Vol 1 (con't)



[MN 1172. State of Ireland.] As Britain was first peopled from Gaul, so was Ireland probably from Britain; and the inhabitants of all these countries seem to have been so many tribes of the Celtae, who derive their origin from an antiquity that lies far beyond the records of any history or tradition. The Irish, from the beginning of time, had been buried in the most profound barbarism and ignorance; and as they were never conquered, or even invaded by the Romans, from whom all the western world derived its civility, they continued still in the most rude state of society, and were distinguished by those vices alone, to which human nature, not tamed by education, or restrained by laws, is for ever subject. The small principalities into which they were divided exercised perpetual rapine and violence against each other; the uncertain succession of their princes was a continual source of domestic convulsions; the usual title of each petty sovereign was the murder of his predecessor; courage and force, though exercised in the commission of crimes, were more honoured than any pacific virtues; and the most simple arts of life, even tillage and agriculture, were almost wholly unknown among them. They had felt the invasions of the Danes and the other northern tribes; but these inroads, which had spread barbarism in other parts of Europe, tended rather to improve the Irish; and the only towns which were to be found in the island had been planted along the coast by the freebooters of Norway and Denmark. The other inhabitants exercised pasturage in the open country; sought protection from any danger in their forests and morasses; and being divided by the fiercest animosities against each other, were still more intent on the means of mutual injury, than on the expedients for common or even for private interest.

Besides many small tribes, there were in the age of Henry II. five principal sovereignties in the island, Munster, Leinster, Meath, Ulster, and Connaught; and as it had been usual for the one or the other of these to take the lead in their wars, there was commonly some prince, who seemed, for the time, to act as monarch of Ireland. Roderic O'Connor, King of Connaught, was then advanced to this dignity [a]; but his government, ill obeyed even within his own territory, could not unite the people in any measures either for the establishment of order, or for defence against foreigners. The ambition of Henry had, very early in his reign, been moved by the prospect of these advantages to attempt the subjecting of Ireland; and a pretence was only wanting to invade a people who, being always confined to their own island, had never given any reason of complaint to any of their neighbours. For this purpose, he had recourse to Rome, which assumed a right to dispose of kingdoms and empires; and, not foreseeing the dangerous disputes which he was one day to maintain with that see, he helped, for present, or rather for an imaginary, convenience, to give sanction to claims which were now become dangerous to all sovereigns. Adrian III., who then filled the papal chair, was by birth an Englishman; and being, on that account, the more disposed to oblige Henry, he was easily persuaded to act as master of the world, and to make, without any hazard or expense, the acquisition of a great island to his spiritual jurisdiction. The Irish had, by precedent missions from the Britons, been imperfectly converted to Christianity; and, what the pope regarded as the surest mark of their imperfect conversion, they followed the doctrines of their first teachers, and had never acknowledged any subjection to the see of Rome. Adrian, therefore, in the year 1156, issued a bull in favour of Henry; in which, after premising that this prince had ever shown an anxious care to enlarge the church of God on earth, and to increase the number of his saints and elect in heaven; he represents his design of subduing Ireland as derived from the same pious motives: he considers his care of previously applying for the apostolic sanction as a sure earnest of success and victory; and having established it as a point incontestable, that all Christian kingdoms belong to the patrimony of St. Peter, he acknowledges it to be his own duty to sow among them the seeds of the gospel, which might in the last day fructify to their eternal salvation: he exhorts the king to invade Ireland, in order to extirpate the vice and wickedness of the natives, and oblige them to pay yearly, from every house, a penny to the see of Rome: he gives him entire right and authority over the island, commands all the inhabitants to obey him as their sovereign, and invests with full power all such godly instruments as he should think proper to employ in an enterprise thus calculated for the glory of God and the salvation of the souls of men [b]. Henry, though armed with this authority, did not immediately put his design in execution; but being detained by more interesting business on the continent, waited for a favourable opportunity of invading Ireland. [FN [a] Hoveden, p. 527. [b] M. Paris, p. 67. Girald. Cambr. Spellm. Concil. vol. ii. p. 51. Rymer, vol. i. p. 15.]

Dermot Macmorrogh, King of Leinster, had, by his licentious tyranny, rendered himself odious to his subjects, who seized with alacrity the first occasion that offered of throwing off the yoke, which was become grievous and oppressive to them. This prince had formed a design on Dovergilda, wife of Ororic, Prince of Breffny; and taking advantage of her husband's absence, who, being obliged to visit a distant part of his territory, had left his wife secure, as he thought, in an island surrounded by a bog, he suddenly invaded the place and carried off the princess [c]. This exploit, though usual among the Irish, and rather deemed a proof of gallantry and spirit [d], provoked the resentment of the husband; who, having collected forces, and being strengthened by the alliance of Roderic, King of Connaught, invaded the dominions of Dermot, and expelled him his kingdom. The exiled prince had recourse to Henry, who was at this time in Guienne, craved his assistance in restoring him to his sovereignty, and offered, on that event, to hold his kingdom in vassalage under the crown of England. Henry, whose views were already turned towards making acquisitions in Ireland, readily accepted the offer; but being at that time embarrassed by the rebellions of his French subjects, as well as by his disputes with the see of Rome, he declined for the present embarking in the enterprise, and gave Dermot no farther assistance than letters patent, by which he empowered all his subjects to aid the Irish prince in the recovery of his dominions [e]. Dermot, supported by this authority, came to Bristol; and after endeavouring, though for some time in vain, to engage adventurers in the enterprise, he at last formed a treaty with Richard, surnamed Strongbow, Earl of Strigul. This nobleman, who was of the illustrious house of Clare, had impaired his fortune by expensive pleasures; and being ready for any desperate undertaking, he promised assistance to Dermot, on condition that he should espouse Eva, daughter of that prince, and be declared heir to all his dominions [f]. While Richard was assembling his succours, Dermot went into Wales; and meeting with Robert Fitz-Stephens, Constable of Abertivi, and Maurice Fitz-Gerald, he also engaged them in his service, and obtained their promise of invading Ireland. Being now assured of succour, he returned privately to his own state; and lurking in the monastery of Fernes, which he had founded, (for this ruffian was also a founder of monasteries,) he prepared every thing for the reception of his English allies [g]. [FN [c] Girald. Cambr. p. 760. [d] Spencer, vol. vi. [e] Girald. Cambr. p. 760. [f] Ibid. p. 761. [g] Ibid.]

[MN Conquest of that island.] The troops of Fitz-Stephens were first ready. That gentleman landed in Ireland with thirty knights, sixty esquires, and three hundred archers; but this small body, being brave men, not unacquainted with discipline, and completely armed, a thing almost unknown in Ireland, struck a great terror into the barbarous inhabitants, and seemed to menace them with some signal revolution. The conjunction of Maurice de Pendergast, who, about the same time, brought over ten knights and sixty archers, enabled Fitz-Stephens to attempt the siege of Wexford, a town inhabited by the Danes; and after gaining an advantage, he made himself master of the place [h]. Soon after, Fitz-Gerald arrived with ten knights, thirty esquires, and a hundred archers [i]; and being joined by the former adventurers, composed a force which nothing in Ireland was able to withstand. Roderic, the chief monarch of the island, was foiled in different actions; the Prince of Ossory was obliged to submit, and give hostages for his peaceable behaviour; and Dermot, not content with being restored to his kingdom of Leinster, projected the dethroning of Roderic, and aspired to the sole dominion over the Irish. [FN [h] Girald. Cambr. p. 761, 762. [i] Ibid. p. 766.]

In prosecution of these views, he sent over a messenger to the Earl of Strigul, challenging the performance of his promise, and displaying the mighty advantages which might now be reaped by a reinforcement of warlike troops from England. Richard, not satisfied with the general allowance given by Henry to all his subjects, went to that prince, then in Normandy; and having obtained a cold or ambiguous permission, prepared himself for the execution of his designs. He first sent over Raymond, one of his retinue, with ten knights and seventy archers, who, landing near Waterford, defeated a body of three thousand Irish, that had ventured to attack him [k]; and as Richard himself, who brought over two hundred horse, and a body of archers, joined, a few days after, the victorious English, they made themselves masters of Waterford, and proceeded to Dublin, which was taken by assault. Roderic, in revenge, cut off the head of Dermot's natural son, who had been left as a hostage in his hands; and Richard, marrying Eva, became soon after, by the death of Dermot, master of the kingdom of Leinster, and prepared to extend his authority over all Ireland. Roderic, and the other Irish princes, were alarmed at the danger; and, combining together, besieged Dublin with an army of thirty thousand men; but Earl Richard making a sudden sally at the head of ninety knights, with their followers, put this numerous army to rout, chased them off the field, and pursued them with great slaughter. None in Ireland now dared to oppose themselves to the English [l]. [FN [k] Ibid. p. 767. [l] Girald. Cambr. p. 773.]

Henry, jealous of the progress made by his own subjects, sent orders to recall all the English, and he made preparations to attack Ireland in person [m]: but Richard, and the other adventurers, found means to appease him by making him the most humble submissions, and offering to hold all their acquisitions in vassalage to his crown [n]. That monarch landed in Ireland at the head of five hundred knights, besides other soldiers: he found the Irish so dispirited by their late misfortunes, that, in a progress which he made through the island, he had no other occupation than to receive the homage of his new subjects. He left most of the Irish chieftains or princes in possession of their ancient territories; bestowed some lands on the English adventurers; gave Earl Richard the commission of Seneschal of Ireland; and after a stay of a few months, returned in triumph to England. By these trivial exploits, scarcely worth relating, except for the importance of the consequences, was Ireland subdued, and annexed to the English crown. [FN [m] Ibid. p. 770. [n] Ibid. p. 775.]

The low state of commerce and industry, during those ages, made it impracticable for princes to support regular armies, which might retain a conquered country in subjection; and the extreme barbarism and poverty of Ireland could still less afford means of bearing the expense. The only expedient, by which a durable conquest could then be made or maintained, was by pouring in a multitude of new inhabitants, dividing among them the lands of the vanquished, establishing them in all offices of trust and authority, and thereby transforming the ancient inhabitants into a new people. By this policy, the northern invaders of old, and of late the Duke of Normandy, had been able to fix their dominions, and to erect kingdoms, which remained stable on their foundations, and were transmitted to the posterity of the first conquerors. But the state of Ireland rendered that island so little inviting to the English, that only a few of desperate fortunes could be persuaded, from time to time, to transport themselves thither [o]; and instead of reclaiming the natives from their uncultivated manners, they were gradually assimilated to the ancient inhabitants, and degenerated from the customs of their own nation. It was also found requisite to bestow great military and arbitrary powers on the leaders, who commanded a handful of men amidst such hostile multitudes; and law and equity, in a little time, became as much unknown in the English settlements as they had ever been among the Irish tribes. Palatinates were erected in favour of the new adventurers; independent authority conferred; the natives, never fully subdued, still retained their animosity against the conquerors; their hatred was retaliated by like injuries; and from these causes, the Irish, during the course of four centuries, remained still savage and untractable: it was not till the latter end of Elizabeths reign that the island was fully subdued; nor till that of her successor that it gave hopes of becoming a useful conquest to the English nation. [FN [o] Brompton, p. 1069. Neubrig. p. 403.]

Besides that the easy and peaceable submission of the Irish left Henry no farther occupation in that island, he was recalled from it by another incident, which was of the last importance to his interest and safety. The two legates, Albert and Theodin, to whom was committed the trial of his conduct in the murder of Archbishop Becket, were arrived in Normandy; and being impatient of delay, sent him frequent letters, full of menaces, if he protracted any longer making his appearance before them [p]. He hastened therefore to Normandy, and had a conference with them at Savigny, where their demands were so exorbitant, that he broke off the negotiation, threatened to return to Ireland, and bade them do their worst against him. They perceived that the season was now past for taking advantage of that tragical incident; which, had it been hotly pursued by interdicts and excommunications, was capable of throwing the whole kingdom into combustion. But the time which Henry had happily gained had contributed to appease the minds of men: the event could not now have the same influence as when it was recent; and as the clergy every day looked for an accommodation with the king, they had not opposed the pretensions of his partisans, who had been very industrious in representing to the people his entire innocence in the murder of the primate, and his ignorance of the designs formed by the assassins. The legates, therefore, found themselves obliged to lower their terms; and Henry was so fortunate as to conclude an accommodation with them. He declared upon oath, before the relics of the saints, that, so far from commanding or desiring the death of the archbishop, he was extremely grieved when he received intelligence of it: but as the passion which he had expressed on account of that prelate's conduct had probably been the occasion of his murder, he stipulated the following conditions, as an atonement for the offence. [MN The kings accommodation with the court of Rome.] He promised, that he should pardon all such as had been banished for adhering to Becket, and should restore them to their livings; that the see of Canterbury should be reinstated in all its ancient possessions; that he should pay the Templars a sum of money for the subsistence of two hundred knights during a year in the Holy Land; that he should himself take the cross at the Christmas following, and, if the pope required it, serve three years against the infidels either in Spain or Palestine; that he should not insist on the observance of such customs, derogatory to ecclesiastical privileges, as had been introduced in his own time; and that he should not obstruct appeals to the pope in ecclesiastical causes, but should content himself with exacting sufficient security from such clergymen as left his dominions to prosecute an appeal, that they should attempt nothing against the rights of his crown [q]. Upon signing these concessions, Henry received absolution from the legates, and was confirmed in the grant of Ireland made by Pope Adrian [r]; and nothing proves more strongly the great abilities of this monarch, than his extricating himself on such easy terms from so difficult a situation. He had always insisted that the laws established at Clarendon contained not any new claims, but the ancient customs of the kingdom; and he was still at liberty, notwithstanding the articles of this agreement, to maintain his pretensions. Appeals to the pope were indeed permitted by that treaty; but as the king was also permitted to exact reasonable securities from the parties, and might stretch his demands on this head as far as he pleased, he had it virtually in his power to prevent the pope from reaping any advantage by this seeming concession. And on the whole, the constitutions of Clarendon remained still the law of the realm; though the pope and his legates seem so little to have conceived the king's power to lie under any legal limitations, that they were satisfied with his departing, by treaty, from one of the most momentous articles of these constitutions, without requiring any repeal by the states of the kingdom. [FN [p] Girald. Cambr. p. 778. [q] M. Paris, p. 88. Benedict. Abb. p. 34. Hoveden, p. 529. Diceto, p 560. Chron. Gerv. p. 1422. [r] Brompton, p. 1071 Liber Nig. Scac. p. 47.]

Henry, freed from this dangerous controversy with the ecclesiastics and with the see of Rome, seemed now to have reached the pinnacle of human grandeur and felicity, and to be equally happy in his domestic situation and in his political government. A numerous progeny of sons and daughters gave both lustre and authority to his crown, prevented the dangers of a disputed succession, and repressed all pretensions of the ambitious barons. The king's precaution, also, in establishing the several branches of his family, seemed well calculated to prevent all jealousy among the brothers, and to perpetuate the greatness of his family. He had appointed Henry, his eldest son, to be his successor in the kingdom of England, the duchy of Normandy, and the counties of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine; territories which lay contiguous, and which, by that means, might easily lend to each other mutual assistance, both against intestine commotions and foreign invasions. Richard, his second son, was invested in the duchy of Guienne and county of Poictou; Geoffrey, his third son, inherited, in right of his wife, the duchy of Britany; and the new conquest of Ireland was destined for the appanage of John, his fourth son. He had also negotiated, in favour of this last prince, a marriage with Adelais, the only daughter of Humbert, Count of Savoy and Maurienne; and was to receive as her dowry considerable demesnes in Piedmont, Savoy, Bresse, and Dauphiny [s]. But this exaltation of his family excited the jealousy of all his neighbours, who made those very sons, whose fortunes he had so anxiously established, the means of embittering his future life, and disturbing his government. [FN [s] Ypod. Neust. p. 448. Bened. Abb. p. 38. Hoveden, p. 532. Diceto, p. 562. Brompton, p. 1081. Rymer, vol. i. p. 33.]

Young Henry, who was rising to man's estate, began to display his character, and aspire to independence: brave, ambitious, liberal, munificent, affable; he discovered qualities which give great lustre to youth; prognosticate a shining fortune; but unless tempered in mature age with discretion, are the forerunners of the greatest calamities [t]. It is said, that at the time when this prince received the royal unction, his father, in order to give greater dignity to the ceremony, officiated at table as one of the retinue; and observed to his son, that never king was more royally served. IT IS NOTHING EXTRAORDINARY, said young Henry to one of his courtiers, IF THE SON OF A COUNT SHOULD SERVE THE SON OF A KING. This saying, which might pass only for an innocent pleasantry, or even for an oblique compliment to his father, was however regarded as a symptom of his aspiring temper; and his conduct soon after justified the conjecture. [FN [t] Chron. Gerv. p. 1463.]

Henry, agreeably to the promise which he had given both to the pope and French king, permitted his son to be crowned anew by the hands of the Archbishop of Rouen, and associated the Princess Margaret, spouse to young Henry, in the ceremony [u] [MN 1173.] He afterwards allowed him to pay a visit to his father-in-law at Paris, who took the opportunity of instilling into the young prince those ambitious sentiments, to which he was naturally but too much inclined [w]. [MN Revolt of young Henry and his brothers.] Though it had been the constant practice of France, ever since the accession of the Capetian line, to crown the son during the lifetime of the father, without conferring on him any present participation of royalty, Lewis persuaded his son-in-law, that, by this ceremony, which in those ages was deemed so important, he had acquired a title to sovereignty, and that the king could not, without injustice, exclude him from immediate possession of the whole or at least a part of his dominions. In consequence of these extravagant ideas, young Henry, on his return, desired the king to resign to him either the crown of England, or the duchy of Normandy; discovered great discontent on the refusal; spake in the most undutiful terms of his father; and soon after, in concert with Lewis, made his escape to Paris, where he was protected and supported by that monarch. [FN [u] Hoveden, p. 529. Diceto, p. 560. Brompton, p. 1080. Chron. Gerv. p. 1421. Trivet, p. 58. It appears from Madox's History of the Exchequer, that silk garments were then known in England, and that the coronation robes of the young king and queen cost eighty-seven pounds ten shillings and four pence, money of that age. [w] Girald. Camb. p. 782.]

While Henry was alarmed at this incident, and had the prospect of dangerous intrigues, or even of a war, which, whether successful or not, must be extremely calamitous and disagreeable to him, he received intelligence of new misfortunes, which must have affected him in the most sensible manner. Queen Eleanor, who had disgusted her first husband by her gallantries, was no less offensive to her second by her jealousy; and after this manner carried to extremity, in the different periods of her life, every circumstance of female weakness. She communicated her discontents against Henry to her two younger sons, Geoffrey and Richard; persuaded them that they were also entitled to present possession of the territories assigned to them; engaged them to fly secretly to the court of France; and was meditating, herself, an escape to the same court, and had even put on man's apparel for that purpose; when she was seized by orders from her husband, and thrown into confinement. Thus, Europe saw with astonishment the best and most indulgent of parents at war with his whole family; three boys, scarcely arrived at the age of puberty, required a great monarch, in the full vigour of his age and height of his reputation, to dethrone himself in their favour; and several princes not ashamed to support them in these unnatural and absurd pretensions.

Henry, reduced to this perilous and disagreeable situation, had recourse to the court of Rome: though sensible of the danger attending the interposition of ecclesiastical authority in temporal disputes, he applied to the pope, as his superior lord, to excommunicate his enemies, and by these censures to reduce to obedience his undutiful children, whom he found such reluctance to punish by the sword of the magistrate [x]. Alexander, well pleased to exert his power in so justifiable a cause, issued the bulls required of him; but it was soon found that these spiritual weapons had not the same force as when employed in a spiritual controversy; and that the clergy were very negligent in supporting a sentence which was nowise calculated to promote the immediate interests of their order. The king, after taking in vain this humiliating step, was obliged to have recourse to arms, and to enlist such auxiliaries as are the usual resource of tyrants, and have seldom been employed by so wise and just a monarch. [FN [x] Epist. Petri Bles. epist. 136. in Biblioth. Patr. tom. xxiv. p. 1048. His words are, VESTRAE JURISDICTIONIS EST REGNUM ANGLIAE, ET QUANTUM AD FEUDATORII JURIS OBLIGATIONEM, VOBIS DUNTAXAT OBNOXIUS TENEOR. The same strange paper is in Rymer, vol. i. p. 35, and Trivet, vol. i. p. 62.]

The loose government which prevailed in all the states of Europe, the many private wars carried on among the neighbouring nobles, and the impossibility of enforcing any general execution of the laws, had encouraged a tribe of banditti to disturb every where the public peace, to infest the highways, to pillage the open country, and to brave all the efforts of the civil magistrate, and even the excommunications of the church, which were fulminated against them [y]. Troops of them were sometimes enlisted in the service of one prince or baron, sometimes in that of another: they often acted in an independent manner, under leaders of their own: the peaceable and industrious inhabitants, reduced to poverty by their ravages, were frequently obliged, for subsistence, to betake themselves to a like disorderly course of life; and a continual intestine war, pernicious to industry, as well as to the execution of justice, was thus carried on in the bowels of every kingdom [z]. Those desperate ruffians received the name sometimes of Brabancons, sometimes of Routiers or Cottereaux; but for what reason is not agreed by historians; and they formed a kind of society or government among themselves, which set at defiance the rest of mankind. The greatest monarchs were not ashamed, on occasion, to have recourse to their assistance; and as their habits of war and depredation had given them experience, hardiness, and courage, they generally composed the most formidable part of those armies which decided the political quarrels of princes. Several of them were enlisted among the forces levied by Henry's enemies [a]; but the great treasures amassed by that prince enabled him to engage more numerous troops of them in his service; and the situation of his affairs rendered even such banditti the only forces on whose fidelity he could repose any confidence. His licentious barons, disgusted with a vigilant government, were more desirous of being ruled by young princes, ignorant of public affairs, remiss in their conduct, and profuse in their grants [b]; and as the king had ensured to his sons the succession to every particular province of his dominions, the nobles dreaded no danger in adhering to those who, they knew, must some time become their sovereigns. Prompted by these motives, many of the Norman nobility had deserted to his son Henry; the Breton and Gascon barons seemed equally disposed to embrace the quarrel of Geoffrey and Richard. Disaffection had crept in among the English; and the Earls of Leicester and Chester in particular had openly declared against the king. Twenty thousand Brabancons, therefore, joined to some troops which he brought over from Ireland, and a few barons of approved fidelity, formed the sole force with which he intended to resist his enemies. [FN [y] Neubrig. p 413. [z] Chron. Gerv. p. 1461. [a] Petr. Bles. epist. 47. [b] Diceto, p. 570.]

Lewis, in order to bind the confederates in a close union, summoned at Paris an assembly of the chief vassals of the crown, received their approbation of his measures, and engaged them by oath to adhere to the cause of young Henry. This prince, in return, bound himself by a like tie never to desert his French allies; and having made a new great seal, he lavishly distributed among them many considerable parts of those territories which he purposed to conquer from his father. The Counts of Flanders, Boulogne, Blois, and Eu, partly moved by the general jealousy arising from Henry's power and ambition, partly allured by the prospect of reaping advantage from the inconsiderate temper and the necessities of the young prince, declared openly in favour of the latter. William, King of Scotland, had also entered into this great confederacy; and a plan was concerted for a general invasion on different parts of the king's extensive and factious dominions.

Hostilities were first commenced by the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne on the frontiers of Normandy. Those princes laid siege to Aumale, which was delivered into their hands by the treachery of the count of that name: this nobleman surrendered himself prisoner; and, on pretence of thereby paying his ransom, opened the gates of all his other fortresses. The two counts next besieged and made themselves masters of Drincourt; but the Count of Boulogne was here mortally wounded in the assault; and this incident put some stop to the progress of the Flemish arms.

[MN Wars and insurrections.] In another quarter, the King of France, being strongly assisted by his vassals, assembled a great army of seven thousand knights and their followers on horseback, and a proportionable number of infantry: carrying young Henry along with him, he laid siege to Verneuil, which was vigorously defended by Hugh de Lacy and Hugh de Beauchamp, the governors. After he had lain a month before the place, the garrison, being straitened for provisions, were obliged to capitulate; and they engaged, if not relieved within three days, to surrender the town, and to retire into the citadel. On the last of these days, Henry appeared with his army upon the heights above Verneuil. Lewis, dreading an attack, sent the Archbiship of Sens and the Count of Blois to the English camp, and desired that next day should be appointed for a conference, in order to establish a general peace, and terminate the difference between Henry and his sons. The king, who passionately desired this accommodation, and suspected no fraud, gave his consent; but Lewis, that morning, obliging the garrison to surrender, according to the capitulation, set fire to the place, and began to retire with his army. Henry, provoked at this artifice, attacked the rear with vigour, put them to rout, did some execution, and took several prisoners. The French army, as their time of service was now expired, immediately dispersed themselves into their several provinces; and left Henry free to prosecute his advantages against his other enemies.

The nobles of Britany, instigated by the Earl of Chester and Ralph de Fougeres, were all in arms; but their progress was checked by a body of Brabancons which the king, after Lewis's retreat, had sent against them. The two armies came to an action near Dol, where the rebels were defeated, fifteen hundred killed on the spot, and the leaders, the Earls of Chester and Fougeres, obliged to take shelter in the town of Dol. Henry hastened to form the siege of that place, and carried on the attack with such ardour, that he obliged the governor and garrison to surrender themselves prisoners. By these vigorous measures and happy successes the insurrections were entirely quelled in Britany; and the king, thus fortunate in all quarters, willingly agreed to a conference with Lewis, in hopes that his enemies, finding all their mighty efforts entirely frustrated, would terminate hostilities on some moderate and reasonable conditions.

The two monarchs met between Trie and Gisors; and Henry had here the mortification to see his three sons in the retinue of his mortal enemy. As Lewis had no other pretence for war than supporting the claims of the young princes, the king made them such offers as children might be ashamed to insist on, and could be extorted from him by nothing but his parental affection, or by the present necessity of his affairs [c]. He insisted only on retaining the sovereign authority in all his dominions; but offered young Henry half the revenues of England, with some places of surety in that kingdom; or, if he rather chose to reside in Normandy, half the revenues of that duchy, with all those of Anjou. He made a like offer to Richard in Guienne: he promised to resign Britany to Geoffrey; and if these concessions were not deemed sufficient, he agreed to add to them whatever the pope's legates, who were present, should require of him [d]. The Earl of Leicester was also present at the negotiation; and either from the impetuosity of his temper, or from a view of abruptly breaking off a conference which must cover the allies with confusion, he gave vent to the most violent reproaches against Henry, and he even put his hand to his sword, as if he meant to attempt some violence against him. This furious action threw the whole company into confusion, and put an end to the treaty [e]. [FN [c] Hoveden, p. 538. [d] Ibid. p. 536. Brompton, p. 1088. [e] Hoveden, p. 536.]

The chief hopes of Henry's enemies seemed now to depend on the state of affairs in England, where his authority was exposed to the most imminent danger. One article of Prince Henry's agreement with his foreign confederates was, that he should resign Kent, with Dover, and all its other fortresses, into the hands of the Earl of Flanders [f]: yet so little national or public spirit prevailed among the independent English nobility, so wholly bent were they on the aggrandizement each of himself and his own family, that notwithstanding this pernicious concession, which must have produced the ruin of the kingdom, the greater part of them had conspired to make an insurrection, and to support the prince's pretensions. The king's principal resource lay in the church and the bishops, with whom he was now in perfect agreement; whether that the decency of their character made them ashamed of supporting so unnatural a rebellion, or that they were entirely satisfied with Henry's atonement for the murder of Becket, and for his former invasion of ecclesiastical immunities. That prince, however, had resigned none of the essential rights of his crown in the accommodation; he maintained still the same prudent jealousy of the court of Rome; admitted no legate into England, without his swearing to attempt nothing against the royal prerogatives; and he had even obliged the monks of Canterbury, who pretended to a free election on the vacancy made by the death of Becket, to choose Roger, prior of Dover, in the place of that turbulent prelate [g]. [FN [f] Ibid. p. 533. Brompton, p. 1084. Neubr. p. 508. [g] Hoveden, p. 537.]

[MN War with Scotland.] The King of Scotland made an irruption into Northumberland, and committed great devastations; but being opposed by Richard de Lucy, whom Henry had left guardian of the realm, he retreated into his own country, and agreed to a cessation of arms. This truce enabled the guardian to march southward with his army, in order to oppose an invasion, which the Earl of Leicester, at the head of a great body of Flemings, had made upon Suffolk. The Flemings had been joined by Hugh Bigod, who made them masters of his castle of Framlingham; and marching into the heart of the kingdom, where they hoped to be supported by Leicester's vassals, they were met by Lucy, who, assisted by Humphrey Bohun, the constable, and the Earls of Arundel, Gloucester, and Cornwall, had advanced to Farnham, with a less numerous but braver army to oppose them. The Flemings, who were mostly weavers and artificers, (for manufactures were now beginning to be established in Flanders,) were broken in an instant, ten thousand of them were put to the sword, the Earl of Leicester was taken prisoner, and the remains of the invaders were glad to compound for a safe retreat into their own country.

[MN 1174.] This great defeat did not dishearten the malecontents; who, being supported by the alliance of so many foreign princes, and encouraged by the king's own sons, determined to persevere in their enterprise. The Earl of Ferrars, Roger de Mowbray, Architel de Mallory, Richard de Morreville, Hamo de Mascie, together with many friends of the Earls of Leicester and Chester, rose in arms: the fidelity of the Earls of Clare and Gloucester was suspected; and the guardian, though vigorously supported by Geoffrey, Bishop of Lincoln, the king's natural son by the fair Rosamond, found it difficult to defend himself on all quarters from so many open and concealed enemies. The more to augment the confusion, the King of Scotland, on the expiration of the truce, broke into the northern provinces with a great army [h] of eighty thousand men; which, though undisciplined and disorderly, and better fitted for committing devastation than for executing any military enterprise, was become dangerous from the present factious and turbulent spirit of the kingdom. Henry, who had baffled all his enemies in France, and had put his frontiers in a posture of defence, now found England the seat of danger; and he determined by his presence to overawe the malecontents, or by his conduct and courage to subdue them. [MN 8th July. Penance of Henry for Beckets murder.] He landed at Southampton; and knowing the influence of superstition over the minds of the people, he hastened to Canterbury, in order to make atonement to the ashes of Thomas à Becket, and tender his submissions to a dead enemy. As soon as he came within sight of the church of Canterbury, he dismounted, walked barefoot towards it, prostrated himself before the shrine of the saint, remained in fasting and prayer during a whole day, and watched all night the holy relics. Not content with this hypocritical devotion towards a man whose violence and ingratitude had so long disquieted his government, and had been the object of his most inveterate animosity, he submitted to a penance still more singular and humiliating. He assembled a chapter of the monks, disrobed himself before them, put a scourge of discipline into the hands of each, and presented his bare shoulders to the lashes which these ecclesiastics successively inflicted upon him. Next day he received absolution; and departing for London, got soon after the agreeable intelligence of a great victory which his generals had obtained over the Scots, and which being gained, as was reported, on the very day of his absolution, was regarded as the earnest of his final reconciliation with Heaven and with Thomas à Becket. [FN [h] Heming, p. 501.]

William, King of Scots, though repulsed before the castle of Prudhow, and other fortified places, had committed the most horrible depredations upon the northern provinces: but on the approach of Ralph de Glanville, the famous justiciary, seconded by Bernard de Baliol, Robert de Stuteville, Odonel de Umfreville, William de Vesci, and other northern barons, together with the gallant Bishop of Lincoln, he thought proper to retreat nearer his own country, and he fixed his camp at Alnwick. He had here weakened his army extremely, by sending out numerous detachments in order to extend his ravages; and he lay absolutely safe, as he imagined, from any attack of the enemy. But Glanville, informed of his situation, made a hasty and fatiguing march to Newcastle; and, allowing his soldiers only a small interval for refreshment, he immediately set out towards evening for Alnwick. [MN 13th July.] He marched that night above thirty miles; arrived in the morning, under cover of a mist, near the Scottish camp; and regardless of the great numbers of the enemy, he began the attack with his small but determined body of cavalry. William was living in such supine security that he took the English, at first, for a body of his own ravagers, who were returning to the camp; but the sight of their banners convincing him of his mistake, he entered on the action with no greater body than a hundred horse in confidence that the numerous army which surrounded him would soon hasten to his relief. [MN William, King of Scotlamd, defeated and taken prisoner.] He was dismounted on the first shock, and taken prisoner; while his troops, hearing of this disaster, fled on all sides with the utmost precipitation. The dispersed ravagers made the best of their way to their own country; and discord arising among them, they proceeded even to mutual hostilities, and suffered more from each other's sword than from that of the enemy.

This great and important victory proved at last decisive in favour of Henry, and entirely broke the spirit of the English rebels. The Bishop of Durham, who was preparing to revolt, made his submissions; Hugh Bigod, though he had received a strong reinforcement of Flemings, was obliged to surrender all his castles, and throw himself on the king's mercy; no better resource was left to the Earl of Ferrars and Roger de Mowbray; the inferior rebels imitating the example, all England was restored to tranquillity in a few weeks; and as the king appeared to lie under the immediate protection of Heaven, it was deemed impious any longer to resist him. The clergy exalted anew the merits and powerful intercession of Becket; and Henry, instead of opposing this superstition, plumed himself on the new friendship of the saint, and propagated an opinion which was so favourable to his interests [i]. [FN [i] Hoveden, p. 539.]

Prince Henry, who was ready to embark at Gravelines, with the Earl of Flanders and a great army, hearing that his partisans in England were suppressed, abandoned all thoughts of the enterprise, and joined the camp of Lewis, who, during the absence of the king, had made an irruption into Normandy, and had laid siege to Rouen [k]. The place was defended with great vigour by the inhabitants [l]; and Lewis, despairing of success by open force, tried to gain the town by a stratagem, which, in that superstitious age, was deemed not very honourable. He proclaimed in his own camp a cessation of arms, on pretence of celebrating the festival of St. Laurence; and when the citizens, supposing themselves in safety, were so imprudent as to remit their guard, he proposed to take advantage of their security. Happily, some priests had, from mere curiosity, mounted a steeple where the alarm-bell hung; and, observing the French camp in motion, they immediately rang the bell, and gave warning to the inhabitants, who ran to their several stations. The French who, on hearing the alarm, hurried to the assault, had already mounted the walls in several places; but being repulsed by the enraged citizens, were obliged to retreat with considerable loss [m]. Next day, Henry, who had hastened to the defence of his Norman dominions, passed over the bridge in triumph, and entered Rouen in sight of the French army. The city was now in absolute safety; and the king, in order to brave the French monarch, commanded the gates, which had been walled up, to be opened; and he prepared to push his advantages against the enemy. Lewis saved himself from this perilous situation by a new piece of deceit, not so justifiable. He proposed a conference for adjusting the terms of a general peace, which he knew would be greedily embraced by Henry; and while the king of England trusted to the execution of his promise, he made a retreat with his army into France. [FN [k] Brompton, p. 1096. [l] Diceto, p. 578. [m] Brompton, p. 1096. Neubrig. p. 411. Heming, p. 503.]

There was, however, a necessity on both sides for an accommodation. Henry could no longer bear to see his three sons in the hands of his enemy; and Lewis dreaded lest this great monarch, victorious in all quarters, crowned with glory, and absolute master of his dominions might take revenge for the many dangers and disquietudes which the arms, and still more the intrigues of France had, in his disputes both with Becket and his sons, found means to raise him. After making a cessation of arms, a conference was agreed on near Tours; where Henry granted his sons much less advantageous terms than he had formerly offered, and he received their submissions. [MN The king's accommodation with his sons.] The most material of his concessions were some pensions which he stipulated to pay them, and some castles which he granted them for the place of their residence; together with an indemnity for all their adherents, who were restored to their estates and honours [n]. [FN [n] Rymer, vol. i. p. 35. Bened. Abb. p. 88. Hoveden, p. 540. Diceto, p. 584. Brompton, p. 1098. Heming. p. 505. Chron. Dunst. p. 36.]

Of all those who had embraced the cause of the young princes, William, King of Scotland, was the only considerable loser by that invidious and unjust enterprise. Henry delivered from confinement, without exacting any ransom, about nine hundred knights whom he had taken prisoners; but it cost William the ancient independency of his crown as the price of his liberty. He stipulated to do homage to Henry for Scotland, and all his other possessions; he engaged that all the barons and nobility of his kingdom should also do homage; that the bishops should take an oath of fealty; that both should swear to adhere to the King of England against their native prince, if the latter should break his engagements; and that the fortresses of Edinburgh, Stirling, Berwick, Roxburgh, and Jedburgh, should be delivered into Henry's hands, till the performance of articles [o]. [MN 1175. 10th Aug.] This severe and humiliating treaty was excuted in its full rigour. William, being released, brought up all his barons, prelates, and abbots; and they did homage to Henry in the cathedral of York, and acknowledged him and his successors for their superior lord [p]. The English monarch stretched still farther the rigour of the conditions which he exacted. He engaged the king and states of Scotland to make a perpetual cession of the fortresses of Berwick and Roxburgh, and to allow the castle of Edinburgh to remain in his hands for a limited time. This was the first great ascendancy which England obtained over Scotland; and indeed the first important transaction which had passed between the kingdoms. Few princes have been so fortunate as to gain considerable advantages over their weaker neighbours with less violence and injustice than was practised by Henry against the King of Scots, whom he had taken prisoner in battle, and who had wantonly engaged in a war, in which all the neighbours of that prince, and even his own family, were, without provocation, combined against him [q]. [FN [o] M. Paris, p. 91. Chron. Dunst. p. 36. Hoveden, p. 545. M. West. p. 251. Diceto, p. 584. Brompton, p. 1103. Rymer, vol. i. p. 39. Liber Niger Scaccarii, p. 36. [p] Bened. Abb. p. 113. [q] Some Scotch historians pretend that William paid, besides, 100,000 pounds of ransom, which is quite incredible. The ransom of Richard I., who, besides England, possessed so many rich territories in France, was only 150,000 marks, and yet was levied with great difficulty. Indeed, two-thirds of it only could he paid before his deliverance.]

[MN 1175. Kings equitable administration.] Henry having thus, contrary to expectation, extricated himself with honour from a situation in which his throne was exposed to great danger, was employed for several years in the administration of justice, in the execution of the laws, and in guarding against those inconveniences, which either the past convulsions of his state, or the political institutions of that age, unavoidably occasioned. The provisions which he made show such largeness of thought as qualified him for being a legislator; and they were commonly calculated as well for the future as the present happiness of his kingdom.

[MN 1176.] He enacted severe penalties against robbery, murder, false coining, arson; and ordained that these crimes should be punished by the amputation of the right hand and right foot [r]. The pecuniary commutation for crimes which has a false appearance of lenity, had been gradually disused, and seems to have been entirely abolished by the rigour of these statutes. The superstitious trial by water ordeal, though condemned by the church [s], still subsisted; but Henry ordained, that any man accused of murder, or any heinous felony, by the oath of the legal knights of the county, should, even though acquitted by the ordeal, be obliged to abjure the realm [t]. [FN [r] Bened. Abb. p. 132. Hoveden, p. 549. [s] Seld. Spicileg. ad Eadm. p. 204. [t] Bened. Abb. p. 132.]

All advances towards reason and good sense are slow and gradual. Henry, though sensible of the great absurdity attending the trial by duel or battle, did not venture to abolish it: he only admitted either of the parties to challenge a trial by an assize or jury of twelve freeholders [u]. This latter method of trial seems to have been very ancient in England, and was fixed by the laws of King Alfred: but the barbarous and violent genius of the age had of late given more credit to the trial by battle, which had become the general method of deciding all important controversies. It was never abolished by law in England; and there is an instance of it so late as the reign of Elizabeth; but the institution revived by this king, being found more reasonable and more suitable to a civilized people, gradually prevailed over it. [FN [u] Glanv. lib. 2. cap. 7.]

The partition of England into four divisions, and the appointment of itinerant justices to go the circuit in each division, and to decide the causes in the counties, was another important ordinance of this prince, which had a direct tendency to curb the oppressive barons, and to protect the inferior gentry and common people in their property [w]. Those justices were either prelates or considerable noblemen; who, besides carrying the authority of the king's commission, were able, by the dignity of their own character, to give weight and credit to the laws. [FN [w] Hoveden, p. 590.]

That there might be fewer obstacles to the execution of justice, the king was vigilant in demolishing all the new-erected castles of the nobility, in England as well as in his foreign dominions; and he permitted no fortress to remain in the custody of those whom he found reason to suspect [x]. [FN [x] Benedict. Abbas, p. 202. Diceto, p. 585.]

But lest the kingdom should be weakened by this demolition of the fortresses, the king fixed an assize of arms, by which all his subjects were obliged to put themselves in a situation for defending themselves and the realm. Every man possessed of a knight's fee was ordained to have for each fee a coat of mail, a helmet, a shield, and a lance; every free layman, possessed of goods to the value of sixteen marks, was to be armed in like manner; every one that possessed ten marks was obliged to have an iron gorget, a cap of iron, and a lance; all burgesses were to have a cap of iron, a lance, and a wambais; that is, a coat quilted with wool, tow, or such like materials [y]. It appears that archery, for which the English were afterwards so renowned, had not, at this time, become very common among them. The spear was the chief weapon employed in battle. [FN [y] Bened. Abb. p. 305 Annal. Waverl. p. 161.]

The clergy and the laity were, during that age, in a strange situation with regard to each other, and such as may seem totally incompatible with a civilized, and, indeed, with any species of government. If a clergyman were guilty of murder, he could be punished by degradation only: if he were murdered, the murderer was exposed to nothing but excommunication and ecclesiastical censures; and the crime was atoned for by penances and submission [z]. Hence the assassins of Thomas à Becket himself, though guilty of the most atrocious wickedness, and the most repugnant to the sentiments of that age, lived securely in their own houses, without being called to account by Henry himself, who was so much concerned, both in honour and interest, to punish that crime, and who professed, or affected on all occasions, the most extreme abhorrence of it. It was not till they found their presence shunned by every one as excommunicated persons that they were induced to take a journey to Rome, to throw themselves at the feet of the pontiff, and to submit to the penances imposed upon them: after which they continued to possess, without molestation, their honours and fortunes, and seemed even to have recovered the countenance and good opinion of the public. But as the king, by the constitutions of Clarendon, which he endeavoured still to maintain [a], had subjected the clergy to a trial by the civil magistrate, it seemed but just to give them the protection of that power to which they owed obedience; it was enacted, that the murderers of clergymen should be tried before the justiciary, in the presence of the bishop or his official; and besides the usual punishment for murder, should be subjected to a forfeiture of their estates, and a confiscation of their goods and chattels [b]. [FN [z] Petri Blessen. epist. 73. apud Bibl. Patr. tom. xxiv. p. 992. [a] Chron. Gervase, p. 1433. [b] Diceto, p. 592. Chron. Gervase, 1433.]

The king passed an equitable law, that the goods of a vassal should not be seized for the debt of his lord, unless the vassal be surety for the debt; and that the rents of vassals should be paid to the creditors of the lord, not to the lord himself. It is remarkable that this law was enacted by the king in a council which he held at Verneuil, and which consisted of some prelates and barons of England, as well as some of Normandy, Poictou, Anjou, Maine, Touraine, and Britany; and the statute took place in all these last-mentioned territories [c], though totally unconnected with each other [d]; a certain proof how irregular the ancient feudal government was, and how near the sovereigns, in some instances, approached to despotism, though in others they seemed scarcely to possess any authority. If a prince, much dreaded and revered, like Henry, obtained but the appearance of general consent to an ordinance which was equitable and just, it became immediately an established law, and all his subjects acquiesced in it. If the prince was hated or despised; if the nobles who supported him had small influence; if the humours of the times disposed the people to question the justice of his ordinance; the fullest and most authentic assembly had no authority. Thus all was confusion and disorder; no regular idea of a constitution; force and violence decided every thing. [FN [c] Bened. Abb. p. 248. It was usual for the kings of England, after the conquest of Ireland, to summon barons and members of that country to the English Parliament. Mollineux's case of Ireland, p. 64, 65, 66. [d] Spellman even doubts whether the law were not also extended to England. If it were not, it could only be because Henry did not choose it; for his authority was greater in that kingdom than in his transmarine dominions.]

The success which had attended Henry in his wars did not much encourage his neighbours to form any attempt against him; and his transactions with them during several years, contain little memorable. Scotland remained in that state of feudal subjection to which he had reduced it, and gave him no farther inquietude. He sent over his fourth son, John, into Ireland, with a view of making a more complete conquest of the island; but the petulance and incapacity of this prince, by which he enraged the Irish chieftains, obliged the king soon after to recall him [e]. The King of France had fallen into an abject superstition; and was induced, by a devotion more sincere than that of Henry, to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Becket, in order to obtain his intercession for the cure of Philip, his eldest son. He probably thought himself well entitled to the favour of that saint on account of their ancient intimacy; and hoped that Becket, whom he had protected while on earth, would not now, when he was so highly exalted in heaven, forgot his old friend and benefactor. The monks, sensible that their saint's honour was concerned in the case, failed not to publish that Lewis's prayers were answered, and that the young prince was restored to health by Becket's intercession. That king himself was soon after struck with an apoplexy, which deprived him of his understanding: Philip, though a youth of fifteen, took on him the administration, till his father's death, which happened soon after, opened his way to the throne; and he proved the ablest and greatest monarch that had governed that kingdom since the age of Charlemagne. The superior years, however, and experience of Henry, while they moderated his ambition, gave him such an ascendant over this prince, that no dangerous rivalship, for a long time, arose between them. [MN 1180.] The English monarch, instead of taking advantage of his own situation, rather employed his good offices in composing the quarrels which arose in the royal family of France; and he was successful in mediating a reconciliation between Philip and his mother and uncles. These services were but ill requited by Philip, who, when he came to man's estate, fomented all the domestic discords in the royal family of England, and encouraged Henry's sons in their ungrateful and undutiful behaviour towards him. [FN [e] Bened. Abb. p. 437, &c.]

Prince Henry, equally impatient of obtaining power, and incapable of using it, renewed to the king the demand of his resigning Normandy; and on meeting with a refusal, he fled with his consort to the court of France: but not finding Philip at that time disposed to enter into war for his sake, he accepted of his father's offers of reconciliation, and made him submissions. It was a cruel circumstance in the king's fortune, that he could hope for no tranquillity from the criminal enterprises of his sons but by their mutual discord and animosities, which disturbed his family, and threw his state into convulsions. Richard, whom he had made master of Guienne, and who had displayed his valour and military genius by suppressing the revolts of his mutinous barons, refused to obey Henry's orders, in doing homage to his elder brother for that duchy, and he defended himself against young Henry and Geoffrey, who, uniting their arms, carried war into his territories [f]. The king, with some difficulty, composed this difference; but immediately found his eldest son engaged in conspiracies, and ready to take arms against himself. While the young prince was conducting these criminal intrigues, he was seized with a fever at Martel, [MN 1183.] a castle near Turenne, to which he had retired in discontent; and seeing the approaches of death, he was at last struck with remorse for his undutiful behaviour towards his father. He sent a message to the king, who was not far distant; expressed his contrition for his faults; and entreated the favour of a visit, that he might at least die with the satisfaction of having obtained his forgiveness. Henry, who had so often experienced the prince's ingratitude and violence, apprehended that his sickness was entirely feigned, and he durst not intrust himself into his son's hands: but when he soon after received intelligence of young Henry's death, [MN 11th June. Death of young Henry.] and the proofs of his sincere repentance, this good prince was affected with the deepest sorrow; he thrice fainted away; he accused his own hard-heartedness in refusing the dying request of his son; and he lamented that he had deprived that prince of the last opportunity of making atonement for his offences, and of pouring out his soul in the bosom of his reconciled father [s]. This prince died in the twenty-eighth year of his age. [FN [f] Ypod. Neust. p. 451. Bened. Abb. p. 383. Diceto, p. 617. [g] Bened. Abb. p. 393. Hoveden, p. 621. Trivet, vol. i. p. 84.]

The behaviour of his surviving children did not tend to give the king any consolation for the loss. As Prince Henry had left no posterity, Richard was become heir to all his dominions; and the king intended that John, his third surviving son and favourite, should inherit Guienne as his appanage; but Richard refused his consent, fled into that duchy, and even made preparations for carrying on war, as well against his father as against his brother Geoffrey, who was now put in possession of Britany. Henry sent for Eleanor his queen, the heiress of Guienne, and required Richard to deliver up to her the dominion of these territories; which the prince, either dreading an insurrection of the Gascons in her favour, or retaining some sense of duty towards her, readily performed; and he peaceably returned to his father's court. No sooner was this quarrel accommodated, than Geoffrey, the most vicious perhaps of all Henry's unhappy family, broke out into violence; demanded Anjou to be annexed to his dominions of Britany; and on meeting with a refusal, fled to the court of France, and levied forces against his father [h]. [MN 1185.] Henry was freed from this danger by his son's death, who was killed in a tournament at Paris [i]. The widow of Geoffrey, soon after his decease, was delivered of a son, who received the name of Arthur, and was invested in the duchy of Britany, under the guardianship of his grandfather, who, as Duke of Normandy, was also superior lord of that territory. Philip, as lord paramount, disputed some time his title to this wardship; but was obliged to yield to the inclinations of the Bretons, who preferred the government of Henry. [FN [h] Neubrig. p. 422. [i] Bened. Abb. p. 451 Chron. Gervase, p. 1480.]

[MN Crusades.] But the rivalship between these potent princes, and all their inferior interests, seemed now to have given place to the general passion for the relief of the Holy Land, and the expulsion of the Saracens. Those infidels, though obliged to yield to the immense inundation of Christians in the first crusade, had recovered courage after the torrent was past; and attacking on all quarters the settlements of the Europeans, had reduced these adventurers to great difficulties, and obliged them to apply again for succours from the West. A second crusade, under the Emperor Conrade and Lewis VII., King of France, in which there perished above two hundred thousand men, brought them but a temporary relief; and those princes, after losing such immense armies, and seeing the flower of their nobility fall by their side, returned with little honour into Europe. But these repeated misfortunes, which drained the western world of its people and treasure, were not yet sufficient to cure men of their passion for those spiritual adventures; and a new incident rekindled with fresh fury the zeal of the ecclesiastics and military adventurers among the Latin Christians. Saladin, a prince of great generosity, bravery, and conduct, having fixed himself on the throne of Egypt, began to extend his conquests over the East; and finding the settlement of the Christians in Palestine an invincible obstacle to the progress of his arms, he bent the whole force of his policy and valour to subdue that small and barren, but important territory. Taking advantage of dissensions which prevailed among the champions of the cross, and having secretly gained the Count of Tripoli, who commanded their armies, he invaded the frontiers with a mighty power; and, aided by the treachery of that count, gained over them at Tiberiade a complete victory, which utterly annihilated the force of the already languishing kingdom of Jerusalem. The holy city itself fell into his hands, after a feeble resistance; the kingdom of Antioch was almost entirely subdued; and except some maritime towns, nothing considerable remained of those boasted conquests, which, near a century before, it had cost the efforts of all Europe to acquire [k]. [FN [k] M. Paris, p. 100.]

[MN 1187.] The western Christians were astonished on receiving this dismal intelligence. Pope Urban III, it is pretended, died of grief, and his successor, Gregory VIII., employed the whole time of his short pontificate in rousing to arms all the Christians who acknowledged his authority. The general cry was, that they were unworthy of enjoying any inheritance in heaven, who did not vindicate from the dominion of the infidel the inheritance of God on earth, and deliver from slavery that country which had been consecrated by the footsteps of their Redeemer. [MN 1188. 21st Jan.] William, Archbishop of Tyre, having procured a conference between Henry and Philip near Gisors, enforced all these topics; gave a pathetic description of the miserable state of the eastern Christians, and employed every argument to excite the ruling passions of the age, superstition and jealousy of military honour [l]. The two monarchs immediately took the cross; many of their most considerable vassals imitated the example [m]; and as the Emperor Frederick I. entered into the same confederacy, some well-grounded hopes of success were entertained; and men flattered themselves that an enterprise which had failed under the conduct of many independent leaders, or of impruddent princes, might, at last, by the efforts of such potent and able monarchs, be brought to a happy issue. [FN [l] Bened. Abb. p. 531. [m] Neubrig. p. 435. Heming, p. 512.]

The kings of France and England imposed a tax, amounting to the tenth of all moveable goods on such as remained at home [n]; but as they exempted from this burden most of the regular clergy, the secular aspired to the same immunity; pretended that their duty obliged them to assist the crusade with their prayers alone; and it was with some difficulty they were constrained to desist from an opposition, which in them who had been the chief promoters of those pious enterprises, appeared with the worst grace imaginable [o]. This backwardness of the clergy is perhaps a symptom, that the enthusiastic ardour which had at first seized the people for crusades, was now by time and ill success considerably abated; and that the frenzy was chiefly supported by the military genius and love of glory in the monarchs. [FN [n] Bened. Abb. p. 498. [o] Petri Blessen. epist. 112.]

