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LTHOUGH English affairs seemed weaker because of Henry’s death, the nobles decided that the war was nevertheless to be prosecuted, and every useful thing to be done at home and abroad. As soon as possible Duke Humphrey of Gloucester returned to England, and in parliament assembled reported what his brother King Henry had enjoined on his deathbed, and in what condition their French affairs now stood. And it was voted that, in accordance with Henry’s mandate, the government should be entrusted to Gloucester. He undertook this duty, and, so as to have no cause someday to regret his deeds or counsels, mindful of others and forgetful of himself, began to handle himself, and provide, decide, and prepare all things pertaining to the dignity and public commodity of the realm. His first concern was that his nephew Henry would be educated in good morals, and he entrusted him to his mother Catharine, whom he had a little earlier escorted to England and embraced with all dutifulness. Domestic affairs thus established, he then began with equal diligence to prepare all things needful for use in war. And so, promptly conducting a levy of soldiers he adjudged to be suitable for fighting in England or France, he ordered them to be ready for all things, and gave them officers and captains knowledgeable in martial discipline, so they would be prepared when the situation required. After this, in accordance with a decree of parliament, he gathered a sum of money necessary for paying military expenses, so that nothing would impede the war.
2. While Gloucester handled these things in England, in France Duke John of Bedford, whom they entitled Regent of France, as the man responsible for doing all things, together with Duke Philippe of Burgundy, looked after all necessary things with equal zeal. His particular concern was to subdue Charles the Dauphin, as Henry had intended to do, when King Charles departed this life. His death wrought a great transformation, being so opportune for the Dauphin’s affairs that God appeared to have a special care for his preservation. For a goodly number of the French nobility, who previously had sided with Charles, partly fearing the power of the English, and partly fearing it would be held against them should they defect from their dutifulness, when they learned of the king’s death ceased being so fastidious about ejecting the English by all means and recovering their nation, and joining themselves to their fellow-countrymen, and so they went over to the Dauphin in a trice, placing themselves and all their fortunes at his disposal. Bedford the Regent and the Duke of Burgundy appreciated this, and at once stationed garrisons at suitable places and gathered together their army. They summoned their nobles, and the regent addressed them, warning them not to break the faith they had given. They should not be responsible for, nor tolerant of, the infant Henry being cheated of his ancestral reign thanks to the hatreds of the most treacherous of men, nor of a renewal of the hatreds between the French and the English, for a good while now extinguished. They should bear in mind that the kingdom of France and England, two realms by God’s good grace united into one and the fairest in human memory, was joined by an eternal treaty and harmony of minds, and lately so established that no human power could resist it. And though they had suffered harm by fighting, they might quickly turn this to their benefit, if they would adore, observe, and love Henry their king, and conclude that his enemies were to be prosecuted. So the best thing was for them to dedicate their service to their sovereign bravely and faithfully. Having delivered this speech, they unanimously proclaimed Henry king of England France, and commanded the nobles who were present to swear homage to him, and required the rest throughout the kingdom to do the same. These things done, they summoned forces from all parts, and in every respect prepared themselves for a renewal of the war. Likewise Henry VI was acclaimed king in England, and everything was done in his name, so that the glory of his royal majesty might be broadcast among its peoples.
3. During those days the Dauphin was in Poictou, and when he learned of his father’s death his mind was immediately filled with both grief and joy, for he grieved for his father’s demise, but rejoiced that the power had come to him, for he hoped that, enhanced by a royal title, he could more readily defend himself. So he called together the nobles of his faction and declared himself to be King Charles VII, and by edict commanded himself to be called such, and, thus animated by the sure hope of rendering his nation empty of enemies, he prepared for war. At the start, some confused battles were fought by both sides, as often as accident brought it about that one side could make an unexpected assault on the other. But a little after, when both sides had assembled their armies, they began to fight set battles. Charles, sailing with a following wind (as the saying goes), to avoid any further delays which could perhaps weaken himself and strengthen his enemies, gathered a large army at Meulan, a town of Normandy on the Seine, and upon his sudden arrival he set siege to it, took it in a trice, and killed the English garrison to the last man. When Bedford heard of this, he sent to Meulan Thomas Montague Earl of Salisbury, a man of lofty mind and virtue who deserved comparison with the ancient Romans more than with men of his own time, together with John de Luxembourg, Marshal of the Duchy of Burgundy, together with a select band of soldiers to recover the town. They surrounded it, and, Charles had left only a moderate garrison there, they soon took it by storm and displayed such savagery towards the French soldiers that none survived. This thing done successfully, Salisbury departed for Champagne, which he governed, with a part of the army, and after a few days besieged and took by storm Sens, a town of Brie (today Brie is that part of Champagne lying between the Seine and the Marne), killing all who had been left as its garrison, including William Marine its governor. Meanwhile the Parisians, seeing that Charles was daily growing in strength, so that they hoped soon to return to his power as was their great wish, lest they should come under suspicion with the English before they could obtain their heart’s desire, sent ambassadors to King Henry in England asking for help. After being thanked for their dutifulness, they received the reply that they should remain steadfast in their loyalty, since no help and protection would be wanting for their city, if only they themselves did not fail themselves, and did not give their allegiance to the enemy.
4. In that selfsame year, which was the year of human salvation 1422 and the first of Henry’s reign, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester married Princess Jacobina of Bavaria, who had been marked to Duke John of Brabant, still alive. This caused men great astonishment, because, contrary to right and law, Gloucester wished to marry another man’s wife. But for Gloucester marriage with a wealthy woman counted for more than astonishment or talk. And Dukes John of Bedford, Philippe of Burgundy, and John of Britanny met at Amiens and renewed their treaty, with the added conditions that they would each fight to defend the others, and all of them would fight to defend King Henry and keep him from harm, and this treaty was strengthened by a new kinship, with Burgundy’s sister Anne being bestowed on Bedford, who was unmarried at the time. When the meeting broke up, he took her to Troyes and they celebrated a very splendid marriage, and then he returned to Paris. Meanwhile some citizens who lived under English rule unwillingly, seeing that Bedford was far away, decided to take Charles into the city. Thinking that such an advantage should not be ignored, they advised Charles of their plan and announced a day on which he should come to the gates. This scheme made no headway, but rather was the ruin of its authors. Bedford came in time, and quicker than the conspirators had expected, and, learning of the conspiracy, he executed those he discovered to be participants therein. After these things, learning from this episode the true disposition of the burghers, with skill and care the duke began to fortify the city, station watches, anticipate French schemes, wishing nothing on his part to be left undone, thinking nothing on their part to be trustworthy. Meanwhile Charles besieged Cravant, to which the Earl of Salisbury and William de la Pole Earl of Suffolk came quickly with 4,000 armed men. They joined battle and slaughtered, routed, and defeated the French, who lost 2,000 dead and 400 captured. Among them was the Earl of Buchan, the Constable of France, who ransomed himself immediately thereafter and rejoined the fighting. When this business had been done successfully, and Salisbury found out that some castles in the area of Laonnois had been occupied by the French in the interim, he hastened there and took back all places with equal good fortune. For their part, gained the towns of Compeigne and Crotoy in Picardy when their inhabitants surrendered, but soon the English, with their swift arrival, terrified the men in their garrisons and quickly recaptured them. While these things were happening in France, Gloucester held a levy in England and sent 10,000 soldiers to Bedford at Paris, who placed them under the command of Salisbury, Robert Willoughby, a high-born man, very prudent, and William de la Pole. He had with himself 1,800 horse and 8,000 foot. With those forces Bedford departed Paris and set out for Normandy, to see if he could ever lure Charles into a set-piece battle, for he thought that if Charles remained undefeated his own affairs could never be placed on a sound footing. But when he the enemy never appeared, he besieged the castle of Ivry, by far the strongest castle in the region of Normandy. There was a large band of choice soldiers within, who stoutly defended themselves. The English, surrounding them with a wall and a ditch, and assaulting their works, compelled them to surrender within a few days of beginning the siege.
5. At this time Charles was staying at Tours, and aware of this business from the start, did not appear to be much concerned. Rather, relying partly on the nature of the place, and partly on the strength of his followers, he only gathered sufficient forces to fight the enemy on equal terms. Therefore, when he had assembled a larger army, he sent Duke John of Alençon to assist his subjects, and he ordered him not to shrink from a battle, should the situation require it. The Duke departed quickly, and before approaching the place he learned of the castle’s surrender, and then, obliged by necessity to change his route, he went to Verneuil and stormed it, killing a goodly part of the English garrison. And he was soon given this town, defended by great works, because he had long insisted it should be part of his domain. When this was reported to Bedford, with no hesitation he marched to Verneuil in battle array, and in the same way approached the enemy camp. For a very little while the French were terrified by their enemies’ approach, and debated what should be done. Almost all were of the opinion that they should wait in the camp until the enemy’s intention was clearer. For they were mindful of all the times they had previously been defeated whenever they engaged the English, and so were not unwilling to delay coming to blows. But when they saw the enemy battle-line drawing closer and closer, their spirits surged and, howling and chanting as was their habit, they took up arms and stationed themselves before the camp. The battle was begun with missiles, but they immediately abandoned these and came together, drawing their swords and running at each other with a great shout. They fought strenuously and continually, and on such even terms that one could not easily tell which way the battle was inclining, with many men falling on both sides. Their outcries were similar, as also the manner of their fighting. Wherever danger threatened the most. there they more earnestly strove to resist and repel, and so the fight dragged on for more than four hours, and the outcome was still uncertain. Meanwhile the Duke of Alençon did not desist in both beseeching and exhorting his soldiers not to flag, nor to allow the enemy, now falling back, to conquer. And Bedford himself also went around everywhere, exhorted, renewed the fight at every point. And when in the end he appreciated that the French were exhausted by their effort and heat (for it is the nature of the French, that they cannot tolerate the effort of a long battle, because for the sake of inspiring fear they expend more of their strength at the beginning of a fight, but cannot maintain it thereafter) and were pressing less than usual, then at length he attacked the enemy with might and main, and those who followed him assaulted with such an onslaught that they first budged the enemy from his place, and then drove them headlong. In that battle 5,000 Frenchmen died, together with Buchan the Marshal of France and the Scotsman John Stuart, whom I have shown above to have come in aid of Charles, and more than ten French captains About 200 were captured, including Duke John of Alençon. On the English side 2,000 died, partly foot and partly horse. This defeat was suffered by the French in the year of human salvation 1424, the third year of Henry’s reign.
6. After gaining such a great victory, Bedford immediately fell to his knees and lifted up his hands heavenward, thanking God for such a kindness, and for a while he prayed while weeping for joy. Then, giving the French leave to depart, he took back Verneuil, garrisoned it, and went back to Paris. But Salisbury hastened on to set siege to Maine, a city very rich in wealth and arms. The citizenry, though terrified both by their enemy’s sudden arrival and Salisbury’s name (which was most famous among friends and foe alike), nevertheless set about defending themselves with great enthusiasm, because they had a multitude of very stout soldiers within. The English pitched camp as close as possible, and with their cannon began to batter the walls with those brass guns which the Italians call bombards, the use of which began in the year 1279, as is shown in my book De Inventione Rerum II.xi, and was previously unfamiliar to the French. These created such damage that within a few days they had denuded the city of a goodly part of its walls. See in this and despairing of the aid they had expected on that day, the burghers of Maine surrendered on terms of safe conduct for the soldiers of the garrison. Having garrisoned the town and installed Earl William of Suffolk, a brave man, as its governor, he led the army to St. Suzanne, a populous town in the same region. In the town was Ambroise de Lore, a man notable for his military glory, with a large band of armed men. Salisbury, having examined the location and nature of the place, attacked the town in that part which appeared less well defended. Ladders were moved up, and with a shout they almost reached the top of the walls on their first attempt, when the townsmen together with the French garrison (who did not dare go out of the town for a fight) began to resist spiritedly. They fought that day and frequently thereafter, with many killed and wounded on both sides, yet the townsmen grew no less intent on putting up a fight. Appreciating this, and seeing that light skirmishes were of no avail, Salisbury led his forces back into camp and first surrounded the town with a ditch and a rampart, then ordered the soldiers responsible for this duty to move his artillery to the less well-defended places, and to bombard the walls days and nights. This was done without delay, so that within a few days a great length of the walls had been demolished. Terrified by this, de Lore surrendered, paying 2,000 gold marks for his own safety and that of his men, so they might depart, unarmed and with one piece of clothing each. Then Salisbury gained the castle of Maion and several towns, partly by force, and partly by negotiations. Meanwhile the words of these things spread throughout France and filled some men with fear, and others with gloom, while in England, when the letters of victory (such as Bedford frequently sent) were received, all men leapt for joy that their captains had conquered the enemy in this single campaign, and had taken so many towns at a stroke. And so the Privy Council arranged with Henry Chicheley Archbishop of Canterbury that he should immediately declare supplications, so that England would seem to attribute these victories to God rather than to its own virtues. Meanwhile Charles, although beset by so many reversals at one time, thinking he should not promote his cause any less zealously, gathered soldiers from ever side. And he particularly asked the help of King James of Scotland, which he did not only not refuse, but even immediately sent to France Robert Patillock, a sturdy fellow, with a strong band of soldiers, who were to join themselves to Archibald, although Gloucester the Regent of England objected and dealt by ambassadors with James that he do nothing contrary to the terms of the treaty he had made with King Henry a little earlier. But friendship counted more with the King of Scots than did justice.
7. While these things were being done successfully by the English in France, the Duke of Gloucester crossed the sea with his wife Jacobina to take away Mons, a very populous down in Henault, from Duke John Brabant, who had it as part of Jacobina’s dowry. Duke Philippe of Burgundy, the patron of Brabant, took this amiss, and had no doubt that the duke would deal more honorably about this because their friendship was of greater importance, and so he wrote a letter warning Gloucester to abandon this enterprise, openly affirming that it was as base for him to seize places that did not belong to him as it was to violate another man’s marriage-bed. But Gloucester (whether smitten by love or by avarice) was so removed from heeding his friend’s wholesome advice that he even proclaimed he would fight to defend the places he had taken from Brabant. When a few days latter he was recalled to England by the weighty matters daily demanding his attention, he left Jacobina with a large band of English soldiers in Henault, to defend herself and her possessions from harm at the hands of the Duke of Brabant. But as soon as Gloucester had left the reason, behold, Brabant declared war on the woman, and both fought for a while, until in the end the matter was referred to Pope Martin V. He gave the case a hearing and ruled in favor of Jacobina’s marriage to Brabant, and on his own authority annulled the marriage she had contracted with Gloucester. After this, Jacobina clung to her former husband, not against Gloucester’s will, since he was governed by righteousness, and had already grown tired of the woman’s nagging.
8. At this time Duke Edmund of Somerset, the governor of Normandy, rebuilt St. Jacques, a town on the border with Britanny which had formerly been destroyed, and gave it a strong garrison. This Edmund had succeeded in this office his brother John, the first Duke of Somerset, who died leaving only a single daughter named Margaret, who, as will be said elsewhere, gave birth to King Henry VII, fathered by Earl Edmund of Richmond. Whereas Earl John of Somerset fathered the brothers John and Edmund, whom (as I have shown above) Richard II made Marquis of Dorset, because he was born of Duke John of Lancaster his uncle, by his third wife Catherine. I have thought it good to insert a notice of this, that no harm was done Margaret becaue she did not succeed her father in the earldom of Somerset. For there is an ancient tradition that there is an old custom that English earls and dukes take their titles from counties in which they frequently have no wealth or power, but rather their wealth consistis in their landholdings and other possessions. And so it scarcely matters who succeeds to these titles, which the king bestows at his pleasure on those he creates dukes or earls, as I have explained above in Book XIX. Now I have sufficiently digressed.
9. While the fortune of war thus shifted back and forth, it occurred to Duke John of Britanny that in the past the English had attempted to gain power over Britanny. So for the present he thought there were grounds for fear that, if the French were defeated, they would cast an eye on his domain. So he decided to remove this disease which he wrongly imagined to be close at hand by defecting to Charles. This development greatly encouraged Charles, who had been frightened by the reversals suffered a little earlier. And so for the duke’s sake he made his brother Arthur (whom the English had created Earl of Richmond, but who had defected together with his brother) Marshal of France. This office had been held by the Earl of Buchan, killed in the battle of Verneuil. But the duke did not long survive, leaving behind him three sons, Francis, Peter, and Giles. Francis succeeded his father. I come back to Arthur. His new office made him more eager for glory, and he thought he would especially ingratiate himself with the French king if he could recover St. Jacques, having expelled the English garrison. Therefore he assembled about 20,000 men, surrounded the town, and began an aggressive siege. The English, who had expected nothing of the kind, were disturbed by this sudden development, and scarcely guarded their gates. But, gradually collecting their wits, they began to resist. Part made a sally from the gate of the castle adjoining the walls, and other part from the town. Forming a wedge, they attacked the enemy from front and rear. Then the French, surrounded by this sudden enemy attack, abandoned hope for the siege, partly fled, and partly were slain or drowned in the town moat. Thus, the siege abandoned, Arthur returned to his nearby camp, where many of his soldiers had already fled. And on the following night, the French were indignant at each other about this defeat, blaming each other. For such is the nature of war that in victory even cowards boast, whereas in defeat even the best soldiers are cast in disgrace. A mutiny suddenly arose, in even if Arthur greatly objected, especially because they would abandon their guns to the enemy. But Arthur, chagrined that such a great endeavor should come to naught, went flying to Anjou, ravaging, sacking, carrying off everything wherever he went, and captured a town or two.
