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Title: Historic Bubbles
Author: Leake, Frederic
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.

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                           HISTORIC BUBBLES

                                  BY

                            FREDERIC LEAKE.

                       [Illustration: colophon]

               _The earth has bubbles as the water has,
                And these are of them._--BANQUO.

                  _Mais les ouvrages les plus courts
                    Sont toujours les meilleurs._--LA FONTAINE.

                            ALBANY, N. Y.:
                   RIGGS PRINTING & PUBLISHING CO.,
                                 1896.


                            COPYRIGHT, 1896

                                  BY

                 RIGGS PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY



CONTENTS


                                                  PAGE

Duke of Berwick,                                     7

Captivity of Babylon,                               45

The Second House of Burgundy,                       75

Two Jaquelines,                                    115

Hoche,                                             152

An Interesting Ancestor of Queen Victoria,         185

John Wiclif,                                       201



PREFACE


Once upon a time I was a member of that arch-erudite body, the Faculty
of Williams College, and I took my turn in putting forth lectures
tending or pretending to edification. I was not to the manner born,
and had indulged even to indigestion, in the reading of history. These
ebullitions are what came of that intemperance.

The manuscripts were lying harmless in a bureau drawer, under gynæcian
strata, when, last summer, a near and rummaging relative, a printer,
unearthed them, read them, and asked leave to publish them. I refused;
but after conventional hesitation, I--still vowing I would ne’er
consent--consented.

With this diagnosis, I abandon them to the printer and the public.
Those who read them will form opinions of them, and some who read them
not, will do the same thing in accordance with a tempting canon of
criticism.

                                                                  F. L.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS., 1896.



The Duke of Berwick


In the north-east corner of the map of England, or, if you are a
Scotchman, in the south-east corner of the map of Scotland, you will
find the town of Berwick.

That town was held first to belong to Scotland, and then to England.
Then the lawyers tried their hand at it, and made out that it belonged
to neither--that a writ issued either in England or Scotland, would
not run in Berwick-on-Tweed. So an act of Parliament was passed in the
reign of George II., to extend the authority of the British realm to
that evasive municipality.

The name is pronounced _Berrick_. It is a rule in England to spell
proper names one way and pronounce them another: thus Edinburgh is
Edinboro, Derby is Darby, Brougham is Broom, Cholmondeley is Chumly and
so on. This rule is sometimes inconvenient. An American tourist wished
to visit the home of Charlotte Brontë. He asked the way to Haworth.
_Ha-worth!_ Nobody had ever heard of such a place. No such place
in that part of England. At last somebody guessed that this stray
foreigner wanted to go to Hawth. Haworth is Hawth.

But that act of Parliament did not decree that folks should say Berrick
and not Berwick; and even if it had, it would not be of force in this
country; so the reader may pronounce it just as he pleases.

From that town was derived the ducal title of my subject.

In November, 1873, I sailed for England. Among my shipmates was Lord
Alfred Churchill an uncle of the present duke of Marlborough, and a
descendent of John Churchill duke of Marlborough the famous general
of Queen Anne. Walking the deck one day with Lord Alfred, I asked him
about his family--not about his wife and children--that would not have
been good manners; but about the historic line from which he sprang.
I asked how it was that he was a Churchill, when he was descended
not from a son but from a daughter of the great duke. He explained
that an act of parliament had authorised Charles Spencer, earl of
Sunderland, son-in-law of the duke, not only to take the title of duke
of Marlborough, but to change his name from Spencer to Churchill.

There can be no better evidence of the overshadowing glory of the
great captain than that the house of Sunderland should so nearly
suppress the old, aristocratic name of Spencer, in favor of the new,
the parvenu Churchill. The Spencers came in with the Conqueror, and we
meet them often in history. We well remember the two Spencers, father
and son, who were executed in the reign of Edward II. on a charge of
high-treason; and that bizarre historian A’Becket says that the sad
tale of those Spencers led afterwards to the introduction of spencers
without any tail at all.

I asked his lordship what had become of the Berwick branch of the
Churchills. He answered drily that he did not know--so drily in fact
that I inferred he had forgotten there had ever been such a branch.

In order to introduce that branch I must ask you to go back with me to
the middle of the seventeenth century.

Charles Stuart, Charles II. sits on the throne of England, or rather
perambulates about it, for he is a great walker: he and his dogs are
always in motion; and his favorite breed of those animals is still
known as the King Charles spaniel.

Charles was a witty and a disreputable monarch: one current view of him
is that he never said a foolish thing and never did a wise one.

Charles had married Catharine of Braganza a daughter of that John
of Braganza who had rescued Portugal from the yoke of the Spanish
Hapsburgs, and founded the present dynasty. Catharine bore no children,
and the next heir to the crown, was James duke of York brother of
Charles. The two brothers were unlike in everything but general
worthlessness: Charles was an idler and a scoffer; James a busybody
and a devoted--not exactly devout--Roman Catholic. Both were fond of
women; but mark the difference! Charles gathered to him handsome ones
only; and they were truly handsome, as their portraits still testify.
James fell in love so perseveringly with homely ones, that Charles said
in his ribald way, that it was the priests who imposed those girls on
James as a penance.

Among the damsels who won James’ heart, was Anne daughter of Sir
Edward Hyde, afterwards Earl of Clarendon. Now Miss Anne Hyde though
respectable, was certainly no match for the blood-royal, for the heir
apparent; and James after having gained her affections, sought to
jilt her. What led him to think better of it is not clear: stories
differ: it is even said that her father himself opposed the marriage
out of prudence and politics, just as Cardinal Mazarin prevented Louis
XIV. from marrying his niece Olympia with whom the young king was
desperately in love. Another legend is that Sir Edward came and knelt
before the king and pleaded the cause of his daughter; and Charles
told James he must marry that girl. At all events, he did marry her.

Little homely Anne Hyde was now great duchess of York, wife of the
heir apparent, prospective queen of England. Among her maids of honor
was Arabella daughter of Sir Winston Churchill a country gentlemen
of credit and renown. Arabella had a homely face--there is augury
in that--but her form was symmetrical. She was a bold horseman--or
horsewoman if you insist. James was equally equestrian, so he and
Arabella were often companions. One day Miss Churchill had mounted
the most unruly animal in the duke’s stables. Her horse reared and
kicked and plunged so violently that in spite of her horsemanship, (not
horsewomanship,) she was thrown to the ground. James sprang to her aid.
He passed his arm around that shapely bodice and looked into that plain
face as he raised her up; and his susceptible heart was transfixed once
more.

On the 21. August 1670, there was born James Fitzjames, James the son
of James and of Arabella Churchill. It was a lusty scion, Churchill
through and through; very little of the Stuart perceptible. Leaving
the brat to kick and yell and thrive--but don’t forget him--we will
consider some other of his relatives--respectable folks all, and
moving in the best society, or I should not venture to introduce them
to my readers.

Arabella had a brother named John who, you see, was uncle to the little
Fitzjames. But for this unclehood and this brotherhood, we probably
would never have heard of John. There might have been no Blenheim, no
Ramilies, no Oudenard, no Malplaquet, in fine, no duke of Marlborough.
James seeing that his morganatic brother-in-law was resolved to be a
soldier, sent him to France to serve under Turenne; and John did not
waste his time.

Another of the boy’s relations was William of Orange who was his first
cousin and married his half sister Mary daughter of James. William is
the hero, not of this story which is authentic, but of that fascinating
romance Macaulay’s History of England. William was endowed with all
the talents and perhaps with one or two of the many virtues attributed
to him in that romance. He was as licentious as his uncles Charles
and James, and was still keeping his odalisques at the very hour when
Macaulay pictures him to us, wringing his hands over his dying wife.
He was cruel and even blood-thirsty: the massacre of Glencoe has left
a stain on his memory which no romance can wash out. As we shall see
presently, he would have put to death this very boy, had he not been
held back by a hand which the fate of battle had made stronger than
his. He was the last able king of England; but he broke down the power
of the crown by impoverishing it. (Blackstone, Book 1. Chapter 8.) He
squandered the crown lands not only upon the Dutch adventurers who
had followed him from Holland, the Bentincks, the Zulesteins, the
Auverquerques, the Keppels who thus fattened and battened upon the
English people, but upon more questionable favorites, upon the partners
of his private vices, to such an extent that at his death parliament
took back what he had given to the women, but the men being politicians
found means to keep their share.

In 1685, Charles II. died. He was but 55. He had been temperate in
eating and drinking and had taken plenty of exercise, and in the
ordinary course of nature, was good for twenty years yet. But he had
caught cold and had a touch of vertigo. The doctors came and bled him.
It did him no good, because a bleeding never did anybody any good. The
next day they came and bled him a second time, and that did him no
good, because a second bleeding never did anybody any good. So they
came the third day and bled him a third time and that settled him. A
Roman Catholic priest was smuggled up the back stairs; the scoffer was
shrived and was gathered to his fathers--the Stuarts, the Tudors, the
Plantagenets, the Bourbons, the Valois; and his brother James reigned
in his stead.

Two years after his accession, James conferred the title of Duke of
Berwick on the boy Fitzjames who was now seventeen. It was a barren
title no estates annexed; but it was his father’s gift, and with filial
piety he cleaved to it his whole life, in preference to other and
better endowed patents of nobility which his sword won for him.

He too must be a soldier: the Churchill half of him would have scorned
any peaceful course of life; so his father sent him to France to study
the art of war in the same school where his uncle John had graduated.
When he was nineteen, western Europe being at peace, he got leave of
his father to offer his services to the emperor who was fighting the
Turks, and was sore pressed by those misbelievers. James gave him a
letter to an Irishman in the imperial service, named Taft who had
held the rank of colonel, and had just been made a general. Taft had
influence enough with the commander-in-chief, the duke of Lorraine, to
give to Berwick the regiment he had left.

The Turks lay encamped on the spot where a hundred years before, they
had won the first battle of Mohacs, and what still added to their
self-confidence, was that the duke of Lorraine, in obedience to the
emperor’s orders, had attacked their position and been repulsed; and
now scorning to act longer on the defensive, they marched upon the
Christians. A bloody struggle followed in which victory was wrested
from the hand of the Moslem. Berwick in his memoirs says that the
Imperialists lost only ten thousand men--only ten thousand men! How
many Turks fell in that dreadful day, he does not report. Perhaps
like a good Catholic he thought that misbelievers, especially dead
misbelievers were not worth the counting. He says next to nothing about
his own share in the battle; but from the fact that he was immediately
promoted, it may be inferred that the boy did not belie the blood of
Churchill in all that carnage.

He did not remain long in the Emperor’s service. His father now needed
the aid of every one of the few friends that were left him; and
Berwick returned to England. We all know that James lost his crown by
undertaking to reëstablish the Roman Catholic religion in England; but
he was by no means the natural fool for thinking of such a thing that
Macaulay represents him to be.

In the whole history of national religions there is no other instance
of such inconstancy as had been shown by the English in that and the
preceding century. At the beck of Henry VIII., they renounced the pope
and all his works. But Henry told them that he himself was now pope
in England, so they still cleaved to popery: they bowed the knee to a
Cockney pope instead of to an Italian pope. In the reign of Henry’s son
Edward VI., they went over body and soul to protestantism, priests and
all. Then under his sister Mary, Bloody Mary, they all hurried back
to the Mass and the Breviary. I know there were some exceptions, John
Rogers and all that, but they were too few to invalidate the rule.
In the next reign, that of Elizabeth, they changed their creed the
fourth time. The Venitian ambassador at the court of Elizabeth, wrote
home that the English would turn Turks or Jews to save their persons
or their pockets. Nor did this pliability of faith end there. James
himself remembered the day when, at the preaching of a few saints in
jack-boots and spurs, half of England stopped going decorously to
church, and repeating devoutly the liturgy, and fell to singing psalms
through the nose. Let me say in parenthesis, that it was then that a
certain nasal drawl came to be considered the mark of vital piety, and
it was then that these northern States were colonised. As we Americans
have remained more pious than the English, we have retained more of
that peculiar accent.

Cromwell died; jack-boots and spurs ceased to be evangelists; nasal
psalmody went out of fashion; and the Church of England was restored.
Was it strange that James should persuade himself that he could make
the English people turn one more somerset? But he was not the man to do
it, and his friends told him so. Louis XIV. warned him to be careful.
The archbishop of Rheims suggested that a mass might not be worth three
kingdoms. In the meantime the pope, Innocent the eleventh, was working
in a curious subterranean way against him. Louis had insulted Innocent
and imprisoned his nuncio; and the pope was ready to league himself
even with protestants to put on the English throne a dynasty hostile to
the French king.

England had but recently escaped from under the iron heel of the
saints; and she dreaded their return to power as much as the pope’s.
Consequently the Church of England which James’ grandfather (James I.)
said was the only church for a gentleman, was once more the strongest
ecclesiastical body in the land. If James had been a little tolerant
and let the bishops alone he might at least have reëstablished Roman
Catholicism as the religion of the Court; but he was a fanatic and
must have the whole or nothing; and he got the latter.

The English, split up into different sects which hated each other with
theological hatred, lost confidence in themselves. A foreign prince
and a foreign army were called in as in the days of James’ worthless
ancestor King John. William of Holland with an army of Dutchmen landed
at Torbay the fifth of November 1688; and England once more suffered
the humiliation of an invasion. It was at this juncture that Berwick
arrived in England, and took command of the king’s household troops
which his uncle Marlborough had abandoned. Nobody contributed more to
the overthrow of James than John Churchill who owed him everything. He
and his shrew of a wife Sarah had influence enough with Anne, James’
youngest daughter, and with her husband George of Denmark, to lead them
too to desert their father and to go over to William and Mary.

Anne was a stupid girl and made a stupid queen; but her stupidity was
but a mild form of that lesion in comparison with that which afflicted
her husband. We have King Charles’ own testimony on that point. Supping
one day with James, he said to him:--Brother James I have tried our
nephew George drunk and I have tried him sober, and drunk or sober
there is nothing in him. George had a stolid way of exclaiming _Est-il
possible_! When James was told that his daughter and son-in-law had
abandoned him: What, cried he, has Est-il possible gone too?

James was now reminded of the day when they cut his father’s head
off,[1] and he thought it time to quit. He fled and William and Mary
mounted the throne. They were not the next heirs: one little life stood
between and one only--that of the infant son of James and of his second
wife Mary Beatrice of Esté. But though, as Macaulay himself admits, no
birth was ever better attested, all England was made to believe that
the child was spurious. Even Mary and Anne gave countenance to that
infamous story. That child was afterwards known as the Pretender or
James III.

The revolution of 1688, which drove out James and put upon the throne
William and Mary, was a long step forward in the history of English
liberty; but the personal share in it of the daughters and sons-in-law
of James, was not commendable. King Lear’s daughters were less
unfilial than Mary and Anne. Goneril and Regan did not drive their old
father out into the storm: it was his own high temper that did that:
he was furious that they would not entertain his hundred knights.
They, the daughters, wanted him to sit by the fireside and let the
housemaid bring him his slippers. He insisted on traipsing through the
house at the head of a hundred stalking fellows, tracking the mud over
everything; and I leave it to any good housewife if the girls were not
right.

But Mary and Anne and William drove the poor old king from his throne,
from his home and from his country, and he died in exile.

Mary is Macaulay’s heroine, yet to make a point he cannot help
relating her untimely glee, running from room to room in the palace of
Whitehall, delighted to find herself the mistress of so fine a house
from which she had just expelled her own father.

James fled to France, and Berwick went with him. Among other devoted
friends who left their country and joined their fortunes to those of
the banished king, was an Irish gentleman named MacMahon. From him was
descended Marie Edmée Patrice Maurice MacMahon whilom president of the
Republic of France.

A few years later Berwick accompanied his father in his expedition to
Ireland which had remained faithful to him. That expedition came to
grief, as you know, at the battle of the Boyne, in which Berwick took
part. In another action during that campaign, he had two horses killed
under him, and was himself wounded. He says in his memoirs, that that
was the only wound he ever received; but he did receive one besides,
and we shall see by and by why he never mentions it.

On his return to France, Berwick became a French subject, and entered
the French army for the rest of his life. Under the last two kings,
Charles and James, England had been the ally of France. Louis XIV.
was their first cousin, all three being grand-children of Henry
IV. William’s mother a sister of Charles and James, was equally of
course cousin to Louis; but there was nobody on earth that William
hated as he did the French king. Nor was this hatred without a cause:
Louis had invaded and desolated William’s native country, Holland,
chiefly because a Dutch envoy who had not been brought up in refined
society, had told a French envoy to go to--well, it is not polite to
say where--and William succeeded in dragging England into a war with
France. England had nothing to gain in that war, and gained nothing but
defeat.

William himself took the command. In person William III. was thin,
pale, dyspeptic and unwholesome, which accounts for his bad temper.
He was brave and obstinate, and no series of defeats could take the
conceit out of him. A good statesman, he was a bad general: it has even
been said of him that he lost more battles than any other commander in
history. He was now opposed in the field by a genius of high order,
François de Montmorenci, Duke of Luxembourg, Marshal of France.
Luxembourg like Marlborough had learnt the art of war under Condé and
Turenne and would have equalled those leaders, if he had had their
bodily vigor; but he was a ricketty hunchback.

The first encounter at which Berwick was present, between those two
valetudinary warriors who ought both have been at home with their feet
in warm water, was at Steinkerk where William came near scrambling a
victory by a stratagem. He had seized one of Luxembourg’s spies and had
forced him to write false intelligence to him. Luxembourg was deceived,
and before he knew it the English were upon him; but so promptly did he
throw his troops into order of battle that after an engagement which
was surpassed in bloody obstinacy only by the one that followed, the
victory remained to him.

The next year these two generals met at Landen or Neerwinden. The
battle takes both names from two towns held by the English at the
beginning of it. Landen, says Macaulay, was the most terrible battle
of the seventeenth century. Berwick says he himself was chosen by
Luxembourg to open the ball. At the head of four battalions he marched
upon Neerwinden. He forced the English lines and drove them back into
the town. But they rallied; Berwick’s four battalions were broken up,
and he was left almost alone. He tore the trappings off his uniform,
and by speaking English hoped to pass for an English officer till he
could escape. But he was recognized, and gave up his sword to one of
his Churchill uncles a brother of Marlborough.

The awful carnage of this awful battle then centered around Neerwinden.
The French were repulsed time and again. At last the household troops
of King Louis were brought up to the attack. At their head was the
king’s nephew Philip duke of Chartres, afterwards duke of Orleans,
afterwards Regent of France. These soldiers had turned the tide at
Steinkerk, and now once more they maintained their high reputation: The
English were driven out.

Macaulay says:--“At Landen two poor, sickly beings were the soul of
two great armies. It is probable that among the hundred and twenty
thousand soldiers marshalled around Neerwinden, the two feeblist in
body were the hunchback dwarf who urged forward the fiery onset of
France, and the asthmatic skeleton who covered the slow retreat of
England.”

Quite picturesque, that! but the truth is William covered no retreat
slow or fast: he covered nothing but his horse and to him he applied
both spurs: it was the best he could do.

Before he fled William had summoned his cousin Berwick before
him. He told him he should send him to England to be tried for
high-treason--He, a born Englishman in arms against his native country!
This purpose was quite worthy of the signer of the warrant for the
massacre of Glencoe; but it was frustrated as follows:

In the list of prisoners to be exchanged on both sides, Luxembourg
observed that the name of Berwick was wanting. He learned for what fate
he was reserved; he seized the duke of Ormond one of his own prisoners,
and sent William word that whatever measure was meted out to Berwick,
should be measured again to Ormond. Ormond was a favorite of William,
and Berwick was exchanged for him.[2]

In all this dreadful fighting the best soldier in Europe remains nearly
inactive; not that he was sulky like our old friend Achilles; but his
sovereign feared and hated him, and was reluctant to employ him. It is
true that William had sent Marlborough into Ireland to quell the Irish
who were fighting the Saxon whenever there was Saxon there to fight,
and when there was none, were fighting each other for the mere love of
the sport. It was a task that had already baffled William and his Dutch
generals, and which perhaps he hoped would baffle Marlborough; but John
Churchill was not born to be baffled. He knocked the heads together so
smartly of Pat and Mike that those gentlemen made up their minds to be
_aisy_; and he finished his errand so promptly that William himself
felt bound to say that considering my lord Marlborough had seen so
little of war, he had done very well.

In 1702, William was returning one day from a ride which he was taking
for his dyspepsia, when his horse slipped and fell. The jolt shook
out of him what little of life he had left; and Anne succeeded to the
throne. Mary had died some years before. The day of Marlborough was
now come. The theatre of his glory and chiefly that of Berwick’s, was
the war of the Spanish succession.

Charles II. of Spain was the fifth of the Spanish Hapsburgs; he was
also the fifth in descent from the great emperor Charles V. who was
Charles I. of Spain. Charles II. having no children, the next heir was
the dauphin of France, son of Louis XIV. and of Maria Teresa the oldest
sister of Charles; but in order to prevent the two crowns from falling
upon one head, the dauphin assigned his right to his second son Philip.
The other claimants were the archduke Charles afterwards Emperor, and
a young prince of the house of Bavaria, both grand-children of younger
sisters of Maria. The Bourbon claim was therefore the best.

English historians lay great stress upon the fact that Louis and Maria
at their marriage, formally renounced all claim to the crown of Spain
both for themselves and their posterity; but those historians take care
not to tell the whole story. The renunciation in question was not a
compact with England or with the Empire: it was a compact with Spain
alone; and if Spain chose to waive it, it was nobody else’s business.
To avoid war however Louis and the Emperor agreed to withdraw their
claim, and leave it to the little Bavarian; but just then that prince
in an untimely manner died. Soon after his demise, the king of Spain
died after having, at the request of his nobles and by the advice of
the pope, made a will bequeathing the crown to the legitimate heir, the
house of Bourbon. It is noteworthy that the dying king was a Hapsburg,
and had expressed his preference for a Hapsburg successor; but the
pope who was also moribund warned him not to die with the sin upon his
conscience of having diverted the succession from the lawful channel.
Where did the renunciation stand in the opinion of these two potentates?

Philip of Bourbon now king of Spain entered Madrid accompanied by his
wife and a singular personage whom Louis had sent with them. This was
the Princess of Orsini of the house of La Trémoille in France, and
widow of the duke of Bracciano, prince of Orsini in Italy. She ruled
Philip, ruled his wife, ruled Spain, and was an indispensable agent
there of Louis XIV.

The Spaniards received Philip with open arms; but war was none the less
declared by the Empire, England and Holland for the purpose of driving
Philip out and putting the archduke in his place, which would have been
nearly to reëstablish the empire of Charles-the-Fifth. But the English
thought of nothing but of fighting the French, and of taking revenge
for Steinkerk and Landen.

Marlborough took command of the English and Dutch. The Emperor’s
troops were led by another great soldier, the Prince Eugene. I have
already alluded to a pretty Italian girl, Olympia Mancini niece of
Cardinal Mazarin, who won the heart of Louis XIV. in his youth, and
was prevented by her uncle from marrying him. She got over that
disappointment by which she missed being queen of France, and married
the Count of Soissons of the house of Savoy, and gave birth at Paris to
the Prince Eugene. He was educated for the Church; but he resolved to
be a soldier and applied to the king for a commission. Louis told him
to go back to his beads and his breviary; so he offered his services to
the Emperor, and spent his life fighting alternately against the Turks
and against his own countrymen. It was he who two years after the close
of the war, commanded the imperial forces at Petervaradin, and struck
the first irreparable blow to the Ottoman power.

I cannot follow the brilliant career of those two captains. Brilliant
as it was however, it came to nought, and chiefly by the soldiership
which the duke of Berwick displayed in Spain itself. The English had
landed an army there to which was added a contingent of Portuguese.
Louis sent Berwick to oppose them with what few troops he could
spare. It was now that Berwick showed himself to be a past master of
defensive warfare--a true Fabius. The English, superior in numbers,
could advance nowhere against this adroit and sleepless adversary. He
relates that on one occasion the enemy who had long tried to cross
a river, posted themselves at last on a tongue of land formed by a
sharp bend in the stream, so they could attempt the passage either at
the right or the left. This reduced him to the dangerous necessity of
dividing his forces so as to defend both fords. An accident of the
ground saved him. The bank on his side, was an interrupted series
of bluffs which half the time hid his men from the enemy. He kept
transferring them from one ford to the other, making them form ranks
and march slowly when visible, and run helter skelter when out of
sight. The English who kept counting the same men twice, did not risk
the crossing.

While thus disputing the passage of the river, Berwick received an
order from King Philip to return to Madrid in order to defend that
capital. He replied that the true place to defend Madrid, was on the
banks of that stream, and he refused to quit. Afterwards when the
English had retired, he learnt that Philip and his queen had sent such
a remonstrance to their grandfather that he had recalled him, and
sent the Marshal de Tessin to take his place. Tessin was a friend of
Berwick, and he asked Philip and his wife how they could make up their
minds to spare so able a soldier. They were silent; there was a pause;
at last the queen broke out with:--What can we do with a great, lank
devil of an Englishman who will have his own way?

Berwick reported himself at Versailles. Louis asked him why Philip had
demanded his recall. Has he made any charges against me, inquired the
duke. None whatever replied the king. Then said Berwick I have nothing
to say.

During his absence everything went wrong. Madrid was taken by the
Imperialists, and the archduke crowned with the title of Charles III.
and Spain enjoyed the advantage of two kings at a time: a Hapsburg at
one end of the land, and a Bourbon at the other.

In this confused state of things Louis sent Berwick back, having first
conferred upon him the rank of Marshal of France so that Philip might
treat him with more respect. Inferior in force he was obliged to resort
to the same defensive tactics which had succeeded before. At the same
time he implored Louis to send him more troops, pleading that any
unforeseen accident might be the loss of Spain. The king, hard pressed
as he was by Marlborough and Eugene, contrived to send him a few more
regiments, and now for the first time he found himself equal to the
enemy.

The decisive encounter took place at Almanza. This battle is unique
among battles in that a Frenchman commanded the English, and an
Englishman the French. The general of the English was the ex-count of
Ruvigny a Huguenot who had been driven from France by the revocation of
the edict of Nantes. He had been created Earl of Galway in Ireland. He
was a good soldier and was now fighting with bitter animosity against
the king who had persecuted him.

But to the battle. Berwick led his own right wing. He threw into some
disorder the English left; then instead of following up his advantage
in that direction, he wheeled suddenly to the left, fell upon the
enemy’s centre and crushed it. The victory was complete. An English
account says that out of the thirty thousand men which Galway led into
the field, seventeen thousand either fell or were taken prisoner; and
that they lost all their artillery and baggage.

Philip was restored to his throne. He now sought to make amends to
the devil of an Englishman who would have his own way, by creating
him duke of Liria and Xerica with ample estates. Berwick refused them
for himself, but accepted them for his son who thus became a Spanish
grandee. Philip also offered, if Berwick would leave the service of his
grandfather and enter his, to make him generalissimo of all Spain. He
answered that Louis XIV. was his best friend, and that he would never
serve any other monarch.

Berwick returned to France and joined the army of the duke of Vendôme
who was another of his cousins. Vendôme was grandson and Berwick
great-grandson of Henry IV. They were unlike however: Berwick was
without vices; Vendôme was drunken and debauched. He was a good
general nevertheless, and the year before had kept at bay Marlborough
and Eugene during a whole campaign. Now he listened to a council of
officers, and, Berwick dissenting, risked Oudenarde and was beaten. The
next year Louis sent Berwick to the frontier of Savoy, to practise his
old game of making one battalion appear two to the enemy; and to keep
in check an army which threatened to invade France.

