The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 is in The Chronicles of Froissart.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 88
The Duke Of Gloucester Plots The Destruction Of His Nephew, The King Of England. The King, Having Information Of His Practices, Has Him Arrested By The Earl Marshal.
I have been some time without saying anything of the duke of Gloucester (age 41), the youngest son of the late king Edward of England, for I have not had any cause for so doing. But I will now speak of him, because his heart would no way incline to the French, and he was more pleased than hurt at the melancholy loss they had sustained in Turkey. He had with him a knight called sir John Lackingay, who was his most confidential adviser, and, as it was afterwards discovered, held with him such conversations as the following: "These vainboasting French have been nearly annihilated in Turkey. Such knights and squires as join company with them know not what they are about, and are ill-advised when they do &o, for they are so full of vanity and presumption, that they never can bring to a successful issue anything they undertake. This has often been apparent during the wars of my lord and father, and our brother the prince of Wales, for they never could obtain a victory over our men. I know not why we have any truces with them: if it were war with them, as we have good cause for quarrel, we would wage it now more successfully than ever, for the flower of the French chivalry is slain or in captivity. Our countrymen wish for war, for without it they cannot exist, and idleness to men at arms is death. I swear, therefore, by God, that if I be alive, and in health, two years hence, the war shall be renewed, for I will not keep any truce or peace. The French have shown how little they have regarded them in former times, and have, by whatever treacherous and underhand means they could devise, deprived us of the duchy of Aquitaine, which was given up to my late lord and father, in conformity to a sound treaty of peace. This I have more than once charged them with, in the conference on the other side of the sea; but they made such flourishing and complimentary speeches, they always lighted on their feet, and I was not attended to either by the king or by my brothers. If the king of England (age 29) had a good head, and were as desirous as I am of war, and would take some pains to recover the inheritance they have shamefully stolen from him, he would find one hundred thousand archers and six thousand men at arms willing to cross the sea, and ready to serve him with their lives and fortunes. But things are not so. At this moment we have an unwarlike king, who is indifferent as to arms, otherwise he would show himself in France: for there never was so favourable an opportunity to carry the war thither as at this present moment, since they would be assured of a battle, and the people of this country, who are always eager to fight with those richer than themselves, for the sake of the spoil, would venture boldly, in the hope of having the like success with their ancestors under the king my father, of happy memory, and my brother the prince of Wales.
"I am the last of the royal family of England; but, were I believed, I would be the first to renew the wars, to retaliate for the wrongs that have been done us, and which they are daily doing by the connivance and weakness of our rulers, more particularly of our head the king of England (age 29), who has allied himself by marriage with the daughter (age 7) of his enemy the king of France (age 28). That is a sure proof he will have no war: certainly not: he is too heavy behind, and only wishes for the pleasures of the table and the amusements of ladies. That is not the life for men at arms, who are desirous of renown and profit. I have not forgotten my last expedition through France. I might have had with me about two thousand lances and eight thousand archers. When we crossed the sea, we entered France by way of Calais, and continued our march through the country, without meeting any one to oppose us or offer us battle. Such formerly was the success of sir Robert Knolles (age 71), sir Hugh Calverley, sir Thomas Grandson, sir Philip Gifford; but they had not as many men as I had under their command, and yet they marched to the gates of Paris, and demanded battle from the king of France. No one, however, ventured out to answer their challenge, and they continue their route without interruption into Brittany. You might then have marched from Calais to Bordeaux, without any one daring to oppose you; but I am persuaded whoever should now attempt it would be combated; for he who at present signs himself king of France young, active, and has a strong desire to achieve some gallant enterprise. He would therefor fight with us, whatever might be the consequences, and that is everything we could desire j for it has been by battle and victories over the French, who are so rich, that we are become wealthy: if peace continue, we shall languish and become more enervated than ever, sine my nephew came to the throne of England. Things cannot long remain in this state, before the people will perceive and redress them. The king raises heavy taxes on the merchants, who are greatly discontented: he squanders the money no one knows how, and thus is the kingdom of England impoverished. True it is, that he gives largely to those about him, and in whom he confides, but the people pay for this, and it will shortly cause a rebellion; for they already begin to murmur, and to say publicly that such measures must not longer be suffered. The king (age 29) gives out that as soon as the truces between France and England sha be signed, he will make a voyage to Ireland, and employ there his men at arms and archer He has already been there, and gamed but little, for Ireland is not worth conquering: the Irish are a poor and wicked people, with an impoverished country; and he who should conquer it one year, would lose it the next. Lackingay, Lackingay! all you have just heard me say consider as truth".
Such were the conversations, as it was afterwards known, between the duke of Gloucester (age 41) and his knight. He had conceived a great hatred to his nephew, the king of England (age 29), and could no way speak well of him; and although he was, with his brother of Lancaster (age 56), the greatest personage in England, and one by whose advice the government ought to have been carried on, he paid not any attention to it. When the king (age 29) sent for him, if it was his pleasure he would come, but more frequently he staid at home; and, when he obeyed, he was always the last to come and the first to depart. On giving his opinion, it must be implicitly followed, for he would not suffer it to be contradicted. He then took leave, mounted his horse, and set off for a handsome castle he had in Essex, thirty miles from London, called Pleshy [Map], where he resided more constantly than anywhere else. This lord Thomas (age 41) was a great lord, and could afford to expend annually, from his income, sixty thousand crowns. He was duke of Gloucester, earl of Essex and Buckingham, and constable of England; and, from his rough manner, was more dreaded by the king (age 29) than any other of his uncles, for, in his speech, he never spared him. The king (age 29) was always submissive to him, and whatever he asked was instantly granted. The duke of Gloucester (age 41) had ordered many severe and hasty executions in England, and, without any title of reason or justice, had caused that prudent and gallant knight sir Simon Burley to be beheaded, with many others of the king's council. This duke (age 41) likewise caused the banishment of the archbishop of York (age 43) and the duke of Ireland from England, notwithstanding the confidence the king (age 29) reposed in them, accusing them of giving evil counsel to the king (age 29), keeping him under their governance, and wasting the revenues of the kingdom on themselves. The duke of Gloucester's (age 41) two brothers of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55) resided generally with the king (age 29): he was jealous of them, and said to several (such as Robert1 bishop of London and others) who went to visit him at his castle of Pleshy [Map], that his brothers were too expensive to the king (age 29), and that it would be more decent for them to live at their own houses. The duke (age 41) gained, by every possible means, the love of the Londoners; for he thought, if he acquired popularity with them, the rest of England would follow their example. The duke (age 41) had a nephew, son to his brother Lionel, duke of Clarence, who had married the daughter of Galeas, lord of Milan, and died at Asti in Piedmont. The duke of Gloucester (age 41) would gladly have seen his nephew, called John earl of March2, on the throne of England, and king Richard (age 29) deposed from it, saying he was neither worthy nor capable to hold the government of England; and this opinion he made no secret of to those who were in his confidence. He invited this earl of March to come and see him; and when at Pleshy [Map], he unbosomed himself to him of all the secrets of his heart, telling him that he had been selected for king of England (age 29); that king Richard (age 29) and his queen (age 7) were to be confined, but with ample provision for their maintenance, as long as they lived; and he earnestly besought his nephew to believe all he said, for he should make it a point to put his plans into execution, and that he was already joined by the earl of Arundel, sir John Arundel (age 50), the earl of Warwick, and many prelates and barons of England.
Note 2. "He was third son of Edward Mortimer earl of March, by Philippa, daughter of Lionel duke of Clarence, and was hanged 3d Henry VI. Sandford, p. 224 — Froissart means Roger (age 22), his elder brother, slain in Ireland, 22d Richard II., whose death Richard went over to avenge, when Henry IV. plotted to dethrone him. Ib. p. 226. This Roger (age 22) was declared heir to the crown by parliament, 9th Rich. II. Leland's Collectanea, vol. i. p. 693. — Froissart took the opportunity of the marriage of Lionel and Violanta to visit Italy, and dwells on the solemnities and festivals of the wedding." — Gough's Pleshy, p. 60.
The earl of March (age 22) was thunderstruck on hearing this proposal from his uncle (age 41); but, young as he was, he dissembled his real sentiments, and prudently replied, to please his uncle (age 41) and to get away, that he never thought of such things, and they were of such a magnitude as to require his deliberate consideration. The duke (age 41) then, observing the manner of his nephew, desired he would keep what he had said very secret. This he promised faithfully to do, and, taking his leave, hastened from him, and instantly went to his estates in Ireland: he would never listen nor send any answer to all the proposals his uncle (age 41) made to him, excusing himself honourably from taking part in them, as he foresaw they must end badly. The duke of Gloucester (age 41) employed all possible means to stir up troubles in England, and excite the Londoners against the king (age 29). The year that a truce had been signed between England and France, to last for thirty years, king Richard (age 29) and his queen (age 7) came to London, on their return from France: the duke of Gloucester (age 41) whispered the citizens to petition the king (age 29) to abolish all taxes and subsidies which had been imposed for the last twenty years, as it was reasonable they should now cease, since a truce had been signed for so long a term, and they had been levied solely as war-taxes, to pay the men at arms and archers in support of the war. He told the merchants, "it was hard to pay thirteen florins out of every hundred as a tax on merchandise, which were spent in idle dances and feasts: you pay for them, and are sorely oppressed. Add to your petition a remonstrance for the realm to be governed according to ancient custom and usages, and that whenever there shall be any necessity to raise money for the defence of the kingdom, you will tax yourselves with such sums as shall be satisfactory to the king and his council." This advice of the duke of Gloucester (age 41) was followed by the Londoners, and many of the principal towns. They collected together, and went in a body to the king (age 29) at Eltham [Map], where they demanded redress of what they complained of, and that all taxes which had been raised for the support of the war should be instantly abolished. Only two of the king's uncles were present when the citizens presented their petition and remonstrance, namely, the dukes of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55). The king (age 29) desired they would answer the Londoners and the other citizens who had accompanied them, but particularly the duke of Lancaster (age 56); who said to them, — "My fair sirs, you will now, each of you, return to your homes, and, within a month from this day, come to the palace of Westminster, when the king, his nobles and prelates of the council, shall be assembled, and your petition and remonstrance be taken into consideration. What shall then be thought right to maintain or abolish will be determined upon, and you may depend on having such redress as ought to satisfy you."
This answer contented some, but not all; for there were among them rebels attached to the duke of Gloucester (age 41), who wanted a more speedy decision of their demands; but the dukes of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55) appeased them by gentle words, and they all departed. The matter, however, did not rest here; but at the month's end they again went to the king (age 29) at Westminster, who was surrounded by his nobles and prelates. The duke of Gloucester (age 41) was now present, and leant much to the petitioners; but, in the answer which was made to them, he dissembled his real thoughts, in order that the king (age 29), his brothers, and the members of the council, might not notice them. The duke of Lancaster (age 56) replied for the king, and, addressing himself to the Londoners, as they composed the majority, said, — "Ye citizens of London, it pleases my lord the king that I give an answer to your petition: in obedience to his command, I shall declare to you what the king (age 29) and his council have determined upon. Ye know, that to provide against dangers to the kingdom, ye, as well as the other cities and towns within the realm, agreed, about six years ago, that a tax of thirteen per cent, should be laid on all merchandise that was sold, and for which the. king granted to you many privileges such as he will not take from you, but on the contrary may augment, if ye prove not undeserving of the favour. But since ye seem now to turn rebellious, and draw back from what ye had willingly before agreed to, he recals his former favours: and here are his nobles and prelates, who hare sworn to support him in all his lawful measures to the utmost of their power, and are now willing to continue their aid in maintaining all legal grants. Consider, therefore, calmly, this matter, and that the state of the king (age 29) demands great expense; if his revenue is augmented one way, it is diminished another; besides, his receipts are not so considerable as they were in former times. The war has involved greater costs than were provided for. The expenses of the ambassadors for the peace, on this and on the other side of the sea, have called for large sums; and those for the king's marriage have been very great. Although there is now a truce between England and France, the annual charges for the garrisons of the different towns and castles under the obedience of the king in Gascony, the Bourdelois, Bayonnois, and Bigorre, are very heavy. The fleet which must be maintained to guard our coasts and harbours costs a great deal. The frontiers of Scotland, and of our possessions in Ireland, must not be left defenceless, and they demand large sums. All these articles, and several others relating to the state of the king and country of England, annually absorb great sums, which the nobles and prelates understand and know much better than you can, who attend only to your trades and the disposal of your wares. Give thanks to God that ye have peace, and consider that no one pays that is not liable so to do, and carries on a trade, and that foreigners pay this tax as well as yourselves. Ye are much better off than those of France, Lombardy, or other countries, where it is to be hoped your merchandise is carried; for they are taxed and taxed over again three or four times a-year, while ye only have a moderate duty imposed on your wares." The duke of Lancaster (age 56) addressed them so mildly and calmly, that although they came thither with the worst intentions from the machinations of others, they were satisfied; and the assembly broke up without making any new demand, for the deputies from the majority of the principal towns were contented with the answer. There were some who would have rejoiced to have seen the meeting- end differently, though they did not show it openly. The duke of Gloucester (age 41) returned to his castle of Pleshy [Map], perceiving that this time he was disappointed in his expectations, and was constantly devising means of exciting disturbances in England and causing a rupture with France. In this attempt, he was joined by the uncle of his duchess (age 30), the earl of Arundel (age 50) who was desirous of war above all things; and they had successfully practised with the earl of Warwick (age 58), so that he obeyed their wills.
The king of England (age 29) had two brothers by his mother's side; the eldest, Thomas earl of Kent (age 46); the youngest, a valiant knight, sir John Holland (age 44) earl of Huntingdon, and chamberlain of England. The last was married to a daughter (age 33) of the duke of Lancaster (age 56); and it was he who had killed the earl of Stafford's son, as has been mentioned in this history. The issue of the earl of Stafford was a young squire, who was under the protection and wardship of the duke of Gloucester (age 41). The earl of Huntingdon (age 44) resided chiefly at the court of his brother the king of England (age 29), and was better acquainted than any other with the intrigues of the of duke of Gloucester (age 41), from the private inquiries he made into his conduct. He was much afraid of the duke (age 41), for he knew him to be proud, cruel, and passionate: he nourished his enemy under his eye, for the crime he had committed on the earl of Stafford's son had never been forgiven. King Richard (age 29) was naturally fond of his brother, and supported him against all: he saw with pain that his uncle of Gloucester (age 41) was his enemy, and took much trouble to form a partv against him to force him to leave the kingdom. He and the earl of Huntingdon conversed frequently on this subject; during which time, the count de Saint Pol (age 26) arrived in England, whither he had been sent by the king of France (age 28) to see his daughter, the young queen of England (age 7), how they were going on, and to cultivate affection between the two countries; for, since the truce had been signed, it was the intention of the two kings and their councils, that France and England should be on the most friendly terms with each other, in spite of what their ill-wishers might attempt to the contrary.
The king (age 29) and the earl of Huntingdon (age 46) made the count de Saint Pol (age 26) a hearty welcome on his arrival, as well from love to the king of France as because he had married their sister. -At this moment, neither the dukes of Lancaster nor of York were with the king; for they began to dissemble with him, and to suspect, from the great murmurings in many parts of England on the king's conduct, that affairs would not end well: they therefore wished not to be called upon by the king or people, but left the whole to the duke of Gloucester and his accomplices. The king of England (age 29) discoursed very freely with the count de Saint Pol (age 26), as well on the state of the country as concerning his uncle the duke of Gloucester (age 41), whom he described as very rough in his manners and rebellious in his conduct, and he related to him various instances of his slights. The count de Saint Pol, on hearing them, was much surprised, and replied, "that such behaviour ought not longer to be borne; for, my lord," added he, "if you suffer him to go on, he will be your ruin. It is currently reported in France, that his only object is to break the truce and renew the war between France and England: by little and little he will win the hearts of the more indigent men at arms of the country, who wish for war rather than peace; and if such persons unite together and hostilities commence, the more prudent part of the nation will not be listened to; for where wickedness and obstinacy govern, wisdom and common sense are not heard. Take your precautions beforehand; for it is better you make your enemies afraid of you, than that you should fear them." These words of the count made a deep impression on the king's mind; and, as he was continually thinking on them, he renewed the subject with the earl of Huntingdon (age 46), on the count de Saint Pol's return to France. The earl replied, " My lord, our brother-in-law Saint Pol has told you the real truth, and I would advise you to take measures accordingly."
I was informed, that about a month after the departure of the count de Saint Pol (age 26) from England, the king (age 29) became exceedingly unpopular: it was rumoured that the count had come to treat with the king for the restoration of Calais to the French. Nothing could have agitated the English more than such reports; and the people were so uneasy, that the Londoners went even to Pleshy [Map], to consult the duke of Gloucester (age 41) on the occasion. The duke, instead of calming, excited them more by saying, "He could do nothing in the business; for he was sure the French would give all the daughters of their king, if they could recover Calais." This answer made the Londoners very melancholy; and they said they would see the king, and remonstrate with him on the agitation the whole country was in. "Do so," replied the duke of Gloucester: "remonstrate with him firmly, and make him fear you. Mark well the answer he shall give, so that you may repeat it to me the next time I see you; and, when I know his answer, I will then give you my advice how to act. It may be that some iniquitous treaties are on foot, for the earl marshal (age 28), who is governor of Calais, has been twice at Paris, where he remained some time, and he was the most active in concluding the marriage of the king (age 29) with the lady Isabella (age 7). The French are a subtle race, and see far into consequences: they pursue their object by degrees, and are extravagant in their promises and presents to gain their ends."
The Londoners pursued the plan they had settled at Pleshy [Map], and went to Eltham [Map] to speak with the king. At that time were with him his two brothers, the earls of Kent (age 46) and Huntingdon (age 44), the earl of Salisbury (age 46), the archbishop of Canterbury, the archbishop of Dublin, his confessor, sir Thomas Percy (age 53), sir William Lisle, sir Richard Credon, sir John Golofre, and several more, all knights of the king's chamber. The citizens remonstrated temperately with the king: told him the cause of their coming, not in a haughty or harsh manner, but with courteous speech, and repeated to him the reports which were so current throughout England. The king was greatly astonished at hearing them, and was much affected, though he dissembled his feelings. He appeased the citizens, by declaring there was not one word of truth in all the rumours that were so industriously circulated: that the count de Saint Pol had come hither to amuse himself, and that the king of France had also sent him, out of his affection to the king and queen of England, to see them; but he swore, as God might help him, and on the faith he owed the crown of England, that no treaty of any sort had ever been mentioned, and he was astonished whence such scandalous reports could have arisen. "When the king had done speaking, the earl of Salisbury (age 46) addressed the citizens: "my good people of London, withdraw to your homes, and be assured that the king and his council wish for nothing more than the honour and profit of England. Those who have busily said the contrary have been ill advised, and plainly show they would with pleasure see the country in trouble, and the people in rebellion against their king. This you ought particularly to dread, for you have before witnessed how near you were to destruction, when a few wicked persons rebelled, but were severely punished for it: depend upon it, that when the people are wicked, neither justice nor truth will be attended to." These speeches appeased the citizens, who were tolerably contented with what they had heard. Having taken leave of the king, they departed, on their return to London.
The king (age 29) remained at Eltham [Map], very melancholy at the words he had heard. He retained near his person his two brothers, and such of his friends as he had the greatest confidence in; for he began to doubt the affection of his uncles, from observing they now chiefly resided at their country-seats. He was, in consequence, very suspicious of them, especially of the duke of Gloucester (age 41), whom he feared more than the dukes of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55), and kept up a constant guard, night and day, of one thousand archers. The king of England had received positive information that the duke of Gloucester (age 41) and the earl of Arundel (age 50) had plotted to seize his person, and that of the queen (age 7), and carry them to a strong castle, where they should be confined under proper guards, but allowed sufficiently for their table and other necessary expenses. That four regents should be appointed over the kingdom, of whom the dukes of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55) were to be the chief, and have under them the government of all the northern parts, from the Thames to the Tyne, and as far as the Tweed, that runs by Berwick, comprehending all Northumberland, and the borders of Scotland. The duke of Gloucester (age 41) was to have for his government London, Essex, and that part of the country to the mouth of the Humber, and likewise all the coast from the Thames to the water of Southampton, and westward comprehending Cornwall. The earl of Arundel (age 50) was to have Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, and all the country from the Thames to Bristol and the river Severn, that divides England from Wales, where there are very extensive lordships, with power of punishing by death all offenders. But their chief design was to find out some means of rekindling the war with France; and, if the king of France (age 28) wished to have his daughter (age 7) again, it might be done, for she was still very young, not more than eight years and a half old, and, perchance, when she was marriageable, she might repent of this connexion, for she was innocently, and without her being able to judge for herself, married and, beside, it was unjust to break off her match with the heir of Brittany; but should she wish to abide by her marriage, she would in justice remain queen of England, and enjoy her dower, but she should never be the companion of the king of England. Should the king die before she was of a proper age, she was to be sent back to France.
These were the plans that had been concerted by many of the English, particularly the Londoners, for they hated the king (age 29), and several now repented they had checked the mobs which attacked London from the different counties of England; for they had determined, according to their confessions when put to death, to murder the king, the earl of Salisbury (age 46), the earl of Oxford (age 58), and the whole of the king's council. Had this been done, the kingdom would soon have found another head; and the citizens, with the consent of the country, and the aid of the duke of Gloucester (who took great pains to excite trouble and confusion), would have selected a fit person to wear the crown, and placed the government and kingdom in a different state to what it then was. Such were the secret murmurings of the citizens, and others of their party, in their private meetings, the whole of which was told to the king by his spy; and greater blame was laid on the duke of Gloucester for all this business than on any other person.
It is not to be wondered, if the king was considerably alarmed at the discovery of so much hatred and malice lurking against him. He paid greater court than ever to the duke of Gloucester (age 41) and the citizens when they came to see him, but all in vain. At times, the king mentioned the matter privately to the dukes of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55), who resided more with him than his uncle of Gloucester, and consulted with them how he could avoid the machinations of the duke and his accomplices, all of which he was thoroughly acquainted with. He addressed his uncles, saying, — "My good uncles, for the love of God, advise me how to act. I am daily informed that your brother, the duke of Gloucester, and the earl of Arundel (age 50), with others, are determined to seize and confine me in one of their castles, and that the Londoners will join them. Their plan is to allow me a sufficiency for my state, but to separate my queen (age 7) from me, who is but a child, and daughter to the king of France (age 28), and send her to some other place of confinement. Now, my dear uncles, such cruel acts as these must not be suffered, if they can be prevented. You have paid me homage, and sworn obedience to me as your sovereign, in the presence of your lord and father, king Edward, and my grandfather of happy memory, at the same time with the other barons and prelates of the realm. It is now twenty years since this was done; and I entreat you, therefore, from the love you bear me, and on the oaths you have taken, that you assist me on this occasion; for everything assures me the duke of Gloucester only desires that war be renewed with France, in spite of the truces which you, with us and all England, have sworn to observe. In consideration of this was my marriage concluded with the daughter of the king of France, and we wish to observe every article of the treaty most punctually. You know also, that whoever attempts to infringe this truce will commit a crime, and be liable to corporal punishment, as well as confiscation of goods: you likewise know, that I have borne with your brother, my uncle of Gloucester, as much as I have been able, and made light of his menaces, but in the end they may cost me dear. You are bound, therefore, by every tie, to give your best advice, since I require it from you." When the dukes of Lancaster and of York heard their nephew thus address them, and saw that he was in great anguish of heart; knowing, at the same time, that the greater part of what he had said was strictly true; they replied, — "My lord, have a little patience, and wait a short time before you make any rash resolutions. We know that our brother of Gloucester has the most passionate and wrong-headed temper of any man in England; but he cannot do more than man, and, if he work one way, we will counteract him another: you need not fear our brother so long as you shall follow our advice. He talks frequently of things he cannot execute; and neither he nor his abettors can break the truce which has been signed, nor confine you in any castle: we will never suffer it, nor that you be separated from the queen; for, if he imagine such things, he deceives himself. We therefore humbly beg you will be appeased, for, please God, everything shall end well. In any things may be said that cannot be executed, and all which a man thinketh doth not come to pass."
By such means, the dukes calmed the king's mind; but as they foresaw that public affairs would, from their bad management, cause troubles in the realm, and that the hatred between their nephew and brother was daily increasing, to avoid being called upon by either party, they left the king's household with their families, taking leave of the king for a considerable time, and retired to their different castles. The duke of Lancaster (age 56) carried with him his duchess, who had been some time the companion of the young queen of England (age 7). They took this opportunity of hunting stags and deer, as is the custom in England, and the king remained with his attendants in and about London. They afterwards, however, greatly repented having left the king; for such things shortly happened as troubled the whole kingdom, which would not have been done had they remained with the king, for they would have more prudently advised than such counsellors as he listened to.
There was not one of the king's servants that did not fear the duke of Gloucester (age 41), and wish his death, no matter by what means. That gallant and loyal knight, sir Thomas Percy (age 53), had been for a long time steward of the household, and all the accounts passed officially through his hands. He noticed with grief the hatred that subsisted between the king and the duke of Gloucester, and other great barons of England. Although he was beloved by all, he foresaw, like a man of understanding, that public affairs would end badly, and, in consequence, resigned his office into the king's hands in the most honourable manner he could, and requested permission to retire, which the king very unwillingly consented to. He gave such plausible reasons for his request, that another was established in his place, and sir Thomas Percy (age 53) went to his own estate, where he resided. The king had about his person many young counsellors, who too much dreaded the duke of Gloucester: they frequently said to him, — "Very dear sire, it is a dangerous office to serve you, for we have seen our predecessors, in whom you had great confidence, meet but a poor reward. That valiant knight, sir Simon Burley, so much beloved by your lord and father, whom God pardon! and who took such pains for the accomplishment of your first marriage, the duke of Gloucester (age 41), your uncle, put shamefully to death, by having him publicly beheaded like a traitor. He likewise, as you know, had many others arbitrarily executed without your being any way able to grant them your pardon, or save them from their ignominious deaths. Dear sire, we expect nothing better; for whenever your uncle cometh hither to see you, which is not often, we dare not raise our eyes from the ground nor look at any body. He eyes us from head to foot, and seems to think we take too much upon us from being about your person; and he assured, dear sire, that as long as he lives, there will never be quiet in England, nor will any one attempt to do anything good. Besides, he publicly threatens to confine you and the queen, and keep you under subjection during his good pleasure. You will be an undone king, and destroyed as well as us, if you do not speedily take some strong measures. As for the queen (age 7), she need not care: she is young, and daughter to the king of France (age 28), whom they dare not anger, as too many evils would result from it to England. Your uncle of Gloucester, to make you more unpopular with your subjects, spreads abroad in London (we have heard it), that you are unworthy to bear a crown, and to possess so noble an inheritance as England and its dependencies; that, when you married again, you chose the daughter of your adversary the king of France, for which you were very blameworthy; and that you have debased the chivalry of England, and the courage of its knights squires, and nobles, who had so valiantly carried on the war against France, and would have continued it, enfeebled as they are, if you had not prevented them; that you have placed the kingdom in a most perilous situation, with great risk of its destruction, and that it is a pity you are suffered, and have been suffered, to reign so long. The French say (as the common report runs), that you intend to lay aside the arms of France from your arms, which causeth great hatred against you; and it is the more readily believed from the great pains you took to have the truce signed, which was done more through force than love, for the nobles of this country who had served in these wars would not assent to it: that you have not carefully examined the treaties signed by king John of France and his children, which those of his blood, now living, have treacherously infringed; and that the French, by underhand means, caused a renewal of war, and seized by usurpation the rights of your predecessors, and possessed themselves of very many towns, cities, and castles in Aquitaine, to the great loss of the crown of England, and all through your negligence and want of courage: that you have been afraid of your enemies, and not followed up the advantages you had in the justice of this quarrel, which you still have as well as your ancestors, who immediately have preceded you, such as your lord and father the prince of Wales, and the good king Edward, who both took such pains to augment the glory of the crown. Dear sire, the Londoners say, as indeed do numbers of others (which it behoves us not to conceal longer from you), that a day shall come when you will be reminded of these things to your cost."
King Richard (age 41) treasured up all these speeches in his mind, and pondered over them continually. Shortly after the departure of his two uncles of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55), he summoned up more courage than usual, and said to himself, that it would be better he should destroy than be destroyed, and, that, within a short time, he would hold his uncle of Gloucester (age 41) so securely, he should be incapable of injuring him. As he could not accomplish this alone, he opened himself to those most in his confidence. It was to the earl marshal (age 28), who was his cousin, and also earl of Nottingham, that he discovered his intention, and most minutely gave him his orders how he was to act. The earl-marshal (age 28), from the favours he had received, loved the king in preference to the duke of Gloucester (age 41), and kept the secret he had been entrusted with from all but such as he was forced to employ, as he could not do the whole himself. What I am about to say will explain the matter.
The king (age 29), under pretence of deer-hunting, went to a palace he had at Havering-at-the-Bower [Map], in Essex: it is about twenty miles from London, and as many from Pleshy [Map], where the duke of Gloucester generally resided. The king set out one afternoon from Havering, without many attendants, for he had left them behind with the queen at Eltham, and arrived at Pleshy [Map] about five o'clock: the weather was very hot; and he came so suddenly to the castle, that no one knew of it, until the porter cried out, "Here is the king!" The duke of Gloucester had already supped, for he was very temperate in his diet, and never sat long at dinner or supper. He immediately went out to meet the king in the court of the castle, and paid him all the respect due to his sovereign, as did the duchess (age 30) and her children.
The king entered the hall and the apartment, where the table was again laid out for the king, who ate some little; but he had before told the duke, "Good uncle, have your horses saddled, not all, but five or six, for you must accompany me to London, as I am to have a meeting to-morrow with the citizens; and we shall surely meet my uncles of Lancaster and York, but I shall advise with you what answer to make to the Londoners' demands. Tell your house-steward to follow us with your servants to London, where they will find you." The duke, suspecting nothing evil intended against him, too easily consented; and the king, having soon supped, rose from table. Everything being ready, the king took leave of the duchess (age 30) and her children, mounted his horse, and the duke did the same, attended only by three squires and four varlets. They took their way to Bondelay, to avoid the high road to London and Brentwood, with the other towns through which it passes. They rode hard, for the king pretended impatience to get to London, and conversed all the way with the duke of Gloucester. On their arrival at Stratford, near the Thames, where an ambuscade had been laid, the king galloped forwards, leaving his uncle behind, on which the earl-marshal (age 28) advanced to the rear of the duke (age 41), with a large body of men, and said, "I arrest you in the king's name." The duke was panic-struck, for he saw he had been betrayed, and cried aloud after the king. I know not if the king heard him, but he did not turn back, galloping on faster than before, and followed by his attendants.
We will now leave this matter for a short time.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 89
The Lord de Coucy And The Count D'Eu, Constable Of France, die in Turkey, before the Treaty for their deliverance is arranged. A ransom is agreed on for the other prisoners who were taken at the Battle of Nicopoli
1397. You have before heard how sir John de Chateaumorant and sir James de Helly were sent by the king of France (age 28) and the duke of Burgundy (age 54) as ambassadors to Bajazet (age 37), in Turkey, and of the success of their mission. On their return to France they were well received by the king (age 28), the duke (age 54) and duchess (age 49) of Burgundy, from the certain intelligence they had brought from the count de Nevers (age 25) and his fellow-prisoners. These knights told the king (age 28) they thought the sultan would readily listen to terms for their ransom, for they had been so given to understand by some of his principal advisers, lest the prisoners might die while in captivity, which was likely enough to happen, from the difference of air and diet, and they would not in that case gain anything by them. These words encouraged the duke (age 54) and duchess (age 49) to exert themselves in procuring the ransom of their son and heir, and they were occupied day and night in devising means to open negotiations with the sultan. The duchess (age 49) said this battle of Nicopoli had been very unfortunate to her, for she had lost by it three of her brothers, who were gallant knights in arms: the first, the haze de Flandres, the second, sir Louis de Breze, and the third, sir John d' Ypres: there was another brother, the youngest of them, who had remained at home. To say the truth, the duchess (age 49) had grief enough, and it was not surprising if she was melancholy, but the duke (age 54) and his advisers calmed her, by their earnestness in procuring her son's liberty: this was not, however, soon done, for the distance and difficulty of treating with such people forced them to go about the business leisurely.
