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conflict the flower of the French nobility perished or were made prisoners*. This signal victory, however, was productive of no beneficial consequences to the English, who were soon after obliged to return quietly to their own country, and did not further annoy their Gallic neighbours for the space of two years.
• It is well ascertained, that the English army, harassed by fatigue and weakened with sickness, would have been annihilated without beginning the contest, if the French generals had been guided by prudence. The memorable battle of Azincourt was fought on the 25th of October, 1415; the loss of the French being estimated at ten thousand men. “ Desquels dix mille,” according to Monstrelet, ch. 149. vol. i. p. 226; “ on espérait y avoir environ seize cents varlets, et tout le surplus gentilshommes.” From hence it is obvious, that Hume either did not comprehend Monstrelet, or consulted a very faulty edition of that historian; since, after estimating the same loss at ten thousand men, according to Saint Remi, Ixiv. he adds, that Monstrelet computes the slaughter at eight thousand four hundred. Smollett, though almost a copyist of Monstrelet, in detailing this battle, has equally misunderstood his author. He certainly states, that the French lost many officers of distinction, some of whom he enumerates by name, and about ten thousand men.Monstrelet, cxlix. gives a list of the principal gentlemen killed upon that occasion, and the catalogue occupies no less than two pages and a half grand-in-folio; he then proceeds to give a detail of the prisoners of note, such as Charles duke of Orleans, the son of Louis; the count of Richemont, &c. Le Laboureur also inserts copious details of the circumstances attending this disaster, at page 1005 and following. Idem Juvenal, 394, &c. Chron. Manuscr. 532 to 535; and Choisy, page 443.
Time was thereby given for the French to recruit themselves; and they might have been taught by their late reverse to unite against the common enemy; but there was no longer any love of country in their breasts; nothing but factions existed in every quarter. Independent of the two leading parties already described, a third had been formed by Louis the Dauphin : indeed, even the profligate Isabella had her adherents; which circumstance furnished Voltaire, in his famous Essay,* with a reflection more ingenious than well-founded, which has so frequently been quoted, that Le Roi seul n'avait point de parti. It would, indeed, have been better that Charles VI. had not been seconded by any body; as in such case the factious who got possession of his person, would not have made use of his name and his authority in order to secure the neutrality of all the functionaries and citizens who continued faithful to the laws of duty and of honour. Indeed, we have merely mentioned the party of the Dauphin, which disappeared upon the demise of that prince, on the 18th of December, 1415, because, with a more worthy leader, and one possessing a proper capacity, he would have completely annihilated the other three, particularly at the period of the battle of Azincourt, when the heir to the monarchy had been named lieutenant
* Essai sur les Maurs, lxxix. This opinion is approved by Villaret, xiii. page 335.
general, being also master of the capital and of the king's person. On the contrary, both were placed under the dominion of the count of Armagnac, who was appointed Constable; when, in order to maintain his credit, he singly undertook to drive out the English by besieging Harfleur, * the sole but important conquest gained by the expedition of Henry V.
Two naval victories, one of which was gained by the duke of Bedford, completely annihilated the plans and the hopes of the Constable, and emboldened the duke of Burgundy to complete his dishonour and effect the ruin of France by ratifying a treaty so ignominious,t that he blushed at his own deed; and, whether owing to policy or a sentiment of shame, the details of this instrument
• Henry disembarked on the 14th of August, 1415, and immediately commenced the siege of that city, which undertook to surrender if it did not receive succour before the 18th September; and the place was accordingly given up, as no forces appeared to tender aid by the time stipulated.
+ The contents of this document were not ascertained until the eighteenth century, when Rymer's collection appeared, where they may be found, as well as in Rapin. This instrument bears date in the month of October, 1416; and, very shortly after, the duke of Burgundy sought to enter into an alliance with the Dauphin Jean, whose ruin he had thus endeavoured to compass by signing the treaty in question.-See Villaret, xiii. 415, and the ensuing note.
were concealed with such scrupulous care, as to remain a secret for three succeeding centuries. The duke therein recognised Henry V. of England as king of France and his liege lord; and engaged to combat against Charles and his children in every possible way, until they should be dethroned — and this upon the faith of his body, and the word of a prince!
The reverses which he had experienced, and more especially this confederacy, would have opened the eyes of the Count of Armagnac in regard to his real interests, had the spirit of faction possessed less influence over his mind; but the sudden deaths of the king's elder sons * tended completely to blind him. Convinced of the support of the third heir (Charles VII.), he solely occupied himself in the preservation of power, and every means to maintain his own authority appeared justifiable. His grand effort was to continue master of Paris, and have the king at his disposal; which objects attained, he became indifferent about the English invading the
• Jean the Dauphin, who had succeeded to Louis, died on Monday the 5th of April, 1416, before Easter, and consequently about six months subsequent to the treaty of which we have spoken in the foregoing note. It may not be amiss to observe that the Count of Armagnac had been freed from another rival, powerful by reason of his rank and influence, in the death of the duke of Berri at the siege of Harfleur. (Villaret, xiii. page 407.)
territory, and gaining possession of the fortified cities of Normandy, and quietly permitted the duke of Burgundy to subjugate the north of the kingdom; while France, a prey to the contending factions, was sacked and plundered from one extremity to the other. Indeed, it appeared as if he only sought to raise enemies against himself and the Dauphin. Added to these circumstances, as if the king was not sufficiently wretched, he selected this very juncture to produce evidence and render him a witness of the profligate debauchery of Isabella his queen ;* and what made the proceeding still inore criminal in the eyes of this second Fredegond, was, the Count's taking possession, conjointly with her son the Dauphin, of the immense treasures she had accumulated notwithstanding the miseries to which the people were reduced. Hence originated that implacable hatred which Isabella vowed against her son Charles VII. - a sentiment so unworthy the feelings of a mother, and which she nevertheless cherished with unabated acrimony to the very moment of her death.
Far from repairing his fault, (and in the language of policy a fault is more unpardonable than a crime,) the Constable aggravated public calamities by his
* Louis Bourbon, the queen's favourite, underwent the question by torture, and was afterwards drowned by the king's order; while Isabella, sent to Tours, was watched with rigorous scrutiny.