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refused, chiefly owing to the butchers of Paris, and others of the commonalty, who had great weight; and that he might give over all thoughts of coming, they broke every door and window of his hôtel de Nesle, and committed other great damages. They sent back the queen's brother with a message to her, to come and reside with her lord at Paris, without delay, but not to bring the duke of Berry with her.
The Parisians, fearful that the king and the duke of Aquitaine might be carried off from the hôtel of St. Pol, made them reside at the Louvre, where they kept constant guard day and night, to prevent any attempts of the Orleans party to carry them away. The queen, on receiving the message by her brother from the Parisians, and suspecting the consequences of their commotions, set out from Corbeil, and returned to Melun with him and the duke of Berry. A few days after, the Parisians took up arms, marched in a large body to Corbeil, took the town, and placed a garrison therein. They then broke down all the bridges over the Seine, between Charenton and Melun, that the Armagnacs might not pass the river and enter the island of France.
While the queen and the duke of Berry were at Melun, with the count Waleran de St. Pol, whom the marshal Boucicaut had sent thither, the master of the cross-bows and the grand-master of the household came to them with few attendants. The duke of Bourbon and the count d'Alençon, on their road from the Vermandois and Beauvoisis, to join the duke of Orleans, who was assembling his troops in the Gâtinois, called on the queen and the duke of Berry, to require their aid and support against the duke of Burgundy, which was not granted,—because the king in full council, presided by the duke of Aquitaine, had just published an edict in very strong terms, and had caused it to be sent to all the bailiwicks and seneschalships of the kingdom, ordering all nobles, and others that were accustomed to bear arms, to make themselves ready to serve the king, in company with John duke of Burgundy, and to aid him in driving out of his realm all traitorous and disobedient subjects, commanding them to obey the duke of Burgundy the same as himself, and ordering all towns and passes to be opened to him, and to supply him with every necessary provision and store, the same as if he were there in person. On this proclamation being issued, very many made preparations to serve under the duke of Burgundy with all diligence. In addition, the duke of Aquitaine wrote the duke letters in his own hand, by which he ordered all the men-at-arms dependent on the crown to serve personally against his cousin-german, the duke of Orleans, and his allies, who, as he said, were wasting the kingdom in many different parts, desiring him to advance as speedily as he could toward Senlis and the island of France.
CHAPTER LXXVIII.--THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY ASSEMBLES A LARGE ARMY TO LAY SIEGE TO THE TOWN OF HAM, AND LEADS THITHER His FLEMINGs.
THE duke of Burguudy, being now assured that the duke of Orleans and his allies were raising a large force to invade his countries, and that they had already placed garrisons in towns and fortresses belonging to him or his allies, whence they had made frequent inroads to the despoiling of his country, was highly discontented. To oppose them, he had sent his summons to all his territories in Burgundy, Artois and Flanders, and elsewhere, for all nobles, and others accustomed to bear arms in his behalf, to prepare themselves to join him with all speed, well accoutred and armed, in obedience to the king's commands, and to oppose his and the king's enemies. He also solicited the assistance of his good towns in Flanders, and requested that they would powerfully exert themselves in his favour, to which they readily and liberally assented. They raised a body of forty or fifty thousand combatants, well armed and provided with staves according to the custom of the country. They had twelve thousand carriages, as well carts as cars, to convey their armour, baggage, and artillery, and a number of very large cross-bows, called ribaudequins, placed on two wheels, each having a horse to draw it. They had also machines for the attack of towns, behind which were long iron spits, to be used toward the close of a battle, and on each of them was mounted one or two pieces of artillery. The duke of Burgundy had also summoned to his assistance the duke of Brabant, his brother, who attended him with a handsome company; as did likewise a valiant English knight, named sir William Baldock, lieutenant of Calais, with about three hundred English combatants. Their places of rendezvous were at the towns of Douay and Arras, and the adjacent country. The duke of Burgundy, on quitting Douay with his brother of Brabant, and great multitudes of men of rank, advanced to Sluys, belonging to the count de la Marche, where he lodged. On the morrow, the first day of September, he marched away early, and fixed his quarters on the plain near to Marcouin, where he had his tents and pavilions pitched, and waited there two days for the arrival of his whole army, and particularly for his Flemings, who came in grand parade, and drew up to their quarters in handsome array.