James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) online

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a commander, but Bertrand du Guesclin,
a distinguished soldier, stood at his side
and conducted with great success the king's
wars against England. Charles' system
of government was based mainly on a
steady resistance to the towns, which
prided themselves on their strength, while
through economy he restricted the meet-
ings of the States for grant-
ing supplies. Besides this,
he abolished the represen-
tation of the towns by self-
chosen deputies. In the
municipal administration
also the royal power was
increased. The nobility and
the towns, in spite of the
perpetual crushing weight
of taxation, felt themselves
gradually bound to the
king, and differences were
adjusted. The gratitude
which the people felt toward
the king found its expres-
sion in the surname " The

The mercenary troops,
which at the beginning of
the reign were marauding
everywhere, had been led
across the Pyrenees in con-
sequence of the war for the
succession in. Castile, so
that at last French soil was
rid of them. Since Prince
Edward, who governed ab-
solutely in the continental
territories of England, took
the side of King Peter in the
Castilian dispute, the Anglo-
French war was renewed
on Spanish soil. But
Charles V. also considered
the moment suitable for an pHILIp yi Qp pRANCE ApTER HIS DEpEAT AT CRCY

advance On nispait, CSpeCl- philip VI was reso lved to expel the English from France, but sustained an
ally since great dissatisfac- overwhelming defeat from Edward III. at Crecy in 1346. The English lost
'+>. +Vi -f 1 very few of their small army, while the French loss has been estimated at 30,000.

tion with the foreign rule
was manifested by the population in the
English territory. The conditions also of
the Peace of Bretigny were not yet carried
out. The war, therefore, began afresh in
1369 with the French invasion of Guienne.
The Black Prince, who had desolated
parts of the country and committed cruel
barbarities, worn out by illness, was now
compelled to return to England, and there
died before his father. Du Guesclin

his kingdom to his grandson, Richard II.
(1377-1399), who was only eleven years
old. Charles outlived him three years,
and was succeeded by his son, Charles VI.,
aged twelve (1380-1422).

An inevitable struggle for the guardian-
ship of the youthful king immediately
loosened the hitherto compact fabric of
the sovereignty. In Paris and elsewhere
sanguinary riots broke out, and the royal



coffers were plundered ; and simultane-
ously disturbances again arose in the
Flemish towns. Ghent had assumed a
democratic constitution under Philip van
Artevelde, and seri-
ously menaced Count
Louis. Philip of Bur-
gundy, Louis' son-
in-law and the future
heir to Flanders,
espoused his cause,
marched with the
chivalry of France
into Flanders, and
defeated the burghers
of Ghent at Roosbeke
in November, 1382.

The result of this
campaign was prim-
arily in the interests
of Philip's dynasty ;
but it was generally
thought throughout
France, with good
reason, that the ex-
ample of the Flemish
towns had not been
without its influence
on their own country,
and it was hoped,
therefore, that the
subjugation of
Flanders would re-

after Philip's death, in 1404, his son, John
the Fearless, received the government in
Burgundy, open civil war threatened. As
John approached the city of Paris in 1405
with a large army, the
Duke of Orleans fled
with Queen Isabella.
A temporary agree-
ment was made. But
in 1407 John of Bur-
gundy had his cousin,
Louis of Orleans,
treacherously mur-
dered, and then, being
hailed by the burghers
of the towns as their
protector, came for-
ward as the real ruler
of France. But the
family of the mur-
dered man, supported
by the Count of
Armagnac, wished to
avenge Louis' death.
Troops were levied by
both sides, and a
calamitous party
struggle ensued. The
town of Paris at first,
under the government
of the guilds, was en-
tirely Burgundian,

Described as the first guerrilla leader of mediaeval times,

Bertrand du Guesclin took a leading part in the wars of onrT t r> F> Orlpanc
France against England, and by the end of 1372 he had ~ nl

Store tranquillity tO succeeded in regaining all the English possessions, Calais family, whose party
TTr-oK,^ oo ro11 TJ^ being the only fortified place remaining in English hands. __ ],, oc +>,

France as well. The

royal authority, supported by the no-
bility, was completely in the ascendant
at Paris after this success in the neigh-
bouring country, and a similar result was
visible in the
other towns.

