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Title: Warwick the Kingmaker
Author: Oman, Charles
Language: English
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English Men of Action

WARWICK THE KINGMAKER


[Illustration: Publisher's logo]


Copyright

First Edition 1891. Reprinted 1893, 1899, 1905
(Prize Library Edition) 1903, 1909, 1916


[Illustration: WARWICK

From the Rous Roll]


WARWICK THE KINGMAKER

by

CHARLES W. OMAN



Macmillan and Co., Limited
St. Martin's Street, London
1916



CONTENTS


   CHAPTER I
                                                               PAGE

   The Days of the Kingmaker                                     1


   CHAPTER II

   The House of Neville                                         12


   CHAPTER III

   Richard of Salisbury                                         19


   CHAPTER IV

   The Kingmaker's Youth                                        29


   CHAPTER V

   The Cause of York                                            38


   CHAPTER VI

   The Beginning of the Civil War: St. Albans                   47


   CHAPTER VII

   Warwick Captain of Calais and Admiral                        60


   CHAPTER VIII

   Warwick in Exile                                             79


   CHAPTER IX

   Victory and Disaster--Northampton and St.
   Albans                                                       93


   CHAPTER X

   Towton Field                                                107


   CHAPTER XI

   The Triumph of King Edward                                  128


   CHAPTER XII

   The Pacification of the North                               137


   CHAPTER XIII

   The Quarrel of Warwick and King Edward                      159


   CHAPTER XIV

   Playing with Treason                                        175


   CHAPTER XV

   Warwick for King Henry                                      193


   CHAPTER XVI

   The Return of King Edward                                   208


   CHAPTER XVII

   Barnet                                                      228



CHAPTER I

THE DAYS OF THE KINGMAKER


Of all the great men of action who since the Conquest have guided the
course of English policy, it is probable that none is less known to the
reader of history than Richard Neville Earl of Warwick and Salisbury.
The only man of anything approaching his eminence who has been treated
with an equal neglect is Thomas Cromwell, and of late years the great
minister of Henry the Eighth is beginning to receive some of the
attention that is his due. But for the Kingmaker, the man who for ten
years was the first subject of the English Crown, and whose figure
looms out with a vague grandeur even through the misty annals of the
Wars of the Roses, no writer has spared a monograph. Every one, it is
true, knows his name, but his personal identity is quite ungrasped.
Nine persons out of ten if asked to sketch his character would find, to
their own surprise, that they were falling back for their information
to Lord Lytton's _Last of the Barons_ or Shakespeare's _Henry the
Sixth_.

An attempt, therefore, even an inadequate attempt, to trace out
with accuracy his career and his habits of mind from the original
authorities cannot fail to be of some use to the general reader as well
as to the student of history. The result will perhaps appear meagre
to those who are accustomed to the biographies of the men of later
centuries. We are curiously ignorant of many of the facts that should
aid us to build up a picture of the man. No trustworthy representation
of his bodily form exists. The day of portraits was not yet come; his
monument in Bisham Abbey has long been swept away; no writer has even
deigned to describe his personal appearance--we know not if he was dark
or fair, stout or slim. At most we may gather from the vague phrases
of the chroniclers, and from his quaint armed figure in the Rous Roll,
that he was of great stature and breadth of limb. But perhaps the good
Rous was thinking of his fame rather than his body, when he sketched
the Earl in that quaint pictorial pedigree over-topping all his race
save his cousin and king and enemy, Edward the Fourth.

But Warwick has only shared the fate of all his contemporaries. The
men of the fifteenth century are far less well known to us than are
their grandfathers or their grandsons. In the fourteenth century the
chroniclers were still working on their old scale; in the sixteenth
the literary spirit had descended on the whole nation, and great men
and small were writing hard at history as at every other branch of
knowledge. But in the days of Lancaster and York the old fountains
had run dry, and the new flood of the Renaissance had not risen. The
materials for reconstructing history are both scanty and hard to
handle. We dare not swallow Hall and Hollingshead whole, as was the
custom for two hundred years, or take their annals, coloured from
end to end with Tudor sympathies, as good authority for the doings of
the previous century. Yet when we have put aside their fascinating,
if somewhat untrustworthy, volumes, we find ourselves wandering in a
very dreary waste of fragments and scraps of history, strung together
on the meagre thread of two or three dry and jejune compilations of
annals. To have to take William of Worcester or good Abbot Whethamsted
as the groundwork of a continuous account of the times is absolutely
maddening. Hence it comes to pass that Warwick has failed to receive
his dues.

Of all the men of Warwick's century there are only two whose characters
we seem thoroughly to grasp--the best and the worst products of the
age--Henry the Fifth and Richard the Third. The achievements of the one
stirred even the feeble writers of that day into a fulness of detail in
which they indulge for no other hero; the other served as the text for
so many invectives under the Tudors that we imagine that we see a real
man in the gloomy portrait that is set up before us. Yet we may fairly
ask whether our impression is not drawn, either at first or at second
hand, almost entirely from Sir Thomas More's famous biography of the
usurper, a work whose literary merits have caused it to be received as
the only serious source for Richard's history. If we had not that work,
Richard of Gloucester would seem a vaguely-defined monster of iniquity,
as great a puzzle to the student of history as are the other shadowy
forms which move on through those evil times to fall, one after the
other, into the bloody grave which was the common lot of all.

In spite, however, of the dearth of good chronicles, and of the
absolute non-existence of any contemporary writers of literary merit,
there are authorities enough of one sort and another to make it both
possible and profitable to build up a detailed picture of Warwick and
his times. First and foremost, of course, come the invaluable Paston
Letters, covering the whole period, and often supplying the vivid
touches of detail in which the more formal documents are so lamentably
deficient. If but half a dozen families, as constant in letter-writing
as John and Margery Paston, had transmitted their correspondence
to posterity, there would be little need to grumble at our lack of
information. Other letters too exist, scattered in collections, such
as the interesting scrawl from Warwick himself, in his dire extremity
before Barnet fight, to Henry Vernon, which was turned up a year ago
among the lumber at Belvoir Castle. Much can be gathered from rolls and
inquests--for example, the all-important information as to centres and
sources of local power can be traced out with perfect accuracy from the
columns of the Escheats Roll, where each peer or knight's lands are
carefully set forth at the moment of his decease. Joining one authority
to another, we may fairly build up the England of the fifteenth century
before our eyes with some approach to completeness.

The whole picture of the times is very depressing on the moral if not
on the material side. There are few more pitiful episodes in history
than the whole tale of the reign of Henry the Sixth, the most unselfish
and well-intentioned king that ever sat upon the English throne--a man
of whom not even his enemies and oppressors could find an evil word to
say; the troubles came, as they confessed, "all because of his false
lords, and never of him." We feel that there must have been something
wrong with the heart of a nation that could see unmoved the meek and
holy King torn from wife and child, sent to wander in disguise up and
down the kingdom for which he had done his poor best, and finally
doomed to pine for five years a prisoner in the fortress where he had
so long held his royal Court. Nor is our first impression concerning
the demoralisation of England wrong. Every line that we read bears home
to us more and more the fact that the nation had fallen on evil times.
First and foremost among the causes of its moral deterioration was
the wretched French War, a war begun in the pure spirit of greed and
ambition,--there was not even the poor excuse that had existed in the
time of Edward the Third--carried on by the aid of hordes of debauched
foreign mercenaries (after Henry the Fifth's death the native English
seldom formed more than a third of any host that took the field in
France), and persisted in long after it had become hopeless, partly
from misplaced national pride, partly because of the personal interests
of the ruling classes. Thirty-five years of a war that was as unjust as
it was unfortunate had both soured and demoralised the nation. England
was full of disbanded soldiers of fortune; of knights who had lost
the ill-gotten lands across the Channel, where they had maintained a
precarious lordship in the days of better fortune; of castellans and
governors whose occupation was gone; of hangers-on of all sorts who had
once maintained themselves on the spoils of Normandy and Guienne. Year
after year men and money had been lavished on the war to no effect;
and when the final catastrophe came, and the fights of Formigny and
Chatillon ended the chapter of our disasters, the nation began to
cast about for a scapegoat on whom to lay the burden of its failures.
The real blame lay on the nation itself, not on any individual; and
the real fault that had been committed was not the mismanagement of an
enterprise which presented any hopes of success, but a wrong-headed
persistence in an attempt to conquer a country which was too strong
to be held down. However, the majority of the English people chose to
assume firstly that the war with France might have been conducted to
a prosperous issue, and secondly that certain particular persons were
responsible for its having come to the opposite conclusion. At first
the unfortunate Suffolk and Somerset had the responsibility laid upon
them. A little later the outcry became more bold and fixed upon the
Lancastrian dynasty itself as being to blame not only for disaster
abroad, but for the "want of governance" at home. If King Henry had
understood the charge, and possessed the wit to answer it, he might
fairly have replied that his subjects must fit the burden upon their
own backs, not upon his. The war had been weakly conducted, it was
true; but weakly because the men and money for it were grudged. The
England that could put one hundred thousand men into the field in a
civil broil at Towton sent four thousand to fight the decisive battle
at Formigny that settled our fate in Normandy. At home the bulwarks of
social order seemed crumbling away. Private wars, riot, open highway
robbery, murder, abduction, armed resistance to the law, prevailed on
a scale that had been unknown since the troublous times of Edward the
Second--we might almost say since the evil days of Stephen. But it was
not the Crown alone that should have been blamed for the state of the
realm. The nation had chosen to impose over-stringent constitutional
checks on the kingly power before it was ripe for self-government, and
the Lancastrian house sat on the throne because it had agreed to submit
to those checks. If the result of the experiment was disastrous, both
parties to the contract had to bear their share of the responsibility.
But a nation seldom allows that it has been wrong; and Henry of Windsor
had to serve as scapegoat for all the misfortunes of the realm, because
Henry of Bolingbroke had committed his descendants to the unhappy
compact.

Want of a strong central government was undoubtedly the complaint under
which England was labouring in the middle of the fifteenth century, and
all the grievances against which outcry was made were but symptoms of
one latent disease.

Ever since the death of Henry the Fifth the internal government of
the country had been steadily going from bad to worse. The mischief
had begun in the young King's earliest years. The Council of Regency
that ruled in his name had from the first proved unable to make its
authority felt as a single individual ruler might have done. With
the burden of the interminable French War weighing upon their backs,
and the divisions caused by the quarrels of Beaufort and Gloucester
dividing them into factions, the councillors had not enough attention
to spare for home government. As early as 1428 we find them, when
confronted by the outbreak of a private war in the north, endeavouring
to patch up the quarrel by arbitration, instead of punishing the
offenders on each side. Accounts of riotous assemblages in all parts
of the country, of armed violence at parliamentary elections, of
party fights in London at Parliament time--like that which won for the
meeting of 1426 the name of the Parliament of Bats (bludgeons)--grow
more and more common. We even find treasonable insurrection appearing
in the strange obscure rising of the political Lollards under Jack
Sharp in 1431, an incident which shows how England was on the verge of
bloodshed twenty years before the final outbreak of civil war was to
take place.

But all these public troubles would have been of comparatively small
importance if the heart of the nation had been sound. The phenomenon
which makes the time so depressing is the terrible decay in private
morals since the previous century. A steady deterioration is going
on through the whole period, till at its end we find hardly a single
individual in whom it is possible to interest ourselves, save an
occasional Colet or Caxton, who belongs in spirit, if not date, to the
oncoming renascence of the next century. There is no class or caste in
England which comes well out of the scrutiny. The Church, which had
served as the conscience of the nation in better times, had become
dead to spiritual things; it no longer produced either men of saintly
life or learned theologians or patriotic statesmen. In its corporate
capacity it had grown inertly orthodox. Destitute of any pretence of
spiritual energy, yet showing a spirit of persecution such as it had
never displayed in earlier centuries, its sole activity consisted in
hunting to the stake the few men who displayed any symptoms of thinking
for themselves in matters of religion. So great was the deadness of the
Church that it was possible to fall into trouble, like Bishop Pecock,
not for defending Lollardry, but for showing too much originality
in attacking it. Individually the leading churchmen of the day were
politicians and nothing more, nor were they as a rule politicians of
the better sort; for one like Beaufort, who was at any rate consistent
and steadfast, there are many Bourchiers and George Nevilles and
Beauchamps, who merely sailed with the wind and intrigued for their own
fortunes or those of their families.

Of the English baronage of the fifteenth century we shall have
so much to say in future chapters that we need not here enlarge
on its characteristics. Grown too few and too powerful, divided
into a few rival groups, whose political attitude was settled by a
consideration of family grudges and interests rather than by any
grounds of principle, or patriotism, or loyalty, they were as unlike
their ancestors of the days of John or Edward the First as their
ecclesiastical contemporaries were unlike Langton or even Winchelsey.
The baronage of England had often been unruly, but it had never before
developed the two vices which distinguished it in the times of the
Two Roses--a taste for indiscriminate bloodshed and a turn for rapid
political apostasy. To put prisoners to death by torture as did Tiptoft
Earl of Worcester, to desert to the enemy in the midst of battle
like Lord Grey de Ruthyn at Northampton, or Stanley at Bosworth, had
never before been the custom of England. It is impossible not to
recognise in such traits the results of the French War. Twenty years
spent in contact with French factions, and in command of the godless
mercenaries who formed the bulk of the English armies, had taught our
nobles lessons of cruelty and faithlessness such as they had not before
imbibed. Their demoralisation had been displayed in France long ere
the outbreak of civil war caused it to manifest itself at home.

But if the Church was effete and the baronage demoralised, it might
have been thought that England should have found salvation in the
soundheartedness of her gentry and her burgesses. Unfortunately such
was not to be the case. Both of these classes were growing in strength
and importance during the century, but when the times of trouble came
they gave no signs of aspiring to direct the destinies of the nation.
The House of Commons which should, as representing those classes, have
gone on developing its privileges, was, on the contrary, thrice as
important in the reign of Henry the Fourth as in that of Edward the
Fourth. The knights and squires showed on a smaller scale all of the
vices of the nobility. Instead of holding together and maintaining a
united loyalty to the Crown, they bound themselves by solemn sealed
bonds and the reception of "liveries" each to the baron whom he
preferred. This fatal system, by which the smaller landholder agreed on
behalf of himself and his tenants to follow his greater neighbour in
peace and war, had ruined the military system of England, and was quite
as dangerous as the ancient feudalism. The salutary old usage, by which
all freemen who were not tenants of a lord served under the sheriff in
war, and not under the banner of any of the baronage, had long been
forgotten. Now, if all the gentry of a county were bound by these
voluntary indentures to serve some great lord, there was no national
force in that county on which the Crown could count, for the yeoman
followed the knight as the knight followed the baron. If the gentry
constituted themselves the voluntary followers of the baronage, and
aided their employers to keep England unhappy, the class of citizens
and burgesses took a very different line of conduct. If not actively
mischievous, they were sordidly inert. They refused to entangle
themselves in politics at all. They submitted impassively to each ruler
in turn, when they had ascertained that their own persons and property
were not endangered by so doing. A town, it has been remarked, seldom
or never stood a siege during the Wars of the Roses, for no town ever
refused to open its gates to any commander with an adequate force who
asked for entrance. If we find a few exceptions to the rule, we almost
always learn that entrance was denied not by the citizens, but by some
garrison of the opposite side which was already within the walls.
Loyalty seems to have been as wanting among the citizens as among the
barons of England. If they generally showed some slight preference for
York rather than for Lancaster, it was not on any moral or sentimental
ground, but because the house of Lancaster was known by experience
to be weak in enforcing "good governance," and the house of York was
pledged to restore the strength of the Crown and to secure better times
for trade than its rival.

Warwick was a strong man, born at the commencement of Henry the
Sixth's unhappy minority, whose coming of age coincided with the
outburst of national rage caused by the end of the disastrous French
War, whose birth placed him at the head of one of the great factions
in the nobility, whose strength of body and mind enabled him to turn
that headship to full account. How he dealt with the problems which
inevitable necessity laid before him we shall endeavour to relate.



CHAPTER II

THE HOUSE OF NEVILLE


Of all the great houses of mediæval England, the Nevilles of Raby were
incontestably the toughest and the most prolific. From the reign of
John to the reign of Elizabeth their heritage never once passed into
the female line, and in all the fourteen generations which lived and
died between 1210 and 1600 there was only one occasion on which the
succession passed from uncle to nephew, and not from father to son or
grandson. The vitality of the Neville tribe was sufficient to bear them
through repeated marriages with those only daughters and heiresses
whose wedlock so often forebodes the extinction of an ancient house. Of
four successive heads of the family between 1250 and 1350, all married
ladies who were the last representatives of old baronial houses; but
the Nevilles only grew more numerous, and spread into more and more
branches, extending their possessions farther and farther from their
original seat on the Durham moors till all the counties of the north
were full of their manors.

The original source of the family was a certain Robert Fitz-Maldred,
lord of Raby, who, in the reign of John, married Isabella de Neville,
heiress of his neighbour Geoffrey de Neville of Brancepeth. Robert's
son Geoffrey, who united the Teesdale lands of his father with his
mother's heritage hard by the gates of Durham, took the name of
Neville, and that of Fitz-Maldred was never again heard in the family.
The lords of Raby did not at first distinguish themselves in any way
above the rest of the barons of the North Country. We find them from
time to time going forth to the King's Scotch or French wars, serving
in Simon de Montfort's rebel army, wrangling with their feudal superior
the Bishop of Durham, slaying an occasional sheriff, and founding an
occasional chantry, and otherwise conducting themselves after the
manner of their kind. It was one of the house who led the English
van against the Scots at the great victory of 1346, and erected the
graceful monument which gave to the battlefield the name of Neville's
Cross.

Only two characteristics marked these Nevilles of the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries; the largeness of their families--three
successive lords of Raby boasted respectively of ten, eleven, and nine
children--and their never-ending success in laying field by field
and manor by manor. Robert Neville, who in the time of Henry the
Third married Ida Mitford, added to his Durham lands his wife's broad
Northumbrian barony in the valley of the Wansbeck. His son of the same
name made Neville one of the greatest names in Yorkshire, when he
wedded Mary of Middleham, and became in her right lord of Middleham
Castle and all the manors dependent on it, reaching for a dozen miles
along the Ure and running up to the farthest bounds of the forest of
Coverdale. Robert the younger's heir, Ralph, emulated the good fortune
of his father and grandfather by securing as his wife Euphemia, heiress
of Clavering, who brought him not only the half-hundred of Clavering in
Essex, but the less remote and more valuable lands of Warkworth on the
Northumbrian coast. Ralph's son John, though he married as his first
wife a younger daughter of the house of Percy, secured as his second
Elizabeth Latimer, heiress of an old baronial house whose domains lay
scattered about Bucks and Bedfordshire.

Four generations of wealthy marriages had made the Nevilles the
greatest lords in all the North Country. Even their neighbours, the
Percies of Northumberland, were not so strong. The "saltire argent on
the field gules," and the dun bull, the two Neville badges, were borne
by hosts of retainers. Three hundred men-at-arms, of whom fourteen
were knights and three hundred archers, followed the lord of Raby even
when he went so far afield as Brittany. For home service against the
Scots he could muster thrice as many. More than seventy manors were in
his hands, some spread far and wide in Essex, Norfolk, Bedfordshire,
and Buckinghamshire, but the great bulk of them lying massed in North
Yorkshire and South Durham, around Raby and Middleham, the two strong
castles which were the centres of his influence. Hence it was not
surprising that King Richard the Second, when he lavished titles and
honours broadcast on the nobility after his surprising _coup d'état_ of
1397, should have singled out the head of the Nevilles for conciliation
and preferment. Accordingly, Ralph Neville, then in the thirty-fourth
year of his age, was raised to the dignity of an earl. Curiously
enough, he could not be given the designation of either of the counties
where the bulk of his broad lands lay. The earldom of Durham was, now
as always, in the hands of its bishop, _comes palatinus_ of the county
since the days of William the Conqueror. The titles of York and of
Richmondshire, wherein lay the other great stretch of Neville land,
were vested in members of the royal house. The Percies had twenty years
before received the title of Northumberland, the third county where
the Nevilles held considerable property. Hence Ralph of Raby had to
be put off with the title of Westmoreland, though in that county he
seems, curiously enough, not to have held a single manor. The gift of
the earldom was accompanied with the more tangible present of the royal
honour of Penrith.

All these favours, however, did not buy the loyalty of Ralph Neville.
He was married to one of John of Gaunt's daughters by Katherine
Swinford, and was at heart a strong partisan of the house of Lancaster.
Accordingly, when Henry of Bolingbroke landed at Ravenspur in July
1399, Westmoreland was one of the first to join him; he rode with him
to Flint, saw the surrender of King Richard, and bore the royal sceptre
at the usurper's coronation at Westminster. Henry rewarded his services
by making him Earl Marshal in place of the exiled Duke of Norfolk.

Earl Ralph went on in a prosperous career, aided King Henry against
the rising of the Percies in 1403, and committed himself more firmly
than ever to the cause of the house of Lancaster by putting down the
insurrection which Scrope, Mowbray, and the aged Northumberland had
raised in 1405. Twice he served King Henry as ambassador to treat with
the Scots, and twice the custody of the Border was committed to him as
warden. When Bolingbroke died, and Henry of Monmouth succeeded him,
Earl Ralph was no less firm and faithful. At the famous Parliament of
Leicester in 1414, when the glorious but fatal war with France was
resolved upon, he was one of the few who withstood the arguments of
Archbishop Chicheley and the appeals of the Duke of Exeter and gave
their voices against the expedition. He besought the King that, if he
must needs make war, he should attack Scotland rather than France, the
English title to that crown being as good, the enterprise more hopeful,
and the result more likely to bring permanent profit, while--quoting an
old popular rhyme--he ended by saying that

 He that wolde France win, must with Scotland first begin.

But all men cried "War! War! France! France!" The ambitious young King
had his will; and the next spring there sailed from Southampton the
first of those many gallant hosts of Englishmen who were to win so
many fruitless battles to their country's final loss, and leave their
bones behind to moulder in French soil, in the trenches of Harfleur and
Orleans or on the fields of Beaugé and Patay.

Every reader of Shakespeare has met Earl Ralph in the English camp on
the eve of the battle of Agincourt, remembers his downhearted wish for
a few thousands of the "gentlemen of England now abed," and can repeat
by heart the young King's stirring reply to his uncle's forebodings.
But, in fact, Earl Ralph was not at Agincourt, nor did he even cross
the sea. He had been left behind with Lord Scrope and the Baron of
Greystock to keep the Scottish March, and was far away at Carlisle
when Henry's little band of English were waiting for the dawn on that
eventful St. Crispin's day. Unless tradition errs, it was really Walter
of Hungerford who made the speech that drew down his master's chiding.

Ralph was now growing an old man as the men of the fifteenth century
reckoned old age; and while the brilliant campaigns of Henry the Fifth
were in progress abode at home, busied with statecraft rather than
with war. But his sons, and they were a numerous tribe, were one after
another sent across the seas to join their royal cousin. John, the heir
of Westmoreland, was serving all through the campaigns of 1417-18, and
was made governor of Verneuil and other places in its neighbourhood,
after having held the trenches opposite the Porte de Normandie during
the long siege of Rouen, and assisted also at the leaguer of Caen.
Ralph, Richard, William, and George are found following in their elder
brother's footsteps as each of them arrived at the years of manhood,
and all earned their knighthood by services done in France.

Meanwhile Earl Ralph, after surviving his royal nephew some three
years, and serving for a few months as one of the Privy Council that
governed in the name of the infant Henry the Sixth, died on October
21st, 1425, at the age of sixty-two, and was buried in the beautiful
collegiate church which he had founded at Staindrop, hard by the gates
of his ancestral castle of Raby. There his monument still remains,
escaped by good fortune from the vandalism of Edwardian and Cromwellian
Protestants. He lies in full armour, wearing the peaked basinet
that was customary in his younger days, though it had gone out of
fashion ere his death. His regular features have little trace of real
portraiture, and show no signs of his advancing years, so that we may
conclude that the sculptor had never been acquainted with the man he
was representing. Only the short twisted moustache, curling over the
mail of the Earl's camail, has something of individuality, and must
have corresponded to the life; for by 1425 all the men of the younger
generation were close shaven, like King Henry the Fifth. On Earl
Ralph's right hand, as befitted a princess of the blood royal, lies his
second wife Joan of Beaufort; on his left Margaret Stafford, the bride
of his youth and the mother of his heir.



CHAPTER III

RICHARD OF SALISBURY


Earl Ralph, surpassing all his keen and prolific ancestors not
only in the success with which he pushed his fortunes, but in the
enormous family which he reared, had become the father of no less than
twenty-three children by his two wives. Nine were the offspring of
Margaret of Stafford, fourteen of Joan of Beaufort. John, the heir of
Westmoreland, had died a few years before his father, and the earldom
passed to his son, Ralph the second, now a lad of about eighteen. But
the greater number of the other twenty-two children still survived,
and their fortunes influenced the after history both of the house of
Neville and the kingdom of England to such an extent that they need
careful statement.

The old Earl had turned all his energies into negotiating the marriages
of his children, and partly by the favour of the two Henries, partly
by judicious buying up of wardships in accordance with the practice
of the fifteenth century, partly by playing on the desire of his
neighbours to be allied to the greatest house of the North Country, he
had succeeded in establishing a compact family group, which was already
by 1425 one of the factors to be reckoned with in English politics.
The most important of these connections by far was the wedding of his
youngest daughter Cecily to Richard Duke of York--a marriage brought
about by royal favour shortly before the Earl's death, while both the
contracting parties were mere children; the Duke some eleven years old,
the little bride about nine.[1] By this union Ralph of Westmoreland
was destined to become the ancestor of a score of kings and queens of
England. It bound the house of Neville to the Yorkist cause, and led
away the children of Ralph from that loyalty to Lancaster which had
been the cause of their father's greatness. But at the time when the
marriage was brought about no one could well have foreseen the Wars of
the Roses, and we may acquit the Earl of any design greater than that
of increasing the prosperity of his house by another marriage with a
younger branch of the royal stock. His own union with Joan of Beaufort
had served him so well, that he could desire nothing better for the
next generation. The elder brothers and sisters of Cecily of York, if
their alliances were less exalted than hers, were yet wedded, almost
without exception, to the most important members of the baronage.

Of the elder family, the offspring of Earl Ralph by Margaret of
Stafford, the second son Ralph Neville of Biwell married the co-heiress
of Ferrers. One sister died young, another became a nun, but four
of the remaining five were married to the heirs of the houses of
Mauley, Dacre, Scrope of Bolton, and Kyme. The younger family, the
children of Joan of Beaufort, made even more fortunate marriages. Of
the daughters, the youngest, as we have stated above, wedded Richard
of York. Her elder sisters were united respectively to John Mowbray
Duke of Norfolk, Humphrey Stafford Duke of Buckingham, and Henry Percy
Earl of Northumberland--the grandson of Earl Ralph's old enemy and
the son of Hotspur. Of the six sons of Joan of Beaufort, Richard the
eldest married Alice Montacute, heiress of the earldom of Salisbury,
and became by her the father of the Kingmaker; with him we shall have
much to do. William, the second son, won the heiress of Fauconbridge.
George, the third son, was made the heir of his half-uncle John Lord
Latimer, and by special grant succeeded to his uncle's barony. Robert
entered the Church, and by judicious family backing became Bishop
of Salisbury before he had reached his twenty-fifth year, only to
be transplanted ten years later to Durham, the most powerful of the
English bishoprics, whose palatine rights he could thus turn to the use
of his numerous kindred. Finally, Edward, the youngest brother, secured
Elizabeth Beauchamp, heiress of Abergavenny.

The numbers of the English baronage had been rapidly decreasing since
the reign of the third Edward, and in the early years of Henry the
Sixth the total number of peers summoned to a Parliament never exceeded
thirty-five. Among this small muster could be counted one grandson,
three sons, and five sons-in-law of Earl Ralph.[2] A little later,
one son and one grandson more were added to the peers of the Neville
kindred, and it seemed probable that by the marriages of the next
generation half the English House of Lords would be found to descend
from the prolific stock of Raby.

In the first twenty years of the reign of Henry of Windsor, while the
young King's personal weakness was not yet known, while his uncle of
Bedford and his great-uncle of Winchester stood beside the throne, and
while the war in France--though the balance had long turned against
England--was still far from its disastrous end, the confederacies of
the great baronial houses were of comparatively little importance. The
fatal question of the succession to the Crown was still asleep, for the
young King was only just nearing manhood, and might, for all that men
knew, be the parent of as many war-like sons as his grandfather. It was
not till Henry's nine years of barren wedlock, from 1445 to 1454, set
the minds of his nobles running on the problem of the succession, that
the peace of England was really endangered.

Richard Neville, the eldest of the sons of Earl Ralph's second
marriage, was born in 1399. He was too young to follow King Henry to
the siege of Harfleur and the fight of Agincourt, but a few years
later he accompanied his half-brother John, the heir of Westmoreland,
to the wars of France. It was not in France, however, that the years
of his early manhood were to be spent, but on the Scotch Border in
the company of his father. When he came of age and was knighted in
1420 he was made the colleague of the old Earl in the wardenship of
the Western Marches. This office he retained for several years, and
was in consequence much mixed up with Scotch affairs, twice acting
as commissioner to treat with the Regent of Scotland, and escorting
James the First to the border of his kingdom when the English Council
released him from his long captivity. We hear of him occasionally at
Court, as when, for example, he acted as carver at the Coronation
Banquet of the newly-wed Queen Catherine, a ceremony which, according
to Monstrelet, "was performed with such splendid magnificence that the
like had never been seen since the time of that noble knight Arthur,
King of the English and Bretons."

Richard had reached the age of twenty-six when, in 1425, he married
Alice, the only child of Thomas Montacute Earl of Salisbury, who
had just reached her eighteenth year. The Montacutes were not among
the wealthiest of the English earls--for his faithful adherence to
Richard the Second the last head of the house had lost his life and
his estates; and although his son had been restored in blood, and had
received back many of the Montacute lands, yet the list of his manors
in the Escheats Roll reads poorly enough beside those of the Earls of
Norfolk and Devon, March and Arundell. Earl Thomas, in spite of his
father's fate, had consented to serve the house of Lancaster.

In 1425, as we have already mentioned, the old Earl, Ralph of
Westmoreland, died. In his will, which has been preserved, we find that
he left his son Richard little enough--"two chargers, twelve dishes,
and a great ewer and basin of silver, a bed of Arras, with red, white,
and green hangings, and four untrained horses, the best that should
be found in his stable." Evidently he thought that he need do nothing
for this son on whom the earldom of Salisbury was bound to devolve. It
was only to Ralph and Edward, the two among his surviving sons who had
not yet inherited land from their wives, that the old Earl demised the
baronies of Biwell and Winlayton, two of his outlying estates.

But in another respect the will of Earl Ralph was destined to prove a
source of many heart-burnings in the house of Neville, and fated to
break up the strict family alliance which made its strength. While
he left the Durham lands of Neville, round his ancestral castle of
Raby, to his grandson and heir, Ralph the second, he made over the
larger part of his Yorkshire possessions not to the young Earl, but
as jointure to his widow, Joan of Beaufort, the mother of Richard and
the other thirteen children of his second family. The Countess, once
mistress of Sherif Hoton Castle and the other North-Riding lands of
Neville, had no thought of letting them pass away from her own sons to
the descendants of her husband's first wife. They were destined to be
diverted from the elder to the younger family. Here lay the source of
many future troubles, but while the young Earl Ralph was still a minor
the matter did not come to a head.

Three years after he lost his father, Richard Neville heard of the
death of his father-in-law. The Earl of Salisbury had been appointed by
John of Bedford Captain-General of all the English forces in France,
and gathering together ten thousand men, all that the Regent could
spare, had marched to the fatal siege of Orleans. There in the early
days of the leaguer, six months before Joan the Maid came to the rescue
of the garrison, he had met his death. As he watched the walls from the
tower on the bridge over the Loire, a stone shot had torn away half
his face; he died in a few days, exhorting his officers with his last
breath to persevere in the attack.

Thus Richard Neville became by the death of his father-in-law Earl
of Salisbury and master of the lands of Montacute. They lay, for the
most part, on the borders of Wiltshire and Hampshire, between Ringwood
and Amesbury, in the valleys of the Bourn and Avon. The castles of
Christchurch and Trowbridge were the most important part of the
heritage from the military point of view. Some scattered manors in
Berkshire, Dorset, and Somerset served to swell its value. Richard,
now become a considerable South Country baron, at once did homage for
his wife's lands, and was summoned as Earl of Salisbury to the next
Parliament, that of 1429. At the same meeting at which he took his seat
his nephew, Ralph the younger of Westmoreland, also appeared for the
first time, having now passed his minority and entered into possession
of such of the Neville lands as had not been left to his step-mother.

It was beyond doubt the alienation of these lands which led to the
estrangement between the younger and the elder Nevilles which we
soon after find taking visible form in troubles in the North. Ralph,
marrying a sister of Henry Earl of Northumberland, became the firm
friend and ally of that house of Percy which his grandfather had done
so much to humble. Richard kept up the old feud, and was always found
on the opposite side from his nephew. Presently (the exact year of the
commencement of the quarrel is uncertain, but it was at its height in
1435) we find them at actual blows in a manner which brings out the
fact that the "good and strong governance," which Parliament after
Parliament sighed for in the reign of Henry the Sixth, had already
become a hopeless dream. Plaints come down from the North to the Lord
Chancellor that "owing to the grievous differences which have arisen
between Ralph Earl of Westmoreland, and his brothers John and Thomas
on the one hand, and Joan Dowager-Countess of Westmoreland and her son
Richard Earl of Salisbury, on the other hand, have of late assembled,
by manner of war and insurrection, great routs and companies upon
the field, which have done all manner of great offences as well in
slaughter and destruction of the King's lieges as otherwise, which
things are greatly against the estate and weal and peace of this
Royaume of England."

Of the details of this local war in Yorkshire we know nothing. Some
sort of accommodation was patched up, by three arbitrators named by
the Privy Council, for the moment between uncle and nephew; but the
grudge rankled, and if ever England should be rent by civil war, it
took no prophet to foretell that the two Neville earls would be found
in opposite camps.

The old Countess Joan of Westmoreland died in 1440, and left, as was
natural, Middleham, Sherif Hoton, and all the other lands of her
jointure to her eldest son. Richard of Salisbury thus became a much
greater landholder in the North than he already was in the South. His
Hampshire and Wiltshire fiefs are for the future the less important
centre of his strength. Sherif Hoton becomes his favourite residence,
and it is always as a power in Yorkshire, not in Wessex, that he is
mentioned by the chroniclers of the day.

Neither of the Neville earls took any prominent part in the
never-ending French War. Ralph of Westmoreland seems to have been
wanting both in the appetite for war and the keen eye for the main
chance which had hitherto distinguished the lords of Raby. It was his
younger brother John who was the fighting man of the older branch of
Neville. Earl Richard, on the other hand, was energetic enough, but
seems to have preferred to push his fortunes at home, rather than to
risk his reputation in the unlucky wars where Somerset and Suffolk
and so many more earned ill-fame and unpopularity. We hear of him
most often on the Scottish Border, where he seems to have succeeded
to the commanding position that had once been held by his father. He
was Captain of Berwick, and served as Warden both of the Eastern and
Western Marches, till at the end of 1435 he was sent as ambassador
extraordinary to Edinburgh. James the First, with whom he had to settle
some matters of Border feud, was his own connection, for Salisbury's
mother was aunt of Joan Beaufort, the young Queen of Scots. After
quitting King James, only a few months before his cruel murder at
Perth, Earl Richard went on an embassy of far greater importance, being
sent to France, along with his young brother-in-law the Duke of York,
to endeavour to patch up some agreement that might end the series of
disasters which had commenced with the death of the Duke of Bedford in
the previous year. His mission failed, as indeed all missions were
bound to do that made after the treaty of Arras the same demands which
the French had refused before it. Nevertheless, on his return, in 1437,
Salisbury was made a member of the Privy Council, and took his seat
in the body which ever since 1422 had been directing the fortunes of
England.

This appointment fixed Salisbury in London for the greater part of the
next ten years. We find from the records of the Privy Council that he
was almost as regular an attendant at its meetings as was Cardinal
Beaufort himself, the practical Prime Minister of the realm. His
signature appears at the foot of countless documents, and his activity
and appetite for business seem to have been most exemplary. So far as
we can judge of his action, he appears to have sided with the great
Cardinal, and not with the Opposition which centred round Humphrey
Duke of Gloucester; but factions had not fully developed themselves as
yet in the Council, and the definite parties which existed a few years
later were only just beginning to sketch themselves out.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Cecily is called Duchess of York in Earl's Ralph's will,
so the children must therefore have been already married; but the
consummation of the marriage was not till about 1438, when he was
twenty-six and she twenty-three years of age.]

[Footnote 2: The grandson was Ralph Earl of Westmoreland; the sons,
Richard of Salisbury, William of Fauconbridge, and George of Latimer;
the sons-in-law, the Dukes of York, Norfolk, and Buckingham, the
Earl of Northumberland, and Lord Dacre. Later, Edward Neville Lord
Abergavenny, and Roger Lord Scrope, appear; the first a son, the second
a grandson.]



CHAPTER IV

THE KINGMAKER'S YOUTH


Richard, the second child but eldest son of Richard Neville of
Salisbury and Alice Montacute, was born on November 22nd, 1428, just
nineteen days after his grandfather had fallen at the siege of Orleans.
We know absolutely nothing of his childhood--not even the place of his
birth is recorded. We must suppose, but cannot prove, that his earliest
days were passed on his mother's lands in Wessex, in moving about
between Amesbury, Christchurch, and Ringwood as his parents' household
made its periodical peregrinations from manor to manor according to
the universal practice of the time. As a boy he must have visited his
paternal grandmother, Joan of Beaufort, on her Yorkshire estates, when
his father was fixed in the North as Warden of the Scotch Border. There
probably he may have imbibed some of the old lady's dislike for her
step-sons of the elder branch of the Nevilles, with whom she and his
father were now at open variance. A little later he must have spent
much time in London, when his father became a member of the Council
of Regency, lodged at the "Tenement called the Harbour in the Ward of
Dowgate," which his father and grandmother had received by will from
his grandfather when the larger London house of the family, "Neville's
Inn in Silver Street," passed with the Westmoreland earldom to the
elder branch.

The fortunes of the house of Neville, as we have told them hitherto,
have consisted of one interminable story of fortunate marriages. The
reader must now be asked to concentrate his attention on another group
of these alliances, a group which settled the whole history of the
Kingmaker, and gave him the title of the earldom by which he is always
named.

The Beauchamps of Warwick held one of the oldest English earldoms; they
represented in direct descent the Henry of Newburgh to whom William
Rufus had granted the county in 1190.[3] Richard Beauchamp, the head
of the family at this time, was perhaps the worthiest and the most
esteemed of the English nobles of his day. The "gracious Warwick," the
"father of courtesy" as the Emperor Sigismund called him, had been
through all the wars of Henry the Fifth, and won therein a name only
second to that of the King himself. He had seen many cities and men in
every land that lay between England and Palestine, and left everywhere
behind him a good report. His virtues and accomplishments had caused
him to be singled out as tutor and governor to the young King, Henry
the Sixth; no better model, as all agreed, could be found for the ruler
of England to copy. Nor did Warwick belie his task; he made Henry
upright, learned, painstaking, conscientious to a fault. If he could
but have made him as strong in body and spirit as he was morally, he
would have given England the best king that ever she possessed.

