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25 Battle of Agincourt, Henry V., 1415.
John Jenkins, musician, d. 1678.
Sir Christopher Wren b. 1632.
(3) Banister has the credit of starting public concerts in London, of which the first was held at his house over against the George Tavern in Whitefriars' on Monday, December 30, 1672. (4) The Plymouth Breakwater, the London, and the East India Docks, and the three bridges, Waterloo, Southwark, and new London, are among the works of Rennie. (6) Ramsden's instruments for scientific purposes were in demand all over Europe. Delambre styles him le plus grand de tous les artistes. (7) The day on which the Allied Army went into winter quarters behind the lines. (11) Joule will be ever memorable for his researches on the mechanical equivalent of heat. (13) Matthew Paris was present on this day at the ceremonies attending the translation of the relics of Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey. Henry III., aware that Paris was writing the chronicles of his time, called him to sit on a step of the throne, and urged him to write a full account of the whole matter in his book. (20) This great physician taught Greek to Sir Thomas More, and was praised by Erasmus for his classical learning. The foundation of the College of Physicians, in 1518, was mainly owing to him, and he bequeathed large estates for the endowment of chairs of medicine at Oxford and Cambridge. (22) Hough's fame rests on the courage with which, at the head of the Fellows of Magdalen, he resisted the illegal attempt of James II, to impose a President on the College. (27) John Jenkins is said to have been the earliest English composer of instrumental music.
J. M. S.
OCTOBER 25, 1415.
AN ANNIVERSARY STUDY.
It was the spring of the year 1415, and all England was filled with the noise of military preparations, which were going forward with an energy unknown since sixty years. The King's bowyer had received orders to furnish bow-staves, and his agents were scouring the country in search of them. The sergeant of the waggons, with an army of carpenters, smiths, and wheelwrights, was husily making ready the wheeled transport. The sergeant of the King's farriers was collecting iron, and horse-shoes and smiths, and all things necessary for his department. Contractors were hunting for masons and turners and joiners and artificers of all kinds, to form what would now be called a corps of engineers. The sheriffs of several counties were travelling from market
town to market-town, buying up cattle; and the bakers and E brewers of Winchester and Southampton were cramming their
ovens with bread and their vats with ale by the King's special order. For the English soldier then as now required to be well fed, and an army travels ever on its stomach. Everywhere there was bustle and hurry, and chaffering and bargaining, and, it is probable
, swindling; assiduous scriveners were covering slips of parchment with strange hieroglyphics presently to be made valid by lumps of red wax, king's officers comparing these slips with similar slips of the twentieth year of King Edward III., and sly contractors smiling and rubbing their hands gently at the prospect of good profits.
The fighting men too had received their orders; and here again the contractor was hard at work, sorting out foot-archers and mounted archers and men-at-arms. In many a house the armour was overhauled and refitted, and wives and daughters sat stitching with heavy hearts at silken tabards and linen sheets, and the homelier garments which were to fill the valises or their lords. The pay-list had been issued, and every man knew what his wages were to be: the knight two shillings a day, the
squire and the man-at-arms one shilling, and the archer sixpence. A short seventy years since Crecy had sufficed to double the archer's wages; but four centuries were to pass away before they should be doubled again.
At sea there was no less activity than ashore. Not a ship of twenty tons burden and upwards in all the ports, even to Newcastleon-Tyne, but had been seized by the King's orders and impressed for the King's service. Emissaries had been for weeks in Holland, hiring vessels; and the clumsy, heavy-sterned tubs were passing over in fleets to the English coast. Moreover, selected masters were searching every hole and corner for mariners to man these transport-ships. In the North there was activity in guarding the marches, for England had never fought a war yet, but the Scotch seized the moment to cross the border ; but in the South all were preparing for an expedition beyond sea. The tomb of tall King Edward was still bright in the Abbey, the arms of the Black Prince not yet worn to blackness over his monument at Canterbury; and now another king, conscious of great military talent and thirsting for military fame, was about to essay the task of the conquest of France.
