- calling himself Lievtenaunte of England.— All the knowledge we have of the parliamentary arrangements made for carrying on the government during the short repossession of the throne by Henry VI. is derived from a statement by Polydore Vergil, which seems rather at variance with the notion of Warwick alone being Lieutenant of England. The roll of the parliament which met on 26th November 1470 is not known to be in existence; probably it was destroyed in 1477 when all the proceedings of that parliament were annulled. (Rot. Parl. Vol. 191.) The effect of Vergil’s statement is accurately given by Hall in the following words: “Besides this, the Erle of Warwycke, as one to whome the common welthe was much beholden, was made Ruler and Gouvernor of the realme, with whom as felow and compaignion was associated George Duke of Clarence his sonne-in-law.” (Hall, p. 286. Vergil, p. 521.) Probably the present writer is correct; but if Warwick and Clarence were, as Shakespeare express it,
“Yoak’d together like a double shadow “To Henry’s body,” (Third part of Henry VI. act IV, sc. 7,)
the omission by the present writer, in this and several other places, of any mention of Clarence’s share in the Lieutenancy may be attributed to an anxiety not to make Clarence’s treachery to Henry appear the more obviously inexcusable.
- callinge himselfe Prynce of Wales. — Edward was created Prince of Wales in 1454. (Vide Rot. Parl. V. 249)
- presently, i.e. being present.
- endynge the x. yere. — The regnal years of Edward IV. were reckoned from the 4th day of March 1461, the day on which he took possession of the throne; (Fabyan, 639;) his tenth year ended therefore on 3rd March 1471.
- accompanied with ij thowsand Englishmen. — Henry’s government at first represented Edward’s adherents as consisting wholly of foreigners, (Fœdera, XI, 705.) but afterwards admitted they were partly Englishmen and partly Flemings (Ibid. 706.) The Chroniclres are singularly contradictory. The Croyland Continuator describes them as 1500 Englishmen; (Gale, I. 554;) Fabyan as a small company of Flemings and others not exceeding 1000 in number; (Fabyan, 660;) Polydore Vergil as scarcely 2000 men at arms; (Vergil, 522;) the Chronicler in Leland as 900 Englishmen and 300 Flemings. (Collect. II. 503.)
- his realme of England at that tyme usurpyd and occupied by Henry, callyd Henry VI. — Henry’s brief restoration took place in the month of October 1470; the day is variously stated. There are documents in the Fœdera in Henry’s name dated the 9th of October. (XI. 661-664.)
- in especiall by th’Erle of Oxenforde. — Preparations to resist the meditated return of Edward IV. were made as early as December 1470. On the 21st of that month a Commission was directed to the Marquis Montague, authorising him, in case of necessity, to raise the counties of Nottyngham, York, Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmerland; (Fœd. 676;) and a Commission of a similar character, but extending all over England, was directed to the Duke of Clarence, the Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Oxford and Sir John Scrope on the 28th of December. (Ibid. 677.) By a writ dated the 2nd January 1471, the Sheriffs and people of the counties of Cambridge, Huntingdon, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Hertford, were directed to be attendant upon the last-mentioned Commissioners. (Ibid. 678.) The exertions of the Earl of Oxford in raising men in the Eastern Counties are manifest from two letters in the Paston Collection. (II. 54, 58.)
- scurynge, i.e. assuring.
- by the ledinge and gwydynge of a priste. — This appears to have been one John Westerdale, who was afterwards thrown into Marshalsea prison, probably for his interference upon this occasion.(Leland’s Coll. II. 503.)
- Martyn of the See. — i.e. Martin de le Mere.
- declared by the iij. astates of the land. — The parliamentary recognition of the right of Richard, Duke of York, here referred to, took place A.D. 1460. (Vide Rot. Parl. V. 377.)
- gadrers, gadres, in MS.
- only of hardies. — hardies and, in MS.
