Imatges de pàgina
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XXVIII.

1367.

1368.

which even the lawless regiments, who had CHAP.
proved themselves the scourge and terror of
more peaceful scenes, had displayed to their
gallant commander, was memorable : at his
beck they had resorted to him from the
standard of Du Guesclin ; they had followed
him, famished, hopeless, but unrepining, in
his return out of Spain ; and the Black
Prince's subjects of Aquitaine having com.
plained of the depredations to which their
necessities compelled them, they at his com-
mand quitted his dominions, unpaid, and
withdrew into the adjacent provinces of
France. Edward could not bear that they
should be thus grievously injured by the ser-
vices to which he had led them, and by the
failure of engagements of which he had been

1

1

the surety

moncy.

In this emergency the bishop of Rodez, Hearthchancellor of Aquitaine, urged the prince to impose a tax upon his French subjects, under the name of hearth-money, of one livre per

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1368.

CHAP. hearth, which it was computed would yield XXVIII.

an annual sum of one million two hundred thousand livres. Chandos, constable of the duchy, the most virtuous as well as the most gallant of the soldiers of the prince, is said to have opposed this advice; either because he thought the prosperity of the peaceful subject a matter of higher consideration than the providing for these bands of adventurers, or that he foresaw the fatal consequences to which this policy would lead. The prince however persisted, and the tax was solemnly proposed to the states of the different provinces within his government b.

Taxation was a measure, in these early times, of comparatively rare and novel practice. It was inconsistent with the original and genuine spirit of the feudal system. That system sufficiently provided for the expences of the first magistrate by his hereditary demesnes, by the prescribed contributions annexed to the great feudal incidents, and by

Froissart, ubi supra.

XXVIII.

1368.

the established and unremunerated services CAMP. to be rendered in war by the holders of knight's fees and baronages.' In proportion as the feudal system declined, these resources became inadequate. There was consequently a crisis in government in Europe, between the destruction of the feudal provisions, and the rise of the more modern method of taxation. The recollection of this will serve as a clue to many of the political transactions of the fourteenth and following centuries.

The proposition of the hearth-money was Discontents variously received in the different states or taine. parliaments of the English provinces in France. By the lower classes it was viewed as an insupportable incumbrance. Among the lords and holders of feudal estates various cabals were formed against it. It is observed, that in the districts nearest to Bourdeaux, the seat of government, and where the influence of the popular manners of the Black Prince was most sensibly felt, it met with scarcely any opposition; while in the remoter parts, where there was less opportunity for the growth of this sentiment of personal attach

XXVIII.

of certain
of the
Fr. nch

CHAP. ment, and where therefore the inhabitants re

tained with less adulteration the genuine cha1308.

racter of Frenchmen, it was ordinarily reSecession garded with antipathy and abhorrence °. In

a general assembly of the provinces of the barons. prince's government held at Niort, several of

the lords of Gascony remonstrated forcibly against the measure, and at length withdrew in discontent ; their principal leaders shortly after resorting as refugees to Paris, to the court of Charles y d

Various causes, as always happens in similar cases, co-operated to swell the tide of disaffection which now manifested itself against the English government. However popular were the manners of the prince of Wales, however equitable his temper

and

generous his sentiments, he found it impossible to satisfy all in a nation of men born the subjects of his natural enemy. Many of the nobles were suspicious ; they saw, or thought they saw, themselves slighted, and others pre

* Froissart, Chap. ccxlvi.

* Ditto, Chap. ccxliv.

XXVIII.

summoned

V, to an

swer the

sals.

ferred before them; and they began to cast CHAP: looks of impatience and affection toward the

1368. young monarch of the realm of France, the reputation of whose government became every day more grave and imposing.

It is extremely probable that this monarch Black Prince had secretly from the first fomented these dis- by Charles contents ; it is certain that he contemplated

complaints the

appearance of the refugees at his court of his vaswith undisguised pleasure.

Meanwhile he affected an extreme reluctance to come to extremities with his " dear nephew,” the prince of Wales, and seemed finally to be prevailed upon only by the importunities of the malcontents to take part in their grievances At length however, in January 1309, he dispatched a summons to the Black 1369. Prince, under the style of prince of Wales and Aquitaine, to appear before him as his sovereign lord, to answer certain complaints of his vassals.

This could amount to nothing less than a

Froissart, ubi supra.

Ditto, Chap. ccxlvii.

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