But before this great machine could be put in motion, there were still many obstacles to surmount. Philip, jealous of Henry's power, entered into a private confederacy with young Richard; and, working on his ambitious and impatient temper, persuaded him, instead of supporting and aggrandizing that monarchy which he was one day to inherit, to seek present power and independence by disturbing and dismembering it. [MN 1189. Revolt of Prince Richard.] In order to give a pretence for hostilities between the two kings, Richard broke into the territories of Raymond, Count of Toulouse, who immediately carried complaints of this violence before the King of France as his superior lord. Philip remonstrated with Henry; but received for answer, that Richard had confessed to the Archbishop of Dublin, that his enterprise against Raymond had been undertaken by the approbation of Philip himself, and was conducted by his authority. The King of France, who might have been covered with shame and confusion by this detection, still prosecuted his design, and invaded the provinces of Berri and Auvergne, under colour of revenging the quarrel of the Count of Toulouse [p]. Henry retaliated by making inroads upon the frontiers of France, and burning Dreux. As this war, which destroyed all hopes of success in the projected crusade, gave great scandal, the two kings held a conference at the accustomed place between Gisors and Trie, in order to find means of accommodating their differences: they separated on worse terms than before; and Philip, to show his disgust, ordered a great elm, under which the conferences had been usually held, to be cut down [q]; as if he had renounced all desire of accommodation, and was determined to carry the war to extremities against the King of England. But his own vassals refused to serve under him in so invidious a cause [r]; and he was obliged to come anew to a conference with Henry, and to offer terms of peace. These terms were such as entirely opened the eyes of the King of England, and fully convinced him of the perfidy of his son, and his secret alliance with Philip, of which he had before only entertained some suspicion. The King of France required that Richard should be crowned King of England in the lifetime of his father, should be invested in all his transmarine dominions, and should immediately espouse Alice, Philip's sister, to whom he had formerly been affianced, and who had already been conducted into England [s]. Henry had experienced such fatal effects both from the crowning of his eldest son, and from that prince's alliance with the royal family of France, that he rejected these terms; and Richard, in consequence of his secret agreement with Philip, immediately revolted from him [t], did homage to the King of France for all the dominions which Henry held of that crown, and received the investitures as if he had already been the lawful possessor. Several historians assert, that Henry himself had become enamoured of young Alice and mention this as an additional reason for his refusing these conditions: but he had so many other just and equitable motives for his conduct, that it is superfluous to assign a cause, which the great prudence and advanced age of that monarch rendered somewhat improbable. [FN [p] Bened. Abb. p. 508. [q] Bened. Abb. p. 517, 532. [r] Ibid. p. 519. [s] Ibid. p. 521. Hoveden, p. 652. [t] Brompton, p. 114. Neubrig. p. 437.]

Cardinal Albano, the pope's legate, displeased with these increasing obstacles to the crusade, excommunicated Richard, as the chief spring of discord: but the sentence of excommunication, which, when it was properly prepared, and was zealously supported by the clergy, had often great influence in that age, proved entirely ineffectual in the present case. The chief barons of Poictou, Guienne, Normandy, and Anjou, being attached to the young prince, and finding that he had now received the investiture from their superior lord, declared for him, and made inroads into the territories of such as still adhered to the king. Henry, disquieted by the daily revolts of his mutinous subjects, and dreading still worse effects from their turbulent disposition, had again recourse to papal authority; and engaged the Cardinal Anagni, who had succeeded Albano in the legateship, to threaten Philip with laying an interdict on all his dominions. But Philip, who was a prince of great vigour and capacity, despised the menace, and told Anagni, that it belonged not to the pope to interpose in the temporal disputes of princes, much less in those between him and his rebellious vassal. He even proceeded so far as to reproach him with partiality, and with receiving bribes from the king of England [u]; while Richard, still more outrageous, offered to draw his sword against the legate, and was hindered by the interposition alone of the company from committing violence upon him [w]. [FN [u] M. Paris, p. 104. Bened. Abb. p. 542. Hoveden, p. 652. [w] M. Paris, p. 104.]

The King of England was now obliged to defend his dominions by arms, and to engage in a war with France, and with his eldest son, a prince of great valour, on such disadvantageous terms. Ferté-Barnard fell first into the hands of the enemy: Mans was next taken by assault; and Henry, who had thrown himself into that place, escaped with some difficulty [x]: Amboise, Chaumont, and Chateau de Loire, opened their gates on the appearance of Philip and Richard: Tours was menaced; and the king, who had retired to Saumur, and had daily instances of the cowardice or infidelity of his governors, expected the most dismal issue to all his enterprises. While he was in this state of despondency, the Duke of Burgundy, the Earl of Flanders, and the Archbishop of Rheims, interposed with their good offices; and the intelligence which he received of the taking of Tours, and which made him fully sensible of the desperate situation of his affairs, so subdued his spirit that he submitted to all the rigorous terms which were imposed upon him. He agreed that Richard should marry the Princess Alice; that that prince should receive the homage and oath of fealty of all his subjects both in England and his transmarine dominions; that he himself should pay twenty thousand marks to the King of France as a compensation for the charges of the war; that his own barons should engage to make him observe this treaty by force, and in case of his violating it, should promise to join Philip and Richard against him; and that all his vassals who had entered into confederacy with Richard, should receive an indemnity for the offence [y]. [FN [x] Ibid. p. 105. Bened. Abb. p. 543. Hoveden, p. 653. [y] M. Paris, p. 106. Bened. Abb. p. 545. Hoveden, p. 653.]

But the mortification which Henry, who had been accustomed to give the law in most treaties, received from these disadvantageous terms, was the least that he met with on this occasion. When he demanded a list of those barons, to whom he was bound to grant a pardon for their connexions with Richard, he was astonished to find at the head of them the name of his second son John [z]; who had always been his favourite, whose interests he had ever anxiously at heart, and who had even, on account of his ascendant over him, often excited the jealousy of Richard [a]. The unhappy father, already overloaded with cares and sorrows, finding this last disappointment in his domestic tenderness, broke out into expressions of the utmost despair, cursed the day in which he received his miserable being, and bestowed on his ungrateful and undutiful children a malediction which he never could be prevailed on to retract [b]. The more his heart was disposed to friendship and affection, the more he resented the barbarous return which his four sons had successively made to his parental care; and this finishing blow, by depriving him of every comfort in life, quite broke his spirit and threw him into a lingering fever, of which he expired at the Castle of Chinon, near Saumur. [MN 1189. 6th July. Death,] His natural son Geoffrey, who alone had behaved dutifully towards him, attended his corpse to the nunnery of Fontevrault; where it lay in state in the abbey church. Next day Richard, who came to visit the dead body of his father, and who, notwithstanding his criminal conduct, was not wholly destitute of generosity, was struck with horror and remorse at the sight; and as the attendants observed, that, at that very instant, blood gushed from the mouth and nostrils of the corpse [c], he exclaimed, agreeably to a vulgar superstition, that he was his father's murderer; and he expressed a deep sense, though too late, of that undutiful behaviour which had brought his parent to an untimely grave [d]. [FN [z] Hoveden. p. 654. [a] Bened. Abb. p. 541. [b] Hoveden, p. 654. [c] Bened. Abb. p. 547. Brompton, p. 1151. [d] M. Paris, p. 107.]

[MN and character of Henry.] Thus died, in the fifty-eighth year of his age, and thirty-fifth of his reign, the greatest prince of his time, for wisdom, virtue, and abilities, and the most powerful in extent of dominion of all those that had ever filled the throne of England. His character, in private as well as in public life, is almost without a blemish; and he seems to have possessed every accomplishment, both of body and mind, which makes a man either estimable or amiable. He was of a middle stature, strong and well proportioned; his countenance was lively and engaging; his conversation affable and entertaining; his elocution easy, persuasive, and ever at command. He loved peace, but possessed both bravery and conduct in war; was provident without timidity; severe in the execution of justice without rigour; and temperate without austerity. He preserved health, and kept himself from corpulency, to which he was somewhat inclined, by an abstemious diet and by frequent exercise, particularly hunting. When he could enjoy leisure, he recreated himself either in learned conversation or in reading; and he cultivated his natural talents by study, above any prince of his time. His affections, as well as his enmities, were warm and durable; and his long experience of the ingratitude and infidelity of men never destroyed the natural sensibility of his temper, which disposed him to friendship and society. His character has been transmitted to us by several writers who were his contemporaries [e]; and it extremely resembles, in its most remarkable features, that of his maternal grandfather Henry I.: excepting only that ambition, which was a ruling passion in both, found not in the first Henry such unexceptionable means of exerting itself, and pushed that prince into measures which were both criminal in themselves, and were the cause of farther crimes, from which his grandsons conduct was happily exempted. [FN [e] Petri Bles. epist. 46, 47. in Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. xxiv. p. 985, 986, &c. Girald. Camb. p. 783, &c.]

[MN Miscellaneous transactions of this reign.] This prince, like most of his predecessors of the Norman line, except Stephen, passed more of his time on the continent than in this island: he was surrounded with the English gentry and nobility, when abroad: the French gentry and nobility attended him when he resided in England: both nations acted in the government as if they were the same people: and, on many occasions, the legislatures seem not to have been distinguished. As the king and all the English barons were of French extraction, the manners of that people acquired the ascendant, and were regarded as the models of imitation. All foreign improvements, therefore, such as they were, in literature and politeness, in laws and arts, seem now to have been, in a good measure, transplanted into England; and that kingdom was become little inferior, in all the fashionable accomplishments, to any of its neighbours on the continent. The more homely but more sensible manners and principles of the Saxons were exchanged for the affectations of chivalry, and the subtleties of school philosophy: the feudal ideas of civil government, the Romish sentiments in religion, had taken entire possession of the people: by the former, the sense of submission towards princes was somewhat diminished in the barons; by the latter the devoted attachment to papal authority was much augmented among the clergy. The Norman and other foreign families established in England had now struck deep root; and being entirely incorporated with the people, whom at first they oppressed and despised, they no longer thought that they needed protection of the crown for the enjoyment of their possessions, or considered their tenure as precarious. They aspired to the same liberty and independence which they saw enjoyed by their brethren on the continent, and desired to restrain those exorbitant prerogatives and arbitrary practices, which the necessities of war and the violence of conquest had at first obliged them to indulge in their monarch. That memory also of a more equal government under the Saxon princes, which remained with the English, diffused still farther the spirit of liberty, and made the barons both desirous of more independence to themselves, and willing to indulge it to the people. And it was not long ere this secret revolution in the sentiments of men produced, first violent convulsions in the state, then an evident alteration in the maxims of government.

The history of all the preceding Kings of England since the Conquest gives evident proofs of the disorders attending the feudal institutions; the licentiousness of the barons, their spirit of rebellion against the prince and laws, and of animosity against each other: the conduct of the barons in the transmarine dominions of those monarchs afforded perhaps still more flagrant instances of these convulsions; and the history of France, during several ages, consists almost entirely of narrations of this nature. The cities, during the continuance of this violent government, could neither be very numerous nor populous; and there occur instances which seem to evince, that though these are always the first seat of law and liberty, their police was in general loose and irregular, and exposed to the same disorders with those by which the country was generally infested. It was a custom in London for great numbers, to the amount of a hundred or more, the sons and relations of considerable citizens, to form themselves into a licentious confederacy, to break into rich houses and plunder them, to rob and murder the passengers, and to commit with impunity all sorts of disorder. By these crimes, it had become so dangerous to walk the streets by night, that the citizens durst no more venture abroad after sunset than if they had been exposed to the incursions of a public enemy. The brother of the Earl of Ferrars had been murdered by some of those nocturnal rioters; and the death of so eminent a person, which was much more regarded than that of many thousands of an inferior station, so provoked the king, that he swore vengeance against the criminals and became thenceforth more rigorous in the execution of the laws [f]. [FN [f] Bened. Abb. p. 196.]

There is another instance given by historians, which proves to what a height such riots had proceeded, and how open these criminals were in committing their robberies. A band of them had attacked the house of a rich citizen, with an intention of plundering it; had broken through a stone wall with hammers and wedges; and had already entered the house sword in hand; when the citizen armed cap-a-pie, and supported by his faithful servants, appeared in the passage to oppose them; he cut off the right hand of the first robber that entered; and made such stout resistance, that his neighbours had leisure to assemble, and come to his relief. The man who lost his hand was taken; and was tempted by the promise of pardon to reveal his confederates; among whom was one John Senex, esteemed among the richest and best-born citizens in London. He was convicted by the ordeal; and though he offered five hundred marks for his life, the king refused the money, and ordered him to be hanged [g]. It appears from a statute of Edward I. that these disorders were not remedied even in that reign. It was then made penal to go out at night after the hour of the curfew, to carry a weapon, or to walk without a light or lantern [h]. It is said in the preamble to this law, that, both by night and by day, there were continual frays in the streets of London. [FN [g] Ibid. p. 197, 198. [h] Observations on the ancient Statutes, p. 216.]

Henry's care in administering justice had gained him so great a reputation, that even foreign and distant princes made him arbiter, and submitted their differences to his judgment. Sanchez, King of Navarre, having some controversies with Alphonso, King of Castile, was contented, though Alphonso had married the daughter of Henry, to choose this prince for a referee; and they agreed each of them to consign three castles into neutral hands as a pledge of their not departing from his award. Henry made the cause be examined before his great council, and gave a sentence, which was submitted to by both parties. These two Spanish kings sent each a stout champion to the court of England, in order to defend his cause by arms, in case the way of duel had been chosen by Henry [i]. [FN [i] Rymer, vol. iv. p. 43. Bened. Abb. p. 172. Diceto, p. 597. Brompton, p. 1120.]

Henry so far abolished the barbarous and absurd practice of confiscating ships which had been wrecked on the coast, that he ordained, if one man or animal were alive in the ship, that the vessel and goods should be restored to the owners [k]. [FN [k] Rymer, vol. i. p. 36.]

The reign of Henry was remarkable also for an innovation which was afterwards carried farther by his successors, and was attended with the most important consequences. This prince was disgusted with the species of military force which was established by the feudal institutions, and which, though it was extremely burdensome to the subject, yet rendered very little service to the sovereign. The barons, or military tenants, came late into the field; they were obliged to serve only forty days; they were unskilful and disorderly in all their operations; and they were apt to carry into the camp the same refractory and independent spirit, to which they were accustomed in their civil government. Henry, therefore, introduced the practice of making a commutation of their military service for money; and he levied scutages from his baronies and knights' fees, instead of requiring the personal attendance of his vassals. There is mention made, in the History of the Exchequer, of these scutages in his second, fifth, and eighteenth year [l]; and other writers give us an account of three more of them [m]. When the prince had thus obtained money, he made a contract with some of those adventurers in which Europe at that time abounded: they found him soldiers of the same character with themselves, who were bound to serve for a stipulated time: the armies were less numerous, but more useful, than when composed of all the military vassals of the crown: the feudal institutions began to relax: the kings became rapacious for money, on which all their power depended: the barons, seeing no end of exactions, sought to defend their property: and as the same causes had nearly the same effects in the different countries of Europe, the several crowns either lost or acquired authority, according to their different success in the contest. [FN [l] Madox, p. 435, 436, 437, 438. [m] Tyrrel, vol. ii. p. 466, from the records.]

This prince was also the first that levied a tax on the moveables or personal estates of his subjects, nobles as well as commons. Their zeal for the holy wars made them submit to this innovation; and a precedent being once obtained, this taxation became, in following reigns, the usual method of supplying the necessities of the crown. The tax of Danegelt, so generally odious to the nation, was remitted in this reign.

It was a usual practice of the Kings of England to repeat the ceremony of their coronation thrice every year, on assembling the states at the three great festivals. Henry, after the first years of his reign, never renewed this ceremony, which was found to be very expensive and very useless. None of his successors revived it. It is considered as a great act of grace in this prince, that he mitigated the rigour of the forest laws, and punished any transgressions of them, not capitally, but by fines, imprisonments, and other more moderate penalties.

Since we are here collecting some detached incidents which show the genius of the age, and which could not so well enter into the body of our history, it may not be improper to mention the quarrel between Roger, Archbishop of York, and Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury. We may judge of the violence of military men and laymen, when ecclesiastics could proceed to such extremities. Cardinal Haguezun being sent, in 1176, as legate into Britain, summoned an assembly of the clergy at London; and as both the archbishops pretended to sit on his right hand, this question of precedency begat a controversy between them. The monks and retainers of Archbishop Richard fell upon Roger, in the presence of the cardinal and of the synod, threw him to the ground, trampled him under foot, and so bruised him with blows that he was taken up half dead, and his life was with difficulty saved from their violence. The Archbishop of Canterbury was obliged to pay a large sum of money to the legate, in order to suppress all complaints with regard to this enormity [n]. [FN [n] Bened. Abb. p. 138, 139. Brompton, p. 1109. Chron Gerv. p. 1433. Neubrig. p. 413.]

We are told by Giraldus Cambrensis, that the monks and prior of St. Swithun threw themselves one day prostrate on the ground and in the mire before Henry, complaining, with many tears and much doleful lamentation, that the Bishop of Winchester, who was also their abbot, had cut off three dishes from their table. How many has he left you? said the king. Ten only, replied the disconsolate monks. I myself, exclaimed the king, never have more than three; and I enjoin your bishop to reduce you to the same number [o]. [FN [o] Gir. Camb. cap. 5. in Anglia Sacra, vol. ii.]

This king left only two legitimate sons, Richard who succeeded him, and John who inherited no territory, though his father had often intended to leave him a part of his extensive dominions. He was thence commonly denominated LACKLAND. Henry left three legitimate daughters: Maud, born in 1156, and married to Henry, Duke of Saxony; Eleanor, born in 1162, and married to Alphonso, King of Castile; Joan, born in 1165, and married to William, King of Sicily [p]. [FN [p] Diceto, p. 616.]

Henry is said by ancient historians to have been of a very amorous disposition: they mention two of his natural sons by Rosamond, daughter of Lord Clifford; namely, Richard Longespee, or Longsword, (so called from the sword he usually wore,) who was afterwards married to Ela, the daughter and heir of the Earl of Salisbury; and Geoffrey, first Bishop of Lincoln, then Archbishop of York. All the other circumstances of the story, commonly told of that lady, seem to be fabulous.




[MN 1189.] The compunction of Richard for his undutiful behaviour towards his father was durable, and influenced him in the choice of his ministers and servants after his accession. Those who had seconded and favoured his rebellion, instead of meeting with that trust and honour which they expected, were surprised to find that they lay under disgrace with the new king, and were on all occasions hated and despised by him. The faithful ministers of Henry, who had vigorously opposed all the enterprises of his sons, were received with open arms, and were continued in those offices which they had honourably discharged to their former master [a]. This prudent conduct might be the result of reflection; but in a prince like Richard, so much guided by passion, and so little by policy, it was commonly ascribed to a principle still more virtuous and more honourable. [FN [a] Hoveden, p. 655. Bened. Abb. p. 547. M. Paris, p. 107.]

Richard, that he might make atonement to one parent for his breach of duty to the other, immediately sent orders for releasing the queen- dowager from the confinement in which she had long been detained; and he intrusted her with the government of England till his arrival in that kingdom. His bounty to his brother John was rather profuse and imprudent. Besides bestowing on him the county of Mortaigne, in Normandy, granting him a pension of four thousand marks a year, and marrying him to Avisa, the daughter of the Earl of Gloucester, by whom he inherited all the possessions of that opulent family, he increased his appanage, which the late king had destined him, by other extensive grants and concessions. He conferred on him the whole estate of William Peverell, which had escheated to the crown: he put him in possession of eight castles, with all the forests and honours annexed to them: he delivered over to him no less than six earldoms, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Nottingham, Dorset, Lancaster, and Derby. And endeavouring by favours, to fix that vicious prince in his duty, he put it too much in his power, whenever he pleased, to depart from it.

[MN The kings preparations for the crusade.] The king, impelled more by the love of military glory than by superstition, acted from the beginning of his reign, as if the sole purpose of his government had been the relief of the Holy Land, and the recovery of Jerusalem from the Saracens. This zeal against infidels, being communicated to his subjects, broke out in London on the day of his coronation, and made them find a crusade less dangerous, and attended with more immediate profit. The prejudices of the age had made the lending of money on interest pass by the invidious name of usury; yet the necessity of the practice had still continued it, and the greater part of that kind of dealing fell everywhere into the hands of the Jews; who being already infamous on account of their religion, had no honour to lose, and were apt to exercise a profession, odious in itself, by every kind of rigour, and even sometimes by rapine and extortion. The industry and frugality of this people had put them in possession of all the ready money, which the idleness and profusion, common to the English with other European nations, enabled them to lend at exorbitant and unequal interest. The monkish writers represent it as a great stain on the wise and equitable government of Henry, that he had carefully protected this infidel race from all injures and insults; but the zeal of Richard afforded the populace a pretence for venting their animosity against them. The king had issued an edict prohibiting their appearance at his coronation; but some of them, bringing him large presents from their nation, presumed, in confidence of that merit, to approach the hall in which he dined: being discovered, they were exposed to the insults of the bystanders; they took to flight; the people pursued them; the rumour was spread that the king had issued orders to massacre all the Jews; a command so agreeable was executed in an instant on such as fell into the hands of the populace; those who had kept at home were exposed to equal danger; the people, moved by rapacity and zeal, broke into their houses, which they plundered, after having murdered the owners; where the Jews barricaded their doors, and defended themselves with vigour, the rabble set fire to the houses, and made way through the flames to exercise their pillage and violence; the usual licentiousness of London, which the sovereign power with difficulty restrained, broke out with fury, and continued these outrages; the houses of the richest citizens, though Christians, were next attacked and plundered; and weariness and satiety at last put an end to the disorder: yet, when the king empowered Glanville, the justiciary, to inquire into the authors of these crimes, the guilt was found to involve so many of the most considerable citizens, that it was deemed more prudent to drop the prosecution; and very few suffered the punishment due to this enormity. But the disorder stopped not at London. The inhabitants of the other cities of England, hearing of this slaughter of the Jews, imitated the example: in York, five hundred of that nation, who had retired into the castle for safety, and found themselves unable to defend the place, murdered their own wives and children, threw the dead bodies over the walls upon the populace, and then setting fire to the houses perished in the flames. The gentry of the neighbourhood, who were all indebted to the Jews, ran to the cathedral, where their bonds were kept, and made a solemn bonfire of the papers before the altar. The compiler of the Annals of Waverley, in relating these events, blesses the Almighty for thus delivering over this impious race to destruction [b]. [FN [b] Gale's Collect. vol. iii. p. 165.]

The ancient situation of England, when the people possessed little riches and the public no credit, made it impossible for sovereigns to bear the expense of a steady or durable war, even on their frontiers; much less could they find regular means for the support of distant expeditions like those into Palestine, which were more the result of popular frenzy than of sober reason or deliberate policy. Richard, therefore, knew that he must carry with him all the treasure necessary for his enterprise, and that both the remoteness of his own country and its poverty made it unable to furnish him with those continued supplies, which the exigencies of so perilous a war must necessarily require. His father had left him a treasure of above a hundred thousand marks; and the king, negligent of every consideration but his present object, endeavoured to augment this sum by all expedients, how pernicious soever to the public, or dangerous to royal authority. He put to sale the revenues and manors of the crown; the offices of greatest trust and power, even those of forester and sheriff, which anciently were so important [c], became venal; the dignity of chief justiciary, in whose hands was lodged the whole execution of the laws, was sold to Hugh de Puzas, Bishop of Durham, for a thousand marks; the same prelate bought the earldom of Northumberland for life [d]; many of the champions of the cross, who had repented of the vow, purchased the liberty of violating it; and Richard, who stood less in need of men than of money, dispensed, on these conditions, with their attendance. Elated with the hopes of fame, which, in that age, attended no wars but those against the infidels, he was blind to every other consideration; and when some of his wiser ministers objected to this dissipation of the revenue and power of the crown, he replied that he would sell London itself, could he find a purchaser [e]. Nothing, indeed, could be a stronger proof how negligent he was of all future interests in comparison of the crusade, than his selling, for so small a sum as ten thousand marks, the vassalage of Scotland, together with the fortresses of Roxburgh and Berwick, the greatest acquisition that had been made by his father during the course of his victorious reign; and his accepting the homage of William in the usual terms, merely for the territories which that prince held in England [f]. The English of all ranks and stations were oppressed by numerous exactions; menaces were employed, both against the innocent and the guilty, in order to extort money from them; and where a pretence was wanting against the rich, the king obliged them, by the fear of his displeasure, to lend him sums which, he knew, it would never be in his power to repay. [FN [c] The sheriff had anciently both the administration of justice and the management of the king's revenue committed to him in the county. See HALE, OF SHERIFFS ACCOUNTS. [d] M. Paris, p. 109. [e] W. Heming. p. 519. Knyghton, p. 2402. [f] Hoveden, p. 662. Rymer, vol. i. p. 64. M. West. p. 257.]

But Richard, though he sacrificed every interest and consideration to the success of this pious enterprise, carried so little the appearance of sanctity in his conduct, that Fulk, curate of Neuilly, a zealous preacher of the crusade, who, from that merit, had acquired the privilege of speaking the boldest truths, advised him to rid himself of his notorious vices, particularly his pride, avarice, and voluptuousness, which he called the king's three favourite daughters. YOU COUNSEL WELL, replied Richard, and I HEREBY DISPOSE OF THE FIRST TO THE TEMPLARS, OF THE SECOND TO THE BENEDICTINES, AND OF THE THIRD TO MY PRELATES.

Richard, jealous of attempts which might be made on England during his absence, laid Prince John, as well as his natural brother, Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, under engagements, confirmed by their oaths, that neither of them should enter the kingdom till his return; though he thought proper, before his departure, to withdraw this prohibition. The administration was left in the hands of Hugh, Bishop of Durham, and of Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, whom he appointed justiciaries and guardians of the realm. The latter was a Frenchman, of mean birth, and of a violent character; who, by art and address, had insinuated himself into favour, whom Richard had created chancellor, and whom he had engaged the pope also to invest with the legatine authority, that, by centering every kind of power in his person, he might the better ensure the public tranquillity. All the military and turbulent spirits flocked about the person of the king, and were impatient to distinguish themselves against the infidels in Asia; whither his inclinations, his engagements, led him, and whither he was impelled by messages from the King of France, ready to embark in this enterprise.

The Emperor Frederic, a prince of great spirit and conduct, had already taken the road to Palestine, at the head of one hundred and fifty thousand men, collected from Germany and all the northern states. Having surmounted every obstacle thrown in his way by the artifices of the Greeks and the power of the infidels, he had penetrated to the borders of Syria; when, bathing in the cold river Cydnus during the greatest heat of the summer season, he was seized with a mortal distemper, which put an end to his life and his rash enterprise [g]. His army, under the command of his son, Conrade, reached Palestine; but was so diminished by fatigue, famine, maladies, and the sword, that it scarcely amounted to eight thousand men; and was unable to make any progress against the great power, valour, and conduct of Saladin. These reiterated calamities attending the crusades had taught the Kings of France and England the necessity of trying another road to the Holy Land; and they determined to conduct their armies thither by sea, to carry provisions along with them, and, by means of their naval power, to maintain an open communication with their own states, and with the western parts of Europe. The place of rendezvous was appointed in the plains of Vezelay, on the borders of Burgundy [h]: [MN 1190. 29th June.] Philip and Richard, on their arrival there, found their combined army amount to one hundred thousand men [i]; a mighty force, animated with glory and religion, conducted by two warlike monarchs, provided with every thing which their several dominions could supply, and not to be overcome but by their own misconduct, or by the unsurmountable obstacles of nature. [FN [g] Bened. Abb. p. 556. [h] Hoveden, p. 660. [i] Vinisauf, p. 305.]

[MN King sets out on the crusade.] The French prince and the English here reiterated their promises of cordial friendship, pledged their faith not to invade each other's dominions during the crusade, mutually exchanged the oaths of all their barons and prelates to the same effect, and subjected themselves to the penalty of interdicts and excommunications, if they should ever violate this public and solemn engagement. They then separated; Philip took the road to Genoa, Richard that to Marseilles, with a view of meeting their fleets, which were severally appointed to rendezvous in these harbours. [MN 14th Sept.] They put to sea; and, nearly about the same time, were obliged, by stress of weather, to take shelter in Messina, where they were detained during the whole winter. This incident laid the foundation of animosities which proved fatal to their enterprise.

Richard and Philip were, by the situation and extent of their dominions, rivals in power; by their age and inclinations, competitors for glory; and these causes of emulation which, had the princes been employed in the field against the common enemy, might have stimulated them to martial enterprises, soon excited, during the present leisure and repose, quarrels between monarchs of such a fiery character. Equally haughty, ambitious, intrepid, and inflexible, they were irritated with the least appearance of injury, and were incapable, by mutual condescensions, to efface those causes of complaint, which unavoidably arose between them. Richard, candid, sincere, undesigning, impolitic, violent, laid himself open, on every occasion, to the designs of his antagonist; who, provident, interested, intriguing, failed not to take all advantages against him: and thus, both the circumstances of their disposition in which they were similar, and those in which they differed, rendered it impossible for them to persevere in that harmony which was so necessary to the success of their undertaking.

[MN Transactions in Sicily.] The last King of Sicily and Naples was William II., who had married Joan, sister to Richard, and who, dying without issue, had bequeathed his dominions to his paternal aunt, Constantia, the only legitimate descendant surviving of Roger, the first sovereign of those states who had been honoured with the royal title. This princess had, in expectation of that rich inheritance, been married to Henry VI., the reigning emperor [k]; but Tancred, her natural brother, had fixed such an interest among the barons, that, taking advantage of Henry's absence, he had acquired possession of the throne, and maintained his claim, by force of arms, against all the efforts of the Germans [l]. The approach of the crusaders naturally gave him apprehensions for his unstable government; and he was uncertain, whether he had most reason to dread the presence of the French or of the English monarch. Philip was engaged in a strict alliance with the emperor his competitor; Richard was disgusted by his rigours towards the queen-dowager, whom the Sicilian prince had confined in Palermo, because she had opposed with all her interest his succession to the crown. Tancred, therefore, sensible of the present necessity, resolved to pay court to both these formidable princes; and he was not unsuccessful in his endeavours. He persuaded Philip that it was highly improper for him to interrupt his enterprise against the infidels, by any attempt against a Christian state: he restored Queen Joan to her liberty; and even found means to make an alliance with Richard, who stipulated by treaty to marry his nephew, Arthur, the young Duke of Britany, to one of the daughters of Tancred [m]. But before these terms of friendship were settled, Richard, jealous both of Tancred and of the inhabitants of Messina, had taken up his quarters in the suburbs, and had possessed himself of a small fort, which commanded the harbour; and he kept himself extremely on his guard against their enterprises. [MN 3d Oct.] The citizens took umbrage. Mutual insults and attacks passed between them and the English: Philip, who had quartered his troops in the town, endeavoured to accommodate the quarrel, and held a conference with Richard for that purpose. While the two kings, meeting in the open fields, were engaged in discourse on this subject, a body of those Sicilians seemed to be drawing towards them; and Richard pushed forwards, in order to inquire into the reason of this extraordinary movement [n]. The English, insolent from their power, and inflamed with former animosities, wanted but a pretence for attacking the Messinese: they soon chased them off the field, drove them into the town, and entered with them at the gates. The king employed his authority to restrain them from pillaging and massacring the defenceless inhabitants; but he gave orders, in token of his victory, that the standard of England should be erected on the walls. Philip, who considered that place as his quarters, exclaimed against the insult, and ordered some of his troops to pull down the standard: but Richard informed him by a messenger, that, though he himself would willingly remove that ground of offence, he would not permit it to be done by others; and if the French king attempted such an insult upon him, he should not succeed but by the utmost effusion of blood. Philip, content with this species of haughty submission, recalled his orders [o]; the difference was seemingly accommodated; but still left the remains of rancour and jealousy in the breasts of the two monarchs. [FN [k] Bened. Abb. p. 580. [1] Hoveden, p. 663. [m] Hoveden, p. 676, 677. Bened Abb. p. 615. [n] Bened. Abb. p. 608. [o] Hoveden, p. 674.]

Tancred, who, for his own security, desired to inflame their mutual hatred, employed an artifice which might have been attended with consequences still more fatal. [MN 1191.] He showed Richard a letter, signed by the French king, and delivered to him, as he pretended, by the Duke of Burgundy; in which that monarch desired Tancred to fall upon the quarters of the English, and promised to assist him in putting them to the sword, as common enemies. The unwary Richard gave credit to the information; but was too candid not to betray his discontent to Philip, who absolutely denied the letter, and charged the Sicilian prince with forgery and falsehood. Richard either was, or pretended to be, entirely satisfied [p]. [FN [p] Ibid. p. 688. Bened. Abb. p. 642, 643. Brompton, p. 1195.]

Lest these jealousies and complaints should multiply between them, it was proposed, that they should, by a solemn treaty, obviate all future differences, and adjust every point that could possibly hereafter become a controversy between them. But this expedient started a new dispute, which might have proved more dangerous than any of the foregoing, and which deeply concerned the honour of Philip's family. When Richard, in every treaty with the late king, insisted so strenuously on being allowed to marry Alice of France, he had only sought a pretence for quarrelling; and never meant to take to his bed a princess suspected of a criminal amour with his own father. After he became master, he no longer spake of that alliance: he even took measures for espousing Berengaria, daughter of Sanchez, King of Navarre, with whom he had become enamoured during his abode in Guienne [q]; Queen Eleanor was daily expected with that princess at Messina [r] and when Philip renewed to him his applications for espousing his sister Alice, Richard was obliged to give him an absolute refusal. It is pretended by Hoveden and other historians [s], that he was able to produce such convincing proofs of Alice's infidelity, and even of her having borne a child to Henry, that her brother desisted from his applications, and chose to wrap up the dishonour of his family in silence and oblivion. It is certain, from the treaty itself, which remains [t], that whatever were his motives, he permitted Richard to give his hand to Berengaria; and having settled all other controversies with that prince, he immediately set sail for the Holy Land. Richard awaited some time the arrival of his mother and bride; and when they joined him, he separated his fleet into two squadrons, and set forward on his enterprise. Queen Eleanor returned to England, but Berengaria and the queen-dowager of Sicily, his sister, attended him on the expedition [u]. [FN [q] Vinisauf, p. 316. [r] M. Paris, p. 112. Trivet, p. 102. W. Heming, p. 519. [s] Hoveden, p. 688. [t] Rymer, vol. i. p. 69. Chron. de Dunst, p. 44. [u] Bened. Abb. p. 644.]

The English fleet, on leaving the port of Messina, met with a furious tempest, and the squadron on which the two princesses were embarked was driven on the coast of Cyprus, and some of the vessels were wrecked near Limisso in that island. [MN 12th April.] Isaac, Prince of Cyprus, who assumed the magnificent title of Emperor, pillaged the ships that were stranded, threw the seamen and passengers into prison, and even refused to the princesses liberty, in their dangerous situation, of entering the harbour of Limisso. But Richard, who arrived soon after, took ample vengeance on him for the injury. He disembarked his troops; defeated the tyrant, who opposed his landing; entered Limisso by storm; gained next day a second victory; obliged Isaac to surrender at discretion; and established governors over the island. The Greek prince, being thrown into prison and loaded with irons, complained of the little regard with which he was treated: upon which, Richard ordered silver fetters to be made for him; and this emperor, pleased with the distinction, expressed a sense of the generosity of his conqueror [w]. [MN 1191. 12th May.] The king here espoused Berengaria, who, immediately embarking, carried along with her to Palestine the daughter of the Cypriot prince; a dangerous rival, who was believed to have seduced the affections of her husband. Such were the libertine character and conduct of the heroes engaged in this pious enterprise! [FN [w] Bened. Abb. p. 650. Ann. Waverl. p. 164. Vinisauf, p. 328. W. Heming. p. 523.]

[MN The kings arrival in Palestine.] The English army arrived in time to partake in the glory of the siege of Acre or Ptolemais, which had been attacked for above two years by the united forces of all the Christians in Palestine, and had been defended by the utmost efforts of Saladin and the Saracens. The remains of the German army, conducted by the Emperor Frederic, and the separate bodies of adventurers who continually poured in from the West, had enabled the King of Jerusalem to form this important enterprise [x]: but Saladin, having thrown a strong garrison into the place under the command of Caracos, his own master in the art of war, and molesting the besiegers with continual attacks and sallies, had protracted the success of the enterprise, and wasted the force of his enemies. The arrival of Philip and Richard inspired new life into the Christians; and these princes, acting by concert, and sharing the honour and danger of every action, gave hopes of a final victory over the infidels. They agreed on this plan of operations: when the French monarch attacked the town, the English guarded the trenches: next day, when the English prince conducted the assault, the French succeeded him in providing for the safety of the assailants. The emulation between those rival kings and rival nations produced extraordinary acts of valour: Richard in particular, animated with a more precipitate courage than Philip, and more agreeable to the romantic spirit of that age, drew to himself the general attention, and acquired a great and splendid reputation. But this harmony was of short duration; and occasions of discord soon arose between these jealous and haughty princes. [FN [x] Vinisauf, p. 269, 271, 279.]

[MN 1191. State of Palestine.] The family of Bouillon, which had first been placed on the throne of Jerusalem, ending in a female, Fulk, Count of Anjou, grandfather to Henry II. of England, married the heiress of that kingdom, and transmitted his title to the younger branches of his family. The Anjevin race ending also in a female, Guy de Lusignan, by espousing Sibylla, the heiress, had succeeded to the title; and though he lost his kingdom by the invasion of Saladin, he was still acknowledged by all the Christians for king of Jerusalem [y]. But as Sibylla died without issue, during the siege of Acre, Isabella, her younger sister, put in her claim to that titular kingdom, and required Lusignan to resign his pretensions to her husband, Conrade, Marquis of Montferrat. Lusignan maintaining that the royal title was unalienable and indefeasible, had recourse to the protection of Richard, attended on him before he left Cyprus, and engaged him to embrace his cause [z]. There needed no other reason for throwing Philip into the party of Conrade; and the opposite views of these great monarchs brought faction and dissension into the Christian army, and retarded all its operations. The Templars, the Genoese, and the Germans declared for Philip and Conrade; the Flemings, the Pisans, the Knights of the Hospital of St. John, adhered to Richard and Lusignan. But notwithstanding these disputes, as the length of the siege had reduced the Saracen garrison to the last extremity, [MN 12th July.] they surrendered themselves prisoners; stipulated, in return for their lives, other advantages to the Christians, such as the restoring of the Christian prisoners, and the delivery of the wood of the true cross [a]; and this great enterprise, which had long engaged the attention of all Europe and Asia, was, at last, after the loss of three hundred thousand men, brought to a happy period. [FN [y] Vinisauf, p. 281. [z] Trivet, p. 134. Vinisauf, p. 342. W. Heming. p. 524. [a] This true cross was lost in the battle of Tiberiade, to which it had been carried by the crusaders for their protection. Rigord, an author of that age, says, that after this dismal event, all the children who were born throughout all Christendom had only twenty or twenty-two teeth, instead of thirty or thirty-two, which was their former complement, p. 14.]

But Philip, instead of pursuing the hopes of farther conquest, and of redeeming the holy city from slavery, being disgusted with the ascendant assumed and acquired by Richard, and having views of many advantages, which he might reap by his presence in Europe, declared his resolution of returning to France; and he pleaded his bad state of health as an excuse for his desertion of the common cause. He left, however, to Richard ten thousand of his troops, under the command of the Duke of Burgundy; and he renewed his oath never to commence hostilities against that princes dominions during his absence. But he had no sooner reached Italy than he applied, it is pretended, to Pope Celestine III. for a dispensation from his vow; and when denied that request, he still proceeded, though after a covert manner, in a project, which the present situation of England rendered inviting, and which gratified, in an eminent degree, both his resentment and his ambition.

[MN Disorders in England.] Immediately after Richard had left England, and begun his march to the Holy Land, the two prelates, whom he had appointed guardians of the realm, broke out into animosities against each other, and threw the kingdom into combustion. Longchamp, presumptuous in his nature, elated by the favour which he enjoyed with his master, and armed with the legatine commission, could not submit to an equality with the Bishop of Durham: he even went so far as to arrest his colleague, and to extort from him a resignation of the earldom of Northumberland, and of his other dignities, as the price of his liberty [b]. The king, informed of these dissensions, ordered, by letters from Marseilles, that the bishop should be reinstated in his offices; but Longchamp had still the boldness to refuse compliance, on pretence that he himself was better acquainted with the kings secret intentions [c]. He proceeded to govern the kingdom by his sole authority; to treat all the nobility with arrogance; and to display his power and riches with an invidious ostentation. He never travelled without a strong guard of fifteen hundred foreign soldiers, collected from that licentious tribe with which the age was generally infested: nobles and knights were proud of being admitted into his train: his retinue wore the aspect of royal magnificence: and when, in his progress through the kingdom, he lodged in any monastery, his attendants, it is said, were sufficient to devour, in one night, the revenue of several years [d]. The king, who was detained in Europe longer than the haughty prelate expected, hearing of this ostentation, which exceeded even what the habits of that age indulged in ecclesiastics; being also informed of the insolent, tyrannical conduct of his minister, thought proper to restrain his power: he sent new orders, appointing Walter Archbishop of Rouen, William Mareschal Earl of Strigul, Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, William Briewere, and Hugh Bardolf, counsellors to Longchamp, and commanding him to take no measure of importance without their concurrence and approbation. But such general terror had this man impressed by his violent conduct, that even the Archbishop of Rouen and the Earl of Strigul durst not produce this mandate of the king's; and Longchamp still maintained an uncontrolled authority over the nation. But when he proceeded so far as to throw into prison Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, who had opposed his measures, this breach of ecclesiastical privileges excited such an universal ferment, that Prince John, disgusted with the small share he possessed in the government, and personally disobliged by Longchamp, ventured to summon, at Reading, a general council of the nobility and prelates, and cite him to appear before them. Longchamp thought it dangerous to intrust his person in their hands, and he shut himself up in the Tower of London; but being soon obliged to surrender that fortress, he fled beyond sea, concealed under a female habit, and was deprived of his offices of chancellor and chief justiciary; the last of which was conferred on the Archbishop of Rouen, a prelate of prudence and moderation. The commission of legate, however, which had been renewed to Longchamp by Pope Celestine, still gave him, notwithstanding his absence, great authority in the kingdom, enabled him to disturb the government, and forwarded the views of Philip, who watched every opportunity of annoying Richard's dominions. [MN 1192.] That monarch first attempted to carry open war into Normandy; but as the French nobility refused to follow him in an invasion of a state which they had sworn to protect, and as the pope, who was the general guardian of all princes that had taken the cross, threatened him with ecclesiastical censures, he desisted from his enterprise, and employed against England the expedient of secret policy and intrigue. He debauched Prince John from his allegiance; promised him his sister Alice in marriage; offered to give him possession of all Richard's transmarine dominions; and had not the authority of Queen Eleanor, and the menaces of the English council, prevailed over the inclinations of that turbulent prince, he was ready to have crossed the seas, and to have put in execution his criminal enterprises. [FN [b] Hoveden, p. 665. Knyghton, p. 2403. [c] W. Heming. p. 528. [d] Hoveden, p. 680. Bened. Abb. p. 626, 700. Brompton, p. 1193.]

[MN The kings heroic actions in Palestine.] The jealousy of Philip was every moment excited by the glory which the great actions of Richard were gaining him in the East, and which, being compared to his own desertion of that popular cause, threw a double lustre on his rival. His envy, therefore, prompted him to obscure that fame which he had not equalled; and he embraced every pretence of throwing the most violent and most improbable calumnies on the King of England. There was a petty prince in Asia, commonly called THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN, who had acquired such an ascendant over his fanatical subjects, that they paid the most implicit deference to his commands; esteemed assassination meritorious when sanctified by his mandate; courted danger, and even certain death, in the execution of his orders; and fancied, that when they sacrificed their lives for his sake, the highest joys of paradise were the infallible reward of their devoted obedience [e]. It was the custom of this prince, when he imagined himself injured, to despatch secretly some of his subjects against the aggressor, to charge them with the execution of his revenge, to instruct them in every art of disguising their purpose; and no precaution was sufficient to guard any man, however powerful, against the attempts of these subtle and determined ruffians. The greatest monarchs stood in awe of this Prince of the Assassins, (for that was the name of his people; whence the word has passed into most European languages,) and it was the highest indiscretion in Conrade, Marquis of Montferrat, to offend and affront him. The inhabitants of Tyre, who were governed by that nobleman, had put to death some of this dangerous people: the prince demanded satisfaction; for, as he piqued himself on never beginning any offence [f], he had his regular and established formalities in requiring atonement: Conrade treated his messengers with disdain: the prince issued the fatal order: two of his subjects, who had insinuated themselves in disguise among Conrade's guards, openly, in the streets of Sidon, wounded him mortally; and when they were seized and put to the most cruel tortures, they triumphed amidst their agonies, and rejoiced that they had been destined by heaven to suffer in so just and meritorious a cause. [FN [e] W. Heming. p. 532. Brompton, p. 1243. [f] Rymer, vol. i. p. 71.]

Every one in Palestine knew from what hand the blow came. Richard was entirely free from suspicion. Though that monarch had formerly maintained the cause of Lusignan against Conrade, he had become sensible of the bad effects attending those dissensions, and had voluntarily conferred on the former the kingdom of Cyprus, on condition that he should resign to his rival all pretensions to the crown of Jerusalem [g]. Conrade himself, with his dying breath, had recommended his widow to the protection of Richard [h]; the Prince of the Assassins avowed the action in a formal narrative which he sent to Europe [i]; yet, on this foundation, the King of France thought fit to build the most egregious calumnies, and to impute to Richard the murder of the Marquis of Montferrat, whose elevation he had once openly opposed. He filled all Europe with exclamations against the crime; appointed a guard for his own person, in order to defend himself against a like attempt [k]; and endeavoured, by these shallow artifices, to cover the infamy of attacking the dominions of a prince whom he himself had deserted, and who was engaged with so much glory in a war, universally acknowledged to be the common cause of Christendom. [FN [g] Vinisauf, p. 391. [h] Brompton, p. 1243. [i] Rymer, vol. i. p. 71. Trivet, p. 124. W. Heming. p. 544. Diceto, p. 680. [k] W Heming. p. 532. Brompton, p. 1245.]

But Richard's heroic actions in Palestine were the best apology for his conduct. The Christian adventurers under his command determined, on opening the campaign, to attempt the siege of Ascalon, in order to prepare the way for that of Jerusalem; and they marched along the sea- coast with that intention. Saladin purposed to intercept their passage; and he placed himself on the road with an army, amounting to three hundred thousand combatants. On this occasion was fought one of the greatest battles of that age; and the most celebrated, for the military genius of the commanders, for the number and valour of the troops, and for the great variety of events which attended it. Both the right wing of the Christians, commanded by d'Avesnes, and the left, conducted by the Duke of Burgundy, were, in the beginning of the day, broken and defeated; when Richard, who led on the main body, restored the battle; attacked the enemy with intrepidity and presence of mind; performed the part both of a consummate general and gallant soldier; and not only gave his two wings leisure to recover from their confusion, but obtained a complete victory over the Saracens, of whom forty thousand are said to have perished in the field [l]. Ascalon soon after fell into the hands of the Christians: other sieges were carried on with equal success: Richard was even able to advance within sight of Jerusalem, the object of his enterprise, when he had the mortification to find that he must abandon all hopes of immediate success, and must put a stop to his career of victory. The crusaders, animated with an enthusiastic ardour for the holy wars, broke at first through all regards to safety or interest in the prosecution of their purpose; and trusting to the immediate assistance of Heaven, set nothing before their eyes but fame and victory in this world, and a crown of glory in the next. But long absence from home, fatigue, disease, want, and the variety of incidents which naturally attend war, had gradually abated that fury, which nothing was able directly to withstand; and every one, except the King of England, expressed a desire of speedily returning into Europe. The Germans and the Italians declared their resolution of desisting from the enterprise: the French were still more obstinate in this purpose: the Duke of Burgundy, in order to pay court to Philip, took all opportunities of mortifying and opposing Richard [m]: and there appeared an absolute necessity of abandoning for the present all hopes of farther conquest, and of securing the acquisitions of the Christians by an accommodation with Saladin. Richard, therefore, concluded a truce with that monarch; and stipulated that Acre, Joppa, and other sea-port towns of Palestine, should remain in the hands of the Christians, and that every one of that religion should have liberty to perform his pilgrimage to Jerusalem unmolested. This truce was concluded for three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours; a magical number, which had probably been devised by the Europeans, and which was suggested by a superstition well suited to the object of the war. [FN [l] Hoveden, p. 698. Bened. Abb. p. 677. Diceto, p. 662. Brompton, p. 1214. [m] Vinisauf, p. 380.]

The liberty, in which Saladin indulged the Christians, to perform their pilgrimages to Jerusalem, was an easy sacrifice on his part; and the furious wars which he waged in defence of the barren territory of Judea were not with him, as with the European adventurers, the result of superstition, but of policy. The advantage indeed of science, moderation, humanity, was at that time entirely on the side of the Saracens; and this gallant emperor, in particular, displayed, during the course of the war, a spirit and generosity, which even his bigoted enemies were obliged to acknowledge and admire. Richard, equally martial and brave, carried with him more of the barbarian character, and was guilty of acts of ferocity, which threw a stain on his celebrated victories. When Saladin refused to ratify the capitulation of Acre, the king of England ordered all his prisoners, to the number of five thousand, to be butchered; and the Saracens found themselves obliged to retaliate upon the Christians by a like cruelty [n]. Saladin died at Damascus soon after concluding this truce with the princes of the crusade: it is memorable that, before he expired, he ordered his winding-sheet to be carried as a standard through every street of the city; while a crier went before, and proclaimed with a loud voice, THIS IS ALL THAT REMAINS TO THE MIGHTY SALADIN, THE CONQUEROR OF THE EAST. By his last will he ordered charities to be distributed to the poor without distinction of Jew, Christian, or Mahometan. [FN [n] Hoveden, p. 697. Bened. Abb. p. 673. M. Paris, p. 115. Vinisauf, p. 346. W. Heming. p. 531.]

[MN 1192. The kings return from Palestine.] There remained, after the truce, no business of importance to detain Richard in Palestine; and the intelligence which he received, concerning the intrigues of his brother John, and those of the King of France, made him sensible that his presence was necessary in Europe. As he dared not to pass through France, be sailed to the Adriatic; and being shipwrecked near Aquileia, he put on the disguise of a pilgrim, with a purpose of taking his journey secretly through Germany. Pursued by the governor of Istria, he was forced out of the direct road to England, and was obliged to pass by Vienna, [MN 20th Dec.] where his expenses and liberalities betrayed the monarch in the habit of the pilgrim; and he was arrested by orders of Leopold, Duke of Austria. This prince had served under Richard at the siege of Acre; but being disgusted by some insult of that haughty monarch, he was so ungenerous as to seize the present opportunity of gratifying at once his avarice and revenge; and he threw the king into prison. [MN 1193.] The emperor, Henry VI., who also considered Richard as an enemy, on account of the alliance contracted by him with Tancred, King of Sicily, despatched messengers to the Duke of Austria, required the royal captive to be delivered to him, and stipulated a large sum of money as a reward for this service. [MN Captivity in Germany.] Thus, the King of England, who had filled the whole world with his renown, found himself, during the most critical state of his affairs, confined in a dungeon, and loaded with irons, in the heart of Germany [o], and entirely at the mercy of his enemies, the basest and most sordid of mankind. [FN [o] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 35.]

The English council was astonished on receiving this fatal intelligence; and foresaw all the dangerous consequences which might naturally arise from that event. The queen-dowager wrote reiterated letters to Pope Celestine, exclaiming against the injury which her son had sustained; representing the impiety of detaining in prison the most illustrious prince that had yet carried the banners of Christ into the Holy Land; claiming the protection of the apostolic see, which was due even to the meanest of those adventurers; and upbraiding the pope, that in a cause where justice, religion, and the dignity of the church, were so much concerned, a cause which it might well befit his holiness himself to support, by taking in person a journey to Germany, the spiritual thunders should so long be suspended over those sacrilegious offenders [p]. The zeal of Celestine corresponded not to the impatience of the queen-mother; and the regency of England were, for a long time, left to struggle alone with all their domestic and foreign enemies. [FN [p] Rymer, vol. i. p. 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, &c.]

[MN War with France.] The King of France, quickly informed of Richard's confinement by a message from the emperor [q], prepared himself to take advantage of the incident; and he employed every means of force and intrigue, of war and negotiation, against the dominions and the person of his unfortunate rival. He revived the calumny of Richard's assassinating the Marquis of Montferrat; and by that absurd pretence he induced his barons to violate their oaths, by which they had engaged that, during the crusade, they never would, on any account, attack the dominions of the King of England. He made the emperor the largest offers, if he would deliver into his hands the royal prisoner, or at least detain him in perpetual captivity: he even formed an alliance by marriage with the King of Denmark, desired that the ancient Danish claim to the crown of England should be transferred to him, and solicited a supply of shipping to maintain it. But the most successful of Philip's negotiations was with Prince John, who, forgetting every tie to his brother, his sovereign, and his benefactor, thought of nothing but how to make his own advantage of the public calamities. That traitor, on the first invitation from the court of France, suddenly went abroad, had a conference with Philip, and made a treaty, of which the object was the perpetual ruin of his unhappy brother. He stipulated to deliver into Philip's hands a great part of Normandy [r]; he received, in return, the investiture of all Richard's transmarine dominions; and it is reported by several historians, that he even did homage to the French king for the crown of England. [FN [q] Ibid. p. 70. [r] Rymer, vol. i. p. 85.]

