The early Plantagenets

By William Carter Stubbs

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Title: The early Plantagenets

Author: William Stubbs

Release Date: May 21, 2023 [eBook #70828]

Language: English

Produced by: Carla Foust and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
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  B.C.L. AND




 Edited by Rev. G. W. COX and CHARLES SANKEY, M. A. Eleven volumes,
   16mo, with 41 Maps and Plans. Price per vol., $1.00. The set,
   Roxburgh style, gilt top, in box, $11.00.

  =EARLY ROME.= By W. Ihne.
  =ROME AND CARTHAGE.= By R. Bosworth Smith.
  =THE ROMAN TRIUMVIRATES.= By Charles Merivale.
  =THE EARLY EMPIRE.= By W. Wolfe Capes.
  =THE AGE OF THE ANTONINES.= By W. Wolfe Capes.


 Edited by EDWARD E. MORRIS. Eighteen volumes, 16mo, with 77 Maps,
   Plans, and Tables. Price per vol., $1.00. The set, Roxburgh style,
   gilt top, in box, $18.00.

  =THE NORMANS IN EUROPE.= By A. H. Johnson.
  =THE CRUSADES.= By G. W. Cox.
  =EDWARD III.= By W. Warburton.
  =THE EARLY TUDORS.= By C. E. Moberly.
  =THE AGE OF ELIZABETH.= By M. Creighton.
  =THE THIRTY YEARS WAR, 1618-1648.= By S. R. Gardiner.
  =THE FALL OF THE STUARTS.= By Edward Hale.
  =THE AGE OF ANNE.= By Edward E. Morris.
  =THE EARLY HANOVERIANS.= By Edward E. Morris.
  =FREDERICK THE GREAT.= By F. W. Longman.
     Appendix by Andrew D. White.
  =THE EPOCH OF REFORM.= 1830-1850. By Justin McCarthy.

[Illustration: MEDIEVAL EUROPE]

  _Epochs of Modern History_











  Importance of the Epoch--Its character in French and German
  History--In English History--Geographical
  Summary--Italy--Germany--France--Spain                       _Page_ 1



  Accession of Stephen--Arrest of the
  Bishops--Election of Matilda--The
  Anarchy--The Pacification                                          11



  Terms of Henry’s accession--His character--His early
  reforms--His relations with France--War of Toulouse--Summary of
  nine years’ work                                                   34



  The English Church--Schools of Clergy--Rise of Becket--Quarrel
  with the King--Exile--Death                                        58



  Continued Reforms--Revolt of 1173-1174--Renewed industry of
  Henry--His later years--Quarrel with Richard--Fall and
  death                                                              85



  Character of the Reign--Richard’s first visit to England--His
  character--The Crusade--Fall of Longchamp--Richard’s second
  visit--His struggle with Philip--His death                        110



  John’s succession--Arthur’s claims--Loss of Normandy--Quarrel
  with the Church--Submission to the Pope--Quarrel with the
  Barons--The Great Charter and its consequences--Arrival of
  Lewis--John’s death                                               136



  Character of Henry--Administration of William Marshall--Hubert
  de Burgh--Henry his own minister--Foreign favorites--General
  misgovernment--Papal intrigue and taxation                        161



  Delay of the Crisis--Simon de Montfort--Parliament of
  1258--Provisions of Oxford--Political troubles--Award of St.
  Lewis--Battle of Lewes--Baronial government--Battle of
  Evesham--Closing years                                            189



  Position and character of Edward--The Crusade--The accession--The
  conquest of Wales--Edward’s legal reforms--Financial
  system--Growth of Parliament                                      212



  Punishment of the Judges--Banishment of the Jews--Scottish
  succession--The French quarrel--The Ecclesiastical quarrel--The
  Constitutional crisis--The Confirmation of the
  Charters--Parliament of Lincoln--Its sequel--War of Scottish
  Independence--Edward’s death                                      238



  Character of Edward II.--Piers Gaveston--The Ordinances--Thomas
  of Lancaster--The Despensers--The King’s ruin and
  death                                                             263

  INDEX                                                             291


  MEDIEVAL EUROPE                                       _To face Title_

  ENGLAND AND FRANCE (1152-1327)                             ”  _p._ 34





 Importance of the Epoch--Its character in French and
 German History--In English History--Geographical


  areas and
  stages of

The geographical area of that history which alone deserves the name
has more than once changed. The early home of human society was in
Asia. Greece and Italy successively became the theatres of the world’s
drama, and in modern times the real progress of society has moved
within the limits of Western Christendom. So, too, with the material
history. At one period the growth of the life of the world is in its
literature, at another in its wars, at another in its institutions.
Sometimes everything circles round one great man; at other times the
key to the interest is found in some complex political idea such as
the balance of power, or the realization of national identity. The
successive stages of growth in the more advanced nations are not
contemporaneous and may not follow in the same order. The quickened
energy of one race finds its expression in commerce and colonization,
that of another in internal organization and elaborate training, that
of a third in arms, that of a fourth in art and literature. In some the
literary growth precedes the political growth, in others it follows it;
in some it is forced into premature luxuriance by national struggles,
in others the national struggles themselves engross the strength that
would ordinarily find expression in literature. Art has flourished
greatly both where political freedom has encouraged the exercise of
every natural gift and where political oppression has forced the genius
of the people into a channel which seemed least dangerous to the
oppressor. Still, on the whole, the European nations in modern history
emerge from somewhat similar circumstances. Under somewhat similar
discipline, and by somewhat similar expedients, they feel their way to
that national consciousness in which they ultimately diverge so widely.
We may hope, then, to find, in the illustration of a definite section
or well ascertained epoch of that history, sufficient unity of plot and
interest, a sufficient number of contrasts and analogies, to save it
from being a dry analysis of facts or a mere statement of general laws.


  The epoch
  to be now

[Sidenote: France.]

[Sidenote: Germany.]

Such a period is that upon which we now enter; an epoch which in the
history of England extends from the accession of Stephen to the death
of Edward II.; that is, from the beginning of the constitutional growth
of a consolidated English people to the opening of the long struggle
with France under Edward III. It is scarcely less well defined in
French and German history. In France it witnesses the process through
which the modern kingdom of France was constituted; the aggregation
of the several provinces which had hitherto recognized only a nominal
feudal supremacy, under the direct personal rule of the king, and
their incorporation into a national system of administration. In
Germany it comprises a more varied series of great incidents. The
process of disruption in the German kingdom, never well consolidated,
had begun with the great schism between North and South under Henry
IV., and furnished one chief element in the quarrel between pope and
emperor. During the first half of the twelfth century it worked more
deeply, if not more widely, in the rivalry between Saxon and Swabian.
Under Frederick I. it necessitated the remodelling of the internal
arrangement of Germany, the breaking up of the national or dynastic
dukedoms. Under Frederick II. it broke up the empire itself, to be
reconstituted in a widely different form and with altered aims and
pretensions under Rudolf of Hapsburg. This is by itself a most eventful
history, in which the varieties of combinations and alternations
of public feeling abound with new results and illustrations of the
permanence of ancient causes.

[Sidenote: The Empire.]

In the relations of the Empire and the Papacy the same epoch contains
one cycle of the great rivalry, the series of struggles which take a
new form under Frederick I. and Alexander III., and come to an end in
the contest between Lewis of Bavaria and John XXII. It comprises the
whole drama of the Hohenstaufen, and the failure of the great hopes of
the world under Henry VII., which resulted in the constituting of a new
theory of relations under the Luxemburg and Hapsburg emperors.

Whilst these greater actors are thus preparing for the struggle which
forms the later history of European politics, Spain and Italy are
passing through a different discipline. In the midst of all runs the
history of the Church and the Crusades, which supplies one continuous
clue to the reading of the period, a common ground on which all the
actors for a time and from time to time meet.


  An epoch of
  great men.


  and religion.



But the interest of the time is not confined to political history.
It abounds with character. It is an age in which there are very many
great men, and in which the great men not only occupy but deserve the
first place in the historian’s eye. It is their history rather than
the history of their peoples that furnishes the contribution of the
period to the world’s progress. This is the heroic period of the middle
ages,--the only period during which, on a great scale and on a great
stage, were exemplified the true virtues which were later idealized
and debased in the name of chivalry,--the age of John of Brienne and
Simon de Montfort, of the two great Fredericks, of St. Bernard and
Innocent III., and of St. Lewis and Edward I. It is free for the most
part from the repulsive features of the ages that precede, and from the
vindictive cruelty and political immorality of the age that follows.
Manners are more refined than in the earlier age and yet simpler and
sincerer than those of the next; religion is more distinctly operative
for good and less marked by the evils which seem inseparable from its
participation in the political action of the world. Yet not even the
thirteenth century was an age of gold, much less those portions of
the twelfth and fourteenth which come within our present view. It was
not an age of prosperity, although it was an age of growth; its gains
were gained in great measure by suffering. If Lewis IX. and Edward
I. taught the world that kings might be both good men and strong
sovereigns, Henry III. and Lewis VII. taught it that religious habits
and even firm convictions are too often insufficient to keep the weak
from falsehood and wrong. The history of Frederick II. showed that the
race is not always to the swift or the battle to the strong, that of
Conrad and Conradin that the right is not always to triumph, and that
the vengeance which evil deeds must bring in the end comes in some
cases very slowly and with no remedy to those who have suffered.


  of England’s
  in this


  of this book.

It is but a small section of this great period that we propose to
sketch in the present volume; the history of our own country during
this epoch of great men and great causes; but it comprises the history
of what is one at least of England’s greatest contributions to the
world’s progress. The history of England under the early kings of the
house of Plantagenet unfolds and traces the growth of that constitution
which, far more than any other that the world has ever seen, has kept
alive the forms and spirit of free government; which has been the
discipline that formed the great free republic of the present day;
which was for ages the beacon of true social freedom that terrified the
despots abroad and served as a model for the aspirations of hopeful
patriots. It is scarcely too much to say that English history, during
these ages, is the history of the birth of true political liberty.
For, not to forget the services of the Italian republics, or of the
German confederations of the middle ages, we cannot fail to see that in
their actual results they fell as dead before the great monarchies of
the sixteenth century, as the ancient liberties of Athens had fallen;
or where the spirit survived, as in Switzerland, it took a form in
which no great nationality could work. It was in England alone that
the problem of national self-government was practically solved; and
although under the Tudor and Stewart sovereigns Englishmen themselves
ran the risk of forgetting the lesson they had learned and being robbed
of the fruits for which their fathers had labored, the men who restored
political consciousness, and who recovered the endangered rights, won
their victory by argumentative weapons drawn from the storehouse of
medieval English history, and by the maintenance and realization of the
spirit of liberty in forms which had survived from earlier days. It is
an introduction to the study of English history during the period of
constitutional growth, that we shall attempt to sketch the epoch, not
as a Constitutional History, but as an outline of the period and of
the combinations through which the constitutional growth was working,
the place of England in European history and the character of the men
who helped to make her what she ultimately became. Before we begin,
however, we may take a glance at the map of Europe at the point of time
from which we start.





[Sidenote: Italy.]

Eastern Europe, from the coasts of the Adriatic to the limits of
Mahometan conquest eastward, was subject to the emperor who reigned at
Constantinople, and may, except for its incidental connection with the
Crusades, be left out of the present view. The northern portions were
in the hands of half-civilized, half-Christianized races, which formed
a barrier dangerous but efficacious between the Byzantine emperor and
Western Christendom. The kingdom of Hungary, and the acquisitions of
Venice on the east of the Adriatic fenced medieval Europe from the same
enemies. Italy was divided between the Normans, who governed Apulia
and Sicily, and the sway of the Empire, which under Lothar II.--the
Emperor who was on the throne when our period begins--had become little
more than nominal south of the Alps; the independence of the imperial
cities and small principalities reaching from the Alps to Rome itself
was maintained chiefly by the inability of the Germans to keep either
by administrative organization or by dynastic alliances a permanent
hold upon it. With both the Republican north and the Normanized south,
the political history of the Plantagenet kings came in constant
connection; and even more close and continuous was the relation through
the agency of the Church with Rome itself. At the opening of the
period, Englishmen were not only studying in the universities of Italy,
at Salerno, at Bologna, and at Pavia, but were repaying to Italy, in
the services of prelates and statesmen, the debt which England had
incurred through Lanfranc and Anselm. An Englishman was soon to be
pope. The Norman kings chose ministers and prelates of English birth;
and the same Norman power of organization which worked in England under
Henry I. and Roger of Salisbury, worked in similar line in Sicily under
King Roger and his posterity.

[Sidenote: Germany.]

Looking northwards, we see Germany, in the middle of the twelfth
century, still administered, although uneasily, under the ancient
system of the four nations, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, and Bavaria;
four distinct nationalities which refused permanent combination. This
system was, however, in its last decay. Its completeness was everywhere
broken in upon by the great ecclesiastical principalities which the
piety and policy of the emperors had interposed among the great secular
states, to break the impulse of aggressive warfare, to serve as models
of good order, and to maintain a direct hold in the imperial hands
on territories which could not become hereditary in a succession of
priests. Not only so; the debatable lands which lay between the great
nations were breaking up into minor states: landgraves, margraves, and
counts palatine were assuming the functions of dukes; the dukes, where
they could not maintain the independence of kings, were seeing their
powers limited and their territories divided. Thus Bavaria was soon to
be dismembered to form a duchy of Austria; Saxony was falling to pieces
between the archbishops of Cologne and the margraves of Brandenburg:
Franconia between the Emperor and the Count Palatine; Swabia was the
portion of the reigning imperial house, the treasury therefore out
of which the Emperor had to carve rewards for his servants. Between
the great house of the Welf in Saxony, Bavaria, and Lombardy, and
the Hohenstaufen on the imperial throne and in Franconia and Swabia,
subsisted the jealousy which was sooner or later to reach the heart
of the Empire itself, to supply the force which threw the dislocated
provinces into absolute division.


  The intermediate

[Sidenote: France.]

Westward was France under Lewis VII., divided from Germany by the
long narrow range of the Lotharingian provinces, over which the
imperial rule was recognized as nominal only. These provinces formed
a debatable boundary line, which had for one of its chief functions
the maintenance of peace between the descendants of Hugh Capet and the
representatives of the majesty of Charles and Otto; and which served
its turn, for between France and the Hohenstaufen empire there was
peace and alliance. But many of the provinces which now form part of
France were then imperial, and beyond the Rhone and Meuse the king
of Paris had no vassals and but uncertain allies. Within his feudal
territory, the count of Flanders to the north, the duke of Aquitaine
to the south, the duke of Normandy with his claims over Maine and
Brittany, cut him off from the sea; and even the little strip of coast
between Flanders and Normandy was held by the count of Boulogne, who
at the moment was likewise king of England. Yet the kingdom of France
was by no means at its deepest degradation. Lewis VI. had kept alive
the idea of central power, and had obtained for his son the hand of the
heiress of Aquitaine; the schemes were already in operation by which
the kings were to offer to the provinces a better and firmer rule than
they enjoyed under their petty lords, by which fraud and policy were to
split up the principalities and attract them fragment by fragment to
the central power, and by which even Normandy itself was in little more
than fifty years to be recovered; by which a real central government
was to be instituted, and the semblance of national unity to be
completed by the formation of a distinct national character.


  The Low

North of France the imperial provinces of Lower Lorraine, and the
debatable lands between Lorraine and Saxony, had much the same
indefinite character as belonged to the southern parts of the
intermediate kingdom. They seldom took part in the work of the Empire,
although they were nominally part of it, and the stronger emperors
enforced their right. But as a rule they were too distant from the
centre of government to fear much interference, and, enjoying such
freedom as they could, they gladly recognized the emperor’s sway when
they required his help. We shall see the princes of Lorraine taking
no small part in the negotiations between England and Germany under
Richard and John, but they generally played a game with Flanders,
France, and the Empire which has but an indirect bearing on European
politics; and we chiefly hear of these lands as furnishing the hordes
of mercenary soldiers for the crusades and internal wars of Europe,
until almost suddenly the Flemish cities break upon our eye as centres
of commerce and political life.


  Spain and

Southward lie Spain and Portugal; divided into several small kingdoms
between closely allied and kindred kings, all employed in the long
crusade of seven centuries against the Moor; a crusade which is now
beginning to have hopes of successful issue. Central Spain, on the
line of the Tagus, is still in dispute, although Toledo had been
taken in 1085, and Saragossa in 1118. Lisbon was taken with the
help of the Crusaders in 1147. In each of the Christian states of
Spain, free institutions of government, national assemblies and local
self-government, preserved distinct traces of the Teutonic or Gothic
origin of the ruling races; and even before the English parliament grew
to completeness, the Cortes of Castile and Aragon were theoretically
complete assemblies of the three estates. The growth of Spain is one
of the distinct features of our epoch; but it is a growth apart. There
are as yet scarcely more than one or two points at which it comes in
contact with the general action of Europe.



Accession of Stephen--Arrest of the Bishops--Election of Matilda--The
Anarchy--The Pacification.


  Results of
  the Norman

The English had had hard times under the Conqueror and his sons, but
they had learned a great lesson; they had learned that they were one
people. The Normans too, the great nobles who had divided the land,
and hoped to create little monarchies of their own in every county and
manor, had had hard times. Confiscation, mutilation, exile, death had
come heavily upon them. They also had had a lesson to learn, to rid
themselves of personal and selfish aims, to consolidate a powerful
state under a king of their own race, and to content themselves as
servants of the law with the substantial enjoyment of powers which they
found themselves too weak to wrest out of the hands of the king, the
supreme lawgiver and administrator of the law. This lesson they had
not learned. They had submitted with an ill grace to the strong rule
of the king’s ministers, the men whom they had taught to guard against
their attempts at usurpation. Hence throughout these reigns the Norman
king and the English people had been thrown together. They soon learned
that they had common aims, finding themselves constantly in array
against a common enemy. Hence, too, the English had already an earnest
of the final victory. They grew whilst their adversaries wasted. The
successive generations of the Normans found their wiser sons learning
to call themselves English, while those who would not learn English
ways declined in number and strength from year to year.


  of king and

The Conqueror in a measure, and Henry I. with more clearness, perceived
this, and foresaw the result. They were careful not only to call
themselves English kings, but nominally at least to maintain English
customs, and to rule by English laws. One by one the great houses which
furnished rivals to their power dropped before them, and Henry I. at
the close of his reign was so strong that, had it not been for the
fact that he had by habit and routine made himself a law to himself,
he might easily have played the part of a tyrant. But the forces which
he and his father had so sturdily repressed were not extinguished; nor
was the administrative system, by which they at once maintained the
rights of the English and kept their own grasp of power, sufficiently
consolidated to stand steadily when the hands that had reared it were
taken away.


  Question of

This also, it may seem probable, Henry I. distinctly saw. It was to
his apprehensions on this account that for years before his death he
was busily employed in securing the succession by every possible means
to his own children. The feeling which led him to do so is not quite
capable of simple analysis. He had no great love for his daughter, the
empress Matilda; what paternal affection he had to lavish had been
spent on his son William, whose death was no doubt the trouble that
went nearest to his heart. We cannot suppose that he cared much for
the people whom, although they had delivered him more than once in
the most trying times, he never scrupled, when it suited his purpose,
to treat as slaves. It would almost seem as if he felt that, unless
he could anticipate the continuance of power in the hands of his
daughter and her offspring, his own tenure of it for the present would
be incomplete, and the great glory of the sons of Rollo would suffer
diminution in his hands.


  taken by
  Henry I.

Three times, therefore, by the most solemn oaths, he had tried to
secure the adherence of the nation to her and to her son. Vast
assemblies had been held, attended by Normans and English alike. Earl
Stephen and earl Robert had vied with one another as to who should
take the first oath of homage; the concurrence of the Church had been
promised and, so far as gratitude and a sense of interest as well as
duty could go, had been secured. But all this had been insufficient to
stay Henry’s misgivings. At the time of his death he had been already
four years in Normandy striving to keep peace between Matilda and her
husband, Geoffrey of Anjou, between the Normans and the Angevins, and
to consolidate his hold on the duchy, which had at last, since the
death of his nephew and brother, become indisputably his own. His
sudden death occurred in the midst of these designs. It was said and
sworn to by his steward, Hugh Bigot, a man whose later career adds
little to his authority as a witness, that just before his death,
provoked by her perverseness, he had disinherited his daughter. It may
have been so; the threat of disinheritance may have been a menace which
his unexpected death gave him no time to recall. But the very report
was enough. He died on December 1, 1135; and from that moment the
succession was treated as an open question, to be discussed by Normans
and Englishmen, together or apart, as they pleased.


  Who were
  the competitors?


  Stephen of

We may if we choose speculate on the motives that swayed the great
men. No doubt the pure Norman nobles would gladly have set aside
altogether the descendants of Harlotta; all the Normans together would
have refused the rule of Geoffrey of Anjou. A new duke, if they must
have a duke, might be chosen from the house of Champagne, from among
the sons of Adela, the Conqueror’s greatest and most famous daughter;
Count Theobald was the reigning count, but he was not the eldest son,
and as his elder brother had been set aside so might he. Stephen, the
next brother, the Count of Mortain and Boulogne, and first baron of
Normandy, had already his footing in the land. His wife too was of
English descent. Her mother was sister to the good queen of Henry I.,
and whatever the old king had hoped to gain by his blood connection
with his subjects, Stephen might gain by his wife. Stephen was a brave
man, too, and he had as yet made no enemies.


  arrival in

But his success, such as it was, was due to his own promptness. He had,
as count of Boulogne, the command of the shortest passage to England.
Whilst the Normans were discussing the merits of his brother Theobald,
he took on himself to be his own messenger. He remembered how his uncle
had won the crown and treasure of William Rufus; he left the Norman
lords to look after the funeral of their dead lord and sailed for Kent;
at Dover and at Canterbury he was received with sullen silence. The
men of Kent had no love for the stranger who came, as his predecessor
Eustace had done, to trouble the land; on he went to London, and there
he learned that the same prejudice which existed in Normandy against
the Angevins was in full force. “We will not have,” the Londoners said,
“a stranger to rule over us;” though how Stephen of Champagne was more
a stranger than Geoffrey of Anjou it is not easy to see. Anyhow, as
nothing succeeds like success, nothing is so potent to secure the name
of king as the wearing of the crown. So Stephen went on to Winchester,
and there secured the crown and treasure. In little more than three
weeks he had come again to London and claimed the crown as the elect of
the nation.


  Election of
  and coronation.

The assembly which saw the coronation and did homage on St. Stephen’s
day was but a poor substitute for the great councils which had attended
the summons of William and Henry, and in which Stephen, as a subject,
had played a leading part. There was his brother Henry of Winchester,
the skilled and politic churchman, who was willing enough to be a
king’s brother if he might build up ecclesiastical supremacy through
him; there was Archbishop William of Corbeuil, who had undertaken
by the most solemn obligations to support Matilda, and who knew
that his prerogative vote might decide the contest against Stephen,
although it could not restore the chances of peace; there was Roger
of Salisbury, the late king’s prime minister, the master builder of
the constitutional fabric, undecided between duty and the desire of
retaining power. Very few of the barons were there; Hugh Bigot, indeed,
with his convenient oath, and a few more whose complicity with Stephen
had already thrown them on him as a sole chance of safety. The rest of
the great men present were the citizens of London, Norman barons of
a sort, foreign merchants, some few rich Englishmen: all of them men
who were used to public business, who knew how Henry I. had held his
courts, who believed confidently in force and money. They had first
encouraged Stephen from fear of Geoffrey; and more or less they held
to Stephen as long as he lived. These men constituted the witenagemot
that chose him king, and overruled the scruples of the inconstant
archbishop. They took upon them to represent the nation that should
ratify the election of a new king with their applause.


  First charter
  of Stephen.

Henry I. was not yet in his grave; but all promises made to him
were forgotten. With what seems a sort of irony, Stephen issued as
his coronation charter a simple promise to observe and compel the
observance of all the good laws and good customs of his uncle.

The news of the great event traveled rapidly. Count Theobald, vexed and
disappointed as he was, refused to contest the crown which his brother
already wore; Geoffrey and Matilda were quarrelling with their own
subjects in Anjou; and Robert of Gloucester, who hated Stephen more
than he loved Matilda, saw that he must bide his time. Some crisis
must soon occur; he knew that Stephen would soon spend his treasure
and break his promises. Meanwhile the old king must be buried like a
king; and the great lords came over with the corpse to Reading where he
had built his last resting-place. There Stephen met them, within the
twelve days of Christmas; and after the funeral, at Oxford or somewhere
in the neighborhood, he arranged terms with them; terms by which he
endeavored, amplifying the words of his charter, to catch the good-will
of each class of his subjects. To the clergy he promised relief from
the exactions of the late reign and freedom of election; to the barons
he promised a relaxation of the forest law, the execution of which had
been hardened and sharpened by Henry I.; and to the people he promised
the abolition of danegeld. “These things chiefly and other things
besides he vowed to God,” says Henry of Huntingdon, “but he kept none
of them.” The promises were perhaps not insincere at the time; anyhow
they had the desired effect, and united the nation for the moment.


  First invasion
  by the Scots.

The king by this means got time to hasten into the North, where King
David of Scots, the uncle of the empress, had invaded the country in
her name. The two kings met at Durham. David had taken Newcastle and
Carlisle; Newcastle he surrendered, Carlisle Stephen left in his hands
as a bribe for neutrality. It was too much for David, who, although
a good king, was a Scot. He agreed to make peace: but he had sworn
fealty to his niece: he could not become Stephen’s man. His son Henry,
however, might bear the burden; so Henry swore and Stephen sealed the
bargain with the gift of Huntingdon, part of the inheritance of Henry’s
mother, the daughter of Waltheof, the last of the English earls. Then
Stephen went back to London and so to Oxford. There he published a new
charter, intended to comprise the new promises of good government.


  Second charter
  of Stephen.

This was done soon after Easter, and, as the name of earl Robert of
Gloucester is found among the witnesses, it is clear that he had
submitted; but the oath which he took to Stephen was a conditional one,
more like that of a rival potentate than of a dependent; he would be
faithful to the king so long as the king should preserve to him his
rights and dignities. This was no slight concession, made by Robert,
doubtless because he saw that his sister’s cause was hopeless; but it
was no slight obligation for Stephen to undertake. Robert had great
feudal domains in England, and all the personal friends of his father
and sister were at his beck. Stephen might have been safer with him as
a declared enemy. But for the moment there was peace.

The charter, published at Oxford, promised good government very
circumstantially; the abuses of the Church, of the forests, and of the
sheriffs, were all to be remedied. But the enactments made were not
nearly so clear or circumstantial as the promises made at the late
king’s funeral.


  of 1136.

The first cloud, and it was a very little one, arose soon after. Before
Whitsuntide Stephen was taken ill, and a rumor went forth that he was
dead. The Norman rage for treason began to ferment. Hugh Bigot, the
lord of Norwich, was the first to take up arms; Baldwin of Redvers,
the greatest lord in Devonshire, followed. But the king recovered as
quickly as he had sickened. He took Norwich and Exeter, but--deserting
thus the uniform policy of his predecessors--spared the traitors.
Cheered by this measure of success, he immediately broke the second of
his constitutional promises, holding a great court of inquiry into the
forests, and impleading and punishing at his pleasure.


  of troubles.


  invasion by
  the Scots,
  in 1138.


  Battle of
  the Standard.

The year 1136 affords little more of interest; the year 1137 was spent
in securing Normandy, which Geoffrey and Matilda were unable to hold
against him, and in forming a close alliance with France. When he
returned, just before Christmas, he had spent nearly all his money,
and the evil day was not far off. Rebellion was again threatening, and
a mighty dark cloud had for the second time arisen in the North. We
are not told by the historians exactly whether the king’s misrule made
the opening for the revolt, or the revolt forced him into misrule.
Possibly the two evils waxed worse and worse together; for neither
party trusted the other, and under the circumstances every precaution
wore the look of aggression. Stephen was to the last degree impolitic;
and to say that is to allow that he was more than half dishonest. Still
he had the great majority of the people on his side. A premature but
general rebellion in the early months of 1138 was crushed in detail.
Castle after castle was taken; but Robert of Gloucester had now
declared himself, and King David, seeing Stephen busily employed in the
South, invaded Yorkshire. It was a great struggle, but the Yorkshiremen
were equal to the trial. Whether or not they loved Stephen they hated
the Scots. The great barons who were on the king’s side did their part;
the ancient standards of the northern churches, of St. Peter of York,
St. Wilfrid of Ripon, and St. John of Beverley, were hoisted, and
all men flew to them. The old archbishop Thurstan, who had struggled
victoriously twenty years before against King Henry and the archbishop
of Canterbury to boot, sent his suffragan to preach the national cause.
Not only the knights with their men-at-arms, but the husbandmen, with
their sons and servants, the old Anglo-Saxon militia, the parish
priests at the head of their parishioners, streamed forth over hill and
plain, and in the Battle of the Standard, as it was called, they beat
the Scots at Cowton Moor with such completeness that the rebellion came
to nothing in consequence.









Stephen felt no small addition of strength from this victory, but he
was nearer the end of his treasure and the days of peace were over.
Without money it is hard to act like a statesman; the difficulties
were too strong for Stephen’s gratitude and good faith. Yet he began
his misrule not without some method. The power of Robert of Gloucester
lay chiefly in his influence with the great earls who represented the
families of the Conquest. Stephen also would have a court of great
earls, but in trying to make himself friends he raised up persistent
enemies. He raised new men to new earldoms, but as he had no spare
domains to bestow, he endowed them with pensions charged on the
Exchequer: thus impairing the crown revenue at the moment that his
personal authority was becoming endangered. To refill the treasury he
next debased the coinage. To recruit his military power, diminished by
the rebellion, and by the fact that the weakness of his administration
was letting the county organization fall into decay, he called in
Fleming mercenaries. The very means that he took to strengthen his
position ruined him. The mercenaries alienated the people: the debased
coinage destroyed the confidence of the merchants and the towns: the
new and unsubstantial earldoms provoked the real earls to further
hostility; and the newly created lords demanded of the king new
privileges as the reward and security for their continued services.


  Breach with
  the clergy.

Still the clergy were faithful; and the clergy were very powerful;
they conducted the mechanism of government, they filled the national
councils; they were rich too, and earnest in the preservation of peace.
With Henry of Winchester his brother, Roger of Salisbury his chief
minister, Theobald of Canterbury his nominee, he might still flourish.
The Church at all events was sure to outlive the barons. With almost
incredible imprudence Stephen contrived to throw the clergy into
opposition, and by one fell stroke to break up all the administrative
machinery of the realm. It may be that he was growing suspicious, or
jealous: it is more probable that he acted under foolish advice. Anyhow
he did it.


  Roger of

Roger of Salisbury, the great justiciar of Henry I., was now an old
man. He had contributed more perhaps than any other to set Stephen on
the throne, and had not only first placed in his hands the sinews of
war, but had maintained the revenue of the crown by maintaining the
administration of justice and finance. He had not served for naught.
He had got his son made chancellor; two of his nephews were bishops,
one of them treasurer of the king as well. He had no humble idea of his
own position: he had built castles the like of which for strength and
beauty were not found north of the Alps. He had perhaps some intention
of holding back when the struggle came and of turning the scale at the
last moment as seemed him best, an intention which he shared with the
chief of his brethren; for Henry of Winchester, although the king’s
brother, was before all things a churchman; and Theobald of Canterbury,
although he owed his place either to the good-will or to the connivance
of Stephen, was consistently and more or less actively a faithful
adherent to Matilda and her son.


  Arrest of
  the bishops,

How much Stephen knew of the designs of the bishops we know not, what
he suspected we can only suspect: but the result was unmistakable.
He tried a surprise that turned to his own discomfiture. He arrested
bishop Roger and his nephew, Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, and
compelled them to resign the castles which he pretended to think they
were fortifying against him. At once the church was in arms: sacrilege
and impiety determined even Henry of Winchester, who in 1139 became
legate of the see of Rome, against his brother.


  The Empress

This would have been hard enough to bear, as many far stronger kings
than Stephen had learnt and were to learn to their cost. But the very
men on whom his violence had fallen were his own ministers, justiciar,
chancellor, and treasurer. The Church was in danger, the ministers
were in prison: justice, taxation, police, everything else was in
abeyance; and just at the right time the empress landed. At Christmas
1139 the whole game was up: the land was divided, the empress had the
west, Stephen the east; the Church was in secession from the State.
Roger died broken-hearted. Henry was negotiating with the empress.
The administration had come to naught, there were no courts of law,
no revenue, no councils of the realm. There was not even strength for
an honest open civil war. The year 1140 is filled with a mere record
of anarchy. At the court at Whitsuntide only one bishop attended and
he was a foreigner. Stephen we see now obdurate, now penitent; now
energetic, now despondent; the barons selling their services for new
promises from each side.


  of anarchy.

It is now that the period begins which William of Newburgh likens to
the days when there was no king in Israel, but every man did what was
right in his own eyes, nay, not what was right, but what was wrong
also, for every lord was king and tyrant in his own house. Castles
innumerable sprang up, and as fast as they were built they were filled
with devils; each lord judged and taxed and coined. The feudal spirit
of disintegration had for once its full play. Even party union was at
an end, and every baron fought on his own behalf. Feudalism had its
day, and the completeness of its triumph ensured its fall.


  Stephen taken
  prisoner, 1141.


  Election of

All this was not realized at once. The new year 1141 found Stephen
besieging Lincoln, which was defended by Ranulf, earl of Chester, and
Robert of Gloucester. Stephen had not yet been defeated in the field,
and he had still by his side a considerable body of barons, though none
so great as the almost independent earl whom he was attacking. Now,
however, he was outmatched or out-generaled. After a struggle marked
chiefly by his own valiant exploits he was taken prisoner, and sent to
the empress by her brother as a great prize. The battle of Lincoln was
fought on February 2, and a week after Easter, in a great council of
bishops, barons, and abbots, Matilda, the empress of the Romans, was
elected Lady of England at Winchester. This assembly was, it must be
allowed, mainly clerical; but there is no doubt that it represented
the wishes of a great part of the barons, who, so far as they were
willing to have a king or queen at all, preferred Matilda to Stephen.
Henry of Winchester, however, took advantage of the opportunity to make
somewhat extravagant claims on behalf of his order, declaring that the
clergy had the right to elect the sovereign, and actually carrying
out the ceremony of election. The citizens of London pleaded hard
for the release of Stephen, whom they, six years before, had elected
with scarcely less audacious assumption, but in vain. Henry was now
at the crest of the wave, and he saw the triumph of the Church in the
humiliation of his brother. War was the great trial by combat ordained
between kings. Stephen had failed in that ordeal; judgment of God was
declared against him; like Saul he was found wanting.


  Purpose of
  the barons.

So Matilda became the Lady of the English; she was not crowned, because
perhaps the solemn consecration which she had received as empress
sufficed, or perhaps Stephen’s royalty was so far forth indefeasible;
but she acted as full sovereign nevertheless, executed charters,
bestowed lands and titles, and exerted power sufficient to show that
she had all the pride and tyrannical intolerance of her father, without
his prudence or self-control. She, too, was on the crest of her wave
and had her little day. But the barons looked coolly on the triumph;
it was their policy that neither competitor should destroy the other,
but that both should grow weaker and weaker, and so leave room for
each several feudatory to grow stronger and stronger. Neither king nor
empress had anything like command of his or her friends, or anything
like general acceptance.



Stephen’s fortunes reached their lowest depth when the Londoners a
few days before Midsummer received the empress as their sovereign.
She had no sooner achieved success than she began to alienate the
friends who had won it for her. The bishop of Winchester, although he
had not scrupled to sacrifice his brother’s title to the exigencies
of his policy, bore no grudge against the queen and her children,
and endeavored to prevail on the empress to guarantee to the latter
at least their mother’s inheritance. Matilda would be satisfied with
nothing less than the utter ruin of the rival house, and although the
queen was raising a great army in Kent for Stephen’s liberation, she
refused even to temporize. Henry in disgust retired from court and took
up his residence at Winchester; thither the empress, having in vain
attempted to recall him to her side, and having made London too hot
to hold her, followed him, and established herself in the royal castle
as he had done in the episcopal palace. Winchester thus witnessed the
gathering of the two hosts for a new struggle.


  The earl of


  of prisoners.

The queen brought up her army from Kent, the king of Scots and the earl
of Gloucester brought up their forces from the north and west. But the
queen showed the most promptitude. The baronage who were not bound to
the legate’s policy refused to complete the king’s ruin, and stood
aloof, intending to profit by the common weakness of the competitors.
In attempting to secure the empress’s retreat to Devizes, on September
14, the earl of Gloucester was taken prisoner, and the two parties from
this time forward played with more equal chances. An exchange of the
two great captives was at once proposed, but mutual distrust, and the
desire on both sides to take the utmost advantage of their situation,
delayed the negotiation for six weeks. Stephen at Bristol, Robert at
Rochester, must have watched the debate with longing eyes. The countess
Mabilia of Gloucester was prepared to ship Stephen off to Ireland,
if a hair of Robert’s head were injured; the queen demanded no less
security for her husband’s safety. At last, on All Saints’ Day, both
were released, each leaving security in the hands of the other that the
terms should be fairly observed.

As soon as they were free they both prepared for a continuance of the
struggle. The empress fixed her court again at Oxford; Stephen, who
seems at once to have resumed his royal position, the claims founded
by the election of the empress suffering a practical refutation by his
release, re-entered London. The legate, still desiring to direct the
storm, called a council at Westminster in December, where he apologized
for his conduct rather than defended it, and where the king laid a
formal complaint against the treason of the men who had taken and
imprisoned him. But the time for open hostilities was deferred, the
certain exhaustion which after a few months more renders the history
an absolute blank, was beginning to tell. Six months passed without a
sign. By Easter the empress had determined to send for her husband.
Geoffrey would not obey his wife’s summons until he had earl Robert’s
personal assurance that he should not be made a fool of. Earl Robert
went to persuade his brother-in-law to throw his sword into the scale.
Geoffrey determined first to secure Normandy, and kept the earl at work
there until the news from England peremptorily recalled him.


  Success of
  Stephen in



Stephen had waited until Robert had left England, and then, emerging
from his sick room, had pounced down upon Wareham, the strong castle
which the earl had entrusted to his son, had taken it, and then
hastening northwards, had burnt the town of Oxford, and shut up the
empress in the castle. There she remained until her brother could
succor her. He returned at once, recovered Wareham and some castles in
Dorset, and called together the forces of his party at Cirencester. But
the winter was now advancing; the empress contrived a romantic escape
in the snow from Oxford, and before active war could be resumed she
directed that the castle should be surrendered. So the year 1142 comes
to an end, and we see the two parties resting in their exhaustion.
The western shires acknowledged Matilda, who reigned at Gloucester;
the eastern acknowledged Stephen, who made Kent his head quarters.
The midland counties were the seat of languid warfare, partly carried
on about Oxford, which was a central debating ground between the two
competitors, partly in Lincolnshire and Essex, where Stephen had to
keep in order those great nobles who aimed at independence. Geoffrey de
Mandeville, the earl of Essex, who accepted his earldom from both the
courts, employed him chiefly in 1143 and 1144. The earl of Chester, who
was uniformly opposed to Stephen, but who no doubt fought for himself
far more than for the empress, held Lincoln as a constant thorn in the
royal side. In 1145 Oxfordshire and Berkshire were the seat of war; in
1146 Stephen surprised the earl of Chester at Northampton and compelled
him to give up Lincoln, and now for the first time seems to have
thought himself a king. In despite of all precedent and all prejudice,
defying a superstition to which even Henry II. thought it wise to bow,
that no king should wear his crown within the walls of Lincoln, he wore
his crown there on Christmas Day.


  Period of

In passing thus rapidly over these years we are but following the
example of our historians, who share in the exhaustion of the
combatants, recording little but an occasional affray, and a complaint
of general misery. Neither side had strength to keep down its friends,
much less to encounter its enemies. The price of the support given
to both was the same--absolute license to build castles, to practice
private war, to hang their private enemies, to plunder their neighbors,
to coin their money, to exercise their petty tyrannies as they pleased.
England was dismembered. North of the Tees ruled the king of Scots,
David the lawgiver and the church builder, under whose rule Cumberland,
Westmoreland and Northumberland were safe; the bishopric of Durham,
too, under his wing, had peace. The West of England, as we have seen,
was under the earl of Gloucester, who in his sister’s name founded
earldoms, and endeavored to concentrate in the hands of his supporters
such vestiges of the administrative organization as still subsisted.
But the great earls of the house of Beaumont, Roger of Leicester and
Waleran of Meulan, who dominated the midland shires, chose to act as
independent sovereigns and made terms both in England and Normandy as
if they had been kings.


  of Matilda.

In all the misery, and exhaustion, and balance of evils, however, time
was working. The first generation of actors was leaving the stage,
and a new one--if not better, still freed from the burden of odium,
duplicity, and dishonesty which had marked the first--came into play.
And the balance of change veered now to Stephen’s side. The year 1145
cut off Geoffrey de Mandeville in the midst of his sins, the year 1143
had seen the death of Miles of Hereford, the empress’s most faithful
servant. In 1147 the great earl Robert of Gloucester passed away, and
it is no small sign of the absolute deadness of the country at the
time, that both his death and the departure of the empress, which must
have almost coincided with it, are not even noticed in the best of the
contemporary historians.


  The second

This year 1147 sees Stephen again ostensibly the sole ruler; really,
however, devoid of power, as he had always been of counsel, his only
strength being the weakness of every one else. This year is marked
by the great crusade of the emperor Conrad of Hohenstaufen, and of
Lewis VII., and Eleanor of Aquitaine, an expedition in which England
nationally had no share, and in which few of the barons took part, but
which was recruited to a considerable extent by volunteers from the
English ports. The capture of Lisbon from the Moors, and the placing
of the kingdom of Portugal upon a sound footing thereby, was the work
mainly of the English pilgrims, but it was not a national work, and it
touches our history merely as suggesting a probability that some of
our most turbulent spirits may have joined the crusade, and thereby
increased the chances of peace at home. With 1147, then, begins a new
series of movements and a new set of actors, the details of whose
doings are involved and obscure.


  at Rome.



The death of earl Robert and the departure of the empress left their
party without an ostensible head; for Geoffrey of Anjou was far more
intent on securing Normandy than England, and his son Henry was only
just springing into manhood, David of Scotland being looked upon
apparently as the guardian of his interests. Henry of Winchester had
lost the legation, which had given him such great strength in the
earlier part of the struggle; the popes who had conferred it and
promised to renew it, had rapidly given way to successors who were less
favorable, and the chair of St. Peter was now filled by Eugenius III.,
the friend of St. Bernard, who was at this time the great spiritual
power in European politics. The scantiness of our authorities does not
allow us to speak with certainty, or to decide whether St. Bernard in
the English quarrel was moved by a conviction of Stephen’s wrong-doing,
or by the influence of the Cistercian order; it is, however, certain
that the king and his brother by attempting to force their nephew,
afterward canonized as St. William, into the see of York, in opposition
to the Cistercian abbot of Fountains, had thrown that strong order,
of which Bernard was the ornament, into opposition; and it is also
certain that the strings of political intrigue were held by Eugenius
III., and that every possible advantage was given by him to Henry of
Anjou. The Englishman, Nicolas of St. Alban’s, afterward pope Adrian
IV., was a close confidant of the pope, and John of Salisbury, the
friend of Becket, was a close confidant of Nicolas; Becket was the
clerk and secretary of Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury. These may
have been the three strands of a strong diplomatic cord. The first
impulse, however, which was to bring about Stephen’s final humiliation
was, as before, given by himself. In 1148, Eugenius III. called a
council at Rheims. Archbishop Theobald asked leave to go. Stephen
suspected that a plot would be concocted on behalf of the empress and
her son; Henry of Winchester suspected that the archbishop wanted to
apply for the legation. Leave was therefore refused, and Theobald
went without leave; Stephen took the measures usual in such cases,
confiscation and threats, and sent his chief ministers, Richard de
Lucy and William Martel, to counteract the archbishop’s influence
in the council. This had the effect of throwing Theobald, who had
hitherto only been restrained by his oath of allegiance from taking
the side of the empress, openly into the arms of her party; so much
so that he preferred exile to submission, and even went so far as to
consecrate the celebrated Gilbert Foliot, the abbot of Gloucester,
and nominee of Henry of Anjou, to the see of Hereford, in opposition
to both king and bishops. Neither Stephen nor Theobald was, however,
as yet in a position to act freely. Stephen confiscated and Theobald
excommunicated, but a hollow peace was patched up between them in the
autumn by Hugh Bigot and the bishops.


  Question of

In 1149, Henry of Anjou, now sixteen years old, was knighted by his
great uncle David, at Carlisle. Stephen, accounting this the beginning
of war, hastened to York; but went no farther, and that cloud seemed to
have passed away. The king was growing old, and it was necessary for
him to secure the succession to his son Eustace; the military interest
of the time, always very languid, now flags altogether, and the real
business is conducted at the papal court. There, as usual, fortune
seems to halt according to the depth of the purses of the rivals, the
balance, however, in the main inclining as the pope would have it.
Sometimes there is talk of peace; now the bishop of Winchester is to be
made archbishop of Wessex, now Theobald is to have the legation; now
the bishops are persuaded to recognise Eustace, now they are forbidden
peremptorily to do any such thing. And this goes on for five years,
Stephen relieving the monotony of the time by an occasional expedition
into the West of England.


  Progress of
  Henry of Anjou.

Henry, however, was making good use of his time on the Continent.
Eustace, whose marriage with Constantia of France, a marriage purchased
by the treasures of bishop Roger in 1139, made him a dangerous
competitor, laid claim to Normandy. Geoffrey, after defending it on
his son’s behalf during two years, finally made it over to him in 1151
and then died. Henry the next year married Eleanor of Aquitaine, the
divorced wife of Lewis VII., and so secured nearly the whole of Western
France. By the Christmas of 1152 he was ready to make a bold stroke for
England also.


  Arrival of
  Henry, 1153.


  for peace.


  death 1154.

And England was ready for him. The bishops were watching for their
time. The young Eustace was offending and oppressing. The king had
now thrown the great house of Leicester as well as the prelates into
determined opposition. The cessation of justice and the prevalence
of private war made every one long for any change that would bring
rest. In 1152 the bishops, acting under instructions from Rome,
finally refused to sanction the coronation of Eustace, and Stephen,
having again tried force, was compelled to acquiesce. But he saw the
end approaching. In January 1153 Henry of Anjou landed. His friends
gathered round him, Stephen and Eustace collected their mercenaries.
At Malmesbury, and again at Wallingford, the two armies stood face to
face, but the great barons refused to abide by the decision of arms;
on both occasions they mediated, and the armies separated without a
blow. Just after the second meeting Eustace died, and Stephen whose
health was failing, who had lost his noble-hearted wife in 1152, and
whose surviving children were too young to be exposed to the chances or
risks of a disputed succession, could only give way. The negotiations,
begun at Wallingford, were carried on and completed by a treaty at
Westminster, concluded in November, in which Stephen recognised Henry
as his heir, and Henry guaranteed the rights of Stephen’s children to
the inheritance of their parents. At the same time a scheme of reform,
which was to replace the administrative system of Henry I., on its
basis, was determined on, the details of which form a clue to the early
policy of the reign of Henry II. Henry left England some three months
after the conclusion of the peace. His life, it was said, was not safe,
and the pressure which he had to put upon Stephen to induce him to
carry out the reforms was only too likely to result in the renewal
of war. He went away about Easter 1154. Stephen blundered on for six
months and then died; not of a broken heart, perhaps, as the kings of
history generally die, but certainly a disappointed man.


  Estimate of
  Stephen’s character.

The reign of Stephen was, it may be fairly said, the period at which
all the evils of feudalism came in England into full bearing, previous
to being cut off and abolished forever under his great successor.
The reign exemplifies to us what the whole century that followed the
Conquest must have been if there had not been strong kings like William
I., and Henry I., sturdily to repress all the disintegrating designs
of their barons and to protect the people. The personal character of
Stephen needs no comment. He was brave. He was at least so far gentle
that none of the atrocious cruelties alleged against his predecessors
are attributed to him. He was false, partly no doubt under the pressure
of circumstances, which he could not control, but in which he had
involved himself by his first betrayal of faith. What may be the
legal force of his election by the nation we need not ask: it was the
breach of his oath that condemned him. No man trusted him; and as he
trusted no one, knowing that he did not deserve trust, and that those
who had betrayed their oath to his uncle would not hesitate to betray
their oaths to him, he expected no one to trust him. He was not great,
either for good or for evil, in himself. If he had had more wisdom he
might have shown more honesty; certainly if he had been more honest he
would have gained more credit for wisdom. Had he been either a more
unscrupulous knave or a more honest man he would certainly have been
far more successful.



 Terms of Henry’s accession--His character--His early reforms--His
 relations with France--War of Toulouse--Summary of nine years’ work.


  attached by
  to Henry’s

Very few epochs of history are more clearly marked than the accession
of Henry II. Most great eras are determined, and their real importance
ascertained, long after the event; the famous Parliament of Simon de
Montfort, in 1265, for instance, is scarcely named by the contemporary
historians, and only rises into importance as later history unfolds its
real bearings. But the succession of Henry is hailed by the writers
of his time as a dawn of hope, a certain omen of restoration and
refreshing. Often and often, it is true, such omens are discerned on
the accession of a new king; men hasten to salute the rising sun; good
wishes to the new sovereign take the form of prophecy, and, where they
are fulfilled, partly help on their own fulfilment. Here, however, we
have omens that were amply fulfilled, and an epoch which those who
lived in it were the first to recognise. The fact proves how weary
England was of Stephen’s incompetency, how thoroughly she had learned
the miserable consequences of a feudal system of society unchecked by
strong government, how readily she welcomed the young and inexperienced
but strong and, in the main, honest rule of Henry.




  Youth and
  education of

Henry II. was born in 1133; and if we may believe the testimony of
Roger Hoveden, who was one of his chaplains, and a very conscientious
compiler of histories, he was recognized by Henry I. as his successor
directly after his birth. When his grandfather died he was two years
old. His father and mother made, as we have seen, a very ill-concerted
effort to secure the succession, and it was not until the boy was eight
years old that the struggle for the crown really began. In 1141 he
was brought to England; then no doubt he learned a dutiful hatred of
Stephen, and was trained in the use of arms; but whether he received
his training under his father in France or under his uncle, Robert of
Gloucester, in England, or under his great uncle, David of Scotland, we
are not told. Only we know that, when he was sixteen, he was knighted
at Carlisle by King David; that, like a wise boy, he determined to
secure his French dominions before he attempted the recovery of
England; that he succeeded to Normandy and Anjou in 1151, when he
was eighteen; married his wife, the Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine who
had been divorced from Lewis VII., and secured her inheritance, when
he was nineteen; that he came again to England and forced Stephen to
submit to terms when he was twenty; and that at the age of twenty-one
he succeeded him on the throne in pursuance of those terms. These
dates are sufficient to prove that, although Henry might have got
considerable experience in arms as a boy and young man, he could
scarcely have had yet the education of a lawgiver. Somewhat of politics
he might have learnt, but he had not had time or opportunity to learn
a regular theory of policy, or to create a method of government which,
when the time for action came, he might put into execution. The
extraordinary power which he showed when the time for action really
arrived was in part a gift of genius; partly too it arose from his
wisdom in choosing experienced advisers, and partly it was an effect
of his following the broad lines of his grandfather’s administrative


  Character of
  Henry II.


  His family


  His great position
  in Christendom.

Henry II. was a very great sovereign in many ways: he was an admirable
soldier, most careful in forming plans, wonderfully rapid in the
execution of them; he was at once cautious and adventurous, sparing
of human life and moderate in the use of victory. Yet he was far from
being a mild or gentle enemy; and he was economical of human life
rather because of its cost in money than from any pitifulness. If he
spared an enemy it was only when he had entirely disabled him from
doing harm, or when he was fully assured of his power to turn him into
a friend. His foes accused him of being treacherous, but his treachery
mainly consisted in letting them deceive themselves. Thus he was no
hero of probity, and his craft may have gone farther in the direction
of cunning than was approved by the rough diplomacy of his time. He
is said to have had a maxim, that it is easier to repent of words
than of deeds, and therefore wiser to break your word than to fulfil
an inconvenient obligation; but it cannot be said that the facts of
history show him to have acted upon this shameless avowal, captious
and unscrupulous as his policy more than once appears. He had no
doubt a difficult part to play. His dominions brought him into close
contact with all the great sovereigns of Europe. He had considerable
ambitions--for himself, to hold fast all that he had acquired by
inheritance and marriage; for his sons to obtain by marriage or other
settlement provinces which, united to their hereditary provision,
might make them either a family of allied sovereigns or an imperial
federation under himself, and in each form the mightiest house in
Christendom. Such a network of design was spread before him from the
first. As the head of the house of Anjou the kings and princes of
Palestine regarded him as their family representative, the grandson
of King Fulk, and the man created for the re-conquest of the East. To
him in their utmost need they sent the offer of their crown, the keys
of the Holy Sepulchre and of the Tower of David. As the head of the
Normans he was looked up to by the Sicilian king as the presumptive
successor, and had the strange fortune and self-restraint to decline
the offer of a second crown. The Italians thought him a likely
competitor for the empire when they saw him negotiating for his son
John a marriage with the heiress of Savoy, which would give him the
command of the passes of the Alps; Spain saw in him the leader of a new
crusade against the Moors when he sought for his son Richard a bribe
in the Princess of Aragon, whose portion would give him the passes of
the Pyrenees. Frederick Barbarossa might well feel suspicious when he
heard that English gold was given to build the walls of Milan, and
when he remembered that Henry the Lion, the great Duke of Saxony and
Bavaria, the head of the Welfic house, his cousin and friend, whom with
heavy heart he had sacrificed to the necessities of state, was also
son-in-law of the king of the English. So wide a system of foreign
alliances and designs helped to make Henry both cautious and crafty.

[Sidenote: Lewis VII.]

Nearer home his ability was tasked by Lewis VII., whose whole policy
consisted in a habit of pious falsehood, who really acted upon the
principle which Henry ironically formulated, and who by either
cowardice or faithlessness made himself far more dangerous than by his


  Henry’s mismanagement
  of his

Henry was a kind and loving father, but his political game led him to
sacrifice the real interest of his children to the design for their
advancement. They soon found out that he used them like chess-men, and
could not see the love which prompted his design. To his people he
was a politic ruler, a great reformer and discipliner; not a hero or
patriot, but a far-seeing king who recognized that the well-being of
the nation was the surest foundation of his own power. As a lawgiver or
financier, or supreme judge, he made his hand felt everywhere; and at
the beginning of his reign, when the need of the reforms was forcibly
impressed on the minds of his subjects by their recent misery, his
reforms were welcomed; he was popular and beloved. By and by, when
he had educated a new generation, and when the dark cloud of sin and
sorrow and ingratitude settled down upon him, they forgot what he had
done in his early days; but they never forgot how great a king he was.
We may not say that he was a good man; but his temptations were very
great, and he was sinned against very much by his wife and children.
It is only in a secondary sense that he was a good king, for he loved
his power first and his people only second; but he was good so far
as selfish wisdom and deep insight into what is good for them could
make him. In his early years he gave promise of something more than
this, and some share of the blame that attends his later short-comings
must rest with those who scrupled at nothing that might humiliate and
disappoint him.

In appearance, we are told, Henry was a tall, stout man, with a short
neck, and projecting but very expressive eyes; he was a careless
dresser, a great hunter, a man of business rather than a model of
chivalry; capable of great exertion, moderate in meat and drink,
and anything but extravagant in personal as opposed to official
expenditure. He was a builder of halls and castles, not very much of
churches; but that may easily be accounted for. We are glad to have
him pictured for us even with this scanty amount of detail, for he is
well worth the trouble of an attempt at least to realize his outward
presentment. Every one knows Henry VIII. by sight; it might be as well
if we had as definite an impression of Henry II.


  Plan of

We have observed, in sketching the close of the last reign, the
existence of certain terms by which Henry and Stephen, after or in
preparation for the peace of November 1153, agreed that the country
should be governed. Those terms are not preserved in any formal
document, but they occur in two or three of the historians of the time,
in a somewhat poetical garb, disguised in language adapted partly from
the prophecies of Merlin, king Arthur’s seer, which were in vogue at
the time, and partly from the words of Holy Scripture; and yet, from
the clue they furnish to the reforms actually carried out by Henry,
they seem to be based upon certain real articles of agreement.


  Term of

By these terms the administration of justice was to be restored,
sheriffs to be appointed to the counties, and a careful examination
into their honesty and justice to be instituted; the castles which
had been built since the death of Henry I. were to be destroyed; the
coinage was to be renewed, a uniform silver currency of lawful weight;
the mercenaries who had flooded the kingdom under Stephen were to be
sent back to their own countries; the estates which had been usurped
were to go to their lawful owners; all property alienated from the
crown was to be resumed, especially the pensions on the Exchequer with
which Stephen endowed his newly-created earls; the royal demesnes were
to be re-stocked, the flocks to return to the hills, the husbandman to
the plough, the merchant to his wares; the swords were to be turned
into ploughshares and the spears into pruning-hooks.


  Meaning of
  these terms.

These sentences give us a clue to Henry’s reforms; that is, they show
us clearly the evils that first called for his attention. The kingdom,
divided in two under Stephen, had been in constant war; the barons on
one side had entered on the lands of the barons on the other; Stephen
had confiscated the estates of Matilda’s friends in the East of
England, Matilda had retaliated or authorized reprisals in the West.
All this must be set right. The crown had been the greatest loser, and
the impoverishment of the crown involved the oppression of the people.
Henry gained the crown by a national act; he must then resume not only
the wasteful grants of Stephen but those of his mother also, and, in
his character of king, know neither friends nor foes amongst his own
people. So the Exchequer, the board which managed the royal revenue,
must be placed on its old footing, and under its old managers. With the
Exchequer would revive the ancient office of the sheriffs, to whom both
the collection of revenue, the administration of justice in the shires,
and the maintenance of the military force was entrusted. Thus local
security would restore and revive trade and commerce. And when the
local administration of the sheriff was revived, no doubt the feudal
usurpations of the lords of castles and manors must end. The fortified
houses must be pulled down; no more should the petty tyrants tax and
judge their men, fight their battles like independent princes, and coin
their money as so many kings. The great PEACE should be restored, of
which the king was guardian and keeper. In fact, the golden age was
to return. Nor was it to be delayed until Henry came to the crown; it
was to be Stephen’s last and expiatory task to bring about these happy
results. Stephen, as we saw, wanted either the will or the power to
accomplish it.


