Front Page Titles (by Subject) I.: THE CONTINENTAL NORMANS AND BRETONS; THE ANGEVINS AND THE POPULATIONS OF SOUTHERN GAUL. - History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, vol. 2
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I.: THE CONTINENTAL NORMANS AND BRETONS; THE ANGEVINS AND THE POPULATIONS OF SOUTHERN GAUL. - Augustin Thierry, History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, vol. 2 
History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, translated from the seventh Paris edition, by William Hazlitt (London: H.G. Bohn, 1856). In 2 volumes. Vol. 2.
Part of: History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, 2 vols.
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THE CONTINENTAL NORMANS AND BRETONS; THE ANGEVINS AND THE POPULATIONS OF SOUTHERN GAUL.
Birth of Arthur, duke of Brittany—Insurrection of Anjou and Maine—Policy of the king of France—Death of Arthur—Indignation of the Bretons—Invasion of Normandy—Taking of Ronen—Repentance of the Bretons—The Poitevins resist the king of France—Complete submission of Normandy—Project of a new invasion of England—Entrance of the English into Normandy—Guienne remains to the king of England—Heresy of the Toulousans and Albigenses—Crusade against the Albigenses—Additional aggrandizement of the kingdom of France—Charles of Anjou becomes count of Provence—Discontent and regrets of the Provençals—Insurrection of the cities of Provence—Termination of Provençal nationality—Limits of the kingdom of France—Character of the Basque population—Political condition of the Basques—Policy of the counts de Foix—Policy of the barons of Gascony—They pass alternately from one king to another—Confederation of the Armagnacs—The Gascons join the king of France—Conquest of Guienne by the French—Revolt of Bordeaux—Second conquest of Bordeaux—Patriotic efforts of the Armagnacs—Guienne and Gascony become parts of France.
Towards the end of the reign of Henry II., and some months after the death of his second son, Geoffroy, earl or duke of Brittany, there occurred an event of little importance in itself, but which became the cause, or at least the occasion, of great political revolutions; the widow of count Geoffroy, Constance, a woman of Breton race,1 gave birth to a son, whom his paternal grandfather, the king of England, wished to baptize in the name of Henry. But the Bretons, who surrounded the mother, were all opposed to the idea that the child, who would one day become their chief, should receive a foreign name.2 He was, by acclamation, called Arthur, and was baptized in this name, as popular with them as with the Welsh. The king of England took umbrage at this act of national will, and not venturing to remove Arthur from the Bretons, he compulsorily married the mother to one of his officers, Ranouf, earl of Chester, whom he made duke of Brittany, to the prejudice of his own grandson, now an object of suspicion in his eyes because the Breton nation loved him. But this nation, shortly after, expelled Ranouf of Chester, and proclaimed the son of Constance, still a mere boy, their chief.
This second act of national will, more serious than the first, involved the Bretons in a war with king Richard, successor to Henry II. While they were fighting for their own cause and that of young Arthur, the boy himself, directed by his mother, separated from them, and sometimes passed over to the king of England, his uncle, and sometimes to the French king, who entertained, in reference to the Bretons, similar views with those of the king of England. The ambitious projects of the king of France were assisted in Brittany, as in nearly all the western provinces of Gaul, by the general weariness of Anglo-Norman domination. Not only the Poitevins, who had for fifty years past been in continual revolt, but the Manceaux, the Tourangeaux, and even the Angevins, to whom their own counts, since they had become kings of England, had been almost entire strangers, also aspired to a great change. Without themselves desiring anything beyond an administration more devoted to their national interests, they met the policy of the king of France half way, and most imprudently aided him, in the hope of his aiding them, against the king of England.
Of all the continental provinces subject to the Normans, Guienne alone, at this time, exhibited no decided repugnance towards them, because the daughter of its ancient national chiefs, Eleanor, widow of Henry II. still lived, and tempered by her influence the harshness of the foreign government. Almost immediately after the death, by a cross-bow shot, of king Richard in Limousin, the revolution, which had been preparing some time, but which the fear of his military activity had kept in check, broke out. His brother John was recognised without opposition, king of England, and duke of Normandy and Aquitaine. But Anjou, Maine, and Touraine, separated themselves simultaneously from the Norman cause, proclaiming the young duke of Brittany their lord. The Poitevins imitated this defection, and formed, with their neighbours of the north and west, a league offensive and defensive. At the head of this league figured the Breton people, unfortunately represented by a mere boy and a woman, who, fearing to fall into the hands of the English king, gave up to the king of France, Philip II., all that the popular courage had recovered from the Anglo-Normans in the various confederate countries, and recognised his suzerainty over Anjou, Maine, and Brittany. Philip, whom the French surnamed Augustus, dismantled the towns and razed the fortresses which his new vassals had opened to him. When young Arthur, his liegeman and voluntary prisoner, addressed to him, on behalf of the people who had intrusted themselves to him, some remonstrances upon his conduct: “Am I not at liberty,” said the king, “to do as I please in my own lands?”1
Arthur soon perceived the fault he had committed in confiding himself to the mercy of one of the two kings, to escape from the other. He fled from Paris, and not knowing whither to go, delivered himself up to king John, his uncle, who, receiving him with infinite endearments, was about to imprison him, when the young duke, warned of his purpose, returned to the French king. The latter already despaired of being able to retain his new provinces, against at once the will of the inhabitants and of the king of England; he thought it better, therefore, to make with the latter an advantageous peace, and to obtain it, sacrificed his guest and protégé, whom he obliged to do homage to king John for Anjou, Maine, and Brittany. Philip, in return for these good offices, obtained peace, thirty thousand marks of gold, many towns, and the promise that, if John died without heirs, he should inherit all his possessions on the continent. In virtue of this treaty, the French garrisons of Anjou and Maine were replaced by Norman troops and by Brabançons in the pay of the king of England.
While Philip-Augustus was despoiling the young Arthur of his heritage, he was educating him at his court with his own children, and conciliating him in order to meet the contingency of a new rupture with king John. This rupture soon happened, on the occasion of a general insurrection of the Poitevins, under the direction of Hugh le Brun, count de La Marche, whom the king of England had deprived of his betrothed bride. All the barons of Poitou and those of a portion of Limousin confederated together, and when the king of France saw them compromised, hoping to profit by whatever they might venture to do, he suddenly broke the peace, and declared for them, on condition that they would take the oath of faith and homage to him. He forthwith produced Arthur on the political scene, gave him in marriage his daughter Marie, aged five years, had him proclaimed earl of the Bretons, Angevins, and Poitevins, and sent him at the head of an army to conquer the towns of Poitou, which still held out for the king of England.