In consequence of this treaty, Philip invaded Normandy; and by the treachery of John's emissaries, made himself master, without opposition, of many fortresses, Neuf-chatel, Neaufle, Gisors, Pacey, Ivree: he subdued the counties of Eu and Aumale; and advancing to form the siege of Rouen, he threatened to put all the inhabitants to the sword if they dared to make resistance. Happily, Robert, Earl of Leicester, appeared in that critical moment; a gallant nobleman, who had acquired great honour during the crusade, and who, being more fortunate than his master in finding his passage homewards, took on him the command in Rouen, and exerted himself, by his exhortations and example, to infuse courage into the dismayed Normans. Philip was repulsed in every attack; the time of service from his vassals expired; and he consented to a truce with the English regency, received in return the promise of twenty thousand marks, and had four castles put into his hands, as security for the payment [s]. [FN [s] Hoveden, p.730, 731. Rymer, vol. i. p. 81.]

Prince John, who, with a view of increasing the general confusion, went over to England, was still less successful in his enterprises. He was only able to make himself master of the castles of Windsor and Wallingford; but when he arrived in London, and claimed the kingdom as heir to his brother, of whose death he pretended to have received certain intelligence, he was rejected by all the barons, and measures were taken to oppose and subdue him [t]. The justiciaries, supported by the general affection of the people, provided so well for the defence of the kingdom, that John was obliged, after some fruitless efforts, to conclude a truce with them; and before its expiration, he thought it prudent to return to France, where he openly avowed his alliance with Philip [u]. [FN [t] Hoveden, p. 724. [u] W. Heming. p. 536.]

Meanwhile the high spirit of Richard suffered in Germany every kind of insult and indignity. The French ambassadors, in their master's name, renounced him as a vassal to the crown of France, and declared all his fiefs to be forfeited to his liege lord. The emperor, that he might render him more impatient for the recovery of his liberty, and make him submit to the payment of a larger ransom, treated him with the greatest severity, and reduced him to a condition worse than that of the meanest malefactor. He was even produced before the diet of the empire at Worms, and accused by Henry of many crimes and misdemeanours; of making an alliance with Tancred, the usurper of Sicily; of turning the arms of the crusade against a Christian prince, and subduing Cyprus; of affronting the Duke of Austria before Acre; of obstructing the progress of the Christian arms by his quarrels with the King of France; of assassinating Conrade, Marquis of Montferrat; and of concluding a truce with Saladin, and leaving Jerusalem in the hands of the Saracen emperor [w]. Richard, whose spirit was not broken by his misfortunes, and whose genius was rather roused by these frivolous or scandalous imputations; after premising, that his dignity exempted him from answering before any jurisdiction, except that of Heaven; yet condescended, for the sake of his reputation, to justify his conduct before that great assembly. He observed, that he had no hand in Tancred's elevation, and only concluded a treaty with a prince whom he found in possession of the throne; that the king, or rather tyrant of Cyprus, had provoked his indignation by the most ungenerous and unjust proceedings; and though he chastised this aggressor, he had not retarded a moment the progress of his chief enterprise: that if he had at any time been wanting in civility to the Duke of Austria, he had already been sufficiently punished for that sally of passion; and it better became men, embarked together in so holy a cause, to forgive each other's infirmities, than to pursue a slight offence with such unrelenting vengeance: that it had sufficiently appeared by the event, whether the King of France or he were most zealous for the conquest of the Holy Land, and were most likely to sacrifice private passions and animosities to that great object: that if the whole tenour of his life had not shown him incapable of a base assassination, and justified him from that imputation in the eyes of his very enemies, it was in vain for him, at present, to make his apology, or plead the many irrefragable arguments which he could produce in his own favour: and that, however he might regret the necessity, he was so far from being ashamed of his truce with Saladin, that he rather gloried in that event; and thought it extremely honourable, that, though abandoned by all the world, supported only by his own courage, and by the small remains of his national troops, he could yet obtain such conditions from the most powerful and most warlike emperor that the East had ever yet produced. Richard, after thus deigning to apologize for his conduct, burst out into indignation at the cruel treatment which he had met with; that he, the champion of the cross, still wearing that honourable badge, should, after expending the blood and treasure of his subjects in the common cause of Christendom, be intercepted by Christian princes in his return to his own country, be thrown into a dungeon, be loaded with irons, be obliged to plead his cause, as if he were a subject and a malefactor; and what he still more regretted, be thereby prevented from making preparations for a new crusade, which he had projected, after the expiration of the truce, and from redeeming the sepulchre of Christ, which had so long been profaned by the dominion of infidels. The spirit and eloquence of Richard made such impression on the German princes, that they exclaimed loudly against the conduct of the emperor; the pope threatened him with excommunication; and Henry, who had hearkened to the proposals of the King of France and Prince John, found that it would be impracticable for him to execute his and their base purposes, or to detain the King of England any longer in captivity. [MN The kings delivery.] He therefore concluded with him a treaty for his ransom, and agreed to restore him to his freedom for the sum of a hundred and fifty thousand marks, about three hundred thousand pounds of our present money; of which a hundred thousand marks were to be paid before he received his liberty, and sixty-seven hostages delivered for the remainder [x]. The emperor, as if to gloss over the infamy of this transaction, made at the same time a present to Richard of the kingdom of Arles, comprehending Provence, Dauphiny, Narbonne, and other states, over which the empire had some antiquated claims; a present which the king very wisely neglected. [FN [w] M Paris, p. 121. W. Heming. p. 536. [x] Rymer, vol. i. p. 84.]

The captivity of the superior lord was one of the cases provided for by the feudal tenures; and all the vassals were in that event obliged to give an aid for his ransom. Twenty shillings were therefore levied on each knight's fee in England; but as this money came in slowly, and was not sufficient for the intended purpose, the voluntary zeal of the people readily supplied the deficiency. The churches and monasteries melted down their plate, to the amount of thirty thousand marks; the bishops, abbots, and nobles, paid a fourth of their yearly rent; the parochial clergy contributed a tenth of their tithes; [MN 1194. 4th Feb.] and the requisite sum being thus collected, Queen Eleanor, and Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, set out with it for Germany; paid the money to the emperor and the Duke of Austria at Mentz; delivered them hostages for the remainder; and freed Richard from captivity. His escape was very critical. Henry had been detected in the assassination of the Bishop of Liege, and in an attempt of a like nature on the Duke of Louvaine; and finding himself extremely obnoxious to the German princes on account of these odious practices, he had determined to seek support from an alliance with the King of France; to detain Richard, the enemy of that prince, in perpetual captivity; to keep in his hands the money which he had already received for his ransom; and to extort fresh sums from Philip and Prince John, who were very liberal in their offers to him. He therefore gave orders that Richard should be pursued and arrested; but the king, making all imaginable haste, had already embarked at the mouth of the Schelde, and was out of sight of land, when the messengers of the emperor reached Antwerp.

[MN Kings return to England, 20th March.] The joy of the English was extreme on the appearance of their monarch, who had suffered so many calamities, who had acquired so much glory, and who had spread the reputation of their name into the farthest East, whither their fame had never before been able to extend. He gave them, soon after his arrival, an opportunity of publicly displaying their exultation, by ordering himself to be crowned anew at Winchester; as if he intended, by that ceremony, to reinstate himself in his throne, and to wipe off the ignominy of his captivity. Their satisfaction was not damped, even when he declared his purpose of resuming all those exorbitant grants, which he had been necessitated to make before his departure for the Holy Land. The barons, also, in a great council, confiscated, on account of his treason, all Prince John's possessions in England; and they assisted the king in reducing the fortresses which still remained in the hands of his brother's adherents [y]. Richard, having settled every thing in England, passed over with an army into Normandy; being impatient to make war on Philip, and to revenge himself for the many injuries which he had received from that monarch [z]. As soon as Philip heard of the king's deliverance from captivity, he wrote to his confederate John in these terms: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF: THE DEVIL IS BROKEN LOOSE [a]. [FN [y] Hoveden, p. 737. Ann. Waverl. p. 165. W. Heming, p. 540. [z] Hoveden, p. 740. [a] Ibid. p. 739.]

[MN War with France.] When we consider such powerful and martial monarchs inflamed with personal animosity against each other, enraged by mutual injuries, excited by rivalship, impelled by opposite interests, and instigated by the pride and violence of their own temper; our curiosity is naturally raised, and we expect an obstinate and furious war, distinguished by the greatest events, and concluded by some remarkable catastrophe. Yet are the incidents which attend those hostilities so frivolous that scarce any historian can entertain such a passion for military descriptions as to venture on a detail of them: a certain proof of the extreme weakness of princes in those ages, and of the little authority they possessed over their refractory vassals! The whole amount of the exploits on both sides is, the taking of a castle, the surprise of a straggling party, a rencounter of horse, which resembles more a rout than a battle. Richard obliged Philip to raise the siege of Verneuil; he took Loches, a small town in Anjou: he made himself master of Beaumont, and some other places of little consequence; and after these trivial exploits, the two kings began already to hold conferences for an accommodation. Philip insisted that, if a general peace were concluded, the barons on each side should, for the future, be prohibited from carrying on private wars against each other: but Richard replied, that this was a right claimed by his vassals, and he could not debar them from it. After this fruitless negotiation, there ensued an action between the French and English cavalry at Fretteval, in which the former were routed, and the King of France's cartulary and records, which commonly at that time attended his person, were taken. But this victory leading to no important advantages, a truce for a year was at last, from mutual weakness, concluded between the two monarchs.

During this war, Prince John deserted from Philip, threw himself at his brother's feet, craved pardon for his offences, and by the intercession of Queen Eleanor was received into favour. I FORGIVE HIM, said the king, AND HOPE I SHALL AS EASILY FORGET HIS INJURIES AS HE WILL MY PARDON. John was incapable even of returning to his duty, without committing a baseness. Before he left Philip's party, he invited to dinner all the officers of the garrison, which that prince had placed in the citadel of Evreux: he massacred them during the entertainment: fell, with the assistance of the townsmen, on the garrison, whom he put to the sword; and then delivered up the place to his brother.

The King of France was the great object of Richard's resentment and animosity: the conduct of John, as well as that of the emperor and Duke of Austria, had been so base, and was exposed to such general odium and reproach, that the king deemed himself sufficiently revenged for their injuries; and he seems never to have entertained any project of vengeance against any of them. The Duke of Austria, about this time, having crushed his leg by the fall of his horse at a tournament, was thrown into a fever; and being struck, on the approaches of death, with remorse for his injustice to Richard, he ordered, by will, all the English hostages in his hands to be set at liberty, and the remainder of the debt due to him to be remitted: his son, who seemed inclined to disobey these orders, was constrained by his ecclesiastics to execute them [b]. [MN 1195.] The emperor also made advances for Richard's friendship, and offered to give him a discharge of all the debt not yet paid to him provided he would enter into an offensive alliance against the King of France; a proposal which was very acceptable to Richard, and was greedily embraced by him. The treaty with the emperor took no effect; but it served to rekindle the war between France and England before the expiration of the truce. This war was not distinguished by any more remarkable instances than the foregoing. After mutually ravaging the open country, and taking a few insignificant castles, the two kings concluded a peace at Louviers, and made an exchange of some territories with each other [c]. [MN 1196.] Their inability to wage war occasioned the peace: their mutual antipathy engaged them again in war before two months expired. Richard imagined that he had now found an opportunity of gaining great advantages over his rival, by forming an alliance with the Counts of Flanders, Toulouse, Boulogne, Champagne, and other considerable vassals of the crown of France [d]. But he soon experienced the insincerity of those princes, and was not able to make any impression on that kingdom, while governed by a monarch of so much vigour and activity as Philip. The most remarkable incident of this war was the taking prisoner in battle the Bishop of Beauvais, a martial prelate, who was of the family of Dreux, and a near relation of the French king's. Richard, who hated that bishop, threw him into prison and loaded him with irons; and when the pope demanded his liberty, and claimed him as his son, the king sent to his holiness the coat of mail which the prelate had worn in battle, and which was all besmeared with blood; and he replied to him, in the terms employed by Jacob's sons to that patriarch, THIS HAVE WE FOUND: KNOW NOW WHETHER IT BE THY SON'S COAT OR NO [e]. This new war between England and France, though carried out with such animosity that both kings frequently put out the eyes of their prisoners, was soon finished by a truce of five years; and immediately after signing this treaty, the kings were ready, on some new offence, to break out again into hostilities; when the mediation of the Cardinal of St. Mary, the pope's legate, accommodated the difference [f]. This prelate even engaged the princes to commence a treaty for a more durable peace; but the death of Richard put an end to the negotiation. [FN [b] Rymer, vol i. p. 88, 102. [c] Ibid. p. 91. [d] W. Heming, p. 549. Brompton, p. 1273. Rymer, vol. i. p. 94. [e] Genesis, chap. xxxvii. ver. 32. M. Paris, p. 128. Brompton, p. 1273. [f] Rymer, vol. i. p. 109, 110.]

[MN 1199.] Vidomar, Viscount of Limoges, a vassal of the king's, had found a treasure, of which he sent part to that prince as a present. Richard, as superior lord, claimed the whole; and at the head of some Brabancons, besieged the viscount in the castle of Chalons, near Limoges, in order to make him comply with his demand [g]. The garrison offered to surrender; but the king replied, that, since he had taken the pains to come thither and besiege the place in person, he would take it by force, and would hang every one of them. The same day, Richard, accompanied by Marcadee, leader of his Brabancons, approached the castle in order to survey it; when one Bertrand de Gourdon, an archer, took aim at him, and pierced his shoulder with an arrow. [MN 28th March.] The king, however, gave orders for the assault, took the place, and hanged all the garrison, except Gourdon, who had wounded him, and whom he reserved for a more deliberate and more cruel execution [h]. [FN [g] Hoveden, p. 791. Knyghton, p. 2413. [h] Ibid.]

The wound was not in itself dangerous; but the unskilfulness of the surgeon made it mortal: he so rankled Richard's shoulder in pulling out the arrow, that a gangrene ensued; and that prince was now sensible that his life was drawing towards a period. He sent for Gourdon, and asked him, WRETCH, WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO YOU, TO OBLIGE YOU TO SEEK MY LIFE?—WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME? replied coolly the prisoner: YOU KILLED WITH YOUR OWN HANDS MY FATHER AND MY TWO BROTHERS; AND YOU INTENDED TO HAVE HANGED MYSELF: I AM NOW IN YOUR POWER, AND YOU MAY TAKE REVENGE, BY INFLICTING ON ME THE MOST SEVERE TORMENTS: BUT I SHALL ENDURE THEM ALL WITH PLEASURE, PROVIDED I CAN THINK THAT I HAVE BEEN SO HAPPY AS TO RID THE WORLD OF SUCH A NUISANCE [i]. Richard, struck with the reasonableness of this reply, and humbled by the near approach of death, ordered Gourdon to be set at liberty, and a sum of money to be given him: but Marcadee, unknown to him, seized the unhappy man, flayed him alive, and then hanged him. [MN 6th April. Death,] Richard died in the tenth year of his reign, and the forty-second of his age; and he left no issue behind him. [FN [i] Hoveden, p. 791. Brompton, p. 1277. Knyghton, p. 2413.]

[MN and character of the king.] The most shining parts of this prince's character are his military talents. No man, even in that romantic age, carried personal courage and intrepidity to a greater height; and this quality gained him the appellation of the lion-hearted, COEUR DE LION. He passionately loved glory, chiefly military glory; and as his conduct in the field was not inferior to his valour, he seems to have possessed every talent necessary for acquiring it. His resentments also were high; his pride unconquerable; and his subjects, as well as his neighbours, had therefore reason to apprehend, from the continuance of his reign, a perpetual scene of blood and violence. Of an impetuous and vehement spirit, he was distinguished by all the good as well as the bad qualities incident to that character: he was open, frank, generous, sincere, and brave; he was revengeful, domineering, ambitious, haughty, and cruel; and was thus better calculated to dazzle men by the splendour of his enterprises, than either to promote their happiness or his own grandeur by a sound and well-regulated policy. As military talents made great impression on the people, he seems to have been much beloved by his English subjects; and he is remarked to have been the first prince of the Norman line that bore any sincere regard to them. He passed however only four months of his reign in that kingdom: the crusade employed him near three years; he was detained about fourteen months in captivity; the rest of his reign was spent either in war, or preparations for war, against France; and he was so pleased with the fame which he had acquired in the East, that he determined, notwithstanding his past misfortunes, to have farther exhausted his kingdom, and to have exposed himself to new hazards, by conducting another expedition against the infidels.

[MN Miscellaneous transactions of this reign.] Though the English pleased themselves with the glory which the king's martial genius procured them, his reign was very oppressive and somewhat arbitrary, by the high taxes which he levied on them, and often without consent of the states or great council. In the ninth year of his reign, he levied five shillings on each hide of land; and because the clergy refused to contribute their share, he put them out of the protection of law, and ordered the civil courts to give them no sentence for any debts which they might claim [k]. Twice in his reign he ordered all his charters to be sealed anew, and the parties to pay fees for the renewal [l]. It is said that Hubert, his justiciary, sent him over to France, in the space of two years, no less a sum than one million one hundred thousand marks, besides bearing all the charges of the government in England. But this account is quite incredible, unless we suppose that Richard made a thorough dilapidation of the demesnes of the crown, which it is not likely he could do with any advantage after his former resumption of all grants. A king who possessed such a revenue could never have endured fourteen months' captivity for not paying a hundred and fifty thousand marks to the emperor, and be obliged at last to leave hostages for a third of the sum. The prices of commodities in this reign are also a certain proof that no such enormous sum could be levied on the people. A hide of land, or about a hundred and twenty acres, was commonly let at twenty shillings a year, money of that time. As there were two hundred and forty-three thousand six hundred hides in England, it is easy to compute the amount of all the landed rents of the kingdom. The general and stated price of an ox was four shillings; of a labouring horse the same; of a sow, one shilling; of a sheep with fine wool, tenpence; with coarse wool, sixpence [m]. These commodities seem not to have advanced in their prices since the conquest [n], and to have still been ten times cheaper than at present. [FN [k] Hoveden, p. 743. Tyrrel, vol. ii. p. 563. [l] Prynne's Chronol. Vindic. tom. i. p. 1133. [m] Hoveden, p. 745. [n] See note [S], at the end of the volume.]

Richard renewed the severe laws against transgressors in his forests, whom he punished by castration and putting out their eyes, as in the reign of his great-grandfather. He established by law one weight and measure throughout his kingdom [o]: a useful institution, which the mercenary disposition and necessities of his successor engaged him to dispense with for money. [FN [o] M. Paris, p. 109, 134. Trivet, p. 127. Ann. Waverl. p. 165. Hoveden, p. 774.]

The disorders in London, derived from its bad police, had risen to a great height during this reign; and in the year 1196, there seemed to be formed so regular a conspiracy among the numerous malefactors, as threatened the city with destruction. There was one William Fitz-Osbert, commonly called LONGBEARD, a lawyer, who had rendered himself extremely popular among the lower rank of citizens; and, by defending them on all occasions, had acquired the appellation of the advocate or saviour of the poor. He exerted his authority, by injuring and insulting the more substantial citizens, with whom he lived in a state of hostility, and who were every moment exposed to the most outrageous violences from him and his licentious emissaries. Murders were daily committed in the streets; houses were broken open and pillaged in daylight; and it is pretended that no less than fifty- two thousand persons had entered into an association, by which they bound themselves to obey all the orders of this dangerous ruffian. Archbishop Hubert, who was then chief justiciary, summoned him before the council to answer for his conduct; but he came so well attended, that no one durst accuse him, or give evidence against him; and the primate, finding the impotence of law, contented himself with exacting from the citizens hostages for their good behaviour. He kept, however, a watchful eye on Fitz-Osbert; and seizing a favourable opportunity, attempted to commit him to custody; but the criminal, murdering one of the public officers, escaped with his concubine to the church of St. Mary le Bow, where he defended himself by force of arms. He was at last forced from his retreat, condemned, and executed, amidst the regrets of the populace, who were so devoted to his memory, that they stole his gibbet, paid the same veneration to it as to the cross, and were equally zealous in propagating and attesting reports of the miracles wrought by it [p]. But though the sectaries of this superstition were punished by the justiciary [q], it received so little encouragement from the established clergy, whose property was endangered by such seditious practices, that it suddenly sunk and vanished. [FN [p] Hoveden, p 765. Diceto, p. 691. Neubrig. p. 492, 493. [q] Gervase, p. 1551.]

It was during the crusades that the custom of using coats of arms was first introduced into Europe. The knights, cased up in armour, had no way to make themselves be known and distinguished in battle but by the devices on their shields; and these were gradually adopted by their posterity and families, who were proud of the pious and military enterprises of their ancestors.

King Richard was a passionate lover of poetry; there even remain some
poetical works of his composition; and he bears a rank among the
Provencal poets or TROBADORES, who were the first of the modern
Europeans that distinguished themselves by attempts of that nature.



[MN 1199. Accession of the king.] The noble and free genius of the ancients, which made the government of a single person be always regarded as a species of tyranny and usurpation, and kept them from forming any conception of a legal and regular monarchy, had rendered them entirely ignorant both of the rights of PRIMOGENITURE, and a REPRESENTATION in succession; inventions so necessary for preserving order in the lines of princes, for obviating the evils of civil discord and of usurpation, and for begetting moderation in that species of government, by giving security to the ruling sovereign. These innovations arose from the feudal law, which, first introducing the right of primogeniture, made such a distinction between the families of the elder and younger brothers, that the son of the former was thought entitled to succeed to his grandfather, preferably to his uncles, though nearer allied to the deceased monarch. But though this progress of ideas was natural, it was gradual. In the age of which we treat, the practice of representation was indeed introduced, but not thoroughly established; and the minds of men fluctuated between opposite principles. Richard, when he entered on the holy war, declared his nephew, Arthur, Duke of Britany, his successor; and by a formal deed he set aside, in his favour, the title of his brother John, who was younger than Geoffrey, the father of that prince [a]. But John so little acquiesced in that destination, that when he gained the ascendant in the English ministry, by expelling Longchamp, the chancellor and great justiciary, he engaged all the English barons to swear that they would maintain his right of succession; and Richard, on his return, took no steps towards restoring or securing the order which he had at first established. He was even careful, by his last will, to declare his brother John heir to all his dominions [b]; whether that he now thought Arthur, who was only twelve years of age, incapable of asserting his claim against John's faction, or was influenced by Eleanor, the queen-mother, who hated Constantia, mother of the young duke, and who dreaded the credit which that princess would naturally acquire if her son should mount the throne. The authority of a testament was great in that age, even where the succession of a kingdom was concerned; and John had reason to hope that this title, joined to his plausible right in other respects, would ensure him the succession. But the idea of representation seems to have made, at this time, greater progress in France than in England: the barons of the transmarine provinces, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine, immediately declared in favour of Arthur's title, and applied for assistance to the French monarch as their superior lord. Philip, who desired only an occasion to embarrass John, and dismember his dominions, embraced the cause of the young Duke of Britany, took him under his protection, and sent him to Paris to be educated, along with his own son Lewis [c]. In this emergence, John hastened to establish his authority in the chief members of the monarchy; and after sending Eleanor into Poictou and Guienne, where her right was incontestable, and was readily acknowledged, he hurried to Rouen, and having secured the duchy of Normandy, he passed over, without loss of time, to England. Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, William Mareschal, Earl of Strigul, who also passes by the name of Earl of Pembroke, and Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, the justiciary, the three most favoured ministers of the late king, were already engaged on his side [d]; and the submission or acquiescence of all the other barons put him, without opposition, in possession of the throne. [FN [a] Hoveden, p. 677. M Paris, p. 112. Chron. de Dunst. p. 43. Rymer, vol i p. 66, 68. Bened. Abb. p. 619. [b] Hoveden, p. 791. Trivet, p. 138. [c] Hoveden, p. 792. M. Paris, p. 137. M. West. p. 263. Knyghton, p. 2414. [d] Hoveden, p. 793. M. Paris, p. 137.]

The king soon returned to France, in order to conduct the war against Philip, and to recover the revolted provinces from his nephew Arthur. The alliances which Richard had formed with the Earl of Flanders [e], and other potent French princes, though they had not been very effectual, still subsisted, and enabled John to defend himself against all the efforts of his enemy. In an action between the French and Flemings, the elect Bishop of Cambray was taken prisoner by the former; and when the Cardinal of Capua claimed his liberty, Philip, instead of complying, reproached him with the weak efforts which he had employed in favour of the Bishop of Beauvais, who was in a like condition. The legate, to show his impartiality, laid, at the same time, the kingdom of France and the duchy of Normandy under an interdict; and the two kings found themselves obliged to make an exchange of these military prelates. [FN [e] Rymer, vol. i. p. 114. Hoveden, p. 794. M. Paris, p. 138.]

[MN 1200.] Nothing enabled the king to bring this war to a happy issue so much as the selfish intriguing character of Philip, who acted in the provinces that had declared for Arthur, without any regard to the interests of that prince. Constantia, seized with a violent jealousy that he intended to usurp the entire dominion of them [f], found means to carry off her son secretly from Paris: she put him into the hands of his uncle; restored the provinces which had adhered to the young prince; and made him do homage for the duchy of Britany, which was regarded as a rerefief of Normandy. From this incident, Philip saw that he could not hope to make any progress against John; and being threatened with an interdict on account of his irregular divorce from Ingelburga, the Danish princess whom he had espoused, he became desirous of concluding a peace with England. After some fruitless conferences, the terms were at last adjusted; and the two monarchs seemed in this treaty to have an intention, besides ending the present quarrel, of preventing all future causes of discord, and of obviating every controversy which could thereafter arise between them. They adjusted the limits of all their territories, mutually secured the interests of their vassals; and, to render the union more durable, John gave his niece, Blanche of Castile, in marriage to Prince Lewis, Philip's eldest son, and with her the baronies of Issoudun and Gracai, and other fiefs in Berri. Nine barons of the King of England, and as many of the King of France, were guarantees of this treaty; and all of them swore that if their sovereign violated any article of it, they would declare themselves against him, and embrace the cause of the injured monarch [g]. [FN [f] Hoveden, p.795. [g] Norman Duchesnii, p. 1055. Rymer, vol. i. p. 117, 118, 119. Hoveden, p. 814. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 47.]

John, now secure, as he imagined, on the side of France, indulged his passion for Isabella, the daughter and heir of Aymar Tailleffer, Count of Angouleme, a lady with whom he had become much enamoured. His queen, the heiress of the family of Gloucester, was still alive: Isabella was married to the Count de la Marche, and was already consigned to the care of that nobleman; though, by reason of her tender years, the marriage had not been consummated. The passion of John made him overlook all these obstacles: he persuaded the Count of Angouleme to carry off his daughter from her husband; and having, on some pretence or other, procured a divorce from his own wife, he espoused Isabella; [MN The kings marriage.] regardless both of the menaces of the pope, who exclaimed against these irregular proceedings, and of the resentment of the injured count, who soon found means of punishing his powerful and insolent rival.

[MN 1201.] John had not the art of attaching his barons either by affection or by fear. The Count de la Marche, and his brother, the Count d'Eu, taking advantage of the general discontent against him, excited commotions in Poictou and Normandy, and obliged the king to have recourse to arms, in order to suppress the insurrection of his vassals. He summoned together the barons of England, and required them to pass the sea under his standard, and to quell the rebels: he found that he possessed as little authority in that kingdom as in his transmarine provinces. The English barons unanimously replied, that they would not attend him on this expedition, unless he would promise to restore and preserve their privileges [h]: the first symptom of a regular association and plan of liberty among those noblemen! but affairs were not yet fully ripe for the revolution projected. John, by menacing the barons, broke the concert; and both engaged many of them to follow him into Normandy, and obliged the rest who stayed behind to pay him a scutage of two marks on each knight's fee, as the price of their exemption from the service. [FN [h] Annal. Burton, p. 262.]

The force which John carried abroad with him, and that which joined him in Normandy, rendered him much superior to his malecontent barons; and so much the more as Philip did not publicly give them any countenance, and seemed as yet determined to persevere steadily in the alliance which he had contracted with England. But the king, elated with his superiority, advanced claims which gave an universal alarm to his vassals, and diffused still wider the general discontent. As the jurisprudence of those times required that the causes in the lords' court should chiefly be decided by duel, he carried along with him certain bravos, whom he retained as champions, and whom he destined to fight with his barons, in order to determine any controversy which he might raise against them [i]. The Count de la Marche, and other noblemen, regarded this proceeding as an affront, as well as an injury; and declared that they would never draw their swords against men of such inferior quality. The king menaced them with vengeance; but he had not vigour to employ against them the force in his hands, or to prosecute the injustice, by crushing entirely the nobles who opposed it. [FN [i] Ibid.]

[MN War with France.] This government, equally feeble and violent, gave the injured barons courage, as well as inclination, to carry farther their opposition; they appealed to the King of France; complained of the denial of justice in Johns court; demanded redress from him as their superior lord; and entreated him to employ his authority, and prevent their final ruin and oppression. [MN 1202.] Philip perceived his advantage, opened his mind to great projects, interposed in behalf of the French barons, and began to talk in a high and menacing style to the King of England. John, who could not disavow Philip's authority, replied, that it belonged to himself first to grant them a trial by their peers in his own court; it was not till he failed in this duty that he was answerable to his peers in the supreme court of the French king [k]; and he promised, by a fair and equitable judicature, to give satisfaction to his barons. When the nobles, in consequence of this engagement, demanded a safe conduct, that they might attend his court, he at first refused it; upon the renewal of Philip's menaces, he promised to grant their demand; he violated this promise; fresh menaces extorted from him a promise to surrender to Philip the fortresses of Tillieres and Boutavant, as a security for performance; he again violated his engagement; his enemies, sensible both of his weakness and want of faith, combined still closer in the resolution of pushing him to extremities; and a new and powerful ally soon appeared to encourage them in their invasion of this odious and despicable government. [FN [k] Philipp. lib. vi.]

[MN 1203.] The young Duke of Britany, who was now rising to mans estate, sensible of the dangerous character of his uncle, determined to seek both his security and elevation by a union with Philip and the malecontent barons. He joined the French army, which had begun hostilities against the King of England: he was received with great marks of distinction by Philip; was knighted by him; espoused his daughter Mary; and was invested not only in the duchy of Britany, but in the counties of Anjou and Maine, which he had formerly resigned to his uncle [l]. Every attempt succeeded with the allies. Tillieres and Boutavant were taken by Philip, after making a feeble defence: Mortimar and Lyons fell into his hands almost without resistance. That prince next invested Gournai; and opening the sluices of a lake which lay in the neighbourhood, poured such a torrent of water into the place, that the garrison deserted it, and the French monarch, without striking a blow, made himself master of that important fortress. The progress of the French arms was rapid, and promised more considerable success than usually in that age attended military enterprises. In answer to every advance which the king made towards peace, Philip still insisted that he should resign all his transmarine dominions to his nephew, and rest contented with the kingdom of England; when an event happened which seemed to turn the scales in favour of John, and to give him a decisive superiority over his enemies. [FN [l] Trivet, p. 142.]

Young Arthur, fond of military renown, had broken into Poictou at the head of a small army; and passing near Mirebeau, he heard that his grandmother, Queen Eleanor, who had always opposed his interests, was lodged in that place, and was protected by a weak garrison and ruinous fortifications [m]. He immediately determined to lay siege to the fortress, and make himself master of her person: but John, roused from his indolence by so pressing an occasion, collected an army of English and Brabancons, and advanced from Normandy with hasty marches to the relief of the queen-mother. He fell on Arthur's camp before that prince was aware of the danger; dispersed his army; took him prisoner, together with the Count de la Marche, Geoffrey de Lusignan, and the most considerable of the revolted barons; and returned in triumph to Normandy [n]. [MN 1st Aug.] Philip, who was lying before Arques in that duchy, raised the siege, and retired upon his approach [o]. The greater part of the prisoners were sent over to England; but Arthur was shut up in the castle of Falaise. [FN [m] Ann. Waverl. p. 167. M. West. p. 264. [n] Ann. Marg. p. 213. M. West. p. 264. [o] M. West. p. 264.]

The king had here a conference with his nephew; represented to him the folly of his pretensions; and required him to renounce the French alliance, which had encouraged him to live in a state of enmity with all his family: but the brave, though imprudent youth, rendered more haughty from misfortunes, maintained the justice of his cause; asserted his claim not only to the French provinces, but to the crown of England; and in his turn, required the king to restore the son of his elder brother to the possession of his inheritance [p]. John, sensible from these symptoms of spirit that the young prince, though now a prisoner, might hereafter prove a dangerous enemy, determined to prevent all future peril by despatching his nephew; and Arthur was never more heard of. [MN 1203. Murder of Arthur, Duke of Britany.] The circumstances which attended this deed of darkness were, no doubt, carefully concealed by the actors, and are variously related by historians: but the most probable account is as follows: the king, it is said, first proposed to William de la Bray, one of his servants, to despatch Arthur; but William replied that he was a gentleman, not a hangman; and he positively refused compliance. Another instrument of murder was found, and was despatched with proper orders to Falaise; but Hubert de Bourg, chamberlain to the king, and constable of the castle, feigning that he himself would execute the king's mandate, sent back the assassin, spread the report that the young prince was dead, and publicly performed all the ceremonies of his interment; but finding that the Bretons vowed revenge for the murder, and that all the revolted barons persevered more obstinately in their rebellion, he thought it prudent to reveal the secret, and to inform the world that the Duke of Britany was still alive, and in his custody. This discovery proved fatal to the young prince: John first removed him to the castle of Rouen; and coming in a boat, during the night-time, to that place, commanded Arthur to be brought forth to him. The young prince, aware of his danger, and now more subdued by the continuance of his misfortunes, and by the approach of death, threw himself on his knees before his uncle, and begged for mercy: but the barbarous tyrant, making no reply, stabbed him with his own hands; and fastening a stone to the dead body, threw it into the Seine. [FN [p] Ibid. p. 264.]

All men were struck with horror at this inhuman deed; and from that moment the king, detested by his subjects, retained a very precarious authority over both the people and the barons in his dominions. The Bretons, enraged at this disappointment in their fond hopes, waged implacable war against him; and fixing the succession of their government, put themselves in a posture to revenge the murder of their sovereign. John had got into his power his niece, Eleanor, sister to Arthur, commonly called THE DAMSEL OF BRITANY; and carrying her over to England, detained her ever after in captivity [q]; but the Bretons, in despair of recovering this princess, chose Alice for their sovereign; a younger daughter of Constantia, by her second marriage with Guy de Thouars; and they intrusted the government of the duchy to that nobleman. The states of Britany, meanwhile, carried their complaints before Philip, as their liege lord, and demanded justice for the violence committed by John on the person of Arthur, so near a relation, who, notwithstanding the homage which he did to Normandy, was always regarded as one of the chief vassals of the crown. Philip received their application with pleasure; summoned John to stand a trial before him, and on his non-appearance passed sentence, with the concurrence of the peers, upon that prince; declared him guilty of felony and parricide; and adjudged him to forfeit to his superior lord all his seignories and fiefs in France [r]. [FN [q] Trivet, p. 145. T. Wykes, p. 36. Ypod. Neust. p. 459. [r] W. Heming, p. 455. M. West. p. 264. Knyghton, p. 2420.]

[MN The King expelled from the French provinces.] The King of France, whose ambitious and active spirit had been hitherto confined, either by the sound policy of Henry, or the martial genius of Richard, seeing now the opportunity favourable against this base and odious prince, embraced the project of expelling the English, or rather the English king, from France, and of annexing to the crown so many considerable fiefs, which, during several ages, had been dismembered from it. Many of the other great vassals, whose jealousy might have interposed, and have obstructed the execution of this project, were not at present in a situation to oppose it; and the rest either looked on with indifference, or gave their assistance to this dangerous aggrandizement of their superior lord. The Earls of Flanders and Blois were engaged in the holy war: the Count of Champagne was an infant, and under the guardianship of Philip: the duchy of Britany, enraged at the murder of their prince, vigorously promoted all his measures: and the general defection of John's vassals made every enterprise easy and successful against him. Philip, after taking several castles and fortresses beyond the Loire, which he either garrisoned or dismantled, received the submissions of the Count of Alencon, who deserted John, and delivered up all the places under his command to the French: upon which Philip broke up his camp, in order to give the troops some repose after the fatigues of the campaign. John, suddenly recollecting some forces, laid siege to Alencon; and Philip, whose dispersed army could not be brought together in time to succour it, saw himself exposed to the disgrace of suffering the oppression of his friend and confederate. But his active and fertile genius found an expedient against this evil. There was held at that very time a tournament at Moret, in the Gatinois; whither all the chief nobility of France and the neighbouring countries had resorted, in order to signalize their prowess and address. Philip presented himself before them; craved their assistance in his distress; and pointed out the plains of Alencon, as the most honourable field in which they could display their generosity and martial spirit. Those valorous knights vowed that they would take vengeance on the base parricide, the stain of arms and of chivalry; and putting themselves, with all their retinue, under the command of Philip, instantly marched to raise the siege of Alencon. John, hearing of their approach, fled from before the place; and, in the hurry, abandoned all his tents, machines, and baggage, to the enemy.

This feeble effort was the last exploit of that slothful and cowardly prince for the defence of his dominions. He thenceforth remained in total inactivity at Rouen; passing all his time with his young wife in pastimes and amusements, as if his state had been in the most profound tranquillity, or his affairs in the most prosperous condition. If he ever mentioned war, it was only to give himself vaunting airs, which, in the eyes of all men, rendered him still more despicable and ridiculous. LET THE FRENCH GO ON, said he, I WILL RETAKE IN A DAY WHAT IT HAS COST THEM YEARS TO ACQUIRE [s]. His stupidity and indolence appeared so extraordinary, that the people endeavoured to account for the infatuation by sorcery, and believed that he was thrown into this lethargy by some magic or witchcraft. The English barons, finding that their time was wasted to no purpose, and that they must suffer the disgrace of seeing, without resistance, the progress of the French arms, withdrew from their colours, and secretly returned to their own country [t]. No one thought of defending a man who seemed to have deserted himself; and his subjects regarded his fate with the same indifference to which in this pressing exigency they saw him totally abandoned. [FN [s] M. Paris, p. 146. M. West. p. 266. [t] M. Paris, p. 146. M. West. p. 264.]

John, while he neglected all domestic resources, had the meanness to betake himself to a foreign power, whose protection he claimed: he applied to the pope, Innocent III., and entreated him to interpose his authority between him and the French monarch. Innocent, pleased with any occasion of exerting his superiority, sent Philip orders to stop the progress of his arms, and to make peace with the King of England. But the French barons received the message with indignation; disclaimed the temporal authority assumed by the pontiff; and vowed that they would, to the uttermost, assist their prince against all his enemies; Philip, seconding their ardour, proceeded, instead of obeying the pope's envoys, to lay siege to Chateau Gaillard, the most considerable fortress which remained to guard the frontiers of Normandy.

[MN 1204.] Chateau Gaillard was situated partly on an island in the river Seine, partly on a rock opposite to it; and was secured by every advantage which either art or nature could bestow upon it. The late king, having cast his eye on this favourable situation, had spared no labour or expense in fortifying it; and it was defended by Roger de Laci, Constable of Chester, a determined officer, at the head of a numerous garrison. Philip, who despaired of taking the place by force, purposed to reduce it by famine; and, that he might cut off its communication with the neighbouring country, he threw a bridge across the Seine, while he himself, with his army, blockaded it by land. The Earl of Pembroke, the man of greatest vigour and capacity in the English court, formed a plan for breaking through the French intrenchments, and throwing relief into the place. He carried with him an army of four thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry, and suddenly attacked, with great success, Philip's camp in the night-time; having left orders that a fleet of seventy flat-bottomed vessels should sail up the Seine, and fall at the same instant on the bridge. But the wind and the current of the river, by retarding the vessels, disconcerted this plan of operations; and it was morning before the fleet appeared; when Pembroke, though successful in the beginning of the action, was already repulsed with considerable loss, and the King of France had leisure to defend himself against these new assailants, who also met with a repulse. After this misfortune, John made no farther efforts for the relief of Chateau Gaillard; and Philip had all the leisure requisite for conducting and finishing the siege. Roger de Laci defended himself for a twelvemonth with great obstinacy; and having bravely repelled every attack, and patiently borne all the hardships of famine, he was at last overpowered by a sudden assault in the night-time, and made prisoner of war, with his garrison [u]. Philip, who knew how to respect valour even in an enemy, treated him with civility, and gave him the whole city of Paris for the place of his confinement. [FN [u] Trivet, p. 144. Gul. Britto, lib. 7. Ann. Waverl. p. 168.]

When this bulwark of Normandy was once subdued, all the province lay open to the inroads of Philip; and the King of England despaired of being any longer able to defend it. He secretly prepared vessels for a scandalous flight, and that the Normans might no longer doubt of his resolution to abandon them, he ordered the fortifications of Pont de l'Arche, Molineaux, and Montfort l'Amauri, to be demolished. Not daring to repose confidence in any of his barons, whom he believed to be universally engaged in a conspiracy against him, he intrusted the government of the province to Archas Martin and Lupicaire, two mercenary Brabancons, whom he had retained in his service. Philip, now secure of his prey, pushed his conquests with vigour and success against the dismayed Normans. Falaise was first besieged; and Lupicaire, who commanded in this impregnable fortress, after surrendering the place, enlisted himself with his troops in the service of Philip, and carried on hostilities against his ancient master. Caen, Coutance, Seez, Evreux, Baieux, soon fell into the hands of the French monarch, and all the Lower Normandy was reduced under his dominion. To forward his enterprises on the other division of the province, Gui de Thouars, at the head of the Bretons, broke into the territory, and took Mount St. Michael, Avranches, and all the other fortresses in that neighbourhood. The Normans, who abhorred the French yoke, and who would have defended themselves to the last extremity if their prince had appeared to conduct them, found no resource but in submission; and every city opened its gates as soon as Philip appeared before it. [MN 1205.] Rouen alone, Arques, and Verneuil, determined to maintain their liberties, and formed a confederacy for mutual defence. Philip began with the siege of Rouen: the inhabitants were so inflamed with hatred to France, that, on the appearance of his army, they fell on all the natives of that country whom they found within their walls, and put them to death. But after the French king had begun his operations with success, and had taken some of their outworks, the citizens, seeing no resource, offered to capitulate; and demanded only thirty days to advertise their prince of their danger, and to require succours against the enemy. [MN 1st June.] Upon the expiration of the term, as no supply had arrived, they opened their gates to Philip [w]; and the whole province soon after imitated the example, and submitted to the victor. Thus was this important territory re-united to the crown of France, about three centuries after the cession of it by Charles the Simple to Rollo, the first duke: and the Normans, sensible that this conquest was probably final, demanded the privilege of being governed by French laws; which Philip, making a few alterations on the ancient Norman customs, readily granted them. But the French monarch had too much ambition and genius to stop in his present career of success. He carried his victorious army into the western provinces; soon reduced Anjou, Maine, Touraine, and part of Poictou [x]; and in this manner the French crown, during the reign of one able and active prince, received such an accession of power and grandeur, as in the ordinary course of things, it would have required several ages to attain. [FN [w] Trivet. p. 147. Ypod. Neust. p. 459. [x] Trivet, p. 149.]

John, on his arrival in England, that he might cover the disgrace of his own conduct, exclaimed loudly against his barons, who, he pretended, had deserted his standard in Normandy; and he arbitrarily extorted from them a seventh of all their moveables, as a punishment for the offence [y]. Soon after he forced them to grant him a scutage of two marks and a half on each knight's fee for an expedition into Normandy; but he did not attempt to execute the service for which he pretended to exact it. Next year he summoned all the barons of his realm to attend him on this foreign expedition, and collected ships from all the sea-ports; but meeting with opposition from some of his ministers, and abandoning his design, he dismissed both fleet and army, and then renewed his exclamations against the barons for deserting him. He next put to sea with a small army, and his subjects believed that he was resolved to expose himself to the utmost hazard for the defence and recovery of his dominions: but they were surprised, after a few days, to see him return again into harbour, without attempting any thing. [MN 1206.] In the subsequent season, he had the courage to carry his hostile measures a step farther. Gui de Thouars, who governed Britany, jealous of the rapid progress made by his ally, the French king, promised to join the King of England with all his forces; and John ventured abroad with a considerable army, and landed at Rochelle. He marched to Angers, which he took and reduced to ashes. But the approach of Philip with an army threw him into a panic; and he immediately made proposals for peace, and fixed a place of interview with his enemy: but instead of keeping his engagement, he stole off with his army, embarked at Rochelle, and returned, loaded with new shame and disgrace, into England. The mediation of the pope, procured him at last a truce for two years with the French monarch [z]; almost all the transmarine provinces were ravished from him; and his English barons, though harassed with arbitrary taxes and fruitless expeditions, saw themselves and their country baffled and affronted in every enterprise. [FN [y] M. Paris, p. 146. M. West. p. 265. [z] Rymer, vol. i. p. 141.]

In an age when personal valour was regarded as the chief accomplishment, such conduct as that of John, always disgraceful, must be exposed to peculiar contempt; and he must thenceforth have expected to rule his turbulent vassals with a very doubtful authority. But the government exercised by the Norman princes had wound up the royal power to so high a pitch, and so much beyond the usual tenour of the feudal constitutions, that it still behoved him to be debased by new affronts and disgraces, ere his barons could entertain the view of conspiring against him, in order to retrench his prerogatives. The church, which at that time declined not a contest with the most powerful and vigorous monarchs, took first advantage of John's imbecility; and, with the most aggravating circumstances of insolence and scorn, fixed her yoke upon him.

[MN 1207. The kings quarrel with the court of Rome.] The papal chair was then filled by Innocent III., who, having attained that dignity at the age of thirty-seven years, and being endowed with a lofty and enterprising genius, gave full scope to his ambition, and attempted, perhaps more openly than any of his predecessors, to convert that superiority which was yielded him by all the European princes into a real dominion over them. The hierarchy, protected by the Roman pontiff, had already carried to an enormous height its usurpations upon the civil power; but in order to extend them farther, and render them useful to the court of Rome, it was necessary to reduce the ecclesiastics themselves under an absolute monarchy, and to make them entirely dependent on their spiritual leader. For this purpose, Innocent first attempted to impose taxes at pleasure upon the clergy; and in the first year of this century, taking advantage of the popular frenzy for crusades, he sent collectors over all Europe, who levied, by his authority, the fortieth of all ecclesiastical revenues for the relief of the Holy Land, and received the voluntary contributions of the laity to a like amount [a]. The same year Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, attempted another innovation, favourable to ecclesiastical and papal power: in the king's absence, he summoned, by his legatine authority, a synod of all the English clergy, contrary to the inhibition of Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, the chief justiciary; and no proper censure was ever passed on this encroachment, the first of the kind, upon the royal power. But a favourable incident soon after happened, which enabled so aspiring a pontiff as Innocent to extend still farther his usurpations on so contemptible a prince as John. [FN [a] Rymer, vol. i. p. 119.]

Hubert the primate died in 1205; and as the monks or canons of Christ- Church, Canterbury, possessed a right of voting in the election of their archbishop, some of the juniors of the order, who lay in wait for that event, met clandestinely the very night of Hubert's death, and, without any congé d'élire from the king, chose Reginald, their sub-prior, for the successor; installed him in the archiepiscopal throne before midnight; and, having enjoined him the strictest secrecy, sent him immediately to Rome, in order to solicit the confirmation of his election [b]. The vanity of Reginald prevailed over his prudence; and he no sooner arrived in Flanders, than he revealed to every one the purpose of his journey, which was immediately known in England [c]. The king was enraged at the novelty and temerity of the attempt, in filling so important an office without his knowledge or consent: the suffragan bishops of Canterbury, who were accustomed to concur in the choice of their primate, were no less displeased at the exclusion given them in this election: the senior monks of Christ-Church were injured by the irregular proceedings of their juniors: the juniors themselves, ashamed of their conduct, and disgusted with the levity of Reginald, who had broken his engagements with them, were willing to set aside his election [d]: and all men concurred in the design of remedying the false measures which had been taken. But as John knew that this affair would be canvassed before a superior tribunal, where the interposition of royal authority in bestowing ecclesiastical benefices was very invidious; where even the cause of suffragan bishops was not so favourable as that of monks; he determined to make the new election entirely unexceptionable: he submitted the affair wholly to the canons of Christ-Church, and, departing from the right claimed by his predecessors, ventured no farther than to inform them privately, that they would do him an acceptable service if they chose John de Gray, Bishop of Norwich, for their primate [e]. The election of that prelate was accordingly made without a contradictory vote; and the king, to obviate all contests, endeavoured to persuade the suffragan bishops not to insist on their claim of concurring in the election; but those prelates, persevering in their pretensions, sent an agent to maintain their cause before Innocent; while the king and the convent of Christ-Church, despatched twelve monks of that order to support, before the same tribunal, the election of the Bishop of Norwich. [FN [b] M. Paris, p. 148. M. West. p. 266. [c] Ibid. [d] M. West. p. 266. [e] M. Paris, p. 149. M. West. p. 266.]

Thus there lay three different claims before the pope, whom all parties allowed to be the supreme arbiter in the contest. The claim of the suffragans, being so opposite to the usual maxims of the papal court, was soon set aside: the election of Reginald was so obviously fraudulent and irregular, that there was no possibility of defending it; but Innocent maintained that, though this election was null and invalid, it ought previously to have been declared such by the sovereign pontiff, before the monks could proceed to a new election; and that the choice of the Bishop of Norwich was of course as uncanonical as that of his competitor [f]. Advantage was therefore taken of this subtlety for introducing a precedent, by which the see of Canterbury, the most important dignity in the church after the papal throne, should ever after be at the disposal of the court of Rome. [FN [f] M. Paris, p. 155. Chron. de Mailr. p. 182.]

While the pope maintained so many fierce contests, in order to wrest from princes the right of granting investitures, and to exclude laymen from all authority in conferring ecclesiastical benefices, he was supported by the united influence of the clergy, who, aspiring to independence, fought with all the ardour of ambition, and all the zeal of superstition, under his sacred banners. But no sooner was this point, after a great effusion of blood, and the convulsions of many states, established in some tolerable degree, than the victorious leader, as is usual, turned his arms against his own community, and aspired to centre all power in his person. By the invention of reserves, provisions, commendants, and other devices, the pope gradually assumed the right of filling vacant benefices; and the plenitude of his apostolic power, which was not subject to any limitations, supplied all defects of title in the person on whom he bestowed preferment. The canons which regulated elections were purposely rendered intricate and involved: frequent disputes arose among candidates: appeals were every day carried to Rome: the apostolic see, besides reaping pecuniary advantages from these contests, often exercised the power of setting aside both the litigants, and, on pretence of appeasing faction, nominated a third person, who might be more acceptable to the contending parties.

The present controversy about the election to the see of Canterbury afforded Innocent an opportunity of claiming this right; and he failed not to perceive and avail himself of the advantage. He sent for the twelve monks deputed by the convent to maintain the cause of the Bishop of Norwich; and commanded them, under the penalty of excommunication, to choose for their primate Cardinal Langton, an Englishman by birth, but educated in France, and connected, by his interest and attachments, with the see of Rome [g]. [MN Cardinal Langton appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.] In vain did the monks represent, that they had received from their convent no authority for this purpose; that an election, without a previous writ from the king, would be deemed highly irregular; and that they were merely agents for another person, whose right they had no power or pretence to abandon. None of them had the courage to persevere in this opposition, except one, Elias de Brantefield: all the rest, overcome by the menaces and authority of the pope, complied with his orders, and made the election required of them. [FN [g] M. Paris, p. 155. Ann. Waverl. p. 169. W. Heming. p. 553. Knyghton, p. 2415.]

Innocent, sensible that this flagrant usurpation would be highly resented by the court of England, wrote John a mollifying letter; sent him four golden rings set with precious stones; and endeavoured to enhance the value of the present by informing him of the many mysteries implied in it. He begged him to consider seriously the FORM of the rings, their NUMBER, their MATTER, and their COLOUR. Their form, he said, being round, shadowed out eternity, which had neither beginning nor end; and he ought thence to learn his duty of aspiring from earthly objects to heavenly, from things temporal to things eternal. The number four, being a square, denoted steadiness of mind, not to be subverted either by adversity or prosperity, fixed for ever on the firm basis of the four cardinal virtues. Gold, which is the matter, being the most precious of metals, signified wisdom, which is the most valuable of all accomplishments, and justly preferred by Solomon to riches, power, and all exterior attainments. The blue colour of the sapphire represented faith; the verdure of the emerald, hope; the redness of the ruby, charity; and the splendour of the topaz, good works [h]. By these conceits Innocent endeavoured to repay John for one of the most important prerogatives of his crown, which he had ravished from him; conceits probably admired by Innocent himself: for it is easily possible for a man, especially in a barbarous age, to unite strong talents for business with an absurd taste for literature and the arts. [FN [h] Rymer, vol. i. p. 139. M. Paris, p. 155.]

