EDWARD IV (King of England, 1461-1470 and 1471-1483). Document signed, Letters Patent proclaiming the conclusion of a thirty-year truce with Francis II, Duke of Brittany, Westminster, 9 June , manuscript on parchment, in French, 390 x 595mm, one membrane, 45 lines in brown ink in a Bastard Anglicana hand, elongated flourishing majuscules in first line. Signed by the King at the foot, 'Edoward R' (the French form of his signature); warranting note on last line in the usual form, 'p[er] ip[s]um Regem et de data p[re]di[cat]a auctoritate parliamenti'; seal slits (small tear and tiny holes extending 60mm from right margin in centre fold, ferrous paperclip stain in upper right corner, light staining in creases on verso).Provenance: Helen Fahnestock Hubbard (posthumous sale of her collection, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 27 March 1956, lot 28).
The proclamation of the first in a remarkable series of treaties between England and Brittany designed for their mutual support against Louis XI of France. 'Pour nourier et augmenter le bien de paix et tranquillite a la louange et reverance de Dieu et pour plusieurs aultres causes raisonnables nous avons fait traicte et accorde avecques le d[icte] halt et puissant prince n[os]tre tres chier et tres a[i]me cousin Ffrancoys duc de Bretaigne pour luy ses hoirs et successeurs pour son pays et duche de Bretaigne'. Each side will abstain from acts of aggression on the other, merchants and men of religion may travel freely between the two countries, and ambassadors need only their letters of credential. Those who infringe the peace shall be detained and compelled to make amends for their misdeeds. Edward appoints four guardians ('conservateurs') to whom breaches of the truce may be reported, setting their fees at eight English pence for the use of the seal and four for writing letters of certification.
The benefits of the truce were rapidly seen in the restitution of ships and cargoes captured by the corsairs of both sides, and a flurry of diplomatic activity, the Bretons arriving at Greenwich the following spring with the drafts of no fewer than five further treaties on trade and defence which were to be completed in the course of 1468. The Calais herald and a messenger from the King's chamber were paid to take the proclamation of the new agreements with Brittany to different parts of England.
Francis II (1435-1488) was the last duke of Brittany. Emboldened by his new alliances, he invaded Normandy, only to lose his conquests in the next campaigning season. The promised reinforcements from England and Burgundy did not arrive, and he was forced to sign a succession of treaties with France curtailing the independence of the duchy.
The dating of the document by regnal year as 9 June 'septiesme' (seventh, i.e. 1467) is at odds with the anno domini 'm[i]l[lesimo] CCCClxviii' (1468); the former is the correct date (a similar 'understandable slip' is mentioned by Scofield, The Life and Reign of Edward IV (1923), I, 453 n.2). Multiple copies of the proclamation would have been prepared -- presumably one for every county, as well as for important persons: the unused condition of the seal slits, and lack of endorsements on the verso indicate that this particular copy was not sent out, and it would probably have been retained in the Issue Office.