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tion to an holy hermit, whom he was persuaded could save his life. Indeed, such was his faith in relics, that the holy oil was brought from Rheims, and kept constantly on his cupboard. The pope sent him various articles of assistance from Rome, and even the grand Turk despatched a deputation from Constantinople of holy relics, but which he declined accepting from infidel hands. During a short period of convalescence, he made a pilgrimage to St. Claude, who was his favourite saint ; and he regularly maintained, that he was better than he appeared to be, although the evident pain he suffered, and the emaciated appearance of his frame, filled all who beheld him with a mixture of horror and compassion; feelings not a little increased by the melancholy contrast, which the splendour and magnificence of his dress (now become an object of especial care) presented to the feeble and wasted form it covered.
During this season of affected grandeur, and deplorable imbecility, still Lewis preserved his powers of policy, and procured the marriage of his son the Dauphin with a rich heiress, Margaret of Flanders, an object on which he had long set his heart ; although his heir was actually betrothed to the daughter of Edward IV. King of England. As Lewis had long and punctually paid to this Monarch, a yearly tribute of fifty thousand crowns, and Edward had ever expressed an earnest desire for the union; his astonishment and indignation, at the conduct of Lewis, it is here said, were such as greatly to affect his health, and added to a surfeit which he had at the time, appears to have produced an apoplectic attack, of which he died after a very short illness, to the joy and relief of the slowly expiring Lewis.
When, however, the awful summons at length arrived, the King sent for his son, gave him much good advice, and departed with decency. The author winds up his character, which is at once fairly and charitably examined, with saying “I will not accuse him, or say I never saw a better prince, for though he opprest his subjects himself, he never suffered any other person to do it;" and then goes forward to give us a trait, which we quote as indicative, not only of the man, but the times in which he lived.
“ After so many fears, sorrows, and suspicions, God, by a kind of miracle, restored him both in body and mind, as is his divine method in such kind of wonders. He took him out of the world in perfect ease, understanding, and memory; having called for all the sacraments himself, discoursing without the least twinge, or expression of pain, to the very last moment of his life. He gave directions for his own burial, appointed who should attend his corpse to the grave, and declared that he desired to die on a Saturday of all days in the week; and that he hoped our Lady would procure him that favour, in whom
he had always placed great part of his trust, and served her devoutly. And so it happened; for he died on Saturday the thirtieth of August, 1483, about eight at night, in the Castle of Plessis, where his fit took him on the Monday before.
“ I knew him, and was entertained in his service in the flower of his age, and the height of his prosperity, yet I never knew him free from labour and care. Of all diversions he loved hunting and hawking in their seasons, but his chief delight was in dogs. As for ladies, he never meddled with any in my time; for about the time of my coming to court he lost a son called Joachim, who was born in 1459, for whose death he was extremely afflicted, and made a vow in my presence, never to be concerned with any other woman but the Queen; and though this was no more than what he was obliged to by the canons of our church, yet it was much, that his command of himself should be so great, that he should be able to continue his resolutions so firmly, considering the Queen, (though an excellent Princess in all other respects) was not a person in whom a man could take any great delight.
“ In hunting, his eagerness and pain were equal to his pleasure, for his chace was the stag, which he always run down.
He rose very early in the morning, rode sometimes a great way to his dogs, and would not leave his sport, let the weather be never so bad ; and when he came home at night was always very weary, and generally in a violent passion with some of his courtiers, or huntsmen; for hunting is a sport not always to be managed according to the master's direction; yet in the opinion of most people, he understood it as well as any man of his time. He was continually at his sports, lying up and down in the country villages as his recreations led him, till he was interrupted by the war, which for the most part of the summer was constantly between him and Charles, Duke of Burgundy, and at winter they made a truce."
Nor are we sorry to make a truce with such subjects; for battles unredeemed by any of the attributes of heroism, save personal courage; and politics, whose eternal manœuvres and petty cunning are unrelieved by any great or noble views, soon pall upon the mind, and urge us forward to seek either in the grandeur of tragic incident, or the display of domestic virtue, some repose for the heart, or some solace to the imagination.