  Arrival of
  Henry as
  to Stephen,




  of Winchester.




  and Becket.

Stephen died on October 25, 1154. Henry was in France at the time, and
was not able, owing to the weather, to reach England before December
8. During this time the management of affairs rested with Archbishop
Theobald of Canterbury, and in some measure perhaps with his secretary,
Thomas Becket, who had been so busy negotiating the succession of
Henry. Although it was the theory that during the vacancy of the
throne all law and police were suspended, and no one could be punished
for offences committed in a general abeyance of justice, the country
remained quiet during these six weeks. Perhaps the rogues were cowed
by the apprehension of a strong king coming, perhaps the religious
obedience inculcated by the archbishop was really maintained; perhaps
the same bad weather that kept Henry in Normandy kept thieves and
robbers within doors. Nor was there any political rising during the
interregnum. Stephen’s children were not thought of, at least on this
side of the Channel, as rivals to Henry. The Bishop of Winchester had
learnt moderation, that might in him well pass for wisdom; he might
well feel that his position was a hazardous one, to be maintained only
by caution; and he had no reason, nor excuse for seeking a reason,
for evading the compact which he had had a chief hand in making. It
shows, however, his importance that as soon as Henry landed, which he
did near Southampton, he hastened to Winchester, and there visited
his powerful kinsman, who, as we learn, was now busily employed in
collecting statues and sculpture from southern Europe, and with whom he
made a friendship which, although once or twice seriously endangered,
was never actually broken. Amongst the other leaders who likewise had
learned wisdom we must count the Empress Matilda, who, strange to say,
appears to us no more as the arrogant, self-willed virago, but as a
sage politician and a wise, modest, pious old lady, living at Rouen,
and ruling Normandy in the name of her son with prudent counsel. Not a
word is said now of her succeeding to the throne or even resigning her
rights to Henry; all that was regarded as arranged by the settlement
made with Stephen. Henry succeeded without a competitor. Stephen’s
minister, Richard de Lucy, became his minister. Theobald continued
to be, as his office made him, the great constitutional adviser; and
to reconcile personal convenience with constitutional precedent, he
presented his secretary to the king as his future Chancellor. Thomas
Becket thus entered on his high and fatal office.

[Sidenote: Coronation.]


  of mercenaries.

All this done, Henry appeared at Westminster on the 19th of December,
and was there crowned with the ceremonies observed at his grandfather’s
coronation, now more than half a century past, and bound himself by the
same ancient and solemn promises which Ethelred had made to Dunstan,
and which the Conqueror, Henry I., and Stephen had renewed. Nor,
when crowned, did he lose a moment: he issued a charter, as Stephen
had done, at his coronation, confirming his grandfather’s laws. The
same week he held a great court and council at Bermondsey. At once he
re-established the Exchequer, recalling to the head of it Bishop Nigel
of Ely, whom Stephen had displaced in 1140, and setting at work at
once with the business of the revenue. From this court at Bermondsey
went forth the decree that the Flemish and other foreign mercenaries
should leave the kingdom at once, and that the castles built under
Stephen should be thrown down. The mercenaries fled forthwith. Their
presence was perhaps the most offensive of all insults to the national
pride, and the late reign had taught Normans and Englishmen that they
had now a common nationality in suffering, if not in conquest. By this
article of the agreement Henry faithfully stood. Although he fought all
his foreign wars with mercenaries, he never but once--and that in the
greatest emergency, and to repel foreign mercenaries brought against
him by the rebellious earls in 1174--introduced any such force into
England. Even Richard employed in the kingdom no more foreigners than
formed his ordinary surroundings, and it is not until John’s reign
that we find the country again oppressed and insulted by hired foreign


  Destruction of

The demolition of the castles, which one contemporary writer reckons
at three hundred and seventy-five, another a little later at eleven
hundred and fifteen, was a still greater boon; for these, had they been
suffered to stand, would not only have fitted England to be a constant
scene of civil war, but have continued to afford to their owners
a shadow of claim for the exercise of those feudal jurisdictions
which on the Continent made every baron a petty despot. Castles
were unfortunately not entirely destroyed at this time; the older
strongholds, which had been built under Henry, were untouched, and gave
trouble enough in the one civil war that marks the reign; but the legal
misuse of them was abolished, and they ceased to be centres of feudal


  Fate of the
  new earls.

Another measure which must have been taken at the coronation, when
all the recognised earls did their homage and paid their ceremonial
services, seems to have been the degrading or cashiering of the
supposititious earls created by Stephen and Matilda. Some of these may
have obtained recognition by getting new grants; but those who lost
endowment and dignity at once, like William of Ypres, the leader of the
Flemish mercenaries, could make no terms. They sank to the rank from
which they had been so incautiously raised.


  Resumption of


  of William
  of Aumâle.


  the malcontents.

The resumption of royal estates, and the restoration of the
dispossessed on each side, was probably a much more difficult business
than the humiliation of the earls. Doubtless the enemies of Henry’s
mother would bear their reverses silently, to avoid entire ruin; or
only those would think of continuing in opposition who had no hope
but in terms which might be granted to pertinacious resistance; but
Matilda’s supporters might well think it hard that they should be
called upon to resign their hard-won gains. Still, Henry was a national
king; the resumption of domain was not an Angevin conquest; it was a
national restoration of the state of affairs as it stood before the
beginning of the national quarrel. As a matter of fact only two or
three of the nobles made any resistance. William of Aumâle, the Lord
of Holderness, who had commanded at the Battle of the Standard, and who
played the part of a petty king in Yorkshire, objected to surrender
his great castle at Scarborough. He, of course, had been on Stephen’s
side, and was, indeed, a member of the House of Champagne--the son
of that Count Stephen who had been brought forward by the Norman
earls as competitor with William Rufus. Of Matilda’s old friends,
Hugh Mortimer, the lord of Wigmore, and Roger of Hereford, the son
of Miles the Constable, declined to submit. The King of Scots too,
Malcolm IV., grandson of King David and half-cousin of Henry, although
the Northern counties had been held in trust for Henry, wished to
retain them for himself. In January, 1155, however, Henry marched
northwards and brought the Count of Aumâle to his feet. In March he
was at London holding council for the restoration of peace and the
confirmation of the ancient laws. He declared that neither friend nor
foe should be spared. Roger of Hereford immediately surrendered. Hugh
of Mortimer still held out, and did not submit until Henry had called
out the national force for the capture of Bridgenorth. On exactly the
same ground it was that Henry I., had won his victory over Robert of
Belesme, when in 1102 he laid the axe to the tree of feudal misrule,
and his subjects, rejoicing at the overthrow of the oppressor, hailed
him as now for the first time a king. This was accomplished in July.
And this was a permanent pacification; it was nearly twenty years
before anything like rebellion reared its head.


  of judicature.




  Proposal to
  conquer Ireland.

The history of the first year of Henry’s reign is not, however,
filled up thus. He restored the administration of justice, and sent
itinerant members of his judicial court to enforce the law which
had been so long in abeyance. He himself learned the law as an apt
scholar. Even at Bridgenorth he found time to hear suits brought
before him as supreme judge; at Nottingham, whilst he was on his way
from Scarborough, he threatened William Peverell with a charge of
having poisoned the Earl of Chester. The very threat caused Peverell
to take refuge in a monastery. He held council after council, taking
advice from his elders, and making friends everywhere. In one assembly
held at Wallingford after Easter he obtained the recognition of his
little son William, who afterwards died, as his successor. In another,
held at Winchester, at Michaelmas, he proposed that the conquest of
Ireland should be attempted and a kingdom founded there for his brother
William. The empress objected to this, and it was given up, at least
during her life, although the English Pope, Adrian IV., by his famous
Bull _Laudabiliter_, issued about this time, was already anxious to
give the papal authorization to a scheme that would complete the
symmetrical conformation of Western Christendom. A national expedition,
Henry may have thought, would do more than anything else to consolidate
the national unity which was growing rapidly into more than a name.
But clearly the time was not come for England, shorn of her Northern
provinces, and with the Welsh unsubdued, to attempt foreign conquest;
and Henry had other states besides England to take thought for.


  Hugh Bigot
  humbled, 1157.



The whole of the next year he had to spend in Normandy and Anjou,
and, when he returned in 1157, he found abundant work ready for his
hands in his still undetermined relations with Wales and Scotland.
His first visit was to the Eastern counties, and there he combined
business with pleasure. William of Warenne, Count of Boulogne and Earl
of Surrey, the son of Stephen, had received a considerable estate in
Norfolk, including the castle of Norwich; and Hugh Bigot, the earl
of the county of Norfolk, the same Hugh who had sworn that Henry I.,
disinherited the empress, was very reluctant to accept the strong rule
of the new king. Whether Hugh was now acting on behalf of Stephen’s
family or in opposition to them is not clear. It was his attitude that
drew the king into that country. He was made to surrender his castles;
and William of Warenne likewise surrendered his special provision, on
the understanding that he was to receive his hereditary estates. Henry
added solemnity to this visit by holding a solemn court and wearing his
crown in state on Whit-Sunday, at St. Edmund’s, the second recorded
coronation-day of the reign. This ceremony was a revival of the great
courts held by the Conqueror and his sons on the great festivals,
Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, at Gloucester, Westminster, and
Winchester, the three chief cities of the South. At such gatherings
all the great men attended, both witan and warriors, clerk and lay.
The king heard the complaints of his subjects, and decided their
suits with the advice of his wise men; the feudal services, by which
the great estates were held, were solemnly rendered; a special peace
was set, the breakers of which within the purlieus of the court were
liable to special penalties; and during the gathering, whilst the
people were amused and humored by the show, the king and his really
trusted advisers contrived the despatch of business. The ceremony
of coronation, which gave the name to these courts, was not, as is
sometimes supposed, a repetition of the formal rite of initiation by
which the king at his accession received the authorization of God
through the hands of the bishops; the character so impressed was
regarded as indelible, and hence the only way of disposing of a bad
king was to kill him. That rite, the solemn consecration and unction,
was incapable of being repeated. The crown was, however, on these
occasions placed on the king’s head in his chamber by the archbishop
of Canterbury, with special prayers, and the court went in procession
to mass, where the king made his offering, and afterwards the barons
did their services, as at the real coronation. These courts had been
given up by Stephen, as the historian Henry of Huntingdon notes with
an expressive lamentation, in the year 1140, when the clergy ceased
to attend them; and he had made only one unlucky attempt, the Lincoln
coronation, in 1147, to revive them. Henry, however, renewed the
custom on this occasion, and twice after this we find it observed. At
the Christmas of this year he was crowned at Lincoln, but not, like
Stephen, in the cathedral, for he feared the omen; and at Easter 1158
he was crowned at Worcester. After that he never actually wore the
crown again, although he did occasionally hold these formal courts,
in order to receive the honorary services by which his courtiers held
their estates. This coronation, then, at St. Edmund’s was, as usual,
turned to purposes of business. The king was ready for a Welsh war;
measures were taken for providing men and money.


  First Welsh

At another council, held in July, at Northampton, the expedition
started. This was Henry’s first Welsh war, and it was no great success.
The army advanced into North Wales; at Consilt, near Flint, an awkward
pass, they were resisted by the Welsh. There Henry of Essex, the
Constable, let fall the royal standard, as he declared, by accident.
The army, thinking that the king was killed or the battle lost, fell
into confusion, and the day was claimed by the Welsh as a victory. That
it was merely a misfortune of little importance is proved by the fact
that Henry continued his march to Rhuddlan. The ostensible pretext of
the expedition being to arrange a quarrel between Owen Gwynneth and
his brother Cadwalader, there was no overt attempt at conquest. The
king returned from Wales into Nottinghamshire to meet the young Malcolm
IV., who seems at this time to have finally surrendered his hold on the
Northern counties. At Christmas Henry was at Lincoln.


  Long visit
  to France,

In 1158 he wore his crown, as we have seen, at Easter, at Worcester;
in the summer he went into Cumberland, no doubt to set the machinery
of government at work there in due order after the change of rulers;
and at Carlisle on Midsummer-day he conferred knighthood on William
of Warenne. In August he went to France, whence he did not return
until January, 1163. This brings us to the point of time at which
the struggle with Becket begins, to which, with its attendant
circumstances, we may devote another chapter.


  of Henry.


  His relations
  with his

We may, therefore, now take up the thread of the foreign transactions
at the beginning of the reign and bring it down to the same point. The
geographical extent of Henry’s dominions furnishes the leading clue to
this part of his history. They embraced, speaking roughly and roundly,
Normandy, Maine, Touraine, Anjou, Guienne, Poictou, and Gascony. But
this statement has to be accepted with some very important limitations.
In the first place, each of these states, and each bundle of them,
had come to him in a different way--some from his father, some from
his mother, some by his wife--and each bundle had been got together by
those from whom he received it in similar ways. The result of that was
that in each state or bundle of states there was a distant relation
between the lord and his vassals--a constitution, we might call it,
by which various rights and privileges and a varying legal system
or customs subsisted. What was law in Normandy was not customary in
Anjou; and the barons of Poictou had, or claimed, customs which must,
if they could have enforced them, have produced utter anarchy. Here
was a constant and abundant source of administrative difficulties, the
adjustment of which was one of the causes of Henry’s long absence from
England. But a second incidental result was, that, as many of these
estates came into the common inheritance on very deficient title,
conquest in one case, chicanery in another, there were a number of
claimants in each, claimants who by prescriptive right might have lost
all chance of recovering their lands, but whose very existence gave
trouble. In Anjou, for instance, Henry had to contend against his own
brother Geoffrey, to whom their father had left certain cities, and
who might have a claim to the whole county. In Normandy the heirs of
Stephen claimed the county of Mortain; in Maine, Saintonge, and other
Southern provinces, there were the remnants of older dynasties, always
ready to give trouble.


  His relation
  to the King
  of France.

But further than this, the feudal law, as it was then recognized in
France, gave the king, in his manifold capacities as king, duke, and
count, certain rights and certain obligations that are puzzling now,
and must have been actually bewildering then. Henry, as Duke of
Normandy, inherited the relation, entered into by his ancestor Duke
Richard the Fearless, of vassal to the Duke of the Franks; but the Duke
of the Franks had now become King of France. It was a serious question
how the duties of vassalage were to be defined. As Duke of Normandy
also he had a right to the feudal superiority of Brittany. Yet it was
no easy thing to say how Brittany could be made to act in case of a
quarrel between king and duke. The tie which bound him as Count of
Anjou was different from that which bound him as Duke of Normandy to
the same King of France. As Count of Poictiers he was feudally bound
to the Duke of Aquitaine, but he was himself duke of Aquitaine, unless
he chose to regard his wife as duchess and himself as count, in which
case he would be liable to do feudal service to his wife only, and she
would be responsible for the service to the King of France; a very
curious relation for a lady who had been married to both. We do not,
however, find, that this contrivance was employed by Henry himself,
although it was used by John. And this same point of difficulty arose
everywhere. The feudal rights of Aquitaine--the right, that is, to
demand homage and service--extended far beyond the limits of the
sovereign authority of the dukes, and it was always an object to turn a
claim of overlordship into an actual exercise of sovereign authority.
The tie between the great county of Toulouse and the duchy of Aquitaine
was complicated both by legal difficulty and by questions of descent.
The rights over Auvergne, claimed by both the king and the duke, were
so complex as to be the matter of continual arbitration, and at last
were left to settle themselves.


  Questions of



And to these must be added, in the third place, local and personal
questions; local, such as arose from uncertain boundaries, the line
which separated Normandy from France, the Norman from the French Vexin,
being perhaps the chief; personal, arising from the enmity between
Eleanor and her first husband, from the attitude of the house of
Champagne, from which Louis VII. had selected his third wife, and which
had the wrongs of Stephen to avenge. The Count of Flanders also was a
pertinacious enemy of Henry.


  true policy.


  His French

Under these circumstances it is not difficult to see that Henry’s
policy, however ambitious he might be, was peace; at all events, peace
long enough to consolidate his dominions and crush antagonism in
detail. And this must account for the fact that, with the exception of
the war of Toulouse, in which Louis VII. took part, not as a principal
but as an ally of the count, there was no overt war between Eleanor’s
two husbands until it was produced by an entirely new quarrel. It could
not be expected that there should be any love or friendship, but there
was peace. Henry’s policy was peace; Lewis was averse to war, having
neither skill nor resources. All Henry’s French campaigns, then, during
this period were occasioned by the circumstances which have been thus
stated. The object of the war of 1156 was, sad to say, the subjugation
of Geoffrey of Nantes, the king’s own brother, who submitted to him,
after he had taken his castles one by one, in the July of that year,
and who died two years after. The business of 1158 was to secure the
territories that Geoffrey had left without heirs, and, that done, to
prepare for the enforcement of Eleanor’s claims on Toulouse.


  War of

The war of Toulouse, with its preparations and results, occupied
the greater part of 1159, although the campaign itself was short.
Henry had assembled his full court of vassals. William of Warenne,
the son of Stephen, and Malcolm, King of Scots, followed him as his
liegemen rather than as allies. Becket, as his Chancellor, came with
an equipment not inferior to that of any of his earls and counts.
Altogether it was a very splendid and expensive affair. The king
marched to Toulouse; but at Toulouse was his enemy, his friend, his
lord, his wife’s first husband. Henry could not proceed to extremes
against the man whom in his youthful sincerity he still recognized as
his feudal lord, and whose personal humiliation would have degraded the
idea of royalty, of which he was himself so proud. So he left Becket to
continue the siege and returned westward. The French were attempting a
diversion on the Norman frontier. Toulouse, therefore, was not taken.
Towards the end of the year a truce was made with Lewis, and early in
1160 the truce was turned into an alliance. But the alliance brought
with it the seeds of new and more fatal divisions.


  sons and

We have noted the way in which Henry used his children as his tools or
as the counters of his game. He began with them very young. His eldest
child, William, to whom we have seen homage done immediately after the
coronation, died very soon after, and Henry, who was born in February,
1155, and had received conditional homage when he was two months old,
now became the heir apparent. The next child was a daughter, Matilda,
born in 1156; in 1157 Richard was born, at either Oxford or Woodstock;
Geoffrey, the next brother, came in 1158; then Eleanor, in 1162;
Johanna, in 1165; and last of all John, in 1167. On Henry’s attempts
to provide for these children hangs nearly all the interest of his
foreign wars; and the marriages of the daughters form a key to the
history of the foreign policy of England and her alliances for many


  His projects
  of marriage
  for them.


  Marriage of
  Henry and

The game may be considered to begin with Richard, who at the age of a
year was betrothed to the daughter of Raymond of Barcelona and Queen
Petronilla of Aragon. This was done, it appears, to bind the count
and queen either to help or to stand neutral in the war of Toulouse.
The betrothal came to nothing. Henry, the elder brother, was the
next victim. The peace of 1160 assigned him, at the age of five, as
husband to the little lady Margaret of France, Lewis’s daughter by
his second wife, Constance of Castile. This marriage was not only to
seal the peace but to secure to Henry a good frontier between Normandy
and France. The castles of Gisors and Neafle, and the county of the
Vexin, which lay between Normandy and Paris, were to be Margaret’s
portion, not to be surrendered until the marriage could be formally
celebrated, and until then to remain in the custody of the Templars.
Henry, however, did not stick at trifles. The little Margaret had been
put into his hands to learn English or Norman ways. He had the marriage
celebrated between the two children, and then prevailed on the Templars
to surrender the castles. Lewis never forgave that, and the Vexin
quarrel remained an open sore during the rest of the reign; for after
the death of the younger Henry his rights were transferred to Richard
by another unhappy marriage contract with another of Lewis’s daughters.
Practically the question was settled by the betrayal of Gisors to
Philip, by Gilbert of Vacœuil, whilst Richard was in Palestine; but
the struggle continued until John finally lost not only the Vexin but
Normandy itself and all else that he had to lose. For the present,
however, the outbreak of war, to which Henry’s sharp practice led, was
only a brief one. Henry was successful, and peace was concluded in
August, 1161. The year 1162 he spent in Normandy, holding councils and
organizing the administration of the duchy, as he had done that of the
kingdom in his first year.


  during the

During the whole of this long absence from England the country was
governed by Richard de Lucy and Earl Robert of Leicester, as the king’s
chief justices or justiciars; the little Henry taking his father’s
place on occasions of ceremony, when he happened to be in England. The
historians of these years tell us little or nothing of what was going
on. There were no wars or revolts; abbots and bishops died and their
successors were appointed; notably the good Archbishop Theobald, to
whom Henry owed so much, died in 1161, and Becket succeeded him.


  Progress of


  Nature of
  the revenue.



From other sources we learn that Henry’s legal reforms were in full
operation. He had restored the machinery of the Exchequer, and with
it the method of raising revenue which had been arranged in his
grandfather’s time. That revenue arose, firstly, from the ferm or
rent of the counties; that is, the sum paid by the sheriffs as royal
stewards; by way of composition for the rents of royal lands in the
shire, and the ordinary proceeds of the fines and other payments made
in the ancient shiremoot or county court; secondly, from the Danegeld,
a tax of two shillings on the hide of land, originally levied as
tribute to the Danes under Ethelred, but continued, like the Income
Tax, as a convenient ordinary resource; thirdly, from the feudal
revenue, arising from the profits of marriages, wardships, transfers
of land, successions, and the like, and from the aids demanded by
the king from the several barons or communities that owed him feudal
support. To these we may add a fourth source, the proceeds of courts of
justice, held by the king’s officers to determine causes for which the
ancient popular courts were not thought competent; such as began with
suits between the king’s immediate dependents, and by degrees extended
to all the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the country. Judicature
and finance were thus bound very closely together; the sheriffs were
not only tax-gatherers but executors of the law, and every improvement
in the law was made to increase the income of the Exchequer. To this we
must attribute the means taken by Henry to administer justice in the
counties, sending some of the chief members of his judicial staff, year
after year, through the country, forcing their way into the estates
and castles of the most despotic nobles, and spreading the feeling of
security together with the sense of loyalty, and the conviction that
ready justice was well worth the money that it seemed to cost. Besides
the revival of the provincial judicature in this shape Henry, from the
beginning of the reign, added form and organization to the proceedings
of his supreme court of justice, which comes into prominence later on.

[Sidenote: Scutage.]

Next to these his most important measure was the institution or
expansion of what is called Scutage. According to the ancient English
law every freeman was bound to serve in arms for the defence of his
country. That principle Henry only meddled with so far as to direct and
improve it. But, according to the feudal custom, quite irrespective of
this, every man who held land to the amount of twenty pounds’ worth
of annual value was obliged to perform or furnish the military service
of a knight to his immediate lord. This kept the barons always at the
head of bodies of trained knights, who might be regarded as ultimately
a part of the king’s army, but in case of a rebellion would probably
fight for their immediate lord. Henry, by allowing his vassals to
commute their military service for a money payment, went a long way
to disarm this very untrustworthy body; and with the money so raised
he hired stipendiaries, with whom he fought his Continental wars. He
began to act on this principle in the first year of his reign, when he
made the bishops, notwithstanding strong objections from Archbishop
Theobald, pay scutage for their lands held by knight-service. But
in 1159 he extended the plan very widely, and took money instead of
service from the whole of his dominions, compelling his chief lords
to serve in person, but hiring, with the scutages of the inferior
tenants, a splendid army of mercenaries, with which he fought the war
of Toulouse.

By thus disarming the feudal potentates, and forcing his judges
into their courts, he completed the process by which he intended to
humiliate them. Feudalism in England, after the reign of Henry II.,
never reared its head so high as to be again formidable.


  Increase of

Other results incidentally followed from the special measures by which
this great end was secured; the more thorough amalgamation of the still
unfused nationalities of Norman and Englishman followed from a state of
things in which both were equal before the law, and the distinctions
or privileges of blood were no longer recognized among free men. The
diminution of military power in the hands of the territorial lords
left the maintenance of peace and the defence of the country to be
undertaken, as it had been of old, by the community of free Englishmen,
locally trained, and armed according to their substance. This created
or revived a strong warlike spirit for all national objects, without
inspiring the passion for military exploit or glory, which is the bane
of what is called a military nation. On the national character, thus
in a state of formation, the idea that law is and ought to be supreme
was now firmly impressed; and although the further development of the
governmental system furnished employment for Henry’s later years, and
was never neglected, even in the busiest and unhappiest period of
his reign, it may be fairly said that the foundation was laid in the
comparative peace and industry of these early years. At the age of
thirty Henry had been nearly nine years a king, and had already done a
work for which England can never cease to be grateful.



 The English Church--Schools of Clergy--Rise of Becket--Quarrel with
 the King--Exile--Death.


  The English

The history of the Church of England is during many ages the chief part
of the history of the nation; throughout it is a very large part of the
history of the people. Their ways of thinking, their system of morals,
their intellectual growth, their intercourse with the world outside,
cannot be understood but by an examination of the vicissitudes of their
religious history; and it plays a scarcely less important part in the
development of their political institutions. Christianity in England,
looked at by the eye of history, means not only the knowledge of God
and His salvation by Christ Jesus; it carries with it, besides, all
that is implied in civilization, national growth and national unity.


  Under the

When the English, under the seven or eight struggling and quarrelling
dynasties whose battles form for centuries all the recorded life of
the island, were seven or eight distinct nationalities,--some of them
tribally connected, some of them using allied systems of law, but
otherwise having scarcely anything in common beyond dialects of a
common growing language,--altogether without any common organization
or the desire of forming one,--the conversion in the seventh century
taught them to regard themselves as one people. They were formed by St.
Gregory and Archbishop Theodore into an organized Christian Church, the
several dioceses of which represented the several kingdoms or provinces
of their divided state.


  unity first

Thus arranged in one or, later on, in two ecclesiastical provinces, the
wise men of the several tribes learned to act in concert; the tribes
themselves, casting aside their tribal superstitions for a common
worship, found how few real obstacles there were to prevent them from
acting as one people; and from the date of the conversion the tendency
of the kingdoms was to unite rather than to break up. Although this
process was slow--for it went on for four centuries, and was scarcely
completed when the Norman Conquest forced the mass of varied national
elements into cohesion--it was a uniform tendency, contrasted with, and
counteracting numerous and varying tendencies towards separation. The
Church built up the unity of the State, and in so doing it built up the
unity of the nation.


  Great power
  of the

And one result of this was to make the Church extremely powerful in
the state. There was but one archbishop of Canterbury when there were
seven kings; that archbishop’s word was listened to with respect and
obeyed in all the seven kingdoms, in any one of which the command of
a strange king would have been received with contempt. The archbishop
was exceedingly powerful, both in Kent, his peculiar diocese, and by
his alliances with the states and churches of the Continent; and the
diocesan bishops were each, in his own district, a match for their
kings, because they knew that in any struggle they could depend on
the friendship of all their fellows outside their special kingdom,
much more than the peccant king could depend on the assistance of his
fellow-kings. They could meet in one council, whilst the several kings
could only collect their own Witenagemots; they were, in fact, the
rulers of the Church of England, whilst the kings were only kings of
Kent, Mercia and Wessex. And when the kingdoms became one under the
descendants of Egbert the prelates retained the same power.


  Alliance of
  Church and

Never, perhaps, in any country were Church and State more closely
united than they were in Anglo-Saxon times in England; for they were
united, with careful recognition of their distinct functions, not, as
in Spain and some other lands, confounding what should have been kept
distinct, or making the prelates great temporal lords, or the national
deliberations mere ecclesiastical councils. The prelates, the bishops
and abbots, formed, as wise men, qualified by their spiritual office
to be counsellors, a very large proportion of the Witenagemot, the
ruling council of the kingdom; in every county the bishop sat in the
courts with the sheriff, to declare the Divine law, as the sheriff did
the secular law. The clergy were, for all moral offences, under the
same rules as the laity, save that it was the bishop who in the common
court attended to their case and saw substantial justice enforced. So
matters went on until the Conquest, the changes which took place in
the meantime affecting the spiritual discipline and character rather
than the constitutional position of the clergy; making them, that
is, more or less secular in their views and aims, but not lessening
their power. Nay, every change strengthened rather than weakened their
position. Dunstan was the prime minister of the last mighty king; but
under Canute the prelates were even more powerful than under Edgar; and
we can understand from the history of the Conquest that it was not the
fault of the English-born bishops that William the Norman obtained the
victory in the council as well as in the field.


  Effects of
  the Conquest
  on the


  The Hildebrandine


  policy of the

The Conquest had some very marked effects in this region of life.
In the first place, it was absolutely necessary for William to have
the clergy on his side; if he had not he would have nothing to
form a counterpoise for the power of the barons, which was already
threatening, nor would he have been able to get hold of the people. He
wanted to be a national king--the protector of the national Church,
the king of the English people. In the hope of securing the support of
the bishops he waited for three years before he took summary measures
against those who were still secretly or overtly hostile. When patience
was seen to be unavailing he deposed Archbishop Stigand, no doubt at
the instigation of the Pope, but in his place he set, not a Norman,
who would have alienated the people, but a wise Italian, under whose
counsels the Norman king and the English people were drawn together
almost as closely as the king and people had been before the Normans
came. Two effects resulted directly from this. The Conquest of England
coincides in point of time with the great period of the Hildebrandine
ideas; the reign of Gregory VII. and of the Popes appointed by his
influence, in which a new interpretation was put on the relations of
Church and State, and a jealous equilibrium established or attempted,
the result of which in France and Germany seemed to be the tying of the
State to the chariot-wheels of the Church. Of such a consummation there
was in England no chance under William and Lanfranc, but nevertheless
the coincidence in time was not without its consequences. England
and her Church were drawn into the vortex of the Church politics of
Europe, and the relations between Church and State in England were
re-modelled upon the new type. The courts of the bishops for the trial
of clerks were separated from the courts of the sheriffs; the election
of prelates was arranged by a sort of compromise between royal power
and canonical form; the bishops became barons and held their lands, or
a portion of them, by the new baronial tenure; and their councils were
marked off by a much broader line than they had been from the councils
of the Witan, or the courts of the king. Then, too, a new concordat
was arranged to regulate the exercise of the papal power, for which,
before the Conquest, the English had had a respectful but very distant
regard. The king insisted that when there were rival popes he should
be the judge to determine which should be accepted in England; no suit
or appeal should be carried to Rome without his leave; none of his
servants should be excommunicated against his sovereign will; no legate
should land without his permission; no ecclesiastical legislation
should be enforced without his approval.



Within these limits the bishops had a great deal of new power; and, as
they succeeded in a great measure to the implicit faith and obedience
which the nation had given to their own English bishops, they were able
to exert a very strong influence towards keeping the nation together.
They were kept by the king upon his side, as opposed to the barons, and
securing them he secured the nation. This is clear even in the history
of Anselm, who, although opposed to and persecuted by the king, never
forgot his duty to the people so far as to take part with the barons
against him. Besides the bishops, however, there was in the monasteries
a great reserve fund of national feeling; and, up to the reign of Henry
II., what little we can trace of English feeling is to be traced in the
writings of the monks; they kept alive an English sentiment as distinct
from the new national idea that was to blend English and Norman, the
king and the bishops more distinctly representing the latter.


  In Stephen’s



These things being so, we are able to understand what it was that
gave the prelates the great moral weight they possessed in Stephen’s
reign, and to perceive how vast was the importance of maintaining the
alliance between them and the crown. We learn too how the many streams
of influence which they guided reacted upon the clerical body itself,
and produced several distinct schools or classes of ecclesiastical
character. In the first place, the kings had taken prelates to be
their ministers, and had promoted their ministers to be prelates.
Bishop Roger of Salisbury was not only a powerful ecclesiastic but
the royal justiciar, the head of all the courts and the treasurer of
all the money of the king. Under him was a set of clerks who would
set the fashion for one school of the clergy, secular in mind and aim
and manners; often married men, so far as their right to marry can be
accounted valid, canons of cathedrals where they provided for their
children and made estates for themselves; worthy men most of them, the
predecessors of the clerical magistrates of this day, far greater in
quarter sessions and county meetings than in convocation or missionary
work. That was one very strong school--a school that required tender
handling both politically and ecclesiastically, and in the view of
which we can understand how important it was for Bishop Roger to secure
the consent of the Pope and the archbishops to his holding secular
office. For it is said that, worldly man as he was, he refused, as a
matter of conscience as well as policy, to act as the king’s minister,
without the distinct approval of the saintly Anselm and his successors,
the archbishops as well as the popes.



A second class was composed of the ecclesiastical politicians, men,
that is, who were before all things Churchmen, of whom Henry of
Winchester is one of the best specimens. These did not like the first,
sink the clergyman in the statesman or the magistrate, and accept
preferment as the mere reward of political service; they were not the
Sadducees but the Pharisees of the time; they would not marry, nor sell
livings, nor act against the Pope; whatever secular power they could
get they would use for the benefit of the Church. To say this is not to
condemn them; they saw in the service of the Church the clearest and
readiest way of serving both God and man. These men were in tone and
morals a higher set of men than the first. They were in close alliance
with the see of Rome; they knew far more than the others about the
state of Christendom generally; they were scholars, the founders of
universities, the protectors of culture; they prevented the Church from
becoming thoroughly secular; and, if there was a higher type, it was a
type also much more liable to be assumed by counterfeits. It is a great
mistake to undervalue this school. It would seem probable that both
Archbishop Theobald as well as his rival, Henry of Winchester, should
be referred to it; it was the party of the Legate, the party that tried
to introduce the Civil law as a subject of study at Oxford; that went
abroad to attend councils, that bearded royal tyranny in Church and


  The Spiritual

And there was a higher type--a type we will call it rather than a
school, because the graces that compose it are not learned in men’s
schools, but under the discipline of a Divine master; the pure
religious type, which we find, with some alloy, in such men as Anselm;
the meek and quiet spirit that has a zeal for righteousness and a love
of souls; that will bear all things for itself, but rise up to avenge
the cause of the helpless. It is the noblest type; to which belong the
true hero, the true martyr, the saint indeed; but it is a type which
to man’s eye is the most easily counterfeited by the popular hero, the
self-advertising saint, the professed candidate for mock martyrdom.

Such, then, are the three types of character which perhaps mark all
ages of the Church, but which come out most markedly and distinctly in
the present period; and the career of Thomas Becket, the hero of this
part of our national history, cannot be understood without a clear
idea of them.


  Rise of


  Becket as

For Becket was a very extraordinary man. In whatever he did he acted
on Solomon’s maxim and did it with his might; and, as he passed
through each of the phases of character that mark these three schools,
his career may be divided accordingly. In the first phase he was a
secular Churchman. He had been trained in the house of his father,
a London merchant of Norman blood; he had been schooled in accounts
by Master Octonummi; he had learned accomplishments in the hall of
Richer de l’Aigle; and then had entered Archbishop Theobald’s family
as secretary. There, no doubt, he got his knowledge of civil and canon
law, and learned the business of a diplomatist. Although Theobald was
an ecclesiastical politician of the second stamp, he did not as yet
impress that character on Becket. John of Salisbury, who also was
Theobald’s secretary, took some such impression from him, and shows
it in a constant criticism of Becket from the point of view natural
to the Churchman pure and simple. Still Becket learned that side of
life during these experiences. With this training he was qualified not
only to conduct the negotiations that secured the crown to Henry II.,
but, when he was made Chancellor, as he was at the king’s accession,
he was able to manage and extend the duties of his office, magnifying
it as no other Chancellor had done before. The Chancellor was a sort
of secretary of state for all departments; he was not so powerful in
himself, or in his constitutional position, as the Justiciar, but he
had nearly as much real power through his hold on the king, whose
letters he wrote, whose accounts he kept, all whose formal business
he recorded, and all whose irksome duties he took off his hands. We
find Becket, then, in this relation to Henry, who had no great love of
public pomp, and was willing enough that the Chancellor should share
the expense. Becket at this time appears to us as a very splendid
officer, with a great retinue of knights and a great revenue from his
churches; an indefatigable letter-writer, an efficient judge, a cunning
financier; as yet not a great Churchman in politics, for the plan of
taxing the bishops by scutage was set on foot by him, in opposition to
the archbishop, his old patron.


  Henry’s confidence
  in him.


  Becket becomes

Henry might well think himself fortunate in securing such a minister;
he threw himself with entire confidence upon him, and there can be
little doubt that Becket is to a great degree answerable for the
grievous change in Henry’s character that followed their quarrel. To
anticipate, however: when Henry made his Chancellor Archbishop of
Canterbury he contemplated securing, at the head of the Church, a
friend who would sympathize with his statesmanlike designs, who was
sure to be able to sway the clergy, and who would repay his unbounded
confidence with grateful and straightforward service. But he was sadly
disappointed. Becket was not the man to exchange his splendid position
as Chancellor for the life of an ordinary commonplace archbishop.
If he undertook the office he would act up to the highest idea of
its requirements. Never was there a more sudden transformation. One
day he is, like Roger of Salisbury, hearing causes and framing his
budget, counting out his money, or reviewing his knights; the next he
is Lanfranc in miniature, or not so much Lanfranc as Anselm, or Henry
of Winchester rather than Anselm;--the high ecclesiastic pure and
simple, coveting the Papal legation, hand-and-glove with the Pope, full
of ideas based on the canon law, which his friend Gratian had just
codified in the Decretum; an unflinching and unreasoning supporter
of all clerical claims, right or wrong, wholesome or unwholesome,
consistent or inconsistent with his previous life and opinions.


  Becket in
  his later

A third phase awaits him. In his new character he is pretty sure to
quarrel with the king; he does so, and, however just his cause, he does
it in a way that does not prejudice us in his favor; his object is
studiously to put Henry in the wrong; his conduct in the last degree
exasperating. The second form of clerical life has served its time.
Now he comes out as a candidate for martyrdom. In this also he will do
what he has to do with all his might. Unmindful of the early friendship
of the king, from whom certainly he had never met with anything but
kindness and the most familiar courtesy, he declares that he is in
danger of his life; he insists on celebrating mass at the altar of the
protomartyr and on appearing at court carrying his own cross, partly
as a safeguard against violence which he has no reason to apprehend,
partly in an awful miserable parody of the great day of Calvary.
All the rest of his career is the same--a morbid craving after the
honors of martyrdom, or confessorship at the least, a crafty policy
for embroiling Henry with his many enemies, combined with a plausible
allegation that it is all for his good and that of the Church. There
is in him some greatness of character still, some sincerity, we will
hope, but no self-renunciation, no self-restraint, no earnest striving
for peace; little, very little, care of the flock over which he was
overseer, and which was left shepherdless.

On a calm review of his life it seems that Becket was most at home in
his first position; that in the second he was ill at ease and awkward,
divided between two aims and failing in conduct as well as in cause.
The third phase becomes him least of all; and it is only by considering
the horrible sufferings of his death that we pardon him for the conduct
that brought the pains of death upon him.


  He becomes

Briefly to recapitulate the stages of the career of this man, to whom
even his enemies allow the title of greatness: Becket was Chancellor
from the accession of Henry, in 1154, to his consecration as Archbishop
of Canterbury, in June, 1162. The king was still in France when
Theobald died. It was regarded as a somewhat unprecedented measure to
make so secular a person as Thomas archbishop, but Henry’s influence
and his own were supreme; he had accepted the dignity with misgiving,
but having accepted he did not hesitate about the measures to be taken
for securing it; the consent of the bishops and monks was readily
yielded, and one who was, so far as his place of birth could make
him, an Englishman, sat once more on the throne of Augustine. All
difficulties were smoothed for him; he had not to go to Rome for his
pall; it arrived a few weeks after his consecration; and he had six
months’ quiet and peace in his new dignity before the king came home.


  returns from


  resigns the

This was on the 25th of January, 1163. Henry found, as was to be
expected, that considerable arrears of business had accrued during his
long absence. He was meditating a new expedition to Wales in order to
enforce the homage due to him and his heir-apparent from the Welsh
princes. The trial of Henry of Essex, who had been accused of treason
and cowardice by Robert de Montfort, for letting fall the standard
at the battle of Consilt, and who was to defend himself by battle,
was also imminent; and already some apprehensions were felt as to
the conduct of the archbishop. He had resigned, much in opposition
to Henry’s wishes, his office of Chancellor on his appointment as
Archbishop, and had procured from the justiciar a full acquittance
for all sums which he had received for the king during his tenure
of office, especially the sums arising from the revenue of vacant
churches, a source of royal income which was specially administered by
the Chancellor. But he had not resigned the great manors of Eye and
Berkhampstead, which were usually held as part of the endowment of
the Chancellor; these it is possible he intended to hold only until
his successor was appointed, but no successor was appointed, and the
strange spectacle was seen of the Archbishop of Canterbury holding two
of the finest pieces of the secular patronage of the crown without any
official claim to them.


  He enforces
  the feudal
  rights of his

In another point he also showed himself somewhat grasping, or at all
events made enemies at a moment when his experience should have taught
him to be more politic. Many of the old possessions of his see had
come into the hands of laymen, who were negligent in performing their
services, and probably wished to throw off the yoke of the archbishop
altogether. In order to enforce his rights he acted in a way which,
justifiable as it was, was nevertheless imprudent; the result was a
royal inquest as to the archiepiscopal fiefs; and, as the archbishop
was already becoming unpopular, the verdict of the jury robbed him of
some rights that might otherwise have been successfully maintained.
In all this, however, he had no coolness with the king. Henry felt the
resignation of the Chancellorship as a personal wrong; for although
in the empire, where the king looked for precedents, the office of
Arch-chancellor was held by the three great metropolitans of Germany,
Becket had followed the usage almost unbroken in England in resigning;
but there was nothing like an open quarrel. The spring of the year
passed without one. In March the fate of Henry of Essex was decided;
he was defeated in the battle trial, and the king, greatly against
his will it was said--for he believed that the fall of the standard
at Consilt was accidental--was obliged by the Norman law to declare
his estates forfeited. Henry of Essex retired into a monastery, and so
Henry lost one of his best friends.


  Welsh war,


  Council at

Immediately after the king went on his second Welsh war, a sort of
military demonstration marked by no great victory or defeat, and on
the 1st of July called a great court at Woodstock to witness the
homage of the princes. The King of Scots made his appearance at this
council, and took the oath of fealty to the little heir to the crown,
Henry, who was now eight years old. This was the first opportunity
that the archbishop had of declaring his new attitude. He had been to
visit the Pope, Alexander III., at Tours. The Pope was in exile from
his see; the Emperor Frederick had refused to acknowledge him, and
had set up an anti-Pope. Henry and Lewis, the former probably acting
by Becket’s advice, had in 1161 recognized Alexander as the Catholic
Pope, and Tours, where he was holding the council at which Becket
attended, was within the dominions of Henry. We can only suppose that
the sight of the Pope kindled Becket’s zeal, not so much against his
own lord who was the Pope’s friend, as against the secular power in
general, of which he had been hitherto a devoted servant. Anyhow he
came back from Tours prepared, on the first question, ecclesiastical or
civil, which might arise, to take the lead of what might be called the
constitutional opposition; an idea which is, for the first time since
the Norman Conquest, realized in the course he now adopted.


  opposes the
  king on a

As we should expect from our knowledge of later crises of the kind, the
bone of contention was found in the financial budget of the year. Henry
was, as usual, busy with his reforms; and although he was an honest
reformer and had a true genius for organization, he liked best those
methods of reform that helped to fill the treasury. The administration
of the sheriffs was during the later part of the reign a frequent
subject of legislative ordinance, and the question which now arose was
connected with it. The sheriffs had been used to collect from every
hide of land in their counties two shillings annually. It was probable
that out of this a fixed sum was paid to the king under the name of
Danegeld; certainly the Danegeld was collected at that rate; and as the
sums paid into the Exchequer under that name were very small compared
with the extent of land that paid the tax, it is probable that the
sheriffs paid a fixed composition, and retained the surplus as wages
for their services in the execution of judicial work and police. Our
authorities merely tell us that the king proposed to take away this
money from the sheriffs and bring it into the general account of his
revenue. Thomas opposed this; declared that the tax should not go
into the king’s coffers, that the sheriffs should not lose, that the
lands of his Church should pay the tax no more; and he seems to have
prevailed, although we have no positive record to that effect.


  of this act.


  Abolition of

Two most important points stand out here. This is the first case of
any express opposition being made to the king’s financial dealings
since the Conquest. Until now, whenever money was wanted, the royal
necessities were laid before the national council, the assembly of
bishops, earls, and great vassals, and others, and the method was
explained by which they were to be satisfied. If he wanted to marry
his daughter, or to knight his son, or to tax his towns, he said how
much he wanted, and it was paid. Here, however, we find the archbishop
objecting to the royal dealings with the Danegeld, and thus asserting
the right of the national council to refuse as well as to bestow money.
A second point is, that although ever since the reign of Ethelred,
with the exception of a few years of Edward the Confessor--who had,
as the legend ran, seen the devil sitting on the money-bags, and had,
therefore, abolished the tax--and certainly ever since the days of the
Conqueror, this odious impost had been levied, from this time it ceases
to appear by this name in the rolls of the revenue. Henry II. devised
other ways of getting money, but the Danegeld appears no more; and thus
the first-fruit of the first constitutional opposition is the abolition
of the most ancient property-tax, imposed as a bribe for the Danes. We
may well imagine how angry Henry would be at this interference, coming
from the man who had hitherto been his right hand in all his reforms.




  Council at

The courtiers saw it, and they began to raise little suits against
Becket on little matters by which they might harass him, and,
like true courtiers, accelerate the fall of a falling man. Such in
particular were John the Marshal, who raised a claim touching one
of the archiepiscopal manors, and William of Eynesford, who claimed
the patronage of one of the archbishop’s livings, and was rashly
excommunicated by Becket, contrary to the custom which forbade the
excommunication of a tenant-in-chief of the king without the king’s
license. Three months, however, passed away; and on the 1st of October
the king called a great council at Westminster.


  defends the


  Henry appeals to
  the ancient

In the process of his reforms he was startled by the absolute immunity
accorded to the crimes of the clergy, or persons pretending to be
clergymen, through the double jurisdiction of the lay and Church courts
which was introduced by William the Conqueror. Any clerk who committed
a crime could be demanded by his bishop from the officers of secular
justice, and sentenced by him to ecclesiastical punishment, which,
according to the law of William, was to be enforced by the secular
arm. But, in fact, so much afraid were the bishops of any clerk being
tried by the lay courts, and so jealous were the lay officers of being
called on to enforce the ecclesiastical punishments, that the whole
system broke down. Thieves and murderers who called themselves clerks
were demanded by the bishops and sentenced to penances and deprivation
of orders, two punishments at which they could afford to laugh. Henry
proposed that, when such prisoners were taken and found guilty, they
should be delivered to the bishops to be spiritually punished, and then
to the secular officers, to have sufficient punishment, to be hanged,
or blinded, or imprisoned as the mild laws of the period ordered.
Thomas would not hear of this--one punishment was enough for one
fault; if the clergyman was a thief, and proved so to be, let him be
degraded--that was enough; if he broke the law again, the law might
have him, for he was after degradation entitled to the privileges of a
clergyman no more. Henry grew very angry at this foolish and imprudent
proposal. Such, he said, had not been the law in the time of his
grandfather, the great king Henry the Elder, the lion of righteousness.
He would not submit, but would enforce the ancient rights and customs
of the realm as his grandfather had done. But what, it was asked, were
those customs? The reign of Stephen had witnessed a total abeyance
of secular law, and had listened to very extraordinary assertions of
ecclesiastical right and liberty. Let the ancient customs be first
ascertained, and then it would be time to say whether or no the clergy
and laity could act together. Becket allowed the bishops to promise
to observe these customs ‘saving their order.’ Henry declared that
that meant nothing. The assembly was broken up in wrath. The king
ordered the manors of Eye and Berkhampstead to be surrendered, and
the archbishop in two or three later interviews sought in vain for a



Whether in this Henry acted from passionate indignation, or because he
saw that Becket had taken on himself the maintenance of the extreme
views propounded by the canonists as to the immunity of spiritual
men, we cannot now venture to determine. The breach between the two
was never healed; both probably saw that it never could even be
compromised. The dispute had its real basis in the difficulty of
adjusting legal and spiritual relations, which even at the present day
seems no nearer receiving a permanent settlement.


  Council of





Soon after Christmas another court was held, at Clarendon, one of
those forest palaces at which, as at Woodstock, Henry and his sons
used to call the counsellors together, and diversify business with
sport. It was called for the purpose of finishing the business began
at Westminster. The archbishop was asked whether he would accept the
ancient customs; he declined to do it without making conditions. The
king then ordered that the ‘recognition of the customs’ should be read.
This was the report of the great committee appointed to ascertain and
commit them to writing, a committee which nominally contained nearly
all the bishops and barons, but which Becket declared to consist only
of Richard de Lucy, the justiciar, and Jocelin de Bailleul, a French
lawyer. This report was the celebrated Constitutions of Clarendon, a
sort of code or concordat, in sixteen chapters, which included not
merely a system of definite rules to regulate the disposal of the
criminal clergy, but a method of proceeding by which all quarrels
that arose between the clergy and laity might be satisfactorily heard
and determined. Questions of advowsons, of disputed estates, of
excommunication, the rights of the spiritual courts over laymen, and
of lay courts over spiritual men, the rights of the crown in vacant
churches and in the nomination to benefices, and the right of appeal
in ecclesiastical causes, were all defined. No one was to carry a suit
farther than the archiepiscopal court; that is, no one was to appeal
to the Pope without the king’s leave. Prelates and parsons were not
to quit the kingdom without license. The sons of rustics or villeins
were not to be ordained without leave of the lords on whose lands they
were born. Many similar customs were recorded which show that Henry
had determined to set the jurisprudence of the kingdom, as touching
laymen and clergy alike, on a just and equal basis; no unfairness
towards the spiritual estate was intended, but simply the extinction
or restriction of the immunities, the existence of which threw the
whole system into disorder. An appeal to Rome must not be allowed
to paralyze the whole ecclesiastical jurisdiction, any more than an
assertion that the murderer or the murdered man--for the immunity told
both ways--was a clerk, should be allowed to insure the escape and
impunity of the murderer. Becket was perhaps, at the first sight of
these Constitutions, inclined or, as he would have said, tempted to
yield. He accepted the Constitutions. Almost as soon as he had done so
he drew back; either he recalled his concession or refused to set his
seal to the acceptance, or in some way recanted. We have no entirely
trustworthy evidence; but it would seem he declared that he had sinned,
that he would go to Rome, that he would resign his see, that he would
not act as archbishop without first receiving special absolution.


  Council of


  of Becket.

All this had no other effect than to exasperate Henry the more,
and to encourage the rapidly increasing crowd of Becket’s enemies.
Unfortunately we have no details the next six months, save that the
archbishop once or twice saw the king in vain. In October, 1164, at
Northampton, the cloud finally broke. Becket’s enemies saw their way
to crush him altogether, and Henry yielded to them. The council was
formally summoned; all the persons who held of the king directly--that
is, who were subject to no lord coming between them and the king--were
duly invited; the greater barons probably, as had been usual under
Henry I., and as the Great Charter afterwards enjoined, by special
letters; the minor ones by a general summons made known through the
sheriff in each shire. It was to the archbishop that the first letter
of summons ought by ancient rule to have been directed. Instead of that
he received a writ through the Sheriff of Kent ordering him to present
himself at Northampton to answer the complaint of John the Marshal.

[Sidenote: His trial.]

However informal this was, Becket complied, rather than by absenting
himself from the court to leave his cause in hands he could not trust.
He attended, and was overwhelmed. First he was sentenced to pay 500
marks to John the Marshal, who was declared to have proved his claim
against him. Then he was called on to present the accounts of the
Chancery, of which he had been acquitted by a general discharge when he
became archbishop. He now put on the aspect of a martyr, and declared
himself ready to die for the rights of his Church. Henry and his agents
declared that it was the person, not the prelate, who was aimed at;
that they were not assailing the rights of the Church but vindicating
the laws of the land. The bishops advised unconditional submission,
which would, no doubt have been the wisest course, for it would have
disarmed the king without conceding any matter of principle; for Henry
was not the man to make an extreme use of victory, and might still
perhaps have been induced to act with moderation. Instead of this,
as Henry grew more peremptory Thomas grew more provoking; at last he
declared himself really in danger, turned and fled.

[Sidenote: His flight.]

He went off in disguise from Northampton, and, after several trying
adventures, landed in Flanders, whence he made his way to join the
pope at Sens, and thence to Pontigny.

[Sidenote: His exile.]



It would be a tedious task to trace the minute circumstances of
Becket’s life during the next six years; they are somewhat obscure,
and the large number of undated letters of the period makes even the
sequence of the main events puzzling. The upshot of the story is
briefly this:--At Pontigny Becket remained until Henry threatened the
whole Cistercian body if they did not expel him; in consequence of that
he threw himself on the friendship of Lewis VII., who appointed as his
resting-place the abbey of St. Colombe, at Sens. There he remained,
making occasional journeys on his own business, until he returned to
Canterbury in 1170. Whilst at Pontigny and Sens he acted up to his
new character--wore a hair shirt, practised great mortifications, and
behaved as if he believed himself to be undergoing a sort of modified
martyrdom. All the time he was bringing all the influence which he
had to bear upon Lewis VII., the Counts of Champagne and Flanders,
and other potentates, to induce them to take up his cause, and either
by urging the Pope to extreme measures, or by direct negotiation
with Henry, to procure his honorable recall. The Pope would have
given anything for peace and quietness, but he could not afford to
alienate Henry so long as he was on bad terms with the Emperor. He sent
commissions with legations to Normandy, of which Henry disposed either
by promises or by plausible professions of his own good-will, or by
substantial presents of the strongest of all the powers of silence, a
handsome sum of gold. Had he rested here he might have been forgiven.
But unfortunately for his own credit he determined to persecute the
archbishop in the person of his relations, and by a cruel edict sent
many inoffensive families, who were connected with Thomas, into exile.
Then Becket answered with excommunication, including in his ban all the
king’s closest counsellors, some of whom had very little to do with the
proceedings against him. From time to time Becket saw the king, under
the wing of Lewis VII.; once at Montmirail, in January, 1169, once at
Montmartre, in November of the same year. In each case either Henry was
hypocritical or Becket offensive: we cannot decide. At length a new
point of quarrel brought about a reconciliation, and the reconciliation
immediately resulted in Becket’s death.


  during the



Before ending the story we may briefly recapitulate the chief events
of these years, outside the Becket struggle. In the year 1165, that
succeeding the archbishop’s flight from Northampton, Henry paid a short
visit to Normandy, and received a proposal from Frederick I. for a
couple of marriages, a close league of alliance, and a joint action
against the Pope, who was supposed to be abetting Becket. The only
result of this was the marriage of Henry’s eldest daughter, Matilda,
with Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, at this moment
Frederick’s most intimate friend and kinsman, later on his enemy and
victim. Neither Henry nor England could be persuaded to accept the
anti-Pope, but the temporizing action of the king’s agents in Germany
gave Becket an opportunity of involving all alike in a charge of heresy
and apostacy.


  Welsh war,


  Assize of

After his return to England, later in the year, Henry made his third
Welsh expedition, which had no more permanent effect than the former
ones, as an attempt either to subdue the country or to secure the
peace of the borders. It was carried out with an amount of cruelty
which shows Henry’s character to have already deteriorated. After his
return he held, early in 1166, another council at Clarendon, also
marked by an important act of legislation, the Assize of Clarendon,
by which the criminal law was reformed, and the grand jury system
established or reformed in every shire.


  Long visit to


  Coronation of
  the young
  Henry, 1170.

As soon as this was done he went to Normandy, in March, 1166, and
stayed away until March, 1170. During this time little or nothing but
the ordinary business of justice and taxation is recorded in English
authorities. The Becket quarrel was the all-engrossing subject, the
sole question of public interest. Abroad the view is only diversified
by negotiation and border warfare with Lewis VII., and by the carrying
out of Henry’s plan for securing possession of Brittany by the marriage
of his third son, Geoffrey, with the heiress of the count. Having
spent nearly four years in this way he returned, in order to look
after business at home, and in particular to see his eldest son, who
was fifteen, crowned as his associate and successor in the kingdom.
The importance of the former acts comes into prominence in the later
history of the reign. The coronation was the first of a series of
events which sealed Becket’s fate. It was solemnized the 14th of June,
at Westminster. The Archbishop of York, Roger of Pont l’Eveque, an
old rival of Thomas Becket, placed the crown on the boy’s head, in
contravention of the right of Canterbury, and in the absence of the
little Queen Margaret. Lewis was exasperated by this act of neglect or
disrespect shown to his daughter; Becket was maddened by the contempt
shown for his authority. The storm began to rage; Lewis went to war;
Thomas, and the counts whom he made his friends, besieged the Pope with
prayers, and at last he sent or promised to send a definitive legation
to place Henry’s dominions under interdict, and compel him to recall
the archbishop.


  of Henry and




  Henry’s rash

Then Henry gave way. Crossing to Normandy a few days after the
coronation, he met Becket at Freteval in July, and there consented to
the return of his great enemy. Three months, however, intervened before
Becket started for home, and during that time he had several meetings
with the king, in which he behaved, or his behaviour was interpreted,
in a way very prejudicial to his reputation for sincerity. At last he
reached England, early in December, and as soon as he landed began to
excommunicate the bishops who had crowned the boy Henry. At London and
at Canterbury he was received with delight. Henry had become unpopular:
the archbishop’s popularity had been increased by his absence, and
the multitude does occasionally sympathize with a man who has been
oppressed. The news of his rash, intemperate conduct reached Henry at
court, at Bur, near Bayeux, where he had established himself after a
very severe illness in the autumn. In high passion the king spoke words
which he would have recalled at once, but which laid on him a life-long
burden: “Would all his servants stand by and see him thus defied by one
whom he had himself raised from poverty to wealth and power? Would no
one rid him of the troublesome clerk?”


