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in his miserable station, he was murdered by a knot of traitorous subjects, he left for himself a more honourable remembrance, as the best poet of his age, than royalty can confer, or wealth and fortune purchase.*
In the hostilities that ensued, the vice-admiral of England, sir Robert Umfreville, infested the Scotch coast. Some little time before, upon an incursion into Scotland, he had burnt the town of Peebles, and obtained from the people of that country, who were not unwilling to profit by their neighbour's loss, the name of Robin Mend-market, because his men measured the cloth which they took there by the spear or the bows-length, and sold it at plunderer's price. He now entered the Forth with ten ships; and remaining there a fortnight, landed every day on one side or the other, and spoiled the country, notwithstanding the duke of Albany and earl Douglas had brought together a considerable power to oppose him. "He burnt the galleot of Scotland (being a ship of great account) with many other vessels, lying at the same time at Blackness, over against Leith; and at his return brought with him fourteen good ships, and many other prizes of clothes, both woollen and linen, pitch, tar, wood, flour, meal, wheat, and rye, which, being sold abroad," says Holinshed, "the markets were well holpen thereby, so that his surname of Robin Mend-market seemed very well to agree with his qualities."+ Umfreville has a much better claim to remembrance; and it would be wronging his memory to omit it here. He and his nephew, Gilbert earl of Kyme, and their kinsman, sir John Gray, were sent with an English force to assist the duke of Burgundy against the Orleanists: they had taken a great many prisoners, and the duke commanded them to put them all to the sword. But the English leaders made answer, that they were not sent thither * Chalmers's Life of James I. Poetic Remains of the Scottish Kings Fordun, lib. xv. c. 18. folinshed, iii. 40. Speed, 620. + Holinshed, iii. 50. Hardyng, 366.
It appears that sir Manserd de Bos had been put to death, and divers others, which the Burgogneans bought of the Englishmen that had taken them prisoners.-Holinshed, iii, 51.
to act as butchers; they would neither kill their prisoners nor offer them in the market for sale, but put them to their fair ransom, according to the laws of arms; and they drew themselves up in array with their prisoners, to defend, and, if need were, to die with them, as honour required. This determination had its effect, and the duke was politic enough to applaud them for the spirit they had displayed.*
At this time the French applied to the king of Cas1405. tille, Henrique III., for naval aid. The Seville fleet of galleys, which would otherwise have been sent, was too far distant: the king, therefore, ordered forty ships to be made ready with all speed, and three galleys in Santandes, appointing Martin Ruiz de Abendaño to the command of the former, and Pero Niño to that of the latter. The two commanders were enjoined to wait for each other, and to keep company; although it was well known that ships and galleys could seldom act together, because it suited the galleys every night to seek the shore, and the ships to keep the sea. Pero Niño, afterwards Conde de Buelna, was a man of high birth, and had previously distinguished himself by his services in the Mediterranean. The king, who was then rejoicing over the birth of a son and heir, and whose heart was opened by festivity, provided this squadron most liberally: it was manned with the ablest men who could be found, either as soldiers or sailors; and money was not forgotten, though by the treaty between the two powers France was to take upon itself the charges of such a force while employed in its aid. So little concert was there between the two commanders, notwithstanding their instructions, that while the ships were at Santona, the galleys set out in quest of them from Santander, looked for them every where but in the right place, and having got to Passages without finding them, made at once for Rochelle. Pero Niño presumed on his influence, his abilities, and his good fortune; and probably he was better pleased to act independently with a small force than to co-operate * Hardyng, 368.