The Bretons made alliance with the insurgent Poitevins, and promised to send them five hundred horse and four thousand foot. Awaiting this reinforcement, the new earl of Poitou laid siege to the town of Mirebeau, a few leagues from Poitiers, where, by a chance that proved fatal to the besiegers, the widow of Henry II. happened to be. The town was taken without much resistance, but Eleanor of Aquitaine retired into the castle, which was very strong, while Arthur and the Poitevins occupied the town. They were in the greatest security, when king John, urged by the desire of releasing his mother, appeared, after a rapid march, suddenly at the gates of Mirebeau, and made Arthur prisoner, with most of the chiefs of the insurrection. He took them into Normandy, and soon afterwards Arthur disappeared without any one knowing in what manner he had perished. Among the Normans, who had no feeling of national hatred or repugnance towards the king of England, it was said that the boy had died of sickness in the castle of Rouen, or, according to others, that he had killed himself in endeavouring to make his escape over the walls of the town. The French, animated by the spirit of political rivalry, affirmed that king John had poniarded his nephew with his own hand, one day that he was passing the Seine with him in a boat. The Bretons, who had centred all their hopes of liberty in young Arthur, adopted much the same story, but changed the scene of action, which they placed at Cherbourg, on the sea shore.1 The death of Arthur, however it happened, occasioned a great sensation, more especially in Brittany, where it was regarded as a national calamity. The same ardent imagination that had made the Bretons believe their future destiny bound up with that of the boy, filled them with an exaggerated affection for the king of France, because he was the enemy of Arthur’s murderer. It was he whom they called upon to take vengeance for the deed, promising to aid him with all their power in any hostilities he might undertake against the king of England. Never king of France had so favourable an occasion for making himself master of those Bretons who were so attached to their independence.1 Philip, as suzerain, received the plaint of the lords and bishops of Brittany as to the murder of their young duke, and cited the king of England, his vassal for Normandy, to appear before the court of the barons of France, who now began to be called pairs (peers), a name borrowed from the romances on the life of Charlemagne. King John, as was expected, did not appear before the peers, and was accordingly condemned by them. All the lands he held of the kingdom of France were declared forfeit, and the Bretons were invited to take up arms to secure the execution of this sentence, which would only be effective in being followed up by a conquest.
The conquest was made, not by the power alone of the king of France, or by the authority of the decree of his peers, but by the co-operation, the more energetic that it was voluntary, of the surrounding populations, hostile to the Normans. Philip-Augustus did but appear on the frontier of Poitou, and an universal insurrection threw open to him well nigh every fortress; and when he returned to attack Normandy, the Bretons had already invaded and occupied a great portion of it. They took by assault Mont Saint-Michel, seized upon Avranches, and burned all the villages between that town and Caen. The report of their ravages, and the terror they inspired, contributed greatly to the success of the king of France, who, with the Manceaux and the Angevins, advancing from the east, took Andelys, Evreux, Domfront, and Lisieux, and at Caen formed his junction with the Breton army.
It was the first time that Normandy had been so simultaneously attacked by all the populations which surrounded her, south, east, and north; and it was also the first time that she had had a chief so indolent and so incompetent as king John. He hunted or amused himself while Philip and his allies were taking, one after another, all the towns and fortresses of the country; in less than a year he had none left him but Rouen, Verneuil, and Château-Gaillard. The people of Normandy made great but fruitless efforts to drive back the invaders; and at length only yielded from want of succours, and because their brothers in origin, the Normans of England, secured by the ocean, were in no way anxious to relieve them from a danger which did not threaten themselves. Moreover, finding themselves, as the result of their conquest, raised above the popular condition, they had little sympathy with the burgesses and peasants on the other side of the water, though descended from the same ancestors with themselves.
The citizens of Rouen suffered all the extremities of famine before they thought of capitulating; and when their provisions entirely failed them, they concluded a truce of thirty days with the king of France, at the expiration of which they were to surrender, if they did not meantime receive succours. In the interval, they sent some of their people to England to inform king John of the extremity to which they were reduced. The envoys found the king playing at chess; he did not quit his game, or answer them until he had finished it, and then merely said: “I have no means of assisting you within the period named, so do the best you can.”1 The town of Rouen surrendered; the two places that still resisted followed the example, and the conquest of the whole country was established. This conquest, less severe upon the Normans than that of England had been upon the Saxons, was still not without its humiliation and suffering. The French razed the walls of a great many towns, and compelled the citizens of Rouen to demolish, at their own expense, their old fortifications, and to build a new castle in a place more convenient for the conquerors.2
The national vanity of the Bretons was, no doubt, flattered, when they saw their ancient enemies, those who had struck the first blows on their national independence, subjugated, in their turn, by a foreign power. But this miserable satisfaction was all the fruit they derived from the victories they had won for the king of France. Moreover, in contributing to place their neighbours under the yoke, they had placed themselves under it, it becoming impossible for them to evade the domination of a king, who was environing them on every side, and combining with his own forces all those of Normandy. The constraint of French supremacy grew more and more intolerable to them; they attempted several times, but in vain, to renew their alliance with the king of England. To drown for awhile the thought of their own lost liberty, they, with a sort of insane fury, aided the kings of France entirely to destroy that of the populations along the Loire. They laboured at the aggrandizement of the French monarchy, and, at the same time, managed to maintain, to some extent, the remains of their ancient rights against the administrative invasions of that now powerful monarchy. Of the populations of Gaul, the Breton was, perhaps, at all times, that which manifested, in the highest degree, the need of political action. This innate disposition is far from being extinct among them, as is attested by the active part they have taken, in one way and another, in recent revolutions.
After having co-operated with the Bretons in the downfal of Normandy, the Angevins lost, as a result of this event, every relic of national existence, and the Manceaux never regained the independence of which the Normans had deprived them. The earls of Anjou were replaced by seneschals of the king of France, and the domination of this king was extended beyond the Loire, as far as Poitou. The rich Poitevins were not permitted to marry their daughters to any but French husbands.1 Under this yoke, novel to them, they repented of having repudiated the patronage of the king of England, and commenced negotiations with him, in which the malcontents of Anjou and Maine took part. A general insurrection was preparing in these three provinces, when the celebrated battle of Bovines, in assuring the fortunes of the kingdom of France, intimidated the conspirators.1 The Poitevins alone adhered to their resolution, and rose against king Philip, under the same chiefs who had, with him and for him, fought against king John. But Philip soon crushed them, with the aid of those who had feared to oppose him, of the Angevins, the Manceaux, the Tourangeaux, and the Bretons, and he carried his conquests southward as far as Rochelle. Thus these unhappy populations, from the absence of mutual affection and good understanding, fell, one after the other, under the yoke, and the overthrow of the Norman power on the continent, destroying the sort of equilibrium by means of which the southern countries had remained independent, the movement began by which, sooner or later, but infallibly, the whole of Gaul was to become French.
