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and she was accused of having been the cause of
the king's misfortune, which proves that the French,
who were at that time very ignorant, thought the
Italians had more knowledge than themselves.
This suspicion was some time afterward increased



Charles VI. 21

by an adventure entirely agreeable to the rudeness
of those times.

1393 There was a masquerade at court, in which
the king appeared in the dress of a satyr, dragging
four other satyrs after him in chains. Their dresses
were made of linen, daubed over with rosin, to which
they had fastened cords of flax and hemp. The duke
of Orleans unfortunately thrust his torch against
one of those habits, which took fire in an instant.
The four lords, who were the four satyrs in the
masque, were burned, and the king's life was with
great difficulty preserved by the happy presence
of mind of his sister-in-law, the duchess of Berry,
who wrapped him all over in her mantua. This
accident caused a return of one of his fits; from
which he might probably have been relieved by
immediate bleeding, bathing, and a proper regimen ;
but, instead of that, they sent for a sorcerer from
Montpellier. The sorcerer came, and the king
appeared a little better, which was instantly ascribed
to the power of magic. But, by frequent relapses,
the disorder was rendered so inveterate as to become
incurable. To complete the misfortunes of France,
the king had some intervals of sanity, otherwise they
might have provided for the government of the
kingdom ; thus the little share of reason he enjoyed
proved more fatal than even his fits: the estates
were never assembled, nor was the least regulation
made in the public administration. The king still
continued king, intrusting his despised authority



72 Ancient and Modern History.

and the care of his person sometimes to his brother,
and at other times to his uncles, the dukes of Bur-
gundy and Berry. It was still a further addition
to the misfortunes of the state, that these princes
had considerable inheritances in the kingdom ; in
due course Paris became the theatre of a civil war,
sometimes privately, sometimes openly carried on.
Factions prevailed everywhere, and even the univer-
sity pretended to a share in the government.

1407 Everybody knows that John, duke of Bur-
gundy, caused his cousin, the duke of Orleans, to
be assassinated in the Rue Barbette. The king had
neither understanding nor power enough to bring
the aggressor to justice. However, the duke of
Burgundy thought it necessary to take out letters of
grace, after which he came to court and triumphed
in his crime. He assembled all the princes and
grandees ; and, in the presence of them all, Dr. John
Petit not only justified the murder of the duke of
Orleans, but also established the doctrine of homi-
cide, which he founded upon the example of those
assassinations we read of in the historical books of
the holy writ. Thus did this preacher impudently
erect into a doctrine what those books only deliver
to us as an event, instead of acting agreeably to the
duties of his calling, by telling men that a murder
related in the Holy Scripture is as truly detestable
as if it was found in the annals of savages, or in the
times of which I am speaking. This evil doctrine



Charles VI. 23

was condemned, as we have seen, at the Council of
Constance, but has nevertheless been since revived.

It was at this time that the marshal de Boucicaut
suffered Genoa to be lost, which had put itself under
the protection of France. The French were all mas-
sacred there, as they had been before in Sicily. The
flower of the nobility, who had gone to signalize
themselves in Hungary against the Turkish emperor,
Bajazet, were all cut off in the fatal battle lost by
the Christians. But these misfortunes abroad were
small in comparison with those which befell the
state at home.

Isabella of Bavaria, Charles's queen, had a party
in Paris, the duke of Burgundy had his, and the
children of the late duke of Orleans had another,
which was very considerable. The poor king alone
had no party. But what will serve to show us how
important the city of Paris was at that time, and
what influence it had on the other parts of the king-
dom is, that the duke of Burgundy, who to the
province of which he bore the title, added all Flan-
ders and Artois, made it the principal object of his
ambition to become master of Paris. His faction
was called the Burgundians, and that of Orleans
went by the name of the Armagnacs, from the count
of Armagnac, father-in-law to the duke of Orleans,
son to him who had been assassinated in Paris.
Whichever of these two factions had the upper
hand never let slip any opportunity of hanging,
murdering, or burning all of the opposite party;



24 Ancient and Modern History.

so that no person was sure of his life for a day
together. They fought in the streets, in the houses,
in the fields, and even in the churches.