- he came to the gates afore the citie. — Polydore Vergil here introduces a long account of the parleying of the citizens with Edward IV. from their walls during the whole of one day, and their ultimately insisting upon his taking an oath to be faithful to Henry VI. before they would permit him to enter; which oath he took the following morning at the gate of the City. Vergil adds that Edward’s perjury in this instance was probably the occasion of the punishment which fell upon his family in the murder of his sons. (P. 524) The Historian probably thought that the excellence of the moral was a sufficient justifiation for the invention of the incident, or, at any event, for its amplification from Fabyan, who says, Edward confirmed with an oath his deceptive declaration that he came merely to claim his father’s rights. (P. 660.) Fabyan is a poor authority for an incident which took place at York.
- I deme ye, i.e. yea. — Although the Marquis Montague subsequently appeared in arms in the party of his brother, the Earl of Warwick, there is reason to believe that the present writer was correct in supposing that he was secretly favorable to Edward IV. (Vide Leland’s Coll. II. 505; Polydore Vergil, 527.)
- gret partye of the noble men and comons in thos parties, were towards th’Erle of Northumberland, and would not stire any lorde or noble man other than with the sayde Earle. — The Chronicler in Leland’s Collectanea asserts that “as Edward passid the Countery he shewid the Erle of Northumbrelande’s lettre and seale that sent for hym,” (II. 503.) — a stratagem quite in character but which is not mentioned by any other authority. The feudal authority of the Earl of Northumberland is exemplified in other passages, at p. 7, and p. 32 [original Camden text]. The same power is attributed in the West to the Duke of Somerset and the Earl of Devonshire, as “the old enheritors of that contrie.” (P. 23 [original Camden text])
- England had — England and had, in MS.
- a great battaile in those same parties. — The battle of Towton, fought 29th March, 1461.
- scorers, — or, as it is in other places, scowrers, i.e. scouts, avant-couriers, or afore-riders.
- disperpled, — The same as disperbled, i.e. dispersed, which ocurrs hereafter p. 37 [original Camden text], and also in Fabyan, p. 31.
- the Kynge desyred him to come owte with all his people into the filde. — The Chronicler in Leland says, that Warwick would have fought, but that “he had receyvid a lettre from the Duke of Clarence that he should not fight on til he cam.” (Coll. II 504.)
- my lady, theyr mother — This was Cicely, daughter of Ralph Neville, first Earl of Westmerland, (Dug. Bar. 299, b.) Of her large family we here find mention, besides Edward IV. and his brothers Clarence and Gloucester, of Margaret, married to the Duke of Burgundy; Anne, the wife of Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter; and Elizabeth, wife of John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk.
- high and mighty; right and mighty, in MS.
- so that; to that, in MS.
- trew service; trew servaunts, in MS.
- the great promises, pacts, and othes, to the contrary, made solempnily, and also privately sworne, to the Frenche Kynge, Qwene Margarete, and hir sonne Edward. There is a curious and very little known MS upon this subject in the same Volume of Stowe’s transcripts from which the foregoing narrative has been derived, entitled, “The Maner and Gwidynge of the Erle of Warwick at Aungiers from the xvth day of July to the iiijth of August 1470, which day he departed from Aungiers.” It is printed in Sir Henry Ellis’s Collection of Original Letters, 2d Series. I. 132.
- escape by the sea to Calais, whiche was enswryd to hym selfe in every caas that myght hape hym — Warwick was Captain of Calais, and his popularity there is very strikingly pictured in De Comines, who was an eye-witness of it. Within a quarter of an hour after arrival of tidings of the restoration of Henry VI. every body in the town, high and low, rich and poor, placed the Earl’s badge, the ragged staff, in his cap. Those who could afford it had it of gold, the poorer sort embroidered it upon the cloth. The instantaneous outburst of rejoicing upon this sudden change in affairs occasioned considerable astonishment to De Comines, and called forth some of his usual sarcastic observations. (I. 202.)
- barred and letted, barred and lettynge, in MS.
- their auctoritie, the auctoritie, in MS.
- good hope, good helpe, in MS.
- alnyght, almyhe, in MS.
- therby they, therby he, in MS.
