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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/437

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John
John
431

was made to bind Gloucester to act constitutionally. The chancellor made a speech to Bedford, setting forth the position of the council and the duty of the protector, and Bedford, who had no doubt planned the incident, replied by promising to act in accordance with the will of the council, and then, with tears in his eyes, opened a copy of the gospels lying in the 'sterred chamber, and thereto swore by them' (Ordinances, iii. 235-49; Constitutional History, iii. 105). After this the council could more easily ask a like assurance from Gloucester. Two days previously it was arranged that the expenses of Bedford's return to France should be paid out of the exchequer,'because he was not in the king's pay.' On 25 Feb. 1427 it was decided by the council that it was time that he should return to France, in as much as the late king had desired that he should guard Normandy. Early in March, having raised a large body of troops and artillery, he left England, and Beaufort accompanied him across the Channel.

Little change in the relative position of the two parties in France had taken place in Bedford's absence. He re-entered Paris on 5 April, and soon visited Duke Philip at Lille. Gloucester was again planning an expedition on Jacqueline's behalf. Bedford peremptorily ordered him to desist. Meanwhile the Duke of Brittany had followed his brother's example and attached himself to Charles, but, finding that Duke Philip did not desert the English alliance, he grew less devoted to Charles, and after Bedford had threatened his duchy again swore to the treaty of Troyes. Bedford and the English council at Paris desired to confiscate the revenues granted to the church during the last forty years. Many conferences were held on the subject with the university of Paris, and the plan was abandoned. The year 1428 was marked by several successes. Salisbury took Jargeau and many towns on the right bank of the Loire, and the important city of Le Mans was also gained. Charles was reduced to the last extremity, and René of Anjou entered into negotiations with the regent. The siege of Orleans, which was suggested by Salisbury and was begun on 12 Oct., roused much misgiving in Bedford, who had consented to it reluctantly. Salisbury's death was a heavy blow to the regent, who appointed Suffolk to succeed him. Early in February 1429 Bedford despatched Sir John Fastolf [q. v.] with supplies for the besiegers which he had levied from the Parisians, and the attempt of the French to intercept the stores at Rouvroy, in the engagement which is called the Battle of the Herrings, luckily failed. Duke Philip agreed to accept the offer of the besieged to surrender the city to him; but Bedford held a council in Paris to consider the arrangement, and, after representing that it would by no means be fair that after the English had spent so much on the siege another should reap the benefit, contrived that the scheme should be rejected. Philip, who was in Paris, showed himself discontented with the decision, and Bedford, who made certain that Orleans would fall and knew that Philip was ready to withdraw from the English alliance, was not conciliatory. The duke, on leaving Paris about 25 April 1429, sent a herald to Orleans along with the ambassadors from the city, commanding his forces to quit the siege.

On 29 April the 'Maid,' Jeanne Darc (or Joan of Arc), entered Orleans with a relieving force. The siege was raised on 8 May. Other disasters followed immediately. Jargeau was carried by assault and the Earl of Suffolk was taken prisoner. Bedford raised troops with all speed, and a large body which he sent from Paris under Sir John Fastolf to reinforce Lord Talbot was defeated at Patay. On learning the news from Fastolf he is said to have sharply rebuked him and to have deprived him of the order of the Garter [but cf. Fastolf, Sir John]. During the seven succeeding weeks Bedford acted with extraordinary judgment and energy. In Paris there was a general fear that the Armagnacs, as the Parisians still called Charles's party, were approaching. Bedford took measures for strengthening the city, displaced the provost and other municipal officers, and appointed others whom he could trust more fully. He wrote to the council in England for reinforcements, and it was agreed on 1 July 1429 that he should have the troops raised by Cardinal Beaufort for the Hussite crusade. He also sent to Duke Philip, begging him to come at once to Paris. Philip came on the 10th, and renewed his alliance, being influenced, it is said, by his sister, the Duchess of Bedford. The dukes excited the feeling of the Parisians by arranging a half religious ceremony, which included a reading of the record of the assassination of Duke John the Fearless, and the principal burghers renewed their oaths to the treaty of Troyes. Philip returned to Flanders, taking his sister with him, but leaving some of his troops with the regent and sending him others, and Bedford went to Rouen to meet his reinforcements, gather an army, and keep the Normans stedfast. Meanwhile Charles was daily gaining ground; many towns submitted to him, and among them Troyes, the principal city in Champagne; he was crowned at Rheims on 17 July, and advanced towards Paris. On