Billeder på siden

was nearest to the north bank, and thus rendered a direct assault from the Tourelles upon the city impossible. But the

Joan appeared at the camp at Blois, clad in a new suit of brilliant white armor, mounted on a stately black war-horse,

greatly by a battery of cannon which they planted there, and which commanded some of the principal streets.

[ocr errors]

wield with skill and grace. Her head was unhelmeted; so that all could behold her fair and expressive features, her deep-set and earnest eyes, and her long black hair, which was parted across her forehead, and bound by a ribbon behind her back. She wore at her side a small battle-axe, and the consecrated sword, marked on the blade with five crosses, which bad at her bidding been taken for her from the shrine of St. Catherine at Fierbois. A page carried her banner, which she had caused to be made and embroidered as her Voices enjoined. It was white satin, strewn with fleur-de-lis; and on it were the words “ JHESUS MARIA," and the representation of the Saviour in His glory. Joan afterwards generally bore her banner herself in battle; she said that though she loved her sword much, she loved her banner forty times as much; and she loved to carry it because it could not kill any

[graphic][ocr errors]



It has been observed by Hume, that this is the first siege in which any important use appears to have been made of artillery.

The Orleannais now in their distress offered to surrender the city into the hands of the Duke of Burgundy, who, though the ally of the English, was yet one of their native princes. The Regent, Bedford, refused these terms, and the speedy submission of the city to the English seemed inevitable. The Dauphin Charles, who was now at Chinon with his remnant of a court, despaired of maintaining any longer the struggle for his crown; and was only prevented from abandoning the country by the more masculine spirits of his mistress and his queen. Yet neither they, nor the boldest of Charles's captains, could have shown him where to find resources for prolonging the war; and least of all could any human skill have predicted the quarter whence rescưe was to come to Orleans and to France.

In the village of Domrémy, on the borders of Lorraine, there was a poor peasant of the name of Jacques d'Arc, respected in his station of life, and who had reared a family in virtuous babits and in the practice of the strictest devotion. His eldest daughter was named by her parents Jeannette, but she was called Jeannė by the French, which was Latinized into Jobanna, and Anglicized into Joan. At the time when Joan first attracted attention, she was about eighteen years

Joan marched from Blois on the 25th of April with a convoy of provisions for Orleans, accompanied by Dunois, La Hire, and the other chief captains of the French; and on the evening of the 28th they approached the town. In the words of the old chronicler Hall:—"The Englishmen, perceiving that they within could not long continue for faute of vitaile and pouder, kepte not their watche so diligently as thei were accustomed, nor scoured now the countrey environed as thei before had ordained. Whiche negligence the citizens shut in perceiving, sente worde thereof to the French captaines, which with Pucelle in the dedde tyme of the nighte, and in a greate rayne and thundere, with all their vitaile and artillery entered into the citie."

Early in the morning of the 7th of May, some thousands of the best French troops in Orleans heard mass and attended the confessional by Joan's orders; and then crossing the river in boats, as on the preceding day, they assailed the bulwark of the Tourelles, “with light hearts and heavy hands.” But Gladsdale's men, encouraged by their bold and skilful leader, made a resolute and able defence. The Maid planted her banner on the edge of the fosse, and then springing down into the ditch, she placed the first ladder against the wall, and began to mount. An English archer sent an arrow at her, which pierced her corselet and wounded her severel ybetween the neck and shoulder. She fell bleeding from the ladder; and the English were leaping down from the wall to capture her, but her followers bore her off. She was carried to the rear and laid upon the grass; her armor was taken off, and the anguish of her wound and the sight of her blood, made her at first tremble and weep. But her confidence in her celestial mission soon returned: her patron saints seemed to stand before her and reassure her. She sate up and drew the arrow out with her own hands. Some of the soldiers who stood by wished to stanch the blood, by saying a charm over the wound; but she forbade them, saying, that she did not wish to be cured by unballowed means. She had the wound dressed with a little oil, and then bidding her confessor come to her, she betook herself to prayer.

