King Richard III - RR135A2

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: King Richard III
Course: Course - English History
Subject: Subject:History
Lesson#: 2
Length: 1:05:29
TapeCode: RR135A2
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto Thee that all the days of our life are circumscribed by Thy grace, that underneath all the experiences of life are Thine everlasting arms. We thank Thee our Father that the events of our time, chaotic though they may seem to our eyes, are part of Thy perfect and all wise plan. Teach us, therefore, so to walk day by day, that we may ever be mindful of Thy government, with certainty of Thy grace, the inescapableness of Thy victory, and the glories of Thy government. Grant that in all things, our Father, our hearts be surely fixed there where our true joys are to be found, even in Jesus Christ our Lord. In his name we pray. Amen. [00:01:25]

As we study the development of a movement of reconstruction...[edit]

As we study the development of a movement of reconstruction in English history, we began with John Wycliff and his concept of dominion, and its importance to our day. Tonight, we go to the reign of Richard III. Richard III is a loser, as it were, on the scene of history; and losers do not generally get a fair representation from the historians, because the winners have a habit of rewriting history, of destroying many documents, of trying to give a picture which will conform to their particular purpose. Some of you may have noticed Sunday in the Los Angeles Times a long review of a new biography of Napoleon. The biography is by an Englishman, who says that Napoleon’s wars were defensive, that he was a man of integrity and of character—a very great man. The reviewer admits the evidence is very good, but he still finds it difficult to accept that picture; and yet, it is not a new account. One of the best things ever written by anyone on Napoleon was a four-volume study of his life written a hundred years ago by an American, Abbott. Many years ago, another Englishman, McNair Wilson, wrote a very fine and appreciative work on Napoleon. But Napoleon, you see, lost; and every kind of filth was invented to blacken him, in order to justify the Bourbon who succeeded him and was, himself, a scoundrel; and, therefore, the facts have trouble overcoming the propaganda. [00:04:00]

More recently, we have a picture of Nicholas II, Czar...[edit]

More recently, we have a picture of Nicholas II, Czar of Russia, which is largely myth. Some accounts have pointed out how much progress there was in his reign. There were problems. There were mistakes; but all the same, there was a middle class developing. Industry was developing. The farmers were making great strides. It was a time of real advance; but to read the history books, Nicholas was nothing but a fumbling fool, and his regime a time of unrelieved darkness. [00:04:53]

But perhaps no one has ever fared worse than Richard...[edit]

But perhaps no one has ever fared worse than Richard III. After all, he goes further back, and it was so important for Henry VII, the father of Henry VIII, who succeeded Richard III, to blacken Richard, because Richard was still throughout his reign popular with the common people. And so he got his associates, men like Sir Thomas More and others, to invent histories of the reign of Richard III, which blackened him thoroughly. Then, these propaganda pieces were picked up in a series that a playwright did on English royalty, which was totally Tudor in its emphasis; and the stereotype image of Richard has stayed with us. The man who did it was Shakespeare. His play, Richard III, is the classic play of a villain. Everything except the twirling mustache is there, and some of the plays of the last century added to that. His Richard III is a murderous, brutal villain who enjoys murder, enjoys plotting and killing, who gloats over his villainies, and who dies crying, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.” He’s been for a few centuries the favorite villain of all stage goers, and of student with drama. [00:07:05]

A side fact is that, contrary to Shakespeare, Richard...[edit]

A side fact is that, contrary to Shakespeare, Richard III was not a tyrant, he was not a murderer, he was not a villain, and he was not a hunchback. They vilified him so thoroughly that he is spoken of from the days of Henry VII on and Henry VIII, especially, as crook back, which he was not. He was, in fact, a very sensitive man, who died when he was barely 33, who was of very slight frame and appeared to be more a scholar than a warrior, although from the time he was barely in his teens, he was in the saddle and was one of his brother’s great generals. His brother, Edward IV, was a remarkable monarch. He was handsome, commanding in appearance, six-feet-four in size, and quite a domineering figure; and it’s ironic that his brother, who was a full twelve inches shorter than he was his great general. Small Richard, his kid brother, many years younger than he, was THE general who was so important to everything that Edward IV did. It’s an ironic fact: Richard—small, sensitive, given to reading and studying, giving all the appearance of a bookworm. Also he had contracted some ailment as a young man, which left one hand somewhat crippled; perhaps it was polio, we don’t know enough about things in those days—anything except the picture of a soldier; and yet a very commanding and brilliant general; so that, without him, his brother would have never succeeded. [00:09:49]