with a much larger, in which the part which he could bear must necessarily seem subordinate. Gutierre Diez de Games, who accompanied him in the expedition as his alferez or standard-bearer, wrote the history of his master; and this chronicle is one of the most curious books of its kind.*
'They were received' with great honours at Rochelle, where the constable, Charles d'Albret, came to meet and confer with him. As Martin Ruiz did not arrive, it was determined that the galleys should try their fortune in the Gironde; and thither they accordingly went, with two shallops in company, having French archers and arbalisters on board. They failed in taking any of the English or Gascon vessels in the river: but they carried off cattle and prisoners, set fire to the standing corn, burnt some hundred and fifty houses within sight of Bourdeaux; and having plundered all on which they could lay hands, and committed all the devastation they could, they were lucky enough to return to Rochelle without falling in with an English fleet. It was considered a great exploit to have ventured where no enemy's galleys had ever ventured before them, and to have laid waste the best peopled and best defended part of Gascony. While they were lying at Rochelle, a French knight arrived there with two galleys, which, at his own cost, he had built and fitted out at Marseilles. He was of the king's household, noble, rich, and adventurous; but for some of those affairs, the chronicler says, which may happen to great persons, he had found it necessary to leave the court. This person, whom Gutierre Diez calls Mosen Charles de Sabasil, was the Sieur de Seignelai, Charles de Savoisy, who had been brought up with Charles VI., and held the office of first chamberlain and chief cupbearer. He had presumed too much upon his rank: a king's officer having entered his apartment, to arrest one of his servants, who was charged with robbery and murder, he had maltreated the officer,
Cronica del Conde D. Pero Niño, part ii. c. 16, 17. + Ib. c. 20.
and thus brought upon himself a serious process, from which he was relieved by obtaining letters of remission, and undergoing the disgrace of being forbidden to leave Paris for two days. A year or two afterwards, his grooms, as they were going to water their horses at the Seine, fell in with some scholars of the university, who were walking in procession to St. Catherine du Val des Escoliers. The grooms, with that insolence which the retainers of the great frequently displayed, rode against the scholars, and hurt some of them; and the scholars, not being of an age or temper to endure the outrage patiently, attacked them with stones, and knocked some of them off their horses. The aggressors upon this hastened back to the Hôtel de Savoisy, returned armed with bows and arrows; and, with some of their fellow-servants to assist them, fell upon the scholars, and wounded some of them, even in the church. A great uproar ensued which ended in the scholars overpowering them by numbers, and driving them back, soundly beaten, and some of them severely hurt. But the university immediately, by their rector, appealed to the king, and required instant reparation, declaring, that if it were refused they would quit Paris, and fix themselves somewhere where they might be safe. This affray was far more serious in its consequences to the Sieur de Savoisy than the former outrage had been he had probably abetted his people in this also; and the influence of the university was such, that he was banished from the king's household, and from those of the princes of the blood, and deprived of all his offices; he was condemned to found two chapelries of 100 livres each, which were to be in the university's gift, and his hotel was rased to the ground.* Upon this he took to the seas, not as it appears for the sake of plunder, but for the love of enterprise; and being enamoured of some lady of high rank, he bestowed upon his ships such profuse expenses as other knights lavished upon their armour and other equipments. His galleys were said to be more beautifully finished than any others of *Monstrelet, c. 13. Moreri.
that age, and their flags to have cost more than in ordinary cases would have been deemed sufficient for fitting them entirely out. This adventurer proposed to join company with Pero Niño, and try their fortune upon the English coast. They were known to each other by reputation: it was agreed that the Spaniard was to take the command, and that before they crossed the Channel they should keep along the coast of Bretagne, in expectation of there finding the Spanish fleet.
They passed Belle Isle, where, according to the historian of this expedition, the inhabitants lived without any preparations or means of defence against any invaders, trusting to the protection of the church, the pope having pronounced sentence of excommunication against all who should offer them any wrong; which protection, however, it is intimated, was not always sufficient.* At Brest they found Martin Ruiz and his fleet, as they had expected; but neither he nor those who were under his command chose to concur in Pero Niño's projects: they had brought merchandise with them, and were wholly bent upon such profit as might be made in their own way. And here, the author says, it is to be observed, that when the king sent forth a fleet, it generally happened, since he had ceased to send his own captains with it, nothing but profit was cared for.
If it was despatched to the assistance of an ally, the commanders received pay from both sides, took care to station themselves where the enemy could not come, and plundered the country of their friends, upon the pretext that they were in want of provisions. And when they fell in with merchant ships of their own country, they took from them whatever they liked, telling them that the king's servants must not starve, and bidding them apply to him for payment. Thus they plundered their countrymen instead of the enemy, and, for the sake of enriching themselves, brought an ill report upon their country; and this was the consequence of employing men who were moved by the lucre of gain, and not by
* Non traen armas, nin se defienden aunque les fagan mal.