Vol 1 (con't)

CHAPTER XIX

HENRY V.

1413.
THE many jealousies to which Henry IV.'s situation naturally exposed him, had so infected his temper, that he had entertained unreasonable suspicions with regard to the fidelity of his eldest son; and during the latter years of his life, he had excluded that prince from all share in public business, and was even displeased to see him at the head of armies, where his martial talents, though useful to the support of government, acquired him a renown, which he thought might prove dangerous to his own authority. The active spirit of young Henry, restrained from its proper exercise, broke out into extravagances of every kind; and the riot of pleasure, the frolic of debauchery, the outrage of wine, filled the vacancies of a mind better adapted to the pursuits of ambition and the cares of government. This course of life threw him among companions, whose disorders, if accompanied with spirit and humor, he indulged and seconded; and he was detected in many sallies, which, to severer eyes, appeared totally unworthy of his rank and station. There even remains a tradition that, when heated with liquor and jollity, he scrupled not to accompany his riotous associates in attacking the passengers on the streets and highways, and despoiling them of their goods; and he found an amusement in the incidents which the terror and regret of these defenceless people produced on such occasions. This extreme of dissoluteness proved equally disagreeable to his father, as that eager application to business which had at first given him occasion of jealousy; and he saw in his son's behavior the same neglect of decency, the same attachment to low company, which had degraded the personal character of Richard, and which, more than all his errors in government, had tended to overturn his throne. But the nation in general considered the young prince with more indulgence; and observed so many gleams of generosity, spirit, and magnanimity, breaking continually through the cloud which a wild conduct threw over his character, that they never ceased hoping for his amendment; and they ascribed all the weeds, which shot up in that rich soil, to the want of proper culture and attention in the king and his ministers. There happened an incident which encouraged these agreeable views, and gave much occasion for favorable reflections to all men of sense and candor. A riotous companion of the prince's had been indicted before Gascoigne, the chief justice, for some disorders; and Henry was not ashamed to appear at the bar with the criminal, in order to give him countenance and protection. Finding that his presence had not overawed the chief justice, he proceeded to insult that magistrate on his tribunal; but Gascoigne, mindful of the character which he then bore, and the majesty of the sovereign and of the laws which he sustained, ordered the prince to be carried to prison for his rude behavior.[*] The spectators were agreeably disappointed, when they saw the heir of the crown submit peaceably to this sentence, make reparation for his error by acknowledging it, and check his impetuous nature in the midst of its extravagant career.
The memory of this incident, and of many others of a like nature, rendered the prospect of the future reign nowise disagreeable to the nation, and increased the joy which the death of so unpopular a prince as the late king naturally occasioned. The first steps taken by the young prince confirmed all those prepossessions entertained in his favor.[**] He called together his former companions, acquainted them with his intended reformation, exhorted them to imitate his example, but strictly inhibited them, till they had given proofs of their sincerity in this particular, from appearing any more in his presence; and he thus dismissed them with liberal presents.[***]
     * Hall, fol, 33.

     ** Walsing, p. 382.

     *** Hall, fol. 33. Holingshed, p. 543. Godwin's Life of
     Henry V, p. 1
The wise ministers of his father, who had checked his riots, found that they had unknowingly been paying the highest court to him; and were received with all the marks of favor and confidence. The chief justice himself, who trembled to approach the royal presence, met with praises instead of reproaches for his past conduct, and was exhorted to persevere in the same rigorous and impartial execution of the laws. The surprise of those who expected an opposite behavior, augmented their satisfaction; and the character of the young king appeared brighter than if it had never been shaded by any errors.
But Henry was anxious not only to repair his own misconduct, but also to make amends for those iniquities into which policy or the necessity of affairs had betrayed his father. He expressed the deepest sorrow for the fate of the unhappy Richard, did justice to the memory of that unfortunate prince, even performed his funeral obsequies with pomp and solemnity, and cherished all those who had distinguished themselves by their loyalty and attachment towards him.[*] Instead of continuing the restraints which the jealousy of his father had imposed on the earl of Marche, he received that young nobleman with singular courtesy and favor; and by this magnanimity so gained on the gentle and unambitious nature of his competitor, that he remained ever after sincerely attached to him, and gave him no disturbance in his future government. The family of Piercy was restored to its fortune and honors.[**] The king seemed ambitious to bury all party distinctions in oblivion: the instruments of the preceding reign, who had been advanced from their blind zeal for the Lancastrian interests, more than from their merits, gave place every where to men of more honorable characters; virtue seemed now to have an open career, in which it might exert itself: the exhortations, as well as example of the prince, gave it encouragement: all men were unanimous in their attachment to Henry; and the defects of his title were forgotten, amidst the personal regard which was universally paid to him.
There remained among the people only one party distinction, which was derived from religious differences, and which, as it is of a peculiar and commonly a very obstinate nature, the popularity of Henry was not able to overcome. The Lollards were every day increasing in the kingdom, and were become a formed party, which appeared extremely dangerous to the church, and even formidable to the civil authority.[***] The enthusiasm by which these sectaries were generally actuated the great alterations which they pretended to introduce, the hatred which they expressed against the established hierarchy, gave an alarm to Henry; who, either from a sincere attachment to the ancient religion, or from a dread of the unknown consequences which attend all important changes, was determined to execute the laws against such bold innovators.
     * Hist. Croyland. Contin. Hall, fol. 34. Holing, p. 544.

     ** Holing, p. 545.

     *** Walsing. p. 382.
The head of this sect was Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, a nobleman who had distinguished himself by his valor and his military talents, and had, on many occasions, acquired the esteem both of the late and of the present king.[*] His high character and his zeal for the new sect pointed him out to Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury, as the proper victim of ecclesiastical severity, whose punishment would strike a terror into the whole party, and teach them that they must expect no mercy under the present administration. He applied to Henry for a permission to indict Lord Cobham;[**] but the generous nature of the prince was averse to such sanguinary methods of conversion. He represented to the primate, that reason and conviction were the best expedients for supporting truth; that all gentle means ought first to be tried, in order to reclaim men from error; and that he himself would endeavor, by a conversation with Cobham, to reconcile him to the Catholic faith. But he found that nobleman obstinate in his opinions, and determined not to sacrifice truths of such infinite moment to his complaisance for sovereigns.[***]
     * Walsing. p 382.

     ** Fox's Acts and Monuments, p. 513.

     *** Rymer, vol ix. p. 61. Walsing. p. 383.
Henry's principles of toleration, or rather his love of the practice, could carry him no farther; and he then gave full reins to ecclesiastical severity against the inflexible heresiarch. The primate indicted Cobham, and with the assistance of his three suffragans, the bishops of London, Winchester, and St. David's, condemned him to the flames for his erroneous opinions. Cobham, who was confined in the Tower, made his escape before the day appointed for his execution. The bold spirit of the man, provoked by persecution and stimulated by zeal, was urged to attempt the most criminal enterprises; and his unlimited authority over the new sect proved that he well merited the attention of the civil magistrate. He formed in his retreat very violent designs against his enemies; and despatching his emissaries to all quarters, appointed a general rendezvous of the party, in order to seize the person of the king at Eltham, and put their persecutors to the sword.[*]
1414.
Henry, apprised of their intention, removed to Westminster: Cobham was not discouraged by this disappointment; but changed the place of rendezvous to the field near St. Giles; the king, having shut the gates of the city, to prevent any reënforcement to the Lollards from that quarter, came into the field in the night-time, seized such of the conspirators as appeared, and afterwards laid hold of the several parties who were hastening to the place appointed. It appeared, that a few only were in the secret of the conspiracy; the rest implicitly followed their leaders: but upon the trial of the prisoners, the treasonable designs of the sect were rendered certain, both from evidence and from the confession of the criminals themselves.[**] Some were executed; the greater number pardoned.[***] Cobham himself, who made his escape by flight, was not brought to justice till four years after; when he was hanged as a traitor; and his body was burnt on the gibbet, in execution of the sentence pronounced against him as a heretic.[****] This criminal design, which was perhaps somewhat aggravated by the clergy, brought discredit upon the party, and checked the progress of that sect, which had embraced the speculative doctrines of Wickliffe, and at the same time aspired to a reformation of ecclesiastical abuses.
     * Walsing. p. 385.

     ** Cotton, p. 554. Hall, fol. 35. Holing, p. 544.

     *** Rymer, vol. ix. p. 119, 129, 193.

     **** Walsing. p. 400. Otterborne, p. 280. Holing, p. 561.
These two points were the great objects of the Lollards; but the bulk of the nation was not affected in the same degree by both of them. Common sense and obvious reflection had discovered to the people the advantages of a reformation in discipline; but the age was not yet so far advanced as to be seized with the spirit of controversy, or to enter into those abstruse doctrines which the Lollards endeavored to propagate throughout the kingdom. The very notion of heresy alarmed the generality of the people: innovation in fundamental principles was suspicious: curiosity was not, as yet, a sufficient counterpoise to authority; and even many, who were the greatest friends to the reformation of abuses, were anxious to express their detestation of the speculative tenants of the Wickliffites, which, they feared, threw disgrace on so good a cause. This turn of thought appears evidently in the proceedings of the parliament which was summoned immediately after the detection of Cobham's conspiracy. That assembly passed severe laws against the new heretics: they enacted, that whoever was convicted of Lollardy before the ordinary besides suffering capital punishment according to the laws formerly established, should also forfeit his lands and goods to the king; and that the chancellor, treasurer, justices of the two benches, sheriffs, justices of the peace, and all the chief magistrates in every city and borough, should take an oath to use their utmost endeavors for the extirpation of heresy.[*] Yet this very parliament, when the king demanded supply, renewed the offer formerly pressed upon his father, and entreated him to seize all the ecclesiastical revenues, and convert them to the use of the crown.[**] The clergy were alarmed: they could offer the king no bribe which was equivalent: they only agreed to confer on him all the priories alien, which depended on capital abbeys in Normandy, and had been bequeathed to these abbeys, when that province remained united to England: and Chicheley, now archbishop of Canterbury, endeavored to divert the blow by giving occupation to the king, and by persuading him to undertake a war against France, in order to recover his lost rights to that kingdom.[***]
     * 2 Henry V. chap. 7.

     ** Hall, fol. 35.

     *** Hall, fol. 35. 36.
It was the dying injunction of the late king to his son, not to allow the English to remain long in peace, which was apt to breed intestine commotions; but to employ them in foreign expeditions, by which the prince might acquire honor; the nobility, in sharing his dangers, might attach themselves to his person; and all the restless spirits find occupation for their inquietude. The natural disposition of Henry sufficiently inclined him to follow this advice, and the civil disorders of France, which had been prolonged beyond those of England, opened a full career to his ambition.
1415.
The death of Charles V., which followed soon after that of Edward III., and the youth of his son, Charles VI., put the two kingdoms for some time in a similar situation; and it was not to be apprehended, that either of them, during a minority, would be able to make much advantage of the weakness of the other. The jealousies also between Charles's three uncles, the dukes of Anjou, Bern, and Burgundy, had distracted the affairs of France rather more than those between the dukes of Lancaster, York, and Gloucester. Richard's three uncles, disordered those of England; and had carried off the attention of the French nation from any vigorous enterprise against foreign states. But in proportion as Charles advanced in years, the factions were composed; his two uncles, the dukes of Anjou and Burgundy, died; and the king himself, assuming the reins of government, discovered symptoms of genius and spirit, which revived the drooping hopes of his country. This promising state of affairs was not of long duration: the unhappy prince fell suddenly into a fit of frenzy, which rendered him incapable of exercising his authority; and though he recovered from this disorder, he was so subject to relapses, that his judgment was gradually but sensibly impaired, and no steady plan of government could be pursued by him. The administration of affairs was disputed between his brother, Lewis, duke of Orleans, and his cousin-german, John, duke of Burgundy: the propinquity to the crown pleaded in favor of the former: the latter, who, in right of his mother, had inherited the county of Flanders, which he annexed to his father's extensive dominions, derived a lustre from his superior power: the people were divided between these contending princes; and the king, now resuming, now dropping his authority, kept the victory undecided, and prevented any regular settlement of the state by the final prevalence of either party.
At length, the dukes of Orleans and Burgundy, seeming to be moved by the cries of the nation, and by the interposition of common friends, agreed to bury all past quarrels in oblivion, and to enter into strict amity: they swore before the altar the sincerity of their friendship; the priest administered the sacrament to both of them; they gave to each other every pledge which could be deemed sacred among men: but all this solemn preparation was only a cover for the basest treachery, which was deliberately premeditated by the duke of Burgundy. He procured his rival to be assassinated in the streets of Paris: he endeavored for some time to conceal the part which he took in the crime; but being detected, he embraced a resolution still more criminal and more dangerous to society, by openly avowing and justifying it.[*]
     * Le Laboureur, liv. xxvii. chap. 23, 24.
The parliament itself of Paris, the tribunal of justice, heard the harangues of the duke's advocate in defence of assassination, which he termed tyrannicide; and that assembly, partly influenced by faction, partly overawed by power, pronounced no sentence of condemnation against this detestable doctrine.[*]
     * Le Laboureur, liv. xxvii. chap. 27. Monstrelet. chap. 39.
The same question was afterwards agitated before the council of Constance; and it was with difficulty that a feeble decision in favor of the contrary opinion, was procured from these fathers of the church, the ministers of peace and of religion. But the mischievous effects of that tenet, had they been before anywise doubtful, appeared sufficiently from the present incidents. The commission of this crime, which destroyed all trust and security, rendered the war implacable between the French parties, and cut off every means of peace and accommodation. The princes of the blood, combining with the young duke of Orleans and his brothers, made violent war on the duke of Burgundy; and the unhappy king, seized sometimes by one party, sometimes by the other, transferred alternately to each of them the appearance of legal authority. The provinces were laid waste by mutual depredations: assassinations were every where committed, from the animosity of the several leaders; or, what was equally terrible, executions were ordered, without any legal or free trial, by pretended courts of judicature. The whole kingdom was distinguished into two parties, the Burgundians and the Armagnacs; so the adherents of the young duke of Orleans were called, from the count of Armagnac, father-in-law to that prince. The city of Paris, distracted between them, but inclining more to the Burgundians, was a perpetual scene of blood and violence; the king and royal family were often detained captives in the hands of the populace; their faithful ministers were butchered or imprisoned before their face; and it was dangerous for any man, amidst these enraged factions, to be distinguished by a strict adherence to the principles of probity and honor.
During this scene of general violence, there rose into some consideration a body of men, which usually makes no figure in public transactions, even during the most peaceful times; and that was the university of Paris, whose opinion was sometimes demanded, and more frequently offered, in the multiplied disputes between the parties. The schism by which the church was at that time divided, and which occasioned frequent controversies in the university, had raised the professors to an unusual degree of importance; and this connection between literature and superstition had bestowed on the former a weight to which reason and knowledge are not of themselves anywise entitled among men. But there was another society, whose sentiments were much more decisive, at Paris,—the fraternity of butchers, who, under the direction of their ringleaders, had declared for the duke of Burgundy, and committed the most violent outrages against the opposite party. To counterbalance their power, the Armagnacs made interest with the fraternity of carpenters; the populace ranged themselves on one side or the other; and the fate of the capital depended on the prevalence of either party.
The advantage which might be made of these confusions was easily perceived in England; and, according to the maxims which usually prevail among nations, it was determined to lay hold of the favorable opportunity. The late king, who was courted by both the French parties, fomented the quarrel, by alternately sending assistance to each; but the present sovereign, impelled by the vigor of youth and the ardor of ambition, determined to push his advantages to a greater length, and to carry violent war into that distracted kingdom. But while he was making preparations for this end, he tried to effect his purpose by negotiation; and he sent over ambassadors to Paris, offering a perpetual peace and alliance; but demanding Catharine, the French king's daughter, in marriage, two millions of crowns as her portion, one million six hundred thousand as the arrears of King John's ransom, and the immediate possession and full sovereignty of Normandy, and of all the other provinces which had been ravished from England by the arms of Philip Augustus; together with the superiority of Brittany and Flanders.[*] Such exorbitant demands show that he was sensible of the present miserable condition of France; and the terms offered by the French court, though much inferior, discover their consciousness of the same melancholy truth. They were willing to give him the princess in marriage, to pay him eight hundred thousand crowns, to resign the entire sovereignty of Guienne, and to annex to that province the country of Perigord, Rovergue Xaintonge, the Angoumois, and other territories.[**]
     * Rymer, vol. ix. p. 208.

     ** Rymer, vol. ix. p. 211.
It is reported by some historians, (see Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 500,) that the dauphin, in derision of Henry's claims and dissolute character, sent him a box of tennis balls; intimating, that these implements of play were better adapted to him than the instruments of war. But this story is by no means credible; rejected these conditions, and scarcely hoped that his own demands would be complied with, he never intermitted a moment his preparations for war; and having assembled a great fleet and army at Southampton, having invited all the nobility and military men of the kingdom to attend him by the hopes of glory and of conquest, he came to the sea-side with a purpose of embarking on his expedition.
But while Henry was meditating conquests upon his neighbors, he unexpectedly found himself in danger from a conspiracy at home, which was happily detected in its infancy. The earl of Cambridge, second son of the late duke of York, having espoused the sister of the earl of Marche, had zealously embraced the interests of that family; and had held some conferences with Lord Scrope of Masham, and Sir Thomas Grey of Heton, about the means of recovering to that nobleman his right to the crown of England. The conspirators, as soon as detected, acknowledged their guilt to the king; [*] and Henry proceeded without delay to their trial and condemnation. The utmost that could be expected of the best king in those ages, was, that he would so far observe the essentials of justice, as not to make an innocent person a victim to his severity; but as to the formalities of law, which are often as material as the essentials themselves, they were sacrificed without scruple to the least interest or convenience. A jury of commoners was summoned: the three conspirators were indicted before them: the constable of Southampton Castle swore that they had separately confessed their guilt to him: without other evidence, Sir Thomas Grey was condemned and executed; but as the earl of Cambridge and Lord Scrope pleaded the privilege of their peerage, Henry thought proper to summon a court of eighteen barons, in which the duke of Clarence presided: the evidence given before the jury was read to them: the prisoners, though one of them was a prince of the blood, were not examined, nor produced in court, nor heard in their own defence; but received sentence of death upon this proof, which was every way irregular and unsatisfactory; and the sentence was soon after executed. The earl of Marche was accused of having given his approbation to the conspiracy, and received a general pardon from the great offers made by the court of France show that they had already entertained a just idea of Henry's character, as well as of their own situation.
The successes which the arms of England have, in different ages, obtained over those of France, have been much owing to the favorable situation of the former kingdom. The English, happily seated in an island, could make advantage of every misfortune which attended their neighbors, and were little exposed to the danger of reprisals. They never left their own country but when they were conducted by a king of extraordinary genius, or found their enemy divided by intestine factions, or were supported by a powerful alliance on the continent; and as all these circumstances concurred at present to favor their enterprise, they had reason to expect from it proportionable success. The duke of Burgundy, expelled France by a combination of the princes, had been secretly soliciting the alliance of England; [**] and Henry knew that this prince, though he scrupled at first to join the inveterate enemy of his country, would willingly, if he saw any probability of success, both assist him with his Flemish subjects, and draw over to the same side all his numerous partisans in France. Trusting, therefore, to this circumstance, but without establishing any concert with the duke, he put to sea, and landed near Harfleur, at the head of an army of six thousand men at arms, and twenty-four thousand foot, mostly archers. He immediately began the siege of that place, which was valiantly defended by D'Estouteville, and under him by De Guitri, De Gaucourt, and others of the French nobility; but as the garrison was weak, and the fortifications in bad repair, the governor was at last obliged to capitulate; and he promised to surrender the place, if he received no succor before the eighteenth of September. The day came, and there was no appearance of a French army to relieve him. Henry, taking possession of the town, placed a garrison in it, and expelled all the French inhabitants, with an intention of peopling it anew with English.
     * Rymer, vol. ix. p. 303.

     ** St. Remi, chap. lv. Godwin, p. 65
The fatigues of this siege, and the unusual heat of the season, had so wasted the English army, that Henry could enter on no further enterprise; and was obliged to think of returning into England. He had dismissed his transports, which could not anchor in an open road upon the enemy's coasts; and he lay under a necessity of marching by land to Calais, before he could reach a place of safety. A numerous French army of fourteen thousand men at arms and forty thousand foot, was by this time assembled in Normandy under the constable D'Albret; a force which, if prudently conducted, was sufficient either to trample down the English in the open field, or to harass and reduce to nothing their small army, before they could finish so long and difficult a march. Henry, therefore, cautiously offered to sacrifice his conquest of Harfleur for a safe passage to Calais; but his proposal being rejected, he determined to make his way by valor and conduct through all the opposition of the enemy.[*] That he might not discourage his army by the appearance of flight, or expose them to those hazards which naturally attend precipitate marches, he made slow and deliberate journeys,[*] till he reached the Somme, which he purposed to pass at the ford of Blanquetague, the same place where Edward, in a like situation, had before escaped from Philip de Valois. But he found the ford rendered impassable by the precaution of the French general, and guarded by a strong body on the opposite bank;[*] and he was obliged to march higher up the river, in order to seek for a safe passage. He was continually harassed on his march by flying parties of the enemy; saw bodies of troops on the other side ready to oppose every attempt; his provisions were cut off; his soldiers languished with sickness and fatigue; and his affairs seemed to be reduced to a desperate situation; when he was so dexterous or so fortunate as to seize, by surprise, a passage near St. Quintin, which had not been sufficiently guarded; and he safely carried over his army.[**]
     * Le Laboureur, liv. xxxv. chap. 6. * T. Livii, p. 12

     ** St. Remi, chap, 58. * T. Livii, p. 13
Henry then bent his march northwards to Calais; but he was still exposed to great and imminent danger from the enemy, who had also passed the Somme, and threw themselves full in his way, with a purpose of intercepting his retreat. After he had passed the small river of Ternois at Blangi, he was surprised to observe from the heights the whole French army drawn up in the plains of Azincour, and so posted that it was impossible for him to proceed on his march without coming to an engagement. Nothing in appearance could be more unequal than the battle upon which his safety and all his fortunes now depended. The English army was little, more than half the number which had disembarked at Harfleur; and they labored under every discouragement and necessity. The enemy was four times more numerous; was headed by the dauphin and all the princes of the blood; and was plentifully supplied with provisions of every kind. Henry's situation was exactly similar to that of Edward at Crecy, and that of the Black Prince at Poietiers; and the memory of these great events, inspiring the English with courage, made them hope for a like deliverance from their present difficulties. The king likewise observed the same prudent conduct which had been followed by these great commanders: he drew up his army on a narrow ground between two woods, which guarded each flank; and he patiently expected in that posture the attack of the enemy.[*] Had the French constable been able either to reason justly upon the present circumstances of the two armies, or to profit by past experience, he had declined a combat, and had waited till necessity, obliging the English to advance, had made them relinquish the advantages of their situation. But the impetuous valor of the nobility, and a vain confidence in superior numbers, brought on this fatal action, which proved the source of infinite calamities to their country. The French archers on horseback and their men at arms, crowded in their ranks, advanced upon the English archers, who had fixed palisadoes in their front to break the impression of the enemy, and who safely plied them, from behind that defence, with a shower of arrows, which nothing could resist.[**]
     * St. Remi, chap. 62.

     ** Walsing. p. 392. T. Livii, p. 19. Le Laboureur, liv. xxxv
     chap, 7. Monstrelet, chap. 147.
The clay soil, moistened by some rain which had lately fallen, proved another obstacle to the force of the French cavalry: the wounded men and horses discomposed their ranks: the narrow compass in which they were pent hindered them from recovering any order: the whole army was a scene of confusion, terror, and dismay: and Henry, perceiving his advantage, ordered the English archers, who were light and unencumbered, to advance upon the enemy, and seize the moment of victory. They fell with their battle-axes upon the French, who, in their present posture, were incapable either of flying or of making defence: they hewed them in pieces without resistance:[*] and being seconded by the men at arms who also pushed on against the enemy, they covered the field with the killed, wounded, dismounted, and overthrown.
     * Walsing. p. 393. Ypod. Neust. p. 584.
After all appearance of opposition was over, the English had leisure to make prisoners; and having advanced with uninterrupted success to the open plain, they there saw the remains of the French rear guard, which still maintained the appearance of a line of battle. At the same time, they heard an alarm from behind: some gentlemen of Picardy, having collected about six hundred peasants, had fallen upon the English baggage, and were doing execution on the unarmed followers of the camp, who fled before them, Henry, seeing the enemy on all sides of him, began to entertain apprehensions from his prisoners; and he thought it necessary to issue general orders for putting them to death: but on discovering the truth, he stopped the slaughter, and was still able to save a great number.
No battle was ever more fatal to France, by the number of princes and nobility slain or taken prisoners. Among the former were the constable himself, the count of Nevers and the duke of Brabant, brothers to the duke of Burgundy; the count of Vaudemont, brother to the duke of Lorraine, the duke of Alençon, the duke of Barre, the count of Marle. The most eminent prisoners were the dukes of Orleans and Bourbon, the Counts d'Eu, Vendôme, and Richemont, and the mareschal of Boucicaut. An archbishop of Sens also was slain in this battle. The killed are computed on the whole to have amounted to ten thousand men; and as the slaughter fell chiefly upon the cavalry, it is pretended that, of these, eight thousand were gentlemen. Henry was master of fourteen thousand prisoners. The person of chief note who fell among the English, was the duke of York, who perished fighting by the king's side, and had an end more honorable than his life. He was succeeded in his honors and fortune by his nephew, son of the earl of Cambridge, executed in the beginning of the year. All the English who were slain exceeded not forty; though some writers, with greater probability, make the number more considerable.
The three great battles of Crecy, Poictiers, and Azincour bear a singular resemblance to each other in their most considerable circumstances. In all of them there appears the same temerity in the English princes, who, without any object of moment, merely for the sake of plunder, had ventured so far into the enemy's country as to leave themselves no retreat; and unless saved by the utmost imprudence in the French commanders, were, from their very situation, exposed to inevitable destruction. But allowance being made for this temerity, which, according to the irregular plans of war followed in those ages, seems to have been, in some measure, unavoidable there appears, in the day of action, the same presence of mind, dexterity, courage, firmness, and precaution on the part of the English; the same precipitation, confusion, and vain confidence on the part of the French: and the events were such as might have been expected from such opposite conduct. The immediate consequences too of these three great victories were similar: instead of pushing the French with vigor, and taking advantage of their consternation, the English princes, after their victory, seem rather to have relaxed their efforts, and to have allowed the enemy leisure to recover from his losses. Henry interrupted not his march a moment after the battle of Azincour; he carried his prisoners to Calais, thence to England; he even concluded a truce with the enemy; and it was not till after an interval of two years that any body of English troops appeared in France.
The poverty of all the European princes, and the small resources of their kingdoms, were the cause of these continual interruptions in their hostilities; and though the maxims of war were in general destructive, their military operations were mere incursions, which, without any settled plan, they carried on against each other. The lustre, however, attending the victory of Azincour, procured some supplies from the English parliament; though still unequal to the expenses of a campaign. They granted Henry an entire fifteenth of movables; and they conferred on him for life the duties of tonnage and poundage, and the subsidies on the exportation of wool and leather. This concession is more considerable than that which had been granted to Richard II. by his last parliament and which was afterwards, on his deposition, made so great an article of charge against him.
But during this interruption of hostilities from England, France was exposed to all the furies of civil war, and the several parties became every day more enraged against each other. The duke of Burgundy, confident that the French ministers and generals were entirely discredited by the misfortune at Azincour, advanced with a great army to Paris, and attempted to reinstate himself in possession of the government, as well as of the person of the king. But his partisans in that city were overawed by the court, and kept in subjection: the duke despaired of success; and he retired with his forces, which he immediately disbanded in the Low Countries.[*]
1417.
He was soon after invited to make a new attempt, by some violent quarrels which broke out in the royal family. The queen, Isabella, daughter of the duke of Bavaria, who had been hitherto an inveterate enemy to the Burgundian faction, had received a great injury from the other party, which the implacable spirit of that princess was never able to forgive. The public necessities obliged the count of Armagnac, created constable of France in the place of D'Albret, to seize the great treasures which Isabella had amassed: and when she expressed her displeasure at this injury, he inspired into the weak mind of the king some jealousies concerning her conduct, and pushed him to seize, and put to the torture, and afterwards throw into the Seine, Boisbourdon, her favorite, whom he accused of a commerce of gallantry with that princess. The queen herself was sent to Tours, and confined under a guard;[**] and after suffering these multiplied insults, she no longer scrupled to enter into a correspondence with the duke of Burgundy. As her son, the dauphin Charles, a youth of sixteen, was entirely governed by the faction of Armagnac, she extended her animosity to him, and sought his destruction with the most unrelenting hatred. She had soon an opportunity of rendering her unnatural purpose effectual. The duke of Burgundy, in concert with her, entered France at the head of a great army: he made himself master of Amiens, Abbeville, Dourlens, Montreuil, and other towns in Picardy; Senlis, Rheims, Chalons, Troye, and Auxerre, declared themselves of his party.[***] He got possession of Beaumont, Pontoise, Vernon, Meulant, Montlheri, towns in the neighborhood of Paris; and carrying further his progress towards the west, he seized Etampes, Chartres, and other fortresses; and was at last able to deliver the queen, who fled to Troye, and openly declared against those ministers who, she said, detained her husband in captivity.[****]
     * Le Laboureur, liv. xxxv. chap. 10.

     ** St. Remi, chap. 74. Monstrelet, chap. 167.

     *** St. Remi, chap. 79.

     **** St. Remi, chap. 81. Monstrelet, chap. 178, 179.
Meanwhile the partisans of Burgundy raised a commotion in Paris, which always inclined to that faction. Lile-Adam, one of the duke's captains, was received into the city in the night-time, and headed the insurrection of the people, which in a moment became so impetuous that nothing could oppose it. The person of the king was seized: the dauphin made his escape with difficulty; great numbers of the faction of Armagnac were immediately butchered: the count himself, and many persons of note, were thrown into prison: murders were daily committed from private animosity, under pretence of faction: and the populace, not satiated with their fury, and deeming the course of public justice too dilatory, broke into the prisons, and put to death the count of Armagnac, and all the other nobility who were there confined.[*]
1418.
While France was in such furious combustion, and was so ill prepared to resist a foreign enemy, Henry, having collected some treasure and levied an army, landed in Normandy at the head of twenty-five thousand men; and met with no considerable opposition from any quarter. He made himself master of Falaise; Evreux and Caen submitted to him; Pont de l'Arche opened its gates; and Henry, having subdued all the lower Normandy, and having received a reënforcement of fifteen thousand men from England,[**] formed the siege of Rouen, which was defended by a garrison of four thousand men, seconded by the inhabitants, to the number of fifteen thousand.[***] The cardinal des Ursins here attempted to incline him towards peace, and to moderate his pretensions; but the king replied to him in such terms as showed that he was fully sensible of all his present advantages: "Do you not see," said he, "that God has led me hither as by the hand? France has no sovereign: I have just pretensions to that kingdom: every thing is here in the utmost confusion: no one thinks of resisting me. Can I have a more sensible proof, that the Being who disposes of empires has determined to put the crown of France upon my head?"[****]
     * St. Remi, chap. 85, 86. Monstrelet, chap. 118.

     ** Walsing. p. 100.

     *** St. Remi, chap. 31

     **** Juvenal des Ursins.
But though Henry had opened his mind to this scheme of ambition, he still continued to negotiate with his enemies, and endeavored to obtain more secure, though less considerable advantages. He made, at the same time, offers of peace to both parties; to the queen and duke of Burgundy on the one hand, who, having possession of the king's person, carried the appearance of legal authority;[*] and to the dauphin on the other, who, being the undoubted heir of the monarchy, was adhered to by every one that paid any regard to the true interests of their country.[****] These two parties also carried on a continual negotiation with each other. The terms proposed on all sides were perpetually varying: the events of the war and the intrigues of the cabinet intermingled with each other: and the fate of France remained long in this uncertainty. After many negotiations, Henry offered the queen and the duke of Burgundy to make peace with them, to espouse the Princess Catharine, and to accept of all the provinces ceded to Edward III. by the treaty of Bretigni, with the addition of Normandy, which he was to receive in full and entire sovereignty.[*]
1419.
These terms were submitted to: there remained only some circumstances to adjust, in order to the entire completion of the treaty; but in this interval the duke of Burgundy secretly finished his treaty with the dauphin; and these two princes agreed to share the royal authority during King Charles's lifetime, and to unite their arms in order to expel foreign enemies.[****]
     * Rymer, vol. ix. p. 717, 749.

     ** Rymer, vol. ix. p. 626, etc.

     *** Rymer, vol. ix. p. 762.

     **** Rymer, vol. ix. p. 776. St. Remi, chap. 95.
This alliance which seemed to cut off from Henry all hopes of further success, proved in the issue the most favorable event that could have happened for his pretensions. Whether the dauphin and the duke of Burgundy were ever sincere in their mutual engagements, is uncertain; but very fatal effects resulted from their momentary and seeming union. The two princes agreed to an interview, in order to concert the means of rendering effectual their common attack on the English; but how both or either of them could with safety venture upon this conference, it seemed somewhat difficult to contrive. The assassination perpetrated by the duke of Burgundy, and still more his open avowal of the deed, and defence of the doctrine, tended to dissolve all the bands of civil society; and even men of honor, who detested the example, might deem it just, on a favorable opportunity, to retaliate upon the author. The duke, therefore, who neither dared to give, nor could pretend to expect, any trust, agreed to all the contrivances for mutual security which were proposed by the ministers of the dauphin. The two princes came to Montereau: the duke lodged in the Castle; the dauphin in the town, which was divided from the castle by the River Yonne: the bridge between them was chosen for the place of interview: two high rails were drawn across the bridge: the gates on each side were guarded, one by the officers of the dauphin, the other by those of the duke: the princes were to enter into the intermediate space by the opposite gates, accompanied each by ten persons; and with all these marks of diffidence, to conciliate their mutual friendship. But it appeared that no precautions are sufficient where laws have no place, and where all principles of honor are utterly abandoned. Tannegui de Chatel, and others of the dauphin's retainers, had been zealous partisans of the late duke of Orleans; and they determined to seize the opportunity of revenging on the assassin the murder of that prince; they no sooner entered the rails, than they drew their swords and attacked the duke of Burgundy; his friends were astonished and thought not of making any defence; and all of them either shared his fate, or were taken prisoners by the retinue of the dauphin.[*]
     * St. Remi, chap. 97. Monstrelet, chap. 211.
The extreme youth of this prince made it doubtful whether he had been admitted into the secret of the conspiracy; but as the deed was committed under his eye, by his most intimate friends, who still retained their connections with him, the blame of the action, which was certainly more imprudent than criminal, fell entirely upon him. The whole state of affairs was every where changed by this unexpected incident. The city of Paris, passionately devoted to the family of Burgundy, broke out into the highest fury against the dauphin. The court of King Charles entered from interest into the same views; and as all the ministers of that monarch had owed their preferment to the late duke, and foresaw their downfall if the dauphin should recover possession of his father's person, they were concerned to prevent by any means the success of his enterprise. The queen, persevering in her unnatural animosity against her son, increased the general flame, and inspired into the king, as far as he was susceptible of any sentiment the same prejudices by which she herself had long been actuated. But above all, Philip, count of Charolois, now duke of Burgundy, thought himself bound by every tie of honor and of duty to revenge the murder of his father, and to prosecute the assassin to the utmost extremity. And in this general transport of rage, every consideration of national and family interest was buried in oblivion by all parties: the subjection to a foreign enemy, the expulsion of the lawful heir, the slavery of the kingdom, appeared but small evils, if they led to the gratification of the present passion.
The king of England had, before the death of the duke of Burgundy, profited extremely by the distractions of France and was daily making a considerable progress in Normandy. He had taken Rouen after an obstinate siege:[*] he had made himself master of Pontoise and Gisors: he even threatened Paris, and by the terror of his arms had obliged the court to remove to Troye: and in the midst of his successes, he was agreeably surprised to find his enemies, instead of combining against him for their mutual defence, disposed to rush into his arms, and to make him the instrument of their vengeance upon each other. A league was immediately concluded at Arras between him and the duke of Burgundy. This prince, without stipulating any thing for himself, except the prosecution of his father's murder, and the marriage of the duke of Bedford with his sister, was willing to sacrifice the kingdom to Henry's ambition; and he agreed to every demand made by that monarch.
1420.
In order to finish this astonishing treaty, which was to transfer the crown of France to a stranger, Henry went to Troye, accompanied by his brothers, the dukes of Clarence and Glocester; and was there met by the duke of Burgundy. The imbecility into which Charles had fallen, made him incapable of seeing any thing but through the eyes of those who attended him; as they, on their part, saw every thing through the medium of their passions. The treaty, being already concerted among the parties, was immediately drawn, and signed, and ratified: Henry's will seemed to be a law throughout the whole negotiation: nothing was attended to but his advantages.
     * T. Livii, p. 69. Monstrelet, chap. 201.
The principal articles of the treaty were, that Henry should espouse the Princess Catharine: that King Charles, during his lifetime, should enjoy the title and dignity of king of France: that Henry should be declared and acknowledged heir of the monarchy, and be intrusted with the present administration of the government: that that kingdom should pass to his heirs general: that France and England should forever be united under one king; but should still retain their several usages, customs, and privileges: that all the princes, peers, vassals, and communities of France should swear, that they would both adhere to the future succession of Henry, and pay him present obedience as regent: that this prince should unite his arms to those of King Charles and the duke of Burgundy, in order to subdue the adherents of Charles, the pretended dauphin: and that these three princes should make no peace or truce with him but by common consent and agreement.[*]
     * Rymer, vol. ix. p. 895. St. Remi, chap 101. Monstrelet,
     chap. 223.
Such was the tenor of this famous treaty; a treaty which, as nothing but the most violent animosity could dictate it, so nothing but the power of the sword could carry into execution. It is hard to say whether its consequences, had it taken effect, would have proved more pernicious to England or to France. It must have reduced the former kingdom to the rank of a province: it would have entirely disjointed the succession of the latter, and have brought on the destruction of every descendant of the royal family; as the houses of Orleans, Anjou, Alençon, Brittany, Bourbon, and of Burgundy itself, whose titles were preferable to that of the English princes, would on that account have been exposed to perpetual jealousy and persecution from the sovereign. There was even a palpable deficiency in Henry's claim, which no art could palliate. For, besides the insuperable objections to which Edward III.'s pretensions were exposed, he was not heir to that monarch: if female succession were admitted, the right had devolved on the house of Mortimer: allowing that Richard II. was a tyrant, and that Henry IV.'s merits in deposing him were so great towards the English, as to justify that nation in placing him on the throne, Richard had nowise offended France, and his rival had merited nothing of that kingdom: it could not possibly be pretended, that the crown of France was become an appendage to that of England; and that a prince, who by any means got possession of the latter, was, without further question, entitled to the former. So that, on the whole, it must be allowed that Henry's claim to France was, if possible, still more unintelligible than the title by which his father had mounted the throne of England.
But though all these considerations were overlooked, amidst the hurry of passion by which the courts of France and Burgundy were actuated, they would necessarily revive during times of more tranquillity; and it behoved Henry to push his present advantages, and allow men no leisure for reason or reflection. In a few days after, he espoused the Princess Catharine: he carried his father-in-law to Paris, and put himself in possession of that capital: he obtained from the parliament and the three estates a ratification of the treaty of Troye: he supported the duke of Burgundy in procuring a sentence against the murderers of his father: and he immediately turned his arms with success against the adherents of the dauphin, who, as soon as he heard of the treaty of Troye, took on him the style and authority of regent, and appealed to God and his sword for the maintenance of his title.
The first place that Henry subdued was Sens, which opened its gates after a slight resistance. With the same facility he made himself master of Montereau. The defence of Melun was more obstinate: Barbasan, the governor, held out for the space of four months against the besiegers; and it was famine alone which obliged him to capitulate. Henry stipulated to spare the lives of all the garrison, except such as were accomplices in the murder of the duke of Burgundy; and as Barbasan himself was suspected to be of the number, his punishment was demanded by Philip: but the king had the generosity to intercede for him, and to prevent his execution.[*]
1421.
The necessity of providing supplies both of men and money, obliged Henry to go over to England; and he left the duke of Exeter, his uncle, governor of Paris during his absence. The authority which naturally attends success, procured from the English parliament a subsidy of a fifteenth; but, if we may judge by the scantiness of the supply, the nation was nowise sanguine on their king's victories; and in proportion as the prospect of their union with France became nearer, they began to open their eyes, and to see the dangerous consequences with which that event must necessarily be attended. It was fortunate for Henry that he had other resources, besides pecuniary supplies from his native subjects. The provinces which he had already conquered maintained his troops; and the hopes of further advantages allured to his standard all men of ambitious spirits in England, who desired to signalize themselves by arms. He levied a new army of twenty-four thousand archers and four thousand horsemen,[**] and marched them to Dover, the place of rendezvous.
     * Holingshed, p. 577.