The history of Lewis XI. is followed by a supplement, which is so far useful as it gives a general account of the affairs of Europe at this period, and especially those of England, which include the history of Richard III. and the succession of Richmond; of whom he speaks, “ as a man who had long suffered in his fortunes, and was without power, money, or right;" but was greatly assisted by Charles, son and successor of Lewis.
The 7th and 8th books of these Memoirs contain the public life of Charles VIII., the last of the line of Valois ; the great business of whose life it was to become possessed of the crown of Naples, a point he attained, only from his enemies being still more deficient than himself in the art of war, for of his own ignorance, unadvisedness, and deficiency of all requisites, save personal fortitude, he gave abundant proof. The resolution of his Swiss soldiers, in dragging the cannon over the highest mountains, and difficult passes of the Appennines, is justly extolled, but we are at this time surprised to learn, “ our artillery killed not ten in both armies." The author, speaking of his countrymen, says,-“ certainly, upon a charge, they are the fiercest nation in the world;" but, he agrees with the Italian authors who assert of the French, “in their attacks they are more than men, but less than women in their retreats.”
After suffering much to gain Naples, Charles VIII. lost it to the Spanish crown with less trouble, and spent the remainder of his short life in plans to regain it, and to benefit his subjects by systems of reformation, both in church and state, of a much wiser nature. He was cut off by an apoplectic stroke, to the great grief of his court and his subjects, being a Prince" of excellent temper,” and as it appears, munificent in his gifts and designs.
The author intermixes with his detail of his Royal Master's death, an account of the domestic misfortunes of the Royal Family of Spain, at that time one of great power, who lost both their children within three months; after which, we have a short genealogy of the Kings of France, which concludes the labours of Philip de Comines, lord of Argentum : a laborious, faithful, pious, but somewhat dry, and tedious historian.
The remainder of the second volume is devoted to the Secret History of Lewis XI., otherwise called The Scandalous Chronicle, by one John de Tragos. This work opens in a manner so different from that of any Scandalous Chronicle of our own times, that it would be wrong to withhold it.
“ To the honour and praise of God, our sweet Saviour and Redeemer, and the blessed glorious Virgin Mary; without whose assistance no good works can be performed. Knowing that several kings, princes, counts, barons, prelates, noblemen, ecclesiastics, and abundance of the common people, are often pleased and delighted in hearing and reading the surprising histories of wonderful things that have happened in divers places, both of this and other Christian states and kingdoms, I applied myself with abundance of pleasure, from the thirty-fifth year of my age, instead of spending my time in sloth and idleness, to writing a history of several remarkable accidents and adventures that happened in France.”
Why our present chronicler should term himself or his
records scandalous, we know not, as they appear to us, after the closest investigation, entirely free from that noxious quality; and no other than simply annals of the times, given by a plain man, in plain language; untinctured by the malevolence of party feeling, and only occasionally naming those self-evident errors which admitted of no toleration in the King's conduct. As much in this detail must necessarily recapitulate the events already mentioned, we shall only offer occasional extracts, wishing that our space would allow of longer quotations, as we certainly consider M. de Troyes a pleasanter writer than the Lord of Argentum.
“ About this time, (A. D. 1466,) a war broke out between the Liegeois and the Duke of Burgundy; upon which he immediately took the field with his whole army, and being a little indisposed, was carried in a litter; commanding his son the Count de Charolois, with all the nobles and officers that were with him, to march forward with a strong detachment to invest Dinant, and leave him to come up with the rest of the army. Upon his arrival, the town was formally besieged; which occasioned several sallies and bloody actions on both sides, much to the disadvantage of the Burgundians in the beginning of the siege; but at last, whether by force of arms or treason, the town was taken by the Burgundians; who, only reserving a few of the chief citizens whom they made prisoners of war, turned out men, women, and children, and gave it up to be plundered by their soldiers. Nor were they content with this; they set fire to the churches and the houses, and having burnt and consumed every thing they could lay their hands on, they ordered the walls to be demolished, and the fortifications to be blown up; by which means, the poor inhabitants were reduced to extreme want and necessity, and abundance of young women were forced to betake themselves to a vile and shameful way of living.