Richard Beauchamp had married Isabel, heiress of Despenser, and widow
of Richard, Lord of Abergavenny. Their family consisted of a son,
Henry, a boy of ten, and a daughter, Anne, three years younger. In
addition, the Countess of Warwick had an only daughter by her first
husband, who was heiress of Abergavenny. Beauchamp and Richard Neville
of Salisbury were the best of friends, and had determined to seal their
friendship by intermarriage between their families. The alliance was
destined to be complicated; each earl married his heir to his friend's
daughter. The boy Henry, heir of Warwick, was affianced to Cecily
Neville, Salisbury's six-year-old daughter; the boy Richard, heir of
Salisbury, to Anne Beauchamp, daughter of Warwick. Nor was this all;
the family relations were complicated by the marriage of Warwick's
step-daughter Elizabeth, the heiress of Abergavenny, to Edward Neville
the younger brother of Salisbury.

The boy Richard Neville received a competent dowry with his wife, but
nothing more was expected to follow from the marriage. Fate, however,
decreed otherwise.

The old Earl of Warwick died in 1439, full of years and honours.
To him succeeded his son Henry, the husband of Cecily Neville, now
sixteen years of age, and "a seemly lord of person." He had been
brought up with the young King, a lad of his own years, and was Henry
of Lancaster's bosom friend. When the King came of age he heaped on
the young Beauchamp every honour that his affection could devise. Not
only was he made Knight of the Garter and a Privy Councillor before
he was nineteen, but he was created Duke of Warwick, and invested
by the King's own hands with the lordship of the Isle of Wight. If
Henry Beauchamp had lived, it would have been he, and not Suffolk
and Somerset, who in a few years would have ruled England. But his
career was broken in its earliest promise. Ere he had finished his
twenty-third year Henry Beauchamp was cut off from the land of the
living, and his lands and duchy devolved on his only child, a little
girl but four years of age. Her wardship fell to William de la Pole
Earl of Suffolk, already the declared adversary of Salisbury and the
Neville family.

By the wholly unexpected death of Henry Beauchamp only this one frail
life lay between the lad Richard Neville--he was sixteen when his
brother-in-law died--and the earldom of Warwick. Nor was that life to
continue long. The child Anne Beauchamp survived for three years more,
and then died, aged seven, on June 23rd, 1449. She was buried by her
grandam Constance, daughter of Edmund Duke of York, before the high
altar of Reading Abbey.

The heiress of Warwick was now the elder Anne, Richard Neville's young
wife,[4] and in her right Richard received the Beauchamp lands from the
unwilling hands of the little countess's guardian, Suffolk. The patent
which created him Earl of Warwick, and joined his wife in the grant,
was dated July 23rd, 1449.

Thus, in the year in which he reached his twenty-first birthday, the
future Kingmaker became "Earl of Warwick, Newburgh, and Aumarle,
Premier Earl of England, Baron of Elmley and Hanslape, and Lord of
Glamorgan and Morgannoc." He was now a much more important personage
than his own father, for the Beauchamp and Despenser manors in the West
Midlands and the Welsh Marches were broader by far than the Montacute
lands in Wessex, or the Neville holding round Middleham.

A short survey of the items of the Beauchamp heritage is necessary
to show how wide-spread was the power which was now placed in the
hands of the young Richard Neville. Perhaps the most compact block
of his new possessions was the old Despenser holding in South Wales
and Herefordshire, which included the castles of Cardiff, Neath,
Caerphilly, Llantrussant, Seyntweonard, Ewyas Lacy, Castle-Dinas,
Snodhill, Whitchurch, and Maud's Castle. Caerphilly alone was a
stronghold fit to resist ten thousand men, with its tremendous rings
of concentric fortification; and the massive Norman masonry of Cardiff
was still ready for good service. Between Neath and Ewyas Lacy lay no
less than fifty manors of the Despenser heritage. In Gloucestershire
was another group of estates which the Beauchamps had got from the
Despensers--of which the chief were the wide and populous manors of
Tewkesbury, Sodbury, Fairford, Whittington, Chedworth, Wickwar, and
Lydney. In Worcestershire there was a compact block of land along the
Severn and on both its banks; the largest manors included in it were
Upton-on-Severn, Hanley Castle, and Bewdley, but there were twenty-four
more estates of less importance, together with the Castle of Elmley,
which had given the Beauchamps a baron's title. In Warwickshire,
beside the fair town and castle which went with the earldom, there were
not any very broad tracts of land--only nine manors in all, but one of
these was the wealthy manor of Tamworth. Going farther south in the
Midlands we find in Oxfordshire five manors and the forest of Wychwood
reckoned to the Beauchamps, and in Buckinghamshire the baronial seat of
Hanslape and seven manors more. Nor was it only in central England that
Richard Neville could count his estates; there were scattered holdings
accruing to him in Kent, Hampshire, Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire,
Suffolk, Norfolk, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall,
Northampton, Stafford, Cambridge, Rutland, and Nottingham, amounting
in all to forty-eight manors. Even in the distant North one isolated
possession fell to him--the castle of Barnard's-Castle on the Tees. If
in addition to the manors we began to count up the scattered knights'
fees, the advowsons of churches, the chantries, the patronage of
abbeys, and the tenements in towns, which formed part of the Beauchamp
heritage, we should never be done; but these are all written in the
Escheats Roll, whence the antiquary may excavate them at his will.

The year 1449, in which Richard Neville attained his majority and
gathered in his wife's heritage, was the turning-point in the reign of
Henry the Sixth. No more critical time could have been found in the
whole century in which to place power and influence in the hands of a
young, able, and ambitious man. For it was in 1449 that the doom of the
house of Lancaster was settled by the final collapse of the English
domination in France. In March came the fatal attack on Fougères which
reopened the war, an attack of which it is hard to say whether it was
more foolish or wicked. In August, September, and October occurred with
bewildering rapidity the fall of the great towns of eastern and central
Normandy, ending with the capitulation of Rouen after a siege of only
nineteen days.

It was this unparalleled series of disasters which made the existing
Lancastrian rule unbearable to the English nation. Suffolk, the
minister whose policy had led up to the disaster, and Somerset, the
governor whose avarice had depleted the Norman garrisons, and whose
rashness and ill faith had precipitated the outbreak of hostilities,
were henceforth pursued by the bitter hatred of the majority of
Englishmen. When it was found that King Henry identified their cause
with his own, he himself--against whom no one had previously breathed a
word--found for the first time that the current of public opinion was
setting against him.

It was now that the final scission of the two parties that were
afterwards to be known as Yorkist and Lancastrian took place. Every
man of note in England had now to make his choice whether his personal
loyalty to the King should lead him into acquiescing in the continuance
in office of the ministers whom Henry openly favoured, or whether he
would set himself in opposition to the Court faction, even though he
was thereby led into opposition to the King.

From the first moment there was no doubt which of the two courses
would be adopted by the two Neville earls of the younger branch.
Warwick, now as always, acted in strict union with his father, and
Salisbury had never been a friend of Suffolk. Moreover, they were
both concerned in behalf of their relative the Duke of York, who by
Somerset's contrivance had been sent into a kind of honorary exile in
Ireland. When the crisis should come, it was already pretty certain
that Salisbury and Warwick would be found on the side of York, and
not on that of Suffolk and Somerset. But as yet, though men were
growing excited and preparing for evil times, no one foresaw the exact
shape which the troubles were to take. One thing only was certain,
that Suffolk and Somerset were growing so hateful to the nation that
an explosion against them would soon take place, and that when the
explosion came there would be a large party among the leading men of
England who would rejoice in its effects.

The most ominous sign of the times was that the great barons on both
sides were already quietly arming, seeing to the numbers of their
retainers, and concluding agreements to take their neighbours into
their livery if the worst should come to the worst.

Nothing can be a more typical sign of the times than the treaty which
Salisbury entered into with a Westmoreland knight, whose lands lay not
far from his great holding in the North-Riding, as early as September
1449, the very month when Somerset was losing Normandy.

"This indenture made between Richard Earl of Salisbury, on the one
part, and Walter Strykelande knight, on the other, beareth witness
that the said Walter is retained and withholded with the said Earl for
the term of his life, against all folk, saving his allegiance to the
King. And the said Walter shall be well and conveniently horsed, armed,
and arrayed, and always ready to bide come and go with to and for the
said Earl, at all times and places, as well in time of peace as time
of war, at the wages of the same Earl." Walter's following was worth
having, being "servants, tenants, and inhabitants within the county
of Westmoreland; bowmen with horse and harness, sixty-nine; billmen
horsed and harnessed, seventy-four; bowmen without horses, seventy-one;
billmen without horses, seventy-six"--in fact a little army of two
hundred and ninety men. The existence of a few such treaties as this
between Salisbury and his northern neighbours shows clearly enough
how the Neville power was built up, and how formidable to the public
peace it might become. If once such treaties were in existence, how
long would it be before the single clause "saving his allegiance" would
begin to drop into oblivion?

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 3: The Beauchamps came into the title in 1268, William de
Beauchamp having married the grand-daughter of Henry of Newburgh, whose
male issue had died out.]

[Footnote 4: Anne was the only heir of the full blood to Henry Duke of
Warwick, but he had several half-sisters, to whom the reversion of the
title was left by the patent which gave Richard and Anne Neville the
earldom.]



CHAPTER V

THE CAUSE OF YORK


If 1449, the year of Warwick's accession to his wife's heritage, was
a time of trouble for England, the year which immediately followed
was far worse. The loss of the Norman fortresses was followed in a
few months by the sporadic outbreaks of popular rage which might have
been expected--outbreaks directed against all who could in any way be
connected with the evil governance of the realm. Bishop Moleyns, the
Keeper of the Privy Seal, was murdered by a mob of mutinous sailors at
Portsmouth in January. But this blow was only a premonitory symptom
of the storm which was brewing against Suffolk, the head of the
Government. Four months later--the fatal battle of Formigny had been
fought meanwhile, and the last English foothold in Northern France
lost--he was driven from power by an irresistible demonstration of
wrath, in which the whole nation, from the House of Lords to the London
mob, took its part. Protected from legal punishment by the King's
pardon, Suffolk fled over-sea; but some London ships waylaid him in the
Straits of Dover, and he was seized and put to death after a mock trial
by the captain of the _Nicholas of the Tower_. So well hated was he
that his tragic end was received with exultation instead of remorse,
and the political ballad-mongers of the day wrote many an insulting
rhyme over his headless corpse.

Instead of mending matters, Suffolk's death was only the signal for
worse troubles. Two months after his death came the great rebellion of
the Kentishmen under Cade, accompanied by various other outbreaks in
the southern counties. The insurgents were inspired by the same impulse
which had slain Suffolk; they were set on making an end of all who
had been responsible for the late disaster abroad and misgovernment
at home. In London, Lord Say the Treasurer was caught and slain; in
Wiltshire, Bishop Ayscough was beheaded by a mob of his own tenantry.
But the rising, being but a sudden ebullition of rage with no plan or
programme of reform, and being headed not by any respectable leader
but merely by the disreputable adventurer Cade, died down of its own
accord, without leaving any permanent effect on the governance of the
realm. To make its power felt, the national discontent had to look for
a responsible leader and a definite programme.

Both the Court party and the people knew where that leader might be
found. Richard Duke of York, the heir-apparent to the childless King,
lay across the sea in Ireland. He was an able soldier, much tried in
the French wars, a firm and successful administrator--he had even
succeeded in winning popularity in Ireland--and a man of blameless
character, who had completely won the nation's confidence. Moreover,
he was a man with a grievance; though the first prince of the blood,
he was deliberately excluded from all place in the King's councils or
share in the administration of the realm. While in the midst of a
successful campaign in France he had been superseded by the unlucky
Somerset, and sent off to Ireland, apparently in the idea that like
most other rulers of that distressful country he would wreck his
reputation there. But he had been fortunate, and only increased his
fame by the administration of the island. Already the Court party were
murmuring against him once more, and the people believed that some
other exile would ere long be found for him. As the ballad-monger sang--

 The falcon flies and has no rest
 Till he wot where he may build his nest.

Cade's rebels had used the Duke's name largely in their proclamations,
but there seems no real ground for supposing that they had held any
communication with him. The only evidence against him was that all
discontented parties and persons spoke of him as the man that should
right them some day. Nevertheless threats were made that he should
be indicted for high treason, and action against him was apparently
imminent. Then at last York took the initiative. He threw up the
government of Ireland, crossed over to Wales, and came up to London
with a considerable body of his tenants from the Marches at his back.
There he claimed and obtained an interview with the King, in which
he declared his loyalty, and received Henry's assurance that no harm
was intended against him. This done, he retired to his estates on the
Welsh border. But he had now definitely put himself at the head of
the opposition to the Court party, whom he had bitterly rated in his
remonstrance to the King.

The discontent of England had found its mouthpiece and its leader in
this resolute prince, "a man of low stature, with a short square face,
and somewhat stout of body," like his uncle Edmund of York, who had
fallen at Agincourt rather stifled in his armour than slain by his
wounds.

Our whole view of the conduct of Warwick in the ten years between 1450
and 1460 must be determined by our decision as to the designs and
conduct of his uncle of York during that period. If we conclude that
the Duke was aiming at the crown from the first, then we cannot but
believe that his brother-in-law Salisbury and his nephew Warwick must
have known or guessed his wishes, and on them must rest almost as great
a share of blame for the outbreak of the Civil War as lies on the head
of York himself. For the gain of their family we must believe that they
sacrificed the peace of their country. This view has been commonly
adopted by historians; it was set forth in every Lancastrian manifesto
of the time; it was repeated by the historians who wrote under the
Tudors, and it still prevails.

Another view, however, was taken by the majority of the English people
in York's own day. Wherever in England public spirit ran strong,
wherever wealth had accumulated and civilisation had advanced, a
sympathy for the Yorkist party manifested itself. Kent, London, and
East Anglia were always strongly on the Duke's side. But if York had
been an ambitious schemer, deliberately upsetting the peace of the
realm for his own ends, we should not expect to find his supporters
among those parts of the nation to whom peace and good governance were
above all things profitable.

A glance through the pages of the chroniclers who were contemporary
with the war, Harding, Gregory, William of Worcester, Whethamsted,
the anonymous English chronicler in the Camden Series, shows that to
the majority of the English people York passed not as a disturber of
the peace, but as a wronged and injured man, goaded into resistance
by the machinations of the Court party. In one aspect he was regarded
as a great lord of the royal blood excluded from his rightful place
at the Council board, and even kept out of the country by his enemies
who had the King's ear. In another he was regarded as the leader
and mouthpiece of the Opposition of the day, of the old and popular
war-party which inherited the traditions of Henry the Fifth and
Humphrey of Gloucester--a party, indeed, whose views (as we have said
elsewhere) were unwise and even immoral, but one which might reasonably
ask to be taken into consideration by those who managed the affairs of
the realm. In these days of ours when Ministries prove incapable and
grow discredited the Opposition has its turn at the helm in the natural
course of things. In the fifteenth century the old methods which had
served Simon de Montfort, and the Lords Ordainers of 1322, were still
the only ones which could be used against ministers who were out of
sympathy with the nation. York was doing at St. Albans much what Earl
Simon had done at Lewes.

This too must be said, that if disaster without and disorder within
are to be held sufficient to discredit any rule, there had never been
a time since the evil days of Bannockburn when England had more right
to be discontented with her rulers. Moreover, there was no chance
that things would grow better; as long as the Queen and her friends
ruled the King, so long would things continue as they were. Men thought
at one moment that with the removal of Suffolk the evil times would
come to an end. But when an outburst of popular fury swept Suffolk to
his end--and be it remembered that there is no evidence to connect
York with Suffolk's tragic death--the ascendency of Somerset proved
as disastrous and as hopeless as that of his predecessor. And when
Somerset fell at St. Albans men hoped once more that matters would
right themselves; but the less-known ministers who soon succeeded
to the helm--Beaumont and the Earl of Wiltshire--proved quite as
unprofitable servants to the nation. As long as the Queen was at the
King's side to choose his councillors for him, so long would the
discontent of England continue to increase. Margaret's misfortunes
make us loath to speak evil of her, but in fairness to the Yorkists it
must be remembered that she was the most detestable politician that
England had known. It is usual to call the dislike of the nation for
her a stupid prejudice against a foreigner; but there was surely some
reason for hating the woman who sold Berwick to the Scots and Calais
to the French, who reintroduced the hateful practice of sweeping
attainders in the Parliament of 1459, who succeeded in turning loyalty
into a party-cry by making the King a party-leader. Well might she
confess to a foreign friend on one occasion "that if the great lords
of her own party knew what she was doing, they would themselves be the
first to rise and put her to death," for she it was who committed that
foulest treason of all--which consists in sending secretly to tell a
foreign enemy where to strike, in order that by his blow a party-end
may be served. In 1457, when the realm was for a moment at peace, she
deliberately incited the French admirals to make their great descent on
the Kentish coast which ended in the fearful sack of Sandwich, merely
because she knew that such a disaster would be counted against her
political enemies the Yorkists. There is nothing to be compared to it
in English history except the conduct of the arch-traitor Marlborough
in 1694 over the affair of Brest.

The English hatred of Queen Margaret was no prejudice, but a wholesome
instinct which led the English nation to recognise its enemy. She made
herself a party-leader, and as a party-leader she had to be treated.
York's ten years' strife with her must be regarded not so much as the
rebellion of a subject against his sovereign, but as the struggle of
one party-leader against another with the primitive weapons which
alone were possible in the constitutional crises of that day. But even
if we grant that York had his excuses, and that his general attitude
does not stand self-condemned at the first glance, it remains to be
seen how far his programme was justifiable, and how far he honestly
endeavoured to carry it out to the best of his abilities. That he was
an able, self-confident, ambitious man, with the fixed idea that he was
the victim of the intrigues of the Court party, and that but for those
intrigues he would be able to assume the position in the King's Council
to which his birth entitled him, we know well. That when the King
remained childless for nine years after his marriage, York could not
help dwelling on the near prospect of his accession to the throne, was
matter of notoriety. When that prospect was suddenly taken from him
by the unexpected birth of an heir to the crown, York's spirits were
deeply dashed, and his friends murmured in secret about changelings
and bastards. But his own attitude and language were still everything
that could be required by the most exacting critic; he shared in the
rejoicings at the birth of Prince Edward, and joined the Commission
which was appointed to confer on the infant the title of Prince of
Wales. All his speeches and manifestoes for the next six years were
full even to satiety of professions of loyalty to the King, and no
claims on his own part were ever made for anything more than that right
of access to the King's ear to which he was obviously entitled. The
Yorkist declarations are always statements of grievance and demands for
reform, set forth on public grounds; they show no traces of dynastic
claims. The actions of the party, too, are quite in keeping with their
declarations. That they would take the King into their own hands, and
not leave him in those of the Somersets or Wiltshire or Beaumont, they
had always stated, and they attempted no more when they had the chance.
The best criterion of York's honesty is his conduct after the first
battle of St. Albans, when the fortune of war had placed the King's
person in his power. He then proceeded to give Henry new ministers, but
did absolutely nothing more. No word about the succession was breathed,
nor was it even attempted to punish those who had previously ruled
the kingdom so ill. With a wise moderation all the blame was heaped
on Somerset--and Somerset was dead, and could suffer no harm whatever
might be laid to his charge.

It may then fairly be argued that Warwick and all those who followed
Richard of York in peace and war down to the year 1460 had an honest
programme, and could in all sincerity trust their leader, when he
assured them that his ends were national and not personal,--the reform
of the governance of England, not the establishment of the house
of York on the throne. We shall see that when, after enduring and
inflicting many evils, York did at last lay claim to the throne, his
own party, headed by Warwick, firmly withstood him and compelled him,
in adherence to his and their original pledges, to leave King Henry his
throne and content himself with the prospect of an ultimate succession.

This being so, it is only just to Warwick and the other Yorkist leaders
to give them the benefit of the doubt wherever their conduct admits of
an honourable explanation, and not to judge their earlier assertions or
claims or complaints in the light of later events. On these lines we
shall proceed to describe the young Earl's actions down to the final
outbreak of war in 1459.



CHAPTER VI

THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR: ST ALBANS


From the moment when York returned from Ireland without the King's
permission, and commenced to expostulate with his royal kinsman against
the doings of Somerset and the rest of the Court party, the progress
of events was sure and steady. Nothing save some extraordinary chance
could have warded off the inevitable Civil War. That it did not break
out sooner was only due to the fact that York was as cautious as he
was determined, and was content to wait for the crown which the King's
sickly constitution and long-barren wedlock promised him. Moreover, the
Court party themselves had no desire to push matters to extremities
against the man who was in all probability to become their king at no
very distant date. For more than four years the struggle between York
and Somerset proceeded before swords were actually drawn; they fought
by manifestoes and proclamations, by Acts of Parliament, by armed
demonstrations, but neither would actually strike the first blow.

The final crisis was brought about by the juxtaposition of two events
of very different character. In August 1453 the King fell into a
melancholy madness, exactly similar to that which had afflicted his
unfortunate grandfather Charles the Sixth of France. He sat for days
without moving or speaking; whatever was said to him he cast down
his eyes and answered nought. The King's insanity was a deadly blow
to Somerset, for he was helpless without the royal name to back him.
York, on the other hand, with the general consent of the nation,
assumed the direction of affairs, and became the King's lieutenant.
He was afterwards made Protector of the Realm. This promised a final
termination to the civil troubles of the realm.

But a few months after the King had become deranged, the whole face of
affairs was changed by the birth of an heir to the crown. The Queen
was delivered of a son on October 13th. This unexpected event--for the
royal pair had been childless for nine years--was of fatal import to
York. It took away the safety that had proceeded from the fact that
his enemies believed that he was one day to reign over them, and it
made York himself desperate. He came to the conclusion that he must be
either regent or nothing; to save his head he must resort to desperate
measures, and no more shrink from arms.

It is at this moment that Warwick begins to come to the front. In the
earlier phases of York's struggle with Somerset he and his father had
avoided committing themselves unreservedly to their kinsman's party;
when he made his armed demonstration in 1452 they had not appeared
at his side, but had negotiated in his favour with the King. In the
Parliament of January 1454 they took part more decidedly in his favour.
Mischief was brewing and every peer came up to London with hundreds of
retainers in his train. It was then noticed that Warwick "with a goodly
fellowship at his back" rode up in company with his uncle of York, and
that Salisbury with sevenscore men-at-arms joined him in London.

York's preponderance in the councils of the realm was at once followed
by the promotion of his Neville kinsmen. In December Warwick, now aged
twenty-five, was made a member of the Privy Council. In April, after
York had been made Protector, Salisbury was made Chancellor of the
Realm; it was forty-four years since a layman had held the post.

The King was insane for sixteen months, and for that time York governed
the realm with discretion and success. His conduct with regard to the
question of the succession was scrupulously correct. The infant Prince
Edward was acknowledged heir to the throne, and York, Warwick, and
Salisbury were all members of the Commission which in April invested
him with the title of Prince of Wales. The Court party were treated
with leniency; only Somerset, against whom the popular outcry was as
loud as ever (he had nearly been torn to pieces by a London mob in
1453), was committed to custody in the Tower, where he lay all the time
of the King's madness. The country seemed satisfied and the prospect
was fair.

To the Nevilles these two last years of promotion and success had only
been clouded by a fierce quarrel with the house of Percy. In 1453
Salisbury had been celebrating the marriage of his fourth son, Thomas,
to a niece of Lord Cromwell at Tattershall in Yorkshire. As he left the
feast his retainers fell into an affray with some followers of Thomas
Percy Lord Egremont, a younger son of the Earl of Northumberland. Out
of this small spark sprung a sudden outbreak of private war all over
the counties of York and Northumberland, in which the Nevilles were
headed by John, Salisbury's second son, and the Percies by Egremont.
The trouble lasted more than a year, and was only ended by York going
in person, after he had been made Protector, to pacify the combatants.
In this he succeeded, but the Percies maintained that they had been
wronged, and were ever afterwards strong supporters of Somerset and the
Queen.

In December 1454 King Henry came to his senses, and York resigned the
protectorate. The King's recovery was in every way unfortunate; the
moment that he was himself again he fell back into the hands of the
Court party. His first act was to release Somerset from the Tower, and
declare him a true and faithful subject. His next was to dismiss York
and Salisbury from all their offices, and with them several other high
functionaries who were enemies of Somerset, including Tiptoft Earl of
Worcester, the Lord Treasurer. The disgraced peers retired to their
estates--York to Sendal, Salisbury to Middleham.

But worse was to come. In May a Council, to which were summoned neither
York, Salisbury, Warwick, nor any other of the old councillors who were
their friends, met at Westminster. This body summoned a Parliament to
meet at Leicester, "for the purpose of providing for the safety of the
King's person against his enemies." Who would be declared the enemies
York and Salisbury could guess without difficulty; and what would be
done with these enemies they knew well enough. Imprisonment would be
the least evil to be feared at the hands of Somerset.

The fatal moment had come. York was desperate, and resolved to
anticipate the vengeance of his adversaries. The moment that the news
came, he called out his Yorkshire retainers, and sent to ask the aid
of his friends all over England. Salisbury joined him at once with the
Neville tenants from his North-Riding estates, and without a moment's
delay York and his brother-in-law marched on London. Warwick fell in
with them on the way, but no other friend came to their aid, though
the Duke of Norfolk was getting together a considerable force on their
behalf in East Anglia.

York's little army marched down the Ermine Street; on May 20th he lay
at Royston in Cambridgeshire. Beside the two Nevilles he had only one
other peer in his company, Lord Clinton, and the knights present were
merely the personal followers of York and Salisbury. Except a few of
Warwick's Midland tenants, the whole army was composed of the Yorkshire
retainers of York and Salisbury, and the chroniclers speak of the whole
army as the Northern Men. More troops could have been had by waiting,
but the Duke knew that if he delayed, the enemy would also gain time
to muster in strength. At present the lords of the King's Council were
quite unprepared for war, and the rapid march of York's little army had
not allowed them time for preparation.

On the 21st the Duke felt his way southward along the line of the
Ermine Street, and lay at Ware. There he and the two Earls indited a
laborious apology for their arrival in arms to "their most redoubted
sovereign Lord the King." They were "coming in grace, as true and
humble liegemen, to declare and show at large their loyalty," and
sought instant admission to the royal presence that they might convince
him of the "sinister, malicious, and fraudulent reports of their
enemies."

Somerset read clearly enough the meaning of York's march on London,
and even before the Duke's manifesto was received, had stirred up the
King to have recourse to arms. Many of the great lords of the King's
party were in London, but they were surprised by the sudden approach
of the enemy, and had brought few followers with them. Thus it came
to pass that although the King marched out of Westminster on the 21st
with many of the greatest lords of England at his back, he had less
than three thousand combatants in his host. With him went forth his
half-brother Jasper of Pembroke, the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham,
the Earls of Northumberland, Devon, Stafford, Wiltshire, and Dorset,
and Lords Clifford, Dudley, Berners, and Roos, nearly a quarter of the
scanty peerage of England. York's manifesto reached the King as he
marched through Kilburn, but Somerset sent it back without allowing
it to reach the royal hands. That night the army turned off the Roman
road to shelter themselves in the houses of Watford; but next morning
very early all were afoot again, and long before seven o'clock King
Henry and his host reached St. Albans. The royal banner was pitched
in St. Peter's Street, at the northern end of the straggling little
town, the outlets of the streets were barricaded, and then the troops
dispersed to water their horses and prepare breakfast. An hour later
York and his forces appeared, advancing cautiously from the east along
the Hertford Road. Hearing of the King's march on Watford, the Duke
had left the direct line of advance on London, and set out to seek
his enemies. When St. Albans was found to be strongly held, York,
Salisbury, and Warwick drew up their four thousand men in battle array,
in a field called Keyfield to the east of the town, and paused before
attacking. They were hardly arrived before the Duke of Buckingham
was seen emerging with a herald from the barricade which closed the
eastern outlet of the town. This elderly nobleman was Salisbury's
brother-in-law and Warwick's uncle; he was sure of a fair hearing
from the insurgents, for he had never been identified with the party
of Suffolk and Somerset, and was in arms out of pure loyalty to the
King. Arrived in the presence of the rebel leaders, Humphrey of
Buckingham demanded the cause of their coming and the nature of their
intentions. The Duke of York replied by charging his master's envoy
with a message for the royal ears, which began with all manner of
earnest protestations of loyalty, proceeded with a vague declaration
that the intent of his coming in arms was righteous and true, and ended
with a peremptory demand that it would please the King "to deliver up
such persons as he might accuse, to be dealt with like as they have
deserved." Buckingham brought the message back and repeated it to the
King, as he sat in the house of Westley, the Hundredman of the town
of St. Albans, whither he had retired after his arrival. When the
Duke's demand was made known, for once in his life the saintly King
burst out into a fit of passion. "Now I shall know," he cried, "what
traitors are so bold as to raise a host against me in my own land. And
by the faith that I owe to St. Edward and the Crown of England, I will
destroy them every mother's son, to have example to all traitors who
make such rising of people against their King and Governour. And for a
conclusion, say that rather than they shall have any lord here with me
at this time, I will this day for his sake and in this quarrel stand
myself to live or die."

When this answer came to the Duke of York he made no immediate attack
on the town, but turned to harangue his troops. He told them that the
King refused all reformation or reparation, that the fate of England
lay in their hands, and that at the worst an honourable death in the
field was better than the shame of a traitor's end, which awaited
them if they lost the day. Then he launched the whole body in three
divisions against the barricades which obstructed the northern,
southern, and eastern exits of the town.

The hour was half-past eleven o'clock, for the interchange of messages
between the King and York had consumed four hours of the morning.
The royal troops, seeing Buckingham coming and going between the two
armies, had believed that an agreement would be patched up without
fighting. Many had left their posts, and some had disarmed themselves.
When the Duke's men were seen in motion every man ran to arms, and
the bells of the abbey and the churches ringing the alarm set monks
and townsmen to prayers, in good hope that the shield of their
warrior-patron would be stretched over them to ward off the plundering
bands from the North, the

 Gens Boreæ, gens perfidiæ, gens prona rapinæ,

whose advent always sent Abbot Whethamsted into an ecstasy of bad Latin
verses.

The first rush of the Yorkists was beaten off at all the three
points which they attacked. Lord Clifford on the London Road "kept
the barriers so strongly that the Duke might not in any wise, for
all the power he had, break into the streets." Warwick too, who led
the left division of the Yorkist host, was repulsed in his attack on
the southern exit of the town. But the Earl's quick military eye,
now for the first time exercised, had marked that the Lancastrians,
though strong enough to hold the barricades, had not enough men to
defend the long straggling line of houses which formed the southern
extension of the town. Gathering together his repulsed retainers, he
broke into the gardens which lay behind the houses of Holywell Street,
and bursting open the back-doors of several dwellings, ran out into
the main thoroughfare of the town, "between the sign of the Chequers
and the sign of the Key, blowing up his trumpets and shouting with a
great voice, A Warwick! A Warwick!"--a cry destined to strike terror
into Lancastrian ears on many a future battlefield. Warwick's sudden
irruption took the defenders of the barricades in the rear, but they
faced about and stood to it manfully in the streets. The Lancastrian
line was broken, and the Yorkist centre, where Sir Robert Ogle led on
the Duke's own followers from the Northern Marches, now burst into the
market-place in the centre of the town to aid Warwick.

For one wild half-hour the arrows flew like sleet up and down St.
Peter's Street, and the knights fought hand to hand in the narrow
roadway. But the Lancastrians were overmatched. The King received
an arrow in the neck, and was led bleeding into the house of a
tanner. Somerset, the cause of the battle, was stricken dead on the
doorstep of an inn named the Castle. Sir Philip Wentworth, the King's
standard-bearer, threw down his banner and fled away. James of Ormond
the Irish Earl of Wiltshire, and Thorpe the Speaker of the House of
Commons, followed him. But the other leaders of the King's army were
less fortunate. The Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were
slain. The Earl of Dorset was desperately wounded, and left for dead
in the street. The Duke of Buckingham, with an arrow sticking in his
face, took sanctuary in the abbey. The Earls of Stafford and Devon,
both wounded, and Lord Dudley, yielded themselves prisoners. Only
sixscore men had been slain in the King's army, but the larger part
were persons of mark, for, as was often the case in that century,
the lightly-equipped archers and billmen could fling down their arms
and get away with ease, while the knights and nobles, fighting on
foot in their cumbrous armour, could not make speed to fly when the
day was lost. So it came to pass that of the one hundred and twenty
Lancastrians who fell, only forty-eight were common men, the rest were
nobles, knights, and squires, or officers of the King's household. On
the next day the victors marched on London, vainly hoping, perhaps,
that with the death of Somerset and the capture of the King the days of
the weak government of Lancaster were over.

The Duke and his followers thought, as yet, of nothing more than a
change of ministry. Their conduct shows that they had nothing more in
hand than the replacing of the Court party in the great offices of
State by persons who should be more in touch with their own views and
the will of the nation. The Chancellorship was left in the hands of
Archbishop Bourchier, whom the Yorkists felt that they could trust;
but the Earl of Wiltshire was replaced as Treasurer by Lord Bourchier,
the Archbishop's brother. The Duke of York became Constable; Warwick
superseded the dead Somerset as Captain of Calais; Salisbury was made
Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster. A little later Warwick's younger
brother George Neville was given the wealthy bishopric of Exeter,
though he had only just reached his twenty-sixth year. A Parliament
summoned in July ratified these appointments, and chose as its Speaker
Sir John Wenlock, of whom we shall frequently hear again as one of
Warwick's firmest friends and adherents. A strongly-worded oath of
allegiance to King Henry was taken by the Duke of York, and all the
House of Lords with him, and the new ministry started on its career
with favourable prospects. The only trouble for the moment came from
an ill-judged attempt in Parliament to fix the responsibility for
the "Ill Day of St. Albans" on definite persons. Warwick named Lord
Cromwell as one of those most to blame, and when Cromwell gave an
angry reply, there sprang up such an altercation between them that men
feared a breach of the peace. That night Cromwell borrowed the Earl of
Shrewsbury's men-at-arms to guard his house; but Warwick had cooled
down and no more came of the quarrel, for the Parliament very wisely
concluded to lay all the responsibility for the Civil War on Somerset,
who was dead and could not reply.

York's authority in the kingdom was made more secure for the moment
when King Henry fell once again into one of his fits of melancholy
madness in October. The Parliament reassembled and appointed the
Duke Regent, but on February 25th Henry came to his senses, and at
once relieved York of his office. There followed a time of unrest
and rumours of war, but for some months longer the Duke succeeded in
maintaining his place at the helm. But trouble was always impending.
Warwick, whose trained and paid soldiery in the garrison of Calais were
the only permanent military force belonging to the Crown, had to come
over on several occasions to back his uncle. At one time we hear that
York feared to be waylaid on his way to Parliament, and got Warwick
with three hundred men "all in jacks or brigandines" to escort him
thither, "saying that if he had not come so strong he would have been
distressed, but no man knew by whom, for men think verily that there is
no man able to undertake any such enterprise."

York was not wrong, however, in thinking that there were those who
were ready to risk much to get him out of power. Since Somerset was
dead, the leadership of the Court party had fallen into very firm
and determined hands, those of Margaret of Anjou, and the Queen had
resolved to exercise the unbounded influence that she enjoyed over
her husband to make him evict his Yorkist ministers the moment that
it seemed safe so to do. For her resolve she had this much excuse,
that the new government was at first no more fortunate than the old
in enforcing order in the kingdom, for into the period of York's
ascendency fell the worst private war that had been seen for a
generation. Courtney Earl of Devon and Lord Bonville fell to blows
in the West, and fought a battle outside Exeter with four thousand
men a side; the Earl won, and signalised his victory by ransacking
the cathedral and carrying off several of the canons as prisoners.
Yet he was not brought to justice for this abominable sacrilege, even
though he was of the party which was opposed to York. But Margaret
was not entitled to blame York for the state of the kingdom, for we
find that she deliberately went to work to give the Duke trouble, by
stirring up foreign enemies against England. A Scotch raid in the
summer of 1456 was more than suspected to be due to her intrigues;
and it is certain that while the Duke was officially taking the Scots
to task in the King's name, the King was disavowing York's war-like
despatches in private letters to James the Second. When we know that a
year later Margaret was not above setting on the French to ravage the
Kentish sea-ports for her own private purposes, we can understand a
little of the hatred with which she was followed by the Commons of the
south-eastern counties.



CHAPTER VII

WARWICK CAPTAIN OF CALAIS AND ADMIRAL


It was in the four years which lay between the fight of St. Albans and
the second outbreak of the Civil War in 1459 that Warwick made his
reputation and won his popularity. Up to 1455 he had been known merely
as a capable young nobleman who followed in all things the lead of his
father Salisbury. He had not as yet been given any independent command,
nor trusted alone in any business of importance, though he was already
far beyond the age at which many personages of the fifteenth century
began to take a prominent part in politics. He was now twenty-seven
years old, eleven years older than Henry the Fifth when he took over
the government of Wales, nine years older than Edward the Fourth when
he won the fight of Mortimer's Cross. There were no signs in Warwick
of that premature development which made so many of his contemporaries
grown men at sixteen, and worn-out veterans at forty.

Unlike most of his house, Warwick had not been blessed with a large
family. Anne Beauchamp had borne him two daughters only, both of
them delicate girls who did not live to see their thirtieth year. No
male offspring was ever granted him, and it seemed evident that the
lands of Warwick and Despenser were destined to pass once more into
the female line. But the day was far distant when this was to be, and
Richard Neville's sturdy frame and constitution,--his _altitudo animi
cum paribus corporis viribus_, to quote Polidore Vergil,--promised many
a long year of vigorous manhood.

Warwick had already become a prominent figure in English politics, not
so much from the breadth of his lands or from the promise of military
prowess that he had shown at St. Albans, as from the almost universal
popularity which he enjoyed. He was far from being the haughty noble,
the Last of the Barons, whom later writers have drawn for us. His
contemporaries speak of him rather as the idol of the Commons and
the people's friend: "his words were gentle, and he was affable and
familiar with all men, and never spoke of his own advancement, but
always of the augmentation and good governance of the realm." There
never was any peer who was a better lord to his own retainers, nor was
there any who bore himself more kindly towards the Commons; hence he
won a personal popularity to which his father Salisbury never attained,
and which even his uncle of York could not rival.

As a school for a man of action there could have been no better post
than the governorship of Calais. The place had been beset by the French
ever since the loss of Normandy in 1450, and was never out of danger of
a sudden attack. Three times in the last six years considerable armies
had marched against it, and had only been turned away by unexpected
events in other quarters. Bickering with the French garrisons of
Boulogne and other neighbouring places never ended, even in times of
nominal truce. To cope with the enemy the Captain of Calais had a
garrison always insufficient in numbers, and generally in a state of
suppressed mutiny; for one of the chief symptoms of the evil rule of
Suffolk and Somerset had been the impotence of the central government
to find money for the regular war-expenses of the realm. The garrison
of Calais was perpetually in arrears of pay, and successive governors
are found complaining again and again that they were obliged to
empty their own pockets to keep the soldiers to their post. Even the
town-walls had been allowed to fall into disrepair for want of money to
mend them.

Besides his military duties the Captain of Calais had other difficult
functions. He lay on the frontier of Flanders, and a great part of
the trade between England and the dominions of the house of Burgundy
passed through his town, for Calais was the "staple" for that branch
of commerce. Hence he had to keep on good terms with the neighbouring
Burgundian governors, and also--what was far more difficult--to
endeavour to sweep the Straits of Dover clear of pirates and of French
privateers, whenever there was not an English fleet at sea. This was
no sinecure, for of late English fleets had been rarely seen, and
when they did appear had gone home without effecting anything useful.
The man who could with a light heart undertake to assume the post of
Captain of Calais must have been both able and self-confident.

