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let me know your intentions by the bearer of this, and if there is anything I can do for your service, I will most heartily employ myself therein, as our lord knows, and to his care I commend you. “Written at my town of Mons, and signed with my signet, this 12th day of January. High and potent prince, very dear and well-beloved cousin, I send with this letter copies of the letters I have alluded to, signed “DE CROY.” The address on this letter was “To the high and potent prince, my very dear and wellbeloved cousin, the duke of Burgundy;" and lower down, “Your cousin the duke of Gloucester, count of Hainault, of Holland, of Zealand, and lord of Frizeland.” The duke of Burgundy, on receiving this letter, laid it before the whole of his council, and, after due deliberation, returned the following answer to the duke of Gloucester.
CHAPTER XXVI.-COPY OF THE ANSWER OF THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY TO THE LETTER FROM THE DUKE OF GLOUCESTER.
“High and mighty prince Humphrey duke of Gloucester, I, Philip duke of Burgundy, earl of Flanders and of Artois, have received your letter addressed to me, and written at Mons in Hainault, under your signet, the 12th day of January last, containing, among other things, that you have heard of proclamations having been issued throughout my dominions, for all well-disposed men-at-arms to assemble, and to march under the command of our very dear and well-beloved cousin sir John de Luxembourg and others, for the service and support of our very dear and well-beloved cousin the duke of Brabant, in opposition to you, your friends, allies, and subjects, and which proclamations contained, according to the tenor of your letter, many charges contrary to truth, the which, and other things, you have discovered in the copy sent me, of certain letters said to have been written by me, on the 21st day of December, in my town of Dijon. “With regard to this, high and mighty prince, and the greater part of your letter, I shall forbear repeating, or making any reply thereto; for as there is nothing but what touches my honour that I shall consider, and this I will not suffer any one to treat or to blame unjustly. “You say, however, that the writings, of which you have enclosed a copy, have been done with my knowledge, and by my command. To this I answer, that I was moved thereto by your refusal to conform to the articles of pacification entered into with great deliberation of council, between your fair brother the regent and myself at Paris, to put an end to the discord between you and our very dear cousin the duke of Brabant. “On the contrary, the duke of Brabant (to gain the favour of God, and to please your said brother and myself) agreed to abide by these said articles, while you, persisting in your refusal, and without waiting for the final decisions of your suit at the court of Rome, have entered the country of Hainault with a powerful army, with the intent of driving therefrom our said cousin of Brabant, and taking possession of the same. These have been the reasons for my said letter, which contains truths which you cannot any way deny, or be ignorant of I have not therefore given anything to be understood contrary to truth, or by way of lie, with which you seem most wrongfully to charge me in your letter, which I shall carefully preserve to show in proper time and place. “I am sufficiently aware of all that you are attempting against our said cousin of Brabant, and very displeasing has it been to me, without your endeavouring to tarnish our own honour and fair fame, which I will not endure from you nor from any one; and I am persuaded that those with whom I am connected by blood, all my loyal friends, subjects and vassals, who have been greatly attached to and have served my predecessors, will not suffer such a slur to be passed over with impunity. I therefore now summon and require of you to recall all that you have said in your letter, touching what you have therein declared to have been asserted by me contrary to the truth. Should you be unwilling to do this, and to support the charges you have made against my honour and fame, I am ready to defend myself personally against you, and to combat you, with the aid of God and our lady, within a reasonable time, in the presence of that most excellent and most potent prince, the emperor, my very dear lord and cousin. “But that you and all the world may witness that I am anxious to bring this matter to a speedy conclusion, and instantly to repel all attempts on my honour, I am contented, should it be more agreeable to you, that we choose for the judge of our combat your fair brother the regent duke of Bedford, which you cannot reasonably refuse; for he is such a prince that I know he will do the utmost justice between us, as between the most indifferent persons. And for the honour of God, and to avoid the effusion of Christian blood, and the destruction of the poor people, whose sufferings I in my heart compassionate, you and I, who are youthful knights, ought to accept of this proposal (supposing you be determined to maintain what you have written), as it personally concerns us, rather than engage in public warfare, by which numberless gentlemen and others of each party will have their days miserably shortened; and I must add, that it will be highly disagreeable to me if this last mode shall be resorted to. It ought to be matter of regret to us and all catholic princes, that Christian people should engage in war one against another; for my part I repeat that it will be very unwillingly that I shall engage in a public warfare, unless urgent necessity forces me to it. “High and mighty prince, have the goodness to send me a speedy answer to the contents of this letter by the bearer, or by any more expeditious mode, without prolonging matters by letters; for I am impatient, that everything touching my honour may be as briefly settled as possible, and I will not that matters concerning it remain as they now are. I should sooner have replied to your lettel on this subject, had I not been delayed by several concerns of high import that have retarded me. “That you may be assured this letter is mine, I have signed it with my own hand, and affixed my signet. “Written the 3rd day of March, in the year 1424.” This letter was read by the duke of Gloucester with great attention, in the presence of his council; in reply, he sent the following letter.