10. After this had been done, all ardor and passion suddenly cooled off, when the Duke of Bedford departed for England, partly to deal with some strife that invidious grudges had engendered among the nobility of the realm, and partly for the sake of holding a new levy of soldiers. He immediately convened a parliament and a careful investigation of these controversies was conducted. Those who were established to be in the wrong were chastised by the very just and honorable reproach of them all, because they were inviting the people to sedition and arms in time of war, when all men ought to be of one single will. Afterwards he urged that they should be willing with all dutifulness to protect the dignity and esteem of King Henry, under whose auspices nearly all of France had been brought under English rule. These words so moved the nobility, who had been agitated by mutual hatreds, that they immediately returned into each others’ good graces, and in accordance with parliamentary decree a great number of soldiers was conscripted. Having done these things to his satisfaction, and with the state of the commonwealth improved as the situation and times required, the duke returned to France with nearly the same speed that he had come, bringing with himself a choice band of soldiers under the command of John Talbot, a man among men, great for his breeding and the virtue of his mind, who henceforth was the victor in so many battles that his name became a great source of fear to the French, and was very famed among all peoples, as it still is today. Henry Bishop of Winchester and Cardinal of St. Eusebius also followed the duke, born of Duke John of Lancaster and his third wife Catherine, and named Bedford after his his birthplace, a most frugal man, who often helped the English in their adversity with his counsel and wealth. A few days after his return to France, Bedford learned that Montarge, a town in the district of Orléans, was devoid of any garrison, so that it could be taken with next to no trouble. Hearing this he sent there part of his forces from Paris, and also the reinforcements he had brought from England, under the command of Earl Richard of Warwick. They marched to the town as quickly as they could, and observed it was defended by a stronger garrison than report had said. So they did not attack, but encamped next to the town and surrounded it with a siege. These things were quickly brought to the attention of Arthur, the Marshal of France, by rumor and messengers. When he saw that the matter required diligence, and he was prevented at the time from coming to the aid of the townsmen, he promptly sent Stephen de la Hire, a French knight, with a goodly part of his army to discourage the enemy from a siege. Being come there the French, relying on their numbers, in which they greatly excelled, attacked the enemy camp, and at their first assault they broke down its defenses, slaughtered a great number, and put the English to rout. In some sources I find that 1,500 English were cut down or drowned in a nearby stream, a tributary of the Yonne, when the bridge broke under the weight of those trying to cross. But at that time it appears that nothing could be happy for the French without some admixture of sorrow. For during those selfsame days Nicholas Browgh, sent by the Duke of Somerset to harry the enemies in Britanny (for, as shown above, a little earlier they had given themselves into amity with the French), sent his horsemen in all directions, and they made raids everywhere with no opposition and villages and buildings were burned, plunder taken from all places, the less well defended towns taken, and their inhabitants either killed or captured so they would have to ransom themselves. With the region scoured in that way, Nicholas returned to the army in Normandy with no harm suffered by his men, and with a great deal of booty. And so this calamity of their allies did no little to depress and weaken the spirits of the French, which had been elated by their victory. On the other hand, they were much cheered by the return of Duke John of Alençon. He had been captured in the battle at Verneuil the previous year, had paid 100,000 crowns for his redemption, and during those days was set free by the English.
11. While these things were happening elsewhere, the burgers of Maine attempted a defection. For some leading citizens, who had for some time chafed under English government, hearing that the Bretons had repudiated their friendship with the English and subjected themselves to Charles, and thinking that this side would soon be victorious, decided to received the French into their city. Therefore they formed a plan for doing this, and at an appoint time they employed very secret messengers to reveal their scheme to the governors of the French forces stationed nearby. They, taking advantage of this opportunity, praised the townsmen and replied they would appear on time. At the same time they employed all manner of promises and rewards to encourage them to continue in their plan with energy. When the day came, the governors arrived by night marches and, signaling their arrival with a fire, approached the city. The townsmen on the walls observed their approach, having spotted the fire from afar, and gave their own signal in return. Both fires were then put out, and the French silently came to the gate. The conspirators inside unexpectedly butchered the sleeping watchmen in their beds and threw open the gate. While the French foot entered, their horsemen were commanded to wait at the gate, so that they had a free field to come wherever they were required. Then they fanned out to kill the English. An upheaval ensued, and a uproar, such as customarily occurs in a captured city, but nobody save the for the handful of conspirators knew for sure what was happening. The rest of the burghers imagined the English had been inspired to sack the town, whereas it seemed to the English that some sedition had been treacherously undertaken by the townsmen. Earl William of Suffolk, the governor of the place, was first awakened by the upheaval. When he learned from the shouts of his soldiers, who happened to have strayed from their stations during the night and were being butchered, and  understood that the French had been admitted, he and the garrison speedily took refuge in the tower built next to the gate, called the Tower of St. Vincent, and from there he sent swift messengers to John Talbot at Alençon carrying a letter, asking and begging him to come to his help. Having read the letter, Talbot hastened to Maine with an army of men in light harness, and he sent ahead a messenger to the governor telling him he was coming up quickly with help, and urging all of them not to lose spirit. Meanwhile the French were lording it over the captured city, and, fearing nothing, gave themselves over to leisure and idleness, just as if no danger threatened from the enemy. For they were relaxing after the great exertions they had undergone, and thought the English refugees who had retreated to the tower would not attempt anything hostile, but were only concerned with saving their skins. Having arrived by forced marches, Talbot promptly appeared, and was admitted by his fellow-countrymen by the gate they possessed. He found everything in a state of slackness, just as he had expected, as happens when things go well. There was no guard at the gates, which were flung wide open. The victors wandered around, only congratulating themselves on freeing the citizenry and slaughtering the enemy. Therefore the town was taken by the English once more, and the victorious French were cut down everywhere, for they were given no time to collect themselves or take up arms. So each man headed for the gates, and since they found them occupied by the enemy, they suddenly abandoned hope of flight, and now had begun to beg for their lives when by means of his heralds Talbot ordered them to lay down their weapons, and for the unarmed to be spared, and nobody to be harmed save those still under arms. Given hope for their lives in this way, the French cast away their arms and surrendered. A part of them was put to death, and a part placed in custody. This business being successfully concluded, Talbot attacked and captured Ponthoise. But William the governor began to make inquiry into the conspiracy of the citizens of Maine, and punished those found to be its leaders.
12. Since at this time English affairs were thriving everywhere, Thomas Montague Earl of Salisbury was scarcely rash in conceiving the hope of gaining Orléans. This is a very powerful city, which they once called Geneve, built beside the Loire in that part of France which they call Celtic. But since that site was very well defended by nature, and therefore its siege did not appear to be the work of a single day, he preferred to refer a matter of such moment to a military council, even if he had the discretion to decide much and do much as he saw fit. For he was the sole man thanks to whose virtue the English people were much more of a source of fear to the French everywhere, on whom the safety of the entire English commonwealth depended, as became more readily evident after his death. He was always most ready, most prepared, possessed of the greatest fortitude for confronting dangers, and the greatest counsel when amidst these dangers. His body could be exhausted by no labor, nor could his spirits be overcome, and so the soldiers were accustomed to trust or obey no commander more than he. After this great enterprise had been debated in the council for a while, they all voted to approve Salisbury’s plan, although they thought it an arduous work, hard to achieve. Yet he, measuring it by the yardstick of his own mental and physical virtues, adjudged it most easy. Therefore, full of good hope and high spirits, having readied everything necessary for a siege, led the army towards Orléans, in the company of Earl William of Suffolk and Talbot, and encamped not more than a mile away. Then from nearby he examined the city’s site, its walls, and every part which seemed safest because of the walls, the river, or the garrison. Having scrutinized it, since no soldiers could be seen in the fields outside the gates, he came up to the walls. Here Salisbury formed his plan, based on the nature of the place. There was a bridge over the Loire, over which provisions were constantly being brought into the city, and neighboring towns along the river which were likewise supplying it with an abundance of good. These he took first, and strengthened them with garrisons, and held the bridge with his guards. He built a lengthy circle of forts, and then began to encompass the city by leading a ditch from each fort to the next and to harass the city with guns sited at appropriate places. For their part, the citizens of Orléans prepared everything necessary for a defense, fired their suburban buildings, and everywhere stripped the country bare of provisions and fodder, and brought these into the city. But when they saw the enemy had encompassed their walls, then they stationed guns opposite the enemy guns, and built counterwalls within the city, so that if the walls were breached at any point the English could not enter. They readied a number of armed man sufficient to guard the walls, and over these they placed Stephen de la Hire and John, the bastard son of their duke, who had been captured a few years previously in the battle at Agincourt and until had until now been in English custody. And so the English approached the walls and began to attack them with might and main. Skirmishes were fought daily, now when the townsmen launched allies, now fighting on the ramparts. The English so placed their archers, of whom they had a large number, that a goodly number of the townsmen were wounded and the arrows caused considerable consternation. While both sides fought, Charles sent Duke Louis of Bourbon to aid the burghers of Orléans with a force of light infantry. While on the march, he learned that some companies of English soldiers were conveying a great supply of provisions from Paris to the camp and decided to attack them unawares. So he changed his direction and hastened towards them. John Fastolph, in command of these companies, learned of his arrival from the screen of cavalry going ahead of him, and immediately ordered his wagons to halt and form a circle. This done, he sent away his horses and received the enemy attack so spiritedly, and killed so many, that Bourbon freely chose to retire, having lost more than 200 of his men. And so he made his way into Orléans with difficulty, with only a few men. And Fastolph, going on his way, arrived at the camp with the provisions, unhindered. Report of this thing redoubled the joy in England, because at this time, on November 6, they young Henry was crowned with much pomp in the traditional manner, being eight years old, and this was the year of human salvation 1428.
13. Now the siege of Orléans had dragged on for most of the winter, full of danger, full of wounds, full of death. For with their energetic attacks the English either killed or wounded many, and the townsmen for their part repaid them tit for tat with their strenuous defense, when chance brought it about that Salisbury, impatient of delay and eager to gain the city, was looking out from the window of a house he possessed on high ground, and to study the outspread city below with more than usual care, seeking to discover a place suitable for the new assault he had decided to make with all his forces, since he wanted to take the city by assault or by surrender. While he was doing this, after vehemently harrying the city for sixty days, behold, an iron or stone ball shot by a gun with great force hit and shattered the window casing , driving some splinters into his face. Thus wounded, he died two days thereafter. He left Alice, a unique replica of his manners, his uprightness, his honesty, who, as will be said below, was married by Richard Neville. And how much injury was inflicted on the commonwealth by Salisbury’s untimely death now became clearly evident. For beyond doubt this was beginning of the weakening of England’s overseas fortunes. Even the English themselves (like a very strong body) did not immediately sense it, nonetheless afterwards it felt like a a plague or disease gradually destroying their power from within. For immediately after this man’s death the fortune of war changed, as will be shown below. The earl’s death was a source of profound sorrow to his captains. After they performed his funeral with due ceremony, they applied themselves to the siege no differently than before, and the sought to carry out Salisbury’s undertaking, asking by what means they could either take the city by force or compel its surrender. William Neville, an industrious man and skilled at military matters, was especially preoccupied with this concern. He continually harried the enemy, compelling his men to keep watch more carefully by night, and by day to continue the fight by his exhortation, fighting, and courageous tolerance of all inconveniences. And the other captains omitted nothing they regarded as useful for conquering their enemies. For which reasons it then came about that the citizenry of Orléans, all but abandoning hope of support, began to discuss a surrender among themselves. After various ideas for warding off that danger had been aired, the majority regarded it as a supreme disgrace, just as bad as the destruction of the city, to submit themselves to the English, who were hardly friends of the French nation. On the other hand, they feared an enemy victory, from which many evils and even tyranny are sometimes wont to grow, and so they thought it the mark of fools not to beware of things which only men willing to exist as slaves could wish or tolerate. But when they saw their affairs coming to a climax of danger, and tending toward shame and a miserable fate, they thought only one thing to be suitable for their situation, and that was to commit themselves and all their fortunes into the production of Duke Philip of Burgundy, because he, born from the very ancient stock of French kings, in all men’s opinion was thought destined, sooner or later, to repudiate his friendship with the English. This ida was approved, and Burgundy’s sentiment was tested by secret messengers. He replied that he would accept their offer with fair terms, but only if Bedford should approve the action, and so they sent ambassadors to Bedford at Paris. And he, having given the ambassadors an audience, convened his council and set before it the peace terms offered by the burghers of Orléans. Some thought these conditions should be accepted, so that in this way this great and wealthy city could be detached from Charles’ friendship. But Bedford and a good part of the council adjudged this would set a base and wrong example, if a city so long oppressed by a siege, and all but captured under Henry’s auspices, should in the end come into the power of somebody other than their king, and therefore that conditions of this sort should hardly be granted. This view prevailed, and the ambassadors were given the reply that this war was being waged in the name of King Henry, so they should be subjected to his government. So Bedford dismissed them with these mandates. But often a great transformation of things can be wrought by a small happenstance. From this there fell out a double evil. First, Burgundy took offence at this, thinking the English begrudged him his glory, and from then on was ill-disposed to them. Then the English were obliged to abandon the siege of Orléans.
14. While the citizenry dealt with the enemy by peace-embassies, Charles devoted himself to summoning forces from all sides, and to the use of all promises to alienate the French nobility from friendship with the English. Likewise he was industriously preparing provisions to be sent to the besieged townsmen of Orléans, when a certain girl named Joan came to him, thought to be about twenty years old. Because she had maintained her virginity she was called The Maid, and was endowed with a singular mind and prophetic powers. She is said to have approached Charles, dressed as a servant so she could not identify him, and to have greeted him thus: “Be of good cheer, king, and abandon your fear. For you will conquer and, with me for your commander, at length you will restore your nation to its ancient liberty, if you do not think it unbefitting your majesty to employ the help of a woman.” Charles, who was now very fearful for his tottering affairs, readily believed her words, and entered into good hope, as he were persuaded there was something divine in The Maid’s mind, since she had greeted him as king although he was not wearing royal dress. He had another reason for this hope. For The Maid had a divine revelation that there was a sword hanging among the donative offerings in the church of St. Catharine at Tours, and she asked for it. Curious, Charles asked for it to be sought for and, when it was found, that it be brought to The Maid. Then he gave her a band of armed men, together with a part of the provisions so she could go to help the besieged, more for the sake of putting her to the test than because he had any particular confidence that a woman could achieve any excellent feat. Thus armed, The Maid went to Orléans as commander of this troop, and, either by eluding the watch or protected by God, in the still of the night she made her way through the enemy and entered the town, bringing them the provisions without her men suffering any harm. Meanwhile the English, who were sure the townsmen could not tolerate the siege much longer for lack of food, pressed them more slackly than usual and were negligent in keeping watch. But when they discovered that Joan the Maid had brought them provisions, even if they scorned the idea of a woman doing soldiers’ work, they were nevertheless so angered by her bringing food that they decided the enemy needed to be pressed much harder. Therefore their captains exhorted their soldiers finally to reap some fruit from their great labors, and ordained a reward for the first men to climb the walls. This said, they came flying from all directions and at the same time filled the walls with all manner of shot and arrows to prevent the townsmen from defending them, and did so without interruption. The burghers, although frightened by this new development, did not abandon themselves nor lose heart, since John the Bastard had not been behindhand in sending messengers to Charles to indicate the city was beset by a shortage of food, that the enemy was pressing them to the extent that no man’s strength was sufficient, that their situation was so precarious that they would soon fall, and that their survival depended on Charles’ diligence and virtue. Learning these things, Charles sent them both reinforcements and a supply of provisions as quickly as he could. The army was brought to Orléans, and encamped two miles away. Then the French informed The Maid, who was at Orléans, of their arrival, and asked that she and her choice band come to meet them the following day and give them safe conduct into the city. The English permitted this, thinking it to their advantage to have as many men in the city as possible, where famine was ruling. So on the next day everybody surged out of the city at the same moment, with a constant assault attacking the nearest fort, which they took and burned after many lives had been lost on both sides. Then, encouraged, they attacked a second, much greater one. Since there was a goodly band of defenders there, the fight was sharper. The French, who were greater in numbers, encircled it and pressed forward on all sides. Because of the poor earthworks of the fortifications, the English were sore beset and held out with difficulty, and not even Talbot, who was nearby and held a third fort, could come to their aid, fearing that in his absence that bastion too might be lost. And so, oppressed by these difficulties for some time, the English were at length forced out of the place. Quickly forming a wedge, they retired to Talbot in the third fort. With no delay he moved against the multitude with a well-outfitted army, giving the French no mean scare and encouraging his own men, with the result that they recovered from their panic and attacked the enemy, quickly forcing them back inside the walls. The English inflicted less slaughter because their fort that first came under enemy attack was not strong. Soon thereafter Talbot called a council of war and set forth many reasons why he thought this lengthy siege of oppressed city, which had now been helped as if by divine intervention, should be abandoned altogether or deferred until another time, when they could attempt it with better auspices. Thus they would not waste time and turn to more necessary fighting, the winter now being over. This view was approved by them all, not very happily but out of necessary, and when the signal for departure was given they hastened to Meung. At the departure of the English, the burghers of Orléans were suddenly filled with joy and congratulations, because they had avoided such great danger. So, attributing this to God’s favor, they declared supplications for a number of days and prayed in all the Saints’ churches, asking for common victory. Hence we can see that he who asks too much sometimes obtains less. For the English could have won, but they thought it beneath their dignity to accept the surrender of the citizenry of Orléans in another manner than that which they sought, and so they neglected the victory that was in their grasp. And afterwards they were so far from gaining Orléans that necessity diverted them from that enterprise. And the French, glorying in their enemy’s repulse, thought that their opportunity to finish the rest of the business was by no means to be neglected. So they immediately coursed through the countryside of Orléans to recapture the towns held by enemy garrisons. First they attacked Jargeaux and took it within a few days, killing more than 200 English and capturing 400. They themselves lost 300.
15. But Talbot, whom I have shown to have gone to Meung after abandoning the siege of Orléans, retired to Lavalle after having strengthened that town with a garrison, and encamped by the wall. Having examined the lay of the land, he harangued his men and began to attack with such force that three days after his arrival he took the town and its castle and heavily mulcted the townsmen, whose stubbornness he thought required punishment. Having taken Jargeaux, the French marched on Meung under the leadership of The Maid, and halted beneath its walls. Hearing news of this, Talbot and John Fastolph took an army and promptly hastened there to bear aid. When Arthur the Marshal of France learned of this by his spies, without delay he summoned The Maid and Duke John of Alençon and set out to hinder Talbot on his march. Going to the town of Patay, where he expected the enemy would come, he encamped there and stationed his cavalry before the camp to charge the approaching enemy and engage them in battle. While the English went along their planned route, they caught sight of these enemy horsemen from afar, and, thinking they needed to guard against an ambush, they halted and commanded their footmen to surround them with a fence of stakes, as was their custom. But the French riders were upon them with such speed that, being given no chance to collect themselves, they were compelled to join in a cavalry fight. When this had gone on for more than three hours, the English horse, overcome by their enemies’ numbers, took flight. And their footmen, having expended almost all their arrows, came up with drawn swords to join the fray and, helped by part of their horsemen, they safely arrived to join their fellows at Meung. In the first collision about 1,000 English fell, and 100 were taken prisoner, including John Talbot. More than 600 soldiers died on the French side. And when the news of Talbot’s capture spread through France, immediately everybody started regarding the English as the inferiors, with the result that many towns defected to the French at a stroke, for everybody was burning with a desire to regain their liberty. At length they were optimistic, and trusted that God’s will was to save the commonwealth of France, which at length seemed to be rising again, because, pleased by prayers, He is wont to help the afflicted.
