1461 - 1485 - THE HOUSE OF YORK
Henry the Sixth and his son were murdered in 1464 and Edward the Fourth regained the throne, and became the undisputed King of England. He had fought bravely for the crown; but now that he had got firm possession of it, he became idle and voluptuous. He was a cruel tyrant too. Having resolved to put one of his brothers to death, he gave him the choice of dying in whatever manner he pleased. His brother, who was a great lover of good liquor, was said to have chosen to be drowned in a hogshead of wine.
Edward the Fourth died in 1483. He left two young children, the eldest of whom now became King Edward the Fifth. But these poor children had a wicked uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester, for a guardian. Most historians say that he was a horrible figure to look at, having a humpback, a withered arm, and a very ugly face; while more modern writers insist that he was a bold, clever man, determined to carry out his own designs, and unscrupulous as to the means Le used to that end. This personage was determined to make himself king.
He took care that the little King Edward and his brother should lodge in the Tower of London, One night, while the two children were sound asleep in each other's arms, some villains came and smothered them with the bolsters of the bed. They were buried at the foot of a staircase. So Richard of Gloucester became king of England. He is said to have committed many crimes for the sake of getting the crown, but be did not keep it long. But it is uow generally understood that more evil deeds were laid to the charge of Richard than he waa really guilty of.
Henry Tudor, the young Earl of Richmond, was now the only remaining heir of King Henry the Sixth. The French supplied him with the means of making war against Richard Crookback. He landed in England, and gained a victory at Bosworth. The battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 marked the close of the war. In this fight King Richard III, the last of the House of York, was overthrown and slain by Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond. When the soldiers of Richmond examined the dead bodies that lay in heaps on the battlefield, they found that King Richard was among them, with the golden crown upon his head. They put the diadem which had fallen from the head of Richard on the head of Richmond, and saluted as King Henry VII, the first of the Tudors.
The new king married a daughter of Edward the Fourth; and, at their wedding they each wore a red rose intertwined with a white one, for the Wars of the Roses were now over. Now that once proud and powerful baronage were ruined, and their confiscated estates had gone to increase the influence and patronage of the king, who, no longer in wholesome fear of Parliament, did pretty much as he pleased, and became insufferably oppressive and tyrannical. For the hundred years following the Wars of the Roses the government of England was rather an absolute than a limited monarchy. In a word, upon the ruins of the baronage was erected a royal despotism. Not until the Revolution of the seventeenth century did the people, by overturning the throne of the Stuarts, recover their lost liberties.
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