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From Chronicles of England, France and Spain and the Surrounding Countries, by Sir John Froissart, Translated from the French Editions with Variations and Additions from Many Celebrated MSS, by Thomas Johnes, Esq., Volume II, London: William Smith, 1848. pp. 287-311.
CHAPTER XC. — THE DUKE OF LANCASTER DISBANDS HIS ARMY. — THREE ENGLISH KNIGHTS, HAVING OBTAINED PASSPORTS, WAIT ON THE KING OF CASTILLE, TO NEGOTIATE A RETREAT FOR THE MEN AT ARMS THROUGH HIS KINGDOM.
GOOD or evil fortune depends upon a trifle. You may readily believe that the duke of Lancaster, having gained a footing in Castille, would never had lost, by any defeat in battle, such numbers as he was now daily losing by sickness. He himself was almost dead of the pestilence I have mentioned. Sir John Holland, constable of the army, saw, with great concern, the miserable situation it was in from this disorder, from which scarcely one escaped; and was forced daily to hear the complaints of high and low, in such terms as these, — “Ah, my lord of Lancaster, why have you brought us to Castille? Accursed be the expedition. He does not, probably wish that any Englishman should ever again quit his country to serve him. He seems resolved to kick against the pricks. He will have his men guard the country he has conquered; but when they shall all be dead, who will then guard it? He shows but poor knowledge of war; for, when he saw that no one came to oppose him, why did he not make an opportune retreat into Portugal or elsewhere, to avoid the losses he must now suffer? for we shall all die of the confounded disorder, and without having struck a blow.” Sir John Holland was much hurt on hearing such language, for the honour of the duke, whose daughter he had married; and, as it was increasing, he determined to remonstrate with him on their situation, which he could, from his connexion, more freely do than any other. He therefore addressed him, — “My lord, you must immediately alter your plans, for your army is wholly laid up with sickness. If any attack should be now made on you, you could not draw any service from it; for the men are all worn down and discontented, and their horses dead. But high and low are so discouraged by this disorder, that I repeat, you must not expect any service from them.” “What can I do?” replied the duke: “I wish to have such advice as is reasonable.” “My lord,” said sir John Holland, “I think you had best give permission for your men to retire whithersoever they please; and I would advise that you yourself go to Portugal, or return to Galicia, for you are not in a state to undergo hardships.” “That is well considered,” answered the duke: “I consent to what you propose; and you may give our men notice, that I permit them to go into Castille, France, or wherever else they may choose, so they enter not into any treaty with our enemies; for I clearly see this campaign is over. Let them be fully paid for their services as far as our treasury can go, and also for the expenses of their journey, and then make our chancellor deliver them their discharge.”
the constable replied, that he would see this done. He ordered the intentions of the duke to be signified throughout the army by sound of trumpet, and gave notice to the captains to come to him with their accounts, when they would be settled and paid, to their satisfaction. This order was agreeable to all, particularly to those who hoped change of air would restore them to health. The barons and knights held a council how they were to return to 288 England: by sea it was impossible, for they had no vessels, and were at a distance from any seaport. They were besides, so emaciated and weak, from the fevers and fluxes, that they would have been unable to bear a sea voyage. Having considered the matter well, they found they had no other choice than through France; but some said — “How can we go thither? We have enemies in all the countries we must pass. First, there is Castille: we are now carrying on a destructive war against it: then Navarre and Arragon. These two kingdoms are allied, the one to Castille, and the other to France. Arragon has already showed its spite, for the séneschal of Bordeaux informs us, that since our arrival in the country, he has thrown the archbishop of Bordeaux into prison at Barcelona, who had gone thither to demand from the king the arrears that are due to England. Should we send to ask passports from France, the journey would take up too much time; and, when our messenger should be arrived, we have little hopes that the king, who is young, or his council, would grant them; for the constable of France, sir Oliver de Clisson, hates us mortally, and this is increased by his imagining his enemy, the duke of Brittany, intends turning to England.” Others, who were farther sighted, and of more sense, said, — “Let all doubts be laid aside. The best thing we can do is to try the king of Castille, who may perhaps not only allow us to pass peaceably through his country, but also obtain for us the same permission from Arragon, France and Navarre.”
This measure was adopted, and a herald, called Derby, sent for, to whom were given letters addressed to the king of Castille. The herald set off, and followed the road to Medina del Campo, where the king then resided. When in his presence, he cast himself on his knees and presented his letters, which were written in French. When the king had read them, and understood their meaning, he smiled, and, turning to a knight who was the steward of his household, said, — “Take care of this herald: he shall have his answer to-night, that he may return early to-morrow morning.” The king entered his closet, and sent for sir Walter de Passac and sir William de Lignac, to whom he showed the letters, and asked what answer he should send. The substance of these letters was, in a few words, as follows. Sir John Holland, constable of the English army, desired the king of Castille to send passports for three knights to come to him and return, that they might have a conference with him. The two knights replied, — “It will, my lord, be right that you grant these passports, for then you will know what it is they want.” “I agree to it,” said the king, and instantly ordered a passport to be drawn out for the coming and return of six knights, if it were agreeable to the constable, with their attendants. When this was sealed with the great seal, and with the king’s signet, it was given to the herald, and twenty francs with it: having received the whole, he returned to the duke of Lancaster and the constable at Orense.
The herald gave the constable the passport, who appointed sir Maubrun de Linieres, sir Thomas Moreaux, and sir John d’Ambreticourt, ambassadors to the king of Castille. They set off as soon as possible, for there was much want of physicians and medicines, as well as of fresh meat for the numerous sick who were scattered in different parts. These ambassadors passed through Vilalpando, where sir Oliver du Guesclin received them handsomely, and entertained them at supper. On the morrow, one of the knights called Tintemach, a Breton, was their conductor, to secure them against the numerous parties of Bretons which were abroad. They arrived safely at Medina del Campo, where they found the king impatient to know what had brought them thither. When they had refreshed and dressed themselves at an hôtel that had been prepared for then, they were conducted by some knights of the household to the presence of the king, who apparently received them with pleasure. They presented him letters from the constable, but from none lese; for the duke of Lancaster excused himself, and would not at this time, nor on such a subject, write to him.
The knights and squires of France were not present at this interview, although they were of the king’s privy council, and nothing was done respecting the war without their consent. The ambassadors addressed the king, saying, — “Sir king, we are come hither on the part of the constable of the army of the duke of Lancaster has brought from England. But unfortunately very great sicknesses and mortality have befallen it: the constable therefore entreats, 289 that you would have the goodness to open your country and towns to such as may desire to try change of air for the recovery of their health, if it may be recovered, and to enter your towns to recruit their strength; and if some should wish to return to England by land, he begs you would interest yourself with the kings of France and Navarre, that they may, at their own costs, freely pass through their territories, in their way home. This is the sole object of our mission, and the request we have to make you.” The king very graciously replied, — “We will consider what will be proper for us to do, and give you our answer.” the knights replied, they were satisfied.
CHAPTER XCI. — THE ENGLISH AMBASSADORS OBTAIN PASSPORTS FROM THE KING FOR THEIR SICK TO PASS IN SAFETY THROUGH CASTILLE, OR TO REMAIN THERE, TO RECOVER THEIR HEALTH. — MANY KNIGHTS AND SQUIRES DIE IN CASTILLE. — THE DUKE OF LANCASTER DANGEROUSLY ILL AT ST. JAGO.
THE English knights, on taking leave of the king, went to their lodgings, where they remained until the third day, when they returned to the palace. The king of Castille was much rejoiced at their request; for he saw there would be an end to the war for a long time, when his enemies solicited leave to march peaceably through his kingdom. He was determined what answer to make, though his council had advised otherwise; and, wishing to pay due honour to the French knights, he sent for sir Walter de Passac and sir William de Lignac. Having explained to them the object of the English knights’ embassy, and the request of the constable, he demanded from them how he should act; and desired sir Walter to give him his opinion. Sir Walter was unwilling to speak before the members of the council; but, as the king would have it so, he said, — “Sir, matters are come to the conclusion we always foretold, that your enemies would be worn down and destroyed, without striking a blow. Since their sick so humbly ask assistance and comfort in your country, you should grant their request; but on condition that, if they recover, they do not return to the duke of Lancaster or to the king of Portugal, but continue on their road straight homeward, and that they engage not to bear arms against you, nor the realm of Castille, for the term of six years. We also hope you may be successful in obtaining leave for them to pass with safety through Navarre and France.” The king was well contented with this advice, for it was what he was inclined to; and he was indifferent what terms were made, so that he got rid of the English. He replied to sir Walter, “You have loyally counselled me, and I thank you: it shall be done as you propose.”
The English knights were sent for, and conducted into the presence chamber, where were the king and his whole council. The bishop of Burgos, as chancellor, and a great orator, thus addressed them: “Ye knights of England, attached to the duke of Lancaster, who have been sent hither by his constable, listen to the answer the king gives your requests. Out of his great pity and goodness he is desirous of doing to his enemies all the kindness in his power. On your return to the constable, you will tell him from the king of Castille, that he may publish, by sound of trumpet, throughout his army, that this country is open and ready to receive, sick or well, all knights, squires, and their attendants, who may be desirous of coming hither, on condition that, at the gates of whatever city or town they may wish to enter, they there lay aside their armour and arms, when they will be conducted, by those ordered for the purpose, to hôtels prepared for them. They will then have their names written down and delivered to the governor, in order that those who may have resided in any towns may not, on any pretext whatever, return to Galicia or Portugal, but quit the country as soon as may be. In addition, the king of Castille engages to obtain a safe passage for such as may intend to go to Calais, or any other sea-port they may choose, in Brittany, Saintonge, Normandy, or Picardy, through the kingdom of France and Navarre. It is the king’s command, that those knights and squires, of whatever nation they be, who shall undertake this journey, do not bear arms against the kingdom of Castille, under any pretence, for the space of six years: this they will solemnly swear to 290 observe at the time the passports are delivered to them. You will carry with you all these conditions, fairly written, to the constable, and to your companions, who have sent you hither.”
The knights thanked the king and his council for the answer they had received, but added, “They would not say that all the conditions should be accepted: if they were not, they would send back their herald; and, should he not return, they might conclude the whole were accepted.” “We are satisfied,” replied the council. The king withdrew to his closet; but sir Walter de Passac and sir William de Lignac remained with the knights, and conducted them to a handsome apartment where a dinner was provided for them. They all dined together: when dinner was over, they partook of wines and spices in the king’s closet, and then took their leave, as their passes were ready for them. On their return to their hôtel, they instantly mounted their horses; for the king’s harbingers had supplied them with all things at his expense, and, leaving Medina, they rode to Villeclope. The next day they came to Orense, where they found the constable. During the time they had been on this embassy, the lord Fitzwalter*, one of the greatest barons in the duke’s army, had died: he was a valiant knight, and much lamented; but none can strive against death. His obsequies were very honourably performed, and the king of Portugal and the duke of Lancaster attended them.