16. When Charles learned of this victory, now at length he was assured that his affairs were restored. Until then his presence of mind had been such that it never failed amidst adversity, and now, with the Earl of Salisbury killed and Talbot captured, his adversary’s two most excellent captains, he was inspired by this same virtue to undertake greater enterprises. And so he first of all decided that Rheims must be attacked: having gained the city, there he could receive the traditional coronation with its customary ceremony, so that all men would agree that he was henceforth rightfully as well as legally the king, and should be styled such, as he had claimed. Therefore with a great army under the command of The Maid, he consulted about his plans as if she were an oracle, he marched through Champaign towards Auxerre. And when he approached, ambassadors of that city came to his, freely promising to do his bidding if only he would be willing to grant them a truce for several days so that they could ascertain whether or not help was coming from the English. So as not to offend the burghers’ well-disposed minds by inflicting some insult, Charles granted the truce and fortified and garrisoned a camp, built not far from the city, lest the townsmen deceive him. Then he led the rest of his forces to Troyes. Twice within a few days he attempted to besiege this city, the capital of Champagne, and at length he took it by surrender, with safe conduct being granted the English stationed there as a garrison. The citizens of Chalons did the same. Placing a garrison there, he crossed the Marne and attacked Rheims, which he took with next to no trouble. For the its burghers, who had suffered under English rule, refused to withstand a siege. But so they could not be accused of treason, they obtained safe conduct from Charles for the English garrison. Having taken the city, Charles received the traditional coronation, and leading citizens of all the cities possessed by his faction came as ambassadors to congratulate him, proclaiming that they understood that God Almighty was at length taking pity on the sufferings of France, and had given back the liberty they once inherited from their ancestors. The citizenry of Auxerre, too, came under his power, when the truce expired and the English had sent no help.
17. Meanwhile Bedford, who had been keeping his eyes intently fixed on all parts of the realm, appreciated that the news of Talbot’s capture did so much damage to his side that some cities were freed of all fear and were not hesitating to abandon the English, and likewise that daily more men were looking to defect, and so decided that in order to check this danger he must by all means do battle against Charles, so that the outcome of this victory (which, with God’s help, he promised his men) would keep the other peoples in their duty and fear. Therefore he left Paris and marched against Charles, who a little earlier had quit Rheims for Dammartine, and along the way he occupied some noble towns, garrisoned them, and stayed there so he might solicit the Parisians with his money and promises. Bedford came up, and pitching his camp on high ground, sent some horsemen to provoke and incite the enemy to battle by wounding them with their steel and their words. At that time Charles also thought he should not hesitate in bringing out his soldiers and fighting a pitched battle, but, learning by his scouts that the English were equal to himself in numbers and strength, he decided it was preferable to abstain without running any risk, rather than gambling on a battle, so as not to interrupt or check the course of his affairs, which had begun to go prosperously. So all that occurred were some light cavalry skirmishes on the flat ground between their camps. But when he perceived the zeal and eagerness of the English, Charles was afraid lest by declining battle he either be obliged to fight against his will or keep himself within camp with great disgrace, in the middle of the night he broke camp and began to retire. Discovering this at daybreak, Bedford could scarcely restrain his men from giving pursuit, which he did deliberately so as not to tempt fortune rashly. Since he despaired of being able to bring the French king to battle at that time, he returned to Paris, minded to enlarge his army, so that when he was given a later opportunity he could attack Charles with greater forces.
18. At this time the Bohemians, who had a different sect from other Christians, because they did not obey the Pope, partly for the sake of defending their heresy, and partly (as often happens) inspired by hatred of foreigners, began to trouble their neighbors with war. When this came to the attention of Pope Martin V, as soon as he could he sent messengers to Germany to arouse pious princes against the Bohemians, as they were enemies of the Christian religion. Likewise he made Henry, Cardinal St. Eusebius and Bishop of Winchester, his legate, so he might come from England with some band of armed men to wage this war. And at the same time he commanded him that for the sake of helping religion he should by his authority impose a tithing of incomes on the English clergy. Henry, having announced these papal instructions to the Privy Council, and they deciding that nothing should be given more importance than this thing, both raised the money and assembled no mean number of soldiers, even if such a daily tax and such a levy could not be imposed without some inconvenience to the nation. And so, most ready with these things, he was on the point of starting his expedition to Germany, and had already come to the coast and was boarding his men on ship, when a letter was brought from Bedford to Gloucester, in which he asked for a new reinforcement of soldiers. Gloucester was greatly concerned by this letter, because he had no army ready to be shipped overseas, nor at that very moment, when a new levy had been held for waging war against Bohemians, did he have the opportunity to assemble new forces, particularly when the whole thing appeared to depend on speed. And so, inspired by the necessity, did not hesitate in making an urgent request to Henry of Winchester that he first go to Bedford with the army he was leading, and help his countrymen in the battle which Bedford was going to fight with the enemy any day now. And then, that business happily completed, as he trusted it would be, he might continue on against the Bohemians. Henry, albeit greatly annoyed to have his expedition delayed, nevertheless, so as not to fail his fellow Englishmen, crossed the sea and went to Bedford at Paris.
19. Meanwhile, Charles learned from the horsemen he had sent into all quarters to test his peoples’ minds and incite them to defection that the citizenry of Compiègne and Beauvais were well-disposed to himself and greatly desired to be freed from English domination, and so were ready to open their gates to him, should he come, but only if they could do so without risking their lives. So he came to Compiègne with a lightly-armed force. Discovering this, Bedford, enhanced by the forces Henry had brought, went to confront him and finally to bring him to a set battle. He had scarcely come to the territory of Senlis when Charles turned aside to Montpilloy, which is between Compiègne and Senlis, so as to gain a suitable place to collect his forces, not intending to bring his men out of camp readily. This was immediately reported to Bedford by his scouts, and he instantly brought out his forces in battle array, drawing near the enemy and offering battle. The French kept themselves at Montpilloy, and tried nothing beyond a few confused cavalry skirmishes in front of the camp. For Charles had given consideration to the power of fortune in war, that is, how even a trifling accident can produce a sudden and unexpected outcome, as he had been taught and disciplined by his frequent reversals. Likewise he had learned by his spies that many of the largest cities of France were chafing under English rule and ready to attempt defection as soon as they could, which gave them hope that he could soon expel the English from all of France without fighting. And this, he imagined, was why Bedford, a prudent man and scarcely unaware of his own deficiencies, was so eager to stake his all on a single battle. Taught by these things, he had made up his mind not to risk his fortune by fighting in any one place unless necessity compelled him, and imagined this was in his best interest. Bedford, who particularly suspected the Parisians, because they did whatever he instructed in such a way that it was readily apparent they did so against their will, and had no great confidence in Burgundy, for a reason which will be related below in its appropriate place, returned to Paris when he saw the enemy deliberately dragging out the fight. Then Cardinal Henry the papal legate, taking with him the army he had previously brought from England, went on his way to Bohemia on the forty-fifth day after his arrival in France. And coming there, when he found everything ablaze with war, he began to aid the Christian cause with all his strength, and remained in Bohemia for several months until he, together with others, was recalled by the Pope, at a time when Julio Caesarino, Cardinal of St. Angelus, was sent there with larger forces. And so Henry, having performed excellent work in this Crusade, returned home safely.
20. After Bedford departed, Charles accepted the allegiance of Compiègne, Beauvais, and Senlis, with their citizenry voluntarily coming over to him. And although he rejoiced in his favoring fortune, he still could not hope to rid his nation of the English before disrupting the Burgundians’ alliance with the English, as he was sure would come to pass. Therefore by frequent messengers he first of all sought to clear himself with the Duke of Burgundy for the death of his father, and to convince him that nothing was further removed from all justice and piety, or less fitting, than to act against his fellow-citizens, against his nation, or to ally himself with its perpetual enemies because of private wrongs. Then he began to deal for a peace, to offer conditions that could not be ignored, and to promise more than he could perform, and he did so with such zeal that it was not easy to conceal this plan from Bedford. And he, troubled by these greater cares, since he saw the English fortunes greatly weakened, decided that, whatever misfortune might befall, he should above all take care that, even if he could not retain all the places his brother King Henry had taken in France, he would at least not lose Normandy, long the possession of his ancestors, just as Henry had enjoined with his dying breath. And so, handing rule of the city of Paris over to Louis of Luxumbourg, Bishop of Thérouanne and Chancellor of France, and leaving behind no mean garrison, he went to Normandy. And when he arrived there he summoned the leading men of its cities, and first reminded them of the benefits his ancestors had at all times bestowed on the Normans, the rights and laws they had given them, and also of the ancient pedigree of the Dukes of Normandy from which the Kings of England had arisen. Then he urged them individually by name to devote their minds and their powers to keeping the peace and abiding in their loyalty, and he affirmed that, if they should do so, they could hope for all good and great things from their King Henry. While Bedford was doing these things, he discovered that many men were fearfully abandoning both towns and countryside. Troubled by this, he called together a council of war, inviting the captains of all ranks, and he asked their view how to hold the people of Normandy to their loyalty. They all decided to parcel out the army between several places. And so one part was given to Duke Richard of York to guard the coastline, another was distributed among the town garrisons, and a third was assigned to Duke Edmund of Somerset, to be led to Rouen. Thus having decided things and distributed his forces, Bedford returned to Paris.
21. While these things were being done by the English in Normandy, Charles occupied St. Denys by betrayal, and hastened to secure it with garrisons. Then he sent ahead Duke John of Alençon and The Maid, to run as far as Paris for the sake of testing the citizens’ enthusiasm for defection and, if it seemed profitable, to attack the city. They went in square formation, their soldiers carrying shields, and when they came near the city they were driven off by the English garrison, suffering considerable losses. Hearing of these things, Bedford quickly came to the city, praised its citizenry, and thanked them for not imitating the burghers of St. Denys. Then Charles, cheated in his hope, tried something else. He sent Ambroise de Lore to Lagny, located on the Marne, and the town was handed over to him on his arrival. Not much later Charles went there and installed a garrison, since he had great confidence in this place, which was fortified by nature. He was making his way towards Anjou, while in another quarter the English attacked and recovered St. Denys. They tried to retake Lagny as well, but since The Maid was in the garrison and put up a stiff resistance, the town was admirably defended. In those same days some English companies stationed at Rouen under the command of Thomas Tyrrell, an energetic man, were coursing through the enemy countryside bent on plundering, and at their first assault they took Claremont, a town they had heard to be lightly defended. But since their small numbers prevented them from garrisoning the place, they first denuded it of part of its wall, then sacked it, and returned whence they had come laden down with spoils. In another quarter the Burgundians, under the command of John of Luxemburg, attacked Compiègne with a goodly number of English soldiers and surrounded it with a wall. But that fortified town could not easily be taken, nor did there seem to be must strength in the siege, since a sufficiency of grain had already been brought in. Nevertheless, led to hope that it could either be stormed or compelled to surrender by a lengthy siege, they approached the walls with their army divided into two parts. Some shot arrows and guns days and night, others dug mines to the walls, and still others continually harassed the townsmen, striving particularly to force a quicker surrender. Then suddenly Joan the Maid, God’s prophetess, as she was commonly called, yet entirely unaware of her own fate, came to help them and bravely gained entry to the town. But a little later she left it in a rash sally against the enemy, and was captured by Luxemburg, and sent to the Duke of Somerset at Rouen.
22. Since this Maid had accomplished many achievements, and those excellent ones, beyond the powers of a woman, and with almost no martial skill, which she had never learned, she came into popular suspicion of acting by magic arts. And so she was accused of witchcraft and first closely examined by the order of Somerset, to see if she were well-disposed towards the Christian religion. Then, since she dressed herself as a man, and was entirely regarded as a witch, she was severely condemned and burned. Before suffering her punishment, this unhappy girl, remembering the kindness inborn in us all, feigned pregnancy, so as either to break her enemies with pity or to induce them to pronounce a milder sentence. But after being spared for nine months for that reason, and failing to give birth to a child, she was nonetheless burned. This sentence passed against The Maid seems by far harshest in human history, which could neither be softened or mitigated with the passage of time. Indeed a woman aroused to perform manly feats on behalf of her nation seemed deserving of favor, since many precedents existed for sparing her, particularly that set by the Etruscan king Porsenna. For after peace had been made with the Romans, he took some hostages from them, among whom was the girl Cloelia. Under her leadership a bevy of other girls eluded their guards and swam the Tiber through a storm of enemy missiles, fleeing to their own countrymen. She was then handed back in accordance with the terms of the treaty, but Porsenna did not punish the girl, but rather praised her, bestowed a portion of the hostages on her, Maid sent her home. But I return to my subject. This was the end of Joan the Maid, more fit (as popular belief had it) for the magical arts than for waging war. Yet even today the French say she was sent by heaven to drive the enemy out of their nation, and they say she died a virgin. After her downfall the French did not abandon themselves, creating so many difficulties for their enemies both by excursions from the town and fights in the open fields that they, despairing of their ability to take the place, voluntarily retired.
23. In this manner the English situation in France grew worse day by day, and this variously affected the nobles. Part of them, plunged into gloom, thought the evil of those times mild in comparison with those they thought were to come. Others thought what had happened was the worst possible, since they saw their enemy’s strength enhanced by this and their own weakened, and so each man, burning with his private cares, pondered what remedy could be applied to their damaged affairs. In the end they all thought that the best thing was for King Henry to come to France with a new army as soon as he could, partly for the sake of encouraging his subjects, and partly to keep the minds of the French loyal by a display of awe and of the grace which the boy displayed at his age. And so, enlisting forces which seemed sufficient for this expedition, and raising the money for its necessary expenses by taxing clergy and laymen alike, Henry left England under the tutelage of Cardinal Henry, and first came to Rouen, and then to Paris. The whole city came out to meet him, with happy applause greeting this sweet-natured lad as their king, even if a large number feigned this loyalty. In any event, the day of the king’s arrival was spent happily, with the people praised in a speech and given gifts of money, corn, and wine. Afterwards Bedford assembled the nobility and is said to have spoken thus: “Behold, my lords, the course of human affairs. Henry V was destined to be your king both by law and by treaty, but nearly before coming to his full maturity he was robbed of his life, leaving a son to succeed him and possess his ancestral throne. This boy is among us, and has come into your presence here to be declared your king in the traditional way and make the acquaintance of his French people, and for them to make his. For the French, uniquely among peoples, is in the habit of obeying their king, if I may say so, in place of God, and to obey his command faithfully and with diligence. And although some follow Charles, it is clear they do so out of error, not treason, so this will not be held against those who return to their allegiance. It only remains that you provide your loyal effort, as you have heretofore have done with a will, to hold the people in their loyalty, so that you may earn your sovereign’s good will, so you shall not ask him in vain for whatever is useful and honorable for yourselves. For you may measure his gratitude in proportion to the cleanliness of your conscience.” When the meeting was dismissed, Henry, ten years old, was crowned according to the traditional custom by Cardinal Henry in Notre Dame cathedral. After the divine service, the French nobility swore its homage to Henry, and a herald announced that all men would be held blameless who returned to Henry’s government by an appointed day. This was the year of human salvation 1431.
24. While these things were happening at Paris, Charles took back Melun, Corbeil and some other places, partly by betrayal, and partly by force. But elsewhere things were done with a different result. There was a large garrison of French at Beauvais, and Earl Thomas of Arundel, hoping these could be enticed into a battle, pitched his camp at a distance and placed both his foot and horse at a suitable place near the city. Then he sent some lightly-armed horsemen ahead to lure the enemy into making a sally. They did just as they were commanded and rode right up to the gates, and when they saw the French ready to give chase they pretended to flee and drew their rash pursuers into the ambush. When they did so, they were cut down together with the townsmen who had also rushed out to confront their enemy. Some, aware of the trick because of the neighing of horses, got back to their countrymen in the city, albeit with difficulty, but the rest died. No writer, to the best of my knowledge, records the number of the dead, which is not thought to have been small. Likewise, at the same time Earl Richard of Warwick fought the enemy at Guerny with like success, killing many and taking captive sixty horsemen. Duke René of Barry, a great helper of Charles, felt the similar force of adverse fortune during those days. For he, who had a long-standing feud with Count Antoine de Vaudimont, collected a large army and marched to subdue the town of Vaudimont. When the count heard he was approaching, lest he be pent in by his enemy, he left behind the soldiers he had with him as a protection for the townsmen, and went flying to Bedford and Burgundy, to whose side he belonged, to ask for help. Obtaining this, he and Antoine Tolongone, the Burgundian governor, promptly came up with a large army to support his subjects, hard-pressed by the enemy. When René observed this, he was afraid lest, if the enemy came close to the walls, at the same time the townsmen would launch a sally and the count attack his rear, so he abandoned the siege and turned his soldiers against the approaching enemy and ordered them to charge. There was a cavalry fight for a while, for they received the brunt of the charge until the infantry came up, and they did so with such force that the French were not only unable to hold their ground, but quickly put to flight. René was taken prisoner with two hundred of his soldiers, and about 3,000 were slain. At the same time no less opportunity for success was given the English in another quarter, had they not foolishly let it slip. For Robert Willoughby and Matthew Gough, an energetic Welshman, were besieging St. Selerine, a castle fortified by the nature of its site, and were straining to take it by force. For their part, the garrison within protected the place with industry. When Charles learned of this, he quickly sent Ambroise de Lore with other captains for its support. He, since he was governor of the castle and it was being defended by the garrison he had placed it, was eager to come to its aid and was the first to march, but soon, fearing lest he be surrounded, he halted at Beaumont to wait for the other captains to come up, so they could all proceed against the enemy. While the French were intending to meet at that place, the English busied with the siege learned from scouts what the enemy were doing, and decided to go to meet them before their divided forces could come together. Therefore a goodly part of them, stealing out in the deep of the night, found the enemy camp maintained so negligently that nearly a thousand had gained its trench before anyone spotted them. But the killing in that trench awakened the enemy, who were so panic-stricken by this unexpected turn of events that nobody made an adequate attempt to snatch up arms or repel the enemy from the camp. And when the dawn came, the English, eager for plunder, did not pursue the enemy as they were fleeing here and there, but were content with the spoils, and while they struggled to carry them off, behold, it happened that the French on the march heard the shouting of the fighting men and hastened forward, making a spirited attack on the booty-laden enemy. And the other Frenchmen turned back from their flight and came running to join their countrymen. The fighting was sharp on both sides, and for a long time they fought on equal terms, but in the end numbers prevailed and the English fell back. Some of them were taken prisoner, including Matthew Gough. On the French side many fell, and quite a few captured, in whose number was Ambroise de Lore. Afterwards Robert abandoned the siege. A commander should concern himself with nothing other than victory, and this is so hard to achieve and so fleeting that any man who imagines he possesses it before it is in his grasp can always be deceived and suffer a loss, and he who possesses it but has no care to retain it may easily forfeit it. The English, devoted to plundering as if they had won, lost the victory they had gained.