—So numerous were their tents that their encampments looked like large towns; and in truth, when all were assembled, they amounted to sixty thousand fighting men, without including the varlets, and such like, who were numberless, and the whole country resounded with the noises they made. With regard to the Flemings, they thought that no towns or fortresses could withstand them; and the duke of Burgundy was obliged, on their setting off, to abandon to them whatever they might conquer; and when they went from one quarter to another, they were commonly all fully armed, and in companies, according to the different towns and the custom of Flanders, and even when they marched on foot, the greater part wore legarmour. As to their mode of marching through a country, whatever they could lay hands on was seized, and, if portable, thrown into their carts; and they were so proud, on account of their great numbers, that they paid not any attention to noble men, however high their rank; and when the army was to be quartered, or when they were on a foraging party, they rudely drove away other men-at-arms, especially if they were not their countrymen, taking from them whatever provision they might have collected, or anything else that pleased them. This conduct created great disturbances and quarrels, more especially among the Picards, who would not patiently endure their rudeness, insomuch that the duke of Burgundy and his captains had great difficulty in keeping any kind of peace between them. The duke, after waiting some days for the whole of his army, saw it arrive; and then he marched off triumphantly, and in handsome array, and fixed his quarters on the river Scheldt, near to the town of Marcouin. On the morrow, he advanced to Mouchi-la-Garhe, between Peronne and Ham, and halted there. At this place, a Fleming was hanged for stealing a chalice and other valuables from a church. He thence marched toward the town of Ham-sur-Somme, where his enemies were. On his approach to the town of Athies, belonging to the count de Dammartin, one of his adversaries, the inhabitants were so terrified that they came out in a body to present him with the keys of the gates, on the condition of being secured from pillage. The duke liberally granted their request, seeing they had thus humbled themselves before him of their own free will, and gave them a sufficient force to guard their town from being any way molested. The duke then advanced with his army near to Ham, but sent forward some of his best light troops to observe the countenance of the enemy. The Orleans party sallied out against them, and a sharp skirmish took place; but they were compelled, by the superior number of the Burgundians, to retire within the town. The next day he marched his whole army before the place in battle-array, and had his tents pitched on an eminence in front of one of the gates, and about the distance of a cannon-shot. The Flemings were likewise encamped according to the orders of their marshals and leaders, during which the garrison made some sallies, but were repulsed, in spite of their valour, by superior numbers, and many were killed and wounded on each side. When the duke had surrounded this town on one side only, he ordered battering machines to be placed against the gate and wall, to demolish them ; and the Flemings pointed their ribaudequins, and shot from them so continually, day and night, that the enemy were greatly annoyed. Breaches were made in the wall and gate within a few days; but though the garrison was much harassed, they repaired both in the best manner they could, with wood and dung. At length, the besiegers fixed on a day for a general attack on the gate, intending to force an entry: the engagement continued very sharp for three hours, but the garrison defended themselves so valiantly, wounding and slaying so many of the assailants, that they were forced to retreat. This happened on a Thursday; and on the Friday, the duke of Burgundy, I know not for what reason, had it proclaimed that no one should, on any account, make an assault on the town, but that all should labour in forming bridges over the Somme, that a
passage might be obtained for the army, and that the place might be besieged on all sides, —but events turned out very far from his expectations. On the Friday morning, the besieged were expecting that the attack would be renewed; but hearing of the duke's intentions to cross the river with his army and surround the town, they packed up all their valuables and fled, leaving within the walls only poor people and peasants, who had retired thither for safety. Those persons not having ability or inclination to defend themselves, the duke's army, headed by the Picards, entered the place without any danger. The Flemings, observing this, rushed so impetuously to gain admittance that many were squeezed to death. When they had entered, they instantly began to plunder all they could lay hands on, according to the liberty which their lord the duke had granted them; for, as I have said, he had been necessitated so to do before they would march from home. Part placed themselves on one side of the street, leading to the gate which they had entered, and part on the other; and when the Picards, or others not of their country, were returning, they stopped and robbed them of all they had : they spared no man, noble or otherwise; and in this riot several were killed and wounded. They entered a monastery of the town, and took away all they could find, and carried to their tents many of both sexes, and children; and, on the morrow, having seized all they had, they set fire to several parts of the town, and, to conclude all, the churches and houses, with many of the inhabitants, were burnt, as well as a great quantity of cattle that had been driven thither as to a place of security. Notwithstanding this cruel conduct of the Flemings, six or seven of the monks escaped from the monastery, by the assistance of some noblemen, particularly the prior, who most reverently held in his hands a cross, and were conducted to the tents of the duke of Burgundy, where they were in safety. Such was the conduct of the Flemings at the commencement of this war. There were many towns beyond the Somme that belonged to the duke of Orleans and his allies, who, hearing of what had passed at Ham, were, as it may be readily believed, in the utmost fear and alarm ; and there were few people desirous of waiting their coming, lest they should be besieged in some fortress, and suffer a similar fate,_for sir Clugnet de Brabant and sir
