King of England.
THE EXTREMELY RARE SIGNATURE OF THE ENGLISH KING.
Document Signed, with his monogram, two pages, 5 3/4 by 6 1/2 inches, n.d. [circa 1475]. The King approves a list of men and munitions needed for his invasion of France during the summer of 1475. The King requires: “…ix Cartes w[ith] great Gonnes…x Masons viii Carpenterys w[ith] a cart w[ith] the gyn [siege engine] iiii whelewryghtes w[ith] thayre cart…. Item myself a spere and x archerys…. Item a cart w[ith] Crossebowes….” On the verso is a list of twelve names with the sum of “6s 8d” following the name of each individual. It is likely the sums represent the cost of their services for the expedition. Two “coler makeres” are also listed, at a cost of “13s 4d” each. Margins extensively restored, affecting various words but not the sense of the text.
By 1475, King Edward was secure on his throne following the fall of the rival house of Lancaster at the battle of Tewkesbury and the subsequent death of King Henry VI. He was now able to undertake the invasion of France he had first envisioned several years earlier. In 1472 Parliament had approved funds for the projects and in 1474 this levy was renewed and increased in preparation for war.
Before leaving for France, Edward had written the French King Louis XI, as required by the rules of chivalry, requesting him to relinquish his throne or prepare for war. Louis responded by stressing that he was certain Edward had no personal wish to invade France, but was merely doing so to please his subjects and the Duke of Burgundy, noting further that the Duke would be of little help in the project. Louis felt sure some understanding could be reached. Louis’s judgment of the Burgundians proved to be correct when, upon the arrival of the English army, they were deserted by their allies, who suddenly felt the pressing need to defend their borders at Luxembourg. A second ally of the English also turned traitor, actually firing upon the army at St. Quentin. After this fiasco, a peace commission was swiftly arranged and a seven year treaty was accepted, in which the English agreed to pay Louis a pension of 75,000 crowns a year and marry Edward’s eldest daughter to the French dauphin.
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