25. While the English and French were contending for power, rule, and life itself, throughout France, thanks to the license of wartime, all men’s fortunes were despoiled, church treasuries were ransacked, men everywhere were murdered or wounded, put to the torture, matrons were debauched, virgins snatched from the embrace of their parents, towns taken daily, sacked daily, townsmen’s riches carted off elsewhere, buildings and villages fired. In sum, no cruelty was not inflicted on the wretched French, and I omit to mention countless other kinds of misfortune by which they were equally oppressed. To this was the fact meanwhile public affairs everywhere lay prostrate without laws (for the laws are silent in wartime), without right, without judges. Nor was England free of such damages, for day by day it witnessed the deaths, slaughter, and woundings of its citizen, and witnessed its wealth being drained by taxation, so that these evils were common to both sides, the entire West resounded with the groans of both nations, and word of their grief spread throughout the world. So no man could help wondering how these two peoples were able to suffer these things, and feeling pity for them. This was especially true of Pope Eugene IV, who greatly desired to find some way by which he could put an end to this most cruel war. So he sent Nicholas Cardinal St. Cross to France for the sake of making a peace between the kings. Arriving there, he first went to Charles and set forth the Pope’s mandates, then he likewise urged peace on Bedford, showing, declaring, and arguing that peace is always more honorable than a war between Christian sovereigns, who should always strive for the welfare of their subjects, who should observe justice, who should rule themselves with reason, and always remit something of their anger, to tolerate something of insult, and these were things they could not do in wartime. When he tried to place these ideas in their heads, both kings replied they were ready to condescend to all terms. But when it came down to a negotiation, they were so far from resting content with honorable conditions that they became more and more entrenched in their stubbornness. Perceiving this and despairing of peace, the cardinal, lest he be said to have wasted so much effort, arranged a six years’ truce, grudgingly conceded by the kings at his request, so much so that after his departure they swiftly broke it. Some more recent authors say the French were the first to violate it, by fining the supporters of the English and Burgundians. And so it came about that minds on both sides were inflamed and they resumed fighting more bitterly than ever. This was the year of human salvation 1432.
26. But let me to return to King Henry. A few days after his coronation at Paris, he retired to Rouen, and while he was staying there Cardinal Henry was recalled to England to settle an uproar caused by certain great rascals, who under the pretext of suffusing men’s minds with a new religion had conspired to disturb the peace of the realm. But when William Mandeville, the man responsible for this misdemeanor, was taken and punished, in order to save their skins the rest quickly returned to their sanity. The Cardinal had a discussion with the Duke of Gloucester about the condition of overseas affairs, telling him he suspected the French would soon violate the truce, and so it was best for a new draught of soldiers and money to be prepared for the needs of the war. Understanding these things, Gloucester convened a parliament, and in accordance with its decree a levy was held and money raised. While these things were afoot, James King of Scots sent ambassadors to Gloucester about peace. And he, in the king’s absence, reported this to the parliament. After a lengthy debate peace was granted, since they hoped for enduring concord, since James was troubled by domestic discords and they themselves had entered into a six years’ truce with the French. When the parliament was dismissed, the cardinal returned to Rouen to the king, with the forces that had been gathered and a great sum of money. There too came Bedford from Paris, for the sake of discussing a plan for action. Here they referred everything to their counsel, and there was a great dispute among them. Some suspected that the French would scarcely abide by the conditions and truce, since it was clear that nearly all of them were greatly grieved that Normandy, Paris, and so many excellent towns had been brought under English control. So they urged that there be no relaxation concerning the war lest, should the truce suddenly be violated, they should be compelled to take swift counsel about the most important matters amidst supreme danger, unprepared both regarding men and money. On the other hand some maintained that the war could not be prosecuted over such a long period of truce without its violation, since it would be most difficult to stay their soldiers’ hands from malfeasance. For these soldiers were daily under arms, and so it seemed best to those who held this position to fortify some more appropriate places with garrisons and send the rest home as long as the truce remained in force. When both sides had debated these things, the Dukes of Bedford, Somerset, and York inclined to the former view, that everything needful for war should be readied, the soldiers given their pay, and a greater army assembled to meet all possible eventualities.
27. Such counsel being adopted. King Henry returned first to Calais, and then to England. Bedford accompanied the king as far as Clalais, and stayed there a few days while in the meantime some soldiers, nostalgic for their former license of wartime, began to commit robberies. After this came to his attention, he took advantage of this trifling opportunity have the authors of the crime arrested and executed, so as to frighten the rest into keeping their hands of other men’s goods. And so Bedford purged the town of felons and reinforced it with new garrisons. He was going back to Paris when a new business came to mind. A few months previously he had lost his wife Anne, Burgundy’s sister, and her death afterwards made it easier for Burgundy’s mind to become alienated from his English friendship, since, as I have said above, he was moved to this by other reasons also. And so Bedford decided to marry Jacquetta, the daughter of Peter of Luxemburg Count of St. Paul, a famous man, so that by this new kinship he might bind by a tighter bond of affection the ancient association he had enjoyed with that noble family. And so, leaving Calais, he changed his route for Picardy, where the count had his home, and the count received him with much congratulation and bestowed his daughter Jacquetta on him, as he had hoped. And so, having gotten his heart’s desire, after a most splendid marriage Bedford took his wife and returned to Paris. Burgundy took this development in bad part, for he was minded to become a follower of Charles and was grieved to see the Englishman enhanced by this kinship with the ancient and powerful family of Luxemburg, which could be of great advantage to him. At the same time John Talbot, whom I have previously shown to have been taken by the French at Patay, was freed for a great sum and in exchange for the freeing of Ambroise de Lore, captured a few months previously, was let go and went back to England.
28. While these things were being done elsewhere, the French soldiers, since they were going without their stipend and a goodly number of them were men whom had been lured away from tilling the land and their daily occupations by their hope of plunder and enthusiasm for fighting, began to capture now Englishmen, now Burgundians, as the opportunity offered, and ransom them according to their individual ability to pay. Although this was scarcely permitted by the truce, yet they did not blush to do this openly. Annoyed by this outrage, after the sixth month of the truce the English were obliged to take up their arms once more. And in this way the war was renewed, a war which people everywhere had imagined and hoped to be finished or at least postponed for a long time. Without hesitation the French, the violators of the truce, ran to arms and took St. Valéry, a town in Norman territory at the mouth of the Somme. At the same time another band of them, under the leadership of Ambroise de Lore, made inroads into the countryside around Caen. The English for their part, under Bedford’s leadership, attacked in force the town of Laigny, situated, as I have said, on the Marne, which was small but well protected by earthworks and bastions. Since they could not take it at the first assault, they fortified their camp and occupied the bridge, building a fortification on it for its better protection, and fired their guns at the town from every side. For their part the townsmen mounted a manly defense, making occasional sallies under the leadership of John the Bastard of Orléans, the governor of the place, although not without losses. They camped there several days, when Bedford was called away by matters of far greater importance. So he broke of the siege and went back to Paris lest its burghers, who were ill-disposed, might take advantage of his absence to attempt anything. And when he came out there, without delay he sent his father-in -law Peter of Luxemburg the Count of St. Paul, together with Robert Willoughby, with part of his forces, to retake St. Valéry. They, their minds burning for revenge, quickly went there, surrounded the town, and launched a furious assault. The French inside, after having consumed some days in offering resistance, at length despaired of getting help, and surrendered the town on terms of a safe-conduct. Then Luxemburg and Willoughby, having placed a garrison there, returned victoriously. And either because of its heavy climate or because the soldiers ate food that had spoiled by over-long storage, a plague began to spread abroad, so that (as I think) this unhappy town, after so many calamities, having endured two sieges by the French and one by the English, was gripped by a deadly disease. Likewise a little before the French had harried the territory of Burgundy, taking or leveling some towns and castles. While the Burgundians strove to recover these places, Bedford hastily sent Willougby and Thomas Tyrell, together with some companies of soldiers, to help their friends. They left quickly, and when they arrived at the region of Launois they chanced to encounter a large band of the enemy, engaged them, and suddenly put them to rout, killing 160 soldiers and capturing others, whom they subsequently put to death. Afterwards the English continued on their way and joined themselves to the Burgundians, and with united forces they soon recovered all places.
29. Meanwhile Talbot, having held a levy in England, brought over to France a large number of armed men. He came to Rouen, where he refreshed his soldiers, and then went on to join Bedford at Paris. And it is wonderful to say what hope his arrival gave to his fellow countrymen, and how much fear to the enemy. He was considered an excellent commander, and his proven virtue at war was a source of fear to the French, but most reassuring to his own side. As soon as Talbot was instructed by Bedford about what he should do, he hastened with a lightly armed army to besiege the town of Beaumont, which he stormed in a trice, and gained control over the local castles with equal success. Meanwhile the Earl of Arundel besieged the castle of St. Selerin, and took it in the third month of the siege, killing off the garrison within. Then he attacked and besieged the very well fortified town of Silly. The townsmen were terrified by the recent massacre at St. Selerin and immediately gave hostages, promising they would surrender the town after thirty days if help were not provided by Charles. Then they promptly sent select men to Charles. Learning of this, he sent Arthur with some captains of companies to bring aid to the citizens of Silly. After they came in sight, he restored the hostages to the townsmen and offered battle to the French in a suitable place not far from his camp, which he chose when they arrived. Arthur, even if he hoped to fight, nevertheless saw the enemy in possession of the ground, which was not suitable for his large numbers, and refused to go against them. But on the following night, having given the townsmen modest help with provisions and a garrison, he went back whence he had come. After the enemy’s departure Arundel stormed the town and went to Normandy, wasting the fields wherever he went, and taking control of several castles of Maine and Anjou. Willoughby and Tyrell returned there to, coming victorious from Burgundy, as I have said above, and on their march they occupied the very strongly fortified town of Louviers, and furnished it with a contingent of soldiers.
30. At about this time a great band of Norman peasants who lived along the coast, either solicited by the French or desirous of a change, such as the common folk often adore, took up arms everywhere and occupied some places, violently overthrowing their garrisons, and everywhere their cry was that only the English were to be harried. From this we may gather that it is easier for an Ethiopian to change his skin, as they say, than for a Frenchman to love an Englishman. For the Normans had long obeyed the English and had received good treatment, but now, forgetful of their duty, but well remembering their hatred, they had no hesitation in attacking their masters. Thus aroused, this throng headed for Caen, and there, increased in its number of armed men, took counsel about a strategy. Meanwhile the Dukes of Somerset and York, hearing of this rustic mob and being apprised of their route, without delay sent the Earl of Arundel and Willoughby with 6,000 bowmen and 1,300 light horse to impede and hinder them in any way possible so they might not leave or go further. Arundel, marching by a separate route, sent Willoughby ahead with part of the horsemen and 2,000 archers, to set an ambush somewhere along the way of the approaching multitude. So instructed, he placed himself in hiding and by messengers informed Arundel of the place for the ambush, so that he might understand when the signal for attack was given. Comprehending this, Arundel followed the oncoming mob like a man driving a herd of deer into nets, and when he saw the base throng was approaching the place of ambush, he gave the signal and at once Willoughby sprang forth in front of them, and he himself attacked from behind, so that the mob, panic-stricken by this sudden development, threw down their arms, stretched for their hands, and began to beg for their lives. Moved by their entreaties, Arundel called off his men from a sudden slaughter, arresting only those men he estimated had been responsible for inciting the common folk, and sent the rest home safe and sound. But a thousand of them were killed earlier in that first attack, before the men could be recalled to their standards. Thus the uprising was put down and a bridle imposed on their frenzy, and after a sharp inquiry all those found guilty were condemned and executed. Meanwhile the French under the leadership of Peter Rochefort took from the enemy Dieppe and some other poorly defended towns. And soon after these excellent feats Arundel attempted his last deed. In the territory of Beauvais there was a castle called Gerberoi, but it a castle which had been all but leveled, either by human power or the passage of time, Since it was situated at a place most opportune for repelling sudden enemy incursions, Charles assigned Stephen de la Hire the task of rebuilding it. La Hire, strengthened by a large number of soldiers, went there and diligently attended to the construction of the place. When Arundel learned of this, he immediately hastened from Normandy to Beauvais with a moderate force of armed men for the purpose of interrupting the work. The French, excited by their enemies’ sudden arrival, left the place to the workmen and, snatching up arms, hurled themselves out of the town. Their assault on the arriving English was tremendous, yet they sustained it a little while. But when Arundel fell from his horse gravely wounded, then they formed a wedge and, gradually breaking off the fight, were obliged to retreat. Thus wounded, Arundel died a little later, a man of singular virtue, steadfastness, and gravity, whose death in the midst of such upheavals greatly distressed the minds of his countryman. After their enemies’ departure the French finished the work they had begun. The death of Earl Thomas of Arundel fell in the year of human salvation 1433, the twelfth of Henry’s reign.
31. In this selfsame year St. Denys was taken twice, once by the French by betrayal, and again by the English by surrender. Likewise the French king regained Corbeil, Vincennes, and Melun. For towns largely stripped of their walls lay exposed as prey, so that their townsmen, who could achieve nothing by loyalty, daily surrendered to the first men to attack, when their garrisons let them, so as not to suffer utter ruin. So it came about that nothing was in greater upheaval, nothing more despoiled, nothing needier than France. And the soldiers fared no better. For even if they rejoiced in looting, they meanwhile were slaughtered as both kings strove to retain the loyalty of their chief cities’ factions. Therefore when both peoples became glutted with killing, and both sides had suffered so many losses that every man could complain and lament that he had been oppressed, harmed, and destroyed, and be harmed, distracted, and tormented by great suffering. Thus even the most stubborn minds were inclined to peace. At the same time this was urged on them by a scarcity of all things. For everywhere the wasted fields lay untilled, especially since to preserve their lives men were of necessity obliged to serve in the war rather than work their land. And so, oppressed by so many evils, neither side shrank from peace, but both thought it shameful either to ask or to accept it from the other. And so it was necessary for Pope Eugene to take responsibility for such a composition and to serve as a judge, so that at length by his authority, counsel, and urging he might wrench the arms out of the hands of those indomitable commanders and other warriors who never wished to sound the retreat or hear the recall from battle. Eugene was particularly led to have hopes for a resolution, because Duke Philippe of Burgundy was reported now to be repenting his choice. For he originally was concerned to avenge his father’s murder, and to retain his rule and dignity, and so embraced the King of England with all his duty, not thinking that when conjoined with the English he would of necessary sin against the commonwealth which he ruled by his own right and at his own pleasure, nor that when he was allied with them he would be obliged to forfeit his dignity. But when matters turned out differently than he had thought, because the King of England now wished to exercise his hereditary right, and to have full control over courts, laws, peace, and war (as he had discovered a little earlier in their dealings concerning the surrender of Orléans, which they refused to allow in his name), he finally decided to return to the road from which he had strayed, and to come to terms with his own countrymen as soon as he could do so with any show of honor, so as not to be said to entangle himself in new crimes, nor to commit any such against the English people.
32. And so Eugene, informed of the inclinations of such men’s minds, as if assured that peace would be obtained, at the earliest possible moment sent Cardinal Nicholas back to France. And when he arrived there he announced a congress at Arras. And as the leading men of Henry’s embassy came Cardinal Henry of Winchester, Archbishop Henry of York, Earl William of Suffolk and Earl John of Huntington. Likewise the French sent as ambassadors the Archbishop of Rheims, the Duke of Bourbon, Earl Arthur of Richmond, and some honorable knights. Burgundy also sent his representatives, the Bishops of Liège, Cambrai and Arras together with several noble lords. After a lengthy debate at this meeting, Cardinal Nicholas, a man experienced in judging matters, was unanimously appointed umpire. He again asked each man his view, so he might come to a just decision. The English asked that Charles be declared Henry’s beneficiary, whereas the French belonging to the other faction wished Charles’ rule to be free and independent. Having heard these contentions Nicholas, judging that no decision should be made about rights of possession at that time, publicly proposed conditions for a treaty which he imagined could rightfully be given and accepted by both sides, in view of the present state of affairs. But both refused them. And so they left the congress with its business unfinished. This induced the Burgundians and French to start negotiating for a peace between themselves, which for many reasons, as stated above, Philippe of Burgundy had long desired. And a peace was arranged, on the following conditions. In addition to a number of places bordering Burgundy, which had belonged to their ancestors, Charles would cede Amiens, Corbeile, Péronne, St. Quentin, Abbeville, and the domains of Ponthieu and Boulogne. The French king made many other promises he could not subsequently keep. For he dared not refuse any of Burgundy’s demands, thinking he would be lucky if he could make peace with such an adversary — not the honorable one for which he could have hoped, but a necessary one and most convenient in view of his present situation. And this later turned out to his advantage, just as he had predicted. For it happened that a few days later, when they chanced to meet, Charles is supposed to have greeted the duke, “I wish you good fortune too. I find myself free from all care and relieved of great troubles, because you, who France regards as its most powerful prince next to the king, and holds in higher account than any man, are restored to your fellow-countrymen, as I wished. For I have always borne in mind that Gospel verse, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. How afraid I was that would happen because of our quarrels! Now the matter is safe, since you will join me in entirely ridding our land of our common enemies the English. And you will join me, I am sure. And you may be assured of all great benefits from me.” Burgundy replied he would give his help, and not fail in his responsibilities.
33. After this treaty was made, Burgundy’s first order of business was speedily to send ambassadors to King Henry in England to say that he was wearied by the lengthy war and his subjects’ complaints, who daily were receiving greater harm from the French. They groaned, they openly complained that he was the only man who had aided, fostered, and armed the English against his own nation, and was more zealous to maintain them on French soil than to restore his kinsman King Charles. In the end he had been compelled to make peace with Charles, and since very honorable conditions had been offered by Charles, on his behalf these ambassadors should urge King Henry to accept them. Burgundy (to whom this entire business seemed disgraceful) sent those ambassadors more for the sake of purging himself of blame, so as to remove the blot of his shameful deed, so he would not be said to have treacherously broken friendship with the English, than because he had any genuine concern for England’s welfare. When the embassy had been given a hearing, all who were present were irate over the indignity of the thing, nor could they restrain their anger or control themselves and bridle their tongues, calling Burgundy treacherous, disloyal, and deceitful. Rumor of this violated trust spread abroad, and things went from words to blows. The common people were so aroused by this unwelcome news that they began furiously to attack all men of the Flemish nation living at London, with the result that many were killed and wounded before the people could be subdued by a royal edict. The king wished his subjects to hold their hands from the murder of innocent men, and he himself calmly replied to the ambassadors that they should warn the duke on his behalf not to become an enemy of the English people, but rather that he should cultivate his former friendship, which would be preferable to a new war. Nor should he be so imprudent as to exchange certainties for uncertainties. He should look out for his own interests, and not commingle his flourishing fortunes with those of Charles, which were all but ruined, and so rashly exchange a prosperous fortune for a declining one. The ambassadors were sent back with these instructions, and in the meantime the king decided that some trouble should be caused for the duke, so he would be enmeshed in that and be less able to assist the King of France with his resources. And so he quickly sent secret messengers to Flanders to bribe the leading men of its towns to rebel (a thing they were naturally inclined to do). The messengers did as instructed, and especially solicited the burghers of Ghent in view of their ancient friendship, but achieved nothing. For those peoples were now persuaded that England’s overseas affairs were daily growing weaker. The year in which these things were done was that of human salvation 1434, notable for the death of Duke John of Bedford, a man most excellent in peace and most brave in war, who died of disease at the worst time possible for the commonwealth. His body was brought to Rouen and buried in the cathedral there.
