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DISPUTES BETWEEN THE DUKES OF ORLEANS AND BURGUNDY - MURDER OF THE DUKE OF ORLEANS - THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY JUSTIFIES THE MURDER - AND OBTAINS A PARDON FROM THE KING.
The immediate result of King Charles's illness was the commencement of those disputes which, in the end, led to the coronation of an English king in the city of Paris. The Duke of Orleans, the brother of the king, asserted that to him, as his nearest relation, the government of the kingdom should be committed, during the illness of the sovereign; but he was opposed by his uncles, the Dukes of Burgundy and Berri, who objected that he was too young, and too little acquainted with business, to undertake so great a charge ; and that it would be fitter for them, who were already experienced in
government, having been the king's guardians and advisers, to undertake the office. The Duke of Burgundy, who possessed more real power than either Berri or Orleans, for he was possessed not only of the duchy of Burgundy, but of all Flanders, his wife's inheritance, at last prevailed, and in a meeting of the whole council, and the principal barons and prelates of the realm, it was at length, after fifteen days' debating, agreed that the two uncles of the king should govern the kingdom, but that the Duke of Burgundy should be the principal, and that the Duchess of Burgundy should remain with the queen, and be respected as second to her in rank. This last precaution was taken to prevent the queen from joining with the Duke of Orleans to overthrow Burgundy's power, for she was strongly attached to the party of her brother-in-law.
As long as Duke Philip of Burgundy
lived, there was no open enmity between him and his nephew the Duke of Orleans. The young
duke nourished a secret discontent, as being excluded from all share of authority ; but he exhibited it in little besides giving secret aid to Clisson, who, supported by many of the chief nobility of the province, carried on a fierce war against the Duke of Brittany, whilst Burgundy did the same to the other party. This war was after a while put an end to, and Peter de Craon returned secretly to Paris; here, however, he met nothing but misfortune. The Queen Dowager of Naples sued him for a very large sum of which he had defrauded her husband, and after suffering a long imprisonment, he was glad to be permitted to hide himself in England, whither he went in the train of the Earl of Derby, afterwards Henry IV. of England.
But in the beginning of the year 1404,
Philip Duke of Burgundy fell ill in the town of Brussels, and finding himself in danger, he made an effort to reach his own country, but was not able to go farther than Halle in Hainault. It is curious to note in these days of turnpike roads, mail-coaches, and rail-roads, what the state of travelling was four hundred years ago. He was carried in a litter, borne by horses, and the roads were so rough, that labourers were sent before with spades and pick-axes to repair and smooth them, that he might be carried more safely, and be less shaken.
Finding that he had no hope of life, he sent for his sons, and entreated and strictly commanded them to be loyal and obedient, during their lives, to king Charles of France and his successors, and made them promise obedience on their love to him: but, after his death, the solemn engagement was little thought on.