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title of the king's principal counsellor, and had the honour to perform the ceremony of crowning the young monarch in the church of Notre Dame at Paris; where he had some dispute with James du Chastellier, the archbishop, who claimed the right of officiating on that occasion. During his stay in France he was present at the congress of Arras for concluding a peace between the kings of England and France, and had a conference for that purpose with the dutchess of Burgundy, between Calais and Gravelines, which had no effect, and was remarkable only for the cardinal's magnificence, who came thither with a most splendid train. In the mean time the duke of Gloucester took advantage in England of the cardinal's absence to give him fresh mortification. For, first, having represented to the council, that the bishop of Winchester intended to leave the king, and come back into England to resume his seat in council, in order to excite new troubles in the kingdom, and that his intentions were the more criminal, as he made use of the pope's authority to free himself from the obligations of assisting the king in France; he procured an order of council forbidding all the king's subjects, of what condition soever, to accompany the cardinal, if he should leave the king, without express permission. The next step the protector took against him, was an attempt to deprive him of his bishopric, as inconsistent with the dignity of cardinal; but the affair having been a long time debated in council, it was resolved that the cardinal should be heard, and the judges consulted, before any decision. Being returned into England, he thought it necessary to take some precaution against these repeated attacks, and prevailed with the king, through the intercession of the commons, to grant him letters of pardon for all offences by him committed contrary to the statute of provisors, and other acts of
præmunire. This pardon is dated at Westminster, July 19, 1432. Five years after, he procured another pardon under the great-seal for all sorts of crimes whatever, from the creation of the world to the 26th of July 1437. Not. withstanding these precautions, the duke of Gloucester, in 1442, drew up articles of impeachment against the cardinal, and presented them with his own hands to the king, but the council appointed to examine them deferred their report so long that the protector discontinued the prosecution. The cardinal died June 14, 1447, having survived the duke of Gloucester not above a month, of whose mur
der he was suspected to have been one of the contrivers, and it is said that he expressed great uneasiness at the approach of death, and died in despair; but for this there does not appear much foundation, and we suspect the commonlyreceived character of Beaufort is mostly credited by those who have considered Shakspeare as an authentic historian. We rather agree with the historian of Winchester, that there is no solid ground for representing him as that ambitious, covetous, and reprobate character which Shakspeare has represented, and who has robbed his memory, in order to enrich that of his adversary, popularly terined the “good duke Humphrey” of Gloucester. Being involved in the vortex of worldly politics, it is true, that he gave too much scope to the passions of the great, and did not allow himself sufficient leisure to attend to the spiritual concerns of his diocese. He possessed, however, that munificent spirit, which has cast a lustre on the characters of many persons of past times, whom it would be difficult otherwise to present as objects of admiration. If he was rich, it must be admitted that he did not squander away his money upon unworthy pursuits, but chiefly employed it in the public service, to the great relief of the subjects, with whom, and with the commons' house of parliament, he was popular. He employed his wealth also in finishing the magnificent cathedral of Winchester, which was left incomplete by his predecessor, in repairing Hyde-abbey, relieving prisoners, and other works of charity. But what, Dr. Milner says, has chiefly redeemed the injured character of cardinal Beaufort, in Winchester and its neighbourhood, is the new foundation which he made of the celebrated hospital of St. Cross. Far the greater part of the present building was raised by him, and he added to the establishment of bis predecessor, Henry de Blois, funds for the support of thirty-five more brethren, two chaplains, and three women, who appear to have been hospital nuns. It appears also, says the same writer, that he prepared himself with resignation and contrition for his last end; and the collected, judicious, and pious dispositions made in his testament, the codicil of which was signed but two days before his dissolution, may justly bring into discredit the opinion that he died in despair. He was buried at Winchester in the most elegant and finished chantry in the kingdom.'
1 Biog. Brit.--Milner's Hist. of Winchester..See also an elaborate life of Beaufort, by Mr. Gough, in Vetusta Monumenta, vol. II. Nichols's Royal Willsa VOL. IV.
BEAUFORT (MARGARET), the foundress of Christ's and St. John's colleges in Cambridge, was the only daughter and heir of John Beaufort, duke of Somerset (grandson of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster), and of Margaret Beauchamp his wife. She was born at Bletshoe in Bedfordshire, in 1441. About the fifteenth year of her age, being a rich heiress, the great duke of Suffolk, minister to Henry the VIth. solicited her in marriage for his son; while the king wooed her for his half-brother Edmund, then earl of Richmond. On so nice a point the good young lady advised with an elder gentlewoman; who, thinking it too great a decision to take upon herself, recommended her to St. Nicholas, the patron of virgins. She followed her instructions, and poured forth her supplications and prayers with such effect, that one morning, whether sleeping or waking she could not tell, there appeared unto her somebody in the habit of a bishop, and desired she would accept of Edmund for her husband. Whereupon she married Edmund earl of Richmond; and by him had an only son, who was afterwards king Henry the VIlth. Edmund died, Nov. 3, 1456, leaving Henry his son and heir but fifteen weeks old :'after which Margaret married sir Henry Stafford, knight, second son to the duke of Buckingham, by whom she had no issue. Soon after the death of sir Henry Stafford, which happened about 1482, she was married again to Thomas lord Stanley, who was created earl of Derby, Oct. 27, 1485, which was the first year of her son's reign; and this noble lord died also before her in 1504.
