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the counterfeit Plantagenet, now Lambert Simnell again, and the crafty priest, his tutor. For Lambert, the king would not take his life, both out of magnanimity, taking him but as an image of wax that others had tempered and moulded, and likewise out of wisdom, thinking that if he suffered death he would be forgotten too soon, but, being kept alive, he would be a continual spectacle, and a kind of remedy against the like enchantments of people in time to come. For which cause he was taken into service in his court to a base office in his kitchen, so that, in a kind of “mattacina " of human fortune, he turned a broach that had worn a crown; whereas fortune commonly doth not bring in a comedy or farce after a tragedy. And afterwards he was preferred to be one of the king's falconers. As to the priest, he was committed close prisoner, and heard of no more the king loving to seal up his own dangers.
LORD BACON. At this time the king began again to be haunted with spirits, by the magic and curious arts of the lady Margaret, who raised up the ghost of Richard, duke of York, second son to king Edward the Fourth, to walk and vex the king. This was a finer counterfeit stone than Lambert Simnell, better done and worn upon greater hands, being graced after with the wearing of a king of France and a king of Scotland, not of a duchess of Burgundy oply. And for Simnell, there was not much in him more than that he was a handsome boy, and did not shame his robes. But this youth of whom we are now to speak was such a mercurial as the like hath seldom been known, and could make his own part if at any time he chanced to be out. Wherefore this, being one of the strangest examples of a personation that ever was, in elder or later times, it deserveth to be discovered and related at the fullalthough the king's manner of showing things by pieces and by dark lights hath so muffled it, that it hath been left almost as a mystery to this day.
The lady Margaret, whom the king's friends called Juno, because she was to him as Juno was to Æneas, stirring both heaven and hell to do him mischief, for a foundation of her particular practices against him, did continually, by all means possible, nourish, maintain, and divulge the flying opinion that Richard, duke of York, second son to Edward the Fourth, was not murdered in the Tower, as was given out, but saved alive. For that those who were employed in that barbarous fact, having destroyed the elder brother, were stricken with remorse and compassion towards the younger, and set him privily at liberty to seek his fortune. This lure she cast abroad, thinking that this fame and belief, together with the fresh example of Lambert Simnell would draw, at one time or other, some birds to strike upon it. She used likewise a further diligence, not committing all to chance, for she had some secret espials, like to the Turks' commissioners for children of tribute, to look abroad for hsndsome and graceful youths, to make Plantagenets and dukes of York. At the last she did light on one, in whom all things met as one would wish, to serve her turn for a counterfeit Richard, duke of York.
This was Perkin Warbeck, whose adventures we shall now describe. For first, the years agreed well. Secondly, he was a youth of fine favour and shape. But more than that, he had such a crafty and bewitching fashion, both to move pity, and to induce belief, as was like a kind of fascination and enchantment to those that saw him or heard him. Thirdly, he had been from his childhood such a wanderer, or, as the king called him, such a land-loper, as it was extreme hard to hunt out his nest and parents. Neither again could any man, by company or con
versing with him, be able to say or detect well what he was, he did so flit from place to place. Lastly, there was a circumstance, which is mentioned by one that wrote in the same time, that is very likely to have made somewhat to the matter, which is, that king Edward the Fourth was his godfather. Which, as it is somewhat suspicious for a wanton prince to become gossip in so mean a house, and might make a man think that he might indeed have in him some base blood of the house of York ; so at the least, though that were not, it might give the occasion to the boy, in being called king Edward's godson, or, perhaps in sport, king Edward's són, to entertain such thoughts in his head. For tutor he had none, for ought that appears, as Lambert Simnell had, until he came unto the lady Margaret, who instructed him.
