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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 296



the earl himself was attacked one day as he loft the court, he believed, or affected to believe, that his life "was in danger, and hastening to the north, arranged his plans with York and Salisbury, and then returned to Calais, to abide till the time arrived for striking the decisive blow. Aware of the purpose of her enemies, Margaret busied herself in preparations for the coming contests. Collars of white swans, the badge of the youthful prince Edward, were liberally distributed amongst the Royalists, and the King's friends were invited to meet him in arms at Leicester. In the summer of 1459, Margaret, under the pretence of benefiting the King's health, but also to win the people to her cause, proceeded with him and her son Prince Edward on a tour through the loyal connties of Warwick, Stafford, and Cheshire. Meanwhile, York and his partizans actively canvassed the aid of their friends, and, in the spring of 1459, the dissension, no longer confined to the nobles and knights, had penetrated into the cloistered homes of the monks and the cottages of the poor. Summer passed on. At length the Earl of Salisbury marched from Middleham to join the Duke of York in the marches of Wales. The Queen, fearing for the safety of her royal husband, who then lay sick at Coleshill, in Warwickshire, sent Lord Audley, with ten thousand men, to oppose him. The armies met at Bloreheath, in Staffordshire, on the twenty-third of September. Victory favoured the Yorkists, and the Earl conducted his troops without further molestation to Ludlow. Margaret witnessed the defeat of her forces from the turret of a church in the neighbourhood ; it was the first battle she had looked upon, and, so far from daunting her courage, it aroused within her breast the bold warrior energies which bad hitherto remained dormant, and from •that hour she resolved to assert the rights of her royal husband and son at tbo sword's point. Hastening to Coventry, she collected together a powerful army, and naming the King, who was then sufficiently recovered to travel, its commander, marched to Worcester, pitched her camp, and dispatched the Bishop of Salisbury to her opponents, with offers of the King's pardon to all who would return to their allegiance within six days. This offer, although rejected with disdain by the Yorkists, proved beneficial to their interests, as during the delay they were joined by Sir Andrew Trollop, at the head of a large body of men-at-arms from Calais. Urged by Margaret, Henry now advanced to within half a mile of Ludlow Castle, where the Yorkists lay. At the sight of the royal banner the duke's forces expressed an unwillingness to fight against the King ; and to rally them, York, on the following morning, spread a report that Henry was dead, and completed the farce by ordering mass to be chaunted for the repose of his soul. But the artifice wras immediately discovered, and Sir Andrew Trollop, with his four thousand veterans, instantly retired in disgust, and joined the King. Consternation now spread through the army of the rebels, and, as the royal pardon was again proclaimed, they deserted to the King by hundreds. As a last resource, the confederate lords, in a submissive letter, endeavoured to draw the loyalists into a négociation, but the energy of the Queen thwarted their purpose, and at midnight they fled in dismay. York, with his second son, the Earl of Hutland, sailed to Ireland, and Warwick, Salisbury, the Earl of March, and others, found their way to Calais. Thus ended the first campaign directed by the councils of Margaret of Anjou. The victory, being a bloodless one, was highly gratifying to the humane disposition of the King ; and, after he had granted an amnesty to the rebels deserted by their leaders, the Queen conducted him in triumph to Coventry, where early in November he called a parliament, in which attainders were passed against York and his party, and a new oath of allegiance to the King, the Queen, and Prince Edward was framed and sworn to by the assembled peers and prelates.


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