CHAPTER XXVII. —COPY OF THE SECOND LETTER SENT BY THE DUKE OF GLOUCESTER TO THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY.
“High and mighty prince Philip duke of Burgundy, earl of Flanders, of Artois, and of Burgundy, LI, Humphrey duke of Gloucester, son, brother, and uncle to the kings of England, count of Hainault, of Holland, of Zealand, lord of Frizeland, and high chamberlain to the king of England, have received your letter in form of a placart, addressed to me, and written on the 3rd day of this month, which letter, that it may appear to be from yourself, you have signed with your own hand and sealed with your signet. The contents of the greater part thereof concern me as little as those of mine did you, addressed and written in my good town of Mons in Hainault, under my signet, the 12th day of January last past, excepting what you say of my refusing to agree to terms of pacification between me and my cousin the duke of Brabant, which is not true; for my very dear and well-beloved brother the regent of France, and the whole of the French council, as well as yourself, know how I have acted therein. Should you wish to be ignorant thereof it is not in your power. “You say, that I have in my letter wrongfully and falsely offended your honour, by charges therein made, and that you were sufficiently hurt at my attempts against my said cousin the duke of Brabant, without my having attacked your honour and fame. You therefore summon and require of me to recant what I have thus written in my letter, or else you are ready to defend your honour in a personal combat with me. I make known to you that I hold for true the whole of the contents of my said letter, and shall remain in the firm belief thereof, which has indeed been confirmed by what your people have done and perpetrated in my country of Hainault, conformably to the tenor of your summons; nor shall ou nor any one force me to recal my words, but with the aid of God, of our lady, and of my lord St. George, I will, by personal combat, oblige you to own their truth before either of the judges you have named, for they are both of them to me indifferent. I am equally desirous with yourself that the matter should be brought to a short and speedy issue; but solely because my fair brother is nearest at hand am satisfied to perform the combat before him, and accept of him as judge of the field. Since you leave the appointment of the day of combat to me, I shall fix on the feast of St. George next ensuing for that purpose, or any other day more convenient for my brother, when, with God's favour, I shall be ready prepared to meet you without fail. “Should my said brother decline the office of judge of the field, I am willing that the combat take place before the very high and potent prince the emperor; and should he in like manner decline it, our brother of Oldeberth", or any other indifferent person may be the judge. But as I am doubtful whether you will abide by the terms under your signet, I summon and require of you, by the bearer of this letter, that you send me other terms sealed with your seal, in like manner as I have done to these presents. “With regard to the duke of Brabant, if you shall dare to say that his right is superior to mine in this present dispute, I am ready to attack you body to body on the day abovementioned, and prove that I have the better right, with the favour of God, of our lady, and of St. George. That these presents may appear fully authentic, and to show that I am resolved to abide by their contents, I have signed my name to them, and have likewise affixed my seal. “Written in my town of Soignies, the 16th day of March, in the year 1424.”
CHAPTER XXVIII.-The DUKE OF BURGUNDY RETURNs to FLANDERs, whence HE SENDs HIS ANswer To THE DUKE of GLoucestER's LETTER.—A copy THEREof.