  Murder of
  Becket, Dec.
  29, 1170.

Armed by no public grievance, moved by no loyal zeal, but simply
private enemies who saw their way to revenge and impunity, Reginald
Fitz Urse, Hugh de Morville, Richard Brito, and William de Tracy, came
to Canterbury, sought out the archbishop, and slew him. The cruelty on
the one side, the heroism on the other--the savage barbarity of the
desperate man, the strange passionate violence of the would-be martyr,
finding at the last that he could not place a curb on his words or
temper, even when he was, as he may be truly believed to have been,
offering up his life for his Church--forms a sad but a thrice-told tale.


  The true
  glory of

Becket died on the 29th of December, 1170, and for 350 years and
more that day was kept in the Church of England as one of the chief
festivals after Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas. It is no small
proof of the strength of character which certainly marks Becket
throughout his versatile career, that he should have made so deep
an impression not only on England but on Christendom. Although some
allowance must be made for the influence of superstition, and doubtless
of imposture also, in the spread of the honor paid to him so widely,
even such superstitions could not have gathered round one whose
reputation was a mere figment of monks and legend-writers. He was
undoubtedly recognized as the champion of a great cause which was then
believed to need championship, and which through the greatness of the
need served to excuse even such championship as it found in him. But
whatever were the cause which he was maintaining, he had some part of
the glory that belongs to all who vindicate liberty, to all who uphold
weakness against overwhelming strength.

And in this view of him, in which Englishmen may have regarded him as
the one man able and daring to beard the mighty king whom the memory
of his forefathers had clothed with enhanced terrors, and whose designs
for their good they were too ignorant to appreciate, Continental
Christendom saw him the champion of the papacy as against the secular
power. Later generations under the recoil of the Reformation viewed
him merely as a traitor, and his cultus as an organized imposture.
More calmly regarded--as now perhaps we may afford to regard him--he
appears, as we have described him, a strong, impulsive man, the
strength of whose will is out of all proportion to the depth of his
character, with little self-restraint, little self-knowledge, no
statesmanlike insight, and yet too much love of intrigue and craft.
He is not a constructive reformer in the Church; in the state he is
obstructive and exasperating. Even on the estimate of his friends
he does not come within the first rank of great men. The cause for
which he fought was not the cause for which he fell, and the cause of
liberty, which to some extent benefited by his struggle, was not the
actual cause for which he was consciously fighting. He appears small
indeed by the side of Anselm, who knew well how to distinguish between
the real and factitious importance of the claims which he made or
resisted; small indeed by the side of his successor, St. Edmund, who,
brave as Thomas himself was to declare the right, chose the part of
the peacemaker rather than that of the combatant and recognized the
glory of suffering patiently. Yet the world’s gratitude has often been
abundantly shown to men who deserved it less.



 Continued reforms--Revolt of 1173-1174--Renewed industry of Henry--His
 later years--Quarrel with Richard--Fall and death.


  Henry’s perseverance
  in reform.


  The political
  object of it.



[Sidenote: Fiscal work.]


  Circuits of

It is one of the most distinct marks of Henry’s mind, that whatever
pressure his most engrossing employments put upon him, he never for
a moment gave up the task of developing the great legal reforms with
which he began his reign. Even at the siege of Bridgenorth, in 1155,
he had lent an ear to the suit of the monks of Battle; in the very
thick of the Becket struggle he was busily employed in reforming the
criminal law and introducing or expanding the system of presentment by
grand jury. The same purpose is constantly maintained, and every great
and famous exploit of his adventurous life may be matched with some
measure of practical reform, some step in the progress of a policy by
which his people were to be made safer and his own power consequently
to be made stronger. Throughout the whole reign there may be traced a
constant and progressive policy of taking power out of the hands of
the great vassals of the crown, of entrusting power to the great body
of the freemen of the nation, and of consolidating the royal authority
by employing the people in the maintenance of law. The blow struck at
the military power of feudalism by the institution of scutage, the
commutation of personal service in the field for a money payment, was
one of the first of his distinctive measures. The judicial power of
the same body he limited, quite as much, by the mission of itinerant
judges throughout the country to hear the suits of the people and to
punish criminals. These visitations had been practised under Henry
I.; they were restored by Henry II., at the beginning of the reign.
These officers were employed not only for the trial of prisoners and
determination of lawsuits, but for the assessment and collection of
revenue. When the national council had decreed a tax, the itinerant
judges, as Barons of the Exchequer, travelled through the land, fixing
the payments to be made by the towns or by individuals. It was not a
very difficult business, for as all the revenue was raised from the
land and the land remained divided in much the same proportions as
it was in the Domesday Book, that famous record became, as it were,
the rate-book of the country; every land-owner could refer to it, to
see what was the valuation of his property, and be taxed accordingly.
Only the towns, therefore, which had grown in wealth and number since
the time of the Conqueror’s survey, would have occasion for debating
with the judges how much they would have to pay. Almost every year of
Henry’s reign we find these officers making their circuits, which are
the historical origin of the circuits of the Judges of Assize in the
present day. Sometimes, in the earlier part of the reign, one or two go
over the whole country; sometimes six circuits are made, each managed
by three judges; sometimes four circuits of four, or two circuits of
five or more. The chief epochs of this development are these: the year
1166, when the Assize of Clarendon was published; the year 1176, when
six circuits of three justices did the work under a revised form of
the Assize of Clarendon, issued at Northampton; and the year 1179, when
Henry reformed the central as well as the provincial tribunals.


  Training of the
  people in self-government.

Of the effects of this system one, the abatement of the power of the
feudal courts of justice by forcing them under royal jurisdiction,
has been noticed already. A second was the training of the people
generally, through the use of juries which were employed both for legal
and fiscal business; they thus learned to manage their own affairs
and to keep up an intelligent interest in legislation and political
business. A third was, to limit the power of the sheriffs, who being
the sole royal representatives in the shires, judicial, military, and
fiscal, had great chances of exercising irresponsible tyranny, of which
the books of the time contain many complaints. Besides the visitations
of the judges Henry from time to time used still stronger measures
of remedy or precaution against the oppressions of the sheriffs. In
1170 he turned them all out of office, and held a very strict inquiry
into the amount of money they had received, filling up their places
with servants and officers of his own court, by whose action the local
government would be placed in more direct relation to the central.



Nor were these labors solely directed to the reform of provincial
jurisdiction. Henry II. reformed also the supreme court of justice,
which was supposed to emanate from his own person and household, and
established a distinct staff of well-instructed lawyers to hear the
suits that were sent up for his royal decision. These men he found
it hard work to manage, and once in 1178 he swept them all away as
summarily as he had done the sheriffs in 1170. Sometimes he employed
clerks, sometimes knights, sometimes prelates, in the office of judge,
with unequal success, but with a never-faltering purpose of securing
easy justice.


  Variety in

In the same way he varied the taxes, from year to year, not allowing
the same interest to be oppressed with continual imposts, but taking
now a tallage from the towns, now a scutage or an aid from the
land-owners or knightly body; and on the occasion of the Crusade, in
1184 and 1188, calling for a contribution from personal property, a
fixed proportion or a tithe of goods for the war against Saladin.



In order finally to secure the defence of the country, and to have
a force on which he could depend for the maintenance of peace and
order, he armed the whole free population, or ordered them to provide
arms, according to a fixed scale, proportioned to their substance.
Thus he restored the ancient Anglo-Saxon militia system, and supplied
the requisite counterbalance to the military power of the great
feudatories, which, notwithstanding the temptation to avoid service by
payment of scutage, they were still able and too willing to maintain.
In all these measures we may trace one main object, the strengthening
of the royal power, and one main means or directing principle,
the doing so by increasing the safety and security of the people.
Whatever was done to help the people served to reduce the power of
the great feudal baronage; to disarm their forces, to abolish their
jurisdictions, to diminish their chances of tyranny. Now all this could
not but make Henry very much disliked by the great nobles. The people
of course were slow to see the benefit of the reforms, but the barons
were quick enough at detecting the measures taken to humiliate and
reduce them; so, before Henry gained the affection of the people, he
had to encounter the hostility of the barons.


  of the heir,


  custom of
  the successor
  to the

This hostility had been growing for a long time, awaiting the
opportunity of breaking out into open revolt. Such an opportunity
the shock which followed the death of Becket gave it; and the very
same measure taken by Henry, which in its results caused the death
of Becket, gave a head and a direction, nominally at least, to the
outbreak. This measure was the coronation of the boy Henry in 1170.
The idea of having the heir-apparent crowned in his father’s life-time
was not familiar to the English or Normans; the royal succession still
retained so much of the elective character that it would perhaps
have been regarded as an unconstitutional measure, thus violently
and without option to determine the succession irrevocably before
the vacancy occurred. Much of the interest of the reigns of William
Rufus and Henry I. turns upon this question. William the Conqueror
and William Rufus both left the succession undetermined; hence arose
the rebellions of the reign of the Red King and the early struggles
of Henry I. The measures by which he had done everything in his power
to secure and settle it had ended in the anarchy under Stephen. But
in France and Germany this experiment, now tried for securing the
hereditary succession, was familiar; almost every one of the kings who
followed Hugh Capet had had his son crowned in his life-time; and in
Germany since the very beginning of the Karolingian empire such cases
had been frequent. Frederick Barbarossa at this very moment was working
for the succession of his own son; and the introduction of a second or
inchoate partner in sovereignty, under the name of King of the Romans,
became later on a part of the ordinary machinery of the empire. It is
possible that Henry II. had this object solely and simply in view; but
another theory is conceivable.


  object in

Henry well knew by what very discordant nationalities his states were
peopled; and he entertained the idea of dividing his dominions among
his sons at his death. To Richard, the second son, as his mother’s
heir, Aquitaine and Poictou were already given; for Geoffrey he had
obtained the succession to the duchy of Brittany, and he was thinking
of Ireland to be conquered for a kingdom for John. Henry, the eldest
son, would of course have his father’s inheritance, England, Normandy,
and Anjou. Such a division the king actually made, when in the autumn
of 1170 he believed himself to be at the point of death; and he brought
up his sons among the people they were to rule, Henry among the
Normans, Richard among the Poictevins. It would be still a question
whether the elder brother should govern the family estates, as had
been the case in the early Karolingian empire, his brethren owning his
feudal superiority; or whether each should possess his provinces in
sovereignty; subject only to the already existing feudal claims.

However, when Henry began, as early as 1160, to broach the subject of
his son’s coronation he was only twenty-seven years old, and probably
thought more of securing the allegiance and attachment of the English
for the child, than of the chances which might follow his own death;
and later on we find him anxious to abridge the tedious parts of
the royal duties to sharing them with the heir, although he never
could part with one iota of the substance of power. Hence, then, the
coronation of Henry the younger in 1170, the anger of Lewis VII.
because his daughter was not also crowned, and the quarrel among the
bishops which caused Becket’s death.


  applies to
  the Pope on


  to Ireland,

Henry--for we must now return to the direct string of our story--was
momentarily paralyzed at the news of the martyrdom. He saw how the
blame was sure to fall upon him, and how all his enemies would sooner
or later take the opportunity to overwhelm him. Immediately, therefore,
he sent envoys to Rome to promise any terms whatever for acquittal
or absolution. Whilst this negotiation was pending, knowing that the
legates, for whom Lewis, before the death of Becket, had applied, were
on their way to Normandy, and would not scruple to exert the utmost of
their power against him, he organized an expedition to Ireland, which
for the last sixteen years had been his by papal grant, and for the
last four had been undergoing the process of conquest in the hands of
Richard de Clare, surnamed Strongbow. In Ireland he stayed from the
autumn of 1171 to the Easter of 1172, receiving the submission of kings
and bishops, and really keeping out of the way of the hostile legates:
awaiting the arrival of the friendly legates who were coming to absolve


  Character of
  the Court of

Now, no doubt it appears strange that the Court of Rome should at
this same moment be pouring out both sweet water and bitter; that the
supreme judge on earth should send forth a legation to put Henry’s
dominions under interdict for one act and directly after send another
to absolve him for what seems a more heinous one. It must, however,
be remembered that in this the papal court was rather acting as a
great tribunal of international arbitration than as the council of a
Christian bishop. The Court of Rome was a great legal machine, the
disadvantages of which are manifest at first sight, but the benefit of
which in a warlike age can scarcely be overrated, although less obvious
at a glance. A very severe judgment may perhaps be allowable, as to the
assumptions and arrogance and unrighteousness of the papacy in taking
the office of international arbitration; but judged by its results it
was for the time a great public benefit, for it stopped and hindered
the constant appeals to war. Thus viewed the Court of Rome was as open
for suitors as any simple court of justice: an applicant who wanted
legal redress applied for a commission of inquiry or a legation. In so
doing he brought the usual means to bear on the papal officials, who
no doubt found it to their interest to keep their minds always open
to hear both sides, and to keep their purses also open to receive the
contributions of all sides in each suit, and thus maintain the wealth
and power of the court itself. It is not to be denied that, however
arrived at, the decisions ultimately given were in most cases fair and


  and absolution,


  of the heir.

Henry, then, on this occasion eluded one legation and welcomed another.
In 1172 he met the friendly cardinals at Avranches, took all the oaths
they proposed, renounced the Constitutions of Clarendon, purged himself
of the guilt of Becket’s death, declared his adherence to Alexander
III., as Catholic Pope, in refutation of the statement that he had
acknowledged the anti-Pope, and received full absolution. He then,
by way of general pacification, had his son re-crowned and his wife
crowned with him and went down to the South of France to make a lasting
peace with the Count of Toulouse, and to bargain for the marriage of
John with the heiress of the county of Maurienne and Savoy.


  Quarrel of
  the two

The storm seemed to have blown over; unfortunately the lull preceded
the great outbreak. Strange to say, the immediate occasion for the
strife was the little boy John, the five-year-old bridegroom. All his
great enemies Henry had silenced; Lewis had got his daughter crowned,
the Pope was pacified, the barons were secured by the strength of the
home government, the Scots were humble and obliging, all the sons were
friends. The little child who in the end broke his heart was already a
stumbling-block. The Count of Maurienne naturally asked what provision
was to be made by Henry for his son’s marriage. Henry found himself
obliged to ask his elder sons to give up for their brother some few
castles out of their promised shares of his dominions. The eldest son
refused; he would give up nothing; he had got nothing by being crowned,
he was not trusted to go about alone; let the king give him some real
power, England or Normandy, then he might have something that he could
give up. The ill-conditioned lad nursed his grievance, and, early in
the spring of 1173, fled from his father’s court and threw himself into
the arms of Lewis. Queen Eleanor too, whose influence with her husband
was lessened by her misguidance of her children, and by the evil habits
which Henry himself had contracted during the Becket quarrel, used all
her influence to increase the breach in her family. She intrigued with
her first husband against her second, and brought even Richard into the
list of his father’s enemies.


  Great league
  Henry, 1173.

Thus, then, early in 1173 a head was provided for a great confederation
of French lords and English barons, actively aided by Lewis of France,
Philip of Flanders, the Counts of Champagne and the King of Scots,
William the Lion, who had succeeded Malcolm IV. in 1165. The younger
Henry, liberal in promises, proposed to reward with vast English
estates the men who were to help in renewing the glories of the
Conquest. And the great English earls, Chester, Leicester, and Norfolk,
were bent on reviving the feudal influence which Henry’s reforms had
so weakened. These earls were mighty men on both sides of the Channel:
the Norman quarrel could be fought in England as well as in Normandy,
Anjou, and Poictou. Measures were contrived at Paris for a universal
rising. And the success of the design seemed at first almost certain.
Henry had a large force of Brabançon mercenaries about him, but
scarcely any other force on which he could depend at all.

[Sidenote: War begins.]

The war began by a Flemish invasion of Normandy; then the Earl of
Chester raised Brittany against the king; then the Poictevins rose in
arms. From France the torch was handed to England. William the Lion,
with a half-barbarian army, began a devastating march southward; the
Earl of Leicester landed a great force of Flemings in Norfolk; the Earl
Ferrers of Derby fortified his castles in the midland counties; old
Hugh Bigot of Norfolk, who had sworn the disinheritance of Matilda in
1135, garrisoned his castles--all England was in an uproar. The old
justiciar, the king’s lieutenant, Richard de Lucy, was bewildered; and
the great Bishop of Durham, Hugh de Puiset, King Stephen’s nephew,
began to play a double game, negotiating with the Scots, and allowing
the landing of Flemish mercenaries, to be used at discretion.



[Sidenote: In France.]

Two influences, however, turned the scale against this overwhelming
preponderance of treachery and force--Henry’s wonderful energy, which
his contemporaries called supernatural good luck, and the faithfulness
of the English people, who, now, when the crucial test was applied to
them, amply repaid the many years of culture spent upon them. Henry had
been taken by surprise by the general onset; and, unwilling to believe
in the ingratitude of his boys, he at first was slow to move against
them; but he showed extraordinary promptness when he saw the state of
affairs and had made up his mind how to act. Having put Lewis VII. to
ignominious flight at Conches, he rushed down upon Dol, in Brittany,
where he captured the Earl of Chester and the chief Breton and Angevin
rebels; and during the autumn of 1173, before the worst news from
England arrived, he had captured one after the other the nests of
rebellion in Maine. At Christmas he concluded a three months’ truce
with Lewis and undertook the pacification of Poictou, which employed
him until the next summer, fretting and chafing against the detention
which kept him away from England.


  War in


  Capture of
  William the

In England matters had gone on more slowly, owing to the unprepared
state of the ministry and the general feeling of apprehension and
mistrust. There, however, Henry had some men on whom he could depend:
Richard de Lucy, the justiciar; Ranulf Glanvill, the great lawyer,
who was rising into the first rank as a minister; Reginald, Earl of
Cornwall, the king’s uncle; the Earl of Arundel, husband of Queen
Adeliza, widow of Henry I., and others connected with the royal house.
These men had insufficient forces at their disposal, and were at
first unable to decide whether the Scots in the North, or the Earl
of Leicester in the East, or the midland revolt under Earl Ferrers,
was the most formidable. At last, having made up their minds to make
a truce with the Scots, they moved upon Norfolk, and defeated the
earls in October, at Fornham St. Geneviève. There they took prisoners
the Earl of Leicester and his wife, the great Lady Petronilla,
whose comprehensive soul embodied all the spite and arrogance and
vindictiveness of the oligarchy of the Conquest. She, as heiress of
Grantmesnil, had brought a great inheritance to her husband, the
degenerate heir of the faithful Beaumonts; for the Leicester Beaumonts
were the only house which since the Conquest had been uniformly
faithful to the Conqueror and his heirs. This great success enabled
Henry to remain in Poictou during the winter and spring of 1174, and
allowed the ministers to concentrate their forces against the Scots.
The people rose against the feudal party, and a brisk struggle was
kept up in the interior of the country until the summer. William the
Lion spent his time in securing the border castles, seeking his own
ends, instead of pressing southwards, and so doing his part to overturn
Henry’s throne. At last early in July, 1174, he was surprised and taken
prisoner at Alnwick, by the host of Yorkshire men and the loyal barons.


  arrival in

Just at the same moment Henry had crossed from Normandy with his
Brabançons, and made a pilgrimage to Becket’s grave. His triumph was
now regarded as a token of Divine forgiveness. He marched at once
into Norfolk, where he received the submission of the Bigots and the
Mowbrays, the latter of whom had been overcome by the king’s natural
son, Geoffrey, now bishop elect of Lincoln, and afterwards so well
known as Archbishop of York. All his foes were now at his feet; the
King of Scots and the two great earls were prisoners; the rest entirely
humiliated. In less than a month from his landing he was able to go
back to Normandy.


  End of the

The French war came to an end on the collapse of the English rebellion,
and in the month of September all Henry’s dominions were at rest, his
children reconciled, even the King of France admitted to peace.


  of Scotland,

And now we have true evidence of Henry’s real greatness in policy and
spirit, notwithstanding his provocations and the changed strain of
his character and temper. He shed no blood, he took no ransoms, he
condemned to destitution not one of the leaders of the rebellion; he
laid his hands for a few years on their estates, but even these were
shortly restored, and no man was disinherited by way of punishment.
But he pulled down their castles. The nests of feudal tyranny and
insubordination he not merely dismantled, but in some cases destroyed
so utterly as to leave not one stone upon another, that they might be
no more the beginning of the temptation to such a design. Against the
Scots his hand was very heavy; he insisted on abject submission. Before
he would release the king from his captivity he insisted that he should
do homage, acknowledging the supremacy of his crown over the Scottish
crown, and of the English Church over the Scottish. The Scottish barons
must become his men; the Scottish bishops must declare their obedient
subjection to the English Church; and the castles of the Lowlands
must be retained in the hands of men whom he should place there with
English garrisons. This humiliating negotiation, concluded at Falaise
before William’s liberation, was confirmed at York in the following
August. From this time, until Richard I. sold back to William the Lion
the rights that he had lost, Scotland was subject to the English king
as overlord, and her king as king was our king’s vassal. The Church,
however, escaped subjection, because the archbishops of Canterbury and
York could not agree which should rule her, and before their quarrel
was ended the Pope stepped in and declared the Scottish Church the
immediate care and peculiar daughter of the Roman see. Besides this,
the half-independent prince of Galloway was compelled to acknowledge
himself a vassal of both the kings.


  Importance of
  this struggle.

So completely was the authority of Henry II., re-established by the
peace of 1174, that we are almost tempted to underrate the importance
of the elements that had been arrayed against him. It was not, however,
in the want of strength and spirit that the confederation against him
failed; the kings of France and Scotland, the counts of Champagne,
Boulogne, and Flanders, the earls of Chester, Leicester, Norfolk, and
Derby, his own sons and his own wife, were united in their hostility.
The religious feeling of the nation, which since the death of Becket
had to a remarkable degree realized or rather exaggerated his merits as
a statesman and a churchman, was used as a weapon against him. Every
interest that he had injured, or that had suffered in the process of
his reforms, was made to take its part. Yet all failed. They failed
partly, no doubt, because they had really no common cry, no common
cause. They had many grievances and a good opportunity; but all
their several aims were selfish; their plan, so far as they had one,
destructive not constructive; their leaders unwilling to sacrifice or
risk anything of their own, greedy to grasp what belonged of right to
the king, the nation, or even to their own fellows. They fought one
by one against a prompt, clear-headed, accomplished warrior, and they
were beaten one by one; not, however, without a very considerable
intermingling of what is ordinarily called good fortune on the king’s
side. Thus Henry in the twentieth year of his reign was more powerful
by far than when, at the beginning of it, the desire and darling of the
whole people, he brought back peace and light and liberty after the
evil days.


  Henry resumes


  made for John.


  Marriages of
  the king’s

The general line of policy which Henry had hitherto pursued he took
up almost at the identical point at which it had been interrupted
by the rebellion; but instead of seeking for John a provision on
the Continent, he determined to find him a wife and an endowment
in England, and, when he should be old enough, to make him king of
Ireland. With this idea he arranged for him, in 1176, a marriage with
Hawisia, the daughter of William, Earl of Gloucester, his cousin; and
the next year, in a great assembly at Oxford, he divided the still
unconquered provinces of Ireland into great fiefs, the receivers of
which took the oath of fealty, not only to himself, but to John as
their future king. The Pope also was canvassed as to the erection
of Ireland into a kingdom and the coronation of John. The same year
Johanna, the king’s youngest daughter, was married with very great
pomp to the young king William the Good, as he is called, of Sicily,
a prince who had an unbounded admiration for his father-in-law, and
would have settled the reversion of his kingdoms upon him if Henry
had accepted the offer. Eleanor, the second daughter, was already
married to Alfonso, King of Castile, who in 1177 referred to the
judgment of Henry a great lawsuit between himself and his kinsman the
King of Navarre. This arbitration not only illustrates the estimation
in which Henry after his great victory was held on the Continent,
but shows us also how he deliberated with his councillors. He held a
very great court of bishops and superior clergy, of barons and other
tenants-in-chief, on the occasion; the arguments of the parties were
laid before them, and, in conformity with their advice asked and given,
the judgment was delivered.


  Visits to


  Intrigues of
  the younger

The two or three years that followed the rebellion were the period of
Henry’s longest stay in England. He came in April 1175, and stayed
until August 1177 after a year spent in Normandy and Anjou he returned
in 1178, and stayed until the end of June 1180; after which, although
he paid several long visits to England, his absences were much longer.
These years were periods of great activity in political matters. The
number of councils that he held, the variety of public business that
he despatched in them, the series of changes intended to promote the
speedy attainment of justice, the unfailing purpose which he showed
of fulfilling the pledge which in his early days he had given to his
people, all these come out in the simple details of the historian with
remarkable fulness. Henry was not at this time, or ever after, a happy
man; his son Henry, nominally reconciled, was constantly intriguing
against him with his father-in-law, Lewis, and the discontented lords
of the foreign dominion. He took up the part of an advocate of local
rights and privileges, and headed confederations against his father,
and against his brother Richard as the oppressor of the barons of
Poictou. He complained that his father treated him meanly, not giving
enough money, and jealously refusing him his share of power. The father
treated him generously and patiently, but he could not trust him, and
did not pretend to do so.



Queen Eleanor, too, was now imprisoned, or sequestered from her husband
in honorable captivity. This great lady, who deserves to be treated
with more honor and respect than she has generally met with, had
behaved very ill to her husband in the matter of the rebellion; and,
although he occasionally indulged her with the show of royal pomp and
power, he never released her from confinement or forgave her. She was
a very able woman, of great tact and experience, and still greater
ambition; a most important adviser whilst she continued to support
her husband, a most dangerous enemy when in opposition. Her political
intrigues in the East, when she accompanied her first husband on the
Crusade, had made him contemptible, and that Lewis never forgave her.
But her second husband was made of sterner stuff. He took and kept the
upper hand; it was only after his death that Eleanor’s real powers
found room for play; and had it not been for her governing skill while
Richard was in Palestine, and her influence on the Continent during the
early years of John, England would have been a prey to anarchy, and
Normandy lost to the house of Anjou long before it was.

The quarrel with his wife and the mistrust of his children threw the
king under very evil influences, although as a king he tried hard to do
his duty; and they sowed the seed of later difficulties which at last
overwhelmed him. The internal history of these years is occupied with
the judicial and financial doings which have been sketched in the early
pages of this chapter; outside there was peace, except in Poictou,
where Richard was learning the art of war, winning his first laurels
and making his worst and most obstinate enemies.


  Accession of
  Phillip II.,

In 1180 the long strife and jealousy between Henry II., and Lewis
VII., came to an end. The weak and unprincipled King of France, after
resigning his crown to his son Philip, a boy of sixteen, retired into
a convent and died. Philip inherited all his hatred of Henry, although
he was better able to appreciate his wisdom, and showed in his early
years a desire to have him as a political adviser and instructor. He
inherited, too, all his father’s falseness, craft, and dishonesty,
but not his morbid conscience nor his irresoluteness. Without being
so great a coward as his father, Philip was yet a long way from
being a brave man, and loses much by his juxtaposition with Richard
and even with John in that respect. But he was very unscrupulous,
very pertinacious, and in result very successful, outliving all his
rivals, and leaving his kingdom immensely stronger than it was when
he succeeded to it. In the domestic quarrels of his early years, with
his stepmother and the counts of Champagne, he availed himself of the
advice of Henry, which was given honestly and effectually; but, after
Henry’s quarrels with his sons began again, Philip saw his way clearly
enough to the humiliation of the rival house; and he took too sure and
too fatal advantage of his opportunity.

There is no need to dwell on the events of 1181 and 1182; the chief
mark of the former year is that assize of arms which has been already
mentioned. In 1182 the king was a good deal in Poictou. England
was governed now, and chiefly for the rest of the reign, by Ranulf
Glanvill, the chief justiciar, who in 1180 or 1179 had succeeded
to Richard de Lucy. The country was quiet; so quiet, that when the
troubles began on the Continent not a hand or foot in England stirred
against the king. English history during these and the following years
is a simple record of steady growth; all interest, personal and
political, centres in the king.


  revolt of the
  young king.


  His death,

The year 1183 begins with a new phase. The young king had of late shown
himself somewhat more dutiful. His father was now in his fiftieth
year, and that was for the kings of those days a somewhat advanced
maturity. The heir seemed to have learned that he might, as he must,
bide his time. The arrangement which was to provide for the continued
cohesion of the family estates was as yet uncompleted. Henry urged
that the younger brothers should all do homage and swear fealty to the
elder. Richard was with some difficulty prevailed on to do this; but
almost as soon as it was done Henry took advantage of the discontent
of the Poictevins, quarrelled with Richard about the custody of a
petty castle, and headed a war party against him. Their father, who
at first perhaps had intended that Henry should be allowed to enforce
his superiority, soon saw that it was his bounden duty to maintain
the cause of Richard. Geoffrey of Brittany joined his eldest brother.
Whilst Richard and his father besieged Limoges, Henry and Geoffrey
allowed their archers to shoot at their father; they ill-treated his
messengers, drove him to desperation, and became desperate themselves.
The younger Henry, after feigning reconciliation, and more than once
cruelly and hypocritically deserting his father, tried to recruit his
resources by plundering the rich shrines of the Aquitanian saints.
The age saw in his fate speedy vengeance for his impiety, his own
evil conscience found perhaps in his behaviour to his father a still
greater burden. Before Limoges was taken, the wretched man--for at
eight-and-twenty he was a boy no more--sickened and died at Martel,
and left no issue. He passed away like foam on the water, no man
regretting him; lamented only as his father’s enemy, and by that father
who, with all his faults and his mismanagement, loved his sons far more
than they deserved.


  Distrust of


  Death of

The death of the heir threw upon Richard the right, so far as it
could be regarded as a right, of succession; it reopened also the
question about the portion of Queen Margaret, the castles of the Vexin
which Henry had so craftily got into his hands in consequence of the
marriage. These castles he refused to restore to the king of France.
Richard’s claim to the fealty of the barons he could not allow to be
recognised, lest Richard should attempt to play against him the part
which his elder brother had played. He wished also that the Aquitanian
heritage should be made over to John, especially after the death of
Geoffrey of Brittany, which occurred in 1186, no right of succession
being allowed to the baby Arthur, born after his father’s death. Hence
there were constant feuds and difficulties, mainly, however, on the
French side of the Channel, Philip fomenting the family discord.


  The house of
  Anjou at



The threatening condition of Palestine long averted open war. Henry
was the head of the house of Anjou, from which the Frank kings of
Jerusalem, descended from Fulk, his grandfather, drew their origin.
Baldwin the Leper, the son of King Amalric, the conqueror of Egyptian
Babylon, was waging a very unequal fight against Saladin, Sultan of
Egypt and Syria. It was a brilliant struggle, but against fearful
odds. A prey to a sickness which physically disabled him, weakened
by the divisions of a court speculating already on his death and the
break-up of the kingdom; at the head of an aristocratic body which
had in a single century learned all the vices and none of the virtues
of the East; with the knightly orders quarrelling with one another;
with the barons of the kingdom playing the part of traitors, the
princes of the confederation leaguing with Saladin, and the ablest
of his allies utterly unfettered by the sense of honor;--Baldwin in
despair sent the keys of the Holy Sepulchre to Henry of England, as his
kinsman, and prayed him to come to the rescue. Then he died and left
the kingdom first to his baby nephew, then to his sister Sibylla and
Guy of Lusignan her husband. The mission of the patriarch Heraclius,
in 1185, was received with little enthusiasm in the West. Some two
or three great English barons, Hugh of Beauchamp and Roger Mowbray,
went; but the English Church and baronage, assembled at the Council of
Clerkenwell, told the king that it was his first duty to stay at home
and keep the promises made in his coronation oath. He himself could do
no more than offer contributions in money. The patriarch went off in
disgust; and before anything was really done Saladin had captured the
king, the True Cross, and the holy city.


  The Third

This news, which reached England in October or November, 1187, silenced
for a moment the petty quarrels of the West. But it was for a moment
only. At the first shock of the tidings Henry and Philip laid aside
their grievances. Richard was the first to take the cross. The popes
one after another in quick succession issued impassioned adjurations
that peace should be made, and that one great Catholic Crusade should
rescue imperilled Christendom. The Emperor himself, the lord of the
Western world, the great Frederick, declared that he would go to
Palestine with all the German chivalry. In England and France went
out a decree that all men who had anything should pay a tenth towards
the Crusade. The Saladin tithe was enacted by a great assembly of
all England, at Geddington, near Northampton, and it was the first
case in which Englishmen ever paid a general tax on all their goods
and chattels. This was done in February, 1188. The money was hastily
collected. It was yet uncertain whether the king would go himself or
send Richard or John or both. But the moment of peace was over, and for
Henry at least the end was coming.


  Henry’s last


  joins Phillip.

The last storm arose in the South; the quarrel between Richard and the
Count of Toulouse, beginning about a little matter, drew in both Henry
and Philip. Philip complained to Henry of the misrule of his son. Henry
disowned the measures of Richard; and Philip invaded Berry. At first
Richard acted in concert with his father, drove Philip out of Berry,
and recovered the places that he had taken. Henry was in England at the
time of the outbreak. He sent over first the Archbishop of Canterbury,
then John, and at last, in July, 1188, left his kingdom never to
return. The name of the great king was, at first, potent enough. Philip
sued for peace; the Counts of Champagne insisted that there should be
peace until the Crusade was over. Once and again the two kings met, and
failed to come to a reconciliation. In November Richard began to waver:
he did homage to Philip for all the French provinces, saving, however,
his fealty to his father. A truce was made, and the Pope sent a legate
to turn the truce into a peace. But when the time of truce expired
Richard had gone over to Philip, and actually joined in the invasion
of his father’s territories. Philip insisted that Richard should be
acknowledged heir; Henry hesitated; Richard suspected that John was to
supplant him: John was bribed to take part with his father’s enemies.
Henry, unable to believe the monstrous conspiracy, for the first time
in his life showed want of resolution; he did not draw his forces to
a head, but deliberated and negotiated whilst Richard and Philip were
acting. His health was failing, and his spirits had failed already.


  Capture of
  le Mans.



So the spring of 1189 went on, Henry staying mostly at Saumur, in
Anjou, or at Chinon; and Philip watching for his opportunity. At length
on May 28, after a conference at la Ferté Bernard, in which Henry, as
it was said, bribed the papal legate to take his side, Philip finally
broke into war; carried almost by surprise the chief castles of Maine,
and with a good fortune which he could scarcely realize captured the
city of le Mans itself, which Henry, although at the head of a stout
force of knights, refused to defend. Wretchedly ill and broken in
spirit, he rode for his life from le Mans, to escape from the hands
of his son and of Philip. This was on June 12. Le Mans was Henry’s
birth-place; there his father was buried, and he had loved the place
very much; it was also a very strong place, and when it was taken he
knew that sooner or later Tours must go too. But even before Tours
was taken all was lost, for Henry seemed to think that he had nothing
left to live or fight for. Scarcely able to sit on horseback, he rode
all day from le Mans, and rested at night at la Frenaye, on the way to
Normandy, where the chief part of his force and all his strength lay.
Geoffrey, his natural son and chancellor, afterwards Archbishop of
York, was with him, and the poor father clung to him in his despair. To
him, through his friend Giraldus Cambrensis, we owe the story of these
sad days.


  His last

Henry was worn out with illness and fatigue--he would, he said, lie
down and die: at night he would not be undressed; Geoffrey threw his
cloak on him and watched by his side. In the morning the king declared
that he could not leave Anjou; Geoffrey was to go on to Alençon with
the troops. He would return to Chinon. Geoffrey was not allowed to
depart until the Steward of Normandy had sworn that, should the king
die, he would surrender the castles only to John; for Henry did not
yet know the treachery of his favorite child. All was done as he bade;
Geoffrey secured Alençon and then returned to look for his father;
he found him at a place called Savigny, and took him to Chinon, as
he wished. For a fortnight Philip pursued his conquests unimpeded.
Henry moved again to Saumur, and was there visited by the Counts of
Champagne; but he had neither energy, nor apparently even the will,
to strike a blow or to come to a decision that would ensure peace.
A conference was fixed for June 30, at Azai, but when the day came
Henry was too ill to attend; and Philip and Richard went off loudly
exclaiming that it was a false excuse. The same day Philip came to
Tours. Again the princes interfere; but Philip would not listen. On
July 3, he took the city. Then Henry, dying as he was, made his last
effort; he was carried from Saumur to Azai, mounted there on horseback,
and met his two foes on the plain of Colombieres.

There, after two attempts to converse, broken by a terrible
thunder-storm, Henry, held up on horseback by his servants, accepted
Philip’s terms and submitted, surrendering all that he was asked to
surrender. One thing he asked for, the list of the conspirators, to
whom he was obliged to promise forgiveness. The list was given him;
and with reluctance and muttered reproaches, perhaps curses also, he
gave Richard the kiss of peace. He went back to Azai, still transacting
some little business on the way, for the monks of Canterbury, who had
quarrelled with their archbishop, forced themselves into his presence
and provoked some sharp words of reproof even then. Then he opened
the list of rebels, and the first name that he saw was John’s. And
that broke his heart; he turned his face to the wall and said, “I have
nothing left to care for; let all things go their way.”


  Death of
  Henry II.

From that blow he never rallied. He was carried on a litter to Chinon,
chafing against the shame of defeat and the mortification of his love.
Geoffrey sat by him fanning him in the sultry air and driving away the
flies that teased him. To him Henry confided his last wishes. He told
him he was to be Archbishop of York, and gave him his ring, with the
seal of the panther, to give to the King of Castile; then he ordered
them to take him up, on his bed, and lay him before the altar of the
castle chapel; there he received the last sacraments and died, two days
after the meeting at Colombieres.

There is hardly in all English history a more striking catastrophe
or a scene in itself more simply touching. So much suffering, so
great a fall, from such grandeur to such humiliation, such bitter
sorrow, the loss of everything worth having, power and peace and his
children’s love may have stirred in him in that last moment the thought
of forgiveness. But Richard saw him alive no more; and when at the
funeral, at Fontevraud, he met the bier on which his father’s body lay,
blood flowed forthwith from the nostrils of the dead king, as if his
spirit were indignant at his coming.



 Character of the reign--Richard’s first visit to England--His
 character--The Crusade--Fall of Longchamp--Richard’s second visit--His
 struggle with Philip--His death.

The historical interest of the reign of Richard I. is of two sorts:
there is abundance of personal adventure and incident, and there is
a certain quantity of legal and constitutional material which it is
easier to interweave into a general disquisition on such subjects
than to invest with a unity and plot of its own. But there is no
great national change, no very pronounced development, no crisis of
stirring interest or great permanent import. The strong system of
government introduced by Henry II. was gaining still greater strength
and consistency; the royal power, which it was the first object of
that system to consolidate, was growing stronger and stronger, and the
nation in general, whilst it was passing through that phase in which a
strong government is a necessary guide and discipline, was benefiting
by the policy which must sooner or later educate it to remedy the
abuses and perhaps to overthrow the strong government itself. But as
yet the royal power was wielded by men who used it like statesmen,
and the strength of the nation was not tempted to assert itself by a
premature struggle. One great personal struggle there was during the
reign, and a somewhat interesting one in point of detail, but it is one
which typified and prefigured rather than formed a link in the chain of
causes that brought about the struggle of Runnymede.

The great subjects of romantic interest are Richard’s crusade,
captivity and death. England had little to do with these, except as
being the source for the supply of treasure; she scarcely saw Richard;
to her the king was little more than a political expression which
furnished arguments to a series of powerful administrators, William
Longchamp, Walter of Coutances, Hubert Walter and Geoffrey Fitz Peter.
But as connecting English with Continental history the personal career
of Richard has its own interest and value, and, even in a rapid survey
like the present, it demands, if not the first place, certainly one
which is second to no other.





Richard, as we have seen, was not acknowledged by his father as his
heir, nor had he received the homage of the barons as presumptive
successor, until he had wrung the concession from the dying Henry on
the field of Colombieres. The fact that, without a word of opposition,
he was received as Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou, and King of the
English, immediately on the news of his father’s death, proves that the
doctrine of hereditary succession was, in practice if not in theory,
already admitted as the lawful one, and that Henry’s reforms had left
the countries subject to his immediate sway in such order that no one
even ventured to take advantage of the interregnum to disturb the
peace. It also proves that Richard had strong friends. Among these the
first was his mother, who, rejoicing in her deliverance by Henry’s
death from her long captivity, placed herself at the head of the
English government, and, empowered by Richard, ruled as regent until
his arrival. One reason for this probably was that Ranulf Glanvill, the
justiciar, had been a confidential friend of Henry, and may have been
suspected of promoting the design of placing John upon the throne. For
more than a month Eleanor reigned, Richard spending the time in making
terms with Philip, who had become his enemy as soon as he succeeded
to his father’s place, and in receiving the formal investiture of the
several dignities which he claimed on the Continent.


  of Richard.


  of the Jews.

In the middle of August he came to England, and John with him. After a
magnificent progress of little more than a fortnight, he was crowned
with exceeding great pomp at Westminster, on the 3rd of September. This
is the first coronation the state ceremonies of which have been exactly
recorded, and it has remained a precedent for all subsequent occasions;
the religious services of course are much older. It was unfortunately
disgraced by a riot promoted by Richard’s foreign attendants against
the Jews, who, notwithstanding the king’s exertions, were severely
handled, robbed and murdered, the example being followed, as soon as
his personal protection was removed, at York, Stamford and St. Edmund’s.


  Character of

Richard at the time of his coronation was thirty-two years old; a
man of tall stature, like his father and elder brother, ruddy and
brown-haired, and giving already some indications of corpulence, which
he tried to keep down by constant exercise. In dress he was very
splendid and ostentatious, therein unlike his father. The dissimilarity
in character was greater. Richard was foolishly extravagant, as lavish
of money as Henry was sparing, and as unscrupulous in his ways of
exacting it as his father was cautious and considerate. At this period
of his life he had no pronounced political views; he had taken the
Cross, and was that very rare phenomenon, an ardent Crusader, but he
had not yet conceived a political scheme as King of England or as enemy
of the King of France. He had not thought of taking into his hands the
strings of that foreign policy for which Henry had sacrificed so much.
He despised his friend Philip far more than his knowledge of him or
the results of their intercourse justified him in doing; he trusted
in himself far more than any man should do who has any sense of the
rights or duties of kingship. He was a thorough warrior; personally
brave, fearless in danger, politic and cautious in planning, and rapid
in executing, exhibiting in battle the very faculties which deserted
him in council--circumspection, self-control, readiness. He cared more
for the glory of victory than either for the fame or the substance of
it; it was his very joy to excel in arms, rather than to win renown
or profit; yet for both renown and profit he had an insatiable thirst
also. He was eloquent, generous and impulsive. In religion he was
perhaps more sincere than his family generally were; he heard mass
daily, and on three occasions did penance in a very remarkable way,
simply on the impulse of his own distressed conscience. He did not
show the carelessness in divine things that marked the house of Anjou,
still less the brutal profanity of John. But notwithstanding this he
was a vicious man, a bad husband and a bad son; vicious, although his
vices did not, like those of his father and brother, complicate his
public policy. All one can say about this is that, when he professed
penitence, he seems to have been sincerely penitent. His best trait is
the forgivingness of his character, and that is especially shown in his
treatment of John.

The accession of such a prince might well be watched with interest; but
Richard was as yet scarcely known in England. He had been born, indeed,
either at Oxford or at Woodstock, and his nurse was a Wiltshire or
Oxfordshire woman; but when quite a child he had been taken abroad, and
had only visited England two or three times for a month or so since.
Hence, although he was a fair scholar and a poet, it may be questioned
whether he could speak a sentence in English. He had been educated,
in fact, to be Duke of Aquitaine, and it was only since his brother’s
death that he had been an object of interest on this side the Channel.
No doubt changes were looked for; and in one respect change came, for
very early he removed Glanvill from the office of Justiciar and made
him pay a very heavy fine before he released him from custody. But this
act was probably one of greed rather than of policy, for he wanted
money, and did not speculate on statecraft. Glanvill, too, was bound on
the Crusade, and was an old man whose days of governing were over.


  Council of

The same want of money led Richard, in a great council which he held
at Pipewell in the month of the coronation, to sell almost everything
that he could sell; sheriffdoms, justiceships, church lands, and
appointments of all kinds. To the King of Scots he sold the release
from the obligations which Henry had exacted in the peace of Falaise;
to the Bishop of Durham he sold the office of Justiciar, or a share in
it, and the county of Northumberland; to the Bishop of Winchester he
sold the sheriffdom of Hampshire, and castles and lands belonging of
old to his see. Many other prelates paid large sums to secure rights
and properties which were their own, but which were deemed safer for
the royal confirmation; and so great were the promises of money made to
him that, if they had been fulfilled, he would have been richer by far
than all the kings that were before him. He filled up the bishoprics
with officers of his father’s court. York he gave to his half-brother
Geoffrey the Chancellor; Salisbury to Hubert Walter, nephew of the
Justiciar Glanvill; London to Richard the son of old Bishop Nigel of
Ely the treasurer, and himself also treasurer and historian of the


  made for


  of Longchamp.

He also made great provision for John. He had him married, as soon as
he could, to the heiress of Gloucester, to whom he had been so long
betrothed, although the archbishop protested that they were too near
akin. He gave him the counties of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset,
Derby, and Nottingham, with divers other castles and honors; but he
would not recognize him as his heir or leave him with a settled share
in the government. The real power he placed in the hands of a man whom
he had found for himself, William Longchamp, who had gone through
the usual training in the Chancery, and whom he now made Chancellor
and Bishop of Ely. To him also he committed the justiciarship, in
partnership with the Bishop of Durham, after the death of William de
Mandeville, whom he had meant to leave as lieutenant-general of the
kingdom; and before his final departure on the Crusade he made him sole
Justiciar, and obtained for him the office of legate from Clement III.


  starts on the

In order to remove the two greatest obstacles to peace he bound his two
brothers John and Geoffrey to stay away for three years from England,
so as to leave a clear stage for Longchamp. He then prepared for
his departure. He left England in December. After arranging matters
in Normandy and Poictou, he proceeded to Vezelai, whence he started
with Philip soon after midsummer. It may be said that, in spite of
good intentions, he took away with him the men whom it would have
been wisest to leave behind, Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury, Ranulf
Glanvill, and Hubert Walter, and left behind him the uneasy spirits
whom he might have made useful against the infidel, John, Geoffrey, and
Longchamp. And this the later history proves. At present we will follow


  The Third

The third Crusade, in which he was the foremost actor, is one of
the most interesting parts of the crusading history; the greatness
of the occasion, the greatness of the heroes, and the greatness of
the failure, mark it out especially. And yet it was not altogether
a failure, for it stayed the Western progress of Saladin, and Islam
never again had so great a captain. Jerusalem had been taken in the
autumn of 1187. The king had been taken prisoner in the summer. Before
or after the capture almost every stronghold had been surrendered
within the territory of Jerusalem. Saving the lordship of Tyre and
the principalities of Antioch and Tripoli, all the Frank possessions
had been lost, and only a few mountain fortresses kept up a hopeless
resistance. The counsels of the crusaders were divided; the military
orders hated and were hated by the Frank nobility; and these, with an
admixture of Western adventurers like Conrad of Montferrat, played fast
and loose with Saladin, betraying the interests of Christendom and
working up in their noble enemy a sum of mistrust and contempt which he
intended should accumulate till he could take full vengeance.


  Siege of


  Crusade of

When King Guy, released from captivity, opened, in August, 1189, the
siege of Acre, he was probably conscious that no more futile design
was ever attempted. Yet it showed an amount of spirit unsuspected by
the Western princes, and drew at once to his side all the adventurous
soldiers of the Cross. If he could maintain the siege long enough,
there were hopes of ultimate success against Saladin, of the recovery
of the Cross and the Sepulchre, for the emperor and the kings of the
West were all on the road to Palestine. Month after month passed on.
The Danes and the Flemings arrived early, but the great hosts lagged
strangely behind. The great hero Frederick of Hohenstaufen started
first; he was to go by land. Like a great king, such as he was, he
first set his realms in order; early in 1188, at what was called
the Court of God, at Mentz, he called his hosts together; then from
Ratisbon, on St. George’s day, 1189, he set off, like St. George
himself, on a pilgrimage against the dragons and enchanters that lay in
wait for him in the barbarous lands of the Danube and in Asia Minor.
The dragons were plague and famine, the enchanters were Byzantine
treachery and Seljukian artifice. Through both the true and perfect
knight passed with neither fear nor reproach. In a little river among
the mountains of Cilicia he met the strongest enemy, and only his
bones reached the land of his pilgrimage. His people looked for him
as the Britons for Arthur. They would not believe him dead. Still
legend places him, asleep but yet alive, in a cave among the Thuringian
mountains, to awake and come again in the great hour of German need.
His diminished and perishing army brought famine and pestilence to the
besieging host at Acre. His son Frederick of Swabia, who commanded
them, died with them; and the German Crusaders who were left--few
indeed after the struggle--returned to Germany before the close of the
Crusade under Duke Leopold of Austria.

Next perhaps, after the Emperor, the Crusade depended on the King of
Sicily--he died four months after his father-in-law, Henry II.


  siege at

For two years the siege of Acre dragged on its miserable length. It
was a siege within a siege: the Christian host held the Saracen army
within the walls; they themselves fortified an entrenched camp; outside
the trench was a countless Saracen host besieging the besiegers. The
command of the sea was disputed, but both parties found their supplies
in that way, and both suffered together.


  Journey of

This had been going on for nearly a year before Richard and Philip left
Vezelai. From Vezelai to Lyons the kings marched together; then Philip
set out for Genoa, Richard for Marseilles. Richard coasted along the
Italian shore, whiling away the time until his fleet arrived. The ships
had gone, of course, by the Bay of Biscay and Straits of Gibraltar,
where they had been drawn into the constant crusade going on between
the Moors and the Portuguese, and lost time also by sailing up to
Marseilles, where they expected to meet the king. Notwithstanding the
delay they arrived at Messina several days before Richard. Philip,
whose fleet, such as it was, had assembled at Marseilles, reached the
place to rendezvous ten days before him.


  The English
  at Acre.

Immediately on Richard’s arrival, on September 23, Philip took ship,
but immediately put back. Richard made no attempt to go farther than
Messina until the spring. It was an unfortunate delay, but it was
absolutely necessary. The besiegers of Acre were perishing with plague
and famine; provisions were not abundant even in the fleet. To have
added the English and French armies to the perishing host would have
been suicidal. Some of the English barons, however, perished. Ranulf
Glanvill went on to Acre, and died in the autumn of 1190; Archbishop
Baldwin and Hubert Walter, the Bishop of Salisbury, took the military
as well as the spiritual command of the English contingent; but the
archbishop died in November, and Hubert found his chief employment in
ministering to the starving soldiers. Queen Sibylla and her children
were dead also; and Conrad of Montferrat, separating her sister, now
the heiress of the Frank kingdom, from her youthful husband, prevailed
on the patriarch to marry her to himself, and so to oust King Guy,
and still more divide the divided camp. The two factions were arrayed
against one another as bitterly as the general exhaustion permitted,
when at last Philip and Richard came.


  The kings
  at Messina.


  Richard and


  sails from


  Acre taken,

The winter months of 1190 and the spring of 1191 had been spent by
them in very uneasy lodgings at Messina. Richard and Philip were,
from the very first, jealous of one another. Richard was betrothed to
Philip’s sister, and Philip suspected him of wishing to break off the
engagement. Richard’s sister Johanna, the widow of William the Good,
was still in Sicily. Richard wanted to get her and her fortune into his
hands and out of the hands of Tancred, who, with a doubtful claim, had
set himself up as King of Sicily against Henry of Hohenstaufen, who
had married the late king’s aunt. Now, the Hohenstaufen and the French
had always been allies; Richard, through his sister’s marriage with
Henry the Lion, was closely connected with the Welfs, who had suffered
forfeiture and banishment from the policy of Frederick Barbarossa.
He was also naturally the ally of Tancred, who looked upon him as
the head of Norman chivalry. Yet to secure his sister he found it
necessary to force Tancred to terms. Whilst Tancred negotiated the
people of Messina rose against the strangers; the strangers quarrelled
among themselves; Philip planned treachery against Richard, and tried
to draw Tancred into a conspiracy; Tancred informed Richard of the
treachery. Matters were within a hair’s breadth of a battle between
the crusading kings. Philip’s strength, however, was not equal to his
spite, and the air gradually cleared. Tancred gave up the queen and her
fortune, and arranged a marriage for one of his daughters with Arthur
of Brittany, who was recognized as Richard’s heir. Soon after Queen
Eleanor arrived at Naples with the lady Berengaria of Navarre in her
company; whereupon, by the advice of Count Philip of Flanders, Philip
released Richard from the promise to marry his sister; and at last,
at the end of March, 1191, the French Crusaders sailed away to Acre.
Richard followed in a few days; but a storm carrying part of his fleet
to Cyprus, he found himself obliged to fight with Isaac Comnenus, the
Emperor, and then to conquer and reform the island, where also he was
married. After he reached Acre, where he arrived on June 8, he as well
as Philip fell ill, and only after a delay of some weeks was able to
take part in the siege. The town held out a little longer; but early
in July surrendered, and gave the Christians once more a footing in
the Holy Land. Immediately after the capture Philip started homewards,
leaving his vow of pilgrimage unfulfilled. Richard remained to complete
the conquest.


  in Palestine.

The sufferings and the cruelties of this part of the history are not
pleasant to dwell upon. It is a sad tale to tell how Saladin slew
his prisoners, how the Duke of Burgundy and Richard slew theirs; how
Conrad and Guy quarrelled, the French supporting Conrad and Richard
supporting Guy; how the people perished, and brave and noble knights
took menial service to earn bread. A more brilliant yet scarcely less
sad story is the great march of Richard by the way of the sea from
Acre to Joppa, and his progress, after a stay of seven weeks at Joppa,
on the way to Jerusalem as far as Ramleh. Every step was dogged by
Saladin, every straggler cut off, every place of encampment won by
fighting. Christmas found the king within a few miles of Jerusalem; but
he never came within reach of it. Had he known the internal condition
of the city he might have taken it. Jerusalem was in a panic, Saladin
for once paralyzed by alarm; but Richard had no good intelligence. The
Franks insisted that Ascalon should be secured before the Holy City was
occupied. The favorable moment passed away.




  Exploits of

Richard with a heavy heart turned his back on Jerusalem and went to
rebuild Ascalon. Before that was done the French began to draw back.
The struggle between Guy and Conrad broke out again. Saladin, by Easter
1192, was in full force and in good spirits again. Richard performed
during these months some of the most daring exploits of his whole
life: capturing the fortresses of the south country of Judah, and
with a small force and incredibly rapid movements intercepting the
great caravan of the Saracens on the borders of the desert. Such acts
increased his fame but scarcely helped the Crusade.


  March on


  Retreat and

In June it became absolutely necessary to determine on further steps.
Now the French insisted on attacking Jerusalem. Richard had learned
caution, and the council of the Crusade recommended an expedition to
Egypt to secure the south as Acre barred the north. At last Richard
yielded to the pressure of the French, and in spite of the want of
water and the absurdity of sitting down before the Holy City with an
enormous army in the middle of summer, he led them again to Beit-nuba,
four hours’ journey from Jerusalem. Then the French changed their minds
again; and thence, on July 4, began the retreat preparatory to the
return. Richard had been too long away from France, whither Philip had
returned, and from England, where John was waiting for his chances;
he began to negotiate for a truce, and in September, after a dashing
exploit at Joppa, in which he rescued the town from almost certain
capture, he arranged a peace for three years three months and three



Early in October he left Palestine, the Bishop of Salisbury remaining
to lead home the remnant of the host, as soon as they had performed
the pilgrimage which they were to make under the protection of
Saladin. Richard, impatient of delay, and not deeming himself worthy
to look on the city which he had not strength and grace to win back
for Christendom, left his fleet and committed himself to the ordinary
means of transport. After bargaining with pirates and smugglers for a
passage, and losing time by unnecessary hurry, he was shipwrecked on
the coast of the Adriatic near Aquileia; travelled in disguise through
Friuli and part of Salzburg, and was caught by Duke Leopold of Austria,
his bitter personal enemy, at Vienna in December. In March 1193 he was
handed over to the Emperor Henry VI., who was in correspondence with
Philip of France, as Philip was with John. For more than a year Richard
was in captivity. We may take the opportunity of turning back and
seeing how England had fared during his absence.


  England during
  the crusade.


  Hugh de




  Quarrel of the

When he started on the Crusade, early in December 1189, he left the
regency in the hands of Bishop Hugh of Durham and Bishop William of
Ely, the Chancellor, with a committee of associate justices. John and
Geoffrey had sworn to stay away for three years. As soon as he was out
of the country, as early as January, 1190, the justices quarrelled.
They were, indeed, very ill-mated. Hugh de Puiset, the Bishop of
Durham, was a great lord of the house of Champagne, nephew to King
Stephen, and cousin to the king: a rich man, an old man, the father
of a fine family, one son being chancellor to the King of France; a
great captain, a great hunter, a most splendid builder; not a very
clerical character, but altogether a grand figure for nearly fifty
years of English history. William of Longchamp, although perhaps,
notwithstanding the stigma of low birth cast upon him by his rivals,
a man of good family, was an upstart by the side of Bishop Hugh. He
was a man of very unpopular manners; very ambitious for himself and
his relations, very arrogant, priding himself on his Norman blood, but
laughed at as a _parvenu_ by the Norman nobles; disliking and showing
contempt in the coarsest way for the English, whose language he would
not speak and declared that he did not understand; very jealous of a
sharer in power, and unscrupulous in his use of it. With all this,
however, he was, it is certain, faithful to Richard; his designs were
all directed to the securing and increasing of his master’s power,
and his bitterest enemies were his master’s enemies. Richard knew
this, and never discarded his minister, although his unpopularity once
endangered the throne, and was always so great that he thought it best
to keep him out of the country. He continued to be chancellor as long
as he lived. William, as the king’s confidant, chancellor, justiciar,
and prospective legate, was far more than a match for Bishop Hugh. They
quarrelled at the Exchequer as soon as Richard left for France. The
chancellor crossed over and laid his complaint before the king; then
Hugh followed, and obtained a favorable answer; but when he presented
the royal letters to Longchamp he was arrested and kept in honorable
confinement until the king’s pleasure should be further known. Richard
was probably aware of this summary treatment of the bishop, but he had
extracted from his coffers as much of his treasure as he was likely
for the present to get, and he practically rewarded the chancellor by
showing him increased confidence. In June Longchamp became legate of
the pope and sole justiciar.



