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Title: A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 3
Author: Guizot, François
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 3" ***

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By M. Guizot

Volume III.




XXV.    LOUIS XI.  (1461-1483.)







[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF JOAN OF ARC----85]

[Illustration: CHINON CASTLE----95]

[Illustration: JOAN ENTERING ORLEANS----104]

[Illustration: CHARLES VIII.----263]

[Illustration: CASTLE OF AMBOISE----308]

[Illustration: STATES GENERAL AT TOURS----329]


[Illustration: The Procession went over the Gates----16]

[Illustration: ‘“Thou art betrayed.”’----26]

[Illustration: Murder of the Duke of Orleans----38]

[Illustration: Death of Valentine de Milan----45]

[Illustration: John the Fearless----51]

[Illustration: Already distressed----57]

[Illustration: Charles VI. and Odette----71]

[Illustration: ‘“Into the River!”’----77]

[Illustration: The Body of Charles VI. lying in State----84]

[Illustration: The Shepherdess of Domremy----90]

[Illustration: Joan of Arc in her Father’s Garden----91]

[Illustration: Herself drew out the Arrow----109]

[Illustration: Joan examined in Prison----128]

[Illustration: Philip the Good of Burgundy----144]

[Illustration: The Constable Made his Entry on Horseback----150]

[Illustration: Jacques Coeur----165]

[Illustration: Jacques Coeur’s Hostel at Bourges----169]

[Illustration: Agnes Sorel----175]

[Illustration: Louis XI. and Burgesses waiting for News----193]

[Illustration: Charles the Rash----203]

[Illustration: Louis XI. and Charles the Rash at Peronne----209]

[Illustration: Philip de Commynes----217]

[Illustration: The Corpse of Charles the Rash Discovered----236]

[Illustration: The Balue Cage----245]

[Illustration: Louis XI. at his Devotions----255]

[Illustration: Views of the Castle of Plessis-les-Tours----258]

[Illustration: Louis XI----260]

[Illustration: Anne de Beaujeu----264]

[Illustration: Meeting between Charles VIII, and Anne of Brittany----282]

[Illustration: Charles VIII. crossing the Alps----285]

[Illustration: Charles VIII----293]

[Illustration: Battle of Fornovo----303]

[Illustration: Louis XII----310]

[Illustration: Bayard----315]

[Illustration: Battle of Agnadello----334]

[Illustration: Cardinal d’Amboise----347]

[Illustration: Chaumont d’Amboise----350]

[Illustration: Bayard’s Farewell----358]

[Illustration: Gaston de Foix----364]


Sully, in his Memoirs, characterizes the reign of Charles VI. as “that
reign so pregnant of sinister events, the grave of good laws and good
morals in France.”  There is no exaggeration in these words; the
sixteenth century with its St. Bartholomew and The League, the eighteenth
with its reign of terror, and the nineteenth with its Commune of Paris,
contain scarcely any events so sinister as those of which France was, in
the reign of Charles VI., from 1380 to 1422, the theatre and the victim.

Scarcely was Charles V. laid on his bier when it was seen what a loss he
was and would be to his kingdom.  Discord arose in the king’s own family.
In order to shorten the ever critical period of minority, Charles V. had
fixed the king’s majority at the age of fourteen.  His son, Charles VI.,
was not yet twelve, and so had two years to remain under the guardianship
of his four uncles, the Dukes of Anjou, Berry, Burgundy, and Bourbon; but
the last being only a maternal uncle and a less puissant prince than his
paternal uncles, it was between the other three that strife began for
temporary possession of the kingly power.

Though very unequal in talent and in force of character, they were all
three ambitious and jealous.  The eldest, the Duke of Anjou, who was
energetic, despotic, and stubborn, aspired to dominion in France for the
sake of making French influence subserve the conquest of the kingdom of
Naples, the object of his ambition.  The Duke of Berry was a mediocre,
restless, prodigal, and grasping prince.  The Duke of Burgundy, Philip
the Bold, the most able and the most powerful of the three, had been the
favorite, first of his father, King John, and then of his brother,
Charles V., who had confidence in him and readily adopted his counsels.
His marriage, in 1369, with the heiress to the countship of Flanders, had
been vigorously opposed by the Count of Flanders, the young princess’s
father, and by the Flemish communes, ever more friendly to England than
to France; but the old Countess of Flanders, Marguerite of France, vexed
at the ill will of the count her son, had one day said to him, as she
tore open her dress before his eyes, “Since you will not yield to your
mother’s wishes, I will cut off these breasts which gave suck to you, to
you and to no other, and will throw them to the dogs to devour.”  This
singular argument had moved the Count of Flanders; he had consented to
the marriage; and the Duke of Burgundy’s power had received such
increment by it that on the 4th of October, 1380, when Charles VI.  was
crowned at Rheims, Philip the Bold, without a word said previously to
any, suddenly went up and sat himself down at the young king’s side,
above his eldest brother, the Duke of Anjou, thus assuming, without
anybody’s daring to oppose him, the rank and the rights of premier peer
of France.

He was not slow to demonstrate that his superiority in externals could
not fail to establish his political preponderance.  His father-in-law,
Count Louis of Flanders, was in almost continual strife with the great
Flemish communes, ever on the point of rising against the taxes he heaped
upon them and the blows he struck at their privileges.  The city of
Ghent, in particular, joined complaint with menace.  In 1381 the quarrel
became war.  The Ghentese at first experienced reverses.  “Ah! if James
Van Artevelde were alive!” said they.  James Van Artevelde had left a son
named Philip; and there was in Ghent a burgher-captain, Peter Dubois, who
went one evening to see Philip Van Artevelde.  “What we want now,” said
he, “is to choose a captain of great renown.  Raise up again in this
country that father of yours who, in his lifetime, was so loved and
feared in Flanders.”  “Peter,” replied Philip, “you make me a great
offer; I promise that, if you put me in that place, I will do nought
without your advice.”  “Ah! well!” said Dubois, “can you really be
haughty and cruel?  The Flemings like to be treated so; with them you
must make no more account of the life of men than you do of larks when
the season for eating them comes.”  “I will do what shall be necessary,”
 said Van Artevelde.  The struggle grew violent between the count and the
communes of Flanders with Ghent at their head.  After alternations of
successes and reverses the Ghentese were victorious; and Count Louis with
difficulty escaped by hiding himself at Bruges in the house of a poor
woman who took him up into a loft where her children slept, and where he
lay flat between the paillasse and the feather-bed.  On leaving this
asylum he went to Bapaume to see his son-in-law, the Duke of Burgundy,
and to ask his aid.  “My lord,” said the duke to him, “by the allegiance
I owe to you and also to the king you shall have satisfaction.  It were
to fail in one’s duty to allow such a scum to govern a country.  Unless
order were restored, all knighthood and lordship might be destroyed in
Christendom.”  The Duke of Burgundy went to Senlis, where Charles VI.
was, and asked for his support on behalf of the Count of Flanders.  The
question was referred to the king’s council.  The Duke of Berry
hesitated, saying, “The best part of the prelates and nobles must be
assembled and the whole matter set before them; we will see what is the
general opinion.”  In the midst of this deliberation the young king came
in with a hawk on his wrist.  “Well! my dear uncles,” said he, “of what
are you parleying?  Is it aught that I may know?”  The Duke of Berry
enlightened him, saying, “A brewer, named Van Artevelde, who is English
to the core, is besieging the remnant of the knights of Flanders shut up
in Oudenarde; and they can get no aid but from you.  What say you to it?
Are you minded to help the Count of Flanders to reconquer his heritage,
which those presumptuous villains have taken from him?”

“By my faith,” answered the king, “I am greatly minded; go we thither;
there is nothing I desire so much as to get on my harness, for I have
never yet borne arms; I would fain set out to-morrow.”  Amongst the
prelates and lords summoned to Compiegne some spoke of the difficulties
and dangers that might be encountered.  “Yes, yes,” said the king, “but
‘begin nought and win nought.’”  When the Flemings heard of the king’s
decision they sent respectful letters to him, begging him to be their
mediator with the count their lord; but the letters were received with
scoffs, and the messengers were kept in prison.  At this news Van
Artevelde said, “We must make alliance with the English; what meaneth
this King Wren of France?  It is the Duke of Burgundy leading him by the
nose, and he will not abide by his purpose; we will frighten France by
showing her that we have the English for allies.”  But Van Artevelde was
under a delusion; Edward III. was no longer King of England; the
Flemings’ demand was considered there to be arrogant and opposed to the
interests of the lords in all countries; and the alliance was not
concluded.  Some attempts at negotiation took place between the advisers
of Charles VI. and the Flemings, but without success.  The Count of
Flanders repaired to the king, who said, “Your quarrel is ours; get you
back to Artois; we shall soon be there and within sight of our enemies.”

Accordingly, in November, 1382, the King of France and his army marched
into Flanders.  Several towns, Cassel, Bergues, Gravelines, and Turnhout,
hastily submitted to him.

There was less complete unanimity and greater alarm amongst the Flemings
than their chiefs had anticipated.  “Noble king,” said the inhabitants,
“we place our persons and our possessions at your discretion, and to show
you that we recognize you as our lawful lord, here are the captains whom
Van Artevelde gave us; do with them according to your will, for it is
they who have governed us.”  On the 28th of November the two armies found
themselves close together at Rosebecque, between Ypres and Courtrai.  In
the evening Van Artevelde assembled his captains at supper, and,
“Comrades,” said he, “we shall to-morrow have rough work, for the King of
France is here all agog for fighting.  But have no fear; we are defending
our good right and the liberties of Flanders.  The English have not
helped us; well, we shall only have the more honor.  With the King of
France is all the flower of his kingdom.  Tell your men to slay all, and
show no quarter.  We must spare the King of France only; he is a child,
and must be pardoned; we will take him away to Ghent, and have him taught
Flemish.  As for the dukes, counts, barons, and other men-at-arms, slay
them all; the commons of France shall not bear us ill will; I am quite
sure that they would not have a single one of them back.”  At the very
same moment King Charles VI. was entertaining at supper the princes his
uncles, the Count of Flanders, the constable, Oliver de Clisson, the
marshals, &c.  They were arranging the order of battle for the morrow.
Many folks blamed the Duke of Burgundy for having brought so young a
king, the hope of the realm, into the perils of war.  It was resolved to
confide the care of him to the constable de Clisson, whilst conferring
upon Sire de Coucy, for that day only, the command of the army.  “Most
dear lord,” said the constable to the king, “I know that there is no
greater honor than to have the care of your person; but it would be great
grief to my comrades not to have me with them.  I say not that they could
not do without me; but for a fortnight now I have been getting everything
ready for bringing most honor to you and yours.  They would be much
surprised if I should now withdraw.”  The king was somewhat embarrassed.
“Constable,” said he, “I would fain have you in my company to-day; you
know well that my lord my father loved you and trusted you more than any
other; in the name of God and St. Denis do whatever you think best.  You
have a clearer insight into the matter than I and those who have advised
me.  Only attend my mass to-morrow.”  The battle began with spirit the
next morning, in the midst of a thick fog.  According to the monk of
St. Denis, Van Artevelde was not without disquietude.  He had bidden one
of his people go and observe the French army; and, “You bring me bad
news,” said he to the man in a whisper, “when you tell me there are so
many French with the king: I was far from expecting it.  .  .  .  This is
a hard war; it requires discreet management.  I think the best thing for
me is to go and hurry up ten thousand of our comrades who are due.”  “Why
leave thy host without a head?” said they who were about him: “it was to
obey thy orders that we engaged in this enterprise; thou must run the
risks of battle with us.”  The French were more confident than Van
Artevelde.  “Sir,” said the constable, addressing the king, cap in hand,
“be of good cheer; these fellows are ours; our very varlets might beat
them.”  These words were far too presumptuous; for the Flemings fought
with great bravery.  Drawn up in a compact body, they drove back for a
moment the French who were opposed to them; but Clisson had made
everything ready for hemming them in; attacked on all sides they tried,
but in vain, to fly; a few, with difficulty, succeeded in escaping and
casting, as they went, into the neighboring swamps the banner of St.
George.  “It is not easy,” says the monk of St. Denis, “to set down with
any certainty the number of the dead; those who were present on this day,
and I am disposed to follow their account, say that twenty-five thousand
Flemings fell on the field, together with their leader, Van Artevelde,
the concoctor of this rebellion, whose corpse, discovered with great
trouble amongst a heap of slain, was, by order of Charles VI., hung upon
a tree in the neighborhood.  The French also lost in this struggle some
noble knights, not less illustrious by birth than valor, amongst others
forty-four valiant men who, being the first to hurl themselves upon the
ranks of the enemy to break them, thus won for themselves great glory.”

The victory of Rosebecque was a great cause for satisfaction and pride to
Charles VI. and his uncle, the Duke of Burgundy.  They had conquered on
the field in Flanders the commonalty of Paris as well as that of Ghent;
and in France there was great need of such a success, for, since the
accession of the young king, the Parisians had risen with a demand for
actual abolition of the taxes of which Charles V., on his death-bed, had
deplored the necessity, and all but decreed the cessation.  The king’s
uncles, his guardians, had at first stopped, and indeed suppressed, the
greater part of those taxes; but soon afterwards they had to face a
pressing necessity: the war with England was going on, and the revenues
of the royal domain were not sufficient for the maintenance of it.  The
Duke of Anjou attempted to renew the taxes, and one of Charles V.’s
former councillors, John Desmarets, advocate-general in parliament,
abetted him in his attempt.  Seven times, in the course of the year 1381,
assemblies of notables met at Paris to consider the project, and on the
1st of March, 1382, an agent of the governing power scoured the city at
full gallop, proclaiming the renewal of the principal tax.  There was a
fresh outbreak.  The populace, armed with all sorts of weapons, with
strong mallets amongst the rest, spread in all directions, killing the
collectors, and storming and plundering the Hotel de Ville.  They were
called the Malleteers.  They were put down, but with as much timidity as
cruelty.  Some of them were arrested, and at night thrown into the Seine,
sewn up in sacks, without other formality or trial.  A fresh meeting of
notables was convened, towards the middle of April, at Compiegne, and the
deputies from the principal towns were summoned to it; but they durst not
come to any decision: “They were come,” they said, “only to hear and
report; they would use their best endeavors to prevail on those by whom
they had been sent to do the king’s pleasure.”  Towards the end of April
some of them returned to Meaux, reporting that they had everywhere met
with the most lively resistance; they had everywhere heard shouted at
them, “Sooner death than the tax.”  Only the deputies from Sens had voted
a tax, which was to be levied on all merchandise; but, when the question
of collecting it arose, the people of Sens evinced such violent
opposition that it had to be given up.  It was when facts and feelings
were in this condition in France, that Charles VI. and the Duke of
Burgundy had set out with their army to go and force the Flemish communes
to submit to their count.

[Illustration: The Procession went over the Gates----16]

Returning victorious from Flanders to France, Charles VI. and his uncles,
everywhere brilliantly feasted on their march, went first of all for nine
days to Compiegne, “to find recreation after their fatigues,” says the
monk of St.  Denis, “in the pleasures of the chase; afterwards, on the
10th of January, 1383, the king took back in state to the church of St.
Denis the oriflamme which he had borne away on his expedition; and next
day, the 11th of January, he re-entered Paris, he alone being mounted, in
the midst of his army.”  The burgesses went out of the city to meet him,
and offer him their wonted homage, but they were curtly ordered to
retrace their steps; the king and his uncles, they were informed, could
not forget offences so recent.  The wooden barriers which had been placed
before the gates of the city to prevent anybody from entering without
permission, were cut down with battle-axes; the very gates were torn from
their hinges; they were thrown down upon the king’s highway, and the
procession went over them, as if to trample under foot the fierce pride
of the Parisians.  When he was once in the city, and was leaving Notre
Dame, the king sent abroad throughout all the streets an order forbidding
any one, under the most severe penalties, from insulting or causing the
least harm to the burgesses in any way whatsoever; and the constable had
two plunderers strung up to the windows of the houses in which they had
committed their thefts.  But fundamental order having been thus upheld,
reprisals began to be taken for the outbreaks of the Parisians, municipal
magistrates or populace, burgesses or artisans, rich or poor, in the
course of the two preceding years;--arrests, imprisonments, fines,
confiscations, executions, severities of all kinds fell upon the most
conspicuous and the most formidable of those who had headed or favored
popular movements.  The most solemn and most iniquitous of these
punishments was that which befell the advocate-general, John Desmarets.
“For nearly a whole year,” says the monk of St. Denis, “he had served as
mediator between the king and the Parisians; he had often restrained the
fury and stopped the excesses of the populace, by preventing them from
giving rein to their cruelty.  He was always warning the factious that to
provoke the wrath of the king and the princes was to expose themselves to
almost certain death.  But, yielding to the prayers of this rebellious
and turbulent mob, he, instead of leaving Paris as the rest of his
profession had done, had remained there, and throwing himself boldly
amidst the storms of civil discord, he had advised the assumption of arms
and the defence of the city, which he knew was very displeasing to the
king and the grandees.”  When he was taken to execution, “he was put on a
car higher than the rest, that he might be better seen by everybody.”
 Nothing shook for a moment the firmness of this old man of seventy years.
“Where are they who judged me?” he said: “let them come and set forth the
reasons for my death.  Judge me, O God, and separate my cause from that
of the evil-doers.”  On his arrival at the market-place, some of the
spectators called out to him, “Ask the king’s mercy, Master John, that he
may pardon your offences.”  He turned round, saying, “I served well and
loyally his great-grandfather King Philip, his grandfather King John, and
his father King Charles; none of those kings ever had anything to
reproach me with, and this one would not reproach me any the more if he
were of a grown man’s age and experience.  I don’t suppose that he is a
whit to blame for such a sentence, and I have no cause to cry him mercy.
To God alone must I cry for mercy, and I pray Him to forgive my sins.”
 Public respect accompanied the old and courageous magistrate beyond the
scaffold; his corpse was taken up by his friends, and at a later period
honorably buried in the church of St. Catherine.

After the chastisements came galas again, of which the king and his court
were immoderately fond.  Young as he was (he was but seventeen), his
powerful uncle, the Duke of Burgundy, was very anxious to get him
married, so as to secure his own personal influence over him.  The wise
Charles V., in his dying hours, had testified a desire that his son
should seek alliances in Germany.  A son of the reigning duke, Stephen of
Bavaria, had come to serve in the French army, and the Duke of Burgundy
had asked him if there were any marriageable princess of Bavaria.  “My
eldest brother,” answered the Bavarian, “has a very beautiful daughter,
aged fourteen.”  “That is just what we want,” said the Burgundian: “try
and get her over here; the king is very fond of beautiful girls; if she
takes his fancy, she will be Queen of France.”  The Duke of Bavaria,
being informed by his brother, at first showed some hesitation.  “It
would be a great honor,” said he, “for my daughter to be Queen of France;
but it is a long way from here.  If my daughter were taken to France, and
then sent back to me because she was not suitable, it would cause me too
much chagrin.  I prefer to marry her at my leisure, and in my own
neighborhood.”  The matter was pressed, however, and at last the Duke of
Bavaria consented.  It was agreed that the Princess Isabel should go on
a visit to the Duchess of Brabant, who instructed her, and had her well
dressed, say the chroniclers, for in Germany they clad themselves too
simply for the fashions of France.  Being thus got ready, the Princess
Isabel was conducted to Amiens, where the king then was, to whom her
portrait had already been shown.  She was presented to him, and bent the
knee before him.  He considered her charming.  Seeing with what pleasure
he looked upon her, the constable, Oliver de Clisson, said to Sire De
Coney, “By my faith, she will bide with us.”  The same evening, the young
king said to his councillor, Bureau de la Riviere, “She pleases me: go
and tell my uncle, the Duke of Burgundy, to conclude at once.”  The duke,
delighted, lost no time in informing the ladies of the court, who cried,
“Noel!” for joy.  The duke had wished the nuptials to take place at
Arras; but the young king, in his impatience, was urgent for Amiens,
without delay, saying that he couldn’t sleep for her.  “Well, well,”
 replied his uncle, “you must be cured of your complaint.”  On the 18th
of July, 1385, the marriage was celebrated at the cathedral of Amiens,
whither the Princess Isabel “was conducted in a handsome chariot, whereof
the tires of the wheels were of silvern stuff.”  King, uncles, and
courtiers were far from a thought of the crimes and shame which would be
connected in France with the name of Isabel of Bavaria.  There is still
more levity and imprudence in the marriages of kings than in those of
their subjects.

Whilst this marriage was being celebrated, the war with England, and her
new king, Richard II., was going on, but slackly and without result.
Charles VI. and his uncle of Burgundy, still full of the proud confidence
inspired by their success against the Flemish and Parisian communes,
resolved to strike England a heavy blow, and to go and land there with a
powerful army.  Immense preparations were made in France for this
expedition.  In September, 1386, there were collected in the port of
Ecluse (Sluys) and at sea, between Sluys and Blankenberg, thirteen
hundred and eighty-seven vessels, according to some, and according to
others only nine hundred, large and small; and Oliver de Clisson had
caused to be built at Trdguier, in Brittany, a wooden town which was to
be transported to England and rebuilt after landing, “in such sort,” says
Froissart, “that the lords might lodge therein and retire at night, so as
to be in safety from sudden awakenings, and sleep in greater security.”
 Equal care was taken in the matter of supplies.  “Whoever had been at
that time at Bruges, or the Dam, or the Sluys would have seen how ships
and vessels were being laden by torchlight, with hay in casks, biscuits
in sacks, onions, peas, beans, barley, oats, candles, gaiters, shoes,
boots, spurs, iron, nails, culinary utensils, and all things that can be
used for the service of man.”  Search was made everywhere for the various
supplies, and they were very dear.  “If you want us and our service,”
 said the Hollanders, “pay us on the nail; otherwise we will be neutral.”
 To the intelligent foresight shown in these preparations was added
useless magnificence.  “On the masts was nothing to be seen but paintings
and gildings; everything was emblazoned and covered with armorial
bearings.  But nothing came up to the Duke of Burgundy’s ship; it was
painted all over outside with blue and gold, and there were five huge
banners with the arms of the duchy of Burgundy and the countships of
Flanders, Artois, Rethel, and Burgundy, and everywhere the duke’s device,
‘I’m a-longing.’”  The young king, too, displayed great anxiety to enter
on the campaign.  He liked to go aboard his ship, saying, “I am very
eager to be off; I think I shall be a good sailor, for the sea does me no
harm.”  But everybody was not so impatient as the king, who was waiting
for his uncle, the Duke of Berry, and writing to him letter after letter,
urging him to come.  The duke, who had no liking for the expedition,
contented himself with making an answer bidding him “not to take any
trouble, but to amuse himself, for the matter would probably terminate
otherwise than was imagined.”  The Duke of Berry at last arrived at Sluys
on the 14th of October, 1386.  “If it hadn’t been for you, uncle,” said
the king to him, “we should have been by this time in England.”  Three
months had gone by; the fine season was past; the winds were becoming
violent and contrary; the vessels come from Treguier with the constable
to join the fleet had suffered much on the passage; and deliberations
were recommencing touching the opportuneness, and even the feasibility,
of the expedition thus thrown back. “If anybody goes to England, I will,”
 said the king. But nobody went. “One day when it was calm,” says the monk
of St. Denis, “the king, completely armed, went with his uncles aboard of
the royal vessel; but the wind did not permit them to get more than two
miles out to sea, and drove them back, in spite of the sailors’ efforts,
to the shore they had just left.  The king, who saw with deep displeasure
his hopes thus frustrated, had orders given to his troops to go back,
and, at his departure, left, by the advice of his barons, some men-of-war
to unload the fleet, and place it in a place of safety as soon as
possible.  But the enemy gave them no time to execute the order.  As soon
as the calm allowed the English to set sail, they bore down on the
French, burned or took in tow to their own ports the most part of the
fleet, carried off the supplies, and found two thousand casks full of
wine, which sufficed a long while for the wants of England.”

Such a mistake, after such a fuss, was probably not unconnected with a
resolution adopted by Charles VI. some time after the abandonment of the
projected expedition against England.  In October, 1388, he assembled at
Rheims a grand council, at which were present his two uncles, the Dukes
of Burgundy and Berry [the third, the Duke of Anjou, had died in Italy,
on the 20th of September, 1384, after a vain attempt to conquer the
kingdom of Naples], his brother, the Duke of Orleans, his cousins, and
several prelates and lords of note.  The chancellor announced thereat
that he had been ordered by the king to put in discussion the question,
whether it were not expedient that he should henceforth take the
government of his kingdom upon himself.  Cardinal Ascelin de Montaigu,
Bishop of Laon, the first to be interrogated upon this subject, replied
that, in his opinion, the king was quite in a condition, as well as in a
legal position, to take the government of his kingdom upon himself, and,
without naming anybody, he referred to the king’s uncles, and especially
to the Duke of Burgundy, as being no longer necessary for the government
of France.  Nearly all who were present were of the same opinion.  The
king, without further waiting, thanked his uncles for the care they had
taken of his dominions and of himself, and begged them to continue their
affection for him.  Neither the Duke of Burgundy nor the Duke of Berry
had calculated upon this resolution; they submitted, without making any
objection, but not without letting a little temper leak out.  The Duke of
Berry even said that he and his brother would beg the king to confer with
them more maturely on the subject when he returned to Paris.  Hereupon
the council broke up; the king’s two uncles started for their own
dominions; and a few weeks afterwards the Cardinal-bishop of Laon died
of a short illness.  “It was generally believed,” says the monk of St.
Denis, “that he died of poison.”  At his own dying wish, no inquiry was
instituted on this subject.  The measure adopted in the late council was,
however, generally approved of.  The king was popular; he had a good
heart, and courteous and gentle manners; he was faithful to his friends,
and affable to all; and the people liked to see him passing along the
streets.  On taking in hand the government, he recalled to it the former
advisers of his father, Charles V., Bureau de la Riviere, Le Mercier de
Noviant, and Le Begue de Vilaine, all men of sense and reputation.  The
taxes were diminished; the city of Paris recovered a portion of her
municipal liberties; there was felicitation for what had been obtained,
and there was hope of more.

Charles VI.  was not content with the satisfaction of Paris only; he
wished all his realm to have cognizance of and to profit by his
independence.  He determined upon a visit to the centre and the south of
France.  Such a trip was to himself, and to the princes and cities that
entertained him, a cause of enormous expense.  “When the king stopped
anywhere, there were wanted for his own table, and for the maintenance of
his following, six oxen, eighty sheep, thirty calves, seven hundred
chickens, two hundred pigeons, and many other things besides.  The
expenses for the king were set down at two hundred and thirty livres a
day, without counting the presents which the large towns felt bound to
make him.”  But Charles was himself magnificent even to prodigality, and
he delighted in the magnificence of which he was the object, without
troubling himself about their cost to himself.  Between 1389 and 1390,
for about six months, he travelled through Burgundy, the banks of the
Rhone, Languedoc, and the small principalities bordering on the Pyrenees.
Everywhere his progress was stopped for the purpose of presenting to him
petitions or expressing wishes before him.  At Nimes and Montpellier, and
throughout Languedoc, passionate representations were made to him
touching the bad government of his two uncles, the Dukes of Anjou and
Berry.  “They had plundered and ruined,” he was told, “that beautiful and
rich province; there were five or six talliages a year; one was no sooner
over than another began; they had levied quite three millions of gold
from Villeneuve-d’Avignon to Toulouse.”  Charles listened with feeling,
and promised to have justice done, and his father’s old councillors, who
were in his train, were far from dissuading him.  The Duke of Burgundy,
seeing him start with them in his train, had testified his spite and
disquietude to the Duke of Berry, saying, “Aha! there goes the king on a
visit to Languedoc, to hold an inquiry about those who have governed it.
For all his council be takes with him only La Riviere, Le Mercier,
Montaigu, and Le Begue de Vilaine.  What say you to that, my brother?”
 “The king, our nephew, is young,” answered the Duke of Berry: “if he
trusts the new councillors he is taking, he will be deceived, and it will
end ill, as you will see.  As for the present, we must support him.  The
time will come when we will make those councillors, and the king himself,
rue it.  Let them do as they please, by God: we will return to our own
dominions.  We are none the less the two greatest in the kingdom, and so
long as we are united, none can do aught against us.”

The future is a blank, as well to the anxieties as to the hopes of men.
The king’s uncles were on the point of getting back the power which they
believed to be lost to them.  On the 13th of June, 1392, the constable,
Oliver de Clisson, was waylaid as he was returning home after a banquet
given by the king at the hostel of St. Paul.  The assassin was Peter de
Craon, cousin of John IV., Duke of Brittany.  He believed De Clisson to
be dead, and left him bathed in blood at a baker’s door in the street
called Culture-Sainte-Catherine.  The king was just going to bed, when
one of his people came and said to him, “Ah! sir, a great misfortune has
happened in Paris.”  “What, and to whom?” said the king.  “To your
constable, sir, who has just been slain.”  “Slain!” cried Charles; “and
by whom?”  “Nobody knows; but it was close by here, in St. Catherine
Street.”  “Lights! quick!” said the king; “I will go and see him;” and he
set off, without waiting for his following.  When he entered the baker’s
shop, De Clisson, grievously wounded, was just beginning to recover his
senses.  “Ah! constable,” said the king, “and how do you feel?”  “Very
poorly, dear sir.”  “And who brought you to this pass?”  “Peter de Craon
and his accomplices; traitorously and without warning.”  “Constable,”
 said the king, “never was anything so punished or dearly paid for as this
shall be; take thought for yourself, and have no further care; it is my
affair.”  Orders were immediately given to seek out Peter de Craon, and
hurry on his trial.  He had taken refuge, first in his own castle of
Sable, and afterwards with the Duke of Brittany, who kept him concealed,
and replied to the king’s envoys that he did not know where he was.  The
king proclaimed his intention of making war on the Duke of Brittany until
Peter de Craon should be discovered, and justice done to the constable.
Preparations for war were begun; and the Dukes of Berry and Burgundy
received orders to get ready for it, themselves and their vassals.  The
former, who happened to be in Paris at the time of the attack, did not
care to directly oppose the king’s project; but he evaded, delayed, and
predicted a serious war.  According to Froissart, he had been warned, the
morning before the attack, by a simple cleric, of Peter de Craon’s
design; but, “It is too late in the day,” he had said; “I do not like to
trouble the king to-day; to-morrow, without fail, we will see to it.”  He
had, however, forgotten or neglected to speak to his nephew.  Neither he
nor his brother, the Duke of Burgundy, there is reason to suppose, were
accomplices in the attack upon De Clisson, but they were not at all sorry
for it.  It was to them an incident in the strife begun between
themselves, princes of the blood royal, and those former councillors of
Charles V., and now, again, of Charles VI., whom, with the impertinence
of great lords, they were wont to call the marinosettes.  They left
nothing undone to avert the king’s anger and to preserve the Duke of
Brittany from the war which was threatening him.

Charles VI.’s excitement was very strong, and endured forever.  He
pressed forward eagerly his preparations for war, though attempts were
made to appease him.  He was recommended to take care of himself; for he
had been ill, and could scarcely mount his horse; and the Duke of
Burgundy remonstrated with him several times on the fatigue he was
incurring.  “I find it better for me,” he answered, “to be on horseback,
or working at my council, than to keep resting.  Whoso wishes to persuade
me otherwise is not of my friends, and is displeasing to me.”  A letter
from the Queen of Arragon gave some ground for supposing that Peter de
Craon had taken refuge in Spain; and the Duke of Burgundy took advantage
of it to dissuade the king from his prompt departure for the war in
Brittany.  “At the very least,” he said, “it was right to send to Arragon
to know the truth of the matter, and to thank the queen for her
courtesy.”  “We are quite willing, uncle,” answered Charles: “you need
not be vexed; but for my own part I hold that this traitor of a Peter de
Craon is in no other prison and no other Barcelona than there is in being
quite comfortable at the Duke of Brittany’s.”  There was no way of
deterring him from his purpose.  He had got together his uncles and his
troops at Le Mans; and, after passing three weeks there, he gave the word
to march for Brittany.  The tragic incident which at that time occurred
has nowhere been more faithfully or better narrated than in M. de
Barante’s History of the Dukes of Burgundy.  “It was,” says he, “the
beginning of August, 1392, during the hottest days of the year.  The sun
was blazing, especially in those sandy districts.  The king was on
horseback, clad in a short and tight dress called a jacket.  His was of
black velvet, and very oppressive.  On his head he wore a cap of scarlet
velvet, ornamented with a chaplet of large pearls, which the queen had
given him at his departure.  Behind him were two pages on horseback.  In
order not to incommode the king with dust, he was left to march almost
alone.  To the left of him were the Dukes of Burgundy and Berry, some
paces in front, conversing together.  The Duke of Orleans, the Duke of
Bourbon, Sire de Coney, and some others were also in front, forming
another group.  Behind were Sires de Navarre, de Bar, d’Albret, d’Artois,
and many others in one pretty large troop.  They rode along in this
order, and had just entered the great forest of Le Mans, when all at once
there started from behind a tree by the road-side a tall man, with bare
head and feet, clad in a common white smock, who, dashing forward and
seizing the king’s horse by the bridle, cried, ‘Go no farther; thou art

[Illustration: ‘“Thou art betrayed.”’----26]

The men-at-arms hurried up immediately, and striking the hands of the
fellow with the butts of their lances, made him let go the bridle.  As he
had the appearance of a poor madman, and nothing more, he was allowed to
go without any questioning, and he followed the king for nearly half an
hour, repeating the same cry from a distance.  The king was much troubled
at this sudden apparition; and his head, which was very weak, was quite
turned by it.  Nevertheless the march was continued.  When the forest had
been traversed, they came to a great sandy plain, where the rays of the
sun were more scorching than ever.  One of the king’s pages, overcome by
the heat, had fallen asleep, and the lance he carried fell against his
helmet, and suddenly caused a loud clash of steel.

“The king shuddered; and then he was observed, rising in his stirrups, to
draw his sword, touch his horse with the spur, and make a dash, crying,
‘Forward upon these traitors!  They would deliver me up to the enemy!’
Every one moved hastily aside, but not before some were wounded; it is
even said that several were killed, among them a bastard of Polignac.
The king’s brother, the Duke of Orleans, happened to be quite close by.
‘Fly, my nephew d’Orleans,’ shouted the Duke of Burgundy: ‘my lord is
beside himself.  My God! let some one try and seize him!’  He was so
furious that none durst risk it; and he was left to gallop hither and
thither, and tire himself in pursuit of first one and then another.  At
last, when he was weary and bathed in sweat, his chamberlain, William de
Martel, came up behind and threw his arms about him.  He was surrounded,
had his sword taken from him, was lifted from his horse, and laid gently
on the ground, and then his jacket was unfastened.  His brother and his
uncles came up, but his eyes were fixed and recognized nobody, and he did
not utter a word.  ‘We must go back to Le Mans,’ said the Dukes of Berry
and Burgundy: ‘here is an end of the trip to Brittany.’ On the way they
fell in with a wagon drawn by oxen; in this they laid the King of France,
having bound him for fear of a renewal of his frenzy, and so took him
back, motionless and speechless, to the town.”

It was not a mere fit of delirious fever; it was the beginning of a
radical mental derangement, sometimes in abeyance, or at least for some
time alleviated, but bursting out again without appreciable reason, and
aggravated at every fresh explosion.  Charles VI. had always had a taste
for masquerading.  When in 1389 the young queen, Isabel of Bavaria, came
to Paris to be married, the king, on the morning of her entry, said to
his chamberlain, Sire de Savoisy, “Prithee, take a good horse, and I will
mount behind thee; and we will dress so as not to be known and go to see
my wife cone in.”  Savoisy did not like it, but the king insisted; and so
they went in this guise through the crowd, and got many a blow from the
officers’ staves when they attempted to approach too near the procession.
In 1393, a year after his first outbreak of madness, the king, during an
entertainment at court, conceived the idea of disguising as savages
himself and five of his courtiers.  They had been sewn up in a linen skin
which defined their whole bodies; and this skin had been covered with a
resinous pitch, so as to hold sticking upon it a covering of tow, which
made them appear hairy from head to foot.  Thus disguised these savages
went dancing into the ball-room; one of those present took up a lighted
torch and went up to them; and in a moment several of them were in
flames.  It was impossible to get off the fantastic dresses clinging to
their bodies.  “Save the king!” shouted one of the poor masquers; but it
was not known which was the king.  The Duchess de Berry, his aunt,
recognized him, caught hold of him, and wrapped him in her robe, saying,
“Do not move; you see your companions are burning.”  And thus he was
saved amidst the terror of all present.  When he was conscious of his mad
state, he was horrified; he asked pardon for the injury he had done,
confessed and received the communion.  Later, when he perceived his
malady returning, he would allude to it with tears in his eyes, ask to
have his hunting-knife taken away, and say to those about him, “If any of
you, by I know not what witchcraft, be guilty of my sufferings, I adjure
him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to torment me no more, and to put an
end to me forthwith without making me linger so.”  He conceived a horror
of Queen Isabel, and, without recognizing her, would say when he saw her,
“What woman is this?  What does she want?  Will she never cease her
importunities?  Save me from her persecution!”  At first great care was
taken of him.  They sent for a skilful doctor from Laon, named William de
Harsely, who put him on a regimen from which, for some time, good effects
were experienced.  But the doctor was uncomfortable at court; he
preferred going back to his little place at Laon, where he soon
afterwards died; and eleven years later, in 1405, nobody took any more
trouble about the king.  He was fed like a dog, and allowed to fall
ravenously upon his food.  For five whole months he had not a change of
clothes.  At last some shame was felt for this neglect, and an attempt
was made to repair it.  It took a dozen men to overcome the madman’s
resistance.  He was washed, shaved, and dressed in fresh clothes.  He
became more composed, and began once more to recognize certain persons,
amongst others, the former provost of Paris, Juvenal des Ursins, whose
visit appeared to give him pleasure, and to whom he said, without well
knowing why, “Juvenal, let us not waste our time.”  On his good days he
was sometimes brought in to sit at certain councils at which there was a
discussion about the diminution of taxes and relief of the people, and he
showed symptoms, at intervals, of taking an interest in them.  A fair
young Burgundian, Odette de Champdivers, was the only one amongst his
many favorites who was at all successful in soothing him during his
violent fits.  It was Duke John the Fearless, who had placed her near the
king, that she might promote his own influence, and she took advantage of
it to further her own fortunes, which, however, did not hinder her from
afterwards passing into the service of Charles VII. against the house of

[Illustration: Charles VI. and Odette----71]

For thirty years, from 1392 to 1422, the crown remained on the head of
this poor madman, whilst France was a victim to the bloody quarrels of
the royal house, to national dismemberment, to licentiousness in morals,
to civil anarchy, and to foreign conquest.

When, for the first time, in the forest of Le Mans, the Dukes of Berry
and Burgundy saw their nephew in this condition, their first feeling was
one of sorrow and disquietude.  The Duke of Burgundy especially, who was
accessible to generous and sympathetic emotions, cried out with tears, as
he embraced the king, “My lord and nephew, comfort me with just one
word!”  But the desires and the hopes of selfish ambition reappeared
before long more prominently than these honest effusions of feeling.
“All!” said the Duke of Berry, “De Clisson, La Mviere, Noviant, and
Vilaine have been haughty and harsh towards me; the time has come when
I shall pay them out in the same coin from the same mint.”  The
guardianship of the king was withdrawn from his councillors, and
transferred to four chamberlains chosen by his uncles.  The two dukes,
however, did not immediately lay hands on the government of the kingdom;
the constable De Clisson and the late councillors of Charles V. remained
in charge of it for some time longer; they had given enduring proofs of
capacity and fidelity to the king’s service; and the two dukes did not
at first openly attack them, but labored strenuously, nevertheless, to
destroy them.  The Duke of Burgundy one day said to Sire de Noviant,
“I have been overtaken by a very pressing business, for which I require
forthwith thirty thousand crowns; let me have them out of my lord’s
treasury; I will restore them at another time.”  Noviant answered
respectfully that the council must be spoken to about it.  “I wish none
to know of it,” said the duke.  Noviant persisted.  “You will not do me
this favor?” rejoined the duke; “you shall rue it before long.”  It was
against the constable that the wrath of the princes was chiefly directed.
He was the most powerful and the richest.  One day he went, with a single
squire behind him, to the Duke of Burgundy’s house; and, “My lord,” said
he, “many knights and squires are persecuting me to get the money which
is owing to them.  I know not where to find it.  The chancellor and the
treasurer refer me to you.  Since it is you and the Duke of Berry who
govern, may it please you to give me an answer.”  “Clisson,” said the
duke, “you have no occasion to trouble yourself about the state of the
kingdom; it will manage very well without your services.  Whence, pray,
have you been able to amass so much money?  My lord, my brother of Berry
and myself have not so much between us three.  Away from my presence, and
let me see you no more!  If I had not a respect for myself, I would have
your other eye put out.”  Clisson went out, mounted his horse, returned
to his house, set his affairs in order, and departed, with two
attendants, to his strong castle of Montlhery.  The two dukes were very
sorry that they had not put him under arrest on the spot.  The rupture
came to a climax.  Of the king’s four other councillors one escaped in
time; two were seized and thrown into prison; the fourth, Bureau de la
Riviere was at his castle of Auneau, near Chartres, honored and beloved
by all his neighbors.  Everybody urged him to save himself.  “If I were
to fly or hide myself,” said he, “I should acknowledge myself guilty of
crimes from which I feel myself free.  Here, as elsewhere, I am at the
will of God; He gave me all I have, and He can take it away whensoever He
pleases.  I served King Charles of blessed memory, and also the king, his
son; and they recompensed me handsomely for my services.  I will abide
the judgment of the parliament of Paris touching what I have done
according to my king’s commands as to the affairs of the realm.”  He was
told that the people sent to look for him were hard by, and was asked,
“Shall we open to them?”  “Why not?” was his reply.  He himself went to
meet them, and received them with a courtesy which they returned.  He was
then removed to Paris, where he was shut up with his colleagues in the

Their trial before parliament was prosecuted eagerly, especially in the
case of the absent De Clisson, whom a royal decree banished from the
kingdom “as a false and wicked traitor to the crown, and condemned him to
‘pay a hundred thousand marks of silver, and to forfeit forever the
office of constable.’”  It is impossible in the present day to estimate
how much legal justice there was in this decree; but, in any case, it was
certainly extreme severity to so noble and valiant a warrior who had done
so much for the safety and honor of France.  The Dukes of Burgundy and
Berry and many barons of the realm signed the decree; but the king’s
brother, the Duke of Orleans, refused to have any part in it.  Against
the other councillors of the king the prosecution was continued, with
fits and starts of determination, but in general with slowness and
uncertainty.  Under the influence of the Dukes of Burgundy and Berry, the
parliament showed an inclination towards severity; but Bureau de la
Riviere had warm friends, and amongst others, the young and beautiful
Duchess of Berry, to whose marriage he had greatly contributed, and John
Juvenal des Ursins, provost of the tradesmen of Paris, one of the men
towards whom the king and the populace felt the highest esteem and
confidence.  The king, favorably inclined towards the accused by his own
bias and the influence of the Duke of Orleans, presented a demand to
parliament to have the papers of the procedure brought to him. Parliament
hesitated and postponed a reply; the procedure followed its course; and
at the end of some months further the king ordered it to be stopped, and
Sires de la Riviere and Neviant to be set at liberty and to have their
real property restored to them, at the same time that they lost their
personal property and were commanded to remain forever at fifteen
leagues’ distance, at least, from the court.  This was moral equity, if
not legal justice.  The accused had been able and faithful servants of
their king and country.  Their imprisonment had lasted more than a year.
The Dukes of Burgundy and Berry remained in possession of power.

They exercised it for ten years, from 1392 to 1402, without any great
dispute between themselves--the Duke of Burgundy’s influence being
predominant--or with the king, who, save certain lucid intervals, took
merely a nominal part in the government.  During this period no event of
importance disturbed France internally.  In 1393 the King of England,
Richard II., son of the Black Prince, sought in marriage the daughter of
Charles VI., Isabel of France, only eight years old.  In both courts and
in both countries there was a desire for peace.  An embassy came in state
to demand the hand of the princess.  The ambassadors were presented, and
the Earl of Northampton, marshal of England, putting one knee to the
ground before her, said, “Madame, please God you shall be our sovereign
lady and Queen of England.”  The young girl, well tutored, answered, “If
it please God and my lord and father that I should be Queen of England, I
would be willingly, for I have certainly been told that I should then be
a great lady.”  The contract was signed on the 9th of March, 1396, with a
promise that, when the princess had accomplished her twelfth year, she
should be free to assent to or refuse the union; and ten days after the
marriage, the king’s uncles and the English ambassadors mutually signed a
truce, which promised--but quite in vain--to last for eight and twenty

About the same time Sigismund, King of Hungary, threatened with an
invasion of his kingdom by the great Turkish Sultan Bajazet I., nicknamed
Lightning (El Derfr), because of his rapid conquests, invoked the aid of
the Christian kings of the West, and especially of the King of France.
Thereupon there was a fresh outbreak of those crusades so often renewed
since the end of the thirteenth century.  All the knighthood of France
arose for the defence of a Christian king.  John, Count of Nevers, eldest
son of the Duke of Burgundy, scarcely eighteen years of age, said to his
comrades, “If it pleased my two lords, my lord the king and my lord and
father, I would willingly head this army and this venture, for I have a
desire to make myself known.”  The Duke of Burgundy consented, and, in
person, conducted his son to St. Denis, but without intending to make him
a knight as yet.  “He shall receive the accolade,” said he, “as a knight
of Jesus Christ, at the first battle against the infidels.”  In April,
1396, an army of new crusaders left France and traversed Germany
uproariously, everywhere displaying its valiant ardor, presumptuous
recklessness, and chivalrous irregularity.  Some months elapsed without
any news; but, at the beginning of December, there were seen arriving in
France some poor creatures, half naked, dying of hunger, cold, and
weariness, and giving deplorable accounts of the destruction of the
French army.  The people would not believe them: “They ought to be thrown
into the water,” they said, “these scoundrels who propagate such lies.”
 But, on the 23th of December, there arrived at Paris James de Helly, a
knight of Artois, who, booted and spurred, strode into the hostel of
St. Paul, threw himself on his knees before the king in the midst of the
princes, and reported that he had come straight from Turkey; that on the
28th of the preceding September the Christian army had been destroyed at
the battle of Nicopolis; that most of the lords had been either slain in
battle or afterwards massacred by the sultan’s order; and that the Count
of Nevers had sent him to the king and to his father the duke, to get
negotiations entered into for his release.  There was no exaggeration
about the knight’s story.  The battle had been terrible, the slaughter
awful.  For the latter, the French, who were for a moment victorious, had
set a cruel example with their prisoners; and Bajazet had surpassed them
in cool ferocity.  After the first explosion of the father’s and the
people’s grief, the ransom of the prisoners became the topic.  It was a
large sum, and rather difficult to raise; and, whilst it was being sought
for, James de Helly returned to report as much to Bajazet, and to place
himself once more in his power.  “Thou art welcome,” said the sultan;
“thou hast loyally kept thy word; I give thee thy liberty; thou canst go
whither thou wiliest.”

Terms of ransom were concluded; and the sum total was paid through the
hands of Bartholomew Pellegrini, a Genoese trader.  Before the Count of
Nevers and his comrades set out, Bajazet sent for them.  “John,” said he
to the count through an interpreter, “I know that thou art a great lord
in thy country, and the son of a great lord.  Thou art young.  It may be
that thou art abashed and grieved at what hath befallen thee in thy first
essay of knighthood, and that, to retrieve thine honor, thou wilt collect
a powerful army against me.  I might, ere I release thee, bind thee by
oath not to take arms against me, neither thyself nor thy people.  But
no; I will not exact this oath either from them or from thee.  When thou
hast returned yonder, take up arms if it please thee, and come and attack
me.  Thou wilt find me ever ready to receive thee in the open field, thee
and thy men-at-arms.  And what I say to thee, I say for the sake of all
the Christians thou mayest purpose to bring.  I fear them not; I was born
to fight them, and to conquer the world.”  Everywhere and at all times
human pride, with its blind arrogance, is the same.  Bajazet saw no
glimpse of that future when his empire would be decaying, and held
together only by the interested protection of Christian powers.  After
paying dearly for their errors and their disasters, Count John of Nevers
and his comrades in captivity re-entered France in February, 1398, and
their expedition to Hungary was but one of the last vain ventures of
chivalry in the great struggle that commenced in the seventh century
between Islamry and Christendom.

While this tragic incident was taking place in Eastern Europe, the court
of the mad king was falling a victim to rivalries, intrigues, and
scandals which, towards the close of this reign, were to be the curse and
the shame of France.  There had grown up between Queen Isabel of Bavaria
and Louis, Duke of Orleans, brother of the king, an intimacy which,
throughout the city and amongst all honorable people, shocked even the
least strait-laced.  It was undoubtedly through the queen’s influence
that Charles VI., in 1402, suddenly decided upon putting into the hands
of the Duke of Orleans the entire government of the realm and the right
of representing him in everything during the attacks of his malady.  The
Duke of Burgundy wrote at once about it to the parliament of Paris,
saying, “Take counsel and pains that the interests of the king and his
dominion be not governed as they now are, for, in good truth, it is a
pity and a grief to hear what is told me about it.”  The accusation was
not grounded solely upon the personal ill-temper of the Duke of Burgundy.
His nephew, the Duke of Orleans, was elegant, affable, volatile,
good-natured; he had for his partisans at court all those who shared his
worse than frivolous tastes and habits; and his political judgment was no
better than his habits.  No sooner was he invested with power than he
abused it strangely; he levied upon the clergy as well as the people an
enormous talliage, and the use he made of the money increased still
further the wrath of the public.  An Augustine monk, named James Legrand,
already celebrated for his writings, had the hardihood to preach even
before the court against abuses of power and licentiousness of morals.
The king rose up from his own place, and went and sat down right opposite
the preacher.  “Yes, sir,” continued the monk, “the king your father,
during his reign, did likewise lay taxes upon the people, but with the
produce of them he built fortresses for the defence of the kingdom, he
hurled back the enemy and took possession of their towns, and he effected
a saving of treasure which made him the most powerful amongst the kings
of the West.  But now, there is nothing of this kind done; the height of
nobility in the present day is to frequent bagnios, to live in
debauchery, to wear rich dresses with pretty fringes and big cuffs.
This, O queen,” he added, “is what is said to the shame of the court;
and, if you will not believe me, put on the dress of some poor woman and
walk about the city, and you will hear it talked of by plenty of people.”
 In spite of his malady and his affection for his brother, Charles VI.,
either from pure feebleness or because he was struck by those truths so
boldly proclaimed, yielded to the counsels of certain wise men who
represented to him “that it was neither a reasonable nor an honorable
thing to intrust the government of the realm to a prince whose youth
needed rather to be governed than to govern.”  He withdrew the direction
of affairs from the Duke of Orleans and restored it to the Duke of
Burgundy, who took it again and held it with a strong grasp, and did
not suffer his nephew Louis to meddle in anything.  But from that time
forward open distrust and hatred were established between the two princes
and their families.  In the very midst of this court-crisis Duke Philip
the Bold fell ill and died within a few days, on the 27th of April, 1404.
He was a prince valiant and able, ambitious, imperious, eager in the
pursuit of his own personal interests, careful in humoring those whom he
aspired to rule, and disposed to do them good service in whatever was not
opposed to his own ends.  He deserved and possessed the confidence and
affection not only of his father, King John, but also of his brother,
Charles V., a good judge of wisdom and fidelity.  He founded that great
house of Burgundy which was for more than a century to eclipse and often
to deplorably compromise France; but Philip the Bold loved France
sincerely, and always gave her the chief place in his policy.  His
private life was regular and staid, amidst the scandalous licentiousness
of his court.  He was of those who leave behind them unfeigned regret and
an honored memory, without having inspired their contemporaries with any
lively sympathy.

John the Fearless, Count of Nevers, his son and successor in the dukedom
of Burgundy, was not slow to prove that there was reason to regret his
father.  His expedition to Hungary, for all its bad leadership and bad
fortune, had created esteem for his courage and for his firmness under
reverses, but little confidence in his direction of public affairs.  He
was a man of violence, unscrupulous and indiscreet, full of jealousy and
hatred, and capable of any deed and any risk for the gratification of his
passions or his fancies.  At his accession he made some popular moves; he
appeared disposed to prosecute vigorously the war against England, which
was going on sluggishly; he testified a certain spirit of conciliation by
going to pay a visit to his cousin, the Duke of Orleans, lying ill at his
castle of Beaute, near Vincennes; when the Duke of Orleans was well
again, the two princes took the communion together, and dined together at
their uncle’s, the Duke of Berry’s; and the Duke of Orleans invited the
new Duke of Burgundy to dine with him the next Sunday.  The Parisians
took pleasure in observing these little matters, and in hoping for the
re-establishment of harmony in the royal family.  They were soon to be
cruelly undeceived.

On the 23d of November, 1407, the Duke of Orleans had dined at Queen
Isabel’s.  He was returning about eight in the evening along Vieille Rue
du Temple, singing and playing with his glove, and attended by only two
squires riding one horse, and by four or five varlets on foot, carrying
torches.  It was a gloomy night; not a soul in the streets.  When the
duke was about a hundred paces from the queen’s hostel, eighteen or
twenty armed men, who had lain in ambush behind a house called Image de
Notre-Dame, dashed suddenly out; the squires’ horse took fright and ran
away with them; and the assassins rushed upon the duke, shouting, “Death!
death!”  “What is all this?” said he; “I am the Duke of Orleans.”  “Just
what we want,” was the answer; and they hurled him down from his mule.
He struggled to his knees; but the fellows struck at him heavily with axe
and sword.  A young man in his train made an effort to defend him, and
was immediately cut down; and another, grievously wounded, had but just
time to escape into a neighboring shop.  A poor cobbler’s wife opened her
window, and, seeing the work of assassination, shrieked, “Murder!
murder!”  “Hold your tongue, you strumpet!” cried some one from the
street.  Others shot arrows at the windows where lookers-on might be.  A
tall man, wearing a red cap which came down over his eyes, said in a loud
voice, “Out with all lights, and away!” The assassins fled at the top of
their speed, shouting, “Fire! fire!” throwing behind them foot-trippers,
and by menaces causing all the lights to be put out which were being
lighted here and there in the shops.

[Illustration: Murder of the Duke of Orleans----38]

The duke was quite dead.  One of his squires, returning to the spot,
found his body stretched on the road, and mutilated all over.  He was
carried to the neighboring church of Blancs-Manteaux, whither all the
royal family came to render the last sad offices.  The Duke of Burgundy
appeared no less afflicted than the rest.  “Never,” said he, “was a more
wicked and traitorous murder committed in this realm.”  The provost of
Paris, Sire de Tignouville, set on foot an active search after the
perpetrators.  He was summoned before the council of princes, and the
Duke of Berry asked him if he had discovered anything.  “I believe,” said
the provost, “that if I had leave to enter all the hostels of the king’s
servants, and even of the princes, I could get on the track of the
authors or accomplices of the crime.”  He was authorized to enter
wherever it seemed good to him.  He went away to set himself to work.
The Duke of Burgundy, looking troubled and growing pale, “Cousin,” said
the King of Naples, Louis d’Anjou, who was present at the council, “can
you know aught about it?  You must tell us.”  The Duke of Burgundy took
him, together with his uncle, the Duke of Berry, aside, and told them
that it was he himself who, tempted of the devil, had given orders for
this murder.  “O God!” cried the Duke of Berry, “then I lose both my
nephews!”  The Duke of Burgundy went out in great confusion, and the
council separated.  Research brought about the discovery that the crime
had been for a long while in preparation, and that a Norman nobleman,
Raoul d’Auquetonville, late receiver-general of finance, having been
deprived of his post by the Duke of Orleans for malversation, had been
the instrument.  The council of princes met the next day at the Hotel de
Nesle.  The Duke of Burgundy, who had recovered all his audacity, came to
take his seat there.  Word was sent to him not to enter the room.  Duke
John persisted; but the Duke of Berry went to the door and said to him,
“Nephew, give up the notion of entering the council; you would not be
seen there with pleasure.”  “I give up willingly,” answered Duke John;
“and that none may be accused of putting to death the Duke of Orleans, I
declare that it was I, and none other, who caused the doing of what has
been done.”  Thereupon he turned his horse’s head, returned forthwith to
the Hotel d’Artois, and, taking only six men with him, he galloped
without a halt, except to change horses, to the frontier of Flanders.
The Duke of Bourbon complained bitterly at the council that an immediate
arrest had not been ordered.  The Admiral de Brabant, and a hundred of
the Duke of Orleans’ knights, set out in pursuit, but were unable to come
up in time.  Neither Raoul d’Anquetonville nor any other of the assassins
was caught.  The magistrates, as well as the public, were seized with
stupor in view of so great a crime and so great a criminal.

But the Duke of Orleans left a widow who, in spite of his infidelities
and his irregularities, was passionately attached to him.  Valentine
Visconti, the Duke of Milan’s daughter, whose dowry had gone to pay the
ransom of King John, was at Chateau-Thierry when she heard of her
husband’s murder.  Hers was one of those natures, full of softness and at
the same time of fire, which grief does not overwhelm, and in which a
passion for vengeance is excited and fed by their despair.  She started
for Paris in the early part of December, 1407, during the roughest
winter, it was said, ever known for several centuries, taking with her
all her children.  The Duke of Berry, the Duke of Bourbon, the Count of
Clermont, and the constable went to meet her.  Herself and all her train
in deep mourning, she dismounted at the hostel of St. Paul, threw herself
on her knees before the king with the princes and council around him, and
demanded of him justice for her husband’s cruel death.  The chancellor
promised justice in the name of the king, who added with his own lips,
“We regard the deed relating to our own brother as done to ourself.”  The
compassion of all present was boundless, and so was their indignation;
but it was reported that the Duke of Burgundy was getting ready to return
to Paris, and with what following and for what purpose would he come?
Nothing was known on that point.  There was no force with which to make a
defence.  Nothing was done for the Duchess of Orleans; no prosecution
began.  As much vexed and irritated as disconsolate, she set out for
Blois with her children, being resolved to fortify herself there.
Charles had another relapse of his malady.  The people of Paris, who were
rather favorable than adverse to the Duke of Burgundy, laid the blame of
the king’s new attack, and of the general alarm, upon the Duchess of
Orleans, who was off in flight.  John the Fearless actually re-entered
Paris on the 20th of February, 1408, with a thousand men-at-arms, amidst
popular acclamation, and cries of “Long live the Duke of Burgundy!”
 Having taken up a strong position at the Hotel d’Artois, he sent a demand
to the king for a solemn audience, proclaiming his intention of setting
forth the motives for which he had caused the Duke of Orleans to be
slain.  The 8th of March was the day fixed.  Charles VI., being worse
than ever that day, was not present; the _dauphin_, Louis, Duke of
Guienne, a child of twelve years, surrounded by the princes, councillors,
a great number of lords, doctors of the university, burgesses of note,
and people of various conditions, took his father’s place at this
assembly.  The Duke of Burgundy had intrusted a Norman Cordelier, Master
John Petit, with his justification.  The monk spoke for more than five
hours, reviewing sacred history, and the histories of Greece, Rome, and
Persia, and the precedents of Phineas, Absalom the son of David, Queen
Athaliah, and Julian the Apostate, to prove “that it is lawful, and not
only lawful, but honorable and meritorious, in any subject to slay or
cause to be slain a traitor and disloyal tyrant, especially when he is a
man of such mighty power that justice cannot well be done by the
sovereign.”  This principle once laid down, John Petit proceeded to apply
it to the Duke of Burgundy, “causing to be slain that criminal tyrant,
the Duke of Orleans, who was meditating the damnable design of thrusting
aside the king and his children from their crown;” and he drew from it
the conclusion that “the Duke of Burgundy ought not to be at all blamed
or censured for what had happened in the person of the Duke of Orleans,
and that the king not only ought not to be displeased with him, but ought
to hold the said lord of Burgundy, as well as his deed, agreeable to him,
and authorized by necessity.”  The defence thus concluded, letters were
actually put before the king, running thus: “It is our will and pleasure
that our cousin of Burgundy, his heirs and successors, be and abide at
peace with us and our successors, in respect of the aforesaid deed, and
all that hath followed thereon; and that by us, our said successors, our
people and officers, no hinderance, on account of that, may be offered
them, either now or in time to come.”

Charles VI., weak in mind and will, even independently of his attacks,
signed these letters, and gave Duke John quite a kind reception, telling
him, however, that “he could cancel the penalty, but not the resentment
of everybody, and that it was for him to defend himself against perils
which were probably imminent.”  The duke answered proudly that “so long
as he stood in the king’s good graces, he did not fear any man living.”

Three days after this strange audience and this declaration, Queen
Isabel, but lately on terms of the closest intimacy with the Duke of
Orleans, who had been murdered on his way home after dining with her, was
filled with alarm, and set off suddenly for Melun, taking with her her
son Louis, the _dauphin_, and accompanied by nearly all the princes, who,
however, returned before long to Paris, being troubled by the displeasure
the Duke of Burgundy testified at their departure.  For more than four
months, Duke John the Fearless remained absolute master of Paris,
disposing of all posts, giving them to his own creatures, and putting
himself on good terms with the university and the principal burgesses.
A serious revolt amongst the Liigese called for his presence in Flanders.
The first troops he had sent against them had been repulsed; and he felt
the necessity of going thither in person.  But two months after his
departure from Paris, on the 26th of August, 1408, Queen Isabel returned
thither from Melun, with the _dauphin_ Louis, who for the first time rode
on horseback, and with three thousand men-at-arms.  She set up her
establishment at the Louvre.  The Parisians shouted “Noel,” as she passed
along; and the Duke of Berry, the Duke of Bourbon, the Duke of Brittany,
the constable, and all the great officers of the crown rallied round her.
Two days afterwards, on the 28th of August, the Duchess of Orleans
arrived there from Blois, in a black litter drawn by four horses
caparisoned in black, and followed by a large number of mourning
carriages.  On the 5th of September, a state assembly was held at the
Louvre.  All the royal family, the princes and great officers of the
crown, the presidents of the parliament, fifteen archbishops or bishops,
the provost of Paris, the provost of tradesmen, and a hundred burgesses
of note attended it.  Thereupon Master Juvenal des Ursins, king’s
advocate, announced the intention of Charles VI. in his illness to confer
the government upon the queen, set forth the reasons for it, called to
mind the able regency of Queen Blanche, mother of St. Louis, and produced
royal letters, sealed with the great seal.  Immediately the Duchess of
Orleans came forward, knelt at the _dauphin_’s feet, demanding justice
for the death of her husband, and begged that she might have a day
appointed her for refuting the calumnies with which it had been sought to
blacken his memory.  The _dauphin_ promised a speedy reply.  On the 11th
of September, accordingly, a new meeting of princes, lords, prelates,
parliament, the university, and burgesses was held in the great hall of
the Louvre.  The Duchess of Orleans, the Duke her son, their chancellor,
and the principal officers of her household were introduced, and leave
was given them to proceed with the justification of the late Duke of
Orleans.  It had been prepared beforehand; the duchess placed the
manuscript before the council, as pledging herself unreservedly to all it
contained, and Master Serisy, Abbot of St. Fiacre, a monk of the order of
St. Benedict, read the document out publicly.  It was a long and learned
defence, in which the imputations made by the cordelier, John Petit,
against the late Duke of Orleans, were effectually and in some parts
eloquently refuted.  After the justification, Master Cousinot, advocate
of the Duchess of Orleans, presented in person his demands against the
Duke of Burgundy.  They claimed that he should be bound to come, “without
belt or chaperon,” and disavow solemnly and publicly, on his knees before
the royal family, and also on the very spot where the crime was
committed, the murder of the Duke of Orleans.  After several other acts
of reparation which were imposed upon him, he was to be sent into exile
for twenty years beyond the seas, and on his return to remain at twenty
leagues’ distance, at least, from the king and the royal family.  After
reacting these demands, which were more legitimate than practicable, the
young _dauphin_, well instructed as to what he had to say, addressed the
Duchess of Orleans and her children in these terms: “We and all the
princes of the blood royal here present, after having heard the
justification of our uncle, the Duke of Orleans, have no doubt left
touching the honor of his memory, and do hold him to be completely
cleared of all that hath been said contrary to his reputation.  As to the
further demands you make, they shall be suitably provided for in course
of justice.”  At this answer the assembly broke up.

It had just been reported that the Duke of Burgundy had completely beaten
and reduced to submission the insurgent Liegese, and that he was
preparing to return to Paris with his army.  Great was the consternation
amongst the council of the queen and princes.  They feared above
everything to see the king and the _dauphin_ in the Duke of Burgundy’s
power; and it was decided to quit Paris, which had always testified a
favorable disposition towards Duke John.  Charles VI. was the first to
depart, on the 3d of November, 1408.  The queen, the _dauphin_, and the
princes followed him two days afterwards, and at Gien they all took boat
on the Loire to go to Tours.  The Duke of Burgundy on his arrival at
Paris, on the 28th of November, found not a soul belonging to the royal
family or the court; and he felt a moment’s embarrassment.  Even his
audacity and lack of scruple did not go to the extent of doing without
the king altogether, or even of dispensing with having him for a tool;
and he had seen too much of the Parisian populace not to know how
precarious and fickle was its favor.  He determined to negotiate with the
king’s party, and for that purpose he sent his brother-in-law the Count
of Hainault, to Tours, with a brilliant train of unarmed attendants,
bidden to make themselves agreeable, and not to fight.

A recent event had probably much to do with his decision.  His most
indomitable foe, she to whom the king and his councillors had lately
granted a portion of the vengeance she was seeking to take on him,
Valentine of Milan, Duchess of Orleans, died on the 4th of December,
1408, at Blois, far from satisfied with the moral reparation she had
obtained in her enemy’s absence, and clearly foreseeing that against the
Duke of Burgundy, flushed with victory and present in person, she would
obtain nothing of what she had asked.  For spirits of the best mettle,
and especially for a woman’s heart, impotent passion is a heavy burden to
bear; and Valentine Visconti, beautiful, amiable, and unhappy even in her
best days through the fault of the husband she loved, sank under this
trial.  At the close of her life she had taken for device, “Nought have I
more; more hold I nought” (Bien ne m ‘est plus; plus ne m ‘est rien);
and so fully was that her habitual feeling that she had the words
inscribed upon the black tapestry of her chamber.  In her last hours she
had by her side her three sons and her daughter, but there was another
still whom she remembered.  She sent for a child, six years of age, John,
a natural son of her husband by Marietta d’Enghien, wife of Sire de
Cany-Dunois.  “This one,” said she, “was filched from me; yet there is
not a child so well cut out as he to avenge his father’s death.”
 Twenty-five years later John was the famous Bastard of Orleans, Count
Dunois, Charles VII.’s lieutenant-general, and Joan of Arc’s comrade in
the work of saving the French kingship and France.

[Illustration: Death of Valentine de Milan----45]

The Duke of Burgundy’s negotiations at Tours were not fruitless.  The
result was, that on the 9th of March, 1409, a treaty was concluded and an
interview effected at Chartres between the duke on one side and on the
other the king, the queen, the _dauphin_, all the royal family, the
councillors of the crown, the young Duke of Orleans, his brother, and a
hundred knights of their house, all met together to hear the king declare
that he pardoned the Duke of Burgundy.  The duke prayed “my lord of
Orleans and my lords his brothers to banish from their hearts all hatred
and vengeance;” and the princes of Orleans “assented to what the king
commanded them, and forgave their cousin the Duke of Burgundy everything
entirely.”  On the way back from Chartres the Duke of Burgundy’s fool
kept playing with a church-paten (called “peace”), and thrusting it under
his cloak, saying, “See, this is a cloak of peace;” and, “Many folks,”
 says Juvenal des Ursins, “considered this fool pretty wise.”  The Duke of
Burgundy had good reason, however, for seeking this outward
reconciliation; it put an end to a position too extended not to become
pretty soon untenable; the peace was a cause of great joy at Paris; the
king was not long coming back; and two hundred thousand persons, says the
chronicle, went out to meet him, shouting, “Noel!” The Duke of Burgundy
had gone out to receive him; and the queen and the princes arrived two
days after-wards.  It was not known at the time, though it was perhaps
the most serious result of the negotiation, that a secret understanding
had been established between John the Fearless and Isabel of Bavaria.
The queen, as false as she was dissolute, had seen that the duke might be
of service to her on occasion if she served him in her turn, and they had
added the falsehood of their undivulged arrangement to that of the
general reconciliation.

But falsehood does not extinguish the facts it attempts to disguise.  The
hostility between the houses of Orleans and Burgundy could not fail to
survive the treaty of Chartres, and cause search to be made for a man to
head the struggle so soon as it could be recommenced.  The hour and the
man were not long waited for.  In the very year of the treaty, Charles of
Orleans, eldest son of the murdered duke and Valentine of Milan, lost his
wife, Isabel of France, daughter of Charles VI.; and as early as the
following year (1410) the princes, his uncles, made him marry Bonne
d’Armagnac, daughter of Count Bernard d’Armagnac, one of the most
powerful, the most able, and the most ambitious lords of Southern France.
Forthwith, in concert with the Duke of Berry, the Duke of Brittany, and
several other lords, Count Bernard put himself at the head of the Orleans
party, and prepared to proceed against the Duke of Burgundy in the cause
of dominion combined with vengeance.  From 1410 to 1415 France was a prey
to civil war between the Armagnacs and Burgundians, and to their
alternate successes and reverses brought about by the unscrupulous
employment of the most odious and desperate means.  The Burgundians had
generally the advantage in the struggle, for Paris was chiefly the centre
of it, and their influence was predominant there.  Their principal allies
there were the butchers, the boldest and most ambitious corporation in
the city.  For a long time the butcher-trade of Paris had been in the
hands of a score of families the number had been repeatedly reduced, and
at the opening of the fifteenth century, three families, the Legoix, the
St. Yons, and the Thiberts, had exercised absolute mastery in the market
district, which in turn exercised mastery over nearly the whole city.
“One Caboche, a flayer of beasts in the shambles of Hotel-Dieu, and
Master John de Troyes, a surgeon with a talent for speaking, were their
most active associates.  Their company consisted of ‘prentice-butchers,
medical students, skinners, tailors, and every kind of lewd fellows.
When anybody caused their displeasure they said, ‘Here’s an Armagnac,’
and despatched him on the spot, and plundered his house, or dragged him
off to prison to pay dear for his release.  The rich burgesses lived in
fear and peril.  More than three hundred of them went off to Melun with
the provost of tradesmen, who could no longer answer for the tranquillity
of the city.”  The Armagnacs, in spite of their general inferiority,
sometimes got the upper hand, and did not then behave with much more
discretion than the others.  They committed the mistake of asking aid
from the King of England, “promising him the immediate surrender of all
the cities, castles, and bailiwicks they still possessed in Guienne and
Poitou.”  Their correspondence fell into the hands of the Burgundians,
and the Duke of Burgundy showed the king himself a letter stating that
“the Duke of Berry, the Duke of Orleans, and the Duke of Bourbon had
lately conspired together at Bourges for the destruction of the king, the
kingdom, and the good city of Paris.”  “Ah!” cried the poor king with
tears, “we quite see their wickedness, and we do conjure you, who are of
our own blood, to aid and advise us against them.”  The duke and his
partisans, kneeling on one knee, promised the king all the assistance
possible with their persons and their property.  The civil war was
passionately carried on.  The Burgundians went and besieged Bourges.  The
siege continued a long while without success.  Some of the besiegers grew
weary of it.  Negotiations were opened with the besieged.  An interview
took place before the walls between the Duke of Berry and the Duke of
Burgundy.  “Nephew,” said the former, “I have acted ill, and you still
worse.  It is for us to try and maintain the kingdom in peace and
prosperity.”  “I will be no obstacle, uncle,” answered Duke John.  Peace
was made.  It was stipulated that the Duke of Berry and the Armagnac
lords should give up all alliance with the English, and all confederacy
against the Duke of Burgundy, who, on his side, should give up any that
he might have formed against them.  An engagement was entered into
mutually to render aid, service, and obedience to the king against his
foe of England, as they were bound by right and reason to do; and lastly
a promise was made to observe the articles of the peace of Chartres, and
to swear them over again.  There was a special prohibition against using,
for the future, the words Armagnacs and Burgundians, or any other term
reflecting upon either party.  The pacification was solemnly celebrated
at Auxerre, on the 22d of August, 1412; and on the 29th of September
following, the _dauphin_ once more entered Paris, with the Duke of
Burgundy at his side.  The king, queen, and Duke of Berry arrived a few
days afterwards.  The people gave a hearty reception to them, even to the
Armagnacs, well known as such, in their train; but the butchers and the
men of their faction murmured loudly, and treated the peace as treason.
Outside, it was little more than nominal; the Count of Armagnac remained
under arms and the Duke of Orleans held aloof from Paris.  A violent
ferment again began there.  The butchers continued to hold the mastery.
The Duke of Burgundy, all the while finding them very much in the way,
did not cease to pay court to them, Many of his knights were highly
displeased at seeing themselves mixed up with such fellows.  The honest
burgesses began to be less frightened at the threats and more angry at
the excesses of the butchers.  The advocate-general, Juvenal des Ursins,
had several times called without being received at the Hotel d’Artois,
but one night the Duke of Burgundy sent for him, and asked him what he
thought of the position.  “My lord,” said the magistrate, “do not persist
in always maintaining that you did well to have the Duke of Orleans
slain; enough mischief has come of it to make you agree that you were
wrong.  It is not to your honor to let yourself be guided by flayers of
beasts and a lot of lewd fellows.  I can guarantee that a hundred
burgesses of Paris, of the highest character, would undertake to attend
you everywhere, and do whatever you should bid them, and even lend you
money if you wanted it.”  The duke listened patiently, but answered that
he had done no wrong in the case of the Duke of Orleans, and would never
confess that he had.  “As to the fellows of whom you speak,” said he,
“I know my own business.”  Juvenal returned home without much belief in
the duke’s firmness.  He himself, full of courage as he was, durst not
yet declare himself openly.  The thought of all this occupied his mind
incessantly, sleeping and waking.  One night, when he had fallen asleep
towards morning, it seemed to him that a voice kept saying, _Surgite cum
sederitis, qui manducatis panem doloris_ (Rise up from your sitting, ye
who eat the bread of sorrow).  When he awoke, his wife, a good and pious
woman, said to him, “My dear, this morning I heard some one saying to
you, or you pronouncing in a dream, some words that I have often read in
my Hours;” and she repeated them to him.  “My dear,” answered Juvenal,
“we have eleven children, and consequently great cause to pray God to
grant us peace; let us hope in Him, and He will help us.”  He often saw
the Duke of Berry.  “Well, Juvenal,” the old prince would say to him,
“shall this last forever?  Shall we be forever under the sway of these
lewd fellows?”  “My lord,” Juvenal would answer, “hope we in God; yet a
little while and we shall see them confounded and destroyed.”

Nor was Juvenal mistaken.  The opposition to the yoke of the Burgundians
was daily becoming more and more earnest and general.  The butchers
attempted to stein the current; but the carpenters took sides against
them, saying, “We will see which are the stronger in Paris, the hewers of
wood or the fellers of oxen.”  The parliament, the exchequer-chamber, and
the Hotel-de-Ville demanded peace; and the shouts of Peace! peace!
resounded in the streets.  A great crowd of people assembled on the
Greve; and thither the butchers came with their company of about twelve
hundred persons, it is said.  They began to speak against peace, but
could not get a hearing.  “Let those who are for it go to the right,”
 shouted a voice, “and those who are against it to the left!” But the
adversaries of peace durst not risk this test.  The Duke of Burgundy
could not help seeing that he was declining rapidly; he was no longer
summoned to the king’s council; a watch was kept upon his house; and he
determined to go away.  On the 23d of August, 1413, without a word said,
even to his household, he went away to the wood of Vincennes, prevailing
on the king to go hawking with him.  There was a suspicion that the duke
meant to carry off the king.  Juvenal des Ursins, with a company of armed
burgesses, hurried off to Vincennes, and going straight to the king,
said, “Sir, come away to Paris; it is too hot to be out.”  The king
turned to go back to the city.  The Duke of Burgundy was angry, saying
that the king was going a-hawking.  “You would take him too far,”
 rejoined Juvenal; “your people are in travelling dress, and you have
your trumpeters with you.”

[Illustration: John the Fearless----51]

The duke took leave of the king, said business required his presence in
Flanders, and went off as fast as he could.

When it was known that he had gone, there was a feeling of regret and
disquietude amongst the sensible and sober burgesses at Paris.  What they
wanted was peace; and in order to have it the adherence of the Duke of
Burgundy was indispensable.  Whilst he was present, there might be hope
of winning him or forcing him over to it; but, whilst he was absent,
headstrong as he was known to be, a renewal of war was the most probable
contingency.  And this result appeared certain when it was seen how the
princes hostile to the Duke of Burgundy, above all, Duke Charles of
Orleans, the Count of Armagnac and their partisans hastened back to
Paris, and resumed their ascendency with the king and in his council.
The _dauphin_, Louis Duke of Aquitaine, united himself by the ties of
close friendship with the Duke of Orleans, and prevailed upon him to give
up the mourning he had worn since his father’s murder; the two princes
appeared everywhere dressed alike; the scarf of Armagnac re-placed that
of Burgundy; the feelings of the populace changed as the fashion of the
court; and when children sang in the streets the song but lately in
vogue, “Burgundy’s duke, God give thee joy!” they were struck and hurled
to the ground.  Facts were before long in accordance with appearances.
After a few pretences of arrangement the Duke of Burgundy took up arms
and marched on Paris.  Charles VI., on his side, annulled, in the
presence of Parliament, all acts adverse to the Duke of Orleans and his
adherents; and the king, the queen, and the _dauphin_ bound themselves by
oath not to treat with the duke of Burgundy until they had destroyed his
power.  At the end of March, 1414, the king’s army was set in motion;
Compiegne, Soissons, and Bapaume, which held out for the Duke of
Burgundy, were successively taken by assault or surrendered; the royal
troops treated the people as vanquished rebels; and the four great
communes of Flanders sent a deputation to the king to make protestations
of their respect and an attempt to arrange matters between their lord and
his suzerain.  Animosity was still too lively and too recent in the
king’s camp to admit of satisfaction with a victory as yet incomplete.
On the 28th of July began the siege of Arras; but after five weeks the
besiegers had made no impression; an epidemic came upon them; the Duke of
Bavaria and the constable, Charles d’Albret, were attacked by it;
weariness set in on both sides; the Duke of Burgundy’ himself began to be
anxious about his position; and he sent the Duke of Brabant, his brother,
and the Countess of Hainault, his sister, to the king and the _dauphin_,
with more submissive words than he had hitherto deigned to utter.  The
Countess of Hainault, pleading the ties of family and royal interests,
managed to give the _dauphin_ a bias towards peace; and the _dauphin_ in
his turn worked upon the mind of the king, who was becoming more and more
feeble and accessible to the most opposite impressions.  It was in vain
that the most intimate friends of the Duke of Orleans tried to keep the
king steadfast in his wrath from night to morning.  One day, when he was
still in bed, one of them softly approaching and putting his hand under
the coverlet, said, plucking him by the foot, “My lord, are you asleep?”
 “No, cousin,” answered the king; “you are quite welcome; is there
anything new?”  “No, sir; only that your people report that if you would
assault Arras there would be good hope of effecting an entry.”  “But if
my cousin of Burgundy listens to reason, and puts the town into my hands
without assault, we will make peace.”  “What! sir; you would make peace
with this wicked, this disloyal man who so cruelly had your brother
slain?”  “But all was forgiven him with the consent of my nephew of
Orleans,” said the king mournfully.  “Alas! sir, you will never see that
brother again.”  “Let me be, cousin,” said the king, impatiently; “I
shall see him again on the day of judgment.”

