The History of England From the Norman Conquest
George Burton Adams

Part 7 out of 9

still in exile, with their children, including the infant William, who
had been born at Winchester the previous summer, and whose direct
descendants were long afterwards to come to the throne of his grandfather
with the accession of the house of Hanover. Even Queen Eleanor was
present at this festival, for she had been released for a time at the
request of her daughter Matilda.

One more year of the half decade which still remained of life to Henry
was to pass with only a slight foreshadowing, near its close, of the
anxieties which were to fill the remainder of his days. The first
question of importance which arose in 1185 concerned the kingdom of
Jerusalem. England had down to this time taken slight and only indirect
part in the great movement of the crusades. The Christian states in the
Holy Land had existed for nearly ninety years, but with slowly declining
strength and defensive power. Recently the rapid progress of Saladin,
creating a new Mohammedan empire, and not merely displaying great
military and political skill, but bringing under one bond of interest
the Saracens of Egypt and Syria, whose conflicts heretofore had been
among the best safeguards of the Christian state, threatened the most
serious results. The reigning king of Jerusalem at this moment was
Baldwin IV, grandson of that Fulk V, Count of Anjou, whom we saw, more
than fifty years before this date, handing over his French possessions to
his son Geoffrey, newly wedded to Matilda the Empress, and departing for
the Holy Land to marry its heiress and become its king. Baldwin was
therefore the first cousin of Henry II, and it was not unnatural that his
kingdom should turn in the midst of the difficulties that surrounded it
to the head of the house of Anjou now so powerful in the west. The
embassy which came to seek his cousin's help was the most dignified and
imposing that could be sent from the Holy Land, with Heraclius the
patriarch of Jerusalem at its head, supported by the grand-masters of the
knights of the Temple and of the Hospital. The grand-master of the
Templars died at Verona on the journey, but the survivors landed in
England at the end of January, 1185, and Henry who was on his way to York
turned back and met them at Reading. There Heraclius described the evils
that afflicted the Christian kingdom so eloquently that the king and all
the multitude who heard were moved to sighs and tears. He offered to
Henry the keys of the tower of David and of the holy sepulchre, and the
banner of the kingdom, with the right to the throne itself.

To such an offer in these circumstances there was but one reply to make,
and a king like Henry could never have been for a moment in doubt as to
what it should be. His case was very different from his grandfather's
when a similar offer was made to him. Not merely did the responsibility
of a far larger dominion rest on him, with greater dangers within and
without to be watched and overcome, but a still more important
consideration was the fact that there was no one of his sons in whose
hands his authority could be securely left. His departure would be the
signal for a new and disastrous civil war, and we may believe that the
character of his sons was a deciding reason with the king. But such an
offer, made in such a way, and backed by the religious motives so strong
in that age, could not be lightly declined. A great council of the
kingdom was summoned to meet in London about the middle of March to
consider the offer and the answer to be made. The king of Scotland and
his brother David, and the prelates and barons of England, debated the
question, and advised Henry not to abandon the duties which rested upon
him at home. It is interesting to notice that the obligations which the
coronation oath had imposed on the king were called to mind as
determining what he ought to do, though probably no more was meant by
this than that the appeal which the Church was making in favour of the
crusade was balanced by the duty which he had assumed before the Church
and under its sanction to govern well his hereditary kingdom. Apparently
the patriarch was told that a consultation with the king of France was
necessary, and shortly after they all crossed into Normandy. Before the
meeting of the council in London Baldwin IV had closed his unhappy reign
and was succeeded by his nephew Baldwin V, a child who never reached his
majority. In France the embassy succeeded no better. At a conference
between the kings the promise was made of ample aid in men and money, but
the great hope with which the envoys had started, that they might bring
back with them the king of England, or at least one of his sons, to lead
the Christian cause in Palestine, was disappointed; and Heraclius set out
on his return not merely deeply grieved, but angry with Henry for his
refusal to undertake what he believed to be his obvious religious duty.

