« AnteriorContinuar »
a vast dissipation of wealth; hence arose a consumption far greater than in ordinary times, and a produce infinitely inferior. Such annual deficit was, in the first instance, made good by the aid of capitals and accumulated wealth ; but this succour had necessarily a termination. Resources being exhausted, universal misery was the result, with the exception of some private fortunes made during the troubles of the times. Let it also be remembered that the English exported* all the produce of their plunder; that the money gained by those who promoted the universal disorders of the state was forwarded to the Flemish or the Italians, who furnished articles of luxury in return;t while the expeditions to the kingdom of Naples, the Milanese, and the river of Genoa, I had served to expend a large portion of the public treasure. Under these
historians of that period attest the fact ; in proof of which, the following statement will suffice for the rest : “ On the 18th of August, 1427, the regent left Paris, always enriching his own country with spoils from this kingdom, and never bringing any thing from thence, upon his return, but a load of taxation.” Journal de Paris, 111.
† Numerous statements are found in history, which equally attest the pomp and magnificence displayed by those who had enriched theniselves at the public expense; among others, see Villaret, xii. page 37 ; xiii. page 86.
| Under Charles VI. several distant expeditions were undertaken, either by his orders or on account of some illustrious
circumstances, was it surprising that France should
In such an afflicting posture of affairs, how was it
houses, such as those of Anjou and Armagnac, together with
1382, Naples ; 1383, Barbary; 1384, Scotland; 1988,
and valiant captains, and at their head the regent Bedford, who constituted the very soul of the enterprise, and had not lost any portion of that energy or skill for which he had been so justly famed upon all former occasions.
Charles, as we have before stated, had no treasures, except for his favourites and his mistresses; the number of his troops scarcely amounted to one third of the forces led on by the allies, and they were neither well equipped nor disciplined. Every exertion, however, one might imagine, would have been made to compensate for this want of numerical strength, by activity and wisdom in the measures
• How widely different to this was the conduct adopted by the politic Bedford, since in consulting the treasury of Charters, preserved in France, we find a multitude of gifts, in rentals, lands, and titles, accorded to the various English generals and our allies; namely, to Warwick (Register 173, No. 220; Reg. 174, Nos. 188 and 196.) to Salisbury, (Reg. 173, No. 645.) to Talbot, (Reg. 174, No. 150; Reg. 175, No. 317.) to Fastolf, (Reg. 172, No. 345; Reg. 175, Nos. 203 and 287.) to Arundel, Reg. 175, Nos. 365 and 366.) to Suffolk, (Reg. 172, No. 571.) and to Luxemburg, (Reg. 172. No. 9. Reg. 173, Nos. 646 and 686, &c.)
It is certainly a fact, that these donations did not cost much, because they consisted of confiscations on the possessions of the adherents of Charles ; nor did the Regent forget himself in the distribution of such gifts. See the Registers 172, No. 487 and 518; Reg. 173, No. 319; Reg. 174, No. 330; and Reg. 175, No. 69.
resorted to. Such, however, was not the case ; Charles, showed himself still more unworthy of his station, constantly yielding to those pursuits which had uniformly debased his character. Instead of marshalling his forces in order for battle, and toiling to complete the preparations for an excursion or a siege, he was studiously bent on making arrangements for some ball or festivity. * It is uniformly allowed, that the presence of a monarch doubles the force of his 'troops; whereas all that could be obtained of Charles at the commencement of the siege of Orleans, the capture of which place might have produced his immediate ruin, was, his attending at the distance of thirty leagues. Experienced generals, it will be allowed on all hands, are essential to ensure the success of military operations; yet at the period in question, Charles had deprived himself of the assistance of Richemont,
* In the Encyclopédie, Dict. d'Histoire, under the article Vignoles, as well as in other histories, we find that upon La Hire's repairing to Charles VII. in order to communicate an affair of the greatest importance, the king displayed to that brave captain the preparations for a sumptuous feast, at the same time demanding of the warrior what he thought of the gaudy scene; to which La Hire made answer : “ Je pense qu'on ne sauroit perdre son royaume plus gaiement.”
N. B. In Richer's manuscripts, note 1st, No. 28, page 107, this anecdote is likewise given, from Egnatius and the chancellor De l'Hôpital; the occurrence having taken place during the hottest period of the siege of Orleans.
whom he sacrificed to the caprice of his new favourite La Trimouille, refusing his services, and causing the gates of his cities to be closed against him as if he had been an enemy.
The same disorders prevailed in the administration of public affairs : in every department the same overbearing insolence and rapacity were shown. The ignorance of the ministers and the courtiers was manifest upon all occasions, and a state of discord prevailed among the public functionaries of every description. The French, wearied with supporting the yoke of such a vicious and impotent set of panders, had lost all affection and esteem for their prince, for whom they only retained some portion of fidelity, on account of the hatred which they bore to the dominion of the English.
The vast disproportion that existed between the two powers, in every point of view, was dered conspicuous in the opening of the campaign of 1428, which, fortunately for Charles, did not take place until the month of July. While the Burgundians were occupied in taking some places still subject to Charles on the borders of Champaigne and of Lorraine, the English, in the short lapse of two months, became masters of more
According to Monstrelet, vol. ii. fol. 37, the earl of Salisbury did not cross the channel until after the festival of Saint John.