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in the right of the usurper. When Henry's fa. A. C. 1960, vourers alledged, that his grandfather had received the crown by the authority of parliament, the favourers of the duke of York answered, that he did not pretend to claim it without the sanction of the faid authority, as plainly appeared from his memo. rial presented to both houses ; but, as the parliament had formerly strong reasons to set aside the true heir in favour of the house of Lancaster, fo now they had powerful motives for doing justice to the duke of York. The resignation of Richard II. was advanced in behalf of the house of Lancaster ; and, the other side denied that Richard's resignation regarded that house in particular, or even the person of Henry IV. but, even allowing this to have been the case, a king who was actually in confinement; and on the point of being deposed, had no power to establilh a successor. It was objected to the duke of York, that his father, the earl of Cambridge, had been executed for high-treason, and his posterity declared incapable of all inheritance : but, this ob. jection was obviated by those who observed, that the duke of York had been restored to the honours, and all the rights of succession by the king himfelf; and acknowledged as duke of York and earl of March by Henry, as well as the whole kingdom. Then the friends of the king observed, that the crown had been above fixty years in posession of the house of Lancaiter. To this observation the others replied, that natural rights were indefeasible, and that no pofitive law could bring them into prescription. The last argument advanced in favour of Henry imported, that having already reigned thirty years, and led an innocent and inoffensive life, it would be cruel to deprive' him of the crown. To invalidate this argument, the Yorkists observed, that as Henry was incapable of governing by himself, such indulgence would only operate in NUMB, XLII,
The differ ence be.
ry and the duke of York is compro mised.
A.C. 1460. favour of the queen and her ministers, who abused
his name and authority: that, out of tenderness to him, they ought not to prejudice the whole kingdom, nor commit a flagrant piece of injustice from a motive of charity.
Such were the principal reasons advanced on both tween Hen- sides of this very remarkable dispute, which was
maintained with great spirit and capacity for some days successively, until they agreed to a fort of modification, which they hoped would prevent all those mischievous consequences that might have attended a total revolution. They unanimously resolved, that Henry should enjoy the crown for his natural life; and the duke of York be declared his fuccessor. This resolution was signified to the king by the chancellor, and afterwards reduced to an act of parliament to the following effect : Thar, although the duke of York had an incontestible right to the throne, he consented to Henry's enjoying it for life, and even to take the oath to him as to his lawful sovereign ; but, in case Henry should in any shape violate this agreement, the crown should from that moment devolve to the duke of York, or his lawful heirs. After this act was passed, the king, with the crown upon his head, went in procession to St. Paul's, accompanied by the duke of York, in token of reconciliation; and, indeed, he seemed to be quite easy under this revolution of his affairs. Without feeming affected by the misfortunes of his family, he lived in tranquillity, employing himself wholly in the exercises of devotion ; and leaving the adminstration to those who managed under the sanction of his name and authority. The duke of York finding himself absolutely master of Henry's person, obliged him to sign an order for the queen to repair to London ; well knowing, that she would not obey the injunction: but, his design was to render her criminal in the eyes of the world, from
her refusal to comply with the command of her A. C. 1, 60. lord and husband, which would in some measure authorise the measures he intended to take against that princess. He thought her absolutely without resource, and persuaded himself, that nothing was wanting but a pretext for raising invincible obstacles to her return, that he might be altogether delivered from such an active enemy. But, he was mistaken in his conjecture.
Margaret, far from being dispirited by the mil- The duke is fortunes of her husband, had already returned to and Nain in England with her son the prince of Wales; and raised the battle of an army of eighteen thousand men in the northern counties. In order to engage the people of that country in her interest, she found means to diffuse a report among them, that they should be allowed to pillage all England to the southward of the Trent ; and, in all probability, her success in levying forces was owing to this expedient. The duke of York being informed of her designs, resolved to arrest her in the middle of her career; and for that purpose fet out from London with four or five thousand men, leaving an order with his son the earl of March, to condut the rest of the army into quarters of refreshment in Wales, and afterwards join him in the northern counties. As the duke advanced towards the North, he was not a little alarmed by the news of the queen's success in levying forces, with which he had not been acquainted before he left London ; and, when he arrived in the neighbourhood of Wakefield in Yorkshire, he received intelligence, that she was in full march against him, at the head of eighteen thousand men. He forthwith threw himself into his own castle of Sandal, by the advice of the earl of Salisbury, who observed, that as the queen had no artillery, he could not be forced in that place, until he should be joined by his son Edward. Margaret neglected no artifice which she
A. C. 1460. thought could induce him to quit this retreat before
his son's arrival. She affected to continue her route towards the South; then fne placed the greater part of her forces behind an eminence ; and with the reft approaching the castle of Sandal, provoked him to battle by the most insulting messages. Whether the duke was stimulated by her reproaches, or found himself obliged to make a desperate effort, for want of provision ; or lastly, was deceived in the number of the enemy; certain it is, he drew out his men, and resolved to hazard a battle. The action was begun by York, who charged the queen's troops with great impetuofity : but, her numbers overbalanced his courage ; and, those troops who had been posted in ambush behind the hill, falling suddenly upon his rear, the Yorkists were immediately routed: the duke himself was Nain fighting valiantly on foot; Sir Thomas Harrington, Sir David Hall, Sir Hugh Hastings, Sir Thomas Nevil, third son of the earl of Salisbury, Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, with many other gentlemen, and about two thousand eight hundred soldiers, met with the fame fate. The duke's son Edmund Plantagenet, earl of Rutland, was' after the battle inhumanly killed in cold blood, upon Wakefield bridge, by the lord Clifford: the earl of Salisbury being wounded and taken prisoner, was sent to Pomfret, where he suffered decapitation, and his head was fixed on the walls of York, as well as the duke's, upon which Clifford set a crown of paper, in derision of his title. Thus fell Richard, duke of York, a prince poffefsed of many great and amiable qualities, and blameworthy alone, for having involved his country in the miseries of civil war, with a view to affert a disputed claim, such as had often been disregarded in the succession of the English kings, both before and after the conquest; a claim, which, in all probability, would have lain dormant, had
not the imbecility of Henry, and the arbitrary A. C. 1460.
The battle of Wakefield, which was fought on A. C. 1461. the thirtiech day of December, instead of re-esta- Jasper Tu
dor, with a blishing the affairs of Margaret, and the prince of detachment Wales, served only to haften their ruin. The earl
queen's arof March, far from being dispirited by the defeat my, defeated and death of his father, was inflamed with the most by the young eager desire of revenge ; and resolved to hazard his March, at life and fortune in support of his pretensions. He crois in Hes now found himself in Wales, at the head of three refordshire. and twenty thousand men, besides those who had been left under the command of Warwick for the defence of the capital; and, with these he determined to go in quest of Margaret, on whom he longed to revenge the misfortunes of his family, That princess had begun her march for London and hearing of young Edward's design, detached Gasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke, and James Butler earl of Ormond, with a body of English and Irish troops, to oppose his progress. March, being informed of the queen's motions, had altered his first resolution of giving her battle, and changed his route, in hope of reaching London before her arrival : but, when he understood that Tudor had been detached against him, rather than run the risque of being hemmed in between two hostile armies, he marched directly into Herefordshire, in order to give him battle. The two armies met near Mortimer's cross, on Candlemas eve; and Edward being greatly superior in number to the Lancastrians, these last were foon defeated, with the loss of three thousand and eight hundred men killed on the field of action. The earls of Pembroke and Ormond escaped ; but, Owen Tudor, husband of Catherine of France, and step-facher to king Henry,