There fell in this battle about four thousand of the vanquished. The loss was inconsiderable on the side of the victors. Sir William Catesby, a great instrument of Richard’s crimes, was taken, and soon after beheaded, with some others, at Leicester. The body of Richard was found in the field, covered with dead enemies, and all besmeared with blood. It was thrown carelessly across a horse, was carried to Leicester amid the shouts of the insulting spectators, and was interred in the Gray Friars’ Church of that place.
The historians who favor Richard—for even this tyrant has met with partisans among the later writers—maintain that he was well qualified for government had he legally obtained it, and that he committed no crimes but such as were necessary to procure him possession of the crown; but this is a poor apology when it is confessed that he was ready to commit the most horrid crimes which appeared necessary for that purpose; and it is certain that all his courage and capacity—qualities in which he really seems not to have been deficient—would never have made compensation to the people for the danger of the precedent and for the contagious example of vice and murder exalted upon the throne. This Prince was of a small stature, hump-backed, and had a harsh, disagreeable countenance; so that his body was in every particular no less deformed than his mind.
[Footnote 1: Wife of Henry VI.]
[Footnote 2: The Queen’s brother.]
[Footnote 3: Brother of Lord Stanley, above.]
At the birth of Ivan III (1440) Russia was all but stifled between the great Lithuanian empire of the Poles and the vast possessions of the Mongols. In vain had a succession of Muscovite princes endeavored to give unity to the little Russian state. Between the grand princes of Moscow and those of Lithuania stood Novgorod and Pskof, the two chief Russian republics, hesitating to declare their allegiance.