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mances the belief that he was aware of opposition from a powerful quarter.
The instruction to Suffolk to “gather up a tenth,” for his expenses, is an anticipation of a grant which I shall hereafter notice.
If some violence is done to history in this matter of Suffolk and Margaret, a more unjustifiable liberty is taken with truth in regard to the pacification which preceded the marriage. It is not only that Winchester is substituted for Suffolk, who was the real negociator of this treaty, and that York is made, without any warranty, to oppose it altogether, but the French King is made to submit to ignominious terms.
“You shall become true liegeman to his crown,”
There is not a word, even in Holinshed, to support this: the terms of the truce are extant, and contain no condition of allegiance or submission on either side.t Johnson makes no critical remark upon this play. He could have said little that was good.
As the principal English characters will appear again, I shall make no remark upon them as they exhibit themselves in this play. Of our Talbot, as well as of Dunois, Alençon, and other Frenchmen, we know nothing but that they were brave soldiers. Charles the Seventh had, according to French historians, but not, as I believe, according to any that were open to Shakspeare, a character susceptible of dramatic art; it had some resemblance to that which is popularly ascribed to Henry the Fifth ; but with this essential difference, that the good did not follow and supersede the bad, but kept up an alternation with it through life.”
* See Sismondi, xiii. 163, 522.
HENRY WI.-PART II.
THE “Second Part of Henry VI.” opens with the introduction of Queen Margaret to the King and his court * by Suffolk, who had been sent to marry her as the King's proxy, and bring her to England.
This commencement fits exactly, as Johnson observes, the conclusion of the former; but I have already shown that the narrative of the first play went deeply into the period to which this refers.
Holinshed is followed in making the cession of Anjou and Maine a part of the arrangement con
cluded by Suffolk.f. But the State Paper by which
* Consisting of Gloucester, Cardinal Beaufort, Warwick, York, and Somerset, all known to us in the former play, and two new characters. Richard Neville, third son of Ralph Earl of Westmoreland, and husband of Alice, daughter of the Salisbury who was killed before Orleans, and thence became himself Earl of Salisbury. He was father to Warwick. Buckingham was Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Stafford, Earl of Buckingham in right of his mother (who was sister of Humphrey Plantagenet, the last earl), and created duke in 1441. –Nicolas, i. 92.
t Hol., 206. See p. 255.
the cessions are stipulated, and which Gloucester is on that account unable to read to the end, is apparently the composition of the dramatist; at least I can nowhere find it, or any written agreement whatever upon the subject. Holinshed's language, indeed, is consistent with the third article of the impeachment of Suffolk (of which hereafter), stating that he was believed to have consented to this cession, apparently by a private understanding, without the assent, perhaps without the privity, of his colleagues in the embassy.” There is nothing about the marriage, or these provinces, in the treaty by which the truce was stipulated. +
Suffolk's elevation to the rank of duke did not take place until three years afterwards; he got his marquisate between the date of his mission and that of the marriage.;
For the measure next announced I find neither authority nor reason:—
“Cousin of York, we here discharge your grace
I have already said that I seek in vain for the
* Parl. Hist., i. 387. Rolls, v. 178, anno 1450.
f Rymer, xi. 59.
f Sept. 14, 1444. The marriage, May 30, 1445. Holinshed himself makes the Marquisate the reward of the mission, p. 207.
alleged opposition of Gloucester, and that authentic records appear to negative the allegation. Shakspeare's account is from Holinshed:—
“Although this marriage pleased the king and divers of his council, yet Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, protector of the realm, was much against it, alleging that it was both contrary to the laws of God and dishonourable to the prince, if he should break that promise and contract of marriage made by ambassadors sufficiently thereto instructed, with the daughter of the Earl of Armagnac, upon conditions both to him and his realm as much profitable as honourable; but the duke's word would not be heard, for the earl's doings were only liked and allowed.” +
This Chronicler mentions the petition of the Commons in favour of Suffolk,+ and the support given to it by the peers, though he does not mention Gloucester either as concurring or dissenting on that occasion.
Holinshed, as usual, copied from Hall, who, whether inventor or transmitter, is, I believe, the oldest Chronicler of the Protector's displeasure. I now give the account of Fabyan, $ who, although not, as Mackintosh calls him, a contemporary,
• Hol., 207. + See p. 257.
t P. 204. § P. 618.
| Hist. Eng., ii. 7. I cannot call a writer contemporary because he might have been born when the events took