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• Ainong his contemporaries, the valour and victories of Clovis certainly allowed him to claim the foremost rank; but his valour was stained with cruelty, and his victories obscured by injustice. In the invasion of the Burgundians and Visigoths, the most partial historians have described him as the aggreffor; and though in the battle of Tolbiac his sword was drawn against the Alemanni in the defence of his ally and kinsman Sigebert, yet he soon after hesitated not to secure his throne by the death of that in whose cause he had triumphed. His ruling pafsion was to render himself absolute monarch of all Gaul; and he may be considered as more fortunate in the execution of his designs than jultifiable in the means he employed. In private life, after his conversion to christianity, he was chaste and temperate; nor does it appear that the husband of Clotilda ever violated the purity of the marriage-bed.'
On the death of Clovis, the kingdom was divided among his fons, who soon after made a conquest of Burgundy, and overwhelmed the kingdom of the Visigoths. For a series of years France continued divided into several distinct states; and the government of the Merovingian princes was cait into Thade by the growing authority of their principal servants, the mayors of the palaces. Among these we discover the Carlovingian race rising gradully into power, under the administration of Pepin; and under that of his natural son Charles Martel, it grew to such an enormous height, that he was enabled, with out Theltering himself under a shadow of royalty, to assume to himself the whole power of the Franks. The son of Charles, Pepin the Short, by his valour, conduct, and his artful negociations with the court of Rome, added to his father's power, the title of king; and Childeric, the last of the Merovingian race, was shaved, and immured for life in a monastery.--The accession of Charlemagne to the imperial throne is next related with brevity and spirit. The feeble and turbulent reign of Lewis the Meck, or gentle, concludes the second chapter.
A new division of the government took place on the death of Lewis the Meek, and the empire of Germany was separated from the kingdom of France. The remainder of this chapter contains the tecble reigns of the Carlovingian race, and among the most remarkable facts during this period, we discern the rile and establishment of the dukes of Normandy.--The family of Charlemagne was extinguished in the person of Lewis the yth, and the crown was transferred to the famous Hugh Capet.
The eight following chapters are occupied by the actions of the immediate fucceflors of Hugh Capet; and the 12th opens with the accession of the family of Valois. The wars which ensued between this family, and our Edward ii, are well known to most of the readers of English history, and are detailed in the two succeeding chapters. In the 15th, the state of France, previous to the invalion of Henry v. of England, is described with some degree of political discrimination. The origin of that fatal phrenzy in Charles vi, which was the source of lo much evil to France, is deserving of attention : p. 414.
• The Sieur de Craon, a profligate nobleman, had been entrufted by the court of France with a considerable sum of money for the support of the duke of Anjou, reduced to extreme distress by his Italian expedition. He had betrayed the confidence which had been thus repofed in him; and dillipated the money in his lie centious pleasures at Venice. By the credit of the duke of Orleans, the brother of the king, he obtained his pardon, and returned to court, to abufe the clemency of his sovereign by an act of more atrocious treachery. To gratify his private resentinent, he attempted to affatlinate the constable, Oliver Cliffon, whom he suspected of having promoted his disgrace. The veteran hero was attacked as he returned from the hotel of St. Pol, by twenty ruffians; and although he defended himself with his sword with his wonted intrepidity, he at length fell, from the lots of blood and the number of his wounds. The goodness of his constitution triumphed over the bloody malice of his assailants, while Craon Hed from the vengeance of his incensed sovereign to the protection of the duke of Brittany.
• Charles demanded the criminal; and on the refusal of the duke, prepared to compel him, notwithitanding the remontrances of the dukes of Burgundy and Berri, at the head of a numerous army. Accompanied by these princes, he had scarce arrived at Mans before he was scized with a slow fever; but his impatience to punit the crime of Craon, and the contempt of the duke of Brittany, induced him to resist the advice of his physicians, and to continue his march. As he passed through a forest between Mans and La Fleche, in the heat of the day, the bridle of his horse was suddenly seized by a man in wretched apparel, black and hideous'; who exclaimed, My king, where are you going ? you are betrayed!' and then instantly disappeared. At that moment, a page who carried the king's lance, and who, under the pressure of fatigue had fallen atleep, let fall the lance on a helmet which another page carried before him. This noise, with the sudden appearance and exclamation of the man, concurred to produce an immediate and fatal effect on the king's imagination. He drew his sword, and struck furiously on every fide; three persons, besides the page who dropped the lance, were the victims of his phrenzy ; at length he was disarmed and fecured. The violence of the effort had exhausted his strength; and he was conveyed, senseless and motionless, to Mans.