The English landed another army in Spain under General Stanhope, and
the Emperor one under Count Staremberg. Philip called loudly for
Berwick, but Louis could not spare him: he was holding the wolf by the
ears and it would not do to call him off.

Macaulay says the fate of Spain was decided at Almanza: that that was
a disaster Marlborough and Eugene could hardly have repaired, much
less Stanhope and Staremberg. To oppose those two captains, Louis sent
Vendôme. Vendôme had contracted the habit of getting sober whenever
great issues were at stake, and he was in that abnormal state on the
present occasion. By a dexterous movement he caught Stanhope napping
at Brihuaga, and simply bagged him and his army. He then turned upon
Staremberg. The encounter took place at Villa-Viciosa where the
Imperialists after a stout resistance, withdrew leaving the victory to
the French. This battle rid Philip of foreign enemies, and the crown
sat steady on his head; and it still sits on the head of his descendant.

Villa-Viciosa was Vendôme’s last fight: the sober fit proved fatal;
he died in Spain soon after the battle. Philip who was his cousin one
degree further removed than Berwick, caused his remains to be laid in
the royal sepulchre of the Escurial, and they repose there still.

A change of ministry at this time in England, led to one of those acts
that have purchased for her the name of Perfidious Albion. Legend says
a glass of water did it. Sarah duchess of Marlborough was mistress of
the household of Queen Anne. The two ladies were so affectionate that
they gave each other pet names: Anne was Mrs. Morley, Sarah was Mrs.
Freeman, and the more affectionate they grew the more they quarrelled.
One day during a skirmish, Mrs. Morley asked Mrs. Freeman to bring her
a glass of water. She obeyed, but instead of presenting it with proper
grace, she pushed the salver into the queen’s face and upset the glass
in her lap. The queen ordered her to quit her presence, and directly
sent and demanded of her the gold key which was her emblem of office.

Now this is all true except perhaps the glass of water. It is true that
a quarrel with the duchess did determine Anne to abandon Marlborough
and the Whigs and go over to Bolingbroke and the Tories. Marlborough
was recalled from his command, and the allies left to shift for
themselves, with the aid however of the English and Dutch contingents
which remained to them under the Duke of Albemarle who, in the absence
of Eugene, was in chief command. Albemarle was an Englishman that
William had made out of a Dutchman named Yost Van Keppel. William
himself had taught him the art of war and he was a bad general; Villars
who commanded the French, was a good one, and the battle of Denain
ended in accordance with those conditions.

It was the last of the war. The peace of Utrecht was signed to which
England acceded, abandoning all she had fought for.

The queen of Spain died, and as there was no fighting for Berwick
to do, Louis sent him with a message of condolence for Philip. But
peaceful embassies were not for the like of him: he never reached
Madrid. An envoy from Philip stopped him on the way and informed him
that Barcelona had revolted, and that it was for him to go there and
restore order. He flew thither and laid siege to the town. Discovering
that the citizens were receiving aid from Majorca he ordered the
Spanish fleet to blockade the port, and having made a breach with his
cannon he led his men to the assault. They had fought their way to the
middle of the town when the garrison offered to surrender. The point
then was to save the town from pillage and from those awful scenes
which occur when a city is taken by storm. He directed the commander
of the garrison not to let his surrender be known, and still to man
the barricades. He then ordered a retreat, on the pretence that it was
night-fall, and that they must prepare for a more vigorous attack on
the morrow. The next morning Barcelona was peacefully theirs. He says
it was the first town taken by assault that ever escaped pillage, and
in his pious way he attributes it to the grace of God, and says that
human skill alone could not have compassed it.

During the siege Philip to lose no time, had wooed and won another
bride, Elizabeth Farnese daughter of the duke of Parma; and Berwick
received one day an order from the king to send the fleet to Genoa
to fetch the new queen. He replied that the blockade of the port was
essential to the capture of the place, and that not a ship could be
spared. The great, lank devil of an Englishman had not improved, and
Philip and Elizabeth had to wait.

The name Farnese brings up another family which stands out in relief
in the tableau of history. You have all been to Rome. You remember in
the church of Saint Peter, near the chair in which Peter himself sat
when he was pope, a sepulchral monument the finest in the church. It
is that of Alexander Farnese, Paul III. Near the banks of the Tiber
you remember that vast edifice the Palace Farnese, and on the other
side of the river the Farnesina, or little Farnese. You remember the
Farnese gardens where they have dug out the foundations of the palace
of the Caesars. All these demesnes, except the monument, belonged till
recently to the kings of Naples descendants of Philip and Elizabeth.

It was the princess of Orsini herself who had chosen a scion of that
famous race for Philip’s second wife; and the princess did not fail
to repent of it. She had been deceived by one of the greatest scamps
in Europe, the Cardinal Alberoni who had assured her that Elizabeth
Farnese was a placid little maiden who would show her all the deference
the late queen had shown.

Kings, you know, don’t get married like common folks: they don’t do
their own courting nor even their own marrying: they _send_. A deputy
woos the maiden by power of attorney. He puts the ring on her finger;
the priest pronounces them man and wife; and then she is the spouse not
of that man but of another one whom she has never seen. Etiquette then
requires not that the bridegroom go forth to meet the bride, but that
she come to him. But mark the often result:--Henry VIII. married Anne
of Cleves on the faith of a portrait by Holbein which flattered her.
She was brought to England. When Henry came to lay eyes on her he swore
they had sent him a big Flanders mare. George IV. while Regent married
Caroline of Brunswick. He sent Harris Earl of Malmsbury to stand in
his place at the altar, and to bring her to England. Malmsbury in his
memoirs, says he foresaw trouble from the beginning. The princess was
good looking and good tempered, but her want of personal neatness was
beyond belief. When he presented her to the Regent she kneeled. He
raised her up and kissed her; and then turning to Malmsbury, whispered:
Harris for God’s sake get me some brandy!

Barcelona taken, Berwick sent the fleet to Genoa, and Elizabeth was
brought to Spain. As she approached Madrid, Philip and the Princess
of Orsini went out together to meet her. She greeted her husband with
marks of affection, but looked askance at his companion. Not long
after, the Princess was suddenly seized, thrown into a carriage, and
conveyed to the French frontier and dismissed with the injunction never
again to set foot in Spain. Louis XIV. was incensed at this treatment
of his faithful agent; but that Farnese girl was no subject of his, and
she snapped her fingers at him.

Philip and Elizabeth managed to live together; but whenever he desired
to say his soul was his own, he took care to say it privately to his
confessor. Alberoni was rewarded by being made prime minister of Spain.

In 1715 Louis XIV. died after the longest reign in history. He was
king at five and died at seventy-seven. He outlived his oldest son and
his oldest grandson and was succeeded by his great-grandson Louis XV.
another boy of five.

Louis had made a will leaving in effect the regency during the
minority, to the Duke du Maine his son by Madame de Montespan and the
best beloved of his children; but Du Maine was immediately confronted
by a spirit more potent than his own, in the person of Philip of
Orleans, Louis’ nephew, a prince whom Louis had feared more than he
had loved. It was this Philip who had led the household troops at
Neerwinden. He had married Du Maine’s sister, but he pushed him aside
and seized the regency as his birthright. Though his private morals
were deplorable he governed France with vigor and ability till the
majority of Louis XV.

This change of rulers worked no prejudice to Berwick. The Regent
Philip offered him the government of Guienne one of the finest of the
provinces; and he accepted it. When the patent was made out, he was
surprised to find it made to Du Maine under whom he was to act as
lieutenant. He refused to do so. The Regent sent for him and explained
to him how necessary he found it to flatter and conciliate his brother
Du Maine. My Lord Duke, said Berwick, nobody knows better than I the
difference between a genuine prince of the blood like you, and a
spurious one like myself and like Du Maine; and I will not take civil
service under one of the latter sort. Philip knew what an obstinate
fellow he was dealing with, and he yielded. The patent was made out
direct to Berwick.

One would think that Philip V. owing his crown to his French relations,
would have kept at peace with them; and he would have done so but for
that Farnese creature. He and the Regent fell into a dispute and then
into a quarrel and then into hostile array; and Berwick took the field.
In the Spanish army was his son the duke of Liria, and it might happen
that father and son should meet face to face in battle. Berwick wrote
to his son to sink all filial regard for him, and to serve his king as
if he were a born Spaniard. The two Philips however became reconciled
before much mischief was done.

In 1716 Marlborough died. The British idea seems to be that his career
of victory did not end at that sad event. In the Tower of London some
years ago, I was shown a cannon which the warden who spoke by the
authority of the three kingdoms, declared was taken by Marlborough at
the battle of Dettingen. When I let fall a timid doubt, he repeated
the statement with an indignant emphasis which silenced cavil. History
does indeed record one other case of the sort. You remember at Rome,
near the Cloaca Maxima, a spring where women were washing. It is there
that Castor and Pollux watered their horses after the battle of Lake
Regillus. Those two warriors had already been dead many years, and
placed in the firmament where we still behold them.

Eugene had retired from active life, and Berwick now shared with
Villars the reputation of being the foremost of living generals. The
war of the Polish succession came in the following manner:--Early in
the eighteenth century Charles XII. of Sweden--that name at which
Doctor Johnson said the world grew pale--burst into central Europe and
turned everything upside down. He drove Augustus-the-strong from the
throne of Poland, and put in his place Stanislas Leczinski; not that
he thought Stanislas a better man than Augustus, it was merely his
propensity to upset things. But he tried to upset one man who was too
square-built for him; and that was Peter Romanoff, Peter-the-great.
Peter beat him at Pultowa, and put things back in their places.
Stanislas, driven from the throne upon which he had been so suddenly
set, fled to Wissenbourg in Alsace, and was living there with his wife
and daughter Maria on a small pension granted by the French court. They
were poor but pious, and morning and evening they knelt and thanked God
that although they no longer had a throne to sit upon, they still had a
roof over their heads.

One day there was a knock at the door; a stately official entered
and bowing to the floor, gave Stanislas a letter. It was a portentous
missive, a foot square and sealed with half a pound of wax. What was
it? Were they troublesome at Wissenbourg? Was it a mandate to quit?
Where should they go? Mother and daughter gathered at the side of the
father as he opened it. It was a despatch from the duke of Bourbon
prime minister of France, asking the hand of Maria for the young king.

Louis XV. and Maria Leczinska were soon married; and a few years later
Louis undertook to restore his father-in-law to the Polish throne.
Villars and Berwick took command of the French armies; but the crown of
Poland was not recovered. The Emperor and Louis compromised the matter
by the former giving to Stanislas the duchy of Lorraine a fief of the
Empire; and that is the way Lorraine became French.

Peace was not the normal state of things between France and the Empire;
and Villars and Berwick were not long permitted to be idle. In 1734
as Berwick was reconnoitring the enemy’s position at Philipsbourg,
he was struck by a cannon ball and instantly killed. This was that
second wound which he does not mention in his autobiography. His death
was similar to that of Turenne who had fallen sixty years before at
Salsbach.

Berwick was in his sixty-fifth year. Villars who was eighty-two, only
lived long enough to learn the death of his brother in arms. Berwick
said he, has always been lucky; and now he has died as a soldier would
wish to die.

Bolingbroke who was associated with Berwick in furthering the
pretentions of his half brother James III., says that the duke of
Berwick was the best great man he ever knew.

He was twice married. Both of his wives were Irish: the first was
the daughter of the earl of Clanricarde; the second the daughter of
a gentleman who had married one of the maids of honor of Queen Mary
Beatrice. In his memoirs Berwick despatches his two wives in just ten
lines, five to each. He does not even tell us their christian names. He
was too busy fighting to think of the women.

He had an own brother, the offspring like himself, of James II. and
Arabella Churchill, and bearing like him the surname of Fitzjames. This
brother also rose to distinction: he took to the church and became
bishop of Soissons. It was he who stood at the bedside of Louis XV.
when the king was supposed to be dying, and refused him absolution
and extreme unction till he would dismiss his favorite, Madame de
Chateauroux. The king yielded; the favorite was sent away, and he was
absolved and anointed for Heaven; but

    The devil fell sick; the devil a saint would be.
    The devil got well, the devil a saint was he.

The king recovered and recalled Madame de Chateauroux.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some time after my return from Europe in 1874, I read in the New York
World a notice of the marriage in Paris of a Spanish nobleman with
a Miss Stuart who the account said was a descendant of the duke of
Berwick and of James II. It was added that the bride’s family were once
known as the Fitzjameses, but that they had subsequently taken the name
of Stuart as more indicative of their royal extraction.

So it seems the Berwick branch of the Churchills was extant twenty
years ago, and we hope is extant still, though its existence may not be
known to Lord Alfred.



The Captivity of Babylon


Petrarch who lived in the fourteenth century, gave the name of the
Captivity of Babylon to the condition of the Church of Rome which was
then in exile. No longer on the banks of the Tiber she held her seat,
but on the banks of the Rhone; and Avignon not Rome was the assumed
mistress of the world. Petrarch did not live to see the end, but in
one respect the appellation was a prophecy: the Captivity lasted
seventy-two years; and the name is often applied to that period,
especially by Roman Catholic historians.

I shall endeavor to trace some of the causes of that singular
revolution, and some of its results.

Towards the close of the thirteenth century, a poor hermit named Pietro
da Morrone who had starved himself into the highest state of sanctity,
was raised to the Apostolic throne with the title of Celestin V.
One of the qualities which at that time recommended a candidate for
the papacy, was that he should be moribund, that his days should be
numbered; and this explains the rapidity with which the popes succeeded
one another. During one year of that century, the year 1276, four
successive pontiffs reigned.

Celestin V. knew nothing of the world nor of business; and it was
thought that the cares of his high office, would soon finish him.
But his anchorite life had agreed with his constitution; his diet of
parched peas and pure water had left him with a sound digestion; and
he showed no readiness to depart this life so that somebody else might
be pope. It was necessary to hasten matters. How this was done is
uncertain; but it is said that one of his cardinals scared the poor
old hermit off his throne by telling him of imaginary plots for his
assassination. Celestin abdicated, and the scaring cardinal, Benedetto
Gaetano usurped his seat as Boniface VIII.; and when this lofty prelate
rode to the Lateran, mother of churches, to celebrate his accession,
two kings, James of Sicily and Andrew of Hungary walked like grooms
at his horse’s head, and then waited on him at the table like common
domestics. A pope in those days was a demi-god.

The Church at that time interfered with all the affairs of life. If
a man had to sustain the validity of his father’s will or of his own
marriage, he had to do it before ecclesiastical tribunals. If he died
intestate the Church administered on his property. Even the calendar
was ecclesiastical, and the year began not on the first of January or
the first of any other month, but at Easter; so that portions of March
and April belonged now to the old year and now to the new. In fine,
canon, that is church law was the only law.

In contrast to this, was the trifling physical force the pontiffs
could exercise. The States of the Church were small in extent; the
battallions they could put in the field were few in number; and from
time to time some impious prince instigated by the devil, would snap
his fingers at this ghostly puissance; and then the world would be
startled at the disparity between the real and the pretended power of
Rome. But it was like a glimpse of the landscape a dark night by a
flash of lightning: it hardly served as a land-mark; pope and prince
would come to an understanding, and the spell remain unbroken.

Boniface who was perhaps the haughtiest of the successors of Saint
Peter, was soon made to feel this instability. Albert son of Rudolph
of Hapsburg, was elected to succeed his father on the imperial
throne. Boniface was not satisfied. What did he know about these
Hapsburgs? They were new, parvenu, and one was enough. He put forth a
bull commanding Albert on pain of excommunication, to deliver up the
imperial crown to Adolfus of Nassau.

A papal bull is a roll of parchment on which are inscribed in latin
the behests of the pontiff, and to which is suspended by a ribbon, a
globular leaden seal. It is this seal which gives it the name of bull,
from the latin _bulla_, whence is also derived our word _bowl_.

Albert of Hapsburg had a priest read to him the document, for he
could not read it himself, and after pondering, resolved to do
differently--that is differently from what the bull required. He tied
the parchment to his horse’s tail, and in that guise rode into the
battle of Spires where he slew with his own right hand, his rival
Adolfus of Nassau.

Boniface after some bitter moments of reflection, did the wisest thing
possible. He rescinded the bull and received Albert back into the bosom
of the church. Indeed the return of the prodigal son was so welcome
that some years later Boniface issued another bull giving to Albert the
kingdom of France, without however showing him how he was to get it.

The power of the papacy had culminated in the hundred years between
Innocent III. and Boniface VIII., and was now on the decline. To this
downward tendency Boniface shut his eyes; but we can assure ourselves
of that tendency by considering the different success of those two
pontiffs Innocent at the beginning of the thirteenth century and
Boniface at the end, in dealing with two able kings of France.

Philip II. called Philip Augustus, the rival of the English
Richard-the-lion-hearted, was the cotemporary of Innocent III. Philip
had married a Danish princess named Ingerburge. The chronicles say she
was young and handsome; but Philip fell none the less in love with
Agnes de Méranie the daughter of a Flemish nobleman.

He applied to the pope for a divorce so that he might marry Agnes.
Innocent refused. Philip then took the matter into his own hands and
decreed his own divorce. Innocent excommunicated him and laid his
kingdom under interdict.

A dreadful word that of Interdict! No churches open, no bells rung,
no mass, no confession, no marriages, no funerals, no religious rites
whatever except baptism and extreme unction--the ushering in and the
ushering out of life.

This deprivation settled down like a pall upon that ignorant and
superstitious age, and the people would not endure it. They revolted
and Philip succumbed: he sent away the beloved Agnes and took back the
hated Ingerburge. Such was the fortune of Philip Augustus in measuring
himself against the Church. We shall now see how his descendant another
Philip, sped, a century later, in a contest with the same power. Philip
IV. called Philip-the-fair, Philip-the-handsome, was grandson of Louis
IX., Saint Louis, the Marcus Aurelius of the middle ages. Philip had
inherited all the talents and none of the virtues of his grandfather:
he was true to no obligation and troubled with no scruples. Boniface
had become aware of the dangerous character of the French king, and
he sought to propitiate him by canonising his grandfather who thus
escaped from purgatory and became a saint in Heaven; and no king ever
deserved the promotion better. But Philip was not to be bought by so
unsubstantial a favor: he was much less sentimental than rapacious
and he seized the papal revenues. The clergy from time immemorial had
paid to the Holy See tithes and first fruits. Philip being in need
of money, ordered that those stipends be paid to him, promising to
account for them to Boniface. The pope rejected the arrangement with
just indignation. High words followed, and he issued the bull _Clericos
laicos_, forbidding the clergy in France and elsewhere to pay any taxes
to the State, and commanding them to pour all their contributions
directly into the Apostolic treasury. Philip resisted. Edward I. of
England did the same; but Boniface did not take the same measures
against Edward, that he did against Philip. Perhaps he feared the vigor
and capacity of the English king, unconscious that the man he was
defying was at least as able, and was the less scrupulous of the two.

Philip not only forbade his clergy to pay tithes and other taxes to
the pope, but he prohibited the export of money from the kingdom for
any purpose whatsoever. Boniface retaliated by excommunicating Philip
and laying France under interdict. At the same time he declared that
the kings of the earth were subject to him in temporal as well as
in spiritual affairs. None of his predecessors had gone so far: not
Gregory VII., not Innocent III. had risked so dangerous a piece of
arrogance; and it proved the ruin of Boniface. Philip was too sagacious
not to see the advantage this false step gave him. His kingdom under
the ban of the Church, himself excommunicate, he resolved to make
common cause with that people who, in a more benighted age, had fallen
away from his ancestor. He convoked the STATES-GENERAL; and this is the
first time that famous assembly was called together.

The States-General were the general estates, that is all the estates of
the nation. They consisted of four elements: the crown, the nobility,
the clergy and the common people. It is customary however to name only
the last three. To Philip is also due the reorganisation of the French
parliaments into the form they retained down to the revolution. The
parliaments were at first the occasional conferences of the sovereign
with his nobles; then they grew into some degree of permanence, and
combined judicial functions with political. When Philip introduced
the States-General, he deprived the parliaments of their legislative
functions, and constituted them courts of law civil and criminal. To
them however, and especially to the parliament of Paris, was left the
prerogative of registering the royal edicts. This registry at first
was solely to publish them; but it grew into a usage indispensable to
their validity, and thus became a check upon the executive; so that the
monarchy of the old régime was not quite an absolute one.

These first States-General met in the Church of Notre Dame; and the
third estate, that is the common people, filled nearly half the
building. The towns only were represented: they had become too wealthy
to be longer overlooked. The country people came in at a later day.

Philip laid before this assembly two documents: one that the pope had
discharged at him; the other a copy of the one he had flung back at the
pope. They are so short and spirited that I venture to insert them:
“Boniface, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Philip king of
the Franks. Fear God and keep his commandments. Know that thou art
subject to us as well in the temporal as in the spiritual; that the
collation of benefices and prebends belongs not to thee; that if thou
guardest the vacant benefices, it is to reserve the fruits for the
successors; that if thou conferrest them upon any body, we declare the
collation void; and we revoke it if executed, pronouncing all those who
think otherwise heretics.”

To him the King:--“Philip by the grace of God, king of the French, to
Boniface who calls himself Pope, little or no salutation. May thy great
fatuity know that we are subject to nobody for the temporal; that the
collation of churches and prebends belongs to us by our royal right;
that the fruits thereof are ours; that the collations made by us are
valid; that we will maintain their possessors with all our power; and
that we pronounce those who think otherwise fools and madmen.”

It is just to say that the authenticity of the missive of Boniface,
is disputed, though Hallam considers it genuine. It set forth nothing
more than the pope had already avowed. At all events it put the case
clearly before the assembly. A committee of the Third Estate, after
much pondering, came and knelt before the throne in the middle of the
church, and rendered the following verdict in which you will observe
they had caught the tone of their master:--“It is an abomination that
Boniface like the blackguard that he is should interpret so ill the
words of Scripture: what thou shall bind on earth, shall be bound in
Heaven; as if it meant that if he put a man in prison in this world,
God would put him in prison in the next.” Philip had this profound
state paper turned into latin, and sent to the pope; and this document
as well as Philip’s missive, is still in the archives of the Vatican.

The clergy alone hesitated to stand by the king. They asked time to
deliberate. Philip would allow them not an hour. You are Frenchmen,
cried he; from whom do you hold your benefices, from me your king,
or from the Neapolitan Benedetto. They answered: from the king. They
then begged leave to send a deputation to Rome to explain matters; and
Philip refused. As for the excommunication and interdict, the king
ordered them burnt by the common hangman; and woe to the priest who
dared shut his church, or tie up his bell-rope, or stop marrying or
confessing or saying mass! The days of Philip-the-handsome were not the
days of Philip-the-august.

This triumph at home might well have satisfied Philip; but he still
followed up Boniface in his own domain with pitiless energy. He accused
him not only of having defrauded Celestin of his throne, but of having
poisoned him, and what was still worse, of heresy; and he sent orders
to his agent in Italy, William of Nogaret, to seize his sacred person.

Nogaret in conjunction with Sciarra Colonna the chief of the Ghibbeline
faction, gathered together a few soldiers and surprised Boniface at his
residence at Agnani. The pontiff supposed they intended to kill him. He
put the dalmatica on his shoulders and the crown on his head, and sat
like Papirius awaiting the blow. Colonna cried out to him to abdicate,
as he had driven Celestin to abdicate. Betrayed like Jesus Christ,
replied the old man, I will die his vicar![3]

But it was not their purpose to put him to death: no such merciful
end was to be his. They held him three days a prisoner, treating him
with a mockery of respect; and then the populace of Agnani, perceiving
that the Ghibbelines were but a handful, rose and delivered him from
his captors. But the unexampled outrage had overthrown his reason, and
he died a maniac. The terrible Philip had hounded his enemy into his
grave; but even there he did not leave him in peace, as we shall see.

The bishop of Ostia was chosen pope with the name of Benedict XI.
Philip demanded that the bull of excommunication be annulled, and
himself restored to full communion with the Church. Benedict complied;
and thus was completed this first triumph of the temporal over the
spiritual. Philip still claimed to be a true son of the Church; but he
had shaken off her authority and he now proceeded to put his foot on
her neck. It is to this degenerate grandson of a sainted king, that the
Church of Rome owes that day of humiliation which forms the title of
this paper.

Benedict XI. was as moribund as usage required; and in less than a
year he laid down his pontificate and his life together. There now
dawned upon Philip a scheme no less bold and sacriligious than that of
owning and possessing both pope and papacy. He interfered to prevent
an election till his own man could come to the fore; and for more
than a year the Church was without a head. Then having by bribery and
intimidation, obtained control of the sacred college, he made them
choose Bertrand de Goth, bishop of Bordeaux, who took the name of
Clement V. Popes, you observe, change their names when they put on the
tiara. This custom though ancient has not always existed: Saint Peter
for example did not change his.[4]

There was a secret bargain between Clement and Philip by which the
former was to pay the price of his elevation. There is discussion
whether it related to the removal of the Holy See or to the destruction
of the Templars. As Philip needed the pope’s aid in both these
enormities which have cast such a lurid glory or glare on his reign,
perhaps he bargained for both.

Clement V. after having been crowned at Lyons, established his seat at
Avignon on the left bank of the Rhone, and thus began the CAPTIVITY.
As it was followed by the _Great Schism_ or _Schism of the West_, more
than a century was to pass before the Church, always called Catholic,
Apostolic and _Roman_, was to be wholly reinstated in the Eternal City.

Philip’s old enemy had died demented, and in that collapse of
intellect, the last rites of the Church either had not been
administered or had proved fruitless. He had gone where Hamlet’s father
went, unhouseled unaneled, till his sins could be burned and purged
away; and a smart anathema in due form from that Church which rules
the dead and the living, might send him prone to the pit. Boniface
had canonised Philip’s grandfather, and that soul in purgatory had
thus become a saint in Heaven; and now Philip was invoking a rescript
of different import, to despatch his grandfather’s benefactor in the
other direction. Such are the possible vicissitudes of another life.

Philip instituted regular proceedings against the dead pope, accusing
him of every manner of impiety and wickedness, and Clement was forced
to give ear to it, but though Philip’s creature, he remembered the
throne he sat upon, and was loath to dishonor it by blasting the memory
of one of his predecessors; so he gained time: he heard testimony and
took counsel; and then he heard more testimony and took more counsel.
He whispered to Philip that if Boniface was the unhallowed wretch they
supposed, he was already damned, and they were losing their time; and
Philip finally let the matter drop.

It were well for the memory of these two potentates if the attempt
to dislodge Boniface from purgatory, were the greatest wrong they
undertook. We now come to one of the foulest crimes in history: one in
which the king was principal and the pope accessory.