Notwithstanding this stubborn way of working up the irreconcilable
enmities which caused divisions in the royal family, peace was decided
upon and concluded at Arras, on the 4th of September, 1414, on conditions
as vague as ever, which really put no end to the causes of civil war, but
permitted the king on the one hand and the Duke of Burgundy on the other,
to call themselves and to wear an appearance of being reconciled.  A
serious event which happened abroad at that time was heavily felt in
France, reawakened the spirit of nationality, and opened the eyes of all
parties a little to the necessity of suspending their own selfish
disagreements.  Henry IV., King of England, died on the 20th of March,
1413.  Having been chiefly occupied with the difficulties of his own
government at home, he, without renouncing the war with France, had not
prosecuted it vigorously, and had kept it in suspense or adjournment by a
repetition of truces.  Henry V., his son and successor, a young prince of
five and twenty, active, ambitious, able, and popular, gave, from the
very moment of his accession, signs of having bolder views, which were
not long coming to maturity, in respect of his relations with France.
The Duke of Burgundy had undoubtedly anticipated them, for, as soon as he
was cognizant of Henry IV.’s death, he made overtures in London for the
marriage of his daughter Catherine with the new King of England, and he
received at Bruges an English embassy on the subject.  When this was
known at Paris, the council of Charles VI. sent to the Duke of Burgundy
Sire de Dampierre and the Bishop of Evreux bearing letters to him from
the king “which forbade him, on pain of forfeiture and treason, to enter
into any treaty with the King of England, either for his daughter’s
marriage or for any other cause.”  But the views of Henry V. soared
higher than a marriage with a daughter of the Duke of Burgundy.  It was
to the hand of the King of France’s daughter, herself also named
Catherine, that he made pretension, flattering himself that he would find
in this union aid in support of his pretences to the crown of France.
These pretences he put forward, hardly a year after his accession to the
throne, basing them, as Edward III. had done, on the alleged right of
Isabel of France, wife of Edward II., to succeed King John.  No reply was
vouchsafed from Paris to this demand.  Only the Princess Catherine, who
was but thirteen, was presented to the envoys of the King of England, and
she struck them as being tall and beautiful.  A month later, in August,
1414, Henry V. gave Charles VI. to understand that he would be content
with a strict execution of the treaty of Bretigny, with the addition of
Normandy, Anjou, and Maine, and the hand of the Princess Catherine with a
dowry of two million crowns.  The war between Charles VI. and John the
Fearless caused a suspension of all negotiations on this subject; but,
after the peace of Arras, in January, 1415, a new and solemn embassy from
England arrived at Paris, and the late proposals were again brought
forward.  The ambassadors had a magnificent reception; splendid presents
and entertainments were given them; but no answer was made to their
demands; they were only told that the King of France was about to send an
embassy to the King of England.  It did not set out before the 27th of
the following April; the Archbishop of Bourges, the most eloquent prelate
in the council, was its spokesman; and it had orders to offer the King of
England the hand of the Princess Catherine with a dowry of eight hundred
and forty thousand golden crowns, besides fifteen towns in Aquitaine and
the seneschalty of Limoges.  Henry V. rejected these offers, declaring
that, if he did not get Normandy and all the districts ceded by the
treaty of Bretigny, he would have recourse to war to recover a crown
which belonged to him.  To this arrogant language the Archbishop of
Bourges replied, “O king, what canst thou be thinking of that thou
wouldst fain thus oust the King of the French, our lord, the most noble
and excellent of Christian kings, from the throne of so powerful a
kingdom?  Thinkest thou that it is for fear of thee and of the English
that he hath made thee an offer of his daughter together with so great a
sum and a portion of his land?  Nay, verily; he was moved by pity and the
love of peace; he would not that the innocent blood should be spilt and
Christian people destroyed in the hurly-burly of battle.  He will invoke
the aid of God Almighty, of the blessed virgin Mary, and of all the
saints.  Then by his own arms and those of his loyal subjects, vassals,
and allies, thou wilt be driven from his kingdom, and, peradventure, meet
with death or capture.”

On returning to Paris the ambassadors, in presence of the king’s council
and a numerous assembly of clergy, nobility, and people, gave an account
of their embassy and advised instant preparation for war without
listening to a single word of peace.  “They loudly declared,” says the
monk of St. Denis, “that King Henry’s letters, though they were
apparently full of moderation, had lurking at the bottom of them a great
deal of perfidy, and that this king, all the time that he was offering
peace and union in the most honeyed terms, was thinking only how he might
destroy the kingdom, and was levying troops in all quarters.”  Henry V.,
indeed, in November, 1414, demanded of his Parliament a large subsidy,
which was at once voted without any precise mention of the use to be made
of it, and merely in the terms following: “For the defence of the realm
of England and the security of the seas.”  At the commencement of the
following year, Henry resumed negotiations with France, renouncing his
claims to Normandy, Anjou, and Maine; but Charles VI. and his council
adhered to their former offers.  On the 16th of April, 1415, Henry
announced to a grand council of spiritual and temporal peers, assembled
at Westminster, his determination “of setting out in person to go and, by
God’s grace, recover his heritage.”  He appointed one of his brothers,
the Duke of Bedford, to be regent in his absence, and the peers,
ecclesiastical and laical, applauded his design, promising him their
sincere co-operation.  Thus France, under a poor mad king and amidst
civil dissensions of the most obstinate character, found the question
renewed for her of French versus English king-ship and national
independence versus foreign conquest.

On the 14th of August, 1415, an English fleet, having on board, together
with King Henry V., six thousand men-at-arms, twenty-four thousand
archers, powerful war-machines, and a multitude of artisans and “small
folk,” came to land near Harfleur, not far from the mouth of the Seine.
It was the most formidable expedition that had ever issued from the ports
of England.  The English spent several days in effecting their landing
and setting up their siege-train around the walls of the city.  “It would
have been easy,” says the monk of St. Denis, “to hinder their operations,
and the inhabitants of the town and neighborhood would have worked
thereat with zeal, if they had not counted that the nobility of the
district and the royal army commanded by the constable, Charles d’Albret,
would come to their aid.”  No one came.  The burgesses and the small
garrison of Harfleur made a gallant defence; but, on the 22d of
September, not receiving from Vernon, where the king and the _dauphin_
were massing their troops, any other assistance than the advice to “take
courage and trust to the king’s discretion,” they capitulated; and Henry
V., after taking possession of the place, advanced into the country with
an army already much reduced by sickness, looking for a favorable point
at which to cross the Somme and push his invasion still farther.  It was
not until the 19th of October that he succeeded, at Bethencourt, near St.
Quentin.  Charles VI., who at that time had a lucid interval, after
holding at Rouen a council of war, at which it was resolved to give the
English battle, wished to repair with the _dauphin_, his son, to Bapaume,
where the French army had taken position; but his uncle, the Duke of
Berry, having still quite a lively recollection of the battle of
Poitiers, fought fifty-nine’ years before, made opposition, saying,
“Better lose the battle than the king and the battle.”  All the princes
of the royal blood and all the flower of the French nobility, except the
king and his three sons, and the Dukes of Berry, Brittany, and Burgundy,
joined the army.  The Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon, and the Constable
d’Albret, who was in command, sent to ask the King of England on what day
and at what place he would be pleased to give them battle.  “I do not
shut myself up in walled towns,” replied Henry; “I shall be found at any
time and any where ready to fight, if any attempt be made to cut off my
march.”  The French resolved to stop him between Agincourt and
Framecourt, a little north of St. Paul and Hesdin.  The encounter took
place on the 25th of October, 1415.  It was a monotonous and lamentable
repetition of the disasters of Crecy and Poitiers; disasters almost
inevitable, owing to the incapacity of the leaders and ever the same
defects on the part of the French nobility, defects which rendered their
valorous and generous qualities not only fruitless, but fatal.  Never had
that nobility been more numerous and more brilliant than in this
premeditated struggle.  On the eve of the battle, Marshal de Boucicaut
had armed five hundred new knights; the greater part passed the night on
horse-back, under arms, on ground soaked with rain; and men and horses
were already distressed in the morning, when the battle began.  It were
tedious to describe the faulty manoeuvres of the French army and their
deplorable consequences on that day.  Never was battle more stubborn or
defeat more complete and bloody.  Eight thousand men of family, amongst
whom were a hundred and twenty lords bearing their own banners, were left
on the field of battle.  The Duke of Brabant, the Count of Nevers, the
Duke of Bar, the Duke of Alencon, and the Constable d’Albret were killed.
The Duke of Orleans was dragged out wounded from under the dead.  When
Henry V., after having spent several hours on the field of battle,
retired to his quarters, he was told that the Duke of Orleans would
neither eat nor drink.  He went to see him.  “What fare, cousin?” said
he.  “Good, my lord.”  “Why will you not eat or drink?” “I wish to fast.”
 “Cousin,” said the king, gently, “make good cheer: if God has granted me
grace to gain the victory, I know it is not owing to my deserts; I
believe that God wished to punish the French; and, if all I have heard
is true, it is no wonder, for they say that never were seen disorder,
licentiousness, sins, and vices like what is going on in France just now.
Surely, God did well to be angry.”  It appears that the King of England’s
feeling was that also of many amongst the people of France.  “On
reflecting upon this cruel mishap,” says the monk of St. Denis, “all the
inhabitants of the kingdom, men and women, said, ‘In what evil days are
we come into this world that we should be witnesses of such confusion and
shame!’”  During the battle the eldest son of Duke John the Fearless, the
young Count of Charolais (at that time nineteen), who was afterwards
Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, was at the castle of Aire, where his
governors kept him by his father’s orders and prevented him from joining
the king’s army.  His servants were leaving him one after another to go
and defend the kingdom against the English.

[Illustration: Already distressed----57]

When he heard of the disaster at Agincourt he was seized with profound
despair at having failed in that patriotic duty; he would fain have
starved himself to death, and he spent three whole days in tears, none
being able to comfort him.  When, four years afterwards, he became Duke
of Burgundy, and during his whole life, he continued to testify his keen
regret at not having fought in that cruel battle, though it should have
cost him his life, and he often talked with his servants about that event
of grievous memory.  When his father, Duke John, received the news of the
disaster at Agincourt, he also exhibited great sorrow and irritation; he
had lost by it his two brothers, the Duke of Brabant and the Count of
Nevers; and he sent forthwith a herald to the King of England, who was
still at Calais, with orders to say, that in consequence of the death of
his brother, the Duke of Brabant, who was no vassal of France, and held
nothing in fief there, he, the Duke of Burgundy, did defy him mortally
(fire and sword) and sent him his gauntlet.  “I will not accept the
gauntlet of so noble and puissant a prince as the Duke of Burgundy,” was
Henry V.’s soft answer; “I am of no account compared with him.  If I have
had the victory over the nobles of France, it is by God’s grace.  The
death of the Duke of Brabant hath been an affliction to me; but I do
assure thee that neither I nor my people did cause his death.  Take back
to thy master his gauntlet; if he will be at Boulogne on the 15th of
January next, I will prove to him by the testimony of my prisoners and
two of my friends, that it was the French who accomplished his brother’s

The Duke of Burgundy, as a matter of course, let his quarrel with the
King of England drop, and occupied himself for the future only in
recovering his power in France.  He set out on the march for Paris,
proclaiming everywhere that he was assembling his army solely for the
purpose of avenging the kingdom, chastising the English, and aiding the
king with his counsels and his forces.  The sentiment of nationality was
so strongly aroused that politicians most anxious about their own
personal interests, and about them alone, found themselves obliged to pay
homage to it.

Unfortunately, it was, so far as Duke John was concerned, only a
superficial and transitory homage.  There is no repentance so rarely seen
as that of selfishness in pride and power.  The four years which elapsed
between the battle of Agincourt and the death of John the Fearless were
filled with nothing but fresh and still more tragic explosions of hatred
and strife between the two factions of the Burgundians and Armagnacs,
taking and losing, re-taking and re-losing, alternately, their ascendency
with the king and in the government of France.  When, after the battle of
Agincourt, the Duke of Burgundy marched towards Paris, he heard almost
simultaneously that the king was issuing a prohibition against the entry
of his troops, and that his rival, the Count of Armagnac, had just
arrived and been put in possession of the military power, as constable,
and of the civil power, as superintendent-general of finance.  The duke
then returned to Burgundy, and lost no time in recommencing hostilities
against the king’s government.  At one time he let his troops make war on
the king’s and pillage the domains of the crown; at another he entered
into negotiations with the King of England, and showed a disposition to
admit his claims to such and such a province, and even perhaps to the
throne of France.  He did not accede to the positive alliance offered him
by Henry; but he employed the fear entertained of it by the king’s
government as a weapon against his enemies.  The Count of Armagnac, on
his side, made the most relentless use of power against the Duke of
Burgundy and his partisans; he pursued them everywhere, especially in
Paris, with dexterous and pitiless hatred.  He abolished the whole
organization and the privileges of the Parisian butcherdom which had
shown so favorable a leaning towards Duke John; and the system he
established as a substitute was founded on excellent grounds appertaining
to the interests of the people and of good order in the heart of Paris;
but the violence of absolute power and of hatred robs the best measures
of the credit they would deserve if they were more disinterested and
dispassionate.  A lively reaction set in at Paris in favor of the
persecuted Burgundians; even outside of Paris several towns of
importance, Rheims, Chalons, Troyes, Auxerre, Amiens, and Rouen itself,
showed a favorable disposition towards the Duke of Burgundy, and made a
sort of alliance with him, promising to aid him “in reinstating the king
in his freedom and lordship, and the realm in its freedom and just
rights.”  The Count of Armagnac was no more tender with the court than
with the populace of Paris.  He suspected, not without reason, that the
queen, Isabel of Bavaria, was in secret communication with and gave
information to Duke John.  Moreover, she was leading a scandalously
licentious life at Vincennes; and one of her favorites, Louis de
Bosredon, a nobleman of Auvergne and her steward, meeting the king one
day on the road, greeted the king cavalierly and hastily went his way.
Charles VI. was plainly offended.  The Count of Armagnac seized the
opportunity; and not only did he foment the king’s ill-humor, but talked
to him of all the irregularities of which the queen was the centre, and
in which Louis de Bosredon was, he said, at that time her principal
accomplice.  Charles, in spite of the cloud upon his mind, could hardly
have been completely ignorant cf such facts; but it is not necessary to
be a king to experience extreme displeasure on learning that offensive
scandals are almost public, and on hearing the whole tale of them.  The
king, carried away by his anger, went straight to Vincennes, had a
violent scene with his wife, and caused Bosredon to be arrested,
imprisoned, and put to the question; and he, on his own confession it is
said, was thrown into the Seine, sewn up in a leathern sack, on which
were inscribed the words, “Let the king’s justice run its course!”
 Charles VI. and Armagnac did not stop there.  Queen Isabel was first of
all removed from the council and stripped of all authority, and then
banished to Tours, where commissioners were appointed to watch over her
conduct, and not to let her even write a letter without their seeing it.
But royal personages can easily elude such strictness.  A few months
after her banishment, whilst the despotism of Armagnac and the war
between the king and the Duke of Burgundy were still going on, Queen
Isabel managed to send to the duke, through one of her servants, her
golden seal, which John the Fearless well knew, with a message to the
effect that she would go with him if he would come to fetch her.  On the
night of November 1, 1417, the Duke of Burgundy hurriedly raised the
siege of Corbeil, advanced with a body of troops to a position within two
leagues from Tours, and sent the queen notice that he was awaiting her.
Isabel ordered her three custodians to go with her to mass at the Convent
of Marmoutier, outside the city.  Scarcely was she within the church when
a Burgundian captain, Hector de Saveuse, presented himself with sixty men
at the door.  “Look to your safety, madame,” said her custodians to
Isabel; “here is a large company of Burgundians or English.”  “Keep close
to me,” replied the queen.  Hector de Saveuse at that moment entered and
saluted the queen on behalf of the Duke of Burgundy.  “Where is he?”
 asked the queen.  “He will not be long coming.”  Isabel ordered the
captain to arrest her three custodians; and two hours afterwards Duke
John arrived with his men-at-arms.  “My dearest cousin,” said the queen
to him, “I ought to love you above every man in the realm; you have left
all at my bidding, and are come to deliver me from prison.  Be assured
that I will never fail you.  I quite see that you have always been
devoted to my lord, his family, the realm, and the common-weal.”  The
duke carried the queen off to Chartres; and as soon as she was settled
there, on the 12th of November, 1417, she wrote to the good towns of the

“We, Isabel, by the grace of God Queen of France, having, by reason of my
lord the king’s seclusion, the government and administration of this
realm, by irrevocable grant made to us by the said my lord the king and
his council, are come to Chartres in company with our cousin, the Duke of
Burgundy, in order to advise and ordain whatsoever is necessary to
preserve and recover the supremacy of my lord the king, on advice taken
of the prud’hommes, vassals, and subjects.”

She at the same time ordered that Master Philip de Morvilliers,
heretofore councillor of the Duke of Burgundy, should go to Amiens,
accompanied by several clerics of note and by a registrar, and that there
should be held there, by the queen’s authority, for the bailiwicks of
Amiens, Vermandois, Tournai, and the countship of Ponthieu, a sovereign
court of justice, in the place of that which there was at Paris.  Thus,
and by such a series of acts of violence and of falsehoods, the Duke of
Burgundy, all the while making war on the king, surrounded himself with
hollow forms of royal and legal government.

Whilst civil war was thus penetrating to the very core of the kingship,
foreign war was making its way again into the kingdom.  Henry V., after
the battle of Agincourt, had returned to London, and had left his army to
repose and reorganize after its sufferings and its losses.  It was not
until eighteen months afterwards, on the 1st of August, 1417, that he
landed at Touques, not far from Honfleur, with fresh troops, and resumed
his campaign in France.  Between 1417 and 1419 he successively laid siege
to nearly all the towns of importance in Normandy, to Caen, Bayeux,
Falaise, Evreux, Coutances, Laigle, St. Lo, Cherbourg, &c., &c.  Some
he occupied after a short resistance, others were sold to him by their
governors; but when, in the month of July, 1418, he undertook the siege
of Rouen, he encountered there a long and serious struggle.  Rouen had at
that time, it is said, a population of one hundred and fifty thousand
souls, which was animated by ardent patriotism.  The Rouennese, on the
approach of the English, had repaired their gates, their ramparts, and
their moats; had demanded re-enforcements from the King of France and the
Duke of Burgundy; and had ordered every person incapable of bearing arms
or procuring provisions for ten months, to leave the city.  Twelve
thousand old men, women, and children were thus expelled, and died either
round the place or whilst roving in misery over the neighboring country;
“poor women gave birth unassisted beneath the walls, and good
compassionate people in the town drew up the new-born in baskets to have
them baptized, and afterwards lowered them down to their mothers to die
together.”  Fifteen thousand men of city-militia, four thousand regular
soldiers, three hundred spearmen and as many archers from Paris, and it
is not quite known how many men-at-arms sent by the Duke of Burgundy,
defended Rouen for more than five months amidst all the usual sufferings
of strictly-besieged cities.  “As early as the beginning of October,”
 says Monstrelet, “they were forced to eat horses, dogs, cats, and other
things not fit for human beings;” but they nevertheless made frequent
sorties, “rushing furiously upon the enemy, to whom they caused many a
heavy loss.”  Four gentlemen and four burgesses succeeded in escaping and
going to Beauvais, to tell the king and his council about the deplorable
condition of their city.  The council replied that the king was not in a
condition to raise the siege, but that Rouen would be relieved “within”
 on the fourth day after Christmas.  It was now the middle of December.
The Rouennese resigned themselves to waiting a fortnight longer; but,
when that period was over, they found nothing arrive but a message from
the Duke of Burgundy recommending them “to treat for their preservation
with the King of England as best they could.”  They asked to capitulate.
Henry V. demanded that “all the men of the town should place themselves
at his disposal.”  “When the commonalty of Rouen heard this answer, they
all cried out that it were better to die all together sword in hand
against their enemies than place themselves at the disposal of yonder
king, and they were for shoring up with planks a loosened layer of the
wall inside the city, and, having armed themselves and joined all of them
together, men, women, and children, for setting fire to the city,
throwing down the said layer of wall into the moats, and getting them
gone by night whither it might please God to direct them.”  Henry V. was
unwilling to confront such heroic despair; and on the 13th of January,
1419, he granted the Rouennese a capitulation, from which seven persons
only were excepted, Robert Delivet, the archbishop’s vicar-general, who
from the top of the ramparts had excommunicated the foreign conqueror;
D’Houdetot, baillie of the city; John Segneult, the mayor; Alan
Blanchard, the captain of the militia-crossbowmen, and three other
burgesses.  The last-named, the hero of the siege, was the only one who
paid for his heroism with his life; the baillie, the mayor, and the vicar
bought themselves off.  On the 19th of January, at midday, the English,
king and army, made their solemn entry into the city.  It was two hundred
and fifteen years since Philip Augustus had won Rouen by conquest from
John Lackland, King of England; and happily his successors were not to be
condemned to deplore the loss of it very long.

These successes of the King of England were so many reverses and perils
for the Count of Armagnac.  He had in his hands Paris, the king, and the
_dauphin_; in the people’s eyes the responsibility of government and of
events rested on his shoulders; and at one time he was doing nothing,
at another he was unsuccessful in what he did.  Whilst Henry V. was
becoming master of nearly all the towns of Normandy, the constable, with
the king in his army, was besieging Senlis; and he was obliged to raise
the siege.  The legates of Pope Martin V. had set about establishing
peace between the Burgundians and Armagnacs, as well as between France
and England; they had prepared, on the basis of the treaty of Arras, a
new treaty, with which a great part of the country, and even of the
burgesses of Paris, showed themselves well pleased; but the constable had
it rejected on the ground of its being adverse to the interests of the
king and of France; and his friend, the chancellor, Henry de Marle,
declared that, if the king were disposed to sign it, he would have to
seal it himself, for that, as for him, the chancellor, he certainly would
not seal it.  Bernard of Armagnac and his confidential friend, Tanneguy
Duchatel, a Breton nobleman, provost of Paris, were hard and haughty.
When a complaint was made to them of any violent procedure, they would
answer, “What business had you there?  If it were the Burgundians, you
would make no complaint.”  The Parisian population was becoming every day
more Burgundian.  In the latter days of May.  1418, a plot was contrived
for opening to the Burgundians one of the gates of Paris.  Perrinet
Leclerc, son of a rich iron-merchant having influence in the quarter of
St. Germain des Pros, stole the keys from under the bolster of his
father’s bed; a troop of Burgundian men-at-arms came in, and they were
immediately joined by a troop of Parisians.  They spread over the city,
shouting, “Our Lady of peace!  Hurrah for the king!  Hurrah for Burgundy!
Let all who wish for peace take arms and follow us!” The people swarmed
from the houses and followed them accordingly.  The Armagnacs were
surprised and seized with alarm.  Tanneguy Duchatel, a man of prompt and
resolute spirit, ran to the _dauphin_’s, wrapped him in his bed-clothes,
and carried him off to the Bastille, where he shut him up with several of
his partisans.  The Count of Armagnac, towards whose house the multitude
thronged, left by a back-door, and took refuge at a mason’s, where he
believed himself secure.  In a few hours the Burgundians were masters of
Paris.  Their chief, the lord of Isle-Adam, had the doors of the hostel
of St. Paul broken in, and presented himself before the king.  “How fares
my cousin of Burgundy?” said Charles VI.; “I have not seen him for some
time.”  That was all he said.  He was set on horseback and marched
through the streets.  He showed no astonishment at anything; he had all
but lost memory as well as reason, and no longer knew the difference
between Armagnac and Burgundian.  A devoted Burgundian, Sire Guy de Bar,
was named provost of Paris in the place of Tanneguy Duchatel.  The mason
with whom Bernard of Armagnac had taken refuge went and told the new
provost that the constable was concealed at his house.  Thither the
provost hurried, made the constable mount behind him, and carried him off
to prison at the Chatelet, at the same time making honorable exertions to
prevent massacre and plunder.

But factions do not so soon give up either their vengeance or their
hopes.  On the 11th of June, 1418, hardly twelve days after Paris had
fallen into the hands of the Burgundians, a body of sixteen hundred men
issued from the Bastille, and rushed into the street St. Antoine,
shouting, “Hurrah for the king, the _dauphin_, and the Count of Armagnac!”
 They were Tanneguy Duchatel and some of the chiefs of the Armagnacs who
were attempting to regain Paris, where they had observed that the
Burgundians were not numerous.  Their attempt had no success, and merely
gave the Burgundians the opportunity and the signal for a massacre of
their enemies.  The little band of Tanneguy Duchatel was instantly
repulsed, hemmed in, and forced to re-enter the Bastille with a loss of
four hundred men.  Tanneguy saw that he could make no defence there; so
he hastily made his way out, taking the _dauphin_ with him to Melun.  The
massacre of the Armagnacs had already commenced on the previous evening:
they were harried in the hostelries and houses; they were cut down with
axes in the streets.  On the night between the 12th and 13th of June a
rumor spread about that there were bands of Armagnacs coming to deliver
their friends in prison.  “They are at the St. Germain gate,” said some.
No, it is the St. Marceau gate,” said others.  The mob assembled and made
a furious rush upon the prison-gates.  “The city and burgesses will have
no peace,” was the general saying, “so long as there is one Armagnac
left!  Hurrah for peace!  Hurrah for the Duke of Burgundy!”  The provost
of Paris, the lord of Isle-Adam, and the principal Burgundian chieftains,
galloped up with a thousand horse, and strove to pacify these madmen,
numbering, it is said, some forty thousand.  They were received with a
stout of, “A plague of your justice and pity!  Accursed be he whosoever
shall have pity on these traitors of Armagnacs.  They are English; they
are hounds.  They had already made banners for the King of England, and
would fain have planted them upon the gates of the city.  They made us
work for nothing, and when we asked for our due they said, ‘You rascals,
haven’t ye a sou to buy a cord and go hang yourselves?  In the devil’s
name speak no more of it; it will be no use, whatever you say.’”  The
provost of Paris durst not oppose such fury as this.  “Do what you
please,” said he.  The mob ran to look for the constable Armagnac and the
chancellor de Marle in the Palace-tower, in which they had been shut up,
and they were at once torn to pieces amidst ferocious rejoicings.  All
the prisons were ransacked and emptied; the prisoners who attempted
resistance were smoked out; they were hurled down from the windows upon
pikes held up to catch them.  The massacre lasted from four o’clock in
the morning to eleven.  The common report was, that fifteen hundred
persons had perished in it; the account rendered to parliament made the
number eight hundred.  The servants of the Duke of Burgundy mentioned to
him no more than four hundred.

It was not before the 14th of July that he, with Queen Isabel, came back
to the city; and he came with a sincere design, if not of punishing the
cut-throats, at least of putting a stop to all massacre and pillage; but
there is nothing more difficult than to suppress the consequences of a
mischief of which you dare not attack the cause.  One Bertrand, head of
one of the companies of butchers, had been elected captain of St. Denis
because he had saved the abbey from the rapacity of a noble Burgundian
chieftain, Hector de Saveuse.  The lord, to avenge himself, had the
butcher assassinated.  The burgesses went to the duke to demand that the
assassin should be punished; and the duke, who durst neither assent nor
refuse, could only partially cloak his weakness by imputing the crime to
some disorderly youngsters whom he enabled to get away.  On the 20th of
August an angry mob collected in front of the Chatelet, shouting out that
nobody would bring the Armagnacs to justice, and that they were every day
being set at liberty on payment of money.  The great and little Chatelet
were stormed, and the prisoners massacred.  The mob would have liked to
serve the Bastille the same; but the duke told the rioters that he would
give the prisoners up to them if they would engage to conduct them to the
Chatelet without doing them any harm, and, to win them over, he grasped
the hand of their head man, who was no other than Capeluche, the city
executioner.  Scarcely had they arrived at the court-yard of the little
Chatelet when the prisoners were massacred there without any regard for
the promise made to the duke.  He sent for the most distinguished
burgesses, and consulted them as to what could be done to check such
excesses; but they confined themselves to joining him in deploring them.
He sent for the savages once more, and said to them, “You would do far
better to go and lay siege to Montlhery, to drive off the king’s enemies,
who have come ravaging everything up to the St. Jacques gate, and
preventing the harvest from being got in.”  “Readily,” they answered,
“only give us leaders.”  He gave them leaders, who led six thousand of
them to Montlhery.  As soon as they were gone Duke John had Capeluche and
two of his chief accomplices brought to trial, and Capeluche was beheaded
in the market-place by his own apprentice.  But the gentry sent to the
siege of Montlhery did not take the place; they accused their leaders of
having betrayed them, and returned to be a scourge to the neighborhood of
Paris, everywhere saying that the Duke of Burgundy was the most
irresolute man in the kingdom, and that if there were no nobles the war
would be ended in a couple of months.  Duke John set about negotiating
with the _dauphin_ and getting him back to Paris.  The _dauphin_ replied
that he was quite ready to obey and serve his mother as a good son
should, but that it would be more than he could stomach to go back to a
city where so many crimes and so much tyranny had but lately been
practised.  Terms of reconciliation were drawn up and signed on the 16th
of September, 1418, at St. Maur, by the queen, the Duke of Burgundy, and
the pope’s legates; but the _dauphin_ refused to ratify them.  The
unpunished and long-continued massacres in Paris had redoubled his
distrust towards the Duke of Burgundy; he had, moreover, just assumed the
title of regent of the kingdom; and he had established at Poitiers a
parliament, of which Juvenal des Ursins was a member.  He had promised
the young Count of Armagnac to exact justice for his father’s cruel
death; and the old friends of the house of Orleans remained faithful to
their enmities.  The Duke of Burgundy had at one time to fight, and at
another to negotiate with the _dauphin_ and the King of England, both at
once, and always without success.  The _dauphin_ and his council, though
showing a little more discretion, were going on in the same alternative
and unsatisfactory condition.  Clearly neither France and England nor the
factions in France had yet exhausted their passions or their powers; and
the day of summary vengeance was nearer than that of real reconciliation.

Nevertheless, complicated, disturbed and persistently resultless
situations always end by becoming irksome to those who are entangled in
them, and by inspiring a desire for extrication.  The King of England, in
spite of his successes and his pride, determined upon sending the Earl of
Warwick to Provins, where the king and the Duke of Burgundy still were: a
truce was concluded between the English and the Burgundians, and it was
arranged that on the 30th of May, 1419, the two kings should meet between
Mantes and Melun, and hold a conference for the purpose of trying to
arrive at a peace.  A few days before the time, Duke John set out from
Provins with the king, Queen Isabel, and Princess Catherine, and repaired
first of all to Pontoise, and then to the place fixed for the interview,
on the borders of the Seine, near Meulan, where two pavilions had been
prepared, one for the King of France and the other for the King of
England.  Charles VI., being ill, remained at Pontoise.  Queen Isabel,
Princess Catherine, and the Duke of Burgundy arrived at the appointed
spot.  Henry V. was already there; he went to meet the queen, saluted
her, took her hand, and embraced her and Madame Catherine as well; Duke
John slightly bent his knee to the king, who raised him up and embraced
him likewise.  This solemn interview was succeeded by several others to
which Princess Catherine did not come.  The queen requested the King of
England to state exactly what he proposed; and he demanded the execution
of the treaty of Bretigny, the cession of Normandy, and the absolute
sovereignty, without any bond of vassalage, of whatever should be ceded
by the treaty.  A short discussion ensued upon some secondary questions.
There appeared to be no distant probability of an understanding.  The
English believed that they saw an inclination on the Duke of Burgundy’s
part not to hasten to a conclusion, and to obtain better conditions from
King Henry by making him apprehensive of a reconciliation with the
_dauphin_.  Henry proposed to him, for the purpose of ending everything,
a conference between themselves alone; and it took place on the 3d of
June.  “Cousin,” said the king to the duke, “we wish you to know that we
will have your king’s daughter, and all that we have demanded with her;
else we will thrust him out of his kingdom, and you too.”  “Sir,”
 answered the duke, “you speak according to your pleasure; but before
thrusting my lord and myself from the kingdom you will have what will
tire you, we make no doubt, and you will have enough to do to keep
yourself in your own island.”  Between two princes so proud there was
little probability of an understanding; and they parted with no other
result than mutual displeasure.

Some days before, on the 14th of May, 1419, a truce of three months had
been concluded between the _dauphin_ and the Duke of Burgundy, and was to
lead to a conference also between these two princes.  It did not commence
before the 8th of July.  During this interval, Duke John had submitted
for the mature deliberation of his council the question whether it were
better to grant the English demands, or become reconciled to the
_dauphin_.  Amongst his official councillors opinions were divided; but,
in his privacy, the lady of Giac, “whom he loved and trusted mightily,”
 and Philip Jossequin, who had at first been his chamber attendant, and
afterwards custodian of his jewels and of his privy seal, strongly urged
him to make peace with the _dauphin_; and the pope’s fresh legate, the
Bishop of Laon, added his exhortations to these home influences.  There
had been fitted up at a league’s distance from Melun, on the embankment
of the ponds of Vert, a summer-house of branches and leaves, hung with
drapery and silken stuffs; and there the first interview between the two
princes took place.  The _dauphin_ left in displeasure; he had found the
Duke of Burgundy haughty and headstrong.  Already the old servants of the
late Duke of Orleans, impelled by their thirst for vengeance, were saying
out loud that the matter should be decided by arms, when the lady of Giac
went after the _dauphin_, who from infancy had also been very much
attached to her, and she, going backwards and forwards between the two
princes, was so affectionate and persuasive with both that she prevailed
upon them to meet again, and to sincerely wish for an understanding.  The
next day but one they returned to the place of meeting, attended, each of
them, by a large body of men-at-arms.  They advanced towards one another
with ten men only, and dismounted.  The Duke of Burgundy went on bended
knee.  The _dauphin_ took him by the hand, embraced him, and would have
raised him up.  “No, my lord,” said the duke; “I know how I ought to
address you.”  The _dauphin_ assured him that he forgave every offence,
if indeed he had received any, and added, “Cousin, if in the proposed
treaty between us there be aught which is not to your liking, we desire
that you amend it, and henceforth we will desire all you shall desire;
make no doubt of it.”  They conversed for some time with every appearance
of cordiality; and then the treaty was signed.  It was really a treaty of
reconciliation, in which, without dwelling upon “the suspicions and
imaginings which have been engendered in the hearts of ourselves and many
of our officers, and have hindered us from acting with concord in the
great matters of my lord the king and his kingdom, and resisting the
damnable attempts of his and our old enemies,” the two princes made
mutual promises, each in language suitable to their rank and connection,
“to love one another, support one another, and serve one another
mutually, as good and loyal relatives, and bade all their servants, if
they saw any hinderance thereto, to give them notice thereof, according
to their bounden duty.”  The treaty was signed by all the men of note
belonging to the houses of both princes; and the crowd which surrounded
them shouted “Noel!” and invoked curses on whosoever should be minded
henceforth to take up arms again in this damnable quarrel.  When the
_dauphin_ went away, the duke insisted upon holding his stirrup, and they
parted with every demonstration of amity.  The _dauphin_ returned to
Touraine, and the duke to Pontoise, to be near the king, who, by letters
of July 19, confirmed the treaty, enjoined general forgetfulness of the
past, and ordained that “all war should cease, save against the English.”

There was universal and sincere joy.  The peace fulfilled the
requirements at the same time of the public welfare and of national
feeling; it was the only means of re-establishing order at home, and
driving from the kingdom the foreigner who aspired to conquer it.  Only
the friends of the Duke of Orleans, and of the Count of Armagnac, one
assassinated twelve years before, and the other massacred but lately,
remained sad and angry at not having yet been able to obtain either
justice or vengeance; but they maintained reserve and silence.  They were
not long in once more finding for mistrust and murmuring grounds or
pretexts which a portion of the public showed a disposition to take up.
The Duke of Burgundy had made haste to publish his ratification of the
treaty of reconciliation; the _dauphin_ had let his wait.  The Parisians
were astounded not to see either the _dauphin_ or the Duke of Burgundy
coming back within their walls, and at being, as it were, forgotten and
deserted amidst the universal making-up.  They complained that no armed
force was being collected to oppose the English, and that there was an
appearance of flying before them, leaving open to them Paris, in which at
this time there was no captain of renown.  They were still more troubled
when, on the 29th of July, they saw the arrival at the St. Denis gate of
a multitude of disconsolate fugitives, some wounded, and others dropping
from hunger, thirst, and fatigue.  When they were asked who they were,
and what was the reason of their desperate condition, “We are from
Pontoise,” they said; “the English took the town this morning; they
killed or wounded all before them; happy he whosoever could escape from
their hands; never were Saracens so cruel to Christians as yonder folk
are.”  It was a real fact.  The King of England, disquieted at the
reconciliation between the Duke of Burgundy and the _dauphin_, and at the
ill success of his own proposals at the conference of the 30th of May
preceding, had vigorously resumed the war, in order to give both the
reunited French factions a taste of his resolution and power.  He had
suddenly attacked and carried Pontoise, where the command was in the
hands of the lord of Isle-Adam, one of the most valiant Burgundian
officers.  Isle-Adam, surprised and lacking sufficient force, had made a
feeble resistance.  There was no sign of an active union on the part of
the two French factions for the purpose of giving the English battle.
Duke John, who had fallen back upon Troyes, sent order upon order for his
vassals from Burgundy, but they did not come up.  Public alarm and
distrust were day by day becoming stronger.  Duke John, it was said, was
still keeping up secret communications with the seditious in Paris and
with the King of England; why did he not act with more energy against
this latter, the common enemy?  The two princes in their conference of
July 9, near Melun, had promised to meet again; a fresh interview
appeared necessary in order to give efficacy to their reconciliation.
Duke John was very pressing for the _dauphin_ to go to Troyes, where the
king and queen happened to be. The _dauphin_ on his side was earnestly
solicited by the most considerable burgesses of Paris to get this
interview over in order to insure the execution of the treaty of peace
which had been sworn to with the Duke of Burgundy.  The _dauphin_ showed
a disposition to listen to these entreaties.  He advanced as far as
Montereau in order to be ready to meet Duke John as soon as a place of
meeting should be fixed.

Duke John hesitated, from irresolution even more than from distrust.  It
was a serious matter for him to commit himself more and more, by his own
proper motion, against the King of England and his old allies amongst the
populace of Paris.  Why should he be required to go in person to seek the
_dauphin_?  It was far simpler, he said, for Charles to come to the king
his father.  Tanneguy Duchatel went to Troyes to tell the duke that the
_dauphin_ had come to meet him as far as Montereau, and, with the help of
the lady of Giae, persuaded on his side, to Bray-sur-Seine, two leagues
from Montereau.  When the two princes had drawn thus near, their agents
proposed that the interview should take place on the very bridge of
Montereau, with the precautions and according to the forms decided on.
In the duke’s household many of his most devoted servants were opposed
to this interview; the place, they said, had been chosen by and would be
under the ordering of the _dauphin_’s people, of the old servants of the
Duke of Orleans and the Count of Armagnac.  At the same time four
successive messages came from Paris urging the duke to make the plunge;
and at last he took his resolution.  “It is my duty,” said he, “to risk
my person in order to get at so great a blessing as peace.  Whatever
happens, my wish is peace.  If they kill me, I shall die a martyr.  Peace
being made, I will take the men of my lord the _dauphin_ to go and fight
the English.  He has some good men of war and some sagacious captains.
Tanneguy and Barbazan are valiant knights.  Then we shall see which is
the better man, Jack (Hannotin) of Flanders or Henry of Lancaster.”  He
set out for Bray on the 10th of September, 1419, and arrived about two
o’clock before Montereau.  Tanneguy Duchatel came and met him there.
“Well,” said the duke, “on your assurance we are come to see my lord the
_dauphin_, supposing that he is quite willing to keep the peace between
himself and us, as we also will keep it, all ready to serve him according
to his wishes.”  “My most dread lord,” answered Tanneguy, “have ye no
fear; my lord is well pleased with you, and desires henceforth to govern
himself according to your counsels.  You have about him good friends who
serve you well.”  It was agreed that the _dauphin_ and the duke should,
each from his own side, go upon the bridge of Montereau, each with ten
men-at-arms, of whom they should previously forward a list.  The
_dauphin_’s people had caused to be constructed at the two ends of the
bridge strong barriers closed by a gate; about the centre of the bridge
was a sort of lodge made of planks, the entrance to which was, on either
side, through a pretty narrow passage; within the lodge there was no
barrier in the middle to separate the two parties.  Whilst Duke John and
his confidants, in concert with the _dauphin_’s people, were regulating
these material arrangements, a chamber-attendant ran in quite scared,
shouting out, “My lord, look to yourself; without a doubt you will be
betrayed.”  The duke turned towards Tanneguy, and said, “We trust
ourselves to your word; in God’s holy name, are you quite sure of what
you have told us?  For you would do ill to betray us.”  “My most dread
lord,” answered Tanneguy, “I would rather be dead than commit treason
against you or any other: have ye no fear; I certify you that my lord
meaneth you no evil.”  “Very well, we will go then, trusting in God and
you,” re-joined the duke; and he set out walking to the bridge.  On
arriving at the barrier on the castle side he found there to receive him
Sire de Beauveau and Tanneguy Duchatel.  “Come to my lord,” said they;
“he is awaiting you.”  “Gentlemen,” said the duke, “you see how I come;”
 and he showed them that he and his people had only their swords; then
clapping Tanneguy on the shoulder, he said, “Here is he in whom I trust,”
 and advanced towards the _dauphin_, who remained standing, on the town
side, at the end of the lodge constructed in the middle of the bridge.
On arriving at the prince’s presence Duke John took off his velvet cap
and bent his knee to the ground.  “My lord,” said he, “after God, my duty
is to obey and serve you; I offer to apply thereto and employ therein my
body, my friends, my allies, and well-wishers.  Say I well?” he added,
fixing his eyes on the _dauphin_.  “Fair cousin,” answered the prince,
“you say so well that none could say better; rise and be covered.”
 Conversation thereupon ensued between the two princes.  The _dauphin_
complained of the duke’s delay in coming to see him: “For eighteen days,”
 he said, “you have made us await your coming in this place of Montereau,
this place a prey to epidemic and mortality, at the risk of and probably
with an eye to our personal danger.”  The duke, surprised and troubled,
resumed his haughty and exacting tone: “We can neither do nor advise
aught,” said he, “save in your father’s presence; you must come thither.”
 “I shall go when I think proper,” said Charles, “and not at your will and
pleasure; it is well known that whatever we do, we two together, the king
will be content therewith.”  Then he reproached the duke with his
inertness against the English, with the capture of Pontoise, and with his
alliances amongst the promoters of civil war.  The conversation was
becoming more and more acrid and biting.  “In so doing,” added the
_dauphin_, “you were wanting to your duty.”  “My lord,” replied the duke,
“I did only what it was my duty to do.”  “Yes, you were wanting,”
 repeated Charles.  “No,” replied the duke.  It was probably at these
words that, the lookers-on also waxing wroth, Tanneguy Duchatel told the
duke that the time had come for expiating the murder of the Duke of
Orleans, which none of them had forgotten, and raised his battle-axe to
strike the duke.  Sire de Navailles, who happened to be at his master’s
side, arrested the weapon; but, on the other hand, the Viscount of
Narbonne raised his over Navailles, saying, “Whoever stirs is a dead
man.”  At this moment, it is said, the mob which was thronging before the
barriers at the end of the bridge heard cries of “Alarm! slay, slay.”
 Tanneguy had struck and felled the duke; several others ran their swords
into him; and he expired.  The _dauphin_ had withdrawn from the scene and
gone back into the town.  After his departure his partisans forced the
barrier, charged the dumbfounded Burgundians, sent them flying along the
road to Bray, and returning on to the bridge would have cast the body of
Duke John, after stripping it, into the river; but the minister of
Montereau withstood them, and had it carried to a mill near the bridge.
“Next day he was put in a pauper’s shell, with nothing on but his shirt
and drawers, and was subsequently interred at the church of Notre-Dame de
Montereau, without winding-sheet and without pall over his grave.”

[Illustration: ‘“Into the River!”’----77]

The enmities of the Orleannese and the Armagnacs had obtained
satisfaction; but they were transferred to the hearts of the Burgundians.
After twelve years of public crime and misfortune the murder of Louis of
Orleans had been avenged; and should not that of John of Burgundy be, in
its turn?  Wherever the direct power or the indirect influence of the
Duke of Burgundy was predominant, there was a burst of indignation and
vindictive passion.  As soon as the Count of Charolais, Philip,
afterwards called the Good, heard at Ghent, where he happened at that
time to be, of his father’s murder, he was proclaimed Duke of Burgundy.
“Michelle,” said he to his wife, sister of the _dauphin_, Charles, “your
brother has murdered my father.”  The princess burst into tears; but the
new duke calmed her by saying that nothing could alter the love and
confidence he felt towards her.  At Troyes Queen Isabel showed more anger
than any one else against her son, the _dauphin_; and she got a letter
written by King Charles VI. to the dowager Duchess of Burgundy, begging
her, her and her children, “to set in motion all their relatives,
friends, and vassals to avenge Duke John.”  At Paris, on the 12th of
September, the next day but one after the murder, the chancellor, the
parliament, the provost royal, the provost of tradesmen, and all the
councillors and officers of the king assembled, “together with great
number of nobles and burgesses and a great multitude of people,” who all
swore “to oppose with their bodies and all their might the enterprise of
the criminal breakers of the peace, and to prosecute the cause of
vengeance and reparation against those who were guilty of the death and
homicide of the late Duke of Burgundy.”  Independently of party-passion,
such was, in Northern and Eastern France, the general and spontaneous
sentiment of the people.  The _dauphin_ and his councillors, in order to
explain and justify their act, wrote in all directions to say that,
during the interview, Duke John had answered the _dauphin_ “with mad
words .  .  .  He had felt for his sword in order to attack and outrage
our person, the which, as we have since found out, he aspired to place in
subjection .  .  .  but, through his own madness, met death instead.”
 But these assertions found little credence, and one of the two knights
who were singled out by the _dauphin_ to accompany him on to the bridge
of Montereau, Sire de Barbazan, who had been a friend of the Duke of
Orleans and of the Count of Armagnac, said vehemently to the authors of
the plot, “You have destroyed our master’s honor and heritage, and I
would rather have died than be present at this day’s work, even though I
had not been there to no purpose.”  But it was not long before an event,
easy to foresee, counterbalanced this general impression and restored
credit and strength to the _dauphin_ and his party.  Henry V., King of
England, as soon as he heard about the murder of Duke John, set himself
to work to derive from it all the advantages he anticipated.  “A great
loss,” said he, “is the Duke of Burgundy; he was a good and true knight
and an honorable prince; but through his death we are by God’s help at
the summit of our wishes.  We shall thus, in spite of all Frenchmen,
possess Dame Catherine, whom we have so much desired.”  As early as the
24th of September, 1419, Henry V. gave full powers to certain of his
people to treat “with the illustrious city of Paris and the other towns
in adherence to the said city.”  On the 17th of October was opened at
Arras a congress between the plenipotentiaries of England and those of
Burgundy.  On the 20th of November a special truce was granted to the
Parisians, whilst Henry V., in concert with Duke Philip of Burgundy, was
prosecuting the war against the _dauphin_.  On the 2d of December the
bases were laid of an agreement between the English and the Burgundians.
The preliminaries of the treaty, which was drawn up in accordance with
these bases, were signed on the 9th of April, 1420, by King Charles VI.,
and on the 20th communicated at Paris by the chancellor of France to the
parliament and to all the religious and civil, royal and municipal
authorities of the capital.  After this communication, the chancellor and
the premier president of parliament went with these preliminaries to
Henry V. at Pontoise, where he set out with a division of his army for
Troyes, where the treaty, definitive and complete, was at last signed and
promulgated in the cathedral of Troyes, on the 21st of May, 1420.

Of the twenty-eight articles in this treaty, five contained its essential
points and fixed its character: 1st. The King of France, Charles VI.,
gave his daughter Catherine in marriage to Henry V., King of England.
2d. “Our son, King Henry, shall place no hinderance or trouble in the way
of our holding and possessing as long as we live, and as at the present
time, the crown, the kingly dignity of France, and all the revenues,
proceeds, and profits which are attached thereto for the maintenance of
our state and the charges of the kingdom.  3d. It is agreed that
immediately after our death, and from that time forward, the crown and
kingdom of France, with all their rights and appurtenances, shall belong
perpetually and shall be continued to our son King Henry and his heirs.
4th. Whereas we are, at most times, prevented from advising by ourselves
and from taking part in the disposal of the affairs of our kingdom, the
power and the practice of governing and ordering the commonweal shall
belong and shall be continued, during our life, to our son King Henry,
with the counsel of the nobles and sages of the kingdom who shall obey us
and shall desire the honor and advantage of the said kingdom.  5th. Our
son King Henry shall strive with all his might, and as soon as possible,
to bring back to their obedience to us, all and each of the towns,
cities, castles, places, districts, and persons in our kingdom that
belong to the party commonly called of the _dauphin_ or Armagnac.”

This substitution, in the near future, of an English for the French
kingship; this relinquishment, in the present, of the government of
France to the hands of an English prince nominated to become before long
her king; this authority given to the English prince to prosecute in
France, against the _dauphin_ of France, a civil war; this complete
abdication of all the rights and duties of the kingship, of paternity
and of national independence; and, to sum up all in one word, this
anti-French state-stroke accomplished by a king of France, with the
co-operation of him who was the greatest amongst French lords, to the
advantage of a foreign sovereign--there was surely in this enough to
excite the most ardent and most legitimate national feelings.  They did
not show themselves promptly or with a blaze.  The fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, after so many military and civil troubles, had
great weaknesses and deep-seated corruption in mind and character.
Nevertheless the revulsion against the treaty of Troyes was real and
serious, even in the very heart of the party attached to the Duke of
Burgundy.  He was obliged to lay upon several of his servants formal
injunctions to swear to this peace, which seemed to them treason.  He had
great difficulty in winning John of Luxembourg and his brother Louis,
Bishop of Therouenne, over to it.  “It is your will,” said they; “we will
take this oath; but if we do, we will keep it to the hour of death.”
 Many less powerful lords, who had lived a long while in the household of
Duke John the Fearless, quitted his son, and sorrowfully returned to
their own homes.  They were treated as Armagnacs, but they persisted in
calling themselves good and loyal Frenchmen.  In the duchy of Burgundy
the majority of the towns refused to take the oath to the King of
England.  The most decisive and the most helpful proof of this awakening
of national feeling was the ease experienced by the _dauphin_, who was
one day to be Charles VII., in maintaining the war which, after the
treaty of Troyes, was, in his father’s and his mother’s name, made upon
him by the King of England and the Duke of Burgundy.  This war lasted
more than three years.  Several towns, amongst others, Melun, Crotoy,
Meaux, and St. Riquier, offered an obstinate resistance to the attacks of
the English and Burgundians.  On the 23d of March, 1421, the _dauphin_’s
troops, commanded by Sire de la Fayette, gained a signal victory over
those of Henry V., whose brother, the Duke of Clarence, was killed in
action.  It was in Perche, Anjou, Maine, on the banks of the Loire, and
in Southern France, that the _dauphin_ found most of his enterprising and
devoted partisans.  The sojourn made by Henry V. at Paris, in December,
1420, with his wife, Queen Catherine, King Charles VI., Queen Isabel, and
the Duke of Burgundy, was not, in spite of galas and acclamations, a
substantial and durable success for him.  His dignified but haughty
manners did not please the French; and he either could not or would not
render them more easy and amiable, even with men of note who were
necessary to him.  Marshal Isle-Adam one day went to see him in camp on
war-business.  The king considered that he did not present himself with
sufficient ceremony.  “Isle-Adam,” said he, “is that the robe of a
marshal of France?”  “Sir, I had this whity-gray robe made to come hither
by water aboard of Seine-boats.”  “Ha!” said the king, “look you a prince
in the face when you speak to him?”  “Sir, it is the custom in France,
that when one man speaks to another, of whatever rank and puissance that
other may be, he passes for a sorry fellow, and but little honorable, if
he dares not look him in the face.”  “It is not our fashion,” said the
king; and the subject dropped there.  A popular poet of the time, Alan
Chattier, constituted himself censor of the moral corruption and
interpreter of the patriotic paroxysms caused by the cold and harsh
supremacy of this unbending foreigner, who set himself up for king of
France, and had not one feeling in sympathy with the French.  Alan
Chartier’s _Quadriloge invectif_ is a lively and sometimes eloquent
allegory, in which France personified implores her three children, the
clergy, the chivalry, and the people, to forget their own quarrels and
unite to save their mother whilst saving themselves; and this political
pamphlet getting spread about amongst the provinces did good service to
the national cause against the foreign conqueror.  An event more powerful
than any human eloquence occurred to give the _dauphin_ and his partisans
earlier hopes.  Towards the end of August, 1422, Henry V.  fell ill; and,
too stout-hearted to delude himself as to his condition, he thought no
longer of anything but preparing himself for death.  He had himself
removed to Vincennes, called his councillors about him, and gave them his
last royal instructions.  “I leave you the government of France,” said he
to his brother, the Duke of Bedford, “unless our brother of Burgundy have
a mind to undertake it; for, above all things, I conjure you not to have
any dissension with him.  If that should happen God preserve you from it!
--the affairs of this kingdom, which seem well advanced for us, would
become bad.”  As soon as he had done with politics he bade his doctors
tell him how long he had still to live.  One of them knelt down before
his bed and said, “Sir, be thinking of your soul; it seemeth to us that,
saving the divine mercy, you have not more than two hours.”  The king
summoned his confessor with the priests, and asked to have recited to him
the penitential psalms.  When they came to the twentieth versicle of the
_Miserere,--Ut oedificentur muri Hierusalem_ (that the walls of Jerusalem
may be built up),--He made them stop.  “Ah!” said he, “if God had been
pleased to let me live out my time, I would, after putting an end to the
war in France, reducing the _dauphin_ to submission or driving him out of
the kingdom in which I would have established a sound peace, have gone to
conquer Jerusalem.  The wars I have undertaken have had the approval of
all the proper men and of the most holy personages; I commenced them and
have prosecuted them without offence to God or peril to my soul.”  These
were his last words.  The chanting of the psalms was resumed around him,
and he expired on the 31st of August, 1422, at the age of thirty-four.  A
great soul and a great king; but a great example also of the boundless
errors which may be fallen into by the greatest men when they pursue with
arrogant confidence their own views, forgetting the laws of justice and
the rights of other men.

On the 22d of October, 1422, less than two months after the death of
Henry V., Charles VI., King of France, died at Paris in the forty-third
year of his reign.  As soon as he had been buried at St. Denis, the Duke
of Bedford, regent of France according to the will of Henry V., caused a
herald to proclaim, “Long live Henry of Lancaster, King of England and of
France!”  The people’s voice made very different proclamation.  It had
always been said that the public evils proceeded from the state of
illness into which the unhappy King Charles had fallen.  The goodness he
had given glimpses of in his lucid intervals had made him an object of
tender pity.  Some weeks yet before his death, when he had entered Paris
again, the inhabitants, in the midst of their sufferings and under the
harsh government of the English, had seen with joy their poor mad king
coming back amongst them, and had greeted him with thousand-fold shouts
of “Noel!”  His body lay in state for three days, with the face
uncovered, in a hall of the hostel of St. Paul, and the multitude went
thither to pray for him, saying, “Ah! dear prince, never shall we have
any so good as thou Wert; never shall we see thee more.  Accursed be thy
death!  Since thou dost leave us, we shall never have aught but wars and
troubles.  As for thee, thou goest to thy rest; as for us, we remain in
tribulation and sorrow.  We seem made to fall into the same distress as
the children of Israel during the captivity in Babylon.”

[Illustration: The Body of Charles VI. lying in State----84]

The people’s instinct was at the same time right and wrong.  France had
yet many evil days to go through and cruel trials to endure; she was,
however, to be saved at last; Charles VI. was to be followed by Charles
VII. and Joan of Arc.

OF ARC.  1422-1461.

[Illustration: PORTRAIT OF JOAN OF ARC----85]

Whilst Charles VI. was dying at Paris, his son Charles, the _dauphin_,
was on his way back from Saintonge to Berry, where he usually resided.
On the 24th of October, 1422, at Mehun-sur-Yevre, he heard of his
father’s death.  For six days longer, from the 24th to the 29th of
October, he took no style but that of regent, as if he were waiting to
see what was going to happen elsewhere in respect of the succession to
the throne.  It was only when he knew that, on the 27th of October, the
parliament of Paris had, not without some little hesitation and
ambiguity, recognized “as King of England and of France, Henry VI., son
of Henry V. lately deceased,” that the _dauphin_ Charles assumed on the
30th of October, in his castle of Mehun-sur-Yevre, the title of king, and
repaired to Bourges to inaugurate in the cathedral of that city his reign
as Charles VII.

[Illustration: The Shepherdess of Domremy----90]

He was twenty years old, and had as yet done nothing to gain for himself,
not to say anything of glory, the confidence and hopes of the people.  He
passed for an indolent and frivolous prince, abandoned to his pleasures
only; one whose capacity there was nothing to foreshadow, and of whom
France, outside of his own court, scarcely ever thought at all.  Some
days before his accession he had all but lost his life at Rochelle by the
sudden breaking down of the room in the episcopal palace where he was
staying; and so little did the country know of what happened to him that,
a short time after the accident, messengers sent by some of his partisans
had arrived at Bourges to inquire if the prince were still living.  At a
time when not only the crown of the kingdom, but the existence and
independence of the nation, were at stake, Charles had not given any
signs of being strongly moved by patriotic feelings.  “He was, in person,
a handsome prince, and handsome in speech with all persons, and
compassionate towards poor folks,” says his contemporary Monstrelet; “but
he did not readily put on his harness, and he had no heart for war if he
could do without it.”  On ascending the throne, this young prince, so
little of the politician and so little of the knight, encountered at the
head of his enemies the most able amongst the politicians and warriors of
the day in the Duke of Bedford, whom his brother Henry V. had appointed
regent of France, and had charged to defend on behalf of his nephew,
Henry VI., a child in the cradle, the crown of France, already more than
half won.  Never did struggle appear more unequal or native king more
inferior to foreign pretender.

Sagacious observers, however, would have easily discerned in the cause
which appeared the stronger and the better supported many seeds of
weakness and danger.  When Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, heard at
Arras, that Charles VI. was dead, it occurred to him immediately that if
he attended the obsequies of the English King of France he would be
obliged, French prince as he was, and cousin-german of Charles VI., to
yield precedence to John, Duke of Bedford, regent of France, and uncle of
the new king, Henry VI.  He resolved to hold aloof, and contented himself
with sending to Paris chamberlains to make his excuses and supply his
place with the regent.  On the 11th of November, 1422, the Duke of
Bedford followed alone at the funeral of the late king of France, and
alone made offering at the mass.  Alone he went, but with the sword of
state borne before him as regent.  The people of Paris cast down their
eyes with restrained wrath.  “They wept,” says a contemporary, “and not
without cause, for they knew not whether for a long, long while they
would have any king in France.”  But they did not for long confine
themselves to tears.  Two poets, partly in Latin and partly in French,
Robert Blondel, and Alan Chartier, whilst deploring the public woes,
excited the popular feeling.  Conspiracies soon followed the songs.  One
was set on foot at Paris to deliver the city to king Charles VII., but it
was stifled ruthlessly; several burgesses were beheaded, and one woman
was burned.  In several great provincial cities, at Troyes and at Rheims,
the same ferment showed itself, and drew down the same severity.  William
Prieuse, superior of the Carmelites, was accused of propagating
sentiments favorable to the _dauphin_, as the English called Charles VII.
Being brought, in spite of the privileges of his gown, before John
Cauchon, lieutenant of the captain of Rheims [related probably to Peter
Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who nine years afterwards was to sentence
Joan of Arc to be burned], he stoutly replied, “Never was English king of
France, and never shall be.”  The country had no mind to believe in the
conquest it was undergoing; and the Duke of Burgundy, the most puissant
ally of the English, sulkily went on eluding the consequences of the
anti-national alliance he had accepted.

Such being the disposition of conquerors and conquered, the war, though
still carried on with great spirit, could not, and in fact did not, bring
about any decisive result from 1422 to 1429.  Towns were alternately
taken, lost, and retaken, at one time by the French, at another by the
English or Burgundians; petty encounters and even important engagements
took place with vicissitudes of success and reverses on both sides.  At
Crevant-sur-Yonne, on the 31st of July, 1423, and at Verneuil, in
Normandy, on the 17th of August, 1424, the French were beaten, and their
faithful allies, the Scots, suffered considerable loss.  In the latter
affair, however, several Norman lords deserted the English flag, refusing
to fight against the King of France.  On the 26th of September, 1423, at
La Gravelle, in Maine, the French were victorious, and Du Guesclin was
commemorated in their victory.  Anne de Laval, granddaughter of the great
Breton warrior, and mistress of a castle hard by the scene of action,
sent thither her son, Andrew de Laval, a child twelve years of age, and,
as she buckled with her own hands the sword which his ancestor had worn,
she said to him, “God make thee as valiant as he whose sword this was!”
 The boy received the order of knighthood on the field of battle, and
became afterwards a marshal of France.  Little bands, made up of
volunteers, attempted enterprises which the chiefs of the regular armies
considered impossible.  Stephen de Vignolles, celebrated under the name
of La Hire, resolved to succor the town of Montargis, besieged by the
English; and young Dunois, the bastard of Orleans, joined him.  On
arriving, September 5, 1427, beneath the walls of the place, a priest was
encountered in their road.  La Hire asked him for absolution.  The priest
told him to confess.  “I have no time for that,” said La Hire; “I am in a
hurry; I have done in the way of sins all that men of war are in the
habit of doing.”  Whereupon, says the chronicler, the chaplain gave him
absolution for what it was worth; and La Hire, putting his hands
together, said, “God, I pray Thee to do for La Hire this day as much as
Thou wouldst have La Hire do for Thee if he were God and Thou wert La
Hire.”  And Montargis was rid of its besiegers.  The English determined
to become masters of Mont St. Michel au peril de la mer, that abbey built
on a rock facing the western coast of Normandy and surrounded every day
by the waves of ocean.  The thirty-second abbot, Robert Jolivet, promised
to give the place up to them, and went to Rouen with that design; but one
of his monks, John Enault, being elected vicar-general by the chapter,
and supported by some valiant Norman warriors, offered an obstinate
resistance for eight years, baffled all the attacks of the English, and
retained the abbey in the possession of the King of France.  The
inhabitants of La Rochelle rendered the same service to the king and to
France in a more important case.  On the 15th of August, 1427, an English
fleet of a hundred and twenty sail, it is said, appeared off their city
with invading troops aboard.  The Rochellese immediately levied upon
themselves an extraordinary tax, and put themselves in a state of
defence; troops raised in the neighborhood went and occupied the heights
bordering on the coast; and a bold Breton sailor, Bernard de Kercabin,
put to sea to meet the enemy, with ships armed as privateers.  The
attempt of the English seemed to them to offer more danger than chance of
success; and they withdrew.  Thus Charles VII. kept possession of the
only seaport remaining to the crown.  Almost everywhere in the midst of a
war as indecisive as it was obstinate local patriotism and the spirit of
chivalry successfully disputed against foreign supremacy the scattered
fragments of the fatherland and the throne.

In order to put an end to this doubtful condition of events and of minds,
the Duke of Bedford determined to aim a grand blow at the national party
in France and at her king.  After Paris and Rouen, Orleans was the most
important city in the kingdom; it was as supreme on the banks of the
Loire as Paris and Rouen were on those of the Seine.  After having
obtained from England considerable re-enforcements commanded by leaders
of experience, the English commenced, in October, 1428, the siege of
Orleans.  The approaches to the place were occupied in force, and
bastilles closely connected one with another were constructed around the
walls.  As a set-off, the most valiant warriors of France, La Hire,
Dunois, Xaintrailles, and the Marshal La Fayette threw themselves into
Orleans, the garrison of which amounted to scarcely twelve hundred men.
Several towns, Bourges, Poitiers, and La Rochelle, sent thither money,
munitions, and militia; the states-general, assembled at Chinon, voted an
extraordinary aid; and Charles VII. called out the regulars and the
reserves.  Assaults on the one side and sorties on the other were begun
with ardor.  Besiegers and besieged quite felt that they were engaged in
a decisive struggle.  The first encounter was unfortunate for the
Orleannese.  In a fight called the Herring affair, they were unsuccessful
in an attempt to carry off a supply of victuals and salt fish which Sir
John Falstolf was bringing to the besiegers.  Being a little discouraged,
they offered the Duke of Burgundy to place their city in his hands, that
it might not fall into those of the English; and Philip the Good accepted
the offer, but the Duke of Bedford made a formal objection: “He didn’t
care,” he said, “to beat the bushes for another to get the birds.”
 Philip in displeasure withdrew from the siege the small force of
Burgundians he had sent.  The English remained alone before the place,
which was every day harder pressed and more strictly blockaded.  The
besieged were far from foreseeing what succor was preparing for them.

This very year, on the 6th of January, 1428, at Domremy, a little village
in the valley of the Meuse, between Neufchateau and Vaucouleurs, on the
edge of the frontier from Champagne to Lorraine, the young daughter of
simple tillers of the soil, “of good life and repute, herself a good,
simple, gentle girl, no idler, occupied hitherto in sewing or spinning
with her mother, or driving afield her parent’s sheep, and sometimes,
even, when her father’s turn came round, keeping for him the whole flock
of the commune,” was fulfilling her sixteenth year.  It was Joan of Arc,
whom all her neighbors called Joannette.  She was no recluse; she often
went with her companions to sing and eat cakes beside the fountain by the
gooseberry-bush, under an old beech, which was called the fairy-tree: but
dancing she did not like.  She was constant at church, she delighted in
the sound of the bells, she went often to confession and communion, and
she blushed when her fair friends taxed her with being too religious.  In
1421, when Joan was hardly nine, a band of Anglo-Burgundians penetrated
into her country, and transferred thither the ravages of war.  The
village of Domremy and the little town of Vaucouleurs were French, and
faithful to the French king-ship; and Joan wept to see the lads of her
parish returning bruised and bleeding from encounters with the enemy.
Her relations and neighbors were one day obliged to take to flight, and
at their return they found their houses burned or devastated.  Joan
wondered whether it could possibly be that God permitted such excesses
and disasters.  In 1425, on a summer’s day, at noon, she was in her
father’s little garden.  She heard a voice calling her, at her right
side, in the direction of the church, and a great brightness shone upon
her at the same time in the same spot.  At first she was frightened, but
she recovered herself on finding that “it was a worthy voice;” and, at
the second call, she perceived that it was the voice of angels.  “I saw
them with my bodily eyes,” she said, six years later, to her judges at
Rouen, “as plainly as I see you; when they departed from me I wept, and
would fain have had them take me with them.”  The apparitions came again
and again, and exhorted her “to go to France for to deliver the kingdom.”
 She became dreamy, rapt in constant meditation.  “I could endure no
longer,” said she, at a later period, “and the time went heavily with me
as with a woman in travail.”  She ended by telling everything to her
father, who listened to her words anxiously at first, and afterwards
wrathfully.  He himself one night dreamed that his daughter had followed
the king’s men-at-arms to France, and from that moment he kept her under
strict superintendence.  “If I knew of your sister’s going,” he said to
his sons, “I would bid you drown her; and, if you did not do it, I would
drown her myself.”  Joan submitted: there was no leaven of pride in her
sublimation, and she did not suppose that her intercourse with celestial
voices relieved her from the duty of obeying her parents.  Attempts were
made to distract her mind.  A young man who had courted her was induced
to say that he had a promise of marriage from her, and to claim the
fulfilment of it.  Joan went before the ecclesiastical judge, made
affirmation that she had given no promise, and without difficulty gained
her cause.  Everybody believed and respected her.

[Illustration: Joan of Arc in her Father’s Garden----91]

In a village hard by Domremy she had an uncle whose wife was near her
confinement; she got herself invited to go and nurse her aunt, and
thereupon she opened her heart to her uncle, repeating to him a popular
saying, which had spread indeed throughout the country: “Is it not said
that a woman shall ruin France, and a young maid restore it?”  She
pressed him to take her to Vaucouleurs to Sire Robert de Baudricourt,
captain of the bailiwick, for she wished to go to the _dauphin_ and carry
assistance to him.  Her uncle gave way, and on the 13th of May, 1428, he
did take her to Vaucouleurs.  “I come on behalf of my Lord,” said she to
Sire de Baudricourt, “to bid you send word to the _dauphin_ to keep
himself well in hand, and not give battle to his foes, for my Lord will
presently give him succor.”  “Who is thy lord?”  asked Baudricourt.  “The
King of Heaven,” answered Joan.  Baudricourt set her down for mad, and
urged her uncle to take her back to her parents “with a good slap o’ the

In July, 1428, a fresh invasion of Burgundians occurred at Domremy, and
redoubled the popular excitement there.  Shortly afterwards, the report
touching the siege of Orleans arrived there.  Joan, more and more
passionately possessed with her idea, returned to Vaucouleurs.  “I must
go,” said she to Sire de Baudricourt, “for to raise the siege of Orleans.
I will go, should I have to wear off my legs to the knee.”  She had
returned to Vaucouleurs without taking leave of her parents.  “Had I
possessed,” said she, in 1431, to her judges at Rouen, “a hundred fathers
and a hundred mothers, and had I been a king’s daughter, I should have
gone.”  Baudricourt, impressed without being convinced, did not oppose
her remaining at Vaucouleurs, and sent an account of this singular young
girl to Duke Charles of Lorraine, at Nancy, and perhaps even, according
to some chronicles, to the king’s court.  Joan lodged at Vaucouleurs in a
wheelwright’s house, and passed three weeks there, spinning with her
hostess, and dividing her time between work and church.  There was much
talk in Vaucouleurs of her, and her visions, and her purpose.  John of
Metz [also called John of Novelompont], a knight serving with Sire de
Baudricourt, desired to see her, and went to the wheelwright’s.  “What do
you here, my dear?”  said he; “must the king be driven from his kingdom,
and we become English?”  “I am come hither,” answered Joan, “to speak to
Robert de Baudricourt, that he may be pleased to take me or have me taken
to the king; but he pays no heed to me or my words.  However, I must be
with the king before the middle of Lent, for none in the world, nor
kings, nor dukes, nor daughter of the Scottish king can recover the
kingdom of France; there is no help but in me.  Assuredly I would far
rather be spinning beside my poor mother, for this other is not my
condition; but I must go and do the work because my Lord wills that I
should do it.”  “Who is your lord?”  “The Lord God.”  “By my faith,”
 said the knight, seizing Joan’s hands, “I will take you to the king, God
helping.  When will you set out?”  “Rather now than to-morrow; rather
to-morrow than later.”  Vaucouleurs was full of the fame and the sayings
of Joan.  Another knight, Bertrand de Poulengy, offered, as John of Metz
had, to be her escort, Duke Charles of Lorraine wished to see her, and
sent for her to Nancy.  Old and ill as he was, he had deserted the
duchess his wife, a virtuous lady, and was leading anything but a regular
life.  He asked Joan’s advice about his health.  “I have no power to cure
you,” said Joan, “but go back to your wife and help me in that for which
God ordains me.”  The duke ordered her four golden crowns, and she
returned to Vaucouleurs, thinking of nothing but her departure.  There
was no want of confidence and good will on the part of the inhabitants of
Vaucouleurs in forwarding her preparations.  John of Metz, the knight
charged to accompany her, asked her if she intended to make the journey
in her poor red rustic petticoats.  “I would like to don man’s clothes,”
 answered Joan.  Subscriptions were made to give her a suitable costume.
She was supplied with a horse, a coat of mail, a lance, a sword, the
complete equipment, indeed, of a man-at-arms; and a king’s messenger and
an archer formed her train.  Baudricourt made them swear to escort her
safely, and on the 25th of February, 1429, he bade her farewell, and all
he said was, “Away then, Joan, and come what may.”

Charles VII. was at that time residing at Chinon, in Touraine.  In order
to get there Joan had nearly a hundred and fifty leagues to go, in a
country occupied here and there by English and Burgundians, and
everywhere a theatre of war.  She took eleven days to do this journey,
often marching by night, never giving up man’s dress, disquieted by no
difficulty and no danger, and testifying no desire for a halt save to
worship God.  “Could we hear mass daily,” said she to her comrades, “we
should do well.”  They only consented twice, first in the abbey of St.
Urban, and again in the principal church of Auxerre.  As they were full
of respect, though at the same time also of doubt, towards Joan, she
never had to defend herself against their familiarities, but she had
constantly to dissipate their disquietude touching the reality or the
character of her mission.  “Fear nothing,” she said to them; “God shows
me the way I should go; for thereto was I born.”  On arriving at the
village of St. Catherine-de-Fierbois, near Chinon, she heard three masses
on the same day, and had a letter written thence to the king, to announce
her coming and to ask to see him; she had gone, she said, a hundred and
fifty leagues to come and tell him things which would be most useful to
him.  Charles VII. and his councillors hesitated.  The men of war did not
like to believe that a little peasant-girl of Lorraine was coming to
bring the king a more effectual support than their own.  Nevertheless
some, and the most heroic amongst them,--Dunois, La Hire, and
Xaintrailles,--were moved by what was told of this young girl.  The
letters of Sire de Baudricourt, though full of doubt, suffered a gleam of
something like a serious impression to peep out; and why should not the
king receive this young girl whom the captain of Vaucouleurs had thought
it a duty to send?  It would soon be seen what she was and what she would
do.  The politicians and courtiers, especially the most trusted of them,
George de la Tremoille, the king’s favorite, shrugged their shoulders.
What could be expected from the dreams of a young peasant-girl of
nineteen?  Influences of a more private character and more disposed
towards sympathy--Yolande of Arragon, for instance, Queen of Sicily and
mother-in-law of Charles VII., and perhaps, also, her daughter, the young
queen, Mary of Anjou, were urgent for the king to reply to Joan that she
might go to Chinon.  She was authorized to do so, and, on the 6th of
March, 1429, she with her comrades arrived at the royal residence.

At the very first moment two incidents occurred to still further increase
the curiosity of which she was the object.  Quite close to Chinon some
vagabonds, it is said, had prepared an ambuscade for the purpose of
despoiling her, her and her train.  She passed close by them without the
least obstacle.  The rumor went that at her approach they were struck
motionless, and had been unable to attempt their wicked purpose.  Joan
was rather tall, well shaped, dark, with a look of composure, animation,
and gentleness.  A man-at-arms, who met her on her way, thought her
pretty, and with an impious oath expressed a coarse sentiment.  “Alas!”
 said Joan, “thou blasphemest thy God, and yet thou art so near thy
death!”  He drowned himself, it is said, soon after.  Already popular
feeling was surrounding her marvellous mission with a halo of
instantaneous miracles.

[Illustration: CHINON CASTLE----95]

On her arrival at Chinon she at first lodged with an honest family near
the castle.  For three days longer there was a deliberation in the
council as to whether the king ought to receive her.  But there was bad
news from Orleans.  There were no more troops to send thither, and there
was no money forthcoming: the king’s treasurer, it was said, had but four
crowns in the chest.  If Orleans were taken, the king would perhaps be
reduced to seeking a refuge in Spain or in Scotland.  Joan promised to
set Orleans free.  The Orleannese themselves were clamorous for her;
Dunois kept up their spirits with the expectation of this marvellous
assistance.  It was decided that the king should receive her.  She had
assigned to her for residence an apartment in the tower of the Coudray, a
block of quarters adjoining the royal mansion, and she was committed to
the charge of William Bellier, an officer of the king’s household, whose
wife was a woman of great piety and excellent fame.  On the 9th of March,
1429, Joan was at last introduced into the king’s presence by the Count
of Vendome, high steward, in the great hall on the first story, a portion
of the wall and the fireplace being still visible in the present day.  It
was evening, candle-light; and nearly three hundred knights were present.
Charles kept himself a little aloof, amidst a group of warriors and
courtiers more richly dressed than he.  According to some chroniclers,
Joan had demanded that “she should not be deceived, and should have
pointed out to her him to whom she was to speak;” others affirm that she
went straight to the king, whom she had never seen, “accosting him humbly
and simply, like a poor little shepherdess,” says an eye-witness, and,
according to another account, “making the usual bends and reverences as
if she had been brought up at court.”  Whatever may have been her outward
behavior, “Gentle _dauphin_,” she said to the king (for she did not think
it right to call him king so long as he was not crowned), “my name is Joan
the maid; the King of Heaven sendeth you word by me that you shall be
anointed and crowned in the city of Rheims, and shall be lieutenant of
the King of Heaven, who is King of France.  It is God’s pleasure that our
enemies the English should depart to their own country; if they depart no
evil will come to them, and the kingdom is sure to continue yours.”
 Charles was impressed without being convinced, as so many others had been
before, or were, as he was, on that very day.  He saw Joan again several
times.  She did not delude herself as to the doubts he still entertained.
“Gentle _dauphin_,” she said to him one day, “why do you not believe me?
I say unto you that God hath compassion on you, your kingdom, and your
people; St. Louis and Charlemagne are kneeling before Him, making prayer
for you, and I will say unto you, so please you, a thing which will give
you to understand that you ought to believe me.”  Charles gave her
audience on this occasion in the presence, according to some accounts, of
four witnesses, the most trusted of his intimates, who swore to reveal
nothing, and, according to others, completely alone.  “What she said to
him there is none who knows,” wrote Alan Chartier, a short time after [in
July, 1429], “but it is quite certain that he was all radiant with joy
thereat as at a revelation from the Holy Spirit.”  M. Wallop, after a
scrupulous sifting of evidence, has given the following exposition of
this mysterious interview.  “Sire de Boisy,” he says, “who was in his
youth one of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber on the most familiar terms
with Charles VII., told Peter Sala, giving the king himself as his
authority for the story, that one day, at the period of his greatest
adversity, the prince, vainly looking for a remedy against so many
troubles, entered in the morning, alone, into his oratory, and there,
without uttering a word aloud, made prayer to God from the depths of his
heart that if he were the true heir, issue of the house of France (and a
doubt was possible with such a queen as Isabel of Bavaria), and the
kingdom ought justly to be his, God would be pleased to keep and defend
it for him; if not, to give him grace to escape without death or
imprisonment, and find safety in Spain or in Scotland, where he intended
in the last resort to seek a refuge.  This prayer, known to God alone,
the Maid recalled to the mind of Charles VII.; and thus is explained the
joy which, as the witnesses say, he testified, whilst none at that time
knew the cause.  Joan by this revelation not only caused the king to
believe in her; she caused him to believe in himself and his right and
title: though she never spoke in that way as of her own motion to the
king, it was always a superior power speaking by her voice, ‘I tell thee
on behalf of my Lord that thou art true heir of France, and son of the
king.’” (Jeanne d’Arc, by M. Wallon, t. i. p. 32.)

Whether Charles VII. were or were not convinced by this interview of
Joan’s divine mission, he clearly saw that many of those about him had
little or no faith in it, and that other proofs were required to upset
their doubts.  He resolved to go to Poitiers, where his council, the
parliament, and several learned members of the University of Paris were
in session, and have Joan put to the strictest examination.  When she
learned her destination, she said, “In the name of God, I know that I
shall have tough work there, but my Lord will help me.  Let us go, then,
for God’s sake.”  On her arrival at Poitiers, on the 11th of March, 1429,
she was placed in one of the most respectable families in the town, that
of John Rabuteau, advocate-general in parliament.  The Archbishop of
Rheims, Reginald de Chartres, Chancellor of France, five bishops, the
king’s councillors, several learned doctors, and amongst others Father
Seguin, an austere and harsh Dominican, repaired thither to question her.
When she saw them come in, she went and sat down at the end of the bench,
and asked them what they wanted with her.  For two hours they set
themselves to the task of showing her, “by fair and gentle arguments,”
 that she was not entitled to belief.  “Joan,” said William Aimery,
professor of theology, “you ask for men-at-arms, and you say that it is
God’s pleasure that the English should leave the kingdom of France, and
depart to their own land; if so, there is no need of men-at-arms, for
God’s pleasure alone can discomfit them, and force them to return to
their homes.”  “In the name of God,” answered Joan, “the men-at-arms will
do battle, and God will give them victory.”  Master William did not urge
his point.  The Dominican, Seguin, “a very sour man,” says the chronicle,
asked Joan what language the voices spoke to her.  “Better than yours,”
 answered Joan.  The doctor spoke the Limousine dialect.  “Do you believe
in God?” he asked, ill-humoredly.  “More than you do,” retorted Joan,
offended.  “Well,” rejoined the monk, “God forbids belief in you without
some sign tending thereto: I shall not give the king advice to trust
men-at-arms to you, and put them in peril on your simple word.”  “In the
name of God,” said Joan, “I am not come to Poitiers to show signs; take
me to Orleans, and I will give you signs of what I am sent for.  Let me
have ever so few men-at-arms given me, and I will go to Orleans;” then,
addressing another of the examiners, Master Peter of Versailles, who was
afterwards Bishop of Meaux, she said, “I know nor A nor B; but in our
Lord’s book there is more than in your books; I come on behalf of the
King of Heaven to cause the siege of Orleans to be raised, and to take
the king to Rheims, that he may be crowned and anointed there.”  The
examination was prolonged for a fortnight, not without symptoms of
impatience on the part of Joan.  At the end of it, she said to one of the
doctors, John Erault, “Have you paper and ink?  Write what I shall say to
you.”  And she dictated a form of letter which became, some weeks later,
the manifesto addressed in a more developed shape by her from Orleans to
the English, calling upon them to raise the siege and put a stop to the
war.  The chief of those piously and patriotically heroic phrases were as

     “Jesu Maria,

     “King of England, account to the King of Heaven for His blood royal.
     Give up to the Maid the keys of all the good towns you have taken by
     force.  She is come from God to avenge the blood royal, and quite
     ready to make peace, if you will render proper account.  If you do
     not so I am a war-chief; in whatsoever place I shall fall in with
     your folks in France, if they be not willing to obey, I shall make
     them get thence, whether they will or not; and if they be willing to
     obey, I will receive them to mercy.  .  .  .  The Maid cometh from
     the King of Heaven as His representative, to thrust you out of
     France; she doth promise and certify you that she will make therein
     such mighty _haha_ [great tumult], that for a thousand years
     hitherto in France was never the like.  .  .  .  Duke of Bedford,
     who call yourself regent of France, the Maid doth pray you and
     request you not to bring destruction on yourself; if you do not
     justice towards her, she will do the finest deed ever done in

     “Writ on Tuesday in the great week.” [Easter week, March, 1429].
     Subscribed: “Hearken to the news from God and the


At the end of their examination, the doctors decided in Joan’s favor.
Two of them, the Bishop of Castres, Gerard Machet, the king’s confessor,
and Master John Erault, recognized the divine nature of her mission.  She
was, they said, the virgin foretold in the ancient prophecies, notably in
those of Merlin; and the most exacting amongst them approved of the
king’s having neither accepted nor rejected, with levity, the promises
made by Joan; “after a grave inquiry there had been discovered in her,”
 they said, “nought but goodness, humility, devotion, honesty, simplicity.
Before Orleans she professes to be going to show her sign; so she must be
taken to Orleans, for to give her up without any appearance on her part
of evil would be to fight against the Holy Spirit, and to become unworthy
of aid from God.”  After the doctors’ examination came that of the women.
Three of the greatest ladies in France, Yolande of Arragon, Queen of
Sicily; the Countess of Gaucourt, wife of the Governor of Orleans; and
Joan de Mortemer, wife of Robert le Macon, Baron of Troves, were charged
to examine Joan as to her life as a woman.  They found therein nothing
but truth, virtue, and modesty; “she spoke to them with such sweetness
and grace,” says the chronicle, “that she drew tears from their eyes;”
 and she excused herself to them for the dress she wore, and for which the
sternest doctors had not dreamed of reproaching her.  “It is more
decent,” said the Archbishop of Embrun, “to do such things in man’s
dress, since they must be done along with men.”  The men of intelligence
at court bowed down before this village-saint, who was coming to bring to
the king in his peril assistance from God; the most valiant men of war
were moved by the confident outbursts of her patriotic courage; and the
people everywhere welcomed her with faith and enthusiasm.  Joan had as
yet only just appeared, and already she was the heaven-sent interpretress
of the nation’s feeling, the hope of the people of France.

