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Men of such roving and military habits, subsisting, rers whom we have described. Hence the instituby means so precarious, and lying under little or notion of Knights-Banneret was generally received. restraint from laws, or from the social system, were The distinction betwixt the knight-banneret and frequently dangerous and turbulent members of the the knight-bachelor was merely in military rank and commonwealth. Every usurper, tyrant, or rebel, precedence, and the former may rather be accounted found knights-bachelors to espouse his cause in an institution of policy than of Chivalry. The bachenumbers proportioned to his means of expenditure. lor displayed, or was entitled to display, a pennon or They were precisely the "landless resolutes," whom forked ensign. The knight-banneret had the right any adventurer of military fame or known enterprise of raising a proper banner, from which his appellawould easily collect,
tion was derived. He held a middle rank, beneath "For food and diet, to some enterprise
the barons or great feudatories of the Crown, and That hath a stomach in't."
above the knights-bachelors. The banner from Sometimes knights were found who placed them which he took his title was a flag squared at the end, selves directly in opposition to all law and good which, however, in strictness was oblong, and not order, headed independent bands of depredators, or, an exact square on all the sides, which was the proto speak plainly, of robbers, seized upon some castle per emblem of a baron. Du Tillet reports, that the as a place of temporary retreat, and laid waste the Count de Laval challenged Sir Roul de Couequens country at their pleasure. In the disorderly reigns right to raise a square banner, being a banneret, and of Stephen and of King John, many such leaders of not a baron, and adds, that he was generally ridicu. banditii were found in England. And France, in led for this presumption, and called ihe knight with the reign of John and his successors, was almost the square ensign. The circumstance of the endestroyed by them. Many of these leaders were croachment plainly shows, that the distinction was knights, or squires, and almost all pretended that in not absolutely settled, nor have we found the ensign their lawless license they only exercised the rights of the bannerets any where described except as beof Chivalry, which permitted, and even enjoined, ing generally a square standard. Indeed, it was only its votaries to make war without any authority the pennon of the knight a little altered; for he who but their own, whenever a fair cause of quarrel oc- aspired to be a banneret received no higher gradation curred.
in Chivalry, as attached to his person, and was inThese circumstances brought the professors of ducted into his new privileges, merely by the comknight-bachelor into suspicion, as, in other cases, the mander in chief, upon the eve of batile, cutting off poverty of those who held the honour exposed it to the swallow-tail or forked termination of the pencontempt in their person. The sword did not al. non. ways reap a good harvest; an enterprise was un In the appendix to Joinville's Memoirs, there is fortunate, or a knight was discomfited. In such an essay on the subject of the bannerets, in which circumstances, he was obliged to sell his arms and the following account of them is quoted from the horse, and endure all the scorn which is attached to ancient book of Ceremonies : poverty. In the beautiful lay of Lanval, and in the "Comme un bachelier peut lever banniere, et decorresponding tale of Gruelan, the story opens with venir banneret. the picture of the hero reduced to indigence, dunned "Quant un bachelier a grandement servi et suivy by his landlord, and exposed to contempt by his la guerre, et que il a assez terre, et que 'il puisse beggarly equipment. And when John de Vienne avoir gentilshommes, ses hommes, et pour accomand his French men-at-arms returned from Scot- pagner sa banniere, il peut licitement lever banniere, land, disgusted with the poverty and ferocity of their et pon autrement. Car nul homme ne doit porter, allies, without having had any opportunity to become ne lever banniere en bataille, s'il n'a du moins cinwealthy at the expense of the English, and compel-quanle hommes d'armes, tous ses hommes et les led before their departure to give satisfaction for the archiers et arbalestriers qui y appartiennent. Et s'il insolences which they committed towards the inhales a 'il doit à la premiere battaille, ou il se trouvera, bitants, "divers knights and squires had passage apporter un pennon de ses armes, et doit venir au and so returned, some into Flanders, and as wind connestable, ou aux marischaux, ou à celui qui sera and weather would drive them, without horse and lieutenant de l'ost pour le prince, requirer qu'il porte harness, right poor and feeble, cursing the day that banniere ; et s'il lui octroient, doit sommer les heraux ever they came into Scotland, saying that never pour tesmoignage, et doivent couper la querie du pen. man had so hard a voyage.” (Berners's Froissart, non, et alors le doit porter et lever avant les autres vol. II., reprint, p: 32.). The frequent prohibition of bannieres, au dessoubs des autres barons." tournaments, both by the church and by the more
There is this same ceremonial, in a chapter respeaceful sovercigns, had also its necessary effect in pecting the banneret, in these terms: impoverishing the knights-bachelors, to whom, as Comme se doit maintenir un banneret en bawe have seen, these exhibitions afforded one principal taille. means of subsistence. This is touched upon in one
Le banneret doit avoir cinquante lances, et les of the French fabliaut, as partly the cause of the gens de trait qui y appartiennent: c'est à savoir les poverty of a chevalier, whose distresses are thus xxv. pour lui, et sa banniere garder. Et doit estre enumerated :
sa banniere dessoubs des barons. Et s'il y a autres "Listen, gentles, while I tell
bannieres ils doivent mettre leurs bannieres à l'onHow thje knight in fortune fell :
neur, chacun selon son endroit, et pareillement tout Lands nor vineyards had he none,
homme qui porte banniere."
