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THE HISTORY

OF THE REIGN OF

KING HENRY THE SEVENTH.

WRITTEN

BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE,

FRANCIS, LORD VERULAM,

VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN.

To the Most Illustrious and Most Excellent

PRINCE CHARLES, Prince of Wales, Duke of
Cornwall, Earl of Chester, &c.

IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HIGHNESS,

In part of my acknowledgment to your Highness, I have endeavoured to do honour to the memory of the last King of England that was ancestor to the King your father and yourself; and was that King to whom both unions may in a sort refer, that of the roses being in him consummate and that of the kingdoms by him begun : besides, his times deserve it. For he was a wise man and an excellent King : and yet the times were rough, and full of mutations, and rare accidents. And it is with times as it is with ways; some are more up-hill and down-hill, and some are more flat and plain ; and the one is better for the liver, and the other for the writer. I have not flattered him, but took him to life as well as I could, sitting so far off, and having no better light. It is true your Highness hath a living pattern, incomparable, of the King your father : but it is not amiss for you also to see one of these ancient pieces. God preserve your Highness.

Your Highness's most humble

and devoted Servant,

FRANCIS ST. ALBAN.

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THE

HISTORY OF THE REIGN

OF

KING HENRY THE SEVENTH.

AFTER that Richard, the third of that name, king in fact only, but tyrant both in title and regiment, and so commonly termed and reputed in all times since, was, by the divine revenge favouring the design of an exiled man, overthrown and slain at Bosworthfield; there succeeded in the kingdom the Earl of Richmond, thenceforth styled Henry the Seventh. The king, immediately after the victory, as one that had been bred under a devout mother, and was in his nature a great observer of religious forms, caused “ Te Deum laudamus” to be solemnly sung in the presence of the whole army upon the place, and was himself with general applause and great cries of joy, in a kind of military election or recognition, saluted king. Meanwhile the body of Kichard, after many indignities and reproaches, the “ diriges” and obse

“ quies of the common people towards tyrants, was obscurely buried. For though the king of his nobleness gave charge unto the friars of Leicester to see an honourable interment to be given to it, yet the religious people themselves, being not free from the

VOL. 3.

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humours of the vulgar, neglected it; wherein nevertheless they did not then incur any man's blame or censure: no man thinking any ignominy or contumely unworthy of him that had been the executioner of King Henry the Sixth, that innocent prince, with his own hands; the contriver of the death of the duke of Clarence his brother; the murderer of his two nephews, one of them his lawful king in the present, and the other in the future, failing of him; and vehemently suspected to have been the impoisoner of his wife, thereby to make vacant his bed, for a marriage within the degrees forbidden. And although he were a prince in military virtue approved, jealous of the honour of the English nation, and likewise a good law-maker, for the ease and solace of the common people; yet his cruelties and parricides, in the opinion of all men, weighed down his virtues and merits; and, in the opinion of wise men, even those virtues themselves were conceived to be rather feigned and affected things to serve his ambition, than true qualities ingenerate in his judgement or nature. And therefore it was noted by men of great understanding, who seeing his after-acts, looked back upon his former proceedings, that ev

that even in the time of King Edward his brother, he was not without secret trains and mines to turn envy and hatred upon his brother's government; as having an expectation and a kind of divination, that the king, by reason of his many disorders, could not be of long life, but was like to leave his sons of tender years; and then he knew

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