Charles no longer hesitated.  Joan was treated, according to her own
expression in her letter to the English, “as a war-chief;” there were
assigned to her a squire, a page, two heralds, a chaplain, Brother
Pasquerel, of the order of the hermit-brotherhood of St. Augustin,
varlets, and serving-folks.  A complete suit of armor was made to fit
her.  Her two guides, John of Metz and Bertrand of Poulengy, had not
quitted her; and the king continued them in her train.  Her sword he
wished to be supplied by himself; she asked for one marked with five
crosses; it would be found, she said, behind the altar in the chapel of
St.  Catherine-de-Fierbois, where she had halted on her arrival at
Chinon; and there, indeed, it was found.  She had a white banner made,
studded with lilies, bearing the representation of God seated upon the
clouds, and holding in His hand the globe of the world.  Above were the
words “Jesu Maria,” and below were two angels, on their knees in
adoration.  Joan was fond of her sword, as she said two years afterwards
at her trial, but she was forty times more fond of her banner, which was,
in her eyes, the sign of her commission and the pledge of victory.  On
the completion of the preparations she demanded the immediate departure
of the expedition.  Orleans was crying for succor; Dunois was sending
messenger after messenger; and Joan was in a greater hurry than anybody

More than a month elapsed before her anxieties were satisfied.  During
this interval we find Charles VII. and Joan of Arc at Chatelherault, at
Poitiers, at Tours, at Florent-les-Saumur, at Chinon, and at Blois, going
to and fro through all that country to push forward the expedition
resolved upon, and to remove the obstacles it encountered.  Through a
haze of vague indications a glimpse is caught of the struggle which was
commencing between the partisans and the adversaries of Joan, and in
favor of or in opposition to the impulse she was communicating to the war
of nationality.  Charles VII.’s mother-in-law, Yolande of Arragon, Queen
of Sicily, and the young Duke of Alencon, whose father had been killed at
the battle of Agincourt, were at the head of Joan’s partisans.  Yolande
gave money and took a great deal of trouble in order to promote the
expedition which was to go and succor Orleans.  The Duke of Alencon,
hardly twenty years of age, was the only one amongst the princes of the
house of Valois who had given Joan a kind reception on her arrival, and
who, together with the brave La Hire, said that he would follow her
whithersoever she pleased to lead him.  Joan, in her gratitude, called
him the handsome duke, and exhibited towards him amity and confidence.

But, side by side with these friends, she had an adversary in the king’s
favorite, George de la Tremoille, an ambitious courtier, jealous of any
one who seemed within the range of the king’s favor, and opposed to a
vigorous prosecution of the war, since it hampered him in the policy he
wished to keep up towards the Duke of Burgundy.  To the ill will of La
Tremoille was added that of the majority of courtiers enlisted in the
following of the powerful favorite, and that of warriors irritated at the
importance acquired at their expense by a rustic and fantastic little
adventuress.  Here was the source of the enmities and intrigues which
stood in the way of all Joan’s demands, rendered her successes more
tardy, difficult, and incomplete, and were one day to cost her more
dearly still.

At the end of about five weeks the expedition was in readiness.  It was a
heavy convoy of revictualment, protected by a body of ten or twelve
thousand men, commanded by Marshal de Boussac, and numbering amongst them
Xaintrailles and La Hire.  The march began on the 27th of April, 1429.
Joan had caused the removal of all women of bad character, and had
recommended her comrades to confess.  She took the communion in the open
air, before their eyes; and a company of priests, headed by her chaplain,
Pasquerel, led the way whilst chanting sacred hymns.  Great was the
surprise amongst the men-at-arms, many had words of mockery on their
lips.  It was the time when La Hire used to say, “If God were a soldier,
He would turn robber.”  Nevertheless, respect got the better of habit;
the most honorable were really touched; the coarsest considered
themselves bound to show restraint.  On the 29th of April they arrived
before Orleans.  But, in consequence of the road they had followed, the
Loire was between the army and the town; the expeditionary corps had to
be split in two; the troops were obliged to go and feel for the bridge of
Blois in order to ‘cross the river; and Joan was vexed and surprised.
Dunois, arrived from Orleans in a little boat, urged her to enter the
town that same evening.  “Are you the bastard of Orleans?” asked she,
when he accosted her.  “Yes; and I am rejoiced at your coming.”  “Was it
you who gave counsel for making me come hither by this side of the river,
and not the direct way, over yonder where Talbot and the English were?”
 “Yes; such was the opinion of the wisest captains.”  “In the name of God,
the counsel of my Lord is wiser than yours; you thought to deceive me,
and you have deceived yourselves, for I am bringing you the best succor
that ever had knight, or town, or city, and that is the good will of God,
and succor from the King of Heaven; not assuredly for love of me, it is
from God only that it proceeds.”  It was a great trial for Joan to
separate from her comrades, “so well prepared, penitent, and well
disposed; in their company,” said she, “I should not fear the whole power
of the English.”  She was afraid that disorder might set in amongst the
troops, and that they might break up, instead of fulfilling her mission.
Dunois was urgent for her to go herself at once into Orleans, with such
portion of the convoy as boats might be able to transport thither without
delay.  “Orleans,” said he, “would count it for nought, if they received
the victuals without the Maid.”  Joan decided to go: the captains of her
division promised to rejoin her at Orleans; she left them her chaplain,
Pasquerel, the priests who accompanied him, and the banner around which
she was accustomed to muster them; and she herself, with Dunois, La Hire,
and two hundred men-at-arms, crossed the river at the same time with a
part of the supplies.

[Illustration: JOAN ENTERING ORLEANS----104]

The same day, at eight P. M., she entered the city, on horseback,
completely armed, preceded by her own banner, and having beside her
Dunois, and behind her the captains of the garrison and several of the
most distinguished burgesses of Orleans who had gone out to meet her.
The population, one and all, rushed thronging round her, carrying
torches, and greeting her arrival “with joy as great as if they had seen
God come down amongst them.  They felt,” says the Journal of the Siege,
“all of them recomforted and as it were disbesieged by the divine virtue
which they had been told existed in this simple maid.”  In their anxiety
to approach her, to touch her, one of their lighted torches set fire to
her banner.  Joan disengaged herself with her horse as cleverly as it
could have been done by the most skilful horseman, and herself
extinguished the flame.  The crowd attended her to the church whither she
desired to go first of all to render thanks to God, and then to the house
of John Boucher, the Duke of Orleans’s treasurer, where she was received
together with her two brothers and the two gentlemen who had been her
guides from Vaucouleurs.  The treasurer’s wife was one of the most
virtuous city dames in Orleans, and from this night forth her daughter
Charlotte had Joan for her bedfellow.  A splendid supper had been
prepared for her; but she would merely dip some slices of bread in wine
and water.  Neither her enthusiasm nor her success, the two greatest
tempters to pride in mankind, made any change in her modesty and

The very day after her arrival she would have liked to go and attack the
English in their bastilles, within which they kept themselves shut up.
La Hire was pretty much of her opinion; but Dunois and the captains of
the garrison thought they ought to await the coming of the troops which
had gone to cross the Loire at Blois, and the supports which several
French garrisons in the neighborhood had received orders to forward to
Orleans.  Joan insisted. Sire de Gamaches, one of the officers present,
could not contain himself. “Since ear is given,” said he, “to the advice
of a wench of low degree rather than to that of a knight like me, I will
not bandy more words; when the time comes, it shall be my sword that
will speak; I shall fall, perhaps, but the king and my own honor demand
it; henceforth I give up my banner and am nothing more than a poor
esquire.  I prefer to have for master a noble man rather than a girl who
has heretofore been, perhaps, I know not what.”  He furled his banner
and handed it to Dunois.  Dunois, as sensible as he was brave, would not
give heed either to the choler of Gamaches or to the insistence of Joan;
and, thanks to his intervention, they were reconciled on being induced
to think better, respectively, of giving up the banner and ordering an
immediate attack.  Dunois went to Blois to hurry the movements of the
division which had repaired thither; and his presence there was highly
necessary, since Joan’s enemies, especially the chancellor Regnault,
were nearly carrying a decision that no such re-enforcement should be
sent to Orleans.  Dunois frustrated this purpose, and led back to
Orleans, by way of Beauce, the troops concentrated at Blois.  On the 4th
of May, as soon as it was known that he was coming, Joan, La Hire, and
the principal leaders of the city as well as of the garrison, went to
meet him, and re-entered Orleans with him and his troops, passing
between the bastilles of the English, who made not even an attempt to
oppose them.  “That is the sorceress yonder,” said some of the
besiegers; others asked if it were quite so clear that her power, did
not come to her from on high; and their commander, the Earl of Suffolk,
being himself, perhaps, uncertain, did not like to risk it: doubt
produced terror, and terror inactivity.  The convoy from Blois entered
Orleans, preceded by Brother Pasquerel and the priests.

Joan, whilst she was awaiting it, sent the English captains a fresh
summons to withdraw conformably with the letter which she had already
addressed to them from Blois, and the principal clauses of which were
just now quoted here.  They replied with coarse insults, calling her
strumpet and cow-girl, and threatening to burn her when they caught her.
She was very much moved by their insults, insomuch as to weep; but
calling God to witness her innocence, she found herself comforted, and
expressed it by saying, “I have had news from my Lord.”  The English had
detained the first herald she had sent them; and when she would have sent
them a second to demand his comrade back, he was afraid.  “In the name of
God,” said Joan, “they will do no harm nor to thee nor to him; thou shalt
tell Talbot to arm, and I too will arm; let him show himself in front of
the city; if he can take me, let him burn me; if I discomfit him, let him
raise the siege, and let the English get them gone to their own country.”
 The second herald appeared to be far from reassured; but Dunois charged
him to say that the English prisoners should answer for what was done to
the heralds from the Maid.  The two heralds were sent back.  Joan made up
her mind to iterate in person to the English the warnings she had given
them in her letter.  She mounted upon one of the bastions of Orleans,
opposite the English bastille called Tournelles, and there, at the top of
her voice, she repeated her counsel to them to be gone; else, woe and
shame would come upon them.  The commandant of the bastille, Sir William
Gladesdale [called by Joan and the French chroniclers _Glacidas_],
answered with the usual insults, telling her to go back and mind her
cows, and alluding to the French as miscreants.  “You lie,” cried Joan,
“and in spite of you soon shall ye depart hence; many of your people
shall be slain; but as for you, you shall not see it.”

Dunois, the very day of his return to Orleans, after dinner, went to call
upon Joan, and told her that he had heard on his way that Sir John
Falstolf, the same who on the 12th of the previous February had beaten
the French in the Herring affair, was about to arrive with
re-enforcements and supplies for the besiegers.  “Bastard, bastard,” said
Joan, “in the name of God I command thee, as soon as thou shalt know of
this Pascot’s coming, to have me warned of it, for, should he pass
without my knowing of it, I promise thee that I will have thy head cut
off.”  Dunois assured her that she should be warned.  Joan was tired with
the day’s excitement; she threw herself upon her bed to sleep, but
unsuccessfully; all at once she said to Sire Daulon, her esquire, “My
counsel doth tell me to go against the English; but I know not whether
against their bastilles or against this Fascot.  I must arm.”  Her
esquire was beginning to arm her when she heard it shouted in the street
that the enemy were at that moment doing great damage to the French.  “My
God,” said she, “the blood of our people is running on the ground; why
was I not awakened sooner?  Ah! it was ill done!  .  .  .  My arms!  My
arms! my horse!” Leaving behind her esquire, who was not yet armed, she
went down.  Her page was playing at the door: “Ah! naughty boy,” said
she, “not to come and tell me that the blood of France was being shed!
Come! quick! my horse!” It was brought to her; she bade them hand down to
her by the window her banner, which she had left behind, and, without any
further waiting, she departed and went to the Burgundy gate, whence the
noise seemed to come.  Seeing on her way one of the townsmen passing who
was being carried off wounded, she said, “Alas! I never see a Frenchman’s
blood but my hair stands up on my head!”  It was some of the Orleannese
themselves who, without consulting their chiefs, had made a sortie and
attacked the Bastille St. Loup, the strongest held by the English on this
side.  The French had been repulsed, and were falling back in flight when
Joan came up, and soon after her Dunois and a throng of men-at-arms who
had been warned of the danger.  The fugitives returned to the assault;
the battle was renewed with ardor; the bastille of St. Loup,
notwithstanding energetic resistance on the part of the English who
manned it, was taken; and all its defenders were put to the sword before
Talbot and the main body of the besiegers could come up to their
assistance.  Joan showed sorrow that so many people should have died
unconfessed; and she herself was the means of saving some who had
disguised themselves as priests in gowns which they had taken from the
church of St. Loup.  Great was the joy in Orleans, and the enthusiasm for
Joan was more lively than ever.  “Her voices had warned her,” they said,
“and apprised her that there was a battle; and then she had found by
herself alone and without any guide the way to the Burgundy gate.”
 Men-at-arms and burgesses all demanded that the attack upon the English
hastilles should be resumed; but the next day, the 5th of May, was
Ascension-day.  Joan advocated lions repose on this holy festival, and
the general feeling was in accord with her own.  She recommended her
comrades to fulfil their religious duties, and she herself received the
communion.  The chiefs of the besieged resolved to begin on the morrow a
combined attack upon the English bastilles which surrounded the palace;
but Joan was not in their counsels.  “Tell me what you have resolved,”
 she said to them; “I can keep this and greater secrets.”  Dunois made her
acquainted with the plan adopted, of which she fully approved; and on the
morrow, the 6th of May, a fierce struggle began again all round Orleans.
For two days the bastilles erected by the besiegers against the place
were repeatedly attacked by the besieged.  On the first day Joan was
slightly wounded in the foot.  Some disagreement arose between her and
Sire de Gaucourt, governor of Orleans, as to continuing the struggle; and
John Boucher, her host, tried to keep her back the second day.  “Stay and
dine with us,” said he, “to eat that shad which has just been brought.”
 “Keep it for supper,” said Joan; “I will come back this evening and bring
you some goddamns (Englishman) or other to eat his share;” and she
sallied forth, eager to return to the assault.  On arriving at the
Burgundy gate she found it closed; the governor would not allow any
sortie thereby to attack on that side.  “Ah! naughty man,” said Joan,
“you are wrong; whether you will or no, our men-at-arms shall go and win
on this day as they have already won.”  The gate was forced; and
men-at-arms and burgesses rushed out from all quarters to attack the
bastille of Tournelles, the strongest of the English works.  It was ten
o’clock in the morning; the passive and active powers of both parties
were concentrated on this point; and for a moment the French appeared
weary and downcast.  Joan took a scaling-ladder, set it against the
rampart, and was the first to mount.  There came an arrow and struck her
between neck and shoulder, and she fell.  Sire de Gamaches, who had but
lately displayed so much temper towards her, found her where she lay.
“Take my horse,” said he, “and bear no malice: I was wrong; I had formed
a false idea of you.”  “Yes,” said Joan, “and bear no malice: I never saw
a more accomplished knight.”  She was taken away and had her armor
removed.  The arrow, it is said, stood out almost half-a-foot behind.
There was an instant of faintness and tears; but she prayed and felt her
strength renewed, and pulled out the arrow with her own hand.

[Illustration: Herself drew out the Arrow----109]

Some one proposed to her to charm the wound by means of cabalistic words;
but “I would rather die,” she said, “than so sin against the will of God.
I know full well that I must die some day; but I know nor where nor when
nor how.  If, without sin, my wound may be healed, I am right willing.”
 A dressing of oil and lard was applied to the wound; and she retired
apart into a vineyard, and was continually in prayer.  Fatigue and
discouragement were overcoming the French; and the captains ordered the
retreat to be sounded.  Joan begged Dunois to wait a while.  “My God,”
 said she, “we shall soon be inside.  Give your people a little rest; eat
and drink.”  She resumed her arms and remounted her horse; her banner
floated in the air; the French took fresh courage; the English, who
thought Joan half dead, were seized with surprise and fear; and one of
their principal leaders, Sir William Gladesdale, made up his mind to
abandon the outwork which he had hitherto so well kept, and retire within
the bastille itself.  Joan perceived his movement.  “Yield thee,” she
shouted to him from afar; “yield thee to the King of Heaven!  Ah!
Glacidas, thou hast basely insulted me; but I have great pity on the
souls of thee and thine.”  The Englishman continued his retreat.  Whilst
he was passing over the drawbridge which reached from the out-work to the
bastille, a shot from the side of Orleans broke down the bridge;
Gladesdale fell into the water and was drowned, together with many of his
comrades; the French got into the bastille without any fresh fighting;
and Joan re-entered Orleans amidst the joy and acclamations of the
people.  The bells rang all through the night, and the Te Deum was
chanted.  The day of combat was about to be succeeded by the day of

On the morrow, the 8th of May, 1429, at daybreak, the English leaders
drew up their troops close to the very moats of the city, and seemed to
offer battle to the French.  Many of the Orleannese leaders would have
liked to accept this challenge; but Joan got up from her bed, where she
was resting because of her wound, put on a light suit of armor, and ran
to the city gates.  “For the love and honor of holy Sunday,” said she to
the assembled warriors, “do not be the first to attack, and make to them
no demand; it is God’s good will and pleasure that they be allowed to get
them gone if they be minded to go away; if they attack you, defend
yourselves boldly; you will be the masters.”  She caused an altar to be
raised; thanksgivings were sung, and mass was celebrated.  “See!” said
Joan; “are the English turning to you their faces, or verily their
backs?”  They had commenced their retreat in good order, with standards
flying.  “Let them go: my Lord willeth not that there be any fighting
to-day; you shall have them another time.”  The good words spoken by Joan
were not so preventive but that many men set off to pursue the English,
and cut off stragglers and baggage.  Their bastilles were found to be
full of victual and munitions; and they had abandoned their sick and many
of their prisoners.  The siege of Orleans was raised.

The day but one after this deliverance, Joan set out to go and rejoin the
king, and prosecute her work at his side.  She fell in with him on the
13th of May, at Tours, moved forward to meet him, with her banner in her
hand and her head uncovered, and bending down over her charger’s neck,
made him a deep obeisance.  Charles took off his cap, held out his hand
to her, and, “as it seemed to many,” says a contemporary chronicler, “he
would fain have kissed her, for the joy that he felt.”  But the king’s
joy was not enough for Joan.  She urged him to march with her against
enemies who were flying, so to speak, from themselves, and to start
without delay for Rheims, where he would be crowned.  “I shall hardly
last more than a year,” said she; “we must think about working right well
this year, for there is much to do.”  Hesitation was natural to Charles,
even in the hour of victory.  His favorite, La Tremoille, and his
chancellor, the Archbishop of Rheims, opposed Joan’s entreaties with all
the objections that could be devised under the inspiration of their ill
will: there were neither troops nor money in hand for so great a journey;
and council after council was held for the purpose of doing nothing.
Joan, in her impatience, went one day to Loches, without previous notice,
and tapped softly at the door of the king’s privy chamber (chambre de re-
trait).  He bade her enter.  She fell upon her knees, saying, “Gentle
_dauphin_, hold not so many and such long councils, but rather come to
Rheims, and there assume your crown; I am much pricked to take you
thither.”  “Joan,” said the Bishop of Castres, Christopher d’Harcourt,
the king’s confessor, “cannot you tell the king what pricketh you?”
 “Ah!  I see,” replied Joan, with some embarrassment: “well, I will tell
you.  I had set me to prayer, according to my wont, and I was making
complaint for that you would not believe what I said; then the voice came
and said unto me, ‘Go, go, my daughter; I will be a help to thee; go.’
When this voice comes to me, I feel marvellously rejoiced; I would that
it might endure forever.”  She was eager and overcome.

Joan and her voices were not alone in urging the king to shake off his
doubts and his indolence.  In church, and court, and army, allies were
not wanting to the pious and valiant maid.  In a written document dated
the 14th of May, six days after the siege of Orleans was raised, the most
Christian doctor of the age, as Gerson was called, sifted the question
whether it were possible, whether it were a duty, to believe in the Maid.
“Even if (which God forbid),” said he, “she should be mistaken in her
hope and ours, it would not necessarily follow that what she does comes
of the evil spirit, and not of God, but that rather our ingratitude was
to blame.  Let the party which hath a just cause take care how, by
incredulity or injustice, it rendereth useless the divine succor so
miraculously manifested, for God, without any change of counsel, changeth
the upshot according to deserts.”  Great lords and simple gentlemen, old
and young warriors, were eager to go and join Joan for the salvation of
the king and of France.  The constable, De Richemont, banished from the
court through the jealous hatred of George la Tremoille, made a pressing
application there, followed by a body of men-at-arms; and, when the king
refused to see him, he resolved, though continuing in disgrace, to take
an active part in the war.  The young Duke of Alencon, who had been a
prisoner with the English since the battle of Agincourt, hurried on the
payment of his ransom in order to accompany Joan as lieutenant-general of
the king in the little army which was forming.  His wife, the duchess,
was in grief about it.  “We have just spent great sums,” said she, “in
buying him back from the English; if he would take my advice, he would
stay at home.”  “Madame,” said Joan, “I will bring him back to you safe
and sound, nay, even in better contentment than at present; be not
afraid.”  And on this promise the duchess took heart.  Du Guesciin’s
widow, Joan de Laval, was still living; and she had two grandsons, Guy
and Andrew de Laval, who were amongst the most zealous of those taking
service in the army destined to march on Rheims.  The king, to all
appearance, desired to keep them near his person.  “God forbid that I
should do so,” wrote Guy de Laval, on the 8th of June, 1429, to those
most dread dames, his grandmother and his mother; “my brother says, as
also my lord the Duke d’Alencon, that a good riddance of bad rubbish
would he be who should stay at home.”  And he describes his first
interview with the Maid as follows: “The king had sent for her to come
and meet him at Selles-en-Berry.  Some say that it was for my sake, in
order that I might see her.  She gave right good cheer (a kind reception)
to my brother and myself; and after we had dismounted at Selles I went to
see her in her quarters.  She ordered wine, and told me that she would
soon have me drinking some at Paris.  It seems a thing divine to look on
her and listen to her.  I saw her mount on horseback, armed all in white
armor, save her head, and with a little axe in her hand, on a great black
charger, which, at the door of her quarters, was very restive, and would
not let her mount.  Then said she, ‘Lead him to the cross,’ which was in
front of the neighboring church, on the road.  There she mounted him
without his moving, and as if he were tied up; and turning towards the
door of the church, which was very nigh at hand, she said, in quite a
womanly voice, ‘You, priests and church-men, make procession and prayers
to God.’  Then she resumed her road, saying, ‘Push forward, push
forward.’  She told me that three days before my arrival she had sent
you, dear grand-mother, a little golden ring, but that it was a very
small matter, and she would have liked to send you something better,
having regard to your estimation.”

It was amidst this burst of patriotism, and with all these valiant
comrades, that Joan recommenced the campaign on the 10th of June, 1429,
quite resolved to bring the king to Rheims.  To complete the deliverance
of Orleans, an attack was begun upon the neighboring places, Jargeau,
Meung, and Beaugency.  Before Jargeau, on the 12th of June, although it
was Sunday, Joan had the trumpets sounded for the assault.  The Duke
d’Alencon thought it was too soon.  “Ah!” said Joan, “be not doubtful; it
is the hour pleasing to God; work ye, and God will work.”  And she added,
familiarly, “Art thou afeard, gentle duke?  Knowest thou not that I have
promised thy wife to take thee back safe and sound?”  The assault began;
and Joan soon had occasion to keep her promise.  The Duke d’Alencon was
watching the assault from an exposed spot, and Joan remarked a piece
pointed at this spot.  “Get you hence,” said she to the duke; “yonder is
a piece which will slay you.”  The Duke moved, and a moment afterwards
Sire de Lude was killed at the self-same place by a shot from the said
piece.  Jargeau was taken.  Before Beaugency a serious incident took
place.  The constable, De Richemont, came up with a force of twelve
hundred men.  When he was crossing to Loudun, Charles VII., swayed as
ever by the jealous La Tremoille, had word sent to him to withdraw, and
that if he advanced he would be attacked.  “What I am doing in the
matter,” said the constable, “is for the good of the king and the realm;
if anybody comes to attack me, we shall see.”  When he had joined the
army before Beaugency, the Duke d’Alencon was much troubled.  The king’s
orders were precise, and Joan herself hesitated.  But news came that
Talbot and the English were approaching.  “Now,” said Joan, “we must
think no more of anything but helping one another.”  She rode forward to
meet the constable, and saluted him courteously.  “Joan,” said he, “I was
told that you meant to attack me; I know not whether you come from God or
not; if you are from God, I fear you not at all, for God knows my good
will; if you are from the devil, I fear you still less.”  He remained,
and Beaugency was taken.  The English army came up.  Sir John Falstolf
had joined Talbot.  Some disquietude showed itself amongst the French, so
roughly handled for some time past in pitched battles.  “Ah! fair
constable,” said Joan to Richemont, “you are not come by my orders, but
you are right welcome.”  The Duke d’Alencon consulted Joan as to what was
to be done.  “It will be well to have horses,” was suggested by those
about her.  She asked her neighbors, “Have you good spurs?”  “Ha!” cried
they, “must we fly, then?”

“No, surely,” replied Joan: “but there will be need to ride boldly; we
shall give a good account of the English, and our spurs will serve us
famously in pursuing them.”  The battle began on the 18th of June, at
Patay, between Orleans and Chateaudun.  By Joan’s advice, the French
attacked.  “In the name of God,” said she, “we must fight.  Though the
English were suspended from the clouds, we should have them, for God hath
sent us to punish them.  The gentle king shall have to-day the greatest
victory he has ever had; my counsel hath told me they are ours.”  The
English lost heart, in their turn; the battle was short, and the victory
brilliant; Lord Talbot and the most part of the English captains remained
prisoners.  “Lord Talbot,” said the Duke d’Alencon to him, “this is not
what you expected this morning.”  “It is the fortune of war,” answered
Talbot, with the cool dignity of an old warrior.  Joan’s immediate return
to Orleans was a triumph; but even triumph has its embarrassments and
perils.  She demanded the speedy march of the army upon Rheims, that the
king might be crowned there without delay; but objections were raised on
all sides, the objections of the timid and those of the jealous.  “By
reason of Joan the Maid,” says a contemporary chronicler, “so many folks
came from all parts unto the king for to serve him at their own expense,
that La Tremoille and others of the council were much wroth thereat,
through anxiety for their own persons.”  Joan, impatient and irritated at
so much hesitation and intrigue, took upon herself to act as if the
decision belonged to her.  On the 25th of June she wrote to the
inhabitants of Tournai, “Loyal Frenchmen, I do pray and require you to be
all ready to come to the coronation of the gentle King Charles, at
Rheims, where we shall shortly be, and to come and meet us when ye shall
learn that we are approaching.”  Two days afterwards, on the 27th of
June, she left Gien, where the court was, and went to take up her
quarters in the open country with the troops.  There was nothing for it
but to follow her.  On the 29th of June, the king, the court (including
La Tremoille), and the army, about twelve thousand strong, set out on the
march for Rheims.  Other obstacles were encountered on the road.  In most
of the towns the inhabitants, even the royalists, feared to compromise
themselves by openly pronouncing against the English and the Duke of
Burgundy.  Those of Auxerre demanded a truce, offering provisions, and
promising to do as those of Troyes, Chalons, and Rheims should do.  At
Troyes the difficulty was greater still.  There was in it a garrison of
five or six hundred English and Burgundians, who had the burgesses under
their thumbs.  All attempts at accommodation failed.  There was great
perplexity in the royal camp; there were neither provisions enough for a
long stay before Troyes, nor batteries and siege trains to carry it by
force.  There was talk of turning back.  One of the king’s councillors,
Robert le Macon, proposed that Joan should be summoned to the council.
It was at her instance that the expedition had been undertaken; she had
great influence amongst the army and the populace; the idea ought not to
be given up without consulting her.  Whilst he was speaking, Joan came
knocking at the door; she was told to come in; and the chancellor, the
Archbishop of Rheims, put the question to her.  Joan, turning to the
king, asked him if he would believe her.  “Speak,” said the king; “if you
say what is reasonable and tends to profit, readily will you be
believed.”  “Gentle king of France,” said Joan, “if you be willing to
abide here before your town of Troyes, it shall be at your disposal
within two days, by love or by force; make no doubt of it.”  “Joan,”
 replied the chancellor, “whoever could be certain of having it within six
days might well wait for it; but say you true?”  Joan repeated her
assertion; and it was decided to wait.  Joan mounted her horse, and, with
her banner in her hand, she went through the camp, giving orders
everywhere to prepare for the assault.  She had her own tent pitched
close to the ditch, “doing more,” says a contemporary, “than two of the
ablest captains would have done.”  On the next day, July 10, all was
ready.  Joan had the fascines thrown into the ditches, and was shouting
out, “Assault!” when the inhabitants of Troyes, burgesses and
men-at-arms, came demanding permission to capitulate.  The conditions
were easy.  The inhabitants obtained for themselves and their property
such guarantees as they desired; and the strangers were allowed to go out
with what belonged to them.  On the morrow, July 11, the king entered
Troyes with all his captains, and at his side the Maid carrying her
banner.  All the difficulties of the journey were surmounted.  On the
15th of July the Bishop of Chalons brought the keys of his town to the
king, who took up his quarters there.  Joan found there four or five of
her own villagers, who had hastened up to see the young girl of Domremy
in all her glory.  She received them with a satisfaction in which
familiarity was blended with gravity.  To one of them, her godfather, she
gave a red cap which she had worn; to another, who had been a Burgundian,
she said, “I fear but one thing--treachery.”  In the Duke d’Alencon’s
presence she repeated to the king, “Make good use of my time, for I shall
hardly last longer than a year.”  On the 16th of July King Charles
entered Rheims, and the ceremony of his coronation was fixed for the

It was solemn and emotional, as are all old national traditions which
recur after a forced suspension.  Joan rode between Dunois and the
Archbishop of Rheims, chancellor of France.  The air resounded with the
Te Deum sung with all their hearts by clergy and crowd.  “In God’s name,”
 said Joan to Dunois, “here is a good people and a devout when I die, I
should much like it to be in these parts.”  “Joan,” inquired Dunois,
“know you when you will die, and in what place?”  “I know not,” said she,
“for I am at the will of God.”  Then she added, “I have accomplished that
which my Lord commanded me, to raise the siege of Orleans and have the
gentle king crowned.  I would like it well if it should please him to
send me back to my father and mother, to keep their sheep and their
cattle, and do that which was my wont.”  “When the said lords,” says the
chronicler, an eye-witness, “heard these words of Joan, who, with eyes
towards heaven, gave thanks to God, they the more believed that it was
somewhat sent from God, and not otherwise.”

Historians, and even contemporaries, have given much discussion to the
question whether Joan of Arc, according to her first ideas, had really
limited her design to the raising of the siege of Orleans and the
coronation of Charles VII. at Rheims.  She had said so herself several
times, just as she had to Dunois at Rheims on the 17th of July, 1429; but
she sometimes also spoke of more vast and varied projects, as, for
instance, driving the English completely out of France, and withdrawing
from his long captivity Charles, Duke of Orleans.  He had been a prisoner
in London ever since the battle of Agincourt, and was popular in his day,
as he has continued to be in French history, on the double ground of
having been the father of Louis XII. and one of the most charming poets
in the ancient literature of France.  The Duke d’Alencon, who was so high
in the regard of Joan, attributed to her more expressly this quadruple
design: “She said,” according to him, “that she had four duties; to get
rid of the English, to have the king anointed and crowned, to deliver
Duke Charles of Orleans, and to raise the siege laid by the English to
Orleans.”  One is inclined to believe that Joan’s language to Dunois at
Rheims in the hour of Charles VII.’s coronation more accurately expressed
her first idea; the two other notions occurred to her naturally in
proportion as her hopes as well as her power kept growing greater with
success.  But however lofty and daring her soul may have been, she had a
simple and not at all a fantastic mind.  She may have foreseen the
complete expulsion of the English, and may have desired the deliverance
of the Duke of Orleans, without having in the first instance premeditated
anything more than she said to Dunois during the king’s coronation at
Rheims, which was looked upon by her as the triumph of the national

However that may be, when Orleans was relieved, and Charles VII.
crowned, the situation, posture, and part of Joan underwent a change.
She no longer manifested the same confidence in herself and her designs.
She no longer exercised over those in whose midst she lived the same
authority.  She continued to carry on war, but at hap-hazard, sometimes
with and sometimes without success, just like La Hire and Dunois; never
discouraged, never satisfied, and never looking upon her-self as
triumphant.  After the coronation, her advice was to march at once upon
Paris, in order to take up a fixed position in it, as being the political
centre of the realm of which Rheims was the religious.  Nothing of the
sort was done.  Charles and La Tremoille once more began their course of
hesitation, tergiversation, and changes of tactics and residence without
doing anything of a public and decisive character.  They negotiated with
the Duke of Burgundy, in the hope of detaching him from the English
cause; and they even concluded with him a secret, local, and temporary
truce.  From the 20th of July to the 23d of August Joan followed the king
whithersoever he went, to Chateau-Thierry, to Senlis, to Blois, to
Provins, and to Compigne, as devoted as ever, but without having her
former power.  She was still active, but not from inspiration and to obey
her voices, simply to promote the royal policy.  She wrote the Duke of
Burgundy a letter full of dignity and patriotism, which had no more
effect than the negotiations of La Tremoille.  During this fruitless
labor amongst the French the Duke of Bedford sent for five thousand men
from England, who came and settled themselves at Paris.  One division of
this army had a white standard, in the middle of which was depicted a
distaff full of cotton; a half-filled spindle was hanging to the distaff;
and the field, studded with empty spindles, bore this inscription: “Now,
fair one, come!”  Insult to Joan was accompanied by redoubled war against
France.  Joan, saddened and wearied by the position of things, attempted
to escape from it by a bold stroke.  On the 23d of August, 1429, she set
out from Compiegne with the Duke d’Alencon and “a fair company of
men-at-arms;” and suddenly went and occupied St. Denis, with the view of
attacking Paris.  Charles VII. felt himself obliged to quit Compiegne
likewise, “and went, greatly against the grain,” says a contemporary
chronicler, “as far as into the town of Senlis.”  The attack on Paris
began vigorously.  Joan, with the Duke d’Alencon, pitched her camp at La
Chapelle.  Charles took up his abode in the abbey of St. Denis.  The
municipal corporation of Paris received letters with the arms of the Duke
d’Alencon, which called upon them to recognize the king’s authority, and
promised a general amnesty.  The assault was delivered on the 8th of
September.  Joan was severely wounded, but she insisted upon remaining
where she was.  Night came, and the troops had not entered the breach
which had been opened in the morning.  Joan was still calling out to
persevere.  The Duke d’Alencon himself begged her, but in vain, to
retire.  La Tremoille gave orders to retreat; and some knights came up,
set Joan on horse-back, and led her back, against her will, to La
Chapelle.  “By my martin” (staff of command), said she, “the place would
have been taken.”  One hope still remained.  In concert with the Duke
d’Alencon she had caused a flying bridge to be thrown across the Seine
opposite St. Denis.  The next day but one she sent her vanguard in this
direction; she intended to return thereby to the siege; but, by the
king’s order, the bridge had been cut adrift.  St. Denis fell once more
into the hands of the English.  Before leaving, Joan left there, on the
tomb of St. Denis, her complete suit of armor and a sword she had lately
obtained possession of at the St. Honore gate of Paris, as trophy of war.

From the 13th of September, 1429, to the 24th of May, 1430, she continued
to lead the same life of efforts ever equally valiant and equally
ineffectual.  She failed in an attempt upon Laemir.  Charite-sur-Loire,
undertaken, for all that appears, with the sole design of recovering an
important town in the possession of the enemy.  The English evacuated
Paris, and left the keeping of it to the Duke of Burgundy, no doubt to
test his fidelity.  On the 13th of Aprils 1430, at the expiration of the
truce he had concluded, Philip the Good resumed hostilities against
Charles VII.  Joan of Arc once more plunged into them with her wonted
zeal.  Ile-de-France and Picardy became the theatre of war.  Compiegne
was regarded as the gate of the road between these two provinces; and the
Duke of Burgundy attached much importance to holding the key of it.  The
authority of Charles VII. was recognized there; and a young knight of
Compiegne, William de Flavy, held the command there as lieutenant of La
Tremoille, who had got himself appointed captain of the town.  La
Tremoille attempted to treat with the Duke of Burgundy for the cession of
Compiegne; but the inhabitants were strenuously opposed to it.  “They
were,” they said, “the king’s most humble subjects, and they desired to
serve him with body and substance; but as for trusting themselves to the
lord Duke of Burgundy, they could not do it; they were resolved to suffer
destruction, themselves and their wives and children, rather than be
exposed to the tender mercies of the said duke.”  Meanwhile Joan of Arc,
after several warlike expeditions in the neighborhood, re-entered
Compiegne, and was received there with a popular expression of
satisfaction.  “She was presented,” says a local chronicler, with three
hogsheads of wine, a present which was large and exceeding costly, and
which showed the estimate formed of this maiden’s worth.”  Joan
manifested the profound distrust with which she was inspired of the Duke
of Burgundy.  There is no peace possible with him,” she said, “save at
the point of the lance.”  She had quarters at the house of the king’s
attorney, Le Boucher, and shared the bed of his wife, Mary.  “She often
made the said Mary rise from her bed to go and warn the said attorney to
be on his guard against several acts of Burgundian treachery.”  At this
period, again, she said she was often warned by her voices of what must
happen to her; she expected to be taken prisoner before St. John’s or
Midsummer-day (June 24); on what day and hour she did not know; she had
received no instructions as to sorties from the place; but she had
constantly been told that she would be taken, and she was distrustful of
the captains who were in command there.  She was, nevertheless, not the
less bold and enterprising.  On the 20th of May, 1430, the Duke of
Burgundy came and laid siege to Compiegne.  Joan was away on an
expedition to Crepy in Valois, with a small band of three or four hundred
brave comrades.  On the 24th of May, the eve of Ascension-day, she
learned that Compiegne was being besieged, and she resolved to re-enter
it.  She was reminded that her force was a very weak one to cut its way
through the besiegers’ camp.  “By my martin,” said she, “we are enough; I
will go see my friends in Compiegne.”  She arrived about daybreak without
hinderance, and penetrated into the town; and repaired immediately to the
parish church of St. Jacques to perform her devotions on the eve of so
great a festival.  Many persons, attracted by her presence, and amongst
others “from a hundred to six-score children,” thronged to the church.
After hearing mass, and herself taking the communion, Joan said to those
who surrounded her, “My children and dear friends, I notify you that I am
sold and betrayed, and that I shall shortly be delivered over to death; I
beseech you, pray God for me.”  When evening came, she was not the less
eager to take part in a sortie with her usual comrades and a troop of
about five hundred men.  William de Flavy, commandant of the place, got
ready some boats on the Oise to assist the return of the troops.  All the
town-gates were closed, save the bridge-gate.  The sortie was
unsuccessful.  Being severely repulsed and all but hemmed in, the
majority of the soldiers shouted to Joan, “Try to quickly regain the
town, or we are lost.”  “Silence,” said Joan; “it only rests with you to
throw the enemy into confusion; think only of striking at them.”  Her
words and her bravery were in vain; the infantry flung themselves into
the boats, and regained the town, and Joan and her brave comrades covered
their retreat.  The Burgundians were coming up in mass upon Compiegne,
and Flavy gave orders to pull up the draw-bridge and let down the
portcullis.  Joan and some of her following lingered outside, still
fighting.  She wore a rich surcoat and a red sash, and all the efforts of
the Burgundians were directed against her.  Twenty men thronged round her
horse; and a Picard archer, “a tough fellow and mighty sour,” seized her
by her dress, and flung her on the ground.  All, at once, called on her
to surrender.  “Yield you to me,” said one of them; “pledge your faith to
me; I am a gentleman.”  It was an archer of the bastard of Wandonne, one
of the lieutenants of John of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny.  “I have
pledged my faith to one other than you,” said Joan, “and to Him I will
keep my oath.”  The archer took her and conducted her to Count John,
whose prisoner she became.

Was she betrayed and delivered up, as she had predicted?  Did William de
Flavy purposely have the drawbridge raised and the portcullis lowered
before she could get back into Compiegne?  He was suspected of it at the
time, and many historians have indorsed the suspicion.  But there is
nothing to prove it.  That La Tremoille, prime minister of Charles VII.,
and Reginald de Chartres, Archbishop of Rheims, had an antipathy to Joan
of Arc, and did all they could on every occasion to compromise her and
destroy her influence, and that they were glad to see her a prisoner, is
as certain as anything can be.  On announcing her capture to the
inhabitants of Rheims, the arch-bishop said, “She would not listen to
counsel, and did everything according to her pleasure.”  But there is a
long distance between such expressions and a premeditated plot to deliver
to the enemy the young heroine who had just raised the siege of Orleans
and brought the king to be crowned at Rheims.  History must not, without
proof, impute crimes so odious and so shameful to even the most depraved
of men.

However that may be, Joan remained for six months the prisoner of John of
Luxembourg, who, to make his possession of her secure, sent her, under
good escort, successively to his two castles of Beaulieu and Beaurevoir,
one in the Vermandois and the other in the Cambresis.  Twice, in July and
in October, 1430, Joan attempted, unsuccessfully, to escape.  The second
time she carried despair and hardihood so far as to throw herself down
from the platform of her prison.  She was picked up cruelly bruised, but
without any fracture or wound of importance.  Her fame, her youth, her
virtue, her courage, made her, even in her prison and in the very family
of her custodian, two warm and powerful friends.  John of Luxembourg had
with him his wife, Joan of Bethune, and his aunt, Joan of Luxembourg,
godmother of Charles VII.  They both of them took a tender interest in
the prisoner; and they often went to see her, and left nothing undone to
mitigate the annoyances of a prison.  One thing only shocked them about
her--her man’s clothes.  “They offered her,” as Joan herself said, when
questioned upon this subject at a later period during her trial, “a
woman’s dress, or stuff to make it to her liking, and requested her to
wear it; but she answered that she had not leave from our Lord, and that
it was not yet time for it.”  John of Luxembourg’s aunt was full of years
and reverenced as a saint.  Hearing that the English were tempting her
nephew by the offer of a sum of money to give up his prisoner to them,
she conjured him in her will, dated September 10, 1430, not to sully by
such an act the honor of his name.  But Count John was neither rich nor
scrupulous; and pretexts were not wanting to aid his cupidity and his
weakness.  Joan had been taken at Compiegne on the 23d of May, in the
evening; and the news arrived in Paris on the 25th of May, in the
morning.  On the morrow, the 26th, the registrar of the University, in
the name and under the seal of the inquisition of France, wrote a
citation to the Duke of Burgundy “to the end that the Maid should be
delivered up to appear before the said inquisitor, and to respond to the
good counsel, favor, and aid of the good doctors and masters of the
University of Paris.”  Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, had been the
prime mover in this step.  Some weeks later, on the 14th of July, seeing
that no reply arrived from the Duke of Burgundy, he caused a renewal of
the same demands to be made on the part of the University in more urgent
terms, and he added, in his own name, that Joan, having been taken at
Compiegne, in his own diocese, belonged to him as judge spiritual.  He
further asserted that “according to the law, usage, and custom of France,
every prisoner of war, even were it king, _dauphin_, or other prince,
might be redeemed in the name of the King of England in consideration of
an indemnity of ten thousand livres granted to the capturer.”  Nothing
was more opposed to the common law of nations and to the feudal spirit,
often grasping, but noble at bottom.  For four months still, John of
Luxembourg hesitated; but his aunt, Joan, died at Boulogne, on the 13th
of November, and Joan of Arc had no longer near him this powerful
intercessor.  The King of England transmitted to the keeping of his
coffers at Rouen, in golden coin, English money, the sum of ten thousand
livres.  John of Luxembourg yielded to the temptation.  On the 21st of
November, 1430, Joan of Arc was handed over to the King of England, and
the same day the University of Paris, through its rector, Hebert,
besought that sovereign, as King of France, “to order that this woman be
brought to their city for to be shortly placed in the hands of the
justice of the Church, that is, of our honored lord, the Bishop and Count
of Beauvais, and also of the ordained inquisitor in France, in order that
her trial may be conducted officially and securely.”

It was not to Paris, but to Rouen, the real capital of the English in
France, that Joan was taken.  She arrived there on the 23d of December,
1430.  On the 3d of January, 1431, an order from Henry VI., King of
England, placed her in the hands of the Bishop of Beauvais, Peter
Cauchon.  Some days afterwards, Count John of Luxembourg, accompanied by
his brother, the English chancellor, by his esquire, and by two English
lords, Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and Humphrey, Earl of
Stafford, the King of England’s constable in France, entered the prison.
Had John of Luxembourg come out of sheer curiosity, or to relieve himself
of certain scruples by offering Joan a chance for her life?  “Joan,” said
he, “I am come hither to put you to ransom, and to treat for the price of
your deliverance; only give us your promise here to no more bear arms
against us.”  “In God’s name,” answered Joan, “are you making a mock of
me, captain?  Ransom me!  You have neither the will nor the power; no,
you have neither.”  The count persisted.  “I know well,” said Joan, “that
these English will put me to death; but were they a hundred thousand more
Goddams than have already been in France, they shall never have the

At this patriotic burst on the heroine’s part, the Earl of Stafford half
drew his dagger from the sheath as if to strike Joan, but the Earl of
Warwick held him back.  The visitors went out from the prison and handed
over Joan to the judges.

The court of Rouen was promptly formed, but not without opposition and
difficulty.  Though Joan had lost somewhat of her greatness and
importance by going beyond her main object, and by showing recklessness,
unattended by success, on small occasions, she still remained the true,
heroic representative of the feelings and wishes of the nation.  When she
was removed from Beaurevoir to Rouen, all the places at which she stopped
were like so many luminous points for the illustration of her popularity.
At Arras, a Scot showed her a portrait of her which he wore, an outward
sign of the devoted worship of her lieges.  At Amiens, the chancellor of
the cathedral gave her audience at confession and administered to her the
eucharist.  At Abbeville, ladies of distinction went five leagues to pay
her a visit; they were glad to have had the happiness of seeing her so
firm and resigned to the will of Our Lord; they wished her all the favors
of heaven, and then wept affectionately on taking leave of her.  Joan,
touched by their sympathy and open heartedness, said, “Ah! what a good
people is this!  Would to God I might be so happy, when my days are
ended, as to be buried in these parts!”

When the Bishop of Beauvais, installed at Rouen, set about forming his
court of justice, the majority of the members he appointed amongst the
clergy or the University of Paris obeyed the summons without hesitation.
Some few would have refused; but their wishes were overruled.  The Abbot
of Jumieges, Nicholas de Houppeville, maintained that the trial was not
legal.  The Bishop of Beauvais, he said, belonged to the party which
declared itself hostile to the Maid; and, besides, he made himself judge
in a case already decided by his metropolitan, the Archbishop of Rheims,
of whom Beauvais was holden, and who had approved of Joan’s conduct.  The
bishop summoned before him the recalcitrant, who refused to appear,
saying that he was under no official jurisdiction but that of Rouen.  He
was arrested and thrown into prison, by order of the bishop, whose
authority he denied.  There was some talk of banishing him, and even of
throwing him into the river; but the influence of his brethren saved him.
The sub-inquisitor himself allowed the trial in which he was to be one of
the judges to begin without him; and he only put in an appearance at the
express order of the inquisitor-general, and on a confidential hint that
he would be in danger of his life if he persisted in his refusal.  The
court being thus constituted, Joan, after it had been put in possession
of the evidence already collected, was cited, on the 20th of February,
1431, to appear on the morrow, the 21st, before her judges assembled in
the chapel of Rouen Castle.

The trial lasted from the 21st of February to the 30th of May, 1431.  The
court held forty sittings, mostly in the chapel of the castle, some in
Joan’s very prison.  On her arrival there, she had been put in an iron
cage; afterwards she was kept no longer in the cage, but in a dark room
in a tower of the castle, wearing irons upon her feet, fastened by a
chain to a large piece of wood, and guarded night and day by four or five
“soldiers of low grade.”  She complained of being thus chained; but the
bishop told her that her former attempts at escape demanded this
precaution.  “It is true,” said Joan, as truthful as heroic, “I did wish
and I still wish to escape from prison, as is the right of every
prisoner.”  At her examination, the bishop required her to take an oath
to tell the truth about everything as to which she should be questioned.”
 “I know not what you mean to question me about; perchance you may ask me
things I would not tell you; touching my revelations, for instance, you
might ask me to tell something I have sworn not to tell; thus I should be
perjured, which you ought not to desire.”  The bishop insisted upon an
oath absolute and with-out condition.  “You are too hard on me,” said
Joan; I do not like to take an oath to tell the truth save as to matters
which concern the faith.”  The bishop called upon her to swear on pain of
being held guilty of the things imputed to her.

[Illustration: Joan examined in Prison----128]

“Go on to something else,” said she.  And this was the answer she made to
all questions which seemed to her to be a violation of her right to be
silent.  Wearied and hurt at these imperious demands, she one day said,
“I come on God’s business, and I have nought to do here; send me back to
God, from whom I come.”  “Are you sure you are in God’s grace?” asked the
bishop.  “If I be not,” answered Joan, “please God to bring me to it; and
if I be, please God to keep me in it!”  The bishop himself remained

There is no object in following through all its sittings and all its
twistings this odious and shameful trial, in which the judges’ prejudiced
servility and scientific subtlety were employed for three months to wear
out the courage or overreach the understanding of a young girl of
nineteen, who refused at one time to lie, and at another to enter into
discussion with them, and made no defence beyond holding her tongue or
appealing to God who had spoken to her and dictated to her that which she
had done.  In order to force her from her silence or bring her to submit
to the Church instead of appealing from it to God, it was proposed to
employ the last means of all, torture.  On the 9th of May the bishop had
Joan brought into the great tower of Rouen Castle; the instruments of
torture were displayed before her eyes; and the executioners were ready
to fulfil their office, “for to bring her back,” said the bishop, “into
the ways of truth, in order to insure the salvation of her soul and body,
so gravely endangered by erroneous inventions.”  “Verily,” answered Joan,
“if you should have to tear me limb from limb, and separate soul from
body, I should not tell you aught else; and if I were to tell you aught
else, I should afterwards still tell you that you had made me tell it by
force.”  The idea of torture was given up.  It was resolved to display
all the armory of science in order to subdue the mind of this young girl,
whose conscience was not to be subjugated.  The chapter of Rouen declared
that in consequence of her public refusal to submit herself to the
decision of the Church as to her deeds and her statements, Joan deserved
to be declared a heretic.  The University of Paris, to which had been
handed in the twelve heads of accusation resulting from Joan’s statements
and examinations, replied that “if, having been charitably admonished,
she would not make reparation and return to union with the Catholic
faith, she must be left to the secular judges to undergo punishment for
her crime.”  Armed with these documents the Bishop of Beauvais had Joan
brought up, on the 23d of May, in a hall adjoining her prison, and, after
having addressed to her a long exhortation, “Joan,” said he, “if in the
dominions of your king, when you were at large in them, a knight or any
other, born under his rule and allegiance to him, had risen up, saying,
‘I will not obey the king or submit to his officers,’ would you not have
said that he ought to be condemned?  What then will you say of yourself,
you who were born in the faith of Christ and became by baptism a daughter
of the Church and spouse of Jesus Christ, if you obey not the officers of
Christ, that is, the prelates of the Church?” Joan listened modestly to
this admonition, and confined herself to answering, “As to my deeds and
sayings, what I said of them at the trial I do hold to and mean to abide
by.”  “Think you that you are not bound to submit your sayings and deeds
to the Church militant or to any other than God?”  “The course that I
always mentioned and pursued at the trial I mean to maintain as to that.
If I were at the stake, and saw the torch lighted, and the executioner
ready to set fire to the fagots, even if I were in the midst of the
flames, I should not say aught else, and I should uphold that which I
said at the trial even unto death.”

According to the laws, ideas, and practices of the time the legal
question was decided.  Joan, declared heretic and rebellious by the
Church, was liable to have sentence pronounced against her; but she had
persisted in her statements, she had shown no submission.  Although she
appeared to be quite forgotten, and was quite neglected by the king whose
coronation she had effected, by his councillors, and even by the brave
warriors at whose side she had fought, the public exhibited a lively
interest in her; accounts of the scenes which took place at her trial
were inquired after with curiosity.  Amongst the very judges who
prosecuted her, many were troubled in spirit, and wished that Joan, by an
abjuration of her statements, would herself put them at ease and relieve
them from pronouncing against her the most severe penalty.  What means
were employed to arrive at this end?  Did she really, and with full
knowledge of what she was about, come round to the adjuration which there
was so much anxiety to obtain from her?  It is difficult to solve this
historical problem with exactness and certainty.  More than once, during
the examinations and the conversations which took place at that time
between Joan and her judges, she maintained her firm posture and her
first statements.  One of those who were exhorting her to yield said to
her one day, “Thy king is a heretic and a schismatic.”  Joan could not
brook this insult to her king.  “By my faith,” said she, “full well dare
I both say and swear that he is the noblest Christian of all Christians,
and the truest lover of the faith and the Church.”  “Make her hold her
tongue,” said the usher to the preacher, who was disconcerted at having
provoked such language.  Another day, when Joan was being urged to submit
to the Church, brother Isambard de la Pierre, a Dominican, who was
interested in her, spoke to her about the council, at the same time
explaining to her its province in the church.  It was the very time when
that of Bale had been convoked.  “Ah!” said Joan, “I would fain surrender
and submit myself to the council of Bale.”  The Bishop of Beauvais
trembled at the idea of this appeal.  “Hold your tongue in the devil’s
name!” said he to the monk.  Another of the judges, William Erard, asked
Joan menacingly, “Will you abjure those reprobate words and deeds of
yours?”  “I leave it to the universal Church whether I ought to abjure or
not.”  “That is not enough: you shall abjure at once or you shall burn.”
 Joan shuddered.  “I would rather sign than burn,” she said.  There was
put before her a form of abjuration, whereby, disavowing her revelations
and visions from heaven, she confessed her errors in matters of faith,
and renounced them humbly.  At the bottom of the document she made the
mark of a cross.  Doubts have arisen as to the genuineness of this long
and diffuse deed in the form in which it has been published in the
trial-papers.  Twenty-four years later, in 1455, during the trial
undertaken for the rehabilitation of Joan, several of those who had been
present at the trial at which she was condemned, amongst others the usher
Massieu and the registrar Taquel, declared that the form of abjuration
read out at that time to Joan and signed by her contained only seven or
eight lines of big writing; and according to another witness of the scene
it was an Englishman, John Calot, secretary of Henry VI., King of
England, who, as soon as Joan had yielded, drew from his sleeve a little
paper which he gave to her to sign, and, dissatisfied with the mark she
had made, held her hand and guided it so that she might put down her
name, every letter.  However that may be, as soon as Joan’s abjuration
had thus been obtained, the court issued on the 24th of May, 1431, a
definitive decree, whereby, after some long and severe strictures in the
preamble, it condemned Joan to perpetual imprisonment, “with the bread of
affliction and the water of affliction, in order that she might deplore
the errors and faults she had committed, and relapse into them no more

The Church might be satisfied; but the King of England, his councillors
and his officers, were not.  It was Joan living, even though a prisoner,
that they feared.  They were animated towards her by the two ruthless
passions of vengeance and fear.  When it was known that she would escape
with her life, murmurs broke out amongst the crowd of enemies present at
the trial.  Stones were thrown at the judges.  One of the Cardinal of
Winchester’s chaplains, who happened to be close to the Bishop of
Beauvais, called him traitor.  “You lie,” said the bishop.  And the
bishop was right; the chaplain did lie; the bishop had no intention of
betraying his masters.  The Earl of Warwick complained to him of the
inadequacy of the sentence.  “Never you mind, my lord,” said one of Peter
Cauchon’s confidants; “we will have her up again.”  After the passing of
her sentence Joan had said to those about her, “Come, now, you churchmen
amongst you, lead me off to your own prisons, and let me be no more in
the hands of the English.”  “Lead her to where you took her,” said the
bishop; and she was conducted to the castle prison.  She had been told by
some of the judges who went to see her after her sentence, that she would
have to give up her man’s dress and resume her woman’s clothing, as the
Church ordained.  She was rejoiced thereat; forthwith, accordingly,
resumed her woman’s clothes, and had her hair properly cut, which up to
that time she used to wear clipped round like a man’s.  When she was
taken back to prison, the man’s dress which she had worn was put in a
sack in the same room in which she was confined, and she remained in
custody at the said place in the hands of five Englishmen, of whom three
staid by night in the room and two outside at the door.  “And he who
speaks [John Massieu, a priest, the same who in 1431 had been present as
usher of the court at the trial in which Joan was condemned] knows for
certain that at night she had her legs ironed in such sort that she could
not stir from the spot.  When the next Sunday morning, which was Trinity
Sunday, had come, and she should have got up, according to what she
herself told to him who speaks, she said to her English guards, ‘Uniron
me; I will get up.’  Then one of then took away her woman’s clothes; they
emptied the sack in which was her man’s dress, and pitched the said dress
to her, saying, ‘Get up, then,’ and they put her woman’s clothes in the
same sack.  And according to what she told me she only clad herself in
her man’s dress after saying, ‘You know it is forbidden me; I certainly
will not take it.’ Nevertheless they would not allow her any other;
insomuch that the dispute lasted to the hour of noon.  Finally, from
corporeal necessity, Joan was constrained to get up and take the dress.”

The official documents drawn up during the condemnation-trial contain
quite a different account.  “On the 28th of May,” it is there said,
“eight of the judges who had taken part in the sentence [their names are
given in the document, t. i. p. 454] betook themselves to Joan’s prison,
and seeing her clad in man’s dress, ‘which she had but just given up
according to our order that she should resume woman’s clothes, we asked
her when and for what cause she had resumed this dress, and who had
prevailed on her to do so.  Joan answered that it was of her own will,
without any constraint from any one, and because she preferred that dress
to woman’s clothes.  To our question as to why she had made this change,
she answered, that, being surrounded by men, man’s dress was more
suitable for her than woman’s.  She also said that she had resumed it
because there had been made to her, but not kept, a promise that she
should go to mass, receive the body of Christ, and be set free from her
fetters.  She added that if this promise were kept, she would be good,
and would do what was the will of the Church.  As we had heard some
persons say that she persisted in her errors as to the pretended
revelations which she had but lately renounced, we asked whether she had
since Thursday last heard the voices of St. Catherine and St. Margaret;
and she answered, Yes.  To our question as to what the saints had said
she answered, that God had testified to her by their voices great pity
for the great treason she had committed in abjuring for the sake of
saving her life, and that by so doing she had damned herself.  She said
that all she had thus done last Thursday in abjuring her visions and
revelations she had done through fear of the stake, and that all her
abjuration was contrary to the truth.  She added that she did not herself
comprehend what was contained in the form of abjuration she had been made
to sign, and that she would rather do penance once for all by dying to
maintain the truth than remain any longer a prisoner, being all the while
a traitress to it.”

We will not stop to examine whether these two accounts, though very
different, are not fundamentally reconcilable, and whether Joan resumed
man’s dress of her own desire or was constrained to do so by the soldiers
on guard over her, and perhaps to escape from their insults.  The
important points in the incident are the burst of remorse which Joan felt
for her weakness and her striking retractation of the abjuration which
had been wrung from her.  So soon as the news was noised abroad, her
enemies cried, “She has relapsed!” This was exactly what they had hoped
for when, on learning that she had been sentenced only to perpetual
imprisonment, they had said, “Never you mind; we will have her up again.”
 “_Farewell, farewell_, my lord,” said the Bishop of Beauvais to the Earl
of Warwick, whom he met shortly after Joan’s retractation; and in his
words there was plainly an expression of satisfaction, and not a mere
phrase of politeness.  On the 29th of May the tribunal met again.  Forty
judges took part in the deliberation; Joan was unanimously declared a
case of relapse, was found guilty, and cited to appear next day, the
30th, on the Vieux-Marche to hear sentence pronounced, and then undergo
the punishment of the stake.

When, on the 30th of May, in the morning, the Dominican brother Martin
Ladvenu was charged to announce her sentence to Joan, she gave way at
first to grief and terror.  “Alas!” she cried, “am I to be so horribly
and cruelly treated that this my body, full pure and perfect and never
defiled, must to-day be consumed and reduced to ashes!  Ah!  I would
seven times rather be beheaded than burned!”  The Bishop of Beauvais at
this moment came up.  “Bishop,” said Joan, “you are the cause of my
death; if you had put me in the prisons of the Church and in the hands of
fit and proper ecclesiastical warders, this had never happened; I appeal
from you to the presence of God.”  One of the doctors who had sat in
judgment upon her, Peter Maurice, went to see her, and spoke to her with
sympathy.  “Master Peter,” said she to him, “where shall I be to-night?”
 “Have you not good hope in God?” asked the doctor.  “O! yes,” she
answered; “by the grace of God I shall be in paradise.”  Being left alone
with the Dominican, Martin Ladvenu, she confessed and asked to
communicate.  The monk applied to the Bishop of Beauvais to know what he
was to do.  “Tell brother Martin,” was the answer, “to give her the
eucharist and all she asks for.”  At nine o’clock, having resumed her
woman’s dress, Joan was dragged from prison and driven to the Vieux-
Marche.  From seven to eight hundred soldiers escorted the car and
prohibited all approach to it on the part of the crowd, which encumbered
the road and the vicinities; but a man forced a passage and flung himself
towards Joan.  It was a canon of Rouen, Nicholas Loiseleur, whom the
Bishop of Beauvais had placed near her, and who had abused the confidence
she had shown him.  Beside himself with despair, he wished to ask pardon
of her; but the English soldiers drove him back with violence and with
the epithet of traitor, and but for the intervention of the Earl of
Warwick his life would have been in danger.  Joan wept and prayed; and
the crowd, afar off, wept and prayed with her.  On arriving at the place,
she listened in silence to a sermon by one of the doctors of the court,
who ended by saying, “Joan, go in peace; the Church can no longer defend
thee; she gives thee over to the secular arm.”  The laic judges, Raoul
Bouteillier, baillie of Rouen, and his lieutenant, Peter Daron, were
alone qualified to pronounce sentence of death; but no time was given
them.  The priest Massieu was still continuing his exhortations to Joan,
but “How now! priest,” was the cry from amidst the soldiery, “are you
going to make us dine here?”  “Away with her!  Away with her!” said the
baillie to the guards; and to the executioner, “Do thy duty.”  When she
came to the stake, Joan knelt down completely absorbed in prayer.  She
had begged Massieu to get her a cross; and an Englishman present made one
out of a little stick, and handed it to the French heroine, who took it,
kissed it, and laid it on her breast.  She begged brother Isambard de la
Pierre to go and fetch the cross from the church of St. Sauveur, the
chief door of which opened on the Vieux-Marche, and to hold it “upright
before her eyes till the coming of death, in order,” she said, “that the
cross whereon God hung might, as long as she lived, be continually in her
sight;” and her wishes were fulfilled.  She wept over her country and the
spectators as well as over herself.  “Rouen, Rouen,” she cried, “is it
here that I must die?  Shalt thou be my last resting-place?  I fear
greatly thou wilt have to suffer for my death.”  It is said that the aged
Cardinal of Winchester and the Bishop of Beauvais himself could not
stifle their emotion--and, peradventure, their tears.  The executioner
set fire to the fagots.  When Joan perceived the flames rising, she urged
her confessor, the Dominican brother, Martin Ladvenu, to go down, at the
same time asking him to keep holding the cross up high in front of her,
that she might never cease to see it.  The same monk, when questioned
four and twenty years later, at the rehabilitation trial, as to the last
sentiments and the last words of Joan, said that to the very latest
moment she had affirmed that her voices were heavenly, that they had not
deluded her, and that the revelations she had received came from God.
When she had ceased to live, two of her judges, John Alespie, canon of
Rouen, and Peter Maurice, doctor of theology, cried out, “Would that my
soul were where I believe the soul of that woman is!”  And Tressart,
secretary to King Henry VI., said sorrowfully, on returning from the
place of execution, “We are all lost; we have burned a saint.”

A saint indeed in faith and in destiny.  Never was human creature more
heroically confident in, and devoted to, inspiration coming from God, a
commission received from God.  Joan of Arc sought nothing of all that
happened to her and of all she did, nor exploit, nor power, nor glory.
“It was not her condition,” as she used to say, to be a warrior, to get
her king crowned, and to deliver her country from the foreigner.
Everything came to her from on high, and she accepted everything without
hesitation, without discussion, without calculation, as we should say in
our times.  She believed in God, and obeyed Him.  God was not to her an
idea, a hope, a flash of human imagination, or a problem of human
science; He was the Creator of the world, the Saviour of mankind through
Jesus Christ, the Being of beings, ever present, ever in action, sole
legitimate sovereign of man whom He has made intelligent and free, the
real and true God whom we are painfully searching for in our own day, and
whom we shall never find again until we cease pretending to do without
Him and putting ourselves in His place.  Meanwhile one fact may be
mentioned which does honor to our epoch and gives us hope for our future.
Four centuries have rolled by since Joan of Arc, that modest and heroic
servant of God, made a sacrifice of herself for France.  For four and
twenty years after her death, France and the king appeared to think no
more of her.  However, in 1455, remorse came upon Charles VII. and upon
France.  Nearly all the provinces, all the towns, were freed from the
foreigner, and shame was felt that nothing was said, nothing done, for
the young girl who had saved everything.  At Rouen, especially, where the
sacrifice was completed, a cry for reparation arose.  It was timidly
demanded from the spiritual power which had sentenced and delivered over
Joan as a heretic to the stake.  Pope Calixtus III. entertained the
request preferred, not by the King of France, but in the name of Isabel
Romee, Joan’s mother, and her whole family.  Regular proceedings were
commenced and followed up for the rehabilitation of the martyr; and, on
the 7th of July, 1456, a decree of the court assembled at Rouen quashed
the sentence of 1431, together with all its consequences, and ordered
“a general procession and solemn sermon at St. Ouen Place and the Vieux-
Marche,” where the said maid had been cruelly and horribly burned; besides
the planting of a cross of honor (crucis honestee) on the Vieux-Marche,
the judges reserving the official notice to be given of their decision
“throughout the cities and notable places of the realm.”  The city of
Orleans responded to this appeal by raising on the bridge over the Loire
a group in bronze representing Joan of Arc on her knees before Our Lady
between two angels.  This monument, which was broken during the religious
wars of the sixteenth century and repaired shortly afterwards, was
removed in the eighteenth century, and, Joan of Arc then received a fresh
insult; the poetry of a cynic was devoted to the task of diverting a
licentious public at the expense of the saint whom, three centuries
before, fanatical hatred had brought to the stake.  In 1792 the council
of the commune of Orleans, “considering that the monument in bronze did
not represent the heroine’s services, and did not by any sign call to
mind the struggle against the English,” ordered it to be melted down and
cast into cannons, of which “one should bear the name of Joan of Arc.”
 It is in our time that the city of Orleans and its distinguished bishop,
Mgr. Dupanloup, have at last paid Joan homage worthy of her, not only by
erecting to her a new statue, but by recalling her again to the memory of
France with her true features, and in her grand character.  Neither
French nor any other history offers a like example of a modest little
soul, with a faith so pure and efficacious, resting on divine inspiration
and patriotic hope.

During the trial of Joan of Arc the war between France and England,
without being discontinued, had been somewhat slack: the curiosity and
the passions of men were concentrated upon the scenes at Rouen.  After
the execution of Joan the war resumed its course, though without any
great events.  By way of a step towards solution, the Duke of Bedford, in
November, 1431, escorted to Paris King Henry VI., scarcely ten years old,
and had him crowned at Notre-Dame.  The ceremony was distinguished for
pomp, but not for warmth.  The Duke of Burgundy was not present; it was
an Englishman, the Cardinal-bishop of Winchester, who anointed the young
Englander King of France; the Bishop of Paris complained of it as a
violation of his rights; the parliament, the university, and the
municipal body had not even seats reserved at the royal banquet; Paris
was melancholy, and day by day more deserted by the native inhabitants;
grass was growing in the court-yards of the great mansions; the students
were leaving the great school of Paris, to which the Duke of Bedford at
Caen, and Charles VII. himself at Poitiers, were attempting to raise up
rivals; and silence reigned in the Latin quarter.  The child-king was
considered unintelligent, and ungraceful, and ungracious.  When, on the
day after Christmas, he started on his way back to Rouen, and from Rouen
to England, he did not confer on Paris “any of the boons expected, either
by releasing prisoners or by putting an end to black-mails, gabels, and
wicked imposts.”  The burgesses were astonished, and grumbled; and the
old queen, Isabel of Bavaria, who was still living at the hostel of St.
Paul, wept, it is said, for vexation, at seeing from one of her windows
her grandson’s royal procession go by.

Though war was going on all the while, attempts were made to negotiate;
and in March, 1433, a conference was opened at Seineport, near Corbeil.
Everybody in France desired peace.  Philip the Good himself began to feel
the necessity of it.  Burgundy was almost as discontented and troubled as
Ile-de-France.  There was grumbling at Dijon as there was conspiracy at
Paris.  The English gave fresh cause for national irritation.  They
showed an inclination to canton themselves in Normandy, and abandon the
other French provinces to the hazards and sufferings of a desultory war.
Anne of Burgundy, the Duke of Bedford’s wife and Philip the Good’s
sister, died.  The English duke speedily married again without even
giving any notice to the French prince.  Every family tie between the two
persons was broken; and the negotiations as well as the war remained
without result.

An incident at court caused a change in the situation, and gave the
government of Charles a different character.  His favorite, George de la
Tremoille, had become almost as unpopular amongst the royal family as in
the country in general.  He could not manage a war, and he frustrated
attempts at peace.  The Queen of Sicily, Yolande d’Aragon, her daughter,
Mary d’Anjou, Queen of France, and her son, Louis, Count of Maine, who
all three desired peace, set themselves to work to overthrow the
favorite.  In June, 1433, four young lords, one of whom, Sire de Beuil,
was La Tremoille’s own nephew, introduced themselves unexpectedly into
his room at the castle of Coudray, near Chinon, where Charles VII. was.
La Tremoille showed an intention of resisting, and received a
sword-thrust.  He was made to resign all his offices, and was sent under
strict guard to the castle of Alontresor, the property of his nephew,
Sire de Beuil.  The conspirators had concerted measures with La
Tremoille’s rival, the constable De Richemont, Arthur of Brittany, a man
distinguished in war, who had lately gone to help Joan of Arc, and who
was known to be a friend of peace at the same time that he was firmly
devoted to the national cause.  He was called away from his castle of
Parthenay, and set at the head of the government as well as of the army.
Charles VII. at first showed anger at his favorite’s downfall.  He asked
if Richemont was present, and was told no: where-upon he seemed to grow
calmer.  Before long he did more; he became resigned, and, continuing all
the while to give La Tremoille occasional proofs of his former favor, he
fully accepted De Richemont’s influence and the new direction which the
constable imposed upon his government.

War was continued nearly everywhere, with alternations of success and
reverse which deprived none of the parties of hope without giving victory
to any.  Peace, however, was more and more the general desire.  Scarcely
had one attempt at pacification failed when another was begun.  The
constable De Richemont’s return to power led to fresh overtures.  He was
a states-man as well as a warrior; and his inclinations were known at
Dijon and London, as well as at Chinon.  The advisers of King Henry VI.
proposed to open a conference, on the 15th of October, 1433, at Calais.
They had, they said, a prisoner in England, confined there ever since the
battle of Agincourt, Duke Charles of Orleans, who was sincerely desirous
of peace, in spite of his family enmity towards the Duke of Burgundy.  He
was considered a very proper person to promote the negotiations, although
he sought in poetry, which was destined to bring lustre to his name, a
refuge from politics which made his life a burden.  He, one day meeting
the Duke of Burgundy’s two ambassadors at the Earl of Suffolk’s, Henry
VI.’s prime minister, went up to them, affectionately took their hands,
and, when they inquired after his health, said, “My body is well, my soul
is sick; I am dying with vexation at passing my best days a prisoner,
without any one to think of me.”  The ambassadors said that people would
be indebted to him for the benefit of peace, for he was known to be
laboring for it.  “My Lord of Suffolk,” said he, “can tell you that I
never cease to urge it upon the king and his council; but I am as useless
here as the sword never drawn from the scabbard.  I must see my relatives
and friends in France; they will not treat, surely, without having
consulted with me.  If peace depended upon me, though I were doomed to
die seven days after swearing it, that would cause me no regret.
however, what matters it what I say?  I am not master in anything at all;
next to the two kings, it is the Duke of Burgundy and the Duke of
Brittany who have most power.  Will you not come and call upon me?”  he
added, pressing the hand of one of the ambassadors.  “They will see you
before they go,” said the Earl of Suffolk, in a tone which made it plain
that no private conversation would be permitted between them.  And,
indeed, the Earl of Suffolk’s barber went alone to wait upon the
ambassadors in order to tell them that, if the Duke of Burgundy desired
it, the Duke of Orleans would write to him.  “I will undertake,” he
added, “to bring you his letter.”  There was evident mistrust; and it was
explained to the Burgundian ambassadors by the Earl of Warwick’s remark,
“Your duke never once came to see our king during his stay in France.
The Duke of Bedford used similar language to them.  Why,” said he, “does
my brother the Duke of Burgundy give way to evil imaginings against me?
There is not a prince in the world, after my king, whom I esteem so much.
The ill-will which seems to exist between us spoils the king’s affairs
and his own too.  But tell him that I am not the less disposed to serve

In March, 1435, the Duke of Burgundy went to Paris, taking with him his
third wife, Isabel of Portugal, and a magnificent following.  There were
seen, moreover, in his train, a hundred wagons laden with artillery,
armor, salted provisions, cheeses, and wines of Burgundy.  There was once
more joy in Paris, and the duke received the most affectionate welcome.
The university was represented before him, and made him a great speech on
the necessity of peace.  Two days afterwards a deputation from the city
dames of Paris waited upon the Duchess of Burgundy, and implored her to
use her influence for the re-establishment of peace.  She answered, “My
good friends, it is the thing I desire most of all in the world; I pray
for it night and day to the Lord our God, for I believe that we all have
great need of it, and I know for certain that my lord and husband has the
greatest willingness to give up to that purpose his person and his
substance.”  At the bottom of his soul Duke Philip’s decision was already
taken.  He had but lately discussed the condition of France with the
constable, De Richemont, and Duke Charles of Bourbon, his brother-in-law,
whom he had summoned to Nevers with that design.  Being convinced of the
necessity for peace, he spoke of it to the King of England’s advisers
whom he found in Paris, and who dared not show absolute opposition to it.
It was agreed that in the month of July a general, and, more properly
speaking, a European conference should meet at Arras, that the legates of
Pope Eugenius IV. should be invited to it, and that consultation should
be held thereat as to the means of putting an end to the sufferings of
the two kingdoms.

Towards the end of July, accordingly, whilst the war was being prosecuted
with redoubled ardor on both sides at the very gates of Paris, there
arrived at Arras the pope’s legates and the ambassadors of the Emperor
Sigismund, of the Kings of Castile, Aragon, Portugal, Naples, Sicily,
Cyprus, Poland, and Denmark, and of the Dukes of Brittany and Milan.  The
university of Paris and many of the good towns of France, Flanders, and
even Holland, had sent their deputies thither.  Many bishops were there
in person.  The Bishop of Liege came thither with a magnificent train,
mounted, says the chroniclers, on two hundred white horses.  The Duke of
Burgundy made his entrance on the 30th of July, escorted by three hundred
archers wearing his livery.  All the lords who happened to be in the city
went to meet him at a league’s distance, except the cardinal-legates of
the pope, who confined themselves to sending their people.  Two days
afterwards arrived the ambassadors of the King of France, having at their
head the Duke of Bourbon and the constable De Richemont, together with
several of the greatest French lords, and a retinue of four or five
hundred persons.  Duke Philip, forewarned of their coming, issued from
the city with all the princes and lords who happened to be there.  The
English alone refused to accompany him, wondering at his showing such
great honor to the ambassadors of their common enemy.  Philip went
forward a mile to meet his two brothers-in-law, the Duke of Bourbon and
the Count de Richemont, embraced them affectionately, and turned back
with them into Arras, amidst the joy and acclamations of the populace.
Last of all arrived the Duchess of Burgundy, magnificently dressed, and
bringing with her her young son, the Count of Charolais, who was
hereafter to be Charles the Rash.  The Duke of Bourbon, the constable De
Richemont, and all the lords were on horseback around her litter; but the
English, who had gone, like the others, to meet her, were unwilling, on
turning back to Arras, to form a part of her retinue with the French.

Grand as was the sight, it was not superior in grandeur to the event on
the eve of accomplishment.  The question was whether France should remain
a great nation, in full possession of itself and of its independence
under a French king, or whether the King of England should, in London and
with the title of King of France, have France in his possession and under
his government.  Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, was called upon to
solve this problem of the future, that is to say, to decide upon the fate
of his lineage and his country.

[Illustration: Philip the Good of Burgundy----144]

As soon as the conference was opened, and no matter what attempts were
made to veil or adjourn the question, it was put nakedly.  The English,
instead of peace, began by proposing a long truce, and the marriage of
Henry VI. with a daughter of King Charles.  The French ambassadors
refused, absolutely, to negotiate on this basis; they desired a
definitive peace; and their conditions were, that the King and people of
England making an end of this situation, so full of clanger for the whole
royal house, and of suffering for the people.  Nevertheless, the duke
showed strong scruples.  The treaties he had sworn to, the promises he
had made, threw him into a constant fever of anxiety; he would not have
any one able to say that he had in any respect forfeited his honor.  He
asked for three consultations, one with the Italian doctors connected
with the pope’s legates, another with English doctors, and another with
French doctors.  He was granted all three, though they were more
calculated to furnish him with arguments, each on their own side, than
to dissipate his doubts, if he had any real ones.  The legates ended by
solemnly saying to him, “We do conjure you, by the bowels of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and by the authority of our holy father, the pope, of the
holy council assembled at Bale, and of the universal Church, to renounce
that spirit of vengeance whereby you are moved against King Charles in
memory of the late Duke John, your father; nothing can render you more
pleasing in the eyes of God, or further augment your fame in this world.”
 For three days Duke Philip remained still undecided; but he heard that
the Duke of Bedford, regent of France on behalf of the English, who was
his brother-in-law, had just died at Rouen, on the 14th of September.  He
was, besides the late King of England, Henry V., the only English-man who
had received promises from the duke, and who lived in intimacy with him.
Ten days afterwards, on the 21th of September, the queen, Isabel of
Bavaria, also died at Paris; and thus another of the principal causes of
shame to the French kingship, and misfortune to France, disappeared from
the stage of the world.  Duke Philip felt himself more free and more at
rest in his mind, if not rightfully, at any rate so far as political and
worldly expedience was concerned.  He declared his readiness to accept
the proposals which had been communicated to him by the ambassadors of
Charles VII.; and on the 21st of September, 1435, peace was signed at
Arras between France and Burgundy, without any care for what England
might say or do.

There was great and general joy in France.  It was peace, and national
reconciliation as well; Dauphinizers and Burgundians embraced in the
streets; the Burgundians were delighted at being able to call themselves
Frenchmen.  Charles VII. convoked the states-general at Tours, to
consecrate this alliance.  On his knees, upon the bare stone, before the
Archbishop of Crete, who had just celebrated mass, the king laid his
hands upon the Gospels, and swore the peace, saying that “It was his duty
to imitate the King of kings, our divine Saviour, who had brought peace
amongst men.”  At the chancellor’s order, the princes and great lords,
one after the other, took the oath; the nobles and the people of the
third estate swore the peace all together, with cries of “Long live the
king!  Long live the Duke of Burgundy!”  “With this hand,” said Sire de
Lannoy, “I have thrice sworn peace during this war; but I call God to
witness that, for my part, this time it shall be kept, and that never
will I break it (the peace).”  Charles VII., in his emotion, seized the
hands of Duke Philip’s ambassadors, saying, “For a long while I have
languished for this happy day; we must thank God for it.”  And the Te
Deum was intoned with enthusiasm.

