defeat the French, who were threatening the liberty, life, and blood of the people of Britanny. And when he heard that Maximilian was doing the same, he devoted himself to this project with greater enthusiasm, and replied to Giacomo that he would be sure not to be caught unprepared when Maximilian required him for an ally. And thus having settled his affairs, Henry sent away the ambassador. Meanwhile Charles took Princess Anne of Britanny into his care and married her, gaining her dominion as a dowry. Thus the Bretons finally came under french rule. When Maximilian found this out, he was irate that the French king, unsatisfied just to insult him by repudiating his daughter, had also stolen his betrothed Anne. He called on God to avenge such great crimes, heaped all manner of curses on C harles, and invented countless deaths for him. But after a little while, when he collected himself, he thought that he must avenge his honor by fighting and quickly sent spokesmen to Henry with instructions, also giving him a littler in which he served notice on the king to prepare his army as soon as possible, saying that he himself would presently be ready to wage war on the King of France.
20. Henry trusted Maximilian’s promises, because he was not unaware of the deadly hatred that blazed between him and the French king, and he immediately arranged for a levy to be held, soldiers to be armed, and a fleet to be outfitted. And he quickly sent messengers to all quarters of the realm calling to himself the best fighting men. Hearing his news, men of high, middling, and low degree snatched up arms and gathered without delay, partly zealous to help their sovereign, and party eager to come to blows with the French, with whom the English are never unwilling to fight. Therefore very soon each man came to London with his following: above all Richard Thomas with a huge band of Welshmen, and likewise Earls Thomas of Derby, George of Shrewsbury, Thomas of Arundel, Edmund of Suffolk, Edward of Devonshire with his young son William, a boy in the flower of his youth and spirits, Thomas of Ormond, and George of Kent, Marquis Thomas of Dorset, John Cheney, Giles Daubney, Richard Gilford, John Rainsforth, James Tyrell, John Savage, Thomas Baron Helton, William Bulmer, Edward Stanley, William Percy, Thomas Tempest, John Fortescue, John Wingfield, George Neville Lord Burgavenny, Thomas Tyrell, Edward Poinings, William Say, Robert Wingfield, John Verney, Richard de la Pole, John Darell, William Boleyn, John Donne, John Rysely, Robert Litton, George Vere, Gilbert Talbot, Edward Howard, Henry Haydon, Robert Brandon with his brother Thomas, William Knyvett, Richard Beauchamps, Richard de la Bere, Walter Baskerville, Matthew Brown, John Peche, Thomas Bourchier, Richard Cornwallis, John Arundel, William, Trevanion, John Basset, Thomas Berynfield, John Mortimer, Thomas West Lord de la Ware, John Lord Suche, Edward Lord Hastings, John de la Pole Lord Cobain, William Sandys, David Owen, Henry Ross, William Maltrevers, Alexander Baynham, Robert Clarence, and Henry Hogarth. Thus having assembled a mighty army, whose commanders were Duke Jasper of Bedford and Earl John of Oxford, soon thereafter the king, ready in all particulars, sent Christopher Urswick and Sir John Rysely to Maximilian to announce he was in arms would come to the Continent swiftly, as soon as he was aware that Maximilian was also ready. They went to Flanders and, discharged their mission, and wrote a letter to the king which disturbed him and caused him great concern. For they reported that nothing was unreadier, nothing slower, nothing weaker than Maximilian, because he was nearly wholly helpless, suffering from a dearth of funds, so much so that he had nothing, he had never held a levy, he possessed no forces, no arms, and, in sum, was lacking in everything but the will, and therefore there were no grounds for relying on his strength. This filled Henry with both fear and sorrow, and he very properly thought that it would be very dangerous to take it on by himself, but if he were to abandon it, all men would accuse him of cowardice, and in particular he suspected his own English subjects would take it amiss and imagine that he had put on this show of warmaking to turn a profit, having now raised money for that specific purpose. And so he was at once very afraid and rueful to have been cheated out of this alliance by Maximilian, who had been responsible for beginning the war. He hung in doubt, carefully pondering what to do, and discussed it with this Privy Council, and then finally decided to to the brave and manly thing and wage it by himself, not being unaware that military glory is more distinguished in proportion to the difficulty with which it is won, and especially because he saw that he could not withdraw from this war without damage to his reputation. He therefore ordered his soldiers to commence the French expedition, although he did not inform them that he had been misled by Maximilian, lest they, knowing this, would go to war with deflated spirits. At the same time, for the sake of having provision for every future danger, he increased his forces before crossing the Channel, and also so that he by himself might be a source of terror to his enemies. Therefore, having assembled a great army, he sailed for Calais about September 6. Encamping there, he lingered several days to arm his soldiers. And in that place, when his ambassadors returned from Flanders, they all finally learned that no hope was coming from Maximilian, This filled all the English with no fear, because they trusted in their own strength, but it was a source of astonishment, because they had heard the story of how Maximilian had lately received two grave insults from the French but was not present, was not on the attack, was not pressing the enemy, not opposing six hundred bodies of his own, if he had them, rather than abandoning the English when they were moving against the common enemy. But what was missing in Maximilian was not the spirit of avenge, but the ability to wage war, because he lacked both money and soldiers in Flanders, a land which was hardly friendly.
21. Meanwhile King Charles, although he had decided to march against the approaching English spiritedly and under arms, nevertheless made it clear that he desired nothing more than peace. He was not unaware that this would cost him dearly, but he thought that all the expenses incurred by peace would be cheaper than a war. For he was afraid for his newly-acquired domain of Britanny, lest, while he was preoccupied with an English war, the Bretons (the majority of who took French rule very hard) would suddenly revolt. Likewise, he was a young man eager to gain glory, and at that time had been invited by Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, to join in a war against King Ferdinand of Naples, and was not reluctant to comply, thinking that it was by the will of God that this longed-for affair had been dropped in his lap. For he especially desired to regain this kingdom which, as he claimed, had long been his due, from the time that René, the last King of Sicily, had died without male issue and made his father Louis his testamentary heir. For this reason he had been careful to maintain friendship with his neighboring kings and princes, so that, his affairs in good order at home, he would be free to devote his full energies to an Italian war. Therefore he was most eager for a settlement, and he entrusted to Philippe des Querdes, a leading gentleman endowed with supreme loyalty and virtue, who was his governor of Artois, the task of reconciling the English king to himself. Doing as instructed, Philippe wrote a letter to King Henry before he had come over to the Continent, in which he indicated he was going to perform a service to both kings by undertaking such care and thought that, as he hoped, he could return him and Charles to their former concord for Maximilian’s sake, if only Henry would consent to sent some men to the border of France who could confer with himself. For he would offer them such conditions for a peace that Henry would be fully at liberty to end the war with honor. The king, judging that, with Britanny now lost, which he had been particularly minded to rescue, and with Maximilian not at present strong enough to serve his own cause, it was expedient to finish the business with no loss of life, and because he knew Philippe to be a man of good faith, sent ahead Richard Bishop of Exeter to Calais. He, together with Giles Daubney, was to arrange a peace between himself and Philippe. These men met, and held uninterrupted negotiations about making a truce until at length they agreed on fair conditions, as will be related below. Meanwhile the king, as I have said, crossed to Calais, where he prepared everything necessary for an expedition, and leaving there he marched on Boulogne in square formation. Seizing a suitable place for his camp, he began to besiege the town with great force. There was a strong garrison within which energetically defended the town, but before it came to a hard fight, behold, a rumor suddenly swept through the camp that a peace had been made by the ambassadors. That thing gave the French as much joy as it did sorrow to the English, who were spoiling for a fight and grumbled that they were ready to refuse no danger in exchange for martial praise, exclaiming that an opportunity for victory had been offered, but then had been shamefully taken away by conditions which were of no advantage to themselves, and scarcely to their king. Some captains of companies were filled with hope for glory and so had gotten into debt at home, pawning their property so as to be more serviceable for this war, and they were particularly grieved and grew angry at Henry, because, just as if he feared the enemy, he had accepted this untimely peace. The king explained to all these indignant men what losses and how many brave men’s lives the siege of this very strong town would cost, so that he should be guilty of a great wrong if he did not hold their lives dearer than his own safety. Thus having consoled his men, he led the army back to Calais, because he had already begun to get an inkling of the upheavals being threatened by a certain Richard, Edward’s second son, restored to life from the Underworld thanks to the machinations of Princess Margaret. If Henry were to become involved in the war which was ablaze, he should be compelled to suppress these upheavals later on, not without harm to himself, and at that time he would be obliged to accept peace terms from enemy, rather than dictating them, unless he were willing to suffer from his enemies abroad and at home at once and the same time. Foreseeing these things, Henry negotiated this peace with the French so that, freed from an external war, he could more readily confront these coming domestic troubles. And the gist of the peace was, first, that Charles should pay Henry a large sum of money for his expenses in this war, the amount to be assessed by the ambassadors, and then 50,000 francs annually for a number of years, to cover Henry’s expenses for the forces he had sent to aid the Bretons. Likewise he gave presents to Henry’s individual councilors, and arranged, both out of his own generosity and because this was a French tradition, that every year they would be furnished money from his treasurer, so that giving counsel they would either support his causes or at least oppose them less. And he did this without any objection from Henry, inasmuch as it is only human nature to accept a gift from any man for friendship’s sake. Henceforth the Kings of France, enmeshed in their Italian war, paid this annual tribute even to Henry VIII, the son of Henry VII, so they would pay the full sum and maintain their friendship. After staying at Calais a few days, Henry returned to England. This was the seventh year of his reign, the year of human salvation 1492. In that siege of Boulogne, which was brief, no slaughter occurred. Among the English, the single notable death was that of John Savage, a sturdy fellow, who secretly left the camp with John Rysely and was suddenly surrounded and taken by the French when he rashly rode up to the walls. But his blood was up, and he fought back spiritedly even after being captured, and so died fighting. But John Rysely spurred his horse and got back to his fellow countrymen safe and sound. When Henry was back in England, nothing was more important to him than inducting Duke Alfonso of Calabria into the Order of the Garter, and soon thereafter he sent Christopher Urswick on an embassy, bringing the regalia of that order. This representative, going to Naples, gave the duke the sacred robe, which he accepted with deep reverence, and even more reverently put on, for he hoped that, defended by this and being called a friend by Henry, he would be safe against all his enemies. For this was the reason why at this time he so greatly desired to join that college, since he heard that the French were preparing war against him. But in our day that means of supplying help has grown obsolete, as certain Italian princes go to show who, being exiled, have received no assistance from their colleagues belonging to the knightly orders of France and Burgundy. After a few days Alfonso sent the English ambassador home, having him lavish gifts.
22. After this Charles made a treaty with King Ferdinand of Spain, returning to him Ruscino, near the Pyrenees. Likewise, by the help of many sovereigns’ ambassadors who attempted to mollify the kings’ minds, he came to a conference with Maximilian and entered into a temporary peace, so that with greater forces and more freedom he could pay attention to the war he had decided to wage against King Ferdinand and all the Italians. When these things were done, and when he was ready with his horse, foot, fleet, and Italian allies, he burst into Italy, and with little trouble gained the Kingdom of Naples. Fighting a successful battle against the Venetians, he returned home. Now that the road was open, afterwards King Louis again invaded Italy, and took back from king Federigo that kingdom, lost a little earlier. He gained power over Milan, but a while later, subject to the vicissitudes of fortune, he lost both the Kingdom of Naples and Milan. Thus in our times the French have fought wars in Italy with no better success than did their ancestors, for all the places where they first inflicted slaughters they have later made memorable by their own losses, although this did little to relieve the many wretches who had previously been deprived of all their fortunes. Then the Spanish entered Italy and, defeating the French, occupied the Kingdom of Naples, which they possess even now. Likewise the Germans, or rather the Swiss, have most recently been invited to join in the plunder, and have captured and still retain a number of towns.