The three knights waited on the duke, to show him their papers, and relate what they had seen and heard. Some said the conditions were hard; but others denied it, and said they were courteous enough, considering the situation and danger they were in. It was known in the army, that the duke would discharge all who desired it, and that they might enter Castille with safety. Those who were ill or feeble, and wished to change the air, took leave of the duke and constable, and left the army as soon as they were able, but, before their departure, many received their whole pay in hard money, others had sufficient security for it, so that they were all well contented. Some went to Vilalpando, others to Ruelles, to Noya, to Medina del Campo, to Caleforis, or to St. Phagon. They were everywhere well received, and had lodgings found for them, and had their names written down and given to the different governors in the manner I have mentioned. The greater part of the nobility went to Vilalpando, because it was garrisoned by foreigners, Bretons, French, Normans, and Poitevins, under the command of sir Oliver du Guesclin. The English had more confidence in those I have named, and with reason, than in the Castillians.
Thus was the expedition of the duke of Lancaster put an end to, and every one sought the best he could for himself. You may suppose this was a bitter disappointment to the duke, for he saw all his ambitious expectations annihilated: he bore, however, his misfortune like a gallant prince as he was, for he perceived he could not any way amend it. The king of Portugal, finding the business was over, dismissed his army, retaining only three hundred spears, and left Orense, with the duke of Lancaster, who returned with his duchess to Sant Jago de Compostella. The king remained there with them four days: on the fifth he departed, with all who accompanied him, for Oporto, where his queen resided.
I must now relate what befel many of those knights and squires who, on leaving the duke, had retired into Castille, and were lodged in different towns. Those who had been afflicted with the disorder, notwithstanding they had changed the air and medicines, could never recover, and several died in Vilalpando. Many barons and knights of England died in their beds, to the great loss of their country, while the king of Castille was obtaining for them passports to travel through Navarre and France; but the distance, and other obstacles, delayed the accomplishment. Three great and powerful barons died at Vilalpando; sir Richard Burley, who had been chief marshal of the army, the lord Poinings†, and sir Henry Percy, cousin-german to the earl of Northumberland. Sir Maubrun de Linieres died at 291 Noya: he was a valiant an able knight from Poitou. Lord Talbot‡, a great baron in Wales, died at Ruelles: and of this pestilence there died, in different places, twelve potent barons full eighty knights, and two hundred squires, all gentlemen. Consider what an unfortunate loss this was, and to be sustained without having a battle or striking a blow. Of archers and other men, upwards of five hundred died; and I was told by an English knight with whom I conversed, on his return through France, whose name was sir Thomas Queensbury, that of fifteen hundred men at arms and about four thousand archers whom the duke of Lancaster had brought with him from England, not one-half ever returned home.
The duke of Lancaster fell dangerously sick, and became very low-spirited, at Sant Jago. He was so ill, that it was frequently reported through Castille and France that he was dead: indeed, he very narrowly escaped. Thierry de Soumain, who was of great valour, and squire of the body to the duke, was attacked by this disorder, and died at Betanços. He was born at Hainault, and his death was much bewailed. His brother William continually attended him during his illness, by which he ran great risk of his life. You must know, that there were none so bold, so rich or so fair, but were afraid, and were daily expecting death. The disorder solely attacked the duke’s army, for the French were no way affected.
This caused great murmurings among them and the Castillians: they said, — “The king allows these English to recruit themselves in his towns, which may cost us dear by their bringing the disorder among us.” But others replied, ૼ “They are Christians like ourselves, and we ought to have compassion on each other.” True it is, that at this period a French knight died in Castille, who was greatly lamented: for he was courteous, gallant, and bold in arms: his name was sir John de Roye, and he was brother-german to sir Tristan, sir Reginald, and sir Lancelot de Roye. I will relate the cause of his death. While in garrison in a town of Castille, called Segbonne, he had an imposthume in his body. Being young and lusty, he paid no attention to it, and one day mounting his courser, in galloping him over the plains, this imposthume broke. On is return, he was laid on the bed, and all seemed well, but on the fourth day he died. There were very great lamentations made after him by all his friends: he was deserving of them for his amiable character and gallantry in arms.
* “Lord Fitzwalter.” See Dugdale, who mentions his gallantry in the attack on the block-house before Brest, but omits taking notice of his death in Spain. Indeed, he only says, that, — “he departed this life the year ensuing (10th Richard II.) on a Wednesday preceding the feast of St. Michael.” This does not tally with the season of the year when the heats are so great in Spain.
† “Lord Poinings.” See Dugdale.
‡ This must be a mistake, for lord Talbot did not die until the 20th Richard II. — Dugdale.
CHAPTER XCII. — SIR JOHN HOLLAND TAKES LEAVE OF THE DUKE OF LANCASTER, AND RETURNS WITH HIS LADY, THROUGH CASTILLE, NAVARRE, AND BAYONNE, TO BORDEAUX. — SIR JOHN D’AMBRETICOURT GOES TO PARIS, TO ACCOMPLISH A DEED OF ARMS WITH THE LORD BOUCICAUT.
NOTWITHSTANDING this disorder was so very infectious that the greater part of the English fled from it, sir John Holland and several knights and squires remained with the duke. The knights, seeing there was an end to the war, were impatient to change the air, and said to the constable, — “Sir, permit us to set out on our return to Bayonne or Bordeaux, to escape the effect of this pestilence, for our lord of Lancaster desires it. When he shall wish to have our services, he can easily so do by writing his commands; and we shall serve him more effectually when we have recovered our health, than in the state of languor we now fatally experience.” They repeated this so often, that sir John Holland told the duke of their discontents. The duke answered, — “Sir John, I am willing that you and such knights as choose, set out on your return home, and that you take all our people with you. Recommend me to my lord the king, and salute for me my brothers, and such and such persons, whom he named.” “I will cheerfully do so,” replied the constable; “but my lord, are you aware, that though the council of Castille has handsomely allowed our sick to enter any towns they may please for the recovery of their health, they must not, when well, return to you in Galicia, nor in Portugal? And if we pass through France, in our road to Calais, the French knights of the council of Castille, have conditioned that we do not arm against France for the space of six years, unless the king of England command in person.”292
“Sir John, said the duke, “you must know that the French, whenever they have an opportunity, will take every advantage over us. But I will tell you how you shall act. You will pass through Castille in a courteous manner, and, when you shall be on the frontiers of Navarre, send to the king; he is our cousin: formerly we were strongly united, and the connexion is not broken; for, ever since we bore arms for him in his war against our adversary of Castille, we have constantly kept up a mutual correspondence, like cousins and friends. We have never had any quarrel, nor have we, like the French, made war upon him. For these reasons, he will readily grant permission for you and your men to pass through his country. On your arrival at St. Jean du Pied des Ports, take the road through Biscay to Bayonne: that is our inheritance: and thence you may go to Bordeaux without any danger from the French, to refresh yourselves. When recovered, you may then embark, traverse the deep, and land in Cornwall or Southampton, as the wind may be favourable.” Sir John replied, he would punctually follow the plan he had laid down, and began to make his preparations accordingly. It was not long after this that the constable, with all the man at arms and others, took their departure; and the duke and duchess remained at Sant Jago, attended by their household only. Sir John Holland carried his lady with him, and arrived at the city of Zamora, which is large and handsome, where he met the king of Castille, sir Walter de Passac and sir William de Lignac. They politely received him and his company, as lords do when they meet. In truth, the king was more rejoiced at the departure of the English than at their arrival; for it seemed clear to him that the war was completely at an end, and that the duke of Lancaster would never be able to bring again so large a force to Castille from England, for he was well informed how much that country was disunited within itself.
When the English, who had retired to the towns in Castille for the recovery of their healths, heard that sir John Holland was on his march with the remnant of the army homeward, they were greatly rejoiced, and made instant preparations to join him. Among the number were, the lord de Chameaux*, sir Thomas Percy, the lord de Leluyton†, and the lord Bradestan, with many more, to the amount of a thousand horse. Those that were sick looked on themselves as half recovered the moment their hopes were raised of returned to England, so much had they of late suffered.
When sir John Holland took leave of the king of Castille, he showed to him and his barons much affection, and gallantly presented them with handsome mules; he likewise ordered all the expenses of their journey to be defrayed. On their departure, they took the road to St. Phagon, where they rested three days: they were well received in all places they passed; for they were accompanied by some knights of the king’s household, who paid for whatever they wanted or wished. They continued their route until they were out of Castille, and arrived at Najarra, where the famous battle had been fought, then they proceeded to Pamiers‡ and Logrogno, where they halted: for they were uncertain if the king of Navarre would allow them to pass through his kingdom.
They deputed to him two knights, whose names were sir Peter Bisset and sir William Norwich, who found the king at Tudela. They had an interview with him, and managed so well, they obtained permission to pass, on paying for whatever they should want. When the knights returned, they left Logrogno for Pampeluna, and passed the Pyrenées at Roncesvalles; they then quitted the road for Béarn, and took that through Biscay, for Bayonne, where they arrived. Sir John Holland and his countess remained there a considerable time, but several of his countrymen continued their route to Bordeaux. Thus ended this expedition of the duke of Lancaster.
It happened, during the most active part of the campaign in Castille, when knights and squires were eager after adventures and deeds of arms, that the lord Boucicaut had taken the field, and had sent a herald to demand from sir John d’Ambreticourt three courses with spears on horseback. Sir John had agreed to meet him, with the addition of three courses with daggers, and the same with battle-axes, all on horseback. Sir John, having so readily assented, sought for him everywhere; but I know not for what reason he had not advanced 293 to that part of the country. I do not, however, say, nor mean to say, that the lord Boucicaut was not equal to such a challenge, nor even to one of more hardy adventure. When sir John d’Ambreticourt was at Bayonne, with sir John Holland, he thought much on this challenge, which, having accepted, he considered himself bound to accomplish; and that he could not honourably leave France without doing so, lest the French might say he had returned to England dishonourably. He consulted his companions, but especially sir John Holland, how to act. He was advised to pass through France, as he had a good passport, which the duke of Bourbon had obtained for him, and go to Paris in search of the lord Boucicaut: he might hear of him on his road, or at Paris, and the matter would be settled to his honour. This advice being agreeable to him, he departed, and took the road through the country of the Basques, and came to Orthès in Béarn, where he found the count de Foix. The count received him handsomely, detained him some short time, and, on his going away, presented him with two hundred florins and a very fine horse. Sir John d’Ambreticourt continued his road through Béarn, Bigorre, the Toulousain, and Carcassonnois. He was accompanied by William de Soumain and other squires from Hainault, who were returning to their own country. On their arrival at Paris, he learnt that the king was at that moment in Normandy, and the lord Boucicaut, as they said, in Arragon. Sir John, to acquit himself honourably, waited on the principal barons of France that were then at Paris, and having staid there eight days to amuse himself, he continued his journey to Calais, and those from Hainault went home. Thus were the different captains of the army of Castille separated.