In 1388, being
then twenty
years old, King
Charles took
over the govern-
ment. But since
after 1392 he
became com-
pletely mad, the
was necessarily
conducted by a

the kind's tWO "The Wise." His son Charles VI., aged twelve, succeeded him in 1380.

uncles, Philip of Burgundy and Louis were not met by France,

were known as the
Armagnacs, succeeded in gaining the
upper hand only after the. year 1413.

These disturbances did not fail to rouse
the ambitious schemes of the energetic

King Henry V.
of England
(1413-1422). He
claimed the Eng-
lish possessions
on the Continent,
and the payment
of the still out-
standing ransom

for King John,
as well as the
hand of Kather-
ine, daughter of

The eldest son of King John, who died in captivity in England, Charles V. , '

r ascended the throne in 1364, and ruled so well that he became known as a large QOWry .

his wishes
in 1415 he


of Orleans. The two brothers and their
followers were most bitterly, even dis-
gracefully, hostile to each other. When,


landed with an army in Normandy.
Charles VI. and the dauphin, Louis, took
the field in person, and a French army



Philip succeeded his father, John the Fearless, as head of
the Burgundian party, to whom the progress of Henry V. 's
arms on his second invasion of France was largely due ; his
later defection ended all chance of an English conquest.

met him and placed the English in a very
dangerous position ; but, as at Crecy and
Poitiers, the English arms triumphed
once more in a pitched battle at Agincourt.
Henry, however, was obliged to return to
England without making full use of his
victory to enforce his demands, owing to
the want of money.

The Orleans party by this time held
the chief power in France. The govern-
ment rested in the hands of Count Armag-
nac, among whose chief adherents was
Charles, son of King Charles VI., who,
after the death of his four elder brothers,
had become dauphin, and was now only
in his fourteenth year. The count banished
the queen to Tours, where she held a rival
court. Isabella now publicly proclaimed
that the regency for her mad husband and
the youthful dauphin belonged to her, and
that she was resolved to conduct it with
the help of John of Burgundy, by whom
Paris was taken in 1418. But even the
Burgundian troops were not able to re-
strain the excited populace. Armagnac
was murdered, and a great part of his


followers met the same fate. Isabella and
John made their solemn entry into the
capital some time afterwards, and banished
from the city all who had sided actively J
with the Armagnac party.

Henry V. had already resumed hostilities
in 1418. Normandy came into his power
in 1419, owing to the fall of Rouen, but
the parties in France continued to fight
each other and forgot the common foe.
At last, when John of Burgundy had been
murdered, in September, 1419, by a follower
of the dauphin, Charles, who was now
considered the leader of the Armagnacs,
his son, Philip, surnamed the Good, sought
the help of England and allied himself
to Isabella, who now declared the dauphin
a bastard. Philip and Isabella made a
treaty with Henry V. at Troyes in May,
1420, according to which Henry was to
marry Katherine, sister of the dauphin,
and at the same time was to become the
successor of Charles VI. and immediately
undertake the duties of regent. This -
treaty made France a province of England.
Henry entered Paris, assembled the Estates,
and procured from them a ratification of

One of the most valiant and renowned captains of France
who, with La Hive, drove the English out of the. country


In this picture we see illustrated an incident at the beginning- of the great battle between the English and French
at Agincourt in 1415. Sir Thomas Erpingham, having arranged the troops, exhorted them to fight vigorously,
and then throwing into the air the baton which he held, he cried, " Now strike ! " The army responded with a great
shout, at which the French marvelled greatly. Thus began the fight which ended so gloriously for England.



a daughter of Satan. After a brilliant
victory of the French on May yth, the
enemy gave up the siege. All Orleans
was filled With joy, and convinced of the
supernatural mission of Joan, for she had
kept her first promise ; Orleans was freed.
A peasant girl had performed what no com-

j. A mander had yet successfully
Joan of Are j j ,, J . . , . J

Assists done, and that in a few days.

