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them in the same chapter, as if they had taken place in the same period; but Monstrelet has the advantage of Froissart in the correctness of counting the years, which he invariably begins on Easter-day and closes them on Easter-eve. “To chronological mistakes must be added the frequent disfiguring of proper names— more especially foreign ones, which are often so mangled that it is impossible to decipher them. M. du Cange has corrected from one thousand to eleven hundred on the margin of his copy of the edition of 1572, which is now in the imperial library at Paris, and would be of great assistance should another edition of Monstrelet be called for *. Names of places are not more clearly written, excepting those in Flanders and Picardy, with which, of course, he was well acquainted. We know not whether it be through affectation or ignorance that he calls many towns by their Latin names, Frenchifying the termination: for instance, Aix-la-chapelle, Aquisgranie; Oxford, Oxonie; and several others in the like manner. “These defects are far from being repaid, as they are in Froissart, by the agreeableness of the narration: that of Monstrelet is heavy, monotonous, weak, and diffuse. Sometimes a whole page is barely sufficient for him to relate what would have been better told in six lines; and it is commonly on the least important facts that he labours the most. “The second chapter of the first volume, consisting of thirteen pages, contains only a challenge from a Spanish esquire, accepted by an esquire of England, which, after four years of letters and messages, ends in nothing. The ridiculousness of so pompous a narration had struck Rabelais, who says, at page 158 of his third volume;—“In reading this tedious detail, (which he calls a little before le tant long, curieur et facheur conte) we should imagine that it was the beginning, or occasion, of some severe war, or of a great revolution of kingdoms; but at the end of the tale we laugh at the stupid champion, the Englishman, and Enguerrand their scribe, plus baceua qu'un pot d moutardet.’ “Monstrelet employs many pages to report the challenges sent by the duke of Orleans, brother to king Charles VI., to Henry IV. king of England,-challenges which are equally ridiculous with the former, and which had a similar termination. When he meets with any event that particularly regards Flanders or Picardy, he does not omit the smallest circumstance: the most minute and most useless seem to him worth preserving, and this same man, so prolix when it were to be wished he was concise, omits, for the sake of brevity, as he says, the most interesting details. This excuse he repeats more than once, for neglecting to enlarge on facts far more interesting than the quarrels of the Flemings and Picards. When speaking of those towns in Champagne and Brie which surrendered to Charles VII. immediately after his coronation, he says “As for these surrenders, I omit the particular detail of each for the sake of brevity.” In another place, he says, “Of these reparations, for brevity sake, I shall not make mention.” These reparations were the articles of the treaty of peace concluded in 1437, between the duke of Burgundy and the townsmen of Bruges. “I have observed an omission of another sort, but which must be attributed solely to the copyists, for I suspect them of having lost a considerable part of a chapterf in the second volume. The head of this chapter is, “The duke of Orleans returns to the duke of Burgundy,’ —and the beginning of it describes the meeting of the two princes in the town of Hédin in 1441 (1442). They there determine to meet again almost immediately in the town of Nevers, “with many others of the great princes and lords of the kingdom of France, and at the end of eight days they separate; the one taking the road through Paris for Blois, and the other going into Burgundy. “This recital consists of about twenty lines, and then we read, “Here follows a copy of the declaration sent to king Charles of France by the lords assembled at Nevers, with the answers returned thereto by the members of the great council, and certain requests made by them.*. This title is followed by the declaration he has mentioned, and the answer the king made to the ambassadors who had presented it to him.