Peace was really made amongst Frenchmen; and, in spite of many internal
difficulties and quarrels, it was not broken as long as Charles VII. and
Duke Philip the Good were living.  But the war with the English went on
incessantly.  They still possessed several of the finest provinces of
France; and the treaty of Arras, which had weakened them very much on the
Continent, had likewise made them very angry.  For twenty-six years, from
1435 to 1461, hostilities continued between the two kingdoms, at one time
actively and at another slackly, with occasional suspension by truce, but
without any formal termination.  There is no use in recounting the
details of their monotonous and barren history.  Governments and people
often persist in maintaining their quarrels and inflicting mutual
injuries by the instrumentality of events, acts, and actors that deserve
nothing but oblivion.  There is no intention here of dwelling upon any
events or persons save such as have, for good or for evil, to its glory
or its sorrow, exercised a considerable influence upon the condition and
fortune of France.

The peace of Arras brought back to the service of France and her king the
constable De Richemont, Arthur of Brittany, whom the jealousy of George
de la Tremoille and the distrustful indolence of Charles VII. had so long
kept out of it.  By a somewhat rare privilege, he was in reality, there
is reason to suppose, superior to the name he has left behind him in
history; and it is only justice to reproduce here the portrait given of
him by one of his contemporaries who observed him closely and knew him
well.  “Never a man of his time,” says William Gruet, “loved justice more
than he, or took more pains to do it according to his ability.  Never was
prince more humble, more charitable, more compassionate, more liberal,
less avaricious, or more open-handed in a good fashion and without
prodigality.  He was a proper man, chaste and brave as prince can be; and
there was none of his time of better conduct than lie in conducting a
great battle, or a great siege, and all sorts of approaches in all sorts
of ways.  Every day, once at least in the four and twenty hours, his
conversation was of war, and he took more pleasure in it than in aught
else.  Above all things he loved men of valor and good renown, and he
more than any other loved and supported the people, and freely did good
to poor mendicants and others of God’s poor.”

Nearly all the deeds of Richemont, from the time that he became powerful
again, confirm the truth of this portrait.  His first thought and his
first labor were to restore Paris to France and to the king.  The unhappy
city in subjection to the English was the very image of devastation and
ruin.  “The wolves prowled about it by night, and there were in it,” says
an eye-witness, “twenty-four thousand houses empty.”  The Duke of
Bedford, in order to get rid of these public tokens of misery, attempted
to supply the Parisians with bread and amusements (panem et circenses);
but their very diversions were ghastly and melancholy.  In 1425, there
was painted in the sepulchre of the Innocents a picture called the Dance
of Death: Death, grinning with fleshless jaws, was represented taking by
the hand all estates of the population in their turn, and making them
dance.  In the Hotel Armagnac, confiscated, as so many others were, from
its owner, a show was exhibited to amuse the people.  “Four blind men,
armed with staves, were shut up with a pig in a little paddock.  They had
to see whether they could kill the said pig, and when they thought they
were belaboring it most they were belaboring one another.”  The constable
resolved to put a stop to this deplorable state of things in the capital
of France.  In April, 1433, when he had just ordered for himself
apartments at St. Denis, he heard that the English had just got in there
and plundered the church.  He at once gave orders to march.  The
Burgundians, who made up nearly all his troop, demanded their pay, and
would not mount.  Richemont gave them his bond; and the march was begun
to St.  Denis.  “You know the country?” said the constable to Marshal
Isle-Adam.  “Yes, my lord,” answered the other; “and by my faith, in the
position held by the English, you would do nothing to harm or annoy them,
though you had ten thousand fighting men.”  “Ah! but we will,” replied
Richemont; “God will help us.  Keep pressing forward to support the
skirmishers.”  And he occupied St. Denis, and drove out the English.  The
population of Paris, being informed of this success, were greatly moved
and encouraged.  One brave burgess of Paris, Michel Laillier, master of
the exchequer, notified to the constable, it is said, that they were
ready and quite able to open one of the gates to him, provided that an
engagement were entered into in the king’s name for a general amnesty and
the prevention of all disorder.  The constable, on the king’s behalf,
entered into the required engagement, and presented himself the next day,
the 13th of April, with a picked force before the St. Michel gate.  The
enterprise was discovered.  A man posted on the wall made signs to them
with his hat, crying out, “Go to the other gate; there’s no opening this;
work is going on for you in the Market-quarter.”  The picked force
followed the course of the ramparts up to the St. Jacques gate.  “Who
goes there?” demanded some burghers who had the guard of it.  “Some of
the constable’s people.”  He himself came up on his big charger, with
satisfaction and courtesy in his mien.  Some little time was required for
opening the gate; a long ladder was let down; and Marshal Isle-Adam was
the first to mount, and planted on the wall the standard of France.  The
fastenings of the drawbridge were burst, and when it was let down, the
constable made his entry on horseback, riding calmly down St. Jacques
Street, in the midst of a joyous and comforted crowd.  “My good friends,”
 he said to them, “the good King Charles, and I on his behalf, do thank
you a hundred thousand times for yielding up to him so quietly the chief
city of his kingdom.  If there be amongst you any, of whatsoever
condition he may be, who hath offended against my lord ‘the king, all is
forgiven, in the case both of the absent and the present.”

[Illustration: The Constable Made his Entry on Horseback----150]

Then he caused it to be proclaimed by sound of trumpet throughout the
streets that none of his people should be so bold, on pain of hanging, as
to take up quarters in the house of any burgher against his will, or to
use any reproach whatever, or do the least displeasure to any.  At sight
of the public joy, the English had retired to the Bastille, where the
constable was disposed to besiege them.  “My lord,” said the burghers to
him, “they will surrender; do not reject their offer; it is so far a fine
thing enough to have thus recovered Paris; often, on the contrary, many
constables and many marshals have been driven out of it.  Take
contentedly what God hath granted you.”  The burghers’ prediction was not
unverified.  The English sallied out of the Bastille by the gate which
opened on the fields, and went and took boat in the rear of the Louvre.
Next day abundance of provisions arrived in Paris; and the gates were
opened to the country folks.  The populace freely manifested their joy at
being rid of the English.  “It was plain to see,” was the saving, “that
they were not in France to remain; not one of them had been seen to sow a
field with corn or build a house; they destroyed their quarters without a
thought of repairing them; they had not restored, peradventure, a single
fireplace.  There was only their regent, the Duke of Bedford, who was
fond of building and making the poor people work; he would have liked
peace; but the nature of those English is to be always at war with their
neighbors, and accordingly they all made a bad end; thank God there have
already died in France more than seventy thousand of them.”

Up to the taking of Paris by the constable the Duke of Burgundy had kept
himself in reserve, and had maintained a tacit neutrality towards
England; he had merely been making, without noisy demonstration,
preparations for an enterprise in which he, as Count of Flanders, was
very much interested.  The success of Richemont inspired him with a hope,
and perhaps with a jealous desire, of showing his power and his
patriotism as a Frenchman by making war, in his turn, upon the English,
from whom he had by the treaty of Arras effected only a pacific
separation.  In June, 1436, he went and besieged Calais.  This was
attacking England at one of the points she was bent upon defending most
obstinately.  Philip had reckoned on the energetic cooperation of the
cities of Flanders, and at the first blush the Flemings did display a
strong inclination to support him in his enterprise.  “When the
English,” they said, “know that my lords of Ghent are on the way to
attack them with all their might they will not await us; they will leave
the city and flee away to England.”  Neither the Flemings nor Philip had
correctly estimated the importance which was attached in London to the
possession of Calais.  When the Duke of Gloucester, lord-protector of
England, found this possession threatened, he sent a herald to defy the
Duke of Burgundy and declare to him that, if he did not wait for battle
beneath the walls of Calais, Humphrey of Gloucester would go after him
even into his own dominions.  “Tell your lord that he will not need to
take so much trouble, and that he will find me here,” answered Philip
proudly.  His pride was over-confident.  Whether it were only a people’s
fickleness or intelligent appreciation of their own commercial interests
in their relations with England, the Flemings grew speedily disgusted
with the siege of Calais, complained of the tardiness in arrival of the
fleet which Philip had despatched thither to close the port against
English vessels, and, after having suffered several reverses by sorties
of the English garrison, they ended by retiring with such precipitation
that they abandoned part of their supplies and artillery.  Philip,
according to the expression of M. Henri Martin, was reduced to covering
their retreat with his cavalry; and then he went away sorrowfully to
Lille, to advise about the means of defending his Flemish lordships
exposed to the reprisals of the English.

Thus the fortune of Burgundy was tottering whilst that of France was
recovering itself.  The constable’s easy occupation of Paris led the
majority of the small places in the neighborhood, St. Denis, Chevreuse,
Marcoussis, and Montlhery to decide either upon spontaneous surrender or
allowing themselves to be taken after no great resistance.  Charles VII.,
on his way through France to Lyon, in Dauphiny, Languedoc, Auvergne, and
along the Loire, recovered several other towns, for instance, Chateau-
Landon, Nemours, and Charny.  He laid siege in person to Montereau, an
important military post with which a recent and sinister reminiscence was
connected.  A great change now made itself apparent in the king’s
behavior and disposition.  He showed activity and vigilance, and was
ready to expose himself without any care for fatigue or danger.  On the
day of the assault (10th of October, 1437) he went down into the
trenches, remained there in water up to his waist, mounted the scaling-
ladder sword in hand, and was one of the first assailants who penetrated
over the top of the walls right into the place.  After the surrender of
the castle as well as the town of Montereau, he marched on Paris, and
made his solemn re-entry there on the 12th of November, 1437, for the
first time since in 1418 Tanneguy-Duchatel had carried him away, whilst
still a child, wrapped in his bed-clothes.  Charles was received and
entertained as became a recovered and a victorious king; but he passed
only three weeks there, and went away once more, on the 3d of December,
to go and resume at Orleans first, and then at Bourges, the serious cares
of government.  It is said to have been at this royal entry into Paris
that Agnes Sorel or Soreau, who was soon to have the name of Queen of
Beauty, and to assume in French history an almost glorious though
illegitimate position, appeared with brilliancy in the train of the
queen, Mary of Anjou, to whom the king had appointed her a maid of honor.
It is a question whether she did not even then exercise over Charles VII.
that influence, serviceable alike to the honor of the king and of France,
which was to inspire Francis I., a century later, with this gallant

         “If to win back poor captive France be aught,
             More honor, gentle Agnes, is thy weed,
          Than ere was due to deeds of virtue wrought
             By cloistered nun or pious hermit-breed.”

It is worth while perhaps to remark that in 1437 Agnes Sorel was already

[Illustration: Agnes Sorel----175]

One of the best informed, most impartial, and most sensible historians of
that epoch, James Duclercq, merely says on this subject, King Charles,
before he had peace with Duke Philip of Burgundy, led a right holy life
and said his canonical hours.  But after peace was made with the duke,
though the king continued to serve God, he joined himself unto a young
woman who was afterwards called Fair Agnes.

Nothing is gained by ignoring good even when it is found in company with
evil, and there is no intention here of disputing the share of influence
exercised by Agnes Sorel upon Charles VII.’s regeneration in politics and
war after the treaty of Arras.  Nevertheless, in spite of the king’s
successes at Montereau and during his passage through Central and
Northern France, the condition of the country was still so bad in 1440,
the disorder was so great, and the king so powerless to apply a remedy,
that Richemont, disconsolate, was tempted to rid and disburden himself
from the government of France and between the rivers [Seine and Loire, no
doubt] and to go or send to the king for that purpose.  But one day the
prior of the Carthusians at Paris called on the constable and found him
in his private chapel.  “What need you, fair father?” asked Richemont.
The prior answered that he wished to speak with my lord the constable.
Richemont replied that it was he himself.  “Pardon me, my lord,” said the
prior, “I did not know you; I wish to speak to you, if you please.”
 “Gladly,” said Richemont.  “Well, my lord, you yesterday held counsel and
considered about disburdening yourself from the government and office you
hold hereabouts.”  “How know you that?  Who told you?”  “My lord, I do
not know it through any person of your council, and do not put yourself
out to learn who told me, for it was one of my brethren.  My lord, do not
do this thing; and be not troubled, for God will help you.”  “Ah! fair
father, how can that be?  The king has no mind to aid me or grant me men
or money; and the men-at-arms hate me because I have justice done on
them, and they have no mind to obey me.”  “My lord, they will do what you
desire; and the king will give you orders to go and lay siege to Meaux,
and will send you men and money.”  “Ah! fair father, Meaux is so strong!
How can it be done?  The King of England was there for nine months before
it.”  “My lord, be not you troubled; you will not be there so long; keep
having good hope in God and He will help you.  Be ever humble and grow
not proud; you will take Meaux ere long; your men will grow proud; they
will then have somewhat to suffer; but you will come out of it to your

The good prior was right.  Meaux was taken; and when the constable went
to tell the news at Paris the king made him “great cheer.”  There was a
continuance of war to the north of the Loire; and amidst many
alternations of successes and reverses the national cause made great way
there.  Charles resolved, in 1442, to undertake an expedition to the
south of the Loire, in Aquitaine, where the English were still dominant;
and he was successful.  He took from the English Tartas, Saint-Sever,
Marmande, La Reole, Blaye, and Bourg-sur-Mer.  Their ally, Count John
d’Armagnac, submitted to the King of France.  These successes cost
Charles VII. the brave La Hire, who died at Montauban of his wounds.
On returning to Normandy, where he had left Dunois, Charles, in 1443,
conducted a prosperous campaign there.  The English leaders were getting
weary of a war without any definite issue; and they had proposals made to
Charles for a truce, accompanied with a demand on the part of their young
king, Henry VI., for the hand of a French princess, Margaret of Anjou,
daughter of King Rena, who wore the three crowns of Naples, Sicily, and
Jerusalem, without possessing any one of the kingdoms.  The truce and the
marriage were concluded at Tours, in 1444.  Neither of the arrangements
was popular in England; the English people, who had only a far-off touch
of suffering from the war, considered that their government made too many
concessions to France.  In France, too, there was some murmuring; the
king, it was said, did not press his advantages with sufficient vigor;
everybody was in a hurry to see all Aquitaine reconquered.  “But a joy
that was boundless and impossible to describe,” says Thomas Bazin, the
most intelligent of the contemporary historians, “spread abroad through
the whole population of the Gauls.  Having been a prey for so long to
incessant terrors, and shut up within the walls of their towns like
convicts in a prison, they rejoiced like people restored to freedom after
a long and bitter slavery.  Companies of both sexes were seen going forth
into the country and visiting temples or oratories dedicated to the
saints, to pay the vows which they had made in their distress.  One fact
especially was admirable and the work of God Himself: before the truce so
violent had been the hatred between the two sides, both men-at-arms and
people, that none, whether soldier or burgher, could without risk to life
go out and pass from one place to another unless under the protection of
a safe-conduct.  But, so soon as the truce was proclaimed, every one went
and came at pleasure, in full liberty and security, whether in the same
district or in districts under divided rule; and even those who, before
the proclamation of the truce, seemed to take no pleasure in anything but
a savage outpouring of human blood, now took delight in the sweets of
peace, and passed the days in holiday-making and dancing with enemies who
but lately had been as bloodthirsty as themselves.”

But for all their rejoicing at the peace, the French, king, lords, and
commons, had war still in their hearts; national feelings were waking up
afresh; the successes of late years had revived their hopes; and the
civil dissensions which were at that time disturbing England let
favorable chances peep out.  Charles VII. and his advisers employed the
leisure afforded by the truce in preparing for a renewal of the struggle.
They were the first to begin it again; and from 1449 to 1451 it was
pursued by the French king and nation with ever-increasing ardor, and
with obstinate courage by the veteran English warriors astounded at no
longer being victorious.  Normandy and Aquitaine, which was beginning to
be called Guyenne only, were throughout this period the constant and the
chief theatre of war.  Amongst the greatest number of fights and
incidents which distinguished the three campaigns in those two provinces,
the recapture of Rouen by Dunois in October, 1449, the battle of
Formigny, won near Bayeux on the 15th of April, 1450, by the constable De
Richemont, and the twofold capitulation of Bordeaux, first on the 28th of
June, 1451, and next on the 9th of October, 1453, in order to submit to
Charles VII., are the only events to which a place in history is due, for
those were the days on which the question was solved touching the
independence of the nation and the kingship in France.  The Duke of
Somerset and Lord Talbot were commanding in Rouen when Dunois presented
himself beneath its walls, in hopes that the inhabitants would open the
gates to him.  Some burgesses, indeed, had him apprised of a certain
point in the walls at which they might be able to favor the entry of the
French.  Dunois, at the same time making a feint of attacking in another
quarter, arrived at the spot indicated with four thousand men.  The
archers drew up before the wall; the men-at-arms dismounted; the
burgesses gave the signal, and the planting of scaling-ladders began; but
when hardly as many as fifty or sixty men had reached the top of the wall
the banner and troops of Talbot were seen advancing.  He had been warned
in time and had taken his measures.  The assailants were repulsed; and
Charles VII., who was just arriving at the camp, seeing the abortiveness
of the attempt, went back to Pont-de-l’Arehe.  But the English had no
long joy of their success.  They were too weak to make any effectual
resistance, and they had no hope of any aid from England.  Their leaders
authorized the burgesses to demand of the king a safe-conduct in order to
treat.  The conditions offered by Charles were agreeable to the
burgesses, but not to the English; and when the archbishop read them
out in the hall of the mansion-house, Somerset and Talbot witnessed an
outburst of joy which revealed to them all their peril.  Fagots and
benches at once began to rain down from the windows; the English shut
themselves up precipitately in the castle, in the gate-towers, and in the
great tower of the bridge; and the burgesses armed themselves and took
possession during the night of the streets and the walls.  Dunois, having
received notice, arrived in force at the Martainville gate.  The
inhabitants begged him to march into the city as many men as he pleased.
“It shall be as you will,” said Dunois.  Three hundred men-at-arms and
archers seemed sufficient.  Charles VII returned before Rouen; the
English asked leave to withdraw without loss of life or kit; and “on
condition,” said the king “that they take nothing on the march without
paying.”  “We have not the wherewithal,” they answered; and the king gave
them a hundred francs.  Negotiations were recommenced.  The king required
that Harfleur and all the places in the district of Caux should be given
up to him.  “Ah! as for Harfleur, that cannot be,” said the Duke of
Somerset; “it is the first town which surrendered to our glorious king,
Henry V., thirty-five years ago.”  There was further parley.  The French
consented to give up the demand for Harfleur; but they required that
Talbot should remain as a hostage until the conditions were fulfilled.
The English protested.  At last, however, they yielded, and undertook to
pay fifty thousand golden crowns to settle all accounts which they owed
to the tradesmen in the city, and to give up all places in the district
of Caen except Harfleur.  The Duchess of Somerset and Lord Talbot
remained as hostages; and on the 10th of November, 1449, Charles entered
Rouen in state, with the character of a victor who knew how to use
victory with moderation.

The battle of Formigny was at first very doubtful.  In order to get from
Valognes to Bayeux and Caen the English had to cross at the mouth of the
Vire great sands which were passable only at low tide.  A weak body of
French under command of the Count de Clermont had orders to cut them off
from this passage.  The English, however, succeeded in forcing it; but
just as they were taking position, with the village of Formigny to cover
their rear, the constable De Richemont was seen coming up with three
thousand men in fine order.  The English were already strongly
intrenched, when the battle began.  “Let us go and look close in their
faces, admiral,” said the constable to Sire de Coetivi.  “I doubt whether
they will leave their intrenchments,” replied the admiral.  “I vow to God
that with His grace they will not abide in them,” rejoined the
constable; and he gave orders for the most vigorous assault.  It lasted
nearly three hours; the English were forced to fly at three points, and
lost thirty-seven hundred men; several of their leaders were made
prisoners; those who were left retired in good order; Bayeux, Avranches,
Caen, Falaise, and Cherbourg fell one after the other into the hands of
Charles VII.; and by the end of August, 1450, the whole of Normandy had
been completely won back by France.

The conquest of Guyenne, which was undertaken immediately after that of
Normandy, was at the outset more easy and more speedy.  Amongst the lords
of Southern France several hearty patriots, such as John of Blois, Count
of Perigord, and Arnold Amanieu, Sire d’Albret, of their own accord began
the strife, and on the 1st of November, 1450, inflicted a somewhat severe
reverse upon the English, near Blanquefort.  In the spring of the
following year Charles VII. authorized the Count of Armagnac to take the
field, and sent Dunois to assume the command-in-chief.  An army of twenty
thousand men mustered under his orders; and, in the course of May, 1451,
some of the principal places of Guyenne, such as St. Emillon, Blaye,
Fronsac, Bourg-en-Mer, Libourne, and Dax were taken by assault or
capitulated.  Bordeaux and Bayonne held out for some weeks; but, on the
12th of June, a treaty concluded between the Bordelese and Dunois secured
to the three estates of the district the liberties and privileges which
they had enjoyed under English supremacy; and it was further stipulated
that, if by the 24th of June the city had not been succored by English
forces, the estates of Guyenne should recognize the sovereignty of King
Charles.  When the 24th of June came, a herald went up to one of the
towers of the castle and shouted, “Succor from the King of England for
them of Bordeaux!!”  None replied to this appeal; so Bordeaux
surrendered, and on the 29th of June Dunois took possession of it in the
name of the King of France.  The siege of Bayonne, which was begun on the
6th of August, came to an end on the 20th by means of a similar treaty.
Guyenne was thus completely won.  But the English still had a
considerable following there.  They had held it for three centuries;
and they had always treated it well in respect of local liberties,
agriculture, and commerce.  Charles VII., on recovering it, was less
wise.  He determined to establish there forthwith the taxes, the laws,
and the whole regimen of Northern France; and the Bordelese were as
prompt in protesting against these measures as the king was in employing
them.  In August, 1452, a deputation from the three estates of the
province waited upon Charles at Bourges, but did not obtain their
demands.  On their return to Bordeaux an insurrection was organized; and
Peter de Montferrand, Sire de Lesparre, repaired to London and proposed
to the English government to resume possession of Guyenne.  On the 22d of
October, 1452, Talbot appeared before Bordeaux with a body of five
thousand men; the inhabitants opened their gates to him; and he installed
himself there as lieutenant of the King of England, Henry VI.  Nearly all
the places in the neighborhood, with the exception of Bourg and Blaye,
returned beneath the sway of the English; considerable reenforcements
were sent to Talbot from England; and at the same time an English fleet
threatened the coast of Normandy.  But Charles VII. was no longer the
blind and indolent king he had been in his youth.  Nor can the prompt and
effectual energy he displayed in 1453 be any longer attributed to the
influence of Agnes Sorel, for she died on the 9th of February, 1450.
Charles left Richemont and Dunois to hold Normandy; and, in the early
days of spring, moved in person to the south of France with a strong army
and the principal Gascon lords who two years previously had brought
Guyenne back under his power.  On the 2d of June, 1453, he opened the
campaign at St. Jean-d’Angely.  Several places surrendered to him as soon
as he appeared before their walls; and on the 13th of July he laid siege
to Castillon, on the Dordogne, which had shortly before fallen into the
hands of the English.  The Bordelese grew alarmed and urged Talbot to
oppose the advance of the French.  “We may very well let them come nearer
yet,” said the old warrior, then eighty years of age; “rest assured that,
if it please God, I will fulfil my promise when I see that the time and
the hour have come.”

On the night between the 16th and 17th of July, however, Talbot set out
with his troops to raise the siege of Castillon.  He marched all night
and came suddenly in the early morning upon the French archers, quartered
in an abbey, who formed the advanced guard of their army, which was
strongly intrenched before the place.  A panic set in amongst this small
body, and some of them took to flight.  “Ha! you would desert me then?”
 said Sire de Rouault, who was in command of them; “have I not promised
you to live and die with you?”  They thereupon rallied and managed to
join the camp.  Talbot, content for the time with this petty success,
sent for a chaplain to come and say mass; and, whilst waiting for an
opportunity to resume the fight, he permitted the tapping of some casks
of wine which had been found in the abbey, and his men set themselves to
drinking.  A countryman of those parts came hurrying up, and said to
Talbot, “My lord, the French are deserting their park and taking to
flight; now or never is the hour for fulfilling your promise.”  Talbot
arose and left the mass, shouting, “Never may I hear mass again if I put
not to rout the French who are in yonder park.”  When he arrived in front
of the Frenchmen’s intrenchment, “My lord,” said Sir Thomas Cunningham,
an aged gentleman who had for a long time past been his standard-bearer,
“they have made a false report to you; observe the depth of the ditch and
the faces of yonder men; they don’t look like retreating; my opinion is,
that for the present we should turn back; the country is for us, we have
no lack of provisions, and with a little patience we shall starve out the
French.”  Talbot flew into a passion, gave Sir Thomas a sword-cut across
the face, had his banner planted on the edge of the ditch, and began the
attack.  The banner was torn down and Sir Thomas Cunningham killed.
“Dismount!” shouted Talbot to his men-at-arms, English and Gascon.  The
French camp was defended by a more than usually strong artillery; a body
of Bretons, held in reserve, advanced to sustain the shock of the
English; and a shot from a culverin struck Talbot, who was already
wounded in the face, shattered his thigh, and brought him to the ground.
Lord Lisle, his son, flew to him to raise him.  “Let me be,” said Talbot;
“the day is the enemies’; it will be no shame for thee to fly, for this
is thy first battle.”  But the son remained with his father, and was
slain at his side.  The defeat of the English was complete.  Talbot’s
body, pierced with wounds, was left on the field of battle.  He was so
disfigured that, when the dead were removed, he was not recognized.
Notice, however, was taken of an old man wearing a cuirass covered with
red velvet; this, it was presumed, was he; and he was placed upon a
shield and carried into the camp.  An English herald came with a request
that he might look for Lord’ Talbot’s body.  “Would you know him?” he was
asked.  “Take me to see him,” joyfully answered the poor servant,
thinking that his master was a prisoner and alive.  When he saw him, he
hesitated to identify him; he knelt down, put his finger in the mouth of
the corpse, and recognized Talbot by the loss of a molar tooth.  Throwing
off immediately his coat-of-arms with the colors and bearings of Talbot,
“Ah! my lord and master,” he cried, “can this be verily you?  May God
forgive your sins!  For forty years and more I have been your
officer-at-arms and worn your livery, and thus I give it back to you!”
 And he covered with his coat-of-arms the stark-stripped body of the
old hero.

The English being beaten and Talbot dead, Castillon surrendered; and at
unequal intervals Libourne, St. Emillon, Chateau-Neuf de Medoc,
Blanquefort, St. Macaire, Cadillac, &c., followed the example.  At the
commencement of October, 1453, Bordeaux alone was still holding out.  The
promoters of the insurrection which had been concerted with the English,
amongst others Sires de Duras and de Lesparre, protracted the resistance
rather in their own self-defence than in response to the wishes of the
population; the king’s artillery threatened the place by land, and by sea
a king’s fleet from Rochelle and the ports of Brittany blockaded the
Gironde.  “The majority of the king’s officers,” says the contemporary
historian, Thomas Basin, “advised him to punish by at least the
destruction of their walls the Bordelese who had recalled the English to
their city; but Charles, more merciful and more soft-hearted, refused.”
 He confined himself to withdrawing from Bordeaux her municipal
privileges, which, however, she soon partially recovered, and to imposing
upon her a fine of a hundred thousand gold crowns, afterwards reduced to
thirty thousand; he caused to be built at the expense of the city two
fortresses, the Fort of the Ila and the Castle of Trompette, to keep in
check so bold and fickle a population; and an amnesty was proclaimed for
all but twenty specified persons, who were banished.  On these conditions
the capitulation was concluded and signed on the 17th of October; the
English re-embarked; and Charles, without entering Bordeaux, returned to
Touraine.  The English had no longer any possession in France but Calais
and Guines; the Hundred Years’ War was over.

And to whom was the glory?

Charles VII. himself decided the question.  When in 1455, twenty-four
years after the death of Joan of Are, he at Rome and at Rouen prosecuted
her claims for restoration of character and did for her fame and her
memory all that was still possible, he was but relieving his conscience
from a load of ingratitude and remorse which in general weighs but
lightly upon men, and especially upon kings; and he was discharging
towards the Maid of Domremy the debt due by France and the French
kingship when he thus proclaimed that to Joan above all they owed their
deliverance and their independence.  Before men and before God Charles
was justified in so thinking; the moral are not the sole, but they are
the most powerful forces which decide the fates of people; and Joan had
roused the feelings of the soul, and given to the struggles between
France and England its religious and national character.  At Rheims, when
she repaired thither for the king’s coronation, she said of her own
banner, “It has a right to the honor, for it has been at the pains.”
 She, first amongst all, had a right to the glory, for she had been the
first to contribute to the success.

Next to Joan of Arc, the constable De Richemont was the most effective
and the most glorious amongst the liberators of France and of the king.
He was a strict and stern warrior, unscrupulous and pitiless towards his
enemies, especially towards such as he despised, severe in regard to
himself, dignified in his manners, never guilty of swearing himself and
punishing swearing as a breach of discipline amongst the troops placed
under his orders.  Like a true patriot and royalist, he had more at heart
his duty towards France and the king than he had his own personal
interests.  He was fond of war, and conducted it bravely and skilfully,
without rashness, but without timidity: “Wherever the constable is,” said
Charles VII., “there I am free from anxiety; he will do all that is
possible!”  He set his title and office of constable of France above his
rank as a great lord; and when, after the death of his brother, Duke
Peter II., he himself became Duke of Brittany, he always had the
constable’s sword carried before him, saying, “I wish to honor in my old
age a function which did me honor in my youth.”  His good services were
not confined to the wars of his time; he was one of the principal
reformers of the military system in France by the substitution of regular
troops for feudal service.  He has not obtained, it is to be feared, in
the history of the fifteenth century, the place which properly belongs to

Dunois, La Hire, Xaintrailles, and Marshals De Boussac and De La Fayette
were, under Charles VII., brilliant warriors and useful servants of the
king and of Fiance; but, in spite of their knightly renown, it is
questionable if they can be reckoned, like the constable De Richemont,
amongst the liberators of national independence.  There are degrees of
glory, and it is the duty of history not to distribute it too readily and
as it were by handfuls.

Besides all these warriors, we meet, under the sway of Charles VII., at
first in a humble capacity and afterwards at his court, in his diplomatic
service and sometimes in his closest confidence, a man of quite a
different origin and quite another profession, but one who nevertheless
acquired by peaceful toil great riches and great influence, both brought
to a melancholy termination by a conviction and a consequent ruin from
which at the approach of old age he was still striving to recover by
means of fresh ventures.  Jacques Coeur was born at Bourges at the close
of the fourteenth century.  His father was a furrier, already
sufficiently well established and sufficiently rich to allow of his son’s
marrying, in 1418, the provost’s daughter of his own city.  Some years
afterwards Jacques Coeur underwent a troublesome trial for infraction of
the rules touching the coinage of money; but thanks to a commutation of
the penalty, graciously accorded by Charles VII., he got off with a fine,
and from that time forward directed all his energies towards commerce.
In 1432 a squire in the service of the Duke of Burgundy was travelling in
the Holy Land, and met him at Damascus in company with several Venetians,
Genoese, Florentine, and Catalan traders with whom he was doing
business.  “He was,” says his contemporary, Thomas Basin, “a man
unlettered and of plebeian family, but of great and ingenious mind, well
versed in the practical affairs of that age.  He was the first in all
France to build and man ships which transported to Africa and the East
woollen stuffs and other produce of the kingdom, penetrated as far as
Egypt, and brought back with them silken stuffs and all manner of spices,
which they distributed not only in France, but in Catalonia and the
neighboring countries, whereas heretofore it was by means of the
Venetians, the Genoese, or the Barcelonese that such supplies found their
way into France.”

[Illustration: Jacques Coeur----165]

Jacques Coeur, temporarily established at Montpellier, became a great and
a celebrated merchant.  In 1433 Charles VII. put into his hands the
direction of the mint at Paris, and began to take his advice as to the
administration of the crown’s finances.  In 1440 he was appointed
moneyman to the king, ennobled together with his wife and children,
commissioned soon afterwards to draw up new regulations for the
manufacture of cloth at Bourges, and invested on his own private account
with numerous commercial privileges.  He had already at this period, it
was said, three hundred manufacturing hands in his employment, and he was
working at the same time silver, lead, and copper mines situated in the
environs of Tarare and Lyons.  Between 1442 and 1446 he had one of his
nephews sent as ambassador to Egypt, and obtained for the French consuls
in the Levant the same advantages as were enjoyed by those of the most
favored nations.  Not only his favor in the eyes of the king, but his
administrative and even his political appointments, went on constantly
increasing.  Between 1444 and 1446 the king several times named him one
of his commissioners to the estates of Languedoc and for the installation
of the new parliament of Toulouse.  In 1446 he formed one of an embassy
sent to Italy to try and acquire for France the possession of Genoa,
which was harassed by civil dissensions.  In 1447 he received from
Charles VII. a still more important commission, to bring about an
arrangement between the two popes elected, one under the name of Felix
V., and the other under that of Nicholas V.; and he was successful.  His
immense wealth greatly contributed to his influence.  M. Pierre Clement
[Jacques Coeur et Charles WE, ou la France au quinzieme siecle; t. ii.,
pp. 1-46] has given a list of thirty-two estates and lordships which
Jacques Coeur had bought either in Berry or in the neighboring provinces.
He possessed, besides, four mansions and two hostels at Lyons; mansions
at Beaucaire, at Beziers, at St. Pourcain, at Marseilles, and at
Montpellier; and he had built, for his own residence, at Bourges, the
celebrated hostel which still exists as an admirable model of Gothic and
national art in the fifteenth century, attempting combination with the
art of Italian renaissance.

[Illustration: Jacques Coeur’s Hostel at Bourges----169]

M. Clement, in his table of Jacques Coeur’s wealth does not count either
the mines which he worked at various spots in France, nor the vast
capital, unknown, which he turned to profit in his commercial
enterprises; but, on the other hand, he names, with certain et ceteras,
forty-two court-personages, or king’s officers, indebted to Jacques Coeur
for large or small sums he had lent them.  We will quote but two
instances of Jacques Coeur’s financial connection, not with courtiers,
however, but with the royal family and the king himself.  Margaret of
Scotland, wife of the _dauphin_, who became Louis XI., wrote with her own
hand, on the 20th of July, 1445, “We, Margaret, dauphiness of Viennois,
do acknowledge to have received from Master Stephen Petit, secretary of
my lord the king, and receiver-general of his finances for Languedoc and
Guienne, two thousand livres of Tours, to us given by my said lord, and
to us advanced by the hands of Jacques Coeur, his moneyman, we being but
lately in Lorraine, for to get silken stuff and sables to make robes for
our person.”  In 1449, when Charles VII. determined to drive the English
from Normandy, his treasury was exhausted, and he had recourse to Jacques
Coeur.  “Sir,” said the trader to the king, “what I have is yours,” and
lent him two hundred thousand crowns; “the effect of which was,” says
Jacques Duclercq, “that during, this conquest, all the men-at-arms of the
King of France, and all those who were in his service, were paid their
wages month by month.”

An original document, dated 1450, which exists in the “cabinet des
titres” of the National Library, bears upon it a receipt for sixty
thousand livres from Jacques Coeur to the king’s receiver-general in
Normandy, “in restitution of the like sum lent by me in ready money to
the said lord in the month of August last past, on occasion of the
surrendering to his authority of the towns and castle of Cherbourg, at
that time held by the English, the ancient enemies of this realm.”  It
was probably a partial repayment of the two hundred thousand crowns lent
by Jacques Coeur to the king at this juncture, according to all the
contemporary chroniclers.

Enormous and unexpected wealth excites envy and suspicion at the same
time that it confers influence; and the envious before long become
enemies.  Sullen murmurs against Jacques Coeur were raised in the king’s
own circle; and the way in which he had begun to make his fortune--the
coinage of questionable money--furnished some specious ground for them.
There is too general an inclination amongst potentates of the earth to
give an easy ear to reasons, good or bad, for dispensing with the
gratitude and respect otherwise due to those who serve them.  Charles
VII., after having long been the patron and debtor of Jacques Coeur, all
at once, in 1451, shared the suspicions aroused against him.  To
accusations of grave abuses and malversations in money matters was added
one of even more importance.  Agnes Sorel had died eighteen months
previously (February 9, 1450); and on her death-bed she had appointed
Jacques Coeur one of the three executors of her will.  In July, 1451,
Jacques was at Taillebourg, in Guyenne, whence he wrote to his wife that
“he was in as good case and was as well with the king as ever he had
been, whatever anybody might say.”  Indeed, on the 22d of July Charles
VII. granted him a “sum of seven hundred and seventy-two livres of Tours
to help him to keep up his condition and to be more honorably equipped
for his service;” and, nevertheless, on the 31st of July, on the
information of two persons of the court, who accused Jacques Coeur of
having poisoned Agnes Sorel, Charles ordered his arrest and the seizure
of his goods, on which he immediately levied a hundred thousand crowns
for the purposes of the war.  Commissioners extraordinary, taken from
amongst the king’s grand council, were charged to try him; and Charles
VII. declared, it is said, that “if the said moneyman were not found
liable to the charge of having poisoned or caused to be poisoned Agnes
Sorel, he threw up and forgave all the other cases against him.”  The
accusation of poisoning was soon acknowledged to be false, and the two
informers were condemned as calumniators; but the trial was,
nevertheless, proceeded with.  Jacques Coeur was accused “of having sold
arms to the infidels, of having coined light crowns, of having pressed on
board of his vessels, at Montpellier, several individuals, of whom one
had thrown himself into the sea from desperation, and lastly of having
appropriated to himself presents made to the king, in several towns of
Languedoc, and of having practised in that country frequent exaction, to
the prejudice of the king as well as of his subjects.”  After twenty-two
months of imprisonment, Jacques Coeur, on the 29th of May, 1453, was
convicted, in the king’s name, on divers charges, of which several
entailed a capital penalty; but “whereas Pope Nicholas V. had issued a
rescript and made request in favor of Jacques Coeur, and regard also
being had to services received from him,” Charles VII. spared his life,
“on condition that he should pay to the king a hundred thousand crowns by
way of restitution, three hundred thousand by way of fine, and should be
kept in prison until the whole claim was satisfied;” and the decree ended
as follows: “We have declared and do declare all the goods of the said
Jacques Coeur confiscated to us, and we have banished and do banish this
Jacques Coeur forever from this realm, reserving thereanent our own good

After having spent nearly three years more in prison, transported from
dungeon to dungeon, Jacques Coeur, thanks to the faithful and zealous
affection of a few friends, managed to escape from Beaucaire, to embark
at Nice and to reach Rome, where Pope Nicholas V. welcomed him with
tokens of lively interest.  Nicholas died shortly afterwards, just when
he was preparing an expedition against the Turks.  His successor,
Calixtus III., carried out his design, and equipped a fleet of sixteen
galleys.  This fleet required a commander of energy, resolution, and
celebrity.  Jacques Coeur had lived and fought with Dunois, Xaintrailles,
La Hire, and the most valiant French captains; he was known and popular
in Italy and the Levant; and the pope appointed him captain-general of
the expedition.  Charles VII.’s moneyman, ruined, convicted, and banished
from France, sailed away at the head of the pope’s squadron and of some
Catalan pirates to carry help against the Turks to Rhodes, Chios, Lesbos,
Lemnos, and the whole Grecian archipelago.  On arriving at Chios, in
November, 1456, he fell ill there, and perceiving his end approaching,
he wrote to his king “to commend to him his children, and to beg that,
considering the great wealth and honors he had in his time enjoyed in the
king’s service, it might be the king’s good pleasure to give something to
his children, in order that they, even those of them who were secular,
might be able to live honestly, without coming to want.”  He died at
Chits on the 25th of November, 1456, and, according to the historian John
d’Auton, who had probably lived in the society of Jacques Coeur’s
children, “he remained interred in the church of the Cordeliers in that
island, at the centre of the choir.”

We have felt bound to represent with some detail the active and energetic
life, prosperous for a long while and afterwards so grievous and
hazardous up to its very last day, of this great French merchant at the
close of the middle ages, who was the first to extend afar in Europe,
Africa, and Asia the commercial relations of France, and, after the
example of the great Italian merchants, to make an attempt to combine
politics with commerce, and to promote at one and the same time the
material interests of his country and the influence of his government.
There can be no doubt but that Jacques Coeur was unscrupulous and
frequently visionary as a man of business; but, at the same time, he was
inventive, able, and bold, and, whilst pushing his own fortunes to the
utmost, he contributed a great deal to develop, in the ways of peace, the
commercial, industrial, diplomatic, and artistic enterprise of France.
In his relations towards his king, Jacques Coeur was to Charles VII. a
servant often over-adventurous, slippery, and compromising, but often
also useful, full of resource, efficient, and devoted in the hour of
difficulty.  Charles VII. was to Jacques Coeur a selfish and ungrateful
patron, who contemptuously deserted the man whose brains he had sucked,
and ruined him pitilessly after having himself contributed to enrich him

We have now reached the end of events under this long reign; all that
remains is to run over the substantial results of Charles VII.’s
government, and the melancholy imbroglios of his latter years with his
son, the turbulent, tricky, and wickedly able born-conspirator, who was
to succeed him under the name of Louis XI.

One fact is at the outset to be remarked upon; it at the first blush
appears singular, but it admits of easy explanation.  In the first
nineteen years of his reign, from 1423 to 1442, Charles VII. very
frequently convoked the states-general, at one time of Northern France,
or Langue d’oil, at another of Southern France, or Langue d’oc.
Twenty-four such assemblies took place during this period at Bourges,
at Selles in Berry, at Le Puy in Velay, at Mean-sur-Yevre, at Chinon,
at Sully-sur-Loire, at Tours, at Orleans, at Nevers, at Carcassonne,
and at different spots in Languedoc.  It was the time of the great war
between France on the one side and England and Burgundy allied on the
other, the time of intrigues incessantly recurring at court, and the time
likewise of carelessness and indolence on the part of Charles VII., more
devoted to his pleasures than regardful of his government.  He had
incessant need of states-general to supply him with money and men, and
support him through the difficulties of his position.  But when, dating
from the peace of Arras (September 21, 1435), Charles VII., having become
reconciled with the Duke of Burgundy, was deliverer from civil war, and
was at grips with none but England alone already half beaten by the
divine inspiration, the triumph, and the martyrdom of Joan of Arc, his
posture and his behavior underwent a rare transformation.  Without
ceasing to be coldly selfish and scandalously licentious king he became
practical, hard-working, statesman-like king, jealous and disposed to
govern by himself, but at the same time watchful and skilful in availing
himself of the able advisers who, whether it were by a happy accident or
by his own choice, were grouped around him.  “He had his days and hours
for dealing with all sorts of men, one hour with the clergy, another with
the nobles, another with foreigners, another with mechanical folks,
armorers, and gunners; and in respect of all these persons he had a full
remembrance of their cases and their appointed day.  On Monday, Tuesday,
and Thursday he worked with the chancellor, and got through all claims
connected with justice.  On Wednesday he first of all gave audience to
the marshals, captains, and men of war.  On the same day he held a
council of finance, independently of another council which was also held
on the same subject every Friday.”  It was by such assiduous toil that
Charles VII., in concert with his advisers, was able to take in hand and
accomplish, in the military, financial, and judicial system of the realm,
those bold and at the same time prudent reforms which wrested the country
from the state of disorder, pillage, and general insecurity to which it
had been a prey, and commenced the era of that great monarchical
administration, which, in spite of many troubles and vicissitudes, was
destined to be, during more than three centuries, the government of
France.  The constable De Richemont and marshal De la Fayette were, in
respect of military matters, Charles VII.’s principal advisers; and it
was by their counsel and with their co-operation that he substituted for
feudal service and for the bands of wandering mercenaries (routiers),
mustered and maintained by hap-hazard, a permanent army, regularly
levied, provided for, paid, and commanded, and charged with the duty of
keeping order at home, and at the same time subserving abroad the
interests and policy of the state.  In connection with, and as a natural
consequence of this military system, Charles VII., on his own sole
authority, established certain permanent imposts with the object of
making up any deficiency in the royal treasury, whilst waiting for a vote
of such taxes extraordinary as might be demanded of the states-general.
Jacques Coeur, the two brothers Bureau, Martin Gouge, Michel Lailler,
William Cousinot, and many other councillors, of burgher origin, labored
zealously to establish this administrative system, so prompt and freed
from all independent discussion.  Weary of wars, irregularities, and
sufferings, France, in the fifteenth century, asked for nothing but peace
and security; and so soon as the kingship showed that it had an intention
and was in a condition to provide her with them, the nation took little
or no trouble about political guarantees which as yet it knew neither how
to establish nor how to exercise; its right to them was not disputed in
principle, they were merely permitted to fall into desuetude; and Charles
VII., who during the first half of his reign had twenty-four times
assembled the states-general to ask them for taxes and soldiers, was able
in the second to raise personally both soldiers and taxes without drawing
forth any complaint hardly, save from his contemporary historian, the
Bishop of Lisieux, Thomas Basin, who said, “Into such misery and
servitude is fallen the realm of France, heretofore so noble and free,
that all the inhabitants are openly declared by the generals of finance
and their clerks taxable at the will of the king, without anybody’s
daring to murmur or even ask for mercy.”  There is at every juncture, and
in all ages of the world, a certain amount, though varying very much, of
good order, justice, and security, without which men cannot get on; and
when they lack it, either through the fault of those who govern them or
through their own fault, they seek after it with the blind eyes of
passion, and are ready to accept it, no matter what power may procure it
for them, or what price it may cost them.  Charles VII. was a prince
neither to be respected nor to be loved, and during many years his reign
had not been a prosperous one; but “he re-quickened justice, which had
been a long while dead,” says a chronicler devoted to the Duke of
Burgundy; “he put an end to the tyrannies and exactions of the
men-at-arms, and out of an infinity of murderers and robbers he formed
men of resolution and honest life; he made regular paths in murderous
woods and forests, all roads safe, all towns peaceful, all nationalities
of his kingdom tranquil; he chastised the evil and honored the good, and
he was sparing of human blood.”

Let it be added, in accordance with contemporary testimony, that at the
same time that he established an all but arbitrary rule in military and
financial matters, Charles VII. took care that “practical justice, in the
case of every individual, was promptly rendered to poor as well as rich,
to small as well as great; he forbade all trafficking in the offices of
the magistracy, and every time that a place became vacant in a parliament
he made no nomination to it, save on the presentations of the court.”

Questions of military, financial, and judicial organization were not the
only ones which occupied the government of Charles VII.  He attacked also
ecclesiastical questions, which were at that period a subject of
passionate discussion in Christian Europe amongst the councils of the
Church and in the closets of princes.  The celebrated ordinance, known by
the name of Pragmatic Sanction, which Charles VII. issued at Bourges on
the 7th of July, 1438, with the concurrence of a grand national council,
laic and ecclesiastical, was directed towards the carrying out, in the
internal regulations of the French Church, and in the relations either of
the State with the Church in France, or of the Church of France with the
papacy, of reforms long since desired or dreaded by the different powers
and interests.  It would be impossible to touch here upon these difficult
and delicate questions without going far beyond the limits imposed upon
the writer of this history.  All that can be said is, that there was no
lack of a religious spirit, or of a liberal spirit, in the Pragmatic
Sanction of Charles VII., and that the majority of the measures contained
in it were adopted with the approbation of the greater part of the French
clergy, as well as of educated laymen in France.

In whatever light it is regarded, the government of Charles VII. in the
latter part of his reign brought him not only in France, but throughout
Europe, a great deal of fame and power.  When he had driven the English
out of his kingdom, he was called Charles the Victorious; and when he had
introduced into the internal regulations of the state so many important
and effective reforms, he was called Charles the Well-served.  “The sense
he had by nature,” says his historian Chastellain, “had been increased to
twice as much again, in his straitened fortunes, by long constraint and
perilous dangers, which sharpened his wits perforce.”  “He is the king of
kings,” was said of him by the Doge of Venice, Francis Foscari, a good
judge of policy; “there is no doing without him.”

Nevertheless, at the close, so influential and so tranquil, of his reign,
Charles VII. was, in his individual and private life, the most desolate,
the most harassed, and the most unhappy man in his kingdom.  In 1442 and
1450 he had lost the two women who had been, respectively, the most
devoted and most useful, and the most delightful and dearest to him, his
mother-in-law, Yolande of Arragon, Queen of Sicily, and his favorite,
Agnes Sorel.  His avowed intimacy with Agnes, and even, independently of
her and after her death, the scandalous licentiousness of his morals, had
justly offended his virtuous wife, Mary of Anjou, the only lady of the
royal establishment who survived him.  She had brought him twelve
children, and the eldest, the _dauphin_ Louis, after having from his very
youth behaved in a factious, harebrained, turbulent way towards the king
his father, had become at one time an open rebel, at another a venomous
conspirator and a dangerous enemy.  At his birth in 1423, he had been
named Louis in remembrance of his ancestor, St. Louis, and in hopes that
he would resemble him.  In 1440, at seventeen years of age, he allied
himself with the great lords, who were displeased with the new military
system established by Charles VII., and allowed himself to be drawn by
them into the transient rebellion known by the name of Praguery.  When
the king, having put it down, refused to receive the rebels to favor, the
_dauphin_ said to his father, “My lord, I must go back with them, then;
for so I promised them.”  “Louis,” replied the king, “the gates are open,
and if they are not high enough I will have sixteen or twenty fathom of
wall knocked down for you, that you may go whither it seems best to you.”
 Charles VII. had made his son marry Margaret Stuart of Scotland, that
charming princess who was so smitten with the language and literature of
France that, coming one day upon the poet Alan Chartier asleep upon a
bench, she kissed him on the forehead in the presence of her mightily
astonished train, for he was very ugly.  The _dauphin_ rendered his wife
so wretched that she died in 1445, at the age of one and twenty, with
these words upon her lips: “O! fie on life!  Speak to me no more of it!”
 In 1449, just when the king his father was taking up arms to drive the
English out of Normandy, the _dauphin_ Louis, who was now living entirely
in Dauphiny, concluded at Briancon a secret league with the Duke of Savoy
“against the ministers of the King of France, his enemies.”  In 1456, in
order to escape from the perils brought upon him by the plots which he,
in the heart of Dauphiny, was incessantly hatching against his father,
Louis fled from Grenoble and went to take refuge in Brussels with the
Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, who willingly received him, at the
same time excusing himself to Charles VII. “on the ground of the respect
he owed to the son of his suzerain,” and putting at the disposal of
Louis, “his guest,” a pension of thirty-six thousand livres.  “He has
received the fox at his court,” said Charles: “he will soon see what will
become of his chickens.”  But the pleasantries of the king did not chase
away the sorrows of the father.  “Mine enemies have full trust in me,”
 said Charles, “but my son will have none.  If he had but once spoken with
me, he would have known full well that he ought to have neither doubts
nor fears.  On my royal word, if he will but come to me, when he has
opened his heart and learned my intentions, he may go away again
whithersoever it seems good to him.”  Charles, in his old age and his
sorrow, forgot how distrustful and how fearful he himself had been.  “It
is ever your pleasure,” wrote one of his councillors to him in a burst of
frankness, “to be shut up in castles, wretched places, and all sorts of
little closets, without showing yourself and listening to the complaints
of your poor people.”  Charles VII. had shown scarcely more confidence to
his son than to his people.  Louis yielded neither to words, nor to
sorrows of which proofs were reaching him nearly every day.  He remained
impassive at the Duke of Burgundy’s, where he seemed to be waiting with
scandalous indifference for the news of his father’s death.  Charles sank
into a state of profound melancholy and general distrust.  He had his
doctor, Adam Fumee, put in prison; persuaded himself that his son had
wished, and was still wishing, to poison him; and refused to take any
kind of nourishment.  No representation, no solicitation, could win him
from his depression and obstinacy.  It was in vain that Charles, Duke of
Berry, his favorite child, offered to first taste the food set before
him.  It was in vain that his servants “represented to him with tears,”
 says Bossuet, “what madness it was to cause his own death for fear of
dying; when at last he would have made an effort to eat, it was too late,
and he must die.”  On the 2nd of July, 1461, he asked what day it was,
and was told that it was St. Magdalen’s day.  “Ah!” said he, “I do laud
my God, and thank Him for that it hath pleased Him that the most sinful
man in the world should die on the sinful woman’s day!  Dampmartin,” said
he to the count of that name, who was leaning over his bed, “I do beseech
you that after my death you will serve so far as you can the little lord,
my son Charles.”  He called his confessor, received the sacraments, gave
orders that he should be buried at St. Denis beside the king his father,
and expired.  No more than his son Louis, though for different reasons,
was his wife, Queen Mary of Anjou, at his side.  She was living at
Chinon, whither she had removed a long while before by order of the king
her husband.  Thus, deserted by them of his own household, and disgusted
with his own life, died that king of whom a contemporary chronicler,
whilst recommending his soul to God, re-marked, “When he was alive, he
was a right wise and valiant lord, and he left his kingdom united, and in
good case as to justice and tranquillity.”

CHAPTER XXV.----LOUIS XI.  (1461-1483.)

Louis XI. was thirty-eight years old, and had been living for five years
in voluntary exile at the castle of Genappe, in Hainault, beyond the
dominions of the king his father, and within those of Philip the Good,
Duke of Burgundy, when, on the 23d of July, 1461, the day after Charles
VII.’s death, he learned that he was King of France.  He started at once
to return to his own country, and take possession of his kingdom.  He
arrived at Rheims on the 14th of August, was solemnly crowned there on
the 18th, in presence of the two courts of France and Burgundy, and on
the 30th made his entry into Paris, within which he had not set foot for
six and twenty years. In 1482, twenty-one years afterwards, he, sick and
almost dying in his turn at his castle of Plessis-les-Tours, went,
nevertheless, to Amboise, where his son the _dauphin_, who was about to
become Charles VIII., and whom he had not seen for several years, was
living.  “I do expressly enjoin upon you,” said the father to the son,
“as my last counsel and my last instructions, not to change a single one
of the chief officers of the crown.  When my father.  King Charles VII.,
went to God, and I myself came to the throne, I disappointed [i.e.,
deprived of their appointments] all the good and notable knights of the
kingdom who had aided and served my said father in conquering Normandy
and Guienne, in driving the English out of the kingdom, and in restoring
it to peace and good order, for so I found it, and right rich also.
Therefrom much mischief came to me, for thence I had the war called the
Common Weal, which all but cost me my crown.”

With the experience and paternal care of an old man, whom the near
prospect of death rendered perfectly disinterested, wholly selfish as his
own life had been, Louis’s heart was bent upon saving his son from the
first error which he himself had committed on mounting the throne.
“Gentlemen,” said Dunois on rising from table at the funeral-banquet held
at the abbey of St. Denis in honor of the obsequies of King Charles VII.,
“we have lost our master; let each look after himself.”  The old warrior
foresaw that the new reign would not be like that which had just ended.
Charles VII. had been a prince of indolent disposition, more inclined to
pleasure than ambition, whom the long and severe trials of his life had
moulded to government without his having any passion for governing, and
who had become in a quiet way a wise and powerful king, without any eager
desire to be incessantly and everywhere chief actor and master.  His son
Louis, on the contrary, was completely possessed with a craving for
doing, talking, agitating, domineering, and reaching, no matter by what
means, the different and manifold ends he proposed to himself.  Anything
but prepossessing in appearance, supported on long and thin shanks,
vulgar in looks and often designedly ill-dressed, and undignified in his
manners though haughty in mind, he was powerful by the sheer force of a
mind marvellously lively, subtle, unerring, ready, and inventive, and of
a character indefatigably active, and pursuing success as a passion
without any scruple or embarrassment in the employment of means.  His
contemporaries, after observing his reign for some time, gave him the
name of the universal spider, so relentlessly did he labor to weave a web
of which he himself occupied the centre and extended the filaments in all

As soon as he was king, he indulged himself with that first piece of
vindictive satisfaction of which he was in his last moments obliged to
acknowledge the mistake.  At Rheims, at the time of his coronation, the
aged and judicious Duke Philip of Burgundy had begged him to forgive all
those who had offended him.  Louis promised to do so, with the exception,
however, of seven persons whom he did not name.  They were the most
faithful and most able advisers of the king his father, those who had
best served Charles VII. even in his embroilments with the _dauphin_, his
conspiring and rebellious son, viz., Anthony de Chabannes, Count of
Dampmartin, Peter de Breze, Andrew de Laval, Juvenal des Ursins, &c.
Some lost their places, and were even, for a while, subjected to
persecution; the others, remaining still at court, received there many
marks of the king’s disfavor.  On the other hand, Louis made a show of
treating graciously the men who had most incurred and deserved disgrace
at his father’s hands, notably the Duke of Alencon and the Count of
Armagnac.  Nor was it only in respect of persons that he departed from
paternal tradition; he rejected it openly in the case of one of the most
important acts of Charles VII.’s reign, the Pragmatic Sanction, issued by
that prince at Bourses, in 1438, touching the internal regulations of the
Church of France and its relations towards the papacy.  The popes, and
especially Pius II., Louis XI.’s contemporary, had constantly and
vigorously protested against that act.  Barely four months after his
accession, on the 27th of November, 1461, Louis, in order to gain favor
with the pope, abrogated the Pragmatic Sanction, and informed the pope of
the fact in a letter full of devotion.  There was great joy at Rome, and
the pope replied to the king’s letter in the strongest terms of gratitude
and commendation.  But Louis’s courtesy had not been so disinterested as
it was prompt.  He had hoped that Pius II. would abandon the cause of
Ferdinand of Arragon, a claimant to the throne of Naples, and would
uphold that of his rival, the French prince, John of Anjou, Duke of
Calabria, whose champion Louis had declared himself.  He bade his
ambassador at Rome to remind the pope of the royal hopes.  “You know,”
 said the ambassador to Pius II., “it is only on this condition that
the king my master abolished the Pragmatic; he was pleased to desire that
in his kingdom full obedience should be rendered to you; he demands, on
the other hand, that you should be pleased to be a friend to France;
otherwise I have orders to bid all the French cardinals withdraw, and you
cannot doubt but that they will obey.”  But Pius II. was more proud than
Louis XI. dared to be imperious.  He answered, “We are under very great
obligations to the King of France, but that gives him no right to exact
from us things contrary to justice and to our honor; we have sent aid to
Ferdinand by virtue of the treaties we have with him; let the king your
master compel the Duke of Anjou to lay down arms and prosecute his rights
by course of justice, and if Ferdinand refuse to submit thereto we will
declare against him; but we cannot promise more.  If the French who are
at our court wish to withdraw, the gates are open to them.”  The king, a
little ashamed at the fruitlessness of his concession and of his threat,
had for an instant some desire to re-establish the Pragmatic Sanction,
for which the parliament of Paris had taken up the cudgels; but, all
considered, he thought it better to put up in silence with his rebuff,
and pay the penalty for a rash concession, than to get involved with the
court of Rome in a struggle of which he could not measure the gravity;
and he contented himself with letting the parliament maintain in
principle and partially keep up the Pragmatic.  This was his first
apprenticeship in that outward resignation and patience, amidst his own
mistakes, of which he was destined to be called upon more than once in
the course of his life to make a humble but skilful use.

At the same time that at the pinnacle of government and in his court
Louis was thus making his power felt, and was engaging a new set of
servants, he was zealously endeavoring to win over, everywhere, the
middle classes and the populace.  He left Rouen in the hands of its own
inhabitants; in Guienne, in Auvergne, at Tours, he gave the burgesses
authority to assemble, and his orders to the royal agents were,
“Whatever is done see that it be answered for unto us by two of the most
notable burgesses of the principal cities.”  At Rheims the rumor ran that
under King Louis there would be no more tax or talliage.  When
deputations went before him to complain of the weight of imposts, he
would say, “I thank you, my dear and good friends, for making such
remonstrances to me; I have nothing more at heart than to put an end to
all sorts of exactions, and to re-establish my kingdom in its ancient
liberties.  I have just been passing five years in the countries of my
uncle of Burgundy; and there I saw good cities mighty rich and full of
inhabitants, and folks well clad, well housed, well off, lacking nothing;
the commerce there is great, and the communes there have fine privileges.
When I came into my own kingdom I saw, on the contrary, houses in ruins,
fields without tillage, men and women in rags, faces pinched and pale.
It is a great pity, and my soul is filled with sorrow at it.  All my
desire is to apply a remedy thereto, and, with God’s help, we will bring
it to pass.”  The good folks departed, charmed with such familiarity, so
prodigal of hope; but facts before long gave the lie to words.  “When the
time came for renewing at Rheims the claim for local taxes, the people
showed opposition, and all the papers were burned in the open street.
The king employed stratagem.  In order not to encounter overt resistance,
he caused a large number of his folks to disguise themselves as tillers
or artisans; and so entering the town, they were masters of it before the
people could think of defending themselves.  The ringleaders of the
rebellion were drawn and quartered, and about a hundred persons were
beheaded or hanged.  At Angers, at Alencon, and at Aurillac, there were
similar outbursts similarly punished.”  From that moment it was easy to
prognosticate that with the new king familiarity would not prevent
severity, or even cruelty.  According to the requirements of the crisis
Louis had no more hesitation about violating than about making promises;
and, all the while that he was seeking after popularity, he intended to
make his power felt at any price.

How could he have done without heavy imposts and submission on the part
of the tax-payers?  For it was not only at home in his own kingdom that
he desired to be chief actor and master.  He pushed his ambition and his
activity abroad into divers European states.  In Italy he had his own
claimant to the throne of Naples in opposition to the King of Arragon’s.
In Spain the Kings of Arragon and of Castile were in a state of rivalry
and war.  A sedition broke out in Catalonia.  Louis XI. lent the King of
Arragon three hundred and fifty thousand golden crowns to help him in
raising eleven hundred lances, and reducing the rebels.  Civil war was
devastating England.  The houses of York and Lancaster were disputing the
crown.  Louis XI. kept up relations with both sides; and without
embroiling himself with the Duke of York, who became Edward IV., he
received at Chinon the heroic Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI., and
lent twenty thousand pounds sterling to that prince, then disthroned, who
undertook either to repay them within a year or to hand over Calais, when
he was re-established upon his throne, to the King of France.  In the
same way John II., King of Arragon, had put Roussillon and Cerdagne into
the hands of Louis XI., as a security for the loan of three hundred and
fifty thousand crowns he had borrowed.  Amidst all the plans and
enterprises of his personal ambition Louis was seriously concerned for
the greatness of France; but he drew upon her resources, and compromised
her far beyond what was compatible with her real interests, by mixing
himself up, at every opportunity and by every sort of intrigue, with the
affairs and quarrels of the kings and peoples around him.

In France itself he had quite enough of questions to be solved and perils
to be surmounted to absorb and satisfy the most vigilant and most active
of men.  Four princes of very unequal power, but all eager for
independence and preponderance, viz., Charles, Duke of Berry, his
brother; Francis II., Duke of Brittany; Philip the Good, Duke of
Burgundy, his uncle; and John, Duke of Bourbon, his brother-in-law, were
vassals whom he found very troublesome, and ever on the point of becoming
dangerous.  It was not long before he had a proof of it.  In 1463, two
years after Louis’s accession, the Duke of Burgundy sent one of his most
trusty servants, John of Croy, Sire de Chimay, to complain of certain
royal acts, contrary, he said, to the treaty of Arras, which, in 1435,
had regulated the relations between Burgundy and the crown.  The envoy
had great difficulty in getting audience of the king, who would not even
listen for more than a single moment, and that as he was going out of his
room, when, almost without heeding, he said abruptly, “What manner of
man, then, is this Duke of Burgundy?  Is he of other metal than the other
lords of the realm?”  “Yes, sir,” replied Chimay, “he is of other metal;
for he protected you and maintained you against the will of your father
King Charles, and against the opinion of all those who were opposed to
you in the kingdom, which no other prince or lord would have dared to
do.”  Louis went back into his room without a word.  “How dared you speak
so to the king,” said Dunois to Chimay.  “Had I been fifty leagues away
from here,” said the Burgundian, “and had I thought that the king had an
idea only of addressing such words to me, I would have come back express
to speak to him as I have spoken.”  The Duke of Brittany was less
puissant and less proudly served than the Duke of Burgundy; but, being
vain and inconsiderate, he was incessantly attempting to exalt himself
above his condition of vassal, and to raise his duchy into a sovereignty,
and when his pretensions were rejected he entered, at one time with the
King of England and at another with the Duke of Burgundy and the
malcontents of France, upon intrigues which amounted very nearly to
treason against the king his suzerain.  Charles, Louis’s younger brother,
was a soft and mediocre but jealous and timidly ambitious prince; he
remembered, moreover, the preference and the wishes manifested on his
account by Charles VII., their common father, on his death-bed, and he
considered his position as Duke of Berry very inferior to the hopes he
believed himself entitled to nourish.  Duke John of Bourbon, on espousing
a sister of Louis XI., had flattered himself that this marriage and the
remembrance of the valor he had displayed, in 1450, at the battle of
Formigny, would be worth to him at least the sword of constable; but
Louis had refused to give it him.  When all these great malcontents saw
Louis’s popularity on the decline, and the king engaged abroad in divers
political designs full of onerousness or embarrassment, they considered
the moment to have come, and, at the end of 1464, formed together an
alliance “for to remonstrate with the king,” says Commynes, “upon the bad
order and injustice he kept up in his kingdom, considering themselves
strong enough to force him if he would not mend his ways; and this war
was called the common weal, because it was undertaken under color of
being for the _common weal_ of the kingdom, the which was soon converted
into private weal.”  The aged Duke of Burgundy, sensible and weary as he
was, gave only a hesitating and slack adherence to the league; but his
son Charles, Count of Charolais, entered into it passionately, and the
father was no more in a condition to resist his son than he was inclined
to follow him.  The number of the declared malcontents increased rapidly;
and the chiefs received at Paris itself, in the church of Notre Dame, the
adhesion and the signatures of those who wished to join them.  They all
wore, for recognition’s sake, a band of red silk round their waists, and,
“there were more than five hundred,” says Oliver de la Marche, a
confidential servant of the Count of Charolais, “princes as well as
knights, dames, damsels, and esquires, who were well acquainted with this
alliance without the king’s knowing anything as yet about it.”

It is difficult to believe the chronicler’s last assertion.  Louis XI.,
it is true, was more distrustful than far-sighted, and, though he placed
but little reliance in his advisers and servants, he had so much
confidence in himself, his own sagacity, and his own ability, that he
easily deluded himself about the perils of his position; but the facts
which have just been set forth were too serious and too patent to have
escaped his notice.  However that may be, he had no sooner obtained a
clear insight into the league of the princes than he set to work with his
usual activity and knowledge of the world to checkmate it.  To rally
together his own partisans and to separate his foes, such was the twofold
end he pursued, at first with some success.  In a meeting of the princes
which was held at Tours, and in which friends and enemies were still
mingled together, he used language which could not fail to meet their
views.  “He was powerless,” he said, “to remedy the evils of the kingdom
without the love and fealty of the princes of the blood and the other
lords; they were the pillars of the state; without their help one man
alone could not bear the weight of the crown.”  Many of those present
declared their fealty.  “You are our king, our sovereign lord,” said King
Rene, Duke of Anjou; “we thank you for the kind, gracious, and honest
words you have just used to us.  I say to you, on behalf of all our lords
here present, that we will serve you in respect of and against every one,
according as it may please you to order us.”  Louis, by a manifesto,
addressed himself also to the good towns and to all his kingdom.  He
deplored therein the enticements which had been suffered to draw away
“his brother, the Duke of Berry and other princes, churchmen, and nobles,
who would never have consented to this league if they had borne in mind
the horrible calamities of the kingdom, and especially the English, those
ancient enemies, who might well come down again upon it as heretofore
.  .  .  .  They proclaim,” said he, “that they will abolish the imposts;
that is what has always been declared by the seditious and rebellious;
but, instead of relieving, they ruin the poor people.  Had I been willing
to augment their pay, and permit them to trample their vassals under foot
as in time past, they would never have given a thought to the common
weal.  They pretend that they desire to establish order everywhere, and
yet they cannot endure it anywhere; whilst I, without drawing from my
people more than was drawn by the late king, pay my men-at-arms well, and
keep them in a good state of discipline.”

Louis, in his latter words, was a little too boastful.  He had very much
augmented the imposts without assembling the estates, and without caring
for the old public liberties.  If he frequently repressed local tyranny
on the part of the lords, he did not deny himself the practice of it.
Amongst other tastes, he was passionately fond of the chase; and,
wherever he lived, he put it down amongst his neighbors, noble or other,
without any regard for rights of lordship.  Hounds, hawking birds, nets,
snares, all the implements of hunting were forbidden.  He even went so
far, it is said, on one occasion, as to have two gentlemen’s ears cut off
for killing a hare on their own property.  Nevertheless, the publication
of his manifesto did him good service.  Auvergne, Dauphiny, Languedoc,
Lyon and Bordeaux turned a deaf ear to all temptations from the league of
princes.  Paris, above all, remained faithful to the king.  Orders were
given at the Hotel de Ville that the principal gates of the city should
be walled up, and that there should be a night watch on the ramparts; and
the burgesses were warned to lay in provision of arms and victual.
Marshal Joachim Rouault, lord of Gamaches, arrived at Paris on the 30th
of June, 1465, at the head of a body of men-at-arms, to protect the city
against the Count of Charolais, who was coming up; and the king himself,
not content with despatching four of his chief officers to thank the
Parisians for their loyal zeal, wrote to them that he would send the
queen to lie in at Paris, “the city he loved most in the world.”

Louis would have been glad to have nothing to do but to negotiate and
talk.  Though he was personally brave, he did not like war and its
unforeseen issues.  He belonged to the class of ambitious despots who
prefer stratagem to force.  But the very ablest speeches and artifices,
even if they do not remain entirely fruitless, are not sufficient to
reduce matters promptly to order when great interests are threatened,
passions violently excited, and factions let loose in the arena.  Between
the League of the Common Neal and Louis XI. there was a question too
great to be, at the very outset, settled peacefully.  It was feudalism in
decline at grips with the kingship, which had been growing greater and
greater for two centuries.  The lords did not trust the king’s promises;
and one amongst those lords was too powerful to yield without a fight.
At the beginning Louis had, in Auvergne and in Berry, some successes,
which decided a few of the rebels, the most insignificant, to accept
truces and enter upon parleys; but the great princes, the Dukes of
Burgundy, Brittany, and Berry, waxed more and more angry.  The aged Duke
of Burgundy, Philip the Good himself, sobered and wearied as he was,
threw himself passionately into the struggle.  “Go,” said he to his son,
Count Charles of Charolais, “maintain thine honor well, and, if thou have
need of a hundred thousand more men to deliver thee from difficulty, I
myself will lead them to thee.”  Charles marched promptly on Paris.
Louis, on his side, moved thither, with the design and in the hope of
getting in there without fighting.  But the Burgundians, posted at St.
Denis and the environs, barred his approach.  His seneschal, Peter de
Breze, advised him to first attack the Bretons, who were advancing to
join the Burgundians.  Louis, looking at him somewhat mistrustfully,
said, “You, too, Sir Seneschal, have signed this League of the Common
Weal.”  “Ay, sir,” answered Brez, with a laugh, “they have my signature,
but you have myself.”  “Would you be afraid to try conclusions with the
Burgundians?” continued the king.  “Nay, verily,” replied the seneschal;
“I will let that be seen in the first battle.”  Louis continued his march
on Paris.  The two armies met at Montlhery, on the 16th of July, 1465.
Breze, who commanded the king’s advance-guard, immediately went into
action, and was one of the first to be killed.  Louis came up to his
assistance with troops in rather loose order; the affair became hot and
general; the French for a moment wavered, and a rumor ran through the
ranks that the king had just been killed.

“No, my friends,” said Louis, taking off his helmet, “no, I am not dead;
defend your king with good courage.”  The wavering was transferred to the
Burgundians.  Count Charles himself was so closely pressed that a French
man-at-arms laid his hand on him, saying, “Yield you, my lord; I know you
well; let not yourself be slain.”  “A rescue!” cried Charles; “I’ll not
leave you, my friends, unless by death: I am here to live and die with
you.”  He was wounded by a sword-thrust which entered his neck between
his helmet and his breastplate, badly fastened.  Disorder set in on both
sides, without either’s being certain how things were, or being able to
consider itself victorious.  Night came on; and French and Burgundians
encamped before Montlhery.  The Count of Charolais sat down on two heaps
of straw, and had his wound dressed.  Around him were the stripped
corpses of the slain.  As they were being moved to make room for him, a
poor wounded creature, somewhat revived by the motion, recovered
consciousness and asked for a drink.  The count made them pour down his
throat a drop of his own mixture, for he never drank wine.  The wounded
man came completely to himself, and recovered.  It was one of the archers
of his guard.  Next day news was brought to Charles that the Bretons were
coming up, with their own duke, the Duke of Berry, and Count Dunois at
their head.  He went as far as Etampes to meet them, and informed them of
what had just happened.  The Duke of Berry was very much distressed; it
was a great pity, he said, that so many people had been killed; he
heartily wished that the war had never been begun.  “Did you hear,” said
the Count of Charolais to his servants, “how yonder fellow talks?  He is
upset at the sight of seven or eight hundred wounded men going about the
town, folks who are nothing to him, and whom he does not even know; he
would be still more upset if the matter touched him nearly; he is just
the sort of fellow to readily make his own terms and leave us stuck in
the mud; we must secure other friends.”  And he forthwith made one of his
people post off to England, to draw closer the alliance between Burgundy
and Edward IV.

Louis, meanwhile, after passing a day at Corbeil, had once more, on the
18th of July, entered Paris, the object of his chief solicitude.  He
dismounted at his lieutenant’s, the Sire de Meinn’s, and asked for some
supper.  Several persons, burgesses and their wives, took supper with
him.  He excited their lively interest by describing to them the battle
of Montlhery, the danger he had run there, and the scenes which had been
enacted, adopting at one time a pathetic and at another a bantering tone,
and exciting by turns the emotion and the laughter of his audience.  In
three days, he said, he would return to fight his enemies, in order to
finish the war; but he had not enough of men-at-arms, and all had not at
that moment such good spirits as he.  He passed a fortnight in Paris,
devoting himself solely to the task of winning the hearts of the
Parisians, reducing imposts, giving audience to everybody, lending a
favorable ear to every opinion offered him, making no inquiry as to who
had been more or less faithful to him, showing clemency without appearing
to be aware of it, and not punishing with severity even those who had
served as guides to the Burgundians in the pillaging of the villages
around Paris.  A crier of the Chatelet, who had gone crying about the
streets the day on which the Burgundians attacked the gate of St. Denis,
was sentenced only to a month’s imprisonment, bread and water, and a
flogging.  He was marched through the city in a night-man’s cart; and the
king, meeting the procession, called out, as he passed, to the
executioner, “Strike hard, and spare not that ribald; he has well
deserved it.”

Meanwhile the Burgundians were approaching Paris and pressing it more
closely every day.  Their different allies in the League were coming up
with troops to join them, including even some of those who, after having
suffered reverses in Auvergne, had concluded truces with the king.  The
forces scattered around Paris amounted, it is said, to fifty thousand
men, and occupied Charenton, Conflans, St. Maur, and St. Denis, making
ready for a serious attack upon the place.  Louis, notwithstanding his
firm persuasion that things always went ill wherever he was not present
in person, left Paris for Rouen, to call out and bring up the regulars
and reserves of Normandy.  In his absence, interviews and parleys took
place between besiegers and besieged.  The former, found partisans
amongst the inhabitants of Paris, in the Hotel de Ville itself.  The
Count de Dunois made capital of all the grievances of the League against
the king’s government, and declared that, if the city refused to receive
the princes, the authors of this refusal would have to answer for
whatever misery, loss, and damage might come of it; and, in spite of all
efforts on the part of the king’s officers and friends, some wavering was
manifested in certain quarters.  But there arrived from Normandy
considerable re-enforcements, announcing the early return of the king.
And, in fact, he entered Paris on the 28th of August, the mass of the
people testifying their joy and singing “Noel.”  Louis made as if he knew
nothing of what had happened in his absence, and gave nobody a black
look; only four or five burgesses, too much compromised by their
relations with the besiegers, were banished to Orleans.  Sharp skirmishes
were frequent all round the place; there was cannonading on both sides;
and some balls from Paris came tumbling about the quarters of the Count
of Charolais, and killed a few of his people before his very door.  But
Louis did not care to risk a battle.  He was much impressed by the
enemy’s strength, and by the weakness of which glimpses had been seen in
Paris during his absence.  Whilst his men-of-war were fighting here and
there, he opened negotiations.  Local and temporary truces were accepted,
and agents of the king had conferences with others from the chiefs of the
League.  The princes showed so exacting a spirit that there was no
treating on such conditions; and Louis determined to see whether he could
not succeed better than his agents.  He had an interview of two hours’
duration in front of the St.  Anthony gate, with the Count of St. Poi, a
confidant of the Count of Charolais.  On his return he found before the
gate some burgesses waiting for news.

[Illustration: Louis XI. and Burgesses waiting for News----193]

“Well, my friends,” said he, “the Burgundians will not give you so much
trouble any more as they have given you in the past.”  “That is all very
well, sir,” replied an attorney of the Chatelet, “but meanwhile they eat
our grapes and gather our vintage without any hinderance.”  “Still,” said
the king, “that is better than if they were to come and drink your wine
in your cellars.”  The month of September passed thus in parleys without
result.  Bad news came from Rouen; the League had a party in that city.
Louis felt that the Count of Charolais was the real head of the
opposition, and the only one with whom anything definite could he arrived
at.  He resolved to make a direct attempt upon him; for he had confidence
in the influence he could obtain over people when he chatted and treated
in person with them.  One day he got aboard of a little boat with five of
his officers, and went over to the left bank of the Seine.  There the
Count of Charolais was awaiting him.  “Will you insure me, brother?” said
the king, as he stepped ashore.  “Yes, my lord, as a brother,” said the
count.  The king embraced him and went on; “I quite see, brother, that
you are a gentleman and of the house of France.”  “How so, my lord?”
 “When I sent my ambassadors lately [in 1464] to Lille on an errand to my
uncle, your father and yourself, and when my chancellor, that fool of a
Morvilliers, made you such a fine speech, you sent me word by the
Archbishop of Narbonne that I should repent me of the words spoken to you
by that Morvilliers, and that before a year was over.  Piques-Dieu,
you’ve kept your promise, and before the end of the year has come.  I
like to have to do with folks who hold to what they promise.”  This he
said laughingly, knowing well that this language was just the sort of
flattery to touch the Count of Charolais.  They walked for a long while
together on the river’s bank, to the great curiosity of their people, who
were surprised to see them conversing on such good terms.  They talked of
possible conditions of peace, both of them displaying considerable
pliancy, save the king touching the duchy of Normandy, which he would not
at any price, he said, confer on his brother the Duke of Berry, and the
Count of Charolais touching his enmity towards the house of Croy, with
which he was determined not to be reconciled.  At parting, the king
invited the count to Paris, where he would make him great cheer.  “My
lord,” said Charles, “I have made a vow not to enter any good town until
my return.”  The king smiled; gave fifty golden crowns for distribution,
to drink his health, amongst the count’s archers, and once more got
aboard of his boat.  Shortly after getting back to Paris he learned that
Normandy was lost to him.  The widow of the seneschal, De Breze, lately
killed at Montlhery, forgetful of all the king’s kindnesses and against
the will of her own son, whom Louis had appointed seneschal of Normandy
after his father’s death, had just handed over Rouen to the Duke of
Bourbon, one of the most determined chiefs of the League.  Louis at once
took his course.  He sent to demand an interview with the Count of
Charolais, and repaired to Conflans with a hundred Scots of his guard.
There was a second edition of the walk together.  Charles knew nothing as
yet about the surrender of Rouen; and Louis lost no time in telling him
of it before he had leisure for reflection and for magnifying his
pretensions.  “Since the Normans,” said he, “have of themselves felt
disposed for such a novelty, so be it!  I should never of my own free
will have conferred such an appanage on my brother; but, as the thing is
done, I give my consent.”  And he at the same time assented to all the
other conditions which had formed the subject of conversation.

In proportion to the resignation displayed by the king was the joy of the
Count of Charolais at seeing himself so near to peace.  Everything was
going wrong with his army; provisions were short; murmurs and dissensions
were setting in; and the League of common weal was on the point of ending
in a shameful catastrophe.  Whilst strolling and conversing with
cordiality the two princes kept advancing towards Paris.  Without
noticing it, they passed within the entrance of a strong palisade which
the king had caused to be erected in front of the city-walls, and which
marked the boundary-line.  All on a sudden they stopped, both of them
disconcerted.  The Burgundian found himself within the hostile camp; but
he kept a good countenance, and simply continued the conversation.
Amongst his army, however, when he was observed to be away so long, there
was already a feeling of deep anxiety.  The chieftains had met together.
“If this young prince,” said the marshal of Burgundy, “has gone to his
own ruin like a fool, let us not ruin his house.  Let every man retire to
his quarters, and hold himself in readiness without disturbing himself
about what may happen.  By keeping together we are in a condition to fall
back on the marches of Hainault, Picardy, or Burgundy.”  The veteran
warrior mounted his horse and rode forward in the direction of Paris to
see whether Count Charles were coming back or not.  It was not long
before he saw a troop of forty or fifty horse moving towards him.  They
were the Burgundian prince and an escort of the king’s own guard.
Charles dismissed the escort, and came up to the marshal, saying, “Don’t
say a word; I acknowledge my folly; but I saw it too late; I was already
close to the works.”  “Everybody can see that I was not there,” said the
marshal; “if I had been, it would never have happened.  You know, your
highness, that I am only on loan to you, as long as your father lives.”
 Charles made no reply, and returned to his own camp, where all
congratulated him and rendered homage to the king’s honorable conduct.