Warwick held the place from August 1455 to August 1460, and combined
with it the post of "Captain to guard the Sea" from October 1457 to
September 1459. His tenure of office was in every way successful.
The garrison was brought up to its full strength, and put in good
discipline--largely, we may suspect, at the expense of the Earl's own
pocket, for after October 1456, when the Duke of York ceased to be
Protector, Warwick got little money or encouragement from England.
He raised the strength of his troops to about two thousand men, and
was then able to assume the offensive against the neighbouring French
garrisons. His greatest success was when, in the spring of the third
year of his office, he led a body of eight hundred combatants on a
daring raid as far as Étaples, forty miles down the coast of Picardy,
and took the town together with a fleet of wine-ships from the south of
France, which he put up to ransom, and so raised a sum large enough to
pay his men for some months. Falling into a disagreement also with the
Burgundian governors in Flanders, he made such havoc in the direction
of Gravelines and St. Omer that Duke Philip was obliged to strengthen
his garrisons there, and finally was glad to consent to a pacification.
The negotiations were held in Calais and came to a successful
conclusion, for a commercial treaty was concluded with Flanders as well
as a mere suspension of arms.

While Warwick lay at Calais he could not pay very frequent visits to
England, for French alarms were always abounding. In June 1456, for
example, "men said that the siege should come to Calais, for much
people had crossed the water of Somme, and great navies were on the
sea." Again, in May 1457, another threatened attack caused the Earl
to lay in great stores, for which he had to draw on Kent: "so he had
the folks of Canterbury and Sandwich before him, and thanked them
for their good hearts in victualling of Calais, and prayed them for
continuance therein." That those rumours of coming trouble were not
all vain was shown a few months later, for a Norman fleet under Peter
de Brézé threw four thousand men ashore near Sandwich in August, and
the French stormed the town from the land side, held it for a day, and
sacked it from garret to cellar. It was this disaster which England
owed to Margaret of Anjou, for she had deliberately suggested the time
and place of attack to de Brézé, in order to bring discredit on the
government of the Duke of York.

It is curious to note how the work of the day of St. Albans was undone,
without any violent shock, during the earlier years of Warwick's rule
at Calais. The Queen played her game more cautiously than usual.
First, York's protectorate was ended, on the excuse that the King,
whose mind had failed him again after St. Albans, was now himself once
more. Then, eight months later, a great Council was summoned, not at
London, where York was too popular, but at Coventry. The meeting was
packed with the men-at-arms of the Queen's adherents, and at it King
Henry dismissed the two Bourchier brothers, York's firm supporters,
from their offices of Chancellor and Treasurer, and replaced them by
the Earl of Shrewsbury, a strong adherent of the Court party, and by
Wainfleet Bishop of Winchester. It was widely believed that York, who
had come to the Council with no knowledge of the Queen's intended
_coup d'état_, would have met with an ill end if his kinsman the Duke
of Buckingham had not succeeded in aiding him to escape. Of all the
offices bestowed as the result of St. Albans fight, Warwick's post at
Calais was the only one which was not now forfeited. Probably the Queen
and her friends preferred to keep him over-sea as much as possible.

It is a good testimony to the loyalty of the Duke and his friends
that they made no stir on their eviction from office. York retired
to Wigmore, and for the next year abode quietly upon his estates.
Salisbury went to Middleham and remained in the North. Meanwhile the
country showed its discontent with the renewed rule of the Queen.
Tumultuous gatherings took place in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and
again on the Welsh Border, although no leading Yorkist was implicated
in them. The temper of London was so discontented that the Queen would
not allow the King to approach it for a whole year.

The ascendency of the Earls of Wiltshire, Beaumont, Shrewsbury, Exeter,
and the other lords who ruled in the King's name and by the Queen's
guidance, proved as unfortunate and as unpopular as any of the other
periods during which Margaret's friends were at the helm. Men felt that
civil war was destined to break out once more, as soon as York should
be pressed too hard and find his patience at an end. Hence general joy
was felt when in January 1458 the King, taking the initiative for once,
announced that he was about to reconcile all the private grievances of
his lords, and invited York, Salisbury, and Warwick, with the rest of
their party, to attend a great Council at Westminster. They came, but
fearing some snare of the Queen's, came with a numerous following--York
with a hundred and forty horse, Salisbury with four hundred, Warwick
with six hundred men of the Calais garrison all apparelled in red
jackets emblazoned with the Beauchamp badge of the ragged staff.
There was no snare in the King's invitation, and all precautions were
taken to prevent affrays. The Yorkist lords and their retainers were
lodged within the city, while the Queen's friends, who appeared in
great force--the Earl of Northumberland alone brought three thousand
men--were provided for in the suburbs. The Mayor of London--Godfrey
Bulleyn, Anne Bulleyn's ancestor--with five thousand citizens arrayed
in arms kept the streets, to guard against brawling between the
retainers of the two parties.

The King at once set forth his purpose of a general pacification, and
found York and his friends very ready to fall in with his views. More
trouble was required to induce the sons of those who had fallen at St.
Albans--the young Somerset, Clifford, and Northumberland--to pardon
those on whose swords was their fathers' blood. But the King's untiring
efforts produced the desired result. York, Salisbury, and Warwick
promised to endow the Abbey of St. Albans with a sum of £45 a year,
to be spent in masses for the souls of the slain, and to make large
money payments to their heirs--York gave the young Duke of Somerset
and his mother five thousand marks, and Warwick made over one thousand
to the young Clifford. After this curious bargain had been made, and
a proclamation issued to the effect that both the victors and the
vanquished of St. Albans had acted as true liegemen of the King, a
solemn ceremony of reconciliation was held. The King walked in state
to St. Paul's, behind him came the Queen, led by the Duke of York;
then followed Salisbury hand in hand with Somerset, Warwick hand in
hand with the Duke of Exeter, and after them their respective adherents
two and two. The sight must have gladdened the King's kindly heart,
but no one save his own guileless self could have supposed that such a
reconciliation was final; almost the whole of his train were destined
to die by each other's hands. The Queen and Somerset were one day to
behead York and Salisbury; Warwick was destined to slay Exeter's son;
and so all down the long procession.

As one of the tokens of reconciliation, Warwick was created "Chief
Captain to guard the Sea," a post wherein centred the ambition of his
unwilling partner in the great procession, the Duke of Exeter. The
office was not one with many attractions. The royal navy comprised no
more than the _Grace Dieu_ and two or three more large carracks. When
a fleet was required, it was made up by requisitioning hastily-armed
merchant-vessels from the maritime towns. Of late years, whenever such
an array was mustered, the sailors had gone unpaid, and the command
had been entrusted to some unskilled leader from the ranks of the
Court party. England had entirely ceased to count as a naval power;
her coasts were frequently ravaged by French expeditions, such as that
which had burnt Sandwich in 1457, and pirates and privateers of all
nations swarmed in the Channel.

In his capacity as Captain of Calais, Warwick had been compelled to
learn something of the Channel, but we should never have guessed that
he had accumulated enough of the seaman's craft to make him a competent
admiral. Nevertheless, his doings during the twenty months of his
command at sea entitle him to a respectable place by the side of Blake
and Monk and our other inland-bred naval heroes. He not merely acquired
enough skill to take the charge of a fleet in one of the rough and
ready sea-fights of the day, but actually became a competent seaman.
At a pinch, as he showed a few years later, he could himself take the
tiller and pilot his ship for a considerable voyage.

The tale of Warwick's first naval venture has been most fortunately
preserved to us by the letter of an actor in it.

 On Trinity Sunday (May 28th) in the morning [writes John Jernyngan]
 came tidings unto my Lord of Warwick that there were twenty-eight
 sail of Spaniards on the sea, whereof sixteen were great ships of
 forecastle; and then my Lord went and manned five ships of forecastle
 and three carvells and four pinnaces, and on the Monday we met
 together before Calais at four of the clock in the morning, and fought
 together till ten. And there we took six of their ships, and they slew
 of our men about fourscore and hurt two hundred of us right sore. And
 we slew of them about twelvescore, and hurt a five hundred of them.
 It happed that at the first boarding of them we took a ship of three
 hundred tons, and I was left therein and twenty-three men with me. And
 they fought so sore that our men were fain to leave them. Then came
 they and boarded the ship that I was in, and there was I taken, and
 was prisoner with them six hours, and was delivered again in return
 for their men that were taken at the first. As men say, there has not
 been so great a battle upon the sea these forty winters. And, to say
 sooth, we were well and truly beaten: so my Lord has sent for more
 ships, and is like to fight them again in haste.

Such a hard-fought struggle against superior numbers was almost as
honorable to Warwick's courage and enterprise as a victory, and the
indomitable pluck which he displayed seems to have won the hearts
of the sailors, who were ever after, down to the day of his death,
faithful to his cause. But his later undertakings were fortunate as
well as bold.

The best known of them took place in the spring of 1458. Sweeping
the Channel with fourteen small vessels, Warwick came on five great
ships--"three great Genoese carracks, and two Spaniards far larger and
higher than the others." For two days Warwick fought a running fight
with the enemy, "hard and long, for he had no vessel that could compare
in size with theirs." Finally he took three of the carracks and put the
other two to flight. Nearly a thousand Spaniards were slain, and the
prisoners were so many that the prisons of Calais could hardly contain
them. The prizes were richly laden, and their contents were valued
at no less than £10,000. The markets of Calais and Kent were for the
moment so charged with Southern goods that a shilling bought that year
more than two would have bought the year before.

This fight naturally made Warwick popular with merchants and sailors,
but it was less liked at Westminster; for although at odds with the
King of Castile, England was not at this moment engaged in hostilities
with the Genoese, though there was a dispute in progress about the
ill-treatment of some British merchants by them. Another feat of
Warwick's, however, was to get him into worse trouble. Early in the
autumn of the same year he had an engagement in the Straits of Dover
with a great fleet of Hanseatic vessels from Lubeck, who were sailing
southward to France. From them he took five ships which he brought
into Calais. Now England had signed a commercial treaty with the Hansa
only two years before, and this engagement was a flagrant violation of
it. It led Warwick's enemies on the Continent to call him no better
than a pirate. What was his plea of justification we do not know. It
may be, as some have alleged, that he mistook the Germans at first
for Spaniards or Frenchmen. It may be that he fell out with them on
some question as to the rights of the English admiral in the narrow
seas, such as gave constant trouble in later centuries, and were the
forerunners of the famous quarrels over the "right of search" and "the
right of salute."

But about Warwick's capture of the Hanseatic vessels there was no
doubt. A month later a board was appointed, consisting of Lord Rivers,
Sir Thomas Kyrriel, and seven other members, to investigate the matter.

On November 8th Warwick came over from Calais to lay his defence before
the King and Council. Henry received him courteously enough, and there
was much sage talk about the marches of Picardy, "but the Earl could
judge well enough by the countenances of many who sat in the Council
Chamber that they bore him hatred, so that he bethought him of the
warnings that his father had lately written him about the Queen's
friends."

Next day when Warwick again came into the royal presence, the Council
had hardly begun when a great tumult arose in the court, "the noise was
heard over the whole palace, and every one was calling for Warwick."
What had happened was, that the retainers of Somerset and Wiltshire
had fallen on the Earl's attendants and were making an end of them.
Warwick ran down to see what was the matter, but the moment that he
appeared in the court he was set on by a score of armed men, and it was
only by the merest chance that he was able to cut his way down to the
water-stairs, and leap with two of his men into a boat. He escaped with
his life to the Surrey side, but his followers were not so lucky; three
were slain and many wounded.

Warwick declared that the whole business had been a deliberate plot to
murder him, and he was probably right; but the lords of the Queen's
party maintained that the affray had been a chance medley between the
two bands of retainers, and that the first blow had been struck by one
of Warwick's men. But whatever was the truth about the matter, Warwick
could not be blamed if he swore never to come to Court again without
armed men at his heels. The sequel of the quarrel shows what had really
been intended. Next day the Queen and her friends represented to the
King that the quarrel had been due to brawling on Warwick's part, and
procured an order for committing him to the Tower. Warned of this by
a secret friend in the Council, the Earl rode off in haste to Warwick
Castle, and sent to his father and the Duke of York. The three held a
conference, in which they resolved that at the next hostile move of
their enemies they would repeat the line of conduct which had been so
successful four years before--they would muster their retainers and
deliver the King by force out of the hands of the Court party.

Meanwhile Warwick retired to Calais, where he called together the
officers of the garrison, and the Mayor and aldermen, set forth to
them the attempt upon his life, and begged them to be true to him and
guard him against the machination of his enemies.

The next attack of the Queen on the followers of York was long in
coming; nine months elapsed between the affray at Westminster and the
final outbreak of Civil War.

 Meanwhile [says the chronicler] the realm of England was out of all
 good governance, as it had been many days before; for the King was
 simple, and led by covetous counsel, and owed more than he was worth.
 His debts encreased daily, but payment was there none; for all the
 manors and lordships that pertained to the Crown the King had given
 away, so that he had almost nought to live on. And such impositions as
 were put on the people, as taxes, tallages, and 'fifteenths,' all were
 spent in vain, for the King held no household and maintained no wars.
 So for these misgovernances the hearts of the people were turned from
 them that had the land in governance, and their blessing was turned
 to cursing. The Queen and her affinity ruled the realm as they liked,
 gathering riches innumerable. The officers of the realm, and specially
 the Earl of Wiltshire, the Treasurer, for to enrich themselves pilled
 the poor people, and disherited rightful heirs, and did many wrongs.
 The Queen was sore defamed, and many said that he that was called the
 Prince was not the King's son, but gotten in adultery.

The name of Wiltshire, "the best-favoured knight in the land, and the
most feared of losing his beauty," was united with that of Margaret
by many tongues, and the Queen's behaviour was certainly curious;
for instead of staying with her husband, she was continually absent
from his side, busied in all manner of political intrigues, and only
visiting King Henry when some grant or signature had to be wrung out
of him. All the summer of 1459 she was in Lancashire and Cheshire
"allying to her the knights and squires in those parts for to have
their benevolence, and held open household among them, and made her
son give a livery blazoned with a swan to all the gentlemen of the
country, trusting through their strength to make her son King; for she
was making privy means to some lords of England for to stir the King to
resign the crown to his son; but she could not bring her purpose about."

The exact details of the outbreak of the war are hard to arrange
chronologically. Writs were being sent about by the Queen in the King's
name ordering every one to be ready to assemble "with as many men as
they might, defensibly arrayed," as early as May. But no such muster
seems to have taken place, and it was not till September that a blow
was struck. In the middle of that month an army was raised in the
Midlands with which the King took the field. A summons was then sent to
Salisbury, who lay at Sherif Hoton in his northern lands, bidding him
come to London. Remembering what had happened to his son on his last
visit to the King, Salisbury went not, but took the summons, combined
with the mustering of the King's forces, as an alarm of war. Collecting
some three thousand of his Yorkshire tenants, he marched off to seek
his brother-in-law York, who was lying at Ludlow. At the same time he
sent messengers to his son at Calais, bidding him cross over at once to
join him.

Warwick, seeing that the crisis was come, took two hundred men-at-arms
and four hundred archers of the garrison of Calais, under Sir Andrew
Trollope a veteran of the French War, and crossed to Sandwich. He left
Calais, where lay his wife and his two daughters, in charge of his
uncle, William Neville Lord Fauconbridge, "a little man in stature but
a knight of great reverence." Warwick marched quietly through London,
and crossed the Midlands as far as Coleshill in Warwickshire without
meeting an enemy. There he just avoided a battle, for Somerset, with
a great force from his Wessex lands, was marching through the town
from south-west to north-east the same day that Warwick traversed it
from south-east to north-west; but as it happened they neither of them
caught any sight or heard any rumour of the other.

While Warwick was taking his way through the Midlands, decisive
events had been occurring. When the Queen, who lay at Eccleshall in
Staffordshire, heard that Salisbury was on his way to York's castle
of Ludlow, she called out all her new-made friends of the north-west
Midlands, and bade them intercept the Earl. Lord Audley their leader
was given a commission to arrest Salisbury and send him to the Tower
of London. All the knighthood of Cheshire and Shropshire came together
and joined Audley, who was soon at the head of nearly ten thousand
men. With this force he threw himself across Salisbury's path at Blore
Heath near Market Drayton on September 23rd. The old Earl refused to
listen to Audley's summons to surrender, entrenched himself on the
edge of a wood and waited to be attacked. Audley first led two cavalry
charges against the Yorkist line, and when these were beaten back by
the arrows of the northern archers, launched a great column of billmen
and dismounted knights against the enemy. After hard fighting it was
repulsed, Audley himself was slain, and the Lancastrians drew back,
"leaving dead on the field most of those notable knights and squires of
Chesshire that had taken the badge of the Swan."

In the night Salisbury drew off his men and marched round the defeated
enemy, who still lay in front of his position. A curious story is told
of his retreat by the chronicler Gregory. "Next day," he says, "the
Earl of Salisbury, if he had stayed, would have been taken, so great
were the forces that would have been brought up by the Queen, who
lay at Eccleshall only six miles from the field." But the enemy knew
nothing of Salisbury's departure, "because an Austin friar shot guns
all night in the park at the rear of the field, so that they knew not
the Earl was departed. Next morrow they found neither man nor child
in that park save the friar, and he said that it was for fear that he
abode in that park, firing the guns to keep up his heart."

Salisbury was now able to join York at Ludlow without further
molestation, and Warwick came in a few days later without having seen
an enemy. The Duke and the younger Earl called out their vassals of
the Welsh March, and their united forces soon amounted to twenty
thousand men. They made no hostile movement however, though the
Lancastrian force defeated at Blore Heath was now being joined by new
reinforcements and lay opposite them in great strength. But the Duke
and the two Earls went forward to Worcester, and there in the cathedral
took a solemn oath that they meant nothing against the King's estate
or the common weal of the realm. They charged the Prior of Worcester
and Dr. William Lynwood to lay before the King a declaration "that they
would forbear and avoid all things that might serve to the effusion of
Christian blood," and would not strike a blow except in self-defence,
being only in arms to save their own lives.

The refusal of the Yorkist lords to assume the offensive, if creditable
to their honesty, was fatal to their cause. For the next three weeks
the levies of Northern and Central England came pouring into the
Queen's camp, and the King himself, waking up for once, assumed the
command in person. A curious record in the preamble of an Act of
Parliament of this year tells us how he buckled on his armour, "and
spared not for any impediment or difficulty of way, nor intemperance
of weather, but jeopardied his royal person, and continued his labour
for thirty days, and sometimes lodged in the bare field for two
nights together, with all his host, in the cold season of the year,
not resting in the same place more than one night save only on the
Sundays." About October 12th, the King, whose army now amounted to as
many as fifty thousand men, pushed slowly forward on to Ludlow, putting
out as he went strongly-worded proclamations which stigmatised the Duke
and the Earls as traitors, and summoned their followers to disperse,
promising free pardon to all save Salisbury and the others who had
fought at Blore Heath.

York and Warwick had, of course, no intention of abandoning their
kinsman; they paid no heed to the royal proclamation, but they soon
found that their followers were far from holding it so lightly. The
Yorkists were so manifestly inferior in numbers to the enemy, less
than half their force indeed, that the men's hearts were failing
them. Their position on the Welsh Border, with the King's army cutting
them off from England, and with the Welsh in arms behind them, was
unsatisfactory, and none of the Yorkist barons had succeeded in joining
them except Lord Clinton and Lord Grey of Powis. The inaction of their
leaders had allowed them time to think over their position, and it
would appear that the news of the King's proclamation had reached them,
and the announcement of pardon worked its effect. York seems to have
recognised that the use of the royal name against him was the fatal
thing, and proceeded to spread a rumour through his camp that King
Henry was really dead. He even ordered his chaplains to celebrate the
mass for the dead in the midst of the camp. But the stratagem recoiled
on his head next day, when the truth became known, and the King was
seen, with his banner displayed at his side, leading forward in person
the van of the Lancastrian army. At nightfall on October 13th the
armies were only separated by the Teme, then in flood and covering
the fields for some way on each side of its course. The Duke set some
cannon to play upon the King's line, but the darkness or the distance
kept them from doing any hurt. This was all the fighting that was
destined to take place.

That night demoralisation set in among the Yorkist ranks. It commenced
with the veteran Trollope, who secretly led off his six hundred Calais
troops from their place in the Yorkist line and joined the enemy. Lord
Powis followed his example, and at dawn the whole army was melting
away. York bade the bridges be broken down, and began to draw off, but
nothing could keep his men together; they were dispersing with such
rapidity that he could no longer hope to fight. Accordingly he bade
those who still followed him to save themselves, and made off with his
two sons Edward and Edmund, Warwick and Salisbury, and a few devoted
retainers, to seek some place of refuge.

Thus by the Rout of Ludford all the work of Blore Heath and St. Albans
was entirely undone.



CHAPTER VIII

WARWICK IN EXILE


The adventures of Warwick after the army of York broke up have luckily
been preserved to us in some detail. He and his father, together with
the Duke and his two sons Edward and Edmund, fled southwards together
with a few score of horse, hotly pursued by Sir Andrew Trollope and
his men. So close was the chase that John and Thomas Neville, who
lingered behind their brother and father--both having been wounded at
Blore Heath--were taken prisoners. Presently the party was forced to
break up by the imminence of their peril. The Duke of York and his
second son Edmund turned off into Wales, with the design of taking
ship for Ireland. Salisbury, Warwick, and Edward Plantagenet, the
young Earl of March, York's eldest son and Salisbury's god-child and
nephew, accompanied by Sir John Dynham and only two persons more,
fled across Herefordshire by cross-roads, avoiding the towns, and
then by a hazardous journey through Gloucestershire and Somersetshire
reached the coast of Devon, apparently somewhere near Barnstaple. There
the fugitives turned into a fishing village, where Sir John Dynham
bought for two hundred and twenty-two nobles--the sum of the party's
resources--a one-masted fishing-smack. He gave out that he was bound
for Bristol, and hired a master and four hands to navigate the little
vessel.

When they had got well out from land Warwick asked the master if he
knew the seas of Cornwall and the English Channel. The man answered
that he was quite ignorant of them, and had never rounded the Land's
End. "Then all that company was much cast down: but the Earl seeing
that his father and the rest were sad, said to them that by the favour
of God and St. George he would himself steer them to a safe port. And
he stripped to his doublet, and took the helm himself, and had the sail
hoisted, and turned the ship's bows westward," much to the disgust, we
doubt not, of the master and his four hands, who had not counted on
such a voyage when they hired themselves to sail to Bristol town.

It was not for nothing that Warwick had ranged the Channel for two
years. He now proved that he was a competent seaman, by navigating
the little vessel down the Bristol Channel, round the Land's End, and
across to Guernsey. Here they were eight days wind-bound, but putting
forth on the ninth ran safely up the Channel and came ashore at Calais
on November 3rd, just twenty days after the rout of Ludford. Counting
the crew, they had been eleven souls in the vessel.

Warwick found Calais still safe in the hands of his uncle Fauconbridge,
whom he had left in charge of the town and of his own wife and
daughters when he went to England two months before. Overjoyed at the
news, Fauconbridge came to meet him on the quay, and fell on his neck.
"Then all those lords went together in pilgrimage to Notre Dame de St.
Pierre, and gave thanks for their safety. And when they came into
Calais, the Mayor and the aldermen and the merchants of the Staple came
out to meet them, and made them good cheer. And that night they were
merry enough, when they thought they might have found Calais already in
the hands of their enemies."

Such indeed might well have been their fortune, for the Duke of
Somerset was already at Sandwich, with some hundreds of men-at-arms.
The King had appointed him Captain of Calais, and he was on his way
to remove Fauconbridge and get the town into his own keeping. But the
south-west wind which blew Warwick up from Guernsey had kept Somerset
on shore.

That very evening the wind shifted, and late at night Somerset's herald
appeared before the water-gate to warn the garrison that his master
would arrive to take command next day. "Then the guard answered the
herald that they would give his news to the Earl of Warwick, who was
their sole and only captain, and that he should have Warwick's answer
in a few minutes. The herald was much abashed, and got him away, and
went back that same night to his master."

No one in England knew what had become of Warwick or Salisbury, and
Somerset's surprise was as great as his wrath when he found that
they had anticipated him at Calais. Next morning he set sail with
his forces, of which the greater part were comprised of Sir Andrew
Trollope's soldiers, making for Guisnes, with the intention of
attacking Calais from the land side. But a tempest rose up while he was
at sea, and though he and most of his men came ashore at Guisnes, the
vessels that contained their horses and stores and armour were driven
into Calais harbour for safety, and compelled to surrender to Warwick.
The Earl "thanked Providence for the present, and not the Duke of
Somerset," and was much pleased at the chance, for his men were greatly
in want of arms. He had the prisoners forth, and went down their ranks;
then he picked out those that had been officers under him and had sworn
the oath to him as Captain of Calais and threw them into prison, but
the rest he sent away in safety, saying that they had but served their
King to the best of their knowledge; only Lord Audley, Somerset's
second in command, son to the peer whom Salisbury had slain at Blore
Heath, was not permitted to depart, and was consigned to the castle.
But the men who had broken their oath to Warwick were brought out into
the market-place next day, and beheaded before a great concourse of the
citizens.

Somerset and Sir Andrew Trollope had been received into Guisnes, and
made it their headquarters. But for some time they could do nothing
against Calais, because they were in want of arms and horses. It was
not till they had got themselves refitted by help of the French of
Boulogne that they were able to harm Warwick. Meanwhile they were
practically cut off from England, for Warwick's ships held the straits,
and neither news nor men came across to them. Presently Somerset set
to work to intercept Warwick's supply of provisions, which was drawn
mainly from Flanders, and the Earl had to arrange that every market-day
parties of the garrison should ride out to escort the Flemings and
their waggons. It might have gone hard with Calais if this source of
supply had been cut off, but Warwick had concluded a secret agreement
with Duke Philip, by which the introduction of food into the town was
to be winked at by the Flemish officials, notwithstanding any treaties
with England that might exist. Neither Somerset nor Warwick got much
profit out of the continual skirmishes that resulted from the attempts
of the Lancastrians to cut off the waggon-trains from Dunkirk and
Gravelines.

So passed the months of November and December 1459, with no stirring
incidents but plenty of bickering. But Christmastide brought with it
abundant excitement: the Queen had at last taken measures to reinforce
Somerset, and Lord Rivers with his son Sir Antony Woodville had
come down to Sandwich with a few hundred men to take the first safe
opportunity of crossing to Guisnes. But the time was stormy and the
troops mutinous; they got little or no pay, and scattered themselves
over the neighbourhood to live at free quarters, so that Rivers lay in
Sandwich almost unattended.

"So at Christmastide the Earl called together his men-at-arms, and
asked whether it was not possible to get back his great ship that he
had used when he was admiral, for it lay at Sandwich in Lord Rivers'
hands with several ships more. And Sir John Dynham answered 'yea,' and
swore to take it back with God's aid if the Earl would give him four
hundred men to sail with him. So the Earl bade his men arm, and fitted
out his vessels, and he gave the charge of the business to Sir John
Dynham, and Sir John Wenlock that wise knight, who had done many feats
of arms in his day." They set out at night, and arrived off Sandwich
before dawn. Waiting for the tide to rise, they ran into the harbour
at five in the morning. No one paid any attention to them, for the men
of Sandwich thought they were but timber-ships from the Baltic, as all
the men-at-arms were kept below hatches.

There was no stir in the town, and Wenlock was able to seize the ships
and fit them out in haste, while Dynham swept the streets and caught
Lord Rivers' men-at-arms as they turned out to see what was the matter.
Sir Antony Woodville was captured one hour later, as he rode into the
town from London, whither he had gone to ask the Queen for a supply of
money. Lord Rivers himself was found, still asleep, in his bed at the
Black Friars, and carried on board his own ship before he could realise
what was happening.

The men of Sandwich, like the rest of the Kentishmen, had no desire
to harm the Yorkists, so that there was no fighting, and Dynham and
Wenlock sailed home at their ease, without striking a single blow, with
their prisoners and all the war-ships in the port save the _Grace Dieu_
alone, which was found quite unready for the sea.

That evening they were again in Calais, and landed in triumph to
deliver their spoils to Warwick. A quaint and undignified scene
followed when the prisoners were brought out. "So that evening Lord
Rivers and his son were taken before the three Earls, accompanied by a
hundred and sixty torches. And first the Earl of Salisbury rated Lord
Rivers, calling him a knave's son, that he should have been so rude as
to call him and these other lords traitors, for they should be found
the King's true lieges when he should be found a traitor indeed. And
then my Lord of Warwick rated him, and said that his father was but
a squire, and that he had made himself by his marriage, and was but a
made lord, so that it was not his part to hold such language of lords
of the King's blood. And then my Lord of March rated him in like wise.
Lastly Sir Antony was rated for his language of all three lords in the
same manner."

If Rivers had any sense of humour, he must have felt the absurdity of
being rated by the Nevilles--who more than any other race in England
had risen by a series of wealthy alliances--for having "made himself
by his marriage." But probably anger and fear were sufficient to keep
him from any such reflections. We could wish that Warwick had been less
undignified in the hour of his triumph; but if his words were rough his
actions were not: Rivers and his son were sent to join Lord Audley in
the castle, but they were well treated in their captivity and came to
no harm. Before many months were out they joined their captor's cause.

It would have been hard for the actors in the scene to foresee the
changes that ten years were to make in their relations to each other.
By 1470 Rivers was destined to find himself the father-in-law of the
young Earl of March, who was now exercising his tongue against him in
imitation of the Nevilles, and to lose his life in the service of the
house of York. Warwick, on the other hand, was to become the deadly
enemy of the young Prince whom he was now harbouring and training to
arms, and to adopt the Lancastrian cause which Rivers had deserted.

The months of January and February passed in continual skirmishing with
Somerset and the garrison of Guisnes, which led to no marked result;
but about the beginning of Lent news arrived at Calais that the Duke of
York, of whom nothing definite had been heard since October, was now
in great force in Ireland, where he had got possession of Dublin, "and
was greatly strengthened by the earls and homagers of that country."
Warwick at once resolved to sail to Ireland to concert measures with
his uncle, and to learn if it would be possible to invade England; for
it was obvious that unless some vigorous offensive action were taken in
the spring, the Lancastrians would finally succeed in bringing enough
men across to form the siege of Calais, and then the town could not
hold out for ever.

Accordingly, though the storms of March were at their highest, Warwick
equipped his ten largest ships, manned them with one thousand five
hundred sailors and men-at-arms, "the best stuff in Calais," and sailed
down the Channel for Ireland. The voyage was undisturbed by the enemy,
but terribly tempestuous and protracted. However, the Earl reached
Waterford at last, and found there not only York and his son Rutland,
but his own mother, the Countess of Salisbury, who had fled over to
Ireland when she heard that her name was inserted among the list of
persons attainted by the Lancastrian Parliament which met at Leicester
in December 1459.

Warwick found the Duke in good spirits, and so hopeful that he was
ready to engage to land in Wales in June with all the force that could
be raised in Ireland, if Warwick would promise to head a descent on
Kent at the same moment. This plan was agreed upon, and the Earl set
sail to return about May 1st, taking with him his mother, who was
anxious to rejoin her husband whom she had not seen for nearly a year.

Meanwhile the news of Warwick's departure for Ireland had reached the
Lancastrian government, and the Duke of Exeter, Warwick's successor
in the office of admiral, had sworn to prevent him from returning to
Calais. Accordingly Exeter "with the great ship called the _Grace
Dieu_, and three great carracks, and ten other ships all well armed and
ordered," was now besetting the Channel. When Warwick was off Start
Point the vessel which sailed in advance of his squadron to reconnoitre
the way returned in haste, with the news that a squadron was lying off
Dartmouth and that some fishing-boats, with whom communication had been
held, reported the Duke of Exeter to be in command.

Warwick was resolved to fight, though the enemy was considerably
superior in force. He sent for his captains on board his carvel "and
prayed that they would serve him loyally that day, for he had good
hope that God would give him the victory," to which they answered that
they were well disposed enough for a fight and that the men were in
good heart. Accordingly the Earl's ten ships formed line and bore down
on the Duke's fourteen. A fight appeared imminent, when suddenly the
whole Lancastrian fleet went about, and fled in disorder into Dartmouth
harbour, which lay just behind them. This unexpected action was caused
by mutiny on board. When the Duke had given orders to prepare for
action, his officers had come to him in dismay, to announce that the
men would not arm to fight their old commander, and that if he came
any nearer to the Earl, the crews would undoubtedly rise and deliver
them over to the enemy. Accordingly Exeter gave orders to retire into
harbour.

Warwick, however, could not know of the cause of the enemy's retreat,
and having a good west wind behind him and a great desire to get back
to Calais, from which he had now been absent more than ten weeks,
pursued his journey without attempting anything against Dartmouth. He
reached Calais in safety on June 1st, and was proud to restore his
mother, "who had suffered grievously from the sea during her voyage,"
to his father's arms. Salisbury and Fauconbridge had been much alarmed
at the length of his absence, and the more faint-hearted of the
garrison had begun to murmur that he had deserted them for good, and
had fled to foreign parts to save his own person.

Now, however, all was stir and bustle in Calais, for Salisbury and
Fauconbridge thoroughly approved of the plan of invasion which had
been concerted at Dublin. The news from England indeed was all that
could be desired. The reckless attainting of all the Yorkists by the
Parliament of Leicester had met with grave disapproval. The retainers
of the Lancastrian lords had been committing all sorts of misdoings,
chief among which was the unprovoked sack of the town of Newbury by the
followers of Ormond Earl of Wiltshire. London was murmuring savagely at
the execution of seven citizens who, in company with a gentleman of the
house of Neville, had been caught in the Thames on their way to Calais
to join the Earls. The "unlearned preachers" whom the Government put up
to preach against York at Paul's Cross were hooted down by the mob. The
Commons of Kent were signifying in no doubtful terms their willingness
to join the Earls, the moment that the banner of the White Rose should
be unfurled in England. A fragment of a ballad hung by an unknown hand
on the gate of Canterbury in June is worth quoting as an expression of
their feelings.

 Send home, most gracious Jesu most benigne,
 Send home the true blood to his proper vein,
 Richard Duke of York thy servant insigne,
 Whom Satan not ceaseth to set at disdain,
 But by thee preserved he may not be slain.
 Set him 'ut sedeat in principibus' as he did before,
 And so to our new song Lord thyne ear incline,
 Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit Christe redemptor!

 Edward the Earl of March, whose fame the earth shall spread,
 Richard Earl of Salisbury, named Prudence,
 With that noble knight and flower of manhood
 Richard Earl of Warwick, shield of our defence,
 Also little Faulconbridge, a knight of grete reverence,
 Jesu! restore them to the honour they had before!

Nor was it only the Commons that were ready to join in a new appeal
to arms. The partisans of York among the great houses, who had not
definitely committed themselves at the time of the rout of Ludford,
and so had escaped arrest and attainder, let it be known at Calais
that they were ready for action. Chief among them were the Duke of
Norfolk and the two brothers Lord Bourchier and Bourchier Archbishop of
Canterbury, who pledged themselves to put their retainers in motion the
moment that Warwick should cross the sea.

It was in no spirit of recklessness then that Warwick resolved to cross
into Kent in the last week of June, with every man that could be spared
from Calais. As a preliminary to his advance, he had resolved to clear
away the only Lancastrian force that was watching him--a body of five
hundred men-at-arms which had been sent down to Sandwich, to replace
Lord Rivers' troops and to endeavour to communicate with Somerset
at Guisnes. This body was commanded by Osbert Mundeford, one of the
officers of the Calais garrison who had deserted Warwick in company
with Sir Andrew Trollope.

Accordingly, on June 25th Sir John Dynham, the captor of Rivers, sailed
over to Sandwich for the second time, and fell on Mundeford's force.
There was a hot skirmish, for on this occasion the Lancastrians were
not caught sleeping; but again the Yorkists won the day. Dynham indeed
was wounded by a shot from a bombard, but his men stormed the town,
routed the enemy, and took Mundeford prisoner. He was sent over to
Calais, where he was tried for deserting his captain, as the prisoners
of November 3rd had been, and beheaded next day outside the walls.

On the 27th Warwick himself, his father, the Earl of March, Lord
Fauconbridge, Wenlock, and the rest of the leaders at Calais, crossed
over to Sandwich with two thousand men in good array, leaving in the
town the smallest garrison that could safely be trusted with the duty
of keeping out Somerset. They had published before their landing a
manifesto, which set out the stereotyped Yorkist grievances once
more--the weak government, the crushing taxes, the exclusion of the
King's relatives from his Council, the diversion of the revenue into
the pockets of the courtiers, the misdoings of individual Lancastrian
chiefs, the oppression of the King's lieges, and all the other
customary complaints.

The three Earls had only been in Sandwich a few hours when, as had been
agreed, the Archbishop of Canterbury came to join them with many of
the tenants of the see arrayed in arms. They then moved forward, with
numbers increasing at every step, for the Kentishmen came to meet them
by thousands, and no one raised a hand against them.

The Lancastrians had been caught wholly unprepared. They seem to have
been expecting raids from Warwick on the eastern coast, not on the
southern, and except Mundeford's routed force there was no one in arms
south of the Thames. The King and Queen were at Coventry, and most of
the Lancastrian lords scattered each in their own lands. Lord Scales
and Lord Hungerford were in command of London, where there were present
a few other notables--Lord Vesey, Lord Lovell, and John de Foix titular
Earl of Kendal. These leaders endeavoured to fortify the city, posting
guns on London Bridge and placing their retainers in the Tower. But
the aspect of the citizens was threatening, and Warwick was known to
be coming on fast. The landing had taken place on the 27th, and on
July 1st the three Earls and the Archbishop of Canterbury were already
before the walls of London. They had marched over seventy miles in four
days, taking the route of Canterbury, Rochester, and Dartford, and were
at hand long before they were expected.

When the Archbishop's herald summoned the town there was some attempt
made by the Lancastrian lords to offer resistance, but the mob rose and
drove them into the Tower, while a deputation of aldermen went forth to
offer a free entry to the Yorkist army.

On July 2nd the three Earls entered London in state, conducted by the
Archbishop and a Papal Legate, a certain Bishop of Teramo who had been
sent by Pius the Second to endeavour to reconcile the English factions
and to get them to join in a crusade. He had allowed himself to be
talked over by Warwick, and did all in his power to further the cause
of York.

The Earls rode to St. Paul's and there before a great multitude, both
clerical and lay, Warwick "recited the cause of their coming in to
the land, how they had been put out from the King's presence with
great violence, so that they might not come to his Highness to excuse
themselves of the accusations laid against them. But now they were come
again, by God's mercy, accompanied by their people, for to come into
his presence, there to declare their innocence, or else to die upon
the field. And there he made an oath upon the Cross of Canterbury,
that they bore true faith and liegeance to the King's person, whereof
he took Christ and His Holy Mother and all the Saints of Heaven to
witness." We shall see that this last promise was not an entirely
unmeaning formula in Warwick's mouth, and that his oath was not like
the deliberate perjuries to which others of his contemporaries--notably
Edward the Fourth--were prone.