The irony of it is, there was another brother, George...[edit]

The irony of it is, there was another brother, George, Duke of Clarence, who was, like Edward the king, a tall, handsome figure; in fact, so handsome and so commanding of appearance, so persuasive at oratory that he was a continual problem, because he could lead people in any direction. He was also a very vicious, untrustworthy person, because he had become, more or less, an alcoholic. He finally had to be executed by Edward IV; and his execution, which was thoroughly justified for treason, was (we are told, but there’s no way of knowing) by being drowned in a barrel of wine, which was the way he had apparently indicated he would like to go, and had his fill of it.

Now, what was the situation and the setting when Richard III came to the throne? The long War of Roses was tearing England apart. The War of Roses was the conflict between two powerful families in England, who were very closely related, who were cousins and were both of royal blood, each claiming the right to the crown. The white rose was the emblem of the House of York. The red rose, later, with Henry Tudor, became the emblem of the House of Lancaster. Both were descended from Edward III, who was king of England from 1327 to 1377. Now, after Edward III, the kingdom had a contested succession. Edward III had three sons. He was of the House of Lancaster. One son was John of Gaunt, who married Blanche of Lancaster; another son was Edmund, Duke of York; and a third son was Lionel, Duke of Clarence. None of these ascended to the throne; but his grandson, who was born of John of Gaunt, ascended as Henry IV. He was succeeded by Henry V, who was succeeded by Henry VI. [00:13:17]

Meanwhile, a marriage had been contracted by Henry...[edit]

Meanwhile, a marriage had been contracted by Henry V with the daughter of Charles VI of France. All this is, perhaps, confusing and a bit tiresome, but it’s to set the stage for what happened. The marriage with France introduced into the royal family the diseased and defective blood of the French line; and as a result, Henry VI was a totally incompetent monarch. He was feeble of mind. He was barely capable of marriage; he was married to Margaret of Anjou, who was a very strong-willed, powerful woman, who really ruled the realm, and ruled it very badly. Henry VI was a kindly person, although very feeble of mind. He spent most of his time with monks and priests, and endless hours in praying. There were times when he was not at all in his right mind. When he was, he was almost childish in his devotion to the faith, very superstitious, something of a problem for the ladies of the court, because if any one of them came with a dress that was even slightly low-cut, he would go up in smoke and say, “Oh, for shame, for shame, for shame,” and run away and hide in the corner. He was quite an embarrassment to all the men of the court, because he was guilty of such naïve and childish things upon every occasion. Finally, Henry was so incompetent that there was no possibility there. At any rate, to make a long story short, the kingdom was falling into anarchy, and at this point, it became necessary for the nearest relative and next in line, Edward IV, to take over. Henry V, Henry VI represented total incompetence The realm was falling apart, and Edward IV of the House of York took over, and he reigned from 1461 to 1483. I mentioned Edward IV earlier, as the brother of Richard III. [00:16:39]

Now, Edward IV was, on the whole, a very superior king...[edit]

Now, Edward IV was, on the whole, a very superior king, one of the finer kings of England. The weakness of Edward, as we shall come to subsequently, was in his marriage. The times, however, were very, very much times of transition: the old feudal loyalties were gone; feudalism had died. Now, we still have feudalism to this day in the structural aspect: the county form of government is an aspect of feudalism. But as far as the spirit of feudalism, the old loyalty between a lord and his people, and his watchfulness over them, it was gone. The Renaissance had taken the place of Catholic Europe and feudalism; and the Renaissance was now in full power.