Between the meeting of the council in London and the crossing into
Normandy, Henry had taken steps to carry out an earlier plan of his in
regard to his son John. He seems now to have made up his mind that
Richard could never be induced to give up Aquitaine or any part of it,
and he returned to his earlier idea of a kingdom of Ireland. Immediately
after the council he knighted John at Windsor and sent him to take
possession of the island, not yet as king but as lord (dominus). On
April 25 he landed at Waterford, coming, it is said, with sixty ships and
a large force of men-at-arms and foot-soldiers. John was at the time
nearly nineteen years old, of an age when men were then expected to have
reached maturity, and the prospect of success lay fair before him; but he
managed in less than six months to prove conclusively that he was, as yet
at least, totally unfit to rule a state. The native chieftains who had
accepted his father's government came in to signify their obedience, but
he twitched their long beards and made sport before his attendants of
their uncouth manners and dress, and allowed them to go home with anger
in their hearts to stir up opposition to his rule. The Archbishop of
Dublin and the barons who were most faithful to his father offered him
their homage and support, but he neglected their counsels and even
disregarded their rights. The military force he had brought over, ample
to guard the conquests already made, or even to increase them, he
dissipated in useless undertakings, and kept without their pay that he
might spend the money on his own amusements, until they abandoned him in
numbers, and even went over to his Irish enemies. In a few months he
found himself confronted with too many difficulties, and gave up his
post, returning to his father with reasons for his failure that put the
blame on others and covered up his own defects. Not long afterwards died
Pope Lucius III, who had steadily refused to renew, or to put into legal
form, the permission which Alexander III had granted to crown one of
Henry's sons king of Ireland; and to his successor, Urban III, new
application was at once made in the special interest of John, and this
time with success. The pope is said even to have sent a crown made of
peacock's feathers intertwined with gold as a sign of his confirmation of
the title.

John was, however, never actually crowned king of Ireland, and indeed it
is probable that he never revisited the island. In the summer of the next
year, 1186, news came, in the words of a contemporary, "that a certain
Irishman had cut off the head of Hugh of Lacy." Henry is said to have
rejoiced at the news, for, though he had never found it possible to get
along for any length of time without the help of Hugh of Lacy in Ireland,
he had always looked upon his measures and success with suspicion. Now he
ordered John to go over at once and seize into his hand Hugh's land and
castles, but John did not leave England. At the end of the year legates
to Ireland arrived in England from the pope, one object of whose mission
was to crown the king of Ireland, but Henry was by this time so deeply
interested in questions that had arisen between himself and the king of
France because of the death of his son Geoffrey, the Count of Britanny,
that he could not give his attention to Ireland, and with the legates he
crossed to Normandy instead, having sent John over in advance.

Affairs in France had followed their familiar course since the conference
between Henry and Philip on the subject of the crusade in the spring of
1185. Immediately after that meeting Henry had proceeded with great vigour
against Richard. He had Eleanor brought over to Normandy, and then
commanded Richard to surrender to his mother all her inheritance under
threat of invasion with a great army. Richard, whether moved by the threat
or out of respect to his mother, immediately complied, and, we are
told,[48] remained at his father's court "like a well-behaved son," while
Henry in person took possession of Aquitaine. In the meantime the war
between Philip II and the Count of Flanders had gone steadily on, the king
of England declining to interfere again. At the end of July, 1185, the
count had been obliged to yield, and had ceded to Philip Amiens and most
of Vermandois, a very important enlargement of territory for the French
monarchy. This first great success of the young king of France was
followed the next spring by the humiliation and forced submission of the
Duke of Burgundy.

In all these events the king of England had taken no active share. He was
a mere looker-on, or if he had interfered at all, it was rather to the
advantage of Philip, while the rival monarchy in France had not merely
increased the territory under its direct control, but taught the great
vassals the lesson of obedience, and proclaimed to all the world that the
rights of the crown would be everywhere affirmed and enforced. It was
clearly the opening of a new era, yet Henry gave not the slightest
evidence that he saw it or understood its meaning for himself. While it
is certain that Philip had early detected the weakness of the Angevin
empire, and had formed his plan for its destruction long before he was
able to carry it out, we can only note with surprise that Henry made no
change in his policy to meet the new danger of which he had abundant
warning. He seems never to have understood that in Philip Augustus he had
to deal with a different man from Louis VII. That he continued steadily
under the changed circumstances his old policy of non-intervention
outside his own frontiers, of preserving peace to the latest possible
moment, and of devoting himself to the maintenance and perfection of a
strong government wherever he had direct rule, is more creditable to the
character of Henry II than to the insight of a statesman responsible for
the continuance of a great empire, and offered the realization of a great
possibility. To Philip Augustus it was the possibility only which was
offered; the empire was still to be created: but while hardly more than a
boy, he read the situation with clear insight and saw before him the goal
to be reached and the way to reach it, and this he followed with untiring
patience to the end of his long reign.

