INCIDENTS OF THE III.JNDRED YEARS' WAR.* . THERE are few
places more interesting to the English lover of history or architecture than Normandy. Almost every part is in some way connected with the history of the two peoples so curiously united and separated. Many of its churches, castles, and battle-fields are memorials of the mighty family for an hun- dred and forty years Kings of England, Dukes of Normandy, and the splendour and strength of the buildings are no unfitting relics of their founders. Side by side with these are the many tokens of the Hundred Years' War—a war which brought glory and shame both to England and France alike, but only glory to Normandy, though purchased with her blood. When we visit the scenes of the heroic resistance to the English during thirty-five years, we can feel that we are in Besse Normandie or the Pays de Caux, and forget for a moment Calvados and Seine Inferieure. It does one good to find that the people still boast that they are Normans, that they still remember the Duchy, in spite of depart- ments and prefectures. That this is so is in no small degree owing to such writers as M. Puiseux. In the four little books before us some of the most important and least known phases of the Hundred Years' War are told and commented on in a manner equally removed from local antiquarianism and superficial sketch- iness, with an evident desire to find out the truth, and to give to each side the share of honour which belongs to it.
The long war may be fairly divided at the marriage of Richard II. to the Princess Isabella, one of the articles of the twenty- eight years' peace signed at Calais in 1396. Of the first of these periods we have only one incident recorded by our author, but that is fortunately one which has been strangely neglected, viz., the attempted invasion of England in 1386. The Treaty of 1384, always badly kept, expired on the 1st of May of the following year, and both the kingdoms began the war with very similar causes of weakness. In both the King was young and weak- minded, governed by uncles who looked chiefly to their own advantage rather than to the public good ; both had lately received a shock from the rising of the lower classes. The war began by an armament fitted out at l'Ecluse to aid the Scots. It is here that M. Puiseux finds the earliest mention of "hand-canons," the modern musket, the germ of rifles and needle guns, under the name of "canons portatifs jetans pima." This entry in the ac- count of the armament proves the invention to have been twenty- six years earlier than the date hitherto assigned to it. The ex-
pedition failed through the of the Scots; another was stopped by the Gantois, then in possession of the port of Dam.
It was in 1386 that the great and, as it was hoped, dedsive effort was made against England. Clisson made the extra- ordinary mistake, "us sent moitie plus faciles k combattre dans leur pays que hors de chez eux." Accordingly an im- mense fleet was prepared, the great nobles vied with each other in the magnificence of their ships, silver and gold and silk made them like the tents of some great tournament, and according to Froissart men lost the sharpest pain in the joy of behold- ing so gorgeous a spectacle as the port of PEcluse presented. The most remarkable feature in these preparations was a great town of wood, to serve the double purpose of camp and castle. Towns or encampments of wood had been often used before in, sieges, but these had always been stationary, and built on the spot, but now, as the whole of England was to be besieged piece by pieca, the town was made moveable, to be taken down and set up at pleasure—an immense undertaking, as it was 3,000 feet in diameter, and flanked with 750 towers. The work was to be done in Normandy, and the forests round Pont l'Eveque were filled with wood-cutters and carpenters. The French looked on England as alrealy won, and the preparation to meet " ceste grande horriblete" were made almost in a spirit of despair. lint the treacherous delay of the Duke of Berry and the weak- ness of the King kept the armada on the coast through the whole summer. The soldiers were unpaid and the neighbourhood ruined. In the end, as has been so often the case, the waves saved us from invasion. The storms of November, 1386, like those of July and August of 1588, strewed our shores with the ships which came to conquer them, and part of the great wooden town was paraded through the streets of Winchelsea in triumph. Thus ended the greatest effort to conquer England which had been made since the same woods of Touques had been felled to build
• I. Etude tar use Grande Vide de Bois Construite e4 Normandie.
2. Des Insurreetimts Popnlreres en Normandie.
3. 'Siege et Prise de Caen par lea .englais.
4 L Emigration Noanande et la Colonisation Anglaise en Normandie au XV. 3.aele. 18 in.
Per 51. I don Pulaeux, Proftmeur an Lyeda Imperial de Caen, ,ke. Ca3n :Li Gan- Cleriase ; and Pith.
the ships of William the Bastard. The vastness of the attempt, its curious details, and, above all, the hopes and fears it excited, render it deserving of more mention than is usually given to it in history.