1397. About the time I am now speaking of, that gallant knight and excellent man the lord Enguerrand de Coucy, count de Soissons (age 57), and a potent lord in France, died at Bursa in Turkey. Sir Robert d'Esne, who had been sent to him by the lady de Coucy, had not advanced further than Vienna, on his journey thither, when he was informed of his death. He returned with this news to France, and told it to the family of the lord de Coucy, though not to the widow, before whom he did not appear until the governor of the castle of Saint Gobin was sent to seek the body, have it embalmed, and brought to France. It was conveyed to the abbey of Nogent near to Coucy, and received by the duchess of Bar (age 52), the bishop of Laon, and many abbots: there the gentle knight was buried, and thus ended the year of grace 1397.
1397. The king of France (age 28) and the duke of Burgundy (age 54) were very active in their endeavours to abridge the captivity of their friends in Turkey, and there passed not a day without their having some conversation on the subject. Sir Dinde de Desponde was of all their consultations, and said the Venetian or Genoese merchants could alone assist them; for by means of merchandise, which governs everything, and their connexions with other merchants, they could pass everywhere, and learn the temper of the infidel sultans. They had great weight, particularly in Cairo, Alexandria, Damascus, and Antioch, where they had factories, and the Saracens and Christians mutually interchanged their merchandises. The king (age 28) and the duke (age 54), therefore, made as many friends among these merchants as they could, and gave up all intentions of making war on the duke of Milan from the friendship they learnt Bajazet (age 37) bore him. On the other hand, king James of Cyprus (age 63) knew well, that if he could any how soften the anger of the sultan, and prevail on him to accept of reasonable terms for the ransom of the French lords, he should greatly oblige the king of France (age 28), the duke of Burgundy (age 54), and the whole of the nation. To accomplish this, the king of Cyprus had a ship made of gold, curiously wrought, that might be worth ten thousand ducats, which he sent by his knights as a present to the sultan Bajazet (age 37). It was beautifully worked, and was graciously accepted by the sultan, who replied, he would return him double its value in courtesy and affection. This answer brought back by the Cypriote knights, was instantly made known to the king of France (age 28) and the duke of Burgundy (age 54) by some merchants, who wrote to sir Dinde that he might inform them of it. King James (age 63) was wise in making this present: he dreaded the king of France (age 28), and all kings, for having murdered in the night-time his valiant brother, king Peter, who had fought so courageously against the Saracens, and had won from them the towns of Satalia and Alexandria; and they were more afraid of him than of all the other kings or emperors in Christendom.
1397. King James (age 63) had sorely repented having committed this crime, or being present when it was done; and, not daring to continue in Cyprus, for the Christians would have put him to a disgraceful death, could they have caught him, he embarked on board a galley belonging to some Genoese merchants which was in the port of Nicosia, where the murder had been done, and fled to Genoa. The Genoese kindly entertained him, and some say that this villanous murder had been instigated by them; for, shortly after, they entered the harbour of Famagousta with a large fleet of galleys and men at arms, which they took possession of, and have held by force ever since. True it is, that the late king of Cyprus had a very promising youth for his son, whom he brought with him, in company with a knight who had travelled through Lombardy to Rome, the last time he had crossed the sea: this youth the Cypriotes crowned their king on the assassination of his father, but he lived not long to enjoy it. On his death, the Genoese brought back James (age 63), whom they had crowned king, and he has reigned ever since in Cyprus, through the support the Genoese give him against all nations. They would never give up possession of the town or port of Famagousta, and are the masters of it at this present moment of my writing these chronicles. Indeed, had the Genoese not held it, the Turks and infidels would have conquered the whole of the island, as well as Rhodes and the other adjacent islands; but the Venetians and Genoese are their great opponents. When the last saw that the kingdom of Armenia was conquered by the Turks, they seized the town of Courch, that is situated on the sea-shore, which they have kept under their governance. The Turks, were they not fearful of Courch and Pera, near Constantinople, would do the greatest mischief to all who navigate those seas, as well as to Rhodes and the neighbouring islands. It is by these means the frontiers of Christendom are defended; but let us return to king James of Cyprus (age 63). "When he found, from the base crime he had been guilty of, he was fallen under the displeasure and hatred of every crowned head, he exerted himself to the utmost to recover their favour, and thought himself highly honoured by the letter the king of France had written to him. He was afraid of him, and not without reason, for the duke of Bourbon, uncle to the king of France, was, by right of succession through the Lusignans, the true heir to the throne of Cyprus. This king James (age 63), although brother to the late king, was not so by lawful marriage, but a bastard, as was well known to the Genoese. When they gave him the crown they mutually entered into special treaties with each other; and the Genoese bound themselves to defend his and his descendants' rights to the government against all claimants: in consideration of which, they had many lordships and tracts of land yielded up to them in the island of Cyprus. Every thing they did in the defence of king James was to strengthen themselves against the Venetians, and to open greater markets for their trade with the Saracens, for, as factors, they have many connexions with them and others of their faith. King James, through the Genoese, took great pains to please the king of France (age 28) and his subjects, and it was in consequence of this he had made Bajazet (age 37) so very rich a present, which was highly pleasing to the sultan and his ministers, who valued it much. It was supposed by many, that sir Dinde Desponde had urged on the Genoese in this matter, as they were very warm in their endeavours to bring about a treaty for the deliverance of the count de Nevers (age 25) and the other prisoners.
1397. The duke (age 54) and duchess (age 49) of Burgundy heard, with infinite pleasure, that the sultan began to tire of his prisoners, and would readily enter into a treaty for their liberty. They selected a valiant knight from the country of Flanders, called sir Guissebreth de Linrenghen, who was regent of Flanders under the duke (age 54) and duchess (age 49) of Burgundy, to go to Turkey and treat with Bajazet (age 37) for the ransom of the French lords. At the same time they sent for sir James de Helly, and entreated that he would accompany their ambassador, because he was well acquainted with the countries he was to travel through, and with the court of the sultan, promising that his trouble and attention should be handsomely remunerated. Sir James, having promised to fulfil their commands, set out in company with the Flemish knight: on their arrival in Hungary, they waited on the king, to deliver the letters which were intrusted to them. The king received the letters and knights with joy, in compliment to the king of France (age 28): he was before acquainted with sir James de Helly. They informed the king, the object of their mission to Bajazet (age 37) was to treat for the release of his prisoners, if he were inclined to listen to them. The king of Hungary replied, that it would be well done if they could obtain their liberty for money: and the attempt was worth trying, for nothing could be lost by that. He offered them every assistance in his power, of money or men, for which the knights thanked him.
1397. They had many difficulties to encounter, before they could enter into a personal treaty with Bajazet (age 37); for it was first necessary that sir James de Helly should wait on the sultan to obtain a passport for sir Guissebreth de Linrenghen to travel through Turkey, which having been properly made out he returned with it to Hungary. They journeyed to Turkey together; and Bajazet (age 37) received the regent of Flanders with kindness, and listened to his proposals, which formed the basis for a treaty. At this time there lived a Genoese merchant called Bartholomeo Pelegrini, in the island of Scio, who was universally esteemed for his probity and knowledge in trade, even by Bajazet (age 37) himself: to him sir Dinde de Desponde had written to interest himself in the business, that it might have a more speedy termination, for they were well known to each other, and promised him a handsome recompense, if successful in obtaining the French lords' liberty, from the duke (age 54) and duchess (age 49) of Burgundy, and other lords and ladies who had friends or husbands in the power of Bajazet (age 37). He entreated him to take upon himself the debt for their ransom, however large the sum, and to conduct the French lords to Venice, or to some part under the government of the Venetian? and that the moment he should be assured from him of their arrival thither, he would, without delay, hasten to Venice in person, with the amount of the sum to repay him what he had expended. The Genoese merchant complied with the request of sir Dinde, as well from personal regard to him, as for the profit and honour he should acquire by it, and for the esteem he should gain from the king of France (age 28); for, from such a king, it was worth having. From the infonnation I had, I am inclined to believe that the king of Cyprus sent some of bis ablest counsellors to push forward the negociations with the sultan, in compliance with tlie solicitations of the king of France (age 28) and the duke of Burgundy (age 54). The lords de Mathelin and d' Amine, two great barons of Greece, and much in favour with Bajazet (age 37), interfered also in the matter, according to the requests that had been made them from France otherwise they would not have troubled themselves about it.
1397. Turkey was an extensive country, and not convenient to travel through, to those unaccustomed to it: Bajazet (age 37), therefore, as soon as he had consented to a treaty, resolved that all the French prisoners should be conveyed to Bursa, where the whole business should be concluded. Those lords were brought thither, to the amount of twenty-five; but their conductors, the Turks, treated them scandalously on the road, by beating them forward, for they had purposely badly mounted them, and their horses would only go at a foot's pace: for this they were beaten by the Turks, who heard, very unwillingly, that they were to have their liberty. On their arrival at Bursa, where the negociators from the king of France (age 28), the duke of Burgundy (age 54), the king of Cyprus, the Venetians and Genoese were waiting to receive them, they had more liberty than when in the prisons of the sultan: but, notwithstanding it was known they were to be ransomed, they were so closely guarded that they could not obtain a fourth part of their wishes. Among the differerent persons who were at Bursa on account of the treaty, Bajazet (age 37) inclined more to sir Guissebreth de Linrenwhen, for sir James de Helly had told him he was regent of Flanders and the most confidential counsellor of the duke of Burgundy (age 54). The sultan resided in a handsome castle near Bursa, and where the negotiators went to discuss matters with him: the ransom for the twenty-five prisoners was fixed at two hundred thousand ducats. The lords de Mathelin and d' Amine, with the Genoese merchant of Scio, pledged themselves to the sultan for the due payment of it. The count de Nevers (age 25) gave his oath to the merchant, for himself and the rest, that on his arrival at Venice, he would never depart thence until the whole of this sum were paid to his satisfaction. Before the treaties were concluded, the count d'Eu was so much weakened by sickness, change of air, and diet he had not been accustomed to, that he departed this life at Haute-loge, where he had been confined with the other lords, who were much afflicted thereat, though they could not any way prevent it. The lord Philip d'Artois, count d'Eu and constable of France, was, when dead, opened and embalmed, and in this state put into a coffin and carried to France, where he lies buried in the church of Saint Laurence at Eu.
1397. When the sultan Bajazet (age 37) was completely satisfied as to the security of those who had pledged themselves for the payment of the two hundred thousand ducats as the ransom for the French lords, the two ambassadors from the duke of Burgundy (age 54) were impatient to return to France, and carry the joyful news of their success to the king and other lords so greatly interested in it. They took leave of Bajazet (age 37) and those of his court they were the most intimate with; and, as the regent of Flanders was in his favour, the gallant sultan ordered, that twenty thousand ducats should be deducted from the two hundred thousand he was to receive, and given to the two knights, in consideration of the great pains they had taken to accomplish these treaties. The two knights gratefully thanked the sultan, as they had reason, for his magnificent gift, and, after taking leave of the Turkish court and the French lords, returned to Bursa. They there left the count de Nevers (age 25) and his companions, waiting the lords de Mathelin1 and d' Amine, who were to come for them in their galley, and embarked on board a small passage-galley for Mathelin. On quitting the harbour, the sea was calm and the weather temperate; but they had not advanced far before it changed, and at length became so tempestuous that sir Guissebreth, sorely tormented by sea-sickness, died before they could reach Mathelin. Sir James de Helly was much grieved for his loss, and, engaging a Venetian galley, sailed to Rhodes. He published everywhere the deliverance and speedy arrival of the count de Nevers (age 25) and his companions, to the great joy of the knights of Rhodes. On his arrival in France, he made the king, the duke (age 54) and duchess (age 49) of Burgundy, and the nation, happy by the good news he had brought. Sir James spoke loudly in the praise of his companion, sir Guissebreth, and of the great pains he took to conclude the treaty.
Note 1. D. Sauvage supposes, in a marginal note, this must be the lord of the island of Mitelino, hut confesses his ignorance of the other.
1397. The sultan Bajazet (age 37), having had every thing respecting the ransom of his French prisoners settled to his satisfaction, resolved on allowing them more liberty, for indeed they were now no longer prisoners, and invited them to his presence before the departure of the ambassadors, to show them the magnificence of his establishments. They were said to be very grand indeed; and immense numbers were daily attendant on his person. He sent some of his principal lords to invite the count de Nevers (age 25) and his companions to the castle, where he received and entertained them handsomely: he ordered all things they might want to be delivered out to them by his officers, as was the usual custom of his court. The sultan conversed daily with the count de Nevers (age 25), by means of an interpreter, and paid him much respect, for he knew that he was, or would be, a very great lord in France, by the great exertions that were made, and the large sum paid for his ransom, which was enough to satisfy his avarice, having securities for the amount of one million of florins. The other French lords were equally astonished with the count de Nevers (age 25) at the power and state of Bajazet (age 37). He was attended by such numbers, that they were always encamped, for no town could lodge them; and the expense must have been very great to supply so many with food. It was surprising where such quantities came from, notwithstanding the natives of warm climates are very temperate in their diet, eating but little meat, living on spices and sugar, of which they have abundance, as well as goats' milk, the common beverage of the Turks and Saracens, and they have plenty of bread made of millet.
1397. The sultan had at this time seven thousand falconers, and as many huntsmen: you may suppose from this the grandeur of his establishments. One day, in the presence of the count de Nevers (age 25), he flew a falcon at some eagles; the flight did not please him; and he was so wroth, that, for this fault, he was on the point of beheading two thousand of his falconers, scolding them exceedingly for want of diligence in their care of his hawks, when the one he was fond of had behaved so ill. Another time, when the count de Nevers (age 25) and the French barons were with the sultan, a poor woman came to him in tears, to demand justice against one of his servants, and said, - "Sultan, I address myself to thee, as my sovereign, and complain of one of thy servants, who is I understand, attached to thy person. He this morning entered my house, and seized by force the goat milk I had provided for myself and children, and drank it against my will. I told him that I should complain to thee of this outrage, but I had no sooner uttered the words, than he gave me two great cuffs, and would not leave me, though I ordered him in thy name. Sultan, do me justice, as thou hast sworn to thy people thou wouldest, that I may be satisfied, this injury be punished, and that every one may know thou wilt see the meanest of thy subjects righted."
1397. The sultan was very rigidly determined that all crimes committed within his dominions should be severely punished: he therefore listened to her attentively, and said he would do her justice. He then ordered the varlet to be brought, and confronted with the woman, who repeated her complaint. The varlet, who dreaded Bajazet (age 37), began to make excuses, saying it was all false. The woman told a plain tale, and persisted in its truth. The sultan stopped her, and said, - "Woman, consider well thy accusation; for, if I find thou hast told me a lie, thou shalt suffer death." "Sir," replied the woman," I consent to it; for were it not true, I could have no reason to come before thee, and I only ask for justice." "I will do it," answered the. sultan, "for I have so sworn, and indiscriminately to every man or woman within my dominions." He then ordered the varlet to be seized, and to have his belly opened, for otherwise he would not have known if he had drank the milk or not. It was there found, for it had not had time to be digested; and the sultan, on seeing it, said to the woman, "Thou hadst just cause of complaint: now go thy way, for the injury done tlieo has been punished." She was likewise paid for her loss. This judgment of Bajazet (age 37) was witnessed by the French lords, who were at the time in his company.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 90
The French Lords Who Had Been Prisoners In Turkey Return By Sea To Venice
When the count de Nevers and the lords of France who were made prisoners at the battle of Nicopoli (excepting the count d'Eu and the lord de Coucy, who had died) had been some time entertained by the sultan, and had seen great part of his state, he consented they should depart, which was told them by those who had been ordered to attend to their personal wants. The count and his companions waited on the sultan in consequence, to thank him for his kindness and courtesy. On taking his leave, the sultan addressed him, by means of an interpreter, as follows: "John, I am well informed that in thy country thou art a great lord, and son to a powerful prince. Thou art young, and hast many years to look forward; and, as thou mayest be blamed for the ill success of thy first attempt in arms, thou mayest perchance, to shake off this imputation and regain thine honour, collect a powerful army to lead against me, and offer battle. If I feared thee, I would make thee swear, and likewise thy companions, on thy faith and honour, that neither thou nor they would ever bear arms against me. But no: I will not demand such an oath: on the contrary, I shall be glad that when thou art returned to thy country, it please thee to assemble an army, and lead it hither. Thou wilt always find me prepared, and ready to meet thee in the field of battle. What I now say, do thou repeat to any person, to whom it may please thee to repeat it; for I am ever ready for, and desirous of, deeds of arms; as well as to extend my conquests."
These high words the count de Nevers and his companions understood well, and never forgot them so long as they lived. After this, when all things for their departure were ready, they were conducted by Ali bashaw and Soli bashaw, with a large escort, to the lords de Mathelin and d'Amine, and the others who had interested themselves for their liberty. Before they embarked on board the galleys destined to carry them, they paid every expense they had incurred at Bursa, or at other places, with so much punctuality that they were greatly praised. As they weighed anchor, their conductors returned to the sultan; and the galleys, having a favourable wind, soon arrived at the harbour, where the count and his friends were received with joy. The lady of the lord de Mathelin was of a certain age, but perfectly well bred, and as fully accomplished as any lady in Greece, for in her youth she had been brought up at the court of Constantinople with the lady Mary of Bourbon. She had from her learnt many things, for the lords and ladies of France are better educated than those in any other country. This lady thought herself highly honoured when she saw the count de Nevers, sir Henry de Bar, Guy de la Tremouille, and the other lords under her roof, and welcomed them with every sign of pleasure. She first clothed them with fine new linen and cloth of Damascus made into gowns and vestments, according to the taste in Greece. After she had dressed the masters, she did the same to their servants in the handsomest manner, each according to his rank. The lords were very thankful for her kindness, and publicly declared their gratitude for her generous conduct, as well as that of the lords de Mathelin and d'Amine, who honoured them by every mark of respect, and administered to their necessities.
News was soon carried to the island of Rhodes, that the sultan had accepted a ransom for the French lords, and that they were now at Mathelin. The intelligence gave much pleasure to the grand-master and to all his knights, who proposed to equip and arm two galleys, and send them to Mathelin to convey the count and his fellow-prisoners to Rhodes. This was executed; and, when ready, sir James de Brasemont1, a Burgundian, who was marshal of Rhodes, embarked on board, and had a favourable voyage to Mathelin, where he was made heartily welcome by the lord de Mathelin, his lady, and their guests. He remained there four days: on the fifth, the galleys having on board the purveyances of the French lords, the count and his companions took leave of the lord and lady de Mathelin, returning them their best thanks for all the kindness and friendship they had received, especially the count de Nevers, who, as the principal personage, said he was bound at all times hereafter to render them every service in his power. After many compliments on both sides, the French lords entered the galleys, and, as long as they were in sight, the lord de Mathelin remained on the shore, and after that went home. The galleys, having a favourable wind, arrived at Rhodes, and anchored in the haven, where vessels from Cyprus, Baruth, and other ports in the Levant, usually do. On their landing, they were received by many of the knights of Rhodes, who wear a white cross, in memory of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered to deliver others from the pains of hell. They are valiant knights, and give daily assaults by sea or land on the infidels, to support and defend the Christian faith.
Note 1. " Sir James de Brasemont." The MSS. have de Bauffremont, which I should prefer.
The count de Nevers and the lords of France were received by the grand prior of Rhodes and the grand prior of Aquitaine, in their robes of ceremony, who offered to lend them any sum of money, as far as their abilities extended, to enable them to discharge their daily expenses, which the count and his friends thought a most courteous offer, and thanked them accordingly. In truth, they were in want of money, and the grand ■ prior of Aquitaine, a right valiant knight, as his actions showed in the Holy Land, lent the count de Nevers thirty thousand francs, which were counted out by sir Regnier Pot, house-steward to the count, and the lord de Rochefort in Burgundy. I believe this sum was as much for his companions as for the count himself, and was divided among them, although the count de Nevers took on himself the whole debt. The French lords remained some time in the island of Rhodes, to recover and properly an-ay themselves, for the climate was by far more temperate than in the countries where they had lately resided: during the time they tarried at Rhodes, waiting for the galleys from Venice, sir Guy de la Tremouille was seized with so dangerous an illness, that he there departed this life. He ordered his body to be buried on the spot where he died, and was, consequently, interred in the church of Saint John, in the island of Rhodes. His funeral was honourably attended by the French lords, who much regretted his loss, more especially the count de Nevers, who knew that his father, the duke of Burgundy, would be greatly affected by it, as he had always found him a wise and honest counsellor.
The galleys from Venice at length arrived, properly armed and equipped, to the great joy of the French lords. They were not long in making their preparations to depart, and took leave of the knights of Rhodes, who recommended their order to them, and to all devout souls who would be willing to assist it. The count de Nevers, the lords Henry de Bar, de Boucicaut, sir William de la Tremouille, the lord de Rochefort, sir Regnier Pot, and the rest, embarked on board the Venetian galleys, the captains of which resolved to touch at the different islands, that their passengers might sail more at their ease, and refresh themselves on shore, and show the count de Nevers the various islands which lay between Rhodes and Venice. They steered first for Modon1, which is five hundred miles from Rhodes, and tarried there some days, to amuse themselves, for the port and country belong to the Venetians. From Modon they had a fine passage to Colefo2, as the sea was calm, where they refreshed themselves; and from Colefo they made for the island of Garre3, where they did the same: thence they sailed for the island of Chifolignie4; and, having anchored, they landed, and were met by a large party of ladies and damsels, who have the government of the island. They received the French lords with joy, and led them to the interior part of the island, which is very beautiful, to amuse and enjoy themselves. Some say, who pretend to be acquainted with the state of this island, and insist upon it, that fairies and nymphs inhabit it, and that frequently merchants from Venice or Genoa, who have been forced by stress of weather to make some stay there, have seen the appearances of them, and have had the truth of these reports confirmed.
Note 1. " Modon," a town and port in the Mora.
Note 2. "Colefo." I should have imagined this to be Corfu, if Cephalonia were not seemingly intended afterwards.
Note 3. " Garre." Q. Zan
Note 4. "Chifolignio." Q. Cephalonia.
The count de Nevers and his friends were very happy with the dames of Cephalonia, for they entertained them gaily, telling them their arrival had been matter of joy to them, from their being knights of honour and renown, for in general they had no other visitors but merchants. I may be asked, if this island be solely inhabited by women. I answer no; but women have the sovereignty of it: they, however, employ themselves in needle and other works; and make such fine cloths of silk, that none others can be compared to them. The men of the island, being ignorant, are employed to carry abroad these works, wherever they shall think to have the greatest profit, but the women remain at home. The men honour the fair sex for their works, and because they have always a sufficiency of wealth. The state of the island is such, that no one dare approach it, to commit any injury, for whoever should attempt it would perish, as has been frequently seen. For this cause, these ladies live in peace, without fear of any one: they are amiable, good-tempered, and without pride, and certainly, when they please, converse with fairies, and keep them company.
After the count de Nevers and his companions had amused themselves at this island for five days, they took leave of the ladies: the count made them such handsome presents, for their courteous treatment of them, that they were contented, and thanked him gratefully on his departure. "When the lords were embarked, they put to sea, and favourable winds carried them to a territory called Ragusa, when they refreshed themselves again, and thence made for Clarence *, which is one hundred miles distant from Venice. While the galleys were at anchor, and the lords in the town of Clarence, which belongs to the Venetians, they were known by a squire of honour and renown, from Hainault, called Bridoul de la Porte. He was a native of Mons, and had made, at his own expense, a pilgrimage, through devotion, to the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and had visited Cairo and St. Catherine's Mount, The French lords had come to Clarence two days before him, and gave him a welcome reception, on hearing he was so good a man, and a native of Hainault, the country of the countess of Nevers, who was daughter to the earl of Hainault, and because they were all in countries distant from their own. They asked him what parts he was last come from, and also concerning the affairs of king James of Cyprus, and respecting Turkey. He made no difficulty, but instantly gave prudent and intelligent answers. The barons of France, having reposed themselves, re-embarked, and made sail for Pareuse2. All large vessels and galleys which cannot, from want of water, land their cargoes at Venice, put into this port, for here the sea becomes shallow. The French knights made no long stay before they embarked in smaller vessels and arrived at Venice, where they were received with great joy. On their landing, they all returned thanks to God for their happy deliverance from the hands of the infidels, of which at one time they had despaired. The count de Nevers and his companions went to the hotels which had been prepared for them; for, as their coming was known and expected for some time, their friends had sent servants and equipages to wait their arrival. The count found part of his attendants, whom the duke and duchess of Burgundy had sent thither, ready to receive him. Sir Dinde de Desponde had also been at Venice some time waiting for them with the amount of their ransom, for without his assistance, nothing could be done.
Note 1. "Clarence," or Chiarenza, ii in the More, opposite to Cephalonia.
Note 2. "Parouse." Q. Parenzo, a town on the coast of Istria, nearly opposite to Venice.
The French lords, on their arrival at Venice, instantly employed clerks and messengers to write and carry letters to France and elsewhere, to inform their friends of their happy deliverance. This was very soon publicly known, to the joy of all who heard it. The duke and duchess of Burgundy lost no time in preparing everything suitable to the rank of their son the count de Nevers, such as gold and silver plate, linen, tapestry, clothes of all sorts, which were packed up on sumpter-horses, and sent to Venice under the care of the lord de Hangiers1 and sir James de Helly. In like manner did all the friends and relatives of the other lords send them every necessary suitable to their ranks. You may suppose all this was done at a great expense, for nothing was spared: their residence at Venice cost much, as it is one of the dearest towns in the world for strangers. It was proper these lords should keep np a state becoming their rank, which fell naturally most heavy on the count de Nevers, their commander m chief.
Note 1. "The lord de Hangiers." D. Sauvage supposes it ought to have been de Hangest, for a family of that name existed in his time in Picardy.
The duke and duchess of Burgundy were very active in procuring his ransom, that their son and heir might leave Venice with honour, and return to France and Flanders, where his presence was much wished for. The duke said, that were it not for the aid of his good subjects in Burgundy, Artois, and Flanders, the money would never have been raised, for their own and their son's other expenses were very great.
The different negociations and embassies had called for large sums, and, though the ransom was but two hundred thousand florins to Bajazet, yet the other costs and expenses amounted to as much more, as was declared by those through whose hands the money passed; and without this sum their liberty would never have been obtained. It was matter of much consideration how this money was to be raised; for neither the duke nor duchess were inclined to abate anything of their state, which was very magnificent. It was resolved by his council to lay a tax on all the towns under his obedience, more especially those of Flanders; for they abounded in wealth, from their commerce, and therefore the greater load was laid on them, that the count de Nevers might be at liberty to quit Venice. When the matter was mentioned to the townsmen of Ghent, they readily declared their willingness to present their young lord fifty thousand florins to aid him in his ransom. Bruges, Mechlin, Antwerp, Ypres, Courtray, and the other towns in Flanders, expressed their readiness to assist in the ransom of the count de Nevers. The duke and duchess of Burgundy were well pleased at these answers, and returned their warm acknowledgments to the magistrates of the different towns in Flanders, and to those of Artois and Burgundy, who had testified equally good inclinations.
The king of France was also very desirous of aiding the French lords in their ransom, although he had already been at a heavy expense in sending his ambassadors to Hungary and Turkey. These charges, however, he did not regret, since his cousins were now safe at Venice, and with them his own knight the lord de Boucicaut. The count de Nevers and his companions were still at Venice, for it was not his intention to depart thence until the discharge of the ransom should be completed. The merchants of Scio and the two Grecian lords had pledged themselves to the sultan for the payment, and such an immense sum was not readily raised. Sir Dinde de Desponde took great pains to accomplish the business from his regard to the king of France and the duke of Burgundy, who had sent him to Venice for the purpose, and he was more subtle and conversant in such business than any other person whatever.
While others were diligently despatching the business of their ransom, the lords spent their time most joyously at Venice; but, about this period, an infectious disorder afflicted that town and neighbourhood, which began in the month of August, and never ceased until Saint Andrew's day. Great numbers fell victims to it, and among the rest (the more the pity!) the lord Henry de Bar, eldest son to the duke of Bar, and, in right of his wife, heir to all the estates of the late lord de Coucy, excepting the dower of his widow. Thus were the two ladies de Coucy made widows in one year, which was a great misfortune. The body of the lord Henry was embalmed and brought to France, and I believe buried at Paris, for his obsequies were there performed with much solemnity. On account of this epidemical distemper, and to avoid its danger, the count de Nevers left Venice, and fixed his residence at Treviso, where he and the other French lords remained, with their households, for upwards of four months without stirring from it. During their stay at Treviso, the king of Hungary was informed by the knights of Rhodes, of their having made peace with Bajazet, and obtained their liberty by payment of two hundred thousand francs. He, in consequence, sent letters by a bishop and some of his knights to the count de Nevers, to mark his affection to him, with others to those who had the government of Venice. The bishop and knights were ordered by the king to address the count as follows, and of which they handsomely acquitted themselves.
"My lord, we are sent hither by our much-redoubted lord, and your cousin, the king of Hungary, who salutes you by us. Here are letters written by him to congratulate you on your deliverance from the sultan Bajazet, his enemy. He is sincerely rejoiced at your and your companions' escape, for, without the means you have pursued, it would never have been effected. Dear sir, our lord is well assured that your treaties with the sultan must have cost you immense sums of money, and, with the losses you all suffered at the disastrous battle of Nicopoli, will have made it difficult to you to procure a sufficiency for your ransom. Our sovereign, therefore, dear sir, orders us to make you his excuses for not offering you, on this occasion, his assistance: if it were in his power, he would most cheerfully do it, for he conceives and declares he is bound to aid you, from his connection with you by blood and other causes; were it not that he and his subjects have had such losses by the late defeat, that you, who are a person of great understanding, will readily believe, end know the impossibility of his giving any aid at this present moment. The revenues of Hungary are ruined for this and the ensuing year, but whenever they are recovered, and the usual payments made, that he may be enabled to show his offers are not mere empty words, he will assuredly come handsomely forward to your service. That you may believe our most redoubted sovereign and your cousin is in earnest, we must acquaint you that he has ordered us to offer for sale to the rulers of Venice, the rents he receives from this town, which amount to seven thousand ducats yearly; and that whatever these may produce you are to dispose of as if it were your own; and for which we will sign receipts to the Venetians, having full authority so to do."
The speech of the ambassadors from the king of Hungary was very agreeable to the French lords. They answered by the lord de Rochefort, who, in the name of all, said "that they were very sensible of this mark of kindness from the king of Hungary, who, to oblige his cousin the count de Nevers, offered to sell his inheritance to aid them; that this was not an offer to be refused, nor the friendship and courtesy forgotten; that the count desired to have a little time to consider of his answer to the king." This was agreed to; and, within a few days, the ambassadors were told by the count de Nevers, that it would be very unbecoming him to pledge or sell the inheritance of another; but that, if it were agreeable to them who had such powers, to prevail on the Venetians to advance, on the security of these rents, a sufficient sum for the count de Nevers' daily expenses, and to enable him to acquit himself of the thirty thousand florins the grand prior of Aquitaine had lent him with so much generosity in the island of Rhodes, he should consider it as a great favour, and most kindly thank the king of Hungary and his council for so doing."
The ambassadors cheerfully promised to make the proposal to the Venetians. "When the Venetians heard it, they coldly replied they would deliberately consider of the matter, and demanded fifteen days to weigh their determination. "When these were expired, they answered (as I was told by one who heard it), "That if the king of Hungary were disposed to sell his whole kingdom, the Venetians would willingly make the purchase, and pay the money down; but as for such a trifle as seven thousand ducats of yearly revenue which he possessed in the city of Venice, it was of so little value that they could not set a price on it either to buy or sell, and they would not trouble themselves about so small an object."
