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arrive; but if he came as an emperor to a land which he claimed to be under his empire, then were they ready to resist him. This was thought necessary to be done for saving of the king's prerogative, who hath full pre-eminence within his own realm as an absolute emperor." ."* Sigismund's hope was to bring about in person what he had vainly attempted by negotiation, league among all Christian princes for the defence of Christendom against the Turks. The danger was at that time not less serious than when the first crusade was undertaken; and Henry, whose mind had already been directed towards such an enterprise by his father's preparations, might, perhaps, have lent a willing ear to it, as he did to the mediation, if tidings had not, unhappily for France, arrived of some success which the earl of Armagnac had gained over the duke of Exeter, near Rouen, which so displeased him, that he would hear no word of peace. That anger, however, abated, and the emperor's representations seemed again to produce some effect. Meantime Armagnac, elated with his recent advantage, laid sudden siege to Harfleur ; and the viscount of Narbonne, the vice-admiral of France, made an attempt upon it with his whole ṇavy, thinking to have taken it by surprise: failing in this, the French laid close siege to the place, both by land and water. Exeter, while he defended the place manfully, found means to despatch a swift bark, with letters soliciting speedy relief; and Henry, it is said, would have embarked in person for the succour, if the emperor had not admonished him, that it was neither necessary nor honourable for a prince, on whom the whole weight and charge of the commonwealth rested, to adventure himself in every peril. Assenting to the wisdom of this advice, he appointed his brother, John duke of Bedford, to command the expedition: it consisted of 400 sail † ; and the earls of March, Oxford, Huntingdon, War
Holinshed, iii. 85.
+ Hardyng, 377. Hall says 200; but as the number of men is stated at 20,000, the larger number of ships, considering their probable size, is the more likely.
DEFEAT OF THE FRENCH FLEET.
wick, Arundel, Salisbury, and Devonshire embarked in it.
They sailed from Rye, "and, with a prosperous wind and a fresh gale," came to the mouth of the Seine, on the day of the Assumption of our Lady. Narbonne, seeing their approach, came boldly to encounter them at the entrance of the harbour. Upon this the English sent forward certain strong and well made ships, which captured two of the enemy, the French captains committing themselves rashly before their comrades could arrive to support them. The duke," says Hall, "followed incontinently with all his puissance, and, like a valiant captain, with great courage and audacity set on his enemies: the fight was long, but not so long as perilous, nor so perilous as terrible; for battles of the sea be ever desperate, for neither the assailants nor defendants look for any refuge, nor know any back door how to scape out." In the end, almost all the whole French fleet, to the number of 500 ships, hulks, carracks, and small vessels, was taken or sunk: the largest of the prizes were three large Genoese carracks, which were sent to England. Harfleur was immediately relieved by the victorious fleet, and Armagnac + raised the siege. The battle was fought on the 15th of August, and the fleet remained in the road somewhat more than three weeks afterwards, being becalmed there during the greater part of the time. The bodies which had been thrown overboard in the action, or sunk in the enemies' ships, rose and floated about them in great numbers; and the English may have deemed it a relief from the contemplation of that ghastly sight, to be kept upon the alert by some galleys, which, taking advantage of the calm, ventured as near them as they durst by day and night, and
*Hall, 73, 74.
"Armagnac, the constable," says Speed, "hearing how his consorts had kept tune on the cas, thought it not best to set to their note, lest his mean would not be he rd, the base of this music sounding too deep; and, therefore, he put up his pipes, and got him to Paris."-P. 635.
+ Hall, 75.
endeavoured to burn the ships with wildfire.* Having thus performed his commission, the duke of Bedford, "with no small number of prisoners, and great abundance of prey, as well in ships as provision for the sea, returned to England with great triumph and glory;" upon which Sigismund is said to have complimented both Henry and his people, by saying that happy were the subjects who had such a king, but more happy the king who had such subjects.