• This account, itrange and improbable, is yet fupported by the united teftimonies of contemporary historians. Probably the mind of the king, oppressed by indisposition, presented to his fancy the ideal figure, the source of his terror ; probably the duke of Burgundy used this artifice to fright him from an expedition, from which he had endeavoured ineffectually to diffuade. But whatever was the cause of Charles's delirium, the consequences were melancholy. The invasion of Brittany was immediately abandoned ; the king was re-conducted to Paris ; and ex
pressed, on the recovery of his senses, his horror at the bloos which had been thus unknowingly fpilt.
During the three days that his delirium had lasted, the grief of his people proclaimed the blameless tenor of admistration : The intelligence of his recovery was welcomed by marks of unfeigned and unbounded transport ; but it was soon discovered that he no longer pofleffed that clear coinprehention and itrength of judginent, which had formerly characterized himn. The doubtful Itate of his intellects rendered it neceísary that the royal power should be vested in more able hands; and the competition for the regency brought forward two characters which hitherto had been concealed from public observation. Isabella, the confort of the unfortunate monarch, has already been celebrated for her uncommon beauty and insinuating address : but these qualities were alloyed by a mind violent, vinuictive, and intriguing; by a heart insensible to the natural affections of a parent, but open to flattery, and susceptible of the impreliion of every lawless passion. The duke of Orleans, the brother of the king, had but just entered his twentieth year; his person was graceful, his features animated, and he was by nature and education formed to succeed in gallantry ; his carly marriage with Valentina, the daughter of the duke of Milan, a princess of extraordinary charms and accomplishments, did not prevent him from engaging in a variety of licentious amours; and his intimacy with his royal fister-in-law was abhorred as criminal and incestuous. Profure and prodigal, his hopes were intlamed by the partiality of the queen ; and he openly aspired to the regency; but the flates regarded him with prudent distrust and conferred the administration of affairs on the inore mature years of his uncle, the duke of Burgundy.'
The account of the Maid of Orleans is short and striking :
While he (Charles the Dauphin) anxiously and hourly expected the fatal intelligence that Orleans had surrendered, his. attention was engaged by the appearance of a village girl, destined to prop his falling fortunes, and restore to him the dominions of his ancestors. In the village of Domremi, near Vaucouleurs, on the borders of Lorraine, at a Imall inn, relided a female servant ealled Joan d'Are; the had been accustomed to ride the horses of her maiter's gueits to water; her employment and conversation with the company whom she attended, had given her a degrec of boldness above her sex; and she listened with pleasure to the martial atchievements, the conitant topics of conversation in a warlike age. The calamities of her country, and the distress of her fovereign, were the objects of her daily thoughts and rightly dreams. She was foon inflamed with the defire of aveng. ing on the English the misery of France; and an ignorant mind might possibly mistake the impulse of her passions for heavenly inipirations. She procured admission to Baudrecourt, the governor of Vaucouleurs ; the declared to him that she had been exhorted by frequent visions and by distinct voices, to atchieve the deliverance of her country ; and the governor either equally credulous himself, or fufficiently penetrating to foresee the effect such an enthusiait might have on the minds of the vulgar, granted
ber an escort to the French court, which at that time resided at Chinon, in Touraine.
. On her arrival at Chinon, she is said to have distinguished Charles from his courtiers, though divelled of every enlign of royalty ; tu have revealed a secret to him unknown to all the world beside himself; and to have demanded and described by particular marks, a sword which she had never seen, and which the required as the instrument of her future victories; the asserted that she was commissioned to raise the fiege of Orleans, and conduct him to Rheims, to be there crowned and anointed. Charles and his ministers pretended to examine her pretenfions with scrupulous exactness: they affected at length to be convinced of the fincerity of her declarations, and of her fupernatural powers. Their opinion was folemnly and publickly countenanced by an assembly of doctors and theologians, and by the parliament of France, then residing at Poitiers. After repeated examinations, the million of Joan d'Arc was pronounced to be divine ; and the spirits of a despairing people were again elevated by the hope that heaven had declared itself in favour of France.