Froissart, always our best and most amusing au-
thority, gives an account of the manner in which the Well he knew each warlike use ;
celebrated Sir John Chandos was made bannerer by But there came a time of truce,
the Black Prince, before the battle of Navarete. Peaceful was the land around, Nowhere heard a trumpet sound;
The whole scene forms a striking picture of an arRust the shield and falchion hid,
my of the middle ages moving to battle. Upon the Just and tourney were forbid;
pennons of the knights, penoncels of the squires, All his means of living gone,
and banners of the barons and bannerets, the army Ermine mantle had he none, And in pawn had long been laid
formed, or, in modern phrase, dressed its line. The Cap and mantle of brocade,
usual word for the attack was, Advance banners, Hamees rich and charger stout,
in the name of God and Saint George." Al were eat and drunken out."*
“When the sun was risen, it was a beautiful sight As the circumstances which we have mentioned, to view these battalions, with their brilliant armour tended to bring the order of knight-bachelor in glittering with its beams. In this manner, they many instances into contempt, the great and power nearly approached to each other. The Prince, with ful attempted to entrench themselves within a circle a few attendants, mounted a small hill, and saw which should be inaccessible to the needy adventu- very clearly the enemy marching straight towards • Soe the original in the republication of Barbazan's Fabliaut, I line of battle in the plain, and then halted.
thein. Upon descending this hill, he extended his vol. III. p. 410.
"The Spaniards, seeing the English had halted, , part, be founded upon the union which knights did the same, in order of battle; then each man were wont to enter into with each other as tightened his armour, and made ready as for instant panions in arms," than which nothing was esteemed coinbat.
more sacred. The partners were united for wealand “Sir John Chandos advanced in front of the bat- wo, and no crime was accounted more infamous talions with his banner uncased in his hand. He than to desert or betray a companion-at-arms. They presented it to the Prince, saying, 'My lord, here is had the same friends and the same foes; and as it my banner; I present it to you, that I may display was the genius of Chivalry to carry every virtuous it in whatever manner shall be most agreeable to and noble sentiment to the most fantastic extremity, you; for, thanks to God, I have now sufficient the most extravagant proofs of fidelity to this enlands that will enable me so to do, and maintain gagement were often exacted or bestowed. The the rank which it ought to hold.'
beautiful romance of Ames and Amelien, in which * The Prince, Don Pedro, being present, took the a knight slays his own child to make a salve with banner in his hands, which was blazoned with a its blood to cure the leprosy of his brother-in-arms, sharp stake gules, on a field argent; after having turns entirely on this extravagant pitch of senticut off the tail to make it square, he displayed it, ment. and, returning it to him by the handle, said, 'Sir To this fraternity only two persons could, with proJohn, I return you your banner, God give you priety, bind themselves. But the various orders, strength and honour to preserve it.'
which had in view particular objects of war, or * Upon this, Sir John left the Prince, went back were associated under the authority of particular soto his men, with the banner in his hand, 'Gentle- vereigns, were also understood to form a bond of men, behold my banner and yours; you will, there alliance and brotherhood amongst themselves. fore, guard it as it becomes you.' His companions, The great orders of the Templars and Knights-Hos. taking the banner, replied with much cheerfulness, pitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, as well as that that if it pleased God and St. George, they would of the Teutonic Knights, were military associadefend it well, and act worthily of it, to the utmost tions, created, the former for defence of the Holy of their abilities.'