CHAPTER IX

VICTORY AND DISASTER--NORTHAMPTON AND ST. ALBANS


When the arrival of the three Earls in London was known, all the
Yorkist peers who were within touch of London came flocking in with
their retainers. Thither came Warwick's uncle Edward Neville Lord
Abergavenny, and his brother George Neville Bishop of Exeter, and his
cousin Lord Scrope, and Clinton one of the victors of St. Albans, and
Bourchier and Cobham and Say, and the Bishops of Ely, Salisbury, and
Rochester. It is strange to read that Audley, who had been Warwick's
prisoner in Calais ever since last November, also joined the Yorkists
in arms. He had come to terms with his captor, and had agreed to forget
the death of his father at Blore Heath and to serve the cause of
York. In a few days an army of more than thirty thousand men had been
gathered together.

The first task of the Yorkists was to provide for the blockade of the
Tower of London, where Hungerford and Scales abode in great wrath,
"shooting wild-fire into the town every hour, and laying great ordnance
against it." Salisbury agreed to remain in charge of the city and to
undertake the siege. With him were left Lord Cobham, Sir John Wenlock,
and the greater part of the levy of London, commanded by the Lord
Mayor and by one Harrow, a mercer. They brought batteries to bear on
the Tower from the side of St. Katherine's wharf, "so they skirmished
together daily, and much harm was done."

Meanwhile Warwick and the young Earl of March set out on Saturday
July 5th, having with them the other Yorkist lords, "and much people
out of Kent, Sussex, and Essex with much great ordnance." Marching by
the great north road, past St. Albans and Towcester, they made for
Northampton, where they heard that the King was collecting his host.

The invasion of England had been so sudden and its success so rapid
that the Lancastrians had not had time to call in all their strength,
more especially as it lay to a great extent in the extreme North and
West. But the Midlands were well roused, and, if a Yorkist chronicler
is to be believed, the Queen "had it proclaimed in Cheshire and
Lancashire that if so the King had the victory of the Earls, then
every man should take what he might, and make havoc in Kent, Essex,
Middlesex, Surrey, and Sussex." The Duke of Buckingham had the chief
command, though he was not of the Court party nor a great lover of
the Queen's, but out of sheer loyalty he now--as formerly at St.
Albans--came out with all his retainers when he received the King's
missive. With him were Egremont and Beaumont, both deadly enemies of
the Nevilles and favourites of the Queen, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord
Grey de Ruthyn, and many more. Their forces, though very considerable,
were still somewhat inferior to those of the Yorkists.

The King's camp was pitched just outside Northampton town, in the
meadows south of the Nen, near the Nunnery between Sandiford and
Hardingstone. The position had been strongly entrenched, and the
earthworks were lined with a numerous artillery; the river covered both
flanks, the lines being drawn from point to point in a broad bend of
its course.

Warwick, in accordance with his declaration at St. Paul's on the
previous Thursday, made three separate attempts to secure permission to
approach the King's person; but Buckingham sternly refused to listen to
his envoys, the Bishops of Rochester and Salisbury. "You came here not
as bishops to treat of peace, but as men-at-arms," he said, pointing
to the squadrons arrayed under the bishops' banners in the Yorkist
host. Negotiations were fruitless, and at two in the afternoon Warwick
drew out his army on the rising ground by the old Danish camp, the
Hunsborough, which overlooks the water-meadows, and descended to the
attack. Fauconbridge led the vanguard on the left, the Earl himself the
centre, Edward of March, now seeing his first stricken field, conducted
the right wing. Before the attack it was proclaimed that every man
should spare the Commons, and slay none but the knights and lords, with
whom alone lay the blame for the shedding of all the blood that might
fall that day.

The first assault on the Lancastrian lines failed completely. The
obstacles were far greater than Warwick had imagined; it was six
feet from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the rampart, and the
trenches were full of water, for it had rained heavily in the morning.
How the day would have gone if treachery had not come to the succour
of the Yorkists it is impossible to say; but only a few minutes after
the first gun had been fired, Lord Grey de Ruthyn on the Lancastrian
left mounted the badge of the Ragged Staff, and his men were seen
beckoning to the Yorkists to approach, and leaning over the rampart to
reach their hands to pull them up. Assisted in this way, the Earl of
March's column got within the entrenchments, and sweeping along their
front cleared a space for Warwick to burst in. All was over in half
an hour and with very little bloodshed. Only three hundred men fell,
but among them were nearly all the Lancastrian leaders. On foot and in
their heavy armour the lords and knights could not get away. The aged
Buckingham fell at the door of his own tent, and Beaumont, Egremont,
and Shrewsbury close to the King's quarters, as they strove to protect
his retreat. But the King, helpless as ever, was too late to fly, and
fell into the hands of an archer named Henry Montford. His capture,
however, was not so important so long as his wife and child remained
at large; and Margaret--as adroit as her husband was shiftless--was
already speeding away with the young Prince, bound for North Wales.

Warwick and March conducted King Henry back with all respect to London,
where he was lodged in the palace at Westminster. They had done their
work so rapidly that they had not needed the assistance of the Duke
of York, whose arrival from Ireland--he was two months later than his
promise--was just announced from the West. Even before he appeared the
victors of Northampton had begun to reconstitute the King's ministry.
Henry was made to sign patents appointing Salisbury Lieutenant in the
six northern counties; his son, George Bishop of Exeter, received
the Chancellorship; John Neville another son was made the King's
Chamberlain, and Lord Bourchier got the Treasury. Warwick himself was
re-established _de jure_ in the position he had been so long holding
_de facto_, the captainship of Calais.

The garrison of the Tower of London surrendered nine days after the
battle of Northampton. Most of the defenders went away in safety, but
Lord Scales, who was much hated by the populace of London, was not
so fortunate. He took boat for the sanctuary of Westminster, but was
recognised as he rowed along by some water-men, who gave chase to him
and slew him on the river "just under the river wall of Winchester
House." His body was stripped and thrown ashore into the cemetery of
St. Mary Overy, whence it was removed and honourably buried by the
Earls of March and Warwick that night. "Great pity was it that so noble
a knight, so well approved in the wars of France and Normandy, should
die so mischievously," adds the chronicler.

A Parliament was summoned by the Yorkists to meet on October 9th.
Meanwhile Warwick was well employed. When August came round he ran
across to Calais to see to his old antagonist at Guisnes. Somerset
was now in low spirits, and willingly met the Earl at Newnham Bridge,
there to be reconciled to him and make peace. But after he had embraced
Warwick and assented to all his conditions, he secretly departed
with his follower Trollope, fled through Picardy to Dieppe, and took
refuge in his own south-western county. Meanwhile the Earl conducted
his mother and wife in great state back to London, and re-established
them in their old dwelling of "the Harbour." He spent September in
going on a pilgrimage with the Countess to the shrine of the Virgin at
Walsingham in Norfolk. On this journey he ran great peril, for Lord
Willoughby, an unreconciled Lancastrian, lay in wait for him near
Lichfield on his return, and was within an ace of making him prisoner.

So Warwick came at last to his own Midland estates. And there all the
knights and ladies of his lands came to him "complaining of the evils
that they had suffered in the past year from the Duke of Somerset, who
had pilled and robbed them, and sacked their towns and manors, and
usurped the Earl's castles; but notwithstanding all their troubles they
praised Heaven for the joyous return of their lord."

York had reached Chester early in September, and had marched slowly
through his estates in the Welsh March towards London. When he came
to Abingdon "he sent for trompeteres and claryners from London, and
gave them banners with the royal arms of England without distinction
or diversity, and commanded his sword to be borne upright before him,
and so he rode till he came to the gates of the palace of Westminster."
This assumption of royal state was the beginning of evils.

Meanwhile the Parliament was already sitting before the Duke's arrival.
King Henry opened it with due solemnity, and heard it commence its work
by repealing all the Acts of the Lancastrian Parliament of Leicester,
and by removing the attainders of the Yorkist lords. On the third day
of the session, Richard of York came up in the evening, and entered the
palace, where he rudely took possession of the royal apartments. "He
had the doors broken open, and King Henry hearing the great noise gave
place, and took him another chamber that night."

This unceremonious eviction of his sovereign was only the beginning of
the Duke's violent conduct. Next morning he went to the House of Lords,
and approaching the throne laid his hand on the cushion as if about
to take formal possession of the seat. Archbishop Bourchier asked him
what he would do, and the Duke then made a lengthy reply "challenging
and claiming the realm and crown of England as male heir of King
Richard the Second, and proposing without any delay to be crowned on
All Hallows' Day then following." The lords listened with obvious
disapproval and dismay, and York did not even venture to seat himself
on the throne. The meeting broke up without further transaction of
business.

"Now when the Earl of Warwick, who had not been present that day, heard
this, he was very wroth, and sent for the Archbishop and prayed him to
go to the Duke and tell him that he was acting evilly, and to remind
him of the many promises he had made to King Henry." Warwick in short
remembered his oath of July 4th, and was determined that Henry should
not be despoiled of his throne, but only placed in the hands of Yorkist
ministers. The Archbishop refused to face the Duke.

 Then the Earl sent for his brother Thomas Neville, and entered into
 his barge, and rowed to the palace. It was all full of the Duke's
 men-of-arms, but the Earl stayed not, and went straight to the Duke's
 chamber, and found him standing there, leaning against a side-board.
 And there were hard words between them, for the Earl told him that
 neither the lords nor the people would suffer him to strip the King of
 his crown. And as they wrangled, the Earl of Rutland came in and said
 to his cousin, "Fair sir be not angry, for you know that we have the
 true right to the crown, and that my Lord and Father here must have
 it." But the Earl of March his brother stayed him and said, "Brother,
 vex no man, for all shall be well." But the Earl of Warwick would stay
 no longer when he understood his uncle's intent, and went off hastily
 to his barge, greeting no one as he went save his cousin of March.

Next day, when his wrath had cooled down, the Earl sent to his uncle
the Bishops of Ely and Rochester, Lord Audley, and a London citizen
named Grey, to beg and beseech him to give up his enterprise. The Duke
sent them away, with the answer that he would be crowned the very next
Monday, the day of the translation of St. Edward the Confessor (October
13th). The preparations for the coronation were actually made, and the
crowd was mustering in the Abbey, when on a last appeal made by Sir
Thomas Neville in the name of his brother and of all the lords and
commonalty of England, the Duke wavered. Fearing to offend his greatest
supporters beyond redemption he temporised, put off his coronation, and
began to negotiate.

Richard Neville, in fact, had matched his will against that of
his imperious uncle and had won. The Duke was never crowned. The
arrangement at which the parties arrived was that Henry should be King
for life, that York should be made Protector, named Prince of Wales,
Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester, and should be acknowledged
as heir to the crown. The Duke, on the other hand, swore to be
faithful to the King so long as he should live. On All Saints' Day
the agreement was solemnly ratified at St. Paul's, whither the lords
went in procession, Warwick bearing the sword before the King, and
Edward of March bearing the King's mantle. "And the crowd shouted
'Long live King Henry and the Earl of Warwick,' for the said Earl had
the good voice of the people, because he knew how to give them fair
words, showing himself easy and familiar with them, for he was very
subtle at gaining his ends, and always spoke not of himself but of the
augmentation and good governance of the kingdom, for which he would
have spent his life: and thus he had the goodwill of England, so that
in all the land he was the lord who was held in most esteem and faith
and credence."

The Act of Parliament which recorded the agreement of York and King
Henry made no mention of Queen Margaret or of the Prince her son. But
it was of little use passing Acts of Parliament while she was at large
and the Lancastrian lords of the North and West unsubdued. Margaret's
first move had been to stir up the Scots, and at her bidding James the
Second crossed the Border and laid siege to Roxburgh, which was then an
English town. Fauconbridge, Warwick's uncle, was sent north to defend
the place, but later events deprived him of aid from England, and he
was forced to surrender, though not till after the King of Scots had
fallen, slain by the bursting of one of his own siege guns.

But the Scotch invasion was only one of Margaret's schemes. Her main
hope lay in a rising of the Lancastrians who had not suffered at
Northampton; and from her retreat at Harlech in North Wales she sent
to summon them together. Their mustering-place was in the North,
where the Earl of Northumberland and Lord Neville, brother of Ralph
Earl of Westmoreland, and Clifford son of the Clifford who fell at
St. Albans, united their retainers as the nucleus of an army. To
them fled Somerset, regardless of his oath at Calais, and Exeter the
late Admiral, and Courtney Earl of Devon, and Willoughby and Roos and
Hungerford, and many more.

The danger was so imminent that the Duke of York, after wearing the
honours of the protectorate for no more than three weeks, resolved
to march north and disperse the gathering of the Queen's friends. He
took with him his second son Edmund of Rutland, a boy of seventeen;
Salisbury accompanied him, and he also left his first-born at home and
went out with his fourth son Thomas Neville. The Duke and the Earl
raised about six thousand men, and proceeded on their way, unopposed
save by a small Lancastrian force which they beat at Worksop, till
they reached Sandal Castle, one of York's family strongholds, close
beside the town of Wakefield. When they arrived there, about Christmas
Eve, they learnt that the Queen's army was much stronger than they
had reckoned, and sent south for reinforcements. But on December 30th
they were themselves assailed by forces tripling their own small host,
under Somerset and Clifford. The Duke rashly fought in the open, though
many of his men were scattered over the country-side foraging. It is
said that he relied on help treacherously promised him by some of the
Lancastrian leaders; but he was disappointed. No one played for his
benefit the part that Grey de Ruthyn had carried out at Northampton.

The defeat of the Yorkists was decisive. Two thousand two hundred men
out of their five thousand were slain. The fate of war fell heavily
on the leaders, hardly one of whom escaped. The Duke fell on the
field, with Thomas Neville and William Lord Harington. The Earl of
Rutland, "the best-disposed young gentleman in England," was slain in
the pursuit as he fled across Wakefield Bridge. Salisbury's fate was
more unhappy still; he was taken prisoner, and beheaded next day at
Pontefract by the Bastard of Exeter, "though he offered great sums of
money that he should have grant of his life." The heads of Salisbury
and his son, of Harington, and of five knights, were set on spikes over
the gate of York, with that of Duke Richard in the midst, crowned with
a paper crown in mockery of the prospective kingship that he had never
enjoyed.

All the Lancastrians of the North and the Midlands rose at once to join
the Queen. She was soon at the head of forty thousand men, largely
composed of the lawless moss-troopers of the Scotch Border, who looked
upon war as a mere excuse for raids, and boasted that everything beyond
the Trent was in an enemy's country. Before moving south they harried
most thoroughly the estates of the northern Yorkists. Salisbury's
patrimony about Middleham and Sherif Hoton bore the brunt of the
plunder, at the hands of the retainers of the elder branch of Neville,
whose head, Earl Ralph of Westmoreland, put his men under the charge
of his brother Thomas, one of the most rabid Lancastrians in the North
Country.

About the middle of January the Queen's army began to roll southward,
pillaging recklessly on all sides, and sacking from roof to cellar
the towns of Grantham, Stamford, Peterborough, Huntingdon, Royston,
Melbourn, and Dunstable, as they passed down the Ermine Street.

The news of the battle of Wakefield reached London about January 5th,
and set the whole South Country in dismay. Warwick, who had been
keeping his Christmas on his own estates, was forced to ride up to
the capital at full speed, and assume the direction of affairs, for
there was now no one to share the responsibility with him. His uncle,
in whose cause he had fought so long, and his father, whose prudent
counsels had guided the party, were both gone; his cousin of March, the
head of the family, was no more than nineteen years of age, and was
moreover at this moment far away by the Severn, looking after the Welsh
March. It devolved on Warwick to assume the responsibility for the
government of the kingdom and the safety of the Yorkist party.

Though there were traitors enough ready to change to the winning
side, as was always the case in this unhappy war, the south-eastern
counties were firm to York even in the darkest hour. Warwick found
ready assistants in the Duke of Norfolk, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
the Earl of Arundel, the Lords Bonville, Cobham, Fitzwalter, and the
Commons of Kent and London. "In this country," wrote a partisan of
York, "every man is well willing to go with my Lords here, and I hope
God shall help them, for the people of the North rob and steal, and are
appointed to pillage all this country, and give away men's goods and
livelihood in all the South Country, and that shall be a mischief."

To resist the advance of the Queen on London, Warwick marched out to
St. Albans and arrayed some thirty thousand men to cover the London
road. His army was drawn up not in the great masses which were usual
at this time, but in detachments scattered along a front of three
miles; the right on a heath called No Man's Land, the left in St.
Albans town. The country-side was full of woods and hedges, which
were manned by archers, supported by a body of Burgundian handgun-men
whom Warwick had hired in Flanders. King Henry was taken along with
the army, and stationed in the rear, in charge of Lord Bonville. The
position was strong, but the communication between its various parts
was bad, and the whole force of Warwick's men seems to have been ill
placed for concentration. Owing to some mismanagement of the officer
commanding the mounted scouts, the Lancastrians attacked before they
were expected. "The Queen's men were at hands with the Earl's in the
town of St. Albans while all things were set to seek and out of order,
for the prickers came not home to bring tidings that the Queen was at
hand, save one, and he came and said that she was yet nine mile off."
The first Lancastrian attack on the left, in St. Albans town, was
beaten back, but in another part of the field a fatal disaster took
place. A Kentish squire named Lovelace, who led a company in the right
wing, went over to the enemy, and let the Lancastrians through the
Yorkist line. King Henry was captured by his wife's followers "as he
sat under a great oak, smiling to see the discomfiture of the army."
When the news ran along the front that treachery was at work, and that
the King was taken, the bulk of the Yorkists broke up and fled. Not
more than three thousand were slain or taken, but the whole force was
irretrievably scattered, and the greater part of the leaders fled home
to their own lands as if the war was over.

Queen Margaret showed her joy at the recovery of her husband's person
by an exhibition of savage cruelty. Lord Bonville and Sir Thomas
Kyrriel, who had been in charge of Henry and had been captured with
him, were brought before her. "So she told them they must die, and sent
for her son the Prince of Wales, and said that he should choose what
death they should suffer. And when the boy--he was eight years old--was
brought into the tent, she said 'Fair son, what manner of death shall
these knights, whom you see here, die?' And the young child answered
'Let them have their heads taken off.' Then said Sir Thomas, 'May God
destroy those who taught thee this manner of speech,' but immediately
they drew them out and cut off both their heads" (February 17th, 1461).



CHAPTER X

TOWTON FIELD


The dispersion of the Yorkist army seems to have been so complete that
Warwick could not gather together more than four or five thousand of
the thirty thousand men who had stood in line at St. Albans. With
this small force he considered himself unable to protect London, and
he therefore retreated not southward but westward, intending to fall
back on his own Midland estates, to raise fresh troops, and join the
Earl of March in the west. He only sent to London to order that his
young cousins George and Richard of York--now boys of eleven and nine
respectively--should be sent over-sea to take refuge in Flanders.

Accordingly Warwick now marched by vile cross-country roads, and in the
worst days of a February which was long remembered for its rains and
inundations, across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to Chipping Norton.
Here he met with the Earl of March, whose proceedings during the last
month require a word of notice.

Edward was at Gloucester when the news of Wakefield reached him, and
saw at once that troops must be raised to help Warwick to defend
London. Accordingly he moved into the Welsh Marches, and hastily
called together some ten or eleven thousand men. With these he would
have marched east, if it had not been that Mid Wales had risen in
behalf of Queen Margaret, and that he himself was beset by forces
headed by Jasper Earl of Pembroke, Jasper's father Owen Tudor, the
husband of the Queen Dowager, and James Earl of Wiltshire. Before
he could move to succour Warwick, he must free himself from these
adversaries in his rear. The campaign in the West was short and
sharp. The Earl of March met the Welsh at Mortimer's Cross, in north
Herefordshire near Wigmore, on February 2nd, and gave them a crushing
defeat. Owen Tudor was taken prisoner and beheaded, and his head was
set on the highest step of the market-cross at Hereford. "And a mad
woman combed his hair and washed away the blood from his face, and got
candles, and set them about the head burning, more than a hundred, no
one hindering her." The Earls of Pembroke and Wiltshire escaped, and
joined Queen Margaret with the wrecks of their army.

The moment that he had crushed the Welsh Lancastrians and settled the
affairs of the March, Edward had set out for London, hoping to arrive
in time to aid Warwick. He could not achieve the impossible, but he had
passed the Severn, crossed the bleak Cotswolds, and reached Chipping
Norton by February 22nd. Having left some of his troops behind in
Wales, he had not more than eight or nine thousand of his Marchmen with
him, under Hastings--destined one day to be the victim of Richard of
Gloucester--Sir John Wenlock, and William Herbert the future Earl of
Pembroke.

The news that reached Warwick and the Earl of March at Chipping Norton
was so startling that it caused them to change their whole plan of
operations, and to march straight upon London, instead of merely
gathering fresh strength to make head in a new campaign in the west
Midlands.

The course of events after the fight of St. Albans had been exactly the
reverse of what might have been expected from the Queen's fiery temper
and the reckless courage of the Northern bands that followed her.

The battle had been fought upon February 17th, the troops of Warwick
had retired westward on the 18th, the victorious army was within
thirteen miles of London, and there was nothing to prevent the Queen
from entering the city next day. It is one of the most curious problems
of English history to find that the Lancastrians lay for eight days
quiescent, and made no endeavour to replace the King in his capital.
Knowing the extraordinary apathy which the citizens displayed all
over England during the Wars of the Roses, we may be sure that the
Londoners, in spite of their preference for York, would not have
ventured to exclude the Northern army when it claimed admittance at
their gates.

But on this one occasion Queen Margaret displayed not only her usual
want of judgment, but a want of firmness that was foreign to her
character. King Henry, asserting for once some influence on politics,
and asserting it to his own harm, had determined to spare London and
the home counties the horrors of plunder at the hands of the Northern
hordes. Not an armed force but a few envoys were sent to London,
while the main body of the troops were held back, and the van pushed
no farther than Barnet. Simultaneously the King issued strenuous
proclamations against raiding of any kind. This ordinance caused vast
murmuring among the Northern Men, observes the Abbot of St. Albans, on
whom the King was quartered, but had not the least effect in curbing
their propensity to plunder.

The Londoners had quite made up their minds to submit; their only
thought was to buy their pardon as cheaply as possible at the
King's hands. On the 20th they sent the Duchesses of Bedford and
Buckingham--the widows of the great Regent of France and of the
Lancastrian Duke slain at Northampton--together with certain aldermen,
to plead for grace and peace at the hands of the Queen. The King and
Queen were found at Barnet, whither they had moved from St. Albans, and
gave not unpropitious answers, although that very morning Margaret had
doomed to execution the unfortunate Bonville and Kyrriel. As a proof
of their good intentions they undertook to move back their army out of
reach of the city; accordingly on Thursday the 25th the Northerners, in
a state of deep disgust, were sent back to Dunstable.

The first demand which the Queen had made on London was for a supply of
provisions for her army; and on Friday the 26th the Mayor and aldermen
gathered a long train of waggons, laden with "all sorts of victuals,
and much Lenten stuff," and prepared to despatch it northward. The
city, however, was in a great state of disturbance. Public feeling was
excited by the plundering of the Lancastrians, and news had arrived
that the cause of York was not lost, and that a Yorkist army was
marching to the relief of London. To the horror of the more prudent
citizens, a mob, headed by Sir John Wenlock's cook, stopped the carts
at Newgate, plundered the provisions, and drove the waggoners away.

Such an act was bound to draw down punishment, and that same afternoon
a great body of Lancastrian men-at-arms, under Sir Baldwin Fulford,
was pushed up to Westminster to overawe the city. The Londoners had to
make up their minds that Friday evening whether they would fight or
submit, and many were the heart-searchings of the timid aldermen; but
on Saturday morning their grief was turned into joy. News arrived that
Warwick and the Earl of March were at hand: Fulford's men abandoned
Westminster and fell back northward; and ere the day was out the
travel-stained troops of the Yorkist lords were defiling into the city.
By nightfall ten thousand men were within the gates, and all thought of
surrender was gone.

Thus King Henry's good intentions and Queen Margaret's unexpected
irresolution had lost London to the Lancastrians. But their army still
lay in a threatening attitude at Dunstable, and it seemed inevitable
that the Earl of March would have either to fight a battle or to stand
a siege before he was a week older.

But before the fate of England was put to the arbitrament of combat
there was one thing to be done. The cruel deaths of York and Salisbury
had driven the quarrel between York and Lancaster beyond the
possibility of accommodation. In spite of all the personal respect
that was felt for King Henry, it was no longer possible that the heir
of Duke Richard should be content to pose merely as the destined
successor to the throne. Now that Henry was again in the hands of his
wife and the Beauforts, it was certain that the royal name would be
used to the utmost against the Yorkists. They must have some cry to set
against the appeal to national loyalty which would be made in the name
of King Henry.

No doubt Warwick and Edward had settled the whole matter on their ride
from Chipping Norton to London, for their action showed every sign of
having been long planned out. On the Sunday morning, within twenty-four
hours of their arrival in the city, their army was drawn out "in the
great field outside Clerkenwell," and while a great multitude of
Londoners stood by, George Bishop of Exeter, the orator of the Neville
clan, made a solemn statement of Edward's claim to the throne. At once
soldiers and citizens joined in the shout, "God save King Edward!" and
there was no doubt of the spontaneity of their enthusiasm. The heart of
the people was with York, and it only remained necessary to legalise
their choice by some form of election.

Save the three Nevilles, Warwick, Fauconbridge, and Bishop George,
there seems to have been no peer with Edward at the moment. Warwick
felt that it would not look well that his cousin should ostensibly
receive his crown from the Nevilles alone, whatever might be the
reality of the case. Accordingly the few Yorkist peers within reach
were hastily summoned. The Archbishop of Canterbury came in from Kent,
where he had been "waiting for better times." The Duke of Norfolk,
Lord Fitzwalter, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, and the Bishop of Salisbury
appeared ere two days were out. Then these eight peers, spiritual and
temporal, with a dozen or so of knights, and a deputation of London
citizens, solemnly met at Baynard's Castle and declared Edward King.
There had not been an instance of the election of a monarch by such a
scanty body of supporters since the meeting of the Witan that chose
Henry the First. The house of Neville and their cousin of Norfolk were
practically the sole movers in the business.

Next day, Thursday March 4th, Edward rode in state to Westminster
with his scanty following of notables. There before the high altar he
declared his title, and sat on his throne, with the sceptre of Edward
the Confessor in his hand, beneath a canopy, receiving the homage and
fealty of his adherents. Then embarking in a state barge he returned by
water to the Tower where he fixed his abode, deserting the York family
mansion of Baynard's Castle. Meanwhile the heralds proclaimed him at
every street corner as Edward the Fourth, King of France and England,
and Lord of Ireland.

Every one had been expecting that the coronation would be interrupted
by the news that Queen Margaret's army was thundering at the gates; but
no signs of the approach of an enemy appeared, and that same day it
was known that the Queen had broken up from Dunstable and marched away
northward. Her troops were in a state of incipient disbandment: they
had refused to obey the King's proclamation against plunder, and had
melted away by thousands, some to harry the Home Counties, some to bear
off booty already obtained. The men that still adhered to the standards
were so few and so discontented that the Lancastrian lords begged the
Queen to retreat. They had heard exaggerated rumours of the strength
of King Edward, and dared not fight him. Accordingly Henry, his wife
and son, and his nobles, with their whole following, rode off along the
Watling Street, sending before them messengers to raise the whole force
of the North, and to bid it meet their retiring army on the borders of
Yorkshire.

The festivities of the coronation had not prevented the Yorkist lords
from keeping the imminence of their danger close before their eyes.
The ceremony had taken place on Thursday afternoon; by early dawn
on Friday Mowbray had ridden off eastward to array his followers in
Norfolk and Suffolk. On the Saturday Warwick himself marched out by
the great North road, with the war-tried troops who had fought under
him at St. Albans and accompanied his retreat to Chipping Norton. He
moved on cautiously, gathering in the Yorkist knights of the Midlands
and his own Warwickshire and Worcestershire retainers, till he had been
joined by the whole force of his party. For four or five days after
Warwick had set forth, the levies of the Southern Counties continued to
pour into London. On the 10th the main body of infantry marched on to
unite with the Earl; they were some fifteen thousand strong, Marchmen
from the Welsh Border and Kentishmen; for Kent, ever loyal to York, had
turned out its archers in full force, under a notable captain named
Robert Horne. Finally, King Edward--who had remained behind till the
last available moment, cheering the Londoners, bidding for the support
of doubtful adherents, getting together money, and signing the manifold
documents which had to be drawn up on his accession--started with his
personal following, amid the cheers of the citizens and cries for
vengeance on King Henry and his wife.

Warwick had pushed forward cautiously, keeping in his front some light
horse under John Ratcliff, who claimed the barony of Fitzwalter. King
Edward, on the other hand, came on at full speed, and was able to
over-take his vanguard at Leicester. Mowbray, with the troops from the
Eastern Counties, was less ready; he was several days behind the King,
and, as we shall see, did not come up till the actual eve of battle.

There had been some expectation that the Lancastrians would fight on
the line of the Trent, for the Northern lords tarried some days at
Nottingham. But as Warwick pushed on he had always found the enemy
retreating before him. Their route could be traced by the blazing
villages on each side of their path, for the Northern men had gone
homewards excited to bitter wrath by the loss of the plunder of London.
They had eaten up the whole country-side, swept off the horses, pulled
the very houses to pieces in search of hidden goods, stripped every
man, woman, and child they met of purse and raiment, even to the
beggars who came out to ask them for charity, and slain every man that
raised a hand against them. Beyond the Trent, they said, they were in
an enemy's country. In the eyes of every Southern man the measure of
their iniquities was full.

When Warwick and King Edward learnt that the Queen and the Northern
lords had drawn their plundering bands north of the Trent, they had
not much difficulty in settling the direction of their march. It was
practically certain that the Lancastrians would be found on one of
the positions across the Great North Road which cover the approach to
York. Now, as in every age since the Romans built their great line of
communication between north and south, it would be on the line between
York and Lincoln that the fate of Northern England would be decided.
The only doubt was whether the Lancastrians would choose to defend the
Don or the Aire or the Wharfe, behind each of which they might take up
their position.

On the Friday, March 26th, the Yorkists crossed the Don unmolested, but
the news was not long in reaching them that the enemy lay behind the
next obstacle, the Aire, now swollen to a formidable torrent by the
spring rains, and likely to cause much trouble ere it could be crossed.
King Henry with his wife and son lay at York, but all his lords with
their retainers lay in the villages about Tadcaster and Cawood midway
between the Wharfe and Aire, with their central camp hard by the church
of Towton, which was destined to give its name to the coming battle.

To secure the passage of the Aire was now the task that was incumbent
on the Yorkists. Accordingly their vanguard under Lord Fitzwalter was
sent forward in haste on to Ferrybridge, where the Roman road crosses
the stream. Contrary to expectation the place was found unoccupied, and
its all-important bridge secured. The line of the Aire was won; but the
Friday was not destined to pass without bloodshed. The Northern lords,
cursing the carelessness which had lost them their line of defence,
determined to fall on the advanced guard of the enemy, and beat it out
of Ferrybridge before the main body should come up. Lord Clifford, who
commanded the nearest detachment, rode off at once from Towton, and
charged into Ferrybridge while the newly-arrived Yorkists were at their
meal. Fitzwalter had kept as careless a watch as his enemies; he was
taken unprepared, his men were routed, and he himself slain as he tried
to rally them. At nightfall Clifford held the town, and slept there
undisturbed.

Next morning, however, the situation was changed. Somerset, or rather
the council of the Lancastrian lords, had taken no measures to support
Clifford. He was left alone at Ferrybridge with the few thousand
men of his original force, while the main army was slowly gathering
on Towton hill-side eight miles to the rear. Meanwhile the Yorkist
main body was approaching Ferrybridge from the south, and a detached
column under Lord Fauconbridge, stoutest of Warwick's many uncles, was
trying the dangerous passage at Castleford, three miles away, where
there was no one to resist them. Hearing that Fauconbridge was already
across, and was moving round to cut him off from his base, Clifford
evacuated Ferrybridge and fell back towards his main body. He had
already accomplished six of the eight miles of his journey, when near
Dintingdale Fauconbridge suddenly came in upon his flank with a very
superior force. Clifford had so nearly reached his friends that he was
marching in perfect security. The Yorkists scattered his men before
they could form up to fight, and killed him ere he had even time to
brace on his helmet. The survivors of his detachment were chased in
upon the Lancastrian main army, which was so badly served by its scouts
that it had neither heard of Fauconbridge's approach nor taken any
measures to bring in Clifford's party in safety. Nay, so inert were the
Lancastrian commanders, that they did not, after the skirmish, march
out to beat off Fauconbridge, whose friends were still miles away,
painfully threading the bridge of Ferrybridge or the ford at Castleford.

All through Saturday the Yorkists were slowly coming up to reinforce
their vanguard, but the roads and the weather were so bad that the rear
was still on the other side of the Aire when night fell. However, the
main body was safely concentrated on a ridge south of Saxton village,
and probably thirty-five thousand out of Edward's forty-eight thousand
men were in line, though much famished for victuals. The belated
rear-guard, which was destined to form the right wing of the army on
the morrow, was composed of the troops from the Eastern Counties under
Mowbray; with him were Sir John Wenlock and Sir John Dynham, two of
Warwick's most trusted friends. They were not expected to come up till
some hours after daybreak on Sunday morning. With the Yorkist main body
were the King, Warwick, his brother John, his uncle Fauconbridge, Lord
Scrope, Lord Berners, Lord Stanley, Sir William Hastings, Sir John
Stafford, Sir Walter Blunt, Robert Horne, the leader of the Kentishmen,
and many other South-Country knights and squires.

Two miles north of the Yorkist camp at Saxton, the Lancastrians lay
in full force on Towton hill-side. They had with them the largest
army that was ever put into the field during the whole war. Somerset,
Exeter, James Butler the Irish Earl who had endeavoured to rival
Warwick's power in Wiltshire, Courtney Earl of Devon, Moleyns,
Hungerford, and Willoughby had brought in the South-Country adherents
of Lancaster, those at least of them whom the fields of St. Albans
and Northampton had left unharmed and unabashed. Sir Andrew Trollope
was there, with the remnant of the trained troops from Calais who had
deserted York at Ludford in the previous year. But the bulk of the
sixty thousand men who served under the Red Rose were the retainers of
the Northern lords. Henry Percy of Northumberland appeared in person
with all his following. The Durham vassals of the elder house of
Neville were arrayed under John Lord Neville, the younger brother of
Ralph of Westmoreland, though the Earl himself was (now as always) not
forthcoming in person. Beside the Neville and Percy retainers were the
bands of Lords Dacre, Welles, Roos, Beaumont, Mauley, and of the dead
Clifford--of all the barons and knights indeed of the North Country
save of the younger house of Neville.

The Lancastrian position was very strong. Eight miles north of
Ferrybridge the Great North Road is flanked by a long plateau some
hundred and fifty feet above the level of the surrounding country, the
first rising ground to the west that breaks the plain of York. The high
road to Tadcaster creeps along its eastern foot, and then winds round
its northern extremity; its western side is skirted by a brook called
the Cock, which was then in flood and only passable at a few points
beside the bridge where the high road crosses it. The Lancastrians were
drawn up across the plateau, their left wing on the high road, their
right touching the steep bank of the Cock. One flank was completely
covered by the flooded stream, while the other, the one which lay
over the road, could only be turned by the enemy if he went down into
the plain and exposed himself to a flank attack while executing his
movement. The ground, however, was very cramped for an army of sixty
thousand men; it was less than a mile and a half in breadth, and it
seems likely that the Lancastrians must, contrary to the usual English
custom, have formed several lines, one in rear of the other, in order
to crowd their men on to such a narrow space.

The Yorkists at Saxton lay just on the southern declivity of the
plateau, within two miles of the Lancastrian line of battle, whose
general disposition must have been rendered sufficiently evident by the
countless watchfires along the rising ground.

Although they knew themselves to be outnumbered by the enemy, Warwick
and King Edward were determined to attack. Each of them had a father
to revenge, and they were not disposed to count heads. Before it was
dawn, at four o'clock on the morning of that eventful Palm Sunday, the
Yorkist army was drawn out. The King rode down the line bidding them
remember that they had the just cause, and the men began to climb the
gentle ascent of the Towton plateau. The left wing, which was slightly
in advance of the main body, was led by Fauconbridge; the great central
mass by Warwick in person; the King was in command of the reserve.
Of the details of the marshalling we know no more, but the Yorkist
line, though only thirty-five thousand strong, was drawn up on a front
equal to that which the sixty thousand Lancastrians occupied, and must
therefore have been much thinner. When Norfolk and the missing right
wing should appear, it was obvious that they would outflank the enemy
on the side of the plain. Warwick's plan, therefore, was evidently to
engage the Lancastrians so closely and so occupy their attention that
Norfolk should be able to take them in flank without molestation on his
arrival.

In the dusk of the March morning, with a strong north wind blowing in
their faces, the clumps of Yorkist billmen and archers commenced to
mount the hill. No opposition was made to their approach, but when they
had advanced for one thousand yards along the summit of the plateau,
they dimly descried the Lancastrian host in order of battle, on the
farther side of a slight dip in the ground called Towtondale. At the
same moment the wind veered round, and a heavy fall of snow commenced
to beat in the faces of the Lancastrians. So thick was it that the two
armies could only make out each other's position from the simultaneous
shout of defiance which ran down each line. Fauconbridge, whose wing
lay nearest to the enemy, determined to utilise the accident of the
snow in a manner which throws the greatest credit on his presence
of mind. He sent forward his archers to the edge of the dip in the
plateau, with orders to discharge a few flights of arrows into the
Lancastrian columns, and then to retire back again to the line of
battle. This they did; the wind bore their arrows into the crowded
masses, who with the snow beating into their eyes could not see the
enemy that was molesting them, and considerable execution was done.
Accordingly the whole Lancastrian line of archers commenced to reply;
but as they were shooting against the wind, and as Fauconbridge's
men had withdrawn after delivering their volley, it resulted that
the Northeners continued to pour a heavy flight of arrows into the
unoccupied ground forty yards in front of the Yorkist position. Their
fire was so fast and furious that ere very long their shafts began
to run short. When this became noticeable, Fauconbridge led his men
forward again to the edge of Towtondale, and recommenced his deadly
volleys into the enemy's right wing. The Lancastrians could make little
or no reply, their store of missiles being almost used up; their
position was growing unbearable, and with a simultaneous impulse the
whole mass facing Fauconbridge plunged down into Towtondale, to cross
the dip and fall on the enemy at close quarters. The movement spread
down the line from west to east, and in a few minutes the two armies
were engaged along their whole front. Thus the Lancastrians, though
fighting on their own chosen ground, had to become the assailants, and
were forced to incur the disadvantage of having the slope against them,
as they struggled up the southern side of the declivity of Towtondale.

Of all the battles of the Wars of the Roses, perhaps indeed of all the
battles in English history, the fight of Towton was the most desperate
and the most bloody. For sheer hard fighting there is nothing that
can compare to it; from five in the morning to mid-day the battle
never slackened for a moment. No one ever again complained that the
Southern men were less tough than the Northern. Time after time the
Lancastrians rolled up the southern slope of Towtondale and flung
themselves on the Yorkist host; sometimes they were driven down at
once, sometimes they pushed the enemy back for a space, but they could
never break the King's line. Each time that an attacking column was
repelled, newly-rallied troops took its place, and the push of pike
never ceased. We catch one glimpse of Warwick in the midst of the
tumult. Waurin tells how "the greatest press of the battle lay on the
quarter where the Earl of Warwick stood," and Whethamsted describes him
"pressing on like a second Hector, and encouraging his young soldiers;"
but there is little to be gathered about the details of the fight.[5]
There cannot have been much to learn, for each combatant, lost in the
mist and drifting snow, could tell only of what was going on in his
own immediate neighbourhood. They have only left us vague pictures of
horror, "the dead hindered the living from coming to close quarters,
they lay so thick," "there was more red than white visible on the
snow," are the significant remarks of the chronicler. King Henry, as he
heard his Palm-Sunday mass in York Minster ten miles away--"he was kept
off the field because he was better at praying than at fighting," says
the Yorkist chronicler--may well have redoubled his prayers, for never
was there to be such a slaughter of Englishmen.

