The Story of Paris
by Thomas Okey
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Never in the history of civilisation were men possessed with such passion for the spiritual life or such faith in the reasoning faculty as in the thirteenth century in Paris. The holiest mysteries were analysed and defined; everywhere was a search for new things. Conservative Churchmen became alarmed and complained of disputants and blasphemers exercising their wits at every street corner. The four camel-loads of manuscripts, the works and commentaries of Aristotle, brought by the Jews from Spain—a monstrous and mutilated version translated from Greek into Arabic and from Arabic into Latin—became the battle-ground of the schools. The Church at first forbade the study of Aristotle, then by the genius of Aquinas, Christianised and absorbed him; his works became a kind of intellectual tennis-ball bandied between the Averroists, who carried their teachings to a logical consequence, and the more orthodox followers of Aquinas. For three years the faculty was torn asunder by the rival factions. Siger of Brabant, whose eternal light Dante saw refulgent amid other doctors of the Church in the heaven of the Sun, was an Averroist; Siger—

"Che leggendo nel vico degli strami Sillogizzo invidiosi veri."[71]

[Footnote 71: Par. X. 136. "Who lecturing in Straw St. deduced truths that brought him hatred."]

The Rue du Fouarre (Straw), where Siger taught and perhaps Dante studied was the street of the Masters of the Arts. Every house in it was a hostel for scholars or a school. It was in the Rue du Fouarre that Pantagruel "held dispute against all the regents, professors of arts and orators and did so gallantly that he overthrew them all and set them all upon their tails." The street still exists, though wholly modernised, opposite the foot of the Petit Pont. Its name has been derived from the straw spread on the floor of the schools or on which the students sat, but there is little doubt that Benvenuto da Imola's[72] explanation, that it was so named from a hay and straw market held there, is the correct one.

[Footnote 72: Benvenuto was certainly in France and possibly in Paris during the fourteenth century. At any rate he would be familiar with Parisian students, many of whom were Italians.]

The wonderful thirteenth century saw the meridian glory of the university. It was the age of the great Aristotelian schoolmen who all taught at Paris—Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and Roger Bacon, their candid critic, who carried the intellectual curiosity of the age beyond the tolerance of his Franciscan superiors and twice suffered disciplinary measures at Paris.

In the fourteenth century the university of Paris was as renowned as ever. Among many tributes from great scholars we choose that of Richard de Bury, bishop of Durham, who in his Philobiblon writes: "O Holy God of gods in Zion, what a mighty stream of joy made glad our hearts whenever we had leisure to visit Paris, the Paradise of the world, and to linger there; where the days seemed ever few for the greatness of our love! There are delightful libraries more aromatic than stores of spicery; there are luxuriant parks of all manners of volumes; there are Academic meads shaken by the tramp of scholars; there are lounges of Athens; walks of the Peripatetics; peaks of Parnassus; and porches of the Stoics. There is seen the surveyor of all arts and sciences Aristotle, to whom belongs all that is most excellent in doctrine, so far as relates to this passing sublunary world; there Ptolemy measures epicycles and eccentric apogees and the nodes of the planets by figures and numbers; there Paul reveals the mysteries; there his neighbour Dionysius arranges and distinguishes the hierarchies; there the virgin Carmentis reproduces in Latin characters all that Cadmus collected in Phoenician letters; there indeed opening our treasures and unfastening our purse-strings we scattered money with joyous heart and purchased inestimable books with mud and sand."

In 1349 the number of professors (maistres-regents) on the rolls was 502; in 1403 they had increased to 709, to which must be added more than 200 masters of theology and canon law. "The University," wrote Pope Alexander IV. in a papal bull, "is to the Church what the tree of life was to the earthly Paradise, a fruitful source of all learning, diffusing its wisdom over the whole universe; there the mind is enlighted and ignorance banished and Jesus Christ gives to His spouse an eloquence which confounds all her enemies."

But decadence soon ensued. The multiplication and enrichment of colleges proved fatal to the old democratic vigour and equality. Some colleges pretended to superiority and the movement lost its unity. Scholasticism had done its work and no new movement took its place. Teachers lost all originality and did but ruminate and comment on the works of their great predecessors. Schools declined in numbers, scholars in attendance and ordinances were needed to correct the abuses covered by the title of scholar. The Jacobin and Cordelier teachers, moreover, had exhausted much life from the university; but its fame continued, and Luther in his early conflicts with the papacy appealed against the pope to the university of Paris. But it made the fatal blunder of opposing the Reform and the Renaissance, instead of absorbing them, and the interest of those great movements centres around the college of France.

In the general decay, however, the Jesuit College of Clermont, known later as of Louis le Grand, stood forth renowned and exuberant. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the erudition of its teachers, their excellent method and admirable discipline, made it the premier college of Paris and in the heyday of its fame five hundred scholars crowded its halls, among them the scions of the nobility of France. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the university had its seat in the college and concentrated there the endowments, or such as had escaped spoliation, of twenty-six suppressed colleges. The college of Louis le Grand and nine others of the multitude that clustered around the hill of St. Genevieve, were all that survived when the Revolution burst forth, and it is not without interest to note that on 19th June 1781, the central body sitting at the famous Jesuit college unanimously awarded a prize of six hundred livres to a poor young boursier of the college of Arras, named Louis Francois Maximilian Marie Robespierre, for twelve years of exemplary conduct and of success in examinations and competitions.

Before we close this chapter a word of acknowledgment is due to the mediaeval church in Paris for her careful fostering of elementary education. By the Taille of 1292 already referred to, we learn that schools for children of both sexes were distributed nearly over the whole of the city radiating from the mother church of Notre Dame. At the beginning of the fifteenth century twenty-one parishes had one or two of these schools; in 1449 a thousand schoolboys took part in a procession to Notre Dame to render thanks for the recovery of Normandy. The Church inspected the sanitary condition of the schools and exacted a standard of proficiency for the qualification of masters and mistresses.


Conflict with Boniface VIII.—The States-General—The Destruction of the Knights-Templars—The Parlement

In 1302 the eyes of Europe were again drawn to Paris where the Fourth Philip, surnamed the Fair, a prince who, in Dante's grim metaphor, scourged the shameless harlot of Rome from head to foot, and dragged her to do his will in France, was grappling with the great pontiff, Boniface VIII.—the most resolute upholder of the papacy in her claim to universal secular supremacy—and essaying a task which had baffled the mighty emperors themselves.

The king knowing he had embarked on a struggle in which the greatest potentates had been worsted, determined to appeal to the patriotism of all classes of his subjects and fortify himself on the broad basis of such popular opinion as then existed. For the first time the States-General were summoned, after the burning of the papal bull in Paris on the memorable Sunday of 11th February 1302. Their meeting marks an epoch in French history, and for the first time members of the Tiers Etat (the third estate, or commons), sat beside the privileged orders of clergy and nobles, and were recognised as one of the legitimate orders of the realm. The assembly was convoked to meet in Notre Dame on the 10th of April. The question was the old one which had rent Christendom asunder for centuries: Was the pope at Rome to be supreme over the princes and peoples of the earth in secular as well as in spiritual matters? The utmost enthusiasm prevailed, and though the prelates spoke with a somewhat timid voice, the assembled members swore to risk their lives and property rather than sacrifice the honour of the crown and their own liberties to the insolent usurpation of Rome. Excommunication followed, but Philip had ordered all the passes from Italy to be guarded, so that no papal letter or messenger should enter France. "Boniface, who," says Villani, the Florentine chronicler, "was proud and scornful, and bold to attempt every great deed, magnanimous and puissant," replied by announcing the publication of a bull deposing the king from his throne and releasing his subjects from their allegiance. Philip at an assembly in the garden of the palace in the Cite, and in presence of the chief ecclesiastical, religious and lay authorities, again laid his case before the people and read an appeal against the pope to a future Council of the Church.

The bull of deposition was to be promulgated on 8th September. On the 7th, while the aged pope was peacefully resting at his native city of Anagni, Guillaume de Nogaret, Philip's minister, bearing the royal banner of France, Sciarra Colonna and other disaffected Italian nobles, with three hundred horsemen, flung themselves into Anagni, crying—"Death to Pope Boniface." The papal palace was unguarded: at the first alarm the cardinals fled and hid themselves, and all but a few faithful servants forsook their master. The defenceless pope believed that his hour was come, but, writes Villani, "Great-souled and valiant as he was, he said, 'Since like Jesus Christ I must be taken by treachery and suffer death, at least I will die like a pope.' He commanded his servants to robe him in the mantle of Peter, to place the crown of Constantine on his head and the keys and crozier in his hands." He ascended the papal throne and calmly waited. Guillaume, Sciarra and the other leaders burst into the apartment, sword in hand, uttering the foulest of insults; but awed and cowed by the indomitable old pontiff, who stood erect in appalling majesty, their weapons dropped as though their hands were palsied and none durst offend him. They set a guard outside the room and proceeded to loot the palace. For three days the grand old pope—he was eighty-six years of age—remained a prisoner, until the people of Anagni rallied and rescued him, and he returned to Rome. In a month the humiliated Boniface died of a broken heart, and before two years were passed his successor in Peter's chair, Pope Clement V., revoked all his bulls and censures, expunged them from the papal register, solemnly condemned his memory and restored the Colonna family to all their honours. Dante, who hated Boniface as cordially as Philip did, and cast him into hell, was yet revolted at the cruelty of the "new Pilate, who had carried the fleur-de-lys into Anagni, who made Christ captive, mocked Him a second time, renewed the gall and vinegar, and slew Him between two living thieves." But the "new Pilate was not yet sated." The business at Anagni had only been effected spendendo molta moneta; the disastrous battle of Courtrai and the inglorious Flemish wars had exhausted the royal treasury; and the debasement of the coinage availing nought, Philip turned his lustful eyes on a once powerful lay order, whose chief seat was at Paris and whose wealth and pride were the talk of Christendom.