The restoration of Normandy to the kings of England could alone arrest this impulsion of things; but the incompetence of king John and the ability of Philip-Augustus, prevented anything of the kind from taking place, notwithstanding the discontent of the country. “Although the yoke of the king was light,” says a poet of the thirteenth century, “Neustria long chafed at being subject to it; and yet, wishing well to those who wished him ill, he did not abolish their ancient laws, or give them reason to complain of being troubled with foreign regulations.”2 No revolt of any importance took place in Normandy against the French. The popular discontent exhaled in individual murmurings, in regrets for past times, and especially for “Richard the Lion-hearted, whom no Frenchman had ever equalled,” said the Norman soldiers, even in the camp of the king of France.3 The political nullity into which this nation, so renowned for its courage and its lofty pride, suddenly fell, may be attributed, perhaps, to that very pride, which forbad it to seek aid from its former subjects of Brittany, or to treat with them for an offensive league against the common oppressor. Further, the hope which the Normans had in the population that governed England, and the ancient sympathy of relationship between them and that population of gentlemen, would rapidly become extinct. When the two countries had ceased to be united under the same sceptre, the only inhabitants of England with whom the people of Normandy had frequent relations were merchants, men of English race, speaking a language foreign to the Normans, who, besides, nourished a hostile sentiment towards them, that of commercial rivalry. The ancient ties could not, therefore, fail to break between England and Normandy, while every day fresh bands were formed between the latter country and France, where the mass of the people spoke the same language with the Normans, and bore all the signs of a common origin, for every vestige of the Danish race had long ceased to exist in Normandy.
All these causes led to the result that, in less than a century after their conquest by Philip Augustus, the Normans, without scruple, nay, with ardour, espoused the enmity of the kings of France to England. In the year 1240, some of them formed an association with the Bretons for the purpose of privateering against English vessels. In each war that afterwards arose between the two countries, fleets of piratical vessels from Normandy essayed descents on the southern coast of England, for the purposes of devastation and pillage. The town of Dieppe was especially famous for these armaments. At length, when the great quarrel of succession, which occupied the whole of the fourteenth century, broke out between Philip V. and Edward III., the Normans conceived a project involving no less than a new conquest of England, a conquest as absolute, and perhaps more methodical than that of William the Bastard. The crown and all the public domains were adjudged beforehand to the chief of the expedition. All the lands of the barons and nobles of England were to belong to titled personages, the property of the commoners to the towns, and that of the churches to the clergy of Normandy.1
This project, which, after three centuries of possession, was to reduce the conquerors of England to the state in which they themselves had placed the English in race, was drawn up with the utmost detail, and presented to king Philip de Valois at his castle of Vincennes, by the deputies of the Norman nation. They requested permission to place his son, their duke, at the head of the enterprise, and offered to defray the whole expense, requiring from the king only the aid of an ally, in case of reverses. The agreement was signed, sealed, and deposited at Caen, but circumstances, which the history of the period does not detail, retarded the execution. No progress was yet made in it when, in the year 1346, the king of England landed at Cape La Hogue, to take possession of the country which he called his hereditary domain.1 The Normans, attacked unexpectedly, no more resisted the English army, than the Anglo-Normans, perhaps, would have resisted their invaders, had the projected expedition taken place. The towns were closed, the bridges cut down, the roads broken up, but nothing stayed the march of that army, whose leading chiefs, the king included, spoke no other language than French with the Norman accent.
Notwithstanding this conformity of language, no national sympathy was aroused in their favour, and the towns which opened their gates only did so from necessity. In a short time, they took Barfleur, Carentan and Saint-Lo. In the official reports, drawn up in the French language, which they sent to England, they compared these towns in size and wealth to Sandwich, Leicester, and Lincoln, to which they still gave the name of Nicole.2 At Caen, where they visited, with great ceremony, the tomb of William the Conqueror, the author of their ancestors’ fortunes, they found, among the town charters, the original of the treaty concluded between the Normans and the king of France for a new conquest, at which they were so enraged, that they pillaged and massacred the inhabitants. Then, still pillaging, they directed their course towards the ancient frontier of France, to Poissy, which they entered; then they went to Picardy, where between them and the French was fought the famous battle of Crécy.
The plan of invasion found at Caen was immediately forwarded to England, and publicly read in all the towns, in order to exasperate the popular mind against the king and against the French, from whom the Normans were now no longer distinguished. At London, the archbishop of Canterbury read this document after service, in front of the cross in St. Paul’s church-yard. As it was drawn up in the French language, all the nobles present could understand it, and it was then translated into English for the people of low condition.1 This and the other means employed to interest the English in the quarrel of their king were not without effect upon them. The ambitious passions of the master, in the minds of the subjects assumed the form of a blind hatred to all the people of France, who, on their part, amply returned hate for hate. There was but one class of men in the two countries which escaped this frenzy, that of the poor fishermen of either shore, who, during the utmost fury of the wars, never did each other harm; “never warring,” says Froissart, “but rather aiding each other; buying and selling upon the sea, one from the other, when either had had better fishing than the other.”
By a singular destiny, while Normandy, the native land of the kings and nobles of England, became a country hostile to them, Aquitaine, from the sea of Rochelle to the Pyrenees, remained subjected to their authority, without apparent repugnance. We have seen how this country had been retained under the Anglo-Norman domination, by the influence of the duchess Eleanor, the widow of Henry II. After the death of this princess, the Aquitans preserved their faith to her grandson, from fear of falling under the lordship of the king of France, who, master of Poitou, had become their immediate neighbour. Pursuing a policy observed in the middle ages, they preferred, independently of all other considerations, to have as seigneur a king whose states lay at a distance, and for this reason, that generally the remote suzerain allowed the country to govern itself according to its local laws, and by men born within it, whereas a contiguous prince seldom permitted this arrangement.
The royal power preserved in south-west Gaul, would, perhaps, have long served as a fulcrum for the still independent populations of the south against the king of France, had not an unexpected event suddenly destroyed all the strength of the country between the Mediterranean, the Rhone, and the Garonne. The county of Toulouse, and the great lordships depending on it in the thirteenth century, by alliance or vassalage, far surpassed in civilization all the other parts of the ancient Gaulish territory. A great commerce was carried on thence with the ports of the east; its towns had the same form of municipal constitution, the same liberty, with the great Italian communes, which they imitated even in external appearance. Every rich citizen built himself a house, flanked with towers, and every citizen’s son became a knight if he chose, and jousted at tournaments with the noblest.1
This tendency to equality, which gave great umbrage to the noblesse of France, Burgundy, and Germany, opening a free communication among all classes, communicated to the minds of those who dwelt on the European coasts of the Mediterranean an activity which they exercised in every species of modern culture. They possessed the most elegant literature of all Europe, and their written idiom was classic in Italy and in Spain. With them Christianity, fervent and even enthusiastic,—for they were of an impassioned nature,—did not consist in a passive submission to the doctrine and observances of the Romish church. Without revolting against that church, without being sensible of the exact degree of their dissent from her, they had, in the course of the thirteenth century, adopted new opinions, singularly combined with old dogmas opposed to the Catholic dogma.