When we were dealing with world history, we discussed the Renaissance at some length, and I pointed out how totally humanistic it was; and the result in England was a non-religious emphasis in church and state. The churchmen were not concerned with the faith. Men and state were totally amoral and ruthless. Moreover, the Renaissance was characterized by refinement and cruelty, combined in the same person. A refinement in taste, a refinement in manners, a refinement in everyday living, combined with the most ruthless kind of cruelty. When we think of brutality and cruelty and torture, we must remember that we’re thinking primarily of what the Renaissance developed. There was some of this in the medieval period, but it became routine and commonplace in the Renaissance. For example, John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, the constable of England, was one of THE great Renaissance figures in England at the time. He had traveled to Jerusalem, to Venice, to Florence and Rome. He had studied at Padua. He brought back to England a cargo of manuscripts of ancient and classical writers. He, himself, translated many Latin works; and Caxton, who had begun his career at that time, printed two of his translations. And yet, he was rightfully called the Butcher of England. He thought nothing of submitting men to the most brutal and inhuman tortures, and priding himself on the refinement with which he did it. And no torture of any man could move him in the slightest; but he was quite likely to weep, if one of his ancient manuscripts were carelessly torn by someone. He, himself, was executed in 1470 by Edward IV, and he went to his execution by beheading very cooly; and he asked the executioner to perform his office of beheading with three strokes, in honor of the Trinity, he said. [00:20:38]

It was a time, also, of great wealth and poverty...[edit]

It was a time, also, of great wealth and poverty. The lords were Renaissance lords. They prided themselves on being wealthy and powerful, even though it meant grinding the peasants to nothingness. In old England, the peasantry had a relatively good life, considering the times. Now, they were being bled white by the lords. In the previous century in the days of Wycliff, there had been the rebellion under John Ball and Wat Tyler, and after that under Sir John Oldcastle; but now, the backbone of all rebellion had been crushed out of the people, and the oppression was extreme. How wealthy these lords were can be gauged by the life of the Earl of Warwick, the most powerful of them, a fairly modern figure called the King-maker, and a thoroughly Renaissance figure. I’d like to read from a modern historian’s account, Paul Murray Kendall’s account of the Earl of Warwick. He has a book out on Warwick, as well. He was of the House of Neville: “The Earl of Warwick, lived more intensely than most men, by his vision of himself and the reflection of that vision in the eyes of others. Heir though he was, in so many ways, to the arrogant, king-rivaling barons of the past, the hazy picture he drew of his place in the world was tinged with the colors of a coming age. It was magnificence he groped for as much as power, a many-faceted excellence which would catch the light of admiration from every direction. Having put Edward (Edward IV) on the throne, as he conceived (that is, he thought he had), by his conquering sword, he delighted in clapping harness on his back at all hours to keep him there; he was equally zealous to play the master statesman, and let foreign kings behold his greatness; and he must be bountiful, too, as he hoped to be loved beyond the limits of ordinary acclaim. His castles were thronged with retainers, tenants, suitors. At his London establishment six oxen would be roasted for a breakfast (for oxen, say steers, in modern terminology); any acquaintance of his servants was free to bear away from the kitchen as much meat as he could thrust upon a long dagger. When the Earl rode through the streets of London or passed through villages on errands of diplomacy or war, crowds of people cried “Warwick! Warwick!” as if he were a deity dropped from the skies. No one was so splendidly arrayed as he, and none bowed so low in courteous salutation to the meanest bystander who would shout a greeting. He perpetually wooed the world, and for a time, he won it. He was indeed genuinely amiable, generous, abounding in energy. Small wonder that he had deeply impressed one frail and earnest apprentice in knighthood who dwelt for a time in his castle at Middleham. Yet, the Earl’s charm and élan, the grandeur of his estates and offices, and the smile of fortune had hitherto concealed his serious disabilities. His genius was a plant that could only flower in the noonday sun; the wintry touch of adversity caused it to shrivel.” [00:24:51]