23. After these terrible commotions in Italy, the worst in human history, there was nearly no people, no private home, no noble house, no place which was not filled with heaps of corpses and the blood of its citizens, that at some time or another was not compelled to suffer loss, defeat, and all the other evils which resulted from their enemies’ victory. This bane on what had once been the queen of the earth did not happen of its own voliion: rather the Italians themselves paved the way for their downfall. For in our age it has come about that Italian princes rejoice and exult when the matters they have in hand go well, for this reason they sit at home idly and bicker among themselves like women. They do not stir up quarrels, squabbles, and strife with their enemies, as used to be their habit, but with each other, and in their eagerness to retaliate for insults they easily forget their erstwhile glory. Out of their lust for power they destroy the foundations of their commonwealth, and, since they despair of their own internal strength, they are quick to call in, solicit, and incite foreigners with their money, gifts, promises, and frequent messengers. And these foreigners, partly for the reward, and partly attracted by the hope for rule and plunder, come flying into Italy with their great armies, and in large part they have devastated, despoiled, and occupied it. And so the Italians, as if crazed, in their attempts to harm one another have opened Italy up for foreigners, although by nature’s bounty it is on all sides protected by the sea and lofty mountains, and have nearly succeeded in destroying themselves. Oh you wicked and impious generation, is discord so dear to you that you would inflict an enduring evil on your homeland? And by far the saddest thing is that you see the ruins you have created, and you regret having begun this more than you are able to make an end to it. Thus you have paid the price for your sin, for you have learned, albeit too late, that your safety depends on the security of your commonwealth. The man chiefly responsible for this evil was Lodovico Sforza, who at that time ruled Milan according to his whim when Giangaleazzo was duke. And so Duke Alfonzo of Calabria protested that his son-in-law Duke Giangaleazzo was being cheated out of his government, Lodovico invited Charles to join in a war against the Kingdom of Naples, by which Alfonso (who had succeeded his dead father Ferrante a little earlier) was despoiled first of his kingdom, and then of his life. But Lodovico could not gloat over his enemy’s death for long, since he was betrayed by the many Swiss mercenaries he had hired and captured by Charles’ successor Louis and brought to France, where he died a miserable death, in accordance with that Gospel verse, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! At that time this plague began to spread throughout Italy, when Charles descended on the land, and it endures even to day, which is the year of human salvation 1512. Perhaps I have digressed too much, but let me come to Edward’s son, rescued from the Underworld by human guile, for he did no little to disturb the peace of the realm.
24. Princess Margaret of Burgundy, born and bred amidst noble factionalism, as I have said above, could not help hating Henry worse day by day, and she brooded day and night about inflicting so plague upon him so that someday this man might be ruined and destroyed, she might satiate her hatred with her enemy’s blood, and the rule would come to some man of her faction. Then, after seeing all the strivings of Earl John of Lincoln and herself come to naught a little earlier, she returned to her ancient practice and began to weave an inextricable net for Henry. She chanced to discover a certain youth of Tournai, clever and not unhandsome, named Peter Warbeck, but afterwards, when mocked and scorned by the English for his folly, he was called Perkin. He was fluent in English and several other languages, and was known to few since he was low-born. Downtrodden by poverty, even in boyhood he had begun to live a vagabond’s life and had wandered through various nations and peoples. Margaret thought he was suitable to be passed off as her brother’s son Richard Duke of York. For some time she kept him at her court covertly, and carefully instructed him in matters concerning England, and about the customs and pedigree of the House of York, so that he could afterwards reel these facts off from memory with ease, imitate their manners, and make everybody believe that he was a scion of the Yorkist family. For it is virtually innate in the members of that family that those born of that line eagerly strive to imitate the glories of their ancestors. Having thus prepared the trouble she intended to create for her enemy, thinking the time was ripe for launching the enterprise when she heard King Henry was preparing to wage war against Charles, she secretly sent Peter to Ireland, where that rascally youth might sow the seeds of new factionalism among the wild Irish, who are always very ready to rebel. Having sailed to Ireland, by his shrewdness Peter quickly won such popularity among those people that many of their nobles, trusting his words, as if he were a king’s son in deed rather than just in word, as he gave out, started to treat him with honor and dignity, and did not refuse to follow him, to help him with their arms, and supply the other things needful for a war. Amidst these things, word of him reached France and Charles summoned Peter to himself, to use him as a weapon against Henry, who was attacking him. Cheered by this news, Peter imagined he was in heaven because he had begun to worm his way into the friendship of sovereigns, and he immediately betook himself to Charles. He received a warm welcome and was given a bodyguard and the other things which befitted a man born of royal blood. But not long thereafter, when peace was made with the King of England, as I have described, Charles sent the man away, and, downcast, he returned to Margaret in Flanders. For Margaret, from the very beginning, the hours seemed long while she waited to find out what had happened with the young man, and she was deeply chagrined that he had been cast aside by the French king. When Peter arrived, she treated him as if he had just been born and that she had ever seen him before, such a good job of dissimulation did she do. So that her joy would be evident to all men, first she publicly congratulated her nephew on his safety, she helped him, she thrilled in hearing again and again how he had been rescued from murder and had wandered in foreign parts and then returned home, so that she might thus convince everybody that he was indeed Richard, the son of her brother Edward. Afterwards she began to hold the young man in the highest honor, and for this reason all the Flemish nobility began to dance attendance on him. The more she managed to give this fiction a veneer of truth, the more people believed this young fellow had been spared by God’s will, originally removed far away by a certain trusty servant of his father Edward, and that thus he had escaped the clutches of King Richard, who should finally recover his ancestral throne. The rumor of such a miracle quickly spread through all neighboring countries, but far more quickly throughout England. It is worth mentioning how this thing was not only approved and believed by the common folk, but there were also some prominent men who quickly took it for Gospel truth. Therefore, when it began to be said that Edward’s son Richard was alive and living in Flanders, where he was held in highest honor, immediately seditions began to blossom, just as do trees in springtime. Fist of all, all the villains who were hiding in asylum because of their many crimes, or who were downtrodden by poverty and debt, came flying to Peter in Flanders. Then many nobles were drawn to that conspiracy, some motivated by their hot-headedness, and others somehow knowing for sure that Peter was Edward’s son Richard, and inspired by their zeal for the Yorkist faction. Yet others imagined themselves to be ill-rewarded by King Edward for services performed, were stimulated both by indignation and greed, and finally some where headstrong devotees of rebellion. Thus this rumor (by no means whispered) that Duke Richard of York had been brought back to life tore nearly all of England apart into factions, hope and fear preyed on men’s minds, nor was there anyone who was not deeply affected by such a great thing, as each man weighed danger and advantage as he saw fit.
25. When the King heard about Margaret’s bold-faced lie, both he and his friends were very amazed that any person could be endowed with a mind that could confidently invent such a story, both mischievous and not only strange but downright miraculous, by which obvious deceit wore the mask of truth, with the result that many English nobles could take for granted what was being maliciously and foolishly pretended (for he already had a sense of this). Thus he foresaw that this very deadly story could lead to a catastrophe, unless it were quickly made known to all men that this was a fairy-tale and a fraud. But others, to whom wars, upheavals, and seditions were dear, rejoiced in this novelty and believed that nothing in the matter was hidden or false, but that everything about it was honest and straightforward. And they hoped that this thing would turn out to their profit and honor, and this in particular fed the conspirators’ hopes. And since this was a matter of great moment, requiring the help of many men, the conspirators decided to send some men ahead to Margaret in Flanders to find out when it would be convenient for Duke Richard to come to England, and to tell her that upon his arrival they would be able to supply timely assistance. Therefore by their common consent Sir Robert Clifford was sent to Flanders, together with William Barley, and he revealed to Margaret all his friends’ plans for the new duke. Margaret was overjoyed by Richard’s arrival, and easily persuaded him that everything rumor had said about Duke Richard was true. Afterwards she showed him Peter himself, who had very artfully assumed Richard’s guise, and extolled him to the skies with wonderful praise, saying that he was greatly endowed with all the virtues and very similar to his ancestors. When he had a look at the young man, Robert forthwith believed that he was born of royal pedigree, and wrote so to his friends. And so that what he said would carry more conviction, he added that from his face he immediately recognized the man. Then, having received Robert’s letter, in order to speed their new plan for provoking a popular uprising, the nobles publicly gave out that what rumor had previously reported about the Duke of York was in no way devoid of truth. But they did so with such art that their hearers were unable to identify any particular man who was responsible for those rumors. When the king realized that this foolish thing was not fading out among the people, he thought it was high time to look out for his own interests and for those of the nation, which he now saw to be conjoined to his own regarding this evil. Because of Robert Clifford’s secret departure, he suspected that some conspiracy had now been formed, so he promptly ordered some knights, together with very choice companies of soldiers, to go everywhere and close the ports of departure, so that nobody would be able to sail, or be allowed to visit the Continent or enter the island without his permission. He likewise ordered all the highways and byways to be guarded most carefully, lest anybody be able to go to the coast or hold meetings. Aft this, so that neither in England nor anywhere else might men be misled by gullibility (which can easily worm its way into the mind of even the best of men), or stubbornly persist in this madness, he sent spies to all the cities of Belgium who might investigate the origin of this Duke Richard by promising rewards to informers. And he wrote to his friends that they should to the same. These, coming to France, went their different ways, some came to Tournai and learned that this Richard had been born of low degree and that the had originally been named Peter Warbeck, as was established by the evidence of many men. Therefore these royal agents, having performed their task, quickly returned and related what they had discovered. And some friends of the king made this all considerably plainer by their letters and secret messengers. Therefore Henry took great pains to have news of this exploded fraud quickly published, not only throughout England, but also through all overseas parts. And he sent to Archduke Philippe and his councilors (for Philippe was not yet of age to rule) Sir Edward Poinings and William Warham, a lawyer and a priest, endowed with great modesty and gravity, who were to make open declaration that that young man was born of shabby stock and had falsely assumed the identify and name of Duke Richard for York, who had once been murdered, together with his brother Edward, in the Tower of London at the command of his uncle Richard. There was nobody who did not know this, and to think or maintain otherwise was the height of folly, since it was sufficiently established by no mean logic that by putting to death Edward, the elder son of his brother Edward, Richard would have gained no extra security, had he allowed his second son Richard to be spared, for in the name of his father he would have been the rightful heir to the kingdom of England. They were therefore to request Philippe and his noble councilors that they refuse to place in any belief in that manifest lie, filled with singular wickedness, and give no assistance to that false person who was fraudulently usurping Richard’s name and breeding, against a man who in previous years had supplied aid to their Prince Maximilian when he was hard-pressed in a French war and suffering from domestic seditions. Bearing these mandates, the ambassadors went to Flanders, where they were given a kindly welcome by Philippe, and afterwards, permitted to speak, William delivered an elegant oration in which he carefully set out his king’s instructions. In his peroration he lodged no few complaints against Margaret for having given birth these monstrosities, who within a very few years, at her advanced age, had given birth to Lambert (whom I have mentioned above) and Peter, not in eight or nine months, as occurs according to nature’s plan, but in one hundred and eight months. For just about that many months make up fifteen years, and that was the number of years both boys had enjoyed before, as it were, she had given birth to to them and brought them to light: these were no babes, but young men who, as soon as they had been born, were of an age at which they could immediately make war on kings. But even if this mocking joke brought Margaret great chagrin, and even greater for Peter, since the trick had now been shown up, nevertheless the woman, more irate than frightened, did nothing to suppress her hatred. Rather, hoping to feed its fire, she decided it was time for her to arm Peter against Henry. But after a lengthy debate about whether Peter was Edward’s son or not, Philippe and his councilors replied to the ambassadors that, for the sake of gratifying Henry, henceforth they would give Peter no support. But should Margaret so choose to do, it was not within their power to restrain her, since she was a free woman living on her own dower land, and could do as she pleased. Receiving this reply, the ambassadors went back to England and reported what they had done.
26. Meanwhile Henry, vigilantly concerned for his own interests, thought it best (should his nobles permit) not to employ arms to avert the storm he saw to be impending, since he well know that one commotionis wont to be spawned by another. So he immediately sent spies to Flanders. Some pretended they had fled to the Duke of York, and were to investigate the plans of the conspirators and all their particulars, and others were to urge Robert Clifford and William Barley to come home, upon a promise of impunity. The two groups acted with diligence, both learning the identities of some conspirators and convincing Robert Clifford (a spineless man) to desist from his endeavor. But William Barley could not be dissuaded, although he did not long persist in this view. For two years thereafter, pardoned by Henry, he returned to his senses and went home. These things accomplished, those who were sent to Flanders to sniff out their enemies’ schemes secretly took their leave of the bogus duke one after another. But some remained to accompany Robert on his way home, and their presence did wonderful things to dash the conspirators’ hopes, because they were gradually undone, yet could ascertain no man against whom they should be on their guard. The king ordered all the conspirators revealed by the evidence to be arrested and brought to him at London. Their principal members were Sir John Ratcliffe, Sir Simon Montfort, Sir Thomas Thwaites, William Daubeny, Robert Ratcliffe, Richard Lacy, and many others. Likewise there were several priests: William Richford and Thomas Powys, both Dominican monks, William Sutton, William Worsley, Dean of St. Paul’s, and Robert Layborn. And when the other members of this novel sect, hearing that their conspiracy had been denounced, retreated to various asylums. All of those arrested were condemned for treason, but only three lost their heads, Simon Montfort, Robert Ratcliffe, and William Daubney, on the grounds they were the ringleaders and architects of the criminal plot. The rest were pardoned, as were the priests out of reverence for their order. John Ratcliffe’s life was also spared, but he was taken to Calais and placed in custody there. Bribing his guards and attempting to escape, he too was soon beheaded. Only a very few days passed before Robert Clifford, partly induced by Henry’s promises, and partly because he had heard that many men had been punished when the conspiracy was revealed, and nothing was more forsaken, nothing more forlorn, furtively decamped from Flanders. And the king, having had forewarning, quickly went to the Tower and there he awaited Robert’s arrival. The purpose of this plan was that, if should Robert denounce any of the noblemen belonging to the conspiracy, they could be haled there and be placed in imprisonment without arousing suspicion. Some imagined that Robert had been sent as Henry’s agent provocateur, and for that reason found it easy to return to his good graces. But there is good reason for thinking this thing happened differently than they fancied, because this counsel worked to Robert’s harm. For he and his friends were branded with no mean mark of fraud, and subsequently Robert was far less in favor with the king, not being free of guilt. Therefore Robert, a very devoted follower of the House of York, seems to have crossed over to Margaret for the sake of harming Henry, being misled by error, since he regarded Peter as Prince Edward. I return to my subject.
