Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/506

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

and getting them to aid his pretensions. Before sailing, however,' Warbeck had received a message from a turbulent Irish chieftain named Sir James Ormond, which induced him to take Ireland on his way. This was a mistake; for both Kildare and Desmond were now reconciled to the King. But he landed at Cork and was received warmly by an old friend, John Walter, or John a Water as he is called by the chroniclers, who had lately been mayor. Sir James Ormond had by this time been killed in a private encounter; and Perkin wasted precious time while the loyal citizens of Waterford not only despatched across the Channel news of his arrival and design of invading Cornwall, but did their best, first to seize him, and, afterwards, when he sailed in September, to intercept him on his passage.

He not only escaped capture, however, but landed at Whitesand Bay near the Land's End on September 7, and speedily drew after him a very considerable following. On September 17 he appeared before Exeter and for two days attempted to storm the town. Failing here, he went on towards Taunton, where, hearing that an army under Daubeney was advancing to meet him, he stole away in the night and, riding hard across country with one or two companions, took refuge at Beaulieu Sanctuary in Hampshire. The Sanctuary being soon afterwards surrounded, he surrendered on promise of the King's pardon and was brought back to Taunton where the King had now arrived. He was compelled to confess his imposture before his wife, who had accompanied him to Cornwall, and who was sent for from St Michael's Mount, where he had left her. The King, pitying her misfortunes, sent her with an escort to the Queen; while he himself followed slowly to Westminster, where he arrived in the latter part of November.

With him came Perkin, whose career was now virtually finished, and the King seems at this time to have had no other thought than to expose him to public derision as a rebuke to factiousness. Misled by the Duchess Margaret, it is quite possible that Maximilian and some other foreign princes had believed in Perkin; but it is clear that most of them valued him merely as a pawn by which to gain their own ends with Henry VII. And this was really his whole significance. In England he had never the courage to play his part effectively. At Deal he refused to land; in Northumberland he only pitied the ravages committed by his Scotch allies; in Devonshire he stole away from his own followers in search of an asylum. And now the Londoners flocked to see him "as he were a monster," while he was made to repeat his confession in public and conveyed on horseback through the streets, one day to the Tower and another day to Westminster. His life was spared for two years longer.

His dismissal from Scotland, though certainly not a concession to English demands, is commonly considered to have cleared the way for a peace between the kingdoms. And no doubt it did so, but not at once.