After the capture of Jerusalem and the establishment there of a Christian kingdom, pilgrims flocked to the holy places. Soon, however, piteous stories reached Jerusalem of the cruel spoliation and murder of unarmed pilgrims, on their journey from the coast, by hordes of roving lightly-armed Bedouins, against whom the heavily-armed Franks were powerless. The evil was growing well-nigh intolerable when, in 1118, two young French nobles, Hugh of Payens and Godfrey of St. Omer, with other seven youths of highest birth, bound themselves into a lay community, with the object of protecting the pilgrims' way. They took the usual vows of poverty, charity and obedience; St. Bernard drew up their Rule—and we may be sure it was austere enough—pope and patriarch confirmed it. Their garb was a mantle of purest white linen with a red cross embroidered on the shoulder. The order was housed in a wing of the palace, which was built on the site of Solomon's Temple, hard by the Holy Sepulchre, and its members called themselves the Poor Soldiers of Christ and of Solomon's Temple. Their banner, half of black, half of white, was inscribed with the device "non nobis Domine." Their battle-cry "Beauceant," and their seal, two figures on horseback, have not been satisfactorily interpreted—the latter probably portrays a knight riding away with a rescued pilgrim. Soon the little band of nine was joined by hundreds of devoted youths from rich and noble families; endowments to provide them with arms and horses and servants flowed in, and thus was formed the most famous, the purest and the most heroic body of warriors the world has ever seen. Hugh de Payens had gathered three hundred Knights-Templars around him at Jerusalem: in five years nearly every one had been slain in battle. But enthusiasm filled the ranks faster than they were mowed down: none ever surrendered and the order paid no money for ransom. When hemmed in by overwhelming numbers, they fought till the last man fell, or died, a wounded captive, in the hands of the Saracens. Of the twenty-two Grand Masters, seven were killed in battle, five died of wounds, and one of voluntary starvation in the hands of the infidel.

When Acre was lost, and the last hold of the Christians in the Holy Land was wrested from them, only ten Knights-Templars of the five hundred who fought there escaped to Cyprus. They chose Jacques de Molay for Grand Master, replenished their treasury and renewed their members; but their mission was gone for ever. The order was exempt from episcopal jurisdiction and subject to the pope alone; its wealth, courage and devotion were rusting for lack of employment. Boniface VIII., with that grandeur and daring which make of him, despite his faults, so magnificent a figure in history, conceived the idea of uniting them with the other military orders—the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights—and making of the united orders an invincible army to enforce on Europe the decrees of a benevolent and theocratic despotism. They soon became suspected and hated by bishops and kings alike, and at length were betrayed by the papacy itself to their enemies.

In 1304, a pair of renegade Templars,[73] who for their crimes were under sentence of imprisonment for life in the prison at Toulouse, sought an introduction to the king, and promised in return for their liberty to give information of certain monstrous crimes and sacrileges of common and notorious occurrence in the order. Depositions were taken and sent to Philip's creature, Pope Clement V. Some communication passed between them, but no action was taken and the matter seemed to have lapsed. About a year after these events the pope wrote an affectionate letter to Jacques de Molay, inviting him to bring the treasure of the order and his chief officers to France, to confer with himself and the king respecting a new crusade. Jacques and his companions, suspecting nothing, came and were received by pope and king with great friendliness: the treasure, twelve mules' load of gold and silver, was stored in the vaults of the great fortress of the Templars at Paris. Some rumours reached de Molay of the delation made by the Toulousian prisoners, but the pope reassured him in an interview, April 1307, and lulled him into security. On 14th September of the same year the royal officers of the realm were ordered to hold themselves armed for secret service on 12th October, and sealed letters were handed to them to be opened that night. At dawn on the 13th, all the Templars in France were arrested in their beds and flung into the episcopal gaols, and the bishops then proceeded to "examine" the prisoners. One hundred and forty were dealt with in Paris, the centre of the order. The charges and a confession of their truth by the Grand Master were read to them; denial, they were told, was useless: liberty would be the reward of confession, imprisonment the penalty of denial.

[Footnote 73: The contemporary chronicler, Villani, says of one of these scoundrels that he "was named Nosso Dei, one of our Florentines, a man filled with every vice."]

A few confessed and were set free. The remainder were "examined." Starvation and torture of the most incredible ferocity did their work. Thirty-six died under the rack in Paris, and many more in other places; most of the remainder confessed to anything the inquisitors required. Clement, warned by the growing feeling in Europe, now became alarmed, and the next act in the drama opens at the abbey of St. Genevieve in Paris, where a papal commission sat to hear what the Templars had to say in their defence. All were invited to give evidence and promised immunity in the name of the pope. Hundreds came to Paris to defend their order,[74] but having been made to understand by the bishops that they would be burned as heretics if they retracted their confessions, they held back for a time until solemnly assured by the papal commissioners that they had nothing to fear, and might freely speak. Ponzardus de Gysiaco, preceptor of Payens, then came forward and disclosed the atrocious means used to extort confessions, and said if he were so tortured again he would confess anything that were demanded of him; he would face death, however horrible, even by boiling and fire, in defence of his order, but long-protracted and agonising torture was beyond human endurance. Ponzardus was sent back to confinement and the warders were bidden to see that he suffered naught for what he had said. The rugged old master, Jacques de Molay, scarred by honourable wounds, the marks of many a battle with the infidel, was brought before the court and his alleged confession read to him. He was stupefied, and swore that if his enemies were not priests he would know how to deal with them. A second time he was examined and preposterous charges of unnatural crimes were preferred against the order by the king's chancellor, Guillaume de Nogaret. They were drawn from a chronicle at St. Denis, and based on certain statements alleged to have been made by Saladin, Sultan of Babylon (Egypt). Again he was stupefied, and declared he had never heard of such things. And now the Templars' courage rose. Two hundred and thirty-one came forward, emaciated, racked and torn; among them one poor wretch was carried in, whose feet had been burnt by slow fires.[75] Nearly all protested that the confessions had been wrung from them by torture, that their accusers were perjurers, and that they would maintain the purity of their order usque ad mortem ("even unto death"). Many complained that they were poor, illiterate soldiers, neither able to pay for legal defence nor to comprehend the charges indicted in Latin against them. It was Philip's turn now to be alarmed, but the prelates were equal to the crisis. The archbishop of Sens, metropolitan of Paris and brother of the king's chief adviser, convoked a provincial court at his palace in Paris, and condemned to the stake fifty-four of the Knights who had retracted their confessions. On the 10th of May the papal commissioners were appealed to: they expressed their sorrow that the episcopal court was beyond their jurisdiction, but would consider what might be done. Short time was allowed them. The stout-hearted archbishop was not a man to show weakness; he went steadily on with his work, and in spite of appeals from the papal judges for delay, the fifty-four were led forth on the afternoon of the 12th[76] to the open country outside the Porte St. Antoine, near the convent of St. Antoine des Champs, and slowly roasted to death. They bore their fate with the constancy of martyrs, each protesting his innocence with his last breath, and declaring that the charges alleged against the order were false. Two days later, six more were sent to the stake at the Place de Greve. In spite of threats, the prelates went on with their grim work of terror. Many of the bravest Templars still gave the lie to their traducers, but the majority were cowed; further confessions were obtained, and the pope was satisfied. The proudest, bravest and richest order in Christendom was crushed or scattered to the four corners of the world; their vast estates were nominally confiscated to the Knights Hospitallers. But our "most dear brother in Christ, Philip the king, although he was not moved by avarice nor intended the appropriation of the Templars' goods"[77] had to be compensated for the expense of the prosecution: the treasure of the order failed to satisfy the exorbitant claims of the crown, and the Hospitallers were said to have been impoverished rather than enriched by the transfer.

[Footnote 74: The indictment covers seven quarto pages. The charges may be briefly classified as blasphemy, heresy, spitting and trampling on the crucifix, obscene and secret rites, and unnatural crimes.]