King Charles The royalist party revived,
and their spirit was renewed.
Charles' throne seemed rescued, and without
any action on his part, for he was only too
much inclined to neglect energetic measures.
Joan now wished to keep her second
promise, and to lead Charles to be crowned
at Rheims. A start was made, notwith-
standing the opposition of the generals,
who proposed a conquest of Normandy
first. The advance was made, with a few
thousand men ; the English were driven
from all their posts during the victorious
progress, and the king's following was
increased on every side. Before Charles
entered the city where he was to be
crowned, deputies came out to meet him,
and promised submission. The king
entered the city of Rheims, and on July

the coronation and anointing were
performed. Joan stood during the cere-
mony at the king's side, holding a flag.
Her mission was completed, according to
her own ideas. She now held back in the
council, and only inspired the masses
of soldiers by her presence. Her family
was raised to the nobility, and her native
place freed from all taxation.

Charles' position had been completely
changed at one blow. He ceased to be the
head of the Armagnac party. Numerous
former adherents to the Anglo-Burgundian
party now submitted to him. But Paris
persisted in its old hostility, chiefly per-
haps from fear of the king's vengeance.
An attempt of Joan's to take the city
The Brave * a ^ e( *' because the king did not
Joan support her, and she herself

in Prison was woun ded. She soon had
presentiments of her capture.
Nevertheless, she defended the town of
Compiegne against Philip of Burgundy.
There she was actually made prisoner
during a sortie on May 23rd, 1430, and
was abandoned to the vengeance of the
English, who saw in her alone the cause
of their disasters. After long languishing

ward III., King Henry V. of England was ambitious to sit on the throne of France, and with a huge army he
_ _nannel to make good his claim by force of arms. At Agincourt he met the French army, winning a great
victory after one of the most famous battles in England's history. In this picture we see a priest blessing the troops
From the painting by Sir John Gilbert in the Guildhall Art Gallery



in prison, she was condemned by the
spiritual court of French ecclesiastics as
a witch, handed over to the " secular arm "
that is, the English and burned in the
market-place of Rouen on May 3Oth, 1431.
The ungrateful king never once took up her
cause, though it would have been well in his
power to do so. The revision of the judg-
ment, which took place twenty-five years
later at the commandof Pope Calixtus III.,
and ended in the complete vindication of
Joan, can only partially reconcile the world
to the ingratitude of the king.


The position of the English did not alter
after Joan's death, especially since no
such ample reinforcements as might have
been expected arrived from home. The
most important point was that the
Burgundian party, with whose help
England had previously made such great
conquests, now drew back ; in fact, tried
for a reconciliation with Charles. This
was actually effected by a peace at Arras
in 1435. Philip of Burgundy was liberally
compensated by gifts of land, and released
from feudal obligations for the term of



Charles' life. Besides this, the Duke of
Bedford, the English commander on the
Continent, had died, and among the
citizen population of Paris there was a
keen wish to see the king once more in
their midst. In April, 1436, Charles'
army was able to enter Paris, after a
complete amnesty had been promised
to all who had opposed him, and in
1437 the king himself entered his capital.
The whole country, especially the
north, had suffered severely under the
war and the internal party feuds, so
that nothing was more sincerely desired

before Chatillon, and his army completely
defeated. The English power was thus
driven out of France except for Calais,
the only town which England could hold
for the future.

The great enemy had been expelled. But
these lasting, unspeakably calamitous wars
had cruelly affected the country. The de-
vastation of the fields could be remedied
only gradually and by the unwearying toil
of the people. Besides, it was necessary
to take prompt and vigorous measures
against the bands of robber mercenaries,
or " free companies," who roamed the


Clad in white armour, the simple peasant maid, Joan of Arc, marched at the head of a troop of French horsemen to drive
the English from Orleans. The enemies of France were scattered, but the heroic maiden was betrayed by some of her
own countrymen and fell into the hands of the English, who burned her alive at Rouen, as depicted on page 3824.

