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For the Literary Magazine.

richard the third and per-
kin warbeck..

THE folly and the fallacy of fame
is an old theme of observation; but
there are few instances of its absur-
dity and injustice more memorable
than in relation to the character of
Richard the third. Happening to
be unfortunate in battle, and a rival
king and family stepping into his
place, his character has been ma-
ligned and mangled without mercy.
One historian after another has re-
peated the tale of his murders, per-
juries, and usurpations; and what
the grave historian relates to a few,
the poet has rendered familiar to
all mankind.

If the opinions of mankind were
really of any importance to those
who died a century or two ago, poor
Richard would have a heavy charge
to bring against Shakespeare, whose
play is one of the most enormous li-
bels that ever was uttered against
a human being: enormous not only
as to the degree of guilt ascribed to
the object of it, but as to the lasting
and extensive nature of the infamy
it heaps upon the object. Shakes-
peare's popularity has made the am-
bition of Richard and the revenge
of Shylock equally proverbial, though
both are equally calumnious, and
equally without foundation in histo-
ry or probability: Shylock, indeed,
is an imaginary character, but in
Shylock the Jewish nation is tra-

Horace Walpole was the first in
England who suggested doubts as to

the truth of the vulgar representa-
tions, in history and poetry, of Ri-
chard's character and person. Mr.
Laing, a very eminent writer, has,
at a later period, pursued the vindi-
cation of Richard much further, and
has displayed great sagacity and
learning, in proving that the title of
Richard was really well-founded;
that it was preferable to that of the
sons of his brother Edward, because
their mother bore them at a time
when Edward was lawfully married
to another; that the personal singu-
larities of Richard are, if not wholly
untrue, yet greatly exaggerated;
that the cruelties ascribed to him in
early youth were never committed;
and that, in particular, it was not
Richard but his successor, Henry the
seventh, who was the murderer of
the duke of York, in the person of
Perkin Warbeck. Mr. Laing thinks
that one or both the princes, whom
Richard is commonly supposed to
have murdered in the tower, were
in reality alive at his death, and
that the youngest re-appeared long
after, in the person of Warbeck.
This conclusion is supported by facts
and arguments, which, if they do
not make it certain, give it at least
far more probability than the oppo-
site conclusion can lay claim to.

I am somewhat surprized that
the curious in these matters have
wholly overlooked a publication
which appeared at Paris, about
1738, written by Claude Du Bois,
a jesuit, librarian to the count of
Lauenstein. His book is voluminous;
and the title may be translated, His-
torical Collections from the Lauen-
stein Library. Among various ex-
tracts and dissertations, purely local,
in this work, is one which attempts
to throw some light upon the dark
points of English history respecting
Richard and Warbeck.

The compte of Lauenstein, the au-
thor tells us, is in the province of
Cambrai; a princely domain, which
has been in possession of the same
family since the days of Louis Hu-
tin. In the archives of this family,
which he represents as remarkably

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copious and entire, from a period
anterior to the crusades, he found a
series of papers, connected with the
history of Edward the fourth and
Richard the third. Lauenstein, it
seems, was a populous and wealthy
district, where arts and trade had
immemorially flourished. At the
accession of Edward, Charles XVII
was count or lord of Lauenstein;
he was famous for his attention to
the manufactures of the lordship,
one branch of which he entirely
engrossed into his own hands, and
transacted business at foreign marts,
like the Medicean princes, by means
of factors or agents. He drove a
great trade at London, where he
maintained a commercial agent,
whose command of ready money
made him extremely useful to the
English princes, and gave him no
small influence at the English court.
At the accession of Richard, this
agent was named Mark Prague, a
man of learning and ability, and who
was a careful and intelligent observer
of all public transactions. Mark
Prague maintained a frequent cor-
respondence with his principal, and
detailed all political transactions in
his dispatches, with great minuteness.
From this correspondence Du Bois
forms the narrative he has given to
the world in this collection.