When Henry returned to England at the end of April, 1186, he abandoned
all prospect of profiting by the opportunity which still existed, though
in diminished degree, of checking in its beginning the ominous growth of
Philip's power, an opportunity which we may believe his grandfather would
not have overlooked or neglected. By the end of the summer all chance of
this was over, and no policy of safety remained to Henry but a trial of
strength to the finish with his crafty suzerain, for Philip had not
merely returned successful from his Burgundian expedition, but he had
almost without effort at concealment made his first moves against the
Angevin power. His opening was the obvious one offered him by the
dissensions in Henry's family, and his first move was as skilful as the
latest he ever made. Richard was now on good terms with his father; it
would even appear that he had been restored to the rule of Aquitaine; at
any rate Henry's last act before his return to England in April had been
to hand over to Richard a great sum of money with directions to subdue
his foes. Richard took the money and made successful and cruel war on the
Count of Toulouse, on what grounds we know not. Geoffrey, however,
offered himself to Philip's purposes. Henry's third son seems to have
been in character and conduct somewhat like his eldest brother, the young
king. He had the same popular gifts and attractive manners; he enjoyed an
almost equal renown for knightly accomplishments and for the knightly
virtue of "largesse"; and he was, in the same way, bitterly dissatisfied
with his own position. He believed that the death of his brother ought to
improve his prospects, and his mind was set on having the county of Anjou
added to his possessions. When Richard and his father refused him this,
he turned to France and betook himself to Paris. Philip received him with
open arms, and they speedily became devoted friends. Just what their
immediate plans were we cannot say. They evidently had not been made
public, and various rumours were in circulation. Some said that Geoffrey
would hold Britanny of Philip; or he had been made seneschal of France,
an office that ought to go with the county of Anjou; or he was about to
invade and devastate Normandy. It is probable that some overt action
would have been undertaken very shortly when suddenly, on August 19,
Geoffrey died, having been mortally hurt in a tournament, or from an
attack of fever, or perhaps from both causes. He was buried in Paris,
Philip showing great grief and being, it is said, with difficulty
restrained from throwing himself into the grave.

The death of Geoffrey may have made a change in the form of Philip's
plans, and perhaps in the date of his first attempt to carry them out,
but not in their ultimate object. It furnished him, indeed, with a new
subject of demand on Henry. There had been no lack of subjects in the
past, and he had pushed them persistently: the question of Margaret's
dower lands,--the return of the Norman Vexin,--and of the payment of her
money allowance, complicated now by her second marriage to Bela, king of
Hungary; the standing question of the marriage of Philip's sister Adela;
the dispute about the suzerainty of Auvergne still unsettled; and finally
Richard's war on the Count of Toulouse. Now was added the question of the
wardship of Britanny. At the time of his death one child had been born to
Geoffrey of his marriage with Constance,--a daughter, Eleanor, who was
recognized as the heiress of the county. Without delay Philip sent an
embassy to Henry in England and demanded the wardship of the heiress,
with threats of war if the demand was not complied with. The justice of
Philip's claim in this case was not entirely clear since he was not the
immediate lord of Britanny, but kings had not always respected the rights
of their vassals in the matter of rich heiresses, and possibly Geoffrey
had actually performed the homage to Philip which he was reported to be
planning to do. In any case it was impossible for Henry to accept
Philip's view of his rights, but war at the moment would have been
inconvenient, and so he sent a return embassy with Ranulf Glanvill at its
head, and succeeded in getting a truce until the middle of the winter.
Various fruitless negotiations followed, complicated by an attack made by
the garrison of Gisors on French workmen found building an opposing
castle just over the border. Henry himself crossed to Normandy about the
middle of February, 1187, but personal interviews with Philip led to no
result, and the situation drifted steadily toward war. The birth of a
posthumous son to Geoffrey in March--whom the Bretons insisted on calling
Arthur, though Henry wished to give him his own name, a sure sign of
their wish for a more independent position--brought about no change.
Philip had protected himself from all danger of outside interference by
an alliance with the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and was determined on
war. By the middle of May both sides were ready. Henry divided his army
into four divisions and adopted a purely defensive policy.

