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under which he was at the time; he denied that he had ever given his consent; he went so far as to affirm that, had it been his own father whom the conspirators were resolved to slay, he must have acted as he did ; and to give the best proof of his sincerity in these declarations, he dismissed all the conspirators from his service, sending Jossequin and Madame de Giac to prison at Bourges, though her husband was allowed to remain at large.
It is probable that this appeal produced at the time but little effect in his favour with his own party, and none at all with his adversaries. But the treaty of Troyes afforded him the most powerful support; and although it is quite certain that the authors of that catastrophe never could have ventured upon their wicked course had not the assassination of Philip's father given some colour of right to his vindictive proceedings, as well as laid his adversaries under the weight of general censure, yet that which ever happens in such cases took place here. The minds of men were filled with the more recent event; in their indignation against those who had betrayed the kingdom they forgot for the moment those who had murdered the Duke; and their feelings were wound up to a still higher pitch when they reflected that the design of surrendering the country to its enemies, which originated in the unnatural hatred of a mother, had been executed by the gross perfidy of a wife.
· P. de Fen., 475. Speaking of the new defence, this author says, “ Mais cela ne peut pas être reçu en excus.”
The people, indeed, could not easily separate their own cause from the Dauphin's, or indulge in resentment on their own account, without feeling some pity for him.
That Prince was not slow to avail himself of this favourable turn in his affairs. He, more formally than he had yet done, assumed the title of Regent. He pressed his operations in Languedoc against the Prince of Orange, who, being a Burgundian vassal, had always taken that part; he obtained considerable success, taking Pont St. Esprit, Nismes, AiguesMortes, at all of which captures the most revolting cruelties were committed by his troops ;' he sent an embassy to Scotland for assistance, and obtained from the Regent Albany, with the consent of his Parliament, a body of 7000 men under Buchan his son ;he garrisoned the towns in the north, especially Sens, which he had lately taken, Melun, Montereau ; and he took care to leave a trustworthy commander in each place exposed to attack. The great quality of judiciously selecting his servants, which in after years so distinguished him as to obtain for him the name le bien servi, seems to have thus early displayed itself; and as there is none more rare in a ruler, so is there none more precious in its fruits.
Henry now plainly saw that the advantage which he had gained by the treaty was only to be secured
+ Mez., i. 1026. Burgundians were cut in pieces and salted (says the historian) at one storming, and a general slaughter took place at another.
? Ford., Scoticr., xv. 33.
by the sword, and that the cession of France had been made when the war was only begun, instead of following, as is more usual, the termination of hostilities. He therefore lost no time in setting out with his troops and his Burgundian ally, but he was also accompanied by the King and Queen, and by Catherine his bride. The siege of Sens was the first operation which they undertook, and contemporary writers are fond of mentioning the novelty of women lying before a beleaguered town, while they admit that on former occasions the sex had borne arms. It does not, however, appear that the Princesses or
June, 1420. the afflicted King came nearer than Villeneuve until the place surrendered, which it speedily did. The siege of Montereau was a much longer operation. After the town had fallen, Henry became impatient at the garrison holding out, and he resorted to an act of the greatest cruelty in the hope of making them surrender. He drew up under the walls of the castle eleven or twelve of the garrison, persons of rank, who had been taken prisoners, and he threatened to execute them if the commandant would not yield. Upon the refusal which he might well expect, he erected a gibbet, and after allowing the wretched men to take leave of their families in the fortress, he caused them all to be hanged, one after another, in face of the garrison, hoping that the sight so deliberately inflicted upon the commandant would melt the heart of one whom he at the same time ac
Rym., ix. 911.
cused of the Burgundian's murder.' A week after the castle surrendered ; and to make the act of cruelty that had been perpetrated still more inexcusable for its inconsistency, the governor was allowed to go free, after offering to clear himself of the charge by a challenge which no one accepted.
To palliate this cold-blooded massacre, it is in vain that we are bid recollect the barbarous system of warfare in those days. If the putting prisoners to death was not uncommon, no more was assassination ; and if the mode of carrying on hostilities by slaying those who hold out be vindicated, on the ground that destroying one garrison may prevent others from resisting, and so save the effusion of blood, the answer is obvious, that by the same course of reasoning war might be proved innocent in proportion to its cruelty. But even were the sophistry to be admitted, it affords no palliation whatever for Henry's barbarous execution at Montereau, because his victims were not the governor and his officers, but the prisoners to whom quarter had already been given ; and his only motive for putting them one by one to death was, that he vainly speculated upon the spectacle of their fate moving the governor to surrender. As the only conceivable excuse, even in his own eyes, was the success
· P. de Fen., 482. Monstrelet, ch. ccxxvi. Hol., iii. 120. Hall, 102.-T. Liv., writing under the patronage of Henry VI., and addressing his work to him from page to page, of course suppresses this passage in Henry V.'s history. So does T. Elm. Juv. des Urs. likewise omits it, as thinking it bore against the Armagnac governor, who was much blamed. See Monstr., ubi supra.
of this calculation, his feelings, if he had any, were not to be envied when he found, towards the eighth or ninth execution, that he was committing so many murders to no purpose: yet he persisted until the whole eleven were despatched.
The siege of Melun followed the surrender of Montereau ; and it lasted between four and five months, from the great strength of the place, situated on the Seine, protected by works, and defended by Barbason, the best officer in the Dauphin's service. In the course of the operations there were, according to the fashion of the age, many single combats, and in those the chiefs took a part. In one of them two knights had fought for some time with their vizors down, when Barbason declared himself, saying, “I am the Commandant.” “And I,” said the other, “am the King of England.” Some of these rencounters took place in the mines and countermines, where the combatants were seen fighting for a long space by torchlight. Once, a general assault was undertaken to storm the place, contrary to Henry's judgment; and the event confirmed his opinion, for the besiegers were repulsed with considerable loss. He had with him during this siege the Duke of Bedford, who had come from England with a reinforcement of nearly 3000 men, and had been succeeded in the Regency by his brother Gloucester. The unfortunate King of Scots was also there—but, of course, by compulsion—it being deemed possible by his presence to deter the Scottish troops from acting with the Dauphin against their own