Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.

In the times of Norman sovereignty, Evreux attained an unfortunate independence:  Duke Richard Ist severed it from the duchy, and erected it into a distinct earldom in favor of Robert, his second son.  From him the inheritance descended to Richard and William, his son and grandson; after whose death, it fell into the female line, and passed into the house of Montfort d’Amaury, by the marriage of Agnes, sister of Richard of Evreux.—­Nominally independent, but really held only at the pleasure of the Dukes of Normandy, the rank of the earldom occasioned the misery of the inhabitants, who were continually involved in warfare, and plundered by conflicting parties.  The annals of Evreux contain the relation of a series of events, full of interest and amusement to us who peruse them; but those, who lived at the time when these events were really acted, might exclaim, like the frogs in the fable, “that what is entertainment to us, was death to them.”—­At length, the treaty of Louviers, in 1195, altered the aspect of affairs.  The King of France gained the right of placing a garrison in Evreux; and, five years afterwards, he obtained a formal cession of the earldom.  Philip Augustus took possession of the city, to the great joy of the inhabitants, who, six years before, had seen their town pillaged, and their houses destroyed, by the orders of this monarch.  The severity exercised upon that occasion had been excessive; but Philip’s indignation had been roused by one of the basest acts of treachery recorded in history.—­John, faithless at every period of his life, had entered into a treaty with the French monarch, during the captivity of his brother, Coeur-de-Lion, to deliver up Normandy; and Philip, conformably with this plan, was engaged in reducing the strong holds upon the frontiers, whilst his colleague resided at Evreux.  The unexpected release of the English king disconcerted these intrigues; and John, alarmed at the course which he had been pursuing, thought only how to avert the anger of his offended sovereign.  Under pretence, therefore, of shewing hospitality to the French, he invited the principal officers to a feast, where he caused them all to be murdered; and he afterwards put the rest of the garrison to the sword.—­Brito records the transaction in the following lines, which I quote, not only as an historical document, illustrative of the moral character of one of the worst sovereigns that ever swayed the British sceptre, but as an honorable testimony to the memory of his unfortunate brother:—­

   “Attamen Ebroicam studio majore reformans
    Armis et rebus et bellatoribus urbem,
    Pluribus instructam donavit amore Johanni,
    Ut sibi servet eam:  tamen arcem non dedit illi. 
    Ille dolo plenus, qui patrem, qui modo fratrem
    Prodiderat, ne non et Regis proditor esset,
    Excedens siculos animi impietate Tyrannos,
    Francigenas omnes vocat ad convivia quotquot
    Ebroicis reperit, equites

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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