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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/435

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John
John
429

to Cosne, arriving on 11 Aug. On receiving tidings of his brother's danger, he left the army and rode hastily to Vincennes, where the king lay. Henry died on 31 Aug. 1422, having on his death-bed declared that Bedford was to be guardian of the kingdom and of his heir [see under Henry V], and directed him to offer the regency of France to the Duke of Burgundy.

The Duke of Burgundy declined the regency, and it was, according to Henry's wish, assumed by Bedford, who agreed with Duke Philip, the Duke of Exeter, and other lords, that the treaty of Troyes should be regarded as a permanent settlement. Bedford went into Normandy to arrange the affairs of the duchy, and follow his brother's funeral procession. While he was there on 22 Oct. Charles VI died; he returned to Paris, and was the only prince that attended the funeral of the French king at St. Denis. As he reentered the city he caused a naked sword, an emblem of kingly authority, to be borne before him. On 19 Nov. he presided over a session of the parlement, caused the chancellor to deliver an address on the right of Henry VI, promising that the duchy of Normandy should be united to the crown of France, and made all present take an oath of fidelity to the young king. About Christmas some of the burghers of Paris plotted to deliver the city to Charles of Valois, and to this end one of their chief men tried to persuade the regent to make an expedition against some of Charles's party who were, he alleged, in the neighbourhood. Bedford discovered the plot; some of the conspirators were beheaded, and a woman was burnt. Meanwhile in England it was, on 5 Dec. 1422, settled in parliament that the duke should be the 'protector and defender' of the kingdom and church of England and the king's principal councillor, and that in his absence his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, should hold his office [see under Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester] (Rolls of Parliament, iv. 174). Meulan having been surprised by the enemy, the regent laid siege to it in January 1423; it surrendered on 1 March, and its fall was followed by the surrender of Marcoussis, Montlhéry, and other places.

Meanwhile the regent was making strenuous efforts to secure the good will of Duke Philip; for while the English had made themselves masters of Normandy, Guienne, and Gascony, and, above all, of Paris, which Bedford reckoned the most important of their possessions, their power in Artois, Picardy, and Champagne rested on the Burgundian alliance. An alliance with Brittany was also highly desirable, for they would thus be masters of the whole north-west coast of France. The two alliances almost depended on each other, for Arthur de Richemont, brother of John, duke of Brittany, was a close friend of Duke Philip, and was about to marry Philip's sister, the Duchess of Guienne. Philip, however, was displeased with the English because about the autumn of 1422 Gloucester [see under Humphrey] married Jacqueline of Hainault, who had divorced her husband John of Brabant, Philip's cousin, and taken refuge in England. This marriage gave Gloucester a right to Jacqueline's inheritance, which Philip had counted on making his own. In order to avert Philip's alienation from the English alliance, which Gloucester's conduct seemed to invite, Bedford in 1422 proposed to marry Philip's sister Anne, then eighteen. In December it was agreed that the girl's dowry should be 150,000 gold crowns, and that, in case Philip died without a male heir, she should succeed to the county of Artois, or, if Philip left an heir, she should receive 100,000 gold crowns. Bedford arranged a meeting with the Dukes of Burgundy and Brittany at Amiens in April 1423, and in order to overcome John of Brittany's reluctance to attend, paid all his expenses, amounting to 6,000l. On 17 April a triple alliance was signed by the dukes, which was distinctly in favour of England, for they agreed to use their best endeavours to terminate the wars in France, or, in other words, to defeat the efforts of Charles VII. In the hope of securing the alliance of the Count of Foix, and stopping the supplies procured from Spain by Charles, Bedford, with the concurrence of his allies, appointed the count governor of Languedoc and Bigorre; but the measure was unsuccessful, and the count and his brother, the Count of Comminges, soon deserted the alliance. In June Bedford married Anne with great magnificence at Troyes. On his way back to Paris he took Pont-sur-Seine by assault, the garrison being put to the sword. At Paris he resided at the palace of the Tournelles, on the site of the present Place des Vosges, which was repaired for the reception of his duchess. While he was there his forces took D'Orsay, after a defence of six weeks; the soldiers of the garrison were sent into Paris bareheaded, and were imprisoned in the Châtelet, there to await execution; but the young duchess interceded for them, and Bedford gave them their liberty without condition. In July he sent troops under the Earl of Suffolk to meet the Burgundians at Auxerre, and under the Earl of Salisbury they gained a complete victory over the French at Crevant. In August 1423 Philip and Richemont visited the regent at Paris, and Bedford settled the duke's claims arising from his marriage with his late wife