Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Warwick keeps his word 27.01.09

When Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Salisbury held England for the readeption government of Henry VI 1471 he was beholden to King Louis XI of France for financing his invasion. Louis, it is said, did not so much support Lancaster but his friend Warwick and so although Marguerite d'Anjou lived in exile in France, he had done nothing to further her and her husband's cause. But once Warwick agreed to support Henry then Louis was interested, though it still took all of Warwick's charisma and smooth arguments to persuade him to finance an expedition kitted out to Warwick's standards. And as with all things this support did not come without a price! Warwick in turn promised Louis that he would aid him against Burgundy, the upstart Duke who fancied himself mightier than the King of France, but preoccupied with holding a shaky alliance together and expecting Marguerite to return to England any moment, did Warwick do anything towards that promise?

According to British Museum MS 48988, a letter from Warwick to King Louis, he certainly did, perhaps inadvisedly, for it was the action against Burgundy that persuaded Duke Charles to finally support the cause of his brother in law Edward IV!

Seigneur, je me recommende a vostre bonne grace le plus humblement que je puis. Et vous plaise savoir que jay receu voz lettres par ce porteur, par lesquelles ay entendu que maintenant la guerre est ouuerte entre vous, vostre aduersaire, e le nostre, donc je prie a Dieu le tout puissant de vous en donner victoire. Au regard de commencer la guerre a Calais, je y ay envoye pour la commencer et ay eu aujourdhuy nouvelles certaines que ceulx de Calais lont desia commencee et ont couru apres de Ardes et ont tue deux de la garnison de Grauelingues. Sur le plus tost quil me sera possible, je me rendray deuers vous pour vous seruir sur ce mauldit Bourgoignon sans aucune deffaulte, se Dieu plaist, a qui je supplie de vous octroyer tout ce que vostre hault cueur desire. Escript a Londres le xi? jour de Feuvier.
[signed] Vostre tres humble seruiteur

Which is translated by A R Myers thus:-

Sir, I commend myself to your good grace in the humblest possible way. And may it please you to know that I have received your letters by this messenger, by which I have learnt that now war has begun between you, your adversary, and ours, wherefore I pray to Almighty God to give you the victory. In the matter of beginning the war at Calais, I have sent instructions to start it, and have today had certain news that the garrison of Calais has already begun and has advanced from Ardes and has killed two of the garrison at Gravelines. As soon as I possibly can, I will come to you to serve you against this accursed Burgundian without any default, please God, to whom I pray to grant you all that your high heart desires. Written at London the 13th day of February.

[signed] your very humble servant


As it turned out events overtook Warwick and prevented him from joining the fight against Burgundy and just before the Battle of Barnet (see earlier post 'The Final Battle') Warwick learned that Louis had made peace with Burgundy - though only for the time being - but that's in the next book!!!

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