« ZurückWeiter »
the king's obedience,—namely, in the bishopric of Beauvais, in the bailiwicks of Amiens, of the Vermandois, and elsewhere. Master Robert le Jeune, advocate in the parliament, was nominated to collect these taxes; and one of the judges, with some of the king's officers, were sent to enforce payment from such as refused.
CHAPTER CXCVIII.--THE TOWN OF ROUEN SENDS MESSENGERS TO THE KING TO DEMAND SUCCour.—AN EMBASSY Is SENT To KING HENRY of ENGLAND,-AND MANY OTHER M. Atters.
At this period, a priest, of a tolerable age and of clear understanding, was deputed, by those besieged in Rouen, to the king of France and his council. On his arrival at Paris, he caused to be explained by an Augustin doctor, named Eustace de la Paville, in presence of the king and his ministers, the miserable situation of the besieged. He took for his text, “Domine quid faciemus 7" and harangued upon it very ably and eloquently. When he had finished, the priest addressed the king, saying, “Most excellent prince and lord, I am enjoined by the inhabitants of Rouen to make loud complaints against you, and against you duke of Burgundy, who govern the king, for the oppressions they suffer from the English. They make known to you by me, that if, from want of being succoured by you, they are forced to become subjects to the king of England, you will not have in all the world more bitter enemies; and if they can, they will destroy you and your whole generation.” With these, or with similar words, did this priest address the king and his council. After he had been well received and entertained, and the duke of Burgundy had promised to provide succours for the town of Rouen as speedily as possible, he returned the best way he could to carry this news to the besieged. Shortly after, the king of France and the duke of Burgundy sent ambassadors to Pont de l'Arche, to treat of a peace with the king of England. This embassy consisted of the bishop of Beauvais, master Philip de Morvilliers, first president of the parliament, master Regnault de Folleville, knight, sir William de Champdivers, master Thierry le Roy, and others: they were likewise accompanied by the cardinal d'Orsini as a mediator. The king of England appointed the earl of Warwick, the lord chancellor, and the archbishop of Canterbury, to meet them at Pont de l'Arche, with others of his council. The negotiations lasted fifteen days, during which the cardinal paid a visit to the king of England at his siege of Rouen, and was handsomely received by him and the other lords. The ambassadors from the king of France had brought with them a portrait of the princess Catherine, daughter to the king, which was presented to the king of England, who liked it well; but he made too great demands for her marriage-portion, namely, that with the princess should be given him a million of crowns of gold, the duchy of Normandy, of which he had conquered a part, the duchy of Aquitaine, the county of Ponthieu, with other lordships, the whole to be held independent of the crown of France. Nothing therefore was concluded; and the English ambassadors replied to those from France, that their king was not in a situation to form any treaty with, for the dauphin was not made a party, and it was unbecoming the duke of Burgundy to dispose by treaty of the inheritances of France. On receiving this answer, the cardinal and ambassadors returned to the king and queen of France and the duke of Burgundy, who had lately quitted Paris, and were at Pontoise. They reported to the council all that had passed at Pont de l'Arche; and soon after the cardinal went to Pope Martin at Avignon, for he saw clearly that no peace was likely to take effect between the three parties. The inhabitants of Rouen knowing well that the negotiation between the kings of France and England was broken off, and fearing that succour would be too long delayed, resolved to make a sally, and fight their way through one of the quarters of king Henry's army, to seek for succour themselves. On mustering their forces, they found they were full ten thousand combatants, leaving a sufficiency for the defence of the town. Orders were given for each man to provide himself with two days' provision. When all were ready, and two thousand of them had made an attack on the king's quarters, where they had done much damage, they began their march out of the town; but it happened that the props which bore the drawbridge had been wickedly and secretly sawed nearly through, so that when their first ranks advanced thereon it broke, and very many fell into the ditch and were killed or wounded. They hastened to another gate to support their men that were engaged with the English, and ordered them to retreat; but they could not regain their town without great loss, although they had made their enemies suffer also. There were now many murmurings against the honour of sir Guy le Bouteiller, who was believed to have caused the supporters of the drawbridge to be sawed. Not long after this sally, Langnon bastard d'Arly died of sickness, to the great sorrow of the commonalty, who, as I have before said, had greater confidence in him than in any of the other captains.