Thus, therefore, it came to pass : there was a townsman of Tournay, that had borne office in that town, whose name was John Osbeck, a convert Jew, married to Catharine de Faro, whose business drew him to live for a time with his wife at London, in king Edward the Fourth's days. During which time he had a son by her, and, being known in the court, the king, either out of a religious nobleness because he was a convert, or upon some private acquaintance, did him the honour to be god-father to his child, and named him Peter. But afterwards, proving a dainty and effeminate youth, he was commonly called by the diminutive of his name, Peterkin or Perkin. For as for the name of Warbeck, it was given him when they did but guess at it, before examinations had been taken. But yet he had been so much talked of by that name, as it stuck by him after his true name of Osbeck was known. While he was a young child, his parents returned with him to Tournay. There he was placed in the house of a kinsman of his, called John Stenbeck, at Antwerp, and so roved up and down between Antwerp and Tournay, and other towns of Flanders for a good time, living much in English company and having the English tongue perfect. In which time, being grown a comely youth, he was brought by some of the espials of the lady Margaret into her presence. Who, viewing him well, and seeing that he had a face and personage that would bear a noble fortune, and finding him otherwise of a fine spirit and winning behaviour, thought she had now found a curious piece of marble to carve out an image of a duke of York. She kept him by her a great while, but with extreme secrecy. The while she instructed him by many Cabinet conferences. First, in princely behaviour and gesture, teaching him how he should keep state, and yet with a modest sense of his misfortunes. Then she informed him of all the circumstances and particulars that concerned the person of Richard, duke of York, which he was to act, describing unto him the personages, lineaments, and features of the king and queen, his pretended parents; and of his brother and sisters, and divers others, that were nearest him in his childhood, together with all passages, some secret, some common, that were fit for a child's
memory, until the death of king Edward. Then she added the particulars of the time from the king's death, until he and his brother were committed to the Tower, as well during the time he was abroad as while he was in sanctuary. As for the times while he was in the Tower, and the manner of his brother's death, and his own escape, she knew they were things, that a very few could control. And therefore she taught him only to tell a smooth and likely tale of those matters, warning him not to vary from it. It was agreed likewise between them what account he should give of his peregrination abroad, intermixing many things which were true, and such as they knew others could testify, for the credit of the rest, but still making them to hang together with the part he was to play. She taught him likewise how to avoid sundry captious and tempting questions which were like to be asked of him. But in this she found him so nimble and shifting, as she trusted auch to his own wit and readiness, and therefore laboured the less in it. Lastly
she raised his thoughts with some present rewards, and further promises, setting before him chiefly the glory and fortune of a crown if things went well, and a sure refuge to her court if the worst should fall. After such time as she thought he was perfect in his lesson, she began to cast with herself from what coast this blazing star should first appear, and at what time it must be upon the horizon of Ireland, for there had the like meteor strong influence before. The time of the apparition to be when the king should be engaged into a war with France. But well she knew that whatsoever should come from her would be held suspected. And therefore if he should go out of Flanders immediately into Ireland, she might be thought to have some hand in it. And besides, the time was not yet ripe, for that the two kings were then upon terms of peace. Therefore she wheeled about; and to put all suspicion afar off
, and loth to keep him any longer by her, for that she knew secrets are not long-lived, she sent him unknown into Portugal, with the lady Brampton, an English lady, that embarked for Portugal at that time, with some privado of her own, to have an eye upon him, and there he was to remain, and to expect her further directions. In the meantime she omitted not to prepare things for his better welcome and accepting, not only in the kingdom of Ireland, but in the court of France. He continued in Portugal about a year, and by that time the king of England called his Parliament, as hath been said, and declared open war against France. Now did the sign reign, and the constellation was come, under which Perkin should appear.
And therefore he was straight sent unto by the duchess, to go for Ireland, according to the first designment. In Ireland he did arrive, at the town of Cork. When he was thither come, his own tale was, when he made his confession afterwards, that the Irishmen, finding him in some good clothes, came flocking about him, and bare him down that he was the duke of Clarence that had been there before. And after, that he was Richard the Third's base son.
And lastly, that he was Richard, cluke of York, second son to Edward the Fourth. But that he, for his part, renounced all these things, and offered to swear, upon the Holy Evangelists, that he was no such man ; till at last they forced it upon him, and bade him fear nothing, and so forth. But the truth is, that immediately upon his coming into Ireland, he took upon him the said person of the duke of York, and drew unto him complices and partakers by all the means he could devise. Insomuch as he wrote his letters unto the earls of Desmond and Kildare, to come in to his aid, and be of his party; the originals of which letters are yet extant.