This was characteristic of the Renaissance figures...[edit]

This was characteristic of the Renaissance figures. They were playing for a stage; and if they didn’t have the applause of people, they would become paralyzed and afraid. Let me read further of a banquet held by the Earl of Warwick for King Edward: “The banquet itself was one of the most sumptuous of the age, proclaiming the undiminished opulence of the Nevilles and pointedly exceeding the splendor of King Edward. The great Earl himself performed the office of steward, and brother John of Northumberland, that of treasurer, while Hastings, Edward’s Lord Chamberlain, was comptroller. Sixty-two cooks had labored to prepare a hundred and four oxen, six wild bulls, some four thousand sheep, calves, and pigs, five hundred stags, four hundred swans, and a galaxy of other meats, which were washed down with three hundred tons of ale, a hundred tons of wine, and a pipe of hippocras. Then came thirteen thousand sweet dishes, climaxed by an array of “subtleties”—sculptured confections, of which one depicted St. George slaying a dragon of “march-pane” and another, a pastry Samson pulling down candy pillars. Well might this extravagant display suggest to the guests that the destiny of England laid with the House of Neville.” You can see how the people were poor, when they had lords milking them to live in that kind of extravagance. I might add the Earl of Warwick ended up dead when he reached a little too high, and his naked body was dragged in front of the cathedral. [00:27:04]

Thus, it was a time of unconcern for the peasantry...[edit]

Thus, it was a time of unconcern for the peasantry. It was also a time of religious decline. The monasteries and the convents, which had long been the bulwark of the common people in their charity and their concern, were now places of great wealth and unconcern for the people. There were perhaps 6,000 monks and 2,000 nuns in the kingdom, and the convents and monasteries had become centers of wealth. The church owned about a third of England. Earlier, it had used the income for welfare purposes; but now, it was just building up its own power. And if you were a wealthy widow or bachelor, or a wealthy widower, you could go and reside in a convent or monastery, and have the monks and nuns your servants; and have all kinds of catering at your whim. You could have your hunting dogs and your servants, your entire retinue there; and live the life of Riley with your boyfriend, or a mistress; on the condition, of course, that after you died, having been so lavishly entertained, your property would go the convent or the monastery. And so, the monks and the nuns were becoming more concerned with doing this kind of thing and gaining, thereby, than in serving their purposes. [00:28:48]

Edward IV, I said earlier, was a wise king, but he...[edit]

Edward IV, I said earlier, was a wise king, but he was a foolish lover. First of all, he had married and, as it later came out, illegally; so it was not a legitimate marriage, although his wife thought it was: Elizabeth Woodville. Now Elizabeth Woodville was the last person he should have married. She was a beautiful woman, but the Woodvilles were an ambitious family. They were on the Lancaster side, and his enemies, and they ruled the realm. Through Queen Elizabeth, who controlled Edward, and supplied him with all kinds of girls and women to keep him sexually happy, they got their way. The only thing Queen Elizabeth did not tolerate was any attachment to one woman; the idea was to keep him continually titillated with a procession of them; and the one she resented was Jane Shore, famous in history, who became his mistress for the time. When Edward woke up to what was going on and how thoroughly his kingdom was being gutted by his wife, and how thoroughly his court was saturated by these people, it was much too late to act. And in despair, he lost all will to live, and simply curled up and died, as it were. There’s no known reason for his death, except, as people of the day themselves said, the king suddenly seemed to have no desire to live and seemed totally despairing of everything that he had done. [00:00:31]

He left two small sons, Edward VI and Richard, named...[edit]