Land, and the last for conversion (by the edge of the "The banner was put into the hands of a worthy sword of course) of the Pagans in the north of EuEnglish squire, called William Allestry, who bore it rope. They were managed by commanders or suwith honour that day, and loyally acquitted himself perintendents, and by a grand master, forming a in the service. The English and Gascons soon after sort of military republic, the individuals of which disinounted on the heath, and assembled very order- were understood to have no distinct property or inly together, each lord under his banner or pennon, terest from the order in general. But the system in the same battle-array as when they passed the and history of these associations will be found unmountains. It was delightful to see and examine der the proper heads. It is here only necessary to these banners and pennons, with the noble army notice thein as subdivisions of the knighthood, that was under them.”
or Chivalry of Europe. It should not be forgotten, that Sir John Chandos Other subdivisions arose from the various associaexerted himself so much to maintain his new ho- tions, also called orders, formed by the different 80pour, that, advancing too far among the
Spaniards, vereigns of Europe, not only for the natural purpose he was unhorsed, and, having grappled with a war of drawing around their persons the flower of knightrior of great strength, called Martin Ferrand, he fell hood, but often with political views of much deeper undermost, and must have been slain had he not import. The romances which were the favourite bethought him of his dagger, with which he stabbed reading of the time, or which, at least, like the serhis gigantic antagonist. (Johnes's Froissart, vol. I. vant in the comedy, the nobles "had read to them," p. 731.)
and which were on all occasions quoted gravely, as A banneret was expected to bring into the field at the authentic and authoritative records of Chivalry, least thirty men-ar-arms, that is, knights or squires afforded the most respectable precedents for the formounted, and in complete order
, at his own ex- mation of such fraternities under the auspices of pense. Each man-at-arms, besides his attendants sovereign princes; the Round Table of King Arthur, on foot, ought to have a mounted crossbow-man, and the Paladins of Charlemagne, forming cases and a horseman armed with a bow and axe. There strictly in point. Edward III., whose poliey was fore, the number of horsemen alone, who assem- equal to his love of Chivalry, failed not
to avail himbled under a banner, was at least three hundred, self of these precedents, not only for the exaltation and, including followers on foot, might amount to a of military honour and exercise of warlike feats, but thousand men. The banneret might, indeed, have questionless that he might draw around him, and arrayed the same force under a pennon, but his ac- attach to his person, the most valiant knights from cepting a banner bound him to bring out that num- all quarters of Europe. For this purpose, in the ber at least. There is no room, however, to be year 1344, he proclaimed, as well in Scotland, lieve that these regulations were very strictly France, Germany, Hainault, Spain, and other foobserved.
reign countries, as in England, that he designed In the reign of Charles VII., the nobles of France to revive the Round Table of King Arthur, offering made a remonstrance to the King, setting forth, that free conduct and courteous reception to all who their estates were so much wasted by the long and might be disposed to attend the splendid justs to be fatal wars with England, that they could no longer held upon that occasion at Windsor Castle. This support the number of men attached to the dignity solemn festival, which Edward proposed to render of banneret. The companies of men-at-arms, annual, excited the jealousy of Philip de Valois, king which had hitherto been led by knights of that of France, who not only prohibited his subjects to rank, and the distinction between knights-ban- attend the Round Table at Windsor, but proclaimed nerets and knights-bachelors, was altogether dis- an opposite Round Table to be held by himself at used from that period.* In England the title sur Paris. In consequence of this interference, the fesvived, but in a different sense. Those who received tival of Edward lost some part of its celebrity, and knighthood in a field of battle, where the royal was diminished in splendour and frequency of atstandard was displayed, were called knights-ban- tendance. This induced King Edward to establish neret. Thus, King Edward VI. notices in his Jour- the memorable Order of the Garter. Twenty-six nal, that, after the battle of Pinkie, Mr. Brian of the most noble knights of England and Gascony Sadler and Vane were made bannerets."
were admitted into this highly honourable associaThe distinction of banneret was not the only sub- tion, the well-known motto of which (Honi soit division of knighthood. The special privileged fra- qui mal y pense) seems to apply to the misrepresentternities, orders, or associations, of knights, using ations which the French monarch might throw out a particular device, or embodied for a particular pur- respecting the order of the Garter, as he had already pose, require also to be noticed. These might, in done concerning the festival of the Round Table.