* “Lord de Chameaux.” Q. Chymwell.
† “Lord de Leluyton.” Q. Some copies read Helmson
‡ “Pamiers.” Q.
CHAPTER XCIII. — THE DUKE OF BOURBON, ON LEAVING AVIGNON, CONTINUES HIS MARCH TO BURGOS, WHERE HE MEETS THE KING OF CASTILLE. — THE DUKE OF LANCASTER, BEING INFORMED OF THIS, ADDRESSES HIMSELF TO THE KING OF PORTUGAL. — THE DUKE OF BOURBON AFTER A SHORT STAY TAKES LEAVE OF THE KING OF CASTILLE, AND RETURNS RO FRANCE.
THE duke of Bourbon, who had been nominated commander in chief of the French in Castille, was duly informed of everything that was passing; but, had he imagined the king of Castille had been so much pressed, he would have hastened his march: for he had taken a long time on his journey, and, beside, had followed a round-about road. He went first to Avignon, to visit the person who styled himself pope Clement, where he staid some time, then to Montpelier, where he halted five days, and as many at Bezieres and Carcassonne; from thence he went to Narbonne and Perpignan, and entered Arragon; for he was desirous of seeing the young king of Arragon and his cousin, the lady Jolante de Bar. The duke continued his journey to Barcelona, where he met the king and queen of Arragon, with a numerous body of earls and barons of the country, who had come thither to receive and feast him. When he had been thus entertained for the space of six days, he departed, and went to Valencia. It was there he first heard that the English army had retreated, and that sir John Holland had let the grater part into Navarre; that there had been a great mortality among the English; and that his cousin, the duke of Lancaster, lay dangerously ill at Sant Jago: the report was, that he was actually dead. Notwithstanding this intelligence, which rendered his march useless, he continued advancing, and informed the king of Castille of his arrival, who was much rejoiced thereat, and appointed the city of Burgos for their place of meeting. The king ordered all things to be properly prepared in that city for his reception, and went thither; for many of the French, who were with him, were anxious to see the duke of Bourbon. The duke, having passed Valencia and Saragossa, entered Castille and came to Burgos. He was most kindly received by the king, barons and prelates of the realm. Sir Oliver du Guesclin, constable of Castille, sir William de Lignac, sir Walter de Passac, sir John des Barres, sir John and sir Reginald de Roye, and several knights of France, were present, who had left their garrison to meet the duke of Bourbon. They had no longer any fears of the English or Portuguese, for they had all retreated, and the English had already given up those towns they had conquered in Galicia; 294 for they knew that, as their army had left the country, they could not withstand the power of France.
The news was carried to Galicia that the duke of Bourbon was arrived in Castille, with a large body of men at arms from France; and, as it was spoken of, this force was multiplied to more than double its number. The country, at first was alarmed lest the duke of Bourbon should march thither to reconquer such towns as had surrendered; and though the duke of Lancaster was with them, and comforted them as much as he could, they could not get rid of their fears. When the duke of Lancaster heard his cousin, the duke of Bourbon, was with the king of Castille at Burgos, he instantly sent to the king of Portugal, to entreat he would not disband his army; for her knew not what the French might intend, now the country was in so defenceless a state. The king of Portugal, having dismissed his army, was desirous to oblige the duke, from the connexion between them, and left Lisbon for Coimbra, whence he issued a summons, for all men at arms instantly to prepare themselves and march to Oporto, to the assistance of the duke of Lancaster, whose illness would not suffer him to take the field in person, although he was daily recovering his health.
The duke of Bourbon remained with the king of Castille at Burgos, where he received the greatest honours from the king, the barons and lords of the realm. Many councils were held, as to what they should now do: whether to enter Galicia or return to France. The king and his ministers saw very clearly which was most to their advantage, and said, when together, — “Our country is ruined and wasted by the French; and although they have defended it against the English, we have paid dear enough. It will be but just we thank the duke of Bourbon for the trouble he has had in coming hither, and entreat him, through affection to us, to withdraw his men, for there was not now any appearance of war to detain them; that as for Galicia, they could invade and conquer that province themselves, whenever they pleased, as it was a trifling matter.” The king’s ministers added: “If we keep these men, they will expect pay, and, if that be not given to them, they will rob and plunder the country. There are, already, may discontents on this subject; and it behoves us to dismiss them in a handsome manner.” This measure was adopted; for the king knew well that his kingdom could not be hurt, without his suffering from it. The archbishop of Burgos therefore, in the presence of the king and many knights from France, proposed the matter to the duke of Bourbon. The duke, as well as his knights, instantly agreed to it; for they most certainly preferred returning to France, which is a different country in all respects from Castille, and gave their orders accordingly. The duke of Bourbon, though he came the last, was the first to return, and declared his intentions were, to pass through Navarre, that his people might make preparations for so doing. On taking his leave of the king, very rich presents were made him: he might have had more, had he chosen it, but he refused several that were pressed on him, and accepted only mules, horses, and dogs called “Allans” * in Castille.
Proclamation was made for all persons to leave Castille and return to France, according to the orders which had been given by the commander in chief; but sir Oliver du Guesclin and the marshal, with about three hundred lances, Bretons, Poitivins and Saintongers, were to remain behind. The duke of Bourbon, having taken leave of the king, queen, and barons, was escorted as far as Logrogno, when he entered Navarre. Wherever he passed, he was most honourably received, for the duke was courteous, gallant and much renowned. The king of Navarre entertained him very kindly, and showed not an appearance of the hatred he bore to the king of France for having seized his inheritance of the county d’Evreux in Normandy. He knew that the present king, who was so nearly related to the duke of Bourbon, was no way to blame, for at the time he was an infant. He mentioned his complaints in an amicable matter to the duke, and entreated him to mediate between him and his cousin of France, for which he should hold himself much obliged. The duke promised to use his endeavours; and on this they parted, and the duke continued his journey with hiss men at arms peaceably through Navarre, and, having crossed the mountains at Roncesvalles and traversed the country of Basques, entered Béarn at Sauveterre.
* “Allan, — a kind of big, strong, thick-headed and short-snouted dog; the breed whereof came first out of Albania, old [Epires].”
“Allan de boucherie, like a mastiff, — Allan gentil, somewhat lake a greyhound, — Allan sautre, a cur to bait wolves,” &c. — Cotgrave’s Dictionary.
CHAPTER XCIV. — THE COUNT DE FOIX RECEIVES THE DUKE OF BOURBON MOST MAGNIFICENTLY, AND MAKES HIM HANDSOME PRESENTS. — THE MEN AT ARMS WHO WERE UNDER SIR WALTER DE PASSAC AND SIR WILLIAM DE LIGNAC SACK THE TOWN OF ST. PHAGON, ON THEIR DEPARTURE FROM CASTILLE. — THE KING IS VERY WROTH FOR THIS AGAINST THE TWO CAPTAINS WHO HAD REMAINED WITH HIM.
COUNT Gaston de Foix was well pleased, on hearing the duke of Bourbon was at Sauveterre. He summoned to Orthès, where he resided, a gallant company of chivalry, and set out with a grand array of five hundred knights and squires excellently mounted. They had advanced two leagues before they met the duke, who was likewise attended by a large company of knights and squires. On their meeting, they embraced and showed every token of friendship, such as well-educated princes know how to do. After they had conversed together a short space, as I was informed when at Orthès, the count de Foix withdrew with his company into the plain, but the duke remained where they had met. Then three knights, sir Espaign du Lyon, sir Peter Campestan and sir Menaualt de Nouailles, advanced to the duke and said, — “My lord, we come to offer you a present from the count de Foix on your return from Castille, as he knows you have been at a heavy expense. He first welcomes you to his country of Béarn, and presents you with eight thousand florins, this mule, two coursers and two palfreys.” “My fair sirs,” replied the duke, “I am very much obliged to the count de Foix. With regard to the florins, we cannot receive them; but as for the rest we accept them with great pleasure.” The florins were therefore returned, and the horses and mule kept. Shortly afterward, the count placed himself beside the duke, and conducted him, under his pennon, to Orthès, when he was lodged in the castle, and his attendants in the town.
The duke of Bourbon remained for three days at Orthès, magnificently entertained with dinners and suppers. The count de Foix showed him good part of his state, which would recommend him to such a person as the duke of bourbon. On the fourth day he took his leave and departed. The count made many presents to the knights and squires attached to the duke, and to such an extent that I was told this visit of the duke of Bourbon cost him ten thousand francs. The duke took his road to France by Monpelier, the city of Puy, and county of Foréts, of which he was lord in right of his duchess. Though the duke of Bourbon had thus left Castille, the men at arms under sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac were not impatient to do so. They were upwards of three thousand spears and six thousand others, who in small parties were daily quitting the country. Many of them having expended their pay, and being weary of the war, set out on their return ill mounted and in rags, so that the meeting them was unfortunate, for they dismounted such as were on horseback, and made war on all passengers and on whoever had remained in the in the open country, whether churchmen or not, and plundered them, under the pretext that the king of Castille had not given them their pay, and that they had been ruined by the war. They said they would pay themselves, an all towns not well inclosed were under great alarms. Every place shut its gates against them, for whatever they could find was seized on unless well fought for. Such knights and squires as returned through Foix, and waited on the count were well received by him, and received magnificent presents. It was told that this expedition, including the going to Castille and return, cost the count de Foix, by his liberalities, upwards of forty thousand francs.
After the departure of the duke of Bourbon, an accident befel the town of St. Phagon, that I am about to relate, which caused the deaths of five hundred men. You must know, that when sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac first came into Castille, their force, which as very considerable, quartered themselves over the country near St. Phagon, which is rich, and abundant in all sorts of provision. Among these men at arms were many Bretons, Poitevins, Saintongers, who, riding first to St. Phagon, entered the town in parties of six, ten, fifteen, and twenty, so that at last they amounted to more than five hundred, including servants. As they entered, they lodged themselves, and began to pillage and pack up every valuable they could find. The inhabitants, noticing their conduct, secretly closed their gates, that no more should enter; and, when these strangers thought to repose themselves, 296 the townsmen cried “To arms!” and entering the chambers where they lay, slew them without pity or mercy: happy were they who could escape, for they murdered upwards of five hundred. News of this was brought, in the morning, to the French lords quartered near the town, and they held a council to consider how they should act. They thought it improper at the moment to retaliate on them for this conduct, for if they should begin by burning towns and villages, the whole country would rise against them, to the great joy of their enemies; but they determined that, when the expedition should be ended, and they on their return, they would talk to them, and make them pay severely.
