Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

quently Bolingbroke, the usurper of his throne, was sufficiently occupied in supporting and establishing his unjust tenure to the crown, and in defending his ill-acquired authority against the Scotch and the Welsh, to be empowered to hazard an attempt on the territory of France. As Henry IV., however,

it for a period of twenty-eight years, so that it would not have terminated until 1426; and by a treaty of the 9th March, 1995, he also affianced Isabella, or Elizabeth, of France. — See Laboureur's History, pages 307, 320, where copies of these two treaties are inserted. Hume is guilty of error, when he ascribes their date to the year 1396; as well as in regard to the duration of this treaty, which he reduces to twenty-five years : and Smollett is equally faulty, giving the date as 1396, and the duration of the truce as for twenty-six years.-See Juvenal des Ursins, page 159. Richard, in 1396, ceded Brest to the duke of Brittany, and Cherbourg to the king of Navarre."

† The only enterprises attempted by England, were some trifling excursions, during which the French coast was plundered ; and among others in 1402, 1403, 1404, and 1406. The French on their side likewise made descents on England in the years 1403, 1404, and 1405; the most considerable of those excursions having for object to forward succours to the Scotch and the Welsh, which occurred in 1384 and 1405. There were also some naval combats, for the most part fought by the natives of Brittany, namely in 1387, 1403, 1406, and 1410.

Treaties were also entered into with Henry IV. almost each succeeding year from 1400 until the period of his death; (see Dutillet's Rec. des Traités, page 335–339,) they did not, however, prevent this species of aggressions from taking place on either side.

towards the close of his reign enjoyed more tranquillity, the policy of that monarch led him to foment the divisions of the French, in order that he might reap the advantage when a favourable opportunity should present itself; and this policy succeeded, since by furnishing in turns sufficient succour to the two factions, he maintained the just equilibrium on either side.

We are now arrived at a period of our Summary, when it becomes necessary to detail the ignominy that marked the conduct of too many Frenchmen; and although their historians may have wept over their errors, they certainly have accorded no pity or even indulgence for their vices and their crimes. Such writers are more worthy commiseration than the judge, not being, like him, at liberty to express pity when pronouncing sentence on a relative, or a friend for whom he may feel interested ; the historian, on the contrary, is compelled to steel his heart against every tender sentiment, in order to condemn those who have violated the precepts of virtue: it is not sufficient for him to exclaim, Mihi Galba, Otho, Vitellius, nec beneficio nec injuriâ cogniti; he must either abandon the pen, or adopt the maxim — Amicus Plato, magis amica veritas. Sovereigns, potentates, ministers, divines, soldiers, the learned, all in short, are desirous of having their memories honoured in futurity; and they are all equally well convinced that, sooner or

later, their characters will be subjected to this inflexible ordeal ; and there is little reason to doubt but a dread of the avenging pen of some new Tacitus, has stifled the hidden projects of many a youthful Nero.

Before we trace the name, the reader will no doubt feel a presentiment that the first who solicited and received aid from the English government, was the duke of Burgundy; who, if culpable in using too much diligence in this respect, was a hundred times less criminal than were the Armagnacs, in respect to the conditions to which they subscribed, in order to deprive the duke of an alliance so disgraceful to his character as a native of France. No Englishman will even suppress his indignation when he is told that the first princes of the blood royal, the dukes of Orleans, of Berri, and of Bourbon, together with the count of Alençon, were content to own and qualify themselves the vassals and the subjects of the king of England, promising him their princely appendages and their fortresses ; in short, undertaking to surrender up every thing which Charles V. had recovered of the territory of Guienne from Edward III.

Upon this occasion, however, they did not reap the smallest personal benefit from their dishonourable conduct; France became the only victim; for the politic Henry would not furnish any auxiliary troops until the ratification of the treaty at Bourges.* Finding, therefore, no enemies to encounter, the English proceeded to ravage several of the provinces ;t nor could the progress of their spoliations be stopped but by the payment of a ransom, and by permitting them to re-occupy several towns of Guienne, with the assistance of the count of Armagnac, who, for the time being, rather preferred an adherence to the disgraceful alliance he had ratified, than to enter into a reconciliation with the duke of Burgundy.

• It appears froin the statement of Rapin, that it was not until after their debarkation, and that they were proceeding on their march from Normandy to Blois, that the English got information of the peace being concluded; the contrary, however, results from consulting the acts of Rymer, which are given by Rapin himself. It was not until the first of July that the duke of Clarence was named commander in chief of the expedition, and, upon the eleventh, lieutenant-general of Guienne ; consequently, his departure must have been posterior. If after this we compute the time required for the embarkation and debarking of the troops and the crossing of the channel, it will appear evident, that they could not have arrived in Normandy till several days after the peace of Bourges, which occurred on the 13th of July, 1412.—See Laboureur, page 833, and following pages.

+ Charles, duke of Orleans, undertook to liquidate half of the sum stipulated ; and as a security for the perforinance of his promise delivered up his brother, the count of Angoulême, as an hostage.

This, however, was but a prelude to the ills which the French people were to endure from the policy pursued by the English monarch. About this time the death of Henry IV. took place, who was succeeded by an hero, equal in valour to any warrior of his time, while in every other requisite our fifth Henry surpassed them ; uniting firmness, prudence, sagacity, vigilance, and activity, both of mind and of body ; in short, every requisite seemed united in his person to constitute the greatest man of that time. Wholly divested of the title of usurper, which had been so prejudicial to his father, he took advantage of all the deep-laid policy of his predecessor: adored by his subjects, their lives and their fortunes were at his disposal; wherefore, shielded from every internal disquietude, he was iully enabled to satisfy, with impunity, his thirst for conquest.

Notwithstanding all these flattering advantages, Henry might in all : obability have failed in his ambitious projects, had it not been for the factions that divided France. There is indeed little reason to doubt this, if we calmly consider the sma'l profit he derived from the glorious exploit which signalized the commencement of his martial career, and for which he had nevertheless been making preparations during two years with all the acumen of a skilful warrior and the most consummate negotiator. We of course allude to the battle, or rather the slaughter at Azincourt, in which

« AnteriorContinuar »