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the first days of that assembly were spent by the A. C. 1454. commons in preparing an impeachment against Somerset, for the loss of Normandy by his misconduct. On the second day of April, the great feal was committed to the charge of the earl of Salifbury. Next day the parliament appointed the duke of York protector of the realm, defender of the church, and first counsellor of the king, during the minority of Edward prince of Wales. York, being thus invested with the whole power of the adminiftration, deprived his rival of the government of Calais, which he himself assumed by virtue of a commission in the name of Henry; and every body believed that the impeachment of Somerset would be carried on with equal vigour and dispatch : but it dragged on to the end of the year, and was delayed, in all probability, for want of sufficient evidence. In the beginning of the next year, the king Rot. Parl, recovering from his tedious distemper, the autho- A. C. 1455 rity which had been vested in the duke of York ceased of course, and he did not as yet think his affairs ripe enough to dispute his majesty's pleasure. The administration therefore returned into its former channel, and the duke of Somerset was dis. charged from his confinement.
As he had been committed by a simple order of the He is releafcouncil, he might have been enlarged by the fame ed, and reauthority, had not the impeachment of the com- Auence in mons intervened : so that he was obliged to find the council. security, and the duke of Buckingham, with the earl of Wiltshire, and two knights, became his sureties; though they were afterwards discharged from their obligation, by a stretch of the prerogative contrary to the laws of the kingdom. The duke of York and his partisans now lost all their influence in the council, which reverted to the queen and Somerser, by virtue of the king's recovery. Some noblemen, dreading the facal consequences of an
A.C. 1455. open rupture between the dukes of York and Somero
set, interposed their good offices towards an acé commodation. As it was the interest of both to keep terms with the public, they agreed to refer their dispute to arbitration, and bound themselves to submit to the decision of the arbiters, in the penalty of twenty thousand marks, provided the sen :
tence should be pronounced by the twentieth of AQ, Pub. June. While this affair was depending, the duke
of Somerset represented to the king, that, as he had been deprived of the government of Calais on a fimple accusation, the particulars of which had never been proved, it was not just that his adversary should continue poffesfed of his spoils, before the difference between them should be determined. The king, upon this remonstrance, divested the duke of York of this command, though his commission had been made out for the term of seven years ; and, on pretence of observing a perfect neutrality between the two competitors, declared himself governor of Calais.
This transaction gave such umbrage to York, York, with that he retired from court, where he had nothing
to expect but disgrace and opposition from the queen and Somerset, whom he resolved to attack in a more effectual manner than that of political intrigues. The release of his rival from the Tower, fo contrary to law and the inclinations of the people, was a pretext which he hoped would engage the public in his interest; and this he used with all the success he could have expected. He repaired to Wales, where he levied a body of forces, and in a little time found himself at the head of a numerous army, with which he advanced towards the king, who had affembled his troops, and marched out of London to give him battle. The duke of York was accompanied by the earls of Salisbury and Warwick. These noblemen fent a letter from Royston to the
The duke of
the earls of Salisbury and Warwick, take the field.
king, containing strong professions of zeal and at A, C,14554 tachment, demanding admission to his presence, that they might vindicate themselves from the calumnies of their enemies, and inform him of the misconduct of his ministers, who they desired might be tried and acquitted, or punished according to their innocency or demerit. This letter was inclosed in another to Thomas Bouchier, who had lately succeeded Kemp in the archbishopric of Can, terbury; and this prelate sent it by a particular messenger to the king, but it was intercepted by Somer, set, and Thomas Thorpe, lately created chancellor of the exchequer.
York and his associates renewed their request, The king is when they arrived on the twenty second day of defeated at May in the neighbourhood of St. Alban's; but ic St. Alban’s, was rejected with disdain, and they were threatened with the penalties of high treason. The earl of Warwick, who commanded the van guard, was so exasperated at this contemptuous treatment, that, without waiting for the duke's directions, he attacked the king's army so furiously, that it was soon thrown into confusion, notwithstanding all the efforts of Somerset. York, advancing in the mean time, charged with equal impetuofity in Aank; so that they were totally routed with the loss of five thousand men. The duke of Somerset, the earl of Northumberland, the earl of Strafford, eldest son of the duke of Buckingham, the lord Clifford, and several officers of distinction, were Nain upon the spot. The duke of Buckingham being wounded, retired from battle in the beginning of the engagement; and his retreat increased the disorder of the royalists. The king himself, having received an arrow in his neck, was abandoned by his army, and retired into a little house, where he was immediately invested. But the duke of York and his confederates were no sooner in
The duke of
4. C. 1455 formed of his situation, than they ran thither, and
falling on their knees before him, declared that the
At their desire writs were issued for calling a clared pro- parliament, which met on the ninth day of July,
when Henry declared from the throne, that he
for that important office, until he should be dif. A. C. 1455* charged of it by parliament, or the young prince of Wales attain to the years of discretion. This session lafted a month, and then the parliament was prorogued till the fourteenth day of January. While the duke of York thus enjoyed his triumph, the queen did not behold his success with idle resignation. The interest of herself and family was too deeply concerned to admit of such indifference. Henry the new duke of Somerset, son of him who fell at St. Alban's, glowed with impatience to revenge the death of his father ; the duke of Buckingham breathed nothing but vengeance for the loss of his son, who perished on the same occasion; and all the princes and noblemen, allied or attached to the house of Lancaster, perceiving the duke of York taking long strides towards the throne, resolved to exert all their endeavours to stop his progress. Notwithstanding this opposition, he lived in such A. C. 1456, seeming security as astonished his enemies. He thought he should run too great a risk in pretending openly to the crown, which had remained fix and fifty years in the house of Lancaster; and therefore he waited for some favourable opportunity to broach his pretensions. His chief aim was to acquire the favour of the people, without which he foresaw all his efforts would prove ineffectual; and that they might see his conduct was not influenced by passion or interest, he left the king and queen at perfect liberty to act as they should think proper. He did not imagine it was in their power to divest him of the dignity of protector, which, according to his patent, could not be revoked but by the parliament: buc the queen was too active and enterprizing, to be deterred from her purpose by such Nender obstacles.
The king having recovered his health, the enemies of the duke resolved to seize this opportunity to deprive him of his protectorship. The parlia