Caen suffered still more severely upon the occasion of its second capture; when Henry IVth marched upon the town immediately after landing at Touques. The siege was longer, and the place, taken by assault, was given up to indiscriminate plunder. Even the churches were not spared: that of the Holy Sepulchre was demolished, and, among its other treasures, a crucifix was carried away, containing a portion of the real cross, which, as we are told, testified by so many miracles its displeasure at being taken to England, that the conquerors were glad to restore it to its original destination.
From this time to the year 1450, our countrymen kept undisturbed possession of Caen. In the latter year they capitulated to the Count de Dunois, after a gallant resistance. But though the town has thenceforward remained, without interruption, subject to the crown of France, it has not therefore been always free from the miseries of warfare. A dreadful riot took place here in 1512, occasioned by the disorderly conduct of a body of six thousand German mercenaries, whom Louis XIIth introduced, by way of garrison, to guard against any sudden attack from Henry VIIIth. The character given by De Bourgueville of these Lansquenets is, that they were “drunkards who guzzle wine, cider, and beer, out of earthen pots, and then fall asleep upon the table.” Three hundred lives were lost upon this occasion, on the part of the Germans alone.—In the middle of the same century, happened the civil wars, originating in the reformation: and in the course of these, Caen suffered dreadfully from the contending parties. Friend and foe conspired alike to its ruin: what was saved from the violence of the Huguenots, was taken by the treachery of the Catholics, under the plausible pretext of its being placed in security. Thus, after the Calvinists had already seized on every thing precious that fell in their way, the Duke de Bouillon, the governor of the town, commanded all the reliquaries, shrines, church-plate, and ecclesiastical ornaments, to be carried to him at the castle; and he had no sooner got them into his possession, than “all holy, rich, and precious, as they were, he caused them to be melted down, and converted into coin to pay his soldiers; and he scattered the relics, so that they have never been seen more.”—Loosen but the bands of society, and you will find that, in all ages of the world, the case has been nearly the same; and, as upon the banks of the Simoeis, so upon the plains of Normandy,—