Negotiations for peace were opened forthwith.  There was no difficulty
about them.  Louis was ready to make sacrifices as soon as be recognized
the necessity for them, being quite determined, however, in his heart to
recall them as soon as fortune came back to him.  Two distinct treaties
were concluded: one at Conflans on the 5th of October, 1465, between
Louis and the Count of Charolais; and the other at St.  Maur on the 29th
of October, between Louis and the other princes of the League.  By one or
the other of the treaties the king granted nearly every demand that had
been made upon him; to the Count of Charolais he gave up all the towns of
importance in Picardy; to the Duke of Berry he gave the duchy of
Normandy, with entire sovereignty; and the other princes, independently
of the different territories that had been conceded to them, all received
large sums in ready money.  The conditions of peace had already been
agreed to, when the Burgundians went so far as to summon, into the
bargain, the strong place of Beauvais.  Louis quietly complained to
Charles: “If you wanted this town,” said he, “you should have asked me
for it, and I would have given it to you; but peace is made, and it ought
to be observed.”  Charles openly disavowed the deed.  When peace was
proclaimed, on the 30th of October, the king went to Vincennes to receive
the homage of his brother Charles for the duchy of Normandy, and that of
the Count of Charolais for the lands of Picardy.  The count asked the
king to give up to him “for that day the castle of Vincennes for the
security of all.”  Louis made no objection; and the gate and apartments
of the castle were guarded by the count’s own people.  But the Parisians,
whose favor Louis had won, were alarmed on his account.  Twenty-two
thousand men of the city militia marched towards the outskirts of
Vincennes and obliged the king to return and sleep at Paris.  He went
almost alone to the grand review which the Count of Charolais held of his
army before giving the word for marching away, and passed from rank to
rank speaking graciously to his late enemies.  The king and the count, on
separating, embraced one another, the count saying in a loud voice,
“Gentlemen, you and I are at the command of the king my sovereign lord,
who is here present, to serve him whensoever there shall be need.”

When the treaties of Conflans and St. Maur were put before the parliament
to be registered, the parliament at first refused, and the exchequer-
chamber followed suit; but the king insisted in the name of necessity,
and the registration took place, subject to a declaration on the part of
the parliament that it was forced to obey.  Louis, at bottom, was not
sorry for this resistance, and himself made a secret protest against the
treaties he had just signed.

At the outset of the negotiations it had been agreed that thirty-six
notables, twelve prelates, twelve knights, and twelve members of the
council, should assemble to inquire into the errors committed in the
government of the kingdom, and to apply remedies.  They were to meet on
the 15th of December, and to have terminated their labors in two months
at the least, and in three months and ten days at the most.  The king
promised on his word to abide firmly and stably by what they should
decree.  But this commission was nearly a year behind time in assembling,
and, even when it was assembled, its labors were so slow and so futile,
that the Count de Dampmartin was quite justified in writing to the Count
of Charolais, become by his father’s death Duke of Burgundy, “The League
of common weal has become nothing but the League of common woe.”

Scarcely were the treaties signed and the princes returned each to his
own dominions when a quarrel arose between the Duke of Brittany and the
new Duke of Normandy.  Louis, who was watching for dissensions between
his enemies, went at once to see the Duke of Brittany, and made with him
a private convention for mutual security.  Then, having his movements
free, he suddenly entered Normandy to retake possession of it as a
province which, notwithstanding the cession of it just made to his
brother, the King of France could not dispense with.  Evreux, Gisors,
Gournay, Louviers, and even Rouen fell, without much resistance, again
into his power.  The Duke of Berry made a vigorous appeal for support to
his late ally, the Duke of Burgundy, in order to remain master of the new
duchy which had been conferred upon him under the late treaties.  The
Count of Charolais was at that time taking up little by little the
government of the Burgundian dominions in the name of his father, the
aged Duke Philip, who was ill and near his end; but, by pleading his own
engagements, and especially his ever-renewed struggle with his Flemish
subjects, the Liegese, the count escaped from the necessity of satisfying
the Duke of Berry.

In order to be safe in the direction of Burgundy as well as that of
Brittany, Louis had entered into negotiations with Edward IV., King of
England, and had made him offers, perhaps even promises, which seemed to
trench upon the rights ceded by the treaty of Conflans to the Duke of
Burgundy, as to certain districts of Picardy.  The Count of Charolais was
informed of it; and in his impetuous wrath he wrote to King Louis,
dubbing him simply Sir, instead of giving him, according to the usage
between vassal and suzerain, the title of My most dread lord, “May it
please you to wit, that some time ago I was apprised of a matter at which
I cannot be too much astounded.  It is with great sorrow that I name it
to you, when I remember the fair expressions I have all through this year
had from you, both in writing and by word of mouth.  It is certain that
parley has been held between your people and those of the King of
England, that you have thought proper to assign to them the district of
Caux and the city of Rouen; that you have promised to obtain from them
Abbeville and the count-ship of Ponthieu, and that you have concluded
with them certain alliances against me and my country, whilst making them
large offers to my prejudice.  Of what is yours, sir, you may dispose
according to your pleasure; but it seems to me that you might do better
than wish to take from my hands what is mine, in order to give it to the
English or to any other foreign nation.  I pray you, therefore, sir, if
such overtures have been made by your people, to be pleased not to
consent thereto in any way, but to put a stop to the whole, to the end
that I may remain your most humble servant, as I desire to be.”

Louis returned no answer to this letter.  He contented him-self with
sending to the commission of thirty-six notables, then in session at
Etampes for the purpose of considering the reform of the kingdom, a
request to represent to the Count of Charolais the impropriety of such
language, and to appeal for the punishment of the persons who had
suggested it to him.  The count made some awkward excuses, at the same
time that he persisted in complaining of the king’s obstinate pretensions
and underhand ways.  A serious incident now happened, which for a while
distracted the attention of the two rivals from their mutual
recriminations.  Duke Philip the Good, who had for some time past been
visibly declining in body and mind, was visited at Bruges by a stroke of
apoplexy, soon discovered to be fatal.  His son, the Count of Charolais,
was at Ghent.  At the first whisper of danger he mounted his horse, and
without a moment’s halt arrived at Bruges on the 15th of June, 1467, and
ran to his father’s room, who had already lost speech and consciousness.
“Father, father,” cried the count, on his knees and sobbing, “give me
your blessing; and if I have offended you, forgive me.”  “My lord,” added
the Bishop of Bethlehem, the dying man’s confessor, “if you only hear us,
bear witness by some sign.”  The duke turned his eyes a little towards
his son, and seemed to feebly press his hand.  This was his last effort
of life; and in the evening, after some hours of passive agony, he died.
His son flung himself upon the bed: “He shrieked, he wept, he wrung his
hands,” says George Chatelain, one of the aged duke’s oldest and most
trusted servants, “and for many a long day tears were mingled with all
his words every time he spoke to those who had been in the service of the
dead, so much so that every one marvelled at his immeasurable grief; it
had never heretofore been thought that he could feel a quarter of the
sorrow he showed, for he was thought to have a sterner heart, whatever
cause there might have been; but nature overcame him.”  Nor was it to his
son alone that Duke Philip had been so good and left so many grounds for
sorrow.  “With you we lose,” was the saying amongst the crowd that
followed the procession through the streets, “with you we lose our good
old duke, the best, the gentlest, the friendliest of princes, our peace
and eke our joy!  Amidst such fearful storms you at last brought us out
into tranquillity and good order; you set justice on her seat and gave
free course to commerce.  And now you are dead, and we are orphans!”
 Many voices, it is said, added in a lower tone, “You leave us in hands
whereof the weight is unknown to us; we know not into what perils we may
be brought by the power that is to be over us, over us so accustomed to
yours, under which we, most of us, were born and grew up.”

What the people were anxiously forecasting, Louis foresaw with certainty,
and took his measures accordingly.  A few days after the death of Philip
the Good, several of the principal Flemish cities, Ghent first and then
Liege, rose against the new Duke of Burgundy in defence of their
liberties, already ignored or threatened.  The intrigues of Louis were
not unconnected with these solicitations.  He would undoubtedly have been
very glad to have seen his most formidable enemy beset, at the very
commencement of his ducal reign, by serious embarrassments, and obliged
to let the king of France settle without trouble his differences with his
brother Duke Charles of Berry, and with the Duke of Brittany.  But the
new Duke of Burgundy was speedily triumphant over the Flemish
insurrections; and after these successes, at the close of the year 1467,
he was so powerful and so unfettered in his movements, that Louis might,
with good reason, fear the formation of a fresh league amongst his great
neighbors in coalition against him, and perhaps even in communication
with the English, who were ever ready to seek in France allies for the
furtherance of their attempts to regain there the fortunes wrested from
them by Joan of Arc and Charles VII.  In view of such a position Louis
formed a resolution, unpalatable, no doubt, to one so jealous of his own
power, but indicative of intelligence and boldness; he confronted the
difficulties of home government in order to prevent perils from without.
The remembrance had not yet faded of the energy displayed and the
services rendered in the first part of Charles VII.’s reign by the
states-general; a wish was manifested for their resuscitation; and they
were spoken of, even in the popular doggerel, as the most effectual
remedy for the evils of the period.

“But what says Paris?”--“She is deaf and dumb.”

“Dares she not speak?”--“Nor she, nor parliament.”

“The clergy?”--“O! the clergy are kept mum.”

“Upon your oath?”--“Yes, on the sacrament.”

“The nobles, then?”--“The nobles are still worse.”

“And justice?”--“Hath nor balances nor weights.”

“Who, then, may hope to mitigate this curse?”

“Who? prithee, who?”--“Why, France’s three estates.”

“Be pleased, O prince, to grant alleviation .  .  .”

“To whom?”--“To the good citizen who waits .  .  .”

“For what?”--“The right of governing the nation .  .  .”

“Through whom? pray, whom?”--“Why, France’s three estates.”

In the face of the evil Louis felt no fear of the remedy.  He summoned
the states-general to a meeting at Tours on the 1st of April, 1468.
Twenty-eight lords in person, besides representatives of several others
who were unable to be there themselves, and a hundred and ninety-two
deputies elected by sixty-four towns, met in session.  The chancellor,
Juvenal des Ursins, explained, in presence of the king, the object of the
meeting: “It is to take cognizance of the differences which have arisen
between the king and Sir Charles, his brother, in respect of the duchy of
Normandy and the appanage of the said Sir Charles; likewise the great
excesses and encroachments which the Duke of Brittany hath committed
against the king by seizing his places and subjects, and making open war
upon him; and thirdly, the communication which is said to be kept up by
the Duke of Brittany with the English, in order to bring them down upon
this country, and hand over to them the places he doth hold in Normandy.
Whereupon we are of opinion that the people of the three estates should
give their good advice and council.”  After this official programme, the
king and his councillors withdrew.  The estates deliberated during seven
or eight sessions, and came to an agreement “without any opposition or
difficulty whatever, that as touching the duchy of Normandy it ought not
to and cannot be separated from the crown in any way whatsoever, but must
remain united, annexed, and conjoined thereto inseparably.  Further, any
arrangement of the Duke of Brittany with the English is a thing damnable,
pernicious, and of most evil consequences, and one which is not to be
permitted, suffered, or tolerated in any way.  Lastly, if Sir Charles,
the Duke of Brittany, or others, did make war on the king our sovereign
lord, or have any treaty or connection with his enemies, the king is
bound to proceed against them who should do so, according to what must be
done in such case for the tranquillity and security of the realm
.  .  .  .  And as often soever as the said cases may occur, the people
of the estates have agreed and consented, do agree and consent, that,
without waiting for other assemblage or congregation of the estates, the
king have power to do all that comports with order and justice; the said
estates promising and agreeing to serve and aid the king touching these
matters, to obey him with all their might, and to live and die with him
in this quarrel.”

Louis XI. himself could demand no more.  Had they been more experienced
and far-sighted, the states-general of 1468 would not have been disposed
to resign, even temporarily, into the hands of the kingship, their rights
and their part in the government of the country; but they showed
patriotism and good sense in defending the integrity of the kingdom,
national unity, and public order against the selfish ambition and
disorderly violence of feudalism.

Fortified by their burst of attachment, Louis, by the treaty of Ancenis,
signed on the 10th of September, 1468, put an end to his differences with
Francis II., Duke of Brittany, who gave up his alliance with the house of
Burgundy, and undertook to prevail upon Duke Charles of France to accept
an arbitration for the purpose of settling, before two years were over,
the question of his territorial appanage in the place of Normandy.  In
the meanwhile a pension of sixty thousand livres was to be paid by the
crown to that prince.  Thus Louis was left with the new duke, Charles of
Burgundy, as the only adversary he had to face.  His advisers were
divided as to the course to be taken with this formidable vassal.  Was he
to be dealt with by war or by negotiation?  Count de Dampmartin, Marshal
de Rouault, and nearly all the military men earnestly advised war.
“Leave it to us,” they said: “we will give the king a good account of
this Duke of Burgundy.  Plague upon it! what do these Burgundians mean?
They have called in the English and made alliance with them in order to
give us battle; they have handed over the country to fire and sword; they
have driven the king from his lordship.  We have suffered too much; we
must have revenge; down upon them, in the name of the devil, down upon
them.  The king makes a sheep of himself and bargains for his wool and
his skin, as if he had not wherewithal to defend himself.  ‘Sdeath! if
we were in his place, we would rather risk the whole kingdom than let
ourselves be treated in this fashion.”  But the king did not like to risk
the kingdom; and he had more confidence in negotiation than in war.  Two
of his principal advisers, the constable De St. Pol and the cardinal De
la Balue, Bishop of Evreux, were of his opinion, and urged him to the top
of his bent.  Of them he especially made use in his more or less secret
relations with the Duke of Burgundy; and he charged them to sound him
with respect to a personal interview between himself and the duke.  It
has been very well remarked by M. de Barante, in his _Histoire des Dues
de Bourgogne,_ that “Louis had a great idea of the influence he gained
over people by his wits and his language; he was always convinced that
people never said what ought to be said, and that they did not set to
work the right way.”  It was a certain way of pleasing him to give him
promise of a success which he would owe to himself alone; and the
constable and the cardinal did not fail to do so.  They found the Duke of
Burgundy very little disposed to accept the king’s overtures.  “By St.
George,” said he, “I ask nothing but what is just and reasonable; I
desire the fulfilment of the treaties of Arras and of Conflans to which
the king has sworn.  I make no war on him; it is he who is coming to make
it on me; but should he bring all the forces of his kingdom I will not
budge from here or recoil the length of my foot.  My predecessors have
seen themselves in worse plight, and have not been dismayed.”  Neither
the constable De St. Pol nor the cardinal De la Balue said anything to
the king about this rough disposition on the part of Duke Charles; they
both in their own personal interest desired the interview, and did not
care to bring to light anything that might be an obstacle to it.  Louis
persisted in his desire, and sent to ask the duke for a letter of
safe-conduct.  Charles wrote with his own hand, on the 8th of October,
1468, as follows:--

     “My lord, if it is your pleasure to come to this town of Peronne for
     to see us, I swear to you and promise you, by my faith and on my
     honor, that you may come, remain, sojourn, and go back safely to the
     places of Chauny and Noy on, at your pleasure, as many times as it
     may please you, freely and frankly, without any hinderance to you or
     to any of your folks from me or others in any case whatever and
     whatsoever may happen.”

[Illustration: Charles the Rash----203]

When this letter arrived at Noyon, extreme surprise and alarm were
displayed about Louis; the interview appeared to be a mad idea; the
vicegerent (vidam) of Amiens came hurrying up with a countryman who
declared on his life that mylord of Burgundy wished for it only to make
an attempt upon the king’s person; the king’s greatest enemies, it was
said, were already, or soon would be, with the duke; and the captains
vehemently reiterated their objections.  But Louis held to his purpose,
and started for Noyon on the 2d of October, taking with him the
constable, the cardinal, his confessor, and, for all his escort,
fourscore of his faithful Scots, and sixty men-at-arms.  This knowing
gossip, as his contemporaries called him, had fits of rashness and
audacious vanity.

Duke Charles went to meet him outside the town.  They embraced one
another, and returned on foot to Peronne, chatting familiarly, and the
king with his hand resting on the duke’s shoulder, in token of amity.
Louis had quarters at the house of the chamberlain of the town; the
castle of Peronne being, it was said, in too bad a state, and too ill
furnished, for his reception.  On the very day that the king entered
Peronne, the duke’s army, commanded by the Marshal of Burgundy, arrived
from the opposite side, and encamped beneath the walls.  Several former
servants of the king, now not on good terms with him, accompanied the
Burgundian army.  “As soon as the king was apprised of the arrival of
these folks,” says Commynes, “he had a great fright, and sent to beg of
the Duke of Burgundy that he might be lodged at the castle, seeing that
all those who had come were evil disposed towards him.  The duke was very
much rejoiced thereat, had him lodged there, and stoutly assured him that
he had no cause for doubt.”  Next day parleys began between the
councillors of the two princes.  They did not appear much disposed to
come to an understanding, and a little sourness of spirit was beginning
to show itself on both sides, when there came news which excited a grand
commotion.  “King Louis, on coming to Peronne, had not considered,” says
Commynes, “that he had sent two ambassadors to the folks of Liege to
excite them against the duke.  Nevertheless, the said ambassadors had
advanced matters so well that they had already made a great mass (of
rebels).  The Liegese came and took by surprise the town of Tongres,
wherein were the Bishop of Liege and the Lord of Humbercourt, whom they
took also, slaying, moreover, some servants of the said bishop.”  The
fugitives who reported this news at Peronne made the matter a great deal
worse than it was; they had no doubt, they said, but that the bishop and
Sire d’Humbercourt had also been murdered; and Charles had no more doubt
about it than they.  His fury was extreme; he strode to and fro,
everywhere relating the news from Liege.  “So the king,” said he, “came
here only to deceive me; it is he who, by his ambassadors, excited these
bad folks of Liege; but, by St. George, they shall be severely punished
for it, and he, himself, shall have cause to repent.”  He gave immediate
orders to have the gates of the town and of the castle closed and guarded
by the archers; but being a little troubled, nevertheless, as to the
effect which would be produced by this order, he gave as his reason for
it that he was quite determined to have recovered a box full of gold and
jewels which had been stolen from him.  “I verily believe,” says
Commynes, “that if just then the duke had found those whom he addressed
ready to encourage him, or advise him to do the king a bad turn, he would
have done it; but at that time I was still with the said duke; I served
him as chamberlain, and I slept in his room when I pleased, for such was
the usage of that house.  With me was there none at this speech of the
duke’s, save two grooms of the chamber, one called Charles de Visen, a
native of Dijon, an honest man, and one who had great credit with his
master; and we exasperated nought, but assuaged according to our power.”

Whilst Duke Charles was thus abandoning himself to the first outburst of
his wrath, King Louis remained impassive in the castle of Peronne, quite
close to the great tower, wherein, about the year 925, King Charles the
Simple had been confined by Herbert, Count of Vermandois, and died a
prisoner in 929.  None of Louis’s people had been removed from him; but
the gate of the castle was strictly guarded.  There was no entering.
on his service, but by the wicket, and none of the duke’s people came to
visit him; he had no occasion to parley, explain himself, and guess what
it was expedient for him to say or do; he was alone, wrestling with his
imagination and his lively impressions, with the feeling upon him of the
recent mistakes he had committed, especially in exciting the Liegese to
rebellion, and forgetting the fact just when he was coming to place
himself in his enemy’s hands.  Far, however, from losing his head, Louis
displayed in this perilous trial all the penetration, activity, and
shrewdness of his mind, together with all the suppleness of his
character; he sent by his own servants questions, offers, and promises to
all the duke’s servants from whom he could hope for any help or any good
advice.  Fifteen thousand golden crowns, with which he had provided
himself at starting, were given by him to be distributed amongst the
household of the Duke of Burgundy; a liberality which was perhaps
useless, since it is said that he to whom he had intrusted the sum kept a
good portion of it for himself.  The king passed two days in this state
of gloomy expectancy as to what was in preparation against him.

On the 11th of October, Duke Charles, having cooled down a little,
assembled his council.  The sitting lasted all the day and part of the
night.  Louis had sent to make an offer to swear a peace, such as, at the
moment of his arrival, had been proposed to him, without any reservation
or difficulty on his part.  He engaged to join the duke in making war
upon the Liegese and chastising them for their rebellion.  He would leave
as hostages his nearest relatives and his most intimate advisers.  At the
beginning of the council his proposals were not even listened to; there
was no talk but of keeping the king a prisoner, and sending after his
brother, the Prince Charles, with whom the entire government of the
kingdom should be arranged; the messenger had orders to be in readiness
to start at once; his horse was in the court-yard; he was only waiting
for the letters which the duke was writing to Brittany.  The chancellor
of Burgundy and some of the wiser councillors besought the duke to

The king had come to Peronne on the faith of his safe-conduct; it would
be an eternal dishonor for the house of Burgundy if he broke his word to
his sovereign lord; and the conditions which the king was prepared to
grant would put an end, with advantage to Burgundy, to serious and
difficult business.  The duke gave heed to these honest and prudent
counsels; the news from Liege turned out to be less serious than the
first rumors had represented; the bishop and Sire d’Humbercourt had been
set at liberty.  Charles retired to his chamber; and there, without
thinking of undressing, he walked to and fro with long strides, threw
himself upon his bed, got up again, and soliloquized out loud, addressing
himself occasionally to Commynes, who lay close by him.  Towards morning,
though he still showed signs of irritation, his language was less
threatening.  “He has promised me,” said he, “to come with me to
reinstate the Bishop of Liege, who is my brother-in-law, and a relation
of his also; he shall certainly come; I shall not scruple to hold him to
his word that he gave me;” and he at once sent Sires de Crequi, de
Charni, and de la Roche to tell the king that he was about to come and
swear peace with him.  Commynes had only just time to tell Louis in what
frame of mind the duke was, and in what danger he would place himself, if
he hesitated either to swear peace or to march against the Liegese.

As soon as it was broad day, the duke entered the apartment of the castle
where the king was a prisoner.  His look was courteous, but his voice
trembled with choler; his words were short and bitter, his manner was
threatening.  A little troubled at his aspect, Louis said, “Brother, I am
safe, am I not, in your house and your country?”  “Yes, sir,” answered
the duke, “so safe that if I saw an arrow from a bow coming towards you I
would throw myself in the way to protect you.  But will you not be
pleased to swear the treaty just as it is written?”  “Yes,” said the
king, “and I thank you for your good will.”  “And will you not be pleased
to come with me to Liege, to help me punish the treason committed against
me by these Lidgese, all through you and your journey hither?  The bishop
is your near relative, of the house of Bourbon.”  “Yes, Padues-Dieu,”
 replied Louis, “and I am much astounded at their wickedness.  But begin
we by swearing this treaty; and then I will start, with as many or as few
of my people as you please.”

Forthwith was taken out from the king’s boxes the wood of the so-called
true cross, which was named the cross of St. Laud, because it had been
preserved in the church of St. Laud, at Angers.  It was supposed to have
formerly belonged to Charlemagne; and it was the relic which Louis
regarded as the most sacred.  The treaty was immediately signed, without
any change being made in that of Conflans.  The Duke of Burgundy merely
engaged to use his influence with Prince Charles of France to induce him
to be content with Brie and Champagne as appanage.  The storm was
weathered; and Louis almost rejoiced at seeing himself called upon to
chastise in person the Liegese, who had made him commit such a mistake
and run such a risk.

Next day the two princes set out together, Charles with his army, and
Louis with his modest train increased by three hundred men-at-arms, whom
he had sent for from France.  On the 27th of October they arrived before
Liege.  Since Duke Charles’s late victories, the city had no longer any
ramparts or ditches; nothing seemed easier than to get into it; but the
besieged could not persuade themselves that Louis was sincerely allied
with the Duke of Burgundy, and they made a sortie, shouting, “Hurrah for
the king!  Hurrah for France!”  Great was their surprise when they saw
Louis advancing in person, wearing in his hat the cross of St. Andrew of
Burgundy, and shouting, “Hurrah for Burgundy!” Some even amongst the
French who surrounded the king were shocked; they could not reconcile
themselves to so little pride and such brazen falsehood.  Louis took no
heed of their temper, and never ceased to repeat, “When pride rides
before, shame and hurt follow close after.”  The surprise of the Liegese
was transformed into indignation.

[Illustration: Louis XI. and Charles the Rash at Peronne----209]

They made a more energetic and a longer resistance than had been
expected.  The besiegers, confident in their strength, kept careless
watch, and the sorties of the besieged became more numerous.  One night
Charles received notice that his men had just been attacked in a suburb
which they had held, and were flying.  He mounted his horse, gave orders
not to awake the king, repaired by himself to the place where the fight
was, put everything to rights, and came back and told the whole affair to
Louis, who exhibited great joy.  Another time, one dark and rainy night,
there was an alarm, about midnight, of a general attack upon the whole
Burgundian camp.  The duke was soon up, and a moment afterwards the king
arrived.  There was great disorder.  “The Liegese sallied by this gate,”
 said some; “No,” said others, “it was by that gate!” there was nothing
known for certain, and there were no orders given.  Charles was impetuous
and brave, but he was easily disconcerted, and his servants were somewhat
vexed not to see him putting a better countenance on things before the
king.  Louis, on the other hand, was cool and calm, giving commands
firmly, and ready to assume responsibility wherever he happened to be.
“Take what men you have,” said he to the constable St. Poi, who was at
his side, “and go in this direction; if they are really coming upon us,
they will pass that way.”  It was discovered to be a false alarm.  Two
days afterwards there was a more serious affair.  The inhabitants of a
canton which was close to the city, and was called Franchemont, resolved
to make a desperate effort, and go and fall suddenly upon the very spot
where the two princes were quartered.  One night, about ten P.  M., six
hundred men sallied out by one of the breaches, all men of stout hearts
and well armed.  The duke’s quarters were first attacked.  Only twelve
archers were on guard below, and they were playing at dice.  Charles was
in bed.  Commynes put on him, as quickly as possible, his breastplate and
helmet, and they went down stairs.  The archers were with great
difficulty defending the doorway, but help arrived, and the danger was
over.  The quarters of King Louis had also been attacked; but at the
first sound the Scottish archers had hurried up, surrounded their master,
and repulsed the attack, without caring whether their arrows killed
Liegese or such Burgundians as had come up with assistance.  The gallant
fellows from Franchemont fell, almost to a man.  The duke and his
principal captains held a council the next day; and the duke was for
delivering the assault.  The king was not present at this council, and
when he was informed of the resolution taken he was not in favor of an
assault.  “You see,” said he, “the courage of these people; you know how
murderous and uncertain is street fighting; you will lose many brave men
to no purpose.  Wait two or three days, and the Liegese will infallibly
come to terms.”  Nearly all the Burgundian captains sided with the king.
The duke got angry.  “He wishes to spare the Liegese,” said he; “what
danger is there in this assault?  There are no walls; they can’t put a
single gun in position; I certainly will not give up the assault; if the
king is afraid, let him get him gone to Namur.”  Such an insult shocked
even the Burgundians.  Louis was informed of it, but said nothing.  Next
day, the 30th of October, 1468, the assault was ordered; and the duke
marched at the head of his troops.  Up came the king; but, “Bide,” said
Charles; “put not yourself uselessly in danger; I will send you word when
it is time.”  “Lead on, brother,” replied Louis; “you are the most
fortunate prince alive; I will follow you.”  And he continued marching
with him.  But the assault was unnecessary.  Discouragement had taken
possession of the Liegese, the bravest of whom had fallen.  It was
Sunday, and the people who remained were not expecting an attack; “the
cloth was laid in every house, and all were preparing for dinner.”  The
Burgundians moved forward through the empty streets; and Louis marched
quietly along, surrounded by his own escort, and shouting, “Hurrah for
Burgundy!”  The duke turned back to meet him, and they went together to
give thanks to God in the cathedral of St.  Lambert.  It was the only
church which had escaped from the fury and the pillaging of the
Burgundians; by midday there was nothing left to take in the houses or in
the churches.  Louis loaded Duke Charles with felicitations and
commendations: “He knew how to turn them in a fashion so courteous and
amiable that the duke was charmed and softened.”  The next day, as they
were talking together, “Brother,” said the king to the duke, “if you
have still need of my help, do not spare me; but if you have nothing more
for me to do, it would be well for me to go back to Paris, to make public
in my court of parliament the arrangement we have come to together;
otherwise it would run a risk of becoming of no avail; you know that such
is the custom of France.  Next summer we must meet again; you will come
into your duchy of Burgundy, and I will go and pay you a visit, and we
will pass a week joyously together in making good cheer.”  Charles made
no answer, and sent for the treaty lately concluded between them at
Peronne, leaving it to the king’s choice to confirm or to renounce it,
and excusing himself in covert terms for having thus constrained him and
brought him away.  The king made a show of being satisfied with the
treaty, and on the 2d of November, 1468, the day but one after the
capture of Liege, set out for France.  The duke bore him company to
within half a league of the city.  As they were taking leave of one
another, the king said to him, “If, peradventure, my brother Charles, who
is in Brittany, should be discontented with the assignment I make him for
love of you, what would you have me do?”  “If he do not please to take
it,” answered the duke, “but would have you satisfy him, I leave it to
you two.”  Louis desired no more: he returned home free and confident in
himself, “after having passed the most trying three weeks of his life.”

But Louis XI.’s deliverance after his quasi-captivity at Peronne, and the
new treaty he had concluded with Duke Charles, were and could be only a
temporary break in the struggle between these two princes, destined as
they were, both by character and position, to irremediable
incompatibility.  They were too powerful and too different to live at
peace when they were such close neighbors, and when their relations were
so complicated.  We find in the chronicle of George Chastelain, a Flemish
burgher, and a servant on familiar terms with Duke Charles, as he had
been with his father, Duke Philip, a judicious picture of this
incompatibility and the causes of it.  “There had been,” he says, “at all
times a rancor between these two princes, and, whatever pacification
might have been effected to-day, everything returned to-morrow to the old
condition, and no real love could be established.  They suffered from
incompatibility of temperament and perpetual discordance of will; and the
more they advanced in years the deeper they plunged into a state of
serious difference and hopeless bitterness.  The king was a man of
subtlety and full of fence; he knew how to recoil for a better spring,
how to affect humility and gentleness in his deep designs, how to yield
and to give up in order to receive double, and how to bear and tolerate
for a time his own grievances in hopes of being able at last to have his
revenge.  He was, therefore, very much to be feared for his practical
knowledge, showing the greatest skill and penetration in the world.  Duke
Charles was to be feared for his great courage, which he evinced and
displayed in his actions, making no account of king or emperor.  Thus,
whilst the king had great sense and great ability, which he used with
dissimulation and suppleness in order to succeed in his views, the duke,
on his side, had a great sense of another sort and to another purpose,
which he displayed by a public ostentation of his pride, without any fear
of putting himself in a false position.”  Between 1468 and 1477, from the
incident at Peronne to the death of Charles at the siege of Nancy, the
history of the two princes was nothing but one constant alternation
between ruptures and re-adjustments, hostilities and truces, wherein both
were constantly changing their posture, their language, and their allies.
It was at one time the affairs of the Duke of Brittany or those of Prince
Charles of France, become Duke of Guienne; at another it was the
relations with the different claimants to the throne of England, or the
fate of the towns, in Picardy, handed over to the Duke of Burgundy by the
treaties of Conflans and Peronne, which served as a ground or pretext for
the frequent recurrences of war.  In 1471 St. Quentin opened its gates to
Count Louis of St. Poi, constable of France; and Duke Charles complained
with threats about it to the Count of Dampmartin, who was in commend, on
that frontier, of Louis XI.’s army, and had a good understanding with the
constable.  Dampmartin, “one of the bravest men of his time,” says Duclos
[Histoire de Louis XI in the (Enures completes of Duclos, t. ii. p. 429),
“sincere and faithful, a warm friend and an implacable foe, at once
replied to the duke, ‘Most high and puissant prince, I suppose your
letters to have been dictated by your council and highest clerics, who
are folks better at letter-making than I am, for I have not lived by
quill-driving.  .  .  .  If I write you matter that displeases you, and
you have a desire to revenge yourself upon me, you shall find me so near
to your army that you will know how little fear I have of you.  .  .  .
Be assured that if it be your will to go on long making war upon the
king, it will at last be found out by all the world that as a soldier you
have mistaken your calling.”  The next year (1472) war broke out.  Duke
Charles went and laid siege to Beauvais, and on the 27th of June
delivered the first assault.  The inhabitants were at this moment left
almost alone to defend their town.  A young girl of eighteen, Joan
Fourquet, whom a burgher’s wife of Beauvais, Madame Laisne, her mother by
adoption, had bred up in the history, still so recent, of Joan of Arc,
threw herself into the midst of the throng, holding up her little axe
(hachette) before the image of St. Angadresme, patroness of the town, and
crying, “O glorious virgin, come to my aid; to arms! to arms!”  The
assault was repulsed; re-enforcements came up from Noyon, Amiens, and
Paris, under the orders of the Marshal de Rouault; and the mayor of
Beauvais presented Joan to him.  “Sir,” said the young girl to him, “you
have everywhere been victor, and you will be so with us.”  On the 9th of
July the Duke of Burgundy delivered a second assault, which lasted four
hours.  Some Burgundians had escaladed a part of the ramparts; Joan
Hachette arrived there just as one of them was planting his flag on the
spot; she pushed him over the side into the ditch, and went down in
pursuit of him; the man fell on one knee; Joan struck him down, took
possession of the flag, and mounted up to the ramparts again, crying,
“Victory!”  The same cry resounded at all points of the wall; the assault
was everywhere repulsed.  The vexation of Charles was great; the day
before he had been almost alone in advocating the assault; in the
evening, as he lay on his camp-bed, according to his custom, he had asked
several of his people whether they thought the townsmen were prepared for
it.  “Yes, certainly,” was the answer; “there are a great number of
them.”  “You will not find a soul there to-morrow,” said Charles with a
sneer.  He remained for twelve days longer before the place, looking for
a better chance; but on the 12th of July he decided upon raising the
siege, and took the road to Normandy.  Some days before attacking
Beauvais, he had taken, not without difficulty, Nesle in the Vermandois.
“There it was,” says Commynes, “that he first committed a horrible and
wicked deed of war, which had never been his wont; this was burning
everything everywhere; those who were taken alive were hanged; a pretty
large number had their hands cut off.  It mislikes me to speak of such
cruelty; but I was on the spot, and must needs say something about it.”
 Commynes undoubtedly said something about it to Charles himself, who
answered, “It is the fruit borne by the tree of war; it would have been
the fate of Beauvais if I could have taken the town.”

Between the two rivals in France, relations with England were a subject
of constant manoeuvring and strife.  In spite of reverses on the
Continent and civil wars in their own island, the Kings of England had
not abandoned their claims to the crown of France; they were still in
possession of Calais; and the memory of the battles of Crecy, Poitiers,
and Agincourt was still a tower of strength to them.  Between 1470 and
1472 the house of York had triumphed over the house of Lancaster; and
Edward IV. was undisputed king.  In his views touching France he found a
natural ally in the Duke of Burgundy; and it was in concert with Charles
that Edward was incessantly concocting and attempting plots and campaigns
against Louis XI.  In 1474 he, by a herald, called upon Louis to give up
to him Normandy and Guienne, else, he told him, he would cross over to
France with his army.  “Tell your master,” answered Louis coolly, “that I
should not advise him to.”  Next year the herald returned to tell Louis
that the King of England, on the point of embarking, called upon him to
give up to him the kingdom of France.  Louis had a conversation with the
herald.  “Your king,” said he, “is undertaking this war against his own
grain at the solicitation of the Duke of Burgundy; he would do much
better to live in peace with me, instead of devoting himself to allies
who cannot but compromise him without doing him any service;” and he had
three hundred golden crowns presented to the herald, with a promise of
considerably more if peace were made.  The herald, thus won over,
promised, in his turn, to do all he could, saying that he believed that
his master would lend a willing ear, but that, before mentioning the
subject, they must wait until Edward had crossed the sea and formed some
idea of the difficulties in the way of his enterprise; and he advised
Louis to establish communications with my lord Howard and my lord
Stanley, who had great influence with King Edward.  “Whilst the king was
parleying with the said herald, there were many folks in the hall,” says
Commynes, “who were waiting, and had great longing to know what the king
was saying to him, and what countenance he would wear when he came from
within.  The king, when he had made an end, called me and told me to keep
the said herald talking, so that none might speak to him, and to have
delivered unto him a piece of crimson velvet containing thirty ells.  So
did I, and the king was right joyous at that which he had got out of the
said herald.”

[Illustration: Philip de Commynes----217]

It was now three years since Philip de Commynes had left the Duke of
Burgundy’s service to enter that of Louis XI.  In 1471 Charles had, none
knows why, rashly authorized an interview between Louis and De Commynes.
“The king’s speech,” says the chronicler Molinet, in the Duke of
Burgundy’s service, “was so sweet and full of virtue that it entranced,
siren-like, all those who gave ear to it.”  “Of all princes,” says
Commynes himself, “he was the one who was at most pains to gain over a
man who was able to serve him, and able to injure him; and he was not put
out at being refused once by one whom he was working to gain over, but
continued thereat, making him large promises, and actually giving money
and estate when he made acquaintances that were pleasing to him.”
 Commynes spoke according to his own experience.  Louis, from the moment
of making his acquaintance, had guessed his value; and as early as 1468,
in the course of his disagreeable adventure at Peronne, he had found the
good offices of Commynes of great service to him.  It was probably from
this very time that he applied himself assiduously to the task of gaining
him over.  Commynes hesitated a long while; but Louis was even more
perseveringly persistent than Commynes was hesitating.  The king backed
up his handsome offers by substantial and present gifts.  In 1471,
according to what appears, he lent Commynes six thousand livres of Tours,
which the Duke of Burgundy’s councillor lodged with a banker at Tours.
The next year, the king, seeing that Commynes was still slow to decide,
bade one of his councillors to go to Tours, in his name, and seize at the
banker’s the six thousand livres intrusted to the latter by Commynes.
“This,” says the learned editor of the last edition of Commynes’
Memoires, “was an able and decisive blow.  The effect of the seizure
could not but be, and indeed was, to put Commynes in the awkward dilemma
of seeing his practices (as the saying was at that time) divulged without
reaping the fruit of them, or of securing the advantages only by setting
aside the scruples which held him back.  He chose the latter course,
which had become the safer; and during the night between the 7th and 8th
of August, 1472, he left Burgundy forever.  The king was at that time at
Ponts-de-Ce, and there his new servant joined him.”  The very day of his
departure, at six A. M., Duke Charles had a seizure made of all the goods
and all the rights belonging to the fugitive; “but what Commynes lost on
one side,” says his editor, “he was about to recover a hundred fold on
the other; scarcely had he arrived at the court of Louis XI. when he
received at once the title of councillor and chamberlain to the king;
soon afterwards a pension of six thousand livres of Tours was secured to
him, by way of giving him wherewithal to honorably maintain his position;
he was put into the place of captain of the castle and keep of the town
of Chinon; and lastly, a present was made to him of the rich principality
of Talmont.”  Six months later, in January, 1473, Commynes married Helen
de Chambes, daughter of the lord of Montsoreau, who brought him as dowry
twenty-seven thousand five hundred livres of Tours, which enabled him to
purchase the castle, town, barony, land, and lordship of Argenton
[arrondissement of Bressuire, department of Deux-Sevres], the title of
which he thenceforward assumed.

Half a page or so can hardly be thought too much space to devote in a
History of France to the task of tracing to their origin the conduct and
fortunes of one of the most eminent French politicians, who, after having
taken a chief part in the affairs of their country and their epoch, have
dedicated themselves to the work of narrating them in a spirit of liberal
and admirable comprehension both of persons and events.  But we will
return to Louis XI.

The King of England readily entertained the overtures announced to him by
his herald.  He had landed at Calais on the 22d of June, 1475, with an
army of from sixteen to eighteen thousand men thirsting for conquest and
pillage in France, and the Duke of Burgundy had promised to go and join
him with a considerable force; but the latter, after having appeared for
a moment at Calais to concert measures with his ally, returned no more,
and even hesitated about admitting the English into his towns of Artois
and Picardy.  Edward waited for him nearly two months at Peronne, but in
vain.  During this time Louis continued his attempts at negotiation.  He
fixed his quarters at Amiens, and Edward came and encamped half a league
from the town.  The king sent to him, it is said, three hundred wagons
laden with the best wines he could find, “the which train,” says
Commynes, “was almost an army as big as the English;” at the entrance of
the gate of Amiens Louis had caused to be set out two large tables
“laden with all sorts of good eatables and good wines; and at each of
these two tables he had caused to be seated five or six men of good
family, stout and fat, to make better sport for them who had a mind to
drink.  When the English went into the town, wherever they put up they
had nothing to pay; there were nine or ten taverns, well supplied,
whither they went to eat and drink, and asked for what they pleased.  And
this lasted three or four days.”  An agreement was soon come to as to the
terms of peace.  King Edward bound himself to withdraw with his army to
England so soon as Louis XI. should have paid him seventy-five thousand
crowns.  Louis promised besides to pay annually to King Edward fifty
thousand crowns, in two payments, during the time that both princes were
alive.  A truce for seven years was concluded; they made mutual promises
to lend each other aid if they were attacked by their enemies or by their
own subjects in rebellion; and Prince Charles, the eldest son of Louis
XI., was to marry Elizabeth, Edward’s daughter, when both should be of
marriageable age.  Lastly, Queen Margaret of Anjou, who had been a
prisoner in England since the death of her husband, Henry VI., was to be
set at liberty, and removed to France, on renouncing all claim to the
crown of England.  These conditions having been formulated, it was agreed
that the two kings should meet and sign them at Pecquigny, on the Somme,
three leagues from Amiens.  Thither, accordingly, they repaired, on the
29th of August, 1475.  Edward, as he drew near, doffed “his bonnet of
black velvet, whereon was a large fleur-de-lis in jewels, and bowed down
to within half a foot of the ground.”  Louis made an equally deep
reverence, saying, “Sir my cousin, right welcome; there is no man in the
world I could more desire to see than I do you, and praised be God that
we are here assembled with such good intent.”  The King of England
answered this speech “in good French enough,” says Commynes.  The missal
was brought; the two kings swore and signed four distinct treaties; and
then they engaged in a long private conversation, after which Louis went
away to Amiens and Edward to his army, whither Louis sent to him “all
that he had need of, even to torches and candles.”  As he went chatting
along the road with Commynes, Louis told him that he had found the King
of England so desirous of paying a visit to Paris that he had been
anything but pleased.  “He is a right handsome king,” said he: “he is
very fond of women; and he might well meet at Paris some smitten one who
would know how to make him such pretty speeches as to render him desirous
of another visit.  His predecessors were far too much in Normandy and
Paris; his comradeship is worth nothing on our side of the sea; on the
other side, over yonder, I should like very well to have him for good
brother and good friend.”  Throughout the whole course of the negotiation
Louis had shown pliancy and magnificence; he had laden Edward’s chief
courtiers with presents; two thousand crowns by way of pension had been
allowed to his grand chamberlain, Lord Hastings, who would not give an
acknowledgment.  “This gift comes of the king your master’s good pleasure,
and not at my request,” said he to Louis’s steward; “if you would have me
take it, you shall slip it here inside my sleeve, and have no letter or
voucher beyond; I do not wish to have people saying, ‘The grand
chamberlain of England was the King of France’s pensioner,’ or to have my
acknowledgments found in his exchequer-chamber.”  Lord Hastings had not
always been so scrupulous, for, on the 15th of May, 1471, he had received
from the Duke of Burgundy a pension for which he had given an
acknowledgment.  Another Englishman, whose name is not given by Commynes,
waxed wroth at hearing some one say, “Six hundred pipes of wine and a
pension given you by the king soon sent you back to England.”  “That is
certainly what everybody said,” answered the Englishman, “that you might
have the laugh against us.  But call you the money the king gives us
pension?  Why, it is tribute; and, by St. George, you may perhaps talk so
much about it as to bring us down upon you again!”  “There was nothing in
the world,” says Commynes, “of which the king was more fearful than lest
any word should escape him to make the English think that they were being
derided; at the same time that he was laboring to gain them over, he was
careful to humor their susceptibilities;” and Commynes, under his
schooling, had learned to understand them well: “They are rather slow
goers,” says he, “but you must have a little patience with them, and not
lose your temper.  .  .  .  I fancy that to many it might appear that the
king abased himself too much; but the wise might well hold that the
kingdom was in great danger, save for the intervention of God, who did
dispose the king’s mind to choose so wise a course, and did greatly
trouble that of the Duke of Burgundy.  .  .  .  Our king knew well the
nature of the King of England, who was very fond of his ease and his
pleasures: when he had concluded these treaties with him, he ordered that
the money should be found with the greatest expedition, and every one had
to lend somewhat to help to supply it on the spot.  The king said that
there was nothing in the world he would not do to thrust the King of
England out of the realm, save only that he would never consent that the
English should have a bit of territory there; and, rather than suffer
that, he would put everything to jeopardy and risk.”

Commynes had good reason to say that the kingdom was in great peril.  The
intentions of Charles the Rash tended to nothing short of bringing back
the English into France, in order to share it with them.  He made no
concealment of it.  “I am so fond of the kingdom,” said he, “that I would
make six of it in France.”  He was passionately eager for the title of
king.  He had put out feelers for it in the direction of Germany, and the
emperor, Frederic III., had promised it to him together with that of
vicar-general of the empire, on condition that his daughter, Mary of
Burgundy, married Duke Maximilian, Frederic’s son.  Having been
unsuccessful on the Rhine, Charles turned once more towards the Thames,
and made alliance with Edward IV., King of England, with a view of
renewing the English invasion of France, flattering himself, of course,
that he would profit by it.  To destroy the work of Joan of Arc and
Charles VII.--such was the design, a criminal and a shameful one for a
French prince, which was checkmated by the peace of Peequigny.  Charles
himself acknowledged as much when, in his wrath at this treaty, he said,
“He had not sought to bring over the English into France for any need he
had of them, but to enable them to recover what belonged to them;” and
Louis XI. was a patriotic king when he declared that “there was nothing
in the world he would not do to thrust the King of England out of the
realm, and, rather than suffer the English to have a bit of territory in
France, he would put everything to jeopardy and risk.”

The Duke of Burgundy, as soon as he found out that the King of France
had, under the name of truce, made peace for seven years with the King of
England, and that Edward IV. had recrossed the Channel with his army, saw
that his attempts, so far, were a failure.  Accordingly he too lost no
time in signing [on the 13th of September, 1475] a truce with King Louis
for nine years, and directing his ambition and aiming his blows against
other quarters than Western France.  Two little states, his neighbors on
the east, Lorraine and Switzerland, became the object and the theatre of
his passion for war.  Lorraine had at that time for its duke Rene II., of
the house of Anjou through his mother Yolande, a young prince who was
wavering, as so many others were, between France and Burgundy.  Charles
suddenly entered Lorraine, took possession of several castles, had the
inhabitants who resisted hanged, besieged Nancy, which made a valiant
defence, and ended by conquering the capital as well as the
country-places, leaving Duke Rene no asylum but the court of Louis XI.,
of whom the Lorraine prince had begged a support, which Louis, after his
custom, had promised without rendering it effectual.  Charles did not
stop there.  He had already been more than once engaged in hostilities
with his neighbors the Swiss; and he now learned that they had just made
a sanguinary raid upon the district of Vaud, the domain of a petty prince
of the house of Savoy, and a devoted servant of the Duke of Burgundy.
Scarcely two months after the capture of Nancy, Charles set out, on the
11th of June, 1476, to go and avenge his client, and wreak his haughty
and turbulent humor upon these bold peasants of the Alps.

In spite of the truce he had but lately concluded with Charles the Rash,
the prudent Louis did not cease to keep an attentive watch upon him, and
to reap advantage, against him, from the leisure secured to the King of
France by his peace with the King of England and the Duke of Brittany.  A
late occurrence had still further strengthened his position: his brother
Charles, who became Duke of Guienne, in 1469, after the treaty of
Peronne, had died on the 24th of May, 1472.  There were sinister rumors
abroad touching his death.  Louis was suspected, and even accused to the
Duke of Brittany, an intimate friend of the deceased prince, of having
poisoned his brother.  He caused an inquiry to be instituted into the
matter; but the inquiry itself was accused of being incomplete and
inconclusive.  “King Louis did not, possibly, cause his brother’s death,”
 says M. de Barante, “but nobody thought him incapable of it.”  The will
which Prince Charles had dictated a little before his death increased the
horror inspired by such a suspicion.  He manifested in it a feeling of
affection and confidence towards the king his brother; he requested him
to treat his servants kindly; “and if in any way,” he added, “we have ever
offended our right dread and right well-beloved brother, we do beg him to
be pleased to forgive us; since, for our part, if ever in any matter he
hath offended us, we do affectionately pray the Divine Majesty to forgive
him, and with good courage and good will do we on our part forgive him.”
 The Duke of Guienne at the same time appointed the king executor of his
will.  If we acknowledge, however, that Louis was not incapable of such a
crime, it must be admitted that there is no trust-worthy proof of his
guilt.  At any rate his brother’s death had important results for him.
Not only did it set him free from all fresh embarrassment in that
direction, but it also restored to him the beautiful province of Guienne,
and many a royal client.  He treated the friends of Prince Charles,
whether they had or had not been heretofore his own, with marked
attention.  He re-established at Bordeaux the parliament he had removed
to Poitiers; he pardoned the towns of Pdzenas and Montignac for some late
seditions; and, lastly, he took advantage of this incident to pacify and
satisfy this portion of the kingdom.  Of the great feudal chieftains who,
in 1464, had formed against him the League of the common weal, the Duke
of Burgundy was the only one left on the scene, and in a condition to put
him in peril.

But though here was for the future his only real adversary, Louis XI.
continued, and with reason, to regard the Duke of Burgundy as his most
formidable foe, and never ceased to look about for means and allies
wherewith to encounter him.  He could no longer count upon the
co-operation, more or less general, of the Flemings.  His behavior to the
Liegese after the incident at Peronne, and his share in the disaster
which befell Liege, had lost him all his credit in the Flemish cities.
The Flemings, besides, had been disheartened and disgusted at the idea of
compromising themselves for or against their Burgundian prince.  When
they saw him entering upon the campaign in Lorraine and Switzerland, they
themselves declared to him what he might or might not expect from them.
“If he were pressed,” they said, “by the Germans or the Swiss, and had
not with him enough men to make his way back freely to his own borders,
he had only to let them know, and they would expose their persons and
their property to go after him and fetch him back safely within his said
borders, but as for making war again at his instance, they were not free
to aid him any more with either men or money.”  Louis XI., then, had
nothing to expect from the Flemings any more; but for two years past, and
so soon as he observed the commencement of hostilities between the Duke
of Burgundy and the Swiss, he had paved the way for other alliances in
that quarter.  In 1473 he had sent “to the most high and mighty lords and
most dear friends of ours, them of the league and city of Berne and of
the great and little league of Germany, ambassadors charged to make
proposals to them, if they would come to an understanding to be friends
of friends and foes of foes” (make an offensive and defensive alliance).
The proposal was brought before the diet of the cantons assembled at
Lucerne.  The King of France “regretted that the Duke of Burgundy would
not leave the Swiss in peace; he promised that his advice and support,
whether in men or in money, should not be wanting to them; he offered to
each canton an annual friendly donation of two thousand livres; and he
engaged not to summon their valiant warriors to take service save in case
of pressing need, and unless Switzerland were herself at war.”  The
question was discussed with animation; the cantons were divided; some
would have nothing to do with either the alliance or the money of Louis
XI., of whom they spoke with great distrust and antipathy; others
insisted upon the importance of being supported by the King of France in
their quarrels with the Duke of Burgundy, and scornfully repudiated the
fear that the influence and money of Louis would bring a taint upon the
independence and the good morals of their country.  The latter opinion
carried the day; and, on the 2d of October, 1474, conformably with a
treaty concluded, on the 10th of the previous January, between the King
of France and the league of Swiss cantons, the canton of Berne made to
the French legation the following announcement: “If, in the future, the
said lords of the league asked help from the King of France against the
Duke of Burgundy, and if the said lord king, being engaged in his own
wars, could not help them with men, in this case he should cause to be
lodged and handed over to them, in the city of Lyons, twenty thousand
Rhenish florins every quarter of a year, as long as the war actually
continued; and we, on our part, do promise, on our faith and honor, that
every time and however many times the said lord king shall ask help from
the said lords of the league, we will take care that they do help him and
aid him with six thousand men in his wars and expeditions, according to
the tenor of the late alliance and union made between them, howbeit on

A Bernese messenger carried this announcement to the Burgundian camp
before the fortress of Neuss, and delivered it into the hands of Duke
Charles himself, whose only remark, as he ground his teeth, was, “Ah!
Berne! Berne!”  At the be-ginning of January, 1476, he left Nancy, of
which he had recently gained possession, returned to Besancon, and
started thence on the 6th of February to take the field with an army
amounting, it is said, to thirty or forty thousand men, provided with a
powerful artillery and accompanied by an immense baggage-train, wherein
Charles delighted to display his riches and magnificence in contrast with
the simplicity and roughness of his personal habits.  At the rumor of
such an armament the Swiss attempted to keep off the war from their
country.  “I have heard tell,” says Commynes, “by a knight of theirs, who
had been sent by them to the said duke, that he told him that against
them he could gain nothing, for that their country was very barren and
poor; that there were no good prisoners to make, and that the spurs and
the horses’ bits in his own army were worth more money than all the
people of their territory could pay in ransom even if they were taken.”
 Charles, however, gave no heed, saw nothing in their representations but
an additional reason for hurrying on his movements with confidence, and
on the 19th of February arrived before Granson, a little town in the
district of Vaud, where war had already begun.

Louis XI. watched all these incidents closely, keeping agents everywhere,
treating secretly with everybody, with the Duke of Burgundy as well as
with the Swiss, knowing perfectly well what he wanted, but holding
himself ready to face anything, no matter what the event might be.  When
he saw that the crisis was coming, he started from Tours and went to take
up his quarters at Lyons, close to the theatre of war and within an easy
distance for speedy information and prompt action.  Scarcely had he
arrived, on the 4th of March, when he learned that, on the day but one
before, Duke Charles had been tremendously beaten by the Swiss at
Granson; the squadrons of his chivalry had not been able to make any
impression upon the battalions of Berne, Schwitz, Soleure, and Fribourg,
armed with pikes eighteen feet long; and at sight of the mountaineers
marching with huge strides and lowered heads upon their foes and
heralding their advance by the lowings of the bull of Uri and the cow of
Unterwalden, two enormous instruments made of buffalo-horn, and given, it
was said, to their ancestors by Charlemagne, the whole Burgundian army,
seized with panic, had dispersed in all directions, “like smoke before
the northern blast.”  Charles himself had been forced to fly with only
five horsemen, it is said, for escort, leaving all his camp, artillery,
treasure, oratory, jewels, down to his very cap garnished with precious
stones and his collar of the Golden Fleece, in the hands of the “poor
Swiss,” astounded at their booty and having no suspicion of its value.
“They sold the silver plate for a few pence, taking it for pewter,” says
M. de Barante.  Those magnificent silks and velvets, that cloth of gold
and damask, that Flanders lace, and those carpets from Arras which were
found heaped up in chests, were cut in pieces and distributed by the ell,
like common canvas in a village shop.  The duke’s large diamond which he
wore round his neck, and which had once upon a time glittered in the
crown of the Great Mogul, was found on the road, inside a little box set
with fine pearls.  The man who picked it up kept the box and threw away
the diamond as a mere bit of glass.  Afterwards he thought better of it;
went to look for the stone, found it under a wagon, and sold it for a
crown to a clergyman of the neighborhood.  “There was nothing saved but
the bare life,” says Commynes.

That even the bare life was saved was a source of sorrow to Louis XI.
in the very midst of his joy at the defeat.  He was, nevertheless, most
proper in his behavior and language towards Duke Charles, who sent to him
Sire de Contay “with humble and gracious words, which was contrary to his
nature and his custom,” says Commynes; “but see how an hour’s time
changed him; he prayed the king to be pleased to observe loyally the
truce concluded between them, he excused himself for not having appeared
at the interview which was to have taken place at Auxerre, and he bound
himself to be present, shortly, either there or elsewhere, according to
the king’s good pleasure.”  Louis promised him all he asked, “for,” adds
Commynes, “it did not seem to him time, as yet, to do other-wise;” and he
gave the duke the good advice “to return home and bide there quietly,
rather than go on stubbornly warring with yon folks of the Alps, so poor
that there was nought to gain by taking their lands, but valiant and
obstinate in battle.”  Louis might give this advice fearlessly, being
quite certain that Charles would not follow it.  The latter’s defeat at
Granson had thrown him into a state of gloomy irritation.  At Lausanne,
where he staid for some time, he had “a great sickness, proceeding,” says
Commynes, “from grief and sadness on account of this shame that he had
suffered; and, to tell the truth, I think that never since was his
understanding so good as it had been before this battle.”  Before he fell
ill, on the 12th of March, Charles issued orders from his camp before
Lausanne to his lieutenant at Luxembourg to put under arrest “and visit
with the extreme penalty of death, without waiting for other command from
us, all the men-at-arms, archers, cross-bowmen, infantry, or other
soldiery” who had fled or dispersed after the disaster at Granson; “and
as to those who be newly coming into our service it is ordered by us that
they, on pain of the same punishment, do march towards us with all
diligence; and if they make any delay, our pleasure is that you proceed
against them in the manner hereinabove declared without fail in any way.”
 With such fiery and ruthless energy Charles collected a fresh army,
having a strength, it is said, of from twenty-five to thirty thousand
men, Burgundians, Flemings, Italians, and English; and after having
reviewed it on the platform above Lausanne, he set out on the 27th of
May, 1476, and pitched his camp on the 10th of June before the little
town of Morat, six leagues from Berne, giving notice everywhere that it
was war to the death that he intended.  The Swiss were expecting it, and
were prepared for it.  The energy of pride was going to be pitted against
the energy of patriotism.  “The Duke of Burgundy is here with all his
forces, his Italian mercenaries and some traitors of Germans,” said the
letter written to the Bernese by the governor of Morat, Adrian of
Bubenberg; “the gentlemen of the magistracy, of the council, and of the
burgherhood may be free from fear and hurry, and may set at rest the
minds of all our confederates: I will defend Morat;” and he swore to the
garrison and the inhabitants that he would put to death the first who
should speak of surrender.  Morat had been for ten days holding out
against the whole army of the Burgundians; the confederate Swiss were
arriving successively at Berne; and the men of Zurich alone were late.
Their fellow-countryman, Hans Waldmann, wrote to them, “We positively
must give battle or we are lost, every one of us.  The Burgundians are
three times more numerous than they were at Granson, but we shall manage
to pull through.  With God’s help great honor awaits us.  Do not fail to
come as quickly as possible.”  On the 21st of June, in the evening, the
Zurichers arrived.  “Ha!” the duke was just saying, “have these hounds
lost heart, pray?  I was told that we were about to get at them.”  Next
day, the 22d of June, after a pelting rain and with the first gleams of
the returning sun, the Swiss attacked the Burgundian camp.  A man-at-arms
came and told the duke, who would not believe it, and dismissed the
messenger with a coarse insult, but hurried, nevertheless, to the point
of attack.  The battle was desperate; but before the close of the day it
was hopelessly lost by the Burgundians.  Charles had still three thousand
horse, but he saw them break up, and he himself had great difficulty in
getting away, with merely a dozen men behind him, and reaching Merges,
twelve leagues from Morat.  Eight or ten thousand of his men had fallen,
more than half, it is said, killed in cold blood after the fight.  Never
had the Swiss been so dead set against their foes; and “as cruel as at
Morat” was for a long while a common expression.

“The king,” says Commynes, “always willingly gave somewhat to him who was
the first to bring him some great news, without forgetting the messenger,
and he took pleasure in speaking thereof before the news came, saying, ‘I
will give so much to him who first brings me such and such news.’  My
lord of Bouchage and I (being together) had the first message about the
battle of Morat, and told it both together to the king, who gave each of
us two hundred marks of silver.”  Next day Louis, as prudent in the hour
of joy as of reverse, wrote to Count de Dampmartin, who was in command of
his troops concentrated at Senlis, with orders to hold himself in
readiness for any event, but still carefully observe the truce with the
Duke of Burgundy.  Charles at that time was thinking but little of Louis
and their truce; driven to despair by the disaster at Morat, but more
dead set than ever on the struggle, he repaired from Morges to Gex, and
from Gex to Salins, and summoned successively, in July and August, at
Salins, at Dijon, at Brussels, and at Luxembourg the estates of his
various domains, making to all of them an appeal, at the same time
supplicatory and imperious, calling upon them for a fresh army with which
to recommence the war with the Swiss, and fresh subsidies with which to
pay it.  “If ever,” said he, “you have desired to serve us and do us
pleasure, see to doing and accomplishing all that is bidden you; make no
default in anything whatsoever, and he henceforth in dread of the
punishments which may ensue.”  But there was everywhere a feeling of
disgust with the service of Duke Charles; there was no more desire of
serving him and no more fear of disobeying him; he encountered almost
everywhere nothing but objections, complaints, and refusals, or else a
silence and an inactivity which were still worse.  Indignant, dismayed,
and dumbfounded at such desertion, Charles retired to his castle of La
Riviere, between Pontarlier and Joux, and shut himself up there for more
than six weeks, without, however, giving up the attempt to collect
soldiers.  “Howbeit,” says Commynes, “he made but little of it; he kept
himself quite solitary, and he seemed to do it from sheer obstinacy more
than anything else.  His natural heat was so great that he used to drink
no wine, generally took barley-water in the morning and ate preserved
rose-leaves to keep himself cool; but sorrow changed his complexion so
much that he was obliged to drink good strong wine without water, and, to
bring the blood back to his heart, burning tow was put into cupping-
glasses, and they were applied thus heated to the region of the heart.
Such are the passions of those who have never felt adversity, especially
of proud princes who know not how to discover any remedy.  The first
refuge, in such a case, is to have recourse to God, to consider whether
one have offended Him in aught, and to confess one’s misdeeds.  After
that, what does great good is to converse with some friend, and not be
ashamed to show one’s grief before him, for that lightens and comforts
the heart; and not at any rate to take the course the duke took of
concealing himself and keeping himself solitary; he was so terrible to
his own folks that none durst come forward to give him any comfort or
counsel; but all left him to do as he pleased, feeling that, if they made
him any remonstrance, it would be the worse for them.”

But events take no account of the fears and weaknesses of men.  Charles
learned before long that the Swiss were not his most threatening foes,
and that he had something else to do instead of going after them amongst
their mountains.  During his two campaigns against them, the Duke of
Lorraine, Rend II., whom he had despoiled of his dominions and driven
from Nancy, had been wandering amongst neighboring princes and people in
France, Germany, and Switzerland, at the courts of Louis XI. and the
Emperor Frederic III., on visits to the patricians of Berne, and in the
free towns of the Rhine.  He was young, sprightly, amiable, and brave; he
had nowhere met with great assistance, but he had been well received, and
certain promises had been made him.  When he saw the contest so hotly
commenced between the Duke of Burgundy and the Swiss, he resolutely put
himself at the service of the republican mountaineers, fought for them in
their ranks, and powerfully contributed to their victory at Morat.  The
defeat of Charles and his retreat to his castle of La Riviere gave Rend
new hopes, and gained him some credit amongst the powers which had
hitherto merely testified towards him a good will of but little value;
and his partisans in Lorraine recovered confidence in his for-tunes.  One
day, as he was at his prayers in a church, a rich widow, Madame Walther,
came up to him in her mantle and hood, made him a deep reverence, and
handed him a purse of gold to help him in winning back his duchy.  The
city of Strasbourg gave him some cannon, four hundred cavalry, and eight
hundred infantry; Louis XI. lent him some money; and Rend before long
found himself in a position to raise a small army and retake Epinal,
Saint-Did, Vaudemont, and the majority of the small towns in Lorraine.
He then went and laid siege to Nancy.  The Duke of Burgundy had left
there as governor John de Rubemprd, lord of Bievres, with a feeble
garrison, which numbered amongst its ranks three hundred English, picked
men.  Sire de Bievres sent message after message to Charles, who did not
even reply to him.  The town was short of provisions; the garrison was
dispirited; and the commander of the English was killed.  Sire de
Bievres, a loyal servant, but a soldier of but little energy, determined
to capitulate.  On the 6th of October, 1476, he evacuated the place at
the head of his men, all safe in person and property.  At sight of him
Rend dismounted, and handsomely went forward to meet him, saying, “Sir,
my good uncle, I thank you for having so courteously governed my duchy;
if you find it agreeable to remain with me, you shall fare the same as
myself.”  “Sir,” answered Sire de Bievres, “I hope that you will not
think ill of me for this war; I very much wish that my lord of Burgundy
had never begun it, and I am much afraid that neither he nor I will see
the end of it.”

Sire de Bievres had no idea how true a prophet he was.  Almost at the
very moment when he was capitulating, Duke Charles, throwing off his
sombre apathy, was once more entering Lorraine with all the troops he
could collect, and on the 22d of October he in his turn went and laid
siege to Nancy.  Duke Rend, not considering himself in a position to
maintain the contest with only such forces as he had with him, determined
to quit Nancy in person and go in search of re-enforcements at a
distance, at the same time leaving in the town a not very numerous but a
devoted garrison, which, together with the inhabitants, promised to hold
out for two months.  And it did hold out whilst Rend was visiting
Strasbourg, Berne, Zurich, and Lucerne, presenting himself before the
councils of these petty republics with, in order to please them, a tame
bear behind him, which he left at the doors, and promising, thanks to
Louis XI.’s agents in Switzerland, extraordinary pay.  He thus obtained
auxiliaries to the number of eight thousand fighting men.  He had,
moreover, in the very camp of the Duke of Burgundy, a secret ally, an
Italian condottiere, the Count of Campo-Basso, who, either from personal
hatred or on grounds of interest, was betraying the master to whom he had
bound himself.  The year before, he had made an offer to Louis XI. to go
over to him with his troops during a battle, or to hand over to him the
Duke of Burgundy, dead or alive.  Louis mistrusted the traitor, and sent
Charles notice of the offers made by Campo-Basso.  But Charles mistrusted
Louis’s information, and kept Campo-Basso in his service.  A little
before the battle of Morat Louis had thought better of his scruples or
his doubts, and had accepted, with the compensation of a pension, the
kind offices of Campo-Basso.  When the war took place in Lorraine, the
condottiere, whom Duke Charles had one day grossly insulted, entered into
communication with Duke Rend also, and took secret measures for insuring
the failure of the Burgundian attempts upon Nancy.  Such was the position
of the two princes and the two armies, when, on the 4th of June, 1477,
Rend, having returned with re-enforcements to Lorraine, found himself
confronted with Charles, who was still intent upon the siege of Nancy.
The Duke of Burgundy assembled his captains.  “Well!” said he, “since
these drunken scoundrels are upon us, and are coming here to look for
meat and drink, what ought we to do?”  The majority of those present were
of opinion that the right thing to do was to fall back into the duchy of
Luxembourg, there to recruit the enfeebled army.  “Duke Rene,” they said,
“is poor; he will not be able to bear very long the expense of the war,
and his allies will leave him as soon as he has no more money; wait but
a little, and success is certain.”  Charles flew into a passion.  “My
father and I,” said he, “knew how to thrash these Lorrainers; and we will
make them remember it.  By St. George! I will not fly before a boy,
before Rend of Vaudemont, who is coming at the head of this scum.  He has
not so many men with him as people think; the Germans have no idea of
leaving their stoves in winter.  This evening we will deliver the assault
against the town, and to-morrow we will give battle.”

And the next day, January the 5th, the battle did take place, in the
plain of Nancy.  The Duke of Burgundy assumed his armor very early in the
morning.  When he put on his helmet, the gilt lion, which formed the
crest of it, fell off.  “That is a sign from God!” said he; but,
nevertheless, he went and drew up his army in line of battle.  The day
but one before, Campo-Basso had drawn off his troops to a considerable
distance; and he presented himself before Duke Rene, having taken off his
red scarf and his cross of St. Andrew, and being quite ready, he said, to
give proofs of his zeal on the spot.  Rene spoke about it to his Swiss
captains.  “We have no mind,” said they, “to have this traitor of an
Italian fighting beside us; our fathers never made use of such folk or
such practices in order to conquer.”  And Campo-Basso held aloof.  The
battle began in gloomy weather, and beneath heavy flakes of snow, lasted
but a short time, and was not at all murderous in the actual conflict,
but the pursuit was terrible.  Campo-Basso and his troops held the bridge
of Bouxieres, by which the Burgundian fugitives would want to pass; and
the Lorrainerss of Rend and his Swiss and German allies scoured the
country, killing all with whom they fell in.  Rend returned to Nancy in
the midst of a population whom his victory had delivered from famine as
well as war.  “To show him what sufferings they had endured,” says M. de
Barante, “they conceived the idea of piling up in a heap, before the door
of his hostel, the heads of the horses, dogs, mules, cats, and other
unclean animals which had for several weeks past been the only food of
the besieged.”  When the first burst of joy was over, the question was,
what had become of the Duke of Burgundy; nobody had a notion; and his
body was not found amongst the dead in any of the places where his most
valiant and faithful warriors had fallen.  The rumor ran that he was not
dead; some said that one of his servants had picked him up wounded on the
field of battle, and was taking care of him, none knew where; and
according to others, a German lord had made him prisoner, and carried him
off beyond the Rhine.  “Take good heed,” said many people, “how ye
comport yourselves otherwise than if he were still alive, for his
vengeance would be terrible on his return.”  On the evening of the day
after the battle, the Count of Campo-Basso brought to Duke Rend a young
Roman page who, he said, had from a distance seen his master fall, and
could easily find the spot again.  Under his guidance a move was made
towards a pond hard by the town; and there, half buried in the slush of
the pond, were some dead bodies, lying stripped.  A poor washerwoman,
amongst the rest, had joined in the search; she saw the glitter of a
jewel in the ring upon one of the fingers of a corpse whose face was not
visible; she went forward, turned the body over, and at once cried, “Ah!
my prince!”  There was a rush to the spot immediately.  As the head was
being detached from the ice to which it stuck, the skin came off, and a
large wound was discovered.  On examining the body with care, it was
unhesitatingly recognized to be that of Charles, by his doctor, by his
chaplain, by Oliver de la Marche, his chamberlain, and by several grooms
of the chamber; and certain marks, such as the scar of the wound he had
received at Montlhery, and the loss of two teeth, put their assertion
beyond a doubt.  As soon as Duke Rend knew that they had at last found
the body of the Duke of Burgundy, he had it removed to the town, and laid
on a bed of state of black velvet, under a canopy of black satin.  It was
dressed in a garment of white satin; a ducal crown, set with precious
stones, was placed on the disfigured brow; the lower limbs were cased in
scarlet, and on the heels were gilded spurs.  The Duke of Lorraine went
and sprinkled holy water on the corpse of his unhappy rival, and, taking
the dead hand beneath the pall, “Ah! dear cousin,” said he, with tears in
his _eyes_.

For the time that I knew him he was not cruel; but he became so before
his death, and that was a bad omen for a long existence.  He was very
sumptuous in dress and in all other matters, and a little too much so.
He showed very great honor to ambassadors and foreign folks; they were
right well feasted and entertained by him.  He was desirous of great
glory, and it was that more than ought else that brought him into his
wars; he would have been right glad to be like to those ancient princes
of whom there has been so much talk after their death; he was as bold a
man as any that reigned in his day.  .  .  .  After the long felicity and
great riches of this house of Burgundy, and after three great princes,
good and wise, who had lasted six score years and more in good sense and
virtue, God gave this people the Duke Charles, who kept them constantly
in great war, travail, and expense, and almost as much in winter as in
summer.  Many rich and comfortable folks were dead or ruined in prison
during these wars.  The great losses began in front of Neuss, and
continued through three or four battles up to the hour of his death; and
at that hour all the strength of his country was sapped; and dead, or
ruined, or captive, were all who could or would have defended the
dominions and the honor of his house.  Thus it seems that this loss was
an equal set-off to the time of their felicity.  “Please God to forgive
Duke Charles his sins!”

[Illustration: The Corpse of Charles the Rash Discovered----236]

To this pious wish of Commynes, after so judicious a sketch, we may add
another: Please God that people may no more suffer themselves to be taken
captive by the corrupting and ruinous pleasures procured for them by
their masters’ grand but wicked or foolish enterprises, and may learn to
give to the men who govern them a glory in proportion to the wisdom and
justice of their deeds, and by no means to the noise they make and the
risks they sow broadcast around them!

The news of the death of Charles the Rash was for Louis XI. an unexpected
and unhoped-for blessing, and one in which he could scarcely believe.
The news reached him on the 9th of January, at the castle of Plessis-les-
Tours, by the medium of a courier sent to him by George de la Tremoille,
Sire de Craon, commanding his troops on the frontier of Lorraine.

“Insomuch as this house of Burgundy was greater and more powerful than the
others,” says Commynes, “was the pleasure great for the king more than
all the others together; it was the joy of seeing himself set above all
those he hated, and above his principal foes; it might well seem to him
that he would never in his life meet any to gainsay him in his kingdom,
or in the neighborhood near him.”  He replied the same day to Sire de
Craon, “Sir Count, my good friend, I have received your letters, and the
good news you have brought to my knowledge, for which I thank you as much
as I am able.  Now is the time for you to employ all your five natural
wits to put the duchy and countship of Burgundy in my hands.  And, to
that end, place yourself with your band and the governor of Champagne, if
so be that the Duke of Burgundy is dead, within the said country, and
take care, for the dear love you bear me, that you maintain amongst the
men of war the best order, just as if you were inside Paris; and make
known to them that I am minded to treat them and keep them better than
any in my kingdom; and that, in respect of our god-daughter, I have an
intention of completing the marriage that I have already had in
contemplation between my lord the _dauphin_ and her.  Sir Count, I
consider it understood that you will not enter the said country, or make
mention of that which is written above, unless the Duke of Burgundy be
dead.  And, in any case, I pray you to serve me in accordance with the
confidence I have in you.  And adieu!”

Beneath the discreet reserve inspired by a remnant of doubt concerning
the death of his enemy, this letter contained the essence of Louis XI.’s
grand and very natural stroke of policy.  Charles the Rash had left only
a daughter, Mary of Burgundy, sole heiress of all his dominions.  To
annex this magnificent heritage to the crown of France by the marriage of
the heiress with the _dauphin_ who was one day to be Charles VIII., was
clearly for the best interests of the nation as well as of the French
kingship, and such had, accordingly, been Louis XI.’s first idea.  “When
the Duke of Burgundy was still alive,” says Commynes, “many a time spoke
the king to me of what he would do if the duke should happen to die; and
he spoke most reasonably, saying that he would try to make a match
between his son (who is now our king) and the said duke’s daughter (who
was afterwards Duchess of Austria); and if she were not minded to hear of
it for that my lord, the _dauphin_, was much younger than she, he would
essay to get her married to some younger lord of this realm, for to keep
her and her subjects in amity, and to recover without dispute that which
he claimed as his; and still was the said lord on this subject a week
before he knew of the said duke’s death.  .  .  .  Howbeit it seems that
the king our master took not hold of matters by the end by which he
should have taken hold for to come out triumphant, and to add to his
crown all those great lordships, either by sound title or by marriage, as
easily he might have done.”

Commynes does not explain or specify clearly the mistake with which he
reproaches his master.  Louis XI., in spite of his sound sense and
correct appreciation, generally, of the political interests of France and
of his crown, allowed himself on this great occasion to be swayed by
secondary considerations and personal questions.  His son’s marriage with
the heiress of Burgundy might cause some embarrassment in his relations
with Edward IV., King of England, to whom he had promised the _dauphin_
as a husband for his daughter Elizabeth, who was already sometimes
called, in England, the Dauphiness.  In 1477, at the death of the duke
her father, Mary of Burgundy was twenty years old, and Charles, the
_dauphin_, was barely eight.  There was another question, a point of
feudal law, as to whether Burgundy, properly so called, was a fief which
women could inherit, or a fief which, in default of a male heir, must
lapse to the suzerain.  Several of the Flemish towns which belonged to
the Duke of Burgundy were weary of his wars and his violence, and showed
an inclination to pass over to the sway of the King of France.  All these
facts offered pretexts, opportunities, and chances of success for that
course of egotistical pretension and cunning intrigue in which Louis
delighted and felt confident of his ability; and into it he plunged after
the death of Charles the Rash.  Though he still spoke of his desire of
marrying his son, the _dauphin_, to Mary of Burgundy, it was no longer
his dominant and ever-present idea.  Instead of taking pains to win the
good will and the heart of Mary herself, he labored with his usual zeal
and address to dispute her rights, to despoil her brusquely of one or
another town in her dominions, to tamper with her servants, or excite
against them the wrath of the populace.  Two of the most devoted and most
able amongst them, Hugonet, chancellor of Burgundy, and Sire
d’Humbercourt, were the victims of Louis XI.’s hostile manoeuvres and
of blind hatred on the part of the Ghentese; and all the Princess Mary’s
passionate entreaties were powerless both with the king and with the
Flemings to save them from the scaffold.  And so Mary, alternately
threatened or duped, attacked in her just rights or outraged in her
affections, being driven to extremity, exhibited a resolution never to
become the daughter of a prince unworthy of the confidence she, poor
orphan, had placed in the spiritual tie which marked him out as her
protector.  “I understand,” said she, “that my father had arranged my
marriage with the emperor’s son; I have no mind for any other.”  Louis in
his alarm tried all sorts of means, seductive and violent, to prevent
such a reverse.  He went in person amongst the Walloon and Flemish
provinces belonging to Mary.  “That I come into this country,” said he to
the inhabitants of Quesnoy, “is for nothing but the interests of Mdlle.
de Burgundy, my well-beloved cousin and god-daughter.  .  .  .  Of her
wicked advisers some would have her espouse the son of the Duke of
Cleves; but he is a prince of far too little lustre for so illustrious a
princess; I know that he has a bad sore on his leg; he is a drunkard,
like all Germans, and, after drinking, he will break his glass over her
head, and beat her.  Others would ally her with the English, the
kingdom’s old enemies, who all lead bad lives: there are some who would
give her for her husband the emperor’s son, but those princes of the
imperial house are the most avaricious in the world; they will carry off
Mdlle. de Burgundy to Germany, a strange land and a coarse, where she
will know no consolation, whilst your land of Hainault will be left
without any lord to govern and defend it.  If my fair cousin were well
advised, she would espouse the _dauphin_; you speak French, you Walloon
people; you want a prince of France, not a German.  As for me, I esteem
the folks of Hainault more than any nation in the world; there is none
more noble, and in my sight a hind of Hainault is worth more than a grand
gentleman of any other country.”  At the very time that he was using such
flattering language to the good folks of Hainault, he was writing to the
Count de Dampmartin, whom he had charged with the repression of
insurrection in the country-parts of Ghent and Bruges, “Sir Grand Master,
I send you some mowers to cut down the crop you wot off; put them, I pray
you, to work, and spare not some casks of wine to set them drinking, and
to make them drunk.  I pray you, my friend, let there be no need to
return a second time to do the mowing, for you are as much crown-officer
as I am, and, if I am king, you are grand master.”  Dampmartin executed
the king’s orders without scruple; and at the season of harvest the
Flemish country-places were devastated.  “Little birds of heaven,” cries
the Flemish chronicler Molinet, “ye who are wont to haunt our fields and
rejoice our hearts with your amorous notes, now seek out other countries;
get ye hence from our tillages, for the king of the mowers of France hath
done worse to us than do the tempests.”

