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ed the minds of his countrymen for a revolt, to which the following accident gave birth.
On the evening of Easter-day, as the French and Sicilians were going in procession to the church of Monreale, in the neighbourhood of Palermo, a bride happened to pass by with her train; when one Droquet, a Frenchman, instantly ran to her, and began to use her in a rude manner, under pretence of searching for concealed arms. A young Sicilian, Aaming with resentment, stabbed Droquet to the heart; a tumult ensued, and two hundred Frenchmen were flain on the spot. The enraged populace now ran to the city, crying aloud, “ Kill the French! Kill the French !”—and, without any distinction of age or sex, murdered every person of that nation found in Palermo. The fame fury spread itself through the whole island, and produced a general massacre, to which historians give the name of the Sicilian Vespers.
Peter, king of Arragon, was faluted at Palermo as king of the island. Charles immediately affembled a powerful armainent at Marseilles, and formed the fiege of Meflina; which the inhabitants in vain offered to surrender, upon a promise of pardon. But in the mean time his son Charles, surnamed the Lame, having hazarded an engagement, was taken prisoner by the rebels. The king, unable to support or conceal his fufferings from this last shock, funk into the grave; and Sicily, after a war of twenty years, was finally transferred, as an independent kingdom, to a younger branch of the house of Arragon.
Upon the death of Charles of Anjou, the Pope had conferred Sicily upon Charles of Valois, a younger son of the king of France; and Philip, who supported his claim, derived some hopes of success from the death of Peter, and the surrender of Gironne. But his feet was again defeated, and this misfortune co-operated with the fatigues of war, and the heat of the climate, to shorten the life of Philip, who died at Perpignan, in the forty-first year of his age, and the sixteenth of an unsuccessful reign.
The reign of Philip IV. surnamed the Fair, the son and successor of Philip the Hardy, is dif- A. D. 1285. tinguished by the institution of the supreme tribunals, called Parliaments, and the formal admislion of the commons, or third estate, into the general assemblies of the nation. The French commons, however, were afterwards excluded from these assemblies.
This period is also remarkable for the suppreflion and extirpation of the Knights Templars, who were originally an order of Monks, that settled near the temple of Jerusalem, when it was first taken by the champions of the cross. In I
Of the Knights Templars. a short time they acquired, from the piety of the faithful, ample poffeffions in every Christian country, but more especially in France, Tne great riches of those Knights had relaxed the severity of their difcipline. Being all men of birth, they at last scorned the ignoble occupations of a monastic life, and pafled their time in the fashionable amusements of hunting, gallantry, and the pleasures of the table. By these means the Templars lost that popularity which firit raised them to honour and distinction; and Philip, in concert with Pope Clement V. judged them unprofitable to the church, and dangerous to the state.
If we except the Venetians, the Flemings, at this time, were, perhaps, the most flourishing people of Europe. Many of them, to whom Guy de Dampier, count of Flanders, was not accep able, wihed for a French government; when Philip openly declared his intention of reuniting that country to his crown).
With this vicw, he and his queen made a most magnificent entrance into Flanders, where they endeavoured to amuse the Flemings with the most pompous exhibitions of their grandeur, and to render themselves popular by abolishing some opprefive taxes. They could not, however, have pitched upon a more disagreeable person than John de Chatillon was, for the government of that country, to which he was appointed by the queen’s interest. He fortified the towns of his go, vernment, and countenanced the magistrates in oppressing the people, who were remarkably tenacious of their privileges; fo that the whole country was foon filled with discontent. The people of Bruges were headed by a dyer in opposing the French government; but he and his associates were foon dri, yen out of the city, which Chatillon entered at the head of seventeen hundred French horse preceded by two hogsheads full of ropes, which Chatillon publicly declared were to be employed in hanging the chiefs of the rebels. Dispositions were made accordingly; but the people ran to arms, and recalling the dyer, cut in pieces fifteen hundred of the French horse, who were to have guarded the executions ; Chatillon himself escaping with great difficulty by swimming across the town ditch in the night-time. A general revolt of the country followed, when after the loss of several thousand men on both fides, Philip was prevailed upon to return to France.
Not long after, Philip revived his quarrel with the count of Flanders. The powerful vassals of his crown, however, diliked the expedition, and both his parliament and people fo much catliked the oppreffive measures which his ministers pursued for raising money, that they refused to supply him. Philip was in this situation, and at the head of an army, when
the count offered to agree to a fresh treaty, and to give hostages for the performance of the terms, and in the mean time; to put Courtray into the king's hands. Philip was obliged to except of those conditions.
Upon his return to Paris, he found an universal dissatisfaca tion among his subjects, which, if he had not laid afide his Flomith expedition, would have produced a general rebellion.
Affidtions of a still more tender nature, at this tiine, distressed Philip. The three princesses, to whom his three foss had been married, proved unfaithful to their marriage-beds.
