King Henry V's Challenge to the Dauphin



Henry, by the Grace of God King of England and of France, and Lord of Ireland, to the high and puissant prince, the Duaphin of Vienne, our Cousin, eldest son of the most puissant Prince, our Cousin and Adversary of France. From the reverence of God, and do avoid the effusion of human blood, We have many times, and in many ways, sought peace, and notwithstanding that We have not been able to attain it, our desire to possess it increases more and more. And well considering that the effect of our wars are the deaths of men, destruction of countries, lamentations of women and children, and so many general evils that every good christian must lament it and have pity, and We especially, whom this matter more concerns, We are induced to seek diligently for all possible means to avoid the above-mentioned evils, and to acquire the approbation of God, and the praise of the world.

Whereas We have considered and reflected, that as it hath pleased God to visit our said Cousin your father, with infirmity, with Us and You lie the remedy, and to the end that every one may know that We do not prevent it, We offer to place our quarrel, at the will of God, between Our person and Yours. And if it should appear to you that you cannot accept this offer on account of the interest which you think our said Cousin your Father has in it, We declare to you that if you are willing to accept it and to do what we propose, it pleases us to permit that our said cousin, from the reverence of God and that he is a sacred person, shall enjoy that which he at present has for the term of his life , whatever it may please God shall happen between Us and You, as it shall be agreed between his council, ours and yours. Thus, if God shall give us the victory , the crown of France with its appurtenances as our right, shall be immediately rendered to us without difficulty, after his decease, and that to this all the lords and estates of the kingdom of France shall be bound in manner as shall be agreed between us. For it is better for us, Cousin, to decide this war for ever between our two persons, than to suffer the unbelievers by means of our quarrels to destroy Christianity, our mother the Holy Church to remain in division, and the people of God to destroy one another. We pray that you may have such anxious desire to it, and to seek for peace, that you will neglect no means by which it can be obtained. Let us hope in God that a better or shorter way of effecting it cannot be found; and therefore in discharge of our soul, and in charge of yours, if great evils follow, we propose to you what is above said. Protesting that we make this our offer to the honour and fear of God, and for the reasons above mentioned, of our own motive without our loyal relations, counsellors, and subjects now around us, having in so high a matter dared to advise us; nor can it be at any time to come urged to our prejudice, nor in prejudice of our good right and title which We have at present to the said crown with its appurtenances; nor to the good right and title which We now have to other lands and heritages on this side of the sea; nor to our heirs and successors, if this offer does not take full effect between Us and You, in the manner above said. Given under our Privy Seal, at our town of Harfleur, the xvi day of September.



Crustus an Mors
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