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The mutability of his own views had taught him how little reliance could be placed upon treaties, or the consistency of state councils; and history, even then, had shown, that, though England has had peaceful rulers, the French have constitutionally, as it were, appeared to be a military people. A Scottish war, fomented, as all such wars were, by money and men from France; and the turbulent state of England, occasioned not by the reformation of religious abuses, but by the abuse of that reformation, and the profanation, and rapacity, and cruelty committed under that name, presented the enemy with a favourable opportunity of recovering their losses in 1554. the Boulonnois; and, before war was declared between the two nations, an attempt was made to surprise the fortress of Boulogne-berg, which was garrisoned by somewhat less than 400 men, under sir Nicholas Arnault. M. de Chastillon approached it in the night with a sufficient force, and with all implements for entering it by escalade. Among his people was one Carter, an Englishman, who had married in that country, and, being discharged from the service of his own king at the peace, had remained there, and entered into that of the French, not looking so far before him as to apprehend that he might be called upon to act against his countrymen. Finding himself now compelled either to break his present engagements or his allegiance, he slipped aside from the ranks when they were within less than a quarter of a mile from the fort, and, running thither with all speed, called aloud, and gave the alarm. One soldier, who was on the look-out, knew him, and brought him to the drawbridge: sir Nicholas caused him to be "drawn up betwixt two pikes ;" and from his report of the instant danger, the men were ordered to arms. Before they could be well ready and at their posts appointed, the French were got to the ditches, and, appointing 3000 of their number," the most part gentlemen and double pays, to have the first scale, saluted them within, upon their very approach, with 700 harquebuss shot at the first volée.”
SIR NICHOLAS ARNAULT.
The English kept close, as they had been commanded, till the enemy had set up their ladders, and "began to mount and enter upon them: at which instant off went the flankers." Those of sir Nicholas Arnault's mount discharged very well at the first, but at the second volée the mortars burst: two brass pieces, however, on the same mount did good service; and there were burst upon the faces of the enemy (over and besides the shot that was bestowed among them), to the number of 1500 pikes and black bills. "The Frenchmen,"
says Holinshed, " verily stuck to it to the uttermost, and did what lay in the very last point of their power to enter. At length, through shots, casting down of stones and timber upon their heads, scalding water, and hand blows, they were repelled, and retired out of the trenches shortly after break of day, having continued the assault from midnight till that time, and supplying still the places of their dead and weary men with fresh succours. Five and twenty of the English were slain, fifty-eight wounded; among the latter were Carter and the governor. The French carried off their dead, and sent, a day or two afterwards, to enquire if any prisoners had been taken. Sir Nicholas replied that he knew of no war; and therefore, if any had attempted to surprise his place by stealth, they were served according to their malicious intentions. 'Indeed,' said he to the messenger, we have taken none of your men, but we have got some of your brave gilt armour and weapons.' Well,' said the messenger, 'it is not the cowl that maketh the monk, and no more is it the brave armour or weapon that maketh the man of war; but the fortune of war is such sometimes to gain and sometimes to lose.' Sir Nicholas made him good cheer in the fort, and gave him fifty crowns, and so he departed."*
The man's remark upon the variable fortune of war was soon verified ; but, before it turned against England, the French suffered a severe repulse, in an attempt upon the islands of Jersey and Guernsey. There had been
* Holinshed, 907-909.
notice of the intended attempt, and an officer, by name Winter, was sent with 800 men to reinforce the inhabitants. The enemy are said to have landed 2000 troops, and, after losing half their number, to have reimbarked and fled, abandoning their large ships. It is written that the bodies of 1000 gentlemen were carried from this expedition in one vessel into the same town for interment; and the absurd fable has been added, that an inhibition was given out by the French king, not to speak of this miscarriage on pain of death. This story, more than the silence of all the French writers, has thrown some discredit upon the relation.*
Meantime. the king of France joined his army between Montreuil and Boulogne. The Pont de Brique was repaired and made passable for artillery; and, passing by Boulogne-berg, he halted between that place and the forest of Suren, long enough to throw up entrenchments, in which a force was left sufficient to secure the passage of provisions to his camp. This done, he pitched his tents on a hill near Ambleteuse, and, having viewed the forts, planted five and twenty pieces of artillery against the fort of Salacques, built in a place called the Almain camp, at a little distance from Ambleteuse. The fierce fire that was opened so frightened Charles Stourton, the captain of the place, and George Willoughby, a gentleman associated with him, that they came out to parley with the constable, and went to him in the trenches, without stipulating previously for a suspension of hostilities. What they demanded was, that they might depart with bag and baggage; but the constable purposely detained them in debating upon terms, till his soldiers forced their way into a place which the garAug. rison, trusting to the proposed capitulation, were not 24. upon the alert to defend. They put to the sword some fourscore who attempted to make head against them, the fort containing 230 persons, men and women.
