Imágenes de páginas

not followed. The first step, then, was to give every degree of publicity to the result of this sitting of the council, and to recall to the public mind the various oppressive measures which the house of Orleans had sanctioned. The French, generally speaking, and especially the Parisians, were already too well disposed towards the Burgundian family; and in consequence, this seeming noble conduct rendered Jean sans Peur the idol of the people, in proportion as Louis and Isabella became the objects of their contempt and horror. Jean then devised every means to augment the predilection his late conduct had inspired, and to foment popular hatred against his rivals, by feigning the necessity of seeking an asylum in his own territories; but, in order that the populace might not have sufficient time to cool in these favourable sentiments towards bim, he very shortly after returned with a body of troops ; when Isabella and Louis fled, and proceeded also to collect an armed force. The reasoning portion of the nation immediately predicted a civil war: a reconciliation, however, was at length effected, or rather the opposite factions were appeased, by sharing the government.

One might have supposed that this check, and the lapse of time, would have operated to restrain the dissolute measures of this co-partnership in administration; but Isabella became more importunate for riches, and the dissipation of Louis increased, while the impudicity of his debauches was, if possible, redoubled. Emboldened on finding that his illicit connexion with the queen remained unpunished, he seduced, or flattered himself with the idea that he had also corrupted, the wife of his rival; nay, he even proceeded so far as to place before the eyes of the latter certain presents stated to have been received, which tended to manifest this triumph. Such unblushing effrontery deserved punishment, and, according to the reigning opinions and customs of that age, called aloud for vengeance. A true knight would have dared the defamer to single combat, and met him in the lists : Jean, however, dissembled; and, perhaps, delighted that his shame afforded him an excuse in the eyes of the Parisians, he caused Louis to be assassinated, although they had been reconciled three days previous, and had received the sacrament together.

Jean was not mistaken; the inhabitants of Paris compared the seeming virtue of the duke with the depravity of his victim; and the assassin was not only excused, but even found an advocate among the ministers of the gospel.*

• The person above alluded to was Jean Petit, a professed theologian, whose apology for the murder of Louis, duke of Orleans, was publicly disseminated in the presence of the king his brother, and the whole court, as well as in Laboureur's History,

Jean, having the populace at his disposal ; supported by the university, which at that period exercised considerable influence; and by the troops of many of the provinces; nothing more was required, in order to reign over France, than to crown his enterprises with the sacred name of king. He succeeded without difficulty in procuring this phantom, which the heir to the crown, Louis the dauphin, then in adolescency, and already despised on account of his early profligacy, was not able to dispute.

The princes, and the majority of the nobles, however, conspired against the duke of Burgundy; some with a view to oppose his ambitious projects; others, namely the children of the duke of Orleans, to satiate their vengeance; and a third class, to shake off the burdens of his tyrannical government; while nearly the whole sought to increase their own power, during the general overthrow which would thus be occasioned.

Armaments in consequence took place on all sides, and the legitimate authority was no longer

page 631.-Consult also Judenul des Ursins, page 236; Choisy, page 330; and Villaret, xiii. page 14.

These propositions were subsequently condemned, and burnt on the 24th of February, 1413, when the Armagnac faction had gained the upper hand; but they were again solemnly approved in a sermon delivered in 1418, at which period the Burgundians had in their turn acquired the ascendency.

deemed an object worthy consideration. The state was plunged in one chaos of anarchy ; every mansion-house, castle, or dungeon, was converted into a fortress, wherein each petty officer who could collect a few soldiers established himself the feudal despot of the surrounding villages, the pillage of which became the wages of their troops, whensoever the leaders of the respective factions did not find it necessary to purchase their assistance.

Jean sans Peur was at the head of the most puissant party; and the count of Armagnac, fatherin-law. of the young duke of Orleans, commanded the other, which he nominated after himself. He certainly was not a member of the royal family; but, sovereign of a large territory, descended from the most ancient house of France, allied to all those possessing an illustrious name, being equal in personal bravery to any nobleman of that age, and superior to all for his talents and his genius, public opinion bestowed upon him that dignity, of which he proved himself worthy in every respect by his character, which was a tissue of egotism, ambition, hatred, pride, vindictiveness, and cruelty.

From this period, and for several succeeding years, the two factions were in constant motion, contending for the possession of the capital, the king, and the dauphin, in order to carry them off. The good and peaceable citizens, victims of the alternate fury of the Burgundians and the Armagnacs, used every effort to restore tranquillity: several truces as well as treaties of peace, signed and sworn to, were almost instantaneously violated; so that the soil of France presented a scene of devastation and bloodshed. Upon one of these occasions, when the duke of Burgundy had Paris at his disposal, in order to render his dominion permanent, he gave arms to the lowest and the most ferocious band he could collect together; the butchers,* and those employed to skin the slaughtered animals, became the satellites of a prince of the blood royal, and one of the first potentates of Europe. To this mob of plunderers the partisans of the Armagnacs were delivered up; † so that the proscriptions of a Marius

* This measure was effected by means of Saint Pol, governor of Paris, a most determined Burgundian. In the month of December, 1411, Jean, duke of Burgundy, assisted at the funeral of one Legoix, a leading man among the butchers, who was killed in a combat, and matters went so far that an inscription was placed upon his tomb. - See Laboureur, page 803; Judenal, page 297 ; and Villaret, xiii. page 201.

+ When the dauphin Louis succeeded in rescuing Paris froin the butchers, there were found in the house of one of the sanguinary chiefs of this band, two lists of proscription, the first of which contained a catalogue of no less than fourteen hundred persons ; and in the second were a great many having the letters T., B., and R. before them, meaning (à tuer, &c.), to be killed, banished, or ransomed. - See Laboureur, page 899; Juvenal, page 332 ; Villaret, xiii. page 274.

« AnteriorContinuar »