While Henry was preparing for a second expedition, that he might profit by the discord which prevailed among the French nobles, the enemy increased their naval force, by hiring a great number of Italian ships, chiefly Genoese. Part of their fleet lay at the mouth of the Seine, to prevent maritime supplies from reaching Harfleur: the rest kept the sea. The king, therefore, before he embarked, sent his kinsman, the earl of Huntingdon, with a sufficient force against them. He fell in with some of the great Genoese carracks; and, after an action which lasted the most part of a summer's day, sunk three and captured three, taking the admiral Jacques, the Bastard of Bourbon, and as much money as would have been half a year's pay for the
* Hardyng, 377, 378.-I have met with no earlier mention of wildfire in any of our naval actions. The passage in Hardyng is as follows:
In which, meanwhile, while as our ships there lay,
We might not sail, ne fro thence pass away.
Wherefore their galleys each day there gan us find,
HENRY V.'S INTENDED CRUSADE.
whole fleet. * These prizes he brought to Southampton; from whence the king shortly set forth with a fleet of 1500 ships, the sails of his own vessel being of purple silk, richly embroidered with gold.
British valour was never more signally displayed than under this victorious monarch, the remainder of whose short reign was one series of successful enterprises. Yet no Englishman.can delight to dwell upon the details, as upon the history of Edward III. and the Black Prince. Henry of Monmouth equalled them as a warrior, and perhaps excelled them as a politician; but they were the admiration of their enemies, because of the magnanimity which they displayed in prosperity, their courtesy, their humanity. Henry was a merciless conqueror, and made himself feared. At the A. D. time of his death, after his last confession, when, at 1416. his desire, the Penitential Psalms were read to him, he interrupted the priest at the words, "Build thou the walls of Jerusalem," and declared, as a dying man, that it had been his intention, as soon as he should have settled France in peace, to undertake the conquest of Jerusalem, if it had pleased God to let him live out his days. "So ingenious," says Hume, "are men in deceiving themselves, that Henry forgot, in these moments, all the blood spilt by his ambition, and received comfort from this late and feeble resolve, which, as the mode of these enterprises was now past, he certainly would never have carried into execution." It has now, however, been ascertained, that immediately after the treaty of Troyes, Guillibert de Launoy, a Flemish knight, who was counsellor and chamberlain to Philip the Good of Burgundy, and had been ambassador to Henry, was sent by that king, and by his own master, upon a secret mission to the Holy Land. That mission was successfully performed: he made a military survey of the coasts and defences of Egypt and Syria, from Alexandria round to Gallipoli; and the two copies of this survey, intended for the two princes, are both in existence; but * Holinshed, iii. 88, 89. Speed, 636.
before the report was completed, Henry V. had been summoned to his account. No reasonable doubt, therefore, can now be entertained that it was his full intention, as it had been his father's, to undertake a crusade. As little should it be doubted, that though ambition and policy may have entered largely into his motives, devotion also moved him.*
FROM THE ACCESSION OF HENRY VI. TO THE DEATH OF RICHARD III.
THE crown devolved upon an infant not nine months old; and, though the government during his minority was administered by able hands, the loss of a single mind was soon felt; for Henry was a king whom the turbulent feared, and whom the people loved, and who was respected by all ranks. Early in the new reign,
*Account of an unknown MS. of 1422, by Granville Penn, esq., in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, vol. i. p. 1. The report which was written for the duke of Burgundy is in Mr. Penn's possession he purchased it in Flanders; and that which was designed for the English government he discovered among the Hatton MSS. in the Bodleian.
A curious paper concerning this Gilbert de Launoy has been preserved by Rymer (xi. 22.). He had imposed upon Henry V., by a story that a carriage, containing all the money and valuables which he had received from the king for his journey, had been plundered in Picardy, and that he had thus lost every thing. Henry, believing this, replaced the sum of 2007. and gave him, moreover, a vestment of cloth of gold. He then performed his embassy, and made his report of it. But during the journey conscience had so continually reproached him with the fraud, that when he presented the report, he confessed it to cardinal Beaufort, and with such marks of contrition that he not only obtained a remission of the sin, but also of the money. This did not make him at peace with himself; and after an interval of twenty years, he entreated a confirmation of this forgiveness, or at least that some restitution might be required, which he would, he said, humbly and thankfully make. The contrite will was accepted, and the remission was confirmed as fully as it had been first granted.
Jis prettily said by Speed, "The pretty hands which could not feed himself, were yet made capable to wield a sceptre; and he that was behold. ing o nurses for milk, did nevertheless distribute the sustenance of law and justice to so great and warlike nations."-P. 650.