[Footnote 75: An approved method of extracting confessions. As late as 1584 at the examination of a papal emissary, the titular archbishop of Cashel, before the Lords Justices, Archbishop Loftus and Sir H. Wallop at Dublin, the easy method failing to do any good "we made commission," writes Loftus to Walsingham, "to put him to torture such as your honour advised us, which was to toast his feet against the fire with hot boots. Yielding to the agony he confessed," etc.—Froude's History, x. p. 619.]

[Footnote 76: There is a significant entry on page 273 of the published trial: in ista pagina nihil est scriptum. The empty page tells of the moment when the papal commissioners, having heard that the fifty-four had been burned, suspended the sitting.]

[Footnote 77: Nihil sibi appropriare intendebat.]

The last act was yet to come. On 11th March 1314, a great stage was erected in the parvis of Notre Dame, and there, in chairs of state, sat the pope's envoy, a cardinal, the archbishop of Sens, and other officers of Christ's Church on earth. The Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and three preceptors were exposed to the people; their alleged confession and the papal bull suppressing the order, and condemning them to imprisonment for life, were read by the cardinal. But, to the amazement of his Eminence, when the clauses specifying the enormities to which the accused had confessed were being recited, the veteran Master and the preceptor of Normandy rose, and in loud voices, heard of all the people, repudiated the confession, and declared that they were wholly guiltless, and ready to suffer death. They had not long to wait. Hurried counsel was held with the king, and that same night Jacques de Molay and the preceptor of Normandy were brought to a little island on the Seine, known as the Isle of the Trellises,[78] and burnt to death, protesting their innocence to the last.

[Footnote 78: Or the isle of the Jews, which, with its sister islet of Bussy, were subsequently joined to the island of the Cite, and now form the Place Dauphine and the land that divides the Pont Neuf. Philip watched the fires from his palace garden.]

"God pays debts, but not in money." An Italian chronicler relates that the Master, while expiring in the flames, solemnly cited pope and king to meet him before the judgment-seat of God. In less than forty days Clement V. lay dead: in eight months Philip IV. was thrown by his horse. Seven centuries later the grisly fortress of the Templars opened its portals, and the last of the unbroken line of the kings of France was led forth to a bloody death.

Those who would read the details of the dramatic examination at Paris before the papal commissioners, may do so in the minutes published by Michelet.[79] The great historian declares that a study of the evidence shook his belief in the Templars' innocence, and that if he were writing his history again, he must needs alter his attitude towards them. Such is not the impression left on the mind of the present writer. Moreover it has been pointed out that there is a suspicious identity in the various groups of testimonies, corresponding to the episcopal courts whence such testimonies came. The royal officers, after the severest search, could find not a single compromising document in the Templars' houses, nothing but a few account books, works of devotion and copies of St. Bernard's Rule. There were undoubtedly unworthy and vicious knights among the fifteen thousand Templars belonging to the order, but the charges brought against them are too monstrous for belief. The call which they had responded to so nobly, however, had long ceased. They were wealthy, proud and self-absorbed. Sooner or later they must infallibly have gone the way of all organisations which have outlived their use and purpose. It is the infamy of their violent destruction for which pope and king must answer at the bar of history.

[Footnote 79: It is to be hoped that some English scholar will do for these most important records, the earliest report of any great criminal trial which we possess, what Mr. T. Douglas Murray has done for the Trial and Rehabilitation of Joan of Arc.]

Philip's reign is also remarkable for the establishment of the Parlement in Paris. From earliest times of the Monarchy, the kings had dispensed justice, surrounded by the chief Churchmen and nobles of the land, thus constituting an ambulatory tribunal which was held wherever the sovereign might happen to be. In 1302 Philip restricted it to judicial functions, and housed it in his palace of the Cite, which on the kings ceasing to dwell there in 1431 became the Palais de Justice. The ancient palace was rebuilt and enlarged by Philip. A vast hall with a double barrel-roof decorated with azure and gold, supported by a central row of columns adorned with statues of the kings of France—the most spacious and most beautiful Gothic chamber in France—and other courts and offices accommodated the Parlement. The tribunal was at first composed of twenty-six councillors or judges, of whom thirteen were lawyers, presided over by the royal chancellor, and sat twice yearly for periods of two months. It consisted of three chambers or courts.[80] The nobles who at first sat among the lay members gradually ceased to attend owing to a sense of their legal inefficiency, and the Parlement became at length a purely legal body. During the imprisonment of John the Good in England, the Parlement[81] sat en permanence, and henceforth became the cour souveraine et capitale of the kingdom. The purity of its members was maintained by severest penalties. In 1336 one of the presidents was convicted of receiving bribes and hanged. Twelve years later the falsification of some depositions was punished with the same severity, and in 1545 a corrupt chancellor was fined 100,000 livres, degraded, and imprisoned for five years. The chief executive officer of the Parlement, known as the Concierge, appointed the bailiffs of the court and had extensive local jurisdiction over dishonest merchants and craftsmen, whose goods he could burn. His official residence, known as the Conciergerie, subsequently became a prison, and so remains to this day. The entrance flanked by the two ancient tours de Cesar et d'Argent, is one of the most familiar objects in Paris. There the Count of Armagnac was assassinated and the cells are still shown where Marie Antoinette, Madame Roland, and many of the chief victims of the Terror were lodged before their execution; where Danton, Hebert, Chaumette, and Robespierre followed each other in one self-same chamber.

[Footnote 80: In the seventeenth century the councillors had increased to one hundred and twenty and the courts to seven.]

[Footnote 81: The term "Parlement" was originally applied to the transaction of the common business of a monastic establishment after the conclusion of the daily chapter.]


Etienne Marcel—the English Invasions—The Maillotins—Murder of the Duke of Orleans—Armagnacs and Burgundians

With the three sons of Philip who successively became kings of France, the direct line of the Capetian dynasty ends: with the accession of Philip VI. in 1328, the house of Valois opens the sad century of the English wars—a period of humiliation and defeat, of rebellious and treacherous princes, civil strife, famine and plague, illumined only by the heroism of a peasant-girl, who, when king and nobles were sunk in shameless apathy or sullen despair, saved France from utter extinction. Pope after pope sought to make peace, but in vain: Hui sont en paix, demain en guerre ("to-day peace, to-morrow war") was the normal and inevitable situation until the English had wholly subjected France or the French driven the English to their natural boundary of the Channel.

Never since the days of Charlemagne had the French Monarchy been so powerful as when the Valois came to the throne: in less than a generation Crecy and Poitiers had made the English name a terror in France, and a French king, John the Good, was led captive to England. In 1346 Paris saw her faubourgs wasted, the palace of St. Germain and the fortress of Montjoie St. Denis[82] spoiled and burnt, and the English camp fires nightly glowing. Once again, as in the dark Norman times, she rose and determined to save herself. Etienne Marcel, the leader of the movement, whose statue now stands near the site of the Maison aux Piliers was a rich merchant prince of old family, a member of the great drapers' guild, and elected Provost of the Marchands d'Eau in 1355. He it was who bought for 2400 florins of gold the Maison des Dauphins, better known as the Maison aux Piliers or Hotel de Ville, on the Place de Greve and transferred thither the seat of the civic administration from the old Parloir aux Bourgeois, enclosed in the south wall of Paris. The Dauphin,[83] who had assumed the title of Lieutenant-General, convoked the States-General at Paris, but he was forced by Marcel and his party to grant some urgent reforms, and a Committee of National Defence was organised by the trade guilds and the provost, who became virtually dictator of Paris. Marcel's rule was however stained by the butchery of the Marshal of Champagne and the Duke of Normandy before the very eyes of the Dauphin in the palace of the Cite, who, horrified, fled to Compiegne to rally the nobles. During the ensuing anarchy the poor, dumb, starving serfs of France, in their hopeless misery and despair, rose in insurrection and swept like a flame over the land. Froissart, who writes from the distorted stories told him by the seigneurs, has woefully exaggerated the atrocities of the Jacquerie."[84] There was much arson and pillage, but barely thirty of the nobles are known to have perished. Of the merciless vengeance taken by the seigneurs there is ample confirmation: the wretched peasants were easily out-manoeuvred and killed like rats by the mail-clad nobles and their men-at-arms. Meanwhile the Dauphin was marching on Paris: Marcel seized the Louvre and set 3000 workmen to fortify the city. In less than a year the greater part of the northern walls, with gates, bastilles and fosses, was completed—the greatest feat, says Froissart, the provost ever achieved. A citizen army was raised, whose hoods of red and blue, the colours of Paris, distinguished them from the royal sympathisers. Marcel turned for support to the Jacques, and on their suppression essayed to win over Charles of Navarre. On 30th November 1357, Charles stood on the royal stage on the walls of the abbey of St. Germain des Pres, whence the kings of France were wont to witness the judicial combats in the Pres aux Clercs, and addressed an assembly of 10,000 citizens. Moult longuement he sermonised, says the Grandes Chroniques, so that dinner was over in Paris before he finished. After yet another harangue at the Maison aux Piliers on 15th June 1358, he was acclaimed by people with "Navarre! Navarre!" and elected the Captain of Paris. An obscure period of plot and counterplot followed which culminated in the ruin of Marcel and his followers. Froissart accuses the provost of a treacherous intent to open the gates of St. Honore and of St. Antoine to Navarre's English mercenaries at midnight on 31st July, and gives a dramatic story of the discovery of the plot and slaying of the provost by Jean Maillart, his friend and associate. We supplement his version from the Chronicle of St. Denis: on the last day of July, Marcel and his suite repaired to the bastille of St. Denis and ordered the guards to surrender the keys to Charles of Navarre's treasurer. Maillart, who had been won over by the Dauphin, had preceded him. The guard refused to hand over the keys and an angry altercation ensued between the former friends. Maillart mounted horse, seized a royal banner, sped to the Halles and to the cry of "Montjoie St. Denis!" called the royal partizans to arms: a similar appeal was made by Pepin des Essards. Meanwhile Marcel had reached the bastille of St. Antoine, where he was met by Maillart and the royal partizans. "Stephen, Stephen!" cried the latter, "what dost thou here at this hour?" "I am here," answered the provost, "to guard the city whose governor I am." "Par Dieu," retorted Maillart, "thou art here for no good," and turning to his followers, said, "Behold the keys which he holds to the destruction of the city." Each gave the other the lie. "Good people," protested Marcel, "why would you do me ill? All I wrought was for your good as well as mine." Maillart for answer smote at him, crying, "Traitor, a mort, a mort!" There was a stubborn fight, and Maillart felled the provost by a blow with his axe; six of the provost's companions were slain, and the remainder haled to prison. Next day the Dauphin entered Paris in triumph, and the popular leaders were executed on the Place de Greve. The provost's body was dragged to the court of the church of St. Catherine du Val des Ecoliers, naked, that it might be seen of all, on the very spot where the bodies of the Marshal of Champagne and the Duke of Normandy had been flung six months before: after a long exposure it was cast into the Seine. All the reforms were revoked by the king, but the remembrance of the time when the merchants and people of Paris had dared to speak to their royal lord face to face of justice and good government, was never obliterated.

