Francis Palgrave.

The history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) online

. (page 28 of 60)
Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 28 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of a King. After the departure of Charles the
Simple, these haughty chieftains sternly repu-
diated the authority of Raoul, whose usurped
domination they treated as an interregnum ; but
they did not exhibit any corresponding feeling
of loyalty towards Louis, and were so slack in
recognising the legitimate Sovereign, that, in the
dates of their charters, the Ducal notaries often
forgot to insert the regnal year. Raymond Pons,
the great Marquis of Septimania and Count of
Toulouse, though not actively rebellious, was


prominent amongst the slighters of the Royal 912954
supremacy. In fact, they were becoming inde- ^^ \
pendent Sovereigns.

Louis, having recovered strength, though the Louis
grievous malady under which he had sickened "-ar\L s the
continued lurking in his system, moved from the P ur-

pose of en

to the South : and Gerbei*2;a, during the forcing

his roal

royal progress, rode with her Husband. The
monition issued by Louis was pacific, but Hugh,
at the head of a large body of troops, was pre-
pared to enforce obedience; nor did the pre-
sence of Gerberga remove the possibility of hos-
tilities Gerberga never flinched from the perils
of war.

Raymond and the other Aquitanian Nobles, The
Dukes, and Counts, having appeared before Louis

L AT i surrender

at Aevers, he gave a command to them by which their p ro -

vinces, and

he asserted the fullest right of sovereignty over acce pt re-


the Aquitanian kingdom. Required to surrender ther eof.
their Provinces into his hands, they complied
implicitly : whereupon Louis, in the plenitude of
his prerogative, issued new grants for the ex-
press purpose of testifying that the authority of
the Princes proceeded wholly from the Crown.
Whatever powers of government they possessed,
were to be deemed and taken as exercised on
behalf of the King, and, the renewed Charters
being accepted, they were permitted to return
home. This very remarkable transaction affords
the best commentary upon the anxiety manifested


942954 by Hugh-le- Grand to obtain such securities as

^HHZ^ could bar any royal right, whilst it equally exem-

4 ~ 94 plifies the marvellous strength inherent in the

royal authority. The Aquitanians yielded to the

moral influence inherent in the crowned and

anointed Monarch ; had they resisted, how could

Louis have enforced his demand ?

plang J 12. Louis, in all his transactions with the

Louis e for y " Pirates/' conducted himself with such consistent
h^sd^m 1 !? untruth, that, upon the first impression we are
Flanders, inclined to disbelieve every promise which he
made to them, or any explanation which he gave.
Yet, when he emphatically declared to the Nor-
mans his hostile intentions against Arnoul, we
have reason to suppose he was in earnest. His
capacity, recklessness and talents, qualified him
for a conqueror ; his aspirations were great and
glorious ; schemes of aggrandisement were float-
ing before his mind. The plan of the Flemish
campaign which he had detailed before the Nor-
man nobles, sufficiently proves that he was not
indulging in empty bravadoes : he had consi-
derately planned the hostile invasion of Flanders.
If he acquired popularity amongst the Normans
by punishing Guillaume Longue-epee's murderer,
well and good; his main object being nevertheless
to effect an important acquisition of territory. The
Counts of Flanders were not so personally odious
to the French as the race of Rollo ; but the pride
of the Carlovingian Sovereigns had been deeply


insulted when the son of " Houd-u-wacker' had 942954
established himself in the Flemish march- and ^
marsh-lands ; and though Arnoul was the grand- 9M -
son of Charles-le-Chauve, the amours and ab-
duction of Madam Judith were awkward anec- 532 '^
dotes in the family history.

If we examine the map, we shall find that
a line drawn from Arras to Furneus includes
somewhat more than the modern French Flan-
ders; Louis d'Outremer in seeking the annex-
ation of these opulent tracts to his domainal
kingdom, seems to have anticipated, though with
unequal success, the plans of Louis Quatorze. The
inclinations of the French people, supported by
the political agency at his disposal, encouraged his
views in that direction. Opportunities were now
arising by which, without any exertion, various
desirable possessions, tending greatly to his ad-
vantage, were falling into his power.