From the painting by Roland Wheelwright, by permission of the Autotype Company

than peace. Negotiations led finally
to a truce in 1444, since the internal
affairs of England made a continu-
ance of the war seem impossible. In
France, however, the opportunity was
taken to develop an appropriate military
system, and on the renewal of hostilities
in 1449 th e English were deprived of the
whole of Normandy in a single year.
The province of Guienne also was con-
quered without any appearance of help
from England. At length an English army
went to Southern France in 1452 under
the command of the veteran Talbot. But
the general was killed the following summer


provinces. The first duty was to exter-
minate them. In 1444, Charles, at the
request of the Emperor Frederic III.,
had sent a considerable part of these
pillagers of the country into Switzerland
to fight against the confederates. The
best of the remainder were picked out, and
thus a paid body of fifteen troops of
cavalry was formed, which was to be
permanently under arms. It was now an
easy task to deal with the remaining
and inferior mercenaries, especially since
the regular police force was now available
against these hordes. The defence of the
country had then to be better organised

The wonderful story of Joan of Arc is one that will never die. A simple peasant maid, she put on armour that she might
fight for her king and country, and in this picture we see her in one of the greatest moments of her life, when she took
her place by the throne of the king of France, whose peaceful coronation was due entirely to her great victories.

From the painting by J. E. Lcnepveu in the Pantheon


no lity, who attempted to incite the
dauphin, Louis, against his father. He
succeeded, indeed, at first in frustrating
their designs ; but just when it seemed
that the son would once more rebel
against his father, death removed the
father in the summer of 1461.

to meet all contingencies; a regular
reserve was therefore formed, which might
be called out in case of war, since every
parish was responsible for the arming and
training of a guard. A national militia
organised on this basis was bound to
represent an immeasurably stronger power
than the town con-
tingents which had
been attached as a
whole to the
royal army. The
fate of the feudal
army was sealed in
France by these
measures, since the
means requisite for
the maintenance
of the troops were
obtained by a
special universal
tax. The Estates
were now less
frequently sum-
moned, and the
towns lost the
power which they
had formerly pos-
sessed in the assem-
blies of the realm.
In 1453 a decree
was passed requir-
ing all customary
rights to be defined
in writing, and in
this way the pro-
cedure and juris-
diction of the
courts of appeal
were distinctly
improved. The
Church developed
more than before
into a national
Church in connec-
tion with the re-
solutions of the
Council at Basle.
The abilities of
Charles VII. were
doubtless more
adapted for the
work of organisa-
tion than for
vigorous action ;
indeed, his modern
methods of govern-
opposition of the From ' the P aiDtin ? fa y




HTHE former rebel was now himself
* crowned king as Louis XI . , and pursued
the same objects as his father. His efforts
extended to the building up of an absolute
monarchy, even if he expelled from
among his councillors precisely those
who had previously been at the helm, and
collected new men round him. Nothing
was more important than to bind the
powerful crown vassals, the Dukes of
Burgundy and Brittany, more closely to
the throne. He was successful in the be-
ginning, but Francis of Brittany ventured
to resist the claims of King Louis XI.
He effected an alliance of the most
prominent members of the nobility, and
threatened an open attack. Louis tried
to win the support of citizen inhabitants
of the towns. A war with the nobles
ensued, and the Burgundians pressed on
to Paris itself. A battle in the summer of
1465 was indecisive, and the
The King s united enem i e s of the king

, began to besiege the capital.
Besiege Paris T . -j j v J.AI

Louis avoided a battle, and

tried to keep his enemies at bay. The
feeding of such mighty armies was bound
soon to break down. After an armistice,
they concluded a peace towards the end
of October, according to which the
brother of the king, the Duke of Berry,
who belonged to the insurgents, became
ruler of Normandy, while the Duke of
Brittany maintained his independent rights

The peace was tantamount to a victory
of the nobles ; but the king did not
intend to abandon his policy. It is
true that he recalled some of his father's
councillors to his court, doubtless a con-
cession to his opponents. But one by one
all were overcome who had previously
united themselves in common cause against
him. The Duke of Berry soon lost
Normandy again ; other nobles were won
over to the plans of the king, and the
weaker ones were suppressed by force.