All the efforts of Louis XI., his winning speeches, and his ruinous
deeds, did not succeed in averting the serious check he dreaded.  On the
18th of August, 1477, seven months after the battle of Nancy and the
death of Charles the Rash, Arch-duke Maximilian, son of the Emperor
Frederick III., arrived at Ghent to wed Mary of Burgundy.  “The moment he
caught sight of his betrothed,” say the Flemish chroniclers, “they both
bent down to the ground and turned as pale as death--a sign of mutual
love according to some, an omen of unhappiness according to others.”
 Next day, August 19, the marriage was celebrated with great simplicity in
the chapel of the Hotel de Ville; and Maximilian swore to respect the
privileges of Ghent.  A few days afterwards he renewed the same oath at
Bruges, in the midst of decorations bearing the modest device, “Most
glorious prince, defend us lest we perish” (Gloriosissime princeps,
defende nos ne pereamus).  Not only did Louis XI. thus fail in his first
wise design of incorporating with France, by means of a marriage between
his son the _dauphin_ and Princess Mary, the heritage of the Dukes of
Burgundy, but he suffered the heiress and a great part of the heritage
to pass into the hands of the son of the German emperor; and thereby he
paved the way for that determined rivalry between the houses of France
and Austria, which was a source of so many dangers and woes to both
states during three centuries.  It is said that in 1745, when Louis XV.,
after the battle of Fontenoy, entered Bruges cathedral, he remarked, as
he gazed on the tombs of the Austro-Burgundian princes, “There is the
origin of all our wars.”  In vain, when the marriage of Maximilian and
Mary was completed, did Louis XI. attempt to struggle against his new and
dangerous neighbor; his campaigns in the Flemish provinces, in 1478 and
1479, had no great result; he lost, on the 7th of August, 1479, the
battle of Guinegate, between St. Omer and Therouanne; and before long,
tired of war, which was not his favorite theatre for the display of his
abilities, he ended by concluding with Maximilian a truce at first, and
then a peace, which in spite of some conditionals favorable to France,
left the principal and the fatal consequences of the Austro-Burgundian
marriage to take full effect.  This event marked the stoppage of that
great, national policy which had prevailed during the first part of Louis
XI.’s reign.  Joan of Arc and Charles VII. had driven the English from
France; and for sixteen years Louis XI. had, by fighting and gradually
destroying the great vassals who made alliance with them, prevented them
from regaining a footing there.  That was work as salutary as it was
glorious for the nation and the French kingship.  At the death of Charles
the Rash, the work was accomplished; Louis XI. was the only power left in
France, without any great peril from without, and without any great rival
within; but he then fell under the sway of mistaken ideas and a vicious
spirit.  The infinite resources of his mind, the agreeableness of his
conversation, his perseverance combined with the pliancy of his will, the
services he was rendering France, the successes he in the long ruin
frequently obtained, and his ready apparent resignation under his
reverses, for a while made up for or palliated his faults, his
falsehoods, his perfidies, his iniquities; but when evil is predominant
at the bottom of a man’s soul, he cannot do without youth and success;
he cannot make head against age and decay, reverse of fortune and the
approach of death; and so Louis XI. when old in years, master-power still
though beaten in his last game of policy, appeared to all as he really
was and as he had been prediscerned to be by only such eminent observers
as Commynes, that is, a crooked, swindling, utterly selfish, vindictive,
cruel man.  Not only did he hunt down implacably the men who, after
having served him, had betrayed or deserted him; he revelled in the
vengeance he took and the sufferings he inflicted on them.  He had raised
to the highest rank both in state and church the son of a cobbler, or,
according to others, of a tailor, one John de Balue, born in 1421, at the
market-town of Angles, in Poitou.  After having chosen him, as an
intelligent and a clever young priest, for his secretary and almoner,
Louis made him successively clerical councillor in the parliament of
Paris, then Bishop of Evreux, and afterwards cardinal; and he employed
him in his most private affairs.  It was a hobby of his thus to make the
fortunes of men born in the lowest stations, hoping that, since they
would owe everything to him, they would never depend on any but him.  It
is scarcely credible that so keen and contemptuous a judge of human
nature could have reckoned on dependence as a pledge of fidelity.  And in
this case Louis was, at any rate, mistaken; Balue was a traitor to him,
and in 1468, at the very time of the incident at Peronne, he was secretly
in the service of Duke Charles of Burgundy, and betrayed to him the
interests and secrets of his master and benefactor.  In 1469 Louis
obtained material proof of the treachery; and he immediately had Balue
arrested and put on his trial.  The cardinal confessed everything, asking
only to see the king.  Louis gave him an interview on the way from
Amboise to Notre-Dame de Clery; and they were observed, it is said,
conversing for two hours, as they walked together on the road.  The trial
and condemnation of a cardinal by a civil tribunal was a serious business
with the court of Rome.  The king sent commissioners to Pope Paul II.:
the pope complained of the procedure, but amicably and without
persistence.  The cardinal was in prison at Loches; and Louis resolved to
leave him there forever, without any more fuss.  But at the same time
that, out of regard for the dignity of cardinal, which he had himself
requested of the pope for the culprit, he dispensed with the legal
condemnation to capital punishment, he was bent upon satisfying his
vengeance, and upon making Balue suffer in person for his crime.  He
therefore had him confined in a cage, “eight feet broad,” says Commynes,
“and only one foot higher than a man’s stature, covered with iron plates
outside and inside, and fitted with terrible bars.”  There is still to be
seen in Loches castle, under the name of the Balue cage, that instrument
of prison-torture which the cardinal, it is said, himself invented.  In
it he passed eleven years, and it was not until 1480 that he was let out,
at the solicitation of Pope Sixtus IV., to whom Louis XI., being old and
ill, thought he could not possibly refuse this favor.  He remembered,
perhaps, at that time how that, sixteen years before, in writing to his
lieutenant-general in Poitou to hand over to Balue, Bishop of Evreux, the
property of a certain abbey, he said, “He is a devilish good bishop just
now; I know not what he will be here-after.”

[Illustration: The Balue Cage----245]

He was still more pitiless towards a man more formidable and less
subordinate, both in character and origin, than Cardinal Balue.  Louis of
Luxembourg, Count of St. Pol, had been from his youth up engaged in the
wars and intrigues of the sovereigns and great feudal lords of Western
Europe--France, England, Germany, Burgundy, Brittany, and Lorraine.  From
1433 to 1475 he served and betrayed them all in turn, seeking and
obtaining favors, incurring and braving rancor, at one time on one side
and at another time on another, acting as constable of France and as
diplomatic agent for the Duke of Burgundy, raising troops and taking
towns for Louis XI., for Charles the Rash, for Edward IV., for the German
emperor, and trying nearly always to keep for himself what he had taken
on another’s account.  The truth is, that he was constantly occupied with
the idea of making for himself an independent dominion, and becoming a
great sovereign.  “He was,” says Duclos, “powerful from his possessions,
a great captain, more ambitious than politic, and, from his ingratitude
and his perfidies, worthy of his tragic end.”  His various patrons grew
tired at last of being incessantly taken up with and then abandoned,
served and then betrayed; and they mutually interchanged proofs of the
desertions and treasons to which they had been victims.  In 1475 Louis
of Luxembourg saw a storm threatening; and he made application for a
safe-conduct to Charles the Rash, who had been the friend of his youth.
“Tell him,” replied Charles to the messenger, “that he has forfeited his
paper and his hope as well;” and he gave orders to detain him.  As soon
as Louis XI. knew whither the constable had retired, he demanded of the
Duke of Burgundy to give him up, as had been agreed between them.  “I
have need,” said he, “for my heavy business, of a head like his;” and he
added, with a ghastly smile, “it is only the head I want; the body may
stay where it is.”  On the 24th of November, 1475, the constable was,
accordingly, given up to the king; and on the 27th, was brought to Paris.
His trial, begun forthwith, was soon over; he himself acknowledged the
greater part of what was imputed to him; and on the 19th of December he
was brought up from the Bastille before the parliament.  “My lord of St.
Pol,” said the chancellor to him, “you have always passed for being the
firmest lord in the realm; you must not belie yourself to-day, when you
have more need than ever of firmness and courage;” and he read to him the
decree which sentenced him to lose his head that very day on the Place de
Greve.  “That is a mighty hard sentence,” said the constable; “I pray God
that I may see Him to-day.”  And he underwent execution with serene and
pious firmness.  He was of an epoch when the most criminal enterprises
did not always preclude piety.  Louis XI. did not look after the
constable’s accomplices.  “He flew at the heads,” says Duclos, “and was
set on making great examples; he was convinced that noble blood, when it
is guilty, should be shed rather than common blood.  Nevertheless there
was considered to be something indecent in the cession by the king to the
Duke of Burgundy of the constable’s possessions.  It seemed like the
price of the blood of an unhappy man, who, being rightfully sacrificed
only to justice and public tranquillity, appeared to be so to vengeance,
ambition, and avarice.”

In August, 1477, the battle of Nancy had been fought; Charles the Rash
had been killed; and the line of the Dukes of Burgundy had been
extinguished.  Louis XI. remained master of the battle-field on which the
great risks and great scenes of his life had been passed through.  It
seemed as if he ought to fear nothing now, and that the day for clemency
had come.  But such was not the king’s opinion; two cruel passions,
suspicion and vengeance, had taken possession of his soul; he remained
convinced, not without reason, that nearly all the great feudal lords who
had been his foes were continuing to conspire against him, and that he
ought not, on his side, ever to cease from striving against thorn.  The
trial of the constable, St. Pol, had confirmed all his suspicions; he had
discovered thereby traces and almost proofs of a design for a long time
past conceived and pursued by the constable and his associates--the
design of seizing the king, keeping him prisoner, and setting his son,
the _dauphin_, on the throne, with a regency composed of a council of
lords.  Amongst the declared or presumed adherents of this project, the
king had found James d’Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, the companion and
friend of his youth; for his father, the Count of Pardiac, had been
governor to Louis, at that time _dauphin_.  Louis, on becoming king, had
loaded James d’Armagnac with favors; had raised his countship of Nemours
to a duchy-peerage of France; had married him to Louise of Anjou,
daughter of the Count of Maine and niece of King Rend.  The new Duke of
Nemours entered, nevertheless, into the League of Common Weal against the
king.  Having been included, in 1465, with the other chiefs of the league
in the treaty of Conflans, and reconciled with the king, the Duke of
Nemours made oath to him, in the Sainte-Chapelle, to always be to him a
good, faithful, and loyal subject, and thereby obtained the governorship
of Paris and Ile-de-France.  But, in 1469, he took part in the revolt of
his cousin, Count John d’Armagnac, who was supposed to be in
communication with the English; and having been vanquished by the Count
de Dampmartin, he had need of a fresh pardon from the king, which he
obtained on renouncing the privileges of the peerage if he should offend
again.  He then withdrew within his own domains, and there lived in
tranquillity and popularity, but still keeping up secret relations with
his old associates, especially with the Duke of Burgundy and the
constable of St. Pol.  In 1476, during the Duke of Burgundy’s first
campaign against the Swiss, the more or less active participation of the
Duke of Nemours with the king’s enemies appeared to Louis so grave, that
he gave orders to his son-in-law, Peter of Bourbon, Sire de Beaujeu, to
go and besiege him in his castle of Carlat, in Auvergne.  The Duke of
Nemours was taken prisoner there and carried off to Vienne, in Dauphiny,
where the king then happened to be.  In spite of the prisoner’s
entreaties, Louis absolutely refused to see him, and had him confined in
the tower of Pierre-Encise.  The Duke of Nemours was so disquieted at his
position and the king’s wrath, that his wife, Louise of Anjou, who was in
her confinement at Carlat, had a fit of terror and died there; and he
himself, shut up at Pierre-Encise, in a dark and damp dungeon, found his
hair turn white in a few days.  He was not mistaken about the gravity of
the danger.  Louis was both alarmed at these incessantly renewed
conspiracies of the great lords and vexed at the futility of his pardons.
He was determined to intimidate his enemies by a grand example, and
avenge his kingly self-respect by bringing his power home to the ingrates
who made no account of his indulgence.  He ordered that the Duke of
Nemours should be removed from Pierre-Encise to Paris, and put in the
Bastille, where he arrived on the 4th of August, 1476, and that
commissioners should set about his trial.  The king complained of the
gentleness with which the prisoner had been treated on arrival, and wrote
to one of the commissioners, “It seems to me that you have but one thing
to do; that is, to find out what guarantees the Duke of Nemours had given
the constable of being at one with him in making the Duke of Burgundy
regent, putting me to death, seizing my lord the _dauphin_, and taking
the authority and government of the realm.  He must he made to speak
clearly on this point, and must get hell (be put to the torture) in good
earnest.  I am not pleased at what you tell me as to the irons having
been taken off his legs, as to his being let out from his cage, and as to
his being taken to the mass to which the women go.  Whatever the
chancellor or others may say, take care that he budge not from his cage,
that he be never let out save to give him hell (torture him), and that he
suffer hell (torture) in his own chamber.”  The Duke of Nemours protested
against the choice of commissioners, and claimed, as a peer of the realm,
his right to be tried by the parliament.  When put to the torture he
ended by saying, “I wish to conceal nothing from the king; I will tell
him the truth as to all I know.”  “My most dread and sovereign lord,” he
himself wrote to Louis, “I have been so misdoing towards you and towards
God that I quite see that I am undone unless your grace and pity be
extended to me; the which, accordingly, most humbly and in great
bitterness and contrition of heart, I do beseech you to bestow upon me
liberally;” and he put the simple signature, “Poor James.”  “He confessed
that he had been cognizant of the constable’s designs; but he added that,
whilst thanking him for the kind offers made to himself, and whilst
testifying his desire that the lords might at last get their guarantees,
he had declared what great obligations and great oaths he was under to
the king, against the which he would not go; he, moreover, had told the
constable he had no money at the moment to dispose of, no relative to
whom he was inclined to trust himself or whom he could exert himself to
win over, not even M. d’Albret, his cousin.”  In such confessions there
was enough to stop upright and fair judges from the infliction of capital
punishment, but not enough to reassure and move the heart of Louis XI.
On the chancellor’s representations he consented to have the business
sent before the parliament; but the peers of the realm were not invited
to it.  The king summoned the parliament to Noyon, to be nearer his own
residence; and he ordered that the trial should be brought to a
conclusion in that town, and that the original commissioners who had
commenced proceedings, as well as thirteen other magistrates and officers
of the king denoted by their posts, should sit with the lords of the
parliament, and deliberate with them.

In spite of so many arbitrary precautions and violations of justice, the
will of Louis XI. met, even in a parliament thus distorted, with some
resistance.  Three of the commissioners added to the court abstained from
taking any part in the proceedings; three of the councillors pronounced
against the penalty of death; and the king’s own son-in-law, Sire de
Beaujeu, who presided, confined himself to collecting the votes without
delivering an opinion, and to announcing the decision.  It was to the
effect that “James d’Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, was guilty of high
treason, and, as such, deprived of all honors, dignities, and
prerogatives, and sentenced to be beheaded and executed according to
justice.”  Furthermore the court declared all his possessions confiscated
and lapsed to the king.  The sentence, determined upon at Noyon on the
10th of July, 1477, was made known to the Duke of Nemours on the 4th of
August, in the Bastille, and carried out, the same day, in front of the
market-place.  A disgusting detail, reproduced by several modern writers,
has almost been received into history.  Louis XI., it is said, ordered
the children of the Duke of Nemours to be placed under the scaffold, and
be sprinkled with their father’s blood.  None of his contemporaries, even
the most hostile to Louis XI., and even amongst those who, at the states-
general held in 1484, one of them after his death, raised their voices
against the trial of the Duke of Nemours, and in favor of his children,
has made any mention of this pretended atrocity.  Amongst the men who
have reigned and governed ably, Louis XI. is one of those who could be
most justly taxed with cruel indifference when cruelty might be useful to
him; but the more ground there is for severe judgment upon the chieftains
of nations, the stronger is the interdict against overstepping the limit
justified and authorized by facts.

The same rule of historical equity makes it incumbent upon us to remark
that, in spite of his feelings of suspicion and revenge, Louis XI. could
perfectly well appreciate the men of honor in whom he was able to have
confidence, and would actually confide in them even contrary to ordinary
probabilities.  He numbered amongst his most distinguished servants
three men who had begun by serving his enemies, and whom he conquered,
so to speak, by his penetration and his firm mental grasp of policy.
The first was Philip of Chabannes, Count de Dampmartin, an able and
faithful military leader under Charles VII., so suspected by Louis XI.
at his accession, that, when weary of living in apprehension and
retirement he came, in 1463, and presented himself to the king, who was
on his way to Bordeaux, “Ask you justice or mercy?” demanded Louis.
“Justice, sir,” was the answer. “Very well, then,” replied the king,
“I banish you forever from the kingdom.”  And he issued an order to that
effect, at the same time giving Dampmartin a large sum to supply the
wants of exile.  It is credible that Louis already knew the worth of the
man, and wished in this way to render their reconciliation more easy.
Three years afterwards, in 1466, he restored to Dampmartin his
possessions together with express marks of royal favor, and twelve years
later, in 1478, in spite of certain gusts of doubt and disquietude which
had passed across his mind as to Dampmartin under circumstances critical
for both of them, the king wrote to him, “Sir Grand Master, I have
received your letters, and I do assure you, by the faith of my body,
that I am right joyous that you provided so well for your affair at
Quesnoy, for one would have said that you and the rest of the old ones
were no longer any good in an affair of war, and we and the rest of the
young ones would have gotten the honor for ourselves. Search, I pray
you, to the very roots the case of those who would have betrayed us, and
punish them so well that they shall never do you harm. I have always
told you that you have no need to ask me for leave to go and do your
business, for I am sure that you would not abandon mine without having
provided for everything.  Wherefore, I put myself in your hands, and you
can go away without leave.  All goes well; and I am much better pleased
at your holding your own so well than if you had risked a loss of two to
one.  And so, farewell!”  In 1465, another man of war, Odet d’Aydie,
Lord of Lescun in Warn, had commanded at Montlhery the troops of the
Dukes of Berry and Brittany against Louis XI.; and, in 1469, the king,
who had found means of making his acquaintance, and who “was wiser,”
 says Commynes, “in the conduct of such treaties than any other prince of
his time,” resolved to employ him in his difficult relations with his
brother Charles, then Duke of Guienne, “promising him that he and his
servants, and he especially, should profit thereby.” Three years
afterwards, in 1472, Louis made Lescun Count of Comminges, “wherein he
showed good judgment,” adds Commynes, “saying that no peril would come
of putting in his hands that which he did put, for never, during those
past dissensions, had the said Lescun a mind to have any communication
with the English, or to consent that the places of Normandy should be
handed over to them;” and to the end of his life Louis XI. kept up the
confidence which Lescun had inspired by his judicious fidelity in the
case of this great question.  There is no need to make any addition to
the name of Philip de Commynes, the most precious of the politic
conquests made by Louis in the matter of eminent counsellors, to whom he
remained as faithful as they were themselves faithful and useful to him.
The _Memoires of Commynes_ are the most striking proof of the rare and
unfettered political intellect placed by the future historian at the
king’s service, and of the estimation in which the king had wit enough
to hold it.

Louis XI. rendered to France, four centuries ago, during a reign of
twenty-two years, three great services, the traces and influence of which
exist to this day.  He prosecuted steadily the work of Joan of Arc and
Charles VII., the expulsion of a foreign kingship and the triumph of
national independence and national dignity.  By means of the provinces
which he successively won, wholly or partly, Burgundy, Franche-Comte,
Artois, Provence, Anjou, Roussillon, and Barrois, he caused France to
make a great stride towards territorial unity within her natural
boundaries.  By the defeat he inflicted on the great vassals, the favor
he showed the middle classes, and the use he had the sense to make of
this new social force, he contributed powerfully to the formation of the
French nation, and to its unity under a national government.  Feudal
society had not an idea of how to form itself into a nation, or
discipline its forces under one head; Louis XI. proved its political
weakness, determined its fall, and labored to place in its stead France
and monarchy.  Herein are the great facts of his reign, and the proofs of
his superior mind.

But side by side with these powerful symptoms of a new regimen appeared
also the vices of which that regimen contained the germ, and those of the
man himself who was laboring to found it.  Feudal society, perceiving
itself to be threatened, at one time attacked Louis XI. with passion, at
another entered into violent disputes against him; and Louis, in order to
struggle with it, employed all the practices, at one time crafty and at
another violent, that belong to absolute power.  Craft usually
predominated in his proceedings, violence being often too perilous
for him to risk it; he did not consider himself in a condition to say
brazen-facedly, “Might before right;” but he disregarded right in the
case of his adversaries, and he did not deny himself any artifice, any
lie, any baseness, however specious, in order to trick them or ruin them
secretly, when he did not feel himself in a position to crush them at a
blow.  “The end justifies the means”--that was his maxim; and the end,
in his case, was sometimes a great and legitimate political object,
nothing less than the dominant interest of France, but far more often his
own personal interest, something necessary to his own success or his own
gratification.  No loftiness, no greatness of soul, was natural to him;
and the more experience of life he had, the more he became selfish and
devoid of moral sense and of sympathy with other men, whether rivals,
tools, or subjects.  All found out before long, not only how little
account he made of them, but also what cruel pleasure he sometimes took
in making them conscious of his disdain and his power.  He was
“familiar,” but not by no means “vulgar;” he was in conversation able and
agreeable, with a mixture, however, of petulance and indiscretion, even
when he was meditating some perfidy; and “there is much need,” he used to
say, “that my tongue should sometimes serve me; it has hurt me often
enough.”  The most puerile superstitions, as well as those most akin to a
blind piety, found their way into his mind.  When he received any bad
news, he would cast aside forever the dress he was wearing when the news
came; and of death he had a dread which was carried to the extent of
pusillanimity and ridiculousness.  “Whilst he was every day,” says M. de
Barante, “becoming more suspicious, more absolute, more terrible to his
children, to the princes of the blood, to his old servants, and to his
wisest counsellors, there was one man who, without any fear of his wrath,
treated him with brutal rudeness.  This was James Cattier, his doctor.
When the king would sometimes complain of it before certain confidential
servants, ‘I know very well,’ Cattier would say, that some fine morning
you’ll send me where you’ve sent so many others; but, ‘sdeath, you’ll not
live a week after!’”  Then the king would coax him, overwhelm him with
caresses, raise his salary to ten thousand crowns a month, make him a
present of rich lordships; and he ended by making him premier president
of the Court of Exchequer.  All churches and all sanctuaries of any small
celebrity were recipients of his oblations, and it was not the salvation
of his soul, but life and health, that he asked for in return.  One day
there was being repeated, on his account and in his presence, an orison
to St. Eutropius, who was implored to grant health to the soul and health
to the body.  “The latter will be enough,” said the king; “it is not
right to bother the saint for too many things at once.”  He showed great
devotion for images which had received benediction, and often had one of
them sewn upon his hat.  Hawkers used to come and bring them to him; and
one day he gave a hundred and sixty livres to a pedler who had in his
pack one that had received benediction at Aix-la-Chapelle.

[Illustration: Louis XI. at his Devotions----255]

Whatever may have been, in the middle ages, the taste and the custom in
respect of such practices, they were regarded with less respect in the
fifteenth than in the twelfth century, and many people scoffed at the
trust that Louis XI. placed in them, or doubted his sincerity.

Whether they were sincere or assumed, the superstitions of Louis XI. did
not prevent him from appreciating and promoting the progress of
civilization, towards which the fifteenth century saw the first real
general impulse.  He favored the free development of industry and trade;
he protected printing, in its infancy, and scientific studies, especially
the study of medicine; by his authorization, it is said, the operation
for the stone was tried, for the first time in France, upon a criminal
under sentence of death, who recovered, and was pardoned; and he welcomed
the philological scholars who were at this time laboring to diffuse
through Western Europe the works of Greek and Roman antiquity.  He
instituted, at first for his own and before long for the public service,
post-horses and the letter-post within his kingdom.  Towards intellectual
and social movement he had not the mistrust and antipathy of an old,
one-grooved, worn-out, unproductive despotism; his kingly despotism was
new, and, one might almost say, innovational, for it sprang and was
growing up from the ruins of feudal rights and liberties which had
inevitably ended in monarchy.  But despotism’s good services are
short-lived; it has no need to last long before it generates iniquity and
tyranny; and that of Louis XI., in the latter part of his reign, bore its
natural, unavoidable fruits.  “His mistrust,” says M. de Barante, “became
horrible, and almost insane; every year he had surrounded his castle of
Plessis with more walls, ditches, and rails.  On the towers were iron
sheds, a shelter from arrows, and even artillery.  More than eighteen
hundred of those planks bristling with nails, called caltrops, were
distributed over the yonder side of the ditch.  There were every day four
hundred crossbow-men on duty, with orders to fire on whosoever
approached.  Every suspected passer-by was seized, and carried off to
Tristan l’Hermite, the provost-marshal.  No great proofs were required
for a swing on the gibbet, or for the inside of a sack and a plunge in
the Loire.  .  .  .  Men who, like Sire de Commynes, had been the king’s
servants, and who had lived in his confidence, had no doubt but that he
had committed cruelties and perpetrated the blackest treachery; still
they asked themselves whether there had not been a necessity, and whether
he had not, in the first instance, been the object of criminal
machinations against which he had to defend himself.  .  .  .  But,
throughout the kingdom, the multitude of his subjects who had not
received kindnesses from him, nor lived in familiarity with him, nor
known of the ability displayed in his plans, nor enjoyed the wit of his
conversation, judged only by that which came out before their eyes; the
imposts had been made much heavier, without any consent on the part of
the states-general; the talliages, which under Charles VII. brought in
only eighteen hundred thousand livres, rose, under Louis XI., to
thirty-seven hundred thousand; the kingdom was ruined, and the people
were at the last extremity of misery; the prisons were full; none was
secure of life or property; the greatest in the land, and even the
princes of the blood, were not safe in their own houses.

An unexpected event occurred at this time to give a little more heart to
Louis XI., who was now very ill, and to mingle with his gloomy broodings
a gleam of future prospects.  Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the
Rash, died at Bruges on the 27th of March, 1482, leaving to her husband,
Maximilian of Austria, a daughter, hardly three years of age, Princess
Marguerite by name, heiress to the Burgundian-Flemish dominions which had
not come into the possession of the King of France.  Louis, as soon as he
heard the news, conceived the idea and the hope of making up for the
reverse he had experienced five years previously through the marriage of
Mary of Burgundy.  He would arrange espousals between his son, the
_dauphin_, Charles, thirteen years old, and the infant princess left by
Mary, and thus recover for the crown of France the beautiful domains he
had allowed to slip from him.  A negotiation was opened at once on the
subject between Louis, Maximilian, and the estates of Flanders, and, on
the 23d of December, 1482, it resulted in a treaty, concluded at Arras,
which arranged for the marriage, and regulated the mutual conditions.  In
January, 1483, the ambassadors from the estates of Flanders and from
Maximilian, who then for the first time assumed the title of archduke,
came to France for the ratification of the treaty.  Having been first
received with great marks of satisfaction at Paris, they repaired to
Plessis-les-Tours.  Great was their surprise at seeing this melancholy
abode, this sort of prison, into which “there was no admittance save
after so many formalities and precautions.”  When they had waited a
while, they were introduced, in the evening, into a room badly lighted.
In a dark corner was the king, seated in an arm-chair.  They moved
towards him; and then, in a weak and trembling voice, but still, as it
seemed, in a bantering tone, Louis asked pardon of the Abbot of St.
Peter of Ghent and of the other ambassadors for not being able to rise
and greet them.  After having heard what they had to say, and having held
a short conversation with them, he sent for the Gospels for to make oath.
He excused himself for being obliged to take the holy volume in his left
hand, for his right was paralyzed and his arm supported in a sling.
Then, holding the volume of the Gospels, he raised it up painfully, and
placing upon it the elbow of his right arm, he made oath.  Thus appeared
in the eyes of the Flemings that king who had done them so much harm, and
who was obtaining of them so good a treaty by the fear with which he
inspired them, all dying as he was.

On the 2d of June following, the infant princess, Marguerite of Austria,
was brought by a solemn embassy to Paris first, and then, on the 23d of
June, to Amboise, where her betrothal to the _dauphin_, Charles, was
celebrated.  Louis XI. did not feel fit for removal to Amboise; and he
would not even receive at Plessis-les-Tours the new Flemish embassy.
Assuredly neither the king nor any of the actors in this regal scene
foresaw that this marriage, which they with reason looked upon as a
triumph of French policy, would never be consummated; that, at the
request of the court of France, the pope would annul the betrothal; and
that, nine years after its celebration, in 1492, the Austrian princess,
after having been brought up at Amboise under the guardianship of the
Duchess of Bourbon, Anne, eldest daughter of Louis XI., would be sent
back to her father, Emperor Maximilian, by her affianced, Charles VIII.,
then King of France, who preferred to become the husband of a French
princess with a French province for dowry, Anne, Duchess of Brittany.

[Illustration: Views of the Castle of Plessis-les-Tours----258]

It was in March, 1481, that Louis XI. had his first attack of that
apoplexy, which, after several repeated strokes, reduced him to such a
state of weakness that in June, 1483, he felt himself and declared
himself not in a fit state to be present at his son’s betrothal.  Two
months afterwards, on the 25th of August, St. Louis’s day, he had a fresh
stroke, and lost all consciousness and speech.  He soon recovered them;
but remained so weak that he could not raise his hand to his mouth, and,
under the conviction that he was a dead man, he sent for his son-in-law,
Peter of Bourbon, Sire de Beaujeu; and “Go,” said he, “to Amboise, to the
king, my son; I have intrusted him as well as the government of the
kingdom to your charge and my daughter’s care.  You know all I have
enjoined upon him; watch and see that it be observed.  Let him show favor
and confidence towards those who have done me good service and whom I
have named to him.  You know, too, of whom he should beware, and who must
not be suffered to come near him.”  He sent for the chancellor from
Paris, and bade him go and take the seals to the king.  “Go to the king,”
 he said to the captains of his guards, to his archers, to his huntsmen,
to all his household.  “His speech never failed him after it had come
back to him,” says Commynes, “nor his senses; he was constantly saying
something of great sense and never in all his illness, which lasted from
Monday to Saturday evening, did he complain, as do all sorts of folk
when they feel ill.  .  .  . “Notwithstanding all those commands he
recovered heart,” adds Commynes, “and had good hope of escaping.”  In
conversation at odd times with some of his servants, and even with
Commynes himself, he had begged them, whenever they saw that he was very
ill, not to mention that cruel word death; he had even made a covenant
with them, that they should say no more to him than, “Don’t talk much,”
 which would be sufficient warning. But his doctor, James Coettier, and
his barber, Oliver the Devil, whom he had ennobled and enriched under
the name of Oliver le Daim, did not treat him with so much indulgence.
“They notified his death to him in brief and harsh terms,” says
Commynes; “‘Sir, we must do our duty; have no longer hope in your holy
man of Calabria or in other matters, for assuredly all is over with you;
think of your soul; there is no help for it.’ ‘I have hope in God that
He will aid me,’ answered Louis, coldly; ‘peradventure I am not so ill
as you think.’

“He endured with manly virtue so cruel a sentence,” says Commynes, “and
everything, even to death, more than any man I ever saw die; he spoke as
coolly as if he had never been ill.”  He gave minute orders about his
funeral, sepulchre, and tomb.  He would be laid at Notre-Dame de Clery,
and not, like his ancestors, at St. Denis; his statue was to be gilt
bronze, kneeling, face to the altar, head uncovered, and hands clasped
within his hat, as was his ordinary custom.  Not having died on the
battle-field and sword in hand, he would be dressed in hunting-garb,
with jack-boots, a hunting-horn, slung over his shoulder, his hound
lying beside him, his order of St. Michael round his neck, and his sword
at his side.  As to the likeness, he asked to be represented, not as he
was in his latter days, bald, bow-backed, and wasted, but as he was in
his youth and in the vigor of his age, face pretty full, nose aquiline,
hair long, and falling down behind to his shoulders.  After having taken
all these pains about himself after his death, he gave his chief
remaining thoughts to France and his son.  “Orders must be sent,” said
he, “to M. d’Esquerdes [Philip de Crevecoeur, Baron d’Esquerdes, a
distinguished warrior, who, after the death of Charles the Rash, had,
through the agency of Commynes, gone over to the service of Louis XI.,
and was in command of his army] to attempt no doings as to Calais.  We
had thought to drive out the English from this the last corner they hold
in the kingdom; but such matters are too weighty; all that business ends
with me.  M. d’Esquerdes must give up such designs, and come and guard
my son without budging from his side for at least six months.  Let an
end be put, also, to all our disputes with Brittany, and let this Duke
Francis be allowed to live in peace without any more causing him trouble
or fear.  This is the way in which we, must now deal with all our
neighbors.  Five or six good years of peace are needful for the kingdom.
My poor people have suffered too much; they are in great desolation.  If
God had been pleased to grant me life, I should have put it all to
rights; it was my thought and my desire, let my son be strictly charged
to remain at peace, especially whilst he is so young. At a later time,
when he is older, and when the kingdom is in good case, he shall do as
he pleases about it.”

[Illustration: Louis XI----260]

On Saturday, August 30, 1483, between seven and eight in the evening,
Louis XI. expired, saying, “Our Lady of Embrun, my good mistress, have
pity upon me; the mercies of the Lord will I sing forever (misericordias
Domini in ceternum cantabo).”

“It was a great cause of joy throughout the kingdom,” says M. de Barante
with truth, in his _Histoire des Dues de Bourgogne_: “this moment had
been impatiently waited for as a deliverance, and as the ending of so
many woes and fears.  For a long time past no King of France had been so
heavy on his people or so hated by them.”

This was certainly just, and at the same time ungrateful.

Louis XI. had rendered France great service, but in a manner void of
frankness, dignity, or lustre; he had made the contemporary generation
pay dearly for it by reason of the spectacle he presented of trickery,
perfidy, and vindictive cruelty, and by his arbitrary and tyrannical
exercise of kingly power.  People are not content to have useful service;
they must admire or love; and Louis XI. inspired France with neither of
those sentiments.  He has had the good fortune to be described and
appraised, in his own day too, by the most distinguished and independent
of his councillors, Philip de Commynes, and, three centuries afterwards,
by one of the most thoughtful and the soundest intellects amongst the
philosophers of the eighteenth century, Duclos, who, moreover, had the
advantage of being historiographer of France, and of having studied the
history of that reign in authentic documents.  We reproduce here the two
judgments, the agreement of which is remarkable:--

“God,” says Commynes, “had created our king more wise, liberal, and full
of manly virtue than the princes who reigned with him and in his day, and
who were his enemies and neighbors.  In all there was good and evil, for
they were men; but without flattery, in him were more things appertaining
to the office of king than in any of the rest.  I saw them nearly all,
and knew what they could do.”

“Louis XI.,” says Duclos, “was far from being without reproach; few
princes have deserved so much; but it may be said that he was equally
celebrated for his vices and his virtues, and that, everything being put
in the balance, he was a king.”

We will be more exacting than Commynes and Duclos; we will not consent to
apply to Louis XI. the words liberal, virtuous, and virtue; he had nor
greatness of soul, nor uprightness of character, nor kindness of heart;
he was neither a great king nor a good king; but we may assent to Duclos’
last word--he was a king.


[Illustration: CHARLES VIII.----263]

Louis XI. had by the queen his wife, Charlotte of Savoy, six children;
three of them survived him: Charles VIII., his successor; Anne, his
eldest daughter, who had espoused Peter of Bourbon, Sire de Beaujeu; and
Joan, whom he had married to the Duke of Orleans, who became Louis XII.
At their father’s death, Charles was thirteen; Anne twenty-two or
twenty-three; and Joan nineteen.  According to Charles V.’s decree, which
had fixed fourteen as the age for the king’s majority, Charles VIII., on
his accession, was very nearly a major; but Louis XI., with good reason,
considered him very far from capable of reigning as yet.  On the other
hand, he had a very high opinion of his daughter Anne, and it was to her
far more than to Sire de Beaujeu, her husband, that, six days before his
death, and by his last instructions, he intrusted the guardian-ship of
his son, to whom he already gave the title of King, and the government of
the realm.  They were oral instructions not set forth in or confirmed by
any regular testament; but the words of Louis XI. had great weight, even
after his death.  Opposition to his last wishes was not wanting.  Louis,
Duke of Orleans, was a natural claimant to the regency; but Anne de
Beaujeu, immediately and without consulting anybody, took up the position
which had been intrusted to her by her father, and the fact was accepted
without ceasing to be questioned.  Louis XI. had not been mistaken in his
choice; there was none more fitted than his daughter Anne to continue his
policy under the reign and in the name of his successor; “a shrewd and
clever woman, if ever there was one,” says Brantome, “and the true image
in everything of King Louis, her father.”

[Illustration: Anne de Beaujeu----264]

She began by acts of intelligent discretion.  She tried, not to subdue by
force the rivals and malcontents, but to put them in the wrong in the
eyes of the public, and to cause embarrassment to themselves by treating
them with fearless favor.  Her brother-in-law, the Duke of Bourbon, was
vexed at being only in appearance and name the head of his own house; and
she made him constable of France and lieutenant-general of the kingdom.
The friends of Duke Louis of Orleans, amongst others his chief confidant,
George of Amboise, Bishop of Montauban, and Count Dunois, son of Charles
VII.’s hero, persistently supported the duke’s rights to the regency; and
_Madame_ (the title Anne de Beaujeu had assumed) made Duke Louis governor
of Ile-de-France and of Champagne, and sent Dunois as governor to
Dauphiny.  She kept those of Louis XI.’s advisers for whom the public had
not conceived a perfect hatred like that felt for their master; and
Commynes alone was set aside, as having received from the late king too
many personal favors, and as having too much inclination towards
independent criticism of the new regency.  Two of Louis XI.’s subordinate
and detested servants, Oliver de Daim and John Doyac, were prosecuted,
and one was hanged and the other banished; and his doctor, James Cattier,
was condemned to disgorge fifty thousand crowns out of the enormous
presents he had received from his patient.  At the same time that she
thus gave some satisfaction to the cravings of popular wrath, Anne de
Beaujeu threw open the prisons, recalled exiles, forgave the people a
quarter of the talliage, cut down expenses by dismissing six thousand
Swiss whom the late king had taken into his pay, re-established some sort
of order in the administration of the domains of the crown, and, in fine,
whether in general measures or in respect of persons, displayed
impartiality without paying court, and firmness without using severity.
Here was, in fact, a young and gracious woman who gloried solely in
signing herself simply Anne of France, whilst respectfully following out
the policy of her father, a veteran king, able, mistrustful, and

Anne’s discretion was soon put to a great trial.  A general cry was
raised for the convocation of the states-general.  The ambitious hoped
thus to open a road to power; the public looked forward to it for a
return to legalized government.  No doubt Anne would have preferred to
remain more free and less responsible in the exercise of her authority;
for it was still very far from the time when national assemblies could be
considered as a permanent power and a regular means of government.  But
Anne and her advisers did not waver; they were too wise and too weak to
oppose a great public wish.  The states-general were convoked at Tours
for the 5th of January, 1484.  On the 15th they met in the great hall of
the arch-bishop’s palace.  Around the king’s throne sat two hundred and
fifty deputies, whom the successive arrivals of absentees raised to two
hundred and eighty-four.  “France in all its entirety,” says M. Picot,
“found itself, for the first time, represented; Flanders alone sent no
deputies until the end of the session; but Provence, Roussillon,
Burgundy, and Dauphiny were eager to join their commissioners to the
delegates from the provinces united from the oldest times to the crown.”
 [_Histoire des Etats Generaux_ from 1355 to 1614, by George Picot,
t. i. p. 360.]

We have the journal of these states-general drawn up with precision and
detail by one of the chief actors, John Masselin, canon of and deputy for
Rouen, “an eminent speaker,” says a contemporary Norman chronicle, “who
delivered on behalf of the common weal, in the presence of kings and
princes, speeches full of elegance.”  We may agree that, compared with
the pompous pedantry of most speakers of his day, the oratorical style of
John Masselin is not without a certain elegance, but that is not his
great and his original distinction; what marks him out and gives him so
high a place in the history of the fifteenth century, is the judicious
and firm political spirit displayed in his conduct as deputy and in his
narrative as historian.  [The Journal, written by the author in Latin,
was translated into French and published, original and translation,
by M. A.  Bernier, in 1835, in the _Collection des Documents inedits
relatifs d l’Histoire de France._] And it is not John Masselin only, but
the very assembly itself in which he sat, that appears to us, at the end
of five centuries, seriously moved by a desire for a free government, and
not far from comprehending and following out the essential conditions of
it.  France had no lack of states-general, full of brilliancy and power,
between 1356 and 1789, from the reign of Charles V. to that of
Louis XVI.; but in the majority of these assemblies, for all the
ambitious soarings of liberty, it was at one time religious party-spirit
and at another the spirit of revolution that ruled and determined both
acts and events.  Nothing of that kind appeared in the states-general
assembled at Tours in 1484; the assembly was profoundly monarchical, not
only on general principles, but in respect of the reigning house and the
young king seated on the throne.  There was no fierce struggle, either,
between the aristocracy and the democracy of the day, between the
ecclesiastical body and the secular body; although widely differing and
widely separated, the clergy, the nobility, and the third estate were not
at war, even in their hearts, between themselves.  One and the same idea,
one and the same desire, animated the three orders; to such a degree
that, as has been well pointed out by M. Picot, “in the majority of the
towns they proceeded in common to the choice of deputies: the clergy,
nobles, and commons who arrived at Tours were not the representatives
exclusively of the clergy, the nobles, or the third estate: they combined
in their persons a triple commission;” and when, after having examined
together their different memorials, by the agency of a committee of
thirty-six members taken in equal numbers from the three orders, they
came to a conclusion to bring their grievances and their wishes before
the government of Charles VIII., they decided that a single spokesman
should be commissioned to sum up, in a speech delivered in solemn
session, the report of the committee of Thirty-six; and it was the canon,
Master John Masselin, who received the commission to speak in the name of
all.  They all had at heart one and the same idea; they desired to turn
the old and undisputed monarchy into a legalized and free government.
Clergy, nobles, and third estate, there was not in any of their minds any
revolutionary yearning or any thought of social war.  It is the peculiar
and the beautiful characteristic of the states-general of 1484 that they
had an eye to nothing but a great political reform, a regimen of legality
and freedom.

Two men, one a Norman and the other a Burgundian, the canon John Masselin
and Philip Pot, lord of la Roche, a former counsellor of Philip the Good,
Duke of Burgundy, were the exponents of this political spirit, at once
bold and prudent, conservative and reformative.  The nation’s sovereignty
and the right of the estates not only to vote imposts but to exercise a
real influence over the choice and conduct of the officers of the crown,
this was what they affirmed in principle, and what, in fact, they labored
to get established.  “I should like,” said Philip de la Roche, “to see
you quite convinced that the government of the state is the people’s
affair; and by the people I mean not only the multitude of those who are
simply subjects of this crown, but indeed all persons of each estate,
including the princes also.  Since you consider yourselves deputies from
all the estates of the kingdom, why are you afraid to conclude that you
have been especially summoned to direct by your counsels the commonwealth
during its quasi-interregnum caused by the king’s minority?  Far be it
from me to say that the reigning, properly so called, the dominion, in
fact, passes into any hands but those of the king; it is only the
administration, the guardianship of the kingdom, which is conferred for a
time upon the people or their elect.  Why tremble at the idea of taking
in hand the regulation, arrangement, and nomination of the council of the
crown?  You are here to say and to advise freely that which, by
inspiration of God and your conscience, you believe to be useful for the
realm.  What is the obstacle that prevents you from accomplishing so
excellent and meritorious a work?  I can find none, unless it be your own
weakness and the pusillanimity which causes fear in your minds.  Come,
then, most illustrious lords, have great confidence in yourselves, have
great hopes, have great manly virtue, and let not this liberty of the
estates, that your ancestors were so zealous in defending, be imperilled
by reason of your soft-heartedness.”  “This speech,” says Masselin, “was
listened to by the whole assembly very attentively and very favorably.”
 Masselin, being called upon to give the king “in his privy chamber,
before the Dukes of Orleans and Lorraine and a numerous company of
nobles,” an exact account of the estates’ first deliberations, held in
his turn language more reserved than, but similar to, that of Lord Philip
de la Roche, whose views he shared and whose proud openness he admired.
The question touching the composition of the king’s council and the part
to be taken in it by the estates was for five weeks the absorbing idea
with the government and with the assembly.  There were made, on both
sides, concessions which satisfied neither the estates nor the court, for
their object was always on the part of the estates to exercise a real
influence on the government, and on the part of the court to escape being
under any real influence of the estates.  Side by side with the question
of the king’s council was ranged that of the imposts; and here it was no
easier to effect an understanding: the crown asked more than the estates
thought they ought or were able to vote; and, after a long and obscure
controversy about expenses and receipts, Masselin was again commissioned
to set-before the king’s council the views of the assembly and its
ultimate resolution.  “When we saw,” said he, “that the aforesaid
accounts or estimates contained elements of extreme difficulty, and that
to balance and verify them would subject us to interminable discussions
and longer labor than would be to our and the people’s advantage, we
hastened to adopt by way of expedient, but nevertheless resolutely, the
decision I am about to declare to you.  .  .  .  Wishing to meet
liberally the king’s and your desires, we offer to pay the sum that King
Charles VII. used to take for the impost of talliages, provided, however,
that this sum be equally and proportionately distributed between the
provinces of the kingdom, and that in the shape of an aid.  And this
contribution be only for two years, after which the estates shall be
assembled as they are to-day to discuss the public needs; and if at that
time or previously they see the advantage thereof, the said sum shall be
diminished or augmented.  Further, the said my lords the deputies do
demand that their next meeting be now appointed and declared, and that an
irrevocable decision do fix and decree that assembly.”

This was providing at one and the same time for the wants of the present
and the rights of the future.  The impost of talliage was, indeed, voted
just as it had stood under Charles VII., but it became a temporary aid
granted for two years only; at the end of them the estates were to be
convoked and the tax augmented or diminished according to the public
wants.  The great question appeared decided; by means of the vote,
necessary and at the same time temporary, in the case of the impost, the
states-general entered into real possession of a decisive influence in
the government; but the behavior and language of the officers of the
crown and of the great lords of the court rendered the situation as
difficult as ever.  In a long and confused harangue the chancellor,
William de Rochefort, did not confine himself to declaring the sum voted,
twelve hundred thousand livres, to be insufficient, and demanding three
hundred thousand livres more; he passed over in complete silence the
limitation to two years of the tax voted and the requirement that at the
end of that time the states-general should be convoked.  “Whilst the
chancellor was thus speaking,” says Masselin, “many deputies of a more
independent spirit kept groaning, and all the hall resounded with a
slight murmuring because it seemed that he was not expressing himself
well as to the power and liberty of the people.”  The deputies asked
leave to deliberate in the afternoon, promising a speedy answer.  “As you
wish to deliberate, do so, but briefly,” said the chancellor; “it would
be better for you to hold counsel now so as to answer in the afternoon.”
 The deputies took their time; and the discussion was a long and a hot
one.  “We see quite well how it is,” said the princes and the majority of
the great lords; “to curtail the king’s power, and pare down his nails to
the quick, is the object of your efforts; you forbid the subjects to pay
their prince as much as the wants of the state require: are they masters,
pray, and no longer subjects?  You would set up the laws of some fanciful
monarchy, and abolish the old ones.”  “I know the rascals,” said one of
the great lords [according to one historian, it was the Duke of Bourbon,
Anne de Beaujeu’s brother-in-law]; “if they are not kept down by
over-weighting them, they will soon become insolent; for my part, I
consider this tax the surest curb for holding them in.”  “Strange words,”
 says Masselin, “unworthy of utterance from the mouth of a man so eminent;
but in his soul, as in that of all old men, covetousness had increased
with age, and he appeared to fear a diminution of his pension.”

After having deliberated upon it, the states-general persisted in their
vote of a tax of twelve hundred thousand livres, at which figure it had
stood under King Charles VII., but for two years only, and as a gift or
grant, not as a permanent talliage any more, and on condition that at the
end of that time the states should be necessarily convoked.  At the same
time, however, “and over and above this, the said estates, who do desire
the well-being, honor, prosperity, and augmentation of the lord king and
of his kingdom, and in order to obey him and please him in all ways
possible, do grant him the sum of three hundred thousand livres of Tours,
for this once only, and without being a precedent, on account of his late
joyful accession to the throne of France, and for to aid and support the
outlay which it is suitable to make for his holy consecration,
coronation, and entry into Paris.”

On this fresh vote, full of fidelity to the monarchy and at the same time
of patriotic independence, negotiations began between the estates and the
court; and they lasted from the 28th of February to the 12th of March,
but without result.  At bottom, the question lay between absolute power
and free government, between arbitrariness and legality; and, on this
field, both parties were determined not to accept a serious and final
defeat.  Unmoved by the loyal concessions and assurances they received,
the advisers of the crown thought no longer of anything but getting
speedily rid of the presence of the estates, so as to be free from the
trouble of maintaining the discussion with them.  The deputies saw
through the device; their speeches were stifled, and the necessity of
replying was eluded.  “My lord chancellor,” said they, at an interview on
the 2d of March, 1484, “if we are not to have a hearing, why are we here?
Why have you summoned us?  Let us withdraw.  If you behave thus, you do
not require our presence.  We did not at all expect to see the fruits of
our vigils, and the decisions adopted after so much trouble by so
illustrious an assembly rejected so carelessly.”  The complaints were not
always so temperate.  A theologian, whom Masselin quotes without giving
his name, “a bold and fiery partisan of the people,” says he, added these
almost insulting words: “As soon as our consent had been obtained for
raising the money, there is no doubt but that we have been cajoled, that
everything has been treated with contempt, the demands set down in our
memorials, our final resolutions, and the limits we fixed.  Speak we of
the money.  On this point, our decisions have been conformed to only so
far as to tell us, ‘This impost shall no longer be called talliage; it
shall be a free grant.’ Is it in words, pray, and not in things, that our
labor and the well-being of the state consist?  Verily, we would rather
still call this impost _talliage,_ and even blackmail (_maltote_), or
give it a still viler name, if there be any, than see it increasing
immeasurably and crushing the people.  The curse of God and the
execration of men upon those whose deeds and plots have caused such woes!
They are the most dangerous foes of the people and of the commonwealth.”
 “The theologian burned with a desire to continue,” adds Masselin; “but
though he had not wandered far from the truth, many deputies chid him and
constrained him to be silent.  .  .  .  Already lethargy had fallen upon
the most notable amongst us; glutted with favors and promises, they no
longer possessed that ardor of will which had animated them at first;
when we were prosecuting our business, they remained motionless at home;
when we spoke before them, they held their peace or added but a few
feeble words.  We were wasting our time.”

On the 12th of March, 1484, the deputies from Normandy, twenty-five in
number, happened to hold a meeting at Montils-les-Tours.  The Bishop of
Coutances told them that there was no occasion for the estates to hold
any more meetings; that it would be enough if each of the six sections
appointed three or four delegates to follow the course of affairs; and
that, moreover, the compensation granted to all the deputies of the
estates would cease on the 14th of March, and after that would be granted
only to their delegates.  This compensation had already, amongst the
estates, been the subject of a long discussion.  The clergy and the
nobility had attempted to throw the whole burden of it upon the third
estate; the third estate had very properly claimed that each of the three
orders should, share proportionately in this expense, and the chancellor
had with some difficulty got it decided that the matter should stand so.
On the 14th of March, accordingly, the six sections of the estates met
and elected three or four deputies apiece.  The deputies were a little
surprised, on entering their sessions-hall, to find it completely
dismantled: carpets, hangings, benches, table, all had been removed,
so certainly did the government consider the session over.  Some members,
in disgust, thought and maintained that the estates ought not to separate
without carrying away with them the resolutions set down in their general
memorial, formally approved and accompanied by an order to the judges to
have them executed.  “But a much larger number,” says Masselin, “were
afraid of remaining too long, and many of our colleagues, in spite of the
zeal which they had once shown, had a burning desire to depart, according
to the princes’ good pleasure and orders.  As for us, we enjoined upon
the three deputies of our Norman nationality not to devote themselves
solely to certain special affairs which had not yet been terminated, but
to use redoubled care and diligence in all that concerned the general
memorial and the aggregate of the estates.  And having thus left our
commissioners at Tours and put matters to rights, we went away well
content; and we pray God that our labors and all that has been done may
be useful for the people’s welfare.”

Neither Masselin nor his descendants for more than three centuries were
destined to see the labors of the states-general of 1484 obtain
substantial and durable results.  The work they had conceived and
attempted was premature.  The establishment of a free government demands
either spontaneous and simple virtues, such as may be found in a young
and small community, or the lights, the scientific method, and the
wisdom, painfully acquired and still so imperfect, of great and civilized
nations.  France of the fifteenth century was in neither of these
conditions.  But it is a crown of glory to have felt that honest and
patriotic ambition which animated Masselin and his friends at their
exodus from the corrupt and corrupting despotism of Louis XI.  Who would
dare to say that their attempt, vain as it was for them, was so also for
generations separated from them by centuries?  Time and space are as
nothing in the mysterious development of God’s designs towards men, and
it is the privilege of mankind to get instruction and example from
far-off memories of their own history.  It was a duty to render to the
states-general of 1484 the homage to which they have a right by reason of
their intentions and their efforts on behalf of the good cause and in
spite of their unsuccess.

When the states-general had separated, Anne de Beaujeu, without
difficulty or uproar, resumed, as she had assumed on her father’s death,
the government of France; and she kept it yet for seven years, from 1484
to 1491.  During all this time she had a rival and foe in Louis, Duke of
Orleans, who was one day to be Louis XII.  “I have heard tell,” says
Brantome, “how that, at the first, she showed affection towards him, nay,
even love; in such sort that, if M. d’Orleans had been minded to give
heed thereto, he might have done well, as I know from a good source; but
he could not bring himself to it; especially as he found her too
ambitious, and he would that she should be dependent on him, as premier
prince and nearest to the throne, and not he on her; whereas she desired
the contrary, for she was minded to have the high place and rule
everything.  .  .  .  They used to have,” adds Brantome, “prickings of
jealousy, love, and ambition.”  If Brantome’s anecdote is true, as one is
inclined to believe, though several historians have cast doubts upon it,
Anne de Beaujeu had, in their prickings of jealousy, love, and ambition,
a great advantage over Louis of Orleans.  They were both young, and
exactly of the same age; but Louis had all the defects of youth, whilst
Anne had all the qualities of mature age.  He was handsome, volatile,
inconsiderate, impudent, brave, and of a generous, open nature, combined
with kindliness; she was thoughtful, judicious, persistent, and probably
a little cold and hard, such, in fact, as she must needs have become in
the school of her father, Louis XI.  As soon as the struggle between them
began, the diversity of their characters appeared and bore fruit.  The
Duke of Orleans plunged into all sorts of intrigues and ventures against
the fair regent, exciting civil war, and, when he was too much
compromised or too hard pressed, withdrawing to the court of Francis II.,
Duke of Brittany, an unruly vassal of the King of France.  Louis of
Orleans even made alliance, at need, with foreign princes, Henry VII.,
King of England, Ferdinand the Catholic, King of Arragon, and Maximilian,
archduke of Austria, without much regard for the interests of his own
kingly house and his own country.  Anne, on the contrary, in possession
of official and legal authority, wielded it and guarded it with prudence
and moderation in the interests of France and of the crown, never taking
the initiative in war, but having the wit to foresee, maintain, and,
after victory, end it.  She encountered from time to time, at her own
court and in her own immediate circle, a serious difficulty: the young
king, Charles, was charmed by the Duke of Orleans’s brilliant qualities,
especially by the skill and bravery that Louis displayed at tournaments.
One day, interrupting the Bishop of Montauban, George of Amboise, who was
reading the breviary to him, “Send word to the Duke of Orleans,” said the
king, “to go on with his enterprise, and that I would fain be with him.”
 Another day he said to Count Dunois, “Do take me away, uncle: I’m longing
to be out of this company.”  Dunois and George of Amboise, both of them
partisans of the Duke of Orleans, carefully encouraged the king in
sentiments so favorable to the fair regent’s rival.  Incidents of another
sort occurred to still further embarrass the position for Anne de
Beaujeu.  The eldest daughter of Francis II., Duke of Brittany, herself
also named Anne, would inherit his duchy, and on this ground she was
ardently wooed by many competitors.  She was born in 1477; and at four
years of age, in 1481, she had been promised in marriage to Edward,
Prince of Wales, son of Edward IV., King of England.  But two years
afterwards, in 1483, this young prince was murdered, or, according to
other accounts, imprisoned by his uncle Richard III., who seized the
crown; and the Breton promise vanished with him.  The number of claimants
to the hand of Anne of Brittany increased rapidly; and the policy of the
duke her father consisted, it was said, in making for himself five or six
sons-in-law by means of one daughter.  Towards the end of 1484, the Duke
of Orleans, having embroiled himself with Anne de Beaujeu, sought refuge
in Brittany; and many historians have said that he not only at that time
aspired to the hand of Anne of Brittany, but that he paid her assiduous
court and obtained from her marks of tender interest.  Count Darn, in his
_Histoire de Bretagne_ (t. iii. p. 82), has put the falsehood of this
assertion beyond a doubt; the Breton princess was then only seven and the
Duke of Orleans had been eight years married to Joan of France, younger
daughter of Louis XI.  But in succeeding years and amidst the continual
alternations of war and negotiation between the King of France and the
Duke of Brittany, Anne de Beaujeu and the Duke of Orleans, competition
and strife between the various claimants to the hand of Anne of Brittany
became very active; Alan, Sire d’Albret, called the Great because of his
reputation for being the richest lord of the realm, Viscount James de
Rohan, and Archduke Maximilian of Austria, all three believed themselves
to have hopes of success, and prosecuted them assiduously.  Sire
d’Albret, a widower and the father of eight children already, was
forty-five, with a pimply face, a hard eye, a hoarse voice, and a
quarrelsome and gloomy temper; and Anne, being pressed to answer his
suit, finally declared that she would turn nun rather than marry him.
James de Rohan, in spite of his powerful backers at the court of Rennes,
was likewise dismissed; his father, Viscount John II., was in the service
of the King of France.  Archduke Maximilian remained the only claimant
with any pretensions.  He was nine and twenty, of gigantic stature,
justly renowned for valor and ability in war, and of more literary
culture than any of the princes his contemporaries, a trait he had in
common with Princess Anne, whose education had been very carefully
attended to.  She showed herself to be favorably disposed towards him;
and the Duke of Orleans, whose name, married though he was, was still
sometimes associated with that of the Breton princess, formally declared,
on the 26th of January, 1486, that, “when he came to the Duke of
Brittany’s, it was solely to visit him and advise him on certain points
touching the defence of his duchy, and not to talk to him of marriage
with the princesses his daughters.”  But, whilst the negotiation was thus
inclining towards the Austrian prince, Anne de Beaujeu, ever far-sighted
and energetic, was vigorously pushing on the war against the Duke of
Brittany and his allies.  She had found in Louis de la Tremoille an able
and a bold warrior, whom Guicciardini calls the greatest captain in the
world.  In July, 1488, he came suddenly down upon Brittany, took one
after the other Chateaubriant, Ancenis, and Fougeres, and, on the 28th,
gained at St. Aubin-du-Cormier, near Rennes, over the army of the Duke of
Brittany and his English, German, and Gascon allies, a victory which
decided the campaign: six thousand of the Breton army were killed, and
Duke Louis of Orleans, the Prince of Orange, and several French lords,
his friends, were made prisoners.  On receiving at Angers the news of
this victory, Charles VIII. gave orders that the two captive princes
should be brought to him; but Anne de Beaujeu, fearing some ebullition on
his part of a too prompt and too gratuitous generosity, caused delay in
their arrival; and the Duke of Orleans, who was taken first to the castle
of Sable and then to Lusignan, went ultimately to the Tower of Bourges,
where he was to await the king’s decision.

It was a great success for Anne de Beaujeu.  She had beaten her united
foes; and the most formidable of them all, the Duke of Orleans, was her
prisoner.  Two incidents that supervened, one a little before and the
other a little after the battle of St. Aubin-du-Cormier, occurred to both
embarrass the position and at the same time call forth all the energy of
Anne.  Her brother-in-law, Duke John of Bourbon, the head of his house,
died on the 1st of April, 1488, leaving to his younger brother, Peter,
his title and domains.  Having thus become Duchess of Bourbon, and being
well content with this elevation in rank and fortune, Madame the Great
(as Anne de Beaujeu was popularly called) was somewhat less eagerly
occupied with the business of the realm, was less constant at the king’s
council, and went occasionally with her husband to stay a while in their
own territories.  Charles VIII., moreover, having nearly arrived at man’s
estate, made more frequent manifestations of his own personal will; and
Anne, clear-sighted and discreet though ambitious, was little by little
changing her dominion into influence.  But some weeks after the battle of
St. Aubin-du-Cormier, on the 7th or 9th of September, 1488, the death of
Francis II., Duke of Brittany, rendered the active intervention of the
Duchess of Bourbon natural and necessary; for he left his daughter, the
Princess Anne, barely eighteen years old, exposed to all the difficulties
attendant upon the government of her inheritance, and to all the
intrigues of the claimants to her hand.  In the summer of 1489, Charles
VIII. and his advisers learned that the Count of Nassau, having arrived
in Brittany with the proxy of Archduke Maximilian, had by a mock ceremony
espoused the Breton princess in his master’s name.  This strange mode of
celebration could not give the marriage a real and indissoluble
character; but the concern in the court of France was profound.  In
Brittany there was no mystery any longer made about the young duchess’s
engagement; she already took the title of Queen of the Romans.  Charles
VIII. loudly protested against this pretended marriage; and to give still
more weight to his protest he sent to Henry VII., King of England, who
was much mixed up with the affairs of Brittany, ambassadors charged to
explain to him the right which France had to oppose the marriage of the
young Duchess with Archduke Maximilian, at the same time taking care not
to give occasion for thinking that Charles had any views on his own
account in that quarter.  “The king my master,” said the ambassador,
“doth propose to assert by arms his plain rights over the kingdom of
Naples, now occupied by some usurper or other, a bastard of the house of
Arragon.  He doth consider, moreover, the conquest of Naples only as a
bridge thrown down before him for to take him into Greece; there he is
resolved to lavish his blood and his treasure, though he should have to
pawn his crown and drain his kingdom, for to overthrow the tyranny of the
Ottomans, and open to himself in this way the kingdom of Heaven.”  The
King of England gave a somewhat ironical reply to this chivalrous
address, merely asking whether the King of France would consent not to
dispose of the heiress of Brittany’s hand, save on the condition of not
marrying her himself.  The ambassadors shuffled out of the question by
saying that their master was so far from any such idea, that it had not
been foreseen in their instructions.

Whether it had or had not been foreseen and meditated upon, so soon as
the reunion of Brittany with France by the marriage of the young duchess,
Anne, with King Charles VIII. appeared on the horizon as a possible, and,
peradventure, probable fact, it became the common desire, aim, and labor
of all the French politicians who up to that time had been opposed,
persecuted, and proscribed.  Since the battle of St. Aubin-du-Cormier,
Duke Louis of Orleans had been a prisoner in the Tower of Bourges, and so
strictly guarded that he was confined at night in an iron cage like
Cardinal Balue’s for fear he should escape.  In vain had his wife, Joan
of France, an unhappy and virtuous princess, ugly and deformed, who had
never been able to gain her husband’s affections, implored her
all-powerful sister, Anne of Bourbon, to set him at liberty: “As I am
incessantly thinking,” she wrote to her, “about my husband’s release, I
have conceived the idea of setting down in writing the fashion in which
peace might be had, and my said husband be released.  I am writing it out
for the king, and you will see it all.  I pray you, sister, to look to it
that I may get a few words in answer; it has been a very sad thing for me
that I never see you now.”  There is no trace of any answer from Anne to
her sister.  Charles VIII. had a heart more easily touched.  When Joan,
in mourning, came and threw herself at his feet, saying, “Brother, my
husband is dragging on his life in prison; and I am in such trouble that
I know not what I ought to say in his defence.  If he has had aught
wherewith to reproach himself, I am the only one whom he has outraged.
Pardon him, brother; you will never have so happy a chance of being
generous.”  “You shall have him, sister,” said Charles, kissing her;
“grant Heaven that you may not repent one day of that which you are doing
for him to-day!”  Some days after this interview, in May, 1491, Charles,
without saying anything about it to the duchess, Anne of Bourbon, set off
one evening from Plessis du Pare on pretence of going a-hunting, and on
reaching Berry sent for the Duke of Orleans from the Tower of Bourges.
Louis, in raptures at breathing the air of freedom, at the farthest
glimpse he caught of the king, leaped down from his horse and knelt,
weeping, on the ground.  “Charles,” says the chronicler, “sprang upon his
neck, and knew not what cheer (reception) to give him, to make it
understood that he was acting of his own motion and free will.”  Charles
ill understood his sister Anne, and could scarcely make her out.  But two
convictions had found their way into that straightforward and steady mind
of hers; one, that a favorable time had arrived for uniting Brittany with
France, and must be seized; the other, that the period of her personal
dominion was over, and that all she had to do was to get herself well
established in her new position.  She wrote to the king her brother to
warn him against the accusations and wicked rumors of which she might
possibly be the object.  He replied to her on the 21st of June, 1491:
“My good sister, my dear, Louis de Pesclins has informed me that you have
knowledge that certain matters have been reported to me against you;
whereupon I answered him that nought of the kind had been reported to me;
and I assure you that none would dare so to speak to me; for, in
whatsoever fashion it might, I would not put faith therein, as I hope to
tell you when we are together,--bidding you adieu, my good sister, my
dear.”  After having re-assured his sister, Charles set about reconciling
her, as well as her husband, the Duke of Bourbon, with her
brother-in-law, the Duke of Orleans.  Louis, who was of a frank and by no
means rancorous disposition, as he himself said and proved at a later
period, submitted with a good grace; and on the 4th of September, 1491,
at La Fleche, the princes jointly made oath, by their baptism and with
their hands on the book of the Gospels, “to hold one another once more in
perpetual affection, and to forget all old rancor, hatred, and ill will,
for to well and loyally serve King Charles, guard his person and
authority, and help him to comfort the people, and set in order his
household and his kingdom.”  Councillors and servants were included in
this reconciliation of the masters; and Philip de Commynes and the Bishop
of Montauban, ere long Archbishop of Rouen, Governor of Normandy, and
Cardinal d’Amboise, went out of disgrace, took their places again in the
king’s councils, and set themselves loyally to the work of accomplishing
that union between Charles VIII. and Anne of Brittany, whereby France was
to achieve the pacific conquest of Brittany.

Pacific as it was, this conquest cost some pains, and gave some trouble.
In person Charles VIII. was far from charming; he was short and badly
built; he had an enormous head; great, blank-looking eyes; an aquiline
nose, bigger and thicker than was becoming; thick lips, too, and
everlastingly open; nervous twitchings, disagreeable to see; and slow
speech.  “In my judgment,” adds the ambassador from Venice, Zachary
Contarini, who had come to Paris in May, 1492, “I should hold that, body
and mind, he is not worth much; however, they all sing his praises in
Paris as a right lusty gallant at playing of tennis, and at hunting, and
at jousting, exercises to the which, in season and out of season, he doth
devote a great deal of time.”  The same ambassador says of Anne of
Brittany, who had then been for four months Queen of France, “The queen
is short also, thin, lame of one foot, and perceptibly so, though she
does what she can for herself by means of boots with high heels, a
brunette and very pretty in the face, and, for her age, very knowing; in
such sort that what she has once taken into her head she will obtain
somehow or other, whether it be smiles or tears that be needed for it.”
 --[_La Diplomatic Venitienne au Seizieme Siecle,_ by M. Armand Baschet,
p. 325 (Paris, 1862).]  Knowing as she was, Anne was at the same time
proud and headstrong; she had a cultivated mind; she was fond of the
arts, of poetry, and of ancient literature; she knew Latin, and even a
little Greek; and having been united, though by proxy and at a distance,
to a prince whom she had never seen, but whom she knew to be tall, well
made, and a friend to the sciences, she revolted at the idea of giving
him up for a prince without beauty, and to such an extent without
education, that, it is said, Charles VIII., when he ascended the throne,
was unable to read.  When he was spoken of to the young princess, “I am
engaged in the bonds of matrimony to Archduke Maximilian,” said Anne:
“and the King of France, on his side, is affianced to the Princess
Marguerite of Austria; we are not free, either of us.”  She went so far
as to say that she would set out and go and join Maximilian.  Her
advisers, who had nearly all of them become advocates of the French
marriage, did their best to combat this obstinacy on the part of their
princess, and they proposed to her other marriages.  Anne answered, “I
will marry none but a king or a king’s son.”  Whilst the question was
thus being disputed at the little court of Rennes, the army of Charles
VIII. was pressing the city more closely every day.  Parleys took place
between the leaders of the two hosts; and the Duke of Orleans made his
way into Rennes, had an interview with the Duchess Anne, and succeeded in
shaking her in her refusal of any French marriage.  “Many maintain,” says
Count Philip de Segur [_Histoire de Charles VIII,_ t. i. p. 217], “that
Charles VIII. himself entered alone and without escort into the town he
was besieging, had a conversation with the young duchess, and left to her
the decision of their common fate, declaring to her that she was free and
he her captive; that all roads would be open to her to go to England or
to Germany; and that, for himself, he would go to Touraine to await the
decision whereon depended, together with the happiness of his own future,
that of all the kingdom.”  Whatever may be the truth about these
chivalrous traditions, there was concluded on the 15th of September,
1491, a treaty whereby the two parties submitted themselves for an
examination of all questions that concerned them to twenty-four
commissioners, taken half and half from the two hosts; and, in order to
give the preconcerted resolution an appearance of mutual liberty,
authority was given to the young Duchess Anne to go, if she pleased,
and join Maximilian in Germany.  Charles VIII., accompanied by a hundred
men-at-arms and fifty archers of his guard, again entered Rennes; and
three days afterwards the King of France and the Duchess of Brittany were
secretly affianced in the chapel of Notre-Dame.  The Duke of Orleans, the
Duchess of Bourbon, the Prince of Orange, Count Dunois, and some Breton
lords, were the sole witnesses of the ceremony.  Next day Charles VIII.
left Rennes and repaired to the castle of Langeais in Touraine.  There
the Duchess Anne joined him a fortnight afterwards.  The young Princess
Marguerite of Austria, who had for eight years been under guardianship
and education at Amboise as the future wife of the King of France, was
removed from France and taken back into Flanders to her father, Archduke
Maximilian, with all the external honors that could alleviate such an
insult.  On the 13th of December, 1491, the contract of marriage between
Charles VIII. and Anne of Brittany was drawn up in the great hall of the
castle of Langeais, in two drafts, one in French and the other in Breton.
The Bishop of Alby celebrated the nuptial ceremony.  By that deed, “if my
Lady Anne were to die before King Charles, and his children, issue of
their marriage, she ceded and transferred irrevocably to him and his
successors, kings of France, all her rights to the duchy of Brittany.
King Charles ceded in like manner to my Lady Anne his rights to the
possession of the said duchy, if he were to die before her with-out
children born of their marriage.  My Lady Anne could not, in case of
widowhood, contract a second marriage save with the future king, if it
were his pleasure and were possible, or with other near and presumptive
future successor to the throne, who should be bound to make to the king
regnant, on account of the said duchy, the same acknowledgments that the
predecessors of the said Lady Anne had made.”  On the 7th of February,
1492, Anne was crowned at St. Denis; and next day, the 8th of February,
she made her entry in state into Paris, amidst the joyful and earnest
acclamations of the public.  A sensible and a legitimate joy: for the
reunion of Brittany to France was the consolidation of the peace which,
in this same century, on the 17th of September, 1453, had put an end to
the Hundred Years’ War between France and England, and was the greatest
act that remained to be accomplished to insure the definitive victory and
the territorial constitution of French nationality.

[Illustration: Meeting between Charles VIII, and Anne of Brittany----282]

Charles VIII. was pleased with and proud of himself.  He had achieved a
brilliant and a difficult marriage.  In Europe, and within his own
household, he had made a display of power and independence.  In order to
espouse Anne of Brittany, he had sent back Marguerite of Austria to her
father.  He had gone in person and withdrawn from prison his cousin Louis
of Orleans, whom his sister, Anne de Beaujeu, had put there; and so far
from having got embroiled with her, he saw all the royal family
reconciled around him.  This was no little success for a young prince of
twenty-one.  He thereupon devoted himself with ardor and confidence to
his desire of winning back the kingdom of Naples, which Alphonso I.,
King of Arragon, had wrested from the house of France, and of thereby
re-opening for himself in the East, and against Islamry, that career of
Christian glory which had made a saint of his ancestor, Louis IX.
Mediocre men are not safe from the great dreams which have more than once
seduced and ruined the greatest men.  The very mediocre son of Louis XI.,
on renouncing his father’s prudent and by no means chivalrous policy, had
no chance of becoming a great warrior and a saint; but not the less did
he take the initiative as to those wars in Italy which were to be so
costly to his successors and to France.  By two treaties concluded in
1493 [one at Barcelona on the 19th of January and the other at Senlis on
the 23d of May], he gave up Roussillon and Cerdagne to Ferdinand the
Catholic, King of Arragon, and Franche-Comte, Artois, and Charolais to
the house of Austria, and, after having at such a lamentable price
purchased freedom of movement, he went and took up his quarters at Lyons
to prepare for his Neapolitan venture.

In his council he found loyal and able opponents.  “On the undertaking of
this trip,” says Philip de Commynes, one of those present, “there was
many a discussion, for it seemed to all folks of wisdom and experience
very dangerous .  .  .  all things necessary for so great a purpose were
wanting; the king was very young, a poor creature, wilful and with but a
small attendance of wise folk and good leaders; no ready money; neither
tents, nor pavilions for wintering in Lombardy.  One thing good they had:
a lusty company full of young men of family, but little under control.”
 The chiefest warrior of France at this time, Philip de Crevecoeur,
Marshal d’Esquerdes, threw into the opposition the weight of his age and
of his recognized ability.  “The greatness and tranquillity of the
realm,” said he, “depend on possession of the Low Countries; that is the
direction in which we must use all our exertions rather than against a
state, the possession of which, so far from being advantageous to us,
could not but weaken us.”  “Unhappily,” says the latest, learned
historian of Charles VIII.  [_Histoire de Charles VIII._, by the late M.
de Cherrier, t. i. p. 393], “the veteran marshal died on the 22d of
April, 1494, in a small town some few leagues from Lyons, and thenceforth
all hope of checking the current became visionary.  .  .  .  On the 8th
of September, 1494, Charles VIII. started from Grenoble, crossed Mount
Genevre, and went and slept at Oulx, which was territory of Piedmont.  In
the evening a peasant who was accused of being a master of Vaudery
[i.e. one of the Vaudois, a small population of reformers in the Alps,
between Piedmont and Dauphiny] was brought before him; the king gave him
audience, and then handed him over to the provost, who had him hanged on
a tree.”  By such an act of severity, perpetrated in a foreign country
and on the person of one who was not his own subject, did Charles VIII.
distinguish his first entry into Italy.

[Illustration: Charles VIII. crossing the Alps----285]

It were out of place to follow out here in all its details a war which
belongs to the history of Italy far more than to that of France; it will
suffice to point out with precision the positions of the principal
Italian states at this period, and the different shares of influence they
exercised on the fate of the French expedition.

Six principal states, Piedmont, the kingdom of the Dukes of Savoy; the
duchy of Milan; the republic of Venice; the republic of Florence; Rome
and the pope; and the kingdom of Naples, co-existed in Italy at the end
of the fifteenth century.  In August, 1494, when Charles VIII. started
from Lyons on his Italian expedition, Piedmout was governed by Blanche of
Montferrat, widow of Charles the ‘Warrior,’ Duke of Savoy, in the name of
her son Charles John Amadeo, a child only six years old.  In the duchy of
Milan the power was in the hands of Ludovic Sforza, called the Moor, who,
being ambitious, faithless, lawless, unscrupulous, employed it in
banishing to Pavia the lawful duke, his own nephew, John Galeas Mario
Sforza, of whom the Florentine ambassador said to Ludovic himself, “This
young man seems to me a good young man and animated by good sentiments,
but very deficient in wits.”  He was destined to die ere long, probably
by poison.  The republic of Venice had at this period for its doge
Augustin Barbarigo; and it was to the council of Ten that in respect of
foreign affairs as well as of the home department the power really
belonged.  Peter de’ Medici, son of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the father of the
Muses, was feebly and stupidly, though with all the airs and pretensions
of a despot, governing the republic of Florence.

Rome had for pope Alexander VI.  (Poderigo Borgia), a prince who was
covetous, licentious, and brazen-facedly fickle and disloyal in his
policy, and who would be regarded as one of the most utterly demoralized
men of the fifteenth century, only that he had for son a Caesar Borgia.
Finally, at Naples, in 1494, three months before the day on which Charles
VIII, entered Italy, King Alphonso II. ascended the throne.  “No man,”
 says Commynes, “was ever more cruel than he, or more wicked, or more
vicious and tainted, or more gluttonous; less dangerous, however, than
his father, King Ferdinand, the which did take in and betray folks whilst
giving them good cheer (kindly welcome), as hath been told to me by his
relatives and friends, and who did never have any pity or compassion for
his poor people.”  Such, in Italy, whether in her kingdoms or her
republics, were the Heads with whom Charles VIII. had to deal when he
went, in the name of a disputed right, three hundred leagues away from
his own kingdom in quest of a bootless and ephemeral conquest.

The reception he met with at the outset of his enterprise could not but
confirm him in his illusory hopes.  Whilst he was at Lyons, engaged in
preparations for his departure, Duke Charles of Savoy, whose territories
were the first he would have to cross, came to see him on a personal
matter.  “Cousin, my good friend,” said the king to him, “I am delighted
to see you at Lyons, for, if you had delayed your coming, I had intended
to go myself to see you, with a very numerous company, in your own
dominions, where it is likely such a visit could not but have caused you
loss.”  “My lord,” answered the duke, “my only regret at your arrival in
my dominions would be, that I should be unable to give you such welcome
there as is due to so great a prince.  .  .  .  However, whether here or
elsewhere, I shall be always ready to beg that you will dispose of me and
all that pertains to me just as of all that might belong to your own
subjects.”  Duke Charles of Savoy had scarcely exaggerated; he was no
longer living in September, 1494, when Charles VIII, demanded of his
widow Blanche, regent in the name of her infant son, a free passage for
the French army over her territory, and she not only granted his request,
but, when he entered Turin, she had him received exactly as he might have
been in the greatest cities of France.  He admired the magnificent jewels
she wore; and she offered to lend them to him.  He accepted them, and
soon afterwards borrowed on the strength of them twelve thousand golden
ducats; so ill provided was he with money.  The fair regent, besides,
made him a present of a fine black horse, which Commynes calls the best
in the world, and which, ten months later, Charles rode at the battle of
Fornovo, the only victory he was to gain on retiring from this sorry
campaign.  On entering the country of the Milanese he did not experience
the same feeling of confidence that Piedmont had inspired him with.  Not
that Ludovic the Moor hesitated to lavish upon him assurances of
devotion.  “Sir,” said he, “have no fear for this enterprise; there are
in Italy three powers which we consider great, and of which you have one,
which is Milan; another, which is the Venetians, does not stir; so you
have to do only with that of Naples, and many of your predecessors have
beaten us when we were all united.  If you will trust me, I will help to
make you greater than ever was Charlemagne; and when you have in your
hands this kingdom of Naples, we shall easily drive yon Turk out of that
empire of Constantinople.”  These words pleased Charles VIII. mightily,
and he would have readily pinned his faith to them; but he had at his
side some persons more clear-sighted, and Ludovic had enemies who did not
deny themselves the pleasure of enlightening the king concerning him.  He
invited Charles to visit Milan; he desired to parade before the eyes of
the people his alliance and intimate friendship with the powerful King of
France; but Charles, who had at first treated him as a friend, all at
once changed his demeanor, and refused to go to Milan, “so as not to lose
time.”  Ludovic was too good a judge to make any mistake in the matter;
but he did not press the point.  Charles resumed his road to Piacenza,
where his army awaited him.  At Pavia, vows, harangues, felicitations,
protestations of devotion, were lavished upon him without restoring his
confidence; quarters had been assigned to him within the city; he
determined to occupy the castle, which was in a state of defence; his own
guard took possession of the guard-posts; and the watch was doubled
during the night.  Ludovic appeared to take no notice, and continued to
accompany the king as far as Piacenza, the last town in the state of
Milan.  Into it Charles entered with seventy-eight hundred horse, many
Swiss foot, and many artillerymen and bombardiers.  The Italian
population regarded this army with an admiration tinged with timidity and
anxiety.  News was heard there to the effect that young John Galeas,
nephew of Ludovic the Moor and lawful Duke of Milan, was dead.  He left a
son, five years old, for whom he had at Pavia implored the king’s
protection; and “I will look upon him as my own,” King Charles had
answered as he fondled the child.  Ludovic set out in haste for Milan;
and it was not long before it was known that he had been proclaimed duke
and put in possession of the duchy.  Distrust became general throughout
the army.  “Those who ought to have known best told me,” says Commynes,
“that several, who had at first commended the trip, now found fault with
it, and that there was a great inclination to turn back.”  However, the
march was continued forward; and on the 29th of October, 1494, the French
army encamped before Sarzana, a Florentine town.  Ludovic the Moor
suddenly arrived in the camp with new proposals of alliance, on new
conditions: Charles accepted some of them, and rejected the principal
ones.  Ludovic went away again on the 3d of November, never to return.