In Paris, but in a quarter no longer fashionable and which therefore
you have not visited, is a congeries of shops where everything is sold
by the penny worth. It is called the Temple from the building that once
stood there. In the last century it served as a prison. Louis XVI. was
kept there before his execution. In London there is a Temple church;
and we hear of lawyers of the middle and inner temple. All these
sites take their name from having been occupied by the commanderies
or convents of the Knights-Templar an order of fighting monks founded
in the twelfth century at Jerusalem, to guard the Holy Sepulchre. As
monks they made vows of chastity and poverty; as soldiers, never to
decline combat at whatever odds. But as years rolled on they forgot one
of their vows: they became rich and riches made them haughty without
however letting down at all their soldierly discipline and valour. They
were respected and feared throughout Europe. The head of the order
called the Grand-master was, according to Voltaire, equal in dignity to
a king. Their chief commandery was the one in Paris on the spot where
needles are now sold by the paper, and thread by the skein; and it
formed a kind of imperium in imperio little to the taste of Philip IV.
But a still graver fault was their wealth. Philip had begun the quarrel
with Boniface by pocketing his tithes, and he sought an issue of the
same character with the knights. But in order to get their money it was
necessary to destroy them, or at least to destroy their organisation:
they were the best soldiers in France; and desperately would they
defend their persons and their pockets if the chance were afforded
them. So Philip used craft, the only weapon he wielded better than
they. He invited the Grand-master, Jacques Molay, to be god-father
to one of his children, and treated him as an equal. Never did the
standing of the order seem higher.

Suddenly at the dead of night, a band of Philip’s ruffians in numbers
to defy resistance, burst into the Temple, captured the knights and
threw them into prison; and Clement issued a bull abolishing the order.
But he was not allowed to stop there: Philip obliged him to appoint
an ecclesiastical commission to try the Templars. He accused them of
spitting upon the Cross, which was blasphemy, and of a still darker
crime, one so dark that he could name it only in a whisper, namely
_baphometry_. And what, you ask, is baphometry? The word had a dreadful
sound. The people were horror-stricken when told that the knights were
guilty of baphometry, and cried out away with them! Philip when asked
to explain, crossed himself and said that baphometry was the worship
of graven images, of horrid idols sculptured by the devil’s own hand;
and he produced those idols in evidence; and those idols are still to
be seen in European museums. Whether the devil was really the artist
has not been ascertained; the idols themselves are hideous enough to
justify the worst; but to the mere lay understanding they seem to be
nothing more than odd and ugly bits of bric-a-brac which the knights
may have kept as curiosities. They denied having committed either
blasphemy or baphometry, and were put to torture. Some of them suffered
in obdurate silence; others among whom was the Grand Master himself, to
win a respite from torment, confessed having worshipped bric-a-brac.
But a short relief brought back their fortitude: they retracted their
confession and defied the tyrant. But it was all the same whether
they confessed or denied: the putting in of the idols themselves as
testimony was conclusive and the knights were condemned.

The Church of Rome has always professed great horror of shedding human
blood; so the Templars were sentenced not to the block and the axe, but
to the stake, and fifty-nine of them were burned alive near the gate of
Saint Antoine: the rest were banished.

It is said that as the flames gathered around the Grand Master he
summoned the pope to meet him at the bar of God in forty days, and the
king in one year. They both came to time.

There is a mystery about the death of Philip. Some say his horse ran
away with him hunting, and crushed him against a tree; others that when
the year had rolled round, the spirit of Jacques Molay beckoned to him,
and he came.

In point of talents, Philip-the-fair was one of the greatest of
monarchs: the reconstruction of the parliaments, the States-General,
the removal of the Holy See, the destruction of the Templars, were the
work, good or bad, of no common head or hand.

Edward II. of England married Philip’s daughter, and Philip’s ability
and rapacity seemed to descend less to his three sons who succeeded
him one after the other on the throne of France, than to his English
grandson Edward III.

Boniface in his last ravings, had cursed Philip and his progeny; and
the sceptre soon departed from them. But Boniface being crazy, had
failed to put the malediction in due canonical form; and Time took
advantage of the irregularity to reverse it as follows:--All three
of Philip’s sons left daughters only. The male line of Philip having
thus run out, the Salic law came in play, and gave the crown to the
son of Philip’s brother Charles of Valois. That son was Philip VI. But
Philip-the-fair had married Jane queen of Navarre; and their eldest son
Louis X. inherited both the crown of France and that of Navarre. After
the death of Louis’s posthumous son who lived and reigned just five
days, and won a niche in history as John the first, Navarre not being
subject to the Salic law, fell to Louis’s daughter Jane who married the
Count of Evreux. From that marriage was descended Jane d’Albret queen
of Navarre who married a riotous scamp, Antony of Bourbon, descended
in direct male line from the youngest son of Saint Louis. The son of
Antony and Jane was Henry of Navarre, and while he was still young,
the House of Valois having been extinguished by the assassination of
Henry III., Henry of Navarre, Henry IV. became king of France. Thus did
Time lay the curse of Boniface; but it took two centuries and a half to
accomplish it.

If you will pardon further digression, I will say a word about those
names Bourbon and Valois which you meet so often in history:--In spite
of our notions about womens’ rights, we common folks are reconciled to
see the wife take the name of the husband, even when we suspect that it
is not he who is master of the house. Royalty has sometimes departed
from this wholesome rule:--Robert of Clermont the youngest son of Louis
IX., Saint Louis, married the heiress of the house of Bourbon. Instead
of calling his wife Madame de Clermont, he called himself Monsieur de
Bourbon; and they were the progenitors of the family which came to the
throne in the person of Henry IV. Henry’s right to the crown of France,
was through his father the riotous Antony, and to the crown of Navarre,
through his mother Jane who was not riotous but pious.

Another way in which surnames have been acquired to the blood royal,
is by the escheating of male fiefs to the crown by the extinction
of male heirs. Thus the estates of _Valois_ fell to the crown, and
were bestowed by Philip III. on his second son Charles brother of
Philip-the-fair. This Charles was the father of Philip VI. first king
of the house of Valois.

Strictly speaking these poor kings had no family names at all--that is
none in the sense that Smith and Brown are family names; and when Louis
XVI. was arraigned before those cut-throats of the Convention, and
called to answer to the name of Louis Capet, he refused, saying that
his name was Louis of France. And in the archives of the Convention, is
still to be found the inscription of a sum of francs expended to bury
the Widow Capet. Widow Capet was Marie Antoinette, Mary of Lorraine,
the descendant of Rudolph of Hapsburg, the daughter of a line of
emperors, the wife of Louis of Bourbon, the queen of France. Widow
Capet![5]

To return to the Captivity. On the death of Clement V. the cardinals
made an effort to rescue the pontificate from French domination, and
for two years there was no pope; but the French party prevailed, and
the bishop of Fréjus was chosen who took the name of John XXII. He
immediately confirmed the French ascendancy by appointing six new
French cardinals. It was during his reign that began the quarrel
between the Holy See and the Visconti a powerful Lombard family
from which were descended the later Valois kings, and from which
they derived their fatal claim to the Milanese. John XXII. not only
excommunicated Matteo Visconti the head of the family, but he added
an edict advertising him, his wife and children for sale as slaves.
There were no bids, because the Visconti were pugnacious and would not
have made good household servants. His son Marco beat the pope’s army
at Vavrio on the Adda, and drove him back to France. But he came not
bootless home like Bolingbroke. He had plundered Italy from end to end.
Though he did not succeed in turning the Visconti into cash, there were
found in his coffers after his death, twenty-five millions of florins
in gold, in jewels and in plate.

The next pope was Jacques Fournier, Benedict XII. and the next, Pierre
Roger, archbishop of Rouen, called Clement VI. The Holy See had now
been thirty years without a home of its own. It had resided as tenant
at Avignon, and paid rent to the Angevine Kings of Naples, called
Angevine from their founder Charles of Anjou brother of Saint Louis.
The Angevines were a disreputable set, and Queen Jane the heiress at
that period, was not the best of them. Clement VI. bought Avignon
of Jane for eighty thousand florins in gold which Voltaire says he
never paid. He made it up to her however, by a transaction in his own
line, to the understanding of which we must look a little into Jane’s
qualities and conduct. She was married four times, and neither time
did she make a good wife. Her first husband Andrew of Hungary, she
strangled; her second, Louis of Tarento, she poisoned; her third, James
of Aragon, perished nobody knows how; her fourth, Otho of Brunswick,
prudently kept away from her. At last, her cousin Charles of Durazzo
dethroned her, and served her as she had served her first husband--that
is choked her, and that was the end of Jane. Before this last
culmination, the pope had pardoned her sins. They were as scarlet, and
he made them white like snow; and when you reflect that the catalogue
embraced the assassination of at least two husbands, you will admit
that according to any reasonable tariff, the pontiff did not remain her
debtor.

It was during the reign of Clement VI. that the citizens of Rome, sick
of misrule, revolted and created Nicholas Rienzi tribune of the people,
and thus conjured up a ghost of the ancient republic. At Rome you are
still shown the house of Rienzi.

Like the rest, Clement played with his thunderbolts. He excommunicated
Waldemar king of Denmark for having made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land
without his permission, which shows how hazardous it was in those days,
to be pious on mere impulse and without due license from the Church.

Next came Innocent VI. and then Urban V. who was a Marseilles abbot.
Urban undertook to be a great pope, but the Captivity was no time
for great popes. Urban’s spiritual artillery seemed to have the same
disagreeable property of recoil as that of our old friend Boniface VIII.

Petrarch then lived, and though he was a citizen of Avignon, he
prayed night and morning for the rebuilding of the Roman pontificate.
Listening to him, Urban went to Italy to recover if possible the
patrimony of Saint Peter, or, if you insist, that of the Countess
Matilda. He was confronted by that chronic enemy of the papacy, the
Visconti. At that time the head of that house was one Bernabo who was
if anything a little less bland in his way than his predecessors. After
many high words, Urban lost his temper and let fly at Bernabo a major
excommunication cursing him in eating and drinking and sleeping and
in all the functions of life, and redoubling the anathema upon him
wherever he might fetch up in the life to come. Bernabo seized the
legate who brought the bull, and made him eat it--parchment, ribbon,
leaden seal and all. What sauce was allowed him with this strange
victual, and how he felt after supper, have not been handed down to us.
Not content with that, the impious ruffian sent Urban word that it was
he, Bernabo, who was pope in Italy, and emperor to boot; and that the
Almighty himself dared do nothing there without his consent.

On Urban’s return to Avignon, a fresh humiliation awaited him.
Peter-the-cruel king of Castile had an illegitimate brother, Henry of
Trastamara who undertook to dethrone him. Henry obtained the aid of
the famous French knight, Bertrand du Guesclin, and also of a band
of mercenary soldiers called Free Companions who were not always
distinguishable from free-booters. In their march toward Spain, they
encamped one night on the bank of the Rhone opposite Avignon, and sent
to the Holy Father praying that he would pardon their sins, bless their
enterprise and give them some money. Urban granted them absolution and
benediction; but he told them he had no money for them, and bid them be
gone. They demanded forty thousand crowns in gold as the price of their
departure. Urban launched at them a thunder-bolt as pregnant with
disaster as the one he had discharged at Bernabo. Du Guesclin himself
then sought an interview with his Holiness, and told him that he had
no control over those marauders except on the field of battle, and
that they were threatening to sack the papal palace. Urban, thoroughly
frightened, recalled his curses and renewed his benedictions; but as
his conscience would not allow him to take money out of the sacred
treasury to give to such miscreants, he laid a tax on the citizens of
Avignon, and they had to pay the sum demanded.

Gregory XI., nephew of Clement VI. was the next pope, and the last of
the Captivity. He secured Avignon from being again put to ransom by the
Free Companions by taking into his service a troop of them commanded by
an Englishman named Sir John Hawkwood.

The Florentines had encroached upon the States of the Church; and
Gregory, taking a leaf out of the book of John XXII., excommunicated
them and advertised them for sale as slaves; but the Florentines proved
to be no more merchantable than the Visconti.

Gregory went to Italy on the same errand as Urban V. and was no better
received. He made however a solemn entry into Rome, and was on the
point of being driven out, when he suddenly died there. Anybody may die
suddenly in Rome; but trite as the event reads, Gregory’s not dying
elsewhere brought about a state of things worse than the Captivity.

It was usage to hold the elective conclave in the town where the last
pope had died, and the cardinals assembled in Rome. Out of the sixteen,
eleven were Frenchmen. All the Avignon popes had been French either
native or by adoption; and the conclave was on the point of choosing
one more French pontiff when a Roman mob gathered around it and
threatened, if the cardinals did not elect an Italian, to “make their
heads redder than their hats”--that is to cut them off. Under this
threat the cardinals chose the archbishop of Bari, a Neapolitan who was
not even a cardinal. He took the name of Urban VI. and fixed his seat
at Rome.

As soon as the cardinals could levy Free-Companions enough to defend
them from the rabble, they met at Agnani the place where Boniface had
been seized by the ruffians of Philip, and repudiating the previous
election as having been made under duress, chose one of their number,
Robert of Geneva who succeeded to the throne of Avignon under the name
of Clement VII. Thus began what is called the Great Schism or Schism of
the West.

The Church has never questioned the authority of the Avignon popes
of the Captivity, but she has stigmatised those of the Schism as
antipopes. At that time however, at least half of the Roman Catholic
world cleaved to them. To the see of Avignon adhered France, Spain,
Scotland, Poland and Sicily; to the see of Rome, England, Germany and
Flanders. The Italians now acknowledged and now rejected the rule of
the Roman incumbent, as faction and civil strife swayed them.

On the death of Clement VII., the Avignon cardinals elected Peter de
Luna one of their number, who assumed the name of Benedict XIII.

No point of doctrine separated the two pontificates; they were kept
asunder by party spirit alone; and everybody began to be tired of the
scandal. An effort was made on both sides to put an end to it. The
disciples of Avignon extorted from Benedict a promise to abdicate
which he did not keep. Those of the Roman obedience also revolted and
appealed to the Council of Pisa which put forth an edict deposing
both popes and electing a new one. The other two refused to lay down
their respective tiaras; and then christians, and I fear sinners too,
beheld the spectacle of three popes at once, each fulminating bulls of
excommunication and anathema against his two rivals. The Council of
Constance then tried its hand. It seized John XXIII. the Roman pontiff
who had also promised to resign and had not kept his word, and put him
in prison. This so dishonored the name John that no pope has assumed
it since, though it was the favorite before. Faction however still
prevailed, and the two conclaves persisted in making separate elections.

Avignon still disputed preëminence with Rome; but after Benedict XIII.
the popes of the Schism do not seem to have resided there, and the
Schism itself became apparently more or less vagrant and interrupted.
Benedict’s successor a Spaniard named Munoz who called himself Clement
VIII. sold out his interest in the triple crown for a bishopric; and
the Schism slept. It was awakened again by the Council of Bàle which
undertook to depose the Roman pontiff Eugenius IV., on a charge of
heresy, and to set up in his place the strangest member of a strange
family--that of Savoy. The feudal chiefs of that house had been known
as Counts. Owing to their love of fighting and their success at it, the
Emperor had created them Dukes; and a scion of that pugnacious race now
reigns over Italy. Amadeus VIII. of Savoy, tired of fighting, turned
monk. With a few of his nobles he withdrew to a monastery where the
whole party made such progress in holiness, that the Council of Bale
raised Amadeus to the papacy with the title of Felix V., and scattered
bishoprics and other preferments among the rest. Eugenius mocked at the
Council and refused to quit, and for nine years more the Church was
convulsed by rival popes. Eugenius died clinging to the keys to the
last; and the Savoyard, weary of supra-mundane elevation, went back to
his monastery, leaving Nicholas V. who had succeeded Eugenius, sole
head of the Church. The Schism of the West was at an end: it had lasted
off and on within a year as long as the Captivity.

For more than a century, Avignon had been a seat of the papacy;
and when it ceased to be so it was still hallowed ground: secular
dominion would no longer take root there; and the Holy See remained
in possession and governed it. The Eternal City herself had been a
warning. During the paralysis of papal authority there, she had been a
prey to anarchy. The Orsini, the Colonnas and a score of minor brigands
had desolated her pleasant places, and decimated her people.

Avignon was not to be put to such a trial. The Church still governed
and order reigned. It is true that sometimes when the French kings
waxed recalcitrant, they would drive out the pope’s lieutenant and
seize the town; but they always repented them of the evil, and gave
back the sacred city unharmed.

At last one hundred years ago, those sans culottes of the revolution
dissolved that charm as they did many another.



The Second House of Burgundy


Froude in his history, calls the kings of Spain the house of Burgundy.
They were properly Hapsburgs and of the eldest branch. At the same time
they were descended from Mary of Burgundy; and it shows how deeply the
career of her ducal ancestors had impressed itself on the mind of the
historian, that he would fain continue the name beyond conventional
usage.

There were but four of those dukes, and they flourished a century only;
but they made changes which greatly moulded the polity of Europe.
England whose history is our history, allowed herself to be drawn into
the vortex. She allied herself with the House of Burgundy for the
insane purpose of enabling the Plantagenets to transfer the seat of
their empire from England to France, by which England would have been
reduced to the condition of a province. She escaped that humiliation,
but at the cost of her continental domain, the patrimony of Eleanor
of Guienne wife of the first Plantagenet king, which comprised nearly
one-third of France.

I propose to give some account of the foundation of that Second House
of Burgundy. My authority is chiefly but not wholly Barante who takes
for his motto: Scribitur ad narrandum non ad probandum, and is none the
less quoted by both English and French historians.

There were two Burgundies: the duchy still called Burgundy, and the
county better known as La Franche Comté. The people of both were
French; but while the duchy was a fief of France, the county was a fief
of the Empire. And there were two great lines of Burgundian dukes: the
first the Robertine descended from Robert king of France son of Hugh
Capet; and the second, the Valois line descended from Charles of Valois
brother of Philip-the-fair.

The last duke of the Robertine line was Philip de Rouvre, so called
from the castle of Rouvre where he was born near Dijon. He inherited
both Burgundies and Artois from his grandfather, his father having
been killed at the siege of Aiguillon. Now this Philip de Rouvre, like
some of my readers, is an interesting personage only by the woman he
married; and to his wife rather than to him I ask your attention.

She was Margaret daughter of Louis de Mâle, count of Flanders, lord
of Ghent, of Bruges, of Ypres and of other municipalities of the Low
Countries. Margaret was his only child and heir. It was she who was
destined to bring to the House of Burgundy, those first acquisitions
in the Netherlands which were to draw the rest after them, and make the
Spanish Hapsburgs counts of Flanders, of La Franche Comté, of Holland,
of Hainault; dukes of Brabant, lords of Ghent, etc., an accumulation of
titles by no means empty, such as the world had never seen before. In a
word, Margaret of Flanders was to lay the foundation of the Belgic wing
of the empire of Charles-the-fifth.

Margaret was very young when she married Philip de Rouvre, and not
long after their espousals Philip died of the plague, leaving Margaret
childless; and the great Robertine line which had worn the ducal
coronet three centuries, was ended. How then was this childless widow
to fulfil the destiny we have marked out for her?

We will leave her to ponder that problem, and take up our story at
another point.

John of Valois king of France was called John II., though you have to
look with a microscope into French history, to discover John I. No
chapter bears his name at the head of it. (v. Captivity, page 62.) John
II. was called John-the-good for no reason that history has explained.
If he ever did anything that was good, it has shared the fate of the
men who lived before Agamemnon. He was not even a good soldier for a
king, though very pugnacious. His idea of military strategy was to
shut down his visor, couch his lance and spur into the thickest of the
fight.

In following up these tactics at the battle of Poictiers, he was
knocked off his horse. He could not rise for the weight of his armor;
so his attendants set him up on end, and he instantly began to lay
about him again, on foot, with his accustomed fury. His eldest son
the dauphin, seeing that the battle was lost, turned on his heel and
ran away; and not only lived to fight another day but to rule France
so well that he gained the name of Charles-the-wise. Not so Charles’
youngest brother Philip a boy of sixteen. He stood by his sire to the
end; and as the enemy pressed in now on this side and now on that, he
would cry out: Look out father, on the right! look out father on the
left! and would throw himself in front, and play at cut and thrust like
a gladiator.

But they might better have followed the example of the dauphin and run
away; for they were soon borne to the ground and carried off prisoners
to England. There they were graciously received by Edward III. and
queen Philippa both of whom were related to their prisoners. Indeed
John and Philippa were first cousins, both grandchildren of Charles of
Valois.

After the battle of Poictiers, John gave to the brave boy who had
stood by him, the name of Philip-the-bold; and a touch of that quality
in England, confirmed the title. At dinner one day the cup-bearer
poured out wine to Edward before he did to John. This was a double
breach of etiquette: John was not only a guest, but he was the feudal
superior, Edward owing him homage as duke of Aquitaine. Philip was so
indignant at this slight to his father, that he jumped up and boxed the
cup-bearer’s ears. Thou art indeed Philip-the-bold! exclaimed Edward
more amused than vexed.

But the appellation was premature. Philip grew to be as prudent as he
was brave. On the whole he resembled his brother Charles-the-wise more
than he did his father the fighting John.

Philip was his father’s idol, and this idolatry was of grave portent to
France. Though John had three older sons, he would have left to Philip
the crown of France itself if the laws of the realm had permitted; but
this being impossible he did the next worst thing.

At the death of Philip de Rouvre there was strife for the Robertine
inheritance. Artois and La Franche Comté fell to Margaret of France
daughter of Philip V. We shall meet this lady again. The duchy of
Burgundy was claimed by king John and by Charles-the-bad, king of
Navarre, both descended from the Robertines through females. On this
footing the claim of Charles was the best; but John backed up his by
pleading that Burgundy was a male fief, and that the male line being
extinct, the duchy escheated to him as king of France. The only answer
to this logic was the ultima ratio regum; but Charles-the-bad’s badness
had so alienated his friends and allies, that he was in no condition
for that species of arbitrement; so the bad claim of John-the-good
prevailed over the good claim of Charles-the-bad, and the duchy of
Burgundy was united to the crown.

It was a priceless acquisition: every dictate of prudence, of policy,
of patriotism demanded that it should be sacredly kept: it was
immediately thrown away by an act of fatuity which was the climax of
the bad reign of John-the-good. John issued a patent creating his
beloved Philip Duke of Burgundy, and ceding the duchy to him and to his
heirs forever. Thus was founded in the person of Philip-the-bold, the
famous second House of Burgundy.

We left a page or two ago, Margaret of Flanders duchess dowager of
Burgundy, widowed and childless. She was still young, and if not
quite handsome, any short-coming in that respect was made up by the
provinces that were to fall to her from her father the Count Louis;
and there came suitors a-plenty to offer consolation to her bereaved
heart. Distinguished among these consolers were first, Edmund Langley
fifth son of Edward III.; second, Philip of Valois the new duke of
Burgundy. Edmund seemed to have the lead. He found a good ally in his
mother Philippa who was herself half Valois as we have seen; but her
heart was English: she hated her French cousins, and now put forth
all her energy to win away from them this rich prize. She pleaded
so well with count Louis that he consented to give his daughter to
Edmund. But there was another woman who had something to say, namely
Margaret of France the lady I had the honor of introducing to you a
few moments ago. She was the mother of count Louis and grandmother of
the young widow who was named after her. She was thoroughly French and
hated her English cousins as cordially as Philippa hated her French
ones; and she declared that not if she could prevent it, should her
granddaughter marry that Plantagenet, that Cockney. She and her son
held a stormy interview. Louis was long recalcitrant; but she finally
used an argument to which he listened. She was in her own right
countess of Artois and of La Franche Comté, and she threatened to cede
those provinces to the crown, so that neither he nor his should ever
possess one rood of them. Now Louis was in the prime of life and hoped
to survive his mother, and to enjoy Artois and La Franche Comté with
the rest of his princely inheritance, and there was nothing to do but
to yield. He took back his word to Edmund, and gave it to Philip.
But there was still another personage to consult. Edmund, Philip
and Margaret were all related and not very remotely: they were all
three great-great-grand children of Philip III. Canon law forbade the
marriage of relations up to the seventh degree; and as nobody knew very
well where the seventh degree was, the Church had simplified matters
by declaring it to mean any relationship that could be traced. A papal
dispensation was therefore necessary; and the case was referred to
Urban V. who sat upon the throne of Avignon: it was for him to say in
favor of which aspirant he would suspend the canon.

Some of you may think they ought have asked Margaret herself which of
her admirers she loved best. The chronicles intimate that like a devout
widow she was ready to take thankfully whatever husband the Holy Father
should choose for her. Urban V. was a Frenchman, and it did not take
him long to decide in favor of the French suitor; and in June 1369,
Philip-the-bold and Margaret of Flanders were married at Ghent.

That no kind heart may be troubled about Edmund Langley, I will add
that that unsuccessful swain went and manfully offered himself to
a pretty Spanish girl, natural daughter of Peter-the-cruel; and a
descendant of that loving pair sits at this moment on the throne of
England.

Philip and Margaret had got as far as Bruges on their wedding tour when
they were out of money, and it seems their credit was so poor that
they could borrow none without security; so they had to pawn all their
jewels to defray their way back to Paris.[6]

The bride and groom after a short stay at Paris, refitted the castle of
Rouvre the birthplace and residence of Margaret’s first husband, the
last of the Robertines. Behold then dame Margaret once more mistress
of Rouvre, wedded to a second Philip, and a second time duchess of
Burgundy. She could now solve the problem; and in pursuance of that
worthy end, two years after her marriage, she brought forth a son. It
was a wondrous infant: nothing short of the pope himself would do for
its godfather; so that Gregory XI. successor of Urban, stood by proxy
at the font, and called the boy’s name John; and as he grew up in the
fear of neither God nor man, he become known as John-the-fearless.

John-the-good’s badness was ended; and his son Charles V. called the
Wise, reigned. He was as unlike his foolish and fighting sire as
possible. He was probably brave like the rest of his race, though he
disclaimed any such virtue, and ran away at Poictiers; but he was
passed master in the school of diplomacy.

The Plantagenets had inherited, as we have said, nearly one-third of
France; and they coveted the rest. This covetousness was backed up by
the English people who were ignorant enough not to see that they were
fighting to degrade the crown of England to a mere apanage of the crown
of France.

So long as the reign of the incapable John lasted, Edward III.
had had his own way; but the prudence and adroitness of Charles,
worked a change. Seconded by his brother Philip and by his constable
Du Guesclin, he took without a battle, town after town, castle
after castle, till Edward declared that the most formidable of his
enemies was the one who did not fight. This new style of warfare was
illustrated by the capture of La Rochelle. The castle was held by an
English garrison, and to hold the castle was to hold the town. One day
the chief magistrate asked the English commander to dinner. While at
table, a forged despatch was brought to the Englishman. It was an order
to march his garrison into the public square for a review. He had taken
wine enough to be confident of his luck, so he obeyed the order. The
townsmen who were watching for their chance, seized the castle and the
garrison shut out of their stronghold and outnumbered, surrendered.

As a rule the Plantagenets waged these wars with a ferocity which
contributed to their failure. But they were not Englishmen; and it
is strange that English historians should accept their misdeeds as
one element of national glory. Green says they were “English to the
core.” Well, there was not one whole drop of insular blood in their
veins: there was, to be sure, a fraction of a drop coming from Matilda
daughter of the Malcolm of Macbeth and grandmother of the first
Plantagenet king; and that was all. They were French Spaniards, and
their pedigree was even more enriched with Moorish blood than with
English.[7]

But there were some honorable exceptions to their usual behavior. The
duke of Gloucester youngest son of Edward III. was besieging Troyes. A
French knight named Micaille sent a challenge to any English knight
to fight with him for the love of his sweetheart. These by-fights were
often to settle precedence of beauty between respective sweethearts.
A knight no sooner fell in love than he went swaggering about daring
every other knight in love or out, to fight; and these combats were
often mortal. An Englishman named Fitzwalter accepted the challenge.
The lists were held in the English camp. Gloucester who was so learned
on the subject of these duels that he wrote a treatise on them which
still exists, laid down the rule that the lance should be addressed
either to the shield or the helmet and not elsewhere. The Englishman’s
horse was unruly and disturbed his aim, so that he took his adversary
in the thigh, and inflicted an ugly wound. The duke pronounced the
blow a foul one, and adjudged the victory to the Frenchman who had
splintered his lance duly and truly against the buckler of his
opponent. English surgeons dressed his wound, and English soldiers
carried him back with honor to the French garrison.