The inhabitants of Montigny, grateful perhaps 944
for their deliverance from Serlo the Brigand, were

anxious to place themselves under royal protec- Montigny

. 111* i TT i andAmiens

tion, and, slaughtering the Vermandois Com- surrender

to him.

mander, they gave up the town to Louis. In
those wars of small things, Montigny was not to
be despised ; but a far more important item was
speedily added to the account. Bishop Deroldus
had been silently exerting himself on behalf of
his tutelary Patient, and the Citizens of Amiens,
aided by the Bishop's military tenants, having


942954 ousted the stalwart Eudes, placed themselves
ZHZir under the obedience of the crown. Louis deter-
944945 mme( j ^0 grant the County of Amiens to Her-
louin : and prepared to attack the Flemish terri-
tory in right earnest. He entered the City, and,
after holding a council with the inhabitants, who
seemed to be cordially well inclined towards him,
he summoned Herlouin, the Count -expectant,
to join him at the head of his forces. Arnoul,
notwithstanding the gout, summoned his lieges
and advanced immediately towards Normandy,
determined to be the assailant ; and, as if to shew
the greater despite against Herlouin, he was
accompanied by Balzo, Riulph's avenger. The
Flemish troops were intercepted by Herlouin. A
sharp conflict ensued, Arnoul was defeated and
put to flight, Balzo, slain, the murderer's hands,
cut off, and the bloody trophies sent by Herlouin
to Rouen.

$13. Fresh troubles for Louis were ma-

constant turing, all of the same quality, wasting away the


nance of his strength of the monarchy; and all caused, or

views upon

France, increased, or exasperated, by the cautious, yet ever
vigilant agency of Hugh. Ambition is most
surely successful when made to operate by com-
bining her blows with an unintermitted pressure,
of which the effects become sensible, whenever
accumulated sufficiently to occasion a rift in the
body which the weight is crushing. Bald and
petty as the majority of the incidents constituting


French history during this downward progress 912954
may appear, it is absolutely necessary to detail _>^_,
them. We must pursue the revolution minutely
through the descending stages, and stage by stage
during the descent, if we seek to ascertain the
process which conducted the wary Founder of
the third dynasty to the throne.

The regalities which Hugh had so success-
fully wrested from the King in Burgundy and in
France, now stimulated him to make further ex-
ertions in Normandy. The claim of Hugh-le-
Grand over Normandy approximated in a certain
degree to an hereditary right. Robert Duke of
France, when the conference was held on the
Island of the Epte, was felt by all, to be the su-
perior of King Charles. It was by the assent,
and under the protection of Duke Robert, that
Rollo-Robert had been settled in his land ; and
the conventional pictorial embellishment which
adorns the hide-bound educational volumette,
King Charles, clad in his royal robes, capsized by
the Danish soldier, whilst Duke Robert stands
upright, clad in full plate armour, conveys a
truthful impression of the relative position of
the parties.

In consequence, without doubt, of this feeling,
Louis when he first planned the Norman invasion,
proposed that, the Pirates being expelled, he, the
King of France, should take the "Haute Nor-
mandie," or all the territory on the right bank


942954 of the Seine, whilst to the Duke of France

^HXZX should appertain the "Basse Normandie/' or

Normandy outre Seine. The existence of such

a compact explains the spontaneous submission

of those Normans, who turned away from Louis

* *-

to Hugh. Louis, as they might maintain, had
no right to their allegiance, and the act, however
construed with respect to Richard, gave the
Duke of France a title to the country of which
the legitimacy could scarcely be distinguished
from the title of the King. Upon this construc-
tion, when Hugh entered into the Evrecin, he
only took possession of his own. True it is, that
Hugh ostensibly abandoned his rights in Evreux ;
but, of course, he reckoned this surrender as a
deed to be cancelled, so soon as any opportunity
should arise.

Hugh was called upon to be watchful, for in
some degree, however slight, the Carlovingian
family had been gaining stability. When Charles
expired in the dungeon of Peronne, Louis was
the sole throne-capable representative of the Car-
lovingian dynasty. The existence of that branch
depended upon his single life, but now the race
was reviving ; every child promised by productive
Gerberga diminished the chance of the infant
Capet; and, ere the expiration of the year
during which Gerberga had boldly ridden with
Louis to Aquitaine, there were evident tokens
that such an event might be again confidently