John was inflamed with the utmost rage when he heard of this attempt of the court of Rome [i]; and he immediately vented his passion on the monks of Christ-Church, whom he found inclined to support the election made by their fellows at Rome. He sent Fulke de Cantelupe, and Henry de Cornhulle, two knights of his retinue, men of violent tempers and rude manners, to expel them the convent, and take possession of their revenues. These knights entered the monastery with drawn swords, commanded the prior and the monks to depart the kingdom, and menaced them, that, in case of disobedience, they would instantly burn them with the convent [k]. Innocent, prognosticating, from the violence and imprudence of these measures, that John would finally sink in the contest, persevered the more vigorously in his pretensions, and exhorted the king not to oppose God and the church any longer, nor to prosecute that cause for which the holy martyr, St. Thomas, had sacrificed his life, and which had exalted him equal to the highest saints in heaven [l]: a clear hint to John to profit by the example of his father; and to remember the prejudices and established principles of his subjects, who bore a profound veneration to that martyr, and regarded his merits as the subject of their chief glory and exultation. [FN [i] Rymer, vol. i. p. 143. [k] M. Paris, p. 156. Trivet, p. 151. Ann. Waverl. p. 169. [l] M. Paris, p. 157.]

Innocent, finding that John was not sufficiently tamed to submission, sent three prelates, the Bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester, to intimate, that if he persevered in his disobedience, the sovereign pontiff would be obliged to lay the kingdom under an interdict [m]. All the other prelates threw themselves on their knees before him, and entreated him, with tears in their eyes, to prevent the scandal of this sentence, by making a speedy submission to his spiritual father, by receiving from his hands the new-elected primate, and by restoring the monks of Christ-Church to all their rights and possessions. He burst out into the most indecent invectives against the prelates; swore by God's teeth, (his usual oath,) that if the pope presumed to lay his kingdom under an interdict, he would send to him all the bishops and clergy of England, and would confiscate all their estates; and threatened that, if thenceforth he caught any Romans in his dominions, he would put out their eyes and cut off their noses, in order to set a mark upon them which might distinguish them from all other nations [n]. Amidst all this idle violence, John stood on such bad terms with his nobility, that he never dared to assemble the states of the kingdom, who, in so just a cause, would probably have adhered to any other monarch, and have defended with vigour the liberties of the nation against these palpable usurpations of the court of Rome. [MN Interdict of the kingdom.] Innocent, therefore, perceiving the king's weakness, fulminated at last the sentence of interdict, which he had for some time held suspended over him [o]. [FN [m] Ibid. [n] Ibid. [o] M. Paris, p. 157. Trivet, p. 152. Ann. Waverl. p. 170. M. West. p. 268.]

The sentence of interdict was at that time the great instrument of vengeance and policy employed by the court of Rome; was denounced against sovereigns for the lightest offences; and made the guilt of one person involve the ruin of millions, even in their spiritual and eternal welfare. The execution of it was calculated to strike the senses in the highest degree, and to operate with irresistible force on the superstitious minds of the people. The nation was of a sudden deprived of all exterior exercise of its religion: the altars were despoiled of their ornaments: the crosses, the relics, the images, the statues of the saints, were laid on the ground; and, as if the air itself were profaned, and might pollute them by its contact, the priests carefully covered them up, even from their own approach and veneration. The use of bells entirely ceased in all the churches: the bells themselves were removed from the steeples, and laid on the ground with the other sacred utensils. Mass was celebrated with shut doors, and none but the priests were admitted to that holy institution. The laity partook of no religious rite, except baptism to new-born infants, and the communion to the dying: the dead were not interred in consecrated ground: they were thrown into ditches, or buried in common fields; and their obsequies were not attended with prayers or any hallowed ceremony. Marriage was celebrated in the church-yard [p]; and that every action in life might bear the marks of this dreadful situation, the people were prohibited the use of meat, as in Lent, or times of the highest penance; were debarred from all pleasures and entertainments; and were forbidden even to salute each other, or so much as to shave their beards, and give any decent attention to their person and apparel. Every circumstance carried symptoms of the deepest distress, and of the most immediate apprehension of divine vengeance and indignation. [FN [p] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 51.]

The king, that he might oppose HIS temporal to THEIR spiritual terrors, immediately, from his own authority, confiscated the estates of all the clergy who obeyed the interdict [q]; banished the prelates, confined the monks in their convent, and gave them only such a small allowance from their own estates as would suffice to provide them with food and raiment. He treated with the utmost rigour all Langton's adherents, and every one that showed any disposition to obey the commands of Rome; and in order to distress the clergy in the tenderest point, and at the same time expose them to reproach and ridicule, he threw into prison all their concubines, and required high fines as the price of their liberty [r]. [FN [q] Ann. Waverl. p. 170. [r] M. Paris, p. 158. Ann. Waverl. p. 170.]

After the canons which established the celibacy of the clergy were, by the zealous endeavours of Archbishop Anselm, more rigorously executed in England, the ecclesiastics gave, almost universally, and avowedly, in to the use of concubinage; and the court of Rome, which had no interest in prohibiting this practice, made very slight opposition to it. The custom was become so prevalent, that, in some cantons of Switzerland, before the reformation, the laws not only permitted, but, to avoid scandal, enjoined the use of concubines to the younger clergy [s]; and it was usual every where for priests to apply to the ordinary, and obtain from him a formal liberty for this indulgence. The bishop commonly took care to prevent the practice from degenerating into licentiousness: he confined the priest to the use of one woman, required him to be constant to her bed, obliged him to provide for her subsistence and that of her children; and though the offspring was, in the eye of the law, deemed illegitimate, this commerce was really a kind of inferior marriage, such as is still practised in Germany among the nobles; and may be regarded by the candid as an appeal from the tyranny of civil and ecclesiastical institutions, to the more virtuous and more unerring laws of nature. [FN [s] Padre Paolo, Hist. Conc. Trid. lib. I.]

The quarrel between the king and the see of Rome continued for some years; and though many of the clergy, from the fear of punishment, obeyed the orders of John, and celebrated divine service, they complied with the utmost reluctance, and were regarded, both by themselves and the people, as men who betrayed their principles, and sacrificed their conscience to temporal regards and interests. During this violent situation, the king, in order to give a lustre to his government, attempted military expeditions against Scotland, against Ireland, against the Welsh [t]; and he commonly prevailed, more from the weakness of his enemies, than from his own vigour or abilities. Meanwhile, the danger to which his government stood continually exposed from the discontents of the ecclesiastics increased his natural propension to tyranny; and he seems to have even wantonly disgusted all orders of men, especially his nobles, from whom alone he could reasonably expect support and assistance. He dishonoured their families by his licentious amours; he published edicts, prohibiting them from hunting feathered game, and thereby restrained them from their favourite occupation and amusement [u]; he ordered all the hedges and fences near his forests to be levelled, that his deer might have more ready access into the fields for pasture; and he continually loaded the nation with arbitrary impositions. [MN 1208.] Conscious of the general hatred which he had incurred, he required his nobility to give him hostages for security of their allegiance; and they were obliged to put into his hands their sons, nephews, or near relations. When his messengers came with like orders to the castle of William de Braouse, a baron of great note, the lady of that nobleman replied, that she would never intrust her son into the hands of one who had murdered his own nephew while in his custody. Her husband reproved her for the severity of this speech; but, sensible of his danger, he immediately fled with his wife and son into Ireland, where he endeavoured to conceal himself. The king discovered the unhappy family in their retreat; seized the wife and son, whom he starved to death in prison; and the baron himself narrowly escaped, by flying into France. [FN [t] W. Heming. p. 556. Ypod. Neust, p. 460. Knyghton, p. 2420. [u] M. West. p. 268.]

[MN 1209.] The court of Rome had artfully contrived a gradation of sentences, by which it kept offenders in awe; still affording them an opportunity of preventing the next anathema by submission; and in case of their obstinacy, was able to refresh the horror of the people against them by new denunciations of the wrath and vengeance of Heaven. As the sentence of interdict had not produced the desired effect on John, and as his people, though extremely discontented, had hitherto been restrained from rising in open rebellion against him, he was soon to look for the sentence of excommunication; and he had reason to apprehend, that, notwithstanding all his precautions, the most dangerous consequences might ensue from it. He was witness of the other scenes, which, at that very time, were acting in Europe, and which displayed the unbounded and uncontrolled power of the papacy. Innocent, far from being dismayed at his contests with the King of England, had excommunicated the Emperor Otho, John's nephew [w]; and soon brought that powerful and haughty prince to submit to his authority. He published a crusade against the Abigenses, a species of enthusiasts in the south of France, whom he denominated heretics, because, like other enthusiasts, they neglected the rites of the church, and opposed the power and influence of the clergy: the people from all parts of Europe, moved by their superstition and their passion for wars and adventures, flocked to his standard: Simon de Montfort, the general of the crusade, acquired to himself a sovereignty in these provinces: the Count of Toulouse, who protected, or perhaps only tolerated the Albigenses, was stripped of his dominions: and these sectaries themselves, though the most innocent and inoffensive of mankind, were exterminated with all the circumstances of extreme violence and barbarity. Here were therefore both an army and a general, dangerous from their zeal and valour, who might be directed to act against John; and Innocent, after keeping the thunder long suspended, gave, at last, authority to the Bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester, to fulminate the sentence of excommunication against him [x]. [MN Excommunication of the king.] These prelates obeyed; though their brethren were deterred from publishing, as the pope required of them, the sentence in the several churches of their dioceses. [FN [w] M. Paris, p. 160. Trivet, p. 154. M. West. p. 269. [x] M. Paris, p. 159. M. West. p. 270.]

No sooner was the excommunication known, than the effects of it appeared. Geoffrey, Archdeacon of Norwich, who was intrusted with a considerable office in the court of exchequer, being informed of it while sitting on the bench, observed to his colleagues the danger of serving under an excommunicated king; and he immediately left his chair, and departed the court. John gave orders to seize him, to throw him into prison, to cover his head with a great leaden cope; and, by this and other severe usage, he soon put an end to his life [y]: nor was there any thing wanting to Geoffrey, except the dignity and rank of Becket, to exalt him to an equal station in heaven with that great and celebrated martyr. Hugh de Wells, the chancellor, being elected by the king's appointment Bishop of Lincoln, upon a vacancy in that see, desired leave to go abroad, in order to receive consecration from the Archbishop of Rouen; but he no sooner reached France than he hastened to Pontigny, where Langton then resided, and paid submissions to him as his primate. The bishops, finding themselves exposed either to the jealousy of the king or hatred of the people, gradually stole out of the kingdom; and, at last, there remained only three prelates to perform the functions of the episcopal office [z]. Many of the nobility, terrified by Johns tyranny, and obnoxious to him on different accounts, imitated the example of the bishops; and most of the others who remained were, with reason, suspected of having secretly entered into a confederacy against him [a]. John was alarmed at his dangerous situation; a situation which prudence, vigour, and popularity might formerly have prevented, but which no virtues or abilities were now sufficient to retrieve. He desired a conference with Langton at Dover; offered to acknowledge him as primate, to submit to the pope, to restore the exiled clergy, even to pay them a limited sum as a compensation for the rents of their confiscated estates. But Langton, perceiving his advantage, was not satisfied with these concessions: he demanded that full restitution and reparation should be made to all the clergy; a condition so exorbitant, that the king, who probably had not the power of fulfilling it, and who foresaw that this estimation of damages might amount to an immense sum, finally broke off the conference [b]. [FN [y] M. Paris, p. 159. [z] Ann. Waverl. p. 170. Ann. Marg. p. 14. [a] M. Paris, p. 162. M. West. p. 270, 271. [b] Ann. Waverl. p. 171.]

[MN 1212.] The next gradation of papal sentences was to absolve John's subjects from their oaths of fidelity and allegiance, and to declare every one excommunicated who had any commerce with him in public or in private; at his table, in his council, or even in private conversation [c]; and this sentence was accordingly, with all imaginable solemnity, pronounced against him. But as John still persevered in his contumacy, there remained nothing but the sentence of deposition; which, though intimately connected with the former, had been distinguished from it by the artifice of the court of Rome; and Innocent determined to dart this last thunderbolt against the refractory monarch. But as a sentence of this kind required an armed force to execute it, the pontiff, casting his eyes around, fixed at last on Philip, King of France, as the person into whose powerful hand he could most properly intrust that weapon, the ultimate resource of his ghostly authority. And he offered the monarch, besides the remission of all his sins and endless spiritual benefits, the property and possession of the kingdom of England, as the reward of his labour [d]. [FN [c] M. Paris, p. 161. M. West. p. 270. [d] M. Paris, p. 162. M. West. p. 271.]

[MN 1213.] It was the common concern of all princes to oppose these exorbitant pretensions of the Roman pontiff, by which they themselves were rendered vassals, and vassals totally dependent, of the papal crown: yet even Philip, the most able monarch of the age, was seduced by present interest, and by the prospect of so tempting a prize, to accept this liberal offer of the pontiff, and thereby to ratify that authority which, if he ever opposed its boundless usurpations, might, next day, tumble him from the throne. He levied a great army; summoned all the vassals of the crown to attend him at Rouen; collected a fleet of seventeen hundred vessels, great and small, in the sea-ports of Normandy and Picardy; and partly from the zealous spirit of the age, partly from the personal regard universally paid him, prepared a force, which seemed equal to the greatness of his enterprise. The king, on the other hand, issued out writs, requiring the attendance of all his military tenants at Dover, and even of all able-bodied men, to defend the kingdom in this dangerous extremity. A great number appeared; and he selected an army of sixty thousand men; a power invincible, had they been united in affection to their prince, and animated with a becoming zeal for the defence of their native country [e]. But the people were swayed by superstition, and regarded their king with horror, as anathematized by papal censures: the barons, besides lying under the same prejudices, were all disgusted by his tyranny, and were, many of them, suspected of holding a secret correspondence with the enemy; and the incapacity and cowardice of the king himself, ill fitted to contend with those mighty difficulties, made men prognosticate the most fatal effects from the French invasion. [FN [e] M. Paris, p. 163. M. West. p. 271.]

Pandolf, whom the pope had chosen for his legate, and appointed to head this important expedition, had, before he left Rome, applied for a secret conference with his master, and had asked him, whether, if the King of England, in this desperate situation, were willing to submit to the apostolic see, the church should, without the consent of Philip, grant him any terms of accommodation [f]! Innocent, expecting from his agreement with a prince so abject both in character and fortune, more advantages than from his alliance with a great and victorious monarch, who, after such mighty acquisitions, might become too haughty to be bound by spiritual chains, explained to Pandolf the conditions on which he was willing to be reconciled to the King of England. The legate, therefore, as soon as he arrived in the north of France, sent over two Knights Templars to desire an interview with John at Dover, which was readily granted: he there represented to him, in such strong and probably in such true colours, his lost condition, the disaffection of his subjects, the secret combination of his vassals against him, the mighty armament of France, that John yielded at discretion [g], and subscribed to all the conditions which Pandolf was pleased to impose upon him. [MN 13th May. The kings submission to the pope.] He promised, among other articles, that he would submit himself entirely to the judgment of the pope; that he would acknowledge Langton for primate; that he would restore all the exiled clergy and laity, who had been banished on account of the contest; that he would make them full restitution of their goods, and compensation for all damages, and instantly consign eight thousand pounds in part of payment; and that every one outlawed or imprisoned for his adherence to the pope should immediately be received into grace and favour [h]. Four barons swore, along with the king, to the observance of this ignominious treaty [i]. [FN [f] M. Paris, p. 162. [g] M. West. p. 271. [h] Rymer, vol. i. p. 166. M. Paris, p. 163. Annal. Burt. p. 268. [i] Rymer, vol. i. p. 170. M. Paris, p. 163.]

But the ignominy of the king was not yet carried to its full height. Pandolf required him, as the first trial of obedience, to resign his kingdom to the church; and he persuaded him, that he could nowise so effectually disappoint the French invasion as by thus putting himself under the immediate protection of the apostolic see. John, lying under the agonies of present terror, made no scruple of submitting to this condition. He passed a charter, in which he said, that, not constrained by fear, but of his own free will, and by the common advice and consent of his barons, he had, for remission of his own sins, and those of his family, resigned England and Ireland, to God, to St. Peter and St. Paul, and to Pope Innocent and his successors in the apostolic chair: he agreed to hold these dominions as feudatory of the church of Rome, by the annual payment of a thousand marks; seven hundred for England, three hundred for Ireland: and he stipulated that if he or his successors should ever presume to revoke or infringe this charter, they should instantly, except upon admonition they repented of their offence, forfeit all right to their dominions [k]. [FN [k] Rymer, vol. i. p. 176. M. Paris, p. 165.]

[MN 15th May.] In consequence of this agreement, John did homage to Pandolf, as the pope's legate, with all the submissive rites which the feudal law required of vassals before their liege lord and superior. He came disarmed into the legate's presence, who was seated on a throne; he flung himself on his knees before him; he lifted up his joined hands, and put them within those of Pandolf; he swore fealty to the pope; and he paid part of the tribute which he owed for his kingdom as the patrimony of St. Peter. The legate, elated by this supreme triumph of sacerdotal power, could not forbear discovering extravagant symptoms of joy and exultation: he trampled on the money, which was laid at his feet as an earnest of the subjection of the kingdom; an insolence of which, however offensive to all the English, no one present, except the Archbishop of Dublin, dared to take any notice. But though Pandolf had brought the king to submit to these base conditions, he still refused to free him from the excommunication and interdict, till an estimation should be taken of the losses of the ecclesiastics, and full compensation and restitution should be made them.

John, reduced to this abject situation under a foreign power, still showed the same disposition to tyrannize over his subjects, which had been the chief cause of all his misfortunes. One Peter of Pomfret, a hermit, had foretold that the king, this very year, should lose his crown; and for that rash prophecy he had been thrown into prison in Corfe-castle. John now determined to bring him to punishment as an impostor; and though the man pleaded that his prophecy was fulfilled, and that the king had lost the royal and independent crown which he formerly wore, the defence was supposed to aggravate his guilt: he was dragged at horses' tails to the town of Warham, and there hanged on a gibbet with his son [l]. [FN [l] M. Paris, p. 165. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 56.]

When Pandolf, after receiving the homage of John, returned to France, he congratulated Philip on the success of his pious enterprise; and informed him that John, moved by the terror of the French arms, had now come to a just sense of his guilt; had returned to obedience under the apostolic see, and even consented to do homage to the pope for his dominions; and having thus made his kingdom a part of St. Peter's patrimony, had rendered it impossible for any Christian prince, without the most manifest and most flagrant impiety, to attack him [m]. Philip was enraged on receiving this intelligence: he exclaimed that having, at the popes instigation, undertaken an expedition, which had cost him above sixty thousand pounds sterling, he was frustrated of his purpose, at the time when its success was become infallible: he complained that all the expense had fallen upon him; all the advantages had accrued to Innocent: he threatened to be no longer the dupe of these hypocritical pretences; and, assembling his vassals, he laid before them the ill-treatment which he had received, exposed the interested and fraudulent conduct of the pope, and required their assistance to execute his enterprise against England, in which he told them, that, notwithstanding the inhibitions and menaces of the legate, he was determined to persevere. The French barons were, in that age, little less ignorant and superstitious than the English: yet, so much does the influence of those religious principles depend on the present dispositions of men, they all vowed to follow their prince on his intended expedition, and were resolute not to be disappointed of that glory and those riches which they had long expected from this enterprise. The Earl of Flanders alone, who had previously formed a secret treaty with John, declaring against the injustice and impiety of the undertaking, retired with his forces [n]; and Philip, that he might not leave so dangerous an enemy behind him, first turned his arms against the dominions of that prince. Meanwhile, the English fleet was assembled under the Earl of Salisbury, the king's natural brother; and though inferior in number, received orders to attack the French in their harbours. Salisbury performed this service with so much success, that he took three hundred ships; destroyed a hundred more [o]; and Philip, finding it impossible to prevent the rest from falling into the hands of the enemy, set fire to them himself, and thereby rendered it impossible for him to proceed any farther in his enterprise. [FN [m] Trivet, p. 160. [n] M. Paris, p. 166. [o] Ibid. p. 166. Chron. Dunst, vol. i. p. 59. Trivet, p. 157.]

John, exulting in his present security, insensible to his past disgrace, was so elated with this success, that he thought of no less than invading France in his turn, and recovering all those provinces which the prosperous arms of Philip had formerly ravished from him. He proposed this expedition to the barons, who were already assembled for the defence of the kingdom. But the English nobles both hated and despised their prince: they prognosticated no success to any enterprise conducted by such a leader; and pretending that their time of service was elapsed, and all their provisions exhausted, they refused to second his undertaking [p]. The king, however, resolute in his purpose, embarked with a few followers, and sailed to Jersey, in the foolish expectation that the barons would at last be ashamed to stay behind [q]. But finding himself disappointed, he returned to England; and, raising some troops, threatened to take vengeance on all his nobles for their desertion and disobedience. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who was in a confederacy with the barons, here interposed; strictly inhibited the king from thinking of such an attempt; and threatened him with a renewal of the sentence of excommunication, if he pretended to levy war upon any of his subjects, before the kingdom were freed from the sentence of interdict [r]. [FN [p] M. Paris, p. 166. [q] M. Paris, p. 166. [r] Ibid. p. 167.]

The church had recalled the several anathemas pronounced against John, by the same gradual progress with which she had at first issued them. By receiving his homage, and admitting him to the rank of a vassal, his deposition had been virtually annulled, and his subjects were again bound by their oaths of allegiance. The exiled prelates had then returned in great triumph, with Langton at their head; and the king, hearing of their approach, went forth to meet them, and throwing himself on the ground before them, he entreated them, with tears, to have compassion on him and the kingdom of England [s]. [MN July.] The primate, seeing these marks of sincere penitence, led him to the chapter-house of Winchester, and there administered an oath to him, by which he again swore fealty and obedience to Pope Innocent and his successors; promised to love, maintain, and defend holy church and the clergy; engaged that he would re-establish the good laws of his predecessors, particularly those of St. Edward, and would abolish the wicked ones; and expressed his resolution of maintaining justice and right in all his dominions [t]. The primate next gave him absolution in the requisite forms, and admitted him to dine with him, to the great joy of all the people. The sentence of interdict, however, was still upheld against the kingdom. A new legate, Nicholas, Bishop of Frescati, came into England in the room of Pandolf; and he declared it to be the pope's intentions never to loosen that sentence till full restitution were made to the clergy of every thing taken from them, and ample reparation for all damages which they had sustained. He only permitted mass to be said with a low voice in the churches, till those losses and damages could be estimated to the satisfaction of the parties. Certain barons were appointed to take an account of the claims; and John was astonished at the greatness of the sums to which the clergy made their losses to amount. No less than twenty thousand marks were demanded by the monks of Canterbury alone; twenty-three thousand for the see of Lincoln; and the king, finding these pretensions to be exorbitant and endless, offered the clergy the sum of a hundred thousand marks for a final acquittal. The clergy rejected the offer with disdain; but the pope, willing to favour his new vassal, whom he found zealous in his declarations of fealty, and regular in paying the stipulated tribute to Rome, directed his legate to accept of forty thousand. The issue of the whole was, that the bishops and considerable abbots got reparation beyond what they had any title to demand; the inferior clergy were obliged to sit down contented with their losses; and the king, after the interdict was taken off, renewed, in the most solemn manner, and by a new charter, sealed with gold, his professions of homage and obedience to the see of Rome. [FN [s] Ibid. p. 166. Ann. Waverl. p. 178. [t] M. Paris, p. 166.]

[MN 1214.] When this vexatious affair was at last brought to a conclusion, the king, as if he had nothing farther to attend to but triumphs and victories, went over to Poictou, which still acknowledged his authority [u]; and he carried war into Philip's dominions. He besieged a castle near Angiers; but the approach of Prince Lewis, Philip's son, obliged him to raise the siege with such precipitation, that he left his tents, machines, and baggage behind him; and he returned to England with disgrace. About the same time he heard of the great and decisive victory gained by the King of France at Bovines over the Emperor Otho, who had entered France at the head of a hundred and fifty thousand Germans; a victory which established for ever the glory of Philip, and gave full security to all his dominions. John could, therefore, think henceforth of nothing farther than of ruling peaceably his own kingdom; and his close connexions with the pope, which he was determined at any price to maintain, ensured him, as he imagined, the certain attainment of that object. But the last and most grievous scene of this princes misfortunes still awaited him; and he was destined to pass through a series of more humiliating circumstances than had ever yet fallen to the lot of any other monarch. [FN [u] Queen Eleanor died in 1203 or 1204.]

[MN Discontents of the barons.] The introduction of the feudal law into England by William the Conqueror had much infringed the liberties, however imperfect, enjoyed by the Anglo-Saxons in their ancient government, and had reduced the whole people to a state of vassalage under the king or barons, and even the greater part of them to a state of real slavery. The necessity also of intrusting great power in the hands of a prince, who was to maintain military dominion over a vanquished nation, had engaged the Norman barons to submit to a more severe and absolute prerogative than that to which men of their rank, in other feudal governments, were commonly subjected. The power of the crown, once raised to a high pitch, was not easily reduced; and the nation, during the course of a hundred and fifty years, was governed by an authority unknown, in the same degree, to all the kingdoms founded by the northern conquerors. Henry I., that he might allure the people to give an exclusion to his elder brother Robert, had granted them a charter, favourable in many particulars to their liberties; Stephen had renewed the grant; Henry II. had confirmed it: but the concessions of all these princes had still remained without effect; and the same unlimited, at least irregular authority, continued to be exercised both by them and their successors. The only happiness was, that arms were never yet ravished from the hands of the barons and people: the nation, by a great confederacy, might still vindicate its liberties; and nothing was more likely than the character, conduct, and fortunes of the reigning prince to produce such a general combination against him. Equally odious and contemptible, both in public and private life, he affronted the barons by his insolence, dishonoured their families by his gallantries, enraged them by his tyranny, and gave discontent to all ranks of men by his endless exactions and impositions [w]. The effect of these lawless practices had already appeared in the general demand made by the barons of a restoration of their privileges; and after he had reconciled himself to the pope, by abandoning the independence of the kingdom, he appeared to all his subjects in so mean a light, that they universally thought they might with safety and honour insist upon their pretensions. [FN [w] Chron Mailr. p. 188. T. Wykes, p. 36. Ann. Waverl. p. 181. W. Heming. p. 557.]

But nothing forwarded this confederacy so much as the concurrence of Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury; a man whose memory, though he was obtruded on the nation by a palpable encroachment of the see of Rome, ought always to be respected by the English. This prelate, whether he was moved by the generosity of his nature and his affection to public good; or had entertained an animosity against John on account of the long opposition made by that prince to his election; or thought that an acquisition of liberty to the people would serve to increase and secure the privileges of the church; had formed the plan of reforming the government, and had prepared the way for that great innovation, by inserting those singular clauses above-mentioned in the oath which he administered to the king, before he would absolve him from the sentence of excommunication. Soon after, in a private meeting of some principal barons at London, he showed them a copy of Henry I.'s charter, which, he said, he had happily found in a monastery; and he exhorted them to insist on the renewal and observance of it: the barons swore, that they would sooner lose their lives than depart from so reasonable a demand [x]. The confederacy began now to spread wider, and to comprehend almost all the barons in England; and a new and more numerous meeting was summoned by Langton at St. Edmondsbury, under colour of devotion. [MN Nov. 1.] He again produced to the assembly the old charter of Henry; renewed his exhortations of unanimity and vigour in the prosecution of their purpose; and represented in the strongest colours the tyranny to which they had so long been subjected, and from which it now behoved them to free themselves and their posterity [y]. The barons, inflamed by his eloquence, incited by the sense of their own wrongs, and encouraged by the appearance of their power and numbers, solemnly took an oath, before the high altar, to adhere to each other, to insist on their demands, and to make endless war on the king, till he should submit to grant them [z]. They agreed that, after the festival of Christmas, they would prefer in a body their common petition; and, in the mean time, they separated, after mutually engaging that they would put themselves in a posture of defence, would enlist men and purchase arms, and would supply their castles with the necessary provisions. [FN [x] M. Paris, p. 167. [y] M. Paris, p. 175. [z] Ibid. p. 176.]

[MN 1215. 6th Jan.] The barons appeared in London on the day appointed, and demanded of the king, that, in consequence of his own oath before the primate, as well as in deference to their just rights, he should grant them a renewal of Henry's charter, and a confirmation of the laws of St. Edward. The king, alarmed with their zeal and unanimity, as well as with their power, required a delay; promised that, at the festival of Easter, he would give them a positive answer to their petition; and offered them the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Ely, and the Earl of Pembroke, the mareschal, as sureties for his fulfilling this engagement [a]. The barons accepted of the terms, and peaceably returned to their castles. [FN [a] Ibid. p. 176. M. West. p. 273.]

[MN 15th Jan.] During this interval, John, in order to break or subdue the league of his barons, endeavoured to avail himself of the ecclesiastical power, of whose influence he had, from his own recent misfortunes, had such fatal experience. He granted to the clergy a charter, relinquishing for ever that important prerogative, for which his father and all his ancestors had zealously contended; yielding to them the free election on all vacancies; reserving only the power to issue a congé d'élire, and to subjoin a confirmation of the election; and declaring that, if either of these were withheld, the choice should nevertheless be deemed just and valid [b]. He made a vow to lead an army into Palestine against the infidels, and he took on him the cross; in hopes that he should receive from the church that protection which she tendered to every one that had entered into this sacred and meritorious engagement [c]. And he sent to Rome his agent, William de Mauclerc, in order to appeal to the pope against the violence of his barons, and procure him a favourable sentence from that powerful tribunal [d]. The barons also were not negligent on their part in endeavouring to engage the pope in their interests: they despatched Eustace de Vescie to Rome; laid their case before Innocent as their feudal lord: and petitioned him to interpose his authority with the king, and oblige him to restore and confirm all their just and undoubted privileges [e]. [FN [b] Rymer, vol. i. p. 197. [c] Rymer, vol. i. p. 200. Trivet, p. 162. T. Wykes, p. 37. M. West. p. 273. [d] Rymer, vol. i. p. 184. [e] Ibid.]

Innocent beheld with regret the disturbances which had arisen in England, and was much inclined to favour John in his pretensions. He had no hopes of retaining and extending his newly-acquired superiority over that kingdom, but by supporting so base and degenerate a prince, who was willing to sacrifice every consideration to his present safety: and he foresaw that, if the administration should fall into the hands of those gallant and high-spirited barons, they would vindicate the honour, liberty, and independence of the nation, with the same ardour which they now exerted in defence of their own. He wrote letters therefore to the prelates, to the nobility, and to the king himself. He exhorted the first to employ their good offices in conciliating peace between the contending parties, and putting an end to civil discord: to the second he expressed his disapprobation of their conduct in employing force to extort concessions from their reluctant sovereign: the last he advised to treat his nobles with grace and indulgence, and to grant them such of their demands as should appear just and reasonable [f]. [FN [f] Ibid. p. 196, 197.]

The barons easily saw, from the tenour of these letters, that they must reckon on having the pope, as well as the king, for their adversary; but they had already advanced too far to recede from their pretensions, and their passions were so deeply engaged, that it exceeded even the power of superstition itself any longer to control them. They also foresaw, that the thunders of Rome, when not seconded by the efforts of the English ecclesiastics, would be of small avail against them; and they perceived that the most considerable of the prelates, as well as all the inferior clergy, professed the highest approbation of their cause. Besides that these men were seized with the national passion for laws and liberty, blessings of which they themselves expected to partake, there concurred very powerful causes to loosen their devoted attachment to the apostolic see. It appeared from the late usurpations of the Roman pontiff, that he pretended to reap alone all the advantages accruing from that victory which, under his banners, though at their own peril, they had every where obtained over the civil magistrate. The pope assumed a despotic power over all the churches: their particular customs, privileges, and immunities, were treated with disdain: even the canons of general councils were set aside by his dispensing power: the whole administration of the church was centered in the court of Rome: all preferments ran of course in the same channel: and the provincial clergy saw, at least felt, that there was a necessity for limiting these pretensions. The legate, Nicholas, in filling those numerous vacancies which had fallen in England during an interdict of six years, had proceeded in the most arbitrary manner; and had paid no regard, in conferring dignities, to personal merit, to rank, to the inclination of the electors, or to the customs of the country. The English church was universally disgusted; and Langton himself, though he owed his elevation to an encroachment of the Romish see, was no sooner established in his high office than he became jealous of the privileges annexed to it, and formed attachments with the country subjected to his jurisdiction. These causes, though they opened slowly the eyes of men, failed not to produce their effect: they set bounds to the usurpations of the papacy: the tide first stopped, and then turned against the sovereign pontiff: and it is otherwise inconceivable how that age, so prone to superstition, and so sunk in ignorance, or rather so devoted to a spurious erudition, could have escaped falling into an absolute and total slavery under the court of Rome.

[MN 1215. Insurrection of the barons.] About the time that the pope's letters arrived in England, the malecontent barons, on the approach of the festival of Easter, when they were to expect the king's answer to their petition, met by agreement at Stamford; and they assembled a force, consisting of above two thousand knights, besides their retainers and inferior persons without number. [MN 27th April.] Elated with their power, they advanced in a body to Brackley, within fifteen miles of Oxford, the place where the court then resided; and they there received a message from the king, by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Earl of Pembroke, desiring to know what those liberties were which they so zealously challenged from their sovereign. They delivered to these messengers a schedule containing the chief articles of their demands; which was no sooner shown to the king than he burst into a furious passion, and asked why the barons did not also demand of him his kingdom? swearing that he would never grant them such liberties as must reduce himself to slavery [g]. [FN [g] M. Paris, p. 176.]

No sooner were the confederated nobles informed of John's reply than they chose Robert Fitz-Walter their general, whom they called THE MARESCHAL OF THE ARMY OF GOD AND OF HOLY CHURCH; and they proceeded without farther ceremony to levy war upon the king. They besieged the castle of Northampton during fifteen days, though without success [h]: the gates of Bedford castle were willingly opened to them by William Beauchamp, its owner: [MN 24th May.] they advanced to Ware in their way to London, where they held a correspondence with the principal citizens: they were received without opposition into that capital: and finding now the great superiority of their force, they issued proclamations, requiring the other barons to join them; and menacing them, in case of refusal or delay, with committing devastation on their houses and estates [i]. In order to show what might be expected from their prosperous arms, they made incursions from London, and laid waste the king's parks and palaces; and all the barons, who had hitherto carried the semblance of supporting the royal party, were glad of this pretence for openly joining a cause which they always had secretly favoured. The king was left at Odiham in Hampshire, with a poor retinue of only seven knights; and after trying several expedients to elude the blow, after offering to refer all differences to the pope alone, or to eight barons, four to be chosen by himself, and four by the confederates [k], he found himself at last obliged to submit at discretion. [FN [h] Ibid. p. 177. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 71. [i] M. Paris, p. 177. [k] Rymer, vol. i. p. 200.]

[MN 15th June. Magna Charta.] A conference between the king and the barons was appointed at Runnemede, between Windsor and Staines; a place which has ever since been extremely celebrated on account of this great event. The two parties encamped apart, like open enemies; and after a debate of a few days, the king, with a facility somewhat suspicious, signed and sealed the charter which was required of him. [MN 19th June.] This famous deed, commonly called the GREAT CHARTER, either granted or secured very important liberties and privileges to every order of men in the kingdom; to the clergy, to the barons, and to the people.

The freedom of elections was secured to the clergy; the former charter of the king was confirmed, by which the necessity of a royal congé' d'élire and confirmation was superseded: all check upon appeals to Rome was removed, by the allowance granted every man to depart the kingdom at pleasure: and the fines to be imposed on the clergy for any offence were ordained to be proportional to their lay estates, not to their ecclesiastical benefices.

The privileges granted to the barons were either abatements in the rigour of the feudal law, or determinations in points which had been left by that law, or had become, by practice, arbitrary and ambiguous. The reliefs of heirs succeeding to a military fee were ascertained; an earl's and baron's at a hundred marks, a knight's at a hundred shillings. It was ordained by the charter, that, if the heir be a minor, he shall immediately, upon his majority, enter upon his estate, without paying any relief: the king shall not sell his wardship: he shall levy only reasonable profits upon the estate, without committing waste, or hurting the property: he shall uphold the castles, houses, mills, parks, and ponds: and if he commit the guardianship of the estate to the sheriff or any other, he shall previously oblige them to find surety to the same purpose. During the minority of a baron, while his lands are in wardship, and are not in his own possession, no debt which he owes to the Jews shall bear any interest. Heirs shall be married without disparagement; and before the marriage be contracted, the nearest relations of the person shall be informed of it. A widow, without paying any relief, shall enter upon her dower, the third part of her husband's rents: she shall not be compelled to marry, so long as she chooses to continue single; she shall only give security never to marry without her lord's consent. The king shall not claim the wardship of any minor who hold lands by military tenure of a baron, on pretence that he also holds lands of the crown by soccage or any other tenure. Scutages shall be estimated at the same rate as in the time of Henry I.; and no scutage or aid, except in the three general feudal cases, the king's captivity, the knighting of his eldest son, and the marrying of his eldest daughter, shall be imposed but by the great council of the kingdom: the prelates, earls, and great barons, shall be called to this great council, each by a particular writ; the lesser barons by a general summons of the sheriff. The king shall not seize any baron's land for a debt to the crown, if the baron possesses as many goods and chattels as are sufficient to discharge the debt. No man shall be obliged to perform more service for his fee than he is bound to by his tenure. No governor or constable of a castle shall oblige any knight to give money for castle-guard, if the knight be willing to perform the service in person, or by another able-bodied man; and if the knight be in the field himself, by the king's command, he shall be exempted from all other service of this nature. No vassal shall be allowed to sell so much of his land as to incapacitate himself from performing his service to his lord.

These were the principal articles calculated for the interest of the barons; and had the charter contained nothing farther, national happiness and liberty had been very little promoted by it, as it would only have tended to increase the power and independence of an order of men who were already too powerful, and whose yoke might have become more heavy on the people than even that of an absolute monarch. But the barons, who alone drew and imposed on the prince this memorable charter, were necessitated to insert in it other clauses of a more extensive and more beneficent nature: they could not expect the concurrence of the people without comprehending, together with their own, the interests of inferior ranks of men; and all provisions which the barons, for their own sake, were obliged to make, in order to ensure the free and equitable administration of justice, tended directly to the benefit of the whole community. The following were the principal clauses of this nature.

It was ordained, that all the privileges and immunities above- mentioned, granted to the barons against the king, should be extended by the barons to their inferior vassals. The king bound himself not to grant any writ, empowering a baron to levy aids from his vassals, except in the three feudal cases. One weight and one measure shall be established throughout the kingdom. Merchants shall be allowed to transact all business, without being exposed to any arbitrary tolls and impositions; they and all freemen shall be allowed to go out of the kingdom and return to it at pleasure: London, and all cities and burghs, shall preserve their ancient liberties, immunities, and free customs: aids shall not be required of them but by the consent of the great council: no towns or individuals shall be obliged to make or support bridges but by ancient custom: the goods of every freeman shall be disposed of according to his will: if he die intestate, his heirs shall succeed to them. No officer of the crown shall take any horses, carts, or wood, without the consent of the owner. The king's courts of justice shall be stationary, and shall no longer follow his person: they shall be open to every one; and justice shall no longer be sold, refused, or delayed by them. Circuits shall be regularly held every year: the inferior tribunals of justice, the county court, sheriff's turn, and court leet, shall meet at their appointed time and place: the sheriffs shall be incapacitated to hold pleas of the crown, and shall not put any person upon his trial from rumour or suspicion alone, but upon the evidence of lawful witnesses. No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or dispossessed of his free tenement and liberties, or outlawed, or banished, or anywise hurt or injured, unless by the legal judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land; and all who suffered otherwise, in this or the two former reigns, shall be restored to their rights and possessions. Every freeman shall be fined in proportion to his fault; and no fine shall be levied on him to his utter ruin: even a villain or rustic shall not, by any fine, be bereaved of his carts, ploughs, and implements of husbandry. This was the only article calculated for the interests of this body of men, probably at that time the most numerous in the kingdom.

It must be confessed, that the former articles of the great charter contain such mitigations and explanations of the feudal law as are reasonable and equitable; and that the latter involve all the chief outlines of a legal government, and provide for the equal distribution of justice and free enjoyment of property; the great objects for which political society was at first founded by men, which the people have a perpetual and unalienable right to recall, and which no time, nor precedent, nor statute, nor positive institution, ought to deter them from keeping ever uppermost in their thoughts and attention. Though the provisions made by this charter might, conformably to the genius of the age, be esteemed too concise, and too bare of circumstances, to maintain the execution of its articles, in opposition to the chicanery of lawyers, supported by the violence of power; time gradually ascertained the sense of all the ambiguous expressions; and those generous barons who first extorted this concession still held their swords in their hands, and could turn them against those who dared, on any pretence, to depart from the original spirit and meaning of the grant. We may now, from the tenour of this charter, conjecture what those laws were of King Edward, which the English nation, during so many generations, still desired, with such an obstinate perseverance, to have recalled and established. They were chiefly these latter articles of MAGNA CHARTA; and the barons who, at the beginning of these commotions, demanded the revival of the Saxon laws, undoubtedly thought that they had sufficiently satisfied the people, by procuring them this concession, which comprehended the principal objects to which they had so long aspired. But what we are most to admire is, the prudence and moderation of those haughty nobles themselves, who were enraged by injuries, inflamed by opposition, and elated by a total victory over their sovereign. They were content, even in this plenitude of power, to depart from some articles of Henry I.s charter, which they made the foundation of their demands, particularly from the abolition of wardships, a matter of the greatest importance; and they seem to have been sufficiently careful not to diminish too far the power and revenue of the crown. If they appear, therefore, to have carried other demands to too great a height, it can be ascribed only to the faithless and tyrannical character of the king himself, of which they had long had experience, and which, they foresaw, would, if they provided no farther security, lead him soon to infringe their new liberties, and revoke his own concessions. This alone gave birth to those other articles, seemingly exorbitant, which were added as a rampart for the safeguard of the great charter.

The barons obliged the king to agree that London should remain in their hands, and the Tower be consigned to the custody of the primate, till the fifteenth of August ensuing, or till the execution of the several articles of the great charter [l]. The better to ensure the same end, he allowed them to choose five-and-twenty members from their own body, as conservators of the public liberties; and no bounds were set to the authority of these men either in extent or duration. If any complaint were made of a violation of the charter, whether attempted by the king, justiciaries, sheriffs, or foresters, any four of these barons might admonish the king to redress the grievance: if satisfaction were not obtained, they could assemble the whole council of twenty-five, who, in conjunction with the great council, were empowered to compel him to observe the charter, and, in case of resistance, might levy war against him, attack his castles, and employ every kind of violence, except against his royal person, and that of his queen and children. All men throughout the kingdom were bound, under the penalty of confiscation, to swear obedience to the twenty- five barons; and the freeholders of each county were to choose twelve knights, who were to make report of such evil customs as required redress, conformably to the tenour of the great charter [m]. The names of those conservators were, the Earls of Clare, Albemarle, Gloucester, Winchester, Hereford, Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, William Mareschal the younger, Robert Fitz-Walter, Gilbert de Clare, Eustace de Vescey, Gilbert Delaval, William de Mowbray, Geoffrey de Say, Roger de Mombezon, William de Huntingfield, Robert de Ros, the constable of Chester, William de Aubenie, Richard de Perci, William Malet, John Fitz-Robert, William de Lanvalay, Hugh de Bigod, and Roger de Montfichet [n]. These men were, by this convention, really invested with the sovereignty of the kingdom: they were rendered co-ordinate with the king, or rather superior to him, in the exercise of the executive power: and as there was no circumstance of government which, either directly or indirectly, might not bear a relation to the security or observance of the great charter, there could scarcely occur any incident in which they might not lawfully interpose their authority. [FN [l] Rymer, vol. i. p. 201. Chron. Dunst vol. i. p. 73. [m] This seems a very strong proof that the House of Commons was not then in being; otherwise the knights and burgesses from the several counties could have given in to the Lords a list of grievances, without so unusual an election. [n] M. Paris, p. 181.]

John seemed to submit passively to all these regulations, however injurious to majesty: he sent writs to all the sheriffs, ordering them to constrain every one to swear obedience to the twenty-five barons [o]: he dismissed all his foreign forces: he pretended that his government was thenceforth to run in a new tenour, and be more indulgent to the liberty and independence of his people. But he only dissembled, till he should find a favourable opportunity for annulling all his concessions. The injuries and indignities which he had formerly suffered from the pope and the King of France, as they came from equals or superiors, seemed to make but small impression on him: but the sense of this perpetual and total subjection under his own rebellious vassals sunk deep in his mind, and he was determined, at all hazards, to throw off so ignominious a slavery [p]. He grew sullen, silent, and reserved: he shunned the society of his courtiers and nobles: he retired into the Isle of Wight, as if desirous of hiding his shame and confusion; but in this retreat he meditated the most fatal vengeance against all his enemies [q]. He secretly sent abroad his emissaries to enlist foreign soldiers, and to invite the rapacious Brabancons into his service, by the prospect of sharing the spoils of England, and reaping the forfeitures of so many opulent barons, who had incurred the guilt of rebellion by rising in arms against him [r]: and he despatched a messenger to Rome, in order to lay before the pope the great charter, which he had been compelled to sign, and to complain, before that tribunal, of the violence which had been imposed upon him [s]. [FN [o] Ibid. p. 182. [p] M. Paris, p. 183. [q] Ibid. [r] Ibid. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p.72. Chron. Malr. p. 188. [s] M. Paris, p. 183. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 73.]

Innocent, considering himself as feudal lord of the kingdom, was incensed at the temerity of the barons, who, though they pretended to appeal to his authority, had dared, without waiting for his consent, to impose such terms on a prince, who, by resigning to the Roman pontiff his crown and independence, had placed himself immediately under the papal protection. He issued, therefore, a bull, in which, from the plenitude of his apostolic power, and from the authority which God had committed to him, to build and destroy kingdoms, to plant and overthrow, he annulled and abrogated the whole charter, as unjust in itself, as obtained by compulsion, and as derogatory to the dignity of the apostolic see. He prohibited the barons from exacting the observance of it: he even prohibited the king himself from paying any regard to it: he absolved him and his subjects from all oaths which they had been constrained to take to that purpose: and he pronounced a general sentence of excommunication against every one who should persevere in maintaining such treasonable and iniquitous pretensions [t]. [FN [t] Rymer, vol. i. p. 203, 204, 205, 208. M. Paris, p. 184, 185, 187.]

[MN Renewal of the civil wars.] The king, as his foreign forces arrived along with this bull, now ventured to take off the mask; and, under sanction of the pope's decree, recalled all the liberties which he had granted to his subjects, and which he had solemnly sworn to observe. But the spiritual weapon was found, upon trial, to carry less force with it than he had reason from his own experience to apprehend. The primate refused to obey the pope in publishing the sentence of excommunication against the barons: and though he was cited to Rome, that he might attend a general council there assembled, and was suspended, on account of his disobedience to the pope, and his secret correspondence with the kings enemies [u]; though a new and particular sentence of excommunication was pronounced by name against the principal barons [w]; John still found, that his nobility and people, and even his clergy, adhered to the defence of their liberties, and to their combination against him: the sword of his foreign mercenaries was all he had to trust to for restoring his authority. [FN [u] M. Paris, p. 189. [w] Rymer, vol. i. p. 211. M. Paris, p. 192.]

The barons, after obtaining the great charter, seem to have been lulled into a fatal security, and to have taken no rational measures, in case of the introduction of a foreign force, for reassembling their armies. The king was, from the first, master of the field; and immediately laid siege to the castle of Rochester, which was obstinately defended by William de Aubenie, at the head of a hundred and forty knights with their retainers, but was at last reduced by famine. [MN 30th Nov.] John, irritated with the resistance, intended to have hanged the governor and all the garrison; but, on the representation of William de Mauleon, who suggested to him the danger of reprisals, he was content to sacrifice, in this barbarous manner, the inferior prisoners only [x]. The captivity of William de Aubenie, the best officer among the confederated barons, was an irreparable loss to their cause; and no regular opposition was thenceforth made to the progress of the royal arms. The ravenous and barbarous mercenaries, incited by a cruel and enraged prince, were let loose against the estates, tenants, manors, houses, parks of the barons, and spread devastation over the face of the kingdom. Nothing was to be seen but the flames of villages and castles reduced to ashes, the consternation and misery of the inhabitants, tortures exercised by the soldiery to make them reveal their concealed treasures, and reprisals no less barbarous committed by the barons and their partisans on the royal demesnes, and on the estates of such as still adhered to the crown. The king, marching through the whole extent of England, from Dover to Berwick, laid the provinces waste on each side of him; and considered every estate, which was not his immediate property, as entirely hostile, and the object of military execution. The nobility of the north, in particular, who had shown the greatest violence in the recovery of their liberties, and who, acting in a separate body, had expressed their discontent even at the concessions made by the great charter, as they could expect no mercy, fled before him with their wives and families, and purchased the friendship of Alexander, the young King of Scots, by doing homage to him. [FN [x] M. Paris, p. 187.]

[MN Prince Lewis called over.] The barons, reduced to this desperate extremity, and menaced with the total loss of their liberties, their properties, and their lives, employed a remedy no less desperate; and making applications to the court of France, they offered to acknowledge Lewis, the eldest son of Philip, for their sovereign, on condition that he would afford them protection from the violence of their enraged prince. Though the sense of the common rights of mankind, the only rights that are entirely indefeasible, might have justified them in the deposition of their king; they declined insisting, before Philip, on a pretension which is commonly so disagreeable to sovereigns, and which sounds harshly in the royal ears. They affirmed, that John was incapable of succeeding to the crown, by reason of the attainder passed upon him during his brother's reign; though that attainder had been reversed, and Richard. had even, by his last will, declared him his successor. They pretended that he was already legally deposed by sentence of the Peers of France, on account of the murder of his nephew; though that sentence could not possibly regard any thing but his transmarine dominions, which alone he held in vassalage to that crown. On more plausible grounds they affirmed, that he had already deposed himself by doing homage to the pope, changing the nature of his sovereignty, and resigning an independent crown for a fee under a foreign power. And as Blanche of Castile, the wife of Lewis, was descended by her mother from Henry II., they maintained, though many other princes stood before her in the order of succession, that they had not shaken off the royal family, in choosing her husband for their sovereign.

Philip was strongly tempted to lay hold on the rich prize which was offered to him. The legate menaced interdicts and excommunications, if he invaded the patrimony of St. Peter, or attacked a prince who was under the immediate protection of the holy see [y]: but as Philip was assured of the obedience of his own vassals, his principles were changed with the times, and he now undervalued as much all papal censures, as he formerly pretended to pay respect to them. His chief scruple was with regard to the fidelity which he might expect from the English barons in their new engagements, and the danger of intrusting his son and heir into the hands of men, who might, on any caprice or necessity, make peace with their native sovereign, by sacrificing a pledge of so much value. He therefore exacted from the barons twenty- five hostages of the most noble birth in the kingdom [z]; and having obtained this security, he sent over first a small army to the relief of the confederates; then more numerous forces, which arrived with Lewis himself at their head. [FN [y] M. Paris, p. 194. M. West. p. 275. [z] M. Paris, p. 193. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 74.]

The first effect of the young prince's appearance in England was the desertion of John's foreign troops, who, being mostly levied in Flanders, and other provinces of France, refused to serve against the heir of their monarchy [a]. The Gascons and Poictevins alone, who were still John's subjects, adhered to his cause; but they were too weak to maintain that superiority in the field which they had hitherto supported against the confederated barons. Many considerable noblemen deserted Johns party, the Earls of Salisbury, Arundel, Warrenne, Oxford, Albemarle, and William Mareschal the younger: his castles fell daily into the hands of the enemy; Dover was the only place which, from the valour and fidelity of Hubert de Burgh, the governor, made resistance to the progress of Lewis [b]: and the barons had the melancholy prospect of finally succeeding in their purpose, and of escaping the tyranny of their own king, by imposing on themselves and the nation a foreign yoke. But this union was of short duration between the French and English nobles: and the imprudence of Lewis, who, on every occasion, showed too visible a preference to the former, increased that jealousy which it was so natural for the latter to entertain in their present situation [c]. The Viscount of Melun, too, it is said, one of his courtiers, fell sick at London, and finding the approaches of death, he sent for some of his friends among the English barons, and warning them of their danger, revealed Lewiss secret intentions of exterminating them and their families as traitors to their prince, and of bestowing their estates and dignities on his native subjects, in whose fidelity he could more reasonably place confidence [d]: this story, whether true or false, was universally reported and believed; and concurring with other circumstances which rendered it credible, did great prejudice to the cause of Lewis. The Earl of Salisbury, and other noblemen, deserted again to John's party [e]; and as men easily change sides in a civil war, especially where their power is founded on an hereditary and independent authority, and is not derived from the opinion and favour of the people, the French prince had reason to dread a sudden reverse of fortune. The king was assembling a considerable army, with a view of fighting one great battle for his crown; but passing from Lynn to Lincolnshire, his road lay along the sea-shore, which was overflowed at high water; and not choosing the proper time for his journey, he lost in the inundation all his carriages, treasure, baggage, and regalia. The affliction for this disaster, and vexation from the distracted state of his affairs, increased the sickness under which he then laboured; and though he reached the castle of Newark, he was obliged to halt there, [MN 17th Oct. Death,] and his distemper soon after put an end to his life, in the forty-ninth year of his age, and eighteenth of his reign; and freed the nation from the dangers to which it was equally exposed by his success or by his misfortunes. [FN [a] M. Paris, p. 195. [b] M. Paris, p. 198. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 75, 76. [c] W. Heming. p. 559. [d] M. Paris, p. 199. M. West. p. 277. [e] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 76.]

