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Maximilian's first thought, after the restoration of his authority in Flanders, was to take vengeance upon the French king for marrying the duchess of Bretagne, in breach of the contract with his daughter. He urged Henry, therefore, to cross the sea with all speed, and pursue the war with fire and sword. Henry was not ignorant that the king of the Romans was more quick in resolve than prompt in execution or firm in purpose; and though in this case he hoped, or rather expected, that policy and passion united might hold him to his intentions, he ordered a muster to be made throughout the realm, and his navy to be rigged, manned, and victualled, ready to set forward at any hour. Couriers were sent into every shire to hasten the soldiers to the sea side.
" Then came without delay a huge army, as well of the low sort and commonalty as noblemen, harnessed and armed to battle ; partly glad to help their prince,” says the chronicler, cs and to do him service, and partly to buckle with the Frenchmen, with whom the English very willingly desire to cope and fight in
And immediately as munition was given, every man with his band of soldiers repaired to London." All being prepared, he despatched ambassadors to let Maximilian know that the English would set forth as soon as he was ready to join them; but Maximilian could draw no supplies from his own country, Austria, because his father was then living, nor from his matrimonial territories of the Low Countries, part being held in dowry by his mother-in-law, the duchess Margaret, and part exhausted by the late rebellion. The ambassadors represented in their letters that no prince could be more unprovided ; that “he lay lurking in a corner, sore sick of the flux of the purse ;' so that he had neither men, horses, munition, arms, nor money: that his will was good, if his power had been correspondent; but that no trust was to be put in his aid.
Henry had doubted that it might prove thus : he commended his ambassadors for having sent him intelligence, instead of returning with it; and instructed them to keep the
NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE.
matter secret till they heard further from him. His care was how to retreat with honour from a contest which, on the failure of such an ally, he could not prosecute with any reasonable hope ; and how to avert the unpopularity which would be brought upon him, if the people should suppose that he had never seriously intended war, but had made use of it only as a pretext for exacting money. His council agreed with him that it was best manfully to proceed with the enterprise which they had begun; and he, still dissembling the state of Maximilian's affairs, lest it should dishearten the army, departed, in the second week of September, from Greenwich, towards the sea, “ all men wondering that he took that season, being so near winter, to begin the war; and some thereupon gathering it was a sign the war would not last long."* The king, however, gave out, that, seeing
o he intended not to make a summer business of it, but a resolute war, without term prefixed, until he had recovered France, it skilled not much when he began it, especially having Calais at his back, where he might winter, if circumstances should so require.” Nevertheless, he lingered on his journey toward the coast, and so much the more, because he had received letters from the sieur des Cordes, “ who, the hotter he was against the English in time of war, had the more credit in a negotiation of peace, and, beside, was held a man open and of good faith.” The overtures were not such as he could dislike; but the utmost secrecy was still preserved, and on the 6th of October he embarked at Sandwich, and landed the same day at Calais, the rendezvous where all the forces were assigned to meet. No sooner had he arrived there, than the calm winds of peace began to blow.” For, first, the ambassadors arrived from Flanders, and their news was made known that Maximilian could make no preparations for lack of money, and therefore there was no succour to be expected at his hand. At this the English were nothing abashed, trusting so much to their
* Bacon, 269. Hall, 456. Holinshed, 501.
own puissance and company; but yet “ they marvelled greatly that Maximilian, receiving such great villainy not long before at the hand of king Charles, was not present to prick them forward, to cry and call, to move and exalt the Englishmen; yea,” says the chronicler, “and, if he had 600 bodies, to put them all in hazard, rather than to leave the English now setting upon his daily enemies and deadly adversaries.' This intelligence, however, bravely as the army received it, acted to the king's wish as a kind of preparative for peace; and peace was earnestly desired by the king of France, that he might pursue his ambitious projects in Italy, on which account he had just concluded a peace with Ferdinand and Isabella, purchasing it, as it were, by the free restoration of Roussillon and Perpignan, which had been mortgaged to France by Ferdinand's father for 300,000 crowns.
