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Out of the Shadows of Time
By Brittany Zittel
5 October 1999
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
King Richard III V, iv
The playwright William Shakespeare made King Richard III out to be a baneful villain, but he was not such in real life. Richard III, brother and successor to Edward IV, came to power purely by the passage of the Parliamentary Act Titulus Regius, which named the two sons of Edward IV illegitimate and also declared Richard III as the true heir. His two nephews, Edward and Richard, were locked up in the Tower of London and had also disappeared by the time Richard III actually took the throne. King Richard III s name has been dragged through the mud for hundreds of years, mainly by the historians of the successors, the Tudors, who wished to portray all accounts of the previous king as horrifically and slanderously as possible. Even the most respected and sainted historians of the specific era wrote versions of Richard III in a bad light because they wrote during Henry VII s reign and were, therefore, biased toward his reign and not Richard III s reign, or they feared for their life and property. Alan Grant and Brent Carradine use police logic and common sense to clear Richard III s name and declare that, like the old proverb, truth is the daughter of time.
Alan Grant and Brent Carradine determine that Richard III did not murder his two nephews by simple research and elementary deduction of the facts presented. As the researcher, Carradine looks at the actual facts he finds during his research and leaves Grant the pleasure of truly analyzing them. Carradine generally focuses more on the past of each specific person while Grant takes his mind away from the personal histories and [begins] to think police-fashion (188) about the facts of each individual. Both are equally important, but as an inspector at Scotland Yard, Grant has been trained to look at the facts and the personality of the accused and not the specific stories of them. After much discussion and research, the two men come to a conclusion that Richard III did not murder his nephews and is, in fact, innocent of nearly all crimes historythe Tudors mainlyhas placed upon him. Twenty years after the alleged murder of the two princes, Sir James Tyrrel of Gipping is rumored to have confessed to the murder, but a transcript of the confession was never made. Carradine makes the remark that there are accounts of a confession, notnot a transcript, if you see what I mean (169). This one fact leads both men to believe that Tyrrel never gave a confession and was, therefore, just an opportune person to pin the murder on. By the time the rumor of the confession came about, both Tyrrel and the guards at the Tower were conveniently dead. No one could contest the accusation or confession. The two men deduced nearly the entire mystery fairly easily, through research of the time period and by the simple logic that one man cannot be more than one place at any given time and could not have possibly killed his nephews himself. With all the facts cross-examined, a man can determine just the ideas that Carradine and Grant ultimately determine.
Truth emerges from the shadows of time just as a flower emerges from a bud on a warm spring day. History is also in the eye of the beholder, or, rather, the champion. During the reign of King Henry VII, the historians were expected to write the stories of the previous king with terrible connotations. Were they to write of him in praise, they would be convicted of treason most decidedly. Sir Thomas More, being only five when Richard III succeeded the throne and eight when Richard III was killed at Bosworth (80), wrote about the king as a tremendously wretched man. Everything the sainted Sir Thomas More wrote about Richard III s reign was hearsay. He had gotten his information from Richard s bitterest enemy John Morton. Needless to say, both accounts were biased against King Richard III. Conversely, some versions of history have been embellished and not slanderous against any one man as the historical descriptions of Richard III tend to be. Two such stories would be about the Boston Massacre during the American Revolutionary War and Tonypandy in the South of Wales. The Boston Massacre was not a massacre at all, but the name and legend of it by the participants and people of the time would lead one to believe such. Only four American colonists actually died as a result of the small riotous uprising, not an entire flock of colonists as the word massacre would appear to mean. When young Carradine informs Grant of this event, he says that his blood used to seethe at the thought of helpless civilians mowed down by the fire of British troops. You can t imagine what a shock it was to find that all it added up to the actual facts was a brawl that wouldn t get more than local reporting in a clash between police and strikers in any American lock-out (103). Many history books paint the Boston Massacre as such, a group of American colonists revolting against the British troops who open fire against the helpless civilians, but, in all actuality, the American colonists were the ones to begin the fight. Not the British. Similarly, the event that transpired at Tonypandy consisted only of shops being looted and property destroyed. The military was called in, but Winston Churchill, the Home Secretary, sent the police to break up the rioting, who gave out only a few bloody noses. The legend says that the Government used troops to shoot down Welsh miners who were striking for their rights (104). The actual events of both instances differ drastically from the legend of each. As time passes and as research is done, the truth emerges from the dusty old pages. Even the people who lived during either of the events never changed the legend. It was part of the history, destined to be recanted at some time or another but certainly not by them. They were stories to make the younger generations proud of their country and learn to fight for it if needed. The same goes for the legends of Richard III. The people who lived during his reign said nothing because they feared what his successor would do were they to speak out against the accusations publicly. Carradine says that real history is written in forms not meant as history. In Wardrobe accounts, in Privy Purse expenses, in personal letters, in estate books (106). To find the truth about something, one must look at the actual documents of the time and not the history books associated for that time, for they could be hearsay just as Sir Thomas More s account of Richard III by way of John Morton. As the time passes, more and more people look into the time and pull out the strings of truth little by little in order to see what really happened. Thus they determine that the daughter of time really is the truth surreptitiously hidden in it.
Logic and research work prevails in history after the fact. Grant and Carradine used both in their investigation of Richard III. Since four hundred years have passed since Richard III held the throne of England, no one is now left to stop either man in his research of the alleged murderer as they had been during the actual time of it. They use the word Tonypandy to describe whenever either of them runs across a specific instance in which the facts differ greatly from the written history. If one thinks logically about the facts presented by the actual documents and about the written history books, one can eventually determine what is the actual and real truth. History is a jigsaw puzzle. With the proper pieces with the correct facts on them, one can piece together the actual events of history without all the hype and legendary accusations.
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