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The war between the English and French now became identified with the struggle between the Burgundians and Armagnacs, as the favorers of Orleans were called ; the virulence of private animosities was thus added to the horrors of open war, and the atrocities committed on both sides were shocking to human nature.
The death of Henry V. of England, followed speedily by that of Charles VI. of France, produced a great change in the aspect of the war. Henry VI., who was proclaimed king of England and France, was an infant in the cradle, while the dauphin was in the very prime of life, surrounded by the greater part of the French nobility, and warmly supported by the bulk of the nation. Though severely defeated, and apparently brought to the brink of ruin, when his chief city Orleans was besieged, a deliverer suddenly appeared in the person of Joan of_Arc, the tide of prosperity which had hitherto flowed in favor of the English, suddenly turned, and the duke of Burgundy opened negotiations with the dauphin. It was at this crisis that Philip instituted the order of the Golden Fleece, on the occasion of his marriage with Isabella of Portugal (A. D. 1430), an order of knighthood which soon became the most illustrious in Europe. Soon after his marriage, the alienation of the duke from the English interest continued to increase, and finally, under the auspices of the pope, he concluded a treaty with Charles VII., whom he consented to recognise as legitimate sovereign of France.
Having disengaged himself from the French wars, the duke of Burgundy devoted himself to the improvement of his dominions in the Low Countries. His brilliant court realized the visions of chivalry ; the jousts and tournaments given under his sanction surpassed in magnificence any that had yet been witnessed in Europe ; the wealth of the commercial cities in Flanders was freely poured forth to defray the expenses, and noble knights from all parts of Europe flocked to the court of Burgundy to prove their valor in the lists. Philip encouraged this taste for display among his subjects from political motives; he found that luxury diverted the attention of the turbulent municipalities and their magistrates from affairs of state, and suspended, if it did not eradicate, the ancient jealousies between commercial freedom and feudalism.
Nearly a century and a half had now elapsed since the Swiss cantons had emancipated themselves from the yoke of the house of Austria ; the free states had become jealous of each other, some leagued with their ancient enemies, others sought alliances with the petty princes of Germany, and the feudal powers, to whom the example of Swiss independence seemed fraught with dangerous consequences, believed that an opportunity was offered for reducing the mountaineers to their former bondage. A league for the purpose was formed by the potentates of western Germany under the direct sanction of the emperor, and application was made to the duke of Burgundy for assistance. He received the proposal very coolly, upon which the imperialists sought the aid of the king of France, who was very anxious, now that the wars were over, to get rid of the Armagnacs, and other companies of soldiers, who lived at free quarters on the peasantry, and prevented the country from enjoying the blessings of tranquillity. An immense army was soon raised and placed under the command of the dauphin.
On the morning of the 24th of August, 1444, Switzers and Frenchmen met for the first time in mortal combat. The advanced guard of the French, which alone was ten times more numerous than the entire Swiss army, occupied the heights on the right bank of the river Pirse, while the main body remained on the left bank, urging forward the siege of Basle. The Swiss were routed, but the dauphin's victory was obtained with the loss of eight thousand of his best soldiers. The French were not willing to fight a second battle with such fearless warriors ; in spite of the remonstrances of the Germans, the dauphin resolved to act the part of mediator, and a peace was concluded under his auspices, by which the liberties of the Swiss cantons were formally recognised. The duke of Burgundy took no share in this war; he was too deeply engaged by the troubles of Flanders, where a formidable revolt had been raised by the citizens of Ghent. After a sanguinary struggle, the insurgent Flemings were subdued, and Ghent was deprived of most of its municipal privileges.
The dauphin of France, afterward Louis XI., having provoked his father to war, was obliged to fly from his estates and seek shelter with the duke of Burgundy, who was at the time rendered uneasy by the turbulent disposition of his own son, the count of Charolais, subse quently known in history as Charles the Bold. These family disturbances embroiled the courts of France and Burgundy for several years, but at length the death of Charles VII. rendered the dauphin king of France; the duke escorted him safely to his dominions, rendered him homage as his sovereign, and assisted in the ceremonies of his coronation. Louis was far from being grateful for these benefits; he formed several plots to seize the person of the count of Charolais, foreseeing that he would become his most formidable rival, and he broke all the engagements he had made to restore the towns which had at various times been wrested from the dukes of Burgundy by the monarchs of France. The count of Charolais was not disposed to endure these wrongs with patience ; contrary to the wishes of his father, he supported the nobles of France in their revolts against their sovereign, and had just organized a formidable league against Louis, when the death of Duke Philip coinpelled him to adjourn his warlike designs, until he had secured to himself his inheritance of the dutchy of Burgundy.