At length the object for which Warwick's stubborn billmen had so long
maintained their ground against such odds was attained. The column
under the Duke of Norfolk, which was to form the Yorkist right wing,
began to come up from Ferrybridge. Its route brought it out on the
extreme left flank of the Lancastrians, where the high road skirts the
plateau. Too heavily engaged in front to suspect that all the army of
York was not yet before them, Somerset and his colleagues had made no
provision against a new force appearing beyond their left wing. Thus
Norfolk's advancing columns were able to turn the exposed flank, open
an enfilading fire upon the enemy's left rear, and, what was still
more important, to cut him off from all lines of retreat save that
which led across the flooded Cock. The effect of Norfolk's advance was
at once manifest; the battle began to roll northward and westward,
as the Lancastrians gave back and tried to form a new front against
the unsuspected enemy. But the moment that they began to retire the
whole Yorkist line followed them. The arrival of Norfolk had been
to Warwick's men what the arrival of Blücher was to Wellington's
at Waterloo; after having fought all the day on the defensive they
had their opportunity at last, and were eager to use it. When the
Lancastrians had once begun to retire they found themselves so hotly
pushed on that they could never form a new line of battle. Their gross
numbers were crushed more and more closely together as the pressure
on their left flank became more and more marked, and if any reserves
yet remained in hand, there was no way of bringing them to the front.
Yet, as all the chroniclers acknowledge, the Northern men gave way to
no panic; they turned again and again, and strove to dispute every
step between Towtondale and the edge of the plateau. It took three
hours more of fighting to roll them off the rising ground; but when
once they were driven down their position became terrible. The Cock
when in flood is in many places unfordable; sometimes it spreads out
so as to cover the fields for fifty yards on each side of its wonted
bed; and the only safe retreat across it was by the single bridge on
the Tadcaster road. The sole result of the desperate fighting of the
Lancastrians was that this deadly obstacle now lay in their immediate
rear. The whole mass was compelled to pass the river as best it could.
Some escaped by the bridge; many forded the Cock where its stream ran
shallow; many yielded themselves as prisoners--some to get quarter,
others not, for the Yorkists were wild with the rage of ten hours'
slaughter. But many thousands had a worse fortune; striving to ford the
river where it was out of their depth, or trodden down in the shallower
parts by their own flying comrades, they died without being touched by
the Yorkist steel. Any knight or man-at-arms who lost his footing in
the water was doomed, for the cumbrous armour of the later fifteenth
century made it quite impossible to rise again. Even the billman and
archer in his salet and jack would find it hard to regain his feet.
Hence we may well believe the chroniclers when they tell us that the
Cock slew its thousands that day, and that the last Lancastrians who
crossed its waters crossed them on a bridge composed of the bodies of
their comrades.

Even this ghastly scene was not to be the end of the slaughter; the
Yorkists urged the pursuit for miles from the field, nearly to the
gates of York, still slaying as they went. The hapless King Henry,
with his wife and son, were borne out of the town by their flying
followers, who warned them that the enemy was still close behind, and
were fain to take the road for Durham and the Border. Only Richard
Tunstal, the King's Chamberlain, and five horsemen more guarded them
during the flight.

When Warwick and King Edward drew in their men from the pursuit, and
bade the heralds count the slain, they must have felt that their
fathers were well avenged. Nearly thirty thousand corpses lay on the
trampled snow of the plateau, or blocked the muddy course of the Cock,
or strewed the road to Tadcaster and York; and of these only eight
thousand were Yorkists. The sword had fallen heavily on the Lancastrian
leaders. The Earl of Northumberland was carried off by his followers
mortally wounded, and died next day. Of the barons, Dacre, Neville,
Mauley, and Welles, lay on the field. Thomas Courtney the Earl of
Devon was taken alive--a worse fate than that of his fellows, for
the headsman's axe awaited him. Of leaders below the baronial rank
there were slain Sir Andrew Trollope, the late Lieutenant of Calais,
Sir Ralph Grey, Sir Henry Beckingham, and many more whom it would be
tedious to name. The slaughter had been as deadly to the Northern
knighthood as was Flodden a generation later to the noble houses of
Scotland; there was hardly a family that had not to mourn the loss of
its head or heir.

The uphill fight which the Yorkists had to wage during the earlier
hours of the day had left its mark in their ranks; eight thousand had
fallen, one man for every six in the field. But the leaders had come
off fortunately; only Sir John Stafford and Robert Horne, the Kentish
captain, had fallen. So long indeed as the fight ran level, the knights
in their armour of proof were comparatively safe; it was always the
pursuit which proved so fatal to the chiefs of a broken army.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 5: There is nothing authentic to be discovered of the story
mentioned by Monstrelet, and popularised in Warwickshire tradition,
that the Earl slew his charger at Towton to show his men that he would
not fly.]



CHAPTER XI

THE TRIUMPH OF KING EDWARD


On the evening of that bloody Palm Sunday, King Edward, Warwick, and
the other Yorkist chiefs, slept in the villages round the battlefield.
Next morning, however, they set their weary army on the march to reap
the fruits of victory. In the afternoon they appeared before the gates
of York, where the heads of York and Salisbury, bleached with three
months of winter rains, still looked southward from the battlements.
The citizens had, as was usual in the time, not the slightest intention
of offering resistance, but they must have felt many a qualm as
Edward's men, drunk with slaughter and set on revenging the harrying of
the South by the Queen's army, drew up before their walls.

Edward, however, had already fixed on the policy from which he never
swerved throughout his reign--hard measure for the great and easy
measure for the small. The Mayor and citizens were allowed to "find
means of grace through Lord Berners and Sir John Neville, brother to
the Earl of Warwick"--doubtless through a sufficient gift of rose
nobles. These two lords led the Mayor and Council before the King, who
promptly granted them grace, and was then received into the town "with
great solemnity and processions." There Edward kept his Easter week,
and made every arrangement for the subjugation of the North. His first
act was to take down the heads of his father and his uncle from over
the gate, and provide for their reverent burial. His next was to mete
out to his Lancastrian prisoners the measure that York and Salisbury
had received. The chief of them, Courtney Earl of Devon and the Bastard
of Exeter, were decapitated in the market-place, and their heads sent
south to be set up on London Bridge. James Earl of Wiltshire--long
Salisbury's rival in the South--was caught a few days later, and
suffered the same fate.

The submission of the various Yorkshire towns was not long in coming
in, and it was soon ascertained that no further resistance was to be
looked for south of the Tees. The broken bands of the Lancastrians had
disappeared from Yorkshire, and Warwick's tenants from Middleham and
Sherif Hoton were now able to come in to explain to their lord how they
had fared during the Lancastrian ascendency at the hands of his cousins
of Westmoreland. In common with the few other Yorkists of the North,
they had received hard measure; they had been well plundered, and
probably constrained to pay up all that the Westmorelands could wring
out of them, as arrears for the twenty years during which the Yorkshire
lands of Neville had been out of the hands of the senior branch.

A few days after Easter, Warwick and Edward moved out of York and
pushed on to Durham. On the way they were entertained at Middleham
with such cheer as the place could afford after its plunder by the
Lancastrians. Nowhere did they meet with any resistance, and the task
of finishing the war appeared so simple that the King betook himself
homeward about May 1st, leaving Warwick with a general commission to
pacify the North. John Neville remained behind with his brother, as
did Sir Robert Ogle and Sir John Coniers, the only two Yorkists of
importance in the North outside the Neville family. The King took
with him the rest of the lords, who were wanted for the approaching
festivals and councils in London, and with them the bulk of the army.

The task which Warwick had received turned out to be a much more
formidable matter than had been expected. King Henry, Queen Margaret,
the Dukes of Somerset and Exeter, Lords Hungerford and Roos, with the
other surviving Lancastrian leaders, had fled to Scotland, where they
had succeeded in inducing the Scotch regents--Kennedy, Boyd, and their
fellows--to continue the policy of the late King, and throw themselves
heartily into the war with the Yorkists. The inducement offered was the
cession of Berwick and Carlisle, and the former town was at once handed
over "and well stuffed with Scots." Nor was it only on Scotch aid that
the Lancastrians relied; they had determined to make application to the
King of France, and Somerset and Hungerford sailed for the Continent
at the earliest opportunity. They were stayed at Dieppe by orders of
the wily Louis the Eleventh, who was averse to committing himself to
either party in the English struggle while his own crown was hardly
three months old; but their mission was not to be without its results.
Putting aside the hope of assistance from France and Scotland, the
Lancastrians had still some resources of their own on which they might
count. A few scattered bands of Percy retainers still kept the field in
Northumberland, and the Percy crescent still floated over the strong
castles of Alnwick, Bamborough, and Dunstanburgh.

The problem which fell into Warwick's hands was to clear the routed
Lancastrians out of Northumberland, and at the same time to keep good
watch against the inroads of the Scotch and the English refugees who
were leagued with them. Defensive and offensive operations would have
to be combined, for, on the one hand, the siege of the Percy castles
must be formed--and sieges in the fifteenth century were slow and weary
work--while, on the other, the raids of the lords of the Scotch Border
might occur at any time and place, and had to be met without delay.
Warwick was forced to divide his troops, undertaking himself to cover
the line of the Tyne and observe the Northumbrian castles, while his
brother John, who for his services at Towton had just been created Lord
Montagu, took charge of the force which was to fend off Scotch attacks
on the Western Marches.

In June the Scots and the English refugees crossed the Border in force;
their main body made a push to seize Carlisle, which the Lancastrian
chiefs, the Duke of Exeter and Lord Grey de Rougemont, promised to
deliver to them as they had already delivered Berwick. The town,
however, shut its gates; and the invaders were constrained to content
themselves with burning its suburbs and forming a regular siege. But as
they lay before it they were suddenly attacked by Montagu, who came up
long before he was expected, and beat them back over the Border with
the loss of several thousand men; among the slain was John Clifford,
brother to the peer who had fallen at Towton.

Almost simultaneously another raiding party, led by Lord Roos and
Sir John Fortescu, the late Chief-Justice, and guided by two of the
Westmoreland Nevilles, Thomas and Humphrey, slipped down from the
Middle Marches and attempted to raise the county of Durham. But as they
drew near to the ancestral Neville seat of Brancepeth, they were fallen
upon by forces brought up by Warwick, and were driven back on June
26th as disastrously as the main army for which they had been making a
diversion.

These two defeats cooled the ardour of the Scotch allies of the house
of Lancaster. Moreover, trouble was soon provided for them on their
own side of the Border. There were always discontented nobles to be
found in the North, and King Edward was able to retaliate on the Scotch
regents by concluding a treaty with the Earl of Ross, which set a
considerable rebellion on foot in the Highlands and the Western Isles.
By the time that the autumn came there was no longer any immediate
danger to be apprehended on the Borders, and Warwick was able to
relinquish his northern viceroyalty and come south, to pay his estates
a flying visit, and to obey the writ which summoned him in November to
King Edward's first Parliament at Westminster.

While Warwick had been labouring in the North, the King had been
holding his Court at London, free to rule after his own devices. At
twenty Edward the Fourth had already a formed character, and displayed
all the personal traits which developed in his later years. The spirit
of the fifteenth century was strong in him. Cultured and cruel, as
skilled as the oldest statesman in the art of cajoling the people,
as cool in the hour of danger as the oldest soldier, he was not a
sovereign with whom even the greatest of his subjects could deal
lightly. Yet he was so inordinately fond of display and luxury of all
sorts, so given to sudden fits of idleness, so prone to sacrifice
policy to any whim or selfish impulse of the moment, that he must have
seemed at times almost contemptible to a man who, like Warwick, had
none of the softer vices of self-indulgence. Still in mourning for a
father and brother not six months dead, with a kingdom not yet fully
subdued to his fealty, with an empty exchequer, with half the nobles
and gentry of England owing him a blood-feud for their kinsmen slain
at Towton, Edward had cast aside every thought of the past and the
morrow, and was bearing himself with all the thriftless good-humour of
an heir lately come to a well-established fortune. It seems that the
splendours of his coronation-feasts were the main things that had been
occupying his mind while Warwick had been fighting his battles in the
North. Reading of his jousts and banquets and processions, his gorgeous
reception by the city magnates, and his lavish distributions of honours
and titles, we hardly remember that he was no firmly-rooted King, but
the precarious sovereign of a party, surrounded by armed enemies and
secret conspirators.

In the lists of honours which Edward had distributed after his return
homeward from Towton field, Warwick found that he had not been
neglected. The offices which he had held in 1458-59 had been restored
to him; he was again Captain of the town and castle of Calais,
Lieutenant of the March of Picardy, Grand Chamberlain of England, and
High Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster. In addition he was now created
Constable of Dover and Warden of the Cinque Ports, and made Master of
the Mews and Falcons, and Steward of the Manor and Forest of Feckenham.
His position in the North, too, was made regular by his appointment
as Warden and Commissary General of the East and West Marches, and
Procurator Envoy and Deputy for all negotiations with the Scots.

Nor had the rest of the Neville clan been overlooked. John Neville had,
as we have already mentioned, received the barony of Montagu. George
Neville the Bishop of Exeter was again Chancellor. Fauconbridge, who
had fought so manfully at Towton, was created Earl of Kent. Moreover,
Sir John Wenlock, Warwick's most faithful adherent, who had done him
such good service at Sandwich in 1459, was made a baron. We shall
always find him true to the cause of his patron down to his death at
Tewkesbury field. Although several other creations swelled the depleted
ranks of the peerage at the same time, the Nevilles could not complain
that they had failed to receive their due share of the rewards.

Nor would it seem that at first the King made any effort to resent
the natural ascendency which his cousin exercised over his counsels.
The experienced warrior of thirty-three must still have overborne
the precocious lad of twenty when their wills came into contact. The
campaigns of 1459-60, in which he had learnt soldiering under Warwick,
must have long remained impressed on Edward's mind, even after he had
won his own laurels at Mortimer's Cross and shared with equal honours
in the bloody triumph of Towton. So long as Richard Neville was still
in close and constant contact with the young King, his ascendency was
likely to continue. It was when, in the succeeding years, his duties
took him for long periods far from Edward's side, that the Earl was to
find his cousin first growing indifferent, then setting his own will
against his adviser's, then deliberately going to work to override
every scheme that came to him from any member of the Neville house.

We have no particular notice of Warwick's personal doings in the
Parliament which sat in November and December 1461; but the language of
his brother George the Chancellor represents, no doubt, the attitude
which the whole family adopted. His text was "Amend your ways and
your doings," and the tenor of his discourse was to point out that
the ills of England during the last generation came from the national
apostasy in having deserted the rightful heirs so long in behalf of
the usurping house of Lancaster. Now that a new reign had commenced, a
reform in national morality should accompany the return of the English
to their lawful allegiance. The sweeping acts of attainder against
fourteen peers and many scores of knights and squires which the Yorkist
Parliament passed might not seem a very propitious beginning for the
new era, but at any rate it should be remembered to the credit of
the Nevilles that the King's Council under their guidance tempered
the zeal of the Commons by many limitations which guarded the rights
of numerous individuals who would have been injured by the original
proposals.

Moreover, the Government allowed the opportunity of reconciliation to
many of the more luke-warm adherents of Lancaster, who had not been
personally engaged in the last struggle. It is to Warwick's credit
that his cousin Ralph of Westmoreland was admitted to pardon, and not
taken to task for the doings of his retainers, under the conduct of
his brother, in the campaign of Wakefield and St. Albans. Ralph was
summoned to the Parliament, and treated no worse than if he had been a
consistent adherent of York. The same favour was granted to the Earl
of Oxford, till he forfeited it by deliberate conspiracy against the
King. Sanguine men were already beginning to hope that King Edward and
his advisers might be induced to end the civil wars by a general grant
of amnesty, and might invite his rival Henry to return to England as
the first subject of the Crown. Such mercy and reconciliation, however,
were beyond the mind of the ordinary partisan of York; and the popular
feeling of the day was probably on the side of the correspondent of the
Pastons, who complained "that the King receives such men as have been
his great enemies, and great oppressors of his Commons, while such as
have assisted his Highness be not rewarded; which is to be considered,
or else it will hurt, as seemeth me but reason."



CHAPTER XII

THE PACIFICATION OF THE NORTH


Whatever the partisans of peace may have hoped in the winter of
1461-62, there was in reality no prospect of a general pacification so
long as the indomitable Margaret of Anjou was still at liberty and free
to plot against the quiet of England. The defeats of her Scotch allies
in the summer of 1461 had only spurred her to fresh exertions. In the
winter, while Edward's Parliament was sitting at Westminster, she was
busy hatching a new scheme for simultaneous risings in various parts
of England, accompanied by descents from France and Brittany aided by
a Castilian fleet. Somerset and Hungerford had got some countenance
from the King of France, and Margaret's own hopeful heart built on
this small foundation a great scheme for the invasion of England. A
Scotch raid, a rising in Wales, a descent of Bretons upon Guernsey and
Jersey, and a great French landing at Sandwich, were to synchronise:
"if weather and wind had served them, they should have had one hundred
and twenty thousand men on foot in England upon Candlemass Day." But
weather and wind were unpropitious, and the only tangible result of the
plan was to cost the life of the Earl of Oxford, who had been told
off to head the insurgents of the Eastern Counties. He had been taken
into favour by King Edward, and we need have small pity for him when he
was detected in correspondence with the Queen at the very time that he
was experiencing the clemency of her rival. But it was an evil sign of
the times that he and his son were executed, not after a regular trial
before their peers, but by a special and unconstitutional court held by
the Earl of Worcester as Constable of England. For this evil precedent
Warwick must take the blame no less than Edward.

But Margaret of Anjou had not yet exhausted her energy. So soon as the
storms of winter were over and Somerset returned from France without
the promised succours, she resolved to set out in person to stimulate
the zeal of Louis the Eleventh, and to gather help from her various
relatives on the Continent. Escaping from Scotland by the Irish Sea,
she rounded the Land's End and came ashore with her young son in
Brittany. The Duke gave her twelve thousand crowns, and passed her
on to her father Réné in Anjou. From his Court she went on to King
Louis, who lay at Rouen. With him she had more success than might have
been expected, though far less of course than she had hoped. Louis
was able to show that he had already got together a fleet, reinforced
by some Breton and Castilian vessels, in the mouth of the Seine. In
return for an agreement by which Margaret promised the cession of
Calais, and perhaps that of the Channel Isles, he undertook to engage
frankly in the war, and to put at Margaret's disposition a force
for the invasion of England. The way in which Louis chose a leader
for this army was very characteristic of the man. He had in close
confinement at the time a favourite of his father and an enemy of his
own, Peter de Brézé, Count of Maulévrier and Seneschal of Normandy.
De Brézé was a gallant knight and a skilled leader; only a few years
before he had distinguished himself in the English war, and among other
achievements had taken and sacked Sandwich. The King now offered him
the choice of staying in prison or of taking charge of an expedition to
Scotland in aid of Margaret. De Brézé accepted with alacrity the latter
alternative, as much, we are told, from chivalrous desire to assist
a distressed Queen as from dislike for the inside of the dungeons of
Loches. Quite satisfied, apparently, at getting an enemy out of the
country on a dangerous quest, Louis gave him twenty thousand livres in
money, forty small vessels, and about two thousand men, and bade him
take the Queen whither she would go.

While Louis and Margaret were negotiating, their English enemies had
been acting with their accustomed vigour. When May came round Warwick
again resumed command of the Northern Border, and marched out to finish
the work that had been begun in the previous year. He was already on
Scottish ground, and had taken at least one castle north of the Border,
when he received a herald from the Scotch regents offering to treat
for peace. By his commission, drawn up in the last year, Warwick was
authorised to act as plenipotentiary in any such matter. Accordingly
he sent back his army and went himself to Dumfries, where he met Mary,
the Dowager Queen of Scotland, and the majority of the regents. They
concluded an armistice to last till St. Bartholomew's Day, and then
set to work to discuss terms of peace. The common report ran that the
Scots were ready not only to give up the Lancastrian cause, but even to
deliver over the person of King Henry. Moreover, there was talk of an
alliance by marriage between the English King and a Scotch Princess.
This new departure, mainly brought about by the Queen-Dowager's
influence,[6] was not without its effect on the Lancastrian partisans,
who found themselves left unsupported to resist Warwick's army, which
was, during the negotiations, put under the command of his brother
Montagu and set to reduce the Northumbrian fortresses. King Henry
fled from the Scotch Court and took refuge in one of the castles of
the Archbishop of St. Andrews, the chief member of the regency who
opposed peace with England. Lord Dacre, brother of the peer who fell at
Towton, surrendered himself to Montagu, and was sent to London, where
King Edward received him into grace. Even Somerset himself, the chief
of the party, lost heart, and began to send secret letters to Warwick
to ascertain whether there was any hope of pardon for him. Meanwhile
Naworth Castle was surrendered to Montagu, and the more important
stronghold of Alnwick yielded itself to Lord Hastings, who had been
detached to form its siege. Bamborough was given up by Sir William
Tunstal, and of all the Northern fortresses only Dunstanburgh remained
in Lancastrian hands, and it seemed that this place must fall ere the
year was out.

Believing that the war was practically at an end, Warwick now turned
south, and rode up to London to lay the Scotch proposal before the
King. But he had not long left the Border when the whole aspect of
affairs was once more transformed by the reappearance of Queen Margaret
on the scene.

While Montagu and Warwick had been in the North, King Edward had been
sorely vexed by rumours of French invasion. Seventy French and Spanish
ships were roaming the Channel, and Fauconbridge, who had set out to
find them with a hastily-raised fleet, came home without success. A
French force had mustered in Picardy, and Queen Margaret lay all the
summer at Boulogne, tampering with the garrison of Calais, who had
fallen into mutiny on account of long arrears of pay. But Calais failed
to revolt, Louis made no serious attempt on England, and the Queen
at last grew impatient and determined to start herself for England,
though she could only rely on the assistance of Peter de Brézé and his
two thousand men. Setting sail early in October, she passed up the
eastern coast, and landed in Northumberland, expecting that all the
North Country would rise to her aid. No general insurrection followed,
but Margaret's arrival was not without effect. Both Alnwick and
Bamborough fell into her hands--the former by famine, for it was wholly
unvictualled and could not hold out a week; the latter betrayed by the
governor's brother. Nor was this all; the presence of the Queen moved
the Scotch regents to break off their negotiations with England, and
denounce the truce which they had so recently concluded. All that the
statesmanship of Warwick and the sword of Montagu had done for England
in the year 1462 was lost in the space of a week.

The moment that the unwelcome news of Margaret's advent reached London,
Warwick flew to repair the disaster. Only eight days after the fall
of Bamborough he was already at the head of twenty thousand men, and
hastening north by forced marches. The King, ill-informed as to the
exact force that had landed in Northumberland, had sent out in haste
for every man that could be gathered, and followed himself with the
full levy of the Southern Counties.

The nearer the Yorkists approached to the scene of action the less
formidable did their task appear. The approach of winter had prevented
the Scots from putting an army into the field, and the Lancastrians
and their French allies had made no attempt to push out from their
castles. All that they had done was to strengthen the three strongholds
and fill them with provisions. In Alnwick lay Peter de Brézé's son and
some of the Frenchmen, together with Lord Hungerford. Somerset, who
had dropped his secret negotiations with Warwick when his mistress
returned from France, held Bamborough; with him were Lord Roos and
Jasper Earl of Pembroke. Sir Ralph Percy, the fighting-man of the Percy
clan--for his nephew the heir of Northumberland was a minor--had made
himself strong in Dunstanburgh. Meanwhile the Queen, on the approach
of Warwick, had quitted her adherents and set sail for Scotland with
her son and her treasure, under convoy of de Brézé and the main body of
the French mercenaries. But the month was now November, the seas were
rough, and off Bamborough she was caught in a storm; her vessel, with
three others, was driven against the iron-bound coast, and she herself
barely escaped with her life in a fishing-boat which took her into
Berwick. Her treasures went to the bottom; and of her French followers
four hundred were cast ashore on Holy Island, where they were forced to
surrender next day to a force sent against them by Montagu.

Warwick had now arrived at Newcastle, and King Edward was but a few
days' march behind him. Though the month was November, and winter
campaigns, especially in the bleak and thinly-populated North, were in
the fifteenth century as unusual as they were miserable, Warwick had
determined to make an end of the new Lancastrian invasion before the
Scots should have time to move. Luckily we have a full account of his
dispositions for the simultaneous siege of the three Percy castles,
from the pen of one who served on the spot.

The army was arranged as follows. King Edward with the reserve lay at
Durham, in full touch with York and the South. The Duke of Norfolk
held Newcastle, having as his main charge the duty of forwarding
convoys of victuals and ammunition to the front, and of furnishing
them with strong escorts on their way, to guard against any attempts
made by roving bands of Scots or Percy retainers to break the line
of communications, thirty miles long, which connected Newcastle with
the army in the field. The force under Warwick's immediate command,
charged with the reduction of the fortresses, was divided into four
fractions. The castles lie at considerable intervals from each other:
first, Bamborough to the north on a bold headland projecting into the
sea, a Norman keep surrounded with later outworks; next Dunstanburgh,
nine miles farther south, and also on the coast; lastly, Alnwick,
five miles south-west of Dunstanburgh, on a hill, three miles from the
sea-coast, overlooking the river Alne. Dunstanburgh and Bamborough,
if not relieved from the sea, could be surrounded and blockaded with
comparative ease; Alnwick, the largest and strongest of the three
castles, required to be shut in on all sides, and was likely to prove
by far the hardest task. Luckily for Warwick the Roman road known as
the Devil's Causeway was available for the connection of his outlying
forces, as it runs almost by the walls of Alnwick and within easy
distance of both Dunstanburgh and Bamborough. To each castle its own
blockading force was attached. Opposite Bamborough, the one of the
three which was nearest to Scotland and most exposed to attack by a
relieving army, lay Montagu and Sir Robert Ogle, both of whom knew
every inch of the Border. Dunstanburgh was beleaguered by Tiptoft Earl
of Worcester and Sir Ralph Grey. Alnwick was observed by Fauconbridge
and Lord Scales. Warwick himself, with the general reserve, lay at
Warkworth, three miles from Alnwick, ready to transfer himself to any
point where his aid might be needed.

The forces employed were not less than thirty thousand men, without
counting the troops on the lines of communication at Newcastle
and Durham. To feed such a body in the depth of winter, in a
sparsely-peopled and hostile country and with only one road open, was
no mean task. Nevertheless the arrangements of Warwick worked with
perfect smoothness and accuracy,--good witness to the fact that his
talent for organisation was as great as his talent for the use of
troops in the field. Every morning, we are told, the Earl rode out
and visited all the three sieges "for to oversee; and if they wanted
victuals or any other thing he was ready to purvey it to them with
all his power." His day's ride was not less than thirty miles in all.
The army was in good spirits and sure of success. "We have people
enow here," wrote John Paston, whose duty it was to escort Norfolk's
convoys to and fro, "so make as merry as ye can at home, for there is
no jeopardie toward."

A siege at Christmastide was the last thing that the Lancastrians had
expected at the moment of their rising; they had counted on having the
whole winter to strengthen their position. No hope of immediate aid
from Scotland was forthcoming, and after three weeks' blockade the
spirits of the defenders of Bamborough and Dunstanburgh sank so low
that they commenced to think of surrender. Somerset, as we have already
mentioned, had been in treaty with Warwick six months before, with the
object of obtaining grace from King Edward. He now renewed his offer to
Warwick, pledging himself to surrender Bamborough in return for a free
pardon. Ralph Percy, the commander of Dunstanburgh, professed himself
ready to make similar terms.

It is somewhat surprising to find that Warwick supported, and Edward
granted, the petitions of Somerset and Percy. But it was now two years
since the tragedy of Wakefield, both the King and his cousin were
sincerely anxious to bring about a pacification, and they had resolved
to forget their blood feud with the Beauforts. On Christmas Eve 1462,
therefore, Bamborough and Dunstanburgh threw open their gates, such
of their garrisons as chose to swear allegiance to King Edward being
admitted to pardon, while the rest, headed by Jasper of Pembroke and
Lord Roos, were allowed to retire to Scotland unarmed and with white
staves in their hands. Somerset and Percy went on to Durham, where they
swore allegiance to the King. Edward took them into favour and "gave
them his own livery and great rewards," to Somerset in especial a grant
of twenty marks a week for his personal expenses, and the promise of a
pension of a thousand marks a year. As a token of his loyalty Somerset
offered to take the field under Warwick against the Scots, and he was
accordingly sent up to assist at the siege of Alnwick. Percy was shown
equal favour; as a mark of confidence the King made him Governor of
Bamborough which Somerset had just surrendered.

After the yielding of his chief adversary, King Edward thought that
there was no further need for his presence in the North. Accordingly
he returned home with the bulk of the army, leaving Warwick with ten
thousand men, commanded by Norfolk and the Earl of Worcester, to finish
the siege of Alnwick. Somerset lay with them, neither overmuch trusted
nor overmuch contemned by his late enemies. Warwick's last siege,
however, was not destined to come to such an uneventful close as those
of Bamborough and Dunstanburgh. Lord Hungerford and the younger de
Brézé made no signs of surrender, and protracted their defence till
January 6th 1463.

On that day, at five o'clock in the dusk of the winter morning, a
relieving army suddenly appeared in front of Warwick's entrenchments.
Though it was mid-winter, Queen Margaret had succeeded in stirring up
the Earl of Angus--the most powerful noble in Scotland and at that
moment practical head of the Douglases--to lead a raid into England.
Fired by the promise of an English dukedom, to be given when King Henry
should come to his own again, Angus got together twenty thousand men,
and slipping through the Central Marches, and taking to the Watling
Street, presented himself most unexpectedly before the English camp.
With him was Peter de Brézé, anxious to save his beleaguered son, and
the Queen's French mercenaries.

For once in his life Warwick was taken by surprise. The Scots showed in
such force that he thought himself unable to maintain the whole of his
lines, and concentrated his forces on a front facing north-west between
the castle hill and the river. Here he awaited attack, but nothing
followed save insignificant skirmishing; Angus had come not to fight,
but only to save the garrison. When the English blockading force was
withdrawn, a party of Scotch horse rode up to the postern-gate of the
castle and invited the besieged to escape; accordingly Lord Hungerford,
the younger de Brézé, Sir Richard Tunstal, and the great majority of
the garrison, hastily issued forth and joined the relieving force. Then
Angus, to the surprise of the English, drew off his men, and fell back
hastily over the Border.

Warwick had been quite out-generalled; but the whole of his fault
seems to have been the neglect to keep a sufficient force of scouts on
the Border. If he had known of Angus's approach, he would have been
able to take proper measures for protecting the siege. But the main
feeling in the English army was rather relief at the departure of the
Scots than disgust at the escape of the garrison. "If on that day the
Scots had but been bold as they were cunning, they might have destroyed
the English lords, for they had double their numbers," writes the
chronicler. The thing which attracted most notice was the fact that
the renegade Somerset showed no signs of treachery, and bore himself
bravely in the skirmish, "proving manfully that he was a true liegeman
to King Edward." Henceforth he was trusted by his colleagues.

Some of the Alnwick garrison had been either unwilling or unable to
escape with Angus. These protracted the defence for three weeks longer,
but on January 30th they offered to surrender, and were allowed to
depart unharmed to Scotland. The castle was garrisoned for the King,
and entrusted to Sir John Ashley, to the great displeasure of Sir Ralph
Grey to whom it had been promised. We shall see ere long what evils
came from this displeasure.

It seemed now as if the war could not be far from its end. No single
place now held out for Lancaster save the castle of Harlech in North
Wales, where an obscure rebellion had been smouldering ever since 1461.
We must not therefore blame Warwick for want of energy, when we find
that in March he left the indefatigable Montagu in command, and came up
to London to attend the Parliament which King Edward had summoned to
meet in April. Nevertheless, as we shall see, his absence had the most
unhappy results on the Border.

We have no definite information as to Warwick's doings in the spring
of 1463, but we cannot doubt that it was by his counsel and consent
that in April his brother the Chancellor and his friend Lord Wenlock,
in company with Bourchier Earl of Essex, went over-sea to Flanders,
and contracted with Philip Duke of Burgundy a treaty of commercial
intercourse and a political alliance. Philip then conveyed the English
ambassadors to the Court of Louis of France, who was lying at Hesdin,
and with him they negotiated a truce to last from October 1st till the
new year. This was to be preliminary to a definite peace with France,
a plan always forward in Warwick's thoughts, for he was convinced that
the last hope of Lancaster lay in the support of Louis, and that peace
between Edward and the French King would finally ruin Queen Margaret's
plans.

But while George Neville and the Burgundians were negotiating, a new
and curious development of this period of lingering troubles had
commenced. Once more the Lancastrians were up in arms, and again the
evil began in Northumberland. Sir Ralph Grey had been promised, as we
mentioned above, the governorship of Alnwick, and had failed to receive
it when the castle fell. This so rankled in his mind that he determined
to risk his fortunes on an attempt to seize the place by force and
deliver it up again to the Queen. In the end of May he mastered the
castle by treachery, and sent for the Lancastrians from over the
Border. Lord Hungerford came up, and once more received command of the
castle which he had evacuated five months before. The news of this
exploit of Grey's was too much for the loyalty of Sir Ralph Percy, the
renegade governor of Bamborough. When de Brézé and Hungerford came
before his gates he deliberately surrendered the castle to them without
resistance.

The exasperating news that the North was once more aflame reached
Warwick as he banqueted with King Edward at Westminster on May 31st.
With his customary energy the Earl set himself to repair the mischief
before it should spread farther. On June 2nd he was once more marching
up the Great North Road, with a new commission to act as the King's
lieutenant in the North, while his brother Montagu was named under him
Lord Warden of the Marches. Warwick's plan of campaign this time was
not to reduce the castles at once, but to cut off the Lancastrians
from their base by forcing the Scots to conclude peace. Accordingly he
left the strongholds on his right and made straight for the Border.
His first exploit was to relieve Norham Castle, on the English side of
the Tweed, which was beset by four thousand Scotch borderers, aided
by Peter de Brézé and his mercenaries. Queen Margaret herself was in
their camp, and had dragged her unfortunate consort down to the seat
of war. When the English appeared, the Scots and French raised the
siege and retired behind the Tweed, where they set themselves to guard
the ford called the Holybank. But Warwick was determined to cross; he
won the passage by force of arms, and drove off its defenders. A few
miles across the Border he found de Brézé's Frenchmen resting in an
abbey, and fell on them with such vehemence that several hundreds were
taken prisoners, including the Lord of Graville and Raoul d'Araines, de
Brézé's chief lieutenants.

One chronicler records a curious incident at this fight. "At the
departing of Sir Piers de Bressy and his fellowship, there was one
manly man among them, that purposed to meet with the Earl of Warwick;
he was a taberette (drummer) and he stood upon a little hill with his
tabor and his pipe, tabering and piping as merrily as any man might.
There he stood by himself; till my lord Earl came unto him he would not
leave his ground." Warwick was much pleased with the Frenchman's pluck,
bade him be taken gently and well treated, "and there he became my
lord's man, and yet is with him, a full good servant to his lord."

The moment that Warwick was actually across the Tweed, the Scotch
regents offered him terms of peace. To prove their sincerity they
agreed to send off Queen Margaret. Such pressure was accordingly
put upon her that "she with all her Council, and Sir Peter with the
Frenchmen, fled away by water in four balyngarys, and they landed
at Sluis in Flanders, leaving all their horses and harness behind
them, so sorely were they hasted by the Earl and his brother the Lord
Montagu."[7] With the horses and harness was left poor King Henry, who
for the next two years wandered about in an aimless way on both sides
of the Border, a mere meaningless shadow now that he was separated from
his vehement consort.

Now at last the Civil War seemed at an end. With Margaret over-sea,
Somerset a liegeman of York, the Northumbrian castles cut off from any
hope of succour, and the Scots suing humbly for peace, Warwick might
hope that his three years' toil had at last come to an end. That, after
all, the struggle was to be protracted for twelve months more, was a
fact that not even the best of prophets could have predicted.

After the raid which drove Queen Margaret away, and turned the hearts
of the Scots toward peace, we lose sight of Warwick for some months.
We only know that, for reasons to us unknown, he did not finish his
exploits by the capture of the Northumbrian castles, but came home in
the autumn, leaving them still unsubdued. Perhaps after the winter
campaign of 1462-63 he wished to spend Christmas for once in his own
fair castle of Warwick. His estates indeed in Wales and the West
Midlands can hardly have seen him since the Civil War recommenced in
1459, and must have required the master's eye in every quarter. His
wife and his daughters too, now girls growing towards a marriageable
age as ages were reckoned in the fifteenth century, must long have been
without a sight of him.

While Warwick was for once at home, and King Edward was making a
progress round his kingdom with much pomp and expense, it would seem
that Queen Margaret, from the retreat in Lorraine to which she had
betaken herself, was once more exerting her influence to trouble
England. At any rate a new Lancastrian conspiracy was hatched in the
winter of 1463-64, with branches extending from Wales to Yorkshire.
The outbreak commenced at Christmas by the wholly unexpected rebellion
of the Duke of Somerset. Henry of Beaufort had been so well treated by
King Edward that his conduct appears most extraordinary. He had supped
at the King's board, slept in the King's chamber, served as captain of
the King's guard, and jousted with the King's favour on his helm; yet
at mid-winter he broke away for the North, with a very small following,
and made for the garrison at Alnwick. Probably Somerset's conscience
and his enemies had united to make his position unbearable. The
Yorkists were always taunting him behind his back, and when he appeared
in public in the King's company a noisy mob rose up to stone him, and
Edward had much ado to save his life. But whether urged by remorse for
his desertion of Lancaster, or by resentment for his treatment by the
Yorkists, Somerset set himself to join the sinking cause at one of its
darkest hours.

His arrival in the North, where he came almost alone, for his followers
were wellnigh all cut off at Durham, was the signal for the new
Lancastrian outbreak. Simultaneously Jasper of Pembroke endeavoured to
stir up Wales. A rising took place in South Lancashire and Cheshire,
in which at one moment ten thousand men are said to have been in the
field: a band set out from Alnwick, pushed by the Yorkist garrison
at Newcastle, and seized the Castle of Skipton in Craven, hard by
Warwick's ancestral estates in the North Riding; and Norham on the
Border was taken by treachery.

In March Warwick set out once more to regain the twice-subdued North.
The rising in Cheshire collapsed without needing his arms to put it
down, and he was able to reach York without molestation. From thence
he sent to Scotland to summon the regency to carry out the terms of
pacification which they had promised in the previous year. The Scots
made no objection, and offered to send their ambassadors to York if
safe escort was given them past the Lancastrian fortresses. Accordingly
Montagu started from Durham to pick up his troops at Newcastle, where
Lord Scrope was already arrayed with the levies of the Northern
Counties. This journey was near being Montagu's last, for a few miles
outside Newcastle he was beset by his cousin Sir Humphrey Neville,
the Earl of Westmoreland's nephew, who fell on his escort with eighty
spears as he passed through a wood. Montagu, however, escaped by a
detour and came safely into Newcastle, where he took charge of Scrope's
force and marched for the Scotch Border.