—Now, can it be conceived that Monstrelet would have been silent as to the object of the assembly of Nobles? or not have named some of those who had been present? and that, after having mentioned Nevers as the place of meeting, he should have passed over every circumstance respecting it, to the declarations and resolutions that had there been determined upon There are two reasons for concluding that part of this chapter must be wanting: first, when Monstrelet returns to his narration, after having related the king's answer to the assembled lords, he speaks as having before mentioned them, ‘the aforesaid lords; and I have just noticed that he names none of them : secondly, when in the next chapter he relates the expedition to Tartas, which was to decide on the fate of Guienne, as having before mentioned it, ‘of which notice has been taken in another place, it must have been in the preceding chapter, but it is not there spoken of, nor in any other place. “If the numerous imperfections of Monstrelet are not made amends for, as I have said, by the beauty of his style, we must allow that they are compensated by advantages of another kind. His narration is diffuse, but clear, and his style heavy, but always equal. He rarely offers any reflections,—and they are always short and judicious. The temper of his mind is particularly manifested by the circumstance that we do not find in his work any ridiculous stories of sorcery, magic, astrology, or any of those absurd prodigies which disgrace the greater part of the historians of his time.t. The goodness of his heart also displays itself in the traits of sensibility which he discovers in his recitals of battles, sieges, and of towns won by storm : he seems then to rise superior to himself-and his style acquires strength and warmth. When he relates the preparations for, and the commencement of, a war, his first sentiment is to deplore the evils by which he foresees that the poorer ranks will soon be overwhelmed. Whilst he paints the despair of the wretched inhabitants of the country, pillaged and massacred by both sides, we perceive that he is really affected by his subject, and writes from his feelings. The writer of the cordelier register and the abbot of St. Aubert have not, therefore, said too much, when they called him “a very honest and peaceable man.' It appears, in fact, that benevolence was the marked feature of his character, to which I am not afraid to add, the love of truth. “I know that in respect to this last virtue, his reputation is not spotless, and that he has been commonly charged with partiality for the house of Burgundy, and for that faction. Lancelot Voesin de la Popeliniere is, I believe, the first who brought this accusation against him. “Monstrelet, says he, “has scarcely shown himself a better narrator than Froissart— but a little more attached to truth, and less of a party man.” Denis Godefroy denies this small advantage over Froissart which had been conceded to him by La Popeliniere. ‘Both of them, he says, “incline toward the Burgundians.’
* I have a copy of these corrections, which are intro- + “More slobbering than n mustard-pot;” but Cotduced either into the body of the text or at the bottom of grave translates this, “Foaming at the mouth like a boar." the page. | Chap. 262.
- * The title of the next chapter, 263, but given rather work by subsequent chronicles, which form the third book differently by Mr. Johnes.—Ed. of the present edition.—Ed.
f These are plentiful in the additions made to his
“Le Gendre, in his critical examination of the French historians, repeats the same thing, but in more words. “Monstrelet,” he writes, “too plainly discovers his intentions of favouring, when he can, the dukes of Burgundy and their friends.” Many authors have adopted some of these opinions, more or less disadvantageous to Monstrelet; hence has been formed an almost universal prejudice, that he has, in his work, often disfigured the truth in favour of the dukes of Burgundy.
“I am persuaded that these different opinions, advanced without proof, are void of foundation; and I have noticed facts, which, having happened during the years of which Monstrelet writes the history, may, from the manner in which he narrates them, enable us to judge whether he was capable of sacrificing truth to his attachment to the house of Burgundy.
“In 1407, doctor John Petit, having undertaken to justify the assassination of the duke of Orleans by orders from the duke of Burgundy, sought to diminish the horror of such a deed, by tarnishing the memory of the murdered prince with the blackest imputations. Monstrelet, however, does not hesitate to say, that many persons thought these imputations false and indecent. He reports, in the same chapter, the divers opinions to which this unfortunate event gave rise, and does not omit to say, that “many great lords, and other wise men, were much astonished that the king should pardon the Burgundian prince, considering that the crime was committed on the person of the duke of Orleans.' We perceive, in reading this passage, that Monstrelet was of the same opinion with the ‘other wise men.”