27. Meanwhile Robert came, first threw himself at the king’s feet, and begged for pardon. Then he was interrogated about the entire history of the conspiracy, and revealed what had transpired in Flanders. Finally, he revealed the names of his confederates, most conspicuously that of William Stanley. Learning this, the king was very disturbed that William had a share in this guilt, because he was his chamberlain, entrusted with all his affairs. Henry was grateful to him for his many good deeds, put particularly for this one, that it was especially by his help that he had defeated King Richard. For these reasons, at first he could not be brought to believe Richard’s words, but after sure proofs were shown him, then he ordered William to be arrested and put to the question. He denied nothing, but frankly confessed his guilt, if he had offended in any way. And they say his offence was this. When William and Robert were having a conversation concerning this Peter who falsely claimed to be Edward’s son, William announced he would never take up arms against the young man, if he knew for certain that he was indeed the son of Edward. This went to show that William was momentarily estranged from Henry out of anger, as happens, and hence these suspicions arose, to which were afterward added those things related by Robert. Meanwhile the king was doubtful what he should decide about William, and he weighed what counsel to take by considering outcomes. For he feared that by punishing the man he would offend Thomas Stanley, who was well deserving towards him. On the other hand, if he forgave the insult, he was afraid lest the others would attempt worse things, rendered bolder by that act of leniency. Therefore in the end he decided that severity should prevail, and so William was condemned of a capital crime and put to death.
28. They give this reason why William’s good will towards Henry later turned into malevolence, and likewise why the king’s affection for William was transformed into hatred. To omit the other favors they did each other from the beginning, in that battle in which he finally deprived King Richard of his life and his kingdom, when he, defended by only a few of his followers, was suddenly surrounded by Richard himself, so that his life was in immediate danger, William, sent with a strong band of soldiers by his brother Thomas, who had been sitting idle not far from the battlefield, came bearing quick and very timely aid and rescued him safe and sound from a slaughter. Richard was killed at the selfsame moment, as I have abundantly recounted in my preceding Book. This assuredly was the greatest benefit performed in human memory, by means of which Henry was freed from the fear of death and acquired a kingdom. For his part, as soon as Henry had gained the throne, not forgetful of this favor, which he freely remembered and spoke of, first made Thomas Stanley Earl of Derby, and then appointed William, loaded down with great gifts, his chamberlain and held him in the highest honor. But William, although he held a great place of friendship with the king, was more mindful of the favor he had conferred than that he received, and he still hoped, as the Gospel verse has it, to have more abundance, so that he put a low value on the rewards given him by the king. When Henry perceived these were cheap in his eyes, he began to be so angry that the both of them, their minds provoked, lost the fruit of their grace. Thus it often that happens that, because of an unjust valuation of meritorious deeds, great hostility often follows upon the conferral of great benefits. I return to my narrative. The time at which his punishment occurred, when the woundings of sedition were beginning to be renewed, began most greatly to require severity, when men felt free of fear and dared hurl open reproaches at Henry, as if he were a no-account king, and hour by hour they awaited the Duke of York’s arrival. When these derogatory speeches came to the king’s ears, and a number of men had paid the price for their slander, the rest, seeing that the enterprises of those who had foolishly taken the lead in attempting a revolt had come to naught, whereas everything had been foreseen, prepared, and arranged to put down impending commotions, began to subside of their own free will, so much so that it appeared all men were not unwilling to abide in their loyalty. After William’s downfall Giles Daubney, a very loyal and moderate man, was made the king’s chamberlain.
29. It only remained to cleanse Ireland, so that any seeds of the new sect of his adversaries sown among those savages by Peter Warbeck in the preceding year might be quickly uprooted. Therefore as soon as possible Henry sent Henry Dean, Prior of Langton Abbey, an upright and dutiful man, whom he appointed chancellor of the island, together with Edward Poinings and a goodly number of soldiers, who were to quickly scour the places where Peter had stayed, and to inflict heavy punishment on those they found to be associates in such great perfidy. They quickly crossed to the island and held a parliament of nobles in the name of the king. When this had convened, Henry the chancellor first urged them to remain loyal, and then he commanded them to take up arms and follow Edward, the leader of the English forces, against those madmen who a little earlier had helped Peter with their money or their arms, either misled by error or driven by enthusiasm for mischiefmaking. Each promised aid for his part, but subsequently few supplied any, since they obeyed the English with their faces but not their minds. After it was announced that Edward Poinings had come to prosecute all those who had been Peter’s followers, there was no man even lightly touched by that guilt who did not hastily hide in the nearby forests. Here, in accordance with their national habit, they consulted with each other in what places they should set ambushes for the England or join battle with them, should necessity force them to take that risk. In all Ireland there are two kinds of men, as I have shown above at the appropriate place in Book XIII of this work. One of these is tame and civilized. Since they are more tractable and wealthy, merchants of the neighboring nations on the Content often sail to them to transact business, but they are especially visited by the English. And they easily acquire English manners and for the most part understand the English language because of this constant intercourse. All of these obey the King of England. The other kind is savage, uncouth, stupid, and fierce, and because of their neglect of refinement and boorish manners they are called the wild Irish. They have a large number of petty kings who are constantly waging war against each other. For this reason they surpass the rest of the Irish in their ferocity, and, being most eager for innovation, next to theft and robbery they adore nothing more than uprisings. Peter first betook himself to these wild Irish, and easily convinced them all of his false claims. Therefore Poinings, who was bent on prosecuting everybody who had received and helped Peter, turned his arms against these wild Irish, especially because al the others who had a share of guilt had fled to them, so that by joining arms with them they might all protect themselves from harm. But since nothing good happened, because the Irish nobility failed to send their promised help, and the wild Irish, meandering about in the the forests because of the paucity of their soldiers, could never be brought to a battle, then he was obliged to retire and, burning with rage because he suspected this all to have been done by the treachery and guile of Earl Gerald of Kildare, the lieutenant of the island (for so the earl’s enemies had told him), he captured the man unawares and brought him to the king in England. Although he was accused of many things, he was not lacking in the wit to defend himself and shift the blame onto others, and he so cleared himself that the king sent him back to Ireland and he resumed his lieutenancy. For many reasons occurred to Henry why he should deal with this matter more leniently than Gerald’s adversaries wished: first, the man’s authority among his Irish, then the condition of the times, for he had a sense that a war was about to begin, and third, the trust he had placed in the earl. Thus this plague of seditions was suppressed without being eradicated, and the king, thinking that at the moment he could afford to be unconcerned about a war, went to Lancastershire for relaxation on about June 24, there to visit his mother Margaret, who at the time was living in that county with her husband Earl Thomas of Derby.
30. While these things were happening in England, in Flanders Peter Warbeck, although he was deeply grieved that the conspiracy had been revealed and his accomplices executed by Henry, so that their promised aid did not appear to be forthcoming, nevertheless decided the proffered hope of rule should not be neglected. Relying on his captains, who were desperadoes and shipwrecks, and especially on the scum of the earth who were flocking to him from neighboring peoples and English asylums, called away from their farming and daily chores by hope of plunder. Therefore when he had boarded this gang of men on ships which he had acquired with the help of his friends, he set sail, intending to land wherever in England the wind should bring him. Arriving at the coast of Kent, since the sea was very flat and allowed the ships to ride at anchor offshore, he halted there and set some of his men ashore to tell the natives he was at hand, accompanied by all his forces, instill an unqualified hope for his victory, and test the Kentishmen (who had rebelled of their own volition on other occasions) to see if they were willing to stand by him and follow him as their leader. Upon first hearing of the arrival of Duke Richard of York (since that tale had already been published), for a little while the Kentishmen were doubtful whether they should take up arms in his aid and follow him, or to refuse to receive him. But in the end, reflecting that their previous rebellions had always turned out badly, they thought it would not be in their interest to join themselves to a man more prepared for devastating England than conquering it. And they told each other that beyond doubt Peter had no soldiers who were not foreigners, who would regard churches, private homes, cities, towns, and villages as prey rather than as things that went to make up their homeland, and so they had every reason to fear those men. So they adjudged they should not depart from their duty, and decided to attack on those who had landed while they were arming themselves, after having invited more men to disembark from the ships. Thus arranging their scheme, they exclaimed they would follow the duke. But the delay they had taken for their debating had aroused Peter’s suspicion, for it did not escape his attention that the common folk are wont to incite themselves to new uprisings suddenly and rashly, not as the result of due deliberation. He nevertheless allowed some more of his men to go ashore, and when these had gone a little away from the ships, behold, they were surrounded by the Kentishmen in a great onrush and were driven back to the ships, with many of their men having been wounded. A goodly number were taken in their flight, who were all put to death afterwards. Peter, abandoning his enterprise, went back to Flanders from where he had come, there to wait until he had the opportunity to discuss with his friends a means of acting more prudently in the future. Informed during his journey of his enemies’ visit, the king wished to return to London promptly. But on the following day, when that rumor had subsided and he had received news of the affair’s successful conclusion, he continued on his way. He quickly sent Richard Gilford to Kent to praise its peoples faithfulness and fortitude on his behalf, to thank them in general for their loving show of duty, to promise he would remember it, and at the same time to set up traditional watches along the coast.
31. Meanwhile in Flanders Peter and his captains reviewed all their options, and had none left save the single safest one, to continue the undertakings they had begun, since there were no citizens or peoples with whom they chould share their madness (which had in no wise subsided), so that their slowness in making war wound not give Henry the chance to fortify his strategic places with garrisons, for they heard that there was nothing that he would rather do than to crush the spirits of the friends they were sure they had in England. Therefore they decided to rebuild their army and first cross over to Ireland. There, having increased their forces, they could reach the nearby part of England, should that prove expedient. But if that enterprise failed to go forward, they could retreat directly to Scotland, scarcely the traditional friend of England. Adopting this plan, Peter obtained suitable weather for sailing and sent to Ireland, where he had only stayed a few days when he learned that no hope of victory could be placed in the Irish by themselves. For, since they wore no armor on their bodies, they did poorly in battle against the English. When a favorable wind began to blow, he sailed for Scotland, humbly approached King James, and spoke as follows: “I do not think, great king, that it escapes you what a bane has fallen on the house of Edward IV King of England these past years. In case you are unaware, I am his son, rescued from murder by the will of God Almighty. For when on his deathbed Edward my father appointed his brother Duke Richard of Gloucester guardian of his sons, whom he hoped would love his sons all the more in return for great benefits he had received. But (alas, unhappy me) how it turned out otherwise than he had expected! For he was not the guardian of our family, but all but its destroyer. Behold, this tyrant, unexpectedly overcome by greed for power ordered the death of my brother Edward and myself. The man assigned the monstrous and horrible task of killing us poor innocents, the more he shuddered at this crime, the more he feared not to do it. Therefore, being of doubtful mind, so that he would both satisfy the tyrant and be free of guilt, at least in part, murdered my brother but spared me and gave me to a confederate to take to another country on the Continent and abandon in some far-flung land. Thus Richard obtained the throne, as the prize of his crimes. But I, thus rescued, almost completely forgot who I was because of my young years, and wandered through various nations, until I was taught my true identity and came to my aunt Margaret, the widow of Duke Charles of Burgundy, who very joyfully took me in, thus brought back to life. And since that woman, who has nothing in that land but her dowry, was not able to help me and furnish me with the necessary expenses for war, I was obliged to hope for other men’s support to recover my realm. Therefore by her advising I have come to you, accompanied by this most company of armed men, since the report has been spread throughout the world that never has any man wrongly deprived of his fortunes or banished from his homeland (as I have been from my boyhood) asked for your help in vain. And so now I myself, an exile from my nation and my home, and lacking in all things, beg you, indeed I beg and beseech you with all my prayers, that you assist me, or at least give me a place to stay, so that I need not wander any more. For if by your help, your kindness, and your grace it shall have been permitted me to recover my ancestral throne, you will place not just myself, but all the kings born of my progeny who obtain it in later times, in your debt to the extent that they will never satisfy themselves in showing their gratitude.”