Few sovereigns were more generally and justly lamented than Philip the Good; during the fifty years of his reign, Burgundy was the most wealthy, prosperous, and tranquil of all the states of Europe ; and had he pleased to assert his independence, he might have become a more powerful sovereign than the king of France himself. The general grief for his loss was increased by the dread which the character of his successor inspired; the rashness, the pride, the obstinacy, and the cruelty of Charles the Bold had stained his entire career as count of Charolais ; his subjects and his neighbors were equally filled with alarm, lest the same qualities should be still more signally manifested in the duke of Burgundy.
SECTION VI.-The History of Burgundy (concluded). IMMEDIATELY on the installation of Charles the Bold, as duke of Burgundy, an insurrection was organized in Ghent. The duke was forced to yield to the popular demands, but in doing so, he made a se. cret vow that he would exact deadly vengeance for the insult which had been offered to his authority. His indignation was increased by similar revolts in the cities of Brabant and in Liege, which he justly attributed to the example of Ghent, aided by the secret intrigues of French emissaries.
The troubles of Brabant were easily quieted ; but the citizens of Liege, relying on the indistinct promises of aid made by the king of France, not only raised the standard of revolt, but committed such atrocious crimes, that Charles determined to destroy the city. With some difficulty his councillors dissuaded him from executing his design.
In revenge for the incentives to rebellion which the king of France was more than suspected of having supplied to the people of Liege, Charles entered into a close league with the discontented French princes who had taken up arms against Louis XI., while that monarch renewed his intrigues with the discontented burgesses in all the cities subject to the duke of Burgundy. Louis was, however, far the more successful in this species of unavowed warfare; cold, cautious, and cunning, he was able to conduct complicated intrigues, and to await their success with patience, while the violent temper of Charles frequently led him to frustrate the plans on which he had bestowed the most care and attention. In one memorable instance, the reliance of Louis on his own craft had nearly proved his destruction ; finding that his envoys did not produce the effect he desired on the mind of his rival, he resolved to try the effect of a personal interview, and unexpectedly presented himself at the duke of Burgundy's court in Peronne, escorted by a feeble company of his personal retainers. The interview between the king and the duke was far from satisfactory ; their mutual jealousies soon began to threaten a rupture, when the intelligence of a new revolt in Liege, and the massacre of all the partisans of Burgundy in that city, including the prince-bishop, so roused the fury of Charles, that he made his sovereign a prisoner, and would probably have proceeded to further extremities, but for the interference of his council.
Louis, taken in his own toils, was obliged to submit to the terms of poace dictated by Charles; the most mortifying condition of his liberation was that he should lead an army against the insurgent citizens of Liege, and thus aid his vassal in suppressing a revolt which he had himself secretly instigated. The ducal and royal armies were soon assembled, and they marched together against the devoted citizens of Liege, who had never imagined the possibility of such a combination. They did not however despair, but defended themselves with great courage, until the advanced guard of the Burgundians had forced its way through the breaches of the walls, and made a lodgement in the principal street. All resistance was then at an end; the city became the prey of the barbarous soldiers ; it was cruelly pillaged for several days, and those citizens who escaped the sword either perished of hunger as they wandered through the woods and fields, or were delivered over to the executioner. After this scene of massacre had lasted eight days, Charles left the city, after having given orders that every edifice in Liege should be destroyed, except the churches, and the houses belonging to the clergy. As Liege was an episcopal city, the clergy possessed or claimed a very considerable portion of it, and the exception made in their favor saved it from ruin.
Louis never forgave the indignities which he had endured at Peronne, and in nis forced march to Liege; without openly declaring war against Burgundy, he secretly raised up enemies against the duke in every quarter and Charles, by the violence of his passions, constantly exposed him.elf at disadvantage to the machinations of his rival. Rendered insplent by continued prosperity, he alienated from him the brave chivalry of Burgundy, by bestowing all his confidence on a foreign favorite, the count of Campo-Basso, who flattered his vanity by an absolute submission to his caprices. Louis had the good fortune to win the friendship of the Swiss, whom his rival had changed from friends into foes by the most wanton violation of treaties; and Charles, to whom the very name of freedom was odious, on account of the revolts of Ghent and Liege, resolved to bring the independent mountaineers once more under the yoke of feudal bondage.