Such was the answer made by the Venetians to the ambassadors of the king of Hungary. Some said, this reply was mere dissimulation, and that, though the Hungarians had made the offer to the count, they, in an underhand way, caused this answer to be given. Things, therefore, remained in the state they were in before, and the ambassadors took leave of the count de Nevers and those of his countrymen then with him, who were, sir Regnier Pot, the lord de Rochefort, and sir William de la Tremouille. They left Venice, and returned to Hungary; but the French lords continued at Treviso on account of the great mortality that reigned in Venice.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 91
The Lord Louis De Sancerre Is Made Constable Of France In The Room Of The Count D'eu, Who Had Died In Turkey. Boucicaut, During His Absence With The Count De Nevers, Is Appointed Marshal Of France In The Place Of The Lord Louis De Sancerre. The French Lords Who Had Been Prisoners In Turkey Return To France.
1397. You have heard that the count d'Eu (age 40), constable of France, died in his bed at Bursa in Turkey, to the great regret of all his friends, more especially the king of France (age 28), who much loved him. The constableship became vacant by his death, and that office is of such weight that it must not long remain so. Councils were therefore held to appoint his successor, and the wiser among them nominated the lord Louis de Sancerre (age 56), in which they were confirmed by the majority in the kingdom. He had been a very long time marshal of France, and was so at the time of his election, residing in Languedoc. Being sent for by the king (age 28) to Paris, he was invested with the office of constable, and by this vacated the charge of marshal; on which the king said, that he had already thought of a successor, for that no one should have it but his knight the lord Boucicaut (age 30). All the lords agreed to the propriety of this choice, for indeed he was deserving of it, and when appointed was at Venice. He returned home shortly after this, for the ransoms were paid, and the whole of those who had been prisoners in Turkey came back to France, to the great joy of their friends and countrymen. The lord Boucicaut (age 30) was made marshal of France; and the count de Nevers (age 25) waited on the duke (age 54) and duchess of Burgundy (age 49), and was well feasted by them and others, for he was returned from a long and dangerous expedition, wherein he and his companions had suffered many perils, but, through the grace of God, they had escaped, and were returned home. The count (age 25) was seen with much pleasure by all in Flanders, Artois, and Burgundy, and other dependencies of his father (age 54), as he was their heir-apparent. After he had remained some time with the duke (age 54) and duchess (age 49), and had visited the countries under their obedience, he determined to wait on the king of France (age 28) and the duke of Orleans (age 24), both of whom received him honourably and kindly. He was made welcome by all the lords and ladies of the court. The king and the duke of Orleans were very glad to see him again, and eagerly listened to his relation of what he had suffered. They inquired news of Turkey, of the battle of Nicopoli, of the adventures he had met with, how he was made prisoner, and of the state of Bajazet (age 37).
The count (age 25) satisfied them by his answers, for he was well spoken, and made no complaints, at least by speech, of the sultan, but said he had found him courteous and affable, even to those attached to his person; that he was very well treated; and he did not forget to tell the lords to whom he was speaking, that Bajazet (age 37), on his taking leave, to quit Turkey, had said, that he was born to bear arms, and make conquests in this world every year to a greater extent, and that he wished not to prevent his prisoners from again taking up arms against him, for he would with pleasure meet them in battle two, three, or four times if necessary; and that it was his intention to march to Rome, and feed his horse on the altar of Saint Peter. The count added, that the sultan thought our faith erroneous, and corrupted by those who ought to have kept its purity; and the Turks laughed and made their jokes at it. Many Saracens declare that Christianity, from the above cause, will be destroyed, and that the time is now come for its ruin; and that Bajazet (age 37) was born to accomplish this, and be king over all the world. "Such was the language the interpreter translated to me; and, from what I saw and heard, I believe they are perfectly well acquainted in Turkey, Tartary, Persia, and throughout the whole of the infidels' country, with our schisms in the church, and how the Christians are at difference, one with another, respecting the two popes of France and Italy; and the Saracens are wonderfully surprised how the kings of the different countries suffer it."
1397. This speech of the count de Nevers (age 25) gave the king and lords of France enough to think on. Some said the Saracens were in the right to make their jokes and laugh, for priests were allowed to meddle too much in affairs that did not concern them; that it was time to lower their pomp, or force them to do it of themselves. The young clergy, who were studying the Scriptures at the university of Paris, could not obtain any benefices from this schism in the church, and were not displeased that the people murmured against the popes. They rejoiced at what the count de Nevers (age 25) had related, and that the Turks and Saracens made derision of our faith. "In good truth," they added, "they are in the right to laugh at it, and, if the king of France and the emperor of Germany do not speedily attend to this schism, we foresee that church-affairs will daily become worse. All things considered, those who have been neuter between the two popes have acted wisely, and thus it behoves every one who wishes for union in the church."
1397. It was secretly told the king, by those who loved him and were desirous he should regain his health, that it was the common opinion throughout France he would never be perfectly recovered until the church were properly regulated. They added, that his father, king Charles of happy memory, had, on his death-bed, charged his council with this matter; that he suspected he had been deceived by these popes, and had made his determination too soon, for which he felt his conscience was loaded. He excused himself, saying, - "When our lord and father died, we were very young. We have followed the counsel of those who have hitherto governed, and if we have acted wrong or foolishly, it has been their fault, and not ours; but, since we have had fuller information, we will soon attend to the business, and in such a manner that the effect shall be apparent." The king of France paid more attention to this matter than he had ever done before, and promised himself and Iris council that he would provide a remedy. He spoke of it to his brother, the duke of Orleans, who inclined instantly to his opinion, as did the duke of Burgundy (age 54), for, notwithstanding he had acknowledged the pope, who styled himself Clement, he had no great faith in him: the prelates of France, particularly Guy de Roye, archbishop of Rheims, the archbishops of Sens, of Rouen, and the bishop of Autun, had induced him to acknowledge Clement.
1397. It was determined in a private council, that, if a union of the church were sought for, it was necessary to have the assent of Germany. Learned men were therefore sent as ambassadors to the king of Bohemia and Germany, who styled himself king of the Romans. Master Philip des Playes was one of these ambassadors, who had instructions to prevail on the king of Germany to meet the king of France in the city of Rheims; and that no prelates, cardinals, archbishops, or bishops, might any way interrupt this meeting, or interfere with the object, it was published that the cause for the two monarchs, with their councils, coming to Rheims, was to treat of a marriage between a son of the marquis of Brandenburgh, brother to the emperor, and a daughter of the duke of Orleans, and under cover of this they could treat of other matters.
1397. During the time these negotiations were going forward, the lord Guy de Chatillon, count de Blois, departed this life in his hotel at Avesnes, in Hainault. He was carried to Valenciennes and buried in the church of the Franciscans, in a chapel called the Chapel of Artois. True it is, that he had made a large inclosure for the Franciscans, and intended erecting his tomb within it; but he died so much in debt, that his countess, the lady Mary of Namur, was obliged to renounce all claim to his moveables. She dared not act under his will, but retired to her dowry of the lands of Chimay and Beaumont, and the estates went to their right heirs. The duke of Orleans had the county of Blois, for which, during the late count's life, he had paid him two hundred thousand crowns of France. The lands in Hainault, Holland, and, Zealand, went to duke Albert of Bavaria: those of Avesnes, Landrecies, and Louvion in Tierache, fell to John of Blois, more commonly called John of Brittany, to whom, if count Guy had not sold it, the county of Blois would have devolved as to its right heir. Observe what mischief a lord may do his heir by listening to bad advice1. [I make mention of it because the count Guy de Blois was very anxious, during his life, that I, sir John Froissart, should indite this history; and he was at great expenses to forward it, for so considerable an undertaking cannot be accomplished without heavy charges. May God receive his soul! He was my lord and patron, of high honour and great renown, and had no need to make the pitiful bargains he did in the sale of his estates; but he too readily believed those who advised him to dishonourable and profitless acts. The lord de Coxicy, who died at Bursa, was very culpable in this business]. We will now return to the affairs of England.
Note 1. All between the crotchets is from the MSS. in the B. Museum and at Hafod, bat not in the printed copies.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 92
The Deaths of the Duke of Gloucester And the Earl of Arundel - The Manner in which The Dukes Of Lancaster and York, and the Londoners, Take The Matter
1397. You have before seen, in the course of this history, that king Richard of England (age 29) would not longer conceal the great hatred he bore his uncle of Gloucester (age 41), but had determined to have him cut off, according to the advice given him, setting it forth to be more advisable to destroy than be destroyed. You have likewise heard how the king (age 29) had rode to the castle of Pleshy [Map], thirty miles from London, and with fair words had cajoled the duke (age 41) out of his castle [Map], and was accompanied by him to a lane that led to the Thames, where they arrived between ten and eleven o'clock at night; and how the earl-marshal (age 28), who there lay in ambush, had arrested him in the king's name, and forced him towards the Thames, in spite of his cries to the king (age 29) to deliver him. He was conscious, that from the moment of his being thus arrested, his end was resolved on, and it was confirmed to him by the king (age 29) turning a deaf ear to his complaints, and riding on full gallop to London, where he lodged that night in the Tower [Map]. The duke of Gloucester (age 41) had other lodgings; for, whether he would or not, he was forced into a boat that carried him to a vessel at anchor on the Thames, into which he was obliged to enter. The earl-marshal (age 28) embarked also with his men, and, having a favourable wind and tide, they fell down the river, and arrived, late on the morrow evening, at Calais [Map], without any one knowing of it except the king's officers. [The earl-marshal (age 28), as governor, could enter Calais [Map] at all hours, without any one thinking it extraordinary: he carried the duke (age 41) to the castle, wherein he confined him.]
You may suppose, that when news was carried to Pleshy [Map] of the duke of Gloucester's arrest, the duchess and her children were greatly dismayed, and, since such a bold measure had been taken, were much afraid of the consequences. Suspecting the duke's life was in great danger, they consulted sir John Laquingay what would be best for them now to do. The knight advised them to send instantly to the dukes of Lancaster and York, the duke's brothers; for by their mediation, perhaps, the king's choler would be appeased. He saw no other means, as the king would not choose to make them his enemies. The duchess of Gloucester followed this advice of the knight, and instantly despatched messengers to both, for they resided at a distance from each other. They were much enraged at hearing their brother was arrested, and returned answers to the duchess, not to be too much distressed at what had happened, for the king would not dare to treat him otherwise than by fair and legal measures, for it would not be suffered. This answer comforted the duchess and her children.
The king of England left the Tower of London [Map] at a very early hour, and rode to Eltham [Map], where he remained. The same day, towards evening, the earls of Arundel and Warwick were brought to the Tower [Map] by the king's officers, and there confined, to the great surprise of the citizens. Their imprisonment caused many to murmur, but they were afraid to act, or do anything against the king's pleasure, lest they might suffer for it. It was the common conversation of the knights, squires, and citizens of London, and in other towns, - "It is useless for us to say more on this matter, for the dukes of Lancaster and of York, brothers to the duke of Gloucester, can provide a remedy for all this whenever they please: they assuredly would have prevented it from happening, if they had suspected the king had so much courage, or that he would have arrested their brother; but they will repent of their indolence: and, if they are not instantly active, it will end badly."
Around 08 Sep 1397. When the duke of Gloucester (age 42) saw himself confined in the castle of Calais [Map], abandoned by his brothers, and deprived of his attendants, he began to be much alarmed. He addressed himself to the earl-marshal (age 29): "For what reason am I thus carried from England and confined here? It seems that you mean to imprison me. Let me go and view the castle, its garrison, and the people of the town." "My lord," replied the earl (age 29), "I dare not comply with your demands, for you are consigned to my guard, under pain of death. The king (age 30) our lord is at this moment somewhat wroth with you; and it is his orders that you abide here a while, in banishment with us, which you must have patience to do, until we have other news, and God grant that it may be soon! for, as the Lord may help me, I am truly concerned for your disgrace, and would cheerfully aid you if I could, but you know the oath I have taken to the king, which I am bound in honour to obey." The duke of Gloucester (age 42) could not obtain any other answer. He judged, from appearances of things around him, that he was in danger of his life, and asked a priest who had said mass, if he would confess him. This he did, with great calmness and resignation, and with a devout and contrite heart cried before the altar of God, the Creator of all things, for his mercy. He was repentant of all his sins, and lamented them greatly. He was in the right thus to exonerate his conscience, for his end was nearer than he imagined. I was informed, that on the point of his sitting down to dinner, when the tables were laid, and he was about to wash his hands, four men rushed out from an adjoining chamber, and, throwing a towel round his neck, strangled him, by two drawing one end and two the other1. When he was quite dead, they carried him to his chamber, undressed him, and placed the body between two sheets, with his head on a pillow, and covered him with furred mantles. They then re-entered the hall, properly instructed what to say and how to act, and declared the duke of Gloucester (age 42) had been seized with a fit of apoplexy as he was washing his hands before dinner, and that they had great difficulty to carry him to bed. This was spoken of in the castle and town, where some believed it, but others not. "Within two days after, it was published abroad that the duke of Gloucester (age 42) had died in his bed at the castle of Calais; and, in consequence, the earl marshal (age 29) put on mourning, for he was nearly related to him, as did all the knights and squires in Calais.
Note 1. He was smothered with pillows, not strangled. Hall, one of the accomplices, made a particular confession of all the circumstances. See Parl Plac[?] viii p. 452. Ed.
1397. News of this event was sooner known in France and Flanders than in England. The French rejoiced much at it; for it was commonly reported that there would never be any solid peace between France and England as long as the duke of Gloucester (age 41) lived; and it was well remembered, that in the negotiations for peace he was more obstinate in his opinions than either of his brothers; and, for this reason, his death was no loss to France. In like manner, many knights and squires of the king of England's household, who were afraid of him, for his severe and rough manners, were pleased at his death. They recounted how he had driven the duke of Ireland to banishment, and had ignominiously beheaded that prudent and gallant knight sir Simon Burley, who had been so much beloved by the prince of Wales, and had done essential services to his country. The deaths of sir Robert Trevilian, sir Nicholas Bramber, sir John Standwich, and others, were not forgotten, so that the duke of Gloucester (age 41) was but little lamented in England, except by those who were of his party and manner of thinking.
Around 12 Jul 1397. The duke's (age 42) body was honourably embalmed at Calais, and put into a leaden coffin, with an outward one of wood, and transported in this state by sea to England. The vessel that carried the body landed at Hadleigh Castle [Map] on the Thames, and thence it was conveyed on a car, unattended, to his castle of Pleshy [Map], and placed in the church which the duke had founded in honour of the Holy Trinity, with twelve canons to perform devoutly the divine service. In this church was the duke (age 42) buried. The duchess of Gloucester (age 31), her son Humphrey (age 16), and her two daughters, were sorely grieved when the body of the duke arrived. The duchess (age 31) had double cause of affliction, for the earl of Arundel (age 51), her uncle, had been publicly beheaded in Cheapside [Map] by orders of the king. No baron nor knight dared to interpose, nor advise the king to do otherwise, for he was himself present at the execution, which was performed by the earl's son-in-law, the earl-marshal (age 29), who bandaged his eyes.
1397. The earl of Warwick (age 58) ran great risk of suffering the same death, but the earl of Salisbury (age 47), who was in favour with the king, interceded for him, as did many other barons and prelates. The king (age 29) listened to their solicitations, on condition he were sent to a place he could not leave, for he would never absolutely pardon him, as he was deserving death, for having joined the duke of Gloucester (age 41) and the earl of Arundel (age 51) in their attempts to annul the truce which had been signed and sealed by the kings of France and England, for themselves and allies. This alone was a crime to be punished by an ignominious death: for the conditions of the treaties were, that whoever should break or infringe them was to be so punished.
After 12 Jul 1397. The earl of Salisbury (age 47) was very earnest in his supplications for the earl of Warwick (age 59). They had been brothers in arms ever since their youth; and he excused him on account of his great age, and of his being deceived by the fair speeches of the duke of Gloucester (age 42) and the earl of Arundel (age 51): that what had been done was not from his instigation, but solely by that of others; and the house of Beauchamp, of which the earl of Warwick was the head, never imagined treason against the crown of England. The earl of Warwick (age 59) was, therefore, through pity, respited from death, but banished to the Isle of Wight [Map], which is a dependency on England. He was told, - "Earl of Warwick (age 59), this sentence is very favourable, for you have deserved to die as much as the earl of Arundel (age 51), but the handsome services you have done in times past, to king Edward of happy memory, and the prince of Wales his son, as well on this as on the other side of the sea, have secured your life; but it is ordered that you banish yourself to the Isle of Wight, taking with you a sufficiency of wealth to support your state as long as you shall live, and that you never quit the island." The earl of Warwick (age 59) was not displeased with this sentence, since his life was spared, and, having thanked the king and council for their lenity, made no delay in his preparations to surrender himself in the Isle of Wight on the appointed day, which he did with part of his household. The Isle of Wight is situated opposite the coast of Normandy, and has space enough for the residence of a great lord, but he must provide himself with all that he may want from the circumjacent countries, or he will be badly supplied with provision and other things.
1397. Thus were affairs carried on in England, and daily going from bad to worse, as you will find it related. When the dukes of Lancaster (age 56) and York (age 55) heard of their brother's (age 41) death at Calais, they instantly suspected the king (age 29) their nephew was guilty of it. At the time, they were not together, but each at his country-seat, according to the custom in England. They wrote to each other to consult how they should act on the occasion, and hastened to London because they knew the citizens were very angry at the event. On their arrival, they had several meetings, and declared that the putting the duke of Gloucester (age 41) to death for some foolish words ought not to be passed over in silence, nor borne; for, although he had warmly opposed the treaty with France, he had not acted upon it; that there was an essential difference between talking and acting, and that words alone did not deserve the severe punishment he had suffered, and that this matter must be inquired into and amended. The two brothers were in a situation to have thrown England into confusion, for there were enow who would have supported them, more especially all the kindred of the late earl of Arundel (age 51), which is a powerful family in England, and the family of the earl of Stafford.
1397. The king (age 29) at this time resided at Eltham [Map], whither he had summoned all his vassals and dependants. He had collected round London, in the counties of Kent and Essex, upwards of ten thousand archers, and had with him his [Note. maternal half-brother] brother sir John Holland (age 45), the earl marshal (age 28), the earl of Salisbury (age 47), with many other great barons and knights. The king (age 29) sent orders to the citizens of London not to admit the duke of Lancaster (age 56) within their walls; but they replied, they knew of no reason why they should refuse him admittance, and the duke resided there with his son the earl of Derby (age 29), as did the duke of York (age 55) with his son the earl of Rutland (age 24). The king loved the earl of Rutland (age 24) and the earl marshal (age 28) beyond measure: the first dissembled his opinions concerning the death of the duke of Gloucester (age 41), and would willingly have seen peace restored on both sides. He said, that his late uncle (age 41) had on several occasions treated the king (age 29) very unbecomingly. The Londoners considered, also, that great mischiefs might befal England from these dissensions between the king, his uncles, and their supporters; that, since the duke of Gloucester (age 41) was now dead, it could not be helped; and that he, in some measure, had been the cause of it, by his too great freedom of speech, and from his attempts to excite the people of England to break the truces that had been signed between France and England. The citizens, therefore, prudently dissembled their thoughts; and, as what was done could not now be undone, they feared, should matters be pushed to extremities, they might suffer very considerably in their commerce from th king of France.
1397. The resentments of the citizens began to cool, and they offered to mediate between the king (age 29) and the duke of Lancaster (age 56), who was mightily angered by the murder of his brother (age 41). He bethought himself, however, that as his nephew (age 29) was married to the daughter (age 7) of the king of France (age 28), should he wage war against king Richard (age 29), his two daughters married in Castille and Portugal might suffer for it, from the French carrying a war into those countries. The duke (age 56) was beside forced to change his mind, whether he would or not, from the solicitations of the citizens of London and some of the English prelates, who had been the mediators between the king and his uncles. The king obtained peace, on promising from that day forward to be solely guided by the advice of the duke of Lancaster (age 56), engaging never to do anything without first consulting him. The promise, however, he paid not any regard to, but followed the counsels of the rash and evil-minded, for which hereafter he severely suffered, as shall be related in this history. Thus did the king of England (age 29) gain peace from his uncles for the murder of the duke of Gloucester (age 41), and now governed more fiercely than before. He went with his state to Pleshy [Map] in Essex, which had belonged to his uncle of Gloucester (age 41), and should have descended to his son Humphrey (age 16) as heir to his father; but the king took possession of it, for it is the rule in England for the king to have the wardship of all children who have lost their fathers, and are under twenty-one years of age at which period their estates are restored to them. King Richard (age 29) took his cousin Humphrey of Gloucester (age 16) in ward, appropriating all his possessions to his own profit. He made him live with him, and the duchess (age 31) and her two daughters with the queen (age 7).
1397. The late duke of Gloucester (age 41) was by inheritance constable of England; but the king (age 29) deprived his heir (age 16) of it, and gave it to his cousin the earl of Rutland (age 24). The king (age 29) now assumed a greater state than ever king of England had done before, nor had there been any one who had expended such large sums by one hundred thousand nobles. He also took the wardship of the heir (age 15) of Arundel (age 51), son to the late earl whom he had beheaded in London, as has been related, and forced him to live with him. And because one of the knights of the late duke of Gloucester, named Cerbec, had spoken too freely of the king and council, he was arrested and instantly beheaded. Sir John Lacquingay was likewise in some peril; but, when he saw the turn affairs had taken, he quitted the service of the duchess of Gloucester (age 31), and fixed his abode elsewhere. At this period there was no one, however great, in England, that dared speak his sentiments of what the king did or intended doing. He had formed a council of his own from the knights of his chamber, who encouraged him to act as they advised. The king had in his pay full two thousand archers, who were on guard day and night, for he did not think himself perfectly safe from his uncles or the Arundel family.1
Note 1. For more ample particulars respecting the murder of the duke of Gloucester, I must refer the reader to Mr. Gough's History of Pleshy.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 93
A Great Assembly holden at Rheims, by the Emperor of Germany and King of France, on the Schism in the Church, and on the means of uniting the two parties
1398. At this period, there was a numerous assembly of great lords in the city of Rheims, as well from the empire of Germany as from France, whose object was to restore union to the church. At the solicitation of the king of France (age 29), the emperor (age 36) had come thither in person, attended by his ministers; but because they wished it not to be publicly known that this meeting was to consider of the rivalship of the two popes of Rome and of Avignon, they had it rumoured, that the lords of the empire came to Rheims to treat of a marriage between a son of the marquis of Brandenburgh (age 29), brother to the emperor, and a daughter of the duke of Orleans. The king of France (age 29) was lodged in the archbishop's palace, as were the dukes of Orleans (age 25), Berry (age 57), Burgundy (age 26), and count de Saint Pol, with other barons and prelates of France. When the emperor was about to make his entry into Rheims, all these lords and prelates, with Charles, king of Navarre (age 37), went to meet him: after receiving him most honourably, they conducted him first to the church of Our Lady, and then to the abbey of Saint Remy, where he was lodged with all his lords. His attendants, and the others who had accompanied him, were placed as near to him as was possible; and the king of France had ordered, that all the expenses of the emperor and Germans, during their residence in Rheims, should be paid by his officers in the most ample manner. In consequence, there were daily delivered to the Germans ten tons of herrings, for it was Lent, and eight hundred carp, without counting different sorts of fish and other things, which cost the king immense sums.
1398. When the emperor (age 29) paid his first visit to the king of France (age 29), the great lords beforementioned went to seek him at the abbey of Saint Remy, and conducted him in great state to the palace. On the two monarchs meeting, they paid many compliments to each other, as they knew well how to do, especially the king of France, for the Germans are a rude unmannered race, except in what regards their personal advantage, and in this they are active and expert enough. The lords of both countries who were present made acquaintance together, with many outward signs of satisfaction: and the king of France entertained the whole at dinner, of which I will mention some particulars. At the top of the king's table was seated the patriarch of Jerusalem: next to him the emperor, then the king of France, and the king of Navarre (age 37): no more were at this table. At the others were seated the lords from Germany; and they were waited on by the lords of France, for none of them sat down. The dukes of Berry (age 57), Bourbon, and the count de St. Pol, with other great barons, placed the dishes, and served the king's table. The duke of Orleans (age 25) supplied the company with such quantities of plates of gold and silver as though they had been made of wood. The dinner was splendid, and abundantly well served, and deserving of remembrance. I was told that the king made a present to the emperor of all the gold and silver plate that was used, as well as what was on the side-board, with all the tapestry and ornaments of the apartment whither the emperor retired after dinner to partake of wine and spices. This gift was estimated at two hundred thousand florins; and the other Germans were presented with magnificent gifts of gold and silver plate. The Germans, and other strangers who had come thither to view the feast, greatly wondered at the wealth and power of France.
1398. During the residence of these monarchs at Rheims, their ministers frequently met to consider of the marriage of the marquis of Brandenburgh, and the reformation of the church. The marriage was agreed on, and published in Rheims, but their consultations and resolutions, concerning the church, were kept secret: what I shall say on the subject came to my knowledge afterward. It was determined that Peter d'Ailly, bishop of Cambray, should be sent as ambassador from the emperor and the king of Franco to the person who styled himself pope Boniface at Rome, and negotiate with him in their names with the view of inducing him to submit to a new election: should the choice again fall on him, he would be acknowledged by them as pope, but, if not, then he was to resign. The bishop was to declare the same to the pope of Avignon; adding that, if either of the popes refused to comply with this disposition of the two monarchs, they would be degraded, and every honour and profit of the church taken from them: that in this the kings of England, Scotland, Castille, Portugal, and Navarre (age 37), had joined. The emperor (age 29) said he would answer for his brother the king of Hungary, and all Bohemia and Germany, as far a.s Prussia, being of the same sentiment. The monarchs likewise declared, that, on the bishop's return from his embassy, they would exert themselves, with their friends and allies, that what they had now agreed on should be executed without any variation. Thus ended this meeting: the two monarchs separated most amicably, and each returned to his usual place of residence. The duke of Burgundy (age 55) refused to attend at Rheims; for he said it would not answer any purpose, and that whatever might be given to the Germans, they would never keep the engagements they should enter into. However, notwithstanding this speech of the duke, nothing was left undone, and matters were concluded as you have heard.
1398. Peter d'Ailly, bishop of Cambray, was not long in making preparations for his journey, and set out on his embassy to Rome and Avignon, to declare the engagements the emperor and king of France had entered into. The king of France sent ambassadors to his son-in-law, the king of England (age 30), to acquaint him with what had been done, that he might unite in the same opinion. King Richard (age 30) received the ambassadors with joy: and when he learnt the object of their mission, which was, to entreat he would remain neuter, if he could not prevail on his subjects to unite with France and Germany, in case the two popes refused compliance, replied he would so manage that his kingdom should act in the matter as he pleased. This he instantly promised, to the great joy of the ambassadors. After they had staid with the king (age 30) and queen (age 8) of England as long as they had chosen, they took leave and returned to Paris by Boulogne, and related all that had passed to the king and council. This was very agreeable to the king (age 30), and affairs remained in this state some time.
1398. The king of Navarre (age 37) came to Paris to visit the king of France, and thought he might perhaps recover his inheritance of Evreux in Normandy, which the king of France had seized from his father, as has been related in this history; but, in spite of every attempt, he was unsuccessful. The king of Navarre (age 37), seeing he laboured in vain, took the matter in great displeasure, and abruptly left the court of France, discontented with the king and his ministers, and returned to Navarre. We will now leave the affairs of Germany, France, and Navarre, to speak of what befel England, whence sprung such melancholy events as have not been recorded in this history, and which my readers will allow when they come to the detail of them.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 94
The Earl Marshal Challenges The Earl Of Derby, Son to the Duke Of Lancaster, In The Presence Of The King And His Council.
Before 16 Sep 1398. King Richard of England (age 31) was of a temper that, when he took a liking to any one, he instantly raised him to high honours, and had such confidence in him that no-one dared to say anything to his prejudice. At the same time, there had not been a king of England in the memory of man who so easily believed all that was told him. His favourites, however paid no attention to the miserable fate of many of their predecessors; how the duke of Ireland had been banished, sir Simon Burley, sir Robert Tresilian, sir Nicholas Bramber and others had lost their lives, for counsels they had given the king, and for which the duke of Gloucester had taken great pains in their destruction. The duke was now dead, and the favourites of the moment, who continually counselled the king as they pleased, were not sorry, for they imagined no one would now pretend to oppose them. Some about the king's person could not disguise their pride and presumption, especially the earl marshal (age 30), who was in the highest degree of favour. To flatter and please the king, and to show how true and loyal a servant he was, whenever he heard any reports he told them to the king, expecting from such means to rise still higher in favour; but many, thinking to advance, are repulsed. Thus it happened to the earl marshal (age 30).
Before 19 Oct 1398. You must know that the earl of Derby (age 31) and the late duke of Gloucester had married two sisters [Note. Mary Bohun and Eleanor Bohun Duchess Gloucester (age 32)], daughters to the earl of Hereford and Northampton, constable of England: the children, therefore, of the earl of Derby (age 31) and duke of Gloucester were cousins-german by their mother's side, and one degree removed by their father's. To say the truth, the death of the duke of Gloucester had displeased many of the great barons of England, who frequently murmured at it when together; but the king had now so greatly extended his power, none dared to speak of it openly, nor act upon the current rumours of the mode of his death. The king had caused it to be proclaimed, that whoever should say anything respecting the duke of Gloucester or the earl of Arundel, should be reckoned a false and wicked traitor and incur his indignation. This threat had caused many to be silent, afraid of what might befal them, who were, nevertheless, much dissatisfied.
Before 19 Oct 1398. At this time, a conversation passed between the earl of Derby (age 31) and the earl-marshal (age 30), in which the state of the king (age 31) and the counsellors whom he trusted became the subject of discussion. The earl marshal (age 30) caught at the following words the other had made use of, with a good intent, thinking they would never have been mentioned again, for they were neither arrogant nor traitorous: "Holy Mary! fair cousin, what does the king next intend to do? Will he drive all the nobles out of England? There will soon be none left; and he plainly shows he is not desirous to add to the honour of his realm." The earl marshal (age 30) made no reply, but treasured this speech in his mind, as he considered it very impertinent, in regard to the king, and thought within himself that the earl of Derby (age 31) was well inclined to excite troubles in England, for he was marvellously beloved by the Londoners. He therefore determined (for the devil entered his brain, and what has been ordained to happen must come to pass), to report this speech in the presence of the king and his nobility.
Before 19 Oct 1398. Soon after this conversation, the earl marshal (age 30), to flatter and gain favour with the king (age 31), said, "My lord, all your enemies and ill-wishers are not dead, nor out of the kingdom." The king changed colour, and replied, "How, cousin, do you know this?" "I know it well," answer the earl marshal (age 30): "for the moment, I will not say more; but, that you may provide a remedy in time, have it proclaimed that you will hold a solemn feast on this ensuing Palm Sunday, and invite all the princes of your blood, particularly the earl of Derby (age 31), when you shall hear something that will surprise you, and what you are not suspicious of, notwithstanding it so nearly concerns you." The king (age 31) was very pensive on hearing this, and begged the earl marshal (age 30) to give him further information; that he might safely tell him all, for he would keep it secret. I know not if he did so; but the king, if he did, kept it to himself, and allowed the earl to act in the matter as he pleased; the consequences of which were as follows.
