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is Bishop Lowth's. Lowth's English Grammar was, at the time of its publication, the most scientific grammar of any European language; and the improvements introduced into the better German grammars of late years, were many of them long ago applied to English by Lowth. But here, as well as in Germany, the old errors keep their ground in the popular grammars. Here perhaps it is not to be wondered at, when we consider that the English grammars in most extensive use in this country have been written generally by Americans or Scotchmen. Dr. Crombie's is no better than the rest.
Art. VI. 1. Historical Memoirs of the Queens of England. By
Hannah LAWRANCE. Vol. II. pp. 456. London: Moxon. 2. Lives of the Queens of England. By AGNES STRICKLAND. Vol. III. PP
448. London: Colborn.
HAVING perused these volumes, we see no reason for altering
our former estimate of the comparative merits of the authors. Miss Strickland with much industry has collected a great number of facts (or what for want of knowing better we are obliged to call such), from a great number of authorities, some better, some worse, and tells us plainly and simply what she finds. Miss Lawrance, with perhaps a greater paucity of incident, reasons more; and often comes, we are inclined to think, to more correct conclusions.
Miss Strickland apologizes for some delay in the appearance of her third (monthly) volume. Whatever may have caused it there is no room for apology or regret.
This volume contains, amongst others, the memoirs of those Queens of England who lived—we can scarcely say flourishedduring the wars of York and Lancaster. Those of Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, and Anne of Warwick, have interested us the most. No women could be more different in character than these, and perhaps the effect of their histories is not a little heightened by the close proximity in which they stand. As regards ourselves, we are most pleased with the two last-named ladies. The heroine of Anjou is highly praised, and has made most noise in the world undoubtedly; but giving her all the credit due for feeling, and making all allowance for passions and for interests, we must say, that with our estimate of female character, your fighting heroines are not greatly to our taste. One of the writers before us has indeed admitted, that the quiet fortitude and passive courage of Elizabeth Woodville produced a
more favorable impression on the English people, than the active bravery and fierce exertions of the belligerent Margaret.
Most of the common notions respecting Margaret of Anjou are taken from Shakspere; and Shakspere did not hesitate to go astray, provided he could carry others with him. The character of Margaret has suffered greatly in his hands; and it must be no small gratification to a female writer to be able to restore her fame.
Nevertheless, and though we are rather optimists ourselves, we cannot divest ourselves of the feeling that our fair friends have gone a little too far on the favorable side in delineating the character and career of Margaret. She fell on evil times no doubt, and the spirit of her times was upon her. She came, too, young and inexperienced, to a task which would have tried the powers of practised and accomplished statesmen. Her union with the King of England involved a sacrifice of territory, and what perhaps was worse, of national pride and feeling, which once and for ever associated her name with a consciousness of disgrace and loss. It was in fact the triumph of a party; if, indeed, we may not say more properly of a person :the Duke of Suffolk. Thé Duke of Gloster was desirous that the king should marry the daughter of the Earl of Armagnac, who would have brought for her dower Auvergne and Gascony; and we do not see how the Duke of Suffolk can possibly be cleared from the imputation of elfish and unprincipled ambition in opposing this alliance.
Margaret of course was perfectly aware of the opposition of the Duke of Gloster to her marriage. Suffolk was the person to whom she was mainly indebted for her crown; and the talents and attentions of Cardinal Beaufort naturally commanded her respect and insured her regard. Henry, with every disposition to do good, was too weak-minded and irresolute to control the haughty peers who contended for the reins of government, and Margaret must necessarily have sided with the one or the other party, unless she would have been the sport of both. She has been unsparingly charged with injudicious meddling in affairs of state; it does not appear, however, that even her enemies brought forward any accusation of that kind against her till after the Duke of York had been appointed for the first time Protector, and was evidently aiming at the crown. One powerful reason with the queen for attaching herself to the party of the cardinal in opposition to that of Gloster, might we think have been, that Beaufort's policy was all along directed to the establishment of peace with France, in the welfare of which country she must have been deeply interested. Certainly she did not give that common cause of complaint to her people, of surrounding herself with greedy foreigners, and promoting them at the expense and to the injury of her English subjects.
That she was implicated in a plan for the murder of the Duke of Gloster, we consider as extremely improbable; it has never yet been shown that the duke was murdered, though the circumstances of his death were very suspicious, and the imputation of his murder was turned to stern account against those who were supposed to have compassed it. At that time Margaret was too young, and of too generous a spirit to yield herself to such a practice. It must, however, bave been with the consent of the king and queen that Gloster was arrested ; and equally certain that they must have been prepared to proceed to extremities against him ; or they and their party would never have struck a blow which, unless it had been final, would have redounded with fearful violence against themselves. Whether Gloster was really plotting against them with the Duke of York, or whether he would have fallen a victim to imputations which the priestly pride and malice of the cardinal would have brought against him, must now be for ever unknown. Certain it is that he had brought forward charges against Beaufort, which the council, being chiefly churchmen, had set aside ; and equally certain is it, that never was an injury, real or supposed, forgiven or forgotten by a priest who had the power to revenge it. Six weeks only after the death of Gloster, Beaufort was called to his own account; not indeed with the circumstances of horror described by Shakspere, but, if we may credit the testimony of his own chaplain, cited by Hall, with sufficient regret and unwillingness; and with lamentations at leaving his ill-gotten wealth, suitable enough from the mouth of a luxurious and ambitious churchman, but which never could have issued from the lips of any Christian.