After Hugh de Puiset’s defeat Longchamp had several months of practical
sovereignty; supreme in Church and State, he travelled about in royal
pomp, making double exactions, as chancellor and legate, from the
religious houses. He fortified the Tower of London. He punished the
rioters at York who had attacked the Jews and driven them to destroy
themselves. He put his own brothers into high and lucrative posts,
married his nephews and nieces to great wards of the crown, taught
the noble pages of his household to serve on the knee, and, partly
by misconduct, partly by mismanagement and contumelious behaviour in
general, did his best to make himself intolerable.


  Position of

By this time John was released from the oath to stay three years on
the Continent and had come to England, where he was keeping royal
state in his castles of Marlborough and Lancaster. John’s position,
if not his ability, made him a more formidable antagonist than Bishop
Hugh de Puiset, and John’s enmity was no doubt first incurred by
the support which Longchamp gave to the idea that Arthur should be
Richard’s heir. Whether Richard really intended Arthur to succeed, or
merely allowed him to be set up as a check upon John, cannot perhaps
be certainly decided; but he was so set up, and Longchamp’s policy
was, for a time, devoted to the securing of his claim. For a time John
remained quiet, angry at not having his proper share of power, but
restrained by the presence, and probably by the advice, of Eleanor,
his mother, who certainly never intended that Arthur should exclude
him from the throne. Eleanor, however, early in 1191, went to Messina
with Berengaria of Navarre, and probably with the express purpose of
laying before her son the imprudent behaviour of his chancellor. John
was thus released from her influence, and in a very short time found an
opportunity of asserting himself as the protector of the nation against
the tyranny of Longchamp.


  the royal

The Chancellor, in pursuance of a deliberate plan for maintaining the
royal power, was engaged in taking into his own hands the many castles
which since the death of Henry II. had got into untrustworthy keeping.
The importance of this measure, sufficiently clear from the history
of the two last reigns, justified some severity. Yet action so speedy
and direct could scarcely have been expected by men who had only a
year and a half before paid down large sums of money to Richard for
the possessions of which they were now deprived. John knew this; he
knew that he had himself been kept out of the castles belonging to the
lordships which were showered upon him, and determined to avail himself
of the first chance to set matters right and to obtain recognition of
his brother’s heir. So whilst Longchamp was busy in the West of England
John took measures for securing the castles of Tickhill and Nottingham,
the two strongest fortresses to which he thought he had a claim. The
chance soon came.




  War and


  Mission of
  Walter of

Gerard Camvill, the warden of Lincoln Castle and sheriff of the shire,
refused to surrender his fortress at the command of Longchamp, and
appealed to John as his liege lord. John took up arms and seized
Nottingham and Tickhill. The Chancellor went northward to meet him,
but no battle was fought; and a truce was made at Winchester towards
the end of April, 1191. This lasted but a short time. Soon after
the pacification, about midsummer, war broke out again; again the
castles were surrendered to John, and a battle was imminent. But now
a new actor appeared. Richard, hearing from his mother of the angry
state of the kingdom, sent from Messina the Archbishop of Rouen,
Walter of Coutances, an old officer of the English court who had been
Vice-Chancellor to Henry II., with instructions of which we have
no very certain account, but which probably contained two or three
alternative courses, one of which was the superseding of Longchamp.
Just at the same time Clement III. died, and it was very uncertain
whether Celestine III., who succeeded him, would renew the legatine
commission. The Archbishop of Rouen arrived in time to prevent
bloodshed; but he did not produce his summary instructions. A second
truce was made at Winchester in July, and the castles both of the king
and of John were placed in safe hands.


  Return of


  from the

Two months had scarcely passed when a third struggle occurred.
Archbishop Geoffrey of York, released, as he said, like John, from
his three years’ exile, returned from his consecration at Tours, and
landed at Dover in September. The Chancellor fearful of his influence
and afraid of his coalescing with John, tried to prevent his landing.
The new archbishop was sacrilegiously handled by the legate’s servants,
drawn from sanctuary and imprisoned. John took up at once his brother’s
cause, and the bishops and barons, indignant that a son of the great
King Henry should be so treated, compelled the Chancellor to disavow
the act and release the prisoner. Geoffrey, set free, went at once
to London. John and the Archbishop of Rouen collected the barons,
and Longchamp shut himself up at Windsor. The barons cried out for
his deposition, the bishops for his excommunication. Scarcely any of
the many friends whom he had purchased stood by him. It was at last
agreed that he should meet the whole body of the baronage at the bridge
over the Loddon near Reading, early in October. The barons met there.
Longchamp’s courage failed him; instead of keeping his appointment he
started at full speed to London. When he arrived there he found that
his friends were a minority among the citizens, and took refuge in
the Tower. No sooner was he there than John and the barons came at
full speed after him. The next day they held a solemn assembly. The
Archbishop of Rouen at last exhibited his commission and was received
as Justiciar. John was recognized as his brother’s representative.
Longchamp was compelled to surrender his castles and go into exile.
This would seem to have been a case of revolutionary action, rather
than of the constitutional dismissal of a minister; still it is
important in its relation to the theory of the responsibility of
ministers, and as containing in germ the idea that an unworthy minister
is amenable to punishment and deposition at the hands of the nation,
and is not responsible to his master only.


  Intrigues of
  Philip and
  John, 1192.

Before Christmas King Philip had returned from the Crusade and was
laying snares for Richard, who was still bearing the burden of
Christendom in Palestine. The first net was spread for John. John was
very much disgusted that the Archbishop of Rouen had secured all the
benefits of the late victory over the Chancellor and indignant at being
kept in order by his mother. He was ready enough to betray Richard’s
interests; he intrigued first with Longchamp, who wanted to return to
his see; he accepted bribes in money from both. The whole year 1192
affords nothing but a record of his machinations, which were for the
present futile. But when the news of the capture of Richard at Vienna
arrived he immediately entered into negotiations with Philip, _bona
fide_ on both sides, to secure the crown to himself and to prevent his
brother’s return. These manœuvres resulted in open war as soon as the
release of Richard was determined on.



We must now return to the fortunes of the captive king, the news
of whose imprisonment took all Europe by surprise and shocked all
Christendom. It reached England in February, 1193; and the first thing
the Justiciar did was to send two abbots to Germany to seek him. They
met him at Ochsenfurth, in Bavaria, on his way to Worms, where he was
to meet the Emperor on Palm Sunday. Their first negotiations were
friendly enough, notwithstanding the alliance which Richard had made
with Tancred, and his connection with the Welfic family. An enormous
ransom was demanded, but Richard was to have no inconsiderable gift in
compensation, that little Provençal kingdom which Frederick had been
able to reclaim, but over which Henry possessed scarcely more than
nominal sway. Richard was to be made King of Arles. In the meantime he
was to resign the crown of England to Henry VI. as lord of the world,
and to receive it back again as a tributary fief of the empire; and
this our historian says, was done, although the Emperor before his
death released him from the obligation.

[Sidenote: Delays.]

But as soon as Philip and John learned that the transaction was
assuming such an amicable shape, they attempted to prevent the Emperor
from fulfilling the agreement, and the position of parties within the
empire gave them fair hopes of attaining their end. For, in consequence
of the murder of the Bishop of Liege, in which the Emperor was somehow
implicated, Henry was at open strife with the great barons and lords
of the Low Countries. They hampered his action in his wide-reaching
schemes of policy; against them he felt the need of having Philip’s
aid, and he listened to the overtures of Richard’s enemies.


  Rebellion of



John, having so far succeeded in retarding operations, secured his
castles, and added even Windsor to their number; he gave out that
Richard would never return; and although he professed to collect money
for the ransom, collected all that he could in his own treasury.
Eleanor, however, and the justices, were too strong for him.
Hubert Walter too had returned from Palestine; he, in company with
the Chancellor, had visited Richard in his prison, and had by his
recommendation been chosen archbishop of Canterbury. He undertook to
raise the ransom, and to manage John. The whole nation behaved nobly.
Enormous contributions were raised; the knights paid a scutage in aid
to ransom their lord; the Cistercians surrendered their wool; the whole
people paid a fourth of their movable goods, clergy as well as lay.
Whether all the money that was raised reached the Emperor’s coffers may
fairly be doubted, but the nation paid it, and at last by February 1194
the ransom was ready.



But before Richard was set free it was found necessary to buy the help
of the lords of the Low Countries, and compel Henry to fulfil his
promise by threats that they would renounce their allegiance. He had
defied the Pope, and indeed died excommunicate, but he could not stand
against this pressure. Richard was released, and landed in England on
the 13th of March.

[Sidenote: Return.]

England the returning hero found at war. Archbishop Hubert, who had
succeeded to the justiciarship at Christmas, had been obliged to look
John’s treason in the face. As archbishop he excommunicated him;
as justice he condemned him to forfeiture; as lieutenant-general
of the king he led an army against him. One by one John’s castles
had been taken, and at the time of Richard’s landing only Tickhill
and Nottingham held out. Tickhill surrendered on hearing the news,
Nottingham at the arrival of the king. John’s party at once broke up,
and Richard had but to show himself to be supreme.


  second visit
  to England.

This is Richard’s second and last appearance on English soil as king.
He staid only from March 13 to May 12, 1194, but he did a great deal
of business. As soon as Nottingham had surrendered he called a great
council there, and for three days acted as chief judge, financier and
politician; taxing his friends, condemning his enemies, and concocting
new plans for the security and quiet administration of the realm. By
selling sheriffdoms, exacting fines and enacting taxes, he raised money
to begin hostilities with Philip at once. He punished the enemies of
Longchamp and the friends of John, especially his chief minister,
Hugh of Nunant, Bishop of Coventry, who had as bishop and as sheriff
offended the laws secular and ecclesiastical. But he showed himself
by no means implacable; and, before he left, he had reconciled not
only Archbishop Geoffrey and the Chancellor, but almost all the other
jealous and divided parties. In accordance with the recommendation of
his council, before he left England, he wore his crown in solemn state
at Winchester; and, having done fairly well all that he had undertaken,
showing that his pride, dignity and energy had undergone no diminution
by his captivity, he sailed to Barfleur on the 12th of May, and England
saw his face no more, heavily as from time to time she felt the
pressure of his hand.


  Government of
  Hubert Walter.

From this time all Richard’s personal history is unconnected with
England. From 1194 to 1198 the kingdom was governed by Hubert Walter,
the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, like Longchamp, was both legate and
justiciar; Longchamp retained the title and emoluments of chancellor,
but did not come to England. The history of these years is simply a
record of judicial and financial measures taken on the lines and
inspired by the motives of Henry the Second’s policy. Hubert had been
his secretary, and, being the nephew of Ranulf Glanvill, he had been
fitted by education to be a sound lawyer and financier, as well as a
good bishop and a successful general. He was a strong minister; and
although as a good Englishman he made the pressure of his master’s hand
lie as lightly as he could upon the people, as a good servant he tried
to get out of the people as much treasure as he could for his master.
In the raising of the money and in the administration of justice he
tried and did much to train the people to habits of self-government.
He taught them how to assess their taxes by jury, to elect the grand
jury for the assizes of the judges, to choose representative knights to
transact legal and judicial work;--such representative knights as at a
later time made convenient precedents for parliamentary representation.
The whole working of elective and representative institutions gained
greatly under his management--he educated the people against the better
time to come. But he collected vast sums--eleven hundred thousand
pounds, it was said, in four years--beyond the ordinary revenue. He
allowed no evasions. The king watched him closely; threatened reforms
which would increase the exactions of the treasury, and directed the
formation of a new national survey, or at least tried to force one on
the country. The people of London, worked on by the demagogue William
Fitz Osbert, insisted on a new mode of assessment in which the taxes
would be collected in proportion to the means of the payers, and not
by a simple poll tax. This project might be just, but was promoted
by revolutionary means; Hubert summarily cowed the rioters into
submission. He went to the very extreme of what was right to serve
Richard, and at last he gave in to the number of influences which
combined to weary him of a position of power too great to be undertaken
by any single person.


  Money refused
  by the Great
  Council, 1198.


  Resignation of
  the Justiciar.


  Fitz Peter.

This occasion is a memorable one. In the spring of 1198 Richard, as
usual, wanted money, and had exhausted all the usual means of procuring
it. He accordingly directed Hubert to propose to the assembled barons
and bishops that they should maintain for him, during his war, a force
of three hundred knights, to be paid a sum of three shillings a day.
To the archbishop’s amazement, for the first time for five-and-thirty
years, for the second time in English history, the demand was disputed.
Again the opposition was led by a bishop, as then by St. Thomas,
this time by St. Hugh. That great Hugh of Lincoln, the Burgundian
Carthusian who had won the heart of Henry II. and had treated him as
an equal, now acted on behalf of the nation to which he had joined
himself. Herbert, the Bishop of Salisbury, the son of Henry’s old
servant, Richard of Ilchester, followed the example. The estates of
their churches were not bound, they said, to afford the king military
service except within the four seas; they would not furnish it for
foreign warfare. The opposition prevailed; the bishops had struck a
chord which awoke the baronage. This body now, to a far greater extent
than before, consisted of men who had little interest in Normandy, were
far more English in sympathy, and perhaps also in blood, than they had
been under Henry II. The occasion is marked by another consequence.
The great minister resigned--not perhaps merely on this account--he
had long been weary of his office; the new Pope, Innocent III., was
telling him that it was unworthy of an archbishop to act as a secular
judge and taskmaster. The monks of his cathedral were harassing him
about the sacrilege involved in the execution of William Fitz Osbert,
whom he had ordered to be taken from sanctuary and hanged; and the
Roman lawyers were threatening excommunication if he did not pull
down the grand new college which he had built in honor of St. Thomas
at Lambeth. He had had as much as he wanted of power, and as much as
he could bear of blame. He, therefore, in July, 1198, made way for a
new justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Earl of Essex, who had no such
scruples of conscience and no such ecclesiastical embarrassments, but
who began his administration with a severe forest assize, and by his
general sternness taught the nation how good a friend, with all his
short-comings, Archbishop Hubert had been. Geoffrey Fitz Peter retained
his office for life, dying, as will be seen, at a critical period in
the next reign.


  last years.


  Otho of

During this time Richard was engaged in foiling the projects of
Philip, and drawing together the strings of a great Continental
alliance against him. Alternate interviews, battles, treaties, or
projects of treaties, truces and truce-breakings, form the history of
years, interesting only to those who care to follow the military and
geographical side of the history. Philip gains strength on the whole;
it would not be true to say that Richard loses strength, and he would
probably, if he had lived, have completely overwhelmed his enemy.
But still they were more on an equality than they had been, Philip
gaining experience which was far more valuable to him than any mere
access of force. In 1198 Richard made a great step, by securing the
crown of Germany for his nephew, the son of Henry, the Lion of Saxony,
who had been brought up at the English court, and was, of course,
in the closest alliance with his benefactor. With Otho’s aid he drew
in all the Flemish nobles and the Low Country Germans, who hated the
Hohenstaufen, and so hated their ally the King of France not only as a
bad neighbor but as an ally of the Emperor. This confederation might
ultimately have been successful if Richard had lived to guide it. He
had at last by patient and forgiving kindness drawn John from Philip’s
side; he had got the King of Scots also safe under his influence.


  Death of

In the spring of 1199 he was, as usual, in appearance negotiating a
peace, probably in reality meditating a brisker war, when he heard that
the Viscount of Limoges had found a great buried treasure: a golden
emperor and all his court sitting at a golden table. The very name of
the gold aroused Richard: he demanded his share--the lion’s share.
The viscount gave, but not all. So the king besieged his castles;
and before one of them, Chalus-Chabrol, he received a wound in the
shoulder, which the awkwardness of the surgeons made mortal to him.
He lived long enough to set his house in order. He left his jewels
to Otho; John he declared his heir, and directed the barons to swear
allegiance to him; he sent for his mother to receive his last words;
he ordered the man who had wounded him to be set free, and declared
his forgiveness of all his enemies. Then in an agony of penitence he
made a very solemn and very sad confession. It was said that he had
not confessed for seven years, because he would not profess to be
reconciled to Philip; and he had much besides that to ask pardon for.
After receiving the last sacraments he closed his laborious life on the
7th of April, and was buried with his father, by St. Hugh of Lincoln,
in the abbey church of Fontevraud; a very strong man, who knew at
least his own need of mercy.



 John’s succession--Arthur’s claims--Loss of Normandy--Quarrel with the
 Church--Submission to the Pope--Quarrel with the Barons--The Great
 Charter and its consequences--Arrival of Lewis--John’s death.


  John and

The death of Richard placed John at last in the position for which
he had toiled and intrigued so long; not, it is true, without a
competitor, and that one whose claims were destined, after his own
death, to be fatal to John’s retention of half his possessions. But
the competitor was for the moment in the background, and in England
at least never gained a footing or gathered the semblance of a party.
Arthur was now twelve years old; his mother, Constance of Brittany,
who was left a widow before he was born, had been married in the year
of his birth to Earl Ranulf of Chester, whom she disliked, and who,
after having been married to her for some years, found himself unable
to manage her, and, following the example of Henry II., imprisoned her.
She was an imprudent, probably a bad woman, as her later conduct tends
to show; but it may be questioned whether, in her management of her
hereditary state of Brittany, she went farther than any good patriot
might go in opposition to the centralizing policy by which Richard
carried out the schemes of his father. Anyhow she had made herself the
champion of the independence of Brittany, and so had imperilled the
chances of her son’s succession to the right of the inheritance. She
seems to have been in constant opposition to Richard, and likewise to
Eleanor, who alone after Richard’s death could have maintained Arthur’s
rights. It is probably for this reason that, after Richard returned
from the Crusade, we never again hear of Arthur as heir; that John
therefore, although personally disliked, was accepted as an inevitable
necessity; and that Arthur, when he was old enough to act for himself,
ruined his own cause by his wanton attack upon his grandmother.



John seems to have known that England was safely his own. He had
bound the baronage by oath to agree to his succession as early as
1191; he had a faithful friend in the Archbishop of Canterbury, who
transferred to him the devotion which he had always shown to Richard,
and had consented to become his chancellor. He was willing to make any
sort of promises to secure those of the magnates who were not already
pledged to him. He spent, therefore, the first six weeks of his reign
in France, making good his hold on Normandy, and providing for the
maintenance of peace with Philip. Meanwhile he sent the archbishop to
England, to smooth his way there and prepare for the coronation.


  Parties in

The difficulties which Hubert had to encounter were not caused by the
question of the succession, but by the attitude of the great earls,
all of whom had something to gain by the possible reversal of that
repressive policy which had been pursued for the last twenty-six
years, and some of whom had on former occasions taken a leading
part against John, which he might now embrace the opportunity of
avenging. A reactionary feudal party, a party of personal opponents,
and a body of ambitious self-seekers, might all together, if they
had taken up Arthur’s cause, have given John much trouble; but they
contented themselves, as it was, with stating their grievances, and
the archbishop was empowered to make any concessions that would
appease them. The state of the country was not so peaceful as it had
been during the last interregnum. The disturbers of public order took
advantage of the attitude of the earls to plunder and ravage; but the
strong arm of the justiciar avenged what he could not prevent, and,
after a formal debate held between Hubert and the earls at Northampton,
peace was restored, and the promises of John accepted as conclusive at
all events for the present.



On Ascension-day accordingly he presented himself at Westminster,
and was there chosen, anointed, and consecrated with great splendor.
On this occasion the ancient doctrine of election to the crown was
vindicated in word and deed. Matthew Paris, the historian of this and
the next reign, a writer who hated John with inveterate hatred, and
who has therefore been suspected of having inserted in his work some
things which never took place, has put in the mouth of the archbishop
a somewhat elaborate speech, in which he declares that the crown of
England is elective rather than hereditary, and that John’s title to
the succession lies in the fact that he has been chosen king, as the
first and strongest and most famous of the royal house. That some
declaration of the kind was made is certain, for it is quoted by Lewis
of France in the manifesto issued when he landed in England in 1216;
but the historian draws suspicion upon his own account of it by saying
that Hubert had a prophetic foresight in doing this; that he foresaw
John’s misrule and insisted on his elective title as one that might be
set aside hereafter. But in whatever terms the fact of the election was
stated, and whether the claim of Arthur was denied or passed over in
silence, it is important as showing the accepted doctrine of election
in the thirteenth century. Arthur, according to the principles of
inheritance of fiefs, as they were now admitted in England, was clearly
his uncle’s heir. The election of John was, and perhaps was understood
to be, a recurrence to the older rule by which the national choice of a
king was directed to the ablest or eldest or most prominent member of
the royal house.



Although we have a detailed account of John’s coronation we find no
mention of a charter, such as Henry II. and Stephen had issued. Richard
had not issued one, but had contented himself with the three strong
promises included in the coronation oath--to defend the Church, to
maintain justice, and to make good laws, abolishing evil customs. John
did the same; and, as the oath was again required of him after his
reconciliation with Langton in 1213, we may without hesitation infer
that no charter was granted at the coronation.


  of the



The history of John’s reign may conveniently be arranged in three
divisions, which fell into a nearly chronological sequence; first, the
foreign relations, including the war with Philip, the fate of Arthur,
and the loss of Normandy; secondly, the dispute with the clergy, and
the interdict and submission to Rome; and thirdly, the events that
led to and flowed from the granting of Magna Carta. In each of these
divisions of our period we find certain persons coming to the front as
the mainstay of John’s power, at whose death that power, in one region
or another, seems at once to suffer collapse. Of these the first is
his mother, the great source and prop of his Continental position. Of
her character enough has been said already; her better points come out
most strongly in her old age, when we see her, between seventy and
eighty years old, running about from one end of Europe to another to
patch up truces, to make peaces, and to close wars which sprang mainly
out of her own levity and intriguing of half a century past. She had
engaged in a life-long quarrel with her first husband in 1150, and
with her second in 1173; now in 1200 she fetches a grand-daughter of
the second to marry the grandson of the first, as a pledge of harmony
between the sons of the two. John’s fortunes are not wholly hopeless
until he loses his mother.


  claims in

Richard’s unexpected death occurred during a negotiation for peace
with Philip; and John succeeded at once, just as Richard himself had
done, to the claims in whole accumulation of dynastic and territorial
grievances, which had been mounting up for fifty years; with the
addition of Arthur’s claims, which gave Philip the opportunity of
interfering in every possible question. Before the coronation these
claims had been raised; Philip had determined to be beforehand, and
had seized the city of Evreux on the receipt of the news of Richard’s
death. At the same moment the barons of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine had
declared Arthur their count, and Constance had delivered him bodily
into Philip’s keeping. John, in revenge for this, had destroyed the
walls and imprisoned the citizens of le Mans, which he regarded as
the stronghold of Arthur’s party. He returned to Normandy directly
after the coronation, on June 20, and made a truce with Philip for
two months, during which Philip accepted Arthur’s homage for all
the Continental estates of the family and constituted himself his
champion. Immediately on the expiration of the truce the kings met
again, and Philip then proposed by way of compromise that John should
retain Normandy, and Arthur have the remaining states, Philip himself
receiving the Vexin as a remuneration for his good offices in thus
arbitrating. John refused this, and war broke out again, in which
Philip showed himself so much more anxious for his own interest than
for Arthur’s that the unhappy boy allowed himself to be removed from
Philip’s protection and placed under John’s. He discovered his mistake,
however, almost instantly, and fled from his uncle’s court to Angers,
in company with his mother, who took the opportunity of finally
breaking with the Earl of Chester, and without waiting for a divorce,
bestowed herself in marriage on Guy, a brother of the Viscount Thouars.


  John and
  Philip, 1200.



Upon this John and Philip made a fresh truce which grew into a peace,
by which Arthur’s interests were finally sacrificed, and which was
cemented by the marriage of Blanche of Castile, John’s niece, to Lewis,
the son and heir of Philip. This was accomplished in May 1200. Philip’s
matrimonial difficulties, which arose from his wanton repudiation of
his second wife, Ingeburga of Denmark, exposed him at the time to a
threat of interdict, and he probably thought it wise not to have both
John and Innocent III. arrayed against him at once. John, seeing the
marriage laws practically in abeyance, had taken advantage of the
objection which had been raised by Archbishop Baldwin to his marriage,
and released himself from his wife, Hawisia of Gloucester, on the
ground of relationship. Now inspired either by love or territorial
covetousness, he married Isabella, the child-heiress of the Count of
Angoulême. This marriage offended on the one side of the Channel, Hugh
of la Marche, who was betrothed to her, and on the other side the great
kinsmen of the house of Gloucester, and the lady Hawisia herself, who
subsequently married Geoffrey de Mandeville, one of the bitterest of
John’s enemies.


  Forfeiture of


  Death of


  Loss of Normandy

The peace did not last longer than Philip’s domestic difficulties,
which came to an end on his consenting to receive back Ingeburga.
Mischief began in 1201, both on the Norman frontier, where Hugh de
Gournay played fast and loose between the kings, and in Poictou, where
the barons were excited by the Count of la Marche to rebel against the
severe repression exercised by John. The next year Philip summoned
courage to call John before his court of the peers of France to answer
the charges of the Poictevins, and on his non-appearance declared him
to have forfeited his fiefs. Arthur, who was now fifteen, and who had
lost his mother the year before, thought that this was his opportunity.
He mustered his forces and attempted to seize the old queen Eleanor
in the castle of Mirabel. Instead of taking her he was defeated and
captured by John, who imprisoned him, and in whose hands he died, how
we know not, on April 3, 1203. Philip did not hesitate to declare John
the boy’s murderer; he held another court upon him, and again sentenced
him to forfeiture. This time he undertook the execution of the sentence
himself. He invaded Normandy, and took city after city. John did not
raise a hand in its defence, and quitted the duchy finally in November.
The next year, 1204, saw Anjou and the rest of the patrimony in
Philip’s hands; the loss of most of the Guienne followed. Eleanor
died on April 1, 1204, and on her death John’s cause became hopeless.
He did little or nothing to redeem it. In 1206 he tried to recover
Poictou, but was obliged to purchase a truce by resigning his claims
on the northern provinces; and in 1214, as a part of a general scheme
of attack upon Philip, in which he had the support of Flanders and the
Empire, he made another expedition, but it also ended in a truce by
which some small fragments of Eleanor’s inheritance were preserved to
her grandchildren.


  of England
  and Normandy.

Thus then, after a union of a hundred and forty years, Normandy was
separated from England. During a portion of those years,--the reigns
of William Rufus and part of that of Henry I.,--they had been under
different rulers, but they had been administered on the same principles
and for the same interest all the time. The English had been ruled by
Norman lords; their laws, institutions, customs, had been remodeled
under Norman influences. But they had grown under and through the
discipline. So far as English and Normans united, the Norman element
gave strength, order, discipline to the English; so far as they were
in opposition the Norman tyranny had called forth in the English
patience, perseverance, and a sense of nationality which they had
not shown before. The people had had to make common cause with the
king against the Norman feudalism, and they had done this until their
support became absolutely necessary to the royal power. Gradually
the baronage were learning the like lesson; disciplined and educated
under the royal training, they were finding that they were one in
interest with the people; and that, as the royal power was becoming
too great for either, the two might in time combine to curb it. They
were becoming themselves more English--more English perhaps in blood,
more English in the possession of English lands and by the gradual
devolution of Norman lands into other hands; ready to be quite English
when once they lost their Norman incumbrances. So when the time came
for the barons who had lands in both countries to make their choice
between John and Philip, the division was effected with little noise
and less trouble. The Norman barons and prelates gave up their English
lands, and the English--for henceforth these have a right to the name
of English--barons and prelates gave up their Norman lands. There
was very little internal division in Normandy itself, and Walter of
Coutances, who had been Richard’s prime minister and justiciar, died
a contented subject of Philip. The separation did much for England.
Henceforth the king is mainly if not solely King of England, and the
welfare of England the main if not the sole object of English counsels.
It was Normandy that, by the exchange of masters, lost the share of
the benefits won from John. Yet Normandy was for ages freer than the
rest of France, in consequence of her early discipline under the house
of Rollo, one part of which was the policy which made her run in
harness with the English people. But to detail all the benefits of the
separation would be to anticipate very much of the later history.



No sooner was Normandy lost than John’s ecclesiastical troubles
began; and they began in the most dangerous way, for the very event
that caused them robbed him of the only counsellor he had who could
have guided him safely through them. Hubert Walter, the Archbishop of
Canterbury--whose career we have traced first as a chaplain to Henry
II., then as Bishop of Salisbury, counsellor, captain and chaplain
to the third Crusade; then as Chief Justiciar of England, Archbishop
of Canterbury, and legate, making laws and canons, leading armies,
administering justice, collecting taxes, under Richard; and lastly,
acting as Chancellor to John from the coronation to his death--Hubert
Walter died on July 12, 1205.


  at Canterbury.

The appointment to the archbishopric had been for many years a vexed
question. The monks of Christ Church, Canterbury, claimed the right
of free election; they were the chapter of the cathedral, and had the
same right as any other chapter to elect their prelate. It was a right
that was distinctly recognised by the canon law, had been granted by
Stephen’s charter, and had been so far made good at each change in
the primacy that certain forms of election by them had been required
as needful to the validity of the appointment. But the bishops of
the province of Canterbury, whose chief and judge the archbishop
was, also claimed a right in the election, partly on mere grounds of
equity, but partly also on the ground of a prescription which, based
on the precedent of the Anglo-Saxon councils, had given them an active
influence on each occasion since the reign of Henry I. And besides
these the king had his right; the Archbishop of Canterbury was his
chief constitutional counsellor, the counsellor of whom he could not
rid himself without breaking at once with religion and state custom.
The king had generally since the Conquest nominated the archbishop,
sometimes with and sometimes without the co-operation of the other two
bodies, but always practically by his own fiat; and the pacification
between Henry I. and Anselm had contained an admission that the homage
of the archbishop elect to the king was necessary to the full right to
exercise his constitutional power. Usually, however, as was generally
done where the canon law and national law ran counter or overlapped one
another, the end in view was secured by adroit management, saving the
rights of each party, for the time. The quarrel on this occasion began
with the monks of Canterbury.


  Election of
  the sub-prior.

This famous convent, which deserves on more than one occasion credit
for having set a courageous example of opposition to tyranny, was a
very ambitious and disorderly body; and just at this moment, having
compelled Archbishop Hubert to pull down his grand new church at
Lambeth, they, or a part of them, were quite intoxicated with conceit.
It was always a great object with them to have a monk for archbishop;
such a leader would extend their privileges and foster their ideas
of independence. So now, during the night following Hubert’s death,
the younger monks--no doubt a majority of the body--elected the
sub-prior, Reginald, as archbishop, and, without asking the royal
consent, sent him off at once to Rome to ask for the archiepiscopal
pall and consecration. No sooner had Reginald crossed the Channel than,
forgetting the promise of secrecy with which his electors had bound
him, he gave out that he was the new archbishop, and the news came back
to England.


  of John de

John was very angry; he had intended his minister John de Gray, Bishop
of Norwich, to be Hubert’s successor; the bishops were angry because
their prescriptive and equitable right was disregarded; the senior
monks were angry because they had been betrayed by the juniors, and
the juniors because Reginald by his imprudent vanity had caused the
premature discovery of their schemes. So all parties appealed to the
Pope; and John, without waiting to hear what became of the appeal, had
his nominee elected and put in possession of the estates of the see.


  Conduct of
  Innocent III.


  of Stephen
  Langton, 1207.

We can hardly doubt that, if John had had an adviser like Hubert,
he might have tided over the difficulty, but now he plunged deeper
and deeper, and at last lost his footing altogether. The Pope
let the appeals drag on their weary length. He suffered all the
contending bodies to spend their strength and their money, and to
involve and compromise themselves as much as they chose. Then after
a year and a half he decided the cause. The bishops, he said, had no
standing-ground; the canonical electors were the monks of the chapter.
The sub-prior Reginald was rejected because he had not been canonically
chosen; John de Gray was rejected because he had been elected whilst an
appeal was pending. The course was, therefore, clear. The monks were
the electors; their proctors, now at the Court of Rome, had full power
from them to elect, and the king had promised to confirm their choice,
having secretly agreed with them to elect only John de Gray; for thus
he had tried to impose on the Pope, sending at the same time large
sums of money to clear the eyes of the Pope’s advisers. Innocent III.,
however, was very wide-awake, and John’s insincerity had put his game
in his own hands. It was of no use, he said, to waste time. If they
all went back to England they would have to come to Rome again for the
confirmation of the election and the gift of the pall. They all had
full powers--why should it not be done pleasantly and on the spot? He
had a man fit for the place--an Englishman, the first scholar of the
day, a cardinal, in whose favor John had more than once written to him
on other occasions; let them elect him, he would confirm and consecrate
him, and then all would be done. Whether Innocent really expected
that John would submit to this we cannot say; probably not. But he
did it. Only one of the monks objected, and reminded his brethren
of their obligation to the king; the rest, relying on their powers
from the king and convent, and overawed by the dignity and urgency
of Innocent, elected Langton. Innocent immediately wrote to John to
report the decision and ask him to receive Langton as archbishop. John
was furious--refused, threatened, and blustered. The Pope, in reply,
declared that he had done no more than was his duty to the widowed
Church, and, in June 1207, consecrated the archbishop.


  The Interdict,

John was obdurate: proposal after proposal was made, offer after offer;
letter followed letter, embassy followed embassy. John seized the
possessions of the convent of Christ Church and threatened to wreak
vengeance on the monks. Then the Pope answered threat with threat: if
John did not receive the archbishop the kingdom must be laid under
interdict. It would then be unlawful to perform the services of the
Church, the dead would be unburied, the sacraments would cease to be
administered, or would be celebrated only in private; the people would
be forced by the want of spiritual necessaries to compel the king to
compliance. Still he held out, and in March 1208 the interdict was
proclaimed. He then declared that he would be avenged on the bishops;
many of them fled, and he seized their lands. Again, after a while,
negotiations were resumed. Langton came to Dover to meet the king, but
John would not face him. The Pope threatened personal excommunication;
if that were not effective, it should be followed by a Bull of
deposition and the absolution of the English from their obedience. If
that were done, the execution of the sentence would be committed to
one who would be only too glad to add England to his dominions, and to
gratify the hatred that he had nursed for so many years, even to Philip
of France, the conqueror of Normandy and Anjou.

[Sidenote: John’s obduracy.]

For a long time John showed himself impenetrable. He was quite content
that his people should be deprived of the sacraments, that the clergy
should be exiled, that the whole administration of the country should
be paralyzed, almost as it had been in the days of Stephen. Even the
terrors of personal excommunication had been too lavishly used of
late to make much impression, for Philip had thriven under the anger
of Innocent, and John had at this very moment his nephew, the Emperor
Otho, a partner in the tribulation. The threat of deposition might be
a mere threat; it would be very strange if the Pope should prefer the
King of France to the King of England; and, if he did, John had a great
army and fleet and treasure.


  of Innocent.


  Panic of

But if he thought that Innocent III., would be swayed either by the
ordinary motives of Popes or by the ordinary aims of policy, he was
much mistaken. That great Pope had set before himself a grand purpose
of righteousness as it appeared to him; he was ready to set up the
Hohenstaufen again and to depress the Welf, and to set Philip, the ally
of the Hohenstaufen, and the husband of Ingeburga, above the other
kings of the West, if he could gain his object. Innocent persisted. His
legates openly warned John what the result would be if the sentence
of deposition were to issue; and their words came true. John found or
fancied himself involved in a web of conspiracy; warnings reached him
from Wales and Scotland that his enemies were intriguing all around
him, that he and his children would be put out of the throne and a new
race of kings brought in. Then arose Peter of Wakefield and prophesied
that on the next Ascension day John should be a king no more. Then came
the news that Philip was equipping his fleet. So the man whom neither
spiritual nor temporal weapons could bring to submission, moved by the
prophecy of an impostor, lowered his flag and made the most abject
submission that any king of the English has ever made.

On the 15th of May, 1213, he met Pandulf, the Pope’s subdeacon and
envoy, at Ewell, near Dover, and swore fealty to the Pope; he consented
at last to receive Langton, to restore the bishops and the monks of
Canterbury, and indemnify them for their wrongs: he would do all that
was asked of him, hold his kingdoms as fiefs of the Apostolic see and
pay tribute for them.

The barons and people looked on in amazed acquiescence; they did not,
it would seem, all at once realize the shame of the transaction, or see
that for them to be vassals of the Pope’s vassal was to sink a long
step in the scale of freedom, whether political or ecclesiastical. They
acquiesced, some gladly welcoming any solution of the difficulty, some,
we are told, with grief and shame. And so that part of the drama of the
reign ends.



John made friends with the Pope; but the struggle had thrown the
Church into an attitude of opposition to the crown in which she had
never stood since the Conquest. It was a providential determination,
by which the clergy--who, with the people, had hitherto supported the
royal power against the barons--were, just at the moment when the royal
power was becoming dangerous, dislodged from the side of the crown
and almost compelled to make common cause with the baronial party and
the people; awaking all at once to the need of common action, mutual
forbearance, and the sense of national unity. Such was the effect of
the struggle. Henceforth the Church in union with the barons and the
people helps to limit the power which in the earlier days she had
striven to strengthen.


  The baronial

But the very moment that closes the ecclesiastical quarrel begins a
new one--the baronial quarrel, which opens the way for the vindication
of national liberty and the consolidation of constitutional life, as
typified by Magna Carta. To realize this we must glance back for a
moment to the beginning of the reign, and recur to the negotiations
which Archbishop Hubert had had with the earls before he obtained their
consent to receive John as king, and the promise he had made that all
their lawful demands should be satisfied. What those demands were we
cannot tell exactly; probably they wanted the custody of their own
castles and some other privileges of which they had been deprived by
the strong government of the late king, for he had no doubt availed
himself of every plea to restrict their forest privileges and perhaps
to extend the royal right of wardship. It is from Magna Carta itself,
rather than from the historians who have told the story, that we gather
the nature of their grievances. The promises made at Northampton in
1199 had never been fulfilled; in 1201, when the earls repeated their
demands, John replied by laying his hands on their castles and by
compelling them to surrender their heirs as pledges of their good
behaviour. Matters had after that gone on from bad to worse. Not
content with insisting on the feudal service of the knights, he had
increased the rate of carucage and scutage, the two great imposts that
affected the land, and multiplied the occasions of the exaction. Year
after year he had collected his forces as if for a French war, had
brought them to the coast at great expense, and then exacted money
from the barons as the price of their discharge. He had not led them
to battle; he had let Normandy fall out of his hands, he had spoiled
them and put them to shame, implicating them in his own cowardice.
Year after year taxation increased, whilst the king and the kingdom
became more really helpless; for all Englishmen hated his hosts of
mercenaries, and distrusted his project of creating a fleet which, far
more than any national army would be at his own absolute disposal.
And this went on until, in 1207, he began to plunder the clergy, thus
giving a respite to the people and the barons. Whilst the king could
maintain himself by confiscation and plunder of the clergy he abstained
from confiscation and plunder of the laity; and this partly accounts
for the equanimity with which the interdict was borne. Men acquiesced
in the loss of their religious rights so long as they were in a manner
compensated by immunity from taxation. The interdict, too, paralyzed
national action. John was unable to conduct anything like a great
war as long as that blight lay upon the land; he could attack Wales
or Ireland or Scotland, but he could not attack France, under the
circumstances; and he was not by any means idle now, what few military
successes he did achieve being won against the Irish. For the nation
this state of inactivity was less destructive, less expensive than war.
So, until the crisis of 1213 came, the barons sat still; they had no
eminent leader; Geoffrey Fitz Peter, the man in whom as a statesman
they had the most confidence, was the king’s prime minister and
justiciar. This, then, was the state of things when the pacification at
Ewell put an end to the national paralysis, promised the restoration of
the Church, a successful resistance to Philip, and possibly a recovery
of the royal inheritance across the Channel.


  Refusal of the
  barons to


  John’s journey
  to the

The first token of the new life immediately showed itself. It was
necessary that some delay should take place before the interdict
was taken off. By the principles of law the injured persons must be
replaced in their rights before the constraining measures could be
suspended. Langton must be received before the king was absolved, the
bishops must be indemnified for their losses before the interdict could
be relaxed. John did not see this; he knew that Philip was preparing
for an invasion; he demanded the feudal support of his vassals
for a French war; they replied that they would not serve under an
excommunicated king. John was provoked, but obliged to wait. In July
Langton landed, came to Winchester, and absolved the king, exacting
from him an oath to observe the promises made at his coronation, to
maintain good laws and abolish evil customs. John, now absolved,
renewed his command to the barons, and they declined to join in an
expedition which took them away from England. Within the four seas they
would serve, as bound by their tenure, but abroad they would not go.
They did not trust the king or believe that it was possible to recover
Normandy. John was savagely wroth. Time was being lost. Philip was
gaining strength. True, his fleet had been destroyed, and the Pope had
withdrawn his commission, but there were abundant causes of enmity, and
at last perhaps the desire of revenge was uppermost. But John always
revenged his wrongs on the guiltless and neutral; he determined, whilst
his ministers were arranging for the suspension of the interdict, to go
into the North of England and punish the barons, for they were chiefly
the Northern barons who had refused to follow him. He set off at full
speed, and Langton after him, to persuade him to let the matter be
settled by the lawyers. At Northampton the archbishop overtook him and
convinced him of the folly of his threats; he went north, however, as
far as Durham, and then returned rapidly to London, where in the month
of October he met the papal legate, Bishop Nicolas of Tusculum, who had
come to receive his formal homage, and did homage to him as the Pope’s


  Appeal to the
  laws of
  Henry I.

During this hasty journey to Durham and back events ever memorable in
English history had taken place. On the 4th of August the justiciar
Geoffrey Fitz Peter held a great assembly at St. Albans, at which
attended not only the great barons of the realm but the representatives
of the people of the townships of all the royal estates. The object
of the gathering was to determine the sum due to the bishops as an
indemnity for their losses. There no doubt the commons and the barons
had full opportunity of discussing their grievances, and the justiciar
undertook, in the name of his master, that the laws of Henry I. should
be put in force. Not that they knew much about the laws of Henry I.,
but that the prevailing abuses were regarded as arising from the strong
governmental system consolidated by Henry II., and they recurred to the
state of things which preceded that reign, just as under Henry I. men
had recurred to the reign and laws of Edward the Confessor. On the 25th
of the same month the archbishop, at a council at St. Paul’s, actually
produced the charter issued by Henry I. at his coronation, and proposed
that it should be presented to the king as the embodiment of the
institutions which he had promised to maintain. Upon this foundation
Magna Carta was soon to be drawn up. Almost directly after this, in
October, the justiciar died; and John, who had hailed the death of
Hubert Walter as a relief from an unwelcome adviser, spoke of Geoffrey
with a cruel mockery as gone to join his old fellow-minister in hell.
Both had acted as restraints on his desire to rule despotically, and
the last public act of Geoffrey Fitz Peter had been to engage him to an
undertaking which he had resolved not to keep.


  John goes to
  France, 1214.

But matters did not proceed very rapidly. It is more than a year
before we hear much more of the baronial demands. The new legate
showed himself desirous to gratify the king; and although the Northern
barons still refused to go on foreign service, he managed to prevent
an open struggle. The king went to Poictou in February, 1214, and did
not return until the next October. In the meanwhile the damages of the
bishops were ascertained and the interdict taken off on the 29th of
June. The war on the Continent occupied men’s minds a good deal. Philip
won the battle of Bouvines over the forces of Flanders, Germany and
England, on the 27th of July; and John did nothing in Poictou to make
the North Country barons regret their determination not to follow him.
The great confederacy against Philip which Richard had planned, and
which John had been laboring to bring to bear on his adversary, was
defeated, and Philip stood forth for the moment as the mightiest king
in Europe.


  The party of
  the barons.

Disappointed and ashamed, John returned, resolved to master the barons,
and found them not only resolved but prepared and organized to resist
him, perhaps even encouraged by his ill success. They had found in
Stephen Langton a leader worthy of the cause, and able to exalt and
inform the defenders of it. Among those defenders were men of very
various sorts; some who had personal aims merely, some who were fitted
by education, accomplishments, and patriotic sympathies for national
champions, some who were carried away by the general ardor. In general
they may be divided into three classes; those Northern barons who had
begun the quarrel, the constitutional party who joined the others in a
great meeting held at St. Edmund’s, in November, 1214, and those who
adhered later to the cause, when they saw that the king was helpless.
It was the two former bodies that presented to him their demands a
few weeks after he returned from France. He at once refused all, and
began to manœuvre to divide the consolidated phalanx. First he tried
to disable them by demanding the renewal of the homages throughout
the country and the surrender of the castles. He next tried to detach
the clergy by granting a charter to secure the freedom of election to
bishoprics; he tried to make terms with individual barons; he delayed
meeting them from time to time; he took the cross, so that if any hand
was raised against him it might be paralyzed by the cry of sacrilege;
he wrote urgently to the Pope to get him to condemn the propositions,
and excommunicate the persons, of the barons. They likewise presented
their complaints at Rome, resisted all John’s blandishments, and
declined to relax one of their demands or to give up one of their


  March of
  the barons.

Negotiations ceased, and preparations for war began about Easter
1215; the confederates met at Stamford, then marched to Brackly,
Northampton, Bedford, Ware, and so to London, where they were received
on the 24th of May. The news of their entry into London determined
the action of those who still seemed to adhere to the king, and they
joined them, leaving him almost destitute of forces, attended by a few
advisers whose hearts were with the insurgents, and a body of personal
adherents who had little or no political weight beside their own



Then John saw himself compelled to yield, and he yielded; he consented
to bind himself with promises in which there was nothing sincere but
the reluctance with which he conceded them. Magna Carta, the embodiment
of the claims which the archbishop and barons had based on the charter
of Henry I., was granted at Runnymede, on June 15, 1215.

Magna Carta was a treaty of peace between the king and his people, and
so is a complete national act. It is the first act of the kind, for
it differs from the charters issued by Henry I., Stephen, and Henry
II. not only in its greater fulness and perspicuity, but by having a
distinct machinery provided to carry it out. Twenty-five barons were
nominated to compel the king to fulfil his part. It was not, as has
been sometimes said, a selfish attempt on the part of the barons and
bishops to secure their own privileges; it provided that the commons
of the realm should have the benefit of every advantage which the two
elder estates had won for themselves, and it bound the barons to treat
their own dependents as it bound the king to treat the barons. Of its
sixty-three articles, some provided securities for personal freedom; no
man was to be taken, imprisoned, or damaged in person or estate, but
by the judgment of his peers and by the law of the land. Others fixed
the rate of payments due by the vassal to his lord. Others presented
rules for national taxation, and for the organization of a national
council, without the consent of which the king could not tax. Others
decreed the banishment of the alien servants of John. Although it is
not the foundation of English liberty, it is the first, the clearest,
the most united, and historically the most important of all the great
enunciations of it; and it was a revelation of the possibility of
freedom to the mediæval world. The maintenance of the Charter becomes
from henceforth the watchword of English freedom.


  Attempts to
  annul the

The remaining sixteen months of John’s reign were a mere anarchy, of
which it would be difficult to unravel all the causes. In the first
place may be counted the savage wrath of the king at being thus
defeated and fettered; then the unfortunate interference of the Pope,
who quashed the Charter by a Bull of August 25, and on December 16,
anathematized the barons singly and collectively; he also peremptorily
suspended Archbishop Langton for his share in bringing about the result.

But we are not to lay all the blame of what followed on John. It is
true that within a few weeks after the crisis, he had thrown off all
semblance of compliance, but the barons were elated with their success,
and showed very little moderation. They trusted him no more than he
trusted them. They divided the country among their chiefs, some with
the idea of enforcing the Charter, many no doubt with the desire of
humiliating the king. Langton’s departure for Rome, left them without
the prudent, sincere, and honest English counsel that was needed for
the successful vindication of the national cause, and gave the chief
place amongst them to men who had personal wrongs to avenge and
personal objects to attain. Hence the great body that had united to
produce the Charter broke up into its former elements; some returned to
the king’s side, the more violent intrigued with France and Scotland.


  The Crown
  offered to

[Sidenote: John’s successes.]

John showed himself incapable of using his opportunity. The Earl of
Essex, the husband of his first wife, took the lead on the baronial
side; but Robert Fitz Walter and Eustace de Vesey, two of the second
rank, were leagued with Philip, and under their influence John was
declared to have forfeited his crown. Lewis, the heir of France, was
selected to be the king of the English. War could be delayed no longer.
The barons began by besieging the castles of Northampton and Oxford.
John brought up his mercenaries to besiege Rochester, a castle which
the confederates held in the name of the absent archbishop. He had
the first measure of success, and, in spite of the attempt of the
barons to relieve Rochester, captured it, showed a politic mercy to
its defenders, and then traversed the South of England, securing the
population as he went. He kept Christmas at Nottingham, then marched
north and seized Berwick, striking consternation into the Scots.
The Earl of Salisbury, his half-brother, commanded in the Midland
district, and London became the last and almost the only refuge of the
malcontents. Colchester was taken by the king in March, 1216; and up
to this point he exhibited military skill and energy that shows him
to have been not entirely devoid of the qualities of his father and




  Death of

But now a new actor appears. Lewis, after a long delay, arrived in
England in May, and at once gave spirit and consistency to his party.
John retired before him and took up a position at Winchester. Lewis
marched by Canterbury to London, and there received the homage and
fealties of his friends. In spite of the sentence of excommunication
actually passed upon him and his adherents by the new legate, Gualo,
he then marched on Winchester, John retiring still; took Winchester,
and besieged Windsor and Dover. The Northern lords joined him
first, then the great earls, even the Earl of Salisbury himself.
John was desperate; he roved up and down the country at the head of
his banditti, burning and plundering and slaying; whilst Lewis was
gathering strength and friends every hour. At last, on October 19,
death overtook the king at Newark. From that very day the strength of
Lewis, which was based on the popular and baronial hatred of John,
began to decline. It melted away as quickly as it had grown, and in
less than a year he was obliged to make peace and leave England alone.
John ended thus a life of ignominy in which he has no rival in the
whole long list of our sovereigns. There is no need to attempt an
elaborate analysis of his character. History has set upon it a darker
and deeper mark than she has on any other king. He was in every way
the worst of the whole list: the most vicious, the most profane, the
most tyrannical, the most false, the most short-sighted, the most

There was an old legendary prophecy, spoken in a dream by an angel to
Fulk the Good, Count of Anjou, when he had in an ecstasy of fervent
charity carried on his shoulders a leprous beggar for two leagues to
the church of Marmoutier. He was told that to the ninth generation his
successors should extend the bounds of their dominion until it was
immensely great. The prophecy had been fulfilled--to Anjou had been
added Maine and Normandy, Aquitaine and England; Palestine too was
ruled by his descendants; and at last, in the person of Otho IV., the
seed of the good count had reached the summit of earthly ambition. But
the time fixed by the legend was come. John was the representative, of
the last generation, with which the blessing ended, and the inheritance
of Fulk the Good, passed into other hands.



 Character of Henry--Administration of William Marshall--Hubert
 de Bergh--Henry his own minister--Foreign favorites--General
 misgovernment--Papal intrigue and taxation.

The reign of Henry III. is not only one of the longest but one of the
most difficult in English history. It contains more than one great
crisis, and coincides in time with an epoch of vast progress; but the
critical importance is by no means equally diffused, and the rate and
fashion of the progress are matter for minute study, rather than for
vivid illustration. The reign covers more than half of one of the most
eventful and brilliant centuries of the world’s history; a century
made famous by the actions of some of the greatest sovereigns, the
most illustrious scholars, the wisest statesmen; the most noble period
of architecture; the last act of the Crusades, the last struggle of
the Papacy with the yet undiminished strength of the Empire. The life
which, on the Continent, runs in these streams is not without its
purpose in England.


  Character of
  Henry III.

England also looks on the thirteenth century as her great architectural
age, the age of her great lawyers and some of her greatest divines.
She also has her weight in European affairs, her struggles with the
Papacy, her attempts at sound government. But the real interest of
English history lies in minute constitutional steps of progress, which
are to be estimated rather by their later and united effects, than by
the actual and momentary appearance of growth. For during this time,
England has no guiding or presiding genius. Her king is a man by no
means devoid of all the picturesque qualities of his forefathers, and
possessed of some negatively good qualities which they had not; but on
the whole a degenerate son of such great ancestors, degenerate from
their strength and virtues as well as from their faults and vices.
Henry III. is perhaps a better husband and father, a more devout man,
than any of his predecessors; he is not personally cruel or regardless
of human life; he has no passion for war, no insatiable greed for the
acquisition of territory, such as in the case of his ancestors had
cost so much bloodshed. He is content for the most part to be king of
England, and his success in retaining some part of his Continental
dominion, is the result far more of the honesty of his adversary than
of any ambition, skill, or force of his own. In these respects, England
might have been expected to fare better under Henry, than she had done
under John or Richard or Henry II.; better even than she was to fare
under Edward I.; yet she can scarcely, even viewed in the results, be
said to have done so. The long reign was a long period of trouble,
suffering, and disquietude of every sort. We have no reason to suppose
that Henry was deficient in personal courage, or in skill in arms,
such as a brave knight might possess without being a great captain
in fieldwork or in sieges; or that he was wanting in the desire to
be thought a splendid and magnificent sovereign--as, indeed, he was
thought--for he reaped the advantages of the political position which
Henry II. had planned, and he outlived the greater princes whose power
and character and career had thrown his own into the shade. Yet England
did nothing great in his time except as against him. He had no great
design, no energetic purpose. He was not strong enough to be true,
although he was strong enough to be pertinacious, resolute enough to
be false. He was vain and extravagant; and this, with the exception of
his falseness, is the worst that can be said of him. Hence, whilst he
could not inspire love or loyalty, he could inspire hatred, and hatred
is not, in the case of kings, as is so often said of the feeling in the
case of lower men, incompatible with contempt: a king may inspire both
feelings, and be despised for moral weakness and iniquity, whilst he
cannot safely be contemned altogether, because of his great power to
cause mischief. Then, vanity and extravagance, which are minor faults
in a man with strong purposes, become aggravations and incentives to
hatred in a man whose other motives and purposes are weak. Henry III.
was well hated. His life, good or evil, had no gloss or glitter upon
it; it was mean in the midst of its magnificence; it was wanting in the
one element that leads men to respect, even where they fear and blame,
the character of reality or “veracity to a man’s self.” There was no
purpose, as there was no faith in it.


  Division of
  the reign.

Fifty-six years of such a king cannot but be a wearisome lesson to the
reader, if the eye rest on the king only or on the circle of events
of which he is the centre; and to a certain degree, in these ages in
which we have to depend chiefly on the historians of the time, with
little help from other sorts of literature, the king is necessarily the
centre of every circle. The monotony of detail may, however, be broken
by arranging the reign in four divisions. Henry was nine years old when
he began to reign. The first portion, then, comprises the years of his
minority, and may be regarded as closing about the year 1227, although,
as the influence of his early ministers continued to affect him for
some years longer, that date is not a very distinct limit. The second
division comprises the years of his personal administration, during
which he mismanaged matters for himself, and which end at the year
1258, when, having brought affairs to a dead lock, he was obliged to
consent to be superseded by a new scheme of government embodied in the
Provisions of Oxford. The third period includes the years of eclipse,
from 1258 to 1265, when the battle of Evesham gave him again the
power as well as the name of king. The last period contains the seven
years intervening between the battle of Evesham and the king’s death,
and depends for its historic interest entirely on the fact that it
witnessed the results of the great struggle--the clearing of the board
after the crisis of the game was past.


  Accession of
  Henry III.



Returning now to the state of affairs in October, 1216, when John
had just finished his suicidal career at Newark, we find the kingdom
to a very great extent in the hands of the party pledged to support
Lewis, the enterprising prince to whom the French have not hesitated
to attribute the title of the Lion, or the Lion-hearted. This party
comprised nearly all the baronage, for John’s insane behaviour during
the last year had dispersed the friends whom after the granting of
Magna Carta he had gathered to his side; even his brother William, Earl
of Salisbury, had gone over to the enemy. Lewis’s party had, however
only one point of union, the hatred and distrust inspired by John;
and when John was once removed, the disruption of the party and the
expulsion of Lewis were sure to come in time. It was certain that all
real national feeling would take part against a foreign king; that all
the desires for free and ancient institutions and good government would
have a much better chance of contentment in the prospect of the reign
of the child Henry; and that even the party among the barons which
still clung to the feudal ideas of government would have a much better
opportunity of regaining its coveted influence through him than through
Lewis. But the cause of the child was at first sight very weak. John
had driven all the strong men from his side; and Archbishop Langton,
on whom the defence of what was now become the national dynasty would
properly have devolved, was at Rome, in temporary disgrace. It may be
fairly said that had not the Roman legate Gualo taken up a decided
line, had not Honorius III. seen his way to reconcile the rights of
the nation with the maintenance of the Plantagenet dynasty, Lewis
must for the moment have triumphed, and England would then have had
to win her freedom by a mortal struggle with France. But Gualo was
staunch. The great Pope who had committed England to him was just dead,
but Honorius III. was no more likely than Innocent to be satisfied
with half-service; and the legate saw that both his own prospects
of advancement and the credit of the Roman see were involved in the
success of this administration. With him was Peter des Rochos, the
Bishop of Winchester, whom John had made justiciar after the death of
Geoffrey Fitz Peter. He was a Poictevin who had been transformed from a
knight into a bishop with few qualifications and little ceremony; but
he was faithful to John and to his son, and he was the representative
man of the foreign party at court, which stood chiefly if not solely
by personal attachment to the king. There were two or three other
bishops who had won their places in John’s chancery, the Earl Ranulf
of Chester, nearly the last left of the great feudal aristocracy of
the Conquest; William Marshall, the Earl of Pembroke, now growing old,
who had been the intimate friend of the younger Henry, who had been
a justice and regent under Richard, who had helped to set John on
the throne, and had remained personally faithful to him to the last
although his own sons were on the side of the barons.