1415 Here was a very favorable opportunity
for England to recover her ancient patrimony in
France, as well as those ceded to her by treaties;
and Henry V., who was a prince of equal courage
and prudence, did not suffer it to pass unnoticed,
but negotiated and made preparations for war at
the same time. He made a descent into Normandy
with an army of nearly fifty thousand men, took
Harfleur, and advanced into the midst of a country
torn in pieces by factions, and unable to resist him ;
but three-fourths of his army were carried off by
contagious dysentery. Nevertheless, this great
invasion served to unite all parties against the Eng-
lish ; even Burgundy himself, though he had already
been treating privately with the king of England,
sent five hundred men in arms, with some cross-
bow men, to the assistance of his country. All the
nobility mounted on horseback, and the commoners
marched under their banners: so that Constable
d'Albret soon saw himself at the head of sixty thou-
sand fighting men.

The success that formerly waited on Edward III.
now followed Henry V., but the principal resem-
blance was in the battle of Agincourt, which was
in every respect like that of Crecy. The English
won it almost as soon as it began. Their tall bows,
which were almost the height of a man, and which



Charles VI. 25

they made use of with surprising strength and skill,
soon determined the victory in their favor ; but they
had neither cannons nor fusils, which is another
corroborating proof that there were none used at
the battle of Crecy. Perhaps these bows are much
more formidable weapons. I have seen some of
them that would carry farther than a fusil ; and they
may be used with much more despatch, and last
longer. However, they are now entirely out of
use. It may be further observed that the gendarm-
erie of France fought on foot at the battles of Agin-
court, Crecy, and Poitiers ; Whereas, had they been
mounted, they would in all probability have formed
an invincible corps. There happened on this mem-
orable day a thing most horrible even in war. While
the armies were still engaged, some militia of
Picardy came behind the English to plunder their
camp; upon which Henry ordered his men to kill
all the prisoners they had taken. They were
accordingly put to the sword; and after this the
English took fourteen thousand men, whose lives
they spared. Seven princes of France were slain
this day, together with the constable. Five princes
were taken prisoners, and above ten thousand
Frenchmen were left on the field of battle.

It would seem that after so decisive a victory,
Henry had nothing to do but to march to Paris, and
complete the conquest of a divided, exhausted, and
ruined kingdom. But these very ruins were some-
what fortified; for it is a certain fact that from



26 Ancient and Modern History.

this battle of Agincourt, which threw all France
into mourning, and which cost the English only
three persons of any note, the victors reaped no other
fruit than glory. Henry was obliged to return to
England, in order to raise money and fresh troops.
The spirit of giddiness and inconstancy, which
had seized the French nation as well as their king,
did what the defeat of Agincourt had not been able
to do. Two dauphins were already dead, and the
third, who was afterward Charles VII., and at that
time was only sixteen years of age, endeavored to
save the remains of this great wreck. The queen,
his mother, had extorted letters patent from her
husband, by which she was intrusted with the reins
of government. She was a covetous and ambitious
woman, and greatly addicted to gallantry. The
treasure of which she had plundered the kingdom
and her husband, she had carefully deposited in
several places, particularly in the churches. The
dauphin and the Armagnac faction, who had dis-
covered this money, made use of it for the pressing
wants of the public. To this affront which she
received from her son, the king added another of
a more sensible nature. One evening as he was
going to pay a visit to the queen in her own apart-
ment, he met the lord of Boisbourdon coming out;
he instantly ordered him to be apprehended, put to
the torture, and afterward sewn up in a sack and
thrown into the Seine. The queen was sent
prisoner to Blois, and thence to Tours, without



Charles VI. 27

being suffered to speak with her husband. It was
this accident, and not the battle of Agincourt which
placed the crown of France on the king of Eng-
land's head. The queen implored the assistance
of the duke of Burgundy, who embraced this oppor-
tunity of establishing his own authority on these
new disasters of his country.

