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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/60

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set. But Suffolk, who had long been allied to the Beauforts, in politics and by marriage, was in the popular estimation, at all events, responsible for Somerset's appointment. It was upon him that the storm broke. As a minister he had been careless about the enmities that he excited. He was charged with pride and avarice, and with having disposed of bishoprics and other preferment from corrupt motives (Croyland Chron. pp. 521, 525; the charge was perhaps a specious one, cf. Beckington, i. 158, and Political Songs, ii. 232–4; certainly many vacant sees had been filled by his supporters).

The parliament of 1449 met on 6 Nov. Molyneux had to resign the privy seal on 9 Dec. Marmaduke Lumley [q. v.] had resigned the treasurership in the previous October. These two had been Suffolk's principal supporters and colleagues. Their removal marked the decline of his influence. In the first weeks of the parliament no public action was taken against Suffolk. But on 28 Nov., as Ralph, lord Cromwell, who appears to have been the duke's chief adversary in the council, was entering the Star-chamber, he was hustled in Westminster Hall by William Tailboys, a Lincolnshire squire and supporter of Suffolk. Cromwell accused Tailboys and Suffolk of intending his death. Tailboys, supported by Suffolk, denied the charge, but was committed to the Tower. There were other charges of violence against Tailboys, and in these also it was alleged that he had profited by Suffolk's patronage. Afterwards Suffolk's connection with Tailboys formed part of the charges brought against him (Will. Worc. [766]; Rolls of Parliament, v. 181, 200; Paston Letters, i. 96, 97, and Introduction, pp. xliii–xliv). At Christmas the parliament was prorogued till 22 Jan. 1450. On 9 Jan. Molyneux was murdered at Portsmouth. Before his death he made some confession injurious to Suffolk. When parliament reassembled, the duke, in anticipation of attack, at once made an eloquent and impressive speech in his own defence. Odious and horrible language was running through the land to his ‘highest charge and moost hevyest disclaundre.’ He appealed to his long and faithful service, and begged that any accusations against him might be preferred openly (Rolls of Parliament, v. 176). The commons, inspired by Cromwell, at once took up the challenge (Will. Worc. [766]). On 26 Jan. they begged that Suffolk might be ‘committed to ward.’ The council refused, in absence of any definite charge. On 28 Jan. the commons accused Suffolk of having sold the realm to the French and treasonably fortified Wallingford Castle. On this Suffolk was committed to the Tower (Rolls of Parliament, v. 176–177). On 7 Feb. a long indictment was presented by the commons. The chief charges were that Suffolk had conspired to secure the throne for his son, John de la Pole, afterwards second Duke of Suffolk [q. v.], who had married Margaret Beaufort, the infant heiress of John Beaufort, duke of Somerset, and Suffolk's ward; that he had advised the release of Orleans, promised to surrender Anjou and Maine, betrayed the king's counsel to the French, failed to reinforce the English armies, and estranged Brittany and Aragon. On 12 Feb. the articles were brought before the council, and Henry ordered the matter to be respited. It was reported that the duke was ‘in the kyng's gode grase’ (Paston Letters, i. 115), and his pardon was no doubt intended. However, on 9 March the commons presented eighteen additional articles, charging Suffolk with maladministration and malversation, with the promotion of unworthy persons, and with the protection of William Tailboys (Rolls of Parliament, v. 179–82). On the same day Suffolk was brought before the king, and received copies of the accusation. On 13 March he again appeared before the parliament. He denied the charges utterly, and said: ‘Savyng the kynges high presence, they were fals and untrue’ (ib. v. 182). Four days later he once more appeared and repeated his denial. At length on the first bill the king held Suffolk ‘neither declared nor charged;’ on the second bill ‘not by way of judgment,’ but by force of his submission, the king ordered his banishment for five years from the first of May (ib. v. 183). The decision was a sort of compromise intended to save the duke and satisfy the commons.

On 19 March Suffolk was set free, and at once left the capital. The Londoners sought to intercept him, and severely handled some of his servants (Will. Worc. [767]). The remaining six weeks were spent by Suffolk on his estate. On 30 April he came to Ipswich, and in the presence of the chief men of the county took an oath on the sacrament that he was innocent of the charges brought against him (ib.) That same evening he addressed a touching letter of farewell to his little son (Paston Letters, i. 121–2), and the next morning set sail with two ships and a pinnace. When off Dover he sent the pinnace towards Calais to learn how he would be received. The pinnace was intercepted by a ship called Nicholas of the Tower, which was lying in wait. The master of the Nicholas bore down on Suffolk's ships, and bade the duke come on board. On his arrival he was greeted with a shout of ‘Welcome, traitor.’ His captors granted him a day and