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HISTORY OF ENGLAND,
IN WHICH IT IS INTENDED TO
CONSIDER MEN AND EVENTS
FROM THE DEATH OF EDWARD IV.
DEATH OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
CLERGYMAN OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
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HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
Edward V. reign of but eleven weeks.
WHEN Edward IV. perceived that he was on his death-bed, he sent for the lords Hastings, Howard, and Stanley, into his chamber; and made them and his step-son, the marquess of Dorset, promise mutual forgiveness for all past disputes, and mutual friendship for the future. The precaution showed that he was well aware of the jealousy which even his most favoured courtiers entertained, against the queen's relations. But the probable chiefs of the parties likely to disturb his son's minority, were too far off to admit of his attempting to make any appeal to their gratitude or honour. The duke of Gloucester was in Yorkshire; as governor of the northern marches, or borders. The queen's eldest brother, Antony, earl Rivers, held a like command on the Welsh marches; and as he had been farther entrusted with the education of the prince of Wales, the boy was now under his care at Ludlow.
As soon therefore, as Edward V. had been proclaimed king, with all due solemnity, by the officers of government in London, a council April 9. met, to give orders for having their young sovereign conducted in safety to his capital. There was, however, an immediate difference of opinion, as
to the number of troops with which earl Rivers should be allowed to escort his royal nephew. For as the marquess of Dorset was constable of the Tower, and had with that office the custody of the king's treasure, then ordinarily kept there, lord Hastings felt, that to permit Rivers to bring up a large army from the west, would be the same thing as authorising the queen's kinsmen to take upon them the entire management both of the young monarch and of the nation. He therefore protested that he would withdraw from the council, unless earl Rivers was to be told, that he must not let the king's train be more numerous than was necessary for his honour. And upon this, the queen gave a reluctant promise that it should not exceed 2000
With such a band of followers the young king, accordingly, set forward from Ludlow; having April 24. for his companion, the second of his two halfbrothers, lord Richard Grey, then about 19 years of age; with their chivalrous and intellectual uncle, earl Rivers, for the commander of his escort.
In the mean while, the duke of Gloucester had also received the news of his brother's death; and repairing to York, with a train of 600 knights and esquires, he had caused the usual popish service to be performed in the cathedral, for the relief of the late king's soul, as they fondly imagined it to be. He had also publicly sworn to act, in all things, as a faithful subject of Edward V. And he summoned the chief gentlemen of the county to take the same oath in his presence. Messengers were at the same time sent off by him to bear his letters of condolence to the queen, with promises of being loyal to her son, and with offers of friendship to the other members of her family. But it was with the duke of Buckingham, the president of that court which had condemned his brother Clarence to die, that the duke of Gloucester was secretly endeavouring to
EARL RIVERS ESCORTS THE KING.
form his closest alliance. For, leaving boys under age unnoticed, they two were now the only English dukes, except the duke of Suffolk, and respectively the nearest representatives of the houses of York and Lancaster, at that time in England; so that they could scarcely fail of being able to dictate to any parliament, by their united influence *.
From York, and from Ludlow, the duke of Gloucester's train, and that of the king approached each other, as they both drew towards London for the coronation; which the council had announced, as to take place on the fourth of May. On arriving at Stony Stratford, earl Rivers heard that the
duke was to be that evening at Northampton; April 29. and in consequence, he had no sooner seen the king safely lodged, than he rode off with his nephew, lord Richard Grey, to pay his respects to him. Their way led them by Grafton; and as they passed along the very road which Edward IV. had taken, unknown to his court, to marry the sister of Rivers, the mother of Grey, they would probably exult in the elevation to which so splendid a connexion had raised their family. His paternal mansion, thus seen again after his keeping state in the lordly castle of Ludlow, would appear to the earl but a humble residence. Yet when it also brought to his remembrance how the Yorkist rabble had slain his father and his brother there †, he might perhaps doubt whether much had been gained by exchanging the safer obscurity of respected country gentlemen for the envied post of court favourites. A ride of 11 miles brought them to Northampton; and there they found that the duke of Buckingham had arrived but
• The Lancastrian Plantagenets being now all cut off, the Beauforts were, after a manner, the representatives of John of Gaunt; and the daughter of the last Beaufort duke of Somerset, was Buckingham's mother. He was also of the blood royal, as legitimately descended from a daughter of that duke of Gloucester who was murdered at Calais.
† See Vol. II. p. 593.