The duke released the queen from her confine-
ment at Tours, ravaged the country all the way he
marched, and at length concluded a league with the
king of England. Without this alliance there would
have been no revolution. Henry V. at length assem-
bled an army of twenty-five thousand men, and
landed a second time in Normandy. He advanced
toward Paris, while John, duke of Burgundy, pre-
sented himself before the gates of this city, where a
poor senseless king remained shut up, a prey to every
kind of sedition. The duke of Burgundy's faction in
one day massacred Constable d'Armagnac, the arch-
bishops of Rheims and Tours, five prelates, the abbot
of St. Denis, and forty magistrates. The queen and
the duke of Burgundy made their triumphal entry
into Paris in the midst of all this blood and
slaughter. The dauphin was obliged to fly beyond
the Loire, and Henry V. was already master of all
Normandy. In 1418 the king's party, as well as
those of the queen, the duke of Burgundy, and
the dauphin, were all in treaty at the same time
with the king of England ; treachery and dissimu-
lation were equal on all sides. The young dauphin,



28 Ancient and Modern History.

who was at that time governed by Tanguy du Cha-
tel, at length, in 1419, contrived that unhappy inter-
view with the duke of Burgundy on the bridge of
Montereau. Each of them came attended by ten
knights; and Tanguy du Chatel slew the duke of
Burgundy in the presence of the dauphin : thus was
the murder of the duke of Orleans avenged by
another murder, which was the more detestable
because accompanied by violation of public faith.

One would be almost tempted to believe that this
murder was not premeditated, so very badly had they
taken their measures for supporting the conse-
quences. Philip the Good, the new duke of Bur-
gundy, who succeeded his father, became of course
an enemy to the dauphin, through duty as well as
politics. The queen, his mother, whom he had
incensed, became as implacable as a step-mother;
while the king of England, taking advantage of these
horrid circumstances, proclaimed that God led him
by the hand to punish the iniquitous French. In
1420 Queen Isabella and the new duke of Bur-
gundy, Philip, concluded a peace with Henry at
Troyes, which proved more fatal to France than
all the preceding wars had done ; and by which they
gave Catherine, daughter of Charles VI., in mar-
riage to the king of England, together with France
for her dowry.

It was at the same time agreed that Henry should
be acknowledged king, but that he should bear only
the title of regent during the remainder of the



Charles VI. 29

unhappy life of the king of France, who was now
altogether childish. In fine, it was determined
by the contract, that the person styling him-
self dauphin, should be pursued with the utmost
vigor. Queen Isabella conducted her wretched
husband and her daughter to Troyes, where the
marriage was consummated. Henry, now king of
France, made his entry peaceably into Paris, and
governed without opposition ; while Charles VI.
continued shut up with a few domestics in the Hotel
de St. Paul, and Queen Isabella began already to
drink deep of the cup of repentance.

Philip, duke of Burgundy, appeared before the
two kings at the Hotel de St. Paul, when the few
remaining grandees of the kingdom were assembled,
and solemnly demanded justice for the murder of his
father. The procurator-general of Burgundy, Nich-
olas Raulin, and a doctor of the university of Paris,
named John Larcher, preferred articles of accusa-
tion against the dauphin. The first president of
Paris, with some few deputies of his body, assisted
at this assembly.

The advocate-general, Marigni, made a speech
against the dauphin, not as a presumptive heir and
defender of the crown, but as against a common
assassin. Upon this the parliament summoned the
dauphin to appear at the marble table, as it is called.
This is a large table, which was used in the time
of St. Louis, for receiving the fines paid for vas-
salage, at the tower of the Louvre, and which ever



30 Ancient and Modern History.

after remained as a kind of mark of jurisdiction.
But the dauphin not appearing, he was condemned
for contumacy.

It was a very nice and difficult question to decide
whether this court had the power of judging the
dauphin, whether the Salic law could be subverted
on this occasion, and whether, as no vengeance had
been taken for the murder of the duke of Orleans,
the death of his murderer could claim revenge. We
know that long after this, Philip II. of Spain caused
his own son to be murdered, and that Cosmo I.,
duke of Florence, put to death one of his sons who
had murdered the other. This fact is undoubtedly
true, and Varillas has been wrongfully accused of
falsity in this relation. President de Thou plainly
proves that he was informed of all the circumstances
upon the spot; and in our time Czar Peter the
Great condemned one of his sons to death. Dreadful
examples ! but in which the son's inheritance was
not given away to a foreigner.

