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intelligence with the enemies of France, and to require him to renew his oath of allegiance as a vassal peer of that realm. The duke of Bretagne, suspecting that these illustrious envoys Intended to appeal to his nobles against his present line of conduct, determined, in violation of those considerations which in all ages have rendered the persons of ambassadors sacred, to arrest them all, and keep them as hostages till he had made his own terms with France." Le Moine de St. Denis, a contemporary historian, declares “he heard this from the ambassadors themselves, who related to him the peril from which they escaped through the prudence of Joanna.” Fortunately for all parties, it happened that her younger brother, Pierre of Navarre, was at the court of Nantes, and being apprized of the duke's design, hastened to Joanna, whom he found at her toilet, and confided to her the alarming project then in agitation. Joanna, who was then in hourly expectation of the birth of her fourth child, immediately perceived the dreadful consequences that would result from such an unheard-of outrage. She took her infants in her arms, flew to the duke's apartment, half-dressed as she was, with her hair loose and dishevelled, and throwing herself at his feet, bathed in tears, conjured him, for the sake of those tender pledges of their mutual love, to abandon the rash design that passion had inspired, which, if persisted in, must involve himself and all belonging to him in utter ruin.” The duke, who had kept his design a secret from his wife, was surprised at the manner of her address. After an agitated pause, he said, “Lady, how vou came by your information, I know not; but rather than be the cause of such distress to you, I will revoke my order.” Joanna then prevailed on him to meet the ambassadors in the cathedral the next day, and afterwards to accompany them to Tours, where the king of France gave him a gracious reception, and induced him to renew his homage by promising to unite his second daughter Joanna of France with the heir of Bretagne. High feasts and rejoicings celebrated the reconciliation of * Dom Morice. Mezerai.
* Le Moine de St. Denis, p. 257. Actes de Bretagne. Mezerai. Dom Morice. * Argentre. Chronicles of Bretagne. Mezerai.
the duke of Bretagne with the king of France, and the treaty for the marriage between their children. On this occasion the choleric duke condescended, at the table of the king of France, to dine in company with his rival, John of Bretagne; but not even there would he meet sir Oliver Clisson, so true is it that the aggressor is more difficult to conciliate than the injured party. This vindictive spirit on the part of the duke next betrayed him into the dishonourable proceeding of extending his protection to sir Peter Craon, after a base attempt to assassinate the constable in the Place de St. Katherine. The king of France was much exasperated when he heard that Craon was sheltered by the duke of Bretagne, and wrote a peremptory demand for him to be given up to justice. The royal messengers found the duke at his castle of Ermine with his duchess, and were civilly entertained. The duke positively denied any knowledge of Craon; but the king, being persuaded to the contrary, once more prepared to invade the duchy, with the avowed intention of deposing John the Valiant, and making himself the guardian of the young heir of Bretagne, Joanna's eldest son. The duke was preserved from the ruin that threatened him, by the alarming access of frenzy with which the king was seized in the scorching plains of Mans.” Meantime, sir Oliver Clisson raised a civil war in Bretagne, which greatly harassed the court. The duke lost all his ill-acquired gains, was forced to shut himself up in Vannes, with the duchess and their children, without venturing beyond the walls, as the warfare was of the most murderous nature, and quarter was given by neither party. Clisson had greatly the advantage in the contest, and, besides many important successes not necessary to record here, he twice captured all the gold and silver plate belonging to the duke and duchess, and many of their jewels and other precious effects, which enabled him to carry on the war against them; and though the duke was the sovereign of the country, there was not a Breton knight or squire who would bear arms against Clisson. Matters would have gone much worse with the ducal party if * Froissart. * Ibid.