• That Charles might avail himself of the enthufiaim of the moment, he sent Joan to Blois, where convoy was already provided for the relief of Orleans, and an army of ten thousand men was collected to escort it. The holy maid, displaying in her hands a consecrated banner, marched at the head of her troops. She had already declared her intention of entering the city by the road from the side of Beaufle; but the bailard of Orleans, whom we shall hereafter it, le count of Dunois, unwilling entirely to trust the operations of war to the suggestions of fanaticism, controlled the rash defign, and persuaded Joan to approach the town on the opposite side of the Loire, where he knew the beliegers were wcakest.
• The English had at first heard with contempt the preparations of Charles, and derided the heavenly commiilion of Joan; but the minds of the common foldiers were infentibly impressed with holy dread, and they awaited the event with anxious horror. The eart of Suffolk, apprised of the dispolition of his troops, vainly flattered himself that time would difpel their terrors, and banith the illusion. He determined to reinain quietly within his entrenchments, while the convoy entered the city with Joan, and the French ariny returned to Blois without interruption. But inaction served only to confirm those fears which the tumult of war might have banished : the English beheld their enemies triumphant, and the predictions of Joan, who acquired the furname of the Maid of Orleans, in part fulfilled. A lecond convoy foon after entered the city, on the fide of Beausse, and was also fuffered by the beliegers to pass without refiitance. The French afluned new spirits ; while the English, formerly elated with victory and impatient for action, beheld the enterprises of their enemies in filent altonislıment and religious conternation.
• But even this fate of inactivity was no longer permitted to them ; the enthufiafın of Joan could not be reitruined within abe walls of Orleans : She exhorted the garrison tú liiten to her
voice, and imitate her example. In a fuccefsful sally, the entrenchments of the besiegers were formed, and even the valour of the renowned Sir John Talbot seemed to wither at her approach. A second fally swept away the forts on the opposite side of the Loire ; and a wound from an arrow, which in the attack was inflicted on the neck of Joan, served rather to inflame the courage of the intrepid heroine. The count of Dunois consented to seize the momert of returning fortune; the English were successively chased from theiç ports, with the loss of above fix thousand men ; the earl of Suffolk determined to raise a fiege which he could no longer continue with a probability of success; and the French, animated by this first effay of the holy maid, prepared to improve their advantage, and avail themselves of the superstitious fears of their adversaries.'
The remainder of the ist volume is employed on the reigns of the French monarchs, from Charles vii, to Lewis xi; and the 20th chapter concludes with a sketch of the constitution of France, from the accession of Hugh Capet, to the death of Lewis xi.
The 29th chapter commences with the accession of the house of Bourbon, in the person of Henry IV..The 34th, 35th, and 36th, are occupied with the reign of Lewis xiv, whose death clotes the ad voluine. The 3d volume contains ten chapters, which are devoted to the more modern part of the French history, and which, on that account, are peculiarly intereiting. The causes of the late revolution, and the events preceding it, are developed with much perspicuity ; but we cannot help regretting that the author has not continued his detail beyond the first mecting of the Tiers Etats; and has contented himself with famming up the consequences in a few sentences.
It is but justice to add, that this history is written with spirit and elegance. The author is evidently an imitator of Mr. Gibbon's style, and he is by no means an untuccessful one, though in a few instances he seems to have adopted even the peculiarities and faults of his original. The compendious size of this work, will, doubtless, render it an object with many readers, who would want leisure to bestow on a more prolix history; from the easy expence, it is a very proper book to introduce into schools, and the lively manner in which it is coinposed, will probably make it acceptable to
ART. 11. La Bastille dévoilée, &c.—The Bastille unveiled,
or a Coliection of authentic Pieces relative to its History. Nos. I-IX. Small 8vo. about 1400 pages, with a Plan of the Bastille. Paris printed. Imported by De Boffe. 1790. • If ever the Bastille had any claim to our attention,' say the editors of this publication, or its history to excite our curiosity