THE REIGNS OF THE THREE KINGS OF THE HOUSE OF YORK, EDWARD IV EDWARD V AND RICHARD III. CONTAINING THE SPACE OF TWENTY-FOUR YEARS AND A HALF
EDWARD WAS PROCLAIMED THE 5TH OF MARCH, AND ON THE 12TH OR 13TH OF THE SAME MONTH, he was obliged to put himself at the head of his army. Before his departure from London, a tradesman was executed, for saying, he would make his son heir of the crown. Probably, he added some contemptuous words against the new King, and expressed too much zeal for the House of Lancaster.
Queen Margaret had acted with prudence, in not hazarding a battle at the gates of London, and in retiring among the northern people, who had hitherto appeared firmly attached to the House of Lancaster. They even gave her, upon this occasion, a sensible mark of their affection, by strengthening her army with whole bodies of fresh troops. This was done with such expedition, that in a few days the Queen saw herself at the head of sixty thousand men, in condition to await her enemy, or even to march against him.
Though Edward had been proclaimed at London, he was very sensible, that that ceremony made no great addition to his right, considering how irregularly it was performed.
The nobles of his party, and the people of London, were not invested with power to give the kingdom a sovereign; therefore, he could not depend upon that extraordinary election, unless it was supported with force. Henry VI had reigned thirty-eight years, acknowledged for lawful King by all the English; and yet this right, which seemed so well established, had not been able to maintain itself against a superior strength.
It was, therefore, easy to see, that Edward’s right, which had not great advantages, would subsist no longer than crowned with success. Matters standing thus, the two patties were once more to try the way of arms. Edward being young and lively, trusted to his courage and fortune. He was likewise excited to venture all, by the great men of his party, who having shewn so little regard for Henry, saw no safety but in victory. He departed therefore from London a few days after being proclaimed, and heading his army, marched towards the north, with a resolution to go in quest of Queen Margaret.