The death of the Duke of Gloster was the signal for the civil war. The Duke of York became presumptive heir to the crown, failing issue by Henry and Margaret; and it was not till the first illness of the king, when the duke was regent, that the heir of Lancaster was born-the ill-fated Edward, who fell at Tewkesbury. York bad dallied too long with temptation to allow of his breaking free, and the bitterness of spirit with which his party beheld the birth of an heir to the house of Lancaster, found vent in casting doubts on the legitimacy of the infant prince; and even in asserting that the child of Margaret had died, and that another had been substituted for it.
The only child of Henry was brought into the world at a time when his royal father was utterly unconscious of all that was passing in it
. We transcribe the account of his first interview with his child after the recovery of his reason.
On Monday at noon the queen came to him, and brought my lord prince with her, and then he asked what the prince's name was ? and the queen told him Edward; and then he held up his hands and
thanked God thereof. And he said he never knew him till that time, nor wist what was said to him, nor wist where he had been, whilst he had been sick, till now; and he asked who were the godfathers, and the queen told him, and he was well apaid (content). And she told him the cardinal was dead,* and he said he never knew of it till this time ; then he said one of the wisest lords in this land was dead. And he saith he is in charity with all the world, and so he would all the lords were.'— Miss Strickland, pp. 277, 278.
It is not our intention to trace the progress of Margaret through the vicissitudes of the civil war. Our object is to note those traits of character which develop the nature of the woman; and which aid us in making those reflections from which the study of history derives its value. With this view we shall only add, that after the battle of Wakefield the character of this extraordinary woman appears to have altered suddenly for the worse. There first the tigress dipped her paws in blood; and from that time forward her course was marked by deeds of sanguinary vengeance. Miss Lawrance and Miss Strickland vary on many points: as regards the battle of Wakefield the latter asserts, from the testimony of Hall, that Margaret was present at it; the former, following Wethamstede and Wyrcestre, that she did not arrive till after it. It is pretty certain that York and Salisbury were killed in the battle, and beheaded afterwards; and even this in all probability was not done by the queen's order; though it might have been by her direction that the head of the duke was crowned with paper, and set on the gates of York. Miss Strickland thinks that it was the strength of her maternal feelings that henceforth roused her to such deeds of bloodshed against the enemies of her son. It might in part have been so, but we incline to think that after the events of Wakefield she must have seen that her example would be followed by her enemies, and that the chances of success must henceforth rest with those who could most quickly extirpate their opponents.
After the deaths of her husband, her son, and her father, Margaret disposed of her reversionary interest in her father's dominions to Louis the Eleventh, of France, for an annual pension of six thousand livres.
* This transfer was the last action of Margaret of Anjou's life that history has recorded. She withdrew to the chateau of Damprierre, near Saumur, and there in the deepest retirement she closed her troublous pilgrimage, August 25, 1482, in the fifty-first year of her age. She was buried in the cathedral of Angers, in the same tomb with her royal parents, without epitaph or inscription, or any other
• This was Cardinal Kemp.
memorial, excepting her portrait painted on glass in a window of the cathedral.'*—Ib. pp. 360, 361.
René of Anjou, the father of Margaret, was a man of a remarkable and enviable temper; a striking instance of the efficiency of an elastic mind, and a love for intellectual pursuits, in disarming the anxieties of life of their power to depress and weary. A king without a kingdom, and almost without a livre, he preserved his equanimity, and appears to have enjoyed his life. No mean proficient in literature and the arts, when deprived of his possessions and imprisoned, he employed his time in ornamenting the chapel of Dijon with miniatures and paintings on glass; and he owed his liberty to the admiration of Philip the Good for his abilities. "A little before his death he composed," says Miss Strickland, 'two beautiful canticles on the actions of “his beloved Margaret.' His works both in painting and music are extant at the present day. His turbulent nobles scorned him as feeble-minded, but his people surnamed him the good.' There is a sunny side to every cloud; and his was one of those thrice happy spirits that always seek and find their station under it.
Much of the life of Elizabeth Woodville, Wodeville, or Wydville (for her name is spelt in all these different ways), was coeval with that of Margaret of Anjou. Her days began in romance; and as they began so they held on and ended. Her mother, Jacquetta of Luxembourg-a princess in her own right, and widow of the Duke of Bedford—bad taken for her second husband Richard Woodville, a mere esquire to Henry the Fifth, but
- the handsomest man in England. He was afterwards promoted by Cardinal Beaufort, and became first baron and afterwards Earl Rivers. The fortune of her parents being by no means equal to their rank, they were happy to place Elizabeth as maid of honor with Queen Margaret." While in attendance on her royal mistress she performed her first feat of womanhood by captivating the heart of Sir Hugh Johns, a retainer of the Duke of York. Brave, however, as Sir Hugh was among men, he was afraid to attack the lady single-handed; and therefore procured the Duke of York and the Earl of Warwick to break ground for him ; very impoliticly, says Miss Strickland, and we hold her to be good authority, for amidst all the changes that have happened since the flood, the heart of woman is the same as ever.
We notice this achievement of Elizabeth for the purpose of introducing the letter of the duke, exemplifying the art of making love at second-hand; being an original' it is curious.
On the authority of Villeneuve ; and of Prevost, who wrote a life of Margaret of Anjou.