Propaganda, perceived by many as a twentieth-century phenomenon, has permeated recorded history. The mass propaganda of the world wars and cold war linger most in present memory, due not only to its chronological proximity, but also its potency. Earlier uses of propaganda can easily be overshadowed, in many cases considered mere bias. Yet it has always existed, and in England developed particularly in the years from 1455 to 1485, which saw a growth in the awareness for the need of propaganda to stabilise or undermine the regime in power. Many historians have made reference to propaganda in the prepared speeches in the parliamentary records for 1455-61, but few have scrutinised them as a whole as I intend to do here.
LETTER OF CONFESSION AND A PLEA FOR MERCY
OF RICHARD OF CONISBURGH [3TH EARL OF CAMBRIDGE], FATHER TO
AGAINST KING HENRY V
While hunting down the full text of the Manner & Guiding, I stumbled across these two (too?) sad pieces of correspondence.
(from Ellis’s Original letters)
In 1415, when his son, Richard (later duke of York), was four years old, Richard, earl of Cambridge, was “accused of a treasonable conspiracy, indicted, convicted and beheaded” (p45). This has come to be known as the Southampton Plot. During his captivity he wrote two letters to the king, Henry V: a letter of confession and a plea for mercy, “but neither had any effect upon Henry” (p45).