In the meanwhile, the English in the bulwark of the Tourelles, had repulsed the oft-renewed efforts of the French to scale the wall. Dunois, who commanded the assailants, was at last discouraged, and gave orders for a retreat to be sounded. Joan sent for him and the other generals, and im

of age.

While Charles and his doctors of theology, and court ladies, had been deliberating as to recognizing or dismissing the Maid, a considerable period had passed away, during which a small army, the last gleanings, as it seemed, of the English sword, had been assembled at Blois, under Dunois, La Hire, Xaintrailles, and other chiefs, who to their natural valor were now beginning to unite the wisdom that is taught by misfortune.

It was resolved to send Joan with this force and a convoy of provisions to Orleans. The distress of that city had now become urgent. But the communication with the open country was not entirely cut off: the Orleannais had heard of the Holy Maid whom Providence had raised up for their deliverance, and their messengers urgently implored the dauphin to send her to them without delay.


plored them not to despair. “By my God," she said to them, of La Pucelle or the Maid of Orleans. Charles "you shall soon enter in there. Do not doubt it. When you

consented to accompany her to Rheims at see my banner wave again up to the wall, to your arms again! the fort is yours. For the present rest a little, and take some

the head of only 12,000 men; and he was crowned food and drink." “ They did so," says the old chronicler of the in that city, like his predecessors since Clovis, on siege, “ior they obeyed her marvellously.” The faintness the 12th of July. Meanwhile, his bands gained caused by her wound had now passed off, and she headed the

various minor victories; Suffolk was taken prisoner, French in another rush against the bulwark. The English, who had thought her slain, were alarmed at her reappear

and several English and Burgundian garrisons were ance; while the French pressed furiously and fanatically for- expelled. ward. A Biscayan soldier was carrying Joan's banner. She The path of Charles to Paris now seemed open, had told the troops that directly the banner touched the wall

and even Bedford's tenacity must have yielded, but they should enter. The Biscayan waved the banner forward from the edge of the fosse, and touched the wall with it; and

for a reinforcement of 5,000 men, which his uncle, then all the French host swarmed madly up the ladders that Cardinal Beaufort, was leading through France now were raised in all directions against the English fort. At

against the Hussites in Bohemia. Charles was conthis crisis, the efforts of the English garrison were distracted

tent to avoid a decisive battle, and the war lanby an attack from another quarter. The French troops who had been left in Orleans, bad placed some planks over the

guished for a year, till fortune brought to Bedford broken part of the bridge, and advanced across them to the a momentary success at the cost of lasting infamy. assault of the Tourelles on the northern side. Gladsdale re

In a sally from Compiègne, May 26, 1430, the Maid solved to withdraw his men from the landward bulwark, and concentrate his whole force in the Tourelles themselves. He

of Orleans was taken prisoner by the Burgundians was passing for this purpose across the drawbridge that con

under John of Luxemburg, from whom Bedford nected the Tourelles and the tête-du-pont, when Joan, who purchased the captive. Whether from revenge, or by this time had scaled the wall of the bulwark, called out to

only from policy, in the hope of depressing the him, “Surrender, surrender to the King of Heaven. Ah, Glacidas, you have foully wronged me with your words, but I

spirits of the French by her fate and exposure, as have great pity on your soul and the souls of your men.” The

much as they had been exalted by faith in her diEnglishman, disdainful of her summons, was striding on vine mission, he had her brought to trial for soracross the drawbridge, when a cannon-shot from the town

cery and heresy. Her courage at length gave way, carried it away, and Gladsdale perished in the water that ran beneath. After his fall, the remnant of the English aban

and she confessed that her revelations were illusions doned all further resistance. Three hundred of them had or impostures. But the respite thus obtained was been killed in the battle, and two hundred were made soon forfeited by a stratagem of her persecutors, prisoners.

who placed a suit of male attire in her cell, and The broken arch was speedily repaired by the exulting Orleannais; and Joan made her triumphal re-entry into the city

treated her assumption of that dress as a relapse, by the bridge that had so long been closed. Every church in excluding her from pardon. Her career was closed, Orleans rang out its gratulating peal; and throughout the and her fame sealed, by her committal to the flames night the sounds of rejoicing echoed, and the bonfires blazed

in the market-place of Rouen, June 14, 1431. up from the city. But in the lines and forts which the besiegers yet retained on the northern shore, there was anxious