Burgundy alone offered a strenuous re-
sistance ; in place of Philip, now an old
man, his son Charles, surnamed the Bold,
had for some years held the reins of govern-
ment there, and in the summer of 1467
became the lawful successor. Louis would
have been glad to turn to his advantage
the long-existing quarrel of Charles with

Liege, but the Burgundian

Brilliant ij ,

*C would not entertain the pro-

posal, and after the conquest of

of Arras JV

the refractory town in autumn,

1467, his position became still stronger.

The Burgundian domain, which ex-
tended from Luxemburg to the sea, had
only in the last generations, through the
skilful policy of aggrandisement practised
by its princes, become an important
power interposed between France and
Germany. The brilliant court of Arras
became a model for other courts of
European princes. Trade and industry,
art and intellectual life flourished
splendidly in the rich towns. But the
government of the country, under Philip,
and still more under Charles, had sup-
pressed the local authority and attempted
a uniform organisation of all political
forces after depriving them of their in-

The rich resources of the land enabled
the duke to maintain permanently a
powerful army, and to furnish it with
artillery and waggons, so that it possessed
the most complete military equipment of
the time. His policy aimed

at the protection and enlarge -
of Charles *>, .

. . ment ot his power on two sides
the Bold . ,, . , , ,

especially ; he wished to be

as independent of France as he was of
Germany. Even if the foundation of a
Burgundian kingdom at the cost of
Germany, a demand that Philip had made
in 1447 from Frederic III., had not been
realised, yet the position of Charles the
Bold, in view of the importance of the
German kingdom, which could not prevent



the growth of Burgundian influence in the
territories of Western Germany, was really
equivalent to independence. The oath of
fealty, which was still taken
to the French as well as to
the German crown, could
have little significance in the

King Louis XI. had been
obliged in 1467 to resume
the war with the Dukes of
Brittany and Berry and had
been successful before Charles
of Burgundy was able to
lend aid to his friends. War
with the latter seemed in-
evitable. Louis tried in vain
to stir up the people of
Liege once more against their

possessed unmistakable proof of his treach-
erous policy. It was with difficulty that
Charles was induced to spare the king
himself, and he did so only
on the concession that he
himself should rule for the
future as sovereign over what
had hitherto been the feudal
dependencies of France. He
exacted also some compensa-
tion for the Duke of Berry.
Louis swore to all demands
and was forced to consent to
take the field in person
against the rebellious town
of Liege.

Possibly Louis was never
very sincere in his con-
cessions. He succeeded in


lord, and to pacTfy Charles The eldest son of ChariesVii., p ersua ding his brother, the

,. ' .. . ,, J . . Louis XI. succeeded his father on >. , ,. -,-P ,

himself with money. At last the throne ; he did much to improve Duke of Berry, to be content

he had a personal interview the internal administration of the with the richer but more

with his opponent at Peronne c untrv . and has been described as distant Guienne in place of

in order to come

to terms,
still with

the first of modern statesmen.

him, the

while . he was
terrible tidings spread of a rising of the
Liegeois, who had driven out their
bishop, and Charles' fury was now turned
on the king, since he thought that he

the provinces of Champagne
and Brie, so closely bordering on Bur-
gundy ; and by 1469, he effected a
complete reconciliation with him. Other
rebellious vassals were crushed. By these
means the king soon felt such renewed


The feudal nobles of France were not too kindly disposed towards Louis XI., and in alliance with Charles the Bold,
Duke of Burgundy, they gave the king much trouble. When war with this powerful lord seemed inevitable, Louis had
a personal interview with him at Peronne in 1467 with the object of coming to terms, and was there practically a
prisoner in the hands of his enemy. It was only with difficulty that Charles was prevailed upon to spare the king's life.



security that he began to despise the
sovereignty of Burgundy, and commanded
an assembly to proclaim the feudal tenant,
Charles, guilty of high treason.

Since the duke did not appear before
the court at Paris, royal troops invaded
Burgundy at the beginning of the year
1471, and occupied some important places.
It was only in February that Charles on
his side proceeded to besiege Amiens. But
he achieved no successes, and bad news
came from home, so that in April he was

Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 44 of 55)