Jane Austen on Richard III

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in

cassandraausten-janeaustenc_1810Among the works of the young Jane Austen is her The History of England From the Reign of Henry the 4th to the Death of Charles the 1st (dated 26 November 1791).  The whole  work is great fun for anyone with some historical interest.  This is what this “partial, prejudiced, & ignorant Historian” has to say about ‘our’ Richard:

Richard the 3rd

BAL3843The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man.   It has indeed been confidently asserted that he killed his two Nephews & his Wife, but it has also been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to beleive true; & if this is the case, it may also be affirmed that he did not kill his Wife, for if Perkin Warbeck was really the Duke of York, why might not Lambert Simnel be the Widow of Richard.  Whether innocent or guilty, he did not reign long in peace, for Henry Tudor E. of Richmond as great a villain as ever lived, made a great fuss about getting the Crown & having killed the King at the battle of Bosworth, he succeeded to it.

(Note:  both of the above pictures are by Jane’s sister Cassandra Austen)

Quoted from:  Jane Austen, Love and Freindship and Other Early Works. The Women’s Press Ltd, London, 1978.  ISBN 0 7043 3823 8. p. 71.  (This is a beautiful edition with delightful illustrations by Suzanne Perkins.)