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Humber; and, putting up that estuary, landed on the Holderness side, at Ravenspurgh, the very place where Bolingbroke landed, when he came to deprive Richard II. of the crown, and to usurp it for himself: so fatal was that spot to the Plantagenets, first of the one and then of the other line.
His brother Richard, with 300 men, landed about four miles distant; and earl Rivers, with some 200, higher up the river, at Paul; the rest here and there, where they could, yet none so remote from the poor village in which the king took up his hard lodging for the night, but that they joined him on the following day. Some who had light horses rode about "to see if, by any persuasion, the rustical and uplandish people might be allured to take king Edward's part, and wear harness in his quarrel; " but they came back on the morrow, making relation that all the towns round about were permanent and stiff on the part of king Henry, and could not be removed, and that it was but folly further to solicit them; for, when they were moved on his behalf, not a man durst speak for fear of Warwick:
yet, in respect of the good-will that many of them had borne to his father, they could be content that he should enjoy his due inheritance of the duchy of York." That right they could clearly understand; but the right of succession to the crown was a neck-question, too high and too perilous for them. They would not help, yet as little did they wish to hurt him ; so they let him pass till they should understand more of his meaning. When Edward had digested this unpalatable intelligence, he accommodated himself to it; and, instead of reclaiming the crown, publicly declared that he required only the duchy of York. Deeming all artifices allowable when his life and his crown were at stake, he produced the letter and seal of the earl of Northumberland, which he persuaded the easily deluded people were sent for his safe-conduct, when he was invited to come and take possession of the duchy; and this dissi
* Hall, 290. Holinshed, 303.
mulation he is said to have carried so far, that in many places he proclaimed king Henry himself, and wore an ostrich feather, which was Edward the prince of Wales's livery.* "It is almost incredible," says the honest chronicler of these wars, "to see what effect this new imagination, although it were but feigned, sorted and took immediately upon the first opening: such a power hath justice ever amongst all men.' When it was blown abroad that king Edward's desire was farther from nothing than from the coveting of the kingdom, and that he no earthly promotion desired before his just patrimony and lineal inheritance, all men, moved with mercy and compassion, began, out of hand, either to favour him, or not to resist him, so that he might obtain his duchy." He, "when he had found these means to pacify men's minds and to reconcile their hearts," determined to make for York, instead of proceeding straight for London; because he apprehended that, when he went to cross the Humber, it would be thought he had withdrawn himself to the sea for fear, and that such a rumour would lightly be spread, to the hinderance of his whole cause. This answered so well, because it seemed to confirm his declaration, that a force of 6000 or 7000 men, who had been collected in divers places, chiefly by a priest, and a gentleman named Martin de la Mere, instead of offering any resistance, with which intent they had been raised, "took occasion to assist him ;" and he advanced to Beverley, in the direct line for York. From thence he sent to Kingston-upon-Hull, requiring the people to receive him there also; but the ruling party were predominant there, and they refused him admittance in any wise. +
Warwick's brother, Montacute, who was stationed at Pomfret with a great number of soldiers, was instructed with all speed to attack Edward, if he was strong enough; or else "to keep the passages, and stay him from advancing," till Warwick himself, who was colHall, 291. Holinshed, 304.
* Speed, 682.
