Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 48.djvu/187

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sons, whom they would accuse of treason, should be delivered into their hands, as past experience unfortunately did not allow them to trust mere promises, even confirmed by oaths. The king in reply threatened the death of traitors to all who opposed him, and said he would give up no man; on which York told his friends that they were threatened with destruction whatever course they took, and had better fight it out. A short engagement followed; but while Lord Clifford fought obstinately to keep the Duke of York out of the town, young Warwick broke in by a side attack, and the king's forces were defeated. Somerset, Clifford, and the Earl of Northumberland were among the slain, and the king himself was wounded. After the battle, York and the two earls, Warwick and Salisbury, knelt humbly before the king to ask forgiveness, assuring him that it had been quite against their will to do him injury. The king ‘took them to grace.’

York brought the king up to London next day, and lodged him in the bishop's palace. The duke was made constable of England, and Warwick captain of Calais. Parliament was called to meet on 9 July, and the Yorkists certainly did their utmost to influence the elections. When it met there was much angry dispute about the responsibility for the conflict, but York and his friends were exonerated. They, however, went about continually in armour, and their barges were full of weapons. In October following the king, who had certainly been ill since the battle but had opened parliament in person, relapsed into his old infirmity. The parliament then stood prorogued till 12 Nov., and on the 11th York again obtained a commission to hold it in the king's name. On the 17th, after repeated appeals from the House of Commons that they would name a protector, the lords again chose York for the office. But he now undertook the protectorate on more specific conditions. He was to have a paid council to assist him; his salary and travelling expenses for the period when he was protector before were to be made over to him (he had not received a shilling yet), and the salary was to be increased from two to three thousand marks. Moreover his tenure of the office was not again to terminate merely at the king's pleasure, but only with the consent of the lords in parliament. The appointment dated from the 19th; but it was not till 9 March next year that an assignment was made to him on the customs of Ipswich and Boston for his overdue salary and expenses (Patent Roll, 34 Henry VI, m. 19).

Parliament was prorogued on 13 Dec. to enable the protector to quell disturbances at Exeter between the Earl of Devon and Lord Bonville. It met again on 14 Jan. 1456, and next month the king was in better health. York and Warwick, fearing a change, came to Westminster with strong retinues. On 25 Feb. York was discharged of his protectorship by the king in parliament; but Henry was willing to retain him as chief councillor, and, though the queen was strongly opposed to him, he still knew how to make his influence felt. On 12 May he obtained a twenty years' lease from the crown of all the gold and silver mines in Devonshire and Cornwall at a rent of 110l. (ib. m. 8). After a visit to his castle of Sandal in Yorkshire, he wrote from Windsor, on 26 July, a fiery answer in the king's name to James II of Scotland, who had sent Henry a message that he would no longer abide by the truce. He again turned northwards to chastise James's insolence, and, writing from Durham on 24 Aug., reproached him for making raids unworthy of a king or a ‘courageous knight.’ At a later date, when the court desired better relations with Scotland, this letter which he had written in Henry's name was disavowed. But it was authorised by the council at the time (see Bain, Calendar IV, No. 1277, Register House Series).

In August the queen removed her husband from the unfriendly atmosphere of London into the midlands, where the court remained for about a twelvemonth. A council was convoked at Coventry on 7 Oct., to which York and his friends were summoned. The chancellor and treasurer were changed. But the Duke of Buckingham, as spokesman of the council, merely censured York's past conduct, and urged the king to take him into favour. This Henry was willing to do, but Margaret was still hostile. York and his two friends were warned that their safety could not be guaranteed in a place like Coventry. The duke accordingly withdrew to Wigmore, Salisbury to Middleham, and Warwick to Calais.

Early next year (1457) York was summoned to a great council at Coventry on 14 Feb., and there seems little doubt that he attended. According to one chronicle, a peace was made at Coventry in Lent between the Yorkist lords and young Henry, duke of Somerset, the son of the duke slain at St. Albans. As the chronicle in question is rather confused in its chronology, the writer may have been thinking (as Sir James Ramsay supposes) of what took place next year in London. But there is nothing against the supposition that the king endeavoured, even at this time, to remove the newly excited suspicions of the Yorkists, and to effect a reconciliation between them and