The church, alarmed at the extension and increase of the heresy of the southern Gauls, at first employed the resources of her powerful organization to stay its progress. But it was in vain that the pontifical couriers brought to Alby, Toulouse, and Narbonne, bulls of excommunication and anathema against the enemies of the Roman faith. Heterodoxy had gained upon even the ministers of the churches whence these bulls were to be fulminated, and the bishops themselves, though more firm in the Catholic discipline, being powerless, did not know how to decide, and at length underwent the influence of the universal example. It seemed clear that this great schism, in which all classes and ranks of society participated, could only be extinguished by a blow struck on the population, in a mass, by a war of invasion, which should destroy the social order whence had emanated its independence of spirit and its precocious civilization. This was what pope Innocent III. undertook, in the first years of the thirteenth century. Abusing the example of the crusades against the Saracens, he had one preached against the inhabitants of the county of Toulouse and of the diocese of Alby, and published throughout Europe, that whoever would arm, to war against them, should obtain the remission of his sins and a share in the property of the heretics.1
Unfortunately, the times were favourable to this crusade of Christians against Christians. The conquests of the king of France in Normandy, Anjou, and Aquitaine, had caused in these various countries the ruin or banishment of many men, and thus augmented the number of chevaliers sans avoir, of “knights with nothing,” and of reckless fortune-hunters. The pilgrimage against the Albigeois (for so the war was designated) promised less risk, and a more certain profit, than the crusade against the Arabs, and accordingly the army of the new pilgrims soon numbered fifty thousand men of every rank and nation, but especially French and Flemings. The king of France sent fifteen thousand soldiers, and the king of England allowed a body of troops to be enrolled in Guienne, under the command of the archbishop of Bordeaux.
It would exceed our limits to recount in detail all the barbarities of the crusaders at the sacking of Beziers, Carcassonne, Narbonne, and other towns, laid under the ban of the church; to say how the inhabitants were massacred without distinction of age or sex, of catholic or heretic. “Poor towns,” exclaims a poet, an eye-witness of these calamities, “how have I formerly seen you, and how see I you now.”2 From the Garonne to the Mediterranean, the whole country was devastated and subjugated; and the chief of the conquering army, Simon de Montfort, not venturing to retain for himself such vast domains, did homage for them to the king of France.
As the crusaders, whose numbers increased every day, made new conquests, the suzerainty of this king extended more and more over the south of Gaul. The county of Toulouse, and the territories of Agen, Carcassonne, and Beziers, after three centuries of independence, were thus again attached to the kingdom which had formerly possessed them. A treaty, concluded in a moment of distress, between the heir of Simon de Montfort and the successor of Philip-Augustus, soon converted this feudal supremacy into direct sovereignty. Fully to secure this immense acquisition, Louis VIII. raised an army, assumed the cross, and proceeded to the south. He passed, not without resistance, the Rhone at the bridge of Avignon, took Beaucaire and Nîmes, which he united under the authority of a seneschal, placed also a seneschal at Carcassonne, and marched upon Toulouse, whose inhabitants then were in full revolt against the crusaders and against himself.
Hatred of the French name was the national passion of the new subjects of the king of France; that name never issued from their mouths unless accompanied by some injurious epithet.1 The troubadours in their sirventes called upon the son of the count of Toulouse to come with the aid of the king of Aragon, and reconquer his heritage, making a bridge of French corses.2 During the minority which followed the death of king Louis VIII., an extensive conspiracy was formed from the Vienne to the foot of the Pyrenees, having for its object to drive back the French within their ancient limits. The chiefs of the valleys through which the Arriege flows, and where the Adour takes its source, the counties of Foix and Cominges, formed an alliance with the count de Marche and the castellans of Poitou. The king of England, too, on this occasion, did not hesitate to take a decisive part, since it was no longer a pilgrimage against heresy that was to be opposed, but the political power of the king of France. The attempt, however, had little success; the catholic clergy, zealous for French dominion, terrified the confederates by threatening them with a new crusade, and repressed the movements of the Toulousans by means of the terrible police then instituted under the name of Inquisition. Weary of a hopeless struggle, the heir of the ancient counts of Toulouse made a definitive peace with king Louis IX., ceding to him all his rights, by a treaty far from voluntary. The king gave the county of Toulouse to his brother Alphonse, already count of Poitou by a similar title, and equally against the will of the country.
Notwithstanding these accessions, the kingdom of France had not yet, on the southern side, attained the limits whither aspired the ambition of its kings, nourished by the popular traditions of the reign of Charlemagne. The banner of the gold fleur-de-lys was not yet planted on the Pyrenees, and the chiefs of the populations which inhabited the foot or the slopes of those mountains were still free to give their homage to whom they pleased. Some, it is true, offered it to the king of France; but others, and these the greater number, were faithful to the kings of Aragon or Castile, or to the king of England; and others, again, remained without any suzerain at all, holding of God alone.
While one of the brothers of Louis IX. ruled the counties of Toulouse and Poitou, the other, named Charles, was count of Anjou and Maine. Never had the family of any French king combined such power, for we must not mistake the kings of the Franks for kings of France. The limits of this kingdom, formerly bounded by the Loire, already extended, in the middle of the thirteenth century, to the Mediterranean; on the south-west, it bordered upon the possessions of the king of England in Guienne, and on the south-east, upon the independent territory which bore the old name of Provence, (Provincia.) About this time, the count of Provence, Rémond Beranger, died, leaving an only daughter, called Beatrix, under the guardianship of some relations. The guardians, masters of the girl and of the county, offered the king of France to give both the one and the other to his brother, Charles d’Anjou; and the king, having agreed to the proposed conditions, sent troops into Provence, which entered it as friends. Charles d’Anjou proceeded thither soon afterwards, and Beatrix was married to him, without having been much consulted on the subject. As for the people of the country, their aversion to a foreign count, and especially to one of French race, was unequivocal.1 They had before them the example of what their neighbours on the other side of the Rhone suffered under the government of the French. “Instead of a brave lord,” says a contemporary poet, “the Provençals are to have a master; they may no longer build towers or castles, they will no longer dare to bear lance or shield before the French. May they die rather than be reduced to such a condition!”2
These fears were soon realized. All Provence was filled with foreign officers, who, treating the natives as subjects by conquest, levied enormous imposts, confiscated estates, and imprisoned and put to death their owners without trial and without sentence. At first, these excesses of power met with little resistance, because the clergy, making itself, in the words of an old poet, a whetstone for the swords of the French,3 upheld their domination by the terrible menace of a crusade. The troubadours, accustomed to serve in the south as organs of the patriotic interest, undertook the dangerous task of arousing the people, and shaming them out of their disgraceful endurance. One of them, playing on the name of his country, said that it ought no longer to be called Proensa (the land of the preux), but Faillensa (the land of the failers), because it allowed a foreign domination to replace its national government. Other poets, in their verses, addressed the king of Aragon, the former suzerain of Provence, inviting him to come and expel the usurpers from his lands. Others, again, urged the king of England to head an offensive league against the French; their object being war, by means of which they might effect their enfranchisement. “Why is not the game commenced,” they said, “in which many a helm will be split, many a hauberk pierced?”4