Somewhat before this time, the duchess had also gained unto her a near servant of King Henry's own, one Stephen Frion, his secretary for the French tongue ; an active man, but turbulent and discontented. This Frion had fled over to Charles, the French king, and put himself into his service, at such time as he began to be in open enmity with the king. Now King Charles, when he understood of the person and attempts of Perkin, ready of himself to embrace all advantages against the King of England, instigated by Frion, and formerly prepared by the Lady Margaret, forthwith despatched one Lucas and this Frion, in the nature of ambassadors to Perkin, to advertise him of the king's good inclination to him, and that he was resolved to aid him to recover his right against King Henry, an usurper of England, and an enemy of France; and wished him to come over unto him at Paris. Perkin thought himself in heaven now that he was invited by so great a king in so honourable a manner. And imparting unto his friends in Ireland, for their encouragement, how fortune called him, and what great hopes he had, sailed presently into France. When he was come into the court of France, the king received him with great honour, saluted and styled him by the name of the Duke of York : lodged him and accommodated him in great state. And the better to give him the representation
and the countenance of a prince, assigned him a guard for his person, whereof the Lord Congresall was captain. The courtiers likewise, though it be ill mocking with the French, applied themselves to their king's bent, seeing there was reason of state for it. At the same time there repaired unto Perkin divers Englishmen of quality ; Sir George Neville, Sir John Taylor, and about one hundred more, and amongst the rest this Stephen Frion, of whom we spake, who followed his fortune both then and for a long time after, and was, indeed, his principal counsellor and instrument in all his proceedings. But all this on the French king's part was but a trick, the better to bow King Henry to peace. And therefore upon the first grain of incense that was sacrificed upon the altar of peace at Boloign, Perkin was smoked away. Yet would not the French king deliver him up to King Henry, as he was laboured to do, for his honour's sake, but warned him away and dismissed him. And Perkin, on his part, was as ready to be gone, doubting he might be caught up underhand. He therefore took his way into Flanders, unto the Duchess of Burgundy, pretending that, having been variously tossed by fortune, he directed his course thither as to a safe harbour, noways taking knowledge that he had ever been there before, but as if that had been his first address. The Duchess, on the other part, made it as new strange to see him, pretending, at the first, that she was taught and made wise, by the example of Lambert Simnell
, how she did admit of any counterfeit stuff, though, even in that, she said, she was not fully satisfied. She pretended at the first, and that was ever in the presence of others, to pose him and sift him, thereby to try whether he were indeed the very Duke of York or no. But seeming to receive full satisfaction by his answers, she then feigned herself to be transported, with a kind of astonishment, mixt of joy and wonder, at his miraculous deliverance, receiving him as if he were risen from death to life, and inferring that God, who had in such wonderful manner preserved him from death, did likewise reserve him for some great and prosperous fortune. As for his dismission out of France, they interpreted it, not as if he were detected or neglected for a counterfeit deceiver, but contrariwise, that it did show manifestly unto the world that he was some great matter, for that it was his abandoning that, in effect, made the peace, being no more but the sacrificing of a poor distressed prince unto the utility and ambition of two mighty monarchs. Neither was Perkin, for his part, wanting to himself, either in gracious or princely behaviour, or in ready and apposite answers, or in contenting and caressing those that did apply themselves unto him, or in pretty scorn and disdain to those that seemed to doubt of him ; but in all things did notably acquit himself, insomuch as it was generally believed, as well amongst great persons as amongst the vulgar, that he was indeed Duke Richard. Nay, himself, with long and continual counterfeiting, and with oft telling a lie, was turned by habit almost into the thing he seemed to be, and from a liar to a believer. The Duchess, therefore, as in a case out of doubt, did him all princely honour, calling him always by the name of her nephew, and giving the delicate title of the white rose of England, and appointed him a guard of thirty persons, halberdiers, clad in a party-coloured livery of murrey and blue, to attend his person. Her court, likewise, and generally the Dutch and strangers, in their usage towards him, expressed no less respect.