  The Charter

This little party had the child crowned on October 28, at Gloucester;
and on November 12, at Bristol, re-issued the Great Charter in his
name, with some important omissions. They did not venture at so
critical a time to renew the articles which placed taxation in the
hands of the national council or define the nature of that assembly;
but in the final clause of the document these articles were declared to
be suspended only because of the urgency of the times. The guardianship
of the king and what little remained to him of the kingdom was placed
in the hands of William Marshall, and the bishops and barons swore
fealty to Henry, as his contemporaries called him--Henry IV., or
Henry of Winchester, the son of King John. The office of guardian
for an infant king had never yet been needed in England, at least
since the days of Ethelred the Unready, and all that we know of the
present arrangement is that it was made in the council, and with the
acquiescence of the legate. The title that William Marshall took was
“governor of the king and kingdom.” We might have expected that the
queen-mother would have been guardian of the person of the King; but
he had no near male kinsman to take charge of the kingdom, according
to the reasonable rule that the defence of the inheritance belongs
to the nearest heir, that of the person to the nearest relation who
cannot inherit; and accordingly the wardship of both was entrusted by
the national council to a chosen leader. No other in age, dignity,
experience, or faithfulness came near the Earl of Pembroke.


  Struggle with

The struggle with Lewis covers the first year of the reign. Winter
was too far advanced at the time of the Bristol Council for much
active warfare, and a truce was as usual concluded for the Christmas
season, purchased by the surrender of some of the royal castles.
Before the new reign began Lewis’s side had lost two of its
representative men--Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, the leader
of the old baronial party, and Eustace de Vesey, who had conducted
the intrigues with Scotland and France which had brought about the
present complication. The greatness of Lewis’s early success and the
haughty assumptions of his French followers were already disgusting
the barons, and those who had no cause to despair of pardon were
contemplating adhesion to Henry. The year 1217, however, began with
brisk action. Henry’s supporters assembled at Oxford, Lewis and his
party at Cambridge. The military strength was all on the side of the
latter; whilst the legate was treating for a truce Lewis was besieging
and taking castles. Before Lent he had reduced the whole of Eastern
England, except Lincoln, which held out unswervingly under Nicolaa de
Camvill, the wife of that Gerard who had drawn John into his first
quarrel with Longchamp. But at Midlent Lewis was summoned to France;
and, although he returned in a few weeks, he found that some of his
supporters had changed sides. The Earl of Salisbury had gone over to
his nephew; the legate was preaching a crusade against the disloyal
and excommunicated; and the loyal barons bestirred themselves to some


  Battle of Lincoln,

They advanced from the West, just as had been the case in the end
of Stephen’s days, Lincoln again appearing to be the decisive
battle-ground. And so it was. Lewis returned in an evil mood,
determined to treat England as a conquered country; the barons detected
his design and deserted him one by one. At Whitsuntide the king’s party
advanced to relieve Lincoln under the Earl of Pembroke, the Earl of
Chester, and the legate. Lincoln was relieved at the cost of a battle;
but in the battle was slain Lewis’s chief captain, the Count of Perche,
and Saer de Quincy and Robert Fitz-Walter, the leading spirits of the
anti-royalists, were captured. Lewis was not there, but engaged in
the siege of Dover Castle, which had not yet been taken. On the news
of the battle he threw himself into London, and there awaited foreign
succor. The foreign succor came as far as Thanet; but there, on St.
Bartholomew’s Day, it was beaten and dispersed by the English fleet,
which thus justified the pains and cost that John had spent upon it.


  Departure of


  Third issue of
  the Charter.

That defeat decided the struggle; within a month Lewis had consented
to make peace and go home. The legate showed a wise and politic mercy
in treating the rebels as ecclesiastical offenders and admitting them
to absolution and penance; and William Marshall was not anxious to
alienate friends by exacting the penalties for a treason which it
might be difficult to define, and in which his own family was largely
implicated. By Michaelmas 1217 the peace was restored, and the Charter
again re-issued in a still more modified form. This may be regarded as
the ending of the Magna Carta struggle in its first phase. It was now
become permanently the palladium of English constitutional liberty; it
was recognized as the salvation of king and kingdom, and the legate,
instead of anathematizing, had turned and blessed it.

The rule of William Marshall continued until his death, early in 1219.
The kingdom was ostensibly at peace; but order was not easily restored
after a struggle which had lasted for more than four years, and which
was itself the result of a long period of misgovernment. In the general
struggle for power which followed the pacification it was not always
the wisest or the best men that gained the ultimate ascendency. It is
clear that from the very first there were among the royal counsellors
men who had neither understood nor sympathized with the policy of
Langton. Hence the omission from the re-issued charters of the clauses
by which the king forbade and renounced unconstitutional taxation,
and prescribed the order of the national council. Many of the men who
had been leaders of the baronial party at Runnymede had fallen into
treasonable complicity with France or had perished in the war; so
that the regent was forced to give a disproportionate share of power
to the personal friends of John, foreigners and mercenaries as they
were, or to men like the Earl of Chester and the Count of Aumâle, who
fought really for their own feudal independence. Thus we must account
for the power of such men as Falkes de Breauté, who almost caused a
civil war before he would submit to the law or resign to the king the
castles which he held as the king’s servant. Hence also, perhaps, the
retention of Hubert de Burgh in the justiciarship; for he, great man
as he afterwards proved himself, was as yet only known as a creature
of John. Hence too the distinguished position retained by Peter des
Roches, although he, as Bishop of Winchester, had a dignity and power
of his own. Hence, further on, the jealousy with which, after the death
of the Earl of Pembroke, the administration of Hubert de Burgh was
viewed by the barons, and the constant risings against royal favorites
and against the too strong government exercised in the name of the boy
king. These troubles furnish nearly all the history of the years of
Henry’s minority.


  Work of

[Sidenote: New Government.]



The expulsion of the French, the restoration of order, and the
securing of the validity of the Great Charter by successive and solemn
confirmations, were the chief debt that England owed to William
Marshall. So long as he lived he was able also to lessen the pressure
of the hand of the Roman legate and to keep in order the foreign
servants of John. Early in 1219 he died. Gualo, a few months before,
having incurred considerable odium by his severe and avaricious conduct
during an otherwise beneficial administration, resigned the legation
and returned to Rome. The place of the regent was not easy to fill, and
no successor was appointed with the same power and functions. Peter des
Roches became guardian of the royal person; Pandulf, the envoy of 1213,
became legate in Gualo’s place; and these two, with Hubert de Burgh as
justiciar, formed a sort of triumvirate or supreme council of regency.
Langton had now returned from exile; the Earls of Chester, Salisbury,
and Ferrars had gone on Crusade, and matters seemed likely to run
smoothly for some time. At Whitsuntide 1220 Henry was solemnly crowned
at Westminster at the express command of the Pope, by the hands of
Archbishop Langton, and with all the ceremonies which at the Gloucester
coronation had been omitted. It was a very grand ceremony; all the due
services of the great feudatories were regularly performed, and it was
made a sort of typical exhibition of the national restoration. It had
also a political intention. If Henry was now in full possession of his
royal dignity, it was high time for him to take back into the royal
custody the castles which through policy or necessity had been hitherto
left in dangerous hands. The feudal lords must learn to submit to Henry
III. as they had done to Henry II.; the foreign adventurers must be
removed from the posts which although they had earned them by fidelity,
they had made the strongholds of tyranny and oppression. England must
be reclaimed for the English, and not even the legatine, not even
the papal, influence must be allowed to retard the national progress
towards internal unity and prosperity.


  William of
  Aumâle and
  Falkes de

The demand for the restoration of the royal castles produced the
first outbreak. Just as, at the beginning of the reign of Henry
II., William of Aumâle had refused to surrender Scarborough, so now
his grandson refused to surrender Rockingham. Immediately after the
coronation the king was brought to the siege, but the garrison fled
as he approached. The earl, undismayed, seized in 1221 the castles of
Biham and Fotheringay; and although he resisted not only the strength
of the government but the sentence of excommunication also, he was
forced to submit. In 1222 and 1223 the struggle was renewed in more
formidable dimensions. The Earl of Chester, who had at first supported
the government, made himself the spokesman of the feudal party; and the
foreigners, the chief of whom was Falkes de Breauté, did their best to
unseat the justiciar, who was now recognised as the chief man in the
administrative council. The evil was increased by the discord in the
council itself. Peter des Roches was known to prompt the resistance
to Hubert de Burgh and to be the patron of the foreigners; he neither
understood nor loved the institutions of England, and although an able
and experienced man was very ambitious and altogether unscrupulous.
In 1224, however, the contest was decided. An act of violent
insubordination on the part of Falkes de Breauté brought down the
king and the kingdom upon him; the great conspiracy of which he held
the strings was broken up, and he himself, notwithstanding the secret
support of Peter des Roches and the open mediation of the Pope, was
banished from the land. His fall involved the humiliation of the feudal
lords who were allied with him, and the expulsion of the foreigners
whom he represented and headed. Peter des Roches himself had to take a
subordinate place.


  Work of
  Hubert de


  Re-issue of
  the Charter.

Long before this England had been relieved from the presence of the
legate. In 1220 Langton had gone to Rome and obtained a promise that
so long as he lived no other legate should be sent to England. Pandulf
seems to have regarded the promise as implying his own recall. He
was weary of his post; and having obtained his election to the see
of Norwich, resigned in July 1221. Before the end of the year 1224
the able hand of Hubert de Burgh had shaken off the three dangerous
influences; he had reclaimed England for the English. But he had done
it at considerable cost of taxation. This the country was ill able
or disposed to bear, and the alarm of war was sounding on the side
of France, where Lewis succeeded his father in 1223. It was in order
to obtain from the nation a grant of money to defray these expenses
and to equip an army that Henry, under Hubert’s advice, for the third
time confirmed the charter. But, although these were the special
occasions of the re-issue, the confirmation itself is a typical act,
and might be regarded as the renewed good omen of a happy reign. Most
of the hereditary enemies of Henry were dead; all foreign influences
were banished; the right of the nation to sound and good government
was recognised by the charter itself. The general acquiescence in the
policy of the administration was shown by the grant of a fifteenth of
all movable property to the king, which was made conditional on the
confirmation of the charter, and the national union was proved by the
long list of prelates and magnates who attested it. Henry, by altering
the terms in which he enacted it from the older form, “by the council”
of his barons, to “by my spontaneous will,” seemed to be giving more
than a mere official ratification--a personal and sincere adhesion to
the great formula of the constitution.

[Sidenote: Henry in 1227.]

Two years after this Henry came of age, and then begins not only his
dangerous and unbusinesslike meddling with foreign politics but the
gradual revelation of the fact that he was not more willing than
his father had been to act and reign as a constitutional king. From
this point date the constant demands of the Pope on the one hand,
and the king on the other, for money to be spent on purposes which
called forth little sympathy in England, or which were opposed to the
national instincts; constant difficulties with the administration,
and, consequent upon those difficulties, that alienation of popular
affection from the person of the young sovereign whose growth had
been intently and hopefully watched--an alienation which grew from
year to year, as the conviction gained ground that he was not to be
trusted, any more than he could be honored or admired. But for this
conviction that serious attack on his authority, which amounted in the
end to an absolute superseding or deposition, could have been neither
contemplated nor carried into effect. This was not the mere result of a
mismanaged minority. No doubt the possession or even the anticipation
of the possession of great power is a dangerous obstacle to education;
and in every case of a royal minority which we have in English history
we find the same miserable story of a most important charge neglected,
and the most important of all possible trusts unfulfilled. It may be
that Hubert de Burgh and Peter des Roches had to work on an unkindly
soil. In the child of John and Isabella we should not look for much
inherited goodness; yet Richard of Cornwall, Henry’s brother, was
a very different man from Henry himself. Still the fault cannot be
ascribed altogether to education. It would have been a sore discipline
for a noble mind, but to Henry it was fatal. He learned nothing great;
what was good in him was dwarfed and warped.

The history of the thirty-one years, 1227 to 1258, which form the
period of his personal administration, is one long series of impolitic
and unprincipled acts. These acts may, it is true, be arranged under
certain distinct heads, but it is not to be forgotten that they were
at the time the successive expressions of one weak, headstrong mind,
and as such have a unity and a bearing upon one another, creating as
they proceed a tide of hostile feeling in the nation that becomes at
last overwhelming. It would be an unprofitable exercise of ingenuity
and patience to detail these acts in order of time, and to point out
how one led to another. They may be divided into the three heads of
internal misgovernment, a mischievous foreign policy pursued under the
guidance of the popes, and the unfortunate line adopted with regard to
the French provinces on which the king still retained his hold.

[Sidenote: Internal misgovernment.]

[Sidenote: Papal demands.]



[Sidenote: Crisis of 1258.]

Under the first of these come Henry’s reluctance to observe the
charters, heavy taxation for a long series of years, the revival of
the hated system of foreign favoritism, the rash displacement and
replacement of ministers, the attempts of the king to rule by means
of mere clerks and servants without proper ministers, and the series
of domestic troubles which arise from these causes. Under the second
head come the heavy demands of the popes for pecuniary help, or for the
preferment of Italians in English churches, and the successive attempts
made by the several pontiffs to use Henry, his wealth, and influence
in Europe, for the destruction of the house of Hohenstaufen, and thus
for the promotion of designs which worked his final humiliation. Under
the third come the several expeditions to France, the negotiations
with Lewis IX., the administration of Gascony, and the part taken by
Richard of Cornwall and Simon de Montfort in the administration of that
province. These three lines of mischief combine to produce the great
crisis of 1258, in which the leading spirit was Simon de Montfort,
in which the critical and determining cause was the negotiation with
the Pope for the kingdom of Sicily, and in which the form of the
constitutional demands made by the opposition was determined by the
character of the internal misgovernment which had been going on so
long. Where the same points so frequently recur a chronological summary
becomes monotonous, and a comprehensive sketch is sufficient to convey
all the lessons that are of real value.


  Henry of

Henry’s first act was an ill-omened one. In January, 1227, in a council
at Oxford, he declared himself of full age to govern, emancipated
himself from the guardianship of Peter des Roches, but insisted that
all charters and other grants sealed during his minority should be
regarded as invalid until a confirmation of them had been purchased at
a fixed rate. This declaration, founded, it would seem, on a resolution
of the council agreed on in 1218, that no grants involving perpetuity
should be sealed until he came of age, was heard with great alarm. The
alarm spread further when it was known that the forest boundaries,
which had been settled by perambulation in 1225, were to be re-arranged
under royal direction. If the forest liberties were to be tampered
with, the Great Charter itself would be in peril. But either the alarm
was unfounded or the excitement that followed ensured its own remedy.
Large sums were raised by confirming private charters; but, on a
representation made by a body of the earls the forest administration
was let alone and the Great Charter was not threatened. The whole
project was seen to be a mere expedient for raising money.

[Sidenote: Papal taxation.]


  Fall of
  Hubert de

Matters went on peacefully for some four or five years, and if
complaints of misgovernment were heard they were, by the ready action
of Hubert, who continued to be justiciar, either remedied or silenced.
From 1227 to 1232 Hubert filled the place of prime minister, in
very much the same way as Hubert Walter and Geoffrey Fitz Peter had
done, sacrificing his own popularity to save his master’s character,
and risking his master’s favor by lightening the oppressions and
exactions of irresponsible government. Besides the wars with Wales
and Scotland which mark these years, and the pecuniary demands which
were necessarily made for carrying on the wars, the chief interest of
the period arises from the fact that it saw the first of those papal
claims and exactions which were to exercise so baneful an influence on
the rest of the reign. Archbishop Langton died in 1228, and Henry’s
envoys at Rome purchased the confirmation of his successor, Archbishop
Richard, by promising the Pope a heavy subsidy to sustain him in his
war with the Emperor. When the time came for this demand to be laid
before the assembled council Earl Ranulf of Chester took the lead in
opposing it. The means taken notwithstanding to exact money roused
a strong popular feeling. The papal collectors were plundered, the
stores taken in kind were burned; and so ineffectual were the means
taken to suppress the outrages, that suspicion fell, not without good
reason, on the justiciar himself as conniving at this rough justice.
Henry was already weary of his minister, and his strongest feelings
were the devotion which he consistently maintained towards the papacy
and his determination, equally resolute, to let no scruple prevent
him from acquiring money whenever he had the opportunity. Peter des
Roches, who had been absent from England for some years on Crusade, had
now returned. He lost no opportunity of increasing the king’s dislike
to Hubert, and of promoting the interest of the foreigners who were
beginning again to speculate on Henry’s weakness. The king was told
that his poverty was owing to the dishonesty of his ministers, who were
growing rich to his disadvantage; he had no money to carry on war,
whilst Hubert de Burgh was becoming more powerful in acquisitions and
alliances, and was even using his influence to screen offenders against
the Apostolic see. Henry was not slow in learning to be ungrateful. He
had been taught by Hubert himself that he must discard the favorite
servants of his father; Hubert had to exemplify, however unrighteously,
his own lesson.


  Victory of
  Peter des

In July 1232 he was driven from office, overwhelmed, as Becket had
been, with charges which it was impossible definitely to disprove; and
after some vain attempts to escape, he was before the end of the year a
prisoner and penniless. His successor in the justiciarship was Stephen
Segrave, a creature of Peter des Roches. Peter himself resumed the
influence over the unstable king which he had won in his early years,
and filled the court and ministry with foreigners, in whose favor he
displaced all the king’s English servants.

[Sidenote: Richard Marshall.]

Hubert’s fall was great enough in itself to excite pity; even Earl
Ranulf of Chester, who had been most opposed to him as a minister, was
moved to intercede for him. But far more than his personal disgrace the
reversal of his English policy alarmed the baronage. Earl Ranulf, the
natural head of opposition, died in 1232; Richard of Cornwall, who had
hitherto shown signs of attachment to the national cause, was scarcely
fitted to lead an attack on his brother’s ministers; the Earl Marshall
Richard, son of the great regent, and younger brother of William
Marshall who had married the king’s sister, became the spokesman of
the nation. Richard Marshall was one of the most accomplished knights
and the most educated gentlemen of the age; but he had to contend
against the long experience and unscrupulous craft of Peter des Roches.
After a distinct declaration made by the barons to the king, at his
suggestion, that they would not meet the Bishop of Winchester in court
or council, and a positive demand for the dismissal of the foreign
servants who had been placed in office by him, the Earl Marshall was
declared a traitor. The king marched against him and drove him into
alliance with the disaffected Welsh. A cruel stratagem of Peter des
Roches induced him to cross over to Ireland to defend his estates
there, and, in a battle into which he was drawn by Peter’s agents, he
was betrayed and mortally wounded. For a long time after his death the
baronage continued to be without a leader of their own.


  Fall of Peter
  des Roches.

The cunning of Bishop Peter prevailed to the destruction of Earl
Richard, but it was not sufficient to ensure his own position. The
barons, although they lost their leader when the Earl Marshall fled,
were not inclined to be submissive, and the bishops, now under the
guidance of Edmund of Abingdon, the primate consecrated in 1234,
insisted that justice should be done to the Earl Marshall and that the
foreigners should be removed. The king was compelled to submit; Bishop
Peter was ordered to retire from court, and with him fell the men whom
he had patronized. But it was too late to do justice to the earl or
to stop the measures contrived for his ruin. As a matter of fact the
dismissal of Peter des Roches preceded by a few days the death of his
victim far away in Ireland. Hubert de Burgh, however, profited by the
change and regained his estates, although not his political power, when
his rival fell.


  plan of governing.

To some extent the administration of Hubert and of Peter after him
had been a continuance of the royal tutelage; from this time Henry
determined to be not only king but chief administrator. Stephen
Segrave had been a very mean successor to Hubert in the great office
of justiciar; henceforth the officer who bears the name is no longer
the lieutenant-general of the king, but simply the chief officer of
the law courts. The supreme direction of affairs Henry kept in his own
incompetent hands. The position of the chancellor too was stronger
than was convenient to a king who intended to have his own way. Ralph
Neville, the Bishop of Chichester, had received the great seal in
1226, by the advice and consent of the great council of the nation; he
now refused to surrender it to the king except at the express command
of the assembly by which he had been appointed. Henry succeeded in
wresting the seal from him in 1238, but he retained the income and
title of chancellor until his death in 1244. The constant petitions
of the barons that a properly qualified justiciar, chancellor, and
treasurer should be elected or appointed, subject to the approval of
the national council, show that this independent action of the king
was regarded with jealousy, and that they had already in germ the idea
of having the affairs of the kingdom administered by men who would
be responsible, not only as Becket and Hubert de Burgh had been to
the king, but to the nation, as represented at the time in the great
council of the barons.


  Influx of

The history of these years is a series of national complaints and royal
short-comings and evasions, diversified by occasional campaigns or
splendid marriage ceremonies. In 1235 Henry married his sister Isabella
to the Emperor Frederick II.; in 1236 he himself married Eleanor of
Provence. Both marriages were the occasions of great outlay of money,
which the nation was rapidly becoming more and more unwilling to pay.
Nor was the discontent owing to taxation only. The queen’s relations
poured into the country as into a newly discovered gold-field;
dignities, territories, high office in Church and State were lavished
upon them, and the rumor went abroad that they were attempting to
change the constitution of the kingdom. Under their influence the old
foreign agents who had flourished under the patronage of Peter des
Roches returned into court and council, and brought with them the old
abuses and the old jealousies in addition to the new. In 1238 the king
gave his sister Eleanor, the widow of William Marshall the younger,
to Simon de Montfort. The marriage and subsequent quarrel with Simon
served to augment the jealousy and divisions at court. In 1242 Henry
made a costly expedition to France, from which he returned in 1243; a
new flood of strangers, this time the Poictevin sons and kinsfolk of
his mother, followed him. In 1244 Earl Richard of Cornwall married the
queen’s sister; and in 1245 Boniface of Savoy, the queen’s uncle, was
consecrated to the see of Canterbury.



Each of these years is marked by a struggle about taxation conducted in
the assembly of barons and bishops, which from this time is known both
in history and records by the name of PARLIAMENT. In these discussions
the lead is taken sometimes by the bishops, sometimes by the barons;
now it is the papal, now the royal demands that excite opposition. The
charters are from time to time confirmed as a condition of a money
grant; and as often as money is required they are found to need fresh
confirmation. Up to the time of his marriage Earl Richard of Cornwall
constantly appears among the remonstrants; Archbishop Edmund, as long
as his patient endurance lasts, heads the opposition of the bishops;
Robert Grosseteste, the Bishop of Lincoln, the great divine, scholar,
and pastor of the Church, is not less distinguished as a leader in
the plans propounded for the maintenance of good government and the
diminution of the royal power of oppression.



Every class suffered under the absolute administration, but the
citizens of London, and the Jews perhaps most heavily, as from them
without any intermediate machinery the king contrived to wring money.
Not slowly or gradually, but by great and rapid accumulations the
heap of national grievances grew, and but for the want of a leader a
forcible attempt at revolution must have occurred much sooner than
it did. In 1237 the national council gave their money under express
conditions, none of which were observed, as to the control and purpose
of expenditure. In 1242 they presented to the king a long list of
the exactions to which they had submitted out of their good-will to
assist him, but from which no good had arisen. In 1244, when Henry had
assembled the magnates in the refectory at Westminster and with his
own mouth had asked for money, the two great estates present, lay and
clerical, determined, after debating apart, to act in concert, and
chose twelve representatives to make terms with the king. The twelve,
of whom the chief were Richard of Cornwall and Simon de Montfort,
demanded the confirmation of the charters and the election of a
justiciar, chancellor, and treasurer; they broached even a plan for
constitutional reform according to which a perpetual council was to be
appointed to attend the king and secure the execution of reforms to
be embodied in a new charter. Henry first resisted, then produced an
order from the Pope; but the barons were unable to persevere in their
designs. They refused, however, to make a large grant, and voted a sum
which they could not legally object to pay, for the marriage of the
king’s daughter.



The pages of the great historian, Matthew Paris, teem with details like
this. Whether money were given or refused, the king went on asking
for more; whether he met the national complaints with promise or with
insult, the evils remained alike unredressed. No permanent ministers
were appointed; the king nominated a clerk or a judge from time to
time to despatch formal business, and every important transaction for
which he himself was not personally competent was left to be settled
at haphazard. Some good results followed; the country learned that the
king was really dependent on the nation, although it failed to impress
that lesson upon Henry himself; every year the machinery for assessing
and collecting the taxes assumed more and more a representative
character, and the forms as well as the spirit of a parliamentary
constitution grew apace. But in the countless assemblies which were
held during this part of the reign, it is not possible to trace any
uniformity or even any tendency towards a system of representative
government. The councils are more busy about their powers than about
their constitution, and the representative machinery already in use for
carrying out the executive part of the public business does not yet
reach the region of legislative or supreme taxation.



No great design is attempted during these years; the barons see no
return for the great costs to which the king puts them. The King of
France goes on Crusade, but Henry only raises money on the pretext,
and spends or wastes it on other purposes. The Pope drains the kingdom.
There are murmurs but no blows: no conspiracies, no leader. Simon de
Montfort is employed in Gascony; Earl Richard minds his own business.
The kingdom is again handed over to the Poictevins, yet no one has
position or energy to take the lead. So matters drag on. In 1248, 1249,
1255, the demands for a regular ministry are confirmed; and now it
is desired that they shall be appointed by the common council of the
nation. In 1237 and again in 1253, the charters are solemnly renewed,
and excommunication passed on the transgressors of them. In 1254 an
assembly is held to grant an aid, to which two knights of the shire are
called from each county, elected by the county court--a very important
step towards the creation or development of a parliamentary system. At
last, in 1257, by a series of events like these, the patience of the
baronage is absolutely worn out, and the king by an extraordinary act
of daring presumption gives the signal for the outbreak.


  Henry and
  the Popes.

[Sidenote: The archbishops.]

Our second division of the causes which led to the great crisis of the
reign, comprises Henry’s relations with the popes and the papal policy.
It is not a thing to be wondered at that Henry should adhere closely to
the Pope: for it was papal influence that made him king, and his mind
was formed under religious influences redolent of papal ideas. He had
to deal too with popes of high and masterly minds, and bowed implicitly
to such. He never disputed or quarrelled with any pope; no point was
to his mind worth defence. He was just old enough to remember the last
days of the Interdict; he knew how Honorius III. had supported him
against Philip and Lewis; he watched the long humiliation of Frederick
II. by Gregory IX. and Innocent IV. He never knew a weak pope. He might
have resisted, and would have gained immensely by resistance; his
archbishops, Stephen Langton, Richard le Grand, and Edmund of Abingdon,
were three model ecclesiastics, men unassailable in the points of
patriotism, independence, and sanctity. Even Boniface of Savoy,
although he was neither an Englishman nor a saint, would have boldly
resisted the Pope, and strengthened the king with his sword if not
with his staff. But Henry was generally thwarting his archbishops; he
alienated their support, and wore out their patience. Edmund he drove
into exile, by his tyranny and extortion; and even Boniface on occasion
chose to side with the national party rather than to support such a


  List of papal

The string of papal difficulties begins in 1226, when the Pope demanded
a share of the property of every cathedral, church, and monastery. In
1229 Gregory IX. demanded a tithe of all movables, which only Earl
Ranulf of Chester had courage to refuse. In 1231, the Roman exactions
produced public tumults, and led to the quarrel which ruined Hubert de
Burgh. In 1237, the king invited Cardinal Otho to reform the Church.
He stayed until 1241, visited Oxford, and put the University under
interdict; visited Scotland in 1239, and in 1240 exacted enormous
sums for the benefit of the Pope, besides forbidding the king to
bestow preferment on Englishmen, until three hundred Italians had been
provided for. In 1244, Innocent IV. sent a still more intolerable
representative, Master Martin, who within a year was obliged to fly;
but neither king nor parliament ventured to refuse money. Besides
direct payments, a vast proportion of English livings was held by
foreigners. Bishop Grosseteste, who regarded these usurpations as the
very destruction of the flock for which he was ready to lay down his
life, declared, that in 1252, the Pope’s nominees had revenues within
the realm three times as great as the royal income. There was too, a
constant succession of appeals to Rome, as the episcopal elections
were disputed, and the Pope either assumed the power of presentation,
or sold the justice or injustice that it pleased him to dispense. To
understand how these vast sums were disposed of by the popes, involves
the careful reading of the history of Frederick II. The exactions
of Gregory IX. begin with the first quarrel with Frederick, and the
crowning difficulties of Henry III. are caused by his entanglement with
Alexander IV. on the subject of Sicily. Yet Frederick II. was his own
brother-in-law, and a prince who, whatever his faults may have been,
suffered papal enmity for reasons which had nothing to do with his
short-comings. Frederick was admired and pitied in England as a papal
victim. Lewis IX. could refuse to be an instrument in his humiliation,
but Henry III. seems to have tied himself to the Pope’s chariot-wheels.
The Pope and the king, according to the saying of the time, left to men
only the task of discerning whether the upper or the nether millstone
were the heaviest.


  Henry accepts
  the kingdom
  of Sicily.

Fatal as the friendship of Gregory IX. and Innocent IV. had been, it
was the policy of Alexander IV. which broke the long-enduring patience
of the baronage and compelled them to bind the king’s hands. Innocent
IV. in 1252 had offered the kingdom of Sicily to Richard of Cornwall.
The negotiation went on until in 1255 it was accepted, not for Richard,
but for Edmund, the king’s second son. It might have been supposed that
as the quarrel was the Pope’s Alexander would have hired Henry to
fight his battles; but by this adroit system of enlistment he reversed
the rule. He fought the battles and expected Henry to pay him. Henry
was weak enough to bear this and even to pledge the credit of the
kingdom to the Pope for the sum which the crafty Italian money-lender
had advanced to maintain his own quarrel. It was this act that led to
the demand for a new constitution, which opens the next great epoch of
this long dismal reign.



Henry’s French transactions, the third of the three heads in which we
have arranged the second portion of the reign, must be summed up very
briefly, for they are in themselves the least important part of his

Of all the possessions of Henry II. only Aquitaine and Gascony remained
to John at the time of his death; and these remained, not because they
loved the Plantagenets, for they hated them, but because they hated
all government, and found that distant England was a less vigorous
mistress than nearer France. So, as they had opposed Henry II., they
resisted Philip and Lewis; and they continued subject to the English
kings until the reign of Henry VI., but shorn of their proportions.
Henry III. in his early years entertained some idea of reclaiming all.
In 1225 Richard of Cornwall was sent to Bourdeaux, and re-established
order in Gascony; in 1229, during the minority of Lewis IX., not
only Gascons but Normans proposed to Henry the restoration of the
Continental dominions of his house; and in 1230 he actually went across
by Brittany and Anjou and received the homage of Poictou, whilst the
Earl of Chester made an attempt on Normandy. But in the following year
a truce was made, and no more is said of a French war for twelve years.
In 1242, however, at the invitation of the Poictevins, over whom Lewis
had set his brother Alfonso as count, Henry made a great expedition,
which he managed with so little felicity that he owed his escape from
captivity to the mercy of his enemy, just as he owed his continued
possession of Gascony to that enemy’s good faith. After his return home
in 1243 the only foreign difficulties which occurred for several years
arose from the conduct of the Gascons, who, finding no pressure put
upon them by Lewis, took courage to rebel on their own account, and
required constant chastisement. From 1249 onwards Simon de Montfort was
employed to keep them in order; and whilst his demands for money were
one cause of Henry’s difficulties at home, Henry’s treatment of him
laid the foundation of a lasting enmity. The complaints of the Gascons
against his severe administration were readily listened to, and Simon
was easily convinced that his employment in France was a mere expedient
for securing his ruin. In 1253 he resigned his command, and Henry for
the third time went in person to France, where he stayed for a year and
a half, returning at the end of 1254 more hopelessly in debt than ever.

From this point the accumulating grievances of the nation, whether
constitutional, religious, or political, blend in one mass; all the
oppressed and offended make common cause. Extortion, faithlessness,
improvidence, impotence at home and abroad, compel and suggest their
own remedy; and every class having been insulted or oppressed, the time
and the men for reform and revenge are not wanting.



 Delay of the crisis--Simon de Montfort--Parliament of 1258--Provisions
 of Oxford--Political troubles--Award of St. Lewis--Battle of
 Lewes--Baronial government--Battle of Evesham--Closing years.


  Why the constitutional
  crisis was delayed.



The long and dreary survey of the first forty years of Henry’s reign
has its chief use in enabling us to trace the string of events, the
accumulation of causes and motives, which produced the more striking
complications of the remaining sixteen years. We have seen that on
the one hand a gradually increasing spirit of resistance was being
roused among all classes of the people. Through a shifty, shuffling,
purposeless public policy on the king’s part, a sullen determination to
reign as despotically as his father had done constantly makes itself
apparent. The papal influence, too, by which his foreign policy was
guided, was gradually bringing him up to a point at which the national
spirit would no longer endure him. We cannot fail to perceive further
that Henry’s determination to act as his own minister could have but
one result--that, when the time for account came, the account would
be demanded of him himself personally; he would have no agents behind
whom he could screen himself, or whom he could sacrifice to justify
himself. Henry’s personal character, his pliancy and want of principle,
may perhaps have helped to put off the day of account, so long delayed,
and it may have been his own misfortune that he lived so long to try
the patience of the people. Another reason for their endurance was no
doubt the want of a leader, and that was a potent reason. In the early
difficulties of the reign the place of the leader of constitutional
opposition was occasionally taken by the Earl of Chester, a man in
whose conduct the desire of rule was stronger than the love of liberty;
and after his death it was occupied with higher principles and nobler
purposes by the Earl Marshall Richard. After Richard’s death no great
lay baron for a long time stood out from the rest as a leader. The
bishops proclaimed their grievances and the oppressions of the court,
but the bishops were forbidden by their order to take up arms against
the king. The great earldoms of the former age were extinct in spirit
if not in title, and possibly the king may have found means to keep
their modern representatives silent or inactive. The great earldom of
Leicester had been split in two, and one half, which bore the name of
Leicester, was, at the beginning of the reign, in the king’s hands,
although claimed by the Montforts. The earldom of Chester came, on the
extinction of the heirs, to the crown in 1237; Essex and Hereford were
held by one family; Cornwall by the king’s brother; Salisbury by his
cousin. Gloucester alone retained anything like its old importance, and
the Earl of Gloucester could not stand alone. Henry was wise enough to
see this, and so avoided the restoration of Chester by keeping it as
a provision for one of his sons. It was probably with the like object
that he connived at the marriage of his sister with Simon de Montfort,
to whom the Leicester inheritance must in the end come; and when the
earldom of the Marshalls escheated he gave it to his half-brother. If
all the great earldoms could be comfortably distributed among his near
kinsmen the baronial party would be without its natural head, and
might lie at his mercy. That this was a part of his plan we may infer
from his treatment of the bishoprics. He no doubt thought that he had
a safe hold on the clergy when his wife’s uncle was made archbishop
of Canterbury, his half-brother, Ethelmer of Lusignan, bishop of
Winchester, and another important bishopric, that of Hereford, was in
the hands of a Provençal kinsman. Edward III., a hundred years after
him, adopted somewhat the same plan of consolidating family power by
marrying his sons to the heiresses of the earldoms; and at an earlier
period in the history of the empire the German duchies more than once
take the form of a compact family party. Unfortunately, however, the
plan has seldom answered: people can hate their relations perhaps more
cordially than they can hate any one else; and in a generation or two,
when personal hatred is complicated with the rights of inheritance,
wars between cousins are apt to become internecine. Even in the present
reign we shall come upon one or two instances of this. One effect of
this statecraft on Henry’s part was to keep the constitutional party
divided and headless; another was to provoke opposition amongst those
in whom he might otherwise have trusted. His treatment of the Gascons
was such as at one period to throw even his son Edward and his brother
Richard into opposition; and as early as 1242 we have seen Earl Richard
of Cornwall taking an important place in the baronial councils; but
the leading and crowning instance is Simon de Montfort, the personal
enemy, the leader of constitutional opposition, the national champion,
whom Henry raised up for his own discomfiture as directly and as
persistently as if he had had from the beginning that object in view.


  Richard of

The opinions of historians have differed widely in drawing the
characters of the two most influential men of this period. Richard,
King of the Romans, a dignity which he attained in 1257, the second
son of John, must have been on any showing a man of more energy
and enterprise than his brother Henry; it is attested by his early
achievements in war, by his crusade, and by the adventurous way in
which he attempted and really maintained his hold on Germany. He
was also a better manager; for whilst Henry was always hopelessly
overwhelmed with debt, Richard was always amply provided with money,
and able to lend his brother large sums, which kept him afloat for a
time, but did not get him out of his difficulties. Richard had also
much sounder ideas of policy, acting frequently with the baronial
party, resisting and remonstrating against his brother’s foolish
designs, and winning throughout both France and England no small
reputation for political sagacity. In opposition to these favorable
points must be set a strong public opinion existing at the time,
and since constantly re-echoed both in England and in Germany. The
English, disliking his attempts at foreign sovereignty, represented
him as a foolish, extravagant, tricky man, who for the name of Emperor
sacrificed his real interests and imperilled the interests of his
country; a man who would let the Germans delude him out of all his
treasure and then come back to England and take the unpopular side,
as he did in the barons’ war. The Germans, who always treated the
English kings as rich fools to be handled from time to time for their
own profit, got out of him all they could in the way of money and
privileges, and showed their gratitude by mocking him. A more careful
view of his career leads to the conclusion that both his abilities and
his success were underrated. He was certainly not a great sovereign,
but the probability is that, with the chances he had, he might have
done very much worse. He was one of the very last of the kings of the
Romans who thought of building up the empire as distinct from their
own dynastic power; who lavished what he had upon it instead of merely
using the power and dignity which it gave him to increase the wealth of
his own family. In respect to his conduct as an English earl we find
him always acting as a mediator and arbitrator, never urging the king
to his despotic and deceitful courses. If when the country was actually
at war he threw in his lot with his brother, rather than with Simon
de Montfort, whom he did not understand, but suspected and reasonably
disliked, he can hardly be visited with severe blame. He was the wisest
and most moderate, it would seem, of Henry’s advisers; but Henry was
not fond of being advised.


  Simon de

Simon de Montfort was a very different man, and very different
estimates have been formed of him. On one side he is regarded as an
almost inspired statesman, a scholar, a saint, a martyr; on the other
he is a mere adventurer, a demagogue, a man full of selfish ambitions
and personal hatreds, a rebel, a traitor, a criminal. A short notice
of his chief actions may indicate what reason there is for either,
neither, or both of these estimates. Simon de Montfort was no doubt
an adventurer, descended from a race of counts that had played for
high stakes with very little capital, and had been persistently
pushing into power for some centuries. His father was the scarcely
less renowned Simon de Montfort, the persecutor of the Albigensian
heretics, who had, at the head of that cruel crusade, been made Count
of Toulouse, and perished in making good his claims. The Counts of
Evreux, his remoter ancestors, had made their way into that position
by a fortunate marriage as early as the time of Henry I. They had made
a bold attempt in the time of Lewis VI. to claim the high stewardship
of France; in later times one of the family had held, in the right
of his wife, the earldom of Gloucester after the death of Geoffrey
de Mandeville and Hawisia. Earl Simon, the Crusader, was a nephew of
the last Earl of Leicester of the house of Beaumont, on whose death
John divided his earldom into two, that of Winchester going to Saer
de Quincy as co-heir, and that of Leicester to Simon de Montfort. But
that Simon, although he was Earl of Leicester, had little to do with
England; he was an enemy of John, and the barons are said, at one time,
to have thought of calling him in as a deliverer. His crusade against
the Albigenses was directed really against Raymond of Toulouse, who was
John’s brother-in-law; and as John was never loth to keep the lands of
his enemies in his own hands, the revenues of the earldom seldom found
their way into the treasury of the Montforts. This Simon had four sons;
Amalric, Count of Montfort, was the eldest, and the second Simon, the
hero of the barons’ war, was the youngest. Amalric, of course, was his
father’s heir, but he contented himself with his patrimony in France;
and the two intermediate brothers being now dead, Simon, according
to Matthew Paris, attempted, at the Council of Bourges, in 1226 or
1227, to recover the county of Toulouse. Failing to do this, he came
to England to see whether he could not get the earldom of Leicester,
and his brother consented to make over to him such rights in it as he
possessed. After some years he succeeded. Henry allowed the arrangement
between the brothers to take effect, and gave Simon the honor of
Leicester. He had already failed in two attempts to make himself
a great position by marriage with the countesses of Flanders and
Boulogne. In a third he was more successful; Henry connived, as it was
said, at a clandestine marriage between Simon and his sister Eleanor,
the widow of the second William Marshall--an unlawful marriage, as she
had taken a vow of widowhood--and soon after, in 1239, gave him the
title of Earl. Richard of Cornwall, and others of the baronage were
exceedingly angry at this, and Henry himself in no long time quarrelled
with his new brother-in-law, who had to leave England, and had some
expense and trouble in obtaining the recognition of his marriage as

For some years he appears to have been coolly treated, and perhaps
nursed his wrongs. But up to this time there is little about him to
distinguish him from the other foreigners with whom England swarmed.
By what process he educated himself into the ideas and position of an
English baron, we have but little information to show. It is clear,
however, that he did so; that he had much intercourse with the clergy,
especially with that section which, with Bishop Grosseteste, was
bent on resisting the royal exactions and papal usurpations; that he
devoted much thought and care to the education of his children; and
that when, in the parliament of 1244, the prelates and barons selected
a committee to treat with the king, his name, with that of Earl
Richard of Cornwall, was among the first chosen. In his own earldom,
nearly the only notice found of him, is that he persecuted the Jews of
Leicester, and this slight indication may show that he had somewhat
of his father’s spirit--that some persecuting zeal was an ingredient
in his peculiar form of piety. From this date we find him, however,
employed more and more in public business, and for several years
together commanding in Gascony, where the complaints of his severity
and impolicy were probably occasioned as much by Henry’s deceitful
treatment of his foreign adherents, as by Simon’s own fault. Of this,
however, it is impossible to judge certainly; we only know that the
bitter feelings which existed between him and the king were constantly
more and more embittered, and that Earl Richard, although sometimes
he was obliged to take Simon’s part, had the same personal antipathy,
which grew greater, and produced terrible results in the next
generation. In Gascony, however, Simon must have gained a good deal of
political experience; and he was already by inherited talent and early
training, a highly accomplished soldier and tactician.

Such was the man whom Henry III. had raised and trained to his own
confusion; a brilliant, religious, enterprising, experienced man,
who had cultivated popularity; and who, although a foreigner, an
adventurer, a man descended from high feudal parentage, and an adept
in all the lessons of feudal insubordination, had yet fitted himself
to be a leader of the English baronage in a crusade against tyranny.
Earl Simon’s greatness throws all the other actors into the shade, for
Bishop Grosseteste, who if he had lived, would no doubt have taken a
great place in the story, died in 1253; and of the other prelates,
besides Archbishop Boniface, the only one of much personal eminence at
the time, was Walter of Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester. Of the barons,
the most eminent were Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, and William
of Ferrers, the last Earl of Derby of that house which had been engaged
in every conspiracy and intrigue since the days of Stephen.


  of 1258.

The struggle opens at the parliament held at Midlent at Westminster,
in 1257, when the king presented his son Edmund to the barons as king
of Sicily, and announced that he had pledged the kingdom to the Pope
for 140,000 marks. He demanded an aid, a tenth of all church-revenue,
and the income of all vacant benefices for five years The clergy
remonstrated. The ears of all tingled, says the historian, and their
hearts died within them, but he succeeded in obtaining 52,000 marks,
and was encouraged to try again. This he did the next year, 1258, at a
parliament held soon after Easter at London. This assembly met on April
9, and continued until May 5. Every one brought up his grievances; the
king insisted on having money. The Pope had pledged himself to the
merchants, Henry had pledged himself to the Pope; was all Christendom
to be bankrupt? The barons listened with impatience; at last the time
was come for reform, and the king was obliged to yield. On May 2 he
consented that a parliament should be called at Oxford within a month
after Whitsuntide, and that then and there a commission of twenty-four
persons should be constituted, twelve members of the royal council
already chosen and twelve elected by the barons; then if the barons
would do their best to get the king out of his difficulties by a
pecuniary aid, he would, with the advice of these twenty-four, draw
up measures for the reform of the state of the kingdom, the royal
household and the Church. It will be remembered that in 1215 the
execution of the articles of Magna Carta was committed to twenty-five
barons, with power to constrain the king to make the necessary reforms;
in this case the arrangement is somewhat different, although the
method of proceeding is not quite dissimilar, and both alike afforded
precedents for that superseding of the royal authority by a commission
of government which we find in the reigns of Edward II. and Richard II.


  at Oxford.

At Oxford the parliament met on June 11, and the barons presented
a long list of grievances which they insisted should be reformed.
If this list be compared with the list of grievances on which Magna
Carta was drawn up, it will be found that many points are common
to the two documents. We may thus infer that notwithstanding the
constant confirmations of the charters which were issued by the king,
the observance of them was evaded by violence or by chicanery; that
the king enforced some of the most offensive feudal rights, and that
his officers found little check on their exactions. Castles had been
multiplied, the itinerant judges had made use of their office to exact
large sums in the shape of fines, and the sheriffs had oppressed the
country in the same way. English fortresses had been placed in the
hands of foreigners, and the forest laws had been disregarded. A great
number of other evil customs are now recounted. But, strange to say,
there is no proposal to restore the missing articles of the Charter
of Runnymede, by which taxation without the consent of the national
council is forbidden.


  Provisions of

These grievances were to be redressed before the end of the year; and
the aliens were to be removed at once from all places of trust. But
this was not the most critical part of the business. The Provisions
of Oxford, as they were called, were intended to be much more than an
enforcement of Magna Carta; a body of twenty-four was chosen, twelve
by the king, twelve by the earls and barons, to reform the grievances;
of the king’s twelve the most eminent were his three half-brothers,
the Lusignans, his nephew Henry of Cornwall, and the Earls of Warenne
and Warwick; of the baronial twelve the chief were the Bishop of
Worcester, the Earls of Leicester, Gloucester, and Hereford, Roger
Mortimer, Hugh Bigot, and Hugh le Despenser. A next step was to restore
the three great dignities of the administration which had been so long
in abeyance; Hugh Bigot was made justiciar, but the great seal still
remained in the hands of a keeper who must be supposed to have taken
the oath of chancellor. The king was then provided with a council of
fifteen advisers; each of the two twelves selected two out of the
other twelve, and these four nominated the fifteen, subject to the
approval of the whole twenty-four. The chiefs of this permanent council
were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Worcester, and the
Earls of Gloucester, and Leicester. The fifteen were to hold three
annual sessions, or parliaments, in February, June, and October; and
with them the barons were to negotiate through another committee of
twelve. There was another body still, also consisting of twenty-four
members, who had the special task of negotiating the financial aids;
and the original twenty-four were empowered to undertake the reform
of the Church. Of course these several committees contained very much
the same elements, the Earls of Leicester, Gloucester, and Norfolk,
Roger Mortimer, and others being elected to each. It was a cumbrous
arrangement, and scarcely likely to be permanent, but was accepted
with great solemnity. Everybody was sworn to obey, and several minor
measures were ordered to give security to the new constitution. It
is this framework of government, the permanent council of fifteen,
the three annual parliaments, the representation of the community of
the realm through twelve representative barons, that is historically
known as the Constitution of the Provisions of Oxford. Henry was again
and again forced to swear to it, and to proclaim it throughout the
country. The grievances of the barons were met by a set of ordinances
called the Provisions of Westminster, which were produced after some
trouble in October 1259. Before the scheme had begun to work the
foreign favorites and kinsmen fled from the court and were allowed to
quit the country with some scanty remnant of their ill-gotten gains.
Their departure left the royalist members of the new administration in
a hopeless minority.


  among the


  The Barons’
  War, 1263.


  Award of
  Lewis IX.

England had now, it would appear, adopted a new form of government,
but it must have been already sufficiently clear that so many rival
interests and ambitious leaders would not work together, that Henry
would avail himself of the first pretext for repudiating his promises,
and that a civil war would almost certainly follow. The first year
of this provisional government passed away quietly. The King of the
Romans, who returned from Germany in January, 1259, was obliged to
swear to the provisions. In November Henry went to France, returning
in April, 1260. Immediately on his return he began to intrigue for the
overthrow of the government, sent for absolution to Rome, and prepared
for war. Edward, his eldest son, tried to prevent him from breaking his
word, but before the king had begun the contest the two great earls
had quarrelled; Gloucester could not bear Leicester, Leicester could
not bear a rival. A general reconciliation was the prelude as usual to
a general struggle. In February, 1261, Henry repudiated his oath, and
seized the Tower. In June he produced a papal Bull which absolved him
from his oath to observe the Provisions. The chiefs of the government,
Leicester and Gloucester, took up arms, but they avoided a battle. The
summer was occupied with preparations for a struggle, and peace was
made in the winter. In 1262 Henry went again to France for six months,
and on his return again swore to the Provisions; that year the Earl of
Gloucester died, and Edward began to draw nearer to his father. Simon
was without a rival, and no doubt created in Edward that spirit of
jealous mistrust which never again left him. The next year was one of
open war. The young Earl of Gloucester refused to swear allegiance to
Edward; Simon insisted that the pertinacious aliens should be again
expelled. Twice if not three times in this year Henry was forced to
confirm the Provisions; but Edward saw that they had now become a mere
form under which the sovereignty of Simon de Montfort was scarcely
hidden; and the increasing conviction of this induced the barons to
refer the whole question to the arbitration of Lewis IX. of France.
This was done on December 16, 1263. An examination of the names of the
barons which appear in the two lists of sureties who undertake the
carrying out of this arbitration, shows that Simon de Montfort had now
lost some of his most important allies. The young Earl of Gloucester
appears in neither list, but the Earls of Norfolk and Hereford, Hugh
Bigot, and Roger Mortimer are now on the king’s side, and no earl
except Leicester himself appears in the baronial party, the foremost
layman there being Hugh le Despenser, the justiciar. There can be no
doubt that since the outbreak of the war much moral weight had fallen
to the royalists, and it seems most probable that Earl Simon had rather
offended than propitiated the men who regarded themselves as his
equals. The conduct of the barons after the award of Lewis IX. seems to
place them in the wrong, and to show either that Simon de Montfort’s
views had developed, under the late changes, in the direction of
personal ambition and selfish ends, or that other causes were at
work, of which we have no information. The barons were so distinctly
justified in their first proceedings, that an equitable consideration
cannot be refused to their later difficulties. Both parties, however,
equally bound themselves to abide by the arbitration.

Henry took the wise course of being personally present on the occasion
and taking his son Edward with him. Some of the barons also appeared
in person, but not the Earl of Leicester, who was supporting the Welsh
princes in their war with Mortimer, a method of continuing the struggle
which was neither honest nor patriotic. At Amiens Lewis heard the
cause, and did not long hesitate about his answer, which was delivered
on January 23, 1264. By this award the King of France entirely annulled
the Provisions of Oxford, and all engagements which had been made
respecting them. Not content with doing this in general terms, he
forbade the making of new statutes, as proposed and carried out in the
Provisions of Westminster, ordered the restoration of the royal castles
to the king, restored to him the power of nominating the officers of
state and the sheriffs, the nomination of whom had been withdrawn from
him by the Provisions of Oxford; he annulled the order that natives of
England alone should govern the realm of England, and added that the
king should have full and free power in this kingdom as he had had in
time past. All this was in the king’s favor. The arbitrator, however,
added that all the charters issued before the time of the Provisions
should hold good, and that all parties should condone enmities and
injuries arising from the late troubles.


  Motives for
  the decision
  of the
  French king.

Lewis mentions as his chief motive for thus giving the verdict
practically in the king’s favor, the fact that the Provisions had
already been annulled by the Pope, and the parties bound by them
released from their oaths. But we cannot suppose that he was entirely
guided by this consideration; it is probable that he did not understand
the limits which the growth of constitutional life had put upon the
exercise of royal power as early as Magna Carta, or the shameless way
in which Henry had broken his engagements. He may, very reasonably,
have regarded England as much the same sort of country as his own, and
have seen in the strengthening of the royal power--a thing absolutely
necessary in France at the time--a measure as necessary for England. He
may have been moved by Henry’s own pleadings, or by the more weighty
if more moderate statements which we can imagine were laid before him,
by Edward. And the care that he shows for the restoration of peace and
good feeling, may well be interpreted to prove that, although his award
was more favorable to the one party than to the other, he yet did not
think the defeated party entirely in the wrong.


  Effects of
  the award
  of Lewis.

The award, however, was entirely in favor of the crown. The new form
of government was already giving way, and both parties might have and
ought to have submitted to the sentence. Henry had had a severe lesson,
and might not offend again; the baronage had had their chance, and had
been found wanting both in unity of aim and in administrative power.
Neither party, however, acquiesced in the admonition, and each of
course laid on the other the blame of disregarding a judgment by which
both had sworn to stand. At first the war was continued on the Welsh
marches principally; Edward’s forces assisting Mortimer, and Montfort
continuing to support Llewelyn, the Prince of Wales, his opponent. But
when the king returned from France, as he did in February, the struggle
became general.


  successes of
  the king and
  of Simon de

The responsibility of this rests unquestionably with Simon de Montfort;
how far he was justified by the greatness of the necessity, is another
question. He had the sympathy of the Londoners, which was probably
shared by the burghers of the great towns, that of the clergy, except
those who were led by the Pope entirely, of the universities, and of
the great body of the people. The barons by themselves would have
treated with the king; they would probably have thrown over Earl
Simon, if only they could have got rid of the foreigners, and had
England for the English. On March 31, however, whilst negotiations were
proceeding, the Londoners broke into riot against the king, and he
in his anger put an end to the consultation. The war began favorably
for the king; Northampton was taken, Nottingham opened her gates, and
Tutbury, the castle of the Ferrers, surrendered to Edward. Earl Simon
had his successes too, and captured Warwick. Both parties then turned
southwards. Earl Simon besieged Rochester, the king marched to relieve
it. Henry also took Tunbridge, the Earl of Gloucester’s castle, for the
young Earl of Gloucester was now on the barons’ side; then he collected
his forces at Lewes, where he arrived in the first week of May.


  Battle of
  Victory of
  the Barons.

Lewes castle belonged to the Earl of Warenne, who had throughout
stood on the king’s side. The barons also collected their host in the
immediate neighborhood; but before fighting they made one bid for
peace. The two bishops who were the chief political advisers of the
barons--the Bishops of Worcester and London--brought the proposition
to the king; they would give 50,000 marks in payment for damages done
in the late struggle, if he would confirm the Provisions of Oxford. The
offer was sealed by the Earls of Leicester and Gloucester, and dated on
May 13. The king returned an answer of defiance, which was accompanied
by a formal challenge on the part of the King of the Romans, Edward,
and the rest of the royalist barons. No time was lost; on the very
next day the battle was fought, and fortune declared against the king.
He had the larger force, but all the skill, care, and earnestness was
on the side of the barons. Simon, who had broken his leg a few months
before--an accident which prevented him from going to meet the King of
France at Amiens--had been obliged to use a carriage during the late
marches; he now posted his carriage in a conspicuous place, and himself
went elsewhere. Edward, thinking that if he could capture the earl, the
struggle would be over, attacked the post where the carriage was seen,
routed and pursued the defenders, and going too far in pursuit, left
his father exposed to the attack of the earl. King Henry was a brave
man, but of course no general, for he had never seen anything like
real war before. He defended himself stoutly; two horses were killed
under him, and he was wounded and bruised by the swords and maces of
his adversaries, who were in close hand-to hand combat. When he had
lost most of his immediate retainers, he retreated into the priory of
Lewes. The King of the Romans, who had commanded the centre of the
royal army, was already compelled to retreat, and, whilst Henry was
still struggling, had been taken captive in a windmill, which made the
adversaries very merry. A general rout followed. The baronial party was
victorious long before Edward returned from his unfortunate pursuit,
and many of the king’s most powerful friends secured themselves by
flight. The next day an arbitration was determined on, called the Mise
of Lewes, and the king gave himself and his son into the hands of
Simon, who, from that time to the end of the struggle in the next year,
ruled in the king’s name.


  The Mise of

The Mise of Lewes contained seven articles, the most important of
which prescribed the employment of native counsellors, and bound the
king to act by the advice of the council which would be provided for
him. Measures were also taken for obtaining a new arbitration. Thus
England for the second time within seven years passed under a new
constitution. The system devised at the Council of Oxford in 1258 was
not revived, but a parliament was called for June 22, to devise or
ratify a new scheme. This assembly comprised four knights from each
shire, as well as the ordinary elements, the bishops and abbots, earls
and barons, who formed the usual parliament. In it the new form of
government was drawn up. This time the king was bound to act by the
advice of nine counsellors. Three electors or nominators were first
to be chosen--whether by the whole body of the parliament or by the
barons only, it is not said; and these three were to name the nine.
Of the nine three were to be in constant attendance on the king, and
his sovereign authority was, in fact, to be exercised by and through
them. They were to nominate the great functionaries of the state and
the other ministers whose appointment had before rested with the king,
and their authority was to last until all the points of controversy
were settled by the arbitration provided in the Mise of Lewes. The
three electors chosen were the Earls of Leicester and Gloucester
and the Bishop of Chichester, Stephen Berksted, a man who comes into
prominence now for the first time, but who was probably the agent of
the constitutional party among the clergy, which had been hitherto
represented by the Bishop of Worcester.