32. The king replied that he should be of good cheer, for, whoever he might be, he would never regret having come to Scotland. Afterwards he convened his parliament of nobles and asked each man for his opinion about what Peter had told him, and what they counsel they thought should be taken. Those of a saner mind maintained by many arguments that these things should be regarded as so many dreams, and that there was no reason why they should be bothered by a lengthier debate. But others, albeit not very many, thought this offered a new opportunity for waging war against England. For although the facts of the case had not yet been explored, it nevertheless seemed the business would turn out well in any event, if they quickly took up the cause of this Peter, whoever he was. For, once a war was begun, if Peter’s affairs prospered, he would refuse nothing to those who had helped him. But if not, Henry would offer any conditions you could name for peace, so that King James would not be an ally of his adversaries. This opinion struck the majority as best, and so the king, whether misled by error or moved by piety, henceforth held Peter in honor and openly address him as Duke Richard of York. And to convince all men of the truth of this, he bestowed on him the hand of Catherine, the daughter of his kinsman Earl Alexander of Huntley. The purpose of this affinity was partly so the king might lessen the unpopularity which he foresaw would quickly flare up because a truce currently existed between himself and the king of England, and partly so he might not be accused of empty-headedness if afterwards he decided Peter to be a different man than whom he claimed to be. After these decisions had been made and while the king was making his preparations for war, Peter rejoiced that he had fulfilled his heart’s desire in making the Scots his allies. And so as not to be found wanting in his own cause, he gave out that he would be receiving great support from his English friends as soon as news was spread that things had come to a fight. Even if they placed small faith in these promises, the Scots were given great hopes of plunder, if not of success in a war, and quickly armed themselves and began to march towards the English border. And so that nothing might be done rashly the king, fearing lest the English had garrisoned their border places when they heard of Peter’s arrival in Scotland, sent ahead some horsemen to scout out whether or not their peasantry was as yet up in arms. These riders, coursing through the enemy countryside in all directions and learning that everything was quiet, went back to the king and announced that this was a very opportune time for beginning the war. So he invaded England, first taking care that heralds announced he would only spare those who swore their homage to Duke Richard of York forthwith. Then, to throw a scare into them, he waged such a cruel war on them, that the Scots did not seem to be men (for it is part of humanity to become sated with human blood, and to have mercy on the weak), but rather a raging fire or a ruinous storm as they seemed to sweep through the fields, and through men’s fortunes. He had traveled far in his plundering, and had now widely devastated Northumbria, and he would have gone further if he did not see that no Englishman was enthusiastic about the new duke, his soldiers, burdened with plunder, referred to follow him, and the number of peasants coming together put him in fear of an ambush. Therefore, taking much booty along with him, he returned to Scotland. In this context it is worth learning the absurd kind of pity by which Peter gave the appearance of being moved by nothing so much as other men’s advantage. For when the Scots were ravaging in England an nothing was to be heard but groans and lamentation, always true to himself, for he always did everything by misrepresentation, noticing that no English were flocking to him, and therefore afraid lest his scheme were becoming transparent and he would be held in contempt, by a certain natural contrivance for hiding his trickery is said to have exclaimed, “Oh I am so hard-hearted, not being moved by the catastrophe of my subjects!” and to have requested the king to afflict his nation no more, nor deface his nation with more arson, just as if he were overcome by love of country and was compelled to feel pity for it. The king is supposed to have retorted that he perceived that he was grieving for other peoples’ misfortune rather than his own, for although he called England his homeland and his nation, nobody from there wished to lend a helping hand in this war being waged for his sake and in his name. Thus the king wittily mocked the puerile man’s empty-headedness, whom henceforth he neglected more each day, since his deeds failed to match his words, and his successes did not correspond to his promises.
33. The English nobles of that region, learning from the uproar of the locals that the Scots were at hand, were quite frightened and quickly fled to their fortified places. Summoning armed men from every side, they prepared to offer resistance, placed garrisons along the highways, and sent out others wherever they thought the enemy would make his passage, and at the same time they sent frequent messengers to inform the king of the Scots’ unexpected arrival. Hearing the news, Henry was disturbed by the sudden evil, stung by the pricks of his domestic cares. For he thought he had to fear not only the enemy but also his own nobility, lest some of them begin to defect and create danger for himself. So as soon as he heard the news he thought this was a great thing, requiring much caution, and energetically prepared timely remedies to fend of this first storm of danger. But the enemy’s speedy flight precluded the efforts of the English. For the Scots, content with all the various kinds of plunder they had gathered, retired more quickly than the English could collect themselves. And this was the start of the Scottish war. When King Henry learned that James had retired within his borders, he praised the virtue of the English nobility of that region who had remained loyal, and broke off the effort of confronting a danger that no longer existed. But lest the enemy become swollen-headed because of this malfeasance, he decided he must avenge this insult as quickly as he could. Therefore, summoning a parliament of his nobility, he described the situation and explained what was in his mind, and he employed many arguments to show them that it would be very advantageous to the commonwealth to continue this war that the enemy had started. Everybody agreed that a war should be fought, and that some tax should be levied, for they were no less angry than he over this harmful Scottish crime, and this was done. For after a long parliamentary debate it was voted to impose a light head tax on all men, although this was a measure which the peasantry at all times abhorred and took hard. In that session a number of laws were continued, and other new ones devised, which were very helpful for the state of the commonwealth. And so the king, dismissing the parliament, prepared for war anew. Meanwhile the King of Scots, so as not to be found wanting for his cause, foreseeing that the English would not hold their peace for long, applied himself to enlisting an army with no less zeal, so that the could meet and resist the enemy should they move against or him, or else enter English territory and ravage it anew. Therefore both kings devoted themselves to military matters. But as the injured party Henry had such animus against the Scots that he did not procrastinate and was by far the first to prepare very strong forces. He ordered these to invade Scottish territory, under the command of Giles Daubney. He, very well prepared in all respects, had already started his march when a more grave sedition at home suddenly interrupted this foreign war.
34. Meanwhile money-men were sent out everywhere to collect the money which had been decreed and demanded for the Scottish war. While other men paid, the Cornishmen, who occupy the smallest and most barren part of the island, refused to pay the appointed tax, exclaiming that they could not bear its weight. Burning with both sorrow and anger, they first hotheadedly insulted the king’s name, and bawled that the cruelty of his counselors was the cause of this evil. They complained, they lamented, and then, openly raging that the men responsible for such a wrong ought to be killed, they decided to hunt them down and punish them. With the people thus aroused, two men of the rabble, Thomas Flammock, a petty lawyer, and Michael Joseph, a blacksmith, daring fellows, came forth as leaders of the uprising. When they saw that the mob was inflamed anger and rage, they did not refrain from inciting it yet further, shouting like madmen that it was an unworthy crime that the wretched Cornishmen should particularly be oppressed by taxation with such harshness, in reaction to a trifling and quickly settled inroad by the Scots (for these men, altogether ignorant of affairs of state, imagined the war to be extinguished, when it was blazing at its hottest). For, having been born in least fruitful of regions, they most of all men were obliged to seek their livings with their hands, applying themselves night and day to the mining of tin exclusively. Thus it was preferable to suffer anything than to exist amidst such great violence and misery. And they especially blamed John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Reginald Bray, because they were the leaders of the Privy Council. This is the reward commonly enjoyed by those who have power at court: if something goes well, the sovereign gets the credit, but if things go badly, the blame is shouldered by his councilors. If they would ponder this well with an unprejudiced mind, they would scarcely think it worth their while to expend so much effort in aspiring to that position. Now back to my subject. And so the leaders urged that the Cornishmen take up arms immediately and not fear to follow themselves, promising that they would suffer no harm, nor would those men get off scot-free who were responsible for hounding the people with their taxes. But if they saw some men (and they saw plenty) who disapproved their imprudent, ruinous, and criminal plan and called it the height of folly to risk their necks over a business about which they ought humbly to petition the king, they would expend many words on calling them cowards, fools, and sluggards: thus these very rascally leaders were so hell-bent on destroying themselves and their followers. A goodly part of the people, aroused by their words, at length gave no uncertain signs of being in agreement with them. They lauded the boldness of the people, and when they had prepared what was needful for their departure, they led their band of roiling dregs towards Wells, bound for London, where they heard the king was staying. When the king was informed abut these things by certain men sent by his tax-collectors, it greatly stung him that at one and the same inconvenient time he was being troubled by two wars, one external and one domestic. Since both threatened him with equal danger, for a little while he weighed in his mind which he should prefer to the other. Meanwhile he learned that James Touchet Lord Audley had united with the Cornishmen, and that they were quickly approaching London. Then, when he saw that the domestic war was at his doorstep, he elected to turn all his powers against it, so that, with it settled, he might more conveniently devote his attention to Scottish affairs. Therefore he recalled Giles Daubney, who was on the march with his army towards Scotland, and by holding a new levy he enlarged his forces. Likewise, lest the Scots harry, disturb, and harass the bordering English while he was preoccupied with this domestic war, he sent Earl Thomas of Surrey, a nobleman excellently endowed with virtue, whom, as I have said above, he had captured in his war against Richard, but had freed a little earlier, and afterwards created Lord Treasurer of England in place of the deceased John Dynham, into Country Durham, where he was to collect some band of armed men and join the other nobles of the region in warding off the enemy from the border until, having weakening and suppressing the fury of the Cornishmen, he could send Giles Daubney with an army. Meanwhile, hearing of this terrible uprising, noblemen and brave knights came to London from all sides, each one leading the company of soldiers he had recruited. In this number were Earl Henry of Essex, William Lord Montjoy, Earl Edmund of Suffolk, Richard Thomas, William Say, Thomas Howard, the son of the Earl of Surrey, a distinguished and vigorous young man, Robert Litton, Thomas Baud, Robert Clifford, William Danvers, George de Vere, Thomas Tyrell, Richard Fitzlewis, John Rainsforth, Thomas Montgomery, John Wingfield, Robert Broughton, James Tyrell, Robert Fennis, William Carey, Robert Drury, John Andell, Robert Wingfield and his brother Richard, Robert Brandon, Thomas West Lord de la Ware, Thomas Feinnes Lord Dacres, David Owen, Henry Ross, John Denevis, Henry Dilliger, John Powlet, Thomas Troyes, William Sandys, Edmund Grey of Wilton, John Verney, Thomas Brian, Richard de a Pole, Thomas Harcourt, John Hampton, Edward Berkeley, William Boleyn with his son Thomas, Henry Haydon, Robert Clarence, Philip Calthorpe, Robert Lovell, James Hubert, John Wyndham, John Bourchier, Thomas Wood, Matthew Brown, John Say, Thomas Frowick, and many other men of lesser station most e.xperienced at fighting, to keep defend city and country alike from the power of the approaching enemies. During those same days King Charles of France, returning from the Neapolitan war, sent ambassadors to Henry to describe what he had accomplished in Italy, and who were also given certain mandates which pertained to the retention of Henry’s good will. For nothing was more important to Charles than to maintain his friendship with the English king, since he had enmeshed himself and his nation in the manifold snares of the Italian war, from which he has not up to the present day (which is the year of salvation 1523) disentangled himself. Learning that Charles’ ambassadors had arrived at Calais, Henry sent some lords to meet them on their arrival, to deliberately delay them at Dover until the sedition had been suppressed, and to take care lest any rumor of such things reach there ears. This they did with diligence.