Hugh-le-Grand therefore began to negociate 942-954
actively among the Nordmanni, and concluded ^H^HX
a treaty with them pledges given and pledges
taken on either side, a transaction implying Grand's 8 "

i intrigues

a more stringent bond than mere homage, amongst

the Xor-

Moreover, it should seem that this alliance com-

prehended not merely both the Norman parties,
the Romanized Normans and the Norman Danishry,
but also the pure Pagans. Hugh's adherents thus
became numerous and formidable, waiting only
the word of command. However, there was a
pause ; Hugh did not begin by sounding the
trumpet in Normandy : it was his constant prac-
tice to work against Louis like a skilful besieger,
surrounding him with parallels, and connecting
these parallels by zigzag covered ways, and
advancing the more rapidly because he did not
take the shortest path, Louis and Hugh were
equally active, but the former unwarily continued
furnishing his antagonist with those further means
of annoyance, which, ultimately coalescing with
the efforts of the Normans, not only deprived him
of Normandy, but accelerated the ruin of the
Carlovingian dynasty.

14. It will be recollected that, not very Q uar rei

T . <- j i i i 111 between

long since, a pacification had been concluded Louis and
between the two brothers-in-law, Otho and Louis, mented by


through the intervention of Guillaume Longue- Hugh.
epee, greatly to Gerberga's satisfaction. But
there never was a truthful transaction in the
Luegen - feld commonwealth, and Louis main-


942 954 tained his pretensions to Lotharingia. All Char-

,- , lemagne's Empire belonged to him. He was

Charlemagne's descendant, and his brother-in-law,

Transac- 1 . _ . T

on- the Saxon, an intruder; and now, that Louis


Lorraine, had occupied Normandy, his success in reinte-

(see p. 255, J

250). grating his kingdom in the Western quarters,
rendered him the more desirous to win back the
noble territory of which he had been deprived
in the East.

Louis had concurred in the appointment of
Otho, Gerberga's son by her first husband, Gil-
bert the bold swimmer, to his father's Duchy.
He assented willingly to the family compromise,

Death of and abandoned his rights in favour of his step-

the young

ami k a tho> sou ; but the young Duke died, having scarcely
o?crad ^ e ^ hi g dominion two years. Otho thereupon
treated the feud as vacant, and in his gift, and he
accordingly granted the Duchy to Conrad the
Red, the son of Werner Count of Worms and
Spires, bold and wise, but who had no heritable
claim. Louis was provoked, and sent his agents
into Lotharingia for the purpose of treating
with the discontented nobles, and exciting them
against King Otho. In this transaction Louis
conducted himself with equal want of honesty
and of discretion : he intrigued with Count Ma-
nasses, Hugh-le-Grand's liegeman, taking him
into his confidence, speaking most disrespectfully
of Otho, and branding the brother of his affec-
tionate wife as a perjured traitor.

A family quarrel ensued: Otho discovered the


emissaries of Louis, and cast them into prison. 942954
Hugh-le- Grand had now an adequate reason for ^ZZXZl!
swerving away from Louis, and prepared to recom-
mence military operations against him. King
and Duke began to compete for Otho's alliance.
Louis dispatched his ambassadors to the German
King : and the representatives of the King of
France and of the Duke of France, severally
presented themselves before Otho, holding his
Court at Aix-la-Chapelle in Charlemagne's eagle-
crowned palace, as though he were their common
superior. Count Manasses revealed the French
King's slanders in the full presence of the as-
sembly; the ambassadors of Louis were dis-
missed contumeliously, Count Manasses and his
colleagues received into high favour ; and Otho
associated himself to Hugh-le-Grand, prohibiting
his lieges from giving any aid to the King. No
open hostilities ensued, but this episodical squab-
ble revived the jealousies between Germany and
France, and, for a time, had an unfavourable in-
fluence upon the affairs of Louis. The affectionate
Gerberga laboured earnestly for the purpose of
effecting a reconciliation between her husband
and her brother ; the rancour was mitigated, and,
personally, Otho and Louis became sincere friends,
yet the political rivalry between the Saxon suc-
cessors of Charlemagne in Germany and the Heirs
of Charlemagne in France, subsisted until the
extinction of the Dynasty.



942954 15. The superabundant kindness displayed
by Louis towards Richard whilst abiding under
Richard in the immediate observation of the Normans at
of Laon. 61 Rouen, can only be designated as outrageous
hypocrisy : but, when Richard had been removed
to Laon, Louis continued to treat him mildly;
nor was any tendency to harshness manifested.
Richard remained under the tutorial care of the
wise Osmond, having for his companions the other
noble youths trained in the King's House, and,
conjointly with them, he performed the honour-
able servitude of waiting at the Royal table.
This kindness was politic : Louis had lulled the
apprehensions of the Normans when they placidly
permitted the transfer of Richard from Rouen
Palace to Laon Donjon. Even a report tending
to excite a doubt concerning the boy's safety,
might rouse their apparently dormant loyalty.