Things were at this point, when the king of France, departing for the crusade in Egypt, took his brother, Charles d’Anjou, with him. News soon came that the two brothers had been made prisoners by the Saracens, and hereupon there was universal joy in Provence. It was said that God had worked this miracle to save the liberty of the country. The towns of Aix, Arles, Avignon, and Marseilles, which enjoyed an almost republican organization, made open preparations for war, repairing their fortifications, collecting provisions and arms; but the imprisonment of Charles d’Anjou was not of long duration. On his return, he began by devastating the whole district of Arles, in order to intimidate the citizens; he then blockaded them so long with a numerous army, that after enduring infinite sufferings they were fain to surrender. Such was the end of this great commune, as free in its days of prosperity as those which then flourished in Italy. Avignon, whose municipal constitution resembled that or Arles, opened its gates on the approach of Alphonse, count of Toulouse and Poitiers, who came to aid his brother in subjecting the Provençaux.1
At Marseilles, the inhabitants of all ranks took up arms, and putting out to sea, attacked the count’s fleet. But the coolness between the higher burghers and the country seigneurs and castellans produced fatal dissensions. The Marseillese were ill supported by this class of men, many of whom thought it more knightly to serve under the banner of the foreigner than to make common cause with the friends of national independence. Reduced to their own resources, the latter obtained a favourable capitulation, which, however, the count’s French agents soon violated without scruple. Their tyranny and their exactions became so insupportable, that, despite the danger, a revolt was formed against them, in which they were all seized by the people, who, however, contented themselves with imprisoning them. The insurgents took possession of the chateau Saint-Marcel, shut the gates of the city, and sustained a second siege, during which the people of Montpellier, though long enemies of the Marseillese from commercial rivalry, profited by the last moments of their own independence to succour Marseilles against the conquerors of southern Gaul. Notwithstanding this assistance, the town, attacked by superior forces, was obliged to yield. All the stores in its public arsenals were removed, and the citizens were disarmed. A knight, named Boniface de Castellane, at once warrior and poet, who, by his sirventes, had excited the insurrection of the Marseillese,1 and had then fought in their ranks, was, according to some historians, taken and beheaded. The castellans and seigneurs who had abandoned the cause of the towns, were treated by the count almost as harshly as those who had adhered to it. He used every means to depress and impoverish them, his authority being strengthened by the public misery and terror.2
The Provençals never recovered their ancient municipal liberty, or the high civilization and riches which had resulted from it. But, very singularly, after two centuries, the extinction of the house of the counts of Anjou, under which they had preserved at least a shadow of nationality, by an administration distinct from that of France, occasioned them almost as much grief as had the accession of that house. To fall under the immediate authority of the kings of France, after having been governed by counts, appeared to the people of Provence, about the close of the fifteenth century, a new national calamity. It was this popular feeling, rather than the personal qualities of René, surnamed the Good, which occasioned the long memory of him retained by the Provençals, and the exaggerated idea of public prosperity which tradition still connects with his reign.
Thus were annexed to the kingdom of France all the provinces of ancient Gaul situate right and left of the Rhône, except Guienne and the valleys at the foot of the Pyrenees. The old civilization of these provinces received a mortal blow in their compulsory reunion with countries far less advanced in intellectual culture, in industry, and in manners. The most disastrous epoch in the history of the peoples of southern France is that at which they became French, when the king, whom their ancestors used to call the king of Paris,3 began to term them his subjects of the langue d’oc, in contradistinction to the old French of Outre-Loire, who spoke the langue d’oui. From that time the classic poetry of the south, and even the language consecrated to it, disappeared from Languedoc, Poitou, Limousin, Auvergne, and Provence. Local dialects, inelegant and incorrect, prevailed in every direction, and soon replaced the literary idiom, the beautiful language of the troubadours.1
The jurisdiction of the first seneschals of the kings of France in Languedoc, bounded on the west by that of the officers of the king of England in Aquitaine, only reached southward as far as the valleys which announce the vicinity of the great chain of the Pyrenees. It was here that the conquest of the crusaders against the Albigenses had stopped, because the profit of a war in a mountainous country, bristling with castles, built on the rocks like eagles’ nests, did not seem at all equivalent to the dangers it would involve. Thus, on the southern frontier of the possessions of the two kings there remained a free territory, extending from one sea to the other, and which, extremely narrow at its eastern and western extremities, reached towards its centre the confluence of the Aveyron and the Garonne.
The inhabitants of this territory were divided into lordships under different titles, as all the south had been before the French conquest; and these various populations, with one sole exception, presented the signs of a common origin in their language and character. This race of men, more ancient than the Celtic races of Gaul, had probably been driven back to the mountains by a foreign invasion, and, together with the western part of the Gaulish Pyrenees, they also occupied the Spanish side of these mountains. The name they gave themselves in their own language—a language differing from all the known tongues—was Escualdun, in the plural Escualdunac. Instead of this name, the Romans had employed, we know not for what reason, those of Vaques, Vasques, or Vascones, which have been retained, with certain variations of orthography, in the neo-Latin languages of Spain and Gaul. The Vasques or Basques never wholly underwent the yoke of the Roman administration which ruled all their neighbours, or, like the latter, quitted their language for the Latin tongue, or any of its modifications. They, in like manner, resisted the invasions of the Germanic peoples; and neither the Goths nor the Franks had succeeded in annexing them at all permanently to their empire. When the Franks had occupied all the large cities of the two Aquitaines, the western mountaineers became the centre and fulcrum of the frequent rebellions of the inhabitants of the plain. The Basques were thus allied against the Frank kings of the first and second race, with the Gallo-Romans, whom they disliked and whom they were accustomed to pillage in the intervals of these alliances. It was this often renewed confederation which gave the name of Vasconie or Gascony to the portion of Aquitaine situated between the mountains and the Garonne; and the difference of termination in the nominative and oblique cases of the same Latin word occasioned the distinction of Basques and of Vascons or Gascons.1
In placing themselves at the head of the great league of the natives of southern Gaul against the conquerors of the North, the only object of the Basques appears to have been their own independence, or the material profits of war, and by no means the establishment of their political sway in the plains, or the foundation of a new state; whether from excessive love of their native land, and contempt for foreign countries, or from a peculiar idiosyncrasy, ambition and the desire for renown were never their dominant passions. While with the aid of the insurgents, with whom they had so powerfully co-operated, there were formed, for the noble families of Aquitaine, the counties of Foix, Comminges, Bearn, Guienne, and Toulouse, they, as little seeking to be masters as consenting to be slaves, remained a people, a free people in their mountains and their valleys. They carried political indifference so far as to allow themselves to be nominally comprised in the territory of the count of Bearn, and in that of the king of Navarre, men of foreign race, whom they allowed to style themselves seigneurs of the Basques, on the understanding that this lordship should be in no way or degree real or effective.2
It was under this aspect that they appeared in the thirteenth century, interfering, as a nation, in the affairs of none of the surrounding countries; divided into two different suzerainties, from habit, from indifference, not from constraint, and making no attempt to form a junction as one people. The only thing that seemed nationally to interest them, was the maintenance of their hereditary customs and laws decreed in their cantonal assemblies, which they called Bilsâr. No passion, either of friendship or of hate, induced them to take part in the wars of foreigners; but if offered good pay, they were ready, individually, to enrol themselves under any banner, no matter whose or in what cause. The Basques, in common with the Navarrese and the inhabitants of the eastern Pyrenees, had, at this time, the same high reputation as light troops that the Brabançons had as heavy infantry.1 Their agility, their familiarity with rugged paths, an instinctive sharpness of wit and aptitude for stratagem, arising to a certain extent from their life of mountain hunter and shepherd, rendered them excellently suited for sudden attacks, for ambuscades, for night surprises, for forced marches in bad weather and over bad roads.