DURING the time of this correspondence between these two princes, the duke of Burgundy returned to Flanders, and ordered a considerable force to march thence to the aid of the duke of Brabant. He likewise sent an answer to the duke of Gloucester's last letter, accepting the day he had fixed for their combat, the tenor of which was as follows. “High and mighty prince Humphrey duke of Gloucester, I, Philip, duke of Burgundy, earl of Flanders and of Artois, have this day received your letter, written and signed with your own hand, in answer to mine of the 3rd of this present month, in which I said that you had, after mature deliberation, refused the terms of pacification between you and our cousin of Brabant, that had been agreed on by my brother-in-law the regent and myself. To this you reply, that it is not true. My fair brother the regent and the whole council of France know full well to the contrary: I am not ignorant thereof, and were I inclined to be so it is out of my power. You persist in denying what the ambassadors, sent to you by my brother the regent and myself with a copy of these articles, can most satisfactorily prove; and in the direct face of them you have invaded the country of Hainault, notwithstanding my fair cousin of Brabant had accepted of our terms, and you have called all these things which I had written to you falsehoods. Your conduct toward my cousin of Brabant was to me dishonourable and displeasing enough, without adding insults against my honour. “For this did I summon you to recant all that you have thus offensively written; otherwise I was ready to defend my honour in personal combat, in the presence of my fair brother the regent, or before the emperor. You in reply maintain the truth of what you had written, and that you shall remain in that belief; for what my troops had done in Hainault was a full confirmation of the truth of what you had advanced, and that you would not for me, nor for any one else, recal your words, but would force me, by personal combat, to acknowledge their truth, before either of the aforesaid judges. “You add, that as the said regent is nearer at hand, you are content to name him as judge, and fix on St. George's day next ensuing, or any other more agreeable to the regent, for the day of combat, being equally desirous with myself that this matter should be speedily brought to issue. I make for answer, that in regard to the judge and the day I am well satisfied, and, with the aid of God and of our lady, I will defend myself, and maintain tho * Oldeberth, probably Oldenbourg.
contrary to what you have advanced, with my bodily strength, and prove fairly on which side the lie rests, to the clearance of my loyalty and honour.
“With respect to what my troops may have done in Hainault, should it be for the honour and success of my fair cousin of Brabant, I shall be very much rejoiced. As you express a doubt whether our said brother the regent will accept of the office of judge between us, I shall instantly send him notable ambassadors earnestly to entreat that he would accept of it; but should he refuse, I am willing, as I have said in my former letter, that the emperor take his place. As to what you declare, that should I dare to say our cousin of Brabant has the better right, you will force me by combat to retract it publicly before the judge, I reply, that the sentence of our holy father the pope (before whom the suit is now pending) will make it clearly known whose is the right, against which I am not inclined to derogate or disobey. It therefore does not belong to either of us to determine who has the right.
“And I have such confidence in our Lord Jesus CHRIST, and in his glorious virgin-mother, that before the end of the combat thus fixed on by you, I shall defend my good cause with such vigour that you will not be soon forward to advance such novelties again. Since you require that I send you a copy of my former letter which was sealed with my signet, under my seal, I have complied with your request. And what I have written I am fully determined to abide by and fulfil.”
CHAPTER XXIX. —THE TOWN OF BRAINE IN HAINAULT TAKEN AND DESTROYED BY THE ALLIES OF THE DUKE OF BRABANT.