35. Meanwhile the Cornishmen left Wells, where they had happily accepted James Lord Touchet as their commander. First they came to Salisbury, then Winchester, and finally to Kent, hoping that the common folk of that shire would easily join their alliance. They were greatly mistaken. For Earl George of Kent was swift in being up in arms, and likewise George Lord Burgenne, John de la Pole Lord Cobham, Thomas Bourchier, Edward Poinings, Richard Gilford, William Scott, James Cromer, John Peche, John Darell, Henry Wyatt, Richard Haulte, John Fogge, and others devoted to protecting their nation from all mischiefmaking and to holding the people to their duty. And the Kentishmen, partly mindful how their uprisings had previously harmed them, and partly restrained by the watchful eyes of their nobles, were so far from being willing to join the mob that they had already avoided having any contact or conversation with them, so that they would fall under no suspicion with the king. This thing so deflated the spirits of the cowardly throng at immediately thereafter no small number of them lost their enthusiasm and, furtively stealing away by night, went home. And the leaders of the mob, seeing they were making no impression at all on the Kentishmen, relied on their strength and led the entire throng to a hill near London called Blackheath. Encamping on the flat space atop the hill, they ordered their followers to arm themselves so they could come to blows with the king if he should come to meet them, or else to attack the city. For they imagined that the king was panic-stricken and that thus far he had not dared think about coming to meet them. And therefore with higher spirits, as if full of certainty of victory, they decided to invade the city in which the king had shut himself up. But Henry, quite the contrary to what they thought, acted as he did because he had deliberately refused to oppose the mob, so that he might suddenly surround it more safely when it was far home, from where it would have no hope of support, be wearied by its lengthy march, and, its rage all but wholly subsided, would already be regretting its rashness. Meanwhile fear mounted hourly within the city, the alarm was sounded in every ward, men came running to the gates, and likewise the watch and ward was wonderfully maintained lest by chance that mob of paupers might suddenly descend on them to get within the walls and steal the townsmen’s wealth. Thus by royal command, and thanks to the effort, care, and wisdom of John Tate, the Lord Mayor, and the Sheriffs John Shaw and Richard Haddon, the city was defended, armed, and ready to defend itself against any sudden incursions and assaults by the mob. Then the king quickly relieved everybody of their fears, for when he learned the mob of Cornishmen were ready on the nearby hill, bent on a fight late in the day, he sent Henry Bourchier Earl of Essex and Richard Thomas Earl of Suffolk, excellent captains, with a great number of archers and horse to surround the hill to the left and right, so that they would block all the roads and deprive the enemy of all hope of escape. Afterwards he himself issued forth from the city with a very strong army, going against the hill, and he sent ahead Giles Daubney with a company of soldiers. When that man came to the hill, then the earls, together with Richard Thomas, attacked the enemy and routed them at their first collision. More than 2,000 were killed when they offered resistance, countless number were captured, including the leaders of the mob, who were executed shortly thereafter. Michael Joseph, one of the two leaders of that dregs, was possessed of a certain craving for glory. For they say that, while being dragged to his death, he hoped that his deed would make his name immortal. Thus hunger for glory fires men of middling and low degree just as much as it does the wellborn. The king lost scarcely 300 from his army, and spared the lives of the other captives, as was his custom. But he was not so gentle towards the leaders. Not content with their punishment he wanted the dismembered parts of Thomas Flammock and Michael Joseph to be hung up in the traditional way throughout Cornwall, so that their punishment would be better known and attested. But he heard that those at home were not crestfallen by this defeat, and were not unready to undertake new risings, if provoked, and so changed his mind lest he load himself down with greater cares at a time he had taken so many to settle domestic seditions, so that he might be reader to devote himself to the Scottish war, for the present content with his success.
36. While these things were happening among the English, King James of Scots learned by his spies that no English army had been readied against himself, and King Henry and nobles were being distracted a while by the Cornishmen’s civil discord aimed against themselves. And so he thought that the should take the lead in beginning a war which, he was sure, his enemy would otherwise wage against himself as soon as these seditions allowed. Swiftly entering English territory once more he wasted and burned fields, holding his hand from no place, and while part of his followers ravaged County Durham far and wide, he himself with the rest of his soldiers attacked Norham, situated on the border between England and Scotland, a possession of the Bishop of Durham. A little before the enemies’ arrival, Richard Fox, that bishop, had fortified the place with a strong garrison, for he foresaw that when he saw Henry had his hands full with the discord, the Scots king would take the first opportunity to make inroads into England. This is the Richard Fox whom I have previously identified as the Bishop of Exeter, who, for his singular virtue of mind, had been called to the see of Bath and Wells, and finally from there to Durham. He quickly sent messengers to the king, who was then at London, informing him of all that had transpired. Likewise by means of other hand-picked men, as swiftly as he could he summoned Earl Thomas of Surrey, who had already recruited a goodly number of soldiers in Yorkshire. Thomas, informed that the situation was dangerous, hastened on his way, and he was followed with equal speed by nobles from all quarters, each one of whom had assembled as great a band of soldiers as his resources allowed. Among these, those most notable for their virtue and martial skill were Earl Ralph of Westmoreland, Thomas Dacres, George Strange, Ralph Neville, Richard Lattimore, George Lumley, John Scrope, George Ogle, Thomas Baron Helton, Henry Clifford, William Conyers, Thomas Darcey. Likewise the brave and prudent knights William Percy, and three others of the same name, Bulmer, Gascoigne, and Pennington; three Ralphs, Bigot, Bouys, and Elarker; Thomas Appare and two others of that name, Wharton and Strangeways; eight Johns, Constable, Ratcliffe, Saville, Govers, Musgrave, Mallory, Aloder, and Everingham; Brian Stapleton, Thomas Wortley, Marmaduke Constable, Christopher Pickering and a second Christopher, Ward, Walter Strickland, Roger Bellingham, William Heron, Ralph Grey, Nicholas Ridley, Walter Griffith, John Heron, Ralph Fenwick, Robert Warcop, Roland Tempest, James Metcalf, and a host of other men who were of lower station but very much their equals when it came to virtue. And the Scots, having spent a number of days besieging the castle, to their great inconvenience, had been unable to breach any par of the fortifications, and now were of their own free will abandoning the siege when rumor reported that Thomas was approaching with an army and was about two days away. Then the king, seeing no reason for the moment to waste further effort on attempting to storm the city, broke camp and left his enemies’ territory. But Thomas, learning of the king’s departure, followed by forced marches and entered Scotland in the sure hope of overtaking him or fighting some battle. But since the king had gone farther than it was feasible for him to pursue, and since he was running out of provisions (in his haste, he had taken only enough for a few days), after widely wasting the countryside he led his army back to County Durham, where he decided to encamped until he could learn Henry’s plan for the war.
37. Amidst these things Pedro de Ayala came Scotland a man of great intelligence and prudence, although possessed with no similar education, sent by King Ferdinand of Spain to King James to negotiate a truce between the kings. For Ferdinand and his wife Isabella, a woman all but unmatched in Christendom, enjoyed a great friendship with Henry, and hoped for nothing more than for kinship to obtain between them, since their daughter Catherine had been affianced to his son Arthur Prince of Wales. Likewise, they had equal affinity with James King of Scots. Therefore Ferdinand freely offered himself as an agent for making peace between the two kings. Pedro immediately began to deal earnestly with James to discover by what conditions peace could to made, and, since he was in high hopes, he wrote a letter asking Henry that he send some representative to join him in completing the business. Henry was a lover and (if I may say so) a son of peace, inasmuch as he could be without suffering great inconvenience, and particularly at the time when he was being troubled by his subjects’ seditions, promptly assigned the task to Richard Bishop of Durham, who was near at hand, of joining Pedro as soon as he could. And so Richard and Pedro (the latter serving as an umpire for the peace) met with a Scottish delegation. Here countless conditions were proposed, but after a lengthy debate they all failed to satisfy. The obstacle was that Henry demanded Peter Warbeck be handed over him, being a disturber of the peace of his realm. For his part, King James flatly refused to make any concession which could be held against him afterwards. Although he had already begun to divine the fraud, nevertheless, since Peter was his kinsman, he thought it a very shameful wrong to hand a man over for the killing. And so many days were wasted, and in the end, since no peace could obtain between minds so differently disposed, in lieu of a peace they settled on a truce to last for several years, upon condition that James would immediately banish Peter Warbeck from all of Scotland. While these things were happening elsewhere, with great congratulation King Henry gave an audience to those ambassadors of King Charles, whom I have previously recorded were kept back so as not to come to him while the Cornish business was brewing. He received an embassy from Prince Philippe of Flanders with equal friendliness, for they had come in search of friendship and a treaty, which he was most happy to grant, for this was very opportune amidst his domestic troubles. Having thus gained peace with his neighboring nations, he finally wrote a letter giving great thanks to Ferdinand and Isabella for having arranged this recent peace between himself and the King of Scots, and suitably rewarded their representative Pedro. This concord of kings occurred in the year of human salvation 1497, the twelfth of Henry’s reign. But Pedro de Ayala remained at Henry’s court, taking this occasion to arrange a betrothal between his son Arthur Prince of Wales and Ferdinand’s daughter Catherine soon thereafter, at a time and place to be decided after the girl had become nubile. I return to the King of Scots.
38. King James of Scotland did not break his word. Now being dead sure that he had been the victim of a fraud, he summoned Peter Warbeck and, gently reminding him of all the benefits he had conferred, urged him to migrate to some other country where he could live in peace until a better opportunity for conducting his business offered itself. For he himself had been obliged to make peace with the King of England, and because of the affinity he enjoyed with the king and valued so highly, it was scarcely possible that in the future he could take up arms in Peter’s name, as he had gladly done at the beginning when he hoped that Peter would be furnished with timely help by his English friends. But since this expectation had proved to be in vain, he told him he should not take this delay amiss, for it might turn out to be helpful for him in his affliction. Saying these and similar things, he told Peter to go elsewhere. And he, learning the king’s will, was devastated by this desertion, now seeing that there was nothing left for him among the Scots. Although he was not able to requite the many benefits he had received from them, nevertheless, so as not to appear to be an ingrate, he accepted the king’s command calmly, and a few days later took his wife and left for Ireland, with the idea of returning to Margaret in Flanders, or of attaching himself to the Cornishmen. But, whichever it was, while he lingered in Ireland in a fever of uncertainty, reliable messengers informed him that the Cornishmen, undeterred by their recent disaster, were still badly affected towards Henry and ready to take up arms once more to avenge the wrong. And so, thinking it would be useful not to ignore this proffered opportunity, went flying to them without delay. He solicited them, he incited them, he promised them such great things that a stroke he was hailed as their leader, with all men shouting they would obey his commands. Restored to good hope by these things, Peter decided that nothing should be done rashly. First he should go in all directions, gaining power over fortified places that could serve for his protection. Then, having increased his forces, he should attack all who offered resistance. Adopting this strategy, he attacked and besieged Exeter. Since he lacked artillery to batter down its walls, he only sought to smash its gates opens, and with great vigor he began to pound them with stones, pry at them with steel, heap them with wood, and set them afire. At first, the townsmen, seeing the walls surrounded by the the enemy at one point, and a fire to be started at another, were afraid. But they immediately let down messengers from the walls during the night, who were to inform the king. Then they courageously decided to fight fire with fire and, since the bars of the gates were already shattered, they added their own wood to the fire, so that the flames raging on either side would both prevent the enemy from coming within and their own citizens from leaving. And meanwhile they themselves dug ditches inside in front of the entry days and made earthworks. Thus all of the besiegers’ efforts around the gates came to naught, and fire rescued the citizenry from fire. Then Peter, of necessity breaking off the fight at the gates, attacked the city at various points where it seemed weaker, and, bringing up ladders, frequently tried to take the walls, suffering great losses. Meanwhile he hoped that the burghers would be overwhelmed either by fear or want of provisions, could be impelled to surrender.