34. After the death of Bedford, the Regent of France, all began to collapse in a shambles, so that they appeared to be lacking a regent altogether. For the peoples of France, having been freed from nearly all their fear, not only dared to defect from the English, but also openly to take up arms against them. Thus at a stroke English affairs suffered a great transformation. But the English did not abandon their cause. Rather, the government was handed over to Dukes Edmund of Somerset and Richard of York, on whom they pinned all their hopes. They immediately sent Robert Willoughby to Paris to guard the city. But Charles, elated by his successes, and having received auxiliary forces sent by the Duke of Burgundy, sent Arthur, the Marshal of France, with a goodly part of the army to besiege St. Denys, a because he was confident that after that town had been regained he could retake the city of Paris. Arthur did as he was bidden, and hastened to St. Denys, storming it within a few days. And when this business had been happily accomplished he attacked Paris. When its burghers learned of his approach, they thought that the time had come when they could rise up with safety. They suddenly attacked the English, and in a trice their men were fighting them in streets and crossroads, while their women cast down stones and boiling water from windows and rooftops. Robert was in the city with a garrison, as I have shown above, and for a while he strove to subdue the unfriendly populace. But when he saw that resistance was impossible he fled to the tower in the neighborhood of the church of St. Antoine. Meanwhile Arthur, hearing of the rising in the city, approached the gates. Early in the morning these were thrown open by the townsmen and he made his entrance, and straightway set siege to the place where the English were holding themselves. The English bravely defended themselves for some days, because they hoped help would come from Somerset and York. But the dukes, unaware that they had retreated to this place because the enemy was blocking the roads, were not able to receive certain news in time, and offered no support. For as the rumor of the rebellion spread, they imagined that Willoughby and the entire garrison had been captured or killed in such a great popular revolt. Therefore Willoughby, finally despairing of help, surrendered, and came safely to Rouen with his men. And so Paris, by far the greatest city of France, was retaken by the French fifteen years after coming under English rule. This was the year of human salvation 1435.
35. When news of the loss of Paris spread through France, then almost all their English population abandoned their overseas towns. Likewise they took it for a surety that they would have no safe home to which they could run, no more courage, no counsel, no strong army. And Duke Philippe of Burgundy held this opinion more strongly than anyone else. For he was irate that a little earlier King Henry had tried to provoke the citizenry of Ghent and the other Flemish to a revolt, and so he set out with a hostile army to ravage the English territories. He came to Calais and besieged it, trying might and main to take it, and at the same time he divided his army and attacked Guines, a nearby town. But the townsmen, defended against their enemy not only by walls, arms, and men, but much more so by the nature of the site, put up a spirited defense. Understanding this, Burgundy thought that the townsmen should be compelled to surrender by a very different means, and from the beginning he attempted and singlemindedly strove to cut off their food supply and prevent them from receiving aid, so that they would be compelled by famine to throw up their hands. Therefore, stationing his soldiers at various points, he occupied the entire coastline, and vexed his enemies day and night with guns, missiles, and arrows, so that no man could meet and counter his soldiers from the wall. While Burgundy thus pursued his siege, the Duke of Gloucester hastened to come from England to aid his fellow countrymen with all his forces. When rumor spread with horrible speed that he was on far shore for the sake of a crossing, Burgundy lost hope of gaining the town, and in the still of the night he broke off his siege and immediate retreated homeward. Gloucester arrived at Calais early in the morning, and attacking the enemy’s stations he gained much plunder, because the enemy had fearfully abandoned their positions and were obliged to leave behind part of their baggage. Then with a lightly armed force he hastened to ravage the enemy’s territories. Invading them, he wasted everything with fire and steel, and did not only ransack their fields, but fired castles and villages. Enticed by plunder, he marched farther and troubled with light sieges the towns in which fearful crowds of peasants had taken refuge. Finally he ravaged his way to St. Omers, encountering no resistance, and took much booty, and then he returned to Calais, and thence to England. After this, at their friends’ urgings a few years’ truce was arranged between King Henry and the Duke of Burgundy, or actually with the wife Philippe had at the time, his last (for he had three), Isabella, who gave him a son named Charles. For henceforth, they say, all dealings between the English and the Duke of Burgundy were transacted in her name. This can be seen to have been done so that the King of England could not be said to show deference towards Burgundy, whom he had learned a little earlier to be an oath-breaker, and so he would not come under any similar suspicion in the eyes of the King of France, when he understood that this truce had been made with the wife, not with the duke, which her husband was not obliged to observe by any law.
36. At that time died Henry Archbishop of York, who was succeeded by John Kemp, the fiftieth archbishop. Likewise departed this life King Henry’s mother Catherine, who was borne to her ancestors’ tomb at Westminster. On the death of her husband Henry V, this woman, being a girl and not having the wit to discern what was fitting, secretly married a certain Welshman named Owen Tudor, noble by breeding and wonderful for his virtues, who could trace his lineage to Cadwallader, the last British king, and by him she bore three children, Edmund, Jasper, and a third who became a Benedictine monk and died not long thereafter. Later King Henry made Edmund Earl of Richmond and Jasper Earl of Pembroke, because they were his half-brothers by his mother Catherine. After Catherine’s death he was twice imprisoned by order of the Duke of Gloucester for having dared married Catherine while a girl, and mix his blood with the most noble blood of the Kings of England, and finally he was beheaded. This Earl Edmund of Richmond had a son named Henry by Margaret, the daughter of Duke John of Somerset, who subsequently, as will be said at the most appropriate place, gained the throne under the name of Henry VII. At this same time Earl Richard of Warwick departed this life at Rouen, and his body was brought to England and buried at the new church at Warwick. Likewise James of King Scots formed a bond of kingship with Charles by marrying his daughter Margaret to his son Louis, and decided to help him vigorously. So James, heedless of the treaty which he had made with King Henry a few years earlier, quickly enlisted a new supplement for the army of his subjects which was already fighting for Charles, and was intending to wage war against the English at the same time, when suddenly he was taken off when his uncle Earl Walter of Athol, a seditious man with his eyes on the throne, entered into a conspiracy with certain villains and arranged his unexpected assassination at St. Johns. This was no inconvenience for the English, for, since James was a very brave man, it cannot be doubted that he would have taken advantage of the opportunity of wonderfully vexing England, later offered when England was disturbed and divided into the factions presided over by Henry and Edward. Jacob, the second of that name, succeeded his father, and, provoked from the outset by domestic seditions, was more hostile to his own subjects than to the English, as elsewhere I shall report at length. The seventeenth year of Henry’s reign was now at hand, which was the year of human salvation 1438, when he had a parliament at Westminster for the sake of putting right his affairs both at home and in the field. In this parliament much necessary for the war, and no little that requisite for the condition of the realm, was discussed and provided for by statute, including this, that it should no longer permitted for foreign merchants to sell wares imported into the realm to any men other than Englishmen, lest they establish monopolies. This law, being useful for the commonwealth, is observed even nowadays.
37. Meanwhile Charles, after having regaining the city of Paris and many other places two years previously, now came into the sure hope of being able to retake Normandy with no trouble, because certain uprisings there were reported to him. Therefore he sent Arthur to Normandy, in the company of Duke John of Alençon, and with a large army. They, marching quickly, attacked Avranches and besieged it forthwith. This city is built on a hill in that part of the province which faces the British sea, defended by high walls, which was also protected by a large garrison. Now the enemy had been at his siege for many days but had made little headway, when behold, suddenly Talbot and Earl Thomas of Dorchester appeared with an army and encamped as closely to the enemy camp as they could, so that battle could be offered. Offered this chance of a fight, the French were so far from being willing to come to blows that they kept themselves in their camp all the more, and fortified it. Seeing this, the English retired a little from that place and chose a battlefield two miles away, somewhat less advantageous for themselves, to lessen their enemies’ fear. But when the French could not be enticed to battle even by that means, they broke camp in sight of the enemy and entered Avranches. Then they launched a sally and the French, now free of fear, were wandering around more widely and freely, and were forced to take to their heels. The English intercepted many fugitives and put them to death. At the same time another band of French rashly ravaged their way all to way up to the walls of Rouen, and were defeated by Thomas Tyrell. Amidst these things, when King Charles, after having suffered so many disasters, had no thought that his road to success could be blocked once more, indeed when he daily expected more consolation, behold, a great storm-cloud began to hang over him, nothing could be more wretched, more ruinous, more foul. For his son Louis, a young man of monstrous character and uncouth manners, desiring to rule in his own right before his proper time, formed a conspiracy against his father with some fellows of his own age. Their heads were Duke John of Alençon and Duke John of Bourbon, who had succeeded his father a few years previously. He assembled an army and decided it was time to assume rule, governing all things at his own whim, not according to his father’s direction. Learning of this thing, Charles, even if he was beset with great sorrow, exclaiming that he was born to unhappiness, as if it were a small thing that for so many years he had fought against foreigners for his throne, and against his fellow citizens for his dignity, and now even had to fight against his own son for power, nevertheless, being a man of great counsel and virtue, and a man well accustomed to evils, did not lose heart. Rather, thinking this needed to be checked at the outset before he came under attack, he summoned noblemen he could trust and consulted with them about avoiding this danger. A goodly part of them thought this evil needed to be averted by counsel and mildness rather than arms. So letters were sent in the king’s name to all cities, enjoining that no man should obey Louis and promising amnesty to the conspirators. Lastly, by means of his nobles, men of gravity, he earnestly dealt with Louis and the dukes about peace and reconciliation. And he showed that at present, during a time more troubled than nearly any other, this conspiracy meant nothing else than the destruction of a nation all but ruined by its enemy’s arms. Thanks to these counsels and arguments it was brought about that the conspirators cast aside their arms and quickly returned to Charles’ good graces. And thus this great bane, which seemed destined to overwhelm the commonwealth, was suppressed before it could be put into practice.
38. Meanwhile the English, hearing of their enemies’ domestic sedition, renewed the war in improved spirits, and recovered some castles in Normandy they had lost a little earlier. And now they were hastening to attack Paris, when they heard the rumor that Louis had been reconciled with his father, and received the news that Charles was besieging Ponthoise. That town was being defended by John Clifford, a man excellent in martial affairs, with a goodly band of armed men for its garrison. Hearing of these things, the Duke of York and Talbot went to Ponthoise with a select force of soldiers and, pitching camp near their enemies, offered battle to Charles. But he was convinced he could achieve the thing without any battle or danger, and so quite declined to fight. Rather, having left part of his army to continue the siege, he decamped. Learning this, York, who had learned that the garrison within the town was sufficient to defend it, and therefore thinking he had no further reason to encamp here, pursued the enemy. He sent Talbot ahead with the cavalry to scout the area and bring Charles to a fight by annoying him in all possible ways, but neither could he draw Charles into a battle there. And so the duke, having gathered much plunder, returned to Rouen. Among these vicissitudes of war, in response to the Pope’s frequent letters, peace negotiations were again held at Calais by representatives of both sides, but when this proved impossible the matter was postponed until another time. During those days Duke Charles of Orléans was brought to Calais to take responsibility for making peace. He conducted himself like a good man, and since it was by no fault of his that a peace was not attained, he was let go, twenty-six years after being captured at the battle of Agincourt. He was detained by the enemy for such a long time because he could not pay his ransom, and yet in the end was not freed without some money changing hands.
39. At the beginning of the following year the Dukes of York and Somerset, who did not flag in their zeal, effort, or care, held a council of war and decided to invade the enemy in diverse places so that the French, obliged to confront individual captains coming against them, would have to divert all the force of their effort from Normandy (for which they feared), until some bit of luck might alter the fortune of war. And this strategy, not ill-advised considering their situation, was approved by all the rest. Therefore at the beginning of spring they ordered Robert Willoughby to invade Amiens in force. They sent John Talbot with part of their forces to besiege Dieppe, while in the meantime they themselves got ready for an attack on Anjou. Willoughby set out, and when he came to the borders of Amiens, in order not to give any sign of an invasion such as is usually signaled by burning buildings, he forbade the firing of villages. And so it came about that the tillers of the soil, working without fear, were overwhelmed by his cavalry before they could flee into towns, and many thousands of men were captured. The French charged with the protection of neighboring towns were alerted by the shouts of the peasants, came to confront the enemy, and engaged them in battle. For some time the fight was continued with vigor, until the French, terrified by the death of their comrades who were the first to enter the fray, turned tail. As they fled they were partly killed by the pursuing English, and partly despoiled Count Peter of St. Paul, who was assisting the English. More than 600 French soldiers were cut down. Having happily concluded this adventure and laden down with spoils, Willoughby returned to Rouen. Likewise the Duke of Somerset brought great booty from the cities of Britanny. Meanwhile Talbot stoutly besieged Dieppe, where battles were fought daily by either side. He pitched his camp on high ground next to the town, and placed in charge of it William Points, a careful man, while he defended his bastions. The siege had been drawn out for many days when Charles sent his son Louis with a strong force to aid the townsmen. When he arrived he attempted to storm the enemy earthworks, and a savage fight ensued. Many soldiers fell on both sides, and many were wounded. They individually ran here and there for their own advantage, carrying about their standards, while others tried to hold their enemies within the works, and others to keep the attackers far off. at length they came to hand-to-hand fighting. There was a great struggle around the earthworks, from which the English were finally ejected and retreated to their camp. Then, having lost hope of gaining the town, they broke off the siege and returned to Rouen. Meanwhile Charles attempted in vain to storm St. Selerin, immediately thrown back by the English garrison. While these things happened elsewhere, Duke Philippe of Burgundy declared war on Peter of Luxemburg Count St. Paul, because so far he had sided with the English, and without much effort he bested him and compelled him to become a follower of Charles likewise, in spite of the loyalty he had pledged to Bedford, and this did no little to weaken English power. Since the result of these developments was that English affairs were in a far from happy situation, and the French success had inflicted deaths, woundings, and various misfortune son the French themselves, therefore the kings once more held peace negotiations. And although this could not be agreed upon, only an eighteen months’ truce was achieved.
40. Thus the fury of war subsided for a while, and King Henry married Margaret, the daughter of René, Duke of Anjou and King of Sicily, a woman fairer and more prudent than other woman, and endowed with a intelligence beyond the nature of her sex, as the events I shall relate clearly demonstrate. Meanwhile some English captains of companies returned to England out of a desire to visit their homeland, children, wives, and also for recruiting a supplement of replacements to enlist in their existing army. Therefore not long thereafter Henry held a parliament in which many and various things were considered for the renewal of the war, and in the end not a single man denied this should be done, since it was well known the French were doing the same, in order that they could fight when the truce expired. So first they voted to raise money, and then to hold a levy. Meanwhile, so as gratify the people in some part, the privilege was granted that when a quarter (that is, a certain measure of grain) of wheat was not being sold for more than 6 s. 8 d., rye for 4 s., and barley for 3 s., it should be permissible for any man to buy and export those crops to overseas parts, as long as they were not conveyed to enemies of England. Later Edward IV thought this law should be reaffirmed for the good of the people. These matters having been settled, the state of the realm was placed on such a footing that henceforth it might it appear that the king was caring for the public weal rather than for that of any particular individual or of himself. Finally parliament voted to enhance the honors of certain nobles in accordance with the royal. I find these men to be Humphrey Stafford and Henry of Warwick, the son of Earl Richard, whose death I have described above. The former was made Duke of Buckingham, the latter Earl of Warwick. Likewise Earl Thomas of Dorchester and Earl William of Suffolk were both made marquises, although William was soon promoted to be a duke, and Earl John of Huntington, who was made Duke of Exeter. I furthermore find that John Talbot, who had deserved well of his nation, was made Earl of Shrewsbury. In that assembly Gloucester, who now foresaw that an alteration of things was bound to come, which would greatly appall men’s minds, made a lengthy speech in which he urged all men faithfully to strive to defend their nation, because he knew for a certainty that the enemy were looking for a time and opportunity for fraud and deception, so he did not think the English should await the expiration of the truce. I believe the duke filled the ears of his audience with these things more for the sake of suppressing the boldness of certain fellows whom he estimated would always be seeking his life, than because he mistrusted French fidelity. For now they were as sated with killing and weary of war as were the English. But good words did nothing to benefit evil, depraved minds. This was the year of our salvation 1444, in which Henry Cicheley Archbishop of Canterbury died in his twenty-ninth year in office. He was a most sage father who, noticing that in the acquisition and cultivation of virtue men’s minds are especially helped by learning, held nothing more important than for his Englishmen to gain erudition. And so he built two halls at Oxford, in which he founded colleges for very diligent students, and granted them holdings to support those men who betook themselves there for the study of letters, dedicating one to All Souls and the other to St. Bernard, like two altars of the virtues. And the work is still greatly a-boil in those colleges, so that their founder’s effort and expense has not been wasted. Henry was succeeded by John Stafford Bishop of Bath and Wells, the sixty-first in the line of prelates. But now let me turn to civil discords.