     ** Monstrelet, chap. 242.
Every thing had remained in tranquillity at Paris under the duke of Exeter but there had happened, in another quarter of the kingdom, a misfortune which hastened the king's embarkation.
The detention of the young king of Scots in England had hitherto proved advantageous to Henry; and by keeping the regent in awe, had preserved, during the whole course of the French war, the northern frontier in tranquillity. But when intelligence arrived in Scotland of the progress made by Henry, and the near prospect of his succession to the crown of France, the nation was alarmed, and foresaw their own inevitable ruin, if the subjection of their ally left them to combat alone a victorious enemy, who was already so much superior in power and riches. The regent entered into the same views; and though he declined an open rupture with England, he permitted a body of seven thousand Scots, under the command of the earl of Buchan, his second son, to be transported into France for the service of the dauphin. To render this aid ineffectual, Henry had, in his former expedition, carried over the king of Scots, whom he obliged to send orders to his countrymen to leave the French service; but the Scottish general replied, that he would obey no commands which came from a king in captivity, and that a prince, while in the hands of his enemy, was nowise entitled to authority. These troops, therefore, continued still to act under the earl of Buchan: and were employed by the dauphin to oppose the progress of the duke of Clarence in Anjou. The two armies encountered at Baugé: the English were defeated: the duke himself was slain by Sir Allan Swinton, a Scotch knight, who commanded a company of men at arms: and the earls of Somerset,[*] Dorset, and Huntingdon were taken prisoners.[**] This was the first action that turned the tide of success against the English; and the dauphin, that he might both attach the Scotch to his service, and reward the valor and conduct of the earl of Buchan, honored that nobleman with the office of constable.
     * His name was John, and he was afterwards created duke of
     Somerset. He was grandson of John of Gaunt, duke of
     Lancaster. The earl of Dorset was brother to Somerset, and
     succeeded him in that title.

     ** St. Remi, chap. 110. Monstrelet, chap. 239. Hall, fol.
     76.
But the arrival of the king of England with so considerable an army, was more than sufficient to repair this loss. Henry was received at Paris with great expressions of joy, so obstinate were the prejudices of the people; and he immediately conducted his army to Chartres, which had long been besieged by the dauphin. That prince raised the siege on the approach of the English; and being resolved to decline a battle, he retired with his army.[*] Henry made himself master of Dreux without a blow: he laid siege to Meaux, at the Solicitation of the Parisians, who were much incommoded by the garrison of that place. This enterprise employed the English arms during the space of eight months: the bastard of Vaurus, governor of Meaux, distinguished himself by an obstinate defence; but was at last obliged to surrender at discretion. The cruelty of this officer was equal to his bravery: he was accustomed to hang, without distinction, all the English and Burgundians who fell into his hands: and Henry, in revenge of his barbarity, ordered him immediately to be hanged on the same tree which he had made the instrument of his inhuman executions.[**]
     * St. Remi, chap. 3.

     ** Rymer, vol. x. p. 212 T. Livii, p. 92, 93. St. Remi, chap
     116 Monstrelet, chap. 260.
This success was followed by the surrender of many other places in the neighborhood of Paris, which held for the dauphin: that prince was chased beyond the Loire, and he almost totally abandoned all the northern provinces: he was even pursued into the south by the united arms of the English and Burgundians, and threatened with total destruction. Notwithstanding the bravery and fidelity of his captains, he saw himself unequal to his enemies in the field; and found it necessary to temporize, and to avoid all hazardous actions with a rival who had gained so much the ascendant over him. And to crown all the other prosperities of Henry, his queen was delivered of a son, who was called by his father's name, and whose birth was celebrated by rejoicings no less pompous, and no less sincere, at Paris than at London. The infant prince seemed to be universally regarded as the future heir of both monarchies.
1422.
But the glory of Henry, when it had nearly reached the summit, was stopped short by the hand of nature; and all his mighty projects vanished into smoke. He was seized with a fistula, a malady which the surgeons at that time had not skill enough to cure; and he was at last sensible that his distemper was mortal, and that his end was approaching He sent for his brother the duke of Bedford, the earl of Warwick, and a few noblemen more, whom he had honored with his friendship; and he delivered to them, in great tranquillity, his last will with regard to the government of his kingdom and family. He entreated them to continue towards his infant son the same fidelity and attachment which they had always professed to himself during his lifetime, and which had been cemented by so many mutual good offices. He expressed his indifference on the approach of death; and though he regretted that he must leave unfinished a work so happily begun, he declared himself confident that the final acquisition of France would be the effect of their prudence and valor. He left the regency of that kingdom to his elder brother, the duke of Bedford; that of England to his younger, the duke of Glocester; and the care of his son's person to the earl of Warwick. He recommended to all of them a great attention to maintain the friendship of the duke of Burgundy; and advised them never to give liberty to the French princes taken at Azincour, till his son were of age, and could himself hold the reins of government. And he conjured them, if the success of their arms should not enable them to place young Henry on the throne of France, never at least to make peace with that kingdom, unless the enemy, by the cession of Normandy, and its annexation to the crown of England, made compensation for all the hazard and expense of his enterprise.[*]
He next applied himself to his devotions, and ordered his chaplain to recite the seven penitential psalms. When that passage of the fifty-first psalm was read, "build thou the walls of Jerusalem," he interrupted the chaplain, and declared his serious intention, after he should have fully subdued France, to conduct a crusade against the infidels, and recover possession of the Holy Land.[**] So ingenious are men in deceiving themselves, that Henry forgot, in those moments, all the blood spilt by his ambition; and received comfort from this late and feeble resolve, which, as the mode of these enterprises was now passed, he certainly would never have carried into execution. He expired in the thirty-fourth year of his age and the tenth of his reign.
     * Monstrelet, chap. 265. Hall, fol. 80.

     ** St. Remi, chap. 118, Monstrelet, el ap. 265.
This prince possessed many eminent virtues; and if we give indulgence to ambition in a monarch, or rank it, as the vulgar are inclined to do, among his virtues, they were unstained by any considerable blemish. His abilities appeared equally in the cabinet and in the field: the boldness of his enterprises was no less remarkable than his personal valor in conducting them. He had the talent of attaching his friends by affability, and of gaining his enemies by address and clemency. The English, dazzled by the lustre of his character, still more than by that of his victories, were reconciled to the defects in his title: the French almost forgot that he was an enemy: and his care in maintaining justice in his civil administration, and preserving discipline in his armies, made some amends to both nations for the calamities inseparable from those wars in which his short reign was almost entirely occupied, That he could forgive the earl of Marche, who had a better title to the crown than himself, is a sure indication of his magnanimity; and that the earl relied so entirely on his friendship, is no less a proof of his established character for candor and sincerity. There remain in history few instances of such mutual trust; and still fewer where neither party found reason to repent it.
The exterior figure of this great prince, as well as his deportment, was engaging. His stature was somewhat above the middle size; his countenance beautiful; his limbs genteel and slender, but full of vigor; and he excelled in all warlike and manly exercises.[*] He left by his queen, Catharine of France, only one son, not full nine months old; whose misfortunes, in the course of his life, surpassed all the glories and successes of his father.
     * T. Livii, p. 4.
In less than two months after Henry's death, Charles VI. of France, his father-in-law, terminated his unhappy life. He had for several years possessed only the appearance of royal authority: yet was this mere appearance of considerable advantage to the English; and divided the duty and affections of the French between them and the dauphin. This prince was proclaimed and crowned king of France at Poictiers, by the name of Charles VII. Rheims, the place where this ceremony is usually performed, was at that time in the hands of his enemies.
Catharine of France, Henry's widow, married, soon after his death, a Welsh gentleman, Sir Owen Tudor, said to be descended from the ancient princes of that country: she bore him two sons, Edmund and Jasper, of whom the eldest was created earl of Richmond; the second earl of Pembroke The family of Tudor, first raised to distinction by this alliance, mounted afterwards the throne of England.
The long schism, which had divided the Latin church for near forty years, was finally terminated in this reign by the council of Constance; which deposed the pope, John XXIII., for his crimes, and elected Martin V. in his place, who was acknowledged by almost all the kingdoms of Europe. This great and unusual act of authority in the council, gave the Roman pontiffs ever after a mortal antipathy to those assemblies. The same jealousy which had long prevailed in most European countries, between the civil aristocracy and monarchy, now also took place between these powers in the ecclesiastical body. But the great separation of the bishops in the several states, and the difficulty of assembling them, gave the pope a mighty advantage, and made it more easy for him to centre all the powers of the hierarchy in his own person. The cruelty and treachery which attended the punishment of John Huss and Jerome of Prague, the unhappy disciples of Wickliffe, who, in violation of a safe-conduct were burned alive for their errors by the council of Constance prove this melancholy truth, that toleration is none of the virtues of priests in any form of ecclesiastical government But as the English nation had little or no concern in these great transactions, we are here the more concise in relating them.
The first commission of array which we meet with, was issued in this reign.[*] The military part of the feudal system, which was the most essential circumstance of it, was entirely dissolved, and could no longer serve for the defence of the kingdom. Henry, therefore, when he went to France, in 1415, empowered certain commissioners to take in each county a review of all the freemen able to bear arms, to divide them into companies, and to keep them in readiness for resisting an enemy. This was the era when the feudal militia in England gave place to one which was perhaps still less orderly and regular.
* Rymer, vol, ix. p. 254, 255.
We have an authentic and exact account of the ordinary revenue of the crown during this reign; and it amounts only to fifty-five thousand seven hundred and fourteen pounds ten shillings and tenpence a year. [*] This is nearly the same with the revenue of Henry III.; and the kings of England had neither become much richer nor poorer in the course of so many years. The ordinary expense of the government amounted to forty-two thousand five hundred and seven pounds sixteen shillings and tenpence; so that the king had a surplus only of thirteen thousand two hundred and six pounds fourteen shillings for the support of his household; for his wardrobe; for the expense of embassies; and other articles. This sum was nowise sufficient: he was therefore obliged to have frequent recourse to parliamentary supplies, and was thus, even in time of peace, not altogether independent of his people. But wars were attended with a great expense, which neither the prince's ordinary revenue, nor the extraordinary supplies, were able to bear; and the sovereign was always reduced to many miserable shifts, in order to make any tolerable figure in them. He commonly borrowed money from all quarters; he pawned his jewels, and sometimes the crown itself;[**] he ran in arrears to his army; and he was often obliged, notwithstanding all these expedients, to stop in the midst of his career of victory, and to grant truces to the enemy. The high pay which was given to soldiers agreed very ill with this low income. All the extraordinary supplies, granted by parliament to Henry during the course of his reign, were only seven tenths and fifteenths, about two hundred and three thousand pounds.[***] It is easy to compute how soon this money must be exhausted by armies of twenty-four thousand archers and six thousand horse; when each archer had sixpence a day,[****] and each horseman two shillings. The most splendid successes proved commonly fruitless when supported by so poor a revenue; and the debts and difficulties which the king thereby incurred, made him pay dear for his victories. The civil administration, likewise, even in time of peace, could never be very regular, where the government was so ill enabled to support itself.
     * Rymer, vol. x. p. 113.

     ** Rymer, vol. x. p. 190.

     *** Parliamentary History, vol. ii. p. 168.

     **** It appears from many passages of Rymer, particularly
     vol. ix p. 258, that the king paid twenty marks a year for
     an archer, which is a good deal above sixpence a day. The
     price had risen, as it is natural, by raising the
     denomination of money.
Henry, till within a year of his death, owed debts which he had contracted when prince of Wales.[*] It was in vain that the parliament pretended to restrain him from arbitrary practices, when he was reduced to such necessities. Though the right of levying purveyance for instance, had been expressly guarded against by the Great Charter itself, and was frequently complained of by the commons, it was found absolutely impracticable to abolish it; and the parliament at length, submitting to it as a legal prerogative, contented themselves with enacting laws to limit and confine it. The duke of Glocester, in the reign of Richard II., possessed a revenue of sixty thousand crowns, (about thirty thousand pounds a year of our present money,) as we learn from Froissard,[**] and was consequently richer than the king himself, if all circumstances be duly considered.
It is remarkable, that the city of Calais alone was an annual expense to the crown of nineteen thousand one hundred and nineteen pounds;[***] that is, above a third of the common charge of the government in time of peace. This fortress was of no use to the defence of England, and only gave that kingdom an inlet to annoy France. Ireland cost two thousand pounds a year, over and above its own revenue; which was certainly very low. Every thing conspires to give us a very mean idea of the state of Europe in those ages.
From the most early times till the reign of Edward III., the denomination of money had never been altered; a pound sterling was still a pound troy; that is, about three pounds of our present money. That conqueror was the first that innovated in this important article. In the twentieth of his reign, he coined twenty-two shillings from a pound troy; in his twenty-seventh year, he coined twenty-five shillings. But Henry V., who was also a conqueror, raised still farther the denomination, and counted thirty shillings from a pound troy:[****] his revenue therefore must have been about one hundred and ten thousand pounds of our present money; and by the cheapness of provisions, was equivalent to above three hundred and thirty thousand pounds.
     * Rymer, vol. x. p. 114.

     ** Liv. iv. chap. 86.

     *** Rymer, vol. x. p. 113.

     **** Fleetwood's Chronicon Preciosum, p. 52
None of the princes of the house of Lancaster ventured to impose taxes without consent of parliament: their doubtful or bad title became so far of advantage to the constitution. The rule was then fixed, and could not safely be broken afterwards, even by more absolute princes.

CHAPTER XX

HENRY VI.

CONTEMPORARY MONARCHS.

1422.
During the reigns of the Lancastrian princes, the authority of parliament seems to have been more confirmed, and the privileges of the people more regarded, than during any former period; and the two preceding kings, though men of great spirit and abilities, abstained from such exertions of prerogative, as even weak princes, whose title was undisputed, were tempted to think they might venture upon with impunity. The long minority, of which there was now the prospect, encouraged still further the lords and commons to extend their influence; and without paying much regard to the verbal destination of Henry V., they assumed the power of giving a new arrangement to the whole administration. They declined altogether the name of "Regent" with regard to England: they appointed the duke of Bedford "protector" or "guardian" of that kingdom, a title which they supposed to imply less authority: they invested the duke of Glocester with the same dignity during the absence of his elder brother;[*] and in order to limit the power of both these princes, they appointed a council, without whose advice and approbation no measure of importance could be determined.[**] The person and education of the infant prince were committed to Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, his great uncle, and the legitimated son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster; a prelate who, as his family could never have any pretensions to the crown, might safely, they thought, be intrusted with that important charge.[***]
     * Rymer, vol. x. p. 261. Cotton, p. 564.

     ** Cotton, p. 564.

     *** Hall, fol. 83. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 27.
The two princes, the dukes of Bedford and Glocester, who seemed injured by this plan of government, yet, being persons of great integrity and honor, acquiesced in any appointment which tended to give security to the public; and as the wars in France appeared to be the object of greatest moment, they avoided every dispute which might throw an obstacle in the way of foreign conquests.
When the state of affairs between the English and French kings was considered with a superficial eye, every advantage seemed to be on the side of the former; and the total expulsion of Charles appeared to be an event which might naturally be expected from the superior power of his competitor. Though Henry was yet in his infancy, the administration was devolved on the duke of Bedford, the most accomplished prince of his age; whose experience, prudence, valor, and generosity qualified him for his high office, and enabled him both to maintain union among his friends, and to gain the confidence of his enemies. The whole power of England was at his command; he was at the head of armies inured to victory; he was seconded by the most renowned generals of the age, the earls of Somerset, Warwick, Salisbury, Suffolk, and Arundel, Sir John Talbot, and Sir John Fastolffe: and besides Guienne, the ancient inheritance of England, he was master of the capital, and of almost all the northern provinces, which were well enabled to furnish him with supplies both of men and money, and to assist and support his English forces.
But Charles, notwithstanding the present inferiority of his power, possessed some advantages, derived partly from his situation, partly from his personal character, which promised him success, and served, first to control, then to overbalance, the superior force and opulence of his enemies. He was the true and undoubted heir of the monarchy: all Frenchmen, who knew the interests, or desired the independence, of their country, turned their eyes towards him as its sole resource; the exclusion given him by the imbecility of his father, and the forced or precipitate consent of the states, had plainly no validity: that spirit of faction which had blinded the people, could not long hold them in so gross a delusion: their national and inveterate hatred against the English, the authors of all their calamities, must soon revive, and inspire them with indignation at bending their necks under the yoke of that hostile people: great nobles and princes, accustomed to maintain an independence against their native sovereigns, would never endure a subjection to strangers; and though most of the princes of the blood were, since the fatal battle of Azincour detained prisoners in England, the inhabitants of their de mesnes, their friends their vassals, all declared a zealous attachment to the king and exerted themselves in resisting the violence of foreign invaders.
Charles himself, though only in his twentieth year, was of a character well calculated to become the object of these benevolent sentiments; and perhaps from the favor which naturally attends youth, was the more likely, on account of his tender age, to acquire the good-will of his native subjects. He was a prince of the most friendly and benign disposition, of easy and familiar manners, and of a just and sound, though not a very vigorous understanding. Sincere, generous, affable, he engaged from affection the services of his followers, even while his low fortunes might make it their interest to desert him; and the lenity of his temper could pardon in them those sallies of discontent, to which princes in his situation are so frequently exposed. The love of pleasure often seduced him into indolence; but amidst all his irregularities, the goodness of his heart still shone forth; and by exerting at intervals his courage and activity, he proved that his general remissness proceeded not from the want either of a just spirit of ambition, or of personal valor.
Though the virtues of this amiable prince lay some time in obscurity, the duke of Bedford knew that his title alone made him formidable, and that every foreign assistance would be requisite, ere an English regent could hope to complete the conquest of France; an enterprise which, however it might seem to be much advanced, was still exposed to many and great difficulties. The chief circumstance which had procured to the English all their present advantages, was the resentment of the duke of Burgundy against Charles; and as that prince seemed intent rather on gratifying his passion than consulting his interests, it was the more easy for the regent, by demonstrations of respect and confidence, to retain him in the alliance of England. He bent, therefore, all his endeavors to that purpose: he gave the duke every proof of friendship and regard: he even offered him the regency of France, which Philip declined: and that he might corroborate national connections by private ties, he concluded his own marriage with the princess of Burgundy, which had been stipulated by the treaty of Arras.
1423.
Being sensible that, next to the alliance of Burgundy, the friendship of the duke of Brittany was of the greatest importance towards forwarding the English conquests; and that, as the provinces of France, already subdued, lay between the dominions of these two princes, he could never hope for any security without preserving his connections with them; he was very intent on strengthening himself also from that quarter. The duke of Brittany, having received many just reasons of displeasure from the ministers of Charles, had already acceded to the treaty of Troye, and had, with other vassals of the crown, done homage to Henry V. in quality of heir to the kingdom: but as the regent knew that the duke was much governed by his brother, the count of Richemont, he endeavored to fix his friendship, by paying court and doing services to this haughty and ambitious prince.
Arthur, count of Richemont, had been taken prisoner at the battle of Azincour, had been treated with great indulgence by the late king, and had even been permitted on his parole to take a journey into Brittany, where the state of affairs required his presence. The death of that victorious monarch happened before Richemont's return; and this prince pretended that, as his word was given personally to Henry V., he was not bound to fulfil it towards his son and successor; a chicane which the regent, as he could not force him to compliance, deemed it prudent to overlook. An interview was settled at Amiens between the dukes of Bedford, Burgundy, and Brittany, at which the count of Richemont was also present:[*] the alliance was renewed between these princes: and the regent persuaded Philip to give in marriage to Richemont his eldest sister, widow of the deceased dauphin, Lewis, the elder brother of Charles. Thus Arthur was connected both with the regent and the duke of Burgundy, and seemed engaged by interest to prosecute the same object, in forwarding the success of the English arms.
     * Hall. fol. 84. Monstrelet, vol. i. p 4. Stowe, p. 364.
While the vigilance of the duke of Bedford was employed in gaining or confirming these allies, whose vicinity rendered them so important, he did not overlook the state of more remote countries. The duke of Albany, regent of Scotland, had died: and his power had devolved on Murdac, his son, a prince of a weak understanding and indolent disposition; who, far from possessing the talents requisite for the government of that fierce people, was not even able to maintain authority in his own family, or restrain the petulance and insolence of his sons. The ardor of the Scots to serve in France, where Charles treated them with great honor and distinction, and where the regent's brother enjoyed the dignity of constable, broke out afresh under this feeble administration: new succors daily came over, and filled the armies of the French king: the earl of Douglas conducted a reënforcement of five thousand men to his assistance: and it was justly to be dreaded that the Scots, by commencing open hostilities in the north, would occasion a diversion still more considerable of the English power, and would ease Charles, in part, of that load by which he was at present so grievously oppressed. The duke of Bedford, therefore, persuaded the English council to form an alliance with James, their prisoner; to free that prince from his long captivity; and to connect him with England by marrying him to a daughter of the earl of Somerset, and cousin of the young king.[*] As the Scottish regent, tired of his present dignity, which he was not able to support, was now become entirely sincere in his applications for James's liberty, the treaty was soon concluded; a ransom of forty thousand pounds was stipulated;[**] and the king of Scots was restored to the throne of his ancestors, and proved, in his short reign, one of the most illustrious princes that had ever governed that kingdom. He was murdered, in 1437, by his traitorous kinsman the earl of Athole. His affections inclined to the side of France; but the English had never reason during his lifetime to complain of any breach of the neutrality by Scotland.
     * Hall, fol. 86. Stowe, p. 364. Grafton, p. 501.

     * Rymer, vol. x. p. 299, 300, 326.
But the regent was not so much employed in these political negotiations as to neglect the operations of war, from which alone he could hope to succeed in expelling the French monarch. Though the chief seat of Charles's power lay in the southern provinces beyond the Loire, his partisans were possessed of some fortresses in the northern, and even in the neighborhood of Paris; and it behoved the duke of Bedford first to clear these countries from the enemy, before he could think of attempting more distant conquests. The Castle of Dorsoy was taken after a siege of six weeks: that of Noyelle and the town of Rue, in Picardy, underwent the same fate: Pont sur Seine, Vertus, Montaigu, were subjected by the English arms: and a more considerable advantage was soon after gained by the united forces of England and Burgundy. John Stuart, constable of Scotland, and the lord of Estissac had formed the siege of Crevant, in Burgundy: the earls of Salisbury and Suffolk, with the count of Toulongeon, were sent to its relief: a fierce and well-disputed action ensued; the Scots and French were defeated: the constable of Scotland and the count of Ventadour were taken prisoners; and above a thousand men, among whom was Sir William Hamilton, were left on the field of battle.[*] The taking of Gaillon upon the Seine, and of La Charité upon the Loire, was the fruit of this victory: and as this latter place opened an entrance into the southern provinces, the acquisition of it appeared on that account of the greater importance to the duke of Bedford, and seemed to promise a successful issue to the war.
     * Hall, fol. 86. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 8. Holingshed, p.
     586., Grafton, p. 500.
1424.
The more Charles was threatened with an invasion in those provinces which adhered to him, the more necessary it became that he should retain possession of every fortress which he still held within the quarters of the enemy. The duke of Bedford had besieged in person, during the space of three months, the town of Yvri, in Normandy: and the brave governor, unable to make any longer defence, was obliged to capitulate; and he agreed to surrender the town, if, before a certain term, no relief arrived. Charles, informed of these conditions, determined to make an attempt for saving the place. He collected, with some difficulty, an army of fourteen thousand men, of whom one half were Scots; and he sent them thither under the command of the earl of Buchan, constable of France; who was attended by the earl of Douglas, his countryman, the duke of Alençon, the mareschal de la Fayette, the count of Aumale, and the viscount of Narbonne. When the constable arrived within a few leagues of Yvri, he found that he was come too late, and that the place was already surrendered. He immediately turned to the left, and sat down before Verneuil, which the inhabitants, in spite of the garrison, delivered up to him.[*] Buchan might now have returned in safety, and with the glory of making an acquisition no less important than the place which he was sent to relieve: but hearing of Bedford's approach, he called a council of war, in order to deliberate concerning the conduct which he should hold in this emergence.
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 14. Grafton, p. 504.
The wiser part of the council declared for a retreat; and represented, that all the past misfortunes of the French had proceeded from their rashness in giving battle when no necessity obliged them; that this army was the last resource of the king, and the only defence of the few provinces which remained to him; and that every reason invited him to embrace cautious measures, which might leave time for his subjects to return to a sense of their duty, and give leisure for discord to arise among his enemies, who, being united by no common bond of interest or motive of alliance, could not long persevere in their animosity against him. All these prudential considerations were overborne by a vain point of honor, not to turn their backs to the enemy; and they resolved to await the arrival of the duke of Bedford.
The numbers were nearly equal in this action; and as the long continuance of war had introduced discipline, which, however imperfect, sufficed to maintain some appearance of order in such small armies, the battle was fierce, and well disputed, and attended with bloodshed on both sides. The constable drew up his forces under the walls of Verneuil, and resolved to abide the attack of the enemy: but the impatience of the viscount of Narbonne, who advanced precipitately, and obliged the whole line to follow him in some hurry and confusion, was the cause of the misfortune which ensued. The English archers, fixing their palisadoes before them, according to their usual custom, sent a volley of arrows amidst the thickest of the French army; and though beaten from their ground, and obliged to take shelter among the baggage, they soon rallied, and continued to do great execution upon the enemy. The duke of Bedford, meanwhile, at the head of the men at arms, made impression on the French, broke their ranks, chased them off the field, and rendered the victory entirely complete and decisive.[*]
     * Hall, fol. 83, 89, 90. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 15. Stowe,
     p 365., Holingshed, p. 588.
The constable himself perished in battle as well as the earl of Douglas and his son, the counts of Aumale, Tonnerre, and Ventadour, with many other considerable nobility. The duke of Alençon, the mareschal de la Fayette, the lords of Gaucour and Mortemar, were taken prisoners. There fell about four thousand of the French, and sixteen hundred of the English; a loss esteemed, at that time, so unusual on the side of the victors, that the duke of Bedford forbade all rejoicings for his success, Verneuil was surrendered next day by capitulation.[*]
     * Monstrelet. vol. ii. p. 15.
The condition of the king of France now appeared very terrible, and almost desperate. He had lost the flower of his army and the bravest of his nobles in this fatal action: he had no resource either for recruiting or subsisting his troops; he wanted money even for his personal subsistence; and though all parade of a court was banished, it was with difficulty he could keep a table, supplied with the plainest necessaries, for himself and his few followers: every day brought him intelligence of some loss or misfortune: towns which were bravely defended, were obliged at last to surrender for want of relief or supply: he saw his partisans entirely chased from all the provinces which lay north of the Loire: and he expected soon to lose, by the united efforts of his enemies, all the territories of which he had hitherto continued master; when an incident happened which saved him on the brink of ruin, and lost the English such an opportunity for completing their conquests, as they never afterwards were able to recall.
Jacqueline, countess of Hainault and Holland, and heir of these provinces, had espoused John, duke of Brabant cousin-german to the duke of Burgundy; but having made this choice from the usual motives of princes, she soon found reason to repent of the unequal alliance. She was a princess of a masculine spirit and uncommon understanding: the duke of Brabant was of a sickly complexion and weak mind: she was in the vigor of her age; he had only reached his fifteenth year: these causes had inspired her with such contempt for her husband, which soon proceeded to antipathy that she determined to dissolve a marriage, where, it is probable, nothing but the ceremony had as yet intervened. The court of Rome was commonly very open to applications of this nature, when seconded by power and money; but as the princess foresaw great opposition from her husband's relations, and was impatient to effect her purpose, she made her escape into England, and threw herself under the protection of the duke of Glocester. That prince, with many noble qualities had the defect of being governed by an impetuous temper and vehement passions; and he was rashly induced, as well by the charms of the countess herself, as by the prospect of possessing her rich inheritance, to offer himself to her as a husband. Without waiting for a papal dispensation; without endeavoring to reconcile the duke of Burgundy to the measure; he entered into a contract of marriage with Jaqueline, and immediately attempted to put himself in possession of her dominions. Philip was disgusted with so precipitate a conduct: he resented the injury done to the duke of Brabant, his near relation: he dreaded to have the English established on all sides of him: and he foresaw the consequences which must attend the extensive and uncontrolled dominion of that nation, if, before the full settlement of their power, they insulted and injured an ally to whom they had already been so much indebted, and who was still so necessary for supporting them in their further progress. He encouraged, therefore, the duke of Brabant to make resistance: he engaged many of Jaqueline's subjects to adhere to that prince: he himself marched troops to his support: and as the duke of Glocester still persevered in his purpose, a sharp war was suddenly kindled in the Low Countries. The quarrel soon became personal as well as political. The English prince wrote to the duke of Burgundy, complaining of the opposition made to his pretensions; and though, in the main, he employed amicable terms in his letter, he took notice of some falsehoods into which, he said, Philip had been betrayed during the course of these transactions. This unguarded expression was highly resented: the duke of Burgundy insisted that he should retract it; and mutual challenges and defiances passed between them on this occasion.[*]
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 19, 20, 21.
The duke of Bedford could easily foresee the bad effects of so ill-timed and imprudent a quarrel. All the succors which he expected from England, and which were so necessary in this critical emergence, were intercepted by his brother, and employed in Holland and Hainault: the forces of the duke of Burgundy, which he also depended on, were diverted by the same wars: and besides this double loss, he was in imminent danger of alienating forever that confederate whose friendship was of the utmost importance, and whom the late king had enjoined him, with his dying breath, to gratify by every mark of regard and attachment. He represented all these topics to the duke of Glocester: he endeavored to mitigate the resentment of the duke of Burgundy: he interposed with his good offices between these princes, but was not successful in any of his endeavors; and he found that the impetuosity of his brother's temper was still the chief obstacle to all accommodation.[*] For this reason, instead of pushing the victory gained at Verneuil, he found himself obliged to take a journey into England, and to try, by his counsels and authority, to moderate the measures of the duke of Glocester.
There had likewise broken out some differences among the English ministry, which had proceeded to great extremities, and which required the regent's presence to compose them.[**] The bishop of Winchester, to whom the care of the king's person and education had been intrusted, was a prelate of great capacity and experience, but of an intriguing and dangerous character; and as he aspired to the government of affairs, he had continual disputes with his nephew the protector; and he gained frequent advantages over the vehement and impolitic temper of that prince.
1425.
The duke of Bedford employed the authority of parliament to reconcile them; and these rivals were obliged to promise, before that assembly, that they would bury all quarrels in oblivion.[***] Time also seemed to open expedients for composing the difference with the duke of Burgundy. The credit of that prince had procured a bull from the pope; by which not only Jaqueline's contract with the duke of Glocester was annulled, but it was also declared that, even in case of the duke of Brabant's death, it should never be lawful for her to espouse the English prince. Humphrey, despairing of success, married another lady of inferior rank, who had lived some time with him as his mistress.[****]
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 18.

     ** Stowe, p. 368. Holingshed, p. 530.

     *** Hall, fol. 98, 99. Hollingshed, p. 593, 594. Polydore
     Virgil, p. 466. Grafton, p. 512, 519.

     **** Stowe, p 367.
The duke of Brabant died; and his widow, before she could recover possession of her dominions, was obliged to declare the duke of Burgundy her heir, in case she should die without issue, and to promise never to marry without his consent. But though the affair was thus terminated to the satisfaction of Philip, it left a disagreeable impression on his mind: it excited an extreme jealousy of the English, and opened his eyes to his true interests: and as nothing but his animosity against Charles had engaged him in alliance with them, it counterbalanced that passion by another of the same kind, which in the end became prevalent, and brought him back, by degrees, to his natural connections with his family and his native country.
About the same time, the duke of Brittany began to withdraw himself from the English alliance. His brother, the count of Richemont, though connected by marriage with the dukes of Burgundy and Bedford, was extremely attached by inclination to the French interest; and he willingly hearkened to all the advances which Charles made him for obtaining his friendship. The staff of constable, vacant by the earl of Buchan's death, was offered him; and as his martial and ambitious temper aspired to the command of armies, which he had in vain attempted to obtain from the duke of Bedford, he not only accepted that office, but brought over his brother to an alliance with the French monarch. The new constable, having made this one change in his measures, firmly adhered ever after to his engagements with France. Though his pride and violence, which would admit of no rival in his master's confidence, and even prompted him to assassinate the other favorites, had so much disgusted Charles, that he once banished him the court, and refused to admit him to his presence, he still acted with vigor for the service of that monarch, and obtained at last, by his perseverance, the pardon of all past offences.
1426.
In this situation, the duke of Bedford, on his return, found the affairs of France, after passing eight months in England. The duke of Burgundy was much disgusted. The duke of Brittany had entered into engagements with Charles, and had done homage to that prince for his duchy. The French had been allowed to recover from the astonishment into which their frequent disasters had thrown them. An incident too had happened, which served extremely to raise their courage. The earl of Warwick had besieged Montargis with a small army of three thousand men, and the place was reduced to extremity, when the bastard of Orleans undertook to throw relief into it. This general, who was natural son to the prince assassinated by the duke of Burgundy, and who was afterwards created count of Dunois, conducted a body of one thousand six hundred men to Montargis, and made an attack on the enemy's trenches with so much valor, prudence, and good fortune, that he not only penetrated into the place, but gave a severe blow to the English, and obliged Warwick to raise the siege.[*] This was the first signal action that raised the fame of Dunois, and opened him the road to those great honors which he afterwards attained.
But the regent, soon after his arrival, revived the reputation of the English arms by an important enterprise which he happily achieved. He secretly brought together, in separate detachments, a considerable army to the frontiers of Brittany; and fell so unexpectedly upon that province, that the duke, unable to make resistance, yielded to all the terms required of him. he renounced the French alliance; he engaged to maintain the treaty of Troye; he acknowledged the duke of Bedford for regent of France; and promised to do homage for his duchy to King Henry.[**] And the English prince, having thus freed himself from a dangerous enemy who lay behind him, resolved on an undertaking, which, if successful, would, he hoped, cast the balance between the two nations, and prepare the way for the final conquest of France.
1428.
The city of Orleans was so situated between the provinces commanded by Henry, and those possessed by Charles, that it opened an easy entrance to either; and as the duke of Bedford intended to make a great effort for penetrating into the south of France, it behoved him to begin with this place, which, in the present circumstances, was become the most important in the kingdom. He committed the conduct of the enterprise to the earl of Salisbury, who had newly brought him a reënforcement of six thousand men from England, and who had much distinguished himself by his abilities during the course of the present war. Salisbury, passing the Loire, made himself master of several small places, which surrounded Orleans on that side;[***] and as his intentions were thereby known, the French king used every expedient to supply the city with a garrison and provisions, and enable it to maintain a long and obstinate siege.
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 32, 33. Holingshed, p. 597.

     ** Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 35, 36.

     *** Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 38, 39. Polyd. Virg. p. 468.
The lord of Gaucour, a brave and experienced captain, was appointed governor: many officers of distinction threw themselves into the place: the troops which they conducted were inured to war, and were determined to make the most obstinate resistance: and even the inhabitants, disciplined by the long continuance of hostilities, were well qualified, in their own defence, to second the efforts of the most veteran forces. The eyes of all Europe were turned towards this scene; where, it was reasonably supposed, the French were to make their last stand for maintaining the independence of their monarchy, and the rights of their sovereign.
The earl of Salisbury at last approached the place with an army, which consisted only of ten thousand men; and not being able, with so small a force, to invest so great a city, that commanded a bridge over the Loire, he stationed himself on the southern side towards Sologne, leaving the other, towards the Beausse, still open to the enemy. He there attacked the fortifications which guarded the entrance to the bridge; and, after an obstinate resistance, he carried several of them; but was himself killed by a cannon ball as he was taking a view of the enemy.[*]
     * Hall, fol. 105. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 39., Stowe, p.
     369. Hoingshed, p. 599. Grafton, p. 531.
The earl of Suffolk succeeded to the command; and being reënforced with great numbers of English and Burgundians, he passed the river with the main body of his army, and invested Orleans on the other side. As it was now the depth of winter, Suffolk, who found it difficult, in that season, to throw up intrenchments all around, contented himself, for the present, with erecting redoubts at different distances, where his men were lodged in safety, and were ready to intercept the supplies which the enemy might attempt to throw into the place. Though he had several pieces of artillery in his camp, (and this is among the first sieges in Europe where cannon were found to be of importance,) the art of engineering was hitherto so imperfect, that Suffolk trusted more to famine than to force for subduing the city; and he purposed in the spring to render the circumvallation more complete, by drawing intrenchments from one redoubt to another. Numberless feats of valor were performed both by the besiegers and besieged during the winter: bold sallies were made, and repulsed with equal boldness: convoys were sometimes introduced, and often intercepted: the supplies were still unequal to the consumption of the place: and the English seemed daily, though slowly, to be advancing towards the completion of their enterprise.
1429.
But while Suffolk lay in this situation, the French parties ravaged all the country around; and the besiegers, who were obliged to draw their provisions from a distance were themselves exposed to the danger of want and famine. Sir John Fastolffe was bringing up a large convoy of even kind of stores, which he escorted with a detachment of two thousand five hundred men; when he was attacked by a body of four thousand French, under the command of the counts of Clermont and Dunois. Fastolffe drew up his troops behind the wagons; but the French generals, afraid of attacking him in that posture, planted a battery of cannon against him; which threw every thing into confusion, and would have insured them the victory, had not the impatience of some Scottish troops, who broke the line of battle, brought on an engagement, in which Fastolffe was victorious. The count of Dunois was wounded; and about five hundred French were left on the field of battle. This action, which was of great importance in the present conjuncture, was commonly called the battle of Herrings; because the convoy brought a great quantity of that kind of provisions, for the use of the English army during the Lent season.[*]
Charles seemed now to have but one expedient for saving this city, which had been so long invested. The duke of Orleans, who was still prisoner in England, prevailed on the protector and the council to consent that all his demesnes should be allowed to preserve a neutrality during the war, and should be sequestered, for greater security, into the hands of the duke of Burgundy. This prince, who was much less cordial in the English interests than formerly, went to Paris, and made the proposal to the duke of Bedford; but the regent coldly replied, that he was not of a humor to beat the bushes while others ran away with the game; an answer which so disgusted the duke, that he recalled all the troops of Burgundy that acted in the siege.[**]
     * Hall, fol. 100. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 41, 42. Stowe, p.
     369. Holingshed, p. 600. Polyd. Virg. p. 469. Grafton, p.
     532.