At Hedgeley Moor he found Somerset with all the Lancastrian refugees
barring the way. There had mustered all the survivors of the campaigns
of 1461-2-3, Roos and Hungerford, and Tailboys Lord of Kyme, and the
two traitors Ralph Grey and Ralph Percy. On April 15th their five
thousand men fell on Montagu, whose forces were probably about equal.
The shock was sharp but short; and when Ralph Percy, who led their
van, was struck down, the Lancastrians dispersed. Percy, if the tale
be true, refused to fly with the rest, and died crying, "I have saved
the bird in my bosom," meaning his loyalty to Henry. He should have
remembered his faith a year before, when he swore fealty to Edward at
Durham.

Montagu was now able to reach Scotland unmolested. He brought the Scots
Commissioners back to York, and a fifteen years' peace was safely
concluded, the Scots promising to give no further shelter to the
Lancastrians, and the English to disavow the Earls of Ross and Douglas
whom they had armed against the Scotch regency. "An the Scots be true,
the treaty may continue fifteen years," said the chronicler, "but it is
hard to trust Scots: they be ever full of guile and deceit."

Somerset and his followers were now without hope. Their refuge in
Scotland was cut off and their Northumbrian strongholds doomed to a
speedy fall, for King Edward had been casting all the winter a train of
great ordnance such as England had never seen before, and the pieces
were already on their way north. Nevertheless the desperate adherents
of Lancaster hardened their hearts, gathered their broken bands, and
made one last desperate stand for the mastery of the North. On the
Linhills, by the town of Hexham, they arrayed themselves against
Montagu on May 13th. But when the Yorkists came in sight the hearts of
the followers of Somerset failed them. All save five hundred melted
away from their banners, and the small band that stayed to fight was
broken, beaten, surrounded, and captured by Montagu's four thousand men
with perfect ease.

The Lancastrian lords had fought their last field; one and all were
slain or captured on the hill a mile outside Hexham town, where they
had made their stand. Montagu marked his triumph by the most bloody
executions that had been seen throughout the whole war. At Hexham, next
day, he beheaded Somerset, Sir Edmond Fitzhugh, a moss-trooping captain
called Black Jack, and three more. On the next day but one he slew at
Newcastle Lord Roos, Lord Hungerford, and three others. Next day he
moved south to his brother's ancestral seat of Middleham, and executed
Sir Philip Wentworth and six squires. Finally, he conducted to York and
beheaded there Sir Thomas Hussey and thirteen more, the remainder of
the prisoners of rank who had come into his hands.

For these sweeping executions Warwick must take part of the blame.
But there is this to be said in defence of Montagu's stern justice,
that Somerset and three or four others of the victims were men who had
claimed and abused Edward's pardon, and that Roos and several more had
been spared at the surrender of Bamborough in 1462. The whole body
had shown that they could never be trusted, even if they professed to
submit to York; and the practical justification of their death lies
in the fact that with their execution ceased all attempts to raise
the North in favour of the house of Lancaster. Public opinion among
the Yorkists had nothing but praise for Montagu. "Lo, so manly a man
is this good Lord Montagu," wrote a London chronicler, "he spared not
their malice, nor their falseness, nor their guile, nor their treason,
but slew many, and took many, and let smite off their heads"!

Even before the battle of Hedgeley Moor King Edward had set out to
reinforce Warwick and Montagu. The news of their victories reached
him on the way, but he continued to advance, bringing with him the
great train of artillery destined for the siege of the Northumbrian
fortresses. This journey was important to King Edward in more ways
than one. How he spent one day of it, May 1st, when he lay at Stony
Stratford, we shall presently see. If Warwick had but known of his
master's doings on that morning, we may doubt if he would have been so
joyous over his brother's victories or so remorseless with his captured
enemies.

The King came up to York in the end of May, "and kept his estate there
solemnly in the palace, and there he created John Lord Montagu Earl
of Northumberland," in memory of his good service during the last few
months, handing over to him, together with the Percy title, the greater
part of the great Percy estates--Alnwick and Warkworth and Langley and
Prudhoe, and many more fiefs between Tyne and Tweed.

Warwick now advanced northward to complete the work which his brother
had begun in the previous month, while the King remained behind in
Yorkshire and occupied himself in the capture of Skipton Castle in
Craven. On June 23rd the Earl appeared before Alnwick and summoned the
place. The Lancastrians had lost their leaders at Hexham, there was no
more fight in them, and they surrendered at once on promise of their
lives. Dunstanburgh and Norham followed the example of Alnwick. Only
Bamborough held out, for there Sir Ralph Grey had taken refuge. He knew
that his treachery at Alnwick in the last year could never be pardoned,
and utterly refused to surrender. With him was Sir Humphrey Neville,
who had so nearly destroyed Montagu two months before.

We happen to have an account of the siege of Bamborough which is
not without its interest. When the army appeared before the castle
Warwick's herald summoned it in form--

 Offering free pardon, grace, body, and livelihood to all, reserving
 two persons, Sir Ralph Grey and Sir Humphrey Neville. Then Sir Ralph
 clearly determined within himself to live or die within the place,
 though the herald charged him with all inconvenience and shedding of
 blood that might befall: saying in this wise: "My Lord ensureth you
 upon his honour to sustain this siege before you these seven years so
 that he win you: and if ye deliver not this jewel, which the King our
 dread Sovereign Lord hath greatly in favour, seeing it marches so nigh
 unto his enemies of Scotland, whole and unbroken with ordnance, and if
 ye suffer any great guns to be laid against it, it shall cost you a
 head for every gun shot, from the head of the chief man to the head of
 the least person within." But Sir Ralph departed from the herald, and
 put him in endeavour to make defence.

Warwick was therefore compelled to have recourse to his battering
train, the first that had been used to effect in an English siege.

 So all the King's guns that were charged began to shoot upon the
 said castle. "Newcastle," the King's greatest gun, and "London," the
 second gun of iron, so betide the place that the stones of the walls
 flew into the sea. "Dijon," a brass gun of the King's, smote through
 Sir Ralph Grey's chamber oftentimes, and "Edward" and "Richard," the
 bombardels, and other ordnance, were busied on the place. Presently
 the wall was breached, and my lord of Warwick, with his men-at-arms
 and archers, won the castle by assault, maugre Sir Ralph Grey, and
 took him alive, and brought him to the King at Doncaster. And there
 the Earl of Worcester, Constable of England, sat in judgment on him.

Tiptoft was a judge who never spared, and Grey a renegade who could
expect no mercy. The prisoner was sentenced to be beheaded, and only
spared degradation from his knighthood "because of his noble ancestor,
who suffered at Southampton for the sake of the King's grandfather,
Richard Earl of Cambridge." His head was sent to join the ghastly
collection standing over the gate on London Bridge.

With the fall of Bamborough the first act of King Edward's reign was at
an end.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 6: Queen Mary had, so the story runs, shown overmuch favour
to the Duke of Somerset. He openly boasted of his success in love, and
the Queen was ever after his deadly enemy.]

[Footnote 7: The famous story of the robber and Queen Margaret, placed
by so many writers after the battle of Hexham, seems quite impossible.
If the incident took place at all, it happened on the other side of the
Channel.]



CHAPTER XIII

THE QUARREL OF WARWICK AND KING EDWARD


With Hedgeley Moor and Hexham and the final surrender of the
Northumbrian castles ended the last desperate attempt of the
Lancastrians to hold their own in the North. The few surviving leaders
who had escaped the fate of Somerset and Hungerford left Scotland and
fled over-sea. Philip de Commines soon after met the chief of them in
the streets of Ghent "reduced to such extremity of want and poverty
that no common beggar could have been poorer. The Duke of Exeter was
seen (though he concealed his name) following the Duke of Burgundy's
train begging his bread from door to door, till at last he had a small
pension allowed him in pity for his subsistence." With him were some of
the Somersets, John and Edmund, brothers of the Duke who had just been
beheaded. Jasper of Pembroke made his way to Wales and wandered in the
hills from county to county, finding friends nowhere. No one could have
guessed that the cause of Lancaster would ever raise its head again.

The times of war were at length over, and Warwick, like the rest of
Englishmen, might begin to busy himself about other things than battles
and sieges. In July he was at last free, and was able to think of
turning southward to seek for more than a passing visit the Midland
estates of which he had seen so little for the last five years. After
a short interval of leisure, we find him in September sitting in the
King's Council, and urging on two measures which he held necessary for
the final pacification of the realm. The first was the conclusion of a
definite treaty of peace with France. It was from King Louis that the
Lancastrians had been accustomed to draw their supplies of ships and
money, and while England and France were still at war it was certain
that King Edward's enemies would continue to obtain shelter and succour
across the Channel. Accordingly the Earl urged on the conclusion of a
treaty, and finally procured the appointment of himself and his friend
and follower Wenlock as ambassadors to Louis. The second point of his
schemes was connected with the first. It was high time, as all England
had for some time been saying, that the King should marry.[8] Edward
was now in his twenty-fourth year, "and men marvelled that he abode
so long without any wife, and feared that he was not over chaste of
his living." Those, indeed, who were about the King's person knew that
some scandal had already been caused by his attempts, successful and
unsuccessful, on the honour of several ladies about the Court. Rumour
had for some time been coupling Edward's name with that of various
princesses of a marriageable age among foreign royal families. Some
had said that he was about to marry Mary of Gueldres, the Queen Dowager
of Scotland, and others had speculated on his opening negotiations for
the hand of Isabel of Castile, sister of the reigning Spanish King.
But there had been no truth in these reports. Warwick's scheme was to
cement the peace with France by a marriage with a French princess, and
in the preliminary inquiries which the King permitted him to send to
Louis the marriage question was distinctly mentioned. Louis' sisters
were all married, and his daughters were mere children, so that their
names were not brought forward, for King Edward required a wife of
suitable years, "to raise him goodly lineage such as his father had
reared." The lady whom Warwick proposed to the King was Bona of Savoy,
sister to Charlotte Queen of France, a princess who dwelt at her
brother-in-law King Louis' Court and in whose veins ran the blood both
of the Kings of France and the Dukes of Burgundy.

King Edward made no open opposition to Warwick's plans. The project
was mooted to King Louis, safe conducts for the English Embassy were
obtained, and Warwick and Wenlock were expected at St. Omer about
October 3rd or 4th. But at the last moment, when Warwick attended at
Reading on September 28th to receive his master's final instructions, a
most astounding announcement was made to him. We have an account of the
scene which bears some marks of truth.

The Council met for the formal purpose of approving the marriage
negotiations. A speaker, probably Warwick, laid before the King the
hope and expectation of his subjects that he would deign to give them a
Queen.

 Then the King answered that of a truth he wished to marry, but that
 perchance his choice might not be to the liking of all present. Then
 those of his Council asked to know of his intent, and would be told
 to what house he would go. To which the King replied in right merry
 guise that he would take to wife Dame Elizabeth Grey, the daughter of
 Lord Rivers. But they answered him that she was not his match, however
 good and however fair she might be, and that he must know well that
 she was no wife for such a high prince as himself; for she was not the
 daughter of a duke or earl, but her mother the Duchess of Bedford had
 married a simple knight, so that though she was the child of a duchess
 and the niece of the Count of St. Pol, still she was no wife for him.
 When King Edward heard these sayings of the lords of his blood and his
 Council, which it seemed good to them to lay before him, he answered
 that he should have no other wife and that such was his good pleasure.

Then came the clinching blow; no other wife could he have--for he was
married to Dame Elizabeth already!

In fact, five months before, on May 1st, when he ought to have been
far on his way to the North, King Edward had secretly ridden over from
Stony Stratford to Grafton in Northamptonshire, and wedded the lady.
No one had suspected the marriage, for the King had had but a short
and slight acquaintance with Elizabeth Grey, who had been living a
retired life ever since her husband, a Lancastrian knight, fell in
the moment of victory at the second battle of St. Albans. Edward had
casually met her, had been conquered by her fair face, and had made
hot love to her. Elizabeth was clever and cautious; she would hear of
nothing but a formal offer of marriage, and the young King, perfectly
infatuated by his passion, had wedded her in secret at Grafton in the
presence of no one save her mother and two other witnesses. This was
the urgent private business which had kept him from appearing to open
his Parliament at York.

The marriage was a most surprising event. Lord Rivers, the lady's
father, had been a keen Lancastrian. He it was who had been captured at
Sandwich in 1460, and brought before Warwick and Edward to undergo that
curious scolding which we have elsewhere recorded. And now this "made
lord, who had won his fortune by his marriage," had become the King's
father-in-law. Dame Elizabeth herself was seven years older than her
new husband, and was the mother of children twelve and thirteen years
of age. The public was so astonished at the match that it was often
said that the Queen's mother, the old Duchess of Bedford, must have
given King Edward a love philtre, for in no other way could the thing
be explained.

Warwick and the rest of the lords of the Council were no less vexed
than astonished by this sudden announcement. The Earl had broached
the subject of the French marriage to King Louis, and was expected to
appear within a few days to submit the proposal for acceptance. The
King, knowing all the time that the scheme was impossible, had allowed
him to commit himself to it, and now left him to explain to King Louis
that he had been duped in the most egregious way, and had been excluded
from his master's confidence all along. Very naturally the Earl let the
embassy drop; he could not dare to appear before the French King to ask
for peace, when the bond of union which he had promised to cement it
was no longer possible.

But vexed and angered though he must have been at the way in which
he had been treated, Warwick was too loyal a servant of the house of
York to withdraw from his master's Council. He bowed to necessity, and
acquiesced in what he could not approve. Accordingly Warwick attended
next day to hear the King make public announcement of his marriage in
Reading Abbey on the feast of St. Michael, and he himself, in company
with George of Clarence the King's brother, led Dame Elizabeth up to
the seat prepared for her beside her husband, and bowed the knee to her
as Queen.

For a few months it seemed as if the King's marriage had been a single
freak of youthful passion, and the domination of the house of Neville
in the royal Councils appeared unshaken. As if to make amends for his
late treatment of Warwick, Edward raised his brother George Neville
the Chancellor to the vacant Archbishopric of York, and in token of
confidence sent the Earl as his representative to prorogue a Parliament
summoned to meet on November 4th.

But these marks of regard were not destined to continue. The favours
of the King, though there was as yet no open breach between him and
his great Minister, were for the future bestowed in another quarter.
The house of Rivers was almost as prolific as the house of Neville;
the Queen had three brothers, five sisters, and two sons, and for
them the royal influence was utilised in the most extraordinary way
during the next two years. Nor was it merely inordinate affection for
his wife that led King Edward to squander his wealth and misuse his
power for the benefit of her relatives. It soon became evident that
he had resolved to build up with the aid of the Queen's family one of
those great allied groups of noble houses whose strength the fifteenth
century knew so well--a group that should make him independent of
the control of the Nevilles. A few days after the acknowledgment of
the Queen, began a series of marriages in the Rivers family, which
did not cease for two years. In October 1464, immediately after the
scene at Reading, the Queen's sister Margaret was married to Thomas
Lord Maltravers, the heir of the wealthy Earl of Arundel. In January
1465 John Woodville, the youngest of her brothers, wedded the Dowager
Duchess of Norfolk. This was a disgraceful match: the bridegroom was
just of age, the bride quite old enough to be his grandmother; but she
was a great heiress, and the King persuaded her to marry the sordid
young man. Within eighteen months more, nearly the whole of the family
had been married off: Anne Woodville to the heir of Bourchier Earl of
Essex; Mary Woodville to the eldest son of Lord Herbert, the King's
most intimate counsellor after Warwick in his earlier years; Eleanor
Woodville to George Grey heir of the Earl of Kent; and Catherine
Woodville, most fortunate of all, to the young Duke of Buckingham,
grandson of the old Duke who had fallen at Northampton. To end the tale
of the alliances of this most fortunate family, it is only necessary
to add that even before Queen Elizabeth's marriage her eldest brother
Anthony had secured the hand of Elizabeth, heiress of the Lord Scales
who was slain on the Thames in 1460. Truly the Woodville marriages may
compare not unfavourably with those of the Nevilles!

While the King was heaping his favours on the house of Rivers, Warwick
was still employed from time to time in the service of the Crown. But
he could no longer feel that he had the chief part in guiding his
monarch's policy. Indeed, the King seems to have even gone out of his
way to carry out every scheme on a different principle from that which
the Earl adopted. In the spring of 1465, at the time of the Queen's
formal coronation in May--a ceremony which he was glad enough to
escape--Warwick went over-sea to conduct negotiations with the French
and Burgundians. He met the Burgundian ambassadors at Boulogne, and
those of France at Calais. It was a critical time for both France
and Burgundy, for the War of the Public Weal had just broken out,
and each party was anxious to secure the friendship, or at least the
neutrality of England. With the Burgundians, whom Warwick met first,
no agreement could be made, for the Count of Charolois, who had now
got the upper hand of his aged father Duke Philip, refused to make any
pledges against helping the Lancastrians. He was at this very time
pensioning the exiled Somersets and Exeter, and almost reckoned himself
a Lancastrian prince, because his mother, Isabel of Portugal, was a
grand-daughter of John of Gaunt. Warwick and Charles of Charolois were
quite unable to agree. Each of them was too much accustomed to have his
own way, and though they held high feasts together at Boulogne, and
were long in council, they parted in wrath. There would seem to have
been something more than a mere difference of opinion between them,
for ever afterwards they regarded each other as personal enemies. King
Louis, whose ambassadors met Warwick a month later, proved far more
accommodating than the hot-headed Burgundian prince. He consented to
forget the matter of the marriage, and agreed to the conclusion of a
truce for eighteen months, during which he engaged to give no help to
Queen Margaret, while Warwick covenanted that England should refrain
from aiding the Dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne, now in full rebellion
against their sovereign.

Late in the summer of 1465 Warwick returned home just in time to hear
of a new stroke of fortune which had befallen his master. Henry the
Sixth had just been captured in Lancashire. The ex-king had wandered
down from his retreat in Scotland, and was moving about in an aimless
way from one Lancastrian household to another, accompanied by no one
but a couple of priests. One of Henry's entertainers betrayed him,
and he was seized by John Talbot of Basshall as he sat at meat in
Waddington Hall, and forwarded under guard to London. At Islington
Warwick rode forth to meet his late sovereign, and by the King's
orders led him publicly through the city, with his feet bound by
leather straps to his stirrups. Why this indignity was inflicted on
the unfortunate Henry it is hard to say; there cannot possibly have
been any fear of a rescue, and Warwick might well have spared his late
master the shame of bonds. Henry was led along Cheapside and Cornhill
to the Tower, where he was placed in honourable custody, and permitted
to receive the visits of all who wished to see him.

That Warwick was not yet altogether out of favour with King Edward was
shown by the fact that he was asked to be godfather to the Queen's
first child, the Princess Elizabeth, in the February of the following
year 1466. But immediately afterwards came the succession of events
which marked the final breach between the King and the Nevilles. In
March Edward suddenly dismissed from the office of Treasurer Lord
Mountjoy, a friend of Warwick's, and gave the post to his wife's father
Lord Rivers, whom he soon created an earl. The removal of his friend
was highly displeasing to Warwick; but worse was to follow. Warwick's
nephew George Neville, the heir of his brother John, had been affianced
to Anne heiress of the exiled Duke of Exeter; but the Queen gave the
Duchess of Exeter four thousand marks to break off the match, and the
young lady was wedded to Thomas Grey, Elizabeth's eldest son by her
first marriage. This blow struck the Nevilles in their tenderest point;
even the marriages which had made their good fortune were for the
future to be frustrated by royal influence.

The next slight which Warwick received at the hands of his sovereign
touched him even more closely. His eldest daughter Isabel, who had been
born in 1451, was now in her sixteenth year, and already thoughts about
her marriage had begun to trouble her father's brain. The Earl counted
her worthy of the highest match that could be found in the realm, for
there was destined to go with her hand such an accumulation of estates
as no subject had ever before possessed--half of the lands of Neville,
Montacute, Despenser, and Beauchamp. The husband whom Warwick had hoped
to secure for his child was George Duke of Clarence, the King's next
brother, a young man of eighteen years. Clarence was sounded, and
liked the prospect well enough, for the young lady was fair as well as
rich. But they had not reckoned with the King. After a long visit which
Clarence and his younger brother Richard of Gloucester had paid to
Warwick in the end of 1466, Edward got wind of the proposed marriage.
"When the King knew that his brothers had returned from their visit
to the Earl at Cambridge, he asked them why they had left his Court,
and who had given them counsel to visit the Earl. Then they answered
that none had been the cause save they themselves. And the King asked
whether there had been any talk of affiancing them to their cousins,
the Earl's daughters; and the Duke of Clarence"--always prompt at a
lie--"answered that there was not. But the King, who had been fully
informed of all, waxed wroth, and sent them from his presence." Edward
strictly forbade the marriage, and for the present there was no more
talk of it; but Clarence and Warwick understood each other, and were
always in communication, much to the King's displeasure. It did not
please him to find his heir presumptive and his most powerful subject
on too good terms.

The King waited a few months more, and then proceeded to put a far
worse insult on his old friends and followers. In May 1467 he sent
Warwick over-sea, with a commission to visit the King of France, and
turn the eighteen months truce made in 1465 into a permanent peace on
the best terms possible. The errand seemed both useful and honourable,
and Warwick went forth in good spirits; but it was devised in reality
merely to get him out of the kingdom, at a time when the King was
about to cross all his most cherished plans.

Louis was quite as desirous as Warwick himself to conclude a permanent
peace. It was all-important to him that England should not be on the
side of Burgundy, and he was ready to make the Earl's task easy.
The reception which he prepared for Warwick was such as might have
been given to a crowned head. He went five leagues down the Seine to
receive the English embassy, and feasted Warwick royally on the river
bank. When Rouen was reached "the King gave the Earl most honourable
greeting; for there came out to meet him the priests of every parish
in the town in their copes, with crosses and banners and holy water,
and so he was conducted to Notre Dame de Rouen, where he made his
offering. And he was well lodged at the Jacobins in the said town of
Rouen. Afterward the Queen and her daughters came to the said town that
he might see them. And the King abode with Warwick for the space of
twelve days communing with him, after which the Earl departed back into
England." And with him went as Ambassadors from France the Archbishop
of Narbonne, the Bastard of Bourbon (Admiral of France), the Bishop of
Bayeux, Master Jean de Poupencourt, and William Monipenny, a Scotch
agent in whom the King placed much confidence.

Warwick and the French Ambassadors landed at Sandwich, where they had
a hearty reception; for the people of Sandwich, like all the men of
Kent, were great supporters of the Earl. Posts were sent forward to
notify their arrival to the King, and the party then set out to ride
up to London. As they drew near the city the Earl was somewhat vexed
to find that no one came forth to welcome them on the King's behalf;
but presently the Duke of Clarence came riding alone to meet him, and
brought him intelligence which turned his satisfaction at the success
of the French negotiations into bitter vexation of spirit.

When Warwick had got well over-sea, the King had proceeded to work out
his own plans, secure that he would not be interrupted. He had really
determined to make alliance with Burgundy and not with France; and
the moment that the coast was clear a Burgundian emissary appeared in
London. Antony "the Grand Bastard," the trusted agent of the Court of
Charolois, ascended the Thames at the very moment that Warwick was
ascending the Seine. Ostensibly he came on a chivalrous errand, to
joust with the Queen's brother Lord Scales in honour of all the ladies
of Burgundy. The passage of arms was duly held, to the huge delight
of the populace of London, and the English chroniclers give us all
its details--instead of relating the important political events of
the year. But the real object of the Bastard's visit was to negotiate
an English alliance for his brother; and he was so successful that
he returned to Flanders authorised to promise the hand of the King's
sister Margaret to the Count of Charolois.

But Warwick had not merely to learn that the King had stultified his
negotiations with France by making an agreement with Burgundy behind
his back. He was now informed that, only two days before his arrival,
Edward had gone, without notice given or cause assigned, to his brother
the Archbishop of York, who lay ill at his house by Westminster Barrs,
and suddenly dismissed him from the Chancellorship and taken the great
seal from him. Open war had been declared on the house of Neville.[9]

But bitterly vexed though he was at his sovereign's double dealing,
Warwick proceeded to carry out the forms of his duty. He called on the
King immediately on his arrival, announced the success of his embassy,
and craved for a day of audience for the French Ambassadors. "When the
Earl spoke of all the good cheer that King Louis had made him, and
how he had sent him the keys of every castle and town that he passed
through, he perceived from the King's countenance that he was paying no
attention at all to what he was saying, so he betook himself home, sore
displeased."

Next day the French had the audience. The King received them in state,
surrounded by Rivers, Scales, John Woodville, and Lord Hastings. "The
Ambassadors were much abashed to see him, for he showed himself a
prince of a haughty bearing." Warwick then introduced them, and Master
Jean de Poupencourt, as spokesman for the rest, laid the proposals of
Louis before the King. Edward briefly answered that he had pressing
business, and could not communicate with them himself; they might say
their say to certain lords whom he would appoint for the purpose. Then
they were ushered out of his presence. It was clear that he would do
nothing for them; indeed the whole business had only been concocted to
get Warwick out of the way. It was abortive, and had been intended to
be so.

The Earl on leaving the palace was bursting with rage; his ordinary
caution and affability were gone, and he broke out in angry words even
before the foreigners. "As they rowed home in their barge the Frenchmen
had many discourses with each other. But Warwick was so wroth that he
could not contain himself, and he said to the Admiral of France, 'Have
you not seen what traitors there are about the King's person?' But
the Admiral answered, 'My Lord, I pray you grow not hot; for some day
you shall be well avenged.' But the Earl said, 'Know that those very
traitors were the men who have had my brother displaced from the office
of Chancellor, and made the King take the seal from him.'"

Edward went to Windsor next day, taking no further heed of the
Ambassadors. He appointed no one to treat with them, and they remained
six weeks without hearing from him, seeing no one but Warwick, who
did his best to entertain them, and Warwick's new ally the Duke of
Clarence. At last they betook themselves home, having accomplished
absolutely nothing. On the eve of their departure the King sent them a
beggarly present of hunting-horns, leather bottles, and mastiffs, in
return for the golden hanaps and bowls and the rich jewellery which
they had brought from France.

Warwick would have nothing more to do with his master. He saw the
Ambassadors back as far as Sandwich, and then went off in high dudgeon
to Middleham. There he held much deep discourse with his brothers,
George the dispossessed Chancellor, and John of Montagu the Earl of
Northumberland. At Christmas the King summoned him to Court; he sent
back the reply that "never would he come again to Council while all his
mortal enemies, who were about the King's person, namely, Lord Rivers
the Treasurer, and Lord Scales and Lord Herbert and Sir John Woodville,
remained there present." The breach between Warwick and his master was
now complete.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 8: There seems to be no foundation for the theory that
Warwick wished the King to marry his daughter Isabel. The Earl moved
strongly in favour of the French marriage, and his daughter was too
young, being only thirteen years of age, for a king desirous of raising
up heirs to his crown.]

[Footnote 9: It seems impossible to work out to any purpose the
statement of Polidore Vergil and others that Warwick's final breach
with the King was caused by Edward's offering violence to a lady of
the house of Neville. Lord Lytton, of course, was justified in using
this hint for his romance, but the historian finds it too vague and
untrustworthy.]



CHAPTER XIV

PLAYING WITH TREASON


Great ministers who have been accustomed to sway the destinies
of kingdoms, and who suddenly find themselves disgraced at their
master's caprice, have seldom been wont to sit down in resignation and
accept their fall with equanimity. Such a line of conduct requires a
self-denial and a high-flown loyalty to principle which are seldom
found in the practical statesman. If the fallen minister is well
stricken in years, and the fire has gone out of him, he may confine
himself to sermons on the ingratitude of kings. If his greatness has
been purely official, and his power entirely dependent on the authority
entrusted to him by his master, his discontent may not be dangerous.
But Warwick was now in the very prime of his life,--he was just
forty,--and he was moreover by far the most powerful subject within the
four seas. It was sheer madness in King Edward to goad such a man to
desperation by a series of deliberate insults.

This was no mere case of ordinary ingratitude. If ever one man had made
another, Richard Neville had made Edward Plantagenet. He had taken
charge of him, a raw lad of eighteen, at the moment of the disastrous
rout of Ludford, and trained him in arms and statecraft with unceasing
care. Twice had he saved the lost cause of York, in 1459 and in 1461.
He had spent five years in harness, in one long series of battles and
sieges, that his cousin might wear his crown in peace. He had compassed
sea and land in embassies that Edward might be safe from foreign as
well as from domestic foes. He had seen his father and his brother fall
by the axe and the sword in the cause of York. He had seen his mother
and his wife fugitives on the face of the earth, his castles burnt,
his manors wasted, his tenants slain, all that the son of Richard
Plantagenet might sit on the throne that was his father's due.

Warwick then might well be cut to the heart at his master's
ingratitude. It was no marvel if, after the King's last treachery to
him in the matter of the French embassy, he retired from Court and sent
a bitter answer to Edward's next summons. After the open breach there
were now two courses open to him: the first to abandon all his schemes,
and betake himself in silent bitterness to the management of his vast
estates; the second was to endeavour to win his way back to power by
the ways which medieval England knew only too well--the way which had
served Simon de Montfort, and Thomas of Lancaster, and Richard of York;
the way that had led Simon and Thomas and Richard to their bloody
graves. The first alternative was no doubt the one that the perfect
man, the ideally loyal and unselfish knight, should have chosen. But
Richard Neville was no perfect man; he was a practical statesman--"the
cleverest man of his time," says one who had observed him closely; and
his long tenure of power had made him look upon the first place in the
Council of the King as his right and due. His enemies the Woodvilles
and Herberts had driven him from his well-earned precedence by the
weapons that they could use--intrigue and misrepresentation; what more
natural than that he should repay them by the weapon that he could best
employ, the iron hand of armed force?

Hitherto the career of Warwick had been singularly straightforward and
consistent. Through thick and thin he had supported the cause of York
and never wavered in his allegiance to it. It must not be supposed that
he changed his whole policy when his quarrel with the King came to a
head. As his conduct in 1469, when his ungrateful master was in his
power, was destined to show, he had no further design than to reconquer
for himself the place in the royal Council which had been his from 1461
to 1464. Later events developed his plans further than he had himself
expected, but it is evident that at first his sole design was to clear
away the Woodvilles. The only element in his programme which threatened
to lead to deeper and more treasonable plans was his connection
with his would-be son-in-law George of Clarence. The handsome youth
who professed such a devotion to him, followed his advice with such
docility, and took his part so warmly in the quarrel with the King,
seems from the first to have obtained a place in his affections greater
than Edward had ever won. But Clarence had his ambitions; what they
were and how far they extended the Earl had not as yet discovered.

Warwick had now the will to play his master's new ministers an ill
turn; that he had also the power to do so none knew better than
himself. The lands of Neville and Montacute, Beauchamp and Despenser
united could send into the field a powerful army. Moreover, his
neighbours, in most of the counties where his influence prevailed,
had bound themselves to him by taking his livery; barons as well as
knights were eager to be of his "Privy Council," to wear his Ragged
Staff and ride in his array. The very aspect of his household seemed
to show the state of a petty king. Every one has read Hollingshead's
famous description, which tells how the little army of followers which
constituted his ordinary retinue eat six oxen daily for breakfast.

Nor was it only in the strength of his own retainers that Warwick
trusted; he knew that he himself was the most popular man in the
kingdom. Men called him ever the friend of the Commons, and "his open
kitchen persuaded the meaner sort as much as the justice of his cause."
His adversaries, on the other hand, were unmistakably disliked by
the people. The old partisans of York still looked on the Woodvilles
as Lancastrian renegades, and the grasping avarice of Rivers and his
family was stirring up popular demonstration against them even before
Warwick's breach with the King. A great mob in Kent had sacked one
of Rivers' manors and killed his deer in the autumn of 1467, and
trouble was brewing against him in other quarters. A word of summons
from Warwick would call rioters out of the ground in half the shires
of England. Already in January 1468 a French ambassador reports: "In
one county more than three hundred archers were in arms, and had made
themselves a captain named Robin, and sent to the Earl of Warwick to
know if it was time to be busy, and to say that all their neighbours
were ready. But my Lord answered, bidding them go home, for it was not
yet time to be stirring. If the time should come, he would let them
know."[10]

It was not only discontented Yorkists that had taken the news of
the quarrel between Warwick and his master as a signal for moving.
The tidings had stirred the exiled Lancastrians to a sudden burst
of activity of which we should hardly have thought them capable.
Queen Margaret borrowed ships and money from Louis, and lay in force
at Harfleur. Sir Henry Courtney, heir of the late Earl of Devon,
and Thomas Hungerford, son of the lord who fell at Hexham, tried to
raise an insurrection in the South-West; but they were caught by
Lord Stafford of Southwick and beheaded at Salisbury. As a reward
the King gave Stafford his victim's title of Earl of Devon. In Wales
the long-wandering Jasper Tudor suddenly appeared, at the head of
two thousand men, supported by a small French fleet. He took Harlech
Castle and sacked Denbigh; but a few weeks later Warwick's enemy,
Lord Herbert, fell upon him at the head of the Yorkists of the March,
routed his tumultuary army, retook Harlech, and forced him again to
seek refuge in the hills. Herbert, like Lord Stafford, was rewarded
with the title of the foe he had vanquished, and became Earl of
Pembroke. While these risings were on foot, Lancastrian emissaries were
busy all over England; but their activity only resulted in a series
of executions. Two gentlemen of the Duke of Norfolk's retinue were
beheaded for holding secret communication with the Beauforts while
they were in Flanders, following the train which escorted the Princess
Margaret at her marriage with Charles of Charolois, who had now become
Duke of Burgundy. In London more executions took place, and Sir Thomas
Cooke, late Lord Mayor, had all his goods confiscated for misprision
of treason. Two of the Lancastrian emissaries alleged, under torture,
the one, that Warwick had promised aid to the rising, the other that
Lord Wenlock, Warwick's friend and supporter, had guilty knowledge of
the scheme; but in each case the King himself acknowledged that the
accusation was frivolous--the random imagining of men on the rack,
forced to say something to save their own bones. It was not likely that
Warwick would play the game of Queen Margaret, the slayer of his father
and brother, and the instigator of attempts on his own life.

Startled by the sudden revival of Lancastrian energy, but encouraged
by the easy way in which he had mastered it, King Edward determined
to give the war-like impulses of his subjects vent by undertaking in
the next year a great expedition against France. He had the example of
Henry the Fifth before his eyes, and hoped to stifle treason at home by
foreign war. Among his preparations for leaving home was a determined
attempt to open negotiations with Warwick for a reconciliation. The
King won over the Archbishop of York to plead his cause, by restoring
to him some estates which he had seized in 1467; and about Easter
George Neville induced his brother to meet the King at Coventry.
Warwick came, but it is to be feared that he came fully resolved to
have his revenge at his own time, with his heart quite unsoftened
toward his master; yet he spoke the King fair, and even consented to be
reconciled to Lord Herbert, though he would have nothing to say to the
Woodvilles. He was also induced to join the company which escorted the
Princess Margaret to the coast, on her way to her marriage in Flanders.
After this Warwick paid a short visit to London, where he sat among
the judges who in July tried the Lancastrian conspirators of the city.
Clarence accompanied him, and sat on the same bench. He had spent the
last few months in moving the Pope to grant him a disposition to marry
Isabel Neville,[11] for they were within the prohibited degrees; but
under pressure from King Edward the Curia had delayed the consideration
of his request.

The autumn of 1468 and the spring of 1469 passed away quietly. Warwick
made no movement, for he was still perfecting his plans. He saw with
secret pleasure that the French, with whom peace would have been
made long ago if his advice had been followed, kept the King fully
employed. It must have given him peculiar gratification when his enemy
Anthony Woodville, placed at the head of a large fleet, made two most
inglorious expeditions to the French coast, and returned crestfallen
without having even seen the enemy.

Meanwhile the Earl had been quietly measuring his resources. He had
spoken to all his kinsmen, and secured the full co-operation of the
majority of them. George the Archbishop of York, Henry Neville heir to
Warwick's aged uncle Lord Latimer, Sir John Coniers of Hornby, husband
of his niece Alice Neville, his cousin Lord Fitzhugh, and Thomas "the
bastard of Fauconbridge," natural son to the deceased peer who had
fought so well at Towton, were his chief reliance. His brother John of
Montagu, the Earl of Northumberland, could not make up his mind; he did
not reveal Warwick's plans to the King, but he would not promise any
aid. William Neville of Abergavenny was now too old to be taken into
account. The rest of Warwick's uncles and brothers were by this time
dead.

By April 1469 the preparations were complete. Every district where the
name of Neville was great had been carefully prepared for trouble.
Kent, Yorkshire, and South Wales were ready for insurrection, and yet
all had been done so quietly that the King, who ever since he had
thrown off the Earl's influence had been sinking deeper and deeper into
habits of careless evil-living and debauchery, suspected nothing.

In April Warwick took his wife and daughters across to Calais,
apparently to get them out of harm's way. He himself, professing a
great wish to see his cousin Margaret, the newly-married Duchess of
Burgundy, went on to St. Omer. He there visited Duke Charles, and was
reconciled to him in spite of the evil memories of their last meeting
at Boulogne. To judge from his conduct, the Earl was bent on nothing
but a harmless tour; but, as a matter of fact, his movements were
but a blind destined to deceive King Edward. While he was feasting
at St. Omer he had sent orders over-sea for the commencement of an
insurrection. In a few days it was timed to break out. Meanwhile
Warwick returned to Calais, and lodged with Wenlock, who was in charge
of the great fortress.

His orders had had their effect. In the end of June grave riots broke
out in the neighbourhood of York. Ostensibly they were connected with
the maladministration of the estates of St. Leonard's hospital in that
city; but they were in reality political and not agrarian. Within a
few days fifteen thousand men were at the gates of York, clamorously
setting forth a string of grievances, which were evidently founded
on Cade's manifesto of 1450. Once more we hear of heavy taxation,
maladministration of the law, the alienation of the royal estates to
upstart favourites, the exclusion from the royal Councils of the great
lords of the royal blood. Once more a demand is made for the punishment
of evil counsellors, and the introduction of economy into the royal
household, and the application of the revenue to the defence of the
realm. The first leader of the rioters was Robert Huldyard, known as
Robin of Redesdale, no doubt the same Robin whom the Earl had bidden
in 1468 to keep quiet and wait the appointed time. John Neville the
Earl of Northumberland lay at York with a large body of men-at-arms,
for he was still Lieutenant of the North. Many expected that he would
join the rioters; but, either because he had not quite recognised the
insurrection to be his brother's work, or because he had resolved to
adhere loyally to Edward, Montagu surprised the world by attacking the
band which beset York. He routed its vanguard, captured Huldyard, and
had him beheaded.

But this engagement was far from checking the rising. In a week the
whole of Yorkshire, from Tees to Humber, was up, and it soon became
evident in whose interest the movement was working. New leaders
appeared. Sir John Coniers, the husband of Warwick's niece, and one
of the most influential Yorkists of the North, replaced Huldyard, and
assumed his name of Robin of Redesdale, while with him were Henry
Neville of Latimer and Lord Fitzhugh. Instead of lingering at the gates
of York, the great body of insurgents--rumour made it more than thirty
thousand strong--rolled southward into the Midlands. They were coming,
they said, to lay their grievances before the King; and in every place
that they passed they hung their articles, obviously the work of some
old political hand, on the church doors.