Philip's attack fell on the lands of disputed allegiance on the eastern
edge of the duchy of Aquitaine near his own possessions, and after a few
minor successes he laid siege to the important castle of Chateauroux. This
was defended by Richard in person, with his brother John, but Philip
pressed the siege until Henry drew near with an army, when he retired a
short distance and awaited the next move. Negotiations followed, in the
course of which the deep impression that the character of Philip had
already made on his great vassals is clearly to be seen.[49] Henry's
desire was to avoid a battle, and this was probably the best policy for
him; it certainly was unless he were willing, as he seems not to have
been, to bring on at once the inevitable mortal struggle between the
houses of Capet and Anjou. Unimportant circumstances on both sides came in
to favour Henry's wish and to prevent a battle, and finally Henry himself,
by a most extraordinary act of folly, threw into the hands of Philip the
opportunity of gaining a greater advantage for his ultimate purposes than
he could hope to gain at that time from any victory. Henry's great danger
was Richard. In the situation it was incumbent on him from every
consideration of policy to keep Richard satisfied, and to prevent not
merely the division of the Angevin strength, but the reinforcement of
the enemy with the half of it. He certainly had had experience enough
of Richard's character to know what to expect. He ought by that time to
have been able to read Philip Augustus's. And yet he calmly proceeded to
a step from which, it is hardly too much to say, all his later troubles
came through the suspicion he aroused in Richard's mind,--a step so
unaccountable that we are tempted to reject our single, rather doubtful
account of it. He wrote a letter to Philip proposing that Adela should be
married to John, who should then be invested with all the French fiefs
held by the house of Anjou except Normandy, which with the kingdom of
England should remain to Richard.[50] If Henry was blind enough to suppose
that the Duke of Aquitaine could be reconciled to such an arrangement,
Philip saw at once what the effect of the proposal would be, and he sent
the letter to Richard.

The immediate result was a treaty of peace to continue in force for two
years, brought about apparently by direct negotiations between Richard
and Philip, but less unfavourable to Henry than might have been expected.
It contained, according to our French authorities, the very probable
agreement that the points in dispute between the two kings should be
submitted to the decision of the curia regis of France, and Philip was
allowed to retain the lordships of Issoudun and Freteval, which he had
previously occupied, as pledges for the carrying out of the treaty. The
ultimate result of Philip's cunning was that Richard deserted his father
and went home with the king of France, and together they lived for a time
in the greatest intimacy. Philip, it seemed, now loved Richard "as his
own soul," and showed him great honour. Every day they ate at table from
the same plate, and at night they slept in the same bed. One is reminded
of Philip's ardent love for Geoffrey, and certain suspicions inevitably
arise in the mind. But at any rate the alarm of Henry was excited by the
new intimacy, and he did not venture to go over to England as he wished
to do until he should know what the outcome was to be. He sent frequent
messengers to Richard, urging him to return and promising to grant him
everything that he could justly claim, but without effect. At one time
Richard pretended to be favourably inclined, and set out as if to meet
his father, but instead he fell upon the king's treasure at Chinon and
carried it off to Aquitaine to use in putting his own castles into a
state of defence. His father, however, forgave even this and continued to
send for him, and at last he yielded. Together they went to Angers, and
there in a great assembly Richard performed liege homage to his father
once more and swore fealty to him "against all men," a fact which would
seem to show that Richard had in some formal way renounced his fealty
while at Philip's court, though we have no account of his doing so.
During this period, in September, 1187, an heir was born to King Philip,
the future Louis VIII.

As this year drew to its close frequent letters and messengers from the
Holy Land made known to the west one terrible disaster after another.
Saladin with a great army had fallen on the weak and divided kingdom and
had won incredible successes. The infant king, Baldwin V, had died before
these events began, and his mother Sibyl was recognized as queen. She
immediately, against the expressed wish of the great barons, gave the
crown to her husband, Guy of Lusignan. He was a brave man and an earnest
defender of the Holy Land, but he could not accomplish the impossible
task of maintaining a kingdom, itself so weak, in the face of open and
secret treachery. In October the news reached Europe of the utter defeat
of the Christians, of the capture of the king, and worse still of the
true Cross by the infidels. The pope, Urban III, died of grief at the
tidings. His successor, Gregory VIII, at once urged Europe to a new
crusade in a long and vigorous appeal. Very soon afterwards followed the
news of the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin. The Emperor Frederick was
anxious to put himself at the head of the armies of Christendom, as he
was entitled to do as sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, and lead them
to recover the holy places. But while most princes delayed and waited to
know what others would do, the impulsive and emotional Richard took the
cross the next morning, men said, after he had learned the news. This he
did without the knowledge of his father who was shocked to learn of it,
and shut himself up for days, understanding more clearly than did his son
what the absence of the heir to the throne on such a long and uncertain
expedition would mean at such a time.