Three cantons only of the Basque country, Labour, the Valley of Soule, and Lower-Navarre, were in the ancient territory of Gaul: the rest formed part of Spain. The city of Bayonne, dependent on the duchy of Guienne, marked on the sea-coast the extreme limit of the Romane tongue, perhaps advanced somewhat more northwards in anterior centuries. At the gates of Bayonne commenced the territory of the count or viscount of Bearn, the most powerful seigneur in those parts, and whose policy generally influenced that of all the surrounding lords. He recognised no suzerain in any fixed and permanent manner, unless, perhaps, the king of Aragon, whose family was allied with his own. As to the king of England, of whom he held some fiefs near Bayonne, he by no means deemed himself at his disposal, and only swore him fealty and homage in consideration of a large sum. It was at a cheaper rate, but still for money, that this king obtained the homage of the less powerful lords of Bigorre, Comminges, of the three valleys, and of Gascony proper. They more than once, in the thirteenth century, made war, in his pay, against the king of France; but on the first indication of lofty assumption, on the first act of tyranny of their adopted suzerain, the Gascon chiefs would forthwith abandon him, and ally with his rival, or themselves form a league against him. This league, often renewed, maintained a correspondence with Guienne, for the purpose of exciting insurrection there, and its success in this way, at different epochs, would seem to indicate a prevalent desire to unite all south-western Gaul in an independent state. This notion was peculiarly agreeable to the upper classes and to the rich burghers of the towns of Guienne; but the lower orders clung to the English domination, under the persuasion that there would be no market for the wines of the country, if the English merchants ceased to trade with them.
Towards the commencement of the fourteenth century, a treaty of alliance and of marriage united in perpetuity in the same person the two lordships of Foix and Bearn, and thus founded a considerable power upon the common frontier of the kings of France and England. In the long war which, shortly after, broke out between these two kings, the first made great efforts to bring over the count of Foix to his side, and to induce him to act, in the conquest he meditated in Guienne, the part that the Bretons, the Angevins, and the Mançeaux had formerly played in that of Normandy. The count was gained by the promise, made in advance, of the towns of Dax and Bayonne; but as the expedition then undertaken did not succeed, all alliance was soon broken between the kingdom of France and the counts of Foix. Resuming their ancient position of complete political independence, the chiefs of this small state remained, as in observation, between the two rival powers, each of which made every effort to bring them to a declaration. Once, in the middle of the fourteenth century, the king of France sent Louis de Sancerre, one of his marshals, to count Gaston de Foix, to say that he had a great desire to come and see him. “He will be welcome,” answered the count, “I shall be happy to receive him.”—“But, sir,” said the marshal, “it is the king’s intention on his arrival to ascertain, clearly and distinctly, whom you will back, French or English; for you have ever maintained reserve in the war, arming at no request and at no command that you have received.” “Messire Louis,” replied the count, “if I have abstained from arming, I had good reason and warranty therein; for the war between the kings of France and England concerns not me. I hold my country of Béarn of God, my sword, and my birthright; and I am in no way called upon to place myself in the servitude or in the enmity of either the one or the other king.”1
“Such is the nature of the Gascons,” adds the old historian who relates this anecdote. “They are unstable, and never faithful to one lord for thirty years together.” Throughout the war between the kings of England and France, the reproach of fickleness, ingratitude, and perfidy was alternately applied by the two kings to the lords who desired to remain free and neutral, and whom each was intent upon securing for himself. The pettiest castellan in Gascony was courted by messages and by letters sealed with the great seal of France or of England.2 Hence the importance attained, towards the fifteenth century, by persons of whom little had been heard before, as the sires d’Albret, d’Armagnac, and many others far less powerful, such as the sires de Durfort, de Duras, and de Fezensac. To secure the alliance of the seigneur d’Albret, the chief of a little territory of heath and furze, the king of France, Charles V., gave him in marriage his sister, Isabelle de Bourbon. The sire d’Albret came to Paris, where he was received and fêted in the palace of his brother-in-law; but in the midst of this cordial reception, he could not help saying to his friends: “I will remain French, since I have promised it; but, by God, I had a better life, both I and my people, when we fought for the king of England.”3 About the same time, the sires de Durfort and de Rosan, made prisoners by the French in a battle, were both released without ransom, on condition, says a contemporary, that they would turn French, and promise, on their faith and honour, for ever to remain good Frenchmen, they and theirs.4 They swore it; but, on their return, they answered the first person who asked them the news: “Ah! sire, by constraint and menace of death, they made us become French; but we tell you, that in taking this oath, in our hearts we still kept faith to our natural lord, the king of England; and whatever we said or did, we will never be French.”1
The value set by such powerful kings on the friendship of a few barons, arose more especially from the influence which these barons, according to the party they adopted, could and did exercise over the castellans and knights of the duchy or Guienne, a great number of whom were related to them by marriage. Moreover, the Aquitans had, in general, more intimate relations with them than with the officers of the king of England, who could not speak the language of the country, or spoke it ill, and whose Anglo-Norman stateliness was altogether discordant with the vivacity and ease of the southerns. Accordingly, whenever one of the Gascon lords embraced the French party, a greater or less number of knights and squires of Aquitaine joined with him the army of the king of France. The various operation of this influence occasioned, during the whole of the fourteenth century and half of the fifteenth, constant movement among the noble population of the castles of Guienne; but far less among the bourgeoisie. This class of men adhered to the sovereignty of the king of England from the then prevalent idea that the sway of the other king would infallibly destroy all municipal liberty. The rapid decline of the communes of Languedoc, since they had become French, so deeply fixed this opinion in the minds of the Aquitans, that it made them quite superstitious on the subject. When the king of England, Edward III., assumed the title of king of France, they were alarmed, as though the mere title added to his name would altogether change his conduct towards them. Their apprehensions were so great, that, to dissipate them, king Edward thought it necessary to address to all the towns of Aquitaine a letter in which was the following passage: “We promise, in good faith, that, notwithstanding our taking possession of the kingdom of France, appertaining to us, we will not deprive you, in any manner, of your liberties, privileges, customs, jurisdictions, or other rights whatsoever, but will leave you in full enjoyment thereof, as heretofore, without any infringement by us or by our officers.”2