41. While the truce endured, so that there might be nothing lacking at home by which men’s minds might be continually troubled, a new means for mischief-making was started by a woman. King Henry was a man of a mild and simple nature, who preferred peace to war, tranquility to care, the honorable to the advantageous, and leisure to troubles. Nothing was more chaste than he, nothing more upright, nothing more pious. In him existed bashfulness, modesty, integrity, and supreme patience, and he bore human calamities, cares, and afflictions as calmly as if they were the result of his own sins. He controlled himself as readily as he controlled those he ruled, he was not greedy for wealth, nor thirsty for honors, being only concerned with his soul’s salvation, reckoning as good only those things that promoted this, and as bad only those things which tended to his soul’s loss. But his wife Margaret was a very prudent woman, eager for glory, full of reason, counsel, officiousness, and manlike enterprises, in whom you could see much intelligence, much diligence, much vigilance, much carefulness. But she was not free of a womanly nature, being headstrong and fickle. When she came to realize that her husband Henry was ruling in accordance with Gloucester’s will rather than his own, and that he was devoting no great diligence or thought to the war, she decided to take that care upon herself, and gradually to deprive the duke of all the great power he enjoyed, so that she herself would not be called a goose for allowing her husband, now growing to maturity, to be governed by another man. Therefore a little later Margaret strove to put her plan into practice. But when the woman had once attempted this of her own volition, suddenly some men ready for sedition, prompt for violence, prone to crime and murder, rose up who sought to make Gloucester unpopular and egged her on, urging and exhorting her to audit the royal household accounts, by which she might learn that Gloucester had been a student of his private gain no less than of the common weal. And the King of Sicily encouraged his daughter Margaret to govern the realm with her husband. Fired by these urgings, the woman seized control of the kingdom, together with Henry her husband, and although this was nothing else but to plow a field by yoking together an ox and a donkey, as the saying goes, she nevertheless began spiritedly to undertake that responsibility. First she not only barred Gloucester from all public affairs, but also declined to shield him from his enemies’ insults. For not long thereafter some nobles conspired against the duke, accusing him of many misdemeanors, and particularly that he punished men convicted of crimes with greater severity than the laws of England prescribed. For the duke was a severe man and learned in the civil law, and did arrange for evildoers to be punished heavily, and so he earned the hatred of men who feared they would suffer fit punishment for their crimes. What are we to say about the fact that even today legal pettifoggers (the more they are ignorant of the law, the more they detest it), wishing as they are wont to do to discredit it, cite the example of Gloucester’s severity, just as if such severity were not conducive to the welfare of the commonwealth, and as if a greater crime should not demand a greater punishment? Although the duke made a very creditable response to his accusers, he failed to help his case because he had already been marked down for death, save that he freed his mind from distress in that he was not obliged to listen to his condemnation and did not know the time appointed for his death. For the conspirators, fearing that there would be rioting if they subjected this popular man to a public execution, they decided to take him unawares. Therefore by authority of the Privy Council they summoned the nobility to appear on an appointed day at a parliament at the Abbey of Bury. When Gloucester made his appearance with the rest, he was suddenly arrested and on the following night, setting the worst example in human memory, he was strangled, with all his retinue thrown into prison at a single stroke. But once he was dead none of his retinue was killed. Rather, for the sake of disgrace, they were dragged to the place of execution, but their lives were promptly spared. The duke’s body was taken to the monastery of St. Albans and buried there. The duke was suddenly overwhelmed by this storm sent by his enemies in the twenty-fifth year after he had begun to rule the reign. And so we may see, as Cicero so truly observed, there is no place, neither the courtroom, that supreme help for all men, nor the home, that common defense of mankind, nor even the bed, given us for our repose, that is free of danger. And it seems that the title of Gloucester, bestowed for their honor on dukes and counts, was fatal and pernicious for those that bore it. For before Humphrey, Hugh le Despenser and Thomas of Woodstock, the son of Edward III, the one Earl of Gloucester, and the other Duke of Gloucester, wretchedly lost their lives by execution. And afterwards King Richard III, Duke of Gloucester, was slain in civil war, so that this title may be taken as proverbial for men who have suffered calamities, just as once was Sejanus’ horse. I return to my subject. When the duke’s murder became common knowledge, many men were filled with horror, for this seemed the height of cruelty. And the commonwealth suffered great harm because of his death, for there was no man at the time on whom it more greatly depended, as the sequel showed. And indeed, after Gloucester’s undeserved death many good men, fearful for their lives, voluntarily withdrew from court, and their places were for the most part taken by men hoping to gain power, and so an easy road was opened for new factions.
42. In the following year, which was the year of human salvation 1146, departed this life Cardinal Henry, the Bishop of Winchester, who was the one man who could have helped Henry with his counsel and wealth, so that, his mind’s fear set aside, he might have enjoyed perpetual peace at home. Although it seemed the grave loss Henry suffered by his loss could have been made good by William Waynflete, who succeeded in the see of Winchester. For this man, because of his justice and prudence, was for a long time Lord Chancellor of England, and, although he had performed very many excellent works, this one was the most memorable. For, so that his nation would daily flourish the more in its educated men, he founded a college at Oxford in a place suitable and capacious, for men who had been born for learning, and equipped it with landholdings sufficient that they could live on its income. He dedicated this establishment to Mary Magdalene so that, just as she once anointed Christ’s feet with sweet ointment, so, under her patronage, good minds could be fed with the unending nectar of learning, and this they do with diligence. But in the parliament which had been convened for the purpose of working this fraud, after the crime had committed been nothing memorable was accomplished, except that Marquis William of Suffolk was made a duke, enhanced in dignity since he had been the ringleader of plot for Gloucester’s destruction, as afterwards came to light. He was also responsible for a heavy tax being imposed on the people, which all the members of this parliament disliked without openly voting against it, so they could get away from the scene of this crime all the quicker. For since a goodly portion of the nobility saw that their freedom of speech had been taken away, all left to go home, part of them affected by sorrow, and part having accomplished their schemes. And so the parliament was dissolved.
43. While these things were occurring in England, Francis Aragonois, a Norman knight of singular virtue, and a dutiful man who always adhered to the English side, unexpectedly took from Duke Francis of Britanny Fougères, an ancient and prosperous town bordering on Normandy, and despoiled it of its goods. Having suffered this loss the duke sent messengers to Charles informing him of this injury. And, since the truce was in effect, he asked him to seek back from the English that which their adherent Aragonois had wrongfully stolen. Having heard the duke’s complaints Charles promptly sent ambassadors to the Duke of Somerset to demand back Fougères with the plunder taken during time of truce. Somerset gave the embassy a hearing and replied that he disapproved of the deed, which had been done without the bidding of either himself or King Henry. If Charles would send his representatives to Louviers, he would likewise send there some grave men to negotiate about reparations. The ambassadors came to this place and adjudged that Fougères and its goods should be restored, and damages paid, but Francis refused to do this, adducing many arguments to defend his action. at length, when the French king demanded his allies’ property from the English, and they maintained that it was not in their power to return something possessed by another, but, in order to avoid blame, promised that, should the King of France take up arms to regain these things from Francis, they would not come to his defense, they left the conference with its business unfinished. Meanwhile the French, who, being hot-blooded, were not so concerned about recovering the goods stolen from their ally as about revenging themselves for the insult, occupied Pont de l’Arche, which was betrayed to them, sending away the English, who had been taken unawares. And so the truce was broken and then went running back to their arms. But since the matter appeared to be a case of injury but not deceit, Somerset began to recover Pont de l’Arche from the King of France by diplomacy rather than force. And he replied he would give the town back, if Fougères was restored by the Duke of Britanny. But Charles’ strategy came to light soon thereafter. When he learned that, following upon Gloucester’s murder, England was bereft of counsel and ablaze with sedition, he perceived that he would soon be given the ability to retake Normandy. And so he had decided not to let his good luck slip, but to take advantage of the opportunity. So he divided his forces in three parts and, helped along towards victory by the reputation of his former success, within a few days he had gained power over Mante and Liseux when they defected to him, but not without the loss of some of his soldiers. These things done to his satisfaction, so that his spirits and his strength were increased, Charles’ army began a spirited attack on Vernon. Albeit at first terrified by this sudden development, the townsmen nevertheless relied on their garrison and the hope of aid and, encouraging one another, stoutly resisted for several days. But after help was slower than everybody’s hope and expectation, they were forced to come to an agreement with the enemy that if they received no support by a specified day, the English garrison would be dismissed with safe conduct and they would surrender themselves and their fortune. And at the same time the Duke of Somerset made his appearance. Finding this out, Charles abandoned the siege.
44. Thus war broke out before the end of the truce, and nothing worse could have happened. This by itself troubled the English captains enough, but added to this were the sudden defections of peoples, which impeded them from relieving their afflicted conditions. For while they were preparing to relieve one city, three or four would follow fortune and defect to the enemy. The principal reason for this was that all France was filled with a rumor that, after Gloucester’s death, the English people were being pulled apart into various factions by their nobility, and that William, lately transformed from a marquise into Duke of Suffolk, and many others (as afterwards became clear), were responsible for the murder of Gloucester, the father of his country, and for the sake of raising money were so vexing and oppressing the people, afflicting it with countless troubles, that men’s minds were not fixed on the war, but were preoccupied with warding off these domestic injuries. And for these reasons neither pay for the soldiers nor reinforcements for the army, both very necessary, were being prepared. The king was not particularly concerned with these evils, nor did his wife Margaret, who held all the reins of government, have a care to dispel them. Hence, beyond doubt, it came about that, when they understood England’s misfortune, its enemies’ spirits rose and those of the citizens of Normandy and Aquitaine fell, so that, despairing of all help, they vied with each other in defecting to the King of France. Therefore after a few days the report of such great weakness spread throughout France, and with next to no trouble the French regained Constance, Gisors, Castle Galliard, St. Lo, Fécant, Alençon, Neufchâtel, and Maulisson in Gascony, together with their castles, which had in the end been surrendered by the English, who were compelled to retire into them by these sudden defections of the citizenry. They likewise occupied Rouen with equal success. For a while Somerset, Talbot, and the other captains defended this city in a manful and faithful way, and beyond doubt would have warded off the present danger if they had not had more difficulty in holding the citizenry to its loyalty than in resisting the enemy. For the townsmen were incessantly seeking an opportunity for treachery, and when they gained an opportunity for performing their deceit they could in no wise be restrained from admitting the French within their walls. Seeing this, the captains and the garrison fled to the castle. Here they held themselves for a few days, harassing the city with their missiles. Afterwards, running low on hope and on food, they were obliged by necessary to arrange a safe-conduct with the enemy, and retired to Caen. This was held by its governor David Hall, a warlike and skilled man, accompanied by a strong garrison. Afterward the French, following up on their victory and relying on the news of their achievements, hastened to Harfleur and began to assault it. The town’s governor was Thomas Curson, a man of great spirit, and when he heard the sad news of Rouen, he was undeterred and inflicted great slaughter on the enemy at their first collision, when they rashly tried to take the walls with ladders. Then, made more cautious by their setback, the French built earthworks and, bringing up guns, began to bombard the town day and night. And so the siege had been protracted for many days when Curson, seeing no help coming from his fellow countrymen, abandoned the town to the French. Not much later Charles made his appearance and attacked Harfleur, the other maritime town on this side of the Seine, taking it too by surrender. So fortune is immoderate, always very energetically helping or hurting us. While these things were happening elsewhere, Thomas Tyrell received a new but altogether paltry band of soldiers from England, and attacked Lisieux, which he soon gained. Installing a garrison, he hastened to Caen to join with Matthew Gough, who, as I have shown above, was captured in the siege of St. Selerin but had ransomed himself a little earlier, so they might attack the enemy, who was reported to be marching on Caen, before he could arrive there. But while on the march by himself, he accidentally encountered part of the enemy and dared to come to blows with them, and after many men were killed on both sides he was overcome . The other part of the French had now come to Caen, and since news of Tyrell’s defeat precluded all hope of help for its citizenry, after a few days the French took it by surrender, with safe-conduct being granted Somerset, who was in the castle, together with the other Englishmen with him. In alike manner they took back the city of Baieux and also Falaise, but in the case of Falaise not only were Talbot and the other Englishmen within were granted permission to take their fortunes with them, for the traditional boast of French is that they glory in conquering the world, not in gaining gold. Incited by these developments, the Normans set aside all hesitation and by ambassadors placed themselves under Charles’ rule, with the result that only Cherbourg, a castle on the coast, was retained by the English. The French came there last of all, and, having fought minor skirmishes in the vicinity, took it too by surrender. And the Dukes of Somerset and York and the rest of the army departed for Aquitaine, to help affairs there, which were also in a state of collapse. This was the year of human salvation 1440, the twenty-ninth of Henry’s reign. Near the end of the year Duke Francis of Britanny departed this life without issue. The story goes that it was by his doing that his brother Giles, a most distinguished man, was put to death. Peter succeeded to his brother’s wealth, but was soon despoiled of his life, and his uncle was created duke. But scarcely two years later he died of disease, likewise childless. And from him the heredity devolved on Francis II, his nephew by his brother Richard.
45. With Normandy conquered, Charles overlooked no opportunity for a fight, knowing full well that the fortune of war is often fickle and subject to change. So as soon as he could he led in army into Aquitaine and gained power over it without much trouble. For when its citizens heard the news of the loss of Rouen, then they lost faith in the English and saw it was their destiny to return to French control under compulsion. Although the dukes, having come there, did not cease fortifying places, strengthening their weakened forces, and, urging the people to remain in their faith and allegiance, at the same time by frequent letters and messengers they warned King Henry about the risk of losing the providence and asked for help, but received none from England. So it came about that the citizens of Aquitaine had before their eyes an enemy ready both to occupy and to waste the providence, and since each man cared for nothing but to protect his fields, manors, and property, they were negligent and timid in their preparations for war, so they would suffer no harm in further resistance. But the English, who by nature are not in the habit of yielding, not even in the face of death, strove might and main to avert misfortune, and after a number of peoples had gone over to the French and the citizens of Bordeaux were beginning to riot, confronted the approaching enemy not far from the city and began a battle. They fought most valiantly, but in the end numbers prevailed and the English were routed, many killed and some captured. On the French side, which was twice as large, more than 10,000 were lost, and so they did not pursue their enemy, resting content with that most bloody victory by which they at length gained control of Aquitaine. For this defeat so destroyed English power that, when it was reported to the neighboring cities, they forthwith sent peace embassies to the French, and not long thereafter made a full surrender. After the capture of Bordeaux, Bayonne, the last of the cities of Aquitaine, came under French rule. The surviving English, undone by so many defeats, retired to their fleet under the leadership of Somerset and York. Here, with the enemy doing nothing to press or impede them, for they were happy to see them go, they prepared for their voyage, and after redeeming their captive fellow-countrymen from the enemy, they boarded ship and with a following wind returned to England. And so Aquitaine was lost, about 296 years after Henry II took possession of it as the dowry of his wife Eleanor, as I have said above in Book XII (that had been in the year of salvation 1152), and 222 years after Henry III regained it from King Philippe Augustus of France, after it had been taken from his father John. This year in which English rule over Aquitaine was ended was the year of human salvation 1451. And it is manifestly true that these victories bravely gained by Charles are to attributed to the spirit of the French, not to their arms. For at this time English strength was not so diminished as to be insufficient for the waging of war, but the perpetual desertion of the peoples ill-disposed to that nation brought it about that their might could not prevail. Indeed, from the world’s beginning there have been those who have said that fellow-citizens are to be regarded in one way and the rest of mankind in another, and so have maintained that no regard at all is to be had for foreigners, it has come about that the common society of humanity has been broken asunder and a certain natural mutual hatred between nations has grown to be innate. And so this poison has long ago infected many people, so much so that (to say nothing of others) it can by no means come about that a man born in France can summon any great affection for an Englishman, or contrariwise that an Englishman can love a Frenchmen, because of a hatred bred of their struggle for power and rule that, as I shown above, has been enhanced over many years by mutual slaughter. This was the reason for the great disaster which befell England’s overseas affairs. And Charles, the glory and light of the French, and their bravest commander, was the single man who by fighting on behalf of his subjects restored their affairs and enhanced them by right of war.
46. With the foreign war ended, domestic discords began to revive. For a goodly part of the nobility grumbled about the things that had been badly and disastrously done, casting the blame on others, but they unanimously cursed with all their heart Duke William of Suffolk as the plague and ruin of his nation, because he had squandered public money, because he had failed to give the army its pay, because he did not trouble to send reinforcements, because he had emptied the court of good councilors so he might do everything according to his whim. Because of statements such as this, the irate multitude accused the duke and his hangers-on of murder and corruption, and publicly called for his punishment. Seeing this, the queen, fearing seditions, dealt with the king that for the sake of appeasing the masses he should cast the duke in prison, which was done. But the queen, imagining that the public to be appeased by this disgrace suffered by William, ordered him to be freed from custody and returned to his erstwhile grace with the king. In response, the multitude was much more agitated than before and exclaim that it was an ill deed for a man convicted of so many felonies to remain in the palace and abide in honor. After the king heard these things, then at length he acknowledged that there was no more room for dissimulation, and first he punished the duke’s hangers-on who were parties to his guilt, then banished the duke himself, having it in mind that he would recall him after the multitude’s anger had subsided, since he was the apple of the queen’s eye. But this criminal, deserving of death, could by no means be saved. For when he boarded ship and sailed for France he was suddenly arrested and killed by his adversaries. And thus, as is reasonable to believe, William had his just punishment from God. For, in addition to all his other malfeasances, he is said to have contrived the murder of Gloucester, so that thus the shedding of an innocent man’s blood could be atoned for by his death.