Joanna, who was, in her quiet way, a much sounder politician than her lord, had not contrived to establish a sort of amicable understanding with some of the Breton nobles in the interest of Clisson. The viscount Rohan, her agent in this negotiation, was at the same time the son of her aunt, Jane of Navarre," and Clisson’s son-in-law. The duke of Bretagne was at last convinced of the difficulties that surrounded him. He felt that he was growing old, and that his children were very young, and, excepting the duke and duchess of Burgundy, there was not a friend in the world who would take care of his wife and her infants. As to the branch of Navarre from which the duchess sprang, the wicked acts of her father had made that family remarkably unpopular in France; and if the hatred of sir Oliver de Clisson and the count of Penthièvres continued to be united against his house, his children and their mother would, in case of his decease, be left with many enemies.” Having pondered these things in his mind, the duke, without asking advice from his council, called a secretary, to whom, on entering his chamber, he gave a large sheet of paper, and said, “Write down what I shall dictate.” The secretary having made himself ready, the duke repeated every word that he was to write, and indited a letter in the most friendly terms to Clisson, desiring him to devise some means for them to meet, when every thing should be settled most amicably. The letter was folded up in the presence alone of the duke and his secretary, and the duke having sealed it with his own signet, called his most trusty valet into the apartment, saying, “Hasten to castle Joscelin, and say boldly that I have sent thee to speak to my cousin sir Oliver, the lord of Clisson. Thou wilt be introduced to him. Salute him from me. If he return the salute, give him this letter, and bring me back his answer, but on thy life tell no man.” On the arrival of the valet at castle Joscelin, the lord de Clisson examined the private signet of the duke, which he knew well, opened the letter, and read it two or three times over, and was much astonished at the friendly and affectionate terms in which it was compounded. After * Froissart. * Ibid.
musing some time, he told the valet he would consider his answer, and ordered him to be conducted to an apartment by himself. The attendants of the lord of Clisson were amazed at what they saw and heard, for never before had any one come from the duke of Bretagne without being immured in the deepest dungeon.' Clisson wrote, in return, that if the duke wished to see him, he must send his son as a pledge, who would be taken the greatest care of till his return. This letter was sealed and given to the valet, who hastened back to the duke at Wannes. On receiving the letter from the lord of Clisson, he paused after reading it, then exclaimed,—“I will do it; for since I mean to treat amicably with him, every cause of distrust must be removed.” He then said to the viscount Rohan, “Wiscount, you and the lord de Monboucher shall carry my little son to the château Joscelin, and bring back with you the lord de Clisson, for I am determined to make up our quarrel.” Some days, however, elapsed before the duchess could resolve to part with her boy. At length her earnest desire of composing the strife overcame her maternal fears, and she permitted her kinsman, Rohan, to conduct the princely child to castle Joscelin. When Clisson saw the boy, and perceived the confidence the duke had placed in him, he was much affected. The result was, that he and the duke's envoy set out together from castle Joscelin, carrying the boy with them, for sir Oliver said, “He would give him back to his parents, as henceforth he should never distrust the duke, after the trial he had made of him.” Such generosity was shown on both sides, that it was no wonder a firm peace was the consequence. Sir Oliver dismounted at the convent of Dominicans, the place where the interview was appointed to take place. When the duke of Bretagne found that sir Oliver had brought back his son, he was highly delighted with his generosity and courtesy, and hastening to the convent, shut himself up in a chamber with sir Oliver. Here they conversed some time; then they went privately down the garden, and entered a small boat that conveyed them to an empty ship anchored in the river, and, * Froissart.
when at a distance from their people, they conferred for a long time. Their friends thought all the time they were conversing in the convent chamber. When they had arranged all matters thus secretly, they called their boatman, who rowed them to the church of the Dominicans, which they entered by a private door through the garden and cloisters, the duke holding sir Oliver by the hand all the time. All who saw them thus were well pleased; indeed, the whole of Bretagne was made very happy when this peace was made public; but, owing to the extreme precautions of the duke, no one knew what passed during the conference on the river. Such is the very interesting account given by Froissart of the reconciliation of these two deadly enemies. The Breton chroniclers attribute the pacification wholly to the influence of Joanna, an application having been made to her by viscount Rohan, the husband of her aunt, praying her good offices in mediating a peace between her lord and the rebel peers of Bretagne. In compliance with this request, she prevailed on the duke to raise the siege of Joscelin, and to make those concessions to Clisson which produced the happy result of putting an end to the civil war." Clisson agreed to pay ten thousand francs of gold to the duke, and, with the rest of the Breton barons, associated the duchess of Bretagne in the solemn oaths of homage, which they renewed to their sovereign on the 28th of December, 1393, at Nantes.” In the same year proposals of marriage were made by Joanna's future husband, Henry of Lancaster, earl of Derby, to her niece, the young princess of Navarre, but the negotiation came to nothing.” The following year, Marie of Bretagne, Joanna's eldest daughter, was contracted to the eldest son of this prince, afterwards Henry V. The duke of Bretagne engaged to give Marie one hundred and fifty thousand francs in gold for her portion. “The castle of Brest, though at that time in the possession of the English, was, at the especial desire of the duchess Joanna, appointed for the solemnization of the
* Le Baud, Chron. de Briocense. * Dom Morice. * Rymer's Foedera.