At this time sir John de Luxembourg took to wife Joan of Bethune, daughter and heiress to the viscount de Meaux, who had before espoused Robert de Bar, count de Marle and de Soissons. She had a young daughter, two years old or thereabout, the heiress of these counties. This marriage was concluded through favour of the duke of Burgundy and the count de Charolois; and by it sir John de Luxembourg had the management of extensive territories. Within a year, the lady brought him a son, who died young. The duke of Burgundy gave up to him many lordships, such as Dunkirk, Varmeston and others, which he had holden as being confiscated,—for the late sir Robert de Bar, during his lifetime, had been of the opposite party.
CHAPTER CXCIX.—A LARGE ARMY IS COLLECTED TO RAISE THE SIEGE OF ROUEN.-THE BESIEGED SEND ANOTHER EMBASSY.-THE EXCURSION OF SIR JAMES De HARCOURT.
We must now return to the situation of the king of France, and of the duke of Burgundy's government. It is true that large bodies of men-at-arms had been summoned in the king's name for the relief of the town of Rouen, from different parts of the kingdom, and ordered to rendezvous at and near Beauvais. A great many of the lords from Picardy, with a numerous body of their men accustomed to bear arms, came thither; and the country suffered much from them wherever they passed. The king, queen and duke of Burgundy, with their households, came from Pontoise to Beauvais, to have provisions in greater plenty, and held there many private councils on the best means to relieve the town of Rouen. They could not devise any mode that would be successful, on account of the quarrel between the dauphin and the duke of Burgundy, and because the king of England had too powerful an army. Notwithstanding this, they daily summoned more men-at-arms and cross-bows from the towns under their obedience.
While the court resided at Beauvais, four gentlemen and four citizens of Rouen, were sent to lay before the king and council their miserable state: they told them, that thousands of persons were already dead of hunger within their town; and that, from the beginning of October, they had been forced to live on horses, dogs, cats, mice and rats, and other things unfit for human creatures. They had nevertheless driven full twelve thousand poor people, men, women and children, out of the place, the greater part of whom had perished wretchedly in the ditches of the town. That it had been frequently necessary to draw up in baskets new-born children from mothers who had been brought to bed in these ditches to have them baptised, and they were afterwards returned to their mothers: many however had perished without christening, all which things were grievous and pitiful to be related. They then added, “To you our lord and king, and to you noble duke of Burgundy, the loyal inhabitants of Rouen have before made known their distress: they now again inform you how much they are suffering for you, to which you have not yet provided any remedy according to your promises. We are sent to you for the last time, to announce to you on the part of the besieged, that if within a few days they are not relieved, they shall surrender themselves and their town to the English king, and thenceforward renounce all allegiance, faith and service, which they have sworn to you.” The king, duke and council courteously replied, that the king's forces were not as yet adequate to raise the siege, which they were exceedingly sorry for; but with God's pleasure, they should very soon be relieved. The deputies asked by what time: the duke answered, before the fourth day after Christmas. They then returned to their town with difficulty, from the great danger of being taken by the besiegers, and related all that had passed.
The besieged now suffered the greatest distress; and it is impossible to recount the miseries of the common people from famine: it was afterwards known, that upwards of fifty thousand had perished of hunger. Some, when they saw meat carried through the street, in despair, ran to seize it, and so doing, allowed themselves to be severely beaten, and even wounded. During the space of three months no provisions were seen in the markets, but every thing was sold secretly: and what before the siege was worth a farthing was sold for twenty, thirty, or even forty; but these prices were too high for the common people, and hence the great mortality I have mentioned. December was about half over when these last ambassadors returned to Rouen; and during this tempestuous season, sir James de Harcourt and the lord de Moreul assembled about two thousand combatants, whom they led to within two leagues of the English quarters, with the hope of plunder. They posted their men in two ambuscades near to each other, to fall on the enemy should he pass that way,+and then ordered about six score of their men-at-arms to attack a village near the town, in which were a party of English. These were either taken or killed, except a few, who, by having good horses, escaped to their main army, crying out that they had seen the French in great force.