Sce the works of Pasquier, Du 'Tület, Le Gendre, and other It may here and elsewhere be recollected, that this article was French antiquaries.
originally written for an Encyclopædia.
There was so much dignity, as well as such obvious pedigree,) that had but a court-friend, or money to policy, in selecting from the whole body of Chivalry purchase the favour of the meanest able to bring a select number of champions, to form an especial him into an outward roome, when the king, the fraternity under the immediate patronage of the so- fountaine of honour, came downe, and was unintervereign; it held out such a powerful stimulus to rupted by other businesse : in which case, it was courage and exertion to all whose eyes were fixed then usuall for him to grant a commission for the on so dignified a reward of ambition, that various chamberlaine, or some other lord, to do it.” orders were speedily formed in the different courts of Having related the manner in which knighthood Europe, each having its own peculiar badges, em was conferred, and the various subdivisions of the blems, and statutes. To enumerate these is the task order in general, it is proper also to notice the mode of the herald, not of the historian, who is only call in which a knight might be degraded from his rank. ed upon to notice their existence and character. The This forfeiture might take place froin crimes either first effect of these institutions on the spirit of Chi- actually committed, or presumed by the law of arms. valry in general, was doubtless favourable, as hold. The list of crimes for which a knight was actually ing forth to the knighthood a high and honourable liable to degradation corresponded to his duties. As prize of emulation. But when every court in Europe, devotion, the honour due to ladies, valour, truth, and however petty, had its own peculiar order and cere loyalty, were the proper attributes of Chivalry, -so monial, while the great potentates established seve- heresy, insults or oppression of females, cowardice, ral; these dignities became so common, as to throw falsehood, or treason, caused his degradation. And into the shade the order of Knights-Bachelors, the Heraldry, an art which might be said to bear the parent and proper degree of Chivalry, in comparison shield of Chivalry, assigned to such degraded knights to which the others were mere innovations. The and their descendants peculiar bearings, called in last distinction introduced, when the spirit of Chi- Blazonry abatements, though it may be doubled if valry was almost totally extinguished, was the de- these were often worn or displayed. gree of Knight Baronet.
The most common case of a knight's degradation The degree of Baronet, or of hereditary knight- occured in the appeal to the judgment of God by the hood, might have been with greater propriety, single combat in the lists. In the appeal to this termed an inferior rank of noblesse, than an order awful criterion, the combatants, whether personally of Chivalry. Nothing can be more alien from the concerned, or appearing as champions, were under original idea of Chivalry, than that knighthood could stood, in martial law, to take on themselves the full be bestowed on an infant, who could not have de- risk of all consequences. And, as the defendant, or served the honour, or be capable of discharging its his champion, in case of being overcome, was subduties. But the way had been already opened for jected to the punishment proper to the crime of this anomaly, by the manner in which the orders which he was accused, so the appellanı, if vanquishof foreign knighthood had been conferred upon child-ed, was, whether a principal or substitute, condemn. ren, and infants in nonage. Some of these hoed to the same doom to which his success would nours were also held by right of blood; the Dau- have exposed the accused. Whichever combatant phin of France, for example, being held to be born was vanquished, he was liable to the penalty of dea knight of the Holy Ghost, without creation; and gradation; and, if he survived ihe combat, the dismen had already long lost sight of the proper use grace to which he was subjected was worse than and purpose of knighthood, which was now regard death. His spurs were cut off, close to his heels, ed and valued only as an honorary distinction of with a cook's cleaver; his arms were baffled and terank, that imposed no duties, and required no quali- versed by the common hangman; his belt was cut fications, or period of preliminary novitiate. Still 10 pieces, and his sword broken. Even his horse it was judged necessary in the terms of this new dig- showed his disgrace, the animal's tail being cut oti, nity, to avoid or rather elude the impropriety of de- close to the rump, and thrown on a dungill. The claring that a baronet's apparent heir should be a death hell tolled, and the funeral service was said, knight from the cradle. In the patent of baronetcy for a knight thus degraded, as for one dead 10 knighiwas therefore introduced a clause by which the ly honour. And, if he fell in the appeal to the judg. King engaged for himself and his successors, to con- ment of God, the same dishonour was done to his fer