He now threw himself with ardour into the French cause, and persuaded his brother, John V. of Brittany, to conclude with Charles VII. the treaty of Saumur (October 7, 1425). But though he saw clearly enough the measures necessary for success, he lacked the means to carry them out. In the field he met with a whole series of reverses; and at court, where his rough and overbearing manners made him disliked, his influence was overshadowed by that of a series of incompetent favourites. The peace concluded between the duke of Brittany and the English in September 1427 led to his expulsion from the court, where Georges de la Trémoille, whom he himself had recommended to the king, remained supreme for six years, during which Richmond tried in vain to overthrow him. In the meantime, in June 1429, he joined Joan of Arc at Orleans, and fought in several battles under her banner, till the influence of La Trémoille forced his withdrawal from the army. On the 5th of March 1432 Charles VII. concluded with him and with Brittany the treaty of Rennes; but it was not until June of the following year that La Trémoille was overthrown. Arthur now resumed the war against the English, and at the same time took vigorous measures against the plundering bands of soldiers and peasants known as routiers or écorcheurs. On the 20th of September 1435, mainly as a result of his diplomacy, was signed the treaty of Arras between Charles VII. and the duke of Burgundy, to which France owed her salvation.
On the 13th of April 1436, Arthur took Paris from the English; but he was ill seconded by the king, and hampered by the necessity for leading frequent expeditions against the écorcheurs; it was not till May 1444 that the armistice of Tours gave him leisure to carry out the reorganization of the army which he had long projected. He now created the compagnies d’ordonnance, and endeavoured to organize the militia of the francs archers. This reform had its effect in the struggles that followed. In alliance with his nephew, the duke of Brittany, he reconquered, during September and October 1449, nearly all the Cotentin; on the 15th of April 1450 he gained over the English the battle of Formigny; and during the year he recovered for France the whole of Normandy, which for the next six or seven years it was his task to defend from English attacks. On the death of his nephew Peter II., on the 22nd of September 1457, he became duke of Brittany, and though retaining his office of constable of France, he refused, like his predecessors, to do homage to the French king for his duchy. He reigned little more than a year, dying on the 26th of December 1458, and was succeeded by his nephew Francis II., son of his brother Richard, count of Étampes.
Arthur was three times married: (1) to Margaret of Burgundy, duchess of Guienne (d. 1442); (2) to Jeanne d’Albret, daughter of Charles II. of Albret (d. 1444); (3) to Catherine of Luxemburg, daughter of Peter of Luxemburg, count of St Pol, who survived him. He left no legitimate children.
ARTHUR, CHESTER ALAN (1830-1886), twenty-first president of the United States, was born in Fairfield, Vermont, on the 5th of October 1830. His father, William Arthur (1796-1875), when eighteen years of age, emigrated from Co. Antrim, Ireland, and, after teaching in various places in Vermont and Lower Canada, became a Baptist minister. William Arthur had married Malvina Stone, an American girl who lived at the time of the marriage in Canada, and the numerous changes of the family residence afforded a basis for allegations in 1880 that the son Chester was born not in Vermont, but in Canada, and was therefore ineligible for the presidency. Chester entered Union College as a sophomore, and graduated with honour in 1848. He then became a schoolmaster, at the same time studying law. In 1853 he entered a law office in New York city, and in the following year was admitted to the bar. His reputation as a lawyer began with his connexion with the famous “Lemmon slave case,” in which, as one of the special counsel for the state, he secured a decision from the highest state courts that slaves brought into New York while in transit between two slave states were ipso facto free. In another noted case, in 1855, he obtained a decision that negroes were entitled to the same accommodations as whites on the street railways of New York city. In politics he was actively associated from the outset with the Republican party. When the Civil War began he held the position of engineer-in-chief on Governor Edwin D. Morgan’s staff, and afterwards became successively acting quartermaster-general, inspector-general, and quartermaster-general of the state troops, in which capacities he showed much administrative efficiency. At the close of Governor Morgan’s term, on the 31st of December 1862, General Arthur resumed the practice of his profession, remaining active, however, in party politics in New York city. In November 1871 he was appointed by President U.S. Grant collector of customs for the port of New York. The custom-house had long been conspicuous for the most flagrant abuses of the “spoils system”; and though General Arthur admitted that the evils existed and that they rendered efficient administration impossible, he made no extensive reforms. In 1877 President Rutherford B. Hayes began the reform of the civil service with the New York custom-house. A non-partisan commission, appointed by Secretary John Sherman, recommended sweeping changes. The president demanded the resignation of Arthur and his two principal subordinates, George H. Sharpe, the surveyor, and Alonzo B. Cornell, the naval officer, of the Port. General Arthur refused to resign on the ground that to retire “under fire” would be to acknowledge wrong-doing, and claimed that as the abuses were inherent in a widespread system he should not be made to bear the responsibility alone. His cause was espoused by Senator Roscoe Conkling, for a time successfully; but on the 11th of July 1878, during a recess of the Senate, the collector was removed, and in January 1879, after another severe struggle, this action received the approval of the Senate. In 1880 General Arthur was a delegate at large from New York to the Republican national convention. In common with the rest of the “Stalwarts,” he worked hard for the nomination of Gen. U.S. Grant for a third term. Upon the triumph of James A. Garfield, the necessity of conciliating the defeated faction led to the hasty acceptance of Arthur for the second place on the ticket. His nomination was coldly received by the public; and when, after his election and accession, he actively engaged on behalf of Conkling in the great conflict with Garfield over the New York patronage, the impression was widespread that he was unworthy of his position. Upon the death of President Garfield, on the 19th of September 1881, Arthur took the oath as his successor. Contrary to the general expectation, his appointments were as a rule unexceptionable, and he earnestly promoted the Pendleton law for the reform of the civil service. His use of the veto in 1882 in the cases of a Chinese Immigration Bill (prohibiting immigration of Chinese for twenty years) and a River and Harbour Bill (appropriating over $18,000,000, to be expended on many insignificant as well as important streams) confirmed the favourable impression which had been made. The most important events of his administration were the passage of the Tariff Act of 1883 and of the “Edmunds Law” prohibiting polygamy in the territories, and the completion of three great trans-continental railways—the Southern Pacific, the Northern Pacific, and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé. His administration was lacking in political situations of a dramatic character, but on all questions that arose his policy was sane and dignified. In 1884 he allowed his name to be presented for renomination in the Republican convention, but he was easily defeated by the friends of James G. Blaine.