[Footnote 82: The royal war-cry, "Montjoie St. Denis," was uttered when the king took the Oriflamme from the altar at St. Denis.]

[Footnote 83: During John the Good's reign, the province of Dauphiny had been added to the French crown, and the king's eldest son took the title of Dauphin.]

[Footnote 84: So called from the familiar appellation "Jacques Bonhomme," applied half in contempt, half in jest, by the seigneurs to the peasants who served them in the wars.]

Next year the English peril again threatened Paris. The invasion of 1359 resembled a huge picnic or hunting expedition. The king of England and his barons brought their hunters, falcons, dogs and fishing tackle. They marched leisurely to Bourg la Reine, less than two leagues from Paris, pillaged the surrounding country and turned to Chartres, where tempest and sickness forced Edward III. to come to terms. After the treaty of Bretigny, in 1360, the Parisians saw their good King John again, who was ransomed for a sum equal to about ten million pounds of present-day value. The memory of this and other enormous ransoms exacted by the English, endured for centuries, and when a Frenchman had paid his creditors he would say,—j'ai paye mes Anglais.[85] ("I have paid my English.") A magnificent reception was accorded to the four English barons who came to sign the Peace at Paris. They were taken to the Sainte Chapelle and shown the fairest relics and richest jewels in the world, and each was given a spine from the crown of thorns, which he deemed the noblest jewel that could be presented to him.

[Footnote 85: Howell mentions the locution in a letter dated 1654.]

The Dauphin, who on the death of good King John in London (1364) became Charles V., by careful statesmanship succeeded in restoring order to the kingdom and to its finances[86] and in winning some successes against the English.

[Footnote 86: Charles taxed and borrowed heavily. Even the members of his household were importuned for loans, however small. His cook lent him frs. 67.50.]

In 1370 their camp fires were again seen outside Paris: but Marcel's wall had now been completed. Charles refused battle and allowed them to ravage the suburbs with impunity. Before the army left, an English knight swore he would joust at the gates of the city, and spurred lance in hand against them. As he turned to ride back, a big butcher lifted his pole-axe, smote the knight on the neck and felled him; four others battered him to death, "their blows," says Froissart, "falling on his armour like strokes on an anvil."

By wise council rather than by war Charles won back much of his dismembered country. He was a great builder and patron of the arts. The Louvre, being now enclosed within the new wall and no longer part of the defences of Paris, was handed over to Raymond of the Temple, Charles' "beloved mason," to transform into a sumptuous palace with apartments for himself and his queen, the princes of the blood and the officers of the royal household. The rooms were decorated with sculpture by Jean de St. Romain, tailleur d'ymages and other carvers in stone, and with paintings, by Jean d'Orleans. Each suite was furnished with a private chapel, those of the king and queen being carved with much "art and patience." A gallery was built for the minstrels and players of instruments. A great garden was planted towards the Rue St. Honore on the north and the old wall of Philip Augustus on the east, in which were an "Hotel des Lions," or collection of wild beasts, and a tennis court, where the king and princes played. The palace accounts still exist, with details of payments for "wine for the stone-cutters which the king our lord gave them when he came to view the works." Jean Callow and Geoffrey le Febre were paid for planting squares of strawberries, hyssop, sage, lavender, balsam, violets, and for making paths, weeding and carrying away stones and filth; others were paid for planting bulbs of lilies, double red roses and other good herbs. Twenty francs were paid to Gobin d'Ays, "who guards our nightingales of our chastel of the Louvre." The first royal library was founded by Charles, and Peter the Cage-maker was employed to protect the library windows of stained glass from birds—it overlooked the falconry—and other beasts, by trellises of wire. In order that scholars might work there at all hours, thirty small chandeliers were provided and a silver lamp was suspended from the vaulting. Solemn masters at grants gages were employed to translate the most notable books[87] from Latin into French; scribes and bookbinders of the university were exempted from the watch. An interesting payment of six francs in gold, made to Jacqueline, widow of a mason "because she is poor and helpless and her husband met his death in working for the king at the Louvre," demonstrates that royal custom had anticipated modern legislation.

[Footnote 87: This priceless collection of books, which at length filled three rooms, was appropriated for a nominal sum by the Duke of Bedford during the English occupation in Paris and sent to England. A few, barely fifty, have survived, of which the greater number have been acquired by the Bibliotheque Nationale.]

Charles surrendered the royal palace in the Cite, associated with bitter memories of Marcel's dictatorship, to the Parlement, and partly bought, partly erected an irregular group of exquisite Gothic mansions and chapels which he furnished with sumptuous magnificence and surrounded with tennis courts, falconries, menageries, delightful and spacious gardens—a hostel solennel des grands esbattements, "where," as the royal edict runs, "we have had many joys and with God's grace have recovered from several great sicknesses, wherefore we are moved to that hostel by love, pleasure and singular affection." This royal city within a city, known as the Hotel St. Paul, covered together with the monastery and church of the Celestins, a vast space, now roughly bounded by the Rue St. Paul, the quai des Celestins and the Rue de Sully, the Rue de l'Arsenal and the Rue St. Antoine. Charles VII. was the last king who dwelt there; the buildings fell to ruin, and between 1519 and 1551 were gradually sold. No vestige of this palace of delight now remains, nothing but the memory of it in a few street names,—the streets of the Fair Trellis, of the Lions of St. Paul, of the Garden of St. Paul, and of the Cherry Orchard. To Charles V. is also due the beautiful chapel of Vincennes and the completion of Etienne Marcel's wall. This third enclosure, began at the Tour de Billi, which stood at the angle formed by the Gare de l'Arsenal and the Seine, extended north by the Boulevard Bourdon, the Place de la Bastille, and the line of the inner Boulevards to the Porte St. Denis; it then turned south-west by the old Porte Montmartre, the Place des Victoires and across the garden of the Palais Royal to the Tour du Bois, a little below the present Pont du Carrousel. It was fortified by a double moat and square towers. The south portion was never begun. In 1370, Charles' provost, Hugues Aubriot, warned his royal master that the Hotel St. Paul would be difficult to defend, and advised him to replace the Bastille[88] of St. Antoine by a great stronghold which might serve as a state prison[89] and as a defence from within and without. In 1380 the dread Bastille of sinister fame, with its eight towers, was raised—ever a hateful memory to the citizens, for it was completed by the royal provost when the provost of the merchants had been suppressed by Charles VI. in 1383.

[Footnote 88: Each gate of the new wall was defended by a kind of fortress called a Bastide or Bastille.]

[Footnote 89: Aubriot is said to have been the first prisoner incarcerated in the dungeon of his own Bastille.]

