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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 285



Brrested on his return with the portrait, and conveyed before Charles, who, on learning his mission and perceiving the advantages that might accrue to France from the union of Henry and Margaret, immediately released him, and bid him speed to England and tell King Henry that the marriage would be fully approved of by the court of France. His reappearance at Windsor, however, excited the suspicions of the Duke of Gloucester ; and these suspicions were shortly afterwards fully confirmed by his again departing on a secret mission from the King to the father of the portionless Margaret. The. subject was therefore laid before the council, and after much warm discussion, and despite the determined opposition of Gloucester, it was resolved to negociate a peace with France, based upon the marriage of the King with the French Queen's niece, Margaret of Anjou. The conduct of the négociation was entrusted to the Earl of Suffolk, and accepted by him with real or affected unwillingness. His former endeavours to establish a peace had impressed the people with a belief that he was favourable to the interests of France. Then, probably, he feared tbe menaces of the act passed in the reign of Henry the Fifth, which made it penal to conclude a peace without first obtaining the consent of the three Estates in both nations ; or, perhaps, he dreaded the future malice of Gloucester, But, however this may be, he certainly would not undertake tbe mission until he was secured, as he vainly supposed, from imputation or peril by an order signed by the King, and approved by the parliament, enjoining him to undertake the commission, and pardoning before-hand any error of judgment into which he might fall. He met the French commissioners at Tours. A truce was concluded for two years} and afterwards the subject of the marriage was brought forward. On tbe part of France no objections were raised ; but on tho part of England there were •everal obstacles, and some of them startling ones. The bride's father, with all his high-sounding titles, was as poor as. a pturpcx. He had been driven out of Naples; England possessed Anjou and Maine ; to pay his ransom, he had mortgaged Bar to the Duke of Burgundy, and now he neither possessed a castle nor an acre of land that he could call his own. To the marriage he willingly consented, hut on conditions that the bride's wedding portion should be only her charms and rare endowments, which he pronounced to be of greater worth than all the riches of the world ; and that .Henry should restore to him the provinces of Anjou and. Maine ; " for how," he demanded, *' can ί think of marrying my daughter to the King of England whilst he withholds from mo my patrimonial territories ?" These objections, although reasonable, were highly embarrassing. To receive the bride without a wedding portion, would bè a bold stroke, considering the poverty of tho King and the hostility of the nation to all that was French ; but in addition to this, to resign the duchies of Anjou and Maine for the favour of her hand would indeed be an experiment no less dangerous than daring. However, as the handsome Count de Nevers of Burgundy, her passionate lover, was at the time earnestly urging his suit in person, Suffolk, in an evil hour for himself, yielded to the demands of King Bene ; and the restitution of Anjou and Maine was stipulated in the marriage treaty. On his return, Suffolk, after a strong opposition from Gloucester and his partizans, obtained the thanks of the council, the Lords and the Commons, for so ably concluding the marriage treaty ; with the terms of which they expressed themselves fully satisfied. Immediately afterwards he was created Marquis, and by the King's commands wended back his steps to France, where, on the twenty-eighth of October, he was solemnly contracted, as proxy for Henry, to Margaret of Anjou, by the Bishop of Toul, in the cathedral of Nanci ; the imposing ceremony being performed in the presence of the bride's father and mother, the English embassy, the King and the Queen of France, the Dukes of Brittany and Orleans, and, in fact, all ι


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