To this conference, which was holden at Bordeaux, there came all the counts, viscounts, barons, and men of abilities, in Saintonge, Poitou, Quercy, Limousin, Gascony, and Aquitaine. When they were all assembled, they formed a parliament; and, having entered upon the business of their meeting, they for three days discussed the situation and future prospect of this don Pedro, king of Castille, who was all the time present, placing himself near his cousin the prince, who spoke in his behalf, and gave the best account he was able of his affairs. It was at last resolved, that the prince should send sufficient ambassadors to the king, his father, in England, to know his opinion on the subject; and that, as soon as they should have the king’s answer, they would then assemble, and give the prince such good advice as reasonably ought to be satisfactory to him.
The prince immediately named four knights; the lord Delawar, sir Nêle Loring, sir John and sir Hely de Pommiers; and ordered them to set out for England. This conference then broke up, and each returned to his home. The king, don Pedro, remained at Bordeaux with the prince and princess, who entertained him handsomely, and with due honour.
These four knights began their journey, according to their orders, for England; and, having embarked on board two ships, they arrived safely at Southampton, through God’s good will and favourable winds. They remained there one day, to refresh themselves and to disembark their horses and equipage. On the second day, they mounted their horses, and rode on to the city of London, where they enquired after the king, and where he was. They were told he was at Windsor. They set out for that place, and were very well received by the king and queen, as much through love for the prince their son, as because they were lords and knights of great renown.
These lords and knights gave their letters to the king, who opened them and had them read. After having for a short time considered their contents, he said: “My lords, you may retire: I will send for some of my barons and learned men of my council: we will then give you our answer, that you may return back soon.” This reply was very pleasing to the ambassadors, who went the next day to London. It was not long before the king of England came to Westminster, where he was met by the greater part of his council; that is to say, his son the duke of Lancaster, the earl of Arundel. The earl of Salisbury, sir Walter Manny, sir Reginald Cobham, earl Percy, lord Neville, and many others. Among the prelates were the bishops of Winchester, Lincoln, and London. They deliberated for a long time on the letters from the prince, and on the request he had made to the king his father. It appeared reasonable to the king and his council, that the prince should attempt to conduct back and replace the king of Spain on his throne and in his inheritance, which was unanimously agreed on. Upon this, they drew up excellent answers, from the king and council of England, to the prince and all the barons of Aquitaine. They were carried back by the same persons who had brought the letters, to the city of Bordeaux, where they found the prince, and the king don Pedro; to each of whom they gave other letters which the king of England had sent by them.
Another conference was determined upon: and, a day being fixed for holding it in the city of Bordeaux, all those who were summoned attended. The letters from the king of England were publicly read, who clearly and decidedly gave his opinion, that the prince his son, in the names of God and St. George, would undertake the restoration of don Pedro to his heritage, from which he had been driven unjustly, and, as it would appear, fraudulently. In these letters, mention was also made, that the king thought himself obliged, from certain treaties which had been formerly entered into between him and his cousin don Pedro, to grant him help and succour, in case he should be required so to do. He ordered all his vassals, and entreated his friends to help and assist the prince of Wales, by every means in their power, throughout this affair, in the same manner as if he himself were present. When the barons of Aquitaine had heard these letters read, and the commands and requests of the king and of the prince their lord, they cheerfully made the following answer: “Sir, we will heartily obey the commands of the king our sovereign lord. It is but just that we should be obedient both to him and to you: this we will do, and will attend you and don Pedro upon this expedition; but we wish to know from whom we are to have our pay, as it is not customary for men at arms to leave their habitations to carry on a war in a foreign country without receiving wages.”
The prince, on hearing this, turned towards don Pedro, and said: “Sir king, you hear what our people say: it is for you to give them an answer; for it behoves you to do so who are about to lead them into action.” Don Pedro made the following reply to the prince: “My dear cousin, as long as my gold, my silver, and my treasure will last, which I have brought with me from Spain, but which is not so great by thirty times as what I have left behind, I am willing it should be divided among your people.” Upon which the prince said: “My lord, you speak well: and for the surplus of the debt, I will take that upon myself towards them, and will order whatever sums you may want to be advanced you as a loan, until we shall be arrived in Castille.” “By my head,” replied don Pedro, “you will do me a great kindness.”
Several of the most experienced among them, such as the earl of Armagnac, the lord de Pommiers, sir John Chandos, the captal de Buch, and some others, having considered the business, said, the prince of Wales could not well undertake this expedition without having gained the consent and good-will of the king of Navarre; for he could not enter Spain without traversing his kingdom, and by the pass of Roncevaux1. This entrance to Spain they were not quite sure of obtaining; for the king of Navarre had lately formed fresh alliances with the bastard Henry. It was therefore debated for a long time, in what manner they could succeed in gaining this important point. The wisest were of opinion, that another meeting should be appointed, and that it should be held in the city of Bayonne; and that the prince, when there, should send able ambassadors to the king of Navarre, to entreat he would come to this conference at Bayonne. This resolution was adopted; and the conference broke up. They had all a wish to attend the meeting at Bayonne, and a day was fixed for holding it.
During this interval, the prince sent sir John Chandos and sir William Felton to the king of Navarre, who was at that time in the city of Pampeluna. These two knights, having wisdom and eloquence, exerted themselves so effectually with the king of Navarre that he agreed to their request, and gave it under his seal that he would attend the conference at Bayonne. Upon which they returned to the prince, and related to him what they had done. On the appointed day for this meeting in the city of Bayonne, the king of Spain, the prince, the earl of Armagnac, the lord d’Albret, and all the barons of Gascony, Poitou, Quercy, Rouergue, Saintonge, and Limousin came thither. The king of Navarre was also there; to whom the king of Spain and the prince paid every attention, thinking they should not lose by it.
This conference in the city of Bayonne was long. It lasted five days. The prince and his council had many difficulties before they could get the king of Navarre to consent to their wished; for it was not easy to make anything of him whenever he found that his services were wanted. However, from the great influence which the prince had over him, he brought him at last to swear, promise and seal a treaty of peace, alliance, and confederation with don Pedro. The king of Castille entered into certain engagements with the king of Navarre, which had been proposed to him by the prince of Wales. These engagements were, that don Pedro, as king of both Castilles, should give, under his seal, to the king of Navarre and his heirs, to hold as their inheritance, all the domain of Logrono, with the lands on each side of the river, and also the town, castle, territory, and dependencies of Salvatierra, with the town of St. Jean Pied du Port and its surrounding country; which lands, towns, castles, and lordships he had in former times taken possession of, and held by force. In addition to this, the king of Navarre was to receive twenty thousand francs, for laying open his country, and permitting the army to pass peaceably through, finding them provisions upon being paid for them: in which sum he acknowledged himself debtor to the king of Navarre2.
When the barons of Aquitaine learnt that these treaties were made, and that don Pedro and the king of Navarre were friends, they made inquiry who was to pay them their wages: the prince, who was very eager for this expedition, took that upon himself, king don Pedro having promised punctual repayment.