Зображення сторінки

A. C. 1464. Isabel of Caftile, who afterwards married Ferdinand

king of Arragon; but she was likewise judged too young for wedlock. Bona of Savoy, fister to the queen of France, was the third princess proposed as a confort for Edward, who determined to demand her in marriage ; and for this purpose, the earl of Warwick was appointed ambassador extraordinary to the French court, where the lady resided. We have already observed, that the chief aim of Lewis was to reduce the exorbitant power of his grandees, and particularly to abase the dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne. The first of these was so powerful that he durft not attack him openly; and therefore he resolved to begin with the duke of Brittany, on pretence of a dispute which had long subsisted between the crown of France and the sovereigns of that province, touching the nature of the homage which the duke should pay to the French monarch.

The kings of France had always demanded liege, and the dukes never granted more than simple homage; so that both sides used to enter a protest at every new investiture. Lewis, resolving to make use of this pretext, ordered a body of troops to rendezvous in Anjou, and then sent the chancellor de Morvilliers with an order to the duke of Bretagne, prohibiting him from assuming any right of sovereignty within his own dominions. The duke being in no condition to oppose such an antagonist in the field, had recourse to stratagem, and desired he might be indulged with a delay of three months, that he might consult the estates of his dutchy. His request being granted, he employed this interval in caballing among the peers of France, with whom he joined in a powerful confederacy, which was afterwards distinguished by the name of the League of the Public Good.

Such was the situation of affairs in France, when Edward sent the earl of Warwick to demand Bona


of Savoy in marriage; and nothing could have been A, C, 1464. more agreeable than this proposal to Lewis, who Edward des earnestly wished for an alliance with England, frands the which would prevent Edward from interfering with of Savoy in his designs. He accordingly assented to the pro- marriage. pofition, and that he might reap all the advantage that could be produced from such a connexion, he spun out the treaty of marriage, in hope of concluding a lasting peace, and engaging in a bond of perfonal friendship with the king of England: he was also desirous of extending this alliance to the duke of Burgurdy, that Francis duke of Bretagne might be deprived of all assistance and protection. With this view, he agreed with Edward and Philip to hold a congress at Hesdin, from whence it was af, terwards transferred to St. Omer; though this produced nothing but a prolongation of the truce. In the course of the same year, another truce was concluded with Scotland for fifteen years; and in the month of August ambassadors arrived in England from the duke of. Brittany, who, finding himself hard pressed by the king of France, sollicited a truce for one year with Edward, who, notwithstanding his negociation with Lewis, granted the duke's re- Ad. Pub quest.

Mean while the earl of Warwick settled all the A. C. 1465. articles of the marriage-contract, between the king He is captiand the princess Bona ; and Lewis appointed the vated by the count of Dammartin as his ambassador and pleni · Elizabeth potentiary at the court of London, to put the finish. Wideville. ing stroke to that negotiation, which, however, was defeated by an extraordinary accident. Edward, chancing to hunt in Northamptonshire, went to visit Jaquelina of Luxemburg, the dutchess of Bed. ford, who, after the death of her first husband, had given her hand to Sir Richard Wideville. By this second marriage she had among other children a daughțer called Elizabeth, married to Sir John


[ocr errors]

A. C. 1465. Grey of Groby, who had been sain in the service

of the house of Lancaster. The young widow had retired to her father's house at Grafton, after having seen her husband's estate confiscated ; and she took this opportunity of throwing herself at Edward's feet, and imploring a maintenance for herself and children, out of their father's fortune. Edward, naturally of an amorous complexion, could not behold this beauteous widow at his feet without emotion. He was instantly captivated by her charms, and raising her from the ground, made a favourable answer to her request. He confided fo much in his station and personal qualifications, as to imagine he should eafily triumph over her virtue and caution ; and found opportunities to make her acquainted with the nature of his passion. He had for once, however, over-rated his own address; fhe rejected his proposals with disdain, and told him, that, although she was unworthy of being his queen, she thought herself too good to be his concubine. This declaration completed her conquest over the heart of Edward, who now approved of her spirit and discretion, as much as he admired her beauty: in a word, he laid aside his former suit, which she could not have granted with any regard to her honour, and offered his hand as the price of her condescension. It is not to be supposed she could have any reason to' refuse such an offer from a young prince of Edward's character and accomplishments. She embraced the proposal with tranfport, and such marks of sensibility as effectually fecured the heart of her admirer.

Nevertheless, he would not proceed farther in marries pri- this affair, without communicating his intention to

his mother the dutchess of York, who was extremely surprised and concerned at his passion, and used all her endeavours to diffuade him from engaging in such an impolitic alliance. She observed,


Whom he

that such a precipitate engagement would be an irre- A. C. 1465. parable injury and affront to the earl of Warwick, as well as to the French king; and, in all probability, iņtail upon him the resentment of both, to the reproach of his character and imminent danger of his crown : that the nobles of England would justly take umbrage at his raising the family of Wideville so far above all their honours ; that he could not, without degrading his dignity, give his hand to a private gentlewoman, his own subject, who had several children by a former husband, and lastly she told him, that since he was determined to take an English wife, without the considerations of high birth and opulent fortune, he ought to give the preference to a young lady called Elizabeth Lucy, whom he had formerly promised to espouse. To thefe observations Edward replied, that he could not think of facrificing his passion, which was cerçain, to the resentment of Warwick which was uncertain ; that the king of France would be too much engaged with his own domestic affairs, to think of troubling his neighbours; that his taking a wife from among his subjects, far from giving umbrage, would be agreeable to his nobility, as all their families for the future might aspire at the same honour; and with respect to Elizabeth Lucy, he denied that any promise of marriage had been made to that young lady. But leit the report of such an engagement might be afterwards used as a pretext for invalidating the match upon which he had now set his heart, he desired Elizabeth might be examined by the bishops, touching the nature of her correspondence with him; when she owned that he had never engaged himself to her by promise of marriage; though at the same time she declared that she would never have consented to the gratifi. cation of his desires, if she had not thought his intentions were honourable. From this answer, the


Stowe. Resentment

of Lewis

of War

A. C. 1465. prelates determined that he might marry another

woman wich a safe conscience; and Edward efpoused Elizabeth Wideville so privately, that the marriage was not divulged until he thought proper to issue orders for her coronation.

The nobility and people were not a little surprised and the earl when they understood that this extraordinary match

had been concluded, while the king carried on a wick.

negotiation at the court of France, for a marriage with the princess of Savoy. The first families of the kingdom were extremely disgusted at the promotion of Elizabeth and her relations; for her father was elevated to the dignity of earl of Rivers ; her sister Margaret was matched with Thomas lord Matravers, son and heir of William earl of Arundel ; her brother Anthony Wideville espoused the only daughter and heir of lord Scales, the richest fortune in the kingdom ; and her son Thomas being created marquis of Dorset, married the heiress of the lord Bonneville, But the disgust of the nation in general was a trifling circumstance, when compared with the resentment of the earl of Warwick, who looked upon this clandestine match as the greatest insult and affront that could be offered to his honour. He considered it as a flagrant proof of ingratitude in Edward, whom he had raised to the throne; and he could not help communicating his sentiments to the king of France, who did not fail to encourage and foment his indignation. That prince was incensed against Edward for the outrage offered to the honour of his family ; but his own affairs would not allow him to manifest his refentment, which he therefore resolved to diffemble until he should find some favourable opportunity to do himself justice. Lewis had nothing princely in his disposition, except personal courage, of which he had exhibited repeated proofs before he ascended the throne of France : but he was a cool, felfish,


« НазадПродовжити »