     ** Hall, fol. 106. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 42. Stowe, p. 369.
     Grafton, p. 533
This place, however, was every day more and more closely invested by the English: great scarcity began already to be felt by the garrison and inhabitants: Charles, in despair of collecting an army which should dare to approach the enemy's intrenchments, not only gave the city for lost, but began to entertain a very dismal prospect with regard to the general state of his affairs. He saw that the country in which he had hitherto with great difficulty subsisted, would be laid entirely open to the invasion of a powerful and victorious enemy; and he already entertained thoughts of retiring with the remains of his forces into Languedoc and Dauphiny, and defending himself as long as possible in those remote provinces. But it was fortunate for this good prince that, as he lay under the dominion of the fair, the women whom he consulted had the spirit to support his sinking resolution in this desperate extremity. Mary of Anjou, his queen, a princess of great merit and prudence, vehemently opposed this measure, which, she foresaw, would discourage all his partisans, and serve as a general signal for deserting a prince who seemed himself to despair of success. His mistress too, the fair Agnes Sorel, who lived in entire amity with the queen, seconded all her remonstrances, and threatened that, if he thus pusillanimously threw away the sceptre of France, she would seek in the court of England a fortune more correspondent to her wishes. Love was able to rouse in the breast of Charles that courage which ambition had failed to excite: he resolved to dispute every inch of ground with an imperious enemy, and rather to perish with honor in the midst of his friends, than yield ingloriously to his bad fortune; when relief was unexpectedly brought him by another female of a very different character, who gave rise to one of the most singular revolutions that is to be met with in history.
In the village of Domremi, near Vaucouleurs, on the borders of Lorraine, there lived a country girl of twenty-seven years of age, called Joan d'Arc, who was servant in a small inn, and who in that station had been accustomed to tend the horses of the guests, to ride them without a saddle to the watering-place, and to perform other offices which, in well frequented inns, commonly fall to the share of the men servants.[*]
     * Hall, fol. 107. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 42. Grafton, p.
     534.
This girl was of an irreproachable life, and had not hitherto been remarked for any singularity; whether that she had met with no occasion to excite her genius, or that the unskilful eyes of those who conversed with her had not been able to discern her uncommon merit. It is easy to imagine, that the present situation of France was an interesting object even to persons of the lowest rank, and would become the frequent subject of conversation: a young prince, expelled his throne by the sedition of native subjects, and by the arms of strangers, could not fail to move the compassion of all his people whose hearts were uncorrupted by faction; and the peculiar character of Charles, so strongly inclined to friendship and the tender passions, naturally rendered him the hero of that sex whose generous minds know no bounds in their affections. The siege of Orleans, the progress of the English before that place, the great distress of the garrison and inhabitants, the importance of saving this city and its brave defenders, had turned thither the public eye; and Joan, inflamed by the general sentiment, was seized with a wild desire of bringing relief to her sovereign in his present distresses. Her unexperienced mind, working day and night on this favorite object, mistook the impulses of passion for heavenly inspirations; and she fancied that she saw visions, and heard voices, exhorting her to reëstablish the throne of France, and to expel the foreign invaders. An uncommon intrepidity of temper made her overlook all the dangers which might attend her in such a path; and thinking herself destined by Heaven to this office, she threw aside all that bashfulness and timidity so natural to her sex, her years, and her low station. She went to Vaucouleurs; procured admission to Baudricourt, the governor; informed him of her inspirations and intentions; and conjured him not to neglect the voice of God, who spoke through her, but to second those heavenly revelations which impelled her to this glorious enterprise. Baudricourt treated her at first with some neglect; but on her frequent returns to him, and importunate solicitations, he began to remark something extraordinary in the maid, and was inclined, at all hazards, to make so easy an experiment. It is uncertain whether this gentleman had discernment enough to perceive, that great use might be made with the vulgar of so uncommon an engine; or, what is more likely in that credulous age, was himself a convert to this visionary; but he adopted at last the schemes of Joan; and he gave her some attendants, who conducted her to the French court, which at that time resided at Chinon.
It is the business of history to distinguish between the miraculous and the marvellous; to reject the first in all narrations merely profane and human; to doubt the second; and when obliged by unquestionable testimony, as in the present case, to admit of something extraordinary, to receive as little of it as is consistent with the known facts and circumstances. It is pretended, that Joan, immediately on her admission, knew the king, though she had never seen his face before, and though he purposely kept himself in the crowd of courtiers, and had laid aside every thing in his dress and apparel which might distinguish him: that she offered him, in the name of the supreme Creator, to raise the siege of Orleans, and conduct him to Rheims to be there crowned and anointed; and on his expressing doubts of her mission, revealed to him, before some sworn confidants, a secret which was unknown to all the world beside himself, and which nothing but a heavenly inspiration could have discovered to her: and that she demanded, as the instrument of her future victories, a particular sword, which was kept in the church of St. Catharine of Fierbois, and which, though she had never seen it, she described by all its marks, and by the place in which it had long lain neglected.[*] This is certain, that all these miraculous stories were spread abroad, in order to captivate the vulgar. The more the king and his ministers were determined to give into the illusion, the more scruples they pretended. An assembly of grave doctors and theologians cautiously examined Joan's mission, and pronounced it undoubted and supernatural. She was sent to the parliament, then residing at Poictiers; and was interrogated before that assembly: the presidents, the counsellors, who came persuaded of her imposture, went away convinced of her inspiration. A ray of hope began to break through that despair in which the minds of all men were before enveloped. Heaven had now declared itself in favor of France, and had laid bare its outstretched arm to take vengeance on her invaders. Few could distinguish between the impulse of inclination and the force of conviction; and none would submit to the trouble of so disagreeable a scrutiny.
     * Hall, fol. 107. Holingshed, p. 600.
After these artificial precautions and preparations had been for some time employed, Joan's requests were at last complied with: she was armed cap-à-pie, mounted on horseback, and shown in that martial habiliment before the whole people. Her dexterity in managing her steed, though acquired in her former occupation, was regarded as a fresh proof of her mission; and she was received with the loudest acclamations by the spectators. Her former occupation was even denied: she was no longer the servant of an inn. She was converted into a shepherdess, an employment much more agreeable to the imagination. To render her still more interesting, near ten years were subtracted from her age; and all the sentiments of love and of chivalry were thus united to those of enthusiasm, in order to inflame the fond fancy of the people with prepossessions in her favor.
When the engine was thus dressed up in full splendor, it was determined to essay its force against the enemy. Joan was sent to Blois, where a large convoy was prepared for the supply of Orleans, and an army of ten thousand men, under the command of St. Severe, assembled to escort it. She ordered all the soldiers to confess themselves before they set out on the enterprise: she banished from the camp all women of bad fame: she displayed in her hands a consecrated banner, where the Supreme Being was represented, grasping the globe or earth, and surrounded with flower de luces. And she insisted, in right of her prophetic mission, that the convoy should enter Orleans by the direct road from the side of Beausse: but the count of Dunois, unwilling to submit the rules of the military art to her inspirations, ordered it to approach by the other side of the river, where he knew the weakest part of the English army was stationed.
Previous to this attempt, the maid had written to the regent, and to the English generals before Orleans, commanding them, in the name of the omnipotent Creator, by whom she was commissioned, immediately to raise the siege; and to evacuate France; and menacing them with divine vengeance in case of their disobedience. All the English affected to speak with derision of the maid, and of her heavenly commission; and said, that the French king was now indeed reduced to a sorry pass, when he had recourse to such ridiculous expedients: but they felt their imagination secretly struck with the vehement persuasion which prevailed in all around them; and they waited with an anxious expectation, not unmixed with horror, for the issue of these extraordinary preparations.
As the convoy approached the river, a sally was made by the garrison on the side of Beausse, to prevent the English general from sending any detachment to the other side: the provisions were peaceably embarked in boats, which the inhabitants of Orleans had sent to receive them: the maid covered with her troops the embarkation: Suffolk did not venture to attack her: and the French general carried back the army in safety to Blois; an alteration of affairs which was already visible to all the world, and which had a proportional effect on the minds of both parties.
The maid entered the city of Orleans, arrayed in her military garb, and displaying her consecrated standard; and was received as a celestial deliverer by all the inhabitants. They now believed themselves invincible under her influence; and Dunois himself, perceiving such a mighty alteration both in friends and foes, consented, that the next convoy, which was expected in a few days, should enter by the side of Beausse. The convoy approached: no sign of resistance appeared in the besiegers: the wagons and troops passed without interruption between the redoubts of the English: a dead silence and astonishment reigned among those troops, formerly so elated with victory, and so fierce for the combat.
The earl of Suffolk was in a situation very unusual and extraordinary, and which might well confound the man of the greatest capacity and firmest temper. He saw his troops overawed, and strongly impressed with the idea of a divine influence accompanying the maid. Instead of banishing these vain terrors by hurry, and action, and war, he waited till the soldiers should recover from the panic; and he thereby gave leisure for those prepossessions to sink still deeper into their minds. The military maxims which are prudent in common cases, deceived him in these unaccountable events. The English felt their courage daunted and overwhelmed; and thence inferred a divine vengeance hanging over them. The French drew the same inference from an inactivity so new and unexpected. Every circumstance was now reversed in the opinions of men, on which all depends: the spirit resulting from a long course of uninterrupted success, was on a sudden transferred from the victors to the vanquished.
The maid called aloud, that the garrison should remain no longer on the defensive; and she promised her followers the assistance of Heaven in attacking those redoubts of the enemy which had so long kept them in awe, and which they had never hitherto dared to insult. The generals seconded her ardor: an attack was made on one redoubt, and it proved successful:[*] all the English who defended the intrenchments were put to the sword or taken prisoners: and Sir John Talbot himself, who had drawn together, from the other redoubts, some troops to bring them relief, durst not appear in the open field against so formidable an enemy.
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 45.
Nothing, after this success, seemed impossible to the maid and her enthusiastic votaries. She urged the generals to attack the main body of the English in their intrenchments, but Dunois, still unwilling to hazard the fate of France by too great temerity, and sensible that the least reverse of fortune would make all the present visions evaporate, and restore every thing to its former condition, checked her vehemence and proposed to her first to expel the enemy from their forts on the other side of the river, and thus lay the communication with the country entirely open, before she attempted any more hazardous enterprise. Joan was persuaded, and these forts were vigorously assailed. In one attack the French were repulsed; the maid was left almost alone; she was obliged to retreat, and join the runaways; but, displaying her sacred standard, and animating them with her countenance, her gestures, her exhortations, she led them back to the charge, and overpowered the English in their intrenchments. In the attack of another fort, she was wounded in the neck with an arrow; she retreated a moment behind the assailants; she pulled out the arrow with her own hands; she had the wound quickly dressed; and she hastened back to head the troops, and to plant her victorious banner on the ramparts of the enemy.
By all these successes, the English were entirely chased from their fortifications on that side: they had lost above six thousand men in these different actions; and, what was still more important, their wonted courage and confidence were wholly gone, and had given place to amazement and despair. The maid returned triumphant over the bridge, and was again received as the guardian angel of the city. After performing such miracles, she convinced the most obdurate incredulity of her divine mission: men felt themselves animated as by a superior energy, and thought nothing impossible to that divine hand which so visibly conducted them. It was in vain even for the English generals to oppose with their soldiers the prevailing opinion of supernatural influence: they themselves were probably moved by the same belief: the utmost they dared to advance was, that Joan was not an instrument of God; she was only the implement of the devil: but as the English had felt, to their sad experience, that the devil might be allowed sometimes to prevail, they derived not much consolation from the enforcing of this opinion.
It might prove extremely dangerous for Suffolk, with such intimidated troops, to remain any longer in the presence of so courageous and victorious an enemy; he therefore raised the siege, and retreated with all the precaution imaginable. The French resolved to push their conquests, and to allow the English no leisure to recover from their consternation. Charles formed a body of six thousand men, and sent them to attack Jergeau, whither Suffolk had retired with a detachment of his army. The siege lasted ten days; and the place was obstinately defended. Joan displayed her wonted intrepidity on the occasion. She descended into the fosse, in leading the attack: and she there received a blow on the head with a stone, by which she was confounded and beaten to the ground: but she soon recovered herself, and in the end rendered the assault successful: Suffolk was obliged to yield himself prisoner to a Frenchman called Renaud; but before he submitted, he asked his adversary whether he were a gentleman. On receiving a satisfactory answer, he demanded whether he were a knight. Renaud replied, that he had not yet attained that honor. "Then I make you one," replied Suffolk; upon which he gave him the blow with his sword which dubbed him into that fraternity; and he immediately surrendered himself his prisoner.
The remainder of the English army was commanded by Fastolffe, Scales, and Talbot, who thought of nothing but of making their retreat, as soon as possible, into a place of safety; while the French esteemed the overtaking them equivalent to a victory; so much had the events which passed before Orleans altered every thing between the two nations! The vanguard of the French under Richemont and Xaintrailles attacked the rear of the enemy at the village of Patay. The battle lasted not a moment: the English were discomfited and fled: the brave Fastolffe himself showed the example of flight to his troops; and the order of the garter was taken from him, as a punishment for this instance of cowardice.[*] Two thousand men were killed in this action, and both Talbot and Scales taken prisoners.
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 46.
In the account of all these successes, the French writers, to magnify the wonder, represent the maid (who was now known by the appellation of "the Maid of Orleans") as not only active in combat, but as performing the office of general; directing the troops, conducting the military operations, and swaying the deliberations in all councils of war. It is certain that the policy of the French court endeavored to maintain this appearance with the public: but it is much more probable, that Dunois and the wiser commanders prompted her in all her measures, than that a country girl, without experience of education, could on a sudden become expert in a profession which requires more genius and capacity than any other active scene of life. It is sufficient praise, that she could distinguish the persons on whose judgment she might rely; that she could seize their hints and suggestions, and on a sudden, deliver their opinions as her own; and that she could curb, on occasion, that visionary and enthusiastic spirit with which she was actuated, and could temper it with prudence and discretion.
The raising of the siege of Orleans was one part of the maid's promise to Charles: the crowning of him at Rheims was the other: and she now vehemently insisted that he should forthwith set out on that enterprise. A few weeks before, such a proposal would have appeared the most extravagant in the world. Rheims lay in a distant quarter of the kingdom; was then in the hands of a victorious enemy; the whole road which led to it was occupied by their garrisons; and no man could be so sanguine as to imagine that such an attempt could so soon come within the bounds of possibility. But as it was extremely the interest of Charles to maintain the belief of something extraordinary and divine in these events, and to avail himself of the present consternation of the English, he resolved to follow the exhortations of his warlike prophetess, and to lead his army upon this promising adventure. Hitherto he had kept remote from the scene of war: as the safety of the state depended upon his person, he had been persuaded to restrain his military ardor: but observing this prosperous turn of affairs, he now determined to appear at the head of his armies, and to set the example of valor to all his soldiers, And the French nobility saw at once their young sovereign assuming a new and more brilliant character, seconded by fortune, and conducted by the hand of Heaven, and they caught fresh zeal to exert themselves in replacing him on the throne of his ancestors.
Charles set out for Rheims at the head of twelve thousand men: he passed by Troye, which opened its gates to him; Chalons imitated the example: Rheims sent him a deputation with its keys, before his approach to it: and he scarcely perceived, as he passed along, that he was marching through an enemy's country. The ceremony of his coronation was here performed[*] with the holy oil, which a pigeon had brought to King Clovis from heaven, on the first establishment of the French monarchy: the maid of Orleans stood by his side in complete armor, and displayed her sacred banner, which had so often dissipated and confounded his fiercest enemies: and the people shouted with the most unfeigned joy, on viewing such a complication of wonders. After the completion of the ceremony, the maid threw herself at the king's feet, embraced his knees, and with a flood of tears, which pleasure and tenderness extorted from her, she congratulated him on this singular and marvellous event.
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 48.
Charles, thus crowned and anointed, became more respectable in the eyes of all his subjects, and seemed, in a manner, to receive anew, from a heavenly commission, his title to their allegiance. The inclinations of men swaying their belief, no one doubted of the inspirations and prophetic spirit of the maid: so many incidents which passed all human comprehension, left little room to question a superior influence: and the real and undoubted facts brought credit to every exaggeration, which could scarcely be rendered more wonderful. Laon, Soissons, Chateau-Thierri, Provins, and many other towns and fortresses in that neighborhood, immediately after Charles's coronation, submitted to him on the first summons; and the whole nation was disposed to give him the most zealous testimonies of their duty and affection.
Nothing can impress us with a higher idea of the wisdom, address, and resolution of the duke of Bedford, than his being able to maintain himself in so perilous a situation, and to preserve some footing in France, after the defection of so many places, and amidst the universal inclination of the rest to imitate that contagious example. This prince seemed present every where by his vigilance and foresight: he employed every resource which fortune had yet left him: he put all the English garrisons in a posture of defence: he kept a watchful eye over every attempt among the French towards an insurrection: he retained the Parisians in obedience, by alternately employing caresses and severity: and knowing that the duke of Burgundy was already wavering in his fidelity, he acted with so much skill and prudence, as to renew, in this dangerous crisis, his alliance with that prince; an alliance of the utmost importance to the credit and support of the English government.
The small supplies which he received from England set the talents of this great man in a still stronger light. The ardor of the English for foreign conquests was now extremely abated by time and reflection: the parliament seems even to have become sensible of the danger which might attend their further progress: no supply of money could be obtained by the regent during his greatest distresses: and men enlisted slowly under his standard, or soon deserted, by reason of the wonderful accounts which had reached England, of the magic and sorcery, and diabolical power of the maid of Orleans.[*] It happened fortunately, in this emergency, that the bishop of Winchester, now created a cardinal, landed at Calais with a body of five thousand men, which he was conducting into Bohemia, on a crusade against the Hussites. He was persuaded to lend these troops to his nephew during the present difficulties;[**] and the regent was thereby enabled to take the field, and to oppose the French king, who was advancing with his army to the gates of Paris.
The extraordinary capacity of the duke of Bedford appeared also in his military operations. He attempted to restore the courage of his troops by boldly advancing to the face of the enemy; but he chose his posts with so much caution, as always to decline a combat, and to render it impossible for Charles to attack him. He still attended that prince in all his movements; covered his own towns and garrisons; and kept himself in a posture to reap advantage from every imprudence or false step of the enemy. The French army, which consisted mostly of volunteers, who served at their own expense, soon after retired and was disbanded: Charles went to Bourges, the ordinary place of his residence; but not till he made himself master of Compiegne, Beauvais, Senlis, Sens, Laval, Lagni, St. Denis, and of many places in the neighborhood of Paris, which the affections of the people had put into his hands.
1430.
The regent endeavored to revive the declining state of his affairs, by bringing over the young king of England, and having him crowned and anointed at Paris,[***] All the vassals of the crown who lived within the provinces possessed by the English, swore anew allegiance, and did homage to him.
     * Rymer, vol. x. p. 459, 472.

     ** Rymer, vol. x. p. 421.

     *** Rymer, vol. x. p 432.
But this ceremony was cold and insipid, compared with the lustre which had attended the coronation of Charles at Rheims; and the duke of Bedford expected more effect from an accident, which put into his hands the person that had been the author of all his calamities.
The maid of Orleans, after the coronation of Charles, declared to the count of Dunois that her wishes were now fully gratified, and that she had no further desire than to return to her former condition, and to the occupation and course of life which became her sex: but that nobleman, sensible of the great advantages which might still be reaped from her presence in the army, exhorted her to persevere, till, by the final expulsion of the English, she had brought all her prophecies to their full completion. In pursuance of this advice, she threw herself into the town of Compiegne, which was at that time besieged by the duke of Burgundy, assisted by the earls of Arundel and Suffolk; and the garrison, on her appearance, believed themselves thenceforth invincible. But their joy was of short duration. The maid, next day after her arrival, headed a sally upon the quarters of John of Luxembourg; she twice drove the enemy from their intrenchments; finding their numbers to increase every moment, she ordered a retreat; when hard pressed by the pursuers, she turned upon them, and made them again recoil; but being here deserted by her friends, and surrounded by the enemy, she was at last, after exerting the utmost valor, taken prisoner by the Burgundians.[*] The common opinion was, that the French officers, finding the merit of every victory ascribed to her, had, in envy to her renown, by which they were themselves so much eclipsed, willingly exposed her to this fatal accident.
     * Stowe, p. 371.
The envy of her friends, on this occasion, was not a greater proof of her merit than the triumph of her enemies. A complete victory would not have given more joy to the English and their partisans. The service of Te Deum, which has so often been profaned by princes, was publicly celebrated on this fortunate event at Paris. The duke of Bedford fancied that, by the captivity of that extraordinary woman, who had blasted all his successes, he should again recover his former ascendant over France; and to push farther the present advantage, he purchased the captive from John of Luxembourg, and formed a prosecution against her, which, whether it proceeded from vengeance or policy, was equally barbarous and dishonorable.
1431.
There was no possible reason why Joan should not be regarded as a prisoner of war, and be entitled to all the courtesy and good usage which civilized nations practise towards enemies on these occasions. She had never, in her military capacity, forfeited, by any act of treachery or cruelty, her claim to that treatment: she was unstained by any civil crime: even the virtues and the very decorums of her sex had ever been rigidly observed by her: and though her appearing in war, and leading armies to battle, may seem an exception, she had thereby performed such signal service to her prince, that she had abundantly compensated for this irregularity; and was, on that very account, the more an object of praise and admiration. It was necessary, therefore, for the duke of Bedford to interest religion some way in the prosecution, and to cover under that cloak his violation of justice and humanity.

The bishop of Beauvais, a man wholly devoted to the English interests, presented a petition against Joan, on pretence that she was taken within the bounds of his diocese; and he desired to have her tried by an ecclesiastical court for sorcery, impiety, idolatry, and magic: the university of Paris was so mean as to join in the same request: several prelates, among whom the cardinal of Winchester was the only Englishman, were appointed her judges: they held their court in Rouen, where the young king of England then resided: and the maid, clothed in her former military apparel, but loaded with irons, was produced before this tribunal.
She first desired to be eased of her chains: her judges answered, that she had once already attempted an escape by throwing herself from a tower: she confessed the fact, maintained the justice of her intention, and owned that, if she could, she would still execute that purpose. All her other speeches showed the same firmness and intrepidity: though harassed with interrogatories during the course of near four months, she never betrayed any weakness or womanish submission; and no advantage was gained over her. The point which her judges pushed most vehemently, was her visions and revelations, and intercourse with departed saints; and they asked her, whether she would submit to the church the truth of these inspirations: she replied, that she would submit them to God, the fountain of truth. They then exclaimed, that she was a heretic, and denied the authority of the church. She appealed to the pope: they rejected her appeal.
They asked her, why she put trust in her standard, which had been consecrated by magical incantations: she replied that she put trust in the Supreme Being alone, whose image was impressed upon it. They demanded, why she carried in her hand that standard at the anointment and coronation of Charles at Rheims: she answered, that the person who had shared the danger was entitled to share the glory. When accused of going to war, contrary to the decorums of her sex, and of assuming government and command over men, she scrupled not to reply, that her sole purpose was to defeat the English, and to expel them the kingdom. In the issue, she was condemned for all the crimes of which she had been accused, aggravated by heresy; her revelations were declared to be inventions of the devil to delude the people; and she was sentenced to be delivered over to the secular arm.
Joan, so long surrounded by inveterate enemies, who treated her with every mark of contumely; browbeaten and overawed by men of superior rank, and men invested with the ensigns of a sacred character, which she had been accustomed to revere, felt her spirit at last subdued; and those visionary dreams of inspiration, in which she had been buoyed up by the triumphs of success and the applauses of her own party, gave way to the terrors of that punishment to which she was sentenced. She publicly declared herself willing to recant: she acknowledged the illusion of those revelations which the church had rejected; and she promised never more to maintain them. Her sentence was then mitigated: she was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and to be fed during life on bread and water.
Enough was now done to fulfil all political views, and to convince both the French and the English, that the opinion of divine influence, which had so much encouraged the one and daunted the other, was entirely without foundation. But the barbarous vengeance of Joan's enemies was not satisfied with this victory. Suspecting that the female dress, which she had now consented to wear, was disagreeable to her, they purposely placed in her apartment a suit of men's apparel; and watched for the effects of that temptation upon her. On the sight of a dress in which she had acquired so much renown, and which, she once believed, she wore by the particular appointment of Heaven, all her former ideas and passions revived; and she ventured in her solitude to clothe herself again in the forbidden garment. Her insidious enemies caught her in that situation: her fault was interpreted to be no less than a relapse into heresy: no recantation would now suffice; and no pardon could be granted her. She was condemned to be burned in the market-place of Rouen; and the infamous sentence was accordingly executed. This admirable heroine, to whom the more generous superstition of the ancients would have erected altars, was, on pretence of heresy and magic, delivered over alive to the flames, and expiated, by that dreadful punishment, the signal services which she had rendered to her prince and to her native country.
1432.
The affairs of the English, far from being advanced by this execution, went every day more and more to decay: the great abilities of the regent were unable to resist the strong inclination which had seized the French to return under the obedience of their rightful sovereign, and which that act of cruelty was ill fitted to remove. Chartres was surprised, by a stratagem of the count of Dunois: a body of the English, under Lord Willoughby, was defeated at St. Celerin upon the Sarte:[*] the fair in the suburbs of Caen, seated in the midst of the English territories, was pillaged by De Lore, a French officer: the duke of Bedford himself was obliged by Dunois to raise the siege of Lagni with some loss of reputation: and all these misfortunes, though light, yet being continued and uninterrupted, brought discredit on the English, and menaced them with an approaching revolution. But the chief detriment which the regent sustained, was by the death of his duchess, who had hitherto preserved some appearance of friendship between him and her brother, the duke of Burgundy:[**] and his marriage, soon afterwards, with Jaqueline of Luxembourg, was the beginning of a breach between them.[***] Philip complained, that the regent had never had the civility to inform him of his intentions, and that so sudden a marriage was a slight on his sister's memory.
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 100.

     ** Monstrolet, vol. ii. p. 87.

     *** Stowe, p. 373. Grafton, p. 554.
The cardinal of Winchester meditated a reconciliation between these princes, and brought both of them to St. Omers for that purpose. The duke of Bedford here expected the first visit, both as he was son, brother, and uncle to a king, and because he had already made such advances as to come into the duke of Burgundy's territories, in order to have an interview with him: but Philip, proud of his great power and independent dominions, refused to pay this compliment to the regent; and the two princes, unable to adjust the ceremonial, parted without seeing each other.[*] A bad prognostic of their cordial intentions to renew past amity!
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 90. Grafton, p. 561.
Nothing could be more repugnant to the interests of the house of Burgundy, than to unite the crowns of France and England on the same head; an event which, had it taken place, would have reduced the duke to the rank of a petty prince, and have rendered his situation entirely dependent and precarious. The title also to the crown of France, which, after the failure of the elder branches, might accrue to the duke or his posterity, had been sacrificed by the treaty of Troye; and strangers and enemies were thereby irrevocably fixed upon the throne. Revenge alone had carried Philip into these impolitic measures; and a point of honor had hitherto induced him to maintain them. But as it is the nature of passion gradually to decay, while the sense of interest maintains a permanent influence and authority, the duke had, for some years, appeared sensibly to relent in his animosity against Charles, and to hearken willingly to the apologies made by that prince for the murder of the late duke of Burgundy. His extreme youth was pleaded in his favor; his incapacity to judge for himself; the ascendant gained over him by his ministers; and his inability to resent a deed which, without his knowledge, had been perpetrated by those under whose guidance he was then placed. The more to flatter the pride of Philip, the king of France had banished from his court and presence Tanegui de Chatel, and all those who were concerned in that assassination; and had offered to make every other atonement which could be required of him. The distress which Charles had already suffered, had tended to gratify the duke's revenge; the miseries to which France had been so long exposed, had begun to move his compassion; and the cries of all Europe admonished him, that his resentment, which might hitherto be deemed pious, would, if carried further, be universally condemned as barbarous and unrelenting. While the duke was in this disposition, every disgust which he received from England made a double impression upon him; the entreaties of the count of Richemont and the duke of Bourbon, who had married his two sisters, had weight; and he finally determined to unite himself to the royal family of France, from which his own was descended.
1435.
For this purpose, a congress was appointed at Arras under the mediation of deputies from the pope and the council of Basle: the duke of Burgundy came thither in person: the duke of Bourbon, the count of Richemont, and other persons of high rank, appeared as ambassadors from France: and the English having also been invited to attend, the cardinal of Winchester, the bishops of Norwich and St. David's, the earls of Huntingdon and Suffolk, with others, received from the protector and council a commission for that purpose.[*]
The conferences were held in the abbey of St. Vaast, and began with discussing the proposals of the two crowns which were so wide of each other as to admit of no hopes of accommodation. France offered to cede Normandy with Guienne, but both of them loaded with the usual homage and vassalage to the crown. As the claims of England upon France were universally unpopular in Europe, the mediators declared the offers of Charles very reasonable, and the cardinal of Winchester, with the other English ambassadors, without giving a particular detail of their demands, immediately left the congress. There remained nothing but to discuss the mutual pretensions of Charles and Philip. These were easily adjusted: the vassal was in a situation to give law to his superior; and he exacted conditions which, had it not been for the present necessity, would have been deemed, to the last degree, dishonorable and disadvantageous to the crown of France. Besides making repeated atonements and acknowledgments for the murder of the duke of Burgundy, Charles was obliged to cede all the towns of Picardy which lay between the Somme and the Low Countries; he yielded several other territories; he agreed that these and all the other dominions of Philip should be held by him, during his life, without doing any homage, or swearing fealty to the present king; and he freed his subjects from all obligations to allegiance, if ever he infringed this treaty.[**] Such were the conditions upon which France purchased the friendship of the duke of Burgundy.
     * Rymer, vol. x. p. 611, 612.

     ** Monstrelet, vol ii. p. 112. Grafton, p. 565.
The duke sent a herald to England with a letter, in which he notified the conclusion of the treaty of Arras, and apologized for his departure from that of Troye. The council received the herald with great coldness: they even assigned him his lodgings in a shoemaker's house, by way of insult; and the populace were so incensed, that if the duke of Glocester had not given him guards, his life had been exposed to danger when he appeared in the streets. The Flemings, and other subjects of Philip, were insulted, and some of them murdered by the Londoners; and every thing seemed to tend towards a rupture between the two nations.[*] These violences were not disagreeable to the duke of Burgundy; as they afforded him a pretence for the further measures which he intended to take against the English, whom he now regarded as implacable and dangerous enemies.
A few days after the duke of Bedford received intelligence of this treaty, so fatal to the interests of England, he died at Rouen; a prince of great abilities, and of many virtues; and whose memory, except from the barbarous execution of the maid of Orleans, was unsullied by any considerable blemish. Isabella, queen of France, died a little before him, despised by the English, detested by the French, and reduced, in her latter years, to regard with an unnatural horror the progress and success of her own son, in recovering possession of his kingdom. This period was also signalized by the death of the earl of Arundel,[**] a great English general, who, though he commanded three thousand men, was foiled by Xaintrailles at the head of six hundred, and soon after expired of the wounds which he received in the action.
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 120. Holing. p. 612.

     ** Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 105. Holing, p. 610.
1436
The violent factions which prevailed between the duke of Glocester and the cardinal of Winchester, prevented the English from taking the proper measures for repairing these multiplied losses, and threw all their affairs into confusion. The popularity of the duke, and his near relation to the crown, gave him advantages in the contest, which he often lost by his open and unguarded temper, unfit to struggle with the politic and interested spirit of his rival. The balance, meanwhile, of these parties, kept every thing in suspense; foreign affairs were much neglected; and though the duke of York, son to that earl of Cambridge who was executed in the beginning of the last reign, was appointed successor to the duke of Bedford, it was seven months before his commission passed the seals; and the English remained so long in an enemy's country, without a proper head or governor.
The new governor, on his arrival, found the capital already lost. The Parisians had always been more attached to the Burgundian than to the English interest; and after the conclusion of the treaty of Arras, their affections, without any further control, universally led them to return to their allegiance under their native sovereign. The constable, together with Lile-Adam, the same person who had before put Paris into the hands of the duke of Burgundy, was introduced in the night-time by intelligence with the citizens: Lord Willoughby, who commanded only a small garrison of fifteen hundred men, was expelled: this nobleman discovered valor and presence of mind on the occasion; but unable to guard so large a place against such multitudes, he retired into the Bastile, and being there invested, he delivered up that fortress, and was contented to stipulate for the safe retreat of his troops into Normandy.[*]
In the same season, the duke of Burgundy openly took part against England, and commenced hostilities by the siege of Calais, the only place which now gave the English any sure hold of France, and still rendered them dangerous. As he was beloved among his own subjects, and had acquired the epithet of Good, from his popular qualities, he was able to interest all the inhabitants of the Low Countries in the success of this enterprise; and he invested that place with an army formidable from its numbers, but without experience, discipline, or military spirit.[**] On the first alarm of this siege, the duke of Glocester assembled some forces, sent a defiance to Philip, and challenged him to wait the event of a battle, which he promised to give, as soon as the wind would permit him to reach Calais. The warlike genius of the English had at that time rendered them terrible to all the northern parts of Europe; especially to the Flemings, who were more expert in manufactures than in arms; and the duke of Burgundy, being already foiled in some attempts before Calais, and observing the discontent and terror of his own army, thought proper to raise the siege, and to retreat before the arrival of the enemy.[***]
     * Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 127. Grafton, p. 568.

     ** Monstrelet, vol. ii, p. 126, 130, 132. Holing. p. 613.
     Grafton, p 571.

     *** Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 136. Holing. p. 614.
The English were still masters of many fine provinces in France; but retained possession more by the extreme weakness of Charles, than by the strength of their own garrisons or the force of their armies. Nothing, indeed, can be more surprising than the feeble efforts made, during the course of several years, by these two potent nations against each other while the one struggled for independence, and the other aspired to a total conquest of its rival. The general want of industry, commerce, and police in that age, had rendered all the European nations, and France and England no less than the others, unfit for bearing the burdens of war, when it was prolonged beyond one season; and the continuance of hostilities had, long ere this time, exhausted the force and patience of both kingdoms. Scarcely could the appearance of an army be brought into the field on either side; and all the operations consisted in the surprisal of places, in the rencounter of detached parties, and in incursions upon the open country; which were performed by small bodies, assembled on a sudden from the neighboring garrisons. In this method of conducting the war, the French king had much the advantage: the affections of the people were entirely on his side: intelligence was early brought him of the state and motions of the enemy: the inhabitants were ready to join in any attempts against the garrisons: and thus ground was continually, though slowly, gained upon the English. The duke of York, who was a prince of abilities, struggled against these difficulties during the course of five years; and being assisted by the valor of Lord Talbot, soon after created earl of Shrewsbury, he performed actions which acquired him honor, but merit not the attention of posterity. It would have been well, had this feeble war, in sparing the blood of the people, prevented likewise all other oppressions; and had the fury of men, which reason and justice cannot restrain, thus happily received a check from their impotence and inability. But the French and English, though they exerted such small force, were, however, stretching beyond their resources, which were still smaller; and the troops, destitute of pay, were obliged to subsist by plundering and oppressing the country, both of friends and enemies. The fields in all the north of France, which was the seat of war, were laid waste and left uncultivated.[*]
     * Grafton, p 562.
1440.
The cities were gradually depopulated, not by the blood spilt in battle, but by the more destructive pillage of the garrisons;[*] and both parties, weary of hostilities which decided nothing, seemed at last desirous of peace, and they set on foot negotiations for that purpose. But the proposals of France, and the demands of England, were still so wide of each other, that all hope of accommodation immediately vanished. The English ambassadors demanded restitution of all the provinces which had once been annexed to England, together with the final cession of Calais and its district; and required the possession of these extensive territories without the burden of any fealty or homage on the part of their prince: the French offered only part of Guienne, part of Normandy, and Calais, loaded with the usual burdens. It appeared in vain to continue the negotiation while there was so little prospect of agreement. The English were still too haughty to stoop from the vast hopes which they had formerly entertained, and to accept of terms more suitable to the present condition of the two kingdoms.
The duke of York soon after resigned his government to the earl of Warwick, a nobleman of reputation, whom death prevented from long enjoying this dignity. The duke, upon the demise of that nobleman, returned to his charge; and during his administration, a truce was concluded between the king of England and the duke of Burgundy, which had become necessary for the commercial interests of their subjects.[**] The war with France continued in the same languid and feeble state as before.
The captivity of five princes of the blood, taken prisoners in the battle of Azincour, was a considerable advantage, which England long enjoyed over its enemy; but this superiority was now entirely lost. Some of these princes had died; some had been ransomed; and the duke of Orleans, the most powerful among them, was the last that remained in the hands of the English. He offered the sum of fifty-four thousand nobles[***] for his liberty; and when this proposal was laid before the council of England, as every question was there an object of faction, the party of the duke of Glocester, and that of the cardinal of Winchester, were divided in their sentiments with regard to it.
     * Fortescue, who soon after this period visited France, in
     the train of Prince Henry, speaks of that kingdom as a
     desert, in comparison of England. See his treatise De
     Laudibus Legum Angliæ. Though we make allowance for the
     partialities of Fortescue, there must have been some
     foundation for his account; and these destructive wars are
     the most likely reason to be assigned for the difference
     remarked by this author.