Before 19 Oct 1398. The king (age 31) had it proclaimed that he would hold a solemn feast at his palace [Map] at Eltham on Palm Sunday, and sent particular invitations to the dukes of Lancaster (age 58) and York (age 57) and their children, who, not suspecting any mischief, came thither. When the day of the feast was arrived, and all the lords had retired after dinner with the king to his council-chamber, the earl marshal (age 30), having settled in his own mind how to act and what to say, cast himself on his knees before the king (age 31), and thus addressed him "Very dear and renowned lord, I am of your kindred, your liege man and marshal of England; and I have beside sworn on my loyalty, my hand within yours, that I would never conceal from you anything I might hear or see to your prejudice, on pain of being accounted a disloyal traitor. This I am resolved never to be, but to acquit myself before you and all the world." The king, fixing his eyes on him, asked, "Earl marshal (age 30), what is your meaning in saying thus? We will know it." "Very dear lord," replied the earl, "as I have declared, I will not keep any secret from you: order the earl of Derby (age 31) to come to your presence, and I will speak out." The earl of Derby (age 31) was called for, and the king made the earl marshal (age 30) rise, for he addressed him on his knees. On the earl of Derby's (age 31) arrival, who thought no harm, the earl marshal (age 30) spoke as follows: "Earl of Derby (age 31), I charge you with having thought and spoken disrespectfully against your natural lord the king of England, when you said he was unworthy to hold his crown: that without law or justice, or consulting his council, he disturbed the realm; and that, without any shadow of reason, he banished those valiant men from his kingdom who ought to be its defenders, for all of which I present my glove, and shall prove, my body against yours, that you are a false and wicked traitor."
Before 19 Oct 1398. The earl of Derby (age 31) was confounded at this address, and retired a few paces, without demanding from the duke his father (age 58), or any of his friends, how he should act. Having mused a while, he advanced, with his hood in his hand, towards the king (age 31), and said, "Earl marshal (age 30), I say that thou art a false and wicked traitor, which I will bodily prove on thee, and here is my glove." The earl marshal (age 30), seeing his challenge was accepted, showed a good desire for the combat, by taking up the glove and saying, - "I refer your answer to the good pleasure of the king (age 31) and the lords now present. I will prove that what you have said is false, and that my words are true." Each of these lords then withdrew with his friends, and the time for serving wine and spices was passed by; for the king (age 31) showed he was sore displeased, and retired to his chamber and shut himself within it. His two uncles [Note. John of Gaunt 1st Duke Lancaster (age 58) and Edmund of Langley 1st Duke York (age 57)] remained without with their children, as did the earls of Salisbury (age 48) and Huntingdon (age 46), the king's brother [Note. John Holland 1st Duke Exeter (age 46) was the King's maternal half-brother].
Before 19 Oct 1398. Soon afterward, the king (age 31) called to him his uncles [Note. John of Gaunt 1st Duke Lancaster (age 58) and Edmund of Langley 1st Duke York (age 57)], and demanded from them how he was to act on this occasion. "Sire, order your constable hither, and we will tell you." The earl of Rutland (age 25), constable of England, being sent for, came, and he was told, - "Constable go to the earl of Derby (age 31) and the earl marshal (age 30), and oblige them to promise not to quit the kingdom without the king's permission." The constable obeyed the order, and returned to the king's apartment. You may believe the whole court was greatly troubled by this event, and many barons and knights were much displeased, who blamed the earl marshal (age 30) for his conduct; but what he had said he could not now retract, and he showed by his manners that he made light of it, so arrogant and swollen with pride was his heart. The lords now separated, each for his own home. The duke of Lancaster (age 58), in spite of appearances, was much vexed at what had passed, and his opinion was, that the king should not have listened to such a charge, but instantly have annihilated it; and in this he was joined by the more sensible barons of the country.
Before 19 Oct 1398. The earl of Derby (age 31) resided in London, for he had his house there, and kept up his state. The duke of Lancaster (age 58), the duke of York (age 57), the earl of Northumberland (age 56), and many other great lords, for he was much beloved, were his securities to appear and answer the challenge. The earl marshal (age 30) was sent to the Tower of London [Map], where he lived with his household. These two lords made ample provision of all things necessary for the combat; and the earl of Derby (age 31) sent off messengers to Lombardy to have armour from sir Galeas, duke of Milan. The duke complied with joy, and gave the knight, called sir Francis, who had brought the message, the choice of all his armour for the earl of Derby (age 31). When he had selected what he wished for in plated and mail armour, the lord of Milan, out of his abundant love to the earl, ordered four of the best armourers in Milan to accompany the knight to England, that the earl of Derby (age 31) might be more completely armed. The earl marshal (age 30), on the other hand, sent into Germany, whence he thought he should be ably assisted by his friends. Each provided himself most magnificently, to outshine the other; but the greater splendour was shown by the earl of Derby, for I must say that, when the earl marshal (age 30) undertook this business, he expected to have been better supported than he was by the king. It was hinted to the king, by those near his person, - "Sire, you have no occasion to interfere further in this matter: dissemble your thoughts, and leave them to themselves: they are fully capable of managing it. The earl of Derby is wondrous popular in the kingdom, but more especially in London; and, should the citizens perceive that you take part with the earl marshal (age 30) against the earl of Derby, you will irrecoverably lose their affection."
Before 19 Oct 1398. The king (age 31) attended to this advice, for he knew it was true: in consequence, he dissembled his opinion, and suffered each to provide for himself. The news of this combat between the earl of Derby and the earl marshal (age 30) made a great noise in foreign parts: for it was to be for life or death, and before the king (age 31) and great barons of England. It was spoken of differently: some said, particularly in France, - "Let them fight it out: these English knights are too arrogant, and in a short time will cut each other's throats. They are the most perverse nation under the sun, and their island is inhabited by the proudest people." But others, more wise, said, - "The king of England (age 31) does not show great sense, nor that he is well advised, when for foolish words, undeserving serious notice, he permits two such valiant and noble lords, and of his kindred, thus to engage in mortal combat. He ought, according to the opinions of many wise men, to have said, when he first heard this charge, - "You earl of Derby (age 31), and you earl marshal (age 30), are my near relations: I command, therefore, that you harbour no hatred nor malevolence against each other, but live like friends and cousins as you are. Should your stay in this country become tiresome, travel into foreign parts, to Hungary or elsewhere, and seek for deeds of arms and adventures." If the king of England (age 31) had done so, or come forward to prevent this combat, he would have acted wisely, according to the opinions of men of sense and prudence.
Before 19 Oct 1398. The duke of Lancaster (age 58) was much vexed and melancholy at seeing the king of England (age 31), his nephew, thus badly conduct himself, but knew not to whom to open his thoughts. He, like a wise man, considered the consequences that might ensue, and at times said to those he most confided in, "Our nephew will ruin everything before he have done: he too readily listens to evil counsellors, who will destroy him and his kingdom. Should he live long, he will lose by little and little all it has cost his predecessors and us so much pains to gain. He encourages discord between his nobles and great lords, by whom he ought to be honoured and served, and the country guarded. He has put my brother to death, for it is now notorious he ordered it, and likewise the earl of Arundel, because they told him the truth; but this he refuses to hear, and will not listen to any one who does not flatter his own imaginations. He cannot sooner ruin his country than by exciting hatreds among his nobility and principal towns. The French are too subtle a race, for one misfortune that befals us they would wish ten, as they can never obtain their ends, or recover their domains, but through ourselves; and every day there are examples of the misery of kingdoms when divided. Such has been the unfortunate lot of France, Castille, Naples, and the Roman state; and the present schism is the ruin of the contending popes, as well as the church. Flanders is another example which we have seen of self-destruction. Friesland is at this moment in a similar state, oppressed by the war of the count of Hainault, and ruining themselves by domestic quarrels. We shall be in the same situation unless God prevent it, from the appearance of the present state of affairs. The king has consented that my son and heir, for I have none other by my first two marriages, should be challenged to mortal combat for a mere trifle; and I, his father (age 58), dare not say a word against it, in regard to my own and my son's honour; for my son has the feelings of a knight, and is of sufficient strength to encounter the earl marshal (age 30). Howbeit, let the best be made of it, they will never again love each other as they did before." Such were the conversations of the duke of Lancaster (age 58).
Before 19 Oct 1398. The two earls, in the mean time, were making every preparation for their combat. The duke of Lancaster (age 58) never went near the king, and as seldom saw his son (age 31), acting throughout with great good sense. He knew the earl of Derby (age 31) was very popular with all ranks in England, but more particularly with the Londoners, who waited on him, and addressed him, - "Earl of Derby (age 31), make your mind easy: whatever may be the event of this combat it will turn out to your honour, in spite of the king and all his minions. We know well how things are managed, and what will be the result of them: this accusation has been invented by envy, to cause your banishment out of the kingdom, where they are aware you are so greatly beloved by all ranks and sexes; and should you be forced to quit us in sorrow, you shall return in joy, for you are more worthy to rule than Richard of Bordeaux (age 31). Whoever may choose to search the matter to the bottom, to discover the real origin of you both, will soon see that you have a greater right to the crown of England than he who wears it, although we have paid him homage, and acknowledged him for king these twenty years; but that was obtained by the entreaties of your grandfather, king Edward of happy memory, who was suspicious of what we hint, and feared the consequences. There was once a serious dispute on this subject between king Edward and your grandfather by your mother's side, duke Henry of Lancaster, but the great lords interfered and made up matters between them. King Edward was valiant and successful in all his enterprises, and had gained the love of his subjects high and low. Your grandfather of Lancaster only required from the king what was just, and served him and his kingdom so loyally, that his conduct deserved the commendation of all. Every one who knew him called him their old father. These things are worthy of king Richard's consideration, and may make him repent, if anything can, at his leisure, that he has not more prudently governed." Such conversations did many of the nobles and citizens of London hold with the earl of Derby, who was pleased with their affection, and received them kindly. He did not, however, neglect any preparations for his combat, but sent to every one of his friends throughout England, to entreat their company at the appointed day and place.
Before 19 Oct 1398. King Richard (age 31), notwithstanding he had suffered this challenge and appeal to arms to be made in his presence, was uncertain how to act, and whether to allow the combat to take place or not. And although he was the king of England the most feared of any who had worn the crown, he was guarded day and night by two thousand archers, who were regularly paid weekly, and had confidence only in his brother the earl of Huntingdon (age 46), and the earls of Salisbury (age 48) and Rutland (age 25), his cousin, who were highly in his favour. He paid no regard to others, except a few of the knights of his chamber, who were his advisers. When the day for the combat was approaching, and the two lords had made their preparations, waiting only for the king's commands, king Richard's secret advisers asked, "Sire, what is your intention respecting this combat between your two cousins, the earl of Derby (age 31) and the earl marshal (age 30)? Will you permit them to proceed?" "Yes," replied the king: "why not? I intend to be present myself and to see their prowess. We may perhaps learn, from the issue of this combat, what we are now ignorant of, although it may be very important for us to know, that we may provide accordingly: for there is no one so great in England, but, if he anger me, he shall dearly pay for it. Should I allow myself to be any way governed by my subjects, they would soon overpower me; I know for certain that some of my kinsmen have held secret meetings respecting my government; but the most dangerous among them was the duke of Gloucester, for in all England there was none more wrong-headed. lie is now at peace, and henceforward we shall manage the rest well enough. But tell me, I pray you, why you ask the question?" "Sire," replied they, "we are bound to advise you to the best of our knowledge and abilities. We sometimes hear and observe what you cannot, for you are in your apartments, and we abroad in the fields, or in London, where many conversations are held that nearly touch you, as well as us. There is yet time to provide a remedy, and we earnestly advise you not to delay it." "What do you mean?" said the king: "speak out, and do not spare me; for I wish to act rightly, and to maintain justice in my kingdom." "Sire, the common report throughout England, but especially in London, is, that you are the cause of this combat, and that you have induced the earl marshal (age 30) to challenge the earl of Derby (age 31). The Londoners in general, and many of the prelates and nobles, say, that you are in the direct road to destroy all your kindred and kingdom, but that they will not suffer it to be done. Now, were the citizens to rise and be joined by the nobility, who could oppose them? You have no power but from your vassals; and they are now more suspicious of you than ever, from your marriage with a princess of France; and you are less beloved by your subjects on this account. Know, that if you allow these two earls to meet in arms, you will not be lord of the field, but the Londoners, united with the earl of Derby's (age 31) great connexions by blood, who are all much attached to him. The earl marshal (age 30) is become very unpopular, particularly with the citizens of London, who would willingly put him to death. Three parts of the people of England say, that when you heard the charge of the earl marshal (age 30), you should have acted otherwise than yon did, and checked the quarrel by telling them, "You are both my cousins and liege men, and I command that peace be henceforward between you;" and that you should have taken the earl of Derby (age 31) by the hand, and led him to your chamber with every token of affection. Because you did not this, the common report is, that you warmly take the part of the earl marshal (age 30) against the earl of Derby (age 31). Weigh well what we have said, for we have told you the truth, and you never had more occasion for good advice than at this moment."
Before 19 Oct 1398. The king (age 31), on hearing these words, changed colour (for they had boldly spoken out, and certainly what they had said could not be contradicted), turned aside and leant on a window, where he mused a considerable time. He then turned to those who had addressed him, namely, the archbishop of York (age 48), the earls of Huntingdon (age 46) and Salisbury (age 48), and three other knights of his chamber, and said, - "I have attentively heard everything you have advised, and should be blameworthy if I followed not your counsel: consider, therefore, how you would have me act." "Sire," replied their spokesman, "what we have been talking of is matter of great danger. You must dissemble your resentments, and put an end to this business, if you wish for peace and to preserve your honour. You ought to pay more respect to the general opinion of your realm than to the idle talk of two knights. It is believed throughout England that the lord marshal behaved himself very ill, and, by stirring up many things that were better forgotten, is desirous to pick a quarrel with the earl of Derby (age 31), raise the people, and throw all things into confusion. He must therefore suffer for so doing, and the earl of Derby (age 31) be acquitted. We have considered the matter in every point of view, and advise that, before they arm or make further preparations, you send them your commands to appear before you, and to abide by whatever you determine between them. You will therefore give judgment, that, within fifteen days, the earl marshal (age 30) quit England, without any hope of ever returning, and the earl of Derby (age 31) be banished thence for the space of ten years. When the time for their departure arrives, you will, to please the people, abridge four years of the earl of Derby's (age 31) sentence, so that his banishment will be only for six years, but that he must not expect further favour. Such is the advice we give you: be very careful to prevent their meeting in arms, or the greatest mischiefs may arise from it." The king was thoughtful a moment, and replied, "You have faithfully advised me, and it shall be done..
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 95
King Richard of England Banishes the Earl of Derby From England For Ten Years, and The Earl Marshal for his Life.
Before 19 Oct 1398. Not long after this, the king of England (age 31) summoned a large council of the great nobles and prelates at Eltham [Map]. On their arrival, he placed his two uncles of Lancaster (age 58) and York (age 57) beside him, with the earls of Northumberland (age 56), Salisbury (age 48) and Huntingdon (age 46). The earl of Derby (age 31) and the earl marshal (age 30) were sent for, and put into separate chambers, for it had been ordered they were not to meet. The king (age 31) showed he wished to mediate between them, notwithstanding their words had been very displeasing to him, and ought not to be lightly pardoned. He required therefore that they should submit themselves to his decision; and to this end sent the constable of England, with four great barons, to oblige them to promise punctually to obey it. The constable and the lords waited on the two earls, and explained the king's intentions They both bound themselves, in their presence, to abide by whatever sentence the king should give. They having reported this, the king said,- "Well then, I order that the earl marshal (age 30), for having caused trouble in this kingdom, by uttering words which he could not prove otherwise than by common report, be banished the realm: he may seek any other land he pleases to dwell in, but he must give over all hope of returning hither, as I banish him for life. I also order, that the earl of Derby (age 31), our cousin, for having angered us, and because he has been, in some measure, the cause of the earl marshal's (age 30) crime and punishment, prepare to leave the kingdom within fifteen days, and be banished hence for the term of ten years, without daring to return unless recalled by us; but we shall reserve to ourself the power of abridging this term in part or altogether." The sentence was satisfactory to the lords present, who said: "The earl of Derby (age 31) may readily go two or three years and amuse himself in foreign parts, for he is young enough; and, although he has already travelled to Prussia, the Holy Sepulchre, Cairo and Saint Catherine's1, he will find other places to visit. He has two sisters, queens of Castillo (age 25) and of Portugal (age 38), and may cheerfully pass his time with them. The lords, knights and squires of those countries, will make him welcome, for at this moment all warfare is at an end. On his arrival in Castille, as he is very active, he may put them in motion, and lead them against the infidels of Granada, which will employ his time better than remaining idle in England. Or he may go to Hainault, where his cousin, and brother in arms, the count d'Ostrevant, will be happily to see him, and gladly entertain him, that he may assist him in his war against the Frieslanders. If he go to Hainault, lie can have frequent intelligence from his own country and children. He therefore cannot fail of doing well, whithersoever he goes; and the king (age 31) may speedily recall him, through means of the good friends he will leave behind, for he is the finest feather in his cap; and he must not therefore suffer him to be too long absent, if he wish to gain the love of his subjects. The earl marshal (age 30) has had hard treatment, for he is banished without hope of ever being recalled; but, to say the truth, he has deserved it, for all this mischief has been caused by him and his foolish talking: he must therefore pay for it." Thus conversed many English knights with each other, the day the king passed sentence on the earl of Derby (age 31) and the earl marshal (age 30).
Note 1. The monastery on Mount Sinai. - Ed.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 96
The Earl Of Derby, In Consequence Of His Banishment, Leaves England For France. The Earl Marshal, In Obedience To His Sentence, Goes To Flanders, And Thence Into Lombardy.
19 Oct 1398. When the two earls heard the sentence the king (age 31) had passed on them, they were much cast down, and not without cause. The earl marshal (age 30) bitterly repented what he had said and done, but he could not foresee its consequences: he had firmly relied on being otherwise supported by the king (age 31) than he was, or he would not have thought of it. It was, however, necessary to make his preparations for banishment. He settled the payments of his income through the Lombards of Bruges, and, quitting England, arrived at Calais, where he had been governor. He staid there a short time, to receive part of his equipage which had been left behind. On his departure he took leave of the townsmen of Calais, and having fixed his route, would not go to France nor Hainault, for he had not any business at these places, but went to Bruges, where he staid fifteen days. On leaving this town, he visited Ghent, Mechlin, Louvain, St. Tron, Utrecht, Aix and Cologne, where we will leave him, and speak of the earl of Derby (age 31), who in like manner made his preparations for obeying his sentence of banishment.
After 19 Oct 1398. When the day of his exile drew near, he went to Eltham where the king (age 31) resided. He found there his father (age 58), the duke of York (age 57) his uncle, and with them the earl of Northumberland (age 56), sir Henry Percy (age 34) his son, and a great many barons and knights of England, vexed that his ill fortune should force him out of England. The greater part of them accompanied him to the presence of the king (age 31), to learn his ultimate pleasure as to this banishment. The king (age 31) pretended that he was very happy to see these lords: he entertained them well, and there was a full court on the occasion. The earl of Salisbury (age 48), and the earl of Huntingdon (age 46), who had married the duke of Lancaster's (age 58) daughter (age 35), were present, and kept near to the earl of Derby (age 31), whether through dissimulation or not I am ignorant. When the time for the earl of Derby's (age 31) taking leave arrived, the king (age 31) addressed his cousin with great apparent humility, and said, "that as God might help him, the words which had passed between him and the lord marshal had much vexed him; and that he had judged the matter between them to the best of his understanding, and to satisfy the people, who had murmured greatly at this quarrel. Wherefore, cousin," he added, "to relieve you somewhat of your pain, I now remit four years of the term of your banishment, and reduce it to six years instead often. Make your preparations, and provide accordingly." "My lord," replied the earl, "I humbly thank you; and, when it shall be your good pleasure, you will extend your mercy." The lords present were satisfied with the answer, and for this time were well pleased with the king's (age 31) behaviour, for he received them kindly. Some of them returned with the earl of Derby (age 31) to London. The earl's baggage had been sent forward to Dover, and he was advised by his father, on his arrival at Calais, to go straight to Paris, and wait on the king of France (age 29) and his cousins the princes of France, for by their means he would be the sooner enabled to shorten his exile than by any other. Had not the duke of Lancaster earnestly pressed this matter, like a father anxious to console his son, he would have taken the direct road to the count d'Ostrevant in Hainault.
After 19 Oct 1398. The day the earl of Derby (age 31) mounted his horse to leave London, upwards of forty thousand men were in the streets, bitterly lamenting his departure: "Ah, gentle earl! will you then quit us? This country will never be happy until your return, and the days until then will be insufferably long. Through envy, treachery and fear, are you driven out of a kingdom where you are more worthy to reside than those which cause it. You are of such high birth and gallantry, that none others can be compared to you. Why then will you leave us, gentle earl? You have never done wrong by thought or deed, and are incapable of so doing." Thus did men and women so piteously complain, that it was grievous to hear them. The earl of Derby (age 31) was not accompanied by trumpets, nor the music of the town, but with tears and lamentations. Some of the knights who attended him whispered each other-'See the conduct of the people, how readily they complain for trifles! Whoever is inclined to stir up the Londoners against the king may soon effect it, and force the king to seek another country, and the earl of Derby (age 31) to remain: but this is not the moment, for, since my lord of Lancaster suffers it, we must be patient."
The mayor of London and several of the principal citizens, accompanied the earl of Derby as far as Dartford [Map]: some even rode to Dover with him, and remained in his company until he embarked on board the vessel that was to convey him to Calais, when they returned to their homes. The earl of Derby, before his arrival at Calais, had sent a knight and herald to the king of France, and to the dukes of Orléans, Berry, Burgundy and Bourbon, to know if it were agreeable to them that he should fix his residence in Paris, paying punctually for all that he or his people might want, and if the court would receive him.
The king of France, his brother and uncles, readily complied with his request, and apparently seemed very glad that he would come there; for, as they assured the knight, they very sincerely felt for the present disgrace of the earl. The knight and herald, on their return, met the earl at Calais; and the king of France had sent with them sir Charles de Hangiers, to have all the cities and towns opened to the English as they travelled to Paris. The earl of Derby set out in gallant array, becoming his rank, and took the road to Amiens, where, and in every other town, he was handsomely received.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 97
The Count D'ostrevant Sends Ambassadors To The Earl Op Derby. The Earl Arrives At Paris.
The moment William earl of Ostrevant, who resided at Quesnoy, heard that his cousin the earl of Derby had crossed the sea, and was at Calais, he ordered sir Ancel de Trassaguies and sir Ficrabras de Vertain to ride thither and wait on the earl, and invite him to Hainault, whither, if he pleased to come and amuse himself, he would give him a hearty welcome, for it would be very agreeable to himself and his countess. The two knights obeyed the earl's orders, and rode to Cambray and Bapaumes; for they had heard the earl of Derby had left Calais, and taken the road towards Paris through Amiens. They determined, in consequence, to push forward, and overtook the earl of Derby on his road, to whom they punctually delivered their message. The earl thanked them, as well as his cousin of Hainault who had sent them, but excused himself for the present from accepting their invitation, as he was engaged to visit the king of France and his cousins, but that he did not renounce the affection and courtesy the count d'Ostrevant offered him. The two knights, having executed their commission, took leave, and returned to Hainault, to report all they had seen and heard, and the earl continued his journey to Paris. When news was brought to the king, and the dukes of Orleans, Berry and Burgundy, that the earl of Derby was approaching Paris, the principal French lords instantly made handsome preparations to go out and meet him. The apartments of the hotel de Saint Pol were richly furnished; and the great barons then in the town set out for Saint Denis. The king remained at the hotel de Saint Pol: but the dukes of Orleans and Berry left Paris, and first met the earl of Derby: then came the duke? of Burgundy and Bourbon, and the lord Charles d'Albret, with many great prelates and barons. Their meeting was joyous on both sides, and they entered Paris in brilliant array.
An unfortunate accident happened on this occasion, which I will relate. A prudent and valiant squire, called Boniface, a native of Lombardy, was mounted on a strong courser that had not been well broken. When passing through the streets, he rose upon his hind-legs, and the squire, checking by the bridle, pulled him so hard that he fell backward, and threw Boniface with such force on the pavement, that his skull was fractured. Thus died Boniface, to the great regret of many lords, particularly the duke of Orleans, by whom he was much esteemed. He had been a favourite with the late lord de Coucy, who had brought him from Lombardy to France.
The procession at length arrived at the hotel de Saint Pol, where the king was waiting: he received very kindly his cousin the earl of Derby, who, having been well educated, behaved so agreeably to the king, that lie was much liked, and, in token of his favour, the king gave him his order to wear. The earl accepted it with pleasure, and returned his thanks. I cannot pretend to say all that passed between them, but the meeting seemed to their mutual satisfaction. When wine and spices had been served, the earl took leave of the king and waited on the queen, who resided in other apartments of the same palace. He staid there some time, for the queen entertained him handsomely. On taking leave, he went to the court and mounted his horse, and was escorted to his hotel by the lords of France where he supped that night with his own people. Such was his reception at Paris: there were many grand entertainments made to amuse him, and that he might think the less on his banishment from his own country, which was very displeasing to the French lords. [In spite of all their kind endeavours, he at times was very melancholy, and not without reason, on being thus separated from his family. He was impatient to return, and much vexed that for such a frivolous cause he should be banished from England, and from his four promising sons, and two daughters. The earl frequently dined with the king, the duke of Orleans, and other great barons, who did everything they could to make his time pass agreeably.]
We will now leave the earl of Derby, to speak of the affairs of the church, and of the two popes, Benedict of Avignon, and Boniface of Rome.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 98
The Emperor And The King of France pursue the Plans they had settled at Rheims, for a Union of the Church. — The Bishop of Cambray is sent by them to the Pope at Rome. — The Answer that is made him.
You have before heard of the meeting which had taken place at Rheims between the emperor and the king of France, when many secret councils were held, on establishing the union of the church, for the present schism was disgraceful. In consequence of the plans then formed, Peter d'Ailly, bishop of Cambray, was sent ambassador to pope Boniface at Rome. The bishop set out, and met the pope at Fondi, to whom he delivered his credential letters from the king and the emperor. The pope, having examined them, was satisfied of their validity, and received the bishop kindly, for he guessed the object of his mission. The ambassador explained the cause of his coming, which the pope attentively listened to, and thus replied: " That the answer his propositions required did not only personally attach to him, but to all his brother-cardinals, who might aspire to the papacy. He would summon a consistory, and, when they had fully considered the matter, would give him an answer that should be satisfactory." This was, for the present, sufficient for the bishop of Cambray, who dined that day at the palace of the pope with some of his cardinals, and then, leaving Fondi, went to Rome.
Shortly after, pope Boniface held a convocation of cardinals at Rome; for he had quitted Fondi, and resided at the Vatican. No one was present at this consistory but the pope and cardinals, before whom he laid the propositions of the bishop of Cambray, and demanded advice what answer he Should make to them. Much discussion ensued; for the cardinals were averse to undo what they had done, thinking it would turn out to their disgrace. They said to the pope, — " Holy father, considering our situation, we think you should conceal your real sentiments on this matter: but to encourage the hopes of the king of France and those of his creed, you will in your answer declare your willingness to comply with whatever the emperor of Germany, the king of Hungary, and the king of England, shall advise you; that the person who resides at Avignon, and styles himself pope Benedict, whom the kino- of Franco and his nation have acknowledged, must first resign all claims to the papacy; and that then you will cheerfully attend a general council, wherever the abovenamed kings shall appoint, and bring your brother cardinals with you." This advice was very agreeable to Boniface, who replied, in conformity to it, but in more general terms, to the bishop of Cambray, who acquitted himself honourably in the business he had been sent upon.
When the Romans heard that the emperor and the king of France had written to the pope to resign his dignity, great were the murmurings throughout the city; for the Romans were fearful they should lose the holy see, which was of infinite consequence to them and profit, from the general pardons that were personally sought for, and which obliged such multitudes to visit Rome. The jubilee was soon to take place, for which they had made great preparations; and they were uneasy lest they might have incurred these expenses for nothing. The principal inhabitants of Rome waited on the pope, and showed him grreater love than ever, saying: " Holy father, you are the true pope: remain in the inheritance and patrimony of the church, which belonged to St. Peter, and let no one advise you to do otherwise. "Whoever may be against you, we will always continue your steady friends, and expend our lives and fortunes in the defence of your right." Pope Boniface replied, — " My children, be comforted, for I will never resign the popedom; and, whatever the emperor or the king of France may do, I will not submit myself to their wills." The Romans were satisfied with this answer, and returned to their homes.
The bishop of Cambray took no notice of this, but proceeded in the business he had been charged with. I fancy pope Boniface kept steady in his answer, that when it should b(' publicly known pope Benedict had resigned the papacy, he would act in such manner ai should be agreeable to those who had sent him. The bishop, not being able to obtain more, departed for Germany, and found the emperor at Constance, to whom he delivered the answer you have heard. The emperor said, — " Bishop, you will carry this to the king of France, our brother and cousin; and, accordingly as he shall act, so will I and the empire; but, from what I see, he must begin first, and when he has deposed his pope, we will depos ours." The bishop took leave of the emperor, and set out for Paris, where the king and his lords were expecting him. He delivered the answer from the pope, and the message from the emperor, which was kept secret until the king should assemble a great council of his nobles, to have their advice on the matter.
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The King of France, In Conformity to the Advice of his Nobles and the University Of Paris, sends the Bishop Of Cambray to Pope Benedict at Avignon, on the Subject of a Union of the Church, And also his Marshal Boucicaut Thither, to Constrain the Pope to Obedience by force of Arms should there be occasion.
The king of France, in consequence of the answer of pope Boniface, and the message of the emperor, that the pope at Avignon must be the first deposed, assembled the nobles and prelates of his kingdom at Paris. Prior to this, some of the prelates of France, such as the archbishop of Rheims, sir Guy de Roye, the archbishops of Rouen and of Sens, the bishops of Paris, Beauvais, and Autun, had strongly supported the pope of Avignon, particularly Clement, who had promoted them to their benefices. These six prelates, therefore, by particular orders, were not summoned to this council, but others in their room, and the heads of the university of Paris. After the bishop of Cambray had fully explained to the assembly the object of his embassy to Rome, what he had done there, the pope's answer, and the message from the emperor, for he had returned through Germany, they began to discuss the matter, and it was resolved the university should have the preponderating voice. It was determined in this council, to the satisfaction of the king, the duke of Orleans, their uncles, and all the members of it, that the king of France should send his marshal, the lord Boucicaut, to Avignon, to prevail on pope Benedict, by negotiation or force, to resign the papacy, and submit himself to the determination of the king and his council; that the church in France should remain neuter as to the true pope, until union were restored to it, according to the decrees of a general council of prelates and churchmen which was to be instantly called.
This resolution seemed good to every one, and was adopted by the king of France, and aU who had formed the council. The marshal of France and the bishop of Cambray were ordered to Avignon; and these two lords left Paris soon afterwards, travelling in company as far as Lyons, where they separated. The marshal was to remain at Lyons until he heard from the bishop, who continued his journey to Avignon, to learn what answer the person who styled himself pope at Avignon would make to the proposals from the king of France. On his arrival at Avignon, he fixed his lodgings in the great wood-market. Some of the cardinals suspected the cause of his coming, since he was sent by the king of France, but they dissembled their thoughts until they heard what he had to say, and observed how Benedict should answer and conduct himself. As soon as the bishop of Cambray had taken some refreshments and changed his dress, he waited on the pope in his palace. He made him, when in his presence, the proper obeisances, but not so reverently as if he and all the world acknowledged him for the true pope, although he had given him the bishopric of Cambray, through the recommendation of the lords in France. The bishop, being well versed in Latin and French, made an elegant harangue, to explain the object of his mission from the emperor and the king of France. When the pope heard that it was the intention of these two monarchs that he as well as pope Boniface should resign their dignities, he frequently changed colour, and, raising his voice, said, — " I have laboured hard for the good of the church, and have been duly elected pope, yet now my resignation is sought: this I will never consent to as long as I live; and I wish the king of France to know that I shall not pay any attention to his regulations, but will keep my name and dignity until death."
"Sire," answered the bishop of Cambray, " I always thought you, under reverence, more prudent than I find you really are. Fix a day for the meeting of your cardinals, to consult with them on your answer; for, unless they agree with you, your opposition will be in vain against them and against the powers of Germany and France." Upon this, two cardinals of his creation, who foresaw that matters would end badly, stepped forward and said, "Holy father, the bishop of Cambray advises you well: follow what he says, we entreat you." The pope replied, he would do so Avillingly: the audience was put an end to, and the bishop returned to his lodgings, without waiting on any of the cardinals.