47. But after the death of Duke William of Suffolk England could not enjoy peace, because of its domestic ills. The cause and beginning of these, as has been said, was factional strife, which have always been, and will always be, more deadly to peoples than foreign wars, than famine or disease. In this the people of Kent took particular delight, being both intolerant of injuries and desirous of alterations. For either they were solicited by Duke Richard of York, who was induced by a desire for rule to strive for innovation (his plan was that to create authority for himself by means of popular discord, and to become the head of a faction), or they were eager to avenge the injuries especially inflicted on themselves by the royal tax-gatherers. So they took up arms and chose a certain Jack Cade as their leader. Forming an army, they marched on London, and when they approached the city they encamped on a nearby hill. Here they quickly took counsel, and elected representatives who would present their demands, full of complaints, to the king and announce that for the sake of common liberty they had taken up arms against some of his councilors who had vexed the people by their very cruel extortions. If the king would give them their deserved punishment, they were ready to lay down their arms. The king thought that traitors’ spokesmen should not be given a hearing, and the quicker to bridle this popular fury he promptly sent Sir Humphrey Stafford with a choice band against the Kentishmen. When Humphrey approached the Kentishmen attacked and defeated him at the first encounter, and, having enjoyed that success, used the hope of plunder to recruit a multitude both of city men and peasants. Then together they attacked the city, and first entered it with no wrongdoing. But then, inspired by greed, they looted the opulent homes of some citizens and, lest they be said to be enthusiastic for pillage, they gave out that they were avenging wrongs committed by those citizens. But this finally turned out to their harm. For certain nobles delighted in these upheavals, since they had hopes for some improvement in the commonwealth. But when they perceived that the Kentishmen had turned to looting the city, they feared for their lives and thought they could not wait no longer to see how this fury turned out. But while the Kentishmen raged against the city like madmen, nobody dared resist them before they beheaded the Lord High Treasurer John Saye and several noblemen. Then Thomas Chalton, the Lord Mayor, and Thomas Canning and William Huline, the Sheriffs decided that such an evil should be countered by all means possible possible and assembled a large band of soldiers. And since Jack, the leader of the mob, was keeping his men on the far side of the Thames in the suburban village of St. George, and himself repaired there nightly, in the middle of the night they attacked the mob, under the leadership of Matthew Gough, and occupied the Bridge, killing the watchmen stationed there. But they failed to catch the Kentishmen unawares. For they were fearful and stood to arms at all times, day and night, and when by the shouting of their comrades they learned the townsmen held the bridge, they suddenly attacked them. In a trice a savage battle occurred. When Matthew saw that, contrary to his expectation, the Kentishmen were putting up a stiff resistance, he encouraged his men and proceeded no farther, but only strove to possess the place won in the battle until the day dawned, so that the rest of the townsmen, awakened by the hubbub, might know where to come to the aid of their struggling friends. But the mob began to press forward with such might that the townsmen began gradually to retire, and finally, suffering losses, were obliged to abandon the bridge. The Kentishmen quickly replaced them, and when thet had gained possession of the bridge they set fire to the little houses built along either side of it. Then you truly could have witnessed a sorry sight. For some men, fleeing the fire, ran headlong into hostile swords, to their destruction. Others leapt into the river, and still others, shrieking, died in the fire. Many, too, were killed in the fight itself, including Matthew Gough, a man of great virtue, patriotism, and martial glory, who for more than twenty years had served in the army overseas, to his great credit. But in the end it came about that this man, who had fought so often with the foreign enemy and emerged unscathed, was rewarded with death at the hands of his own countrymen. And the king, seeing the Kentishmen could not be overcome by arms, thought they must be put down by kindness, and so by edict granted immunity to all men who had participated in that uprising save for their leader Jack Cade, whom he wished to bear all the blame for that crime, since he was its ringleader. Hearing this, the common folk, hastened home with the townsmen’s spoils, as if they had gained their heart’s desire, having abandoned their leader, who paid with his head a little later.
48. After the Kentishmen’s rebellion had been settled in this way, a second and far deadlier one soon arose, which did much more to sap the strength of the commonwealth. For just as a body is all the worse off when it has had an illness, recovers, and then suffers a relapse, so the commonwealth was more vehemently inflicted when, after the end of the overseas war and the Kentish uprising, it fell once more into civil war. For Duke Richard of York, relying on the House of York’s hereditary right I have described in my life of Richard II, claimed the crown. When he realized that the Kentishmen had accomplished nothing with their fury, then he dared attempt more ambitious undertakings, and at York he held conversations with Thomas Courtenay Earl of Devonshire and Edward Brooke, a man of keen intelligence, about how he might achieve this without being accused of treason. And since Duke Edmund of Somerset was the only man at that time who did the work of a good councilor with his vigilance, concern, and willingness to undergo risk, and who greatly wished the nation to be free of factions, the king to be secure, and things to be tranquil, York had no doubt that he would oppose his will and intended enterprise. So he decided Somerset must be attacked, so he might either destroy him or make him an object of hatred for the people and the king. Therefore with great energy he busied himself in collecting an army, alluring sturdy young fellows with gifts and great promises. And so he might not seem to be contending against the king, under a show of avenging injuries inflicted on the people he publicly professed with great artfulness that he intended prosecute some bad royal councilors who had needlessly afflicted the people of England with countless wrongs and were plundering the realm, and he said much else designed to keep his plan from being evident to his adversaries. And so, giving out he was undertaking this war for the good of the commonwealth, he led a goodly-sized army into Kent, and when he came there he chose a place for his camp about ten miles from London. And there he learned by his spies what was being done at the royal court every hour of the day. And so that he would not be lacking reinforcements, should it come to a fight, he ordered his son Earl Edward of March, a man great in both in spirits and in counsel, to recruit new forces at home, and then to follow along with them. When King Henry learned of these things he convened his Privy Council and related what he had heard about York’s arrival in Kent. He asked each councilor his opinion about this enterprise, and what remedy was to be applied to such a great domestic war. They all thought it appropriate to confront York with a well-outfitted army, encamp within his sight, and ask him why he had taken up arms in the manner of a public enemy.
49. This plan was approved, and, faster than anyone imagined, the king brought his army in sight of the enemy, drawn up in nearly a square formation. Then he sent ambassadors to find out the reason for such a great disturbance and to seek for an agreement, but only if they discovered their adversaries were demanding just things. After he had heard the ambassadors, Duke Richard, moved either by the risk of a fight, or by the king’s sudden appearance, or by the hope of gaining a better opportunity, replied that he would set down his arms and come freely to the king, if the king would first command the arrest of Somerset, so he might be obliged to answer his own accusations. Hearing this reply from his ambassadors, and aware that he could not recall the duke to his loyalty without a deadly fight, nor be able to suppress domestic seditions without public disturbance if he did resort to arms, for the sake of peace commanded Somerset to confine himself to his home. When this had been done, York dismissed his army and came to the king, and lodged many complaints about Somerset’s arrogance and avarice, striving only to gain other men’s favor by accusing him. But Somerset, not thinking it fit both for his own dutifulness and also for the common weal to suffer this indignity, was unable to restrain himself from coming to the camp and confronting these accusations. He accused York himself of treason because he had conspired with his confederates for gaining the throne. The result of what he said was that when the king returned to London, York was led into the city as a captive. Here the king held a parliament to try this case, the dukes began to squabble among themselves, accusing each other of malfeasances. And Somerset, foreseeing what soon came to pass, greatly urged that York be seized and put to the question to reveal his plans and confess his crime, and then, having confessed, to be condemned for treason so that by the loss of a single nobleman a civil war might be nipped in the bud. His sons, too, should be adjudged enemies of their nation. And he prayed God his enemy would not get off scot-free. Somerset acted this way because he was sure that York was aiming at the throne, and had marked both himself and King Henry down for death. But fate’s necessity cannot be averted by any human counsels. For many things kept Somerset’s view from prevailing. First, the fact that York came to the king without his army, which struck many as proof of his clean conscience, albeit this was an act of deceit. Second, a new rumor saying that the duke’s son Edward was hastening towards London, accompanied by a great band of select and hopeful young man. And third, ambassadors had come from the citizenry of Bordeaux to tell Henry that its burghers had entered into a conspiracy, and were prepared to return to his rule, if he would send an army to Aquitaine. And the present opportunity invited this, because there were no French forces among them sufficient to fight a battle, and so nothing should take precedence over this war. So for these causes Duke Richard of York went home with the king’s consent, full of wrath and indignation. For he had already made up his mind to go to any lengths to avenge the insults of his enemies. The result of this feud, with the Duke of York suffering something like an exile, was that Somerset assumed greater authority, and together with Queen Margaret governed the nation. This was the year of human salvation 1452, the thirty-first of Henry’s reign, when Edward was born, the sole son of Henry and Margaret. As soon as he began to grow up he offered hope of an excellent nature, for he flourished with great virtue from the time he first attained the age of reason. And in this year died John Stafford Archbishop of Canterbury, and in his place was substituted John Kemp Archbishop of York, the sixty-second in this line, who was made a Cardinal by Pope Nicholas V. William Booth, Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield, was placed in charge of the see of York as its fifty-second archbishop.
50. After the Burgundian embassy had been heard, they chose to renew the war, and, having praised their burghers’ loyalty, the king undertook to send Talbot to Aquitaine with an army, to wage war against the French by land and sea. The ambassadors, hearing a response to their liking, went home furtively, just as they had come, and reported Henry’s instructions, thereby encouraging their fellow citizens. And when the king decided to assemble forces and ship them over to Aquitaine as soon as possible, Talbot undertook that war with an eagerness that he had never been seen to display before. What should we say of the fact that every hour before the army was ready was torture to him? And so he chose the best soldiers, weapons, horses, and the other tools of war, and likewise prepared abundant provisions and all the other things usually needful for war’s many and various requirements. And so, with everything ready to his satisfaction and his ships outfitted, he departed for Aquitaine, and arriving there with a favoring wind. Landing his forces, he raced through the countryside surrounding Bordeaux, and sent out his companies in all directions to range widely and terrorize the inhabitants. Hearing of Talbot’s arrival, the citizenry of Bordeaux sent messengers to him late at night, asking him to come nearer. Meanwhile such a fear overcame everybody not party to the plot that everything was in chaos. And in particularly, when Talbot came up, the French garrison in the city attempted to flee but fell into their enemies’ hands. They threw away their weapons and Talbot spared their lives. With Bordeaux retaken and strengthened by garrisons, Talbot went on and with no trouble took some neighboring towns together with their castles. For all the people in that district happily submitted to English power, because they had been mistreated by the French and were afflicted by a shortage of all things, thanks to the protracted war. And so at this same time ambassadors came to Talbot even from very remote cities, promising they would do as he instructed with alacrity. Meanwhile when Charles, who was at Tours, learned from messengers coming in thick and fast what Talbot was doing, and at the same time of the defection of the citizens of Bordeaux and other populaces, taking forces quickly scraped together he went against his enemies, and sent ahead a goodly part of his army to Périgord, to besiege the town of of Châtillon, which the English had taken and were holding with a garrison. The French marched quickly and surrounded the town, making suitable earthworks. Haring of this, Talbot took part of his army and went to Châtillon by forced marches, cut off some Frenchmen careless wandering around in the countryside, and encamped next to the enemies’ works. The next day he drew up his forces in battle array and attacked the enemy, who kept to their trench. In this there was a savage battle, fought on such even terms that for a long time no man knew which way the victory was inclining. But after a little while, since the French were able to reinforce their weary soldiers with fresh men, they were renewing the fight more energetically when at that very same moment Talbot was knocked from his horse by a cannon ball. Terrified at their captain’s misfortune, the English took to their heels. Many were killed on the spot, and the footmen slipped away in various directions. They reassembled at about sunset and with difficulty managed to get back to their own men. More than 1,000 Englishmen were killed, among them Talbot and a number of honorable men of honorable rank. This was the end of John Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury, after he had campaigned in France for twenty-four with great glory, a most distinguished and very brave man, and it was thanks to his virtue that the English name was so greatly dreaded by the French. Some of the English horsemen (who were the first to begin the flight) retired to the nearest places held by their countrymen, and some to Bordeaux. And the French, taking advantage of their victory, attacked the burghers Châtillon with more than their usual vigor, and quickly compelled them to surrender, since they despaired of help. With Châtillon recovered, within a few days they recovered the other towns from the English, either by force or by surrender. Only Bordeaux remained, in which resided all the English power. Charles moved to besiege it, but wasted many days without doing any arm. Indeed he himself was daily afflicted by difficulties, since the English frequently made sallies from the towers they had built along the coast, and for their part the citizens who belonged to the conspiracy, expecting they would have no chance of being forgiven by the French, put up a stout defense. But in the end, both were overcome by famine and forced by necessity to hand over the city and accept the terms Charles had offered many times previously, which were that the citizens would not be blamed for their treason and the English would be free to depart, and so, dismissed with their arms and their property, they returned to England safe and sound.
51. This, at last, was the end of the foreign wars, and at the same time there was a renewal of domestic killings. For when that fear of the foreign enemy, which had kept the realm in good order, was removed from the minds of the nobility, they began to compete for glory and rule in such a way that they openly tore the people into two factions, and henceforth two men, King Henry, who had his origin in the House of Lancaster, and Duke Richard of York, who traced his ancestry to Lionel, the son of Edward III, competed against each other for the crown. These two factions quickly rose to such power that they destroyed many men and inflicted much damage on the realm, while they sought to defeat each other by hook or crook, and burned to avenge themselves on those they had conquered. But, as I have said, this general disturbance took its origin from Duke Richard of Work. For he was overcome with a lust for gaining the crown, and he ceaselessly schemed about the means whereby he could so do. Nothing seemed better than to provoke the nobility’s hatred against Somerset, for he took it amiss that the kingdom was being governed by his will. And therefore he began complaining in the presence of all the nobility that the state of the realm was most wretched, deploring and bewailing it, and ascribing its cause to Somerset alone, whom he accused, slandered, and vituperated as an unjust, haughty, and dire tyrant. He likewise cast great blame on Henry for being a slothful and idle man, altogether unfit for ruling the commonwealth, and so he said it was in the nobility’s best interest to think of the situation, or rather to think up a remedy for it. By lodging such complaints the duke quickly brought it about that a goodly number of noblemen disapproved of the present status of the realm under which they lived, and wished for a general change, for they were overcome and provoked by both ambition and greed. And so, as party interests gradually diverged, York particularly acquired as partners in his faction the two Richard Nevilles, the one the Earl of Salisbury, and the other his son the Earl of Warwick. The latter had married Anne, the sister of Duke Henry of Warwick, who had deceased a few months previously, and as the girl’s dowry he had received that county, by royal assent. He was a young man not only wonderfully equipped with genuine virtues, but from his youth he had had a flair for putting these virtues on display. For because of his great wit and affability he was wonderful popularity with the common folk, and was helped in acquiring this by his liberality towards all men, and furthermore his loftiness of mind, matched by his physical powers, enhanced his popularity. The people were induced by these qualities to believe that there was no burden of state so great that this Richard could not bear it. So he quickly became so powerful that, wherever he inclined, so would the majority of the common people. So much for the son. The other Richard Neville, the father, was a man of equal virtue, but not of equal popularity. He was married to Alice, the sole daughter of Thomas Montague Earl of Salisbury, whom I have written above to have died in the siege of Orléans, and inherited his wealth. And by this Alice he had fathered Earl Richard of Warwick, John, and George. I return to my narrative.
52. After the Duke of York saw that the two Richards, father and son, were on his side, he prepared for war, devoting all his spirit and mind to it, and not long thereafter marched on London with well-prepared forces. The rumor of such an upheaval greatly terrorized London, when every man saw he must either run a great risk, or fall into disfavor of one or another of the nobility. Learning of his adversaries’ approach, the king gathered an army, and decided he must quickly go against them, so as to come to blows with them somewhere in York, far from London. For he held that city in suspicion, since its common folk were eager for innovation. But he had not gone farther than a two days’ journey when it was announced that York was at hand, who had arrived by forced marches. So he was obliged to pitch his camp at St. Albans and hold his men under arms, and meanwhile informed his adversaries by heralds not to come against him nor to trouble his people, like enemies of their country. While Henry did this, more eager for peace than war, Earl Richard of Warwick sounded the charge and was the first of all to engage the royal forces, because his part of the army was the greatest in number and strength of footmen. They for their part did not hesitate in entering the field. Both sides put up a hard fight from dawn until the ninth hour, with much slaughter, until in the end, with fresh adversaries replacing their wearied comrades, the royal forces were defeated and put to rout, with many soldiers killed along with their captains, including Duke Edmund of Somerset, Henry, the second Earl of Northumbria, John Clifford, and many other doughty knights. Henry was plunged into incredible grief by the loss of Somerset, because he had pinned all his hopes on him, and because such a great captain of war, who had vigorously fought for his nation against the French so many years, was in the end killed by his own countrymen. But nonetheless the man’s virtue had such power among his fellow citizens that they ensured his body was given to burial in the nearby monastery of St. Albans. Edmund left behind three sons, Henry, Edmund, and John, who belonged to Henry’s party. Furthermore, many men were taken prisoner, in which number was Henry himself. This was the year of salvation 1455, the thirty-fourth of Henry’s reign, besmirched by this domestic slaughter. In this same year John Kemp Archbishop of Canterbury died, having completed scarce three years of his pontificate. He was followed by Thomas Bourchier Bishop of Ely, the sixty-third archbishop, who was soon made a Cardinal with the title of St. Cyriac. At the same time Osmond, sometime Bishop of Salisbury, was canonized by Pope Calixtus for having been a most pious man. Even today his body is kept with great reverence in the cathedral at Salisbury, because many miracles are performed there. And King Charles of France departed this life, famous for surviving his many defeats. For he did not spend his youth in pleasures, but in labors, and he had the satisfaction of recovering his ancestral realm. Hence we may learn that catastrophe often leads to glory, but pleasure never. Louis XI succeeded his father.
53. Having gained this victory, the Duke of York reflected that from the beginning he had professed he was taking up arms so the commonwealth might achieve a more proper condition, and so he armed himself with mildness, pity, and liberality, and was so far from laying hands on King Henry that he escorted him to London no differently than if Henry himself were the victor. Here he quickly convened a parliament with his two Richard Nevilles and some of the other nobility who he thought proper to invite, and arranged to have himself appointed Protector of the Realm, the senior Neville Lord Chancellor of England, and the junior Richard Neville son governor of Calais, so that the government would be in the hands of himself and Richard the Chancellor, while the other Richard attended to military matters and Henry would be king in title, but not in fact. For he thought Henry should at time be spared lest he bring down popular rage on himself, because he was wonderfully loved, adored, and worshipped by the people for the the piety of his life. Matters thus disposed, those three enjoyed supreme power at home and abroad, since they could with no opposition deprive Henry of his realm or of his life. And they gradually removed the old members of the Privy Council, stripped them of their honor, deprived them of their authority, and replaced them with new men belonging to their own faction. The did, brought about, and accomplished the same with magistrates throughout the realm. But in the meanwhile Duke Henry of Somerset, who had succeeded his father Edmund, not against Henry’s will, Duke Humphrey of Buckingham, and a number of other nobles who sided with King Henry and grieved for his lot, since they were not unaware of the purpose of York’s deceitful kindness, thought that they should provide for the king at the first possible moment. And so they paid a secret visit to Queen Margaret and communicated their plan to her. They explained that York was treacherously seeking the king’s life, so that he might more readily overcome him by taking him unawares. She would to well to look to this matter quickly, and strive to separate her husband from these conspirators. The queen was deeply disturbed by these warnings, since she was equally afraid for herself and her husband, and after a few days she took the opportunity offered by the season of the year to advise her husband that, under the pretext of finding a more wholesome climate, he should retire to Coventry and there provide for his affairs. And so the king, seeing himself to be endangered, went there without delay, and assembled a parliament of his friends in which he ejected Duke Richard of York from his regency and the Earl of Salisbury from his magistracy, and sent letters summoning them both. But they, offended by this new insult, after having discussed for several days what they should do and how far they should go, ultimately retired, Richard to York, Salisbury to his earldom, and Warwick to Calais. I do not know what to report for sure about why they came to this decision, unless it was because that they were unprepared to go to war.