[MN and character of the king.] The character of this prince is nothing but a complication of vices, equally mean and odious; ruinous to himself, and destructive to his people. Cowardice, inactivity, folly, levity, licentiousness, ingratitude, treachery, tyranny, and cruelty; all these qualities appear too evidently in the several incidents of his life, to give us room to suspect that the disagreeable picture has been anywise overcharged by the prejudices of the ancient historians. It is hard to say whether his conduct to his father, his brother, his nephew, or his subjects, was most culpable; or whether his crimes, in these respects, were not even exceeded by the baseness which appeared in his transactions with the King of France, the pope, and the barons. His European dominions, when they devolved to him by the death of his brother, were more extensive than have ever, since his time, been ruled by an English monarch; but he first lost, by his misconduct, the flourishing provinces in France, the ancient patrimony of his family: he subjected his kingdom to a shameful vassalage under the see of Rome: he saw the prerogatives of his crown diminished by law, and still more reduced by faction: and he died at last, when in danger of being totally expelled by a foreign power, and of either ending his life miserably in prison, or seeking shelter, as a fugitive, from the pursuit of his enemies.

The prejudices against this prince were so violent, that he was believed to have sent an embassy to the Miramoulin, or Emperor of Morocco, and to have offered to change his religion and become Mahometan, in order to purchase the protection of that monarch. But though this story is told us, on plausible authority, by Matthew Paris [f], it is in itself utterly improbable; except that there is nothing so incredible but may be believed to proceed from the folly and wickedness of John. [FN [f] P. 169.]

The monks throw great reproaches on this prince for his impiety and even infidelity; and as an instance of it, they tell us, that having one day caught a very fat stag, he exclaimed, HOW PLUMP AND WELL FED IS THIS ANIMAL! AND YET, I DARE SWEAR, HE NEVER HEARD MASS [g]. This sally of wit upon the usual corpulency of the priests, more than all his enormous crimes and iniquities, made him pass with them for an atheist.

John left two legitimate sons behind him; Henry, born on the first of October, 1207, and now nine years of age; and Richard, born on the sixth of January, 1209; and three daughters; Jane, afterwards married to Alexander King of Scots; Eleanor, married first to William Mareschal the younger, Earl of Pembroke, and then to Simon Mountfort, Earl of Leicester; and Isabella, married to the Emperor Frederic II. All these children were born to him by Isabella of Angoulesme, his second wife. His illegitimate children were numerous, but none of them were anywise distinguished.

It was this king who, in the ninth year of his reign, first gave by charter, to the city of London, the right of electing, annually, a mayor out of its own body, an office which was till now held for life. He gave the city also power to elect and remove its sheriffs at pleasure, and its common-councilmen annually. London-bridge was finished in this reign. The former bridge was of wood. Maud, the empress, was the first that built a stone bridge in England. [FN [g] M. Paris, p. 170.]




The feudal law is the chief foundation, both of the political government and of the jurisprudence established by the Normans in England. Our subject therefore requires, that we should form a just idea of this law, in order to explain the state, as well of that kingdom, as of all other kingdoms of Europe, which, during those ages, were governed by similar institutions. And though I am sensible, that I must here repeat many observations and reflections which have been communicated by others [a]; yet, as every book, agreeably to the observation of a great historian [b], should be as complete as possible within itself, and should never refer, for any thing material, to other books, it will be necessary, in this place, to deliver a short plan of that prodigious fabric, which, for several centuries, preserved such a mixture of liberty and oppression, order and anarchy, stability and revolution, as was never experienced in any other age, or any other part of the world. [FN [a] L'Esprit des Loix. Dr. Robertson's History of Scotland. [b] Padre Paolo, Hist. Conc. Trid.]

[MN Origin of the feudal law.] After the northern nations had subdued the provinces of the Roman empire, they were obliged to establish a system of government which might secure their conquests, as well against the revolt of their numerous subjects, who remained in the provinces, as from the inroads of other tribes, who might be tempted to ravish from them their new acquisitions. The great change of circumstances made them here depart from those institutions which prevailed among them while they remained in the forests of Germany; yet it was still natural for them to retain, in their present settlement, as much of their ancient customs as was compatible with their new situation.

The German governments, being more a confederacy of independent warriors than a civil subjection, derived their principal force from many inferior and voluntary associations, which individuals formed under a particular head or chieftain, and which it became the highest point of honour to maintain with inviolable fidelity. The glory of the chief consisted in the number, the bravery, and the zealous attachment of his retainers: the duty of the retainers required, that they should accompany their chief in all wars and dangers, that they should fight and perish by his side, and that they should esteem his renown or his favour a sufficient recompense for all their services [c]. The prince himself was nothing but a great chieftain, who was chosen from among the rest on account of his superior valour or nobility; and who derived his power from the voluntary association or attachment of the other chieftains. [FN [c] Tacit. de Mor. Germ.]

When a tribe, governed by these ideas, and actuated by these principles, subdued a large territory, they found, that though it was necessary to keep themselves in a military posture, they could neither remain united in a body, nor take up their quarters in several garrisons, and that their manners and institutions debarred them from using these expedients; the obvious ones, which, in a like situation, would have been employed by a more civilized nation. Their ignorance in the art of finances, and perhaps the devastations inseparable from such violent conquests, rendered it impracticable for them to levy taxes sufficient for the pay of numerous armies; and their repugnance to subordination, with their attachment to rural pleasures, made the life of the camp or garrison, if perpetuated during peaceful times, extremely odious and disgustful to them. They seized, therefore, such a portion of the conquered lands as appeared necessary; they assigned a share for supporting the dignity of their prince and government; they distributed other parts, under the title of fiefs, to the chiefs; these made a new partition among their retainers: the express condition of all these grants was, that they might be resumed at pleasure, and that the possessor, so long as he enjoyed them, should still remain in readiness to take the field for the defence of the nation. And though the conquerors immediately separated, in order to enjoy their new acquisitions, their martial disposition made them readily fulfil the terms of their engagement: they assembled on the first alarm; their habitual attachment to the chieftain made them willingly submit to his command; and thus a regular military force, though concealed, was always ready to defend, on any emergence, the interest and honour of the community.

We are not to imagine that all the conquered lands were seized by the northern conquerors; or that the whole of the land thus seized was subjected to those military services. This supposition is confuted by the history of all the nations on the continent. Even the idea given us of the German manners by the Roman historian may convince us, that that bold people would never have been content with so precarious a subsistence, or have fought to procure establishments which were only to continue during the good pleasure of their sovereign. Though the northern chieftains accepted of lands, which, being considered as a kind of military pay, might be resumed at the will of the king or general; they also took possession of estates, which being hereditary and independent, enabled them to maintain their native liberty, and support, without court favour, the honour of their rank and family.

[MN Progress of the feudal law.] But there is a great difference, in the consequences, between the distribution of a pecuniary subsistence, and the assignment of lands burdened with the condition of military service. The delivery of the former, at the weekly, monthly, or annual terms of payment, still recalls the idea of a voluntary gratuity from the prince, and reminds the soldier of the precarious tenure by which he holds his commission. But the attachment naturally formed with a fixed portion of land gradually begets the idea of something like property, and makes the possessor forget his dependent situation, and the condition which was at first annexed to the grant. It seemed equitable that one who had cultivated and sowed a field should reap the harvest: hence fiefs, which were at first entirely precarious, were soon made annual. A man who had employed his money in building, planting, or other improvements, expected to reap the fruits of his labour or expense: hence they were next granted during a term of years. It would be thought hard to expel a man from his possessions, who had always done his duty, and performed the conditions on which he originally received them: hence the chieftains, in a subsequent period, thought themselves entitled to demand the enjoyment of their feudal lands during life. It was found that a man would more willingly expose himself in battle, if assured that his family should inherit his possessions, and should not be left by his death in want and poverty: hence fiefs were made hereditary in families, and descended, during one age, to the son, then to the grandson, next to the brothers, and afterwards to more distant relations [d]. The idea of property stole in gradually upon that of military pay; and each century made some sensible addition to the stability of fiefs and tenures. [FN [d] Lib. Feud. lib. I. tit. 1.]

In all these successive acquisitions, the chief was supported by his vassals; who, having originally a strong connexion with him, augmented by the constant intercourse of good offices, and by the friendship arising from vicinity and dependence, were inclined to follow their leader against all his enemies, and voluntarily, in his private quarrels, paid him the same obedience, to which, by their tenure, they were bound in foreign wars. While he daily advanced new pretensions to secure the possession of his superior fief, they expected to find the same advantage, in acquiring stability to their subordinate ones; and they zealously opposed the intrusion of a new lord, who would be inclined, as he was fully entitled, to bestow the possession of their lands on his own favourites and retainers. Thus the authority of the sovereign gradually decayed; and each noble, fortified in his own territory by the attachment of his vassals, became too powerful to be expelled by an order from the throne; and he secured by law what he had at first acquired by usurpation.

During this precarious state of the supreme power, a difference would immediately be experienced between those portions of territory which were subjected to the feudal tenures, and those which were possessed by an allodial or free title. Though the latter possessions had at first been esteemed much preferable, they were soon found, by the progressive changes introduced into public and private law, to be of an inferior condition to the former. The possessors of a feudal territory, united by a regular subordination under one chief, and by the mutual attachments of the vassals, had the same advantages over the proprietors of the other, that a disciplined army enjoys over a dispersed multitude; and were enabled to commit with impunity all injuries on their defenceless neighbours. Every one, therefore, hastened to seek that protection which he found so necessary; and each allodial proprietor, resigning his possessions into the hands of the king, or of some nobleman respected for power or valour, received them back with the condition of feudal services [e], which, though a burden somewhat grievous, brought him ample compensation, by connecting him with the neighbouring proprietors, and placing him under the guardianship of a potent chieftain. The decay of the political government thus necessarily occasioned the extension of the feudal: the kingdoms of Europe were universally divided into baronies, and these into inferior fiefs: and the attachment of vassals to their chief, which was at first an essential part of the German manners, was still supported by the same causes from which it at first arose; the necessity of mutual protection, and the continued intercourse between the head and the members, of benefits and services. [FN [e] Marculf. Form. 47. apud Lindenbr. p. 1238.]

But there was another circumstance which corroborated these feudal dependencies, and tended to connect the vassals with their superior lord by an indissoluble bond of union. The northern conquerors, as well as the more early Greeks and Romans, embraced a policy which is unavoidable to all nations that have made slender advances in refinement: they every where united the civil jurisdiction with the military power. Law, in its commencement, was not an intricate science, and was more governed by maxims of equity, which seem obvious to common sense, than by numerous and subtle principles, applied to a variety of cases by profound reasonings from analogy. An officer, though he had passed his life in the field, was able to determine all legal controversies which could occur within the district committed to his charge; and his decisions were the most likely to meet with a prompt and ready obedience, from men who respected his person, and were accustomed to act under his command. The profit arising from punishments, which were then chiefly pecuniary, was another reason for his desiring to retain the judicial power; and when his fief became hereditary, this authority, which was essential to it, was also transmitted to his posterity. The counts and other magistrates, whose power was merely official, were tempted, in imitation of the feudal lords, whom they resembled in so many particulars, to render their dignity perpetual and hereditary; and in the decline of the regal power, they found no difficulty in making good their pretensions. After this manner, the vast fabric of feudal subordination became quite solid and comprehensive; it formed every where an essential part of the political constitution; and the Norman and other barons, who followed the fortunes of William, were so accustomed to it that they could scarcely form an idea of any other species of civil government [f]. [FN [f] The ideas of the feudal government were so rooted, that even lawyers, in those ages, could not form a notion of any other Constitution REGNUM (says Bracton, lib. 2. cap. 34.) QUOD EX COMITATIBUS ET BARONIBUS DICITUR ESSE CONSTITUTUM.]

The Saxons who conquered England, as they exterminated the ancient inhabitants, and thought themselves secured by the sea against new invaders, found it less requisite to maintain themselves in a military posture: the quantity of land which they annexed to offices seems to have been of small value; and for that reason continued the longer in its original situation, and was always possessed during pleasure by those who were intrusted with the command. These conditions were too precarious to satisfy the Norman barons, who enjoyed more independent possessions and jurisdictions in their own country; and William was obliged, in the new distribution of land, to copy the tenures which were now become universal on the continent. England of a sudden became a feudal kingdom [g]; and received all the advantages, and was exposed to all the inconveniences, incident to that species of civil polity. [FN [g] Coke, Comm. on Lit. p. 1, 2. ad sect. 1.]

[MN The feudal government of England.] According to the principles of the feudal law, the king was the supreme lord of the landed property: all possessors, who enjoyed the fruits or revenue of any part of it, held those privileges, either mediately or immediately, of him; and their property was conceived to be in some degree conditional [h]. The land was still apprehended to be a species of BENEFICE, which was the original conception of a feudal property; and the vassal owed, in return for it, stated services to his baron, as the baron himself did for his land to the crown. The vassal was obliged to defend his baron in war; and the baron, at the head of his vassals, was bound to fight in defence of the king and kingdom. But besides these military services, which were casual, there were others imposed of a civil nature, which were more constant and durable. [FN [h] Somner of Gavelk. p. 109. Smith de Rep. lib. 3. cap. 10.]

The northern nations had no idea that any man, trained up to honour, and inured to arms, was ever to be governed, without his own consent, by the absolute will of another; or that the administration of justice was ever to be exercised by the private opinion of any one magistrate, without the concurrence of some other persons, whose interest might induce them to check his arbitrary and iniquitous decisions. The king, therefore, when he found it necessary to demand any service of his barons or chief tenants, beyond what was due by their tenures, was obliged to assemble them in order to obtain their CONSENT: and when it was necessary to determine any controversy which might arise among the barons themselves, the question must be discussed in their presence, and be decided according to their opinion or ADVICE. In these two circumstances of consent and advice consisted chiefly the civil services of the ancient barons; and these implied all the considerable incidents of government. In one view, the barons regarded this attendance as their principal PRIVILEGE; in another, as a grievous BURDEN. That no momentous affairs could be transacted without their consent and advice was in GENERAL esteemed the great security of their possessions and dignities: but as they reaped no immediate profit from their attendance at court, and were exposed to great inconvenience and charge by an absence from their own estates, every one was glad to exempt himself from each PARTICULAR exertion of this power; and was pleased both that the call for that duty should seldom return upon him, and that others should undergo the burden in his stead. The king, on the other hand, was usually anxious, for several reasons, that the assembly of the barons should be full at every stated or casual meeting: this attendance was the chief badge of their subordination to his crown, and drew them from that independence which they were apt to affect in their own castles and manors; and where the meeting was thin or ill attended, its determinations had less authority, and commanded not so ready an obedience from the whole community.

The case was the same with the barons in their courts, as with the king in the supreme council of the nation. It was requisite to assemble the vassals, in order to determine by their vote any question which regarded the barony; and they sat along with the chief in all trials, whether civil or criminal, which occurred within the limits of their jurisdiction. They were bound to pay suit and service at the court of their baron: and as their tenure was military, and consequently honourable, they were admitted into his society, and partook of his friendship. Thus, a kingdom was considered only as a great barony, and a barony as a small kingdom. The barons were peers to each other in the national council, and, in some degree, companions to the king: the vassals were peers to each other in the court of barony, and companions to their baron [i]. [FN [i] Du Cange, Gloss. in verb. PAR Cujac. Commun. in Lib. Feud. lib. I. tit. p. 18. Spellm. Gloss. in verb.]

But though this resemblance so far took place, the vassals, by the natural course of things, universally, in the feudal constitutions, fell into a greater subordination under the baron, than the baron himself under his sovereign; and these governments had a necessary and infallible tendency to augment the power of the nobles. The great chief, residing in his country-seat, which he was commonly allowed to fortify, lost, in a great measure, his connexion or acquaintance with the prince; and added every day new force to his authority over the vassals of the barony. They received from him education in all military exercises: his hospitality invited them to live and enjoy society in his hall: their leisure, which was great, made them perpetual retainers on his person, and partakers of his country sports and amusements: they had no means of gratifying their ambition but by making a figure in his train: his favour and countenance was their greatest honour: his displeasure exposed them to contempt and ignominy: and they felt every moment the necessity of his protection, both in the controversies which occurred with other vassals, and, what was more material, in the daily inroads and injuries which were committed by the neighbouring barons. During the time of general war, the sovereign, who marched at the head of his armies, and was the great protector of the state, always acquired some accession to his authority, which he lost during the intervals of peace and tranquillity: but the loose police, incident to the feudal constitutions, maintained a perpetual, though secret hostility, between the several members of the state; and the vassals found no means of securing themselves against the injuries to which they were continually exposed, but by closely adhering to their chief, and falling into a submissive dependence upon him.

If the feudal government was so little favourable to the true liberty even of the military vassal, it was still more destructive of the independence and security of the other members of the state, or what, in a proper sense, we call the people. A great part of them were SERFS, and lived in a state of absolute slavery or villanage: the other inhabitants of the country paid their rents in services, which were in a great measure arbitrary; and they could expect no redress of injuries, in a court of barony, from men who thought they had a right to oppress and tyrannize over them. The towns were situated either within the demesnes of the king, or the lands of the great barons, and were almost entirely subjected to the absolute will of their master. The languishing state of commerce kept the inhabitants poor and contemptible; and the political institutions were calculated to render that poverty perpetual. The barons and gentry, living in rustic plenty and hospitality, gave no encouragement to the arts, and had no demand for any of the more elaborate manufactures: every profession was held in contempt but that of arms: and if any merchant or manufacturer rose by industry and frugality to a degree of opulence, he found himself but the more exposed to injuries, from the envy and avidity of the military nobles.

These concurring causes gave the feudal governments so strong a bias towards aristocracy, that the royal authority was extremely eclipsed in all the European states; and, instead of dreading the growth of monarchical power, we might rather expect, that the community would every where crumble into so many independent baronies, and lose the political union by which they were cemented. In elective monarchies, the event was commonly answerable to this expectation; and the barons, gaining ground on every vacancy of the throne, raised themselves almost to a state of sovereignty, and sacrificed to their power both the rights of the crown and the liberties of the people. But hereditary monarchies had a principle of authority which was not so easily subverted; and there were several causes which still maintained a degree of influence in the hands of the sovereign.

The greatest baron could never lose view entirely of those principles of the feudal constitution which bound him, as a vassal, to submission and fealty towards his prince; because he was every moment obliged to have recourse to those principles, in exacting fealty and submission from his own vassals. The lesser barons, finding that the annihilation of royal authority left them exposed, without protection, to the insults and injuries of more potent neighbours, naturally adhered to the crown, and promoted the execution of general and equal laws. The people had still a stronger interest to desire the grandeur of the sovereign; and the king, being the legal magistrate, who suffered by every internal convulsion or oppression, and who regarded the great nobles as his immediate rivals, assumed the salutary office of general guardian or protector of the Commons. Besides the prerogatives with which the law invested him, his large demesnes and numerous retainers rendered him, in one sense, the greatest baron in his kingdom; and where he was possessed of personal vigour and abilities, (for his situation required these advantages,) he was commonly able to preserve his authority, and maintain his station as head of the community, and the chief fountain of law and justice.

The first kings of the Norman race were favoured by another circumstance, which preserved them from the encroachments of their barons. They were generals of a conquering army, which was obliged to continue in a military posture, and to maintain great subordination under their leader, in order to secure themselves from the revolt of the numerous natives, whom they had bereaved of all their properties and privileges. But though this circumstance supported the authority of William and his immediate successors, and rendered them extremely absolute, it was lost as soon as the Norman barons began to incorporate with the nation, to acquire a security in their possessions, and to fix their influence over their vassals, tenants, and slaves: and the immense fortunes which the Conqueror had bestowed on his chief captains served to support their independence, and make them formidable to their sovereign.

He gave, for instance, to Hugh de Abrincis, his sister's son, the whole county of Chester, which he erected into a palatinate, and rendered by his grant almost independent of the crown [k]. Robert, Earl of Mortaigne, had 973 manors and lordships: Allan, Earl of Britany and Richmond, 442: Odo, Bishop of Baieux, 439 [l]: Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutance, 280 [m]: Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, 107: William, Earl Warrenne, 298, besides 28 towns or hamlets in Yorkshire: Todenei, 81: Roger Bigod, 123: Robert, Earl of Eu, 119: Roger Mortimer, 132, besides several hamlets: Robert de Stafford, 130: Walter de Eurus, Earl of Salisbury, 46: Geoffrey de Mandeville, 118: Richard de Clare, 171: Hugh de Beauchamp, 47: Baldwin de Ridvers, 164: Henry de Ferrars, 222: William de Percy, 119 [n]: Norman d'Arcy, 33 [o]. Sir Henry Spellman computes, that, in the large county of Norfolk, there were not, in the Conqueror's time, above sixty-six proprietors of land [p]. Men, possessed of such princely revenues and jurisdictions, could not long be retained in the rank of subjects. The great Earl Warrenne, in a subsequent reign, when he was questioned concerning his right to the lands which he possessed, drew his sword, which he produced as his title; adding, that William the Bastard did not conquer the kingdom himself; but that the barons, and his ancestor among the rest, were joint adventurers in the enterprise [q]. [FN [k] Camd. in Chesh. Spellm. Gloss. in verb. COMES PALATINUS. [l] Brady's Hist. p. 198, 200. [m] Order. Vital. [n] Dugdale's Baronage, from Doomsday Book, vol. i. p. 60, 74; iii. 112, 132, 136, 138, 156, 174, 200, 207, 223, 254, 257, 269. [o] Ibid. p. 369. It is remarkable, that this family of d'Arcy seems to be the only male descendants of any of the Conqueror's barons now remaining among the Peers. Lord Holdernesse is the heir of that family. [p] Spellm. Gloss. in verb. DOMESDAY. [q] Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 79. Ibid. Origines Juridicales, p. 13.]

[MN The feudal Parliament.] The supreme legislative power of England was lodged in the king and great council, or what was afterwards called the Parliament. It is not doubted but the archbishops, bishops, and most considerable abbots, were constituent members of this council. They sat by a double title: by prescription, as having always possessed that privilege, through the whole Saxon period, from the first establishment of Christianity; and by their right of baronage, as holding of the king IN CAPITE, by military service. These two titles of the prelates were never accurately distinguished. When the usurpations of the church had risen to such a height as to make the bishops affect a separate dominion, and regard their seat in Parliament as a degradation of their episcopal dignity; the king insisted, that they were barons, and, on that account, obliged, by the general principles of the feudal law, to attend on him in his great councils [r]. Yet there still remained some practices, which supposed their title to be derived merely from ancient possession. When a bishop was elected, he sat in Parliament before the king had made him restitution of his temporalities; and during the vacancy of a see, the guardian of the spiritualities was summoned to attend along with the bishops. [FN [r] Spellm. Gloss. In verb. BARO.]

The barons were another constituent part of the great council of the nation. These held immediately of the crown by a military tenure: they were the most honourable members of the state, and had a RIGHT to be consulted in all public deliberations: they were the immediate vassals of the crown, and owed as a SERVICE their attendance in the court of their supreme lord. A resolution taken without their consent was likely to be but ill executed; and no determination of any cause or controversy among them had any validity, where the vote and advice of the body did not concur. The dignity of earl or count was official and territorial, as well as hereditary; and as all the earls were also barons, they were considered as military vassals of the crown, were admitted in that capacity into the general council, and formed the most honourable and powerful branch of it.

But there was another class of the immediate military tenants of the crown, no less, or probably more numerous than the barons, the tenants IN CAPITE by knights' service; and these, however inferior in power or property, held by a tenure which was equally honourable with that of the others. A barony was commonly composed of several knights' fees; and though the number seems not to have been exactly defined, seldom consisted of less than fifty hides of land [s]: but where a man held of the king only one or two knights' fees, he was still an immediate vassal of the crown, and as such had a title to have a seat in the general councils. But as this attendance was usually esteemed a burden, and one too great for a man of slender fortune to bear constantly, it is probable that, though he had a title, if he pleased, to be admitted, he was not obliged, by any penalty, like the barons, to pay a regular attendance. All the immediate military tenants of the crown amounted not fully to 700, when Doomsday Book was framed; and as the members were well pleased, on any pretext, to excuse themselves from attendance, the assembly was never likely to become too numerous for the despatch of public business. [FN [s] Four hides made one knight's fee: the relief of a barony was twelve times greater than that of a knight's fee; whence we may conjecture its usual value. Spellm. Gloss. in verb. FEODUM. There were 243,600 hides in England, and 60,215 knights' fees; whence it is evident, that there were a little more than four hides in each knight's fee.]

[MN The Commons.] So far the nature of a general council, or ancient Parliament, is determined, without any doubt or controversy. The only question seems to be with regard to the Commons, or the representatives of counties and boroughs, whether they were also, in more early times, constituent parts of Parliament? This question was once disputed in England with great acrimony; but such is the force of time and evidence, that they can sometimes prevail, even over faction; and the question seems by general consent, and even by their own, to be at last determined against the ruling party. It is agreed, that the Commons were no part of the great council, till some ages after the Conquest; and that the military tenants alone of the crown composed that supreme and legislative assembly.

The vassals of a baron were, by their tenure, immediately dependent on him, owed attendance at his court, and paid all their duty to the king, through that dependence which their lord was obliged by HIS tenure to acknowledge to his sovereign and superior. Their land, comprehended in the barony, was represented in Parliament by the baron himself, who was supposed, according to the fictions of the feudal law, to possess the direct property of it; and it would have been deemed incongruous to give it any other representation. They stood in the same capacity to him, that he and the other barons did to the king. The former were peers of the barony; the latter were peers of the realm. The vassals possessed a subordinate rank within their district; the baron enjoyed a superior dignity in the great assembly: they were in some degree his companions at home; he the king's companion at court: and nothing can be more evidently repugnant to all feudal ideas, and to that gradual subordination which was essential to those ancient institutions, than to imagine that the king would apply either for the advice or consent of men, who were of a rank so much inferior, and whose duty was immediately paid to the MESNE lord that was interposed between them and the throne [t]. [FN [t] Spellm. Gloss. in verb. BARO.]

If it be unreasonable to think that the vassals of a barony, though their tenure was military, and noble, and honourable, were ever summoned to give their opinion in national councils, much less can it be supposed, that the tradesmen or inhabitants of boroughs, whose condition was so much inferior, would be admitted to that privilege. It appears from Doomsday, that the greatest boroughs were, at the time of the Conquest, scarcely more than country villages; and that the inhabitants lived in entire dependence on the king or great lords, and were of a station little better than servile [u]. They were not then so much as incorporated; they formed no community; were not regarded as a body politic; and being really nothing but a number of low dependent tradesmen, living, without any particular civil tie, in neighbourhood together, they were incapable of being represented in the states of the kingdom. Even in France, a country which made more early advances in arts and civility than England, the first corporation is sixty years posterior to the Conquest under the Duke of Normandy; and the erecting of these communities was an invention of Lewis the Gross, in order to free the people from slavery under the lords, and to give them protection, by means of certain privileges and a separate jurisdiction [w]. An ancient French writer calls them a new and wicked device, to procure liberty to slaves, and encourage them in shaking off the dominion of their masters [x]. The famous charter, as it is called, of the Conqueror to the city of London, though granted at a time when he assumed the appearance of gentleness and lenity, is nothing but a letter of protection, and a declaration that the citizens should not be treated as slaves [y]. By the English feudal law, the superior lord was prohibited from marrying his female ward to a burgess or a villain [z]; so near were these two ranks esteemed to each other, and so much inferior to the nobility and gentry. Besides possessing the advantages of birth, riches, civil powers, and privileges, the nobles and gentlemen alone were armed; a circumstance which gave them a mighty superiority, in an age when nothing but the military profession was honourable, and when the loose execution of laws gave so much encouragement to open violence, and rendered it so decisive in all disputes and controversies [a]. [FN [u] LIBER HOMO anciently signified a gentleman; for scarce any one beside was entirely free. Spellm. Gloss. in verbo. [w] Du Canges Gloss in verb. COMMUNE, COMMUNITAS. [x] Guibertus, de vita sua, lib. 2. cap. 7. [y] Stat. of Merton, 1235. cap. 6. [z] Hollingshed, vol. iii. p. 15. [a] Madox's Baron. Angl. p. 19.]

The great similarity among the feudal governments of Europe is well known to every man that has any acquaintance with ancient history; and the antiquaries of all foreign countries, where the question was never embarrassed by party disputes, have allowed, that the Commons came very late to be admitted to a share in the legislative power. In Normandy particularly, whose constitution was most likely to be William's model in raising his new fabric of English government, the states were entirely composed of the clergy and nobility; and the first incorporated boroughs or communities of that duchy were Rouen and Falaise, which enjoyed their privileges by a grant of Philip Augustus in the year 1207 [b]. All the ancient English historians, when they mention the great council of the nation, call it an assembly of the baronage, nobility, or great men; and none of their expressions, though several hundred passages might be produced, can, without the utmost violence, be tortured to a meaning, which will admit the Commons to be constituent members of that body [c]. If in the long period of two hundred years, which elapsed between the Conquest and the latter end of Henry III., and which abounded in factions, revolutions, and convulsions of all kinds, the House of Commons never performed one single legislative act, so considerable as to be once mentioned by any of the numerous historians of that age, they must have been totally insignificant: and, in that case, what reason can be assigned for their ever being assembled? Can it be supposed that men of so little weight or importance possessed a negative voice against the king and the barons? Every page of the subsequent histories discovers their existence; though these histories are not written with greater accuracy than the preceding ones, and indeed scarcely equal them in that particular. The MAGNA CHARTA of King John provides, that no scutage or aid should be imposed, either on the land or towns, but by consent of the great council; and for more security, it enumerates the persons entitled to a seat in that assembly, the prelates and immediate tenants of the crown, without any mention of the Commons: an authority so full, certain, and explicit, that nothing but the zeal of party could ever have procured credit to any contrary hypothesis. [FN [b] Norman. Du Chesnii, p. 1066. Du Cange, Gloss, in verb. COMMUNE. [c] Sometimes the historians mention the people, POPULUS, as part of the Parliament; but they always mean the laity, in opposition to the clergy. Sometimes the word COMMUNITAS is found; but it always means COMMUNITAS BARONAGII. These points are clearly proved by Dr. Brady. There is also mention sometimes made of a crowd or multitude that thronged into the great council on particular interesting occasions; but as deputies from boroughs are never once spoken of, the proof that they had not then any existence becomes the more certain and undeniable. These never could make a crowd, as they must have had a regular place assigned them, if they had made a regular part of the legislative body. There were only one hundred and thirty boroughs who received writs of summons from Edward I. It is expressly said in Gesta. Reg. Steph. p. 932, that it was usual for the populace, VULGUS, to crowd into the great councils; where they were plainly mere spectators, and could only gratify their curiosity.]

It was probably the example of the French barons which first emboldened the English to require greater independence from their sovereign: it is also probable, that the boroughs and corporations of England were established in imitation of those of France. It may, therefore, be proposed as no unlikely conjecture, that both the chief privileges of the Peers in England and the liberty of the Commons were originally the growth of that foreign country.

In ancient times, men were little solicitous to obtain a place in the legislative assemblies; and rather regarded their attendance as a burden, which was not compensated by any return of profit or honour proportionate to the trouble and expense. The only reason for instituting those public councils was, on the part of the subject, that they desired some security from the attempts of arbitrary power; and on the part of the sovereign, that he despaired of governing men of such independent spirits without their own consent and concurrence. But the Commons, or the inhabitants of boroughs, had not as yet reached such a degree of consideration as to desire SECURITY against their prince, or to imagine that, even if they were assembled in a representative body, they had power or rank sufficient to enforce it. The only protection which they aspired to, was against the immediate violence and injustice of their fellow-citizens; and this advantage each of them looked for, from the courts of justice, or from the authority of some great lord, to whom, by law or his own choice, he was attached. On the other hand, the sovereign was sufficiently assured of obedience in the whole community, if he procured the concurrence of the nobles; nor had he reason to apprehend, that any order of the state could resist his and their united authority. The military sub-vassals could entertain no idea of opposing both their prince and their superiors: the burgesses and tradesmen could much less aspire to such a thought: and thus, even if history were silent on the head, we have reason to conclude, from the known situation of society during those ages, that the Commons were never admitted as members of the legislative body.

The EXECUTIVE power of the Anglo-Norman government was lodged in the king. Besides the stated meetings of the national council at the three great festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide [d], he was accustomed, on any sudden exigence, to summon them together. He could at his pleasure command the attendance of his barons and their vassals, in which consisted the military force of the kingdom; and could employ them, during forty days, either in resisting a foreign enemy, or reducing his rebellious subjects. And what was of great importance, the whole JUDICIAL power was ultimately in his hands, and was exercised by officers and ministers of his appointment. [FN [d] Dugd. Orig. Jurid. p. 15. Spellm. Gloss. In verbo PARLIAMENTUM.]

[MN Judicial power.] The general plan of the Anglo-Norman government was, that the court of barony was appointed to decide such controversies as arose between the several vassals or subjects of the same barony; the hundred court and county court, which were still continued as during the Saxon times [e], to judge between the subjects of different baronies [f]; and the CURIA REGIS, or king's court, to give sentence among the barons themselves [g]. But this plan, though simple, was attended with some circumstances which, being derived from a very extensive authority assumed by the Conqueror, contributed to increase the royal prerogative: and, as long as the state was not disturbed by arms, reduced every order of the community to some degree of dependence and subordination. [FN [e] Ang. Sacra, vol. i. p. 334, &c. Dugd. Orig. Jurid. p. 27, 29. Madox, Hist. of Exch. p. 75, 76. Spellm. Gloss. in verbo HUNDRED. [f] None of the feudal governments in Europe had such institutions as the county courts, which the great authority of the Conqueror still retained from the Saxon customs. All the freeholders of the county, even the greatest barons, were obliged to attend the sheriffs in these courts, and to assist them in the administration of justice. By these means they received frequent and sensible admonitions of their dependence on the king or supreme magistrate: they formed a kind of community with their fellow barons and freeholders: they were often drawn from their individual and independent state, peculiar to the feudal system, and were made members of a political body: and, perhaps, this institution of county courts in England has had greater effects on the government than has yet been distinctly pointed out by historians, or traced by antiquaries. The barons were never able to free themselves from this attendance on the sheriffs and itinerant justices till the reign of Henry III. [g] Brady, Pref. p. 143.]

The king himself often sat in his court, which always attended his person [h]: he there heard causes and pronounced judgment [i]; and though he was assisted by the advice of the other members, it is not to be imagined that a decision could easily be obtained contrary to his inclination or opinion. In his absence the chief justiciary presided, who was the first magistrate in the state, and a kind of viceroy, on whom depended all the civil affairs of the kingdom [k] The other chief officers of the crown, the constable, mareschal, seneschal, chamberlain, treasurer, and chancellor [l], were members, together with such feudal barons as thought proper to attend, and the barons of the exchequer, who at first were also feudal barons, appointed by the king [m]. This court, which was sometimes called the king's court, sometimes the court of exchequer, judged in all causes, civil and criminal, and comprehended the whole business which is now shared out among four courts, the chancery, the king's-bench, the common-pleas, and the exchequer [n]. [FN [h] Madox, Hist. of Exch. p. 103. [i] Bracton, lib. 3. cap. 9. Sec. 1. cap. 10. Sec. 1. [k] Spellm. Gloss. in verbo JUSTICIARII. [l] Madox, Hist. Exch. p. 27, 29, 33, 38, 41, 54. The Normans introduced the practice of sealing charters; and the chancellor's office was to keep the great seal. Ingulph. Dugd. p. 33, 34. [m] Madox, Hist. of the Exch. p. 134, 135. Gerv. Dorob. p. 1387. [n] Madox, Hist. of the Exch. p. 56, 70.]

Such an accumulation of powers was itself a great source of authority, and rendered the jurisdiction of the court formidable to all the subjects; but the turn which judicial trials took soon after the Conquest served still more to increase its authority, and to augment the royal prerogatives. William, among the other violent changes which he attempted and effected, had introduced the Norman law into England [o], had ordered all the pleadings to be in that tongue, and had interwoven, with the English jurisprudence, all the maxims and principles, which the Normans, more advanced in cultivation, and naturally litigious, were accustomed to observe in the distribution of justice. Law now became a science, which at first fell entirely into the hands of the Normans; and which, even after it was communicated to the English, required so much study and application, that the laity, in those ignorant ages, were incapable of attaining it, and it was a mystery almost solely confined to the clergy, and chiefly to the monks [p]. The great officers of the crown, and the feudal barons, who were military men, found themselves unfit to penetrate into those obscurities; and though they were entitled to a seat in the supreme judicature, the business of the court was wholly managed by the chief justiciary and the law barons, who were men appointed by the king and entirely at his disposal [q]. This natural course of things was forwarded by the multiplicity of business which flowed into that court, and which daily augmented by the appeals from all the subordinate judicatures of the kingdom. [FN [o] Dial. de Scac. p. 30. apud Madox, Hist. of the Exchequer. [p] Malmes. lib. 4. p. 123. [q] Dugd. Orig. Jurid. p. 25.]

In the Saxon times, no appeal was received in the king's court, except upon the denial or delay of justice by the inferior courts; and the same practice was still observed in most of the feudal kingdoms of Europe. But the great power of the Conqueror established, at first, in England, an authority, which the monarchs in France were not able to attain till the reign of St. Lewis, who lived near two centuries after: he empowered his court to receive appeals both from the courts of barony and the county courts, and by that means brought the administration of justice ultimately into the hands of the sovereign [r]. And lest the expense or trouble of a journey to courts should discourage suitors, and make them acquiesce in the decision of the inferior judicatures, itinerant judges were afterwards established, who made their circuits throughout the kingdom, and tried all causes that were brought before them [s]. By this expedient the courts of barony were kept in awe; and if they still preserved some influence, it was only from the apprehensions which the vassals might entertain of disobliging their superior, by appealing from his jurisdiction. But the county courts were much discredited; and as the freeholders were found ignorant of the intricate principles and forms of the new law, the lawyers gradually brought all business before the king's judges, and abandoned the ancient simple and popular judicature. After this manner, the formalities of justice, which, though they appear tedious and cumbersome, are found requisite to the support of liberty in all monarchical governments, proved at first, by a combination of causes, very advantageous to royal authority in England. [FN [r] Madox, Hist. of the Exch. p. 65. Glanv. lib. 12. cap. 1. 7. LL. Hen. I. Sec. 31, apud Wilkins, p. 248. Fitz-Stephens, p. 36. Coke's Comment. on the statute of Marlbridge, cap. 20. [s] Madox, Hist. of the Exch. p. 83, 84, 100. Gerv. Dorob. p. 1410. What made the Anglo-Norman barons more readily submit to appeals from their court to the king's court of exchequer, was their being accustomed to like appeals in Normandy to the ducal court of exchequer. See Gilbert's History of the Exchequer, p. 1, 2; though the author thinks it doubtful, whether the Norman court was not rather copied from the English, p. 6.]

[MN Revenue of the crown.] The power of the Norman kings was also much supported by a great revenue; and by a revenue that was fixed, perpetual, and independent of the subject. The people, without betaking themselves to arms, had no check upon the king, and no regular security for the due administration of justice. In those days of violence, many instances of oppression passed unheeded; and soon after were openly pleaded as precedents, which it was unlawful to dispute or control. Princes and ministers were too ignorant to be themselves sensible of the advantages attending an equitable administration; and there was no established council or assembly which could protect the people, and, by withdrawing supplies, regularly and peaceably admonish the king of his duty, and ensure the execution of the laws.

The first branch of the king's stated revenue was the royal demesnes or crown lands, which were very extensive, and comprehended, besides a great number of manors, most of the chief cities of the kingdom. It was established by law, that the king could alienate no part of his demesne, and that he himself, or his successor, could at any time resume such donations [t]: but this law was never regularly observed; which happily rendered in time the crown somewhat more dependent. The rent of the crown lands, considered merely as so much riches, was a source of power: the influence of the king over his tenants and the inhabitants of his towns increased this power: but the other numerous branches of his revenue, besides supplying his treasury, gave, by their very nature, a great latitude to arbitrary authority, and were a support of the prerogative; as will appear from an enumeration of them. [FN [t] Fleta, lib. 1. cap. 8. Sec. 17. lib. 3. cap. 6. Sec. 3. Bracton, lib. 2. cap. 5.]

The king was never content with the stated rents, but levied heavy talliages at pleasure on the inhabitants both of town and country, who lived within his demesne. All bargains of sale, in order to prevent theft, being prohibited, except in boroughs and public markets [u], he pretended to exact tolls, on all goods which were there sold [w]. He seized two hogsheads, one before and one behind the mast, from every vessel that imported wine. All goods paid to his customs a proportionable part of their value [x]: passage over bridges and on rivers was loaded with tolls at pleasure [y]: and though the boroughs by degrees bought the liberty of farming these impositions, yet the revenue profited by these bargains: new sums were often exacted for the renewal and confirmation of their charters [z] and the people were thus held in perpetual dependence. [FN [u] LL. Will. I. cap. 61. [w] Madox, p. 530. [x] Ibid. p. 529. This author says a fifteenth. But it is not easy to reconcile this account to other authorities. [y] Madox, p. 529. [z] Madox's Hist. of the Exch. p. 275, 276, 277, &c.]

Such was the situation of the inhabitants within the royal demesnes. But the possessors of land, or the military tenants, though they were better protected both by law, and by the great privilege of carrying arms, were, from the nature of their tenures, much exposed to the inroads of power, and possessed not what we should esteem, in our age, a very durable security. The Conqueror ordained, that the barons should be obliged to pay nothing beyond their stated services [a], except a reasonable aid to ransom his person if he were taken in war, to make his eldest son a knight, and to marry his eldest daughter. What should, on these occasions, be deemed a reasonable aid, was not determined; and the demands of the crown were so far discretionary. [FN [a] LL. Will. Conq. Sec. 55.]

The king could require in war the personal attendance of his vassals, that is, of almost all the landed proprietors; and if they declined the service, they were obliged to pay him a composition in money, which was called a scutage. The sum was, during some reigns, precarious and uncertain; it was sometimes levied without allowing the vassal the liberty of personal service [b]; and it was an usual artifice of the king, to pretend an expedition, that he might be entitled to levy the scutage from his military tenants. Danegelt was another species of land-tax levied by the early Norman kings, arbitrarily, and contrary to the laws of the Conqueror [c]. Moneyage was also a general land-tax of the same nature, levied by the two first Norman kings, and abolished by the charter of Henry I. [d]. It was a shilling paid every three years by each hearth, to induce the king not to use his prerogative in debasing the coin. Indeed it appears from that charter, that though the Conqueror had granted his military tenants an immunity from all taxes and talliages, he and his son William had never thought themselves bound to observe that rule, but had levied impositions at pleasure on all the landed estates of the kingdom. The utmost that Henry grants, is, that the land cultivated by the military tenant himself shall not be so burdened; but he reserves the power of taxing the farmers; and as it is known that Henry's charter was never observed in any one article, we may be assured that this prince and his successors retracted even this small indulgence, and levied arbitrary impositions on all the lands of all their subjects. These taxes were sometimes very heavy; since Malmesbury tells us, that in the reign of William Rufus, the farmers, on account of them, abandoned tillage, and a famine ensued [e]. [FN [b] Gervase de Tilbury, p. 25. [c] Madox's Hist of the Exch. p. 475. [d] Matth. Paris, p. 38. [e] So also Chron. Abb. St. Petri de Burgo, p. 55. Knyghton, p. 2366.]

The escheats were a great branch both of power and of revenue, especially during the first reigns after the Conquest. In default of posterity from the first baron, his land reverted to the crown, and continually augmented the king's possessions. The prince had indeed by law a power of alienating these escheats; but by this means he had an opportunity of establishing the fortunes of his friends and servants, and thereby enlarging his authority. Sometimes he retained them in his own hands; and they were gradually confounded with the royal demesnes, and became difficult to be distinguished from them. This confusion is probably the reason why the king acquired the right of alienating his demesnes.

But besides escheats from default of heirs, those which ensued from crimes, or breach of duty towards the superior lord, were frequent in ancient times. If the vassal, being thrice summoned to attend his superiors court, and do fealty, neglected or refused obedience, he forfeited all title to his land [f]. If he denied his tenure, or refused his service, he was exposed to the same penalty [g]. If he sold his estate without licence from his lord [h], or if he sold it upon any other tenure or title than that by which he himself held it [i], he lost all right to it. The adhering to his lord's enemies [k], deserting him in war [l], betraying his secrets [m], debauching his wife, or his near relations [n], or even using indecent freedoms with them [o], might be punished by forfeiture. The higher crimes, rapes, robbery, murder, arson, &c., were called felony; and being interpreted want of fidelity to his lord, made him lose his fief [p]. Even where the felon was vassal to a baron, though his immediate lord enjoyed the forfeiture, the king might retain possession of his estate during a twelvemonth, and had the right of spoiling and destroying it, unless the baron paid him a reasonable composition [q]. We have not here enumerated all the species of felonies, or of crimes by which forfeiture was incurred: we have said enough to prove, that the possession of feudal property was anciently somewhat precarious, and that the primary idea was never lost, of its being a kind of FEE or BENEFICE. [FN [f] Hottom. de Feud. Disp. cap. 38. col. 886. [g] Lib. Feud. lib. 3. tit. 1; lib. 4. tit. 21, 39. [h] Id. lib. 1. tit. 21. [i] Id. lib. 4. tit. 44. [k] Id. lib. 3. tit. 1. [l] Id. lib. 4. tit. 14, 21. [m] Id. lib. 4. tit. 14. [n] Id. lib. 1. tit. 14, 23. [o] Id. lib. 1. tit. 1. [p] Spellm. Gloss. in verb. FELONIA. [q] Ibid. Glanville, lib. 7 cap. 17.]

When a baron died, the king immediately took possession of the estate; and the heir, before he recovered his right, was obliged to make application to the crown, and desire that he might be admitted to do homage for his land, and pay a composition to the king. This composition was not at first fixed by law, at least by practice: the king was often exorbitant in his demands, and kept possession of the land till they were complied with.

If the heir were a minor, the king retained the whole profit of the estate till his majority; and might grant what sum he thought proper for the education and maintenance of the young baron. This practice was also founded on the notion, that a fief was a benefice, and that while the heir could not perform his military services, the revenue devolved to the superior, who employed another in his stead. It is obvious, that a great proportion of the landed property must, by means of this device, be continually in the hands of the prince, and that all the noble families were thereby held in perpetual dependence. When the king granted the wardship of a rich heir to any one, he had the opportunity of enriching a favourite or minister: if he sold it, he thereby levied a considerable sum of money. Simon de Mountfort paid Henry III. ten thousand marks, an immense sum in those days, for the wardship of Gilbert de Umfreville [r]. Geoffrey de Mandeville paid to the same prince the sum of twenty thousand marks, that he might marry Isabel, Countess of Gloucester, and possess all her lands and knights' fees. This sum would be equivalent to three hundred thousand, perhaps four hundred thousand pounds in our time [s]. [FN [r] Madox's Hist. of the Exch. p. 223. [s] Madoxs Hist. of the Exch. p. 322.]

If the heir were a female, the king was entitled to offer her any husband of her rank he thought proper; and if she refused him, she forfeited her land. Even a male heir could not marry without the royal consent; and it was usual for men to pay large sums for the liberty of making their own choice in marriage [t]. No man could dispose of his land, either by sale or will, without the consent of his superior. The possessor was never considered as full proprietor: he was still a kind of beneficiary; and could not oblige his superior to accept of any vassal that was not agreeable to him. [FN [t] Ibid. p. 320.]

Fines, amerciaments, and oblatas, as they were called, were another considerable branch of the royal power and revenue. The ancient records of the exchequer, which are still preserved, give surprising accounts of the numerous fines and amerciaments levied in those days [u] and of the strange inventions fallen upon to exact money from the subject. It appears that the ancient kings of England put themselves entirely on the footing of the barbarous eastern princes, whom no man must approach without a present, who sell all their good offices, and who intrude themselves into every business that they may have a pretence for extorting money. Even justice was avowedly bought and sold; the king's court itself, though the supreme judicature of the kingdom, was open to none that brought not presents to the king; the bribes given for the expedition, delay [w], suspension, and, doubtless for the perversion of justice, were entered in the public registers of the royal revenue, and remain as monuments of the perpetual iniquity and tyranny of the times. The barons of the exchequer, for instance, the first nobility of the kingdom, were not ashamed to insert, as an article in their records, that the county of Norfolk paid a sum that they might be fairly dealt with [x]; the borough of Yarmouth, that the king's charters, which they have for their liberties, might not be violated [y]; Richard, son of Gilbert, for the king's helping him to recover his debt from the Jews [z]; Serlo, son of Terlavaston, that he might be permitted to make his defence in case he were accused of a certain homicide [a]; Walter de Burton, for free law, if accused of wounding another [b]; Robert de Essart, for having an inquest to find whether Roger the Butcher, and Wace and Humphrey, accused him of robbery and theft out of envy and ill-will or not [c]; William Buhurst, for having an inquest to find whether he were accused of the death of one Godwin out of ill-will, or for just cause [d]. I have selected these few instances from a great number of a like kind, which Madox had selected from a still greater number, preserved in the ancient rolls of the exchequer [e]. [FN [u] Id. p. 272. [w] Id. p. 274, 309. [x] Id. p. 295. [y] Id. ibid. [z] Madoxs Hist. of the Exch. p. 296. He paid two hundred marks, great sum in those days. [a] Id. p. 296. [b] Id. ibid. [c] Id. p. 298. [d] Id. p. 302. [e] Id. chap. 12.]

Sometimes the party litigant offered the king a certain portion, a half, a third, a fourth, payable out of the debts, which he, as the executor of justice, should assist him in recovering [f]. Theophania de Westland agreed to pay the half of two hundred and twelve marks, that she might recover that sum against James de Fughleston [g]; Solomon, the Jew, engaged to pay one mark out of every seven that he should recover against Hugh de la Hose [h]; Nicholas Morrel promised to pay sixty pounds, that the Earl of Flanders might be distrained to pay him three hundred and forty-three pounds, which the earl had taken from him; and these sixty pounds were to be paid out of the first money that Nicholas should recover from the earl [i]. [FN [f] Id. p. 311. [g] Id. ibid. [h] Id. p. 79, 312. [i] Id. p. 312.]

As the king assumed the entire power over trade, he was to be paid for a permission to exercise commerce or industry of any kind [k]. Hugh Oisel paid four hundred marks for liberty to trade in England [l]; Nigel de Havene gave fifty marks for the partnership in merchandize which he had with Gervase de Hanton [m]; the men of Worcester paid one hundred shillings, that they might have the liberty of selling and buying dyed cloth as formerly [n]; several other towns paid for a like liberty [o]. The commerce indeed of the kingdom was so much under the control of the king, that he erected guilds, corporations, and monopolies, wherever he pleased; and levied sums for these exclusive privileges [p]. [FN [k] Id. p. 323. [l] Id. ibid. [m] Id. ibid. [n] Id. p. 324. [o] Id. ibid. [p] Madox's Hist. of the Exch. p. 232, 233, &c.]

There were no profits so small as to be below the king's attention. Henry, son of Arthur, gave ten dogs to have a recognition against the Countess of Copland for one knight's fee [q]. Roger, son of Nicholas, gave twenty lampreys and twenty shads for an inquest to find, whether Gilbert, son of Alured, gave to Roger two hundred muttons to obtain his confirmation for certain lands, or whether Roger took them from him by violence [r]; Geoffrey Fitz-Pierre, the chief justiciary, gave two good Norway hawks, that Walter le Madine might have leave to export a hundred weight of cheese out of the king's dominions [s]. [FN [q] Id. p. 298. [r] Id. p. 305. [s] Id. p. 325.]