"Woe to thee O land, when thy king is a child!" During the minority and reign of Charles VI. France lay prostrate under a hail of evils that menaced her very existence, and Paris was reduced to the profoundest misery and humiliation. The breath had not left the old king's body before his elder brother, the Count of Anjou, who was hiding in an adjacent room, hastened to seize the royal treasure and the contents of the public exchequer. No regent had been appointed, and the four royal dukes, the young king's uncles of Anjou, Burgundy, Bourbon, and Berri, began to strive for power.

In 1382 Anjou, who had been suffered to hold the regency, sought to enforce an unpopular tax on the merchants of Paris. A collector having seized an old watercress seller at the Halles with much brutality, the people revolted, armed themselves with the loaded clubs (maillotins) stored in the Hotel de Ville for use against the English, attacked and put to death with great cruelty some of the royal officers and opened the prisons. The court temporised, promised to remit the tax and to grant an amnesty; but with odious treachery caused the leaders of the movement to be seized, put them in sacks and flung them at dead of night into the Seine. The angry Parisians now barricaded their streets and closed their gates against the king. Negotiations followed and by payment of 100,000 francs to the Duke of Anjou the citizens were promised immunity and the king and his uncles entered the city. But the court nursed its vengeance, and after the victory over the Flemings at Rosebecque, Charles and his uncles with a powerful force marched on Paris. The Parisians, 20,000 strong, stood drawn up in arms at Montmartre to meet him. They were asked who were their chiefs and if the Constable de Clisson might enter Paris. "None other chiefs have we," they answered, "than the king and his lords: we are ready to obey their orders." "Good people of Paris," said the Constable on his arrival at their camp, "what meaneth this? meseems you would fight against your king." They replied that their purpose was but to show the king the puissance of his good city of Paris. "'Tis well," said the Constable, "if you would see the king return to your homes and put aside your arms."

On the morrow, 11th January 1383, the king and his court, with 12,000 men-at-arms, appeared at the Porte St. Denis, and there stood the provost of the merchants with the chief citizens in new robes, holding a canopy of cloth of gold. Charles, with a fierce glance, ordered them back; the gates were unhinged and flung down; the royal army entered as in a conquered city. A terrible vengeance ensued. The President of the Parlement and other civil officers, with three hundred prominent citizens, were arrested and cast into prison. In vain was the royal clemency entreated by the Duchess of Orleans, the rector of the university and chief citizens all clothed in black. The bloody diurnal work of the executioner began and continued until a general pardon was granted on March 1st on payment of an enormous fine. The liberties of the city met the same fate. The Maison aux Piliers reverted to the crown, the provostship of the merchants, and all the privileges of the Parisians, were suppressed, and the hateful taxes reimposed. Never had the heel of despotism ground them down so mercilessly; yet was no niggardly welcome given to Isabella of Bavaria, Charles' consort, on her entry into Paris in 1389. "I, the author of this book," says Froissart, after describing at length the usual incidents of a royal procession—the fountains running with wines, aromatic with Orient spices, the music, the ballets, the spectacles, the sumptuous decorations—"I marvelled when I beheld such great foison, for all the grant Rue St. Denis was as richly covered with cloth of camelot and of silk like as were all the cloth had for nothing or that we were in Alexandria or Damascus." A curious incident is related by the chronicler of St. Denis; Charles, desirous of being present incognito at the wondrous scene, bade Savoisy take horse and let him ride behind en croupe. Thus mounted the pair rode to the Chatelet to see the queen pass. There they found much people and a strong guard of sergeants, armed with stout staves with which the officers smote amain to keep back the press, and in the scuffle the king received many a thwack on the shoulders, whereat was great merriment when the thing was known at court in the evening. Three years later a royal progress of far different nature was witnessed in Paris. The king, a poor demented captive, was borne in by the Duke of Orleans to the Hotel St. Paul. In 1393, when he had somewhat recovered from his madness, a grand masked ball was given to celebrate the wedding of one of the ladies of honour who was a widow. The marriage of a widow was always the occasion of riotous mirth, and Charles disguised himself and five of his courtiers as satyrs. They were sewed up in tight-fitting vestments of linen, which were coated with resin and pitch and covered with rough tow; on their heads they wore hideous masks. While the ladies of the court were celebrating the marriage the king and his companions rushed in howling like wolves and indulged in the most uncouth gestures and jokes. The Duke of Orleans, drawing too near with a torch to discover their identity, set fire to the tow and in a second they were enveloped in so many shirts of Nessus. Unable to fling off their blazing dresses they madly ran hither and thither, suffering the most excruciating agony and uttering piteous cries. The king happened to be near the young Duchess of Berri who, with admirable presence of mind, flung her robe over him and rescued him from the flames. One knight saved himself by plunging into a large tub of water in the kitchen, one died on the spot, two died on the second day, another lingered for three days in awful torment. The horror of the scene[90] so affected Charles that his madness returned more violently than ever. His queen abandoned him and he was left to wander like some wild animal about his rooms in the Hotel St. Paul, untended, unkempt, verminous, his only companion his low-born mistress Odette.

[Footnote 90: The scene is quaintly illustrated in an illuminated copy of Froissart in the British Museum.]

The bitterness of the avuncular factions was now intensified. The House of Burgundy by marriage and other means had grown to be one of the most powerful in Europe and was at fierce enmity with the House of Orleans. At the death of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, his son Jean sans Peur, sought to assume his father's supremacy as well as his title: the Duke of Orleans, strong in the queen's support, determined to foil his purpose. Each fortified his hotel in Paris and assembled an army. Friends, however, intervened; they were reconciled, and in November 1407 the two dukes attended mass at the Church of the Grands Augustins, took the Holy Sacrament and dined together. As Jean rose from table the Duke of Orleans placed the Order of the Porcupine round his neck; swore bonne amour et fraternite, and they kissed each other with tears of joy. On 23rd November a forged missive was handed to the Duke of Orleans, requiring his attendance on the queen. He set forth on a mule, accompanied by two squires and five servants carrying torches. It was a sombre night, and as the unsuspecting prince rode up the Rue Vieille du Temple behind his little escort, humming a tune and playing with his glove, a band of assassins fell upon him from the shadow of the postern La Barbette, crying "a mort, a mort" and he was hacked to death. Then issued from a neighbouring house at the sign of Our Lady, Jean sans Peur, a tall figure concealed in a red cloak, lantern in hand, who gazed at the mutilated corpse. "C'est bien," said he, "let's away." They set fire to the house to divert attention and escaped. Four months before, the house had been hired on the pretext of storing provisions, and for two weeks a score of assassins had been concealed there, biding their time. On the morrow, Burgundy with the other princes went to asperse the dead body with holy water in the church of the Blancs Manteaux, and as he drew nigh, exclaiming against the foul murder, blood is said to have issued from the wounds. At the funeral he held a corner of the pall, but his guilt was an open secret, and though he braved it out for a time he was forced to flee to his lands in Flanders for safety. In a few months, however, Jean was back in force at Paris, and a doctor of the Sorbonne pleaded an elaborate justification of the deed before the assembled princes, nobles, clergy and citizens at the Hotel St. Paul. The poor crazy king was made to declare publicly that he bore no ill-will to his dear cousin of Burgundy, and later, on the failure of a conspiracy of revenge by the queen and the Orleans party, to grant full pardon for a deed "committed for the welfare of the kingdom." The cutting of the Rue Etienne Marcel has exposed the strong machicolated tower still bearing the arms of Burgundy (two planes and a plumb line), which Jean sans Peur built to fortify the Hotel de Bourgogne, as a defence and refuge against the Orleans faction and the people of Paris. The Orleans family had for arms a knotted stick, with the device "Je l'ennuis": the Burgundian arms with the motto, "Je le tiens," implied that the knotted stick was to be planed and levelled.

The arrival of Jean sans Peur, and the fortification of his hotel were the prelude to civil war, for the Orleanists and their allies had rallied to the Count of Armagnac, whose daughter Anne, the new Duke Louis of Orleans had married, and fortified themselves in their stronghold on the site now occupied by the Palais Royal.

The Armagnacs, for so the Orleanists were now called, thirsted for revenge, and for five years Paris was the scene of frightful atrocities as each faction gained the upper hand and took a bloody vengeance on its rivals. At length the infamous policy of an alliance with the English was resorted to. The temptation was too great for the English king, and in 1415 Henry V. met the French army, composed almost entirely of the Armagnacs, at Agincourt, and inflicted on it a defeat more disastrous than Crecy or Poitiers. The famous oriflamme of St. Denis passed from history in that fatal year of 1415. The Count of Armagnac hurried to Paris, seized the mad king and the dauphin, and held the capital.