On the next morning, the consistory bell was rung, and a conclave holden of all the cardinals then at Avignon, at the pope's palace. The bishop of Cambray discoursed in Latin on the reasons why he was come thither, and on the object of those who had sent him. "When be had finished speaking, he was told they would maturely consider the business, and give hira an answer, but that at present he must withdraw. He went elsewhere to amuse himself, while Benedict and his cardinals debated his proposals. They were for a considerable time in council, and many thought it very hard to undo what had been regularly effected; but the cardinal of Amiens said, — "My fair sirs, whether we will or not, we must obey the orders of the emperor of Germany and the king of France, since they are now united; for, without their good pleasure, we cannot exist. We might indeed withstand the emperor, if the king of France would support us, but, as that is no longer the case, we must submit, or he will exclude us from all our benefices, and how then are we to live? In truth, holy father, we have elected you pope, on condition that you would exert yourself in the reform of abuses in the church, and promote a union, all of which you have strenuously promised to do until this day. Answer for yourself, therefore, in a temperate manner, that we may praise you, for you must be better acquainted with your own mind and courage than we are." Many of the cardinals spoke at once, and said: "Holy father, the cardinal of Amiens speaks well, and we beg of you to let us know your intentions." Upon this, Benedict replied, — "I have always had an earnest desire for a union of the church, and have taken great pains to promote it; but since, through the grace of God, you have raised me to the papacy, I will never resign it, nor submit myself to any king, duke, or count, nor agree to any treaty that shall include my resignation of the popedom." The cardinals now all rose, and there was much murmuring: some said he had well spoken, and others the contrary. Thus was the conclave broken up in discord, and many of the cardinals departed to their hotels without taking leave of the pope. Those who were in his good graces remained with him.
When the bishop of Cambray observed the manner in which the cardinals left the pj^lace, he knew there had been great disagreement, and entering the hall of the conclave, advanced up to Benedict, who was still on his throne, and, without much respect, said, "Sire, give me an answer; I cannot wait longer; for your council is dismissed. You must let me have your final determination on the proposals I made you, as I am now about to depart hence." Pope Benedict, still heated by anger at the speech of the cardinal of Amiens, replied, — "Bishop, I have consulted my brother cardinals, who have elected me to this dignity, and they agree that every due solemnity has been used, such as is usual in such cases. Since, therefore, I am pope, and acknowledged as such by all my subjects, I will preserve it as long as I live, and will not, though it cost me my life, renounce it; for I have never done anything to forfeit the divine protection. You will tell our son of France that hitherto we have considered him as a good Catholic; but that, from the bad ad\ace he has lately received, he is about to embrace errors which he will repent of. I entreat that you would beg of him, from me, not to follow any counsels, the result of which may trouble his conscience."
On saying this, Benedict rose from his throne, and retired to his chamber, attended by some of his cardinals. The bishop of Cambray went to his inn, dined soberly, and then, mounting his horse, crossed the Rhone, passed through Villeneuve, and lay at Bagnols1, which belongs to France. He there heard that the Lord Boucicaut, marshal of France, was at St. Andrieu, within nine leagues of Avignon, and thither the bishop went on the following day, and related to him all that had passed, with an answer he had received from Benedict, who styled himself pope.
Note 1. Bagnols, — a town in lower Languedoc, three leagues from the Pont du Saint Esprit, and fifty-two from Lyons.
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In consequence of the answer of Pope Benedict, the Marshal Boucicaut obliges him by force of Arms to submit himself to the will of the King of France respecting a Union of the Church.
When the marshal of France had heard from the bishop of Cambray the pope's answer, and that he refused to submit himself to the king of France, he said to him, — "Bishop, you may now return to France, for you have nothing more to do here; and I will execute what I have been charged with by the king, my lords his uncles, and the council," The bishop replied, "God's will be done." He remained that day in the village, and on the morrow departed, taking his road towards Pay in Auvergne. The marshal instantly set clerks and messengers to work in summoning the knights, squires, and men-at-arms in the Viverais, Auvergne, and from the countries as far as Montpellier; for he was commissioned so to do by the king of France. He ordered the seneschal of Beaucaire to shut up all the passes to Avignon, as well on the Rhone as by land, that nothing might enter that place, nor be sent thither from the Pont du Saint Esprit; for he was particularly anxious that it should not be supplied with provisions or stores. The summons of the marshal was readily obeyed, by some through attachment, but by many in the expectation of plundering Avignon. Sir Raymond de Touraine came with pleasure to the marshal, who was ready to march, in company with the lords de la Both, de Tournon, de Monclau, and d'Uzes and others, so numerous, that the marshal sent a herald with his defiance to the pope in his palace, and to his cardinals in Avignon.
This was a severe blow to the cardinals and to the inhabitants; for they knew well they could not long effectually withstand the power of the king of France. They called a council of the cardinals and principal persons in the town, and, in consequence, waited on Benedict, and temperately remonstrated with him, that they were unable and unwilling to support a war against the king of France, for it was necessary they should carry on their commerce by land and water, to live. Benedict, like a madman, replied, — "Your city is strong, and well provided with stores and provisions. I will send to Genoa and elsewhere for men-at-arms, and write to my son the king of Arragon, who is the standard-bearer of the church, to come to my assistance, which he will do, for he is bound to it by two reasons; I am his kinsman, and he owes obedience to the pope. Do you depart hence and guard your town. and I will defend my palace, for you are alarmed at trifles." This was all the answer they could obtain from the pope, and the cardinals and townsmen retired to their houses. The pope, whom I call Benedict, had, for a long time before laid up in his palace great quantities of wines, com, salted meat, oil, and of every necessary store for a fortress. He himself was a bold and determined character, not easily dismayed.
The marshal Boucicaut marched from the town of St. Esprit, and, with the consent of the Prince of Orange, passed through Orange with his army, and entered the Comtat Venaissin, belonging to the Church, which was soon overrun. The men-at-arms crossed the bridge at Sorgues1, and were masters of each side of that river. The marshal left some men in the town to guard it and defend the passage, and oppose the garrison of Noues, that held out for the pope. He then fixed his head-quarters at Saint Verain, near Avignon, and his army was daily increasing. The city of Avignon was now so completely surrounded, that nothing could enter by land or water without leave. The seneschal of Beaucaire's quarters were at Yilleneuve, close to Avignon, though belonging to France, and he, with five hundred combatants, guarded that side of the town. The marshal of France, with two thousand men-at-arms, was on the opposite side: he sent notice to the townsmen, that if they did not open their gates, and submit themselves to his will, he would burn and destroy all the houses and vineyards as far as the river Durance. This greatly dismayed the inhabitants of both sexes, who had their inheritances in that part of the country, and they called a council, to which they admitted the cardinals of Amiens, Poitiers, Neufchateau, and Viviers, to have their advice. The townsmen, who were the most interested in the marshal's menace, informed the meeting of their fears lest he should execute it, saying it was made by orders from the king of France, whom they were not prepared to resist, nor could they do so with effect, for he was too near a neighbour; and that, considering all things, it would be much better to submit themselves to the king of France than remain obstinate in the support of Benedict, who was unable to afford them any assistance. They asked the cardinals if they would join them. The cardinals said they would. Provisions began to be scarce in Avignon; besides, their benefices were in France, which they would not lose; and they agreed with the townsmen in their treaty with the marshal. The terms of the treaty were, that he and his army should be admitted into Avignon, to besiege the palace, but that no violence should be done to the cardinals, their dependants, nor the townsmen. This the marshal, the French lords, and captains of the men-at-arms, swore faithfully to observe. When this was done the army entered the town, and lodged themselves at their ease, for it was large enough, and took of all obstructions on the Rhone and at the gates, to allow free liberty for the entrance of provisions.
Note 1. The river Sorgues takes its rise from the spring at Vaucluse.
Pope Benedict was much cast down when he heard that his cardinals and the townsmen had concluded a treaty with the marshal of France, without consulting him. He said he would never surrender, so long as he had breath, and shut himself up in his palace, which is very strong and handsome, and easy to be defended, provided it be well stored with provisions. The pope sent of letters by messengers, before the marshal entered Avignon, to the king of Arragon, humbly entreating him to come and succour him in his distress, and to send him men-at-arms sufficient to oppose the marshal of France. He added, that if he could be extricated from the situation in which he was, and conveyed to Arragon, he would establish the holy see at Perpignan or at Barcelona. The king of Arragon carefully perused these letters, but paid little attention to their contents. He said to those near his person, — "What! does this priest suppose that I am to involve myself in a war with the king of France, to support his quarrel? I should indeed be very blame- worthy, were I to interfere." "Sire," replied his knights, "what you say is true: you have no business to meddle with such matters; for you must know that the king of France has been ably advised, and has just cause to act as he does. Leave the clergy to themselves; and, if they wish for support they must subject themselves to those lords from whose countries they receive the amount of their benefices. They have too long held them undisturbed, and they ought to feel and be sensible whence their wealth arises. The king of France has besides written to entreat that you would agree with him in a neutrality between the two popes. Accept his invitation, for the queen, who is his cousin-german, has done so; and the greater part of the kingdom and clergy are willing to do the same; for we hold, especially the Catalonians, that this opinion is the surest; otherwise, should the Christian princes not unite in the same, there will never be any union in the church, from the divisions of these two popes." Thus did the king of Arragon and his lords converse on the subject, while poor Benedict, shut up in his palace, was looking in vain for assistance being sent him from Arragon. The marshal of France was in Avignon, and the palace so strictly invested, nothing could enter it, which forced those within to live on the provisions they had. Of food there was a sufficiency for two or three years; but, as there was a scarcity of fuel to dress their victuals, they began to be alarmed at the consequences.
The king of France held a weekly correspondence with the lord Boucicaut, on the state of Benedict; and the king ordered him not to depart until he had completed the business with the pope. He therefore increased the guard round the palace, to prevent him issuing forth. The conclusion was, that Benedict, finding himself thus constrained, that there was no fuel, and that their provisions were daily decreasing, without any assistance coming to his aid, begged for mercy, through the mediation of some of his cardinals. The terms of the treaty were, that he w^as not to leave the palace of Avignon until union should be restored to the church; that he should be put under the guard of proper persons; and that the cardinals and richest citizens of Avignon should be responsible for his appearance, dead or alive. This satisfied the marshal. Those cardinals who had benefices in France exerted themselves much to conclude this treaty, declaring unanimously they would comply with the orders of the king of France. Thus ended this business, and the men-at-arms marched away from Avignon, every one to his own home.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 101
The Marshal Boucicaut returns to Hungary against the Turks. The earl of Derby sends to request permission of the Duke of Lancaster to accompany Boucicaut in this Expedition. The King of England is solicited by the King of France to engage his subjects to a neutrality between the two Popes, until a new election shall take place; but they refuse compliance with their Monarch's request.
After this exploit, the marshal Boucicaut returned to Paris, and shortly after made preparations to go to Hungary; for the king had written to the king of France, to his uncles, and to the knights and squires of France, that Bajazet was assembling a large army of Turks, Arabians, Persians, Tartars, Syrians, and others of his religion. The king of Hungary was in consequence desirous of collecting a numerous force to oppose him, and offer him battle with more advantage than the last.
The earl of Derby, who resided at Paris at the hotel de Clisson, near the Temple, was very desirous to go on the expedition to Hungary, to avoid putting the king of France to further expense; for he received from the French treasury, every week, five hundred golden crowns for his expenses, which his people were most punctually paid. On the first mention of this expedition, the earl of Derby eagerly listened to it; for he felt himself under great obligations to the king of France, and was unwilling to be a charge on him longer. He likewise thought that he should gain honour by going to Hungary, and that it would make the time of his banishment the sooner pass away. He consulted his confidential servant who advised him to undertake it, but first to solicit the consent of his father the duke oi Lancaster. The earl, in consequence, sent to England the knight nearest his person, to learn the pleasure of his father, and how he would advise him to act. When the knight, whose name was Dinorth1, arrived at London, he heard the duke of Lancaster was at his castle of Hertford, about twenty miles from London, whither he went, and related to him the earl of Derby's wish to join the expedition to Hungary. When the duke had heard all he had to say, he was well contented with the state of his son, and bade him welcome, adding, that what he had said, and the letters he had brought, demanded consideration. You will rest yourself here while we deliberate on the subject; and, in the mean time, you must see my son's children, to give them news of their father, and carry intelligence of them to him, for that he will expect from you." "My lord," replied the knight, "what you say is true." Thus did he, by desire of the duke, stay some little time in England.
Note 1. "Dinorth." The MSS. have Du Roch. Q. if not Dimocke.
The king of France sent ambassadors to Germany to inform the emperor that he had laid hands on Benedict, who for a time had styled himself pope. These ambassadors were the patriarch of Jerusalem, sir Charles de Hangiers, and others of his knights: they set out for Germany, and met the emperor at Strasbourg, to whom they satisfactorily delivered their message. The emperor and his council said they would deliberate on the matter but would gladly first know the determination of the king of England, for which the king of France had taken on himself to answer. Upon this, the embassy returned to France, and reported what you have just read. The king of France, to hasten the business, sent a grand embassy to England to remonstrate with the king on the present distracted state of the church. The king of England would willingly have joined the king of France, but he had not his prelates nor his churchmen and subjects as much under his command as his father-in-law kept them in France. All this he told in confidence to the French ambassadors, at the same time promising them to do his utmost to comply with the king of France's request.
The French ambassadors returned to Paris; and king Richard, in consequence of his wishes to please his father-in-law, summoned a meeting of the prelates and clergy of his realm, at his palace of "Westminster, which is out of the city of London. When they met, he eloquently harangued them on the miserable schism in the church, and the plan the king of France had adopted, of remaining neuter between the two rival popes, according to the advice of the university of Paris, and other learned clerks. The kings of Scotland, Castille, Arragon, and Navarre had followed this example, and all Germany, Bohemia, and Italy intended doing the same. He therefore entreated that his kingdom would adopt the like measures. "When the prelates, who were ignorant why they had been assembled, heard this speech, they were greatly astonished, and were silent. Several murmured and said, — "Our king is quite a Frenchman: his only wish is to disgrace and ruin us, but he shall not succeed. What! does he want to make us change our creed? He may go so far that evil will befall him. We will do nothing in this matter, since the king of France proposes it. Let him keep to his neutrality, if he please, and we will keep our creed. We will never suflFer any attempt to deprive us of it, unless better reasons can be shown than those we have just heard."
The king, seeing them thus murmur together, made the bishop of London, who had laid the proposals of neutrality before them, ask what determination were best to be taken. They replied, one by one, that the matter was so weighty, great deliberation was requisite before any answer could be made. Upon this, the meeting broke up, and the clergy who had been assembled retired to their inns in the city of London. The citizens, learning from them the cause of the meeting, and the proposition that the king had made them, were greatly angered against him, for in England the belief in the pope of Rome was general. They said, — "This Richard of Bordeaux will ruin everything, if he be suffered to go on. His head is so thoroughly French, he cannot disguise it; but a day may come when he shall pay for all without having time to repent, and so shall those who have been his advisers."
Things continued in this state; and all his solicitations and remonstrances with his clergy to remain neuter obtained not any attention. The king of France and his council were dissatisfied that king Richard had not instantly determined his country to be neuter, but in truth he could not prevail with his clergy to do so; and shortly after there fell out such horrible events that the like are not to be found in this whole history, nor in that of any other Christian king, except that noble prince Lusignan, king of Cyprus and Jerusalem, whom his brother and the Cypriots villanously murdered.
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The Answer The Duke of Lancaster gives the Knight who had been sent to him by the Earl of Derby, to request his Permission to join the Expedition against the Turks. The Death of the Duke of Lancaster.
When the chevalier Dinorth, who had been sent by the earl of Derby to the duke of Lancaster, had received answers to the letters he had brought, and had visited all the castles of the earl his lord, and waited on his four sons and two daughters, who had remained in England, he took leave and returned to France. The answer from the duke of Lancaster was, that he would not advise his son to go into Hungary, but, when tired of France, to visit Castille and Portugal, and amuse himself at the courts of his brothers-in-law and sisters. The earl of Derby read these letters twice over, and mused some time on their contents. His knight told him in confidence that the duke of Lancaster's physicians and surgeons had assured him the duke laboured under so dangerous a disease it must soon cause his death.
This information made the earl give over all thoughts of travelling further. He remained in Paris, at the hotel de Clisson, which had been prepared for him and his attendants. He frequently visited the king, the duke of Orleans and their uncles, who entertained him handsomely. The earl was so sensible of ^heir attentions, that he said to the king of France — "My lord, you pay me so much honour and courtesy, and give me proofs of such affection, that I know not how* I shall be ever able to make you any return; but, if it please God that I go back to England, I will not forget them in my attachment to our queen, your daughter, whom God preserve!" "Many thanks, fair cousin," replied the king. It happened, that about Christmas-tide, duke John of Lancaster fell dangerously ill of a disorder which ended his life, to the great grief of all his friends. He had been some time very low spirited, on account of the banishment of his son, whom his nephew king Richard had forced out of England for a trifling cause, and also for the manner in which the kingdom was governed, which, if persevered in, he foresaw must be its ruin. The king of England, as it seemed, was little affected by his uncle's death, and he was soon forgotten.
Many of the nobles, but not all, were uneasy the kingdom was so weakened by the deaths of the dukes of Lancaster, Gloucester, and the earl of Arundel, and that the earl of Derby was banished, who ought to be now duke of Lancaster by legal succession. Some said, — "We shall see what the king will do. It is time that he recal his cousin the earl of Derby, and remit his further punishment, though there was scarcely any justice in it. It is proper that he return to take possession of his lands, and do homage as duke of Lancaster." Such speeches were common throughout England, but especially in London, where the earl of Derby was a hundred times more beloved than king Richard. Notwithstanding these murmurs, and that he was spoken to on the subject, as well as his ministers, nothing was done: on the contrary, the king showed he Avas more irritated against the earl. In this he was very badly advised; for if, on the death of his uncle, he had sent for the earl of Derby, and said to him, — "Fair cousin, you are welcome. You are now duke of Lancaster, and, after us, the greatest personage in the realm: we will, therefore, that you remain with us; and we will be governed by your counsels, and do nothing without your approbation;" — he would then have continued king of England, and avoided the unfortunate end that was awaiting him: the catastrophe was now so near at hand that he could no way avoid it, as you shall speedily hear.
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The King Of England makes the King of France acquainted with the death of the Duke Of Lancaster, but does not notice it to the Earl of Derby, though son to the late Duke.
The news of the death of the duke of Lancaster was soon public in France. King Richard wrote an account of it to the king with a sort of joy, but did not notice it to his cousin the earl of Derby. The earl, however, knew it as soon, if not sooner than the king of France, from his people in England. He clothed himself and his attendants in deep mourning, as was right, and had his obsequies grandly performed; at which were present, the king of France, the duke of Orleans, their three uncles, and numbers of the prelates and great barons of France, for the earl was much liked by all. The French barons visited him often, and some were displeased at and took part in his misfortunes: he was an amiable knight, courteous and pleasant to every one, and it was currently said, the king of England was very ill advised not to recal him. To say the truth, if the king had wisely considered consequences, he would have done it: affairs would not have turned out so miserably as they did. The earl of Derby was now, by the death of his father, duke of Lancaster, and the most potent baron in England, second to none but the king, and by his advice the king should have governed.
The king and his ministers should not have forgotten that the people of England, more particularly the Londoners, had frequently risen against the government; that the king was not popular with any rank of men; and that, during the life of the duke of Gloucester, he had suffered many vexations, and even personal danger. When the citizens of London and the deputies from the great towns waited on the king at Eltham, to petition for the abolition of the war taxes, their plan was (by the secret advice of the duke of Gloucester and other lords), to seize the king and queen, and choose another in his room. King Richard and his queen were to he confined and allowed a sufficiency for their maintenance during their lives. The duke of Gloucester had requested his nephew, son to the daughter of the duke of Clarence, called John earl of March, to take charge of the government of England; but he had excused himself from so doing, and the meeting was dismissed in tolerably good humour by the prudence and temper of the duke of Lancaster, and Richard reigned with greater prosperity than before. The king was not unacquainted with these designs against him; and by the wicked counsel of those about his person, who gave him to understand the duke of Gloucester was at the bottom of this plot, under pretence of great affliction he had him arrested in the night, and carried over to Calais, where he was strangled. This caused a great noise in all parts of England, and proposals were made for dethroning the king; but the duke of Lancaster, with his usual prudence and wisdom, although the duke of Gloucester was his brother, and he was sorely afflicted by his death, considering he could not restore him to life and the consequences that might ensue, again appeased these discontents; and his nephew, king Richard, was more feared than ever.
The king ought to have remembered all these circumstances, and likewise that the earl of Derby was the most popular man in England with every description of men, and should therefore instantly, on the death of his father, have recalled him. But the king had no such inclination: on the contrary, he immediately sent his officers to take possession of his lands and seize their rents, declaring, that, during his banishment, neither the earl nor his family should receive any of his revenues in England. He also, to the great vexation of such as were attached to the earl or his children, disposed of several estates in the duchy of Lancaster to some of his knights, and to whoever asked for them. The English barons greatly blamed him for this, and said, — "It is clear the king of England bears no good-will to his cousin, the earl of Derby, when he refuses to recal him, and suffer him to take possession of his inheritance. He would, with his children, be a grand support to the crown, and a staff to lean on, but he acts quite contrary, by thus keeping him out of the kingdom, in a disagreeable state, and which he would make worse if he could. He has taken possession of his lands, and sent hither his officers, as if they were legally his own, who treat the tenants worse than any in England: should they complain, during the absence of their lord, they are not attended to. It is no sign of affection or justice towards the earl of Derby and his children, when he thus seizes the inheritance of Lancaster, that descends to them as the true heirs of the lady Blanche, daughter of Henry duke of Lancaster, and likewise that from their mother, the daughter of the earl of Hereford and Northampton, and constable of England, which he is daily distributing piece-meal to any person according to his pleasure. This conduct is contrary to reason and justice, and so greatly disliked by the good people of England, that things cannot longer remain in their present state."
Such conversations were general among the nobles, prelates, and commonalty of England. In like manner, the lords in France, who heard of this matter, and were acquainted with the earl of Derby, wondered at it, and said, — "According to our opinion, this king of England has formed too great a hatred against the earl of Derby, who is his cousin-german. He is a graceful and courteous knight to all who address him. Either the king of England knows some things of him that we do not, or he is miserably advised: it is surprising the king of France, his brother the duke of Orleans, and their uncles of Berry, Burgundy, and Bourbon, do not interfere in the business, for he is daily with some of them. They would have greater weight than any others, and the king of England would do more to please them from love to his queen, who is daughter to the king of France; but, as they liave not taken any steps in the matter, it behoves us to hold our peace." In truth, the king of France and his family were perfectly well disposed toward the earl of Derby, whom they greatly respected, and wished always for his company. It was considered that he was a widower, likely to marry again, and that the duke of Berry had a daughter, who though so young, was a widow of two husbands: she had been first married to Louis de Blois, who had died in his youth, and then to the lord Philip d'Artois, count d'Eu, who died in Turkey, as you have read in this history. Mary of Berry was not more than twenty-three years old, and a marriage between her and the earl of Derby was talked of and nearly concluded.
The duke of Berry knew well that the earl of Derby was the greatest heir-apparent in England, as did the king of France, who was anxious this match should take place, on account of his daughter being queen of England. It was natural to imagine that two such ladies, so nearly related, would be agreeable company to each other, and that the kingdoms of France and England would enjoy longer peace, and be more intimately connected. All this would probably have been true, if it could have been accomplished but king Richard and his council broke off all these measures. Whatever misfortunes fate has decreed cannot be prevented; they must have their course; and those that befel king Richard are wonderful indeed to think on. He might indeed have avoided them, but what must be will be.
I, John Froissart, author of these chronicles, will literally say what, in my younger days, I heard at a mansion called Berkhampstead, distant from London thirty miles, and which, at the time I am speaking of, in the year of our Lord 1361, belonged to the prince of "Wales, father to king Richard. As the prince and princess were about to leave England for Aquitaine, to hold their state, the king of England, queen Philippa, my mistress, the dukes of Clarence, Lancaster, the lord Edmund, who was afterward earl of Cambridge and duke of York, with their children, came to this mansion to visit the prince and take leave of him. I was at that time twenty-four years old, and one of the clerks of the chamber to my lady the queen. During this visit, as I was seated on a bench, I heard the foUowingr conversation from a knight to some of the ladies of the queen. He said, — "There was in that country a book called Brut, which many say contains the prophecies of Merlin. According to its contents, neither the prince of Wales nor duke of Clarence, though sons to king Edward, will wear the crown of England, but it will fall to the house of Lancaster." When the knight said this, the earl of Derby was not bom: his birth was seven years after. This prophecy, however, was verified, for I have since seen Henry, earl of Derby, king of England.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 104
The Treaty of Marriage between the Earl of Derby and the daughter of the Duke of Berry is broken off by the King of England, through the means of the Earl of Salisbury.
The moment king Richard learnt that a treaty of marriage was going forward, with the approbation of all parties, between the earl of Derby and the lady Mary of Berry, he became very thoughtful and much displeased thereat. He said to the Earl of Salisbury, in whom he had great confidence, — "My lord, you must make yourself ready to go to Paris; I will give you credential letters to the king our father, and to our well-beloved brother and uncles. Tell them to beware of forming any alliance or marriage with such a traitor as the earl of Derby, who would have betrayed his sovereign: you are perfectly acquainted with the fact: and, with your good understanding, act in such wise that I shall be satisfied, and this marriage be put aside." The earl of Salisbury replied, — "Sire, I shall punctually obey all your commands; but, if this marriage could be broken off by any other means than mine, I shall be very thankful to you." "Earl of Salisbury," answered the king, "make no excuses; for I will and entreat that you go thither, and whatever may be the consequences I will support you through them." "Well, sire," said the earl, "since you specially command me, and the matter seems to interest you so much, I will undertake it, but I go very unwillingly." "Hasten your preparation as much as you can," replied the king, " that the treaty of marriage be not too far advanced."
The earl of Salisbury was soon ready, and, having had his credential letters sealed, he departed from the king, who at the time resided with his queen at Leeds-castle. He carried with him private letters from the queen to the king and queen of France, and to her brother the duke of Orleans, and, hastening his journey, arrived at Dover, where, the wind being favourable, he embarked, and landed at Calais. He was received by the king's half-brother, the earl of Huntingdon, governor of Calais, to whom he told part of his business. He made no long stay at Calais, but continued his road through Amiens to Paris and wherever he passed he was well entertained. On his arrival at Paris, he lodged at the "White Horse, in the square of the Greve1. After he had dressed himself, he waited on the king and queen, and delivered his credential letters: when the king of France had perused them, he took the earl of Salisbury aside and demanded his business. The earl related to him very minutely everything he had been charged with by the king of England, and called the earl of Derby a traitor to his natural lord. The king, on hearing this expression was angered for he had taken so strong a liking to the earl of Derby, that he would not hear anything said in his dispraise, and gave back the letters to the earl, saying', " Earl of Salisbury, we readily believe what you tell us; but our son of England bears too great a hatred to our cousin of Derby, and we wonder he has continued it so long, for we think that his court would be better adorned if he were near his person, and those who have the most weight in his council ought to advise him to recal his cousin." "Very dear sire," replied the earl of Salisbury, " I only act as I have been ordered." "That is true," said the king: " we are not angry with you, for perchance our son may know of these matters more than we can: execute the commission you have been charged with." The earl then waited on the duke of Berry, and delivered his message from king Richard. The duke made no answer, but went to the king at the hotel de Saint Pol, and asked if he had received any news from England. The king told him all that had passed between him and the earl of Salisbury, and a privy council of the king's uncles and principal lords, was summoned on the occasion. They said, — " The king of England must fear very much the earl of Derby, from circumstances that we are ignorant of, and that have not been made public. We ought to be more attached to him than to the earl of Derby, from his connexion with us by marriage; and, as we have been informed, he will be greatly displeased if we proceed in the marriage of the earl of Derby with the countess d'Eu, we must break it off. We have only to conceal what we have heard from England until the earl of Salisbury be returned."
Note 1. The MSS. say, "at the chateau de Festus, in the me du Tiroir."
The king and his council adopted this resolution. When the earl of Salisbury had completed the business he had been sent on to Paris, he took leave of the king and his lords, and departed. The king, however, showed he was more displeased than otherwise at the intelligence he had brought, and returned to the earl his credential letters, refusing to accept of them, from his partiality to the earl of Derby. This last knew of the earl of Salisbury being at Paris, but they never saw each other; and the earl of Salisbury returned to Calais without speaking to the earl of Derby, and thence to England to report the success of his mission.
The earl of Derby was much displeased that the earl of Salisbury should leave Paris without seeing him, and augured from it nothing favourable. His council were of the same opinion, and said to him, — " My lord, you will soon perceive such things as you little dream of, although they are as yet hid from you. The French are a close and subtle people: perhaps the king of England and his minions are vexed that the king of France and his court show you such honour and affection; perhaps also it may be rumoured in England that you propose marrying the lady Mary of Berry, and king Richard, to whom this intelligence will not be agreeable, has sent over to have it broken off: should that be the case, you will speedily hear of it." Thus, as the knights and council of the earl of Derby had supposed matters were, did they turn out. About a month after the departure of the earl of Salisbury, the commissioners from the earl of Derby renewed the matter of the marriage with the lady Mary of Berry: but those on the part of the duke replied, — " Tell my lord of Derby, that when he is in the presence of the king and his brother the duke of Orleans, he may propose this business himself; for we cannot say more on the subject, since it is not agreeable to our employers that we longer interfere in it."
These words were repeated to the earl of Derby, who suspected nothing more was meant by it than to hasten the marriage; for the king of France and his lords had shown outwardly as much eagerness for the match as ever. He remembered what had been told him, and at, a proper opportunity, when the king and his lords were together, renewed his proposal of marriage. The duke of Burgundy, having been charged with the answer, replied, '" Cousin of Derby, we cannot think of marrying our cousin to a traitor." The earl instantly changed colour on hearing this expression, and said, — " Sir, I am in the presence of my lord the king, and must interrupt your speech, to answer the expression you have used. I never was nor ever thought of being a traitor; and if any one dare to charge me with treason, I am ready to answer him now, or at whatever time it may please the king to appoint." "No, cousin," said the king, " I do not believe you will find any man in France that will challenge your honour. The expression my uncle has used comes from England." The earl of Derby cast himself on his knees, and replied, " My lord, I willingly believe you: may God preserve all my friends, and confound mine enemies!" The king made the earl rise, and said — " Earl, be appeased: all this matter will end well; and when you shall be on good terms with every one, we can then talk of marriage. But it will be first necessary that you have possession of your duchy of Lancaster; for it is the custom of France, and of n\any countries on this side the sea, that when a lord marries with the consent of his lord paramount, should he have one, he settles a dower on his wife." Upon this, wine and spices were brought: the conversation ended; and, when the king retired to his closet, every one went away.
The earl of Derby, on his return to the hotel de Clisson, was bitterly enraged, and not without reason, to be accused of treason, when he thought himself one of the most loyal knights in the universe, and in the presence too of the king of France, who had shown him so much affection and courtesy, and that this accusation should have been brought from England by the earl of Salisbury, His knights pacified him as well as they could, by saying, " My lord, whoever wishes to live in this world must sometimes suffer trouble. Comfort yourself for the present, and bear all things with patience: perhaps you will hereafter have it made up in joy and glory. Of all the lords on this side of the sea, the king of France loves you the most, and, from what we hear and see, he will instantly prevent any insult being offered you. You should be thankful to him and his uncles for having kept this matter secret during the stay of the earl of Salisbury, and until he was landed in England." "Indeed!" replied the earl: " I should have thought it more loyal to have made the charge while he was here, than to have waited so long. I could then have been enabled sufficiently to exculpate myself in the presence of the king and his lords, so that my innocency would have been apparent, but I must now submit to the disgrace until I shall wipe it off." "My lord," answered his knights, " all faults cannot be corrected at once: have patience, we hope things will turn out better in England than you think. The affection the whole country bear you will very soon, if it please God, deliver you from all dangers." Thus did his knights attempt to comfort the earl of Derby, who was more cast down than man ever was; and what they had uttered by chance, for consolation, turned out true, as I shall now relate.
