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Roused by the spirited conduct of their sovereign, the troops expressed the utmost eagerness for action; and actually almost stripped them: selves, that they might exert the full energy of their bodies. The moment the charge sounded the front rank kneeled, and kissed the ground; and rising, discharged a flight of arrows, which did great execution in the closed ranks of the French. The soldiers in ambush, also, did their part; and when all their arrows were expended, the murderous contest of swords and battle axes commenced ; and the soldiers on both sides mixing, each fought man to man.
The duke d’Alençon, with the line he commanded, had vowed to take or kill our brave Henry, or meet with death at his hands. In three hours the defeat of the French was completed. Far from being intemperate in his success, the sagacious hero of Agincourt saw the necessity of keeping his men together. He, therefore, directed them to make as many prisoners as they could, without advancing far beyond the field of battle; which they did to the amount of 7000 barons, knights, and gentlemen ; amongst whom were the dukes of Bourbon and Orleans, and many other
persons of high rank. The loss they sustained in killed consisted of the dukes of Bar, Brabant, and Alençon, the archbishop of Sens, 102 nobles, 1500 knights, and considerable numbers of soldiers.
It seems to have been agreed by our historians, that Henry VI. was altogether unfit for the exalted situation in which fortune had placed him. Weak in his intellects, and governed without the least attempt at resistance by his ambitious subjects, it is by no means surprizing that they at length succeeded in depriving him of his crown. When he was thus reduced to their level, he bore his misfortunes with meekness and patience; and totally disarmed his successor of every wish to take a life that had been passed temperately, chastely, devoutly, and, in every respect, consonant to the laws of morality. His subsequent treatment, therefore, marked by every base indignity, reflects but little credit on the feelings and manners of the age ; and prepares the mind for the murderous close of his life in the Tower, after the return of Edward his rival to London, by the hands of the duke of Gloucester.
It gives us pleasure to find instances of modesty of manners in the history of our characteristics. When a king appears sensible of any particular impropriety, and publicly notices it, we may safely suppose his courtiers take the hint, and their copyists in humbler life spread it. Thus a fashion is established in manners, as rapidly as in dress.
Henry VI. celebrated for his modesty and chastity, once witnessed a masque intended for his amusement. The ladies who assisted in the
performance were rather wantonly dressed, exhibiting part of their breasts and their hair loose on their necks. The king, though unmarried, immediately rose, and left the apartment; exclaiming, “ Fie, fie, forsooth you are much to blame."
The year 1450 introduced a repetition of the uncommon scenes presented by Tyler's insurrection. The new hero, who was to convince us little alteration had taken place in the wishes and conduct of the people, assumed the name of John Mortimer, but his real one was John Cade; and his followers gave him that of John Amend-all, from his professing to restore their rights, and reform every abuse in the state.
It has never been clearly ascertained whether ambitious persons of high rank prompted this insurrection, or whether it proceeded from the daring spirit of Cade.
Blackheath was once more the rendezvous of the commons of Kent, who from thence petitioned the king, in respectful terms, to adopt the count sels of the dukes of York, Buckingham, Norfolk, and Exeter, and the other well-disposed nobles of the realm, to redress several grievances, and punish those who had not only lost the foreign doininions of the crown, but oppressed the inhabitants of England. Many of the persons proscribed by this address belonged to the privy council; consequently it was determined, instead
of complying with it, to disperse the malcontents by force ; which method utterly failing, Cade returned to his quarters at Blackheath ; where the Government thought it advisable to enter into a negotiation with him, and deputed the archbishop of Canterbury and the duke of Buckingham for
Cade treated the commissioners with great respect; but refused to relinquish bis formidable position, unless his requisitions were complied with. The Court, doubtful of the loyalty of the army, retired from London, after sending lord treasurer Say and Seale to the Tower, as an act of deference to the insurgents; who, thus encouraged, entered the city, and immediately executed the lord just mentioned, and his son-in-law, Cromer, sheriff of Kent. Elated by this success, and prompted by Cade, they soon began to plunder
direction ; which exciting the resentment of the wealthy citizens, they fairly beat them out of London. At this critical moment the two archbishops, then in the Tower, issued a pardon to all those who retired to their homes. Thousands instantly accepted it, and left Cade a fugitive for his life; which he lost in a very short time at Heathfield, in Sussex, where he had concealed himself in a garden.
Edward IV. was an instance of the horrid consequences attending vice. When he commenced his reign, his subjects admired the beauty of his
person and features, improved by the vivacity and activity of youth ; but, before he had attained his forty-first year, they beheld him with disgust, the bloated victim of intemperance.
This monarch has been celebrated for his tenacious memory; yet his oaths and promises often escaped his recollection. His military talents were great, and successful; but he fought domestic enemies : and all the blood that flowed in his quarrels was that of Englishmen; and, true to his ambitious character, he added cruelty to usurpation; and sent numbers to the scaffold, through motives of revenge ; one of whom was his own brother, the duke of Clarence.
Amongst the various methods adopted by the early friends of morality to discountenance and punish vice, was the custom of compelling offenders to perform penance. This was done in various ways; but most publicly, by compelling the party to walk at a solemn pace through the body of a church, dressed in white, and bearing a lighted taper.
History, perhaps, doth not afford another instance of penance more impressive than that of Jane Shore, the beautiful mistress of Edward the Fourth, and afterwards of the lord Hastings. Jane was the daughter of respectable and worthy parents, and a native of London ; where she married Master Shore, at rather an early period of life, and without feeling for him that degree of