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Government during the minority--State of France
Military operations-Battle of Verneuil-Siege of Orleans-The maid of Orleans— The siege of Orleans raised- The king of France crowned at Rheims-Prudence of the duke of Bedford-Execution of the maid of Orleans--Defection of the duke of Burgundy Death of the duke of Bedford
-Decline of the English in France-Truce with France~-Marriage of the king with Margaret of Anjou--Murder of the duke of Glocester--State of France--Reneral of the war with France—The English expelled France.
URING the reigns of the Lancastrian princes, C HA P.
the authority of parliament seems to have been more confirmed, and the privileges of the people more regarded, than during any former period; and Governthe two preceding kings, though men of great spi- ing the mirit and abilities, abstained from such exertions of nority. prerogative, as even weak princes, whose title was undisputed, were tempted to think they might venture upon with impunity. The long minority, of which there was now the prospect, encouraged still farther the lords and commons to extend their influence, and without paying much regard to the verbal destination of Henry V. they assumed the power of giving a new arrangement to the whole administration. They declined altogether the name of Regent with regard to England: They appointed
CHAP the duke of Bedford protector or guardian of that w kingdom, a title which they supposed to imply less 1422. authority: They invested the duke of Glocester
with the same dignity during the absence of his elder brother :a And, in order to limit the power of both these princes, they appointed a council without whose advice and approbation no measure of importance could be determined. The person and education of the infant prince was committed to Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, his great uncle, and the legitimated son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster; a prelate who, as his family could never have any pretensions to the crown, might safely, they thought, be entrusted with that important charge. The two princes, the dukes of Bedford and Glocester, who seemed injured by this plan of government, yet, being persons of great integrity and honour, acquiesced in any appointment which tended to give security to the public; and as the wars in France appeared to be the object of greatest moment, they avoided every dispute which might throw an obstacle in the way of foreign conquests.
When the state of affairs between the English and French kings was considered with a superficial eye, every advantage seemed to be on the side of the former ; and the total expulsion of Charles appeared to be an event which might naturally be expected from the superior power of his competitor. Though Henry was yet in his infancy, the administration was devolved on the duke of Bedford, the most accomplished prince of his age; whose experience, prudence, valour, and generosity, qualified him for his high office, and enabled him both to maintain union among his friends, and to gain the confidence of his ene
* Rymer, vol. x. p. 261. Cotton, p. 564. Cotton, p. 564. • Hall, fol. 83. Monstrelet, vol. ii. p. 27.
mies. The whole power of England was at his C HA P.
XX. command: He was at the head of armies inured to victory : He was seconded by the most renowned 142%. generals of the age, the earls of Somerset, Warwic, Salisbury, Suffolk, and Arundel, Sir John Talbot, and Sir John Fastolfe: And besides Guienne, the ancient inheritance of England, he was master of the capital, and of almost all the northern provinces, which were well enabled to furnish him with supplies both of men and money, and to assist and support his English forces. iii. · BUT Charles, notwithstanding the present inferiority of his power, possessed some advantages, derived partly from his situation, partly from his personal character, which promised him success, and served, first to control, then to overbalance the superior force and opulence of his enemies. He was the true and undoubted heir of the monarchy :: All Frenchmen, who knew the interests, or desired the independence of their country, turned their eyes towards him as its sole resource: The exclusion given him by the imbecility of his father, and the forced or precipitate consent of the states, had plainly no validity: That spirit of faction, which had blinded the people, could not long hold them in so gross a delusion: Their national and inveterate hatred against the English, the authors of all their calamities, 'must soon revive, and inspire them with indignation at bending their necks under the yoke of that hostile people : Great nobles and princes, accustomed to maintain an independence against their native sovereigns, would never endure a subjection to strangers : And though most of the princes of the blood were, since the fatal battle of Azincour, detained prisoners in England, the inhabitants of their demesnes, their friends, their vassals, all declared a zealous attachment to the king, and exerted themselves in resisting the violence of foreign invaders.
2 delu people. That's
CH A P. CHARLES himself, though only in his twentieth XX.
year, was of a character well calculated to become 1422. the object of these benevolent sentiments; and,
perhaps, from the favour which naturally attends youth, was the more likely, on account of his tender age, to acquire the good-will of his native subjects. He was a prince of the most friendly and benign disposition, of easy and familiar manners, and of a just and sound, though not a very vigorous understanding. Sincere, generous, affable, he engaged, from affection, the services of his followers, even while his low fortunes might make it their interest to desert him ; and the lenity of his temper could pardon in them those sallies of discontent to which princes in his situation are so frequently exposed. The love of pleasure often seduced him into indolence; but, amidst all his irregularities, the goodness of his heart still shone forth; and, by exerting at intervals his courage and activity, he proved, that his general remissness proceeded not from the want, either of a just spirit of ambition, or of personal valour.
ÍHOUGH the virtues of this amiable prince lay some time in obscurity, the duke of Bedford knew that his title alone made him formidable, and that every foreign assistance would be requisite, ere an English/regent could hope to complete the conquest of France; an enterprise which, however it might seem to be much advanced, was still exposed to many and great difficulties. The chief circumstance which had procured to the English all their present advantages, was the resentment of the duke of Burgundy against Charles, and as that prince seemed intent rather on gratifying his passion than consulting his interests, it was the more easy for the regent, by demonstrations of respect and confidence, to retain him in the alliance of England. He bent therefore all his endeavours to that purpose: He gave the duke every proof of friendship and regard:
He even offered him the regency of France, which CHA P. Philip declined: And that he might corroborate national connexions by private ties, he concluded 1422. his own marriage with the princess of Burgundy, which had been stipulated by the treaty of Arras.
BEING sensible, that next to the alliance of Bur- 1423. gundy, the friendship of the duke of Britany was of the greatest importance towards forwarding the English conquests; and that, as the provinces of France, already subdued, lay between the dominions of these two princes, he could never hope for any security, without preserving his connexions with them; he was very intent on strengthening himself also from that quarter. The duke of Britany, having received many just reasons of displeasure from the ministers of Charles, had already acceded to the treaty of Troye, and had, with other vassals of the crown, done homage to. Henry V. in quality of heir to the kingdom : But as the regent knew, that the duke was much governed by his brother, the count of Richemont, he endeavoured to fix his friendship, by paying court and doing services to this haughty and ambitious prince.
ARTHUR, count of Richemont, had been taken prisoner at the battle of Azincour, had been treated with great indulgence by the late king, and had even been permitted on his parole to take a journey into Britany, where the state of affairs required his presence. The death of that victorious monarch happened before Richemont's return; and this prince pretended, that, as his word was given 17th Apr personally to Henry V, he was not bound to fulfil it towards his son and successor: a chicane which the regent, as he could not force him to compliancé, deemed it prudent to overlook. An inter view was settled at Amiens between the dukes of Bedford, Burgundy, and Britany, at which the count of Richemont was also present. The alli
. ance Hall, fol. 84. Monstrelet, vol. i. p. 4. Stowe, p. 364.