     ** Grafton, p. 673.

     *** Rymer, vol. x. p. 764, 776, 782, 795, 796. This sum was
     equal to thirty-six thousand pounds sterling of our present
     money. A subsidy of a tenth and fifteenth was fixed by
     Edward III. at twenty-nine thousand pounds, which, in the
     reign of Henry VI., made only fifty-eight thousand pounds of
     our present money. The parliament granted only one subsidy
     during the course of seven years, from 1437 to 1444.
The duke reminded the council of the dying advice of the late king, that none of these prisoners should on any account be released, till his son should be of sufficient age to hold himself the reins of government. The cardinal insisted on the greatness of the sum offered, which, in reality, was nearly equal to two thirds of all the extraordinary supplies that the parliament, during the course of seven years, granted for the support of the war. And he added, that the release of this prince was more likely to be advantageous than prejudicial to the English interests; by filling the court of France with faction, and giving a head to those numerous malecontents whom Charles was at present able with great difficulty to restrain. The cardinal's party, as usual, prevailed: the duke of Orleans was released, after a melancholy captivity of twenty-five years:[*] and the duke of Burgundy, as a pledge of his entire reconciliation with the family of Orleans, facilitated to that prince the payment of his ransom. It must be confessed, that the princes and nobility, in those ages, went to war on very disadvantageous terms. If they were taken prisoners, they either remained in captivity during life, or purchased their liberty at the price which the victors were pleased to impose, and which often reduced their families to want and beggary.
     * Grafton, p. 578.
1443.
The sentiments of the cardinal, some time after, prevailed in another point of still greater moment. That prelate had always encouraged every proposal of accommodation with France; and had represented the utter impossibility, in the present circumstances, of pushing farther the conquests in that kingdom, and the great difficulty of even maintaining those which were already made. He insisted on the extreme reluctance of the parliament to grant supplies; the disorders in which the English affairs in Normandy were involved; the daily progress made by the French king; and the advantage of stopping his hand by a temporary accommodation which might leave room for time and accidents to operate in favor of the English. The duke of Glocester, high-spirited and haughty, and educated in the lofty pretensions which the first successes of his two brothers had rendered familiar to him, could not yet be induced to relinquish all hopes of prevailing over France; much less could he see with patience his own opinion thwarted and rejected by the influence of his rival in the English council. But, notwithstanding his opposition, the earl of Suffolk, a nobleman who adhered to the cardinal's party, was despatched to Tours, in order to negotiate with the French ministers. It was found impossible to adjust the terms of a lasting peace; but a truce for twenty-two months was concluded, which left every thing on the present footing between the parties. The numerous disorders under which the French government labored, and which time alone could remedy, induced Charles to assent to this truce; and the same motives engaged him afterwards to prolong it.[*] But Suffolk, not content with executing this object of his commission, proceeded also to finish another business, which seems rather to have been implied than expressed in the powers that had been granted him.[**]
     * Rymer, vol. xi. p. 101, 108, 206, 214.

     ** Rymer, vol. xi. p. 53.
In proportion as Henry advanced in years, his character became fully known in the court, and was no longer ambiguous to either faction. Of the most harmless, inoffensive, simple manners, but of the most slender capacity, he was fitted, both by the softness of his temper and the weakness of his understanding, to be perpetually governed by those who surrounded him; and it was easy to foresee that his reign would prove a perpetual minority. As he had now reached the twenty-third year of his age, it was natural to think of choosing him a queen; and each party was ambitious of having him receive one from their hand, as it was probable that this circumstance would decide forever the victory between them. The duke of Glocester proposed a daughter of the count of Armagnac; but had not credit to effect his purpose. The cardinal and his friends had cast their eye on Margaret of Anjou, daughter of Regnier, titular king of Sicily, Naples, and Jerusalem, descended from the count of Anjou, brother of Charles V., who had left these magnificent titles, but without any real power or possessions, to his posterity. This princess herself was the most accomplished of her age, both in body and mind; and seemed to possess those qualities which would equally qualify her to acquire the ascendant over Henry, and to supply all his defects and weaknesses. Of a masculine, courageous spirit, of an enterprising temper, endowed with solidity as well as vivacity of understanding, she had not been able to conceal these great talents even in the privacy of her father's family; and it was reasonable to expect, that when she should mount the throne, they would break out with still superior lustre. The earl of Suffolk, therefore, in concert with his associates of the English council, made proposals of marriage to Margaret, which were accepted. But this nobleman, besides preoccupying the princess's favor by being the chief means of her advancement, endeavored to ingratiate himself with her and her family, by very extraordinary concessions: though Margaret brought no dowry with her, he ventured of himself, without any direct authority from the council, but probably with the approbation of the cardinal and the ruling members, to engage, by a secret article, that the province of Maine, which was at that time in the hands of the English, should be ceded to Charles of Anjou, her uncle,[*] who was prime minister and favorite of the French king, and who had already received from his master the grant of that province as his appanage.
The treaty of marriage was ratified in England: Suffolk obtained first the title of marquis, then that of duke; and even received the thanks of parliament for his services in concluding it.[**] The princess fell immediately into close connections with the cardinal and his party, the dukes of Somerset, Suffolk, and Buckingham;[***] who, fortified by her powerful patronage, resolved on the final ruin of the duke of Glocester.
     * Grafton, p. 590.

     ** Cotton, p. 630.

     *** Holingshed, p. 626.
1447.
This generous prince, worsted in all court intrigues, for which his temper was not suited, but possessing in a high degree the favor of the public, had already received from his rivals a cruel mortification, which he had hitherto borne without violating public peace, but which it was impossible that a person of his spirit and humanity could ever forgive. His duchess, the daughter of Reginald Lord Cobham, had been accused of the crime of witchcraft; and it was pretended, that there was found in her possession a waxen figure of the king, which she and her associates, Sir Roger Bolingbroke, a priest, and one Margery Jordan, of Eye, melted in a magical manner before a slow fire, with an intention of making Henry's force and vigor waste away by like insensible degrees. The accusation was well calculated to affect the weak and credulous mind of the king, and to gain belief in an ignorant age; and the duchess was brought to trial with her confederates. The nature of this crime, so opposite to all common sense, seems always to exempt the accusers from observing the rules of common sense in their evidence: the prisoners were pronounced guilty; the duchess was condemned to do public penance, and to suffer perpetual imprisonment; the others were executed.[*] But as these violent proceedings were ascribed solely to the malice of the duke's enemies, the people, contrary to their usual practice in such marvellous trials, acquitted the unhappy sufferers; and increased their esteem and affection towards a prince who was thus exposed, without protection, to those mortal injuries.
These sentiments of the public made the cardinal of Winchester and his party sensible that it was necessary to destroy a man whose popularity might become dangerous, and whose resentment they had so much cause to apprehend. In order to effect their purpose, a parliament was summoned to meet, not at London, which was supposed to be too well affected to the duke, but at St. Edmondsbury, where they expected that he would lie entirely at their mercy. As soon as he appeared, he was accused of treason, and thrown into prison. He was soon after found dead in his bed;[**] and though it was pretended that his death was natural, and though his body, which was exposed to public view, bore no marks of outward violence, no one doubted but he had fallen a victim to the vengeance of his enemies.
     * Stowe, p. 381. Holingshed, p. 622. Grafton, p. 687.

     ** Grafton, p. 597.
An artifice, formerly practised in the case of Edward II., Richard II., and Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Glocester, could deceive nobody. The reason of this assassination of the duke seems, not that the ruling party apprehended his acquittal in parliament on account of his innocence, which, in such times, was seldom much regarded, but that they imagined his public trial and execution would have been more invidious than his private murder which they pretended to deny. Some gentlemen of his retinue were afterwards tried as accomplices in his treasons, and were condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, They were hanged and cut down; but just as the executioner was proceeding to quarter them, their pardon was produced, and they were recovered to life;[*] the most barbarous kind of mercy that can possibly be imagined!
This prince is said to have received a better education than was usual in his age, to have founded one of the first public libraries in England, and to have been a great patron of learned men. Among other advantages which he reaped from this turn of mind, it tended much to cure him of credulity of which the following instance is given by Sir Thomas More. There was a man who pretended that, though he was born blind, he had recovered his sight by touching the shrine of St. Albans. The duke, happening soon after to pass that way, questioned the man, and seeming to doubt of his sight, asked him the colors of several cloaks, worn by persons of his retinue. The man told them very readily. "You are a knave," cried the prince; "had you been born blind, you could not so soon have learned to distinguish colors;" and immediately ordered him to be set in the stocks as an impostor.[**]
     * Fabian, Chron. anno 1447.

     ** Grafton, p. 597.
The cardinal of Winchester died six weeks after his nephew whose murder was universally ascribed to him as well as to the duke of Suffolk, and which, it is said, gave him more remorse in his last moments than could naturally be expected from a man hardened, during the course of a long life, in falsehood and in politics. What share the queen had in this guilt is uncertain; her usual activity and spirit made the public conclude, with some reason, that the duke's enemies durst not have ventured on such a deed without her privity. But there happened, soon after, an event of which she and her favorite, the duke of Suffolk, bore incontestably the whole odium.
That article of the marriage treaty by which the province of Maine was to be ceded to Charles of Anjou, the queen's unele, had probably been hitherto kept secret; and during the lifetime of the duke of Glocester, it might have been dangerous to venture on the execution of it. But as the court of France strenuously insisted on performance, orders were now despatched, under Henry's hand, to Sir Francis Surienne, governor of Mans, commanding him to surrender that place to Charles of Anjou. Surienne, either questioning the authenticity of the order, or regarding his government as his sole fortune, refused compliance; and it became necessary for a French army, under the count of Dunois, to lay siege to the city. The governor made as good a defence as his situation could permit; but receiving no relief from Edmund, duke of Somerset, who was at that time governor of Normandy, he was at last obliged to capitulate, and to surrender not only Mans, but all the other fortresses of that province, which was thus entirely alienated from the crown of England.
1448.
The bad effects of this measure stopped not here. Surienne, at the head of all his garrisons, amounting to two thousand five hundred men, retired into Normandy, in expectation of being taken into pay, and of being quartered in some towns of that province. But Somerset, who had no means of subsisting such a multitude, and who was probably incensed at Surienne's disobedience, refused to admit him; and this adventurer, not daring to commit depredations on the territories either of the king of France or of England, marched into Brittany, seized the town of Fougeres, repaired the fortifications of Pontorson and St. James de Beuvron, and subsisted his troops by the ravages which he exercised on that whole province.[*] The duke of Brittany complained of this violence to the king of France, his liege lord: Charles remonstrated with the duke of Somerset: that nobleman replied, that the injury was done without his privity, and that he had no authority over Surienne and his companions.[**] Though this answer ought to have appeared satisfactory to Charles, who had often felt severely the licentious independent spirit of such mercenary soldiers, he never would admit of the apology. He still insisted that these plunderers should be recalled, and that reparation should be made to the duke of Brittany for all the damages which he had sustained: and in order to render an accommodation absolutely impracticable, he made the estimation of damages amount to no less a sum than one million six hundred thousand crowns. He was sensible of the superiority which the present state of his affairs gave him over England; and he determined to take advantage of it.
     * Monstrelet, vol. iii. p. 6.

     ** Monstrelet vol. iii. p. 7. Holingshed, p. 629.
No sooner was the truce concluded between the two kingdoms, than Charles employed himself, with great industry and judgment, in repairing those numberless ills to which France, from the continuance of wars both foreign and domestic, had so long been exposed. He restored the course of public justice; he introduced order into the finances; he established discipline in his troops; he repressed faction in his court; he revived the languid state of agriculture and the arts; and, in the course of a few years, he rendered his kingdom flourishing within itself, and formidable to its neighbors. Meanwhile, affairs in England had taken a very different turn. The court was divided into parties, which were enraged against each other: the people were discontented with the government: conquests in France, which were an object more of glory than of interest, were overlooked amidst domestic incidents, which engrossed the attention of all men: the governor of Normandy, ill supplied with money, was obliged to dismiss the greater part of his troops, and to allow the fortifications of the towns and castles to become ruinous; and the nobility and people of that province had, during the late open communication with France, enjoyed frequent opportunities of renewing connections with their ancient master, and of concerting the means for expelling the English. The occasion, therefore, seemed favorable to Charles for breaking the truce.
1449.
Normandy was at once invaded by four powerful armies: one commanded by the king himself; a second by the duke of Brittany; a third by the duke of Alençon; and a fourth by the count of Dunois. The places opened their gates almost as soon as the French appeared before them; Verneuil, Nogent, Chateau Gaillard, Ponteau de Mer, Gisors, Mante, Vernon, Argentan Lisieux, Fecamp, Coutances, Belesme, Pont de l'Arche, fell in an instant into the hands of the enemy. The duke of Somerset, so far from having an army which could take the field and relieve these places, was not able to supply them with the necessary garrisons and provisions. He retired, with the few troops of which he was master, into Rouen; and thought it sufficient, if, till the arrival of succors from England, he could save that capital from the general fate of the province. The king of France, at the head of a formidable army, fifty thousand strong, presented himself before the gates: the dangerous example of revolt had infected the inhabitants; and they called aloud for a capitulation. Somerset, unable to resist at once both the enemies within one from without, retired with his garrison into the palace and castle; which, being places not tenable he was obliged to surrender: he purchased a retreat to Harfleur by the payment of fifty-six thousand crowns, by engaging to surrender Arques, Tancarville, Caudebec, Honfleur, and other places in the higher Normandy, and by delivering. hostages for the performance of articles.[*]
1450.
The governor of Honfleur refused to obey his orders; upon which the earl of Shrewsbury, who was one of the hostages, was detained prisoner; and the English were thus deprived of the only general capable of recovering them from their present distressed; situation. Harfleur made a better defence under Sir Thomas Curson, the governor; but was finally obliged to open its gates to Dunois. Succors at last appeared from England, under Sir Thomas Kyriel, and landed at Cherbourg: but these came very late, amounted only to four thousand men, and were soon after put to rout at Fourmigni by the count of Clermont.[**] This battle, or rather skirmish, was the only action fought by the English for the defence of their dominions in France, which they had purchased at such an expense of blood and treasure. Somerset, shut up in Caen, without any prospect of relief, found it necessary to capitulate: Falaise opened its gates, on condition that the earl of Shrewsbury should be restored to liberty: and Cherbourg, the last place of Normandy which remained in the hands of the English, being delivered up, the conquest of that important province was finished in a twelvemonth by Charles, to the great joy of the inhabitants, and of his whole kingdom.[***]
     * Monstrelet, vol. iii. p. 21. Grafton, p. 643.

     ** Holing, p. 631.

     *** Grafton, p. 646.
A like rapid success attended the French arms in Guienne; though the inhabitants of that province were, from long custom, better inclined to the English government. Dunois was despatched thither, and met with no resistance in the field, and very little from the towns. Great improvements had been made during this age in the structure and management of artillery, and none in fortification; and the art of defence was by that means more unequal, than either before or since, to the art of attack. After all the small places about Bordeaux were reduced, that city agreed to submit, if not relieved by a certain time; and as no one in England thought Seriously of these distant concerns, no relief appeared; the place surrendered; and Bayonne being taken soon after, this whole province, which had remained united to England since the accession of Henry II., was, after a period of three centuries, finally swallowed up in the French monarchy.
Though no peace or truce was concluded between France and England, the war was in a manner at an end. The English, torn in pieces by the civil dissensions which ensued, made but one feeble effort more for the recovery of Guienne, and Charles, occupied at home in regulating the government, and fencing against the intrigues of his factious son, Lewis the dauphin, scarcely ever attempted to invade them in their island, or to retaliate upon them, by availing himself of their intestine confusions.





CHAPTER XXI.



HENRY VI.

1450.
A WEAK prince, seated on the throne of England, had never failed, how gentle soever and innocent, to be infested with faction, discontent, rebellion, and evil commotions; and as the incapacity of Henry appeared every day in a fuller light, these dangerous consequences began, from past experience, to be universally and justly apprehended Men also of unquiet spirits, no longer employed in foreign wars, whence they were now excluded by the situation of the neighboring states, were the more likely to excite intestine, disorders, and by their emulation, rivalship, and animosities, to tear the bowels of their native country. But though these causes alone were sufficient to breed confusion, there concurred another circumstance of the most dangerous, nature: a pretender to the crown appeared: the tie itself of the weak prince who enjoyed the name of sovereignty, was disputed; and the English were now to pay the severe though late penalty of their turbulence under Richard II., and of their levity in violating, without any necessity or just reason, the lineal succession of their monarchs.
All the males of the house of Mortimer were extinct; but Anne, the sister of the last earl of Marche, having espoused the earl of Cambridge, beheaded in the reign of Henry V. had transmitted her latent, but not yet forgotten claim to be; on Richard, duke of York. This prince, thus descended by his mother from Philippa, only daughter of the duke of Clarence, second son of Edward III., stood plainly in the order of succession before the king, who derived his descent from the duke of Lancaster, third son of that monarch; and that claim could not, in many respects, have fallen into more dangerous hands man those of the duke of York. Richard was a man of valor and abilities, of a prudent conduct and mild disposition: he had enjoyed an opportunity of displaying these virtues in his government of France; and though recalled from that command by the intrigues and superior interest of the duke of Somerset, he had been sent to suppress a rebellion in Ireland; had succeeded much better in that enterprise than his rival in the defence of Normandy, and had even been able to attach to his person and family the whole Irish nation, whom he was sent to subdue.[*] In the right of his father, he bore the rank of first prince of the blood; and by this station he gave a lustre to his title derived from the family of Mortimer, which, though of great nobility, was equalled by other families in the kingdom, and had been eclipsed by the royal descent of the house of Lancaster. He possessed an immense fortune from the union of so many successions, those of Cambridge and York on the one hand, with those of Mortimer on the other; which last inheritance had before been augmented by a union of the estates of Clarence and Ulster with the patrimonial possessions of the family of Marche. The alliances too of Richard, by his marrying the daughter of Ralph Nevil, earl of Westmoreland, had widely extended his interest among the nobility, and had procured him many connections in that formidable order.
     * Stowe, p. 387.
The family of Nevil was perhaps at this time the most potent, both from their opulent possessions and from the characters of the men, that has ever appealed in England. For, besides the earl of Westmoreland, and the lords Latimer, Fauconberg, and Abergavenny, the earls of Salisbury and Warwick were of that family, and were of themselves, on many accounts, the greatest noblemen in the kingdom. The earl of Salisbury, brother-in-law to the duke of York, was the eldest son by a second marriage of the earl of Westmoreland; and inherited by his wife, daughter and heir of Montacute, earl of Salisbury, killed before Orleans, the possessions and title of that great family. His eldest son, Richard, had married Anne, the daughter and heir of Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, who died governor of France; and by this alliance he enjoyed the possessions, and had acquired the title, of that other family, one of the most opulent, most ancient, and most illustrious in England. The personal qualities also of these two earls, especially of Warwick enhanced the splendor of their nobility, and increased then influence over the people. This latter nobleman commonly known, from the subsequent events, by the appellation of the "king-maker," had distinguished himself by his gallantry in the field, by the hospitality of his table, by Ore magnificence, and still more by the generosity, of his expense, and by the spirited and bold manner which attended him in all his actions. The undesigning frankness and openness of his character rendered his conquest over men's affections the more certain and infallible: his presents were regarded as sure testimonials of esteem and friendship; and his professions as the over-flowings of his genuine sentiments. No less than thirty thousand persons are said to have daily lived at his board In the different manors and castles which he possessed in England: the military men, allured by his munificence and hospitality, as well as by his bravery, were zealously attached to his interests: the people in general bore him an unlimited affection: his numerous retainers were more devoted to his will than to the prince or to the laws: and he was the greatest, as well as the last, of those mighty barons who formerly overawed the crown, and rendered the people incapable of any regular system of civil government.
But the duke of York, besides the family of Nevil, had many other partisans among the great nobility. Courtney, earl of Devonshire, descended from a very noble family of that name in France, was attached to his interests: Moubray, duke of Norfolk, had, from his hereditary hatred to the family of Lancaster, embraced the same party: and the discontents which universally prevailed among the people, rendered every combination of the great the more dangerous to the established government.
Though the people were never willing to grant the supplies necessary for keeping possession of the conquered provinces in France, they repined extremely at the loss of these boasted acquisitions; and fancied, because a sudden irruption could make conquests, that, without steady counsels and a uniform expense, it was possible to maintain them. The voluntary cession of Maine to the queen's uncle, had made them suspect treachery in the loss of Normandy and Guienne. They still considered Margaret as a French woman, and a latent enemy of the kingdom. And when they saw her father and all her relations active in promoting the success of the French, they could not be persuaded that she, who was all-powerful in the English council, would very zealously oppose them in their enterprises.
But the most fatal blow given to the popularity of the crown and to the interests of the house of Lancaster, was by the assassination of the virtuous duke of Glocester; whose character, had he been alive, would have intimidated the partisans of York; but whose memory, being extremely cherished by the people, served to throw an odium on all his murderers. By this crime the reigning family suffered a double prejudice it was deprived of its firmest support; and it was loaded with all the infamy of that imprudent and barbarous assassination.
As the duke of Suffolk was known to have had an active hand in the crime, he partook deeply of the hatred attending it; and the clamors which necessarily rose against him, as prime minister and declared favorite of the queen, were thereby augmented to a tenfold pitch, and became absolutely uncontrollable. The great nobility could ill brook to see a subject exalted above them; much more one who was only great-grandson to a merchant, and who was of a birth so much inferior to theirs. The people complained of his arbitrary measures; which were, in some degree, a necessary consequence of the irregular power then possessed by the prince, but which the least disaffection easily magnified into tyranny. The great acquisitions which he daily made were the object of envy; and as they were gained at the expense of the crown, which was itself reduced to poverty, they appeared on that account, to all indifferent persons, the more exceptionable and invidious.
The revenues of the crown, which had long been disproportioned to its power and dignity, had been extremely dilapidated during the minority of Henry;[*] both by the rapacity of the courtiers, which the king's uncles could not control, and by the necessary expenses of the French war, which had always been very ill supplied by the grants of parliament.
     *: Cotton, p. 609.
The royal demesnes were dissipated; and at the same time the king was loaded with a debt of three hundred and seventy-two thousand pounds, a sum so great, that the parliament could never think of discharging it. This unhappy situation forced the ministers upon many arbitrary measures: the household itself could not be supported without stretching to the utmost the right of purveyance, and rendering it a kind of universal robbery upon the people: the public clamor rose high upon this occasion, and no one had the equity to make allowance for the necessity of the king's situation. Suffolk, once become odious, bore the blame of the whole; and every grievance, in every part of the administration, was universally imputed to his tyranny and injustice.
This nobleman, sensible of the public hatred under which he labored, and foreseeing an attack from the commons endeavored to overawe his enemies, by boldly presenting himself to the charge, and by insisting upon his own innocence and even upon his merits, and those of his family, in the public service. He rose in the house of peers; took notice of the clamors propagated against him; and complained that after serving the crown in thirty-four campaigns; after living abroad seventeen years, without once returning to his native country; after losing a father and three brothers in the wars with France; after being himself a prisoner, and purchasing his liberty by a great ransom; it should yet be suspected, that he had been debauched from his allegiance by that enemy whom he had ever opposed with such zeal and fortitude, and that he had betrayed his prince, who had rewarded his services by the highest honors and greatest offices that it was in his power to confer.[*] This speech did not answer the purpose intended. The commons, rather provoked at his challenge, opened their charge against him, and sent up to the peers an accusation of high treason, divided into several articles. They insisted, that he had persuaded the French king to invade England with an armed force, in order to depose the king, and to place on the throne his own son, John de la Pole, whom he intended to marry to Margaret, the only daughter of the late John, duke of Somerset, and to whom, he imagined, he would by that means acquire a title to the crown: that he had contributed to the release of the duke of Orleans, in hopes that that prince would assist King Charles in expelling the English from France, and recovering full possession of his kingdom: that he had afterwards encouraged that monarch to make open war on Normandy and Guienne, and had promoted his conquests by betraying the secrets of England, and obstructing the succors intended to be sent to those provinces; and that he had, without any powers or commission, promised by treaty to cede the province of Maine to Charles of Anjou, and had accordingly ceded it; which proved in the issue the chief cause of the loss of Normandy.[**]
     * Cotton, p. 641.

     ** Cotton, p. 642. Hall, fol. 157. Holing, p. 631. Grafton,
     p. 607
It is evident, from a review of these articles, that the commons adopted without inquiry all the popular clamors against the duke of Suffolk, and charged him with crimes of which none but the vulgar could seriously believe him guilty. Nothing can be more incredible, than that a nobleman, so little eminent by his birth and character, could think of acquiring the crown to his family, and of deposing Henry by foreign force, and, together with him, Margaret, his patron, a princess of so much spirit and penetration. Suffolk appealed to many noblemen in the house, who knew that he had intended to marry his son to one of the coheirs of the earl of Warwick, and was disappointed in his views only by the death of that lady: and he observed, that Margaret of Somerset could bring to her husband no title to the crown; because she herself was not so much as comprehended in the entail settled by act of parliament. It is easy to account for the loss of Normandy and Guienne, from the situation of affairs in the two kingdoms, without supposing any treachery in the English ministers; and it may safely be affirmed, that greater vigor was requisite to defend these provinces from the arms of Charles VII., than to conquer them at first from his predecessor. It could never be the interest of any English minister to betray and abandon such acquisitions; much less of one who was so well established in his master's favor, who enjoyed such high honors and ample possessions in his own country, who had nothing to dread but the effects of popular hatred and who could never think, without the most extreme reluctance, of becoming a fugitive and exile in a foreign land. The only article which carries any face of probability, is his engagement for the delivery of Maine to the queen's uncle: but Suffolk maintained, with great appearance of truth, that this measure was approved of by several at the council table; [*] and it seems hard to ascribe to it, as is done by the commons, the subsequent loss of Normandy and expulsion of the English. Normandy lay open on every side to the invasion of the French: Maine, an inland province, must soon after have fallen without any attack; and as the English possessed in other parts more fortresses than they could garrison or provide for, it seemed no bad policy to contract their force, and to render the defence practicable, by reducing it within a narrower compass.
     * Cotton, p.643.
The commons were probably sensible, that this charge of treason against Suffolk would not bear a strict scrutiny; and they therefore, soon after, sent up against him a new charge of misdemeanors, which they also divided into several articles. They affirmed, among other imputations, that he had procured exorbitant grants from the crown, had embezzled the public money, had conferred offices on improper persons, had perverted justice by maintaining iniquitous causes, and had procured pardons for notorious offenders.[*] The articles are mostly general, but are not improbable; and as Suffolk seems to have been a bad man and a bad minister, it will not be rash in us to think that he was guilty, and that many of these articles could have been proved against him. The court was alarmed at the prosecution of a favorite minister, who lay under such a load of popular prejudices; and an expedient was fallen upon to save him from present ruin. The king summoned all the lords, spiritual and temporal, to his apartment: the prisoner was produced before them, and asked what he could say in his own defence: he denied the charge; but submitted to the king's mercy: Henry expressed himself not satisfied with regard to the first impeachment for treason; but in consideration of the second for misdemeanors, he declared that, by virtue of Suffolk's own submission, not by any judicial authority, he banished him the kingdom during five years. The lords remained silent; but as soon as they returned to their own house, they entered a protest, that this sentence should nowise infringe their privileges, and that, if Suffolk had insisted upon his right, and had not voluntarily submitted to the king's commands, he was entitled to a trial by his peers in parliament.
It was easy to see, that these irregular proceedings were meant to favor Suffolk, and that, as he still possessed the queen's confidence, he would, on the first favorable opportunity, be restored to his country, and be reinstated in his former power and credit. A captain of a vessel was therefore employed by his enemies to intercept him in his passage to France: he was seized near Dover; his head struck off on the side of a long-boat; and his body thrown into the sea,[**] No inquiry was made after the actors and accomplices in this atrocious deed of violence.
     * Cotton, p. 643.

     ** Hall, fol. 158. Hist. Croyland, Contin. p. 525. Stowe, p.
     388. Grafton, p. 610.
The duke of Somerset succeeded to Suffolk's power in the ministry, and credit with the queen; and as he was the person under whose government the French provinces had been lost, the public, who always judge by the event, soon made him equally the object of their animosity and hatred. The duke of York was absent in Ireland during all these transactions and however it might be suspected that his partisans had excited and supported the prosecution against Suffolk, no immediate ground of complaint could, on that account, lie against him. But there happened, soon after, an incident which roused the jealousy of the court, and discovered to them the extreme danger to which they were exposed from the pretensions of that popular prince.
The humors of the people, set afloat by the parliamentary impeachment, and by the fall of so great a favorite as Suffolk, broke out in various commotions, which were soon suppressed, but there arose one in Kent which was attended with more dangerous consequences. A man of low condition, one John Cade, a native of Ireland, who had been obliged to fly into France for crimes, observed, on his return to England, the discontents of the people; and he laid on them the foundation of projects which were at first crowned with surprising success. He took the name of John Mortimer; intending, as is supposed, to pass himself for a son of that Sir John Mortimer who had been sentenced to death by parliament, and executed, in the beginning of this reign, without any trial or evidence, merely upon an indictment of high treason given in against him.[*] On the first mention of that popular name, the common people of Kent, to the number of twenty thousand, flocked to Cade's standard; and he excited their zeal by publishing complaints against the numerous abuses in government, and demanding a redress of grievances. The court, not yet fully sensible of the danger, sent a small force against the rioters, under the command of Sir Humphrey Stafford, who was defeated and slain in an action near Sevenoke;[**] and Cade, advancing with his followers towards London, encamped on Blackheath.
     * Stowe, p. 364. Cotton, p. 564. This author admires that
     such a piece of injustice should have been committed in
     peaceable times: he might have added, and by such virtuous
     princes as Bedford and Glocester. But it is to be presumed
     that Mortimer was guilty; though his condemnation was highly
     irregular and illegal. The people had at this time a very
     feeble sense of law and a constitution; and power was very
     imperfectly restrained by these limits. When the proceedings
     of a parliament were so irregular it is easy to imagine that
     those of a king would be more so.

     ** Hall, fol. 159. Holing. p, 634.
Though elated by his victory, he still maintained the appearance of moderation; and sending to the court a plausible list of grievances,[*] he promised that, when these should be redressed, and when Lord Say, the treasurer, and Cromer, sheriff of Kent, should be punished for their malversations, he would immediately lay down his arms. The council, who observed that nobody was willing to fight against men so reasonable in their pretensions, carried the king, for present safety, to Kenilworth; and the city immediately opened its gates to Cade, who maintained, during some time, great order and discipline among his followers. He always led them into the fields during the night-time; and published severe edicts against plunder and violence of every kind: but being obliged, in order to gratify their malevolence against Say and Cromer, to put these men to death without a legal trial,[**] he found that, after the commission of this crime, he was no longer master of their riotous disposition, and that all his orders were neglected.[***] They broke into a rich house, which they plundered; and the citizens, alarmed at this act of violence, shut their gates against them; and being seconded by a detachment of soldiers, sent them by Lord Scales, governor of the Tower, they repulsed the rebels with great slaughter.[****] The Kentish men were so discouraged by the blow, that upon receiving a general pardon from the primate, then chancellor, they retreated towards Rochester, and there dispersed. The pardon was soon after annulled, as extorted by violence: a price was set on Cade's head,[*****] who was killed by one Iden, a gentleman of Sussex; and many of his followers were capitally punished for their rebellion.
It was imagined by the court, that the duke of York had secretly instigated Cade to this attempt, in order to try, by that experiment, the dispositions of the people towards his title and family:[*] and as the event had so far succeeded to his wish, the ruling party had greater reason than ever to apprehend the future consequences of his pretensions.
     * Stowe, p. 388, 389. Holing, p. 633.

     ** Grafton, p. 612.

     *** Hall, fol. 160.

     **** Hist. Croyland, Contin.p. 526.

     ****** Cotton, p. 661.
At the same time they heard that he intended to return from Ireland; and fearing that he meant to bring an armed force along with him, they issued orders, in the king's name, for opposing him, and for debarring him entrance into England.[*] But the duke refuted his enemies by coming attended with no more than his ordinary retinue: the precautions of the ministers served only to show him their jealousy and malignity against him: he was sensible that his title, by being dangerous to the king, was also become dangerous to himself: he now saw the impossibility of remaining in his present situation, and the necessity of proceeding forward in support of his claim. His partisans, therefore, were instructed to maintain, in all companies, his right by succession, and by the established laws and constitution of the kingdom: these questions became every day more and more the subject of conversation: the minds of men were insensibly sharpened against each other by disputes, before they came to more dangerous extremities: and various topics were pleaded in support of the pretensions of each party.
     * Stowe, p, 394.
The partisans of the house of Lancaster maintained that, though the elevation of Henry IV. might at first be deemed somewhat irregular, and could not be justified by any of those principles on which that prince chose to rest his title, it was yet founded on general consent, was a national act, and was derived from the voluntary approbation of a free people, who, being loosened from their allegiance by the tyranny of the preceding government, were moved by gratitude, as well as by a sense of public interest, to intrust the sceptre into the hands of their deliverer: that, even if that establishment were allowed to be at first invalid, it had acquired solidity by time; the only principle which ultimately gives authority to government, and removes those scruples which the irregular steps attending almost all revolutions, naturally excite in the minds of the people: that the right of succession was a rule admitted only for general good, and for the maintenance of public order; and could never be pleaded to the overthrow of national tranquillity, and the subversion of regular establishments; that the principles of liberty, no less than the maxims of internal peace, were injured by these pretensions of the house of York; and if so many reiterated acts of the legislature, by which the crown was entailed on the present family, were now invalidated, the English must be considered not as a free people, who could dispose of their own government, but as a troop of slaves, who were implicitly transmitted by succession from one master to another that the nation was bound to allegiance under the house of Lancaster by moral no less than by political duty; and were they to infringe those numerous oaths of fealty which they had sworn to Henry and his predecessors, they would thenceforth be thrown loose from all principles, and it would be found difficult ever after to fix and restrain them: that the duke of York himself had frequently done homage to the king as his lawful sovereign, and had thereby, in the most solemn manner, made an indirect renunciation of those claims with which he now dared to disturb the tranquillity of the public: that even though the violation of the rights of blood, made on the deposition of Richard, was perhaps rash and imprudent, it was too late to remedy the mischief; the danger of a disputed succession could no longer be obviated; the people, accustomed to a government which, in the hands of the late king, had been so glorious, and in that of his predecessor, so prudent and salutary, would still ascribe a right to it; by causing multiplied disorders, and by shedding an inundation of blood, the advantage would only be obtained of exchanging one pretender for another; and the house of York itself, if established on the throne, would, on the first opportunity, be exposed to those revolutions, which the giddy spirit excited in the people gave so much reason to apprehend: and that, though the present king enjoyed not the shining talents which had appeared in his father and grandfather, he might still have a son who should be endowed with them; he is himself eminent for the most harmless and inoffensive manners; and if active princes were dethroned on pretence of tyranny, and indolent ones on the plea of incapacity, there would thenceforth remain in the constitution no established rule of obedience to any sovereign.
Those strong topics in favor of the house of Lancaster, were opposed by arguments no less convincing on the side of the house of York. The partisans of this latter family asserted, that the maintenance of order in the succession of princes, far from doing injury to the people, or invalidating their fundamental title to good government, was established only for the purposes of government, and served to prevent those numberless confusions which must ensue, if no rule were followed but the uncertain and disputed views of present convenience and advantage: that the same maxims which insured public peace, were also salutary to national liberty the privileges of the people could only be maintained by the observance of laws; and if no account were made of the rights of the sovereign, it could less be expected that any regard would be paid to the property and freedom of the subject: that it was never too late to correct any pernicious precedent; an unjust establishment, the longer it stood, acquired the greater sanction and validity; it could, with more appearance of reason, be pleaded as an authority for a like injustice; and the maintenance of it, instead of favoring public tranquillity, tended to disjoint every principle by which human society was supported: that usurpers would be happy, if their present possession of power, or their continuance for a few years, could convert them into legal princes; but nothing would be more miserable than the people, if all restraints on violence and ambition were thus removed, and a full scope given to the attempts of every turbulent innovator: that time indeed might bestow solidity on a government whose first foundations were the most infirm; but it required both a long course of time to produce this effect, and the total extinction of those claimants whose title was built on the original principles of the constitution: that the deposition of Richard II., and the advancement of Henry IV., were not deliberate national acts, but the result of the levity and violence of the people, and proceeded from those very defects in human nature which the establishment of political society, and of an order in succession, was calculated to prevent: that the subsequent entails of the crown were a continuance of the same violence and usurpation; they were not ratified by the legislature, since the consent of the rightful king was still wanting; and the acquiescence, first of the family of Mortimer, then of the family of York, proceeded from present necessity, and implied no renunciation of their pretensions that the restoration of the true order of succession could not be considered as a change which familiarized the people to devolutions; but as the correction of a former abuse, which had itself encouraged the giddy spirit of innovation, rebellion, and disobedience: and that, as the original title of Lancaster stood only, in the person of Henry IV., on present convenience, even this principle, unjustifiable as it was when not supported by laws and warranted by the constitution, had now entirely gone over to the other side; nor was there any comparison between a prince utterly unable to sway the sceptre, and blindly governed by corrupt ministers, or by an imperious queen, engaged in foreign and hostile interests and a prince of mature years, of approved wisdom and experience, a native of England, the lineal heir of the crown, who, by his restoration, would replace every thing on ancient foundations.
So many plausible arguments could be urged on both sides of this interesting question, that the people were extremely divided in their sentiments; and though the noblemen of greatest power and influence seem to have espoused the party of York, the opposite cause had the advantage of being supported by the present laws, and by the immediate possession of royal authority. There were also many great noblemen in the Lancastrian party, who balanced the power of their antagonists, and kept the nation in suspense between them. The earl of Northumberland adhered to the present government: the earl of Westmoreland, in spite of his connections with the duke of York, and with the family of Nevil, of which he was the head, was brought over to the same party; and the whole north of England, the most warlike part of the kingdom, was, by means of these two potent noblemen, warmly engaged in the interests of Lancaster. Edmund Beaufort, duke of Somerset, and his brother Henry, were great supports of that cause; as were also Henry Holland duke of Exeter, Stafford, duke of Buckingham, the earl of Shrewsbury, the Lords Clifford, Dudley, Scales, Audley, and other noblemen.
While the kingdom was in this situation, it might naturally be expected that so many turbulent barons, possessed of so much independent authority, would immediately have flown to arms, and have decided the quarrel, after their usual manner, by war and battle, under the standards of the contending princes. But there still were many causes which retarded these desperate extremities, and made a long train of faction, intrigue, and cabal, precede the military operations. By the gradual progress of arts in England, as well as in other parts of Europe, the people were now become of some importance; laws were beginning to be respected by them; and it was requisite, by various pretences, previously to reconcile their minds to the overthrow of such an ancient establishment as that of the house of Lancaster, ere their concurrence could reasonably be expected. The duke of York himself, the new claimant, was of a moderate and cautious character, an enemy to violence and disposed to trust rather to time and policy, than to sanguinary measures, for the success of his pretensions. The very imbecility itself of Henry tended to keep the factions in suspense, and make them stand long in awe of each other: it rendered the Lancastrian party unable to strike any violent blow against their enemies; it encouraged the Yorkists to hope that, after banishing the king's ministers, and getting possession of his person, they might gradually undermine his authority, and be able, without the perilous experiment of a civil war, to change the succession by parliamentary and legal authority.
1451.
The dispositions which appeared in a parliament assembled soon after the arrival of the duke of York from Ireland, favored these expectations of his partisans, and both discovered an unusual boldness in the commons, and were a proof of the general discontents which prevailed against the administration. The lower house, without any previous inquiry or examination, without alleging any other ground of complaint than common fame, ventured to present a petition against the duke of Somerset, the duchess of Suffolk, the bishop of Chester, Sir John Sutton, Lord Dudley, and several others of inferior rank; and they prayed the king to remove them forever from his person and councils, and to prohibit them from approaching within twelve miles of the court.[*] This was a violent attack, somewhat arbitrary, and supported but by few precedents, against the ministry; yet the king durst not openly oppose it: he replied that, except the lords, he would banish all the others from court during a year, unless he should have occasion for their service in suppressing any rebellion. At the same time he rejected a bill, which had passed both houses, for attainting the late duke of Suffolk, and which, in several of its clauses, discovered a very general prejudice against the measures of the court.
1452.
The duke of York, trusting to these symptoms, raised an army of ten thousand men, with which he marched towards London, demanding a reformation of the government, and the removal of the duke of Somerset from all power and authority.[**] He unexpectedly found the gates of the city shut against him; and on his retreating into Kent, he was followed by the king at the head of a superior army; in which several of Richard's friends, particularly Salisbury and Warwick appeared; probably with a view of mediating between the parties, and of seconding, on occasion, the duke of York's pretensions.
     * Parl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 263.