King Edward seems to have been taken quite unawares by this dangerous
insurrection. He had kept his eye on Warwick alone, and when Warwick
was over-sea he thought himself safe. At the end of June he had been
making a progress in Norfolk, with no force at his back save two
hundred archers, a bodyguard whom he had raised in 1468 and kept always
around him. Hearing of the stir in Yorkshire, he rode north-ward to
Nottingham, calling in such force as could be gathered by the way. As
he went, news reached him which suddenly revealed the whole scope of
the insurrection.

The moment that his brother's attention was drawn off by the Northern
rising, the Duke of Clarence had quietly slipped over to Calais, and
with him went George Neville the Archbishop of York. This looked
suspicious, and the King at once wrote to Clarence, Warwick, and the
Archbishop, bidding them all come to him without delay. Long before
his orders can have reached them, the tale of treason was out. Within
twelve hours of Clarence's arrival at Calais the long-projected
marriage between him and Isabel Neville had been celebrated, in full
defiance of the King. Warwick and Clarence kept holiday but for one
day; the marriage took place on the 11th, and by the 12th they were in
Kent with a strong party of the garrison of Calais as their escort.

The unruly Kentishmen rose in a body in Warwick's favour, as eagerly
as when they had mustered to his banner in 1460 before the battle of
Northampton. The Earl and the Duke came to Canterbury with several
thousand men at their back. There they revealed their treasonable
intent, for they published a declaration that they considered the
articles of Robin of Redesdale just and salutary, and would do
their best to bring them to the King's notice. How the King was to
be persuaded was indicated clearly enough, by a proclamation which
summoned out the whole shire of Kent to join the Earl's banner. Warwick
and his son-in-law then marched on London, which promptly threw open
its gates. The King was thus caught between two fires--the open rebels
lay to the north of him, his brother and cousin with their armed
persuasion to the south.

Even before Warwick's treason had been known, the King had recognised
the danger of the northern rising, and sent commissions of array all
over England. Two considerable forces were soon in arms in his behalf.
Herbert, the new Earl of Pembroke, raised fourteen thousand Welsh and
Marchmen at Brecon and Ludlow, and set out eastward. Stafford, the new
Earl of Devon, collected six thousand archers in the South-Western
Counties, and set out northward. The King lay at Nottingham with Lord
Hastings, Lord Mountjoy, and the Woodvilles. He seems to have had
nearly fifteen thousand men in his company; but their spirit was bad.
"Sire," said Mountjoy to him in full council of war, "no one wishes
your person ill, but it would be well to send away my Lord of Rivers
and his children when you have done conferring with them." Edward took
this advice. Rivers and John Woodville forthwith retired to Chepstow;
Scales joined his sister the Queen at Cambridge.

Meanwhile the Northern rebels were pouring south by way of Doncaster
and Derby. Their leaders Coniers and Latimer showed considerable
military skill, for by a rapid march on to Leicester they got between
the King and Lord Herbert's army. Edward, for once out-generalled, had
to follow them southward, but the Yorkshiremen were some days ahead
of him, and on July 25th reached Daventry. On the same day Herbert
and Stafford concentrated their forces at Banbury; but on their first
meeting the two new earls fell to hard words on a private quarrel, and,
although the enemy was so near, Stafford in a moment of pique drew off
his six thousand men to Deddington, ten miles away, leaving Pembroke's
fourteen thousand Welsh pikemen altogether unprovided with archery.

Next day all the chief actors in the scene were converging on the same
spot in central England--Coniers marching from Daventry on to Banbury,
Pembroke from Banbury on Daventry, with Stafford following in his
rear, while Warwick and Clarence had left London and were moving by
St. Albans on Towcester; the King, following the Yorkshiremen, was
somewhere near Northampton.

Coniers and his colleagues, to whom belong all the honours of
generalship in this campaign, once more got ahead of their opponents.
Moving rapidly on Banbury on the 26th, they found Pembroke's army
approaching them on a common named Danesmoor, near Edgecott Park,
six miles north of Banbury. The Welsh took up a position covered by
a small stream and offered battle, though they were greatly inferior
in numbers. The Northerners promptly attacked them, and though one
of their three leaders, Henry Neville of Latimer, fell in the first
onset, gained a complete victory; "by force of archery they forced the
Welsh to descend from the hill into the valley," though Herbert and
his brothers did all that brave knights could to save the battle. The
King was only a few hours' march away; indeed, his vanguard under Sir
Geoffrey Gate and Thomas Clapham actually reached the field, but both
were old officers of Warwick, and instead of falling on the rebels'
rear, proceeded to join them, and led the final attack on Herbert's
position.

Thunderstruck at the deep demoralisation among his troops which this
desertion showed, the King fell back on Olney, abandoning Northampton
to the rebels. Next day--it was July 27th--the brave Earl of Pembroke
and his brother Richard Herbert, both of whom had been taken prisoners,
were beheaded in the market-place by Coniers' command without sentence
or trial. Their blood lies without doubt on Warwick's head, for though
neither he nor Clarence was present, the rebels were obviously acting
on his orders, and if he had instructed them to keep all their
captives safe, they would never have presumed to slay them. Several
chroniclers indeed say that Warwick and Clarence had expressly doomed
Herbert for death. This slaughter was perfectly inexcusable, for
Herbert had never descended to the acts of the Woodvilles; he was an
honourable enemy, and Warwick had actually been reconciled to him only
a year before.[12] The execution of the Herberts was not the only token
of the fact that the great Earl's hand was pulling the strings all over
England. His special aversions, Rivers and John Woodville, were seized
a week later at Chepstow by a band of rioters--probably retainers from
the Despenser estates by the Severn--and forwarded to Coventry, where
they were put to death early in August. Even if Pembroke's execution
was the unauthorised work of Coniers and Fitzhugh, this slaying of the
Woodvilles must certainly have been Warwick's own deed. Stafford the
Earl of Devon, whose desertion of the Welsh had been the principal
cause of the defeat at Edgecott, fared no better than the colleague
he had betrayed. He disbanded his army and fled homeward; but at
Bridgewater he was seized by insurgents, retainers of the late Earl of
Devon whom he had beheaded a year before, and promptly put to death.

It only remains to relate King Edward's fortunes. When the news of
Edgecott fight reached his army, it disbanded for the most part, and he
was left, with no great following, at Olney, whither he had fallen back
on July 27th. Meanwhile Warwick and Clarence, marching from London on
Northampton along the Roman road, were not far off. The news of the
King's position reached their army, and George Neville the Archbishop
of York, who was with the vanguard, resolved on a daring stroke. Riding
up by night with a great body of horse he surrounded Olney; the King's
sentinels kept bad watch, and at midnight Edward was roused by the
clash of arms at his door. He found the streets full of Warwick's men,
and the Archbishop waiting in his ante-chamber. The smooth prelate
entered and requested him to rise and dress himself. "Then the King
said he would not, for he had not yet had his rest; but the Archbishop,
that false and disloyal priest, said to him a second time, 'Sire, you
must rise and come to see my brother of Warwick, nor do I think that
you can refuse me.' So the King, fearing worse might come to him, rose
and rode off to meet his cousin of Warwick."

The Earl meanwhile had passed on to Northampton, where he met the
Northern rebels on July 29th, and thanked them for the good service
they had done England. There he dismissed the Kentish levies which had
followed him from London, and moved on to Coventry escorted by the
Yorkshiremen, many of whom must have been his own tenants. At Coventry
the Archbishop, and his unwilling companion the King, overtook them.
The details of the meeting of Warwick and Clarence with their captive
master have not come down to us. But apparently Edward repaid the
Earl's guile of the past year by an equally deceptive mask of good
humour. He made no reproaches about the death of his adherents, signed
everything that was required of him, and did not attempt to escape.
The first batch of privy seals issued under Warwick's influence are
dated from Coventry on August 2nd.

The great Earl's treacherous plans had been crowned with complete
success. He had shown that half England would rise at his word; his
enemies were dead; his master was in his power. Yet he found that
his troubles were now beginning, instead of reaching their end. It
was not merely that the whole kingdom had been thrown into a state
of disturbance, and that men had commenced everywhere to settle
old quarrels with the sword--the Duke of Norfolk, for example,
was besieging the Paston's castle of Caistor, and the Commons of
Northumberland were up in arms demanding the restoration of the Percies
to their heritage. These troubles might be put down by the strong
arm of Warwick; but the problem of real difficulty was to arrange a
_modus vivendi_ with the King. Edward was no coward or weakling to be
frightened into good behaviour by a rising such as had just occurred.
How could he help resenting with all his passionate nature the violence
of which he had been the victim? His wife, too, would always be at his
side; and though natural affection was not Elizabeth Woodville's strong
point,[13] still she was far too ambitious and vindictive to pardon
the deaths of her father and brother. Warwick knew Edward well enough
to realise that for the future there could never be true confidence
between them again, and that for the rest of his life he must guard his
head well against his master's sword.

But the Earl was proud and self-reliant; he determined to face the
danger and release the King. No other alternative was before him, save,
indeed, to slay Edward and proclaim his own son-in-law, Clarence,
for King. But the memory of old days spent in Edward's cause was too
strong. Clarence, too, though he may have been willing enough to
supplant his brother, made no open proposals to extinguish him.

Edward was over a month in his cousin's hands. Part of the time he was
kept at Warwick and Coventry, but the last three weeks were spent in
the Earl's northern stronghold of Middleham. The few accounts which we
have of the time seem to show that the King was all smoothness and fair
promises; the Earl and the Archbishop, on the other hand, were careful
to make his detention as little like captivity as could be managed.
He was allowed free access to every one, and permitted to go hunting
three or four miles away from the castle in company with a handful
of the Earl's servants. Warwick at the same time gave earnest of his
adherence to the Yorkist cause by putting down two Lancastrian risings,
the one in favour of the Percies, led by Robin of Holderness, the other
raised by his own second-cousin, Sir Humphrey Neville, one of the elder
branch, who was taken and beheaded at York.

Before releasing the King, Warwick exacted a few securities from him.
The first was a general pardon to himself, Clarence, and all who had
been engaged in the rising of Robin of Redesdale. The second was a
grant to himself of the chamberlainship of South Wales, and the right
to name the governors of Caermarthen and the other South Welsh castles.
These offices had been in Herbert's hands, and the Earl had found that
they cramped his own power in Glamorganshire and the South Marches.
The third was the appointment as Treasurer of Sir John Langstrother,
the Prior of the Hospitallers of England; he was evidently chosen as
Rivers' successor, because two years before he had been elected to
his place as prior in opposition to John Woodville, whom the King had
endeavoured to foist on the order. The chancellorship, however, was
still left in the hands of Bishop Stillington, against whom no one had
a grudge; George Neville did not claim his old preferment.

By October the King was back in London, which he entered in great
state, escorted by Montagu, the Archbishop Richard of Gloucester, and
the Earls of Essex and Arundel. "The King himself," writes one of the
Pastons that day, "hath good language of my Lords of Clarence, Warwick,
and York, saying they be his best friends; but his household have other
language, so that what shall hastily fall I can not say." No more, we
may add, could any man in England, the King and Warwick included.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 10: Letter of William Monipenny to Louis the Eleventh. He
calls it _le pays de Surfiorkshire_, a cross between Suffolk and
Yorkshire. But the latter must be meant, as Warwick had no interest in
Suffolk, and the captain is obviously Robin of Redesdale.]

[Footnote 11: Clarence's mother was Isabel's great aunt.]

[Footnote 12: It is fair to say that Herbert was universally disliked;
he was called the Spoiler of the Church and the Commons.]

[Footnote 13: As witness her dealings with Richard the Third after he
had murdered her sons.]



CHAPTER XV

WARWICK FOR KING HENRY


The peace between Warwick and King Edward lasted for a period even
shorter than might have been expected; seven months, from September
1469 to March 1470, was the term for which it was destined to endure.
Yet while it did hold firm, all was so smooth outwardly that its
rupture came as a thunderclap upon the world. Nothing, indeed, could
have looked more promising for lovers of quiet times than the events of
the winter of 1469-70. A Parliament ratified all the King's grants of
immunity to the insurgents of the last year, and while it sat the King
announced a project which promised to bind York and Neville more firmly
together than ever. Edward, though now married for six years, had no
son; three daughters alone were the issue of his union with Elizabeth
Woodville. He now proposed to marry his eldest daughter, and heiress
presumptive, to the male heir of the Nevilles, the child George, son of
Montagu.[14] To make the boy's rank suitable to his prospects, Edward
created him Duke of Bedford. Montagu had not joined with his brothers
in the rising, and had even fought with Robin of Redesdale, so it was
all the easier for the King to grant him this crowning honour.

In February Warwick was at Warwick Castle, Montagu in the North, while
Clarence and King Edward lay at London. All was quiet enough, when
suddenly there came news of troubles in Lincolnshire. Riotous bands,
headed by Sir Robert Welles, son of Lord Willoughby and Welles, had
come together, sacked the manor of a certain Sir Thomas Burgh, one of
Edward's most trusted servants, and were raising the usual seditious
cries about the evil government of the realm. At first nothing very
dangerous seemed to be on foot. When the King sent for Willoughby, to
call him to account for his son's doings, the old peer came readily
enough to London to make his excuses, relying on the safe conduct
which was sent him. But the riots were now swelling into a regular
insurrection, and soon news came that Sir Robert Welles had called out
the whole shire-force of Lincoln, mustered fifteen thousand men, and
was bidding his troops to shout for King Henry. Edward at once issued
commissions of array for raising an overwhelming force against the
rebels. Two of the commissions were sent to Warwick and Clarence, who
were bidden to collect the men of Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
Their orders were dated March 7th, but before they were half carried
out, the purpose for which they were issued had already been attained.
Edward, taking Lord Willoughby with him as a hostage, had rushed north
with one of these astonishing bursts of energy of which he was now and
again capable. Leaving London on the 6th, he reached Stamford on March
11th, with the forces of the home and eastern counties at his back.
On the 12th he met the rebels at Empingham near Stamford, and when
Welles would not bid them disperse, beheaded his aged father Willoughby
in front of his army. The Lincolnshire men fled in disgraceful rout
before the fire of the King's artillery, casting off their cassocks
with the colours of Welles in such haste that the fight was known as
Lose-coat Field. Sir Robert was caught and beheaded at Doncaster a
few days later, and the rising was at an end. On Tuesday the 21st the
King reviewed his troops: "It was said that never were seen in England
so many goodly men, and so well arrayed for a fight; in especial the
Duke of Norfolk was worshipfully accompanied, no lord there so well."
Warwick and Clarence, with a few thousand men from the shires they
had been told to raise, lay that day at Chesterfield, converging, in
accordance with their orders, on Lincoln.

Suddenly Edward announced to his army that he had learnt from the
dying confession of Sir Robert Welles that Warwick and Clarence were
implicated in the rising. Though Welles had sometimes used King Henry's
name, it was now said that he had really been proposing to place
Clarence on the throne, and was acting with Warwick's full approval.
Edward added that he had already sent to the Duke and the Earl, bidding
them come to his presence at once and unaccompanied. They had refused
to come without a safe conduct, so he now proclaimed them traitors, but
would grant them their lives if they would appear before him in humble
and obeisant wise within a week. The army was at once directed to march
on Chesterfield, but when the proclamation reached Warwick and Clarence
they did not obey it, and fled for their lives.

This series of events is the most puzzling portion of the whole of
Warwick's life. The chroniclers help us very little, and the only two
first-hand documents which we possess are official papers drawn up
by King Edward. These papers were so widely spread that we meet them
repeated word for word and paragraph for paragraph even in the French
writers,--with the names, of course, horribly mangled.[15] Edward said
that down to the very moment of Welles' capture he had no thought but
that Warwick and Clarence were serving him faithfully: it was Welles'
confession, and some treasonable papers found on the person of a squire
in the Duke of Clarence's livery who was slain in the pursuit, that
revealed the plot to him. The second document which the King published
was Welles' confession, a rambling effusion which may or may not fully
represent the whole story. Why Welles should confess at all we cannot
see, unless he expected to save his life thereby; and if he expected to
save his life he would, of course, insert in his tale whatever names
the King chose. Welles' narrative relates that all Lincolnshire was
afraid that the King would visit it with vengeance for joining Robin
of Redesdale last year. Excitement already prevailed, when there came
to him, about February 2nd, Sir John Clare, a chaplain of the Duke
of Clarence's, who asked him if Lincolnshire would be ready to rise
supposing there was another trouble this year, but bade him make no
stir till the Duke should send him word. Without waiting, according
to his own tale, for any further communication, Welles raised all
Lincolnshire, making proclamation in the King's name as well as that of
the Duke of Clarence. Some days after the riots began there came to him
a squire in the Duke's livery, who told him that he had provoked the
King, and that great multitudes of the Commons must needs die unless
they bestirred themselves. So this squire--Welles could not give his
surname but only knew that he was called Walter--took over the guiding
of the host till he was slain at Stamford. Moreover, one John Wright
came to Lincoln, bearing a ring as token, which he said belonged to the
Earl of Warwick, with a message of comfort to say that the Earl had
sworn to take such part as Lincolnshire should take. "And I understand
that they intended to make great risings, and as far as ever I could
understand, to the intent to make the Duke of Clarence King, and so it
was largely noised in our host." According to his story, Welles had
never seen either Warwick or Clarence himself, and had no definite
knowledge of their purpose. He only understood that the purpose was to
crown Clarence; all his information came from Clare and the anonymous
squire.

This is a curious tale, and suggests many doubts. If Warwick wished
to act again the comedy of last year, why should he send to a county
where he had no influence, to a staunch Lancastrian family (Welles'
grandfather fell in Henry's cause at Towton, and his father was the
Willoughby who tried to kidnap Warwick in 1460) in order to provoke a
rising? And if he had planned a rising in Lincoln, why did he make no
attempt to support it by calling out his own Midland and South Welsh
retainers, or raising Yorkshire or Kent, where he could command the
whole county? That the Earl was capable of treasonable double-dealing
he had shown clearly enough in 1469. But was he capable of such insane
bad management as the arrangements for Welles' insurrection show? Last
year his own relatives and retainers worked the plan, and it was most
accurately timed and most successfully executed. Why should he now make
such a bungle?

It is, moreover, to be observed that while Welles puts everything down
to Clarence in his confession, Warkworth and other chroniclers say that
he bade his men shout for King Henry, and all his connections were
certainly Lancastrian. Is it possible that he was trying to put the
guilt off his own shoulders, and to make a bid for his life, acting on
Edward's hints, when he implicated Warwick and Clarence in his guilt?

It is certainly quite in keeping with Edward's character to suppose
that, finding himself at the head of a loyal and victorious army, it
suddenly occurred to him that his position could be utilised to fall on
Warwick and Clarence and take his revenge for the deaths of Pembroke
and Rivers.

Whether this was so or not, the Duke and the Earl were most certainly
caught unprepared when Edward marched on Chesterfield. They left a
message that they would come to the King if he would give them a
safe conduct, and fled to Manchester. Edward threw his army between
them and York, where they could have raised men in abundance, and
the fugitives, after vainly trying to interest Lord Stanley in their
cause, doubled back on the Midlands. With a few hundred men in their
train they got to Warwick, but apparently there was no time to make a
stand even there. The King had sent commissions of array out all over
England to trusty hands, and forces under staunch Yorkists were closing
in towards the Midlands on every side. Edward calculated on having an
enormous army in the field by April; he himself was coming south with
quite twenty thousand victorious troops, and he had called out the
whole of the levies of Shropshire, Hereford, Gloucester, Stafford,
Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset. When he heard that Warwick was
moving south, he sent to Salisbury to order quarters and provisions for
forty thousand men, who would be concentrated there if the Earl tried
to reach the Montacute lands in that quarter.

So unprepared was the Earl for the assault that, packing up his
valuables in Warwick Castle, and taking with him his wife and his two
daughters, he fled for the South Coast without waiting to be surrounded
by his enemies. He quite outstripped the King, who had barely reached
Salisbury when he himself was at Exeter. There the Duke and Earl
seized a few ships, which they sent round to Dartmouth; more vessels
were obtained in the latter place, for the whole seafaring population
of England favoured the Earl. When Edward drew near, Warwick and his
son-in-law went on board their hastily-extemporised fleet and put
to sea. They ran along the South Coast as far as Southampton, where
they made an attempt to seize a part of the royal navy, including the
great ship called the _Trinity_, which had lain there since Scales'
abortive expedition in 1469. But Scales and Howard occupied the town
with a great Hampshire levy; the Earl's attack failed, and three of his
ships with their crews fell into the enemy's hands. Tiptoft Earl of
Worcester, "the great butcher of England," tried the captured men, and
a squire named Clapham and nineteen more were hung and then impaled by
him. This atrocious punishment sent a shock of horror through England,
and Tiptoft's name is still remembered rather for this abomination than
for all the learning and accomplishments which made him Caxton's idol.

Warwick made for Calais, where his friend Wenlock was in charge,
expecting free admittance. But the King had sent Galliard de Duras
and other officers across to watch the governor, and Wenlock, who was
somewhat of a time-server, dared not show his heart. When Warwick
appeared in the roads he refused him entry, and shot off some harmless
cannon toward the ships. At the same time he sent the Earl a secret
message that "he would give him a fair account of Calais upon the first
opportunity, if he would betake himself to France and wait." While
Warwick lay off Calais his daughter, Clarence's wife, was delivered of
a son. Wenlock sent out for her use two flagons of wine, but would not
give her a safe conduct to land--"a great severity for a servant to use
towards his lord," remarks Commines.

Repulsed from Calais, though we hear that the majority of the garrison
and inhabitants wished to admit them, Warwick and Clarence turned back,
and sought refuge in the harbour of Honfleur, where they trusted to get
shelter from Louis of France. On their way between Calais and Honfleur
they made prizes of several ships belonging to the Duke of Burgundy,
because they understood that he was arming against them. Louis kept
away from Warwick for a time; but he sent his secretary, Du Plessis, to
see him, and his admiral, the Bastard of Bourbon, gave the fugitives a
hearty welcome. Louis was still at war with England, and still dreading
a descent by King Edward on the French coast. He was delighted to
learn that he could now turn Warwick, whose abilities he had learnt
to respect, against his master--anything that would breed trouble in
England would keep his enemy occupied at home. The King's first orders
to his officers were to allow Warwick to fit out his ships, give him a
supply of money, and send him off to England as quickly as possible.
But the narrow seas were too well watched. Charles the Bold, irritated
at Warwick's capture of his merchantmen, had collected a great fleet
of seventy sail, which swept the Channel and watched the mouth of the
Seine.

The enforced delay in Warwick's departure allowed time for a new idea
to ripen in the French King's restless brain. Warwick had now broken
hopelessly with King Edward; they could never trust each other again.
Why therefore should not the Earl reconcile himself to the cause of
Lancaster? No sooner was the idea formed than Louis proceeded to send
for Queen Margaret out of her refuge in the duchy of Bar, and to lay
his plan before her and the Earl, when they all met at Angers in the
middle of July.

The scheme was at first sight revolting to both parties. There was so
much blood and trouble between them that neither could stomach the
proposal. If Margaret could bring herself to forget that Warwick had
twice driven her out of England, and had led her husband in ignominy to
the Tower, she could not pardon the man who, in his moment of wrath,
had stigmatised herself as an adulteress and her son as a bastard.[16]
Warwick, on the other hand, if he could forgive the plot against
his own life which the Queen had hatched in 1459, could not bear to
think of meeting the woman who had sent his gray-haired father to the
scaffold in cold blood on the day after Wakefield. King Louis asked
each party to forget their whole past careers, and sacrifice their
dearest hatreds to the exigencies of the moment.

If Warwick and Queen Margaret had been left to themselves, it is most
improbable that they would ever have come to an agreement. But between
them Louis went busily to and fro, for his unscrupulous mind was
perfectly unable to conceive that passion or sentiment could override
an obvious political necessity. Gradually the two parties were brought
to state their objections to the King's scheme, the first step towards
the commencement of negotiations. Warwick was the first to yield; the
Queen took far longer to persuade. The Earl, she said, had been the
cause of all the trouble that had come on herself, her husband, and
her son. She could not pardon him. Moreover, his pardon would lose
her more friends than he could bring to her. Warwick's answer was
straightforward. He owned all the harm he had done to her and hers.
But the offence, he said, had come first from her who had plotted
evil against him which he had never deserved. What he had done had
been done solely in his own defence. But now the new King had broken
faith with him, and he was bound to him no longer. If Margaret would
forgive him, he would be true to her henceforth; and for that the King
of France would be his surety. Louis gave his word, praying the Queen
to pardon the Earl, to whom, he said, he was more beholden than to any
other man living.[17]

The Queen so pressed, and urged beside by the counsellors of her father
King Réné, agreed to pardon Warwick. Louis then broached the second
point in his scheme. The new alliance, he urged, should be sealed by
a marriage; the Prince of Wales was now seventeen and the Lady Anne,
Warwick's younger daughter, sixteen. What match could be fairer or more
hopeful?

But to this the Queen would not listen. She could find a better match
for her son, she said; and she showed them a letter lately come from
Edward offering him the hand of the young Princess Elizabeth.[18]
Louis, however, was quietly persistent, and in the end the Queen
yielded this point also. On August 4th she met Warwick in the Church of
St. Mary at Angers, and there they were reconciled; the Earl swearing
on a fragment of the true cross that he would cleave to King Henry's
quarrel, the Queen engaging to treat the Earl as her true and faithful
subject, and never to make him any reproach for deeds gone by. The Earl
placed his daughter in the Queen's hands, saying that the marriage
should take place only when he had won back England for King Henry, and
then departed for the coast to make preparations for getting his fleet
to sea.

One person alone was much vexed at the success of Louis' scheme. The
Duke of Clarence had no wish to see his father-in-law reconciled to
the house of Lancaster, for he had been speculating on the notion
that if Warwick drove out Edward he himself would become King. But
wandering exiles must take their fortune as it comes, and Clarence had
to be contented with Queen Margaret's promise that his name should be
inserted in the succession after that of her son, when she and her
husband came to their own again. The Prince was a healthy promising
lad, and the prospect offered was hopelessly remote; Clarence began to
grow discontented, and to regret that he had ever placed himself under
Warwick's guidance. At this juncture his brother sent him a message
from England, through a lady attending on the Duchess, praying him
not to wreck the fortunes of his own family by adhering to the house
of Lancaster, and bidding him remember the hereditary hatred that
lay between them. Edward offered his brother a full pardon. Clarence
replied by promising to come over to the King so soon as he and Warwick
should reach England. Of all these negotiations Warwick suspected not a
word.

Edward was so overjoyed by his brother's engagement to wreck the Earl's
invasion, that he laughed at Charles of Burgundy for squandering money
in keeping a fleet at sea to intercept Warwick, and declared that what
he most wished was to see his adversary safely landed on English soil,
to be dealt with by himself.

He had his wish soon enough. In September the equinoctial gales caught
the Burgundian fleet and blew it to the four winds, some of the vessels
being driven as far as Scotland and Denmark. This left the coast clear
for Warwick, who had long been waiting to put to sea. The Earl had
already taken his precautions to make his task easy. A proclamation,
signed by himself and Clarence, had been scattered all over England by
willing hands. It said that the exiles were returning "to set right and
justice to their places, and to reduce and redeem for ever the realm
from its thraldom;" but no mention was made either of Edward or Henry
in it, a curious fact which seems to point out that the Lancastrian
alliance was not to be avowed till the last moment. But more useful
than many proclamations was the message which the Earl sent into the
North Country; he prayed his kinsman Fitzhugh to stir up Yorkshire and
draw the King northward, as he had done before, when he and Coniers
worked the rebellion of Robin of Redesdale.

Fitzhugh had no difficulty in rousing the Neville tenants about
Middleham; and Edward, as Warwick expected, no sooner heard of this
insurrection than he hurried to put it down, taking with him his
brother Richard of Gloucester, Scales, Hastings, Say, and many more
of his most trusted barons, with a good part of the army that was
disposable to resist a landing on the South Coast. Near York he was
to be met by Montagu, who had adhered to him for the past year in
spite of his brother's rebellion. But the King had paid Montagu
badly for his loyalty. He had taken from him the Percy lands in
Northumberland, and restored them to the young heir of that ancient
house, compensating, as he thought, the dispossessed Neville by making
him a marquis, and handing him over some of Warwick's confiscated
northern estates. Montagu complained in secret that "he had been given
a marquisate, and a pie's nest to maintain it withal," and was far from
being so contented as the King supposed.

On September 25th Warwick landed unopposed at Dartmouth. In his company
was not only Clarence but several of the great Lancastrian lords who
had been living in exile--Jasper of Pembroke, Oxford, and many more.
They brought with them about two thousand men, of whom half were French
archers lent by Louis. The moment that the invaders landed, Warwick
and Clarence declared themselves, by putting forth a proclamation in
favour of King Henry. Devon and Somerset had always been Lancastrian
strongholds, and the old retainers of the Beauforts and of Exeter came
in by hundreds to meet their exiled lords. In a few days Warwick had
ten thousand men, and could march on London; the King was at Doncaster,
and his lieutenants in the South could make no stand without him. A
little later Warwick's own Midland and Wiltshire tenants joined him,
the Earl of Shrewsbury raised the Severn valley in his aid, and all
Western England was in his hands.

Meanwhile King Edward, who had up to this moment mismanaged his
affairs most hopelessly, moved south by Doncaster and Lincoln, with
Montagu and many other lords in his train. On October 6th he lay in
a fortified manor near Nottingham with his bodyguard, while his army
occupied all the villages round about. There, early in the morning,
while he still lay in bed, Alexander Carlisle, the chief of his
minstrels, and Master Lee, his chaplain, came running into his chamber,
to tell him there was treachery in his camp. Montagu and other lords
were riding down the ranks of his army crying, "God save King Henry!"
The men were cheering and shouting for Warwick and Lancaster, and no
one was showing any signs of striking a blow for the cause of York.

Edward rose in haste, drew up his bodyguard to defend the approach
of the manor where he lay, and sent scouts to know the truth of the
report. They met Montagu marching against them, and fled back to
say that the rumour was all too true. Then Edward with his brother
Gloucester, Hastings his chamberlain, Say, and Scales, and their
immediate following, took horse and fled. They reached Lynn about eight
hundred strong, seized some merchantmen and two Dutch carvels which
lay in the harbour, and set sail for the lands of Burgundy. Buffeted
by storms and chased by Hanseatic pirates, they ran their ships ashore
near Alkmaar, and sought refuge with Louis of Gruthuyse, Governor of
Holland. King, lords, and archers alike had escaped with nothing but
what they bore on their backs; Edward himself could only pay the master
of the ship that carried him by giving him the rich gown lined with
martens' fur that he had worn in his flight.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 14: This plan, as Lingard astutely observes, may have two
meanings. Either, as we said above, it was a ratification of peace with
the Nevilles, or--and this is quite possible--it was intended to draw
Montagu apart from his brothers, by giving him a special interest in
Edward's prosperity.]

[Footnote 15: _E.g._ Waurin makes Ranby Howe, the muster-place of the
insurgents, into Tabihorch, and Lancashire into Lantreghier.]

[Footnote 16: Foreign writers record that Warwick used this language to
the legate Coppini in 1460.]

[Footnote 17: All this comes from the invaluable "Manner of the dealing
of the Earl of Warwick at Angiers," printed in the _Chronicle of the
White Rose_.]

[Footnote 18: This is a not impossible tale. Edward, fearing Warwick's
alliance to the Queen, might hope to separate them by offering
Margaret's son the ultimate succession to the throne. For he himself
having no male heir, the crown would go with his eldest daughter
Elizabeth.]



CHAPTER XVI

THE RETURN OF KING EDWARD


The expulsion of King Edward had been marvellously sudden. Within
eleven days after his landing at Dartmouth Warwick was master of all
England. Not a blow had been struck for the exiled King. From Calais to
Berwick every man mounted the Red Rose or the Ragged Staff with real
or simulated manifestations of joy. On October 6th the Earl reached
London, which opened its gates with its accustomed readiness. It had
only delayed its surrender in fear of a riotous band of Kentishmen,
whom Sir Geoffrey Gate had gathered in the Earl's name. They had
wrought such mischief in Southwark that the Londoners refused to let
them in, and waited for the arrival of Warwick himself before they
would formally acknowledge King Henry. Meanwhile all the partisans of
York had either fled from the city or taken sanctuary. Queen Elizabeth
sought refuge in the precincts of Westminster, where she was soon after
delivered of a son, the first male child that had been born to King
Edward.

Riding through the city Warwick came to the Tower, and found King Henry
in his keeper's hands, "not worshipfully arrayed as a prince, and not
so cleanly kept as should beseem his state." The Earl led him forth
from the fortress,--whither he had himself conducted him, a prisoner
in bonds, five years before,--arrayed him in royal robes, and brought
him in state to St. Paul's, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, with all the
Common Council, walking before him, "while all the people to right and
left rejoiced with clapping of hands, and cried 'God save King Henry!'"
Then the King, after returning thanks for his deliverance in the
Cathedral, rode down Cheapside and took up his residence in the palace
of the Bishop of London.

Henry was much broken and enfeebled by his captivity. "He sat on his
throne as limp and helpless as a sack of wool," says one unfriendly
chronicler. "He was a mere shadow and pretence, and what was done in
his name was done without his will and knowledge." All that remained
unbroken in him was his piety and his imperturbable long-suffering
patience. But his weakness only made him the more fit for Warwick's
purpose. His deliverance took place on the 6th, and on October 9th
we find him beginning to sign a long series of documents which
reconstituted the government of the realm. It was made clear from the
first that Warwick and his friends were to have charge of the King
rather than the Lancastrian peers. In the first batch of appointments
Warwick became the King's Lieutenant, and resumed his old posts of
Captain of Calais and Admiral. George Neville was restored to the
Chancellorship, and Sir John Langstrother, Prior of the Hospitallers,
received again the Treasury, which Warwick had bestowed on him in
1469. The Duke of Clarence was made Lieutenant of Ireland, a post
he had enjoyed under his brother till his exile in 1470. Among the
Lancastrians, Oxford was made Constable, and Pembroke joint-Lieutenant
under Warwick. The rest received back their confiscated lands, but got
no official preferment.

Oxford's first exercise of his power as Constable was to try Tiptoft
Earl of Worcester, one of the few of King Edward's adherents whom no
one could pardon. Oxford had to avenge on him his father and brother,
whom the Earl had sentenced to be drawn and quartered in 1462, while
Warwick remembered his adherents impaled in the previous April. The
Butcher of England got no mercy, as might be expected, and was beheaded
on October 18th.

A few days before summonses had been sent out in the King's name for
a Parliament to meet on November 26th, for Warwick was eager to set
himself right with the nation at the earliest opportunity. Every care
was taken to show that the new rule was to be one of tolerance and
amnesty. The whole of the surviving peers who had sat in Edward's
last Parliament were invited to present themselves to meet King
Henry--however bitter their Yorkist partizanship had been--save
six only, and of these four had fled over-sea--Gloucester, Scales,
Hastings, and Say.

The Parliament met and was greeted by George Neville the Chancellor
with a sermon adapted to the times, on the text from Jeremiah, "Turn,
O ye back-sliding children." The proceedings of the session are lost,
but we know that they were mainly formal, confirming the King's
appointments to offices, ratifying the agreement made between Queen
Margaret and Clarence, that the latter should be declared heir to
the throne failing issue to the Prince of Wales, and reversing the
attainder of Somerset and Exeter and the other Lancastrian lords, who
were thus able to take their seats in the Upper House.

The most important political event of the restoration, however, was
the conclusion of the treaty with France, which Warwick had had so
close to his heart ever since the first abortive negotiations in
1464. An embassy, headed by the Bishop of Bayeux, titular Patriarch
of Jerusalem, appeared in London when Warwick's power was firmly
established, and a peace for twelve years and treaty of alliance was
duly concluded. Its most important feature was that it bound England
to take the French King's side in the struggle with Burgundy. When he
heard that Edward had been expelled and could no longer aid Charles
the Bold, Louis had at once attacked the towns on the Somme, and taken
Amiens and several other important places. Next spring his contest
with the Duke would begin in earnest, and he was overjoyed to know
that the English power would be used for his aid, by one who had a
strong personal dislike to the Burgundian. Warwick at once took steps
to strengthen the garrison of Calais, which was at this time entirely
surrounded by the Duke's territory, and began to make preparations for
a campaign in the next spring.

It is rather difficult to gauge with accuracy the feeling with which
England received the restoration of King Henry. The nation, however,
seems on the whole to have accepted the new government with great
equanimity if with no very marked enthusiasm. The Lancastrians were
of course contented, though they would have preferred to have won back
their position by their own arms. Of the Yorkists it was supposed that
most of the important sections held by the Earl and not by King Edward.
This was certainly the case, as later events showed, with the Commons
in most parts of the country, and notably in Yorkshire and Kent, which
had up to this time been so strongly attached to the cause of York.
There were, however, classes in which the restoration was not so well
received. It was disliked by such of the Yorkist nobility as were not
Nevilles. The Duke of Norfolk and all the Bourchier clan--Essex, the
Archbishop, Cromwell, and Berners--had not been displeased when Warwick
chastened the Queen's relatives, but had not wished to see Edward
entirely deposed. Other peers, such as Grey Earl of Kent, and the Earl
of Arundel, had committed themselves even more deeply to Edward's side,
by allying themselves by marriage with the Woodvilles. It was gall
and bitterness to all those heads of great houses to have to seek for
pardon and favour from their late enemies. What, for example, must have
been Norfolk's feelings when he was compelled, as the Paston records
describe, to sue as humbly to the Lancastrian Earl of Oxford as his own
dependents had been wont to sue to himself?

Another quarter where the restoration was taken ill was to be found
among the merchants of London. The late King had been a great spender
of money, and was at the moment of his exile deep in the books of many
wealthy purveyors of the luxuries in which he delighted. All these
debts had now become hopeless, and the unfortunate creditors were
sulky and depressed. Moreover, Edward's courteous and affable manners
and comely person had won him favour in the eyes of the Londoners in
whose midst he habitually dwelt, and still more so, unless tradition
errs, in the eyes of their wives. Few persons in the city, except
declared Lancastrians, looked upon the new government with any approach
to enthusiasm.

There was one individual, too, whose feelings as to the new government
were likely to be of no mean importance. George of Clarence, though
he had followed Warwick to London and taken a prominent part in all
the incidents of the restoration, was profoundly dissatisfied with
his position. Even when he had been made Lieutenant of Ireland--an
office which he chose to discharge by deputy--and presented with many
scores of manors, he was in no wise conciliated. He was farther from
the throne as the Prince of Wales' ultimate heir than he had been in
the days of his own brother's reign. Had the chance been given him, it
seems likely that he would have betrayed Warwick and joined King Edward
after his return to England. But events had marched too rapidly, and he
had found no opportunity to strike a blow for York. During the winter
of 1470-71, however, he put himself once more in communication with his
brother. The correspondence was carried on through their sisters--the
Duchess of Exeter on the English side of the Channel and the Duchess
of Burgundy over-sea. By this means Clarence renewed his promises of
help to Edward, and swore to join him, with every man that he could
raise, the moment that he set foot again in England. Meanwhile Warwick
had no suspicion of his son-in-law's treachery. He trusted him to the
uttermost, heaped favours upon him, and even got his name joined with
his own and Pembroke's as Lieutenants for King Henry in all the realm
of England.

For five months the Earl's reign was undisturbed. There was no one in
the country who dared dispute his will. Queen Margaret, whose presence
would have been his greatest difficulty, had not yet crossed the seas.
Her delay was strange. Perhaps she still dreaded putting herself in the
hands of her old enemy; perhaps the King of France detained her till
Warwick should have made his power in England too firm to be troubled
by her intrigues. But the Earl himself actually desired her presence.
He several times invited her to hasten her arrival, and at last sent
over Langstrother, the Treasurer of England, to urge his suit and
escort Margaret and her son across the Channel. It was not till March
that she could be induced to move; and by March the time was overdue.