But her work survived her, and her death brought watching of the generals, and there was desponding gloom

no revival to the English cause. among the soldiery. Even Talbot now counseled retreat. In 1445, Henry was married to Margaret of AnOn the following morning, the Orleannais, from their walls,

jou, daughter of René, the titular king of Sicily, saw the great forts called "London" and "St. Lawrence," in flames; and witnessed their invaders busy in destroying the

Naples, and Jerusalem. At the door of the Duke stores and munitions which had been relied on for the destruc- of Suffolk, when he became minister, was laid the tion of Orleans. Slowly and sullenly the English army re- hatred of the English people. tired; but not before it had drawn up in battle array opposite

The people, exasperated by the loss of the French to the city, as if to challenge the garrison to an encounter. The French troops were eager to go out and attack, but Joan

provinces, and jealous of the queen as a French forbade it. The day was Sunday. “In the name of God," princess, hated Suffolk as the negotiator of the she said, “ let them depart, and let us return thanks to God." treaty with France; but they hated him still more She led the soldiers and citizens forth from Orleans, but not

as one of the murderers of the good duke of for the shedding of blood. They passed in solemn procession round the city walls; and then, while their retiring enemies

Gloucester. That unhappy prince had also friends were yet in sight, they knelt in thanksgiving to God for the among the highest nobility who desired to avenge deliverance which he had vouchsafed them.

his death, and among these was Richard, duke of This exploit obtained for her the well-known title York, whose claim to the crown began to be put


forward. On the 28th of January, 1450, Suffolk was impeached by the commons, and sentenced to banishment for five years; but his enemies had him seized between Dover and Calais, and he was beheaded on the side of a boat, May 2, 1450, while no · inquiry was made after the murderers.

Connected with the movement against Sutfolk was the formidable popular insurrection headed by John Cade, a native of Ireland, who had been exiled to France for his crimes. Assuming the popular name of Mortimer, he gathered a force of 20,000 men in Kent, May 1450, defeated and killed Sir Humphrey Stafford at Sevenoaks, and encamped at Blackheath, whence he sent in to the court a list of griev

On July 1 he entered London, and beheaded Lord Say and Sele, treasurer of England, and a friend of Suffolk. Four days later, the citizens, aided by the governor of the Tower, repulsed him with great slaughter; and his adherents retired and dispersed on receiving a pardon, which was afterwards withdrawn. Cade himself was killed in Sussex.

The “Wars of the Roses" commenced at the first battle of St. Albans, May 23, 1455, where the first blood was shed in that frightful civil contest between the houses of York and Lancaster which exhausted England for thirty years, and in which twelve pitched battles were fought, eighty princes of the blood were killed, and the nobility of England almost destroyed. It may be well here to recall to mind the scene in which Shakespeare describes the choice by the two parties of those symbols which gave to the conflict the name of the “Wars of the Roses:"

be committed; but this compromise was rejected by Queen Margaret, who assembled an army of 20,000 men in the north. The Duke of York, marching to meet her with only 5,000 men, was defeated and killed near Wakefield, December 31, 1460. His son, the Duke of Rutland, a fair youth of sixteen, was butchered in cold blood by the Lord Clifford; and the Earl of Salisbury and other noble prisoners were beheaded without trial at Pontefract. Thus began the brutal murders and executions which envenomed the Wars of the Roses.

Richard, duke of York, who thus perished in the fiftieth year of his age, left three sons: Edward, soon to be King Edward IV.; George, duke of Clarence; and Richard, afterwards King Richard III. On the 28th of February the Duke of York entered London, and on the 3d of March the citizens proclaimed him king by the title of Edward IV.

Thus ended the dynasty of Lancaster and the reign of its third king, the former having lasted sixty-two years, and the latter thirty-eight. Amidst all public disasters, the gentler virtues of Henry bore other fruits, of more lasting benefit than the crown of Bolingbroke and the laurels of Agincourt. The magnificent schools of Eton and King's College, Cambridge, were his foundations--the former in 1440, the latter three years later. Queen's College, Cambridge, was founded by Queen Margaret in 1449. The Public Schools at Oxford were also founded in this reign, 1439, as well as Lincoln and Magdalen Colleges, Oxford, 1428 and 1458.

