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A Popular History of France Vol 3
CHAPTER XXV. LOUIS XI. (1461-1483.)
by Guizot, Francois Pierre Guillaume


Louis XI. was thirty-eight years old, and had been living for five years in voluntary exile at the castle of Genappe, in Hainault, beyond the dominions of the king his father, and within those of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, when, on the 23d of July, 1461, the day after Charles VII.'s death, he learned that he was King of France. He started at once to return to his own country, and take possession of his kingdom. He arrived at Rheims on the 14th of August, was solemnly crowned there on the 18th, in presence of the two courts of France and Burgundy, and on the 30th made his entry into Paris, within which he had not set foot for six and twenty years. In 1482, twenty-one years afterwards, he, sick and almost dying in his turn at his castle of Plessis-les-Tours, went, nevertheless, to Amboise, where his son the dauphin, who was about to become Charles VIII., and whom he had not seen for several years, was living. "I do expressly enjoin upon you," said the father to the son, "as my last counsel and my last instructions, not to change a single one of the chief officers of the crown. When my father. King Charles VII., went to God, and I myself came to the throne, I disappointed [i.e., deprived of their appointments] all the good and notable knights of the kingdom who had aided and served my said father in conquering Normandy and Guienne, in driving the English out of the kingdom, and in restoring it to peace and good order, for so I found it, and right rich also. Therefrom much mischief came to me, for thence I had the war called the Common Weal, which all but cost me my crown."

With the experience and paternal care of an old man, whom the near prospect of death rendered perfectly disinterested, wholly selfish as his own life had been, Louis's heart was bent upon saving his son from the first error which he himself had committed on mounting the throne. "Gentlemen," said Dunois on rising from table at the funeral-banquet held at the abbey of St. Denis in honor of the obsequies of King Charles VII., "we have lost our master; let each look after himself." The old warrior foresaw that the new reign would not be like that which had just ended. Charles VII. had been a prince of indolent disposition, more inclined to pleasure than ambition, whom the long and severe trials of his life had moulded to government without his having any passion for governing, and who had become in a quiet way a wise and powerful king, without any eager desire to be incessantly and everywhere chief actor and master. His son Louis, on the contrary, was completely possessed with a craving for doing, talking, agitating, domineering, and reaching, no matter by what means, the different and manifold ends he proposed to himself. Anything but prepossessing in appearance, supported on long and thin shanks, vulgar in looks and often designedly ill-dressed, and undignified in his manners though haughty in mind, he was powerful by the sheer force of a mind marvellously lively, subtle, unerring, ready, and inventive, and of a character indefatigably active, and pursuing success as a passion without any scruple or embarrassment in the employment of means. His contemporaries, after observing his reign for some time, gave him the name of the universal spider, so relentlessly did he labor to weave a web of which he himself occupied the centre and extended the filaments in all directions.

As soon as he was king, he indulged himself with that first piece of vindictive satisfaction of which he was in his last moments obliged to acknowledge the mistake. At Rheims, at the time of his coronation, the aged and judicious Duke Philip of Burgundy had begged him to forgive all those who had offended him. Louis promised to do so, with the exception, however, of seven persons whom he did not name. They were the most faithful and most able advisers of the king his father, those who had best served Charles VII. even in his embroilments with the dauphin, his conspiring and rebellious son, viz., Anthony de Chabannes, Count of Dampmartin, Peter de Breze, Andrew de Laval, Juvenal des Ursins, &c. Some lost their places, and were even, for a while, subjected to persecution; the others, remaining still at court, received there many marks of the king's disfavor. On the other hand, Louis made a show of treating graciously the men who had most incurred and deserved disgrace at his father's hands, notably the Duke of Alencon and the Count of Armagnac. Nor was it only in respect of persons that he departed from paternal tradition; he rejected it openly in the case of one of the most important acts of Charles VII.'s reign, the Pragmatic Sanction, issued by that prince at Bourses, in 1438, touching the internal regulations of the Church of France and its relations towards the papacy. The popes, and especially Pius II., Louis XI.'s contemporary, had constantly and vigorously protested against that act. Barely four months after his accession, on the 27th of November, 1461, Louis, in order to gain favor with the pope, abrogated the Pragmatic Sanction, and informed the pope of the fact in a letter full of devotion. There was great joy at Rome, and the pope replied to the king's letter in the strongest terms of gratitude and commendation. But Louis's courtesy had not been so disinterested as it was prompt. He had hoped that Pius II. would abandon the cause of Ferdinand of Arragon, a claimant to the throne of Naples, and would uphold that of his rival, the French prince, John of Anjou, Duke of Calabria, whose champion Louis had declared himself. He bade his ambassador at Rome to remind the pope of the royal hopes. "You know," said the ambassador to Pius II., "it is only on this condition that the king my master abolished the Pragmatic; he was pleased to desire that in his kingdom full obedience should be rendered to you; he demands, on the other hand, that you should be pleased to be a friend to France; otherwise I have orders to bid all the French cardinals withdraw, and you cannot doubt but that they will obey." But Pius II. was more proud than Louis XI. dared to be imperious. He answered, "We are under very great obligations to the King of France, but that gives him no right to exact from us things contrary to justice and to our honor; we have sent aid to Ferdinand by virtue of the treaties we have with him; let the king your master compel the Duke of Anjou to lay down arms and prosecute his rights by course of justice, and if Ferdinand refuse to submit thereto we will declare against him; but we cannot promise more. If the French who are at our court wish to withdraw, the gates are open to them." The king, a little ashamed at the fruitlessness of his concession and of his threat, had for an instant some desire to re-establish the Pragmatic Sanction, for which the parliament of Paris had taken up the cudgels; but, all considered, he thought it better to put up in silence with his rebuff, and pay the penalty for a rash concession, than to get involved with the court of Rome in a struggle of which he could not measure the gravity; and he contented himself with letting the parliament maintain in principle and partially keep up the Pragmatic. This was his first apprenticeship in that outward resignation and patience, amidst his own mistakes, of which he was destined to be called upon more than once in the course of his life to make a humble but skilful use.

At the same time that at the pinnacle of government and in his court Louis was thus making his power felt, and was engaging a new set of servants, he was zealously endeavoring to win over, everywhere, the middle classes and the populace. He left Rouen in the hands of its own inhabitants; in Guienne, in Auvergne, at Tours, he gave the burgesses authority to assemble, and his orders to the royal agents were, "Whatever is done see that it be answered for unto us by two of the most notable burgesses of the principal cities." At Rheims the rumor ran that under King Louis there would be no more tax or talliage. When deputations went before him to complain of the weight of imposts, he would say, "I thank you, my dear and good friends, for making such remonstrances to me; I have nothing more at heart than to put an end to all sorts of exactions, and to re-establish my kingdom in its ancient liberties. I have just been passing five years in the countries of my uncle of Burgundy; and there I saw good cities mighty rich and full of inhabitants, and folks well clad, well housed, well off, lacking nothing; the commerce there is great, and the communes there have fine privileges. When I came into my own kingdom I saw, on the contrary, houses in ruins, fields without tillage, men and women in rags, faces pinched and pale. It is a great pity, and my soul is filled with sorrow at it. All my desire is to apply a remedy thereto, and, with God's help, we will bring it to pass." The good folks departed, charmed with such familiarity, so prodigal of hope; but facts before long gave the lie to words. "When the time came for renewing at Rheims the claim for local taxes, the people showed opposition, and all the papers were burned in the open street. The king employed stratagem. In order not to encounter overt resistance, he caused a large number of his folks to disguise themselves as tillers or artisans; and so entering the town, they were masters of it before the people could think of defending themselves. The ringleaders of the rebellion were drawn and quartered, and about a hundred persons were beheaded or hanged. At Angers, at Alencon, and at Aurillac, there were similar outbursts similarly punished." From that moment it was easy to prognosticate that with the new king familiarity would not prevent severity, or even cruelty. According to the requirements of the crisis Louis had no more hesitation about violating than about making promises; and, all the while that he was seeking after popularity, he intended to make his power felt at any price.

How could he have done without heavy imposts and submission on the part of the tax-payers? For it was not only at home in his own kingdom that he desired to be chief actor and master. He pushed his ambition and his activity abroad into divers European states. In Italy he had his own claimant to the throne of Naples in opposition to the King of Arragon's. In Spain the Kings of Arragon and of Castile were in a state of rivalry and war. A sedition broke out in Catalonia. Louis XI. lent the King of Arragon three hundred and fifty thousand golden crowns to help him in raising eleven hundred lances, and reducing the rebels. Civil war was devastating England. The houses of York and Lancaster were disputing the crown. Louis XI. kept up relations with both sides; and without embroiling himself with the Duke of York, who became Edward IV., he received at Chinon the heroic Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI., and lent twenty thousand pounds sterling to that prince, then disthroned, who undertook either to repay them within a year or to hand over Calais, when he was re-established upon his throne, to the King of France. In the same way John II., King of Arragon, had put Roussillon and Cerdagne into the hands of Louis XI., as a security for the loan of three hundred and fifty thousand crowns he had borrowed. Amidst all the plans and enterprises of his personal ambition Louis was seriously concerned for the greatness of France; but he drew upon her resources, and compromised her far beyond what was compatible with her real interests, by mixing himself up, at every opportunity and by every sort of intrigue, with the affairs and quarrels of the kings and peoples around him.

In France itself he had quite enough of questions to be solved and perils to be surmounted to absorb and satisfy the most vigilant and most active of men. Four princes of very unequal power, but all eager for independence and preponderance, viz., Charles, Duke of Berry, his brother; Francis II., Duke of Brittany; Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, his uncle; and John, Duke of Bourbon, his brother-in-law, were vassals whom he found very troublesome, and ever on the point of becoming dangerous. It was not long before he had a proof of it. In 1463, two years after Louis's accession, the Duke of Burgundy sent one of his most trusty servants, John of Croy, Sire de Chimay, to complain of certain royal acts, contrary, he said, to the treaty of Arras, which, in 1435, had regulated the relations between Burgundy and the crown. The envoy had great difficulty in getting audience of the king, who would not even listen for more than a single moment, and that as he was going out of his room, when, almost without heeding, he said abruptly, "What manner of man, then, is this Duke of Burgundy? Is he of other metal than the other lords of the realm?" "Yes, sir," replied Chimay, "he is of other metal; for he protected you and maintained you against the will of your father King Charles, and against the opinion of all those who were opposed to you in the kingdom, which no other prince or lord would have dared to do." Louis went back into his room without a word. "How dared you speak so to the king," said Dunois to Chimay. "Had I been fifty leagues away from here," said the Burgundian, "and had I thought that the king had an idea only of addressing such words to me, I would have come back express to speak to him as I have spoken." The Duke of Brittany was less puissant and less proudly served than the Duke of Burgundy; but, being vain and inconsiderate, he was incessantly attempting to exalt himself above his condition of vassal, and to raise his duchy into a sovereignty, and when his pretensions were rejected he entered, at one time with the King of England and at another with the Duke of Burgundy and the malcontents of France, upon intrigues which amounted very nearly to treason against the king his suzerain. Charles, Louis's younger brother, was a soft and mediocre but jealous and timidly ambitious prince; he remembered, moreover, the preference and the wishes manifested on his account by Charles VII., their common father, on his death-bed, and he considered his position as Duke of Berry very inferior to the hopes he believed himself entitled to nourish. Duke John of Bourbon, on espousing a sister of Louis XI., had flattered himself that this marriage and the remembrance of the valor he had displayed, in 1450, at the battle of Formigny, would be worth to him at least the sword of constable; but Louis had refused to give it him. When all these great malcontents saw Louis's popularity on the decline, and the king engaged abroad in divers political designs full of onerousness or embarrassment, they considered the moment to have come, and, at the end of 1464, formed together an alliance "for to remonstrate with the king," says Commynes, "upon the bad order and injustice he kept up in his kingdom, considering themselves strong enough to force him if he would not mend his ways; and this war was called the common weal, because it was undertaken under color of being for the common weal of the kingdom, the which was soon converted into private weal." The aged Duke of Burgundy, sensible and weary as he was, gave only a hesitating and slack adherence to the league; but his son Charles, Count of Charolais, entered into it passionately, and the father was no more in a condition to resist his son than he was inclined to follow him. The number of the declared malcontents increased rapidly; and the chiefs received at Paris itself, in the church of Notre Dame, the adhesion and the signatures of those who wished to join them. They all wore, for recognition's sake, a band of red silk round their waists, and, "there were more than five hundred," says Oliver de la Marche, a confidential servant of the Count of Charolais, "princes as well as knights, dames, damsels, and esquires, who were well acquainted with this alliance without the king's knowing anything as yet about it."

It is difficult to believe the chronicler's last assertion. Louis XI., it is true, was more distrustful than far-sighted, and, though he placed but little reliance in his advisers and servants, he had so much confidence in himself, his own sagacity, and his own ability, that he easily deluded himself about the perils of his position; but the facts which have just been set forth were too serious and too patent to have escaped his notice. However that may be, he had no sooner obtained a clear insight into the league of the princes than he set to work with his usual activity and knowledge of the world to checkmate it. To rally together his own partisans and to separate his foes, such was the twofold end he pursued, at first with some success. In a meeting of the princes which was held at Tours, and in which friends and enemies were still mingled together, he used language which could not fail to meet their views. "He was powerless," he said, "to remedy the evils of the kingdom without the love and fealty of the princes of the blood and the other lords; they were the pillars of the state; without their help one man alone could not bear the weight of the crown." Many of those present declared their fealty. "You are our king, our sovereign lord," said King Rene, Duke of Anjou; "we thank you for the kind, gracious, and honest words you have just used to us. I say to you, on behalf of all our lords here present, that we will serve you in respect of and against every one, according as it may please you to order us." Louis, by a manifesto, addressed himself also to the good towns and to all his kingdom. He deplored therein the enticements which had been suffered to draw away "his brother, the Duke of Berry and other princes, churchmen, and nobles, who would never have consented to this league if they had borne in mind the horrible calamities of the kingdom, and especially the English, those ancient enemies, who might well come down again upon it as heretofore . . . . They proclaim," said he, "that they will abolish the imposts; that is what has always been declared by the seditious and rebellious; but, instead of relieving, they ruin the poor people. Had I been willing to augment their pay, and permit them to trample their vassals under foot as in time past, they would never have given a thought to the common weal. They pretend that they desire to establish order everywhere, and yet they cannot endure it anywhere; whilst I, without drawing from my people more than was drawn by the late king, pay my men-at-arms well, and keep them in a good state of discipline."

Louis, in his latter words, was a little too boastful. He had very much augmented the imposts without assembling the estates, and without caring for the old public liberties. If he frequently repressed local tyranny on the part of the lords, he did not deny himself the practice of it. Amongst other tastes, he was passionately fond of the chase; and, wherever he lived, he put it down amongst his neighbors, noble or other, without any regard for rights of lordship. Hounds, hawking birds, nets, snares, all the implements of hunting were forbidden. He even went so far, it is said, on one occasion, as to have two gentlemen's ears cut off for killing a hare on their own property. Nevertheless, the publication of his manifesto did him good service. Auvergne, Dauphiny, Languedoc, Lyon and Bordeaux turned a deaf ear to all temptations from the league of princes. Paris, above all, remained faithful to the king. Orders were given at the Hotel de Ville that the principal gates of the city should be walled up, and that there should be a night watch on the ramparts; and the burgesses were warned to lay in provision of arms and victual. Marshal Joachim Rouault, lord of Gamaches, arrived at Paris on the 30th of June, 1465, at the head of a body of men-at-arms, to protect the city against the Count of Charolais, who was coming up; and the king himself, not content with despatching four of his chief officers to thank the Parisians for their loyal zeal, wrote to them that he would send the queen to lie in at Paris, "the city he loved most in the world."

Louis would have been glad to have nothing to do but to negotiate and talk. Though he was personally brave, he did not like war and its unforeseen issues. He belonged to the class of ambitious despots who prefer stratagem to force. But the very ablest speeches and artifices, even if they do not remain entirely fruitless, are not sufficient to reduce matters promptly to order when great interests are threatened, passions violently excited, and factions let loose in the arena. Between the League of the Common Neal and Louis XI. there was a question too great to be, at the very outset, settled peacefully. It was feudalism in decline at grips with the kingship, which had been growing greater and greater for two centuries. The lords did not trust the king's promises; and one amongst those lords was too powerful to yield without a fight. At the beginning Louis had, in Auvergne and in Berry, some successes, which decided a few of the rebels, the most insignificant, to accept truces and enter upon parleys; but the great princes, the Dukes of Burgundy, Brittany, and Berry, waxed more and more angry. The aged Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good himself, sobered and wearied as he was, threw himself passionately into the struggle. "Go," said he to his son, Count Charles of Charolais, "maintain thine honor well, and, if thou have need of a hundred thousand more men to deliver thee from difficulty, I myself will lead them to thee." Charles marched promptly on Paris. Louis, on his side, moved thither, with the design and in the hope of getting in there without fighting. But the Burgundians, posted at St. Denis and the environs, barred his approach. His seneschal, Peter de Breze, advised him to first attack the Bretons, who were advancing to join the Burgundians. Louis, looking at him somewhat mistrustfully, said, "You, too, Sir Seneschal, have signed this League of the Common Weal." "Ay, sir," answered Brez, with a laugh, "they have my signature, but you have myself." "Would you be afraid to try conclusions with the Burgundians?" continued the king. "Nay, verily," replied the seneschal; "I will let that be seen in the first battle." Louis continued his march on Paris. The two armies met at Montlhery, on the 16th of July, 1465. Breze, who commanded the king's advance-guard, immediately went into action, and was one of the first to be killed. Louis came up to his assistance with troops in rather loose order; the affair became hot and general; the French for a moment wavered, and a rumor ran through the ranks that the king had just been killed.