From this day the King of France might reckon him amongst his enemies.
With the republic of Florence was henceforth to be Charles’s business.
Its head, Peter de’ Medici, went to the camp at Sarzana, and Philip de
Commynes started on an embassy to go and negotiate with the doge and
senate of Venice, which was the chiefest of the Italian powers and the
territory of which lay far out of the line of march of the King of France
and his army.  In the presence of the King of France and in the midst of
his troops Peter de’ Medici grew embarrassed and confused.  He had gone
to meet the king without the knowledge of the Florentines and was already
alarmed at the gravity of his situation; and he offered more concession
and submission than was demanded of him.  “Those who treated with him,”
 says Commynes, “told me, turning him to scorn and ridicule, that they
were dumbfounded at his so readily granting so great a matter and what
they were not prepared for.”  Feelings were raised to the highest pitch
at Florence when his weaknesses were known.  There was a numerous and
powerful party, consisting of the republicans and the envious, hostile to
the Medicis; and they eagerly seized the opportunity of attacking them.
A deputation, comprising the most considerable men of the city, was sent,
on the 5th of November, to the King of France with a commission to obtain
from him more favorable conditions.  The Dominican, Jerome Savonarola, at
that time the popular oracle of Florence, was one of them.  With a pious
hauteur that was natural and habitual to him, he adopted the same tone
towards Charles as towards the people of Florence.  “Hearken thou to my
words,” said he, “and grave them upon thy heart.  I warn thee, in God’s
name, that thou must show thyself merciful and forbearing to the people
of Florence, if thou wouldest that He should aid thee in thy enterprise.”
 Charles, who scarcely knew Savonarola by name, answered simply that he
did not wish to do the Florentines any harm, but that he demanded a free
passage, and all that had been promised him: “I wish to be received at
Florence,” he added, “to sign there a definitive treaty which shall
settle everything.”  At these cold expressions the ambassadors withdrew
in some disquietude.  Peter de’ Medici, who was lightly confident,
returned to Florence on the 8th of November, and attempted again to seize
the supreme power.  A violent outbreak took place; Peter was as weak
before the Florentine populace as he had been before the King of France;
and, having been harried in his very palace, which was given up to
pillage, it was only in the disguise of a monk that he was able, on the
9th of November, to get out of the city in company with his two brothers,
Julian and Cardinal John de’ Medici, of whom the latter was to be, ten
years later, Pope Leo X.  Peter and his brothers having been driven out,
the Florentines were anxious to be reconciled with Charles VIII.  Both by
political tradition and popular bias the Florentine republic was
favorable to France.  Charles, annoyed at what had just taken place,
showed but slight inclination to enter into negotiation with them; but
his wisest advisers represented to him that, in order to accomplish his
enterprise and march securely on Naples, he needed the good will of
Florence; and the new Florentine authorities promised him the best of
receptions in their city.  Into it Charles entered on the 17th of
November, 1494, at the head of all his army.  His reception on the part
of officials and populace was really magnificent.  Negotiation was
resumed.  Charles was at first very exacting; the Florentine negotiators
protested; one of them, Peter Capponi, “a man of great wits and great
courage,” says Guiceiardini, “highly esteemed for those qualities in
Florence, and issue of a family which had been very powerful in the
republic,” when he heard read the exorbitant conditions proposed to them
on the king’s behalf, started up suddenly, took the paper from the
secretary’s hands, and tore it up before the king’s eyes, saying, “Since
you impose upon us things so dishonorable, have your trumpets sounded,
and we will have our bells rung;” and he went forth from the chamber
together with his comrades.  Charles and his advisers thought better of
it; mutual concessions were made; a treaty, concluded on the 25th of
November, secured to the King of France a free passage through the whole
extent of the republic, and a sum of one hundred and twenty thousand
golden florins “to help towards the success of the expedition against
Naples;” the commune of Florence engaged to revoke the order putting a
price upon the head of Peter de’ Medici as well as confiscating his
goods, and not to enforce against him any penalty beyond proscription
from the territory; and, the honor as well as the security of both the
contracting parties having thus been provided for, Charles VIII. left
Florence, and took, with his army, the road towards the Roman States.

Having on the 7th of December, 1494, entered Acquapendente, and, on the
10th, Viterbo, he there received, on the following day, a message from
Pope Alexander VI., who in his own name and that of Alphonso II., King of
Naples, made him an offer of a million ducats to defray the expenses of
the war, and a hundred thousand livres annually, on condition that he
would abandon his enterprise against the kingdom of Naples.  “I have no
mind to make terms with the Arragonese usurper,” answered Charles: “I
will treat directly with the pope when I am in Rome, which I reckon upon
entering about Christmas.  I have already made known to him my
intentions; I will forthwith send him ambassadors commissioned to repeat
them to him.”  And he did send to him the most valiant of his warriors,
Louis de la Tremoille, “the which was there,” says the contemporary
chronicler, John Bouchet, “with certain speakers, who, after having
pompously reminded the pope of the whole history of the French kingship
in its relations with the papacy, ended up in the following strain:
‘prayeth you, then, our sovereign lord the king not to give him occasion
to be, to his great sorrow, the first of his lineage who ever had war and
discord with the Roman Church, whereof he and the Christian Kings of
France, his predecessors, have been protectors and augmenters.’  More
briefly and with an affectation of sorrowful graciousness, the pope made
answer to the ambassador: ‘If it please King Charles, my eldest spiritual
son, to enter into my city without arms in all humility, he will be most
welcome; but much would it annoy me if the army of thy king should enter,
because that, under shadow of it, which is said to be great and riotous,
the factions and bands of Rome might rise up and cause uproar and
scandal, wherefrom great discomforts might happen to the citizens.’”
 For three weeks the king and the pope offered the spectacle, only too
common in history, of the hypocrisy of might pitted against the hypocrisy
of religion.  At last the pope saw the necessity of yielding; he sent for
Prince Ferdinand, son of the King of Naples, and told him that he must no
longer remain at Rome with the Neapolitan troops, for that the King of
France was absolute about entering; and he at the same time handed him a
safe-conduct under Charles’s own hand.  Ferdinand refused the
safe-conduct, and threw himself upon his knees before the pope, asking
him for his blessing: “Rise, my dear son,” said the pope; “go, and have
good hope; God will come to our aid.”  The Neapolitans departed, and on
the 1st of January, 1495, Charles VIII. entered Rome with his army,
“saying gentlewise,” according to Brantome, “that a while agone he had
made a vow to my lord St. Peter of Rome, and that of necessity he must
accomplish it at the peril of his life.  Behold him, then, entered into
Rome,” continues Brantome, “in bravery and triumph, himself armed at all
points, with lance on thigh, as if he would fain pick forward to the
charge.  Marching in this fine and furious order of battle, with trumpets
a-sounding and drums a-beating, he enters in and takes his lodging, by
the means of his harbingers, wheresoever it seems to him good, has his
bodies of guards set, posts his sentinels about the places and districts
of the noble city, with no end of rounds and patrols, has his tribunals
and his gallows planted in five or six different spots, his edicts and
ordinances being published and proclaimed by sound of trumpet, as if he
had been in Paris.  Go find me ever a King of France who did such things,
save Charlemagne; yet trow I he did not bear himself with authority so
superb and imperious.  What remained, then, more for this great king, if
not to make himself full master of this glorious city which had subdued
all the world in days of yore, as it was in his power to do, and as he,
perchance, would fain have done, in accordance with his ambition and with
some of his council, who urged him mightily thereto, if it were only for
to keep himself secure.  But far from this: violation of holy religion
gave him pause, and the reproach that might have been brought against him
of having done offence to his Holiness, though reason enough had been
given him: on the contrary, he rendered him all honor and obedience, even
to kissing in all humility his slipper!” [_Oeuvres de Brantome_ (Paris,
1822), t. ii. p. 3.]  No excuse is required for quoting this fragment of
Brantome; for it gives the truest and most striking picture of the
conditions of facts and sentiments during this transitory encounter
between a madly adventurous king and a brazen-facedly dishonest pope.
Thus they passed four weeks at Rome, the pope having retired at first to
the Vatican and afterwards to the castle of St. Angelo, and Charles
remaining master of the city, which, in a fit of mutual ill-humor and
mistrust, was for one day given over to pillage and the violence of the
soldiery.  At last, on the 15th of January, a treaty was concluded which
regulated pacific relations between the two sovereigns, and secured to
the French army a free passage through the States of the Church, both
going to Naples and also returning, and provisional possession of the
town of Civita Vecchia, on condition that it should be restored to the
pope when the king returned to France.  On the 16th and 19th of January
the pope and the king had two interviews, one private and the other
public, at which they renewed their engagements, and paid one another the
stipulated honors.  It was announced that, on the 23d of January, the
Arragonese King of Naples, Alphonso II., had abdicated in favor of his
son, Ferdinand II.; and, on the 28th of January, Charles VIII. took
solemn leave of the pope, received his blessing, and left Rome, as he had
entered it, at the head of his army, and more confident than ever in the
success of the expedition he was going to carry out.

[Illustration: Charles VIII----293]

Ferdinand II., the new King of Naples, who had no lack of energy or
courage, was looking everywhere, at home and abroad, for forces and
allies to oppose the imminent invasion.  To the Duke of Milan he wrote,
“Remember that we two are of the same blood.  It is much to be desired
that a league should at once be formed between the pope, the kings of the
Romans and Spain, you, and Venice.  If these powers are united, Italy
would have nought to fear from any.  Give me your support; I have the
greatest need of it.  If you back me, I shall owe to you the preservation
of my throne, and I will honor you as my father.”  He ordered the
Neapolitan envoy at Constantinople to remind Sultan Bajazet of the
re-enforcements he had promised his father, King Alphonso: “Time presses;
the King of France is advancing in person on Naples; be instant in
solicitation; be importunate if necessary, so that the Turkish army cross
the sea without delay.  Be present yourself at the embarkation of the
troops.  Be active; run; fly.”  He himself ran through all his kingdom,
striving to resuscitate some little spark of affection and hope.  He had
no success anywhere; the memory of the king his father was hateful; he
was himself young and without influence; his ardor caused fear instead of
sympathy.  Charles kept advancing along the kingdom through the midst of
people that remained impassive when they did not give him a warm
reception.  The garrison of Monte San Giovanni, the strongest place on
the frontier, determined to resist.  The place was carried by assault in
a few hours, and “the assailants,” says a French chronicler, “without
pity or compassion, made short work of all those plunderers and
malefactors, whose bodies they hurled down from the walls.  The carnage
lasted eight whole hours.”  A few days afterwards Charles with his guard
arrived in front of San Germano: “The clergy awaited him at the gate with
cross and banner; men of note carried a dais under the which he took his
place; behind him followed men, women, and children, chanting this
versicle from the Psalms: ‘Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini!
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord!’”  The town of Capua
was supposed to be very much attached to the house of Arragon; John James
Trivulzio, a valiant Milanese captain, who had found asylum and fortune
in Naples, had the command there; and thither King Ferdinand hurried.
“I am going to Naples for troops,” said he to the inhabitants; “wait for
me confidently; and if by to-morrow evening you do not see me return,
make your own terms with King Charles; you have my full authority.”
 On arriving at Naples, he said to the Neapolitans, “Hold out for a
fortnight; I will not expose the capital of my kingdom to be stormed by
barbarians; if, within a fort-night hence, I have not prevented the enemy
from crossing the Volturno, you may ask him for terms of capitulation;”
 and back he went to Capua.  When he was within sight of the ramparts he
heard that on the previous evening, before it was night, the French had
been admitted into the town.  Trivulzio had been to visit King Charles at
Teano, and had offered, in the name of his troops and of the Capuans, to
surrender Capua; he had even added, says Guicciardini, that he did not
despair of bringing King Ferdinand himself to an arrangement, if a
suitable provision were guaranteed to him.  “I willingly accept the offer
you make me in the name of your troops and of the Capuans,” answered
Charles: “as for the Arragonese prince, he shall be well received if he
come to me; but let him understand that not an inch of ground shall be
left to him in this kingdom; in France he shall have honors and beautiful
domains.”  On the 18th of February Charles entered Capua amidst the
cheers of the people; and on the same day Trivulzio went over to his
service with a hundred lances.  On returning to Naples, Ferdinand found
the gates closed, and could not get into Castel Nuovo save by a postern.
At that very moment the mob was pillaging his stables; he went down from
the fortress, addressed the crowd collected beneath the ramparts in a few
sad and bitter words, into which he tried to infuse some leaven of hope,
took certain measures to enable the two forts of Naples, Castel Nuovo and
Castel dell Uovo, to defend themselves for a few days longer, and, on the
23d of February, went for refuge to the island of Ischia, repeating out
loud, as long as he had Naples in sight, this versicle from the Psalms:
“Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain!”  At
Ischia itself “he had a fresh trial to make,” says Guicciardini, “of his
courage and of the ungrateful faithlessness displayed towards those whom
Fortune deserts.”  The governor of the island refused to admit him
accompanied by more than one man.  The prince, so soon as he got in,
flung himself upon him, poniard in hand, with such fury and such an
outburst of kingly authority, that all the garrison, astounded, submitted
to him and gave up to him the fort and its rock.  On the very eve of the
day on which King Ferdinand II. was thus seeking his last refuge in the
island of Ischia, Charles VIII. was entering Naples in triumph at the
head of his troops, on horseback, beneath a pall of cloth of gold borne
by four great Neapolitan lords, and “received,” says Guicciardini, “with
cheers and a joy of which it would be vain to attempt a description; the
incredible exultation of a crowd of both sexes, of every age, of every
condition, of every quality, of every party, as if he had been the father
and first founder of the city.”  And the great French historian bears
similar witness to that of the great Italian historian: “Never,” says
Commynes, “did people show so much affection to king or nation as they
showed to the king, and thought all of them to be free of tyranny.”

At the news hereof the disquietude and vexation of the principal Italian
powers were displayed at Venice as well as at Milan and at Rome.  The
Venetian senate, as prudent as it was vigilant, had hitherto maintained a
demeanor of expectancy and almost of good will towards France; they hoped
that Charles VIII. would be stopped or would stop of himself in his mad
enterprise, without their being obliged to interfere.  The doge, Augustin
Barbarigo, lived on very good terms with Commynes, who was as desirous as
he was that the king should recover his senses.  Commynes was destined to
learn how difficult and sorry a thing it is to have to promote a policy
of which you disapprove.  When he perceived that a league was near to
being formed in Italy against the King of France, he at once informed his
master of it, and attempted to dissuade the Venetians from it.  They
denied that they had any such design, and showed a disposition to form,
in concert with the Kings of France, Spain, and the Romans, and with the
whole of Italy, a league against the Turks, provided that Charles VIII.
would consent to leave the King of Naples in possession of his kingdom,
at the same time keeping for himself three places therein, and accepting
a sum in ready money which Venice would advance.  “Would to God,” says
Commynes, “that the king had been pleased to listen then!  Of all did I
give him notice, and I got bare answer.  .  .  .  When the Venetians
heard that the king was in Naples, and that the strong fort, which they
had great hopes would hold out, was surrendered, they sent for me one
morning, and I found them in great number, about fifty or sixty, in the
apartment of the prince (the doge) who was ill.  Some were sitting upon a
staircase leading to the benches, and had their heads resting upon their
hands, others otherwise, all showing that they had great sadness at
heart.  And I trow that, when news came to Rome of the battle lost at
Cannae against Hannibal, the senators who had remained there were not
more dumbfounded and dismayed than these were; for not a single one made
sign of seeing me, or spoke to me one word, save the duke (the doge), who
asked me if the king would keep to that of which he had constantly sent
them word, and which I had said to them.  I assured them stoutly that he
would, and I opened up ways for to remain at sound peace, hoping to
remove their suspicions, and then I did get me gone.”

The league was concluded on the 31st of March, 1495, between Pope
Alexander VI., Emperor Maximilian I., as King of the Romans, the King of
Spain, the Venetians, and the Duke of Milan: “To three ends,” says
Commynes, “for to defend Christendom against the Turks, for the defence
of Italy, and for the preservation of their Estates.  There was nothing
in it against the king, they told me, but it was to secure themselves
from him; they did not like his so deluding the world with words by
saying that all he wanted was the kingdom, and then to march against the
Turk, and all the while he was showing quite the contrary.  .  .  .  I
remained in the city about a month after that, being as well treated as
before; and then I went my way, having been summoned by the king, and
being conducted in perfect security, at their expense, to Ferrara, whence
I went to Florence for to await the king.”

When Ferdinand II. took refuge in the island of Ischia, and Castel Nuovo
and Castel dell’ Uovo had surrendered at Naples, Charles VIII.,
considering himself in possession of the kingdom, announced his
intention, and, there is reason to believe, actually harbored the design,
of returning to France, without asserting any further his pretensions as
a conqueror.  On the 20th of March, before the Italian league had been
definitively concluded, Briconnet, Cardinal of St. Malo, who had attended
the king throughout his expedition, wrote to the queen, Anne of Brittany,
“His Majesty is using diligence as best he can to return over yonder, and
has expressly charged me, for my part, to hasten his affairs.  I hope he
will be able to start hence about the 8th of April.  He will leave over
here, as lieutenant, my lord de Montpensier, with a thousand or twelve
hundred lances, partly French and partly of this country, fifteen hundred
Swiss, and a thousand French crossbow-men.”  Charles himself wrote, on
the 28th of March, to his brother-in-law, the Duke of Bourbon, that he
would mount his horse immediately after Quasimodo [the first Sunday after
Easter], to return to France without halting, or staying in any place.
But Charles, whilst so speaking and projecting, was forgetful of his
giddy indolence, his frivolous tastes, and his passion for theatrical
display and licentious pleasure.  The climate, the country, the customs
of Naples charmed him.  “You would never believe,” he wrote to the Duke
of Bourbon, “what beautiful gardens I have in this city; on my faith,
they seem to me to lack only Adam and Eve to make of them an earthly
paradise, so beautiful are they, and full of nice and curious things, as
I hope to tell you soon.  To add to that, I have found in this country
the best of painters; and I will send you some of them to make the most
beautiful ceilings possible.  The ceilings at Beauce, Lyons, and other
places in France do not approach those of this place in beauty and
richness.  .  .  .  Wherefore I shall provide myself with them, and bring
them with me for to have some done at Arnboise.”  Politics were forgotten
in the presence of these royal fancies.  Charles VIII. remained nearly
two months at Naples after the Italian league had been concluded, and
whilst it was making its preparations against him was solely concerned
about enjoying, in his beautiful but precarious kingdom, “all sorts of
mundane pleasaunces,” as his councillor, the Cardinal of St. Malo, says,
and giving entertainments to his new subjects, as much disposed as
himself to forget everything in amusement.  On the 12th of May, 1495, all
the population of Naples and of the neighboring country was afoot early
to see their new king make his entry in state as King of Naples, Sicily,
and Jerusalem, with his Neapolitan court and his French army.  Charles
was on horseback beneath a rich dais borne by great Neapolitan lords; he
had a close crown on his head, the sceptre in his right hand, and a
golden globe in his left; in front of this brilliant train he took his
way through the principal streets of the city, halting at the five knots
of the noblesse, where the gentlemen and their wives who had assembled
there detained him a long while, requesting him to be pleased to confer
with his own hand the order of knighthood on their sons, which he
willingly did.  At last he reached the cathedral church of St.
Januarius, which had recently been rebuilt by Alphonso I. of Arragon,
after the earth-quake of 1456.  The archbishop, at the head of his
clergy, came out to meet him, and conducted him to the front of the high
altar, where the head of St. Januarius was exhibited.

When all these solemnities had been accomplished to the great
satisfaction of the populace, bonfires were lighted up for three days;
the city was illuminated; and only a week afterwards, on the 20th of May,
1495, Charles VIII. started from Naples to return to France, with an
army, at the most, from twelve to fifteen thousand strong, leaving for
guardian of his new kingdom his cousin, Gilbert of Bourbon, Count de
Montpensier, a brave but indolent knight (who never rose, it was said,
until noon), with eight or ten thousand men, scattered for the most part
throughout the provinces.

During the months of April and May, thus wasted by Charles VIII., the
Italian league, and especially the Venetians and the Duke of Milan,
Ludovic the Moor, had vigorously pushed forward their preparations for
war, and had already collected an army more numerous than that with which
the King of France, in order to return home, would have to traverse the
whole of Italy.  He took more than six weeks to traverse it, passing
three days at Rome, four at Siena, the same number at Pisa, and three at
Lucca, though he had declared that he would not halt anywhere.  He evaded
entering Florence, where he had made promises which he could neither
retract nor fulfil.  The Dominican Savonarola, “who had always preached
greatly in the king’s favor,” says Commynes, “and by his words had kept
the Florentines from turning against us,” came to see him on his way at
Poggibonsi.  “I asked him,” said Commynes, “whether the king would be
able to cross without danger to his person, seeing the great muster that
was being made by the Venetians.  He answered me that the king would have
trouble on the road, but that the honor would remain his, though he had
but a hundred men at his back; but, seeing that he had not done well for
the reformation of the Church, as he ought, and had suffered his men to
plunder and rob the people, God had given sentence against him, and in
short he would have a touch of the scourge.”

Several contemporary historians affirm that if the Italian army, formed
by the Venetians and the Duke of Milan, had opposed the march of the
French army, they might have put it in great peril; but nothing of the
kind was attempted.  It was at the passage of the Appennines, so as to
cross them and descend into the duchy of Parma, that Charles VIII. had
for the first time to overcome resistance, not from men, but from nature.
He had in his train a numerous and powerful artillery, from which he
promised himself a great deal when the day of battle came; and he had to
get it up and down by steep paths, “Here never,” says the chronicle of La
Tremoille, “had car or carriage gone.  .  .  .”  The king, knowing that
the lord of La Tremoille, such was his boldness and his strong will,
thought nothing impossible, gave to him this duty, which he willingly
undertook; and, to the end that the footmen, Swiss, German, and others,
might labor thereat without fearing the heat, he addressed them as
follows: ‘The proper nature of us Gauls is strength, boldness, and
ferocity.  We triumphed at our coming; better would it be for us to die,
than to lose by cowardice the delight of such praise; we are all in the
flower of our age and the vigor of our years; let each lend a hand to the
work of dragging the gun-carriages and carrying the cannon-balls; ten
crowns to the first man that reaches the top of the mountain before me!’
Throwing off his armor, La Tremoille, in hose and shirt, himself lent a
hand to the work; by dint of pulling and pushing, the artillery was got
to the brow of the mountain; it was then harder still to get it down the
other side, along a very narrow and rugged incline; and five whole days
were spent on this rough work, which luckily the generals of the enemy
did not attempt to molest.  La Tremoille, “black as a Moor,” says the
chronicle, “by reason of the murderous heat he had endured, made his
report to the king, who said, ‘By the light of this day, cousin, you have
done more than ever could Annibal of Carthage or Caesar have done, to the
peril of your person, whereof you have not been sparing to serve me, me
and mine.  I vow to God, that if I may only see you back in France, the
recompense I hope to make you shall be so great, that others shall
conceive fresh desire to serve me.’”

Charles VIII. was wise to treat his brave men well; for the day was at
hand when he would need them and all their bravery.  It was in the duchy
of Parma, near the town of Fornovo, on the right bank of the Taro, an
affluent of the Po, that the French and Italian armies met, on the 5th of
July, 1495.  The French army was nine or ten thousand strong, with five
or six thousand camp followers, servants or drivers; the Italian army
numbered at least thirty thousand men, well supplied and well rested,
whereas the French were fatigued with their long march, and very badly
off for supplies.  During the night between the 5th and 6th of July, a
violent storm burst over the country, “rain, lightnings, and thunder so
mighty,” says Commynes, “that none could say more; seemed that heaven and
earth would dissolve, or that it portended some great disaster to come.”
 Next day, at six in the morning, Charles VIII. heard mass, received the
communion, mounted on horseback, and set out to join his own division.
“I went to him,” says Commynes, “and found him armed at all points, and
mounted upon the finest horse I had ever seen in my life, called Savoy;
Duke Charles of Savoy (the Duchess of Savoy,?  v. p. 288) had given it
him; it was black, and had but one eye; it was a middle-sized horse, of
good height for him who was upon it.  Seemed that this young man was
quite other than either his nature, his stature, or his complexion
bespoke him, for he was very timid in speaking, and is so to this day.
That horse made him look tall; and he had a good countenance, and of good
color, and speech bold and sensible.”  On perceiving Commynes, the king
said to him, “Go and see if yonder folks would fain parley.”  “Sir,”
 answered Commynes, “I will do so willingly; but I never saw two so great
hosts so near to one another, and yet go their ways without fighting.”
 He went, nevertheless, to the Venetian advanced posts, and his trumpeter
was admitted to the presence of the Marquis of Mantua, who commanded the
Italian army; but skirmishing had already commenced in all quarters, and
the first boom of the cannon was heard just as the marquis was reading
Commynes’ letter.  “It is too late to speak of peace,” said he; and the
trumpeter was sent back.  The king had joined the division which he was
to lead to battle.  “Gentlemen,” said he to the men-at-arms who pressed
around him, “you will live or die here with me, will you not?”  And then
raising his voice that he might be heard by the troops, “They are ten
times as many as we,” he said; “but you are ten times better than they;
God loves the French; He is with us, and will do battle for us.  As far
as Naples I have had the victory over my enemies; I have brought you
hither without shame or blame; with God’s help I will lead you back into
France, to our honor and that of our kingdom.”  The men-at-arms made the
sign of the cross; the foot-soldiers kissed the ground; and the king made
several knights, according to custom, before going into action.  The
Marquis of Mantua’s squadrons were approaching.  “Sir,” said the bastard
of Bourbon, “there is no longer time for the amusement of making knights;
the enemy is coming on in force; go we at him.”  The king gave orders to
charge, and the battle began at all points.

[Illustration: Battle of Fornovo----303]

It was very hotly contested, but did not last long, with alternations of
success and reverse on both sides.  The two principal commanders in the
king’s army, Louis de la Tremoille and John James Trivulzio, sustained
without recoiling the shock of troops far more numerous than their own.
“At the throat! at the throat!!” shouted La Tremoille, after the first
onset, and his three hundred men-at-arms burst upon the enemy and broke
their line.  In the midst of the melley, the French baggage was attacked
by the Stradiots, a sort of light infantry composed of Greeks recruited
and paid by the Venetians.  “Let them be,” said Trivulzio to his men;
“their zeal for plunder will make them forget all, and we shall give the
better account of them.”  At one moment, the king had advanced before the
main body of his guard, without looking to see if they were close behind
him, and was not more than a hundred paces from the Marquis of Mantua,
who, seeing him scantily attended, bore down at the head of his cavalry.
“Not possible is it,” says Commynes, “to do more doughtily than was done
on both sides.”  The king, being very hard pressed, defended himself
fiercely against those who would have taken him; the bastard Matthew of
Bourbon, his brother-in-arms and one of the bravest knights in the army,
had thrown himself twenty paces in front of him to cover him, and had
just been taken prisoner by the Marquis of Mantua in person, when a mass
of the royal troops came to their aid, and released them from all peril.
Here it was that Peter du Terrail, the Chevalier de Bayard, who was
barely twenty years of age, and destined to so glorious a renown, made
his first essay in arms; he had two horses killed under him, and took a
standard, which he presented to the king, who after the battle made him a
present of five hundred crowns.

Charles VIII. remained master of the battle-field.  “There were still to
be seen,” says Commynes, “outside their camp, a great number of
men-at-arms, whose lances and heads only were visible, and likewise
foot-soldiers.  The king put it to the council whether he ought to give
chase to them or not; some were for marching against them; but the French
were not of this opinion; they said that enough had been done, that it
was late, and that it was time to get lodged.  Night was coming on; the
host which had been in front of us withdrew into their camp, and we went
to get lodged a quarter of a league from where the battle had been.  The
king put up at a poorly-built farm-house, but he found there an infinite
quantity of corn in sheaves, whereby the whole army profited.  Some other
bits of houses there were hard by, which did for a few; and every one
lodged as he could, without making any cantonment, I know well enough
that I lay in a vineyard, at full length on the bare ground, without
anything else and without cloak, for the king had borrowed mine in the
morning.  Whoever had the wherewith made a meal, but few had, save a
hunch of bread from a varlet’s knapsack.  I went to see the king in his
chamber, where there were some wounded whom he was having dressed; he
wore a good mien, and every one kept a good face; and we were not so
boastful as a little before the battle, because we saw the enemy near
us.”  Six days after the battle, on the 12th of July, the king wrote to
his sister, the Duchess Anne of Bourbon, “Sister, my dear, I commend
myself to you right heartily.  I wrote to my brother how that I found in
my way a big army that Lord Ludovic, the Venetians, and their allies, had
got ready against me, thinking to keep me from passing.  Against which,
with God’s help, such resistance was made, that I am come hither without
any loss.  Furthermore, I am using the greatest diligence that can be to
get right away, and I hope shortly to see you, which is my desire, in
order to tell you at good length all about my trip.  And so God bless
you, sister, my dear, and may He have you in His keeping!”

Both armies might and did claim the victory, for they had, each of them,
partly succeeded in their design.  The Italians wished to unmistakably
drive out of Italy Charles VIII., who was withdrawing voluntarily; but to
make it an unmistakable retreat, he ought to have been defeated, his army
beaten, and himself perhaps a prisoner.  With that view they attempted to
bar his passage and beat him on Italian ground: in that they failed;
Charles, remaining master of the battle-field, went on his way in
freedom, and covered with glory, he and his army.  He certainly left
Italy, but he left it with the feeling of superiority in arms, and with
the intention of returning thither better informed and better supplied.
The Italian allies were triumphant, but without any ground of security or
any lustre; the expedition of Charles VIII. was plainly only the
beginning of the foreigner’s ambitious projects, invasions and wars
against their own beautiful land.  The King of France and his men of war
had not succeeded in conquering it, but they had been charmed with such
an abode; they had displayed in their campaign knightly qualities more
brilliant and more masterful than the studied duplicity and elegant
effeminacy of the Italians of the fifteenth century, and, after the
battle of Fornovo, they returned to France justly proud and foolishly
confident, notwithstanding the incompleteness of their success.

[Illustration: CASTLE OF AMBOISE----308]

Charles VIII. reigned for nearly three years longer after his return to
his kingdom; and for the first two of them he passed his time in
indolently dreaming of his plans for a fresh invasion of Italy, and in
frivolous abandonment to his pleasures and the entertainments at his
court, which he moved about from Lyons to Moulins, to Paris, to Tours,
and to Amboise.  The news which came to him from Italy was worse and
worse every day.  The Count de Montpensier, whom he had left at Naples,
could not hold his own there, and died a prisoner there on the 11th of
November, 1496, after having found himself driven from place to place by
Ferdinand II., who by degrees recovered possession of nearly all his
kingdom, merely, himself also, to die there on the 6th of October,
leaving for his uncle and successor, Frederick III., the honor of
recovering the last four places held by the French.  Charles ordered a
fresh army of invasion to be formed, and the Duke of Orleans was singled
out to command it; but he evaded this commission.  The young _dauphin_,
Charles Orlando, three years old, had just died, “a fine child and bold
of speech,” says Commynes, “and one that feared not the things that other
children are wont to fear.”  Duke Louis of Orleans, having thus become
heir to the throne, did not care to go and run risks at a distance.  He,
nevertheless, declared his readiness to obey an express command from the
king if the title of lieutenant-general were given him; but “I will never
send him to war on compulsion,” said Charles, and nothing more was said
about it.  Whilst still constantly talking of the war he had in view,
Charles attended more often and more earnestly than he hitherto had to
the internal affairs of his kingdom.  “He had gotten it into his head,”
 says Commynes, “that he would fain live according to God’s commandments,
and set justice and the Church in good order.  He would also revise his
finances, in such sort as to levy on the people but twelve hundred
thousand francs, and that in form of talliage, besides his own property
on which he would live, as did the kings of old.”  His two immediate
predecessors, Charles VII. and Louis IX., had decreed the collation and
revision of local customs, so often the rule of civil jurisdiction; but
the work made no progress: Charles VIII., by a decree dated March 15,
1497, abridged the formalities, and urged on the execution of it, though
it was not completed until the reign of Charles IX.  By another decree,
dated August 2, 1497, he organized and regulated, as to its powers as
well as its composition, the king’s grand council, the supreme
administrative body, which was a fixture at Paris.  He began even to
contemplate a reformation of his own life; he had inquiries made as to
how St. Louis used to proceed in giving audience to the lower orders; his
intention, he said, was to henceforth follow the footsteps of the most
justice-loving of French kings.  “He set up,” says Commynes, “a public
audience, whereat he gave ear to everybody, and especially to the poor;
I saw him thereat, a week before his death, for two good hours, and I
never saw him again.  He did not much business at this audience; but at
least it was enough to keep folks in awe, and especially his own
officers, of whom he had suspended some for extortion.”  It is but
too often a man’s fate to have his life slip from him just as he was
beginning to make a better use of it.  On the 7th of April, 1498, Charles
VIII. was pleased, after dinner, to go down with the queen into the
fosses of the castle of Amboise, to see a game of tennis.  Their way lay
through a gallery the opening of which was very low; and the king, short
as he was, hit his forehead.  Though he was a little dizzy with the blow,
he did not stop, watched the players for some time, and even conversed
with several persons; but about two in the afternoon, whilst he was a
second time traversing this passage on his way back to the castle, he
fell backwards and lost consciousness.  He was laid upon a paltry
paillasse in that gallery where everybody went in and out at pleasure;
and in that wretched place, after a lapse of nine hours, expired “he,”
 says Commynes, “who had so many fine houses, and who was making so fine
an one at Amboise; so small a matter is our miserable life, which giveth
us so much trouble for the things of the world, and kings cannot help
themselves any more than peasants.  I arrived at Amboise two days after
his decease; I went to say mine orison at the spot where was the corpse;
and there I was for five or six hours.  And, of a verity, there was never
seen the like mourning, nor that lasted so long; he was so good that
better creature cannot be seen; the most humane and gentle address that
ever was was his; I trow that to never a man spake he aught that could
displease; and at a better hour could he never have died for to remain of
great renown in histories and regretted by those that served him.  I trow
I was the man to whom he showed most roughness; but knowing that it was
in his youth, and that it did not proceed from him, I never bore him
ill-will for it.”

Probably no king was ever thus praised for his goodness, and his goodness
alone, by a man whom he had so maltreated, and who, as judicious and
independent as he was just, said of this same king, “He was not better
off for sense than for money, and he thought of nothing but pastime and
his pleasures.”


On ascending the throne Louis XII.  reduced the public taxes and
confirmed in their posts his predecessor’s chief advisers, using to Louis
de la Tremoille, who had been one of his most energetic foes, that
celebrated expression, “The King of France avenges not the wrongs of the
Duke of Orleans.”  At the same time, on the day of his coronation at
Rheims [May 27, 1492], he assumed, besides his title of King of France,
the titles of King of Naples and of Jerusalem and Duke of Milan.  This
was as much as to say that he would pursue a pacific and conservative
policy at home and a warlike and adventurous policy abroad.  And, indeed,
his government did present these two phases, so different and
inharmonious.  By his policy at home Louis XII. deserved and obtained the
name of Father of the People; by his enterprises and wars abroad he
involved France still more deeply than Charles VIII. had in that mad
course of distant, reckless, and incoherent conquests for which his
successor, Francis I., was destined to pay by capture at Pavia and by the
lamentable treaty of Madrid, in 1526, as the price of his release.  Let
us follow these two portions of Louis XII.’s reign, each separately,
without mixing up one with the other by reason of identity of dates.  We
shall thus get at a better understanding and better appreciation of their
character and their results.

Outside of France, Milaness [the Milanese district] was Louis XII.’s
first thought, at his accession, and the first object of his desire.  He
looked upon it as his patrimony.  His grandmother, Valentine Visconti,
widow of that Duke of Orleans who had been assassinated at Paris in 1407
by order of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, had been the last to
inherit the duchy of Milan, which the Sforzas, in 1450, had seized.
When Charles VIII. invaded Italy in 1494, “Now is the time,” said Louis,
“to enforce the rights of Valentine Visconti, my grandmother, to
Milaness.”  And he, in fact, asserted them openly, and proclaimed his
intention of vindicating them so soon as he found the moment propitious.
When he became king, his chance of success was great.  The Duke of
Milan, Ludovic, the Moor, had by his sagacity and fertile mind, by his
taste for arts and sciences and the intelligent patronage he bestowed
upon them, by his ability in speaking, and by his facile character,
obtained in Italy a position far beyond his real power. Leonardo da
Vinci, one of the most eminent amongst the noble geniuses of the age,
lived on intimate terms with him; but Ludovic was, nevertheless, a
turbulent rascal and a greedy tyrant, of whom those who did not profit
by his vices or the enjoyments of his court were desirous of being
relieved.  He had, moreover, embroiled himself with his neighbors the
Venetians, who were watching for an opportunity of aggrandizing
themselves at his expense.  As early as the 20th of April, 1498, a
fortnight after his accession, Louis XII. addressed to the Venetians a
letter “most gracious,” says the contemporary chronicler Marino Sanuto,
“and testifying great good-will;” and the special courier who brought it
declared that the king had written to nobody in Italy except the pope,
the Venetians, and the Florentines.  The Venetians did not care to
neglect such an opening; and they at once sent three ambassadors to
Louis XII.  Louis heard the news thereof with marked satisfaction.  “I
have never seen Zorzi,” said he, “but I know him well; as for Loredano,
I like him much; he has been at this court before, some time ago.”  He
gave them a reception on the 12th of August, at Etampes, “not in a
palace,” says one of the senate’s private correspondents, “but at the
Fountain inn. You will tell me that so great a king ought not to put up
at an inn; but I shall answer you that in this district of Etampes the
best houses are as yet the inns.  There is certainly a royal castle, in
the which lives the queen, the wife of the deceased king; nevertheless
his Majesty was pleased to give audience in this hostelry, all covered
expressly with cloth of Alexandrine velvet, with lilies of gold at the
spot where the king was placed.  As soon as the speech was ended, his
Majesty rose up and gave quite a brotherly welcome to the brilliant
ambassadors.  The king has a very good countenance, a smiling
countenance; he is forty years of age, and appears very active in make.
To-day, Monday, August 13, the ambassadors were received at a private

[Illustration: Louis XII----310]

A treaty concluded on the 9th of February, 1499, and published as signed
at Blois no earlier than the 15th of April following, was the result of
this negotiation.  It provided for an alliance between the King of France
and the Venetian government, for the purpose of making war in common upon
the Duke of Milan, Ludovic Sforza, on and against every one, save the
lord pope of Rome, and for the purpose of insuring to the Most Christian
king restoration to the possession of the said duchy of Milan as his
rightful and olden patrimony.  And on account of the charges and expenses
which would be incurred by the Venetian government whilst rendering
assistance to the Most Christian king in the aforesaid war, the Most
Christian king bound himself to approve and consent that the city of
Cremona and certain forts or territories adjacent, specially indicated,
should belong in freehold and perpetuity to the Venetian government.  The
treaty, at the same time, regulated the number of troops and the military
details of the war on behalf of the two contracting powers, and it
provided for divers political incidents which might be entailed, and to
which the alliance thus concluded should or should not be applicable
according to the special stipulations which were drawn up with a view to
those very incidents.

In the month of August, 1499, the French army, with a strength of from
twenty to five and twenty thousand men, of whom five thousand were Swiss,
invaded Milaness.  Duke Ludovic Sforza opposed to it a force pretty
nearly equal in number, but far less full of confidence and of far less
valor.  In less than three weeks the duchy was conquered; in only two
cases was any assault necessary; all the other places were given up by
traitors or surrendered without a show of resistance.  The Venetians had
the same success on the eastern frontier of the duchy.  Milan and Cremona
alone remained to be occupied.  Ludovic Sforza “appeared before his
troops and his people like the very spirit of lethargy,” says a
contemporary unpublished chronicle, “with his head bent down to the
earth, and for a long while he remained thus pensive and without a single
word to say.  Howbeit he was not so discomfited but that on that very
same day he could get his luggage packed, his transport-train under
orders, his horses shod, his ducats, with which he had more than thirty
mules laden, put by, and, in short, everything in readiness to decamp
next morning as early as possible.”  Just as he left Milan, he said to
the Venetian ambassadors, “You have brought the King of France to dinner
with me; I warn you that he will come to supper with you.”

“Unless necessity constrain him thereto,” says Machiavelli [treatise Du
Prince, ch.  xxi.], “a prince ought never to form alliance with one
stronger than himself in order to attack others, for, the most powerful
being victor, thou remainest, thyself, at his discretion, and princes
ought to avoid, as much as ever they can, being at another’s discretion.
The Venetians allied themselves with France against the Duke of Milan;
and yet they might have avoided this alliance, which entailed their
ruin.”  For all his great and profound intellect, Machiavelli was wrong
about this event and the actors in it.  The Venetians did not deserve his
censure.  By allying themselves, in 1499, with Louis XII. against the
Duke of Milan, they did not fall into Louis’s hands, for, between 1499
and 1515, and many times over, they sided alternately with and against
him, always preserving their independence and displaying it as suited
them at the moment.  And these vicissitudes in their policy did not bring
about their ruin, for at the death of Louis XII. their power and
importance in Southern Europe had not declined.  It was Louis XII. who
deserved Machiavelli’s strictures for having engaged, by means of
diplomatic alliances of the most contradictory kind, at one time with the
Venetians’ support, and at another against them, in a policy of distant
and incoherent conquests, without any connection with the national
interests of France, and, in the long run, without any success.

[Illustration: Bayard----315]

Louis was at Lyons when he heard of his army’s victory in Milaness and of
Ludovic Sforza’s flight.  He was eager to go and take possession of his
conquest, and, on the 6th of October, 1499, he made his triumphal entry
into Milan amidst cries of “Hurrah! for France.”  He reduced the heavy
imposts established by the Sforzas, revoked the vexatious game-laws,
instituted at Milan a court of justice analogous to the French
parliaments, loaded with favors the scholars and artists who were the
honor of Lombardy, and recrossed the Alps at the end of some weeks,
leaving as governor of Milaness John James Trivulzio, the valiant
Condottiere, who, four years before, had quitted the service of Ferdinand
II., King of Naples, for that of Charles VIII.  Unfortunately Trivulzio
was himself a Milanese and of the faction of the Guelphs.  He had the
passions of a partisan and the habits of a man of war; and he soon became
as tyrannical and as much detested in Milaness as Ludovic the Moor had
but lately been.  A plot was formed in favor of the fallen tyrant, who
was in Germany expecting it, and was recruiting, during expectancy,
amongst the Germans and Swiss in order to take advantage of it.  On the
25th of January, 1500, the insurrection broke out; and two months later
Ludovic Sforza had once more become master of Milaness, where the French
possessed nothing but the castle of Milan.  In one of the fights brought
about by this sudden revolution the young Chevalier Bayard, carried away
by the impetuosity of his age and courage, pursued right into Milan the
foes he was driving before him, without noticing that his French comrades
had left him; and he was taken prisoner in front of the very palace in
which were the quarters of Ludovic Sforza.  The incident created some
noise around the palace; Ludovic asked what it meant, and was informed
that a brave and bold gentleman, younger than any of the others, had
entered Milan pell-mell with the combatants he was pursuing, and had been
taken prisoner by John Bernardino Casaccio, one of the leaders of the
insurrection.  Ludovic ordered him to be brought up, which was done,
though not without some disquietude on the part of Bayard’s captor,
“a courteous gentleman, who feared that Lord Ludovico might do him some
displeasure.”  He resolved himself to be his conductor, after having
dressed him in one of his own robes and made him look like a gentleman.
“Marvelling to see Bayard so young, ‘Come hither, my gentleman,’ said
Ludovico: ‘who brought you into the city?’  ‘By my faith, my lord,’
answered Bayard, who was not a whit abashed, ‘I never imagined I was
entering all alone, and thought surely I was being followed of my
comrades, who knew more about war than I, for if they had done as I did
they would, like me, be prisoners.  Howbeit, after my mishap, I laud the
fortune which caused me to fall into the hands of so valiant and discreet
a knight as he who has me in holding.’  ‘By your faith,’ asked Ludovico,
‘of how many is the army of the King of France?’  ‘On my soul, my lord,’
answered Bayard, ‘so far as I can hear, there are fourteen or fifteen
hundred men-at-arms and sixteen or eighteen thousand foot; but they are
all picked men, who are resolved to busy themselves so well this bout
that they will assure the state of Milan to the king our master; and
meseems, my lord, that you would surely be in as great safety in Germany
as you are here, for your folks are not the sort to fight us.’  With such
assurance spoke the good knight that Lord Ludovico took pleasure
there-in, though his say was enough to astound him.  ‘On my faith, my
gentleman,’ said he, as it were in raillery, ‘I have a good mind that the
King of France’s army and mine should come together, in order that by
battle it may be known to whom of right belongs this heritage, for I see
no other way to it.’  ‘By my sacred oath, my lord,’ said the good knight,
‘I would that it might be to-morrow, provided that I were out of
captivity.’  ‘Verily, that shall not stand in your way,’ said Ludovico,
‘for I will let you go forth, and that presently.  Moreover, ask of me
what you will, and I will give it you.’  The good knight, who, on bended
knee, thanked Lord Ludovico for the offers he made him, as there was good
reason he should, then said to him, ‘My lord, I ask of you nothing save
only that you may be pleased to extend your courtesy so far as to get me
back my horse and my arms that I brought into this city, and so send me
away to my garrison, which is twenty miles hence; you would do me a very
great kindness, for which I shall all my life feel bounden to you; and,
barring my duty to the king my master and saving my honor, I would show
my gratitude for it in whatsoever it might please you to command me.’
‘In good faith,’ said Lord Ludovico, ‘you shall have presently that which
you do ask for.’  And then he said to the Lord John Bernardino, ‘At once,
Sir Captain, let his horse be found, his arms and all that is his.’
‘My lord,’ answered the captain, ‘it is right easy to find, it is all at
my quarters.’  He sent forthwith two or three servants, who brought the
arms and led up the horse of the good young knight; and Lord Ludovico had
him armed before his eyes.  When he was accoutred, the young knight
leaped upon his horse without putting foot to stirrup; then he asked for
a lance, which was handed to him, and, raising his eyes, he said to Lord
Ludovico, ‘My lord, I thank you for the courtesy you have done me; please
God to pay it back to you.’  He was in a fine large court-yard; then he
began to set spurs to his horse, the which gave four or five jumps, so
gayly that it could not be better done; then the young knight gave him a
little run, in the which he broke the lance against the ground into five
or six pieces; whereat Lord Ludovico was not over pleased, and said out
loud, ‘If all the men-at-arms of France were like him yonder, I should
have a bad chance.’  Nevertheless he had a trumpeter told off to conduct
him to his garrison.”  [Histoire du bon Chevalier sans Peur et sans
Reproche, t. i. pp.  212-216.]

For Ludovic the Moor’s chance to be bad it was not necessary that the
men-at-arms of France should all be like Chevalier Bayard.  Louis XII.,
so soon as he heard of the Milanese insurrection, sent into Italy Louis
de la Tremoille, the best of his captains, and the Cardinal d’Amboise,
his privy councillor and his friend, the former to command the royal
troops, French and Swiss, and the latter “for to treat about the
reconciliation of the rebel towns, and to deal with everything as if it
were the king in his own person.”  The campaign did not last long.  The
Swiss who had been recruited by Ludovic and those who were in Louis
XII.’s service had no mind to fight one another; and the former
capitulated, surrendered the strong place of Novara, and promised to
evacuate the country on condition of a safe-conduct for themselves and
their booty.  Ludovic, in extreme anxiety for his own safety, was on the
point of giving himself up to the French; but, whether by his own free
will or by the advice of the Swiss who were but lately in his pay, and
who were now withdrawing; he concealed himself amongst them, putting on a
disguise, “with his hair turned up under a coif, a collaret round his
neck, a doublet of crimson satin, scarlet hose, and a halberd in his
fist;” but, whether it were that he was betrayed or that he was
recognized, he, on the 10th of April, 1500, fell into the hands of the
French, and was conducted to the quarters of La Tremoille, who said no
more than, “Welcome, lord.”  Next day, April 11, Louis XII. received near
Lyons the news of this capture, “whereat he was right joyous, and had
bonfires lighted, together with devotional processions, giving thanks to
the Prince of princes for the happy victory he had, by the divine aid,
obtained over his enemies.”  Ludovic was taken to Lyons.  “At the
entrance into the city a great number of gentlemen from the king’s
household were present to meet him; and the provost of the household
conducted him all along the high street to the castle of Pierre-Encise,
where he was lodged and placed in security.”  There he passed a
fortnight.  Louis refused to see him, but had him “questioned as to
several matters by the lords of his grand council; and, granted that he
had committed nought but follies, still he spoke right wisely.”  He was
conducted from Pierre-Encise to the castle of Loches in Touraine, where
he was at first kept in very strict captivity, “without books, paper, or
ink,” but it was afterwards less severe.  “He plays at tennis and at
cards,” says a despatch of the Venetian ambassador, Dominic of Treviso,
“and he is fatter than ever.”  [_La Diplomatic Venitienne,_ by M. Armand
Baschet (1862), p. 363.] He died in his prison at the end of eight years,
having to the very last great confidence in the future of his name, for
he wrote, they say, on the wall of his prison these words: “Services
rendered me will count for an heritage.”  And “thus was the duchy of
Milan, within seven months and a half, twice conquered by the French,”
 says John d’Auton in his Claronique, “and for the nonce was ended the war
in Lombardy, and the authors thereof were captives and exiles.”

Whilst matters were thus going on in the north of Italy, Louis XII. was
preparing for his second great Italian venture, the conquest of the
kingdom of Naples, in which his predecessor Charles VIII. had failed.  He
thought to render the enterprise easier by not bearing the whole burden
by himself alone.  On the 11th of November, 1500, he concluded at Grenada
“with Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen of Castile and Arragon,” a
treaty, by which the Kings of France and Spain divided, by anticipation,
between them the kingdom of Naples, which they were making an engagement
to conquer together.  Terra di Lavoro and the province of the Abruzzi,
with the cities of Naples and Gaeta, were to be the share of Louis XII.,
who would assume the title of King of Naples and of Jerusalem; Calabria
and Puglia (Apulia), with the title of duchies, would belong to the King
of Spain, to whom Louis XII., in order to obtain this chance of an
accessary and precarious kingship, gave up entirely Roussillon and
Cerdagne, that French frontier of the Pyrenees which Louis XI. had
purchased, a golden bargain, from John II., King of Arragon.  In this
arrangement there was a blemish and a danger of which the superficial and
reckless policy of Louis XII. made no account: he did not here, as he had
done for the conquest of Milaness, join himself to an ally of far
inferior power to his own, and of ambition confined within far narrower
boundaries, as was the case when the Venetians supported him against
Ludovie Sforza: he was choosing for his comrade, in a far greater
enterprise, his nearest and most powerful rival, and the most dexterous
rascal amongst the kings of his day.  “The King of France,” said
Ferdinand one day, “complains that I have deceived him twice; he lies,
the drunkard; I have deceived him more than ten times.”  Whether this
barefaced language were or were not really used, it expressed nothing but
the truth: mediocre men, who desire to remain pretty nearly honest, have
always the worst of it, and are always dupes when they ally themselves
with men who are corrupt and at the same time able, indifferent to good
and evil, to justice and iniquity.  Louis XII., even with the Cardinal
d’Amboise to advise him, was neither sufficiently judicious to abstain
from madly conceived enterprises, nor sufficiently scrupulous and
clear-sighted to unmask and play off every act of perfidy and wickedness:
by uniting himself, for the conquest and partition of the kingdom of
Naples, with Ferdinand the Catholic, he was bringing upon himself first
of all hidden opposition in the very midst of joint action, and
afterwards open treason and defection.  He forgot, moreover, that
Ferdinand had at the head of his armies a tried chieftain, Gonzalvo of
Cordova, already known throughout Europe as the great captain, who had
won that name in campaigns against the Moors, the Turks, and the
Portuguese, and who had the character of being as free from scruple as
from fear.  Lastly the supporters who, at the very commencement of his
enterprises in Italy, had been sought and gained by Louis XII., Pope
Alexander VI. and his son Caesar Borgia, were as little to be depended
upon in the future as they were compromising at the present by reason of
their reputation for unbridled ambition, perfidy, and crime.  The King of
France, whatever sacrifices he might already have made and might still
make in order to insure their co-operation, could no more count upon it
than upon the loyalty of the King of Spain in the conquest they were
entering upon together.

The outset of the campaign was attended with easy success.  The French
army, under the command of Stuart d’Aubigny, a valiant Scot, arrived on
the 25th of June, 1501, before Rome, and there received a communication
in the form of a bull of the pope which removed the crown of Naples from
the head of Frederick III., and partitioned that fief of the Holy See
between the Kings of France and Spain.  Fortified with this authority,
the army continued its march, and arrived before Capua on the 6th of
July.  Gonzalvo of Cordova was already upon Neapolitan territory with a
Spanish army, which Ferdinand the Catholic had hastily sent thither at
the request of Frederick III. himself, who had counted upon the
assistance of his cousin the King of Arragon against the French invasion.
Great was his consternation when he heard that the ambassadors of France
and Spain had proclaimed at Rome the alliance between their masters.  At
the first rumor of this news, Gonzalvo of Cordova, whether sincerely or
not, treated it as a calumny; but, so soon as its certainty was made
public, he accepted it without hesitation, and took, equally with the
French, the offensive against the king, already dethroned by the pope,
and very near being so by the two sovereigns who had made alliance for
the purpose of sharing between them the spoil they should get from him.
Capua capitulated, and was nevertheless plundered and laid waste.  A
French fleet, commanded by Philip de Ravenstein, arrived off Naples when
D’Aubigny was already master of it.  The unhappy King Frederick took
refuge in the island of Ischia; and, unable to bear the idea of seeking
an asylum in Spain with his cousin who had betrayed him so shamefully,
he begged the French admiral himself to advise him in his adversity.  “As
enemies that have the advantage should show humanity to the afflicted,”
 Ravenstein sent word to him, “he would willingly advise him as to his
affairs; according to his advice, the best thing would be to surrender
and place himself in the hands of the King of France, and submit to his
good pleasure; he would find him so wise, and so debonnair, and so
accommodating, that he would be bound to be content.  Better or safer
counsel for him he had not to give.”  After taking some precautions on
the score of his eldest son, Prince Ferdinand, whom he left at Tarento,
in the kingdom he was about to quit, Frederick III. followed Ravenstein’s
counsel, sent to ask for “a young gentleman to be his guide to France,”
 put to sea with five hundred men remaining to him, and arrived at
Marseilles, whither Louis XII. sent some lords of his court to receive
him.  Two months afterwards, and not before, he was conducted to the king
himself, who was then at Blois.  Louis welcomed him with his natural
kindness, and secured to him fifty thousand livres a year on the duchy of
Anjou, on condition that he never left France.  It does not appear that
Frederick ever had an idea of doing so, for his name is completely lost
to history up to the day of his death, which took place at Tours on the
9th of November, 1504, after three years’ oblivion and exile.

On hearing of so prompt a success, Louis XII.’s satisfaction was great.
He believed, and many others, no doubt, believed with him, that his
conquest of Naples, of that portion at least which was assigned to him
by his treaty with the King of Spain, was accomplished.  The senate of
Venice sent to him, in December, 1501, a solemn embassy to congratulate
him.  In giving the senate an account of his mission, one of the
ambassadors, Dominic of Treviso, drew the following portrait of
Louis XII.: “The king is in stature tall and thin, and temperate in
eating, taking scarcely anything but boiled beef; he is by nature miserly
and retentive; his great pleasure is hawking; from September to April he
hawks.  The Cardinal of Rouen [George d’Amboise] does everything;
nothing, however, with-out the cognizance of the king, who has a far from
stable mind, saying yes and no.  .  .  .  I am of opinion that their
lordships should remove every suspicion from his Majesty’s mind, and aim
at keeping themselves closely united with him.”  [Armand Baschet, _La
Diplomatic, L’enitienne_, p.  362.]  It was not without ground that the
Venetian envoy gave his government this advice.  So soon as the treaty of
alliance between Louis XII. and the Venetians for the conquest of
Milaness had attained its end, the king had more than once felt and
testified some displeasure at the demeanor assumed towards him by his
former allies.  They had shown vexation and disquietude at the extension
of French influence in Italy; and they had addressed to Louis certain
representations touching the favor enjoyed at his hands by the pope’s
nephew, Caesar Borgia, to whom he had given the title of Duke of
Valentinois on investing him with the countships of Valence and of Die in
Dauphiny.  Louis, on his side, showed anxiety as to the conduct which
would be exhibited towards him by the Venetians if he encountered any
embarrassment in his expedition to Naples.  Nothing of the kind happened
to him during the first month after King Frederick III.’s abandonment of
the kingdom of Naples.  The French and the Spaniards, D’Aubigny and
Gonzalvo of Cordova, at first gave their attention to nothing but
establishing themselves firmly, each in the interests of the king his
master, in those portions of the kingdom which were to belong to them.

But, before long, disputes arose between the two generals as to the
meaning of certain clauses in the treaty of November 11, 1500, and as to
the demarcation of the French and the Spanish territories.  D’Aubigny
fell ill; and Louis XII. sent to Naples, with the title of viceroy, Louis
d’Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, a brave warrior, but a negotiator inclined
to take umbrage and to give offence.  The disputes soon took the form of
hostilities.  The French essayed to drive the Spaniards from the points
they had occupied in the disputed territories; and at first they had the
advantage.  Gonzalvo of Cordova, from necessity or in prudence,
concentrated his forces within Barletta, a little fortress with a little
port on the Adriatic; but he there endured, from July, 1502, to April,
1503, a siege which did great honor to the patient firmness of the
Spanish troops and the persistent vigor of their captain.  Gonzalvo was
getting ready to sally from Barletta and take the offensive against the
French when he heard that a treaty signed at Lyons on the 5th of April,
1503, between the Kings of Spain and France, made a change in the
position, reciprocally, of the two sovereigns, and must suspend the
military operations of their generals within the kingdom of Naples.
“The French general declared his readiness to obey his king,” says
Guicciardini; “but the Spanish, whether it were that he felt sure of
victory or that he had received private instructions on that point, said
that he could not stop the war without express orders from his king.”
 And sallying forthwith from Barletta, he gained, on the 28th of April,
1503, at Cerignola, a small town of Puglia, a signal victory over the
French commanded by the Duke of Nemours, who, together with three
thousand men of his army, was killed in action.  The very day after his
success Gonzalvo heard that a Spanish corps, lately disembarked in
Calabria, had also beaten, on the 21st of April, at Seminara, a French
corps commanded by D’Aubigny.  The great captain was as eager to profit
by victory as he had been patient in waiting for a chance of it.  He
marched rapidly on Naples, and entered it on the 14th of May, almost
without resistance; and the two forts defending the city, the Castel
Nuovo and the Castel dell’ Uovo surrendered, one on the 11th of June and
the other on the 1st of July.  The capital of the kingdom having thus
fallen into the hands of the Spaniards, Capua and Aversa followed its
example.  Gaeta was the only important place which still held out for the
French, and contained a garrison capable of defending it; and thither the
remnant of the troops beaten at Seminara and at Cerignola had retired.
Louis XII. hastened to levy and send to Italy, under the command of Louis
de la Tremoille, a fresh army for the purpose of relieving Gaeta and
recovering Naples; but at Parma La Tremoille fell ill, “so crushed by his
malady and so despairing of life,” says his chronicler, John Bouchet,
“that the physicians sent word to the king that it was impossible in the
way of nature to recover him, and that without the divine assistance he
could not get well.”  The command devolved upon the Marquis of Mantua,
who marched on Gaeta.  He found Gonzalvo of Cordova posted with his army
on the left bank of the Garigliano, either to invest the place or to
repulse re-enforcements that might arrive for it.  The two armies passed
fifty days face to face almost, with the river and its marshes between
them, and vainly attempting over and over again to join battle.  Some of
Gonzalvo’s officers advised him to fall back on Capua, so as to withdraw
his troops from an unhealthy and difficult position; but “I would
rather,” said he, “have here, for my grave, six feet of earth by pushing
forward, than prolong my life a hundred years by falling back, though it
were but a few arms’ lengths.”  The French army was dispersing about in
search of shelter and provisions; and the Marquis of Mantua, disgusted
with the command, resigned it to the Marquis of Saluzzo, and returned
home to his marquisate.  Gonzalvo, who was kept well informed of his
enemies’ condition, threw, on the 27th of December, a bridge over the
Garigliano, attacked the French suddenly, and forced them to fall back
upon Gaeta, which they did not succeed in entering until they had lost
artillery, baggage, and a number of prisoners.  “The Spaniards,” says
John d’Auton, “halted before the place, made as if they would lay siege
to it, and so remained for two or three days.  The French, who were there
in great numbers, had scarcely any provisions, and could not hold out for
long; however, they put a good face upon it.  The captain, Gonzalvo, sent
word to them that if they would surrender their town he would, on his
part, restore to them without ransom all prisoners and others of their
party; and he had many of them, James de la Palisse, Stuart d’Aubigny,
Gaspard de Coligny, Anthony de la Fayette, &c., all captains.  The French
captains, seeing that fortune was not kind to them, and that they had
provisions for a week only, were all for taking this offer.  All the
prisoners, captains, men-at-arms, and common soldiers were accordingly
given up, put to sea, and sailed for Genoa, where they were well received
and kindly treated by the Genoese, which did them great good, for they
were much in need of it.  Nearly all the captains died on their return,
some of mourning over their losses, others of melancholy at their
misfortune, others for fear of the king’s displeasure, and others of
sickness and weariness.”  [_Chroniques of John d’Auton,_ t. iii.
pp. 68-70.]

Gaeta fell into the hands of the Spaniards on the 1st of January, 1504.
The war was not ended, but the kingdom of Naples was lost to the King of

At the news of these reverses the grief and irritation of Louis XII.
were extreme.  Not only was he losing his Neapolitan conquests, but even
his Milaness was also threatened.  The ill-will of the Venetians became
manifest.  They had re-victualled by sea the fortress of Barletta, in
which Gonzalvo of Cordova had shut himself up with his troops; “and when
the king presented complaints of this succor afforded to his enemies, the
senate replied that the matter had taken place without their cognizance,
that Venice was a republic of traders, and that private persons might
very likely have sold provisions to the Spaniards, with whom Venice was
at peace, without there being any ground for concluding from it that she
had failed in her engagements towards France.  Some time afterwards, four
French galleys, chased by a Spanish squadron of superior force, presented
themselves before the port of Otranto, which was in the occupation of the
Venetians, who pleaded their neutrality as a reason for refusing asylum
to the French squadron, which the commander was obliged to set on fire
that it might not fall into he enemy’s hands.”  [_Histoire de la
Republique de L’enise,_ by Count Daru, t. iii.  p. 245.] The determined
prosecution of hostilities in the kingdom of Naples by Gonzalvo of
Cordova, in spite of the treaty concluded at Lyons on the 5th of April,
1503, between the Kings of France and Spain, was so much the more
offensive to Louis XII. in that this treaty was the consequence and the
confirmation of an enormous concession which he had, two years
previously, made to the King of Spain on consenting to affiance his
daughter, Princess Claude of France, two years old, to Ferdinand’s
grandson, Charles of Austria, who was then only one year old, and who
became Charles the Fifth (emperor)!  Lastly, about the same time, Pope
Alexander VI., who, willy hilly, had rendered Louis XII. so many
services, died at Rome on the 12th of August, 1503.  Louis had hoped that
his favorite minister, Cardinal George d’Amboise, would succeed him, and
that hope had a great deal to do with the shocking favor he showed Caesar
Borgia, that infamous son of a demoralized father.  But the candidature
of Cardinal d’Amboise failed; a four weeks’ pope, Pius III., succeeded
Alexander VI.; and, when the Holy See suddenly became once more vacant,
Cardinal d’Amboise failed again; and the new choice was Cardinal Julian
della Rovera, Pope Julius II., who soon became the most determined and
most dangerous foe of Louis XII., already assailed by so many enemies.

The Venetian, Dominic of Treviso, was quite right; Louis XII. was “of
unstable mind, saying yes and no.”  On such characters discouragement
tells rapidly.  In order to put off the struggle which had succeeded so
ill for him in the kingdom of Naples, Louis concluded, on the 31st of
March, 1504, a truce for three years with the King of Spain; and on the
22d of September, in the same year, in order to satisfy his grudge on
account of the Venetians’ demeanor towards him, he made an alliance
against them with Emperor Maximilian I. and Pope Julius II., with the
design, all three of them, of wresting certain provinces from them.  With
those political miscalculations was connected a more personal and more
disinterested feeling.  Louis repented of having in 1501 affianced his
daughter Claude to Prince Charles of Austria, and of the enormous
concessions he had made by two treaties, one of April 5, 1503, and the
other of September 22, 1504, for the sake of this marriage.  He had
assigned as dowry to his daughter, first the duchy of Milan, then the
kingdom of Naples, then Brittany, and then the duchy of Burgundy and the
countship of Blois.  The latter of these treaties contained even the
following strange clause: “If, by default of the Most Christian king or
of the queen his wife, or of the Princess Claude, the aforesaid marriage
should not take place, the Most Christian king doth will and consent,
from now, that the said duchies of Burgundy and Milan and the countship
of Asti, do remain settled upon the said Prince Charles, Duke of
Luxembourg, with all the rights therein possessed, or possibly to be
possessed, by the Most Christian king.”  [_Corps Diplomatique du Droit
des Gens,_ by J.  Dumont, t.  iv.  part i.  p.  57.] It was dismembering
France, and at the same time settling on all her frontiers, to east,
west, and south-west, as well as to north and south, a power which the
approaching union of two crowns, the imperial and the Spanish, on the
head of Prince Charles of Austria, rendered so preponderating and so

It was not only from considerations of external policy, and in order to
conciliate to himself Emperor Maximilian and King Ferdinand, that Louis
XII. had allowed himself to proceed to concessions so plainly contrary to
the greatest interests of France: he had yielded also to domestic
influences.  The queen his wife, Anne of Brittany, detested Louise of
Savoy, widow of Charles d’Orleans, Count of Angouleme, and mother of
Francis d’Angouleme, heir presumptive to the throne, since Louis XII.
had no son.  Anne could not bear the idea that her daughter, Princess
Claude, should marry the son of her personal enemy; and, being more
Breton than French, say her contemporaries, she, in order to avoid this
disagreeableness, had used with the king all her influence, which was
great, in favor of the Austrian marriage, caring little, and, perhaps,
even desiring, that Brittany should be again severed from France.  Louis,
in the midst of the reverses of his diplomacy, had thus to suffer from
the hatreds of his wife, the observations of his advisers, and the
reproaches of his conscience as a king.  He fell so ill that he was
supposed to be past recovery.  “It were to do what would be incredible,”
 says his contemporary, John de St. Gelais, “to write or tell of the
lamentations made throughout the whole realm of France, by reason of the
sorrow felt by all for the illness of their good king.  There were to be
seen night and day, at Blois, at Amboise, at Tours, and everywhere else,
men and women going all bare throughout the churches and to the holy
places, in order to obtain from divine mercy grace of health and
convalescence for one whom there was as great fear of losing as if he had
been the father of each.”  Louis was touched by this popular sympathy;
and his wisest councillors, Cardinal d’Amboise the first of all, took
advantage thereof to appeal to his conscience in respect of the
engagements which “through weakness he had undertaken contrary to the
interests of the realm and the coronation-promises.”  Queen Anne herself,
not without a struggle, however, at last gave up her opposition to this
patriotic recoil; and on the 10th of May, 1505, Louis XII.  put in his
will a clause to the effect that his daughter, Princess Claude, should be
married, so soon as she was old enough, to the heir to the throne,
Francis, Count of Angouleme.  Only it was agreed, in order to avoid
diplomatic embarrassments, that this arrangement should be kept secret
till further notice.  [The will itself of Louis XII. has been inserted in
the _Recueil des Ordonnances des Bois des France,_ t. xxi.  p. 323, dated
30th of May, 1505.]

When Louis had recovered, discreet measures were taken for arousing the
feeling of the country as well as the king’s conscience as to this great
question.  In the course of the year 1505 there took place throughout the
whole kingdom, amongst the nobility and in the principal towns,
assemblies at which means were proposed for preventing this evil.
Unpleasant consequences might have been apprehended from these meetings,
in the case of a prince less beloved by his subjects than the king was;
but nothing further was decided thereby than that a representation should
with submission be made to him of the dangers likely to result from this
treaty, that he should be entreated to prevent them by breaking it, and
that a proposal should be made to him to assemble the estates to
deliberate upon a subject so important.  [_Histoire de France,_ by Le
Pere Daniel, t. viii.  p. 427, edit. of 1755.] The states-general were
accordingly convoked and met at Tours on the 10th of May, 1506; and on
the 14th of May Louis XII. opened them in person at Plessis-les-Tours,
seated in a great hall, in the royal seat, between Cardinal d’Amboise and
Duke Francis of Valois, and surrounded by many archbishops and all the
princes of the blood and other lords and barons of the said realm in
great number, and he gave the order for admitting the deputies of the
estates of the realm.

[Illustration: STATES GENERAL AT TOURS----329]

“Far from setting forth the grievances of the nation, as the spokesman of
the estates had always done, Thomas Bricot, canon of Notre-Dame de Paris,
delivered an address enumerating, in simple and touching terms, the
benefits conferred by Louis XII., and describing to him the nation’s
gratitude.  To him they owed peace and the tranquillity of the realm,
complete respect for private property, release from a quarter of the
talliages, reform in the administration of justice, and the appointment
of enlightened and incorruptible judges.  For these causes, the speaker
added, and for others which it would take too long to recount, he was
destined to be known as Louis XII., father of the people.

“At these last words loud cheers rang out; emotion was general, and
reached the king himself, who shed tears at hearing the title which
posterity and history were forever to attach to his name.

“Then, the deputies having dropped on their knees, the speaker resumed
his speech, saying that they were come to prefer a request for the
general good of the realm, the king’s subjects entreating him to be
pleased to give his only daughter in marriage to my lord Francis, here
present, who is every whit French.

“When this declaration was ended, the king called Cardinal d’Amboise and
the chancellor, with whom he conferred for some time; and then the
chancellor, turning to the deputies, made answer that the king had given
due ear and heed to their request and representation, .  .  .  that if he
had done well, he desired to do still better; and that, as to the request
touching the marriage, he had never heard talk of it; but that as to that
matter, he would communicate with the princes of the blood, so as to have
their opinion.

“The day after this session the king received an embassy which could not
but crown his joy: the estates of the duchy of Burgundy, more interested
than any other province in the rupture of the (Austrian) marriage, had
sent deputies to join their most urgent prayers to the entreaties of the
estates of France.

“On Monday, May 18, the king assembled about him his chief councillors,
to learn if the demand of the estates was profitable and reasonable for
him and his kingdom.  ‘Thereon,’ continues the report, ‘the first to
deliver an opinion was my lord the Bishop of Paris; after him the premier
president of the parliament of Paris and of that of Bordeaux.’ Their
speeches produced such effect that, ‘quite with one voice and one
mind, those present agreed that the request of the estates was sound,
just, and reasonable, and with one consent entreated the king to agree to
the said marriage.’

“The most enlightened councillors and the princes of the blood found
themselves in agreement with the commons.  There was no ambiguity about
the reply.  On the Tuesday, May 19, the king held a session in state for
the purpose of announcing to the estates that their wishes should be
fully gratified, and that the betrothal of his daughter to the heir to
the throne should take place next day but one, May 21, in order that the
deputies might report the news of it to their constituents.

“After that the estates had returned thanks, the chancellor gave notice
that, as municipal affairs imperatively demanded the return of the
deputies, the king gave them leave to go, retaining only one burgess from
each town, to inform him of their wants and ‘their business, if such
there be in any case, wherein the king will give them good and short

“The session was brought to a close by the festivities of the betrothal,
and by the oath taken by the deputies, who, before their departure, swore
to bring about with all their might, even to the risk of body and goods,
the marriage which had just been decided upon by the common advice of all
those who represented France.’” [_Histoire des Etats Generaux_ from 1355
to 1614, by George Picot, t. i.  pp. 352-354].

Francis d’Angouleme was at that time eleven years old, and Claude of
France was nearly seven.

Whatever displeasure must have been caused to the Emperor of Germany and
to the King of Spain by this resolution on the part of France and her
king, it did not show itself, either in acts of hostility or even in
complaints of a more or less threatening kind.  Italy remained for some
years longer the sole theatre of rivalry and strife between these three
great powers; and, during this strife, the utter diversity of the
combinations, whether in the way of alliance or of rupture, bore witness
to the extreme changeability of the interests, passions, and designs of
the actors.  From 1506 to 1515, between Louis XII.’s will and his death,
we find in the history of his career in Italy five coalitions, and as
many great battles, of a profoundly contradictory character.  In 1508,
Pope Julius II., Louis XII., Emperor Maximilian, and Ferdinand the
Catholic, King of Spain, form together against the Venetians the League
of Cambrai.  In 1510, Julius II., Ferdinand, the Venetians, and the Swiss
make a coalition against Louis XII.  In 1512, this coalition, decomposed
for a while, re-unites, under the name of the League of the Holy Union,
between the pope, the Venetians, the Swiss, and the Kings of Arragon and
Naples against Louis XII., minus the Emperor Maximilian, and plus Henry
VIII., King of England.  On the 14th of May, 1509, Louis XII., in the
name of the League of Cambrai, gains the battle of Agnadello against the
Venetians.  On the 11th of April, 1512, it is against Pope Julius II.,
Ferdinand the Catholic, and the Venetians that he gains the battle of
Ravenna.  On the 14th of March, 1513, he is in alliance with the
Venetians, and it is against the Swiss that he loses the battle of
Novara.  In 1510, 1511, and 1512, in the course of all these incessant
changes of political allies and adversaries, three councils met at Tours,
at Pisa, and at St. John Lateran with views still more discordant and
irreconcilable than those of all these laic coalitions.  We merely point
out here the principal traits of the nascent sixteenth century; we have
no intention of tracing with a certain amount of detail any incidents but
those that refer to Louis XII. and to France, to their procedure and
their fortunes.

Jealousy, ambition, secret resentment, and the prospect of despoiling
them caused the formation of the League of Cambrai against the Venetians.
Their far-reaching greatness on the seas, their steady progress on land,
their riches, their cool assumption of independence towards the papacy,
their renown for ability, and their profoundly selfish, but singularly
prosperous policy, had excited in Italy, and even beyond the Alps, that
feeling of envy and ill-will which is caused amongst men, whether kings
or people, by the spectacle of strange, brilliant, and unexpected good
fortune, though it be the fruits of rare merit.  As the Venetians were as
much dreaded as they were little beloved, great care was taken to conceal
from them the projects that were being formed against them.  According to
their historian, Cardinal Bembo, they owed to chance the first notice
they had.  It happened one day that a Piedmontese at Milan, in presence
of the Resident of Venice, allowed to escape from his lips the words,
“I should have the pleasure, then, of seeing the crime punished of those
who put to death the most illustrious man of my country.”  He alluded to
Carmagnola, a celebrated Piedmontese condottiere, who had been accused of
treason and beheaded at Venice on the 3d of May, 1432.  The Venetian
ambassador at Louis XII.’s court, suspecting what had taken place at
Cambrai, tried to dissuade the king.  “Sir,” said he, “it were folly to
attack them of Venice; their wisdom renders them invincible.”  “I believe
they are prudent and wise,” answered Louis, “but all the wrong way of the
hair (inopportunely); if it must come to war, I will bring upon them so
many fools, that your wiseacres will not have leisure to teach them
reason, for my fools hit all round without looking where.”  When the
league was decisively formed, Louis sent to Venice a herald to officially
proclaim war.  After having replied to the grievances alleged in support
of that proclamation, “We should never have believed,” said the Doge
Loredano, “that so great a prince would have given ear to the envenomed
words of a pope whom he ought to know better, and to the insinuations of
another priest whom we forbear to mention (Cardinal d’Amboise).  In order
to please them, he declares himself the foe of a republic which has
rendered him great services.  We will try to defend ourselves, and to
prove to him that he has not kept faith with us.  God shall judge betwixt
us.  Father herald, and you, trumpeter, ye have heard what we had to say
to you; report it to your master.  Away!”  Independently of their natural
haughtiness, the Venetians were puffed up with the advantages they had
obtained in a separate campaign against the Emperor Maximilian, and
flattered themselves that they would manage to conquer, one after the
other, or to split up, or to tire out, their enemies; and they prepared
energetically for war.  Louis XII., on his side, got together an army
with a strength of twenty-three hundred lances (about thirteen thousand
mounted troops), ten to twelve thousand French foot, and six or eight
thousand Swiss.  He sent for Chevalier Bayard, already famous, though
still quite a youth.  “Bayard,” said he, “you know that I am about to
cross the mountains, for to bring to reason the Venetians, who by great
wrong withhold from me the countship of Cremona and other districts.
I give to you from this present time the company of Captain Chatelard,
who they tell me is dead, whereat I am distressed; but I desire that in
this enterprise you have under your charge men afoot; your lieutenant-
captain, Pierrepont [Pierre de Pont d’Albi, a Savoyard gentle-man, and
Bayard’s nephew], who is a very good man, shall lead your men-at-arms.”
 “Sir,” answered Bayard, “I will do what pleaseth you; but how many men
afoot will you be pleased to hand over to me to lead?”  “A thousand,”
 said the king: “there is no man that hath more.”  “Sir,” replied Bayard,
“it is a many for my poor wits; I do entreat you to be content that I
have five hundred; and I pledge you my faith, sir, that I will take pains
to choose such as shall do you service; meseems that for one man it is a
very heavy charge, if he would fain do his duty therewith.”  “Good!” said
the king: “go, then, quickly into Dauphiny, and take heed that you be in
my duchy of Milan by the end of March.”  Bayard forthwith set out to
raise and choose his foot; a proof of the growing importance of infantry,
and of the care taken by Louis XII. to have it commanded by men of war of
experience and popularity.

[Illustration: Battle of Agnadello----334]

On the 14th of May, 1509, the French army and the Venetian army, of
nearly equal strength, encountered near the village of Agnadello, in the
province of Lodi, on the banks of the Adda.  Louis XII. commanded his in
person, with Louis de la Tremoille and James Trivulzio for his principal
lieutenants; the Venetians were under the orders of two generals, the
Count of Petigliano and Barthelemy d’Alviano, both members of the Roman
family of the Orsini, but not on good terms with one another.  The French
had to cross the Adda to reach the enemy, who kept in his camp.
Trivulzio, seeing that the Venetians did not dispute their passage, cried
out to the king, “To-day, sir, the victory is ours!”  The French advance-
guard engaged with the troops of Alviano.  When apprised of this fight,
Louis, to whom word was at this same time brought that the enemy was
already occupying the point towards which he was moving with the main
body of the army, said briskly, “Forward, all the same; we will halt upon
their bellies.”  The action became general and hot.  The king, sword in
hand, hurried from one corps to another, under fire from the Venetian
artillery, which struck several men near him.  He was urged to place
himself under cover a little, so as to give his orders thence; but, “It
is no odds,” said he; “they who are afraid have only to put themselves
behind me.”  A body of Gascons showed signs of wavering: “Lads,” shouted
La Tremoille, “the king sees you.”  They dashed forward; and the
Venetians were broken, in spite of the brave resistance of Alviano, who
was taken and brought, all covered with blood, and with one eye out, into
the presence of the king.  Louis said to him, courteously, “You shall
have fair treatment and fair captivity; have fair patience.”  “So I
will,” answered the condottiere; “if I had won the battle, I had been the
most victorious man in the world; and, though I have lost it, still have
I the great honor of having had against me a King of France in person.”
 Louis, who had often heard talk of the warrior’s intrepid presence of
mind, had a fancy for putting it to further proof, and, all the time
chatting with him, gave secret orders to have the alarm sounded not far
from them.  “What is this, pray, Sir Barthelemy?” asked the king: “your
folks are very difficult to please; is it that they want to begin
again?”  “Sir,” said Alviano, “if there is fighting still, it must be
that the French are fighting one another; as for my folks, I assure you,
on my life, they will not pay you a visit this fortnight.”  The Venetian
army, in fact, withdrew with a precipitation which resembled a rout: for,
to rally it, its general, the Count of Petigliano, appointed for its
gathering-point the ground beneath the walls of Brescia, forty miles from
the field of battle.  “Few men-at-arms,” says Guicciardini, “were slain
in this affair; the great loss fell upon the Venetians’ infantry, which
lost, according to some, eight thousand men; others say that the number
of dead on both sides did not amount to more than six thousand.”  The
territorial results of the victory were greater than the numerical losses
of the armies.  Within a fortnight, the towns of Caravaggio, Bergamo,
Brescia, Crema, Cremona, and Pizzighitone surrendered to the French.
Peschiera alone, a strong fortress at the southern extremity of the Lake
of Garda, resisted, and was carried by assault.  “It was a bad thing for
those within,” says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard; “for all, or nearly
all, perished there; amongst the which was the governor of the Signory
and his son, who were willing to pay good and heavy ransom; but that
served them not at all, for on one tree were both of them hanged, which
to me did seem great cruelty; a very lusty gentleman, called the
Lorrainer, had their parole, and he had big words about it with the grand
master, lieutenant-general of the king; but he got no good thereby.”  The
_Memoires of Robert de la Marck,_ lord of Fleuranges, and a warrior of
the day, confirm, as to this sad incident, the story of the Loyal
Serviteur of Bayard: “When the French volunteers,” says he, “entered by
the breach into the castle of Peschiera, they cut to pieces all those who
were therein, and there were left only the captain, the proveditore, and
the podesta, the which stowed themselves away in a tower, surrendered to
the good pleasure of the king, and, being brought before him, offered him
for ransom a hundred thousand ducats; but the king swore, ‘If ever I eat
or drink till they be hanged and strangled!  ‘Nor even for all the prayer
they could make could the grand master Chaumont, and even his uncle,
Cardinal d’Amboise, find any help for it, but the king would have them
hanged that very hour.”  Some chroniclers attribute this violence on
Louis XII.’s part to a “low and coarse” reply returned by those in
command at Peschiera to the summons to surrender.  Guicciardini, whilst
also recording the fact, explains it otherwise than by a fit of anger on
Louis’s part: “The king,” he says, “was led to such cruelty in order
that, dismayed at such punishment, those who were still holding out in
the fortress of Cremona might not defend themselves to the last
extremity.”  [_Guicciardini, Istoria d’Italia,_ liv.  viii.  t.  i.  p.
521.] So that the Italian historian is less severe on this act of cruelty
than the French knight is.

