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very graciously by the duke of Orleans ; but no one appeared to enter the lists with him on the appointed day. In a few days, he set out on his pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James, during which he performed his deeds of arms in seven places, during seven days, and behaved himself so gallantly, that those princes who were appointed judges of the field were greatly satisfied with him.
CHAPTER IX.—THE DUKE OF ORLEANS, BROTHER TO THE KING OF FRANCE, SENDS A
CHALLENGE TO THE KING OF ENGLAND.—THE ANSWER HE RECEIVES. In the year 1402, Louis, duke of Orleans, brother to the king of France, sent a letter to the king of England, proposing a combat between them, of the following tenor: “I, Louis, by the grace of God son and brother to the kings of France, duke of Orleans, write and make known to you, that with the aid of God and the blessed Trinity, in the desire which I have to gain renown, and which you in like manner should feel, considering idleness as the bane of lords of high birth who do not employ themselves in arms, and thinking I can no way better seek renown than by proposing to you to meet me at an appointed place, each of us accompanied with one hundred knights and esquires, of name and arms without reproach, there to combat together until one of the parties shall surrender; and he to whom God shall grant the victory shall do with his prisoners as it may please him. We will not employ any incantations that are forbidden by the church, but make every use of the bodily strength granted us by God, having armour as may be most agreeable to every one for the security of his person, and with the usual arms; that is to say, lance, battle-axe, sword and dagger, and each to employ them as he shall think most to his advantage, without aiding himself by any bodkins, hooks, bearded darts, poisoned needles or razors, as may be done by persons unless they be positively ordered to the contrary. To accomplish this enterprise, I make known to you, that if God permit, and under the good pleasure of our Lady, and my lord St. Michael, I propose (after knowing your intentions) to be at my town of Angoulême, accompanied by the aforesaid number of knights and esquires. Now, if your courage be such as I think it is, for the fulfilment of this deed of arms, you may come to Bordeaux, when we may depute properly-qualified persons to fix on a spot for the combat, giving to them full power to act therein as if we ourselves were personally present.
“ Most potent and noble prince, let me know your will in regard to this proposal, and have the goodness to send me as speedy an answer as may be ; for in all affairs of arms, the shortest determination is the best, especially for the kings of France, and great lords and princes; and, as many delays may arise from business of importance, which must be attended to, as well as doubts respecting the veracity of our letters, that you may know I am resolved, with God's help, on the accomplishment of this deed of arms, I have signed this letter with my own hand, and sealed it with the seal of my arms. Written at my castle of Coucy*, the 7th day of August, 1402."
THE ANSWER OF KING HENRY TO THE LETTERS OF THE DUKE OF ORLEANS. “ Henry, by the grace of God, king of England and France, and lord of Ireland, to the high and mighty prince Louis, duke of Orleans.
“We write to inform you, that we have seen your letter, containing a request to perform a deed of arms; and, from the expressions contained therein, we perceive that it is addressed to us, which has caused us no small surprise, for the following reasons. First, on account of the truce agreed on, and sworn to, between our very dear lord and cousin, king Richard, our predecessor, whom God pardon ! and your lord and brother; in which treaty, you are yourself a party. Secondly, on account of the alliance that was made between us at Paris, for the due observance of which you made oath, in the hands of our well-beloved knights
* Enguerrand VII. lord of Coucy and count of Soissons, His other daughters were, Mary, wife of Robert Vere, duke died a prisoner in Turkey, as related by Froissart. Mary, of Ireland (the ill-fated favourite of Richard II.) and Isabel, his daughter and co-heiress, sold her possessions, and this married to Philip, count of Nevers, youngest son of the castle of Coucy among the rest, to Louis duke of Orleans, duke of Burgundy.
and esquires, sir Thomas de Spinguchen *, sir Thomas Ramson, and John Morbury, and likewise gave to them letters signed with your great seal, reciting this treaty of alliance, which I shall hereafter more fully state.
“ Since you have thought proper, without any cause, to act contrary to this treaty, we shall reply as follows, being desirous that God, and all the world, should know it has never been our intention to act any way contradictory to what we have promised. We therefore inform you, that we have annulled the letter of alliance received from you, and throw aside henceforward, all love and affection toward you; for it seems to us that no prince, lord, knight, or any person whatever, ought to demand a combat from him with whom a treaty of friendship exists. In reply to your letter, we add, that considering the very high rank in which it has pleased God to place us, we are not bound to answer any such demands unless made by persons of equal rank with ourselves. With regard to what you say, that we ought to accept your proposal to avoid idleness, it is true we are not so much employed in arms and honourable exploits as our noble predecessors have been; but the all-powerful God may, when he pleases, make us follow their steps, and we, through the indulgence of his grace, have not been so idle but that we have been enabled to defend our honour.