One difficulty alone stood in his way—a deficiency of cash. For, in spite of the generosity of Parliament, money had fallen short, and the King was obliged to appeal to all loyal subjects for an advance, offering such security as would, with the grace of God,' content them. The divine grace apparently was lacking, for, though a few comfortable sums were contributed, the appeal was a failure. The case was desperate, for the King had already advanced one quarter's pay to his retinue, and had promised them another on the day of embarkation; and it would have been sad waste if the first instalment had been thrown away to no purpose. But the retinue cared little for that. The promise had been made, and the King's word was doubtless good; but unless the second instalment were paid, or good security given for payment, not a man, even the humblest of them, would embark. So the Crown jewels were broken up and pawned, and a 'paxbrede enamelled white, and a crucifix with an image of the blessed Mary and St. John the Evangelist,' went among other articles in part payment for six lances and eighteen archers. One creditor actually received a fragment of the Holy Coat in satisfaction of his demands. Thus the sinews of war were braced ; and after some further delay through internal troubles the day of rendezvous was
fixed, and all men were ordered to be at Southampton within three days of July 29.
Then began the work of embarkation at Southampton and the neighbouring havens. Not a chronicler has vouchsafed us a word as to the scene, so we must conjure up each for ourselves what picture we may.
Three hundred and forty ships lay in Southampton water alone, and we must imagine as we can the groups around the banners of the knights, the squires painfully solicitous for the precious armour that was committed to their keeping, the men-at-arms not less anxious in looking after their own, the archer, with the red cross of St. George conspicuous across his chest, tenderly nursing his long yew bow, the jostling of the sailors, the chatter of the townsfolk, and the angry neighing of the Spanish war-horses. Thirty thousand men, combatant and not combatant, and several thousand horses were to be got on board — a formidable task even in these days. At last, on August 10, the King came down and embarked on the Trinity Royal. The sailors flew aloft and loosed the mainsail, and, at the signal, ships of all shapes and sizes came swarming out of the other havens by scores and by hundreds. Next day the whole flotilla, not less, it is reckoned, than fifteen hundred sail, steered southward with a fair wind for the mouth of the Seine. Old men and women and children on the shore stood watching till the sails were but tiny points on the horizon ; Hampshire yeomen on the fleet strained their eyes for a last glimpse of the Needles; and the first act of a great campaign was begun.
For two whole days the Channel claimed its tribute from thirty thousand landsmen, for the fairest of weather could not but have been trying to such small craft. Yet there seems to have been no very serious loss, either of men or of horses, and the arrangements of 1415 shine by comparison with those for the Irish war of 1689. Still there must have been joy among the thirty thousand when, on the evening of August 13, the transports anchored before Harfleur. A few officers were landed that night and sent forward to reconnoitre, and next day the disembarkation, which even a small body of defending troops might have rendered extremely difficult, was effected without resistance.
Then came the work of landing the stores, and of organising the army for service. The force was divided, according to rule and precedent, into three divisions, called vanguard, battle, and rearguard; which in action took their place as first second, and third
line respectively. Each consisted partly of archers and partly of men-at-arms—of infantry, that is to say, and of cavalry; and the distribution of the different corps had no doubt been arranged before the flotilla sailed from England. But, over and above this, there was a new departure in an English army, a great train of the best and newest artillery, including several choice pieces known by such pet names as the ‘London' and the 'King's Daughter,' which had been imported by Henry from Germany, and were now landed, doubtless amid loud expressions of astonishment from the whole army, under the superintendence of four German gunners.
Then the articles of war were issued, being the same which had been drawn up by Richard II. in 1386, and, what was far more to the mind of Henry, had been inspired by the spirit of the Black Prince. We need mention only the first article, which is headed · Obeysaunce': 'That all manner of men, of whatsoever nation, estate, and condition he be, be obedient to our Sovereign Lord the King, and to his constable and marshal.'' needs few rules, if any, besides this, provided that it be enforced ; and Henry, as we shall presently see, was not the man to suffer it to be ignored.
It speaks volumes for the discipline of the army and for Henry's talent for organisation that on August 17, only three days after disembarkation, he was able to move his force up to Harfleur, and two days later to invest it completely. Then came five weeks of such a siege as has rarely been witnessed. For the old art of war was dying and the new art just coming to birth, so that the instruments of both were strangely mingled together. Quaint engines, which might have been used by the Romans, played their old part in slinging stones into one quarter of the town, while a little way off the German gunner stood over his cannon with powder-scale and ladle and rammer, using villainous saltpetre and a metal tube to accomplish exactly the same result. Here a wooden tower rose high above the walls, and rival archers exchanged showers of arrows; there the spade was diligently and scientifically at work, and the siege was pushed by sap and mine and countermine. The French garrison was weak, but made a gallant resistance, and it soon found a most effective and terrible ally. Dysentery, the scourge of armies, as Napoleon called it, raged with awful fury in the trenches, and
These two officers corresponded, roughly speaking, to the Adjutant and Quarter-master General.