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Charles the Bold Last Duke of Burgundy, 1433-1477   By: (1856-1931)

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[Illustration: CHARLES THE BOLD OF BURGUNDY (1433 1477) (FROM MS. STATUTE BOOK OF THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE, VIENNA) PAINTED BETWEEN 1518 1531]

CHARLES THE BOLD

LAST DUKE OF BURGUNDY

1433 1477

BY

RUTH PUTNAM

AUTHOR OF "WILLIAM THE SILENT," "A MEDIÆVAL PRINCESS," ETC.

G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS

NEW YORK AND LONDON

The Knickerbocker Press

1908

COPYRIGHT 1908,

BY

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

The Knickerbocker Press, New York

PREFACE

The admission of Charles, Duke of Burgundy into the series of Heroes of the Nations, is justified by his relation to events rather than by his national or his heroic qualities. "Il n'avait pas assez de sens ni de malice pour conduire ses entreprises," is one phrase of Philip de Commines in regard to the master he had once served. Render sens by genius and malice by diplomacy and the words are not far wrong. Yet in spite of the failure to obtain either a kingly or an imperial crown, the story of those same unaccomplished enterprises contains the germs of much that has happened later in the borderlands of France and Germany where the projected "middle kingdom" might have been erected. A sketch of the duke's character with its traits of ambition and shortcomings may therefore be placed, not unfitly, among the pen portraits of individuals who have attempted to change the map of Europe.

The materials for an exhaustive study of the times, and of the participants in the scenes thereof, are almost overwhelming in quantity. Into this narrative, I have woven the words of contemporaries when these related what they saw and thought, or at least what they said they saw or thought, about events passing within their sight or their ken. The veracity attained is only that of a mosaic of bits, each with its morsel of truth. And the rim in which these bits are set is too slender to contain all the illumination necessary. The narrative is, of necessity, partial and fragmentary, for a complete story would require a series of biographies presented in parallel columns. My own preliminary chapter to this book a mere explanation of the presence of the dukes of Burgundy in the Netherlands grew into an account of a sovereign whom they deposed and was published under the title of A Mediæval Princess.

John Foster Kirk gave 1713 pages to his record of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. Forty years have elapsed since that publication appeared and a mass of interesting material pertinent to the subject has been given out to the public, while separate phases of it have been minutely discussed by competent critics, so that at every point there is new temptation for the biographer to expand the theme where the scope of his work demands brevity.

In using the later fruit of historical investigation, it is delightful for an American to find that scholars of all nations do justice to Mr. Kirk's accuracy and industry even when they may differ from his conclusions. It has been my privilege to be permitted free access to this scholar's collection of books, and I would here express my deep gratitude to the Kirk family for their generosity and courtesy towards me.

After some preliminary reading at Brussels and Paris and in England, the work for this volume has been completed in America, where the opportunity of securing the latest results of research and criticism is constantly increasing, although these results are still lodged under many roofs. I have had many reasons to thank the librarians of New York, Boston, and Washington, and also those of Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell universities for courtesies and for serviceable aid; and just as many reasons to regret the meagreness of what can be put between two covers as the gleanings from so rich a harvest.

One word further in explanation of the use of Bold ... Continue reading book >>




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