Rarely had Europe seen so splendid an army as that which Charles led to the invasion of Switzerland ; it consisted of thirty-six thousand soldiers, long inured to military exercises, accompanied by the most formidable train of artillery that had ever yet been brought into the field. The duke advanced to besiege Granson ; it was bravely defended, but the walls soon began to crumble under the heavy fire of the Burgundian artillery, and several of the citizens, seduced by promises and bribes, clamored for a capitulation. It was agreed that the governor and the best soldiers of the garrison should present themselves before Charles and demand to be admitted to mercy, as his emissaries had promised. The moment, however, that they appeared, Charles ordered them to be seized; the governor and his officers to be hanged, and all the rest to be hurled as they were, bound hand and foot, into the lake. About two hundred Swiss were thus treacherously massacred.
Intelligence of this event spread rapidly through the cantons; on every side the bold mountaineers flew to arms, while the duke, having formed an entrenched camp at Granson, advanced with a strong detachment toward Neufchatel. Pride had rendered him so regardless of ordinary precautions that he came unexpectedly in presence of the main body of the Swiss in the mountain defiles, when with his usual impetuosity he gave the signal to engage. The Swiss pikemen formed in close line, drove back the Burgundian cavalry, and steadily advancing in close order forced the squadrons of horse before them, destroying some of the bra i 2st knights of the enemy as they got entangled in the press. Every effort which the duke made to extricate his gallant chivalry only added to the confusion, and while he vainly strove to form his lines, fresh troops appeared upon the heights on his left flank, raising the war-cry of “ Granson! Granson !" to show that they came to revenge the massacre of their brethren. Soon after the horns of Uri and Unterwalden were heard in the distance ; they were two enormous horns, which according to tradition had been bestowed upon these cantons by Pepin and Charlemagne; their sound had often filled invaders with dread during the old wars of Austria, and appeared on the present occasion scarcely less ominous to the Burgundians.
The retreat of the advanced guard of Charles became every moment more disorderly, it was at length converted into a precipitate flight, and the fugitives on reaching the entrenched camp, filled it with the same terror and confusion by which they were possessed themselves. In vain did Charles attempt to remedy the disorder; his artillerymen after a feeble and ineffectual fire abandoned their guns; his Italian auxiliaries fled without striking a blow, and at length, being left almost alone, he quitted his camp with a few attendants, leaving to the Swiss the richest booty that had been gained in war for several centuries. Among the spoils thus abandoned were three celebrated diamonds, of which one now adorns the tiara of the pope, a second is reckoned among the most splendid treasures of the emperor of Austria, and the third, usually called the Souci diamond, was long the richest brilliant in the crown of France.
Grief and rage for his defeat reduced Charles to a state bordering on insanity. It was not until after the lapse of several weeks that he began to take active measures for repairing his losses, and preventing the king of France from profiting by his reverses.
All the wealth which he had hoarded during his reign; all the treasures which he could procure from the wealthy commercial cities in Flanders and Brabant, were freely poured forth to recruit his army; the bells of the churches were melted down and cast into cannon to repair the loss of his artillery at Granson; he hired auxiliaries from France, from Italy, and from England. On the other hand the Swiss employed themselves in fortifying Morat, which they regarded as the key of Berne, and sent pressing messages to their confederates to hasten the arrival of their respective contingents.
On the 27th of May, 1476, Charles quitted his camp at Lausaune to commence the siege of Morat; rarely has a place been more vigorously assailed or more obstinately defended; the walls were breached in several places, but every assault of the Burgundians was repulsed, and the duke himself was twice driven back from the ruined ramparts. This marvellous resistance gave the Swiss time to assemble their armies, but Morat was on the point of falling when they advanced to its relief. Several of his officers advised Charles to raise the siege on the anproach of the Swiss, and retire to ground more favorable for a field of vattle ; but he was as obstinately deaf to good counsel as he had been at Granson, and his passions had produced a kind of fever which ren dered him so irritable that his dearest friends were afraid to approach him. The Swiss formed their line of battle under the shelter of a line of hills covered with trees, which effectually concealed their move ments from their enemies; Charles advanced to dislodge them from this position in a tempest of rain which injured his powder and relaxed the bowstrings of his archers. The Burgundians, finding that they sould not get through the wood, nor entice the Swiss from their lines, began to retire toward their camp, drenched with rain and exhausted by their useless march. The Swiss general, Hans de Hallwyll, who had already earned high fame in the wars of Hungary, gave the signai of pursuit; Renè, the young duke of Lorraine, whon Charles had stripped of his paternal dominions, advanced at the head of the cavalry of the confederates, and the Burgundians were attacked in their in