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port (wherein the King might any ways appear') go to the aid of the Duke of Brittaine. The King denied his request, or at least seemed so to do, and laid strait commandment upon him that he should not stir ; for that the King thought his honour would suffer therein, during a treaty to better a party. Nevertheless this lord (either being unruly, or out of conceit 2 that the King would not inwardly dislike that which he would not openly avow,) sailed secretly over into the Isle of Wight whereof he was governor, and levied a fair troop of four hundred men, and with them passed over into Brittaine, and joined himself with the Duke's forces. The news whereof when it came to the French court, put divers young bloods into such a fury, as the English ambassadors were not without peril to be outraged. But the French King, both to preserve the privilege of ambassadors, and being conscious to himself that in the business of peace he himself was the greater dissembler of the two, forbad all injuries of fact or word against their persons or follow

And presently came an agent from the King to purge himself touching the Lord Woodvile's going over, using for a principal argument to demonstrate that it was without his privity, for that the troops were so small, as neither had the face of a succour by authority nor could much advance the Briton affairs. To which message although the French King gave no full credit, yet he made fair weather 4 with the King and seemed satisfied. Soon after the English ambassadors returned, having two of them been likewise with

Absque commeatu aut fide publica. 2 Opinione temeraria. 3 Compare W. Paston's letter, 13th May, 1488; quoted in note, p 106. 4 Cum serenitate quadam respondit.


the Duke of Brittaine 1 and found things in no other terms than they were before. Upon their return they informed the King of the state of the affairs, and how far the French King was from any true meaning of peace, and therefore he was now to advise of some other course.

Neither was the King himself led all this while with credulity merely, as was generally supposed. But his error was not so much facility of belief, as an ill-measuring of the forces of the other party. For (as was partly touched before) the King had cast the business thus with himself. He took it for granted in his own judgment that the war of Brittaine, in respect of the strength of the towns and of the party, could not speedily come to a period. For he conceived that the counsels of a war that was undertaken by the French King (then childless 2) against an heir apparent of France, would be very faint and slow; and besides that it was not possible but that the state of France should be embroiled with some troubles and alterations in favour of the Duke of Orleans. He conceived likewise that Maximilian

1 According to Lobineau, i. 783, who gives as his authority Registre, an embassage consisting of the three commissioners above mentioned; viz. the Abbot of Abingdon, Sir Richard Tunstall, and Chaplain Urswick, together with Dr. Wardes, – passed from France into Brittany in June, 1488: which agrees with Sismondi's statement, that from the 1st to the 26th of June in that year hostilities were suspended in consequence of Henry's mediation. Polydore adds that the ambassadors, before they returned, renewed the truce between Henry and Charles for twelve months — (renovatis in duodecim menses cum Carolo induciis). They probably agreed upon the terms of the truce which was signed by Henry at Windsor on 14th July, 1488, (see Rymer) and was to contince from that day till the 17th of January, 1489–90. I do not however find any trace of the counterpart signed by Charles: and it is not improbable that it was interrupted before completion by the events which immediately Collowed.

% And unmarried. C'ælibe et sine liberis.

King of the Romans was a Prince warlike and potent, who he made account would give succours to the Britons roundly. So then judging it would be a work of time, he laid his plot how he might best make use of that time for his own affairs. Wherein first he thought to make his vantage upon his Parliament, knowing that they being affectionate unto the quarrel of Brittaine would give treasure largely. Which treasure as a noise of war might draw forth, so a peace succeeding might coffer up. And because he knew bis people were hot upon the business, he chose rather

seem to be deceived and lulled a-sleep by the French, than to be backward in himself; considering his subjects were not so fully capable of the reasons of state which made him hold back. Wherefore to all these purposes he saw no other expedient than to set and keep on foot a continual treaty of peace, laying it down and taking it up again as the occurrence required. Besides he had in consideration the point of honour, in bearing the blessed person of a pacificator. He thought likewise to make use of the envy that the French King met with by occasion of this war of Brittaine, in strengthening himself with new alliances; as namely that of Ferdinando of Spain, with whom he had ever a consent (even in nature and customs); and likewise with Maximilian, who was particularly interested. So that in substance he promised himself' money, honour, friends, and peace in the end." But those things were too fine to be fortunate and succeed in all parts; for that great affairs are commonly too rough and stubborn to be wrought upon by the finer edges or points of wit. The King was likewise deceived in his two main grounds. For although he had reason to conceive that the counsel of France would be wary to put the King into a war against the heir apparent of France ; yet he did not consider that Charles was not guided by any of the principal of the blood or nobility,” but by mean men, who would make it their master-piece of credit and favour to give venturous counsels which no great or wise man durst or would. And for Maximilian, he was thought then a greater matter than he was; his unstable and necessitous courses 2 being not then known.