In the first years of the fifteenth century, the count d’Armagnac, who had for some time past been, with the sire d’Albret, at the head of a league formed among all the petty lords of Gascony, for the purpose of maintaining their independence, by relying, according to circumstances, on France or on England, formed an alliance with one of the two parties who, under the names of Orleans and Burgundy, then disputed the government of France. He engaged thus in a foreign quarrel, and brought his confederates into it, less, perhaps, from political motives than from personal interest; for one of his daughters had married the duke of Orleans, chief of the party of that name. Once mixed up with the intrigues and disputes which divided France, the Gascons, with the impetuosity of their southern temperament, displayed so great an activity, that the Orleans party soon changed its name to that of Armagnac, and the only party distinctions in the kingdom became those of Burgundians and Armagnacs. Notwithstanding the generality of this distinction, there were no true Armagnacs but those of the south, and these, enveloped as it were in a faction more numerous than themselves, forgot in their passionate partisanship the cause which had first made them league together, the independence of their native land. The interests of their country ceased to be the sole object of their policy; they no longer freely changed their suzerain and their allies, but blindly followed all the movements of a foreign faction.1
Under the reign of Charles VII., this faction involved them more deeply than they had ever before been involved in alliance with the king of France against England. After the astonishing victories which signalized the deliverance of the country invaded by the English, when, to complete this great reaction, it was resolved to expel them from the continent, and to deprive them of Guienne, the friends of the count of Armagnac all employed their utmost energies in urging la fortune de la France to this final goal. Their example induced those of the Gascon lords, who still held for the king of England, to desert him for king Charles. Of this number was the count de Foix; and this petty prince, who, a few years before, had promised the former of the two kings to conquer Languedoc for him, now undertook to superintend for the other that of the whole duchy of Aquitaine.1
A sort of superstitious terror, arising from the rapidity of the French triumphs, and the part played in them by the celebrated Maid of Orleans, now reigned in this country. It was believed that the cause of the king of France was favoured by Heaven, and when the count de Penthievre, chief of the French army, and the counts de Foix and d’Armagnac, entered on three sides the country of Guienne, they did not experience, either from the inhabitants or from the English, anything like the resistance formerly opposed to them. The English, despairing of their cause, gradually retreated to the sea; but the citizens of Bordeaux, more earnest for their municipal liberty than the English army for the dominion of its king on the continent, endured a siege of several months, nor did they capitulate at last, but on the express condition that they should be for ever exempt from taxes, subsidies, and forced loans. The city of Bayonne was the last to surrender to the count de Foix, who besieged it with an army of Bearnese and Basques, the former of whom followed him to the war because he was their seigneur, and the latter, because they hoped to enrich themselves. Neither of these two populations was in any degree interested in the cause of France; and while the Bearnese soldiers fought for king Charles, the Bearnese people looked upon the French as dangerous foreigners, and guarded their frontier against them. Once, during the siege of Saint-Sever, a French column, whether from mistake or in order to shorten its journey, entered the Bearnese territory; on the news of its march the tocsin rang in the villages, the peasants assembled in arms, and there took place between them and the troops of the king of France an engagement celebrated in the annals of the country, as the battle of Mesplede.2
The French seneschal of Guienne, who filled at Bordeaux the place of the English officer bearing the same title, did not take, before the assembled people, the ancient oath his predecessors had been accustomed to take at their installation, when they swore, in the Bordelaise tongue, to preserve to all people of the town and the country, lors franquessas, vrivileges et libertats, establimens, fors, coustumas, usages, et observences.1 Notwithstanding the capitulation of most of the towns, the duchy of Guienne was treated as a conquered territory; and this state of things, to which the Bordelais were not accustomed, so chafed them, that, less than a year after the conquest, they conspired with several castellans of the country to drive out the French with the aid of the king of England. Deputies from the town repaired to London and treated with Henry VI., who accepted their offers, and despatched four or five thousand men under John Talbot, the famous captain of the age.
The English having landed at the peninsula of Medoc, advanced without any resistance, because the main body of the French army had withdrawn, leaving only garrisons in the towns. On the news of this debarkation, there was great discussion at Bordeaux, not as to whether they should again become English, but as to the manner in which they should treat the officers and soldiers of the king of France.2 Some wished them to be allowed to depart without impediment or injury, others that full vengeance should be inflicted on them. During the discussion, the English troops arrived before Bordeaux, some citizens opened one of the gates, and most of the French who remained in the town became prisoners of war. The king of France sent, in all haste, six hundred lances and a number of archers, to reinforce the garrisons of the towns; but before these succours arrived at their destination, the army of Talbot, now joined by all the barons of the Bordelais, and four thousand men from England, reconquered nearly all the fortresses.
Meantime king Charles VII. came in person, with a numerous army, to the frontiers of Guienne. He at first endeavoured to open a correspondence with the people, but he did not succeed; no one gave his co-operation in effecting the restoration of the royal government.3 Finding himself thus reduced to depend wholly on force, he took several towns by assault, and beheaded, as traitors, all the men of the country who were found with arms in their hands. The counts de Foix and d’Albret, and the other seigneurs of Gascony, gave him, in this campaign, the same aid as in the former; they reconquered southern Guienne, while the French army fought with the English, near Castillon, a decisive battle, in which John Talbot and his son were killed. This victory opened the road to Bordeaux for the army of the king and that of the confederate lords. They formed a junction at a short distance from the town, which they sought to starve into surrender by devastating its territory; and, at the same time, a fleet of Poitevin, Breton, and Flemish vessels, entered the Gironde. The English, who formed the majority of the garrison of Bordeaux, seeing the town invested on all sides, demanded to capitulate, and constrained the citizens to follow their example. They obtained permission to embark and to take with them all those citizens who desired to accompany them; so great a number departed in this way, that for many years Bordeaux was without population and without commerce.1
In the terms of the capitulation, twenty persons only were to be banished for having conspired against the French. Among the number, were the sires de l’Esparre and de Duras; their property, and that of all the other suspected persons, served to recompense the conquerors. The king withdrew to Tours; but he left strong garrisons in all the towns, resolved, says a contemporary, to hold the rod over the heads of the people.2 And to reduce, says the same historian, the town of Bordeaux to more complete subjection than before, the French built two citadels there, the château Trompette, and the fort de Hâ. During the progress of these works, the French arrested the sire de l’Esparre, who had broken his ban; he was taken to Poitiers, where he was condemned to death, beheaded, and cut into six pieces, which were exposed in different places.