It is really amusing to remark the strange business in which the king sometimes interfered, and never without a present. The wife of Hugh de Neville gave the king two hundred hens, that she might lie with her husband one night [t]; and she brought with her two sureties, who answered each for a hundred hens. It is probable that her husband was a prisoner, which debarred her from having access to him. The Abbot of Rucford paid ten marks for leave to erect houses and place men upon his land near Welhang, in order to secure his wood there from being stolen [u]. Hugh, Archdeacon of Wells, gave one tun of wine for leave to carry six hundred sums of corn whither he would [w]; Peter de Peraris gave twenty marks for leave to salt fishes, as Peter Chevalier used to do [x]. [FN [t] Id. p. 320. [u] Id. p. 326. [w] Id. p. 320. [x] Id. p. 326.]

It was usual to pay high fines, in order to gain the king's good-will, or mitigate his anger. In the reign of Henry II., Gilbert, the son of Fergus, fines in nine hundred and nineteen pounds, nine shillings, to obtain that prince's favour; William de Chataignes, a thousand marks, that he would remit his displeasure. In the reign of Henry III., the city of London fines in no less a sum than twenty thousand pounds on the same account [y]. [FN [y] Id. p. 327, 329.]

The king's protection and good offices of every kind were bought and sold. Robert Grislet paid twenty marks of silver, that the king would help him against the Earl of Mortaigne, in a certain plea [z]: Robert de Cundet gave thirty marks of silver, that the king would bring him to an accord with the Bishop of Lincoln [a]: Ralph de Breckham gave a hawk, that the king would protect him [b]; and this is a very frequent reason for payments: John, son of Ordgar, gave a Norway hawk, to have the king's request to the king of Norway to let him have his brother Godard's chattels [c]: Richard de Neville gave twenty palfreys to obtain the king's request to Isolda Bisset, that she should take him for a husband [d]: Roger Fitz-Walter gave three good palfreys to have the king's letter to Roger Bertram's mother, that she should marry him [e]: Eling, the dean, paid one hundred marks, that his whore and his children might be let out upon bail [f]: the Bishop of Winchester gave one tun of good wine for his not putting the king in mind to give a girdle to the Countess of Albemarle [g]: Robert de Veaux gave five of the best palfreys, that the king would hold his tongue about Henry Pinel's wife [h]. There are in the records of exchequer, many other singular instances of a like nature [i]. It will, however, be just to remark, that the same ridiculous practices and dangerous abuses prevailed in Normandy, and probably in all the other states of Europe [k]: England was not, in this respect, more barbarous than its neighbours. [FN [z] Madox's Hist. of the Exch. p. 329. [a] Id. p. 330. [b] Id. p. 332. [c] Id. ibid. [d] Id. p. 333. [e] Id. ibid. [f] Id. p. 342. PRO HABENDA AMICA SUA ET FILIIS, &c. [g] Id. p. 352. [h] Id. ibid. UT REX TACERET DE UXORE HENRICI PINEL. [i] WE SHALL GRATIFY THE READER'S CURIOSITY BY SUBJOINING A FEW MORE INSTANCES FROM MADOX, p. 332. Hugh Oisel was to give the king two robes of a good green colour, to have the king's letters patent to the merchants of Flanders, with a request to render him one thousand marks, which he lost in Flanders. The Abbot of Hyde paid thirty marks, to have the king's letters of request to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to remove certain monks that were against the abbot. Roger de Trihanton paid twenty marks and a palfrey, to have the king's request to Richard de Umfreville to give him his sister to wife, and to the sister, that she would accept him for a husband. William de Cheveringworth paid five marks, to have the king's letter to the Abbot of Perfore, to let him enjoy peaceably his tithes as formerly. Matthew de Hereford, clerk, paid ten marks for a letter of request to the Bishop of Llandaff, to let him enjoy peaceably his church of Schenfrith. Andrew Neulun gave three Flemish caps for the king's request to the Prior of Chikesand, for performance of an agreement made between them. Henry de Fontibus gave a Lombardy horse of value, to have the king's request to Henry Fitz-Hervey, that he would grant him his daughter to wife. Roger, son of Nicholas, promised all the lampreys he could get, to have the king's request to Earl William Marshall, that he would grant him the manor of Langeford at Firm. The burgesses of Gloucester promised three hundred lampreys, that they might not be distrained to find the prisoners of Poictou with necessaries, unless they pleased. Id. p. 352. Jordan, son of Reginald, paid twenty marks, to have the king's request to William Paniel, that he would grant him the land of Mill Nieresult, and the custody of his heirs: and if Jordan obtained the same, he was pay the twenty marks, otherwise not. Id. p. 333. [k] Madox's Hist. of the Exch. p. 359.]

These iniquitous practices of the Norman kings were so well known, that on the death of Hugh Bigod, in the reign of Henry II., the best and most just of these princes, the eldest son and the widow of this nobleman came to court, and strove, by offering large presents to the king, each of them to acquire possession of that rich inheritance. The king was so equitable as to order the cause to be tried by the great council! But, in the mean time, he seized all the money and treasure of the deceased [l]. Peter of Blois, a judicious, and even an elegant writer for that age, gives a pathetic description of the venality of justice, and the oppressions of the poor, under the reign of Henry; and he scruples not to complain to the king himself of these abuses [m]. We may judge what the case would be under the government of worst princes. The articles of inquiry concerning the conduct of sheriffs, which Henry promulgated in 1170, show the great power, as well as the licentiousness of these officers [n]. [FN [l] Bened. Abb. p. 180, 181. [m] Petri Bles. Epist. 95. apud Bibl. Patrum, tom. p. xxiv. 2014. [n] Hoveden, Chron. Gerv. p. 1410.]

Amerciaments, or fines for crimes and trespasses, were another considerable branch of the royal revenue [o]. Most crimes were atoned for by money; the fines imposed were not limited by any rule or statute; and frequently occasioned the total ruin of the person, even for the slightest trespasses. The forest-laws, particularly, were a great source of oppression. The king possessed sixty-eight forests, thirteen chases, and seven hundred and eighty-one parks, in different parts of England [p]; and considering the extreme passion of the English and Normans for hunting, these were so many snares laid for the people, by which they were allured into trespasses, and brought within the reach of arbitrary and rigorous laws, which the king had thought proper to enact by his own authority. [FN [o] Madox, chap. 14. [p] Spellm. Gloss. in verbo FORESTA.]

But the most barefaced acts of tyranny and oppression were practised against the Jews, who were entirely out of the protection of law, were extremely odious from the bigotry of the people, and were abandoned to the immeasurable rapacity of the king and his ministers. Besides many other indignities to which they were continually exposed, it appears that they were once all thrown into prison, and the sum of sixty-six thousand marks exacted for their liberty [q]: at another time, Isaac the Jew paid alone five thousand one hundred marks [r]; Brun, three thousand marks [s]; Jurnet, two thousand; Bennet, five hundred: at another, Licorica, widow of David, the Jew of Oxford, was required to pay six thousand marks; and she was delivered over to six of the richest and discreetest Jews in England, who were to answer for the sum [t]. Henry III. borrowed five thousand marks from the Earl of Cornwall; and for his repayment, consigned over to him all the Jews in England [u]. The revenue arising from exactions upon this nation was so considerable, that there was a particular court of exchequer set apart for managing it [w]. [FN [q] Madox's Hist. of the Exch. p. 151. This happened in the reign of King John. [r] Id. p. 151. [s] Id. p. 153. [t] Id. p. 168. [u] Id. p. 156. [w] Id. chap. 7.]

[MN Commerce.] We may judge concerning the low state of commerce among the English, when the Jews, notwithstanding these oppressions, could still find their account in trading among them, and lending them money. And as the improvements of agriculture were also much checked by the immense possessions of the nobility, by the disorders of the times, and by the precarious state of feudal property, it appears that industry of no kind could then have place in the kingdom [x]. [FN [x] We learn from the extracts given us of Doomsday by Brady, in his Treatise of Boroughs, that almost all the boroughs of England had suffered in the shock of the Conquest, and had extremely decayed between the death of the Confessor, and the time when Doomsday was framed.]

It is asserted by Sir Henry Spellman [y], as an undoubted truth, that, during the reigns of the first Norman princes, every edict of the king, issued with the consent of his privy council, had the full force of law. But the barons, surely, were not so passive as to intrust a power, entirely arbitrary and despotic, into the hands of the sovereign. It only appears, that the constitution had not fixed any precise boundaries to the royal power; that the right of issuing proclamations on any emergence, and of exacting obedience to them, a right which was always supposed inherent in the crown, is very difficult to be distinguished from a legislative authority; that the extreme imperfection of the ancient laws, and the sudden exigencies which often occurred in such turbulent governments, obliged the prince to exert frequently the latent powers of his prerogative; that he naturally proceeded, from the acquiescence of the people, to assume, in many particulars of moment, an authority from which he had excluded himself by express statutes, charters, or concessions, and which was, in the main, repugnant to the general genius of the constitution; and that the lives, the personal liberty, and the properties of all his subjects, were less secured by law against the exertion of his arbitrary authority, than by the independent power and private connexions of each individual. It appears from the great charter itself, that not only John, a tyrannical prince, and Richard, a violent one, but their father, Henry, under whose reign the prevalence of gross abuses is the least to be suspected, were accustomed, from their sole authority, without process of law, to imprison, banish, and attaint the freemen of their kingdom. [FN [y] Gloss. in verb. JUDICIUM DEI. The author of the MIROIR DES JUSTICES complains, that ordinances are only made by the king and his clerks, and by aliens and others, who dare not contradict the king, but study to please him. Whence, he concludes, laws are oftener dictated by will, than founded on right.]

A great baron, in ancient times, considered himself as a kind of sovereign within his territory; and was attended by courtiers and dependents more zealously attached to him than the ministers of state and the great officers were commonly to THEIR sovereign. He often maintained in his court the parade of royalty, by establishing a justiciary, constable, mareschal, chamberlain, seneschal, and chancellor, and assigning to each of these officers a separate province and command. He was usually very assiduous in exercising his jurisdiction; and took such delight in that image of sovereignty, that it was found necessary to restrain his activity, and prohibit him by law from holding courts too frequently [z]. It is not to be doubted, but the example, set him by the prince of a mercenary and sordid extortion, would be faithfully copied, and that all his good and bad offices, his justice and injustice, were equally put to sale. He had the power, with the king's consent, to exact talliages even from the free citizens who lived within his barony; and as his necessities made him rapacious, his authority was usually found to be more oppressive and tyrannical than that of the sovereign [a]. He was ever engaged in hereditary or personal animosities or confederacies with his neighbours, and often gave protection to all desperate adventurers and criminals, who could be useful in serving his violent purposes. He was able alone, in times of tranquillity, to obstruct the execution of justice within his territories; and by combining with a few malecontent barons of high rank and power, he could throw the state into convulsions. And, on the whole, though the royal authority was confined within bounds, and often within very narrow ones, yet the check was irregular, and frequently the source of great disorders; nor was it derived from the liberty of the people, but from the military power of many petty tyrants, who were equally dangerous to the prince and oppressive to the subject. [FN [z] Dugd. Jurid. Orig. p. 26. [a] Madox, Hist. of the Exch. p. 520.]

[MN The Church.] The power of the church was another rampart against royal authority; but this defence was also the cause of many mischiefs and inconveniences. The dignified clergy, perhaps, were not so prone to immediate violence as the barons; but as they pretended to a total independence on the state, and could always cover themselves with the appearances of religion, they proved, in one respect, an obstruction to the settlement of the kingdom, and to the regular execution of the laws. The policy of the Conqueror was in this particular liable to some exception. He augmented the superstitious veneration for Rome, to which that age was so much inclined; and he broke those bands of connexion, which, in the Saxon times, had preserved an union between the lay and the clerical orders. He prohibited the bishops from sitting in the county courts; he allowed ecclesiastical causes to be tried in spiritual courts only [b]; and he so much exalted the power of the clergy, that of sixty thousand two hundred and fifteen knights' fees, into which he divided England, he placed no less than twenty- eight thousand and fifteen under the church [c]. [FN [b] Char. Will. apud Wilkins, p. 230. Spellm. Conc. vol. ii. p. 14. [c] Spellm. Gloss. in verb. MANUS MORTUA. We are not to imagine, as some have done, that the church possessed lands in this proportion, but only that they and their vassals enjoyed such a proportionable part of the landed property.]

[MN Civil laws.] The right of primogeniture was introduced with the feudal law: an institution which is hurtful, by producing and maintaining an unequal division of private property; but is advantageous, in another respect, by accustoming the people to a preference in favour of the eldest son, and thereby preventing a partition or disputed succession in the monarchy. The Normans introduced the use of surnames, which tend to preserve the knowledge of families and pedigrees. They abolished none of the old absurd methods of trial by the cross or ordeal; and they added a new absurdity, the trial by single combat [d], which became a regular part of jurisprudence, and was conducted with all the order, method, devotion, and solemnity imaginable [e]. The ideas of chivalry also seem to have been imported by the Normans: no traces of those fantastic notions are to be found among the plain and rustic Saxons. [FN [d] LL. Will. cap. 68. [e] Spellm. Gloss. in verb. CAMPUS. The last instance of these duels was in the 15th of Eliz. So long did that absurdity remain.]

[MN Manners.] The feudal institutions, by raising the military tenants to a kind of sovereign dignity, by rendering personal strength and valour requisite, and by making every knight and baron his own protector and avenger, begat that martial pride and sense of honour, which, being cultivated and embellished by the poets and romance-writers of the age, ended in chivalry. The virtuous knight fought not only in his own quarrel, but in that of the innocent, of the helpless, and, above all, of the fair, whom he supposed to be for ever under the guardianship of his valiant arm. The uncourteous knight who, from his castle, exercised robbery on travellers, and committed violence on virgins, was the object of his perpetual indignation; and he put him to death, without scruple, or trial, or appeal, whenever he met with him. The great independence of men made personal honour and fidelity the chief tie among them; and rendered it the capital virtue of every true knight, or genuine professor of chivalry. The solemnities of single combat, as established by law, banished the notion of every thing unfair or unequal in rencounters; and maintained an appearance of courtesy between the combatants till the moment of their engagement. The credulity of the age grafted on this stock the notion of giants, enchanters, dragons, spells [f], and a thousand wonders, which still multiplied during the time of the crusades; when men, returning from so great a distance, used the liberty of imposing every fiction on their believing audience. These ideas of chivalry infected the writings, conversation, and behaviour of men, during some ages; and even after they were, in a great measure, banished by the revival of learning, they left modern GALLANTRY and the POINT OF HONOUR, which still maintain their influence, and are the genuine offspring of those ancient affectations. [FN [f] In all legal single combats, it was part of the champion's oath, that he carried not about him any herb, spell, or enchantment, by which he might procure victory. Dugd. Orig. Jurid. p. 82.]

The concession of the great charter, or rather its full establishment, (for there was a considerable interval of time between the one and the other,) gave rise, by degrees, to a new species of government, and introduced some order and justice into the administration. The ensuing scenes of our history are therefore somewhat different from the preceding. Yet the great charter contained no establishment of new courts, magistrates, or senates, nor abolition of the old. It introduced no new distribution of the powers of the commonwealth, and no innovation in the political or public law of the kingdom. It only guarded, and that merely by verbal clauses, against such tyrannical practices as are incompatible with civilized government, and, if they become very frequent, are incompatible with all government. The barbarous license of the kings, and perhaps of the nobles, was thenceforth somewhat more restrained: men acquired some more security for their properties and their liberties: and government approached a little nearer to that end for which it was originally instituted, the distribution of justice, and the equal protection of the citizens. Acts of violence and iniquity in the crown, which before were only deemed injurious to individuals, and were hazardous chiefly in proportion to the number, power, and dignity of the persons affected by them, were now regarded, in some degree, as public injuries, and as infringements of a charter calculated for general security. And thus the establishment of the great charter, without seeming anywise to innovate in the distribution of political power, became a kind of epoch in the constitution.




[MN 1216.] Most sciences, in proportion as they increase and improve, invent methods by which they facilitate their reasonings; and, employing general theorems, are enabled to comprehend, in a few propositions, a great number of inferences and conclusions. History also, being a collection of facts which are multiplying without end, is obliged to adopt such arts of abridgment, to retain the more material events, and to drop all the minute circumstances, which are only interesting during the time, or to the persons engaged in the transactions. This truth is no where more evident than with regard to the reign upon which we are going to enter. What mortal could have the patience to write or read a long detail of such frivolous events as those with which it is filled, or attend to a tedious narrative which would follow, through a series of fifty-six years, the caprices and weaknesses of so mean a prince as Henry? The chief reason why Protestant writers have been so anxious to spread out the incidents of this reign is, in order to expose the rapacity, ambition, and artifices of the court of Rome; and to prove that the great dignitaries of the Catholic church, while they pretended to have nothing in view but the salvation of souls, had bent all their attention to the acquisition of riches, and were restrained by no sense of justice or of honour in the pursuit of that great object [a]. But this conclusion would readily be allowed them, though it were not illustrated by such a detail of uninteresting incidents; and follows, indeed, by an evident necessity, from the very situation in which that church was placed with regard to the rest of Europe. For, besides that ecclesiastical power, as it can always cover its operations under a cloak of sanctity, and attacks men on the side where they dare not employ their reason, lies less under control than civil government; besides this general cause, I say, the pope and his courtiers were foreigners to most of the churches which they governed; they could not possibly have any other object than to pillage the provinces for present gain; and as they lived at a distance, they would be little awed by shame or remorse, in employing every lucrative expedient which was suggested to them. England being one of the most remote provinces attached to the Romish hierarchy, as well as the most prone to superstition, felt severely during this reign, while its patience was not yet fully exhausted, the influence of these causes; and we shall often have occasion to touch cursorily upon such incidents. But we shall not attempt to comprehend every transaction transmitted to us; and, till the end of the reign, when the events become more memorable, we shall not always observe an exact chronological order in our narration. [FN [a] M. Paris, p. 623.]

[MN Settlement of the government.] The Earl of Pembroke, who, at the time of John's death, was Mareschal of England, was, by his office, at the head of the armies, and consequently, during a state of civil wars and convulsions, at the head of the government; and it happened fortunately for the young monarch and for the nation, that the power could not have been intrusted into more able and more faithful hands. This nobleman, who had maintained his loyalty unshaken to John, during the lowest fortune of that monarch, determined to support the authority of the infant prince; nor was he dismayed at the number and violence of his enemies. Sensible that Henry, agreeably to the prejudices of the times, would not be deemed a sovereign till crowned and anointed by a churchman, he immediately carried the young prince to Gloucester, [MN 1216. 28th Oct.] where the ceremony of coronation was performed, in the presence of Gualo, the legate, and of a few noblemen, by the Bishops of Winchester and Bath [b]. As the concurrence of the papal authority was requisite to support the tottering throne, Henry was obliged to swear fealty to the pope, and renew that homage to which his father had already subjected the kingdom [c]; and in order to enlarge the authority of Pembroke, and to give him a more regular and legal title to it, a general council of the barons was soon after summoned at Bristol, [MN 11th Nov.] where that nobleman was chosen protector of the realm. [FN [b] M. Paris, p. 200. Hist. Croyl. cont. p. 474. W. Heming. p. 562 Trivet, p. 168. [c] M. Paris, p. 200.]

Pembroke, that he might reconcile all men to the government of his pupil, made him grant a new charter of liberties, which, though mostly copied from the former concessions extorted from John, contains some alterations which may be deemed remarkable [d]. The full privilege of elections in the clergy, granted by the late king, was not confirmed, nor the liberty of going out of the kingdom, without the royal consent: whence we may conclude, that Pembroke and the barons, jealous of the ecclesiastical power, both were desirous of renewing the king's claim to issue a congé d'élire to the monks and chapters, and thought it requisite to put some check to the frequent appeals to Rome. But what may chiefly surprise us, is, that the obligation to which John had subjected himself, of obtaining the consent of the great council before he levied any aids or scutages upon the nation, was omitted; and this article was even declared hard and severe, and was expressly left to future deliberation. But we must consider, that, though this limitation may perhaps appear to us the most momentous in the whole charter of John, it was not regarded in that light by the ancient barons, who were more jealous in guarding against particular acts of violence in the crown, than against such general impositions, which, unless they were evidently reasonable and necessary, could scarcely, without general consent, be levied upon men who had arms in their hands, and who could repel any act of oppression by which they were all immediately affected. We accordingly find, that Henry, in the course of his reign, while he gave frequent occasions for complaint, with regard to his violations of the great charter, never attempted, by his mere will, to levy any aids or scutages; though he was often reduced to great necessities, and was refused supply by his people. So much easier was it for him to transgress the law, when individuals alone were affected, than even to exert his acknowledged prerogatives, where the interest of the whole body was concerned. [FN [d] Rymer, vol. i. p. 215.]

This charter was again confirmed by the king in the ensuing year, with the addition of some articles, to prevent the oppressions by sheriffs; and also with an additional charter of forests, a circumstance of great moment in those ages, when hunting was so much the occupation of the nobility, and when the king comprehended so considerable a part of the kingdom within his forests, which he governed by peculiar and arbitrary laws. All the forests which had been enclosed since the reign of Henry II. were disafforested; and new perambulations were appointed for that purpose: offences in the forests were declared to be no longer capital; but punishable by fine, imprisonment, and more gentle penalties: and all the proprietors of land recovered the power of cutting and using their own wood at their pleasure.

Thus these famous charters were brought nearly to the shape in which they have ever since stood; and they were, during many generations, the peculiar favourites of the English nation, and esteemed the most sacred rampart to national liberty and independence. As they secured the rights of all orders of men, they were anxiously defended by all, and became the basis, in a manner, of the English monarchy, and a kind of original contract, which both limited the authority of the king, and ensured the conditional allegiance of his subjects. Though often violated, they were still claimed by the nobility and people; and as no precedents were supposed valid that infringed them, they rather acquired than lost authority, from the frequent attempts made against them, in several ages, by regal and arbitrary power.

While Pembroke, by renewing and confirming the great charter, gave so much satisfaction and security to the nation in general, he also applied himself successfully to individuals. He wrote letters, in the king's name, to all the malecontent barons; in which he represented to them, that, whatever jealousy and animosity they might have entertained against the late king, a young prince, the lineal heir of their ancient monarchs, had now succeeded to the throne, without succeeding either to the resentments or principles of his predecessor: that the desperate expedient, which they had employed of calling in a foreign potentate, had, happily for them, as well as for the nation, failed of entire success; and it was still in their power, by a speedy return to their duty, to restore the independence of the kingdom, and to secure that liberty for which they so zealously contended: that as all past offences of the barons were now buried in oblivion, they ought, on their part, to forget their complaints against their late sovereign, who, if he had been anywise blameable in his conduct, had left to his son the salutary warning, to avoid the paths which had led to such fatal extremities; and that, having now obtained a charter for their liberties, it was their interest to show, by their conduct, that this acquisition was not incompatible with their allegiance, and that the rights of king and people, so far from being hostile and opposite, might mutually support and sustain each other [e]. [FN [e] Rymer, vol i. p. 25. Brady's App. No. 143.]

These considerations, enforced by the character of honour and constancy which Pembroke had ever maintained, had a mighty influence on the barons; and most of them began secretly to negotiate with him, and many of them openly returned to their duty. The diffidence which Lewis discovered of their fidelity forwarded this general propension towards the king; and when the French prince refused the government of the castle of Hertford to Robert Fitz-Walter, who had been so active against the late king, and who claimed that fortress as his property, they plainly saw that the English were excluded from every trust, and that foreigners had engrossed all the confidence and affection of their new sovereign [f]. The excommunication, too, denounced by the legate against all the adherents of Lewis, failed not, in the turn which men's dispositions had taken, to produce a mighty effect upon them; and they were easily persuaded to consider a cause as impious, for which they had already entertained an unsurmountable aversion [g]. Though Lewis made a journey to France, and brought over succours from that kingdom [h], he found, on his return, that his party was still more weakened by the desertion of his English confederates, and that the death of John had, contrary to his expectations, given an incurable wound to his cause. The Earls of Salisbury, Arundel, and Warrenne, together with William Mareschal, eldest son of the protector, had embraced Henry's party, and every English nobleman was plainly watching for an opportunity of returning to his allegiance. Pembroke was so much strengthened by these accessions that he ventured to invest Mountsorel; though, upon the approach of the Count de Perche with the French army, he desisted from his enterprise, and raised the siege [i]. The count, elated with this success, marched to Lincoln; and being admitted into the town, he began to attack the castle, which he soon reduced to extremity. The protector summoned all his forces from every quarter, in order to relieve a place of such importance; and he appeared so much superior to the French, that they shut themselves up within the city, and resolved to act upon the defensive [k]. But the garrison of the castle having received a strong reinforcement, made a vigorous sally upon the besiegers; while the English army, by concert, assaulted them in the same instant from without, mounted the walls by scalade, and bearing down all resistance, entered the city sword in hand. Lincoln was delivered over to be pillaged; the French army was totally routed; the Count de Perche, with only two persons more, was killed; but many of the chief commanders, and about four hundred knights, were made prisoners by the English [l]. So little blood was shed in this important action, which decided the fate of one of the most powerful kingdoms in Europe; and such wretched soldiers were those ancient barons, who yet were unacquainted with every thing but arms! [FN [f] M. Paris, p. 200, 202. [g] Ibid. p. 200. M. West. p. 277. [h] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 79. M. West. p. 277. [i] M. Paris, p. 203. [k] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 81. [l] M. Paris, p.204, 205. Chron. de Mailr. p. 195.]

Prince Lewis was informed of this fatal event while employed in the siege of Dover, which was still valiantly defended against him by Hubert de Burgh. He immediately retreated to London, the centre and life of his party; and he there received intelligence of a new disaster, which put an end to all his hopes. A French fleet, bringing over a strong reinforcement, had appeared on the coast of Kent, where they were attacked by the English, under the command of Philip d'Albiney, and were routed with considerable loss. D'Albiney employed a stratagem against them, which is said to have contributed to the victory. Having gained the wind of the French, he came down upon them with violence; and throwing in their faces a great quantity of quicklime, which he purposely carried on board, he so blinded them, that they were disabled from defending themselves [m]. [FN [m] M. Paris, p. 206. Ann. Waverl. p. 183. W. Heming. p. 563. Trivet, p. 169. M. West. p. 277. Knyghton, p. 2428.]

After this second misfortune of the French, the English barons hastened every where to make peace with the protector, and, by an easy submission, to prevent those attainders to which they were exposed on account of their rebellion. Lewis, whose cause was now totally desperate, began to be anxious for the safety of his person, and was glad, on any honourable conditions, to make his escape from a country where he found every thing was now become hostile to him. He concluded a peace with Pembroke, promised to evacuate the kingdom, and only stipulated, in return, an indemnity to his adherents, and a restitution of their honours and fortunes, together with the free and equal enjoyment of those liberties which had been granted to the rest of the nation [n]. Thus was happily ended a civil war, which seemed to be founded on the most incurable hatred and jealousy, and had threatened the kingdom with the most fatal consequences. [FN [n] Rymer, vol. i. p. 221. M. Paris, p. 207. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 83. M. West. p. 278. Knyghton, p. 2429.]

[MN 1216. General pacification.] The precautions which the King of France used in the conduct of this whole affair are remarkable. He pretended that his son had accepted of the offer from the English barons without his advice, and contrary to his inclination: the armies sent to England were levied in Lewis's name. When that prince came over to France for aid, his father publicly refused to grant him any assistance, and would not so much as admit him to his presence. Even after Henry's party acquired the ascendant, and Lewis was in danger of falling into the hands of his enemies, it was Blanche of Castile, his wife, not the king, his father, who raised armies, and equipped fleets for his succour [o]. All these artifices were employed, not to satisfy the pope, for he had too much penetration to be so easily imposed on; nor yet to deceive the people, for they were too gross even for that purpose. They only served for a colouring to Philip's cause; and, in public affairs, men are often better pleased that the truth, though known to every body, should be wrapped up under a decent cover, than if it were exposed in open daylight to the eyes of all the world. [FN [o] M. Paris, p. 256. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 82.]

After the expulsion of the French, the prudence and equity of the protector's subsequent conduct contributed to cure entirely those wounds which had been made by intestine discord. He received the rebellious barons into favour; observed strictly the terms of peace which he had granted them; restored them to their possessions; and endeavoured, by an equal behaviour, to bury all past animosities in perpetual oblivion. The clergy alone, who had adhered to Lewis, were sufferers in this revolution. As they had rebelled against their spiritual sovereign, by disregarding the interdict and excommunication, it was not in Pembroke's power to make any stipulations in their favour; and Gualo, the legate, prepared to take vengeance on them for their disobedience [p]. Many of them were deposed; many suspended; some banished; and all who escaped punishment made atonement for their offence by paying large sums to the legate, who amassed an immense treasure by this expedient. [FN [p] Brady's App. No. 144 Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 83.]

[MN Death of the protector.] The Earl of Pembroke did not long survive the pacification, which had been chiefly owing to his wisdom and valour [q]; and he was succeeded in the government by Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, and Hubert de Burgh, the justiciary. The councils of the latter were chiefly followed; and had he possessed equal authority in the kingdom with Pembroke, he seemed to be every way worthy of filling the place of that virtuous nobleman. [MN Some commotions.] But the licentious and powerful barons, who had once broken the reins of subjection to their prince, and had obtained, by violence, an enlargement of their liberties and independence, could ill be restrained by laws under a minority; and the people, no less than the king, suffered from their outrages and disorders. They retained by force the royal castles, which they had seized during the past convulsions, or which had been committed to their custody by the protector [r]: they usurped the king's demesnes [s]: they oppressed their vassals: they infested their weaker neighbours: they invited all disorderly people to enter in their retinue, and to live upon their lands: and they gave them protection in all their robberies and extortions. [FN [q] M. Paris, p. 210. [r] Trivet p. 174. [s] Rymer, vol. i. p. 276.]

No one was more infamous for these violent and illegal practices than the Earl of Albemarle; who, though he had early returned to his duty, and had been serviceable in expelling the French, augmented to the utmost the general disorder, and committed outrages in all the counties of the north. In order to reduce him to obedience, Hubert seized an opportunity of getting possession of Rockingham Castle, which Albemarle had garrisoned with his licentious retinue: but this nobleman, instead of submitting, entered into a secret confederacy with Fawkes de Breauté, Peter de Mauleon, and other barons, and both fortified the castle of Biham for his defence, and made himself master, by surprise, of that of Fotheringay. Pandolf, who was restored to his legateship, was active in suppressing this rebellion; and, with the concurrence of eleven bishops, he pronounced the sentence of excommunication against Albemarle and his adherents [t]: an army was levied: a scutage of ten shillings a knight's fee was imposed on all the military tenants: Albemarle's associates gradually deserted him: and he himself was obliged at last to sue for mercy. He received a pardon, and was restored to his whole estate. [FN [t] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 102.]

This impolitic lenity, too frequent in those times, was probably the result of a secret combination among the barons, who never could endure to see the total ruin of one of their own order: but it encouraged Fawkes de Breauté, a man whom King John had raised from a low origin, to persevere in the course of violence to which he had owed his fortune, and to set at nought all law and justice. When thirty-five verdicts were at one time found against him, on account of his violent expulsion of so many freeholders from their possessions, he came to the court of justice with an armed force, seized the judge who had pronounced the verdicts, and imprisoned him in Bedford castle. He then levied open war against the king; but being subdued and taken prisoner, his life was granted him; but his estate was confiscated, and he was banished the kingdom [u]. [FN [u] Rymer, vol. i. p. 198. M. Paris, p. 221, 224. Ann. Waverl. p. 188. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 141, 146. M. West. p. 283.]

[MN 1222.] Justice was executed with greater severity against disorders less premeditated, which broke out in London. A frivolous emulation in a match of wrestling, between the Londoners on the one hand, and the inhabitants of Westminster and those of the neighbouring villages on the other, occasioned this commotion. The former rose in a body, and pulled down some houses belonging to the Abbot of Westminster: but this riot, which, considering the tumultuous disposition familiar to that capital, would have been little regarded, seemed to become more serious by the symptoms which then appeared of the former attachment of the citizens to the French interest. The populace, in the tumult, made use of the cry of war commonly employed by the French troops: MOUNTJOY, MOUNTJOY, GOD HELP US AND OUR LORD LEWIS! The justiciary made inquiry into the disorder; and finding one Constantine Fitz-Arnulf to have been the ringleader, an insolent man, who justified his crime in Hubert's presence, he proceeded against him by martial law, and ordered him immediately to be hanged, without trial or form of process. He also cut off the feet of some of Constantine's accomplices [w]. [FN [w] M. Paris, p. 217, 218, 259. Ann. Waverl. p. 187. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 129.]

This act of power was complained of as an infringement of the great charter: yet the justiciary, in a Parliament summoned at Oxford, (for the great councils about this time began to receive that appellation,) made no scruple to grant, in the king's name, a renewal and confirmation of that charter. When the assembly made application to the crown for this favour, as a law in those times seemed to lose its validity if not frequently renewed, William de Briewere, one of the council of regency, was so bold as to say openly, that those liberties were extorted by force, and ought not to be observed: but he was reprimanded by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was not countenanced by the king or his chief ministers [x]. A new confirmation was demanded and granted two years after; and an aid, amounting to a fifteenth of all moveables, was given by the Parliament, in return for this indulgence. The king issued writs anew to the sheriffs, enjoining the observance of the charter; but he inserted a remarkable clause in the writs, that those who paid not the fifteenth should not for the future be entitled to the benefit of those liberties [y]. [FN [x] M. West. p. 282. [y] Clause 9. H. 3. m. 9. and m. 6. d.]

The low state into which the crown was fallen made it requisite for a good minister to be attentive to the preservation of the royal prerogatives, as well as to the security of public liberty. Hubert applied to the pope, who had always great authority in the kingdom, and was now considered as its superior lord, and desired him to issue a bull declaring the king to be of full age, and entitled to exercise in person all the acts of royalty [z]. In consequence of this declaration, the justiciary resigned into Henry's hands the two important fortresses of the Tower and Dover Castle, which had been intrusted to his custody; and he required the other barons to imitate his example. They refused compliance: the Earls of Chester and Albemarle, John Constable of Chester, John de Lacy, Brian de l'Isle, and William de Cantel, with some others, even formed a conspiracy to surprise London, and met in arms at Waltham with that intention: but finding the king prepared for defence, they desisted from their enterprise. When summoned to court in order to answer for their conduct, they scrupled not to appear, and to confess the design: but they told the king, that they had no bad intentions against his person, but only against Hubert de Burgh, whom they were determined to remove from his office [a]. They appeared too formidable to be chastised; and they were so little discouraged by the failure of their first enterprise, that they again met in arms at Leicester, in order to seize the king, who then resided at Northampton: but Henry, informed of their purpose, took care to be so well armed and attended that the barons found it dangerous to make the attempt; and they sat down and kept Christmas in his neighbourhood [b]. The archbishop and the prelates, finding every thing tending towards a civil war, interposed with their authority, and threatened the barons with the sentence of excommunication, if they persisted in detaining the king's castles. This menace at last prevailed: most of the fortresses were surrendered; though the barons complained that Hubert's castles were soon after restored to him, while the king still kept theirs in his own custody. There are said to have been eleven hundred and fifteen castles at that time in England [c]. [FN [z] M. Paris, p. 220. [a] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 137. [b] M. Paris, p. 221. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 138. [c] Coke's Comment. on Magna Charta, chap. 17.]

It must be acknowledged that the influence of the prelates and the clergy was often of great service to the public. Though the religion of that age can merit no better name than that of superstition, it served to unite together a body of men who had great sway over the people, and who kept the community from falling to pieces, by the factions and independent power of the nobles; and what was of great importance, it threw a mighty authority into the hands of men, who, by their profession, were averse to arms and violence; who tempered by their mediation the general disposition towards military enterprises; and who still maintained, even amidst the shock of arms, those secret links, without which it is impossible for human society to subsist.

Notwithstanding these intestine commotions in England, and the precarious authority of the crown, Henry was obliged to carry on war in France; and he employed to that purpose the fifteenth which had been granted him by Parliament. Lewis VIII., who had succeeded his father Philip, instead of complying with Henry's claim, who demanded the restitution of Normandy, and the other provinces wrested from England, made an irruption into Poictou, took Rochelle [d], after a long siege, and seemed determined to expel the English from the few provinces which still remained to them. Henry sent over his uncle, the Earl of Salisbury, together with his brother, Prince Richard, to whom he had granted the earldom of Cornwall, which had escheated to the crown. Salisbury stopped the progress of Lewis's arms, and retained the Poictevin and Gascon vassals in their allegiance: but no military action of any moment was performed on either side. The Earl of Cornwall, after two years' stay in Guienne, returned to England. [FN [d] Rymer, vol. i. p. 269. Trivet, p. 179.]

[MN 1227.] This prince was nowise turbulent or factious in his disposition: his ruling passion was to amass money, in which he succeeded so well as to become the richest subject in Christendom: yet his attention to gain threw him sometimes into acts of violence; and gave disturbance to the government. There was a manor which had formerly belonged to the earldom of Cornwall, but had been granted to Waleran de Ties, before Richard had been invested with that dignity, and while the earldom remained in the crown. Richard claimed this manor, and expelled the proprietor by force: Waleran complained: the king ordered his brother to do justice to the man, and restore him to his rights: the earl said, that he would not submit to these orders, till the cause should be decided against him by the judgment of his peers: Henry replied, that it was first necessary to reinstate Waleran in possession, before the cause could be tried; and he reiterated his orders to the earl [e]. We may judge of the state of the government, when this affair had nearly produced a civil war. The Earl of Cornwall, finding Henry peremptory in his commands, associated himself with the young Earl of Pembroke, who had married his sister, and who was displeased on account of the king's requiring him to deliver up some royal castles which were in his custody. These two malecontents took into the confederacy the Earls of Chester, Warrenne, Gloucester, Hereford, Warwick, and Ferrers, who were all disgusted on a like account [f]. They assembled an army; which the king had not the power or courage to resist; and he was obliged to give his brother satisfaction, by grants of much greater importance than the manor which had been the first ground of the quarrel [g]. [FN [e] M. Paris, p. 233. [f] M. Paris, p. 233. [g] Ibid.]

The character of the king, as he grew to man's estate, became every day better known; and he was found in every respect unqualified for maintaining a proper sway among those turbulent barons, whom the feudal constitution subjected to his authority. Gentle, humane, and merciful even to a fault, he seems to have been steady in no other circumstance of his character; but to have received every impression from those who surrounded him, and whom he loved, for the time, with the most imprudent and most unreserved affection. Without activity or vigour, he was unfit to conduct war: without policy or art, he was ill fitted to maintain peace: his resentments, though hasty and violent, were not dreaded, while he was found to drop them with such facility; his friendships were little valued, because they were neither derived from choice, nor maintained with constancy. A proper pageant of state in a regular monarchy, where his ministers could have conducted all affairs in his name and by his authority; but too feeble in those disorderly times to sway a sceptre, whose weight depended entirely on the firmness and dexterity of the hand which held it.

[MN Hugh de Burgh displaced.] The ablest and most virtuous minister that Henry ever possessed was Hubert de Burgh [h]; a man who had been steady to the crown in the most difficult and dangerous times, and who yet showed no disposition, in the height of his power, to enslave or oppress the people. The only exceptionable part of his conduct is that which is mentioned by Matthew Paris [i], if the fact be really true; and proceeded from Hubert's advice, namely, the recalling publicly and the annulling of the charter of forests, a concession so reasonable in itself, and so passionately claimed both by the nobility and people: but it must be confessed that this measure is so unlikely, both from the circumstances of the times and character of the minister, that there is reason to doubt of its reality, especially as it is mentioned by no other historian. Hubert, while he enjoyed his authority, had an entire ascendant over Henry, and was loaded with honours and favours beyond any other subject. Besides acquiring the property of many castles and manors, he married the eldest sister of the King of Scots, was created Earl of Kent, and, by an unusual concession, was made chief justiciary of England for life: [MN 1231.] yet Henry, in a sudden caprice, threw off this faithful minister, and exposed him to the violent persecutions of his enemies. Among other frivolous crimes objected to him, he was accused of gaining the king's affections by enchantment, and of purloining from the royal treasury a gem, which had the virtue to render the wearer invulnerable, and of sending this valuable curiosity to the Prince of Wales [k]. The nobility, who hated Hubert on account of his zeal in resuming the rights and possessions of the crown, no sooner saw the opportunity favourable, than they inflamed the king's animosity against him, and pushed him to seek the total ruin of his minister. Hubert took sanctuary in a church: the king ordered him to be dragged from thence: he recalled those orders: he afterwards renewed them: he was obliged by the clergy to restore him to the sanctuary: he constrained him soon after to surrender himself prisoner, and he confined him in the castle of Devizes. Hubert made his escape, was expelled the kingdom, was again received into favour, recovered a great share of the king's confidence, but never showed any inclination to reinstate himself in power and authority [l]. [FN [h] Ypod. Neustriae, p. 464. [i] P. 232. M. West. p. 216, ascribes this counsel to Peter, Bishop of Winchester. [k] M. Paris, p. 259. [l] Ibid. p. 259, 260, 261, 266. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 41, 42. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 220, 221. M. West. p. 291, 301.]

[MN Bishop of Winchester minister.] The man who succeeded him in the government of the king and kingdom was Peter, Bishop of Winchester, a Poictevin by birth, who had been raised by the late king, and who was no less distinguished by his arbitrary principles and violent conduct, than by his courage and abilities. This prelate had been left by King John justiciary and regent of the kingdom during an expedition which that prince made into France; and his illegal administration was one chief cause of that great combination among the barons which finally extorted from the crown the charter of liberties, and laid the foundations of the English constitution. Henry, though incapable, from his character, of pursuing the same violent maxims which had governed his father, had imbibed the same arbitrary principles; and, in prosecution of Peter's advice, he invited over a great number of Poictevins, and other foreigners, who, he believed, could more safely be trusted than the English, and who seemed useful to counterbalance the great and independent power of the nobility [m]. Every office and command was bestowed on these strangers: they exhausted the revenues of the crown, already too much impoverished [n]; they invaded the rights of the people; and their insolence, still more provoking than their power, drew on them the hatred and envy of all orders of men in the kingdom [o]. [FN [m] M. Paris, p. 263. [n] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 151. [o] M. Paris, p. 268.]

[MN 1233.] The barons formed a combination against this odious ministry, and withdrew from Parliament, on pretence of the danger to which they were exposed from the machinations of the Poictevins. When again summoned to attend, they gave for answer, that the king should dismiss his foreigners, otherwise they would drive both him and them out of the kingdom, and put the crown on another head more worthy to wear it [p]: such was the style they used to their sovereign! They at last came to Parliament, but so well attended, that they seemed in a condition to prescribe laws to the king and ministry. Peter des Roches, however, had in the interval found means of sowing dissension among them, and of bringing over to his party the Earl of Cornwall, as well as the Earls of Lincoln and Chester. The confederates were disconcerted in their measures: Richard, Earl Mareschal, who had succeeded to that dignity on the death of his brother William, was chased into Wales; he thence withdrew into Ireland, where he was treacherously murdered by the contrivance of the Bishop of Winchester [q]. The estates of the more obnoxious barons were confiscated, without legal sentence or trial by their peers [r], and were bestowed with a profuse liberality on the Poictevins. Peter even carried his insolence so far as to declare publicly, that the barons of England must not pretend to put themselves on the same footing with those of France; or assume the same liberties and privileges: the monarch in the former country had a more absolute power than in the latter. It had been more justifiable for him to have said, that men, so unwilling to submit to the authority of laws, could with the worst grace claim any shelter or protection from them. [FN [p] Ibid. p. 265. [q] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 219. [r] M. Paris, p. 265.]

When the king at any time was checked in his illegal practices, and when the authority of the great charter was objected to him, he was wont to reply, "Why should I observe this charter, which is neglected by all my grandees, both prelates and nobility?" It was very reasonably said to him, "You ought, sir, to set them the example [s]." [FN [s] Ibid. p. 609.]

So violent a ministry as that of the Bishop of Winchester could not be of long duration; but its fall proceeded at last from the influence of the church, not from the efforts of the nobles. Edmond, the primate, came to court, attended by many of the other prelates, and represented to the king the pernicious measures embraced by Peter des Roches, the discontents of his people, the ruin of his affairs; and, after requiring the dismission of the minister and his associates, threatened him with excommunication in case of his refusal. Henry, who knew that an excommunication so agreeable to the sense of the people could not fail of producing the most dangerous effects, was obliged to submit: foreigners were banished: the natives were restored to their place in council [t]: the primate, who was a man of prudence, and who took care to execute the laws, and observe the charter of liberties, bore the chief sway in the government. [FN [t] Ibid. p. 271, 272.]

[MN 1236. Jan.] But the English in vain flattered themselves that they should be long free from the dominion of foreigners. [MN King's partiality to foreigners.] The king having married Eleanor, daughter of the Count of Provence [u], was surrounded by a great number of strangers from that country, whom he caressed with the fondest affection, and enriched by an imprudent generosity [w]. The Bishop of Valence, a prelate of the house of Savoy, and maternal uncle to the queen, was his chief minister, and employed every art to amass wealth for himself and his relations. Peter of Savoy, a brother of the same family, was invested in the honour of Richmond, and received the rich wardship of Earl Warrenne: Boniface of Savoy was promoted to the see of Canterbury. Many young ladies were invited over from Provence, and married to the chief noblemen in England, who were the king's wards [x]. And as the source of Henry's bounty began to fail, his Savoyard ministry applied to Rome, and obtained a bull, permitting him to resume all past grants; absolving him from the oath which he had taken to maintain them; even enjoining him to make such a resumption, and representing those grants as invalid, on account of the prejudice which ensued from them to the Roman pontiff, in whom the superiority of the kingdom was vested [y]. The opposition made to the intended resumption prevented it from taking place; but the nation saw the indignities to which the king was willing to submit, in order to gratify the avidity of his foreign favourites. About the same time he published in England the sentence of excommunication pronounced against the Emperor Frederic, his brother-in-law [z]; and said, in excuse, that, being the pope's vassal, he was obliged by his allegiance to obey all the commands of his holiness. In this weak reign, when any neighbouring potentate insulted the king's dominions, instead of taking revenge for the injury, he complained to the pope as his superior lord, and begged him to give protection to his vassal [a]. [FN [u] Rymer, vol. i. p. 448. M. Paris, p. 286. [w] M. Paris, p. 236, 301, 305, 316, 541. M. West. p. 302, 304. [x] M. Paris, p. 484. M. West. p. 338. [y] M. Paris, p. 295, 301. [z] Rymer, vol. i. p. 383. [a] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 150.]

[MN 1236. Grievances.] The resentment of the English barons rose high at the preference given to foreigners; but no remonstrance or complaint could ever prevail on the king to abandon them, or even to moderate his attachment towards them. After the Provencals and Savoyards might have been supposed pretty well satiated with the dignities and riches which they had acquired, a new set of hungry foreigners were invited over, and shared among them those favours, which the king ought in policy to have conferred on the English nobility, by whom his government could have been supported and defended. His mother, Isabella, who had been unjustly taken by the late king from the Count de la Marche, to whom she was betrothed, was no sooner mistress of herself, by the death of her husband, than she married that nobleman [b]; [MN 1247.] and she had borne him four sons, Guy, William, Geoffrey, and Aymer, whom she sent over to England, in order to pay a visit to their brother. The good-natured and affectionate disposition of Henry was moved at the sight of such near relations; and he considered neither his own circumstances, nor the inclinations of his people, in the honours and riches which he conferred upon them [c]. Complaints rose as high against the credit of the Gascon, as ever they had done against that of the Poictevin and of the Savoyard favourites; and to a nation prejudiced against them, all their measures appeared exceptionable and criminal. Violations of the great charter were frequently mentioned; and it is indeed more than probable that foreigners, ignorant of the laws, and relying on the boundless affections of a weak prince, would, in an age when a regular administration was not any where known, pay more attention to their present interest than to the liberties of the people. It is reported that the Poictevins and other strangers, when the laws were at any time appealed to, in opposition to their oppressions, scrupled not to reply, WHAT DID THE ENGLISH LAWS SIGNIFY TO THEM? THEY MINDED THEM NOT. And as words are often more offensive than actions, this open contempt of the English tended much to aggravate the general discontent, and made every act of violence committed by the foreigners appear not only an injury but an affront to them [d]. [FN [b] Trivet, p. 174. [c] M. Paris, p. 491. M. West. p. 338. Knyghton, p. 2436. [d] M. Paris, p. 566, 666. Ann. Waverl. p. 214. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 335.]

I reckon not among the violations of the great charter some arbitrary exertions of prerogative, to which Henry's necessities pushed him, and which, without producing any discontent, were uniformly continued by all his successors till the last century. As the Parliament often refused him supplies, and that in a manner somewhat rude and indecent [e], he obliged his opulent subjects, particularly the citizens of London, to grant him loans of money; and it is natural to imagine, that the same want of economy which reduced him to the necessity of borrowing, would prevent him from being very punctual in the repayment [f]. He demanded benevolences, or pretended voluntary contributions, from his nobility and prelates [g]. He was the first king of England since the Conquest that could fairly be said to lie under the restraint of law; and he was also the first that practised the dispensing power, and employed the clause of NON OBSTANTE in his grants and patents. When objections were made to this novelty, he replied, that the pope exercised that authority; and why might not he imitate the example? But the abuse which the pope made of his dispensing power, in violating the canons of general councils, in invading the privileges and customs of all particular churches, and in usurping on the rights of patrons, was more likely to excite the jealousy of the people, than to reconcile them to a similar practice in their civil government. Roger de Thurkesby, one of the king's justices, was so displeased with the precedent, that he exclaimed, ALAS! WHAT TIMES ARE WE FALLEN INTO! BEHOLD, THE CIVIL COURT IS CORRUPTED IN IMITATION OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL, AND THE RIVER IS POISONED FROM THE FOUNTAIN. [FN [e] M. Paris, p. 301. [f] Ibid. p. 406. [g] Ibid. p. 507.]

The king's partiality and profuse bounty to his foreign relations, and to their friends and favourites, would have appeared more tolerable to the English, had any thing been done meanwhile for the honour of the nation; or had Henry's enterprises in foreign countries been attended with any success or glory to himself or to the public: at least, such military talents in the king would have served to keep his barons in awe, and have given weight and authority to his government. But though he declared war against Lewis IX. in 1242, and made an expedition into Guienne, upon the invitation of his father-in-law, the Count de la Marche, who promised to join him with all his forces, he was unsuccessful in his attempts against that great monarch, was worsted at Taillebourg, was deserted by his allies, lost what remained to him of Poictou, and was obliged to return, with loss of honour, into England [h]. The Gascon nobility were attached to the English government, because the distance of their sovereign allowed them to remain in a state of almost total independence; [MN 1253.] and they claimed, some time after, Henry's protection against an invasion, which the King of Castile made upon that territory. Henry returned into Guienne, and was more successful in this expedition; but he thereby involved himself and his nobility in an enormous debt, which both increased their discontents, and exposed him to greater danger from their enterprises [i]. [FN [h] M. Paris, p. 393, 394, 398, 399, 405. W. Heming. p. 574. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 153. [i] M. Paris, p. 614.]

Want of economy, and an ill-judged liberality, were Henry's great defects; and his debts, even before this expedition, had become so troublesome, that he sold all his plate and jewels, in order to discharge them. When this expedient was first proposed to him, he asked where he should find purchasers? It was replied, the citizens of London. ON MY WORD, said he, IF THE TREASURY OF AUGUSTUS WERE BROUGHT FOR SALE, THE CITIZENS ARE ABLE TO BE THE PURCHASERS: THESE CLOWNS, WHO ASSUME TO THEMSELVES THE NAME OF BARONS, ABOUND IN EVERY THING, WHILE WE ARE REDUCED TO NECESSITIES [k]. And he was thenceforth observed to be more forward and greedy in his exactions upon the citizens [l]. [FN [k] Ibid. p. 501. [l] Ibid. p. 501, 507, 518, 578, 606, 625, 648.]

[MN Ecclesiastical grievances.] But the grievances, which the English during this reign had reason to complain of in the civil government, seem to have been still less burdensome than those which they suffered from the usurpations and exactions of the court of Rome. [MN 1253.] On the death of Langton in 1228, the monks of Christ-church elected Walter de Hemesham, one of their own body, for his successor: but as Henry refused to confirm the election, the pope, at his desire, annulled it [m]; and immediately appointed Richard, Chancellor of Lincoln, for archbishop, without waiting for a new election. On the death of Richard in 1231, the monks elected Ralph de Neville, Bishop of Chichester; and though Henry was much pleased with the election, the pope, who thought that prelate too much attached to the crown, assumed the power of annulling his election [n]. He rejected two clergymen more, whom the monks had successively chosen; and he at last told them, that, if they would elect Edmond, treasurer of the church of Salisbury, he would confirm their choice; and his nomination was complied with. The pope had the prudence to appoint both times very worthy primates; but men could not forbear observing his intention of thus drawing gradually to himself the right of bestowing that important dignity. [FN [m] M. Paris, p. 224. [n] Ibid. p. 254.]