Manessier Guieret, as I have said, had already abandoned Ham, which was well supplied with stores and provision, and had retreated to Chauni and to Coucy. The inhabitants of the town of Nesle, belonging to the count de Dammartin, seeing the smoke of Ham, were greatly perplexed, for their garrison had fled; but they, following the example of the town of Athies, waited on the duke of Burgundy, and, with many lamentations, presented him with the keys of their town, offering to submit themselves to his mercy. The duke received them into favour, in the name of the king and his own, on their swearing not to admit any garrison, and to be in future true and loyal subjects to the king, their sovereign lord. This oath they willingly took; and, having thanked the duke for his mercy, they returned to their town, and by his orders demolished some of their gates and many parts of their walls. They also made their magistrates and principal inhabitants swear to the observance of the treaty which they had made, and for this time they remained in peace. In like manner, those of the town of Roye, that were but lately become subjects to the king, sent deputies to the duke, at his camp before Ham, to say, that the Orleans party had treacherously entered their town, and had done them much mischief, but that they had departed on hearing of his march, and requesting he would not be displeased with them, as they were ready to receive him, and act according to his pleasure. The duke told them, he should be satisfied if they would promise, on their oaths, never to admit again within their walls any of his adversaries of the Orleans party. Having obtained this answer, they returned joyous to their town. The duke now passed the Somme with his army at Ham, leaving that town completely ruined, and marched toward Chauni on the Oise, belonging to the duke of Orleans; but the garrison, hearing of it, quitted the place in haste. The townsmen, greatly alarmed, sent, without delay, to offer him their keys, and humbly supplicated his mercy, saying that their lord's men-at-arms had fled on hearing of his approach, from the fear they had of him. The duke received them kindly, and took their oaths, that they would henceforth loyally obey the king their sovereign lord, and himself, and would admit a garrison of his men to defend the town. After the conclusion of this treaty, the duke advanced to Roye, in the Vermandois, and was lodged in the town, having quartered his army in the country round it. He dispatched thence sir Peter des Essars, knight, and his confidential adviser, to the king of France, to his son-in-law the duke of Aquitaine, and to the citizens of Paris, to make them acquainted with the strength of his army, and with his successes. Sir Peter des Essars was honourably received by the duke of Aquitaine and the Parisians; and in compliment to the duke of Burgundy, he was reinstated in his office of provost, in the room of sir Brunelet de Sainct Cler, who, by the royal authority, was appointed bailiff of Senlis, on the dismission of sir Gastelius du Bost, who was suspected of being a favourer of the Orleans-party. When sir Peter des Essars had finished the business he had been sent on to Paris, he set out for Rethel to announce to the count de Nevers, who had assembled a considerable force, the march of the duke, and to desire him to advance to the town of Mondidier, where he would have more certain intelligence of his brother. The count de Nevers, on hearing this, used all diligence to assemble his men, and set off to join the duke. During these transactions, the duke of Orleans, the count d'Armagnac, the constable of France, the master of the crossbows, with a large body of men-at-arms and others, came to the town of Melun, where the queen of France and the duke of Berry resided. Having held a conference with the queen and duke, they advanced to La Ferté on the Marne, which belonged to sir Robert de Bar", in right of his wife the viscountess de Meaux. They crossed the Marne, and came to Arsyen-Mussien, in the county of Valois, dependent on the duke of Orleans, where his brother, the count de Vertus, met, him. The count was accompanied by a numerous body of combatants, among whom were the duke of Bourbon, John son to the duke of Bar, sir William de Coucy, Amé de Sallebruche, sir Hugh de Hufalize, with others from the Ardennes, Lorrain and Germany, who, in the whole, amounted to full six thousand knights and esquires, not including armed infantry and bowmen; and this party was henceforward popularly called Armagnacs, as I have before observed. Each bore on his armour badges similar to those which they had formerly worn when they lay before Paris. The duke of * Nephew of duke Edward. See p. 174.
