Page 409

409 RICHARD THE THIRD An. Reg. 1.

* An vnhappie policie tending to slaughter & bloudshed.

And so by my meanes, at the first councell holden at London, when he was most suspected of that thing that after happened (as you my lord know well inough) he was made protector and defendor both of the king and of the realme, which authoritie once gotten, & the two children partlie by * policie brought vnder his gouernance, he being mooued with that gnawing and couetous serpent desire to reigne, neuer ceassed priuilie to exhort and require, yea and sometimes with minatorie tearmes to persuade me and other lords, as well spirituall as temporall, that he might take vpon him the crowne, till the prince came to the age of foure and twentie yeares, and were able to gouerne the realme, as a ripe and sufficient king.

Which thing when he saw me somewhat sticke at, both for the strangenesse of the example (bicause no such president had bcene seene) and also bicause we remembred that men once ascended to the highest type of honour and authoritie, will not gladlie descend againe; he then brought in instruments, autentike doctors, proctors, and notaries of the law, with depositions of diuerse witnesses, testifieng king Edwards children to be bastards. Which depositions then I thought to be as true, as now I know them to be feined; and testified by persons with rewards vntrulie suborned. When the said depositions were before vs read and diligentlie heard, he stood vp bareheaded, saieng : Well my lords, euen as I and you (sage and discreet councellors) would that my nephue should haue no wrong; so I preie you doo me nothing but right. For these witnesses & saiengs of famous doctors being true, I am onelie the vndubitate heire to lord Richard Plantagenet duke of Yorke, adiudged to be the verie heire to the crowne of this relme by authoritie of parlement.

Which things so by learned men to vs for a veritie declared, caused me and other to take him for our lawfull and vndoubted prince and souereigne lord. For well we knew that the duke of Clarence sonne, by reason of the atteindor of his father, was disabled to inherit; and also the duke himselfe was named to be a bastard, as I my selfe haue heard spoken, and that vpon great presumptions more times than one: so againe, by my aid and fauour, he of a protector was made a king, and of a subiect made a gouernor. At which time he promised me on his fidelitie (laieng his hand in mine at Bainards castell) that the two yoong princes should liue, and that he would so prouide for them and so mainteine them in honorable estate, that I and all the realme ought and should be content. [But his words wanted weight, which is a foule discredit to a prince, to a peere, yea to a priuat and meane common man, as testifieth this sentence:

Dedecus est rebus cum bona verba carent.

The principall cause why the duke of Buckingham coceiued such inward grudge against king Richard.

For when he was once crowned king, and in full possession of the whole realme, he cast awaie his old conditions as the adder dooth hir skin, verifieng the old prouerbe ; Honours change manners, as the parish preest remembreth that he was neuer parish clearke. For when I my selfe sued vnto him for my part of the earle of Herefords lands which his brother king Edward wrongfullie deteined and withheld from me; and also required to haue the office of the high constableship of England, as diuerse of my noble ancestors before this time haue had, and in long descent continued: in this my first sute shewing his good mind toward me; he did not onelie first delaie me, and afterward denaie me, but gaue me such vnkind words, with such tawnts & retawnts, ye in manner checke and checkemate, to the vttermost proofe of my patience: as though I had neuer furthered him, but hindered him; as though I had put him downe, and not set him vp.

Yet all these ingratitudes and vndeserued vnkindnesses I bare closelie, & suffered patientlie, and couertlie remembred, outwardlie dissembling that I inwardlie thought: and so with a painted countenance, I passed the last summer in his last companie, not without manie faire promises, but without anie good deeds. But when I was crediblie informed of the death of the two yoong innocents, his owne naturall nephues con-trarie