In 1417 the English returned under Henry V. The Burgundians had promised neutrality, and the defeated Armagnacs were forced in their need to "borrow[91] of the saints." But hateful memories clung to them in Paris and they were betrayed. On the night of 29th May 1418, the son of an ironmonger on the Petit Pont, who had charge of the wicket of the Porte St. Germain, crept into his father's room and stole the keys while he slept. The gate was then opened to the Burgundians, who seized the person of the helpless and imbecile king. Some Armagnacs escaped, bearing the dauphin with them, and the remainder were flung into prison. The Burgundian partisans in the city, among whom was the powerful corporation of the butchers and fleshers, now rose, and on Sunday, 14th June, ran to the prisons. A night of terror ensued. Before dawn, fifteen hundred Armagnacs were indiscriminately butchered under the most revolting circumstances; the count himself perished, and a strip of his skin was carried about Paris in mockery of the white scarf of the Armagnacs. Jean sans Peur and Queen Isabella[92] entered the city, amid the acclamation of the people, and soon after a second massacre followed, in spite of Jean's efforts to prevent it. Burgundy was now master of Paris, but the Armagnacs were swarming in the country around and the English marching without let on the city. In these straits he sought a reconciliation with the dauphin and his Armagnac counsellors at Melun, on 11th July 1419. On 10th September a second conference was arranged, and duke and dauphin, each with ten attendants, met in a wicker enclosure on the bridge at Montereau. Jean doffed his cap and knelt to the dauphin, but before he could rise was felled by a blow from an axe and stabbed to death.

[Footnote 91: They melted down the reliquaries in the Paris churches.]

[Footnote 92: In 1417 Charles, returning from a visit to the queen at the castle of Vincennes, met the Chevalier Bois-Burdon going thither. He ordered his arrest, and under torture a confession reflecting on the queen's honour was extorted. Bois-Burdon was delivered to the provost at the Chatelet, and one night, sans declarer la cause au people, sewn in a sack and dropped into the Seine. The queen was banished to Tours, and her jewels and treasures confiscated. Furious with the king and the Armagnac faction, she made common cause with the Duke of Burgundy.]

In 1521 a monk at Dijon showed the skull of Jean sans Peur to Francis I., and pointing to a hole made by the assassin's axe, said: "Sire, it was through this hole that the English entered France." On receipt of the news of his father's murder, the new Duke of Burgundy, Philip le Bon, flung himself into the arms of the English, and by the treaty of Troyes on May 20, 1420, Henry V. was given a French princess to wife and the reversion of the crown of France, which, after Charles' death, was to be united ever more to that of England. But the French crown never circled Henry's brow: on August 31, 1422, he lay dead at Vincennes. His body after being embalmed was exposed with great pomp in the royal abbey of St. Denis before its translation to Westminster Abbey and an infant son of nine months was left to inherit the dual monarchy. Within a few weeks of Henry's death the hapless king of France was entombed under the same roof; a royal herald cried "for God's pity on the soul of the most high and most excellent Charles, king of France, our natural sovereign lord," and in the next breath hailed "Henry of Lancaster, by the grace of God, king of France and of England, our sovereign lord." All the royal officers broke their wands, flung them in the tomb and reversed their maces as a token that their functions were at an end. The red rose of Lancaster was added to the arms of Paris and at the next festival the Duke of Bedford was seen in the Sainte Chapelle of St. Louis, exhibiting the crown of thorns to the people as Regent of France, and a statue[93] of Henry V. of England was raised in the great hall of the Palais de Justice, following on the line of the kings of France from Pharamond to Charles.

[Footnote 93: The statue was mutilated at the expulsion of the English in 1446 and was destroyed in the fire of 1618.]


Jeanne d'Arc—Paris under the English—End of the English Occupation

The occupation of Paris by the English was the darkest hour in her story, yet amid the universal misery and dejection the treaty of Troyes was hailed with joy. When the two kings, riding abreast moult noblement, followed by the Dukes of Clarence and Bedford, entered Paris after its signature, the whole way from the Porte St. Denis to Notre Dame was filled with people crying, "Noel, noel!"

The university, the parlement, the queen-mother, the whole of North France, from Brittany and Normandy to Flanders, from the Channel to the line of the Loire, accepted the situation, and the Duke of Burgundy, most powerful of the royal princes, was a friend of the English. Yet a few French hearts beat true. While the regent Duke of Bedford was entering Paris, a handful of knights unfurled the royal banner at Melun, crying—"Long live King Charles, seventh of the name, by the grace of God king of France!" And what a pitiful incarnation of national independence was this to whom the devoted sons of France were now called to rally!—a feeble youth of nineteen, indolent, licentious, mocked at by the triumphant English as the "little king of Bourges."

The story of the resurrection of France at the call of an untutored village girl is one of the most enthralling dramas of history, which may not here be told. When all men had despaired; when the cruelty, ambition and greed of the princes of France had wrought her destruction; when the miserable dauphin at Chinon was prepared to seek safety by an ignominious flight to Spain or Scotland; when Orleans, the key to the southern provinces, was about to fall into English hands—the means of salvation were revealed in the ecstatic visions of a simple peasant maid. Jeanne deemed her mission over after the solemn coronation at Rheims, but to her ill-hap, was persuaded to follow the royal army after the retreat of the English from Senlis, and on 23rd August she occupied St. Denis. She declared at her trial that her voices told her to remain at St. Denis, but that the lords made her attack Paris. On the 8th September the assault was made, but it was foiled by the king's apathy, the incapacity and bitter jealousy of his counsellors, and the action of double-faced Burgundy. In the afternoon Jeanne, while sounding the depth of the fosse with her lance,[94] was wounded by an arrow in the thigh. She remained till late evening, when she was carried away to St. Denis at whose shrine she hung up her arms—her mysterious sword from St. Catherine de Fierbois and her banner of pure white, emblazoned with the fleur-de-lys and the figure of the Saviour, with the device "Jesu Maria."

[Footnote 94: An equestrian statue in bronze stands at the south end of the Rue des Pyramides, a few hundred yards from the spot where the Maid fell before the Porte St Honore.]

Six months later, while Charles was sunk in sloth at the chateau of Sully, Jeanne was captured by the Burgundians at the siege of Compiegne, and her enemies closed on her like bloodhounds. The university of Paris and the Inquisition wrangled for her body, but English gold bought her from her Burgundian captors and sent her to a martyr's death at Rouen. Those who would read the sad record of her trial may do so in the pages of Mr. Douglas Murray's translation of the minutes of the evidence, and may assist in imagination at the eighteen days' forensic baiting of the hapless child (she was but nineteen years of age), whose lucid simplicity broke through the subtle web of theological chicanery which was spun to entrap her by the most cunning of the Sorbonne doctors.

"The English burnt her," says a Venetian merchant, "thinking that fortune would turn in their favour, but may it please Christ the Lord that the contrary befall them!" And so in truth it happened. Disaster after disaster wrecked the English cause; the Duke of Bedford died, Philip of Burgundy and Charles were reconciled, and Queen Isabella went to a dishonoured grave. The English were driven out of Paris, and in 1453, of all the "large and ample empery" of France, won at the cost of a hundred years of bloodshed and cruel devastation, a little strip of land at Calais and Guines alone remained to the English crown. Charles, who with despicable cowardice had suffered the heroic Maid to be done to death by the English without a thought of intervention, was moved to call for a tardy reparation of the atrocious injustice at Rouen; and a quarter of a century after the Te Deum sung in Notre Dame at Paris for her capture, another, a very different scene, was witnessed in the cathedral. "The case for her rehabilitation," says Mr. Murray, "was solemnly opened there, and the mother and brothers of the Maid came before the court to present their humble petition for a revision of her sentence, demanding only 'the triumph of truth and justice.' The court heard the request with some emotion. When Isabel d'Arc threw herself at the feet of the Commissioners, showing the papal rescript and weeping aloud, so many joined in the petition that at last, we are told, it seemed that one great cry for justice broke from the multitude."

The story of Paris under the English is a melancholy one. Despite the coronation of the young king at Notre Dame and the rigid justice and enlightened policy of Bedford's regency, they failed to win the affection of the Parisians. Rewards to political friends, punishments and confiscations inflicted on the disaffected, the riotous and homicidal conduct of some of the English garrison, the depression in commerce and depreciation of property brought their inevitable consequences—a growing hatred of the English name.[95] The chapter of Notre Dame was compelled to sell the gold vessels from the treasury. Hundred of houses were abandoned by their owners, who were unable to meet the charges upon them. In 1427 by a royal instrument the rent of the Maison des Singes was reduced from twenty-six livres to fourteen, "seeing the extreme diminution of rents."

[Footnote 95: In 1421 and 1422 the people of Paris had seen Henry V. and his French consort sitting in state at the Louvre, surrounded by a brilliant throng of princes, prelates and barons. Hungry crowds watched the sumptuous banquet and then went away fasting, for nothing was offered them. "It was not so in the former times under our kings," they murmured, "then was open table kept, and servants distributed the meats and wine even of the king himself."]