"No, my friends," said Louis, taking off his helmet, "no, I am not dead; defend your king with good courage." The wavering was transferred to the Burgundians. Count Charles himself was so closely pressed that a French man-at-arms laid his hand on him, saying, "Yield you, my lord; I know you well; let not yourself be slain." "A rescue!" cried Charles; "I'll not leave you, my friends, unless by death: I am here to live and die with you." He was wounded by a sword-thrust which entered his neck between his helmet and his breastplate, badly fastened. Disorder set in on both sides, without either's being certain how things were, or being able to consider itself victorious. Night came on; and French and Burgundians encamped before Montlhery. The Count of Charolais sat down on two heaps of straw, and had his wound dressed. Around him were the stripped corpses of the slain. As they were being moved to make room for him, a poor wounded creature, somewhat revived by the motion, recovered consciousness and asked for a drink. The count made them pour down his throat a drop of his own mixture, for he never drank wine. The wounded man came completely to himself, and recovered. It was one of the archers of his guard. Next day news was brought to Charles that the Bretons were coming up, with their own duke, the Duke of Berry, and Count Dunois at their head. He went as far as Etampes to meet them, and informed them of what had just happened. The Duke of Berry was very much distressed; it was a great pity, he said, that so many people had been killed; he heartily wished that the war had never been begun. "Did you hear," said the Count of Charolais to his servants, "how yonder fellow talks? He is upset at the sight of seven or eight hundred wounded men going about the town, folks who are nothing to him, and whom he does not even know; he would be still more upset if the matter touched him nearly; he is just the sort of fellow to readily make his own terms and leave us stuck in the mud; we must secure other friends." And he forthwith made one of his people post off to England, to draw closer the alliance between Burgundy and Edward IV.

Louis, meanwhile, after passing a day at Corbeil, had once more, on the 18th of July, entered Paris, the object of his chief solicitude. He dismounted at his lieutenant's, the Sire de Meinn's, and asked for some supper. Several persons, burgesses and their wives, took supper with him. He excited their lively interest by describing to them the battle of Montlhery, the danger he had run there, and the scenes which had been enacted, adopting at one time a pathetic and at another a bantering tone, and exciting by turns the emotion and the laughter of his audience. In three days, he said, he would return to fight his enemies, in order to finish the war; but he had not enough of men-at-arms, and all had not at that moment such good spirits as he. He passed a fortnight in Paris, devoting himself solely to the task of winning the hearts of the Parisians, reducing imposts, giving audience to everybody, lending a favorable ear to every opinion offered him, making no inquiry as to who had been more or less faithful to him, showing clemency without appearing to be aware of it, and not punishing with severity even those who had served as guides to the Burgundians in the pillaging of the villages around Paris. A crier of the Chatelet, who had gone crying about the streets the day on which the Burgundians attacked the gate of St. Denis, was sentenced only to a month's imprisonment, bread and water, and a flogging. He was marched through the city in a night-man's cart; and the king, meeting the procession, called out, as he passed, to the executioner, "Strike hard, and spare not that ribald; he has well deserved it."

Meanwhile the Burgundians were approaching Paris and pressing it more closely every day. Their different allies in the League were coming up with troops to join them, including even some of those who, after having suffered reverses in Auvergne, had concluded truces with the king. The forces scattered around Paris amounted, it is said, to fifty thousand men, and occupied Charenton, Conflans, St. Maur, and St. Denis, making ready for a serious attack upon the place. Louis, notwithstanding his firm persuasion that things always went ill wherever he was not present in person, left Paris for Rouen, to call out and bring up the regulars and reserves of Normandy. In his absence, interviews and parleys took place between besiegers and besieged. The former, found partisans amongst the inhabitants of Paris, in the Hotel de Ville itself. The Count de Dunois made capital of all the grievances of the League against the king's government, and declared that, if the city refused to receive the princes, the authors of this refusal would have to answer for whatever misery, loss, and damage might come of it; and, in spite of all efforts on the part of the king's officers and friends, some wavering was manifested in certain quarters. But there arrived from Normandy considerable re-enforcements, announcing the early return of the king. And, in fact, he entered Paris on the 28th of August, the mass of the people testifying their joy and singing "Noel." Louis made as if he knew nothing of what had happened in his absence, and gave nobody a black look; only four or five burgesses, too much compromised by their relations with the besiegers, were banished to Orleans. Sharp skirmishes were frequent all round the place; there was cannonading on both sides; and some balls from Paris came tumbling about the quarters of the Count of Charolais, and killed a few of his people before his very door. But Louis did not care to risk a battle. He was much impressed by the enemy's strength, and by the weakness of which glimpses had been seen in Paris during his absence. Whilst his men-of-war were fighting here and there, he opened negotiations. Local and temporary truces were accepted, and agents of the king had conferences with others from the chiefs of the League. The princes showed so exacting a spirit that there was no treating on such conditions; and Louis determined to see whether he could not succeed better than his agents. He had an interview of two hours' duration in front of the St. Anthony gate, with the Count of St. Poi, a confidant of the Count of Charolais. On his return he found before the gate some burgesses waiting for news.

"Well, my friends," said he, "the Burgundians will not give you so much trouble any more as they have given you in the past." "That is all very well, sir," replied an attorney of the Chatelet, "but meanwhile they eat our grapes and gather our vintage without any hinderance." "Still," said the king, "that is better than if they were to come and drink your wine in your cellars." The month of September passed thus in parleys without result. Bad news came from Rouen; the League had a party in that city. Louis felt that the Count of Charolais was the real head of the opposition, and the only one with whom anything definite could he arrived at. He resolved to make a direct attempt upon him; for he had confidence in the influence he could obtain over people when he chatted and treated in person with them. One day he got aboard of a little boat with five of his officers, and went over to the left bank of the Seine. There the Count of Charolais was awaiting him. "Will you insure me, brother?" said the king, as he stepped ashore. "Yes, my lord, as a brother," said the count. The king embraced him and went on; "I quite see, brother, that you are a gentleman and of the house of France." "How so, my lord?" "When I sent my ambassadors lately [in 1464] to Lille on an errand to my uncle, your father and yourself, and when my chancellor, that fool of a Morvilliers, made you such a fine speech, you sent me word by the Archbishop of Narbonne that I should repent me of the words spoken to you by that Morvilliers, and that before a year was over. Piques-Dieu, you've kept your promise, and before the end of the year has come. I like to have to do with folks who hold to what they promise." This he said laughingly, knowing well that this language was just the sort of flattery to touch the Count of Charolais. They walked for a long while together on the river's bank, to the great curiosity of their people, who were surprised to see them conversing on such good terms. They talked of possible conditions of peace, both of them displaying considerable pliancy, save the king touching the duchy of Normandy, which he would not at any price, he said, confer on his brother the Duke of Berry, and the Count of Charolais touching his enmity towards the house of Croy, with which he was determined not to be reconciled. At parting, the king invited the count to Paris, where he would make him great cheer. "My lord," said Charles, "I have made a vow not to enter any good town until my return." The king smiled; gave fifty golden crowns for distribution, to drink his health, amongst the count's archers, and once more got aboard of his boat. Shortly after getting back to Paris he learned that Normandy was lost to him. The widow of the seneschal, De Breze, lately killed at Montlhery, forgetful of all the king's kindnesses and against the will of her own son, whom Louis had appointed seneschal of Normandy after his father's death, had just handed over Rouen to the Duke of Bourbon, one of the most determined chiefs of the League. Louis at once took his course. He sent to demand an interview with the Count of Charolais, and repaired to Conflans with a hundred Scots of his guard. There was a second edition of the walk together. Charles knew nothing as yet about the surrender of Rouen; and Louis lost no time in telling him of it before he had leisure for reflection and for magnifying his pretensions. "Since the Normans," said he, "have of themselves felt disposed for such a novelty, so be it! I should never of my own free will have conferred such an appanage on my brother; but, as the thing is done, I give my consent." And he at the same time assented to all the other conditions which had formed the subject of conversation.

In proportion to the resignation displayed by the king was the joy of the Count of Charolais at seeing himself so near to peace. Everything was going wrong with his army; provisions were short; murmurs and dissensions were setting in; and the League of common weal was on the point of ending in a shameful catastrophe. Whilst strolling and conversing with cordiality the two princes kept advancing towards Paris. Without noticing it, they passed within the entrance of a strong palisade which the king had caused to be erected in front of the city-walls, and which marked the boundary-line. All on a sudden they stopped, both of them disconcerted. The Burgundian found himself within the hostile camp; but he kept a good countenance, and simply continued the conversation. Amongst his army, however, when he was observed to be away so long, there was already a feeling of deep anxiety. The chieftains had met together. "If this young prince," said the marshal of Burgundy, "has gone to his own ruin like a fool, let us not ruin his house. Let every man retire to his quarters, and hold himself in readiness without disturbing himself about what may happen. By keeping together we are in a condition to fall back on the marches of Hainault, Picardy, or Burgundy." The veteran warrior mounted his horse and rode forward in the direction of Paris to see whether Count Charles were coming back or not. It was not long before he saw a troop of forty or fifty horse moving towards him. They were the Burgundian prince and an escort of the king's own guard. Charles dismissed the escort, and came up to the marshal, saying, "Don't say a word; I acknowledge my folly; but I saw it too late; I was already close to the works." "Everybody can see that I was not there," said the marshal; "if I had been, it would never have happened. You know, your highness, that I am only on loan to you, as long as your father lives." Charles made no reply, and returned to his own camp, where all congratulated him and rendered homage to the king's honorable conduct.

Negotiations for peace were opened forthwith. There was no difficulty about them. Louis was ready to make sacrifices as soon as be recognized the necessity for them, being quite determined, however, in his heart to recall them as soon as fortune came back to him. Two distinct treaties were concluded: one at Conflans on the 5th of October, 1465, between Louis and the Count of Charolais; and the other at St. Maur on the 29th of October, between Louis and the other princes of the League. By one or the other of the treaties the king granted nearly every demand that had been made upon him; to the Count of Charolais he gave up all the towns of importance in Picardy; to the Duke of Berry he gave the duchy of Normandy, with entire sovereignty; and the other princes, independently of the different territories that had been conceded to them, all received large sums in ready money. The conditions of peace had already been agreed to, when the Burgundians went so far as to summon, into the bargain, the strong place of Beauvais. Louis quietly complained to Charles: "If you wanted this town," said he, "you should have asked me for it, and I would have given it to you; but peace is made, and it ought to be observed." Charles openly disavowed the deed. When peace was proclaimed, on the 30th of October, the king went to Vincennes to receive the homage of his brother Charles for the duchy of Normandy, and that of the Count of Charolais for the lands of Picardy. The count asked the king to give up to him "for that day the castle of Vincennes for the security of all." Louis made no objection; and the gate and apartments of the castle were guarded by the count's own people. But the Parisians, whose favor Louis had won, were alarmed on his account. Twenty-two thousand men of the city militia marched towards the outskirts of Vincennes and obliged the king to return and sleep at Paris. He went almost alone to the grand review which the Count of Charolais held of his army before giving the word for marching away, and passed from rank to rank speaking graciously to his late enemies. The king and the count, on separating, embraced one another, the count saying in a loud voice, "Gentlemen, you and I are at the command of the king my sovereign lord, who is here present, to serve him whensoever there shall be need."

When the treaties of Conflans and St. Maur were put before the parliament to be registered, the parliament at first refused, and the exchequer- chamber followed suit; but the king insisted in the name of necessity, and the registration took place, subject to a declaration on the part of the parliament that it was forced to obey. Louis, at bottom, was not sorry for this resistance, and himself made a secret protest against the treaties he had just signed.

At the outset of the negotiations it had been agreed that thirty-six notables, twelve prelates, twelve knights, and twelve members of the council, should assemble to inquire into the errors committed in the government of the kingdom, and to apply remedies. They were to meet on the 15th of December, and to have terminated their labors in two months at the least, and in three months and ten days at the most. The king promised on his word to abide firmly and stably by what they should decree. But this commission was nearly a year behind time in assembling, and, even when it was assembled, its labors were so slow and so futile, that the Count de Dampmartin was quite justified in writing to the Count of Charolais, become by his father's death Duke of Burgundy, "The League of common weal has become nothing but the League of common woe."

Scarcely were the treaties signed and the princes returned each to his own dominions when a quarrel arose between the Duke of Brittany and the new Duke of Normandy. Louis, who was watching for dissensions between his enemies, went at once to see the Duke of Brittany, and made with him a private convention for mutual security. Then, having his movements free, he suddenly entered Normandy to retake possession of it as a province which, notwithstanding the cession of it just made to his brother, the King of France could not dispense with. Evreux, Gisors, Gournay, Louviers, and even Rouen fell, without much resistance, again into his power. The Duke of Berry made a vigorous appeal for support to his late ally, the Duke of Burgundy, in order to remain master of the new duchy which had been conferred upon him under the late treaties. The Count of Charolais was at that time taking up little by little the government of the Burgundian dominions in the name of his father, the aged Duke Philip, who was ill and near his end; but, by pleading his own engagements, and especially his ever-renewed struggle with his Flemish subjects, the Liegese, the count escaped from the necessity of satisfying the Duke of Berry.

In order to be safe in the direction of Burgundy as well as that of Brittany, Louis had entered into negotiations with Edward IV., King of England, and had made him offers, perhaps even promises, which seemed to trench upon the rights ceded by the treaty of Conflans to the Duke of Burgundy, as to certain districts of Picardy. The Count of Charolais was informed of it; and in his impetuous wrath he wrote to King Louis, dubbing him simply Sir, instead of giving him, according to the usage between vassal and suzerain, the title of My most dread lord, "May it please you to wit, that some time ago I was apprised of a matter at which I cannot be too much astounded. It is with great sorrow that I name it to you, when I remember the fair expressions I have all through this year had from you, both in writing and by word of mouth. It is certain that parley has been held between your people and those of the King of England, that you have thought proper to assign to them the district of Caux and the city of Rouen; that you have promised to obtain from them Abbeville and the count-ship of Ponthieu, and that you have concluded with them certain alliances against me and my country, whilst making them large offers to my prejudice. Of what is yours, sir, you may dispose according to your pleasure; but it seems to me that you might do better than wish to take from my hands what is mine, in order to give it to the English or to any other foreign nation. I pray you, therefore, sir, if such overtures have been made by your people, to be pleased not to consent thereto in any way, but to put a stop to the whole, to the end that I may remain your most humble servant, as I desire to be."

Louis returned no answer to this letter. He contented him-self with sending to the commission of thirty-six notables, then in session at Etampes for the purpose of considering the reform of the kingdom, a request to represent to the Count of Charolais the impropriety of such language, and to appeal for the punishment of the persons who had suggested it to him. The count made some awkward excuses, at the same time that he persisted in complaining of the king's obstinate pretensions and underhand ways. A serious incident now happened, which for a while distracted the attention of the two rivals from their mutual recriminations. Duke Philip the Good, who had for some time past been visibly declining in body and mind, was visited at Bruges by a stroke of apoplexy, soon discovered to be fatal. His son, the Count of Charolais, was at Ghent. At the first whisper of danger he mounted his horse, and without a moment's halt arrived at Bruges on the 15th of June, 1467, and ran to his father's room, who had already lost speech and consciousness. "Father, father," cried the count, on his knees and sobbing, "give me your blessing; and if I have offended you, forgive me." "My lord," added the Bishop of Bethlehem, the dying man's confessor, "if you only hear us, bear witness by some sign." The duke turned his eyes a little towards his son, and seemed to feebly press his hand. This was his last effort of life; and in the evening, after some hours of passive agony, he died. His son flung himself upon the bed: "He shrieked, he wept, he wrung his hands," says George Chatelain, one of the aged duke's oldest and most trusted servants, "and for many a long day tears were mingled with all his words every time he spoke to those who had been in the service of the dead, so much so that every one marvelled at his immeasurable grief; it had never heretofore been thought that he could feel a quarter of the sorrow he showed, for he was thought to have a sterner heart, whatever cause there might have been; but nature overcame him." Nor was it to his son alone that Duke Philip had been so good and left so many grounds for sorrow. "With you we lose," was the saying amongst the crowd that followed the procession through the streets, "with you we lose our good old duke, the best, the gentlest, the friendliest of princes, our peace and eke our joy! Amidst such fearful storms you at last brought us out into tranquillity and good order; you set justice on her seat and gave free course to commerce. And now you are dead, and we are orphans!" Many voices, it is said, added in a lower tone, "You leave us in hands whereof the weight is unknown to us; we know not into what perils we may be brought by the power that is to be over us, over us so accustomed to yours, under which we, most of us, were born and grew up."

