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HENRY THE SIXTH. 253
into Berri without making any attempt to raise the siege. The garrison, disheartened at this untoward event, and not unnaturally indignant at being left to their fate, capitulated after a resistance of six weeks, upon the terms usually granted in those days, that all were to be spared except certain specified individuals, whose conduct had given particular offence to the conquering party.
This important success enabled Bedford more effectually to take steps for improving his position. In order to draw closer the ties of alliance with the Burgundian, he negotiated for the hand of the Princess Anne, his sister. Richemont, the Duke of Brittany's brother, one of the prisoners of Agincourt, but suffered to be at large, had broken his parole on the weak pretence that the death of Henry, to whom it was given, released him from his promise; but instead of disputing this point, Bedford with great address turned the incident to account, ingratiated himself with Richemont by obtaining for hiin the hand of the Princess Anne's sister, and thus became nearly connected by marriage with the person whose influence he knew to be paramount at the Court of his brother, of late become wavering in his attachment to the English cause. A meeting of the three Princes was held at Amiens soon after the surrender of Meulan; and a treaty of alliance was concluded between them, proceeding upon the recital of the projected marriages, and professing to have in view, beside mutual defence, the promotion of the glory of God by relieving the people's distresses and driving away from the countryi the war that oppressed it; a somewhat startling pretence on the part of three Sovereigns, one of whom had brought war into the heart of the kingdom, and maintained it with the help of the other two.2
The celebration with great pomp of the Regent's nuptials at Troyes, and his consequent stay in that town, betokened in the eyes of the Parisians a disposition to slacken in the prosecution of the war; and that fickle people,3 so lately the supporters of the English and Burgundian cause, secretly opened a correspondence with Charles, whose troops they were willing to receive within their walls. But Bedford, having intelligence of the conspiracy, hastened with his wonted promptitude to crush it; and arriving the day before he was expected, entirely defeated the conspirators, severely punishing the ringleaders. Meanwhile the succours for which he had sent arrived from England, and he was enabled, beside taking tbe places which still held out in Maine and Ficardy, to despatch an army of 15,000 English and Burgundians, with the design of raising the siege of Crevant on the Yonne, a Burgundian town of importance, now closely invested by the troops of Charles. A fierce and obstinate engagement there took place, beginning with an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the English from passing the river, and ending on the plain which it washes. Salisbury, the most renowned warrior of the age, and whom the chronicles describe as more resembling an old Roman than a modern knight, commanded for the Regent; and the Constable Buchan, with Severac, for Charles. The fate of the day, long in suspense, ended in the total defeat of the French army, with the loss of above 2000 men, and half as many prisoners, among whom were the Constable himself and Severac; and many of the chief nobles of France were slain.
'"Abouter la guerre hors celuy royaume." * Rym. x. 280. Monstrelet, torn. ii. fol. iii. Napoleon's well-known distinction between Parisian ami l'rench■ppearg applicable in all periods of their history.
It presents a singular picture of the times, that among the articles agreed upon between the English and the Burgundian allies at a solemn conference held in the cathedral of Auxerre before marching towards Crevant, we find a peremptory order commanding all to dismount on pain of death, and leave their horses half a league in the rear, and forbidding any one to take a prisoner until the fate of the day should be decided, under the like penalty of death to both captor and captive. The obvious design of the former article was to prevent the men from running away; that of the latter was to control the thirst for plunder, always sought to be gratified by the demand of ransom: so closely intermingled with base fear and baser avarice were the feats of arms in those boasted days of ancient chivalry—those times of warlike honour, when "a stain was felt like a wound."1
1 The accounts vary as usual in regard to numbers. P. Daniel makes the French loss only 1200 (vii. 14). Monstrelet says 1200 of the Scots were killed and 400 taken captive (tom. ii. fol. 6). Hall absurdly makes the French loss 5000, and the English 2000 (p. 118). 1 Rym. x. 293. 321.
This victory enabled Bedford to drive the French from some towns which they still held in the northern provinces, and to prepare for carrying the war across the Loire. With this view he entered the country of Macon, and took several places in the rear of Charles's forces. The straits to which that Prince was thus reduced made him urgently apply to all his remaining allies. Some aid he received from Milan; but his main reliance was upon the Scots, who, exasperated by the cruel and unjust detention of their Sovereign, as well as influenced by the ancient national grudge against England, sent a force of above 5000 men, under the Earl of Douglas. Bedford upon this had recourse to a measure the long delay of which had manifestly been productive of serious injury to his cause. He made 1424. J J
Gloster and the Council enter into a treaty for the deliverance of James from the captivity in which he had so long been held; and in order the more to detach him from the French alliance, he promoted a match with the Lady Jane Somerset, cousin to the King, and niece of Beaufort, the Bishop.1
A considerable time now elapsed without any event of importance to the progress of the war. Many places of little note were taken from the English by surprise, and soon after recovered. Compiegne and Crotoy, towns of greater note, were also IIENRY THE SIXTH. 257
obtained by Charles's troops; but the fortune of the war was with the English, and north of the Loire their adversary had no footing. While he received the Scotch succours under Douglas, the Regent was opportunely joined by a large reinforcement which Gloster sent, amounting by some accounts to 10,000 men. Thus strengthened he undertook the siege of Yvry, a strong place on the Norman frontier; and Charles, finding that it agreed to surrender if not relieved before the 15th of August,1 sent a powerful army to its relief, under the Constable, who had been ransomed. It arrived too late: Yvry had fallen; and Buchan moving suddenly upon Verneuil, a frontier town of Maine, the inhabitants were alarmed at the prospect of a siege, and opened their gates in spite of the commandant and the garrison. As this was a more serious loss to Bedford than Yvry had been to Charles, he lost no time in marching to retake it; and the two armies fought a pitched battle before the place, when the French were defeated with great slaughter. The impatience which had been so fatal at Agincourt again proved their ruin. Wise by that sad experience, the greater number of the French generals were unwilling to risk a battle which in the all but desperate state of their affairs might be their last; but their able and experienced leader, Buchan, unfortunately joined with the other Scotch captains in deciding to try their fortune against the Regent when they might have retreated with safety;
1 Feast of the Assumption.