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CHAPTER XI THE TRIUMPH OF KING EDWARD
On the evening of that bloody Palm Sunday, King Edward, Warwick, and the other Yorkist chiefs, slept in the villages round the battlefield. Next morning, however, they set their weary army on the march to reap the fruits of victory. In the afternoon they appeared before the gates of York, where the heads of York and Salisbury, bleached with three months of winter rains, still looked southward from the battlements. The citizens had, as was usual in the time, not the slightest intention of offering resistance, but they must have felt many a qualm as Edward's men, drunk with slaughter and set on revenging the harrying of the South by the Queen's army, drew up before their walls.

Edward, however, had already fixed on the policy from which he never swerved throughout his reign—hard measure for the great and easy measure for the small. The Mayor and citizens were allowed to "find means of grace through Lord Berners and Sir John Neville, brother to the Earl of Warwick"—doubtless through a sufficient gift of rose nobles. These two lords led the Mayor and Council before the King, who promptly granted them grace, and was then received into the town[Pg 129] "with great solemnity and processions." There Edward kept his Easter week, and made every arrangement for the subjugation of the North. His first act was to take down the heads of his father and his uncle from over the gate, and provide for their reverent burial. His next was to mete out to his Lancastrian prisoners the measure that York and Salisbury had received. The chief of them, Courtney Earl of Devon and the Bastard of Exeter, were decapitated in the market-place, and their heads sent south to be set up on London Bridge. James Earl of Wiltshire—long Salisbury's rival in the South—was caught a few days later, and suffered the same fate.

The submission of the various Yorkshire towns was not long in coming in, and it was soon ascertained that no further resistance was to be looked for south of the Tees. The broken bands of the Lancastrians had disappeared from Yorkshire, and Warwick's tenants from Middleham and Sherif Hoton were now able to come in to explain to their lord how they had fared during the Lancastrian ascendency at the hands of his cousins of Westmoreland. In common with the few other Yorkists of the North, they had received hard measure; they had been well plundered, and probably constrained to pay up all that the Westmorelands could wring out of them, as arrears for the twenty years during which the Yorkshire lands of Neville had been out of the hands of the senior branch.

A few days after Easter, Warwick and Edward moved out of York and pushed on to Durham. On the way they were entertained at Middleham with such cheer as the place could afford after its plunder by the Lancas trians. Nowhere did they meet with any resistance, and the task of finishing the war appeared so simple that the King betook himself homeward about May 1st, leaving Warwick with a general commission to pacify the North. John Neville remained behind with his brother, as did Sir Robert Ogle and Sir John Coniers, the only two Yorkists of importance in the North outside the Neville family. The King took with him the rest of the lords, who were wanted for the approaching festivals and councils in London, and with them the bulk of the army.

The task which Warwick had received turned out to be a much more formidable matter than had been expected. King Henry, Queen Margaret, the Dukes of Somerset and Exeter, Lords Hungerford and Roos, with the other surviving Lancastrian leaders, had fled to Scotland, where they had succeeded in inducing the Scotch regents—Kennedy, Boyd, and their fellows—to continue the policy of the late King, and throw themselves heartily into the war with the Yorkists. The inducement offered was the cession of Berwick and Carlisle, and the former town was at once handed over "and well stuffed with Scots." Nor was it only on Scotch aid that the Lancastrians relied; they had determined to make application to the King of France, and Somerset and Hungerford sailed for the Continent at the earliest opportunity. They were stayed at Dieppe by orders of the wily Louis the Eleventh, who was averse to committing himself to either party in the English struggle while his own crown was hardly three months old; but their mission was not to be without its results. Putting aside the hope of assistance from France and Scotland, the Lancastrians had still some resources of their own on which they might count. A few scattered bands of Percy retainers still kept the field in Northumberland, and the Percy crescent still floated over the strong castles of Alnwick, Bamborough, and Dunstanburgh.

The problem which fell into Warwick's hands was to clear the routed Lancastrians out of Northumberland, and at the same time to keep good watch against the inroads of the Scotch and the English refugees who were leagued with them. Defensive and offensive operations would have to be combined, for, on the one hand, the siege of the Percy castles must be formed—and sieges in the fifteenth century were slow and weary work—while, on the other, the raids of the lords of the Scotch Border might occur at any time and place, and had to be met without delay. Warwick was forced to divide his troops, undertaking himself to cover the line of the Tyne and observe the Northumbrian castles, while his brother John, who for his services at Towton had just been created Lord Montagu, took charge of the force which was to fend off Scotch attacks on the Western Marches.

In June the Scots and the English refugees crossed the Border in force; their main body made a push to seize Carlisle, which the Lancastrian chiefs, the Duke of Exeter and Lord Grey de Rougemont, promised to deliver to them as they had already delivered Berwick. The town, however, shut its gates; and the invaders were constrained to content themselves with burning its suburbs and forming a regular siege. But as they lay before it they were suddenly attacked by Montagu, who came up long before he was expected, and beat them back over the Border with the loss of several thousand men; among the slain was John Clifford, brother to the peer who had fallen at Towton.

Almost simultaneously another raiding party, led by Lord Roos and Sir John Fortescu, the late Chief-Justice, and guided by two of the Westmoreland Nevilles, Thomas and Humphrey, slipped down from the Middle Marches and attempted to raise the county of Durham. But as they drew near to the ancestral Neville seat of Brancepeth, they were fallen upon by forces brought up by Warwick, and were driven back on June 26th as disastrously as the main army for which they had been making a diversion.

