Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Renewal of the Hundred Year's War

This expedition ruined the prince's health, and exhausted his treasury. A hearth-tax was laid on the inhabitants of Aquitaine, and they appealed against it to the King of France, although, by the Peace of Bretigny, he had given up all right to hear appeals as suzerain. The treaty, however, was still not formally settled, and on this ground Charles received their complaint. The war thus began again, and the sword of the Constable of France—the highest military dignity of the realm—was given to Du Guesclin, but only on condition that he would avoid pitched battles, and merely harass the English and take their castles. This policy was so strictly followed, that the Duke of Lancaster was allowed to march from Brittany to Gascony without meeting an enemy in the field; and when King Edward III. made his sixth and last invasion, nearly to the walls of Paris, he was only turned back by famine, and by a tremendous thunderstorm, which made him believe that Heaven was against him. Du Guesclin died while besieging a castle, and such was his fame that the English captain would place the keys in no hand but that of his corpse. The Constable's sword was given to Oliver de Clisson, also a Breton, and called the "Butcher," because he gave no quarter to the English in revenge for the death of his brother. The Bretons were, almost to a man, of the French party, having been offended by the insolence and oppression of the English; and John de Montfort, after clinging to the King of England as long as possible, was forced to make his peace at length with Charles. Charles V. had nearly regained all that had been lost, when, in 1380 his death left the kingdom to his son.

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