The news hereof came blazing and thundering over into England, that the Duke of York was sure alive. As for the name of Perkin Warbeck, it was not at that time come to light, but all the news ran upon the Duke of York; that he had been entertained in Ireland, bought and sold in France, and was now plainly avowed, and in great honour in Flanders. These fames took hold of divers ; in some upon discontent, in some upon ambition, in some upon levity and desire of change, and in some few upon conscience and belief, but in most upon simplicity, and in divers out of dependence upon some of the better sort, who did in secret favour and nourish
these bruits. And it was not long ere these rumours of novelty had begotten others of scandal and murmur against the king and his Government, taxing him for a great taxer of his people, and discountenancer of his nobility. The loss of Britain and the peace with France were not forgotten. But chiefly they fell upon the wrong that he did his queen, in that he did not reign in her right. Wherefore, they said, that God had now brought to light a masculine branch of the house of York, that would not be at his courtesy, howsoever he did depress his poor lady. And yet, as it fareth with things which are current with the multitude, and which they affect, these fames grew so general, as the authors were lost in the generality of the speakers; they being like running weeds that have no certain root, or like footings up and down impossible to be traced. But after awhile these ill humours drew to an head, and settled secretly in some eminent persons, which were Sir William Stanley, lord chamberlain of the king's household, the Lord Fitzwater, Sir Simon Mountfort, and Sir Thomas Thwaites. These entered into a secret conspiracy to favour Duke Richard's title. Nevertheless none engaged their fortunes in this business openly but two, Sir Robert Clifford and Master William Barley, who sailed over into Flanders, sent, indeed, from the party of the conspirators here, to understand the truth of those things that passed there, and not without some help of monies from hence ; provisionally to be delivered, if they found and were satisfied that there was truth in these pretences. The person of Sir Robert Clifford, being a gentleman of fame and family, was extremely welcome to the Lady Margaret, who, after she had conference with him, brought him to the sight of Perkin, with whom he had often speech and discourse. So that in the end, won either by the duchess to affect, or by Perkin to believe, he wrote back into England, that he knew the person of Richard, Duke of York, as well as he knew his own, and that this young man was undoubtedly he. By this means all things grew prepared to revolt and sedition here, and the conspiracy came to have a correspondence between Flanders and England.
The king, on his part, was not asleep, but to arm or levy forces yet, he thought would but show fear, and do this idol too much worship. Nevertheless the ports he did shut up, or at least kept a watch on them, that none should pass to or fro that was suspected : but, for the rest, he chose to work by countermine. His purposes were two : the one to lay open the abuse, the other to break the knot of the conspirators. To detect the abuse there were but two ways: the first, to make it manifest to the world that the Duke of York was indeed murdered, the other to prove that, were he dead or alive, yet Perkin was a counterfeit. For the first, thus it stood. There were but four persons that could speak upon knowledge to the murder of the Duke of York : Sir James Tirrel, the employed man from King Richard ; John Dighton and Miles Forrest, his servants, the two butchers or tormentors, and the priest of the Tower that buried them. Of which four, Miles Forrest and the priest were dead, and there remained alive only Sir James Tirrel and John Dighton. These two the king caused to be committed to the Tower, and examined touching the manner of the death of the two innocent princes. They agreed both in a tale, as the king gave out, to this effect : that King Richard having directed his warrant for the putting of them to death to Brackenbury, the lieutenant of the Tower, was by him refused. Whereupon the king directed his · warrant to Sir James Tirrel, to receive the keys of the Tower from the lieutenant, for the space of a night, for the king's special service. That Sir James Tirrel accordingly repaired to the Tower by night, attended by his two servants aforenamed, whom he had chosen for that purpose. That himself stcod at the stairfoot, and sent these two villains to execute the murder. That they smothered them in their bed, and, that done, called up their master to see their naked dead bodies, which they had laid forth. That they were buried under the stairs, and some