The advisability, the possibility even, of such a crusade would all
depend upon Philip, and the movements of Philip just then were very
disquieting. About the beginning of the new year, 1188, he returned from
a conference with the Emperor Frederick, which in itself could bode no
good to the father-in-law and supporter of Henry the Lion, and
immediately began collecting a large army, "impudently boasting," says
the English chronicler of Henry's life, "that he would lay waste Normandy
and the other lands of the king of England that side the sea, if he did
not return to him Gisors and all that belonged to it or make his son
Richard take to wife Adela the daughter of his father Louis." Philip
evidently did not intend to drop everything to go to the rescue of
Jerusalem nor was he inclined at any expense to his own interests to make
it easy for those who would. Henry who was already at the coast on the
point of crossing to England, at once turned back when he heard of
Philip's threats, and arranged for a conference with him on January 21.
Here was the opportunity for those who were urging on the crusade. The
kings of France and England with their chief barons were to be together
while the public excitement was still high and the Christian duty of
checking the Saracen conquest still keenly felt. The Archbishop of Tyre,
who had come to France on this mission, gave up all his other
undertakings as soon as he heard of the meeting and resolved to make
these great princes converts to his cause. It was not an easy task.
Neither Henry nor Philip was made of crusading material, and both were
far more interested in the tasks of constructive statesmanship which they
had on hand than in the fate of the distant kingdom of Jerusalem. A
greater obstacle than this even was their fear of each other, of what
evil one might do in the absence of the other, the unwillingness of
either to pledge himself to anything definite until he knew what the
other was going to do, and the difficulty of finding any arrangement
which would bind them both at once. It is practically certain that they
yielded at last only to the pressure of public opinion which must have
been exceedingly strong in the excitement of the time and under the
impassioned eloquence of a messenger direct from the scene of the recent
disasters. It was a great day for the Church when so many men of the
highest rank, kings and great barons, took the cross, and it was agreed
that the spot should be marked by a new church, and that it should bear
the name of the Holy Field.

Whatever may be true of Philip, there can, I think, be no doubt that, when
Henry took the cross, he intended to keep his vow. It was agreed between
them that all things should remain as they were until their return; and
Henry formally claimed of his suzerain the protection of his lands during
his absence, and Philip accepted the duty.[51] A few days after taking the
cross Henry held an assembly at Le Mans and ordered a tax in aid of his
crusade. This was the famous Saladin tithe, which marks an important step
in the history of modern taxation. It was modelled on an earlier tax for
the same purpose which had been agreed upon between France and England
in 1166, but it shows a considerable development upon that, both in
conception and in the arrangements for carrying out the details of the
tax. The ordinance provided for the payment by all, except those who were
themselves going on the crusade, of a tenth, a "tithe," of both personal
property and income, precious stones being exempt and the necessary tools
of their trade of both knights and clerks. Somewhat elaborate machinery
was provided for the collection of the tax, and the whole was placed under
the sanction of the Church. A similar ordinance was shortly adopted by
Philip for France, and on February 11, Henry, then in England, held a
council at Geddington, in Northamptonshire, and ordained the same tax for

