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A. C. 1483. to the throne: even supposing their right had ex

tended so far, they could hardly have pretended to come in competition with the descendants of the duke of Lancaster by: his lawful marriage; who amounted to ten or twelve different princes and princesses in Spain, Portugal, and Germany. These, however, seemed to be excluded from the crown, in the opinion of the English ; and Richmond's right was tacitly acknowledged by the repeated ef. forts which Edward IV. and Richard made to fecure his person. Had not the interest of this nobleman been very great, and his title espoused by all the friends of the house of Lancaster, a man of Buckingham's ambition would in all probability have set up for himself. At present he seems to have been actuated intirely by a spirit of revenge against Richard, though he coloured it with a more plausible pretext; for we can hardly believe that a person of his character would engage in such a dangerous fcheme, on a more laudable principle,

Be that as it will, he and the bishop, after divers dowager map consultations, concluded that the whole hope of scheme. success in this enterprize depended upon the mar

riage between Henry and Elizabeth; and that they
ought to secure this alliance, as a necessary preli-
minary to all their other measures.
pose they resolved to communicate their scheme to
the old countess of Richmond, that she might
make her fon acquainted with the design, and en-
deavour to obtain the consent of the queen dowager.
The bishop, being intimately acquainted with Re-
ginald Bray, one of the domestics belonging to the
counters, fent for him to Brecknock, where he was
entrusted with the secret, and undertook to engage
his mistress in the design. This man was no sooner
returned to the countess with his embassy, than the
bishop desired the duke would permit him to retire
to his-diocese; - but Buckingham excufing himself

by

The queen

For this pure

by saying such permission would rouse the suspicion 4.C.1483. of Richard, the prelate found means to escape, and crossed the sea to Flanders, from whence he wrote an apology to the duke, encouraging him to proceed with his undertaking, and affuring him he could serve the cause much more effectually on the continent than in England. Morton, knowing the duke's heat and precipitation, was afraid of being personally involved in some rash project, that might have cost him his life before their design could be brought to maturity; and therefore he withdrew from his habitation. In the mean time the coun. tess of Richmond being informed of their plan, sent back Bray to che duke to signify her approbation and gratitude; and assure him that she would, without loss of time, endeavour to obtain the consent of the queen dowager to the projected marriage. She did not doubt of meeting with success in this negotiation, as the queen still continued in the sanctuary at Westminster, deploring the untimely death of her two sons, and pouring forth imprecations against their inhuman butcher. The countess employed her physician, whose name was Lewis, to visit Elizabeth in the way of his profes. fion, and make her acquainted with the design which was formed in behalf of her children against the inhuman usurper; and she received the intimation with eagerness and joy. She assured him that all the friends of her late husband should join the earl of Richmond, but in the mean time she insisted upon that nobleman's engaging by oath to marry her daughter Elizabeth, or her younger sister Cecilia, in case the other should die before the consummation of the marriage.

A good understanding being thus established be- The duke of tween the queen dowager, the countess of Rich ham levica mond, and the duke of Buckingham, each in par

private. ticular, began to engage a number of adherents; N.