The English were instantly in motion, and under arms; and the king of England ordered sir John de Cornwall to mount his horse, and take six hundred men to see what truth was in this report. Sir John de Cornwall, without delay, marched off his men, taking with him some of those who had seen the French, and soon came up with the enemy; but the French, seeing the English were too numerous, hastily returned to their ambuscades, to whom they told that the enemy were coming. Sir John de Cornwall followed them in good array, and so closely that he could plainly distinguish their numbers, when the French that were in one ambush advanced in order of battle to combat them, but the greater part of the others turned their backs and fled. The English, noticing this, made a vigorous charge, and put the whole to the rout, with a very trifling loss on their side,-and to the great confusion of the French, for on this day were twelve score men-at-arms killed or made prisoners: among the last was the lord de Moreul, Butor bastard de Croy, and many noble gentlemen of high rank. Sir James de Harcourt and others saved themselves by the fleetness of their horses. Sir John de Cornwall returned with his prisoners to the camp, very much rejoiced at his victory.
CHAPTER CC.—THE KING OF FRANCE HOLDS MANY COUNCILS ON THE MEANS OF RAISING The sIEGE of Rouen.—THE surrender of THAT Town To The KING of ENGLAND, - AND OTHER MATTERs.
THE king and queen of France, and the duke of Burgundy held very many councils, while at Beauvais, on the most effectual means to relieve Rouen; but as it was found that at the moment the royal forces were insufficient to combat the army of England, and to raise the siege, the greater part of the men-at-arms that had been assembled were disbanded, excepting some from the principal towns, who were sent to garrison the frontiers, as well against the English as the Dauphinois. When this was done, the king, queen, and duke of Burgundy, escorted by his Burgundians and a considerable body of men-at-arms, departed from Beauvais, and passing through Creil and Laigny sur Marne, went to Provins. Many were astonished at this measure.
News of it was carried to Rouen, and the duke of Burgundy privately advised the besieged to treat with the king of England on the best terms they could. When this was made public, there was a universal grief throughout the town, for the inhabitants were sorrowful at heart: however, some of the captains and principal citizens comforted them as well as they were able, and afterwards assembled in the town-hall to consider on their future conduct towards the king of England. They resolved, since they had now lost all hope of relief, and that their provisions were nearly exhausted, to treat with their adversaries, for that purpose they sent a herald to the king of England, to require a passport for six persons, which was granted. They nominated, as their ambassadors, two churchmen, two gentlemen, and two citizens, who were wise, prudent, and well spoken. They went straight to the tent of the king, and were conducted to the lodgings of the archbishop of Canterbury, who, with the earl of Warwick, had been appointed to treat with them. When they were met, they opened the business, to discover on what terms they would be received, but could obtain no other answer than that the whole of the inhabitants must submit unconditionally to the king. On this they returned to their town without saying more, and again assembled the principal burghers and many of the commonalty, to whom they related the answer they had received, which appeared to those who heard it uncommonly harsh. They declared it would be far preferable to die combating the enemy, than to be reduced to subjection by this king. The assembly now broke up, but met again on the morrow more numerous than before. After much conversation, it was resolved unanimously to undermine part of their wall, and support it on props withinside the town, to which they would set fire, and when the wall should fall down, having completely armed themselves, they would then sally forth through the breach, with their wives and children, and march whither God might please to lead them. They separated with the intention of putting their plan into execution on the night of the morrow ; but the king of England, having had information of it, and being desirous of gaining the whole town and its inhabitants, had the late ambassadors privately summoned to come again to the camp, by the archbishop of Canterbury, who, with others delegated to this purpose, concluded a treaty on the following terms. In the first place, the king of England was to receive from the inhabitants of Rouen the sum of three hundred and sixty-five crowns of gold, of the coin of France, and three men to deal with as he might please, first, master Robertde