- there was a great miste. — Fabyan writes in the following very prudent manner respecting this mist. “Of the mystes and other impedimentes which fell upon the lordes partye by reason of the incantacyons wrought by fryer Bungey, as the fame went, me lyst nat to wryte.” (P.661)
- sone they, sone ther, in MS.
- The Duke of Excestar was smytten downe–and so aftar he escaped. The subsequent fortunes of the Duke of Exeter are thus told by De Comines: “J’ay veu un Duc allé à pied sans chausses, apres le train dudit Duc [de Bourgongne] pour chassant sa vie de maison à maison, sans se nommer. C’estoit le plus prochain de la lignée de Lanclastre: avoit espousé la soeur de Roy Edoüard. Apres fu connu: et eut petite pension pour s’entretenir.” (I.185.)
- My Lord Cardinall of England. — Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury.
- Beawlew. — Beaulieu Abbey, founded by King John. (Vide Monasticon, V. 680.)
- Seern, i.e. Cerne Abbey.
- Jasper, called Erle of Penbroke, had been afore sent into the contrie of Wales to arays them. — A Commission to array the Welsh in the cause of Henry VI. and directed to the Duke of Clarence and the Earls of Pembroke and Warwick, was issued as early as the 30th January 1471. (Fœdera, XI. 680.)
- algates, i.e. always.
- ether have kept, othar have kept, in MS.
- one of; on in, in MS.
- mylene; i.e. a mill.
- Edward, called Prince, was taken fleinge to the towne wards and slayne in the fielde. — The authorities are greatly at variance upon the long disputed subject of the death of this young Prince; but much matter, that is really of no weight at all, has been very unnecessarily introduced into what has been written on both sides. The following, with the addition of the author now printed, may be considered as the statements of the contemporary writers.
The Croyland Continuator writes with what seems to be a studious ambiguity. “Potitus est Rex Edwardus præclara victoria, interfectis de parte Reginæ, tum in campo tum postea ultricibus quorundam manibus, ipso Principe Edwardo, unigento Regis Henrici, victo Duce Somersetiæ, Comiteque Devoniæ, ac aliis dominis omnibus et singulis memoratis.” (Gale, I. 555.) Here it is uncertain whether the Prince died in the field, or afterwards, “ulticibus quorundam manibus;” and whether those words allude to the decaptiation of the Duke of Somerset and the others on the day after the battle, which is admitted, or to the assassination of Edward in the manner related by other historians, which is controverted.
Fabyan says, “In the which batayll she [Queen Margaret] was taken and Sir Edwarde her sone, and so brought unto the Kynge. But after the Kinge hadde questyoned with the sayd Sir Edwarde, and he had answeryd unto hym contrarye his pleasure, he thenne strake hym with his gauntelet upon the face; after whiche stroke so by him receyved, he was by the Kynges seruantes incontynently slayne upon the iiij. day of the moneth of May.” (P. 662.) Fabyan’s statement, that Queen Margaret was taken in the battle, is certainly not accurate.
The Chronicler in Leland says, “There [at Tewkesbury] was slayn Prince Edwarde crying on the Duke of Clarence, his brother in law, for help. There was slayne also Curtney, Erle of Devonshir,” and various others, all of whom are agreed to have been killed in the battle. (Leland’s Coll. II. 506.)
Polydore Vergil writes thus, “Eduardus princeps adolescens præstantissimus, aliquanto post ductus ad colloquium cum Eduardo, interrogatur ab eo, cur ejus regnum ingressus ausus esset ad divexare? Ciu præsenti animo respondit se avitum regnum recuperatum venisse. Ad ea Eduardus nihil respondens, tantum manu adolescentem sprocul submovit, quem in vestigo qui circumstabant (circumstabant autem Gerogus Clarentiæ, Ricardus Gloucestriæ, duces, et Gulielmus Hastyngius,) crudeliter trucidarunt, ejusque corpus cum reliquis interfectorum cadaveribus in proximo cænobio monachorum ordinis divi Benedicti humatur.”* (P. 530.)