Long after this last conquest of Guienne, many of its inhabitants regretted the government of the English, and watched occasion to resume correspondence with England. Although they did not succeed in these intrigues, the effect of them was feared, and ordinances of the king of France forbad any Englishman to reside at Bordeaux. The English vessels were to leave their guns and other arms, with their powder, at Blaye; and the English merchants could not enter any house in the town, or go into the country to taste or buy wines, unless accompanied by armed men and officers appointed expressly to watch their actions and words. At a later period, these officers, useless in their former capacity, became sworn interpreters.1
Despite its regrets, the province of Guienne remained French; and the kingdom of France, extending to Bayonne, weighed, without counterpoise, upon the free territory of Gascony. The lords of the country at the foot of the Pyrenees soon felt that they had gone too far in their affection for the French monarchy. They repented, but too late, for it was no longer possible for them to struggle against that monarchy, now comprehending the whole extent of Gaul, with the exception of their petty country. Yet the majority of them courageously adventured upon the unequal contest; they sought a fulcrum in the revolt of the high noblesse of France against the successor of Charles VII., and engaged in the league which was then called le bien public.2 The peace which the French leaguers made soon after with Louis XI., for money and offices, did not satisfy the southerns, whose views in this patriotic war had been wholly different. Frustrated in their hopes, the counts d’Armagnac, de Foix, d’Albret, d’Astarac, and de Castres, addressed themselves to the king of England, inviting him to make a descent on Guienne, and promising to march to his aid with fifteen thousand fighting men, to transfer to him all the towns of Gascony, and even to secure for him Toulouse.3 But English policy was no longer favourable to wars on the continent, and the offer of the Gascons was refused. In their conviction that their ancient liberty was for ever gone, did not the province of Aquitaine once more become a separate state, several of them intrigued to induce the brother of the king of France, Charles, duke de Guienne, to declare himself independent. But the duke died of poison, as soon as Louis XI. perceived that he listened to these suggestions; and a French army besieged in Lectoure count John d’Armagnac, the most active partisan of the cause of Gascony. The town was taken by assault, and given over to fire and blood; the count perished in the massacre; and his wife, who was within two months of her confinement, was forced, by the French officers, to take a draught which was to procure abortion, but which caused her death in two days.1 A member of the family of Albret, made prisoner in this war, was beheaded at Tours; and, shortly after, a bastard of Armagnac, who attempted to restore the fortunes of his country, and succeeded in taking several places, was also captured and put to death. Lastly, James d’Armagnac, duke de Nemours, who entertained, or was supposed to entertain, similar designs, was beheaded at Paris, at the Piliers des Halles, and his children were placed under the scaffold during their father’s execution.
This terrible example was not lost upon the barons of Gascony; and although many men of that country turned their eyes to the other side of the ocean; although they long hoped the return, with English succours, of Gaillard de Durfort, sire de Duras, and the other Gascons or Aquitans who had sought refuge in England,2 no one dared undertake that which the Armagnacs had undertaken. The count de Foix, the most powerful lord of the Pyrenees, abandoned all idea of any other conduct towards the kings of France than that of a loyal servant, gallant at their court, brave in their camps, devoted to them in life and death. Most of the chiefs of these countries and the nobles of Guienne pursued the same policy; incapacitated from doing aught of themselves, they intrigued for the titles and offices which the king of France bestowed on his favourites. Many obtained these, and even supplanted the native French in the good graces of their own kings. They owed this advantage, rather brilliant than solid, to their natural shrewdness, and an aptitude for business, the result of their long and arduous efforts to maintain their national independence against the ambition of the neighbouring kings.
[1 ] See Book VIII.
[2 ] Hemingford, Chron., p. 507.
[1 ] Dom Lobineau, Hist. de Bretagne, i. lib. vi. p. 181.
[1 ] Dumoulin, Hist. Generale de Normandie, p. 514.
[1 ] See ante, Books I. II. III. and VIII.
[1 ] Dumoulin, H. de Normandie, p. 524-5.
[2 ] Willelm. Briton, Philippid., apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., xvii. 213.
[1 ] Matth. Paris, ii. 688.
[1 ] Chroniques de St. Denis; Recueil des Hist. de France, xvii. 413.
[2 ] Willelm. Brit., ut sup. p. 214.
[3 ] Nicolaus de Braia, Gesta Ludovici VIII., apud Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., XVII. 322.
[1 ] Robert. de Avesbury, Hist. de mirab. gestis Edwardi III., (Hearne) p. 130, et seq.
[1 ]Ib. p. 123.
[2 ] Et est la ville pluis grosse que n’est Nichole. (Robert. de Avesbury, ut sup. p. 125.)
[1 ]Ib. p. 130, et seq.
[1 ] Domos civitatis turrigeras. (Script. rer. Gallic. et. Francic., xviii. 580.) Dom Vaissette, H. Generale de Languedoc.
[1 ] Dom Vaissette, ut sup. iii. 130. Sismondi, Hist. des Français, vi. 270, et seq.
[1 ] Frances bevedor, fals Frances. (Ib. passim.)
[1 ] Provinciales Francos habent odio inexorabili. (Matth. Paris, ii. 654.)
[2 ] Millot, Hist. des Troubadours, ii. 239.
[4 ]Ib. p. 277.—Millot, loc. sup. cit. p. 145.
[1 ] Gaufridi, Hist de Provence, i. 140, et seq.
[1 ] Raynouard, iv. 214.
[2 ] Gaufridi, ut sup. i. 142, 145. Millot, ut sup. ii. 40.
[3 ] Regis parisiani. (Willelm. Brit., ut sup. p. 246.)
[1 ] See ante, Books X. and XI.
[1 ] Script. rer. Gallic. et Francic., iii., v., vi., vii., passim.
[2 ] Marca, Hist. de Bearn, passim.
[1 ] Bascli, seu Basculi, Navarri, Arragonenses.
[1 ] Froissart, (ed. de Denis Sauvage, 1559) vol. iii. cap. cxxxix., p. 358, 359.
[2 ] Rymer, Fædera ii., iii., iv., passim.
[3 ] Froissart, iii., xxii., p. 75.
[4 ]Ib. ii. cap. iii. p. 6.
[1 ] Froissart, ii., cap. iii. p. 6.
[2 ] Rymer, (ed. of the Hague) ii. pars. iv. p. 77.
[1 ] Monstrelet, Chronique, i. 154.
[1 ] Dom Vaissette, ut sup. v. 15.
[2 ] Olhagaray, Hist. de Foix, Bearn et Navarre, p. 352.
[1 ] Chronique Bourdeloise, fol. 24.
[2 ] Monstrelet, iii. 41.
[3 ]Ib. p. 55.
[1 ] Chronique Bourdeloise, fol. 38.
[2 ] Monstrelet, iii. 63.
[1 ] At Bordeaux they were called corretiers. (Chronique Bourdeloise, fol. 36.)
[2 ] Philippe de Comines, Memoires (edit. de Denis Godefroy, 1649), p. 9.
[3 ] Dom Vaissette, ut sup. v. 40.
[1 ] Dom Vaissette, p. 47.
[2 ] Rymer, Fædera, v. pars iii. p. 64.