The virtues of this lady are exceedingly celebrated. Her humility was such, that she would often say, “ on condition that the princes of Christendom would combine themselves, and march against the common enemy' the Turks, she would most willingly attend them, and be their laundress in the camp.” For her chastity, the rev. Mr. Baker, who republished bishop Fisher's “ Funeral Sermon” on her, in 1708, informs us in a preface, that, as it was unspotted in her marriage, so in her last husband's days, and long before his death, she obtained a licence of him to live chaste; upon which she took upon her the vow of celibacy from Fisher's hands, in a form yet extant in the registers of St. John's-college in Cambridge; and for this reason, as Baker supposes, her portrait is usually taken in the ha
All this for a lady who had had three hus
bit of a nun.
bands, and was now advanced in life, will not, we are afraid, be considered as any very violent degree of constraint. Her education, however, had qualified her for a studious and retired way of life. She understood the French language perfectly, and had some skill in the Latin; but would often lament that in her youth she did not make herself a perfect mistress of it. This affection for literature no doubt induced her mother-in-law, the duchess of Buckingham, to give her the following legacy in her last will : « To her daughter Richmond, a book of English, being a legend of saints; a book of French, called Lucun; another book of French, of the epistles and gospels; and a primer with clasps of silver gilt, covered with purple velvet." This was a considerable legacy of its kind at that time, when few of her sex were taught letters; for it has often been mentioned as an extraordinary accomplishment in Jane Shore, the darling mistress of Edward IV. that she could write and read.
Lady Margaret, however, could do both; and there are some of her literary performances still extant.
She published, “ The mirroure of golde for the sinfull soule," translated from a French translation of a book called, "Speculum aureum peccatorum,' very scarce.
She also translated out of French into English, the fourth book of Gerson's treatise “ Of the imitation and following the blessed life of our most merciful Saviour Christ,” printed at the end of Dr. William Atkinson's English translation of the three first books, 1504. A letter to her son is printed in Howard's “ Collection of Letters.” She also made, by her son's command and authority, the orders, yet extant, for great estates of ladies and noble women, for their
precedence, &c. She was not only a lover of learning, but a great patroness of learned men; and did more acts of real goodness for the advancement of literature in general, than could reasonably have been expected from so much superstition. Erasmus has spoken great things of her, for the munificence shewn in her foundations and donations of several kinds; a large account of which is given by Mr. Baker, in the preface prefixed to the “Funeral Sermon." What adds greatly to the merit of these donations is, that some of the most considerable of them were performed in her life-time; as the foundation of two colleges in Cambridge.
Her life was checquered with a variety of good and bad fortunę : but she had a greatness of soul, which seems to have placed her above the reach of either; so that she was neither elated with the former, nor depressed with the " latter. She was most affected with what regarded her only child, for whom she had the most tender affection. She underwent some hardships on his account. him from an exile, by a wonderful turn of fortune, advanced to the crown of England, which yet he could not keep without many struggles and difficulties; and when he had reigned twenty-three years, and lived fifty-two, she saw him carried to his grave. Whether this might not prove too great a shock for her, is uncertain ; but she survived him only three months, dying at Westminster on the 29th of June, 1509. She was buried in his chapel, and had a beautiful monument erected to her memory, adorned with gilded brass, arms, and an epitaph round the verge, drawn up by Erasmus, at the request of bishop Fisher, for which he had twenty shillings given him by the university of Cambridge. Upon this altar-tomb, which is enclosed with a grate, is placed the statue of Margaret countess of Richmond and Derby, in her robes, all of solid brass, with two pillars on each side of her, and a Latin inscription, of which the following is a translation : “ To Margaret of Richmond, the mother of Henry VII. and grandmother of Henry VIII. who founded salaries for three monks in this convent, for a grammar-school at Wymborn, and a preacher of God's word throughout England; as also for two divinity-lecturers, the one at Oxford, the other at Cambridge; in which last place she likewise built two colleges, in honour of Christ and his disciple St. John. She died in the year of our Lord 1509, June the 29th.” This lady was the daughter and sole heiress of John Beaufort duke of Somerset, who was grandson to John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward the Third. Her mother, Margaret Beauchamp, was daughter and heiress of the lord Beauchamp of Powick. Bishop Fisher observes, “that by her marriage with the earl of Richmond, and by her birth, she was allied to thirty kings and queens, within the fourth degree either of blood or affinity ; besides earls, marquisses, dukes, and princes: and since her death,” as Mr. Baker says,
"she has been allied in her posterity to thirty more." Her will, which is remarkably curious, is printed