When this army was on its return to France, which included all except those who remained with sir Oliver du Guesclin, they said among themselves, “Our arrival at St. Phagon cost us dear, but they shall fully repay us on our return.” They were all of this mind, and having assembled about one thousand, they entered the town, as there was neither guard nor watch; for the townsmen had forgotten what had passed, and hoped the French had done so likewise; and that no more quarrels would happen between them. It was not so, to their great loss; for, when they thought themselves secure, the cry of “To arms!” resounded from more than one hundred places, accompanied with voices shouting, “Let us kill and destroy all the scoundrels of this town, and plunder what they may have, in revenge for the murders of our countrymen.” The Bretons instantly began to put these threats into execution, and to enter every house where they expected pillage, killing the inhabitants, breaking open desks and trunks, and doing every mischief in their power. There were, this day, more than four hundred slaughtered, the town robbed and half burned, which was a great pity. Such was the revenge the companions took on St. Phagon, and then marched away.
Intelligence was sent to the king of Castille that the men at arms, who had been under sir William de Lignac and sir Walter de Passac, had, on their return, pillaged the good town of St. Phagon, murdered upwards of four hundred of its inhabitants, and set the town on fire. They added, that if the English had taken it even by storm, they would not have treated it so cruelly. At the time this was told the king, the two above-named knights were with him, and were severely reprimanded by him and his council. They excused themselves, — “that as God may help them, they were ignorant of the intentions of their men: they had, indeed, heard they were much displeased with the inhabitants of St. Phagon, who, on their coming to Castille, had murdered many of their companions, for which revenge had lurked in their hearts; but that, in truth, they thought it had been forgotten.” The kind of Castille was forced to pass it over, as it might have cost him more had he thought of punishing it; but he was very ill pleased with these two commanders, which he showed, when they took leave of him to return to France. Had he been contented with them, it may be supposed they would have had more magnificent presents. The duke of Bourbon, his knights and squires, having quitted the king to his satisfaction, and left the country first, had carried off the flower of the presents.
The French marched out of Castille, in various directions, some through Biscay, others through Arragon. Many knights and squires, who had lived on their pay, disdaining to plunder, returned poor and sorrily mounted; while others, who had seized on whatever they could meet with, were well furnished with gold and silver, and heavy trunks. Thus it happens, in these adventures, some gain and others loses. The king of Castille was very much rejoiced when he found himself and kingdom freed from such men.
CHAPTER XCV. — THE — THE DUKE OF LANCASTER LEAVES SANT JAGO, FOR COIMBRA, AND THENCE GOES TO BAYONNE.
WE will return to the duke of Lancaster, whom we left ill in bed at Sant Jago, where he resided with his duchess and daughter Catherine. You may suppose, the duke felt many mortifications, from the complete failure of his hopes of the crown of Castille, and the great loss of his chivalry, whom he daily and nightly lamented, and whom he had brought with such difficulty from England. He had now no expectation of making a treaty of peace that 297 should allow the duchess any right to the crown, or yield up, by way of composition, to her any part of the kingdom; for he had heard from pilgrims to Sant Jago, from Brabant, Hainault and other countries, who had passed through the French army in Castille, that the Castillians and French made their jokes on him, saying to the pilgrims, — “Ye are going to Sant Jago, are ye? Ye will find there the duke of Lancaster, who, for fear of the sun, keeps his chamber. Give our compliments to him, and ask him, on his faith, if we French know how to make war, and if we have not fought him fairly, and if he be contented with us. The English used to say, that we knew better how to dance and sing than to fight; but the tables are now turned; it is they who repose and sing, and we keep the field and guard our frontiers, so that we have not lost anything.”
The duke of Lancaster, like a wise man, bore all this patiently, for he could not do otherwise; and, when he was able to ride, he departed from Sant Jago with his duchess and family. The king of Portugal had sent his constable, the count de Novaire, and sir John Fernando Portelet, with five hundred lances, to escort him. Among these knights were the Ponnasse d’Acunha, Egeas Colle, Vasco Martin de Merlo, Galopes Fernando, sir Alvarez Perez, John Radighos de Sar. Gaynes de Falnes, all barons. With this escort, the duke and his family left Compostella, and continued their march to Oporto, where the king and queen of Portugal were waiting for them, and entertained them handsomely. Soon after the arrival of the duke, the king and queen left Oporto, and went to Coimbra, which is but one day’s journey distant. The duke of Lancaster remained there for two months and attended to his affairs, and to the making of preparations for his departure. By the king’s orders, the high admiral of Portugal, don Alphonso Brecart, had equipped some galleys for his reception; on board of which, when the weather and wind were favourable, they embarked, and, weighing anchor, took to the deep, and in one day and a half were at Bayonne, which is upwards of seventy-two leagues. On their arrival, they were disappointed in not meeting sir John Holland and the other English; but they had left it for Bordeaux, where they had embarked, and had landed in England.
The duke of Lancaster made a long residence at Bayonne, and enforced the payments of arrears, and other dues from the duchy of Aquitaine, and such parts as were under the obedience of king Richard; for he had a commission to impose and receive all taxes to his own use, and he styled himself duke and governor of Aquitaine. We will now leave the duke and the English, until it shall be proper to return to them, and speak of other matters.
CHAPTER XCVI. — THE COUNT D’ARMAGNAC TAKES GREAT PAINS TO PREVAIL ON THE FREE COMPANIES TO GIVE UP THEIR FORTS FOR A SUM OF MONEY. — THE COUNT DE FOIX, UNDERHAND, PREVENTS HIS SUCCESS.
THE count d’Armagnac, at this period, resided in Auvergne, and was negotiating with such free companions as held forts in Auvergne, Quercy and Limousin. The count took great pains, from his attachment to France, to make the leaders of these garrisons, who did great mischief to the country, surrender them up, and depart to other places. All the captains, except Geoffry Téte-noire, who held Ventadour, seemed willing to accept his terms, and receive, in one sum, two hundred and fifty thousand francs. On payment of this sum, they were all to quit the country, which would gladly have seen them depart; for the inhabitants could not till the earth, nor carry on trade, for fear of these pillagers, unless they had entered into composition with them, according to their wealth and rank; and these compositions amounted, in the year, to as much as was now demanded for the evacuation of the forts. Although these garrisons made war under pretext of being English, there were very few of that nation; but the greater part Gascons, Germans and Foixiens, and from different countries, who had untied together to do mischief.
When this treaty had been fully concluded with all the captains, except Geoffry Téte-noire, the count d’Armagnac entreated the count dauphin d’Auvergne, who was a great baron and able negotiator, to join him in this treaty, and from his affection to him, to undertake a journey to Paris, to the king and the dukes of Berry and Burgundy, who at that time governed the kingdom, to explain what he had done in regard to these free companions, and to have their consent; for without their orders the sum of money to pay them could not be raised in the country. The count dauphin complied with this request, and rode to Paris, but the king was gone to Rouen, whither the count followed him. He there explained to the king and his council the state of the country, and the treaty the count d’Armagnac had made with the companions. He did not soon accomplish the object of his coming; for the lords of the council, knowing well what sort of people these free companions were, had no faith in their professions, and dreaded they would not abide by any treaty. They said to him, — “Count dauphin, we know that you and the count d’Armagnac are anxious to promote everything for the honour and advantage of the kingdom; for both of you have rich and extensive inheritances within it; but we very much suspect that these Gascons and Béarnais, when they shall have received the sums agreed for, and the country shall be weakened, will, in the course of three or four months, return, regain possession of their castles, and commit greater waste than they have hitherto done.” The count dauphin replied to the council, — “My lords, it is our intention, that when this sum be raised, it shall be deposited at Clermont or Riom, and there remain until we have certificates of these companies having quitted the country.”
“That is well said,” answered the dukes of Berry and Burgundy: “we are willing the money be raised and put in a place of safety; for at all events, should they refuse to conform to the treaty, it will serve to collect forces to make war upon them, and drive them out of their forts. This sum shall be under the direction of you, the count d’Armagnac, and the bishops of Clermont and Puy: you will take care that it is honourably disposed of, and for the advantage of the realm.” Having declared he would do so, he took leave of the king, his uncles, and council, and departing for Rouen, continued his road until he came to Clermont, where he found the count d’Armagnac, his brother, and numbers of lords, waiting his arrival. He related to them that the king and his council had their doubts of the captains of the free companies, and the manner this money was raised, and deposited in a place of security until the intentions of these captains, who by force kept possession of forts and castles in the realm, should be clearly known. They replied, — “that such were their wishes; and, since it is agreeable to the king, we will finish the business; but we must first conclude a peace or truce with the leaders, that the country may be assured the tax we are about to raise will be properly applied for their security.” Commissaries were sent by the count d’Armagnac to parley with Perrot le Béarnais, and Amerigot Marcel, who were the principal chiefs of the forts on this side the Dordogne, in conjunction with the bourg de Compane, Bernard des Isles, Olim Barbe, Abton Seghin, the lord de l’Exemplaire, and many more. 299 These captains could never agree as to terms, for what one party acceded to in one week, the next it was refused: the reason was, that being from different countries, they had various opinions. Those from Armagnac, who were a sort of retainers to the count, readily assented to what he offered; but the greater part, and most determined pillagers, were form Béarn and Foix.
I do not mean to say that the count de Foix ever wished anything but what was honourable and advantageous to France; but when he first heard of these negotiations with the captains of strong places in Auvergne, Quercy, and Rouergue, he was desirous to know upon what terms they were made, and the cause shy the count d’Armagnac was so busy in the matter, and would be informed, when these places should be evacuated by the companions, what road they intended to take, and where they meant to fix themselves. He was answered: “My lord, it is the intention of the count d’Armagnac to engage these men at arms, when they shall have surrendered the forts, to lead them into Lombardy, where his brother-in-law (who, you know, married his sister, the widow of your son Gaston) has great difficulty in defending his inheritance, for there seems every probability of a war in Lombardy.” The count de Foix made no answer to this, seeming not to have heard it, but turned about to others present, and conversed with them. He was not, however, the less thoughtful about what had been said, and determined secretly to prevent any of these treaties being concluded: at least, from the sequel it so appears.
The count d’Armagnac could never succeed, notwithstanding his repeated attempts, towards inducing any of the captains who were from Béarn, or Foix, to yield up their forts, or accept of any engagement, to serve the count or his brother Bernard. The count de Foix, who was prudence itself, considering that these two lords, his cousins, and those of Albreth, were very powerful, and acquiring friends on all sides, was unwilling to add to their strength by those who were his retainers: he therefore determined what line he would follow, as was told me, when at Orthès, by sir Espaign de Lyon, the bourg de Compane, captain of Carlat in Auvergne, and the bourg Anglois. The count de Fix was at war with the Armagnacs, though that this moment there was a truce, which was usually renewed five or six times every years; and, should the Armagnacs and Albreths obtain the assistance of those captains of free companies, who were so hardy and cunning in war, they would be enabled to bring a large force into the field, and do the count de Foix great mischief. This was the principal cause why the captains who were dependent on him would never accept terms from the count d’Armagnac.