“ On Tuesday the first of September, (A. D. 1467,) the Queen also came from Roan to Paris by waier, and landed at Nostre Dame; where her Majesty was received by all the presidents and counsellors of the court of parliament, the bishop of Paris and several persons of quality, in their robes and formalities. There was also a certain number of persons richly dressed to compliment her on the part of the city; and abundance of the chief citizens and counsellors of Paris went by water to meet her Majesty, in fine gilded boats covered with tapestry and rich silks, in which were placed the queristers of the holy chapel, who sung psalms and anthems after a most heavenly and melodious manner. There was also a great number of trumpets, clarions, and other soster instruments of musick, which altogether made a most harmonious concert, and began playing when the Queen and her maids of honour entered the boat, in which the citizens of Paris presented her Majesty with a large stag made in sweet-meats; besides a vast quantity of salvers heaped up with spices and all sorts of delicious fruits; roses, violets, and other perfumes being strewed in the boat, and as much wine as every body would drink, After the
Queen bad performed her devotions to the Blessed Virgin, she came back to her boat, and went by water to the Celestins' church-gate, where she found abundance of persons of quality more, ready to receive her Majesty, who, immediately upon her landing, with her maids of honour, mounted upon fine easy pads, and rode to the hotel des Tournelles, where the King was at that time, and where she was received with great joy and satisfaction by his Majesty and the whole court, and that night there were public rejoicings and bonefires in Paris, for her Majesty's safe arrival.
"On the fourteenth of September, the King, who had ordered the Parisians to make standards, published a proclamation, commanding all the inhabitants from sixteen to threescore, of what rank or condition soever, to be ready to appear in arms that very day in the fields ; and, that those that were not able to provide themselves with helmets, brigandines, &c., should come armed with great clubs, under pain of death ; which orders were punctually obeyed, and the greater part of the populace appeared in arms, ranged under their proper standard or banner, in good order and discipline; amounting to fourscore thousand men ; thirty thousand of which were armed with coats of mail, helmets, and brigandines, and made a very fine appearance. Never did any city in the world furnish such a vast number of men, for it was computed there were threescore and seven banners or standards of tradesinen, without reckoning those of the court of parliament, exchequer, treasury, mint, and chastellet of Paris, which had under them as many or more soldiers than what belonged to the tradesmen’s ban
A prodigious quantity of wine was ordered out of Paris, to comfort and refresh this vast body of men, which took up a vast tract of ground; extending themselves from the Lay-stall between St. Anthony's gate, and that of the Temple as far as the Town-ditch upwards to the Wine-press; and from thence, along the walls of St. Anthoine des Champs, to the Grange de Ruilly; and from thence, to Conflans; and from Conflans, back again by the Grange-aux-Merciers, all along the river Seine, quite to the royal bulwark over against the Tower of Billy; and from thence, all along the Town-ditch on the outside to the Bastille and St. Anthony's gate. In short, it was almost incredible to tell what a vast number of people there were in arms before Paris, yet the number of those within was pretty near as great."
We soon after find war declared, “by the ceremony of a naked sword in one hand, and burning torch in the other, signifying, that this was a war of blood and fire."
“ About that time, ( A. D. 1471,) great quarrels and contests arose in England, between Henry of Lancaster king of England, the Prince of Wales his son, the Earl of Warwick, and the rest of the Lords of the kingdom, who were of King Henry's side, against Edward de la March, who had usurped the Crown from Henry. This civil war had occasioned already abundance of murder and bloodshed, and was not like to be at an end yet, for in June, 1471,
the king received certain advice from England, that Edward de la