He left two small sons, Edward VI and Richard, named after his brother; and he left as their guardian his brother, Richard, Duke of York, who subsequently became Richard III. Richard III had to make a race for London to gain control of his nephews, because the queen and all the Woodvilles were going to set aside Edward’s request, and rule the kingdom themselves, which would have meant sure anarchy and possibly foreign invasion. However, after he gained power, he found out from the Woodvilles, themselves, as some of the factions began to quarrel, some aspects of his brother’s private life that he had not known, because his brother was some years older than he, and Richard had been a small boy when his father was a man: namely, that the marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was not legal. Therefore, young Edward VI was a bastard; and, according to English law, not entitled to the throne. There was a great deal of soul-searching on Richard’s part; and, after considerable counseling with some of the men of the realm, he then took over as the next legitimate heir; and in 1483 became king of England. [00:32:56]

Now, at this point, comes in the story of villainy...[edit]

Now, at this point, comes in the story of villainy and the charge against Richard that he supposedly murdered his two nephews. The evidence against this is nonexistent. No court of law could even hear a charge against Richard III. There were two other men who could have done it. In fact, Richard was not even in London; he was up in York at the time it was supposedly done; of course, he could have asked someone to do it for him. The other two who could have done it were Buckingham, the Duke of Buckingham; or Henry Tudor, Henry VII, on orders from above. Now, the curious fact is that they were supposedly killed during 1483 to ’84. And yet the significant fact is that their mother, Elizabeth Woodville, trusted herself and her person to Richard III after the supposed murder, and did not apparently believe that they had been murdered, or knew that they had not been, in spite of the common story. She regarded Richard as trustworthy, although she was opposed to him. She felt she could trust herself and her daughters more safely to Richard III, than to her own family. This is a very significant point. After Richard III died, she then had her daughter, Elizabeth Woodville (named after herself), married to Henry Tudor, whereby he made himself, as it were, the heir. But after the marriage, she found out something that made her turn on her son-in-law; and he turned on her and stripped her of all her possessions, and confined her under guard for the rest of her life. And the supposition is she found out who was responsible at a much later date for the murder of her two sons. So everything in the behavior of the mother, Elizabeth Woodville, indicates that she knew it was not Richard; so that, not only all the evidence we have does not point to Richard, but very definitely, the conduct of the mother of the two princes indicates that she knew it was not Richard; and it was probably someone acting at the order of Henry Tudor, later Henry VII. [00:36:16]

Now, let’s turn to the reign of Richard III...[edit]

Now, let’s turn to the reign of Richard III. We’ve been preparing the stage for it, because it’s important to understand what it was and when it came. We’ve seen a long period of trouble, of conflict, with the crown going back and forth between the Houses of York and Lancaster; a great deal of unrest, the people being ground down, the breakup of feudalism. And now, Richard III comes to the throne, and with his program to make the law of God the law of the realm, fully. This is a surprising thing: Christian reconstruction. What does he do? He immediately begins to pass laws that will make the law of God mandatory in the realm. [00:37:21]

Now, I’m going to read you a statement from Charles...[edit]

Now, I’m going to read you a statement from Charles Knight, a historian, who believes that he was a villain, that Richard was a villain; and yet, in the course of repeating all the propaganda the Tudor historians gave out, this is what he says: “A great legal authority looking at these acts of Richard III—fifteen altogether—may say of this, his only parliament, ‘We have no difficulty in pronouncing it the most meritorious national council for protecting the liberty of the subject and putting down abuses in the administration of justice, which have sat since the time of Edward I.’ But in opening the volumes of our laws, as furthered by authority ‘from original records and authentic manuscripts,’ we are struck with a change upon the face of these statutes of Richard III, which indicates as true a regard for the liberty of the subject of the laws themselves. For the first time, the laws to be obeyed by the English people are enacted in the English tongue. But, beyond this, they are the first laws which were ever printed.” And he goes on to say not only were they remarkable, and that they were geared for the understanding of the common man, but the laws strictly forbade anyone with tampering with printing and the dissemination of knowledge. [00:39:04]

Another very interesting thing, since Richard III was...[edit]