     ** Stowe, p. 394.
A parley ensued; Richard still insisted upon the removal of Somerset, and his submitting to a trial in parliament: the court pretended to comply with his demand; and that nobleman was put in arrest: the duke of York was then persuaded to pay his respects to the king in his tent; and, on repeating his charge against the duke of Somerset, he was surprised to see that minister step from behind the curtain, and offer to maintain his innocence. Richard now found that he had been betrayed; that he was in the hands of his enemies; and that it was become necessary, for his own safety, to lower his pretensions. No violence, however, was attempted against him: the nation was not in a disposition to bear the destruction of so popular a prince: he had many friends in Henry's camp; and his son, who was not in the power of the court, might still be able to revenge his death on all his enemies: he was therefore dismissed; and he retired to his seat of Wigmore, on the borders of Wales.[*]
While the duke of York lived in this retreat, there happened an incident which, by increasing the public discontents, proved favorable to his pretensions. Several Gascon lords, affectionate to the English government, and disgusted at the new dominion of the French, came to London, and offered to return to their allegiance under Henry.[**]
1453.
The earl of Shrewsbury, with a body of eight thousand men, was sent over to support them. Bordeaux opened its gates to him: he made himself master of Fronsac, Castillon, and some other places: affairs began to wear a favorable aspect; but as Charles hastened to resist this dangerous invasion, the fortunes of the English were soon reversed: Shrewsbury, a venerable warrior, above fourscore years of age, fell in battle; his conquests were lost; Bordeaux was again obliged to submit to the French king;[***] and all hopes of recovering the province of Gascony were forever extinguished.
     * Grafton, p. 620.

     ** Holing. p. 640.

     *** Polyd. Virg. p. 501. Grafton, p. 623.
Though the English might deem themselves happy to be fairly rid of distant dominions, which were of no use to them, and which they never could defend against the growing power of France, they expressed great discontent on the occasion: and they threw all the blame on the ministry, who had not been able to effect impossibilities. While they were in this disposition, the queen's delivery of a son, who received the name of Edward, was deemed no joyful incident; and as it removed all hopes of the peaceable succession of the duke of York, who was otherwise, in the right of his father, and by the laws enacted since the accession of the house of Lancaster, next heir to the crown, it had rather a tendency to inflame the quarrel between the parties. But the duke was incapable of violent counsels; and even when no visible obstacle lay between him and the throne, he was prevented by his own scruples from mounting it.
1454.
Henry, always unfit to exercise the government, fell at this time into a distemper, which so far increased his natural imbecility, that it rendered him incapable of maintaining even the appearance of royalty. The queen and the council, destitute of this support, found themselves unable to resist the York party; and they were obliged to yield to the torrent. They sent Somerset to the Tower, and appointed Richard lieutenant of the kingdom, with powers to open and hold a session of parliament.[*]
     * Rymer, vol. xi. p. 344.
That assembly, also, taking into consideration the state of the kingdom, created him protector during pleasure. Men who thus intrusted sovereign authority to one that had such evident and strong pretensions to the crown, were not surely averse to his taking immediate and full possession of it; yet the duke, instead of pushing them to make further concessions, appeared somewhat timid and irresolute even in receiving the power which was tendered to him. He desired that it might be recorded in parliament, that this authority was conferred on him from their own free motion, without any application on his part: he expressed his hopes that they would assist him in the exercise of it: he made it a condition of his acceptance, that the other lords who were appointed to be of his council, should also accept of the trust, and should exercise it; and he required, that all the powers of his office should be specified and defined by act of parliament. This moderation of Richard was certainly very unusual and very amiable; yet was it attended with bad consequences in the present juncture; and by giving time to the animosities of faction to rise and ferment, it proved the source of all those furious wars and commotions which ensued.
The enemies of the duke of York soon found it in their power to make advantage of his excessive caution. Henry being so far recovered from his distemper, as to carry the appearance of exercising the royal power, they moved him to resume his authority, to annul the protectorship of the duke to release Somerset from the Tower,[*] and to commit the administration into the hands of that nobleman.
1455.
Richard, sensible of the dangers which might attend his former acceptance of the parliamentary commission, should he submit to the annulling of it, levied an army; but still without advancing any pretensions to the crown. He complained only of the king's ministers, and demanded a reformation of the government. A battle was fought at St. Albans, in which the Yorkists were superior, and, without suffering any material loss, slew about five thousand of their enemies; among whom were the duke of Somerset, the earl of Northumberland, the earl of Stafford, eldest son of the duke of Buckingham, Lord Clifford, and many other persons of distinction.[**] The king himself fell into the hands of the duke of York, who treated him with great respect and tenderness: he was only obliged (which he regarded as no hardship) to commit the whole authority of the crown into the hands of his rival.
     * Rymer, vol. xi. p. 361. Holing, p. 642. Grafton, p. 626.

     ** Stowe, p. 309. Holing, p. 643.
This was the first blood spilt in that fatal quarrel which was not finished in less than a course of thirty years, which was signalized by twelve pitched battles, which opened a scene of extraordinary fierceness and cruelty, is computed to have cost the lives of eighty princes of the blood, and almost entirely annihilated the ancient nobility of England. The strong attachments, which, at that time, men of the same kindred bore to each other, and the vindictive spirit, which was considered as a point of honor, rendered the great families implacable in their resentments, and every moment widened the breach between the parties. Yet affairs did not immediately proceed to the last extremities; the nation was kept some time in suspense; the vigor and spirit of Queen Margaret, supporting her small power, still proved a balance to the great authority of Richard, which was checked by his irresolute temper. A parliament, which was soon after assembled, plainly discovered, by the contrariety of their proceedings, the contrariety of the motives by which they were actuated. They granted the Yorkists a general indemnity, and they restored the protectorship to the duke, who, in accepting it, still persevered in all his former precautions; but at the same time they renewed their oaths of fealty to Henry, and fixed the continuance of the protectorship to the majority of his son Edward, who was vested with the usual dignities of prince of Wales, duke of Cornwall, and earl of Chester. The only decisive act passed in this parliament, was a full resumption of all the grants which had been made since the death of Henry V., and which had reduced the crown to great poverty.
1456.
It was not found difficult to wrest power from hands so little tenacious as those of the duke of York. Margaret, availing herself of that prince's absence, produced her husband before the house of lords; and as his state of health permitted him at that time to act his part with some tolerable decency, he declared his intentions of resuming the government, and of putting an end to Richard's authority. This measure, being unexpected, was not opposed by the contrary party; the house of lords, who were many of them disgusted with the late act of resumption, assented to Henry's proposal; and the king was declared to be reinstated in sovereign authority. Even the duke of York acquiesced in this irregular act of the peers, and no disturbance ensued. But that prince's claim to the crown was too well known, and the steps which he had taken to promote it were too evident ever to allow sincere trust and confidence to have place between the parties.
1457.
The court retired to Coventry, and invited the duke of York and the earls of Salisbury and Warwick to attend the king's person. When they were on the road, they received intelligence that designs were formed against their liberties and lives. They immediately separated themselves; Richard withdrew to his castle of Wigmore; Salisbury to Middleham, in Yorkshire, and Warwick to his government of Calais, which had been committed to him after the battle of St. Albans, and which, as it gave him the command of the only regular military force maintained by England, was of the utmost importance in the present juncture. Still, men of peaceable dispositions, and among the rest Bourchier, archbishop of Canterbury, thought it not too late to interpose with their good offices, in order to prevent that effusion of blood, with which the kingdom was threatened; and the awe in which each party stood of the other, rendered the mediation for some time successful. It was agreed that all the great leaders on both sides should meet in London, and be solemnly reconciled.
1458.
The duke of York and his partisans came thither with numerous retinues, and took up their quarters near each other for mutual security. The leaders of the Lancastrian party used the same precaution. The mayor, at the head of five thousand men, kept a strict watch, night and day; and was extremely vigilant in maintaining peace between them.[*]
     * Fabian Chron. anno 1458. The author says that some lords
     brought nine hundred retainers, some six hundred, none less
     than four hundred. See also Grafton, p. 633.
Terms were adjusted, which removed not the ground of difference. An outward reconciliation only was procured; and in order to notify this accord to the whole people, a solemn procession to St. Paul's was appointed, where the duke of York led Queen Margaret, and a leader of one party marched hand in hand with a leader of the opposite. The less real cordiality prevailed, the more were the exterior demonstrations of amity redoubled. But it was evident, that a contest for a crown could not thus be peaceably accommodated; that each party watched only for an opportunity of subverting the other; and that much blood must yet be spilt, ere the nation could be restored to perfect tranquillity, or enjoy a settled and established government.
1459.
Even the smallest accident, without any formed design, was sufficient, in the present disposition of men's minds, to dissolve the seeming harmony between the parties; and had the intentions of the leaders been ever so amicable they would have found it difficult to restrain the animosity of their followers. One of the king's retinue insulted one of the earl of Warwick's: their companions on both sides took part in the quarrel: a fierce combat ensued: the earl apprehended his life to be aimed at: he fled to his government of Calais; and both parties, in every county of England, openly made preparations for deciding the contest by war and arms.
The earl of Salisbury, marching to join the duke of York, was overtaken at Blore Heath, on the borders of Staffordshire, by Lord Audley, who commanded much superior forces; and a small rivulet with steep banks ran between the armies. Salisbury here supplied his defect in numbers by stratagem, a refinement of which there occur few instances in the English civil wars, where a headlong courage, more than military conduct, is commonly to be remarked. He feigned a retreat, and allured Audley to follow him with precipitation; but when the van of the royal army had passed the brook, Salisbury suddenly turned upon them; and partly by the surprise, partly by the division, of the enemies' forces, put this body to rout: the example of flight was followed by the rest of the army: and Salisbury, obtaining a complete victory, reached the general rendezvous of the Yorkists at Ludlow.[*]
The earl of Warwick brought over to this rendezvous a choice body of veterans from Calais, on whom, it was thought the fortune of the war would much depend; but this reënforcement occasioned, in the issue, the immediate ruin of the duke of York's party. When the royal army approached, and a general action was every hour expected, Sir Andrew Trollop, who commanded the veterans, deserted to the king in the night-time; and the Yorkists were so dismayed at this instance of treachery, which made every man suspicious of his fellow, that they separated next day without striking a stroke:[**] the duke fled to Ireland: the earl of Warwick, attended by many of the other leaders, escaped to Calais; where his great popularity among all orders of men, particularly among the military, soon drew to him partisans, and rendered his power very formidable. The friends of the house of York in England kept themselves every where in readiness to rise on the first summons from their leaders.

After meeting with some successes at sea, Warwick landed in Kent, with the earl of Salisbury, and the earl of Marche, eldest son of the duke of York; and being met by the primate, by Lord Cobham, and other persons of distinction, he marched, amidst the acclamations of the people, to London. The city immediately opened its gates to him; and his troops increasing on every day's march, he soon found himself in a condition to face the royal army, which hastened from Coventry to attack him. The battle was fought at Northampton; and was soon decided against the royalists by the infidelity of Lord Grey of Ruthin, who, commanding Henry's van, deserted to the enemy during the heat of action, and spread a consternation through the troops. The duke of Buckingham, the earl of Shrewsbury, the Lords Beaumont and Egremont, and Sir William Lucie were killed in the action or pursuit: the slaughter fell chiefly on the gentry and nobility; the common people were spared by orders of the earls of Warwick and Marche.[***]
     * Holingshed, p. 649. Grafton, p. 936.

     ** Holingshed, p. 650. Grafton, p. 537

     *** Stowe, p. 409.
Henry himself, that empty shadow of a king, was again taken prisoner; and as the innocence and simplicity of his manners, which bore the appearance of sanctity, had procured him the tender regard of the people,[*] the earl of Warwick and the other leaders took care to distinguish themselves by their respectful demeanor towards him.
A parliament was summoned in the king's name, and met at Westminster; where the duke soon after appeared from Ireland. This prince had never hitherto advanced openly any claim to the crown: he had only complained of ill ministers, and demanded a redress of grievances; and even in the present crisis, when the parliament was surrounded by his victorious army, he showed such a regard to law and liberty, as is unusual during the prevalence of a party in any civil dissensions; and was still less to be expected in those violent and licentious times. He advanced towards the throne; and being met by the archbishop of Canterbury, who asked him, whether he had yet paid his respects to the king, he replied, that he knew of none to whom he owed that title. He then stood near the throne,[**] and addressing himself to the house of peers, he gave them a deduction of his title by descent, mentioned the cruelties by which the house of Lancaster had paved their way to sovereign power, insisted on the calamities which had attended the government of Henry, exhorted them to return into the right path, by doing justice to the lineal successor, and thus pleaded his cause before them as his natural and legal judges.[***] This cool and moderate manner of demanding a crown intimidated his friends and encouraged his enemies: the lords remained in suspense;[****] and no one ventured to utter a word on the occasion.
     * Hall, fol. 169. Grafton, p. 195.

     ** Holingshed, p. 650

     *** Cotton, p. 665. Grafton, p. 643.

     **** Holingshed, p. 657. Grafton, p. 645.
Richard, who had probably expected that the peers would have invited him to place himself on the throne, was much disappointed at their silence; but desiring them to reflect on what he had proposed to them, he departed the house. The peers took the matter into consideration, with as much tranquillity as if it had been a common subject of debate: they desired the assistance of some considerable members among the commons in their deliberations: they heard in several successive days, the reasons alleged for the duke of York: they even ventured to propose objections to his claim founded on former entails of the crown, and on the oaths of fealty sworn to the house of Lancaster:[*] they also observed that as Richard had all along borne the arms of York, not those of Clarence, he could not claim as successor to the latter family: and after receiving answers to these objections, derived from the violence and power by which the house of Lancaster supported their present possession of the crown, they proceeded to give a decision. Their sentence was calculated, as far as possible, to please both parties: they declared the title of the duke of York to be certain and indefeasible; but in consideration that Henry had enjoyed the crown, without dispute or controversy, during the course of thirty-eight years, they determined that he should continue to possess the title and dignity during the remainder of his life; that the administration of the government, meanwhile, should remain with Richard; that he should be acknowledged the true and lawful heir of the monarchy; that every one should swear to maintain his succession, and it should be treason to attempt his life; and that all former settlements of the crown, in this and the two last reigns, should be abrogated and rescinded.[**] The duke acquiesced in this decision: Henry himself, being a prisoner, could not oppose it: even if he had enjoyed his liberty, he would not probably have felt any violent reluctance against it: and the act thus passed with the unanimous consent of the whole legislative body. Though the mildness of this compromise is chiefly to be ascribed to the moderation of the duke of York, it is impossible not to observe in those transactions visible marks of a higher regard to law, and of a more fixed authority enjoyed by parliament, than has appeared in any former period of English history.
     * Cotton, p. 666.

     ** Cotton, p. 666. Grafton, p. 647.
It is probable that the duke, without employing either menaces or violence, could have obtained from the commons a settlement more consistent and uniform: but as many, if not all the members of the upper house, had received grants, concession, or dignities, during the last sixty years, when the house of Lancaster was possessed of the government, they were afraid of invalidating their own titles by too sudden and violent an overthrow of that family; and in thus temporizing between the parties, they fixed the throne on a basis upon which it could not possibly stand. The duke, apprehending his chief danger to arise from the genius and spirit of Queen Margaret sought a pretence for banishing her the kingdom: he sent her, in the king's name, a summons to come immediately to London; intending, in case of her disobedience, to proceed to extremities against her. But the queen needed not this menace to excite her activity in defending the rights of her family. After the defeat at Northampton, she had fled with her infant son to Durham, thence to Scotland; but soon returning, she applied to the northern barons, and employed every motive to procure their assistance. Her affability, insinuation, and address,—qualities in which she excelled,—her caresses, her promises, wrought a powerful effect on every one who approached her: the admiration of her great qualities was succeeded by compassion towards her helpless condition: the nobility of that quarter, who regarded themselves as the most warlike in the kingdom, were moved by indignation to find the southern barons pretend to dispose of the crown and settle the government. And that they might allure the people to their standard, they promised them the spoils of all the provinces on the other side of the Trent. By these means, the queen had collected an army twenty thousand strong, with a celerity which was neither expected by her friends nor apprehended by her enemies.
The duke of York, informed of her appearance in the north, hastened thither with a body of five thousand men, to suppress, as he imagined, the beginnings of an insurrection; when, on his arrival at Wakefield, he found himself so much outnumbered by the enemy. He threw himself into Sandal Castle, which was situated in the neighborhood; and he was advised by the earl of Salisbury, and other prudent counsellors, to remain in that fortress till his son, the earl of Marche, who was levying forces in the borders of Wales, could advance to his assistance.[*] But the duke, though deficient in political courage, possessed personal bravery in an eminent degree; and notwithstanding his wisdom and experience, he thought that he should be forever disgraced, if, by taking shelter behind walls, he should for a moment resign the victory to a woman.
     * Stowe, p. 412.
He descended into the plain, and offered battle to the enemy, which was instantly accepted. The great inequality of numbers was sufficient alone to decide the victory; but the queen, by sending a detachment, who fell on the back of the duke's army, rendered her advantage still more certain and undisputed. The duke himself was killed in the action; and as his body was found among the slain, the head was cut off by Margaret's orders, and fixed on the gates of York, with a paper crown upon it, in derision of his pretended title. His son, the earl of Rutland, a youth of seventeen, was brought to Lord Clifford; and that barbarian, in revenge of his father's death, who had perished in the battle of St. Albans, murdered in cool blood, and with his own hands, this innocent prince, whose exterior figure, as well as other accomplishments, are represented by historians as extremely amiable. The earl of Salisbury was wounded and taken prisoner, and immediately beheaded, with several other persons of distinction, by martial law at Pomfret.[*] There fell near three thousand Yorkists in this battle: the duke himself was greatly and justly lamented by his own party; a prince who merited a better fate, and whose errors in conduct proceeded entirely from such qualities as render him the more an object of esteem and affection. He perished in the fiftieth year of his age, and left three sons, Edward, George, and Richard, with three daughters, Anne, Elizabeth, and Margaret.
1461.
The queen, after this important victory, divided her army. She sent the smaller division, under Jasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke, half brother to the king, against Edward the new duke of York. She herself marched with the larger division towards London, where the earl of Warwick had been left with the command of the Yorkists. Pembroke was defeated by Edward at Mortimer's Cross, in Herefordshire, with the loss of near four thousand men: his army was dispersed; he himself escaped by flight; but his father, Sir Owen Tudor, was taken prisoner, and immediately beheaded by Edward's orders. This barbarous practice, being once begun, was continued by both parties, from a spirit of revenge, which covered itself under the pretence of retaliation.[**]
     * Poivd. Virg. p 510.

     ** Holingshed, p. 660. Grafton, p. 650.
Margaret compensated this defeat by a victory which she obtained over the earl of Warwick. That nobleman on the approach of the Lancastrians, led out his army, reënforced by a strong body of the Londoners, who were affectionate to his cause; and he gave battle to the queen at St. Albans. While the armies were warmly engaged, Lovelace, who commanded a considerable body of the Yorkists, withdrew from the combat; and this treacherous conduct, of which there are many instances in those civil wars, decided the victory in favor of the queen. About two thousand three hundred of the vanquished perished in the battle and pursuit; and the person of the king fell again into the hands of his own party. This weak prince was sure to be almost equally a prisoner whichever faction had the keeping of him; and scarce any more decorum was observed by one than by the other, in their method of treating him. Lord Bonville, to whose care he had been intrusted by the Yorkists, remained with him after the defeat, on assurances of pardon given him by Henry: but Margaret, regardless of her husband's promise, immediately ordered the head of that nobleman to be struck off by the executioner.[*] Sir Thomas Kiriel, a brave warrior, who had signalized himself in the French wars, was treated in the same manner.
The queen made no great advantage of this victory: young Edward advanced upon her from the other side; and collecting the remains of Warwick's army, was soon in a condition of giving her battle with superior forces. She was sensible of her danger, while she lay between the enemy and the city of London; and she found it necessary to retreat with her army to the north.[**]
     * Holingshed, p. 660.

     ** Grafton, p. 652.
Edward entered the capital amidst the acclamations of the citizens, and immediately opened a new scene to his party. This prince, in the bloom of youth, remarkable for the beauty of this person, for his bravery, his activity, his affability, and every popular quality, found himself so much possessed of public favor, that, elated with the spirit natural to his age, he resolved no longer to confine himself within those narrow limits which his father had prescribed to himself, and which had been found by experience so prejudicial to his cause. He determined to assume the name and dignity of king; to insist openly on his claim; and thenceforth to treat the opposite party as traitors and rebels to his lawful authority. But as a national consent, or the appearance of it, still seemed, notwithstanding his plausible title, requisite to precede this bold measure, and as the assembling of a parliament might occasion too many delays, and be attended with other inconveniences, he ventured to proceed in a less regular manner, and to put it out of the power of his enemies to throw obstacles in the way of his elevation. His army was ordered to assemble in St. John's Fields; great numbers of people surrounded them; an harangue was pronounced to this mixed multitude, setting forth the title of Edward, and inveighing against the tyranny and usurpation of the rival family; and the people were then asked whether they would have Henry of Lancaster for king. They unanimously exclaimed against the proposal. It was then demanded whether they would accept of Edward, eldest son of the late duke of York. They expressed their assent by loud and joyful acclamations.[*] A great number of bishops, lords, magistrates, and other persons of distinction were next assembled at Baynard's Castle, who ratified the popular election; and the new king was on the subsequent day proclaimed in London, by the title of Edward IV.[**]
In this manner ended the reign of Henry VI., a monarch, who, while in his cradle, had been proclaimed king both of France and England, and who began his life with the most splendid prospects that any prince in Europe had ever enjoyed. The revolution was unhappy for his people, as it was the source of civil wars; but was almost entirely indifferent to Henry himself, who was utterly incapable of exercising his authority, and who, provided he personally met with good usage, was equally easy, as he was equally enslaved, in the hands of his enemies and of his friends. His weakness and his disputed title were the chief causes of the public calamities: but whether his queen and his ministers were not also guilty of some great abuses of power, it is not easy for us at this distance of time to determine: there remain no proofs on record of any considerable violation of the laws, except in the assassination of the duke of Glocester, which was a private crime, formed no precedent, and was but too much of a piece with the usual ferocity and cruelty of the times.
The most remarkable law which passed in this reign, was that for the due election of members of parliament in counties. After the fall of the feudal system, the distinction of tenures was in some measure lost; and every freeholder, as well those who held of mesne lords, as the immediate tenants of the crown, were by degrees admitted to give their votes at elections. This innovation (for such it may probably be esteemed) was indirectly confirmed by a law of Henry IV.[***] which gave right to such a multitude of electors, as was the occasion of great disorder.
     * Stowe, p. 415. Holingshed, p. 661.

     ** Grafton, p. 653.

     *** Statutes at large, 7 Henry IV. ca. 15.
In the eighth and tenth of this king, therefore, laws were enacted, limiting the electors to such as possessed forty shillings a year in land, free from all burdens within the county.[*] This sum was equivalent to near twenty pounds a year of our present money, and it were to be wished, that the spirit, as well as letter, of this law had been maintained.
The preamble of the statute is remarkable: "Whereas the elections of knights have of late, in many counties of England, been made by outrageous and excessive numbers of people, many of them of small substance and value, yet pretending to a right equal to the best knights and esquires; whereby manslaughters, riots, batteries, and divisions among the gentlemen and other people of the same counties, shall very likely rise and be, unless due remedy be provided in this behalf, etc." We may learn from these expressions, what an important matter the election of a member of parliament was now become in England: that assembly was beginning in this period to assume great authority: the commons had it much in their power to enforce the execution of the laws; and if they failed of success in this particular, it proceeded less from any exorbitant power of the crown, than from the licentious spirit of the aristocracy, and perhaps from the rude education of the age, and their own ignorance of the advantages resulting from a regular administration of justice.
When the duke of York, the earls of Salisbury and Warwick, fled the kingdom upon the desertion of their troops, a parliament was summoned at Coventry in 1460, by which they were all attainted. This parliament seems to have been very irregularly constituted, and scarcely deserves the name; insomuch, that an act passed in it, "that all such knights of any county, as were returned by virtue of the king's letters, without any other election, should be valid; and that no sheriff should, for returning them, incur the penalty of the statute of Henry IV."[**] All the acts of that parliament were afterwards reversed; "because it was unlawfully summoned, and the knights and barons not duly chosen."[***]
     * Statutes at large, 8 Henry VI. cap. 7. 10 Henry VI. cap.
     2.

     ** Cotton, p. 664.

     *** Statutes at large, 39 Henry VI. cap. 1
The parliaments in this reign, instead of relaxing their vigilance against the usurpations of the court of Rome, endeavored to enforce the former statutes enacted for that purpose. The commons petitioned, that no foreigner should be capable of any church preferment, and that the patron might be allowed to present anew upon the non-residence of any incumbent:[*] but the king eluded these petitions. Pope Martin wrote him a severe letter against the statute of provisors; which he calls an abominable law, that would infallibly damn every one who observed it.[**] The cardinal of Winchester was legate; and as he was also a kind of prime minister, and immensely rich from the profits of his clerical dignities, the parliament became jealous lest he should extend the papal power; and they protested, that the cardinal should absent himself in all affairs and councils of the king, whenever the pope or see of Rome was touched upon.[***]
Permission was given by parliament to export corn when it was at low prices; wheat at six shillings and eightpence a quarter, money of that age; barley at three shillings and fourpence.[****] It appears from these prices, that corn still remained at near half its present value; though other commodities were much cheaper. The inland commerce of corn was also opened in the eighteenth of the king, by allowing any collector of the customs to grant a license of carrying it from one county to another.[*****] The same year a kind of navigation act was proposed with regard to all places within the Straits; but the king rejected it.[******]
The first instance of debt contracted upon parliamentary security occurs in this reign.[*******] The commencement of this pernicious practice deserves to be noted; a practice the more likely to become pernicious, the more a nation advances in opulence and credit. The ruinous effects of it are now become apparent, and threaten the very existence of the nation.
     * Cotton, p. 585.

     ** Burnet's Collection of Records, vol. i. p. 99.

     *** Cotton, p. 593.

     **** Statutes at large, 15 Henry VI. cap. 2. 23 Henry VI. cap.
     6.

     ****** Cotton, p. 626.

     ******* Cotton, p. 593, 614, 638.

CHAPTER XXII

EDWARD IV.

1461.
Young Edward, now in his twentieth year, was of a temper well fitted to make his way through such a scene of war, havoc, and devastation, as must conduct him to the full possession of that crown, which he claimed from hereditary right, but which he had assumed from the tumultuary election alone of his own party. He was bold, active, enterprising; and his hardness of heart and severity of character rendered him impregnable to all those movements of compassion which might relax his vigor in the prosecution of the most bloody revenges upon his enemies. The very commencement of his reign gave symptoms of his sanguinary disposition. A tradesman of London, who kept shop at the sign of the Crown, having said that he would make his son heir to the crown; this harmless pleasantry was interpreted to be spoken in derision of Edward's assumed title; and he was condemned and executed for the offence.[*] Such an act of tyranny was a proper prelude to the events which ensued. The scaffold, as well as the field, incessantly streamed with the noblest blood of England, spilt in the quarrel between the two contending families, whose animosity was now become implacable. The people, divided in their affections, took different symbols of party: the partisans of the house of Lancaster chose the red rose as their mark of distinction;[**] those of York were denominated from the white; and these civil wars were thus known over Europe by the name of the quarrel between the two roses.
     * Habington in Kennet, p. 431.

     ** Grafton, p. 791.
The license in which Queen Margaret had been obliged to indulge her troops, infused great terror and aversion into the city of London, and all the southern parts of the kingdom; and as she there expected an obstinate resistance, she had prudently retired northwards among her own partisans. The same license, joined to the zeal of faction, soon brought great multitudes to her standard; and she was able, in a few days, to assemble an army sixty thousand strong in Yorkshire. The king and the earl of Warwick hastened, with an army of forty thousand men, to check her progress; and when they reached Pomfret, they despatched a body of troops, under the command of Lord Fitzwalter, to secure the passage of Ferrybridge over the River Are, which lay between them and the enemy. Fitzwalter took possession of the post assigned him; but was not able to maintain it against Lord Clifford, who attacked him with superior numbers. The Yorkists were chased back with great slaughter; and Lord Fitzwalter himself was slain in the action.[*] The earl of Warwick, dreading the consequences of this disaster, at a time when a decisive action was every hour expected, immediately ordered his horse to be brought him, which he stabbed before the whole army; and kissing the hilt of his sword, swore that he was determined to share the fate of the meanest soldier.[**] And to show the greater security, a proclamation was at the same time issued, giving to every one full liberty to retire, but menacing the severest punishment to those who should discover any symptoms of cowardice in the ensuing battle.[***] Lord Falconberg was sent to recover the post which had been lost: he passed the river some miles above Ferrybridge, and falling unexpectedly on Lord Clifford, revenged the former disaster by the defeat of the party and the death of their leader.[****]
     * W. Wyrcester, p. 489. Hall, fol. 186. Holingshed, p. 664.

     ** Habington, p. 432.

     *** Holingshed, p. 664.

     **** Hist. Croyl. Contin. p. 532.
The hostile armies met at Touton; and a fierce and bloody battle ensued. While the Yorkists were advancing to the charge, there happened a great fall of snow, which, driving full in the faces of their enemies, blinded them; and this advantage was improved by a stratagem of Lord Falconberg's. That nobleman ordered some infantry to advance before the line, and, after having sent a volley of flight-arrows, as they were called, amidst the enemy, immediately to retire. The Lancastrians, imagining that they were gotten within reach of the opposite army, discharged all their arrows, which thus fell short of the Yorkists.[*] After the quivers of the enemy were emptied, Edward advanced his line, and did execution with impunity on the dismayed Lancastrians: the bow, however, was soon laid aside, and the sword decided the combat, which ended in a total victory on the side of the Yorkists. Edward issued orders to give no quarter.[**] The routed army was pursued to Tadcaster with great bloodshed and confusion; and above thirty-six thousand men are computed to have fallen in the battle and pursuit:[***] among these were the earl of Westmoreland, and his brother Sir John Nevil, the earl of Northumberland, the Lords Dacres and Welles, and Sir Andrew Trollop.[****] The earl of Devonshire, who was now engaged in Henry's party, was brought a prisoner to Edward; and was soon after beheaded by martial law at York. His head was fixed on a pole erected over a gate of that city; and the head of Duke Richard and that of the earl of Salisbury were taken down, and buried with their bodies. Henry and Margaret had remained at York during the action, but learning the defeat of their army, and being sensible that no place in England could now afford them shelter, they fled with great precipitation into Scotland. They were accompanied by the duke of Exeter, who, though he had married Edward's sister, had taken part with the Lancastrians; and by Henry, duke of Somerset, who had commanded in the unfortunate battle of Touton, and who was the son of that nobleman killed in the first battle of St. Albans.
     * Hall, fol. 186.

     ** Habington, p. 432.

     *** Holingshed, p. 665. Grafton, p. 656. Hist. Croyl. Cont.
     p. 533.

     **** Hall, fol. 187. Habington, p. 433.
Notwithstanding the great animosity which prevailed between the kingdoms, Scotland had never exerted itself with vigor, to take advantage either of the wars which England carried on with France, or of the civil commotions which arose between the contending families. James I., more laudably employed in civilizing his subjects, and taming them to the salutary yoke of law and justice, avoided all hostilities with foreign nations; and though he seemed interested to maintain a balance between France and England, he gave no further assistance to the former kingdom in its greatest distresses, than permitting, and perhaps encouraging, his subjects to enlist in the French service. After the murder of that excellent prince, the minority of his son and successor, James II., and the distractions incident to it, retained the Scots in the same state of neutrality; and the superiority visibly acquired by France, rendered it then unnecessary for her ally to interpose in her defence. But when the quarrel commenced between the houses of York and Lancaster, and became absolutely incurable but by the total extinction of one party, James, who had now risen to man's estate, was tempted to seize the opportunity, and he endeavored to recover those places which the English had formerly conquered from his ancestors. He laid siege to the Castle of Roxburgh in 1460, and had provided himself with a small train of artillery for that enterprise: but his cannon were so ill framed, that one of them burst as he was firing it, and put an end to his life in the flower of his age. His son and successor, James III., was also a minor on his accession: the usual distractions ensued in the government: the queen dowager, Anne of Gueldres, aspired to the regency: the family of Douglas opposed her pretensions: and Queen Margaret, when she fled into Scotland, found there a people little less divided by faction, than those by whom she had been expelled. Though she pleaded the connections between the royal family of Scotland and the house of Lancaster, by the young king's grandmother, a daughter of the earl of Somerset, she could engage the Scottish council to go no further than to express their good wishes in her favor; but on her offer to deliver to them immediately the important fortress of Berwick, and to contract her son in marriage with a sister of King James, she found a better reception; and the Scots promised the assistance of their arms to reinstate her family upon the throne.[*] But as the danger from that quarter seemed not very urgent to Edward, he did not pursue the fugitive king and queen into their retreat; but returned to London, where a parliament was summoned for settling the government.
On the meeting of this assembly, Edward found the good effects of his vigorous measure in assuming the crown, as well as of his victory at Touton, by which he had secured it;[**] the parliament no longer hesitated between the two families or proposed any of those ambiguous decisions which could only serve to perpetuate and inflame the animosities of party.
     * Hall, fol. 137.

     ** Habington, p. 434.
They recognized the title of Edward, by hereditary descent, through the family of Mortimer; and declared that he was king by right, from the death of his father, who had also the same lawful title; and that he was in possession of the crown from the day that he assumed the government, tendered to him by the acclamations of the people.[*] They expressed their abhorrence of the usurpation and intrusion of the house of Lancaster, particularly that of the earl of Derby, otherwise called Henry IV.; which, they said, had been attended with every kind of disorder, the murder of the sovereign, and the oppression of the subject. They annulled every grant which had passed in those reigns; they reinstated the king in all the possessions which had belonged to the crown at the pretended deposition of Richard II.; and though they confirmed judicial deeds and the decrees of inferior courts, they reversed all attainders passed in any pretended parliament; particularly the attainder of the earl of Cambridge, the king's grandfather; as well as that of the earls of Salisbury and Glocester, and of Lord Lumley, who had been forfeited for adhering to Richard II.[**]
Many of these votes were the result of the usual violence of party: the common sense of mankind, in more peaceable times, repealed them: and the statutes of the house of Lancaster, being the deeds of an established government, and enacted by princes long possessed of authority, have always been held as valid and obligatory. The parliament, however, in subverting such deep foundations, had still the pretence of replacing the government on its ancient and natural basis: but in their subsequent measures, they were more guided by revenge, at least by the views of convenience, than by the maxims of equity and justice. They passed an act of forfeiture and attainder against Henry VI. and Queen Margaret and their infant son Prince Edward: the same act was extended to the dukes of Somerset and Exeter; to the earls of Northumberland, Devonshire, Pembroke, Wilts; to the Viscount Beaumont; the Lords Roos, Nevil, Clifford, Welles, Dacre, Gray of Rugemont, Hungerford; to Alexander Hedie, Nicholas Latimer, Edmond Mountfort, John Heron, and many other persons of distinction.[***]
     * Cotton, p. 670.

     ** Cotton, p. 672. Statutes at large, 1 Edward IV cap. i.

     *** Cotton, p. 670. W. Wyrcester, p. 490.
The parliament vested the estates of all these attainted persons in the crown, though their sole crime was the adhering to a prince whom every individual of the parliament had long recognized, and whom that very king himself, who was now seated on the throne, had acknowledged and obeyed as his lawful sovereign.
The necessity of supporting the government established will more fully justify some other acts of violence, though the method of conducting them may still appear exceptionable. John, earl of Oxford, and his son Aubrey de Vere were detected in a correspondence with Margaret, were tried by martial law before the constable, were condemned and executed.[*] Sir William Tyrrel, Sir Thomas Tudenham, and John Montgomery were convicted in the same arbitrary court; were executed, and their estates forfeited. This introduction of martial law into civil government was a high strain of prerogative; which, were it not for the violence of the times, would probably have appeared exceptionable to a nation so jealous of their liberties as the English were now become.[**] 18 It was impossible but such a great and sudden revolution must leave the roots of discontent and dissatisfaction in the subject, which would require great art, or, in lieu of it, great violence, to extirpate them. The latter was more suitable to the genius of the nation in that uncultivated age.
But the new establishment still seemed precarious and uncertain; not only from the domestic discontents of the people, but from the efforts of foreign powers. Lewis, the eleventh of the name, had succeeded to his father, Charles, in 1460; and was led, from the obvious motives of national interest, to feed the flames of civil discord among such dangerous neighbors, by giving support to the weaker party. But the intriguing and politic genius of this prince was here checked by itself: having attempted to subdue the independent spirit of his own vassals, he had excited such an opposition at home, as prevented him from making all the advantage, which the opportunity afforded, of the dissensions among the English.
1462.
He sent, however, a small body to Henry's assistance under Varenne, seneschal of Normandy;[***] who landed in Northumberland, and got possession of the Castle of Alnwick; but as the indefatigable Margaret went in person to France, where she solicited larger supplies and promised Lewis to deliver up Calais, if her family should by his means be restored to the throne of England; he was induced to send along with her a body of two thousand men at arms, which enabled her to take the field, and to make an inroad into England.
     * W. Wyrcester, p. 492. Hall, fol. 189 Grafton, p. 658.
     Fabian fol. 215. Fragm. ad finem T. Sproti.