“In 1408, Charles VI. having insisted that the children of the late duke of Orleans should be reconciled to the duke of Burgundy, they were forced to consent.—“Sire, since you are pleased to command us, we grant his request; and Monstrelet lets it appear that he considers their compliance as a weakness, which he excuses on account of their youth, and the state of neglect they were in after the death of their mother the duchess of Orleans, who had sunk under her grief on not being able to avenge the murder of her husband. “To say the truth, in consequence of the death of their father, and also from the loss of their mother, they were greatly wanting in advice and support.' He likewise relates, at the same time, the conversations held by different great lords on this occasion, in whom sentiments of humanity and respect for the blood-royal were not totally extinguished. “That henceforward it would be no great offence to murder a prince of the blood, since those who had done so were so easily acquitted, without making any reparation, or even begging pardon.' A determined partisan of the house of Burgundy would have abstained from transmitting such a reflection to posterity.
“I shall mention another fact, which will be fully sufficient for the justification of the historian. None of the writers of his time have spoken with such minuteness of the most abominable of the actions of the duke of Burgundy: I mean that horrid conspiracy which he had planned in 1415, by sending his emissaries to Paris to intrigue and bring it to maturity, and the object of which was nothing less than to seize and confine the king, and to put him to death, with the queen, the chancellor of France, the queen of Sicily, and numberless others. Monstrelet lays open, without reserve, all the circumstances of the conspiracy: he tells us by whom it was discovered: he names the principal conspirators, some of whom were beheaded, others drowned.—He adds, “However, those nobles whom the duke of Burgundy had sent to Paris returned as secretly and as quietly as they could without being arrested or stopped.’
“An historian devoted to the duke of Burgundy would have treated this affair more tenderly, and would not have failed to throw the whole blame of the plot on the wicked partisans of the duke, without saying expressly that they had acted under his directions and by his orders contained ‘in credential letters signed with his hand.’ It is rather singular, that Juvénal des Ursins, who cannot be suspected of being a Burgundian, should in his history of Charles VI. have merely related this event, and that very summarily, without attributing any part of it to the duke of Burgundy, whom he does not even name. “The impartiality of Monstrelet is not less clear in the manner in which he speaks of the leaders of the two factions, Burgundians or Armagnacs, who are praised or blamed without exception of persons, according to the merit of their actions. The excesses which both parties indulged in are described with the same strength of style, and in the same tone of indignation. In 1411, when Charles VI., in league with the duke of Burgundy, ordered by an express edict, that all of the Orleans party should be attacked as enemies throughout the kingdom, “it was a pitiful thing,' says the historian, “to hear daily miserable complaints of the persecutions and sufferings of individuals.’ He is no way sparing of his expressions in this instance; and they are still stronger in the recital which immediately follows:—“Three thousand combatants marched to Bicêtre, a very handsome house belonging to the duke of Berry (who was of the Orleans party), and from hatred to the said duke, they destroyed ad villanously demolished the whole, excepting the walls.’ “The interest which Monstrelet here displays for the duke of Berry agrees perfectly with that which he elsewhere shows for Charles VI. He must have had a heart truly French to have painted in the manner he has done the state of debasement and neglect to which the court of France was reduced in 1420, compared with the pompous state of the king of England: he is affected with the humiliation of the one, and hurt at the magnificence of the other, which formed so great a contrast. ‘The king of France was meanly and poorly served, and was scarcely visited on this day by any but some old courtiers and persons of low degree, which must have wounded all true French hearts.” And a few lines farther, he says, “With regard to the state of the king of England, it is impossible to recount its great magnificence and pomp, or to describe the grand entertainments and attendance in his palace.' “This idea had made such an impression on him that he returns again to it on occasion of the solemn feast of Whitsuntide, which the king and queen of England came to celebrate in Paris, in 1422. ‘On this day, the king and queen of England held a numerous and magnificent court, but king Charles remained with his queen at the palace of St. Pol, neglected by all, which caused great grief to numbers of loyal Frenchmen, and not withou cause.' “These different traits, thus united, form a strong