According to this narrative, it
appears that Mark Prague had ad-
vanced, at particular times, various
sums of money to the duke of Glou-
cester. In consequence of this ser-
vice, and of his personal merit, he
had greatly advanced in the favour
and confidence of the duke, and had
become, in some respects, his confi-
dential counsellor. This situation
made him acquainted with the cha-
racter and genuine motives of Ri-
chard, whom he represents as influ-
enced by a firm persuasion of the
illegitimacy of his nephews and
nieces, and of his own legal right to
the crown. After a detail of trans-
actions leading to his elevation, to
which the Lauenstein factor contri-
buted in no small degree, both by

money and counsel, and in which the
leading personages of the English
court perform very different parts,
and appear in very different lights
from those assigned to them in the
commonly received histories; he
proceeds to explain the motives of
the king in keeping the princes in a
rigorous captivity, till the eve of the
arrival of the earl of Richmond.
When that event took place, it was
concerted between the king and
Prague, that the captive princes
should be delivered to the latter,
and transported by him to the Low
Countries, where they were to re-
main, under the special guardian-
ship of the count of Lauenstein. This
removal was effected with the ut-
most secrecy, and the princes were
safely lodged in the castle of Lauen-
stein, by the time that Henry VII
was fully seated on the throne.

In this castle they were reared
and educated with the utmost care.
They were taught to consider Ri-
chard as their benefactor, not their
enemy; first, in sparing their lives,
and next, in placing them out of the
reach of his jealous and sanguinary
successor, from whose temper and
views they had much more to dread
than they ever had from Richard.

Edward, the eldest of these prin-
ces, was of a meek, pliant, devout
temper, who willingly resigned all
those hopes, with which the nume-
rous partizans and great popularity
of his house might have inspired
him, not only through a conscien-
tious belief of his defective right,
but from an aversion to the crimes
and perils of royalty. He readily
consented to conceal his birth, and
a marriage with the heiress of Lau-
enstein gave him in due time the
sovereignty of that county.

The younger brother, Richard,
was of a different disposition. He
was restless, enterprising, and ambi-
tious. He did not so easily acquiesce
in his exclusion from dignities, to
which popular opinion, with what-
ever reason, gave him a plausible
and practicable claim. He rejected

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the sober and prudent counsels of
his brother, and, after he had risen
to manhood, he left Lauenstein in
pursuit of fortune, and went to his
aunt, the duchess of Burgundy. The
rest of his history is pretty well
known, and his miserable fate tend-
ed only to confirm the unambitious
principles of his brother, who at-
tained a great age in the quiet and
prosperous administration of his lit-
tle principality. We are told that
he was present, in disguise, at the
coronation of Elizabeth, when he
was near ninety years of age.

Edward was desirous of consign-
ing all the particulars of his early
history to oblivion. This end he
effected imperfectly. Instead of
destroying, he only deposited the
letters and archives connected with
his history in a tower or closet, little
frequented, and usually appropriat-
ed to antiquated and useless records.
Here they were found, nearly de-
faced by time and neglect, in the
eighteenth century, by the Lauen-
stein librarian, whose curiosity left
no nook unvisited and unexplored.
As this was now a point of mere
curiosity, he easily obtained the con-
sent of the ruling count, the lineal
descendant of Edward, to publish

The truth or falsehood of this tale
has no connexion with the interests
or concerns of the present age, but
the imagination easily identities our
own existence with that of men who
flourished a thousand years ago.
Hence it is that enlightened men
have spent laborious years in clear-
ing up the incidents of a remote
age; in discussing the existence
and settling the merits of Arthur
and Charlemagne. There are many
ingenious persons in the world,
though perhaps there are few of
them in America, who think it a
matter of great importance to ascer-
tain the true character of Richard
the third and of Perkin Warbeck.
To such I may venture to recom-
mend Du Bois' book, as well worthy
their attention.


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