  Conduct of
  the new Government.

These men governed England until the battle of Evesham. But their reign
was not an easy or peaceful one. The Pope was still zealous for Henry,
and left no means untried by which the bishops might be detached from
the barons. The queen collected a great army in France and prepared to
invade England, assisted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, her uncle,
and all the English refugees who had come under the rod of Earl Simon.
Mortimer also made an attempt to prolong the state of war on the
border. Nothing, however, came of these preparations during this year:
the new government professed itself to be provisional, and negotiations
were resumed, by which the king of France, now better informed, was to
settle all controversies. In December a summons went forth for a new


  The Parliament
  of Simon
  de Montfort.

This is the famous parliament, as it is called, of Simon de Montfort,
the first assembly of the sort to which representatives of the borough
towns were called; and thus to some extent forms a landmark in English
history. It was not made a precedent, and in fact it is not till thirty
years after that the representatives of the towns begin regularly to
sit in parliament; but it is nevertheless a very notable date. Nor was
the assembly itself what would be called a full and free parliament,
only those persons being summoned who were favorable to the new
_regime_; but five earls and eighteen barons, and an overwhelming
number of the lower clergy, knights, and burghers, who were of
course supporters of Earl Simon. It met on January, 20, 1265, and did
not effect much. Edward, however, was allowed to make terms for his
liberation, and Simon secured for himself and his family the earldom
of Chester, giving up to Edward, however, other estates by way of
exchange. The liberation of Edward, who was released on the condition
of surrendering his castles, staying for three years in England and
keeping the peace, led immediately to the earl’s overthrow. Edward was
to live under surveillance at Hereford--far too near the Mortimers and
the Welsh border. This was carried out; Edward was liberated on March


  Impolicy of
  Earl Simon’s

Already, however, dissensions were springing up. Earl Simon’s sons, who
did very little credit to his instructions, and on whom perhaps some of
the blame may rest of which otherwise it is impossible to acquit their
father, managed to offend the Earl of Gloucester. They challenged the
Clares to a tournament at Dunstable. When they were ready and already
angry and prepared to turn the festive meeting into a battle, it was
suddenly stopped by the king or by Earl Simon, acting in his name.
Gloucester and his kinsmen deemed themselves insulted, and immediately
began to negotiate with the Mortimers; and, when hostilities were just
beginning, Edward escaped from his honorable keeping at Hereford and
joined the party.


  Battle of Evesham.
  of Earl Simon.

From this point action is rapid. Simon, with the king in his train,
marched into the West, and advanced into South Wales. Edward and
Gloucester, joined by Mortimer, mustered their adherents in the
Cheshire and Shropshire country, and then rushed down by way of
Worcester on the town of Gloucester, which surrendered on June, 29,
thus cutting off the earl’s return to England. The younger Simon de
Montfort, the earl’s second son, was summoned to his father’s aid, came
up from Pevensey, which he was besieging, plundered Winchester, and
took up his position at Kenilworth. His father meantime had got back to
Hereford and formed a plan for surrounding Edward. Edward, however, had
now learned vigilance and caution. He took the initiative, succeeded
in routing the young Simon and nearly capturing Kenilworth, and thus
turned the tables on the earl. Simon marched on to Evesham, expecting
to meet his son; instead of his son he met his nephew; and on August
4, the battle fought there reversed the judgment of Lewes. There the
great earl fell, and with him Hugh le Despenser, the baron’s justiciar,
fighting bravely, but without much hope.


  Dictum de


  Death of
  Henry III.

The interest of the reign, and indeed its importance, ends here. Simon
is the hero of the latter part of it, and the death of Simon closes it,
although the king reigns for seven years longer. The war does not end
here: the remnant of the baronial party held out at Kenilworth until
October, 1266. There the last supporters of Earl Simon, the men whose
attitude towards Henry was unpardonable, had made their stand. The
final agreement which was drawn up at the siege, and which is called
the Dictum de Kenilworth, was intended to settle all differences, and
for the most part it did so, by allowing those who had incurred the
penalty of forfeiture to redeem their possessions by fines. But until
the end of 1267 there were constant outbreaks. The Isle of Ely was made
the refuge of one set, just as it had been two hundred years before, in
the time of the Conqueror. The Earl of Gloucester raised the banner
of revolt, declaring that the king was dealing too hardly with the
victims, and the Londoners were very loth indeed to lose the power and
advantages which they had secured by their alliance with Simon. But
gradually all the storm subsided. In the parliament of Marlborough,
in November, 1267, the King renewed the Provisions of Westminster of
1259, by which the most valuable legal reforms of the constitutional
party became embodied in statutes. In 1268 the papal legate held a
council for the permanent maintenance of peace, and Edward, with many
of the leading nobles, took the Cross. In 1270, they went on Crusade,
and the Londoners were restored to favor. In December, 1271 the King
of the Romans died, broken-hearted at the loss of his son Henry, who
was murdered by the Montforts at Viterbo. In 1272, on November 16,
Henry III., died; and so completely was the kingdom then at peace, that
Edward, although far away from England, was at once proclaimed king,
and oaths of fealty were taken to him in his absence.


  The struggle

The long struggle had not yet come to an end: more than twenty years
were yet to elapse before Edward I. recognized the fundamental justice
of the claims of his subjects, and admitted all the estates to that
full and equal share in the action of the country which lies at the
basis of our national constitution. We may perhaps ask whether Simon
de Montfort deserves that character of a hero, the hero of mediæval
history, which is commonly attributed to him. We can only attempt to
realize the motives that swayed him. There is no doubt that he was a
great man, a much greater man as he was a much better and wiser man
than Henry, and perhaps better, certainly wiser and greater, than such
men as Gloucester. But that he was absolutely a patriot, or absolutely
wise and good, it is needless to affirm and impossible to prove; nor is
it necessary that in attempting to estimate his personal eminence we
are to look at him through the medium of his political glories. There
is no question that the objects which were aimed at by the baronial
policy were necessary, and the attainment of them, when they were
attained, was beneficial. It is possible, though not probable, that had
Simon never existed those objects would never have been attained; also
it is quite possible that if he had not forced on rebellion the objects
might have been attained long before they were. That we cannot decide.
But there are three points to be considered. Were the aims of the
barons beneficial? Was Simon a great and good man? Were all the motives
of his party and the means taken to realize them good and justifiable?
To the first two questions unhesitatingly we may answer, yes. The
barons wanted only what was fair. Simon de Montfort was a great and
good man. The third question is not so easy. It is better to allow that
there were mixed motives and unjustifiable expedients. Simon was not
successful as an administrator, he could not maintain peace even when
he had the whole kingdom at his feet. His expedient for governing was
fanciful and cumbrous. His own conduct in his elevation was not quite
free from the charge of rapacity. He stands out best and most grandly
in comparison with the meanness with which he was surrounded--the
paltry, faithless king, the selfish and unscrupulous baronage. He is
relatively great; but he is not perfect. He is scarcely a patriot--a
foreigner could hardly be expected to be so. He is somewhat more
distinctly a hero, but he never quite rids himself of the character of
the adventurer.



 Position and character of Edward--The Crusade--The Accession--The
 Conquest of Wales--Edward’s legal reforms--Financial system--Growth of


  education of
  Edward I.

If ever king came to his throne with a distinct understanding of the
work that lay before him, that king must have been Edward I. The
lessons of the last fifteen years of his father’s reign had not been
thrown away upon him. He had been trained for the task of reigning, as
well by his father’s mistakes and misgovernment as by the means which
the nation, under Earl Simon and the barons, had taken to remedy the
evils which those mistakes and misgovernment had produced. He must have
known that England required sound laws and strong administration, an
adequate organization for national defence, and effective methods for
preserving internal peace; and the history of the late reign must have
taught him not only that without the sympathy and co-operation of the
nation at large these ends could not be secured, but that the nation
was itself ready, educated sufficiently, and united sufficiently,
to give the aid that he required. Earl Simon and his companions had
perished, but the great end of their work had been achieved; they had
made it impossible for a king again to rule as John had ruled, and as
Henry had tried to rule. They had drawn out a plan of reform in the
laws which Henry himself had accepted after their death, although he
had struggled against it and evaded it whilst they lived; for most
of the articles which had been forced upon him at Oxford in 1258,
and at Westminster in 1259, he had re-enacted in the great statute
of Marlborough, in 1267. He had reformed his expenditure; he had
observed the constitutional rule of not taxing without the consent of
the national council; he had even on some occasions called together
representatives of the towns and counties, as Simon had done, although
he had not so far imitated his rival as to make them an integral part
of his Parliament. And thus the great contest had immediate effects
even under Henry.


  Motives determining

Edward had learned the deeper lessons; he had conceived the desire of
satisfying the more essential needs of his people. Hence, perhaps, in
part, his willingness to go on the Crusade. He knew that he had made
enemies in the late war; a few years would heal up the old wounds. He
knew that the land was exhausted; a few years’ rest would give it time
to recruit. If he were likely to be the cause of unrest, he was better
away; and even if he should not return until he returned as king, he
might begin his new career less hampered than he would otherwise have
been by the policy of his father.




  idea of

But Edward was qualified to do far more than merely restore the
strength and energy of his fainting people; he was fitted to start and
guide them on a new path of progress. He seems to have possessed, with
his English name, the desire, which he certainly did not inherit, of
being an English king; of putting himself at the head of his English
people to make England a great power in Christendom. His aim no doubt
was to secure that place for his descendants, not, as Henry II. had
done it, simply by founding a great family inheritance of states
scattered and divided, but as the true king of a people strong in the
feeling of national unity, bound together by good laws, but more so
by a sense of national identity, an intelligent participation in all
national designs. The restoration of law and order, the determination
that the English crown should be supreme within the British isles, the
assertion and realization of the idea that the king should work as the
leader and spokesman of a nation that could enter into his plans and
take a share of his responsibilities--these thoughts must have been
more or less before Edward’s mind from the beginning of his reign. Very
possibly he foresaw little of the exact path in which he was going to
walk: the exact points of legal reform, the opportunities for conquest,
the exigencies in which he would have to act for the execution of his
great designs, no doubt broke gradually on his view as he proceeded.
He had still something to unlearn as well as something to learn. If in
spirit he was English, he was in education and by association French;
if he was to be a great national king, still his idea of kingship
had too much of an inherited form, a form which it did not surrender
without a struggle. His greatness was not without an element which
sets it far above all the greatness that arises from mere success; he
had it to learn, and he learned, to rule himself, to cast away his own
cherished idea of reigning, and faithfully and honorably abide by the
conditions which, although forced upon him, he saw at last were needed
for the true realization of his character as a national king. He was
not free from faults; it is no small part of his grandeur that, in a
nature so strong as his, and with temptations so powerful as those
which were presented to him, those faults had so little sway. Of an
eminently legal mind, he was too apt to take captious advantage of
his legal position, somewhat prone to evade responsibilities to which
the letter of the law did not bind him. This weakness was the source
of all his mistakes and the cause of all his failures; but this was
all. His mistakes were few, and his failures fewer still. Yet, as we
shall see, he did not realize all that he hoped. Nor was his actual
contribution to national progress exactly what he designed. There are
dark lines in his history as well as bright ones. Of his schemes some
were too early, some too late for success; and in some points he drew
the outline rather than built the fabric that was to last. Still his
reign is a great era; he is the great lawgiver, the great politician,
the great organizer of the mediæval English polity.


  Crusade of


  accession to
  the English

Edward was thirty-three years old at the time of his father’s death.
He had been for eighteen years a married man; his wife, Eleanor of
Castile, was the sister of that Alfonso the Wise who had been the
competitor of Richard of Cornwall for the imperial crown, a noble
and faithful lady. He himself was a tall, strong man, an adept in
all knightly accomplishments, brave to rashness, and now skilled and
experienced in war. His crusade had not been a successful one. Late
in starting, he had reached the African coast in the autumn of 1270,
to find Lewis IX. dead, and the hopes of the pilgrims already waning.
After spending the winter in Sicily, he had, in May, 1271, gone on,
like Richard Cœur de Lion, to Acre, and had spent more than a year in
an attempt to retrieve the fortunes of the Frank kingdom. It was quite
in vain. Mutual jealousies and universal mistrust had eaten out the
heart of the Crusaders. A few dashing exploits, and a few almost wanton
inroads, could do little more than exasperate the hatred of the Moslem.
Edward played his part as a knight, but he had neither force nor
opportunity to do more. Still he made himself feared; and an attempt
at assassination in June, 1272, warned him of the risks he was running.
An emissary of the Sultan Bibars struck him in his tent. The weapon was
poisoned, it was said, and the story was told and believed, that his
faithful queen, who had followed him in his pilgrimage, had sucked the
poison from the wound. Two months later he sailed homewards, thoroughly
disappointed, and heavily burdened with the cost of his expedition. He
was slowly proceeding on his way, when, at Capua, in January, 1273, he
received the news of his father’s death and of the death of his eldest
son John, a boy of six. Quickening his pace, he went on at once to
Rome, visited the Pope at Orvieto, and crossed by the Mont Cenis pass
to Lyons; thence to Paris, where he did homage to King Philip III. for
his French provinces; and then into Gascony, where he was delayed for
another year before he could come to England to be crowned.


  of the

England was still at rest. The royal dignity of Henry III. passed on
at once to his son. There was no formal interregnum such as had always
occurred before, between the death of the old king and the coronation
of the new. Edward was proclaimed without being waited for. The king’s
peace was maintained by the royal council, and the three ministers to
whom, before he started, he had committed the defence of his private
interests, undertook to govern England in his stead. Archbishop Giffard
of York, Roger Mortimer, the great lord of the Welsh Marches, who
had helped him so well in 1265, and Robert Burnell, his confidential
chaplain, the man who was to be his prime minister during half his
reign, acted as regents in his place, and were at once recognised
by the baronage and nation as his agents. Competitor there was none.
Gilbert of Gloucester, the brilliant and somewhat erratic earl who had
tried to act as arbiter in the last scenes of the barons’ war, and had
lost the confidence of both parties, had sworn to King Henry on his
death-bed that he would maintain the rights of Edward. He, as the first
baron of the kingdom, took the oath of allegiance to the new king at
his father’s funeral. Early in 1273 a great assembly of all estates of
the realm, an assembly not only of barons and prelates, but of knightly
representatives of the shires and citizens deputed by every city, met
at Westminster, and bound themselves by the same oath. One or two faint
reports of local tumult served only to mark the profoundness of the
general peace. The government worked in quiet; even money was raised
without much murmuring.


  Coronation of

On August 2, 1274, Edward I. landed at Dover, and on the 19th he was
crowned. At once the work of his reign began. He was a warrior and a
lawgiver by nature, education, and opportunity; the exigencies of the
time made him a financier also; and the occasion speedily arose for him
to display his powers in each capacity.


  Turbulence of
  the Welsh

The princes of North Wales had long been a sharp thorn in the side of
England. Neither force nor friendly alliance had been strong enough
to keep them quiet. The love of independence, the inheritance of
proud, although illusory traditions, the attachment of an affectionate
people, the possession of remote mountain fastnesses, the antipathy
as strongly felt towards the Norman as it had been towards the Saxon,
combined to prevent either peace or submission. All the other races had
combined on the soil of Britain, the Welsh would not. The demands of
feudal homage made by the kings of England were evaded or repudiated;
the intermarriages, by which Henry II. and John had tried to help
on a national agreement had in every case failed. In every internal
difficulty of English politics the Welsh princes had done their best
to embarrass the action of the kings; they had intrigued with every
aspirant for power, had been in league with every rebel. At the
beginning of the reign of Henry III. they had conspired with Falkes de
Breauté against the Marshalls; at the close of it they were in intimate
alliance with the Montforts. Not only so; the necessity of guarding
the Welsh border had caused the English kings to found on the March a
number of feudal lordships, which were privileged to exercise almost
sovereign jurisdictions, and exempted from the common operations of the
English law. The Mortimers at Chirk and Wigmore, the Bohuns at Hereford
and Brecon, the Marshalls at Pembroke, and the Clares in Glamorgan,
were out of the reach of the king, and often turned against one another
the arms which had been given them to overawe the Welsh. There they had
an open ground for combats which they could not wage where English law
was strong. So long as the Welsh were left free to rebel the Marchers
must be left free to fight.


  Rebellion of
  Prince of
  North Wales,
  and his brother

Edward had long known this. He too had been put in the position of
a Marcher. His father had given him, in 1254, a great territory in
Wales, between Dee and Conway, and into it he had tried, with signal
ill success, to introduce English laws. He probably knew that one of
his greatest tasks, when he came to the crown, would be this. And he
had not to wait for his opportunity. Llewelyn, the prince of North
Wales, had, by the assistance given to Simon de Montfort earned as his
reward a recognition of his independence, subject only to the ancient
feudal obligations. All the advantages won during the early years of
Henry III. had been thus surrendered. When the tide turned Llewelyn
had done homage to Henry; but when he was invited, in 1273, to perform
the usual service to the new king, he refused; and again, in 1274 and
1275, he evaded the royal summons. In 1276, under the joint pressure
of excommunication and a great army which Edward brought against him,
he made a formal submission; performed the homage, and received, as
a pledge of amity the hand of Eleanor de Montfort in marriage. But
Eleanor, although she was Edward’s cousin, was Earl Simon’s daughter,
and scarcely qualified to be a peacemaker. Another adviser of rebellion
was found in Llewelyn’s brother David, who had hitherto taken part
with the English, and had received special favors and promotion from
Edward himself. The reconciliation of Edward and Llewelyn had put an
end to his hopes of supplanting his brother, and he had drawn closer
to him, in order to entangle him in a rebellion for which he was
always ready. The peace made in 1277 lasted about four years. In 1282
the brothers rose, seized the border castles of Hawarden, Flint, and
Rhuddlan, and captured the Justiciar of Wales, Roger Clifford. Edward
saw then that his time was come. He marched into North Wales, carrying
with him the courts of law and the exchequer, and transferring the
seat of government for the time to Shrewsbury. He left nothing undone
that might give the expedition the character of a national effort. He
collected forces on all sides; he assembled the estates of the realm,
clergy, lords, and commons, and prevailed on them to furnish liberal
supplies; he obtained sentence of excommunication from the Archbishop
of Canterbury. The Welsh made a brave defence, and, had it not been
for the almost accidental capture and murder of Llewelyn in December,
England might have found the task too hard for her. The death of
Llewelyn, however, and the capture of David in the following June,
deprived the Welsh of their leaders, and they submitted.


  Conquest of


  Statute of

Edward began forthwith his work of consolidation. David, as a
traitor to his feudal lord, a conspirator against his benefactor, a
blasphemer of God, and a murderer, was tried by the king’s judges at
Shrewsbury and sentenced to a terrible death, the details of which
were apportioned according to the articles of the accusation. Justice
satisfied, Edward devoted himself to the securing of his conquest; in
1284 he published at Rhuddlan a statute, called the Statute of Wales,
which was intended to introduce the laws and customs of England,
and to reform the administration of that country altogether on the
English system. The process was a slow one; the Welsh retained their
ancient common law and their national spirit; the administrative
powers were weak and not far-reaching; the sway of the lords Marchers
was suffered to continue; and, although assimilated, Wales was not
incorporated with England. It was not until the reign of Henry VIII.
that the principality was represented in the English Parliament, and
the sovereignty, which from 1300 upwards was generally, although not
invariably bestowed on the king’s eldest son, conferred under the most
favorable circumstances, little more than a high-sounding title and
some slight and ideal claim to the affection of a portion of the Welsh
people. The task, however, which the energies of his predecessors had
failed to accomplish was achieved by Edward. All Britain south of the
Tweed recognized his direct and supreme authority, and the power of the
Welsh nationality was so far broken that it could never more thwart the
determined and united action of England.


  Edward as
  a lawgiver.

During the first ten years of the reign the Welsh war and rumors of
war were the chief matters that distracted Edward from the scarcely
less congenial work of legislation and political organization. The
age was one of great lawgivers. Frederick II. had set the example in
Naples, and his minister Peter de Vineis had codified there the laws
and constitutions of the Norman kings of Sicily. Lewis IX. had in his
“Etablissements” created a body of law for France; and Alfonso the Wise
in the “Siete Partidas,” or seven divisions of a system of universal
law, had tried to do the same for Spain. Law had become a chief subject
of study in the universities, and Englishmen, especially clergymen,
had been used for a century to go to Bologna to read the canon and
civil law under the great professors there. In England the expansion of
judicial machinery and judicial business, which followed the reforms of
Henry II., had worked, out of old and new materials, a body of customs
which became known as the common law; and one great summary of the
hitherto unwritten law of England had been published towards the end
of the last reign by Henry Bracton, one of the judges of the king’s
court. Men’s minds had been invited by these and the like influences
to this study. The nation, awaking to political work, began to see the
necessity of changing or amending the existing system of law.


  plan for the
  of the law.

In undertaking the work of a lawgiver, Edward I was simply approaching
one part of his duty as a king; but his own mind had, as has been
said, a legal bent; his chief minister Robert Burnell, was a great
lawyer; in his journey through Italy, he had engaged the services of
Francesco Accursi, an eminent jurist of Bologna, whose father had
written a body of explanatory glosses on the Roman law. It is probable
that the king had set before himself the codification of the law as
one great object. The work of Britton, another eminent judge of his
time, which is written in French, and contains much that is not in
Bracton, was published in Edward’s name; and some of his longer Acts
of Parliament contain provisions so varied and full, as almost to
constitute codes in special departments of law. But the English nation
seems to have had a dread of too elaborate systems, and the whole of
the national law has never yet been under supreme authority embodied in
a single compilation.


  Principles of

The legislation of Edward I. must be sought in the statute books. It
may be generally described as an attempt to develop and apply the
principles which had been conceded in Magna Carta and to adapt them to
the changed circumstances of his time. That document had now become,
what the laws of Edward the Confessor had been in the reign of Henry
I., and the laws of Henry I. under John, the watchword of the party
which was bent on preventing any increase or abuse of royal power.


  Edward and
  the Great


  the king.

Edward himself, who took for his motto the words “Pactum serva,” which
may be seen upon his tomb, not unnaturally regarded the demands which
were made for the re-issue of the Great Charter as a slur upon his good
faith. Only once during the first half of his reign, did he undertake
to re-confirm it; and when the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1279,
obtained the enactment of a canon by which copies of the charter were
to be affixed to the doors of the churches, the king interfered to
forbid it. It is not too much, perhaps, to say that it was the legal
rather than the constitutional articles of the Great Charter that he
took the most pains to develop. The influence of the great lords is
conspicuous in some of the provisions of his statutes, which tend to
restrict the liberty of alienating lands. Jealousy of ecclesiastical
aggrandizement appears in others, which forbid the acquisition of new
estates by the clergy. It cannot be supposed likely that a king like
Edward, would miss his opportunity of strengthening the hold which he
had on both barons and prelates. The idea of constitutional liberty
had now grown so powerful that he knew that he could no longer make
laws, or raise taxes, or even go to war without their consent. In those
respects he could not coerce them. But the legal rights which the
crown had over its own vassals were a different matter. It was quite
practicable for him to exact the full payment of feudal services, to
prevent the impoverishment of the crown, by the transference of estates
which paid a large revenue to the king on the occasion of successions
or marriages of wardships, into the hands of religious corporations
which neither died nor married, nor required tutelage. It was equally
practicable to prevent the owners of great estates from cutting up
their property, by what was called subinfeudation, into smaller
holdings, which would not, any more than the church lands, render to
the king the feudal services that he required. Two of Edward’s most
famous statutes--the statute “De Religiosis,” in 1279, and the statute
“Quia Emptores,” in 1290, were intended to secure these two points.


  Powers of
  the feudal


  Courts of Exchequer,
  King’s Bench,
  and Common

Again, all measures for the due interpretation and execution of the
law protected the people at large against the usurpations of their
strong neighbors. It is not to be forgotten that although in England
the feudal landlords had, more than a century before, been deprived
of their power to usurp jurisdiction over their vassals, and obliged
to admit the king’s judges, still a great part of Europe was governed
under the old plan. We have seen how, during the barons’ war, the party
opposed to the king was divided between those who really desired the
freedom of the people, and those who wished to restrict the king’s
power in order to increase their own. In some important matters of
judicial proceeding the interests of the crown and of the people at
large were still united in opposition to the claims of the great
land-owners. Hence the importance of regulating and improving the
courts of provincial judicature, the limitation of the functions of
the sheriffs, which fell constantly into the hands of local magnates;
the organization of the sessions of the king’s judges, and the opening
of ways by which suits, which could not be fairly or justly settled
in the country, might be heard in the king’s courts at Westminster.
It is to the early years of Edward I., that we owe the final division
of the three great royal tribunals; the Court of Exchequer, in which
were heard all causes that touched the revenue; that of King’s Bench,
which determined suits in which the king was concerned, criminal
questions on the matters, which under the name of “pleas of the crown”
were reserved for his particular treatment; and that of Common Pleas,
which heard suits between private individuals. Now these matters were
apportioned to three distinct staffs of judges, instead of being
heard indiscriminately by the whole or part of the judicial body. The
circuits of judges of assize were defined during the same period of
the reign. Many other measures for the protection of life and property
helped to increase the feeling of security in the body of the people,
to further the growth of loyalty, and at the same time to increase the
royal income.


  Statute of

A third principle of Edward’s legislation may be discovered in the
careful reform and expansion of some of the most ancient institutions,
which he knew had in former reigns assisted greatly in the defence of
the crown and in the maintenance of peace and order. In the Statute of
Winchester, in 1285, he placed the ancient militia system, which Henry
II., had remodeled by the Assize of Arms, upon a better footing, and
re-organized the “watch and ward,” by which the particular districts
and communities were trained to keep order and to search for and
arrest criminals. Similar methods were followed in the preparations
for national defence in 1294, and both by sea and land the old duty of
guarding the country, was based upon the same primitive system. In all
these particular points we may trace a purpose of developing the policy
by which Henry II., had tried to overthrow the influence of feudalism,
and to strengthen his administration by alliance with the great body of
the free people; by placing arms in their hands, providing them with
just and accessible tribunals, and by diminishing, as far as could be
done, the means which the landlord had of oppressing those who held
their land under him. We shall see by and by how the same principles
affected his plans, or the plans which circumstances forced upon him,
for the development of the Parliament and constitution. But before
doing this we must look at the question of finance, which, with those
of war and legislation, gave him, from the very beginning of the reign,
a great deal of hard work. This has been already sketched in connection
with the work of Henry II. It must now be viewed in fuller detail.


  Sources of
  the royal

The sources of royal revenue were various rather than abundant. There
were, first of all, the estates of the crown, crown lands strictly so
called, which the king as king possessed and managed like any other
landlord, out of which he provided for his family and friends, and
which, in spite of the national jealousy of favorites, were always
more liable to be diminished than to be increased. Of the same class,
though with some important differences, were the estates which fell
into the hands of the sovereign on the extinction of great families or
the forfeiture of their owners; so the earldom of Chester had come into
the hands of Henry III. on the death of the last earl, and the estates
of the Montforts after the battle of Evesham. These estates--escheats,
as they were called--seldom remained long in the king’s hands; the
magnates did not like to see the inheritances of their fellows one by
one absorbed in the royal domain, and it was necessary from time to
time to provide for new rising men and for younger sons of the king.
The possession of crown estates is, of course, common to all ages and
forms of royalty. But a somewhat intricate system pervades the English
finance of the middle ages, and grows out of the growing history of
the nation itself. Under the Anglo-Saxon kings there had been little
call for taxation. The king had a revenue from the public lands of
the nation, which furnished him with provisions and money, enough to
supply all needs that were not satisfied from his royal estates. It
was a part of the sheriff’s duty to collect these contributions, and
they were later on fixed at a regular sum to be paid by the sheriff,
and exacted by him from the county he ruled. All local administration
was maintained by popular action, the land-owners being liable for the
three great task’s called “trinoda necessitas,” the building of bridges
and fortresses, and the service in arms for national defence; and thus
the king had little expense if he had little revenue. In the great
emergencies, however, of the Danish wars, a tax of two shillings on the
hide of land, the famous Danegeld, was established and became perpetual.


  The Exchequer.

These three, the royal lands, the contributions of the shires, and
the Danegeld, were the sources of revenue which William the Conqueror
found when he had secured his hold on England. Under him, or under the
ministers of William Rufus, were introduced a number of new expedients
for raising money, expedients which were made easy by the new doctrine
of land tenure that had been brought in at the Conquest. The Norman
kings did not commute the old for the new methods, but simply added
the feudal burdens to the ancient national taxes. The Exchequer under
Henry I., audited the national, or rather the royal, accounts; twice
a year the sheriffs paid the “ferm”--that is, the composition or rent
for the ancient dues of their counties--the Danegeld, and the fines
arising from the local courts of law; but at the same times were paid
the feudal incidents, the reliefs, the sums which the son paid to
secure the inheritance of his father, the profits of marriages, of
wardships, and the aids which the king as feudal lord of the whole land
claimed as a right from his vassals. Henry I. had, in the beginning of
his reign, promised to make these demands definite and reasonable,
and he had done so; but they were heavy notwithstanding. Still nothing
beyond these could, even on the feudal theory, be taken from the
subject without the consent of the national council. When the king’s
necessities were too great to be met by the ordinary means, the barons
and bishops in council were asked for a grant; and the inferior classes
received in the county courts an intimation of what they were expected
to contribute. It is true that there was little liberty of refusing or
chance of evading payment, but a certain form of consent on the part of
the tax-payer was thus maintained.


  Changes in
  the modes
  of taxation.

After the time of Henry I. important changes had taken place in the
matter of taxation, many of which have been noticed in our former
pages. Henry II., as we saw, introduced the payment of scutage, by
which the land-owners contributed money instead of serving personally
in arms. He likewise got rid of Danegeld, and consulted the towns and
shires on the amount of grants required, by means of his itinerant
judges. Until now all taxation had been defrayed by the land, except
in the boroughs, where the contribution required was often raised by a
poll-tax, an equal sum per head imposed on every inhabitant. Towards
the end of the reign of Henry II. the custom of taxing movables,
household furniture, and stock was introduced; first, in order to raise
the national contribution for the Crusade, known as the Saladin tithe.
Great part of the money required for Richard’s ransom was levied in the
same way, and under John and Henry III. this became the most common
way of taxing. A seventh, a tenth, a fifteenth, or a thirtieth of
“movables” was from time to time asked for, and the more frequent the
need became the more fully was developed the idea that the tax-payer
had a right to be consulted on the amount which he was to pay, and
to gain, if he could, some advantage in return. John’s frequent
demands for money, and the illegal ways in which he took it, led to
the exaction of the famous promise embodied in the 12th article of
the Great Charter; “No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our kingdom
unless by the common counsel of our kingdom, except to ransom our own
person, to make our first-born son a knight, and to marry once our
first-born daughter.” The 14th article describes the assembly which
is to be called when any such impost is required: “We will cause our
archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned
severally by our letters, and besides we will cause all who hold of
us in chief to be summoned by general summons by our sheriffs and


  The revenue
  Henry III.

The growth of the country in wealth during the first half of the reign
of Henry III. made this plan of raising revenue the most convenient and
the easiest. As there were few foreign expeditions there was little
opportunity of asking for scutage, and nearly all the regular taxation
was raised from movables, or, as we should now say, personal property.
On each occasion on which such a grant was demanded, the barons and
bishops tried to obtain some compensation in the shape of a re-issue of
the charters or an amendment of the law. The many confirmations of the
charters during that long reign were, it may be said, purchased from
the crown in this way. But Henry could not obtain grants sufficient to
meet the requirements of his greedy and extravagant court. He exacted,
contrary to the letter and spirit of the charter, large sums from the
citizens of London, under the name of gifts; from the Jews, whom he
looked upon very much as if they were part of the farming stock of his
realm; and from every class of persons whom he could draw within the
meshes of his legal nets, he exacted money by fine or composition for
real or imaginary offences.


  The customs
  Imports and

But besides the land and the personal property of its inhabitants
there was another source of income which ultimately was to become
most lucrative--the taxation of merchandize, imported and exported,
and especially the wool, wool-fells, and leather, which were, if not
exactly the chief produce of the land, at least the most profitable,
the least easy to conceal, and the most easy for the king’s ministers
to confiscate. These two branches of indirect taxation, although
distinct in themselves, were managed by the same machinery--that of
the customs; and they have to be treated together. But the taxes on
imported merchandize had their origin in the licenses to trade or to
introduce particular sorts of goods, which it was one of the ancient
rights of the king to grant, whilst the taxes on exported produce
were primarily a part of the general system of taxing movables. Both
had been long in requisition; the privileges of the foreign merchants
had been a source of profit even before the Conquest; the wool of
the Cistercian monks and other great sheep-farmers had been demanded
for Richard’s ransom, and both classes had suffered under John and
Henry III. Magna Carta had contained, in its 41st article, a distinct
provision in favor of free trade, which would have obviated the evils
of mismanagement in this department, if it could have been carried out.
All merchants were to have safe ingress and egress to and from England,
and to pay only the right and ancient customs. But such a provision
did not forbid separate negotiations between the king and traders, by
which both made a profit to be wrung from the consumers. One part of
Edward’s financial policy was to bring the customs into order and make
them permanently and regularly profitable, and this he undertook in his
first parliament.


  settlement of
  revenue on
  Edward I.

He had come home, deep in debt, to an inheritance heavily encumbered
by his father’s debts. He had obtained from the Pope, whom he visited
at Orvieto on his way, permission to exact a tenth of the income of
the clergy for three years. But this would not be sufficient. He took
counsel, therefore, with the Italian bankers, who had already obtained
a footing in England, and devised the plan of obtaining from his
assembled estates a permanent revenue from wool; half a mark--that is,
six shillings and eightpence--on each sack of wool exported. This is
the legal foundation of the English customs. It was formally granted
in the parliament which met soon after Easter 1275, and with a grant
of a fifteenth of movables, and the tax already imposed on the clergy,
provided him with a revenue which carried on the government for some
years. Nor did it require material increase until Edward, in 1292 and
1293, became involved in a new series of wars.

The exigencies of the Welsh war, the necessity for legal changes, and
the orderly arrangement of the royal revenue, could not have failed to
make their mark on the growth of parliament, even if Edward had not
learned the lessons of constitutional lore which his father’s reign
had furnished; and, even without those lessons, Edward was eminently
qualified by the very habit of his mind to be a constitutional
reformer. Accordingly, in the parliaments of his reign, especially in
those which were called at irregular intervals from 1275 to 1295, are
found the clearest, most distinct, steps of growth, which led to the
complete organization of the three estates of the realm in one central
assembly. And here, again, we must take a brief retrospect.


  of representative
  purposes of

The days were long past in which either the king, the barons, or the
nation at large were content to see the kingdom managed by a council
of barons and bishops, gathered round a sovereign who was of necessity
either strong enough to coerce them or too weak to resist them. From
the very beginning of the century the right of the tax-payer to give
or refuse had been becoming more clearly recognized; and the methods
which under Henry I. and Henry II. had been used for facilitating
the collection of money provided a machinery which could be used for
still more important purposes. In the twelfth century, when the king
wanted money, and had declared in his council what he expected, he
sent down his justices or barons of the Exchequer to arrange with
the towns and counties the sums which were to be contributed. Whilst
land only was taxed all questions of liability could be answered by
reference to Domesday Book; but when personal property was taxed it
was necessary to discover how much each man possessed before he could
be made to pay. This could be ascertained only by consulting his
neighbors; and, in order to do this, a system of assessment was devised
by which the property of each tax-payer was valued by a jury of his
neighbors. The custom of electing these assessors, and, further, of
electing collectors for the counties, treasurers, and similar officers,
familiarized the people with the idea of using representation for such
business. For legal transactions they already used representation
in the county courts. The grand jury which presented the list of
accused persons to the king’s judges on circuit was, for instance,
an elected and representative body, chosen in the county court. The
convenience of dealing thus with the government by representative
accredited agents approved itself to both king and nation long before
there was any idea of calling the representatives to parliament. On
one occasion, in the reign of John, each shire had been ordered to
send four discreet knights to speak with the king at Oxford; and
that Council of St. Albans, in which mention was first made of the
charter of Henry I., contained representatives from every township in
the royal demesne. In 1254, when Henry III. was in France, the queen
regent summoned representative knights to the parliament to make a
grant. In the parliaments which were held in 1259 and afterwards,
representative knights brought up the lists of grievances under which
their constituents were groaning; and in 1264 Simon de Montfort had
called up from both shires and boroughs representatives to aid him in
the new work of government. That part of Earl Simon’s work had not been
lasting. The task was left for Edward I., to be advanced by gradual,
safe steps but to be thoroughly completed, as a part of a definite and
orderly arrangement, according to which the English Parliament was
to be the perfect representation of the Three Estates of the Realm,
assembled for purposes of taxation, legislation, and united political
action. Under this system the several communities were no longer to
be asked to give their money or to accept the laws, by commissions of
judges whom they could neither resist nor refuse, but were to send
their deputies with full powers to act for them, to join with the lords
and the judges and the king himself in deliberation on all the matters
on which counsel and consent were needed. The steps of the change may
be traced very briefly.


  Edward I.

Edward’s first parliament, in 1275, enabled him to pass a great statute
of legal reform, called the Statute of Westminster the First, and to
exact the new custom on wool; another assembly, the same year, granted
him a fifteenth. Both these are said to represent the “communaulte,”
or community of the land; but there is no evidence that the commons of
either town or county were represented. They were, in fact, consulted
as to taxation by special commissions, as had been done before. In
1282, when the expenses of the Welsh war were becoming heavy, Edward
again tried the plan of obtaining money from the towns and counties
by separate negotiation; but as that did not provide him with funds
sufficient for his purpose, he called together, early in 1283, two
great assemblies, one at York, and another at Northampton, in which
four knights from each shire and four members from each city and
borough were ordered to attend; the cathedral and conventional clergy
also of the two provinces being represented at the same places, by
their elected proctors. At these assemblies there was no attendance of
the barons; they were with the king in Wales; but the commons made a
grant of one-thirtieth, on the understanding that the lords should do
the same. Another assembly was held at Shrewsbury the same year, 1283,
to witness the trial of David of Wales; to this the bishops and clergy
were not called, but twenty towns and all the counties were ordered to
send representatives. Another step was taken in 1290: knights of the
shire were again summoned; but still much remained to be done before a
perfect parliament was constituted. Counsel was wanted for legislation,
consent was wanted for taxation. The lords were summoned in May, and
did their work in June and July, granting a feudal aid and passing
the statute “Quia Emptores,” but the knights only came to vote or to
promise a tax, after the law had been passed; and the towns were again
taxed by special commissions. In 1294--for we must anticipate the
thread of the general history--under the alarm of war with France, an
alarm which led Edward into several breaches of constitutional law, he
went still further, assembling the clergy by their representatives in
August, and the shires by their representative knights in October. The
next year, 1295, witnessed the first summons of a perfect and model
parliament; the clergy represented by their bishops, deans, archdeacons
and elected proctors; the barons summoned severally in person by the
king’s special writ, and the commons summoned by writs addressed to
the sheriffs, directing them to send up two elected knights from each
shire, two elected citizens from each city, and two elected burghers
from each borough. The writ by which the prelates were called to this
parliament, contained a famous sentence taken from the Roman law, “That
which touches all should be approved by all,” a maxim which might serve
as a motto for Edward’s constitutional scheme, however slowly it grew
upon him, now permanently and consistently completed.


  House of

The House of Commons was not the only part of the parliamentary system
that benefited by his genius for organization. The House of Lords
became, under the same influence and about the same time, a more
definitely constructed body than it had been before. Up to this reign,
the numbers of barons specially summoned had greatly varied. When they
were assembled for military service they had been summoned by special
writ, whilst the forces of the shires were summoned by a general order
to the sheriff. Although a much smaller number were requisite for
purposes of counsel than for armed service, the two functions of the
king’s immediate vassals were intimately connected, and for a long
period, every baron or land-owner who was summoned by name to the host,
might perhaps claim to be summoned by name to the parliament. But such
a summons was a burden rather than a privilege. The poorer lords,
the smaller land-owners, would be glad to escape it, and to throw in
their lot with the commons, who were represented by elected knights;
nor were the kings very anxious to entertain so large and disorderly
a company of counsellors. The custom of calling to parliament a much
smaller number of these tenants-in-chief than were called to the host,
must have grown up during the reign of Henry III., as the idea of
representation grew. From the reign of Edward I. it became the rule to
call only a definite number of hereditary peers; and, although that
rule was not based upon any legal enactment or any recorded resolution
of government, it quickly gained acceptance as the constitutional rule;
the king could increase the number of lords by new writs of summons,
and the special writ conferred hereditary peerage. This limited body
was the House of Lords, and the dignity of the peerage descended from
father to son, no longer tied to the possession of a particular estate
or quantity of land held of the king.


  of the

With the representatives of the commons and the estate of the lords
Edward associated a representative assembly of clergy; delegates
were to be sent from each diocese to each parliament to assist
in the national work and to tax the ecclesiastical property. And
the form invented by Edward in 1294 still subsists, although for
many centuries no such representatives have been chosen or sat in
parliament. In truth the clergy were averse to obeying the mandate
for their appearance in a secular parliament, and preferred to vote
the money, which it would have been very difficult for them to
refuse, in the two provincial convocations of York and Canterbury,
which likewise contained their chosen representatives, assembled as a
spiritual council. These were called together by the writs of the two
archbishops; they could, through the bishops, act in concert with the
parliament, and were not unfrequently, in modern times invariably,
called together within a few days of the meeting of parliament.


  policy of
  Edward I.

The latter half of Edward’s reign witnessed most of the critical
occasions which opened the way for those changes or improvements
in the constitutional system, and supplied means for testing their
efficiency. These must form the subject of another chapter. But we may
pause, before we proceed, to mark definitely one other note of Edward’s
policy. Henry II., had done his best to get rid of the feudal element
in judicial matters, and to create a national army independent of
the influences of land tenure. He had sent his judges throughout the
land and taken the judicature out of the hands of the feudal lords.
He armed all freemen under the assize of arms, and, by instituting
scutage, raised money to provide mercenaries. By the national militia
at home and by mercenary forces abroad he strengthened himself so as
not to depend for an army on that feudal rule by which every landlord
led his vassals to battle. Edward I., whilst he still more perfectly
carried out these principles, went further in the same direction, in
his constitution of parliament. The representatives whom he called up
from the shires and towns were chosen by the freemen of the shires
and towns in their ancient courts; they were not the delegates of
royal tenants-in-chief but of the whole free people. Even the barons
who composed the House of Lords owed their places there not so much
to the fact that they held great estates as the immediate vassals of
the crown, as to the summons by which they were selected from a great
number of persons so qualified. Even if this had not been the case,
the institution of the House of Commons would itself have marked the
extinction of the ancient feudal idea that the council of the king was
merely the assembly of those who held their land under him. But it was
so throughout Edward’s policy. In court, and camp, and council, it was
the general bond of allegiance and fealty, not the peculiar tie of
feudal relation, by which he chose to bind his people, in their three
estates, to help him to govern and to take their share in all national



 Punishment of the judges--Banishment of the Jews--Scottish
 succession--The French quarrel--The ecclesiastical quarrel--The
 constitutional crisis--The confirmation of the charters--Parliament of
 Lincoln--Its sequel--War of Scottish independence--Edward’s death.


  Evils consequent
  on the
  absence of
  the king.

Edward completed his work in Wales at the end of the year 1284. The
next year was spent in legislation, and in the summer of 1286 he went
to France. Edmund of Cornwall acted as regent in his absence, and he
stayed away for three years. For two out of the three the country was
at peace; in 1288, however, the absence of the king began to tell,
and in 1289 the need of money for home and foreign purposes became
pressing. The news that the Earls of Gloucester and Hereford were
engaged in all but open warfare on the Welsh marshes, and that the
collected parliament of 1289 had refused to sanction a new tax before
the king came home, brought Edward back in the August of that year. He
found that the public service had suffered sadly from the removal of
the guiding hand. Complaints were pouring in against the judges of the
Courts of Westminster; violence and corruption were charged upon the
chief administrators of the law; and the king’s first work was to try
the accused, to remove and punish the guilty. The two chief justices
and several other high officers were, after careful investigation,
deprived of their places. The next thing was if possible to gain a
stronger hold over the uneasy earls. Gilbert of Gloucester, whose
assistance had enabled Edward to overthrow Earl Simon at Evesham, and
who had been the first to take the oath of fealty at his accession, had
been throughout his career marked by singular erratic waywardness. He
was not yet an old man, and a project had been on foot for some time,
by which he was to marry the king’s daughter Johanna, who was born at
Acre during the crusade. This was now carried into effect, and thus
one of the most dangerous competitors for influence in the country was
bound more closely than ever to the king.


  of the Jews.

That done Edward looked round for means of raising money. And this
was found in a device which has ever since weighed heavily on his
reputation. The Jews were banished from England, and in gratitude for
the relief the nation undertook to make a grant of money. The measure
was no doubt generally acceptable; it was backed by the clergy, by the
strong influence of Eleanor of Provence, the king’s mother, and by his
own bitter prejudice. Harsh, however, as this measure was, it was not
a mere act of religious persecution. The Jews had, unfortunately for
the nation and for themselves, devoted themselves to usurious banking
when usury was forbidden to Christians. They had thus come to wear
the appearance of oppressive money-lenders. They lived, too, under
a system of law devised by the kings to keep them ever at the royal
mercy; their accumulated stores of gold lay conveniently under the
king’s hand, and Henry III., whenever he wanted money, had been able
to obtain it by extortion from the Jews. But, last and worst, they had
allowed themselves to be used by the rich as agents in the oppression
of the poor; they had made over the mortgages on small estates to
the neighboring great land-owners, and in other ways had played into
the hands of the nobles, whose protection was necessary to their own
safety. They were hated by the poor. Great men, like Grosseteste and
Simon de Montfort, had longed to see them banished; the accusation
of money-clipping and forgery was rife against them, and two hundred
and eighty had been hanged for these offences since the beginning
of the reign. Edward was too bigoted or perhaps too high-minded to
wish to retain them as useful servants when the nation demanded their
expulsion. They were banished, and the price paid for the concession
was a tax of a fifteenth granted by clergy and laity in the autumn of


  Claims of
  Edward upon

Just at this time the death of the young Queen of Scots opened to
Edward the prospect of asserting his supremacy over the whole island,
a prospect which within a few years tempted him to claim the actual
sovereignty of Scotland. The design of a marriage between the young
queen and Edward’s eldest surviving son, Edward of Carnarvon, which had
been already concluded, shows that the king contemplated the union of
the two kingdoms in the next generation; her death disappointed that
hope, but there is no reason to suppose that Edward, when he undertook
to settle the Scottish succession, had in his eye any project of


  The Scottish

The case of Scotland was very different from that of Wales. The
Scottish people were a rising not a declining nation. The Scottish
kingdom was a collection of states held by different historical
titles, and inhabited by races of different origin, not a nationality
struggling for existence. Southern Scotland was far more akin to
Northern England than to Northern Scotland; inhabited by people of
English blood and English institutions, and feudally held, like great
part of England, by Norman barons. The royal race was a Celtic race,
but Celtic Scotland gave to the kings little more than a nominal
recognition; the strength of the royal house was in the Lowlands. Ever
since the Norman Conquest the relations between Scotland and England
had been close. Of the several provinces over which the Scottish
king now ruled, Lothian was a part of the ancient Northumbria, which
had been granted, according to English accounts, by either Edgar the
Peaceable or by Canute to a Scottish king. South-western Scotland,
or Scottish Cumberland, had been given by Edmund I. to Malcolm. The
whole Scottish race had acknowledged as their father and lord Edward,
the West Saxon king, the son of Alfred; and William the Conqueror,
and William Rufus, and after him, had extorted a recognition of the
superiority or overlordship of the King of the English. These were
shadowy claims, certainly; but since the middle of the twelfth century
there had been several instances in which either the King of Scots or
his son had received English estates and dignities and done homage for
them. The earldoms of Northumberland and Huntingdon had been thus held
by Henry, son of David I., and the latter by his son William, the Lion.
Homage had on several occasions been rendered without any very distinct
understanding whether it was for the English earldoms, for the Lowland
provinces, or for the whole Scottish kingdom, that the overlordship of
the English crown was acknowledged. Henry II. had, indeed, after the
capture of king William, compelled both him and his barons to recognize
his superiority in the strictest terms, but Richard had liberated them
from that special bondage, and the mutual reservations or compromises,
which both preceded and followed that short period of subjection,
left the claims as vague as ever. Except during the same period the
relations of the two kingdoms had been, since the death of Stephen,
fairly friendly. The Scottish kings were married to kinswomen of the
English kings; their political progress followed at some short distance
behind, but in the footsteps of the progress begun under Henry II., and
for nearly a century there had been only short and languid intervals
of war. Now and then the Scots had pillaged or intrigued, but the
two crowns were generally at peace. Edward’s design for the Scottish
marriage would have turned the peace into union; but the time was not
come for that.


  Decision of
  Edward in
  favor of

These facts will explain the position taken by Edward in 1290. He
believed that upon him, as overlord, devolved the right of determining
which of the many heirs was entitled to the succession. With great
pomp and circumstance he undertook the task; obtained from the
competitors a recognition of his character as arbitrator, and, after
careful examination, decided the cause in favor of John Balliol,
a powerful North Country baron of his own, in whom according to
recognized legal right the inheritance vested. He was careful to
obtain, on Balliol’s accession, a distinct homage for himself and his
heirs for the whole kingdom of Scotland. This was the work of 1291
and 1292; early in 1293 symptoms began to show themselves that the
result would not be lasting. The rising troubles in the North were
followed by an alarm on the side of France. The opportunity given by
these troubles, and the means taken by Edward to meet them, combined to
produce the complication of difficulties which brought about the great
constitutional crisis of the reign in 1297. The several points must be
taken in order: the relations with France first.


  Relations of
  with the

In France Edward still possessed Gascony and some small adjoining
provinces, which, after all the vicissitudes of the preceding century,
had, mainly by the honesty and friendly feeling of Lewis IX. and
Philip III., been preserved to the French descendants of Henry II. In
1279 Eleanor of Castile, his wife, had claimed as her inheritance the
little province of Ponthieu, lying on the coast between Flanders and
Normandy, and her claim had been recognized by Philip III. But Philip
died in 1285, and his son, Philip IV., generally known as Philip the
Fair, was a true inheritor of the guile and ability of Philip Augustus.
Edward’s long visit to France, from 1286 to 1289, had been spent partly
in arranging for a continuance of friendship with the king, and partly
in securing and reforming the administration of Gascony; but he must
have been aware that the jealousy with which Philip viewed him would
sooner or later take the form of downright hostility. Until 1293,
however, they continued to be friends. In that year a series of petty
quarrels, between the Norman coast towns and the English sailors, and
an outbreak between the Gascons and their neighbors, gave Philip his
opportunity. He summoned Edward to Paris to render an account for the
misdeeds of the offenders, and on his non-appearance condemned him to
forfeiture. This was done with considerable craft. Edward, who had lost
his faithful wife in 1290, was engaged in a negotiation for marriage
with Margaret, the sister of Philip; in preparation for that marriage a
new enfeoffment or settlement of Gascony on the King of England and his
heirs was agreed on. As a step towards that settlement the fortresses
of Guienne were for form’s sake placed in Philip’s hands, and as soon
as he had hold of them he declared Edward a contumacious vassal, for
not having obeyed his summons to Paris. This was done in May, 1294.


  of the
  quarrel with
  Philip the

The news of this outrageous proceeding was received in England with
great indignation, and for a moment it appeared that the nation was
unanimously determined to uphold the rights of the king. Even John
Balliol, the King of Scots, who had got himself into trouble owing
to his divided duties to his subjects and his overlord, and who
was present in the Parliament which Edward called in June, offered
to devote the whole produce of his English estates to maintain the
righteous cause. A great scheme was set on foot for foreign alliances:
the Spaniards were asked for substantial assistance; the princes of
the Low Countries, the King of the Romans too, were taken into pay. A
thorough scheme for the defence of the coast and organization of the
navy was devised. Edward’s urgent needs or consistent policy led him to
assemble, as we saw, the estates of the kingdom, in a way in which they
had never been brought together before, and the parliaments of 1294 and
1295 completed the formation of the constitutional system. But a rising
on the Welsh border prevented any general expedition in 1294; and the
dread of a common enemy threw the Scots in 1295 into correspondence
with France. Edward, provoked at the delay, pressed by the deficiency
and waste of his resources, had recourse to very exceptional measures
for raising money, and so produced a reaction against the foreign
war, and a combination of political forces most dangerous to his own
authority, and most trying to the new machinery of government at
the very moment of its completion. The model parliament of 1295 was
followed by the crisis of 1296, and the confirmation of charters of


  Relations of
  with the

So strong a king, so determinate a policy, was sure to provoke
complaints; the very enforcement of order wears the appearance of
oppression. Both clergy and laity had their grievances, and Edward’s
extremity gave them their opportunity. The clergy with a certain
number of bishops at their head, had throughout the struggles of the
century ranged themselves on the side of liberty. The inferior clergy
had always had much in common with the people, and John’s conduct
during the Interdict had broken the alliance which ever since the
Norman Conquest had subsisted between the great prelates and the
court. Stephen Langton had set an example which was bravely followed.
Henry III., by his love of foreigners, his obsequious behaviour to
the popes, and his unscrupulous dealings in money matters alienated
the national Church almost as widely as John had done; while Simon de
Montfort had conciliated all that was good and holy. But when Henry
III. with the abuses which he had maintained, had passed away, and when
Church and nation alike saw that Edward was laboring for the benefit
of his people with all his heart, matters might have been changed.
There was doubtless need for watchfulness on the part of the clergy,
for the ministers of the court were always on the lookout for means to
limit the spiritual power; but defensive watchfulness is a different
thing from aggression. Three successive archbishops had ruled since
Edward’s accession, all of them anxious to promote the independence
of the Church and to diminish the power of the crown, even if it were
to be done by throwing the Church more entirely into the hands of the
Pope. Hence it was that Archbishop Peckham in 1279 had declared himself
the champion of the Great Charter, although the Great Charter was not
assailed, and had in a council at Reading passed several canons which
were intended to limit the king’s action in ecclesiastical causes.
Edward in return had taken his opportunity of repressing what seemed to
him to be ecclesiastical innovation; he had interfered to prevent the
publication of the canons, and had made the archbishop apologize and
withdraw them. Not content with this, he took advantage of the occasion
to pass the statute “De Religiosis,” by which he prevented the clergy
from acquiring more land than they held at the time, without express
permission. The taxation of the clergy too was heavy; the popes were as
willing to minister to Edward’s needs as they had been to supply his
father with money from the revenues of the English Church. More than
once they had empowered him to collect a three years tenth of all the
revenue of the clergy for the purpose of a crusade which was never
carried out, and in 1288 Pope Nicolas IV. ordered a new and very exact
valuation of all church property. This valuation included both temporal
property, that is land, and spiritual, that is tithes and offerings.
Such a permanent record laid them open at any moment to exaction. But
Edward was not satisfied to have to ask the Pope’s leave to tax his
own subjects, whether clerical or lay; he had begun to assemble the
clergy in councils of their own, for the purpose of obtaining money
grants, and, a little later, gave them a representative constitution
as an estate of parliament. They were, on the other hand, unwilling
to obey the summons to attend a secular court, and to spend their
money on secular purposes, much more so when it was demanded out of
all proportion and without reasonable consultation. Robert Winchelsey,
who became archbishop in 1294, was fitted to be the leader of a strong
ecclesiastical opposition. He was a pious, learned and far-seeing man,
but he was fully possessed with the idea that the king was determined
to subject the Church to the State; and he knew that in the Pope,
Boniface VIII., he had a friend and supporter who would not desert him.
He was ready to fight the battle the prospect of which was very near.


  Quarrel between
  Edward and the

Edward regarded the situation of affairs in 1294 as entitling him to
assume the office of dictator; to take all advantage of the law offered
him for raising men and money; but, if he saw means which the law did
not warrant, to use them also as justified by the necessity of the
case. So he not only assembled the barons, clergy, and commons, to
obtain money grants from them, but seized the wool of the merchants
and took account of the treasures of the churches. It is true that by
negotiating with the merchants in assemblies of their own he obtained
their consent to pay a large increase of custom on the wool, and
that he did not actually confiscate the church treasure, still the
measures were oppressive and alarming; and when in the autumn council
of 1294 he demanded one-half of the revenue of the Church the alarm
became a panic. The clergy yielded, only to find another heavy demand
made on them the next year; but the king was becoming irritated by
delay and the clergy emboldened by papal support. Boniface VIII., in
February 1296, issued a famous Bull called, from its opening words, the
Bull _Clericis Laicos_, in which he forbade the king to take or the
clergy to pay taxes on their ecclesiastical revenue. Armed with this
Archbishop Winchelsey in 1297 declined to agree to a money grant, and
the king replied by placing all the clergy, who would not submit, out
of the protection of the law.


  Discontent of
  the greater
  barons under
  the growth of
  the royal

But by this time the spirit of the laity was roused. Gilbert of
Gloucester was dead, and the heads of the baronage were Roger Bigod,
Earl of Norfolk, the Marshall, and Humfrey Bohun Earl of Hereford, the
Constable of England; men not of high character or of much patriotism,
but of great power and spirit, and eager to take the opportunity of
asserting their position, which the king’s measure for enforcing equal
justice had threatened to shake. Bohun, too, had been imprisoned on
account of the private war which he had carried on against Gloucester
in 1288. Edward’s legal reforms had touched the baronage like every
other class. A close inquiry into the title by which they held their
estates and local jurisdictions--the commission, as it was called,
of “quo warranto”--had alarmed them in 1278; then the Earl Warenne
had boldly averred that his warrant was the sword by which his lands
had been won, and by which he was prepared to defend them. They found
too that, although the new legislation in some respects gave them a
stronger hold on their vassals, that advantage was counterbalanced by
the stronger hold which the king gained by it over themselves. They did
not care to have too strong a king, or one who ruled them by ministers
of his own choosing. When, then, early in 1297, Edward called for the
whole military force of the kingdom to go abroad, part to follow him
to Flanders to support his allies, and part to go to Gascony, they
determined to thwart him. It was a moot question how far they were
bound to foreign service at all; the king himself seemed to be asking
them for a favor rather than a right. They knew that the clergy were
hostile on account of the taxes, and the merchants on account of the
wool; they would make the king feel their strength. Edward himself
acted unwisely; he had become exasperated with the delay; he had lost
his early and best counsellor, Robert Burnell, and had taken in his
place Walter Langton, the treasurer, a faithful but unpopular and
unscrupulous man, and he had conceived the notion, which was probably
a true one, that the barons wished to embarrass him. The plea of
necessity by which he tried to justify himself must also justify him
with posterity.