They indeed gave him hopes of agreeing with him; but although many appointments were made for a meeting, they kept none, but ran over the country, and pillaged it at their pleasure, just the same as before any treaty was talked of. The count was daily expecting to conclude one; and the captain he was most anxious to gain over was Perrot le Béarnois, who held the strong castle of Chalucet, and was the principal commander in Auvergne and Limousin, for his compositions extended as far as La Rochelle. The others were, William de Sainte Foix, who held Bouteville; Amerigot Marcel, who resided at Loyse, near St. Flour in Auvergne; the bourg de Compane and the bourg Anglois, who held Carlat. He said, he could at any time have Amerigot Marcel; but he was desirous of gaining over Perrot le Béarnois, and Geoffry Téte-noire, who held Ventadour, and was the chief of them all. They only laughed, and made their jokes of the count, disdaining to enter into any treaty with him or any one else. Geoffry knew his castle was impregnable, and provided with stores and a sufficient garrison for seven or eight years; and it was not in the power of any lord to shut him up, so that he could not be prevented from making sallies whenever he chose. Geoffry began all his passports and treaties of composition with, “Geoffry Téte-noire, duke of Ventadour, count of Limousin, sovereign lord and commander of all the captains in Auvergne, Rouergue, and Limousin.” I will now leave these matters, and speak of what was passing in my own country, from the peace which was granted to the Ghent men, on the conclusion of their war, by the duke and duchess of Burgundy, who singed and sealed it in the noble city of Tournay. To add strength to my history, I must speak of what was passing in Gueldres and Brabant; for the king of France and duke of Burgundy were much affected by the events that happened in those countries, and took great part in the war that ensued.
CHAPTER XCVII. — A DIGRESSION ON THE QUARREL BETWEEN THE HOUSES OF BRABANT AND GUELDRES. — THE LIFE OF COUNT REGINALD OF GUELDRES AND HIS SUCCESSORS, UNTIL THE REIGN OF CHARLES VI. OF FRANCE. — THE DUKE OF GUELDRES, BEING AN ALLY OF ENGLAND, SENDS HIS CHALLENGE TO FRANCE. — THE CAUSE OF THE CHALLENGE.
THERE had been, for some time, a hatred between the houses of Brabant and Gueldres: their countries border on each other; but the origin of this hatred of the Brabanters was on account of the town of Grave, which the dukes of Gueldres had taken possession of, and kept by force. This the Brabanters complained of, as it is situated on their side of the river Meuse; and, though many conferences were held on the subject, their hatred was not abated. Those of Gueldres complained, that the duke of Brabant had, in revenge, seized on three castles on their side of the Meuse, and at the entrance of their country, called Grambet, Buct, and Mille*. These quarrels between the two dukes were frequently embittered; but it was the opinion of many able knights and squires in arms, that if the lord Edward of Gueldres (who was unfortunately slain by an arrow from an archer of the dukes of Luxembourg or Brabant, at the battle of Juliers†,) had survived and gained the victory, he was so valiant, he would have reconquered these three castles.
I will now relate, according to my promise, how these castles came into the possession of Brabant, that I may embellish my history; and I will begin with speaking of the dukes of Gueldres‡. It was not long before I began to indite this work, that there lived a count of Gueldres, called Reginald. Gueldres is not so rich, nor so extensive a country as Brabant: notwithstanding this, count Reginald, coming to his property when a young man, had very inclination for expense, and cared not what his pleasures cost him. He attended all tilts and tournaments in the greatest magnificence, and expended, yearly, four times more than his usual revenue. He was generous and liberal, and made extravagant presents, so that he borrowed from the Lombards on all sides, and was soon so indebted he knew not whither to turn himself. His relations were greatly angered by such conduct, and blamed him exceedingly; but in particular the archbishop of Cologne, who was his uncle by his mother’s side. One day, when he had him in his closet, he said, — “Reginald, my fair nephew, you have managed your affairs so well, that you will soon find yourself a poor man; for your lands are mortgaged all round. In this word, poor lands are not valued. Do you imagine that those to whom you have made such great gifts will return them to you? No, as God may help me: they will fly from you when they know you have nothing more to give, and will laugh and mock you for your foolish expenses, and you will not find one friend to assist you. Do not depend on me; for though I am archbishop of Cologne, I will not curtail my establishment to repair your fortune, nor give you the patrimony of the church: no, I vow to God, my conscience forbids it, and neither the pope nor cardinals will consent to it. The count of Hainault, who has not kept the state you have, has married his eldest daughter, Margaret, to Leis of Bavaria, emperor of Germany. He has three more whom he will also marry very nobly. Had you lived as was becoming you, and had you not mortgaged your lands, towns, or castles, you were a proper person for such an alliance; but, situated as you now are, you will never obtain one of them. You have nothing to dower a wife with, if you had one: not even one poor lordship.”
The earl of Gueldres was thunderstruck at this reprimand of his uncle, for he felt the truth of it. He requested, out of love to him, he would give him advice. “Advice!” replied the archbishop: “It is now, my fair nephew, too late: you wish to shut the stable-door when the steed is stolen. I see but one remedy for your distress.” “and what is that?” said the count. “I will tell you,” answered the archbishop. “You are much indebted to Bertaldo of Mechlin, who is at present the richest merchant in the world, from the great commerce he carried on with all parts of it by sea and land. His galleys and vessels sail as far as Alexandria, Cairo, and Damascus, with cargoes of the value of one 301 hundred thousand florins: he also has a mortgage on the greater part of your lands. Bertaldo has one daughter now of an age to marry, and no other children. Several great barons of Germany and other countries have demanded her in marriage, but, I know not why, unsuccessfully: he may perhaps fear some as being to high, and others he may hold cheap: I therefore advise you to treat with Bertaldo, who may listen to you, and give you his daughter, that you may clear yourself of all your debts, and regain possession of your lands; for I should suppose, from your birth and in consideration of your having your possessions, between the Meuse and the Rhine, so well filled with populous towns, he will comply with your request.” “By my faith, uncle,” replied the count, “you advise me well, and I will follow what you have said.”
Count Reginald, shortly after, summoned those of his friends in whom he had the greatest confidence and affection, and declared his intentions of marrying the daughter of Bertaldo of Mechlin. He requested them to go thither and demand her, and he would make her countess of Gueldres, on such conditions as the archbishop of Cologne should be agreeable to. His friends complied cheerfully, and made instant preparations for their journey to Mechlin, where they waited on Bertaldo, and told him the object of their coming. Bertaldo received these knights and clerks from the count de Gueldres very graciously, entertained them well, and said he would consider of their demand. Being so very rich, for he was worth at least five or six millions of florins, he was anxious for the advancement of his daughter, and, thinking he could no way ally her more nobly than to the count de Gueldres, had partly in is own mind assented to it. Before he declared it, he had many doubts, and said to himself, — “If I give Mary to the count, he will wish to be my master, and I shall no longer have a will of own. Beside, should she have children and die, which may happen, he, who will be enriched by my wealth, and re-possesses of all his lands in the country of Gueldres, may marry again, and as nobly as he pleases, and have children by his second wife, who, from the high blood of their mother, may hold my daughter’s children in contempt, and perhaps disinherit them. I must have all these doubts cleared up before I give my consent. I will, however, mention all this to the friends of the count, and make them such an answers as this: “That their coming has pleased me much, and that my daughter would be very happy to be so nobly married as to the count de Gueldres: but at this moment it was well known the affairs of the count were in the utmost disorder; that all his lands between the Meuse and Rhine were under mortgage, and that, to clear off his incumbrances, he has demanded my daughter in marriage. Before I consent to this union, I wish to know how he means to settle his estates, and that my daughter’s children, should she have sons or daughters, may succeed to the inheritance of Gueldres, notwithstanding any other marriage take place in case of her death. On this point I am determined, and I must likewise have this succession assured by himself, his relations, and all who may have any claims thereto, as well as by the nobility and principal towns in the country.” Thus did Bertaldo form the answer he was to give to the commissioners from the count de Gueldres.
On the morrow, at a proper hour, Bertaldo signified to the count’s friends he was prepared with his answer. They were well pleased on hearing this, and repaired to the hôtel of Bertaldo, where every thing displayed his riches. He met them in the hall, and, after some agreeable conversation, conducted them to an apartment fitted up in a manner becoming a king, where some of his friends were assembled. When the door was closed, Bertaldo desired them to declare the cause of their visit to him, and he would give them his answer. Upon this, the dean of Cologne, cousin to the count de Gueldres, and a valiant clerk, explained so eloquently the object of their embassy, it was a pleasure to hear him. Of his speech I need not make any further mention, for the subject of it has been told, and it related solely to the advantages of this alliance, and its conveniency to both parties.
Bertaldo, who, the preceding day, had formed his plan, answered as follows: “My fair sirs, I and my daughter shall hold ourselves much honoured by so noble an alliance as the one you have proposed; and when such matters are brought forward, the less delay afterward the better. I say this, because an alliance by marriage, between so powerful and renowned a lord as count Reginald de Gueldres, with Mary, my daughter, pleases me right well. You require that his estate, which is now much entangled, by his debts to Lombards and 302 others, should be cleared by this marriage, and every incumbrance done away. Thanks to God, I have the ability as well as inclination so to do; but I must first see the following settlements fairly engrossed and sealed, so that, hereafter, no contention ensue between any of the parties: first, my daughter’s children shall inherit the country of Gueldres, comprehended within its present limits; and, if my lord Reginald should die before her, without having any heirs from her body, she shall peaceably retain the possession of that country during her life, and then it may revert to the next lawful heir. If it should happen that my daughter have an heir or heirs by my much honoured prince, count Reginald, and she die before him, the count de Gueldres shall not, on account of any secondary marriage, disinherit, or otherwise deprive the heir or heirs of my daughter of the succession of Gueldres. I consent, however, that if it shall be his good pleasure in such case to marry again, he may dower the lady with those acquired lands on the other side of the Meuse, bordering on the bishopric of Liege and duchy of Brabant, but without charging any part of the country of Gueldres. When the relations and friends of the honourable prince, count Reginald, and all those who may, from their family-connexions, have any claims on the duchy of Gueldres, and the chief towns, shall have signed and sealed settlements drawn up in the manner I have mentioned, I give my consent to the marriage. You may now, therefore, make any reply you have been charged with.
