Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/152

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

besought the help of Louis XI, who wished to bring about a reconciliation between him . and Margaret with the object of combining the various elements of the opposition to Edward IV. There were grave difficulties in the way. Warwick had spread abroad the foulest accusations against Margaret, had publicly denounced her son as a bastard (Chastellain. v. 464; Basin, i. 299), and the queen's pride surrendered an accommodation difficult. At last Warwick made an unconditional submission, and humbly besought Margaret's pardon for his past offenses. He went to Angers, where Margaret then was, and remained there from 15 July tn 4 Aug. Louis XI was there at the same time on a visit to King René. Louis and René urged Margaret very strongly to pardon Warwick, and at last she consented to do so. Moreover, she was also persuaded to conclude a treaty of marriage between her son and Warwicks daughter, Aime Neville. All parties swore on the relic of the true cross preserved at St. Mary's Church at Angers to remain faithful for the future to Henry VI (Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd ser. i. 134). Soon after Warwick sailed to England. In September Henry VI was released from the Tower and restored to the throne. But Edward IV soon returned to England, and on Easter day, 14 April 1471, his victory at Barnet resulted in the death of Warwick and the final captivity of Henry.

Margaret had delayed long in France. In November she was with Louis at Amboise. Thence she went with her eon to Paris. In February 1471 Henry urged that his wife and son should join him without delay (Fœdera, xi. 193). But it was not until 24 March that Margaret and Edward took ship at Harfleur, along with the Countess of Warwick and some other Lancastrian leaders. But contrary winds long made it impossible for her to cross the Channel (Waurin, p. 664). At divers times they took the sea and forsook it again' (Restoration of Edward IV, Camden Soc, p. 22). It was not until 13 April that a change of the weather enabled her to sail finally away. Next day she landed at Weymouth. It was the same Easter Sunday on which the cause of Lancaster was finally overthrown at Barnet. Next day she went to Cerne Abbey, where she was joined by the Duke of Somerset and the Earl of Devonshire. The tidings of Warwick's defeat were now known, whereat Margaret was 'right heavy and sore.' However, she was well received by the country-people. A general rising followed in the west; Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Cornwall, and Devonshive.' all contributed their quote to swell Margaret's little force. Margaret, who had advanced to Exeter, received there a large contingent from Devonshire and Cornwall. She then marched north-eastwards, through Glastonbury to Bath. Her object was either to cross the Severn and join Jasper Tudor in Wales, or to march northwards to her partisans in Cheshire and Lancashire, but she sent outposts far to the east, hoping to make Edward believe that her real object was to advance to London. Edward was too good a general to be deceived, and on 29 April, the day of Margaret's arrival at Bath, he had reached Cirencester to block her northward route. Margaret, on hearing this, retreated from Bath to Bristol. She then marched up the Severn volley, through Berkeley and Gloucester, while Edward followed her on a parallel course along the Cotswolds. On the morning of 3 May Margaret's army, which had marched all night, reached Gloucester. But the town was obstinately closed against the Lancastrian forces, and they could not therefore use the Severn bridge, which would have enabled them to escape to Wales. The soldiers were now quite tired out, but they struggled on another ten miles to Tewkesbury, where at length, with their backs on the town and abbey, and retreat cut off by the Severn and the Avon and the Swilgate brook, they turned to defend themselves as best they could from the approaching army of King Edward. They held the ridge of a hill 'in a marvellous strong ground full difficult to be assailed.' But the strength of the position did not check the rapid advance of the stronger force and the better general. On 4 May Edward won the battle of Tewkesbury, and Margaret's son was slain on the field (see Restoration of Edward IV, Camden Soc.; cf. the account in Comines, Mémoires, ed. Dupont, Preuves to vol. iii., from a Ghent manuscript.)

Margaret was not present on the battlefield, having retired with her ladies to a poor religious place' on the road between Tewkesbury and Worcester, which cannot be, as some have suggested, Deerhurst. There she was found three days later and taken prisoner. She was brought to Edward IV at Coventry. On 21 May she was drawn through London streets on a carriage before her triumphant rival (Cont. Croyland, p. 565). Three days later her husband was murdered in the Tower. Margaret remained in restraint for the next five years. Edward IV gave it out that she was living in proper state and dignity, and that she preferred to remain thus in England to returning to France (Basin, ii. 270). Yorkist writers speak of Edward's compassionate and honourable treatment of her; how he assigned her a