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slow, indeed, to think it possible that Richard murdered, or was at the time generally suspected of murdering, the two brothers. Yet, perhaps, the acknowledged return of the degraded widow of Edward IV. to Richard's court might as fairly be deemed incompatible with that suspicion! The mystery is, indeed, beyond me!
Just before and after this scene of the courtship, intelligence is brought to Richard of various important events. ,
"Catesby. Bad news, my lord, Morton is fled to Richmond;
And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen, Is in the field, and still his power increaseth*
Ratcliff. Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast
Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore
Stanley. Richmond is on the seas.
White-liver'd runagate, what doth he there? * Act iv. Sc. 3.
Stan. I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
He makes for England here, to claim the crown."
The king distrusts Lord Stanley,—
"But hear you, leave behind
Your son, George Stanley: look your heart be firm,
Messenger. My gracious sovereign, now in Devon-
As I by friends am well advertised,
Third Mess. The news I have to tell your majesty,
Is, that, by sudden floods and fall of waters,
Fourth Mess. Sir Thomas Lovel,* and Lord Marquis Dorset, 'Tis said, my lord, in Yorkshire are in arms; But this good comfort bring I to your highness, The Bretagne navy is dispersed by tempest. Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks, If they were his assistants, yea or no; Who answer'd him they came from Buckingham Upon his party; he mistrusting them, Hoisted sail, and made his course again for Bretagne.
Catesby. My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken,
That is the best news; that the Earl of Richmond
K. Rich. Away, towards Salisbury."!
These events are not related exactly according to Sir Thomas More. When Buckingham, discontented with Richard, retired to Brecknock, he found Morton there, who had been committed to his custody, just after the Protector, by way of a blind, I suppose, had admired his straw
• I do not know who this was. The Lovel who adhered to Richard, was Francis Viscount Lovel, of the house of Perceval. He left no issue, but the Earl of Egmont is his male heir. Collins, vii, 544.
t Act iv. Sc. 4.
berries. Morton had been a Lancastrian, though after the death of Henry VI. and his son, he had adhered to Edward IV., whose chaplain he became. He now took pains to entice Buckingham into a confidential conversation on the state of the monarchy,* and let it out pretty plainly that he was not well satisfied with King Richard. Just at this moment, in the midst of their conversation, which Morton probably himself repeated to Sir Thomas More, we lose the authority of that writer.-j- The rest of the conversation is from Hall, and, of course, quite fanciful. However, Shakspeare makes no use of it, though it might certainly have furnished a good scene. For the bishop having let out his grievances cautiously and by degrees, at last solicited the duke to take the crown himself; or if he was
# Morton exhorts the duke to deliver the kingdom from its perils, by the oath which he has taken as a Knight of the Garter- Sir Harris Nicolas informs me that at this time no oath was taken, except for the observance of the statutes. In the time of Henry VIII. they were sworn to sustain the honour and dominions of the king—there is another inaccuracy, when Richard swears by his George, a badge not used in his time.
t So it is stated in the margin of Hoi., 405. Hall has the same notice (p. 379), prior to the commencement of the communication between Morton and Buckingham. At all events, the important part of the conversation has not More's authority.
averse to that, then "to set up again the lineage of Lancaster, or advance the eldest daughter of King Edward to some high and puissant prince." Buckingham then opened himself to Morton; telling him that Richard's first purpose was, that he should wear the crown till young Edward should complete his twenty-fourth year: when Buckingham hesitated at approving this, he began to question the legitimacy of the two princes. Buckingham acknowledged that it was by his means that Richard was made king, promising, however, that his nephews should live and be honourably maintained. The duke did not, according to this version, acknowledge that the murder of the boys had been proposed to him; but he left Richard, first, because the Hereford estate was denied to him,* and secondly, because the princes had been put to death. Buckingham, then, according to his own account, thought of setting up his own claim to the crown; for, he said,
"I suddenly remembered that the lord Edmund, Duke of Somerset, my grandfather, was with King Henry VI., in the two and three degrees from John,
» Turner (iii. 436) shows that the Hereford estates were granted to Buckingham. This fact brings into question, not the credit, but accuracy of the information of Sir Thomas More.