The knights from Gueldres, after some short conversation together, said, — “Sir, we have well heard your terms; but, not being commissioned to say anything in confirmation, or otherwise, on the subject, we must be silent. We will return to our lord, and relate punctually to him and his council what you offer, and very shortly you shall have from him his answer.” “God grant it may be favourable,” replied Bertaldo; “for I wish it.” On this they all left the apartment and went away. As you have heard everything that passed on this subject, I shall not dilate on it more. When the commissioners were returned home, matters seemed likely to be soon brought to a conclusion; for the count thought, in his present situation, he could not do better than marry the daughter of Bertaldo, who was powerfully rich. For greater security, all the settlements were drawn up, and engrossed in his house: when they were finished, the count signed and sealed them, as did all his relations whose names were mentioned therein, and the nobility and magistrates of the principal towns.
Bertaldo being now satisfied, the marriage was consummated, the debts of the count were paid, and all his lands freed from every incumbrance. Thus was the count de Gueldres made rich: he took a new hôtel, and formed a different establishment. If, formerly, he had been thought to keep a magnificent one, this was much superior; for he had now wherewithal to support it, as he never wanted for any money Bertaldo could give him. The count behaved right honourably to his lady, who was very handsome, good, prudent, and devout. At the end of four years, the lady died, leaving a daughter of the name of Isabella. The count, being a young man when he became a widower, married again very nobly; for kind Edward of England, father of that king Edward who besieged Tournay and conquered Calais, gave him his daughter Isabella§. By this lady he had three children, two sons and a daughter, sir Reginald, sir Edward, and Joan, who was afterwards duchess of Juliers¶.
When king Edward III., who was uncle to these children of Gueldres, came first into Germany to visit the emperor, and had been appointed by him vicar-general of the empire¥, as is contained in the first volume of this history, the county of Gueldres was made a duchy, and the marquisate of Juliers a county, to elevate these families in dignity. But to come nearer to our times, and connect this with our history, it happened that, after the decease of this count Reginald we have been speaking of, his son, also called Reginald, nephew to the king of England, died without heirs**. Sir Edward of Gueldres succeeded to both: he was 303 married to the eldest daughter of duke Albert of Hainault††; but she was so young, that sir Edward never carnally knew her, and he died also without heirs; for, like a valiant knight, he was slain in battle, in a war against duke Winceslaus of Brabant, before Juliers‡‡.
Sir Edward’s sister-german was married to count William of Juliers, and her brother dying without issue, she claimed Gueldres as her inheritance, and brought forward her pretensions. Her elder sister, by the first marriage§§, made a similar claim, and said, since no male heirs remained from the second marriage, the duchy became her right, according to the settlements that had been made and singed. AS this dispute ran high between the two sisters, the elder was advised to unite herself, by marriage, with some person well allied, that would defend her rights. She followed this advice, and desired the archbishop of Cologne, at that time with the lord John de Blois¶¶, whose brother, count Lewis, was still alive, to open the matter to him, and, if he were agreeable, she would make him the duke of Gueldres; for, by the death of her two brothers, without male issue, the duchy had become her inheritance, and none other had any legal claim to it. The lord John de Blois, who had been brought up in Holland and Zealand, having fair inheritances there, and speaking the language, willingly listened to the proposal; for he would never marry in France, thinking he should acquire a large tract of country in the parts he liked best. The knights of his council, in Holland, advised him to accept the lady. He consented to this; but, before he made it public, he rode to Hainault, to consult his cousin, duke Albert, and hear what he would say to it.
Duke Albert, in truth, knew not what advice to give him, or, if he did, he kept it to himself, and delayed so long, before he could make up his mind, that lord John de Blois was tired of waiting, and, mounting his horse, rode to Gueldres, married the lady I have mentioned, and took possession of the duchy. He was not, however, acknowledged duke by the whole country, nor were her claims universally allowed; the majority of knights, squires, and chief towns, inclined more to the lady of Juliers, who, having a handsome family of children, had gained their hearts. The lord John, therefore, had with his wife a war, which cost him much. By the death of his brother, count Lewis, he became count of Blois, lord of Avesnes in Hainault; and the rich inheritances of Holland and Zealand fell likewise to him. Notwithstanding this, his council advised him to pursue the claim of his lady on Geuldreland. He did so, to the utmost of his power; but Germans are a covetous people, and they only continued the war as long as they were duly paid. The dispute cost lord John very large sums, and was never of any service to him. This gallant count, lord John de Blois, died in the castle of the good town of Schoonhoven, in the month of June, of the year of grace 1381, and was carried to the church of the Cordeliers at Valenciennes, and buried besides his grandfather, sir John of Hainault.¥¥
The lord Guy de Blois succeeded his brothers in all their possession in France, Picardy, Hainault, Holland, and Zealand, as well as in the country of Blois. I know not how many years the lady of lord John survived him, but, on her decease, her sister, the countess of Juliers, remained peaceable possessor of the duchy of Gueldres. It was, however, settled, at the request of the nobility and inhabitants of the duchy, that lord William de Juliers, eldest son of the count of Juliers, should be duke of Gueldres; for it had reverted to him in direct succession from his uncles, and, on this account, duke Albert and his duchess had given him their daughter in marriage, who had been betrothed to duke Edward, as before mentioned. Thus was this lady still duchess of Gueldres, and this last marriage was more suitable, for they were both nearly of the same age. The duke resided constantly in his own country; 304 but the more he increased in age the greater was his love for tilts, tournaments, and such amusements and he was more attached to the English than to the French, which he showed as long as he lived. He had always rankling in his breast a similar hatred to what had subsisted between his ancestors and the dukes of Brabant, and was ever seeking for occasion of quarrel with them for two reasons: one, because he was the ally of king Richard II.; the other, because Winceslaus of Bohemia, duke of Luxembourg, had purchased from the count de Mours, a great baron in Germany, those three castles I have before mentioned, but will now mention again, to make the matter clearer, Goch, Beeck, and Megen, they are situated beyond the Meuse, on the territory of Fauquemont. The dukes of Gueldres had in former times been lords of these castles, and the present duke was much vexed that the could not add them to his inheritance, but as long as duke Winceslaus lived he kept all this to himself.
* Q. Goch, Becck, and Megen.
‡ They were first created dukes of Gueldres by the emperor, Lewis of Bavaria, 1229, at Frankfort.
§ There seems some mistake her, but I cannot make it out, nor find in any of the genealogical accounts of the counts of Gueldres, notice of this marriage with the daughter of the merchant Bertaldo of Mechlin.
“Reginald II., the 9th count of Gueldres, married, in 1343, Sophia, countess of Mechlin, and 1355, Eleanora of England.” — Anderson’s Royal Genealogies.
¶ William, the sixth marquis, and afterwards duke of Juliers, married Mary, a daughter of the count de Gueldres, but by his first wife, Sophia of Mechlin. Two children only, Reginald and Edward, are ascribed to the second marriage in L’Art de vérifier les Dates. — ED.
¥ In 1338. — ED.
** Reginald III. died in 1371, leaving no children by his wife Mary, the daughter of John duke of Brabant. — ED.
†† He married Catherine, daughter of Albert, regent of Holland, on the 16th May, 1371. — ED.
‡‡ He died on the 24th August, 1371, from the effects of a wound received at the battle of Battweiler, two days before. He was only thirty-six years old. — ED.
§§ Froissart’s account of the genealogy of this family is not correct. The dispute was between Mary, countess of Juliers, the half-sister of Edward and Reginald, and William, her grandson, on the one part, and Matilda, Mary’s elder sister, widow of John, first count of Cleves, on the other part. Whether Mary and Matilda were both the daughters of Sophia of Mechlin, or whether Reginald the second married thrice, and had Matilda by a prior wife to Sophia, is uncertain; but no mention of a third marriage is to be met with in any records of the time. — ED.
¶¶ John de Chatillon, count of Blois, married Matilda in 1372.. — ED.
¥¥ The lords Lewis, John and Guy, were sons of the count Guy de Blois, brother to Charles de Blois, duke of Brittany, by a daughter of sir John of Hainault, who conducted queen Isabella of France to England, with her son Edward III. Annotation X. — Denys Sauvage.
CHAPTER XCVIII. — FROISSART RETURNS TO THE QUARREL BETWEEN THE HOUSES OF BRABANT AND GUELDRES, WHICH HE HAD LEFT UNFINISHED IN THE PRECEDING CHAPTER, AND CONTINUES HIS HISTORY OF THE DUKES OF GUELDRES TO DUKE WILLIAM, WHO SENDS HIS CHALLENGE TO CHARLES VI. KING OF FRANCE.
DUKE Reginald of Gueldres, cousin-german to the prince of Wales, had mortgaged the three above-mentioned castles for a sum of florins to a great baron of Germany, called the count de Mours. He kept possession of them for a time; but, when no intention was shown of paying back the money he had lent on their security, he grew melancholy, and sent legal summons for payment to duke Reginald. But he made light of this, as he had not any money to acquit himself of the debt, which frequently happens to many great lords when they are called upon for payment. When the count de Mours perceived this, he made advances to the duke of Brabant, and offered him these castles for the money for which they were mortgaged. The duke eagerly accepted the proposal, for they were on the confines of the territory of Fauquemont, of which he was lord. The dukes was desirous to increase his inheritance, for he thought surely to survive his present duchess, the lady Johanna*.
He took possession of these castles, and placed in them, as governor, the lord de Kale. When, upon the death of duke Reginald, the lord Edward succeeded to the duchy of Gueldres, he sent ambassadors to the duke of Brabant, to request he might have his castles for the money he had paid for them. The duke, not having purchased them for this end, returned a positive refusal. The duke of Gueldres was highly indignant at this answer, and in consequence was hard on his sister-in-law, the widow of the lord Reginald, and younger sister to the duchess of Brabant, by preventing her from receiving her dower. The lady went to Brabant, and laid her complaints of the vexations the duke of Gueldres was occasioning her, before the duke and duchess. On accounts of the long-subsisting hatred between the Brabanters and those of Gueldres, for the seizure of Grave, the first were well inclined to aid the lady by force of arms. A large body of men at arms were induced once collected in Brabant, and advanced to Bois-le-Duc, to the amount of twelve hundred spears. The duke of Gueldres had likewise assembled his forces, and it was generally thought a battle would have been the consequence; but duke Albert, the count de Mours, and the count of Juliers this time interfered, and they separated without coming to blows.
This same year duke Winceslaus was victorious over some free companies, who had overrun and despoiled his lands in Luxembourg: he banished many, and put to death their leader, called the Little Mesclin, in the tower of the castle of Luxembourg. In this year also, the lord Charles of Bohemia, emperor of Germany, appointed the duke of Brabant chief of an institution called in Germany Languefride, which signifies an association for the repairs and security of the public roads, so that persons may travel from one part to another without danger. The emperor gave him also great possessions in Alsace on both sides of the Rhine, 305 that he might guard the country against the Linfars, who are a most wicked people, robbing all without mercy. He gave him likewise the sovereignty of the large city of Strasburg, and, to add to his dignity, created him a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. He certainly could not give him too much, for this duke Winceslaus was generous, amiable, courteous to all, and gallant in arms. Great things might have been expected from him, had he been granted longer life, but he died in the flower of his age; on account of which I, the author of this history, greatly grieve, and wish he had enjoyed a course of eighty years or more, for he would have done much good to mankind. The schism in the church afflicted him greatly, as he often expressed himself to me, who lived with him on the most intimate and friendly footing. And notwithstanding that I have seen and personally known upwards of two hundred powerful princes in my various travels, I have never found any more courteous and amiable than this duke of Brabant, and my very good lord the count Guy de Blois, who commanded me to indite this Chronicle. These were the two princes, of my time, of the greatest liberality, humility, and goodness, who lived magnificently on their revenues, without malice or any way oppressing their subjects by taxes, and issuing any hurtful edicts through their territories. But I will now return to the principal subject of this chapter.
