ABSTRACT

When Edward came to London at the beginning of October, 1473, to open parliament, he was greeted with the news that the Earl of Oxford had descended on the coast of Cornwall on the last day of September and seized St. Michael’s Mount. Oxford had only about eighty men with him, including his three brothers, George, Thomas, and Richard de Vere, and his companion in flight from the battlefield of Barnet, Viscount Beaumont; but the Comishmen, far from trying to drive him off, had welcomed him with “right good cheer,” and what with his neighbours’ good will and the natural strength of the Mount—a steep rocky promontory at low tide and an island at high tide—he seemed to have found an excellent lair. 1 Yet perhaps to Edward Oxford looked less dangerous after he settled down in Cornwall than he had looked while he was in France or sailing about in search of unwary merchantmen. Or perhaps, as parliament began at once to busy itself about the treaty with the Hanseatic League and about a new act of resumption and a plan for a general clearing up of such of the royal debts as went back to the days before the flight to Burgundy, 2 the king’s mind was too much occupied with what was going on at Westminster to leave him time to worry about what had happened at St. Michael’s Mount. For almost a month passed before any notice was taken of Oxford’s presence, and even when an effort was at last made to oust him from his stronghold, it was not because any fear was felt of him but because his proximity began to react on London and on Clarence. Dark rumours about Clarence’s intentions commenced to float about again, and London grew more and more “queasy,” until finally it became necessary to prohibit the bearing of arms and to require all tavern keepers to dose their doors at nine o’clock at night. 3