Meanwhile King Edward had received but a luke-warm reception at the
Court of Burgundy. Duke Charles, saddled with his French war, would
have preferred to keep at peace with England. His sympathies were
divided between Lancaster and York. If his wife was Edward's sister,
he himself had Lancastrian blood in his veins, and had long maintained
Somerset, Exeter, and other Lancastrian exiles at his Court. But he
was driven into taking a decided line in favour of Edward by the
fact that Warwick, his personal enemy, was supreme in the counsels
of England. If the Earl allied himself to Louis of France, it became
absolutely necessary for Duke Charles to lend his support to his exiled
brother-in-law, with the object of upsetting Warwick's domination.

Edward himself had found again his ancient restless energy in the day
of adversity. He knew that in the last autumn he could have made a
good defence if it had not been for Montagu's sudden treachery, and
was determined not to consider his cause lost till it had been fairly
tried by the arbitrament of the sword. He was in full communication
with England, and had learnt that many more beside Clarence were eager
to see him land. The adventure would be perilous, for he would have to
fight not only, as of old, the Lancastrian party, but the vast masses
of the Commons whose trust had always been in the great Earl. But peril
seems to have been rather an incentive than a deterrent to Edward,
when the reckless mood was on him. He took the aid that Charles of
Burgundy promised, though it was given in secret and with a grudging
heart. After a final interview with the Duke at Aire, he moved off in
February to Flushing, where a few ships had been collected for him in
the haven among the marshes of Walcheren. About fifteen hundred English
refugees accompanied him, including his brother of Gloucester and Lords
Hastings, Say, and Scales. The Duke had hired for him three hundred
German hand-gun men, and presented him with fifty thousand florins in
gold. With such slender resources the exiled King did not scruple to
attempt the reconquest of his kingdom. On March 11th he and his men set
sail. They were convoyed across the German Ocean by a fleet of fourteen
armed Hanseatic vessels, which the Duke had sent for their protection.
Yet the moment that Charles heard they were safely departed, he
published, for Warwick's benefit, a proclamation warning any of his
subjects against aiding or abetting Edward of York in any enterprise
against the realm of England.

However secretly Edward's preparations were concerted, they had not
entirely escaped his enemy's notice. Warwick had made dispositions
for resisting a landing to the best of his ability. A fleet stationed
at Calais, under the Bastard of Fauconbridge, watched the straits and
protected the Kentish coast. The Earl himself lay at London to overawe
the discontented and guard King Henry. Oxford held command in the
Eastern Counties--the most dangerous district, for Norfolk and the
Bourchiers were rightly suspected of keeping up communication with
Edward. In the North Montagu and the Earl of Northumberland were in
charge from Hull to Berwick with divided authority.

As Warwick had expected, the invaders aimed at landing in East Anglia.
On March 12th Edward and his fleet lay off Cromer. He sent two knights
ashore to rouse the country ere he himself set foot on land. But in
a few hours the messengers returned. They bade him hoist sail again,
for Oxford was keeping strict watch over all those parts, and Edward's
friends were all in prison or bound over to good behaviour. On
receiving this disappointing intelligence, Edward determined on one of
those bold strokes which were so often his salvation. If the friendly
districts were so well watched, it was likely that the counties where
Warwick's interest was supreme would be less carefully secured. The
King bade his pilot steer north and make for the Humber mouth, though
Yorkshire was known to be devoted to the great Earl.

That night a gale from the south swept over the Wash and scattered
Edward's ships far and wide. On March 15th it abated, and the vessels
came to land at various points on the coast of Holderness. The King and
Hastings, with five hundred men, disembarked at Ravenspur--a good omen,
for this was the same spot at which Henry of Bolingbroke had commenced
his victorious march on London in 1399. The other ships landed their
men at neighbouring points on the coast, and by the next morning all
Edward's two thousand men were safely concentrated. Their reception
by the country-side was most discouraging. The people deserted their
villages and drew together in great bands, as if minded to oppose the
invaders. Indeed, they only needed leaders to induce them to take the
offensive; but no man of mark chanced to be in Holderness. Montagu lay
in the West-Riding and Northumberland in the North. A squire named
Delamere, and a priest named Westerdale, the only leaders whom the men
of Holderness could find, contented themselves with following the King
at a distance, and with sending news of his approach to York.

A less resolute adventurer than Edward Plantagenet would probably have
taken to his ships again when he found neither help nor sympathy in
Yorkshire. But Edward was resolved to play out his game; the sight of
the hostile country-side only made him determine to eke out the lion's
hide with the fox's skin. Calling to mind the stratagem which Henry
of Bolingbroke had practised in that same land seventy-two years ago,
he sent messengers everywhere to announce that he came in arms not to
dispossess King Henry, but only to claim his ancestral duchy of York.
When he passed through towns and villages he bade his men shout for
King Henry, and he himself mounted the Lancastrian badge of the ostrich
feathers. In these borrowed plumes he came before the walls of York,
still unmolested, but without having drawn a man to his banners. Hull,
the largest town that he had approached, had resolutely closed its
gates against him.

The fate of Edward's enterprise was settled before the gates of York on
the morning of March 18th. He found the walls manned by the citizens
in arms; but they parleyed instead of firing upon him, and when he
declared that he came in peace, aspiring only to his father's dignity
and possessions, he himself with sixteen persons only in his train
was admitted within the gate. Then upon the cross of the high altar
in the Minster he swore "that he never would again take upon himself
to be King of England, nor would have done before that time, but for
the exciting and stirring of the Earl of Warwick," "and thereto before
all the people he cried, 'King Harry! King Harry and Prince Edward!'"
Satisfied by these protestations, the men of York admitted the invaders
within their walls. Edward, however, only stayed for twelve hours in
York, and next morning he marched on Tadcaster.

This day was almost as critical as the last. It was five days since
the landing at Ravenspur, and the news had now had time to spread.
If Montagu and Northumberland were bent on loyal service to King
Henry, they must now be close at hand. But the star of York was in the
ascendant. Northumberland remembered at this moment rather his ancient
enmity for the Nevilles than his grandfather's loyalty to Lancaster.
He gathered troops indeed, but he made no attempt to march south or
to intercept the invaders. It is probable that he was actually in
treasonable communication with Edward, as the Lancastrian chroniclers
declare. Montagu, on the other hand, collected two or three thousand
men and threw himself into Pontefract, to guard the Great North Road.
But Edward, instead of approaching Pontefract, moved his army on to
cross-roads, which enabled him to perform a flank march round his
adversary; he slept that evening at Sendal Castle, the spot where his
father had spent the night before the disastrous battle of Wakefield.
How Montagu came to let Edward get past him is one of the problems
whose explanation will never be forthcoming. It may have been that his
scouts lost sight of the enemy and missed the line of his flank march.
It may equally well have been that Montagu overvalued the King's army,
which was really no larger than his own, and would not fight till he
should be joined by his colleague Northumberland. Some contemporary
writers assert that the Marquis, remembering his old favour with the
King, was loath that his hand should be the one to crush his former
master. Others say that it was no scruple of ancient loyalty that moved
Montagu, but that he had actually determined to desert his brother and
join Edward's party. But his later behaviour renders this most unlikely.

Montagu's fatal inaction was the salvation of Edward. At Sendal he
received the first encouragement which he had met since his landing.
He was there in the midst of the estates of the duchy of York, and a
considerable body of men joined him from among his ancestral retainers.
Encouraged by this accession, he pushed on rapidly southward, and by
marches of some twenty miles a day reached Doncaster on the 21st and
Nottingham on the 23rd. On the way recruits began to flock in, and
at Nottingham a compact body of six hundred men-at-arms, under Sir
James Harrington and Sir William Parr, swelled the Yorkist ranks. Then
Edward, for the first time since his landing, paused for a moment to
take stock of the position of his friends and his enemies.

Meanwhile the news of his march had run like wild-fire all over
England, and in every quarter men were arming for his aid or his
destruction. Warwick had hoped at first that Montagu and Northumberland
would stay the invader, but when he heard that Edward had slipped
past, he saw that he himself must take the field. Accordingly he left
London on the 22nd, and rode hastily to Warwick to call out his Midland
retainers. The guard of the city and the person of King Henry was
left to his brother the Archbishop. Simultaneously Somerset departed
to levy troops in the South-West, and Clarence set forth to raise
Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Oxford had already taken the field, and
on the 22nd lay at Lynn with four thousand men, the force that the not
very numerous Lancastrians of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge could put
in arms. From thence he directed his march on Newark, hoping to fall on
Edward's flank somewhere near Nottingham.

At that very moment the invader had thrown off the mask he had
hitherto worn. Finding himself well received and strongly reinforced,
he laid aside his pretence of asking only for the duchy of York, and
had himself proclaimed as King. But his position was perilous still:
Warwick was gathering head in his front; Montagu was following
cautiously in his rear; Oxford was about to assail his flank. The
enemies must be kept apart at all hazards; so Edward, neglecting the
others for the moment, turned fiercely on Oxford. He marched rapidly on
Newark with some five or six thousand men. This decision and show of
force frightened the Earl, who, though joined by the Duke of Exeter and
Lord Bardolph, felt himself too weak to fight. When the vanguard of the
Yorkists appeared, he hastily left Newark and fell back on to Stamford
in much disorder.

Having thus cleared his flank, Edward turned back on Nottingham and
then made for Leicester. Here he was joined by the Yorkists of the East
Midlands in great numbers; of the retainers of Lord Hastings alone no
less than three thousand came to him in one body.

Warwick, who lay only two short marches from the invader, was straining
every nerve to get together an army. His missives ran east and west to
call in all the knights of the Midlands who had ever mounted the Ragged
Staff or the Red Rose. One of these letters was found in 1889, among
other treasures, in the lumber room of Belvoir Castle. It was addressed
to Henry Vernon, a great Derbyshire landholder. The first part, written
in a secretary's hand, runs as follows:

 Right Trusty and Wellbeloved--I grete you well, and desire and
 heartily pray you that, inasmuch as yonder man Edward, the King our
 soverain lord's great enemy, rebel, and traitor, is now arrived in
 the north parts of this land, and coming fast on south, accompanied
 with Flemings, Easterlings, and Danes, not exceeding the number of
 two thousand persons, nor the country as he cometh not falling to
 him, ye will therefore, incontinent and forthwith after the sight
 hereof, dispose you to make toward me to Coventry with as many people
 defensibly arranged as ye can readily make, and that ye be with me in
 all haste possible, as my veray singular heart is in you, and as I may
 do thing [_sic_] to your weal or worship hereafter. And may God keep
 you.--Written at Warwick on March 25th.

Then in the Earl's own hand was written the post-script, appealing to
Vernon's personal friendship: "Henry, I pray you ffayle me not now, as
ever I may do for you."

Sad to say, this urgent appeal, wellnigh the only autograph of the
great Earl that we possess, seems to have failed in its purpose. Vernon
preferred to watch the game, and as late as April 2nd had made no
preparation to take arms for either side.

On March 28th Warwick with six thousand men advanced to Coventry, a
strongly-fortified town facing Edward's line of advance. On the same
day his adversary, whose forces must now have amounted to nearly ten
thousand, marched southward from Leicester. Next morning Warwick and
the King were in sight of each other, and a battle was expected. But
the Earl was determined to wait for his reinforcements before fighting.
He calculated that Montagu must soon arrive from the north, Oxford
from the east, Clarence from the south-west. Accordingly he shut
himself up in Coventry, and refused to risk an engagement. Edward,
whose movements all through this campaign evince the most consummate
generalship, promptly marched past his enemy and seized Warwick, where
he made his headquarters. He then placed his army across the high road
from Coventry to London, cutting off the Earl's direct communication
with the capital, and waited. Like the Earl he was expecting his
reinforcements.

The first force that drew near was Clarence's levy from the south-west.
With seven thousand men in his ranks the Duke reached Burford on April
2nd. Next day he marched for Banbury. On the 4th Warwick received the
hideous news that his son-in-law had mounted the White Rose and joined
King Edward. The treason had been long meditated, and was carried out
with perfect deliberation and great success. A few miles beyond Banbury
Clarence's array found itself facing that of the Yorkists. Clarence
bade his men shout for King Edward, and fall into the ranks of the
army that confronted them. Betrayed by their leader, the men made no
resistance, and allowed themselves to be enrolled in the Yorkist army.

Clarence, for very shame we must suppose, offered to obtain terms for
his father-in-law. "He sent to Coventry," says a Yorkist chronicler,
"offering certain good and profitable conditions to the Earl, if he
would accept them. But the Earl, whether he despaired of any durable
continuance of good accord betwixt the King and himself, or else
willing to maintain the great oaths, pacts, and promises sworn to Queen
Margaret, or else because he thought he should still have the upperhand
of the King, or else led by certain persons with him, as the Earl of
Oxford, who bore great malice against the King, would not suffer any
manner of appointment, were it reasonable or unreasonable." He drove
Clarence's messengers away, "crying that he thanked God he was himself
and not that traitor Duke."

Although Oxford had joined him with four thousand men, and Montagu was
approaching, Warwick still felt himself not strong enough to accept
battle when Edward and Clarence drew out their army before the gates of
Coventry on the morning of April 5th. He then saw them fall into column
of march, and retire along the London road. Edward, having now some
eighteen thousand men at his back, thought himself strong enough to
strike at the capital, where his friends had been busily astir in his
behalf for the last fortnight. Leaving a strong rear-guard behind, with
orders to detain Warwick at all hazards, he hurried his main body along
the Watling Street, and in five days covered the seventy-five miles
which separated him from London.

Meanwhile Warwick had been joined by Montagu as well as by Oxford, and
also received news that Somerset, with seven or eight thousand men
more, was only fifty miles away. This put him in good spirits, for he
counted on London holding out for a few days, and on the men of Kent
rallying to his standard when he approached the Thames. He wrote in
haste to his brother the Archbishop, who was guarding King Henry, that
if he would maintain the city but forty-eight hours, they would crush
the invading army between them. Then he left Coventry and hurried after
the King, who for the next five days was always twenty miles in front
of him.

But all was confusion in London. The Archbishop was not a man of war,
and no soldier of repute was at his side. The Lancastrian party in
the city had never been strong, and the Yorkists were now organising
an insurrection. There were more than two thousand of them in the
sanctuaries at Westminster and elsewhere, of whom three hundred were
knights and squires. All were prepared to rise at the first signal.
When news came that Edward had reached St. Albans, the Archbishop
mounted King Henry on horseback and rode with him about London,
adjuring the citizens to be true to him and arm in the good cause.
But the sight of the frail shadow of a king, with bowed back and
lack-lustre eyes, passing before them, was not likely to stir the
people to enthusiasm. Only six or seven hundred armed men mustered in
St. Paul's Churchyard beneath the royal banner.[19]

Such a force was obviously unequal to defending a disaffected city.
Next day, when the army of Edward appeared before the walls, Urswick
the Recorder of London, and certain aldermen with him, dismissed the
guard at Aldersgate and let Edward in, no man withstanding them. The
Archbishop of York and King Henry took refuge in the Bishop of London's
palace; they were seized and sent to the Tower. George Neville obtained
his pardon so easily that many accused him of treason. It seems quite
possible that, when he found at the last moment that he could not
raise the Londoners, he sent secretly to Edward and asked for pardon,
promising to make no resistance.

The capture of London rendered King Edward's position comparatively
secure. He had now the base of operations which he had up to this
moment lacked, and had established himself in the midst of a
population favourable to the Yorkist cause. Next day he received a
great accession of strength. Bourchier Earl of Essex, his brother
Archbishop Bourchier, Lord Berners, and many other consistent partisans
of York, joined him with seven thousand men levied in the Eastern
Counties. His army was now so strong that he might face any force which
Warwick could bring up, unless the Earl should wait for the levies of
the extreme North and West to join him.

On Maundy Thursday London had fallen; on Good Friday the King lay in
London; on Saturday afternoon he moved out again with his army greatly
strengthened and refreshed, and marched north to meet the pursuing
enemy. Warwick, much retarded on his way by the rear-guard which
the King had left to detain him and by the necessity of waiting for
Somerset's force, had reached Dunstable on the Friday, only to learn
in the evening that London was lost and his brother and King Henry
captured. He pushed on, however, and swerving from the Watling Street
at St. Albans threw himself eastward, with the intention, we cannot
doubt, of cutting Edward's communication with the Eastern Midlands,
where York was strong, by placing himself across the line of the Ermine
Street. On Saturday evening his army encamped on a rising ground near
Monken Hadley Church, overlooking the little town of Barnet which lay
below him in the hollow. The whole force lay down in order of battle,
ranged behind a line of hedges; in front of them was the heathy
plateau, four hundred feet above the sea, which slopes down into the
plain of Middlesex.

An hour or two after Warwick's footsore troops had taken post for the
night, and long after the dusk had fallen, the alarm was raised that
the Yorkists were at hand. On hearing of the Earl's approach the King
had marched out of London with every man that he could raise. His
vanguard beat Warwick's scouts out of the town of Barnet, and chased
them back on to the main position. Having found the enemy, Edward
pushed on through Barnet, climbed the slope, and ranged his men in the
dark facing the hedges behind which the Earl's army lay,

 much nearer than he had supposed, for he took not his ground so even
 in the front as he should have done, if he might better have seen
 them. And there they kept them still without any manner of noise or
 language. Both sides had guns and ordinance, but the Earl, meaning
 to have greatly annoyed the King, shot guns almost all the night.
 But it fortuned that they always overshot the King's host, and hurt
 them little or nought, for the King lay much nearer to them than they
 deemed. But the King suffered no guns to be shot on his side, or else
 right few, which was of great advantage to him, for thereby the Earl
 should have found the ground that he lay in, and levelled guns thereat.

So, with the cannon booming all night above them, the two hosts lay
down in their armour to spend that miserable Easter even. Next day it
was obvious that a decisive battle must occur; for the King, whose
interest it was to fight at once, before Warwick could draw in his
reinforcements from Kent and from the North and West, had placed
himself so close to the Earl that there was no possibility of the
Lancastrian host withdrawing without being observed. The morrow would
settle, once for all, if the name of Richard Neville or that of Edward
Plantagenet was to be all-powerful in England.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 19: The _Arrival of King Edward_ says "only six or seven
thousand" in the printed text. This must be a scribe's blunder,
being not a small number but a large one; and Waurin, who copies the
_Arrival_ verbatim, has "600 or 700."]



CHAPTER XVII

BARNET


The Easter morning dawned dim and gray; a dense fog had rolled up from
the valley, and the two hosts could see no more of each other than on
the previous night. Only the dull sound of unseen multitudes told each
that the other was still before them in position.

Of the two armies each, so far as we can judge, must have numbered
some twenty-five thousand men. It is impossible in the conflict of
evidence to say which was the stronger, but there cannot have been any
great difference in force.[20] Each had drawn itself up in the normal
order of a medieval army, with a central main-battle, the van and rear
ranged to its right and left, and a small reserve held back behind the
centre. Both sides, too, had dismounted nearly every man, according to
the universal practice of the English in the fifteenth century. Even
Warwick himself,--whose wont it had been to lead his first line to the
charge, and then to mount and place himself at the head of the reserve,
ready to deliver the final blow,--on this one occasion sent his horse
to the rear and fought on foot all day. He wished to show his men that
this was no common battle, but that he was risking life as well as
lands and name and power in their company.

In the Earl's army Montagu and Oxford, with their men from the North
and East, held the right wing; Somerset with his West-Country archery
and billmen formed the centre; Warwick himself with his own Midland
retainers had the left wing; with him was his old enemy Exeter,--his
unwilling partner in the famous procession of 1457, his adversary
at sea in the spring of 1460. Here and all down the line the old
Lancastrians and the partisans of Warwick were intermixed; the Cresset
of the Hollands stood hard by the Ragged Staff; the Dun Bull of Montagu
and the Radiant Star of the De Veres were side by side. We cannot doubt
that many a look was cast askance at new friends who had so long been
old foes, and that the suspicion of possible treachery must have been
present in every breast.

Edward's army was drawn up in a similar order. Richard of Gloucester
commanded the right wing; he was but eighteen, but his brother had
already learnt to trust much to his zeal and energy. The King himself
headed Clarence's men in the centre; he was determined to keep his
shifty brother at his side, lest he might repent at the eleventh hour
of his treachery to his father-in-law. Hastings led the rear-battle on
the left.

The armies were too close to each other to allow of manoeuvring; the
men rose from the muddy ground on which they had lain all night, and
dressed their line where they stood. But the night had led King Edward
astray; he had drawn up his host so as to overlap the Earl's extreme
left, while he opposed nothing to his extreme right. Gloucester in the
one army and Montagu and Oxford in the other had each the power of
outflanking and turning the wing opposed to them. The first glimpse of
sunlight would have revealed these facts to both armies had the day
been fair; but in the dense fog neither party had perceived as yet its
advantage or its danger. It was not till the lines met that they made
out each other's strength and position.

Between four and five o'clock, in the first gray of the dawning, the
two hosts felt their way towards each other; each side could at last
descry the long line of bills and bows opposed to it, stretching
right and left till it was lost in the mist. For a time the archers
and the bombards of the two parties played their part; then the two
lines rolled closer, and met from end to end all along Gladsmore
Heath. The first shock was more favourable to Warwick than to the
King. At the east end of the line, indeed, the Earl himself was
outflanked by Gloucester, forced to throw back his wing, and compelled
to yield ground towards his centre. But at the other end of the line
the Yorkists suffered a far worse disaster; Montagu and Oxford not
only turned Hastings' flank, but rolled up his line, broke it, and
chased it right over the heath, and down toward Barnet town. Many of
the routed troops fled as far as London ere they stopped, spreading
everywhere the news that the King was slain and the cause of York
undone. But the defeat of Edward's left wing had not all the effect
that might have been expected. Owing to the fog it was unnoticed by the
victorious right, and even by the centre, where the King and Clarence
were now hard at work with Somerset, and gaining rather than losing
ground. No panic spread down the line "for no man was in anything
discouraged, because, saving a few that stood nearest to them, no man
wist of the rout: also the other party by the same flight and chase
were never the greatlier encouraged." Moreover, the victorious troops
threw away their chance; instead of turning to aid his hard-pressed
comrades, Oxford pursued recklessly, cutting down the flying enemy for
a mile, even into the streets of Barnet. Consequently he and his men
lost themselves in the fog; many were scattered; the rest collected
themselves slowly, and felt their way back towards the field, guiding
themselves by the din that sounded down from the hill-side. Montagu
appears not to have gone so far in pursuit; he must have retained part
of his wing with him, and would seem to have used it to strengthen his
brother's hard-pressed troops on the left.

But meanwhile King Edward himself was gaining ground in the centre; his
own column, as the Yorkist chronicler delights to record, "beat and
bare down all that stood in his way, and then turned to range, first on
that hand and then on the other hand, and in length so beat and bare
them down that nothing might stand in the sight of him and of the
well-assured fellowship that attended truly upon him." Somerset, in
short, was giving way; in a short time the Lancastrian centre would be
broken.

At this moment, an hour after the fight had begun, Oxford and his
victorious followers came once more upon the scene. Lost in the fog,
they appeared, not where they might have been expected, on Edward's
rear, but upon the left rear of their own centre. They must have made a
vast detour in the darkness.

Now came the fatal moment of the day. Oxford's men, whose banners and
armour bore the Radiant Star of the De Veres, were mistaken by their
comrades for a flanking column of Yorkists. In the mist their badge had
been taken for the Sun with Rays, which was King Edward's cognisance.
When they came close to their friends they received a sharp volley of
arrows, and were attacked by Warwick's last reserves. This mistake
had the most cruel results. The old and the new Lancastrians had not
been without suspicions of each other. Assailed by his own friends,
Oxford thought that some one--like Grey de Ruthyn at Northampton--had
betrayed the cause. Raising the cry of treason, he and all his men fled
northward from the field.[21]

The fatal cry ran down the labouring lines of Warwick's army and
wrecked the whole array. The old Lancastrians made up their minds that
Warwick--or at least his brother the Marquis, King Edward's ancient
favourite--must have followed the example of the perjured Clarence.
Many turned their arms against the Nevilles,[22] and the unfortunate
Montagu was slain by his own allies in the midst of the battle. Many
more fled without striking another blow; among these was Somerset, who
had up to this moment fought manfully against King Edward in the centre.

Warwick's wing still held its ground, but at last the Earl saw that
all was lost. His brother was slain; Exeter had been struck down at
his side; Somerset and Oxford were in flight. He began to draw back
toward the line of thickets and hedges which had lain behind his army.
But there the fate met him that had befallen so many of his enemies,
at St. Albans and Northampton, at Towton and Hexham. His heavy armour
made rapid flight impossible; and in the edge of Wrotham Wood he was
surrounded by the pursuing enemy, wounded, beaten down, and slain.

The plunderers stripped the fallen; but King Edward's first desire was
to know if the Earl was dead. The field was carefully searched, and the
corpses of Warwick and Montagu were soon found. Both were carried to
London, where they were laid on the pavement of St. Paul's, stripped to
the breast, and exposed three days to the public gaze, "to the intent
that the people should not be abused by feigned tales, else the rumour
should have been sowed about that the Earl was yet alive."

After lying three days on the stones, the bodies were given over to
George Neville the Archbishop, who had them both borne to Bisham, and
buried in the abbey, hard by the tombs of their father Salisbury and
their ancestors the Earls of the house of Montacute. All alike were
swept away, together with the roof that covered them, by the Vandalism
of the Edwardian reformers, and not a trace remains of the sepulchre of
the two unquiet brothers.

Thus ended Richard Neville in the forty-fourth year of his age,
slain by the sword in the sixteenth year since he had first taken it
up at the Battle of St. Albans. Fortune, who had so often been his
friend, had at last deserted him; for no reasonable prevision could
have foreseen the series of chances which ended in the disaster of
Barnet. Montagu's irresolution and Clarence's treachery were not the
only things that had worked against him. If the winds had not been
adverse, Queen Margaret, who had been lying on the Norman coast since
the first week in March, would have been in London long before Edward
arrived, and could have secured the city with the three thousand men
under Wenlock, Langstrother, and John Beaufort whom her fleet carried.
But for five weeks the wind blew from the north and made the voyage
impossible; on Good Friday only did it turn and allow the Queen to
sail. It chanced that the first ship, which came to land in Portsmouth
harbour the very morning of Barnet, carried among others the Countess
of Warwick; at the same moment that she was setting her foot on shore
her husband was striking his last blows on Gladsmore Heath. Nor was
it only from France that aid was coming; there were reinforcements
gathering in the North, and the Kentishmen were only waiting for
a leader. Within a few days after Warwick's death the Bastard of
Fauconbridge had mustered seventeen thousand men at Canterbury in King
Henry's name. If Warwick could have avoided fighting, he might have
doubled his army in a week, and offered the Yorkists battle under far
more favourable conditions. The wrecks of the party were strong enough
to face the enemy on almost equal terms at Tewkesbury, even when their
head was gone. The stroke of military genius which made King Edward
compel the Earl to fight, by placing his army so close that no retreat
was possible from the position of Barnet, was the proximate cause of
Warwick's ruin; but in all the rest of the campaign it was fortune
rather than skill which fought against the Earl. His adversary played
his dangerous game with courage and success; but if only ordinary luck
had ruled, Edward must have failed; the odds against him were too many.

But fortune interposed and Warwick fell. For England's sake perhaps it
was well that it should be so. If he had succeeded, and Edward had been
driven once more from the land, we may be sure that the Wars of the
Roses would have dragged on for many another year; the house of York
had too many heirs and too many followers to allow of its dispossession
without a long time of further trouble. The cause of Lancaster, on the
other hand, was bound up in a single life; when Prince Edward fell
in the Bloody Meadow, as he fled from the field of Tewkesbury, the
struggle was ended perforce, for no one survived to claim his rights.
Henry of Richmond, whom an unexpected chance ultimately placed on the
throne, was neither in law nor in fact the real heir of the house of
Lancaster. On the other hand, Warwick's success would have led, so far
as we can judge, first to a continuance of civil war, then, if he had
ultimately been successful in rooting out the Yorkists, to a protracted
political struggle between the house of Neville and the old Lancastrian
party headed by the Beauforts and probably aided by the Queen; for it
is doubtful how far the marriage of Prince Edward and Anne Neville
would ever have served to reconcile two such enemies as the Earl and
Margaret of Anjou. If Warwick had held his own, and his abilities and
his popularity combined to make it likely, his victory would have meant
the domination of a family group--a form of government which no nation
has endured for long. At the best, the history of the last thirty years
of the fifteenth century in England would have been a tale resembling
that of the days when the house of Douglas struggled with the crown of
Scotland, or the Guises with the rulers of France.

Yet for Warwick as a ruler there would have been much to be said. To a
king of the type of Henry the Sixth the Earl would have made a perfect
minister and vicegerent, if only he could have been placed in the
position without a preliminary course of bloodshed and civil war. The
misfortune for England was that his lot was cast not with Henry the
Sixth, but with strong-willed, hot-headed, selfish Edward the Fourth.

The two prominent features in Warwick's character which made him a
leader of men, were not those which might have been expected in a man
born and reared in his position. The first was an inordinate love of
the activity of business; the second was a courtesy and affability
which made him the friend of all men save the one class he could not
brook--the "made lords," the parvenu nobility which Edward the Fourth
delighted to foster.

Of these characteristics it is impossible to exaggerate the strength
of the first. Warwick's ambition took the shape of a devouring love
of work of all kinds. Prominent though he was as a soldier, his
activity in war was only one side of his passionate desire to manage
well and thoroughly everything that came to his hand. He never could
cease for a moment to be busy; from the first moment when he entered
into official harness in 1455 down to the day of his death, he seems
hardly to have rested for a moment. The energy of his soul took him
into every employment--general, admiral, governor, judge, councillor,
ambassador, as the exigencies of the moment demanded; he was always
moving, always busy, and never at leisure. When the details of his life
are studied, the most striking point is to find how seldom he was at
home, how constantly away at public service. His castles and manors
saw comparatively little of him. It was not at Warwick or Amesbury,
at Caerphilly or Middleham that he was habitually to be found, but
in London, or Calais, or York, or on the Scotch Border. It was not
that he neglected his vassals and retainers--the loyalty with which
they rallied to him on every occasion is sufficient evidence to the
contrary--but he preferred to be a great minister and official, not
merely a great baron and feudal chief.

In this sense, then, it is most deceptive to call Warwick the Last
of the Barons. Vast though his strength might be as the greatest
landholder in England, it was as a statesman and administrator that he
left his mark on the age. He should be thought of as the forerunner
of Wolsey rather than as the successor of Robert of Belesme, or the
Bohuns and Bigods. That the world remembers him as a turbulent noble
is a misfortune. Such a view is only drawn from a hasty survey of the
last three or four years of his life, when under desperate provocation
he was driven to use for personal ends the vast feudal power that lay
ready to his hand. If he had died in 1468, he would be remembered
in history as an able soldier and statesman, who with singular
perseverance and consistency devoted his life to consolidating England
under the house of York.

After his restless activity, Warwick's most prominent characteristic
was his geniality. No statesman was ever so consistently popular
with the mass of the nation, through all the alternations of good
and evil fortune. This popularity the Earl owed to his unswerving
courtesy and affability; "he ever had the good voice of the people,
because he gave them fair words, showing himself easy and familiar,"
says the chronicler. Wherever he was well known he was well liked.
His own Yorkshire and Midland vassals, who knew him as their feudal
lord, the seamen who had served under him as admiral, the Kentishmen
who saw so much of him while he was captain of Calais, were all his
unswerving followers down to the day of his death. The Earl's boundless
generosity, the open house which he kept for all who had any claim on
him, the zeal with which he pushed the fortunes of his dependents, will
only partially explain his popularity. As much must be ascribed to his
genial personality as to the trouble which he took to court the people.
His whole career was possible because the majority of the nation not
only trusted and respected but honestly liked him. This it was which
explains the "king-making" of his later years. Men grew so accustomed
to follow his lead that they would even acquiesce when he transferred
his allegiance from King Edward to King Henry. It was not because he
was the greatest landholder of England that he was able to dispose of
the crown at his good will; but because, after fifteen years of public
life, he had so commended himself to the majority of the nation that
they were ready to follow his guidance even when he broke with all his
earlier associations.

But Warwick was something more than active, genial, and popular;
nothing less than first-rate abilities would have sufficed to carry him
through his career. On the whole, it was as a statesman that he was
most fitted to shine. His power of managing men was extraordinary; even
King Louis of France, the hardest and most unemotional of men, seems
to have been amenable to his influence. He was as successful with men
in the mass as with individuals; he could sway a parliament or an army
with equal ease to his will. How far he surpassed the majority of his
contemporaries in political prescience is shown by the fact that, in
spite of Yorkist traditions, he saw clearly that England must give up
her ancient claims on France, and continually worked to reconcile the
two countries.

In war Warwick was a commander of ability; good for all ordinary
emergencies where courage and a cool head would carry him through, but
not attaining the heights of military genius displayed by his pupil
Edward. His battles were fought in the old English style of Edward
the Third and Henry the Fifth, by lines of archery flanked by clumps
of billmen and dismounted knights. He is found employing both cannon
and hand-gun men, but made no decisive or novel use of either, except
in the case of his siege-artillery in the campaign of 1464. Nor did
he employ cavalry to any great extent; his men dismounted to fight
like their grandfathers at Agincourt, although the power of horsemen
had again revindicated itself on the Continent. The Earl was a cool
and capable commander; he was not one of the hot-headed feudal chiefs
who strove to lead every charge. It was his wont to conduct his first
line to the attack and then to retire and take command of the reserve,
with which he delivered his final attack in person. This caution led
some contemporary critics, especially Burgundians who contrasted his
conduct with the headlong valour of Charles the Rash, to throw doubts
on his personal courage. The sneer was ridiculous. The man who was
first into the High Street at St. Albans, who fought through the ten
hours of Towton, and won a name by his victories at sea in an age when
sea-fights were carried on by desperate hand-to-hand attempts to board,
might afford to laugh at any such criticism. If he fell at Barnet
"somewhat flying," as the Yorkist chronicler declares, he was surely
right in endeavouring to save himself for another field; he knew that
one lost battle would not wreck his cause, while his own life was the
sole pledge of the union between the Lancastrian party and the majority
of the nation.

Brave, courteous, liberal, active, and able, a generous lord to his
followers, an untiring servant to the commonweal, Warwick had all
that was needed to attract the homage of his contemporaries: they
called him, as the Kentish ballad-monger sang, "a very noble knight,
the flower of manhood." But it is only fair to record that he bore
in his character the fatal marks of the two sins which distinguished
the English nobles of his time. Occasionally he was reckless in
bloodshedding. Once in his life he descended to the use of a long and
deliberate course of treason and treachery.

In the first-named sin Warwick had less to reproach himself with than
most of his contemporaries. He never authorised a massacre, or broke
open a sanctuary, or entrapped men by false pretences in order to put
them to death. In battle, too, he always bid his men to spare the
Commons. Moreover, some of his crimes of bloodshed are easily to be
palliated: Mundeford and the other captains whom he beheaded at Calais
had broken their oath of loyalty to him; the Bastard of Exeter, whom he
executed at York, had been the prime agent in the murder of his father.
The only wholly unpardonable act of the Earl was his slaying of the
Woodvilles and Herberts in 1469. They had been his bitter enemies, it
is true; but to avenge political rivalries with the axe, without any
legal form of trial, was unworthy of the high reputation which Warwick
had up to that moment enjoyed. It increases rather than lessens the sum
of his guilt to say that he did not publicly order their death, but
allowed them to be executed by rebels whom he had roused and might as
easily have quieted.

But far worse, in a moral aspect, than the slaying of the Woodvilles
and Herberts, was the course of treachery and deceit that had preceded
it. That the Earl had been wantonly insulted by his thankless master in
a way that would have driven even one of milder mood to desperation,
we have stated elsewhere. An ideally loyal man might have borne the
King's ingratitude in silent dignity, and foresworn the Court for ever:
a hot-headed man might have burst out at once into open rebellion; but
Warwick did neither. When his first gust of wrath had passed, he set
himself to seek revenge by secret treachery. He returned to the Court,
was superficially reconciled to his enemies, and bore himself as if
he had forgotten his wrongs. Yet all the while he was organising an
armed rising to sweep the Woodvilles and Herberts away, and to coerce
the King into subjection to his will. The plan was as unwise as it
was unworthy. Although Warwick's treason was for the moment entirely
successful, it made any confidence between himself and his master
impossible for the future. At the earliest opportunity Edward revenged
himself on Warwick with the same weapons that had been used against
himself, and drove the Earl into exile.

There is nothing in Warwick's subsequent reconciliation with the
Lancastrians which need call up our moral indignation. It was the line
of conduct which forced him into that connection that was evil, not the
connection itself. There is no need to reproach him for changing his
allegiance; no other course was possible to him in the circumstances.
The King had cast him off, not he the King. When he transferred his
loyalty to the house of Lancaster, he never swerved again. All the
offers which Edward made to him after his return in 1471 were treated
with contempt. Warwick was not the man to sell himself to the highest
bidder.

If then Warwick was once in his life driven into treachery and
bloodthirsty revenge, we must set against his crime his fifteen long
years of honest and consistent service to the cause he had made his
own, and remember how dire was the provocation which drove him to
betray it. Counting his evil deeds of 1469-70 at their worst, he will
still compare not unfavourably with any other of the leading Englishmen
of his time. Even in that demoralised age his sturdy figure stands out
in not unattractive colours. Born in a happier generation, his industry
and perseverance, his courage and courtesy, his liberal hand and
generous heart, might have made him not only the idol of his followers,
but the bulwark of the commonwealth. Cast into the godless times of the
Wars of the Roses, he was doomed to spend in the cause of a faction the
abilities that were meant to benefit a whole nation; the selfishness,
the cruelty, the political immorality of the age, left their mark on
his character; his long and honourable career was at last stained by
treason, and his roll of successes terminated by a crushing defeat.
Even after his death his misfortune has not ended. Popular history has
given him a scanty record merely as the Kingmaker or the Last of the
Barons, as a selfish intriguer or a turbulent feudal chief; and for
four hundred and ten years he has lacked even the doubtful honour of a
biography.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 20: The Yorkist author of the _Arrival of King Edward_ says
that his patron had only nine thousand men. But we can account for many
more. Edward landed with two thousand; at least six hundred joined at
Nottingham, at least three thousand at Leicester; Clarence brought
seven thousand, Essex and the other Bourchiers seven thousand more.
This makes nineteen thousand six hundred, and many more must have
joined in small parties. On the other side Warwick had at Coventry six
thousand men; Oxford met him with four thousand, Montagu with three
thousand, Somerset with seven thousand, and he too must have drawn in
many small, unrecorded reinforcements. The Yorkists called his army
thirty thousand strong--probably overstating it by a few thousands.
Their own must have been much the same.]

[Footnote 21: Compare this with an incident at Waterloo. Ziethen's
Prussian corps, coming upon the field to the left rear of the English
line, took the brigade of the Prince of Saxe-Weimar for French owing to
a similarity in uniform, attacked them, and slew many ere the mistake
was discovered.]

[Footnote 22: There seems no valid reason for accepting Warkworth's
theory that Montagu was actually deserting to King Edward. But there is
every sign that the Lancastrians imagined that he was doing so. If he
had wished to betray his brother, he could have done it much better at
an earlier hour in the battle.]

THE END


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