This news came also handsomely to forward Henry's hopes ;
“ both because so potent a confederate was fallen off, and because it was a fair example of a peace bought, so that he should not be the sole merchant.” His care now was only to save appearances : he appointed, therefore, the bishop of Exeter and the governor of Calais to negotiate with the sieur des Cordes; and, moving from Calais nine days after his landing there, pitched his camp before Boulogne, as if with the intention of besieging it. t
That town was well fortified and well manned; and the siege, which continued nearly a month while the treaty went on, was, though only a feint on Henry's part, serious to the besieged, whose walls were broken and sore defaced by the daily shot of his battering pieces. Few of the besiegers fell, of whom the only man of note was sir John Savage. This valiant captain was riding with sir John Risely to reconnoitre the
* Hall has before observed how Judasly Maximilian had deceived the king: bere, however, he admits that “he lacked no heart and good will to be revenged ;” but that "he could neither have money nor men of the drunken Flemings, nor yet of the crakyng Brabanters, so ungrate people were they to their sovereign lord.” † Hall, 457. Holinshed, 501. Bacon, 271.
DISCONTENT AT THE PEACE.
walls, and see where they might be easiest assaulted. Some of the French sallied and surrounded him ; Risely escaped by flight; but Savage,
~ of his high courage, disdained to be taken of such villains," and, defending himself to the last, perished through his own wilfulness. Before the peace was concluded, Henry thought it prudent that some of his best captains should advise him to it, “under their hands, in an earnest manner, in the nature of a supplication.” The feint of the siege had been carried farther than he had expected, owing to the length of time employed upon the treaty ; so that the town was distressed, and might have been assaulted : but, in the chronicler's words, “when every man was prest and ready to give the assault, a sudden rumour rose that peace was concluded ; which fruit, as it was pleasant and mellifluous to the Frenchmen, so it was to the English bitter, sour, and dolorous; because they were ready at all times to set on their enemies, and refused never to attempt any enterprise which might seem to be either for their laud or profit. They were in great fumes, angry and evil content, railing and murmuring among themselves, that the occasion of so glorious à victory to them manifestly offered, was, by certain conditions, to no man, nor yet to the king, commodious or profitable, refused, put by, and shamefully slacked. But above all, other divers lords and captains, encouraged with desire of fame and honour, trusting in this journey to have won their spurs, who, to set them. selves and their band the more gorgeously forward, had borrowed money, and for the repayment of the same had mortgaged their lands and possessions, sore grudged and lamented the sudden peace, and return of them unthought of, and spake largely against the king's doings, saying that he, as a man fearing the puissance of his enemies, had concluded an inconvenient peace, without cause or reason.' But he, like a wise prince, represented what bloodshed and loss both of captains and soldiers must of necessity have ensued at the assault of such a place, so well furnished with men and munitions.
And he made it appear that the peace was no less to the honour of the English nation, than to its profit ; for the French were to pay 745,000 dusats for the costs of the expedition, and 25,000 crowns yearly for the charges sustained in aid of the Bretons ; and it was left somewhat indefinite when the payment was to determine, and this made the English esteem it, as a tribute carried under fair terms.
Rich presents were made by the French king to all Henry's principal counsellors, and large pensions assigned them, which,“whether the king did permit to save his own purse from rewards, or to communicate the envy of a business that was displeasing to his people, was diversely interpreted.” His costs in the expedition were repaid, but that repayment went into his coffers; and they who had contributed to the general outfit by the forced benevolence, or who had embarrassed themselves by the expense incurred on their own, stuck not to say that the king was willing enough to pluck his nobility and his people for the sake of feathering himself. Some made themselves merry with what he had declared in parliament, “that after the war was once begun, he doubted not but to make it pay itself:” he had kept promise, they said. From Calais Henry wrote letters to the lord mayor and aldermen “(which was a courtesy that he sometimes used), half bragging what great sums he had obtained for the peace, as knowing well that it was ever good news in London that the king's coffers were full: better news it would have been,” says the great historian of this reign, " if their benevolence had been but a loan.”* The peace was for the two kings' lives.
No attempt had been made to oppose the passage of the English army in ths invasion, nor to interrupt its communications with England: but the fleet had been annoyed by a set of homebred marauders, and the robberies and murders which these wretches committed were so frequent, and the scandal so great, that strict orders * Hall, 458, 459. Holinshed, 502, 503. Bacon, 273. † Bacon, 274.