When the dukes of Juliers and Gueldres, who were brothers by marriage, and whose hearts were too much attached to the English (for they had long been the allies of the kings of England, and strongly united to each other), heard of the dignities conferred by the emperor on the duke of Brabant, they were much exasperated; not from any wish to do good or correct the wicked, but that such honours should be conferred on their enemy: more particularly that he should have the appointment of Languefride, and executed the office with severity, for it affected their lands. This institution had been first formed for the security of those merchants of Hainault, Brabant, France, Flanders, and Liege, who travelled thence to Cologne, Treves, Lucca, Constance, and other cities and fairs in Germany. Merchants could 306 not enter those countries without risk, through the states of Juliers or Gueldres. It happened there were some robberies committed on the highways by these Linfars, who had escaped into the territory of the duke of Juliers; and it was told me, that the duke had even lent them horses and the use of his castles. Heavy complaints were made of this to duke Winceslaus, who at that time was resident in Brussels, and that the Languefride was held in contempt; that the persons who had violated it were retired into the duchy of Juliers, where they lived unmolested.
The duke of Brabant, at that time young and chivalrous, high in birth and rich in fortune, was greatly piqued at this conduct, and hurt by the complaints of those who had been robbed; he declared he would speedily provide a remedy, and, being nominated chief of the Languefride, would not that any blame should fall on him for negligence in the due support of it. To be assured of the fact, and through the advice of his friends, he sent to the duke of Juliers some of the first men in his country, such as the lord d’Urquon, the lord Bourgueval, sir Scelar archdeacon of Hainault, Geoffry de la Tour grand-routier of Brabant, and several more, to remonstrate with him in an amicable manner on the impropriety of his conduct, and that proper excuses must be made for the offence, as it affected too strongly the duke of Brabant as chief of the Languefride.
The duke of Juliers paid but little attention to their remonstrances, for he seemed rather to prefer war to peace, which displeased so much the envoys from the duke of Brabant, that they took leave of him, and returned to relate all that had passed. The duke of Brabant, having heard them, asked their advice how to act. “Sir,” they replied, “you know it full well yourself; speak your will.” “Well, then,” said the duke, “it is not my intention to let this matter sleep, nor shall it be said, through cowardice or weakness of heart I have suffered any robberies to be committed within my jurisdiction with impunity, as I will make my cousin, the duke of Juliers, and his adherents, very soon feel, and that the business is personal to me.” The duke was not idle, but instantly set clerks to work in writing letters to all from whom he expected any assistance: some he entreated, others he commanded, and gave sufficient notice to the duke of Juliers and his allies of his intentions. Each of these lords provided themselves as ably as he could: but the duke of Juliers would have made an indifferent figure without his brother-in-law the duke of Gueldres, who greatly reinforced him with men-at-arms and friends. These two lords collected men secretly from Germany; and as the Germans are avaricious, and had not for some time had any opportunity of gain, they accepted their pay, and came in greater numbers as they were ignorant they were to be employed against the duke of Brabant.
The duke of Brabant left Brussels in grand array, and went to Louvain, thence to Maestricht, where he found upwards of one thousand good spears waiting for him: other forces were coming to his aid from France, Flanders, Hainault, Namur, Lorrain, Bar, and different parts, so that his army amounted to full two thousand five hundred lances. Four hundred spears, under the lord of Geant, were on their march to join him from Burgundy; but they arrived too late, from not knowing when an engagement would take place, and were much vexed when they heard that it was over without their being present. While the duke of Brabant remained at Maestricht, he could not obtain any intelligence of his enemies: he therefore determined to advance and enter their lands, which he did on a Wednesday, and there encamped. He halted that day and the next, and learnt from his scouts that the enemy had taken the field. He commanded the army to advance into the territory of Juliers and burn it. This Thursday he halted at an early hour. The van was commanded by Guy de Ligny, count de St. Paul, and the lord Waleran his son, who though very young, being no more than sixteen years old, was then made a knight. The Brabanters encamped every close together, and, as it appeared, the Germans were better informed of their state than the Brabanters were concerning them: for, on the Friday morning, as the duke had heard mass, and all were on the plain, not thinking a battle would soon take pace, the dukes of Juliers and Gueldres made their appearance, with a large and well-mounted body of men at arms. The duke of Brabant was told: “Sir, here are your enemies: put on your helmets quickly, in the name of God and St. George.” He was well pleased on hearing this; and that day he had near his person four squires, well informed, and of courage to 307 save such a prince, having been engaged in many deeds of arms and pitched battles: their names were John de Valcon, Baldwin de Beaufort, Gerard de Bles, and Orlando de Cologne.
The men of Brussels surrounded the duke: some were mounted with their servants behind them, who carried flaggons of wine, and salmon, trout, and eel-pies, neatly packed in handsome towels attached to their saddles. These people, with their horses, filled up the place so much, that no proper orders could be given. At length, Gerard de Bles said to the duke, — “Sir, order all these horse away that surround us; they are greatly in our way, and prevent us from knowing what is become of the van and rear division, under your marshal sir Robert de Namur.” “I consent,” replied the duke, and gave his orders. Upon this, Gerard and his companions, sword in hand, began to lay about them, on helmets and horses, so that the place was instantly cleared; for no one would willingly have his horse wounded or killed. To make an end of the business, the dukes of Juliers and Gueldres advanced full gallop on the van, under the command of the count de St. Paul and his son, which they broke and defeated, and many were slain and made prisoners. This division made the greatest resistance, and the count de St. Paul and his son were among the dead. Fortune was unkind to the duke of Brabant and his allies; for this battle was so severe, few men of honour escaped death or captivity.
The duke of Brabant, sir Robert de Namur, sir Lewis, his brother, sir William de Namur, son to the count de Namur, were made prisoners, and such numbers of others, that their enemies were fully occupied when they surrendered to them. There were many slain on the side of the duke of Juliers: but you know it is a general observation, a defeated army always suffers the most. The Brabanters, however, had one satisfaction in their great loss, in the death of duke Edward of Gueldres; for it was the opinion of all, that had he survived, he would have overrun the country, and conquered the whole, as well as Brussels, without meeting any opposition; for he was a most outrageously bold knight, and detested the Brabanters, on account of the three castles they held from him. The duke of Juliers gained this victory on a Friday of August, the eve of St. Bartholomew’s day, in the year of our Lord 1371.
The duchess of Brabant, in her distress, had recourse to king Charles V. of France, who was nephew to the duke. The king advised her to apply in person to the emperor of Germany, as being brother to the duke of Brabant, and because he had suffered in the support of the emperor’s rights. The lady did so, and went to Coblentz, where she found the emperor, to whom she made her complaints. The emperor heard her with attention, and was bound by several reason to grant her relief and comfort; first, because the duke was his brother, and because he has appointed him his vicar of the empire, and chief of the Languefride. He consoled the duchess, and told her, that before the ensuing summer were passed, he would provide an ample remedy for what had happened. The duchess returned to Brabant greatly comforted. The emperor, lord Charles of Bohemia, was not inactive; for as soon as the winter was passed, he went to the noble city of Cologne, where he made such vast provision of stores, as if he were about to march to the conquest of a kingdom. He wrote to all counts and dukes who held lands under him, to meet him the third day of June†, at Aix-la-Chapelle, each accompanied by fifty horse, under pain of forfeiture of his lands for disobedience. He particularly summoned duke Albert, earl of Hainault, to Aix, with fifty horse, who obeyed.
When all the lords who had been summoned were arrived at Aix-la-Chapelle, the place was much crowded, and the emperor then declared he would instantly enter the duchy of Juliers to destroy it, on account of the great outrage that had been offered him, by the duke of Juliers taking up arms against his vicar and brother; for such had been the sentence adjudged in the courts of the empire. The archbishop of Treves, the archbishop of cologne, the bishop of Mentz, the bishop of Liege, duke Albert of Bavaria, the duke Otho of Bavaria‡, his brother, and many great barons of Germany, relations of the duke of Juliers, having consulted together, thought that to destroy the whole of the territories of so valiant a knight, was a punishment too severe. They therefore proposed that the duke of Juliers 308 should be summoned, and brought to acknowledge his error. This being agreed to, all parties laboured to bring about a reconciliation.
Duke Albert and his brother went to Juliers, where they found the duke so much dismayed at this large armament of the emperor, that he knew not how to act, now what counsel to follow, for he had heard it was intended against him, unless his friends exerted themselves to avert it. The duke of Juliers was much rejoiced and comforted by the arrival of two such lords as duke Albert of Bavaria and the duke Otho, his brother, beside being his relations; for he knew they would not allow him to suffer any disgrace, but would give him the best advice for his conduct. They counselled him as follow: to send some of his principal knights for his cousin the duke of Brabant, whom he had detained a prisoner at large in the town and castle of Judeque§. When he was brought to them, these lords paid him every respect that was his due. They then all left Juliers together, and rode to Aix, where they dismounted at the hôtels which had been prepared for them. Duke Albert, his brother, and the before-mentioned prelates, who had been mediators in this business, went to the emperor and his council, and told them, that the duke of Juliers was, of his own free will, come to wait on him, and was willing to put himself, without reservation, in his power, as he acknowledged him for his sovereign and liege lord. These humble words greatly softened the anger of the emperor, and he replied, — “Let the duke of Juliers come hither.”
When the duke of Juliers was in the presence of the emperor, he cast himself on his knees, and said, — “Most redoubted and sovereign lord, I understand you are much displeased with me for having detained so long in prison your brother of Brabant. I am willing to refer the whole matter to your noble self, and will conform to whatever may be your judgment and that of your council.” The emperor made no answer to this speech; but his son, the king of Bohemia, replied, — “Duke of Juliers, you have behaved very outrageously, in keeping so long our uncle of Brabant prisoner; and had it not been for your well-beloved cousins, the dukes of Bavaria and Austria, who have so warmly interceded for you, this matte would have turned out very disagreeably to you, and you would have well deserved that it should be so. Continue your harangue, and manage that we be satisfied with you, and that we have never again any cause to complain of your conduct; for another time it will cost you very dear.”