In the meantime the crusade had received a check, and partly, at least,
through the fault of its most eager leader, Richard of Poitou. A
rebellion had broken out against him, and he was pushing the war with his
usual rapidity and his usual severities, adopting now, however, the
interesting variation of remitting all other penalties if his prisoners
would take the cross. If Richard was quickly master of the rebellion, it
served on the one hand to embitter him still more against his father,
from the report, which in his suspicious attitude he was quick to
believe, that Henry's money and encouragement had supported the rebels
against him; and on the other, to lead to hostilities with the Count of
Toulouse. The count had not neglected the opportunity of Richard's
troubles to get a little satisfaction for his own grievances, and had
seized some merchants from the English lands. Richard responded with a
raid into Toulouse, in which he captured the chief minister of the count
and refused ransom for him. Then the count in his turn arrested a couple
of English knights of some standing at court, who were returning from a
pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella. Still Richard refused either
ransom or exchange, and an appeal to the king of France led to no result.
Richard told his father afterwards that Philip had encouraged his attack
on the count. Soon, however, his rapid successes in Toulouse, where he
was taking castle after castle, compelled Philip to more decided
interference; probably he was not sorry to find a reason both to postpone
the crusade and to renew the attack on the Angevin lands. First he sent
an embassy to Henry in England to protest against Richard's doings, and
received the reply that the war was against Henry's will, and that he
could not justify it. With a great army Philip then invaded Auvergne,
captured Chateauroux and took possession of almost all Berri. An embassy
sent to bring Philip to a better mind was refused all satisfaction, and
Henry, seeing that his presence was necessary in France, crossed the
channel for the last of many times and landed in Normandy on July 1,

All things were now, indeed, drawing to a close with Henry, who was not
merely worn out and ill, but was plunged into a tide of events flowing
swiftly against all the currents of his own life. Swept away by the
strong forces of a new age which he could no longer control, driven and
thwarted by men, even his own sons, whose ideals of conduct and ambition
were foreign to his own and never understood, compelled to do things
he had striven to avoid, and to see helplessly the policy of his long
reign brought to naught, the coming months were for him full of bitter
disasters which could end only, as they did, in heartbreak and death.
Not yet, however, was he brought to this point, and he got together a
great army and made ready to fight if necessary. But first, true to his
policy of negotiation, he sent another embassy to Philip and demanded
restitution under the threat of renouncing his fealty. Philip's answer
was a refusal to stop his hostilities until he should have occupied all
Berri and the Norman Vexin. War was now inevitable, but it lingered for
some time without events of importance, and on August 16 began a new
three days' conference at the historic meeting-place of the kings near
Gisors. This also ended fruitlessly; some of the French even attacked the
English position, and then cut down in anger the old elm tree under which
so many conferences had taken place. Philip was, however, in no condition
to push the war upon which he had determined. The crusading ardour of
France which he himself did not feel, and which had failed to bring about
a peace at Gisors, expressed itself in another way; and the Count of
Flanders and Theobald of Blois and other great barons of Philip notified
him that they would take no part in a war against Christians until after
their return from Jerusalem.

Philip's embarrassment availed Henry but little, although his own force
remained undiminished. A sudden dash at Mantes on August 30, led only to
the burning of a dozen or more French villages, for Philip by a very
hurried march from Chaumont was able to throw himself into the city, and
Henry withdrew without venturing a pitched battle. On the next day
Richard, who till then had been with his father, went off to Berri to
push with some vigour the attack on Philip's conquests there, promising
his father faithful service. A double attack on the French, north and
south, was not a bad plan as Philip was then situated, but for some
reason not clear to us Henry seems to have let matters drift and made no
use of the great army which he had got together. The king of France,
however, saw clearly what his next move should be, and he sent to propose
peace to Henry on the basis of a restoration of conquests on both sides.
Henry was ever ready for peace, and a new conference took place at
Chatillon on the Indre, where it was found that Philip's proposition was
the exchange of his conquests in Berri for those of Richard in Toulouse,
and the handing over to him of the castle of Pacy, near Mantes, as a
pledge that the treaty would be kept. It is difficult to avoid the
conclusion that Philip knew that this demand would be refused, as it was,
and that he had only made the proposal of peace in order to gain time to
collect a new force. In this he must now have succeeded, for he
immediately took the offensive in Berri and added somewhat to his
conquests, probably by hiring the German mercenaries whom we learn he
shortly afterwards defrauded of their pay.

