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with him, brought him to the sight of Perkin, with whom he had often speech and discourse. So that in the end, won either by the duchess to affect, or by Perkin to believe, he wrote back into England, that he knew the person of Richard Duke of York as well as he knew his own, and that this young man was undoubtedly he. By this means all things grew prepared to revolt and sedition here, and the conspiracy came to have a correspondence between Flanders and England.
The king, on his part, was not asleep, but to arm or levy forces yet, he thought, would but show fear, and do this idol too much worship. Nevertheless the ports he did shut up, or at least kept a watch on them, that none should
pass to or fro that was suspected : but, for the rest, he chose to work by countermines. His purposes were two : the one to lay open the abuse, the other to break the knot of the conspirators. To detect the abuse there were but two ways : the first, to make it manifest to the world that the Duke of York was indeed murdered, the other to prove that, were he dead or alive, yet Perkin was a counterfeit. For the first, thus it stood. There were but four persons
that could speak upon knowledge to the murder of the Duke of York: Sir James Tirrel, the employed man from King Richard ; John Dighton and Miles Forrest, his servants, the two butchers or tormentors, and the priest of the Tower that buried them. Of which four, Miles Forrest and the priest were dead, and there remained alive only Sir James Tirrel and John Dighton. These two the king caused to be committed to the Tower, and examined touching the manner of the death of the two innocent princes. They agreed both in a tale, as the king gave out, to this effect: that King Richard having directed his warrant for the putting of them to death to Brackenbury, the lieutenant of the Tower, was by him refused. Whereupon the king directed his warrant to Sir James Tirrel, to receive the keys of the tower from the lieutenant, for the space of a night, for the king's special service. That Sir James Tirrel accordingly repaired to the Tower by night, attended by his two servants afore named, whom he had chosen for that purpose. That himself stood at the stair-foot, and sent these two villains to execute the murder. That they smothered them in their beds, and, that
called their master to see their naked dead bodies, which they had laid forth. That they were buried under the stairs, and some stones cast upon them. That when the report was made to King Richard, that his will was done, he gave Sir James Tirrel great thanks, but
took exception to the place of their burial, being too base for them that were king's children. Whereupon, another night, by the king's warrant renewed, their bodies were removed by the priest of the Tower, and buried by him in some place which, by means of the priest's death soon after, could not be known. Thus much was then delivered abroad to be the effect of those examinations; but the king, nevertheless, made no use of them in any of his declarations, whereby, as it seems, those examinations left the business somewhat perplexed. And as for Sir James Tirrel, he was soon after beheaded in the Tower-yard for other matters of treason. But John Dighton, who, it seemeth, spake best for the king, was forthwith set at liberty, and was the principal means of divulging this tradition. Therefore, this kind of proof being left so naked, the king used the more diligence in the latter, for the tracing of Perkin. To this purpose he sent abroad into several parts, and especially into Flanders, divers secret and nimble scouts and spies, some feigning themselves to fly over unto Perkin, and to adhere to him, and some under other pretences, to learn, search, and discover all the circumstances and particulars of Perkin's parents, birth, person, travels
up and down, and in brief to have a journal as it were of his life and doings.
Others he employed in a more special nature and trust, to be his pioneers in the main countermine.
The narrative then describes the countenance which James IV. of Scotland gave to Perkin ; his marriage to Lady Catherine Gordon ; the inroad of James upon the northern counties, carrying the pretended prince with him; and the events of the Cornish insurrection, all which circumstances greatly alarmed the politic Henry VII.
The king of Scotland, though he would not formally retract his judgment of Perkin, wherein he had engaged himself so far; yet in his private opinion, upon often speech with the Englishmen, and divers other advertisements, began to suspect him for a counterfeit. Wherefore in a noble fashion he called him unto him, and recounted the benefits and favours that he had done him in making him his ally, and in provoking a mighty and opulent king by an offensive war in his quarrel, for the space of two years together; nay more, that he had refused an honourable peace, whereof he had a fair offer, if he would have delivered him; and that, to keep his promise with him, he had deeply offended both his nobles and people whom he might not hold in any long discontent; and therefore required him to think of his own for, tunes, and to choose out some fitter place for his exile : telling him withal, that he could not say, but the English had forsaken him before the Scottish, for that, upon two several trials, none had declared themselves on his side; but nevertheless he would make good what he said to him at his first receiving, which was that he should not repent him for putting himself into his hands; for that he would not cast him off, but help him with shipping and means to transport him where he should desire. Perkin, not descending at all from his stage-like greatness, answered the king in few words, that he saw his time was not yet come; but whatsoever his fortunes were, he should both think and speak honour of the king. Taking his leave, he would not think on Flanders, doubting it was but hollow ground for him since the treaty of the arch-duke, concluded the year before; but took his lady, and such followers as would not leave him, and sailed over into Ireland.