What the people were anxiously forecasting, Louis foresaw with certainty, and took his measures accordingly. A few days after the death of Philip the Good, several of the principal Flemish cities, Ghent first and then Liege, rose against the new Duke of Burgundy in defence of their liberties, already ignored or threatened. The intrigues of Louis were not unconnected with these solicitations. He would undoubtedly have been very glad to have seen his most formidable enemy beset, at the very commencement of his ducal reign, by serious embarrassments, and obliged to let the king of France settle without trouble his differences with his brother Duke Charles of Berry, and with the Duke of Brittany. But the new Duke of Burgundy was speedily triumphant over the Flemish insurrections; and after these successes, at the close of the year 1467, he was so powerful and so unfettered in his movements, that Louis might, with good reason, fear the formation of a fresh league amongst his great neighbors in coalition against him, and perhaps even in communication with the English, who were ever ready to seek in France allies for the furtherance of their attempts to regain there the fortunes wrested from them by Joan of Arc and Charles VII. In view of such a position Louis formed a resolution, unpalatable, no doubt, to one so jealous of his own power, but indicative of intelligence and boldness; he confronted the difficulties of home government in order to prevent perils from without. The remembrance had not yet faded of the energy displayed and the services rendered in the first part of Charles VII.'s reign by the states-general; a wish was manifested for their resuscitation; and they were spoken of, even in the popular doggerel, as the most effectual remedy for the evils of the period.

"But what says Paris?"—"She is deaf and dumb."

"Dares she not speak?"—"Nor she, nor parliament."

"The clergy?"—"O! the clergy are kept mum."

"Upon your oath?"—"Yes, on the sacrament."

"The nobles, then?"—"The nobles are still worse."

"And justice?"—"Hath nor balances nor weights."

"Who, then, may hope to mitigate this curse?"

"Who? prithee, who?"—"Why, France's three estates."

"Be pleased, O prince, to grant alleviation . . ."

"To whom?"—"To the good citizen who waits . . ."

"For what?"—"The right of governing the nation . . ."

"Through whom? pray, whom?"—"Why, France's three estates."

In the face of the evil Louis felt no fear of the remedy. He summoned the states-general to a meeting at Tours on the 1st of April, 1468. Twenty-eight lords in person, besides representatives of several others who were unable to be there themselves, and a hundred and ninety-two deputies elected by sixty-four towns, met in session. The chancellor, Juvenal des Ursins, explained, in presence of the king, the object of the meeting: "It is to take cognizance of the differences which have arisen between the king and Sir Charles, his brother, in respect of the duchy of Normandy and the appanage of the said Sir Charles; likewise the great excesses and encroachments which the Duke of Brittany hath committed against the king by seizing his places and subjects, and making open war upon him; and thirdly, the communication which is said to be kept up by the Duke of Brittany with the English, in order to bring them down upon this country, and hand over to them the places he doth hold in Normandy. Whereupon we are of opinion that the people of the three estates should give their good advice and council." After this official programme, the king and his councillors withdrew. The estates deliberated during seven or eight sessions, and came to an agreement "without any opposition or difficulty whatever, that as touching the duchy of Normandy it ought not to and cannot be separated from the crown in any way whatsoever, but must remain united, annexed, and conjoined thereto inseparably. Further, any arrangement of the Duke of Brittany with the English is a thing damnable, pernicious, and of most evil consequences, and one which is not to be permitted, suffered, or tolerated in any way. Lastly, if Sir Charles, the Duke of Brittany, or others, did make war on the king our sovereign lord, or have any treaty or connection with his enemies, the king is bound to proceed against them who should do so, according to what must be done in such case for the tranquillity and security of the realm . . . . And as often soever as the said cases may occur, the people of the estates have agreed and consented, do agree and consent, that, without waiting for other assemblage or congregation of the estates, the king have power to do all that comports with order and justice; the said estates promising and agreeing to serve and aid the king touching these matters, to obey him with all their might, and to live and die with him in this quarrel."

Louis XI. himself could demand no more. Had they been more experienced and far-sighted, the states-general of 1468 would not have been disposed to resign, even temporarily, into the hands of the kingship, their rights and their part in the government of the country; but they showed patriotism and good sense in defending the integrity of the kingdom, national unity, and public order against the selfish ambition and disorderly violence of feudalism.

Fortified by their burst of attachment, Louis, by the treaty of Ancenis, signed on the 10th of September, 1468, put an end to his differences with Francis II., Duke of Brittany, who gave up his alliance with the house of Burgundy, and undertook to prevail upon Duke Charles of France to accept an arbitration for the purpose of settling, before two years were over, the question of his territorial appanage in the place of Normandy. In the meanwhile a pension of sixty thousand livres was to be paid by the crown to that prince. Thus Louis was left with the new duke, Charles of Burgundy, as the only adversary he had to face. His advisers were divided as to the course to be taken with this formidable vassal. Was he to be dealt with by war or by negotiation? Count de Dampmartin, Marshal de Rouault, and nearly all the military men earnestly advised war. "Leave it to us," they said: "we will give the king a good account of this Duke of Burgundy. Plague upon it! what do these Burgundians mean? They have called in the English and made alliance with them in order to give us battle; they have handed over the country to fire and sword; they have driven the king from his lordship. We have suffered too much; we must have revenge; down upon them, in the name of the devil, down upon them. The king makes a sheep of himself and bargains for his wool and his skin, as if he had not wherewithal to defend himself. 'Sdeath! if we were in his place, we would rather risk the whole kingdom than let ourselves be treated in this fashion." But the king did not like to risk the kingdom; and he had more confidence in negotiation than in war. Two of his principal advisers, the constable De St. Pol and the cardinal De la Balue, Bishop of Evreux, were of his opinion, and urged him to the top of his bent. Of them he especially made use in his more or less secret relations with the Duke of Burgundy; and he charged them to sound him with respect to a personal interview between himself and the duke. It has been very well remarked by M. de Barante, in his Histoire des Dues de Bourgogne, that "Louis had a great idea of the influence he gained over people by his wits and his language; he was always convinced that people never said what ought to be said, and that they did not set to work the right way." It was a certain way of pleasing him to give him promise of a success which he would owe to himself alone; and the constable and the cardinal did not fail to do so. They found the Duke of Burgundy very little disposed to accept the king's overtures. "By St. George," said he, "I ask nothing but what is just and reasonable; I desire the fulfilment of the treaties of Arras and of Conflans to which the king has sworn. I make no war on him; it is he who is coming to make it on me; but should he bring all the forces of his kingdom I will not budge from here or recoil the length of my foot. My predecessors have seen themselves in worse plight, and have not been dismayed." Neither the constable De St. Pol nor the cardinal De la Balue said anything to the king about this rough disposition on the part of Duke Charles; they both in their own personal interest desired the interview, and did not care to bring to light anything that might be an obstacle to it. Louis persisted in his desire, and sent to ask the duke for a letter of safe-conduct. Charles wrote with his own hand, on the 8th of October, 1468, as follows:—
     "My lord, if it is your pleasure to come to this town of Peronne for
to see us, I swear to you and promise you, by my faith and on my
honor, that you may come, remain, sojourn, and go back safely to the
places of Chauny and Noy on, at your pleasure, as many times as it
may please you, freely and frankly, without any hinderance to you or
to any of your folks from me or others in any case whatever and
whatsoever may happen."




When this letter arrived at Noyon, extreme surprise and alarm were displayed about Louis; the interview appeared to be a mad idea; the vicegerent (vidam) of Amiens came hurrying up with a countryman who declared on his life that mylord of Burgundy wished for it only to make an attempt upon the king's person; the king's greatest enemies, it was said, were already, or soon would be, with the duke; and the captains vehemently reiterated their objections. But Louis held to his purpose, and started for Noyon on the 2d of October, taking with him the constable, the cardinal, his confessor, and, for all his escort, fourscore of his faithful Scots, and sixty men-at-arms. This knowing gossip, as his contemporaries called him, had fits of rashness and audacious vanity.

Duke Charles went to meet him outside the town. They embraced one another, and returned on foot to Peronne, chatting familiarly, and the king with his hand resting on the duke's shoulder, in token of amity. Louis had quarters at the house of the chamberlain of the town; the castle of Peronne being, it was said, in too bad a state, and too ill furnished, for his reception. On the very day that the king entered Peronne, the duke's army, commanded by the Marshal of Burgundy, arrived from the opposite side, and encamped beneath the walls. Several former servants of the king, now not on good terms with him, accompanied the Burgundian army. "As soon as the king was apprised of the arrival of these folks," says Commynes, "he had a great fright, and sent to beg of the Duke of Burgundy that he might be lodged at the castle, seeing that all those who had come were evil disposed towards him. The duke was very much rejoiced thereat, had him lodged there, and stoutly assured him that he had no cause for doubt." Next day parleys began between the councillors of the two princes. They did not appear much disposed to come to an understanding, and a little sourness of spirit was beginning to show itself on both sides, when there came news which excited a grand commotion. "King Louis, on coming to Peronne, had not considered," says Commynes, "that he had sent two ambassadors to the folks of Liege to excite them against the duke. Nevertheless, the said ambassadors had advanced matters so well that they had already made a great mass (of rebels). The Liegese came and took by surprise the town of Tongres, wherein were the Bishop of Liege and the Lord of Humbercourt, whom they took also, slaying, moreover, some servants of the said bishop." The fugitives who reported this news at Peronne made the matter a great deal worse than it was; they had no doubt, they said, but that the bishop and Sire d'Humbercourt had also been murdered; and Charles had no more doubt about it than they. His fury was extreme; he strode to and fro, everywhere relating the news from Liege. "So the king," said he, "came here only to deceive me; it is he who, by his ambassadors, excited these bad folks of Liege; but, by St. George, they shall be severely punished for it, and he, himself, shall have cause to repent." He gave immediate orders to have the gates of the town and of the castle closed and guarded by the archers; but being a little troubled, nevertheless, as to the effect which would be produced by this order, he gave as his reason for it that he was quite determined to have recovered a box full of gold and jewels which had been stolen from him. "I verily believe," says Commynes, "that if just then the duke had found those whom he addressed ready to encourage him, or advise him to do the king a bad turn, he would have done it; but at that time I was still with the said duke; I served him as chamberlain, and I slept in his room when I pleased, for such was the usage of that house. With me was there none at this speech of the duke's, save two grooms of the chamber, one called Charles de Visen, a native of Dijon, an honest man, and one who had great credit with his master; and we exasperated nought, but assuaged according to our power."

Whilst Duke Charles was thus abandoning himself to the first outburst of his wrath, King Louis remained impassive in the castle of Peronne, quite close to the great tower, wherein, about the year 925, King Charles the Simple had been confined by Herbert, Count of Vermandois, and died a prisoner in 929. None of Louis's people had been removed from him; but the gate of the castle was strictly guarded. There was no entering. on his service, but by the wicket, and none of the duke's people came to visit him; he had no occasion to parley, explain himself, and guess what it was expedient for him to say or do; he was alone, wrestling with his imagination and his lively impressions, with the feeling upon him of the recent mistakes he had committed, especially in exciting the Liegese to rebellion, and forgetting the fact just when he was coming to place himself in his enemy's hands. Far, however, from losing his head, Louis displayed in this perilous trial all the penetration, activity, and shrewdness of his mind, together with all the suppleness of his character; he sent by his own servants questions, offers, and promises to all the duke's servants from whom he could hope for any help or any good advice. Fifteen thousand golden crowns, with which he had provided himself at starting, were given by him to be distributed amongst the household of the Duke of Burgundy; a liberality which was perhaps useless, since it is said that he to whom he had intrusted the sum kept a good portion of it for himself. The king passed two days in this state of gloomy expectancy as to what was in preparation against him.

On the 11th of October, Duke Charles, having cooled down a little, assembled his council. The sitting lasted all the day and part of the night. Louis had sent to make an offer to swear a peace, such as, at the moment of his arrival, had been proposed to him, without any reservation or difficulty on his part. He engaged to join the duke in making war upon the Liegese and chastising them for their rebellion. He would leave as hostages his nearest relatives and his most intimate advisers. At the beginning of the council his proposals were not even listened to; there was no talk but of keeping the king a prisoner, and sending after his brother, the Prince Charles, with whom the entire government of the kingdom should be arranged; the messenger had orders to be in readiness to start at once; his horse was in the court-yard; he was only waiting for the letters which the duke was writing to Brittany. The chancellor of Burgundy and some of the wiser councillors besought the duke to reflect.

The king had come to Peronne on the faith of his safe-conduct; it would be an eternal dishonor for the house of Burgundy if he broke his word to his sovereign lord; and the conditions which the king was prepared to grant would put an end, with advantage to Burgundy, to serious and difficult business. The duke gave heed to these honest and prudent counsels; the news from Liege turned out to be less serious than the first rumors had represented; the bishop and Sire d'Humbercourt had been set at liberty. Charles retired to his chamber; and there, without thinking of undressing, he walked to and fro with long strides, threw himself upon his bed, got up again, and soliloquized out loud, addressing himself occasionally to Commynes, who lay close by him. Towards morning, though he still showed signs of irritation, his language was less threatening. "He has promised me," said he, "to come with me to reinstate the Bishop of Liege, who is my brother-in-law, and a relation of his also; he shall certainly come; I shall not scruple to hold him to his word that he gave me;" and he at once sent Sires de Crequi, de Charni, and de la Roche to tell the king that he was about to come and swear peace with him. Commynes had only just time to tell Louis in what frame of mind the duke was, and in what danger he would place himself, if he hesitated either to swear peace or to march against the Liegese.

As soon as it was broad day, the duke entered the apartment of the castle where the king was a prisoner. His look was courteous, but his voice trembled with choler; his words were short and bitter, his manner was threatening. A little troubled at his aspect, Louis said, "Brother, I am safe, am I not, in your house and your country?" "Yes, sir," answered the duke, "so safe that if I saw an arrow from a bow coming towards you I would throw myself in the way to protect you. But will you not be pleased to swear the treaty just as it is written?" "Yes," said the king, "and I thank you for your good will." "And will you not be pleased to come with me to Liege, to help me punish the treason committed against me by these Lidgese, all through you and your journey hither? The bishop is your near relative, of the house of Bourbon." "Yes, Padues-Dieu," replied Louis, "and I am much astounded at their wickedness. But begin we by swearing this treaty; and then I will start, with as many or as few of my people as you please."

Forthwith was taken out from the king's boxes the wood of the so-called true cross, which was named the cross of St. Laud, because it had been preserved in the church of St. Laud, at Angers. It was supposed to have formerly belonged to Charlemagne; and it was the relic which Louis regarded as the most sacred. The treaty was immediately signed, without any change being made in that of Conflans. The Duke of Burgundy merely engaged to use his influence with Prince Charles of France to induce him to be content with Brie and Champagne as appanage. The storm was weathered; and Louis almost rejoiced at seeing himself called upon to chastise in person the Liegese, who had made him commit such a mistake and run such a risk.

Next day the two princes set out together, Charles with his army, and Louis with his modest train increased by three hundred men-at-arms, whom he had sent for from France. On the 27th of October they arrived before Liege. Since Duke Charles's late victories, the city had no longer any ramparts or ditches; nothing seemed easier than to get into it; but the besieged could not persuade themselves that Louis was sincerely allied with the Duke of Burgundy, and they made a sortie, shouting, "Hurrah for the king! Hurrah for France!" Great was their surprise when they saw Louis advancing in person, wearing in his hat the cross of St. Andrew of Burgundy, and shouting, "Hurrah for Burgundy!" Some even amongst the French who surrounded the king were shocked; they could not reconcile themselves to so little pride and such brazen falsehood. Louis took no heed of their temper, and never ceased to repeat, "When pride rides before, shame and hurt follow close after." The surprise of the Liegese was transformed into indignation.