conclusion, or I am deceived, that Monstrelet has been too lightly charged with partiality for the house of Burgundy, and with disaffection to the crown of France. “I have hitherto only spoken of the two first volumes of the Chronicles of Monstrelet; the third, which commences in April 1444, I think should be treated of separately, because I scarcely see anything in it that may be attributed to him. In the first place, the thirteen last years, from his death in 1453 to that of the duke of Burgundy in 1467, which form the contents of the greater part of this volume, cannot have been written by him. Secondly, the nine preceding years, of which Monstrelet, who was then living, may have been the author, seem to me to be written by another hand. We do not find in this part either his style or manner of writing : instead of that prolixity which has been so justly found fault with, the whole is treated with the dryness of the poorest chronicle: it is an abridged journal of what passed worthy of remembrance in Europe, but more particularly in France, from 1444 to 1453,-in which the events are arranged methodically, according to the days on which they happened, without other connexion than that of the dates. “Each of the two first volumes is preceded by a prologue, which serves as an introduction to the history of the events that follow : the third has neither prologue nor preface. In short, with the exception of the sentence passed on the duke of Alençon, there are not in this volume any justificatory pieces, negotiations, letters, treaties, ordinances, which constitute the principal merit of the two preceding ones. It would, however, have been very easy for the compiler to have imitated Monstrelet in this point, for the greater part of these pieces are reported by the chronicler of St. Denis, whom he often quotes in his first fifty pages. I am confirmed in this idea by having examined into the truth of different events, when I found that the compiler had scarcely done more than copy, word for word,— sometimes from the Grandes Chroniques of France,—at others, though rarely, from the history of Charles VII. by Jean Chartier, and, still more rarely, from the chronicler of Arras, of whom he borrows some facts relative to the history of Flanders". “To explain this resemblance, it cannot be said that the editors of the Grandes Chroniques have copied Monstrelet, for the Grandes Chroniques are often quoted in this third volume, which consequently must have been written posterior to them. There would be as little foundation to suppose that Monstrelet had copied them himself, and inserted only such facts as more particularly belonged to the history of the dukes of Burgundy. The difference of the plan and execution of the two first volumes and of this evidently points out another author. But should any doubt remain, it will soon be removed by the evidence of a contemporary writer, who precisely fixes on the year 1444 as the conclusion of the labours of Monstrelet. “Matthieu d'Escouchy, or de Couci, author of a history published by Denis Godefroy, at the end of that of Charles VII. by Chartier, thus expresses himself in the prologue at the beginning of his work: “I shall commence my said history from the 20th day of May, in the year 1444, when the last book which that noble and valiant man Enguerrand de Monstrelet chronicled in his time concludes. IIe was a native of the county of the Boulonnois, and at the time of his death was governor and citizen of Cambray, whose works will be in renown long after his decease. It is my intention to take up the history where the late Enguerrand left it, namely, at the truces which were made and concluded at Tours, in Touraine, in the month of May, on the day and year before-mentioned, between the most excellent, most powerful, Charles, the well-served king of France, of most noble memory, seventh of the name, and Henry king of England his nephew.’ “These truces conclude the last chapter of the second volume of Monstrelet: it is there where the real chronicles end; and he has improperly been hitherto considered as the author
* The following is the result of M. Buchon's comparison of the additions to Monstrelct with various chronicles, given in his edition of 1836.
From 1444 to the war of Ghent, in April 1453, the editor has servilely followed the Grandes Chroniques, sometimes disfiguring them and awkwardly transposing the order of the chapters. Here and there a few interpolations from the chronicle of J. du Clercq.
From 1453 to 1466, the text of Du Clercq is followed, but mutilated, and confused in the order of chapters and dates.
With 1467 an addition comprehending the reign of Louis XI. commences, founded on the Chronicle known as “The Scandalous Chronicle.”
From 1482 to 1497, including the reign of Charles VIII., is a mere copy of the Chronicles of Desrey.
“For the reign of Louis XII.,” says M. Buchon, “from 1497 to 1524, I have been unable to discover what chronicle has furnished materials for the editor's scissors.'' The compilation concludes with a few pages upon tho affairs of 1514 to 1516, the two first years of the reign of Francis I.