Some curious details of life in Paris under the English have come down to us. By a royal pardon granted to Guiot d'Eguiller, we learn that he and four other servants of the Duke of Bedford, and of our "late very dear and very beloved aunt the Duchess of Bedford whom God pardon," were drinking one night at ten o'clock in a tavern where hangs the sign of L'Homme Arme.[2] Hot words arose between them and some other tipplers, to wit, Friars Robert, Peter, and William of the Blancs Manteaux, who were disguised as laymen and wearing swords. Friar Robert lost his temper and struck at the servants with his naked sword. The friar, owing to the strength of the wine or to inexperience in the use of secular weapons, cut off the leg of a dog instead of hitting his man; the friars then ran away, pursued by three of the servants—Robin the Englishman, Guiot d'Eguiller and one Guillaume. The fugitive friars took refuge in a deserted house in the Rue du Paradis (now des Francs Bourgeois), and threw stones at their pursuers. There was a fight, during which Guillaume lost his stick and snatching Guiot's sword struck at Friar Robert through the door of the house. He only gave one "cop," but it was enough, and there was an end of Friar Robert.

A certain Gilles, a povre homme laboureur, went to amuse himself at a game of tennis in the hostelry kept by Guillaume Sorel, near the Porte St. Honore, and fell a-wrangling with Sorel's wife concerning some lost tennis balls. Madame Sorel clutched him by the hair and tore out some handfuls. Gilles seized her by the hood, disarranged her coif, so that it fell about her shoulders, "and in his anger cursed God our Creator." This came to the bishop's ears, and Gilles was cast for blasphemy into the bishop's oven, as the episcopal prison was called, where he lay in great misery. He was examined and released on promising to offer a wax candle of two pounds' weight before the image of our Lady of Paris at the entrance of the choir of Notre Dame.

The fifteen years of English rule at Paris came to a close in 1446. Three years before that date, a goldsmith was at dejeuner with a baker and a shoemaker, and they fell a-talking of the state of trade, of the wars and of the poverty of the people of Paris. The goldsmith[96] grumbled loudly and said that his craft was the poorest of all; people must have shoes and bread, but none could afford to employ a goldsmith. Then, thinking no evil, he said that good times would never return in Paris until there were a French king, the university full again, and the Parlement obeyed as in former times. Whereupon Jean Trolet, the shoemaker, added that things could not last in their present state, and that if there were only five hundred men who would agree to begin a revolution, they would soon find thousands leagued with them. Jean Trolet's loose tongue cost him dear, but the general unrest which this incident illustrates burst forth in plot after plot, and on 13th April, 1446, the Porte St. Jacques was opened by some citizens to the Duke of Richemont, Constable of France, who, with 2000 knights and squires, entered the city and, to the cry of Ville gagnee! the fleur-de-lys waved again from the ramparts of Paris. The English garrison under Lord Willoughby fortified themselves in the Bastille of St. Antoine but capitulated after two days. Bag and baggage, out they marched, circled the walls as far as the Louvre, and embarked for Rouen amid the execrations of the people. Never again did an English army enter Paris until the allies marched in after Waterloo in 1815.

[Footnote 96: The fifteenth-century goldsmiths of Paris: Loris, the Hersants, and Jehan Gallant, were famed throughout Europe.]


Louis XI. at Paris—The Introduction of Printing

Paris saw little of Charles VII. who, after the temporary activity excited by the expulsion of the English, had sunk into his habitual torpor and bondage to women. In 1461 the wretched monarch, morbid and half-demented, died of a malignant disease, all the time haunted by fears of poison and filial treachery. The people named him Charles le bien servi (the well-served), for small indeed was the praise due to him for the great deliverance.

When the new king, Louis XI., quitted his asylum at the Burgundian court to be crowned at Rheims and to repair to St. Denis, he was shocked by the contrast between the rich cities and plains of Flanders and the miserable aspect of the country he traversed—ruined villages, fields that were so many deserts, starving creatures clothed in rags, and looking as if they had just escaped from dungeons.

It is beyond the scope of the present work to describe the successful achievement of Louis' policy of concentrating the whole government in himself as absolute sovereign of France, by the overthrow of feudalism and the subjection of the great nobles with their almost royal power and state. His indomitable will, his consummate patience, his profound knowledge of human motives and passions, his cynical indifference to means, make him one of the most remarkable of the kings of France. In 1465, menaced by a coalition of nobles, the so-called League of the Public Good, Louis hastened to the capital. Letters expressing his tender affection for his dear city of Paris preceded him—he was coming to confide to them his queen and hoped-for heir; rather than lose his Paris, which he loved beyond all cities of the world, he would sacrifice half his kingdom. But the Parisians were far from being impressed by the majesty of their new monarch. "Our king," says De Comines, "used to dress so ill that worse could not be—often wearing bad cloth and a shabby hat with a leaden image stuck in it." When he entered Abbeville with the magnificent Duke of Burgundy, the people said "Benedicite! is that a king of France? Why, his horse and clothes together are not worth twenty francs!" and a Venetian ambassador was amazed to see the most mighty and most Christian king take his dinner in a tavern on the market-place of Tours, after hearing mass in the cathedral. The citizens remembered, too, his refusal to accord them some privileges granted to other cities; they were sullen at first and would not be wooed. The university declined to arm her scholars, Church and Parlement were hostile. The idle, vagabond clercs of the Palais and the Cite composed coarse gibes and satirical songs and ballads against his person. Louis, however, set himself with his insinuating grace of speech to win the favour of the Parisians. He supped with the provost and sheriffs and their wives at the Hotel de Ville. He chose six members from the burgesses, six from the Parlement and six from the university, to form his Council, and with daring confidence, decided to arm Paris. A levy of every male able to bear arms between sixteen and sixty years of age was made, and the citizen army was reviewed near St. Antoine des Champs, in the presence of the king and queen. From 60,000 to 80,000 men, half of them well-armed, marched past, with sixty-seven banners of the trades guilds, not counting those of the municipal officers, the Parlement and the university. The nobles were checkmated, and they were glad to accede to a treaty which gave them ample spoils, and Louis, time to recover himself. The "Public Good" was barely mentioned.

Louis, when at Paris, refused to occupy the Louvre and chose to dwell in the new Hotel des Tournelles, near the Porte St. Antoine, built for the Duke of Bedford and subsequently presented to Louis when Dauphin by his royal father; for thither a star led him one evening as he left Notre Dame. Often would he issue en bourgeois from the Tournelles to sup with his gossips in Paris and scarcely a day passed without the king being seen at mass in Notre Dame.

"When King Louis," says De Comines, "retired from the interview[97] with Edward IV. of England, he spake with me by the way and said he found the English king too ready to visit Paris, which thing was not pleasing to him. The king was a handsome man and very fond of women; he might find some affectionate mistress there, who would speak him so many fair words that she would make him desire to return; his predecessors had come too often to Paris and Normandy, and he did not like his company this side the sea, but beyond the sea he was glad to have him for friend and brother."

[Footnote 97: At the conclusion of the Hucksters' Peace at Amiens.]

Louis had long desired to punish the Count of St. Pol for treachery, and as a result of a treaty with Charles of Burgundy, in 1475, had him at length in the Bastille. Soon on a scaffold in the Place de Greve his head rolled from his body at a tremendous coup of Petit Jean's sword, and a column of stone twelve feet high erected where he fell, gave terrible warning to traitorous princes, however mighty; for the count was Constable of France, the king's brother-in-law, a member of the Imperial House of Luxemburg, and connected with many of the sovereign families of Europe.

Two years later another noble victim, the Duke of Nemours, fell into the king's power and saw the inside of one of Louis' iron cages in the Bastille. The king, who had learnt that the chains had been removed from the prisoner's legs, that he might go to hear mass, commanded his jailer not to let him budge from his cage except to be tortured (gehenne) and the duke wrote a piteous letter, praying for clemency and signing himself le pauvre Jacques. In vain: him, too, the headsman's axe sent to his account at the Halles.

The news of the humiliating Peace of Peronne, after the king had committed the one great folly of his career by gratuitously placing himself in Charles the Bold's power,[98] was received by the Parisians with many gibes. The royal herald proclaimed at sound of trumpet by the crossways of Paris: "Let none be bold or daring enough to say anything opprobrious against the Duke of Burgundy, either by word of mouth, by writing, by signs, paintings, roundelays, ballads, songs or gestures." On the same day a commission seized all the magpies and jackdaws in Paris, whether caged or otherwise, which were to be registered according to their owners, with all the pretty words that the said birds could repeat and that had been taught them: the pretty word that these chattering birds had been taught to say was "Peronne." Louis' abasement at Peronne was, however, amply avenged by the battle of Granson, when the mighty host of "invincible" Charles was overwhelmed by the Switzers in 1476. A year later, the whole fabric of Burgundian ambition was shattered and the great duke lay a mutilated and frozen corpse before the walls of Nancy. Louis' joy at the destruction of his enemy was boundless, but in the very culmination of his success he was struck down by paralysis, and though he rallied for a time the end was near. Haunted by fear of treachery, he immured himself in the gloomy fortress of Plessis. The saintly Francesco da Calabria, relics from Florence, from Rome, the Holy Oil from Rheims, turtles from Cape Verde Islands—all were powerless; the arch dissembler must now face the ineluctable prince of the dark realms, who was not to be bribed or cajoled even by kings.

