Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/150

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Margaret
Margaret
144

Meanwhile the battle of Wakefield had been won, and York slain on the field. As Margaret was in Scotland, the stories of her inhuman treatment of York's remains, told by later writers, are obvious fictions. So much was she identified with her party that even well-informed foreiaTi writers like Waurin believe her to have been present in the field (Chroniques, 1447-71, p. 325). It was not until some time after the battle that the news of the victory encouraged Margaret to join her victorious partisans. On 20 Jan. 1461 she was at York, where her first care was to pledge the Lancastrian lords to use their influence upon Henry to persuade him to accept the dishonourable convention of Lincluden (Basin, iv. 357-8). The march to London was then begun. A motley crew of Scots, Welsh, and wild northerners followed the queen to the south. Every step of their progress was marked with plunder and devastation. It was believed that Margaret had promised to give up to her northern allies the whole of the south country us their spoil. An enthusiastic army of Londoners marched off under Warwick to withstand her progress. King Henry accompanied the army. On 17 Feb. the second battle of St. Albans was fought. Warwick's blundering tactics gave the northerners an easy victory. The king was left behind in the confusion, and taken to Lord Clifford's tent, where Margaret and Edward met him. Margaret brutally made the little prince president of the court which condemned to immediate execulion Bouville and Sir Thomas Kyriel. 'Fair son,' she said, 'what death shall these two knights die ?' and the prince replied that their heads should be cut off (Waurin, p. 330). But the wild host of the victors was so little under control that even Margaret, with all her recklessness, hesitated as to letting it loose on the wealth of the capital. She lost her best chance of ultimate success when, after tarrying eight days at St. Albans, she returned to Dunstable, whence she again marched her army to the north (Wyscester, p. 776). This false move allowed of the junction of Warwick with Edward, the new duke of York, fresh from his victory at Mortimer's Cross. On 4 March 1461 the Duke of York assumed the English throne as Edward IV, thus ignoring the compromise which the Lancastrians themselves had broken, and basing his claim upon his legitimist royalist descent. Margaret was now forced to retreat back into Yorkshire, closely followed by the new king. She was with her husband at York during the decisive day of Towton, after which she retreated with Henry to Scotland, surrendering Berwick to avoid its falling into Yorkist hands. This 'act of treason and the misconduct of her troops figure among the reasons of her attainder by the first parliament of Edward IV, which describes her as 'Margaret, late called queen of England' (Rot. Parl. v. 476, 479). In Scotland Margaret was entertained first at Linlithgow and afterwards at the Black Friars Convent at Edinhurgh. She found the Scots kingdom still distracted by factions. Mary of Gelderland, the regent, was not unfriendly, but she was a niece of the Duke of Burgundy, who was anxious to keep on good terms with Edward IV, and sent the lord of Gruthuse, a powerful Flemish baron, to persuade Mary to abandon the alliance. But Bishop Kennedy of St. Andrews was sent bock to Scotland by Charles VII to keep the party of the French interests in devotion to Lancaster, while Edward himself incited the highlanders against his enemies in the south. Margaret meanwhile concluded an indenture with the powerful Earl of Angus, who was to receive an English dukedom and a great estate in return for his assistance. 'I heard,' wrote one of the Paston correspondents. 'that these appointments were taken by the young lords of Scotland, but not by the old' (Paston Letters, ii. 111).

Margaret's main reliance was still on France, whither she despatched Somerset to seek for assistance. But Charles VII was now dead, and his son, Louis XI, wan hardly yet in a position to give free rein to his desire to help his cousin (ib. ii. 45-8). Nothing, therefore, of moment occurred, and Margaret, impatient of delay, left her husband in Scotland, and, embarking at Kirkcudbright, arrived in Brittany on 16 April 1463. She had pawned her plate in Scotland, and was now forced to borrow from the Queen of Scots the money to pay for her journey. She was well received by the Duke of Brittany, and then passed on through Anjou and Touraine. Her father borrowed eight thousand florins to meet 'the great and sumptuous expenses of her coming' (Lecoy, i. 345 ; cf. Wycester, p. 780), and urged her claims on Louis. Margaret herself had interviews with Louis at Chinon, Tours, and Rouen. In June 1483 Margaret mode a formal treaty with him by which she received twenty thousand francs in return for a conditional mortgage of Calais (Lecoy, i. 343). There was a rumour in England that Margaret was at Boulogne 'with much silver to pay the soldiers,' and that the Calais garrison was wavering in its allegiance to Edward (Paxton Letters, ii. 118). Louis raised 'ban and arrière ban.' There was much talk of a siege of Calais, and Edward IV accused Margaret of a plot to make