It was known in England that the earl of Salisbury had been sent to France with credential letters, and that, on the strength of them, he had accused the earl of Derby to the king of France and his uncles, as a perjured, false, and wicked traitor, which words had greatly angered many of the prelates and barons of the kingdom. They said, when among themselves: "The earl of Salisbury has done very wrong to carry such a message to France, and make so heavy a charge against the most honourable man in the world. The day will come when he shall repent of this, and say, " It weighs heavily on me that I ever carried a message to France against the earl of Derby." The Londoners were exceedingly enraged against the king and his ministers for their conduct, and said, — " Ah, gallant and courteous earl of Derby, how great are the jealousies and hatreds against thee when, to overwhelm thee with disgrace and vexation, they charge thee with treason! It was not enough for the king and his minions to force thee out of the kingdom, but they must add this charge also; but, by God, all things have an end, and their turn may come." "Alas! " cried the people, " what have his children done? when the king seizes their inheritance, which ought to be theirs by direct succession from grandfather and father. There must be some change in public measures, for we neither can nor will suffer them to go on longer..
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 105
King Richard of England proclaims a Tournament, which is attended by very few persons. On setting out for Ireland, he banishes the Earl of Northumberland and his Son from the Kingdom.
Soon after the return of the earl of Salisbury from France to England, king Richard had proclaimed throughout his realm and in Scotland, that a grand tournament would be held at Windsor, by forty knights and forty squires, clothed in green, with the device of a white falcon, against all comers, and that the queen of England, well attended by ladies and damsels, would be at this feast. The queen was indeed present at the tournament in magnificent array, but very few of the barons attended: the greater part of the knights and squires of England were disgusted with the king, for the banishment of the earl of Derby, the injuries he was doing the earl's children, the murder of the duke of Gloucester, that had been committed in the castle of Calais, the death of the earl of Arundel, whom he had beheaded in London, and the perpetual exile of the earl of Warwick. None of the kindred of these lords came to the feast, which was of course very poorly attended.
The king, after this tournament, made preparations to go to Ireland. He left his queen, Isabella, and her household at Windsor castle, and took the road to Bristol, where he laid in ample purveyances and stores. He had with him full two thousand lances, knights and squires, and ten thousand archers. When the Londoners heard he was set out, they began to murmur together and say, — " Well! Richard of Bordeaux has taken the road to Bristol for Ireland. It will be his destruction: never will he return thence to joy, more than his ancestor, king Edward, who governed his realm so foolishly, through the counsels of the Despencers, and paid for it. This Richard of Bordeaux has confided so long in weak and wicked counsellors, that it cannot longer be borne."
You must know, that although many barons, knights, and squires accompanied the king in his expedition to Ireland, they were much discontented with him, and did not follow him with a goodwill. When they were together, they conversed, saying, " Our king governs very badly, and too readily believes weak counsel." This was so often and so loudly spoken of throughout the realm, particularly by the earl of Northumberland and his son Harry Percy, that the king's ministers heard of it, and said to the king: " Sire, the earl of Northumberland and his son say things that must not be suffered, for they want to excite your subjects to rise against you. Every rebel must be punished, one after another, that the greatest barons may fear you, and take example." "That is true," replied the king: " how shall I act on this occasion?" "We will tell you, sire: they are to join this expedition, but not yet arrived. When they come, order them to your presence by the earl of Salisbury or any other you please, and then remonstrate with them on the injurious speeches they have uttered against you and your ministers. You will hear what answer they make, and, as that may be, consider how you shall punish them, by imprisonment or otherwise." The king replied, — " You say well, and what you advise shall be done."
The earl of Northumberland and his son had good friends on this expedition, by whom great part of the secret councils of the king were revealed: they were strongly advised not to join the armament, nor appear in the king's presence, for that he was so wrath with them, they would at least be severely reprimanded, if not imprisoned. On hearing this, they retarded their journey towards Bristol; for, according to the intelligence sent them, had they come, they would have run a risk of their lives. The king's ministers, perceiving the earl of Northumberland did not arrive, said to him, — " See, sire, if we did not tell you the truth: neither the earl of Northumberland nor his son condescend to serve you, although ordered; and, if you send them a special summons, you will have a confirmation that what we have told you is true." The king said, it should be done. Letters were signed, sealed, and sent off by a special messenger, containing orders for the earl of Northumberland and sir Henry Percy instantly to join the king's forces, and perform their duties as they were bounden to do. The messenger continued his journey to a very handsome castle1 of the earl of Northumberland on the borders of Scotland, and delivered his letter. The earl read them attentively, and then gave them to his son.
Note 1. Alnwick.
They determined to entertain the messenger well, and to write to the king to excuse themselves, as they were no way prepared, nor could they leave their own country, as the king had a sufficiency of men for the business he was going upon. The messenger returned with his answers, and gave them the king; but they were not agreeable to him nor to his ministers, and for this and other charges, which were publicly made against the earl of Northumberland and his son, they were banished England, never to return until recalled by the king. This sentence was published in London and in all the towns of England, to the great astonishment of the citizens, who could not conceive why they had thus been so severely punished; for they had always considered the earl of Northumberland and sir Henry Percy as two of the most loyal subjects in the realm. Some said, when conversing on this matter, that " the ministers of the king hated them, and would in the end cause their master's destruction. It may be that the earl and his son have talked too freely about the king's ministers, and his foolish government; and, as truth is not always agreeable, these gallant knights suffer for it; but those who have now judged them may hereafter have their turn."
Such were the conversations of the discontented Londoners, as well as of the majority of the English people. The earl and his son were connected by blood with the noblest and richest families, who were exasperated by their banishment; and among them his brother, sir Thomas Percy, who had done many very great services to the crown of England. When the earl heard of his banishment, he summoned all his friends and relations; but many were with the king and could not attend. On their assembling, he consulted them how he should act in the disgrace the king had so undeservedly heaped on him; and it was determined to send to Scotland, to request the king would afford the earl and his son an asylum in that country until affairs should mend, or the king's anger be pacified. This resolution was adopted, and a messenger sent to the king of Scotland to make the above request. King Robert, the earl Archibald of Douglas, and the barons of Scotland, cheerfully complied with it, and returned for answer, that the kingdom was ready to receive them; and, if they wanted five or six hundred lances, they would be instantly at their service, on hearing from them. This answer was highly pleasing to the earl of Northumberland and his kindred; and things remained in this state, the earl in his own country among his friends; for king Richard and his advisers had in a short time so much to do, that they had no leisure to attend to the earl of Northumberland, nor to say to him, " Quit the kingdom, or we will force you." They were obliged to give up all thoughts but for their own safety, as you will hear in the course of this history.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 106
The English, and particularly the Londoners, rise in favour of the Earl of Derby against King Richard.
During the time king Richard was holding his court at Bristol and in that neighbourhood, there was a general insurrection of the people of England. The courts of justice were closed; at which many of the prelates, barons and prudent part of the people, who only wanted for peace and to pay what was lawful, were much dejected. A stop was put to all traffic, for merchants dared not travel for fear of being robbed, and having no courts to apply to for redress. All these things were very prejudicial, and contrary to the usual customs of the country; for in general all people, labourers and tradesmen, lived peaceably, and followed their occupations without hindrance, but it was now quite the contrary. When merchants went with their goods from one town to another, and had any money in their purses, it was taken from them. The farmers' houses were pillaged of grain, and their beeves, pigs and sheep carried away, without the owners daring to say a word. These enormities increased 80 much, there was nothing but complaints heard. The common people said, " Times are sadly changed for the worse since the days of king Edward of happy memory. Justice was then rigorous in punishing the wicked. Then there was no man in England daring enough to take a fowl or sheep without paying for them, but now they carry off all things, and we must not speak. This cannot go on without the country being ruined, and yet no one attempts to check it. "We have a good-for-nothing king, who only attends to his idle pleasures; and, as it should seem, he cares not how public affairs are managed, so that liis inclinations arc gratified. We must look for a remedy, or our enemies and ill-wishers will be rejoiced and laugh at us. King Richard has made his brother, the earl of Huntingdon, governor of Calais, and perchance there may be some underhand treaties going forward to surrender it to the French, although it be so necessary and convenient to England: should this happen no nation will be ever more discomfited than the English, and with good reason, for they will lose the keys of the entrance to France." These murmurings and discontents multiplied; and the prelates and rich barons came to live in London, that they might avoid the troubles and dangers which were increasing throughout the kingdom. The families of those whom the king had put to death or banished were rejoiced, and looked out for greater mischiefs as the consequence.
The citizens of London, who being rich from their trade, are enabled to live in state, and by whom the other parts of England are generally governed, foresaw that most dangerous consequences would ensue, unless they stepped forward, as they had wisely done formerly against king Edward and the Despencers, who had forced queen Isabella and the prince of Wales out of the kingdom, and wanted to destroy them. The king had no cause for so doing, but they were absent from England three years. When the Londoners perceived king Edward so besotted with the Despencers, they provided a remedy, by sending secretly to queen Isabella information, that if she could collect a body of three hundred armed men, and land with them in England, she would find the citizens of London, and the majority of the nobles and commonalty, ready to join her, and place her on the throne. The queen found a friend in sir John of Hainault, lord of Beaumont and Chimay, and brother to count William of Hainault, who undertook, through affection and pity, to carry her and her son back to England. He exerted himself so much in her service, with knights and squires, that he collected a body of four hundred, and landed them in England, to the great comfort of the Londoners. The citizens joined them, for, without their assistance, they would never have accomplished their enterprise. King Edward was made prisoner at Bristol, and carried to Berkeley-castle, where he died. His advisers were all put to death with much cruelty; and that same day king Edward III. was crowned king of England, in the palace of Westminster.
The Londoners remembered all these circumstances very well; for the children of those days, now become men, had often had them told by their fathers, and others read them in the chronicles of those times. They therefore said to one another privately, — " Our ancestors, in former days, provided a remedy for the mischiefs that afflicted the country, which were not so alarming as at this moment: if this wicked king Richard be suffered to rule according to his pleasure, we must all be ruined, and the country destroyed. Ever since he began his reign, the kingdom has not prospered to the degree in which it did before: he shows no signs of being the son of the prince of Wales; for, if he were his son, he would follow his manners, and take pleasure in imitating his prowess, instead of idly dallying with ladies, and spending his time among them, or putting his confidence in those who have neither weight nor sense but in amassing treasures and destroying England. Have not the traitors near his person infamously murdered that valiant duke of Gloucester, because he saw clearly public affairs were badly governed, going on from bad to worse, and spoke boldly the truth concerning them? Have they not also put to death that gallant knight the earl of Arundel, and banished England, without reason, the gentle sir Henry of Lancaster, earl of Derby, by whom, and his four promising sons, the kingdom ought to be supported? This cruel conduct is much aggravated; for, while they make the earl suffer many disgusts beyond sea, they have disinherited his children of the estates that devolved to them from their grandmother, the lady Blanche of Lancaster, by dividing and distributing them daily to those who are unworthy to possess them. Because those two gallant knights, the earl of Northumberland and sir Henry Percy, have spoken their minds on this subject, king Richard has also banished them: it is clear there will not soon be any men of courage and honesty in the country, and hatreds and discontents are now increasing everywhere, so that if a remedy be not sought for, all things will fall to ruin. The remedy is in the earl of Derby, who is now losing his time in France: him we must send for, and, on his arrival, appoint him regent of the kingdom, that he may reform all abuses, and punish those who have used him so ill, Richard of Bordeaux must be arrested and confined in the Tower of London, when all his actions will be examined and put into writing, which are sufficiently numerous, and will prove clearly he is unworthy to govern a kingdom or wear a crown: his acts are so infamous, that they will condemn him..
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 107
The Archbishop Of Canterbury is sent to France by the Londoners, and others of their party in England, to bring back the Earl of Derby.
Such was the language of the Londoners, and of many others throughout England; but, although much was done to excite the people to insurrections, they would never have attempted what they did, if the Londoners had not set them the example. The citizens of London, who, from their power and wealth, lead the rest of England, held several secret councils, to which were admitted some prelates and knights, when they resolved to send in search of the earl of Derby, who was residing at Paris or thereabout, and bring him back to England. On his return, they were to remonstrate with him on the weak government of wicked king Richard, and propose, if he would undertake it, to give him the crown, and elect him and his heirs kings for ever, on condition that he promised to govern according to the ancient usages of the country. They next thought on the most proper person to send on this commission: he must be prudent and brave; for it would be a grand enterprise to seduce the carl from France, when the king and his uncles were showing him every token of love and courtesy; and he would not put any belief in the simple propositions of a low-bom person, nor in any letters that were sent him, but rather the contrary. In consequence, they entreated the archbishop of Canterbury1, a man of prudence and wisdom, to undertake it, who, for the good of his country, complied with the request. He made his preparations for the journey so privately, that none knew of his departure but those in the secret. He, with six more, embarked on board a vessel on the Thames, and landed at Sluys, thence he went to Ardembourg, Ghent, Gudenarde, Ath, Conde and Valenciennes, and stopped at the hotel of the Swan, in the market-place. Having staid there three days to recover himself, he pursued his journey, not as archbishop of Canterbury, but like a simple monk on a pilgrimage, discovering to no one his rank, nor the business he was about. He departed from Valenciennes the fourth day, having hired a guide to conduct him to Paris, giving out that he was on a pilgrimage to Saint Maur des Fosses2. He arrived at length where the earl of Derby resided, which was, I believe, at the hotel de Vinchester3, near to Paris.
Note 1. Thomas Fitz-alan, son to the earl of Arundel.
Note 2. saint Maur des Fosses, — a town in the Isle of France, diocese of Paris.
Note 3. Froissart has said before, the earl of Derby resided at the hotel de Clisson, near the Temple. This hotel de Vinchester was so called from having been built by John bishop of Winchester 1204. It belonged, at the period we are now speaking of, to the duke of Berry. — Sauval, Antiquités de Paris.
When the earl of Derby first saw the archbishop, his heart rejoiced and he recovered his spirits. Those about him were well pleased, for they concluded he had brought some important intelligence from England. The archbishop, however, did not discover the cause of his coming, and, to prevent any suspicions of it, said he was on a pilgrimage to Saint Maur des Fosses, which the earl's attendants believed and were satisfied. When the archbishop thought it was time to make the object of his journey known, he took the earl into a private chamber, and there informed him of the miserable state England was in; that violence and desolation ruled in many parts, and that, by the king's fault, there was neither law nor justice: that the Londoners, with some prelates and valiant men, had determined to remedy these evils, and that for this he had been sent by them to say, that if the earl would return to England (for he was wasting his time in France) they would make him king: Richard of Bordeaux had done, or consented to so many atrocious acts, that the people were indignant, and resolved to rise against him, " Now is the time, or never," added the archbishop, " for you to seek your deliverance, and the advantage of yourself and children; for, if you do not, no one else will for them, since this Richard of Bordeaux is giving away all their estates to his minions, or to whoever asks for them. The citizens of London, and many other gallant men, are greatly enraged at such conduct, and would amend it if they could, though hitherto they have been silent. He has filled up the measure of his crimes by the murder of the duke of Gloucester, the beheading of the earl of Arundel without cause the exile of the earl of Warwick, and your banishment; clearly showing his intentions to deprive England of its nobles and the support she might have from them, for he has lately banished the earl of Northumberland and his son because they talked too freely of him and his ministers. The citizens of London and the greater part of the prelates and barons of England entreat you will not sleep over this business, but that you will take leave of the king of France and the French, and return home, where you will be joyfully received, and every promise I have made be punctually fulfilled, for the country desire none other than you for their king, so much are you beloved and respected."
When the earl of Derby had heard this speech of the archbishop, he did not immediately reply, but, leaning on a window that looked into the gardens, mused awhile, and having various thoughts in his mind, turned to the bishop, and said: " My lord, your speech requires much consideration. I would be unwilling to begin an enterprise and be forced to leave it unfinished, for I well know, that unless by the means you propose, it will be a long time before I return to England. I am loth to resort to this, for the king of France and his nobles have paid me every honour and attention, and will continue so to do, as long as I shall please to live among them. Should I accept of the offers and kind promises which you and my good friends the citizens of London make, I must subject myself to their will, arrest king Richard, and put him to death. For this I shall be universally blamed, and I would not willingly do so, if any other means could be adopted." "My lord," replied the archbishop, " I am sent hither with every good disposition towards you. Call in your council, and lay before them the propositions I have made: I will also explain why I am deputed hither, and I do not think they will advise you to act otherwise than to accept them." "I consent," said the earl, " for such matters demand great consideration."
The earl of Derby sent for those knights and squires in whom he had the most confidence, and in their presence desired the archbishop to repeat what he had just told him; which being done, he asked their advice how he should act. They unanimously answered, — " My lord, God has taken compassion on you: be careful how you refuse such offers, for you will never have more advantageous ones made you. Whoever will examine your blood will find that it descends in a straight line from Saint Edward, king of England. Thank your good friends the Londoners for wishing to deliver you from exile, and for having pity on your children and the kingdom of England, which now is sorely troubled. Have you forgotten the many wrongs this Richard of Bordeaux has done you, and who does not dissemble his wishes to add to them daily. When your marriage with the lady Mary of Berry was on the point of being concluded, did he not send over the earl of Salisbury to break off the match, and to accuse you before the king and his whole court of being a false and wicked traitor? Such things are unpardonable, and you should rather seek for means of revenge. If you will not help yourself, no one will do it for you: consider well, therefore, all we have said..
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 108
The Earl of Derby takes leave of the King and Lords of France, to visit his cousin the Duke Of Brittany.
The earl of Derby's courage was raised on hearing his council thus boldly declare their opinion, and he said, — " I will do whatever you advise, for I have called you together to have your counsel." They unanimously answered, " You say well; and we will advise you. according to circumstances, to the best of our power." After this, they carried on their business so very secretly, that none of the household but those immediately concerned knew anything of what was goino; forward. They consulted how they could cross the sea before any news of their intention should reach England, and whether to travel through Hainault and Holland, and embark at Dordrecht, or to go to Brittany under pretence of visiting the duke, sail from one of his ports, and land at Plymouth or any other place whither God might please to send them. Everything considered, they thought the road through Brittany the easiest accomplished: and they advised the earl, saying, — " My lord, you will take leave of the king of France, his brother, and uncles, and thank them warmly for the affection and courtesy they have sho>vn you. After this, you will request the king to grant you an escort to Brittany, to visit the duke and stay some time with him."
The earl of Derby consented, and came to Paris, where all things were prepared for his departure: he waited on the king as usual whenever he pleased, for the doors of the palace were open to him at all hours. At this last visit, he talked to the king very ably, as he knew well how to do, as to his future plans, and said he would go and amuse himself in Brittany and visit the duke, whom he called his uncle, for he had married a sister to his father, daughter to king Edward. The king, not thinking he was plotting mischief, easily assented: and the earl, having requested an escort to Brittany, the king promised to give instant orders for one to be at his command. To shorten the matter, the earl managed his affairs with much discretion, and took leave of all the lords who were then at court: on his departure, he made very handsome presents to the king's officers, for he was bounden so to do; and to the heralds and minstrels resident in Paris, and who attended the farewell supper he gave at the hotel de Clisson to such of the French knights as chose to partake of it.
These things done, on the next morning be and his attendants mounted their horses and left Paris by the gate of St. James, following the road to Estampes. A knight from Beauce, called sir Guy le Baveux, escorted them. They continued their journey to Blois, where they remained eight days; for the earl had sent forward one of his knights and a herald, to signify to the duke Iris intention of visiting him, and the circumstance of his being on the road.' The duke of Brittany was very happy to learn that his nephew, the earl of Derby, was coming to see him; for he was attached to him, and had always loved the duke of Lancaster and his other brothers. " Why," said the duke to the knight, whose name was sir William de la Perriere, " has our nephew stopped on the road, since he intends to visit us. and has not come directly hither?" The knight excused him as well as he could; but the duke said, — " It is foolish; for there is no knight whom for these last seven years I should more gladly see in Brittany than my fair nephew the earl of Derby. Let him come to us with a hearty welcome, and he shall find my country and towns open and ready to receive him." The knight was well contented with this answer, and sot out on his return as speedily as possible. On his arrival at Blois, he told the earl and his council the words of the duke of Brittany. On the morrow they mounted their horses, and left Blois, with the good wishes of the inhabitants, who had been paid most liberally for everything they had wanted, and all were contented.
In company with the earl of Derby was sir Peter de Craon, who had been so much harassed by the parliament of Paris in his suit with the queen of Naples, that he was in a manner banished France, and all his castles and estates sequestered for payment of the one hundred thousand francs he was indebted to the queen, and various other heavy sums incidental to the costs and expenses of this suit. The earl of Derby journeyed on until he came to Nantes, where he met the duke of Brittany, who received him and his company with much joy. Sir Guy le Baveux returned to France, and the earl staid with the duke, who entertained him in the best manner. The archbishop of Canterbury accompanied the earl, but did not open himself to any one on the cause of his coming, so that it was a perfect secret excepting to the earl and his council. The duke, to show his love, spared no expense in entertaining his nephew and his attendants, although he knew king Richard was very wrath against him, for which he pitied him.
The earl, noticing the great affection of the duke, by the advice of his council discovered some parts of his plan, by way of sounding him on the subject. He asked his advice how to act in respect to his inheritances of the duchy of Lancaster and others which his father had held, and by right of succession had at his death devolved on him; but that the king, far from allowing him to have possession of them, had banished him from England, and was daily giving away the estates of his family to any who asked for them; that numbers of nobles and prelates were exceedingly discontented with the king for this conduct, and that many parts of England were in a state of warfare against each other; that the good people of London had compassion on him, and had given him to understand they would cheerfully receive him, if he would return, and bring about a reconciliation between him and the king, and recover for him his inheritances. When the duke of Brittany heard this, he replied, — " Fair nephew, the straightest road is always the best and surest. You are in a distressing situation, and ask advice: I theretofore recommend you to trust to the Londoners: they are powerful, and will force king Richard, who, I understand, has behaved to you very unjustly, to do as they shall please, in conjunction with the prelates and nobles who are attached to you in England. I will assist you with vessels, men at arms, and cross-bows, to convey you over the sea, and to defend you against any dangers you may meet with." The earl of Derby was very thankful to the duke of Brittany for this advice and offer.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 109
The Earl of Derby sails from Brittany to England. His reception by the Citizens of London.
Thus were all things settled most amicably between the duke of Brittany and the earl of Derby, who staid some time with the duke, and gave out that he would remain longer; but, in the mean time, his purveyances were preparing at a distant sea-port, which I believe was Vannes, whither the duke and earl came when all things were ready. When the wind waa favourable for England, the earl and his attendants embarked on board the vessel prepared for him. He was to be escorted by three ships full of men at arras and cross-bows, as far as the coasts of England. The fleet, having weighed anchor, put to sea, and the farther they advanced towards England, the more favourable was the wind, so that, within two days and as many nights, they arrived at Plymouth, where they landed few at a time, and entered the town1. The bailiff of Plymouth, to whom the king had intrusted the guard of he town, was astonished to see so many men at arms and cross-bows; but the archbishop of Canterbury satisfied him, by saying they were men at arms whom the duke of Brittany had sent for the good of the realm, and to serve the king and country. The bailiff's suspicions were lulled; and the earl so disguised himself that he was not discovered by any of the townsmen, and retired to a private chamber, where he remained shut up. The archbishop, on their arrival at Plymouth, instantly wrote letters, signed and sealed by him, which he despatched by one of his servants to London, to inform the citizens of the earl's landing.
Note 1. This is a mistake: he probably coasted England, and landed at Ravenspurn in Yorkshire, between Hull and Bridlington.
The messenger made such haste, by changing horses in the different towns he passed through, that he arrived at London by break of day on the following morning. He entered the city by London bridge gate, which was not shut, and went to the house of the mayor, who was in bed; but, on hearing a messenger was come from the archbishop, he leaped out of it, and ordered the man into his chamber, who gave him the letters from the archbishop. The mayor opened and read their contents with pleasure, and instantly dressing himself, sent off his servants with the intelligence of the earl of Derby's landing, to the houses of those who had been the most active in sending for him. All were rejoiced at the news; and about two hundred of the principal citizens assembled, who held no long council, for the case did not require it, but cried out, — " Come, let us hasten to make ourselves ready, and go and meet our lord of Lancaster, since we have invited him hither. The archbishop of Canterbury has done well to bring him; and let the earl's arrival be made known to such gallant lords and knights as are desirous to see him, and have him for their sovereign." Many persons were then selected to publish this intelligence, and carry it to the barons, knights, and squires of their party. Upwards of five hundred Londoners mounted their horses, and were so impatient to see the earl of Derby, that they would scarcely wait one for another.
The earl made no long stay at Plymouth, but on the morrow, when the horses were disembarked, mounted them and took the road to London. Sir Peter de Craon and the Bretons still accompanied the earl of Derby. The mayor of London and the chief citizens were the first who met the earl and the archbishop on the road. The meeting was very affectionate on both sides; and as they rode onward, they met more of the Londoners. They lay the first night at Guildford, twenty-eight miles from London. On the morrow, all the city of London knew that the earl of Derby was coming thither, and men, women, children, and clergy, dressed in their best clothes, went to meet him, so eager were they to see him. The moment he came in sight, they shouted out, " Welcome, long wished-for carl of Derby and duke of Lancaster: may all joy and prosperity attend you! " They said, — " that ever since he had left England nothing good had befallen it: by him all things would be restored, and put on a proper footing; for we have lived in a wretched state by the miserable councils of Richard of Bordeaux, but he is most blameable himself; for a king, to succeed in the good government of his kingdom, should have sense and discretion enough to distinguish between good and evil, otherwise he is unfit to wear a crown; but this Richard has, in many respects, acted wrong from design, as shall be proved against him." Such were the greetings the earl of Derby had on his approach to London. The mayor of London rode by the side of the earl, to the delight of the people, who were pleased to see how kindly they were received. The mayor said, " See, my lord, how much the people are rejoiced at your arrival." "It is very true," replied the earl. As he advanced, he bowed his head to the right and left, and noticed all comers with kindness.
In this state they arrived in London, when the earl was escorted to his house; and every one retired to his own until he had dined. Then the mayor, the chief magistrates of London, and many barons, knights, bishops, abbots, at the time in town, came to see the earl and congratulate him. The duchess of Gloucester and her two daughters, who were his cousins german, waited likewise on him; but their brother Humphrey was with the king on his expedition to Ireland, more through constraint than love. With these ladies came the countess of Arundel and some of her children, as did the lady Warwick and many other ladies resident in London. The whole town was so rejoiced at the earl's return, that every shop was shut, and no more work done than if it had been Easter-day.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 110
The Earl of Derby, now Duke of Lancaster, undertakes the government of England, and, by the aid of the Londoners, determines to seize the throne. He marches in arms against King Richard at Bristol.
To bring this matter to a conclusion, it was determined to march against the king, whom the citizens of London and other towns called by no other title than Richard of Bordeaux: and the lower classes had such a hatred to him, as not to be able to speak of him but in his dispraise. The Londoners already treated the earl of Derby as their king, and had formed resolutions accordingly. The earl of Derby engaged to undertake the government of England on condition the crown was settled on him and his heirs for ever, which the Londoners swore to observe, under their hands and seals, and promised that the rest of England should do the same in so solemn a manner that there never should be a question concerning it: they also promised him assistance in men and money. These obligations having been entered into on each side, which did not take much time, for they were in haste to free themselves» twelve hundred1, well armed and mounted, were ordered to accompany the earl of Derby towards Bristol, to make Richard of Bordeaux a prisoner, and conduct him to London. When there, he should be legally tried before the nobles, prelates, and commons of England, and judged according to the proof of the charges laid against him. It was also ordered, to avoid slanderous reports, that the men at arms and cross-bows, who had been lent by the duke of Brittany to the earl, as his escort, should be sent back, for they had men sufficient for the purpose they were about. The earl, in consequence, called the Bretons before him, thanked them warmly for the services they had rendered him, and on their departure, gave them so much money that they were contented. They returned to their vessels at Plymouth, and thence sailed to Brittany.
Note 1. " Twelve hundred" — the MSS. say twelve thousand, which is more probable,
The earl of Derby was prepared to march to Bristol as commander-in-chief of these Londoners, for he was more interested in the matter than any one else, and set out in grand array. He pressed his march as much as he could, and was joined by all the countries he passed through. News was carried to the army of king Richard1, of the march of the earl of Derby and the Londoners; but it was known to many knights, squires, and archers, before the king; and several heard it who were afraid to tell him. When it became more public, there were many murmurings in the army; and those about the person of the king were exceedingly alarmed, for they now saw matters were ripe with every mischief and danger to the king and to themselves. They knew they had many enemies in the kingdom; and that such as had hitherto kept up fair appearances, now the earl of Derby was come back, would turn against them. Thus did it happen; for numbers of knights and squires who had served the king in this campaign, dissembled, and quitted him without taking leave, or saying they were going away. Some retired to their houses, and others went straight to the earl of Derby and joined his army. As soon as Humphrey of Gloucester, and Richard of Arundel, son to the late earl knew for certain of the earl of Derby's approach, they left the king, and never stopped until they had joined him. The earl and his army had passed Oxford, and were then at a town called Cirencester: he had great joy in receiving his cousins, and asked the state of king Richard, where he was, and how they had managed to quit him. They replied, that they had not spoken to him of their departure: but the moment they had heard of his march, they had mounted their horses, and hastened to offer him their services, and to revenge the loss of their fathers, whom Richard of Bordeaux had put to death. The earl bade them welcome, and said, — " We will mutually assist each other. Richard of Bordeaux must be carried to London, for so have I promised the Londoners, and will keep my word, and they are willing to aid me with all their power. We have men enough to fight with him; and, if he wish it, we will give him battle."
Note 1. Richard was in Ireland when the news arrived.— Ed.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 111
King Richard is informed that the Earl of Derby is marching against him with a powerful army. — he retires to Flint-castle.
Note 1. It was Conway castle to which Richard retired.
When matters could not longer be concealed, it was told to king Richard, — " Sire, take caro of yourself: you must have good and speedy counsel, for the Londoners have risen with a mighty power, and intend to march against you. They have elected the earl of Derby, your cousin, their commander,' and by his advice they act: you may be assured that some strong treaties, have been entered into between them, since he has crossed the sea by their invitation." The king was thunderstruck at hearing this, and knew not what answer to make; for his courage forsook him, and he foresaw affairs would end badly unless proper steps were immediately taken. Having mused a while, he replied to the knights who had given him this information, — " Instantly make ready our menât arms and archers, and issue a special summons throughout the kingdom for the assembling of all my vassals, as I will not fly before my subjects." "By God," answered the knights, " everything goes badly, for your men are leaving you and running off. You. have already lost half your army, and the remainder are panicstruck and wavering." "What can I do then V asked the king. " We will tell you, sire: quit the field, for you cannot hold it longer, and make for one of your castles, where you can remain until your brother, Sir John Holland, who is enterprising and courageous, and must now have heard of the rebellion, come to you: he will, by force or negotiations, bring your affairs into a different state from that in which they are at present. When it is known that he has taken the field, many who have fled from you will join him." The king agreed to this advice. The earl of Salisbury was not then with him, but in another part of the country; and, when he heard that the earl of Derby was marching a large army against the king, he judged things would turn out badly for his master, and for all who had been his advisers. He therefore remained quiet, waiting for further intelligence.