When Louis had possessed himself of the
young Duke's person, he exposed himself to
grievous temptations. He had practically rean-
nexed the Terra Normannorum to the Kingdom
of France. So long as Richard could be retained
in captivity, the Guardian Regent was in no great
danger of being evicted : and r if Richard, being
in captivity, should die childless and was there
much chance that he could die any other way ?
then the detested race of Rollo would be extinct,
and the Kings of France would hold the land
for evermore.



If such can be conjectured as the inward 942954
thoughts of Louis, there w^ere outward advisers, -

94.4. 945

who, soon after the boy had been safely lodged Arnoul
in Laon tower, were suggesting that he should agS
avail himself, to the utmost extent, of the advan-
tage he had gained. Arnoul was haunted with the
recollection of his crime and the fear of punish-
ment : the whole Norman nation might unite in
seeking to avenge the blood of their Prince.
The Governor of Rouen, Herlouin, high in the
King's favour, was Arnold's particular and de-
clared enemy : and, if the faithful vassal had dis-
played his affection towards the murdered Guil-
laume, by mangling Balzo's corpse, what might
not Arnoul himself expect should any chance
place him within the reach of Herlouin ? Arnoul
was not without some apprehension of the King's
power, should he be supported by the Normans in
his enterprizes against the rich Flemish towns,
and therefore sought a reconciliation. He pro-
ceeded with his usual astuteness. Arnoul was
most anxious to appear before Louis and make
his peace. He would have repaired to Louis
in person, but his inveterate complaint, his tor-
menting " podagre," kept him at home.

Arnoul's ambassadors made great efforts on
his behalf. Louis having presented himself to
the Normans as the avenger of the murdered
Duke, it was needful that appearances should
be saved, and a decent deceit continued, to

D D 2


942054 prevent the artifice from being too clearly ex-
"~I posed. The Count of Flanders declared he would
944-945 p rov e his innocence by submitting to the ordeal-
trial in any form the glowing iron, the scalding
caldron, or the deep-chilling pool but his main
object was to combine with the King for the
expulsion of their common enemy, the Norman
Pirates. Was it not a disgrace that the Neu-
strian territory should be thus usurped by the
foul Barbarian? The tenure of the Flanders
March-lands only bound Arnoul to defend his
country against the Danes ; from all other ser-
vice the Lord-Marcher was free. But Arnoul
was willing to encrease that service ; he would aid
King Louis whenever he should require, and also
render an annual tribute of ten pounds of gold
to his Seigneur's Treasury. Moreover, the Ambas-
sadors enlarged upon the affronts which Louis
had sustained at Rouen. Would he bear in
patience the disgrace inflicted by the Rebels?
Could he ever be sure of his own kingdom or
his own life, if the now caged cub-wolf were let
loose to roam at large ?

The King's Counsellors received these sugges-

places Os- . . .

mond and tions favourably, persuading Louis to unite with
under ar- Flanders against the Northmen ; nor did they

rest at

shrink from exhorting Louis to detain the young
Richard in perpetual captivity. Forcibly were
these appeals addressed to Louis as a statesman.
That Louis should seek to preserve his conquest


was a desire which human nature could not 912-954
abandon, and the detention of the young Prince ^~^ '
might be represented as affording the means of 9M 945
effecting that end in the most merciful way. A
rigid policy might, in effect, prove most conso-
nant to humanity. He contented himself for the
present with charging Osmond that, unless by
his, the King's, special permission, Richard was
never to go beyond the city-walls.

This constraint was ungracious and severe.
Which of the two, Pupil or Tutor, Osmond or
Richard, was most annoyed by the humiliating
arrest, it would be hard to say. Penned up in
Laon, how could the young Duke receive due
training in the accomplishments so needed for the
adornment of his rank, the sports of stream, or
wood or field ? It was not from the lesson-book
that the Bachelor could learn them.

However attenuated his Royal Estate, the
Rex Francorum was still the Supreme Judge
of his People, Leader of the Nation, Lord of the
Land. He had ceased to manifest himself as their
Legislator : no Capitular was issued in the Sove-
reign's name for the general government of the
Realm, yet the King still gave the law between
man and man, judged the right and redressed
the wrong. Louis administering justice beneath
the antique canopy in his only city of Laon, might
feel that, despite of his misfortunes, he was not
an unworthy representative of the great Emperor.