These two defeats cooled the ardour of the Scotch allies of the house of Lancaster. Moreover, trouble was soon provided for them on their own side of the Border. There were always discontented nobles to be found in the North, and King Edward was able to retaliate on the Scotch regents by concluding a treaty with the Earl of Ross, which set a considerable rebellion on foot in the Highlands and the Western Isles. By the time that the autumn came there was no longer any immediate danger to be apprehended on the Borders, and Warwick was able to relinquish his northern viceroyalty and come south, to pay his estates a flying visit, and to obey the writ which summoned him in November to King Edward's first Parliament at Westminster.

While Warwick had been labouring in the North, the King had been holding his Court at London, free to rule after his own devices. At twenty Edward the Fourth had already a formed character, and displayed all the personal traits which developed in his later years. The spirit of the fifteenth century was strong in him. Cultured and cruel, as skilled as the oldest statesman in the art of cajoling the people, as cool in the hour of danger as the oldest soldier, he was not a sovereign with whom even the greatest of his subjects could deal lightly. Yet he was so inordinately fond of display and luxury of all sorts, so given to sudden fits of idleness, so prone to sacrifice policy to any whim or selfish impulse of the moment, that he must have seemed at times almost contemptible to a man who, like Warwick, had none of the softer vices of self-indulgence. Still in mourning for a father and brother not six months dead, with a kingdom not yet fully subdued to his fealty, with an empty exchequer, with half the nobles and gentry of England owing him a blood-feud for their kinsmen slain at Towton, Edward had cast aside every thought of the past and the morrow, and was bearing himself with all the thriftless good-humour of an heir lately come to a well-established fortune. It seems that the splendours of his coronation-feasts were the main things that had been occupying his mind while Warwick had been fighting his battles in the North. Reading of his jousts and banquets and processions, his gorgeous reception by the city magnates, and his lavish distributions of honours and titles, we hardly remember that he was no firmly-rooted King, but the precarious sovereign of a party, surrounded by armed enemies and secret conspirators.

In the lists of honours which Edward had distributed after his return homeward from Towton field, Warwick found that he had not been neglected. The offices which he had held in 1458-59 had been restored to him; he was again Captain of the town and castle of Calais, Lieutenant of the March of Picardy, Grand Chamberlain of England, and High Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster. In addition he was now created Constable of Dover and Warden of the Cinque Ports, and made Master of the Mews and Falcons, and Steward of the Manor and Forest of Feckenham. His position in the North, too, was made regular by his appointment as Warden and Commissary General of the East and West Marches, and Procurator Envoy and Deputy for all negotiations with the Scots.

Nor had the rest of the Neville clan been overlooked. John Neville had, as we have already mentioned, received the barony of Montagu. George Neville the Bishop of Exeter was again Chancellor. Fauconbridge, who had fought so manfully at Towton, was created Earl of Kent. Moreover, Sir John Wenlock, Warwick's most faithful adherent, who had done him such good service at Sandwich in 1459, was made a baron. We shall always find him true to the cause of his patron down to his death at Tewkesbury field. Although several other creations swelled the depleted ranks of the peerage at the same time, the Nevilles could not complain that they had failed to receive their due share of the rewards.

Nor would it seem that at first the King made any effort to resent the natural ascendency which his cousin exercised over his counsels. The experienced warrior of thirty-three must still have overborne the precocious lad of twenty when their wills came into contact. The campaigns of 1459-60, in which he had learnt soldiering under Warwick, must have long remained impressed on Edward's mind, even after he had won his own laurels at Mortimer's Cross and shared with equal honours in the bloody triumph of Towton. So long as Richard Neville was still in close and constant contact with the young King, his ascendency was likely to continue. It was when, in the succeeding years, his duties took him for long periods far from Edward's side, that the Earl was to find his cousin first growing indifferent, then setting his own will against his adviser's, then deliberately going to work to override every scheme that came to him from any member of the Neville house.

We have no particular notice of Warwick's personal doings in the Parliament which sat in November and December 1461; but the language of his brother George the Chancellor represents, no doubt, the attitude which the whole family adopted. His text was "Amend your ways and your doings," and the tenor of his discourse was to point out that the ills of England during the last generation came from the national apostasy in having deserted the rightful heirs so long in behalf of the usurping house of Lancaster. Now that a new reign had commenced, a reform in national morality should accompany the return of the English to their lawful allegiance. The sweeping acts of attainder against fourteen peers and many scores of knights and squires which the Yorkist Parliament passed might not seem a very propitious beginning for the new era, but at any rate it should be remembered to the credit of the Nevilles that the King's Council under their guidance tempered the zeal of the Commons by many limitations which guarded the rights of numer ous individuals who would have been injured by the original proposals.

Moreover, the Government allowed the opportunity of reconciliation to many of the more luke-warm adherents of Lancaster, who had not been personally engaged in the last struggle. It is to Warwick's credit that his cousin Ralph of Westmoreland was admitted to pardon, and not taken to task for the doings of his retainers, under the conduct of his brother, in the campaign of Wakefield and St. Albans. Ralph was summoned to the Parliament, and treated no worse than if he had been a consistent adherent of York. The same favour was granted to the Earl of Oxford, till he forfeited it by deliberate conspiracy against the King. Sanguine men were already beginning to hope that King Edward and his advisers might be induced to end the civil wars by a general grant of amnesty, and might invite his rival Henry to return to England as the first subject of the Crown. Such mercy and reconciliation, however, were beyond the mind of the ordinary partisan of York; and the popular feeling of the day was probably on the side of the correspondent of the Pastons, who complained "that the King receives such men as have been his great enemies, and great oppressors of his Commons, while such as have assisted his Highness be not rewarded; which is to be considered, or else it will hurt, as seemeth me but reason."


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