the degree of knighthood upon the eldest son of senseless corpse. If alive, he was only rescued from the baronet, so soon as he should attain the age of death to be confined in the cloister. Such, at least, twenty-one years complete. Hence, if the father were the strict rules of Chivalry, though ihe courdied while the son was in minority, it seems that tesy of the victor, or the clemency of the prince, the heir, though a baronet, was not properly a might remit them in favourable cases. knight; and in like manner, if he claimed the right Knights might also be degraded without combat, to be knighted during his father's life-time, he was when convicted of a heinous crime. In Stowe's a knight-bachelor only until his father's death. Chronicle, we find the following minute account of Hence, too, the old and strictly proper style of the degradation of Sir Andrew Harclay, created Earl Knight and Baronet-and hence that, in the seven- of Carlisle, by Edward II., for his valiant defence of teenth century, we recognise so frequently the exist that town against the Scots, but afterwards accu. ence of two knights, father and son, in the same sed of traitorous correspondence with Robert the family. But this attention to form has been long Bruce, and tried before Sir Anthony Lucy. disused; and while the child in the cradle immedi "He was ledde to the barre as an earle worthily ately takes the title on his father's death, it has been apparelled, with his sword girt about hin, horsed, of late unusual for the eldest son of a baronet to booted and spurred, and unto whom Sir Anthony avail himself of the clause in the patent enuitling spake in this manner. Sir Andrew, (quoth he) the him to the honour of knighthood during his father's King for thy valiant service, hath done thee great life. The creation of this new dignity, as is well. honour, and made thee Earle of Carlisle; since known, was a device of James I. to fill those coffers which tyme, thou, as a traytor to thy Lord the King, which his folly and profusion had emptied ; and al- leddest his people that shoulde have
holpe him at though ihe pretext of a Nova Scotia, or of an Ulster the battell of Heighland, awaie by the county of settlement, was used as the apology for the creation Copland, and through the earldom of Lancaster, by of the order, yet it was perfectly understood, that which meanes, our Lorde the King was discomfitted the real value given was the payment of a certain there of the Scottes, through thy treason and falsesum of money. The cynical Osborne describes this nesse; whereas, if thou haddesi come betimes, he practice of the sale of honours, which in their origin, hadde had the victorie: and this treason thou comwere designed as the reward and pledge of chival-mittedst for ye great summe of golde and silver tous merit, with satirical emphasis.
that thou receivedst of James Dowglasse, a Scot, At this time the honour of knighthood, which an- the King's enemy. Our Lord the King will, theretiquity reserved sacred, as the cheapest and readiest fore, that the order of knighthood, by the which jewel to present virtue with, was promiscuously laid thou receivedst all thine honour and worship uppon on any head belonging to the yeomanry, (madeaddle thy bodic, be brought to nought, and thy siate un. through pride and a contempt of their ancestor's Idone, that other knights, of lower degree, may
after thee beware, and take example truely to lance; in both cases, contrary to the injunctions of
Henry IV. and the opinion of Sully. At length, Then commanded he to hewe his spurres from the arms of the cavalry were changed almost in his heeles, then to break his sword over his head, every particular from those which were proper to which the King had given him to keepe and defend Chivalry; and as, in such cases, much depends his land therewith, when he made him Earle. Af- upon outward show and circumstance, the lightter this, he let unclothe him of his furred tabard, armed cavalier, who did not carry the weapons, or and of his hoode, of his coate of armes, and also of practise the exercises of knighthood, laid aside, at his girdle; and when this was done, Sir Anthony the same time, the habits and sentiments peculiar to gay de unto him, Andrewe, (quoth he,) now art thou the order. no kvight, but a knave; and, for thy treason, the Another change, of vital importance, arose from King will that thou shalt be hanged and drawne, the institution of the bands of gens-d'armes, or menand thyne head smitten off from thy bodie, and at-arms in France, constituted, as we have obserburned before thee, and thy bodie quartered; and ved, expressly as a sort of standing army, to supply thy head being smitten off, afterwarde to be set up the place of bannerets, bachelors, squires, and other on London bridge, and thy foure quarters shall be militia of early times. It was in the year 1445, that sent into foure good townes of England, that all Charles VII. selected from the numerous Chivalry other may beware by thee. And as Anthony Lucy of France fifteen companies of men-at-arms called hadde sayde, so was it done in all things, on the last Les Compagnies d'Ordonnance, which were to redaie of October."
