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hands in the cordial pursuit of a common policy. But up to a very recent time, the Netherlands had little to fear from an eastern neighbour, unless this term is to be applied to Charles V. Hence our policy has generally been to work with Germany against France, a situation which has now been reversed. As early as the reign of John we find this to be the case, and it was an AngloGerman army that was overthrown at Bouvines. Again, we find Edward III acting at the beginning of the Hundred Years' War as vicar-general of the empire, and leading in vain a large and heterogeneous army to force the French defences of the Flemish border. This, too, is the reason for which Edward III put forward, very unwillingly, his preposterous claim to the throne of France. The Flemish were admittedly vassals of the French King, and if they could acknowledge Edward as the rightful holder of this title, they need have no conscientious scruple about breaking their allegiance to Philip.

The bond between England and Flanders was at this time commercial, and we can understand how rapidly feudalism was breaking down from the fact that the main objects of the French war were such as would be likely to appeal to the burgher class. Even from Saxon times, England had been a wool-growing country, and since Flanders was able to work up the wool into different kinds of cloth, she provided the chief market for our exports. The trade was naturally an object of solicitude to the Edwards, and Edward I never came so near to a serious quarrel with his people as when he seized the merchants' wool. During the fourteenth century, a gradual change was taking place, and Englishmen were learning the weaver's as well as the shepherd's craft.

Another feature of our foreign policy must not be overlooked. The efforts of Edward I to unite the whole island would, if successful, have removed what was to prove a thorn in England's side for centuries. This was

the alliance between France and Scotland, which was to be finally severed by the knife of Butcher Cumberland. We have seen how ancient was the aversion that Englishmen and Scotsmen entertained for each other, and this becomes even more bitter as memories of tyranny on one side and humiliation on the other begin to accumulate. It was one of the chief difficulties of Edward I that he had to be perpetually facing northward and southward, whereas it was all that he could do to find the wherewithal even for one war at a time. When Scotland had broken free, all the influence of France, and of the Popes who were the tools of France, was thrown into the scale to prevent her slipping back into subjection. It is obvious that the more occupied we were with the northern problem, the less free should we be to deal with that of Flanders or Guienne.

Up to the fifth decade of the fourteenth century, England's policy did not appear to have been brilliantly successful. We had subdued Wales and the town of Berwick-on-Tweed, but we had been ignominiously driven out of Scotland, whilst our operations against France had been of a desultory and unsuccessful nature. All this may be regarded as a period of preparation and hardening for the middle of the century, when we were to register such triumphs, that Englishmen had no longer solely to fall back upon the mystical exploits of Arthur, and the equivocal glories of the Angevin Empire. Victories against overwhelming odds, a national hero second to none in Europe, a military prestige so great that no hostile force dared to challenge it in the field, were laurels that were to crown England's brow before peace was concluded at Bretigny. She was to take her place, once and for all, in the forefront of European nations, proudly conscious of her own greatness, and knowing full well that henceforth no stigma could attach to the name of Englishman.

The mighty engine which was to batter down the pride of France had taken centuries to forge. The significance of Cressy lies chiefly in its being a victory of a national and comparatively democratic force over the feudal military aristocracy. Owing to the weakness of the central government, the French nobles had attained a power undreamed of in England, and the symbol and sanction of this power was the array of steel-cased knights who rallied to the standard of a Du Guesclin or an Alençon. An intolerant contempt for the common soldier was of the essence of the French system. "Kill me these scoundrels," Alençon had cried, when his own Genoese crossbowmen were repulsed at Cressy, and Du Guesclin had scorned to be associated with the foot-soldiers. Even when the English tactics had proved triumphantly successful, the French were unable to adopt them, and actually discouraged their new-raised archery because it might compete with the high-born chivalry.

It was the strength of feudalism to have created a military caste, superior in prowess and equipment to any non-feudal force that could be pitted against it. But if it were possible to raise armies from the poorer class, capable of beating the feudal chivalry in open fight, it was obvious that the old levy and the system on which it was based had become an anachronism. The English way of fighting was the result of many experiments. The practice of dismounting the knights was a legacy of Harold, and the English archers had proved their worth at the Battle of the Standard. All three races, Norman, Saxon, and Celt, contributed their quota to the final success. Wales provided something of more material value than the Arthur legends. She furnished the nimble infantry, who got in with their long knives amongst the struggling, arrowstung knights at Cressy, thereby, if we may believe Froissart, arousing the chivalrous displeasure of Edward III. But Wales was responsible for an even more effective

innovation, for out of her came the weapon which was to transform medieval warfare, the deadly long-bow. This became the national English weapon, and Edward I was quick to perceive its advantages, when used in proper co-operation with other arms-for Bannockburn was to afford a grim lesson of how easy it was for cavalry to ride down unsupported archers. The mistake was not to be repeated, and the weapon which had triumphed at Falkirk confirmed its reputation, this time in proper co-operation with infantry, at Halidon Hill.

The bow has rightly become symbolic of all that is best and most distinctive in the spirit of medieval England. It was, above all things, a democratic weapon, and its success was admittedly bound up with the power of the commons, as distinct from that of a feudal oligarchy. This is admirably explained by Sir John Fortescue, rich in the experience both of national and civil war, who writes during the reign of Edward IV. Some men, he tells us, want to draw the teeth of the commons, as they do in France, by depriving them of their bows. "But this folk consider little of the good of the realm of England, whereof the might standeth most upon archers, which be no rich men. And if they were made poorer than they be, they should not have wherewith to buy them bows, arrows, jacks, or any other weapon of defence, whereby they might be able to resist our enemies when they come upon us; which they may do on every side, considering that we be an island-and, as it is said before, we may not soon have succour of any other realm. Whereof we shall be a prey to all our enemies, but if we be mighty of ourself, which might standeth most upon our poor archers—and therefore they need not only to have such ablements as now spoken of, but also they need to be much exercised in shooting, which may not be done without right great expenses, as every man expert therein knoweth right well. Wherefore the making poor of the commons,

which is the making poor of our archers, shall be the destruction of the greatest might in the realm.”

In fact, archery held the same position in rural England as is held nowadays by cricket and football, and might be held by rifle-shooting. The honest yeomen would make their boys into good shots by a careful gradation in the size of their bows, and it was distinctive of English archery that they were taught to use their bodies for the draw, and not their arms, as in other countries. So great was the average range attained that we find an ordinance of Henry VIII actually forbidding practice at less distance than a furlong.

By the middle of the fourteenth century, England had come to possess in her archers the most formidable body of men in Europe. Time and again they showed themselves, when properly supported, more than a match for the best feudal cavalry that could be brought against them. Their versatility was no less remarkable than their shooting, for on one occasion, when the enemy were so heavily armed that the arrows could not penetrate, they rushed upon them and plied their unwieldy opponents with their own axes. At Poictiers they showed themselves masters of the art of ambuscade, at Agincourt they found a new way of stopping cavalry by an abattis of sharp stakes, and then were as handy at close quarters with their bills and hammers as they had been with their bows. It was no wonder that with such material at his disposal, Edward III should have discovered the advantage of employing a national army. His experiments in Flanders, at the head of a cosmopolitan force, were anything but encouraging. The feudal levy and an army of foreign mercenaries had both been tried and found wanting. A national militia, though an indispensable recruiting basis, was not capable of being used for campaigns abroad. So the King was driven, by a process of exhaustion, to rely upon an army at once paid and

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