De Comines simply remarks, “Le dit Roy Eduard en eut le victoire et fut le Prince des Galles tué sur le champ.” (I. 210)
- Clyfton, Clyston, in MS.
- founden nat fer, nat founden far, in MS.
- the Kynge dubed Knyghtes the maior, the recordar, dyvars aldermen, with othar worshipull of the sayd Citie of London. — The Chronicler in Leland, supplying information which we might have expected to find in Fabyan, informs us, that, “Syr John Stokton [the Mayor], Syr Rafe Verney, Syr Richard Lee, Syr John Young, Syr William Taylor, Syr George Ireland, Syr John Stoker, Syr Mattieu Philip, Syr William Hampton, Syr Thomas Stalbroke, Syr John Crosby [one of the Sheriffs], and Syr Thomas Ursewike, Recorder of London,” were the persons thus honored. (Lel. Coll. II. 507.)
- he dyed the xxiij. day of the monithe of Mary. — Some one has added here in the margn of the MS. with a reference after the word “dyed,” “or was mordered.” The death of Henry VI. is one of those dark events, the truth respecting which cannot fail to become matter of dispute. The present author states, it will be perceived, that he died “of pure displeasure and melencholy” on the 23rd May, which was the day of the Ascension, or Holy Thursday. The other authorities are as follow:
The Croyland Continuator tells all that was certainly known — perhaps all that ever will be known — in the following significant words: “Taceo, hoc temporum interstitio [i.e. during Edward’s absence in Kent] inventum esse corpus Regis Henrici in Turri Londinensi exanime: Parcat Deus, et spatium poenitenti&230; ei donet, quicunque tam sacrilegas manus in Christum Domini ausus est immittere.” (Gale, I. 556.)
Fabyan after stating that on “Ascension Euyn,” that is on the 22nd May, the late King’s corpse was brought “unreverently” from the Tower to St. Paul’s, and thence conveyed, on the morrow, to Chertsey, adds: “Of the death of this Prynce dyuerse tales were tolde; but the most common fame wente, that he was strykked with a dagger by the handes of the Duke of Gloucester,” (P. 662.)
The Chronicler in Lenland writes as if he had known “the very heart of the mystery.” — “The same night, beying the 21. day of May, and Tuesday, at night, betwixt a xi. and xii. of the Clok, was King Henry, being Prisonoer yn the Toure, put to Deth: the Duke of Glocestre and dyverse other beyng there that night.” (Coll. II. 507.) The same author agrees with Fabyan that the corpse was removed to St. Paul’s on the 22nd May.
Polydore Vergil relates the common rumor: “Henricus Sextus, paulo ante regno dejectus, in Turri morte affectus est; hunc, ut fama constans est, Ricardus Glocestriæ dux gladio percussit, quo ita Eduardus rex ejus frater omni hostili metu liberaretur.” (P. 532.)
De Comines places the death after the battle of Barnet instead of Tewkesbury, and says, “Si je n’en ai oüi mentir, incontinent apres cette battaille le Duc de Glocestre…tua de sa main, ou fit tuer en sa presence, en quelque lieu à part, ce bon homme Roy Henry.” — (Id. 209.)
The contradiction between the date of the exhibition of the corpse as stated by the Leland Chronicler, who is a very good authoirty — and by Fabyan, who is generally pretty accurate respecting matters which took place in London — and the date of death as given by the author now published, if considered with reference to the position of the various persons interested in Henry’s death on those days, and the circumstances of his hurried interment, will be found to be destructive of the credit of our author’s version of what was in all probability and infamous murder.
*Hall, as usual, translates Polydore Vergil; but adds, that Prince Edward was taken on the field by Sir Richard Croftes, and by him delivered up after the battle, in consquence of a proclamation offering a reward of £100 per annum for life to any one who would find the Prince, dead or alive, and also declaring that the Prince’s life should be spared. Hall is a very poor authority in his additions to Vergil; but it is worthy of investigation whether Sir Richard Crofts ever received any annuity of £100 per annum.