main in perpetual pay and subordination, and for the III. We are arrived at the third point proposed in purpose of enabling ihe sovereign to dispense with our arrangement, the causes, namely, of the decay the services of the tumultuary forces of Chivalry, and extinction of Chivalry.
which, arriving and departing from the host at The spirit of Chivalry sunk gradually under a com- pleasure, collecting their subsistence by oppressing bination of physical and mural causes; the first the country, and engaging in frequent brawls with arising from the change gradually introduced into each other, rather weakened than aided the cause the art of war, and the last from the equally great they professed to support. The regulated compaalteration produced by time in the habits and modes nies, which were substituted for these desultory of thinking in modern Europe. Chivalry began to feudal levies, were of a more permanent and madawn in the end of the tenth, and beginning of the nageable description. Each company contained a eleventh century; It blazed forth with high vigour hundred men-at-arms, and each man-at-arms was during the Crusades, which indeed may be consider to be what was termed a lance garnie, that is, a ed as exploits of national knight-errantry, or gene- mounted spearman, with his proper attendants, beral wars, undertaken on the very same principles ing four archers and a varlet, called coustillier, from which actuated the conduct of individual knights the knife or dagger with which he was armed. Thus, adventurers. But its most brilliant period was du- each company consisted of six hundred horse, and ring the wars between France and England, and it the fifteen bands amounted to fifteen thousand cawas unquestionably, in those kingdoms, that the ha- valry. The charge of national defence was thus bit of constant and honourable opposition, unembit transferred from the Chivalry of France, whose tered by rancour or personal hatred, gave the fairest | bold and desperate valour was sometimes rendered opportunity for the exercise of the virtues required useless by their independent wilfulness and want of from him whom Chaucer terms a very perfect gen- discipline, to a body of regular forces, whose officers, tle knight.” Froissart frequently makes allusions (a captain, lieutenant, and an ensign in each comto the generosity exercised by the French and Eng. |pany) held command, not in virtue of their knightlish to their prisoners, and contrasts it with the dun- hood or banner-right, but as bearing direct commis, geons to which captives taken in war were consign- sions from the crown, as in modern times. At first, ed, both in Spain and Germany. Yet both these indeed, these bands of regulated gens-d'armes were countries, and indeed every kingdom in Europe, par- formed of the same materials as formerly, though took of the spirit of Chivalry in a greater or less de-acting under a new system. The officers were men gree; and even the Moors of Spain caught the emu- of the highest rank; the archers, and even the varlation, and had their orders of knighthood as well lets, were men of honourable birth. When the Emas the Christians. But, even during this splendid peror Maximilian proposed that the French gens, period, various causes were silently operating the fu d'armes should attempt to storm Padua, supported ture extinction of the flame, which blazed thus wide by the German lance-knechts or infantry, he was and brightly.