The duke of York had not accompanied the king on this expedition: but his son, the earl of Rutland, had been induced to join him, for two reasons; one, in return for the great affection king Richard had shown him; the other, because he was constable of England. It was therefore necessary he should attend his king. Other news was brought the king, as he supped: they said, — " Sire, you must determine how you will act; for your army is as nothing compared to the force marching against you, and a combat will be of no avail, and appease the malcontents as you have formerly done, by kind words and fair promises, and punish them afterwards at your leisure. There is a castle twelve miles from hence, called Flint, that is tolerably strong: we therefore advise that you fly thither and remain shut up as long as you please, or until you hear other news from sir John Holland and your friends. We will send to Ireland for succour; and when the king of France, your father-in-law, shall hear of your distress, he will assist you."
@@King Richard listened to this advice, and thought it good: he selected such as he wished to accompany him, and ordered the earl of Rutland to remain at Bristol with the remnant of the army, ready prepared to advance when they should hear other news, or when they should be sufficiently strong to combat their enemies. These commands were obeyed; and the king, attended by his household only, departed on the ensuing morning for Flint-castle, which they entered without showing any appearance of making war on any one, but solely to defend themselves and the place, should they be attacked1.
Note 1. This account of Froissart is very incorrect, and I refer to the different English chronicles.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 112
How King Richard yielded himself to the Earl of Derby to go to London
The earl of Derby (age 31) and the Londoners had spies who brought them daily accounts of the state of the king, which were confirmed by knights and squires, who had left his army to join the earl. The intelligence of the king having fled to Flint-castle was soon known to him; and that he had there shut himself up with a few men at arms, of his household, showing no symptoms of making war, but to get out of his difficulties, if possible, by a treaty. The earl was advised to march thither, and get possession of his person by force or otherwise. This was followed; and, when the army was within two miles of Flint, they came to a Tillage, where they halted, and the earl refreshed himself with meat and drink. He there resolved in his own mind, without consulting others, to march with only two hundred horse, leaving the rest behind, and, when near the castle wherein the king was, to endeavour, by fair speeches, to enter the castle, and cajole the king to come forth and trust to him, who would insure him against all perils on his road to London, engaging that he should not suffer any bodily harm, and promising to mediate between him and the Londoners, who were greatly enraged against him. This plan was approved of by those to whom he mentioned it; but he was told, — " My lord, beware of any dissimulation in the business: Richard of Bordeaux must be taken, dead or alive, with all the traitors who have been his advisers, and conducted to the Tower of London. Neither the Londoners nor we will hear anything to the contrary." The earl of Derby (age 31) replied, —
The Londoners were now satisfied, and the earl left the army with two hundred horse. They soon came before the castle, where the king was shut up in one of the chambers much cast down. The earl and his men rode to the gate, which was closed, for the case required it, and knocked loudly. Those within asked, " Who is there?" The earl replied, " I am Henry of Lancaster, and am come to demand from the king my inheritance of the duchy of Lancaster. Tell him so from me." "My lord," answered those who heard him, " we will cheerfully do it," and instantly ascended to the hall where the king was with those of his knights that had for a long time been his chief counsellors, and related the message, for he was eager to hear who had so rudely knocked at the gate — " Sire, it is your cousin the earl of Derby (age 31), who is come to demand his inheritance from you." The king looked at his knights, and asked how he should act.," Sire," replied they, " this request is no way improper: yon may allow him to come into your presence, with only eleven others, and hear what he has to say. He is your cousin, and a great lord of the country, and can besides, if he please, make np all differences; for he is exceedingly beloved in England, more especially by the Londoners, who sent for him beyond sea, and are now in rebellion against yon. You must dissemble until matters be appeased, and the earl of Huntingdon, your brother, arrived. It is unfortunate for him and you that he is at this moment at Calais; for there are many in England who now rebel against you, that, were he by your side, would remain quiet, and not dare take any part. He is married to the sister of the earl of Derby (age 31), and by his good sense and exertions, we hope and suppose he will make peace between you and your people."
The king consented to this proposal, and said, " Go to him: have the gates opened that he and eleven more may enter." Two knights then left the king, and, crossing the court of the castle, came to the gate, and had the wicket opened. Having passed it, they bowed to the earl of Derby (age 31) and 'to his knights, addressing them in courteous language; for they felt they had no force to resist them, and that they were hated by the Londoners. They wished therefore to accommodate matters by fair speeches and outward appearances. They said to the earl, " My lord, what is your pleasure? The king is at mass, and has sent us hither to speak with you." "I will tell you," answered the earl. " You know that I ought to have possession of the duchy of Lancaster: I am come partly on that account, and on some other business I wish to speak of to the king." "My lord," replied they, " you are welcome: the king will see and hear you with pleasure, and has told us that you and eleven more may enter the castle." The earl said it pleased him; and he and eleven others passed the wicket, which was instantly shut on the others who remained without.
Consider the great risk and danger the earl of Derby (age 31) ran, for they could as easily have slain him, when in the castle (which they should have done, right or wrong), and his companions, as birds in a cage. He never thought of the peril he was in, but went straight forward and was conducted to the king. The king, on seeing, him, changed colour, as one who knew he had greatly misconducted himself. The earl spoke aloud, without paying any reverence or honour to the king, and asked him, " Haye you broken your fast? " The king answered, " No: it is yet early morn: why do you ask?" "It is time you should breakfast," replied the earl, "for you have a long way to ride." "What road?" said the king. " You must come to London," answered the earl: " and I advise that you eat and drink heartily, to perform the journey more gaily." The king was now very melancholy, and frightened at these words: he said, " I am not as yet hungry, nor have I any desire to eat." The knights, desirous to flatter the earl of Derby (age 31) (perceiving things were taking a serious turn), said, " Sire, have confidence in my lord of Lancaster, your cousin, for he can but wish your good." "Well," said the king, "I am willing so to do: have the tables covered."
They hastened to obey these orders; and the king washed his hands, seated himself at table, and was served. They asked the earl if he would not be seated, and eat. He said» " no; for that he had breakfasted." During the time the king was eating (which was not long, for his heart was too much oppressed to eat) the whole country was covered with men at arms and archers, who could be plainly seen from the windows of the castle. The king, on rising from table, perceived them, and asked his cousin the earl who they were. He replied, "For the most part Londoners." "And what do they want?" said the king. " They want to take you," answered the earl, " and carry you to the Tower of London, and there is not any means of pacifying them, unless you consent to go." "No! " replied the king, who was much frightened at hearing this, for he knew the Londoners hated him, and continued, " cannot you, cousin, prevent this? I would not willingly yield myself into their hands; for I am aware they hate me, and have done so for a long time, although I am their sovereign." The earl of Derby (age 31) answered, — " I see no other way to prevent it, but to surrender yourself to me, and, when they know you are my prisoner, they will not do you any harm. You must make preparations to be conducted and imprisoned in the Tower of London with your attendants." The king, not knowing how to act in his distress, and fearing the Londoners would put him to death, yielded himself prisoner to the earl of Derby (age 31), promising to do whatever he should advise. His knights, squires and officers, surrendered in like manner, to avoid greater danger. The earl, in the presence of those who had accompanied him, received the king and his attendants as his prisoners, and ordered the horses to be instantly saddled, brought to the court, and the gates of the castle to be thrown open, on which many men at arms and archers entered it.
The earl of Derby (age 31) now issued a proclamation, that no one should dare to touch anything in the castle, or lay hands on any servant or officer of the king, under pain of being instantly hanged, for that every person and thing were under his special protection and guard. This was obeyed, for there was not one bold enough to act contrary. The earl conducted his cousin, king Richard, down stairs to the court of the castle, continuing in close conversation with him, where he had his usual state, without the smallest change having been made in it. While they were saddling the horses, and making ready, they talked on different subjects, and were much looked at by the Londoners.
I heard of a singular circumstance that happened, which I must mention. King Richard had a greyhound called Math1, beautiful beyond measure, who would not. notice nor follow any one but the king. Whenever the king rode abroad, the greyhound was loosed by the person who had him in charge, and ran instantly to caress him, by placing his two fore feet on his shoulders. It fell out, that as the king and the duke of Lancaster were conversing in the court of the castle, their horses being ready for them to mount, the greyhound was untied, but, instead of running as usual to the king, he left him, and leaped to the duke of Lancaster's shoulders, paying him every court, and caressing him as he was formerly used to caress the king. The duke, not acquainted with this greyhound, asked the king the meaning of this fondness, saying, " What does this mean?" "Cousin," replied the king, " it means a great deal for you, and very little for me." "How?" said the duke: " pray explain it." "I understand by it," answered the king, " that this greyhound fondles and pays his court to you this day as king of England, which you will surely be, and I shall be deposed, for the natural instinct of the dog shows it to him. Keep him therefore by your side, for he will now leave me, and follow you." The duke of Lancaster treasured up what the king had said, and paid attention to the greyhound, who would never more follow Richard of Bordeaux, but kept by the side of the duke of Lancaster, as was witnessed by thirty thousand men
Note 1. The Museum MSS. call this greyhound Blemach, mine Mach. The greyhound seems to hare been a favourite prognosticator in these times; for, when the armies of the two rivals, John of Montford and Charles de Blois, were on the point of engaging, the lord Charles's greyhound left him and caressed John of Montford, who gained the battle.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 113
The Lady of Coucy is taken away from the young queen of england, and a new household appointed for her. — King Richard is confined in the Tower of London.
Having mounted their horses, they departed from Flint-castle1, and Henry duke of Lancaster, whom we shall no longer call earl of Derby, rode by the king's side, and at times conversed with him. They were surrounded by a large body of men at arms and archers. Those of the king's party advanced by themselves, and the first town they lay at was Oxford2; for the duke of Lancaster avoided all the large towns and castles, by keeping in the open country, for fear of insurrections of the people. The duke disbanded a great part of his army, saying, " he had enough for the completion of his business, as the king could not now fly nor escape from him. We will carry him and his advisers to London, and securely place them in the Tower. They are my prisoners, and I can take them any where: return, therefore, to your homes until you shall again hear from me." All assented to this proposal of the duke, who took the direct road to Windsor; and the Londoners, except those he had kept with him, went to their homes. The duke of Lancaster, on leaving Windsor, did not follow the road to Colnbrook, but that to Shene, and dined with the king at Chertsey. King Richard had earnestly requested his cousin not to carry him through London, which was the reason they had gone this road.
Note 1. Conway castle.
Note 2. After the king had been carried to the duke of Lancaster at Chester, on the third day the duke departed with his prisoner thence to Nantwich; the next day to Newcastle, and there the earl of Warwick's son met them; and so journeying forth, the next day they came to Stafford, and after they departed to Lichfield, where the king thought to have escaped, slipping down into a garden, out of a window of a great tower; but he was espied, and brought into the tower again. From Lichfield, the duke went to Coventry; but, before they could come thither the Welshmen did them much mischief, and slew many of them j and tho Englishmen, when they by groat chance could take any of them, they tied to their horses' tails, and drew them after them through ways full of stones, and caused them to die miserably.
"The duke passed from Coventry to Daventry, the next day to Northampton, from thence to Dunstable, and then to Saint Albans. Within five or six miles before his coming to London, the mayor and the companies in their liveries, with great noise of trumpets, met the duke, doing more reverence to him than to the king, rejoicing that God had sent them such a prince, that had conquered the realm within one month's space," &c. — Stowe's Chronicle, by Howes, pp. 322, 323.
The duke of Lancaster and his company, on their departure from Chertsey, rode to Shene, and, during the night, conducted the king and such of his knights and others as they wished to confine, to the Tower of London. On the morrow, the Londoners heard the king was in the Tower, and were much rejoiced; hut there were many murmurings that he had been brought thither privately, and the people were very angry with the duke of Lancaster because he had not carried him publicly through the streets in open day, not to do him honour, but that they might show their scorn, so much was he hated by them. Consider how serious a thing it is when the people rise up in arms against their sovereign, more especially such a people as the English. In such a case, there is no remedy; for they are the worst people in the world, the most obstinate and presumptuous; and of all England the Londoners are the leaders, for, to say the truth, they are very powerful in men and in wealth. In the city and neighbourhood, there are twenty-four thousand men, completely armed from head to foot, and full thirty thousand archers. This is a great force, and they are bold and courageous; and the more blood is spilt, the greater their courage.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 114
The Earl of Rutland, Constable of England, hearing the King has surrendered, dismisses his men at arms. four knights of the King's chamber, having been put to death by the londoners, he is advised bt those who were imprisoned with him to resign his Crown to the Duke of Lancaster.
We will speak of the earl of Rutland, son to the duke of York, at this time constable of England, who had remained at Bristol with his brother-in-law the lord de Spencer, and their men. When they learnt that the castle the king had retired to was invested, and that the king, on his surrendering, was carried to London, they instantly foresaw the event, and that it must end badly for king Richard. They determined not to stay longer where they were, but dismissing their men at arms, except such as were attached to their persons, left Bristol, and rode to a very handsome seat1 the lord de Spencer had in Wales, where they remained until they heard other intelligence. The duke of York resided at his own castle with his people, and interfered not in what was passing in the country, nor had done so for a long time, bût taking all things as they happened, although he was very much vexed that there should be such great differences between his nephew, the king, and his relations.
Note 1. D. Sauvage calls this seat Heulle. My MS. says only a very handsome manor, which I suppose most have been Caerphilly in Glamorganshire.
We will return to king Richard. When the duke of Lancaster had imprisoned him and those of his council in the Tower, and placed sure guards over them, the first thing he did was to recall the earl of Warwick from his banishment, and to give him his liberty. He next sent.to summon the earl of Percy and his son sir Harry Percy to attend 'him, which they did. He then inquired how he could lay hands on those four companions who had strangled his uncle in the castle of Calais, and at length succeeded in arresting the whole four, and would not have taken twenty thousand nobles for their deliverance. He had them confined in separate prisons in London. The duke then consulted with his council and the citizens what should be done with Richard of Bordeaux, who was confined in the great Tower of London, wherein king John of France was once imprisoned, during the campaign of king Edward in France. It was resolved that the king should be deprived of all his state and outward marks of royalty, if they wished to act prudently, for the news of his arrest would make a great noise, throughout Christendom, as they had acknowledged him twenty-two years as their king, and now held him a prisoner.
They examined the whole acts of his reign, and drew up twenty-eight articles against him, with which they came to the Tower, accompanied by the duke of Lancaster, and some knights and squires of his council. They entered the king's apartment without speaking to him, or paying any kind of respect, and read to him these charges. He did not deny them, for he knew they were true, but said that everything he had done was by the advice of his council He was told to name those who had been his principal advisers, which he did, hoping to escape by throwing the blame on them, as he had formerly done, and they to receive the punishment; but this was not the intention of those Londoners who had confined him. At this time they said nothing further, but went away: the duke of Lancaster to his own house, leaving the mayor and men of law to act as they pleased.
The mayor went to the town-house of London, called the Guildhall, where justice is administered to the citizens, followed by crowds of people, expecting something effective to be done, as indeed there was. I will detail what passed. First, all the articles which had been drawn up against the king and read to him, were again read aloud, with comments by the person who read them, adding, that the king had not denied their truth, but confessed he had done them through the advice of four knights of his chamber, by whose counsels he had put to death the duke of Gloucester, the earl of Arundel, and sir Thomas Corbet, and that they had for a long time excited him to these acts. Such deeds were unpardonable, and must be punished; for by them and their fellows had the courts of justice been shut at Westminster, and all the other royal courts throughout England, which had caused great mischiefs, and encouraged bands of robbers to pillage merchants travelling from town to town, and to plunder the houses of farmers. By these means the kingdom of England had been almost irrecoverably ruined; and it was to be supposed, from this wanton neglect of England, that Calais or Guisnes, or both, would have been given up to their enemies the French. Such speeches as the above made an impression on the minds of the people, so that many of the discontented said, — " These things are deserving punishment, that others may take example; and Richard of Bordeaux has so much disgraced himself, that he is unworthy of wearing a crown, and ought to be deprived of all honours, and confined to pass his future life on bread and water, and subsist on that as he could." Some of the lower classes cried out, — " Sir mayor, you and your companions, who are the distributors of justice, look that it be done: we insist upon it, and spare no man. You see, by what you have told us, that the case requires it, and immediately, for they have convicted themselves."
The mayor and the lawyers retired to the judgment-seat, and the four knights were condemned to death. They were sentenced to be brought before the apartment of the Tower of London in which king Richard was confined, that he might see them from the windows, and thence drawn on sledges by horses through the streets to Cheapside, each person separately, and there beheaded, their heads affixed to spikes on London-bridge, and their bodies hung on a gibbet, and there left. When this sentence was pronounced, they hastened to execute it. Everything being prepared, the mayor of London, and the lords who had assisted him in this judgment, set out from Guildhall with a large body of people, and came to the Tower of London, where they seized the four knights of the king, sir Bernard Brocas, the lord Marclais, master John Derby, receiver of Lincoln, and the lord Stelle, steward of the king's household. They were brought into the court, and each tied to two horses, in the sight of all in the Tower, who were eye-witnesses of it as well as the king, who were much displeased, and in despair; for the remainder of the king's knights that were with him looked for similar treatment, so cruel and revengeful did they know the Londoners to be. Without saying a word, these four were dragged from the Tower, through the streets to Cheapside, and; on a fishmonger's stall, had their heads struck off, which were placed over the gate on London-bridge, and their bodies hung on a gibbet. After this execution every man retired to his home.
@@King Richard was much afflicted at finding himself in such danger from the citizens,, and that his power was completely gone. He saw that ail England was against him; and, if he had some few friends left, they could not assist him, for his enemies were too numerous. Those about him said; " Sire, we have not, as it seems, any great hope of saving our lives. When your cousin of Lancaster prevailed on you to yield yourself up to him, he promised that you and twelve of your knights should be his own prisoners, and no harm done to them: of these, four have just been put to a disgraceful death: we must expect the same, and will give you our reasons for it. The Londoners, who have urged him to do this deed, have made him enter into such engagements with them that he cannot act in any other manner. God will be very merciful to us if we are suffered to die here a natural death, for to die a disgraceful one makes us shudder." King Richard, on hearing them thus talk, wept bitterly, wrung his hands, and cursed the hour he had been born, when his end was so miserable. Those around him pitied his distress, and comforted him as well as they were able. One of his knights said — " Sire, you must not be too much cast down. We see, as well as you, that this world is nothing, and that the fickleness of fortune is wonderful, sparing neither princes nor poor persons. The king of France, whose daughter you have married, cannot at this moment assist you, for he is too far off. If you can, by dissembling, escape from this peril, and save your life and ours, you will act well; and, within a year or two, your fortune may change."
"What would you have me do?" replied the king, "for there is nothing I will not attempt to save us." "Sire, we tell you for a truth, that from every appearance, the Londoner» want to crown your cousin of Lancaster their king; and with this intent they sent for him from France, and have aided him in all his exploits. Now it is impossible, that so long as you shall be alive, this coronation can take place without your consent. Suppose, therefore, you were to offer your cousin terms, that we might escape the imminent danger we are in, and that you send to speak with him on business. On his coming, treat him affectionately, and say that you wish to resign the crown into his hands, and that he be king: by this means, you will soften him and appease the citizens. You will earnestly beg, that he allow you to finish your days here, or elsewhere; and for us to remain with you, or be separated, or banished abroad for our lives, at his pleasure; for he who loseth his life loseth everything." King Richard heard these words with comfort to his heart, and said he would act accordingly, for he saw his danger was very great. He gave his keepers to understand he would willingly speak with the duke of Lancaster.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 115
King Richard of England resigns his Crown and Kingdom into the hands of the Duke of Lancaster.
Intelligence was carried to the duke of Lancaster that Richard of Bordeaux had a great desire to speak with him. The duke left his house in the evening, entered his barge with his knights, and was rowed down the Thames to the Tower, which he entered by a postern gate, and went to the apartment of the king. The king received him with great kindness, and humbled himself exceedingly like to one who perceives he is in a dangerous state. He addressed him — " Cousin, I have been considering my situation, which is miserable enough, and I have no longer any thoughts of wearing my crown or governing my people. As God may have my soul, I wish I were at this moment dead of a natural death, and the king of France had his daughter again; for we have never enjoyed any great happiness together, nor since I have brought her hither have I had the love my people bore me formerly. Cousin of Lancaster, when I look back, I am convinced I have behaved very ill to you, and to other nobles of my blood, for which I cannot expect peace nor pardon. All things, therefore, considered, I am willing freely to resign to you the crown of England; and I beg you will accept the resignation as a gift."
The duke replied, " that it would be necessary the three estates of the realm should hear this. I have issued summonses for the assembling the nobles, prelates, and deputies from the principal towns; and within three days a sufficiency will be collected for you to make your resignation in due form. By this act, you will greatly appease the hatred of the nation against you. To obviate the mischiefs that had arisen from the courts of justice being shut, and which had created an almost universal anarchy, was I sent for from beyond sea. The people wanted to crown me, for the common report in the country is, that I have a better right to the crown than you have. This was told to our grandfather, king Edward of happy memory, when he educated you, and had you acknowledged heir to the throne; but his love was so strong for his son, the prince of Wales, nothing could make him alter his purpose, but that you must be king. If you had followed the example of the prince, or attended to the advice of his counsellors, like a good son, who should be anxious to tread in the steps of a father, you might still have been king; but you have always acted so contrary, as to occasion the rumour to be generally believed throughout England and elsewhere, that you are not the son of the prince of Wales, but of a priest or canon.
"I have heard several knights, who were of the household of my uncle the prince, declare; that he was jealous of the princess's conduct. She was cousin-german to king Edward, who began to dislike her for not having children by hie eon, since he had, by her former marriage with sir Thomas Holland, stood godfather to two sons. She knew well how to keep the prince in her chains, having, through subtlety, enticed him to marry; but, fearful of being divorced by his father, for want of heirs, and that the prince would marry again, it was Baid she got connected with some one, by whom she had yon and another son, who died in his infancy, and no judgment can be formed of his character: but you, from your manners and mode of acting, so contrary to the gallantry and prowess of the prince, are thought to be the son of a priest or canon; for, at the time of your birth, there were many young and handsome ones in the household of the prince at Bordeaux. Such is the report of this country, which your conduct has confirmed: for you have ever shown great affection to the French, and an inclination to live on good terms with them, to the lose and dishonour of England. Because my uncle of Gloucester and the earl of Arundel wished you would loyally defend the honour of the kingdom, by following the steps of your ancestors, you have treacherously put them to death.
" With regard to me, I have taken you under my protection, and will guard and preserve your life, through compassion, as long as I shall be able. I will likewise entreat the Londoners in your behalf, and the heir of those you have put to death." "Many thanks," answered the king: " I have greater confidence in you than in any other person in England." u Yon are in the right," replied the duke; " for, had I not stepped forward between you and the people, they would have seized you, and disgracefully killed you, in return for all your wicked acts, which are the cause of the dangerous state you are now in." King Richard heard all this patiently, for be saw that neither arguments nor force could avail, and that resignation and humility were his only arms. He therefore humbled himself exceedingly to the duke, earnestly begging that his life might be spared. The duke of Lancaster remained with the king upwards of two hours, and continued in his conversation to reproach him for all the faults he was accused of. He thon took leave, re-entered his barge, and returned to his house, and, on the morrow, renewed his orders for the assembly of the three estates of the realm.
The duke of York, and his son, the earl of Rutland, came to London, as did the earl of Northumberland and his brother, sir Thomas' Percy, to whom the duke of Lancaster gave a hearty welcome, with numbers of prelates, bishops, and abbots. The duke of Lancaster, accompanied by a large body of dukes, prelates, earls, barons, knights, and principal citizens, rode to the Tower of London, and dismounted in the court. King Richard was released from his prison, and entered the hall which had been prepared for the occasion, royally dressed, the sceptre in his hand, and the crown on his head, but without supporters on either side. He addressed the company as follows: " I have reigned king of England, duke of Aquitaine, and lord of Ireland, about twenty-two years, which royalty, lordship, sceptre, and crown, I now freely and willingly resign to my cousin, Henry of Lancaster, and entreat of him, in the presence of you all, to accept this sceptre." He then tendered the sceptre to the duke of Lancaster, who took it and gave it to the archbishop of Canterbury. King Richard next raised the crown with his two hands from his head, and, placing it before him, said, " Henry, fair cousin, and duke of Lancaster, I present and give to you this crown, with which I was crowned king of England, and all the rights dependent on it."
The duke of Lancaster received it, and delivered it over to the archbishop of Canterbury, who was at hand to take it. These two things being done, and the resignation accepted, the duke of Lancaster called in a public notary, that an authentic act should be drawn np of this proceeding, and witnessed by the lords and prelates then present. Soon after, the king was conducted to where he had come from, and the duke and other lords mounted their horses to return home. The two jewels were safely packed up, and given to proper guards, to place them in the treasury of Westminster-abbey, until they should be called for when the parliament were assembled.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 116
A Parliament meets at Westminster, when the Duke of Lancaster is publicly acknowledged King of England. — the great magnificence of his Coronation.
30 Sep 1399. On a Wednesday, the last day of September 1399, Henry duke of Lancaster held a parliament at Westminster; at which were assembled the greater part of the clergy and nobility of England, and a sufficient number of deputies from the different towns, according to their extent and wealth. In this parliament, the duke of Lancaster challenged the crown of England, and claimed it as his own, for three reasons: first, by conquest; secondly, from being the right heir to it; and, thirdly, from the pure and free resignation of it to him, by king Richard, in the presence of the prelates, dukes and earls in the hall of the Tower of London. These three claims being made, he required the parliament to declare their opinion and will. Upon this, they unanimously replied, that it was their will he should be king, for they would have no other. He again asked, if they were positive in this declaration; and, when they said they were, he seated himself on the royal throne. This throne was elevated some feet from the floor, with a rich canopy of cloth of gold, so that he could be seen by all present. On the king's taking his seat, the people clapped their hands for joy. and held them up, promising him fealty and homage. The parliament was then dissolved, and the day of coronation appointed for the feast of Saint Edward, which fell on a Monday, the 13th of October.
11 Sep 1399. On the Saturday before the coronation, the new king went from Westminster to the Tower of London, attended by great numbers, and those squires who were to be knighted watched their arms that night: they amounted to forty-six: each squire had his chamber and bath, in which he bathed. The ensuing day, the duke of Lancaster, after mass, created them knights, and presented them with long green coats, with straight sleeves lined with minever, after the manner of prelates. These knights had on their left shoulders a double cord of white silk, with white tufts hanging down. The duke of Lancaster left the Tower this Sunday after dinner, on his return to Westminster: he was bare-headed, and had round his neck the order of the king of France. The prince of Wales, six dukes, six earls, eighteen barons, accompanied him; and there were, of knights and other nobility, from eight to nine hundred horse in the procession. The duke was dressed in a jacket, after the German fashion, of cloth of gold, mounted on a white courser, with a blue garter on his left leg. Us passed through the streets of London, which were all handsomely decorated with tapestries and other rich hangings: there were nine fountains in Cheapside, and other streets he passed through, which perpetually ran with white and red wines. He was escorted by prodigious numbers of gentlemen, with their servants in liveries and badges; and the different companies of London were led by their wardens clothed in their proper livery, and with ensigns of their trade. The whole cavalcade amounted to six thousand horse, which escorted the duke Cram the Tower to Westminster. That same night the duke bathed, and on the morrow confessed himself, as he had good need to do, and according to his custom heard three masses. The prelates and clergy who had been assembled then came in a large body in procession from Westminster-abbey, to conduct the king thither, and returned in the same manner, the king and his lords following them. The dukes, earls, and barons, wore long scarlet robes, with mantles trimmed with ermine, and large hoods of the same. The dukes and earls had three bars of ermine on the left arm, a quarter of a yard long, or thereabout: the barons had but two. All the knights and squires had uniform cloaks of scarlet lined with minever. In the procession to the church, the duke had borne over his head a rich canopy of blue silk, supported on silver staves, with four golden bells that rang at the corners, by four burgesses of Dover, who churned it as their right. On each side of him were the sword of mercy and the sword of justice: the first was borne by the prince of Wales, and the other by the earl of Northumberland, constable of England, for the earl of Rutland had been dismissed. The earl of Westmoreland, marshal of England, carried the sceptre.
The procession entered the church about nine o'clock; in the middle of which was erected a scaffold covered with crimson cloth, and in the centre a royal throne of cloth of gold. When the duke entered the church, he seated himself on the throne, and was thus in regal state, except having the crown on his head. The archbishop of Canterbury proclaimed from the four corners of the scaffold, how God had given them a man for their lord and sovereign, and then asked the people if they were consenting to his being consecrated and crowned king. They unanimously shouted out, "Ay! " and held up their hands, promising fealty and homage. After this, the duke descended from his throne, and advanced to the altar to be consecrated. This ceremony was performed by two archbishops and ten bishops: he was stripped of all his royal state before the altar, naked to his shirt, and was then anointed and consecrated at six places; that is to say, on the head, the breast, the two shoulders, before and behind, on the back and hands: they then placed a bonnet on his head; and, while this was doing, the clergy chanted the litany, or the service that is performed to hallow a font.
The king was now dressed in a churchman's clothes like a deacon; and they put on him shoes of crimson velvet, after the manner of a prelate. Then they added spurs with a point, but no rowel, and the sword of justice was drawn, blessed and delivered to the king, who put it into the scabbard, when the archbishop of Canterbury girded it about him. The crown of Saint Edward, which is arched over like a cross, was next brought and blessed, and placed by the archbishop on the king's head. When mass was over, the king left the church, and returned to the palace in the same state as before. There was in the court-yard a fountain that constantly ran with white and red wine from various mouths. The king went first to his closet, and then returned to the hall to dinner.
At the first table sat the king, at the second the five great peers of England, at the third the principal citizens of London, at the fourth the new-created knights, at the fifth all knights and squires of honour. The king was served by the prince of Wales, who carried the sword of mercy, and on the opposite side by the constable, who bore the sword of justice. At the bottom of the table was the earl of Westmoreland with the sceptre. There were only at the king's table the two archbishops and seventeen bishops. When dinner was half over, a knight of the name of Dymock entered the hall completely armed, and mounted on a handsome steed, richly barbed with crimson housings. The knight was armed for wager of battle, and was preceded by another knight bearing his lance: he himself had his drawn sword in one hand, and his naked dagger by his side. The knight presented the king with a written paper, the contents of which were, that if any knight or gentleman should dare to maintain that king Henry was not a lawful sovereign, he was ready to offer him combat in the presence of the king, when and where he should be pleased to appoint. The king ordered this challenge to be proclaimed by heralds in six different parts of the town and the hall, to which no answer was made. After king Henry had dined, and partaken of wine and spices in the hall, he retired to his private apartments, and all the company went to their homes. Thus passed the coronation day of king Henry, who remained that and the ensuing day at the palace of Westminster. The earl of Salisbury could not attend these feasts, for he was in close confinement under secure guards; and the king's ministers, with many of the nobles and citizens of London, were anxious that he should be publicly beheaded in Cheapside. They said that he was deserving of every punishment, for having carried such a message from Richard of Bordeaux to the French king and his court, and publicly proclaiming king Henry a false and wicked traitor, and that these were unpardonable crimes. The king was naturally good-tempered, and, far from inclining to put him to death, took compassion on him, and listened to the excuses he made for what he had done, by throwing the blame on the four knights who had been beheaded, as he had only obeyed their orders. The council and Londoners would not hear his excuses, and would have him executed, for they said he had deserved it. The earl of Salisbury therefore continued in prison, in great danger of his life.