“With regard to the proposal of meeting you at a fixed place with one hundred knights and esquires of name and arms, and without reproach, we answer, that until this moment none of our royal progenitors have been thus challenged by persons of less rank than themselves, nor have they ever employed their arms with one hundred or more persons in such a cause; for it seems to us that a royal prince ought only to do such things as may redound to the honour of God, and to the profit of all Christendom and his own kingdom, and not through vain-glory nor selfish advantage. We are determined to preserve the state God has intrusted to us; and whenever we may think it convenient, we shall visit our possessions on your side of the sea, accompanied by such numbers of persons as we may please ; at which time, if you shall think proper, you may assemble as many persons as you may judge expe
* Spinguchen. Q. Speneham ? VOL. I.
dient to acquire honour in the accomplishment of all your courageous desires : and should it please God, our Lady, and my lord St. George, you shall not depart until your request be so fully complied with that you shall find yourself satisfied by a combat between us two personally, so long as it may please God to suffer it, which mode I shall prefer to prevent any greater effusion of Christian blood. God knows, we will that no one should be ignorant that this our answer does not proceed from pride or presumption of heart, which every wise man who holds his honour dear should avoid, but solely to abase that haughtiness and over presumption of any one, whosoever he may be, that prevents him from knowing himself. Should you wish that those of your party be without reproach, be more cautious in future of. your letters, your promises, and your seal, than you have hitherto been. That you may know this is our own proper answer, formed from our knowledge of you, and that we will maintain our right whenever God pleases, we have sealed with our arms this present letter. Given at our court of London, the 5th day of December, in the year of Grace 1402, and in the 4th of our reign.”
THE LETTER OF ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE DUKE OF ORLEANS AND THE DUKE OF LANCASTER.
“ Louis, duke of Orleans, count de Valois, Blois and de Beaumont, to all to whom these presents may come, health and greeting. We make known by them, that the most potent prince, and our very dear cousin, Henry, duke of Lancaster and Hereford, earl of Derby, Lincoln, Leicester and Northampton, has given us his love and friendship. Nevertheless, being desirous of strengthening the ties of this affection between us, seeing that nothing in this world can be more delectable or profitable :
“In the name of God and the most holy Trinity, which is a fair example and sound foundation of perfect love and charity, and without whose grace nothing can be profitably concluded : to the end that the form and manner of this our friendship may be reputed honourable, we have caused the terms of it to be thus drawn up. First, we both hold it just and right to except from it all whom we shall think proper; and conformably thereto we except, on our part, the following persons : first, our very mighty and puissant prince and lord Charles, by the grace of God king of France : my lord the dauphin, his eldest son, and all the other children of my foresaid lord ; the queen of France ; our very dear uncles the dukes of Berry, Burgundy and Bourbon ; those most noble princes, our dear cousins, the king of the Romans and of Bohemia ; the king of Hungary, his brother and their uncles, and Becop * marquis of Moravia ; and also all our cousins, and others of our blood, now living, or that may be born, as well males as females, and our very dear father the duke of Milan, whose daughter we have married. This relationship must make us favourable to his honour. Also those noble princes, and our very dear cousins, the kings of Castille and of
* Jodocus, marquis of Moravia and Brandenburg, cousin-german to the emperor Wenceslaus, appears to be here meant. See the following table :
John, King of Bohemia, = 2. Beatrix, Daughter of
Scotland, with all the other allies of our foresaid lord. To whom must likewise be added our very dear cousin the duke of Lorrain *, the count of Cleves t, the lord de Clisson, and all our vassals bound to us by faith and oath, whom we hold ourselves obliged to guard from ill, since they have submitted to our obedience and commands.
“ Item, The duke of Lancaster and myself will be always united in the strictest ties of love and affection, as loyal and true friends should be.
“ Item, Each of us will be, at all times and places, friendly to one another and to our friends, and enemies to our enemies, as will be honourable and praiseworthy.
“ Item, We will each, in all times and places, aid and assist the other in the defence of his person, his fortune, honour and estate, as well by words as deeds, diligently and carefully in the most honourable manner.
“ Item, In times of war and discord we will mutually defend each other against all princes, lords and barons, with the utmost good will, and also against any corporation, college or university, by every means in our power, engines, councils, force, men at arms, subsidies, or by whatever other means we may think most efficient to make war on and oppose the enemies of either of us; and we will exert ourselves to the utmost against every person whatever, excepting those who have been before excepted, in every lawful and honourable manner.
“ Item, All the above articles we will strictly observe so long as the truces shall continue between my aforesaid sovereign lord and king, and the king of England ; and should a more solid peace be formed, so long as that peace shall last, without infringing an article. In witness of which we have caused these articles to be drawn up, and have appended our scal thereto. Done at Paris the 17th day of June, in the year of grace 1396."
THE SECOND LETTER OF THE DUKE OF ORLEANS, IN REPLY TO THAT FROM THE KING
OF ENGLAND. “ High and mighty prince Henry, king of England, I, Louis, by the grace of God son and brother to the kings of France, duke of Orleans, write to make known to you that I received, as a new year's gift, the first day of January, by the hands of your herald Lancaster, king at arms, the letter you have written to me, in answer to the one I sent to you by Champagne, king at arms, and Orleans my herald, and have heard its contents.