informed by Bayard, that, if the French men-at-arms An imporiant discovery, the invention of gunpow. were employed, they must be supported by those of der, had taken place, and was beginning to be used the Germans, and not by the lance-knechts, because, in war, even when Chivalry was in its highest glory in the French companies of ordonnance, every solIt is said Edward III. had field-pieces at the battle dier was a gentleman. But, in the reign of Charles of Cressy, and the use of guns is mentioned even IX., we find the change natural to such a new orearlier. But the force of gunpowder was long known der of things, was in complete operation. The king and used, ere it made any material change in the art was content to seek, as qualifications for his menof war. The long-bow continued to be the favour-at-arms, personal bravery, strength, and address in ite, and it would seem the more formidable missile the use of weapons, without respect to rank or birth; weapon, for almost two centuries after guns had and, probably, in many instances, men of inferior been used in war. Still every successive improve- birth were preferred to fill up the ranks of these rement was gradually rendering the invention of fire-gulated bands. Monluc informsus in his Commenarms more perfect, and their use more decisive of taries, that he made his first campaign, as an archthe fate of battle. In proportion as they came into er, in the Marechal de Foix's company of gensgeneral use, the suits of defensive armour began to d'armes; it was "a situation much esteemed in be less generally worn. It was found, that these those days, when many nobles served in that capacumbrous defences, however efficient against lances, city. At present, the rank is greatly degenerated.”' swords, and arrows, afforded no effectual protection The complaints of the old noblesse, says Mezerai, against these more forcible missiles. The armour of were not without reason. Mean carabineers, they the knight was gradually curtailed to a light head said, valets and lacqueys, were recruited in compapiece, a cuirass, and the usual defences of men-at. nies, which were put on the same footing with the arms. Complete harness was only worn by generals ancient corps of gens-d'armes, whose officers were and persons of high rank, and that rather, it would all barons of high rank, and almost every man-atseem, as a point of dignity than for real utility. The arms a gentleman by birth. These complaints, young nobility of France, especially, became weary joined with the charge against Catharine of Medicis, of the unwieldy steel coats in which their ancestors ihat she had, by the creation of twenty-five new sheathed themselves, and adopted the slender and members of the order of Saint Michael, rendered light armour of the German Reiters, or mercenary its honours as common as the cockle-shells on the cavalry. They also discontinued the use of the sea-shore, serve to show how early the first rude at
tempt at establishing a standing and professional channels into which enthusiasm and energy were army operated to the subversion of the ideas and directed, which gradually abolished the sentiments privileges of Chivalry: According to La Noue, it of Chivalry: We have seen, that the abstract prinwould seem that, in his time, the practice still pre- ciples of Chivalry were, in the highest degree, virtuvailed of sending youths of good birth to serve as ous and noble, nay, that they failed by carrying to pages in the gens-d'armes; but, from the sort of so. an absurd, exaggerated, and impracticable point, the ciety with whom they mixed in service of that sort, honourable duties which they inculcated. Such their natural spirit was rather debased, and ren; doctrines, when they fail to excite enthusiasm, bedered vulgar and brutal, than trained to honour and come exploded as ridiculous. Men's minds were gallantry.
now awakened to other and more important and A more fatal cause had, however, been for some complicated exercises of the understanding, and time operating in England as well as France, for the were no longer responsive to the subjects which so destruction of the system we are treating of: The deeply interested their ancestors of the middle ages. wars of York and Lancaster in England, and those Sciences of various kinds had been rekindled in the of the Huguenots and of the League, were of a na course of the sixteenth century; the arts had been ture so bitter and rancorous, as was uiterly incon- awakened in a style of perfection unknown even to sistent with the courtesy, fair play, and gentleness, classical ages. Above all, religion had become the proper to Chivalry. Where different nations are at interesting study of thousands, and the innovating strife together, their war may be carried on with a doctrines of the Reformers, while hailed with ecstacertain degree of moderation. “ During the foreign cy by their followers, rejected as abominations by wars between France and Spain, especially in Pied the Catholics, and debated fiercely by both parties, mnont," says La Noue, we might often see a body involved the nobility of Europe in speculations very of spears pass a village, where the peasants only in different from the arrets of the Court of Love, and terrupted their village dance to offer them refresh- demanded their active service in fields more bloody menis; and, in a little after, a hostile troop receive than those of tilt and tournament. When the histofrom the unoffending and unoffended inhabitants, rians or disputants on either side allude to the marthe same courtesy. The two bodies would meet and ims of Chivalry, it is in terms of censure and ndifight gallantly, and the wounded of both parties cule. Yet, if we judge by, the most distinguished would be transferred to the same village, lodged in authorities on either side, the Reformers rejected as the same places of accommodation, receive the same sinful what the Catholics were contented to brand attention, and rest peaceably on each other's good as absurd. It is with no small advantage to the faith will again able to take the field.” He contrasts Huguenots,-to that distinguished party which prothis generosity with the miserable oppression of the duced Sully, D'Aubigné, Coligni, Duplessis-Mornay, civil wars, carried on by murdering, burning, and and La Noue, that we contrast the moral severity plundering, friend and foe, armed and unarmed, al- with which they pass censure on the books of Chileging, all the while, the specious watch-words of valry with the licentious Hippancy of Brantome, God's honour, the King's service, the Catholic reli- who ridicules the same works, on account of the gion, the Gospel, our Country. In the end, he justly very virtues which they inculcate. From the books observes, "the soldiers become ravenous beasts, the of Ámadis de Gaul, refining, as he informs us, upon country is rendered desert, wealth is wasted, the the ancient vanities of Perceforest, Tristan, Giron, crimes of the great become a curse to themselves, &c., La Noue contends the age in which he lived de and God is displeased.” The bloody wars of the rived the recommendation and practice of incontiRose in England, the execution of prisoners on each nence, of the poison of revenge, of neglect of suber side, the fury and animosity which allowed no plea and rational duty, desperate blood-thirsuiness, under of mercy or courtesy, were scarce less destructive of disguise of search after honour, and confusion of pubthe finer parts of the spirit of Chivalry in England, lic order. “They are the instructions," he says, than those of the Huguenots in France.
