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More disastrous consequences were anticipated, when the good fortune of Charles once more intervened to rescue him from total destruction, at least during a certain period of time. Jacquelina, of Hainault, * heiress of the western districts of Belgium, had separated from her husband, the duke of Brabant, in 1421, to seek refuge at the court of Henry V. for the purpose of annulling her marriage, through the aid and protection of the English monarch. The duke of Gloucester, who had now become regent of England, flattered by the hope of receiving a crown, gave Jacquelina his hand in marriage; which circumstance produced a breach with the duke of Burgundy, who was very nearly related to the duke of Brabant, and had calculated upon inheriting the joint territories of the separated couple. The endeavours and crafty conduct of the duke of Gloucester only tended to
* Or Jacquelina of Bavaria, widow of the dauphin Jean, and wife of the duke of Brabant, cousin-german of Philip. Consult, in respect to this misstatement, St. Remi, page 123 and 152 ; Monstrelet, vol. i. folio 236, &c. &c.; Daniel, vii. page 22, and various other authorities.
Jean of Burgundy, duke of Brabant, was the son of Anthony, second male heir of Philip le Hardi. A maternal great aunt of Anthony had bequeathed to him, in 1406, the duchies of Brabant and of Limbourg, and at the death of Jean, in 1427, they descended to his brother, Philip le Bon, their cousin.-See Anselme, Généalogies, vol. i. page 248.
lull the quarrel for a certain period; when, throwing aside the mask, he appropriated to himself the subsidies destined for the regent his brother, raised an army and invaded Hainault, two months after the battle of Verneuil, at the very moment when the allies were preparing to complete the subjugation and the ruin of France.*
Philip le Bon, duke of Burgundy, immediately separated his forces from those of Bedford, and marched to the assistance of Hainault. This individual state of warfare, which continued four years,t deprived the English of the support of Philip, and thus disabled them from profiting by the signal victories they had obtained. Another circumstance
• All the historians coincide in opinion that without this timely diversion, Charles VII. must have been irretrievably lost.
+ By the treaty of Delft, bearing date the 3d July, 1428, entered into by Philip and Jacquelina, (see the document in Dumont, vol. ii. part ii. page 218,) it appears that Villaret, riv. page 338, was not aware of this instrument, since he is undecided as to the period when the war terminated.
By the third article of this treaty, Philip is denominated the heir, and from that period had the control of the possessions of Jacquelina, that is to say, of Hainault, of Holland, of Zealand, and of Friesland.
In the same year, 1428, he purchased the counties of Namur and of Zutphen.-See Anselme, vol. i. page 240.
From these statements, it is obvious how powerful such an enemy must have proved to Charles VII.
likewise concurred to keep the regent passive during a length of time. The duke was not only deprived of his subsidies, but compelled to interfere in a quarrel that arose, after the invasion of Hainault, between the duke of Gloucester and the bishop of Winchester, their uncle, and a member of the English council; for which purpose the duke of Bedford visited England, and there remained until the year
Hume and Daniel fix the departure of the duke of Bedford in 1425, and his return (after an absence of eight months) in the ensuing year; by which it is apparent that they both followed the statement of Monstrelet, vol. ii. folios 27 and 29; but the chronicles of the latter historians, from 1423 until 1428, abound in errors as regards dates; added to which, many events are confounded together. For instance, under the date 1427, at folio 35, he says that Richemont had been very recently (tout nouvellement) invested with the dignity of constable, whereas that promotion had taken place three years before. The Journal de Paris, page 108, positively fixes the return of Bedford on Saturday the 5th of April, 1427, after an absence of sixteen months, which necessarily places his departure in the month of November, 1425.
We have since used every endeavour to clear up this important point of history; and, among other things, have verified all the letters patent inserted in the Treasury of Charters. The last which bears reference to the duke of Bedford, was given at Paris, on the 30th November, 1425. From that period until the 8th April, 1426, before Easter, (that is to say, to the 8th April, 1427, according to the present mode of calculating,) they all relate to the council; and during that interval several are found to
The court of Charles seemed anxious, in the first instance, to profit by these favourable circumstances; a general was required, and the count of Richemont was appointed to command the army. In order to induce him to accept this appointment it was necessary to bestow on him the sword of Constable, and other precious gifts. However, in acquiring the aid of the count, the duke of Brittany his brother became separated from the English faction: and beside this, auxiliary troops were obtained, of which Charles stood in the greatest need.
No sooner, however, were these succours procured, through the medium of negotiations, than
have been given in England, relating to the duke of Bedford, namely, at Sandwich on the 20th December, 1425, (No. 402;) at Worcester on the 9th March, 1425, (No. 488;) on the 12th idem at Leicester, (No. 636;) and at Westminster on the 5th of December, 1425, (No. 631.) The first letters patent subsequently given at Paris, bear date the 8th, 11th, and the 12th of April, 1426, before Easter, (Nos. 628, 630, 632, 647, 634, and 645.)
All these statements tend to confirm the assertion of the Journalist of Paris; and from hence it certainly does appear that the regent quitted that city at the commencement of December, 1425, (according to the present mode of calculating,) and that he returned the beginning of April, 1427, having been absent for the space of sixteen months. Villaret, vol. xiv. page 344, certainly ascribes the return of Bedford to the year 1427, but he is guilty of the same error as Humne and Daniel, in curtailing the period of his absence to eight months.
it appeared as if the court was wearied with the trouble which had been taken. One of the stipulations in the treaty had for its object the dismissal of several of the ministers or favourites of Charles, who were implicated in a conspiracy against the duke of Burgundy. The ministers refused to fulfil this condition, in which determination they were supported by the mistresses * and most of the
Although Charles VII. was surrounded by a worthless set of courtiers, he could boast a queen and a mistress who were possessed of many noble qualifications. Mary of Anjou, the wife of Charles, used every effort to raise her pusillanimous husband above himself; while Agnes Sorel, surnamed La Dame de Beauté, exerted all the influence she possessed over the king, to convert her royal lover into a heroic monarch ; regarding the noble allurements of glory as far superior to the frivolous blandishments of pleasure. The queen, fully sensible of the merits possessed by Agnes, not only admired her rival, but extended ber generosity so far as to unite with her in striving to rouse the king to a sense of what was due to himself and his persecuted subjects. So truly exalted was Mary of Anjou, that she disdained the idea of jealousy; and while her magnanimity of soul equalled that of Agnes, she possessed a greater fund of virtue. Both united their prudent counsels and intrepid minds, to keep the crown upon the head of their master.
It seems to have been the fate of Charles to grant all to females, to whom he was indebted for every thing. In fact, four women appear to have been of more service to him than all his ministers and generals combined. Jacquelina of Hainault disunited his enemies, Mary of Anjou and Agnes Sorel invigorated his courage, and Jeanne d'Arc led him on to glory and to triumph. It is VOL. I.