“In regard to your ignorance, or pretended ignorance, whether my letter could have been addressed to you, your name was on it, such as you received at the font, and by which you were always called by your parents when they were alive. I had not indeed given you your new titles at length, because I do not approve of the manner whereby you have attained them ; but know that my letter was addressed to you.
“In regard to your being surprised at my requesting to perform a deed of arms with you during the existence of the truce between my most redoubted lord the king of France and the high and mighty prince king Richard, my nephew, and your liege lord lately deceased, (God knows by whose orders) as well as an alliance of friendship subsisting between us, of which you have sent me a copy—that treaty is now at an end by your own fault ; first, by your having undertaken your enterprise against your sovereign lord king Richard, whom God pardon ! who was the ally of my lord the king of France by marriage with his daughter, as well as by written articles, sealed with their seals, to the observance of which the kindred on each side made oath, in the presence of the two monarchs and their relations, in their different countries. You may have seen in those articles of which you sent me a copy, that the allies of my said lord the king were excepted, and may judge whether I can honestly now have any friendship for you; for at the time I made the said alliance, I never conceived it possible you could have done against your king what it is well known you have done.
“In regard to your objection, that no knight, of whatever rank he may be, ought to request a deed of arms until he shall have returned the articles of alliance, supposing such to exist between them, I wish to know whether you rendered to your lord, king Richard, the oath of fidelity you made to him before you proceeded in the manner you have done against his person.-In respect to your throwing up my friendship, know, that from the moment I was informed of the acts you committed against your liege lord, I had not any expectation that you could suppose you would place any dependence on me; for you must have known that I could not have any desire to preserve your friendship.
• Charles the Bold, married to a daughter of Robert of + Adolphus II. duke of Cleves, married Mary, daughter Bavaria, elector palatine, and afterwards emperor.
of the duke of Burgundy.
“With regard to your high situation, I do not think the divine virtues have placed you there. God may have dissembled with you, and have set you on a throne, like many other princes, whose reign has ended in confusion. And, in consideration of my own honour, I do not wish to be compared with you. You say, you shall be always eager to defend your honour, which has been ever unblemished. Enough on that head is sufficiently known in all countries.
“ As for your intentions of visiting your possessions on this side of the sea, without informing me of your arrival, I assure you that you shall not be there long without hearing from me; for, if God permit, I will accomplish what I have proposed, if it be not your fault. In regard to your telling me, that your progenitors have not thus been accustomed to be challenged by those of less degree than themselves—who have been my ancestors, I need not be my own herald, for they are well known to all the world. And in respect to my personal honour, through the mercy of God it is without reproach, as I have always acted like a loyal and honest man, as well towards my God as to my king and his realm: whoever has acted, or may act otherwise, though he hold the universe in his hand, is worthless, and undeserving of respect.
“You tell me, that a prince ought to make his every action redound to the honour of God, to the common advantage of all Christendom, and the particular welfare of his kingdom, and not through vain-glory, nor for selfish purposes. I reply, that you say well; but if you had acted accordingly in your own country, many things done there by you, or by your orders, would not have taken place. How could you suffer my much redoubted lady the queen of England to return so desolate to this country after the death of her lord, despoiled, by your rigour and cruelty, of her dower, which you detain from her, and likewise the portion she carried hence on her marriage ? The man who seeks to gain honour is always the defender and guardian of the rights of widows and damsels of virtuous life, such as my niece was known to lead. And as I am so nearly related to her, acquitting myself toward God and toward her, as a relation, I reply, that to avoid effusion of blood, I will cheerfully meet you in single combat, or with any greater number you may please; and that through the aid of God, of the blessed Virgin Mary, and of my lord St. Michael, so soon as I shall receive your answer to this letter, whether body to body or with any greater number than ourselves, you shall find me doing my duty, for the preservation of my honour, in such wise as the case may require.
“I return you thanks, in the name of those of my party, for the greater care you seem to have of their healths than you had for that of your sovereign and liege lord. You tell me, that he who is not void of discernment in regard to his own condition will be desirous of selecting irreproachable companions. Know, that I am not ignorant who I am, nor who are my companions ; and I inform you, that you will find us loyal and honest, for such we have been ever reported. And, thanks to God, we have never done anything by word or deed but what has been becoming loyal gentlemen. Do you and your people look to yourselves, and write me back your intention as to what I have offered, which I am impatient to know. That you may be assured this letter has been written by me, and that, through God's aid, I am resolved to execute my purpose, I have put to it the seal of my arms, and signed it with my own hand, on the morrow of the feast of our Lady, the 26th day of March, 1402."
THE REPLY OF KING HENRY TO THIS SECOND LETTER OF THE DUKE OF ORLEANS. “ Henry, king of England and lord of Ireland, to Louis de Valois, duke of Orleans.
“ We write to inform you that we have received, the last day of this present month of April, the letter you have sent to us by Champagne, king at arms, and your herald Orleans, intending it as an answer to the one from us, received by you on the 26th day of last