They made a more energetic and a longer resistance than had been expected. The besiegers, confident in their strength, kept careless watch, and the sorties of the besieged became more numerous. One night Charles received notice that his men had just been attacked in a suburb which they had held, and were flying. He mounted his horse, gave orders not to awake the king, repaired by himself to the place where the fight was, put everything to rights, and came back and told the whole affair to Louis, who exhibited great joy. Another time, one dark and rainy night, there was an alarm, about midnight, of a general attack upon the whole Burgundian camp. The duke was soon up, and a moment afterwards the king arrived. There was great disorder. "The Liegese sallied by this gate," said some; "No," said others, "it was by that gate!" there was nothing known for certain, and there were no orders given. Charles was impetuous and brave, but he was easily disconcerted, and his servants were somewhat vexed not to see him putting a better countenance on things before the king. Louis, on the other hand, was cool and calm, giving commands firmly, and ready to assume responsibility wherever he happened to be. "Take what men you have," said he to the constable St. Poi, who was at his side, "and go in this direction; if they are really coming upon us, they will pass that way." It was discovered to be a false alarm. Two days afterwards there was a more serious affair. The inhabitants of a canton which was close to the city, and was called Franchemont, resolved to make a desperate effort, and go and fall suddenly upon the very spot where the two princes were quartered. One night, about ten P. M., six hundred men sallied out by one of the breaches, all men of stout hearts and well armed. The duke's quarters were first attacked. Only twelve archers were on guard below, and they were playing at dice. Charles was in bed. Commynes put on him, as quickly as possible, his breastplate and helmet, and they went down stairs. The archers were with great difficulty defending the doorway, but help arrived, and the danger was over. The quarters of King Louis had also been attacked; but at the first sound the Scottish archers had hurried up, surrounded their master, and repulsed the attack, without caring whether their arrows killed Liegese or such Burgundians as had come up with assistance. The gallant fellows from Franchemont fell, almost to a man. The duke and his principal captains held a council the next day; and the duke was for delivering the assault. The king was not present at this council, and when he was informed of the resolution taken he was not in favor of an assault. "You see," said he, "the courage of these people; you know how murderous and uncertain is street fighting; you will lose many brave men to no purpose. Wait two or three days, and the Liegese will infallibly come to terms." Nearly all the Burgundian captains sided with the king. The duke got angry. "He wishes to spare the Liegese," said he; "what danger is there in this assault? There are no walls; they can't put a single gun in position; I certainly will not give up the assault; if the king is afraid, let him get him gone to Namur." Such an insult shocked even the Burgundians. Louis was informed of it, but said nothing. Next day, the 30th of October, 1468, the assault was ordered; and the duke marched at the head of his troops. Up came the king; but, "Bide," said Charles; "put not yourself uselessly in danger; I will send you word when it is time." "Lead on, brother," replied Louis; "you are the most fortunate prince alive; I will follow you." And he continued marching with him. But the assault was unnecessary. Discouragement had taken possession of the Liegese, the bravest of whom had fallen. It was Sunday, and the people who remained were not expecting an attack; "the cloth was laid in every house, and all were preparing for dinner." The Burgundians moved forward through the empty streets; and Louis marched quietly along, surrounded by his own escort, and shouting, "Hurrah for Burgundy!" The duke turned back to meet him, and they went together to give thanks to God in the cathedral of St. Lambert. It was the only church which had escaped from the fury and the pillaging of the Burgundians; by midday there was nothing left to take in the houses or in the churches. Louis loaded Duke Charles with felicitations and commendations: "He knew how to turn them in a fashion so courteous and amiable that the duke was charmed and softened." The next day, as they were talking together, "Brother," said the king to the duke, "if you have still need of my help, do not spare me; but if you have nothing more for me to do, it would be well for me to go back to Paris, to make public in my court of parliament the arrangement we have come to together; otherwise it would run a risk of becoming of no avail; you know that such is the custom of France. Next summer we must meet again; you will come into your duchy of Burgundy, and I will go and pay you a visit, and we will pass a week joyously together in making good cheer." Charles made no answer, and sent for the treaty lately concluded between them at Peronne, leaving it to the king's choice to confirm or to renounce it, and excusing himself in covert terms for having thus constrained him and brought him away. The king made a show of being satisfied with the treaty, and on the 2d of November, 1468, the day but one after the capture of Liege, set out for France. The duke bore him company to within half a league of the city. As they were taking leave of one another, the king said to him, "If, peradventure, my brother Charles, who is in Brittany, should be discontented with the assignment I make him for love of you, what would you have me do?" "If he do not please to take it," answered the duke, "but would have you satisfy him, I leave it to you two." Louis desired no more: he returned home free and confident in himself, "after having passed the most trying three weeks of his life."

But Louis XI.'s deliverance after his quasi-captivity at Peronne, and the new treaty he had concluded with Duke Charles, were and could be only a temporary break in the struggle between these two princes, destined as they were, both by character and position, to irremediable incompatibility. They were too powerful and too different to live at peace when they were such close neighbors, and when their relations were so complicated. We find in the chronicle of George Chastelain, a Flemish burgher, and a servant on familiar terms with Duke Charles, as he had been with his father, Duke Philip, a judicious picture of this incompatibility and the causes of it. "There had been," he says, "at all times a rancor between these two princes, and, whatever pacification might have been effected to-day, everything returned to-morrow to the old condition, and no real love could be established. They suffered from incompatibility of temperament and perpetual discordance of will; and the more they advanced in years the deeper they plunged into a state of serious difference and hopeless bitterness. The king was a man of subtlety and full of fence; he knew how to recoil for a better spring, how to affect humility and gentleness in his deep designs, how to yield and to give up in order to receive double, and how to bear and tolerate for a time his own grievances in hopes of being able at last to have his revenge. He was, therefore, very much to be feared for his practical knowledge, showing the greatest skill and penetration in the world. Duke Charles was to be feared for his great courage, which he evinced and displayed in his actions, making no account of king or emperor. Thus, whilst the king had great sense and great ability, which he used with dissimulation and suppleness in order to succeed in his views, the duke, on his side, had a great sense of another sort and to another purpose, which he displayed by a public ostentation of his pride, without any fear of putting himself in a false position." Between 1468 and 1477, from the incident at Peronne to the death of Charles at the siege of Nancy, the history of the two princes was nothing but one constant alternation between ruptures and re-adjustments, hostilities and truces, wherein both were constantly changing their posture, their language, and their allies. It was at one time the affairs of the Duke of Brittany or those of Prince Charles of France, become Duke of Guienne; at another it was the relations with the different claimants to the throne of England, or the fate of the towns, in Picardy, handed over to the Duke of Burgundy by the treaties of Conflans and Peronne, which served as a ground or pretext for the frequent recurrences of war. In 1471 St. Quentin opened its gates to Count Louis of St. Poi, constable of France; and Duke Charles complained with threats about it to the Count of Dampmartin, who was in commend, on that frontier, of Louis XI.'s army, and had a good understanding with the constable. Dampmartin, "one of the bravest men of his time," says Duclos [Histoire de Louis XI in the (Enures completes of Duclos, t. ii. p. 429), "sincere and faithful, a warm friend and an implacable foe, at once replied to the duke, 'Most high and puissant prince, I suppose your letters to have been dictated by your council and highest clerics, who are folks better at letter-making than I am, for I have not lived by quill-driving. . . . If I write you matter that displeases you, and you have a desire to revenge yourself upon me, you shall find me so near to your army that you will know how little fear I have of you. . . . Be assured that if it be your will to go on long making war upon the king, it will at last be found out by all the world that as a soldier you have mistaken your calling." The next year (1472) war broke out. Duke Charles went and laid siege to Beauvais, and on the 27th of June delivered the first assault. The inhabitants were at this moment left almost alone to defend their town. A young girl of eighteen, Joan Fourquet, whom a burgher's wife of Beauvais, Madame Laisne, her mother by adoption, had bred up in the history, still so recent, of Joan of Arc, threw herself into the midst of the throng, holding up her little axe (hachette) before the image of St. Angadresme, patroness of the town, and crying, "O glorious virgin, come to my aid; to arms! to arms!" The assault was repulsed; re-enforcements came up from Noyon, Amiens, and Paris, under the orders of the Marshal de Rouault; and the mayor of Beauvais presented Joan to him. "Sir," said the young girl to him, "you have everywhere been victor, and you will be so with us." On the 9th of July the Duke of Burgundy delivered a second assault, which lasted four hours. Some Burgundians had escaladed a part of the ramparts; Joan Hachette arrived there just as one of them was planting his flag on the spot; she pushed him over the side into the ditch, and went down in pursuit of him; the man fell on one knee; Joan struck him down, took possession of the flag, and mounted up to the ramparts again, crying, "Victory!" The same cry resounded at all points of the wall; the assault was everywhere repulsed. The vexation of Charles was great; the day before he had been almost alone in advocating the assault; in the evening, as he lay on his camp-bed, according to his custom, he had asked several of his people whether they thought the townsmen were prepared for it. "Yes, certainly," was the answer; "there are a great number of them." "You will not find a soul there to-morrow," said Charles with a sneer. He remained for twelve days longer before the place, looking for a better chance; but on the 12th of July he decided upon raising the siege, and took the road to Normandy. Some days before attacking Beauvais, he had taken, not without difficulty, Nesle in the Vermandois. "There it was," says Commynes, "that he first committed a horrible and wicked deed of war, which had never been his wont; this was burning everything everywhere; those who were taken alive were hanged; a pretty large number had their hands cut off. It mislikes me to speak of such cruelty; but I was on the spot, and must needs say something about it." Commynes undoubtedly said something about it to Charles himself, who answered, "It is the fruit borne by the tree of war; it would have been the fate of Beauvais if I could have taken the town."

Between the two rivals in France, relations with England were a subject of constant manoeuvring and strife. In spite of reverses on the Continent and civil wars in their own island, the Kings of England had not abandoned their claims to the crown of France; they were still in possession of Calais; and the memory of the battles of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt was still a tower of strength to them. Between 1470 and 1472 the house of York had triumphed over the house of Lancaster; and Edward IV. was undisputed king. In his views touching France he found a natural ally in the Duke of Burgundy; and it was in concert with Charles that Edward was incessantly concocting and attempting plots and campaigns against Louis XI. In 1474 he, by a herald, called upon Louis to give up to him Normandy and Guienne, else, he told him, he would cross over to France with his army. "Tell your master," answered Louis coolly, "that I should not advise him to." Next year the herald returned to tell Louis that the King of England, on the point of embarking, called upon him to give up to him the kingdom of France. Louis had a conversation with the herald. "Your king," said he, "is undertaking this war against his own grain at the solicitation of the Duke of Burgundy; he would do much better to live in peace with me, instead of devoting himself to allies who cannot but compromise him without doing him any service;" and he had three hundred golden crowns presented to the herald, with a promise of considerably more if peace were made. The herald, thus won over, promised, in his turn, to do all he could, saying that he believed that his master would lend a willing ear, but that, before mentioning the subject, they must wait until Edward had crossed the sea and formed some idea of the difficulties in the way of his enterprise; and he advised Louis to establish communications with my lord Howard and my lord Stanley, who had great influence with King Edward. "Whilst the king was parleying with the said herald, there were many folks in the hall," says Commynes, "who were waiting, and had great longing to know what the king was saying to him, and what countenance he would wear when he came from within. The king, when he had made an end, called me and told me to keep the said herald talking, so that none might speak to him, and to have delivered unto him a piece of crimson velvet containing thirty ells. So did I, and the king was right joyous at that which he had got out of the said herald."

It was now three years since Philip de Commynes had left the Duke of Burgundy's service to enter that of Louis XI. In 1471 Charles had, none knows why, rashly authorized an interview between Louis and De Commynes. "The king's speech," says the chronicler Molinet, in the Duke of Burgundy's service, "was so sweet and full of virtue that it entranced, siren-like, all those who gave ear to it." "Of all princes," says Commynes himself, "he was the one who was at most pains to gain over a man who was able to serve him, and able to injure him; and he was not put out at being refused once by one whom he was working to gain over, but continued thereat, making him large promises, and actually giving money and estate when he made acquaintances that were pleasing to him." Commynes spoke according to his own experience. Louis, from the moment of making his acquaintance, had guessed his value; and as early as 1468, in the course of his disagreeable adventure at Peronne, he had found the good offices of Commynes of great service to him. It was probably from this very time that he applied himself assiduously to the task of gaining him over. Commynes hesitated a long while; but Louis was even more perseveringly persistent than Commynes was hesitating. The king backed up his handsome offers by substantial and present gifts. In 1471, according to what appears, he lent Commynes six thousand livres of Tours, which the Duke of Burgundy's councillor lodged with a banker at Tours. The next year, the king, seeing that Commynes was still slow to decide, bade one of his councillors to go to Tours, in his name, and seize at the banker's the six thousand livres intrusted to the latter by Commynes. "This," says the learned editor of the last edition of Commynes' Memoires, "was an able and decisive blow. The effect of the seizure could not but be, and indeed was, to put Commynes in the awkward dilemma of seeing his practices (as the saying was at that time) divulged without reaping the fruit of them, or of securing the advantages only by setting aside the scruples which held him back. He chose the latter course, which had become the safer; and during the night between the 7th and 8th of August, 1472, he left Burgundy forever. The king was at that time at Ponts-de-Ce, and there his new servant joined him." The very day of his departure, at six A. M., Duke Charles had a seizure made of all the goods and all the rights belonging to the fugitive; "but what Commynes lost on one side," says his editor, "he was about to recover a hundred fold on the other; scarcely had he arrived at the court of Louis XI. when he received at once the title of councillor and chamberlain to the king; soon afterwards a pension of six thousand livres of Tours was secured to him, by way of giving him wherewithal to honorably maintain his position; he was put into the place of captain of the castle and keep of the town of Chinon; and lastly, a present was made to him of the rich principality of Talmont." Six months later, in January, 1473, Commynes married Helen de Chambes, daughter of the lord of Montsoreau, who brought him as dowry twenty-seven thousand five hundred livres of Tours, which enabled him to purchase the castle, town, barony, land, and lordship of Argenton [arrondissement of Bressuire, department of Deux-Sevres], the title of which he thenceforward assumed.

Half a page or so can hardly be thought too much space to devote in a History of France to the task of tracing to their origin the conduct and fortunes of one of the most eminent French politicians, who, after having taken a chief part in the affairs of their country and their epoch, have dedicated themselves to the work of narrating them in a spirit of liberal and admirable comprehension both of persons and events. But we will return to Louis XI.

The King of England readily entertained the overtures announced to him by his herald. He had landed at Calais on the 22d of June, 1475, with an army of from sixteen to eighteen thousand men thirsting for conquest and pillage in France, and the Duke of Burgundy had promised to go and join him with a considerable force; but the latter, after having appeared for a moment at Calais to concert measures with his ally, returned no more, and even hesitated about admitting the English into his towns of Artois and Picardy. Edward waited for him nearly two months at Peronne, but in vain. During this time Louis continued his attempts at negotiation. He fixed his quarters at Amiens, and Edward came and encamped half a league from the town. The king sent to him, it is said, three hundred wagons laden with the best wines he could find, "the which train," says Commynes, "was almost an army as big as the English;" at the entrance of the gate of Amiens Louis had caused to be set out two large tables "laden with all sorts of good eatables and good wines; and at each of these two tables he had caused to be seated five or six men of good family, stout and fat, to make better sport for them who had a mind to drink. When the English went into the town, wherever they put up they had nothing to pay; there were nine or ten taverns, well supplied, whither they went to eat and drink, and asked for what they pleased. And this lasted three or four days." An agreement was soon come to as to the terms of peace. King Edward bound himself to withdraw with his army to England so soon as Louis XI. should have paid him seventy-five thousand crowns. Louis promised besides to pay annually to King Edward fifty thousand crowns, in two payments, during the time that both princes were alive. A truce for seven years was concluded; they made mutual promises to lend each other aid if they were attacked by their enemies or by their own subjects in rebellion; and Prince Charles, the eldest son of Louis XI., was to marry Elizabeth, Edward's daughter, when both should be of marriageable age. Lastly, Queen Margaret of Anjou, who had been a prisoner in England since the death of her husband, Henry VI., was to be set at liberty, and removed to France, on renouncing all claim to the crown of England. These conditions having been formulated, it was agreed that the two kings should meet and sign them at Pecquigny, on the Somme, three leagues from Amiens. Thither, accordingly, they repaired, on the 29th of August, 1475. Edward, as he drew near, doffed "his bonnet of black velvet, whereon was a large fleur-de-lis in jewels, and bowed down to within half a foot of the ground." Louis made an equally deep reverence, saying, "Sir my cousin, right welcome; there is no man in the world I could more desire to see than I do you, and praised be God that we are here assembled with such good intent." The King of England answered this speech "in good French enough," says Commynes. The missal was brought; the two kings swore and signed four distinct treaties; and then they engaged in a long private conversation, after which Louis went away to Amiens and Edward to his army, whither Louis sent to him "all that he had need of, even to torches and candles." As he went chatting along the road with Commynes, Louis told him that he had found the King of England so desirous of paying a visit to Paris that he had been anything but pleased. "He is a right handsome king," said he: "he is very fond of women; and he might well meet at Paris some smitten one who would know how to make him such pretty speeches as to render him desirous of another visit. His predecessors were far too much in Normandy and Paris; his comradeship is worth nothing on our side of the sea; on the other side, over yonder, I should like very well to have him for good brother and good friend." Throughout the whole course of the negotiation Louis had shown pliancy and magnificence; he had laden Edward's chief courtiers with presents; two thousand crowns by way of pension had been allowed to his grand chamberlain, Lord Hastings, who would not give an acknowledgment. "This gift comes of the king your master's good pleasure, and not at my request," said he to Louis's steward; "if you would have me take it, you shall slip it here inside my sleeve, and have no letter or voucher beyond; I do not wish to have people saying, 'The grand chamberlain of England was the King of France's pensioner,' or to have my acknowledgments found in his exchequer-chamber." Lord Hastings had not always been so scrupulous, for, on the 15th of May, 1471, he had received from the Duke of Burgundy a pension for which he had given an acknowledgment. Another Englishman, whose name is not given by Commynes, waxed wroth at hearing some one say, "Six hundred pipes of wine and a pension given you by the king soon sent you back to England." "That is certainly what everybody said," answered the Englishman, "that you might have the laugh against us. But call you the money the king gives us pension? Why, it is tribute; and, by St. George, you may perhaps talk so much about it as to bring us down upon you again!" "There was nothing in the world," says Commynes, "of which the king was more fearful than lest any word should escape him to make the English think that they were being derided; at the same time that he was laboring to gain them over, he was careful to humor their susceptibilities;" and Commynes, under his schooling, had learned to understand them well: "They are rather slow goers," says he, "but you must have a little patience with them, and not lose your temper. . . . I fancy that to many it might appear that the king abased himself too much; but the wise might well hold that the kingdom was in great danger, save for the intervention of God, who did dispose the king's mind to choose so wise a course, and did greatly trouble that of the Duke of Burgundy. . . . Our king knew well the nature of the King of England, who was very fond of his ease and his pleasures: when he had concluded these treaties with him, he ordered that the money should be found with the greatest expedition, and every one had to lend somewhat to help to supply it on the spot. The king said that there was nothing in the world he would not do to thrust the King of England out of the realm, save only that he would never consent that the English should have a bit of territory there; and, rather than suffer that, he would put everything to jeopardy and risk."