  Assembly of
  the barons at


  of Edward and

The year 1297 saw the contest decided. In February, the king had
summoned the barons to meet at Salisbury. When they were assembled the
two earls refused to perform their offices as marshal and constable;
the clergy were in a state of outlawry, and the king did not venture
to summon the representatives of the commons. The assembly broke up
in wrath. Edward again laid hands on the wool, summoned the armed
force, and put in execution the sentence against the clergy; the barons
assembled in arms, the bishops threatened excommunication. In spite of
this, the king, in July, collected the military strength of the nation
at London and tried to bring matters to a decision. As the earls would
not yield he determined to submit to the demands of the clergy, and to
use his influence with the commons so as to get, even informally, a
vote of more money. Winchelsey saw his opportunity. If the king would
confirm the charters, the Great Charter and the charter of the forests,
he would do his best to obtain money from the clergy; the Pope had
already declared that his prohibition did not affect voluntary grants
for national defence. The chief men of the commons, who although not
summoned as to parliament were present in arms, agreed to vote a tax
of a fifth; and the people were moved to tears by seeing the public
reconciliation of the archbishop with the king, who commended his son
Edward to his care whilst he himself went to war.


  of the
  the right of
  the people
  to determine

But the end was not come even now. The archbishop and the earls knew
how often the charters had been confirmed in vain in King Henry’s days;
and it was an evil omen that the king, whilst offering to confirm
them, was attempting to exact money without a vote of Parliament. They
drew up a series of new articles to be added to the Great Charter,
and, after some difficulty, forced them upon the king just as he was
preparing to embark. Edward saw that he must yield, but he left his son
and his ministers to finish the negotiation. As soon as he had sailed
the earls went to the Exchequer and forbade the officers of that
court to collect the newly-imposed tax; the young Prince Edward was
urged to summon the knights of the shire to receive the copies of the
charter which his father had promised, and on October 10 the charters
were re-issued, with an addition of seven articles, by which the king
renounced the right of taxing the nation without national consent. It
is true that these articles were not drawn up with such exactness as to
prevent all evasion, and Edward I. and Edward III. are accused of using
the obscurities of the wording to justify them in transgressing the
spirit of the concession. But the confirmation of the charters, however
won, was the completion of the work begun by Stephen Langton and the
barons at Runnymede. It established finally the principle that for all
taxation, direct and indirect, the consent of the nation must be asked,
and made it clear that all transgressions of that principle, whether
within the letter of the law or beyond it, were evasions of the spirit
of the constitution. The seven articles were these: by the first the
charters were confirmed; by the second all proceedings in contravention
of them were declared null; by the third copies of them were to be sent
to the cathedral churches to be read twice a year; and by the fourth
the bishops were to excommunicate all who transgressed them. These
four were the contribution of the prelates, the condition under which
the clergy had been reconciled. By the fifth article the king declared
that the exactions, by which the people had been aggrieved, should not
be regarded as giving him a customary right to take such exactions
any more; by the sixth he promised that he would no more take such
“aids, tasks, and prizes but by common assent of the realm;” and by the
seventh he undertook not to impose on the wool of the country any such
“maletote” or heavy custom in future without their common assent and
good will. It would have been clearer if the rights renounced had been
absolutely renounced and clearly specified. The king and his servants
soon learned that, without taking such taxes and maletotes as had been
complained of, they could by negotiating with the merchants raise money
indirectly without consulting parliament, but that excuse was never
allowed by the parliament to be sufficient, and, when they could, they
closed every opening for evasion. Thus was England’s greatest king
compelled to make to his people the greatest of all constitutional
concessions, at the very moment at which by his new organization of
Parliament he had placed the nation for the first time in a position
in which they could compel him to fulfill it. It was to some extent
a compromise, in which both parties felt themselves justified in
putting their own interpretation on the terms by which they had been
reconciled, but it is not the less a landmark in the history of
England, second only to Magna Carta. The _confirmatio cartarum_ is the
fulfillment, made now to the whole consolidated people, of the promises
made in the charter to a nation just awaking to its unity and to the
sense of its own just claims.


  of Edward with
  his subjects.


  of the

Before we turn again to the military work of the reign, the war for the
subjection of Scotland, which was one of the main causes of Edward’s
difficulties at this time, and which furnished him with hard work
for the rest of his life, we may briefly sum up the sequel of the
great constitutional crisis. Not the least of the causes that led to
Edward’s irritation, and provoked him to impolitic violence, was the
thought that the nation did not trust him. From the beginning of the
reign he had labored indefatigably for their good; he had amended
their laws, and had given them what, to all intents and purposes,
was a new and free constitution. He felt that he had a right to
their confidence, and a right to direct, if not also to control, the
mechanism which he had created. But as yet it was only thirty years
since the Battle of Evesham. Men were still alive who remembered
the countless tergiversations of Henry III., and who, so warned,
could scarcely help suspecting that Edward in the hour of need would
repudiate his obligations, as his father had done. They did not profess
to be satisfied with the act of confirmation which Edward sealed at
Ghent on November 5, 1297. As soon as he returned from Flanders,
in the following year, the earls insisted on a renewal of the act,
and, before they would join him in the Scottish war, the king had to
promise to grant it. In March, 1299 the promise was fulfilled, but the
confirmation was even now regarded as incomplete. The enforcement of
the charter of the forests involved a new survey of the forests, and
the king, when he promised that this should be done, made a distinct
reservation of the rights of the crown, and of some questions which
had just been referred to the court of Rome. The reservation appeared
to the people to be an evident token of insincerity; and to calm the
excitement Edward, two months afterwards, executed an unconditional
confirmation. Still, however, it was declared that the forest reforms
were intentionally delayed; and in a full parliament, held at London in
March, 1300, the confirmation was repeated, additional articles being
embodied in an important act called “The articles upon the charters.”
In consequence of these the survey of the forests was made and the
report of the survey presented to a parliament held at Lincoln in
January, 1301, at which all the old animosities threatened to revive,
and the barons, backed by the commons, and with Archbishop Winchelsey
at their head, subjected the king to a pressure which he felt most
bitterly and never forgave.


  claims over


  Quarrel of
  with Archbishop

Again he was in grievous want of money. The Pope had claimed the
overlordship of Scotland, and it was of the utmost importance that he
should receive a united and unhesitating answer from the assembled
nation. In spite of all the concessions that Edward had made so
reluctantly, showing by his very reluctance that he intended to keep
them, a new list of articles was presented as conditions on which
money would be granted. Nay, even if the king agreed to the articles,
the Archbishop, on the part of the clergy, would consent to no grant
that the Pope had not sanctioned. Again Edward yielded, although he
refused to admit the article in which the Pope’s consent was mentioned.
It was by thus yielding probably, that he obtained from the whole
assembled baronage a distinct denial of the Papal claims over Scotland.
But the prelates and clergy did not join in the letter addressed in
consequence to the Pope; and Edward, putting the two things together,
chose to regard the archbishop as a traitor in intention if not in
act. The knight who had presented to him the articles at Lincoln, was
sent for a short time to prison, as a concession perhaps to Walter
Langton, whose dismissal had been asked for. Winchelsey’s punishment
was delayed as long as Pope Boniface lived; but, when Clement V. in
1305 succeeded him, the Archbishop was formally accused, summoned to
Rome, and suspended, nor was he allowed to return to England during the
remainder of the reign. This quarrel is a sad comment on the conduct
of two great men, both of whom had at heart the welfare of England;
but if the balance must be struck between them, it inclines in favor
of Edward. He may have been somewhat vindictive, but his adversary had
taken cruel advantages of his needs, had credited him with unworthy
motives, and with a guile of which he knew himself to be innocent; and
the archbishop had, in order to humiliate him, laid him open to the
most arrogant assumptions on the part of the Pope. Winchelsey wished to
be a second Langton; Edward was not, and was incapable of becoming, a
second John.


  Edward and
  the foreign


  The New

The Parliament of Lincoln closes the constitutional drama of the
reign; but two or three minor points in connection with what has gone
before may be mentioned here. In 1303 and 1304 Edward was again in
great straits for money, and he did not wish to be again subjected
to the treatment which he had endured at Lincoln. In searching for
the means of raising a revenue he recurred to the same source from
which he had obtained the custom of wool at the beginning of his
reign--the assistance of the merchants. He called together the foreign
merchants in 1303 and offered them certain privileges of trading, on
the condition that they should consent to pay import duties. They
agreed; and, although an assembly of English representatives from the
mercantile towns refused to join in the arrangement, the institution
held good. The “New Custom,” the origin of our import duties, was
established without the consent of parliament, although not in direct
contravention of the Act of 1297, for it was a special agreement made
with the consent of the prayers and in consideration of immunities
received. In 1304 he adopted an expedient even more hazardous, and
collected a tallage from the royal demesne; yet even here he avoided
breaking the letter of his promise. Such tallage was not expressly
renounced in 1297, and it was now sanctioned by the consent of the
baronage, who raised money from their vassals in the same way. In 1305
he did a still more imprudent and dangerous act, in obtaining from
Clement V. a formal absolution from the engagements taken in 1297.
Except in a slight modification of the forest regulations, which was
perhaps made rather as a demonstration of his power than as a real
readjustment of the law, he took no advantage of this absolution. These
three facts, however, remain on record as illustrations of Edward’s
chief weakness, the legal captiousness, which was the one drawback on
his greatness. The last was too grievously justified by the morality of
the time, and proves that in one respect at least Edward was not before
other men of the age.


  in Wales

We turn now to trace the course of events which had so powerfully
affected the king’s action during these critical years. We saw him in
1294 preparing for an expedition to France, which was delayed until
1297 by troubles in Wales and Scotland, and by the political crisis on
which we have dwelt so long. The Welsh revolt under Madoc, a kinsman of
the last princes, involved an expedition which Edward himself in the
winter of 1294 led into Wales. It was an unseasonable undertaking, and
attended with no great success. Madoc was, however, taken prisoner in
1295, and the rebellion came to an end. The Scottish troubles were more
general and lasted much longer.


  Summons of
  Edward to


  Alliance of
  with France.




  of Balliol to


  Truce between

John Balliol had from the beginning of his reign felt himself in
a false position, distracted between his duties to Edward as his
suzerain and patron, and his duties to his subjects. By a curious
coincidence Edward had summoned him to appear as a vassal in his court
to answer the complaints of the Earl of Fife, in the very year that he
himself was summoned to appear at Paris to answer the complaints of
the Normans. The neglect and contempt with which Balliol was treated
may have embittered his feelings towards Edward, yet in 1294 he had
been the foremost of the barons in offering help against France. But
it is clear that he was not a man of strong will or decided views;
that he could not easily bring himself to break with Edward, and so
throw himself on the support of the Scottish baronage, and that even
Edward’s support did not make him strong enough to defy them. He
halted between the two and lost his hold on both. In 1295 the Scottish
lords determined, in imitation of the French court, to institute a
body of twelve peers who were practically to control the action of
Balliol, and opened negotiations for an alliance with France. Such an
alliance was then a new thing, but in its consequences it was one of
the most important influences of mediæval history, for it not only
turned the progress of Scottish civilization and politics into a
French channel, leading the Scots to imitate French institutions, as
they had hitherto copied those of England, but gave to the French a
most effective assistance in every quarrel with England, down to the
seventeenth century. As soon as Edward learned that such a negotiation
was in progress he demanded that, until peace should be made between
Philip and himself, the border castles of Scotland should be placed
in his hands. This was at once refused, and war broke out. In March,
1206, Edward took and sacked Berwick, and the Scots threatened
Carlisle. The unfortunate Balliol seeing himself at last compelled
to choose between the two evils, renounced his allegiance to Edward,
and almost immediately paid the penalty of his temerity. The Earl
Warenne won a great victory at Dunbar in April, and took Edinburgh;
Balliol surrendered in July, and was obliged to resign the crown to
his conqueror. The Scottish regalia were carried to England. The
coronation-stone, which tradition identified with the stone on which
the patriarch Jacob had rested his head at Bethel, was removed from
Scone to Westminster. The chief nobles of Scotland were led away
as hostages, and Scotland, if not subdued, was so far cowed into
silence that during 1297 Edward thought it safe to leave it under the
government of the Earl Warenne. Sir William Wallace, the somewhat
obscure and mythical hero of Scottish liberation, remained, however,
in arms against him, and he in September defeated the Earl Warenne
at Cambuskenneth, and drove the English out of the country. Edward’s
expedition to France, so long delayed, terminated in March 1298 in a
truce of two years, which was renewed in 1299 and turned into a peace
in 1303. As a pledge of the arrangement Edward married Margaret, the
sister of Philip, in 1299. The Scots thus lost at first the active
help of their new ally. Immediately on his return Edward resumed the
attack upon them, and the victory won at Falkirk in July 1298 proved
his continued superiority, while it served to stimulate the national
aspirations of the Scots, and, what was even more important, taught
them that, if they were still to be free, they must learn to act as a
united people.


  Affairs in Scotland
  after the
  fall of Balliol.

Wallace’s victory at Cambuskenneth had earned for him the jealousy
instead of the confidence of the Scottish nobles; the defeat at Falkirk
was made an excuse for declining his leadership and clinging to the
shadowy royalty of the imprisoned Balliol. They chose a council of
regency to govern Scotland in his name. Three regents were elected; the
bishop of St. Andrew’s was one; the other two were John Comyn, lord of
Badenoch, and Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick; sons of two of the lords
who had competed for the crown when Balliol was chosen. Wallace was
not even named. Some small successes now fell to the Scots: in 1299
they compelled the English garrison in Stirling Castle to capitulate;
in 1300 they foiled the invading army by avoiding a pitched battle,
and, at the close of the campaign, obtained by the mediation of the
French a truce which lasted till the summer of 1301. It was just then
that Boniface VIII., had laid claim to the suzerainty of Scotland, and
Edward’s time was spent during the truce in obtaining from his barons a
unanimous declaration against that claim. This, as we saw, was done in
the parliament of Lincoln. Although the papal argument was one to which
Edward could not refuse to listen, Boniface’s influence with Archbishop
Winchelsey gave him more trouble than the illusory claim.

The Scottish campaign of 1301 was a repetition of that of the preceding
year; Edward spent the winter in the country and built a castle at
Linlithgow; and another truce was made, which lasted to the winter of


  Campaign of
  Edward in


  Capture and
  execution of

The conclusion of peace with France in 1303 left Edward free to direct
all his strength against Scotland; and the Scots, under Comyn as
regent, were now in better condition to resist. They had defeated the
English army under Sir John Segrave in February, and were preparing
for greater exertions, when the news arrived that not only the Pope
but the French had deserted them. No provision in their favor was
contained in the treaty of peace; and Edward was already in the country
in full force. The year 1303 appeared to be a fatal year to the hopes
of Scotland. Edward marched the whole length of the country as far
north as the Moray Frith, and within sight of Caithness. Stirling
alone of all the castles of the land was left in the possession of
the native people, and after a futile attempt under the walls of
Stirling to intercept the invader, they seem to have given up all idea
of resistance. The so-called governors of the Scots surrendered and
submitted on condition of having their lives, liberties, and estates
secured; a few patriotic men were excepted from the benefit of the act,
the chief of whom was Wallace, against whom as the leading spirit of
liberty Edward’s indignation burned most hotly, and whom the selfish
and jealous lords cared least to protect. Stirling, after a brave
resistance, surrendered in July, and Scotland seemed to be at last
subdued. The hero Wallace, taken by treachery in 1305, was sent to
London to be tried and put to death as a traitor. The execution of
this sentence is one of the greatest blots upon Edward’s character
as a high-minded prince. Only the profound conviction that his own
claims over Scotland were indisputably legal and that all the misery
and bloodshed which had followed the renewal of the war must justly be
charged upon Wallace--a conviction akin in origin to the other mistakes
which we have traced in Edward’s great career--can have overcome the
feeling of admiration and sympathy which he must have felt for so brave
a man.


  Edward’s new
  constitution for


  Return of
  Robert Bruce
  to Scotland.

Wallace perished in 1305. In the same year Edward drew up a new
constitution for Scotland, dividing the country into sheriffdoms like
the English counties and providing machinery for the representation
of the Scots at the meetings of the English parliament. But the
arrangement was very short-lived. Scarcely four months had elapsed when
the new and more successful hero of Scottish history, Robert Bruce,
declared himself. He was the son of the regent Earl of Carrick, but had
hitherto clung to the English interest, in the hope that Edward would
at last set him in the place of Balliol. When the new measures for the
government of Scotland were drawn up, disappointment, mingled perhaps
with the shame which Wallace’s death must have inspired, led him to
quit the court and return to Scotland. At Dumfries, early in 1306, he
slew John Comyn, the late regent, whom he could not induce to join
him. He then gathered round him all whom he could prevail on to trust
him; and by his energy and military ability took all his enemies by
surprise. In March, he was crowned at Scone.


  Reverses of

His success was too great to be permanent; before the close of the
summer Aymer de Valence, Edward’s lieutenant, had driven him into the
islands, and the king himself soon followed and put an end to all
collective opposition. Still Bruce was active, and defied all attempts
to crush him. Constantly put to flight and as constantly reappearing,
he kept the English armies on the alert during the winter of 1306
and the spring of 1307; and in July, on his last march from Carlisle
against him, king Edward died.


  Death of
  Edward I.


  His character

Edward had just passed into his sixty-ninth year. He was older than any
king who reigned in England before him, nor did any of his successors
until Elizabeth attain the same length of years. His life had been
one, in its earlier and later portions, of great exertion, both bodily
and mental; and constant labor and irritation had made him during his
latter years somewhat harsh and austere. His son, Edward, gave no
hopes of a happy or useful reign; he had already chosen his friends in
defiance of his father’s wishes, and been rebuked by the king himself
for misconduct towards his ministers. Edward had outlived, too, most of
his early companions in arms; he saw a generation springing up who had
not passed through the training which he and they had had, and who were
more luxurious and extravagant, less polished and refined than the men
of his youth. An earnestly religious man, he had been unable to keep
on good terms with the great scholar and divine who filled the see of
Canterbury, or even with the Pope himself. The people for whom he had
labored and cared, were scarcely as yet able to understand how much
they had gained by his toil; how even in his foreign undertakings he
was fighting the battles of England, and earning for them and for their
posterity, a place which should never again be lost in the councils of
Europe. But though his bodily strength was gone his mental vigor was
not abated, nor his belief in the justice of his cause. When he made
his solemn vow, at the knighting of Prince Edward in 1306, to avenge
the murder of Comyn and punish the broken faith of the Scots, he looked
on them not as a noble nation fighting for liberty, but as a perjured
and rebellious company of outlaws, whom it would be a shame to him as
a king and as a knight not to punish. The sin of breaking faith, the
crime which his early lessons had taught him to think the greatest
which could be committed by a king, the temptation to which he believed
himself to have overcome, and which he even inculcated on posterity by
the motto “Pactum serva” on his tomb--in his eyes justified all the
cruelty and oppression which marked his treatment of the Scots. Cruel
it was, whatever allowances are to be made for the exaggeration of
contemporary writers, or for the savageness of contemporary warfare.
Yet it was not the bitter cruelty of the tyrant directed against the
liberty of a free nation.

Edward’s death took place at Burgh-on-the Sands, in Cumberland, on the
7th of July, 1307. His character we have tried to draw in tracing the
history of his acts. His work remains in the history of the country and
the people whom he loved.



 Character of Edward II.--Piers Gaveston--The Ordinances--Thomas of
 Lancaster--The Despensers--The King’s ruin and death.


  policy of
  Edward II.

It is not often that a strong son succeeds a strong father, and where
that is the case the result is not always salutary. If Edward I. had
left a son like himself, a new fabric of despotism might have been
raised on the foundation of strong government which he had laid.
Sometimes such alternations have worked well; a weak administration
following on a strong one has enabled the nation to advance all the
more firmly and strongly for the discipline to which it has been
subjected; and a strong reign following a weak one has taught them how
to obtain from the strong successor the consolidation of reforms won
from the weakness of the predecessor. But more commonly the result
has been a simple reaction, and the weak son has had to bear the
consequences of his father’s exercise of power, the strong son has had
to repair the mischief caused by his father’s weakness. The case of
Edward II., however, does not come exactly under either generalization.
It was no mere reaction that caused his reign to stand in so strong
contrast to his father’s. Instead of following out his father’s plans
he reversed them; and his fate was the penalty exacted by hatreds which
he had drawn upon himself, not the result of a reaction upon a policy
which he had inherited. He cast away at the beginning of the reign
his father’s friends, and he made himself enemies where he ought to
have looked for friends, in his own household and within the narrowest
circle of home.


  tastes and
  favorites of
  Edward II.



Edward II. was the fourth son of Edward I. and Eleanor. John, their
eldest boy, had died in 1272; Henry, the next, died in 1274; Alfonso,
the third, lived to be twelve years old, and died in 1285. Edward was
born in 1284, at Carnarvon, became heir-apparent on his brother’s
death, and in 1301 was made Earl of Chester and Prince of Wales. Losing
his mother in 1290, he was deprived of the early teaching which might
have changed his whole history. His father, although he showed his
characteristic care in directing the management of his son’s household,
in choosing his companions, and rebuking his faults, was far too busy
to devote to him the personal supervision which would have trained him
for government and secured his affections. He grew up to dread rather
than to love him, hating his father’s ministers as spies and checks
upon his pleasures, and spending his time in amusements unbecoming a
prince and a knight. His most intimate friend, Piers Gaveston, the son
of an old Gascon servant of his father, had been assigned him by the
King as his companion, and had gained a complete mastery over him.
Gaveston was an accomplished knight, brave, ambitious, insolent and
avaricious, like the foreign favorites of Henry III. Edward, although
a handsome, strong lad, did not care to practice feats of arms or to
follow the pursuits of war. He was fond of hunting and country life,
averse to public labor, but splendid to extravagance in matters of
feasting and tournament. He was indolent, careless about making new
friends or enemies; the only strong feeling which marked him was his
obstinate championship of the men whom he believed to be attached
to himself. Edward was not a vicious man, but he was very foolish,
idle, and obstinate, and there was nothing about him that served
to counterbalance these faults or invite sympathy with him in his
misfortunes. Edward I. some months before his death had found out this
to his sorrow. He saw in the influence that Gaveston had won a sign
that the scenes were to be repeated which, as he so well remembered,
had marked the stormy period of his own youth. He had banished Gaveston
from court and made him swear not to return without his leave. No
sooner was he dead than the favorite was recalled, and by his return
began that series of miseries which overwhelmed himself first, and then
his master, and the consequences of which ran on in long succession
until the great house of Plantagenet came to an end.


  Peace with

Edward was absent when his father died, but within a few days he
had rejoined the army, was received as king, without waiting for
coronation, by the English and Scottish lords, and proclaimed his royal
peace. One of his father’s last injunctions, that he should promptly
and persistently follow up the war, was set aside from the first; Aymer
de Valence was made commander and governor of Scotland, and the king
himself moved southwards. Another of his father’s commands was set at
nought directly after: Gaveston was recalled and raised to the earldom
of Cornwall. Walter Langton, the late king’s treasurer and chief
minister, was removed from office and imprisoned, and the chancellor
also was displaced. Edward I. was not yet buried, and his son’s first
parliament, called at Northampton, in October, 1307, was asked to
provide money for the expenses of the funeral and the coronation; for
already it was said the favorite had got hold of the treasure and
was sending it to his foreign kinsfolk. But the jealous nobles were
not inclined to hurry matters as yet: the Parliament granted money;
Edward I. was solemnly buried; and orders were given to prepare for the
coronation in February, 1308.


  Marriage of
  the king
  with Isabella
  of France.

The young king had been betrothed to Isabella of France, the daughter
of Philip the Fair. He wished that his young bride should be crowned
with him, and so crossed over to Boulogne to marry her. The indignation
of the lords and of the country at the recall and promotion of Gaveston
was fanned into a flame by the announcement that, as it was necessary
to appoint a regent during the king’s short absence, the Earl of
Cornwall with full and even peculiar powers was appointed to the place.
It became clear that the coronation could scarcely take place without
an uproar.

[Sidenote: The Coronation.]


  The coronation

Nor was the question of coronation itself without some difficulties;
for Archbishop Winchelsey, although invited by the new king, had not
yet returned from banishment, and it was by no means safe for any
other prelate to act in his stead. After a little delay Winchelsey
consented to empower a substitute; and Edward II. and Isabella were
crowned on the 25th of February by the Bishop of Winchester. The form
of the coronation oath taken on this occasion, perhaps for the first
time in this shape, is worth careful remark. In it the king promises
to maintain the ancient laws, to keep the peace of God and the people,
and to do right judgment and justice. So much was found in the older
formula: but another question was put: “Will you consent to hold and
keep the laws and righteous customs which the community of your realm
shall have chosen, and will you defend them and strengthen them to the
honor of God, to the utmost of your power?” If, as is supposed, these
words were new, they seemed to contain a recognition of the fact that
the community of the realm had now entered into their place as entitled
to control by counsel and consent the legislative action and policy
of the king. And so construed they form a valuable comment on the
results of the last reign, which had seen the community organized in a
perfect parliament and admitted to a share of the responsibilities of
government. The lords heard them with interest; even if they had been
used at the coronation of Edward I. few were old enough to remember
them. They saw in them either an earnest of good government or a lever
by which they themselves could remedy the evils of misgovernment, and
they proceeded to try the maiden weapon against the favorite whom they
now hated as well as feared.


  Thomas Earl
  of Lancaster.

Gaveston had at first tried to propitiate the more powerful lords of
the court, especially Earl Thomas of Lancaster and Henry de Lacy,
Earl of Lincoln. The latter was an old and trusted servant of Edward
I. Thomas of Lancaster was the son of Earl Edmund of Lancaster, the
younger son of Henry III., who had been titular King of Sicily; his
mother was Blanche, the Queen Dowager of Navarre, whose daughter by her
first husband had married Philip the Fair. He was thus cousin to the
king and uncle to the queen; he possessed the great estates with which
his grandfather and uncle had founded the Lancaster earldom; he was
Earl of Leicester and Derby also, and had thus succeeded to the support
of those vassals of the Montforts and the Ferrers who had sustained
them in their struggle against the crown; and he was the son-in-law
and heir of Henry de Lacy. Distantly following out the policy of Earl
Simon, he had set himself up as a friend of the clergy and of the
liberties of the people. Personally he was a haughty, vicious, and
selfish man, whom the mistakes and follies of Edward II. raised into
the fame of a popular champion, and whom his bitter sufferings and
cruel death promoted to the rank of a martyr and a saint. But he was
not a man of high principle or great capacity, as the result proved.


  Gaveston and
  the Earls.


  Banishment of


  Schism between
  the king
  and the lords.


  Recall of

No sooner had Gaveston made good his position than by his wanton
insolence he incurred the hatred of Earl Thomas, and by the same folly
provoked the animosity of the Earl of Pembroke, the king’s cousin,
of the Earl of Hereford, his brother-in-law, and of the strong and
unscrupulous Earl of Warwick, Guy Beauchamp. Some of them he had
defeated in a tournament; nicknames he bestowed on all. One good
friend Edward had tried to secure him; he had married him to a sister
of Earl Gilbert of Gloucester, the king’s nephew and their common
playfellow; but even Earl Gilbert only cared sufficiently for him to
try to mediate in his favor; he would not openly take his side. The
storm rose steadily. Shortly after the coronation a great council was
held in which his promotion was the chief topic of debate, and on
the 18th of May he was banished. Edward tried to lighten the blow by
appointing him lieutenant of Ireland, and besought the interposition
of the King of France and the Pope in his favor. All the business of
the kingdom was delayed by the hostility of the king and the great
lords. Money was wanted, and could be got only through the Italian
bankers, whom the people looked on as extortioners. The divided Scots
were left to fight their own battles. Such a state of things could not
last long. Edward had to meet his parliament in April 1309. He wanted
money, the country wanted reform, but the king desired the return of
Gaveston even more than money, and the nation dreaded it more than
they desired reform. When the estates met they presented to Edward a
schedule of eleven articles: if these were granted they would grant
money. The articles concerned several important matters; the exaction
of corn and other provisions by the king’s agents under the name of
purveyance, the maladministration of justice and usurped jurisdictions;
but the most important was one touching the imposts on wine, wool,
and other merchandise which had been instituted by Edward I. in 1303,
after consultation with the merchants. Edward, however, thought
little of the bearing of the request; he proposed to agree to it if
he might recall Gaveston. The Parliament refused to listen to him,
and he adjourned the discussion until July. Then in a session of the
baronage at Stamford he yielded the points in question, and received
the promised subsidy. But he had already recalled Gaveston and by one
means or another had obtained the tacit consent of all the great lords
except the Earl of Warwick. Scarcely two months had elapsed when the
storm rose again. The king summoned the earls to council. The Earl of
Lancaster refused to meet the Earl of Cornwall. Gradually the parties
were reformed as before, and the quarrel assumed larger dimensions.
Gaveston was still the great offence, but the plan now broached by the
lords extended to the whole administrative work of the kingdom.


  of 1310.

At the parliament which met in March 1310 a new scheme of reform was
promulgated, which was framed on the model of that of 1258 and the
Provisions of Oxford. It was determined that the task of regulating the
affairs of the realm and of the king’s household should be committed
to an elective body of twenty-one members, or Ordainers, the chief of
whom was Archbishop Winchelsey. Both parties were represented, the
royal party by the earls of Gloucester, Pembroke, and Richmond, the
opposition by the earls of Lincoln, Lancaster, Hereford, Warwick, and
Arundel. But the preponderance both in number and influence was against
Gaveston. They were empowered to remain in office until Michaelmas
1311, and to make ordinances for the good of the realm agreeable to
the tenor of the king’s coronation oath. The whole administration of
the kingdom thus passed into their hands; and Edward, seeing himself
superseded, joined the army now engaged in war with Scotland, and in
company with Gaveston continued on the border until the Ordainers
were ready to report. During this time the Earl of Lincoln, who had
been left as regent, died and the Earl of Gloucester took his place.
The Ordainers immediately on their appointment issued six articles
directing the observance of the charters, the careful collection of the
customs, and the arrest of the foreign merchants; but the great body of
the ordinances was reserved for the parliament which met in August 1311.


  The Ordinances


  the king by
  the barons.

The famous document or statute known as the Ordinances of 1311
contained forty-one clauses, all aimed at existing abuses. Some of
these abuses were old long-standing evils, such as the miscarriage
and delay of justice, the misconduct of officials, and the
maladministration and misapplication of royal property. Others were
founded on the policy of the late reign, which Edward’s ministers had
perverted and abused; the Ordainers had no hesitation in declaring the
customs duties established by Edward I. to be illegal and contrary
to the charter. But two classes of enactments are of more special
interest. Four whole clauses were devoted to the punishment of the
favorite and of those courtiers who had cast in their lot with him.
Gaveston had stolen the king’s heart from his people, and led him into
every sort of tyranny and dishonesty; the Lord Henry de Beaumont, to
whom Edward had given the Isle of Man, and the lady de Vescy, his
sister, were little better; the Friscobaldi, the Italian bankers
who received the customs, were the enemies of the people and mere
instruments of oppression. Gaveston was to be banished for life,
Beaumont to be expelled from the council, and the Friscobaldi to be
sent home. Not content with this, the Ordainers further enacted some
very important limitations on the king’s power. All the great officers
of state were to be appointed with the counsel and consent of the
baronage, and to be sworn in parliament; the king was not go to war or
to quit the kingdom without the consent of the barons in parliament;
parliaments were to be called every year, and the king’s servants were
to be brought to justice. The articles thus seem to sum up not only the
old and new grievances, but the ideas of government entertained by the
Ordainers: they are to punish the favorite, to remedy the points in
which the charter has failed, and to restrain the power of the king.
The power is only transferred from the king to the barons. There is no
provision analogous to the principle laid down by Edward I., that the
whole nation shall join in the tasks and responsibilities of national
action. The baronage, not the three estates in parliament, are to
admonish, to restrain, to compel the king.


  The struggle
  of the king
  in favor of


  Death of

Edward, after such a struggle as he could make to save Gaveston--a
matter which was to him far more important than any of the legal
questions involved in the Ordinances--consented that they should become
a law, intending perhaps to obtain absolution when it was needed,
or to allege that his consent was given under compulsion. He went
back into the North, was rejoined by Gaveston, and after some short
consideration annulled the ordinances which were made against him. The
barons immediately on hearing of this prepared to enforce the law in
arms. Winchelsey excommunicated the favorite; the king left no means
untried to save him. After a narrow escape at Newcastle, where he lost
his baggage and the vast collection of jewels which he had accumulated,
many of them belonging to the hereditary hoard of the crown, Gaveston
was besieged in Scarborough Castle. In May, 1312, he surrendered, and
was conducted by the Earl of Pembroke into the South, to await his
sentence in parliament. His enemies, however, were too impatient to
wait for justice. The Earl of Warwick carried him off whilst Pembroke
was off his guard, and he was beheaded in the presence of the Earl of
Lancaster. It is more easy to account for than to justify the hatred
which the earls felt towards Gaveston. His conduct had been offensive,
his influence was no doubt dangerous, but the actual mischief done by
him had been small; neither he nor Edward had exercised power with
sufficient freedom as yet to merit such a punishment, and no policy
of mere caution or apprehension could excuse the cruelty of the act.
It was a piece of vile personal revenge, for insults which any really
great man would have scorned to avenge.


  Changes in
  the administration.

From the time of Gaveston’s death the unhappy king remained for
some years the sport or tool of contending parties. He was indeed
incompetent to reign alone, or to choose ministers who could rule in
his name. The Earl of Pembroke, Aymer de Valence, the son of that
William of Lusignan, Henry III.’s half-brother, who was banished in
1258, first attempted to take the reins. Walter Langton had made his
peace and become treasurer again; and on the death of Archbishop
Winchelsey, in 1313, Walter Reynolds, the king’s old tutor and present
chancellor, became primate. But these were not men to withstand the
great weight of the opposition. Thomas of Lancaster, who on the death
of Henry de Lacy had added the earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury to the
three which he already held, treated on equal terms with the king as a
belligerent. The mediation of the clergy brought the two together at
the close of 1312, and in the autumn of 1313 a general pacification was
brought about, followed by an amnesty and a liberal supply of money
in Parliament. The Ordinances were recognized as the law of the land;
the birth of an heir to the crown was hailed as a good omen, and better
hopes were entertained for the future. The war with Scotland was to be
resumed, and with secure peace order in the government must follow.


  of Robert
  Bruce in


  Battle of




  War of the

The Scots had been indeed left alone too long. Short truces, desultory
warfare, the defeat of any spasmodic effort on the part of the English
by a determined policy on the Scottish side of evading battle, had
resulted in a great increase of strength in the hands of Robert Bruce.
He had taken advantage of the domestic troubles of England, to recover
one by one the strongholds of his kingdom. It is believed that he
had intrigued both with Gaveston and with Lancaster. The Castle of
Linlithgow came into his hands in 1311, Perth in 1312, Roxburgh and
Edinburgh in 1313. Stirling, almost the only fortress left in the
hands of the English, was besieged, and had promised to surrender
if not relieved before midsummer 1314. Edward prepared to take the
command of his forces and to raise the siege. But it was no part of
Lancaster’s policy to support him. Taking advantage of the article of
the Ordinances which forbade the king to go to war without the consent
of the baronage in Parliament, he declined to obey the summons to
war until Parliament had spoken. Edward protested that there was no
time; Lancaster and his confederate earls stood aloof. The King and
Pembroke, with such of the barons as they could influence, and a great
host of English warriors, who had no confidence in their commander,
met the Scots at Bannockburn, on the 24th of June, and were shamefully
defeated. Edward lost all control over the country in consequence. The
young Earl of Gloucester, whose adhesion had been a tower of strength
to him, fell in the battle; the Earl of Pembroke, who had fled with
him, shared the contempt into which he fell. Lancaster was practically
supreme; he and his fellows, the survivors of the Ordainers, appointed
and displaced ministers, put the king on an allowance, and removed
his personal friends and attendants as they chose. In 1316 Lancaster
was chosen official president of the royal council; he was already
commander-in-chief of the army. He now sought the support of the
clergy, forced the king to order the execution of the Ordinances, and
conducted himself as an irresponsible ruler. But he had not a capacity
equal to his ambition, and his greed of power served to expose his real
weakness. He acted as a clog upon all national action; he would not act
with the king, for he hated him; he dared not act without him, lest
his own failure should give his rivals the chance of overthrowing him.
The country, notwithstanding his personal popularity, was miserable
under him. The Scots plundered and ravaged as they chose. He would
not engage in war. He would not attend parliament or council. The
court became filled with intrigue. The barons split up into parties;
Edward, rejoicing in the removal of control, launched into extravagant
expenditure, and began to form a new party of his own. With general
anarchy it is no wonder that private war broke out, or that private
war assumed the dimensions of public war. The Countess of Lancaster
was carried off from her husband; the Earl of Warenne was accused, and
the king was suspected of conniving at the elopement. The earls went
to war. Edward forbade Lancaster to stir, and Lancaster of course
disobeyed the order. In the midst of all this Robert Bruce, in April
1318, took Berwick.


  Conflict of


  Effects of
  the loss of

There were now three parties in the kingdom. Lancaster had lost ground,
but the king had gained none. The Earl of Pembroke had been gradually
alienated, and now aimed at acquiring power for himself. The death
of the Earl of Gloucester had left his earldom to be divided between
the husbands of his three sisters, Hugh le Despenser, Roger d’Amory,
and Hugh of Audley. The division of the great estates was in itself
sufficient to create a new division of parties. D’Amory and Pembroke
framed a league for gaining influence over the king in conjunction
with Sir Bartholomew Badlesmere, a bitter enemy of Lancaster. Hugh le
Despenser, the father of the one just mentioned, took on himself to
reform the king’s personal party, and was aided by the few barons and
bishops whom Edward had been strong enough to promote. The capture
of Berwick had one salutary effect: it stopped the private war, and
shamed the three parties into a compromise; but the compromise was
itself a proof of common weakness. It was concluded in August, 1318,
between Lancaster alone on his own part, and ten bishops and fourteen
temporal lords as sureties for the king. It provided a new form of
council--eight bishops, four earls, and four barons; one other member
was to be nominated by Lancaster, who did not deign to accept a seat.
But this constitution had no more permanence than the former. The
official preponderance was maintained by Pembroke and Badlesmere, and
they could do nothing whilst the Earl of Lancaster continued to stand
aloof. Edward in 1319 made a vain attempt to recover Berwick, but only
gave the Scots an opportunity of evading Yorkshire, and matters grew
worse and worse. Men could not help seeing that even Edward himself
could not mismanage matters more than they were being now mismanaged,
and that, whether incapable or no, he had never yet had a chance of
showing what capacity he had.


  New favorites
  of the king.

[Sidenote: The Despensers.]

The fate of Gaveston might have warned any who counted on acquiring
power by Edward’s favor, and in fact for several years he remained
unburdened and uncomforted by a confidential servant. But the waning
popularity of Lancaster seemed now to render the position of the king’s
friend less hazardous, and an aspirant was found in the younger Hugh le
Despenser. He was the grandson of that Hugh le Despenser, the justiciar
of the baronial government, who had fallen with Simon de Montfort
at Evesham. His father, now the elder Hugh, had been a courtier and
minister of Edward I., and had been throughout the early troubles of
the reign faithful to Edward II., but he was regarded as a deserter by
the barons and had a bitter personal enemy in the Earl of Lancaster.
Father and son were alike ambitious and greedy; they showed little
regard for either the person or the reputation of their master, and
sacrificed his interest whenever it came in competition with their
own. The younger Hugh, like Piers Gaveston, was married to one of the
heiresses of Gloucester, and had been appointed in 1318 chamberlain to
the king under the government of compromise. Edward in his weakness
and isolation clung tenaciously to these men; they had inherited some
of the political ideas of the barons of 1258, and had perhaps an
indistinct notion of overthrowing the influence of Lancaster by an
alliance with the commons. The younger Hugh, at all events, from time
to time uttered sentiments concerning the position of the king which
were inconsistent with the theory of absolute royalty; he had said that
the allegiance sworn to the king was due to the crown rather than to
the person of the sovereign, and that if the king inclined to do wrong
it was the duty of the liegeman to compel him to do right. Another part
of the programme of the Despensers involved a more distinct recognition
of the right of parliament than had ever been put forth by Lancaster,
and it would seem probable that they hoped by maintaining the theory of
national action, as stated by Edward I., to strengthen their master’s
position, and through it to strengthen their own. So low, however, was
the political morality of the time, that the same selfish objects were
hidden under widely different professions. The Despensers had sadly
miscalculated the force of the old prejudice against court favorites,
and did not see how every step in advance made them new enemies. The
Earl of Lancaster saw in their unpopularity a chance of recovering
his place as a national champion, and a quarrel among the coheirs of
Gloucester gave the opportunity for an outcry. Hugh of Audley, who
had married Piers Gaveston’s widow, and who was therefore a rival and
brother-in-law of Hugh le Despenser, showed some signs of contumacious
conduct in the marches. The Earl of Hereford and Roger Mortimer, the
Lord of Wigmore, declined to join in the measures necessary to reduce
him to order, and refused to meet the Despensers in council; and in a
parliament which the king called to meet on the 15th of July, 1321,
the whole baronage turned against the favorites. Their attempts to
influence the king, their greedy use of the king’s name for their own
purposes, the rash words of the younger Hugh, the vast acquisitions of
his father, their unauthorized interference in the administration of
government, and their perversion of justice were alleged as demanding
condign punishment.


  against the


  between the
  king and
  the barons.


  Battle of


  of Lancaster.


  of the execution.

The Earl of Hereford, Edward’s brother-in-law, made the charge before
the three estates, and the lords, “peers of the land,” as they now
perhaps for the first time called themselves, passed the sentence of
forfeiture and exile on the two. They were not to be recalled except
by consent of parliament, and a separate act was passed to ensure the
immunity of the prosecutors and the pardon of those who had taken up
arms to overthrow them. This was Lancaster’s last triumph, and it was
very short-lived. In the month of October the Lady Badlesmere shut the
gates of Leeds Castle against the queen, and Edward raised a force
to avenge the insult offered to his wife. All the earls of his party
joined him, and the Earl of Lancaster, who hated Badlesmere for his
old rivalry, did not interfere to protect him. Finding himself for the
first time at the head of a sufficient force, the king determined to
enforce order in the marches and to avenge his friends the Despensers.
He marched against the border castles of the Earl of Hereford, Audley,
and D’Amory. On receiving news of this Lancaster at once discovered his
mistake, and called a meeting of his party--the good lords, as they
were called--at Doncaster. Both parties showed great energy, but the
king had got the start. He obtained from the convocation of the clergy
of Canterbury, under the influence of the archbishop, his old tutor,
a declaration that the sentence against the Despensers was illegal,
and lost no time in forcing his way towards Hereford to punish the
earl who had procured it. On his way he defeated the Mortimers. He
took Hereford; and having reached Gloucester in triumph, on the 11th
of February, recalled his friends to his side. Lancaster and his party
were not idle, but they underrated the importance of the crisis and
divided their forces. One part was sent to secure the king’s castle
of Tickhill, the other, under Lancaster himself, moved slowly towards
the south. Edward, in the hope of intercepting the latter division,
moved northwards from Cirencester, and the earl, when he reached
Burton-on-Trent, did not venture any farther. On the news of his flight
his castles of Kenilworth and Tutbury surrendered, and Edward started
in pursuit. The unfortunate earl had reached Boroughbridge on his way
to his castle of Dunstanburgh, with his enemies close behind him, when
he learned that his way was blocked by Sir Andrew Harclay, the governor
of Carlisle, who was coming to meet the king. A battle ensued, in which
the Earl of Hereford was slain, the forces of Lancaster were defeated,
and the earl himself forced to surrender. He was taken on the 17th of
March, and on the 22nd was tried by the king’s judges, in the presence
of the hostile earls, in his own castle of Pomfret. He was condemned as
a traitor. Evidence of his intrigues with the Scots was adduced to give
color to the sentence, and he was beheaded at once. So the blood of
Gaveston was avenged, and the tide of savage cruelty began to flow in a
broader stream, to be avenged, like Lamech, seventy and sevenfold. At
once the people, hating the Despensers and misdoubting Edward, declared
that the martyr of Pomfret was worthy of canonization; miracles were
wrought at his tomb; it was a task worthy of heroes and patriots
to avenge his death. His name became a watchword of liberty; the
influence which he had labored to build up became a rival interest to
that of the crown. First, Edward II. and the Despensers fell before it;
then, in the person of Henry IV., the heir of Lancaster swept from the
throne the heir of Edward’s unhappy traditions. In the next century the
internecine struggle of the Roses wore out the force of the impulse,
and yet enough was left to stain from time to time the scaffolds of the
Tudors, long after the last male heir of the Plantagenets had perished.


  Revocation of
  the Ordinances
  of 1311.

Some few of the other hostile barons perished in the first flush of
the triumph; Badlesmere, in particular, was taken and hanged. Roger
D’Amory was dead. The Audleys were spared. About thirty were put to
death; many were imprisoned; many more paid fines or forfeitures which
helped to enrich the Despensers. Edward was now supreme, and took, as
might be expected, the opportunity to undo all that his enemies had
tried to do. In his first parliament, held at York, six weeks after the
battle, he procured the revocation of the Ordinances, and an important
declaration on the part of the assembled estates that from henceforth
“matters to be established for the estate of our lord the king and of
his heirs, and for the estate of the realm and of the people, shall be
treated, accorded, and established in parliaments by our lord the king
and by the consent of the prelates, earls and barons, and commonalty of
the realm, according as hath been hitherto accustomed.” No ordinances
were to be made any more like the Ordinances of 1311. The declaration,
intended to secure the crown from the control of the barons, enunciates
the theory of constitutional government. And thus the Despensers tried
to turn the tables against their foes. But although they determined
to annul the Ordinances they did not venture to withdraw the material
benefits which the Ordinances had secured. The king, immediately after
the revocation, re-issued in the form of an ordinance of his own some
of the most beneficial provisions; and the parliament responded by
reversing the acts against the favorites and granting money for defence
against the Scots.


  of Edward
  in the


  Truce with

It was indeed high time, for such had been the course of recent
events that the attitude of the two kingdoms were reversed, and
England seemed more likely to become tributary to Scotland than to
exercise sovereignty over it. Edward’s campaign, was, however, as
usual unsuccessful. He narrowly escaped capture amongst the Yorkshire
hills, and the whole county was in such alarm that he found it scarcely
possible to hold a parliament at York. Nor did his troubles end there.
Early in the following year he found that Sir Andrew Harclay, whom he
had just made Earl of Carlisle, was negotiating treasonably with Robert
Bruce; he was taken, condemned, and executed. Well might the unhappy
king throw himself more desperately than ever on the support of the
Despensers, for he knew none others, even of those who had served him
best or whom he had most richly rewarded, who were not ready to turn
and betray him. With the Despensers he was safe, for they, he was
sure, could only stand with him and must fall when he fell. One thing,
however, he did, in itself wise and just--concluding with Scotland a
truce for thirteen years. This was done in May 1323. Prudent as it was,
it alienated from him the adventurers who like Henry de Beaumont were
intent on carving out for themselves counties in conquered Scotland.
Everything was interpreted in the worst sense against him; the men
who refused to follow him to war cried out against the peace; and the
men who had followed him to war deserted him. Thus when he at last
found himself without a rival in the kingdom, it seemed as if he were
left alone to discover how great depths of abasement were still to be
sounded; new calamities which, whoever really caused them, seemed to
result from his own incapacity. In truth, partly owing to Edward’s
neglect of the duty of a king, and partly owing to the inveterate
animosities following on the death of Lancaster, the tide of public and
private hatred was too high to be long resisted. Yet the last impulse
came from a quarter from which it might have been least expected and
from which it was certainly least deserved.


  and policy
  of the

Edward, with all his faults, had been a kind husband and father;
but he had trusted his wife less implicitly than she desired to be
trusted. In this he was justified by the fact of her close relationship
to the Earl of Lancaster, and still more by the jealousy which she
displayed towards his confidential ministers. Not only the Despensers
but Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, the Treasurer, and Baldock, the
Chancellor, were the objects of her settled aversion; and she lent a
ready ear to all who fancied that these men had injured them or stood
in the way of their advancement. The court contained many such men, who
were ambitious of becoming ministers of state or bishops and ready to
take either side for gain; men who hated the Despensers, and who saw
their own prospects blighted by the fall of Lancaster. Regularly, as
the tide had turned, as the king or the Ordainers had gained or lost,
the great offices of state had changed hands, and there was all the
grudging, all the personal animosities, which in later ages appear to
be inseparable from government by party.


  Avarice and
  of the Despensers.

The events which followed the peace with Scotland brought these
influences more strongly into play. The shadows gathered rapidly round
the miserable king almost from that hour. The constitutional struggle
had ceased. The death of the Earl of Lancaster had rid the Despensers
of their most dangerous rival, the revocation of the Ordinances had
left the government in their hands, and the death of the Earl of
Pembroke in 1324 left them without competitors. The elder Hugh, now
made Earl of Winchester, set no limit to his acquisitiveness; he was
an old man, and might have considered that it would be more conducive
to his son’s welfare to make friends than to multiply estates. The
younger Hugh, himself a man of mature years, was made, by his violence
and pride, even more conspicuous than his father. Henry of Lancaster,
the brother and heir of Earl Thomas, was reduced to practical
insignificance by the detention of his brother’s estates in the king’s
hands; and although the Despensers sought to purchase his services, and
he had no personal dislike to the king, he could not be regarded as a
safe and sound pillar of the falling state. The ministers Baldock and
Stapleton were faithful men, but neither wise enough to counteract nor
strong enough to guide the policy of the favorites.


  to Edward
  to do
  homage to
  the new


  of the queen
  for France,
  followed by
  that of

Philip V. died in January, 1322, and the homage of Edward for the
provinces of Ponthieu and Gascony was forthwith demanded for his
successor, Charles IV. A series of negotiations followed which early
in 1324 led to a peremptory summons and a threat of forfeiture, no
indistinct prelude to war. Edward might easily have crossed over to
his brother-in-law’s court, as he had done more than once before,
but the Despensers would not allow it. They dared not suffer him to
escape from their direct control, they dared not accompany him; if
he left them in England they knew their doom. The French court too
was filled with their enemies; Roger Mortimer, the lord of Wigmore,
who had been taken prisoner in 1322, had escaped from the Tower and
gone to France. Henry of Lancaster was waiting to supplant them at
home. War was the only alternative. Still negotiations proceeded.
First Pembroke was sent; he died on the mission; then Edmund of Kent,
the king’s half-brother; he failed to obtain terms. The king’s most
trusted chaplains were sent to the Pope; but they spent their labor and
treasure in securing their own promotion. At last in 1325 the queen
went over. She parted apparently on the best terms with both Edward
and the Despensers, and continued in friendly correspondence until she
had prevailed on the king to send over his eldest son. It was arranged
that the provinces should be made over to him and that he should do
the homage. This was done in September, 1325, and almost immediately
afterwards she threw off the mask. How long she had worn it we cannot
tell. Possibly she left Edward in good faith and fell on her arrival
in France into the hands of those who were embittered against him;
possibly she was a conspirator long before. Anyhow the tie to the king,
which could be so easily broken, could not, in the case of either
mother or son, have been a strong one. As early as December the king
was warned that Isabella and Edward would not return to him.


  Intrigues of
  in France.

Quickly she gathered round her all whom the king had cause to fear.
Roger Mortimer, whether by reason of passion or of policy, gained
complete ascendency over her. The young Edward was instructed that it
was his duty to deliver his father out of the hands of the Despensers
or to deliver England out of the hand of Edward. Edmund of Kent, the
king’s brother, was persuaded to join, and the conspirators, if not
actually supported by promises from England, were too willing to
believe that to be victorious they had only to show themselves. As the
French king was slow to commit himself, Isabella contracted an alliance
with the Count of Hainault, and obtained money from the Italian bankers.
They furnished supplies, the count furnished men and ships.


  of the king.


  Landing of Isabella
  on the
  coast of Suffolk.

Edward knew all this, but he knew not how to meet it. In vain he
summoned parliaments that would do nothing when they met, and ordered
musters that would not meet at all. He found that all whom he trusted
deceived him; that, except the Despensers and the two detested
ministers, none even pretended to support him; and that he was obliged
to depend on the very men who had the most to avenge. At last Isabella
landed, on September, 24, 1326, on the coast of Suffolk, proclaiming
herself the avenger of the blood of Lancaster and the sworn foe of the
favorites. Edward, who was in London, tried to obtain help from the
citizens, and prevailed on the bishops to excommunicate the invaders.
But early in October he fled into the West, where he thought the
Despensers were strong; on the 15th the Londoners rose and murdered
the treasurer; Archbishop Reynolds retired into Kent and began to make
terms with the queen.


  march of Isabella
  to the
  West of England.

[Sidenote: Fall of Bristol.]


  Overthrow and
  deposition of
  the king.


  Murder of
  Edward II.

She in the meantime moved on in triumph; Henry of Lancaster, the
king’s brothers, the earls, save Arundel and Warenne, the bishops
almost to a man, joined her either in person or with effective help.
Adam Orlton, the Bishop of Hereford, who had been the confidential
friend of Bohun, and Henry Burghersh, the Bishop of Lincoln, the
nephew of Badlesmere, led the councils of aggression. They advanced
by Oxford to attack Bristol, where they expected to find Edward and
the Earl of Winchester. On October 26 the queen reached Bristol,
but her husband had gone into Wales and was attempting to escape to
Ireland. The capture of Bristol, however, was the closing event of his
reign. The Earl of Winchester was hanged forthwith. The young Edward
was declared by the lords on the spot guardian of the kingdom, and
he summoned a parliament to meet in his father’s absence. The king,
with Hugh le Despenser and Baldock, were taken on November 16; on the
17th the Earl of Arundel was beheaded at Hereford; on the 24th Hugh
le Despenser was hanged, drawn and quartered at the same place. The
parliament was to settle the fate of the king, and the parliament met
at Westminster on January 7. There matters were formally discussed,
but the conclusion was, as all the world knew, foregone. Even if any
had thought that, now that the country was rid of the Despensers, the
king might be allowed to reign on, the dread of the London mob and of
the armed force which Mortimer brought up silenced them. The wretched
archbishop declared that the voice of the people was the voice of God.
Bishop Orlton, professing to believe that if the king were released the
queen’s life would not be safe, insisted that the parliament should
choose between father and son. Bishop Stratford of Winchester, who led
the Lancaster party and had no love for Mortimer, drew the articles
on which the sentence of renunciation was founded. The king, he said,
was incompetent or too indolent to judge between right and wrong; he
had obstinately refused the advice of the wise and listened to evil
counsel; he had lost Ireland, Scotland, and Gascony, he had injured the
Church, oppressed the barons, he had broken his coronation oath, and
he was ruining the land. After some debate the articles were placed
before the unhappy king, who confessed that they were true and that he
was not worthy to reign. On January 20 he resigned the crown and the
parliament renounced their allegiance and set his son in his place. For
eight months longer he dragged on a miserable life, of which but little
is known. Men told sad stories of suffering and insult which after his
death provoked his kinsmen to avenge him, but none interfered to save
him now. The reign of Mortimer and Isabella was a reign of terror; and
before the terror abated Edward was murdered. The place of his death,
the Castle of Berkeley, and the date, September 21, are known. Henry
of Lancaster, who was at first appointed to guard him, had treated him
too well. His new keepers, either prompted by the queen and Mortimer
or anxious to win a reward, slew him in some secret way. And thus
ended a reign full of tragedy, a life that may be pitied but affords
no ground for sympathy. Strange infatuation, unbridled vindictiveness,
recklessness beyond belief, the breach of all natural affection, of
love, of honor, and loyalty, are here; but there is none who stands
forth as a hero. There are great sins and great falls and awful
vengeances, but nothing to admire, none to be praised.


  and significance
  of the
  reign of
  Edward II.

So the son of the great king Edward perished; and with a sad omen the
first crowned head went down before the offended nation; with a sad
omen, for it was not done in calm or righteous judgment. The unfaithful
wife, the undutiful son, the vindictive prelate, the cowardly minister
were unworthy instruments of a nation’s justice.

Such as it is, however, the reign of Edward II. is chiefly important as
a period of transition. It winds up much that was left undone by his
father; it is the seed-time of the influences which ripened under his
son. The constitutional acts of 1309, 1310 and 1311 are the supplement
to those of 1297; the tragedy of Piers Gaveston and Earl Thomas is the
primary cause of much of the personal history that follows. So, too,
the reign closes the great interest of Scottish warfare, and contains
the germ of the long struggle with France. But viewed by itself its
tragic interest is the greatest; and it is rich in moral and material
lessons. It tells us that the greatest sin for which a king can be
brought to account is not personal vice or active tyranny, but the
dereliction of kingly duty; the selfish policy which treats the nation
as if it were made for him, not he for the nation. It is the greatest
sin and the greatest folly, for it at once draws down the penalty and
leaves the sinner incapable of avoiding it or resisting it; it leaves
the nation to be oppressed by countless tyrants, and is by so much
worse than the tyranny of one. It allows the corruption of justice at
the fountain’s head.


  of the
  closing with
  his downfall.

