parlement of Paris, and compelled all present to take an oath of fidelity to King Henry VI. Meanwhile the English parliament had decided that Bedford should be “protector and defender” of the kingdom, and that in his absence the office should devolve upon his brother Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. Confining himself to the conduct of affairs in France the protector took up Henry V.’s work of conquest, captured Meulan and other places, and sought to strengthen his position by an alliance with Philip of Burgundy. This task was rendered more difficult as Gloucester had just married Jacqueline, countess of Holland and Hainaut, a union which gave the English duke a claim on lands which Philip hoped to secure for himself. Bedford, however, having allayed Philip’s irritation, formed an alliance with him and with John VI., duke of Brittany, at Amiens in April 1423, and himself arranged to marry Anne, a sister of the Burgundian duke. This marriage was celebrated at Troyes in the following June, and the war against Charles, the dauphin of France, was prosecuted with vigour and success. Bedford sought to restore prosperity to the districts under his rule by reforming the debased coinage, granting privileges to merchants and manufacturers, and removing various abuses. He then granted some counties to Philip to check the growing hostility between him and Gloucester, and on the 17th of August 1424 gained a great victory over a combined army of French and Scots at Verneuil. But in spite of the efforts of the protector the good understanding between England and Burgundy was partially destroyed when Gloucester invaded Hainaut in October 1424. The ambition of his brother gave Bedford trouble in another direction also; for on his return from Hainaut Gloucester quarrelled with the chancellor, Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, and the council implored Bedford to come to England to settle this dispute. He reached London in January 1426, and after concluding a bond of alliance with Gloucester effected a reconciliation between the duke and the chancellor; and knighted the young king, Henry VI. Bedford then promised to act in accordance with the will of the council, and in harmony with the decision of this body raised a body of troops and returned to France in March 1427. Having ordered Gloucester to desist from a further attack on Hainaut, he threatened Brittany and compelled Duke John to return to the English alliance; and the success of his troops continued until the siege of Orleans, to which he consented with reluctance, was undertaken in October 1428. Having assured himself that Philip was prepared to desert him, Bedford sent orders to his army to raise the siege in April 1429. He then acted with great energy and judgment in attempting to stem the tide of disasters which followed this failure, strengthened his hold upon Paris, and sent to England for reinforcements; but before any engagement took place he visited Rouen, where he sought to bind the Normans closer to England, and after his return to Paris resigned the French regency to Philip of Burgundy in accordance with the wish of the Parisians. Retaining the government of Normandy Bedford established himself at Rouen and directed the movements of the English forces with some success. He did not interfere to save the life of Joan of Arc. He was joined by Henry VI. in April 1430, when the regency was temporarily suspended, and he secured Henry’s coronation at Paris in December 1431. In November 1432 his wife Anne died, and in April 1433 he was married at Therouanne to Jacqueline, daughter of Pierre I., count of St Pol. But notwithstanding Bedford’s vigour the English lost ground steadily; and the death of Anne and this marriage destroyed the friendly relations between England and Burgundy. Negotiations for peace had no result, and when the duke returned to England in June 1433 he told parliament that he had come home to defend himself against the charge that the losses in France were caused by his neglect, and demanded that his detractors should make their accusations public. The chancellor replied that no such charges were known to the king or the council, and the duke was thanked for his great services. His next act was to secure an inquiry into the national finances; and when asked by the parliament to stay in England he declared that his services were at the king’s disposal. As chief councillor he offered to take a smaller salary than had been previously paid to Gloucester, and undertook this office in December 1433, when his demands with regard to a continual council were conceded. Bedford, who was anxious to prosecute the war in France, left England again in 1434, but early in 1435 was obliged to consent to the attendance of English r epresentatives at a congress held to arrange terms of peace at Arras. Unable to consent to the French terms the English envoys left Arras in September, and Philip of Burgundy made a separate treaty with France. Bedford only lived to see the ruin of the cause for which he struggled so loyally. He died at Rouen on the 14th of September 1435, and was buried in the cathedral of that city. He left a natural son, Richard, but no legitimate issue. Bedford was a man of considerable administrative ability, brave and humane in war, wise and unselfish in peace. He was not responsible for the misfortunes of the English in France, and his courage in the face of failure was as admirable as his continued endeavour to make the people under his rule contented and prosperous.
The chief contemporary authorities for Bedford’s life are: Vita et gesta Henrici Quinti, edited by T. Hearne (Oxford, 1727); E. de Monstrelet, Chronique, edited by L. D. d’Arcq. (Paris, 1857-1862); William of Worcester, Annales rerum Anglicarum, edited by J. Stevenson (London, 1864). See also Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of England, edited by J. R. Dasent (London, 1890-1899); W. Stubbs, Constitutional History, vol. iii. (Oxford, 1895); P. A. Barante, Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne (Paris, 1824).
In 1470 George Nevill (c. 1457-1483), son of John, earl of Northumberland, was created duke of Bedford; but after his father’s attainder and death at the battle of Barnet in 1471 he was degraded from the peerage.
The next duke of Bedford was Jasper Tudor (c. 1430-1495), half-brother of King Henry VI. and uncle of Henry VII. He was made earl of Pembroke in 1453. Having survived the vicissitudes of the Wars of the Roses he was restored to his earldom and created duke of Bedford in 1485. The duke, who was lord-lieutenant of Ireland from 1486 to 1494, died without legitimate issue on the 21st of December 1495.
John Russell, 1st earl of Bedford (c. 1486-1555), was a son of James Russell (d. 1509). Having travelled widely, he attained some position at the court of Henry VII., and was subsequently in great favour with Henry VIII. In 1513 he took part in the war with France, and, having been knighted about the same time, was afterwards employed on several diplomatic errands. He was with Henry at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, and, returning to military service when the French war was renewed, lost his right eye at the siege of Morlaix in 1522. He was soon made knight marshal of the royal household, and in 1523 went secretly to France, where he negotiated a treaty between Henry and Charles, duke of Bourbon, who was anxious to betray the French king Francis I. After a short visit to England Russell was sent with money to Bourbon, joining the constable at the siege of Marseilles. In 1524 he visited Pope Clement VII. at Rome, and, having eluded the French, who endeavoured to capture him, was present at the battle of Pavia in February 1525, returning to England about the close of the year. In January 1527 he was sent as ambassador to Clement, who employed him to treat on his behalf with Charles de Lannoy, the general of Charles V. The next few years of Russell’s life were mainly spent in England. He was member of parliament for Buckingham in the parliament of 1529, and although an opponent of the party of Anne Boleyn, retained the favour of Henry VIII. He took an active part in suppressing the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, and was one of the commissioners appointed to try the Lincolnshire prisoners. Honours now crowded upon him. His appointment as comptroller of the king’s household in 1537 was followed by that of a privy councillor in 1538; then he was made lord high admiral, high steward of the duchy of Cornwall and a knight of the garter. In March 1539 he was created Baron Russell of Chenies, and in 1542 became high steward of the university of Oxford, and keeper of the privy seal. In 1539, when Charles V. and Francis I. were threatening to invade England, he was sent into the west, and