While these quarrelsome letters were passing between the dukes of Burgundy and Gloucester, a very large army was raised by Philip count de Ligny and de St. Pol, brother to the duke of Brabant, having in his company the count de Conversan, the lord d'Anghien, the lords de Croy, de l'Isle-Adam, sir Andrew de Malines, the bastard de St. Pol, with other captains, banners, and gentlemen, together with thirty or forty thousand common men, whom he led before the town of Braine-le-Comte in the country of Hainault. There were not more than about two hundred English of the duke of Gloucester's party, in addition to the commonalty within the place. It was closely besieged on all sides; but after it had been well battered for eight days by their cannon and other engines, the garrison, considering the great force of the enemy, entered into terms of capitulation, that the English might depart with safety to their persons, and with part of their baggage, and that the town should return to the obedience of the duke of Brabant, taking oaths of allegiance to him or to his commissioners, and withal paying a certain sum of money by way of ransoming the town from pillage. When this treaty had been signed, and the English were ready to march out of it, a body of the common people who had come with the count de St. Pol rushed in by different gates, and slew the greater part of these English, with many of the townsmen. They then plundered the houses and set them on fire, so that the whole town was completely burnt and destroyed. Thus did they break through the treaty which their captains had made, and no prayers or entreaties could prevail on them to desist, which greatly angered their leaders. However, some of the English were saved by the exertions of the gentlemen and nobles, and sent away in safety. At this siege of Braine, there were with the count de St. Pol, Poton de Saintrailles, Regnaut de Longueval, and others, all firm friends of king Charles. When the town had been thus destroyed, the army of the Brabanters remained where they had been encamped; for news of the intended combat between the dukes of Burgundy and Gloucester before the regent had been notified to them, so that all warfare was suspended between the Brabanters and the duke of Gloucester, until victory should declare for one of the dukes in their personal combat. Shortly after, the count de St. Pol marched away from before Braine, on his return with the army to Brabant; but as the duke of Gloucester was with his lady in Soignies, the Brabanters were afraid of being attacked, and therefore all the nobles and gentlemen marched in the same array as if they were about to engage in battle. The commonalty were likewise well drawn up; and they had not advanced far, when the scouts, whom they had left in their rear to bring them information, gave notice that the English had taken the field. This was true, for some of the duke of Gloucester's captains, having his permission, collected at most eight hundred men to see the Brabanters decamp. They advanced so near as to be visible to all, although there were some ditches between the two parties. The count de St. Pol drew his men in array, on the ascent of a mountain, namely, the gentlemen and archers, and so did the English; and in the mean time some skirmishing took place between the outposts of each, in which several were killed, wounded, and unhorsed, but in no great numbers. The two parties remained thus for a considerable time in battle array, each waiting for the other to depart first. While they were in this position, certain intelligence was brought to the count de St. Pol of the day of combat having been fixed between the dukes of Burgundy and of Gloucester, and that all warfare was to cease until that was over. On this being made public, and because evening was coming on, the English marched away to the duke of Gloucester in Soignies, and the count de St. Pol with his men to Halx and that neighbourhood, where they kept a strict watch. It is a truth that the greater part of the commonalty of Brabant, who were in the count's army, had been panic-struck, and deserted in great confusion, leaving suits of armour without number, carts, cars, and all their warlike instruments dispersed over the fields, although they were, as I said before, from thirty to forty thousand men, so that very few remained with their commander and other captains, and it was not their fault that they did not on that day receive much loss and disgrace. The town and castle of Guise was by treaty to have been surrendered on the first day of March: but sir John de Luxembourg practised so successfully with John de Proisy, the governor, that they were yielded up to him on the 26th of February, without waiting for the appointed day. In like manner he gained possession of the fortress of Irechon. He was, by this means, obeyed throughout the whole county of Guise, to the great displeasure of Réné d'Anjou, duke of Bar, to whom this county belonged as its true lord. Those who had assembled to be present at the surrender on the first of March, as well English as Picards, hearing what had passed, returned to their quarters. Sir John de Luxembourg gave liberty to the hostages, and passports for them to go whither they pleased. He also appointed sir Daviod de Poix governor of Guise. When the count Philip de St. Pol and the Brabant nobles were returned to Brussels, and the Picards quartered on the borders of Hainault, the duke of Gloucester retreated with his duchess and army from Soignies to Mons, where he met the countess-dowager of Hainault. Having conferred with her and some of the nobility, it was determined that he and his English should return to England, to prepare himself for the combat that was to take place with the duke of Burgundy. When he was on the point of his departure, his mother-inlaw, the countess of Hainault, and the nobles and deputies from the principal towns, requested that he would leave the duchess Jacqueline, whom he called his wife, and their lady behind. This he assented to, on condition that they would solemnly swear to him that they would guard and defend her against all who might attempt to injure her; and more especially the burghers and inhabitants of Mons were to take this oath, as she intended to reside within that town. The duke and duchess of Gloucester now separated with many tears and lamentations; and he departed with from four to five thousand English combatants for St. Gillart, and thence to Yvins near Bohain, where he lay the first night: he then continued his route by Vy, and after some days arrived at Calais; but in all the countries through which he passed he committed no waste, but paid for all his provision very peaceably. He carried with him to England Eleanor de Cobham, whom he had brought with him as companion to the duchess Jacqueline, and was afterwards married to her. Toward the end of this year king Charles sent ambassadors to the court of Rome, the principal of whom was the bishop of Leon in Brittany, who offered, in the king's name, his submission to pope Martin, the which was very graciously received.