Charles V. married Jane of Bourbon a princess of that youngest branch
of the Capetiens which finally came to the throne. His nobles had made
an earnest effort to have him instead of his brother Philip, marry
Margaret of Flanders. Had he done so, Flanders, Artois and La Franche
Comté would have fallen early to the French crown; and the history of
the Valois dukes might have been as uninteresting as that of their
predecessors the Robertines.

It shows of how little account the Bourbons were at that time, that
the king’s marriage was looked upon as a sort of misalliance; and the
duke of Bourbon Queen Jane’s brother was not admitted to a share in the
government because his estates were not considered ample enough.

Charles-the-wise died after a reign of sixteen years during which
he had found a remedy for all the misrule of his father except the
alienation of Burgundy: that was beyond cure; but as Philip was always
true to his brother and to France, it was not yet that the evil was
apparent.

Charles was succeeded by his son Charles VI. who was but eleven
years old; and duke Philip became regent. Philip’s two brothers were
nominally joined with him in the regency; but they were unworthy
scions of royalty, the one intent only on filling his pockets, the
other on filling his belly; so that in effect the whole power rested
with Philip. The duke of Bourbon the young king’s uncle again sought
a share in the government, and was again denied. Such at the close of
the fourteenth century, were the ancestors of Louis XIV. haughtiest of
monarchs.

Duke Philip led the young monarch to Rheims to be crowned. He was to
be knighted first, so the boy in obedience to the law of chivalry, sat
up all night in the cathedral, watching his arms, ready to meet face to
face the caitiff who should attempt to steal them. In the morning the
sword Joyeuse, sword of Charlemagne, was girded to his loins. His uncle
the duke of Anjou bestowed the accolade and pronounced him a belted
knight. The archbishop of Rheims poured on his head oil from the sacred
vase a dove had brought to Saint Rémi for the baptism of Clovis, and
pronounced him an anointed king.

The attention of Philip was soon called to the affairs of his
father-in-law Count Louis. Some years before, a brewer of Ghent named
Jacob Van Artevelde had headed a sedition and erected himself into
a sort of tribune of the people. Queen Philippa who was by birth a
Fleming and liked to meddle with Flemish business, was his patron. Like
a true politician she had deigned to stand godmother to the brewer’s
son, and to have him named Philip after herself. The father Jacob Van
Artevelde like his cotemporary Rienzi, was put to death by the populace
he had sought to befriend; and this son now a man grown, was residing
at Ghent a prosperous gentleman.

Philip Van Artevelde has been much apotheosised by English poets and
dramatists: sober history hardly bears out the deification. Under
a tranquil exterior he hid an eager and ruthless ambition which was
only waiting its opportunity; and that opportunity was at hand. The
inhabitants of Bruges had obtained from Count Louis permission to cut
a canal to the Scheldt so as to go to sea that way. The citizens of
Ghent remonstrated saying that themselves only had a right to go to sea
by the Scheldt. The remonstrance proving fruitless they fitted out a
band of ruffians who slew the men digging the canal. Count Louis sent a
messenger to Ghent demanding reparation: they killed the messenger.

Thus far the case was not beyond adjustment: there were more men
to dig canals; and the count had more messengers; but the Ghenters
incontinently went to a length which put them out of the pale of
forgiveness. Count Louis had just finished the beautiful castle of
Vandelhem. All the resources of architecture and of art had been
lavished upon it. It was his boast, his pride, his bawble. He confessed
that he prized it beyond all else on earth. The Ghenters broke into
Vandelhem and left it a ruin. War was inevitable.

The head mischief maker of Ghent was Peter Dubois called by the Dutch,
Vandenbosche. He recalled to Van Artevelde the noble career of his
father, and told him that the prestige of his name was all that was
needed for the success of the revolt. He found a willing listener, but
misled by the gentle manners of Van Artevelde, he expressed a fear that
he might not be equal to the rough work, and dwelt on the necessity
of showing no mercy to the Brugian faction. Van Artevelde assured him
that if blood was all there should flow enough of it; and the two
conspirators having come to an understanding, levied their troops.

Van Artevelde to get his hand in, cut the heads off of twelve burgesses
of Ghent who had taken part against his father, and applied the same
discipline to the syndic of the weavers who was in favor of law and
order. Count Louis not to be outdone in barbarity, took the town of
Grammont which favored the insurgents, and put to the sword men women
and children. The bishop of Liége and the duke of Brabant interfered,
and a conference was held. Two deputies of Ghent met two deputies
of the count; and preliminaries were adjusted. When the Ghentian
pacificators returned, Dubois and Van Artevelde met them at the
town-hall. How dare you treat for peace! cried Dubois, and he ran his
man through with his dagger, while Van Artevelde despatched the other.

The two chieftains now resolved on a master stroke, the capture of
Bruges. Count Louis hastened to intercept them. His force was superior
to theirs; but Van Artevelde made a stirring speech to his men showing
them that victory was their only chance even for life. He seized
a convent of monks and compelled them to confess the soldiers and
administer the communion, and thus prepare them to fight to the death.
They won the obstinate battle which followed and took Bruges. The
count fled through the town, the enemy at his heels. He dodged down an
obscure street and into an obscure lodging where a woman a true Brugian
who hated the Ghenters, put him to bed in the garret with her children
till the pursuit was over.

The count appealed for aid to his son-in-law duke Philip. The latter
gentleman was not well pleased to see his wife’s patrimony wasted
by brewers of beer, so he levied an army in France and marched into
Flanders. The king who was now fourteen and whose blood was on fire at
the sound of a trumpet, insisted on accompanying the expedition. They
met the insurgents at Rosebeke near Ypres. Van Artevelde and Dubois
flushed with their previous success, were confident of victory. Van
Artevelde himself issued the order that no quarter be given. Slay every
Frenchman, cried he, except the young king! Bring him to Ghent and we
will teach him to speak Flemish.

But they had left out of their reckoning one factor which perhaps
oftener than any other determines the fate of battle. Duke Philip
though himself a good captain, was prudent enough not to trust to his
own soldiership when better was at hand. He had put his army under the
command of Oliver de Clisson constable of France, the worthy successor
of Du Guesclin. The stubborn courage of the Netherlanders was of no
avail against the skill with which De Clisson directed his legions; and
at the close of a bloody day the men of Ghent were routed.

At night-fall as the king, the duke, the count and the constable were
walking over the field of battle, picking their way among the slain,
a dying soldier raised his arm and pointed to a heap of dead bodies
close by. They dragged aside alternate Frenchman and Fleming till they
came to all that remained of Philip Van Artevelde. He had died like
a soldier where the fight was the hottest. Dubois escaped wounded to
England.

Charles-the-wise when dying had counselled his brother of Burgundy
to marry the young king to a German princess in order to strengthen
alliance with the Empire. Stephen duke of Bavaria had a daughter
named Isabella; and the duchess Margaret together with her friend and
gossip the duchess of Brabant resolved to make the match. Isabella
was fourteen. She was handsome enough, but she was an uncouth tomboy
and dressed in a style that was anything but French. The duchess of
Brabant took her in hand, and by much discipline of her own seconded by
a French dancing-master and a French dressmaker, succeeded in breaking
this romping Rhinelander into some semblance of polite behavior. She
was presented to the king who was now seventeen. She knelt at his
feet with perfect grace: he raised her up and made a common-place
remark, and she said just the right thing in reply. She had been made
to rehearse the whole scene beforehand, in the king’s absence. He was
charmed with her beauty and her manners, and he fell in love with her
and married her. She turned out to be a veritable Messalina and did
what she could to add to the misfortunes of France.

Another notable marriage a year later, that is in 1387, was that of the
king’s brother Louis duke of Orleans with his cousin Valentina daughter
of Galeazzo Visconti lord of Milan. The Visconti were rich, and a
million of florins went to the dowry of Valentina. This marriage too
brought disaster a century later when the great-grandson of Louis and
Valentina, in attempting to recover the patrimony of the Visconti, was
led captive to Madrid.

The constable De Clisson, the victor of Rosebeke, had a bitter enemy
in John de Montfort duke of Brittany. One night in Paris, De Clisson
returning from an entertainment given by Louis and Valentina, was
suddenly attacked and knocked senseless into the doorway of a baker’s
shop. The baker dragged him in and sent for a surgeon. The king
himself who was fond of the constable, came to see him. The blow was
not fatal; and De Clisson had recognised his assailant. It was a well
known myrmidon of the duke of Brittany. The king vowed vengeance. His
uncle of Burgundy tried to pacify him and to persuade him to leave the
matter to him; but the king was not to be pacified; and duke Philip was
obliged to follow him into Brittany with an armed force.

It was the first week in August, and the heat was intense. The king in
order to suffer less from the dust, was riding separate from the rest.
Suddenly he wheeled his horse and crying out Death to the traitors!
charged upon the nearest of his followers. They all scattered till one
of them, a tall trooper, pounced on him from behind and pinioned him.
He was stark mad; and during the rest of his long and calamitous reign
his reason returned only at intervals.

The king’s malady arrested the expedition against De Montfort; and De
Clisson who recovered from his wound, was left to be his own avenger.
He was not slack about it; and if he was not so powerful as his
adversary, he was the better soldier, so between them both they stirred
up a civil war of such dimensions, that the duke of Burgundy who was
again regent was obliged to interfere. Dame Margaret his duchess was
related to the Montforts, so as he valued peace at his own fire-side he
thought best to proceed with caution. He sent to his cousin of Brittany
a few puncheons of the finest Burgundy wine, and followed himself with
a retenue of archers and men-at-arms. De Montfort relished the wine
more than he did the visitors: the latter looked suspiciously like an
armament, and he promised to keep the peace.

The rest reads like romance and yet is history. De Clisson received
from the duke of Brittany, from the man who had plotted his
assassination, a message offering reconciliation, and inviting him to
a personal interview. The constable was not to be caught with chaff.
He answered that he would come provided the duke’s eldest son was put
in his hands as a hostage. To his astonishment the boy, the heir of
the Montforts, was sent to him. The meeting took place, and John de
Montfort and Oliver de Clisson were friends ever after; and years later
when the duke went to Paris to marry this boy to the king’s daughter,
he left de Clisson in charge of his domains and his household.

These were the days of the _Great Schism_, the days of two rival popes
Urban VI. and Clement VII. and the division of Christendom into two
factions, the Urbanists and the Clementists. (See Captivity of Babylon.)

The king had displayed some excellent and even brilliant qualities;
and his sudden insanity drew forth expressions of sympathy from all
parts of Europe. As to its cause opinions differed. The clergy of
England and Flanders who were Urbanists, preached that it was because
the king upheld the schismatic pope of Avignon; the clergy of France
and Spain who were Clementists, that it was because the king had not
invaded Italy and deposed the schismatic pope of Rome. The laity were
convinced that the king was bewitched, and they even pointed out the
wicked persons who had done it. Among these was the duchess Valentina
whom the king regarded with brotherly affection. The evidence against
her was that she was an Italian: were not all the Italians sorcerers
and necromancers? Hermits and other holy men far and near were summoned
to exorcise the king and cast the devil out of him. One cross-grained
philosopher, half ecclesiastic half physician, with a scepticism that
did not belong to the fourteenth century, maintained that Charles
was neither bewitched nor bedevilled; that the schism had nothing to
do with it; that the clergy were a pack of fools and the people brute
beasts; that it was simply a case of mental breaking-down from over
excitement and dissipation. The Church had received such rough handling
from Philip-the-fair, that it dared not interfere; and this sciolist
was left to flaunt his unbelief in the faces of the devout.

The duke of Burgundy’s oldest son John, god-son of the pope, was now
twenty-five. He was small of stature but well knit and vigorous and
a good soldier. Burning for glory he led a detachment of French and
Flemings to the aid of the king of Hungary against the Turk Bajazet.
They were successful in a skirmish and took some prisoners. To these
they offered the choice either to turn Christians or to be slain. A
French monk was sent who exhorted them long and earnestly; but they did
not understand French, and consequently gave no evidence of conviction
and conversion: they were put to death accordingly. The battle of
Nicopolis followed, where the Christians were totally defeated. John
and some of his comrades were brought before Bajazet who reminded them
of their cruelty to their own prisoners, and ordered the heads to be
struck off of all except John and one or two others for whose ransom he
expected large sums. Legend says that a soothsayer warned Bajazet not
to kill John of Burgundy; that that Frankish prince was destined to be
more fatal to his brother misbelievers than all the Turks in Asia Minor.

The duke when he heard of his son’s captivity, laid a tax on his
dominions and sent the required ransom to Bajazet who dismissed John
with the remark that whenever he chose to come again on the same
errand, he might count on the same welcome.

Good and pious churchmen all over Europe had tried in vain to put an
end to the strife between two rival pontiffs who missed no occasion to
curse each other in all those awful formulas provided for the heretical
and reprobate; and the secular powers had at last taken the matter up.

The king had had a long season of being rational; and the duke of
Burgundy thought it a favorable time for a conference between the king
and the emperor on the state of the schism. The duke as a Frenchman,
leaned toward the see of Avignon, but he kept it to himself because
Dame Margaret being a Fleming, was of the other persuasion. Rheims the
capital of Champagne was chosen as the place of meeting. It was a bad
choice as we shall see.

Wenceslas emperor of Germany was a reformer who believed in the high
hand and the out-stretched arm. On one occasion suspecting the fidelity
of his wife, he summoned her spiritual director, and commanded him to
divulge what he had heard from her lips at the confessional. The priest
refused. The emperor ordered him sewed up in a sack and thrown into
the Moldau; and the empress had to look for another confessor. But the
emperor had one failing: he was by spells convivial, and then he was
sometimes as delirious as the king of France himself.

It was in the autumn of 1397 that these two high consulting parties
arrived at Rheims. The emperor was followed by his landgraves, his
margraves, his burgraves and other grave gentlemen who talked German
together so gravely that you would have sworn they understood each
other. The king escorted by the duke of Burgundy, came with equal
splendor. Charles was beginning to show symptoms of returning wildness;
but that only made him all the more bent on the interview. Wenceslas
on his part, had so strengthened his mind with the delicious wines of
Champagne that he was ready to deal with a score of schisms.

They met, they conferred, they argued, they disputed, they quarrelled,
they shouted. They called each other schismatics, heretics, traitors,
liars, thieves, assassins, till their respective attendants were fain
to bear them bodily forth, the one raving drunk, the other raving crazy.

The imperial diet was so little satisfied with this reformer’s success
at the conference, that they passed upon him a sentence of deposition.
He appealed from the sentence; and it was agreed that the duke of
Burgundy and the French Council of State should arbitrate. Wenceslas
sent as his advocate John of Moravia the most learned doctor of laws
in Europe, who delivered before the duke and council a speech several
hours long in latin of which they understood not one word. The diet on
its side, sent Stephen of Bavaria the queen’s father who took with him
an adroit pettifogging lawyer who spoke French. It was natural that the
arbitrators should lean toward the pleadings they comprehended, and
they gave in their adherence to the action of the diet. Rupert, count
Palatine was elected emperor in the place of Wenceslas.

The evil genius of France at this time, was the king’s brother Louis of
Orleans the husband of Valentina. He was showy, accomplished and for a
nobleman learned, but he was unprincipled. While squandering money in
every extravagance he was in debt for the necessaries of life; and woe
to the tradesman who dared present his bill! One day his horses ran
away with him and nearly threw him into the Seine. In the imminent
peril he made a vow to the Virgin that he would pay his debts. He
called his creditors together, and after a touching address in which he
ascribed the glory of his rescue to the Queen of Heaven, he dismissed
them without their money.

His uncle of Burgundy had excluded him from the council of State; and
he put forth all his resources which were considerable, to embarrass
the public business. He protested against the approval of the diet,
and raised fifteen hundred soldiers and marched or pretended to march
to the aid of the fallen emperor. He threatened to go to deliver the
pope who was held in a sort of honorable captivity in his palace at
Avignon. During the absence of the duke in Flanders, Louis and his
compeer in evil, Queen Isabella, seized the reins of government and
filled Paris with their satellites. The duke came back with an armed
force and bloodshed was threatened; but the two dukes came to a truce
and appeared in the streets, riding side by side, to the relief of
well-disposed people.

Duke Philip soon returned to Flanders, and while in apparent health
he was attacked by a disease then prevalent and which was probably
typhoid fever, and died in his castle of Hal, in April 1404, in his
seventy-third year. Philip-the-bold was the first and best of the
Valois dukes of Burgundy. If the French people were not happy under his
administration, it was that happiness could not be their lot. Their
country was desolated by the English wars, and war was uppermost in
their minds. Even in intervals of peace they would have no peace; and
military games not always bloodless were the amusement of all classes.
On one occasion a challenge was received from the English pale, that
seven French knights should meet seven English to fight à outrance,
which means mortal combat. The challenge was accepted. The most noted
of the French seven was Tanneguy du Châtel whom we shall meet again in
a scene of bloodshed more important. (See Two Jaquelines.) The English
knights had planned that at the onset, two of them at once should
attack Du Châtel, and he done for they thought to have an easy bargain
of the rest. This would of course leave for a moment one of the French
champions without an antagonist, and they arranged that this floating
warrior should be one they feared the least. This was an awkward
gentleman from Champagne, of no great renown, who had been let into the
French seven for his ponderous strength. When the signal was given,
this unwieldy knight for want of something better, threw himself upon
the stoutest of the English seven, and with a single blow laid him
dead at his feet. The English could not overcome this disadvantage and
were worsted. It is but just to say that the French chroniclers explain
differently the defeat of the English. The French seven, before the
fight, had heard mass and received the communion, while the English had
neglected that precaution.

The king’s mental disorder grew worse. The worthless queen abandoned
him on the plea that she was afraid of him, and he was often shamefully
neglected. While the whole court was drinking the choicest wines
of Burgundy and Bordeaux, the king was served with such abominable
piquette, that he was often doubled up with the colic. It is true he
was at times stubborn and violent. On one occasion he refused to wash
his face and put on clean linen. Three stout fellows sprang in upon him
and by main strength washed him and changed him.

The opinion that he was possessed was nearly universal, and means of
casting out the evil spirit were not omitted. Three famous exorcists, a
priest, a locksmith and a woman who had had much success in that branch
of therapeutics, came to cure him. They took him out into a grove, and
seated him in a magic chair. They planted around him twelve stakes to
each of which was attached a chain, every seventh link of silver. Then
they announced that twelve persons of repute must be fastened to the
stakes by the neck. Such was the devotion to the monarch that knights,
magistrates, burgesses all pressed to offer themselves. Twelve were
chosen and with their faces toward the king were chained not tight
enough to choke them but enough to give them a gruesome expression
which would now be called weird. The incantation was in full blast when
one of the twelve losing either faith or breath crossed himself. This
broke the spell, and the king lapsed into a worse frenzy than ever.

In March 1405, Margaret countess of Flanders, double duchess dowager of
Burgundy died, having survived her second Philip but eleven months. She
seems to have been every way reputable and worthy except that she was
imperious and domineering. Philip either from unswerving affection or
because he knew what would be his portion at home if he did not behave,
was always true to her, a virtue not much in vogue in those days. The
contention between him and his nephew of Orleans, was fully shared by
their wives; and the lofty airs of the Flemish dame were not put up
with submissively by the high-spirited Italian: indeed those two august
ladies at times so far forgot their augustness as to call each other
names.

John-the-fearless was now duke of Burgundy and count of Flanders.
In the French peerage, Burgundy was held to outrank Orleans, and
John claimed to be first peer of the realm. His claim did not pass
undisputed: Louis of Orleans was the king’s brother and in default of
the king’s sons, might become king himself; and bitter as had been the
feud between him and his uncle, that between him and his cousin, was so
much more so that it was fated to destroy them both.

John and Louis mustered their respective forces and marched to Paris.
The old duke of Berri uncle to both and to the king, brought about
a truce. Then as troops were ready for any mischief, Louis proposed
to lead their joint levies against the English provinces; and John
consented in hopes that some honest Cockney or Gascon might knock him
on the head.

A girl who was crazy and therefore considered inspired, told Louis
that the expedition would succeed provided he kissed the head of Saint
Denis before setting out. He was proceeding to the abbey of Saint
Denis for that purpose when the canons of Notre Dame informed him
that it was they who possessed the true head of the saint, and that
the other was a fraud. The monks of the abbey retorted the charge of
imposture; the canons answered back; and these two reverend bodies
opened upon each other such a fire of abuse and recrimination that the
king who happened to be rational, imposed silence on them both. In the
uncertainty, Louis must have kissed the wrong head, for the expedition
failed. It was now duke John’s turn; he made an attack upon Calais and
was repulsed. On his return the quarrel between him and Louis broke out
more fiercely than ever. Once more did their uncle of Berri interpose
and bring them to partake of the communion together; but it was too
late, the feud was mortal.

Louis was intimate with the queen and passed much of his time in her
company. One night when he was supping with her, the message came that
the king wished to see him. He mounted his mule and escorted by a few
servants carrying torches, took his way toward the king’s lodgings.
Suddenly he was attacked by armed men. Thinking there was some mistake
he cried out I am the duke of Orleans! You are the man we want, was the
response, and they struck him down and left him dead.

Even at that time when acts of violence were so common, the murder
of the king’s brother in the streets of the capital, gave a shock to
the court; and vigorous search was made for the assassins. Suspicion
fell at first on the lord of Canny whose wife Louis had misled; but it
was soon shown that Canny was many leagues away that night. Evidence
at last pressed so close around John of Burgundy that he confessed
the deed. He laid the blame to the devil who he said had put him up
to it. At the same time he proclaimed the duke of Orleans a public
enemy deservedly slain. He employed a Franciscan named John Petit
renowned for his eloquence, to justify the act. The monk in an oration
which has come down to us, and in which dates, events, personages,
customs, creeds, epochs are jumbled together in matchless confusion,
demonstrated that the taking off of Louis de Valois was the most
righteous taking off since the day when Samuel hewed Agag to pieces
before the Lord in Gilgal.

Felon as he was, John was still popular with the Parisiens. He had
a good deal of rough talent and many of the arts of the politician.
Moreover he paid his debts, a rare virtue for a prince of the blood
of those days. His father had died owing his butcher and his grocer
and his tailor, and John had not hesitated to sell the furniture of
his town palace the hotel Artois, to pay these tradesmen. They had not
forgotten how his rival had served them on that solemn occasion when
all the glory was ascribed to Our Lady; and they were not to blame if
they preferred the man who paid to the man who did not.

Duke John married Margaret of Bavaria, and her brother William, Count
of Hainault, married John’s sister Margaret. It was decreed that no
Margaret should marry without bringing increased power to the house
of Burgundy; and it was the nuptials of these two Margarets that
made possible some years later, the violence and fraud which wrested
Holland, Zealand, Hainault and other provinces from John’s niece
Jaqueline, sole issue of the last named marriage. (See Two Jaquelines).

John’s wife Margaret had another brother, John of Bavaria, bishop of
Liége, called John-the-pitiless, a riotous prelate and a cruel, whose
riotings and whose cruelties were to be one more element of strength
to the dukes of Burgundy. The town of Liége on the river Meuse, was a
fief of the Empire, but was under ecclesiastical government. The chief
magistrate was a bishop. The reigning diocesan at this time, was that
disreputable brother-in-law of John-the-fearless. The inhabitants of
Liége weary of his unclerical behavior, had driven him out of their
territory. He besought his brother of Burgundy to reinstate him; and
John, with an eye to acquiring that sort of predominance over both
diocese and diocesan, which is now-a-days called a protectorate, levied
his troops. The Liégeois prepared to receive him. The two armies met at
Hasbain. The duke’s force was small but well disciplined. The Liégeois
aided by five hundred English archers were the stronger, and so proud a
front did they present, that the duke’s lieutenants warned him of the
risk of a general engagement. What, cried he, have I come as far as
this to quail before a rabble of tinkers and tailors! and he gave the
signal for combat.

There is no doubt that John-the-fearless was in his element on the
field of battle. He did not, as did his grandfather John-the-good,
mount his charger and precipitate himself into the wrong place at the
wrong moment; but astride an active little jennet, he flew from rank
to rank, directing everything and inspiring everybody. The Liégeois
charged in column upon his centre. His pikemen stood firm. He detached
a body of cavalry which spurred into the flank of the advancing column,
and it gave way.

Just before the battle John had confessed and received absolution and
eucharist, so that his conscience was clear for a new score. He ordered
that no quarter be given, and the conflict became a massacre. But few
of the men of Liége escaped. Their leader a citizen named Pervez was
found dead on the field, still holding by the hand, his son dead by his
side.

The Liégeois were crushed, and their mitred but unregenerate suzerain
was again set to reign over them. What with those who had perished in
the massacre and those he threw directly after into the Meuse, it would
seem that he had not many subjects left to govern.

In the articles of submission which the surviving few were compelled
to sign, it was agreed that if they were again disobedient, they were
to be laid under that awful discipline an interdict, provided there
existed any authority competent to fulminate interdicts. The Schism
comes up again to explain this curious proviso. The Council of Pisa was
sitting to restore unity to the Church. They had declared the throne
of Saint Peter to be one and indivisible; and they had declared it
vacant in spite of the incumbent at Rome and the incumbent at Avignon.
They had elected a new pope to that vacancy. The other two refused to
abdicate, so there were three popes; and as each was himself under
double interdict by the anathemas launched at him by his own rivals,
it was doubtful whether a rescript from such maimed authority would be
canonical. So paralysed was the Church that even her curses would no
longer hold. The degree to which they recovered their validity when the
Schism was healed, is a point of history that illustrates the saying
that truth is stranger than fiction.

The news of the victory of Hasbain was not good news to the queen and
the court who favored the Orleans faction, and were alarmed at the
growing power of the duke of Burgundy. A council was held, and the king
spirited away to Tours. An accidental delay of the duke, gave them
time for this. He had stopped at Lille to settle a quarrel between his
brother, Anthony and his brother-in-law William of Hainault, touching
50,000 florins left by the late duchess of Brabant. They were on the
point of deciding by mortal combat which should have the money, when
the duke came. I regret I cannot inform you which of them got the
50,000 florins.

The escape of the king from under his hand, was a serious loss to the
duke who was aiming at supreme control; and on reaching Paris he bent
all his diplomacy to recover possession of the monarch. He won over the
grand master of the king’s household, a parvenu named Montague; and by
his means Charles was brought back to the capital.

Montague by minding his own business, had grown wealthy; and as he was
now of no further use to his new friends, they put him to torture, and
made him confess a list of crimes he had never committed. They then
cut off his head, gibbetted his carcass, and divided his estates among
them, duke John getting the castle of Marcoussis for his share.