Sir John Holland, earl of Huntingdon, who was governor of Calais, had been duly informed of all that had passed; how his brother, king Richard, had been arrested and carried to the Tower of London, where he had been condemned to pass his life, after resigning his crown to Henry of Lancaster, who was acknowledged king of England. The earl of Huntingdon, notwithstanding the vexation the state of his brother, king Richard, gave him, weighed well the times and circumstances, and found that he alone could not pretend to withstand the whole power of England. His countess, sister-german to king Henry, told him, on his return from Calais to England, — " My lord, you must prudently lay aside your anger, and not hastily do anything you may repent of, for my lord the king, my brother, can show you much kindness. You see the whole kingdom is in his favour, and should yon commit yourself by any rash act, you are ruined. I advise and entreat you to dissemble your vexation, for king Henry is as much your brother as king Richard. Attach yourself to him, and you will find him a good and faithful friend; for there has not been any king of England so rich as he is, and he may be of the greatest service to you and to your children." The earl of Huntingdon listened to what the countess said, and followed her advice. He waited on his brother-in-law, king Henry, paid him many respects, and did his homage, promising fealty and service: the king received him with much pleasure. The earl, afterwards, with the support of other friends, pressed the king so strongly in favour of the earl of Salisbury, that his excuses were heard and accepted: his mission to France was pardoned, and he regained the favour of the king and people.
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Intelligence of the imprisonment of King Richard is carried to France by the Lady of Coucy. King Charles is much displeased thereat. the Duke of Bourbon attempts in vain to reduce Bordeaux, and other towns in Aquitaine, to the Crown of France.
The lady of Coucy, on landing at Boulogne, hastened her affairs, that she might begin her journey to Paris; for there were already great murmurings in many parts of France at the events which were happening in England. Some imperfect intelligence had been carried of them thither by merchants of Bruges, but when the lady of Coucy, who had been attached to queen Isabella, returned, the whole truth was known. This lady, on her coming to Paris, went, as was natural, to the hotel of her lord, who had arrived the preceding night. News of it was instantly carried to the king of France, who sent directly for the lord de Coucy to come and bring him intelligence of king Richard and his queen Isabella. On his entering the king's chamber, he asked him the state of England. The knight, not daring to conceal anything, told him the full particulars he had learnt from his wife. The king was much affected at the melancholy account he heard, for he knew the English to be determined, and hard to appease; and, although he had been for a considerable time in a good state of health, the rage he got into, on learning the events passing in England, brought back his frenzy, to the grief of his brother, uncles, and the barons of France, but they could not prevent it.
The duke of Burgundy said, — "The marriage of king Richard with Isabella was ill advised: I spoke of it when in agitation, but was not attended to. The Londoners never sincerely liked king Richard, and all this misery has been hatched by the duke of Gloucester. We must learn how the English mean to proceed, and take our measures accordingly. Since they have imprisoned their king, they will put him to death (for they never loved him, because he preferred peace to war), and crown the duke of Lancaster. He will be forced to enter into such engagements from his obligations to them, that whether he will or not, he must act as they shall please." The duke of Burgundy added, " that it would be proper to know the inclinations of the inhabitants of Bordeaux; for king Richard, having been born there, was greatly beloved by them, as well as by those of Daz, Bayonne, and that whole country. It would not be amiss (he said) that the constable, lord Louis de Sancerre, should have notice of what was proposed, and that he should advance toward the frontiers of Aquitaine, taking with him sir Reginald d'Espagne, Barrois des Barres, and other barons and prelates, who knew how to negotiate; that his brother of Berry should go into Poitou, and hover over the borders of Saintes, Blaze and Mirabel, in order that, if those of Bordeaux should be inclined to enter into any treaty, they might be received; for we must gain them now, or never." These propositions of the Duke of Burgundy were heard attentively, and his advice followed. He understood, the matter well, and what ensued proved it. The inhabitants of Bordeaux, Dax, and Bayonne, were lost in astonishment when they heard that their lord, king Richard, had been arrested and was confined in the Tower of London, his principal counsellors executed, and duke Henry of Lancaster crowned king, and would not at first believe that such melancholy events had happened in England: but, as the reports were confirmed daily by fresh intelligence, they were constrained to think them true. The gates of the three cities were closed, and no person whatever suffered to go out, from the sorrow they were in, more particularly those of Bordeaux, for king Richard had been educated among them. They were sincerely attached to him, and he always received them kindly when they waited on him, inclining naturally to comply with every request they made him. On first hearing of his misfortune, they said, — " Ah, Richard, gentle king! by God, you are the most honourable man in your realm. This mischief has been brewed for you by the Londoners, who never loved you, and their dislike was still increased by your alliance with France. This misfortune is too great for us to bear. Ah, king Richard! they have acknowledged you their sovereign two-and-twenty years, and now they imprison you, and will put you to death; for, since they have crowned the duke of Lancaster king, that consequence must follow." Such were the lamentations of the townsmen of Bordeaux, and that whole country; and they continued so long that the seneschal of Bordeaux, a valiant and able English knight, determined to send home intelligence of these complaints in Bordeaux, Dax and Bayonne, and that they were on the point of surrendering themselves to the king of France. Having written and sealed his letters, he gave them to a trusty varlet, whom he embarked on board a vessel; and, having a favourable wind, he was landed in Cornwall, and thence pursued his journey to London, where king Henry at that time was holding his parliament. These letters were addressed generally to the king and citizens of London, and being opened and read, the king and his parliament consulted on them. The Londoners said, like men no way dismayed, — " Those of Bordeaux and Bayonne will never turn to the French: they cannot bear them nor suffer their tricks. They are free under us; but, if the French govern them, they will be taxed and taxed over again two or three times a-year. This they have not been accustomed to, and will find it hard to endure. These three cities are beside surrounded by the lands of great barons, who are and always have been loyal to England, such as the lords de Pommiers, de Mucident, de Duras, de Landuras, de Copane, de Rosem, de Langurant, and many other barons and knights, who will instantly make war upon them: they cannot issue out of their gates without being made prisoners. Notwithstanding, therefore, what the seneschal of Bordeaux writes to us, we do not fear they will ever turn to the French: let us however send them some man of valour and prudence, whom they esteem, and who has governed them before: and we recommend sir Thomas Percy." What they had advised was done, and sir Thomas Percy was entreated by the king and citizens to undertake the voyage and the government of that country. Sir Thomas could not refuse, and made his preparations.
25 Dec 1399. It was now about Christmas, when the winds are high, and the sea rough: he made, therefore, his purveyances in Cornwall, at the port nearest to Bordeaux, and his equipment was two hundred men at arms and four hundred archers. Sir Thomas vas accompanied by his nephew, Hugh de Hastings, Thomas Colleville, William Lisle, John de Grailly, bastard son to the captal de Buch, William Drayton, John d'Ambreticourt, and several others. He had likewise with him Robert bishop of London1, and master Richard Rowhall It was, however, the middle of March before they were able to embark.
Note 1. Robert Braybrook, dean of Sarum and lord chancellor.
Before these lords arrived at Bordeaux, the duke of Bourbon came to the city of Agen, to treat with those of Aquitaine, and made such progress that the magistrates of Bordeaux, Dax and Bayonne, were deputed to Agen. The duke received them most kindly, and was not sparing of fine words and fair promises: he gave them to understand, that if they would turn to the French, and submit themselves to the obedience of the king of France, they should have granted whatever they might ask, and that the engagements they entered into should be sealed and recorded to last for ever; that whenever they might call on France, they should be supported to the utmost of its power. He made them many other flattering promises; but they replied, they must return to their constituents, and lay before them his offers, and consider how to act. They then left Agen and the duke of Bourbon, on their return home, where, on their arrival, they related all the duke had said; but his offers came to nothing, for the inhabitants of these towns having considered their present situation» and that France was vexed by all sort of taxes, and every oppressive means to extort money, concluded they should suffer similar vexations if they submitted themselves to the French: "It will be, therefore, better for us," they said, " to remain steady to the English, who hold us frank and free. If the Londoners have deposed king Richard, and crowned king Henry, what is that to us? We have still a king; and we understand the bishop of London and sir Thomas Percy are on their way hither, who will fully inform us of the truth. We have more commerce with the English than the French, in wool, wines and cloth, and they are naturally more inclined to us. Let us, therefore, be cautious how we enter into any treaties of which we may hereafter repent."
Thus were the negotiations of Bordeaux, Dax and Bayonne, with the French, broken off. Sir Thomas Percy and the bishop of London arrived safe in the harbour of Bordeaux with their charge of men at arms and archers, to the great joy of some, and grief of others, who were of the party of the king of France. These English lords lodged all together at the abbey of Saint Andrew, and, when they thought it was time, they remonstrated with the commonalty of Bordeaux on the state of England, and the cause of their coming, with such success as they were contented with: Dax and Bayonne were also satisfied. These cities and their dependencies remained steady to the English interest, and hard would it have been to have turned them to the Frenoh.
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The Council of France, by permission of King Henry, send over persons to visit Isabella, Queen to Richard II.
The council of France, perceiving the king so greatly affected at what had befallen his son-in-law, king Richard, determined to send to England some lord of high rank to see and inquire into the situation of queen Isabella. The lord Charles d'Albreth and Charles de Hangiers were nominated on this embassy, and made their preparations accordingly. On leaving Paris, they rode to Boulogne, where they remained and sent a herald to inform king Henry of their intention of coming to England; for, although there was a truce between the two kingdoms, they would not venture thither without his assurance of safety. King Henry, who had not forgotten the kindness of the king of France when in exile, mentioned the matter to his council; and the herald was told, that it was very agreeable to the king and council that his lords and their company should come to England, and by the direct road to London, not quitting it without license. The French herald returned to tell his lords at Boulogne what he had obtained. They were pleased with the answer, since they could not obtain more. They immediately embarked themselves and horses in two vessels, and, putting to sea, arrived at Dover. On disembarking and entering the town, they were met by one of the king's knights, who had been ordered thither to receive them. Having known him, when he accompanied the king in his banishment to Paris, they were all soon well acquainted. The lord Charles d'Albreth and the lord de Hangiers were handsomely lodged in Dover, where they staid until their horses were landed. They continued their tourney through Canterbury to Eltham, and wherever they stopped all their expenses were paid by the king. The king and his council were at Eltham, and they were splendidly entertained in compliment to the king of France, to whom king Henry felt himself under obligations.
The lord d'Albreth explained to the king the cause of his coming, who replied, " You will go to London, and within four days I will consult my council, and you shall have an answer to your demands." This satisfied them. They dined with the king, and, when it was over, remounted their horses and rode to London, attended by the knight, who lodged them conveniently in London, and never quitted them. The king of England came, as he had said, to his palace of Westminster, and the French lords were told of it, and to hold themselves in readiness to attend him, for they would be summoned. The king, having his council with him, and being prepared what answer to make, the French lords were introduced. They said, they had been sent by the king and queen of France to see the young queen of England their daughter. The king answered, — " Gentlemen, we no way wish to prevent you seeing her; but you must promise, on your oaths, that neither yourselves, nor any of your company, speak to her on what has lately passed in England, nor about Richard of Bordeaux. Should you do otherwise, you will greatly offend us and the country, and put yourselves in peril of your lives."
The two knights replied, they would not infringe this regulation: all they wanted was to see and converse with her, and then they would set out on their return. Not long after this, the earl of Northumberland carried them to Havering-at-the- Bower, where the young queen resided. She was attended by the duchess of Ireland, daughter to the lord de Coucy, the duchess of Gloucester, her two daughters, and other ladies and damsels, as companions. The earl introduced the two knights to the queen, who conversed some time with them, asking questions after her parents, the king and queen of France. They kept the promise they had made, by never mentioning the name of king Richard; and, when they had been with her a sufficient time, took leave and returned to London. They made no long stay there, but, having packed up their things, and had their expenses paid by the king's officers, they rode to Eltham, and dined with the king, who presented them with some rich jewels. On taking leave, the king parted with them amicably, and said, — " Tell those who have sent you, that the queen shall never suffer the smallest harm or any disturbance, but keep up a state and dignity becoming her birth and rank, and enjoy all her rights; for, young as she is, she ought not as yet to be made acquainted with the changes in this world." The knights were very happy to hear the king speak thus, and then departed. They lay that night at Dartford, on the morrow at Ospringe, the next at Canterbury, and then at Dover, the king's officers paying every expense of their journey. Having embarked with a favourable wind, they were landed at Boulogne, and thence proceeded to the king and queen at Paris, to whom they related what you have read.
We will now leave them, and speak of the affairs of England.
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The Earls of Huntingdon and Salisbury, and some others, having failed to murder treacherously King Henry of Lancaster, rise in arms against him. — they are defeated and beheaded, and their heads sent to the king.
It was much disputed among the nobles, and in the principal towns, whether Richard of Bordeaux was put to death, and nothing more was said about him, which was but what he deserved. King Henry declared, that in regard to the charges made against him he much pitied him, and would never consent to his death; that the prison wherein he was confined was sufficient punishment; and that he had engaged his word no other harm should be done him, which promise he was resolved to keep. The enemies of king Richard replied,— " Sire, we see plainly that compassion alone moves you thus to say and act, but, in so doing, you are running great risks; for, so long as he shall be alive, notwithstanding the outward good-humour and sincerity with which he resigned to you his crown, and that in genera) you have been acknowledged as king, and received the homage of all, there must remain many attached to him, who still preserve their affection, and will instantly rise against you whenever they perceive any hopes of delivering him from prison. The king of France also, whose daughter he married, is so exasperated at the late events, that he would willingly retaliate the first opportunity; and his power is great of itself, and must be increased by his connexions in England." King Henry answered, — " Until I shall observe anything contrary to the present state of affairs, or that the king of France or other persons act against me, I will not change my resolution, but firmly keep the promise I have made." This was the answer of king Henry, for which he narrowly escaped suffering, as you shall presently hear.
The earl of Huntingdon, brother to king Richard, though married to the sister of king Henry, could not forget his treatment of the late king, any more than the earl of Salisbury. They had a secret meeting near to Oxford, on the means to deliver Richard of Bordeaux from the Tower of London, destroy king Henry, and throw the country into confusion. They resolved to proclaim a tournament to be holden at Oxford, of twenty knights and squires, and invite the king to witness it privately. During the time the king was sitting at dinner they were to slay him (for they were to be provided with a sufficiency of men at arms for their purpose), and to dress oat in the royal robes a priest called Magdalen, who had been of king Richard's chapel, and was like him in countenance, and make the people to understand that he was delivered from prison, and had resumed his state. They were, instantly after the business was completed, to send information of it to the king of France, that he might send them large succours, under the command of the count de Saint Pol or any others.
They executed this plan, and proclaimed a grand tournament to be holden by twenty knights and as many squires at Oxford, who were to be accompanied by many ladies and damsels. They had gained to their party the young earl of Kent, nephew to the earl of Huntingdon, and the lord de Spencer, one of the most powerful barons in England. They expected the aid of the earl of Rutland, because king Henry had deprived him of the constableship, but he failed them, and some say that by him their plot was discovered. When all things had been settled for this feast, the earl of Huntingdon came to Windsor, where the king held his state, and with much flattering, like one who, by soft words, thought to deceive, invited, with many marks of affection, the king to be present at it. Not supposing any treason was intended, he readily complied: and -the earl of Huntingdon, much rejoiced, thanked and left the king. On going away, he said to the canon de Robersac1, " Get thyself ready for our feast, and I promise thee if thou come, and we meet in the lists, there shall be a sharp conflict between us." Sir John de Robersac replied, " By my faith, my lord, if the king come to your feast, it is necessary that I accompany him." Upon this the earl shook him by the hand, and said, u Many thanks," and passed on. Several knights and squires, hearing of this tournament, made preparations to attend it, and all the armourers in London were fully employed. The king's ministers were attentive to every circumstance that was agitated, and they told him, " Sire, you have no business to go to this tournament, and must not think of it, for we have heard whispers of plots that are very displeasing to us, and in a few days we shall learn the whole." The king believed what they had said, and did not go to the tournament, nor any of his knights, and indeed very few of those who were marked for death.
Note 1. In the MS8. he ia called Bobeaaart and Bohertawt.
When the earls of Salisbury, Huntingdon, Kent, and the lord de Spencer, found they had failed in their scheme of seizing the king, they held a council, and said, — " We must go to Windsor and raise the country. We will dress Magdalen in royal robes, and make him ride with us, proclaiming that king Richard has escaped from prison. All who see him will believe it true, and the report will gain such credit that we shall destroy our enemies " This they executed, by collecting their whole party, amounting in all to about five hundred men, and, placing Magdalen in the centre, dressed in royal state, they rode towards Windsor, where king Henry kept his court. God was very kind to the king, for he had early intelligence that the earls of Huntingdon, Salisbury, the young earl of Kent, and the lord de Spencer, were advancing toward Windsor, to seize and murder him; that they were in sufficient force to take the castle, and had with them Magdalen, one of the priests of the chapel royal to Richard of Bordeaux, dressed up as the late king; and that they gave it out everywhere that king Richard had escaped from prison. Many of the country people believed it, saying, " We have seen him," mistaking him for the king.
Those who brought the intelligence said to king Henry, " Sire, depart hence instantly, and ride to London, for they will be here in a short time." He followed this counsel, and, mounting his horse, set off with his attendants from Windsor, taking the road to London. He had not been long departed, before those who intended to put him to death came to Windsor, and entered the castle gate, for there were none to oppose them. They searched the apartments of the castle, and the houses of the canons, in hopes of finding the king, bu were disappointed. On their failure, they were much enraged, and rode away to Oolnbrook, where they lay, and forced many to join them by fair or foul means, saying that king Richard was in their company, which some believed, but others not. King Henry, doubtful of the consequences of this conspiracy, hastened to London, and, by a roundabout road, entered the Tower. Some sharp words passed between him and Richard of Bordeaux: he told him, " I saved your life, and had great difficulty in doing it; and, in return, you want to hare me murdered by your brother, and my brother-in-law, and by the earls of Salisbury and Kent, your nephew, with the lord de Spencer, but, if you have had any hand in this plot, it shall end badly for you." Richard denied any knowledge of it, saying, — " As God may help me, and have compassion on my soul, I never before heard one word of this plot. I never looked for any change in my situation, for I am perfectly contented with my present state." Nothing more passed. The king sent for the mayor of London and his particular friends, to whom he related everything he knew or had heard of this conspiracy. They were greatly surprised on hearing it, and said, — " Sire, you must summon your forces, and inarch instantly against them, before they increase more in numbers. We have made you king, and king you shall be, in spite of all that envy and discontent may do against you." The king lost no time in employing clerks and messengers to write and carry letters to the knights of his realm. He wrote himself to his constable, the earl of Northumberland, to his marshal, the earl of Westmoreland, and to other great barons in Essex and Lincoln, from whom ha expected assistance. All who received them made haste to join the king.
The earls of Huntingdon and Salisbury, and their party, determined to march to London, for they imagined there must be some of the citizens attached to king Richard, who would give them support. In consequence, they left Colnbrook, and advanced to Brentford, seven miles from London, where they lay. Not one of the Londoners joined them, but shut themselves up in their town. When they saw this, they marched away towards Saint Albans a large town, and there staid one day. On the morrow, they went to Berkhampstead. They continued marching through different parts, publishing everywhere that Magdalen was king Richard, and came to a strong town called Soncestre1, which had a bailiff attached to king Henry for the guard of the town and defence of the adjacent parts. The three earls and lord de Spencer took up their lodgings in Cirencester, and were that night left quiet, for the bailiff, being a valiant and prudent man, did not think he was strong enough to combat them, and dissembled his thoughts as well as he could.
Note 1. "Soncestre," — Cirecncester, pronounced Ciçeter.
The next morning the earl of Salisbury and lord de Spencer left the earl of Huntingdon and his nephew, saying they would advance farther into the country to gain friends, and would visit the lord of Berkeley. They rode down Severn side, but were badly advised thus to separate, for both parties were weakened by it. The earl of Huntingdon remained in Cirencester, and attempted to tamper with the bailiff and townsmen. He told them that the Londoners had delivered king Richard out of prison, and within two days he would be there. The bailiff, having collected a large force, said that not one word was true; for that he had just heard the contrary from king Henry and the citizens of London to assure him of the truth, and that he should act conformably to the orders he had received. The earl of Huntingdon, hearing this, changed colour from disappointment. Finding he could not gain his end, he returned to his lodgings, armed himself, and made his men do the same, determining to conquer these ale-drinkers by force, and set fire to their town as an example, and to terrify the country. The bailiff was not idle in collecting all the men he could: they amounted, archers and all, to two thousand men, which he drew up in the market-place, when the force of the earls of Huntingdon and Kent were not three hundred. Notwithstanding this inequality, they made ready to begin the battle, and the archers attacked each other, so that several were wounded. The bailiff and his men, who were very numerous, charged the rebels vigorously, without sparing any one, for he had the king's special orders to take the leaders, dead or alive. The earl’s party were forced to retire within their lodgings; and the house wherein the two earls were, the bailiff's men surrounded and conquered.
Many were killed, and more wounded. The earl of Huntingdon defended himself gallantly, like a valiant man at arms as he was; but the numbers against him were too great to withstand; and. he was slain fighting, as was the young earl of Kent, who was much lamented by several knights in England and other countries. He was young and handsome, and had very unwillingly taken part in this conspiracy; but his uncle and the earl of Salisbury had forced him into it. The men of Cirencester, who were wroth against them, cut off their heads, and sent them in two panniers, as fish is carried, by a varlet on horseback, to rejoice the king and the Londoners. A similar fate befel the earl of Salisbury and lord de Spencer: they were made prisoners by the knights and squires the king had sent against them, who had them beheaded, and sent their heads to London. Great numbers of their partisans, and knights and squires who had accompanied them, were executed, after which the country remained in peace.
The king of France, his brother, uncles, and council, learning that during Easter of the year 1400, the English had sent men at arms and archers to Calais, Guisnes, and the neighbouring castles, and were providing these places with many stores, issued a summons for all knights and squires to prepare themselves to march whithersoever they might be ordered, and specially provided for the frontier of Boulogne and the sea-shore.
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On the death of John of Montfort, Duke of Brittany, the Bretons undertake the wardship of the young Duke, and to be friendly to France. — the French King, distrusting the sentiments of the new-reign in England, makes provision against any sudden change.
At this period, John duke of Brittany departed this life, leaving issue two sons and a daughter. The eldest son had been betrothed to the second daughter of the king of France: he could not have the eldest, as she was married to the king of England, ah has been related. She had indeed been promised him, and treaties entered into on the subject at Tours in Touraine; but the king was advised to break it off, to marry her more nobly and richly in England. Many of the French lords, however, said, that it would never turn out well thus to break through solemn engagements. On the death of the duke of Brittany, it was determined in the council, that the duke of Orleans should advance to the borders of Brittany with a body of men at arms, to confer with the nobles and chiefs of the principal towns of the duchy, to learn their intentions respecting the young duke, and to demand he should be delivered up to him to carry to the court of France.
The duke of Orleans, in consequence of this resolution, summoned a considerable number of men at arms, and marched them to Pontorson, where he halted, and signified his arrival to the barons of Brittany. The prelates, nobles, and chief magistrates of the great towns, assembled at Pontorson, when the duke of Orleans made them the above request. They were prepared with an answer, and replied they would be guardians to their young duke [and educate him in their own country until he should be of a proper age; that then they would bring him to France, that he might do his homage to the king, as was his duty; that, for the due performance of this, they were willing to enter into bonds, subjecting themselves to the loss of their lands should they break the engagement.] The duke of Orleans, finding that he could not gain more, took an obligation from the principal barons, who had their duke in ward, to deliver him up to the king of France when he should be of a proper age. These obligations being written and sealed, the duke of Orleans had them in charge, and, taking leave of the barons, departed from Pontorson, on his return to Paris, and related to the king, his brother, all that had passed.
It was known in England, that the French, by their king's command, had strongly reinforced, and re-victualled all the towns, castles, and forts in Picardy, and on the borders of the Boulonois, and had closed the river Somme, so that no. merchandise nor corn could come to England, nor pass Abbeville. The merchants of the two countries, who were used freely to visit each, were now afraid of doing so; and those on the borders of Calais and Guisnes were ruined, although there were not any hostilities commenced, for orders to that effect had not been given. The king of England was advised by his council to be on his guard; for the French, they said, were making great preparations of ships at Harfleur, and plainly showed they were inclined for war. The count de Saint Pol and the lord Charles d'Albreth were appointed commanders; and it was to be supposed, that if the earls of Huntingdon and Salisbury were alive, they would have crossed the sea, for they had many connexions in England. They added, " Sire, so long as Richard of Bordeaux lives, the country will never have peace." "I believe what you say may be true/' replied the king;" bot, with regard to me, I will never put him to death. I have given him my word, that no bodily harm shall befal him; and I will keep my promise, until it shall appear that be enters into any plots against me." "Sire," answered the knights, " his death would be more to tout advantage than his life: for, so long as the French know he is alive, they will exert themselves to make war against you, in the hope of replacing him on the throne, on account of his having married the daughter of their king." The king of England made no reply, bot, leaving them in conversation, went to his falconers, and, placing a falcon on his wrist, forgot all in feeding him.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 121
On the death of King Richard. The truces are renewed between France and England. The Earl Marshal, who had been banished England, dies at Venice.
t was not long after this that a true report was current in London of the death of Richard of Bordeaux. I could not learn the particulars of it, nor how it happened, the day I wrote these chronicles1. Richard of Bordeaux, when dead, was placed on a litter covered with black, and a canopy of the same. Four black horses were harnessed to it, and two varlett in mourning conducted the litter, followed by four knights dressed also in mourning. Thus they left the Tower of London, where he bad died, and paraded the streets at a foot's pat» until they came to Cheapside, which is the greatest thoroughfare in the city, and there they halted for upwards of two hours. More than twenty thousand persons, of both sexes, came to see the king, who lay in the litter, his head on a black cushion, and his face uncovered.
Note 1. It is not to this day certain whether he died by voluntary or compulsory starvation, or was murdered by Piers Exton. Ed.
me pitied him, when they saw him in this state, hut others did not, saying he had for a long time deserved death. Now consider, ye kings, lords, dukes, prelates, and earls, how very changeable the fortunes of this world are. This king Richard reigned twenty-two years in great prosperity, and with much splendour; for there never was a king of England who expended such sums, by more than one hundred thousand florins, as king Richard did in keeping op his state, and his household establishments. I, John Froissait, canon and treasurer of Chimay, know it well, for I witnessed and examined it, daring my residence with him, for a quarter of a year. He made me good cheer, because in my youth I had been secretary to king Edward his grandfather, and the lady Philippa of Hainault, queen of England. When I took my leave of him at Windsor, he presented me, by one of his knights called sir John Golofre, a silver gilt goblet, weighing full two marcs, filled with one hundred nobles, which were then of service to me, and will be so as long as I live. I am bound to pray to God for him, and sorry am I to write of his death; but, as I have dictated and augmented this history to the utmost of my power, it became necessary to mention it, that what became of him might be known.
I saw two strange things in my time, though widely different. I was sitting at dinner in the city of Bordeaux when king Richard was born: it was on a Wednesday, on the point of ten o'clock. At that hour sir Richard de Pontchardon, then marshal of Aquitaine, came to me and said, — " Froissart, write, that it may be remembered, my lady the princess is brought to bed of a fine son: he is born on Twelfth-day, the son of a king's son, and shall be king himself." The gallant knight foretold the truth, for he was king of England twenty two years; but he did not foresee what was to be the conclusion of his life. When king Richard was born, his father was in Galicia, which don Pedro had given him to conquer: a curious thing happened, on my first going to England, which I have much thought on since. I was in the service of queen Philippa, and, when she accompanied king Edward and the royal family, to take leave of the prince and princess of Wales, at Berkhampstead, on their departure for Aquitaine, I heard an ancient knight, in conversation with some ladies, say, — " We have a book called Brut1, that declares neither the prince of Wales, dukes of Clarence, York, nor Gloucester, will be kings of England, but the descendants of the duke of Lancaster." Now I, the author of this history, say that, considering all things, these two knights, sir Richard de Pontchardon, and sir Bartholomew Burghersh, in what they said, were both in the right, for all the world saw Richard reign for twenty-two years in England, and saw the crown then fall to the house of Lancaster. King Henry would never have been king, on the conditions you have heard, if his cousin, Richard, bad treated him in the friendly manner he ought to have done. The Londoners took his part for the wrongs the king had done him and his children, whom they much compassionated.
Note 1. The romance of Brat by Robert Wall. Ed.
When the funeral car of king Richard had remained in Cheapside two hours, it was conducted forward, in the same order as before, out of the town. The four knights then mounted their horses, which were waiting for them, and continued their journey with the body until they came to a village, where there is a royal mansion, called Langley, thirty miles from London. There king Richard was interred: God pardon his sins, and have mercy on his soul!
News was spread abroad that king Richard was dead. This had been expected some time; for it was well known he would never come out of the Tower alive. His death was concealed from his queen, as orders had been given for that purpose, which were prudently obeyed for a considerable time. All these transactions were perfectly well known in France; and such knights and squires as wished for war, looked every moment for orders to attack the frontiers. The councils, however, of both kingdoms, thought it would be for the advantage of the two countries that the truces should be renewed, and for this end different negotiation went to the neighbourhood of Calais. The king of France was not in good health, nor ever had been since he heard of the misfortunes of his son-in-law, Richard; and his disorder was greatly increased when he was told of his death.
The duke of Burgundy took the chief government of the realm: he came to Saint Omer and Bourbourg, where were the duke of Bourbon, the lord Charles d'Albreth, sir Charles de Hangiers, sir John de Chàteaumorant, and such prelates as the patriarch of Jerusalem, the bishops of Paris and Beauvais. On the part of England were the earls of Northumberland, Rutland and Devonshire, Sir Henry Percy, son to the earl of Northumberland, sir Evan Fitzwarren, and the bishops of Winchester and Ely. The French proposed having the queen of England delivered to them, but the English would not listen to it, saying they would gladly have her reside in England on her dower, and that if she had lost her husband, they would provide her another, who should be young and handsome, and whom she would love Richard of Bordeaux was too old for her, and the person they should offer was suitable in every respect, being no other than the prince of Wales, eldest son to king Henry. The French would not agree to this, for they dared not come to any final conclusion in this matter without the consent of the king her father. He was now in a very bad state, and much weakened in his constitution, for there had not been found any physician who could conquer his disorder. The treaty was therefore laid aside, and the subject of the truce canvassed. It was so well conducted, that it was resolved to continue it to the original term of thirty years, four of which were already gone, and it was now to last for twenty-six years. This was put into writing, and signed and sealed by those who had full powers so to do from the two kings. When this was done, they separated, and each party returned borne. I have not mentioned what became of the earl marshal, by whom all these late misfortunes originated, but I will now tell you. He was residing in Venice when he first heard that Henry of Lancaster was king of England, and king Richard dead, and took this news so grievously to heart that Jie fell sick, was put to bed, became frantic, and died. Such were the misfortunes that befell the greatest lords in England.
Late Medieval Books, The Chronicles of Froissart Book 4 Chapter 122
France preserves a neutrality between the Popes of Rome and Avignon. The election of the Emperor Robert.
In the year of grace 1399, pope Benedict, whom the French had formerly supported, was deposed, as well likewise the emperor of Germany1 for his wicked deeds. The electors of the empire, and all the great barons of Germany rose against him, and sent him to Bohemia, of which country he was king. They elected emperor in his stead a valiant and prudent man, called Robert, duke of Heidelberg, who came to Cologne, and was there crowned with the crown of Germany; for those of Aix would not admit him within their town, nor the duke of Gueldres submit himself to his obedience, which angered him much. The new emperor promised to restore union to the church. In the mean time, the king of France negotiated with the Liege men, who were determined for the Roman pope, and managed so well, through sir Baldwin de Mont-jardin (who governed in part the bishopric of Liege, and was a knight of the king's chamber), that the whole country complied with the desire of the French king, and became neuter.
Note 1. Wenceslaus. Ed.
The Liege men sent orders to those of their clergy who were at Rome, that if they did not return home by a fixed day, they should be deprived of their benefices. On hearing this, they all came back to Liege; and pope Boniface, who lost much by this order, sent a legate to Germany to preach to the Liege men, and endeavour to make them return to their former creed. The legate dared not advance farther than Cologne, but sent his instructions and letters to Liege. They read them and told the messenger, — "Do not 'return hither again on the business thou art now come upon, unless thou shalt wish to be drowned; for as many messengers as shall be sent us, so many will we throw into the Meuse."