Edward IV., 1461-1483, was not quite twenty years of age when he was installed as king. He at once marched northwards against Queen Margaret, who had collected a force of 60,000 men in Yorkshire. Edward and Warwick, at the head of 40,000 men, encountered her at Towton, near Tadcaster, and defeated her in a bloody battle on March 29. Edward gave no quarter, and 28,000 Lancastrians were left on the field, his own loss being 8,000. Margaret, with Henry and their .son, fled to Scotland, while Edward returned to London, and was crowned on the 29th of June. On November 4, parliament recognized his title; and, while confirming the acts of the Henries, described them as “late in fact, but not of right, kings of England." Numerous executions at once struck terror into the Lancastrians and displayed the innate cruelty of the youthful king.

Meanwhile Queen Margaret sought the aid of the

“Plant. Since you are tongue-tied, and so loth to speak,

In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts:
Let him that is a true-born gentleman,
And stands upon the honor of his birth,
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,

From this briar pluck a white rose with me.
Som. Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,

But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me."

K, Henry VI., Part I. Act ii. Sc. 4.

In the year 1460 the queen was defeated in battle at Northampton, the king taken prisoner, and Margaret fled to Scotland with her son. Parliament decided that Henry should retain the crown during his life, and be succeeded by the Duke of York, to whose hands the administration should meanwhile

crafty king of France, Louis XI., promising Calais noble youth of eighteen, replied, “To recover my as a bribe. After some futile efforts, made from father's kingdom and heritage.” The savage vicher retreat in Scotland, she at length marched into tor, stung by his boldness, struck him on the face England in 1464, and was joined by several of the with his gauntlet, and the dukes of Clarence and nobles of the north, where the strength of the Lan- Gloucester despatched him with their daggers. castrians always lay; but her army was routed and Queen Margaret was also taken prisoner in a condispersed by Lord Montacute, the brother of War- vent near the battle-field, and was conveyed to the wick, in the battles of Hedgley Moor and Hexham, Tower of London. In the same fortress Henry VI. April 15 and May 15.

was shortly afterwards found dead; and his body was The deposed king and queen escaped in different exposed in St. Paul's on the day after Edward's endirections from the battle-field. It is said that try into London, May 22, 1471. It is probable that Margaret, concealing herself in a forest with her he was murdered, but there is no reason for fixing son, fell into the hands of robbers, who took her the guilt on Gloucester rather than on the king. jewels and treated her with insult. As they were He was venerated by the Lancastrians as a martyr, quarreling over their booty, she made her escape and it was even proposed to canonize him; but the into the thickest of the forest; and there, ex- pope, as Lord Bacon suggests, thought that "a hausted with fatigue and sorrow, she saw a robber distance should be kept between innocents and approach with his sword drawn. Forming a reso- saints." lution worthy of her fortitude, she advanced to- In 1475 Edward invaded France, relying on the wards him with the young prince, and said, “Here, aid of his brother-in-law Charles of Burgundy; but my friend, I commit to your care the safety of your the duke kept aloof, and Louis XI., in a personal king's son." Touched by the confidence reposed interview at Pecquigni, near Amiens, bought over in him, the robber devoted himself to their service, Edward with 75,000 crowns and a promise of 50,000 and aided their escape to Flanders. Henry was annually, besides paying 50,000 more for the ranless fortunate. After hiding for some time at the som of Queen Margaret. That noble-spirited but houses of his friends in Lancashire, he was at length unhappy princess died in 1482. The rest of Edbetrayed, carried into London by Warwick with his ward's reign was spent in the indolence of a worn-. feet tied under his horse's belly, and thrown into out voluptuary, relieved only by the cruelty which the Tower, July, 1466.

is so often combined with selfish pleasure. He put Warwick (the king-maker) entered into an al- to death his brother Clarence on the meanest and liance with Queen Margaret, who was quietly resid

most frivolous pretence. ing at her father's court of Anjou. Edward fled to In 1480 a war broke out with Scotland. That kingLynn, and thence to Flanders. Charles the Bold,