"of Apollyon, who, being a murderer from the beThe Civil Wars not only operated in debasing the ginning, delighteth wholly in promoting murther." spirit of Chivalry, but in exhausting and destroying Of the tournaments, he observes, that such specthe particular class of society from which its vota- tacles, rendering habitual the sight of blows and ries were drawn. To be of noble birth was not, in- blood,, had made the court of France pitiless and deed, absolutely essential to receiving the honour of cruel." “Let those,” he exclaims, who desire to knighthood, for men of low descent frequently at- feed their eyes with blood, imitate the manner of tained it. But it required a distinguished display of England, where they exercise their cruelty on brute personal merit to raise such persons out of the class beasts, bringing in bulls and bears to fight with dogs where they were born, and the honours of Chivalry a practice beyond comparison far more lawful than were, generally speaking, appropriated to those of the juists of Chivalry."* fair and gentle parentage. The noble families, there It is curious to contrast the opinions of La Noue, fore, were the source from which Chivalry drew re a stern and moral reformer, and a skilful and brave cruits; and it was upon the nobles that ihe losses, soldier as France ever produced, although condemn. proscriptions, and forfeitures of the Civil Wars ing all war that did not spring out of absolute nechiefly fell. We have seen, that, in France, their cessity, with those of Brantome, a licentious courtier, poveriy occasioned their yielding up the privilege of who mixed the popish superstitions, which stood military command to the disposal of the crown. In him instead of religion, with a leaven of infidelity England it was, fortunately, not so much the crown and blasphemy. From the opinions he has expressed, as the commons who rose on the ruins of the feudal and from what he has too faithfully handed down Chivalry. But it is well known, that the Civil as the manners of his court and age, it is plain that Warş had so exhausted the English nobility, as to all which was valuable in the spirit of Chivalry had enable Henry VII. to pass his celebrated statutes been long renounced by the French noblesse. To against those hosts of retainers, which struck, in mark this declension, it is only necessary to run fact, at the very root of their power. And, thus, over the various requisites already pointed out as Providence, whose ways bring good out of evil, laid necessary to forin the chivalrous character, and conthe foundation of the future freedom of England, in trast them with the opinions held in the end of the the destruction of what had long been its most con- sixteenth century, in the court of the descendants of stitutional ground of defence, and, in the subjuga. Saint Louis. tion of that system of Chivalry, which, having The spirit of devotion which the rules of Chivalry softened the ferocity of a barbarous age, was now inculcated, was so openly disavowed, that it was asto fall into disuse, as 100 extravagant for an enlight- signed as a reason for preferring the characies of ened one.
Sir Tristram to that of Sir Lancelot, that the formIn fact, it was not merely the changes which had er is described in romance as relying, like Mezentius, taken place in the constitution of armies and fashion upon his own arm alone, whereas Lancelot, on enof the fight, nor the degraded and weak state of the gaging in fight, never failed to commend himseli to nobles, but also, and in a great degree, the more en
* Discourses, Political and Muitary, translated out of the lightened manners of the times, and the different | French of La Noue, 1557.