     ** See note R, at the end of the volume.

     **** Monstrelet, vol. iii. p 95.
1464.
Though reënforced by a numerous train of adventurers from Scotland, and by many partisans of the family of Lancaster she received a check at Hedgley-more from Lord Montacute, or Montague, brother to the earl of Warwick, and warden of the east marches between Scotland and England. Montague was so encouraged with this success, that, while a numerous reënforcement was on their march to join him by orders from Edward, he yet ventured, with his own troops alone, to attack the Lancastrians at Hexham; and he obtained a complete victory over them. The duke of Somerset, the Lords Roos and Hungerford, were taken in the pursuit, and immediately beheaded by martial law at Hexham. Summary justice was in like manner executed at Newcastle on Sir Humphrey Nevil, and several other gentlemen. All those who were spared in the field, suffered on the scaffold; and the utter extermination of their adversaries was now become the plain object of the York party; a conduct which received but too plausible an apology from the preceding practice of the Lancastrians.
The fate of the unfortunate royal family, after this defeat, was singular. Margaret, flying with her son into a forest, where she endeavored to conceal herself, was beset, during the darkness of the night, by robbers, who, either ignorant or regardless of her quality, despoiled her of her rings and jewels, and treated her with the utmost indignity. The partition of this rich booty raised a quarrel among them; and while their attention was thus engaged, she took the opportunity of making her escape with her son into the thickest of the forest where she wandered for some time, overspent with hunger and fatigue, and sunk with terror and affliction. While in this wretched condition, she saw a robber approach with his naked sword; and finding that she had no means of escape, she suddenly embraced the resolution of trusting entirely for protection to his faith and generosity. She advanced towards him; and presenting to him the young prince, called out to him, "Here, my friend, I commit to your care the safety of your king's son." The man, whose humanity and generous spirit had been obscured, not entirely lost, by his vicious course of life, was struck with the singularity of the event, was charmed with the confidence reposed in him, and vowed, not only to abstain from all injury against the princess, but to devote himself entirely to her service.[*] By his means she dwelt some time concealed in the forest, and was at last conducted to the sea-coast, whence she made her escape into Flanders. She passed thence into her father's court, where she lived several years in privacy and retirement. Her husband was not so fortunate or so dexterous in finding the means of escape. Some of his friends took him under their protection, and conveyed him into Lancashire, where he remained concealed during a twelvemonth; but he was at last detected, delivered up to Edward, and thrown into the Tower.[**] The safety of his person was owing less to the generosity of his enemies, than to the contempt which they had entertained of his courage and his understanding.
The imprisonment of Henry, the expulsion of Margaret, the execution and confiscation of all the most eminent Lancastrians, seemed to give full security to Edward's government; whose title by blood, being now recognized by parliament, and universally submitted to by the people, was no longer in danger of being impeached by any antagonist. In this prosperous situation, the king delivered himself up, without control, to those pleasures which his youth, his high fortune, and his natural temper invited him to enjoy; and the cares of royalty were less attended to than the dissipation of amusement, or the allurements of passion. The cruel and unrelenting spirit of Edward, though inured to the ferocity of civil wars, was at the same time extremely devoted to the softer passions, which, without mitigating his severe temper, maintained a great influence over him, and shared his attachment with the pursuits of ambition and the thirst of military glory. During the present interval of peace, he lived in the most familiar and sociable manner with his subjects,[***] particularly with the Londoners; and the beauty of his person, as well as the gallantry of his address, which, even unassisted by his royal dignity, would have rendered him acceptable to the fair, facilitated all his applications for their favor.
     * Monstrelet, vol. iii. p. 96.

     ** Hall, fol. 191. Fragm. ad finem Sproti.

     *** Polyd. Virg. p. 513. Biondi.
This easy and pleasurable course of life augmented every day his popularity among all ranks of men: he was the peculiar favorite of the young and gay of both sexes. The disposition of the English little addicted to jealousy, kept them from taking umbrage at these liberties: and his indulgence in amusements, while it gratified his inclination, was thus become, without design, a means of supporting and securing his government. But as it is difficult to confine the ruling passion within strict rules of prudence, the amorous temper of Edward led him into a snare, which proved fatal to his repose, and to the stability of his throne.
Jaqueline of Luxembourg, duchess of Bedford, had, after her husband's death, so far sacrificed her ambition to love, that she espoused, in second marriage, Sir Richard Woodeville a private gentleman, to whom she bore several children; and among the rest, Elizabeth, who was remarkable for the grace and beauty of her person, as well as for other amiable accomplishments. This young lady had married Sir John Gray of Groby, by whom she had children; and her husband being slain in the second battle of St. Albans, fighting on the side of Lancaster, and his estate being for that reason confiscated, his widow retired to live with her father, at his seat of Grafton, in Northamptonshire. The king came accidentally to the house after a hunting party, in order to pay a visit to the duchess of Bedford; and as the occasion seemed favorable for obtaining some grace from this gallant monarch, the young widow flung herself at his feet, and with many tears entreated him to take pity on her impoverished and distressed children. The sight of so much beauty in affliction strongly affected the amorous Edward; love stole sensibly into his heart under the guise of compassion; and her sorrow, so becoming a virtuous matron, made his esteem and regard quickly correspond to his affection. He raised her from the ground with assurances of favor; he found his passion increase every moment, by the conversation of the amiable object; and he was soon reduced, in his turn, to the posture and style of a supplicant at the feet of Elizabeth. But the lady, either averse to dishonorable love from a sense of duty, or perceiving that the impression which she had made was so deep as to give her hopes of obtaining the highest elevation, obstinately refused to gratify his passion; and all the endearments, caresses, and importunities of the young and amiable Edward proved fruitless against her rigid and inflexible virtue. His passion, irritated by opposition, and increased by his veneration for such honorable sentiments carried him at last beyond all bounds of reason and he offered to share his throne, as well as his heart, with the woman whose beauty of person and dignity of character seemed so well to entitle her to both. The marriage was privately celebrated at Grafton:[**] the secret was carefully kept for some time: no one suspected that so libertine a prince could sacrifice so much to a romantic passion; and there were, in particular, strong reasons, which, at that time, rendered this step, to the highest degree, dangerous and imprudent.
The king, desirous to secure his throne, as well by the prospect of issue as by foreign alliances, had, a little before, determined to make application to some neighboring princess, and he had cast his eye on Bona of Savoy, sister to the queen of France, who, he hoped, would by her marriage insure him the friendship of that power, which was alone both able and inclined to give support and assistance to his rival. To render the negotiation more successful, the earl of Warwick had been despatched to Paris, where the princess then resided; he had demanded Bona in marriage for the king; his proposals had been accepted; the treaty was fully concluded; and nothing remained but the ratification of the terms agreed on, and the bringing over the princess to England.[**] But when the secret of Edward's marriage broke out, the haughty earl, deeming himself affronted, both by being employed in this fruitless negotiation, and by being kept a stranger to the king's intentions, who had owed every thing to his friendship, immediately returned to England, inflamed with rage and indignation. The influence of passion over so young a man as Edward, might have served as an excuse for his imprudent conduct, had he deigned to acknowledge his error, or had pleaded his weakness as an apology; but his faulty shame or pride prevented him from so much as mentioning the matter to Warwick; and that nobleman was allowed to depart the court, full of the same ill humor and discontent which he brought to it.
     * Hall, fol. 193. Fabian, fol. 216.

     ** Hall, fol. 193. Habington, p. 437. Holingshed, p. 607.
     Grafton, p. 665. Polyd. Virg. p. 513.
1466.
Every incident now tended to widen the breach between the king and this powerful subject. The queen, who lost not her influence by marriage, was equally solicitous to draw every grace and favor to her own friends and kindred, and to exclude those of the earl, whom she regarded as her mmortal enemy. Her father was created earl of Rivers: he was made treasurer in the room of Lord Mountjoy:[*] he was invested in the office of constable for life; and his son received the survivance of that high dignity.[**] The same young nobleman was married to the only daughter of Lord Scales, enjoyed the great estate of that family, and had the title of Scales conferred upon him. Catharine, the queen's sister, was married to the young duke of Buckingham, who was a ward of the crown:[***] Mary, another of her sisters espoused William Herbert, created earl of Huntingdon: Anne, a third sister, was given in marriage to the son and heir of Gray, Lord Ruthyn, created earl of Kent.[****] The daughter and heir of the duke of Exeter, who was also the king's niece, was contracted to Sir Thomas Gray, one of the queen's sons by her former husband; and as Lord Montague was treating of a marriage between his son and this lady, the preference given to young Gray was deemed an injury and affront to the whole family of Nevil.
The earl of Warwick could not suffer with patience the least diminution of that credit which he had long enjoyed, and which he thought he had merited by such important services. Though he had received so many grants from the crown, that the revenue arising from them amounted, besides his patrimonial estate, to eighty thousand crowns a year, according to the computation of Philip de Comines,[*****] his ambitious spirit was still dissatisfied, so long as he saw others surpass him in authority and influence with the king.[******] Edward also, jealous of that power which had supported him and which he himself had contributed still higher to exalt, was well pleased to raise up rivals in credit to the earl of Warwick; and he justified, by this political view, his extreme partiality to the queen's kindred. But the nobility of England, envying the sudden growth of the Woodevilles,[*******] were more inclined to take part with Warwick's discontent, to whose grandeur they were already accustomed, and who had reconciled them to his superiority by his gracious and popular manners.
     * W. Wyrcester, p. 506.

     ** W. Wyrcester, p. 505.

     *** Liv. iii. chap. 4.

     **** Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 539.

     ****** Polyd. Virg. p. 514.

     ******* Rymer, vol. xi. p. 581.
And as Edward obtained from parliament a general resumption of all grants, which he had made since his accession, and which had extremely impoverished the crown,[*] this act, though it passed with some exceptions, particularly one in favor of the earl of Warwick, gave a general alarm to the nobility, and disgusted many, even zealous partisans of the family of York.
But the most considerable associate that Warwick acquired to his party, was George, duke of Clarence, the king's second brother. This prince deemed himself no less injured than the other grandees, by the uncontrolled influence of the queen and her relations; and as his fortunes were still left upon a precarious footing, while theirs were fully established, this neglect, joined to his unquiet and restless spirit, inclined him to give countenance to all the malecontents.[**] The favorable opportunity of gaining him was espied by the earl of Warwick, who offered him in marriage his elder daughter, and coheir of his immense fortunes; a settlement which, as it was superior to any that the king himself could confer upon him, immediately attached him to the party of the earl.[***] Thus an extensive and dangerous combination was insensibly formed against Edward and his ministry. Though the immediate object of the malecontents was not to overturn the throne, it was difficult to foresee the extremities to which they might be carried: and as opposition to government was usually in those ages prosecuted by force of arms, civil convulsions and disorders were likely to be soon the result of these intrigues and confederacies.
     * W. Wyrcester, p. 508.

     ** W. Wyrcester, p. 511. Hall, fol. 200. Habington, p. 439.
     Holingshed, p. 671. Polyd. Virg. p. 515.

     *** Grafton. p. 873.
While this cloud was gathering at home, Edward carried his views abroad, and endeavored to secure himself against his factious nobility, by entering into foreign alliances. The dark and dangerous ambition of Lewis XI., the more it was known, the greater alarm it excited among his neighbors and vassals; and as it was supported by great abilities, and unrestrained by any principle of faith or humanity, they found no security to themselves but by a jealous combination against him. Philip, duke of Burgundy, was now dead: his rich and extensive dominions were devolved to Charles, his only son, whose martial disposition acquired him the surname of Bold, and whose ambition, more outrageous than that of Lewis, but seconded by less power and policy, was regarded with a more favorable eye by the other potentates of Europe.
The opposition of interests, and still more a natural antipathy of character, produced a declared animosity between these bad princes; and Edward was thus secure of the sincere attachment of either of them, for whom he should choose to declare himself. The duke of Burgundy, being descended by his mother, a daughter of Portugal, from John of Gaunt, was naturally inclined to favor the house of Lancaster:[*] but this consideration was easily overbalanced by political motives; and Charles, perceiving the interests of that house to be extremely decayed in England, sent over his natural brother, commonly called the Bastard of Burgundy, to carry in his name proposals of marriage to Margaret, the king's sister.
1468.
The alliance of Burgundy was more popular among the English than that of France; the commercial interests of the two nations invited the princes to a close union; their common jealousy of Lewis was a natural cement between them; and Edward, pleased with strengthening himself by so potent a confederate, soon concluded the alliance, and bestowed his sister upon Charles.[**] A league, which Edward at the same time concluded with the duke of Brittany, seemed both to increase his security, and to open to him the prospect of rivalling his predecessors in those foreign conquests, which, however short-lived and unprofitable, had rendered their reigns so popular and illustrious.[***]
     * Comine's, liv. iii. chap. 4, 6.

     ** W. Wyrcester, p. 5. Parl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 332.

     *** Hall, fol. 169, 197.
1469.
But whatever ambitious schemes the king might have built on these alliances, they were soon frustrated by intestine commotions, which engrossed all his attention. These disorders probably arose not immediately from the intrigues of the earl of Warwick, but from accident, aided by the turbulent spirit of the age, by the general humor of discontent which that popular nobleman had instilled into the nation, and perhaps by some remains of attachment to the house of Lancaster. The hospital of St. Leonard's, near York, had received, from an ancient grant of King Athelstane, a right of levying a thrave of corn upon every plough-land in the county; and as these charitable establishments are liable to abuse, the country people complained, that the revenue of the hospital was no longer expended for the relief of the poor, but was secreted by the managers, and employed to their private purposes.
After long repining at the contribution, they refused payment: ecclesiastical and civil censures were issued against them, their goods were distrained, and their persons thrown into jail: till, as their ill humor daily increased, they rose in arms; fell upon the officers of the hospital, whom they put to the sword; and proceeded in a body, fifteen thousand strong, to the gates of York. Lord Montague, who commanded in those parts, opposed himself to their progress; and having been so fortunate in a skirmish as to seize Robert Hulderne, their leader, he ordered him immediately to be led to execution, according to the practice of the times. The rebels, however, still continued in arms; and being soon headed by men of greater distinction: Sir Henry Nevil, son of Lord Latimer, and Sir John Coniers, they advanced southwards, and began to appear formidable to government. Herbert, earl of Pembroke, who had received that title on the forfeiture of Jasper Tudor, was ordered by Edward to march against them at the head of a body of Welshmen; and he was joined by five thousand archers, under the command of Stafford, earl of Devonshire, who had succeeded in that title to the family of Courtney, which had also been attainted. But a trivial difference about quarters having begotten an animosity between these two noblemen, the earl of Devonshire retired with his archers, and left Pembroke alone to encounter the rebels. The two armies approached each other near Banbury; and Pembroke, having prevailed in a skirmish, and having taken Sir John Nevil prisoner, ordered him immediately to be put to death, without any form of process. This execution enraged without terrifying the rebels: they attacked the Welsh army, routed them, put them to the sword without mercy; and having seized Pembroke, they took immediate revenge upon him for the death of their leader. The king, imputing this misfortune to the earl of Devonshire, who had deserted Pembroke, ordered him to be executed in a like summary manner. But these speedy executions, or rather open murders, did not stop there: the northern rebels, sending a party to Grafton, seized the earl of Rivers and his son John; men who had become obnoxious by their near relation to the king, and his partiality towards them: and they were immediately executed by orders from Sir John Coniers.[*]
     * Fabian, fol. 217.
There is no part of English history since the conquest so obscure, so uncertain, so little authentic or consistent, as that of the wars between the two "roses:" historians differ about many material circumstances; some events of the utmost consequence, in which they almost all agree, are incredible, and contradicted by records;[*] 19 and it is remarkable, that this profound darkness falls upon us just on the eve of the restoration of letters, and when the art of printing was already known in Europe. All we can distinguish with certainty through the deep cloud which covers that period, is a scene of horror and bloodshed: savage manners, arbitrary executions, and treacherous, dishonorable conduct in all parties. There is no possibility, for instance, of accounting for the views and intentions of the earl of Warwick at this time. It is agreed that he resided, together with his son-in-law, the duke of Clarence, in his government of Calais during the commencement of this rebellion; and that his brother Montague acted with vigor against the northern rebels. We may thence presume, that the insurrection had not proceeded from the secret counsels and instigation of Warwick; though the murder committed by the rebels on the earl of Rivers, his capital enemy, forms, on the other hand, a violent presumption against him. He and Clarence came over to England, offered their service to Edward, were received without any suspicion, were intrusted by him in the highest commands,[**] and still persevered in their fidelity. Soon after, we find the rebels quieted and dispersed by a general pardon granted by Edward from the advice of the earl of Warwick: but why so courageous a prince, if secure of Warwick's fidelity, should have granted a general pardon to men who had been guilty of such violent and personal outrages against him, is not intelligible; nor why that nobleman, if unfaithful, should have endeavored to appease a rebellion of which he was able to make such advantages. But it appears, that after this insurrection, there was an interval of peace, during which the king loaded the family of Nevil with honors and favors of the highest nature: he made Lord Montague a marquis, by the same name: he created his son George duke of Bedford;[***] he publicly declared his intention of marrying that young nobleman to his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who, as he had yet no sons, was presumptive heir of the crown: yet we find that soon after, being invited to a feast by the archbishop of York, a younger brother of Warwick and Montague, he entertained a sudden suspicion that they intended to seize his person or to murder him: and he abruptly left the entertainment.[****]
     * See note S, at the end of the volume.

     ** Rymer, vol. xi. p. 647, 649, 650.

     *** Cotton, p. 702.

     **** Fragm. Edward IV. ad fin. Sproti.
1470.
Soon after, there broke out another rebellion, which is as unaccountable as all the preceding events; chiefly because no sufficient reason is assigned for it, and because, so far as appears, the family of Nevil had no hand in exciting and fomenting it. It arose in Lincolnshire, and was headed by Sir Robert Welles, son to the lord of that name. The army of the rebels amounted to thirty thousand men; but Lord Welles himself, far from giving countenance to them, fled into a sanctuary, in order to secure his person against the king's anger or suspicions. He was allured from this retreat by a promise of safety; and was soon after, notwithstanding this assurance, beheaded, along with Sir Thomas Dymoc, by orders from Edward.[*] The king fought a battle with the rebels, defeated them, took Sir Robert Welles and Sir Thomas Launde prisoners, and ordered them immediately to be beheaded.
Edward, during these transactions, had entertained so little jealousy of the earl of Warwick or duke of Clarence, that he sent them with commissions of array to levy forces against the rebels:[**] but these malecontents, as soon as they left the court, raised troops in their own name, issued declarations against the government, and complained of grievances, oppressions, and bad ministers. The unexpected defeat of Welles disconcerted all their measures; and they retired northwards into Lancashire, where they expected to be joined by Lord Stanley, who had married the earl of Warwick's sister. But as that nobleman refused all concurrence with them, and as Lord Montague also remained quiet in Yorkshire, they were obliged to disband their army, and to fly into Devonshire, where they embarked and made sail towards Calais.[***]
     * Hall, fol. 204. Fabian, fol. 218. Habington, p. 442.
     Holingshed, p. 674.

     ** Rymer, vol. xi. p. 652.

     *** The king offered, by proclamation, a reward of one
     thousand pounds, or one hundred pounds a year in land, to
     any that would seize them. Whence we may learn that land was
     at that time sold for about ten years' purchase. See Rymer,
     vol. xi. p. 654.
The deputy governor, whom Warwick had left at Calais, was one Vaucler, a Gascon, who, seeing the earl return in this miserable condition, refused him admittance; and would not so much as permit the duchess of Clarence to land, though, a few days before, she had been delivered on shipboard of a son, and was at that time extremely disordered by sickness. With difficulty he would allow a few flagons of wine to be carried to the ship for the use of the ladies: but as he was a man of sagacity, and well acquainted with the revolutions to which England was subject, he secretly apologized to Warwick for this appearance of infidelity, and represented it as proceeding entirely from zeal for his service. He said that the fortress was ill supplied with provisions; that he could not depend on the attachment of the garrison; that the inhabitants, who lived by the English commerce, would certainly declare for the established government; that the place was at present unable to resist the power of England on the one hand, and that of the duke of Burgundy on the other; and that, by seeming to declare for Edward, he would acquire the confidence of that prince, and still keep it in his power, when it should become safe and prudent, to restore Calais to its ancient master.[*] It is uncertain whether Warwick was satisfied with this apology, or suspected a double infidelity in Vaucler; but he feigned to be entirely convinced by him; and having seized some Flemish vessels which he found lying off Calais, he immediately made sail towards France.
The king of France, uneasy at the close conjunction between Edward and the duke of Burgundy, received with the greatest demonstrations of regard the unfortunate Warwick,[**] with whom he had formerly maintained a secret correspondence, and whom he hoped still to make his instrument in overturning the government of England, and reëstablishing the house of Lancaster.
     * Comines, liv. iii. chap. 4. Hall, fol. 205.

     ** Polyd. Virg. p. 519.
No animosity was ever greater than that which had long prevailed between that house and the earl of Warwick. His father had been executed by orders from Margaret: he himself had twice reduced Henry to captivity, had banished the queen, had put to death all their most zealous partisans either in the field or on the scaffold, and had occasioned innumerable ills to that unhappy family. For this reason, believing that such inveterate rancor could never admit of any cordial reconciliation, he had not mentioned Henry's name when he took arms against Edward; and he rather endeavored to prevail by means of his own adherents, than revive a party which he sincerely hated. But his present distresses and the entreaties of Lewis made him hearken to terms of accommodation; and Margaret being sent for from Angers, where she then resided, an agreement was, from common interest, soon concluded between them. It was stipulated, that Warwick should espouse the cause of Henry, and endeavor to restore him to liberty, and to reëstablish him on the throne; that the administration of the government, during the minority of young Edward, Henry's son, should be intrusted conjointly to the earl of Warwick and the duke of Clarence; that Prince Edward should marry the Lady Anne, second daughter of that nobleman; and that the crown, in case of the failure of male issue in that prince, should descend to the duke of Clarence, to the entire exclusion of King Edward and his posterity. Never was confederacy, on all sides, less natural, or more evidently the work of necessity: but Warwick hoped, that all former passions of the Lancastrians might be lost in present political views; and that, at worst, the independent power of his family, and the affections of the people, would suffice to give him security, and enable him to exact the full performance of all the conditions agreed on. The marriage of Prince Edward with the Lady Anne was immediately celebrated in France.
Edward foresaw that it would be easy to dissolve an alliance composed of such discordant parts. For this purpose, he sent over a lady of great sagacity and address, who belonged to the train of the duchess of Clarence, and who, under color of attending her mistress, was empowered to negotiate with the duke, and to renew the connections of that prince with his own family.[*] She represented to Clarence, that he had unwarily, to his own ruin, become the instrument of Warwick's vengeance, and had thrown himself entirely in the power of his most inveterate enemies; that the mortal injuries which the one royal family had suffered from the other, were now past all forgiveness, and no imaginary union of interests could ever suffice to obliterate them; that even if the leaders were willing to forget past offences, the animosity of their adherents would prevent a sincere coalition of parties, and would, in spite of all temporary and verbal agreements, preserve an eternal opposition of measures between them; and that a prince who deserted his own kindred, and joined the murderers of his father, left himself single, without friends, without protection, and would not, when misfortunes inevitably fell upon him, be so much as entitled to any pity or regard from the rest of mankind.
     * Comines, liv. iii. chap. 5. Hall, fol. 20*7. Holingshed,
     p. 676.
Clarence was only one and twenty years of age, and seems to have possessed but a slender capacity; yet could he easily see the force of these reasons; and, upon the promise of forgiveness from his brother, he secretly engaged, on a favorable opportunity, to desert the earl of Warwick, and abandon the Lancastrian party.
During this negotiation, Warwick was secretly carrying on a correspondence of the same nature with his brother, the marquis of Montague, who was entirely trusted by Edward; and like motives produced a like resolution in that nobleman. The marquis, also, that he might render the projected blow the more deadly and incurable, resolved, on his side, to watch a favorable opportunity for committing his perfidy, and still to maintain the appearance of being a zealous adherent to the house of York.
After these mutual snares were thus carefully laid, the decision of the quarrel advanced apace. Lewis prepared a fleet to escort the earl of Warwick, and granted him a supply of men and money.[*] The duke of Burgundy, on the other hand, enraged at that nobleman for his seizure of the Flemish vessels before Calais, and anxious to support the reigning family in England, with whom his own interests were now connected, fitted out a larger fleet, with which he guarded the Channel: and he incessantly warned his brother-in-law of the imminent perils to which he was exposed. But Edward, though always brave and often active, had little foresight or penetration. He was not sensible of his danger; he made no suitable preparations against the earl of Warwick;[**] he even said that the duke might spare himself the trouble of guarding the seas, and that he wished for nothing more than to see Warwick set foot on English ground.[***] A vain confidence in his own prowess, joined to the immoderate love of pleasure, had made him incapable of all sound reason and reflection.
The event soon happened, of which Edward seemed so desirous. A storm dispersed the Flemish navy, and left the sea open to Warwick.[****] That nobleman seized the opportunity, and setting sail, quickly landed at Dartmouth with the duke of Clarence, the earls of Oxford and Pembroke, and a small body of troops, while the king was in the north, engaged in suppressing an insurrection which had been raised by Lord Fitz-Hugh, brother-in-law to Warwick.
     * Comines, liv. iii. chap. 4. Hall, fol. 207.

     ** Grafton, p. 687.

     *** Comines, liv. iii. chap. 5. Hall, fol. 208.

     **** Comines, liv. iii. chap. 5.
The scene which ensues resembles more the fiction of a poem or romance than an event in true history. The prodigious popularity of Warwick,[*] the zeal of the Lancastrian party, the spirit of discontent with which many were infected, and the general instability of the English nation, occasioned by the late frequent revolutions, drew such multitudes to his standard, that in a very few days his army amounted to sixty thousand men and was continually increasing. Edward hastened southwards to encounter him; and the two armies approached each other near Nottingham, where a decisive action was every hour expected. The rapidity of Warwick's progress had incapacitated the duke of Clarence from executing his plan of treachery; and the marquis of Montague had here the opportunity of striking the first blow. He communicated the design to his adherents, who promised him their concurrence: they took to arms in the night-time, and hastened with loud acclamations to Edward's quarters; the king was alarmed at the noise, and starting from bed, heard the cry of war usually employed by the Lancastrian party. Lord Hastings, his chamberlain, informed him of the danger, and urged him to make his escape by speedy flight from an army where he had so many concealed enemies, and where few seemed zealously attached to his service. He had just time to get on horseback, and to hurry with a small retinue to Lynne, in Norfolk, where he luckily found some ships ready, on board of which he instantly embarked.[**] And after this manner the earl of Warwick, in no longer space than eleven days after his first landing, was left entire master of the kingdom.
     * Hall, fol. 205.

     ** Comines, liv. iii. chap. 5. Hall, fol. 208.
But Edward's danger did not end with his embarkation. The Easterlings or Hanse Towns were then at war both with France and England; and some ships of these people, hovering on the English coast, espied the king's vessels, and gave chase to them; nor was it without extreme difficulty that he made his escape into the port of Alcmaer, in Holland. He had fled from England with such precipitation, that he had carried nothing of value along with him; and the only reward which he could bestow on the captain of the vessel that brought him over, was a robe lined with sables; promising him an ample recompense if fortune should ever become more propitious to him.[*]
     * Comines, liv, iii. chap. 5.
It is not likely that Edward could be very fond of presenting himself in this lamentable plight before the duke of Burgundy; and that having so suddenly, after his mighty vaunts, lost all footing in his own kingdom, he could be insensible to the ridicule which must attend him in the eyes of that prince. The duke, on his part, was no less embarrassed how he should receive the dethroned monarch. As he had ever borne a greater affection to the house of Lancaster than to that of York, nothing but political views had engaged him to contract an alliance with the latter; and he foresaw, that probably the revolution in England would now turn this alliance against him, and render the reigning family his implacable and jealous enemy. For this reason, when the first rumor of that event reached him, attended with the circumstance of Edward's death, he seemed rather pleased with the catastrophe; and it was no agreeable disappointment to find, that he must either undergo the burden of supporting an exiled prince, or the dishonor of abandoning so near a relation. He began already to say, that his connections were with the kingdom of England, not with the king; and it was indifferent to him whether the name of Edward or that of Henry were employed in the articles of treaty. These sentiments were continually strengthened by the subsequent events. Vaucler, the deputy-governor of Calais, though he had been confirmed in his command by Edward, and had even received a pension from the duke of Burgundy on account of his fidelity to the crown, no sooner saw his old master, Warwick, reinstated in authority, than he declared for him, and with great demonstrations of zeal and attachment, put the whole garrison in his livery. And the intelligence which the duke received every day from England, seemed to promise an entire and full settlement in the family of Lancaster.
Immediately after Edward's flight had left the kingdom at Warwick's disposal, that nobleman hastened to London; and taking Henry from his confinement in the Tower, into which he himself had been the chief cause of throwing him, he proclaimed him king with great solemnity. A parliament was summoned in the name of that prince, to meet at Westminster, and as this assembly could pretend to no liberty while surrounded by such enraged and insolent victors, governed by such an impetuous spirit as Warwick, their votes were entirely dictated by the ruling faction. The treaty with Margaret was here fully executed: Henry was recognized as lawful king; but his incapacity for government being avowed, the regency was intrusted to Warwick and Clarence till the majority of Prince Edward; and in default of that prince's issue, Clarence was declared successor to the crown. The usual business also of reversals went on without opposition: every statute made during the reign of Edward was repealed; that prince was declared to be a usurper; he and his adherents were attainted; and in particular Richard, duke of Glocester, his younger brother: all the attainders of the Lancastrians, the dukes of Somerset and Exeter, the earls of Richmond, Pembroke, Oxford, and Ormond, were reversed; and every one was restored who had lost either honors or fortunes by his former adherence to the cause of Henry.
The ruling party were more sparing in their executions than was usual after any revolution during those violent times. The only victim of distinction was John Tibetot, earl of Worcester. This accomplished person, born in an age and nation where the nobility valued themselves on ignorance as their privilege, and left learning to monks and schoolmasters, for whom indeed the spurious erudition that prevailed was best fitted, had been struck with the first rays of true science, which began to penetrate from the south, and had been zealous, by his exhortation and example, to propagate the love of letters among his unpolished countrymen. It is pretended, that knowledge had not produced on this nobleman himself the effect which naturally attends it, of humanizing the temper and softening the heart;[*] and that he had enraged the Lancastrians against him by the severities which he exercised upon them during the prevalence of his own party.
     * Hall, fol. 210. Stowe, p. 422.
He endeavored to conceal himself after the flight of Edward, but was caught on the top of a tree in the forest of Weybridge, was conducted to London, tried before the earl of Oxford, condemned, and executed. All the other considerable Yorkists either fled beyond sea, or took shelter in sanctuaries, where the ecclesiastical privileges afforded them protection. In London alone it is computed that no less than two thousand persons saved themselves in this manner;[*] and among the rest, Edward's queen, who was there delivered of a son, called by his father's name.[**]
Queen Margaret, the other rival queen, had not yet appeared in England, but on receiving intelligence of Warwick's success, was preparing with Prince Edward for her journey. All the banished Lancastrians flocked to her; and, among the rest, the duke of Somerset, son of the duke beheaded after the battle of Hexham. This nobleman, who had long been regarded as the head of the party, had fled into the Low Countries on the discomfiture of his friends; and as he concealed his name and quality, he had there languished in extreme indigence. Philip de Comines tells us,[***] that he himself saw him, as well as the duke of Exeter, in a condition no better than that of a common beggar; till being discovered by Philip, duke of Burgundy, they had small pensions allotted them, and were living in silence and obscurity when the success of their party called them from their retreat. But both Somerset and Margaret were detained by contrary winds from reaching England,[****] till a new revolution in that kingdom, no less sudden and surprising than the former, threw them into greater misery than that from which they had just emerged.
Though the duke of Burgundy, by neglecting Edward, and paying court to the established government, had endeavored to conciliate the friendship of the Lancastrians, he found that he had not succeeded to his wish; and the connections between the king of France and the earl of Warwick still held him in great anxiety.[*****] This nobleman, too hastily regarding Charles as a determined enemy, had sent over to Calais a body of four thousand men, who made inroads into the Low Countries;[******] and the duke of Burgundy saw himself in danger of being overwhelmed by the united arms of England and of France. He resolved therefore to grant some assistance to his brother-in-law; but in such a covert manner as should give the least offence possible to the English government.
     * Comines, liv. iii. chap. 7.

     ** Hall, fol. 210. Stowe, p. 423. Holingshed, p. 677.
     Grafton, p. 690.

     *** Liv. iii. chap. 4.

     **** Grafton, p. 692. Polyd. Virg. p 522.

     ****** Comines, liv, iii. chap. 6.
1471.
He equipped four large vessels, in the name of some private merchants, at Terveer, in Zealand; and causing fourteen ships to be secretly hired from the Easterlings, he delivered this small squadron to Edward, who, receiving also a sum of money from the duke, immediately set sail for England. No sooner was Charles informed of his departure than he issued a proclamation inhibiting all his subjects from giving him countenance or assistance;[*] an artifice which could not deceive the earl of Warwick, but which might serve as a decent pretence, if that nobleman were so disposed, for maintaining friendship with the duke of Burgundy.
Edward, impatient to take revenge on his enemies, and to recover his lost authority, made an attempt to land with his forces, which exceeded not two thousand men, on the coast of Norfolk; but being there repulsed, he sailed northwards, and disembarked at Ravenspur, in Yorkshire. Finding that the new magistrates, who had been appointed by the earl of Warwick, kept the people every where from joining him, he pretended, and even made oath, that he came not to challenge the crown, but only the inheritance of the house of York, which of right belonged to him; and that he did not intend to disturb the peace of the kingdom. His partisans every moment flocked to his standard: he was admitted into the city of York: and he was soon in such a situation as gave him hopes of succeeding in all his claims and pretensions. The marquis of Montague commanded in the northern counties; but from some mysterious reasons, which, as well as many other important transactions in that age, no historian has cleared up, he totally neglected the beginnings of an insurrection which he ought to have esteemed so formidable. Warwick assembled an army at Leicester, with an intention of meeting and of giving battle to the enemy; but Edward, by taking another road, passed him unmolested, and presented himself before the gates of London. Had he here been refused admittance, he was totally undone: but there were many reasons which inclined the citizens to favor him. His numerous friends, issuing from their sanctuaries, were active in his cause; many rich merchants, who had formerly lent him money, saw no other chance for their payment but his restoration; the city dames who had been liberal of their favors to him, and who still retained an affection for this young and gallant prince, swayed their husbands and friends in his favor;[**] and above all, the archbishop of York, Warwick's brother, to whom the care of the city was committed, had secretly, from unknown reasons, entered into a correspondence with him; and he facilitated Edward's admission into London.
     * Comines, liv. iii. chap. 6.

     ** Comines, liv. iii. chap. 7.
The most likely cause which can be assigned for those multiplied infidelities, even in the family of Nevil itself, is the spirit of faction, which, when it becomes inveterate, it is very difficult for any man entirely to shake off. The persons who had long distinguished themselves in the York party, were unable to act with zeal and cordiality for the support of the Lancastrians; and they were inclined, by any prospect of favor or accommodation offered them by Edward, to return to their ancient connections. However this may be, Edward's entrance into London made him master not only of that rich and powerful city, but also of the person of Henry, who, destined to be the perpetual sport of fortune, thus fell again into the hands of his enemies.[*]
It appears not that Warwick, during his short administration, which had continued only six months, had been guilty of any unpopular act, or had anywise deserved to lose that general favor with which he had so lately overwhelmed Edward. But this prince, who was formerly on the defensive, was now the aggressor; and having overcome the difficulties which always attend the beginnings of an insurrection, possessed many advantages above his enemy: his partisans were actuated by that zeal and courage which the notion of an attack inspires his opponents were intimidated for a like reason; every one who had been disappointed in the hopes which he had entertained from Warwick's elevation, either became a cool friend or an open enemy to that nobleman; and each malecontent, from whatever cause, proved an accession to Edward's army. The king, therefore, found himself in a condition to face the earl of Warwick; who, being reënforced by his son-in-law the duke of Clarence, and his brother the marquis of Montague, took post at Barnet, in the neighborhood of London. The arrival of Queen Margaret was every day expected, who would have drawn together all the genuine Lancastrians, and have brought a great accession to Warwick's forces: but this very consideration proved a motive to the earl rather to hurry on a decisive action than to share the victory with rivals and ancient enemies, who, he foresaw, would, in case of success, claim the chief merit in the enterprise.[**]
     * Grafton, p. 702.

     ** Comines, liv. iii. chap. 7.
But while his jealousy was always directed towards that side, he overlooked the dangerous infidelity of friends, who lay the nearest to his bosom. His brother Montague, who had lately temporized, seems now to have remained sincerely attached to the interests of his family: but his son-in-law, though bound to him by every tie of honor and gratitude, though he shared the power of the regency, though he had been invested by Warwick in all the honors and patrimony of the house of York, resolved to fulfil the secret engagements which he had formerly taken with his brother, and to support the interests of his own family: he deserted to the king in the night-time, and carried over a body of twelve thousand men along with him.[*] Warwick was now too far advanced to retreat; and as he rejected with disdain all terms of peace offered him by Edward and Clarence, he was obliged to hazard a general engagement. The battle was fought with obstinacy on both sides: the two armies, in imitation of their leaders displayed uncommon valor; and the victory remained long undecided between them. But an accident threw the balance to the side of the Yorkists. Edward's cognizance was a sun; that of Warwick a star with rays; and the mistiness of the morning rendering it difficult to distinguish them, the earl of Oxford, who fought on the side of the Lancastrians, was by mistake attacked by his friends, and chased off the field of battle.[**] Warwick, contrary to his more usual practice, engaged that day on foot, resolving to show his army that he meant to share every fortune with them; and he was slain in the thickest of the engagement;[***] his brother underwent the same fate; and as Edward had issued orders not to give any quarter, a great and undistinguished slaughter was made in the pursuit. There fell about one thousand five hundred on the side of the victors.
The same day on which this decisive battle was fought,[****] Queen Margaret and her son, now about eighteen years of age, and a young prince of great hopes, landed at Weymouth, supported by a small body of French forces.
     * Grafton, p 700. Comines, liv. iii. chap. 7. Leland's
     Collect. vol. ii. p. 505.

