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1328. PHILIP THE LONG. 75
were imprisoned, and their paramours delivered to torture and death. The wife of Louis was strangled by his order, to make way for another marriage. Louis himself died in June, 1316, of a disease caught by having descended to a cellar to drink'wine when heated by a game at ball.
Philip, the next brother, instantly took possession of the palace. The lately married queen, however, now a widow, announced herself with child, and Philip was obliged to content himself with the title of regent. It was agreed that he should govern for the infant about to be born, should it prove a prince; if birth was given to a princess, Philip was to assume the crown. The queen brought forth a son, which died soon after, and is known in the list of French monarchs as John I. Louis Hutin had left a daughter; nevertheless her rights were passed over. Philip made a compromise with his jncle, the duke of Burgundy, and caused himself to be crowned king. This is the first instance of the crown descending to the exclusion of females, by what is cailed the salic law. This maxim was by no means previously established, known, or understood. Chance, the mature age of Philip, the friendless state of the daughter of Louis, together with the circumstance of her mother's infidelity, were the true origin of a rule so unique and important. The salic law was confirmed by a decree of the states-general, which the new king summoned for the purpose. The circumstances attending the succession of Philip the Long are the only important ones of his reign. He died in January, 1322.
Philip left daughters, but no son. In obedience to the salic law, that he had himself established, his daughters were set aside, and Charles IV., or the Fair, the third son of Philip the Fair, succeeded to his brethren. His reign of six years is equally a blank, marked only by the expedition of queen Isabella of England and her son against the unfortunate Edward II. Charles had no offspring. Of the fine family left by Philip the Fair there remained not a male descendant The people considered this extinction of his race as a punishment for the crimes of that monarch. Charles the Fair died in the commencement of 1328, leaving his queen in a state to produce an heir. "Should it be a son," ordered the dying Charles, "let Philip count of Valois, my cousin-german, be his tutor and the kingdom's regent. If it be a daughter, let the twelve peers and barons of France decide to whom the kingdom shall belong1."
FROM THE ACCESSION OF PHILIP OF V ALOIS TO THAT OF
The thirteenth century was in Europe a period of comparative repose. Each nation was for the most part occupied at home, reconciling- discordant interests, struggling to form some kind of system, and developing' the natural -resources of commerce and industry. In France the royal power obtained ascendency over its rivals, repressing the great feudatories, putting the yoke of its legal authority over the necks of all, balancing the power of the nobility in the mass, by calling the commons into political existence, and securing the co-operation of the clergy in resisting the encroaching power of Rome. This rapid growth of despotism was favorable to order, to wealth, to the external and material part of civilization. But it was lamentably deficient in producing intellectual improvement: whilst the turbulent freedom of the cities of Italy not only allowed the increase of riches and luxury, but awoke the dormant minds of its children, so as to g-ive to the world such poets as .Dante and Petrarch, and—a proof, perhaps, of still greater advancement—an "historian of sense and judgment such as Villani, France remained undistinguished by genius or learning. At the epoch to which we refer, the country betrayed symptoms of deterioration in more than one respect: public morals grew more corrupt, as is evident from the wickedness universally imputed and believed; crime generated crime, and vice reproduced itself, prompted by no passion more lively than ignorance. A stupid and pusillanimous dread of sorcery shed torrents of human blood. The church burned thousands of heretics for a logical blunder; and became itself degenerate in purity, and power, and wisdom, from the moment of its alliance with persecution. The law rivalled the church in absurd and capricious condemnations. Even the spirit of chivalry ceased to actuate so base an age: it expired with the crusades; and was only reinstated by the warriors of the next generation.
The period of history that we now enter upon is marked by the rivalry that sprung up betwixt France and England. Hitherto their quarrels had been those of men speaking the same tongue, and actuated merely by provincial interests; but between Philip of Valois and Edward III. the quarrel became national. In the breasts of both countries it kindled 1328. PHILIP VI. 77
the fire of patriotism and emulation; and though it infused into the strife a spirit of bitterness and inveteracy which usually characterizes party dissensions, yet many of the generous effects of chivalry were produced m the characters of those engaged. It is customary to lament wars, and the blood shed in them; and yet peace, which comes fraught with blessings and virtues to those nations that are far advanced in civilization, is sometimes pernicious to a people but half emerged from barbarism. Stagnation is then most to be dreaded: the virtues of a rude age are all warlike, or at least war-born. France most certainly degenerated in public spirit and national character, whilst unvexed by her neighbor.
The following century of war, though it increased the trophies of England, was not so wholly disastrous to France as her historians represent. They see the greatness of one country but in the depression of another. Often as the nation was humbled by defeat, her energies were still called forth, her chivalrous spirit was kept alive, her several provinces were knit together and united by one common bond of feeling. Nothing so ennobles a land as a valiant struggle for honor or independence; the blood that is then shed in the field, is neither idly nor fruitlessly expended.