The dauphin retired into Anjou, where he led the
life of an exile. Henry V., king of France and
England, returned to London in order to raise fresh
supplies and new troops. It was not to the interest
of the people of England, who have a strong passion
for liberty, that their king should be master of
France, as in this case their country would be in
danger of becoming a province to a foreign king-
dom; and, after draining itself to establish its
prince in Paris, would have seen itself reduced to



Charles VI. 31

slavery by the forces of that very country which it
had conquered, and which its king had in his hands.

However, Henry V. soon returned to Paris with
more authority than ever: he had treasures and
armies at his command, and was moreover in the
prime of his life ; from all of which it was probable
that the crown of France was likely to be trans-
ferred forever to the house of Lancaster. But death
cut short these mighty hopes and successes. Henry
was seized with a fistula. In these days of greater
knowledge he might possibly have been cured, but
the ignorance of the times was the cause of his
death; and he expired, in 1422, at the castle of
Vincennes, in the thirty-fourth year of his age. His
body lay in state at St. Denis, after which it was
carried to England and deposited at Westminster
among the kings of England.

Soon after Charles VI., who had been suffered,
out of compassion, to enjoy the empty title of king,
ended his wretched days, after having passed nearly
thirty years in almost continual fits of madness, the
unhappiest of kings, and king of the unhappiest
people of Europe.

The duke of Bedford, brother of Henry V., was
the only person who attended his funeral. There
was not one of the great lords present at the cere-
mony : some of them had been slain at the battle of
Agincourt, the remainder were prisoners in Eng-
land ; and the duke of Burgundy would not yield
precedency to the duke of Bedford : but he was soon



32 Ancient and Modern History.

after obliged to give way in everything, for Bed-
ford was declared regent of France : and Henry VI.,
son of Henry V., a minor only nine months old,
was proclaimed king at Paris, and at London. The
city of Paris even sent deputies to London to take
the oath of allegiance to this infant.

CHAPTER LXVIII.

FRANCE IN THE TIME OF CHARLES VII.

THIS inundation which overspread France from
England was much the same as that which hap-
pened to England from the French, in the time of
Louis VIII., but it was of longer duration, and more
violent. Charles VII. had his kingdom to recover,
inch by inch. He had to fight against the duke of
Bedford, who was as absolute as Henry V., and
against the duke of Burgundy, now one of the most
powerful princes in Europe, by having annexed
Hainault, Brabant, and Holland to his former
domains. Besides, Charles had as much to fear from
his friends as his foes; most of them insulting his
misfortunes to such a degree that the count de Riche-
mont, his constable, and brother of the duke of Brit-
tany, caused two of his favorites to be strangled.

We may judge of the deplorable situation to which
Charles was reduced, from the necessity he was
under of making the silver mark pass for ninety
livres in the places subject to his obedience, instead
of a half livre, as in the time of Charlemagne.

He was likewise soon obliged to have recourse to



Charles VII. 33

another much stranger expedient, namely, to a
miracle. A gentleman upon the frontiers of Lor-
raine, whose name was Baudricourt, happened to
' meet with a young servant wench at an inn in the
town of Vaucouleurs, whom he thought a fit person
to act the character of a female warrior and a proph-
etess. Joan of Arc which was the name of this
heroine whom the vulgar look upon as a shep-
herdess, was in fact only a tavern girl ; "of a robust
make," as Monstrelet says, " and who could ride
without a saddle, and perform other manly exer-
cises which young maidens are unaccustomed to."
She was made to pass for a young shepherdess
of eighteen ; and yet it is evident from her confes-
sion that she was at that time twenty-seven. She had
courage and wit sufficient to engage in this delicate
enterprise, which afterward became a heroic one, and
suffered herself to be carried before the king at
Bourges, where she was examined by matrons, who
took care to find her a virgin, and by certain doctors
of the university, and some members of the parlia-
ment, who all without hesitation declared her
inspired. Whether they were really imposed upon,
or were crafty enough to adopt the project, the vul-
gar swallowed the bait, and that was sufficient.