942-954 Now it chanced that in the calm autumn season,
,- -* , when the fresh air and the clear sky invited to
sport and pleasure, Louis was compelled to deny
himself the recreation he would so gladly have
enjoyed he had to labour in his calling, being
required to employ himself in the Tribunal. It
was the Session-day of the King's High Court, a
busy day of contention and vexation ; the jostling
litigants crowding the Hall, each Suitor impatient
to plead his plea, and each Pleader loud and
fluent. Stunning was the strife of tongues, and
when the Sovereign took his Seat, it was plain
that many an hour must wear away, before the
Osmond Royal Judge could rise. Osmond could not resist

and Rich- J \

ard break the temptation of disobeying the irksome injunc-
rest tion the King set fast upon the bench when
could such a chance recur? so he minded not
the breaking of bounds, but rode forth with the
boy. Much did Richard need good practice in
the art of falconry, how to fly the gentle bird,
to loose the leash and sound the lure. The day
was long, the sport delightful, and the long day
ended ere the truants had returned.

The Court broke up, and the first intelligence
with which Gerberga greeted her husband, wor-
ried by his weary work, was that Osmond and
the boy were absent from Laon. Evening drew
on, had they not escaped ?- -the King fretted
in extreme anxiety. Spitfire Gerberga exasper-
ated her husband's impatience, reproaching him


with his carelessness in leaving the prisoners 9-12951
unguarded; and Louis continued silent for very . ,
rage, until Osmond and Richard, having returned
without apprehension, were brought before him.

Louis, overcome by passion, assailed the of-
fenders with bitter threats and disgraceful con-
tumely. Osmond, the "vile fool/' was threatened
with the loss of his eyes. Scurrilous as the Ian- Anger of

T i Louis he

guao'e employed by Louis towards Osmond might threatens

. ^ ^ . . Osmond

be, his vituperations of Richard were even more uud Kich -


ungenerous. Louis insulted the child by de-
grading his mother, bestowing upon Espriota the
worst name which can be applied to woman, a
lewd harlot, who enhanced her guilt by seducing
Guillaume Longue-epee from his lawful consort.
If the Bastard ever repeated the attempt of
escape, he should be effectually secured, laid fast
like a log. The warning monument of the
Merovingian princes in the Abbey of Jumieges
foreshadowed his destiny he was threatened
with the horrible operation which state prisoners
sustained by the commands of those whose con-
sciences forbade them from shedding blood, yet
allowed them to inflict a living death, the
stiffening of the victim's sinews by the actual
cautery. Osmond and Richard were in danger of
life and limb, and Louis in a paroxysm of indig-
nation shouted that he cared not if all the world
should know it. Additional Warders were ap-
pointed ; and the two French knights, Gerard and


942954 Rosceline,were told to consider themselves person-
, * , ally responsible for Richard's safe custody. If he
evaded, they might expect to be burnt or hanged.
16. Through this undignified outbreak,
Richard was ultimately saved. When Louis de-
clared his wish that the perils impending over the
Heir of Normandy should be universally known,
his anger threw him off his guard. The brief fury
made his foot slip, and the slip ultimately brought
on his fall. Osmond easily found the means of
conveying the intelligence to Couci, the friendly
Castle of Bernard de Senlis. The wary and
powerful kinsman transmitted the intelligence
to Bernard the Dane : and, repeated by the grey-
bearded Chieftain, the sad report was rapidly
diffused throughout Rouen and the Terra Nor-
mannorum, exciting deep indignation and deeper

Diligently did the Normans counsel amongst
themselves how they might best guide their
course, but no earthly succour could be found.
Herlouin, now wholly devoted to Louis, and the
insolent French garrison, retained Rouen in
bondage. Any attempt to deliver Richard from
Laon Tower by force, was utterly hopeless who
could batter the citadel's walls? any insurrec-
tion against the royal authority would be worse
than futile. Richard was the hostage for the obe-
dience of the Nor mans. The mere rumour of any
insurrectional movement reaching Laon would


have been the signal for summoning the Execu- 942954
tioner and his Assistants to lay hands upon , >
Richard. Normandy therefore continued out-
wardly tranquil, and yet the Normans had found

Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 28 of 60)