Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/500

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him to act, was constitutionally indolent; nor did he win the hearts of his people by pocketing what seemed very like a bribe from an enemy, after impoverishing his own subjects for the purpose of making war. But he was anxious to bequeath to his children a quiet succession, untroubled by serious difficulties either abroad or at home. Unhappily, he was no politician, and failed to foresee the clouds which darkened the horizon in both quarters just before his death.

England might have done very well without France, and even the quarrels of the nobility might have been left to settle themselves, had they not shaken the throne itself. But the security of the throne depended on the support of great families with large landed possessions, who could put large forces of their retainers into the field at need. Warwick the King-maker had been the great ally of Edward IV and of his father, and it was to him more than any other man in England that Edward owed his kingdom. It was by Warwick also that he was afterwards driven out of it, and that Henry VI was reinstated there for a time. Edward's own brother Clarence was won over by Warwick to assist in driving him out; and, though afterwards he changed sides again and helped in his brother's restoration, mutual distrust still remained, and Clarence was ultimately put to death as a traitor. Strange to say, Edward seems to have retained his confidence in his younger brother Richard, who after his death proved a worse traitor still; for he supplanted Edward's two sons, and then murdered them after getting himself proclaimed King as Richard III. But a conspiracy was formed between confederates both in England and in Britanny, where Henry, Earl of Richmond, lived in exile, by which it was arranged that he should invade the kingdom, and after winning the Crown by the defeat of Richard in battle, should marry Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV, thereby uniting the claims of the House of York to those of the House of Lancaster.

I.

HENRY VII. (1485-1509.)

It was thus that the Earl of Richmond after the victory of Bos-worth became King Henry the Seventh. He indeed claimed the throne in his own right by a Lancastrian title; but, as that title seemed open to some objections, he could not have hoped to win it apart from the pledge he had given to marry the heiress of York; still less could he have retained it without actually marrying her. During nearly the whole of his reign he was troubled with Yorkist conspiracies; and it was with great wisdom that, in his second Parliament, he procured the