Another very interesting thing, since Richard III was killed, and everything he had confiscated and scattered, it’s very difficult to find any of his personal effects and papers. But something was discovered not too many years ago, which had his signature, and it’s been authenticated by every historian, and it was very obviously his, no doubt about it. It was the copy of John Wycliff’s translation of the New Testament, and it shows obvious use. Now, what Richard III did was this: to apply God’s Law, the law of scripture, to the land; to cut back all the abuses by the nobility, but to tell the nobility: “I am going to make each of you the source of justice in your realm. Too much power has been concentrated in the central government. The development for the last century or two has been concentrating power in London, and we’ve got to break this. So, I want each of you to become the ruler in his particular area, the dispenser of justice, and I will be the Supreme Court, as it were.” And he made himself that. The commonest man in England found that if he was not getting justice from a local court or from a local lord, he could appeal to the king, and the king would hear him. The king, in fact, was not in London very often; he was on horseback touring the kingdom continually to see that justice was done. [00:41:20]

Moreover, he was enacting legislation to further the...[edit]

Moreover, he was enacting legislation to further the middle class, the mercantile element, so that he was at one and the same time making justice again possible for the common man, so that for a period of five or six centuries, the common man in England never had it so good as he did in the three years under King Richard. But he also was laying the foundation for the future power of the middle class in England. Then, he was making sure that the taxation was equitable, and that it was not a one-way street to the crown. In fact, he kept turning back funds from city after city to the cities, and living off of his estates at York, that the power would not be concentrated in his person and in the office of king. In three years, he established godly government and justice. He chose the ablest men of the realm for his council. He worked to reform the church, so you had the ironic fact that the king was the real preacher. He was preaching to the churchmen continually, pleading with them, to be godly, to conform themselves to the Word of God. He, himself, in his behavior was very much a Puritan, and was spoken of as being such. When he had been very young in his early teens, he had been involved in an affair with a woman, by whom he had two sons. It was the only affair in his life. When he married Anne, his wife, he was absolutely faithful to her and exemplary in his conduct. He never disavowed the two illegitimate sons. He spoke very humbly of his earlier sins. He continually preached morality and the integrity of the family to his kingdom, so that he was not only a king who dispensed justice, but he was, in a sense, a teaching king and a scholarly king. [00:44:43]

The result was that England was again becoming strong...[edit]

The result was that England was again becoming strong, as it had not been for some time. And, as a result, some of the continental powers, especially in France, began to conspire against his regime, using Henry Tudor. Now, Henry Tudor, later Henry VII, was legally not eligible for the kingship, because he was on both sides—on his mother’s side and his father’s side back a generation or so—doubly a bastard; and this was strictly forbidden that anyone of a tainted inheritance to become king. However, Henry Tudor had a very powerful factor on his side: the Lancasters had no other champion, so they chose him. On top of that, his mother was now married to Lord Stanley, a very powerful lord. Richard III did everything to try to wean Lord Stanley over his side, and conferred great honor and authority and wealth upon him; but none of it worked. An invasion by Henry Tudor was made. There was no response by the people. No one rallied to Henry’s side, but Richard III was very bitterly hurt and disillusioned. Everything he had done to try to establish justice [audio interruption] … landed with a small army provided him from abroad. Although no people joined him, no one joined Richard. Everyone decided to sit on the sidelines. [00:47:11]

Meanwhile, Richard, himself, had been struck with tragedy...[edit]

Meanwhile, Richard, himself, had been struck with tragedy. His son, a very fine boy, had died. His wife, Queen Anne, also died. He was all alone. He saw no one to carry on the work he had done, because his closest relatives were, in effect, strangers to his heart and to his purpose. And so, he felt hopeless, and without hope, no man really can live; and to be alone, as he was, was a bitter fate. [00:48:06]

Now, if Richard III had done nothing but stay in London...[edit]