So we close a long and varied epoch. The sum of its influences and
results must be read in the history of the following age, in which, in
many important points, the reign of Richard II. repeats the tragedy
of Edward II.; and the struggles of York and Lancaster consummate
the series of events which begin at Warwick and at Pomfret; in which
the constitution that we have seen organized and consolidated under
Henry II. and Edward I. is tested to the utmost, strained and bent and
warped, but still survives to remedy the tyranny of the Tudors and
overthrow the factitious absolutism of the Stewarts.


  Accursi, Francesco, 221

  Acre, siege of, 116;
    the English at, 118;
    double siege at, 118;
    taken, 120

  Adeliza, queen, 95

  Adrian IV., pope, 30, 46

  Alexander III., pope, 3, 71, 92

  Alexander IV., pope, 186

  Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, 21

  Alfonso, King of Castile, 99

  Alnwick, battle of, 96

  Amalric, Count of Montfort, 193

  Amiens, council at, 202

  Amory, Roger d’, 278;
    his death, 281

  Anarchy in the reign of Stephen, 22

  Anglo-Saxon militia system, 88

  Anjou, house of, at Jerusalem, 104;
    loss of, 142

  Anselm, 63

  Aquitaine, feudal rights of, 51

  Archbishops, disputed election of, at Canterbury, 145

  Arthur, grandson of Henry II., 125;
    his claims to the throne, 136;
    his claims in France, 140;
    murder of, 142

  Arundel, earl of, 95

  Ascalon rebuilt, 121

  Audley, Hugh of, 278

  Aumâle, William of, 45

  Azai, conference at, 109

  Badlesmere, Sir Bartholomew, 278;
    his death, 281

  Badlesmere, Lady, 279

  Baldock, chancellor, 283

  Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, 116

  Baldwin of Redvers, 18

  Baldwin the Leper, 104

  Balliol, John, made king of Scotland, 241;
    summoned by Edward I., 257;
    at war with Edward I., 258;
    surrender of, 258

  Bannockburn, battle of, 277

  Barbarossa, Frederick, 37

  Barons, disputes with, 151;
    refuse to serve under John, 153;
    their appeal to the laws of Henry I., 154;
    their quarrels with John, 156;
    granting of the Magna Carta by John, 157;
    their long list of grievances, 197, 198;
    disunion among, 200;
    the differences with the king referred to arbitration, 201;
    refuse to abide by the decision, 202, 203;
    victory of, at the battle of Lewes, 205;
    defeated at Evesham, 209;
    their discontent under the growth of the royal power, 248;
    assembly of, at Salisbury, 249;
    control of Edward II. by, 273;
    at war with Edward II., 279

  Barons’ War, the, 202

  Battles, Alnwick, 96;
    Bannockburn, 277;
    Boroughbridge, 280;
    Bouvines, 155;
    Consilt, 48;
    Dunbar, 258;
    Evesham, 208;
    Lewes, 205;
    Lincoln, 23, 169;
    Standard, 19

  Bavaria, 8

  Beauchamp, Guy, Earl of Warwick, 270

  Beaumont, Henry de, 273

  Becket, Thomas, 30;
    appointed chancellor, 42;
    at the siege of Toulouse, 53;
    his early life, 66;
    rises into note, 66;
    as chancellor, 66;
    becomes archbishop of Canterbury, 67;
    Henry’s confidence in him, 67;
    resigns the chancery, 70;
    enforces the feudal rights of his see, 70;
    opposes the king on a financial point, 72;
    his new enemies, 74;
    quarrels with Henry II., 75;
    defends the clerical immunities, 75;
    his conduct regarding the Constitutions of Clarendon, 77;
    is summoned to Northampton, 78;
    his trial, 78;
    his flight, 79;
    is exiled, 79;
    under the protection of Lewis VII., 79;
    his interviews with the king, 80;
    reconciliation with Henry II., 82;
    returns to England, 82;
    murder of, 82;
    the true glory of, 83;
    pilgrimage to his grave, 96

  Berengaria, Princess of Navarre, her marriage with Richard I., 120

  Berksted, Stephen, 216

  Berwick sacked by Edward I., 258;
    capture of, by the Scotch, 277

  Bibars, Sultan, 215

  Bigot, Hugh, 13, 14, 18, 31, 46, 93, 199

  Bigot, Roger, Earl of Norfolk, 248

  Bishops, indemnity for their losses caused by John, 154

  Bishops, Norman, 63

  Blanche of Castile, marries Lewis of France, 141, 142

  Bohun, Humfrey, Earl of Hereford, 248

  Boniface, Archbishop, 181, 185, 199

  Boniface VIII., pope, 247, 259

  Boroughbridge, battle of, 280

  Bouvines, battle of, 155

  Brabançon mercenaries, 94

  Bracton, Henry, 221

  Breauté, Falkes de, 170, 171

  Bridgenorth, siege of, 46

  Bristol, fall of, 287

  Brito, Richard, 83

  Britton, judge, 221

  Bruce, Robert, Earl of Carrick, as regent, 259

  Bruce, Robert, son of the Earl of Carrick, lays claim to the crown of
     Scotland, 240;
    his successor in Scotland, 275

  Burgh, Hubert de, justiciar, 169;
    as regent, 171;
    work of, 173;
    fall of, 178;
    reinstatement of, 180

  Burghersh, Henry, Bishop of Lincoln, 286

  Burnell, Robert, 216, 221

  Cadwalader, 48

  Cambuskenneth, 258

  Campaign of 1301, 259

  Camvill, Gerard, warden of Lincoln castle, 125

  Camvill, Nicolaa de, 167

  Canterbury, Archbishop of, his power, 60;
    disputed election of the Archbishop at, 145

  Castles, destruction of, by Henry II., 43

  Celestine III., pope, 126

  Chalus-Chabrol, castle of, 134

  Chancellor, his duties, 66

  Charles IV., King of France, 284

  Charters, confirmation of the, 250;
    reconfirmation of the, 252

  Christianity in England, 59

  Church, English, its history, 58;
    national unity first realized, 59;
    under the heptarchy, 59;
    great power of the clergy, 60;
    alliance with the State, 60;
    effect of the Conquest on, 61;
    policy of William I. regarding, 62;
    in Stephen’s reign, 64;
    quarrel of John with, 145;
    plunder of the clergy, 152;
    state of, in 1213, 151

  Clare, Richard de (Strongbow), his conquests of Ireland, 91

  Clare, Richard de, Earl of Gloucester, 197, 198;
    his death, 201

  Clarendon, council at, 76;
    constitutions of, 76;
    council at, 81;
    assize of, passed, 81;
    constitutions of, renounced, 91

  Clement III., pope, 126

  Clement V., pope, 254

  Clergy, the, Stephen’s breach with, 20;
    great power of, 61;
    plunder of, 153;
    representation of, under Edward I., 236;
    relations of Edward I. with, 245;
    taxation of, 246;
    Edward I. quarrels with, 247

  Clericis, Laicos, Bull, 247

  Clerkenwell, council of, 105

  Clifford, Roger, justiciar of Wales, 219

  Coinage, debased by Stephen, 20

  Commons, House of, 235

  Comnenus, Isaac, King of Cyprus, 120

  Comyn, John, Earl of Badenoch, 259, 261

  Confirmatio cartarum, 86

  Conquest, the effects of, on the Church, 61

  Conrad of Hohenstaufen, 29

  Conrad of Montferrat, 119

  Conradin, 5

  Consilt, battle of, 48

  Constance of Brittany, 127

  Constantia of France married to Eustace, 31

  Constitutional crisis, 248, 249

  Constitutional grievances in 1245, 180

  Constitutions of Clarendon, 76;
    renounced, 91

  Corbeuil, William of, Archbishop, 15

  Coronation, ceremony of, 47

  Court of Common Pleas, 225

  Court of Exchequer, 225

  Court of King’s Bench, 225

  Court of Rome, character of, 91

  Coutances, Walter of, 127

  Cowton Moor, 18

  Crisis of 1258, 175;
    why it was delayed, 189

  Crusade, second, 29

  Crusade, third, 105, 116

  Crusade of Prince Edward, 215

  Customs, the revenue, 231;
    the new, 255

  Danegeld, abolition of, 17, 58, 73

  David I., King of Scotland, first invasion by, 17;
    second invasion by, 19

  David, son of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, rebels against Edward I.,
    his death, 219

  De Religiosis statute, 223, 246

  Despenser, Hugh le, the baron’s justiciar, 199;
    his death, 209

  Despenser, Hugh le, the favorite of Edward II., 279;
    sentence against, 277;
    avarice and arrogance of, 284

  Despenser, Hugh le, Earl of Winchester, hanged, 287

  Dictum de Kenilworth, 209

  Dunbar, battle of, 258

  Durham, Bishop of, 114

  Earls, appointment of, 20

  Ecclesiastical school in the reign of Stephen, 64

  Ecclesiastical quarrels, 247

  Edmund of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 179;
    driven into exile, 185

  Edmund of Cornwall, as regent, 238

  Edmund, Earl of Kent, 288

  Edward I., at the battle of Lewes, 205;
    proclaimed king, 210;
    joins the crusade, 210;
    political education of, 212;
    motives determining his crusade, 213;
    his English policy, 213;
    his idea of kingship, 214;
    crusade of 1270, 215;
    his accession to the throne, 216;
    administration of the kingdom during his pilgrimage, 216;
    his coronation, 217;
    rebellion of the prince of North Wales, 218;
    conquest of Wales, 219;
    as a lawgiver, 220;
    principles of his legislation, 222;
    his legal reforms, 222;
    parliamentary settlement of revenue on, 232;
    his first parliament, 233;
    national policy of, 237;
    evil consequence caused by his absence, 237;
    his claims upon Scotland, 239;
    his relations with Philip IV., 243;
    quarrel with Philip IV., 243;
    consequences thereof, 244;
    his relations with the clergy, 245;
    quarrels with the clergy, 247;
    resistance of his subjects, 248, 249;
    dissatisfied with his subjects, 252;
    quarrels with Archbishop Winchelsey, 254;
    his relations with foreign merchants, 255;
    concludes peace with France, 258;
    marries Margaret, sister of Philip IV., 258;
    truce concluded with Scotland, 258;
    his new constitution for Scotland, 260;
    his death, 261;
    his character and motives, 262

  Edward II., reactionary policy of, 263;
    personal tastes and favorites of, 264;
    his character, 264;
    peace with Scotland, 266;
    married to Isabelle of France, 267;
    coronation of, 267;
    controlled by the barons, 273;
    his struggles in favor of Gaveston, 273;
    changes in the administration, 274;
    new favorites of, 278;
    at war with the barons, 282;
    his campaign in the north, 282;
    truce concluded with Scotland, 282;
    summoned to do homage to Charles IV., 284;
    intrigues of the queen against, 285;
    helplessness of, 286;
    overthrow and deposition of, 287;
    murder of, 288;
    importance and significance of his reign, 288;
    constitutional results of the epoch closing with his downfall, 290

  Edward III., 287;
    appointed governor of the kingdom, 288

  Eleanor, daughter of Henry II., 99, 100

  Eleanor de Montfort, wife of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, 219

  Eleanor of Aquitaine, 28;
    her marriage with Henry II., 31;
    resent on the death of her husband, 116;
    her relations with John, 140;
    her death, 143

  Eleanor of Provence marries Henry III., 181

  Eleanor, widow of William Marshall, her second marriage with Simon de
    Montfort, 181

  Election at Canterbury, 143

  Evesham, battle of, 209

  Exchequer under Henry I., 227

  Empire, relations with the papacy, 3

  England, importance of its work during this epoch, 5;
    state of, during the absence of Henry II., 54;
    under the heptarchy, 59;
    national unity first realized, 59;
    alliance with Germany, 80;
    during the crusade, 122;
    state of, on the death of Richard, 137;
    separation from Normandy, 143;
    laid under interdict, 149;
    national inactivity of, 184;
    at war with Scotland, 257;
    truce concluded, 258

  Essex, Earl of, 263

  Eugenius III., 30

  Eustace, son of Stephen, 31;
    his marriage with Constantia of France, 31;
    his death, 32

  Ferrers, Earl of Derby, joins a league against Henry II., 94

  Ferrers, William of, Earl of Derby, 197

  Feudal laws, 50

  Feudal lords, power of, 223

  Finance, system of, during the reign of Edward I., 225

  Fitz Osbert, William, 133, 134

  Fitz Peter, Geoffrey, justiciar, 133, 153, 154

  Fitz Urse, Reginald, 82

  Fitz Walter, Robert, 159, 169

  Flemings, invasion of Normandy by, 93

  Foliot, Gilbert, 30

  Foreign affairs in 1258, 176

  France, alliance of, with Scotland, 259

  Franconia, 6

  Frederick I., Emperor, 3, 37, 71, 80, 117

  Frederick II., Emperor, 3, 220;
    marries Isabella, sister to Henry III., 181, 220

  Frederick of Swabia, 117

  French history, character of the epoch of, 2

  Friscobaldi, the, 273

  Fulk the Good, Count of Anjou, 161

  Gascons, the rebellion of, 189

  Gaveston, Piers, favorite of Edward II., 264;
    his hatred of the earls, 270;
    banishment of, 270;
    recall of, 271;
    his death, 274

  Geddington, assembly at, 105

  Geoffrey of Anjou, 14, 16, 25, 28

  Geoffrey of Brittany, 103;
    his death, 104

  Geoffrey of Nantes rebels against his brother Henry II., 58

  Geoffrey, son of Henry II., Archbishop of York, 127

  Geographical summary, 6

  German history, character of the epoch of, 3

  Germany, 3;
    condition of, under the early Plantagenets, 7;
    alliance with England, 80

  Giffard, Archbishop of York, appointed regent, 216

  Gilbert, Earl of Gloucester, 204, 206, 208, 209;
    swears fealty to Edward I., 216;
    marries Johanna, daughter of Edward I., 239;
    his death, 248

  Gilbert of Vacœuil, 55

  Gilbert, son of the Earl of Gloucester, regent, 272

  Glanvill, Ranulf, the justiciar, 95, 103, 111, 116;
    his death, 118

  Gray, John de, Bishop of Norwich, elected Archbishop of Canterbury,

  Gregory IX., pope, 185

  Grosseteste, Robert, Bishop of Lincoln, 182, 185

  Gualo, 160, 166, 170

  Gwynneth, Owen, 50

  Harclay, Sir Andrew, governor of Carlisle, 280;
    execution of, 282

  Hawisia, daughter of William, Earl Gloucester, 99;
    wife of John, 142

  Henry I., question of succession at his death, 12;
    precautions taken by, 13;
    competitors for the succession, 14;
    his funeral, 16

  Henry II., knighted at Carlisle, 31;
    marries Eleanor of Aquitaine, 32;
    his arrival in England, 32;
    leaves England, 33;
    importance attached to his succession, 34;
    his youth and education, 35;
    his character, 36;
    his family policy, 36;
    his great position in Christendom, 37;
    mismanagement of his children, 38;
    his personal appearance, 38;
    early reforms of, 39;
    his advisers, 41;
    coronation of, 42;
    disputes regarding the resumption of lands, 43;
    surrender of the malcontents, 45;
    frequent councils, 45;
    second coronation of, 47;
    first war against Wales, 49;
    visits France, 49;
    his foreign possessions, 49;
    his relations with his vassals, 50;
    his relations to the King of France, 50;
    questions of boundary, 52;
    personal questions, 52;
    his true policy, 52;
    crushes his brother Geoffrey’s rebellion, 53;
    desists from attacking Toulouse, 53;
    his children, 54;
    conclusion of peace with Lewis VII., 54;
    his legal reforms, 54, 55;
    increase of national unity, 57;
    his confidence in Thomas Becket, 67;
    returns from France, 69;
    second war with Wales, 70;
    his disputes with Becket, 71-75;
    appeal to the ancient customs, 75;
    his motives, 76;
    exasperated at Becket, 77;
    his cruel measures towards Becket, 80;
    third war with Wales, 80;
    proceedings during the quarrel, 80;
    reconciliation with Becket, 83;
    perseverance in reform, 85;
    training of the people in self-government, 87;
    his political object in crowning his son, 90;
    applies to the pope on Becket’s death, 91;
    his penitence and absolution, 91;
    quarrels with his son Henry, 93;
    his success against Lewis VII., 95;
    in France, 95;
    his arrival in England, 96;
    his policy, 97;
    importance of this struggle, 98;
    resumes his schemes, 99;
    his visit to England, 100;
    his last quarrel, 105;
    at war with Philip II., 106;
    his flight to Normandy, 107;
    his last days, 107;
    his death, 109

  Henry III., 5;
    character of the reign of, 161;
    his character, 162;
    division of his reign, 164;
    his party, 166;
    coronation of, 166;
    his foreign policy, 173;
    his personal administration, 174;
    internal misgovernment, 174;
    his first act, 175;
    his ingratitude, 177;
    his plan of governing, 180;
    marries Eleanor of Provence, 180;
    his unconstitutional means for raising money, 183;
    his impolicy, 183;
    his relations with the popes, 184;
    accepts the kingdom of Sicily, 186;
    his French transactions, 187;
    visits France, 189;
    his dynastic policy, 190;
    political troubles of, 200;
    the award of Lewis IX., 201;
    its effects, 203;
    military successes of, 204;
    defeated at the battle of Lewes, 205;
    conduct of the new government, 207;
    defeats the barons at Evesham, 209;
    his death, 210

  Henry VI., Emperor of Germany, 122-129

  Henry, Bishop of Winchester, 22, 24;
    retires from court, 25

  Henry, Earl of Lancaster, 284, 286

  Henry of Essex, constable, 48, 71

  Henry, son of Henry II., his marriage, 54;
    coronation of, without his queen, 81;
    second coronation of, with his queen, 92;
    quarrels with his father, 92;
    intrigues of, 100;
    second revolt against his father, 103;
    his death, 104

  Henry, son of the King of the Romans, his death, 210

  Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, his marriage, 80

  Heraclius, patriarch, mission of, 104

  Herbert, Bishop of Salisbury, 133

  Hildebrandine revival, 62

  History, human, various areas and stages of, 1;
    under the early Plantagenets, 5

  Hohenstaufen, drama of, 3;
    empire of, 8

  Honorius III., pope, 166

  House of Commons, 235

  House of Lords, 235

  Hoveden, Roger, 35

  Hugh de Gournay, 142

  Hugh of Beauchamp, 104

  Hugh of la Marche, 141

  Hugh of Lincoln, 133

  Hugh of Nunant, Bishop of Coventry, 131

  Imported merchandise, taxes on, 221

  Income tax, 55

  Ingeburga of Denmark, 141

  Innocent III., pope, 4, 133, 149, 150

  Innocent IV., pope, 185

  Interdict, England laid under, 149

  Ireland, proposal to conquer, 45;
    expedition of Henry II. to, 91

  Isabella, betrothed wife of Hugh of la Marche, 141

  Isabella of France, wife of Edward II., 268;
    position and policy of, 282;
    her intrigues in France, 285;
    her triumphant march to the West of England, 286;
    rule under, 288

  Isabella, sister to Henry III., married to Emperor Frederick II., 180

  Italy, condition of, 7

  Itinerant judges first go their circuits, 90

  Jerusalem, captured by Saladin, 106;
    Richard’s march on, 121

  Jews, persecution of, 112;
    banished from England, 239

  Jocelin de Bailleul, 76

  Johanna, daughter of Henry II., marries Gilbert of Gloucester, 239

  Johanna, daughter of Henry II., 99;
    wife of William the Good, 119

  John, son of Henry II., his marriage, 99;
    cursed by his dying father, 109;
    provision made for, by his brother Richard, 115;
    position of, 125;
    intrigues with Philip II., 127;
    rebellion of, 130;
    secures Normandy, 137;
    his coronation, 138;
    division of the history of his reign, 139;
    at peace with Philip II., 141;
    his second marriage, 141;
    loses Normandy and Anjou, 142;
    his ecclesiastical troubles, 145;
    excommunication of, 149;
    his obduracy, 149;
    swears fealty to the pope, 150;
    quarrels with the barons, 151;
    his journey to the North, 154;
    goes to France, 155;
    the crown offered to Lewis, 159;
    his successes against the barons, 159;
    his death, 160

  John of Salisbury, 30

  John of Brienne, 4

  John the Marshall, 74, 78

  John XXII., 3

  Judges, punishment of, 239;
    itinerant, 86;
    fiscal work of, 86;
    first go their circuits, 87

  Judicature, restoration of, 46;
    central, 87

  Jurisdiction, provincial reform of, 86, 87

  Justice, administration of, 55

  Kenilworth, dictum de, 209

  Lacy, Henry de, Earl of Lincoln, 269;
    his death, 272

  Lands, resumption of, 44

  Langton, Stephen, elected Archbishop of Canterbury, 148;
    absolves the king, 153;
    crowns Henry III., 171;
    his death, 177

  Langton, Walter, 249, 255, 266, 274

  Laudabiliter Bull, 46

  Laws, appeal to the, of Henry I., 154;
    probable plan for the codification of, 221;
    Edward’s principles of legislation, 222

  League against Henry II., 93

  Leicester, Earl of, joins a league against Henry II., 94

  Leopold, Duke of Austria, 222

  Lewes, battle of, 203

  Lewes, Mise of, 206

  Lewis VI., King of France, 9

  Lewis VII., King of France, 5;
    joins the second crusade, 28;
    his character, 37;
    his relation to Henry II., 50;
    takes up the cause of Becket, 79;
    joins a league against Henry II., 93;
    utterly routed by Henry II., 97;
    his death, 102

  Lewis IX., King of France, 5;
    arbitrates between Henry III. and his barons, 201;
    award of, 201;
    effects of the award, 203;
    motives for his decision, 205;
    his death, 215

  Lewis of Bavaria, 3

  Lewis, son of Philip of France, his marriage, 142;
    the crown of England offered to him, 159;
    his successes against John, 159;
    lands in England, 159;
    treaty concluded with Henry III., 167;
    defeated at
    Lincoln and departure from England, 168

  Liege, Bishop of, 130

  Lincoln, battle of, 23, 168

  Lincoln, parliament at, 254

  Linlithgow castle, 259

  Lisbon, 10

  Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, 204;
    rebellion of, against Edward I., 218;
    married to Eleanor de Montfort, 219;
    his death, 219

  Longchamp, William, bishop of Ely, 115;
    chancellor, 123;
    as supreme justiciar, 124;
    demands the royal castles, 125;
    removed from the justiciarship, 127

  Lords, House of, 235

  Lorraine, Lower, 9

  Lothar II., 7

  Lucy, Richard de, 30, 41, 76, 94, 95;
    appointed regent during the king’s absence, 54

  Lusignan, Ethelmer, Bishop of Winchester, 190

  Lusignan, Guy of, 105

  Mabilia, Countess of Gloucester, 25

  Madoc, rebellion of, 256

  Magna Carta, granted at Runnymede, 157;
    attempts to annul it, 158;
    re-issued, 166;
    third issue of, 169;
    confirmed, 239

  Malcolm IV., King of Scotland, 44

  Mandeville, Geoffrey, Earl of Essex, 26, 142, 167

  Mandeville, William, 115

  Manners during this epoch, 4

  Mans, le, capture of, by Philip II., 106

  Margaret of France, daughter of Lewis VII., 54;
    wife of Henry, son of Henry II., 104

  Margaret, sister of Philip IV., marries Edward I., 258

  Marlborough, parliament of, 209

  Marshall, Richard, 179

  Marshall, William, Earl of Pembroke, 166;
    his death, 169;
    work of, 171

  Martel, William, 30

  Martin, master, 185

  Matilda, daughter of Henry I., fealty sworn to, 14, 17;
    her arrival in England, 22;
    elected Lady of England, 23;
    her imprudent rule, 24;
    her struggles against Stephen, 25;
    flies to Oxford, 25;
    the kingdom divided, 26;
    her government in Normandy, 42

  Matilda, daughter of Henry II., her marriage, 80

  Maurienne, Count of, 93

  Mercenaries, importation of, 20;
    expulsion of, 42

  Merchandize, taxation on importation of, 231

  Merchants, foreign, relations of Edward I. with, 255

  Merlin, prophecies of, 39

  Miles of Hereford, 28

  Military system in Henry II.’s time, 88

  Mise of Lewes, 206

  Monasteries, 63

  Monks of Canterbury, their quarrels regarding the election of
    Archbishop, 146

  Montfort, Simon de, Earl of Leicester, marries Eleanor, daughter of
     John, 181;
    his character, 193;
    military successes of, 204;
    parliament of, 207;
    impolicy of his sons, 208;
    killed in the battle of Evesham, 209;
    his character as a great and good man, 210, 211

  Moral lessons, 5

  Mortimer, Hugh, 45

  Mortimer, Roger, 199;
    appointed regent, 216

  Mortimer, Roger, Lord of Wigmore, 278, 284, 285, 288

  Morville, Hugh de, 82

  Mowbray, Roger, 106

  Neville, Ralph, Bishop of Chichester, 180

  New Custom, the, 255

  Nicolas IV., pope, 246

  Nicolas, Bishop of Tusculum, 154

  Nigel, Bishop of Ely, 42

  Norman bishops, 63

  Normandy, invasion of, 104;
    forfeiture of, 142;
    separation from England, 143

  Normans, results of rule under, 12

  Northampton, council at, 77;
    parliament at, 268

  Nottingham, castle of, 125

  Ordainers, the, 272

  Ordinances of 1311, the, 272;
    revocation of, 281

  Orlton, Adam, Bishop of Hereford, 286, 287

  Otho, Cardinal, 185

  Otho, of Saxony, Emperor, 134

  Oxford, siege of, 26;
    parliament of, 198;
    provisions of, 199

  Pacification, terms of, in 1153, 39

  Palestine, condition of, 104

  Pandulf, 150;
    as legate, 171;
    resigns, 173

  Papacy, relations with the empire, 3;
    demands in Henry III.’s time, 169;
    taxation, 177;
    Henry III.’s relations with the popes, 184;
    list of papal assumptions, 185;
    papal claims over Scotland, 253

  Paris, Matthew, 139, 183, 195

  Parliament, 181;
    discussions in, 182;
    of 1258, 197;
    origin of our modern, 207;
    under Edward I., 234;
    growth of, 234;
    Lincoln, 253

  Peckham, Archbishop, 247

  Pembroke, Earl of, 270

  Perche, Count of, 169

  Peter de Vineis, 220

  Peter of Wakefield, 150

  Petronilla, Lady, 96

  Peverell, William, 45

  Philip II., King of France, his hatred of Henry II., 103;
    at war with Henry II., 106;
    joins the third crusade, 116;
    at Messina, 119;
    intrigues of, against Richard, 128;
    concludes a two months’ peace with John, 140;
    at peace with John, 141;
    takes Normandy and Anjou, 142

  Philip III., King of France, 216;
    his death, 243

  Philip IV., the Fair, King of France, his relations with Edward I.,
    quarrels with Edward I., 244

  Philip V., King of France, 284

  Philip of Flanders joins a league against Henry II., 94

  Pipewell, council of, 114

  Political history during this epoch, 2

  Politicians, ecclesiastical, 64

  Portugal during the age of the early Plantagenets, 10

  Provisions of Oxford, 199

  Provisions of Westminster, 200

  Puiset, Hugh de, Bishop of Durham, 94;
    justiciar, 124, 125;
    expelled, 126

  Quia Emptores statute, 223, 235

  Ranulf, Earl of Chester, 23, 26

  Ranulf, Earl of Chester, 136, 166, 178

  Raymond of Toulouse, 195

  Rebellion of 1136, 18

  Reform, Henry II.’s plans of, 39;
    progress of, 55;
    Henry’s perseverance in, 85;
    political object of it, 86;
    new schemes of, 271

  Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, 95

  Reginald, sub-prior, elected Archbishop of Canterbury, 147

  Religion during this epoch, 4

  Revenue, nature of, in the time of Henry II., 55;
    under Henry III., 228;
    sources of, during Edward I.’s reign, 225;
    customs, 231;
    parliamentary settlement on Edward I., 230

  Reynolds, Walter, 275

  Richard I., Cœur de Lion, son of Henry II., 53;
    quarrels with his brother Henry, 103;
    his father’s distrust of, 104;
    joins the third crusade, 105;
    does homage to Philip II., 106;
    joins in a conspiracy against his father, 106;
    character of his reign, 110;
    his accession to the throne, 111;
    his coronation, 112;
    his personal appearance and character, 112, 113;
    his mode of procuring means for the third crusade, 114;
    starts on the crusade, 115;
    his journey along the Italian shore, 118;
    at Messina, 119;
    his campaigns in Palestine, 120;
    exploits of, 121;
    his retreat and truce, 122;
    captivity of, 122;
    negotiations for his release, 129;
    ransom raised for his release, 129;
    his release, 130;
    his second visit to England, 131;
    money refused him by the great council, 133;
    his last years, 134;
    events of the war with Philip II., 134;
    his death, 135

  Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, 177

  Richard, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans, brother to Henry III.,
     173, 178;
    his marriage, 181;
    his character, 192;
    at the battle of Lewes, 205;
    his death, 210

  Robert, Earl of Gloucester, 16;
    swears fealty to Stephen, 17;
    his power, 19;
    taken prisoner, 26;
    his death, 29

  Robert, Earl of Leicester, regent, during the king’s absence, 55

  Roches, Peter des, Bishop of Winchester, regent, 166, 170;
    the king’s adviser, 178;
    fall of, 179

  Rochester castle besieged, 159

  Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, 15;
    justiciar of Henry I., 21;
    arrested, 21

  Roger, Earl of Leicester, 28

  Roger of Hereford, 44

  Roger of Pont l’Eveque, Archbishop of York, 81

  Rome, proceedings at, 30;
    character of the court of, 91, 92

  Rudolf of Hapsburg, 3

  Runnymede, granting of the Magna Carta at, 157

  Saer de Quincy, 168

  St. Albans, assembly at, 154

  St. Andrew’s, Bishop of, 259

  St. Bernard, 4, 30

  St. Edmund, 85

  St. Edmund’s, coronation at, 47, 48

  St. Gregory, 59

  St. Hugh, 133

  St. Paul’s, council at, 154

  St. William, 30

  Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, 104

  Salisbury, Earl of, 160

  Salisbury, meeting of barons at, 249

  Saragossa, 11

  Saxony, 8

  Scotland, invasion of England by, 17, 19;
    submission of to Henry III., 97;
    claims of Edward I. upon, 239;
    the kingdom of, 240;
    papal claims over, 254;
    alliance of, with France, 257;
    troubles in, 257;
    war against England, 258;
    truce with England, affairs in, after the fall of Balliol, 259;
    Edward’s new constitution for, 259;
    truce concluded with Edward II., 282

  Scottish independence, war of, 258

  Scutage, institution of, 56

  Segrave, Sir John, 259

  Segrave, Stephen, justiciar, 177

  Shrewsbury, assembly at, 234

  Sybilla, queen of Jerusalem, sister of Baldwin the Leper, 104, 119

  Simon de Montfort, _see_ Montfort, Simon de

  Spain, state of, 9

  Standard, battle of the, 19

  Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, 283

  Statute De Religiosis, 246

  Statute of Wales, 220

  Statute of Westminster, the first, 234

  Statute of Westminster, 224

  Stephen of Blois, his claim to the throne, 14;
    his reception in England, 15;
    his election and coronation, 15;
    his first charter, 16;
    his second charter, 17;
    invaded by the Scots, 17, 19;
    rebellion of 1136, 18;
    beginning of troubles, 18;
    his imprudent policy, 19;
    debases coinage, 20;
    his new earls, 20;
    imports mercenaries, 20;
    his breach with the clergy, 20;
    arrests the bishops, 21;
    beginning of anarchy, 22;
    taken prisoner, 22;
    is released, 25;
    his success in 1142, 26;
    division of the kingdom, 27;
    period of anarchy, 28;
    proceedings at Rome, 30;
    quarrels with the archbishop, 30;
    question of succession, 31;
    negotiates for peace, 32;
    his death, 33;
    estimation of his character, 33

  Stigand, Archbishop, 61

  Stirling, English defeated near, 259

  Stratford, John, Bishop of Winchester, 287

  Swabia, 6

  Tancred, King of Sicily, 119

  Taxation, variety of, in Henry II.’s reign, 87;
    papal, 177;
    changes in the mode of, 228;
    summoning of representative assemblies for the purposes of, 232;
    of the clergy, 246;
    confirmation of the charter establishing the right of the people to
      determine, 240

  Templars, the, 53, 54

  Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, 21;
    quarrels with Stephen, 30;
    negotiates the succession of Henry II., 41;
    adviser to Henry II., 42;
    his death, 55

  Theobald, Count, 14, 16

  Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, 269;
    despotism of, 276, 277;
    execution of, 280;
    interior consequences of his execution, 281

  Thurstan, Archbishop, 19

  Tickhill, castle of, 125

  Toledo, 11

  Toulouse, war of, 53

  Tracy, William de, 82

  Valence, Aymer de, Earl of Pembroke, 261, 274, 276;
    made governor of Scotland, 266;
    his death, 285

  Vescy, Lady de, 273;
    Eustace de, 159, 167

  Waleran of Meulan, 28

  Wales, at war with Henry II., 48;
    second war with Henry II., 71;
    third war with Henry II., 80;
    turbulence of the princes, 217;
    conquest of, 219;
    statute of, 220;
    rebellion in, under Madoc, 256

  Wallace, Sir William, 258, 260

  Wallingford, peace negotiations at, 32

  Walter, Hubert, Bishop of Salisbury, 115, 116, 119, 130;
    made Archbishop of Canterbury, 130;
    government of, 131;
    resignation of, 133;
    transfers his devotion to John on the death of Richard, 137;
    his death, 144

  Walter of Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester, 197, 199

  Wareham, 27

  Warenne, Earl, 238

  Warenne, William of, surrender of his estates in Norfolk, 46;
    knighthood conferred on, 47

  Westminster, treaty at, 32;
    council at, 74;
    provisions of, 200;
    courts at, 226;
    statute of, the first, 234

  William II., King of Scotland, joins a league against Henry II., 94;
    taken prisoner, 96

  William, Earl of Salisbury, 164

  William of Aumâle, 171

  William of Eynesford, 74

  William of Ferrers, 197

  William, son of Henry I., 12

  William the Good, of Sicily, his marriage, 99

  Winchelsey, Robert, 246, 249;
    quarrels with the king, 254, 268

  Winchester, Bishop of, brother of Stephen, 41

  Winchester, Bishop of, 114

  Winchester, statute of, 225

  Woodstock, council at, 71, 72

  Worms, diet of, 128

  Ypres, William of, 44

“_The volumes contain the ripe results of the studies of men who are
authorities in their respective fields._”--THE NATION.



Eleven volumes, 16mo, each $1.00.


Eighteen volumes, 16mo, each $1.00.

The Epoch volumes have most successfully borne the test of experience,
and are universally acknowledged to be the best series of historical
manuals in existence. They are admirably adapted in form and matter to
the needs of colleges, schools, reading circles, and private classes.
Attention is called to them as giving the utmost satisfaction as class

NOAH PORTER, _President of Yale College_.

“The ‘Epochs of History’ have been prepared with knowledge and artistic
skill to meet the wants of a large number of readers. To the young they
furnish an outline or compendium. To those who are older they present a
convenient sketch of the heads of the knowledge which they have already
acquired. The outlines are by no means destitute of spirit, and may be
used with great profit for family reading, and in select classes or
reading clubs.”

CHARLES KENDALL ADAMS, _President of Cornell University_.

“A series of concise and carefully prepared volumes on special eras
of history. Each is also complete in itself, and has no especial
connection with the other members of the series. The works are all
written by authors selected by the editor on account of some especial
qualifications for a portrayal of the period they respectively
describe. The volumes form an excellent collection, especially adapted
to the wants of a general reader.”

 _The Publishers will supply these volumes to teachers at SPECIAL
   NET RATES, and would solicit correspondence concerning
     terms for examination and introduction copies._

  153-157 Fifth Avenue, New York.


is the best proof of its general popularity, and the excellence of
the various volumes is further attested by their having been adopted
as text-books in many of our leading educational institutions. The
publishers beg to call attention to the following list comprising some
of the most prominent institutions using volumes of the series:

  Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
  Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.
  Yale Univ., New Haven, Conn.
  Harvard Univ., Cambridge, Mass.
  Bellewood Sem., Anchorage, Ky.
  Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, Tenn.
  State Univ., Minneapolis, Minn.
  Christian Coll., Columbia, Mo.
  Adelphi Acad., Brooklyn, N. Y.
  Earlham Coll., Richmond, Ind.
  Granger Place School, Canandaigua, N. Y.
  Salt Lake Acad., Salt Lake City, Utah.
  Beloit Col., Beloit, Wis.
  Logan Female Coll., Russellville, Ky.
  No. West Univ., Evanston, Ill.
  State Normal School, Baltimore, Md.
  Hamilton Coll., Clinton, N. Y.
  Doane Coll., Crete, Neb.
  Princeton College, Princeton, N. J.
  Williams Coll., Williamstown, Mass.
  Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N. Y.
  Illinois Coll., Jacksonville, Ill.
  Univ. of South, Sewanee, Tenn.
  Wesleyan Univ., Mt. Pleasant, Ia.
  Univ. of Cal., Berkeley, Cal.
  So. Car. Coll., Columbia, S. C.
  Amsterdam Acad., Amsterdam, N. Y.
  Carleton Coll., Northfield, Minn.
  Wesleyan Univ., Middletown, Mass.
  Albion Coll., Albion, Mich.
  Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, N. H.
  Wilmington Coll., Wilmington, O.
  Madison Univ., Hamilton, N. Y.
  Syracuse Univ., Syracuse, N. Y.
  Univ. of Wis., Madison, Wis.
  Union Coll., Schenectady, N. Y.
  Norwich Free Acad., Norwich, Conn.
  Greenwich Acad., Greenwich, Conn.
  Univ. of Neb., Lincoln, Neb.
  Kalamazoo Coll., Kalamazoo, Mich.
  Olivet Coll., Olivet, Mich.
  Amherst Coll., Amherst, Mass.
  Ohio State Univ., Columbus, O.
  Free Schools, Oswego, N. Y.

Bishop J. F. HURST, _ex-President of Drew Theol. Sem._

“It appears to me that the idea of Morris in his Epochs is strictly in
harmony with the philosophy of history--namely, that great movements
should be treated not according to narrow geographical and national
limits and distinction, but universally, according to their place in
the general life of the world. The historical Maps and the copious
Indices are welcome additions to the volumes.”



  _Edited by_

  =Eleven volumes, 16mo, with 41 Maps and Plans.
  Sold separately. Price per vol., $1.00.
  The Set, Roxburgh style, gilt top, in box, $11.00.=


“The task of the author has been to gather into a clear and very
readable narrative all that is known of legendary, historical, and
geographical Troy, and to tell the story of Homer, and weigh and
compare the different theories in the Homeric controversy. The work is
well done. His book is altogether candid, and is a very valuable and
entertaining compendium.”--_Hartford Courant._

“As a monograph on Troy, covering all sides of the question, it is of
great value, and supplies a long vacant place in our fund of classical
knowledge.”--_N. Y. Christian Advocate._


“It covers the ground in a perfectly satisfactory way. The work is
clear, succinct, and readable.”--_New York Independent._

“Marked by thorough and comprehensive scholarship and by a skillful

“It would be hard to find a more creditable book. The author’s
prefatory remarks upon the origin and growth of Greek civilization are
alone worth the price of the volume.”--_Christian Union._

 =THE ATHENIAN EMPIRE--From the Flight of Xerxes to the Fall of
    Athens.= By Rev. G. W. COX.

“Mr. Cox writes in such a way as to bring before the reader everything
which is important to be known or learned; and his narrative cannot
fail to give a good idea of the men and deeds with which he is
concerned.”--_The Churchman._

“Mr. Cox has done his work with the honesty of a true student. It shows
persevering scholarship and a desire to get at the truth.”--_New York


“This volume covers the period between the disasters of Athens at the
close of the Peloponnesian war and the rise of Macedon. It is a very
striking and instructive picture of the political life of the Grecian
commonwealth at that time.”--_The Churchman._

“It is singularly interesting to read, and in respect to arrangement,
maps, etc., is all that can be desired.”--_Boston Congregationalist._

 =THE MACEDONIAN EMPIRE--Its Rise and Culmination to Death of Alexander
    the Great.= By A. M. CURTEIS, M.A.

“A good and satisfactory history of a very important period. The maps
are excellent, and the story is lucidly and vigorously told.”--_The

“The same compressive style and yet completeness of detail that have
characterized the previous issues in this delightful series, are found
in this volume. Certainly the art of conciseness in writing was never
carried to a higher or more effective point.”--_Boston Saturday Evening

⁂ _The above five volumes give a connected and complete history of
Greece from the earliest times to the death of Alexander._

 =EARLY ROME--From the Foundation of the City to its Destruction by the
    Gauls.= By W. IHNE, Ph.D.

“Those who want to know the truth instead of the traditions that used
to be learned of our fathers, will find in the work entertainment,
careful scholarship, and sound sense.”--_Cincinnati Times._

“The book is excellently well done. The views are those of a learned
and able man, and they are presented in this volume with great force
and clearness.”--_The Nation._


“By blending the account of Rome and Carthage the accomplished author
presents a succinct and vivid picture of two great cities and people
which leaves a deep impression. The story is full of intrinsic
interest, and was never better told.”--_Christian Union._

“The volume is one of rare interest and value.”--_Chicago Interior._

“An admirably condensed history of Carthage, from its establishment
by the adventurous Phœnician traders to its sad and disastrous
fall.”--_New York Herald._


“A concise and scholarly historical sketch, descriptive of the decay of
the Roman Republic, and the events which paved the way for the advent
of the conquering Cæsar. It is an excellent account of the leaders and
legislation of the republic.”--_Boston Post._

“It is prepared in succinct but comprehensive style, and is an
excellent book for reading and reference.”--_New York Observer._

“No better condensed account of the two Gracchi and the turbulent
careers of Marius and Sulla has yet appeared.”--_New York Independent._


“In brevity, clear and scholarly treatment of the subject, and
the convenience of map, index, and side notes, the volume is a
model.”--_New York Tribune._

“An admirable presentation, and in style vigorous and
picturesque.”--_Hartford Courant._

 =THE EARLY EMPIRE--From the Assassination of Julius Cæsar to the
    Assassination of Domitian.= By Rev. W. WOLFE CAPES, M.A.

“It is written with great clearness and simplicity of style, and is as
attractive an account as has ever been given in brief of one of the
most interesting periods of Roman History.”--_Boston Saturday Evening

“It is a clear, well-proportioned, and trustworthy performance, and
well deserves to be studied.”--_Christian at Work._

 =THE AGE OF THE ANTONINES--The Roman Empire of the Second Century.= By
    Rev. W. WOLFE CAPES, M.A.

“The Roman Empire during the second century is the broad
subject discussed in this book, and discussed with learning and
intelligence.”--_New York Independent._

“The writer’s diction is clear and elegant, and his narration is free
from any touch of pedantry. In the treatment of its prolific and
interesting theme, and in its general plan, the book is a model of
works of its class.”--_New York Herald._

“We are glad to commend it. It is written clearly, and with care and
accuracy. It is also in such neat and compact form as to be the more

⁂ _The above six volumes give the History of Rome from the founding of
the City to the death of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus._



_Edited by_


  =Eighteen volumes, 16mo, with 74 Maps, Plans, and Tables.
  Sold separately. Price per vol., $1.00.
  The Set, Roxburgh style, gilt top, in box, $18.00.=

 =THE BEGINNING OF THE MIDDLE AGES--England and Europe in the Ninth
    Century.= By the Very Rev. R. W. CHURCH, M.A.

“A remarkably thoughtful and satisfactory discussion of the causes
and results of the vast changes which came upon Europe during
the period discussed. The book is adapted to be exceedingly
serviceable.”--_Chicago Standard._

“At once readable and valuable. It is comprehensive and yet
gives the details of a period most interesting to the student of
history.”--_Herald and Presbyter._

“It is written with a clearness and vividness of statement which make
it the pleasantest reading. It represents a great deal of patient
research, and is careful and scholarly.”--_Boston Journal._

 =THE NORMANS IN EUROPE--The Feudal System and England under the Norman
    Kings.= By Rev. A. H. JOHNSON, M.A.

“Its pictures of the Normans in their home, of the Scandinavian exodus,
the conquest of England, and Norman administration, are full of vigor
and cannot fail of holding the reader’s attention.”--_Episcopal

“The style of the author is vigorous and animated, and he has given
a valuable sketch of the origin and progress of the great Northern
movement that has shaped the history of modern Europe.”--_Boston


“To be warmly commended for important qualities. The author shows
conscientious fidelity to the materials, and such skill in the use of
them, that, as a result, the reader has before him a narrative related
in a style that makes it truly fascinating.”--_Congregationalist._

“It is written in a pure and flowing style, and its arrangement and
treatment of subject are exceptional.”--_Christian Intelligencer._

 =THE EARLY PLANTAGENETS--Their Relation to the History of Europe;
   The Foundation and Growth of Constitutional Government.= By Rev. W.

“Nothing could be desired more clear, succinct, and well arranged.
All parts of the book are well done. It may be pronounced the best
existing brief history of the constitution for this, its most important
period.”--_The Nation._

“Prof. Stubbs has presented leading events with such fairness
and wisdom as are seldom found. He is remarkably clear and
satisfactory.”--_The Churchman._


“The author has done his work well, and we commend it as containing in
small space all essential matter.”--_New York Independent._

“Events and movements are admirably condensed by the author, and
presented in such attractive form as to entertain as well as
instruct.”--_Chicago Interior._

 =THE HOUSES OF LANCASTER AND YORK--The Conquest and Loss of France.=

“Prepared in a most careful and thorough manner, and ought to be read
by every student.”--_New York Times._

“It leaves nothing to be desired as regards compactness, accuracy, and
excellence of literary execution.”--_Boston Journal._

    Notes, on Books in English relating to the Reformation, by Prof.

“For an impartial record of the civil and ecclesiastical changes
about four hundred years ago, we cannot commend a better
manual.”--_Sunday-School Times._

“All that could be desired, as well in execution as in plan. The
narrative is animated, and the selection and grouping of events
skillful and effective.”--_The Nation._

    M.A., late Master in Rugby School.

“Is concise, scholarly, and accurate. On the epoch of which it treats,
we know of no work which equals it.”--_N. Y. Observer._

“A marvel of clear and succinct brevity and good historical judgment.
There is hardly a better book of its kind to be named.”--_New York


“Clear and compact in style; careful in their facts, and just
in interpretation of them. It sheds much light on the progress
of the Reformation and the origin of the Popish reaction during
Queen Elizabeth’s reign; also, the relation of Jesuitism to the
latter.”--_Presbyterian Review._

“A clear, concise, and just story of an era crowded with events of
interest and importance.”--_New York World._


“As a manual it will prove of the greatest practical value, while to
the general reader it will afford a clear and interesting account of
events. We know of no more spirited and attractive recital of the great
era.”--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._

“The thrilling story of those times has never been told so vividly or
succinctly as in this volume.”--_Episcopal Register._

 =THE PURITAN REVOLUTION; and the First Two Stuarts, 1603-1660.= By

“The narrative is condensed and brief, yet sufficiently comprehensive
to give an adequate view of the events related.”--_Chicago Standard._

“Mr. Gardiner uses his researches in an admirably clear and fair

“The sketch is concise, but clear and perfectly
intelligible.”--_Hartford Courant._

 =THE ENGLISH RESTORATION AND LOUIS XIV., from the Peace of Westphalia
    to the Peace of Nimwegen.= By OSMUND AIRY, M.A.

“It is crisply and admirably written. An immense amount of information
is conveyed and with great clearness, the arrangement of the subjects
showing great skill and a thorough command of the complicated
theme.”--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._

“The author writes with fairness and discrimination, and has given
a clear and intelligible presentation of the time.”--_New York

 =THE FALL OF THE STUARTS; and Western Europe.= By Rev. EDWARD HALE,

“A valuable compend to the general reader and scholar.”--_Providence

“It will be found of great value. It is a very graphic account of the
history of Europe during the 17th century, and is admirably adapted for
the use of students.”--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._

“An admirable handbook for the student.”--_The Churchman._


“The author’s arrangement of the material is remarkably clear, his
selection and adjustment of the facts judicious, his historical
judgment fair and candid, while the style wins by its simple
elegance.”--_Chicago Standard._

“An excellent compendium of the history of an important period.”--_The

 =THE EARLY HANOVERIANS--Europe from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace
    of Aix-la-Chapelle.= By EDWARD E. MORRIS, M.A.

“Masterly, condensed, and vigorous, this is one of the books which it
is a delight to read at odd moments; which are broad and suggestive,
and at the same time condensed in treatment.”--_Christian Advocate._

“A remarkably clear and readable summary of the salient points of
interest. The maps and tables, no less than the author’s style and
treatment of the subject, entitle the volume to the highest claims of
recognition.”--_Boston Daily Advertiser._


“The subject is most important, and the author has treated it in a way
which is both scholarly and entertaining.”--_The Churchman._

“Admirably adapted to interest school boys, and older heads will find
it pleasant reading.”--_New York Tribune._

    With Appendix by ANDREW D. WHITE, LL.D., ex-President of Cornell

“We have long needed a simple compendium of this period, and we have
here one which is brief enough to be easily run through with, and yet
particular enough to make entertaining reading.”--_New York Evening

“The author has well accomplished his difficult task of sketching in
miniature the grand and crowded drama of the French Revolution and
the Napoleonic Empire, showing himself to be no servile compiler,
but capable of judicious and independent criticism.”--_Springfield


“Mr. McCarthy knows the period of which he writes thoroughly,
and the result is a narrative that is at once entertaining and
trustworthy.”--_New York Examiner._

“The narrative is clear and comprehensive, and told with abundant
knowledge and grasp of the subject.”--_Boston Courier._


 =CIVILIZATION DURING THE MIDDLE AGES. Especially in its Relation to
    Modern Civilization.= By GEORGE B. ADAMS, Professor of History in
    Yale University. 8vo, $2.50.

Professor Adams has here supplied the need of a text-book for the study
of Mediæval History in college classes at once thorough and yet capable
of being handled in the time usually allowed to it. He has aimed to
treat the subject in a manner which its place in the college curriculum
demands, by presenting as clear a view as possible of the underlying
and organic growth of our civilization, how its foundations were laid
and its chief elements introduced.

Prof. KENDRIC C. BABCOCK, University of Minnesota:--“It is one of the
best books of the kind which I have seen. We shall use it the coming

Prof. MARSHALL S. BROWN, Michigan University:--“I regard the work as
a very valuable treatment of the great movements of history during
the Middle Ages, and as one destined to be extremely helpful to young

BOSTON HERALD:--“Professor Adams admirably presents the leading
features of a thousand years of social, political, and religious
development in the history of the world. It is valuable from beginning
to end.”

    President of Brown University. With maps. Two vols., crown octavo,

BOSTON ADVERTISER:--“We doubt if there has been so complete, graphic,
and so thoroughly impartial a history of our country condensed into the
same space. It must become a standard.”

ADVANCE:--“One of the best popular, general histories of America, if
not the best.”

HERALD AND PRESBYTER:--“The very history that many people have
been looking for. It does not consist simply of minute statements,
but treats of causes and effects with philosophical grasp and
thoughtfulness. It is the work of a scholar and thinker.”

 =THE HISTORY OF ROME, from the Earliest Time to the Period of Its
    Decline.= By Dr. THEODOR MOMMSEN. Translated by W. P. DICKSON,
    D.D., LL.D. A New Edition, Revised throughout, and embodying recent
    additions. Five vols., with Map. Price per set, $10.00.

“A work of the very highest merit; its learning is exact and profound;
its narrative full of genius and skill; its descriptions of men are
admirably vivid.”--_London Times._

“Since the days of Niebuhr, no work on Roman History has appeared
that combines so much to attract, instruct, and charm the reader. Its
style--a rare quality in a German author--is vigorous, spirited, and
animated.”--Dr. SCHMITZ.

 =THE PROVINCES OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. From Cæsar to Diocletian.= By
    maps. Two vols., 8vo, $6.00.

“The author draws the wonderfully rich and varied picture of the
conquest and administration of that great circle of peoples and lands
which formed the empire of Rome outside of Italy, their agriculture,
trade, and manufactures, their artistic and scientific life, through
all degrees of civilization, with such detail and completeness as
could have come from no other hand than that of this great master of
historical research.”--Prof. W. A. PACKARD, Princeton College.

 =THE HISTORY OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC.= Abridged from the History by
    Professor THEODOR MOMMSEN, by C. BRYANS and F. J. R. HENDY. 12mo,

“It is a genuine boon that the essential parts of Mommsen’s Rome
are thus brought within the easy reach of all, and the abridgment
seems to me to preserve unusually well the glow and movement of the
original.”--Prof. TRACY PECK, Yale University.

“The condensation has been accurately and judiciously effected. I
heartily commend the volume as the most adequate embodiment, in a
single volume, of the main results of modern historical research in the
field of Roman affairs.”--Prof. HENRY M. BAIRD, University of City of
New York.

 =THE DAWN OF HISTORY. An Introduction to Pre-Historic Study.= New and
    Enlarged Edition. Edited by C. F. KEARY. 12mo, cloth, $1.25.

This work treats successively of the earliest traces of man; of
language, its growth, and the story it tells of the pre-historic
users of it; of early social life, the religions, mythologies, and
folk-tales, and of the history of writing. The present edition contains
about one hundred pages of new matter, embodying the results of the
latest researches.

“A fascinating manual. In its way, the work is a model of what a
popular scientific work should be.”--_Boston Sat. Eve. Gazette._

    with maps, $1.00.

The first part of this book discusses the antiquity of civilization in
Egypt and the other early nations of the East. The second part is an
examination of the ethnology of Genesis, showing its accordance with
the latest results of modern ethnographical science.

“A work of genuine scholarly excellence, and a useful offset
to a great deal of the superficial current literature on such

 =MANUAL OF MYTHOLOGY. For the Use of Schools, Art Students, and
    General Readers. Founded on the Works of Petiscus, Preller, and
    Welcker.= By ALEXANDER S. MURRAY, Department of Greek and Roman
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Transcriber’s note

Minor punctuation and formatting errors have been changed without
notice; otherwise spelling and punctuation has been retained as
published. The following Printer errors have been changed.

  =CHANGED= =FROM=                            =TO=
  Page ii:  “1830-1850. By Justin             “1830-1850. By Justin
             Macarthy”                         McCarthy”
  Page 11:  “the supreme law-giver and”       “the supreme lawgiver and”
  Page 19:  “Whether or no they loved         “Whether or not they loved
             Stephen”                          Stephen”
  Page 32:  “Negotiations f r peace.”         “Negotiations for peace.”
  Page 84:  “peace-maker rather than          “peacemaker rather than
             that”                             that”
  Page 87   “Training of the                  “Training of the
             people in self                    people in
             government.”                      self-government.”
  Page 88:  “requisite counter-balance        “requisite counterbalance
             to the”                           to the”
  Page 95:  “to ignominous flight             “to ignominious flight
             at Conches”                       at Conches”
  Page 105: “then to his syster               “then to his sister
             Sibylla”                          Sibylla”
  Page 109: “funeral, at Font Evraud”         “funeral, at Fontevraud”
  Page 117: “Month after month passsed        “Month after month passed
             on”                               on”
  Page 119: “Baldwin and Hurbert              “Baldwin and Hubert
             Walter”                           Walter”
  Page 129: “little Provencal kingdom”        “little Provençal kingdom”
  Page 139: “granting of Magna Charta”        “granting of Magna Carta”
  Page 142: “love or territorial              “love or territorial
             covetousnesss”                    covetousness”
  Page 154: “Geoffrey Fitz-Peter”             “Geoffrey Fitz Peter”
  Page 171: “William of                       “William of
             Aumale and                        Aumâle and
             Falkes de                         Falkes de
             Breaute”                          Breauté”
  Page 177: “Geoffrey Fitz-Peter”             “Geoffrey Fitz Peter”
  Page 248: “opportunity   asserting”         “opportunity of asserting”
  Page 265: “that series of miseeries”        “that series of miseries”
  Page 268: “the son-in law and               “was the son-in-law and
             heir of Henry”                    heir of Henry”
  Page 270: “parties were re-formed as”       “parties were reformed as”
  Page 288: “lost Ireland, Seotland”          “lost Ireland, Scotland”
  Page 291: “Aumale, William of, 45”          “Aumâle, William of, 45”
  Page 292: “Breaute, Falkes de, 170,         “Breauté, Falkes de, 170,
             171”                              171”
  Page 293: “as a law-giver, 220”             “as a lawgiver, 220”
  Page 293: “quarrels with Archbishop         “quarrels with Archbishop
             Winchessey”                       Winchelsey”
  Page 295: “internal mis-government,         “internal misgovernment,
             174”                              174”
  Page 296: “Laudibiliter Bull, 46”           “Laudabiliter Bull, 46”
  Page 297: “Martell, William, 30”            “Martel, William, 30”
  Page 298: “Reginald, subprior,              “Reginald, sub-prior,
             elected”                          elected”
  Page 299: “Scottish independance”           “Scottish independence”
  Page 299: “negotiates the succesion         “negotiates the succession
             of Henry”                         of Henry”
  Page 300: “rebel-bellion in, under          “rebellion in, under
             Madoc”                            Madoc”
  Page 300: “Walfran of Meulan, 28”           “Waleran of Meulan, 28”
  Page 300: “William of Aumale, 171”          “William of Aumâle, 171”
  Page 302: “Univ. of South, Sewaunee,        “Univ. of South, Sewanee,
             Tenn.”                            Tenn.”
  Page 304: “close of the                     “close of the
             Pelopenesian war”                 Peloponnesian war”

Page number references in the index are as published in the original
publication and have not been checked for accuracy in this eBook.

All other inconsistencies are as in the original.


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