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services by Henry' the Seventh, it is not probable that he was one of the murderers. That lord Bacon owning that Tirrel's confession did not please the king so well as Dighton's; that Tirrel's imprisonment and execution some years afterwards for a new treason, of which we have no evidence, and which appears to have been mere suspicion, destroy all probability of his guilt in the supposed murder of the children. That the impunity of Dighton, if really guilty, was scandalous; and can only be accounted for on the supposition of his being a false witness to serve Henry's cause against Perkin Warbeck. That the silence of the two archbishops, and Henry's not daring to specify the murder of the princes in the act of attainder against Richard, wears all the appearance of their not having been murdered. That Richard's tenderness and kindness to the earl of Warwick, proceeding so far as to proclaim him his successor, betrays no symptom of that cruel nature which would not stick at assassinating any competitor. That it is indubitable that Richard's first idea was to keep the crown but till Edward the Fifth should attain the age of twenty-four. That with this view he did not create his own son prince of Wales till after he had proved the bastardy of his brother's children. That there is no proof that those children were murdered. That Richard made, or intended to make, his nephew, Edward the Fifth, walk at his coronation. That there is strong presumption, from the parliament roll and from the Chronicle of Croyland, that both princes were living some time after sir Thomas More fixes the date of their deaths. That when his own son was dead, Richard was so far from intending to get rid of his wife, that he proclaimed his nephews, first the earl of Warwick, and then the earl of Lincoln, his heirs apparent. That there is not the least probability of his having poisoned his wife, who died of a languishing distemper: that no proof was ever intended to be given of it; that a bare supposition of such a crime, without proofs or very strong presumptions, is scarce ever to be credited. That he seems to have had no intention of marrying his niece, but to have amused her with the hopes of that match, to prevent her marrying Richmond. That Buck would not have dared to quote her letter as extant in the earl of Arundel's library, if it had not been there; that others of Buck's assertions having been corroborated by subsequent discoveries, leave no doubt of his veracity on this; and that letter disculpates Richard from poisoning his wife; and only shows the impa VOL. III
tience of his piece to be queen. That it is probable the queen dowager knew her second son was living, and connived at the appearance of Lambert Simnel, to feel the temper of the nation. That Henry the Seventh certainly thought that she and the earl of Lincoln were privy to the existence of Richard duke of York, and that Henry lived in terror of his appearance. That, the different conduct of Henry, with regard to Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, implies how different an opinion he had of them; that, in the first case, he used the most natural and most rational methods to prove him an impostor; whereas his whole behaviour in Perkin's case was mysterious, and betrayed his belief or doubt that Warbeck was the true duke of York. That it was morally impossible for the dutchess of Burgundy, at the distance of twenty-seven years, to instruct a Flemish lad so perfectly in all that had passed in the court of England, that he would not have been detected in a few hours. That she could not inform him, nor could he know, what had passed in the tower, unless he was the true duke of York. That if he was not the true duke of York, Henry had nothing to do but to confront him with Tirrel and Dighton, and the imposture must have been discovered. That Perkin never being confronted with the queen-dowager, and the princesses, her daughters, proves that Henry did not dare to trust to their acknowledging him. That if he was not the true dake of York, he might have been detected by not knowing the queen and princesses, if shown to him, without his being told who they were. That it is not pretended that Perkin ever failed in language, accent, or circumstances, and that his likeness to Edward the Fourth is allowed. That there are gross and manifest blunders in his pretended confession. That Henry was so afraid of not ascertaining a good account of the purity of his English accent, that he makes him learn English twice over. That lord Bacon did not dare to adhere to this ridiculous account; but forges another, though in reality not much more credible. That a number of Henry's best friends, as th lord chamberlain, who placed the crown on his head, knights of the garter, and men of the fạirest characters, being persuaded that Perkin was the true duke of York, and dying for that belief, without recanting, makes it very rash to deny that he was so. That the proclamation in Rymer's Fædera against Jane Shore, for plotting with the marquis Dorset, not with lord Hastings, destroys all the credit of sir Thomas More, as to what relates to the latter peer.
In short, that Henry's character, as we have received it from his own apologists, is so much worse and more hateful than Richard's, that we may well believe Henry invented and propagated by far the greater part of the slanders against Richard; that Henry, not Richard, probably put to death the true duke of York; as he did the earl of Warwick; and that we are not certain whether Edward the Fifth was murdered; nor, if he was, by whose order he was murdered.
After all that has been said, it is scarce necessary to add a word on the supposed discovery that was made of the skeletons of the two young princes, in the reign of Charles the Second. Two skeletons found in that dark abyss of so many secret transactions, with no marks to ascertain the time, or the age of their interment, can certainly verify nothing. We must believe both princes died there, before we can believe that their bones were found there; and upon what that belief can be founded, or how we shall cease to doubt whether Perkin Warbeck was not one of those children, I am at a loss to guess.'
