Jane Austen

THE
HISTORY
OF
ENGLAND

FROM THE REIGN OF HENRY THE 4TH
TO THE DEATH OF CHARLES THE 1ST


By a partial, prejudiced & ignorant Historian. To Miss Austen eldest daughter of the Revd George Austen, this Work is inscribed with all due respect byThe Author

N.B. There will be very few Dates in this History


Henry the 6th

I cannot say much for this Monarch’s Sense–Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian. I suppose you know all about the Wars between him & The Duke of York who was of the right side; If you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning by it only to vent my Spleen against, and shew my Hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, & not to give any information. This King married Margaret of Anjou, a Woman whose distresses & Misfortunes were so great as almost to make me who hate her, pity her. It was in this reign that Joan of Arc lived & made such arow among the English. They should not have burnt her–but they did. There were several battles between the Yorkists &Lancastrians, in which the former (as they ought) usually conquered. At length they were entirely over come; The King was murdered–the Queen was sent home– and Edward the 4th Ascended the Throne.

 

 

Edward the 4th

This Monarch was famous only for his Beauty & his Courage, of which the Picture we have here given of him, & his undaunted Behaviour in marrying one Woman while he was engaged to another, are sufficient proofs. His wife was Elizabeth Woodville, a Widow, who, poor Woman!, was afterwards confined in a Convent by that Monster of Iniquity & Avarice Henry the 7th. One of Edward’s Mistresses was Jane Shore, who has had a play written about her, but it is a tragedy & therefore not worth reading. Having performed all these noble actions, his Majesty died, & was succeeded by his Son.

 

 

Edward the 5th

This unfortunate Prince lived so little a while that no body had time to draw his picture. He was murdered by his Uncle’s Contrivance, whose name was Richard the 3rd.

 

 

Richard the 3rd

The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man. It has indeed been confidently asserted that he killed his two Nephews & his Wife, but it has also been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to beleive true; & if this is the case, it may also be affirmed that he did not kill his Wife, for if Perkin Warbeck was really the Duke of York, why might not Lambert Simnel be the Widow of Richard. Whether innocent or guilty, he did not reign long in peace, for Henry Tudor E. of Richmond as great a Villain as ever lived, made a great fuss about getting the Crown & having killed the King at the battle of Bosworth, he succeeded to it.

 

 

Henry the 7th

This monarch soon after his accession married the Princess Elizabeth of York, by which alliance he plainly proved that he thought his own right inferior to hers, tho’ he pretended to the contrary. By this Marriage he had two sons & two daughters, the elder of which daughters was married to the King of Scotland & had the happiness of being grand-mother to one of the first Characters in the World. But of her, I shall have occasion to speak more at large in future. The Youngest, Mary, married first the King of France and secondly the D. of Suffolk, by whom she had one daughter, afterwards the Mother of Lady Jane Grey, who tho’ inferior to her lovely cousin the Queen of Scots, was yet an amiable young woman and famous for reading Greek while other people were hunting. It was in th ereign of Henry the 7th that Perkin Warbeck & Lambert Simnel before mentioned made their appearance, the former of whom was set in the Stocks, took shelter in Beaulieu Abbey, & was beheaded with the Earl of Warwick, & and the latter was taken into the King’s Kitchen. His Majesty died, & was succeeded by his son Henry whose only merit was his not being quite so bad as his daughter Elizabeth.


This work, part of Jane Austen’s Juvenilia, is dated 26 November 1791. The sixteen-year-old Austen appears to have read Walpole’s Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of Richard III (1768) or to have heard the controversy discussed at some length.

Back to Top