Philip of Valois, who succeeded to the French throne, was the son of Charles count of Valois, who had been brother to Philip the Fair. The last monarch had left his queen enceinte; but a daughter having been born, Philip, acting upon the salic law, assumed the crown lately worn by his cousin. His chief competitor was.Edward III., son of Isabella daughter of Philip the Fair. The English monarch's claim, though first supported by a strong- protest, was not insisted on by Isabella, who was too much occupied with enemies in England to allow of her raising up others abroad: it was nevertheless considered valid in France, even by many of the doctors summoned by Philip to decide the point.* The count d'Evreux, who had married the daughter of Louis Hutin, entertained pretensions also. The kingdom of Navarre was ceded to him in appanage. Philip of Valois was crowned as king Philip VL at Rheims, in May, 1328. He was a prince devoted to magnificence and faste. His prodigality and love of splendor formed such a brilliant court, that even kings preferred sojourning at it to enjoying the independent sovereignty of their own realms. The kings of Navarre and Bohemia took
* Hume is wrong in considering Edward's claim as utterly unreasonable, or as not entertained by any in Fiance. He is wrong, also, vi raying that the salic law was an old established opinion. And he errs in preferring the claim of Charles king of Navarre, whose father, Philip, was living, and was not yet king o* Navarre.
up their abode in Paris; the dauphin, or prince of Dauphiny, though a feudatory of the emperor, preferred following* the king of France both in peace and in war. This conduct of princes, ve may well suppose, was imitated by the aristocracy in general, who soon came to exchange the solitary pomp of feudal independence for the show and servility of a court.
The romances of chivalry came at the same time into vogue. The monarch and courtiers had need of a manual of gentility, and precedents for their pompous ceremonials and solemnities. They found them in these volumes.
Here then begin the times of the second or resuscitated chivalry, which surpassed the old in magnificence and refinement, if not in valor. One difference in the spirit of chivalry in this and in the past century is, that formerly it manifested a lordly contempt for the ignobly born. The commons, however, had now risen to wealth and importance, and the nobles were gradually losing their hold of both: contempt, therefore, was converted into hatred, and the chevalier regarded the villein with the jealousy engendered by an unwarrantable encroachment on privileges presumed to be hereditary and exclusive. This was much more the case in France than in England. Nor did the hostility which arose out of this mutual antipathy cease to waste the former country, and to influence its character and its destinies, till it at length exploded in the tremendous phenomena of the Revolution.
At Philip's coronation, Louis count of Flanders attended as one of the great peers. He demanded the king's aid against the Flemings, the citizens of Bruges and Ypres, who insisted on their municipal privileges. Philip, eager to lead an army, grasped the opportunity: his nobles, anxious to tread down the commonalty, seconded him. He accordingly marched against the Flemings, who, to the number of 16,000, attacked his camp in the night near Cassal. After the first surprise the French rallied, surrounded and slaughtered the enemy: 13,000 are said to have fallen in the field, and 10,000 on the scaffold. The count was re-established by the victory.
Despite the just claim to the crown of France that Edward III. considered himself to possess, he hesitated for a lon^ time to enforce it by arms. Philip, emboldened by his victorv at Cassal, required Edward to come and do homage for Guienne. The English monarch obeyed; nor did Edward, who was prudent as brave, determine to wage war with the French king, and put forth pretensions to his throne, till he was prompted thereto by the advice and aid of Robert cl'Artois. This prince, a descendant of St. Louis, had claimed the county of Artois. A female heir had, however, been pre ferred to him; and two judgments had so decided the ques [337. NA^AL FIGHT NEAR SLUYS. 79
tion. Robert, seeing the salic law prevail with respect to the throne, thought it must equally apply to a great province, and again agitated the matter. It was asserted that he brought forged documents to support his right: that the fraud was discovered, and its author disgraced. Such is the general account of historians, which Sismondi, however, doubts. Accusation in those days was seldom confined within limits of moderation or truth. Of whatever crime a man was declared guilty, sorcery was always added to fill up the measure. Robert was accused of making against Philip a voute, in other words a waxen image, which he pricked, tortured, and burned; supposing that the consumption of the model would occasion the destruction of the original. This is the common crime or accusation of the age. Robert, who refused to appear, was condemned and exiled. He sought refuge, first in Flanders, then in England, where he was well received by Edward, and became his counsellor and instigator against France. Causes of quarrel multiplied betwixt the two countries. Philip favored the Scotch: Edward formed an alliance with the Flemish citizens, whose count was attached to France; more especially with Artaveldt, a brewer of hydromel or metheglin, one of their leaders. The Flemings, wh« carried on a thriving trade with England, preferred joining that country; but scruples of allying with a foreign prince against their feudal lord, the king of France, checked even the licentious citizens. To obviate this difficulty, Artaveldt advised Edward to assume the title of king of France, which he claimed as a right. Edward was not backward in adopting the brewer's suggestion; an act by which war was virtually declared.* Notwithstanding the magnitude of the preparations, the first campaign was signalized by no action or en terprise. Both kings were paralyzed by the greatness of the stake; and the armies, which faced each other, separated without coming to blows. Philip, who had purchased the aid of the Genoese and collected a fleet, burnt and pillaged Southampton. Edward gathered a few ships, crowded them with knights and archers, and sailed in pursuit. He found the French fleet drawn close to the Dutch shore near Sluys. He instantly bore down upon it, hooked vessel to vessel, and by forming the decks into a platform converted the engagement into one partaking of the character of a land fight. After an obstinate struggle, the French were defeated with immense loss, and their fleet was destroyed. This was the only engagement of the war. A truce immediately followed, which was subsequently prolonged. The enmity so often regarded