Linet, vicar-general to the archbishop of Rouen, who, during the siege, had conducted himself most imprudently; the second was a citizen named Jean Jourdain, who had had the command of the cannoneers; the third was Alain Blanchart, leader of the common people, and the principal of those who had formerly murdered sir Raoul de Gaucourt, bailiff of Rouen, as has been before mentioned. The whole of the inhabitants were to swear faith and loyalty to the king of England and to his successors, he and they promising in return to guard and defend them against all who might attempt to injure them,-and also to maintain them in their liberties, privileges, and franchises, of which they had been in possession since the reign of St. Louis. It was likewise ordained, that all who chose to quit the town might freely depart, having only their usual clothes on, leaving the rest behind, as confiscated to the king; and also that the whole of the men-at-arms should deposit their armour and effects at a specified place; when, after they had sworn not to bear arms for one whole year against king Henry, passports would be granted them, and they would be escorted in safety beyond the king's outposts, but dressed in their usual clothing, with staves in their hands. When this treaty had been concluded, and sufficient pledges given to the king for its due observance, a certain number of the townsmen were permitted to enter the English camp at their pleasure to seek for provisons, of which there was such abundance that the whole carcass of a sheep was not worth more than six sols parisis. This treaty was concluded on the 16th day of January, in the year 1419; and on the following Thursday, the 19th of the same month, the king of England made his public entry into the town of Rouen with great pomp, attended by the princes of his blood and numbers of his nobles. He was followed by a page mounted on a beautiful horse, bearing a lance, at the end of which, near the point, was fastened a fox's brush, by way of streamer, which afforded great matter of remark among the wise-heads. On his entrance, which was about two o'clock in the afternoon, the bells of all the churches were rung, and the mitred abbots, and all others of the clergy, went out in procession to meet him, dressed in their sacred robes bearing many relics, who, with chaunting, conducted the king to the cathedral of Our Lady. When he was come to the great gate, he dismounted, and, bare-headed, reverently entered the church, and returned his thanksgivings to God at the high altar: thence he went to the castle, where he was lodged, and the others wherever they could in the town. This city of Rouen, now conquered by the king of England, had,
with all Normandy, appertained to France, and been under the obedience of her kings for
215 years from the time when king Philip, grandfather to St. Louis, acquired it from king
John of England, by judgment of the peers of France, in right of confiscation.
the populace, beheaded: the two others escaped punishment by dint of money. The garrison were ordered to march out by the gate leading toward the Seine, and were escorted by the English as far as the bridge of St. George, where they were searched by commissaries from the king, who took from them all their money, with everything valuable, giving them in return only two sols. Some of the gentlemen were even stripped of their handsome robes, made of martin-skins, or embroidered with gold, and others of less value given them in return. This conduct was noticed by those of the garrison who were in the rear; and foreseeing the same would be done to them, they quietly, and unobserved, threw into the Seine many purses full of gold, silver, and jewels. Others, to avoid being plundered, had sewed up their money within the waistbands of their breeches. When they had all passed the bridge of St. George, they kept together until they came to Pontoise, where they separated, and went to different parts, excepting the nobles, who joined the king of France and the duke of Burgundy at Provins. Sir Guy le Bouteiller, who had been governor of Rouen, turned to the English, with several of his men, and took the oaths of allegiance to the king of England, deserting his own natural lord the king of France, for which he was much blamed by the French, and even by the English. Sir Guy was a native of Normandy, and not only had his estates restored to him, but was appointed deputy to the duke of Gloucester, the new governor of Rouen. The surrender of this town spread such an alarm and fear of the king of England throughout the whole of Normandy and the adjacent countries, as far as Pontoise, Beauvais, and Abbeville, that the greater part of the chief towns and castles submitted to him without offering any resistance, or even striking a blow; such as Caudebec, Montivilliers, Dieppe, Fécamp,