Commynes had good reason to say that the kingdom was in great peril. The intentions of Charles the Rash tended to nothing short of bringing back the English into France, in order to share it with them. He made no concealment of it. "I am so fond of the kingdom," said he, "that I would make six of it in France." He was passionately eager for the title of king. He had put out feelers for it in the direction of Germany, and the emperor, Frederic III., had promised it to him together with that of vicar-general of the empire, on condition that his daughter, Mary of Burgundy, married Duke Maximilian, Frederic's son. Having been unsuccessful on the Rhine, Charles turned once more towards the Thames, and made alliance with Edward IV., King of England, with a view of renewing the English invasion of France, flattering himself, of course, that he would profit by it. To destroy the work of Joan of Arc and Charles VII.—such was the design, a criminal and a shameful one for a French prince, which was checkmated by the peace of Peequigny. Charles himself acknowledged as much when, in his wrath at this treaty, he said, "He had not sought to bring over the English into France for any need he had of them, but to enable them to recover what belonged to them;" and Louis XI. was a patriotic king when he declared that "there was nothing in the world he would not do to thrust the King of England out of the realm, and, rather than suffer the English to have a bit of territory in France, he would put everything to jeopardy and risk."

The Duke of Burgundy, as soon as he found out that the King of France had, under the name of truce, made peace for seven years with the King of England, and that Edward IV. had recrossed the Channel with his army, saw that his attempts, so far, were a failure. Accordingly he too lost no time in signing [on the 13th of September, 1475] a truce with King Louis for nine years, and directing his ambition and aiming his blows against other quarters than Western France. Two little states, his neighbors on the east, Lorraine and Switzerland, became the object and the theatre of his passion for war. Lorraine had at that time for its duke Rene II., of the house of Anjou through his mother Yolande, a young prince who was wavering, as so many others were, between France and Burgundy. Charles suddenly entered Lorraine, took possession of several castles, had the inhabitants who resisted hanged, besieged Nancy, which made a valiant defence, and ended by conquering the capital as well as the country-places, leaving Duke Rene no asylum but the court of Louis XI., of whom the Lorraine prince had begged a support, which Louis, after his custom, had promised without rendering it effectual. Charles did not stop there. He had already been more than once engaged in hostilities with his neighbors the Swiss; and he now learned that they had just made a sanguinary raid upon the district of Vaud, the domain of a petty prince of the house of Savoy, and a devoted servant of the Duke of Burgundy. Scarcely two months after the capture of Nancy, Charles set out, on the 11th of June, 1476, to go and avenge his client, and wreak his haughty and turbulent humor upon these bold peasants of the Alps.

In spite of the truce he had but lately concluded with Charles the Rash, the prudent Louis did not cease to keep an attentive watch upon him, and to reap advantage, against him, from the leisure secured to the King of France by his peace with the King of England and the Duke of Brittany. A late occurrence had still further strengthened his position: his brother Charles, who became Duke of Guienne, in 1469, after the treaty of Peronne, had died on the 24th of May, 1472. There were sinister rumors abroad touching his death. Louis was suspected, and even accused to the Duke of Brittany, an intimate friend of the deceased prince, of having poisoned his brother. He caused an inquiry to be instituted into the matter; but the inquiry itself was accused of being incomplete and inconclusive. "King Louis did not, possibly, cause his brother's death," says M. de Barante, "but nobody thought him incapable of it." The will which Prince Charles had dictated a little before his death increased the horror inspired by such a suspicion. He manifested in it a feeling of affection and confidence towards the king his brother; he requested him to treat his servants kindly; "and if in any way," he added, "we have ever offended our right dread and right well-beloved brother, we do beg him to be pleased to forgive us; since, for our part, if ever in any matter he hath offended us, we do affectionately pray the Divine Majesty to forgive him, and with good courage and good will do we on our part forgive him." The Duke of Guienne at the same time appointed the king executor of his will. If we acknowledge, however, that Louis was not incapable of such a crime, it must be admitted that there is no trust-worthy proof of his guilt. At any rate his brother's death had important results for him. Not only did it set him free from all fresh embarrassment in that direction, but it also restored to him the beautiful province of Guienne, and many a royal client. He treated the friends of Prince Charles, whether they had or had not been heretofore his own, with marked attention. He re-established at Bordeaux the parliament he had removed to Poitiers; he pardoned the towns of Pdzenas and Montignac for some late seditions; and, lastly, he took advantage of this incident to pacify and satisfy this portion of the kingdom. Of the great feudal chieftains who, in 1464, had formed against him the League of the common weal, the Duke of Burgundy was the only one left on the scene, and in a condition to put him in peril.

But though here was for the future his only real adversary, Louis XI. continued, and with reason, to regard the Duke of Burgundy as his most formidable foe, and never ceased to look about for means and allies wherewith to encounter him. He could no longer count upon the co-operation, more or less general, of the Flemings. His behavior to the Liegese after the incident at Peronne, and his share in the disaster which befell Liege, had lost him all his credit in the Flemish cities. The Flemings, besides, had been disheartened and disgusted at the idea of compromising themselves for or against their Burgundian prince. When they saw him entering upon the campaign in Lorraine and Switzerland, they themselves declared to him what he might or might not expect from them. "If he were pressed," they said, "by the Germans or the Swiss, and had not with him enough men to make his way back freely to his own borders, he had only to let them know, and they would expose their persons and their property to go after him and fetch him back safely within his said borders, but as for making war again at his instance, they were not free to aid him any more with either men or money." Louis XI., then, had nothing to expect from the Flemings any more; but for two years past, and so soon as he observed the commencement of hostilities between the Duke of Burgundy and the Swiss, he had paved the way for other alliances in that quarter. In 1473 he had sent "to the most high and mighty lords and most dear friends of ours, them of the league and city of Berne and of the great and little league of Germany, ambassadors charged to make proposals to them, if they would come to an understanding to be friends of friends and foes of foes" (make an offensive and defensive alliance). The proposal was brought before the diet of the cantons assembled at Lucerne. The King of France "regretted that the Duke of Burgundy would not leave the Swiss in peace; he promised that his advice and support, whether in men or in money, should not be wanting to them; he offered to each canton an annual friendly donation of two thousand livres; and he engaged not to summon their valiant warriors to take service save in case of pressing need, and unless Switzerland were herself at war." The question was discussed with animation; the cantons were divided; some would have nothing to do with either the alliance or the money of Louis XI., of whom they spoke with great distrust and antipathy; others insisted upon the importance of being supported by the King of France in their quarrels with the Duke of Burgundy, and scornfully repudiated the fear that the influence and money of Louis would bring a taint upon the independence and the good morals of their country. The latter opinion carried the day; and, on the 2d of October, 1474, conformably with a treaty concluded, on the 10th of the previous January, between the King of France and the league of Swiss cantons, the canton of Berne made to the French legation the following announcement: "If, in the future, the said lords of the league asked help from the King of France against the Duke of Burgundy, and if the said lord king, being engaged in his own wars, could not help them with men, in this case he should cause to be lodged and handed over to them, in the city of Lyons, twenty thousand Rhenish florins every quarter of a year, as long as the war actually continued; and we, on our part, do promise, on our faith and honor, that every time and however many times the said lord king shall ask help from the said lords of the league, we will take care that they do help him and aid him with six thousand men in his wars and expeditions, according to the tenor of the late alliance and union made between them, howbeit on payment."

A Bernese messenger carried this announcement to the Burgundian camp before the fortress of Neuss, and delivered it into the hands of Duke Charles himself, whose only remark, as he ground his teeth, was, "Ah! Berne! Berne!" At the be-ginning of January, 1476, he left Nancy, of which he had recently gained possession, returned to Besancon, and started thence on the 6th of February to take the field with an army amounting, it is said, to thirty or forty thousand men, provided with a powerful artillery and accompanied by an immense baggage-train, wherein Charles delighted to display his riches and magnificence in contrast with the simplicity and roughness of his personal habits. At the rumor of such an armament the Swiss attempted to keep off the war from their country. "I have heard tell," says Commynes, "by a knight of theirs, who had been sent by them to the said duke, that he told him that against them he could gain nothing, for that their country was very barren and poor; that there were no good prisoners to make, and that the spurs and the horses' bits in his own army were worth more money than all the people of their territory could pay in ransom even if they were taken." Charles, however, gave no heed, saw nothing in their representations but an additional reason for hurrying on his movements with confidence, and on the 19th of February arrived before Granson, a little town in the district of Vaud, where war had already begun.

Louis XI. watched all these incidents closely, keeping agents everywhere, treating secretly with everybody, with the Duke of Burgundy as well as with the Swiss, knowing perfectly well what he wanted, but holding himself ready to face anything, no matter what the event might be. When he saw that the crisis was coming, he started from Tours and went to take up his quarters at Lyons, close to the theatre of war and within an easy distance for speedy information and prompt action. Scarcely had he arrived, on the 4th of March, when he learned that, on the day but one before, Duke Charles had been tremendously beaten by the Swiss at Granson; the squadrons of his chivalry had not been able to make any impression upon the battalions of Berne, Schwitz, Soleure, and Fribourg, armed with pikes eighteen feet long; and at sight of the mountaineers marching with huge strides and lowered heads upon their foes and heralding their advance by the lowings of the bull of Uri and the cow of Unterwalden, two enormous instruments made of buffalo-horn, and given, it was said, to their ancestors by Charlemagne, the whole Burgundian army, seized with panic, had dispersed in all directions, "like smoke before the northern blast." Charles himself had been forced to fly with only five horsemen, it is said, for escort, leaving all his camp, artillery, treasure, oratory, jewels, down to his very cap garnished with precious stones and his collar of the Golden Fleece, in the hands of the "poor Swiss," astounded at their booty and having no suspicion of its value. "They sold the silver plate for a few pence, taking it for pewter," says M. de Barante. Those magnificent silks and velvets, that cloth of gold and damask, that Flanders lace, and those carpets from Arras which were found heaped up in chests, were cut in pieces and distributed by the ell, like common canvas in a village shop. The duke's large diamond which he wore round his neck, and which had once upon a time glittered in the crown of the Great Mogul, was found on the road, inside a little box set with fine pearls. The man who picked it up kept the box and threw away the diamond as a mere bit of glass. Afterwards he thought better of it; went to look for the stone, found it under a wagon, and sold it for a crown to a clergyman of the neighborhood. "There was nothing saved but the bare life," says Commynes.

That even the bare life was saved was a source of sorrow to Louis XI. in the very midst of his joy at the defeat. He was, nevertheless, most proper in his behavior and language towards Duke Charles, who sent to him Sire de Contay "with humble and gracious words, which was contrary to his nature and his custom," says Commynes; "but see how an hour's time changed him; he prayed the king to be pleased to observe loyally the truce concluded between them, he excused himself for not having appeared at the interview which was to have taken place at Auxerre, and he bound himself to be present, shortly, either there or elsewhere, according to the king's good pleasure." Louis promised him all he asked, "for," adds Commynes, "it did not seem to him time, as yet, to do other-wise;" and he gave the duke the good advice "to return home and bide there quietly, rather than go on stubbornly warring with yon folks of the Alps, so poor that there was nought to gain by taking their lands, but valiant and obstinate in battle." Louis might give this advice fearlessly, being quite certain that Charles would not follow it. The latter's defeat at Granson had thrown him into a state of gloomy irritation. At Lausanne, where he staid for some time, he had "a great sickness, proceeding," says Commynes, "from grief and sadness on account of this shame that he had suffered; and, to tell the truth, I think that never since was his understanding so good as it had been before this battle." Before he fell ill, on the 12th of March, Charles issued orders from his camp before Lausanne to his lieutenant at Luxembourg to put under arrest "and visit with the extreme penalty of death, without waiting for other command from us, all the men-at-arms, archers, cross-bowmen, infantry, or other soldiery" who had fled or dispersed after the disaster at Granson; "and as to those who be newly coming into our service it is ordered by us that they, on pain of the same punishment, do march towards us with all diligence; and if they make any delay, our pleasure is that you proceed against them in the manner hereinabove declared without fail in any way." With such fiery and ruthless energy Charles collected a fresh army, having a strength, it is said, of from twenty-five to thirty thousand men, Burgundians, Flemings, Italians, and English; and after having reviewed it on the platform above Lausanne, he set out on the 27th of May, 1476, and pitched his camp on the 10th of June before the little town of Morat, six leagues from Berne, giving notice everywhere that it was war to the death that he intended. The Swiss were expecting it, and were prepared for it. The energy of pride was going to be pitted against the energy of patriotism. "The Duke of Burgundy is here with all his forces, his Italian mercenaries and some traitors of Germans," said the letter written to the Bernese by the governor of Morat, Adrian of Bubenberg; "the gentlemen of the magistracy, of the council, and of the burgherhood may be free from fear and hurry, and may set at rest the minds of all our confederates: I will defend Morat;" and he swore to the garrison and the inhabitants that he would put to death the first who should speak of surrender. Morat had been for ten days holding out against the whole army of the Burgundians; the confederate Swiss were arriving successively at Berne; and the men of Zurich alone were late. Their fellow-countryman, Hans Waldmann, wrote to them, "We positively must give battle or we are lost, every one of us. The Burgundians are three times more numerous than they were at Granson, but we shall manage to pull through. With God's help great honor awaits us. Do not fail to come as quickly as possible." On the 21st of June, in the evening, the Zurichers arrived. "Ha!" the duke was just saying, "have these hounds lost heart, pray? I was told that we were about to get at them." Next day, the 22d of June, after a pelting rain and with the first gleams of the returning sun, the Swiss attacked the Burgundian camp. A man-at-arms came and told the duke, who would not believe it, and dismissed the messenger with a coarse insult, but hurried, nevertheless, to the point of attack. The battle was desperate; but before the close of the day it was hopelessly lost by the Burgundians. Charles had still three thousand horse, but he saw them break up, and he himself had great difficulty in getting away, with merely a dozen men behind him, and reaching Merges, twelve leagues from Morat. Eight or ten thousand of his men had fallen, more than half, it is said, killed in cold blood after the fight. Never had the Swiss been so dead set against their foes; and "as cruel as at Morat" was for a long while a common expression.

