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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/432

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John
John
426

In 1393 Lancaster was named special commissioner in the counties of York, Lancaster, and Chester, and was engaged in putting down a revolt in the latter county. This event led to a quarrel with the Earl of Arundel. In the parliament which met 27 Jan. 1394 the duke accused Arundel of conniving at the disturbance. Arundel, who belonged to the warlike party, to which a prospect of peace with France was distasteful, retaliated by complaints of the personal favour shown to Lancaster in his promotion to the duchy of Aquitaine, and denounced the negotiations then pending with France. Richard personally defended his uncle, and Arundel was in the end compelled to ask the duke's pardon.

If we are to believe one of the chroniclers (Eulogium, iii. 369), Lancaster chose this moment to press in parliament for the recognition of his son as heir to the crown, as being descended from Edmund, earl of Lancaster, whom he asserted to have been the elder brother of Edward I. But if he ever did make such a demand, it is hardly probable that he would thus have impugned his nephew's title at a time when the relations between them were so friendly. In connection with this story, however, it is a curious fact that a rumour was afloat (as repeated by the chronicler Hardyng) that he had even gone the length of fabricating a chronicle as evidence of the seniority of Edmund of Lancaster; and it is also remarkable that the same contention was actually brought forward at the time of Richard's deposition (Adam of Usk, p. 142).

The year 1394 was also marked by important domestic changes in the royal family. Lancaster, Richard, and the Duke of York successively lost their wives. Constance ol Castile, duchess of Lancaster, died in June, during her husband's absence in France, and was buried at Leicester. The death of the queen opened the path to Richard's marriage with Isabella of France in 1396 and to the extension of the truce with France for twenty-eight years. This foreign policy was supported by Lancaster, although the negotiations which directly led to these results were carried on while he was in Aquitaine.

He left England in the autumn of 1394 for the purpose of formally assuming his dukedom of that province, but the people of Bordeaux and of the other towns which still remained faithful to the English cause refused to recognise his authority. They protested against the intrusion of any one between them and the crown, and they were successful in their resistance. Lancaster remained in the country until the Christmas of 1395, when he was recalled, and rejoined the king at Langley. But his reception, we are told, was cool, and he thought it prudent to leave the court. He retired to Lincoln, and immediately afterwards astonished the world and scandalised the members of the royal family by marrying, January 1396, his concubine, Catharine Swynford, daughter of Sir Payne Roet, king of arms in Guienne, and widow of Sir Hugh de Swynford. She had been governess to Lancaster's daughters, and had borne him children. His estrangement from the king did not last very long. Towards the end of the year he accompanied Richard to Calais, and was present at his marriage with the young French princess, 1 Nov. 1396. As a further mark of favour Richard enacted, on his own authority, the legitimation of Lancaster's natural family, the Beauforts, and this act was confirmed in the parliament which sat from 22 Jan. to 12 Feb. 1397.

But these personal events, and his support of the recent foreign policy, revived the national feeling against Lancaster's predominance. His brother Gloucester and the Earls of Arundel and Warwick formed an alliance in opposition to the new order of things, and a proposal was made in parliament for reform of the king's household. This was summarily repressed, and Gloucester and Arundel, after a personal altercation with the king, retired from court. Then followed in the summer a coup d'etat. A parliament was summoned, and Lancaster and his son Derby were ordered to collect forces for the defence of the king, 28 Aug. 1397. Gloucester was arrested and hurried to his death at Calais. Arundel surrendered, and was brought to trial in the parliament which assembled 17 Sept. In his prosecution, both Lancaster and members of his family took a leading part. The duke himself presided as high steward, and passed sentence 21 Sept.; John Beaufort, earl of Somerset, appeared among the appellants; and the Earl of Derby, once the ally of the accused, bore witness against him, and was rewarded with the dukedom of Hereford.

In the subservient parliament of Shrewsbury, 28 Jan. 1398, Lancaster's influential position was recognised by his appointment to the chief place in the committee to which parliament delegated its powers. But in the same session began the quarrel between his son Hereford and the Duke of Norfolk, which was protracted through the greater part of the year and terminated in the banishment of both rivals, 16 Sept. Lancaster did not long survive his son's disgrace. The last public commissions to which he was appointed were as lieutenant in the marches towards