Зображення сторінки

Warwick is

4. C. 1461. was taken, and with nine other officers beheaded at


Mean while the queen, with her son, attended by worsted by the dukes of Somerser and Exeter, the earls of NorBarnard's. thumberland, Devonshire, and Shrewsbury, the lords Sr. Albert's. Fitzhugh, Grey of Codemore, Roos, Greystock,

Willes, and Willoughby, continued her march to: wards London, in full hope, that whenever her victorious army should appear, the citizens would expel the earl of Warwick, and receive her in triumph. Warwick himself seemed to dread some such event ; for, rather than keep himself secure within the walls of London, he marched out with an handful to hazard an engagement : a step which he certainly would not have taken, had he been fe. cure in the affection of the citizens. Margaret had advanced as far as St, Alban's, when she received intelligence, that Warwick was on his march towards that place, with the king in his army, which was reintorced by a body of Londoners. These had joined him, in order to prevent the mischiefs they apprehended from the queen's troops, who were northern free booters, accustomed to rapine, and had ravaged the whole country in their passage. On Shrove Tuesday the opposite armies came in fight of each other, and engaged on Barnard's-Heath near St. Alban's; where for fome time the fortune of Warwick seemed to prevail, until the lord Lovelace, who commanded one of his wings, wheeled off, leaving the main body exposed: and then victory declared for Margaret. "The earl on this occafion loft two thousand men, who were killed either in the action or in the pursuit; though he rallied his broken troops, and made an excellent retreat. The lord Bonvil, and Sir Thomas Kyreil, to whose care he had committed the person of Henry, were persuaded to stay with that prince, on his assurance, that they shcuid receive no injury, but, he had


not interest enough to save their lives : Margaret A. C. 1461. ordered them to be beheaded at St. Alban's on Ash-Wednesday. The chief advantage which Margaret reaped from the victory, was the release of her husband, whose name served to authorise her transactions : but, she seems to have been very much wanting to her own interest, in neglecting to march directly to the capital, while the news of her. victory operated so strongly on the minds of the inhabitants, that they would have opened their gates at her approach. The citizens, indeed, were afraid of being plundered by her forces, who had already pillaged the town of St. Alban's : but, they were still more afraid of incurring the resentment of a victorious army, which they did not think themselves in a condition to oppose. The ravages of her troops having occasioned a scarcity of provision in her camp, the demanded a supply from the mayor of London, who did not think proper to refuse her in such a conjuncture. He ordered several waggons to be loaded with all sorts of lenten provision; but, they were stopped at Newgate by the populace, who were incensed at the licentious behaviour of her troops; and declared, that no necessaries should be furnished by the city, for the use of an army that did not come to defend, but to pillage their effects. The queen sent a body of forces, commanded by Sir Baldwin Fulford, and Sir Alexander Hody, to make an effort towards gaining admictance to the city, and they attempted to force Cripplegate ; but were repulsed. Margaret denounced vengeance against the Londoners for this insult; though she never had an opportunity to execute the scheme of her resentment; for receiving intelligence that the earls of March and Warwick had joined their forces at Chiping-Norton in Oxfordshire, and begun their Progress for London, the retired to the North, where she hoped to increase her army to such a for


E 4

Grafton. Edward earl of March

A. C. 1461. midable number, as would insure success against all


The earl of March arriving at London in the proclaimed beginning of March, entered the city in triumph, king of

amidst the acclamations of the people, by whom England.

he was adored, for his affability and personal accomplishments, in which he excelled all the princes of his age. His friends, trusting to this popularity, resolved to save him the trouble and uncertainty of a parliamentary decision, and raise him at once to the throne by the consent of the people, and the grandees. With this view, the earl of Warwick drew up his army in order of battle, in the fields near Clerkenwell, on pretence of exercising the soldiers : an immense multitude of people being afsembled to indulge their curiosity, the earl rode into the midst of this concourse, and read aloud the convention made between Henry and the duke of York, and confirmed by act of parliament. Then he gave them to understand, that as the king had notoriously violated this agreement, he had indisputably forfeited his right to the crown, which now belonged to Edward Plantagenet, the sole and true heir of the house of Mortimer. He thus

prepared the people for his purpose, by an assertion which was absolutely false ; inasmuch as Henry had been his own prisoner from the time of the agreement till the battle of Barnet, after which he was compelled to act according to the views of Margaret. Then he raised his voice, and asked, if they would have Henry of Lancaster for their king ? The whole multitude answered, No, No: but when he demanded, if they would acknowledge Edward for their sovereign ? they replied in the affirmative with Joud acclamations. The consent of the people being thus obtained, the Yorkists convoked a great council of all the lords spiritual and temporal, magistrates, and gentlemen, who happened to be in


London ; and Edward having explained his right A. Co 1465, to the crown, both by birth, and the agreement between Henry and his father, desired it might be adjudged to him by the determination of this afsembly. He must have had more courage than discretion, who would have attempted to impugn his pretensions at such a juncture; therefore, the council unanimously declared, that Henry of Lancaster had forfeited all right to the crown, in violating the solemn agreement made with the late duke of York, which was confirmed by parliament; and that it now devolved to the duke's eldest son, Edward Plantagenet earl of March. After this declaration, the crown was offered to the earl, who received it with a modest acknowledgment of his own insufficiency; adding, that though his youth and inexperience rendered him fearful of loading himself with such a heavy burthen, he would do his utmost endeavours, with God's assistance, to make his people rich and happy. Next day he repaired to St. Paul's church, where he sat in the royal chair, with the sceptre of St. Edward in his hand. The archbishop of Canterbury demanding aloud, if the people would own Edward, earl of March, as their king, they replied as before, with acclamations of joy; and then the king received the homage of the nobility. This ceremony being concluded with a solemn Te Deum, Edward was conducted to the bishop's Palace, in which the kings used to reside; and on the fifth day of March, he was proclaimed by the name of Edward IV. in the city of London, and the neighbourhood,


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A.C. 1461.
Edward be-

gins his

THE first act of sovereignty that distinguished

the reign of Edward, is said to have been the march for execution of one Walker, a citizen and grocer, the North who jocosely said to his neighbours that he would

make his son heir to the crown, meaning the sign of the crown that hung over his door: this innocent jest was construed into high treason, and the unhappy man suffered death; though, in all probability, his chief crime was his adherence to the house of Lancaster, which Edward resolved to punish with the utmost rigour. He had not enjoyed his new dignity above eight days, when he found himself obliged to begin his march against Margaret, who had succeeded so well in recruiting her army among her northern friends, that by this time fhe found herself at the head of fixty thousand men, ready to sacrifice their lives for her service. Edward did not so much depend upon his election, which had been extremely irregular and defective, as upon the strength of his faction, and the success of his arms. Replete with all the fire of youth, courage, and ambition, he confided in his valour and fortune, against all odds of opposition ; and, putting himself at the head of his forces, set out for the North, in hope of striking a decisive stroke againit the queen and her adherents.

On his arrival at Pontefract, he detached the lord Fitz- lord Fitzwalter to seize the pass of Ferrybridge, on frize the pass the river Aire; and this service he performed withof Ferry. out opposition. Henry and his queen hearing of bridge. whese he is Edward's approach, bestowed the command of

their army on the duke of Somerset, while they themselves remained at York, waiting the issue of

Detaches the

Korprifed and sain.


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