When the distracted king came slowly and mistily to a sense of the way
his faithful steward had been done to death, and his wealth seized by
his murderers, he was wroth. He wandered about the palace of Saint Paul
muttering vengeance; but the queen who in the meantime had sold herself
to the Burgundians, represented to him how unseemly it was for a
parvenu like Montague to own castles; and Charles after a vain struggle
to master the point, let it drop.

We propose incidentally to resume the history of the dukes of Burgundy
in our essay on the Jaquelines.



EPILOGUE.


Madame de Sévigné said that Providence favors the best battalions. It
was she who was the author of that remark, and not Frederick-the-great
nor Napoleon nor others to whom it is attributed. It has not always
proved true. Henry V., ablest of the Plantagenets, at the head of the
best armies then existing, tried to wrest the sceptre of France from
the palsied hand of Charles VI., and perished in the attempt. From
the loins of that crazy monarch and his worse than crazy queen, came
forth that House of Tudor which, by the ordeal of battle, displaced the
Plantagenet on the throne of England.

Much bad logic and worse history has been put forth in good English,
touching the claim of Edward III. to the throne of France. It is often
said that Edward denied the validity of the salic law. He did nothing
of the kind. His theory was that the salic law, while it excluded
females, did not exclude their progeny, and he claimed the crown of
France by right of his mother Isabella daughter of Philip-the-fair. But
even this theory gave the right to somebody else, as Hume has shown,
and as we propose to make visible to the naked eye.

        Philip IV.=Joanna, queen regnant of Navarre
                  |
           +------+---+--------------------------+
           |          |             |            |
        Louis X.   Philip V.   Charles IV.   Isabella.
           |          |             |            |
        Joanna.    Daughters.   Daughter.    Edward III.
           |
        Charles-the-bad, }
        King of Navarre  }

Edward’s theory would have given the crown of France to
Charles-the-bad, grandson of Louis X. It went to Philip of Valois,
Philip VI. by right of unbroken male descent from Hugh Capet, as it
did long afterwards to the House of Bourbon.

        Louis IX. Eighth in male line from Hugh Capet.
             |
        Philip III.
             |
          +--+--------------+
          |                 |
        Philip IV.  Charles of Valois.
                            |
                       Philip VI.
                            |
                       John II.



Two Jaquelines


They were both Dutchwomen. They were contemporaries and lived in the
fifteenth century. They both contributed, though unwittingly and by
their love scrapes, to break the alliance between England and Burgundy,
and thus to the salvation of the French monarchy. They were both of
high lineage and married kings’ sons: one of them married two kings’
sons; and they both married commoners. One of them died without issue;
the other by a misalliance with a simple knight, became the mother of a
line of kings as long as that which Macbeth saw when the race of Banquo
defiled before him. Indeed Macbeth on that dread occasion looked till
he beheld those who “two fold balls and triple sceptres bore,” and
those were of the generation of Jaqueline.

John-the-fearless, second of the four Valois dukes of Burgundy
married Margaret of Bavaria. Her brother William of Bavaria was
count of Hainault, lord of Holland, of Zealand, of Friesland and of
nearly all the territory which now goes to make up the kingdom of
the Netherlands. Now John having married William’s sister Margaret,
William to be even with him, turned round and married John’s sister
Margaret, Margaret of Valois, Margaret of Burgundy. These two princes
having each married the other’s sister Margaret, were thus double
brothers-in-law; and this close relationship did not breed any
dissention between them: it was otherwise with their children who were,
you perceive, double cousins. John and his Margaret were blest with one
son and seven daughters. William and his Margaret had but one child,
a daughter whom they christened Jaqueline. This lady is called by so
many different names in history, that if you were not on your guard you
might imagine there were half a dozen of them: Jaqueline of Bavaria,
Jaqueline of Holland, Jaqueline of Hainault, Jaqueline of Brabant.
Then the Dutch called her Jacoba; so some English writers affect to
call her Jacoba, and ring the changes on it. But in spite of these
manifold appellations she was but a sole and only child; and as the
salic law did not rule in the low countries, she was a great heiress.
Her situation was a repetition of that of her grandmother Margaret of
Flanders except that the provinces they inherited respectively were
different. (See Second House of Burgundy.)

The great expectations of Jaqueline entitled her to a distinguished
husband, and when only five years old she was wedded to John of
Touraine second son of Charles VI. The marriage was celebrated with
much splendor at Compiegne, at the same time with that of prince John’s
cousin the count of Angoulême who espoused Isabella, John’s sister,
widow of Richard II. of England who had been murdered at Pomfret. It is
said that the joy of these double nuptials was saddened by the tears of
Isabella who wept aloud at having to give up the title of queen.

Not long after the marriage, John’s elder brother the dauphin died,
and John himself became dauphin. Behold then our little Jaqueline in a
fair way to become queen of France! But it was not to be: prince John
died suddenly one day, and his death like all sudden death of exalted
personages in those days, was attributed to poison. But the probability
is that all the poison he took was what the doctors gave him in good
faith, to cure him of a cold he had caught playing at tennis; and I
may hold the case up to you as a warning either against tennis or the
doctors as you prefer.

Jaqueline was eleven years old when her husband died. The same year,
1417, she lost also her father the count William. Thus from a great
heiress she became a great potentate. She was of course too young to
administer her own affairs; and they fell chiefly into the hand of her
powerful uncle John-the-fearless. She was not only a great potentate
but a stylish young widow, the best match in the market; and great was
the scramble for her hand. Not a single princely fortune hunter in
Europe but was dying of love for her.

After some years of widowhood, a family council was held, and it was
determined that she should marry her cousin John duke of Brabant, son
of Antony of Burgundy and Elizabeth of Luxembourg. Antony who was
brother of John-the-fearless, had fallen at Agincourt. Jaqueline and
the duke of Brabant being first cousins, a dispensation was of course
necessary to their marriage; and they applied for one to the Roman
pontiff Martin V. In the family council referred to, an active part
had been taken by an uncle of Jaqueline on her father’s side, namely
John-the-pitiless, bishop of Liége, whom we have already introduced
to you in our paper on the House of Burgundy. He had approved of
the betrothal, and had joined in the application to the pope; but
he was secretly resolved to leave no stone unturned to seize his
dead brother’s estates, the inheritance of Jaqueline; and indeed it
is alleged that he was even manoeuvring to espouse her himself. He
despatched furtively a messenger to the pope praying him to withhold
the dispensation, or to revoke it if already granted, pleading that he
had just discovered a flaw in his brother’s marriage with Margaret of
Burgundy, that would render Jaqueline illegitimate. The dispensation
was already on its way to Flanders; so the pontiff instantly put forth
an annulment, and the one document arrived at the heels of the other.
But when they came to unroll them they found that there was wanting
to the revocation a bit of red tape and a leaden seal. In the great
haste some functionary through whose hands it had passed, had neglected
to attach those ornaments; and for the want of an ounce of lead, the
annulment was of no weight, while the dispensation duly ballasted with
that metal, was of force. The wedding party did not give the bishop
time to have the error corrected, and the nuptials took place.

The bishop immediately levied ban and arrière ban and invaded the
provinces of his niece. It was a favorable moment for him. Holland
was convulsed with civil strife between two factions called the
Fishhooks and the Codfish. The latter sided with the bishop, and the
former with Jaqueline who flew in an undaunted manner to the rescue of
her patrimony. The duke of Burgundy sent to the seat of war his son
afterwards Philip-the-good; and that prince compelled both parties
to lay down their arms. The duke then thought to pacify the bishop by
investing him with the revenues of certain of his niece’s estates.

John-the-pitiless was bishop by brevet only. He had taken no orders
higher than those of deacon, and therefore was not irrevocably a
churchman. His plan to marry Jaqueline having failed, he fixed his
eye on another bride. In order to carry out this fresh design upon
the peace and tranquillity of the sex, he appealed to the pope for a
decree of secularisation unfrocking him. The pope was compliant and
the ex-bishop led to the altar, Elizabeth of Luxembourg relict of
Anthony of Burgundy, mother of the duke of Brabant and mother-in-law of
Jaqueline.

Jaqueline had been so busy fighting her demi-reverend uncle who had
just assumed a nearer and dearer relationship to her, that she had
given herself no time to see what sort of a husband she had married.
She now took a good look at him and found that he was a puny, misshapen
invalid, while her looking-glass and her friends told her that she
had grown up into a handsome, wholesome, vigorous woman. They went to
housekeeping however, and quarrelled like man and wife. One day while
she was absent, her husband of Brabant took it upon him to dismiss
all her Dutch hand-maidens, and send them back, bag and baggage,
to Holland. The reason he gave for it was that they talked Dutch, a
dialect he did not understand and did not commend. Jaqueline was not
disposed to put up with this affront. She left him and went back to
her mother who was residing at Valenciennes. She soon found life too
dull there for a spirit as restless as hers, and planned an expedition
to England. A retinue suitable to a princess of her rank was furnished
her, and she crossed the channel.

England was at that time ruled by Henry V. the second king of the house
of Lancaster. His queen was Catharine of France daughter of Charles
VI., and sister of Jaqueline’s first husband prince John. Catharine
was therefore her sister-in-law and her cousin. Henry was also related
to her but more remotely through their common descent from Charles of
Valois. Henry and Catharine received Jaqueline with great distinction,
and invited her to stand godmother to their infant son afterwards the
good and pious but unfortunate Henry VI.

In the family party assembled at the baptism, was the king’s youngest
brother Humphrey duke of Gloucester, called by historians and by
Shakspeare, the good duke of Gloucester. He looked wistfully across the
font at his blooming Dutch cousin; and she, I am sorry to say, looked
wistfully back at him. They fell in love and so desperately that they
resolved that nothing should prevent their union, not even the crooked
little duke of Brabant who was already the husband of Jaqueline. They
applied to pope Martin to annul that marriage; and the pontiff usually
so compliant, was obstinate in his refusal. We shall see by and by what
was the cause of his obstinacy. But he was not the only pope. These
were still the days of the Great Schism: a pope at Rome, and a pope
at Avignon. To such a degree however, had the Eternal City regained
its prestige, that at the epoch of our story, the greater number of
the powers of Europe, had renounced the obedience of Avignon and gone
over to that of Rome. Among the first that had done so, were the
houses of Plantagenet and Bavaria, the houses to which our two lovers
belonged. But to them the true pope was the pope who would let them
marry. They had failed before Martin V., so they appealed from him to
Benedict XIII. who sat in a kind of survival of grandeur on the throne
of Avignon. Benedict, flattered that an English prince and a Flemish
princess should abjure his rival and come over to him, granted a bull
in due form annulling Jaqueline’s marriage with the duke of Brabant,
and anathematising Martin V. Gloucester and Jaqueline were immediately
united.

Leaving them to enjoy the honey-moon, we will go back and take a rapid
survey of the events which gave political importance to their marriage.

One hot day in August 1392, Charles VI. had a sun-stroke and went
crazy. The reins of government fell once more into the hands of his
uncle Philip. (See House of Burgundy.) At the death of Philip a bitter
contest for the supremacy broke out between his son John-the-fearless
and Louis of Orleans, the king’s brother. This rivalry led to a
desultory civil war interrupted by truces and pacifications during one
of which, John-the-fearless thought to settle the dispute once for
all, by a touch of his fearlessness. He assassinated his rival in the
streets of Paris.

The stroke was to a great degree successful, and John duke of Burgundy
was the greatest man in the realm. But the faction of Orleans though
disorganised for the moment by the death of its chief, was not
extinguished. The young duke son of the murdered man, had taken for his
second wife the daughter of the count of Armagnac an energetic leader
who put himself at the head of the Orleansists, and even gave them his
name; and France was torn by the bloody strife between the Burgundians
and the Armagnacs.

It was this state of things that tempted Henry V. of England to revive
an absurd claim to the crown of France which had been trumped up as a
pretext for plunder, by his great grandfather Edward III. Henry invaded
France and won the battle of Agincourt. Both factions courted his
alliance, each being more anxious to wreak vengeance on the other than
to save their common country. Henry after some coquetting, sided with
the Burgundians who were the stronger of the two, and held the north
of France including the capital which they put into his hands. In that
city he afterwards married Catharine daughter of Charles and Isabella,
and was declared heir of the monarchy, in contempt of the rights of
Catharine’s young brother the dauphin Charles. The demented king and
his disreputable queen deserted the cause of their son and of France,
and went over to the English. The dauphin himself was rescued from the
clutches of his father and mother, by a bold stroke of Tanneguy du
Châtel an Armagnac noble who broke into the boy’s lodging one night,
snatched him out of bed, wrapped him up in his cloak, mounted his horse
with him, and made good his escape; and Charles lived to recover his
inheritance and more besides. The Armagnac faction thus became the
party of the dauphin, the party of the nation and of the independence
of France.

There were among the Burgundian barons some who remembered they were
Frenchmen and who fought reluctantly on the side of England. These
projected an interview between the dauphin and duke John, with a view
of reconciling their differences, and uniting their arms against the
common enemy. The meeting took place on the bridge of Montereau, and
John-the-fearless was struck dead at the feet of the young prince. Thus
did one foul murder avenge another murder equally foul committed twelve
years before.

Some English writers inform you that John-the-fearless was assassinated
by orders of the dauphin. Charles at that time was an indolent boy
of sixteen; and he probably was not allowed to know that such an act
was meditated. Indeed so impolitic was the murder that it is far from
certain that there was any premeditation about it. It is much more
likely that duke John fell a victim to a sudden outbreak of revenge on
the part of nobles he had long pursued.

His son and successor Philip was in his twenty-third year. He is called
in history Philip-the-good for reasons perhaps as satisfactory as in
the case of his great grandfather king John II. He was good tempered
however, and whenever his domestic servitors, his equerries and his
chamberlains came to talk with him about household matters he received
them affably instead of kicking them on the shins with his jack-boots
as his sire had done, and as was indeed the style in those days.

Philip had married Charles’s sister Michelle of France; but he eagerly
adopted the theory of his English counsellors, that Charles was the
assassin; and he went home and exclaimed O Michelle your brother has
murdered my father! The poor princess threw herself into his arms and
declared that his enemies were her enemies, and the tragedy worked no
breach between them.

But Philip thought of nothing but revenge. He sent an envoy to the
English king offering a formal alliance with him for the destruction
of the French monarchy. The _astonishing treaty_ as Hume calls it, by
which this prince of the blood royal of France declared himself the
enemy of his family, of his country and of that throne to which he was
so nearly related that in the chapter of chances he might become its
heir, is called the treaty of Troyes from Troyes in Champagne where it
was signed.[8]

It was about the time of this treaty that the English court was set
agog by the flirtation between Jaqueline and the duke of Gloucester,
and by the application they were making to both popes to open the
way to their marriage. Nothing could be more threatening to the House
of Burgundy than that an English prince should acquire Holland and
the other provinces that had fallen to Jaqueline; and duke Philip,
notwithstanding his alliance with Henry, interfered vigorously and
successfully to prevent pope Martin from annulling the previous
marriage of Jaqueline. When the annulment was finally obtained from
Benedict, Philip appealed to Henry himself to stop the espousals by his
royal authority. But Henry was quite willing his brother should win
so great a prize. There was to be sure, hazard in it; but he trusted
to his own address to keep Philip quiet, and allowed the marriage to
take place. Nor did he trust in vain. That gifted monarch had sounded
the depths and the shallows of his ally. He knew that Philip was the
most pig-headed of mortals; and that he would submit to still greater
humiliations rather than give up his schemes of vengeance.

Up to this time the arms of England had been successful; but they now
met with a reverse the consequences of which were far-reaching; though
English historians affect either to ignore the transaction, or to refer
to it as an affair of no importance. Henry had gone back to England,
leaving his victorious army under the command of his brother Thomas
duke of Clarence. Thomas could not forgive himself for not having been
at Agincourt on that day of glory; and he resolved to have an Agincourt
of his own. The French under the Marshal de Lafayette--an ancestor of
our own Lafayette--were in a strong position at Beaugé. A little way
off lay a body of Scotch under the earl of Buchan, ready to second the
French; but the English despised the Scotch even more than they did the
French, for they had beaten them oftener and at greater odds.[9]

Clarence did not hesitate to attack the French position. He was
received with steadiness; and at the critical moment Buchan and his
red-headed crew bore down upon the field. Clarence was slain, and his
army defeated.

Henry whose opinion of the disaster was different from that of the
English historians, flew back to France, and in the most obstinate of
all his campaigns, succeeded in winning back the ground that had been
lost. But that campaign which the defeat of Beaugé alone had rendered
necessary, was fatal to him. Worn out with care, fatigue and exposure
he lay dying at Vincennes.

He called to him his next brother John duke of Bedford, appointed
him regent of France, and enjoined upon him always to preserve the
friendship and alliance of the duke of Burgundy, as essential to the
conquest of the kingdom. He constituted his brother Humphrey regent
of England, and adjured him never to leave that island while the war
lasted. These two injunctions had the same drift, and showed what was
weighing upon Henry’s mind. He had been confident of his own power to
obviate the mischief threatened by the English marriage of Jaqueline,
but he was not sure his brothers would be equal to it; and the
apprehension was not ill founded.

The monarch died and was embalmed and sent to England. He was perhaps
the greatest of England’s kings. His chief faults were cruelty and
arrogance, and they both stood in his way. Assuming to be king of
France he regarded as a traitor worthy of death every Frenchman who
resisted him. This theory drove the French into that tenacious defence
of their towns which checked his progress; and at the same time his
haughty airs alienated the Burgundian nobles. Dare you look me in the
face when you speak to me? said he to L’isle Adam, Philip’s governor of
Paris. Sire, replied the Burgundian, there lives not the man that I
look not in the face when I speak to him.

A few weeks after Henry’s death, his poor crazy father-in-law Charles
VI. was laid beside his ancestors in the abbey of Saint Denis. Not a
single prince of the House of Valois followed him to his grave. Not a
single prince of any blood save the duke of Bedford alone who conducted
the obsequies. As they turned away from his tomb, the good monks of the
abbey who had sung the requiem, fell into a dispute with the servants
of the king’s household about the possession of some ornaments that had
been used in the funeral. From words they come to blows, and the battle
waxed so fierce that Bedford and his suite were fain to turn back and
strike right and left to quell the tumult.

Henry instead of naming one of his brothers guardian and governor of
his infant son now king, had conferred that office on his uncle the
bishop of Winchester.[10] That bishop is the Cardinal Beaufort of
Shakspeare; and we shall now call him by that name though pope Martin
had not yet sent him the red hat. These Beauforts were the natural
children of John of Gaunt and Catharine Swinford. In the reign of
Richard II. John’s nephew, they had been legitimated; but when John’s
son Henry usurped the throne, he was fearful of the ambition of his
half brothers and caused his parliament to modify the legitimation so
far as to exclude them from the throne. The exclusion was futile: the
line of Beaufort reigns over England at this present moment, while that
of Henry is extinct.

Cardinal Beaufort possessed great abilities but an imperious temper. He
and his nephew of Gloucester Jaqueline’s husband were rivals, the one
being regent of the king, the other of the kingdom; and this rivalry
soon lapsed into a hatred so bitter that they sought only to destroy
each other.

The cardinal had raised six thousand men to reinforce Bedford, when
Gloucester, exercising his prerogative of regent, assumed the command
of them. Then in spite of Henry’s dying injunction that he should not
leave England, he took Jaqueline with him and at the head of those
troops, landed at Calais. Instead of going south to join Bedford as
he had promised, he marched east across the territories of the duke
of Burgundy without his permission, and entered upon the provinces of
Jaqueline. At their coming the war of the Codfish and the Fishhooks
broke out afresh. He and Jaqueline sided with the Fishhooks which gave
the Hooks a temporary superiority.

Philip behaved with signal imbecility. Instead of withdrawing his
contingent from France, and using it to drive Gloucester out, he
expostulated with Bedford concerning the invasion, and clamored for
the withdrawal of the English troops. Most gladly would Bedford have
withdrawn them, for he needed them himself; but Gloucester was not
subject to his authority, and would not listen to him. Philip at last
woke up to what everybody else saw, that he was in the predicament of
fighting for the English in France and against them in the Netherlands.
He levied a fresh army, took the command in person, and marched toward
Holland.

When Gloucester heard of these preparations, he wrote Philip a
wheedling letter saying that he had come to the continent solely in the
interest of Philip and of Philip’s dear double cousin Jaqueline; and
he called Heaven to witness to the purity of his intentions. Philip
told him he was a liar; Gloucester told Philip he was another. Philip
immediately challenged him to mortal combat, declaring that by the
help of God and of God’s Virgin Mother our Lady, he would convince him
of his error by running him through the body. Gloucester accepted the
challenge, vowing to put Philip to death in the name of God, of our
Lady and of Monseigneur Saint George. The duke of Bedford and cardinal
Beaufort interfered and persuaded these two blusterers to leave the
matter out to a council of doctors of law and theology at Paris. These
philosophers arrived at the verdict that the two challengers had come
out so even in the missives they had discharged at each other that
further duelling was superfluous; and so it ended.

Philip entered Holland at the head of his army. The Codfish joined him,
not that they preferred him to their lawful suzerain Jaqueline, but
because those worthless Fishhooks had adhered to the other side.

At this critical moment Gloucester went back to England, leaving
Jaqueline to see to her own affairs as best she might. He was called
home he said, by the untoward proceedings of his uncle the cardinal. He
sent to Jaqueline however, a reënforcement of three thousand men. The
two armies met at Browershaven where after a day of carnage in which
Englishman and Frenchman, Fleming and Burgundian, Codfish and Fishhook
fell indiscriminately, the star of Philip prevailed. He was not a
great general; but in the hour of combat he was an active and intrepid
soldier.

Not wholly crushed by this defeat, Jaqueline donned her armor and took
the field in person, and in more than one bloody conflict behaved with
the steadiness of a veteran. But there was no repairing the disaster
of Browershaven, and her fortunes sank. She wrote imploringly to
Gloucester to come back to her. One of her letters full of affection,
still exists. But they never met again. The good Humphrey had fallen in
with a handsome English girl named Eleanor Cobham, and had become more
intimate with her than comported with his duty to his Dutch wife.

Philip by the success of his arms and by this infidelity of Gloucester,
became master of the fate of Jaqueline. He prayed pope Martin to annul
her English marriage and to reinstate the one with the duke of Brabant.
Martin consented and put forth a bull accordingly; and as the English
marriage had been sanctioned and blessed by his Avignon rival, he let
fly at him an anathema so comprehensive that it is doubtful whether he
has yet been able, even after the lapse of five centuries, to dodge all
its provisions.

As there was reason to fear that Jaqueline still loved her truant
Humphrey, the bull in question decreed that if she again espoused him,
even after the death of Brabant, she would be guilty of adultery. This
at first seems illogical; but the Church is never illogical: admit her
premises and you are swept to her conclusions. Let us see: According
to the Church, if a woman marries again having a previous husband
living, she commits adultery. If Jaqueline after the death of Brabant,
should marry Gloucester, she would marry again, having a previous
husband living. If you should ask who that previous husband would be, I
answer the duke of Gloucester.

At all events, this syllogism was so convincing to Gloucester himself,
that like a submissive son of the Church, he turned round and married
his mistress Eleanor Cobham.

Nemesis followed up that marriage, and Jaqueline was avenged. A few
years later, the duchess Eleanor was arraigned for witchcraft and made
to do public penance at Saint Pauls. Humphrey was implicated in his
wife’s sorceries; but it would not answer to make a prince of the blood
do penance at Saint Pauls, so he was found one morning, dead in his bed.

As for his murderer, stop here O reader! turn to your Shakspeare, Henry
VI. part II. act III. scene III.; and stand at the bedside of the
dying cardinal--that scene of which Doctor Johnson says “the profound
can imagine nothing beyond”--that scene of which Schlegel says “it
is beyond praise; no other poet has ever drawn aside the curtain of
eternity in so awful a manner”--that scene which John Richard Green
says “is taken bodily from some older dramatist!”[11]

The annulment of Jaqueline’s English marriage, threw her back into the
arms of the duke of Brabant who however, did not long enjoy the wife
thus restored to him. He died, and his estates fell to his brother
Philip who died soon after, and so suddenly that Philip of Burgundy
who was, or rather claimed to be the next heir, was suspected of
having poisoned him. But the fifteenth century had fairly set in, and
knowledge had revived. Two intelligent surgeons cut open the dead
Philip, to see what ailed him, and found in his stomach an ulcer which
sufficiently explained his demise, so that Philip-the-good escaped
passing into history as a poisoner.

Jaqueline was reduced to extremities. Philip had cornered her up in
Zealand, and set to watch over her a lieutenant of his named Philip
Borssele who had risen in his service by his business talents.
Jaqueline the inheritor of some of the richest provinces in Europe,
was so straitened that she had not money enough to defray her
housekeeping. One day her mother had sent her a present of a span of
horses, and she could not find a single florin in her purse to give as
drink-money to the grooms who had brought them. One of her attendants
suggested to her to apply to Borssele who always had money to lend.
She spurned the thought of being beholden to that low-born myrmidon of
her hated cousin. But finally her necessities prevailed. She sent to
Borssele to borrow a small sum. He not only lent it to her but told
her he had more at her disposal. Jaqueline was mollified: we are all
mollified with a little money and the promise of more. She made up her
mind he was not a myrmidon after all but an honest fellow. She admitted
him to her presence. Borssele was handsome and graceful; and she did
not frown upon him. He took a pliant hour, and though he had never read
Othello, he told his tale of love as eloquently as the Moor. They were
privately married.

When Philip-the-good heard of this fresh escapade of his double cousin,
he flew into a towering passion--or at least, pretended to do so. He
stamped and stormed. That Jaqueline of Bavaria, duchess of Brabant,
daughter of Burgundy and of France, should stoop to the hand of Philip
Borssele! So he seized the bridegroom and shut him up in the castle of
Rupelmonde; and thus was Jaqueline deprived of her fourth husband.

But there is reason to believe that Philip-the-good was putting on
airs, and that he was secretly glad of the advantage which Jaqueline’s
imprudence had given him over her. She had never ceded her estates
to him by any formal act: he held them as a brigand holds his prey;
but now he brought her to surrender to him her whole patrimony as
the ransom of her husband. Borssele was set free, and in order to
raise him to a rank a little more commensurate with that of his
wife, Philip created him count of Ostravant, and conferred upon him
the collar of the Golden Fleece, an order of chivalry which Philip
himself had established as a rival to the English order of the Garter;
and he settled upon the newly married pair a part of the revenues
of Ostravant, so that his double cousin and cousin-in-law might not
starve.[12]

We know but little of the remaining years of Jaqueline’s life. We hope
they were more tranquil than those we have recounted. She died in 1436,
at the age of thirty-five, leaving no issue.

The domains which she had inherited formed technically a part of the
Empire Holy and Roman; and at her death the emperor Sigismund claimed
that they had escheated to him. The claim was in accordance with feudal
law, but Philip was already in possession and was too powerful to be
dislodged. Thus did the provinces of Jaqueline go to swell the dominion
of the House of Burgundy--that house whose fate it was never to decline
after the manner of empires, but to grow in power and splendor under
each succeeding duke until the day when Charles-the-rash, son of
Philip, should stretch forth his hand to a regal diadem; and then the
storm came which swept away both duke and dominion.

       *       *       *       *       *

The same year that Jaqueline of Bavaria married Philip Borssele,
Jaqueline of Luxembourg married the duke of Bedford.