39. Hearing the news, the king was no slower in leading an army to Exeter than the situation required. He sent ahead a goodly number of light horse to let everyone know of his approach. For meanwhile, under the leadership of Edward Courteney Earl of Devonshire and his son William, an excellent and very brave young man, every noble hastened to come to the aid of Exeter with a great company of soldiers. Among these were Thomas Trenchard, Edmund Carew, Thomas Fulford, William Courteney, John Halliwell, John Croker, Walter Courteney, Peter Edgercombe, and William St. Maurice. When these things came to Peter’s ears, he abandoned the siege and removed to Taunton, the nearest town. There he reviewed his army and drew it up for the coming battle, although it later came to light that he had no great trust in that army. A goodly part were armed only with swords, otherwise unarmed, and ignorant of how to fight. Learning of his enemies’ departure, Henry headed straight for Taunton. Duke Edward of Buckingham arrived there, a young man endowed with great spirit and virtue of character, and he was followed by a host of right noble knights with armor and all the other things requisite for warfare. In that number were Giles Briggs, Alexander Baynham, Maurice Berkeley, Robert Tames, John Guise, Robert Point, Henry Vernon, John Mortimer, Thomas Tremayle, Edward Sutton, Amyas Powlet, John Bicknell, John Sapcot, Hugh Luterell, John Wadham and his son Nicholas, John Speck, Richard Beauchamp of St. Amand, Francis Cheney, Rogerd Tokett, Thomas Long, Nicholas Lattimer, John d’Urbeville, William Storton, Roger Newberg, William Martin, Thomas Lind, Henry Rogers, Walter Hungerford, John Semery, Edward Carell, Maurice Borroughs, William Norris, John Langford, Richard Corbett, Thomas Blount, Richard Lacon, Thomas Cornwallis, and many other excellent soldiers. Meanwhile, when the king had come up, either to avoid delaying the fight or fearing the fortune of war, he sent ahead Robert Lord Broke, Richard Thomas, and Giles Daubney to begin the battle, while he followed after, so that, when he saw the battle begin, he could either come to the aid of his men or launch a simultaneous attack on the enemy rear. But the king’s plan was unnecessary. For Peter was so far from standing his ground, that after he learned the enemy were in arms, he furtively slipped away in the night and quickly fled to the asylum at Beaulieu Abbey. Whether he did this out of cowardice (with which he was well supplied), or because he suspected trickery, is not known, but it is well enough agreed that it was a good thing for the king that he was not compelled to come to blows with the Cornishmen, whose strength was so enhanced by despair that they had all determined on conquering or dying to the last man in that battle. Learning that Peter had decamped, Henry sent out horsemen in every direction to follow him and seek his capture, but he, having covered most of the distance, was not seen before he reached the asylum. But not so his captains, who were taken in mid-flight and brought to the king. And the mob, when they could not see Peter nor his captains’ standards, having no idea where he was, whether he had been killed by some trick or had fled, were unsure of what counsel to take or what was best to do. In the end, learning of his shameful flight, everybody, immediately unhinged by their common evil, their common fear, their common danger, cast aside their weapons and began to hold up their hands, and out of his kindness the king readily forgave them. Being a victor without having had a fight, he went to Exeter, where he praised the citizenry for having done its duty and extended his thanks, and while there he presided over the execution of some of the Cornishmen responsible for the recent rising. Meanwhile the king’s horsemen rode as far as St. Michael’s Mount, and there they found Peter’s wife Catherine and brought her captive to the king. Henry, marveling at the woman’s beauty, thought she was not plunder for soldiers, but worthy of an emperor, and forthwith sent her to the queen at London with an escort of honorable matrons, as a sure harbinger of the victory he had won.
40. While staying at Exeter, the king scarcely imagined he had conquered or had removed all occasion for rebellion, unless he were to lay his hands on Peter, the head man of that plague. First he surrounded the asylum by two squadrons of horse so that no hope of escape would remain for Peter. Then, proposing a pardon and amnesty for everything he had done, he sent trusty messengers to make trial of the young man, to see if he would submit. Peter, now lacking in hope, lacking a home, lacking a fortune, when he saw he was enmeshed in these supreme difficulties because he was relying on that desperadoes’ refuge, and calculated that all future ability gain to success had slipped through his hands, and had heard that a pardon was being offered, at length, relying on the faith of the nation, voluntarily came out of the asylum, and placed himself in Henry’s power. And so this great rising was suddenly put down. Having waged this war with success and wonderfully happy, the king went to London. Wherever he went, men came running to have a look at Peter, a source of wonderment for everybody. For he, a foreign-born man relying on nothing else but the recommendation of his betters (although it was proclaimed otherwise), had dared cause trouble for such a great kingdom with his pranks and by his wily schemes, and had led so many people and sovereigns to believe the lies he had said about himself, not without their great harm. A rumor came to Flanders that Peter had achieved nothing, but rather was in chains, and this brought Princess Margaret many tears, for she had spent many fearful nights waiting news of his doings. Having done these things with success, Henry, not unaware that the greatest enticement to wrongdoing is the hope of impunity, quickly held an inquisition so that he might henceforth keep his subjects loyal more easily. He discovered that there were many men, both in Devonshire and Someret, who had helped the Cornishmen with their money and provisions when they were undertaking this war, and afterwards when they were routed and fleeing homeward. And he decided to mulct these people of as much as they could pay, in proportion to the gravity of their offence. He assigned this responsibility to Sir Amyas Powlet, who soon thereafter was given Robert Scherburn, Dean of St. Paul’s, as a colleague. They first swept like a gale through the fortunes of virtual the inhabitants of both counties, so that no man implicated in that capital affair could evade his deserved punishment. But they dealt more mildly with many men who had committed their misdeeds out of fear or compulsion, rather than free will.
41. In this same year a sudden thing, and initially one of no great consequence, so renewed the tension between Henry and James that they could scarcely restrain their hands, and it was such as this. Certain armed young Scots came along by the castle at Norham, and quietly looked around, as if wishing to learn what was happening there. Since nothing had a hostile look and they were already departing, the castle garrison thought there was nothing to investigate and did not move. But when the same people returned there the following day, a sudden suspicion arose in the minds of the English, and they called out to ask why they had come: was it for the sake of spying? To these words the Scots gave a somewhat sharp retort. Minds were angered on both sides by these words and they restored to arms. And after many had been wounded on both sides, some of the Scotsmen were killed, and the rest compelled to flee by the English, who outnumbered them. Hearing of this, James began to exclaim that nothing was more uncertain than to possess a peace with the English, and likewise wrote a letter to Henry expostulating about these things rather wrathfully and vehemently. Henry, who attached no greater importance to anything than peace and the friendship of neighboring kings, so that eventually, after all his many exertions undergone since boyhood, he might be permitted to exist in honorable leisure, responded that was not done by his will but by the soldiers’ rashness, so that he did not consider the peace to have been violated. He himself would investigate the matter, and if his subjects were guilty they would go unpunished. This reply, albeit a very reasonable one, did not put an end to the towering wrath by which the King of Scots was agitated. And so nothing was more important to Richard Bishop of Durham, who was aggrieved more than anyone else because this matter had been started by his men, who held the castle, than to placate James. He wrote him frequent letters in which he asked, if his mind had been offended a little by the mistake of his men, he should have recourse to his habitual mildness, kindness, and grace. The king, taking into consideration Richard’s faith and gravity, and because his anger was cooling off, replied to these letters politely, and because it had entered his head to discuss some ideas he was entertaining, asked the bishop to come to him to deal with the incidents which had lately occurred. Richard quickly reported James’ request to Henry, and, since the reason for the conference appeared reasonable, he permitted him to go. The king received Richard affably at Melrose Abby on the Scots border, a Cistercian house. First he lodged a complaint about the recent killing of his subjects, but easily forgave the wrong. Then, with all third parties removed, he pointed out how long-standing and just were the connections that bound himself to Henry, and stated he was very eager to strengthen them with a greater tie of amity. And this would doubtless come to pass if Henry would bestow on him his eldest daughter Margaret. He had already been minded to seek her hand by means of an embassy and would quickly do so, if Henry was not otherwise disposed, so that his request would be denied. Richard responded guardedly, promising his assistance and giving the king grounds for optimism, should he send his ambassadors. Then he went home and reported to the king all that had been transacted with James. This wonderfully delighted Henry since peace was dearest to his heart, and he had already made up his mind to give no grounds for a war. Not many days had passed before James’ delegation made its appearance, asking Margaret’s hand in marriage. Henry gave them an audience, and then referred the matter to his Privy Council. Some suspected it might someday come to pass Margaret would inherit the throne, and so thought she should not be bestowed on a foreigner. To this the king responded, “What then? Should anything of the kind happen (and God avert the omen), I foresee that our realm would suffer no harm, since England would not absorbed by Scotland, but rather Scotland by England, being the noblest head of the entire island, since there is always less glory and honor in being joined to that which is far the greater, just as Normandy once came under the rule and power of our ancestors the English.” And so the king’s wisdom was praised and they unanimously approved the measure. Margaret was betrothed to King James.
42. Now their dying day began to draw near for Peter Warbeck and Earl Edward of Warwick, since they were sunk by the same storm. For Peter, either because he was irked by being kept in custody, or solicited to a new rebellion by his friends, or again because he was always driven by an urge for self-destruction, decided to attempt an escape, hoping for a chance of success, if only he could escape the clutches of the English. And although he was not unaware that there was nothing he could do, attempt, or plan which could long escape Henry’s notice, he was nevertheless impelled by the hope of getting away which had so far consoled him in his unhappiness. He preferred to make the attempt than suffer his present misfortune any longer. Therefore he deceived his jailors and fled. But he only managed to put himself into tighter confinement and hastened his execution. For while he hastened towards the coast, but had only gone a short distance, news spread of his escape, and all the roads were blocked by the royal servants who had been his guardians. Terrified by the shouts of his pursuers and forced to turn aside from his intended way, he came to Bethlehem Abbey, a Carthusian monastery, and threw himself on the mercy of the prior of the place, humbly begging him to go to the king and intercede for his life. The prior, taking pity on the man’s misfortune, went to the king and told him about Peter, pleading for his life with many entreaties, and this he obtained. And so Peter was fetched back to the court at Westminster and subjected to disgrace. He was placed outside the front door in stocks for an entire day, and was jeered by the common folk, who spared him no insult. On the day he was brought through London for all to see, and subject to the same humiliation for a number of hours in the market place. Finally he was thrown into the Tower. And Earl Edward, who had been imprisoned since childhood, so far removed from the sight of man and beast that he could not easily tell a chicken from a goose, although he had deserved no punishment by his own wrongdoing and had been brought to this by another man’s fault. There was certain Augustinian monk named Patrick, who, I suppose, for the purpose of making the earl unpopular, began to suborn a disciple of his (whose name, as far as I know, is not recorded) and drum into his ears that he could easily gain the throne, if he would agree to follow his advice. The student not only did not refuse, but asked again and again asked him to be quick in putting his design in to practice. For what man is there who fears the law or danger to the extent that he refuses to do or suffer anything in the world for the sake of gaining a crown? Therefore the monk shared his plan and both of them went boldly to Kent, a county on other occasions not deaf to innovations. There the young man first revealed to some the secret that he was Edward of Warwick, lately escaped from the Tower of London by Patrick’s help and art. Then he openly proclaimed this and begged all men’s help. But the sedition lost its leadership before they could bring it to fruition, when teacher and pupil were both enchained, the latter put to death, and the former consigned to eternal darkness of prison because he was a monk. For among the English the clergy are held in such respect that a priest condemned of treason, like ordained priests guilty of other crimes, is spared his life, which has come about since by ancient custom bishops do not have the right to try cases for these kinds of wrongdoing, and so they cannot defrock men thus condemned, who are consequently not put to death. What about the fact that those convicted of a capital crime who know how to read are treated the same way, except for traitors? This is because they are deemed to be akin to the clergy, and thus are spared and imprisoned. But, in case they should escape, lest they have any further hope of leading a normal life, the letter M, for murder, is branded on the palm of their right hand beneath the base of the thumb, or else T, for theft. If those thus branded are caught committing the same crime again, they are put to death on the spot. Henry himself was responsible for introducing this custom, in the second year of his reign, and I believe he borrowed it from the French. For among them, convicts of that stripe usually have an ear cropped, a sure sign of their evildoing ever thereafter. Out of respect for religion, the burden of keeping convicted priests in custody is placed on bishops, who are fined if any convicts escape. And this custom does a fine job of nourishing, increasing, and arming the brotherhood of thieves, since countless dodges have been invented by which they are let out of prison at one time or another, somehow cleared of their guilt for larceny or homicide over no man’s objection. For if the offended and injured party does not proceed with an action, then the man accused of the theft is freed right at the beginning, and departs, together with his plaguey nuisancemaking, to the ruin of his partners in crime. It is said that these two had decided to bribe some of the guards who would release them from jail after the Governor of the Tower had been murdered, and to take along Earl Edward of Warwick to enjoy the same freedom, whom they had already put in hope of this. But their scheme was revealed and did not go forward, and Edward, frustrated in his hope and in his intent, was made to stand trial along with his confederates and was condemned, and Peter was executed by hanging a few days later. This was Peter’s punishment for his deadly pretense, who in his lifetime was the death of many great men, and in death took a number of others along with himself. Among these was Earl Edward of Warwick, beheaded because, as rumor had it, he had collaborated in the attempt to escape, for attempting to corrupt jailors is very much a capital offence. These things were done in the year of human salvation 1498, the thirteenth of Henry’s reign.