Orleans marched this army from the Valois, passing by Senlis, toward his county of Beaumont; but Enguerrand de Bournouville, who had been posted in Senlis with a large force of men-at-arms to guard it, sallied out on their rear, and made a good booty of their baggage as well as prisoners. In doing this, however, he lost some of his men, who were slain or taken, and he then returned to Senlis. The duke of Orleans, with the other princes, were lodged in the castle of Beaumont, and his army in the country surrounding it. The count de Nevers was prevented from joining his brothers as he intended,—for the Armagnacs, being the strongest, constrained him to conduct his army to Paris. The duke of Burgundy was already arrived at Mondidier with his whole army, and was making preparations to combat his enemies, should they be so inclined, or to attack any town to which they should retire, according to his pleasure. But the Flemings were now desirous to return home, and had demanded permission of the duke, saying, that they had served the time required of them on their departure from Flanders. The duke was much surprised and displeased at their conduct, but earnestly desired that they would stay with him for only eight days longer, as he had received intelligence that his enemies were near at hand, with a great army, ready to offer him battle, and that they could never serve him more effectually. At this moment, the greater part of their officers waited on the duke to take leave of him, who, hearing the earnest and affectionate manner in which he made so trifling a request, resolved to go back to their men and inform them of it, and promised to do everything in their power in order that it should be complied with. On their return to the tent of Ghent, where all their councils were held, they assembled the leaders of the commonalty, and told them the request the duke their lord had made, namely, that they would stay with him only eight days more, for that his adversaries were at hand with a large army to offer him battle. This request having been stated, various were the opinions of the meeting: some were for staying, others not, saying they had fulfilled the term required of them by their lord, that winter was approaching, when, so numerous as they were, they could not keep the field without great danger. Their opinions were so discordant that no conclusion could be formed, to enable their captains to give any positive answer to the duke. This council was held the 20th day of September, in the afternoon; and when it became dusk, these Flemings made very large fires in different places, of the wood and timber of the houses which they had pulled down and destroyed in Mondidier. They then began to load their baggage-waggons, and to arm themselves; and at midnight they all shouted from their quarters, in Flemish, War, caa t which signifies, “To arms, to arms" and alarmed all the other parts of the army. The duke of Burgundy was entirely ignorant of what they intended to do, and sent some Flemish lords to know their intentions; but they would not explain themselves to any one, and made answers contrary to the questions asked. During this, the night passed away; and the moment day appeared, they harnessed their horses to the baggage-waggons, and set fire to all their lodgings, shouting, “Gau, gau !” and departed, taking the road to Flanders. The attendants of the duke of Burgundy, hearing this cry and clamour, went to inform him of it in his tent. Very much astonished thereat, he instantly mounted his horse, and, accompanied by the duke of Brabant, rode after them. When he had overtaken them, with his head uncovered and his hands uplifted, he most humbly besought them to return, and stay with him four days only, calling them his most trusty and well-beloved friends and companions, offering them great gifts, and promising to relieve the country of Flanders from taxes for ever, if they would comply with his wishes. The duke of Brabant also remonstrated with them on the advantages offered them by their lord, and, as he asked in return so very trifling a favour, entreated them to pay due deference to his demand. But it was in vain: they turned a deaf ear to all that was said, and continued their march, only showing the written agreements they had made with the duke, which were carried before them, and which they had fulfilled on their part ; but, as they were signed with his seal, he had not performed his, in having them escorted beyond the river Somme to a place of safety. Should he refuse to do this, they would send him his only son, then at Ghent, cut into thousands of pieces. The duke of Burgundy, noticing their rude manners, and perceiving that nothing was to be gained from them by fair means,