But to introduce our second Jaqueline with due ceremony we must go back
ten years; and I promise not to be so long as that in fetching up the
arrears of my story.

After the death of Henry V. his brother of Bedford was at first
desirous to obey the injunction of the dying king, to keep on good
terms with the duke of Burgundy. There had been love passages, ardent
no doubt, but still diplomatic only between Bedford and Anne of
Burgundy Philip’s sister, a comely maiden of eighteen. Bedford pressed
his suit and was accepted, and Anne made him a good wife, at least in a
political sense, for her kind offices were often required to keep peace
between her arrogant husband and her obstinate brother.

Bedford was endowed with all the haughtiness of his brother Henry
without his genius; and he affected to treat Philip as his inferior
which he certainly was not. The House of Valois descended in direct
male line from Hugh Capet, had nothing to yield to the House of
Plantagenet whose highest male descent was from the counts of Anjou
vassals of the line of Capet. Besides, duke Philip was an hereditary
sovereign, while duke John of Bedford was only regent of a kingdom not
yet achieved, and not destined to be achieved.

On one occasion, in the presence of both English and Burgundian nobles,
Bedford so far forgot himself as to threaten that if his brother Philip
did not behave, he would send him to England to drink more beer than
he liked. This was a gross affront. Philip had been brought up on the
delicious wines of his native Burgundy; and he detested beer. But the
good duchess Anne interposed and persuaded her husband not to make her
brother drink beer, and peace was maintained.

After nine years of married life Anne died. This event might not
have dissolved the alliance between the two powers, had not Bedford
conducted himself with a wanton disregard to Philip’s sensibilities.
Among the vassals of the House of Burgundy the most illustrious was
a branch of that of Luxembourg; and the gentlemen of that house were
among the most ardent partisans of the English cause. It was John of
Luxembourg into whose hands the maid of Orleans had fallen after her
capture at Compiegne. John took her to his castle of Beaurevoir where
she was received with kindness by the ladies of his house, especially
by his young niece Jaqueline of Saint Pol, or of Luxembourg.

The high rank and eminent services of this family had brought them into
social relations with the regent Bedford; and Anne of Burgundy was
no sooner in her grave than he offered his hand to Jaqueline. And so
promptly did they dispatch the business that it might be said of that
as of another occasion well known to you, that the funeral baked meats
did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

Jaqueline of Luxembourg was Philip’s vassal, and by feudal law, had no
right to marry without his consent, but he was not even consulted. This
disrespect to the memory of his dead sister, and contempt of his own
authority exhausted his patience. He had long had his head broken at
home over his English alliance. His eldest sister had married Arthur
of Brittany, count of Richmont, Constable of France. His next sister
was the wife of the count of Clermont afterwards duke of Bourbon. Both
these gentlemen were partisans of king Charles. Philip who as we have
said, was good-tempered, had kept on friendly terms with his sisters,
though their husbands would now and then burst into his territories and
lay them waste; and he now empowered those fighting brothers-in-law to
open negotiations in his name with the king.

Cardinal Beaufort--we have anticipated in referring to his
death-bed--Cardinal Beaufort made a strenuous effort to turn aside the
peril. He induced Philip and Bedford to agree to a personal interview,
and they went to Saint Omer for that purpose. But a question of
precedence arose: neither of them would pay the other the first visit.
In vain did the cardinal represent to Bedford that it was he who had
given the cause of offence, and it was he who had everything to lose
by the rupture. The self-willed Plantagenet would concede nothing. The
cardinal then tried Philip, calling him his dear nephew.[13] But the
Burgundian’s blood was up and he was as intractable as the Englishman.
So the two princes left St. Omer without seeing each other.

The envoys of the king of France and of the duke of Burgundy met in
the church of Saint Vaast in the town of Arras. Cardinal Beaufort took
part in the conference on behalf of England; and the cardinal of Santa
Croce on the part of the Roman pontiff. In an eloquent speech Beaufort
pleaded in the name of that Church of which he was a prince, that
Philip could renounce his alliance with England only at the cost of his
salvation. He had taken an oath, and if he broke that oath his soul
was lost. On the contrary the cardinal of Santa Croce maintained that
Philip’s first and greatest sublunary duty was to his liege lord king
Charles, and if he were recreant to that duty he would be damned. And
to prove that it was he and not the English cardinal who spoke by the
authority of the Church, he wrought a miracle on the spot. They brought
to him a consecrated wafer--the BREAD that the hand of the priest had
transformed into the very substance of the Omnipotent. He cursed it,
and it turned black; he blessed it and it turned white again.

This was beyond gainsaying. Beaufort withdrew; and the treaty of Arras
was signed, in which Philip dictated nearly his own terms. Among other
concessions Charles agreed to build an expiatory chapel at Montereau
where John-the-fearless had been murdered, and to maintain there daily
low mass for the repose of his soul. Not a word about John’s victim
the equally murdered Louis of Orleans the king’s uncle. His soul was
left to shift for itself without diplomatic succor. Time once more
vindicated its reputation for putting things to rights. Before the
century was out the generation of Charles VII. was extinct; and that of
the neglected Louis mounted the throne and sat there till the end.[14]

The defection of the duke of Burgundy resulted as Henry V. had
foreseen: it rendered hopeless the Plantagenet cause in France. But
indeed the tide had already turned, and the remnant of the kingdom left
to Charles VII. had suddenly shown itself a match for its enemies. The
superstitious spirit of the age attributed this change to the direct
interposition of Providence in the advent and career of Jeanne Darc
the famous Maid of Orleans; and the English have seemed willing to
leave this coloring upon it in order to throw a mist over some of
the most unfortunate passages of their military history. The true
explanation like most true explanations, is simple enough. There had
sprung up around the falling throne of Charles an array of military
talent not equalled elsewhere. Charles VII. was not a great king, but
so fortunate was he in making use of the greatness of others that he
gained the name of Charles-the-well-served. Foremost among those to
whom he owed that title, was his cousin the count Dunois called in the
early part of his career and in Shakspeare, the Bastard of Orleans.

So little can be gathered in English histories concerning this great
man, that I will say a word more about him. Louis of Orleans, the
husband of Valentina, was not true to her. An intrigue with the wife of
the lord of Canny, resulted in the birth of a boy. Why the mother did
not take charge of her offspring I do not know; but it is certain that
Valentina herself adopted this by-blow of her husband, and brought him
up with her own little brood. It is even said that he was her favorite
among them, from his singular wit and spirit. After having tried many
years in vain to bring the lordly assassin of her husband to justice,
Valentina lay on her death-bed. She called her children to her side;
she called to him who was not her child, but whom she loved as well;
and she told him that he above them all was chosen to be the avenger
of his father. But Heaven had marked out for him a higher rôle than to
avenge an unworthy sire. It was he who was ever at the side of the Maid
of Orleans eking out her inspiration with his own, and at times setting
aside the mandates she received from above, in favor of the suggestions
of his own genius; and then with true magnanimity ascribing to her all
the glory of the success.

After the capture of the Maid, the renown of Dunois, no longer obscured
by the cloud of superstition in which he himself had been willing to
envelop it, shone forth with its proper splendor.

Bedford, after having hacked the spurs off the heels of one of his
bravest captains, because he had lost the battle of Patay, took the
field himself against Dunois; and at Lagni was forced to abandon to him
his cannon and his baggage. Subsequently Dunois was made lieutenant
general of France.

The hundred years war ended by the dismemberment not of the French
empire but of the English. The vast continental domains of the
Plantagenets, the inheritance of Eleanor of Aquitaine, containing
nearly one-third of France, which they had held three centuries--as
long indeed as they had held the throne of England--were all conquered
and annexed to the French crown. Nothing remained but the town of
Calais which however was not a part of Eleanor’s patrimony.

This was the severest blow England ever received: it reduced her to a
second class power, and left to her kings hardly more territory than
they had inherited from their Saxon predecessors. In treating of this
great war, English historians with some exceptions, strive to make
nothing conspicuous but English victories; and the thoughtful reader is
puzzled at the result, if indeed the result is disclosed to him. Well,
let him admire the patriotism of the English writers and look elsewhere.

But the Jaquelines! We have tried to explain how they were a cause,
albeit a minor one, of this outcome, by the dissention which the love
affairs of both fomented between the Plantagenets and the Burgundian
Valois. A major cause was the soldiership of Dunois and his companions
in arms.[15]

Three years after his marriage with Jaqueline of Luxembourg, the duke
of Bedford, worn out like his brother Henry, with care and toil, died
at Rouen, leaving his widow childless. Her further history demands that
we go back two years.

Near the town of Beauvais there was a dilapidated castle called
Gerberoy. In the neighborhood were hovering La Hire and Saintrailles
two of the hardest fighters in the service of king Charles. Bedford
feared that these gentlemen might seize Gerberoy and make it tenable,
so he despatched one of his captains the earl of Arundel to intercept
them. Arundel was approaching Gerberoy without having discovered any
signs of the enemy; and there was apparently nothing to apprehend from
a ruinous old stronghold which could not contain half as many men as he
had at his back. Nevertheless like a prudent general he sent forward
Sir Ralph Standish with a hundred men to reconnoitre. Sir Ralph arrived
under the walls, and observing a soldier on the parapet, summoned him
to surrender. The soldier answered with a gibe, and the next moment
Sir Ralph and his hundred men were flying for their lives. La Hire and
Saintrailles had thrown themselves into the place in the night with a
corps of picked men. Not content with putting to flight Sir Ralph, they
instantly fell upon the main body of the English which according to
Hume, was five times their number. Arundel was slain and his detachment
routed.

Among the prisoners taken, was an English knight named Richard
Woodville, and it is on this occasion, I believe, that he makes his
début on the page of history. He had fought with blind and misdirected
valor in the battle, and so had other knights whose names have not come
down to us. His name would not have spanned such a distance had it not
been his fate to become the father of the long line of kings referred
to in the beginning of this essay; nor is that the only royal line that
traces descent from him.

He soon recovered his liberty and entered the personal service of the
duke of Bedford as a sort of staff officer, and had frequent occasions
to admire the charming duchess. After Bedford’s death Sir Richard
ventured to lift his eyes to the widowed Jaqueline. Like Borssele he
was handsome; and Jaqueline of Luxembourg took a leaf out of the book
of Jaqueline of Bavaria, and became the bride of Sir Richard Woodville.

Their daughter was that Elizabeth Woodville, lady Grey who came and
knelt before Edward IV. and prayed that he would lift from her and her
children the attainder that had fallen upon them because her husband
had perished at Saint Albans, fighting for the House of Lancaster.
Edward granted her prayer, fell in love with her and married her. Their
daughter was Elizabeth Plantagenet who became the queen of Henry VII.

One more love story is needed to complete the mosaic. Catharine
of France widow of Henry V., became enamoured of what one English
historian calls “an obscure Welch gentleman named Owen Tudor.” This
was the gravest misalliance of all. Catharine of Valois, daughter of a
king, sister of a king, widow of a king, mother of a king, stooped to
be the wife of an obscure country gentleman. Their son Edmund Tudor,
married Margaret Beaufort of the Beaufort family already mentioned. The
son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort was Henry earl of Richmond
who seized the crown as the prize of his victory at Bosworth, and
then strengthened his claim to it by marrying Elizabeth Plantagenet,
Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV. and grand daughter of
Jaqueline.

Thus did the blood of Beaufort come to the throne; and thus were
Jaqueline of Luxembourg and her true knight the progenitors of the line
which Macbeth said would stretch out to the crack of doom.



VALOIS, BURGUNDY, HAPSBURG, BOURBON.

(The italics mark the line of descent.)


_Charles-le-temeraire_, Charles-the-rash, miscalled by the English,
Charles-the-bold, was the last Valois duke of Burgundy. He left an
only child _Mary of Burgundy_ who married _Maximilian of Hapsburg_,
afterward emperor. Their son was the _Archduke Philip_ who is counted
as Philip the first of Spain though he never reigned. Philip married
_Joanna_ daughter of _Ferdinand_ and _Isabella_, and sister of
Catharine of Aragon wife of Henry VIII. The son of Philip and Joanna
was the great emperor _Charles-the-fifth_ who was Charles the first
of Spain. The crown of Spain then fell from father to son, to _Philip
II._, _Philip III._, _Philip IV._ and Charles II. where the male line
of the elder branch of Hapsburg ended. The crown then fell to _Philip
V._ (Bourbon), grandson of _Louis XIV._ and _Maria Teresa_ eldest
daughter of Philip IV.

The younger, the Austrian branch of the House of Hapsburg, is descended
from the emperor Ferdinand brother of Charles-the-fifth.



Hoche


Many years ago I knew a Frenchman whose father a captain of infantry,
had been killed in La Vendée fighting under Hoche. He had many things
to tell me about Hoche which interested me in his career, and led me to
treasure up in my memory whatever I came across afterwards concerning
him.

There was a certain confidential air about the communications of my
French friend, which leads me to say to the reader that I trust to his
honor not to divulge what I say to him touching the warrior in question.

The French themselves hold that next to Napoleon Bonaparte, the most
brilliant soldier thrown to the surface by the revolution, was Lazarus
Hoche. This seems too to be the opinion of a writer in the Encyclopedia
Brittanica who says that the death of Hoche deprived the French people
of the only man capable of making head against the ambition of the
Corsican. And it still adds force to that view to bear in mind how
short a time was allotted him to win immortality: he never lived to
be thirty. Indeed I remember but one general in history who died so
young with so high a reputation; and that was that wondrous boy Gaston
de Foix nephew of Louis XII., who fell at the age of twenty-three at
Ravenna after having there as elsewhere totally overthrown the famous
Spanish infantry.

Perhaps some honest reader still callow from the study of John Richard
Green, may remind me that that unique historian not only makes the
Spanish infantry triumphant at Ravenna, but cites it as their typical
exploit. Well, we must be thankful that Mr. Green does not cite the
Caudine Forks as the typical exploit of the Roman legions.

Lazarus Hoche was born near Versailles in June 1768. He was the son,
not of a common workman as some of the encyclopedias do vainly talk,
but of a common soldier, or rather of an uncommon soldier; for his
father on account of his uncommonness, was taken from the line and
made keeper of the royal kennels at Versailles; and the first useful
occupation of the boy, if useful it were, was to help his father in the
care of the king’s hounds.

Nature had endowed him with a handsome and vigorous body and a
precocious intellect. He had a maternal uncle who was curé of Saint
Germain-en-laye and a man of some learning. This good priest
interested himself in the education of his clever nephew, and taught
him the elements of latin and mathematics; and thus he received
instruction beyond what was common in his station in life. And you
academical gentlemen will insist I suppose, that his subsequent
advancement was all owing to this latin and mathematics.

But his instincts were military and he resolved to be a soldier, and
with a boyish longing at the same time, to see the world, he enlisted
when he was sixteen in what he supposed to be a regiment bound for the
Indies; but his friends had played a trick on him, and he found himself
enrolled in a home regiment. He made the best of it however, and soon
attracted the attention of his superiors by his prompt and intelligent
observance of duty.

But there were some exceptions to his good behavior. On one occasion
a soldier of his regiment had been killed in a pot-house brawl. Hoche
joined with some of his comrades in razing to the ground the house of
the assassin. For his share in this riot he was condemned to three
months imprisonment. Another act of violence which cost the life of
a fellow being, brought him no punishment whatever, as it was within
the tolerance of the service. A corporal was noted for his skill in
handling the sabre. He had already slain two opponents in his duels.
He insulted Hoche who instantly challenged him. Hoche received a cut
across the forehead, which nearly split his skull, and left a long deep
scar there the rest of his days; but he put an end to the duelling of
his antagonist by running him through the body.

Of his personal comeliness it is related that once, on parade, a noble
lady pointed him out to her companion and exclaimed: What a splendid
looking general that would make! She little knew she was playing the
part of a prophetess.

And it was not long before his fine bearing stood him in still better
stead. Near by was a regiment of grenadiers of the king’s guard. These
superb fellows had noticed the soldier-like qualities of Hoche, and
they petitioned that he might be enrolled among them. The petition was
granted.

These men when in barracks, were allowed to earn money by any honest
industry that did not interfere with their duty, and Hoche addicted
himself to embroidery. If you think this an effeminate occupation for a
soldier, I would remind those of you who have been to sea in a sailing
ship, that you must have observed that sailors who are certainly
as rough as soldiers, are often skillful in needle work useful and
ornamental.

With the money Hoche earned in this manner, he bought books, especially
books of history; and as he dwelt upon the renown of Hannibal and of
Caesar, of Turenne and Condé, of Marlborough and of Frederic, it was
his dream to write his own name some day on that immortal list, I say
dream, for it could be nothing more then, under the old régime when the
command of armies was the prerogative of the nobility alone.

In 1789 occurred the first overt act of the French revolution--the
storming of the Bastille. It was the same year that George Washington
was inaugurated first president of the United States. The end of our
revolution was the beginning of that of the people of France, and ours
precipitated theirs. It was high time perhaps that the old régime
came to an end; but we Americans ought none the less look back upon
it with gratitude. Without its aid we could not have compassed our
independence. It was the troops sent us by Louis XVI. that offset the
German forces that came here in aid of our enemies.

Hoche was too well informed not to understand the issue between the
government and the people, and he believed in his heart that the
people were right; but he was the sworn soldier of the king and he
was determined to defend him so long as defence was possible. He was
present at Versailles when the Parisian mob worthily led by that frail
beauty Théroigne de Méricourt broke into the chateau and made the king
come out on the balcony with the cap of liberty on his head. Hoche
stood there shoulder to shoulder with his comrades ready to charge upon
the rabble the moment the signal was given. But the signal was never
given: Louis XVI. was the best of men and the worst of kings: He had
not the heart to shed the blood of his subjects, so they shed his blood.

Legend says there was also there on that occasion another young man of
still rarer qualities, who whispered to a companion that the king was
an imbecile not to order those fine guards to slaughter the vagabonds
and put an end to the disturbance. The anecdote may not be true, but it
is none the less characteristic: it is perhaps the reflex of what that
young man himself did a few years later.

The king was led to Paris and kept virtually a captive in the
Tuileries, and Hoche with his regiment passed under the command of La
Fayette whose purpose was not to overthrow the monarchy but to reform
it on a constitutional basis. But the French revolution was different
from ours: ours was aristocratic, a change at the head only, still
retaining remnants of feudal tyranny--such for example as the divine
right of sovereigns not to pay their debts--which we are not yet
emancipated enough to throw off. Theirs on the contrary was democratic,
or rather volcanic, the very dregs from the bottom thrown to the top.

La Fayette was obliged to fly for his life; and the army went over
and _fraternised_ as it was called, with the populace. The rise of
Hoche was now rapid. Beside courage he was gifted with a thoughtful
self-possession which never failed him. The display of this virtue on
an occasion when he covered the retreat of a beaten army, attracted the
notice of Carnot the minister of war--“the organiser of victory” as he
was called--and he made Hoche a brigadier general.

In 1792 the supreme authority of France was usurped by a body known
as the Convention. In 1793 the king was brought to the block, and all
Europe rose to avenge his death. The English government had fitted out
an army under the command of the duke of York, son of George III.,
to cooperate with the allied enemies of the new republic. York was a
methodical soldier, and minding the old rule not to leave a hostile
stronghold in the rear, he turned aside to besiege Dunkirk in the
north-east corner of France, instead of hastening south. Carnot caught
at the fault of the Englishman and put it to profit. He ordered Hoche
to throw himself into Dunkirk with a few battallions and hold it to
the last extremity. Hoche found the defences in bad condition and
the inhabitants who were a conglomeration of various nationalities,
not in the least disposed to aid him in repairing them. He seized
the chief magistrate and threw him into prison, and warned the other
functionaries that they would be sent to join him, if they did not come
up to his help against the English. They came; and by the time the duke
had established his lines of circumvallation with scientific skill,
Hoche and his men were prepared to do all that was expected of them,
namely, to keep the duke of York out of mischief for some time to come.
One day the sound of cannon was heard off south, and soon the English
were observed to be preparing to quit. Hoche though shut in from
outward news, penetrated the situation. An allied army under Freytag
coming up from the south-east, and a French army under Houchard coming
up from the south-west, had intercepted each other and given battle.
The English had received a message from Freytag, notifying them to come
to the aid of their friends. Hoche resolved that they should do nothing
of the sort. He sallied out upon them, threw them into some disorder
and thus detained them till the battle of Hondschoote was lost and won.
Houchard victorious pushed for Dunkirk. The English, hindered by this
fresh sortie of Hoche, came tardily and faultily into order of battle,
and after a short struggle, broke and fled leaving their artillery and
their baggage.

Hoche shared with Houchard the glory of this double victory. The
conduct of the duke of York was the subject of a parliamentary inquiry
in which he was duly whitewashed as became a prince of the blood. Had
he been a commoner he might have shared the fate of Admiral Byng.[16]

Carnot showed anew his appreciation of Hoche by giving him the
command of the army of the Moselle--a grave responsibility for a
youth of twenty-five; and Carnot made the mistake of not letting the
responsibility rest squarely upon his shoulders: he sent commissioners
to direct him.

An allied army superior in force and in a strong position, under the
duke of Brunswick, lay at Keyserslautern. The commissioners counselled
an attack. Hoche though daring was not rash, and the born instinct of
the soldier within him whispered that the risk was too great; so he
hesitated. The commissioners insisted, and he led forward his troops.
The battle lasted two days, and never perhaps was the genius of the
young general more conspicuous. Repulsed, he marched his men off the
field as he had marched them on--shoulder to shoulder, beaten but not
demoralized, and the enemy did not follow him up.

Carnot was sufficiently just not to blame him for this failure. On
the contrary he sent him reënforcements, and he sent him also what he
would willingly have dispensed with--fresh commissioners to advise him.
Hoche had pondered deeply the cause of his defeat, and had resolved
that that cause should not again operate. He refused to consult with
the commissioners: he would neither tell them his own plans nor listen
to theirs. Taking off his cap and shaking it in their faces in that
dramatic style so very French, he exclaimed: If that cap knew my
thoughts I would throw it in the fire! Finding him obdurate they went
back to Paris and made no favorable report of him.

Hoche had under him at this time several officers of about his own
age who afterwards made their mark in history: Moreau the victor of
Hohenlinden, who fell at last at Dresden fighting against France; Ney
the bravest of the brave. Desaix who came late but not too late on
the field of Marengo, and died at the head of his column; Le Fèvre
the hero of the 18. Brumaire when he scattered the council of the
five hundred with his grenadiers, and saved Bonaparte; Soult who won
his baton of marshal by piercing the Russian centre at Austerlitz.
He distinguished himself afterwards in Spain; and what is a more
interesting distinction for you esthetic gentlemen, he sold to the
French government for 615,000 francs--the highest price ever paid for
a picture--the sublime Murillo of the Louvre. And I am sorry I cannot
tell you how he came by it: there was scandal thereunto anent.

It is probable that Hoche imparted his plans to these able lieutenants,
for it is otherwise inexplicable that they should have acquiesced in
the strange measures he adopted. Instead of seeking the enemy, he took
every pains to avoid him. He blew up the bridges and tore up the roads;
and the allies seeing him bent on defensive measures only, failed to
watch him as he deserved. And there were disquieting rumors in Paris.
Hoche was certainly not a coward, but was he not a traitor? Had he not
sold himself for Austrian gold? Such things had been.

One day the news came that he and his army had disappeared in the
night. Perhaps they had gone over to the enemy; for the atmosphere was
charged with treachery, and men were daily changing their politics
with the changing fortune of war. The next news of Hoche was that he
had fallen as if from the clouds, upon a strong Austrian position the
other side of the Vosges mountains. And the position was so strong too
that for a moment he was in danger of a second repulse. A battery on
a height made such havoc with his men that they quailed. Six hundred
francs a piece for those cannon! cried he, pointing with his sword.
It is a bargain replied one of his officers. You shall judge between
us added another as they clambered up. The battery was taken; and the
Austrians fell back on the Prussian position at Sultz where their joint
forces awaited the coming of the French. They did not wait long and
their defeat was total.

The victory was as important as decisive. The purpose of the allied
army there was to prevent the junction of Hoche and Pichegru, the
latter commanding the army of the Rhine. That junction now took place.
According to military rule Pichegru the older man and the older
officer outranked Hoche and was entitled to the chief command; but the
Convention, dazzled by the brilliancy with which Hoche had redeemed his
reputation decreed that he should have the precedence, and Pichegru
after some protest consented to serve under his boy superior.

The allies had withdrawn behind the fortifications of Landau and
Wissembourg, and so long as they were there the French frontier was
infested and nothing permanent accomplished. Hoche resolved to dislodge
them. He told his troops he had a bloody task for them: They must
storm Landau! They responded by waving their caps and shouting Landau
ou la mort, Landau or death! And it was no idle boast: Amid a scene
of sickening carnage Landau was taken and the allies disheartened did
not wait for that terrible forlorn hope to mount to the breach at
Wissembourg.

The frontier was thus cleared of enemies, and the Republic set free to
follow up that spasmodic career of conquest which brought for a moment
the continent to her feet.

Hoche now took it into his head to get married, though we cannot
imagine how he could stop fighting long enough to attend to anything
so sentimental. Perhaps he did not object to variety in his fighting.
He had met at Thionville a graceful girl who had strongly attracted
him. On inquiry he learned that her character was as commendable as her
manners, and he offered her his hand. Her family though respectable was
not wealthy, and through diffidence she hesitated. What was she that
the first soldier of France should pick her out! But her friends would
not let her miss such a chance, and they were married; and I leave you
to the chronicles which aver that she made him a good wife.

At any other epoch of the history of France, and at any epoch whatever
of the history of any other people, a young general who had encircled
his name with so much glory, would have been the idol of the nation;
but France had fallen upon strange lines. The Reign of Terror was at
its height; the Convention had turned upon itself; the Girondists,
republicans all, had gone to the scaffold; Danton the rival of
Robespierre, had fallen; and that sanguinary triumvirate Robespierre,
Saint Just and Couthon were the arbiters of life and death to all
so unfortunate as to live under the aegis of Liberty, Equality and
Fraternity.

It is necessary to consider a moment the state of things under the
Terror, in order to make the rest of this story credible. Lamartine,
a republican himself, says: “More than eight thousand _suspects_
encumbered the prisons. In one night three hundred families the most
notable in France, historical, military, parliamentary, episcopal, were
arrested. No crimes were invented for them: they were guilty by the
quarter they lived in, by their rank, their fortune, their relations,
their religion, their opinions, their presumed opinions. One died for
having said what he thought; another for having held his tongue;
one for having emigrated and come back; another for having staid at
home; one for having increased the public distress by not spending his
income; another for having insulted the public distress by spending
it too lavishly. In a word there were no longer any innocent or any
guilty: there were only the proscribers and the proscribed.”

Under this fearful régime many of the truest and bravest soldiers of
France had perished: the duke of Lauzun and Biron who had fought for
us under Washington and La Fayette; the count d’Estaing who at the
same time commanded the French fleet off our coast; Custine the victor
of Mayence, and strangest of all, Houchard the victor of Honschoote.
La Fayette had saved himself by flight; so had Dumouriez the victor
of Jemappes. Some of these were proscribed because they were of noble
birth; others because, though plebeian and republican, they did not
fully come up to the standard of fanaticism then in vogue.

Robespierre and Saint Just are two of the monsters of history; yet we
cannot doubt that they were animated by what they regarded as devoted
and unselfish patriotism. They were as ready to lay down their own
lives as to take the lives of others, and they did lay them down.