But it is to the second part of the long war, that under the House of Lancaster, that M. Puiseux has mostly turned his atten- tion. Its chief actor is of course Henry V., and its most import- ant and interesting scenes are laid in Normandy. Henry shares with many of his predecessors the praise of personal courage, but his merits as a soldier do not exceed his ability as a general. Feudal armies, properly speaking, no longer existed, artillery had introduced a change into the art of war which can never be exaggerated. It was the age of Jacopo del Verme and the Com- pany of St. George in Italy, of Clisson and Etienne de Vignolles in France, and something more was needed in a great leader than the brute strength of Richard the Lion-Hearted or the reckless bravery of the Black Prince. Henry's military talents are well pointed out in our author's sketch of the opening of the brilliant campaign of 1417 :—
"Un conqudrant vulgaire, maitre d'Harfieur et de l'embonchure de Is Seine, aurait poussd droit vers Rouen, au risque de se faire 6craser entre lea mars de cotta grande ville et toutes lea forces de la province, encore intactes et reunion derriere lui. Henry V. protein autrement. Debar- quer dans le condo found par la cote de Normandie, la elm personae no l'attendait ; conper en deux Is provinee par une marche rapide du nora au sud ; paralyser ainsi la noblesse guerriere du Cotentin, forcer a la neutralitd l'Anjou hostile et Is Bretagne inddeise ; de Rs, apres avoir envoyd des ddtachements It l'ouest at It l'est, se rebattre any la Seine et passer le fleuve au-dessus de Rouen, pour enlever It cotta villa ses com- munications avec Paris ; l'isoler, l'etouffer entre son armada, is flotte, et la garnison d'Harfleur, at terminer dans sea mum la prise de possession de la Normandie, tel fat le plan concu at execute par le Rd d'Angleterre."
Such deliberately planned and yet dashing tactics are surely more worthy of record than the assaults on Acre or a raid in Aqui- taine. Yet it was no easy thing for Henry to conquer France, backed as he was by the great popularity of the war in England; for the Normans were the advanced guard of the nation, a people who remembered and still remember that they conquered under Rollo and William. They had become thoroughly French in sentiment, and among them alone patriotism was active, while through the rest of France it seemed to have been crushed out by party hatred till it revived again, embodied in its sublimest form, in Joan of Arc. The Normans fought city by city, and castle by castle, and they defended each to the last. Two thousand burghers of Caen fell in one day in the breaches of their walls, and sixty thousand people of Rouen died by sword, and famine, and pesti- lence ("obsidione, fame, tabeque "—Basin) during a siege of six months. For two years, from the landing of Henry at Toncques to the fall of Chateau Gaillard, they had been left to defend their- land unaided by a single French army. They struggled hard, but, as M. Puiseux points out, they were totally disunited, city from city, and class from claw. The nobles for the most part would not act with the peasants, and the towns held, some by Burgun- dian, some by Orleanist garrisons, and inclined to either party, could not or would not make a combined resistance, and so " dum singuli pugnant, uuiversi vincuntur." But Henry, though stern and severe in the execution of his plans, was not cruel for the age in which he lived. Besides, the nature of the claim which he laid to- Normandy made him deal with the country in a special way, and, inclined him rather to gain it by promises and a seeming modera- tion than by the extremest measures. M. Puiseux has been the first, in his L'Emigration Normande, to give this due weight. Henry claimed it first as a descendant of its ancient Dukes, and " dans- tows sea notes invoque la coutume de Normandie : secundum consuetudinem Norrnannie: junta leges et consuetudines ducatus. nostri Normannie." It was rightfully his in a more special way than the rest of France ; he was not only to be the King, but the Duke. His other claim was of course the same as that which he made to the whole kingdom, but his right from Philip Augustus and St. Lewis was not so much urged on the Normans as his descent from their old line of Dukes. It was on this account that he at first used every means to conciliate the minds of the people, that he promised them "lea lois, privileges, et dtublisaementa accord& ou foudes pas les anciens dues," as well as "lea libertes, franchises, et privileges gulls poisedent par octroy de quelsconques ses progeniteurs Roys de France, qui auroient este devant le tems de Philippe de Valloys, adversaire de peres dudict seigneur Roy." It is curious how entirely this side of Henry's policy has been left out by modern writers. Like the Emperor Frederic, he claimed that which he held had been wrongfully taken from him ; the sacredness of the monarch's right was still held not to be defeated by lapse of time or by the will of the people ; and whatever we may think of the claims of the Kaiser or the King, they did not I sound strangely in the ears of the men of their generations. But
the Normans were not to be moved either by promises or by the assertion of hereditary right, and Henry then began a system of forced emigration, by which he hoped to leave none but well affected subjects in the Duchy. From Caen alone 25,000 people, more than half the population, set out to wander from city to city.
