Abbildungen der Seite


[ocr errors]

to his own men, who were entirely cut to pieces or captured. The attack was made by him upon a strong detachment engaged in ravaging Maine; and it must have been successful, but that the Lord Beauveau, the Governor of Anjou, with whom the operation was combined, shamefully deserted his duty, and left the gallant De Lore to engage the enemy alone. Indeed no one can doubt that, had all the French captains equally performed their parts, the English invasion must have failed; but the want of unity and of energy in the central government necessarily made itself felt to the extremities of the country. All the exertions of its brave inhabitants were paralysed by councils feeble and distracted, until the seizure of the chief power by the Burgundian seemed to promise greater energy in the conduct of affairs; yet could even this advantage avail little when the exigencies of the civil war prevented the national force from being employed with any effect against the common enemy.

The apprehension, however, of increased vigour on the part of his adversaries, and the rumours generally believed that the two parties had been in treaty for a junction, appear to have made Henry renew his intrigues with the view of maintaining their differences, possibly with the hope of gaining one of them over to his side. While therefore he prosecuted his operations against Rouen, which was now

Aug. 1418. closely invested, he opened a negotiation with both the Dauphin and the King—that is, the

Burgundian and the Queen, who ruled in the unfortunate monarch's name. With the Dauphin the treaty appears to have made some progress. Warwick, Morgan (appointed Chancellor of Normandy), and others on the part of Henry, met the Archbishop of Sens and the rest of the French ambassadors at Sept. 10, Alençon, where they remained in constant

1418. negotiation, morning and evening, a whole fortnight. There was a preliminary difficulty made as to the language in which the conference should be carried on and the papers written, the English negotiators insisting on the Latin tongue being used, because the doctors of the English embassy were unacquainted with the French. The course was adopted of having a copy of each document in both languages, the Latin to be regarded as the original in case of any dispute upon the sense. An altercation next arose as to which party should bring forward the first proposal ; but in the end the French agreed to make an offer, and they tendered the cession of very considerable districts in the south, the Agenois, Perregueux, the Limousin, Rhodez, Bigorre, Angoulême, together with Calais and some other territories in the King's possession. They stated that the dominions thus offered were greater in extent than the kingdom of Arragon or of Navarre. When this proposition

Rym., ix., 632. The protocol is very full, and proves these dates. : Dr. Lingard is mistaken in his statement that this proves the ignorance of French among the upper classes in Henry V.'s time (iii. 366). Henry himself only says, “ Doctiores ambassiatæ nostræ." Rym., ix., 656.

was rejected, they added a further part of Guienne, and all the duchy of Normandy east of the Seine, with the exception of Rouen ; but the English negotiators having been informed that the Dauphin had given instructions to offer Touraine, Anjou, and even Artois and Flanders, which implied an alliance with him against the Burgundian, from whom these two countries must be conquered, they made a demand to that effect; and the intelligence having in all likelihood been groundless, they met with a civil but direct refusal, the Dauphin's representatives observing that their master had not those dominions to give. On this the English ambassadors took an objection to the Dauphin's title—an objection which, it may be thought, they should rather have urged at the outset than at the close of the negotiation. The Dauphin, they said, was not yet King, and had no right to dispose of the French dominions in his father's lifetime.

They also adverted to his being only in his sixteenth year. Certainly these considerations were urged with a bad grace by the very persons who would fain have obtained from the same prince a cession of dominions which neither belonged to himself nor to his father. It is further to be observed that Henry had authorised his envoys to engage for his making no alliance or treaty with the Burgundian during three months. Nevertheless we find him at the same time in corre

Rym., ix., 642. Juv. des Ursins, 365, gives a flourish as used by the Dauphin, that he would not negotiate with the enemies of his country to destroy his vassal, whom he hoped to bave for his friend, Note XLVI.




spondence with the Burgundian himself, beginning to

Oct. 26, treat with the nominal King—that is, with Nov. 5,

1418. the Burgundian-and immediately afterwards carrying on a negotiation directly with him. It came indeed to nothing; for Henry's demands were Dec. 14, almost as unreasonable as before: he would

1418. have Guienne, Ponthieu, the hand of Catharine, and a dower equal to a million of our money. The Burgundian naturally enough dreaded the entire ruin of his character with the country should he listen to such a demand: it was rejected accordingly, and Henry had recourse to his former cavil when much smaller sacrifices of territory were offered. He said the King, without the Dauphin's concurrence, could not effectually treat, and that it did not become a Duke of Burgundy to alienate the possessions of the French Crown.

It is extremely probable that in all these negotiations both parties were acting with equal bad faith, Henry to divide his two enemies, and each of them to prevent his joining with the other; but it is also possible that if the terms which either of them endeavoured to obtain from his adversary in this diplomatic game had been so advantageous beyond his hopes as offered a temptation to close with him, the desire of peace, expressed or affected, might have forthwith become sincere, and the negotiation proved successful. The conferences of the envoys at Alençon and

Monstrelet, ch. cxcviii.



Pont de l'Arche had not interrupted the operations of the army before Rouen. These proceeded with great perseverance; and like all sieges in those days, when gunnery was in its infancy, consisted chiefly in cutting off the supplies from the inhabitants, and in occasional skirmishes, sometimes single combats, between the soldiers of the contending armies. The place was strong, both by its position on the Seine and by its works; the garrison was numerous, amounting to four thousand well disciplined troops, under experienced officers; the inhabitants had besides armed four times as many of their own body to defend the town. An obstinate resistance might therefore be expected ; and accordingly a haughty answer was given to Henry's summons, which he had accompanied with a threat of all extremities should they hold out. “It was not,” the commanders said, “the King of England who had committed the place to their care; nor should he obtain any part of it but what he won by his arms.”

As the blockade continued, the sufferings of the wretched inhabitants became truly deplorable. Their numbers are probably exaggerated by contemporary writers, but they must have greatly exceeded a hundred thousand ; for beside the townspeople, many had taken refuge within the walls when driven from other places, and bringing their property with them for protection against the depredations of the English troops. The siege too began just before the harvest, so that there was less than the ordinary supply of

« ZurückWeiter »