Louis XII.’s victory at Agnadello had for him consequences very different
from what he had no doubt expected.  “The king,” says Guicciardini,
“departed from Italy, carrying away with him to France great glory by
reason of so complete and so rapidly won a victory over the Venetians;
nevertheless, as in the case of things obtained after hope long deferred
men scarcely ever feel such joy and happiness as they had at first
imagined they would, the king took not back with him either greater peace
of mind or greater security in respect of his affairs.”  The beaten
Venetians accepted their defeat with such a mixture of humility and
dignity as soon changed their position in Italy.  They began by providing
all that was necessary for the defence of Venice herself; foreigners, but
only idle foreigners, were expelled; those who had any business which
secured them means of existence received orders to continue their labors.
Mills were built, cisterns were dug, corn was gathered in, the condition
of the canals was examined, bars were removed, the citizens were armed;
the law which did not allow vessels laden with provisions to touch at
Venice was repealed, and rewards were decreed to officers who had done
their duty.  Having taken all this care for their own homes and their
fatherland on the sea, the Venetian senate passed a decree by which the
republic, releasing from their oath of fidelity the subjects it could not
defend, authorized its continental provinces to treat with the enemy with
a view to their own interests, and ordered its commandants to evacuate
such places as they still held.  Nearly all such submitted without a
struggle to the victor of Agnadello and his allies of Cambrai; but at
Treviso, when Emperor Maximilian’s commissioner presented himself in
order to take possession of it, a shoemaker named Caligaro went running
through the streets, shouting, “Hurrah! for St. Mark.”

The people rose, pillaged the houses of those who had summoned the
foreigner, and declared that it would not separate its lot from that of
the republic.  So Treviso remained Venetian.  Two other small towns,
Marano and Osopo, followed her example; and for several months this was
all that the Venetians preserved of their continental possessions.  But
at the commencement of July, 1509, they heard that the important town of
Padua, which had fallen to the share of Emperor Maximilian, was uttering
passionate murmurs against its new master, and wished for nothing better
than to come back beneath the old sway; and, in spite of the opposition
shown by the doge, Loredano, the Venetians resolved to attempt the
venture.  During the night between the 16th and 17th of July, a small
detachment, well armed and well led, arrived beneath the walls of Padua,
which was rather carelessly guarded.  In the morning, as soon as the gate
was opened, a string of large wagons presented themselves for admittance.
Behind one of these, and partially concealed by its bulk, advanced six
Venetian men-at-arms, each carrying on his crupper a foot-soldier armed
with an arquebuse; they fired on the guard; each killed his man; the
Austrian garrison hurried up and fought bravely; but other Venetian
troops arrived, and the garrison was beaten and surrendered.  Padua
became Venetian again.  “This surprisal,” says M. Darn, “caused
inexpressible joy in Venice; after so many disasters there was seen a
gleans of hope.”  The Venetians hastened to provision Padua well and to
put it in a state of defence; and they at the same time published a
decree promising such subjects of the republic as should come back to its
sway complete indemnity for the losses they might have suffered during
the war.  It blazed forth again immediately, but at first between the
Venetians and the Emperor Maximilian almost alone by himself.  Louis
XII., in a hurry to get back to France, contented himself with leaving in
Lombardy a body of troops under the orders of James de Chabannes, Sire de
la Palisse, with orders “to take five hundred of the lustiest men-at-arms
and go into the service of the emperor, who was to make a descent upon
the district of Padua.”  Maximilian did not make his descent until two
months after that the Venetians had retaken Padua and provisioned it
well; and it was only on the 15th of September that he sat down before
the place.  All the allies of the League of Cambrai held themselves bound
to furnish him with their contingent.  On sallying from Milan for this
campaign, La Palisse “fell in with the good knight Bayard, to whom he
said, ‘My comrade, my friend, would you not like us to be comrades
together?’  Bayard, who asked nothing better, answered him graciously
that he was at his service to be disposed of at his pleasure;” and from
the 15th to the 20th of September, Maximilian got together before Padua
an army with a strength, it is said, of about fifty thousand men,
men-at-arms or infantry, Germans, Spaniards, French, and Italians, sent
by the pope and by the Duke of Ferrara, or recruited from all parts of

At the first rumor of such a force there was great emotion in Venice, but
an emotion tempered by bravery and intelligence.  The doge, Leonardo
Loredano, the same who had but lately opposed the surprisal of Padua,
rose up and delivered in the senate a long speech, of which only the
essential and characteristic points can be quoted here:--

“Everybody knows, excellent gentlemen of the senate,” said he, “that on
the preservation of Padua depends all hope, not only of recovering our
empire, but of maintaining our own liberty.  It must be confessed that,
great and wonderful as they have been, the preparations made and the
supplies provided hitherto are not sufficient either for the security of
that town or for the dignity of our republic.  Our ancient renown forbids
us to leave the public safety, the lives and honor of our wives and our
children, entirely to the tillers of our fields and to mercenary
soldiers, without rushing ourselves to shelter them behind our own
breasts and defend them with our own arms.  For so great and so glorious
a fatherland, which has for so many years been the bulwark of the faith
and the glory of the Christian republic, will the personal service of its
citizens and its sons be ever to seek?  To save it who would refuse to
risk his own life and that of his children?  If the defence of Padua is
the pledge for the salvation of Venice, who would hesitate to go and
defend it?  And, though the forces already there were sufficient, is not
our honor also concerned therein?  The fortune of our city so willed it
that in the space of a few days our empire slipped from our hands; the
opportunity has come back to us of recovering what we have lost; by
spontaneously facing the changes and chances of fate, we shall prove that
our disasters have not been our fault or our shame, but one of those
fatal storms which no wisdom and no firmness of man can resist.  If it
were permitted us all in one mass to set out for Padua, if we might,
without neglecting the defence of our own homes and our urgent public
affairs, leave our city for some days deserted, I would not await your
deliberation; I would be the first on the road to Padua; for how could I
better expend the last days of my old age than in going to be present at
and take part in such a victory?  But Venice may not be deserted by her
public bodies, which protect and defend Padua by their forethought and
their orders just as others do by their arms; and a useless mob of
graybeards would be a burden much more than a reenforcement there.  Nor
do I ask that Venice be drained of all her youth; but I advise, I exhort,
that we choose two hundred young gentlemen, from the chiefest of our
families, and that they all, with such friends and following as their
means will permit them to get together, go forth to Padua to do all that
shall be necessary for her defence.  My two sons, with many a comrade.
will be the first to carry out what I, their father and your chief, am
the first to propose.  Thus Padua will be placed in security; and when
the mercenary soldiers who are there see how prompt are our youth to
guard the gates and everywhere face the battle, they will be moved
thereby to zeal and alacrity incalculable; and not only will Padua thus
be defended and saved, but all nations will see that we, we too, as our
fathers were, are men enough to defend at the peril of our lives the
freedom and th  safety of the noblest country in the world.”

This generous advice was accepted by the fathers and carried out by the
sons with that earnest, prompt, and effective ardor which accompanies the
resolution of great souls.  When the Paduans, before their city was as
yet invested, saw the arrival within their walls of these chosen youths
of the Venetian patriciate, with their numerous troop of friends and
followers, they considered Padua as good as saved; and when the imperial
army, posted before the place, commenced their attacks upon it, they soon
perceived that they had formidable defenders to deal with.  “Five hundred
years it was since in prince’s camp had ever been seen such wealth as
there was there; and never was a day but there filed off some three or
four hundred lanzknechts who took away to Germany oxen and kine, beds,
corn, silk for sewing, and other articles; in such sort that to the said
country of Padua was damage done to the amount of two millions of crowns
in movables and in houses and palaces burnt and destroyed.”  For three
days the imperial artillery fired upon the town and made in its walls
three breaches “knocked into one;” and still the defenders kept up their
resistance with the same vigor.  “One morning,” says the Loyal Serviteur
of Bayard, “the Emperor Maximilian, accompanied by his princes and lords
from Germany, went thither to look; and he marvelled and thought it great
shame to him, with the number of men he had, that he had not sooner
delivered the assault.  On returning to his quarters he sent for a French
secretary of his, whom he bade write to the lord of La Palisse a letter,
whereof this was the substance: ‘Dear cousin, I have this morning been to
look at the breach, which I find more than practicable for whoever would
do his duty.  I have made up my mind to deliver the assault to-day.  I
pray you, so soon as my big drum sounds, which will be about midday, that
you do incontinently hold ready all the French gentlemen who are under
your orders at my service, by command of my brother the King of France,
to go to the said assault along with my foot; and I hope that, with God’s
help we shall carry it.’

“The lord of La Palisse,” continues the chronicler, “thought this a
somewhat strange manner of proceeding; howbeit he hid his thought, and
said to the secretary, ‘I am astounded that the emperor did not send for
my comrades and me for to deliberate more fully of this matter; howbeit
you will tell him that I will send to fetch them, and when they are come
I will show them the letter.  I do not think there will be many who will
not be obedient to that which the emperor shall be pleased to command.’

“When the French captains had arrived at the quarters of the lord of La
Palisse, he said to them, ‘Gentlemen, we must now dine, for I have
somewhat to say to you, and if I were to say it first, peradventure you
would not make good cheer.’  During dinner they did nothing but make
sport one of another.  After dinner, everybody was sent out of the room,
save the captains, to whom the lord of La Palisse made known the
emperor’s letter, which was read twice, for the better understanding of
it.  They all looked at one another, laughing, for to see who would speak
first.  Then said the lord of Ymbercourt to the lord of La Palisse, ‘It
needs not so much thought, my lord; send word to the emperor that we are
all ready; I am even now a-weary of the fields, for the nights are cold;
and then the good wines are beginning to fail us;’ whereat every one
burst out a-laughing.  All agreed to what was said by the lord of
Ymbercourt.  The lord of La Palisse looked at the good knight (Bayard),
and saw that he seemed to be picking his teeth, as if he had not heard
what his comrades had proposed.  ‘Well, and you,’ said he, ‘what say you
about it?  It is no time for picking one’s teeth; we must at once send
speedy reply to the emperor.’  Gayly the good knight answered, ‘If we
would all take my lord of Ymbercourt’s word, we have only to go straight
to the breach.  But it is a somewhat sorry pastime for men-at-arms to go
afoot, and I would gladly be excused.  Howbeit, since I must give my
opinion, I will.  The emperor bids you, in his letter, set all the French
gentlemen afoot for to deliver the assault along with his lanzknechts.
My opinion is, that you, my lord, ought to send back to the emperor a
reply of this sort: that you have had a meeting of your captains, who are
quite determined to do his bidding, according to the charge they have
from the king their master; but that to mix them up with the foot, who
are of small estate, would be to make them of little account; the emperor
has loads of counts, lords, and gentlemen of Germany; let him set them
afoot along with the men-at-arms of France, who will gladly show them the
road; and then his lanzknechts will follow, if they know that it will
pay.’  When the good knight had thus spoken, his advice was found
virtuous and reasonable.  To the emperor was sent back this answer, which
he thought right honorable.  He incontinently had his trumpets sounded
and his drums beaten for to assemble all the princes, and lords, and
captains as well of Germany and Burgundy as of Hainault.  Then the
emperor declared to them that he was determined to go, within an hour,
and deliver the assault on the town, whereof he had notified the lords of
France, who were all most desirous of doing their duty therein right
well, and prayed him that along with them might go the gentlemen of
Germany, to whom they would gladly show the road: ‘Wherefore, my lords,’
said the emperor, I pray you, as much as ever I can, to be pleased to
accompany them and set yourselves afoot with them; and I hope, with God’s
help, that at the first assault we shall be masters of our enemies.’
When the emperor had done speaking, on a sudden there arose among his
Germans a very wondrous and strange uproar, which lasted half an hour
before it was appeased; and then one amongst them, bidden to answer for
all, said that they were not folks to be set afoot or so to go up to a
breach, and that their condition was to fight like gentlemen,
a-horseback.  Other answer the emperor could not get; but though it was
not according to his desire, and pleased him not at all, he uttered no
word beyond that he said, ‘Good my lords, we must advise, then, how we
shall do for the best.’  Then, forthwith he sent for a gentleman of his
who from time to time went backwards and forwards as ambassador to the
French, and said to him, ‘Go to the quarters of my cousin, the lord of La
Palisse; commend me to him and to all my lords the French captains you
find with him, and tell them that for to-day the assault will not be
delivered.’ I know not,” says the chronicler, “how it was nor who gave
the advice; but the night after this speech was spoken the emperor went
off, all in one stretch, more than forty miles from the camp, and from
his new quarters sent word to his people to have the siege raised; which
was done.”

So Padua was saved, and Venice once more became a power.  Louis XII.,
having returned victorious to France, did not trouble himself much about
the check received in Italy by Emperor Maximilian, for whom he had no
love and but little esteem.  Maximilian was personally brave and free
from depravity or premeditated perfidy, but he was coarse, volatile,
inconsistent, and not very able.  Louis XII. had amongst his allies of
Cambrai and in Italy a more serious and more skilful foe, who was
preparing for him much greater embarrassments.

Julian Bella Rovera had, before his elevation to the pontifical throne,
but one object, which was, to mount it.  When he became pope, he had
three objects: to recover and extend the temporal possessions of the
papacy, to exercise to the full his spiritual power, and to drive the
foreigner from Italy.  He was not incapable of doubling and artifice.
In order to rise he had flattered Louis XII. and Cardinal d’Amboise with
the hope that the king’s minister would become the head of Christendom.
When once he was himself in possession of this puissant title he showed
himself as he really was; ambitious, audacious, imperious, energetic,
stubborn, and combining the egotism of the absolute sovereign with the
patriotism of an Italian pope.  When the League of Cambrai had attained
success through the victory of Louis XII. over the Venetians, Cardinal
d’Amboise, in course of conversation with the two envoys from Florence at
the king’s court, let them have an inkling “that he was not without
suspicion of some new design;” and when Louis XII. announced his
approaching departure for France, the two Florentines wrote to their
government that “this departure might have very evil results, for the
power of Emperor Maximilian in Italy, the position of Ferdinand the
Catholic, the despair of the Venetians, and the character and
dissatisfaction of the pope, seemed to foreshadow some fresh
understanding against the Most Christian king.”  Louis XII. and his
minister were very confident.  “Take Spain, the king of the Romans, or
whom you please,” said Cardinal d’Amboise to the two Florentines; “there
is none who has observed and kept the alliance more faithfully than the
king has; he has done everything at the moment he promised; he has borne
upon his shoulders the whole weight of this affair; and I tell you,” he
added, with a fixed look at those whom he was addressing, “that his army
is a large one, which he will keep up and augment every day.”  Louis, for
his part, treated the Florentines with great good-will, as friends on
whom he counted and who were concerned in his success.  “You have become
the first power in Italy,” he said to then one day before a crowd of
people: “how are you addressed just now?  Are you Most Serene or Most
Illustrious?”  And when he was notified that distinguished Venetians were
going to meet Emperor Maximilian on his arrival in Italy, “No matter,”
 said Louis; “let them go whither they will.”  The Florentines did not the
less nourish their mistrustful presentiments; and one of Louis XII.’s
most intelligent advisers, his finance-minister Florimond Robertet, was
not slow to share them.  “The pope,” said he to them one day [July 1,
1509], “is behaving very ill towards us; he seeks on every occasion to
sow enmity between the princes, especially between the emperor and the
Most Christian king;” and, some weeks later, whilst speaking of the
money-aids which the new King of England was sending, it was said, to
Emperor Maximilian, he said to the Florentine, Nasi, “It would be a very
serious business, if from all this were to result against us a universal
league, in which the pope, England, and Spain should join.”
 [_Negotiations Diplomatiques de la France avec la Toscane,_ published by
M. Abel Desjardins, in the _Documents relatifs d l’Histoire de France,_
t.  ii.  pp.  331, 355, 367, 384, 389, 416.]

Next year (1510) the mistrust of the Florentine envoys was justified.
The Venetians sent a humble address to the pope, ceded to him the places
they but lately possessed in the Romagna, and conjured him to relieve
them from the excommunication he had pronounced against them.  Julius
II., after some little waiting, accorded the favor demanded of him.
Louis XII. committed the mistake of embroiling himself with the Swiss by
refusing to add twenty thousand livres to the pay of sixty thousand he
was giving them already, and by styling them “wretched mountain-
shepherds, who presumed to impose upon him a tax he was not disposed to
submit to.”  The pope conferred the investiture of the kingdom of Naples
upon Ferdinand the Catholic, who at first promised only his neutrality,
but could not fail to be drawn in still farther when war was rekindled in
Italy.  In all these negotiations with the Venetians, the Swiss, the
Kings of Spain and England, and the Emperor Maximilian, Julius II. took a
bold initiative.  Maximilian alone remained for some time at peace with
the King of France.

In October, 1511, a league was formally concluded between the pope, the
Venetians, the Swiss, and King Ferdinand against Louis XII.  A place was
reserved in it for the King of England, Henry VIII., who, on ascending
the throne, had sent word to the King of France that “he desired to abide
in the same friendship that the king his father had kept up,” but who, at
the bottom of his heart, burned to resume on the Continent an active and
a prominent part.  The coalition thus formed was called the League of
Holy Union.  “I,” said Louis XII., “am the Saracen against whom this
league is directed.”

He had just lost, a few months previously, the intimate and faithful
adviser and friend of his whole life: Cardinal George d’Amboise, seized
at Milan with a fit of the gout, during which Louis tended him with the
assiduity and care of an affectionate brother, died at Lyons on the 25th
of May, 1510, at fifty years of age.  He was one not of the greatest, but
of the most honest ministers who ever enjoyed a powerful monarch’s
constant favor, and employed it we will not say with complete
disinterestedness, but with a predominant anxiety for the public weal.
In the matter of external policy the influence of Cardinal d’Amboise, was
neither skilfully nor salutarily exercised: he, like his master, indulged
in those views of distant, incoherent, and improvident conquests which
caused the reign of Louis XII. to be wasted in ceaseless wars, with which
the cardinal’s desire of becoming pope was not altogether unconnected,
and which, after having resulted in nothing but reverses, were a heavy
heritage for the succeeding reign.  But at home, in his relations with
his king and in his civil and religious administration, Cardinal
d’Amboise was an earnest and effective friend of justice, of sound social
order, and of regard for morality in the practice of power.  It is said
that, in his latter days, he, virtuously weary of the dignities of this
world, said to the infirmary-brother who was attending him, “Ah! Brother
John, why did I not always remain Brother John!”  A pious regret the
sincerity and modesty whereof are rare amongst men of high estate.

[Illustration: Cardinal d’Amboise----347]

“At last, then, I am the only pope!” cried Julius II., when he heard that
Cardinal d’Amboise was dead.  But his joy was misplaced: the cardinal’s
death was a great loss to him; between the king and the pope the cardinal
had been an intelligent mediator, who understood the two positions and
the two characters, and who, though most faithful and devoted to the
king, had nevertheless a place in his heart for the papacy also, and
labored earnestly on every occasion to bring about between the two rivals
a policy of moderation and peace.  “One thing you may be certain of,”
 said Louis’s finance-minister Robertet to the ambassador from Florence,
“that the king’s character is not an easy one to deal with; he is not
readily brought round to what is not his own opinion, which is not always
a correct one; he is irritated against the pope; and the cardinal, to
whom that causes great displeasure, does not always succeed, in spite of
all influence, in getting him to do as he would like.  If our Lord God
were to remove the cardinal, either by death or in any other manner, from
public life, there would arise in this court and in the fashion of
conducting affairs such confusion that nothing equal to it would ever
have been seen in our day.”  [_Negociations Diplomatiques de la France
avec la Toscane,_ t.  ii.  pp.  428 and 460.]  And the confusion did, in
fact, arise; and war was rekindled, or, to speak more correctly, resumed
its course after the cardinal’s death.  Julius II.  plunged into it in
person, moving to every point where it was going on, living in the midst
of camps, himself in military costume, besieging towns, having his guns
pointed and assaults delivered under his own eyes.  Men expressed
astonishment, not unmixed with admiration, at the indomitable energy of
this soldier-pope at seventy years of age.  It was said that he had cast
into the Tiber the keys of St. Peter to gird on the sword of St. Paul.
His answer to everything was, “The barbarians must be driven from Italy.”
 Louis XII. became more and more irritated and undecided.  “To reassure
his people,” says Bossuet (to which we may add, ‘and to reassure
himself’), “he assembled at Tours (in September, 1510), the prelates of
his kingdom, to consult them as to what he could do at so disagreeable a
crisis without wounding his conscience.  Thereupon it was said that the
pope, being unjustly the aggressor, and having even violated an agreement
made with the king, ought to be treated as an enemy, and that the king
might not only defend himself, but might even attack him without fear of
excommunication.  Not considering this quite strong enough yet, Louis
resolved to assemble a council against the pope.  The general council was
the desire of the whole church since the election of Martin V. at the
council of Constance (November 11, 1417); for, though that council had
done great good by putting an end to the schism which had lasted for
forty years, it had not accomplished what it had projected, which was a
reformation of the Church in its head and in its members; but, for the
doing of so holy a work, it had ordained, on separating, that there
should be held a fresh council.  .  .  .  This one was opened at Pisa
(November 1, 1511) with but little solemnity by the proxies of the
cardinals who had caused its convocation.  The pope had deposed them, and
had placed under interdict the town of Pisa, where the council was to be
held, and even Florence, because the Florentines had granted Pisa for the
assemblage.  Thereupon the religious brotherhoods were unwilling to put
in an appearance at the opening of the council, and the priests of the
Church refused the necessary paraphernalia.  The people rose, and the
cardinals, having arrived, did not consider their position safe; insomuch
that after the first session they removed the council to Milan, where
they met with no better reception.  Gaston de Foix, nephew of Louis XII.,
who had just appointed him governor of Milaness, could certainly force
the clergy to proceed and the people to be quiet, but he could not force
them to have for the council the respect due to so great a name; there
were not seen at it, according to usage, the legates of the Holy See;
there were scarcely fifteen or sixteen French prelates there; the Emperor
Maximilian had either not influence enough or no inclination to send to
it a single one from Germany; and, in a word, there was not to be seen in
this assembly anything that savored of the majesty of a general council,
and it was understood to be held for political purposes.”  [Bossuet,
_Abrege de l’Histoire de France pour l’Education du dauphin_; _OEuvres
completes_ (1828), t.  xvii.  pp.  541, 545.] Bossuet had good grounds
for speaking so.  Louis XII. himself said, in 1511, to the ambassador of
Spain, that “this pretended council was only a scarecrow which he had no
idea of employing save for the purpose of bringing the pope to reason.”
 Amidst these vain attempts at ecclesiastical influence the war was
continued with passionateness on the part of Julius II., with hesitation
on the part of Louis XII., and with some disquietude on the part of the
French commanders, although with their wonted bravery and loyalty.
Chaumont d’Amboise, the cardinal’s nephew, held the command-in-chief in
the king’s army.  He fell ill: the pope had excommunicated him; and
Chaumont sent to beg him, with instance, to give him absolution, which
did not arrive until he was on his death-bed.  “This is the worst,” says
Bossuet, “of wars against the Church; they cause scruples not only in
weak minds, but even, at certain moments, in the very strongest.”
 Alphonso d’ Este, Duke of Ferrara, was almost the only great Italian lord
who remained faithful to France.  Julius II., who was besieging Ferrara,
tried to win over the duke, who rejected all his offers, and, instead,
won over the negotiator, who offered his services to poison the pope.
Bayard, when informed of this proposal, indignantly declared that he
would go and have the traitor hanged, and warning sent to the pope.
“Why,” said the duke, “he would have been very glad to do as much for you
and me.”  “That is no odds to me,” said the knight; “he is God’s
lieutenant on earth, and, as for having him put to death in such sort, I
will never consent to it.”  The duke shrugged his shoulders, and spitting
on the ground, said,  ‘Od’s body, Sir Bayard, I would like to get rid of
all my enemies in that way; but, since you do not think it well, the
matter shall stand over; whereof, unless God apply a remedy, both you and
I will repent us.”  Assuredly Bayard did not repent of his honest
indignation; but, finding about the same time (January, 1511) an
opportunity of surprising and carrying off the pope, he did not care to
miss it; he placed himself in ambush before day-break, with a hundred
picked men-at-arms, close to a village from which the pope was to issue.
“The pope, who was pretty early, mounted his litter, so soon as he saw
the dawn, and the clerics and officers of all kinds went before without a
thought of anything.  When the good knight heard them he sallied forth
from his ambush, and went charging down upon the rustics, who, sore
dismayed, turned back again, pricking along with loosened rein and
shouting, Alarm! alarm!  But all that would have been of no use but for
an accident very lucky for the holy father, and very unfortunate for the
good knight.  When the pope had mounted his litter, he was not a stone’s
throw gone when there fell from heaven the most sharp and violent shower
that had been seen for a hundred years.  ‘Holy father,’ said the Cardinal
of Pavia to the pope, ‘it is not possible to go along this country so
long as this lasts; meseems you must turn back again; ‘to which the pope
agreed; but, just as he was arriving at St. Felix, and was barely
entering within the castle, he heard the shouts of the fugitives whom the
good knight was pursuing as hard as he could spur; whereupon he had such
a fright, that, suddenly and without help, he leaped out of his litter,
and himself did aid in hauling up the bridge; which was doing like a man
of wits, for had he waited until one could say a _Pater noster,_ he had
been snapped up.  Who was right down grieved, that was the good knight;
never man turned back so melancholic as he was to have missed so fair a
take; and the pope, from the good fright he had gotten, shook like a
palsy the live-long day.”  [_Histoire du ben Chevalier Ballard,_ t.  i.
pp.  346-349.]

[Illustration: Chaumont d’Amboise----350]

From 1510 to 1512 the war in Italy was thus proceeding, but with no great
results, when Gaston de Foix, Duke of Nemours, came to take the command
of the French army.  He was scarcely twenty-three, and had hitherto only
served under Trivulzio and La Palisse; but he had already a character for
bravery and intelligence in war.  Louis XII. loved this son of his
sister, Mary of Orleans, and gladly elevated him to the highest rank.
Gaston, from the very first, justified this favor.  Instead of seeking
for glory in the field only, he began by shutting himself up in Milan,
which the Swiss were besieging.  They made him an offer to take the road
back to Switzerland, if he would give them a month’s pay; the sum was
discussed; Gaston considered that they asked too much for their
withdrawal; the Swiss broke off the negotiation; but “to the great
astonishment of everybody,” says Guicciardini, “they raised the siege and
returned to their own country.”  The pope was besieging Bologna; Gaston
arrived there suddenly with a body of troops whom he had marched out at
night through a tempest of wind and snow; and he was safe inside the
place whilst the besiegers were still ignorant of his movement.  The
siege of Bologna was raised.  Gaston left it immediately to march on
Brescia, which the Venetians had taken possession of for the Holy League.
He retook the town by a vigorous assault, gave it up to pillage, punished
with death Count Louis Avogaro and his two sons, who had excited the
inhabitants against France, and gave a beating to the Venetian army
before its walls.  All these successes had been gained in a fortnight.
“According to universal opinion,” says Guicciardini, “Italy for several
centuries had seen nothing like these military operations.”

We are not proof against the pleasure of giving a place in this history
to a deed of virtue and chivalrous kindness on Bayard’s part, the story
of which has been told and retold many times in various works.  It is
honorable to human kind, and especially to the middle ages, that such men
and such deeds are met with here and there, amidst the violence of war
and the general barbarity of manners.

Bayard had been grievously wounded at the assault of Brescia; so
grievously that he said to his neighbor, the lord of Molart, “‘Comrade,
march your men forward; the town is ours; as for me, I cannot pull on
farther, for I am a dead man.’  When the town was taken, two of his
archers bare him to a house, the most conspicuous they saw thereabouts.
It was the abode of a very rich gentleman; but he had fled away to a
monastery, and his wife had remained at the abode under the care of Our
Lord, together with two fair daughters she had, the which were hidden in
a granary beneath some hay.  When there came a knocking at her door, she
saw the good knight who was being brought in thus wounded, the which had
the door shut incontinently, and set at the entrance the two archers, to
the which he said, ‘Take heed for your lives, that none enter herein
unless it be any of my own folk; I am certified that, when it is known to
be my quarters, none will try to force a way in; and if, by your aiding
me, I be the cause that ye lose a chance of gaining somewhat, never ye
mind; ye shall lose nought thereby.’

“The archers did as they were bid, and he was borne into a mighty fine
chamber, into the which the lady of the house herself conducted him; and,
throwing herself upon her knees before him, she spoke after this fashion,
being interpreted, ‘Noble sir, I present unto you this house, and all
that is therein, for well I know it is yours by right of war; but may it
be your pleasure to spare me my honor and life, and those of two young
daughters that I and my husband have, who are ready for marriage.’ The
good knight, who never thought wickedness, replied to her, ‘Madam, I know
not whether I can escape from the wound that I have; but, so long as I
live, you and your daughters shall be done no displeasure, any more than
to my own person.  Only keep them in your chambers; let them not be seen;
and I assure you that there is no man in the house who would take upon
himself to enter any place against your will.’

“When the good lady heard him so virtuously speak, she was all assured.
Afterwards, he prayed her to give instructions to some good surgeon, who
might quickly come to tend him; which she did, and herself went in quest
of him with one of the archers.  He, having arrived, did probe the good
knight’s wound, which was great and deep; howbeit he certified him that
there was no danger of death.  At the second dressing came to see him the
Duke of Nemours’ surgeon, called Master Claude, the which did
thenceforward have the healing of him; and right well he did his devoir,
in such sort that in less than a month he was ready to mount a-horseback.
The good knight, when he was dressed, asked his hostess where her husband
was; and the good lady, all in tears, said to him, ‘By my faith, my lord,
I know not whether he be dead or alive; but I have a shrewd idea that, if
he be living, he will be in a large monastery, where be hath large
acquaintance.’  ‘Lady,’ said the good knight, ‘have him fetched; and I
will send in quest of him in such sort that he shall have no harm.’  She
set herself to inquire where he was, and found him; then were sent in
quest of him the good knight’s steward and two archers, who brought him
away in safety; and on his arrival he had joyous cheer (reception) from
his guest, the good knight, the which did tell him not to be melancholic,
and that there was quartered upon him none but friends.  .  .  .  For
about a month or five weeks was the good knight ill of his wound, without
leaving his couch.  One day he was minded to get up, and he walked across
his chamber, not being sure whether he could keep his legs; somewhat weak
he found himself; but the great heart he had gave him not leisure to
think long thereon.  He sent to fetch the surgeon who had the healing of
him, and said to him, ‘My friend, tell me, I pray you, if there be any
danger in setting me on the march; me-seems that I am well, or all but
so; and I give you my faith that, in my judgment, the biding will
henceforth harm me more than mend me, for I do marvellously fret.’  The
good knight’s servitors had already told the surgeon the great desire he
had to be at the battle, for every day he had news from the camp of the
French, how that they were getting nigh the Spaniards, and there were
hopes from day to day of the battle, which would, to his great sorrow,
have been delivered without him.  Having knowledge whereof, and also
knowing his complexion, the surgeon said, in his own language, ‘My lord,
your wound is not yet closed up; howbeit, inside it is quite healed.
Your barber shall see to dressing you this once more; and provided that
every day, morning and evening, he put on a little piece of lint and a
plaister for which I will deliver to him the ointment, it will not
increase your hurt; and there is no danger, for the worst of the wound is
a-top, and will not touch the saddle of your horse.’  Whoso had given him
ten thousand crowns, the good knight had not been so glad.  He determined
to set out in two days, commanding his people to put in order all his

“The lady with whom he lodged, who held herself all the while his
prisoner, together with her husband and her children, had many
imaginings.  Thinking to herself that, if her guest were minded to treat
with rigor herself and her husband, he might get out of them ten or
twelve thousand crowns, for they had two thousand a year, she made up her
mind to make him some worthy present; and she had found him so good a
man, and of so gentle a heart, that, to her thinking, he would be
graciously content.  On the morning of the day whereon the good knight
was to dislodge after dinner, his hostess, with one of her servitors
carrying a little box made of steel, entered his chamber, where she found
that he was resting in a chair, after having walked about a great deal,
so as continually, little by little, to try his leg.  She threw herself
upon both knees; but incontinently he raised her up, and would never
suffer her to speak a word, until she was first seated beside him.  She
began her speech in this manner: ‘My lord, the grace which God did me, at
the taking of this town, in directing you to this our house, was not less
than the saving to me of my husband’s life, and my own, and my two
daughters’, together with their honor, which they ought to hold dearer
still.  And more, from the time that you arrived here, there hath not
been done to me, or to the least of my people, a single insult, but all
courtesy; and there hath not been taken by your folks of the goods they
found here the value of a farthing without paying for it.  My lord, I am
well aware that my husband, and I, and my children, and all of this
household are your prisoners, for to do with and dispose of at your good
pleasure, as well as the goods that are herein; but, knowing the
nobleness of your heart, I am come for to entreat you right humbly that
it may please you to have pity upon us, extending your wonted generosity.
Here is a little present we make you; you will be pleased to take it in
good part.’  Then she took the box which the servitor was holding, and
opened it before the good knight, who saw it full of beautiful ducats.
The gentle lord, who never in his life made any case of money, burst out
laughing, and said, ‘Madam, how many ducats are there in this box?’  The
poor soul was afraid that he was angry at seeing so few, and said to him,
‘My lord, there are but two thousand five hundred ducats; but, if you are
not content, we will find a larger sum.’  Then said he, ‘By my faith,
madam, though you should give me a hundred thousand crowns, you would not
do so well towards me as you have done by the good cheer I have had here,
and the kind tendance you have given me; in whatsoever place I may happen
to be, you will have, so long as God shall grant me life, a gentleman at
your bidding.  As for your ducats, I will none of them; and yet I thank
you; take them back; all my life I have always loved people much better
than crowns.  And think not in any wise that I do not go away as well
pleased with you as if this town were at your disposal, and you had given
it to me.’

“The good lady was much astounded at finding herself put off.  ‘My lord,’
said she, ‘I should feel myself forever the most wretched creature in the
world, if you did not take away with you so small a present as I make
you, which is nothing in comparison with the courtesy you have shown me
heretofore, and still show me now by your great kindness.’  When the
knight saw her so firm, he said to her, ‘Well, then, madam, I will take
it for love of you; but go and fetch me your two daughters, for I would
fain bid them farewell.’  The poor soul, who thought herself in paradise,
now that her present was at last accepted, went to fetch her daughters,
the which were very fair, good, and well educated, and had afforded the
good knight much pastime during his illness, for right well could they
sing and play on the lute and spinet, and right well work with the
needle.  They were brought before the good knight, who, whilst they were
attiring themselves, had caused the ducats to be placed in three lots,
two of a thousand each, and the other of five hundred.  They, having
arrived, would have fallen on their knees, but were incontinently raised
up, and the elder of the two began to say, ‘My lord, these two poor
girls, to whom you have done so much honor as to guard them, are come to
take leave of you, humbly thanking your lordship for the favor they have
received, for which, having nothing else in their power, they will be
for-ever bound to pray God for you.’  The good knight, half-weeping to
see so much sweetness and humility in those two fair girls, made answer,
‘Dear demoisels, you have done what I ought to do; that is, thank you for
the good company you have made me, and for which I feel myself much
beholden and bounden.  You know that fighting men are not likely to be
laden with pretty things for to present to ladies; and for my part, I am
sore displeased that I am in no wise well provided for making you such
present as I am bound to make.  Here is your lady-mother, who has given
me two thousand five hundred ducats, which you see on this table; of them
I give to each of you a thousand towards your marriage; and for my
recompense, you shall, an if it please you, pray God for me.’  He put the
ducats into their aprons, whether they would or not; and then, turning to
his hostess, he said to her, “Madam, I will take these five hundred
ducats for mine own profit, to distribute them amongst the poor
sisterhoods which have been plundered; and to you I commit the charge of
them, for you, better than any other, will understand where there is need
thereof, and thereupon I take my leave of you.”  Then he touched them all
upon the hand, after the Italian manner, and they fell upon their knees,
weeping so bitterly that it seemed as if they were to be led out to their
deaths.  Afterwards, they withdrew to their chambers, and it was time for
dinner.  After dinner, there was little sitting ere the good knight
called for the horses; for much he longed to be in the company so yearned
for by him, having fine fear lest the battle should be delivered before
he was there.  As he was coming out of his chamber to mount a-horseback,
the two fair daughters of the house came down and made him, each of them,
a present which they had worked during his illness; one was two pretty
and delicate bracelets, made of beautiful tresses of gold and silver
thread, so neatly that it was a marvel; the other was a purse of crimson
satin, worked right cunningly.  Greatly did he thank them, saying that
the present came from hand so fair, that he valued it at ten thousand
crowns; and, in order to do them the more honor, he had the bracelets put
upon his arms, and he put the purse in his sleeve, assuring them that, so
long as they lasted, he would wear them for love of the givers.”

[Illustration: Bayard’s Farewell----358]

Bayard had good reason for being in such a hurry to rejoin his
comrades-in-arms, and not miss the battle he foresaw.  All were as full
of it as he was.  After the capture of Brescia, Gaston de Foix passed
seven or eight days more there, whilst Bayard was confined by his wound
to his bed.  “The prince went, once at least, every day to see the good
knight, the which he comforted as best he might, and often said to him,
‘Hey! Sir Bayard, my friend, think about getting cured, for well I know
that we shall have to give the Spaniards battle between this and a month;
and, if so it should be, I had rather have lost all I am worth than not
have you there, so great confidence have I in you.’  ‘Believe me, my
lord,’ answered Bayard, ‘that if so it is that there is to be a battle, I
would, as well for the service of the king my master as for love of you
and for mine own honor, which is before everything, rather have myself
carried thither in a litter than not be there at all.’  The Duke of
Nemours made him a load of presents according to his power, and one day
sent him five hundred crowns, the which the good knight gave to the two
archers who had staid with him when he was wounded.”

Louis XII. was as impatient to have the battle delivered as Bayard was to
be in it.  He wrote, time after time, to his nephew Gaston that the
moment was critical, that Emperor Maximilian harbored a design of
recalling the five thousand lanzknechts he had sent as auxiliaries to the
French army, and that they must be made use of whilst they were still to
be had; that, on the other hand, Henry VIII., King of England, was
preparing for an invasion of France, and so was Ferdinand, King of Spain,
in the south: a victory in the field was indispensable to baffle all
these hostile plans.  It was Louis XII.’s mania to direct, from Paris or
from Lyons, the war which he was making at a distance, and to regulate
its movements as well as its expenses.  The Florentine ambassador,
Pandolfini, was struck with the perilousness of this mania; and Cardinal
d’Amboise was no longer by to oppose it.  Gaston de Foix asked for
nothing better than to act with vigor.  He set out to march on Ravenna,
in hopes that by laying siege to this important place he would force a
battle upon the Spanish army, which sought to avoid it.  There was a
current rumor in Italy that this army, much reduced in numbers and cooled
in ardor, would not hold its own against the French if it encountered
them.  Some weeks previously, after the siege of Bologna had been raised_
by the Spaniards, there were distributed about at Rome little bits of
paper having on them, “If anybody knows where the Spanish army happens to
be, let him inform the sacristan of peace; he shall receive as reward a
lump of cheese.”  Gaston de Foix arrived on the 8th of April, 1512,
before Ravenna.  He there learned that, on the 9th of March, the
ambassador of France had been sent away from London by Henry VIII.
Another hint came to him from his own camp.  A German captain, named
Jacob, went and told Chevalier Bayard, with whom he had contracted a
friendship, “that the emperor had sent orders to the captain of the
lanzknechts that they were to withdraw incontinently on seeing his
letter, and that they were not to fight the Spaniards: ‘As for me,’ said
he, ‘I have taken oath to the King of France, and I have his pay; if I
were to die a hundred thousand deaths, I would not do this wickedness of
not fighting; but there must be haste.’  The good knight, who well knew
the gentle heart of Captain Jacob, commended him marvellously, and said
to him, by the mouth of his interpreter, ‘My dear comrade and friend,
never did your heart imagine wickedness.  Here is my lord of Nemours, who
has ordered to his quarters all the captains, to hold a council; go we
thither, you and I, and we will show him privately what you have told
me.’  ‘It is well thought on,’ said Captain Jacob: ‘go we thither.’  So
they went thither.  There were dissensions at the council: some said that
they had three or four rivers to cross; that everybody was against them,
the pope, the King of Spain, the Venetians, and the Swiss; that the
emperor was anything but certain, and that the best thing would be to
temporize: others said that there was nothing for it but to fight or die
of hunger like good-for-noughts and cowards.  The good Duke of Nemours,
who had already spoken with the good knight and with Captain Jacob,
desired to have the opinion of the former, the which said, ‘My lord, the
longer we sojourn, the more miserable too will become our plight, for our
men have no victual, and our horses must needs live on what the willows
shoot forth at the present time.  Besides, you know that the king our
master is writing to you every day to give battle, and that in your hands
rests, not only the safety of his duchy of Milan, but also all his
dominion of France, seeing the enemies he has to-day.  ‘Wherefore, as for
me, I am of opinion that we ought to give battle, and proceed to it
discreetly, for we have to do with cunning folks and good fighters.  That
there is peril in it is true; but one thing gives me comfort: the
Spaniards for a year past have, in this Romagna, been always living like
fish in the water, and are fat and full-fed; our men have had and still
have great lack of victual, whereby they will have longer breath, and we
have no need of ought else, for whoso fights the longest, to him will
remain the ‘field.’”  The leaders of note in the army sided with the good
knight, “and notice thereof was at once given to all the captains of
horse and foot.”

The battle took place on the next day but one, April 11.  “The gentle
Duke of Nemours set out pretty early from his quarters, armed at all
points.  As he went forth he looked at the sun, already risen, which was
mighty red.  ‘Look, my lords, how red the sun is,’ said he to the company
about him.  There was there a gentleman whom he loved exceedingly, a
right gentle comrade, whose name was Haubourdin, the which replied, ‘Know
you, pray, what that means, my lord?  To-day will die some prince or
great captain: it must needs be you or the Spanish viceroy.’  The Duke of
Nemours burst out a-laughing at this speech, and went on as far as the
bridge to finish the passing-in-review of his army, which was showing
marvellous diligence.”  As he was conversing with Bayard, who had come in
search of him, they noticed not far from them a troop of twenty or thirty
Spanish gentlemen, all mounted, amongst whom was Captain Pedro de Paz,
leader of all their jennettiers [light cavalry, mounted on Spanish horses
called jennets].  “The good knight advanced twenty or thirty paces and
saluted them, saying, ‘Gentlemen, you are diverting your-selves, as we
are, whilst waiting for the regular game to begin; I pray you let there
be no firing of arquebuses on your side, and there shall be no firing at
you on ours.’”  The courtesy was reciprocated.  “Sir Bayard,” asked Don
Pedro de Paz, who is yon lord in such goodly array, and to whom your
folks show so much honor?”  “It is our chief, the Duke of Nemours,”
 answered Bayard; “nephew of our prince, and brother of your queen.”
 [Germaine de Foix, Gaston de Foix’s sister, had married, as his second
wife, Ferdinand the Catholic.] Hardly had he finished speaking, when
Captain Pedro de Paz and all those who were with him dismounted and
addressed the noble prince in these words: “Sir, save the honor and
service due to the king our master, we declare to you that we are, and
wish forever to remain, your servants.”  The Duke of Nemours thanked them
gallantly for their gallant homage, and, after a short, chivalrous
exchange of conversation, they went, respectively, to their own posts.
The artillery began by causing great havoc on both sides.  “‘Od’s body,”
 said a Spanish captain shut up in a fort which the French were attacking,
and which he had been charged to defend, “we are being killed here by
bolts that fall from heaven; go we and fight with men;” and he sallied
from the fort with all his people, to go and take part in the general
battle.  “Since God created heaven and earth,” says the Loyal Serviteur
of Bayard, “was never seen a more cruel and rough assault than that which
French and Spaniards made upon one another, and for more than a long half
hour lasted this fight.  They rested before one another’s eyes to recover
their breath; then they let down their vizors and so began all over
again, shouting, France! and Spain! the most imperiously in the world.
At last the Spaniards were utterly broken, and constrained to abandon
their camp, whereon, and between two ditches, died three or four hundred
men-at-arms.  Every one would fain have set out in pursuit; but the good
knight said to the Duke of Nemours, who was all covered with blood and
brains from one of his men-at-arms, that had been carried off by a
cannon-ball, ‘My lord, are you wounded?’  ‘No,’ said the duke, ‘but I
have wounded a many others.’  ‘Now, God be praised!’ said Bayard; ‘you
have gained the battle, and abide this day the most honored prince in the
world; but push not farther forward; reassemble your men-at-arms in this
spot; let none set on to pillage yet, for it is not time; Captain Louis
d’Ars and I are off after these fugitives that they may not retire behind
their foot; but stir not, for any man living, from here, unless Captain
Louis d’Ars or I come hither to fetch you.’  “The Duke of Nemours
promised; but whilst he was biding on his ground, awaiting Bayard’s
return, he said to the Baron du Chimay,--“an honest gentleman who had
knowledge,” says Fleuranges, “of things to come, and who, before the
battle, had announced to Gaston that he would gain it, but he would be in
danger of being left there if God did not do him grace,--Well, Sir
Dotard, am I left there, as you said?  Here I am still.’  ‘Sir, it is not
all over yet,’ answered Chimay; whereupon there arrived an archer, who
came and said to the duke, ‘My lord, yonder be two thousand Spaniards,
who are going off all orderly along the causeway.’  ‘Certes,’ said
Gaston, ‘I cannot suffer that; whoso loves me, follow me.’  And resuming
his arms he pushed forward.  ‘Wait for your men,’ said Sire de Lautrec to
him; but Gaston took no heed, and followed by only twenty or thirty
men-at-arms, he threw himself upon those retreating troops.”  He was
immediately surrounded, thrown from his horse, and defending himself all
the while, “like Roland at Roncesvalles,” say the chroniclers, he fell
pierced with wounds.  “Do not kill him,” shouted Lautrec; “it is the
brother of your queen.”  Lautrec himself was so severely handled and
wounded that he was thought to be dead.  Gaston really was, though the
news spread but slowly.  Bayard, returning with his comrades from
pursuing the fugitives, met on his road the Spanish force that Gaston had
so rashly attacked, and that continued to retire in good order.  Bayard
was all but charging them, when a Spanish captain came out of the ranks
and said to him, in his own language, “What would you do, sir?  You are
not powerful enough to beat us; you have won the battle; let the honor
thereof suffice you, and let us go with our lives, for by God’s will are
we escaped.”  Bayard felt that the Spaniard spoke truly; he had but a
handful of men with him, and his own horse could not carry him any
longer: the Spaniards opened their ranks, and he passed through the
middle of them and let them go.  “‘Las!” says his Loyal Serviteur, “he
knew not that the good Duke of Nemours was dead, or that those yonder
were they who had slain him; he had died ten thousand deaths but he would
have avenged him, if he had known it.”

When the fatal news was known, the consternation and grief were profound.
At the age of twenty-three Gaston de Foix had in less than six months won
the confidence and affection of the army, of the king, and of France.  It
was one of those sudden and undisputed reputations which seem to mark out
men for the highest destinies.  “I would fain,” said Louis XIL, when he
heard of his death, “have no longer an inch of land in Italy, and be able
at that price to bring back to life my nephew Gaston and all the gallants
who perished with him.  God keep us from often gaining such victories!”
 “In the battle of Ravenna,” says Guicciardini, “fell at least ten
thousand men, a third of them French, and two thirds their enemies; but
in respect of chosen men and men of renown the loss of the victors was by
much the greater, and the loss of Gaston de Foix alone surpassed all the
others put together; with him went all the vigor and furious onset of the
French army.”  La Palisse, a warrior valiant and honored, assumed the
command of this victorious army; but under pressure of repeated attacks
from the Spaniards, the Venetians, and the Swiss, he gave up first the
Romagna, then Milanes, withdrew from place to place, and ended by falling
back on Piedmont.  Julius II. won back all he had won and lost.
Maximilian Sforza, son of Ludovic the Moor, after twelve years of exile
in Germany, returned to Milan to resume possession of his father’s duchy.
By the end of June, 1512, less than three months after the victory of
Ravenna, the domination of the French had disappeared from Italy.

[Illustration: Gaston de Foix----364]

Louis XII. had, indeed, something else to do besides crossing the Alps to
go to the protection of such precarious conquests.  Into France itself
war was about to make its way; it was his own kingdom and his own country
that he had to defend.  In vain, after the death of Isabella of Castile,
had he married his niece, Germaine de Foix, to Ferdinand the Catholic,
whilst giving up to him all pretensions to the kingdom of Naples.  In
1512 Ferdinand invaded Navarre, took possession of the Spanish portion of
that little kingdom, and thence threatened Gascony.  Henry VIII., King of
England, sent him a fleet, which did not withdraw until after it had
appeared before Bayonne and thrown the south-west of France into a state
of alarm.  In the north, Henry VIII. continued his preparations for an
expedition into France, obtained from his Parliament subsidies for that
purpose, and concerted plans with Emperor Maximilian, who renounced his
doubtful neutrality and engaged himself at last in the Holy League.
Louis XII. had in Germany an enemy as zealous almost as Julius II. was in
Italy: Maximilian’s daughter, Princess Marguerite of Austria, had never
forgiven France or its king, whether he were called Charles VIII. or
Louis XII., the treatment she had received from that court, when, after
having been kept there and brought up for eight years to become Queen of
France, she had been sent away and handed back to her father, to make way
for Anne of Brittany.  She was ruler of the Low Countries, active, able,
full of passion, and in continual correspondence with her father, the
emperor, over whom she exercised a great deal of influence.  [This
correspondence was published in 1839, by the _Societe de l’Histoire de
France_ (2 vols.  8vo.), from the originals, which exist in the archives
of Lille.] The Swiss, on their side, continuing to smart under the
contemptuous language which Louis had imprudently applied to them, became
more and more pronounced against him, rudely dismissed Louis de la
Tremoille, who attempted to negotiate with them, re-established
Maximilian Sforza in the duchy of Milan, and haughtily styled themselves
“vanquishers of kings and defenders of the holy Roman Church.”  And the
Roman Church made a good defender of herself.  Julius II. had convoked at
Rome, at St. John Lateran, a council, which met on the 3d of May, 1512,
and in presence of which the council of Pisa and Milan, after an attempt
at removing to Lyons, vanished away like a phantom.  Everywhere things
were turning out according to the wishes and for the profit of the pope;
and France and her king were reduced to defending themselves on their own
soil against a coalition of all their great neighbors.

“Man proposes and God disposes.”  Not a step can be made in history
without meeting with some corroboration of that modest, pious, grand
truth.  On the 21st of February, 1513, ten months since Gaston de Foix,
the victor of Ravenna, had perished in the hour of his victory, Pope
Julius II. died at Rome at the very moment when he seemed invited to
enjoy all the triumph of his policy.  He died without bluster and without
disquietude, disavowing nought of his past life, and relinquishing none
of his designs as to the future.  He had been impassioned and skilful in
the employment of moral force, whereby alone he could become master of
material forces; a rare order of genius, and one which never lacks
grandeur, even when the man who possesses it abuses it.  His constant
thought was how he might free Italy from the barbarians; and he liked to
hear himself called by the name of liberator, which was commonly given
him.  One day the outspoken Cardinal Grimani said to him that,
nevertheless, the kingdom of Naples, one of the greatest and richest
portions of Italy, was still under the foreign yoke; whereupon Julius
II., brandishing the staff on which he was leaning, said, wrathfully,
“Assuredly, if Heaven had not otherwise ordained, the Neapolitans too
would have shaken off the yoke which lies heavy on them.”  Guicciardini
has summed up, with equal justice and sound judgment, the principal
traits of his character: “He was a prince,” says the historian, “of
incalculable courage and firmness; full of boundless imaginings which
would have brought him headlong to ruin if the respect borne to the
Church, the dissensions of princes and the conditions of the times, far
more than his own moderation and prudence, had not supported him; he
would have been worthy of higher glory had he been a laic prince, or had
it been in order to elevate the Church in spiritual rank and by processes
of peace that he put in practice the diligence and zeal he displayed for
the purpose of augmenting his temporal greatness by the arts of war.
Nevertheless he has left, above all his predecessors, a memory full of
fame and honor, especially amongst those men who can no longer call
things by their right names or appreciate them at their true value, and
who think that it is the duty of the sovereign-pontiffs to extend, by
means of arms and the blood of Christians, the power of the Holy See
rather than to wear themselves out in setting good examples of a
Christian’s life and in reforming manners and customs pernicious to the
salvation of souls--that aim of aims for which they assert that Christ
has appointed them His vicars on earth.”

The death of Julius II. seemed to Louis XII. a favorable opportunity for
once more setting foot in Italy, and recovering at least that which he
regarded as his hereditary right, the duchy of Milan.  He commissioned
Louis de la Tremoille to go and renew the conquest; and, whilst thus
reopening the Italian war, he commenced negotiations with certain of the
coalitionists of the Holy League, in the hope of causing division amongst
them, or even of attracting some one of them to himself.  He knew that
the Venetians were dissatisfied and disquieted about their allies,
especially Emperor Maximilian, the new Duke of Milan Maximilian Sforza,
and the Swiss.  He had little difficulty in coming to an understanding
with the Venetian senate; and, on the 14th of May, 1513, a treaty of
alliance, offensive and defensive, was signed at Blois between the King
of France and the republic of Venice.  Louis hoped also to find at Rome
in the new pope, Leo X.  [Cardinal John de’ Medici, elected pope March
11, 1513], favorable inclinations; but they were at first very
ambiguously and reservedly manifested.  As a Florentine, Leo X. had a
leaning towards France; but as pope, he was not disposed to relinquish or
disavow the policy of Julius II. as to the independence of Italy in
respect of any foreign sovereign, and as to the extension of the power of
the Holy See; and he wanted time to make up his mind to infuse into his
relations with Louis XII. good-will instead of his predecessor’s
impassioned hostility.  Louis had not, and could not have, any confidence
in Ferdinand the Catholic; but he knew him to be as prudent as he was
rascally, and he concluded with him at Orthez, on the 1st of April, 1513,
a year’s truce, which Ferdinand took great care not to make known to his
allies, Henry VIII., King of England, and the Emperor Maximilian, the
former of whom was very hot-tempered, and the latter very deeply
involved, through his daughter Marguerite of Austria, in the warlike
league against France.  “Madam” [the name given to Marguerite as ruler of
the Low Countries], wrote the Florentine minister to Lorenzo de’ Medici,
“asks for nought but war against the Most Christian king; she thinks of
nought but keeping up and fanning the kindled fire, and she has all the
game in her hands, for the King of England and the emperor have full
confidence in her, and she does with them just as she pleases.”  This was
all that was gained during the year of Julius II.’s death by Louis XII.’s
attempts to break up or weaken the coalition against France; and these
feeble diplomatic advantages were soon nullified by the unsuccess of the
French expedition in Milaness.  Louis de la Tremoille had once more
entered it with a strong army; but he was on bad terms with his principal
lieutenant, John James Trivulzio, over whom he had not the authority
wielded by the young and brilliant Gaston de Foix; the French were close
to Novara, the siege of which they were about to commence; they heard
that a body of Swiss was advancing to enter the place; La Tremoille
shifted his position to oppose them, and on the 5th of June, 1513, he
told all his captains in the evening that “they might go to their
sleeping-quarters and make good cheer, for the Swiss were not yet ready
to fight, not having all their men assembled;” but early next morning the
Swiss attacked the French camp.  “La Tremoille had hardly time to rise,
and, with half his armor on, mount his horse; the Swiss outposts and
those of the French were already at work pell-mell over against his
quarters.”  The battle was hot and bravely contested on both sides; but
the Swiss by a vigorous effort got possession of the French artillery,
and turned it against the infantry of the lanzknechts, which was driven
in and broken.  The French army abandoned the siege of Novara, and put
itself in retreat, first of all on Verceil, a town of Piedmont, and then
on France itself.  “And I do assure you,” says Fleuranges, an eye-witness
and partaker in the battle, “that there was great need of it; of the
men-at-arms there were but few lost, or of the French foot; which turned
out a marvellous good thing for the king and the kingdom, for they found
him very much embroiled with the English and other nations.”  War
between, France and England had recommenced at sea in 1512: two
squadrons, one French, of twenty sail, and the other English, of more
than forty, met on the 10th of August somewhere off the island of Ushant;
a brave Breton, Admiral Herve Primoguet, aboard of “the great ship of the
Queen of France,” named the Cordeliere, commanded the French squadron,
and Sir Thomas Knyvet, a young sailor “of more bravery than experience,”
 according to the historians of his own country, commanded, on board of a
vessel named the Regent, the English squadron.  The two admirals’ vessels
engaged in a deadly duel; but the French admiral, finding himself
surrounded by superior forces, threw his grappling-irons on to the
English vessel, and, rather than surrender, set fire to the two admirals’
ships, which blew up at the same time, together with their crews of two
thousand men.

The sight of heroism and death has a powerful effect upon men, and
sometimes suspends their quarrels.  The English squadron went out again
to sea, and the French went back to Brest.  Next year the struggle
recommenced, but on land, and with nothing so striking.  An English army
started from Calais, and went and blockaded, on the 17th of June, 1513,
the fortress of Therouanne in Artois.  It was a fortnight afterwards
before Henry VIII. himself quitted Calais, where festivities and
tournaments had detained him too long for what he had in hand, and set
out on the march with twelve thousand foot to go and join his army before
Therouanne.  He met on his road, near Thournehem, a body of twelve
hundred French men-at-arms with their followers a-horseback, and in the
midst of them Bayard.  Sire de Piennes, governor of Picardy, was in
command of them.  “My lord,” said Bayard to him, “let us charge them: no
harm can come of it to us, or very little; if, at the first charge, we
make an opening in them, they are broken; if they repulse us, we shall
still get away; they are on foot and we a-horseback;” and “nearly all the
French were of this opinion,” continues the chronicler;  but Sire de
Piennes said, Gentlemen, I have orders, on my life, from the king our
master, to risk nothing, but only hold his country.  Do as you please;
for my part I shall not consent thereto.’  Thus was this matter stayed;
and the King of England passed with his band under the noses of the
French.”  Henry VIII. arrived quietly with his army before Therouanne,
the garrison of which defended itself valiantly, though short of
provisions.  Louis XII. sent orders to Sire de Piennes to revictual
Therouanne “at any price.”  The French men-at-arms, to the number of
fourteen hundred lances, at whose head marched La Palisse, Bayard, the
Duke de Longueville, grandson of the great Dunois, and Sire de Piennes
himself, set out on the 16th of August to go and make, from the direction
of Guinegate, a sham attack upon the English camp, whilst eight hundred
Albanian light cavalry were to burst, from another direction, upon the
enemies’ lines, cut their way through at a gallop, penetrate to the very
fosses of the fortress, and throw into them munitions of war and of the
stomach, hung to their horses’ necks.  The Albanians carried out their
orders successfully.  The French men-at-arms, after having skirmished for
some time with the cavalry of Henry VIII. and Maximilian, began to fall
back a little carelessly and in some disorder towards their own camp,
when they perceived two large masses of infantry and artillery, English
and German, preparing to cut off their retreat.  Surprise led to
confusion; the confusion took the form of panic; the French men-at-arms
broke into a gallop, and, dispersing in all directions, thought of
nothing but regaining the main body and the camp at Blangy.  This sudden
rout of so many gallants received the sorry name of the affair of spurs,
for spurs did more service than the sword.  Many a chosen captain, the
Duke de Longueville, Sire de la Palisse, and Bayard, whilst trying to
rally the fugitives, were taken by the enemy.  Emperor Maximilian, who
had arrived at the English camp three or four days before the affair, was
of opinion that the allies should march straight upon the French camp, to
take advantage of the panic and disorder; but “Henry VIII. and his lords
did not agree with him.”  They contented themselves with pressing on the
siege of Therouanne, which capitulated on the 22d of August, for want of
provisions.  The garrison was allowed to go free, the men-at-arms with
lance on thigh and the foot with pike on shoulder, with their harness and
all that they could carry.”  But, in spite of an article in the
capitulation, the town was completely dismantled and burnt; and, by the
advice of Emperor Maximilian, Henry VIII. made all haste to go and lay
siege to Tournai, a French fortress between Flanders and Hainault, the
capture of which was of great importance to the Low Countries and to
Marguerite of Austria, their ruler.

On hearing these sad tidings, Louis XII., though suffering from an attack
of gout, had himself moved in a litter from Paris to Amiens, and ordered
Prince Francis of Angouleme, heir to the throne, to go and take command
of the army, march it back to the defensive line of the Somme, and send a
garrison to Tournai.  It was one of that town’s privileges to have no
garrison; and the inhabitants were unwilling to admit one, saying that
Tournai never had turned and never would turn tail; and, if the English
came, they would find some one to talk to them.”  “Howbeit,” says
Fleuranges, “not a single captain was there, nor, likewise, the said lord
duke, but understood well how it was with people besieged, as indeed came
to pass, for at the end of three days, during which the people of Tournai
were besieged, they treated for appointment (terms) with the King of
England.”  Other bad news came to Amiens.  The Swiss, puffed up with
their victory at Novara and egged on by Emperor Maximilian, had to the
number of thirty thousand entered Burgundy, and on the 7th of September
laid siege to Dijon, which was rather badly fortified.  La Tremoille,
governor of Burgundy, shut himself up in the place and bravely repulsed a
first assault, but “sent post-haste to warn the king to send him aid;
whereto the king made no reply beyond that he could not send him aid, and
that La Tremoille should do the best he could for the advantage and
service of the kingdom.”  La Tremoille applied to the Swiss for a
safe-conduct, and “without arms and scantily attended” he went to them to
try whether “in consideration of a certain sum of money for the expenses
of their army they could be packed off to their own country without doing
further displeasure or damage.”  He found them proud and arrogant of
heart, for they styled themselves chastisers of princes,” and all he
could obtain from them was “that the king should give up the duchy of
Milan and all the castles appertaining thereto, that he should restore to
the pope all the towns, castles, lands, and lordships which belonged to
him, and that he should pay the Swiss four hundred thousand crowns, to
wit, two hundred thousand down and two hundred thousand at Martinmas in
the following winter.”  [_Corps Diplomatique du Droit des Gens,_ by
Dumont, t. vi.  part 1, p. 175.]  As brave in undertaking a heavy
responsibility as he was in delivering a battle, La Tremoille did not
hesitate to sign, on the 13th of September, this harsh treaty; and, as he
had not two hundred thousand crowns down to give the Swiss, he prevailed
upon them to be content with receiving twenty thousand at once, and he
left with them as hostage, in pledge of his promise, his nephew Rend
d’Anjou, lord of Mezieres, “one of the boldest and discreetest knights in
France.”  But for this honorable defeat, the veteran warrior thought the
kingdom of France had been then undone; for, assailed at all its
extremities, with its neighbors for its foes, it could not, without great
risk of final ruin, have borne the burden and defended itself through so
many battles.  La Tremoille sent one of the gentlemen of his house, the
chevalier Reginald de Moussy, to the king, to give an account of what he
had done, and of his motives.  Some gentlemen about the persons of the
king and the queen had implanted some seeds of murmuring and evil
thinking in the mind of the queen, and through her in that of the king,
who readily gave ear to her words because good and discreet was she. The
said Reginald de Moussy, having warning of the fact, and without
borrowing aid of a soul (for bold man was he by reason of his virtues),
entered the king’s chamber, and, falling on one knee, announced,
according to order, the service which his master had done, and without
which the kingdom of France was in danger of ruin, whereof he set forth
the reasons.  The whole was said in presence of them who had brought the
king to that evil way of thinking, and who knew not what to reply to the
king when he said to them, ‘By the faith of my body, I think and do know
by experience that my cousin the lord of La Tremoille is the most
faithful and loyal servant that I have in my kingdom, and the one to whom
I am most bounden to the best of his abilities.  Go, Reginald, and tell
him that I will do all that he has promised; and if he has done well, let
him do better.’  The queen heard of this kind answer made by the king,
and was not pleased at it; but afterwards, the truth being known, she
judged contrariwise to what she, through false report, had imagined and
thought.”  [_Memoires de la Tremoille,_ in the Petitot collection,
t. xiv.  pp. 476-492.]

Word was brought at the same time to Amiens that Tournai, invested on the
15th of September by the English, had capitulated, that Henry VIII. had
entered it on the 21st, and that he had immediately treated it as a
conquest of which he was taking possession, for he had confirmed it in
all its privileges except that of having no garrison.

Such was the situation in which France, after a reign of fifteen years
and in spite of so many brave and devoted servants, had been placed by
Louis XII.’s foreign policy.  Had he managed the home affairs of his
kingdom as badly and with as little success as he had matters abroad, is
it necessary to say what would have been his people’s feelings towards
him, and what name he would have left in history?  Happily for France and
for the memory of Louis XII., his home-government was more sensible, more
clear-sighted, more able, more moral, and more productive of good results
than his foreign policy was.

When we consider this reign from this new point of view, we are at
once struck by two facts: 1st, the great number of legislative and
administrative acts that we meet with bearing upon the general interests
of the country, interests political, judicial, financial, and commercial;
the _Recueil des Ordonnances des Rois de France_ contains forty-three
important acts of this sort owing their origin to Louis XII.; it was
clearly a government full of watchfulness, activity, and attention to
good order and the public weal; 2d, the profound remembrance remaining in
succeeding ages of this reign and its deserts--a remembrance which was
manifested, in 1560, amongst the states-general of Orleans, in 1576 and
1588 amongst the states of Blois, in 1593 amongst the states of the
League, and even down to 1614 amongst the states of Paris.  During more
than a hundred years France called to mind, and took pleasure in calling
to mind, the administration of Louis XII. as the type of a wise,
intelligent, and effective regimen.  Confidence may be felt in a people’s
memory when it inspires them for so long afterwards with sentiment of
justice and gratitude.

If from the simple table of the acts of Louis XII.’s home-government we
pass to an examination of their practical results it is plain that they
were good and salutary.  A contemporary historian, earnest and truthful
though panegyrical, Claude do Seyssel, describes in the following terms
the state of France at that time: “It is,” says he, “a patent fact that
the revenue of benefices, lands, and lordships has generally much
increased.  And in like manner the proceeds of gabels, turnpikes, law-
fees and other revenues have been augmented very greatly.  The traffic,
too, in merchandise, whether by sea or land, has multiplied exceedingly.
For, by the blessing of peace, all folks (except the nobles, and even
them I do not except altogether) engage in merchandise.  For one trader
that was in Louis XI.’s time to be found rich and portly at Paris, Rouen,
Lyons, and other good towns of the kingdom, there are to be found in this
reign more than fifty; and there are in the small towns greater number
than the great and principal cities were wont to have.  So much so that
scarcely a house is made on any street without having a shop for
merchandise or for mechanical art.  And less difficulty is now made about
going to Rome, Naples London, and elsewhere over-sea than was made
formally about going to Lyons or to Geneva.  So much so that there are
some who have gone by sea to seek, and have found, new homes.  The renown
and authority of the king now reigning are so great that his subjects are
honored and upheld in every country, as well at sea as on land.”

Foreigners were not less impressed than the French themselves with this
advance in order, activity, and prosperity amongst the French community.
Machiavelli admits it, and with the melancholy of an Italian politician
acting in the midst of rivalries amongst the Italian republics, he
attributes it above all to French unity, superior to that of any other
state in Europe.

As to the question, to whom reverts the honor of the good government at
home under Louis XII., and of so much progress in the social condition of
France, M. George Picot, in his _Histoire des Etats Generaux_ [t. i.  pp.
532-536], attributes it especially to the influence of the states
assembled at Tours, in 1484, at the beginning of the reign of Charles
VIII.: “They employed,” he says, “the greatest efforts to reduce the
figure of the impost; they claimed the voting of subsidies, and took care
not to allow them, save by way of gift and grant.  They did not hesitate
to revise certain taxes, and when they were engaged upon the subject of
collecting of them, they energetically stood out for the establishment of
a unique, classified body of receivers-royal, and demanded the formation
of all the provinces into districts of estates, voting and apportioning
their imposts every year, as in the cases of Languedoc, Normandy, and
Dauphiny.  The dangers of want of discipline in an ill-organized standing
army and the evils caused to agriculture by roving bands drove the states
back to reminiscences of Charles VII.’s armies; and they called for a
mixed organization, in which gratuitous service, commingled in just
proportion with that of paid troops, would prevent absorption of the
national element.  To reform the abuses of the law, to suppress
extraordinary commissions, to reduce to a powerful unity, with
parliaments to crown all, that multitude of jurisdictions which were
degenerate and corrupt products of the feudal system in its decay, such
was the constant aim of the states-general of 1484.  They saw that a
judicial hierarchy would be vain without fixity of laws; and they
demanded a summarization of customs and a consolidation of ordinances in
a collection placed within reach of all.  Lastly they made a claim, which
they were as qualified to make as they were intelligent in making, for
the removal of the commercial barriers which divided the provinces and
prevented the free transport of merchandise.  They pointed out the
repairing of the roads and the placing of them in good condition as the
first means of increasing the general prosperity.  Not a single branch of
the administration of the kingdom escaped their conscientious scrutiny:
law, finance, and commerce by turns engaged their attention; and in all
these different matters they sought to ameliorate institutions, but never
to usurp power.  They did not come forward like the shrievalty of the
University of Paris in 1413, with a new system of administration; the
reign of Louis XI. had left nothing that was important or possible, in
that way, to conceive; there was nothing more to be done than to glean
after him, to relax those appliances of government which he had stretched
at all points, and to demand the accomplishment of such of his projects
as were left in arrear and the cure of the evils he had caused by the
frenzy and the aberrations of his absolute will.”

We do not care to question the merits of the states-general of 1484; we
have but lately striven to bring them to light, and we doubt not but that
the enduring influence of their example and their sufferings counted for
much in the progress of good government during the reign of Louis XII.
It is an honor to France to have always resumed and pursued from crisis
to crisis, through a course of many sufferings, mistakes, and tedious
gaps, the work of her political enfranchisement and the foundation of a
regimen of freedom and legality in the midst of the sole monarchy which
so powerfully contributed to her strength and her greatness.  The
states-general of 1484, in spite of their rebuffs and long years after
their separation, held an honorable place in the history of this
difficult and tardy work; but Louis XII.’s personal share in the good
home-government of France during his reign was also great and
meritorious.  His chief merit, a rare one amongst the powerful of the
earth, especially when there is a question of reforms and of liberty, was
that he understood and entertained the requirements and wishes of his
day; he was a mere young prince of the blood when the states of 1484 were
sitting at Tours; but he did not forget them when he was king, and, far
from repudiating their patriotic and modest work in the cause of reform
and progress, he entered into it sincerely and earnestly with the aid
of Cardinal d’Amboise, his honest, faithful, and ever influential
councillor.  The character and natural instincts of Louis XII. inclined
him towards the same views as his intelligence and moderation in politics
suggested.  He was kind, sympathetic towards his people, and anxious to
spare them every burden and every suffering that was unnecessary, and to
have justice, real and independent justice, rendered to all.  He reduced
the talliages a tenth at first and a third at a later period.  He refused
to accept the dues usual on a joyful accession.  When the wars in Italy
caused him some extraordinary expense, he disposed of a portion of the
royal possessions, strictly administered as they were, before imposing
fresh burdens upon the people.  His court was inexpensive, and he had no
favorites to enrich.  His economy became proverbial; it was sometimes
made a reproach to him; and things were carried so far that he was
represented, on the stage of a popular theatre, ill, pale, and surrounded
by doctors, who were holding a consultation as to the nature of his
malady: they at last agreed to give him a potion of gold to take; the
sick man at once sat up, complaining of nothing more than a burning
thirst.  When informed of this scandalous piece of buffoonery, Louis
contented himself with saying, “I had rather make courtiers laugh by my
stinginess than my people weep by my extravagance.”  He was pressed to
punish some insolent comedians; but, “No,” said he, “amongst their
ribaldries they may sometimes tell us useful truths let them amuse
themselves, provided that they respect the honor of women.”  In the
administration of justice he accomplished important reforms, called for
by the states-general of 1484 and promised by Louis XI. and Charles
VIII., but nearly all of them left in suspense.  The purchase of offices
was abolished and replaced by a two-fold election; in all grades of the
magistracy, when an office was vacant, the judges were to assemble to
select three persons, from whom the king should be bound to choose.  The
irremovability of the magistrates, which had been accepted but often
violated by Louis XI., became under Louis XII. a fundamental rule.  It
was forbidden to every one of the king’, magistrates, from the premier-
president to the lowest provost to accept any place or pension from any
lord, under pain of suspension from their office or loss of their salary.
The annual Mercurials (Wednesday-meetings) became, in the supreme courts,
a general and standing usage.  The expenses of the law were reduced.  In
1501, Louis XII. instituted at Aix in Provence a new parliament; in 1499
the court of exchequer a Rouen, hitherto a supreme but movable and
temporary court became a fixed and permanent court, which afterwards
received under Francis I., the title of parliament.  Being convinced
before long, by facts themselves, that these reforms were seriously meant
by their author, and were practically effective, the people conceived, in
consequence, towards the king and the magistrates a general sentiment of
gratitude and respect.  In 1570 Louis made a journey from Paris to Lyons
by Champaigne and Burgundy; and “wherever he passed,” says St. Gelais”
 men and women assembled from all parts, and ran after him for three or
four leagues.  And when they were able to touch his mule, or his robe, or
anything that was his, they kissed their hands .  .  .  with as great
devotion as they would have shown to a reliquary.  And the Burgundians
showed as much enthusiasm as the real old French.”

Louis XII.’s private life also contributed to win for him, we will not
say the respect and admiration, but the good will of the public.  He was
not, like Louis IX., a model of austerity and sanctity; but after the
licentious court of Charles VII., the coarse habits of Louis XI., and the
easy morals of Charles VIII., the French public was not exacting.  Louis
XII. was thrice married.  His first wife, Joan, daughter of Louis XI.,
was an excellent and worthy princess, but ugly, ungraceful, and
hump-backed.  He had been almost forced to marry her, and he had no child
by her.  On ascending the throne, he begged Pope Alexander VI. to annul
his marriage; the negotiation was anything but honorable, either to the
king or to the pope; and the pope granted his bull in consideration of
the favors shown to his unworthy son, Caesar Borgia, by the king.  Joan
alone behaved with a virtuous as well as modest pride, and ended her life
in sanctity within a convent at Bourges, being wholly devoted to pious
works, regarded by the people as a saint, spoken of by bold preachers as
a martyr, and “still the true and legitimate Queen of France,” and
treated at a distance with profound respect by the king who had put her
away.  Louis married, in 1499, his predecessor’s widow, Anne, Duchess of
Brittany, twenty-three years of age, short, pretty, a little lame, witty,
able, and firm.  It was, on both sides, a marriage of policy, though
romantic tales have been mixed up with it; it was a suitable and
honorable royal arrangement, without any lively affection on one side
or the other, but with mutual esteem and regard.  As queen, Anne was
haughty, imperious, sharp-tempered, and too much inclined to mix in
intrigues and negotiations at Rome and Madrid, sometimes without regard
for the king’s policy; but she kept up her court with spirit and dignity,
being respected by her ladies, whom she treated well, and favorably
regarded by the public, who were well disposed towards her for having
given Brittany to France.  Some courtiers showed their astonishment that
the king should so patiently bear with a character so far from agreeable;
but “one must surely put up with something from a woman,” said Louis,
“when she loves her honor and her husband.”  After a union of fifteen
years, Anne of Brittany died on the 9th of January, 1514, at the castle
of Blois, nearly thirty-seven years old.  Louis was then fifty-two.  He
seemed very much to regret his wife; but, some few months after her
death, another marriage of policy was put, on his behalf, in course of
negotiation.  It was in connection with Princess Mary of England, sister
of Henry VIII., with whom it was very important for Louis XII. and for
France to be once more at peace and on good terms.  The Duke de
Longueville, made prisoner by the English at the battle of Guinegate,
had, by his agreeable wit and his easy, chivalrous grace, won Henry
VIII.’s favor in London; and he perceived that that prince, discontented
with his allies, the Emperor of Germany and the King of Spain, was
disposed to make peace with the King of France.  A few months, probably
only a few weeks, after Anne of Brittany’s death, De Longueville, no
doubt with Louis XII.’s privity, suggested to Henry VIII. the idea of a
marriage between his young sister and the King o France.  Henry liked to
do sudden and striking things: he gladly seized the opportunity of
avenging himself upon his two allies, who, in fact, had not been very
faithful to him, and he welcomed De Longueville’s idea.  Mary was
sixteen, pretty, already betrothed to Archduke Charles of Austria, and,
further passionately smitten with Charles Brandon, the favorite of Henry
VIII., who had made him Duke of Suffolk, and, according to English
historians, the handsomest nobleman in England.  These two difficulties
were surmounted: Mary herself formally declared her intention of breaking
a promise of marriage which had been made during her minority, and which
Emperor Maximilian had shown himself in no hurry to get fulfilled; and
Louis XII. formally demanded her hand.  Three treaties were concluded on
the 7th of August, 1514, between the Kings of France and England, in
order to regulate the conditions of their political and matrimonial
alliance; on the 13th of August, the Duke de Longueville, in his
sovereign’s name, espoused the Princess Mary at Greenwich; and she,
escorted to France by brilliant embassy, arrived on the 8th of October at
Abbeville where Louis XII. was awaiting her.  Three days afterwards the
marriage was solemnized there in state, and Louis, who had suffered from
gout during the ceremony, carried off his young queen to Paris, after
having had her crowned at St. Denis Mary Tudor had given up the German
prince, who was destined to become Charles V., but not the handsome
English nobleman she loved.  The Duke of Suffolk went to France to see
her after her marriage, and in her train she had as maid of honor a young
girl, a beauty as well, who was one day to be Queen of England--Anne

Less than three months after this marriage, on the 1st of January, 1515,
“the death-bell-men were traversing the streets of Paris, ringing their
bells and crying, ‘The good King Louis, father of the people, is dead.’”
 Louis XII., in fact, had died that very day, at midnight, from an attack
of gout and a rapid decline.  “He had no great need to be married, for
many reasons,” says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard, “and he likewise had
no great desire that way; but, because he found himself on every side at
war, which he could not maintain without pressing very hard upon his
people, he behaved like the pelican.  After that Queen Mary had made her
entry, which was mighty triumphant, into Paris, and that there had taken
place many jousts and tourneys, which lasted more than six weeks, the
good king, because of his wife, changed all his manner of living: he had
been wont to dine at eight, and he now dined at midday; he had been wont
to go to bed at six in the evening, and he often now went to bed at
midnight.  He fell ill at the end of December, from the which illness
nought could save him.  He was, whilst he lived, a good prince, wise and
virtuous, who maintained his people in peace, without pressing hard upon
them in any way, save by constraint.  He had in his time much of good and
of evil, whereby he got ample knowledge of the world.  He obtained many
victories over his enemies; but towards the end of his days Fortune gave
him a little turn of her frowning face.  He was borne to his grave at St.
Denis amongst his good predecessors, with great weeping and wailing, and
to the great regret of his subjects.”

“He was a gentle prince,” says Robert de la Marck, lord of Fleuranges,
“both in war and otherwise, and in all matters wherein he was required to
take part.  It was pity when this malady of gout attacked him, for he was
not an old man.”

To the last of his days Louis XII.  was animated by earnest sympathy and
active solicitude for his people.  It cost him a great deal to make with
the King of England the treaties of August 7, 1514, to cede Tournai to the
English, and to agree to the payment to them of a hundred thousand crowns a
year for ten years.  He did it to restore peace to France, attacked on
her own soil, and feeling her prosperity threatened.  For the same reason
he negotiated with Pope Leo X., Emperor Maximilian, and Ferdinand the
Catholic, and he had very nearly attained the same end by entering once
more upon pacific relations with them, when death came and struck him
down at the age of fifty-three.  He died sorrowing over the concessions
he had made from a patriotic sense of duty as much as from necessity, and
full of disquietude about the future.  He felt a sincere affection for
Francis de Valois, Count of Angouleme, his son-law and successor; the
marriage between his daughter Claude and that prince had been the chief
and most difficult affair connected with his domestic life; and it was
only after the death of the queen, Anne of Brittany, that he had it
proclaimed and celebrated.  The bravery, the brilliant parts, the amiable
character, and the easy grace of Francis I. delighted him, but he dreaded
his presumptuous inexperience, his reckless levity, and his ruinous
extravagance; and in his anxiety as a king and father he said, “We are
laboring in vain; this big boy will spoil everything for us.”


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