The duke of Juliers was still on his knees before the emperor, seated on his imperial throne, and thus spoke: — “My very redoubted and sovereign lord, I acknowledge that I have been guilty of contempt to your imperial dignity, by raising an army, and engaging with it my cousin, your brother, the vicar of the holy empire. If the fortune of war gave me the day, and your brother was taken prisoner, I now restore him to you free of all ransom; and, if you please, there shall never again be ill-will or revenge though on between us.” The prelates and princes, standing round, said, — “Most renowned lord, accept the excuses and offers which your cousin the duke of Juliers makes you, and let them satisfy you.” “We are willing to do so,” said the emperor; and, as it was told me, in further confirmation he took the duke of Juliers by the hand, as he rose, and kissed him on the mouth. The king of Bohemia and duke of Brabant did the same.
Thus was Winceslaus of Bohemia, duke of Luxembourg and Brabant, delivered from prison, by the power of the emperor, without ransom, as were all that had been made prisoners by the duke of Juliers, and who had not paid their ransoms, by the treaties that were drawn up in consequence of this reconciliation. When this matter had been concluded, the assembly broke up, and all returned to their houses. The emperor went to Prague, the duke of Brabant to Brussels. When the duke of Brabant had there arrived, he imposed a very heavy tax on the country, to make restitution to the knights and squires for some part of the losses they had suffered.
* Winceslaus was the second husband of Johanna, heiress of Brabant and Limbourg. She was married to him, 1355. After the death of Winceslaus, the 8th December, 1384, and his son, she constituted Anthony, second son of the duke of Burgundy, her heir, 1404. Her first husband, William, count of Holland, died, 1345, without issue. Johanna died 1406. — Anderson’s R. G..
† 1372. — ED.
‡ Otho V., surnamed “le fainéant,” margrave of Brandenburg. — ED.
§ “Judeque.” Q. If not Jüich, Juliers.
CHAPTER XCIX. — A CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF THE QUARREL BETWEEN BRABANT AND GUELDRES. — ON THE DEATH OF DUKE WINCESLAUS, THE YOUNG WILLIAM OF JULIERS, DUKE OF GUELDRES, ENDEAVOURS BY EVERY MEANS TO REGAIN THE THREE CASTLES. — HE ALLIES HIMSELF TO THE KING OF ENGLAND, BECAUSE FRANCE SUPPORTS THE RIGHTS OF THE WIDOW-DUCHESS OF BRABANT.
I HAVE taken much pains to detail all the particulars of this matter in my history, to bring it to the point I aim at, which is to explain why king Charles of France led a powerful army into Germany. I might indeed have passed it more briefly over, if I had chosen; but the dates of all these circumstances ought to be inserted in this history. In truth, I have my own manner of relating things, which, though pleasing to me, is indifferent enough. When I learnt that the kings of France and England were about to interfere in this business, I exerted myself to examine more deeply into the subject than I had hitherto done, and shall continue it as follows.
On the return of duke Winceslaus to Brabant, freed from all dangers of prison, as you have heard, he was desirous of visiting his states and castles, as well in the duchy of Luxembourg as elsewhere. He took therefore his road towards Alsace and the city of Strasburg, through the territory of Fauquemont. He visited those three castles which had caused the hatred of the duke of Gueldres, and found them strong, handsome, and well situated. If he liked them before, he was now still more pleased with them, and ordered the tenants around to assist in strengthening their fortifications. He employed masons, carpenters and ditchers, to repair and ornament them; and before his departure, he appointed a prudent and valiant knight called sir John Grosset, as governor in chief, with orders to guard and defend them at his peril. The duke continued his journey through his states, stopping at various places, according to his pleasure, and then returned to Brabant, which was his fixed place of residence.
Sir John de Blois had at this period married the duchess-dowager of Gueldres, to whom that duchy had fallen by the death of lord Edward, slain, as you have heard, at the battle of Juliers: but the duchess of Juliers opposed her claim on Gueldres, and was supported by the majority of the nobility and principal towns; for she was more popular with them than her eldest sister because she had a fine son, of an age to defend them in war, and neither her sister nor her husband, sir John de Blois, had ever peaceable possession of the duchy. The war to support the claim of the duchess, in which he was forced to engage, cost him upwards of one hundred thousand francs; and after all William de Juliers, son to the duke of Juliers (who had early shown in his youth that chivalry and love of arms had descended to him by blood on both sides) remained duke of Gueldres. A union was concluded between him the eldest daughter of duke Albert, who was married to the lord Edward of Gueldres, but the marriage, on account of her extreme youth, had never been consummated. By this union with lord William, she remained duchess of Gueldres.
Time and seasons pass and change; and this young duke increased in honour, strength, and understanding, with a great desire for deeds of arms, and a strong inclination to add to his states. His heart was more English than French, and he had declared in his younger years that he would always aid the kings of England in their wars; for, being more nearly connected by blood with them than with the kings of France, he bore them greater affection. When his council gave him to understand that the Brabanters did him much injury by the detention of the three castles which the duke and duchess held from him, he replied, “Be it so: wait a while: every thing has its turn. It is not yet time for me to exert myself, for our cousin of Brabant has too many powerful friends; but a time may come, when I will rouse myself in earnest.” Things remained in this state, until God was pleased to call to him duke Winceslaus, who died duke of Brabant and Luxembourg, as has been already related in this history. The duchess and the states suffered a great loss by the death of this gallant duke.
The young duke of Gueldres, who was now of an age to maintain his pretensions by arms against his enemies, began to take measures for the regaining these three castles, which 310 had created such hatred between Brabant and his uncle, the lord Edward of Gueldres. He sent persons properly authorised to treat with the duchess of Brabant for the surrender of the castles, on payment of the sum they had been mortgaged for: but the lady replied that, as they were not legally in her possession, she would keep them for herself and her heir, as her lawful inheritance; and that if the duke were in earnest in his professions of friendship to Brabant, he would prove it by yielding up the town of Grave, which he unjustly detained. The duke of Gueldres on hearing this answer, which was not very agreeable to him, was much piqued, but did not the less adhere to his plans. He now attempted to gain over to his interest the governor of these castles, sir John Grosset, by purchase or otherwise. The knight was prudent and steady: he told those who had been sent secretly to treat with him, never again to mention the subject, for, were he to die for it, he would never act dishonourably, nor be guilty of treason to his lawful sovereign. When the duke found he had not any hopes of succeeding with the governor, he (as I was informed) addressed himself to sir Reginald d’Esconvenort, and excited such a hatred between him and sir John Grosset, for a very trifling cause, that the knight was shortly after murdered in the plains, either by sir Reginald, or by his people, or through an ambuscade, to the great vexation of the duchess of Brabant and that country. The three castles were put under another governor by order of the duchess and her council. Affairs remained some hears in this state; but their mutual hatred was privately kept up, as well for these castles as for the town of Grave. Those of Gueldres that bordered on Brabant did as much mischief as they could to their neighbours, more particularly the inhabitants of Grave, which is but four leagues distant from bois-le-Duc, and a fine open country to ride over: they therefore harassed greatly the Brabanters near that part.
During the time these things were passing, the duke of Gueldres crossed the sea to England, to visit his cousin king Richard, and his other relatives the dukes of Lancaster, York, and Gloucester, who were then at home, and the other great barons of England. They made him good cheer, for they were desirous to see and make acquaintance with him, having before heard how much the duke was attached to England. In this journey he entered into an alliance with the king of England; and, although he had not hitherto received anything from the king to induce him to become his liegeman, he now accepted a pension of one thousand marcs on the king of England’s treasury, which, according to the value of the coin, was equal to four thousand francs ready money.* He was advised to renew his claims on Brabant, and was promised to be effectually assisted by England, that no loss should accrue to him. In return for which, he swore to be for every loyal in his services to England; all this he too readily entered into. When this treaty had been concluded, he took leave of the king and his barons, and returned to Gueldres, when he told the duke of Juliers what he had done, and how he had strengthened himself, by his alliance with England.
The duke of Juliers, who, from age, had more experience than his son, was not much rejoiced on hearing it, and said, — “William, what you have done may be the cause that both you and I shall dearly pay for your visit to England. Are you ignorant of the power of the duke of Burgundy, and that he has not his equal in this respect? He is the next heir to the duchy of Brabant, and how can you think of succeeding in any opposition to him, or of resisting so potent a prince?’ “How!” replied the duke of Gueldres, “the more rich and powerful he is, the better to make war on. I had rather have for my enemy a rich man, who has large possessions, than a little baron from whom nothing can be gained; for one blow I receive, I wish to give six; besides, the emperor of Germany is so much connected with England, that I may look for assistance from him should there be occasion.” “By my faith, fair son William, you are mad; and more of your schemes will fall to the ground than will be accomplished.”
I will explain why the duke of Juliers thus checked his son, and doubted of the success of his enterprises. The late king of France exerted himself much to gain friends in different parts: and, though he could not prevail on many to join him in his wars, yet, by gifts and other compliments, he kept them quiet, and by such means acquired several friends in the 311 empire and elsewhere. When the emperor had forgiven the duke of Juliers’ conduct to the duke of Brabant, and the last, by obtaining his liberty, was reconciled to the duke of Juliers, he, at the desire of the king of France, waited on him at Paris, where he was most kindly received. The king gave to him and his knights very rich presents of jewels, to the great satisfaction of the duke. In this visit the duke was presented with Vierson† and its lordships, which he held as a fief from the king, to whom he swore he would never bear arms against France. Vierson was originally dependent on the counts de Blois, is situated between Blois and berry, and may be worth about five hundred francs a years. During the reign of Charles VI. he truly kept his oath, and, as long as this link lived, either bore arms himself, nor entered into nay treaty with the enemies of France. When Charles VI. began his reign, he was so much embroiled with the wars with Flanders and England, that he could not attend to everything. The duke of Juliers, not being summoned, did not renew his homage for Vierson; and the duke of Berry, noticing this, seized the lands, which he said were dependent on him, and thus deprived the counts of Blois of their rights. This, however, caused no quarrel between the families, for I saw them frequently together, and, indeed, from their connexion it was right they should be good friends; for Lewis, son of the duke of Berry, was married to the lady Mary, daughter of the count de Blois, The duke of Juliers had thoughts of claiming the lands of Vierson, until he found his son had so hastily, and, as he thought, imprudently allied himself with England, which he imagined would never turn out to his advantage. He had therefore spoken to him in the manner I have related, when the duke of Gueldres returned from England; but he paid not any attention to it, and, as he was young and rash, replied to his father, that he would not do otherwise than he had said; and that he preferred war to peace, and war against the king of France to a contest with a poorer person.
* See the Fœdera, an. 10 Ricardi II. where the treaty is at length. The pension was for life, of one thousand pounds sterling.
† “Vierson,” — a city of Berry, on the Cher, diocese of Bourges, twenty-two leagues from Orleans.