Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/48

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Beaufort
Beaufort
44

mission which accompanied his new dignity lessened his popularity, and gave occasion to his enemies to attack him. His energies were to some extent diverted from the service of his country, and men naturally looked on him as identified with the papal policy which, under Martin V, was antagonistic to the ecclesiastical liberties of England. The new cardinal lost no time in obeying the papal call for help in the Hussite war. With the full approval of the emperor he accepted the office of legate in Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia. At the moment of his entrance into Bohemia a combined attack was made by three armies of the crusaders upon the Hussites at Mies. The attack failed, and at Tachau the cardinal met the German host in full flight. He bade them turn against their pursuers, and, planting a cross before them, succeeded for a moment in his attempt to rally the panic-stricken multitude. At the sight of the advancing army of the Bohemians the Germans again turned and fled. The cardinal vainly called on them to halt and make a stand against their enemies. In his indication he tore the flag of the empire and cast it before the feet of the German princes. His efforts were fruitless, and the close approach of the Bohemian army forced him to share the flight of the Germans. The pope wrote him a letter encouraging him to persevere in the crusade. He exhorted him to restore ecclesiastical discipline in Germany, and to put an end to the quarrel between the archbishops of Coln and Maintz, that the German churchmen might be more earnest in the crusade.

The cardinal returned to England to raise money for the prosecution of the war, and on entering London 1 Sept. 1428 was received with great state by the mayor and aldermen. When, however, he opened his legatine commission, the Duke of Gloucester refused to recognise it, as contrary to the customs of the kingdom, and Richard Caudray, the king's proctor, argued the case against him. Beaufort promised not to exercise his legatine functions without the king's leave, and the matter was dropped for the time. In Februarv 1429 the cardinal went to Scotland on civil as well as ecclesiastical business, and had an interview near Berwick with James and with his niece, Joan the queen. On his return Gloucester made an effort to deprive him of his see by bringing before the council the question whether he, as a cardinal, might lawfully officiate at the chapter of the order of the Garter on St. George's day, a right which pertained to him as bishop of Winchester. The question was left undecided; but the council requested him not to attend the service. In after years he officiated on these occasions without any objection being made. In spite of the somewhat doubtful attitude of the council he obtained leave to raise a body of troops for the Bohemian war, and to publish the crusade. On 22 June he again set out for Bohemia. Disasters in France, however, caused the council to press on him the necessity of allowing his troops to serve six months with the regent. Beaufort agreed to this, and stayed himself with the regent in France. He excused his conduct to the pope by declaring that he was forced to obey the king's command, and that his troops would have refused to follow him had he not done so. The death of Martin V, in February 1431, put an end to Beaufort's legation and to his part in the Bohemian war.

At the close of 1429 Beaufort received 1,000l. to defray the expenses of a mission which he was about to undertake to the court of Philip, duke of Burgundy, who had just married his niece, Isabella of Portugal. His compliance in lending the troops which he had raised for the crusade evidently strengthened his position at home; for an attempt made by Gloucester in the December following to shut him out from the council, on the ground of his beings a cardinal, was answered by a vote that his attendance was lawful, and was to be required on all occasions except when questions between the king and the papacy were in debate. Alarmed at his increasing power, Gloucester persuaded him to accompany the king to France in April 1430, and during 1430-1 he was constantly employed in the affairs of that kingdom. In November 1430 he lent the king 2,815l. 13s., and an order was made in council the following year for the repayment of this and of other sums which were owing to him. On 17 Dec. 1431 he crowned Henry VI king of France at Paris. Meanwhile, Gloucester took advantage of his absence to make another attempt to deprive him of his see. This attack seems to have been made in the name of the crown; for in a general council, held 6 Nov., the king's serjeants and attorney argued that he could not, as cardinal, continue to hold an English bishopric. At this council the Bishop of Worcester, in answer to a question from Gloucester, asserted that he had heard the Bishop of Lichfield, who acted as Beaufort's proctor, say that the cardinal had bought an exemption from the jurisdiction of Canterbury for himself and his see. The Bishop of Lichfield, who was present, seems neither to have denied nor confirmed this statement. The council was not disposed to proceed in haste in a matter of such importance, and made an