Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

decree passed in the parliament of Paris for
his enlargement, Philip refused to set him
free. Avarice and ambition seem to have
had a share in this determination, as it is
well known that he : refused to release his
prisoner, unless he would deliver up Brest
and Hennebon to him, and renounce all
claim to the Duchy of Britany. But of
all the crimes of this faithless and perjured
Monarch, none stained his character with a
more indelible mark of infamy, and ren-
dered him more the object of universal
hatred and detestation, than his treatment of
Oliver de Cliffon, who had served him and
Charles de Blois with great zeal and ability,
Oliver had been taken prisoner at the siege
of Namur, and being given up by King
Edward in exchange for Lord Stafford, in
preference to another Knight whom Philip
would rather have chosen, that King, na-
turally suspicious, imagined he had entered
into fome private agreement with Edward :
actuated by this suspicion he ordered him
to be seized and thrown into prison; soon



after his arrest, this unfortunate Nobleman was beheaded at Paris without form or trial, his body hung on a gibbet, and his estate confiscated. The Britons were so highly incensed at this cruel and tyrannical proceeding, that the inhabitants of Vannes expelled the garrison, and declared in favour of the Count de Mountford. These circumstances, instead of opening the eyes of Philip to a fense of his own crimes, served only to strengthen his fufpicions; and as he knew no other way of keeping people in their duty but by force and terror, he immediately gave orders for apprehending ten other Noblemen of Britany, who, though they had all distinguished themselves in the service of Charles de Blois, were put to death in the fame ignominious manner that had been practised on Oliver de Cliffon. His treachery was no less conspicuous in another instance ; for having set up a round table in opposition to that of King Edward, and issued fafe-conducts for the protection of all strangers, he seized several Lords of


the Count de Mountfort's party, and put them to death, contrary to the rules of chivalry and of honour.

He was succeeded by his son John, a Prince unlike his Father, distinguished by many virtues, particularly by a scrupulous honour and fidelity: he was not deficient in personal courage, but he wanted that prudence and foresight which the perplexed situation of his kingdom, at that time convulsed by intestine commotions, and oppressed by foreign wars, required. Charles King of Navarre, who received and deserved the epithet of Wicked, was continually fomenting divisions among the King of France's subjects, and giving him perpetual disquietude, although allied to him by blood and marriage.

No sooner therefore was the truce between England and France expired, than King Edward took advantage of his competitor's embarrassment, and prepared to re


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

new once more his claims on that crown: to this purpose he proposed to attack his enemy both on the side of Guienne with an army commanded by the Prince of Wales, and on the northern parts in his own person. In prosecution of this plan young Edward failed for Bourdeaux, on board a fleet of three hundred fail, attended by the Earls of Warwick, Salisbury, Oxford, Suffolk, and other English Noblemen. Immediately after his arrival, being joined by the vassals of Gascoigné, he took the field; reduced without interruption many towns in the neighbouring provinces, and ravaged the whole country : after an incursion of fix weeks, he returned with a vast booty and many prisoners to Guienne, where he took up his winter quarters. King Edward's invasion from Calais was of the same nature, and attended with the same issue.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


In the ensuing summer the Prince of Wales, encouraged by the success of the preceding campaign, took the field with an


army of twelve thousand men, of which not more than four thousand were English. All Historians agree that this was the utmoft amount of the forces with which he performed fuch wondrous deeds, and gained immortal honour. With this small body of troops the Prince ventured to penetrate again into the heart of France : his design was to join his brother John of Gaunt, to whom King Edward had given the command of an army in Normandy ; but finding all the bridges on the Loire broken down, and King John advancing towards him with a most formidable force, he thought it prudent to retire again into his Father's dominions without persisting in his attempt. .

The Prince, losing fome days before the Castle of Remorentin, it gave the French army, which was nearer than he had expected, an opportunity of overtaking him. The following unexpected incident occafioned this hindrance, and was the means of



« ZurückWeiter »