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DUKE HUMPHREY LANDS.
reflections were made upon those persons by whose advice the expedition had been undertaken. They recommended him to store and strengthen all his frontier towns, seeing that he might surely expect the English would invade him in their turn; and for himself, it was their opinion that he should retire to one of the towns in the interior, from whence he might repair wherever his presence should be most needed. Some of the nobles and chosen men-at-arms remained, by his desire, in Gravelines: if that place were taken, the duke said, it would be very injurious to the whole country; and he pledged his word that if they should want assistance there he would come to their succour, cost what it would. Others went to Ardres, and to the towns and castles in the Boulonnois. Yet, when the council broke up, and before their chiefs departed to their respective stations, the duke made one more appeal to the soldiers, and entreated them to wait a few days longer, for the sake of his honour and their own. This having failed, he left them, and went to Lisle, from whence he issued a proclamation, requiring that all persons who had been accustomed to bear arms should hold themselves in readiness to march against the English, who were about to land at Calais. *
Chagrined as he was at the ignominious result of an enterprise so important in itself, he could not, however, but be conscious that if his own people had not compelled him to break up the siege, nothing could have saved such an army from the most shameful defeat and rout. Duke Humphrey arrived so soon after their departure that he partook of the spoils of the camp: he came with a fleet of some 300 sail, and with not less than 20,000 men, a formidable army, considering of what materials it was composed-English archers and men-at-arms, and knights. He marched into the enemy's country, and, making no attempt upon any of the fortified places, swept the land before him of its cattle and all movable spoil. Seven thousand men were
collected at Cassel to oppose him; but when they saw his strength, they were thankful for the protection that their position afforded them, and let the invaders pursue their career unmolested. Some Flemish exiles were in the English army, who served as guides, and took cruel, and perhaps indiscriminating, vengeance for themselves. Six weeks they persevered in a course of warfare more destructive than honourable, burning houses, and villages, and open towns, and the suburbs of such as were fortified, and destroying the country in every part; but duke Humphrey possessed no such military talent as his brothers, Henry V., and Exeter, and John of Bedford. By some strange neglect, he had neither taken with him sufficient store of bread, nor made arrangements for being supplied with it, near as he was, during the whole incursion, to his resources; and to the want of this customary aliment a sickness in the army was ascribed, which proved more destructive than the enemy's sword. Many good women,' says Monstrelet, saved their houses by giving bread, and even got cattle in return for it;" for the marauders were driving off more than they knew how to keep, or where to water. This want of bread and the mortality among his people compelled him to return, when, in Hall's honest words, he "had sufficiently plagued and wasted the countries of the duke of Burgoyne." Two thousand cart-loads of booty were brought to Guisnes and Calais, besides such prisoners as were able to ransom themselves.*
The English fleet, meantime, which had debarked the troops, proceeded along the Flemish coast. The principal towns, in hasty alarm, remanded the men who had been disbanded, and a considerable force, well provided with artillery, was marched towards Biervliet, and encamped near the sea, for the protection of the coast. The duke left them, as he had left the people of the interior, to their own measures and their own
* Monstrelet, 385-387. Sueyro, 284-285. Hall, 184.
FLEET ON THE FLEMISH COAST.
means of defence, being not unwilling that his enemies should take vengeance for him upon his disobedient subjects.* The English had no troops on board, and contented themselves with as much mischief as the sailors could commit, without exposing themselves by venturing inland, or endangering the ships. The Hollanders' fleet was at this time wind-bound in Sluys: their admiral, Jan van Horne, repaired to Furnes and Nieuport, to take measures for the defence of the coast; but the people, upon a false suspicion of collusion with the English, attacked and murdered him and a faithful servant, who defended him to the last. In Walcheren, the inhabitants found that they had done wisely in
having refused to commit any act of hostility against England: they were now treated as friends in return, and carried on a profitable trade in provisions with the fleet. Once while the fleet was wind-bound at Cadsant, the men landed in the western part of that district called Het Vrye, or the Free Land of Bruges, and destroyed several villages there, when the men of the eastern part, with some troops from the ships at Sluys, to the amount of 4000 in all, gathered together and marched against them. Cut off as the invaders were from all succour, the Flemings might have overpowered them, if they had not posted themselves strongly in the polder of Breskens, and there presented so brave a front, that the Vryelanders, when they approached near enough to see what reception would be given them, forsook their standards, threw down their arms, and fairly, or rather foully, took to flight.†
Having landed near Hulst, with the hope of plundering that then rich place, the English were compelled to reimbark by the inhabitants and the people of the Pays de Waes, Axel, and Honteness, whom they had called to their support. The expedition, however, effected its object: it alarmed the coast, while duke Humphrey ravaged the interior; and having done this, it returned to England, leaving the duke of Burgundy * Sueyro, 285. + Idem, 289.