"The king," says Commynes, "always willingly gave somewhat to him who was the first to bring him some great news, without forgetting the messenger, and he took pleasure in speaking thereof before the news came, saying, 'I will give so much to him who first brings me such and such news.' My lord of Bouchage and I (being together) had the first message about the battle of Morat, and told it both together to the king, who gave each of us two hundred marks of silver." Next day Louis, as prudent in the hour of joy as of reverse, wrote to Count de Dampmartin, who was in command of his troops concentrated at Senlis, with orders to hold himself in readiness for any event, but still carefully observe the truce with the Duke of Burgundy. Charles at that time was thinking but little of Louis and their truce; driven to despair by the disaster at Morat, but more dead set than ever on the struggle, he repaired from Morges to Gex, and from Gex to Salins, and summoned successively, in July and August, at Salins, at Dijon, at Brussels, and at Luxembourg the estates of his various domains, making to all of them an appeal, at the same time supplicatory and imperious, calling upon them for a fresh army with which to recommence the war with the Swiss, and fresh subsidies with which to pay it. "If ever," said he, "you have desired to serve us and do us pleasure, see to doing and accomplishing all that is bidden you; make no default in anything whatsoever, and he henceforth in dread of the punishments which may ensue." But there was everywhere a feeling of disgust with the service of Duke Charles; there was no more desire of serving him and no more fear of disobeying him; he encountered almost everywhere nothing but objections, complaints, and refusals, or else a silence and an inactivity which were still worse. Indignant, dismayed, and dumbfounded at such desertion, Charles retired to his castle of La Riviere, between Pontarlier and Joux, and shut himself up there for more than six weeks, without, however, giving up the attempt to collect soldiers. "Howbeit," says Commynes, "he made but little of it; he kept himself quite solitary, and he seemed to do it from sheer obstinacy more than anything else. His natural heat was so great that he used to drink no wine, generally took barley-water in the morning and ate preserved rose-leaves to keep himself cool; but sorrow changed his complexion so much that he was obliged to drink good strong wine without water, and, to bring the blood back to his heart, burning tow was put into cupping- glasses, and they were applied thus heated to the region of the heart. Such are the passions of those who have never felt adversity, especially of proud princes who know not how to discover any remedy. The first refuge, in such a case, is to have recourse to God, to consider whether one have offended Him in aught, and to confess one's misdeeds. After that, what does great good is to converse with some friend, and not be ashamed to show one's grief before him, for that lightens and comforts the heart; and not at any rate to take the course the duke took of concealing himself and keeping himself solitary; he was so terrible to his own folks that none durst come forward to give him any comfort or counsel; but all left him to do as he pleased, feeling that, if they made him any remonstrance, it would be the worse for them."

But events take no account of the fears and weaknesses of men. Charles learned before long that the Swiss were not his most threatening foes, and that he had something else to do instead of going after them amongst their mountains. During his two campaigns against them, the Duke of Lorraine, Rend II., whom he had despoiled of his dominions and driven from Nancy, had been wandering amongst neighboring princes and people in France, Germany, and Switzerland, at the courts of Louis XI. and the Emperor Frederic III., on visits to the patricians of Berne, and in the free towns of the Rhine. He was young, sprightly, amiable, and brave; he had nowhere met with great assistance, but he had been well received, and certain promises had been made him. When he saw the contest so hotly commenced between the Duke of Burgundy and the Swiss, he resolutely put himself at the service of the republican mountaineers, fought for them in their ranks, and powerfully contributed to their victory at Morat. The defeat of Charles and his retreat to his castle of La Riviere gave Rend new hopes, and gained him some credit amongst the powers which had hitherto merely testified towards him a good will of but little value; and his partisans in Lorraine recovered confidence in his for-tunes. One day, as he was at his prayers in a church, a rich widow, Madame Walther, came up to him in her mantle and hood, made him a deep reverence, and handed him a purse of gold to help him in winning back his duchy. The city of Strasbourg gave him some cannon, four hundred cavalry, and eight hundred infantry; Louis XI. lent him some money; and Rend before long found himself in a position to raise a small army and retake Epinal, Saint-Did, Vaudemont, and the majority of the small towns in Lorraine. He then went and laid siege to Nancy. The Duke of Burgundy had left there as governor John de Rubemprd, lord of Bievres, with a feeble garrison, which numbered amongst its ranks three hundred English, picked men. Sire de Bievres sent message after message to Charles, who did not even reply to him. The town was short of provisions; the garrison was dispirited; and the commander of the English was killed. Sire de Bievres, a loyal servant, but a soldier of but little energy, determined to capitulate. On the 6th of October, 1476, he evacuated the place at the head of his men, all safe in person and property. At sight of him Rend dismounted, and handsomely went forward to meet him, saying, "Sir, my good uncle, I thank you for having so courteously governed my duchy; if you find it agreeable to remain with me, you shall fare the same as myself." "Sir," answered Sire de Bievres, "I hope that you will not think ill of me for this war; I very much wish that my lord of Burgundy had never begun it, and I am much afraid that neither he nor I will see the end of it."

Sire de Bievres had no idea how true a prophet he was. Almost at the very moment when he was capitulating, Duke Charles, throwing off his sombre apathy, was once more entering Lorraine with all the troops he could collect, and on the 22d of October he in his turn went and laid siege to Nancy. Duke Rend, not considering himself in a position to maintain the contest with only such forces as he had with him, determined to quit Nancy in person and go in search of re-enforcements at a distance, at the same time leaving in the town a not very numerous but a devoted garrison, which, together with the inhabitants, promised to hold out for two months. And it did hold out whilst Rend was visiting Strasbourg, Berne, Zurich, and Lucerne, presenting himself before the councils of these petty republics with, in order to please them, a tame bear behind him, which he left at the doors, and promising, thanks to Louis XI.'s agents in Switzerland, extraordinary pay. He thus obtained auxiliaries to the number of eight thousand fighting men. He had, moreover, in the very camp of the Duke of Burgundy, a secret ally, an Italian condottiere, the Count of Campo-Basso, who, either from personal hatred or on grounds of interest, was betraying the master to whom he had bound himself. The year before, he had made an offer to Louis XI. to go over to him with his troops during a battle, or to hand over to him the Duke of Burgundy, dead or alive. Louis mistrusted the traitor, and sent Charles notice of the offers made by Campo-Basso. But Charles mistrusted Louis's information, and kept Campo-Basso in his service. A little before the battle of Morat Louis had thought better of his scruples or his doubts, and had accepted, with the compensation of a pension, the kind offices of Campo-Basso. When the war took place in Lorraine, the condottiere, whom Duke Charles had one day grossly insulted, entered into communication with Duke Rend also, and took secret measures for insuring the failure of the Burgundian attempts upon Nancy. Such was the position of the two princes and the two armies, when, on the 4th of June, 1477, Rend, having returned with re-enforcements to Lorraine, found himself confronted with Charles, who was still intent upon the siege of Nancy. The Duke of Burgundy assembled his captains. "Well!" said he, "since these drunken scoundrels are upon us, and are coming here to look for meat and drink, what ought we to do?" The majority of those present were of opinion that the right thing to do was to fall back into the duchy of Luxembourg, there to recruit the enfeebled army. "Duke Rene," they said, "is poor; he will not be able to bear very long the expense of the war, and his allies will leave him as soon as he has no more money; wait but a little, and success is certain." Charles flew into a passion. "My father and I," said he, "knew how to thrash these Lorrainers; and we will make them remember it. By St. George! I will not fly before a boy, before Rend of Vaudemont, who is coming at the head of this scum. He has not so many men with him as people think; the Germans have no idea of leaving their stoves in winter. This evening we will deliver the assault against the town, and to-morrow we will give battle."

And the next day, January the 5th, the battle did take place, in the plain of Nancy. The Duke of Burgundy assumed his armor very early in the morning. When he put on his helmet, the gilt lion, which formed the crest of it, fell off. "That is a sign from God!" said he; but, nevertheless, he went and drew up his army in line of battle. The day but one before, Campo-Basso had drawn off his troops to a considerable distance; and he presented himself before Duke Rene, having taken off his red scarf and his cross of St. Andrew, and being quite ready, he said, to give proofs of his zeal on the spot. Rene spoke about it to his Swiss captains. "We have no mind," said they, "to have this traitor of an Italian fighting beside us; our fathers never made use of such folk or such practices in order to conquer." And Campo-Basso held aloof. The battle began in gloomy weather, and beneath heavy flakes of snow, lasted but a short time, and was not at all murderous in the actual conflict, but the pursuit was terrible. Campo-Basso and his troops held the bridge of Bouxieres, by which the Burgundian fugitives would want to pass; and the Lorrainerss of Rend and his Swiss and German allies scoured the country, killing all with whom they fell in. Rend returned to Nancy in the midst of a population whom his victory had delivered from famine as well as war. "To show him what sufferings they had endured," says M. de Barante, "they conceived the idea of piling up in a heap, before the door of his hostel, the heads of the horses, dogs, mules, cats, and other unclean animals which had for several weeks past been the only food of the besieged." When the first burst of joy was over, the question was, what had become of the Duke of Burgundy; nobody had a notion; and his body was not found amongst the dead in any of the places where his most valiant and faithful warriors had fallen. The rumor ran that he was not dead; some said that one of his servants had picked him up wounded on the field of battle, and was taking care of him, none knew where; and according to others, a German lord had made him prisoner, and carried him off beyond the Rhine. "Take good heed," said many people, "how ye comport yourselves otherwise than if he were still alive, for his vengeance would be terrible on his return." On the evening of the day after the battle, the Count of Campo-Basso brought to Duke Rend a young Roman page who, he said, had from a distance seen his master fall, and could easily find the spot again. Under his guidance a move was made towards a pond hard by the town; and there, half buried in the slush of the pond, were some dead bodies, lying stripped. A poor washerwoman, amongst the rest, had joined in the search; she saw the glitter of a jewel in the ring upon one of the fingers of a corpse whose face was not visible; she went forward, turned the body over, and at once cried, "Ah! my prince!" There was a rush to the spot immediately. As the head was being detached from the ice to which it stuck, the skin came off, and a large wound was discovered. On examining the body with care, it was unhesitatingly recognized to be that of Charles, by his doctor, by his chaplain, by Oliver de la Marche, his chamberlain, and by several grooms of the chamber; and certain marks, such as the scar of the wound he had received at Montlhery, and the loss of two teeth, put their assertion beyond a doubt. As soon as Duke Rend knew that they had at last found the body of the Duke of Burgundy, he had it removed to the town, and laid on a bed of state of black velvet, under a canopy of black satin. It was dressed in a garment of white satin; a ducal crown, set with precious stones, was placed on the disfigured brow; the lower limbs were cased in scarlet, and on the heels were gilded spurs. The Duke of Lorraine went and sprinkled holy water on the corpse of his unhappy rival, and, taking the dead hand beneath the pall, "Ah! dear cousin," said he, with tears in his eyes.

For the time that I knew him he was not cruel; but he became so before his death, and that was a bad omen for a long existence. He was very sumptuous in dress and in all other matters, and a little too much so. He showed very great honor to ambassadors and foreign folks; they were right well feasted and entertained by him. He was desirous of great glory, and it was that more than ought else that brought him into his wars; he would have been right glad to be like to those ancient princes of whom there has been so much talk after their death; he was as bold a man as any that reigned in his day. . . . After the long felicity and great riches of this house of Burgundy, and after three great princes, good and wise, who had lasted six score years and more in good sense and virtue, God gave this people the Duke Charles, who kept them constantly in great war, travail, and expense, and almost as much in winter as in summer. Many rich and comfortable folks were dead or ruined in prison during these wars. The great losses began in front of Neuss, and continued through three or four battles up to the hour of his death; and at that hour all the strength of his country was sapped; and dead, or ruined, or captive, were all who could or would have defended the dominions and the honor of his house. Thus it seems that this loss was an equal set-off to the time of their felicity. "Please God to forgive Duke Charles his sins!"

To this pious wish of Commynes, after so judicious a sketch, we may add another: Please God that people may no more suffer themselves to be taken captive by the corrupting and ruinous pleasures procured for them by their masters' grand but wicked or foolish enterprises, and may learn to give to the men who govern them a glory in proportion to the wisdom and justice of their deeds, and by no means to the noise they make and the risks they sow broadcast around them!

The news of the death of Charles the Rash was for Louis XI. an unexpected and unhoped-for blessing, and one in which he could scarcely believe. The news reached him on the 9th of January, at the castle of Plessis-les- Tours, by the medium of a courier sent to him by George de la Tremoille, Sire de Craon, commanding his troops on the frontier of Lorraine.

"Insomuch as this house of Burgundy was greater and more powerful than the others," says Commynes, "was the pleasure great for the king more than all the others together; it was the joy of seeing himself set above all those he hated, and above his principal foes; it might well seem to him that he would never in his life meet any to gainsay him in his kingdom, or in the neighborhood near him." He replied the same day to Sire de Craon, "Sir Count, my good friend, I have received your letters, and the good news you have brought to my knowledge, for which I thank you as much as I am able. Now is the time for you to employ all your five natural wits to put the duchy and countship of Burgundy in my hands. And, to that end, place yourself with your band and the governor of Champagne, if so be that the Duke of Burgundy is dead, within the said country, and take care, for the dear love you bear me, that you maintain amongst the men of war the best order, just as if you were inside Paris; and make known to them that I am minded to treat them and keep them better than any in my kingdom; and that, in respect of our god-daughter, I have an intention of completing the marriage that I have already had in contemplation between my lord the dauphin and her. Sir Count, I consider it understood that you will not enter the said country, or make mention of that which is written above, unless the Duke of Burgundy be dead. And, in any case, I pray you to serve me in accordance with the confidence I have in you. And adieu!"

Beneath the discreet reserve inspired by a remnant of doubt concerning the death of his enemy, this letter contained the essence of Louis XI.'s grand and very natural stroke of policy. Charles the Rash had left only a daughter, Mary of Burgundy, sole heiress of all his dominions. To annex this magnificent heritage to the crown of France by the marriage of the heiress with the dauphin who was one day to be Charles VIII., was clearly for the best interests of the nation as well as of the French kingship, and such had, accordingly, been Louis XI.'s first idea. "When the Duke of Burgundy was still alive," says Commynes, "many a time spoke the king to me of what he would do if the duke should happen to die; and he spoke most reasonably, saying that he would try to make a match between his son (who is now our king) and the said duke's daughter (who was afterwards Duchess of Austria); and if she were not minded to hear of it for that my lord, the dauphin, was much younger than she, he would essay to get her married to some younger lord of this realm, for to keep her and her subjects in amity, and to recover without dispute that which he claimed as his; and still was the said lord on this subject a week before he knew of the said duke's death. . . . Howbeit it seems that the king our master took not hold of matters by the end by which he should have taken hold for to come out triumphant, and to add to his crown all those great lordships, either by sound title or by marriage, as easily he might have done."

Commynes does not explain or specify clearly the mistake with which he reproaches his master. Louis XI., in spite of his sound sense and correct appreciation, generally, of the political interests of France and of his crown, allowed himself on this great occasion to be swayed by secondary considerations and personal questions. His son's marriage with the heiress of Burgundy might cause some embarrassment in his relations with Edward IV., King of England, to whom he had promised the dauphin as a husband for his daughter Elizabeth, who was already sometimes called, in England, the Dauphiness. In 1477, at the death of the duke her father, Mary of Burgundy was twenty years old, and Charles, the dauphin, was barely eight. There was another question, a point of feudal law, as to whether Burgundy, properly so called, was a fief which women could inherit, or a fief which, in default of a male heir, must lapse to the suzerain. Several of the Flemish towns which belonged to the Duke of Burgundy were weary of his wars and his violence, and showed an inclination to pass over to the sway of the King of France. All these facts offered pretexts, opportunities, and chances of success for that course of egotistical pretension and cunning intrigue in which Louis delighted and felt confident of his ability; and into it he plunged after the death of Charles the Rash. Though he still spoke of his desire of marrying his son, the dauphin, to Mary of Burgundy, it was no longer his dominant and ever-present idea. Instead of taking pains to win the good will and the heart of Mary herself, he labored with his usual zeal and address to dispute her rights, to despoil her brusquely of one or another town in her dominions, to tamper with her servants, or excite against them the wrath of the populace. Two of the most devoted and most able amongst them, Hugonet, chancellor of Burgundy, and Sire d'Humbercourt, were the victims of Louis XI.'s hostile manoeuvres and of blind hatred on the part of the Ghentese; and all the Princess Mary's passionate entreaties were powerless both with the king and with the Flemings to save them from the scaffold. And so Mary, alternately threatened or duped, attacked in her just rights or outraged in her affections, being driven to extremity, exhibited a resolution never to become the daughter of a prince unworthy of the confidence she, poor orphan, had placed in the spiritual tie which marked him out as her protector. "I understand," said she, "that my father had arranged my marriage with the emperor's son; I have no mind for any other." Louis in his alarm tried all sorts of means, seductive and violent, to prevent such a reverse. He went in person amongst the Walloon and Flemish provinces belonging to Mary. "That I come into this country," said he to the inhabitants of Quesnoy, "is for nothing but the interests of Mdlle. de Burgundy, my well-beloved cousin and god-daughter. . . . Of her wicked advisers some would have her espouse the son of the Duke of Cleves; but he is a prince of far too little lustre for so illustrious a princess; I know that he has a bad sore on his leg; he is a drunkard, like all Germans, and, after drinking, he will break his glass over her head, and beat her. Others would ally her with the English, the kingdom's old enemies, who all lead bad lives: there are some who would give her for her husband the emperor's son, but those princes of the imperial house are the most avaricious in the world; they will carry off Mdlle. de Burgundy to Germany, a strange land and a coarse, where she will know no consolation, whilst your land of Hainault will be left without any lord to govern and defend it. If my fair cousin were well advised, she would espouse the dauphin; you speak French, you Walloon people; you want a prince of France, not a German. As for me, I esteem the folks of Hainault more than any nation in the world; there is none more noble, and in my sight a hind of Hainault is worth more than a grand gentleman of any other country." At the very time that he was using such flattering language to the good folks of Hainault, he was writing to the Count de Dampmartin, whom he had charged with the repression of insurrection in the country-parts of Ghent and Bruges, "Sir Grand Master, I send you some mowers to cut down the crop you wot off; put them, I pray you, to work, and spare not some casks of wine to set them drinking, and to make them drunk. I pray you, my friend, let there be no need to return a second time to do the mowing, for you are as much crown-officer as I am, and, if I am king, you are grand master." Dampmartin executed the king's orders without scruple; and at the season of harvest the Flemish country-places were devastated. "Little birds of heaven," cries the Flemish chronicler Molinet, "ye who are wont to haunt our fields and rejoice our hearts with your amorous notes, now seek out other countries; get ye hence from our tillages, for the king of the mowers of France hath done worse to us than do the tempests."