This done, the guns were turned against the castle of Ambleteuse; the lord John Grey, who commanded * Holinshed, 1012. Campbell, i. 279.
there, withdrew the men into the main fort, that his means of resistance which at the most were too small, might not be diminished by dividing them. On the following day the French made their approaches and began to batter the fort: they summoned it after the king's dinner; and the lord Grey refused to admit the herald, lest he should discover the weakness of the place. But he did this discourteously; so that the king was with some reason offended, and the battery was renewed with such angry determination, that the lord John and the captains within perceived they were not able by any means to defend the place any longer. They offered, therefore, to surrender upon composition, and could obtain no better terms than that " the general (for honour sake) should have one horse to ride on, in his corselet, without sword or dagger :" the same sort of honour was allowed to two other officers; but all the other troops, with the women and children, were to depart on foot in their shirts, leaving all their goods and substance behind them. The capitulation did not secure them from the brutality of the French soldiers, who, entering by the trenches, sacked all they could lay hands on. M. de Dessé, who had just arrived from Scotland, where he commanded the French succours, saved many of the women from these ruffians, and, getting them out through the breach, presented them to the king, who ordered them to be safely escorted, with all they had about them, till they were out of danger. The others were marched out three and three, from 700 to 800 in all, of both sexes, many being hurt and maimed; some with half a shirt on to cover them, and divers stark naked: in this plight they were marched before Henri II., who stood there to behold this poor triumph, with "his whole army drawn up in order on either side, that they might pass betwixt their ranks, as it were through a lane." The commander in Blacquenay did not wait to be besieged, but proposed to surrender on the same terms which had been granted to Ambleteuse ;
he did not inform himself what those terms were, and they were granted in derision.*
Sir Nicholas Arnault, seeing now that he could make no successful resistance in Boulogne-berg, removed every thing out of it to Boulogne, and set fire to the fort. Boulogne itself and La Tour d'Ordre, or the Old Man, as it was called, at the mouth of the harbour on the right bank of the river, were all that now remained in possession of the English in the Boulonnois. This tower the king proceeded to besiege; but M. de Vieilleville, as a business of more importance, proposed to construct a fort above it on the coast, and thereby not only cut off the tower from supplies either by land or sea, but prevent the communication along the coast between Calais and Boulogne. While this work was in progress, the mareschal took the opportunity of manifesting his resentment of some words which, during his embassy in England, had passed between him and the protector Somerset. He sent his son-in-law, M. d'Espinay, with the gentlemen of his household and a trumpet, to the gates of Boulogne, where they challenged Somerset, if he were there, to break a lance with Vieilleville. The reply was, that Somerset was ill, and at London. It was then demanded whether any brave knight would take his place; and to this, the French writer says, no man made answer. D'Espinay then, in his own name, challenged any son of a "millort," stating who he was, and that he had not yet completed his twentieth year; and this challenge, against the opinion, it is said, of all the English captains, was accepted by a son of Dudley's, who was of the same age. The conditions were, that whichever might be dismounted should remain prisoner, and his horse and arms become the property of the victor. The sieur de Taillade, one of the gentlemen who accompanied d'Espinay, was the most skilful man of his age in the management of horses. As soon as he saw Dudley come out of the gates, mounted on a fine Spanish horse, he said to d'Espinay, "I will tell you
*Mém. de M. de Vieilleville. Coll. Gén. xxix. 190–192. Holinshed, 1012.