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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/58

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tions. In 1435 the peace negotiations had so far progressed that a general congress was arranged for, and Suffolk was appointed one of the chief English representatives after Cardinal Beaufort (Fœdera, x. 611). Suffolk and most of his colleagues came to Arras for the congress on 25 July. Beaufort joined them a little later. The English were not prepared to yield to the French demands, and withdrew from the congress on 6 Sept. Their withdrawal was almost immediately followed by the reconciliation of Burgundy to the French king, and by the death of John of Bedford.

The double event changed the whole aspect of English politics. For the time it threw increased authority into the hands of Humphrey of Gloucester and the warlike party. Thereupon Suffolk gradually became the chief opponent of Gloucester, and the remainder of Suffolk's life centres in his rivalry with the king's uncle. For the time the war feeling was too strong to be resisted, and Suffolk was one of the commanders appointed to go over to France in December 1435. Richard, duke of York, was to have the chief command, but it was not until May 1436 that he and Suffolk crossed over to France. With Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury [q. v.], they were commissioned to treat for peace (Fœdera, x. 642). No practical result came from the negotiations, and Suffolk served during June and July at the defence of Calais. In April 1437 there was some talk of sending him on a fresh embassy to France (Nicolas, Proc. Privy Council, v. 7, 8). Meanwhile he was nominated to many posts of responsibility at home. On 23 April 1437 he was appointed steward of the Duchy of Lancaster north of the Trent. On 19 Feb. 1440 he was chief justice of North Wales and Chester, and of South Wales. On 17 Feb. 1441 he was directed to make inquiry into the royal lordships in the county of Monmouth, and on 23 July as to the government of Norwich (Doyle). In this same year also he was one of the commissioners to inquire into the charges of sorcery against Eleanor Cobham, wife of Humphrey of Gloucester (Davies, English Chronicle, p. 58). In 1442 a marriage was projected for the young king with a daughter of the Count of Armagnac; but Suffolk was instrumental in defeating the project, which was favoured by Gloucester. He resolved that the king should marry Margaret of Anjou.

The match with Margaret was suggested by the Duke of Orleans, who had been released in 1440. From the same quarter, it would seem, came the suggestion that Suffolk should be the chief ambassador in negotiating it. But Suffolk, who was evidently regarded by the people as the most responsible of Henry's advisers after Cardinal Beaufort, perceived that his acceptance of the mission might be dangerous both to himself and to the policy which he had at heart. At a later time he was charged with having had a corrupt interest in the release of Orleans (cf., however, Beaucourt, iv. 100 n.), and it is clear that he had already incurred some unpopularity. In a council held on 1 Feb. 1444 (Nicolas, Proc. Privy Council, vi. 32–35, where the date is wrongly given) Suffolk himself urged the objections to his appointment. These were finally overruled, but at his own request a formal indemnity was granted on 20 Feb. exonerating him from all blame for what he might do in the matter of the peace or marriage (Fœdera, xi. 53). Suffolk's embassy landed at Harfleur on 13 March. On 8 April conferences were opened at Vendôme, and a week later Suffolk and his colleagues joined Orleans at Blois. Thence they sailed down the Loire to Tours, and on 17 April were presented to Charles VII at his castle of Montils-les-Tours. It soon became clear that terms for a permanent peace could not be agreed upon, but a truce was nevertheless arranged to last till 1 April 1446. On 24 May Margaret was formally betrothed to Suffolk as Henry's proxy, the truce was signed on the 28th, and on the next day Suffolk started home. His progress was one continued triumphant procession, and when he entered Rouen on 8 June he was hailed with rapturous shouts of ‘Noel! Noel!’ Suffolk reached London on 27 June, and on the same day the truce was ratified (Stevenson, i. 67–79, vol. ii. pt. i. preface pp. xxxvi–xxxviii; Fœdera, xi. 59–67; Ramsay, ii. 58–60). His success was for the time complete, and was marked by his promotion to a marquisate on 14 Sept. (This is the date of his patent, but he is so styled in the Issue Roll on 17 Aug.) On 28 Oct. he was instructed to bring home the king's bride. His wife went with him as the principal lady of Margaret's escort; and his chief colleague in this, as in his former mission, was Adam de Molyneux or Moleyns [q. v.] Suffolk and his retinue left London on 5 Nov., crossed the Channel on 13 Nov., and joined the French court at Nancy. Whether from accident or, as some accounts suggest, through design, Margaret was not present. The French took advantage to extort further concessions, and before he could obtain his object Suffolk had to promise the surrender of all that the English held or claimed in Maine and Anjou (Gascoigne, Loci e Libro Veritatum, pp. 190, 204–5; Ramsay, ii. 62). ‘This