Now, if Richard III had done nothing but stay in London and postponed battle for two years, Henry VII would have gotten nowhere: he would have had no popular support; his support from abroad would have gradually dwindled away, and he would have had to run for his life. But Richard III, lonely and feeling hopeless, because there was no one to carry on his work, even though he was young, only going on 33, feeling very old, because he had been in the saddle as a warrior before he was quite 13, decided to risk everything in battle. And so he rallied his men of York and went against Henry Tudor. When he went to the place of battle where the two armies were to meet, Bosworth Field, he found four other armies there, four powerful lords: Northumberland, Stanley, and others, all waiting around like vultures to join in when they saw which way the battle was going. Richard III called his men together, and he told them, “Old England is dead. If I lose, all the old liberties of Englishmen are gone for generations to come,”—as they were, until Cromwell, and after—“and if I win,” he said, “it will not be the same, either, because I will deal with a ruthless hand with the laws of the land.” And he went into battle. Things were going very much his way, and he made a sudden charge on Henry Tudor and caught him by surprise; and was within a hair’s breadth of killing Henry Tudor himself, when Lord Stanley, Henry Tudor’s stepfather, decided to bring his army into the battle in favor of his stepson. And at that point, with this third army charging in, and Northumberland deciding if that’s the way it goes, he charging in also, the battle was lost within a hair’s breadth of victory. And Richard III was slain, his body stripped naked, tossed over his horse, and taken naked to town. His reign was like that of another young king, King Josiah, of the Bible, who in Jeremiah, who had worked with him, warned him against going to fight with Pharaoh, it was not the Lord’s will, went all the same, because he saw the hopelessness of trying to convince the leaders of Judea of God’s cause. [00:52:01]

Henry Tudor, who had the tainted blood that Henry VI...[edit]

Henry Tudor, who had the tainted blood that Henry VI and Henry V had, a strain of very real madness, ascended the throne; and the totalitarian regime began, which was carried on in the realm of Henry VIII. And it was only finally by the destruction of the Tudor/Stuart line that the people of England were able to reclaim their old liberties. The memory of Richard lingered for a long time among the common people, and Henry VII had trouble throughout his reign, because, while the common people were unable to do anything in the way of armed revolt, they insisted on maintaining their respect and loyalty for their champion. Some of the cities where, because the middle classes were in power there and they had profited by Richard III’s justice, some of those cities also markedly maintained their loyalty. But the attempt, the last attempt in castled Europe, to establish Christian reconstruction in terms of God’s Word had ended; but it was not finished. The circulation of Wycliff’s Bible continued underground, and it was to come into the open in another century or more, when a great attempt was made again to re-establish England, and to reconstruct it in terms of the Word of God.

Let us bow our heads now in prayer. Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that in every age Thou hast had Thy witness, and Thou hath accomplished Thy purpose; that Thou art like a master weaver, weaving together the warp and woof of history in terms of Thy sovereign purpose. Teach us, therefore, to walk in terms of Thy Word, and in terms of Thy calling, that we may be more than conquerors, through Jesus Christ our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen.

Are there any questions now? Our lesson was a very long one today, but I wanted to cover the period adequately. Yes? [00:55:15]

[Questioner] {unclear} in referring to Henry Tudor, the possibility of his having killed the two princes, he said, “On orders abroad.” What was abroad? What was he saying here?

[Rushdoony] Henry Tudor was living abroad in France at the time, and he could not have killed him in person, so it was apparently done to cast suspicion on Richard, because all at once, there was all kinds of rumor and report that Richard had murdered the two princes. Now, there’s reason to believe that they were not even killed at the time, you see. But, at any rate, it served Henry Tudor’s purposes better than anyone else’s. Richard had nothing to gain by it.

Any other questions? Well, I have a couple of things to show of a different vein. The March Alternative, a student magazine from the University of Indiana, in its correspondence page has a very interesting letter.