lecting an army in the midland counties, should join him. It is doubtful to which side Montacute was faithful, or if to either: for, though great companies were assembled, they kept out of sight of the king's march, and allowed him to pass quietly. Their force was far superior to his; but there were many reasons which made them stand aloof: a belief that his claim to the duchy was lawful; a doubt whether his claim to the crown, though not as yet avowed, might not be well founded also and, what to them was of greater importance, successful. "They knew, also," says Holinshed, "that not only he himself, but likewise his company, were minded to sell their lives dearly, before they would shrink an inch from any that was to encounter them; and it may be that divers of the captains, although outwardly they showed to be against him, yet in heart they bore him right good will." By this Montacute had written " to all the towns of Yorkshire, and to the city also, commanding all men, on the king's behalf, to be ready in harness, and to shut their gates against the king's enemies." He nevertheless proceeded, without let or hinderance, till, when he was within three miles of York, the recorder, Thomas Coniers, and other deputies, came to him with word from the citizens that they were armed to defend their gates, and earnestly admonished him not to approach nearer. The message was not delivered in a lukewarm spirit, nor by one of questionable fidelity; and Edward was not a little troubled by it, for he had to choose between two chances, both highly perilous. Should he turn back, "he feared lest the rural and common people, for covetousness of prey and spoil, should fall on him," as one that was taking flight: "if he should proceed, then might the citizens of York issue out with all their power, and suddenly circumvent and take him." He determined, however, to go forward; but not with army nor with weapon: lowly language and gentle entreaties were the instruments that served his purpose best. So, with fair words and flattering speech,
EDWARD AT YORK.
he repeated his protestations that he sought only to recover the duchy, his old inheritance; and he protested that if, by means of the citizens of York, he might recover it, so great a benefit should never be by him forgotten. Having thus dismissed the messengers, he followed them with such good speed, that he was at the gates almost as soon as they. The citizens, influenced by his answer, and by his appearance, were much mitigated and cooled." They parleyed with him from the walls, and assured him that, if he would without delay convey himself to some other place, he should have no hurt; "but he gently speaking to all men, and especially to such as were aldermen, whom he called worshipful, and by their proper names them saluted," entreated that, “by their friendly permission, he might enter into his own town, from which he had both his name and title. All the whole day was consumed in doubtful communication and earnest interlocution." But at length the citizens, "partly won by his fair words, and partly by hope of his large promises, fell to this pact, that if he would swear to entertain his citizens of York after a gentle sort, and hereafter to be obedient and faithful to king Henry, they would receive him into their city, and aid and comfort him with money.'
Oaths never yet impeded an ambitious man. The duke of York, as he now called himself, and as the citizens called him, presented himself the next morning at the gate. A priest was in readiness there to say mass; and he, at that mass, "receiving the body of our blessed Saviour," solemnly swore to what had been agreed, "when it was far unlike that he intended to observe the oath; and all men afterward evidently perceived that he took no more study or diligence for any one earthly thing, than he did to persecute king Henry, and to spoil him of his kingdom." And here the English chroniclers remark, that this solemn and wilful perjury did not pass unpunished, for the sins of the father were visited upon the children; and no family ever more hea* Hall, 292. Holinshed, 304, 305.
vily or more deservedly experienced that judgement than the Plantagenets. When Edward had thus deluded the citizens, he set a garrison in the city to prevent them from rising against him, and then, by means of this money, gathered a great host. Montacute allowed him, when he marched for London, to pass unmolested by, though within four miles of his camp. The marquis distrusted his own men as much as he was himself distrusted; and by his inaction at this critical time was thought to have done Edward as good service as if he had joined him with his army. Yet Edward was joined by few till he drew near Nottingham, where sir William Parr, sir James Harrington, sir Thomas Burgh, and sir Thomas Montgomery, came to him with their friends and dependants. They added to him greater strength than any army which they could have raised, by declaring that they would serve no man but a king upon this encouragement, he reassumed the title, and, casting away all dissemblance, issued his royal proclamation - not more to the "shame and dolour of the citizens of York, who then perceived how grossly they had been deluded, than to the comfort of those who, either from the spirit of party, or from a clear conviction of its justice, were attached to the Yorkite cause. "The white rose thus having bloomed, the red falling its leaves, all flocked to Edward, whose train, as he passed," says Speed, was like a river that in the running is ever increased with new springs." He entered London on Holy Thursday, the Lancastrians, in their dismay, making no attempt to resist him, so that the gates were open; and Henry, who in the morning had been paraded as king through the streets of his capital, found himself before night a prisoner in Edward's hands. This extraordinary success, against all seeming probabilities, Comines says, was accounted for by three circumstances. Above 2000 Yorkites had taken refuge in the different sanctuaries within the walls when Edward fled the kingdom: among them were 300 or 400 knights or squires, persons of condition and