sufficiently employed with his turbulent subjects.When the men of Ghent came back, after their disgraceful retreat from Calais, they demanded of the magistrates a new suit for every one, according to custom: the magistrates had spirit enough to refuse this insolent demand, and to tell them, in reply, that by their conduct in deserting their prince they had much better entitled themselves to a halter. The bitter reproof was borne with some sense of shame, perhaps, withheld the troops from resenting what they were conscious of having deserved. Yet when the duke soon afterwards came to Ghent, hoping that by his presence he might engage that city to support him against Bruges, which was then in open rebellion, the people brought out their banners into the great market-place, in menacing array, and called upon him, as soon as he entered, to explain to them the causes of the retreat from Calais, and demanded wherefore that town had not been besieged by sea, in conformity to the plan which had been agreed on ?
The duke felt how necessary it was to conciliate them, lest they should unite with the insurgents, who were using every means to strengthen themselves by such a confederacy. He stated to them, therefore, what the circumstances were which had rendered it impossible for the admiral to arrive earlier with the fleet, or to continue off the port after his arrival: indeed, he said, every seaman knew that to besiege Calais on the sea side was impossible, by reason of the danger of being driven on shore; moreover, the Hollanders had not assisted him with shipping, according to their promise. Their next question was, wherefore the English fleet had not been burnt, seeing that men and vessels had been collected at Sluys for that express service? The reply to this was, that they had been wind-bound in the harbour during the whole fifteen days that the enemy was on that coast. The men of Ghent were somewhat conciliated by the temper in which he listened to them, and the satisfactory replies which were given to some of their demands; but, in order to make them satisficd
both with him and with themselves, he found it necessary publicly to declare that he laid no blame to them for the breaking up of the siege, and that this had been done by his permission and with his orders. "They were most desirous," says Monstrelet, "to have their disgrace wiped away, because they knew-full well that all cried shame on them." Yet a little while afterwards they murdered Gilbert Pactetent, the head dean of the trades, upon an absurd imputation of having prevented the storming of Calais, and of having acted treasonably in making so little use of their guns and other engines during the siege * !
The duke at this time, because of his breach with England, was fain not only to flatter the men of Ghent, but to make such terms with those of Bruges, as, by allowing impunity for recent outrages of the most audacious kind, ensured a repetition of them upon the first discontent that might arise. After a second insur- A. D. rection, in which the townsmen attacked him in the 1437. streets of Bruges, killed above an hundred of his men, beheaded more than thirty whom they took prisoners, and hung and quartered an honest blacksmith, for lending his hammer to break open the gate, that the duke might make his escape; the people were made sensible of their fault by the miseries of anarchy which they had brought upon themselves; and now, instead of urging the Ghent men to join with them in rebellion, they entreated them to mediate in their behalf. This left the duke at leisure for another attempt against the English, the disgrace of his former expedition stinging him to new efforts. During his siege of Calais the seneschal of Ponthieu, Florimont de Brimen, had entrapped the garrison of Crotoy into an ambuscade, taken the town by storm, and unsuccessfully besieged the castle. Crotoy stands about a league from the mouth of the Somme, on the opposite side to St. Valery; and after the siege was raised the English carried on an aquatic warfare from
* Monstrelet, 388-392. Sueyro, 286-7. Monstrelet, viii. 9.