The English were at that time, in 1428, besieging
Orleans, Charles's last resource, and were upon the
point of making themselves masters of the town,
when this amazon in man's dress, directed by able

officers, undertook to throw reinforcements into the
Vol. 263



34 Ancient and Modern History.

town. Previous to her attempt she harangued the
soldiers, as one sent from God, and inspired them
with that enthusiastic courage peculiar to all who
imagine they behold the Deity Himself fighting their
cause. After this she put herself at their head, deliv-
ered Orleans, beat the English, foretold to Charles
that she would see him consecrated at Rheims, ful-
filled her promise, sword in hand, and assisted at
the coronation, holding the standard with which she
had so bravely fought.

These rapid victories obtained by a girl, with all
the appearances of a miracle, and the king's corona-
tion, which conciliated the public respect to his per-
son, had almost restored the lawful prince, and
expelled the foreign pretender, when the instrument
of all these wonders, Joan of Arc, was wounded and
taken prisoner in 1430, while defending Compiegne.
Such a person as the Black Prince would have hon-
ored and respected her courage ; but the regent, Bed-
ford, thought it necesary to detract from it, in order
to revive the drooping spirits of the English. She
had pretended to perform a miracle, and Bedford
pretended to believe her a witch.

My principal end is always to observe the spirit
of the times, since it is that which directs the great
events of the world.

The university of Paris presented a complaint
against Joan, accusing her of heresy and witchcraft.
Therefore this university either believed what the
regent would have it believe ; or if it did not believe



Charles VII. 35

it, it was guilty of most infamous baseness. This
heroine, who was worthy of that miracle which she
had feigned, was tried at Rouen by Cauchon, bishop
of Beauvais, by five other French bishops, and one
English bishop, assisted by a Dominican monk, vicar
to the Inquisition, and by the doctors to the uni-
versity ; who declared her " a superstitious prophet-
ess of the devil, a blasphemer against God and His
saints, and one who had been guilty of numberless
errors against the faith of Christ." As such she was
condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and to fast
on bread and water. She made a reply to her judges,
which, in my opinion, is worthy of eternal memory.
She was asked why she dared to assist at the conse-
cration of Charles, as his standard-bearer. " Be-
cause," answered she, " it is but just that the person
who shared in the toil should partake likewise of the
honor."

Some time after this, being accused of having
again put on men's clothes, which had been left in
her way purposely to tempt her, her judges, who cer-
tainly had no right to try her, as she was a prisoner
of war, declared her a relapsed heretic, in 1431 ; and
without further ceremony condemned to the flames
a person who, for the services she had rendered her
king, would have had altars erected to her in those
heroic times when mankind were wont to decree such
honors to their deliverers. Charles VII. afterward
restored her memory with honor, which indeed had
been sufficiently honored by her punishment.



36 Ancient and Modern History.

Cruelty alone is not sufficient to carry men to such
executions ; there must likewise be a certain fanati-
cism, composed of superstition and ignorance, which
has been the common malady of almost all ages.
Some time before this the English had condemned
a princess of Gloucester to do penance in St. Paul's
church, and a female friend of hers was burned
alive, upon pretence of certain magic practices
against the king's life. They had also burned Lord
Cobham for a heretic : and in Brittany had inflicted
the same punishment on Marshal de Retz, who was
accused of sorcery, and with having butchered young
children for the sake of making use of their blood
in his pretended incantations.

In these unhappy times, the communication be-
tween the provinces was so interrupted, and the
people bordering upon each other were so much
strangers, that an enterprising woman, a few years
after the death of the Maid of Orleans had the bold-
ness to assume her name in Lorraine, resolutely
averring that she had escaped the punishment in-
tended her, and that a substitute had been burned in
her stead. But what is more strange than all the
rest is that the people believed this idle story. The
impostor was loaded with honors and wealth ; and
a person of the family of Armoises publicly espoused
her, in 1436, thinking to marry a real heroine, who,
though meanly born, was at least upon an equality
with him by the grandeur of her actions.

During the war, which was rather tedious than



Charles VII. 37

decisive, and the source of many miseries, there
happened another event which saved the kingdom of
France. The duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good,
merited this name by at length forgiving the death
of his father, and joining with the head of his family
against a foreign invader. He even carried this
generosity so far as to deliver the duke of Orleans,
the son of him who had been assassinated at Paris,
from his long confinement in London, by paying his


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