Whilst the French men at arms were thus quartering themselves in Quercy, and upon the borders of Limousin and Auvergne, the duke of Berry was in another part of this last province, where he had a large body of men at arms, under sir John d’Armagnac, his brother-in-law, the lord John de Villemur, Roger de Beaufort, the lord de Beaujeu, the lords de Villars, de Sergnac, de Calencon, sir Griffon de Montagu, sir Hugh Dauphin, and a great many other good knights. They made inroads on the confines of Rouergue, Quercy, and Limousin, and carried ruin and devastation wherever they went, for nothing was able to stand before them. By the advice of the duke of Berry, the duke of Anjou sent the archbishop of Toulouse from that city, during the time these armies were overrunning the country, to the city of Cahors, of which place his brother was bishop. This archbishop was a very learned clerk, as well as a valiant man. He preached up this quarrel of the king of France so earnestly, and so well, that the city of Cahors turned to the French side: and the 407 inhabitants swore that from this time forth they would be loyal and faithful subjects to the king of France. After this, the archbishop continued his journey through the country, preaching everywhere, with such good success, the rights of the king of France, that all the people of those parts embraced his opinions: and upwards of sixty towns, castles, and fortresses were turned to the king of France, with the assistance of the army of the duke of Berry; that is to say, of sir John d’Armagnac and the others who were overrunning the country. He caused also Sigeac, Gaignac, Capedonac, and several other principal towns and strong castles to change sides; for he remonstrated and preached, that the king of France had a good and clear right in this quarrel, with such effect, that all who heard him were convinced: besides, naturally in their hears they were more French than English, which greatly helped this business.
In like manner, as the archbishop went preaching and remonstrating on the justice of the quarrel of the king of France along the confines of Languedoc, there were in Picardy many prelates and lawyers who were as active in doing the same duty, by preaching and converting the people of the cities, large towns, and villages. Sir William des Dormans, in particular, distinguished himself by preaching this quarrel of the king of France from city to city, and from town to town, so wisely and ably that all people listened to him willingly; and it was wonderful how well he coloured the whole business through the kingdom by his harangues. In addition to this, the king of France, moved by devotion and humility, ordered frequent processions of the whole clergy: when he himself, as well as the queen, attended without stockings, and bare-footed. In this manner, they went praying and supplicating God to listen to them, and to the necessities of the kingdom of France, which had been for so long a time under tribulation. The king ordered all the subjects of his realm to do the dame, by the advice of the prelates and churchmen.
The king of England acted in a similar manner in his kingdom. There was at that time a bishop of London1 who made several long and fine sermons: he demonstrated and preached in these sermons, that the king of France had most unjustly renewed the war, and that it was against right and reason, as he plainly showed in different points and articles. In truth, it was but proper, that both kings, since they were determined on war, should explain and make clear to their subjects the cause of the quarrel, that they might understand it, and have the better will to assist their kings; to which purpose they were all equally alert in the two kingdoms.
The king of England had sent to Brabant and Hainault, to learn if he could have any assistance from either of them; and had frequently, on account of his near connection, requested duke Albert, who at that time governed the country for his brother, to allow him to pass through his territories, or to remain there, if there should be occasion, and to enter through his country the kingdom of France, to carry the war into the heart of it.
Duke Albert would willingly have complied with the requests of the king of England, his uncle, and of queen Philippa his aunt, through the mediation and advice of lord Edward de Gueldres, who was of the king’s party, and also by means of the duke of Juliers is cousin-german, but he had been already gained, as you will hear. These two were in those times strictly connected, by faith and homage, to the king of England, who had desired each of them to engage for him as many as a thousand lances, for which they should be well satisfied. On this account, these two lords would have been very glad to have had duke Albert in alliance with the king of England. The duke was much tempted to join them by the magnificent presents which the king offered to make him; which promises were frequently repeated by these two lords, as well as by other knights whom he sent over to him, and principally by the lord de Comines1, who chiefly on this account had returned to 408 Hainault, after having resided some time with the king. But the king of France and his council had gained over the lord John de Verchin, seneschal of Hainault, who governed the whole country. He was a wise man, a valiant knight, and a good Frenchman. This high steward had so much weight, and was so beloved by the duke and duchess, that he overset all the expectations of the English, with the assistance of the earl of Blois, sir John de Blois his brother, the lords de Ligny and de Barbançon, and exerted himself so that duke Albert and the whole country remained neuter, and would not take either side, which was the answer made by the lady Jane duchess of Brabant.
King Charles of France, who was wise and artful, had taken the previous measures, and settled all this business three3 years before. He well knew that he had good friends in Hainault and Brabant, especially among the greater part of the counsellors of the principal noblemen. In order to put a better colour on his war, he had copies made by learned men of different papers relative to the peace, which were signed at Calais, in which he stated all the facts in his favour, and those articles the king of England and his children had sworn to maintain, and to which they had submitted by sealed deeds, with the orders which they ought in consequence to have given to their subjects: in short, all the points and articles which were favourable to him, and condemned the actions of the English. These papers were made public in the town-halls, and in the presence of different noblemen and their counsellors, that they might be fully informed on the subject.
On the other hand, the king of England acted in like manner; for he sent memorials and remonstrances through Germany, or wherever he expected to gain assistance. The duke of Gueldres (who was nephew to the king of England, being the son of his sister, and thus cousin-german to the children of the king), and the duke of Juliers, were at that time true and loyal Englishmen: they had been very much affronted by the manner of the king of France sending his challenge by a servant, and rebuked the king for it, highly blaming both him and his council for this unbecoming form of sending it. They said, that war between such great and renowned lords as the kings of France and of England should have been declared by proper messengers, such as dignified prelates, bishops or abbots. They added, that the French had not followed this usual mode, through pride and presumption. These lords sent their challenge to the king of France in a handsome manner, as did several other knights of Germany. It was their intention immediately to have entered France, and to have done such deeds there as twenty years should not efface: but their schemes were broken by means they did not expect, as you will hereafter find recorded in this history.