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Henry of Monmouth, Volume 1 by James Endell Tyler

The King's letter to his council bears date Berkhemstead

[Footnote 199: The parliament called Indoctum, or Lacklearning. It was in this parliament that the confiscation of the property of the bishops was proposed.]

[Footnote 200: At this time Owyn Glyndowr confirms his league with the King of France by deed, dated and signed "in our Castle of Llanpadarn, the 12th of January 1405, and of our principality the sixth."]

The letter from Henry to his father in the preceding June, and the testimony of the gentlemen of Hereford, who prayed that thanks might be presented to the Prince for his watchful and efficient protection of their county, inform us that the rebels towards the south marches had been kept in check since the Prince's arrival; but they were ready to renew their violence at the very opening of spring. Two letters, one from the King to his council, the other from the Prince to the King, require to be translated literally, and copied into these pages. The former, which is now published for the first time in "The Acts of the Privy Council," proves the hearty good-will entertained by the King towards his son, and the lively paternal interest he took up to that time in his honourable career. It assures us also of the great importance attached by the King to the victory then gained over the rebels.

The latter, though published by Rymer and Ellis, and (p. 202) others, and though often commented upon before, yet appears to throw so much light upon the character of Prince Henry as a Christian at once and a warrior, especially in that union of valour and mercy in him to which Hotspur first bore testimony four years before, that any treatise on the life and character of Henry of Monmouth would be altogether defective were this letter to be omitted. The King's letter to his council bears date Berkhemstead, March 13, 1405.


"Very dear and faithful! We greet you well. And since we know that you are much pleased and rejoiced whenever you can hear good news relating to the preservation of our honour and estate, and especially of the common good and honour of the whole realm, we forward to you for your consolation the copy of a letter sent to us by our very dear son, the Prince, touching his government in the marches of Wales; by which you will yourselves become acquainted with the news for which we return thanks to Almighty God. We beg you will convey these tidings to our very dear and faithful friends the Mayor and good people of our city of London, in order that they may derive consolation from them together with us, and praise our Creator for them. May He always have you in his holy keeping.--Given under our signet at our Castle of Berkhemstead, the 13th day of March."

The following letter, the copy of which the King then forwarded, was written by the Prince at Hereford, on the 11th of March, at night.


"My most redoubted and most sovereign lord and father, in the most humble manner that in my heart I can devise, I commend myself to your royal Majesty, humbly requesting your gracious blessing. My most redoubted and most sovereign lord and father, I sincerely pray that God will graciously show his miraculous aid toward you in all places: praised be He in all his works! For on Wednesday, the eleventh day of this present month of March, your rebels of the parts of Glamorgan, Morgannoc, Usk, Netherwent, and Overwent, were assembled to the number of eight thousand men according to their own account; and they went on the said Wednesday in the morning, and burnt part of your town of Grosmont within your lordship of Monmouth. And I immediately[201] sent off my very dear cousin the Lord Talbot, and the small body of my own household, and with them joined your faithful and gallant knights William Neuport and John Greindre; who were but a very small force in all. But very true it is that VICTORY IS NOT IN A MULTITUDE OF PEOPLE, BUT IN THE POWER OF GOD; and this was well proved there. And there, by the aid of the blessed Trinity, your people gained the field, and slew of them by fair account on the field, by the time of their return from the pursuit, some say eight hundred, and some say a thousand, being questioned on pain of death. Nevertheless, whether on such an account it were one or the other I would not contend.

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