All the efforts of Louis XI., his winning speeches, and his ruinous deeds, did not succeed in averting the serious check he dreaded. On the 18th of August, 1477, seven months after the battle of Nancy and the death of Charles the Rash, Arch-duke Maximilian, son of the Emperor Frederick III., arrived at Ghent to wed Mary of Burgundy. "The moment he caught sight of his betrothed," say the Flemish chroniclers, "they both bent down to the ground and turned as pale as death—a sign of mutual love according to some, an omen of unhappiness according to others." Next day, August 19, the marriage was celebrated with great simplicity in the chapel of the Hotel de Ville; and Maximilian swore to respect the privileges of Ghent. A few days afterwards he renewed the same oath at Bruges, in the midst of decorations bearing the modest device, "Most glorious prince, defend us lest we perish" (Gloriosissime princeps, defende nos ne pereamus). Not only did Louis XI. thus fail in his first wise design of incorporating with France, by means of a marriage between his son the dauphin and Princess Mary, the heritage of the Dukes of Burgundy, but he suffered the heiress and a great part of the heritage to pass into the hands of the son of the German emperor; and thereby he paved the way for that determined rivalry between the houses of France and Austria, which was a source of so many dangers and woes to both states during three centuries. It is said that in 1745, when Louis XV., after the battle of Fontenoy, entered Bruges cathedral, he remarked, as he gazed on the tombs of the Austro-Burgundian princes, "There is the origin of all our wars." In vain, when the marriage of Maximilian and Mary was completed, did Louis XI. attempt to struggle against his new and dangerous neighbor; his campaigns in the Flemish provinces, in 1478 and 1479, had no great result; he lost, on the 7th of August, 1479, the battle of Guinegate, between St. Omer and Therouanne; and before long, tired of war, which was not his favorite theatre for the display of his abilities, he ended by concluding with Maximilian a truce at first, and then a peace, which in spite of some conditionals favorable to France, left the principal and the fatal consequences of the Austro-Burgundian marriage to take full effect. This event marked the stoppage of that great, national policy which had prevailed during the first part of Louis XI.'s reign. Joan of Arc and Charles VII. had driven the English from France; and for sixteen years Louis XI. had, by fighting and gradually destroying the great vassals who made alliance with them, prevented them from regaining a footing there. That was work as salutary as it was glorious for the nation and the French kingship. At the death of Charles the Rash, the work was accomplished; Louis XI. was the only power left in France, without any great peril from without, and without any great rival within; but he then fell under the sway of mistaken ideas and a vicious spirit. The infinite resources of his mind, the agreeableness of his conversation, his perseverance combined with the pliancy of his will, the services he was rendering France, the successes he in the long ruin frequently obtained, and his ready apparent resignation under his reverses, for a while made up for or palliated his faults, his falsehoods, his perfidies, his iniquities; but when evil is predominant at the bottom of a man's soul, he cannot do without youth and success; he cannot make head against age and decay, reverse of fortune and the approach of death; and so Louis XI. when old in years, master-power still though beaten in his last game of policy, appeared to all as he really was and as he had been prediscerned to be by only such eminent observers as Commynes, that is, a crooked, swindling, utterly selfish, vindictive, cruel man. Not only did he hunt down implacably the men who, after having served him, had betrayed or deserted him; he revelled in the vengeance he took and the sufferings he inflicted on them. He had raised to the highest rank both in state and church the son of a cobbler, or, according to others, of a tailor, one John de Balue, born in 1421, at the market-town of Angles, in Poitou. After having chosen him, as an intelligent and a clever young priest, for his secretary and almoner, Louis made him successively clerical councillor in the parliament of Paris, then Bishop of Evreux, and afterwards cardinal; and he employed him in his most private affairs. It was a hobby of his thus to make the fortunes of men born in the lowest stations, hoping that, since they would owe everything to him, they would never depend on any but him. It is scarcely credible that so keen and contemptuous a judge of human nature could have reckoned on dependence as a pledge of fidelity. And in this case Louis was, at any rate, mistaken; Balue was a traitor to him, and in 1468, at the very time of the incident at Peronne, he was secretly in the service of Duke Charles of Burgundy, and betrayed to him the interests and secrets of his master and benefactor. In 1469 Louis obtained material proof of the treachery; and he immediately had Balue arrested and put on his trial. The cardinal confessed everything, asking only to see the king. Louis gave him an interview on the way from Amboise to Notre-Dame de Clery; and they were observed, it is said, conversing for two hours, as they walked together on the road. The trial and condemnation of a cardinal by a civil tribunal was a serious business with the court of Rome. The king sent commissioners to Pope Paul II.: the pope complained of the procedure, but amicably and without persistence. The cardinal was in prison at Loches; and Louis resolved to leave him there forever, without any more fuss. But at the same time that, out of regard for the dignity of cardinal, which he had himself requested of the pope for the culprit, he dispensed with the legal condemnation to capital punishment, he was bent upon satisfying his vengeance, and upon making Balue suffer in person for his crime. He therefore had him confined in a cage, "eight feet broad," says Commynes, "and only one foot higher than a man's stature, covered with iron plates outside and inside, and fitted with terrible bars." There is still to be seen in Loches castle, under the name of the Balue cage, that instrument of prison-torture which the cardinal, it is said, himself invented. In it he passed eleven years, and it was not until 1480 that he was let out, at the solicitation of Pope Sixtus IV., to whom Louis XI., being old and ill, thought he could not possibly refuse this favor. He remembered, perhaps, at that time how that, sixteen years before, in writing to his lieutenant-general in Poitou to hand over to Balue, Bishop of Evreux, the property of a certain abbey, he said, "He is a devilish good bishop just now; I know not what he will be here-after."

He was still more pitiless towards a man more formidable and less subordinate, both in character and origin, than Cardinal Balue. Louis of Luxembourg, Count of St. Pol, had been from his youth up engaged in the wars and intrigues of the sovereigns and great feudal lords of Western Europe—France, England, Germany, Burgundy, Brittany, and Lorraine. From 1433 to 1475 he served and betrayed them all in turn, seeking and obtaining favors, incurring and braving rancor, at one time on one side and at another time on another, acting as constable of France and as diplomatic agent for the Duke of Burgundy, raising troops and taking towns for Louis XI., for Charles the Rash, for Edward IV., for the German emperor, and trying nearly always to keep for himself what he had taken on another's account. The truth is, that he was constantly occupied with the idea of making for himself an independent dominion, and becoming a great sovereign. "He was," says Duclos, "powerful from his possessions, a great captain, more ambitious than politic, and, from his ingratitude and his perfidies, worthy of his tragic end." His various patrons grew tired at last of being incessantly taken up with and then abandoned, served and then betrayed; and they mutually interchanged proofs of the desertions and treasons to which they had been victims. In 1475 Louis of Luxembourg saw a storm threatening; and he made application for a safe-conduct to Charles the Rash, who had been the friend of his youth. "Tell him," replied Charles to the messenger, "that he has forfeited his paper and his hope as well;" and he gave orders to detain him. As soon as Louis XI. knew whither the constable had retired, he demanded of the Duke of Burgundy to give him up, as had been agreed between them. "I have need," said he, "for my heavy business, of a head like his;" and he added, with a ghastly smile, "it is only the head I want; the body may stay where it is." On the 24th of November, 1475, the constable was, accordingly, given up to the king; and on the 27th, was brought to Paris. His trial, begun forthwith, was soon over; he himself acknowledged the greater part of what was imputed to him; and on the 19th of December he was brought up from the Bastille before the parliament. "My lord of St. Pol," said the chancellor to him, "you have always passed for being the firmest lord in the realm; you must not belie yourself to-day, when you have more need than ever of firmness and courage;" and he read to him the decree which sentenced him to lose his head that very day on the Place de Greve. "That is a mighty hard sentence," said the constable; "I pray God that I may see Him to-day." And he underwent execution with serene and pious firmness. He was of an epoch when the most criminal enterprises did not always preclude piety. Louis XI. did not look after the constable's accomplices. "He flew at the heads," says Duclos, "and was set on making great examples; he was convinced that noble blood, when it is guilty, should be shed rather than common blood. Nevertheless there was considered to be something indecent in the cession by the king to the Duke of Burgundy of the constable's possessions. It seemed like the price of the blood of an unhappy man, who, being rightfully sacrificed only to justice and public tranquillity, appeared to be so to vengeance, ambition, and avarice."

In August, 1477, the battle of Nancy had been fought; Charles the Rash had been killed; and the line of the Dukes of Burgundy had been extinguished. Louis XI. remained master of the battle-field on which the great risks and great scenes of his life had been passed through. It seemed as if he ought to fear nothing now, and that the day for clemency had come. But such was not the king's opinion; two cruel passions, suspicion and vengeance, had taken possession of his soul; he remained convinced, not without reason, that nearly all the great feudal lords who had been his foes were continuing to conspire against him, and that he ought not, on his side, ever to cease from striving against thorn. The trial of the constable, St. Pol, had confirmed all his suspicions; he had discovered thereby traces and almost proofs of a design for a long time past conceived and pursued by the constable and his associates—the design of seizing the king, keeping him prisoner, and setting his son, the dauphin, on the throne, with a regency composed of a council of lords. Amongst the declared or presumed adherents of this project, the king had found James d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, the companion and friend of his youth; for his father, the Count of Pardiac, had been governor to Louis, at that time dauphin. Louis, on becoming king, had loaded James d'Armagnac with favors; had raised his countship of Nemours to a duchy-peerage of France; had married him to Louise of Anjou, daughter of the Count of Maine and niece of King Rend. The new Duke of Nemours entered, nevertheless, into the League of Common Weal against the king. Having been included, in 1465, with the other chiefs of the league in the treaty of Conflans, and reconciled with the king, the Duke of Nemours made oath to him, in the Sainte-Chapelle, to always be to him a good, faithful, and loyal subject, and thereby obtained the governorship of Paris and Ile-de-France. But, in 1469, he took part in the revolt of his cousin, Count John d'Armagnac, who was supposed to be in communication with the English; and having been vanquished by the Count de Dampmartin, he had need of a fresh pardon from the king, which he obtained on renouncing the privileges of the peerage if he should offend again. He then withdrew within his own domains, and there lived in tranquillity and popularity, but still keeping up secret relations with his old associates, especially with the Duke of Burgundy and the constable of St. Pol. In 1476, during the Duke of Burgundy's first campaign against the Swiss, the more or less active participation of the Duke of Nemours with the king's enemies appeared to Louis so grave, that he gave orders to his son-in-law, Peter of Bourbon, Sire de Beaujeu, to go and besiege him in his castle of Carlat, in Auvergne. The Duke of Nemours was taken prisoner there and carried off to Vienne, in Dauphiny, where the king then happened to be. In spite of the prisoner's entreaties, Louis absolutely refused to see him, and had him confined in the tower of Pierre-Encise. The Duke of Nemours was so disquieted at his position and the king's wrath, that his wife, Louise of Anjou, who was in her confinement at Carlat, had a fit of terror and died there; and he himself, shut up at Pierre-Encise, in a dark and damp dungeon, found his hair turn white in a few days. He was not mistaken about the gravity of the danger. Louis was both alarmed at these incessantly renewed conspiracies of the great lords and vexed at the futility of his pardons. He was determined to intimidate his enemies by a grand example, and avenge his kingly self-respect by bringing his power home to the ingrates who made no account of his indulgence. He ordered that the Duke of Nemours should be removed from Pierre-Encise to Paris, and put in the Bastille, where he arrived on the 4th of August, 1476, and that commissioners should set about his trial. The king complained of the gentleness with which the prisoner had been treated on arrival, and wrote to one of the commissioners, "It seems to me that you have but one thing to do; that is, to find out what guarantees the Duke of Nemours had given the constable of being at one with him in making the Duke of Burgundy regent, putting me to death, seizing my lord the dauphin, and taking the authority and government of the realm. He must he made to speak clearly on this point, and must get hell (be put to the torture) in good earnest. I am not pleased at what you tell me as to the irons having been taken off his legs, as to his being let out from his cage, and as to his being taken to the mass to which the women go. Whatever the chancellor or others may say, take care that he budge not from his cage, that he be never let out save to give him hell (torture him), and that he suffer hell (torture) in his own chamber." The Duke of Nemours protested against the choice of commissioners, and claimed, as a peer of the realm, his right to be tried by the parliament. When put to the torture he ended by saying, "I wish to conceal nothing from the king; I will tell him the truth as to all I know." "My most dread and sovereign lord," he himself wrote to Louis, "I have been so misdoing towards you and towards God that I quite see that I am undone unless your grace and pity be extended to me; the which, accordingly, most humbly and in great bitterness and contrition of heart, I do beseech you to bestow upon me liberally;" and he put the simple signature, "Poor James." "He confessed that he had been cognizant of the constable's designs; but he added that, whilst thanking him for the kind offers made to himself, and whilst testifying his desire that the lords might at last get their guarantees, he had declared what great obligations and great oaths he was under to the king, against the which he would not go; he, moreover, had told the constable he had no money at the moment to dispose of, no relative to whom he was inclined to trust himself or whom he could exert himself to win over, not even M. d'Albret, his cousin." In such confessions there was enough to stop upright and fair judges from the infliction of capital punishment, but not enough to reassure and move the heart of Louis XI. On the chancellor's representations he consented to have the business sent before the parliament; but the peers of the realm were not invited to it. The king summoned the parliament to Noyon, to be nearer his own residence; and he ordered that the trial should be brought to a conclusion in that town, and that the original commissioners who had commenced proceedings, as well as thirteen other magistrates and officers of the king denoted by their posts, should sit with the lords of the parliament, and deliberate with them.

In spite of so many arbitrary precautions and violations of justice, the will of Louis XI. met, even in a parliament thus distorted, with some resistance. Three of the commissioners added to the court abstained from taking any part in the proceedings; three of the councillors pronounced against the penalty of death; and the king's own son-in-law, Sire de Beaujeu, who presided, confined himself to collecting the votes without delivering an opinion, and to announcing the decision. It was to the effect that "James d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, was guilty of high treason, and, as such, deprived of all honors, dignities, and prerogatives, and sentenced to be beheaded and executed according to justice." Furthermore the court declared all his possessions confiscated and lapsed to the king. The sentence, determined upon at Noyon on the 10th of July, 1477, was made known to the Duke of Nemours on the 4th of August, in the Bastille, and carried out, the same day, in front of the market-place. A disgusting detail, reproduced by several modern writers, has almost been received into history. Louis XI., it is said, ordered the children of the Duke of Nemours to be placed under the scaffold, and be sprinkled with their father's blood. None of his contemporaries, even the most hostile to Louis XI., and even amongst those who, at the states- general held in 1484, one of them after his death, raised their voices against the trial of the Duke of Nemours, and in favor of his children, has made any mention of this pretended atrocity. Amongst the men who have reigned and governed ably, Louis XI. is one of those who could be most justly taxed with cruel indifference when cruelty might be useful to him; but the more ground there is for severe judgment upon the chieftains of nations, the stronger is the interdict against overstepping the limit justified and authorized by facts.