The queen of Navarre, daughter to the duke of Burgundy, and the count de la March's wife, were convicted of adultery with Philip, and Walter de Launay. The ladies were fertenced to perpetual imprisonment, and their paramours after being flayed alive, were hanged upon gibbets. This sentence did not satisfy the king of Navarre, for he ordered his wife in be strangled in the place of her confinement.
These disappointments and domestic misfortunes threw Philip into a consumption, which carried him off in the thiiitieth year of his reign, and the forty-seventh of his age. Ho was certainly a prince of great talents; and, notwithstanding his vices, France ought to respect his memory. By fixing the parliaments, or supreme courts of judicature, he secured the ready execution of justice to all his subjects; and, though his motive might not be the most generous for calling in the third estate into the national council, he by that measure put it into the power of the French nation to have etablished a free government.
The favourite brother of Philip the late king, Charles de Valois, had, during that reign, acquir- A. D. 1314ed such experience in the affairs of the French monarchy, that he retained all his influence under this princc. Lewis fucceeded his father under great disadvantages. The people were discontented, and the treasury exhausted to fucia a degree, that he was unable, for some time, to defray tha expences of his coronation. He was, besides, apprehensive, from the public discontents, of an infurrection, which mighe interrupt the folemnity. Charles de Valois undertook, no the part of his nephew, that the nobility, who thought thei' privileges had been impaired during the late reign, thould be restored to all they had poflefled under Lewis, and the ceremony was performed at Rheims by the archbishop of that citr.
Lewis began his reign with an act of injustice. At the instigation of his uncle, the count of Valois, he caused his prime minister Marigny to be executed, on account of many pretended crimes, and magic among the rest; but in reality
Salique Law. on account of his supposed riches, which were confiscated to the crown.
But neither the confiscation of Marigny's effects, nor of those who were styled his accomplices, being sufficient for the king's wants, he extorted money from the nobility, under various pretences. He levied a tenth upon the clergy. He fold enfranchiferents to the slaves employed in cultivating the royal dominions; and when they would not purchase their freedom, he declared them free, whether they would or not, and levied the money by force! He died like his father, after an unsuccessful attempt upon Flanders.
The general sense of the French nation, at this time, favoured the falique law, and though Lewis X. left a daughter, yet his brother Philip V. surnamed the Tall, mounted the throne, in preference to the princess. The duke of Burgundy made some opposition, and asserted the right of his niece. The states of the kingdon, however, by a solemn and deliberate decree, excluded her, and declared all females for ever incapable of succeeding to the crown of France.
The wisdom of this decree is too evident to need being pointed out. It not only prevents those evils which necessarily proceed from female caprices and tender partialities, so apt to make a minister from love, and degrade him from whim; but is attended with this peculiar advantage, that a foreigner can never become sovereign of France by marriage; a circumstance always dangerous, and often productive of the most fatal revolutions.
The reign of Philip the Tall, and also of his brother Charles IV. surnamed the Fair, were both short; nor was either distinguished by any memorable event. Charles left only one daughter, and consequently no heir to the crown. But, as his queen was pregnant, Philip de Valois, the next male heir, was appointed regent, with a declared right of fucceffion, if the issue should prove female. The queen of France was delivered of a daughter; the regency ended, and Philip de Valois was unanimously placed on the throne of France.
C H A P. LXI.
Philip VI. the first of the Race of Valois.-Claim of Edward
ill.-Hoftilities commence, and Calais is taken. - Origin of the Title of Dauphin.-Death and Character of Philip.
HOUGH the claim of Edward king of
England, who asserted his right to the A. D. 1336. French crown, as a grandson of a daughter of Philip IV. was rejected by the general voice, and that of Philip universally acknowledged, yet the latter could not reflect on this claim with indifference; and, when he summoned the English monarch to pay homage, and received only a contemptuous silence, he seized on the revenues of his lands in France. To recover these Edward crofled the channel, to submit to the ceremony at Amiens; where Philip prudently consented to dispense with the servile forms, and to receive the homage in any way, provided it should hereafter be explained in the manner most satisfactory to him.
Edward, however, studiously omitted some circumstances of the demanded homage ; which though Philip perceived, he carried his affectation of politeness so far, that he only gently admonished Edward to examine, upon his return to England, whether he had not omitted some part of the ceremony.
The queen-dowager of England and Mortimer, were so desirous to preserve peace with France, that they condemned Edward for refusing to submit to the performance of the whole ceremonial as prescribed by the French. The princes of the blood and the great lords of France were not so complaisant as Philip, whom they upbraided with his tameness in receiving Edward's partial performance of his homage. The bishop of Lincoln, Edward's chancellor, who accompanied him to the French court, perceived their discontent both in their countenances and discourse, and secretly hinted to Edward, that it was very possible the French king might extend his sovereign power so far as to arrest him; upon which Edward departed for England without taking leave, and was at Windfor before it was known that he had left France. He was followed by an embafly, who had an audience of Edward and his council, where it was determined by his mother's and Mortimer's influence, that he had been guilty of an omission in performing his homage. His complaisance now went fo far, as immediately to order an instrument to be made out, acknowledging the deficiency, and promising to supply it according to the ceremonial prescribed by the French court.