The avarice, however, more than the ambition, of the see of Rome, seems to have been in this age the ground of general complaint. The papal ministers, finding a vast stock of power amassed by their predecessors, were desirous of turning it to immediate profit which they enjoyed at home, rather than of enlarging their authority in distant countries, where they never intended to reside. Every thing was become venal in the Romish tribunals; simony was openly practised; no favours, and even no justice, could be obtained without a bribe; the highest bidder was sure to have the preference, without regard either to the merits of the person or of the cause; and besides the usual perversions of right in the decision of controversies, the pope openly assumed an absolute and uncontrolled authority of setting aside, by the plenitude of his apostolic power, all particular rules, and all privileges of patrons, churches, and convents. On pretence of remedying these abuses, Pope Honorius, in 1226, complaining of the poverty of his see as the source of all grievances, demanded from every cathedral two of the best prebends, and from every convent two monks' portions, to be set apart as a perpetual and settled revenue of the papal crown: but all men being sensible that the revenue would continue for ever, the abuses immediately return, his demand was unanimously rejected. About three years after, the pope demanded and obtained the tenth of all ecclesiastical revenues, which he levied in a very oppressive manner; requiring payment before the clergy had drawn their rents or tithes, and sending about usurers, who advanced them the money at exorbitant interest. In the year 1240, Otho, the legate, having in vain attempted the clergy in a body, obtained separately, by intrigues and menaces, large sums from the prelates and convents, and on his departure is said to have carried more money out of the kingdom than he left in it. This experiment was renewed four years after with success by Martin the nuncio, who brought from Rome powers of suspending and excommunicating all clergymen that refused to comply with his demands. The king, who relied on the pope for the support of his tottering authority, never failed to countenance those exactions.

Meanwhile, all the chief benefices of the kingdom were conferred on Italians; great numbers of that nation were sent over at one time to be provided for; non-residence and pluralities were carried to an enormous height; Mansel, the king's chaplain, is computed to have held at once seven hundred ecclesiastical livings; and the abuses became so evident as to be palpable to the blindness of superstition itself. The people, entering into associations, rose against the Italian clergy; pillaged their barns; wasted their lands; insulted the persons of such of them as they found in the kingdom [o]; and when the justices made inquiry into the authors of this disorder, the guilt was found to involve so many, and those of such high rank, that it passed unpunished. At last, when Innocent IV., in 1245, called a general council at Lyons, in order to excommunicate the Emperor Frederic, the king and nobility sent over agents to complain before the council of the rapacity of the Romish church. They represented, among many other grievances, that the benefices of the Italian clergy in England had been estimated, and were found to amount to sixty thousand marks [p] a year, a sum which exceeded the annual revenue of the crown [q]. They obtained only an evasive answer from the pope; but as mention had been made before the council of the feudal subjection of England to the see of Rome, the English agents, at whose head was Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, exclaimed against the pretension, and insisted that King John had no right, without the consent of his barons, to subject the kingdom to so ignominious a servitude [r]. The popes, indeed, afraid of carrying matters too far against England, seem thenceforth to have little insisted on that pretension. [FN [o] Rymer, vol. i. p. 323. M. Paris, p. 255, 257. [p] Innocent's bull in Rymer, vol. i. p. 471, says only fifty thousand marks a year. [q] M. Paris, p. 451. The customs were part of Henry's revenue, and amounted to six thousand pounds a year: they were at first small sums paid by the merchants for the use of the king's warehouses, measures, weights, &c. See Gilbert's History of the Exch. p. 214. [r] M. Paris, p. 460.]

This check, received at the council of Lyons, was not able to stop the court of Rome in its rapacity; Innocent exacted the revenues of all vacant benefices, the twentieth of all ecclesiastical revenues without exception; the third of such as exceeded a hundred marks a year, and the half of such as were possessed by non-residents [s]. He claimed the goods of all intestate clergymen [t]; he pretended a title to inherit all money gotten by usury; he levied benevolences upon the people; and when the king, contrary to his usual practice, prohibited these exactions, he threatened to pronounce against him the same censures which he had emitted against the Emperor Frederic [u]. [FN [s] Ibid. p. 480. Ann. Burt. p. 305, 373. [t] M. Paris, p. 474. [u] Ibid. p. 476.]

[MN 1255.] But the most oppressive expedient employed by the pope was the embarking of Henry in a project for the conquest of Naples or Sicily on this side the Fare, as it was called; an enterprise, which threw much dishonour on the king, and involved him, during some years, in great trouble and expense. The Romish church, taking advantage of favourable incidents, had reduced the kingdom of Sicily to the same state of feudal vassalage which she pretended to extend over England, and which, by reason of the distance, as well as high spirit of this latter kingdom, she was not able to maintain. After the death of the Emperor Frederic II., the succession of Sicily devolved to Conradine, grandson of that monarch; and Mainfroy, his natural son, under pretence of governing the kingdom during the minority of the prince, had formed a scheme of establishing his own authority. Pope Innocent, who had carried on violent war against the Emperor Frederic, and had endeavoured to dispossess him of his Italian dominions, still continued hostilities against his grandson; but being disappointed in all his schemes by the activity and artifices of Mainfroy, he found that his own force alone was not sufficient to bring to a happy issue so great an enterprise. He pretended to dispose of the Sicilian crown, both as superior lord of that particular kingdom, and as vicar of Christ, to whom all kingdoms of the earth were subjected; and he made a tender of it to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, whose immense riches, he flattered himself, would be able to support the military operations against Mainfroy. As Richard had the prudence to refuse the present [w], he applied to the king, whose levity and thoughtless disposition gave Innocent more hopes of success; and he offered him the crown of Sicily for his second son, Edmond [x]. Henry, allured by so magnificent a present, without reflecting on the consequences, without consulting either with his brother or the Parliament, accepted of the insidious proposal; and gave the pope unlimited credit to expend whatever sums he thought necessary for completing the conquest of Sicily. Innocent, who was engaged by his own interests to wage war with Mainfroy, was glad to carry on his enterprises at the expense of his ally: Alexander IV., who succeeded him in the papal throne, continued the same policy; and Henry was surprised to find himself on a sudden involved in an immense debt, which he had never been consulted in contracting. The sum already amounted to one hundred and thirty-five thousand five hundred and forty-one marks, besides interest [y]; and he had the prospect, if he answered this demand, of being soon loaded with more exorbitant expenses; if he refused it, of both incurring the pope's displeasure, and losing the crown of Sicily, which he hoped soon to have the glory of fixing on the head of his son. [FN [w] M. Paris, p. 650. [x] Rymer, vol. i. p. 502, 512, 530. M. Paris, p. 599, 613. [y] Rymer, vol. i. p. 587. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 319.]

He applied to the Parliament for supplies; and that he might be sure not to meet with opposition, he sent no writs to the more refractory barons; but even those who were summoned, sensible of the ridiculous cheat imposed by the pope, determined not to lavish their money on such chimerical projects; and making a pretext of the absence of their brethren, they refused to take the king's demands into consideration [z]. In this extremity the clergy were his only resource; and as both their temporal and spiritual sovereign concurred in loading them, they were ill able to defend themselves against this united authority. [FN [z] M. Paris, p. 614.]

The pope published a crusade for the conquest of Sicily; and required every one, who had taken the cross against the infidels, or had vowed to advance money for that service, to support the war against Mainfroy, a more terrible enemy, as he pretended, to the Christian faith than any Saracen [a]. He levied a tenth on all ecclesiastical benefices in England for three years; and gave orders to excommunicate all bishops who made not punctual payment. He granted to the king the goods of intestate clergymen; the revenues of vacant benefices; the revenues of all non-residents [b]. But these taxations, being levied by some rule, were deemed less grievous than another imposition, which arose from the suggestion of the Bishop of Hereford, and which might have opened the door to endless and intolerable abuses. [FN [a] Rymer, vol. i. p. 547, 548, &c. [b] Ibid. vol. i. p. 597, 598.]

This prelate, who resided at the court of Rome, by a deputation from the English church, drew bills of different values, but amounting on the whole to one hundred and fifty thousand five hundred and forty marks, on all the bishops and abbots of the kingdom; and granted these bills to Italian merchants, who, it was pretended, had advanced money for the service of the war against Mainfroy [c]. As there was no likelihood of the English prelates submitting, without compulsion, to such an extraordinary demand, Rustand, the legate, was charged with the commission of employing authority to that purpose; and he summoned an assembly of the bishops and abbots, whom he acquainted with the pleasure of the pope and of the king. Great were the surprise and indignation of the assembly. The Bishop of Worcester exclaimed, that he would lose his life rather than comply: the Bishop of London said, that the pope and king were more powerful than he; but if his mitre were taken off his head, he would clap on a helmet in its place [d]. The legate was no less violent on the other hand; and he told the assembly, in plain terms, that all ecclesiastical benefices were the property of the pope, and he might dispose of them, either in whole or in part, as he saw proper [e]. In the end, the bishops and abbots, being threatened with excommunication, which made all the revenues fall into the king's hands, were obliged to submit to the exaction; and the only mitigation which the legate allowed them was, that the tenths, already granted, should be accepted as a partial payment of the bills. But the money was still insufficient for the pope's purpose: the conquest of Sicily was as remote as ever: the demands which came from Rome were endless: Pope Alexander became so urgent a creditor, that he sent over a legate to England, threatening the kingdom with an interdict, and the king with excommunication, if the arrears, which he pretended to be due to him, were not instantly remitted [f]. And at last Henry, sensible of the cheat, began to think of breaking off the agreement, and of resigning into the pope's hands that crown, which it was not intended by Alexander, that he or his family should ever enjoy [g]. [FN [c] M. Paris, p. 612, 628. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 54. [d] M. Paris, p. 614. [e] Ibid. p. 619. [f] Rymer, vol. i. p. 624. M. Paris, p. 648. [g] Rymer, vol. i. p. 630.]

[MN Earl of Cornwall elected King of the Romans.] The Earl of Cornwall had now reason to value himself on his foresight, in refusing the fraudulent bargain with Rome, and in preferring the solid honours of an opulent and powerful prince of the blood of England, to the empty and precarious glory of a foreign dignity. But he had not always firmness sufficient to adhere to this resolution: his vanity and ambition prevailed at last over his prudence and his avarice; and he was engaged in an enterprise no less extensive and vexatious than that of his brother, and not attended with much greater probability of success. The immense opulence of Richard having made the German princes cast their eye on him as a candidate for the empire, he was tempted to expend vast sums of money on his election; and he succeeded so far as to be chosen King of the Romans, which seemed to render his succession infallible to the imperial throne. He went over to Germany, and carried out of the kingdom no less a sum than seven hundred thousand marks, if we may credit the account given by some ancient authors [h], which is probably much exaggerated [i]. His money, while it lasted, procured him friends and partisans; but it was soon drained from him by the avidity of the German princes; and having no personal or family connexions in that country, and no solid foundation of power, he found at last that he had lavished away the frugality of a whole life in order to procure a splendid title; and that his absence from England, joined to the weakness of his brother's government, gave reins to the factious and turbulent dispositions of the English barons, and involved his own country and family in great calamities. [FN [h] M. Paris, p. 638. The same author, a few pages before, makes Richard's treasures amount to little more than half the sum, p. 634. The king's dissipations and expenses, throughout his whole reign, according to the same author, had amounted only to about nine hundred and forty thousand marks, p. 638. [i] The sums mentioned by ancient authors, who were almost all monks, are often improbable, and never consistent. But we know, from an infallible authority, the public remonstrance to the council of Lyons, that the king's revenues were below sixty thousand marks a year: his brother, therefore, could never have been master of seven hundred thousand marks; especially as he did not sell his estates in England, as we learn from the same author: and we hear afterwards of his ordering all his woods to be cut, in order to satisfy the rapacity of the German princes. His son succeeded to the earldom of Cornwall, and his other revenues.]

[MN Discontents of the barons.] The successful revolt of the nobility from King John, and their imposing on him and his successors limitations of their royal power, had made them feel their own weight and importance, had set a dangerous precedent of resistance, and being followed by a long minority, had impoverished as well as weakened that crown, which they were at last induced, from the fear of worse consequences, to replace on the head of young Henry. In the king's situation, either great abilities and vigour were requisite to overawe the barons, or great caution and reserve to give them no pretence for complaints; and it must be confessed that this prince was possessed of neither of these talents. He had not prudence to choose right measures; he wanted even that constancy, which sometimes gives weight to wrong ones; he was entirely devoted to his favourites, who were always foreigners; he lavished on them, without discretion, his diminished revenue; and finding that his barons indulged their disposition towards tyranny, and observed not to their own vassals the same rules which they had imposed on the crown, he was apt, in his administration, to neglect all the salutary articles of the great charter, which he remarked to be so little regarded by his nobility. This conduct had extremely lessened his authority in the kingdom; had multiplied complaints against him; and had frequently exposed him to affronts, and even to dangerous attempts upon his prerogative. In the year 1244, when he desired a supply from Parliament, the barons, complaining of the frequent breaches of the great charter, and of the many fruitless applications which they had formerly made for the redress of this and other grievances, demanded, in return, that he should give them the nomination of the great justiciary and of the chancellor, to whose hands chiefly the administration of justice was committed; and if we may credit the historian [k], they had formed the plan of other limitations, as well as of associations to maintain them, which would have reduced the king to be an absolute cipher; and have held the crown in perpetual pupilage and dependence. The king, to satisfy them, would agree to nothing but a renewal of the charter, and a general permission to excommunicate all the violaters of it; and he received no supply, except a scutage of twenty shillings on each knight's fee, for the marriage of his eldest daughter to the King of Scotland; a burden which was expressly annexed to their feudal tenures. [FN [k] M. Paris, p. 432.]

Four years after, in a full Parliament, when Henry demanded a new supply, he was openly reproached with a breach of his word, and the frequent violations of the charter. He was asked, whether he did not blush to desire any aid from his people, whom he professedly hated and despised, to whom, on all occasions, he preferred aliens and foreigners, and who groaned under the oppressions which he either permitted or exercised over them. He was told that, besides disparaging his nobility, by forcing them to contract unequal and mean marriages with strangers, no rank of men was so low as to escape vexatious from him or his ministers; that even the victuals consumed in his household, the clothes which himself and his servants wore, still more the wine which they used, were all taken by violence from the lawful owners, and no compensation was ever made them for the injury; that foreign merchants, to the great prejudice and infamy of the kingdom, shunned the English harbours, as if they were possessed by pirates, and the commerce with all nations was thus cut off by these acts of violence; that loss was added to loss, and injury to injury, while the merchants, who had been despoiled of their goods, were also obliged to carry them at their own charge to whatever place the king was pleased to appoint them; that even the poor fishermen on the coast could not escape his oppressions and those of his courtiers; and finding that they had not full liberty to dispose of their commodities in the English market, were frequently constrained to carry them to foreign ports, and to hazard all the perils of the ocean, rather than those which awaited them from his oppressive emissaries; and that his very religion was a ground of complaint to his subjects, while they observed, that the waxen tapers and splendid silks, employed in so many useless processions, were the spoils which he had forcibly ravished from the true owners [l]. Throughout this remonstrance, in which the complaints, derived from an abuse of the ancient right of purveyance, may be supposed to be somewhat exaggerated, there appears a strange mixture of regal tyranny in the practices which gave rise to it, and of aristocratical liberty, or rather licentiousness, in the expressions employed by the Parliament. But a mixture of this kind is observable in all the ancient feudal governments; and both of them proved equally hurtful to the people. [FN [l] M. Paris, p. 498. See farther, p. 578. M. West. p. 348.]

As the king, in answer to their remonstrance, gave the Parliament only good words and fair promises, attended with the most humble submissions, which they had often found deceitful, he obtained at that time no supply; and therefore, in the year 1253, when he found himself again under the necessity of applying to Parliament, he had provided a new pretence, which he deemed infallible, and taking the vow of a crusade, he demanded their assistance in that pious enterprise [m]. The Parliament, however, for some time hesitated to comply; and the ecclesiastical order sent a deputation, consisting of four prelates, the primate, and the Bishops of Winchester, Salisbury, and Carlisle, in order to remonstrate with him on his frequent violations of their privileges, the oppressions with which he had loaded them and all his subjects [n], and the uncanonical and forced elections which were made to vacant dignities. "It is true," replied the king, "I have been somewhat faulty in this particular: I obtruded you, my Lord of Canterbury, upon your see: I was obliged to employ both entreaties and menaces, my Lord of Winchester, to have you elected: my proceedings, I confess, were very irregular, my Lords of Salisbury and Carlisle, when I raised you from the lowest stations to your present dignities: I am determined henceforth to correct these abuses; and it will also become you, in order to make a thorough reformation, to resign your present benefices, and try to enter again in a more regular and canonical manner [o]." The bishops, surprised at these unexpected sarcasms, replied, that the question was not at present how to correct past errors, but to avoid them for the future. The king promised redress both of ecclesiastical and civil grievances; and the Parliament in return agreed to grant him a supply, a tenth of the ecclesiastical benefices, and a scutage of three marks on each knight's fee: but as they had experienced his frequent breach of promise, they required that he should ratify the great charter in a manner still more authentic and more solemn than any which he had hitherto employed. All the prelates and abbots were assembled: they held burning tapers in their hands: the great charter was read before them: they denounced the sentence of excommunication against every one who should thenceforth violate that fundamental law: they threw their tapers on the ground, and exclaimed, MAY THE SOUL OF EVERY ONE WHO INCURS THIS SENTENCE SO STINK AND CORRUPT IN HELL! The king bore a part in this ceremony, and subjoined, "So help me God, I will keep all these articles inviolate, as I am a man, as I am a Christian, as I am a knight, and as I am a king crowned and anointed [p]." Yet was the tremendous ceremony no sooner finished, than his favourites, abusing his weakness, made him return to the same arbitrary and irregular administration; and the reasonable expectations of his people were thus perpetually eluded and disappointed [q]. [FN [m] M. Paris, p. 518, 558, 568. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 293. [n] M. Paris, p. 568. [o] Ibid. p. 579. [p] M. Paris, p. 580. Ann. Burt. p. 323. Ann. Waverl. p. 210. W. Heming. p. 571. M. West. p. 353. [q] M. Paris, p. 597, 608.]

[MN 1258. Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester.] All these imprudent and illegal measures afforded a pretence to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, to attempt an innovation in the government, and to wrest the sceptre from the feeble and irresolute hand which held it. This nobleman was a younger son of that Simon de Montfort, who had conducted, with such valour and renown, the crusade against the Albigenses, and who, though he tarnished his famous exploits by cruelty and ambition, had left a name very precious to all the bigots of that age, particularly to the ecclesiastics. A large inheritance in England fell by succession to this family; but as the elder brother enjoyed still more opulent possessions in France, and could not perform fealty to two masters, he transferred his right to Simon, his younger brother, who came over to England, did homage for his lands, and was raised to the dignity of Earl of Leicester. In the year 1238, he espoused Eleanor, dowager of William, Earl of Pembroke, and sister to the king [r]; but the marriage of this princess with a subject and a foreigner, though contracted with Henry's consent, was loudly complained of by the Earl of Cornwall and all the barons of England; and Leicester was supported against their violence by the king's favour and authority alone [s]. But he had no sooner established himself in his possessions and dignities, than he acquired, by insinuation and address, a strong interest with the nation, and gained equally the affections of all orders of men. He lost, however, the friendship of Henry, from the usual levity and fickleness of that prince; he was banished the court; he was recalled; he was intrusted with the command of Guienne [t], where he did good service and acquired honour; he was again disgraced by the king, and his banishment from court seemed now final and irrevocable. Henry called him traitor to his face: Leicester gave him the lie, and told him, that if he were not his sovereign, he would soon make him repent of that insult. Yet was this quarrel accommodated, either from the good nature or timidity of the king; and Leicester was again admitted into some degree of favour and authority. But as this nobleman was become too great to preserve an entire complaisance to Henry's humours, and to act in subserviency to his other minions, he found more advantage in cultivating his interest with the public, and in inflaming the general discontents which prevailed against the administration. He filled every place with complaints against the infringement of the great charter, the acts of violence committed on the people, the combination between the pope and the king in their tyranny and extortions, Henry's neglect of his native subjects and barons; and though he himself a foreigner, he was more loud than any in representing the indignity of submitting to the dominion of foreigners. By his hypocritical pretensions to devotion, he gained the favour of the zealots and clergy: by his seeming concern for public good, he acquired the affections of the public: and besides the private friendships which he had cultivated with the barons, his animosity against the favourites created an union of interests between him and that powerful order. [FN [r] Ibid. p. 314. [s] M. Paris, p. 315. [t] Rymer, vol. i. p. 459, 513.]

A recent quarrel, which broke out between Leicester and William de Valence, Henry's half-brother, and chief favourite, brought matters to extremity [u], and determined the former to give full scope to his bold and unbounded ambition, which the laws and the king's authority had hitherto with difficulty restrained. He secretly called a meeting of the most considerable barons, particularly Humphrey de Bohun, high constable, Roger Bigod, earl mareschal, and the Earls of Warwick and Gloucester; men who by their family and possessions stood in the first rank of the English nobility. He represented to this company the necessity of reforming the state, and of putting the execution of the laws into other hands than those which had hitherto appeared, from repeated experience, so unfit for the charge with which they were intrusted. He exaggerated the oppressions exercised against the lower orders of the state, the violations of the barons' privileges, the continued depredations made on the clergy; and in order to aggravate the enormity of his conduct, he appealed to the great charter, which Henry had so often ratified, and which was calculated to prevent for ever the return of those intolerable grievances. He magnified the generosity of their ancestors, who, at a great expense of blood, had extorted that famous concession from the crown; but lamented their own degeneracy, who allowed so important an advantage, once obtained, to be wrested from them by a weak prince and by insolent strangers. And he insisted, that the king's word, after so many submissions and fruitless promises on his part, could no longer be relied on; and that nothing but his absolute inability to violate national privileges could henceforth ensure the regular observance of them. [FN [u] M. Paris, p. 649.]

These topics, which were founded in truth, and suited so well to the sentiments of the company, had the desired effect; and the barons embraced a resolution of redressing the public grievances, by taking into their own hands the administration of government. Henry having summoned a Parliament, in expectation of receiving supplies for his Sicilian project, the barons appeared in the hall, clad in complete armour, and with their swords by their side: the king on his entry, struck with the unusual appearance, asked them what was their purpose, and whether they intended to make him their prisoner [w]: Roger Bigod replied, in the name of the rest, that he was not their prisoner, but their sovereign; that they even intended to grant him large supplies, in order to fix his son on the throne of Sicily; that they only expected some return for this expense and service; and that, as he had frequently made submissions to the Parliament, had acknowledged his past errors, and had still allowed himself to be carried into the same path, which gave them such just reason of complaint, he must now yield to more strict regulations, and confer authority on those who were able and willing to redress the national grievances. Henry, partly allured by the hopes of supply, partly intimidated by the union and martial appearance of the barons, agreed to their demand: and promised to summon another Parliament at Oxford, in order to digest the new plan of government, and to elect the persons who were to be intrusted with the chief authority. [FN [w] Annal. Theokesbury.]

[MN 11th June. Provisions of Oxford.] This Parliament, which the royalists, and even the nation, from experience of the confusions that attended its measures, afterwards denominated the MAD PARLIAMENT, met on the day appointed; and as all the barons brought along with them their military vassals, and appeared with an armed force, the king, who had taken no precautions against them, was in reality a prisoner in their hands, and was obliged to submit to all the terms which they were pleased to impose upon him. Twelve barons were selected from among the king's ministers; twelve more were chosen by Parliament: to these twenty- four, unlimited authority was granted to reform the state; and the king himself took an oath, that he would maintain whatever ordinances they should think proper to enact for that purpose [x]. Leicester was at the head of the supreme council, to which the legislative power was thus in reality transferred; and all their measures were taken by his secret influence and direction. Their first step bore a specious appearance, and seemed well calculated for the end which they professed to be the object of all these innovations: they ordered that four knights should be chosen by each county; that they should make inquiry into the grievances of which their neighbourhood had reason to complain, and should attend the ensuing Parliament, in order to give information to that assembly of the state of their particular counties [y]: a nearer approach to our present constitution than had been made by the barons in the reign of King John, when the knights were only appointed to meet in their several counties, and there to draw up a detail of their grievances. Meanwhile the twenty-four barons proceeded to enact some regulations as a redress of such grievances as were supposed to be sufficiently notorious. They ordered that three sessions of Parliament should be regularly held every year in the months of February, June, and October; that a new sheriff should be annually elected by the votes of the freeholders in each county [z]; that the sheriffs should have no power of fining the barons who did not attend their courts, or the circuits of the justiciaries; that no heirs should be committed to the wardship of foreigners, and no castles intrusted to their custody; and that no new warrens or forests should be created, nor the revenues of any counties or hundreds be let to farm. Such were the regulations which the twenty-four barons established at Oxford, for the redress of public grievances. [FN [x] Rymer, vol. i. p. 655. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 334. Knyghton, p. 2445. [y] M. Paris, p. 657. Addit. p. 140. Ann. Burt. p. 412. [z] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 336.]

But the Earl of Leicester and his associates, having advanced so far to satisfy the nation, instead of continuing in this popular course, or granting the king that supply which they had promised him, immediately provided for the extension and continuance of their own authority. They roused anew the popular clamour which had long prevailed against foreigners; and they fell with the utmost violence on the king's half-brothers, who were supposed to be the authors of all national grievances, and whom Henry had no longer any power to protect. The four brothers, sensible of their danger, took to flight, with an intention of making their escape out of the kingdom; they were eagerly pursued by the barons; Aymer, one of the brothers, who had been elected to the see of Winchester, took shelter in his episcopal palace, and carried the others along with him; they were surrounded in that place, and threatened to be dragged out by force, and to be punished for their crimes and misdemeanors; and the king, pleading the sacredness of an ecclesiastical sanctuary, was glad to extricate them from this danger by banishing them the kingdom. In this act of violence, as well as in the former usurpations of the barons, the queen and her uncles were thought to have secretly concurred; being jealous of the credit acquired by the brothers, which they found had eclipsed and annihilated their own.

[MN Usurpations of the barons.] But the subsequent proceedings of the twenty-four barons were sufficient to open the eyes of the nation, and to prove their intention of reducing for ever both the king and the people under the arbitrary power of a very narrow aristocracy, which must at last have terminated either in anarchy, or in a violent usurpation and tyranny. They pretended that they had not yet digested all the regulations necessary for the reformation of the state and for the redress of grievances; and they must still retain their power, till that great purpose were thoroughly effected: in other words, that they must be perpetual governors, and must continue to reform, till they were pleased to abdicate their authority. They formed an association among themselves, and swore that they would stand by each other with their lives and fortunes; they displaced all the chief officers of the crown, the justiciary, the chancellor, the treasurer; and advanced either themselves or their own creatures in their place: even the officers of the king's household were disposed of at their pleasure: the government of all the castles was put into hands in whom they found reason to confide: and the whole power of the state being thus transferred to them, they ventured to impose an oath, by which all the subjects were obliged to swear, under the penalty of being declared public enemies, that they would obey and execute all the regulations, both known and unknown, of the twenty-four barons; and all this for the greater glory of God, the honour of the church, the service of the king, and the advantage of the kingdom [a]. No one dared to withstand this tyrannical authority. Prince Edward himself, the king's eldest son, a youth of eighteen, who began to give indications of that great and manly spirit which appeared throughout the whole course of his life, was, after making some opposition, constrained to take that oath which really deposed his father and his family from sovereign authority [b]. Earl Warrenne was the last person in the kingdom that could be brought to give the confederated barons this mark of submission. [FN [a] Chron T. Wykes, p. 52. [b] Ann. Burt. p. 411.]

But the twenty-four barons, not content with the usurpation of the royal power, introduced an innovation in the constitution of Parliament, which was of the utmost importance. They ordained that this assembly should choose a committee of twelve persons, who should, in the intervals of the sessions, possess the authority of the whole Parliament, and should attend, on a summons, the person of the king in all his motions. But so powerful were these barons, that this regulation was also submitted to; the whole government was overthrown, or fixed on new foundations; and the monarchy was totally subverted, without its being possible for the king to strike a single stroke in defence of the constitution against the newly-elected oligarchy.

[MN 1259.] The report that the King of the Romans intended to pay a visit to England gave alarm to the ruling barons, who dreaded lest the extensive influence and established authority of that prince would be employed to restore the prerogatives of his family, and overturn their plan of government [c]. They sent over the Bishop of Worcester, who met him at St. Omars; asked him, in the name of the barons, the reason of his journey, and how long he intended to stay in England; and insisted that, before he entered the kingdom, he should swear to observe the regulations established at Oxford. On Richard's refusal to take this oath, they prepared to resist him as a public enemy; they fitted out a fleet, assembled an army, and exciting the inveterate prejudices of the people against foreigners, from whom they had suffered so many oppressions, spread the report that Richard, attended by a number of strangers, meant to restore by force the authority of his exiled brothers, and to violate all the securities provided for public liberty. The King of the Romans was at last obliged to submit to the terms required of him [d]. [FN [c] M. Paris, p. 661. [d] Ibid. p. 661, 662. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 53.]

But the barons, in proportion to their continuance in power, began gradually to lose that popularity which had assisted them in obtaining it; and men repined that regulations, which were occasionally established for the reformation of the state, were likely to become perpetual, and to subvert entirely the ancient constitution. They were apprehensive lest the power of the nobles, always oppressive, should now exert itself without control, by removing the counterpoise of the crown; and their fears were increased by some new edicts of the barons, which were plainly calculated to procure to themselves an impunity in all their violences. They appointed that the circuits of the itinerant justices, the sole check on their arbitrary conduct, should be held only once in seven years; and men easily saw that a remedy, which returned after such long intervals against an oppressive power, which was perpetual, would prove totally insignificant and useless [e]. The cry became loud in the nation, that the barons should finish their intended regulations. The knights of the shires, who seem now to have been pretty regularly assembled, and sometimes in a separate house, made remonstrances against the slowness of their proceedings. They represented that, though the king had performed all the conditions required of him, the barons had hitherto done nothing for the public good, and had only been careful to promote their own private advantage, and to make inroads on the royal authority; and they even appealed to Prince Edward, and claimed his interposition for the interests of the nation and the reformation of the government [f]. The prince replied, that though it was from constraint, and contrary to his private sentiments, he had sworn to maintain the provisions of Oxford, he was determined to observe his oath: but he sent a message to the barons, requiring them to bring their undertaking to a speedy conclusion, and fulfil their engagements to the public: otherwise he menaced them, that, at the expense of his life, he would oblige them to do their duty, and would shed the last drop of his blood in promoting the interests, and satisfying the just wishes of the nation [g]. [FN [e] M. Paris, p. 667. Trivet, p. 209. [f] Annal. Burt. p. 427. [g] Id. ibid.]

The barons, urged by so pressing a necessity, published at last a new code of ordinances for the reformation of the state [h]; but the expectations of the people were extremely disappointed, when they found that these consisted only of some trivial alterations in the municipal law, and still more, when the barons pretended that the task was not yet finished, and that they must farther prolong their authority, in order to bring the work of reformation to the desired period. The current of popularity was now much turned to the side of the crown; and the barons had little to rely on for their support, besides the private influence and power of their families, which, though exorbitant, was likely to prove inferior to the combination of king and people. Even this basis of power was daily weakened by their intestine jealousies and animosities; their ancient and inveterate quarrels broke out when they came to share the spoils of the crown; and the rivalship between the Earls of Leicester and Gloucester, the chief leaders among them, began to disjoint the whole confederacy. The latter, more moderate in his pretensions, was desirous of stopping or retarding the career of the barons' usurpations; but the former, enraged at the opposition which he met with in his own party, pretended to throw up all concern in English affairs, and he retired into France [i]. [FN [h] Ann. Burt. p. 428, 439. [i] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 348.]

The kingdom of France, the only state with which England had any considerable intercourse, was at this time governed by Lewis IX., a prince of the most singular character that is to be met with in all the records of history. This monarch united, to the mean and abject superstition of a monk, all the courage and magnanimity of the greatest hero; and, what may be deemed more extraordinary, the justice and integrity of a disinterested patriot, the mildness and humanity of an accomplished philosopher. So far from taking advantage of the divisions among the English, or attempting to expel those dangerous rivals from the provinces which they still possessed in France, he had entertained many scruples with regard to the sentence of attainder pronounced against the king's father, had even expressed some intention of restoring the other provinces, and was only prevented from taking that imprudent resolution by the united remonstrances of his own barons, who represented the extreme danger of such a measure [k], and, what had a greater influence on Lewis, the justice of punishing, by a legal sentence, the barbarity and felony of John. Whenever this prince interposed in English affairs, it was always with an intention of composing the differences between the king and his nobility; he recommended to both parties every peaceable and reconciling measure; and he used all his authority with the Earl of Leicester, his native subject, to bend him to compliance with Henry. [MN 20th May.] He made a treaty with England, at a time when the distractions of that kingdom were at the greatest height, and when the king's authority was totally annihilated; and the terms which he granted might, even in a more prosperous state of their affairs, be deemed reasonable and advantageous to the English. He yielded up some territories which had been conquered from Poictou and Guienne; he ensured the peaceable possession of the latter province to Henry; he agreed to pay that prince a large sum of money; and he only required that the king should, in return, make a final cession of Normandy and the other provinces, which he could never entertain any hopes of recovering by force of arms [l]. This cession was ratified by Henry, by his two sons, and two daughters, and by the King of the Romans and his three sons: Leicester alone, either moved by a vain arrogance, or desirous to ingratiate himself with the English populace, protested against the deed, and insisted on the right, however distant, which might accrue to his consort [m]. Lewis saw, in his obstinacy, the unbounded ambition of the man; and as the barons insisted that the money due by treaty should be at their disposal, not at Henry's, he also saw, and probably with regret, the low condition to which this monarch, who had more erred from weakness than from any bad intention, was reduced by the turbulence of his own subjects. [FN [k] M. Paris, p. 604. [l] Rymer, vol. i. p. 675. M. Paris, p. 566. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 53. Trivet, p. 208. M. West. p. 371. [m] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 53.]

[MN 1261.] But the situation of Henry soon after wore a more favourable aspect. The twenty-four barons had now enjoyed the sovereign power near three years; and had visibly employed it, not for the reformation of the state, which was their first pretence, but for the aggrandizement of themselves and of their families. The breach of trust was apparent to all the world: every order of men felt it, and murmured against it: the dissensions among the barons themselves, which increased the evil, made also the remedy more obvious and easy; and the secret desertion, in particular, of the Earl of Gloucester to the crown, seemed to promise Henry certain success in any attempt to resume his authority. Yet durst he not take that step, so reconcilable both to justice and policy, without making a previous application to Rome, and desiring an absolution from his oaths and engagements [n]. [FN [n] Ann. Burt. p. 389.]

The pope was at this time much dissatisfied with the conduct of the barons, who, in order to gain the favour of the people and clergy of England, had expelled all the Italian ecclesiastics, had confiscated their benefices, and seemed determined to maintain the liberties and privileges of the English church, in which the rights of patronage, belonging to their own families, were included. The extreme animosity of the English clergy against the Italians was also a source of his disgust to this order; and an attempt, which had been made by them for farther liberty and greater independence on the civil power, was therefore less acceptable to the court of Rome [o]. About the same time that the barons at Oxford had annihilated the prerogatives of the monarchy, the clergy met in a synod at Merton, and passed several ordinances, which were no less calculated to promote their own grandeur at the expense of the crown. They decreed, that it was unlawful to try ecclesiastics by secular judges; that the clergy were not to regard any prohibitions from civil courts; that lay patrons had no right to confer spiritual benefices; that the magistrate was obliged, without farther inquiry, to imprison all excommunicated persons; and that ancient usage, without any particular grant or charter, was a sufficient authority for any clerical possessions or privileges [p]. About a century before, these claims would have been supported by the court of Rome beyond the most fundamental articles of faith: they were the chief points maintained by the great martyr, Becket; and his resolution in defending them had exalted him to the high station which he held in the catalogue of Romish saints. But principles were changed with the times: the pope was become somewhat jealous of the great independence of the English clergy, which made them stand less in need of his protection, and even imboldened them to resist his authority, and to complain of the preference given to the Italian courtiers, whose interests, it is natural to imagine, were the chief object of his concern. He was ready, therefore, on the king's application, to annul these new constitutions of the church of England [q]. And, at the same time, he absolved the king, and all his subjects, from the oath which they had taken to observe the provisions of Oxford [r]. [FN [o] Rymer, vol. i. p. 755. [p] Ann. Burt. p. 389. [q] Rymer, vol. i. p. 755. [r] Ibid. p. 722. M. Paris, p. 666. W. Heming. p. 580. Ypod. Neust. p. 463. Knyghton, p. 2446.]

[MN Prince Edward.] Prince Edward, whose liberal mind, though in such early youth, had taught him the great prejudice which his father had incurred, by his levity, inconstancy, and frequent breach of promise, refused for a long time to take advantage of this absolution; and declared, that the provisions of Oxford, how unreasonable soever in themselves, and how much soever abused by the barons, ought still to be adhered to by those who had sworn to observe them [s]: he himself had been constrained by violence to take that oath; yet he was determined to keep it. By this scrupulous fidelity, the prince acquired the confidence of all parties, and was afterwards enabled to recover fully the royal authority, and to perform such great actions, both during his own reign and that of his father. [FN [s] M. Paris, p. 667.]

The situation of England, during this period, as well as that of most European kingdoms, was somewhat peculiar. There was no regular military force maintained in the nation: the sword, however, was not, properly speaking, in the hands of the people: the barons were alone intrusted with the defence of the community; and after any effort which they made, either against their own prince or against foreigners, as the military retainers departed home, the armies were disbanded, and could not speedily be re-assembled at pleasure. It was easy, therefore, for a few barons, by a combination, to get the start of the other party, to collect suddenly their troops, and to appear unexpectedly in the field with an army, which their antagonists, though equal, or even superior in power and interest, would not dare to encounter. Hence the sudden revolutions which often took place in those governments: hence the frequent victories obtained, without a blow, by one faction over the other: and hence it happened, that the seeming prevalence of a party was seldom a prognostic of its long continuance in power and authority.

[MN 1262.] The king, as soon as he received the pope's absolution from his oath, accompanied with menaces of excommunication against all opponents, trusting to the countenance of the church, to the support promised him by many considerable barons, and to the returning favour of the people, immediately took off the mask. After justifying his conduct by a proclamation, in which he set forth the private ambition, and the breach of trust, conspicuous in Leicester and his associates, he declared, that he had resumed the government, and was determined thenceforth to exert the royal authority for the protection of his subjects. He removed Hugh le Despenser and Nicholas de Ely, the justiciary and chancellor appointed by the barons; and put Philip Basset and Walter de Merton in their place. He substituted new sheriffs in all the counties, men of character and honour: he placed new governors in most of the castles: he changed all the officers of his household: [MN 23d April.] he summoned a Parliament, in which the resumption of his authority was ratified, with only five dissenting voices: and the barons, after making one fruitless effort to take the king by surprise at Winchester, were obliged to acquiesce in those new regulations [t]. [FN [t] M. Paris, p. 668. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 55.]

The king, in order to cut off every objection to his conduct, offered to refer all the differences between him and the Earl of Leicester, to Margaret, Queen of France [u]. The celebrated integrity of Lewis gave a mighty influence to any decision which issued from his court; and Henry probably hoped, that the gallantry, on which all barons, as true knights, valued themselves, would make them ashamed not to submit to the award of that princess. Lewis merited the confidence reposed in him. By an admirable conduct, probably as political as just, he continually interposed his good offices to allay the civil discords of the English: he forwarded all healing measures, which might give security to both parties: and he still endeavoured, though in vain, to soothe, by persuasion, the fierce ambition of the Earl of Leicester, and to convince him how much it was his duty to submit peaceably to the authority of his sovereign. [FN [u] Rymer, vol. i. p. 724.]

[MN 1263.] That bold and artful conspirator was nowise discouraged by the bad success of his past enterprises. The death of Richard, Earl of Gloucester, who was his chief rival in power, and who, before his decease, had joined the royal party, seemed to open a new field to his violence, and to expose the throne to fresh insults and injuries. It was in vain that the king professed his intentions of observing strictly the great charter, even of maintaining all the regulations made by the reforming barons at Oxford or afterwards, except those which entirely annihilated the royal authority: these powerful chieftains, now obnoxious to the court, could not peaceably resign the hopes of entire independence and uncontrolled power, with which they had flattered themselves, and which they had so long enjoyed. [MN Civil wars of the barons.] Many of them engaged in Leicester's views; and among the rest, Gilbert, the young Earl of Gloucester, who brought him a mighty accession of power, from the extensive authority possessed by that opulent family. Even Henry, son of the King of the Romans, commonly called Henry d'Allmaine, though a prince of the blood, joined the party of the barons against the king, the head of his own family. Leicester himself, who still resided in France, secretly formed the links of this great conspiracy, and planned the whole scheme of operations.

The princes of Wales, notwithstanding the great power of the monarchs, both of the Saxon and Norman line, still preserved authority in their own country. Though they had often been constrained to pay tribute to the crown of England, they were with difficulty retained in subordination, or even in peace; and almost through every reign since the Conquest, they had infested the English frontiers with such petty incursions and sudden inroads, as seldom merit to have place in a general history. The English, still content with repelling their invasions, and chasing them back into their mountains, had never pursued the advantages obtained over them, nor been able, even under their greatest and most active princes, to fix a total, or so much as a feudal subjection on the country. This advantage was reserved to the present king, the weakest and most indolent. In the year 1237, Lewellyn, Prince of Wales, declining in years, and broken with infirmities, but still more harassed with the rebellion and undutiful behaviour of his youngest son, Griffin, had recourse to the protection of Henry; and consenting to subject his principality, which had so long maintained, or soon recovered, its independence, to vassalage under the crown of England, had purchased security and tranquillity on these dishonourable terms. His eldest son and heir, David, renewed the homage to England; and having taken his brother prisoner, delivered him into Henry's hands, who committed him to custody in the Tower. That prince, endeavouring to make his escape, lost his life in the attempt; and the Prince of Wales, freed from the apprehensions of so dangerous a rival, paid thenceforth less regard to the English monarch, and even renewed those incursions, by which the Welsh, during so many ages, had been accustomed to infest the English borders. Lewellyn, however, the son of Griffin, who succeeded to his uncle, had been obliged to renew the homage, which was now claimed by England as an established right; but he was well pleased to inflame those civil discords, on which he rested his present security, and founded his hopes of future independence. He entered into a confederacy with the Earl of Leicester, and collecting all the force of his principality, invaded England with an army of thirty thousand men. He ravaged the lands of Roger de Mortimer, and of all the barons who adhered to the crown [w]; he marched into Cheshire, and committed like depredations on Prince Edward's territories; every place where his disorderly troops appeared was laid waste with fire and sword; and though Mortimer, a gallant and expert soldier, made stout resistance, it was found necessary that the prince himself should head the army against this invader. Edward repulsed Prince Lewellyn, and obliged him to take shelter in the mountains of North Wales: but he was prevented from making farther progress against the enemy, by the disorders which soon after broke out in England. [FN [w] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 354.]

The Welsh invasion was the appointed signal for the malecontent barons to rise in arms, and Leicester, coming over secretly from France, collected all the forces of his party, and commenced an open rebellion. He seized the person of the Bishop of Hereford; a prelate obnoxious to all the inferior clergy, on account of his devoted attachment to the court of Rome [x]. Simon, Bishop of Norwich, and John Mansel, because they had published the pope's bull, absolving the king and kingdom from their oaths to observe the provisions of Oxford, were made prisoners, and exposed to the rage of the party. The king's demesnes were ravaged with unbounded fury [y]: and as it was Leicester's interest to allure to his side, by the hopes of plunder, all the disorderly ruffians in England, he gave them a general licence to pillage the barons of the opposite party, and even all neutral persons. But one of the principal resources of his faction was the populace of the cities, particularly of London; and as he had, by his hypocritical pretensions to sanctity, and his zeal against Rome, engaged the monks and lower ecclesiastics in his party, his dominion over the inferior ranks of men became uncontrollable. Thomas Fitz-Richard, Mayor of London, a furious and licentious man, gave the countenance of authority to these disorders in the capital; and having declared war against the substantial citizens, he loosened all the bands of government, by which that turbulent city was commonly but ill restrained. On the approach of Easter, the zeal of superstition, the appetite for plunder, or what is often as prevalent with the populace as either of these motives, the pleasure of committing havoc and destruction, prompted them to attack the unhappy Jews, who were first pillaged without resistance, then massacred to the number of five hundred persons [z]. The Lombard bankers wore next exposed to the rage of the people; and though, by taking sanctuary in the churches, they escaped with their lives, all their money and goods became a prey to the licentious multitude. Even the houses of the rich citizens, though English, were attacked by night; and way was made by sword and by fire to the pillage of their goods, and often to the destruction of their persons. The queen, who, though defended by the Tower, was terrified by the neighbourhood of such dangerous commotions, resolved to go by water to the castle of Windsor; but as she approached the bridge, the populace assembled against her: the cry ran, DROWN THE WITCH; and besides abusing her with the most opprobrious language, and pelting her with rotten eggs and dirt, they had prepared large stones to sink her barge, when she should attempt to shoot the bridge; and she was so frightened, that she returned to the Tower [a]. [FN [x] Trivet, p. 211. M. West. p. 382, 392. [y] Trivet, p. 211. M. West. p. 382. [z] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 59. [a] Ibid. p. 57.]

The violence and fury of Leicester's faction had risen to such a height in all parts of England, that the king, unable to resist their power, was obliged to set on foot a treaty of peace; and to make an accommodation with the barons on the most disadvantageous terms [b]. [MN July.] He agreed to confirm anew the provisions of Oxford, even those which entirely annihilated the royal authority; and the barons were again reinstated in the sovereignty of the kingdom. They restored Hugh le Despenser to the office of chief justiciary; they appointed their own creatures sheriffs in every county in England; they took possession of all the royal castles and fortresses; they even named all the officers of the king's household; and they summoned a Parliament to meet at Westminster, in order to settle more fully their plan of government. [MN 1263. 14th Oct.] They here produced a new list of twenty-four barons, to whom they proposed that the administration should be entirely committed; and they insisted that the authority of this junto should continue, not only during the reign of the king, but also during that of Prince Edward. [FN [b] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 358. Trivet, p. 211.]

This prince, the life and soul of the royal party, had unhappily, before the king's accommodation with the barons, been taken prisoner by Leicester in a parley at Windsor [c]; and that misfortune, more than any other incident, had determined Henry to submit to the ignominious conditions imposed upon him. But Edward, having recovered his liberty by the treaty, employed his activity in defending the prerogatives of his family; and he gained a great party even among those who had at first adhered to the cause of the barons. His cousin Henry d'Allmaine, Roger Bigod, earl marshal, Earl Warrenne, Humphrey Bohun, Eaff of Hereford, John Lord Basset, Ralph Basset, Hammond l'Estrange, Roger Mortimer, Henry de Piercy, Robert do Brus, Roger de Leybourne, with almost all the lords marchers, as they were called, on the borders of Wales and of Scotland, the most warlike parts of the kingdom, declared in favour of the royal cause; and hostilities, which were scarcely well composed, were again renewed in every part of England. But the near balance of the parties, joined to the universal clamour of the people, obliged the king and barons to open anew the negotiations for peace; and it was agreed, by both sides, to submit their differences to the arbitration of the King of France [d]. [FN [c] M. Paris, p. 669. Trivet, p. 213. [d] M. Paris, p. 668. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 58. W. Heming, p. 580. Chron Dunst. vol. i. p. 363.]

[MN Reference to the King of France.] This virtuous prince, the only man who, in like circumstances, could safely have been intrusted with such an authority by a neighbouring nation, had never ceased to interpose his good offices between the English factions; and had even, during the short interval of peace, invited over to Paris both the king and the Earl of Leicester, in order to accommodate the differences between them; but found, that the fears and animosities on both sides, as well as the ambition of Leicester, were so violent, as to render all his endeavours ineffectual. But when this solemn appeal, ratified by the oaths and subscriptions of the leaders in both factions, was made to his judgment, he was not discouraged from pursuing his honourable purpose: [MN 1264.] he summoned the states of France at Amiens; and there, in the presence of that assembly, as well as in that of the King of England, and Peter de Montfort, Leicester's son, he brought this great cause to a trial and examination. It appeared to him, that the provisions of Oxford, even had they not been extorted by force, had they not been so exorbitant in their nature, and subversive of the ancient constitution, were expressly established as a temporary expedient, and could not, without breach of trust, be rendered perpetual by the barons. [MN 23d Jan.] He therefore annulled these provisions; restored to the king the possession of his castles, and the power of nomination to the great offices; allowed him to retain what foreigners he pleased in his kingdom, and even to confer on them places of trust and dignity; and, in a word, re-established the royal power in the same condition on which it stood before the meeting of the Parliament at Oxford. But while he thus suppressed dangerous innovations, and preserved unimpaired the prerogatives of the English crown, he was not negligent of the rights of the people; and besides ordering that a general amnesty should be granted for all past offences, he declared that his award was not anywise meant to derogate from the privileges and liberties which the nation enjoyed by any former concessions or charters of the crown [e]. [FN [e] Rymer, vol. i. p. 776, 777, &c. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 58. Knyghton, p. 2446.]

This equitable sentence was no sooner known in England, than Leicester and his confederates determined to reject it, and to have recourse to arms, in order to procure to themselves more safe and advantageous conditions [f]. [MN Renewal of the civil wars.] Without regard to his oaths and subscriptions, that enterprising conspirator directed his two sons, Richard and Peter de Montfort, in conjunction with Robert de Ferrars, Earl of Derby, to attack the city of Worcester; while Henry and Simon de Montfort, two others of his sons, assisted by the Prince of Wales, were ordered to lay waste the estate of Roger de Mortimer. He himself resided at London; and employing, as his instrument, Fitz-Richard, the seditious mayor, who had violently and illegally prolonged his authority, he wrought up that city to the highest ferment and agitation. The populace formed themselves into bands and companies; chose leaders; practised all military exercises; committed violence on the royalists; and to give them greater countenance in their disorders, an association was entered into between the city and eighteen great barons, never to make peace with the king but by common consent and approbation. At the head of those who swore to maintain this association were the Earls of Leicester, Gloucester, and Derby, with le Despenser, the chief justiciary; men who had all previously sworn to submit to the award of the French monarch. Their only pretence for this breach of faith was, that the latter part of Lewis's sentence was, as they affirmed, a contradiction to the former: he ratified the charter of liberties, yet annulled the provisions of Oxford; which were only calculated, as they maintained, to preserve that charter; and without which, in their estimation, they had no security for its observance. [FN [f] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 363.]

The king and prince finding a civil war inevitable, prepared themselves for defence; and summoning the military vassals from all quarters, and being reinforced by Baliol, Lord of Galloway, Brus, Lord of Annandale, Henry Piercy, John Comyn [g], and other barons of the north, they composed an army, formidable, as well from its numbers as its military prowess and experience. The first enterprise of the royalists was the attack of Northampton, which was defended by Simon de Montfort, with many of the principal barons of that party; and a breach being made in the walls by Philip Basset, the place was carried by assault, and both the governor and the garrison were made prisoners. [MN 5th April.] The royalists marched thence to Leicester and Nottingham; both which places having opened their gates to them, Prince Edward proceeded with a detachment into the county of Derby, in order to ravage with fire and sword the lands of the earl of that name, and take revenge on him for his disloyalty. Like maxims of war prevailed with both parties throughout England; and the kingdom was thus exposed in a moment to greater devastation, from the animosities of the rival barons, than it would have suffered from many years of foreign or even domestic hostilities, conducted by more humane and more generous principles. [FN [g] Rymer, vol. i. p 772. M. West. p. 385. Ypod. Neust. p. 469.]

The Earl of Leicester, master of London, and of the counties in the south-east of England, formed the siege of Rochester, which alone declared for the king in those parts, and which, besides Earl Warrenne, the governor, was garrisoned by many noble and powerful barons of the royal party. The king and prince hastened from Nottingham, where they were then quartered, to the relief of the place; and on their approach, Leicester raised the siege, and retreated to London, which, being the centre of his power, he was afraid might, in his absence, fall into the king's hands, either by force, or by a correspondence with the principal citizens, who were all secretly inclined to the royal cause. Reinforced by a great body of Londoners, and having summoned his partisans from all quarters, he thought himself strong enough to hazard a general battle with the royalists, and to determine the fate of the nation in one great engagement; which, if it proved successful, must be decisive against the king, who had no retreat for his broken troops in those parts; while Leicester himself, in case of any sinister accident, could easily take shelter in the city. To give the better colouring to his cause, he previously sent a message with conditions of peace to Henry, submissive in the language, but exorbitant in the demands [h]; and when the messenger returned with the lie and defiance from the king, the prince, and the King of the Romans, he sent a new message, renouncing in the name of himself and of the associated barons, all fealty and allegiance to Henry. He then marched out of the city, with his army divided into four bodies: the first commanded by his two sons, Henry and Guy de Montfort, together with Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, who had deserted to the barons; the second led by the Earl of Gloucester, with William de Montchesney and John Fitz-John; the third, composed of Londoners, under the command of Nicholas de Segrave; the fourth headed by himself in person. The Bishop of Chichester gave a general absolution to the army, accompanied with assurances that, if any of them fell in the ensuing action, they would infallibly be received into heaven, as the reward of their suffering in so meritorious a cause. [FN [h] M. Paris, p. 669. W. Heming. p. 583.]