The same rule of historical equity makes it incumbent upon us to remark that, in spite of his feelings of suspicion and revenge, Louis XI. could perfectly well appreciate the men of honor in whom he was able to have confidence, and would actually confide in them even contrary to ordinary probabilities. He numbered amongst his most distinguished servants three men who had begun by serving his enemies, and whom he conquered, so to speak, by his penetration and his firm mental grasp of policy. The first was Philip of Chabannes, Count de Dampmartin, an able and faithful military leader under Charles VII., so suspected by Louis XI. at his accession, that, when weary of living in apprehension and retirement he came, in 1463, and presented himself to the king, who was on his way to Bordeaux, "Ask you justice or mercy?" demanded Louis. "Justice, sir," was the answer. "Very well, then," replied the king, "I banish you forever from the kingdom." And he issued an order to that effect, at the same time giving Dampmartin a large sum to supply the wants of exile. It is credible that Louis already knew the worth of the man, and wished in this way to render their reconciliation more easy. Three years afterwards, in 1466, he restored to Dampmartin his possessions together with express marks of royal favor, and twelve years later, in 1478, in spite of certain gusts of doubt and disquietude which had passed across his mind as to Dampmartin under circumstances critical for both of them, the king wrote to him, "Sir Grand Master, I have received your letters, and I do assure you, by the faith of my body, that I am right joyous that you provided so well for your affair at Quesnoy, for one would have said that you and the rest of the old ones were no longer any good in an affair of war, and we and the rest of the young ones would have gotten the honor for ourselves. Search, I pray you, to the very roots the case of those who would have betrayed us, and punish them so well that they shall never do you harm. I have always told you that you have no need to ask me for leave to go and do your business, for I am sure that you would not abandon mine without having provided for everything. Wherefore, I put myself in your hands, and you can go away without leave. All goes well; and I am much better pleased at your holding your own so well than if you had risked a loss of two to one. And so, farewell!" In 1465, another man of war, Odet d'Aydie, Lord of Lescun in Warn, had commanded at Montlhery the troops of the Dukes of Berry and Brittany against Louis XI.; and, in 1469, the king, who had found means of making his acquaintance, and who "was wiser," says Commynes, "in the conduct of such treaties than any other prince of his time," resolved to employ him in his difficult relations with his brother Charles, then Duke of Guienne, "promising him that he and his servants, and he especially, should profit thereby." Three years afterwards, in 1472, Louis made Lescun Count of Comminges, "wherein he showed good judgment," adds Commynes, "saying that no peril would come of putting in his hands that which he did put, for never, during those past dissensions, had the said Lescun a mind to have any communication with the English, or to consent that the places of Normandy should be handed over to them;" and to the end of his life Louis XI. kept up the confidence which Lescun had inspired by his judicious fidelity in the case of this great question. There is no need to make any addition to the name of Philip de Commynes, the most precious of the politic conquests made by Louis in the matter of eminent counsellors, to whom he remained as faithful as they were themselves faithful and useful to him. The Memoires of Commynes are the most striking proof of the rare and unfettered political intellect placed by the future historian at the king's service, and of the estimation in which the king had wit enough to hold it.

Louis XI. rendered to France, four centuries ago, during a reign of twenty-two years, three great services, the traces and influence of which exist to this day. He prosecuted steadily the work of Joan of Arc and Charles VII., the expulsion of a foreign kingship and the triumph of national independence and national dignity. By means of the provinces which he successively won, wholly or partly, Burgundy, Franche-Comte, Artois, Provence, Anjou, Roussillon, and Barrois, he caused France to make a great stride towards territorial unity within her natural boundaries. By the defeat he inflicted on the great vassals, the favor he showed the middle classes, and the use he had the sense to make of this new social force, he contributed powerfully to the formation of the French nation, and to its unity under a national government. Feudal society had not an idea of how to form itself into a nation, or discipline its forces under one head; Louis XI. proved its political weakness, determined its fall, and labored to place in its stead France and monarchy. Herein are the great facts of his reign, and the proofs of his superior mind.

But side by side with these powerful symptoms of a new regimen appeared also the vices of which that regimen contained the germ, and those of the man himself who was laboring to found it. Feudal society, perceiving itself to be threatened, at one time attacked Louis XI. with passion, at another entered into violent disputes against him; and Louis, in order to struggle with it, employed all the practices, at one time crafty and at another violent, that belong to absolute power. Craft usually predominated in his proceedings, violence being often too perilous for him to risk it; he did not consider himself in a condition to say brazen-facedly, "Might before right;" but he disregarded right in the case of his adversaries, and he did not deny himself any artifice, any lie, any baseness, however specious, in order to trick them or ruin them secretly, when he did not feel himself in a position to crush them at a blow. "The end justifies the means"—that was his maxim; and the end, in his case, was sometimes a great and legitimate political object, nothing less than the dominant interest of France, but far more often his own personal interest, something necessary to his own success or his own gratification. No loftiness, no greatness of soul, was natural to him; and the more experience of life he had, the more he became selfish and devoid of moral sense and of sympathy with other men, whether rivals, tools, or subjects. All found out before long, not only how little account he made of them, but also what cruel pleasure he sometimes took in making them conscious of his disdain and his power. He was "familiar," but not by no means "vulgar;" he was in conversation able and agreeable, with a mixture, however, of petulance and indiscretion, even when he was meditating some perfidy; and "there is much need," he used to say, "that my tongue should sometimes serve me; it has hurt me often enough." The most puerile superstitions, as well as those most akin to a blind piety, found their way into his mind. When he received any bad news, he would cast aside forever the dress he was wearing when the news came; and of death he had a dread which was carried to the extent of pusillanimity and ridiculousness. "Whilst he was every day," says M. de Barante, "becoming more suspicious, more absolute, more terrible to his children, to the princes of the blood, to his old servants, and to his wisest counsellors, there was one man who, without any fear of his wrath, treated him with brutal rudeness. This was James Cattier, his doctor. When the king would sometimes complain of it before certain confidential servants, 'I know very well,' Cattier would say, that some fine morning you'll send me where you've sent so many others; but, 'sdeath, you'll not live a week after!'" Then the king would coax him, overwhelm him with caresses, raise his salary to ten thousand crowns a month, make him a present of rich lordships; and he ended by making him premier president of the Court of Exchequer. All churches and all sanctuaries of any small celebrity were recipients of his oblations, and it was not the salvation of his soul, but life and health, that he asked for in return. One day there was being repeated, on his account and in his presence, an orison to St. Eutropius, who was implored to grant health to the soul and health to the body. "The latter will be enough," said the king; "it is not right to bother the saint for too many things at once." He showed great devotion for images which had received benediction, and often had one of them sewn upon his hat. Hawkers used to come and bring them to him; and one day he gave a hundred and sixty livres to a pedler who had in his pack one that had received benediction at Aix-la-Chapelle.

Whatever may have been, in the middle ages, the taste and the custom in respect of such practices, they were regarded with less respect in the fifteenth than in the twelfth century, and many people scoffed at the trust that Louis XI. placed in them, or doubted his sincerity.

Whether they were sincere or assumed, the superstitions of Louis XI. did not prevent him from appreciating and promoting the progress of civilization, towards which the fifteenth century saw the first real general impulse. He favored the free development of industry and trade; he protected printing, in its infancy, and scientific studies, especially the study of medicine; by his authorization, it is said, the operation for the stone was tried, for the first time in France, upon a criminal under sentence of death, who recovered, and was pardoned; and he welcomed the philological scholars who were at this time laboring to diffuse through Western Europe the works of Greek and Roman antiquity. He instituted, at first for his own and before long for the public service, post-horses and the letter-post within his kingdom. Towards intellectual and social movement he had not the mistrust and antipathy of an old, one-grooved, worn-out, unproductive despotism; his kingly despotism was new, and, one might almost say, innovational, for it sprang and was growing up from the ruins of feudal rights and liberties which had inevitably ended in monarchy. But despotism's good services are short-lived; it has no need to last long before it generates iniquity and tyranny; and that of Louis XI., in the latter part of his reign, bore its natural, unavoidable fruits. "His mistrust," says M. de Barante, "became horrible, and almost insane; every year he had surrounded his castle of Plessis with more walls, ditches, and rails. On the towers were iron sheds, a shelter from arrows, and even artillery. More than eighteen hundred of those planks bristling with nails, called caltrops, were distributed over the yonder side of the ditch. There were every day four hundred crossbow-men on duty, with orders to fire on whosoever approached. Every suspected passer-by was seized, and carried off to Tristan l'Hermite, the provost-marshal. No great proofs were required for a swing on the gibbet, or for the inside of a sack and a plunge in the Loire. . . . Men who, like Sire de Commynes, had been the king's servants, and who had lived in his confidence, had no doubt but that he had committed cruelties and perpetrated the blackest treachery; still they asked themselves whether there had not been a necessity, and whether he had not, in the first instance, been the object of criminal machinations against which he had to defend himself. . . . But, throughout the kingdom, the multitude of his subjects who had not received kindnesses from him, nor lived in familiarity with him, nor known of the ability displayed in his plans, nor enjoyed the wit of his conversation, judged only by that which came out before their eyes; the imposts had been made much heavier, without any consent on the part of the states-general; the talliages, which under Charles VII. brought in only eighteen hundred thousand livres, rose, under Louis XI., to thirty-seven hundred thousand; the kingdom was ruined, and the people were at the last extremity of misery; the prisons were full; none was secure of life or property; the greatest in the land, and even the princes of the blood, were not safe in their own houses.

An unexpected event occurred at this time to give a little more heart to Louis XI., who was now very ill, and to mingle with his gloomy broodings a gleam of future prospects. Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the Rash, died at Bruges on the 27th of March, 1482, leaving to her husband, Maximilian of Austria, a daughter, hardly three years of age, Princess Marguerite by name, heiress to the Burgundian-Flemish dominions which had not come into the possession of the King of France. Louis, as soon as he heard the news, conceived the idea and the hope of making up for the reverse he had experienced five years previously through the marriage of Mary of Burgundy. He would arrange espousals between his son, the dauphin, Charles, thirteen years old, and the infant princess left by Mary, and thus recover for the crown of France the beautiful domains he had allowed to slip from him. A negotiation was opened at once on the subject between Louis, Maximilian, and the estates of Flanders, and, on the 23d of December, 1482, it resulted in a treaty, concluded at Arras, which arranged for the marriage, and regulated the mutual conditions. In January, 1483, the ambassadors from the estates of Flanders and from Maximilian, who then for the first time assumed the title of archduke, came to France for the ratification of the treaty. Having been first received with great marks of satisfaction at Paris, they repaired to Plessis-les-Tours. Great was their surprise at seeing this melancholy abode, this sort of prison, into which "there was no admittance save after so many formalities and precautions." When they had waited a while, they were introduced, in the evening, into a room badly lighted. In a dark corner was the king, seated in an arm-chair. They moved towards him; and then, in a weak and trembling voice, but still, as it seemed, in a bantering tone, Louis asked pardon of the Abbot of St. Peter of Ghent and of the other ambassadors for not being able to rise and greet them. After having heard what they had to say, and having held a short conversation with them, he sent for the Gospels for to make oath. He excused himself for being obliged to take the holy volume in his left hand, for his right was paralyzed and his arm supported in a sling. Then, holding the volume of the Gospels, he raised it up painfully, and placing upon it the elbow of his right arm, he made oath. Thus appeared in the eyes of the Flemings that king who had done them so much harm, and who was obtaining of them so good a treaty by the fear with which he inspired them, all dying as he was.

On the 2d of June following, the infant princess, Marguerite of Austria, was brought by a solemn embassy to Paris first, and then, on the 23d of June, to Amboise, where her betrothal to the dauphin, Charles, was celebrated. Louis XI. did not feel fit for removal to Amboise; and he would not even receive at Plessis-les-Tours the new Flemish embassy. Assuredly neither the king nor any of the actors in this regal scene foresaw that this marriage, which they with reason looked upon as a triumph of French policy, would never be consummated; that, at the request of the court of France, the pope would annul the betrothal; and that, nine years after its celebration, in 1492, the Austrian princess, after having been brought up at Amboise under the guardianship of the Duchess of Bourbon, Anne, eldest daughter of Louis XI., would be sent back to her father, Emperor Maximilian, by her affianced, Charles VIII., then King of France, who preferred to become the husband of a French princess with a French province for dowry, Anne, Duchess of Brittany.

It was in March, 1481, that Louis XI. had his first attack of that apoplexy, which, after several repeated strokes, reduced him to such a state of weakness that in June, 1483, he felt himself and declared himself not in a fit state to be present at his son's betrothal. Two months afterwards, on the 25th of August, St. Louis's day, he had a fresh stroke, and lost all consciousness and speech. He soon recovered them; but remained so weak that he could not raise his hand to his mouth, and, under the conviction that he was a dead man, he sent for his son-in-law, Peter of Bourbon, Sire de Beaujeu; and "Go," said he, "to Amboise, to the king, my son; I have intrusted him as well as the government of the kingdom to your charge and my daughter's care. You know all I have enjoined upon him; watch and see that it be observed. Let him show favor and confidence towards those who have done me good service and whom I have named to him. You know, too, of whom he should beware, and who must not be suffered to come near him." He sent for the chancellor from Paris, and bade him go and take the seals to the king. "Go to the king," he said to the captains of his guards, to his archers, to his huntsmen, to all his household. "His speech never failed him after it had come back to him," says Commynes, "nor his senses; he was constantly saying something of great sense and never in all his illness, which lasted from Monday to Saturday evening, did he complain, as do all sorts of folk when they feel ill. . . . "Notwithstanding all those commands he recovered heart," adds Commynes, "and had good hope of escaping." In conversation at odd times with some of his servants, and even with Commynes himself, he had begged them, whenever they saw that he was very ill, not to mention that cruel word death; he had even made a covenant with them, that they should say no more to him than, "Don't talk much," which would be sufficient warning. But his doctor, James Coettier, and his barber, Oliver the Devil, whom he had ennobled and enriched under the name of Oliver le Daim, did not treat him with so much indulgence. "They notified his death to him in brief and harsh terms," says Commynes; "'Sir, we must do our duty; have no longer hope in your holy man of Calabria or in other matters, for assuredly all is over with you; think of your soul; there is no help for it.' 'I have hope in God that He will aid me,' answered Louis, coldly; 'peradventure I am not so ill as you think.'

"He endured with manly virtue so cruel a sentence," says Commynes, "and everything, even to death, more than any man I ever saw die; he spoke as coolly as if he had never been ill." He gave minute orders about his funeral, sepulchre, and tomb. He would be laid at Notre-Dame de Clery, and not, like his ancestors, at St. Denis; his statue was to be gilt bronze, kneeling, face to the altar, head uncovered, and hands clasped within his hat, as was his ordinary custom. Not having died on the battle-field and sword in hand, he would be dressed in hunting-garb, with jack-boots, a hunting-horn, slung over his shoulder, his hound lying beside him, his order of St. Michael round his neck, and his sword at his side. As to the likeness, he asked to be represented, not as he was in his latter days, bald, bow-backed, and wasted, but as he was in his youth and in the vigor of his age, face pretty full, nose aquiline, hair long, and falling down behind to his shoulders. After having taken all these pains about himself after his death, he gave his chief remaining thoughts to France and his son. "Orders must be sent," said he, "to M. d'Esquerdes [Philip de Crevecoeur, Baron d'Esquerdes, a distinguished warrior, who, after the death of Charles the Rash, had, through the agency of Commynes, gone over to the service of Louis XI., and was in command of his army] to attempt no doings as to Calais. We had thought to drive out the English from this the last corner they hold in the kingdom; but such matters are too weighty; all that business ends with me. M. d'Esquerdes must give up such designs, and come and guard my son without budging from his side for at least six months. Let an end be put, also, to all our disputes with Brittany, and let this Duke Francis be allowed to live in peace without any more causing him trouble or fear. This is the way in which we, must now deal with all our neighbors. Five or six good years of peace are needful for the kingdom. My poor people have suffered too much; they are in great desolation. If God had been pleased to grant me life, I should have put it all to rights; it was my thought and my desire, let my son be strictly charged to remain at peace, especially whilst he is so young. At a later time, when he is older, and when the kingdom is in good case, he shall do as he pleases about it."

On Saturday, August 30, 1483, between seven and eight in the evening, Louis XI. expired, saying, "Our Lady of Embrun, my good mistress, have pity upon me; the mercies of the Lord will I sing forever (misericordias Domini in ceternum cantabo)."

"It was a great cause of joy throughout the kingdom," says M. de Barante with truth, in his Histoire des Dues de Bourgogne: "this moment had been impatiently waited for as a deliverance, and as the ending of so many woes and fears. For a long time past no King of France had been so heavy on his people or so hated by them."

This was certainly just, and at the same time ungrateful.

Louis XI. had rendered France great service, but in a manner void of frankness, dignity, or lustre; he had made the contemporary generation pay dearly for it by reason of the spectacle he presented of trickery, perfidy, and vindictive cruelty, and by his arbitrary and tyrannical exercise of kingly power. People are not content to have useful service; they must admire or love; and Louis XI. inspired France with neither of those sentiments. He has had the good fortune to be described and appraised, in his own day too, by the most distinguished and independent of his councillors, Philip de Commynes, and, three centuries afterwards, by one of the most thoughtful and the soundest intellects amongst the philosophers of the eighteenth century, Duclos, who, moreover, had the advantage of being historiographer of France, and of having studied the history of that reign in authentic documents. We reproduce here the two judgments, the agreement of which is remarkable:—

"God," says Commynes, "had created our king more wise, liberal, and full of manly virtue than the princes who reigned with him and in his day, and who were his enemies and neighbors. In all there was good and evil, for they were men; but without flattery, in him were more things appertaining to the office of king than in any of the rest. I saw them nearly all, and knew what they could do."

"Louis XI.," says Duclos, "was far from being without reproach; few princes have deserved so much; but it may be said that he was equally celebrated for his vices and his virtues, and that, everything being put in the balance, he was a king."

We will be more exacting than Commynes and Duclos; we will not consent to apply to Louis XI. the words liberal, virtuous, and virtue; he had nor greatness of soul, nor uprightness of character, nor kindness of heart; he was neither a great king nor a good king; but we may assent to Duclos' last word—he was a king.

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