1 Satis indulgenter promiserat. ? Et in fine pacem qualem optabat.

After consultation with the ambassadors, who brought him no other news than he expected before (though he would not seem to know it till then), he presently summoned his Parliament, and in open Parliament propounded the cause of Brittaine to both

1 The translation has “ a riris e concilio primariis." According to Comines, those who governed Charles during the first four years of his reign were “Le Duc et Duchesse de Bourbon, et un Chambellan appelé le seigneur de Graville, et autres chambelans, qui en ce temps eurent grand regne." (Liv. vii. c. 1.)

2 Mores ejus instabiles, et conatus ob indigentiam suam fere semper inutiles.

8 Polydore Vergil's words are “ suorum principum conrocato concilio ; by which he probably meant, as Hall certainly understood him to mean, that Henry summoned a Parliament. But as no Parliament was summoned between the 9th of November, 1487, and the 13th of January, 1488–9; and as the series of negotiations above detailed could not have been gone through between September and November; and as this " principum concilium" is expressly mentioned as having met before the battle of St. Aubin, which was fought on the 28th of July, 1488; it is clear that if he supposed it to be a Parliament (as indeed he must have done, for he speaks of laws being passed by it) he has made a mistake somewhere. In supposing that the succours which Henry sent to Brittany were despatched inmediately after the battle of St. Aubin, and before the death of the Duke of Brittany, he was certainly mistaken. The Duke died on the 8th of September, 1488; the succours did not set out before March, 1488–9.

Modern historians have pointed out or avoided these mistakes; but have not, as it seems to me, discovered the true order and concatenation of

events. I think it will be found that this "principum concilium" before which Henry propounded the case of Brittany, was not a Parliament, but &" Great Council ; " (so called in contradistinction to the “ordinary” or "continual council," and in those days well known it seems by that name;) i. e. a council consisting not only of lords, spiritual and temporal, joined with the King's privy,council (as has been supposed); but also of principal persons of various classes, including lawyers, burgesses, and merchants; composed in short of much the same elements as a Parliament; and specially summoned by the King for consultation in great affairs (for a fuller justification of which conjecture see Appendix No. I.): - that the occasion of its being summoned was not the return of the ambassadors out of France just before the battle of St. Aubin; but the issue of that battle, with the events which immediately followed, including the Duke's death and the new pretensions of the French King (see note 1. p. 118): - and that the time of its meeting was the beginning of November, 1488, only two months after the Duke's death. We know from the Herald's narrative (Cott. MSS. Jul. xii. fo. 49.) - an evidence almost conclusive on such a point - that after Whitsuntide in that year (which was on the 25th of May)," all the summer following" the King “ hunted and sported him merely;" but that after keeping his Allhallow-tide (1st November) at Windsor," he removed to Westminster, to the gretest conseill that was many yers wilhoute the name of parliament.” We know from the same authority that "there were at that season many ambassadors in England from foreign countries." We know from Rymer that on the 11th of December following, ambassadors were despatched from England to France, to Brittany, to Spain, and to Flanders. We know that on the 23rd of December commissions were out for raising a body of archers for the succour of Brittany. We know that Parliament met on the 13th of the following month, and voted liberal supplies for that enterprise. And we know lastly that soon after the Parliament broke up these succours were despatched. If then we suppose that Henry still hoped to carry his ends by negotiation until he heard of the battle of St. Aubin; that the result of that battle was not only unexpected, but so decisive that it did in fact put an end to the war for the time (which is true; for the treaty of Verger, which established Charles in possession of all he had won, was concluded (D'Argentré, xiii. 48.) on the 21st August), and left him no room for action, until the accession of the young Duchess and the questions arising thereupon opened a new chapter; that immediately upon this he summoned a Great Council, partly that he might feel the sense of the nation, and partly that he might pledge them to the support of the war before he committed himself; and that it was to this Great Council that he now (i. e. in the beginning of November, 1488) propounded the case and appealed for advice; it will be found I think that the events hang together more naturally, and suit better with the fixed data established by state documents.

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