They were among the best illustrations of that saying of Gibbon that
fanaticism can turn the noblest natures into beasts of prey.

Hoche had lost much of the friendship of Carnot by flouting his
authority in the matter of the commissioners, and by setting up on his
own account as an “organiser of victory.” Robespierre looked upon all
great warriors as a menace to Liberty, Equality and Fraternity; and
since the campaign of Wissembourg, Hoche was regarded as the first
of living generals. He had moreover been approached by the royalists
with the same temptation that was afterwards spread before Bonaparte,
namely, that he should undertake the rôle of General Monk, and if he
succeeded, the lofty function of Constable of France was to be revived
for him. He had scorned these offers; yet with the perversity of
human nature especially of human nature under the Terror, he was held
accountable for their having been made.

The Convention resolved to arrest him before he became too strong for
them. But did they dare seize him at the head of the troops he had led
and who adored him? The Terrorists had not only General Monk to reflect
upon but the case at their own doors of Dumouriez. When they had sent
commissioners to arrest that officer in his camp, he had ordered a file
of soldiers to seize them and deliver them over to the enemy.[17]

Hoche was a spirit of higher stamp than Dumouriez. Might he not improve
on the methods of that captain, and march at once on Paris? So they
thought best to use indirection: they lavished eulogies upon him, and
invited him to lay down his present command and accept that of the army
of Italy--a force just levied for the invasion of the Italian provinces
of the House of Austria. He readily consented to the change, for that
invasion was a favorite idea of his own. The Convention named to
succeed him in the place he was vacating, Jourdan who justified their
choice the next year by gaining the victory of Fleurus.

Hoche was completing the preparations for the campaign which another
and a greater was to lead, when a warrant came for his arrest. He made
no resistance. Perhaps resistance was useless; perhaps he considered
obedience a paramount duty; perhaps he trusted in his star and believed
they would not dare put him to death, and his star did not mislead him.
He was taken to Paris. Robespierre and Saint Just were in favor of
his immediate execution, but Couthon either from prudence or a worthy
purpose to save Hoche, pleaded that it might not be well to sacrifice
that young hero with such laurels on his brow--the people might not
take it in good part; and that it would be safer to keep him in custody
till time and the victories of others had dimmed the lustre of his
reputation. So he was put into the prison of the Concièrgerie.

To do the Terrorists justice they were not disposed to treat their
prisoners with any other cruelty than to cut their heads off; and Hoche
was allowed the consolation of writing to his wife and of receiving
her letters. He was soon joined by a young man named Thoiras of whose
imprisonment he was the innocent cause. Thoiras was a friend of the
family of Madame Hoche, and had expressed indignation at Hoche’s arrest.

To be imprisoned was to be condemned to die. No trial, no examination;
but every evening the Committee of Public Safety went over the list,
and marked off chiefly at random, as many as could be guillotined on
the morrow; and this fatal roll was read aloud each morning, in the
different prisons.

One day the name of Thoiras was called. He bade farewell to Hoche, and
drew from his pocket a watch which he begged him to keep for his sake.
That watch is still in the family of Hoche. That is to say, the last I
know of it, it belonged to the Marchioness of Roye, Hoche’s daughter;
but that lady was born about a century ago.

Among other interesting prisoners whose acquaintance Hoche made in the
Concièrgerie, were two young and charming widows whose fate proved
different from what was then threatened. One of them, instead of
having her head cut off by the guillotine, was to have it encircled
by a diadem. It was Josephine de Beauharnais. The other was already a
passive agent in a plot for the overthrow of the Terror. We shall say
more about her presently.

As fast as prisoners were led out to execution others were brought
in to take their places; and who might be the new comers was a daily
subject of mournful curiosity to those already incarcerated. One day
there were ushered into the Concièrgerie three men who caused great
amazement. Two were recognized as Saint Just and Couthon. The third had
his face bound up with a bloody napkin, but it was soon whispered about
that it was none other than the terrible Robespierre himself.

The tale has been told a thousand times: perhaps you will listen to it
the thousand and first time. One of the youngest and ablest members
of the Convention was Jean Lambert Tallien. He was not a good man: his
hand was as blood-stained as the rest. He had clamored for the death of
the king, and for the death of his co-republicans the Girondists. He
had seconded Danton in the massacres of September. He had recently been
sent to Bordeaux to see that the Terror was duly administered there,
and that an adequate number of heads fell daily in the market-place,
and he had fulfilled his mission with diabolical fidelity.

There lived in Bordeaux at that time one Madame de Fontenay whose
beauty Balzac says was one of Nature’s masterpieces. This was the
second of the two young widows whom Hoche had met in prison. I have
called her a widow but she was not quite that: she was a divorced
woman. Her husband who was a nobleman and a royalist had emigrated,
that is, had fled from the guillotine and from such fellows as Tallien.
The republic had decreed that a wife who was patriotic enough to stay
behind under such circumstances, should be entitled to a divorce;
and Madame de Fontenay who loved her country better than she loved
her husband, had availed herself of this law, and was now free. But
her name was aristocratic and her friends respectable, and in the
daily increasing barbarity of the Terror she was in great danger. As
fearless and capable as she was beautiful she resolved to meet the
peril half way. She paid a visit to Tallien and pleaded her cause
so eloquently that he assured her of his protection. He went back
to Paris, but he could not get out of his head the vision of that
appealing, resistless woman. He wrote to her and she wrote back.
He urged her to come to Paris so that he might befriend her more
effectually, and she came.

This virtuous passion seemed to work a change in that bad man. He
determined to shed no more blood; he began to hang back in the hellish
path of the Convention. Robespierre looked askance at him and soon
became an unfriend. Thinking to provoke Tallien to some rash act that
would afford a pretext for sending him to the guillotine, Robespierre
seized Madame de Fontenay and threw her in prison. Well, it did provoke
Tallien to a rash act, but it was not he who went to the guillotine.
He became the chief of a conspiracy for the destruction of the
triumvirate. He was urged forward by two of the strongest of motives:
to save his own life and to save the life of the woman he loved. The
plot spread, for every member of the Convention who differed in opinion
even unwittingly from Robespierre, was in danger of the scaffold.

On the evening of the 8th. Thermidor a month that embraced a part
of July and August, the conspirators held council. It was resolved
that in the session of the morrow Tallien should lead the attack on
Robespierre; and the rest swore by all they held sacred which was not
much, to back him to the death.

The ninth Thermidor--day big with fate--epoch in the history of the
revolution--dawned. The Convention assembled. Tallien gained the
tribune. He was an impressive speaker, and when he had fixed the
attention of the assembly he proceeded first to comment on the acts of
the triumvirate, then to criticise, then to call in question, then to
condemn, then to denounce. It was now his life or theirs and he hurled
defiance at them.

When he had done, Robespierre rose. He was evidently taken aback by
this unexpected arraignment. He made a feeble reply in which he dilated
on his own devotion to the public cause and on the heinousness of the
traitors who were turning against him. He then looked around for the
usual response: Vive la République! Vive Robespierre! Not a word. There
was dead silence. Presently a voice was heard: A bas les tyrans, down
with the tyrants! The cry was echoed and reëchoed. Tallien saw the hour
was come. He ordered the guards to arrest Robespierre, Saint Just and
Couthon. The soldiers seeing the triumvirs still calmly seated could
not believe that three men just now all powerful could be condemned,
and they hesitated. The order was repeated not only by Tallien but by
an outcry of his backers who were now a multitude; and the guards led
them forth. They took them first to the palace of the Luxembourg where
Robespierre seeing that all was lost, drew a pistol and attempted to
kill himself, but he took aim so badly that the ball merely broke his
jaw and went out at the opposite cheek. Hence the bloody napkin.

They were condemned to death by the same Committee of Public Safety
which a few days before was their pliant tool of assassination.

It was the end. The Reign of Terror was over, and all political
prisoners were set free. It was thus that Hoche and Josephine and
Madame de Fontenay recovered their liberty.

I suppose you ladies will not let me off from the rest of the love
affairs of that fascinating dame and Tallien. Well, they were married,
and Madame Tallien was one of the queens of beauty and fashion under
the Directory the Consulate and the Empire. It was in her drawing
room that Bonaparte first met Josephine. After he became emperor he
quarrelled with Madame Tallien. She was too witty and had too little
reverence for the demi-god; so he would no longer let Josephine
associate with her old friend and fellow prisoner.

Tallien lived to be old. In his last years he was supported by a small
pension granted him by Louis XVIII. whose brother Tallien had done
to death. Such was the vengeance of the House of Bourbon. And it was
another prince of that house who brought from Saint Helena the remains
of the arch-enemy of his race, and placed them in that superb tomb
under the dome of the Invalids. Contrast this with what the English
restoration did with the Regicides and with the remains of Cromwell.

The greatest of French rulers sleeps in the most gorgeous mausoleum of
modern times: the greatest of English rulers--Where is his grave?

Hoche was no sooner out of prison than the Committee of Public Safety
who had been asking themselves day after day whether the time had
come to send him to the guillotine, gave him a new command. This time
it was one he would fain have shrunk from; for he was to draw his
sword against Frenchmen. In the west of France was the new Department
of La Vendée. The inhabitants were rural in their occupations and
primitive in their manners. They were devoted Roman Catholics and
consequently devoted royalists. Many priests flying for their lives
from Liberty, Equality and Fraternity had taken refuge among them, and
had strengthened their fealty to the old régime. The Vendéeans had
risen in arms against the Republic, and the insurrection had extended
to neighboring Departments. Such was the valor of the men and the skill
of their leaders that they had thus far repulsed every force sent
against them. Even Kléber afterwards the victor of Heliopolis, had been
defeated and driven back. France face to face with Europe in arms,
could hardly survive with this ulcer in her bosom: it was therefore
her best soldier that she now chose to deal with it. Hoche set about
the task with characteristic energy. He made no mistakes, he suffered
no defeats and at the end of a sanguinary campaign La Vendée was
pacificated, that is, was turned into a desert.

It is illustrative of the imbecility with which this European war upon
France was for some years carried on, that no adequate effort was made
to take advantage of this revolt of the Vendéeans. The only important
attempt to second them was the expedition to Quiberon Bay. A small
force of emigrants, that is of French royalists were conveyed to that
bay by an English fleet. They landed and fortified their position;
and as it was commanded by the English guns, they felt themselves
safe till they could form junction with the insurgents. But they had
counted without their host, that is without Hoche; and almost before
they thought he could be aware of their coming, his troops were scaling
their defenses. The affair was soon over, and but few of the invaders
escaped. What added to the carnage was that the guns of the English
fleet played the while upon the scene of action, mowing down with
cynical impartiality friend and foe alike. The English commander no
doubt felt that every man laid low was one Frenchman the less, and how
could he send ashore first to ascertain his politics?

It was toward the close of Hoche’s campaign in La Vendée that another
campaign more notable was in progress on the eastern frontier. Let us
take a glance at the chain of events that caused this campaign to be so
remarkable.

The Convention was not an adequate government for a great people,
but it was better than none. Such however was not the opinion of the
socialists and communists and anarchists who swarmed in Paris, and had
gained control of the Sections, that is of the ward-meetings. These
philosophers held that the best government was the one that governed
the least, and therefore an ideal government was one that did not
govern at all. They rose to suppress the Convention, so that every man
might be a law unto himself, and Liberty, Equality and Fraternity do
their perfect work. The crisis was alarming: the Convention appealed
for protection to General Barras the military head of Paris. Barras had
under him an artillery officer full of original ideas. This was the
young man already referred to as having been at Versailles when the
mob broke into the palace, and as having called the king an imbecile
for not ordering his guards to use their bayonets. Among his other
excellences this young gentleman was handsome. We have said that Hoche
was handsome, but their respective success in the path of beauty, was
different. Hoche was tall and of martial aspect. This other Apollo was
small of stature and had the features and the hands and the feet of a
good-looking girl. Nevertheless he was not a favorite with the ladies.
He had ways they did not like. When they talked he would not listen as
he ought, and as we all ought, but would look off into vacancy as if
rapt in thought; and they were malicious enough to say that he _was_
rapt in thought--the thought of his own attractions; and considering
the complex character of the man it is not impossible the ladies were
right. With men however he stood better. Few could come in contact with
him without feeling his influence, and Barras was often led by him. To
him then he had recourse in the threatened peril. The young officer
planted cannon in different parts of the town under lieutenants of his
own mettle, and himself took charge of a few pieces in the street Saint
Honoré at the corner where stands the church Saint Roch. The insurgents
came swarming up. He gave them no warning of what was in store for them
but waited till they were within range, and then let drive into them a
pitiless storm of grape-shot. The pavement was strewed with the dead
and dying. Revolt had met its match: the Convention was saved.

A few weeks later, in October 1795, the Convention laid down its
functions and was replaced by the Directory which body in the following
February, conferred upon this remorseless gunner the command of
the army of Italy, the army from which Hoche had been withdrawn to
be thrown into prison. Behold then this new apostle of grape-shot
red-handed from the slaughter of his fellow republicans, at the head
of the best and worst army of the Republic! His men as it proved, were
fully gifted with that fanatical valor which made the revolutionary
soldier so formidable; but their clothes were in rags and their shoes
full of holes, and as for food Thiers intimates that it was a choice
between stealing and starving. Their young commander told them what was
perfectly true--for he had contracted the habit of telling the truth
when it would serve--that he was as poor as they; silver and gold had
he none; but their bayonets were in good order, and he was going to
lead them to a land of promise flowing with food and raiment and money
to boot. And at the head of these marauders he passed into Italy.

I need not remind you how he made short work of all opposition; how
three allied armies each superior to his own, went down one after
another before his ragamuffins as if three earthquakes had yawned for
them. History had never before and has never since recorded so rapid a
succession of decisive victories.

Hoche read with mingled admiration and envy the bulletins that came
from this astonishing campaign. He was loud in his applause of the new
hero, but he was at no pains to conceal his chagrin that he himself had
not been permitted to lead those troops to that field of glory. Had he
been so permitted would the result have been the same? We may easily
believe that his energy and soldiership would have borne him through
triumphant; but that the Italian campaign would then have stood out
the great masterpiece of modern warfare may be doubted. We may claim
that Hoche was a great general without claiming for him the genius of
Bonaparte.

La Vendée pacificated, Hoche fell into the delusion still common on
the continent of Europe and in this country, that the Irish need only
a little outside aid and coöperation to revolt against the domination
of the English. He headed an expedition to Ireland. His fleet was
scattered by a storm, and driven back; and as his services were needed
elsewhere, he did not renew the attempt.

He took command of the army of the Sambre and Meuse and advanced to the
left bank of the Rhine with eighty thousand men. On the right bank was
the enemy in still greater force but much scattered to prevent him from
crossing. The bridges and fords for miles bristled with cannon. But
he outmanoevred his opponent and repeated the noted feat of Condé by
crossing the Rhine in face of the enemy. A series of battles followed
in which Hoche was victorious. He was pursuing the beaten allies, and
had written to the Directory that he expected to bring them to bay on
the banks of the Danube, when he received news of the armistice of
Léoben signed by Bonaparte and the archduke Charles; and he had nothing
to do but to lead back his troops foiled of their prey.

All misgiving as to the fidelity of Hoche to the Republic had vanished,
while Bonaparte had already betrayed qualities which excited the
distrust of the Directory just as Cromwell had excited the distrust and
more of the Rump and of the Barebones parliament. The army of the Rhine
was added to the army of the Sambre and Meuse; and the joint command
given to Hoche, placed him in effect at the head of the military force
of the nation. He was soon called to Paris to overawe the same uneasy
spirits who had tried to overturn the Convention, and it is noteworthy
that it was Hoche and not Bonaparte who was thus summoned, although it
was the latter who had demonstrated as we have seen, the true method of
arguing with those philanthropists.

The approach of Hoche to the Capital exposed him to a curious
accusation which illustrates the taste of the revolutionists for
mimicking the ancient Romans. The Directory had decreed a line of
circumference around Paris within which no armed force must pass
without special permission. Hoche had mistaken the boundary of this new
Rubicon and had crossed it at the head of his men. He was arraigned
before the Directory, but his explanation was accepted and he was more
popular than ever.

This preference for Hoche over Bonaparte gave rise to jealousy which
had no time to develop into action. Hoche returned to his camp at
Wetzlar only to die. He who had faced death in so many pitched battles,
was reserved to yield up his soul in peace, his wife and child kneeling
at his bed-side. He was twenty-nine years old.

His death was so sudden that there was talk of poison, to which the
autopsy it seems lent some color. Alexander Dumas makes no doubt that
he was poisoned, and that it was done at the instigation of Bonaparte.
But Dumas is not to be trusted. He had inherited the prejudices of his
father a general of division who had served under Bonaparte and had had
a bitter quarrel with him. Hoche had gone back to Wetzlar with a cough,
and he probably died of pneumonia.

Had he lived would he too have bent the knee around the imperial
throne? Probably not. Would he like Moreau have lent his sword to the
enemies of France? That is still less probable. The French are apt to
say that if Hoche had survived there would have been no empire, no
emperor; but might there not have been something worse: France divided
into two hostile camps under two great captains?

The renown of Hoche pales necessarily in the presence of that of his
great rival, just as the renown of Hampden pales in presence of that of
Cromwell; but as men and as patriots Hampden and Hoche were purer and
nobler than their rivals. The former were ambitious for their country,
the latter for themselves.

It is a satisfaction to add in conclusion, that in those impious years
of the revolution, when Christian worship was neglected and at times
proscribed, and a mummery in honor or dishonor of Reason and Human
Nature substituted, Hoche did not share in the prevailing misbelief. He
writes to a friend that he had been piously taught in his childhood,
and that he still believes and reveres the religion of Jesus Christ.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the large war-steamers recently built by the French, is named
the HOCHE.



An Interesting Ancestor of Queen Victoria


In the fourteenth century the Spanish peninsula was divided into five
kingdoms: four Christian and one Mahometan or Mohametan or Mohamedan.
The reader will take his choice. Wars were constant between the two
faiths. This was a blessing, at least for the Christians, for if they
had not been kept always shoulder to shoulder against the Moor, they
would have been less usefully busy cutting each other’s throats.

Nobody in the middle ages abstained from the vice of fighting. Bishops
in panoply led their flocks to battle, and even a century later than
the epoch of my story, one pope Julius II., whenever spiritual weapons
failed him, which was often, seized the carnal, and showed himself one
of the stoutest combatants in Europe.

On the throne of Castile sat Alphonzo XI. an able monarch. He was at
the head of the Christian confederacy and commanded at the battle of
the Rio Salado where the Moors suffered a great defeat. Alphonzo had
married Dona Maria of Portugal a woman of harsh and gloomy temper
whom he did not love. His affections were wholly bestowed upon Leonora
de Gusman a lady of beauty and intelligence, belonging to the higher
nobility. His queen nevertheless brought him one son, Don Pedro who is
known in history as Pedro-the-cruel or Peter-the-cruel. It is he who is
the chief subject of this paper.

By Leonora, Alphonzo had several children of whom the eldest or rather
the first born, for he had a twin brother, was Don Enrique or Henry.
Henry was his father’s favorite. He conferred upon him the estates
of Trastamara with the title of count, and he is known as Henry of
Trastamara. These two princes Don Pedro and Don Henry both grew up
brave, energetic and capable.

It is easy to believe that the queen Dona Maria hated with all the
bitterness of her sombre nature her more brilliant and beautiful rival
Leonora; but so long as Alphonzo lived, there was peace in the family,
because, different from some cases we hear of, it was he who was master
of the house. But king Alphonzo died in the flower of his age, and then
the trouble began.

Don Henry and his twin brother Don Frederic and their next brother Don
Tello fled from the court. They were justly suspicious of the designs
of their brother Pedro who was now king and of the queen-mother.
Leonora was more confiding. She suffered herself to be drawn within
the power of Dona Maria, and was seized and put to death; and soon
after, the same fate overtook the younger children of Leonora.

These assassinations caused of course a deadly feud between the two
branches of the family; and Don Henry and his brothers raised the
standard of revolt. They were defeated. Don Frederic fell in battle.
Henry and Tello fled to France where they entered the service of king
John II., and fought under the famous captain Bertrand Du Guesclin at
the battle of Poictiers. They were still unfortunate. The French were
routed at Poictiers by the English and Gascons under Edward Prince of
Wales called the Black Prince.

Pedro had been affianced to a sister of the Black Prince, Joanna
Plantagenet daughter of Edward III. but she had died. Pedro then
married Blanche de Bourbon of the younger branch of the blood royal of
France. He lived with her, the chronicles say, just three days. His
affections too had gone astray. He had had the good sense to keep in
his service his father’s prime minister, Albuquerque who it seems was
an able statesman. Albuquerque had a beautiful cousin known in history
as Maria de Padilla. Pedro fell in love with her, and his passion was
as lasting as it was sudden. Indeed the only redeeming trait in that
man’s character seems to have been his undying fondness for a woman he
had no right to love.

Before going further let us finish the story of queen Blanche. Some
years afterwards she died in prison at Medina Sidonia. The average
historian despatches her by poison given by her husband’s orders; but
there really seems to be no other reason to believe he poisoned her
than the habit he had fallen into of dismissing in that manner those
of whom he was weary. All that is certain is that she fell sick and
a physician was called in. That of itself commonly sufficed in those
days. Even later, in the reign of Philip III. we are told by Le Sage
that whenever the fashionable physician of Valladolid was seen to enter
a house, the family undertaker immediately arranged the obsequies
without further notice. And the same conscientious historian relates
as corroborative, that Don Alphonzo de Leyva was once taken ill at a
remote country tavern. His attendants scoured the neighborhood in every
direction to find a doctor but without success. The consequence was Don
Alphonzo de Leyva in a day or two got well and pursued his journey.

There were assassinations enough to lay at the door of Pedro without
that one, and it is bad economy to put there more than are needed.

While Blanche was still living Pedro took it into his head to have
another wife. He forced one of his bishops to marry him to Dona Joanna
de Castro daughter of a noble Castilian. He had lived with Blanche
three days; he lived with Joanna one, and then went back to Maria de
Padilla.

It was in this same family of De Castro that had happened a few years
previous, a tragic event which has ever since been the theme of song
and story.

The father of Joanna for some offence real or pretended, had been
obliged to take refuge in Portugal. He took with him his daughter Iñez
half sister of Joanna. Portugal was then under the rule of Alphonzo IV.
a severe master. His son and heir Pedro of Portugal was a prince of
marked capacity. He was married and lived in peace if not in happiness,
with his wife Constance who was valetudinary and petulant. Iñez de
Castro was beautiful and to her beauty was added grace of manner and
the accomplishments of that age. Pedro was attracted by her and she
was drawn towards him. Their intimacy however did not go beyond the
limits of friendship: the chronicles agree that the rights of Constance
were respected. She was nevertheless jealous and suspicious; she was
haunted with the idea that Pedro was only waiting for her to die in
order to marry Iñez, and she resolved to prevent it. She obtained from
the old king an order commanding Iñez to stand god-mother to one of her
children. This, according to the canons of the Church, was an effectual
bar to a marriage between Iñez and the father of the child. That matter
arranged to her satisfaction, Constance died.

The real barrier between Pedro and Iñez being thus removed they made
short work of the artificial one. Pedro induced the bishop of Guarda to
marry them privately. Iñez was established at Coimbra on the banks of
the Mondego where she become the mother of children. As the marriage
was not known her reputation of course suffered.

King Alphonzo was tolerant enough of this liaison such as he imagined
it to be; but the enemies of Pedro and of the de Castros penetrated the
secret, and betrayed it to the king. He was furious, the more so that
it was whispered in his ear that Iñez was practising against the life
of Ferdinand son of Constance, so as to make way to the throne for her
own son.

Alphonzo determined to put a stop to the thing in the way things were
put a stop to in those days. Accompanied by three of his informers
he flew to Coimbra. Iñez threw herself at his feet and pleaded so
piteously for her life that the old king relented. He had not the
heart to kill her. He turned away and as he withdrew, he let fall some
expressions of impatience at his own weakness, which proved enough
for the ruffians who were with him. They went back and plunged their
daggers in the bosom of Iñez.

The rage of Pedro knew no bounds. He revolted against his father, and
Portugal was devastated by civil war. At last, reflecting that he was
heir to that kingdom, he made peace and became so calm that it was
thought he had forgotten Iñez.

His father died and Pedro ascended the throne of Portugal. His first
purpose was to lay hand on the murderers of Iñez. They had fled into
Castile. He sent an envoy to Pedro-the-cruel claiming them; and the
latter, not hindered by the obvious justice of the claim, gave them
up, that is two of them; the third had escaped into Aragon beyond the
reach of either Pedro. The two surrendered were put to death. Then to
rehabilitate the memory of Iñez Pedro, with the bishop of Guarda by his
side, publicly proclaimed the marriage. The body of Iñez was exhumed
and the ceremony of coronation performed. A crown was placed upon her
brow, and the whole court with Ferdinand son of Constance at the head,
passed before her and kneeled and made obeisance as to a living queen.
A gorgeous funeral followed, and the remains of Iñez were conveyed to
the royal sepulchre of Alcobaca. Often, say the chronicles, did Pedro
go there to weep at the tomb of his beloved wife; and he lies by her
side now.

Such is the history of Iñez de Castro.

To return to Pedro of Castile.

The battle of Poictiers brought about a lull in the war between
England and France, and Bertrand Du Guesclin was out of employment.
He afterwards rose to be constable of France, but at this time he
was a sort of contractor for military work to be paid for in silver
and gold; and we shall see that he was not the only knight of high
renown who bargained for pay. The implements he used were chiefly the
Free-Companions, a class of combatants half soldier half robber that I
have already described in my essay on the Captivity.

Henry of Trastamara proposed to Bertrand to unite their resources,
march into Castile and dethrone Pedro. The knight accepted the offer.
He hung his banner on the outward wall, and the Free-Companions came
flocking to it like crows to a carcass. But where was the money to come
from? the Free-Companions would not fight without pay. So Bertrand
made a speech to them. He told them they were soldiers not thieves,
and that it was more respectable to aid their brother-in-arms Henry
of Trastamara to conquer a kingdom than to be robbing on the highway.
He appealed too to their religious sensibilities, for in the middle
ages religion mingled with everything, and was invoked to sanction all
purposes good or bad. He bade them trust in Providence for their pay,
and reminded them that they must now and then do some good work in
order to give the devil the slip in the end.

The wholesome creed of good works prevailed at that epoch:
justification by faith was hanging back, waiting for Luther; and there
was none of this modern nonsense about there being no devil. These
fellows knew there was one, and that he had cloven hoofs, a pronged
tail and horns. Some of them had seen him, and if you called the fact
in question, were ready to vouch for it with broad-sword or halberd
at your choice. It is an historical error that Saint Dunstan and some
other gentlemen of the cloth were the only persons who saw the devil in
the dark ages.

Du Guesclin’s eloquence prevailed. The men caught the spirit of their
chieftain, and flung up their caps and shouted Long live Henry of
Trastamara! Glory be to God on high! The hosanna was in token of their
repentance and of their resolution to do their marauding for the
present as soldiers. The knave of hearts himself was not more contrite
when he brought back those tarts and vowed he’d steal no more.

They set out for Spain. It occurred to them on the way, that it would
be a pious duty to stop at Avignon and ask the blessing of the pope.