[MN Battle of Lewes. 14th May.] Leicester, who possessed great talents for war, conducted his march with such skill and secrecy, that he had well nigh surprised the royalists in their quarters at Lewes in Sussex: but the vigilance and activity of Prince Edward soon repaired this negligence; and he led out the king's army to the field in three bodies. He himself conducted the van, attended by Earl Warrenne and William de Valence: the main body was commanded by the King of the Romans and his son Henry: the king himself was placed in the rear at the head of his principal nobility. Prince Edward rushed upon the Londoners, who had demanded the post of honour in leading the rebel army, but who, from their ignorance of discipline and want of experience, were ill fitted to resist the gentry and military men, of whom the prince's body was composed. They were broken in an instant; were chased off the field; and Edward, transported by his martial ardour, and eager to revenge the insolence of the Londoners against his mother [i], put them to the sword for the length of four miles, without giving them any quarter, and without reflecting on the fate which in the mean time attended the rest of the army. The Earl of Leicester, seeing the royalists thrown into confusion by their eagerness in the pursuit, led on his remaining troops against the bodies commanded by the two royal brothers: he defeated, with great slaughter, the forces headed by the King of the Romans; and that prince was obliged to yield himself prisoner to the Earl of Gloucester; he penetrated to the body where the king himself was placed, threw it into disorder, pursued his advantage, chased it into the town of Lewes, and obliged Henry to surrender himself prisoner [k]. [FN [i] M. Paris, p. 670. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 62. W. Heming. p. 583. M. West. p. 387. Ypod. Neust. p. 469. H. Knyghton, p. 2450. [k] M. Paris, p. 670. M. West. p. 387.]

Prince Edward, returning to the field of battle from his precipitate pursuit of the Londoners, was astonished to find it covered with the dead bodies of his friends and still more to hear, that his father and uncle were defeated and taken prisoners, and that Arundel, Comyn Brus, Hamond L'Estrange, Roger Leybourne, and many considerable barons of his party, were in the hands of the victorious enemy. Earl Warrenne, Hugh Bigod, and William de Valence, struck with despair at this event, immediately took to flight, hurried to Pevensey, and made their escape beyond sea [l]: but the prince, intrepid amidst the greatest disasters, exhorted his troops to revenge the death of their friends, to relieve the royal captives, and to snatch an easy conquest from an enemy disordered by their own victory [m]. He found his followers intimidated by their situation; while Leicester, afraid of a sudden and violent blow from the prince, amused him by a feigned negotiation, till he was able to recall his troops from the pursuit, and to bring them into order [n]. There now appeared no farther resource to the royal party, surrounded by the armies and garrisons of the enemy, destitute of forage and provisions, and deprived of their sovereign, as well as of their principal leaders, who could alone inspirit them to an obstinate resistance. The prince, therefore, was obliged to submit to Leicester's terms, which were short and severe, agreeably to the suddenness and necessity of the situation: he stipulated, that he and Henry d'Allmaine should surrender themselves prisoners as pledges in lieu of the two kings; that all other prisoners on both sides should be released [o]; and that, in order to settle fully the terms of agreement, application should be made to the King of France, that he should name six Frenchmen, three prelates, and three noblemen: these six to choose two others of their own country; and these two to choose one Englishman, who, in conjunction with themselves, were to be invested by both parties with full powers to make what regulations they thought proper for the settlement of the kingdom. The prince and young Henry accordingly delivered themselves into Leicester's hands, who sent them under a guard to Dover castle. Such are the terms of agreement commonly called the MISE of Lewes, from an obsolete French term of that meaning: for it appears, that all the gentry and nobility of England, who valued themselves on their Norman extraction, and who disdained the language of their native country, made familiar use of the French tongue till this period, and for some time after. [FN [l] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 63. [m] W. Heming. p. 584. [n] Ibid. [o] M. Paris, p. 671 Knyghton, p. 2451.]

Leicester had no sooner obtained this great advantage, and gotten the whole royal family in his power, than he openly violated every article of the treaty, and acted as sole master, and even tyrant of the kingdom. He still detained the king in effect a prisoner, and made use of that prince's authority to purposes the most prejudicial to his interests, and the most oppressive of his people [p]. He every where disarmed the royalists, and kept all his own partisans in a military posture [q]: he observed the same partial conduct in the deliverance of the captives, and even threw many of the royalists into prison, besides those who were taken in the battle of Lewes: he carried the king from place to place, and obliged all the royal castles, on pretence of Henry's commands, to receive a governor and garrison of his own appointment: all the officers of the crown and of the household were named by him; and the whole authority, as well as arms of the state, was lodged in his hands: he instituted in the counties a new kind of magistracy, endowed with new and arbitrary powers, that of conservators of the peace [r]: his avarice appeared bare-faced, and might induce us to question the greatness of his ambition, at least the largeness of his mind, if we had not reason to think, that he intended to employ his acquisitions as the instruments for attaining farther power and grandeur. He seized the estates of no less than eighteen barons, as his share of the spoil gained in the battle of Lewes: he engrossed to himself the ransom of all the prisoners; and told his barons, with a wanton insolence, that it was sufficient for them that he had saved them, by that victory, from the forfeitures and attainders which hung over them [s]: he even treated the Earl of Gloucester in the same injurious manner, and applied to his own use the ransom of the King of the Romans, who, in the field of battle, had yielded himself prisoner to that nobleman. Henry, his eldest son, made a monopoly of all the wool in the kingdom, the only valuable commodity for foreign markets which it at that time produced [t]. The inhabitants of the cinque-ports, during the present dissolution of government, betook themselves to the most licentious piracy, preyed on the ships of all nations, threw the mariners into the sea, and, by these practices, soon banished all merchants from the English coasts and harbours. Every foreign commodity rose to an exorbitant price; and woollen cloth, which the English had not then the art of dyeing, was worn by them white, and without receiving the last hand of the manufacturer. In answer to the complaints which arose on this occasion, Leicester replied, that the kingdom could well enough subsist within itself, and needed no intercourse with foreigners; and it was found that he even combined with the pirates of the cinque-ports, and received as his share the third of their prizes [u]. [FN [p] Rymer, vol. i. p. 790, 791, &c. [q] Ibid. p. 795. Brady's Appeals, No. 211, 212. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 63. [r] Rymer, vol. i. p. 792. [s] Knyghton, p. 2451. [t] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 65. [u] Ibid.]

No farther mention was made of the reference to the King of France, so essential an article in the agreement of Lewes; and Leicester summoned a Parliament, composed altogether of his own partisans, in order to rivet, by their authority, that power which he had acquired by so much violence, and which he used with so much tyranny and injustice. An ordinance was there passed, to which the king's consent had been previously extorted, that every act of royal power should be exercised by a council of nine persons, who were to be chosen and removed by the majority of three, Leicester himself, the Earl of Gloucester, and the Bishop of Chichester [w]. By this intricate plan of government, the sceptre was really put into Leicester's hands; as he had the entire direction of the Bishop of Chichester, and thereby commanded all the resolutions of the council of three, who could appoint or discard at pleasure every member of the supreme council. [FN [w] Rymer, vol. i. p. 793. Brady's App. No. 213.]

But it was impossible that things could long remain in this strange situation. It behoved Leicester either to descend with some peril into the rank of a subject or to mount up with no less into that of a sovereign; and his ambition, unrestrained either by fear or by principle, gave too much reason to suspect him of the latter intention. Meanwhile he was exposed to anxiety from every quarter; and felt that the smallest incident was capable of overturning that immense and ill-cemented fabric which he had reared. The queen, whom her husband had left abroad, had collected in foreign parts an army of desperate adventurers, and had assembled a great number of ships, with a view of invading the kingdom, and of bringing relief to her unfortunate family. Lewis, detesting Leicester's usurpations and perjuries, and disgusted at the English barons, who had refused to submit to his award, secretly favoured all her enterprises, and was generally believed to be making preparations for the same purpose. An English army, by the pretended authority of the captive king, was assembled on the seacoast to oppose this projected invasion [x]; but Leicester owed his safety more to cross winds, which long detained and at last dispersed and ruined the queen's fleet, than to any resistance which, in their present situation, could have been expected from the English. [FN [x] Brady's App. No. 216, 217. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 373. M. West. p. 385.]

Leicester found himself better able to resist the spiritual thunders which were levelled against him. The pope, still adhering to the king's cause, against the barons, despatched Cardinal Guido as his legate into England, with orders to excommunicate, by name, the three earls, Leicester, Gloucester, and Norfolk, and all others, in general, who concurred in the oppression and captivity of their sovereign [y]. Leicester menaced the legate with death, if he set foot within the kingdom; but Guido, meeting in France the Bishops of Winchester, London, and Worcester, who had been sent thither on a negotiation, commanded them, under the penalty of ecclesiastical censures, to carry his bull into England, and to publish it against the barons. When the prelates arrived off the coast, they were boarded by the piratical mariners of the cinque-ports, to whom probably they gave a hint of the cargo which they brought along with them: the bull was torn and thrown into the sea; which furnished the artful prelates with a plausible excuse for not obeying the orders of the legate. Leicester appealed from Guido to the pope in person; but before the ambassadors, appointed to defend his cause, could reach Rome, the pope was dead; and they found the legate himself, from whom they had appealed, seated on the papal throne, by the name of Urban IV. That daring leader was nowise dismayed with this incident; and as he found that a great part of his popularity in England was founded on his opposition to the court of Rome, which was now become odious, he persisted with the more obstinacy in the prosecution of his measures. [FN [y] Rymer, vol. i. p. 798. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 373.]

[MN 1265. 20th Jan.] That he might both increase and turn to advantage his popularity, Leicester summoned a new Parliament in London, where he knew his power was uncontrollable; and he fixed this assembly on a more democratical basis than any which had ever been summoned since the foundation of the monarchy. Besides the barons of his own party, and several ecclesiastics who were not immediate tenants of the crown, he ordered returns to be made of two knights from each shire, and what is more remarkable, of deputies from the boroughs, an order of men which, in former ages, had always been regarded as too mean to enjoy a place in the national councils [z]. [MN House of Commons.] This period is commonly esteemed the epoch of the House of Commons in England; and it is certainly the first time that historians speak of any representatives sent to Parliament by the boroughs. In all the general accounts given in preceding times of those assemblies, the prelates and barons only are mentioned as the constituent members; and even in the most particular narratives delivered of parliamentary transactions, as in the trial of Thomas à Becket, where the events of each day, and almost of each hour, are carefully recorded by contemporary authors [a], there is not, throughout the whole, the least appearance of a House of Commons. But though that House derived its existence from so precarious and even so invidious an origin as Leicester's usurpation, it soon proved, when summoned by the legal princes, one of the most useful, and, in process of time, one of the most powerful members of the national constitution; and gradually rescued the kingdom from aristocratical as well as from regal tyranny. But Leicester's policy, if we must ascribe to him so great a blessing, only forwarded by some years an institution, for which the general state of things had already prepared the nation; and it is otherwise inconceivable, that a plant set by so inauspicious a hand could have attained to so vigorous a growth, and have flourished in the midst of such tempests and convulsions. The feudal system, with which the liberty, much more the power of the Commons, was totally incompatible, began gradually to decline; and both the king and the commonalty, who felt its inconveniences, contributed to favour this new power, which was more submissive than the barons to the regular authority of the crown, and at the same time afforded protection to the inferior orders of the state. [FN [z] Rymer, vol. i. p. 802. [a] Fitz-Stephen, Hist. Quadrip. Hoveden, &c.]

Leicester having thus assembled a Parliament of his own model, and trusting to the attachment of the populace of London, seized the opportunity of crushing his rivals among the powerful barons. Robert de Ferrars, Earl of Derby, was accused in the king's name, seized, and committed to custody without being brought to any legal trial [b]. John Gifford, menaced with the same fate, fled from London, and took shelter in the borders of Wales. Even the Earl of Gloucester, whose power and influence had so much contributed to the success of the barons, but who of late was extremely disgusted with Leicester's arbitrary conduct, found himself in danger from the prevailing authority of his ancient confederate; and he retired from Parliament [c]. This known dissension gave courage to all Leicester's enemies and to the king's friends, who were now sure of protection from so potent a leader. Though Roger Mortimer, Hamond L'Estrange, and other powerful marchers of Wales, had been obliged to leave the kingdom, their authority still remained over the territories subjected to their jurisdiction; and there were many others who were disposed to give disturbance to the new government. The animosities, inseparable from the feudal aristocracy, broke out with fresh violence, and threatened the kingdom with new convulsions and disorders. [FN [b] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 66. Ann. Waverl. p. 216. [c] M. Paris, p. 671. Ann. Waverl. p. 216.]

The Earl of Leicester, surrounded with these difficulties, embraced a measure from which he hoped to reap some present advantages, but which proved in the end the source of all his future calamities. The active and intrepid Prince Edward had languished in prison ever since the fatal battle of Lewes; and as he was extremely popular in the kingdom, there arose a general desire of seeing him again restored to liberty [d]. Leicester, finding that he could with difficulty oppose the concurring wishes of the nation, stipulated with the prince, that, in return, he should order his adherents to deliver up to the barons all their castles, particularly those on the borders of Wales; and should swear neither to depart the kingdom during three years, nor introduce into it any foreign forces [e]. The king took an oath to the same effect, and he also passed a charter, in which he confirmed the agreement or MISE of Lewes; and even permitted his subjects to rise in arms against him if he should ever attempt to infringe it [f]. So little care did Leicester take, though he constantly made use of the authority of this captive prince, to preserve to him any appearance of royalty or kingly prerogatives! [FN [d] Knyghton, p. 2451. [e] Ann. Waverl. p. 216. [f] Blackstone's Mag. Charta. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 378.]

[MN 11th Mar.] In consequence of this treaty, Prince Edward was brought into Westminster-hall, and was declared free by the barons: but instead of really recovering his liberty, as he had vainly expected, he found that the whole transaction was a fraud on the part of Leicester; that he himself still continued a prisoner at large, and was guarded by the emissaries of that nobleman; and that, while the faction reaped all the benefit from the performance of his part of the treaty, care was taken that he should enjoy no advantage by it. As Gloucester, on his rupture with the barons, had retired for safety to his estates on the borders of Wales, Leicester followed him with an army to Hereford [g]; continued still to menace and negotiate; and that he might add authority to his cause, he carried both the king and prince along with him. The Earl of Gloucester here concerted with young Edward the manner of that prince's escape. He found means to convey to him a horse of extraordinary swiftness; and appointed Roger Mortimer, who had returned into the kingdom, to be ready at hand with a small party to receive the prince, and to guard him to a place of safety. Edward pretended to take the air with some of Leicester's retinue, who were his guards; and making matches between their horses, after he thought he had tired and blown them sufficiently, he suddenly mounted Gloucester's horse and called to his attendants, that he had long enough enjoyed the pleasure of their company, and now bid them adieu. They followed him for some time, without being able to overtake him; and the appearance of Mortimer with his company put an end to their pursuit. [FN [g] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 67. Ann. Waverl. p. 218. W. Heming. p. 585. Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 383, 384.]

The royalists, secretly prepared for this event, immediately flew to arms; and the joy of this gallant prince's deliverance, the oppressions under which the nation laboured, the expectation of a new scene of affairs, and the countenance of the Earl of Gloucester, procured Edward an army which Leicester was utterly unable to withstand. This nobleman found himself in a remote quarter of the kingdom, surrounded by his enemies, barred from all communication with his friends by the Severn, whose bridges Edward had broken down, and obliged to fight the cause of his party under these multiplied disadvantages. In this extremity he wrote to his son, Simon de Montfort, to hasten from London with an army for his relief; and Simon had advanced to Kenilworth with that view, where, fancying that all Edward's force and attention were directed against his father, he lay secure and unguarded. But the prince, making a sudden and forced march, surprised him in his camp, dispersed his army, and took the Earl of Oxford and many other noblemen prisoners, almost without resistance. Leicester, ignorant of his son 's fate, passed the Severn in boats during Edward's absence, and lay at Evesham, in expectation of being every hour joined by his friends from London; when the prince, who availed himself of every favourable moment, appeared in the field before him. [MN Battle of Evesham and death of Leicester. 4th Aug.] Edward made a body of his troops advance from the road which led to Kenilworth, and ordered them to carry the banners taken from Simon's army; while he himself, making a circuit with the rest of his forces, purposed to attack the enemy on the other quarter. Leicester was long deceived by this stratagem, and took one division of Edward's army for his friends; but at last, perceiving his mistake, and observing the great superiority and excellent disposition of the royalists, he exclaimed that they had learned from him the art of war, adding, "The Lord have mercy on our souls, for I see our bodies are the prince's!" The battle immediately began, though on very unequal terms. Leicester's army, by living on the mountains of Wales without bread, which was not then much used among the inhabitants, had been extremely weakened by sickness and desertion, and was soon broken by the victorious royalists; while his Welsh allies, accustomed only to a desultory kind of war, immediately took to flight, and were pursued with great slaughter. Leicester himself; asking for quarter, was slain in the heat of the action, with his eldest son Henry, Hugh le Despenser, and about one hundred and sixty knights, and many other gentlemen of his party. The old king had been purposely placed by the rebels in the front of the battle; and being clad in armour, and thereby not known by his friends, he received a wound, and was in danger of his life; but crying out, I AM HENRY OF WINCHESTER, YOUR KING, he was saved, and put in a place of safety by his son, who flew to his rescue.

The violence, ingratitude, tyranny, rapacity, and treachery of the Earl of Leicester, give a very bad idea of his moral character, and make us regard his death as the most fortunate event which, in this conjuncture, could have happened to the English nation; yet must we allow the man to have possessed great abilities, and the appearance of great virtues, who, though a stranger, could at a time when strangers were the most odious, and the most universally decried, have acquired so extensive an interest in the kingdom, and have so nearly paved his way to the throne itself. His military capacity and his political craft were equally eminent: he possessed the talents both of governing men and conducting business: and though his ambition was boundless, it seems neither to have exceeded his courage nor his genius; and he had the happiness of making the low populace, as well as the haughty barons, co-operate towards the success of his selfish and dangerous purposes. A prince of greater abilities and vigour than Henry, might have directed the talents of this nobleman either to the exaltation of his throne, or to the good of his people: but the advantages given to Leicester by the weak and variable administration of the king, brought on the ruin of royal authority, and produced great confusions in the kingdom, which however, in the end, preserved and extremely improved national liberty and the constitution. His popularity, even after his death, continued so great, that though he was excommunicated by Rome, the people believed him to be a saint; and many miracles were said to be wrought upon his tomb [h]. [FN [h] Chron. de Mailr. p. 232.]

[MN Settlement of the government.] The victory of Evesham, with the death of Leicester, proved decisive in favour of the royalists, and made an equal, though an opposite, impression on friends and enemies in every part of England. The King of the Romans recovered his liberty: the other prisoners of the royal party were not only freed, but courted by their keepers: Fitz-Richard, the seditious Mayor of London, who had marked out forty of the most wealthy citizens for slaughter, immediately stopped his hand on receiving intelligence of this great event: and almost all the castles, garrisoned by the barons, hastened to make their submissions, and to open their gates to the king. The isle of Axholme alone, and that of Ely, trusting to the strength of their situation, ventured to make resistance; but were at last reduced, as well as the castle of Dover, by the valour and activity of Prince Edward [i]. [MN 1266.] Adam de Gourdon, a courageous baron, maintained himself during some time in the forests of Hampshire, committed depredations in the neighbourhood, and obliged the prince to lead a body of troops into that county against him. Edward attacked the camp of the rebels; and being transported by the ardour of battle, leaped over the trench with a few followers, and encountered Gourdon in single combat. The victory was long disputed between these valiant combatants; but ended at last in the prince's favour, who wounded his antagonist, threw him from his horse, and took him prisoner. He not only gave him his life, but introduced him that very night to the queen at Guildford, procured him his pardon, restored him to his estate, received him into favour, and was ever after faithfully served by him [k]. [FN [i] M. Paris, p. 676. W. Heming, p. 588. [k] M. Paris, p. 675.]

A total victory of the sovereign over so extensive a rebellion commonly produces a revolution of government, and strengthens as well as enlarges, for some time, the prerogatives of the crown: yet no sacrifices of national liberty were made on this occasion; the great charter remained still inviolate; and the king, sensible that his own barons, by whose assistance alone he had prevailed, were no less jealous of their independence than the other party, seems thenceforth to have more carefully abstained from all those exertions of power which had afforded so plausible a pretence to the rebels. The clemency of this victory is also remarkable: no blood was shed on the scaffold: no attainders, except of the Montfort family, were carried into execution: and though a Parliament, assembled at Winchester, attainted all those who had borne arms against the king, easy compositions were made with them for their lands [1]; and the highest sum levied on the most obnoxious offenders exceeded not five years' rent of their estate. Even the Earl of Derby, who again rebelled, after having been pardoned and restored to his fortune, was obliged to pay only seven years' rent, and was a second time restored. The mild disposition of the king, and the prudence of the prince, tempered the insolence of victory, and gradually restored order to the several members of the state, disjointed by so long a continuance of civil wars and commotions. [FN [l] Id. ibid.]

The city of London, which had carried farthest the rage and animosity against the king, and which seemed determined to stand upon its defence after almost all the kingdom had submitted, was, after some interval, restored to most of its liberties and privileges; and Fitz-Richard the mayor, who had been guilty of so much illegal violence, was only punished by fine and imprisonment. The Countess of Leicester, the king's sister, who had been extremely forward in all attacks on the royal family, was dismissed the kingdom with her two sons, Simon and Guy, who proved very ungrateful for this lenity. Five years afterwards, they assassinated, at Viterbo in Italy, their cousin Henry d'Allmaine, who at that very time was endeavouring to make their peace with the king; and by taking sanctuary in the church of the Franciscans, they escaped the punishment due to so great an enormity [m]. [FN [m] Rymer, vol. i. p. 879. vol. ii. p. 4, 5. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 94. W. Heming. p. 589. Trivet, p. 240.]

[MN 1267.] The merits of the Earl of Gloucester, after he returned to his allegiance, had been so great in restoring the prince to his liberty, and assisting him in his victories against the rebellious barons, that it was almost impossible to content him in his demands; and his youth and temerity, as well as his great power, tempted him, on some new disgust, to raise again the flames of rebellion in the kingdom. The mutinous populace of London, at his instigation, took to arms; and the prince was obliged to levy an army of thirty thousand men in order to suppress them. Even this second rebellion did not provoke the king to any act of cruelty; and the Earl of Gloucester himself escaped with total impunity. He was only obliged to enter into a bond of twenty thousand marks, that he should never again be guilty of rebellion: a strange method of enforcing the laws, and a proof of the dangerous independence of the barons in those ages! These potent nobles were, from the danger of the precedent, averse to the execution of the laws of forfeiture and felony against any of their fellows; though they could not, with a good grace, refuse to concur in obliging them to fulfil any voluntary contract and engagement into which they had entered.

[MN 1270.] The prince, finding the state of the kingdom tolerably composed, was seduced, by his avidity for glory and by the prejudices of the age, as well as by the earnest solicitations of the King of France, to undertake an expedition against the infidels in the Holy Land [n]; and he endeavoured previously to settle the state in such a manner as to dread no bad effects from his absence. As the formidable power and turbulent disposition of the Earl of Gloucester gave him apprehensions, he insisted on carrying him along with him, in consequence of a vow which that nobleman had made to undertake the same voyage: in the mean time, he obliged him to resign some of his castles, and to enter into a new bond not to disturb the peace of the kingdom [o]. He sailed from England with an army, and arrived in Lewis's camp before Tunis in Africa, where he found that monarch already dead from the intemperance of the climate and the fatigues of his enterprise. The great, if not only, weakness of this prince in his government, was the imprudent passion for crusades; but it was his zeal chiefly that procured him from the clergy the title of St. Lewis, by which he is known in the French history; and if that appellation had not been so extremely prostituted, as to become rather a term of reproach, he seems by his uniform probity and goodness, as well as his piety, to have fully merited the title. He was succeeded by his son Philip, denominated the Hardy; a prince of some merit, though much inferior to that of his father. [FN [n] M. Paris, p. 677. [o] Chron. T. Wykes, p. 90.]

[MN 1271.] Prince Edward, not discouraged by this event, continued his voyage to the Holy Land, where he signalized himself by acts of valour; revived the glory of the English name in those parts; and struck such terror into the Saracens, that they employed an assassin to murder him, who wounded him in the arm, but perished in the attempt [p]. Meanwhile, his absence from England was attended with many of those pernicious consequences which had been dreaded from it. The laws were not executed: the barons oppressed the common people with impunity [q]: they gave shelter on their estates to bands of robbers, whom they employed in committing ravages on the estates of their enemies: the populace of London returned to their usual licentiousness: and the old king, unequal to the burden of public affairs, called aloud for his gallant son to return [r], and to assist him in swaying that sceptre which was ready to drop from his feeble and irresolute hands. [MN 1272. 16th Nov. Death,] At last, overcome by the cares of government and the infirmities of age, he visibly declined, and he expired at St. Edmondsbury, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, and fifty-sixth of his reign; the longest reign that is to be met with in the English annals. His brother, the King of the Romans, (for he never attained the title of Emperor,) died about seven months before him. [FN [p] M. Paris, p. 678, 679. W. Heming. p. 520. [q] Chron. Dunst. vol. i. p. 404. [r] Rymer, vol. i. p. 869. M. Paris, p. 678.]

[MN and character of the king.] The most obvious circumstance of Henry's character is his incapacity for government, which rendered him as much a prisoner in the hands of his own ministers and favourites, and as little at his own disposal, as when detained a captive in the hands of his enemies. From this source, rather than from insincerity or treachery, arose his negligence in observing his promises; and he was too easily induced, for the sake of present convenience, to sacrifice the lasting advantages arising from the trust and confidence of his people. Hence too were derived his profusion to favourites, his attachment to strangers, the variableness of his conduct, his hasty resentments, and his sudden forgiveness and return of affection. Instead of reducing the dangerous power of his nobles, by obliging them to observe the laws towards their inferiors, and setting them the salutary example in his own government, he was seduced to imitate their conduct, and to make his arbitrary will, or rather that of his ministers, the rule of his actions. Instead of accommodating himself, by a strict frugality, to the embarrassed situation in which his revenue had been left by the military expeditions of his uncle, the dissipations of his father, and the usurpations of the barons; he was tempted to levy money by irregular exactions, which, without enriching himself, impoverished, at least disgusted, his people. Of all men, nature seemed least to have fitted him for being a tyrant; yet there are instances of oppression in his reign, which, though derived from the precedents left him by his predecessors, had been carefully guarded against by the great charter, and are inconsistent with all rules of good government. And on the whole, we may say, that greater abilities, with his good dispositions, would have prevented him from falling into his faults; or, with worse dispositions, would have enabled him to maintain and defend them.

This prince was noted for his piety and devotion, and his regular attendance on public worship; and a saying of his on that head is much celebrated by ancient writers. He was engaged in a dispute with Lewis IX. of France, concerning the preference between sermons and masses: he maintained the superiority of the latter, and affirmed that he would rather have one hour's conversation with a friend, than hear twenty of the most elaborate discourses pronounced in his praise [s]. [FN [s] Walsing. Edw. I. p. 43.]

Henry left two sons, Edward, his successor, and Edmond, Earl of
Lancaster; and two daughters, Margaret, Queen of Scotland, and
Beatrix, Duchess of Britany. He had five other children, who died in
their infancy.
[MN Miscellaneous transactions of the reign.] The following are the most remarkable laws enacted during this reign. There had been great disputes between the civil and ecclesiastical courts concerning bastardy. The common law had deemed all those to be bastards who were born before wedlock; by the canon law they were legitimate: and when any dispute of inheritance arose, it had formerly been usual for the civil courts to issue writs to the spiritual, directing them to inquire into the legitimacy of the person. The bishop always returned an answer agreeable to the canon law, though contrary to the municipal law of the kingdom. For this reason the civil courts had changed the terms of their writ; and instead of requiring the spiritual courts to make inquisition concerning the legitimacy of the person, they only proposed the simple question of fact, whether he were born, before or after wedlock? The prelates complained of this practice to the Parliament assembled at Merton in the twentieth of this king, and desired that the municipal law might be rendered conformable to the canon; but received from all the nobility the memorable reply, NOLUMUS LEGES ANGLIAE MUTARE! We will not change the laws of England [t]. [FN [t] Statute of Merton, chap. 9.]

After the civil wars, the Parliament, summoned at Marlebridge, gave their approbation to most of the ordinances which had been established by the reforming barons, and which, though advantageous to the security of the people, had not received the sanction of a legal authority. Among other laws, it was there enacted, that all appeals from the courts of inferior lords should be carried directly to the king's courts without passing through the courts of the lords immediately superior [u]. It was ordained that money should bear no interest during the minority of the debtor [w]. This law was reasonable, as the estates of minors were always in the hands of their lords, and the debtors could not pay interest where they had no revenue. The charter of King John had granted this indulgence: it was omitted in that of Henry III., for what reason is not known; but it was renewed by the statute of Marlebridge. Most of the other articles of this statute are calculated to restrain the oppressions of sheriffs, and the violence and iniquities committed in distraining cattle and other goods. Cattle and the instruments of husbandry formed at that time the chief riches of the people. [FN [u] Statute of Marleb. chap. 20. [w] Ibid. chap. 16.]

In the thirty-fifth year of this king an assize was fixed of bread, the price of which was settled, according to the different prices of corn, from one shilling a quarter to seven shillings and sixpence [x], money of that age. These great variations are alone a proof of bad tillage [y]: yet did the prices often rise much higher than any taken notice of by the statute. The Chronicle of Dunstable tells us, that, in this reign, wheat was once sold for a mark, nay, for a pound, a quarter, that is, three pounds of our present money [z]. The same law affords us a proof of the little communication between the parts of the kingdom, from the very different prices which the same commodity bore at the same time. A brewer, says the statute, may sell two gallons of ale for a penny in cities, and three or four gallons for the same price in the country. At present, such commodities, by the great consumption of the people, and the great stocks of the brewers, are rather cheapest in cities. The Chronicle above mentioned observes, that wheat one year was sold in many places for eight shillings a quarter, but never rose in Dunstable above a crown. [FN [x] Statutes at Large, p. 6. [y] We learn from Cicero's Orations against Verres, lib. 3, cap. 84, 92, that the price of corn in Sicily was, during the praetorship of Sacerdos, five Denarii a Modius; during that of Verres, which immediately succeeded, only two Sesterces; that is, ten times lower; a presumption, or rather a proof, of the very bad state of tillage in ancient times. [z] Knyghton, p. 2444.]

Though commerce was still very low, it seems rather to have increased since the Conquest; at least if we may judge of the increase of money by the price of corn. The medium between the highest and lowest prices of wheat, assigned by the statute, is four shillings and three pence a quarter, that is, twelve shillings and nine pence of our present money. This is near half of the middling price in our time. Yet the middling price of cattle, so late as the reign of King Richard, we find to be above eight, near ten times lower than the present. Is not this the true inference, from comparing these facts, that, in all uncivilized nations, cattle, which propagate of themselves, bear always a lower price than corn, which requires more art and stock to render it plentiful than those nations are possessed of? It is to be remarked that Henry's assize of corn was copied from a preceding assize established by King John; consequently, the prices which we have here compared of corn and cattle may be looked on as contemporary; and they were drawn, not from one particular year, but from an estimation of the middling prices for a series of years. It is true, the prices assigned by the assize of Richard were meant as a standard for the accompts of sheriffs and escheators; and as considerable profits were allowed to these ministers, we may naturally suppose, that the common value of cattle was somewhat higher: yet still, so great a difference between the prices of corn and cattle as that of four to one, compared to the present rates, affords important reflections concerning the very different state of industry and tillage in the two periods.

Interest had in that age amounted to an enormous height, as might be expected from the barbarism of the times and men's ignorance of commerce. Instances occur of fifty per cent paid for money [a]. There is an edict of Philip Augustus near this period, limiting the Jews in France to forty-eight per cent [b]. Such profits tempted the Jews to remain in the kingdom, notwithstanding the grievous oppressions to which, from the prevalent bigotry and rapine of the age, they were continually exposed. It is easy to imagine how precarious their state must have been under an indigent prince, somewhat restrained in his tyranny over his native subjects, but who possessed an unlimited authority over the Jews, the sole proprietors of money in the kingdom, and hated, on account of their riches, their religion, and their usury: yet will our ideas scarcely come up to the extortions which, in fact, we find to have been practised upon them. In the year 1241, twenty thousand marks were exacted from them [c]: two years after money was again extorted; and one Jew alone, Aaron of York, was obliged to pay above four thousand marks [d]. In 1250, Henry renewed his oppressions; and the same Aaron was condemned to pay him thirty thousand marks upon an accusation of forgery [e]: the high penalty imposed upon him, and which, it seems, he was thought able to pay, is rather a presumption of his innocence than of his guilt. In 1255, the king demanded eight thousand marks from the Jews, and threatened to hang them if they refused compliance. They now lost all patience, and desired leave to retire with their effects out of the kingdom. But the king replied: "How can I remedy the oppressions you complain of? I am myself a beggar. I am spoiled, I am stripped of all my revenues: I owe above two hundred thousand marks; and if I had said three hundred thousand, I should not exceed the truth: I am obliged to pay my son, Prince Edward, fifteen thousand marks a year: I have not a farthing; and I must have money, from any hand, from any quarter, or by any means." He then delivered over the Jews to the Earl of Cornwall, that those whom the one brother had flayed, the other might embowel, to make use of the words of the historian [f]. King John, his father, once demanded ten thousand marks from a Jew of Bristol; and on his refusal, ordered one of his teeth to be drawn every day till he should comply. The Jew lost seven teeth, and then paid the sum required of him [g]. One talliage paid upon the Jews in 1243 amounted to sixty thousand marks [h]; a sum equal to the whole yearly revenue of the crown. [FN [a] M. Paris, p. 586. [b] Brussel, Traité des Fiefs, vol. i. p. 576 [c] M. Paris, p. 372. [d] Ibid. p. 410. [e] Ibid. p. 525. [f] M. Paris, p. 606. [g] Ibid. p. 160. [h] Madox, p. 152.]

To give a better pretence for extortions, the improbable and absurd accusation, which has been at different times advanced against that nation, was revived in England, that they had crucified a child in derision of the sufferings of Christ. Eighteen of them were hanged at once for this crime [i]: though it is nowise credible, that even the antipathy borne them by the Christians, and the oppressions under which they laboured, would ever have pushed them to be guilty of that dangerous enormity. But it is natural to imagine, that a race, exposed to such insults and indignities, both from king and people, and who had so uncertain an enjoyment of their riches, would carry usury to the utmost extremity, and by their great profits make themselves some compensation for their continual perils. [FN [i] M. Paris, p. 613.]

Though these acts of violence against the Jews proceeded much from bigotry, they were still more derived from avidity and rapine. So far from desiring in that age to convert them, it was enacted by law in France, that if any Jew embraced Christianity, he forfeited all his goods, without exception, to the king, or his superior lord. These plunderers were careful, lest the profits, accruing from their dominion over that unhappy race, should be diminished by their conversion [k]. [FN [k] Brussel, vol. i. p. 622. Du Cange, verbo JUDAEI.]

Commerce must be in a wretched condition, where interest was so high, and where the sole proprietors of money employed it in usury only, and were exposed to such extortion and injustice. But the bad police of the country was another obstacle to improvements; and rendered all communication dangerous, and all property precarious. The Chronicle of Dunstable says [l], that men were never secure in the houses, and that whole villages were often plundered by bands of robbers, though no civil wars at that time prevailed in the kingdom. In 1249, some years before the insurrection of the barons, two merchants of Brabant came to the king at Winchester, and told him that they had been spoiled of all their goods by certain robbers, whom they knew, because they saw their faces every day in his court; that like practices prevailed all over England, and travellers were continually exposed to the danger of being robbed, bound, wounded, and murdered; that these crimes escaped with impunity, because the ministers of justice themselves were in a confederacy was the robbers; and that they, for their part, instead of bringing matters to a fruitless trial by law, were willing, though merchants, to decide their cause with the robbers by arms and a duel. The king, provoked at these abuses, ordered a jury to be enclosed, and to try the robbers: the jury, though consisting of twelve men of property in Hampshire, were found to be also in a confederacy with the felons, and acquitted them. Henry, in a rage, committed the jury to prison, threatened them with a severe punishment, and ordered a new jury to be enclosed, who, dreading the fate of their fellows, at last found a verdict against the criminals. Many of the king's own household were discovered to have participated in the guilt; and they said for their excuse, that they received no wages from him, and were obliged to rob for a maintenance [m]. KNIGHTS AND ESQUIRES, says the Dictum of Kenilworth, WHO WERE ROBBERS, IF THEY HAVE NO LAND, SHALL PAY THE HALF OF THEIR GOODS, AND FIND SUFFICIENT SECURITY TO KEEP HENCEFORTH THE PEACE OF THE KINGDOM. Such were the matters of the times! [FN [1] Vol. i. p. 155. [m] M. Paris, p. 509.]

One can the less repine, during the prevalence of such manners, at the frauds and forgeries of the clergy; as it gives less disturbance to society, to take men's money from them with their own consent, though by deceits and lies, than to ravish it by open force and violence. During this reign the papal power was at its summit, and was even beginning insensibly to decline, by reason of the immeasurable avarice and extortions of the court of Rome, which disgusted the clergy as well as laity, in every kingdom of Europe. England itself, though sunk in the deepest abyss of ignorance and superstition, had seriously entertained thoughts of shaking off the papal yoke [n]; and the Roman pontiff was obliged to think of new expedients for riveting it faster upon the Christian world. For this purpose, Gregory IX. published his decretals [o], which are a collection of forgeries, favourable to the court of Rome, and consist of the supposed decrees of popes in the first centuries. But these forgeries are so gross, and confound so palpably all language, history, chronology, and antiquities, matters more stubborn than any speculative truths whatsoever, that even that church, which is not startled at the most monstrous contradictions and absurdities, has been obliged to abandon them to the critics. But in the dark period of the thirteenth century they passed for undisputed and authentic; and men, entangled in the mazes of this false literature, joined to the philosophy, equally false, of the times, had nothing wherewithal to defend themselves, but some small remains of common sense, which passed for profaneness and impiety, and the indelible regard to self-interest, which, as it was the sole motive in the priests for framing these impostures, served also, in some degree, to protect the laity against them. [FN [n] M. Paris, p. 421. [o] Trivet, p. 191.]

Another expedient, devised by the church of Rome, in this period, for securing her power, was the institution of new religious orders, chiefly the Dominicans and Franciscans, who proceeded with all the zeal and success that attend novelties; were better qualified to gain the populace than the old orders, now become rich and indolent; maintained a perpetual rivalship with each other in promoting their gainful superstitions; and acquired a great dominion over the minds, and, consequently, over the purses of men, by pretending a desire of poverty and a contempt for riches. The quarrels which arose between these orders, lying still under the control of the sovereign pontiff, never disturbed the peace of the church, and served only as a spur to their industry in promoting the common cause; and though the Dominicans lost some popularity by their denial of the immaculate conception, a point in which they unwarily engaged too far to be able to recede with honour, they counterbalanced this disadvantage, by acquiring more solid establishments, by gaining the confidence of kings and princes, and by exercising the jurisdiction assigned them, of ultimate judges and punishers of heresy. Thus, the several orders of monks became a kind of regular troops or garrisons of the Romish church; and though the temporal interests of society, still more the cause of true piety, were hurt, by their various devices to captivate the populace, they proved the chief supports of that mighty fabric of superstition, and till the revival of true learning, secured it from any dangerous invasion.

The trial by ordeal was abolished in this reign by order of council: a faint mark of improvement in the age [p]. [FN [p] Rymer, vol. i. p. 228. Spellman, p. 326.]

Henry granted a charter to the town of Newcastle, in which he gave the inhabitants a licence to dig coal. This is the first mention of coal in England.

We learn from Madox [q], that this king gave, at one time, one hundred
shillings to master Henry, his poet: also the same year he orders this
poet ten pounds.
[FN [q] Page 268.]
It appears from Selden, that, in the forty-seventh of his reign, a hundred and fifty temporal, and fifty spiritual barons were summoned to perform the service due by their tenures [r]. In the thirty-fifth of the subsequent reign, eighty-six temporal barons, twenty bishops, and forty-eight abbots, were summoned to a Parliament convened at Carlisle [s]. [FN [r] Titles of Honour, part ii. Chap. 3. [s] Parl. Hist. vol. i. p. 151.]



This question has been disputed with as great zeal and even acrimony, between the Scotch and Irish antiquaries, as if the honour of their respective countries were the most deeply concerned in the decision. We shall not enter into any detail on so uninteresting a subject, but shall propose our opinion in a few words. It appears more than probable, from the similitude of language and manners, that Britain either was originally peopled, or was subdued, by the migration of inhabitants from Gaul, and Ireland from Britain: the position of the several countries is an additional reason that favours this conclusion. It appears also probable, that the migration of that colony of Gauls or Celts, who peopled or subdued Ireland, was originally made from the north-west parts of Britain; and this conjecture (if it do not merit a higher name) is founded both on the Irish language, which is a very different dialect from the Welsh, and from the language anciently spoken in South Britain; and on the vicinity of Lancashire, Cumberland, Galloway, and Argyleshire, to that island. These events, as they passed long before the age of history and records, must be known by reasoning alone, which in this case seems to be pretty satisfactory: Caesar and Tacitus, not to mention a multitude of other Greek and Roman authors, were guided by like inferences. But besides these primitive facts, which lie in a very remote antiquity, it is a matter of positive and undoubted testimony, that the Roman province of Britain, during the time of the lower empire, was much infested by bands of robbers or pirates, whom the provincial Britons called Scots or Scuits; a name which was probably used as a term of reproach, and which these banditti themselves did not acknowledge or assume. We may infer from two passages in Claudian, and from one in Orosius, and another in Isidore, that the chief seat of these Scots was in Ireland. That some part of the Irish freebooters migrated back to the north-west parts of Britain, whence their ancestors had probably been derived in a more remote age, is positively asserted by Bede, and implied in Gildas. I grant that neither Bede nor Gildas are Caesars or Tacituses; but such as they are, they remain the sole testimony on the subject, and therefore must be relied on for want of better: happily, the frivolousness of the question corresponds to the weakness of the authorities. Not to mention, that if any part of the traditional history of a barbarous people can be relied on, it is the genealogy of nations, and even sometimes that of families. It is in vain to argue against these facts from the supposed warlike disposition of the Highlanders, and unwarlike of the ancient Irish. Those arguments are still much weaker than the authorities. Nations change very quickly in these particulars. The Britons were unable to resist the Picts and Scots, and invited over the Saxons for their defence, who repelled those invaders: yet the same Britons valiantly resisted for one hundred and fifty years, not only this victorious band of Saxons, but infinite numbers more, who poured in upon them from all quarters. Robert Bruce, in 1322, made a peace, in which England, after many defeats, was constrained to acknowledge the independence of his country: yet in no more distant period than ten years after, Scotland was totally subdued by a small handful of English, led by a few private noblemen. All history is full of such events. The Irish Scots, in the course of two or three centuries, might find time and opportunities sufficient to settle in North Britain, though we can neither assign the period nor causes of that revolution. Their barbarous manner of life rendered them much fitter than the Romans for subduing these mountaineers. And, in a word, it is clear from the language of the two countries, that the Highlanders and the Irish are the same people, and that the one are a colony from the other. We have positive evidence which, though from neutral persons, is not perhaps the best that may be wished for, that the former, in the third or fourth century, sprang from the latter: we have no evidence at all that the latter sprang from the former. I shall add, that the name of Erse or Irish given by the low-country Scotch to the language of the Scotch Highlanders, is a certain proof of the traditional opinion delivered from father to son, that the latter people came originally from Ireland.


There is a seeming contradiction in ancient historians with regard to some circumstances in the story of Edwy and Elgiva. It is agreed that this prince had a violent passion for his second or third cousin, Elgiva, whom he married, though within the degrees prohibited by the canons. It is also agreed, that he was dragged from a lady on the day of his coronation, and that the lady was afterwards treated with the singular barbarity above mentioned. The only difference is, that Osberne and some others call her his strumpet, not his wife, as she is said to be by Malmesbury. But this difference is easily reconciled; for if Edwy married her contrary to the canons, the monks would be sure to deny her to be his wife, and would insist that she could be nothing but his strumpet; to that, on the whole, we may esteem this representation of the matter as certain, at least, as by far the most probable. If Edwy had only kept a mistress, it is well known that there are methods of accommodation with the church, which would have prevented the clergy from proceeding to such extremities against him: but his marriage contrary to the canons, was an insult on their authority, and called for their highest resentment.


Many of the English historians make Edgar's ships amount to an extravagant number, to three thousand, or three thousand six hundred: see Hoveden, p. 426. Flor. Wigorn. p. 607. Abbas Rieval. p. 360. Brompton, p. 869, says, that Edgar had four thousand vessels. How can these accounts be reconciled to probability, and to the state of the navy in the time of Alfred? W. Thorne makes the whole number amount only to three hundred, which is more probable. The fleet of Ethelred, Edgar's son, must have been short of one thousand ships; yet the Saxon Chronicle, p. 137, says, it was the greatest navy that ever had been seen in England.


Almost all the ancient historians speak of this massacre of the Danes as if it had been universal, and as if every individual of that nation throughout England had been put to death. But the Danes were almost the sole inhabitants in the kingdoms of Northumberland and East- Anglia, and were very numerous in Mercia. This representation, therefore, of the matter is absolutely impossible. Great resistance must have been made, and violent wars ensued; which was not the case. This account given by Wallingford, though he stands single, must he admitted as the only true one. We are told that the name LURDANE, LORD DANE, for an idle lazy fellow, who lives at other people's expense, came from the conduct of the Danes, who were put to death. But the English princes had been entirely masters for several generations; and only supported a military corps of that nation. It seems probable, therefore, that it was these Danes only that were put to death.


The ingenious author of the article GODWIN, in the Biographia Britannica, has endeavoured to clear the memory of that nobleman, upon the supposition, that all the English annals had been falsified by the Norman historians after the Conquest. But that this supposition has not much foundation, appears hence, that almost all these historians have given a very good character to his son Harold, whom it was much more the interest of the Norman cause to blacken.


The whole story of the transactions between Edward, Harold, and the Duke of Normandy, is told so differently by the ancient writers, that there are few important passages of the English history liable to so great uncertainty. I have followed the account which appeared to me the most consistent and probable. It does not seem likely, that Edward ever executed a will in the duke's favour, much less that he got it ratified by the states of the kingdom, as is affirmed by some. The will would have been known to all, and would have been produced by the Conqueror, to whom it gave so plausible, and really so just a title; but the doubtful and ambiguous manner in which he seems always to have mentioned it, proves that he could only plead the known intentions of that monarch in his favour, which he was desirous to call a will. There is indeed a charter of the Conqueror preserved by Dr. Hickes, vol. i., where he calls himself REX HEREDITARIUS, meaning heir by will; but a prince possessed of so much power, and attended with so much success, may employ what pretence he pleases: it is sufficient to refute his pretences, to observe that there is a great difference and variation among historians, with regard to a point which, had it been real, must have been agreed upon by all of them.

Again, some historians, particularly Malmesbury and Matthew of Westminster, affirm that Harold had no intention of going over to Normandy, but, that taking the air in a pleasure boat on the coast, he was driven over, by stress of weather, to the territories of Guy, Count of Ponthieu: but besides that this story is not probable in itself, and is contradicted by most of the ancient historians, it is contradicted by a very curious and authentic monument lately discovered. It is a tapestry, preserved in the ducal palace of Rouen, and supposed to have been wrought by orders of Matilda, wife to the emperor: at least it is of very great antiquity. Harold is there represented as taking his departure from King Edward in execution of some commission, and mounting his vessel with a great train. The design of redeeming his brother and nephew, who were hostages, is the most likely cause that can be assigned; and is accordingly mentioned by Eadmer, Hoveden, Brompton, and Simeon of Durham. For a farther account of this piece of tapestry, see Histoire de l'Academie de Littérature, tom. ix. p. 535.


It appears from the ancient translations of the Saxon annals and laws, and from King Alfred's translation of Bede, as well as from all the ancient historians, that COMES in Latin, ALDERMAN in Saxon, and EARL in Dano-Saxon, were quite synonymous. There is only a clause in a law of King Athelstan's (see Spellm. Conc. p. 406) which has stumbled some antiquaries, and has made them imagine that an earl was superior to an alderman. The weregild, or the price of an earl's blood, is there fixed at fifteen thousand thrimsas, equal to that of an archbishop; whereas that of a bishop and alderman is only eight thousand thrimsas. To solve this difficulty we must have recourse to Selden's conjecture, (see his Titles of Honour, chap. v. p. 603, 604,) that the term of earl was in the age of Athelstan just beginning to be in use in England, and stood at that time for the atheling or prince of the blood, heir to the crown. This he confirms by a law of Canute, Sec. 55, where an atheling and an archbishop are put upon the same footing. In another law of the same Athelstan, the weregild of the prince, or atheling, is said to be fifteen thousand thrimsas. See Wilkins, p. 71. He is therefore the same who is called earl in the former law.


There is a paper or record of the family of Sharneborn, which pretends, that that family, which was Saxon, was restored upon proving their innocence, as well as other Saxon families which were in the same situation. Though this paper was able to impose on such great antiquaries as Spellman (see Gloss. in verbo DRENGES) and Dugdale, (see Baron. vol. i. p. 118,) it is proved by Dr. Brady (see Answ. to Petyt, p. 11, 12) to have been a forgery; and is allowed as such by Tyrrel, though a pertinacious defender of his party notions (see his Hist. vol. ii. introd. p. 51, 73). Ingulf, p. 70, tells us, that very early, Hereward, though absent during the time of the Conquest, was turned out of all his estate, and could not obtain redress. William even plundered the monasteries. Flor. Wigorn. p. 636. Chron. Abb. St. Petri de Burgo, p. 48. M. Paris, p. 5. Sim. Dun. p. 200. Diceto, p. 482. Brompton, p. 967. Knyghton, p. 2344. Alur. Beverl. p. 130. We are told by Ingulf, that Ivo de Taillebois plundered the monastery of Croyland of a great part of its land, and no redress could be obtained.


The obliging of all the inhabitants to put out their fires and lights at certain hours, upon the sounding of a bell called the COURFEU, is represented by Polydore Vergil, lib. 9, as a mark of the servitude of the English. But this was a law of police, which William had previously established in Normandy. See Du Moulin, Hist. de Normandie, p. 160. The same law had place in Scotland. LL. Burgor cap. 86.


What these laws were of Edward the Confessor, which the English, every reign during a century and a half, desire so passionately to have restored, is much disputed by antiquaries, and our ignorance of them seems one of the greatest defects in the ancient English history. The collection of laws in Wilkins, which pass under the name of Edward, are plainly a posterior and an ignorant compilation. Those to be found in Ingulf are genuine; but so imperfect, and contain so few clauses favourable to the subject, that we see no great reason for their contending for them so vehemently. It is probable, that the English meant the COMMON LAW, as it prevailed during the reign of Edward; which we may conjecture to have been more indulgent to liberty than the Norman institutions. The most material articles of it were afterwards comprehended in Magna Charta.


Ingulf, p. 70. H. Hunt. p. 370, 372. M. West. p. 225. Gul. Neub. p.
357. Alured. Beverl. p. 124. De Gest. Angl. p. 333. M. Paris, p. 4.
Sim. Dun. p. 206. Brompton, p. 962, 980, 1161. Gervase Tilb. lib. i.
cap. 16. Textus Roffensis apud Seld. Spicileg. ad Eadm. p. 179. Gul.
Pict. p. 206. Ordericus Vitalis, p. 621, 666, 853. Epist. St. Thom.
p. 801. Gul. Malmes. p. 52, 57. Knyghton, p. 2354. Eadmer. p. 110.
Thom. Rudborne in Ang. Sacra, vol. i. p. 248. Monach. Roff. in Ang
Sacra, vol. ii. p. 276. Girald. Camb. in eadem, vol. ii. p. 413.
Hist Elyensis, p. 516. The words of this last historian, who is very
ancient, are remarkable and worth transcribing: "REX ITAQUE FACTUS

Henry, by the feudal customs, was entitled to levy a tax for the marrying of his eldest daughter, and he exacted three shillings a hide on all England. H. Hunt. p. 379. Some historians (Brady, p. 270, and Tyrrel, vol. ii. p. 182) heedlessly make this sum amount to above eight hundred thousand pounds of our present money: but it could not exceed one hundred and thirty-five thousand. Five hides, sometimes less, made a knight's fee, of which there were about sixty thousand in England, consequently near three hundred thousand hides; and at the rate of three shillings a hide, the sum would amount to forty-five thousand pounds, or one hundred and thirty-five thousand of our present money. See Rudborne, p. 257. In the Saxon times, there were only computed two hundred and forty-three thousand six hundred hides in England.


The legates À LATERE, as they were called, were a kind of delegates who possessed