43. In the following year occurred a notable plague, which killed more than 30,000 at London and many elsewhere, and a memorable fire which burned down the royal palace alongside the Thames, which Henry replaced with a new structure and called Richmond, since he was formerly earl of that district. And so, to avoid the plague, the king crossed over to Calais, to see that during this spell of peacetime its garrison not grow slack in its watches, constantly maintained against sudden inroads by its neighbors. While he was staying at Calais, Prince Philippe of Flanders came to him to pay his duty and received a very warm welcome, and by new agreements they greatly strengthened the treaty recently arranged by their ambassadors. Meanwhile the plague burned itself out and Henry returned to England. He had scarcely arrived when Gaspar Pous, a Spaniard distinguished both for his learning and morals, came, sent by Pope Alexander to open a highway whereby the English might travel to heaven itself. A jubilee year was being celebrated at Rome (this was the year of human salvation 1500), and to relieve remote peoples of the exertion of traveling there, this pious pope sent out legates in ever direction to impart this celestial grace on Christians who could not go to Rome because of wars, the journey, or grudges. But this gesture of liberality did not have its cost. For Alexander, in his concern for men’s salvation, decided to use this honorable cause as a means of catering to his own advantage as well, and so he put a price on his grace. So that the king would not stand in the way of this, he offered him a share of this grace, and so that the people would help him out more generously, he gave it out that he would soon be waging a war against the Turks. Therefore he amassed no mean sum of money, and no war has yet been undertaken against the Turks (who in the meantime had taken a number of Christian towns), but God grant us better. This year was remarkable for the deaths of three prelates, those of John Morton Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Langton Bishop of Winchester, and Thomas Rotherham Archbishop of York. This last was succeeded by Thomas Savage Bishop of London, the fifty-fifth in the series of Archbishops of York. Henry Dean Bishop of Salisbury was made Archbishop of Canterbury, the sixty-fifth in that series, and Richard Fox Bishop of Durham was made Bishop of Winchester. But those times were made far more memorable by two very splendid marriages. For Henry bestowed his daughter Margaret on James King of Scots, and King Ferdinand of Spain gave his daughter Catherine to Henry Prince of Wales, and the weddings of both these girls were celebrated amidst all manner of games. Henry entered into this affinity with the Scottish king not unwillingly, since nothing was more important for him than to lead the rest of his life free from arms, and he thought this marriage would mean that the King of Scots would make no more hostile attempts on him, and none of his subjects would henceforth find refuge amongst the Scots. And so the kings agreed that henceforth no man might travel from England to Scotland, or vice versa, without a letter of commendation from his sovereign. But Arthur, who came to London for his marriage, soon returned to his principality of Wales with his wife, where his father had sent him a few years previously so that the young man might learn the art of good government. To keep him from putting his foot wrong he gave him a household of very upright man. For he gave him his kinsman Richard de la Pole, a very excellent and well-endowed gentleman, as a chamberlain, and likewise placed on his council Sir William Udall, Sir Richard Croft, Sir Peter Newton, Sir Henry Warnham, and Sir Thomas Englefield, an upright man; also John Walston, Henry Marine, and William Smith, a priest and head of the council, and Charles Booth, a very learned lawyer. The latter is now Bishop of Hereford, and the former used to be Bishop of Lincoln.
44. But inasmuch as it often happens that happiness and sadness derive from the same source, it is worthwhile for me to go back and describe the marriage of Arthur and Catherine, after explaining what had intervened. For a few months previously Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, the son of Duke John of Suffolk and King Edward’s sister Elizabeth, a bold fellow, brave, headstrong in his counsels, was guilty of homicide because he killed a lowborn man in a quarrel, and, although the king spared him, he took it amiss that he was called required to stand his trial as an accused man (for this is a mark of disgrace). A little later he went to his maternal aunt Margaret in Flanders, without obtaining royal leave. But immediately thereafter he so excused his deed to Henry that he seemed to be free of guilt, and therefore came home with immunity. And so while the marriage of Arthur and Catherine was being celebrated at London and all the people were given over to pleasure, and while Henry in particular was relishing his happiness, he went back to Flanders with his brother Richard, either because he was oppressed by debt (he had contracted a lot for that marriage), or was solicited by his aunt, or again because he was provoked by envy, not being able to stand the sight of Henry, a man of the opposing faction, reigning for so many years. I believe this regrettable thing happened amidst the general rejoicing so Henry would not immediately die for pure happiness, which is recorded to have happened on other occasions. When he heard about Edmund’s flight he was very troubled, and at that time began to fear new uprisings. He cursed his slackness for having spared the man, although it was clear enough he had done that deliberately and was dissimulating with Edmund until he had gathered some evidence about a conspiracy, since all signs were telling him one was afoot. Therefore as soon as the earl came back from Flanders Sir Robert Curzon, Governor of the Castle of Hammes, a brave yet thoughtful man, who had been knighted by the king, fled to Flanders just as if he were a member of the conspirators, no doubt to spy out what Margaret was up to. This was men’s opinion from the beginning, and still prevails today. They find their proof in the fact that Robert went over to Henry’s enemies without having received any provocation, as far as anybody knows, and after everything had been brought to light, revealed, suppressed, and avenged, Henry took him back into his good graces. Whatever the matter was, whether he acted by a failure of judgment or as a trick, after the marriages were celebrated Henry was so careful, diligent, and vigilant that he found out partly who was contriving any harm for himself, and partly who failed to remain loyal in their disposition, and identified them by name. Within a few days a goodly portion were arrested. Among these was William Courteney, the son of Edward Courteney Earl of Devonshire, a man of great nobility, esteem, and virtue, who was married to King Edward’s daughter Catherine. Also Earl Edmund’s brother, James Tyrell, and John Wyndham. Both Williams were put in custody out of suspicion rather than for any known guilt, because of their kinship to conspirators, so that there they might pay for any misdeeds they had done. And so William Courtney was freed some years later by Henry VIII, who succeeded his father Henry on the throne, and was held in great honor and favor. But when he returned to his pursuit of the military art he easily fell ill with that disease they call pleurisy (which is rare among the English, and so is unfamiliar), and died because of the incompetence of his physicians. He left a single son named Henry, the heir to his virtues. The other William received a much more gentle custody from the king. But James and John were executed. Edmund, hearing his friends had partly been put to death and partly sentenced to life imprisonment, began to be afraid for himself, and, despairing of success for the present, began to wander through various peoples of Germany and France. When nobody offered him safe refuge, he at length understood that no human help or effort can avoid a sad end when a man has it coming to him, and put himself into the hands of Prince Philippe of Flanders. But his brother Richard, a man of experience, sailed the same sea so carefully that he encountered no terrible storm.
45. Henry had scarcely freed himself from the peril of this domestic conspiracy when he had a greater concern about restraining some of the conspirators who had retired to various asylums, their to wait until a better opportunity presented itself. For it occurred to him that he should bar those religious cloisters so that no bane might issue forth from them. So he wrote a letter to Pope Alexander and dealt with him by his ambassadors that he should pronounce all English exiles enemies of religion, as men who disturbed the people and incited to riot, and that asylums should no longer be refuges for men who had once departed them. This the Pope granted, and this was advantageous to Henry, since many more readily returned to their sanity out of fear of this disgrace, and those who were safe were not so bold in exposing themselves to further danger. Therefore, with matters settled to Henry’s satisfaction, a manifold grief suddenly arose. For five months after his marriage to Catherine Prince Arthur departed this life. It is said that Catherine feared this sad end to her marriage from the very beginning, from the moment she left her parents’ embrace and boarded ship, sine she was long storm-tossed by a savage tempest until she finally came to land. Likewise Queen Elizabeth, a most choice woman, died, having given birth to a girl who only lived for a few days. Reginald Bray followed the queen in returning to heaven. He was truly the father of his nation, an austere man and such a lover of rectitude that he would sometimes chastise Henry, should he go astray. This duty had also been performed by John Morton who, as I have said, died two years previously. Thus these two men had restrained royal power, even if the general opinion ran that they corrupted the king’s character. The common man is just as wrong as a sovereign is right, when he heeds and obeys his advisors. And in those same days died Henry Archbishop of Canterbury, who was succeeded by William Warham, Bishop of London, the sixty-sixth in his line, and Warham was succeeded in the see of London by William Barons, but he died a few months later. Then came Richard Fitzjames, Bishop of Chichester, a man of ancient stock, much learning, and great goodness. Meanwhile Henry held a parliament, in which no few things were ordained for the good of the commonwealth, including this, that convicted thieves and parricides who were rescued by the benefit of the three letters (i. e. because they can read) should be branded, as I have mentioned a little while ago. After this, money for the commonwealth’s necessary expenses was voted, and the goods of the exiles were proscribed. A synod of the clergy was also held, as was customary, so that they too might help the commonwealth with their money. This was the sixteenth year of Henry’s reign, the year of human salvation 1501.
46. Thus far I have written about bitter wars, criminal seditions, and the deaths of many men. Now at this point it will be timely for me to touch on rivalries of families, disturbances of minds, and vows made. For King Henry, who had arrived at old age, having previously been pricked by the stings of domestic uprisings and rebellions, and hating civil war far worse than death, decided to remove all grounds for such evil of this kind. He was sure he could do this entirely if he weakened his subjects a little, particularly his wealthier ones, knowing full well that abundance makes men more insolent, since they hold next nothing dearer than their wealth, since either the fear of loss or the hope of gain usually leads them to embrace peace or war. But so that he would not be said to have harmed his subjects, since he was their public champion, he bethought himself how this could be done in an honorable way. As he pondered, it came to mind that his Englishmen were so much in the habit of ignoring established laws that undoubtedly very many could be caught out as being in violation thereof, particularly magnates, but also merchants, artisans, lawyers, and husbandmen. Adopting this counsel, he began to review the laws and lightly fine those who failed to observe them. Then he appointed two fiscal judges, Richard Hemson and Edmund Dudley, learned in the Common Law. They competed in gaining greater favor with their sovereign, and from the beginning, armed with a crew of tattle-tales who would denounce men by name, they were able to ignore their duty, their personal risk, and considerations of humanity in comparison with their zeal for money-making, even if they were frequently admonished by the first men in the land that they should sometimes stay their hand. But after the king had made a huge amount of money, he took pity on the people, who prayed God for an end to this evil, and remembered his clemency, kindness, and grace to the extent that he decided to dismiss both justice and return the money they had exacted unjustly.
47. At this time died Queen Isabella of Castile, the wife of King Ferdinand of Aragon, having no male issue. And so the throne of Castile devolved on Joan, her eldest daughter by Ferdinand, married to Prince Philippe of Flanders. And so he acquired that kingdom as a dowry, and, having outfitted a goodly fleet, on about January 1 of the year of human salvation 1504 he set sail from Flanders with his wife, bound for Spain. And he had scarcely gone out on the keep when an evil storm suddenly arose, the winds blowing contrary. His flagship, together with two others, was born to the west coast of the island and he put in at the port of Weymouth. Then the king, a stranger to seafaring, exhausted in both body and mind, boarded a skiff which swiftly brought him to land so he could be refreshed from his weariness and seasickness, although his captains urged against this, as if foreseeing that that excursion would bring him the nuisance of a longer delay. And when it was learned that foreign ships had put in, the locals came running to defend the shore, especially the nobles who lived along the coast, if he were an enemy. But when they discovered he was a friend, Sir Thomas Trenchard, the leader of the throng, went to the king and with great courtesy invited him to his nearby manor. He imagined he could gain credit by detaining him until the king had been informed of his arrival, and simultaneously sent swift messengers to Henry to tell him everything. Meanwhile the rumor of Philippe’s arrival spread wider, and a multitude of men constantly came running to the shore. Before all the others arrived Sir John Carew with a large escort of armed retainers. He joined with Thomas in asking him not to leave before having a conference with his dear friend and close kinsman Henry, whom he knew for sure would be coming within two or at most three days. At first Philippe, pleading the urgency of his business and saying he was very hard-pressed for time, so that delay would work to his harm, refused to wait until Henry arrived. Afterwards, possibly fearing lest he be prevented from returning to his ships should he attempt to do so, was obliged to agree with what they said. Meanwhile Henry, learning of Philippe’s arrival, was affected by incredible happiness, both because of the old tie of friendship which bound them, and also because he foresaw that his arrival would work entirely to his advantage. therefore he used frequent letters and messengers to warn Sir Thomas and Sir John that they should politely delay Philippe until he himself arrived, then sent bevies of lords to meet him and escort him to himself. But Philippe, seeing he was obliged to remain, did not wait for Henry, but went to him at Windsor Castle, and his wife Joan followed not far behind. Here after lengthy and varied conversations the kings began to negotiate the renewal of their treaty. The English king demand the exile Edmund de la Pole to be handed over, but Philippe denied that this was in his power. And although he thought it the worst of crimes to be responsible for the death of a guest, nevertheless in the end, when he saw that Henry (who had freely granted Edmund his life) would accept no excuse or argument, he promised to do everything as Henry desired and immediately arranged for Edmund to be fetched. Afterwards, to create a delay until he had obtained his wish, Henry brought Philippe to London so that he might see the capital of his realm, and after a little delay he escorted him away. Meanwhile Edmund, who had shuddered at Phiippe’s arrival in England, as being fatal to himself, and who knew for certain he could put no more faith in foreign princes, hoped to have his life granted by Henry, and his liberty a little later, or, at least if that hope was ill founded, that he would die and be buried in his own country. Philippe left for Spain, where after a few days he took sick and died, not yet thirty years old. By Joan he fathered six children, to males, Charles and Ferdinand, and four daughters, Eleanor, Isabella, Mary, and Catherine. He was of average height, handsome countenance, thick-set body, and good natured, with a strong and liberal spirit. The storm by which Philippe was driven off course was taken for a prodigy by the common people, since force of the wind which roiled the sea was sufficient to wrench away the brass eagle that served as a weathervane atop the steeple of St. Paul’s cathedral. As it fell to the ground it struck another eagle, the sign of a nearby tavern. Hence superstitious observers were persuaded that the Emperor Maximilian, who used an eagle as his insignia, was going to suffer a misfortune, which doubtless was the loss of his son Philippe.