     ** Habington, p. 449.

     *** Comines, liv. iii. chap. 7.

     **** Leland's Collect, vol. ii. p. 505.
When this princess received intelligence of her husband's captivity, and of the defeat and death of the earl of Warwick, her courage which had supported her under so many disastrous events, here quite left her; and she immediately foresaw all the dismal consequences of this calamity. At first she took sanctuary in the abbey of Beaulieu;[*] but being encouraged by the appearance of Tudor, earl of Pembroke, and Courtney, earl of Devonshire, of the Lords Wenlock and St. John, with other men of rank, who exhorted her still to hope for success, she resumed her former spirit, and determined to defend to the utmost the ruins of her fallen fortunes. She advanced through the counties of Devon, Somerset, and Glocester, increasing her army on each day's march; but was at last overtaken by the rapid and expeditious Edward, at Tewkesbury, on the banks of the Severn. The Lancastrians were here totally defeated: the earl of Devonshire and Lord Wenlock were killed in the field: the duke of Somerset, and about twenty other persons of distinction, having taken shelter in a church, were surrounded, dragged out, and immediately beheaded: about three thousand of their side fell in battle: and the army was entirely dispersed.
Queen Margaret and her son were taken prisoners, and brought to the king, who asked the prince, after an insulting manner, how he dared to invade his dominions. The young prince, more mindful of his high birth than of his present fortune, replied, that he came thither to claim his just inheritance. The ungenerous Edward, insensible to pity, struck him on the face with his gauntlet; and the dukes of Clarence and Glocester, Lord Hastings, and Sir Thomas Gray, taking the blow as a signal for further violence, hurried the prince into the next apartment, and there despatched him with their daggers.[**] Margaret was thrown into the Tower: King Henry expired in that confinement a few days after the battle of Tewkesbury; but whether he died a natural or violent death is uncertain. It is pretended, and was generally believed, that the duke of Glocester killed him with his own hands:[***] but the universal odium which that prince had incurred, inclined perhaps the nation to aggravate his crimes without any sufficient authority.
     * Hall, fol. 219. Habington, p. 451. Grafton, p. 706. Polyd.
     Virg. p. 528.

     ** Hall, fol. 221. Habington, p. 453. Holingshed, p 688.
     Polyd. Virg. p. 530.

     *** Comines. Hall, fol. 228. Grafton, p. 703.
It is certain, however, that Henry's death was sudden; and though he labored under an ill state of health, this circumstance, joined to the general manners of the age, gave a natural ground, of suspicion; which was rather increased than diminished by the exposing of his body to public view. That precaution served only to recall many similar instances in the English history, and to suggest the comparison.
All the hopes of the house of Lancaster seemed now to be utterly extinguished. Every legitimate prince of that family was dead: almost every great leader of the party had perished in battle or on the scaffold: the earl of Pembroke, who was levying forces in Wales, disbanded his army when he received intelligence of the battle of Tewkesbury; and he fled into Brittany with his nephew, the young earl of Richmond.[*] The bastard of Falconberg, who had levied some forces, and had advanced to London during Edward's absence, was repulsed; his men deserted him; he was taken prisoner and immediately executed:[**] and peace being now fully restored to the nation, a parliament was summoned, which ratified as usual, all the acts of the victor, and recognized his legal authority.
     * Habington, p. 454. Polyd. Virg. p. 531.

     ** Holingshed, p. 689, 690, 693. Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 554.
But this prince, who had been so firm, and active, and intrepid during the course of adversity, was still unable to resist the allurements of a prosperous fortune; and he wholly devoted himself, as before, to pleasure and amusement, after he became entirely master of his kingdom, and had no longer any enemy who could give him anxiety or alarm. He recovered, however, by this gay and inoffensive course of life, and by his easy, familiar manners, that popularity which, it is natural to imagine, he had lost by the repeated cruelties exercised upon his enemies; and the example also of his jovial festivity served to abate the former acrimony of faction among his subjects, and to restore the social disposition which had been so long interrupted between the opposite parties. All men seemed to be fully satisfied with the present government; and the memory of past calamities served only to impress the people more strongly with a sense of their allegiance, and with the resolution of never incurring any more the hazard of renewing such direful scenes.
1474.
But while the king was thus indulging himself in pleasure, he was roused from his lethargy by a prospect of foreign conquests, which, it is probable, his desire of popularity, more than the spirit of ambition, had made him covet. Though he deemed himself little beholden to the duke of Burgundy for the reception which that prince had given him during his exile,[*] the political interests of their states maintained still a close connection between them; and they agreed to unite their arms in making a powerful invasion on France. A league was formed, in which Edward stipulated to pass the seas with an army exceeding ten thousand men, and to invade the French territories: Charles promised to join him with all his forces: the king was to challenge the crown of France, and to obtain at least the provinces of Normandy and Guienne; the duke was to acquire Champaigne and some other territories, and to free all his dominions from the burden of homage to the crown of France: and neither party was to make peace without the consent of the other.[**] They were the more encouraged to hope for success from this league, as the count of St. Pol, constable of France, who was master of St. Quintin and other towns on the Somme, had secretly promised to join them; and there were also hopes of engaging the duke of Brittany to enter into the confederacy.
The prospect of a French war was always a sure means of making the parliament open their purses, as far as the habits of that age would permit. They voted the king a tenth of rents, or two shillings in the pound; which must have been very inaccurately levied, since it produced only thirty-one thousand four hundred and sixty pounds; and they added to this supply a whole fifteenth, and three quarters of another;[***] but as the king deemed these sums still unequal to the undertaking, he attempted to levy money by way of benevolence, a kind of exaction which, except during the reigns of Henry III. and Richard II., had not been much practised in former times, and which, though the consent of the parties was pretended to be gained, could not be deemed entirely voluntary.[****]
     * Comines, liv. iii. chap. 7.

     ** Rymer, vol. xi p. 806, 807, 808, etc.

     *** Cotton, p. 696, 700. Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 558.

     **** Hall, fol. 226. Habington, p. 461. Grafton, p. 719.
     Fabian, fol. 221.
The clauses annexed to the parliamentary grant show sufficiently the spirit of the nation in this respect. The money levied by the fifteenth was not to be put into the king's hands but to be kept in religious houses; and if the expedition into France should not take place, it was immediately to be refunded to the people. After these grants, the parliament was dissolved, which had sitten near two years and a half, and had undergone several prorogations; a practice not very usual at that time in England.
1475.
The king passed over to Calais with an army of one thousand five hundred men at arms and fifteen thousand archers, attended by all the chief nobility of England, who, prognosticating future successes from the past, were eager to appear on this great theatre of honor.[*] But all their sanguine hopes were damped when they found, on entering the French territories, that neither did the constable open his gates to them, nor the duke of Burgundy bring them the smallest assistance. That prince, transported by his ardent temper, had carried all his armies to a great distance, and had employed them in wars on the frontiers of Germany, and against the duke of Lorraine: and though he came in person to Edward, and endeavored to apologize for this breach of treaty, there was no prospect that they would be able this campaign to make a conjunction with the English. This circumstance gave great disgust to the king, and inclined him to hearken to those advances which Lewis continually made him for an accommodation.
That monarch, more swayed by political views than by the point of honor, deemed no submissions too mean which might free him from enemies who had proved so formidable to his predecessors, and who, united to so many other enemies, might still shake the well-established government of France. It appears from Comines, that discipline was at this time very imperfect among the English; and that their civil wars, though long continued, yet, being always decided by hasty battles, had still left them ignorant of the improvements which the military art was beginning to receive upon the continent.[**]
     * Comines, liv. iv. chap. 5. This author says, (chap. 11,)
     that the king artfully brought over some of the richest of
     his subjects who, he knew, would be soon tired of the war,
     and would promote all proposals of peace, which he foresaw
     would be soon necessary.

     ** Comines, liv. iv. chap. 5.
But as Lewis was sensible that the warlike genius of the people would soon render them excellent soldiers, he was far from despising them for their present want of experience; and he employed all his art to detach them from the alliance of Burgundy. When Edward sent him a herald to claim the crown of France, and to carry him a defiance in case of refusal, so far from answering to [*] this bravado in like haughty terms, he replied with great temper, and even made the herald a considerable present:[**] he took afterwards an opportunity of sending a herald to the English camp; and having given him directions to apply to the Lords Stanley and Howard, who, he heard, were friends to peace, he desired the good offices of these noblemen in promoting an accommodation with their master.[***] As Edward was now fallen into like dispositions, a truce was soon concluded on terms more advantageous than honorable to Lewis. He stipulated to pay Edward immediately seventy-five thousand crowns, on condition that he should withdraw his army from France, and promised to pay him fifty thousand crowns a year during their joint lives: it was added, that the dauphin, when of age, should marry Edward's eldest daughter.[****] In order to ratify this treaty, the two monarchs agreed to have a personal interview; and for that purpose suitable preparations were made at Pecquigni, near Amiens. A close rail was drawn across a bridge in that place, with no larger intervals than would allow the arm to pass; a precaution against a similar accident to that which befell the duke of Burgundy in his conference with the dauphin at Montereau. Edward and Lewis came to the opposite sides; conferred privately together; and having confirmed their friendship, and interchanged many mutual civilities, they soon after parted.[*****]
     * Comines, liv. iv. chap. 5. Hall, fol. 227.

     ** Comines, liv. iv. chap. 7.

     *** Rymer, vol. xii. p. 17.

     **** Comines, liv, iv, chap. 9.

Lewis was anxious not only to gain the king's friendship but also that of the nation, and of all the considerable persons in the English court. He bestowed pensions, to the amount of sixteen thousand crowns a year, on several of the kings, favorites; on Lord Hastings two thousand crowns; on Lora Howard and others in proportion; and these great ministers were not ashamed thus to receive wages from a foreign prince. As the two armies, after the conclusion of the truce remained some time in the neighborhood of each other, the English were not only admitted freely into Amiens, where Lewis resided, but had also their charges defrayed, and had wine and victuals furnished them in every inn, without any payment being demanded. They flocked thither in such multitude that once above nine thousand of them were in the town, and they might have made themselves masters of the king's person; but Lewis, concluding from their jovial and dissolute manner of living, that they had no bad intentions, was careful not to betray the least sign of fear or jealousy. And when Edward, informed of this disorder, desired him to shut the gates against them, he replied, that he would never agree to exclude the English from the place where he resided; but that Edward, if he pleased, might recall them, and place his own officers at the gates of Amiens to prevent their returning.[*]
Lewis's desire of confirming a mutual amity with England, engaged him even to make imprudent advances, which it cost him afterwards some pains to evade. In the conference at Pecquigni he had said to Edward, that he wished to have a visit from him at Paris; that he would there endeavor to amuse him with the ladies; and that, in case any offences were then committed, he would assign him the cardinal of Bourbon for confessor, who, from fellow-feeling, would not be over and above severe in the penances which he would enjoin. This hint made deeper impression than Lewis intended. Lord Howard, who accompanied him back to Amiens, told him in confidence that, if he were so disposed it would not be impossible to persuade Edward to take a journey with him to Paris, where they might make merry together. Lewis pretended at first not to hear the offer; but on Howard's repeating it, he expressed his concern that his wars with the duke of Burgundy would not permit him to attend his royal guest, and do him the honors he intended "Edward," said he privately to Comines, "is a very handsome and a very amorous prince: some lady at Paris may like him as well as he shall do her; and may invite him to return in another manner. It is better that the sea be between us."[**]
     * Comines, liv. iv. chap. 9. Hall, fol. 233.

     ** Comines, liv. iv. chap. 10. Habington, p. 469.
This treaty did very little honor to either of these monarchs: it discovered the imprudence of Edward, who had taken his measures so ill with his allies, as to be obliged, after such an expensive armament, to return without making any acquisitions adequate to it: it showed the want of dignity in Lewis who, rather than run the hazard of a battle, agreed to subject his kingdom to a tribute, and thus acknowledge the superiority of a neighboring prince possessed of less power and territory than himself. But as Lewis made interest the sole test of honor, he thought that all the advantages of the treaty were on his side, and that he had overreached Edward, by sending him out of France on such easy terms. For this reason he was very solicitous to conceal his triumph; and he strictly enjoined his courtiers never to show the English the least sign of mockery or derision. But he did not himself very carefully observe so prudent a rule: he could not forbear, one day, in the joy of his heart, throwing out some raillery on the easy simplicity of Edward and his council; when he perceived that he was overheard by a Gascon, who had settled in England. He was immediately sensible of his indiscretion; sent a message to the gentleman; and offered him some advantages in his own country, as engaged him to remain in France. "It is but just," said he, "that I pay the penalty of my talkativeness."[*]
     * Comines, liv. iii. chap. 10.
The most honorable part of Lewis's treaty with Edward was the stipulation for the liberty of Queen Margaret, who, though after the death of her husband and son she could no longer be formidable to government, was still detained in custody by Edward. Lewis paid fifty thousand crowns for her ransom; and that princess, who had been so active on the stage of the world, and who had experienced such a variety of fortune, passed the remainder of her days in tranquility and privacy, till the year 1482, when she died; an admirable princess, but more illustrious by her undaunted spirit in adversity, than by her moderation in prosperity. She seems neither to have enjoyed the virtues, nor been subject to the weaknesses, of her sex; and was as much tainted with the ferocity as endowed with the courage of that barbarous age in which she lived.
Though Edward had so little reason to be satisfied with the conduct of the duke of Burgundy, he reserved to that prince a power of acceding to the treaty of Pecquigni: but Charles, when the offer was made him, haughtily replied, that he was able to support himself without the assistance of England, and that he would make no peace with Lewis till three months after Edward's return into his own country. This prince possessed all the ambition and courage of a conqueror; but being defective in policy and prudence, qualities no less essential, he was unfortunate in all his enterprises; and perished at last in battle against the Swiss;[*] a people whom he despised, and who, though brave and free, had hitherto been in a manner overlooked in the general system of Europe. This event, which happened in the year 1477, produced a great alteration in the views of all the princes, and was attended with consequences which were felt for many generations. Charles left only one daughter, Mary, by his first wife; and this princess, being heir of his opulent and extensive dominions, was courted by all the potentates of Christendom, who contended for the possession of so rich a prize. Lewis, the head of her family, might, by a proper application, have obtained this match for the dauphin, and have thereby united to the crown of France all the provinces of the Low Countries, together with Burgundy, Artois, and Picardy; which would at once have rendered his kingdom an overmate for all its neighbors. But a man wholly interested is as rare as one entirely endowed with the opposite quality; and Lewis, though impregnable to all the sentiments of generosity and friendship, was, on this occasion, carried from the road of true policy by the passions of animosity and revenge. He had imbibed so deep a hatred to the house of Burgundy, that he rather chose to subdue the princess by arms, than unite her to his family by marriage: he conquered the duchy of Burgundy and that part of Picardy which had been ceded to Philip the Good by the treaty of Arras: but he thereby forced the states of the Netherlands to bestow their sovereign in marriage on Maximilian of Austria, son of the emperor Frederick, from whom they looked for protection in their present distresses: and by these means, France lost the opportunity, which she never could recall, of making that important acquisition of power and territory.
During this interesting crisis, Edward was no less defective in policy, and was no less actuated by private passions, unworthy of a sovereign and a statesman. Jealousy of his brother Clarence had caused him to neglect the advances which were made of marrying that prince, now a widower, to the heiress of Burgundy;[**] and he sent her proposals of espousing Anthony, earl of Rivers, brother to his queen, who still retained an entire ascendant over him.
     * Comines, liv. v. chap. 8.

     ** Polyd. Virg. Hall, fol. 240. Holingshed, p. 703.
     Habington p. 474. Grafton, p. 742.
But the match was rejected with disdain;[*] and Edward, resenting this treatment of his brother-in-law, permitted France to proceed without interruption in her conquests over his defenceless ally. Any pretence sufficed him for abandoning himself entirely to indolence and pleasure, which were now become his ruling passions. The only object which divided his attention was the improving of the public revenue, which had been dilapidated by the necessities or negligence of his predecessors; and some of his expedients for that purpose, though unknown to us, were deemed, during the time, oppressive to the people.[**] The detail of private wrongs naturally escapes the notice of history; but an act of tyranny of which Edward was guilty in his own family, has been taken notice of by all writers, and has met with general and deserved censure.
     * Hall, fol. 240.

     ** Hall, p. 241. Hist. Croyl. Cont. p, 559.
The duke of Clarence, by all his services in deserting Warwick, had never been able to regain the king's friendship, which he had forfeited by his former confederacy with that nobleman. He was still regarded at court as a man of a dangerous and a fickle character; and the imprudent openness and violence of his temper, though it rendered him much less dangerous, tended extremely to multiply his enemies, and to incense them against him. Among others, he had had the misfortune to give displeasure to the queen herself, as well as to his brother, the duke of Glocester, a prince of the deepest policy, of the most unrelenting ambition, and the least scrupulous in the means which he employed for the attainment or his ends. A combination between these potent adversaries being secretly formed against Clarence, it was determined to begin by attacking his friends; in hopes that, if he patiently endured this injury, his pusillanimity would dishonor him in the eyes of the public; if he made resistance, and expressed resentment, his passion would betray him into measures which might give them advantages against him. The king, hunting one day in the park of Thomas Burdet, of Arrow, in Warwickshire, had killed a white buck, which was a great favorite of the owner; and Burdet, vexed at the loss, broke into a passion, and wished the horns of the deer in the belly of the person who had advised the king to commit that insult upon him. This natural expression of resentment, which would have been overlooked or forgotten had it fallen from any other person, was rendered criminal and capital in that gentleman, by the friendship in which he had the misfortune to live with the duke of Clarence; he was tried for his life; the judges and jury were found servile enough to condemn him and he was publicly beheaded at Tyburn for this pretended offence.[*] About the same time, one John Stacey, an ecclesiastic, much connected with the duke as well as with Burdet, was exposed to a like iniquitous and barbarous prosecution. This clergyman, being more learned in mathematics and astronomy than was usual in that age, lay under the imputation of necromancy with the ignorant vulgar; and the court laid hold of this popular rumor to effect his destruction. He was brought to his trial for that imaginary crime; many of the greatest peers countenanced the prosecution by their presence; he was condemned, put to the torture, and executed.[**]
The duke of Clarence was alarmed when he found these acts of tyranny exercised on all around him: he reflected on the fate of the good duke of Glocester, in the last reign, who, after seeing the most infamous pretences employed for the destruction of his nearest connections, at last fell himself a victim to the vengeance of his enemies. But Clarence, instead of securing his own life against the present danger by silence and reserve, was open and loud in justifying the innocence of his friends, and in exclaiming against the iniquity of their prosecutors.
1478.
The king, highly offended with his freedom, or using that pretence against him, committed him to the Tower,[***] summoned a parliament, and tried him for his life before the house of peers, the supreme tribunal of the nation.
The duke was accused of arraigning public justice, by maintaining the innocence of men who had been condemned in courts of judicature, and or inveighing against the iniquity of the king, who had given orders for their prosecution.[****]
     * Habington, p. 475. Holingshed, p. 703. Sir Thomas More in
     Kennet, p. 498.

     ** Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 561.

     *** Hist Croyl. Cont. p. 562.

     **** Stowe, p. 430.
Many rash expressions were imputed to him, and some, too, reflecting on Edward's legitimacy; but he was not accused of any overt act of treason; and even the truth of these speeches may be doubted of, since the liberty of judgment was taken from the court, by the king's appearing personally as his brother's accuser,[*] and pleading the cause against him. But a sentence of condemnation, even when this extraordinary circumstance had not place, was a necessary consequence, in those times, of any prosecution by the court or the prevailing party; and the duke of Clarence was pronounced guilty by the peers. The house of commons were no less slavish and unjust: they both petitioned for the execution of the duke, and afterwards passed a bill of attainder against him.[**] The measures of the parliament, during that age, furnish us with examples of a strange contrast of freedom and servility: they scruple to grant, and sometimes refuse, to the king the smallest supplies, the most necessary for the support of government, even the most necessary for the maintenance of wars, for which the nation, as well as the parliament itself, expressed great fondness: but they never scruple to concur in the most flagrant act of injustice or tyranny which falls on any individual, however distinguished by birth or merit. These maxims, so ungenerous, so opposite to all principles of good government, so contrary to the practice of present parliaments, are very remarkable in all the transactions of the English history for more than a century after the period in which we are now engaged.
The only favor which the king granted his brother after his condemnation, was to leave him the choice of his death; and he was privately drowned in a butt of malmsey in the Tower; a whimsical choice, which implies that he had an extraordinary passion for that liquor. The duke left two children by the elder daughter of the earl of Warwick; a son, created an earl by his grandfather's title, and a daughter, afterwards countess of Salisbury. Both this prince and princess were also unfortunate in their end, and died a violent death; a fate which, for many years, attended almost all the descendants of the royal blood in England. There prevails a report, that a chief source of the violent prosecution of the duke of Clarence, whose name was George, was a current prophecy, that the king's son should be murdered by one, the initial letter of whose name was G.[***] It is not impossible but, in those ignorant times, such a silly reason might have some influence; but it is more probable that the whole story is the invention of a subsequent period, and founded on the murder of these children by the duke of Glocester. Comines remarks, that at that time the English never were without some superstitious prophecy or other, by which they accounted for every event.
     * Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 562.

     ** Stowe, p. 430. Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 562.

     *** Hall, fol. 239. Holingshed, p. 703. Grafton, p. 741.
     Polyd. Virg. p. 537. Sir Thomas More in Kennet, p. 497.
All the glories of Edward's reign terminated with the civil wars, where his laurels, too, were extremely sullied with blood, violence, and cruelty. His spirit seems afterwards to have been sunk in indolence and pleasure, or his measures were frustrated by imprudence and the want of foresight. There was no object on which he was more intent than to have all his daughters settled by splendid marriages, though most of these princesses were yet in their infancy, and though the completion of his views, it was obvious, must depend on numberless accidents, which were impossible to be foreseen or prevented. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was contracted to the dauphin; his second, Cicely, to the eldest son of James III., king of Scotland; his third, Anne, to Philip, only son of Maximilian and the duchess of Burgundy; his fourth, Catharine, to John, son and heir to Ferdinand, king of Arragon, and Isabella, queen of Castile.[*] None of these projected marriages took place; and the king himself saw in his lifetime the rupture of the first, that with the dauphin, for which he had always discovered a peculiar fondness. Lewis, who paid no regard to treaties or engagements, found his advantage in contracting the dauphin to the princess Margaret, daughter of Maximilian, and the king, notwithstanding his indolence, prepared to revenge the indignity.
     * Rymer, vol. xi. p. 110.
1482.
The French monarch, eminent for prudence as well as perfidy, endeavored to guard against the blow; and by a proper distribution of presents in the court of Scotland, he incited James to make war upon England. This prince, who lived on bad terms with his own nobility, and whose force was very unequal to the enterprise, levied an army; but when he was ready to enter England, the barons, conspiring against his favorites, put them to death without trial; and the army presently disbanded. The duke of Glocester, attended by the duke of Albany, James's brother, who had been banished his country, entered Scotland at the head of an army, took Berwick, and obliged the Scots to accept of a peace, by which they resigned that fortress to Edward. This success imboldened the king to think more seriously of a French war; but while he was making preparations for that enterprise, he was seized with a distemper, of which he expired in the forty-second year of his age, and the twenty-third of his reign; a prince more splendid and showy than either prudent or virtuous; brave, though cruel; addicted to pleasure, though capable of activity in great emergencies; and less fitted to prevent ills by wise precautions, than to remedy them, after they took place, by his vigor and enterprise. Besides five daughters, this king left two sons; Edward, prince of Wales, his successor, then in his thirteenth year and Richard, duke of York, in his ninth.

CHAPTER XXIII

EDWARD V. AND RICHARD III.

1483.

During the latter years of Edward IV., the nation having in a great measure forgotten the bloody feuds between the two roses, and peaceably acquiescing in the established government, was agitated only by some court intrigues, which, being restrained by the authority of the king, seemed nowise to endanger the public tranquillity. These intrigues arose from the perpetual rivalship between two parties; one consisting of the queen and her relations, particularly the earl of Rivers, her brother, and the marquis of Dorset, her son; the other composed of the ancient nobility, who envied the sudden growth and unlimited credit of that aspiring family.[*]

     * Sir Thomas More. p. 481.

At the head of this latter party was the duke of Buckingham, a man of very noble birth, of ample possessions, of great alliances, of shining parts; who, though he had married the queen's sister, was too haughty to act in subserviency to her inclinations, and aimed rather at maintaining an independent influence and authority. Lord Hastings, the chamberlain, was another leader of the same party; and as this nobleman had, by his bravery and activity, as well as by his approved fidelity, acquired the confidence and favor of his master, he had been able, though with some difficulty, to support himself against the credit of the queen. The lords Howard and Stanley maintained a connection with these two noblemen, and brought a considerable accession of influence and reputation to their party. All the other barons, who had no particular dependence on the queen, adhered to the same interest; and the people in general, from their natural envy against the prevailing power, bore great favor to the cause of these noblemen.

But Edward knew that, though he himself had been able to overawe those rival factions, many disorders might arise from their contests during the minority of his son; and he therefore took care, in his last illness, to summon together several of the leaders on both sides, and by composing their ancient quarrels, to provide, as far as possible, for the future tranquillity of the government. After expressing his intentions, that his brother, the duke of Glocester, then absent in the north, should be intrusted with the regency, he recommended to them peace and unanimity during the tender years of his son; represented to them the dangers which must attend the continuance of their animosities; and engaged them to embrace each other with all the appearance of the most cordial reconciliation. But this temporary or feigned agreement lasted no longer than the king's life; he had no sooner expired, than the jealousies of the parties broke out afresh; and each of them applied, by separate messages, to the duke of Glocester, and endeavored to acquire his favor and friendship.

This prince, during his brother's reign, had endeavored to live on good terms with both parties; and his high birth, his extensive abilities, and his great services, had enabled him to support himself without falling into a dependence on either. But the new situation of affairs, when the supreme power was devolved upon him, immediately changed his measures; and he secretly determined to preserve no longer that neutrality which he had hitherto maintained. His exorbitant ambition, unrestrained by any principle either of justice or humanity; made him carry his views to the possession of the crown itself; and as this object could not be attained without the ruin of the queen and her family, he fell, without hesitation, into concert with the opposite party. But being sensible that the most profound dissimulation was requisite for effecting his criminal purposes, he redoubled his professions of zeal and attachment to that princess; and he gained such credit with her as to influence her conduct in a point which, as it was of the utmost importance, was violently disputed between the opposite factions.

The young king, at the time of his father's death, resided in the Castle of Ludlow, on the borders of Wales; whither he had been sent, that the influence of his presence might overawe the Welsh, and restore the tranquillity of that country, which had been disturbed by some late commotions. His person was committed to the care of his uncle, the earl of Rivers, the most accomplished nobleman in England, who, having united an uncommon taste for literature[*] to great abilities in business and valor in the field was entitled by his talents, still more than by nearness of blood, to direct the education of the young monarch. The queen, anxious to preserve that ascendant over her son which she had long maintained over her husband, wrote to the earl of Rivers, that he should levy a body of forces, in order to escort the king to London, to protect him during his coronation, and to keep him from falling into the hands of their enemies.[**] The opposite faction, sensible that Edward was now of an age when great advantages could be made of his name and countenance, and was approaching to the age when he would be legally entitled to exert in person his authority, foresaw that the tendency of this measure was to perpetuate their subjection under their rivals; and they vehemently opposed a resolution which they represented as the signal for renewing a civil war in the kingdom. Lord Hastings threatened to depart instantly to his government of Calais:[**] the other nobles seemed resolute to oppose force by force: and as the duke of Glocester, on pretence of pacifying the quarrel, had declared against all appearance of an armed power, which might be dangerous, and was nowise necessary; the queen, trusting to the sincerity of his friendship, and overawed by so violent an opposition, recalled her orders to her brother, and desired him to bring up no greater retinue than should be necessary to support the state and dignity of the young sovereign.[***]

     * This nobleman first introduced the noble art of printing
     into England. Caxton was recommended by him to the patronage
     of Edward IV. See Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors.

     ** Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 564, 565.

     *** Sir Thomas More, p. 483.

The duke of Glocester, meanwhile, set out from York, attended by a numerous train of the northern gentry. When he reached Northampton, he was joined by the duke of Buckingham, who was also attended by a splendid retinue; and as he heard that the king was hourly expected on that road, he resolved to await his arrival, under color of conducting him thence in person to London. The earl of Rivers, apprehensive that the place would be too narrow to contain so many attendants, sent his pupil forward by another road to Stony Stratford; and came himself to Northampton, in order to apologize for this measure, and to pay his respects to the duke of Glocester. He was received with the greatest appearance of cordiality: he passed the evening an an amicable manner with Glocester and Buckingham: he proceeded on the road with them next day to join the king: but as he was entering Stony Stratford, he was arrested by orders from the duke of Glocester:[*] Sir Richard Gray, one of the queen's sons, was at the same time put under a guard, together with Sir Thomas Vaughan, who possessed a considerable office in the king's household; and all the prisoners were instantly conducted to Pomfret. Glocester approached the young prince with the greatest demonstrations of respect; and endeavored to satisfy him with regard to the violence committed on his uncle and brother: but Edward, much attached to these near relations, by whom he had been tenderly educated, was not such a master of dissimulation as to conceal his displeasure.[**]

The people, however, were extremely rejoiced at this revolution; and the duke was received in London with the loudest acclamations: but the queen no sooner received intelligence of her brother's imprisonment, than she foresaw that Glocester's violence would not stop there, and that her own ruin, if not that of all her children, was finally determined. She therefore fled into the sanctuary of Westminster, attended by the marquis of Dorset; and she carried thither the five princesses, together with the duke of York.[***]

     * Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 564, 565.

     ** Sir Thomas More.

     *** Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 565.

She trusted that the ecclesiastical privileges, which had formerly, during the total ruin of her husband and family, given her protection against the fury of the Lancastrian faction, would not now be violated by her brother-in-law, while her son was on the throne; and she resolved to await there the return of better fortune. But Glocester, anxious to have the duke of York in his power, proposed to take him by force from the sanctuary; and he represented to the privy council both the indignity put upon the government by the queen's ill-grounded apprehensions, and the necessity of the young prince's appearance at the ensuing coronation of his brother. It was further urged, that ecclesiastical privileges were originally intended only to give protection to unhappy men persecuted for their debts or crimes; and were entirely useless to a person who, by reason of his tender age, could lie under the burden of neither, and who, for the same reason, was utterly incapable of claiming security from any sanctuary. But the two archbishops, Cardinal Bourchier, the primate, and Rotherhand, archbishop of York, protesting against the sacrilege of this measure, it was agreed that they should first endeavor to bring the queen to compliance by persuasion, before any violence should be employed against her. These prelates were persons of known integrity and honor; and being themselves entirely persuaded of the duke's good intentions, they employed every argument, accompanied with earnest entreaties, exhortations, and assurances, to bring her over to the same opinion. She long continued obstinate, and insisted that the duke of York, by living in the sanctuary, was not only secure himself, but gave security to the king, whose life no one would dare to attempt while his successor and avenger remained in safety. But finding that none supported her in these sentiments, and that force, in case of refusal, was threatened by the council, she at last complied, and produced her son to the two prelates. She was here on a sudden struck with a kind of presage of his future fate: she tenderly embraced him; she bedewed him with her tears; and bidding him an eternal adieu, delivered him, with many expressions of regret and reluctance, into their custody.[*]

The duke of Glocester, being the nearest male of the royal family capable of exercising the government, seemed entitled, by the customs of the realm, to the office of protector; and the council, not waiting for the consent of parliament, made no scruple of investing him with that high dignity.[**]

     * Sir Thomas More, p. 491.

     ** Hist. Croyl. Cont, p. 566.

The general prejudice entertained by the nobility against the queen and her kindred, occasioned this precipitation and irregularity; and no one foresaw any danger to the succession, much less to the lives of the young princes, from a measure so obvious and so natural. Besides that the duke had hitherto been able to cover, by the most profound dissimulation, his fierce and savage nature, the numerous issue of Edward, together with the two children of Clarence, seemed to be an eternal obstacle to his ambition; and it appeared equally impracticable for him to destroy so many persons possessed of a preferable title, and imprudent to exclude them. But a man who had abandoned all principles of honor and humanity, was soon carried by his predominant passion beyond the reach of fear or precaution; and Glocester, having so far succeeded in his views, no longer hesitated in removing the other obstructions which lay between him and the throne. The death of the earl of Rivers, and of the other prisoners detained in Pomfret, was first determined; and he easily obtained the consent of the duke of Buckingham, as well as of Lord Hastings, to this violent and sanguinary measure. However easy it was, in those times, to procure a sentence against the most innocent person, it appeared still more easy to despatch an enemy without any trial or form of process; and orders were accordingly issued to Sir Richard Ratcliffe, a proper instrument in the hands of this tyrant, to cut off the heads of the prisoners. The protector then assailed the fidelity of Buckingham by all the arguments capable of swaying a vicious mind, which knew no motive of action but interest and ambition. He represented that the execution of persons so nearly related to the king, whom that prince so openly professed to love, and whose fate he so much resented, would never pass unpunished; and all the actors in that scene were bound in prudence to prevent the effects of his future vengeance: that it would be impossible to keep the queen forever at a distance from her son, and equally impossible to prevent her from instilling into his tender mind the thoughts of retaliating, by like executions, the sanguinary insults committed on her family: that the only method of obviating these mischiefs was to put the sceptre in the hands of a man of whose friendship the duke might be assured, and whose years and experience taught him to pay respect to merit and to the rights of ancient nobility: and that the same necessity which had carried them so far in resisting the usurpation of these intruders, must justify them in attempting further innovations, and in making, by national consent, a new settlement of the succession. To these reasons he added the offers of great private advantages to the duke of Buckingham; and he easily obtained from him a promise of supporting him in all his enterprises.

The duke of Glocester, knowing the importance of gaining Lord Hastings, sounded at a distance his sentiments, by means of Catesby, a lawyer, who lived in great intimacy with that nobleman; but found him impregnable in his allegiance and fidelity to the children of Edward, who had ever honored him with his friendship.[*] He saw, therefore, that there were no longer any measures to be kept with him; and he determined to ruin utterly the man whom he despaired of engaging to concur in his usurpation. On the very day when Rivers, Gray, and Vaughan were executed, or rather murdered, at Poinfret by the advice of Hastings, the protector summoned a council in the Tower; whither that nobleman, suspecting no design against him, repaired without hesitation.

     * Sir Thomas More. p. 493.

The duke of Glocester was capable of committing the most bloody and treacherous murders with the utmost coolness and indifference. On taking his place at the council-table, he appeared in the easiest and most jovial humor imaginable. He seemed to indulge himself in familiar conversation with the counsellors, before they should enter on business, and having paid some compliments to Morton, bishop of Ely, on the good and early strawberries which he raised in his garden at Holborn, he begged the favor of having a dish of them, which that prelate immediately despatched a servant to bring to him. The protector then left the council, as if called away by some other business; but soon after returning with an angry and inflamed countenance, he asked them, what punishment those deserved that had plotted against his life, who was so nearly related to the king, and was intrusted with the administration of government. Hastings replied, that they merited the punishment of traitors. "These traitors," cried the protector, "are the sorceress, my brother's wife, and Jane Shore, his mistress, with others their associates: see to what a condition they have reduced me by their incantations and witchcraft:" upon which he laid bare his arm, all shrivelled and decayed. But the counsellors, who knew that this infirmity had attended him from his birth, looked on each other with amazement; and, above all, Lord Hastings, who, as he had since Edward's death engaged in an intrigue with Jane Shore,[*] 20 was naturally anxious concerning the issue of these extraordinary proceedings.

    * See note T, at the end of the volume.

"Certainly, my lord," said he, "if they be guilty of these crimes, they deserve the severest punishment." "And do you reply to me," exclaimed the protector, "with your ifs and your ands? You are the chief abettor of that witch, Shore: you are yourself a traitor; and I swear by St. Paul, that I will not dine before your head be brought me," He struck the table with his hand: armed men rushed in at the signal: the counsellors were thrown into the utmost consternation: and one of the guards, as if by accident or mistake, aimed a blow with a pole-axe at Lord Stanley, who, aware of the danger, slunk under the table; and though he saved his life, he received a severe wound in the head, in the protector's presence. Hastings was seized, was hurried away, and instantly beheaded on a timber-log, which lay in the court of the Tower.[*] Two hours after, a proclamation, well penned, and fairly written, was read to the citizens of London, enumerating his offenses, and apologizing to them, from the suddenness of the discovery, for the sudden execution of that nobleman, who was very popular among them; but the saying of a merchant was much talked of on the occasion, who remarked, that the proclamation was certainly drawn by the spirit of prophecy.[**]

     * Hist Croyl. Cont. p. 566.

     ** Sir Thomas More, p. 496.

Lord Stanley, the archbishop of York, the bishop of Ely, and other counsellors, were committed prisoners in different chambers of the Tower; and the protector, in order to carry on the farce of his accusations, ordered the goods of Jane Shore to be seized; and he summoned her to answer before the council for sorcery and witchcraft. But as no proofs, which could be received even in that ignorant age, were produced against her, he directed her to be tried in the spiritual court for her adulteries and lewdness; and she did penance in a white sheet in St. Paul's, before the whole people. This lady was born of reputable parents in London, was well educated, and married to a substantial citizen; but unhappily views of interest, more than the maid's inclinations, had been consulted in the match, and her mind, though framed for virtue, had proved unable to resist the allurements of Edward, who solicited her favors. But while seduced from her duty by this gay and amorous monarch, she still made herself respectable by her other virtues; and the ascendant which her charms and vivacity long maintained over him, was all employed in acts of beneficence and humanity. She was still forward to oppose calumny, to protect the oppressed, to relieve the indigent; and her good offices, the genuine dictates of her heart, never waited the solicitation of presents, or the hopes of reciprocal services. But she lived not only to feel the bitterness of shame imposed on her by this tyrant, but to experience, in old age and poverty, the ingratitude of those courtiers who had long solicited her friendship, and been protected by her credit. No one, among the great multitudes whom she had obliged, had the humanity to bring her consolation or relief; she languished out her life in solitude and indigence; and amidst a court inured to the most atrocious crimes, the frail ties of this woman justified all violations of friendship towards her, and all neglect of former obligations.

These acts of violence, exercised against all the nearest connections of the late king, prognosticated the severest fate to his defenceless children; and after the murder of Hastings, the protector no longer made a secret of his intentions to usurp the crown. The licentious life of Edward, who was not restrained in his pleasures either by honor or prudence, afforded a pretence for declaring his marriage with the queen invalid, and all his posterity illegitimate. It was asserted that, before espousing the lady Elizabeth Gray, he had paid court to the lady Eleanor Talbot, daughter of the earl of Shrewsbury; and being repulsed by the virtue of that lady, he was obliged, ere he could gratify his desires, to consent to a private marriage, without any witnesses, by Stillington, bishop of Bath, who afterwards divulged the secret.[*]

     * Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 567. Comines. Sir Thomas More, p.
     482.