and

forces in

A.C. 1483. and they succeeded even beyond expectation. Richard

had by his cruelty rendered himself odious to the
nation in general ; and almost all the partisans of
the house of York were incensed against him on ac-
count of the murder of the two princes. All the
Lancastrians joyfully embraced a project that tended
to re-establish a prince of that house on the throne
,of England ; and•moderate people, who had no-
thing in view but the good of their country, could
not but favour a design, the success of which would
put an end to those civil diffenfions with which the
realm had been so long afflicted. The duke of
Buckingham, as chief of the enterprize, employed
his friends in Wales to enlist men privately, that
he might be able to affemble an army all at once,
when it should be found necessary to declare their
intention : at the same time he entered into en-
gagements with the gentlemen of Dorsetshire, De-
vonshire, and Cornwall, who promised to levy
troops, and join the earl of Richmond at his land-
ing. This was likewise his own design; while
others of his adherents were instructed to excite in-
surrections in different parts of the country, in
order to divide Richard's forces, and distract his
attention. The marquis of Dorset, who had lately
quitted the sanctuary, his brother Sir Richard Wide-
ville, the bishop of Exeter, his brother Sir Edward
Courtenay, and several other persons of distinction,
engaged in this association. The countess of Rich-
mond sent two messengers to her son in Brittany,
by different ways, to inform him of the resolution
which had been taken in his favour, and the con-
ditions on which he was invited to land in Eng-
land. He then resided at Vannes, where he had
been kept several years a kind of prisoner at large,
in consequence of the convention fubfisting between
the duke and the fourth Edward.

The

The earl was not more rejoiced at the steps which A. C. 1483. were taken in his favour by his friends in England, The duke of than embarrassed about the means of returning in

Brittany

promises to a suitable manner to his native country. He was aflift the not ignorant of the agreement between Edward IV. Richmond. and the duke of Brittany, touching the confinement of his person; and he knew that Richard had made advances to the duke on the same subject : but, as he could not pretend to take the advantage of his good fortune without the concurrence of that prince, he frankly communicated to him every cir. cumstance of the plan, and follicited his friendship and assistance. He found the duke very well difpoied to favour his enterprize. He had not engaged in any treaty with Richard, whom he detested for his tyranny and inhuman disposition; and he had some pretensions to the earldom of Richmond in England, which his ancestors had possessed, and which he did not despair of retrieving, provided the earl should by his means ascend the throne of England. This is said to have been the principal article of their agreement, in consideration of which the duke engaged to affist him with troops and vessels. Henry having secured this point with

Holingshed, the duke of Brittany, dispatched a messenger with letters to his mother, and the duke of Buckingham, informing them of the progress he had made, and defiring they would be ready to receive him in the beginning of October. By these tidings all the conspirators were put in motion; and each individual repaired to the post assigned to him, in order to levy troops, or excite insurrections.

Notwithitanding all their precautions, these steps Open supcould not be taken with such secrecy as to elude ture bethe vigilance of Richard, who discovered that some king and the plot was formed against him, though he was still duke of ignorant of the quarter from which the form im- han. pended. He forthwith advanced from Yo:k to

wards

N 3

A. C. 1483. wards the center of his kingdom ; and issued orders

into different parts, directing the troops to be in readiness to march at the first notice. His reflexion foon pointed out to him the duke of Buckingham as the author of those commotions, as he had retired from court in disgust; was the only nobleman in England, who by his genius, wealth, and influence, could form and execute any scheme of fuch importance ; and the escape of the bishop of Ely bore all the marks of the duke's connivance. Alarmed by these fufpicions, he sent for the duke toʻcourt, that he might consult him on some affairs of consequence; and Buckingham excused himself, on pretence of indisposition. The king being more and more confirmed in his conjectures, by this eva, fion, insisted upon seeing him, by a peremptory order that would admit of no apology, and to this che duke answered, that he did not choofe to trust his person with his mof inveterate enemy, on whom he neither could, nor would, for the future, place the smallest dependence. After this declaration, he knew there was no medium to be observed, He immediately assembled his troops, and began his march towards the western provinces, where the earl of Richmond intended to land, and where he expected to be joined by the rest of the confederacy.

Though Richard was not a little surprised to of Bucking- find the duke so well prepared, he had taken such ferted, be precautions as enabled him to bring an army into trayed, and the field without delay; and he appointed the

rendezvous at Leicester, resolving to go in queft of the enemy, and engage him before he should be reinforced. He would have found it difficult, however, to prevent the junction of the confederates, had they not been kept asunder by an unforeseen accident. The duke of Buckingham advanced by long marches to the side of the Severne, in his way

to

The duke

put to

death,

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