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expedient left !-a gracious, an excellent, a god-like expedient left! Is there any here to whom virtue is dearer than life? Let him offer himself an oblation for the safety of his people ! He shall not fail to live for ever in the memories of his countrymen.”
He spoke; but a universal silence ensued. Each man looked around for the example of that virtue and magnanimity which all wished to approve in themselves, though they wanted the resolution. At length St. Pierre resumed :“I doubt not but there are many here as ready, nay, more zealous, of this martyrdom than I can be, though the station to which I am raised by the captivity of Lord Vienne imparts a right to be the first in giving my life for your sakes. I give it freely; I give it cheerfully. Who comes next?”
“Your son !” exclaimed a youth not yet come to maturity. “Ah, my child !” cried St. Pierre; “I am then twice sacrificed.
I have rather begotten thee a second time. Thy years are few, but full, my son. The victim of virtue has reached the utmost purpose and goal of mortality! Who next, my friends ? This is the hour of heroes.”
“Your kinsman,” cried John de Aire.
“Ah!” exclaimed Sir Walter Mauny, bursting into tears, “why was not I a citizen of Calais ? ”
The sixth victim was still wanting, but was quickly supplied by lot from numbers who were now emulous of so ennobling an example. The keys of the city were then delivered to Sir Walter. He took the six prisoners into his custody; then ordered the gates to be opened, and gave charge to his attendants to conduct the remaining citizens with their families through the camp of the English. Before they departed, however, they desired permission to take the last adieu of their deliverers. What a parting ! what a scene! They crowded with their wives and children about St. Pierre and his fellow-prisoners. They embraced, they clung around, they fell prostrate before them; they groaned, they wept aloud; and the joint clamour of their mourning passed the gates of the city, and was heard throughout the English camp.
The English by this time were apprized of what passed within Calais. They heard the voice of lamentation, and their souls were touched with compassion. Each of the soldiers prepared a portion of his own victuals, to welcome and entertain the halffamished inhabitants; and they loaded them with as much as their present weakness was able to bear, in order to supply them with sustenance by the way. At length St. Pierre and his fellow-victims appeared, under the conduct of Sir Walter and a guard. All the tents of the English were instantly emptied. The soldiers poured from all parts, and arranged themselves on each side, to behold, to contemplate, to admire this little band of patriots as they passed. They bowed to them on all sides; they murmured their applause of that virtue which they could not but revere, even in enemies; and they regarded those ropes which they had voluntarily assumed about their necks as ensigns of greater dignity than that of the British garter. As soon as they had reached the presence, “Mauny,” says the monarch,“ are these the principal inhabitants of Calais ?”
“They are,” says Mauny; “ they are not only the principal men of Calais, they are the principal men of France, my lord, if virtue has any share in the act of ennobling.”
“Were they delivered peaceably?" says Edward. “ Was there no resistance, no commotion among the people ?"
"Not in the least, my lord; the people would all have perished, rather than have delivered the least of these to your majesty. They are self-delivered, self-devoted, and come to offer up their inestimable heads as an ample equivalent for the ransom of thousands."
Edward was secretly piqued at this reply of Sir Walter; but he knew the privilege of a British subject, and suppressed his resentment. “Experience,” says he, “ has ever shown that lenity only serves to invite people to new crimes. Severity at times is
indispensably necessary to compel subjects to submission by punishment and example. Go,” he cried to an officer, “ lead these men to execution.”
At this instant a sound of triumph was heard throughout the camp. The Queen had just arrived with a powerful re-enforcement of gallant troops. Sir Walter Mauny flew to receive her majesty, and briefly informed her of the particulars respecting the six victims.
As soon as she had been welcomed by Edward and his court, she desired a private audience.
My lord,” said she, “the question I am to enter upon is not touching the lives of a few mechanics; it respects the honour of the English nation; it respects the glory of my Edward, my hụsband, my king. You think you have sentenced six of your enemies to death. No, my lord, they have sentenced themselves; and their execution would be the execution of their own orders, not the orders of Edward. The stage on which they would suffer would be to them a stage of honour, but a stage of shame to Edward—a reproach to his conquests, an indelible disgrace to his name.
Let us rather disappoint these haughty burghers, who wish to invest themselves with glory at our expense. We cannot wholly deprive them of the merit of a sacrifice so nobly intended; but we may cut them short of their desires. In the place of that death by which their glory would be consummated, let us bury them under gifts, let us put them to confusion with applauses. We shall thereby defeat them of that popular opinion which never fails to attend those who suffer in the cause of virtue.”
"I am convinced; you have prevailed. Be it so," replied Edward. “Prevent the execution ; have them instantly before
They came, when the Queen, with an aspect and accents diffusing sweetness, thus bespoke them :
“Natives of France, and inhabitants of Calais, ye have put us to a vast expense of blood and treasure in the recovery of our just and natural inheritance; but you have acted up to the best of an erroneous judgment, and we admire and honour in you that
We loose your
valour and virtue by which we are so long kept out of our rightful possessions. You noble burghers ! you excellent citizens ! though you were tenfold the enemies of our person and our throne, we can feel nothing on our part save respect and affection
You have been sufficiently tested. chains; we snatch you from the scaffold; and we thank you for that lesson of humiliation which you teach
show us that excellence is not of blood, of title, or of station;—that virtue gives a dignity superior to that of kings; and that those whom the Almighty informs with sentiments like yours are justly and eminently raised above all human distinctions. You are now free to depart to your kinsfolk, your countrymen, to all those whose lives and liberties you have so nobly redeemed-provided you refuse not the tokens of our esteem. Yet we would rather bind you to ourselves by every endearing obligation; and, for this purpose, we offer to you your choice of the gifts and honours that Edward has to bestow. Rivals for fame, but always friends to virtue, we wish that England were entitled to call you her sons.”
“Ah, my country!” exclaimed Pierre, “it is now that I tremble for you! Edward only wins our cities; but Philippa conquers our hearts !”
The quality of mercy is not strained;
ABOUT the end of the twelfth century commerce began to extend towards the north of Europe. Along the German shores of the Baltic sprang up thriving towns, which sent out ships to Russia, Norway, England, and other parts, and exchanged the raw materials which they thus acquired for the merchandise of Southern Europe and the Levant, which reached them both by land and sea. Before the middle of the thirteenth century, this trade had become so valuable as to excite the rapacity, not only of numerous pirates who infested the seas, but of princes and nobles, who exacted arbitrary and excessive tolls.
To defend their interests against these assailants, the chief ports entered into a league, binding themselves to afford mutual aid and protection. Lubeck stood at the head of this association; Hamburg and Bremen ranked next; and one after another the principal towns gave in their adhesion, the movement spreading from east to west. The numbers of the league fluctuated, but at one time it is known to have comprised more than eighty different towns. In the fourteenth century its authority extended from the right bank of the Meuse and the Isles of Zeeland to Revel in Esthonia. Moreover, it rallied around it the chief commercial towns of the interior, such as Cologne, Dortmund, Munster, Brunswick, Magdeburg, &c. From its rise to its decline, the Hanse had for its object the protection and development of commerce, the maintenance of existing and the acquisition of new privileges. The association was governed by a Diet, to which each town sent representatives, and which met once in three years in Lubeck. As the confederation expanded, it became necessary to divide it into several provinces, of which the capitals were Lubeck, Cologne, Brunswick, and Dantzic.
In Russia the Hanse found a valuable and almost virgin field for its commercial enterprise. Thence it drew large supplies of timber, flax, hemp, ropes, skins and furs, wax and tallow;-bestow