It was also maintained that the act of attainder passed against the duke of Clarence, had virtually incapacitated his children from succeeding to the crown; and these two families being set aside, the protector remained the only true and legitimate heir of the house of York. But as it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove the preceding marriage of the late king, and as the rule which excludes the heirs of an attainted blood from private successions was never extended to the crown, the protector resolved to make use of another plea, still more shameful and scandalous. His partisans were taught to maintain, that both Edward IV. and the duke of Clarence were illegitimate; that the duchess of York had received different lovers into her bed, who were the fathers of these children, that, their resemblance to those gallants was a sufficient proof of their spurious birth; and that the duke of Glocester alone, of all her sons, appeared by his features and countenance to be the true offspring of the duke of York. Nothing can be imagined more impudent than this assertion, which threw so foul an imputation on his own mother, a princess of irreproachable virtue, and then alive; yet the place chosen for first promulgating it was the pulpit, before a large congregation, and in the protector's presence. Dr. Shaw was appointed to preach in St. Paul's; and having chosen this passage for his text "Bastards lips shall not thrive," he enlarged on all the topics which could discredit the birth of Edward IV., the duke of Clarence, and of all their children. He then broke out in a panegyric on the duke of Glocester; and exclaimed, "Behold this excellent prince, the express image of his noble father, the genuine descendant of the house of York; bearing no less in the virtues of his mind than in the features of his countenance the character of the gallant Richard, once your hero and favorite: he alone is entitled to your allegiance: he must deliver you from the dominion of all intruders: he alone can restore the lost glory and honor of the nation." It was previously concerted, that as the doctor should pronounce these words, the duke of Glocester should enter the church; and it was expected that the audience would cry out, "God save King Richard;" which would immediately have been laid hold of as a popular consent, and interpreted to be the voice of the nation; but by a ridiculous mistake, worthy of the whole scene, the duke did not appear till after this exclamation was already recited by the preacher. The doctor was therefore obliged to repeat his rhetorical figure out of its proper place: the audience, less from the absurd conduct of the discourse than from their detestation of these proceedings, kept a profound silence: and the protector and his preacher were equally abashed at the ill success of their stratagem.

But the duke was too far advanced to recede from his criminal and ambitious purpose. A new expedient was tried to work on the people. The mayor, who was brother to Dr. Shaw, and entirely in the protector's interests, called an assembly of the citizens; where the duke of Buckingham, who possessed some talents for eloquence, harangued them on the protector's title to the crown, and displayed those numerous virtues of which he pretended that prince was possessed. He next asked them whether they would have the duke for king; and then stopped, in expectation of hearing the cry, "God save King Richard." He was surprised to observe them silent; and turning about to the mayor, asked him the reason. The mayor replied, that perhaps they did not understand him. Buckingham then repeated his discourse with some variation. enforced the same topics, asked the same question, and was received with the same silence. "I now see the cause," said the mayor; "the citizens are not accustomed to be harangued by any but their recorder; and know not how to answer a person of your grace's quality." The recorder, Fitz-Williams, was then commanded to repeat the substance of the duke's speech; but the man, who was averse to the office, took care, throughout his whole discourse, to have it understood that he spoke nothing of himself, and that he only conveyed to them the sense of the duke of Buckingham. Still the audience kept a profound silence. "This is wonderful obstinacy," cried the duke: "express your meaning, my friends, one way or other: when we apply to you on this occasion, it is merely from the regard which we bear to you. The lords and commons have sufficient authority, without your consent, to appoint a king: but I require you here to declare, in plain terms, whether or not you will have the duke of Glocester for your sovereign." After all these efforts, some of the meanest apprentices, incited by the protector's and Buckingham's servants, raised a feeble cry, "God save King Richard:"[*] the sentiments of the nation were now sufficiently declared: the voice of the people was the voice of God: and Buckingham, with the mayor, hastened to Baynard's Castle, where the protector then resided, that they might make him a tender of the crown.

     * Sir Thomas More, p. 496.

When Richard was told that a great multitude was in the court, he refused to appear to them, and pretended to be apprehensive for his personal safety; a circumstance taken notice of by Buckingham, who observed to the citizens that the prince was ignorant of the whole design. At last he was persuaded to step forth, but he still kept at some distance; and he asked the meaning of their intrusion and importunity. Buckingham told him that the nation was resolved to have him for king: the protector declared his purpose of maintaining his loyalty to the present sovereign, and exhorted them to adhere to the same resolution. He was told that the people had determined to have another prince; and if he rejected their unanimous voice, they must look out for one who would be more compliant. This argument was too powerful to be resisted: he was prevailed on to accept of the crown: and he thenceforth acted as legitimate and rightful sovereign.

This ridiculous force was soon after followed by a scene truly tragical; the murder of the two young princes. Richard gave orders to Sir Robert Brakenbury, constable of the Tower, to put his nephews to death; but this gentleman, who had sentiments of honor, refused to have any hand in the infamous office. The tyrant then sent for Sir James Tyrrel, who promised obedience: and he ordered Brakenbury to resign to this gentleman the keys and government of the Tower for one night. Tyrre, choosing three associates, Slater, Dighton, and Forest, came in the night-time to the door of the chamber where the princes were lodged; and sending in the assassins he bade them execute their commission, while he himself staid without. They found the young princes in bed, and fallen into a profound sleep. After suffocating them with the bolster and pillows, they showed their naked bodies to Tyrrel, who ordered them to be buried at the foot of the stairs, deep in the ground, under a heap of stones.[*] These circumstances were all confessed by the actors in the following reign; and they were never punished for the crime; probably because Henry, whose maxims of government were extremely arbitrary, desired to establish it as a principle, that the commands of the reigning sovereign ought to justify every enormity in those who paid obedience to them. But there is one circumstance not so easy to be accounted for: it is pretended that Richard, displeased with the indecent manner of burying his nephews, whom he had murdered, gave his chaplain orders to dig up the bodies, and to inter them in consecrated ground; and as the man died soon after, the place of their burial remained unknown, and the bodies could never be found by any search which Henry could make for them. Yet in the reign of Charles II., when there was occasion to remove some stones and to dig in the very spot which was mentioned as the place of their first interment, the bones of two persons were there found, which by their size exactly corresponded to the age of Edward and his brother: they were concluded with certainty to be the remains of those princes, and were interred under a marble monument by orders of King Charles.[**] Perhaps Richard's chaplain had died before he found an opportunity of executing his master's commands; and the bodies being supposed to be already removed, a diligent search was not made for them by Henry in the place where they had been buried.


CHAPTER XXIII


RICHARD III.


1483.

The first acts of Richard's administration were to bestow rewards on those who had assisted him in usurping the crown, and to gain by favors those who, he thought, were best able to support his future government. Thomas Lord Howard was created duke of Norfolk; Sir Thomas Howard, his son, earl of Surrey; Lord Lovel, a viscount by the same name; even Lord Stanley was set at liberty, and made steward of the household. This nobleman had become obnoxious by his first opposition to Richard's views, and also by his marrying the countess dowager of Richmond, heir of the Somerset family; but sensible of the necessity of submitting to the present government, he feigned such zeal for Richard's service, that he was received into favor, and even found means to be intrusted with the most important commands by that politic and jealous tyrant.

But the person who, both from the greatness of his services and the power and splendor of his family, was best entitled to favors under the new government, was the duke of Buckingham; and Richard seemed determined to spare no pains or bounty in securing him to his interests. Buckingham was descended from a daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Glocester, uncle to Richard II.; and by this pedigree he not only was allied to the royal family, but had claims for dignities as well as estates of a very extensive nature. The duke of Glocester, and Henry, earl of Derby, afterwards Henry IV. had married the two daughters and coheirs of Bohun, earl of Hereford, one of the greatest of the ancient barons, whose immense property came thus to be divided into two shares. One was inherited by the family of Buckingham; the other was united to the crown by the house of Lancaster, and, after the attainder of that royal line, was seized, as legally devolved to them, by the sovereigns of the house of York. The duke of Buckingham laid hold of the present opportunity, and claimed the restitution of that portion of the Hereford estate which had escheated to the crown, as well as of the great office of constable, which had long continued by inheritance in his ancestors of that family. Richard readily complied with these demands, which were probably the price stipulated to Buckingham for his assistance in promoting the usurpation. That nobleman was invested with the office of constable; he received a grant of the estate of Hereford;[*] many other dignities and honors were conferred upon him; and the king thought himself sure of preserving the fidelity of a man whose interests seemed so closely connected with those of the present government.

     * Dugdale's Baron. vol. i. p. 168, 169.

But it was impossible that friendship could long remain inviolate between two men of such corrupt minds as Richard and the duke of Buckingham. Historians ascribe their first rupture to the king's refusal of making restitution of the Hereford estate; but it is certain from records, that he passed a grant for that purpose, and that the full demands of Buckingham were satisfied in this particular. Perhaps Richard was soon sensible of the danger which might ensue from conferring such an immense property on a man of so turbulent a disposition, and afterwards raised difficulties about the execution of his own grant: perhaps he refused some other demands of Buckingham, whom he found it impossible to gratify for his past services: perhaps he resolved, according to the usual maxim of politicians, to seize the first opportunity of ruining this powerful subject, who had been the principal instrument of his own elevation; and the discovery of this intention begat the first discontent in the duke of Buckingham. However this may be, it is certain that the duke, soon after Richard's accession, began to form a conspiracy against the government, and attempted to overthrow that usurpation which he himself had so zealously contributed to establish.

Never was there in any country a usurpation more flagrant than that of Richard, or more repugnant to every principle of justice and public interest. His claim was entirely founded on impudent allegations, never attempted to be proved; some of them incapable of proof, and all of their implying scandalous reflections on his own family, and on the persons with whom he was the most nearly connected. His title was never acknowledged by any national assembly, scarcely even by the lowest populace to whom he appealed; and it had become prevalent merely for want of some person of distinction, who might stand forth against him, and give a voice to those sentiments of general detestation which arose in every bosom. Were men disposed to pardon these violations of public right, the sense of private and domestic duty, which is not to be effaced in the most barbarous times, must have, begotten an abhorrence against him; and have represented the murder of the young and innocent princes, his nephews, with whose protection he had been intrusted, in the most odious colors imaginable. To endure such a bloody usurper seemed to draw disgrace upon the nation, and to be attended with immediate danger to every individual who was distinguished by birth, merit, or services. Such was become the general voice of the people; all parties were united in the same sentiments; and the Lancastrians, so long oppressed, and of late so much discredited, felt their blasted hopes again revive, and anxiously expected the consequences of these extraordinary events. The duke of Buckingham, whose family had been devoted to that interest, and who, by his mother, a daughter of Edmund, duke of Somerset, was allied to the house of Lancaster, was easily induced to espouse the cause of this party, and to endeavor the restoring of it to its ancient superiority. Morton, bishop of Ely, a zealous Lancastrian, whom the king had imprisoned, and had afterwards committed to the custody of Buckingham, encouraged these sentiments; and by his exhortations the duke cast his eye towards the young earl of Richmond, as the only person who could free the nation from the tyranny of the present usurper.[*]

     * Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 568.

Henry, earl of Richmond, was at this time detained in a kind of honorable custody by the duke of Brittany; and his descent, which seemed to give him some pretensions to the crown, had been a great object of jealousy both in the late and in the present reign. John, the first duke of Somerset who was grandson of John of Gaunt, by a spurious branch but legitimated by act of parliament, had left only one daughter, Margaret; and his younger brother, Edmund, had succeeded him in his titles, and in a considerable part of his fortune. Margaret had espoused Edmund, earl of Richmond, half brother of Henry VI., and son of Sir Owen Tudor and Catharine of France, relict of Henry V., and she bore him only one son, who received the name of Henry, and who, after his father's death, inherited the honors and fortune of Richmond. His mother, being a widow, had espoused in second marriage Sir Henry Stafford, uncle to Buckingham, and after the death of that gentleman, had married Lord Stanley; but had no children by either of these husbands; and her son Henry was thus, in the event of her death, the sole heir of all her fortunes. But this was not the most considerable advantage which he had reason to expect from her succession: he would represent the elder branch of the house of Somerset; he would inherit all the title of that family to the crown; and though its claim, while any legitimate branch subsisted of the house of Lancaster, had always been much disregarded, the zeal of faction, after the death of Henry VI., and the murder of Prince Edward, immediately conferred a weight and consideration upon it.

Edward IV., finding that all the Lancastrians had turned their attention towards the young earl of Richmond as the object of their hopes, thought him also worthy of his attention; and pursued him into his retreat in Brittany, whither his uncle, the earl of Pembroke, had carried him, after the battle of Tewkesbury, so fatal to his party. He applied to Francis II., duke of Brittany, who was his ally; a weak, but a good prince; and urged him to deliver up this fugitive, who might be the source of future disturbances in England; but the duke, averse to so dishonorable a proposal, would only consent that, for the security of Edward, the young nobleman should be detained in custody; and he received an annual pension from England for the safe keeping or the subsistence of his prisoner. But towards the end of Edward's reign, when the kingdom was menaced with a war both from France and Scotland, the anxieties of the English court with regard to Henry were much increased; and Edward made a new proposal to the duke, which covered, under the fairest appearances, the most bloody and treacherous intentions. He pretended that he was desirous of gaining his enemy, and of uniting him to his own family by a marriage with his daughter Elizabeth; and he solicited to have him sent over to England, in order to execute a scheme which would redound so much to his advantage. These pretences, seconded, as is supposed, by bribes to Peter Landais, a corrupt minister, by whom the duke was entirely governed, gained credit with the court of Brittany: Henry was delivered into the hands of the English agents, he was ready to embark; when a suspicion of Edward's real design was suggested to the duke, who recalled his orders, and thus saved the unhappy youth from the imminent danger which hung over him.

These symptoms of continued jealousy in the reigning family of England, both seemed to give some authority to Henry's pretensions, and made him the object of general favor and compassion, on account of the dangers and persecutions to which he was exposed. The universal detestation of Richard's conduct turned still more the attention of the nation towards Henry; and as all the descendants of the house of York were either women or minors, he seemed to be the only person from whom the nation could expect the expulsion of the odious and bloody tyrant. But notwithstanding these circumstances, which were so favorable to him, Buckingham and the bishop of Ely well knew that there would still be many obstacles in his way to the throne; and that, though the nation had been much divided between Henry VI. and the duke of York, while present possession and hereditary right stood in opposition to each other, yet as soon as these titles were united in Edward IV., the bulk of the people had come over to the reigning family; and the Lancastrians had extremely decayed, both in numbers and in authority. It was therefore suggested by Morton, and readily assented to by the duke, that the only means of overturning the present usurpation, was to unite the opposite factions, by contracting a marriage between the earl of Richmond and the princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of King Edward, and thereby blending together the opposite pretensions of their families, which had so long been the source of public disorders and convulsions. They were sensible, that the people were extremely desirous of repose after so many bloody and destructive commotions; that both Yorkists and Lancastrians, who now lay equally under oppression, would embrace this scheme with ardor; and that the prospect of reconciling the two parties, which was in itself so desirable an end, would, when added to the general hatred against the present government, render their cause absolutely invincible. In consequence of these views, the prelate, by means of Reginald Bray, steward to the countess of Rich-* *mond, first opened the project of such a union to that lady; and the plan appeared so advantageous for her son, and at the same time so likely to succeed, that it admitted not of the least hesitation. Dr. Lewis, a Welsh physician, who had access to the queen dowager in her sanctuary, carried the proposals to her, and found that revenge for the murder of her brother and of her three sons, apprehensions for her surviving family, and indignation against her confinement, easily overcame all her prejudices against the house of Lancaster, and procured her approbation of a marriage, to which the age and birth, as well as the present situation of the parties, seemed so naturally to invite them. She secretly borrowed a sum of money in the city, sent it over to the earl of Richmond, required his oath to celebrate the marriage as soon as he should arrive in England, advised him to levy as many foreign forces as possible, and promised to join him on his first appearance, with all the friends and partisans of her family.

The plan being thus laid upon the solid foundations of good sense and sound policy, it was secretly communicated to the principal persons of both parties in all the counties of England; and a wonderful alacrity appeared in every order of men to forward its success and completion. But it was impossible that so extensive a conspiracy could be conducted in so secret a manner, as entirely to escape the jealous and vigilant eye of Richard; and he soon received intelligence, that his enemies, headed by the duke of Buckingham, were forming some design against his authority. He immediately put himself in a posture of defence, by levying troops in the north; and he summoned the duke to appear at court, in such terms as seemed to promise him a renewal of their former amity. But that nobleman, well acquainted with the barbarity and treachery of Richard, replied only by taking arms in Wales, and giving the signal to his accomplices for a general insurrection in all parts of England. But at that very time there happened to fall such heavy rains, so incessant and continued, as exceeded any known in the memory of man; and the Severn, with the other rivers in that neighborhood, swelled to a height which rendered them impassable, and prevented Buckingham from marching into the heart of England to join his associates. The Welshmen, partly moved by superstition at this extraordinary event, partly distressed by famine in their camp, fell off from him; and Buckingham, finding himself deserted by his followers, put on a disguise, and took shelter in the house of Banister, an old servant of his family. But being detected in his retreat, he was brought to the king at Salisbury; and was instantly executed, according to the summary method practised in that age.[*] The other conspirators, who took arms in four different places, at Exeter, at Salisbury, it Newbury, and at Maidstone, hearing of the duke of Buckingham's misfortunes, despaired of success, and immediately dispersed themselves.

The marquis of Dorset and the bishop of Ely made their escape beyond sea; many others were equally fortunate; several fell into Richard's hands, of whom he made some examples. His executions seem not to have been remarkably severe; though we are told of one gentleman, William Colingbourne, who suffered under color of this rebellion, but in reality for a distich of quibbling verses which he had composed against Richard and his ministers.[*]

     * Hist. Croyl. Cont. p. 568.

       The lines were—


          "The Rat, the Cat, and Lovel that Dog,

           Rule all England under the Hog;"

The earl of Richmond, in concert with his friends, had set sail from St. Malo's, carrying on board a body of five thousand men, levied in foreign parts; but his fleet being at first driven back by a storm, he appeared not on the coast of England till after the dispersion of all his friends; and he found himself obliged to return to the court of Brittany.

1484.

The king, every where triumphant, and fortified by this unsuccessful attempt to dethrone him, ventured at last to summon a parliament; a measure which his crimes and flagrant usurpation had induced him hitherto to decline. Though it was natural that the parliament, in a contest of national parties, should always adhere to the victor, he seems to have apprehended, lest his title, founded on no principle, and supported by no party, might be rejected by that assembly. But his enemies being now at his feet, the parliament had no choice left but to recognize his authority, and acknowledge his right to the crown. His only son, Edward, then a youth of twelve years of age, was created prince of Wales: the duties of tonnage and poundage were granted to the king for life; and Richard, in order to reconcile the nation to his government, passed some popular laws, particularly one alluding to the names of Ratcliffe and Catesby; and to Richard's arms, which were a boar, against the late practice of extorting money on pretence of benevolence.

All the other measures of the king tended to the same object. Sensible that the only circumstance which could give him security, was to gain the confidence of the Yorkists, he paid court to the queen dowager with such art and address, made such earnest protestations of his sincere good-will and friendship, that this princess, tired of confinement, and despairing of any success from her former projects, ventured to leave her sanctuary, and to put herself and her daughters into the hands of the tyrant. But he soon carried further his views for the establishment of his throne. He had married Anne, the second daughter of the earl of Warwick, and widow of Edward, prince of Wales, whom Richard himself had murdered; but this princess having born him but one son, who died about this time, he considered her as an invincible obstacle to the settlement of his fortune, and he was believed to have carried her off by poison; a crime for which the public could not be supposed to have any solid proof, but which the usual tenor of his conduct made it reasonable to suspect. He now thought it in his power to remove the chief perils which threatened his government. The earl of Richmond, he knew, could never be formidable but from his projected marriage with the princess Elizabeth, the true heir of the crown; and he therefore intended, by means of a papal dispensation, to espouse, himself, this princess, and thus to unite in his own family their contending titles. The queen dowager, eager to recover her lost authority, neither scrupled this alliance, which was very unusual in England, and was regarded as incestuous, nor felt any horror at marrying her daughter to the murderer of her three sons and of her brother: she even joined so farther interests with those of the usurper, that she wrote to all her partisans, and among the rest to her son, the marquis of Dorset, desiring them to withdraw from the earl of Richmond; an injury which the earl could never afterwards forgive: the court of Rome was applied to for a dispensation: Richard thought that he could easily defend himself during the interval, till it arrived; and he had afterwards the agreeable prospect of a full and secure settlement. He flattered himself that the English nation, seeing all danger removed of a disputed succession, would then acquiesce under the dominion of a prince who was of mature years, of great abilities, and of a genius qualified for government; and that they would forgive him all the crimes which he had committed in paving his way to the throne.

But the crimes of Richard were so horrid and so shocking to humanity, that the natural sentiments of men, without any political or public views, were sufficient to render his government unstable; and every person of probity and honor was earnest to prevent the sceptre from being any longer polluted by that bloody and faithless hand which held it. All the exiles flocked to the earl of Richmond in Brittany, and exhorted him to hasten his attempt for a new invasion, and to prevent the marriage of the princess Elizabeth, which must prove fatal to all his hopes. The earl, sensible of the urgent necessity, but dreading the treachery of Peter Landais, who had entered into a negotiation with Richard for betraying him, was obliged to attend only to his present safety; and he made his escape to the court of France. The ministers of Charles VIII., who had now succeeded to the throne after the death of his father, Lewis, gave him countenance and protection; and being desirous of raising disturbance to Richard, they secretly encouraged the earl in the levies which he made for the support of his enterprise upon England. The earl of Oxford, whom Richard's suspicions had thrown into confinement, having made his escape, here joined Henry; and inflamed his ardor for the attempt, by a favorable account which he brought of the dispositions of the English nation, and their universal hatred of Richard's crimes and usurpation.

1485.

The earl of Richmond set sail from Harfleur, in Normandy, with a small army of about two thousand men; and after a navigation of six days, he arrived at Milford Haven, in Wales, where he landed without opposition. He directed his course to that part of the kingdom, in hopes that the Welsh, who regarded him as their countryman, and who had been already prepossessed in favor of his cause by means of the duke of Buckingham, would join his standard, and enable him to make head against the established government. Richard, who knew not in what quarter he might expect the invader, had taken post at Nottingham, in the centre of the kingdom; and having given commissions to different persons in the several counties, whom he empowered to oppose his enemy, he purposed in person to fly, on the first alarm, to the place exposed to danger. Sir Rice ap Thomas and Sir Walter Herbert were intrusted with his authority in Wales; but the former immediately deserted to Henry; the second made but feeble opposition to him; and the earl, advancing towards Shrewsbury, received every day some reënforcement from his partisans. Sir Gilbert Talbot joined him with all the vassals and retainers of the family of Shrewsbury: Sir Thomas Bourchier and Sir Walter Hungerford brought their friends to share his fortunes; and the appearance of men of distinction in his camp made already his cause wear a favorable aspect.

But the danger to which Richard was chiefly exposed, proceeded not so much from the zeal of his open enemies, as from the infidelity of his pretended friends. Scarce any nobleman of distinction was sincerely attached to his cause, except the duke of Norfolk; and all those who feigned the most loyalty were only watching for an opportunity to betray and desert him. But the persons of whom he entertained the greatest suspicion, were Lord Stanley and his brother Sir William, whose connections with the family of Richmond, notwithstanding their professions of attachment to his person, were never entirely forgotten or overlooked by him. When he empowered Lord Stanley to levy forces, he still retained his eldest son, Lord Strange, as a pledge for his fidelity; and that nobleman was, on this account, obliged to employ great caution and reserve in his proceedings. He raised a powerful body of his friends and retainers in Cheshire and Lancashire, but without openly declaring himself: and though Henry had received secret assurances of his friendly intentions, the armies on both sides knew not what to infer from his equivocal behavior. The two rivals at last approached each other, at Bosworth near Leicester; Henry at the head of six thousand men, Richard with an army of above double the number; and a decisive action was every hour expected between them. Stanley, who commanded above seven thousand men, took care to post himself at Atherstone, not far from the hostile camps; and he made such a disposition as enabled him on occasion to join either party. Richard had too much sagacity not to discover his intentions from these movements; but he kept the secret from his own men for fear of discouraging them: he took not immediate revenge on Stanley's son, as some of his courtiers advised him; because he hoped that so valuable a pledge would induce the father to prolong still further his ambiguous conduct: and he hastened to decide by arms the quarrel with his competitor; being certain that a victory over the earl of Richmond would enable him to take simple revenge on all his enemies, open and concealed.

The van of Richmond's army, consisting of archers, was commanded by the earl of Oxford: Sir Gilbert Talbot led the right wing; Sir John Savage the left: the earl himself, accompanied by his uncle the earl of Pembroke, placed himself in the main body. Richard also took post in his main body, and intrusted the command of his van to the duke of Norfolk: as his wings were never engaged, we have not learned the names of the several commanders. Soon after the battle began, Lord Stanley, whose conduct in this whole affair discovers great precaution and abilities, appeared in the field, and declared for the earl of Richmond. This measure, which was unexpected to the men, though not to their leaders, had a proportional effect on both armies: it inspired unusual courage into Henry's soldiers; it threw Richard's into dismay and confusion. The intrepid tyrant, sensible of his desperate situation, cast his eye around the field, and descrying his rival at no great distance, he drove against him with fury, in hopes that either Henry's death or his own would decide the victory between them. He killed with his own hands Sir William Brandon, standard-bearer to the earl: he dismounted Sir John Cheyney: he was now within reach of Richmond himself, who declined not the combat, when Sir William Stanley, breaking in with his troops, surrounded Richard, who, fighting bravely to the last moment, was overwhelmed by numbers, and perished by a fate too mild and honorable for his multiplied and detestable enormities. His men every where sought for safety by flight.

There fell in this battle about four thousand of the vanquished; and among these the duke of Norfolk, Lord Ferrars of Chartley, Sir Richard Ratcliffe, Sir Robert Piercy, and Sir Robert Brackenbury. 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 amidst 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, humpbacked, and had a harsh, disagreeable countenance; so that his body was in every particular no less deformed than his mind.

Thus have we pursued the history of England through a series of many barbarous ages, till we have at last reached the dawn of civility and science, and have the prospect, both of greater certainty in our historical narrations, and of being able to present to the reader a spectacle more worthy of his attention. The want of certainty, however, and of circumstances, is not unlike to be complained of throughout every period of this long narration. This island possesses many ancient historians of good credit, as well as many historical monuments; and it is rare, that the annals of so uncultivated a people as were the English, as well as the other European nations after the decline of Roman learning, have been transmitted to posterity so complete, and with so little mixture of falsehood and of fable. This advantage we owe entirely to the clergy of the church of Rome; who, founding their authority on their superior knowledge, preserved the precious literature of antiquity from a total extinction;[*] 21 and, under shelter of their numerous privileges and immunities, acquired a security by means of the superstition, which they would in vain have claimed from the justice and humanity of those turbulent and licentious ages.

     * See note U, at the end of the volume

Nor is the spectacle altogether unentertaining and uninstructive, which the history of those times presents to us. The view of human manners, in all their variety of appearances, is both profitable and agreeable; and if the aspect in some periods seem horrid and deformed, we may thence learn to cherish with the greater anxiety that science and civility, which has so close a connection with virtue and humanity, and which, as it is a sovereign antidote against superstition, is also the most effectual remedy against vice and disorders of every kind.

The rise, progress, perfection, and decline of art and science, are curious objects of contemplation, and intimately connected with a narration of civil transactions. The events of no particular period can be fully accounted for, but by considering the degrees of advancement which men have reached in those particulars.

Those who cast their eye on the general revolutions of society, will find that, as almost all improvements of the human mind had reached nearly to their state of perfection about the age of Augustus, there was a sensible decline from that point or period; and men thenceforth relapsed gradually into ignorance and barbarism. The unlimited extent of the Roman empire, and the consequent despotism of its monarchs, extinguished all emulation, debased the generous spirits of men, and depressed that noble flame by which all the refined arts must be cherished and enlivened. The military government, which soon succeeded, rendered even the lives and properties of men insecure and precarious; and proved destructive to those vulgar and more necessary arts of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce; and, in the end, to the military art and genius itself, by which alone the immense fabric of the empire could be supported. The irruption of the barbarous nations which soon followed, overwhelmed all human knowledge, which was already far in its decline; and men sunk every age deeper into ignorance, stupidity, and superstition; till the light of ancient science and history had very nearly suffered a total extinction in all the European nations.

But there is a point of depression, as well as of exaltation, from which human affairs naturally return in a contrary direction, and beyond which they seldom pass either in their advancement or decline. The period in which the people of Christendom were the lowest sunk in ignorance, and consequently in disorders of every kind, may justly be fixed at the eleventh century, about the age of William the Conqueror; and from that era the sun of science, beginning to reascend, threw out many gleams of light, which preceded the full morning when letters were revived in the fifteenth century. The Danes and other northern people, who had so long infested all the coasts, and even the island parts of Europe, by their depredations, having now learned the arts of tillage and agriculture, found a certain subsistence at home, and were no longer tempted to desert their industry, in order to seek a precarious livelihood by rapine and by the plunder of their neighbors. The feudal governments also, among the more southern nations, were reduced to a kind of system; and though that strange species of civil polity was ill fitted to insure either liberty or tranquillity, it was preferable to the universal license and disorder which had every where preceded it. But perhaps there was no event which tended further to the improvement of the age, than one which has not been much remarked, the accidental finding of a copy of Justinian's Pandects, about the year 1130, in the town of Amalfi, in Italy.

The ecclesiastics, who had leisure, and some inclination to study, immediately adopted with zeal this excellent system of jurisprudence, and spread the knowledge of it throughout every part of Europe. Besides the intrinsic merit of the performance, it was recommended to them by its original connection with the imperial city of Rome, which, being the seat of their religion, seemed to acquire a new lustre and authority by the diffusion of its laws over the western world. In less than ten years after the discovery of the Pandects, Vacarius, under the protection of Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, read public lectures of civil law in the university of Oxford; and the clergy every where, by their example as well as exhortation, were the means of diffusing the highest esteem for this new science. That order of men, having large possessions to defend, was in a manner necessitated to turn their studies towards the law; and their properties being often endangered by the violence of the princes and barons, it became their interest to enforce the observance of general and equitable rules, from which alone they could receive protection. As they possessed all the knowledge of the age, and were alone acquainted with the habits of thinking, the practice as well as science of the law fell mostly into their hands: and though the close connection which, without any necessity, they formed between the canon and civil law, begat a jealousy in the laity of England, and prevented the Roman jurisprudence from becoming the municipal law of the country, as was the case in many states of Europe, a great part of it was secretly transferred into the practice of the courts of justice, and the imitation of their neighbors made the English gradually endeavor to raise their own law from its original state of rudeness and imperfection.

It is easy to see what advantages Europe must have reaped by its inheriting at once from the ancients so complete an art, which was also so necessary for giving security to all other arts, and which by refining, and still more by bestowing solidity on the judgment, served as a model to further improvements. The sensible utility of the Roman law, both to public and private interest, recommended the study of it, at a time when the more exalted and speculative sciences carried no charms with them; and thus the last branch of ancient literature which remained uncorrupted, was happily the first transmitted to the modern world. For it is remarkable, that in the decline of Roman learning, when the philosophers were universally infected with superstition and sophistry, and the poets and historians with barbarism, the lawyers, who in other countries are seldom models of science or politeness, were yet able, by the constant study and close imitation of their predecessors, to maintain the same good sense in their decisions and reasonings, and the same purity in their language and expression.

What bestowed an additional merit on the civil law, was the extreme imperfection of that jurisprudence which preceded it among all the European nations, especially among the Saxons or ancient English. The absurdities which prevailed at that time in the administration of justice, may be conceived from the authentic monuments which remain of the ancient Saxon laws; where a pecuniary commutation was received for every crime, where stated prices were fixed for men's lives and members, where private revenges were authorized for all injuries, where the use of the ordeal, corsnet, and afterwards of the duel, was the received method of proof, and where the judges were rustic freeholders, assembled of a sudden, and deciding a cause from one debate or altercation of the parties. Such a state of society was very little advanced beyond the rude state of nature: violence universally prevailed, instead of general and equitable maxims: the pretended liberty of the times was only an incapacity of submitting to government: and men, not protected by law in their lives and properties, sought shelter, by their personal servitude and attachments, under some powerful chieftain, or by voluntary combinations.

The gradual progress of improvement raised the Europeans somewhat above this uncultivated state; and affairs, in this island particularly, took early a turn which was more favorable to justice and to liberty. Civil employments and occupations soon became honorable among the English: the situation of that people rendered not the perpetual attention to wars so necessary as among their neighbors, and all regard was not confined to the military profession: the gentry, and even the nobility, began to deem an acquaintance with the law a necessary part of education: they were less diverted than afterwards from studies of this kind by other sciences; and in the age of Henry VI., as we are told by Fortescue, there were in the inns of court about two thousand students, most of them men of honorable birth, who gave application to this branch of civil knowledge: a circumstance which proves, that a considerable progress was already made in the science of government, and which prognosticated a still greater.

One chief advantage which resulted from the introduction and progress of the arts, was the introduction and progress of freedom; and this consequence affected men both in their personal and civil capacities.

If we consider the ancient state of Europe, we shall find, that the far greater part of the society were every where bereaved of their personal liberty, and lived entirely at the will of their masters. Every one that was not noble, was a slave: the peasants were sold along with the land: the few inhabitants of cities were not in a better condition: even the gentry themselves were subjected to a long train of subordination under the greater barons or chief vassals of the crown; who, though seemingly placed in a high state of splendor, yet, having but a slender protection from law, were exposed to every tempest of the state, and, by the precarious condition in which they lived, paid dearly for the power of oppressing and tyrannizing over their inferiors. The first incident which broke in upon this violent system of government, was the practice, begun in Italy, and imitated in France, of erecting communities and corporations, endowed with privileges and a separate municipal government, which gave them protection against the tyranny of the barons, and which the prince himself deemed it prudent to respect.[*]

     * There appear early symptoms of the jealousy entertained by

     the barons against the progress of the arts, as destructive

     of their licentious power. A law was enacted, 7 Kenry IV.

     chap. 17, prohibiting any one who did not possess twenty

     shillings a year in land from binding his sons apprentices

     to any trade. They found already that the cities began to

     drain the country of the laborers and husbandmen: and did

     not foresee how much the increase of commerce would increase

     the value of their estates. See further, Cotton, p. 179. The

     kings, to encourage the boroughs, granted them this

     privilege, that any villein who had lived a twelvemonth in

     any corporation, and had been of the guild, should be

     thenceforth regarded as free.

The relaxation of the feudal tenures, and an execution somewhat stricter of the public law, bestowed an independence on vassals which was unknown to their forefathers. And even the peasants themselves, though later than other orders of the state, made their escape from those bonds of villenage or slavery in which they had formerly been retained.

It may appear strange that the progress of the arts, which seems, among the Greeks and Romans, to have daily increased the number of slaves, should, in later times, have proved so general a source of liberty; but this difference in the events proceeded from a great difference in the circumstances which attended those institutions. The ancient barons, obliged to maintain themselves continually in a military posture, and little emulous of elegance or splendor, employed not their villains as domestic servants, much less as manufacturers; but composed their retinue of freemen, whose military spirit rendered the chieftain formidable to his neighbors, and who were ready to attend him in every warlike enterprise. The villains were entirely occupied in the cultivation of their master's land, and paid their rents either in corn and cattle, and other produce of the farm, or in servile offices, which they performed about the baron's family, and upon the farms which he retained in his own possession. In proportion as agriculture improved and money increased, it was found that these services, though extremely burdensome to the villain, were of little advantage to the master; and that the produce of a large estate could be much more conveniently disposed of by the peasants themselves, who raised it, than by the landlord or his bailiff, who were formerly accustomed to receive it. A commutation was therefore made of rents for services, and of money-rents for those in kind; and as men, in a subsequent age, discovered that farms were better cultivated where the farmer enjoyed a security in his possession, the practice of granting leases to the peasant began to prevail, which entirely broke the bonds of servitude, already much relaxed from the former practices. After this manner villenage went gradually into disuse throughout the more civilized parts of Europe: the interest of the master, as well as that of the slave, concurred in this alteration. The latest laws which we find in England for enforcing or regulating this species of servitude, were enacted in the reign of Henry VII. And though the ancient statutes on this subject remain still unrepealed by parliament, it appears that before the end of Elizabeth, the distinction of villain and freeman was totally, though insensibly abolished, and that no person remained in the state, to whom the former laws could be applied.

Thus personal freedom became almost general in Europe; an advantage which paved the way for the increase of political or civil liberty, and which, even where it was not attended with this salutary effect, served to give the members of the community some of the most considerable advantages of it.

The constitution of the English government, ever since the invasion of this island by the Saxons, may boast of this pre-eminence, that in no age the will of the monarch was ever entirely absolute and uncontrolled; but in other respects the balance of power has extremely shifted among the several orders of the state; and this fabric has experienced the same mutability that has attended all human institutions.

The ancient Saxons, like the other German nations, where each individual was inured to arms, and where the independence of men was secured by a great equality of possessions, seem to have admitted a considerable mixture of democracy into their form of government, and to have been one of the freest nations of which there remains any account in the records of history. After this tribe was settled in England, especially after the dissolution of the heptarchy, the great extent of the kingdom produced a great inequality in property; and the balance seems to have inclined to the side of aristocracy. The Norman conquest threw more authority into the hands of the sovereign, which, however, admitted of great control; though derived less from the general forms of the constitution, which were inaccurate and irregular, than from the independent power enjoyed by each baron in his particular district or province. The establishment of the Great Charter exalted still higher the aristocracy, imposed regular limits on royal power, and gradually introduced some mixture of democracy into the constitution. But even during this period, from the accession of Edward I. to the death of Richard III., the condition of the commons was nowise eligible: a kind of Polish aristocracy prevailed; and though the kings were limited, the people were as yet far from being free. It required the authority almost absolute of the sovereigns, which took place in the subsequent period, to pull down those disorderly and licentious tyrants, who were equally averse from peace and from freedom, and to establish that regular execution of the laws, which, in a following age, enabled the people to erect a regular and equitable plan of liberty. In each of these successive alterations, the only rule of government which is intelligible, or carries any authority with it, is the established practice of the age, and the maxims of administration which are at that time prevalent and universally assented to. Those who, from a pretended respect to antiquity, appeal at every turn to an original plan of the constitution, only cover their turbulent spirit and their private ambition under the appearance of venerable forms; and whatever period they pitch on for their model, they may still be carried back to a more ancient period, where they will find the measures of power entirely different, and where every circumstance, by reason of the greater barbarity of the times, will appear still less worthy of imitation. Above all, a civilized nation like the English, who have happily established the most perfect and most accurate system of liberty that was ever found compatible with government, ought to be cautious in appealing to the practice of their ancestors, or regarding the maxims of uncultivated ages as certain rules for their present conduct. An acquaintance with the ancient periods of their government is chiefly useful, by instructing them to cherish their present constitution, from a comparison or contrast with the condition of those distant times. And it is also curious, by showing them the remote, and commonly faint and disfigured originals of the most finished and most noble institutions, and by instructing them in the great mixture of accident, which commonly concurs with a small ingredient of wisdom and foresight, in erecting the complicated fabric of the most perfect government.


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