54. Thus these seditions inspired most especially the Londoners to riot, and, aroused by some trifling matter, the fickle mob attacked foreigners, especially those that were merchants, in its usual way, and, having wounded many of these, despoiled them of their fortunes before they could be repressed by the city council. And the rumor of such disturbances, when it reached the French, was the cause of greater damage. For the French, who at the time were guarding the coast of Normandy with their fleet, hearing that everything in England was thrown into chaos by seditions, and being induced by hope of gaining plunder, suddenly attacked the Kentish shore with a number of ships and landed. Burning villages everywhere, they collected a great deal of booty. And this civil discord served as an invitation to James King of Scots to wage war against the English. From the beginning he had feuded with Earl William Douglas, a noble man with many relations, because he thought Douglas was seeking the throne himself. His suspicion grew to the point that afterwards the king summoned him to a conference, and when he, possibly relying on his innocence, candidly responded to the charges leveled against him, James arranged his murder. Angered by this wrong, Earl Archibald of Murray and Hugh, the earls’ brothers, decided they should take up arms against the king and openly made war on him, and for a long time this preoccupied James and afflicted him with many troubles. But in the end he defeated his enemies and pacified the kingdom. This done, when he heard that the English were fighting among themselves for the crown, he immediately hastened to ravage their territories. And since no army appeared to counter him, he besieged Roxburgh, bringing up guns to attack the town. While busied with this task, behold, one of his brass cannons burst, and he was hit by its fragments and died on the spot. But they did not make the king’s death a reason for neglecting this opportunity to finish the business. Rather, they pressed it vigorously and gained Roxburgh a little later. James left three sons by his wife Mary, James, Alexander Duke of Albany, and John. James III was created king while he was a but a boy and was given James Kennedy Archbishop of St. Andrews, who was also Regent for a long time, because he was an upright man endowed most greatly with all the virtues.
55. Meanwhile Henry, assured the Duke of York was making no hostile attempt on himself at home, returned to London and convened a parliament, in which he declared that the French, learning the kingdom was distraught by civil discords, had lately dared vex the Kentish shore with their robberies, and that in another quarter the Scots, allured by this same thing, had taken Roxburgh, and that it was likely neither would hold their peace unless they discovered that concord had been established among the English nobility. And to foster that, he was willing to make an effort to reconcile York and to retain the good will of all men, so that the liberty of the realm would not be hazarded because of civil hatreds. All present approved his counsel, and he immediately sent grave, elderly men to York and the other nobles of his faction, inviting them to come to him. The Duke of York and the Earl of Salisbury came with to London with their allies, escorted by a large number of armed men lest they fall into a trap, something against which they were particularly on their guard. The Earl of Warwick, the governor of Calais, also made his appearance. After much talk about ancient injuries committed by both sides, and complaints lodged about wrongs both recent and half-forgotten, at length fear of foreign war carried so much weight, and all their minds were so averse to a criminal civil war, that they set aside their private hatreds and offenses and, being nobles zealous for the safety of their nation, swore their individual oaths to return to their ancient concord. This thing gave such happiness to all men that Peers and Commons rejoiced in mutual congratulations. And so throughout the realm, but particularly in London, with much veneration supplications were decreed to thank God, and the king and queen, together with a great bevy of noblemen, attended these services. This was the year of human salvation 1457, the thirty-sixth of Henry’s reign.
56. But treacherous and seditious men easily forgot concord and their oath, and so it came to pass that they did not hold dear either private hearths, nor public laws, nor the terms of this agreement, delighting only in discord, the murder of their fellow citizens, and war. For not many days after the nobles returned into good graces with their king a sudden commotion arose (it is now known whether this happened by accident or was the result of a scheme). For some members of the royal household came to blows with the Earl of Warwick at Westminster, and after a lengthy fight, even with the help of those who tried to intervene and stop the fight, the earl could barely retire to the river and escape his danger on a small boat. As a result of this incident, such a great war suddenly blazed up that all men were endangered by the possibility of fighting. After being made the victim of this assault, the earl betook himself to York, to the duke and his father the Earl of Salisbury, and told them of the insults he had received at the hands of those royal henchmen. When he had made his complaint, fearing lest during his absence he be deprived of his governorship, he crossed over to Calais, and there he lingered day to day while the duke could plan his strategy. The duke and the earl, offended by this assault, menacingly told each other this was nothing else but deceit and the madness of a woman (they meant Queen Margaret), who, imagining she could do as she pleased, was interested in nothing else than to torment, harass, and destroy the nobility by her womanly arts. Then they turned from words to deeds. For they decided that the earl should set out for London with a great army and expostulate with the king about this breach in their agreement, and, if he thought it best, he should not lose the opportunity of avenging his dignity on the queen and her councilors, who were administering the commonwealth badly. Taking this counsel, Salisbury began to march. Meanwhile the queen, helped and supported particularly by the counsel of the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham, was full of manlike diligence, vigilance, and speed, for she took it for granted that the Earl of Warwick purposefully caused the recent riot, so he might take advantage of that pretext for committing a crime he had already planed, so that York might finally seize power. And so this woman, very far from being silly, thought that there was no more reason to deal with her adversaries about concord, and learning that Salisbury was up in arms, convened the Privy Council to seek a remedy for these ills. Many thought that they should await the earl’s arrival, to see if he were bringing peace or war. Others pointed to the recent sedition as evidence the affair could not be dealt with without a fight, and so they should decide to go and confront him immediately. This view prevailed, and immediately James Tuchet Lord Audley was sent with an army to encounter the Earl of Salisbury while on the march and fight him, should the matter require it. By forced marches James came to the district of Litchfield, where the enemy had already arrived, and placed his camp as close to theirs as he could. On the following day Salisbury did not refuse this offer of a fight, and began the battle at daybreak. For a number of hours they fought sharply, and in the end Salisbury got the upper hand, with many killed on both sides. Among these was James Tuchet, with the result that, save for a few nobles taken prisoner, nearly the entire royal army was destroyed.
57. After this battle Duke Richard of York, realizing that his schemes against the king and queen were now obvious, manifest, and well known, and that they all places were struggling to avoid the impending mischief, thought there was no more point in dissimulation, and so, both for the sake of gaining the crown and protecting himself, he decided he must apply himself to this business with boldness. Therefore, together with Richard of Salisbury, the partner in all his plans and fortune, he recruited a new army, and so the both of them quickly brought together an army and encamped in Yorkshire. There they decided either to await the enemy or to go and confront him as he approached. An exaggerated rumor of their upheaval was brought to London and the king assembled an army as quickly as he could, and with great haste (as occurs in fearful circumstances) he came to Yorkshire and encamped not far from his enemy before they were aware of his coming. But the fight was scarcely memorable. For the conspirators suddenly took off in all directions, and I shall tell why. Earl Richard of Warwick had come to that war from Calais with a large band of soldiers, and joined himself to the duke and his father. His forces thus increased, the duke decided to fight a battle with his enemy on the following day. But meanwhile Andrew Trollope, a man of great military knowledge and loyalty, who had long served at Calais under King Henry, learning they were going to be fighting against the king (for he had understood Warwick to be his champion, not his foe), did not delay, but rather went over to Henry with his men in the night, and Henry gave him a friendly reception, being a faithful and experienced captain in war. As soon as York discovered this, he began to ponder marvelously in his mind, being greatly weighed down by doubt as to what he should do. For he knew for sure that the king had greater numbers, and he regretted that Andrew, an excellent captain, had been made his enemy, for just as that man’s loyalty had previously been a source of confidence, now it was a source of fear. And so, since he saw no way out of his dilemma, since he could devise nothing that did not entail some difficulty, even though he thought it would harm his cause if he were to abandon this war, he nevertheless thought that for the moment he needed to defer to the times. Therefore he crossed the sea and went to Ireland, keeping nearly all of his close associates in the dark about his whereabouts. And the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, together with York’s son Edward, the Earl of March, retired to Calais. The rest of his army was partly captured and partly scattered to the winds. After the flight of his enemies the king headed for Wales by forced marches to catch the Duke of York on the road, for he had learned he was traveling through that region on his way to the shore and he sent ahead some horsemen to hold the coast. But York had hired a ship for an enormous sum and already made his crossing before the horsemen arrived. Learning this while on the march, the king halted at Ludlow. While staying here he convened a council of his nobles in which he denounced all his adversaries as enemies of their nation, confiscated their goods, and sold them off. He likewise ordered their wives and children to be placed in custody, distributed rewards to the deserving, and executed, fined, or banished the captives. Here he judged old controversies, received the homage of the neighboring people who showed they wished for his welfare and came running to him, placed noble men who were upright and his proven friends in charge of the counties of Yorkshire and Durham for their protection and defense, and appointed Duke Henry of Somerset governor of Calais. But the old saw is true, just as an early sowing sometimes lets you down, so a late one is always bad. For in his conduct of this business delay hurt the king. For if he had snatched that place from his adversaries’ hands at the very beginning, beyond doubt he would have destroyed them utterly.
58. These things done, the king returned to London and, greatly relying on the support of the soldiers he was paying to garrison Calais, without any delay he sent Somerset to his prefecture on the Continent. The duke went to Calais and, displaying the royal warrant, demanded the town to be given him. But this the Earl of Warwick refused to do and, shutting the gates, kept him at a distance. Warwick was frightened, because he saw that the entire garrison was party to this act, and so he went to Guines, the nearest town in the king’s dominion, and took it from its governor, who was obedient to his command. Then, applying himself to avenging this insult with greater zeal and spirit, he began to fight daily battles against the soldiers of the earl. But Warwick, while he passed the time skirmishing with Somerset, gathered a large number of ships and sent a goodly part of the armed men in his command to the port of Sandwich, to plunder the place and deny access to his adversaries. They suddenly appeared at the harbor and unexpectedly attacked a number of ships that were outfitted and ready to cross the Channel and come to Somerset’s aid, and, taking these with no great effort, brought them to Calais together with much plunder. Then Warwick, seeing that his enemies posed no danger, crossed over to Ireland to the Duke of York and consulted, dealt, and deliberated with him about what to do. This done, he promptly returned to Calais and reported to his father and Earl Edward of March that the duke’s opinion that they should cross over to England with a ready army and, omitting no opportunity for successful action, to trouble King Henry with their fighting until he himself could come to their aid with a large number of soldiers. They liked this plan, and, coming over to England, set out for London. For this city was not strengthened by any garrisons, nor did it abound in equipment for war, and so it was of necessity open to all comers. Here they armed men of the lower classes and whoever else came running to them, prepared the other things needful for war, then with their assembled army they marched on Northampton, where the king had come a little earlier. The queen, learning of these things, and aided by the resources of the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham (since she was more concerned about things of this kind than was the king, for he acquiesced in her decisions alone), assembled an army with high spirits, summoning nobles of her faction from all over, who each made his appearance with a company of armed men, and in a short time she assembled her forces. The king, after discovering that, thanks to the efforts of the queen and the dukes, he was in possession of no mean army, decided to come to blows with his enemies, and encamped outside the town in the nearby meadows, along the river Nene. And when he had learned the enemy was at hand, he went to meet them and gave the signal for battle. The enemy did not shun a fight. The battle was joined early in the morning, and it was now noon when the king was defeated. A little less than 10,000 died in that fight, including Duke Humphrey of Buckingham, John Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury, an outstanding young man who resembled his ancestors, Thomas Lord Egremont, and very many others. And the number of those captured was very great, because many horsemen had elected to send away their horses and fight on foot, as was their habit. Above all, King Henry fell into his enemies’ clutches, a man born for human misery, calamity, and woe. The rest of the nobles who escaped this catastrophe, together with the queen and Prince Edward, fled to Yorkshire, and thence to County Durham, so that there they might rebuild their army, or, if there was no hope for renewing the war at present, continue on to Scotland, there to await until a better opportunity for success was offered. The victorious earls led Henry to London as a captive. Then they convened a parliament and arranged for his deposition. The Duke of York, assured of this victory, immediately appeared out of Ireland, and, entering the parliament, sat in the king’s chair. Then in the presence of all men he proclaimed himself king, saying that he had acted lawfully. But in the end reverence for majesty prevailed. For it was arranged by decree of parliament that after Henry’s death the legacy of the crown should come to the House of York, and meanwhile Duke Richard of York should be Regent of the realm. Thus it pleased God that Henry, a pious man, who had continually suffered so many defeats, should be deprived of his earthly kingdom, destined soon to have one in heaven. For no good man, even if subject to a thousand buffets, cannot be blessed. The common folk believe that this misfortune was forecast by a prodigy, since they say that a little earlier when Henry was sitting in his Privy ouncil wearing the crown, the crown suddenly fell to the ground from off his head. The year in which these things were done was the year of human salvation 1459, the thirty-eighth of Henry’s reign.
59. After these things, York, knowing for sure that the queen would not be content with this decree of parliament, hastened to Yorkshire to pursue her, and pitched camp in a village defended by a castle named Wakefield, about ten miles west of York, and here he consulted with his captains about attacking the enemy. Some were of the opinion they should not fight until his son Edward had come up with new forces. But the duke, relying on his martial skill and the power of his soldiers, led his soldiers out of camp against their enemies in battle array. And the queen, who had made up her mind to rescue her husband by arms and so had already assembled a large army, when she learned her enemies were approaching, immediately went to meet them and engaged them in a battle. They fought with wonderful dash until many of those who had joined battle were killed and York’s men were surrounded by her multitude, because they were few in numbers. Then the queen exhorted her men, and in a trice they overwhelmed their surviving enemies. In that battle fell Duke Richard of York, the head of this faction, with his son Earl Edmund of Rutland, and likewise Thomas Neville, David Hall, John Parr, Walter Limbrick, John Gedding, Eustace Wentworth, Guy Harington, all knights, and also those sturdy officers James Fitzjames, Ralph Hastings, John Baume, and Roland Digby. Among the captives were Earl Richard of Salisbury, the other head of the conspiracy, who together with some others was beheaded a little later, and their heads, mounted on pikes, were carried to York as a spectacle to terrorize the people and the rest of Henry’s adversaries. Then the queen headed for London with a fast army, and had reached St. Albans when she met the Earl of Warwick, who was coming to the aid of York, bringing the king with him. Here the woman, acting no less spiritedly than she had in Yorkshire, attacked and defeated her enemy, and took back her husband. Queen Margaret certainly fought more successfully under her own auspices than those of her husband. After this defeat at St. Albans Warwick, the single man on whom the entire weight of the war rested, learned that Earl Edward March had retired to Wales after the battle of Wakefield, in which his father the duke had been killed, and there, having defeated Earl Jasper of Pembroke, an adherent of Henry’s who had come against him, and was preparing a new army. So he went to him, and met him with a large number of armed men as he approached the borders of Oxfordshire. Here the two of them debated what to do, and decided to go to London, which they knew to sympathize with them. After they adopted this counsel, Edward was acclaimed as king by his followers, with Henry being entirely stripped of royal power because he had not stood by his agreement or heeded the decree of parliament, just as if he were already victorious. Meanwhile Henry, who held the Londoners in suspicion and had decided not to go there, because he saw the remainder of his adversaries to be hanging over his head, went from St. Albans to York. There he increased his forces, because he imagined was now at the end of his labors and perils, with the heads of the opposing faction killed, and so he entertained hopes of destroying what remained in a single battle.
60. But things turned out otherwise than Henry imagined, since instead of two heads there remained one, and him by far the most powerful, who could not be put down. For Edward was the darling of the Londoners, favored by the common folk, on everybody’s lips, in everybody’s mouths. He enjoyed the support of all men of both high and low degree. All men praised him to the skies for his liberality, mercy, integrity, and fortitude. And so with marvelous enthusiasm men of all ages and conditions came flocking and swore their homage to him. Induced by these things to hope for victory, Edward readied his forces as best he could so that he could join battle with his enemies and could someday set the seal on all his efforts and victories. And so, defended by these forces, he marched for York, and came within about eleven miles of it. There halted at a hamlet named Towton. When Henry learned that his enemies were at hand he did not immediately leave his camp, for this was Palm Sunday, sacred to the Lord, and he thought he should pray rather than fight, so as to be more prosperous in battle on the following day. But his soldiers, being habitually impatient of delay, brought it about that on the dawn of that very day, after consuming many words in urging each man to fight boldly for himself, he gave the signal for battle. His adversaries were not behindhand in doing the same. The fight was begun by the archers, but soon they used up their arrows and they came to the hand-to-hand fighting, with so much slaughter that the bodies of the dead served to impede those in the fight. And so they fought for more than ten hours, with the victory still hanging in the balance, when Henry saw that that the enemy forces were growing and his own men were falling back a little. So once more he urged them to fight harder, then in the company of a few horsemen he retired from that place a little, waiting to see the outcome of the fight when, behold, suddenly his soldiers fled the field. Seeing this, he too took to his heels. About 20,000 men died on both sides. Among these were Henry, the third Earl of Northumbria, Andrew Trollope, and a number of other noblemen. And the number of captives and wounded, of whom some were cured and others died, was about 10.000. This fight weakened England marvelously, for those who died were adequate to wage a foreign war, both in their number and in their strength. To take advantage of this victory Edward sent ahead some lightly-armed horsemen to arrest Henry and the queen in mid-flight. But they rode continually through the night, so that, not breaking their journey that night or the following day, on the second day they came to Scotland safe and sound, and immediately miserably sent to King James, asking in the name of their old kinship that they be received in his kingdom and protected by his resources in the midst of such a calamity. Because of the king’s young age, their realm was under the government of several nobles, particularly James Kennedy Archbishop of St. Andrews, as I have shown. Afterwards he consoled him, and urged him to bear the outcome of the late war with equanimity, and he treated him most kindly, liberally, and honorably the whole time he was in Scotland. Henry, obliged by this kindness, that he might likewise bind to himself a king on whose help he at present greatly depended and relied, or to diminish his adversaries’ wealth, gave him Berwick to keep forever. And yet there exists a story that Henry, overwhelmed by such misery, did not do this freely, but rather against his will, so that he might be safe in Scotland. But, no matter how the thing was done, it is agreed that James, taking the town, promised that for his part he would be at Henry’s disposal, and afterwards he was not behindhand in doing so. These things having been done, Margaret took her son Edward and went to France to join her father Duke René of Anjou, bent on preparing an army with her father’s help. But Henry chose to stay in Scotland with some noblemen of his party who followed him there, until with his friends’ help he could take up arms once more, as he hoped would soon come to pass, when it would be allowed him to consult for himself and his affairs. So much for Henry VI and his variable fortune. He reigned thirty-eight years. And yet, since ten years after being defeated he regained the throne, it will be fitting to continue with the remaining account of his life and death in my next Book.

Go to Book XXIV