Many of the men who were thus forced into exile, or who pre- ferred it to acknowledging their English conqueror, recruited the garrisons of the towns which gave them shelter. And then, when again defeated, set out to seek some other place which still held Mit. Henry soon saw that by this means he was strengthening the enemy, and besides, he began to fear lest in the end he should rule over a desert. To remedy this he forbade emigration, but he could not entirely stop it. The Normans would not live under the English. They chose to lose all rather than liberty. Among these voluntary exiles were many Churchmen, and it is in Henry's dealings with them that we get a curious illustration of his feel- ings towards the Church. Our author has most ably brought out his inflexible decrees against the patriot clergy, and in doing so has shown how much the number of those who yielded to the English hits been exaggerated, but he probably did not consider it as belonging to his subject to illustrate this by other parts of Henry's policy. It is, however, most remarkable that the great Lancas- trian King should confiscate the revenues of the Church. His family were decidedly good Churchmen, and he himself was fast
crushing out the remains of Wyclifasm : to be a Lollard was almost necessarily in his reign to be a traitor. At one time he is joined with the Emperor in stopping the schism, at another he is perse- cuting Nicolas of Clemangis, Canon of Bayeux, and Secretary of Martin V., the orthodox Pope. Henry was a "High Churchman," but it was to the National Church, rather than to the Church of Rome, that he was devoted; and while he was a steady adherent to the tenets of the Church Catholic, he cared little for foreign Pope or priest.
Severe, however, as the decrees were against the voluntary exiles of all classes, they were for the most part in vain ; and Henry began his scheme of colonization, which was, he hoped, to make Nor- mandy a second Calais on a larger scale. M. Puiseux has given a minute and interesting account of this effort, and has pointed out the true reasons why its failure was certain, even had the English arms been more successful in the following reign. The two kinds of colonization possible were by a feudal and by a borough popu- lation. The former was the converse of the Norman civilization of England in the eleventh century, and failed in a correspond- ing manner. The countries were ton near one another for the colonists to make a permanent home in the new land, as long as they could call the mother country their own. As the Norman nobles never really became English till Normandy was lost, so in the fifteenth century the English never really made Normandy their home. This weakness was increased by many of the fiefs being granted only for life, so that but small interest was felt by the lords in their new possessions. Thus, instead of a regular feudal colony, the result was only a military occupation of several castles and garrisons of various strength. The colonization of the towns failed also. As in the case of the nobles, the burghers received grants for life only, a serious drawback to mercantile prosperity. Besides this, there were not, as at Calais, any local municipal government established, no elective mayors or bailiffs, to be the guardians of liberty and trade. And it is easy to picture the disgust of a citizen of London or Bristol, to find him- self in his new home without any of those institutions of which he had been so justly proud in England.
It is evident from a decree of Henry VI. that this absence of municipal franchise was the real reason of the desertion of the English colonists. Edward III. had more wisely granted the fullest privileges to the new inhabitants of Calais, and more than this, foreseeing that the trade of a small borough in the midst of an enemy's country must soon fall into decay, he established a staple there, and so gave it a real, though unnatural, prosperity.
The geographical position of the Norman towns prevented such a provision, nor did Henry attempt to supply its place. The trade of Honfleur, Caen, and the rest was choked by a state of perpetual blockade. The scheme failed, though in the next reign Bedford did all in his power to remedy these defects, the colonists gradu- ally returned, and their place was filled by natives, who aided in the work of reconquest. That work was nearly accomplished by different means. The Norman peasants, alternately despoiled by the English invaders and the French Ecorcheurs, unaided, for the most part, by any of higher rank or greater experience, nearly gained back Buse Normandie and the Pays de Caux.
, The names of Quatrepie and Le Carnier are little known to fame, but though unsuccessful, their exploits were as glorious as those of the worthiest heroes of Switzerland. M. Puiseux has done a good work in writing these incidents of Norman history, and the only cause of complaint we have against him is that he has not embodied them in one continuous history of the Hundred Years: War. By doing so he would avoid much repetition which is now necessary to introduce each episode, he would gain many more readers, especially out of his own country, and would confer a lasting benefit on all who are interested in the subject.