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where to strike, in order that by his blow a party-end may be served. In 1457, when the realm was for a moment at peace, she deliberately incited the French admirals to make their great descent on the Kentish coast which ended in the fearful sack of Sandwich, merely because she knew that such a disaster would be counted against her political enemies the Yorkists. There is nothing to be compared to it in English history except the conduct of the arch-traitor Marlborough in 1694 over the affair of Brest.

The English hatred of Queen Margaret was no prejudice, but a wholesome instinct which led the English nation to recognise its enemy. She made herself a party-leader, and as a party-leader she had to be treated. York's ten years' strife with her must be regarded not so much as the rebellion of a subject against his sovereign, but as the struggle of one party-leader against another with the primitive weapons which alone were possible in the constitutional crises of that day. But even if we grant that York had his excuses, and that his general attitude does not stand self-condemned at the first glance, it remains to be seen how far his programme was justifiable, and how far he honestly endeavoured to carry it out to the best of his abilities. That he was an able, self-confident, ambitious man, with the fixed idea that he was the victim of the intrigues of the Court party, and that but for those intrigues he would be able to assume the position in the King's Council to which his birth entitled him, we know well. That when the King remained childless for nine years after his marriage, York could not help dwelling on the near prospect of his accession to the throne, was matter of




notoriety. When that prospect was suddenly taken from him by the unexpected birth of an heir to the crown, York's spirits were deeply dashed, and his friends murmured in secret about changelings and bastards. But his own attitude and language were still everything that could be required by the most exacting critic; he shared in the rejoicings at the birth of Prince Edward, and joined the Commission which was appointed to confer on the infant the title of Prince of Wales. All his speeches and manifestoes for the next six years were full even to satiety of professions of loyalty to the King, and no claims on his own part were ever made for anything more than that right of access to the King's ear to which he was obviously entitled. The Yorkist declarations are always statements of grievance and demands for reform, set forth on public grounds; they show no traces of dynastic claims. The actions of the party, too, are quite in keeping with their declarations. That they would take the King into their own hands, and not leave him in those of the Somersets or Wiltshire or Beaumont, they had always stated, and they attempted no more when they had the chance. The best criterion of York's honesty is his conduct after the first battle of St. Albans, when the fortune of war had placed the King's person in his power. He then proceeded to give Henry new ministers, but did absolutely nothing more. No word about the succession was breathed, nor was it even attempted to punish those who had previously ruled the kingdom so ill. With a wise moderation all the blame was heaped on Somerset-and Somerset was dead, and could suffer no harm whatever might be laid to his charge.

It may then fairly be argued that Warwick and all those who followed Richard of York in peace and war down to the year 1460 had an honest programme, and could in all sincerity trust their leader, when he assured them that his ends were national and not personal,-the reform of the governance of England, not the establishment of the house of York on the throne. We shall see that when, after enduring and inflicting many evils, York did at last lay claim to the throne, his own party, headed by Warwick, firmly withstood him and compelled him, in adherence to his and their original pledges, to leave King Henry his throne and content himself with the prospect of an ultimate succession.

This being so, it is only just to Warwick and the other Yorkist leaders to give them the benefit of the doubt wherever their conduct admits of an honourable explanation, and not to judge their earlier assertions or claims or complaints in the light of later events. On these lines we shall proceed to describe the young Earl's actions down to the final outbreak of war in 1459.



FROM the moment when York returned from Ireland without the King's permission, and commenced to expostulate with his royal kinsman against the doings of Somerset and the rest of the Court party, the progress of events was sure and steady. Nothing save some extraordinary chance could have warded off the inevitable Civil War. That it did not break out sooner was only due to the fact that York was as cautious as he was determined, and was content to wait for the crown which the King's sickly constitution and long-barren wedlock promised him. Moreover, the Court party themselves had no desire to push matters to extremities against the man who was in all probability to become their king at no very distant date. For more than four years the struggle between York and Somerset proceeded before swords were actually drawn; they fought by manifestoes and proclamations, by Acts of Parliament, by armed demonstrations, but neither would actually strike the first blow.

The final crisis was brought about by the juxtaposition of two events of very different character. In August 1453 the King fell into a melancholy madness, exactly

similar to that which had afflicted his unfortunate grandfather Charles the Sixth of France. He sat for days without moving or speaking; whatever was said to him he cast down his eyes and answered nought. The King's insanity was a deadly blow to Somerset, for he was helpless without the royal name to back him. York, on the other hand, with the general consent of the nation, assumed the direction of affairs, and became the King's lieutenant. He was afterwards made Protector of the Realm. This promised a final termination to the civil troubles of the realm.

But a few months after the King had become deranged, the whole face of affairs was changed by the birth of an heir to the crown. The Queen was delivered of a son on October 13th. This unexpected event-for the royal pair had been childless for nine years-was of fatal import to York. It took away the safety that had proceeded from the fact that his enemies believed that he was one day to reign over them, and it made York himself desperate. He came to the conclusion that he must be either regent or nothing; to save his head he must resort to desperate measures, and no more shrink from arms.

It is at this moment that Warwick begins to come to the front. In the earlier phases of York's struggle with Somerset he and his father had avoided committing themselves unreservedly to their kinsman's party; when he made his armed demonstration in 1452 they had not appeared at his side, but had negotiated in his favour with the King. In the Parliament of January 1454 they took part more decidedly in his favour. Mischief was brewing and every peer came up to London with

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