Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/504

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the refugees at her Court had ample facilities for the formation of fresh conspiracies.

It is questionable, however, whether the new impostor who now appeared on the scene received his original stimulus from her. Perkin Warbeck, a native of Tournay, was a young man who had been much in the Low Countries and in Portugal, and having finally taken service with a Breton named Pregent Meno, landed in Cork in 1491, arrayed in fine clothing belonging to his master. The Irish took him for a prince of royal birth; if not Warwick, the son of Clarence, he must be a bastard son of Richard III. But after he had denied both characters, they persuaded him to personate Richard Duke of York, the younger of the two princes murdered in the Tower, telling him he would be supported by the Earls of Kildare and Desmond, who were both, in spite of recent professions of loyalty, wholly bent on the King's destruction. He remained some little time in Ireland, learning to speak English fluently and to play the part assigned to him, when Charles VIII, knowing that Henry was preparing to make war on France, invited him to his Court. There for a brief time he was honoured as a prince; but on the conclusion of the Peace of Etaples (1492) he was dismissed and went to Flanders, where Margaret received him with open arms, acknowledging him as her nephew. Next year, when Maximilian visited the Low Countries, Henry sent an embassy to him and to the Archduke Philip to remonstrate against the countenance given to the Pretender; but it produced no result, the Council of the young Archduke replying that Margaret was free to do as she pleased within the lands of her jointure.

Thus it was clear that the government of the Low Countries intended to allow conspiracies to be matured in those parts against Henry VII. He met this by forbidding commerce with Flanders and removing the mart of the Merchant Adventurers from Antwerp to Calais (September 18, 1493). This was a step quite against his ordinary policy, for no King was ever more studious of the interests of commerce, and though aimed at the Flemings it produced inconvenience on both sides, thus leading to a riot in London, as the German merchants of the Hansa had certain privileges by charter, which enabled them to carry on the traffic forbidden to Englishmen. Perkin, however, soon afterwards repaired to Maximilian at Vienna, where at the funeral of the Emperor Frederick III a place was assigned to him corresponding to his pretensions. Next year he returned with Maximilian to Flanders, where he was recognised as King of England. But Henry had intelligence of those implicated in the conspiracy at home, and a number of arrests were made, the most startling of which was that of Sir William Stanley. To him King Henry had owed not only his crown but his life, when it was in serious danger at Bosworth; in reward for which, among other things, Stanley had been appointed the King's Chamberlain. Yet he had sent over to Flanders to encourage Perkin one Sir Robert Clifford, who, turning