Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

Peter du Bois retires from Ghent to England (1386)

The war leader of Ghent does not trust the new peace with the duke of Burgundy.

Book II, ch. 179 (Johnes, v. 2, pp. 66-7).  When all these ordinances and treaties of peace had been engrossed and sealed, they were published before the parties: the duke of Burgundy had one part, and the deputies from Ghent the other. Francis Atremen and the deputation with him most humbly took leave of the duke and duchess of Burgundy, and of the duchess of Brabant, thanking them repeatedly, and offering their services to their services to them for ever. The good lady of Brabant returned their thanks, and kindly entreated them firmly to maintain the peace, and induce others to do the same, and desired them never to rebel against their lord and lady, for they had seen. with how much difficulty peace had now been brought about. They thanked her heartily, and the conference broke up, and each retired to his home.  The duke and duchess of Burgundy went to Lille, where they staid some time, and the deputation returned to Ghent.

When Peter du Bois saw peace so firmly established that there was not a possibility of any future disturbance or rebellion, he was greatly cast down: he doubted whether to remain in Ghent, considering that now everything had been pardoned under the seal of the duke, so that none were afraid, or whether to accompany the lord Bourchier and the English to England. Having paid due attention to all circumstances, he did not think he could venture to trust himself in Ghent.

True it is, that Francis Atremen, when he mentioned his intentions of quitting Ghent, said, "Peter, everything is pardoned; and you know, by the treaties made and sealed with my lord of Burgundy, that no one can suffer for what has passed."

"Francis," replied Peter, "real pardons do not always lie in letters patent : one may pardon by word of mouth, and give letters to the same effect, but hatred may still lie in the heart. I am but a man of low birth, and little consequence in the town of Ghent, and yet have done all in my power to maintain its rights and privileges. Do you think, that in two or three years hence, the people will remember it? There are persons of high birth in the town : Gilbert Matthew and his brethren, who were enemies to my master John Lyon, will return, and will never view me but with evil eyes; as will also the relations of sir Gilbert Gente and sir Symon Bete, who were slain by me: never can I trust myself safely in this town. And will you venture to remain among such traitors, who have broken their faith with the king of England? I swear, that you yourself will in the end suffer."

" I know not what may happen," answered Francis; "but I have such faith in the treaty, and in the promises of my lord and lady of Burgundy, that I shall certainly stay here."

Peter du Bois made a supplication to the sheriffs, deacons, council, and governors of Ghent, saying, "My fair gentlemen, I have served the good town of Ghent to the very utmost of my power: many times have I hazarded my life for it: and for all these services the only reward I ask is, that you would have me and mine, my wife and children, escorted in safety with the lord Bourchier, whom you have ordered to England."

Those present unanimously complied with his wish; and I must say, that Roger Cremin and James d'Ardembourg, by whom the peace had been made, were more glad than sorry at his departure ; as were likewise the principal persons in Ghent, who wished peace and love to all. Peter du Bois made his preparations, and left Ghent in company with lord Bourchier and the English, carrying with him his whole fortune; for, in truth, he was well provided with gold, silver, and jewels. Sir John d'Elle escorted them, under a passport from the duke of Burgundy, as far as the town of Calais, and then returned to Ghent.

The lord Bourchier and Peter du Bois made as much haste as possible to England, where he was presented to the king and his uncles, to whom he related everything which had happened in the affairs of Ghent, and the means by which peace had been concluded with the duke of Burgundy. The king, the duke of Lancaster, and his brothers entertained him handsomely, and were well pleased that he had come to them. The king retained him in his service, and instantly gave him one hundred marcs yearly revenue, assigned on the wool-staple of London. Thus did Peter du Bois remain in England, and the good town of Ghent in peace. Roger Cremin was appointed deacon of the pilots of Ghent, which is a most profitable office when commerce is uninterrupted and James d'Ardembourg was made deacon of the small crafts, which is likewise an office of great trust in the town of Ghent.

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