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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 299



hastening from the "Welsh marches to interpose an army between Margaret and the metropolis. Pembroke met the Yorkists at Mortimer's Cross, in Herefordshire, on the second of February, 1461, on which day the earl was completely routed, with the loss of four thousand men. The remainder of hia forces lied for their lives, and his father, Owen Tudor, was taken prisoner, and, with many others, executed, to revenge the death of the Earl of Salisbury, and the outrage offered to the manes of the Duke of York. _ Margaret, with better fortune than Pembroke, encountered no opposition before reaching the town of St. Alban's, whither Warwick, with the King in his train, had marched from London to oppose her. Warwick's forces, being composed principally of Londoners, proved no match for the Queen's more stalwart northern men. The encounter, nevertheless, was fierce, obstinate and bloody. Warwick held the town ; the Royalists penetrated the streets, fought his men back band-to-hand, quarter neither being given nor accepted ; and, at length, put them to the rout, the veil of night alone saving them from utter destruction. The day, however, might not have been the Queen's but for the treachery of Lovelace, who, in the hour of need, deserted Warwick, and taking with him a considerable body of Londoners, went over to the enemy. The Yorkists in their flight left the King sitting in his tent, with no one but his chamberlain and three or four attendants. His situation was perilous, the victors, all bent upon the work of rapine and murder, being, with few exceptions, unacquainted with his person. Towards morning he was discovered by Lord Clifford, when the Queen, with her son, flew to his presence with transports of joy, and, after many affectionate embraces, prevailed on him to bestow the honour of knighthood on the Prince of Wales, and also on about thirty of the Lan caster ians, as a reward for their courageous conduct in the fight. The battle was fought on the seventeenth of February ; about two thousand men were slain, and the next day Margaret sullied her name by the exe cution of Lord Ponville and Sir Thomas Kyrvil, two Yorkists, who, according to some historians, wrould have fled, but wefe persuaded by the King to remain in his tent, to protect him from barm, under a promise that they should not suffer. Had Margaret pressed on to London the moment after winning the victory of St. Alban's, the red rose would, doubtless, have triumphed permanently. Put her soldiers, weary of marching, would not proceed; many of them were fierce borderers, accustomed to five by rapine, and now that they had defeated their foes, they dispersed to pillage the country. Instead of checking these depredations, as the King desired, Margaret, with a thirst for revenge, which too often influenced the actions of her after-years, encouraged them; and, on finding that the Londoners were unwilling to supply the wants of her army, she, with less judgment than malice, permitted her barbarous northern auxiliaries to carry their ravages to the very gates of the capital. The inhabitants of London and the country around, disgusted with the Queen s vindictive conduct, took up arms to defend themselves from these rude plunderers ; and on the approach of Warwick and the young Edward of York, at the head of a powerful army, they unfurled the banner of the white rose, and compelled the Queen to withdraw to the northward with her husband and son. On the following day Edward rode into London with all the pomp of a triumphant King. His youth, beauty, and urbanity won the hearts of the populace, whilst the ill-starred fate of his father and brother, and the dreadful ravages of the Royalists, increased the hatred towards the Queen. To gain the suffrages of the people, Warwick reviewed his troops in St. John's Fields ; when the bishop of Exeter, seizing the opportunity to address the spectators, demanded whether they would have Henry of Lancaster or Edward of York for their King? " A York! a York!" was the unanimous cry of the assembly. The council, aU Yorkists, seconded the cry ; and on the fourth of March the heir


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