Henry VII., founder of the Tudor dynasty of English kings, horn at Pembroke castle, in South Wales, July 26,1456, died at Richmond, April 21, 1509. On the death of Henry V., his widow, Catharine of France, married Owen ap Tudor, a Welsh gentleman of ancient lineage, but of moderate fortune. Of the four children born of this marriage, the eldest was Edmund Tudor, who was created earl of Richmond by Henry VI., his half brother; and Richmond in 1455 married Margaret Beaufort. John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III., had married for his third wife Catharine Swynford, who had long been his mistress. None of their offspring were born in wedlock, but he obtained the legitimation of them all by a papal bull, a charter from Richard II., and an act of parliament. John Beaufort, duke of Somerset, grandson of John of Gaunt and Catharine Swynford, married Margaret, widow of Sir Oliver St. John, nee Beauchamp, and their only child was Margaret Beaufort, who was married to the earl of Richmond in 1455, and became countess dowager Nov. 1, 1450, three months after the birth of her son. For some years Henry of Richmond resided at Pembroke castle, even after that place had been given to the Herberts, the chief of whom had charge of him.
He was attainted soon after the crown passed to the house of York. His education was conducted by his mother, a woman of piety and learning; and he grew up a thoughtful and serious boy, much inclined to religion. When the house of Lancaster was restored in 1470, Richmond was placed in Eton college, where he was seen by Henry VI., who predicted that he would be king. The next year saw the return of Edward IV., and the death of Henry VI. and his only son, when Richmond became chief of the Lancastrian party. By letters patent from Richard II. in 1397, granted to the duke of Lancaster, the Beauforts were to be "admitted to all honors and dignities," which placed them in the lino of succession to the crown; but when Henry IV. ratified the act of Richard II., he added, after the words "all honors and dignities," the words "except to the royal dignity." Thus the Beauforts were not from the first excluded from claims to the throne, and Henry of Richmond had plausible ground for asserting that he was the lineal heir of John of Gaunt, and head of the house of Lancaster. Henry was sent to Pembroke castle after the triumph of the Yorkists, and going to Tenby, sailed thence to France. Landing in Brittany, he was seized by the duke of that country, who held him a prisoner many years, refusing to surrender him to Edward IV. In 1484, when the usurpation of Richard III. had caused much discontent in England, Henry was recognized as chief of all parties opposed to the government, and a marriage was arranged between him and Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV. The duke of Brittany finally liberated him, and with a small force he sailed for England. He was unsuccessful, his fleet dispersed, and his party in England was crushed for the time by Richard. After a variety of romantic adventures, he raised a larger force, sailed from Harfleur in the beginning of August, 1485, and landed at Milford Haven. The victory of Bosworth (Aug. 22) and the death of Richard III. made him king, He was crowned at Westminster Oct. 30. Parliament settled the succession on his heirs, He married the princess Elizabeth in January, 1480, but her coronation did not take place until the close of 1487. Henry's reign was much disturbed by pretenders and plots.
The first pretender was Lambert Simnel, who claimed to be the earl of Warwick. The true earl was a prisoner, and the pretender was exposed; but an army was raised, which at Stoke (June 16, 1487) disputed the day with the royal forces, and placed the Tudor cause in great peril. Victory at length declared for Henry, and the Yorkists lost all their leaders on the field. The king, with good-natured contempt, made Simnel a turnspit. A more formidable competitor was Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, duke of York, second son of Edward IV.; and the assistance he received from Burgundy, France, Scotland, and Ireland alarmed Henry. He detected a conspiracy among the nobility, and put the leaders to death, including Sir William Stanley, to whom he owed the vic-tory of Bosworth and the throne. A Cornish rebellion, caused by taxation, was put down at Blackheath, June 22, 1497. To revive this rebellion, Perkin went to Cornwall, but failed, and fell into the king's hands. Henry had him set in the stocks, and forced him to admit that he was an impostor, he reading the confession which he had written with his own hand to the people assembled in Cheapside. He was then confined in the tower, and, after an attempt to escape, was hanged at Tyburn in 1499. Warwick, who had shared in the attempt, and had been the object of a third plot, was beheaded, a deed as foul as any that has been attributed to Richard III. Henry's motive was to satisfy Ferdinand of Aragon, who would not give his daughter Catharine to the prince of Wales while any Yorkist prince remained on earth.
The son in behalf of whom this act was committed died in 1502. Henry became very avaricious in his last years, and by the revival of old laws and other means amassed £1,800,000, according to some accounts, which are perhaps exaggerated. He extorted money from his subjects under pretence of making war on France, which they demanded, but which he knew better than to undertake. He sold pardons, and drove a trade in offices of the court and the church. The two most noted instruments of his avarice were Empson and Dudley. In the 11th year of his reign the statute for the security of the subject obeying and aiding a king de facto was passed, which was made necessary by the judicial slaughter that had occurred among the aristocracy while the contest between the houses of York and Lancaster distracted England. Seven years earlier was passed the statute of fines, which was but a copy of that of Richard III., and probably reenacted only to give validity to that monarch's laws. The clergy were not friendly to Henry, and in each case of a pretender a priest was concerned. Yet he followed the policy of the house of Lancaster, causing at least two Lollards to be burned, and severely persecuting many others.
He sought the reform of the church, and in his reign we find the first indications of that course which, in his successor's time, ended in the English reformation. Henry encouraged commerce and patronized voyages of discovery. His foreign policy was judicious; and by marrying his eldest daughter to James IV. of Scotland, he furthered the ultimate union of the two kingdoms. Worn out with anxiety and care, he died before the end of his 53d year.
Henry VII., of Luxemburg, emperor of Germany, born in 12G2, died at Buonconven-to, near Siena, Aug. 24, 1313. He was elected emperor in 1308, after an interregnum of four months which followed the death of Albert I. After punishing the murderers of his predecessor, and after the marriage of his son John with the heiress of Bohemia, he went to Italy, which was distracted by the wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines; and having compelled the Milanese to consent to his coronation with the iron crown of Lombardy, he reduced the whole of northern Italy, and continued his march to Rome, of which King Robert of Naples held military possession. After the reduction of that city, and the imperial coronation by cardinals (the pope, Clement V., having transferred the holy see to Avignon in 1309), Henry placed Robert under the ban of the empire, and was about to march against Naples when he died suddenly, of poison, it was affirmed, administered in the eucharist.