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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 312



ster, on the ninth of April, 1483, of an intermittent fever, brought on, or, what is more probable, greatly aggravated by vexation at the conduct of the King of France, who, after agreeing to marry the Dauphin to the Princess Elizabeth, refused to do so, on account, it was alleged, of the inequality of the lady's birth. In the hour of death Edward made the offended nobles vow reconciliation to the Queen and her family, and loyalty and protection to his youthful sons. After laying in state in London, the body of the King was conveyed by water to Windsor, and interred in St. George's chapel, where his memory was perpetuated by a beautiful tomb of open iron-work, said to have been the work of the equally clever blacksmith and artist, Quintin Matsys, the Flemish painter, and which, to the present day, remains in a state of excellent preservation. Immediately the King had expired, tho council proclaimed his eldest son, by the stylo of Edward the Fifth. The young prince was then at Ludlow, in Shropshire, where, under tho care of his uncle, Earl Hivers, and his uterine brother, Lord Grey, he was receiving his education ; the council agreed that he should be immediately brought to London and crowned; and Elizabeth, who it appears sat at this council, proposed that he should be protected on his journey by a powerful army. Lord Hastings, a nobleman never friendly to the Queen, took alarm at her proposal, and, feeling assured that an army would, at the present crisis, enable the Woodvilles to establish their authority, strenuously opposed it. " Where was the necessity," he asked,''for an army? Who were the foes it was required to combat? Not himself, Stanley, nor Gloucester ; and surely the Woodvilles did not mean to break the reconciliation they had so lately sworn to observe. The proposition was absurd, and, if carried out, he for one would retire from court." An angry altercation ensued, and, at length, the Queen, who still felt an instinctive dread that some evil would result from her irresolution, reluctantly assented that the retinue of her son should not exceed two thousand horsemen, and that the sturdy militia of the Welsh marches should not be called out. At the time of the King's death, the ambitious, crafty, base-hearted Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was in the marches of Scotland ; but, on hearing of that event, he immediately advanced southward, with a train of six hundred knights and esquires, all in deep mourning, and at York ordered his brother's obsequies to bo performed with royal magnificence in the cathedral ; and, as an example to the gentlemen of the county, was the first to swear allegiance to Edward the Fifth. To put the Queen and her relations off their guard, he, at the same time, forwarded them letters of condolence, full of kind expressions and earnest offers of friendship and assistance. But, whilst Elizabeth was yetrejoicing at her good fortune in possessing, as she supposed, the sincere friendship of the first prince of the blood, the astounding intelligence reached her that Gloucester, abetted by Northumberland, had, with an armed force, seized the young King on his route to London, and arrested Rivers and Grey, and sent them both to Pontefract Castle, "to he done with," says the chronicler, " God wot ; what with which tidings the Queen, in great fright and heaviness, bewailing her fluid's reign, her friends'mischance, and her own misfortune, damning the time that ever she dissuaded the gathering of power about tho King, got herself in all haste possible, with her younger son and her three daughters, out of the palace of Westminster, in which she then lay, into the sanctuary, lodging herself and her company there in the abbot's place. Now there came one, likewise, not long after midnight, from the Lord Chamberlain to the Archbishop of York, then Chancellor of England, saying, 'Gloucester hath gone back with the King's grace from Stoney Stratford to Northampton ; but, notwithstanding, sir, my lord sendeth you word that there is no fear, for he assurcth you that all shall be well.' ' Tell him,' quoth the Archbishop, 'be it as well as it will, it will never be so well as we have seen it ;' and thereupon, by-and-bye, after the


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