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of Lancaster, and the aid which it obtained for the French Queen's party, suggested the project of a similar alliance to the Court of Naples, or that Henry had himself commenced a new intrigue, is not quite clear. But Joanna, the Queen, a woman noted for her unprincipled character even among Italian princesses, and no less famous for her profligate life, sent an ambassador1 to offer Bedford the succession to her Crown, with the immediate promulgation of his being adopted as her heir, on condition that he would, with a suitable force, hasten to her assistance against Louis of Anjou, who, under the Pope's protection, was claiming Naples by virtue of a decision in his favour pronounced at the Council of Constance three years before. Considerable progress was made in this negotiation; and as Bedford was resolved to have good security before he embarked in the enterprise, he required not only to be created Duke of Calabria, the heir apparent's usual title, but also to be put into immediate possession of that duchy and of the two ports of Reggio and Benevento, to be treated in all respects as Joanna's son, and to have for himself whatever territory or spoil he might take from the enemy. Upon these conditions, which were acceded to, he agreed to advance a sum of money and to carry over thirteen thousand men for her defence.2 There are no traces left of the manner in which this negotiation was broken off. In all probability the apprehension of exciting jealousy in the French and Burgundian
1 Rym., ix. 855. « Ibid., 705.
Court made Henry prefer prosecuting the marriage between his brother and the sister of Philip.1 Joanna having made the same offers to Alphonso, king of Arragon, as she had done to Bedford, was assisted by that prince; and though, afterwards quarrelling with him, she revoked his adoption, he maintained his ground, and founded the Arragonese dynasty in Sicily and Naples. But it affords a singular instance of the universal activity of Henry in political intrigue, that at the same moment when the negotiation with Joanna for her adoption of Bedford was commenced, he sent ambassadors to Lorraine and to Nuremberg to treat of his marriage with princesses of those Houses, beside giving them a general commission to obtain the hand of any one of the Emperor Sigismund's relatives; and at the same time he sent ambassadors to treat for marriage between his other brother Gloucester and the daughter of the King of Navarre.2 While the negotiations were going on which ended in the treaty of Troyes there was a truce between the English and the Burgundian towns; but Philip, collecting round him L'Isle Adam, Luxembourg, and the rest of his father's captains, continued the war against the Dauphin, who had surprised several towns, among others Crespigny and Roye ;3 but these were soon retaken, and he lost some ground in the country round Auxerre. In several of these expeditions English detachments served with the Burgundian troops. A Oct. 16, Parliament had been called at the end of 1419. autumn, and in compliance with the Chancellor's (the Bishop of Durham) exhortation had granted a tenth and a fifteenth, with one-third more of each, and the power of raising money by loan upon the security of those supplies, as well as of the tenth which the clergy had granted in Convocation.1 But no operations of importance were carried on by the army during the negotiations. Predatory excursions were made; skirmishes took place with the Dauphin's troops. These were, indeed, a great annoyance both to the English and Burgundians; and it became necessary to send out a protecting force as often as any communication was required between one part of the country and another; for the provinces were not divided between the two contending parties; and though the Burgundians chiefly prevailed to the north, and the Armagnacs to the south, of the Loire, yet the latter had many towns and petty districts also intermixed with the country which was principally Burgundian. The remains of the feudal polity increased this subdivision; for not only was France parcelled out among the great feudatories—Princes in their own dominions, though holding under the Crown, as the Dukes of Brittany, Burgundy, and Bourbon, and the Count of Provence—but a number 1 Hot. Par., iv. 117.
1 It is remarkable that historians are silent on this negotiation. Giannone, lib. xxv. c. 3. Sismondi, Rep. It., tom. viii. ch. 63.
« Rym., ix. 710,716. The Joanna instructions are dated 12th March; the powers to the ambassadors for the German marriage 18th March; those for the Navarre marriage 1st April. Iiymer, ix. 865, appears to belong to 1419 (see ib. 705 and 701), and not to 1-120.
3 P. de Fen., 476.
of petty chiefs, taking advantage of the confusion which reigned, and of the weakness of the Government, as well that of the Crown as of the feudatory Princes, had asserted their independence, and carried on hostile operations sometimes against each other, sometimes against the common Sovereign, sometimes against the great feudatories. Thus, a Baron or Knight in the neighbourhood of Calais, Sir James d'Harcourt, for some years made war upon Philip, and afterwards upon Henry, his ally, having originally been a Burgundian vassal as well as partisan, but gone over to the Armagnac party, which gave him a better opportunity of depredation, the main object of all those petty chiefs.1 The wretched state of France during the transition to the monarchical system, and while it was composed of the fragments of the feudal, cannot be so well illustrated as by considering the events of the civil war, which could only have subsisted so long as it did in a country thus circumstanced.
The Dauphin's cause, however, had been grievously injured by the assassination at Montereau. It was in vain that his adherents endeavoured to disguise from themselves the shock which this had given to all men's feelings, even among their own party. They could no longer hold up their adversaries to general hatred as they had done ever since the Orleans murder. All use of that powerful topic was now interdicted. True, they had been freed from the pressure of Duke John's great talents both as a warrior and a statesman; but they had also lost the advantage of having an opponent against whose crimes they could direct the public indignation, while they must be content to range themselves under leaders of tarnished reputation. In such circumstances, although the chiefs of parties and their zealots may not be affected by the feelings which naturally prevail, yet they very soon find that those sentiments sway all persons of calmer judgment, and that in the end they exercise an influence even over partisans themselves. Thus the Dauphin's title to allegiance during Charles's incapacity, though legitimate beyond all question, appeared to be shaken by his own conduct, the only quarter from whence it had anything to fear. It is not, then, to be wondered at if he anxiously employed every means within his power to protect himself from the prevailing obloquy. He diligently circulated his own account of the murder; but finding that the statement which he had at first made gained no credit from its gross improbability, especially after Montague's contradiction, he now took a very different ground of defence, and one indeed that admitted the guilt which had before been denied. He rested his exculpation upon his youth,1 and upon the control
1 Monstrelet, ch. cc.\xxiii. ccxlii. tom. ii. f. 7. The joy of the poor people when the siege of Crotoix gave the neighbourhood a hope of this pest being extirpated is mentioned by the chroniclers (Monstrel., tom. ii. f. •!). The wretch Harcourt made terms, and carried off his great wealth. He was killed soon afterwards in a treacherous attempt upon a castle in Touraine. This happened late in 1423 (ii. f. 8).