When Perkin heard this news, [the Cornwall insurrection,] he began to take heart again, and advised upon it with his council, which were principally three: Herne, a mercer, that fled for debt; Skelton, a tailor; and Astley, a scrivener; for Secretary Frion was gone. These told him, that he was mightily overseen, both when he went into Kent, and when he went into Scotland; the one being a place so near London, and under the king's nose; and the other a nation so distasted with the people of England, that if they had loved him never so well, yet they could never have taken his part in that company. But if he had been so happy as to have been in Cornwall at the first, when the people began to take arms there, he had been crowned at Westminster before this time. For these kings, as he had now experience, would sell poor princes for shoes. But he must rely wholly upon people ; and therefore advised him to sail over with all possible speed into Cornwall ; which accordingly he did, having in his company four small barks, with some six score or seven score fighting men. He arrived in September at Whitsand Bay, and forthwith came to Bodmin, the blacksmith's town; where there assembled unto him to the number of three thousand men of the rude people. There he set forth a new proclamation, stroking the people with fair promises, and humouring them with invectives against the king and his government. And as it fareth with smoke, that never loseth itself till it be at the highest; he did now before his end raise his style, entitling himself no more Richard, Duke of York, but Richard the Fourth, King of England. His council advised him by all means to make himself master of some good walled town; as well to make his men find the sweetness of rich spoils, and to allure to him all loose and lost people, by like hopes of booty; as to be a sure retreat to his forces, in case they should have any ill day, or unlucky chance of the field. Wherefore they took heart to them, and went on, and besieged the city of Exeter, the principal town for strength and wealth in those parts.
Perkin, hearing this thunder of arms, and preparations against him from so many parts, raised his siege, and marched to Taunton; beginning already to squint one eye upon the crown and another
the sanctuary; though the Cornish men were become, like metal often fired and quenched, churlish, and that would sooner break than bow; swearing and vowing not to leave him, till the uttermost drop of their blood were spilt. He was at his rising from Exeter between six and seven thousand strong, many having come unto him after he was set before Exeter, upon fame of so great an enterprise, and to partake of the spoil; though upon the raising of his siege some did slip away. When he was come near Taunton, he dissembled all fear, and seemed all the day to use diligence in preparing all things ready to fight. But about midnight he fled with three score horses to Bewdley* in the New Forest, where he and divers of his company registered themselves sanctuary-men, leaving his Cornish men to the four winds; but yet thereby easing them of their vow, and using his wonted compassion, not to be by when his subjects' blood should be spilt. The king, as soon as he heard of Perkin's flight, sent presently five hundred horse to pursue and apprehend him, before he should get either to the sea, or to that same little island called a sanctuary. But they came too late for the latter of these. Therefore all they could do, was to beset the sanctuary, and to maintain a strong watch about it, till the king's pleasure were further known. [Perkin at last gave himself up.]
Perkin was brought unto the king's court, but not to the king's presence; though the king, to satisfy his curiosity, saw him sometimes out of a window, or in passage. He was in shew at liberty, but guarded with all care and watch that was possible, and willed to follow the king to London. But from his first appearance upon the stage in his new person of a sycophant or juggler, instead of his for
* The Abbey of Beaulieu, near Southampton.
of a prince, all men may think how he was exposed to the derision not only of the courtiers, but also of the common people, who flocked about him as he went along; that one might know afar off where the owl was by the flight of birds; some mocking, some wondering, some cursing, some prying and picking matter out of his countenance and gesture to talk of: so that the false honour and respects, which he had so long enjoyed, was plentifully repaid in scorn and contempt. As soon as he was come to London, the king gave also the city the solace of this May-game; for he was conveyed leisurely on horseback, but not in any ignominious fashion, through Cheapside and Cornhill, to the Tower, and from thence back again unto Westminster, with the churm of a thousand taunts and reproaches. But to amend the show, there followed a little distance of Perkin, an inward counsellor of his, one that had been serjeant farrier to the king. This fellow, when Perkin took sanctuary, chose rather to take an holy habit than an holy place, and clad himself like an hermit, and in that weed wandered about the country, till he was discovered and taken. But this man was bound hand and foot upon the horse, and came not back with Perkin, but was left at the Tower, and within few days after executed. Soon after, now that Perkin could tell better what himself was, he was diligently examined; and after his confession taken, an extract was made of such parts of them as were thought fit to be divulged, which was printed and dispersed abroad; wherein the king did himself no right; for as there was a laboured tale of particulars, of Perkin's father and mother, and grandsire and grandmother, and uncles and cousins, by names, and sirnames, and from what places he travelled
and down; so there was little or nothing to purpose of anything concerning his designs, or any practices that had been held with him; nor the Duchess of Burgundy herself, that all the world did take knowledge of, as the person that had put life and being into the whole business, so much as named or pointed at.
So that men missing of that they looked for, looked about for they knew not what; and were in more doubt than before; but the king chose rather not to satisfy, than to kindle coals.
It was not long but Perkin, who was made of quicksilver, which is hard to hold or imprison, began to stir. For, deceiving his keepers, he took him to his heels, and made speed to the sea-coasts. sently all corners were laid for him, and such diligent pursuit and