To the Editor:

Back in ’68, they told me if I voted for Hubert Humphrey, the United States would move closer to a détente with the Red Chinese. They told me if I voted for Hubert Humphrey, the government would have a tighter hold on the economy, and our dollar might be devalued. They told me if I voted for Hubert Humphrey, we would move closer to a new minimum annual income, and our great cities would be polluted with food stamps. They also told me if I voted for Hubert Humphrey that our sacred federal bureaucracies would be infested with key agents of the Council of Foreign Relations. All in all, I was told if I voted for Hubert Humphrey, our country would move further down the path to socialism. Well, darn, if they weren’t right. I voted for Hubert Humphrey, and it has all come to pass. [general laughter] I wonder whose big thumb has been on the trigger.

Mort Hornsaw

Gig Harbor, Washington

And I thought this was interesting: a new book is out, which I have been told is likely to become one of the big sellers of ’72. It’s a work of nonfiction, and the title of it is: Safe Places: Where in the United States to Move to Be Safe. And already, it apparently is selling very well in New York. [general laughter] [00:58:30]

We have some announcements of the Guild dinner meeting...[edit]

We have some announcements of the Guild dinner meeting next week, Saturday, with Dr. Truman Davis speaking. I think this is a most remarkable meeting: a very powerful speaker, a very important man; six-seven, by the way, in size, and a very commanding figure. He’s a very powerful speaker, and he’s one of the handful of authorities in the world on the crucifixion of our Lord. I think this will be a very important thing for you to hear as a Christian, because you’ll never forget it, and it will give you an insight into the meaning of the crucifixion and our Lord’s work, that you will not get otherwise. So, I do urge your attendance. There are a limited number of seats, and the registration is beginning to come in quite rapidly this week. So, if you haven’t registered, get yours in before too late. Would anyone like copies of these forms? Well … Yes?

[Questioner] That’s March 18th?

[Rushdoony] Yes.

Well, if there are no further questions … Yes?

[Questioner] Well, I’m wondering just how the church stood on Henry’s and Richard’s problem. Did he have any backing from the church law or courts?

[Rushdoony] The church was incredibly corrupt. Some of the bishops were Woodvilles. They were politicians, pure and simple. Some of the top churchmen had such a long, long record of the most amazing and ugly kind of political intrigue and finagling, profiteering. The church was at a very low ebb, so that there’s not much you could say for the church. They were Renaissance gentlemen; and, like the lords, they had no concern for the spiritual welfare of the people. So, the church was really at a very low ebb. [01:01:15]

[Questioner] So that was the point where the law and...[edit]

[Questioner] So that was the point where the law and king went underground {unclear}?

[Rushdoony] Yes. Now, a very interesting thing … the church had been especially loyal to Richard, because for a century to a century and a half before Richard, the cry of the people was very anti-church. They were calling for the expropriation of all the church properties. You can go back a century to Piers Plowman, William Langland’s great poem, and he gives you quite a picture of the fat, corrupt, depraved clergy; and he writes as a very passionate Catholic believer. But his picture of the church is a very, very sordid one. The one time when the cry for expropriation ceased was in the reign of Richard III, and for a very good reason: the people were getting justice; and therefore, they weren’t hungry and half-starved, you know, and they were content to let well enough alone. They were getting a godly regime. They could depend on justice when they went to the courts; and, as a result, for awhile, the church was quite well-off.


[Questioner] I looked up the word Lollard, and, let’s see, I can’t remember the Latin word for it, but it’s either {unclear} Lollard.

[Rushdoony] Oh, very interesting.

[Questioner] {unclear}

[Rushdoony] Probably, because they had to hold their meetings in privacy. An interesting thing, speaking of the meaning of words: at the same time, a very important word in English began to change its meaning during this whole period of the breakdown of the Middle Ages to the modern era (you still have it in legal documents); seizein and seize. Seize the day means to grab something forcibly; but it once meant to hold something lawfully, legally. So, if you held something in seizein, or seissin, either way, you were holding it lawfully by rightful inheritance, or by rightful purchase. And it tells us something about the rapacious lords and the crown that the word, seize, has come to mean expropriate—exactly the reverse of its original meaning. It’s a sad commentary.

[Questioner] {unclear}

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Questioner] {unclear} has reversed.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, our time has up from here. [00:00:10]