Charles the Bold, do

dom had been a prey to disorder ever since the caphis brother-in-law, gave him a small force, where- tivity of James I. Restored by the policy of the Duke with to attempt his restoration. He landed in of Bedford in 1424, James had been killed by a conEngland and was received in London, where he spiracy of his nobles in 1436. His successor, James sent the luckless King Henry back to the Tower; II., had ended a reign which was almost a constant and meeting Warwick at Barnet, defeated him, the civil war, by the bursting of a gun at the siege of king-maker dying on the field of battle.

Roxburgh, then held by the English, 1460. His On the same day Queen Margaret and her son son, James III., having abandoned himself to lowlanded at Weymouth with a small French force, born favorites, on attaining his majority, 1478, had and soon gathered an army in the west. Edward imprisoned his brothers, the Duke of Albany and hastened to meet her on the fatal field of Tewkes- the Earl of Mar. Mar was put to death, 1479, bury, May 4, where the Lancastrians lost their last while Albany escaped and found an ally in England. battle and the life of their young prince, who was Edward IV. had, in 1474, betrothed his infant foully murdered after the fight. He was taken daughter Cecilia to the infant son of James; and prisoner in the battle and brought before the king, the stipulated instalments of the dowry had been who, with an insulting manner, asked him how he paid in advance till 1478, when Edward broke off dared invade his dominions. Prince Edward, a the treaty, preferring a more splendid alliance with

the Dauphin of France. He now renewed his claim the courage of despair, and seeking to encounter of suzerainty over Scotland, which Albany admitted. Richmond hand to hand. His body, thrown like a The war resulted in Albany's submission to his pack across a horse, was carried into Leicester brother, and in the permanent gain to England of amidst the insults of the populace, and buried in Berwick-upon-Tweed, 1482.

the church of the Grey Friars, Aug. 25. His sucEdward's treachery towards James was retorted cessor honored him with a mean tomb, which was upon himself by Louis XI., who, in 1483, broke off rifled at the suppression of the monastery, and his the marriage contract between the Dauphin and the stone coffin is said to have been long used as the princess Cecilia. While preparing to avenge the in- horse-trough of an inn. sult, Edward was seized with an illness, the fruit of Thus ended the house of York, and with it the his excesses, and died on the 9th of April, 1483, in dynasty of the Plantagenets, during whose rule of the forty-second year of his age.

three hundred and thirty years England had beRichard III., 1483-1485, called "Crook back," on come, in all essential points, the land of constituaccount of one of his shoulders being higher than tional liberty and one of the first powers of the the other, began his reign with a deed of blood world in arms and commerce, arts and literature. which has thrown all his other atrocities into the The short and troubled reign of Richard III. was shade—the murder of Edward V. and his brother, marked by many important enactments and adminthe Duke of York, in the Tower. The bones of istrative improvements; and his are the first statutes these two youths were discovered in 1674, under a couched in the English language and embodied in a staircase in the “White,” or “Bloody Tower.” printed form.

These atrocious crimes found an avenger in Indeed, the great glory of the age was the introHenry, earl of Richmond, the surviving heir of the duction of printing into England by William Carhouse of Lancaster; who, aided by Charles VIII. of ton, under the patronage of the Lord Rivers who France, landed in England, and revived the spirits was executed by Richard III. Born at London, of a party almost extinguished in the kingdom. about 1412, Caxton, in his intercourse with the conAt length the two armies met at Market-Bosworth, tinent as a merchant, learned the art of printing, near Leicester, Aug. 22, 1485. Richmond had 6,000 which had been invented in Germany about 1450, men, and Richard twice as many; but the balance and adopted it as his calling. He set up his press was restored by a force of 7,000 under the consta- in the Almonry at Westminster, in 1477, and died ble, Lord Stanley, who held aloof till the crisis of the probably in 1492. He issued about sixty-four works, battle, and then decided the victory by taking part nearly all in English, the last of which bears date with Richmond. Richard was slain, fighting with in 1490.

« ForrigeFortsæt »