As little is it requisite to argue on the grants made by Richard the Third to his supposed accomplices in that murder, because the argument will serve either way. It was very natural that they, who had tasted most of Richard's bounty, should be suspected as the instruments of his crimes. But till it can be proved that those crimes were committed, it is in vain to bring evidence to show who assisted him in perpetrating them. Indeed one knows not what to think of the death of Edward the Fifth: one can neither entirely acquit Richard of it, nor condemn him; because there are no proofs on either side; and though a court of justice would, from that defect of evidence, absolve him, opinion may fluctuate backwards and forwards, and at last remain in suspense.
For the younger brother, the balance seems to incline greatly on the side of Perkin Warbeck, as the true duke of York; and if one was saved, one knows not how nor why to believe that Richard destroyed only the elder.
We must leave this whole story dark, though not near so dark as we found it; and it is perhaps as wise to be uncertain on one portion of our history, as to believe so much as is believed in all histories, though very probably as falsely delivered to us as the period which we have been here examining.
POWER OF CONSCIENCE. How irresistible is the power of conscience! It is a viper which twines itself round the heart, and cannot be shook off. It lays fast hold of us; it lies down with us, and stings us in our sleep. It rises with us, and preys upon our vitals. Hence ancient moralists compared an evil conscience to a vulture feeding upon the liver, and the
pangs that are felt by the one to the throes of the other; supposing at the same time the vulture's hunger to be insatiable, and this entrail to be most exquisitely sensible of pain, and to grow as fast as it is devoured. What can be a stronger representation of the most lingering and most acute corporeal pains? Yet, strong as it is, it falls greatly short of the anguish of a guilty conscience. Imagination, when at rest, cannot conceive the horrors which, when troubled, it can excite, or the tortures to which it can give birth.
What must have been the state of mind of Bessus, a native of Pelonia, in Greece, when he disclosed the following authenticated fact! His neighbours seeing him one day extremely earnest in pulling down some birds' nests, and passionately clestroying their young, could not help taking notice of it, and upbraiding him with his ill nature and cruelty to poor creatures, that, by nestling so near him, seemed to court his protection and hospitality; he replied that their voice was to him insupportable, as they never ceased twitting him with the murder of his father.
This execrable villany had lain concealed many years, and had never been suspected. In all probability it never would have come to light, had not the avenging fury of conscience drawn, by these extraordinary means, a public acknowledgment of it from the par: ricide's own mouth.
Bessus is not the only person that has stood self-convicted. Though the discovery has not been distinguished by such a strange circumstance, many have made a voluntary confession, and sought for a refuge from the torments of conscience in death. What a lesson for all men to keep a conscience void of offence!
INTERVIEW BETWEEN GEESE. The following curious circumstance is said to have been substantiated by evidence at the assises of York, in England, where John Shields and George Nicholson were charged with stealing sixteen geese, the property of Mr. Blanchard, of Bulmer,
The facts of this case were shortly these:-On Sunday the 31st of October, all the geese of the prosecutor were safe in his field; on the following day, sixteen were missing from his flock, part of which he found alive at York the same day, in the possession of the prisoners, who had been offering them for sale. The prosecutor, on examining the geese, said he was almost sure they were the geese which had been stolen; but in order to attain perfect satisfaction, he hit upon the following method:The geese he had lost had been taken from their companions, parents, and relations; of course, if brought together, they would recognise each other. But not being willing that so important and interesting a point should rest on his own evidence and judgment, he took with him the constable and another person, whose united testimony would not only satisfy the court, but also his neighbours, whom he thought rather incredulous on the subject. A chaise was accordingly provided for the purpose, and the geese, thus respectively attended, returned in triumph to their native place.
These witnesses proceeded with all sober sadness to detail the particulars of this interesting interview. On the arrival of the carriage, the ancient gander came out on the road to welcome the approach of his lost family: the cackling of the other geese was heard at a distance, and as soon as the captive ones were released from their confinement, they hastened with impatience to their companions; and here a scene ensued which was not to be described; the mutual congratulations on this occasion were so loud and sincere, as to leave no doubt in the minds of these respectable witnesses, that these geese were indisputably of the same family.
The effect which this description had on the risible faculties of the court and audience may be easier conceived than described. Repeated bursts of laughter discomposed the bench, the bar, and the audience, and it was a considerable time before gravity could be restored. The jury found the prisoners-Guilty.
As DIOGENES was one day taking his repast at a tavern, he saw DEMOSTHENES passing by, and invited him in. Demosthenes refused. " What,” said Diogenes, “ do you object to being in a tavern? your master is seen here every day;” meaning by this term the common people. Thus Diogenes intimated, that the orators and declaimers were the slaves of the multitude,