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between one town and another. He also held a meeting of the Norman States, and they granted for the expense of maintaining his garrisons a sum of above 100,000^. of our present money, with which, though inadequate to the occasion, he consented to rest satisfied, considering how severely the duchy had suffered by the war. Henry left his brother Clarence as his Lieutenant both for France and Normandy; he proceeded to England, accompanied by the Queen and Bedford, at the head of a considerable army.
Their reception in London exhibited a Fe^ 24 joy not much greater, though far more 1421natural, than had attended their arrival at Paris; and after celebrating the Queen's coronation with a magnificence never before displayed on such occasions, they made a progress through the country, visiting the principal towns. While at York Henry made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Bridlington, where he paid his devotions with his wonted fervour; but his time was not devoted, in other places, exclusively to religious acts; he received the petitions of his subjects, heard their complaints, even encouraged them to state their grievances, and took measures for preventing the oppressions or abuses which had, during his absence, crept into the administration of public affairs. He is said to have in an especial manner examined all charges connected with judicial proceedings, showing his accustomed anxiety to check the malversations of judges.
While he was thus enjoying the popularity that ever attends upon conquests, however mischievous, and receiving the far more pure gratification of his people's thanks for some real service, a heavy blow was about to fall upon him—and the heavier for being altogether unexpected. In the midst of the rejoicings during his progress came the tidings that Gloucester had suffered a total defeat in an attack upon the Dauphin's army at Beauge, in Anjou, and had been himself killed, with the Earl of Kent, the Lord Marshal, many others of his officers, and upwards of three thousand men, beside leaving many prisoners of distinction on the field. The history of this affair has been imperfectly handed down to us, from the conflict of party feelings in contemporary writers, some of whom suppress all mention of it, while others distort the facts probably with exaggeration. But it seems certain that Clarence had undertaken a great operation, and must have had with him the bulk of the English army; for he had advanced almost to the Loire ; and after plundering the Counties of Chartres and Maine, and ravaging part of Anjou, he had encamped before Angers, with the Armagnac troops in his rear at Beauge. Believing that he took them by surprise, when in fact they had deceived him, he made his attack with part only of his force, hastening forward with most of his officers and all his cavalry, but leaving his archers to follow. Movements alike prompt and judicious appear to have been made by the Dauphin's troops, consisting of the united French and Scotch armies, and Clarence was completely de
HENRY THE FIFTH. 215
feated after an action the severity of which ^^^ 22 is attested by the loss on both sides; for of 1421the English, beside more than 2000 left on the field, 200 were made prisoners, and the French had about half as many killed.1 The reputation of both armies was well sustained in the battle, but a cruel and treacherous act tarnished that of the vanquished party in their flight. They were pressed by the pursuing enemy, but got so far before them that they reached the Duchy without being brought to another action. On their march, however, they had to cross the Sarte, and found the bridge broken; but they persuaded the people of the neighbourhood to repair it so as to afford a passage, pretending to be a French division, and displaying white crosses, the national badge. Thus it was by the assistance of those peasants that they made their escape; and they proved it by the excuse which they urged for their conduct. The gratitude which they showed for so essential a service was putting to death on the spot a hundred of the men who had saved them from the enemy, and carrying the rest away as prisoners, upon the pretence that it was necessary to prevent the alarm being given to the neighbouring towns, which might have cut off their retreat.2 The Dauphin's troops pursued them into Normandy, and then sat down before Alencon; but though the English were defeated in an attempt to raise the siege, the assailants found the garrison too strong, and retired into Anjou.
1 T. AViils., 454. T. Elm., 302. P. de Fen., 485. Juv. des Urs., 389. Mez., i. 1028. P. Daniel, v. 556. Hall, 107. Hoi., iii. 127 Stowe, 381. Ford., Sc Cr., xv. 31. Hard., 384. Fab., 588.
* Monstrelet, ch. ccxl.
The glory of the victory at Beauge belonged principally to Buchan and the Scots, whose martial character had before stood low with the French, but was justly raised by their exemplary courage and steadiness in the battle, and by the talents yet more signal than the courage which their gallant commander displayed. He was immediately rewarded by the Dauphin with the high office of Constable of France. It can hardly be doubted that this disaster must have powerfully impressed upon Henry's mind the justice of those unerring decrees, so often contemned both by his father and by himself, when he came to reflect upon the quarter from whence proceeded the first serious reverse his arms had met. To the Scots he owed his defeat; to the Scots, whose sovereign he had so long, so wrongfully held in captivity, and to the great warrior who commanded them nobly refusing all obedience to an imprisoned monarch. The maltreatment of those whom fortune has placed within our power, always wicked, is often imprudent also; whereas kindness, especially kindness shown to generous natures, never yet afforded just cause of regret. Had Henry listened to the voice of justice, or indeed of common humanity, and restored to liberty his amiable and accomplished captive, instead of lending himself to the intrigues of the perfidious kinsman who usurped his throne, it is very possible that the policy of their country might have kept the Scots from joining in his wars; but it may very safely be affirmed that James's gratitude would have prevented their being found leagued with the enemies of England.1
The distress of mind was severe which Henry suffered on receiving the accounts from Beauge, both because he had lost a brother whom he greatly loved, and because, in the necessarily critical posture of his affairs, any reverse of fortune must be attended with serious risk to his whole schemes. He could hardly have been for weeks at Paris without perceiving that the people were not to be kept in subjection much longer than they continued to be zealous for him as the enemy of their adversaries, and that, he saw, would prove but a feeble tie should his soldiers be unconciliatory or his commanders become unpopular. This was plainly enough perceived when he ordered L'Isle Adam to be arrested at Paris, whether owing to a personal altercation at the siege of Melun, or because he found him plotting against the English interest; the multitude rose, attempting a rescue, and were only put down by calling out the English troops. The popular favourite was cast into prison, and it required all Philip's influence to prevent Henry from inflicting capital punishment on the ablest of his ally's captains.2 But before this incident occurred there
* All the accounts agree in representing Henry to have quarrelled with this bad and able man for not speaking in a more respectful manner. His looking a prince in the face was the matter laid to his charge. He said it was the French mode. Henry said it was unknown in England.—Monstrelet, ch. ccxlvii.