48. After Philippe’s departure Henry conducted an investigation, and the loyalty of George Neville Lord Burgenne and Sir Thomas Green was called into question, as it was suspected that from the beginning they had had a share in Edmund’s counsels. So he jailed both, but a little later freed them after they had been cleared, although Thomas departed this life before being released. But George, a modest and upright nobleman, who Henry found to be always true to himself, soon came into greater favor than ever. Peace abroad and at home would endure another three years, and there were no more grounds for rebellions, when Henry began to be attacked by a kind of weakness, which overcame him in the springtime of three successive years. And since the common people are wont to share their sovereign’s ills, at the same time that sweating sickness I described at the beginning of the Book returned, but since after many men’s deaths a remedy had now been devised, it inflicted less harm. A third pestilence suddenly broke forth. For by the activity of those fiscal judges I have previously mentioned many of the wealthier sort gradually began to be deprived of the protection of the Common Law. This was a thing both strange to describe and wretched to experience, and yet it was called justice, although it was a perverse misuse of justice, introduce by the corruption of jurors. For sometimes when a man haled somebody else into court, naive, unawares, and without knowledge of the law, he was summoned by name to court on appointed days by a bailiff. And if he failed to respond (and how could he respond, when he was ignorant of the business, and often lived a hundred or even two hundred miles from the court), he was condemned, despoiled of all his goods, and imprisoned as a persistent enemy of his country. But the goods went to the Crown, not the prosecutor. Those who were thus condemned were commonly said to be outlaws, that is, men deprived of all rights granted a man by law. By these machinations a goodly number of men were undone, but in the end, as will be said below, were rescued by the kings final act of grace.
49. Meanwhile Pope Alexander died, and in his place was elected Francesco, a Sienese, the nephew of Pius II, who himself was called Pius. Henry had long since appointed this man his kingdom’s protector at the papal court, and, overjoyed that he had received this honor, immediately sent Sir William Talbot, Richard Beer the Abbot of Glastonbury, and Robert Scherburn as his representatives to congratulate the Pope in his name, and make his traditional oath of obedience. But Pius did not await their congratulations, since he died on the twenty-sixth day after the beginning of his reign. At the same time died Giles Daubney, the royal chamberlain, in whose place was substituted Charles, the bastard son of John, brother to Earl Edmund of Somerset, a proven, honest man. A little later Henry arranged for Guido Ubaldo, Duke of Urbino, to be coopted into the Order of the Garter, a proven man in the military art and equally well read in Latin and Greek. Guido had asked for this distinction so that he would have a share in the honors of his father Federigo, by far the most distinguished sovereign in human memory. And since there was a rumor that Julius II, a man from Liguria, had succeeded Pius, the king sent his delegation to him, and also charged them with delivering the regalia to Guido. Receiving this, he subsequently sent Baldessare Castiglione, an honorable and noble knight of Mantua, as his representative to Henry, so that by means of him they might confer the knighthood of the Garter by proxy. While these things were happening elsewhere, King Louis of France, despairing of fathering male issue, bestowed the hand of his elder Claudia, whom he had betrothed to King Charles of Castille a little earlier, on François de Valois, Dauphin and Duke of Angolesme. Learning of this action, Henry immediately thought it would be advantageous for his daughter Mary, of the same age as Charles, whom he had at home. So ambassadors shuttled to and fro, and the business was finally accomplished at Calais, where the Flemish representatives had assembled, by the work of Richard Bishop of Winchester, the head of his delegation, And so Mary was betrothed to Charles, being ten years of age.
50. Now the end of those three years I have mentioned was at hand, and this was fatal for Henry, since he was now obviously doddering, and saw he had only a few days yet to live. Therefore he decided to give the people grounds for missing him, by some gesture of liberality. As soon as he could, he published an edict throughout the realm forgiving all punishments for lawbreakers in general, excepting murderers and thieves, since these were offences against other men rather than himself. Because of this gift, public supplications for the king’s health were decreed. Meanwhile, consumed by disease, he departed this life on April 21 at his manor of Richmond, in the year of human salvation 1509. His body was born to Westminster in funeral estate and buried in the chapel he himself had made. Henry reigned for twenty-three years, seven months, and lived for fifty-two. By his wife Elizabeth he had eight children, four male and four female. He left three surviving ones, Henry Prince of Wales, Margaret, and Mary. His body was slender but strong and solid, a little above average in height. His appearance was handsome, particularly when his expression was happy in conversation. He had blue eyes, few teeth, and sparse hair. His intellect was great and clever, and he was not averse to learning, his spirit excellent and bold even amidst the greatest perils, and his overall nature was almost divine. He managed his affairs with deliberation and gravity, so that he easily gained a reputation for prudence, since that he was not unaware that many eyes were fixed on the rise and fall of his fortune, and therefore that a sovereign should surpass others in wisdom as well as in power. For who would give a man anything if he knows him to be empty-headed? Furthermore, he was moderate, honest, frugal, affable, and kindly. He hated pride and arrogance so much that he was rough and harsh towards men marked by those vices. No man enjoyed such sway with him that he dared act as he please. What shall we say of the fact that in the end this was not even permitted his mother, an extremely prudent woman? He said this was his practice, so that he would be called a king who chose to rule rather than be ruled. He was a very severe champion of justice, and this one thing did the most to procure him popularity, since he gave the common people a life free from harm at the hands of the powerful and of rogues. But there coexisted with this severity a mercy he readily displayed to those who had suffered injuries. For at one time or another he recompensed and relieved those of his subjects who had been ill treated by his judges, so that they could attest that their plucked feathers had grown back. This was a sure sign that, just as he himself said, he resorted to this severity for the sake of curbing the fierce spirits of a people brought up amidst factionalism, not out of a lust for money-making, as I have shown above, although those who were wounded in this way exclaimed these were the darts of greed, not severity. Indeed, this modest sovereign did not despoil his subjects of their fortunes immoderately, for he left behind him a kingdom most wealthy in all respects. This is made plain, among other things, by the immense amount of gold and silver annually brought into the island by merchants plying to and fro, whom he very frequently helped with interest-free loans, so that the flow of commerce, both useful and necessary for all men, would be more abundant in his realm. Having living in this manner, King Henry finally gave up the ghost, great in his virtue, fortune, glory, and accomplishments, who had no doubt that he would return to heaven, to the place where he might enjoy life everlasting, since he was an energetic supporter and patron of religion. For he freely gave his help to divine matters, attended services when they were held, and was never prevented from this observance by any press of business or lack of time. He attentively heard Mass twice or thrice daily, and often listened to sermons, assiduously gave charity to the poor, and indeed did so secretly, since he chose to heed that precept of Christ our Savior, But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. And for the sake of performing this duty, in accordance with his ancestors’ custom he maintained a domestic official called an almoner. He honored the priesthood and held it in pious reverence, gladly helping it, generously enhancing it. He built a chapel at Westminster and three monasteries for the so-called Observant Franciscans, one at his manor of Richmond, another at Greenwich, and a third at Newark, and assigned to them a like number that had been possessed by the Franciscans commonly called Conventuals, at Canterbury, Newcastle, and Southampton. He prayed much, and recited the Canonical Hours, particularly on holidays. But he did not trust in his own prayers to the point that he did not seek the help of clergy of every order. He would bestow secret donations on those whom he knew for sure to be upright and blameless men, that they would pray for him, and he appointed annual services to be held in his memory after his death in certain churches throughout the realm, paying a fee out of his own pocket so that their priests would devote more care and effort to these prayers. This was the life of a Christian prince who believed that, after the mind had been freed from the body, there was another life, an altogether better one, to which he should aspire. He made a testament, in which he first of all ordered the money to be given and restored that had unjustly been placed in his treasury by his fiscal judges, and then commanded the completion of the hospital that had been begun in that place in the suburbs of London called the Savoy, alongside the Thames, and that the poor be lodged therein. This was quickly done, but the return of the money mulcted from men, rightly or wrongly, was impeded by the importunity and perversity of those asking for it back. From which one can learn that distributing things of that kind for piety’s sake, one should use one’s own hand rather than rely on another’s.
51. In those days polished letters, both Latin and Greek, were excluded, uprooted, and banished from Italy by its criminal wars, and made their way over the Alps, flowing throughout all Germany, France, England, and Scotland. But the Germans in particular received them into their cities, since, just as once as they were the least lettered of all men, had now become the most educated. Likewise this gift was imparted by God Almighty on the French, English, and Scots (to say nothing of other peoples). For letters are the only thing which eternally monumentalize our good works and preserve the memory of our names. It was for this reason that many great men and noble women began to foster the study of the goodly arts and of learning everywhere, and among the English this was done most vigorously by Henry’s mother Margaret, a most pious woman, at the urging of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, a man of great learning, grace, and integrity. At noble and well-frequented places in Cambridge she built two halls, dedicating one to St. John the Evangelist, and the other to Christ our Savior, in which she founded two colleges of students, and generously supplied them with landholding for their living. In that same academy John Alcock, Bishop of Ely, a Father distinguished for his sanctity and virtue, had a little earlier founded a college consecrated to Jesus, so that, with Him as their guide, those who there devoted themselves to the cultivation of the goodly sciences would not go astray, but travel the right path towards earning the reward of glory and praise which He promised to those who do well. And that the same time William Smith, Bishop of Lincoln, imitating Margaret’s example, founded a college at Oxford for those young men given to the goodly sciences, in a hall popularly called Brasenose, because a statue with a brazen face stood before its doors. Also, Richard bishop of Winchester performed a similar work at Oxford, calling his college Corpus Christi. Likewise this goad of virtue and glory provoked John Colet, Dean of St. Paul’s, to a similar zeal for the advancement of good letters. He, partly endowed with virtue of the mind, and partly by integrity of life and manners, was regarded almost as a second St. Paul among his fellow-Englishmen, being saintly and religious by nature from childhood, when he turned from the subjects in which boys are instructed, to the study of Scripture. He chose Paul as his instructor, and became so well-versed in him, at Oxford and Cambridge, and also in Italy, that by the time he came home he was learned, as they say, to his fingertips, and he began to read Paul’s epistles at London, his birthplaces, and to preach in the churches. And since he did not teach a way of life other than he himself lived, men wonderfully accepted his excellent teachings. For he was a man of great self-control, who would eat once a day. He had no thirst for honors, nor desire wealth. But, although he did not pursue wealth, it pursued him, and in the end it caught up with him. For it happened that out of the twenty-two children his father Henry Colet (a city-man of great modesty and gravity) had fathered by his wife Christiana, he was the sole survivor, so to him came his father’s legacy. So John, seeing many of his fellow-townsmen turn out to be grave and modest men on the strength of their natures alone, thought that they would be far more excellent if they were educated. And so he decided to stand the expense of helping the youth of London acquire learning, and about that time he founded a magnificent school in the east part of St. Paul’s Churchyard, and gave it an excellent schoolmaster, William Lilly (together an assistant to teach the more unlettered boys) because this man was possessed of erudition, sound morals, and extreme diligence. For Lilly, a man (as Horace says, “upright in his life and free of crime”), after spending a number of years in Italy to perfect his learning, came home, and was the first Englishman to give his fellow-citizens a Humanistic education. For before him Cornelio Vitellio, an Italian of Corneto, on the coastline Tuscany, born of a noble stock, was the first of all to teach good letters to the young men at Oxford. John Reighey and Richard Jones followed Lily as masters. These were endowed with yearly stipends from Colet’s estate, so that at all times they would teach for free. And, just as the youth of London is more polite because of St. Paul’s School, so throughout all England many became devotees of studies and learning, and Humane letters flourished.
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