[Footnote 98: The reader will hardly need to be reminded that this amazing folly forms one of the principal episodes in Scott's Quentin Durward.]

When at last Louis took to his bed, his physician, Jacques Cottier, told him that most surely his hour was come. Confession made, he gave much political counsel and some orders to be observed by le Roi, as he now called his son, and spoke, says De Comines, "as dryly as if he had never been ill. And after so many fears and suspicions Our Lord wrought a miracle and took him from this miserable world in great health of mind and understanding. Having received all the sacraments and suffering no pain and always speaking to within a paternoster of his death, he gave orders for his sepulture. May the Lord have his soul and receive him in the realm of Paradise!"

It was in Louis' reign that the art of printing was introduced into Paris. As early as 1458 the master of the mint had been sent to Mainz to learn something of the new art, but without success. In 1463, Fust and his partner, Schoeffer, had brought some printed books to Paris, but the books were confiscated and the partners were driven out of the city, owing to the jealousy of the powerful corporation of the scribes and booksellers, who enjoyed a monopoly from the Sorbonne of the sale of books in Paris; and in 1474 Louis paid an indemnity of 2500 crowns to Schoeffer for the confiscation of his books and for the trouble he had taken to introduce printed books into his capital. In 1470, at the invitation of two doctors of the Sorbonne, Guillaume Fichet and Jean de la Puin, Ulmer Gering of Constance and two other Swiss printers set up a press near Fichet's rooms in the Sorbonne. In 1473 a press was at work at the sign of the Soleil d'Or (Golden Sun), in the Rue St. Jacques, under the management of two Germans, Peter Kayser, Master of Arts, and John Stohl, assisted by Ulmer Gering. In 1483 the last-named removed to the Rue de la Sorbonne, where the doctors granted to him and his new partner, Berthold Rumbolt of Strassburg, a lease for the term of their lives. They retained their sign of the Soleil d'Or, which long endured as a guarantee of fine printing. The earliest works had been printed in beautiful Roman type, but unable to resist the favourite Gothic introduced from Germany, Gering was led to adopt it towards the year 1480, and the Roman was soon superseded. From 1480 to 1500 we meet with many French printers' names: Antoine Verard, Du Pre, Cailleau, Martineau, Pigouchet—clearly proving that the art had then been successfully transplanted.

The re-introduction of Roman characters about 1500 was due to the famous house of the Estiennes, whose admirable editions of the Latin and Greek classics are the delight of bibliophiles. Robert Estienne was wont to hang proof sheets of his Greek and Latin classics outside his shop, offering a reward to any passer-by who pointed out a misprint or corrupt reading. Their famous house was the meeting-place of scholars and patrons of literature. Francis I. and his sister Margaret of Angouleme, authoress of the Heptameron, were seen there, and legend says that the king was once kept waiting by the scholar-printer while he finished correcting a proof. All the Estienne household, even the children, conversed in Latin, and the very servants are said to have grown used to it. In 1563 Francis I. remitted 30,000 livres of taxes to the printers of Paris, as an act of grace to the professors of an art that seemed rather divine than human. But in spite of royal favour printing was a poor career. The second Henry Estienne, who composed a Greek-Latin lexicon, died in poverty at a hospital in Lyons; the last of the family, the third Robert Estienne, met a similar miserable end at the Hotel Dieu in Paris. So great was the reaction in the university against the violence of the Lutherans and the daring of the printers, that in 1534 all the presses were ordered to be closed. In 1537 no book was allowed to be printed without permission of the Sorbonne, and in 1556 an order was made, it is said at the instance of Diane de Poitiers, that a copy in vellum of every book printed by royal privilege should be deposited at the royal library. After Gering's death the forty presses then working in Paris were reduced to twenty-four, in order that every printer might have sufficient work to live by and not be tempted by poverty to print prohibited books or execute cheap and inferior printing.


Francis I.—The Renaissance at Paris

The advent of the printing-press and the opening of a Greek lectureship by Gregory Tyhernas and Hermonymus of Sparta at the Sorbonne warns us that we are at the end of an epoch. With the accession of Charles VIII. and the beginning of the Italian wars a new era is inaugurated. Gothic architecture had reached its final development and structural perfection, in the flowing lines of the flamboyant style;[99] painting and sculpture, both in subject and expression, assume a new aspect. The diffusion of ancient literature and the discovery of a new world, open wider horizons to men's minds, and human thought and human activity are directed towards other, and not always nobler, ideals. Mediaevalism passes away and Paris begins to clothe herself in a new vesture of stone.

[Footnote 99: Flamboyant windows were a natural, technical development of Gothic. The aim of the later builders was to facilitate the draining away of the water which the old mullioned windows used to retain.]

The Paris of the fifteenth century was a triple city of overhanging timbered houses, "thick as ears of corn in a wheatfield," of narrow, crooked streets,[100] unsavoury enough, yet purified by the vast open spaces and gardens of the monasteries, from which emerged the innumerable spires and towers of her churches and palaces and colleges. In the centre was the legal and ecclesiastical Cite, with its magnificent Palais de Justice; its cathedral and a score of fair churches enclosed in the island, which resembled a great ship moored to the banks of the Seine by five bridges all crowded with houses. One of the most curious characteristics of Old Paris was the absence of any view of the river, for a man might traverse its streets and bridges without catching a glimpse of the Seine.

[Footnote 100: The drainage of an old city was offensive to the smell rather than essentially insanitary. "Mediaeval sewers," says Dr. Charles Creighton in his History of Epidemics in Britain, pp. 323-4, "were banked-up water-courses ... freely open to the greatest of all purifying agents, the oxygen of the air."]

The portal of the Petit Chatelet at the end of the Petit Pont opened on the university and learned district on the south bank of the Seine, with its fifty colleges and many churches clustering about the slopes of the mount of St. Genevieve, which was crowned by the great Augustine abbey and church founded by Clovis. Near by, stood the two great religious houses and churches of the Dominicans and Franciscans, the Carthusian monastery and its scores of little gardens, the lesser monastic buildings and, outside the walls, the vast Benedictine abbatial buildings and suburb of St. Germain des Pres, with its stately church of three spires, its fortified walls, its pillory and its permanent lists, where judicial duels were fought. On the north bank lay the busy, crowded industrial and commercial district known as the Ville, with its forty-four churches, the hotels of the rich merchants and bankers, the fortified palaces of the nobles, all enclosed by the high walls and square towers of Charles the Fifth's fortifications, and defended at east and west by the Bastille of St. Antoine and the Louvre. To the east stood the agglomeration of buildings known as Hotel St. Paul, a royal city within a city, with its manifold princely dwellings and fair gardens and pleasaunces sloping down to the Seine; hard by to the north was the Duke of Bedford's Hotel des Tournelles, with its memories of the English domination. At the west, against the old Louvre, were among others, the hotels of the Constable of Bourbon and the Duke of Alencon, and out in the fields beyond, the smoking kilns of the Tuileries (tile factories).

North and east and west of the municipal centre, the Maison aux Piliers, on the Place de Greve, was a maze of streets filled with the various crafts of Paris. The tower of the great church of St. Jacques de la Boucherie, as yet unfinished, emerged from the butchers' and skinners' shops and slaughter-houses, which at the Rue des Lombards met the clothiers and furriers; the cutlers and the basket-makers were busy in streets now swept away to give place to the Avenue Victoria. Painters, glass-workers and colour merchants, grocers and druggists, made bright and fragrant the Rue de la Verrerie, weavers' shuttles rattled in the Rue de la Tixanderie (now swallowed up in the Rue de Rivoli); curriers and tanners plied their evil-smelling crafts in the Rue (now Quai) de la Megisserie, and bakers crowded along the Rue St. Honore. The Rue des Juifs sheltered the ancestral traffic of the children of Abraham. At the foot of the Pont au Change, on which were the shops of the goldsmiths and money-lenders stood the grim thirteenth-century fortress of the Chatelet, the municipal guard-house and prison; to the north in the Rue de Heaumarie (Armourers) lay the Four aux Dames or prison of the abbesses of Montmartre; further on westward stood the episcopal prison, or Four de l'Eveque. North-west of the Chatelet was the Hotel du Chevalier du Guet or watch-house and round about it a congeries of narrow, crooked lanes, haunts of ill-fame, where robbers lurked and vice festered. A little to the north were the noisy market-place of the Halles and the cemetery of the Innocents with its piles of skulls, and its vaulted arcade painted (1424) with the Dance of Death. Further north stood the immense abbey of St. Martin in the Fields, with its cloister and gardens and, a little to the west, the grisly crenelated and turreted fortress of the Knights-Templars, huge in extent and one of the most solid edifices in the whole kingdom. This is the Paris conjured from the past with such magic art by Victor Hugo in "Notre Dame," and gradually to be swept away in the next centuries by the Renaissance, pseudo-classic and Napoleonic builders and destroyers, until to-day scarcely a wrack is left behind.

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