I must refer the reader to the essay on the Captivity for an account of
this visit to his Holiness. It was successful beyond their hopes, so
that now with money in both pockets and the benediction of the pontiff
upon their enterprise, they felt they could ransack Castile with a
clear conscience.

Pedro was not able to hold his own against them. He was driven from
Castile, and Henry of Trastamara was crowned at Burgos.

Pedro fled into Guienne. That province then belonged to the English. It
was a portion of the inheritance of Eleanor wife of Henry II. the first
king of the House of Plantagenet. Edward the Black Prince governed
it as viceroy and held his court at Bordeaux. Edward had been on the
point of becoming brother-in-law to Pedro who had been affianced to
Edward’s sister Joan as I have already related, and Pedro induced him
to undertake to recover for him the throne of Castile. Edward insisted
on a preliminary contract by which Pedro was to pay the cost of the
expedition if successful. He then put his legions in motion. Henry
called Du Guesclin to his side. The knight, probably the best soldier
in Europe after Edward, was averse to a battle. He warned Henry that
their Free-Companions would not stand against the disciplined veterans
of the Black Prince; but Henry was rash as well as brave. He put too
much trust in his Spanish contingent who had fought against the Moors
and never yet turned their backs to an enemy. The result was the
battle of Najara where Henry and Bertrand were defeated; and Pedro was
restored to the throne.

Edward in taking leave, admonished him to be clement to his people,
and not massacre quiet folks who during the short reign of Henry, had
shown respect for the king de facto; and also to pay promptly the
money he owed him. Pedro promised to do both; but Edward’s back was
no sooner turned than the dagger, the bowl and the cord were in full
play again. Pedro seemed to think he had too many subjects and that
it was well to thin them out. One night a gentleman was set upon and
killed in the streets of Toledo. A woman who had witnessed the fray,
testified that one of the murderers made a crackling noise with his
legs in walking. This was a known peculiarity of the king: he was the
assassin. He ordered a wooden effigy of himself to be made and to be
beheaded in the market-place. This expiation procured for him the name
of Pedro-the-just.

As to the other point of his promise, he sent to Edward a small sum
and then suspended payment. Edward demanded the remainder. Pedro,
after having gone through the whole litany of excuses so well known
to debtors, sent him word that if he wanted his money he had better
come and get it. He could now do this with impunity. The prince had
contracted in the Najara campaign, a dysentery which proved fatal. He
lived long enough however to know that he had served an ingrate and to
foretell that the service would do him no good.

The prediction was verified. Henry no sooner learned the death of the
Black Prince than he hastened to concert new measures with Du Guesclin.
Once more did the knight muster his tramps. They burst into Castile
this time without visiting the pope and getting his blessing: perhaps
the former benediction was still of force, though they had doubtless
spent the money. Pedro was besieged in one of his towns and taken
prisoner. He was brought into the presence of Henry. The two brothers
had not met in fifteen years. They drew their swords and flew at each
other with desperate fury, and Pedro fell by the hand of Henry.

Henry of Trastamara once more mounted the throne of Castile, and this
time he transmitted it to his descendants. Through a succession of
Henrys and Johns and Isabellas and Joannas which I spare you, the crown
of Castile fell to Isabella wife of Ferdinand of Aragon. Their grandson
was the great emperor Charles V. From him is descended the present
House of Spain and also the House of Bourbon.

But I have intimated that the queen of England is descended from the
cruel Pedro.

Isabella daughter of Peter and Maria de Padilla, married Edmund duke
of York fifth son of Edward III. Their son Richard earl of Cambridge
married _Anne Mortimer_ a marriage which tied a knot in English
pedigree that it took thirty years of civil war to untie, or rather
to cut with the sword. And who was Anne Mortimer to set all England
together by the ears?

In the several lulls in that civil war, when a Lancastrian and a
Yorkist met by chance and talked politics, the former would say: John
of Gaunt was the fourth son of Edward III. while your Edmund of York
was the fifth, and thus Lancaster takes precedence. Softly my good Sir,
replies the Yorkist: Richard of Cambridge married Anne Mortimer. The
Lancastrian responds with the hyperbole that it is not worth while to
go back to king Arthur. They touch their hats and bid each other good
morning, or what is quite as likely, draw their swords and fight.

But who was Anne Mortimer that no honest Lancastrian could hear her
name with patience?

In Shakspeare’s Henry IV. when the Percies revolt against Henry
of Lancaster, Hotspur says he will find the king asleep and holla
_Mortimer_ in his ear; he will have a starling taught to say nothing
but Mortimer and give it to the king.

What was there in the name of Mortimer to startle so rough a soldier as
Henry IV.?

Lionel duke of Clarence was the third son of Edward III. older
therefore than John of Gaunt. Lionel married an Irish girl named Burke.
They had a daughter Philippa who married Edmund Mortimer earl of March.
The grand-children of Edmund and Philippa were a second Edmund Mortimer
and _Anne_. It was this Edmund whose name Hotspur threatened to holla
in the ear of the sleeping king. Edmund Mortimer was at that moment
king by right, according to the laws of succession to the crown then
as now. The House of Mortimer however could not vindicate its right
against two such powerful usurpers as Henry IV. and Henry V. But their
successor Henry VI. was one of the weakest of monarchs, and under
him the Mortimers began to hold up their heads. By that time they had
become Plantagenets again. Edmund had died without issue; and Anne was
the last of her family. She married as I have said, Richard Plantagenet
earl of Cambridge. Their son was Richard duke of York who won the first
battle of Saint Albans, and came near seizing the crown. His son Edward
IV. did seize it. He married that charming widow Lady Grey daughter of
Jaqueline of Luxembourg. (See Two Jaquelines.) The daughter of that
marriage was Elizabeth Plantagenet who married Henry Tudor, Henry VII.
It is there that Plantagenet becomes Tudor. Their daughter, Margaret
Tudor married James Stuart, James IV. of Scotland, and it is there that
Tudor becomes Stuart. The son of James and Margaret, was another James
Stuart, James V. who married Mary of Guise of that famous House of
Lorraine the upshoot of which is a remarkable event in French history.
It took two assassinations to save the last of the Valois from having
the crown snatched from his head by that able and unscrupulous family.
The daughter of James V. and Mary of Guise was Mary Stuart, queen of
Scots. She married her half-cousin Henry Stuart lord Darnley who like
herself was grandchild of Margaret Tudor, and next to herself, heir to
the English crown. The son of Mary and Henry Stuart was James VI. of
Scotland and first of England. He married Anne of Denmark, and their
daughter Elizabeth Stuart married Frederic count Palatine. The daughter
of Elizabeth and Frederic was Sophia who married Ernest Augustus,
elector of Hanover, and became the mother of George I. George III. was
great-grandson of George I. and Victoria is granddaughter of George III.

Thus have we traced the pedigree of the Queen from Peter-the-cruel.

After so fatiguing a stretch, it is a comfort to take breath and
reflect that thus far the Queen has not developed the objectionable
traits of her ancestor. She has never been known to poison anybody, nor
has a single case of midnight assassination been made out against her.



John Wiclif


It has been said that three men struck telling blows at the Roman
hierarchy: Philip the fourth, John Wiclif and Martin Luther: a
Frenchman, an Englishman and a German. The first opened the way for
the other two. Philip IV. called the fair, that is the handsome, was
the greatest of the Capetien kings, but his greatness was intellectual
only. If he contributed largely to lead mankind out of the bog of
superstition in which they were swamped, he did it simply to gratify
his own rapacity and ambition. He was the first monarch to challenge
the Church to a combat à outrance; and he succeeded in leading her
captive literally as well as figuratively.

It is useless to try, as some quasi historians do, to explain the
career of Wiclif without taking into consideration the state of the
Church at that epoch; and if the reader is not informed on that point,
he will not profit much by this essay till he has read, marked, learned
and inwardly digested the previous one on the Captivity of Babylon.

Cotemporary with Philip IV. was Edward I. of England. The two were
pretty evenly matched. Edward was probably the better soldier; but in
his negotiations with Philip, the advantage remained to the latter.
Edward married for his second wife Philip’s sister; and Edward’s son
married Philip’s daughter. It was this last marriage that caused the
hundred years war.

Edward’s grandfather king John, one of the basest of monarchs, had been
compelled by his barons, to accept the Great Charter and solemnly to
swear to observe it. He appealed to the pope Innocent III. to release
him from that oath, and the pontiff consented on condition that John
should cede to him in fee the kingdom of England and receive it back
in tenancy as a fief of the Holy See, subject to an annual tribute of
money as token of vassalage. The bargain was consummated: John was
empowered to violate his oath, and his Holiness became Lord paramount
of England. He received the tribute in silver and gold during the life
of John and during the long reign of his son Henry III. the father of
Edward. But when he, Edward, came to the throne he resolved not to be
outdone by his incomparable brother-in-law, and refused to continue the
tribute. The pope, Boniface VIII., did not follow up the claim with
his usual tenacity. Perhaps because he already had his hands full with
Philip; and perhaps because there supervened between him and Edward a
negotiation of a different character. Edward at the head of an army,
was pursuing his claim to the crown of Scotland. The Scotch appealed
to the pope giving him a correct history of the transactions between
the two kingdoms, by which the independence of Scotland was fully
recognised. Boniface ordered Edward to withdraw his troops, alleging
that Scotland belonged to him, Boniface--a new pretence little to the
taste of the Scotch themselves. Edward denied the Scotch version,
and told the pope that the English monarchy was founded by Brutus
the Trojan in the time of the prophet Samuel, and that Scotland was
subjugated and annexed by his Edward’s ancestor king Arthur, a prince
for whose existence there was the same authority then as now, namely
the rhymes of the nursery. Boniface was struck with the antiquity of
the English monarchy and the deeds of the valorous Arthur, and he
changed sides: he commanded the Scotch no longer to resist his beloved
son in the Lord, king Edward.

Some years later we find Edward brought by his subjects to the verge
of dethronement for his tyranny, and forced to ratify anew the Great
Charter and swear to observe it; and then applying to Clement V.
the French pope, Philip’s pope, first pope of the Captivity, for a
dispensation from his oath. Great as Edward is made to appear to us
in English histories, it is clear he was not the man to redeem his
kingdom from the thraldom into which his grandsire had sold it. It was
the paralysis of the political power of the Church effected by Philip
IV., which gave scope to the innovations of Wiclif and led towards the
emancipation of England.

We pass over the reign of Edward’s worthless son, and come to that of
his grandson in the early part of whose reign Wiclif was born. The
day of his birth is not known. The third Edward came honestly by his
qualities moral and immoral. He was the grandson not only of Edward
I. but of the terrible Philip. He was not an Englishman--the English
blood in his veins was just a two hundred and fifty-sixth part. He was
a French Spaniard with a taint of the Moor. He ground his subjects to
powder by unprecedented taxation. He put the crown itself in pawn and
left it there eight years. But he had inherited the unfailing sagacity
of his maternal grandsire, and his people never brought _him_ to terms
by threatening to dethrone him.

If he himself did not turn upon the Church and rend her like Philip,
he was ready to see others do it. For aught he cared, Wiclif and the
other neologists of the day, might have gone over to the faith of his
Saracenic ancestors, and translated into English the Koran instead
of the Bible. Nor were his subjects much more true to the hierarchy:
loyalty to the pope was no longer the vogue. Now-a-days not one Roman
Catholic in a thousand knows that the see of Rome was ever anywhere
else than in Rome: the Church has been remiss in disseminating
information on that point; but at that time every Englishman not
idiotic, knew that the pope was a Frenchman seated down on the Rhone;
that the cardinals were French; that it was a Frenchman in London who
received the tribute of king John when he could get it; that in fine
the Church was a French industry which every honest Briton was bound to
look upon with distrust.

In the previous century begging had been proclaimed as a means of
grace, and this new road to heaven was eagerly seized upon by the
religious orders. Even men of rank and wealth turned Franciscan or
Dominican and worked out their own salvation by standing barefoot, a
rope around the waist, at the corners of the streets, holding out a
box for the contributions of the devout. The widow’s mite entitled her
only to the formal and general prayers of the convent; but those who
would make a handsome gift, were presented with a document on vellum
called a _letter of fraternity_ which gained for them special masses
for the success of their schemes in this world, and for the tempering
of purgatorial fires in the next. This traffic was profitable enough
to attract a brisk competition among the different orders, for the
monopoly; and each succeeding pontiff granted it to those who by their
faith or works--chiefly the latter--had risen highest in his esteem.

England swarmed with these sturdy beggars, and this gave handle to
Wiclif’s attacks not only upon them but upon monks in general. He
himself was a secular priest, that is a priest belonging to no monastic
order; and Roman Catholic writers aver that Wiclif’s hostility to
the monks arose from party spirit; and even protestant historians do
not wholly exculpate him in that regard. We know that feelings quite
mundane went for something occasionally in the measures of Luther and
of Calvin; and it is not improbable that Wiclif had a touch of human
nature as well as they. He had been made warden of Canterbury in
the place of a monk named Woodhall. The archbishop from whom Wiclif
had received this appointment died, and his successor dismissed him
and reinstated the monk. Wiclif appealed to the pope at Avignon,
who decided against him, saying that none but monks were entitled
to such preferment. Wiclif sounded the charge. He denied the pope’s
infallibility; he denied his right to excommunicate except for crime;
his right to extend absolution except to the penitent; his right to any
temporal power, especially his claim to be Lord paramount of England
by the cession of king John. He admitted that the pontiff was Christ’s
vicar on earth so far as he conformed to Christ’s precept and example
and no farther. As for the monks, not only their begging but some
other of their short-comings more questionable were the subject of his
invective; and to show them what they ought to be and to do he sent
forth his _poor priests_ as he called them, who clad in monkish garb,
went into the streets and highways, not to beg but to preach the gospel
and to read it to the people in English in the translation he was
already making.

I have sketched the events which prepared the way for Wiclif, and it is
proof of how well they had worked together for him that this opposition
to the Church instead of losing for him the favor of the king, gained
it. The tribute of John was in arrears, and pope Urban summoned Edward
to appear before him at Avignon as his vassal, and give an account
of himself. Edward was not disposed to make so long a journey for so
little profit; but he agreed to send commissioners to meet those of
his Holiness, at Bruges in Flanders. Wiclif had the honor of being
appointed on this commission. A compromise was the result. Wiclif was
rewarded for the skill he had shown as a diplomat, by being made rector
of Lutterworth, and in that incumbency he spent the rest of his days.

William of Wykeham bishop of Winchester was a prelate of learning,
talent and excellence. He deplored as earnestly as Wiclif the
ecclesiastical abuses which reigned, and the objectionable ways of the
monks. He was of a broad spirit: nice theological points never troubled
him. He recked as little as Wiclif whether the Frenchman Grimoard,
Urban V. was infallible or not, or whether he was entitled to the
tribute of king John so long as he did not get it.[18]

But he idolised the Church and to maintain her dignity, her prerogative
and even her wealth was what he lived for. Both these men were in
advance of their age: the one by indifference to the prevailing
superstitions, the other by a desire to blot them out. They ought have
been friends; but one was a high churchman, the other a low churchman.

William of Wykeham had been chancellor of England and had resigned.
In the next reign, that of Richard II., he was once more raised to
that high office. In the meantime he had fallen out with John of Gaunt
duke of Lancaster uncle of Richard, and that quarrel brought about an
alliance between the duke and Wiclif. John was the fourth son of Edward
III. and possessed the qualities of his race. He is supposed to have
aimed to succeed his father on the throne, in contempt of the rights of
his nephew, son of his illustrious brother the Black prince; but the
boy had not yet displayed the unworthy traits which finally cost him
his crown; and the memory of his father proved sufficient to guarantee
the succession of one of England’s weakest sovereigns.

Finding the English throne impracticable, John attempted that of
Castile, but here he met a rival whose claim was but little more
valid than his, but who had got the start of him. Later the progeny
of John of Gaunt and of Henry of Trastamara intermarried; and the
present Houses of Hapsburg and Bourbon are descended from both of these
adventurers.

Foiled in Castile duke John returned to England and plunged into
politics. What the contention was between him and William of Wykeham,
is not clear. It is probable that duke John was out of money, and
remembering him of the manner in which his great-grandfather Philip
had replenished his coffers, he was trying to defraud the Church, and
that the chancellor frustrated those designs. Wiclif who was of the
opinion of Agur, with a leaning towards poverty, considered the wealth
of the Church as one of its abuses, and he sided with the duke. He
did not serve an ingrate, for when at length he was arraigned before
the bishop of London to explain his opinions, he walked into court
accompanied by John of Gaunt on one side, and John’s friend Percy earl
marshal of England on the other. Wiclif was feeble in body, and lord
Percy told him to sit down. Not with my permission, said the bishop.
Then without it, growled John of Gaunt, and he added that if the bishop
put on airs he would drag him from his seat by the hair of his head.
The session broke up in disorder; and one of the many inexplicable
circumstances connected with Wiclif’s history, is that the populace who
took the part of the bishop, vented their discontent not on Wiclif but
on his lordly abettors.

Later, duke John abandoned Wiclif but not wantonly or without an
effort to fetch him round to what he regarded a common sense view of
the case. Politics had shifted, and the duke was on the side of the
Church. He suggested to Wiclif that it was time for him to turn his
coat also, and finding him obstinate he left him to his own devices
for a pragmatical disturber of the public peace. It was inconceivable
to John of Gaunt that a man of genius could be in earnest about what he
considered as nothing more than the futilities of the schools.

Wiclif’s greatest work was his translation of the scriptures into
English; but his version was not one that we would accept to-day
for our guidance. It was the translation of the translation of a
translation. Let us look a little into its pedigree: Some years before
the birth of Christ, the old testament was translated into Greek. This
version is called the Septuagint, because, according to the legend,
seventy-two learned doctors were shut up in seventy-two separate cells
and set to making seventy-two separate translations of the Hebrew
scriptures. They accomplished the task in seventy-two days, and when
they came to compare notes their seventy-two versions all agreed word
for word letter for letter. There could be no doubt of the inspiration
of a work so miraculous; and such was the authority of the Septuagint
that the citations of the old testament in the new, are taken from it.
The Church of Rome at an early day translated the Septuagint and the
Apocrypha into its adopted tongue the latin, and this version is known
as the old Vulgate. In the course of ages, and they were dark ages, by
careless transcription and by the foisting in of strange theological
ideas, the Vulgate had become corrupt, and such was its condition when
Wiclif translated it. Two hundred years later the Council of Trent
revised it and brought it into its present form. It is now the ultimate
Bible of the Church Catholic Apostolic and Roman, from which there
is no appeal: the original Hebrew and Greek go for nothing when they
differ from it. Do you ask why? I answer that the Church is inspired
as well as the Bible, and inspiration for inspiration, the later must
supercede the earlier. You protestants have merely gone back and picked
up the exhausted material of the Church, and made out of it a sort
of Bible of your own, instead of accepting the better provision she
offers you; and it distresses me to add that the Council of Trent has
consigned you all to perdition for rejecting the Apocrypha.

Scripture in Wiclif’s day was a new revelation for the people, and the
reading of his Bible was eagerly listened to; but some enthusiastic
writers dilate upon its wide spread circulation, forgetting that
the art of printing was then unknown, and that every copy was in
manuscript, and that too not in the facile running hand of the present
era, but in _black-letter_ printed out, so to speak, with the pen. Le
Bas estimates that a New Testament alone cost the equivalent of thirty
pounds sterling money of his day which was early in this century--say
two hundred dollars of our time, at which rate the whole Bible would
cost say one thousand dollars. There were but few persons in the
fourteenth century who could buy such books and but few who could read
them.

The style of Wiclif’s Bible is simpler and clearer than the rest of
his English. Green says that Wiclif’s style is a model, and that he
was the father of our modern vernacular; but this is disposed of by
better authority. Sharon Turner says that Wiclif’s style was inferior
to that of some of his cotemporaries. Vaughn[19] whose biography of
Wiclif is an almost continuous panegyric, says his style is repulsive
and unintelligible. Le Bas says it is barbarous. Knight’s history says
it is so obscure as to defy interpretation. The truth is, Wiclif like
many another man of genius, had not the minor gift of phrase-making;
and the better English of his Bible was owing to his collaborators
who possessed that gift. Wiclif with the rest of his knowledge, had
self-knowledge: he knew his own defects and how to obviate them.

As for his opinions they were fluctuating; and different writers give
different accounts of them. His eulogists say they were progressive;
his enemies that he recanted. Hume says he had not the spirit of a
martyr, and was ready to explain away his doctrines whenever they put
him in danger; but it is probable that such was the unpopularity of the
French hierarchy that he ran no risk of martyrdom. He was not only left
undisturbed in his cure of Lutterworth, but in spite of his opinions he
was made one of the royal chaplains at the accession of Richard II.

We find him at one time appealing to the pope against the archbishop
of Canterbury; at another, calling his Holiness a _purse-kerver_ that
is a pick pocket. Some of his expressions seem to call in doubt the
existence of purgatory; but he upholds masses for the dead. He adheres
to the seven sacraments, but he not only condemns the restrictions of
the Church on the marriage of relatives, he approves of that connection
between those more nearly allied in blood than is now sanctioned by
modern legislation. He was no doubt betrayed at times by the sharpness
of his own dialectics. His was the logic of the schools, the logic of
the nominalists and the realists, of Abelard, Aquinus and Dun Scotus, a
logic by which anything might be proved or disproved at choice.

The most important and most difficult question is what were his
opinions of the Eucharist. It is commonly said that he denied
Transubstantiation. But how far did he deny it?

The term transubstantiation was not known till the twelfth century.
For eleven hundred years, Christian theology had subsisted without it;
and when it came, it came as all words come--the product of evolution.
It is not known at what time the idea was first formulated that when
Christ said _this is my body; this is the blood of the new testament_,
he taught that there was no longer any distinction of entity or
identity between himself and the bread and wine he held in his
hand--that he was they, and they were he. This dogma, shadowy at first,
grew more and more palpable till it developed into a word to express
itself. But the theologians still imagined a difference. Did Christ
on that occasion annihilate the bread and the wine, and substitute
for them himself so utterly that the physical qualities of bread and
wine still apparent to the senses, were a delusion? If he did, it
was unqualified or major transubstantiation; if he did not, it was
qualified or minor transubstantiation which after a time took the name
of Consubstantiation. The latter was the creed of Wiclif. He admitted
the Real presence; he declared that the bread after consecration, was
the very body that hung upon the cross; but he held that the inner
_somethingness_ of bread, as he expressed it, still remained. Thus far
and no farther did he deny transubstantiation. Archbishop Trench says
Wiclif escaped one danger only to fall into another equally great.
The distinction between the two was a mere logomachy which had no
practical effect on his conduct. He cleaved to the Mass; and it was at
the celebration of that rite in his own church at Lutterworth that he
received his death shock.

Can the Mass exist without transubstantiation major or minor? Let
us see. The Mass is not a mere church service, it is a sacrifice, a
renewal of the Atonement, a rehearsal of Calvary. The consecrated Bread
is the body and blood which suffered crucifixion; it is the Host, the
victim. The priest raises it on high, and the people fall and worship
it; Wiclif worshipped it. Is this idolatry? Not if God himself lies on
that silver paten.

Had Wiclif been born sixty years later, we never should have heard of
him: such a career as his would have been impossible. The House of
Lancaster had then usurped the throne, and sought to strengthen its
claim by subservience to the see of _Rome_. I say _Rome_ in italics
because the Captivity had lapsed into the Great Schism--a pope at Rome
and a pope at Avignon--England was of the obedience of the former,
France of the latter. The odium theologicum was reënforced by the odium
politicum; and while any English priest might vent one or both, with
impunity and applause, upon his Holiness at Avignon, he would risk his
life if he tried it upon his rival Holiness at Rome.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] NOTE: Green throws light on the fall of James’s father Charles I.
He says it was Villiers, duke of Buckingham, “who was destined to drag
down in his fatal career the throne of the Stuarts.” His fatal career
was posthumous: he had been assassinated twenty-one years previous.

[2] NOTE: Such is Berwick’s own story. See his memoirs. Macaulay’s
account of the matter is one of his boldest perversions, inasmuch as he
cites Berwick at the head of the list of his authorities. See Macaulay,
Lippincott edition, Vol. IV, pages 325, 326, 327.

[3] One of the largest pictures in the museum in Central Park, New
York, represents or rather misrepresents this scene.

[4] The papal crown was not originally a tiara: it was single like any
other crown. Boniface VIII. added the second crown. It is not known who
added the third: it has been attributed to John XXII., to Urban V., and
to Benedict XIII.

[5] Capet was a nickname given to Hugh the founder of the dynasty, and
was not borne by any of his descendants, excepting that the line is
called the capetien. The meaning of Capet is uncertain.

[6] We shall throw some light upon this want of credit in princes of
the blood, when we come to speak of Louis of Orleans.

[7] Of the two grandmothers of Edward III., one, Eleanor of Castile,
was pure Spanish, and the other, Joanna of Navarre, was half or more.

[8] Had the male line of Burgundy survived, it would have inherited the
crown instead of the House of Bourbon.

[9] This low opinion of Scotch valor was still rife in Shakspeare’s
time. The poet in describing the lovers of Portia, makes the German a
drunkard, the Frenchman a montebank and the Scotchman a coward.

[10] Green calls this prelate sometimes bishop of Winchester and
sometimes bishop of Chichester. He was so swept along by his own
rhetoric that he forgot men’s names like the Bastard in King John.

[11] Malone whose researches had been standard authority fifty years
when Green wrote, says that two lines only of that incomparable scene
were thus taken. But let us be just to Green; his incapacity to discern
the touch of Shakspeare, and his inadequate knowledge of Shaksperean
literature, are after all, among the least defects of his histories.

[12] The order of the Golden Fleece is still extant. The emperor of
Austria and the king of Spain, both descendants of Philip, share
between them the Grandmastership of the order.

[13] Philip’s third wife was Isabella of Portugal, granddaughter of
John of Gaunt, and therefore niece of the cardinal and cousin of
Bedford. Isabella was the mother of Charles-the-rash, and it is thus
that the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons trace descent from the Plantagenets.

[14] Louis XII. was grandson of Louis of Valentina. Their
great-grand-daughter; grand-mother hyphenated below Margaret of Valois
was grand-mother of Henry IV. from whom have descended all the branches
of the House of Bourbon.

[15] Dunois took his title, count of Dunois, from an estate given him
by his half-brother the duke of Orleans, one of those who had stood by
his side at the dying bed of Valentina.

[16] Byng was defeated by a French fleet in the Mediterranean. There
was no question of his courage or loyalty, but he was none the less
condemned to be shot; and the barbarous sentence was carried into
effect, Voltaire said it was “pour encourager les autres.”

[17] Dumouriez did not wait for a second embassy; he fled and there
fled with him a young prince who had fought by his side for republican
France--the duke of Chartres, afterwards duke of Orleans, afterwards
Louis Philippe king of the French.

[18] Infallibility of the pope and Immaculate conception of the Virgin
were in that age and long after, points in dispute. The Church had not
yet erected them into cardinal doctrines which we may question only at
the peril of our salvation. Those additional burthens upon our faith
were reserved for the present century.

[19] Green cites Vaughn for his authority. The recurrence of such cases
justifies E. A. Freeman in saying that Green was not in the habit of
reading the authors he quotes; and that he should be judged rather by
his essays than by his histories.





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