Jacob Abbott. Margaret of Anjou

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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.]









Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

[Illustration: The Bridal Procession.]


The story of Margaret of Anjou forms a part of the history of England, for the lady, though of Continental origin, was the queen of one of the English kings, and England was the scene of her most remarkable adventures and exploits. She lived in very stormy times, and led a very stormy life; and her history, besides the interest which it excites from the extraordinary personal and political vicissitudes which it records, is also useful in throwing a great deal of light upon the ideas of right and wrong, and of good and evil, and upon the manners and customs, both of peace and war, which prevailed in England during the age of chivalry.

[Illustration: Map, Illustrating the History of Margaret of Anjou.]



[Sidenote: A real heroine.]

Margaret of Anjou was a heroine; not a heroine of romance and fiction, but of stern and terrible reality. Her life was a series of military exploits, attended with dangers, privations, sufferings, and wonderful vicissitudes of fortune, scarcely to be paralleled in the whole history of mankind.

[Sidenote: Two great quarrels.]

She was born and lived in a period during which there prevailed in the western part of Europe two great and dreadful quarrels, which lasted for more than a hundred years, and which kept France and England, and all the countries contiguous to them, in a state of continual commotion during all that time.

[Sidenote: Contest between the houses of York and Lancaster.]

The first of these quarrels grew out of a dispute which arose among the various branches of the royal family of England in respect to the succession to the crown. The two principal branches of the family were the descendants respectively of the Dukes of York and Lancaster, and the wars which they waged against each other are called in history the wars of the houses of York and Lancaster. These wars continued for several successive generations, and Margaret of Anjou was the queen of one of the most prominent representatives of the Lancaster line. Thus she became most intimately involved in the quarrel.

[Sidenote: Wars in France.]

The second great contention which prevailed during this period consisted of the wars waged between France and England for the possession of the territory which now forms the northern portion of France. A large portion of that territory, during the reigns that immediately preceded the time of Margaret of Anjou, had belonged to England. But the kings of France were continually attempting to regain possession of it-the English, of course, all the time making desperate resistance. Thus, for a hundred years, including the time while Margaret lived, England was involved in a double set of wars-the one internal, being waged by one branch of the royal family against the other for the possession of the throne, and the other external, being waged against France and other Continental powers for the possession of the towns and castles, and the country dependent upon them, which lay along the southern shore of the English Channel.

[Sidenote: Origin of Difficulty.]

In order that the story of Margaret of Anjou may be properly understood, it will be necessary first to give some explanations in respect to the nature of these two quarrels, and to the progress which had been made in them up to the time when Margaret came upon the stage. We shall begin with the internal or civil wars which were waged between the families of York and Lancaster. Some account of the origin and nature of this difficulty is given in our history of Richard III., but it is necessary to allude to it again here, and to state some additional particulars in respect to it, on account of the very important part which Margaret of Anjou performed in the quarrel.

The difficulty originated among the children and descendants of King Edward III. He reigned in the early part of the fourteenth century. He occupied the throne a long time, and his reign was considered very prosperous and glorious. The prosperity and glory of it consisted, in a great measure, in the success of the wars which he waged in France, and in the towns, and castles, and districts of country which he conquered there, and annexed to the English domain.

[Sidenote: The sons of Edward III.]

In these wars old King Edward was assisted very much by the princes his sons, who were very warlike young men, and who were engaged from time to time in many victorious campaigns on the Continent. They began this career when they were very young, and they continued it through all the years of their manhood and middle life, for their father lived to an advanced age.

[Sidenote: The Black Prince.]

The most remarkable of these warlike princes were Edward and John. Edward was the oldest son, and John the third in order of age of those who arrived at maturity. The name of the second was Lionel. Edward, the oldest son, was of course the Prince of Wales; but, to distinguish him from other Princes of Wales that preceded and followed him, he is known commonly in history by the name of the Black Prince. He received this name originally on account of something about his armor which was black, and which marked his appearance among the other knights on the field of battle.

[Sidenote: Richard II.]

The Black Prince did not live to succeed his father and inherit the throne, for he lost his health in his campaigns on the Continent, and came home to England, and died a few years before his father died. His son, whose name was Richard, was his heir, and when at length old King Edward died, this young Richard succeeded to the crown, under the title of King Richard II. In the history of Richard II., in this series, a full account of the life of his father, the Black Prince, is given, and of the various remarkable adventures that he met with in his Continental campaigns.

[Sidenote: John of Gaunt.]

Prince John, the third of the sons of old King Edward, is commonly known in history as John of Gaunt. This word Gaunt was the nearest approach that the English people could make in those days to the pronunciation of the word Ghent, the name of the town where John was born. For King Edward, in the early part of his life, was accustomed to take all his family with him in his Continental campaigns, and so his several children were born in different places, one in one city and another in another, and many of them received names from the places where they happened to be born.

[Illustration: Selecting the Roses.]

On the following page we have a genealogical table of the family of Edward III. At the head of it we have the names of Edward III. and Philippa his wife. In a line below are the names of those four of his sons whose descendants figure in English history. It was among the descendants of these sons that the celebrated wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, called the wars of the roses, arose.

Genealogical Table of the Family of Edward III., Showing the Connection of the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Genealogical table of the descendants of Edward III.

EDWARD III.==Philippa.



| | | |


(The Black (Duke of (of Gaunt, Duke of (Duke of

Prince). Clarence). of Lancaster). York).

| | | |

| | | |


| | (See second Column.)

| | |


(Earl of Marche). | (Duke of York).


| | |

ANNE==Richard of York. | |

(See fourth column.) EDWARD ________|________

(Prince of | | |


(Duke of


The character == denotes marriage; the short perpendicular line | a

descent. There were many other children and descendants in the

different branches of the family besides those whose names are

inserted in the table. The table includes only those essential to an

understanding of the history.

[Sidenote: The roses.]

These wars were called the wars of the roses from the circumstance that the white and the red rose happened in some way to be chosen as the badges of the two parties-the white rose being that of the house of York, and the red that of the house of Lancaster.

[Sidenote: The four brothers.]

The reader will observe that the dukes of Lancaster and York are the third and fourth of the brothe ...

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