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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 330



Slfi ELIZABETH OF YORK, it was hoped that Louis the Eleventh would have kept his engagement by sending for her, and settling on her the stipulated annuity of sixty thousand francs. But instead of so doing, Louis put the matter off by plausible excuses, and after a delay of about four years, suddenly married the Dauphin to Margaret, heiress of Burgundy, without assigning any reason for his conduct, which so chagrined Edward, that the agitation hastened his demise, which took place in April, 1483. Thus was Elizabeth, while yet in her teens, deprived of her father and protector ; and to add to her misfortunes, on the usurpation of Richard the Third, she was again obliged, with her mother, and little brothers and sisters, to find a shelter in the sanctuary of Westminster. It was after the murder of her young brothers, in the Tower, that the treaty of marriage between Henry of Richmond and Elizabeth of York was entered into. Although Elizabeth was heiress to the crown, not one of the adherents of the house of York attempted to place her on the throne, as sole sovereign. However, the Duke of Buckingham, in conjunction with Morton, Bishop of Ely, and other Yorkists, having resolved to depose King Richard, and, in the event of success, to place Henry of Richmond upon the throne, and afterwards to unite him in wedlock to Elizabeth, took up arms in September, 1483. But the project failed, and Dorset, Elizabeth's half brother, and Lionel Woodville, her uncle, were compelled to fly to France. Elizabeth and her mother keenly felt the loss of these two relations, whose protection they had enjoyed in the sanctuary, previous to the Buckingham rebellion. They, however, resisted the efforts of Richard the Third, to drive them from their privileged home, till the spring of 1484, when starvation forced them to surrender themselves ; Elizabeth and her sisters being pronounced illegitimate by an act of parliament, passed in the previous January, by the desire of the hunchback despot. On quitting the sanctuary, Elizabeth and her sisters were received at court, with every outward demonstration of kindness, by King Richard, and with real affection by his Queen, Anne of Warwick. But their mother, the Queen of Edward the Fourth, was separated from her family, and placed under the strict surveillance of John Nesfield, him whose vigilance had starved the royal ladies out of sanctuary. Elizabeth wag consigned to the care of Anne of Warwick, who treated her with all the affection of a sister ; nor is this surprising, as Elizabeth, hesides being niece to Richard, was one of her nearest relations. Tbe Frincess was lodged at Westminster palace, where, meeting with her father's old friend, Lord Stanley, now steward of the royal household, a post he had filled in the reign of Edwara the Fourth, she earnestly implored him to assist her in the recovery of her rights. At first, Stanley refused her, declaring that he could not violate the oath he had taken to serve King Richard. But her tears and entreaties at last prevailed ; Stanley assured her he had long contemplated doing as she wished, but although his friends in the north-west would rise at his bidding, he could not go thither without raising the suspicions of the usurper, and he dared not trust a scrivener to indite his intentions in letters. This difficulty being obviated by Elizabeth's ability to write, Stanley called upon her the next morning with his trusty esquire, Humphery Brercton, when, after the letters had been written by the Princess, and sealed by Stanley, Brereton was dispatched with them with all speed. On receiving the letters, Stanley's friends hastened to London, and held secret councils. Elizabeth attended these councils, which were held at a retired inn, near Islington, and in due time dispatched Brereton to the Earl of Richmond, with a ring of betrothal, and a letter, informing him of the adherents that were favourable to the union of York and Lancaster, and requesting him to immediately return to England, and win the crown and his bride. Richmond received the tempting summons with his characteristic caution. For more than a fortnight he remained in doubt ; but, on learning that Richard,


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