Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/509

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new impostor, a young man named Ralph Wilford, who suddenly appeared in Kent, first telling people privately that he was the Earl of Warwick just escaped from the Tower; while one Friar Patrick, by whom he was accompanied, confirmed the story and at last declared it from the pulpit. Both the young man and the friar were soon appreherided, and the former was hanged on Shrove Tuesday (February 12, 1499). A few weeks later it was observed, that Henry seemed to have grown twenty years older, and was spending much time in religious observances, while also accumulating money, of which he had an unequalled store. That he was brooding over danger to himself is hardly doubtful. ' Later in the year Warbeck managed to corrupt some of his keepers, with whom he formed a conspiracy to kill Sir John Digby, the Lieutenant of the Tower, and liberate himself and the Earl of Warwick, who, having been a prisoner from boyhood and knowing nothing of the world, gave too easy an assent to the project. Warbeck was tried and hanged at Tyburn in November with his old associate, John & Water, Mayor of Cork. The Earl of Warwick was arraigned at Westminster before the Earl of Oxford as Constable of England, confessed the indictment in his simplicity, and was beheaded on Tower Hill.

Warwick's confinement had been all along justified only by the danger of leaving him at liberty; but his execution was felt to be nothing less than a judicial murder. One thing, however, was made clear to Yorkist intriguers; neither counterfeit Warwicks nor any other counterfeits would avail them now. If they took further action, it must be in their own names.

The year 1500 was a year of Jubilee at Rome, and in England a period of domestic peace seemed to have begun. Henry was much stronger now in his relations with foreign princes. The stoppage of trade with the Netherlands, owing to the support given to Warbeck there in 1493, had been long since ended. From the first it had been found intolerable, especially on the other side of the Channel, and on February 24, 1496, a commercial treaty was concluded in London between the two countries. This did not, indeed, prove a complete settlement, and was followed by further treaties in July 1497 and May 1499; but a better understanding was growing up, and in 1498 the English merchants returned to Antwerp, where they were received with a general procession. On May 8, 1500, Henry VII with his Queen crossed to Calais, where they remained till June 16. On June 9 they had a meeting with Archduke Philip, in which most cordial relations were established and marriages proposed between the two families, which, however, did not take effect.

This meeting seems to have quickened the anxiety of Ferdinand and Isabel of Spain at length to give effect to the long-talked-of match of their daughter Katharine, which they had repeatedly delayed till they should be convinced of the stability of Henry's throne. She was sent to