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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 265



the hulk of the ore from these mines to Brittany, the King wrote to the Duke, and prevailed upon him to henceforth admit it duty free. As Joanna had obtained an extension of the truce between England and Brittany for two years longer, her third son, Jules, paid her a visit in 1412. But shortly after landing, the young^ Prince was taken ill, and died. His remains were interred with rovai pomp, and followed to the grave by the disconsolate Queen, his mother, who, as a token of maternal affection, caused services to be performed for the repose of his soul in Westminster Abbey and other churches. In 1412, the peace of the royal household was disturbed by the insolence and immorality of Henry, Prince of Wales. This prince, although brave in the battlefield and active at the council-table, was headstrong and impetuous in the pursuit of pleasure ; and when not actively employed in military or civil service, recklessly plunged into all the vices and follies of youth. Shakspeare's portraiture of the frolics and associates of this prince, although the particular personages and facts are the creations of the poet's imagination, is in perfect consonance with the accounts handed down to us by history and tradition. But it was not only the immoralities of Prince Henry that disturbed the mind of his father. In his hours of merriment and folly, he had dropped some unguarded expressions. These were conveyed to the King by his courtiers, who impressed him with a belief that the prince had ill designs against him. To justify himself, Prince Henry went to his father, threw himself at his feet, and said, " Sir, I am told you entertain suspicions that are injurious to my honour, and to the reverence and veneration I have for your person. I have been guilty, I must confess, of words and actions that deserve your indignation. But, by the holy gospels ! I never had a thought of any attempt upon your person or government, and they that dare charge me with so heinous a crime, seek only to ruin your happiness and mine. Therefore, Sir, I entreat you to clear me from this foul imputation, by causing my conduct to be rigorously canvassed. Let my words and deeds be scrutinized as though I were one of your meanest subjects, for, being innocent, I fear not the severest test." " Ah, my son !" replied the King, with a stern, mistrustful countenance, " I would to heaven that you were free from the crimes and charges laid to your door." " By Saint Mary ! Sir," rejoined the prince, " is it, then, possible that^ you believe the lying insinuations of your false counsellors i" "Son, I believe that a debauchee might speak, or even act, treason, when under the influence of wine," exclaimed the King, angrily. This angry outburst so overcame the prince, that he burst into tears, handed a dagger to his father, and with the deepest emotion implored him to take hie life, since he had deprived him of the royal favour. Fortunately for Prince Henry, the Queen, wrhose conduct as a step-mother was always pure and praiseworthy, at this instant entered the apartment, and added her tears and entreaties to his so effectually, that the King softened down, took the Prince by the hand, made him rise, kissed him, and restored him again to royal favour. We have stated that the conduct of Joanna as a step-mother was irreproachable, and this statement is fully borne out by her general character as a wise, discreet princess, by the circumstances in which she was placed as the consort of Henry the Fourth, and by the total absence of all proof or documentary evidence to the contrary. Some writers, with more zeal than sense, have affirmed that she fomented the difference between the King and his heir, to check the growing interest of her son-in-law, to diminish his fame, and to tarnish his honour. But this assertion carries an absurdity on the face of it. Joanna had no children by her second marriage. The King's four sons, now men grown, were sworn friends, and being herself a stranger in England, it would have been an act of insanity had she incited her husband, now on the verge of the grave, against a son who, on his death, would wear the crown of England. Besides,


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