Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

Both French and English Bishops Preach War

After the collapse of the Peace of Bretigny in 1369, both French and English bishops became involved in justifying the renewed war.

Book I, ch. 257. By the advice of the duke of Berry, the duke of Anjou sent the archbishop of Toulouse from that city, during the time these armies were overrunning the country, to the city of Cahors, of which place his brother was bishop. This archbishop was a very learned clerk, as well as a valiant man. He preached up this quarrel of the king of France so earnestly, and so well, that the city of Cahors turned to the French side: and the inhabitants swore from this time forth they would be loyal and faithful subjects to the king of France.

After this, the archbishop continued his journey through the country, preaching everywhere, with such good success, the rights of the king of France, that all the people of those parts embraced his opinions: and upwards of sixty towns, castles, and fortresses were turned to the king of France, with the assistance of the army of the duke of Berry; that is to say, of sir John d'Armagnac and the others who were overrunning the coutnry. He caused also Sigeac Gaignac, Capedonac, and several other principal towns and strong castles to change sides; for he remonstrated and preached, that the king of France had a good and clear right in this quarrel, with such effect, that all who heard him were convinced: besides, naturally in their hearts they were more French than English, which greatly helped this business.

In like manner, as the archbishop went preaching and remonstrating on the justice of the quarrel of the king of France along the confines of Languedoc, there were in Picardy many prelates and lawyers who were as active in doing the same duty, by preaching and converting the people of the cities, large towns, and villages. Sir William de Dormans, in particular, distinguished himself by preaching this quarrel of the king of France from city to city, and from town to town, so wisely and ably that all people listened to him willingly; and it was wonderful how well he coloured the whole business through the kingdom by his harangues.

In addition to this, the king of France, moved by devotion and humility, ordered frequent processions of the whole clergy: when he himself, as well as the queen, attended without stockings, and bare-footed. In this manner, they went praying and supplicating God to listen to them, and to the necessities of the kingdom of France, which had been for so long a time under tribulation. The king ordered all the subjects of his realm to do the same, by the advice of the prelates and churchmen.

The king of England acted in a similar manner in his kingdom. There was at that time a bishop of London who made several long and fine sermons: he demonstrated and preached in these sermons, that the kingo of France had most unjustly renewed the war, and that it was against right and reason, as he plainly showed in different points and articles.

In truth, it was but proper, that both kings, since they were determined on war, should explain and make clear to their subjects the cause of the quarrel, that they might understand it, and have the better will to assist their kings; to which purpose they were all equally alert in the two kingdoms.

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