In the meantime Richard and Philip were drawing together again, in what
way exactly we do not know. We suspect some underhanded work of Philip's
which would be easy enough. Evidently Richard was still very anxious
about the succession, and it seems to have occurred to him to utilize his
father's desire for peace on the basis of Philip's latest proposition, to
gain a definite recognition of his rights. At any rate we are told that
he brought about the next meeting between the kings, and that he offered
to submit the question of the rights or wrongs of his war with Toulouse
to the decision of the French king's court. This dramatic and fateful
conference which marks the success of Philip's intrigues began on
November 18 at Bonmoulins, and lasted three days. Henry was ready to
accept the proposal now made that all things should be restored on both
sides to the condition which existed at the taking of the cross, but here
Richard interposed a decided objection. He could not see the justice of
being made to restore his conquests in Toulouse which he was holding in
domain, and which were worth a thousand marks a year, to get back himself
some castles in Berri which were not of his domain but only held of him.
Then Philip for him, evidently by previous agreement, brought forward the
question of the succession. The new proposition was that Richard and
Adela should be married and that homage should be paid to Richard as heir
from all the Angevin dominions. It seems likely, though it is not so
stated, that on this condition Richard would have agreed to the even
exchange of conquests. As time went on the discussion, which had been at
first peaceable and calm, became more and more excited so that on the
third day the attendants came armed. On that day harsh words and threats
were exchanged. To Richard's direct demand that he should make him secure
in the succession, Henry replied that he could not do it in the existing
circumstances, for, if he did, he would seem to be yielding to threats
and not acting of his own will. Then Richard, crying out that he could
now believe things that had seemed incredible to him, turned at once to
Philip, threw off his sword, and in the presence of his father and all
the bystanders offered him his homage for all the French fiefs, including
Toulouse, saying his father's rights during his lifetime and his own
allegiance to his father. Philip accepted this offer without scruple, and
promised to Richard the restoration of what he had taken in Berri, with
Issoudun and all that he had conquered of the English possessions since
the beginning of his reign.

To one at least of the historians of the time Richard's feeling about the
succession did not seem strange, nor can it to us.[52] For this act of
Richard, after which peace was never restored between himself and his
father, Henry must share full blame with him. Whether he was actuated by
a blind affection for his youngest son, or by dislike and distrust of
Richard, or by a remembrance of his troubles with his eldest son, his
refusal to recognize Richard as his heir and to allow him to receive the
homage of the English and French barons, a custom sanctioned by the
practice of a hundred years in England and of a much longer period in
France, was a political and dynastic blunder of a most astonishing kind.
Nothing could show more clearly how little he understood Philip Augustus
or the danger which now threatened the Angevin house. As for Richard, he
may have been quick-tempered, passionate, and rash, not having the
well-poised mind of the diplomatist or the statesman, at least not one of
the high order demanded by the circumstances, and deceived by his own
anger and by the machinations of Philip; yet we can hardly blame him for
offering his homage to the king of France. Nor can we call the act
illegal, though it was extreme and unusual, and might seem almost
revolutionary. An appeal to his overlord was in fact the only legal means
left him of securing his inheritance, and it bound Philip not to recognize
any one else as the heir of Henry. Philip was clearly within his legal
rights in accepting the offer of Richard, and the care with which
Richard's declaration was made to keep within the law, reserving all the
rights which should be reserved, shows that however impulsive his act may
have seemed to the bystanders, it really had been carefully considered and
planned in advance. The conference broke up after this with no other
result than a truce to January 13, and Richard rode off with Philip
without taking leave of his father.

For all that had taken place Henry did not give up his efforts to bring
back Richard to himself, but they were without avail. He himself,
burdened with anxiety and torn by conflicting emotions, was growing more
and more ill. The scanty attendance at his Christmas court showed him the
opinion of the barons of the hopelessness of his cause and the prudence
of making themselves secure with Richard. He was not well enough to meet
his enemies in the conference proposed for January 13, and it was
postponed first to February 2 and then to Easter, April 9. It was now,
however, too late for anything to be accomplished by diplomacy. Henry
could not yield to the demands made of him until he was beaten in the
field, nor were they likely to be modified. Indeed we find at this time
the new demand appearing that John should be made to go on the crusade
when Richard did. Even the intervention of the pope, who was represented
at the conferences finally held soon after Easter and early in June, by a
cardinal legate, in earnest effort for the crusade, served only to show
how completely Philip was the man of a new age. To the threat of the
legate, who saw that the failure to make peace was chiefly due to him,
that he would lay France under an interdict if he did not come to terms
with the king of England, Philip replied in defiant words that he did not
fear the sentence and would not regard it, for it would be unjust, since
the Roman Church had no right to interfere within France between the king
and his rebellious vassal and he overbore the legate and compelled him to
keep silence.

After this conference events drew swiftly to an end. The allies pushed
the war, and in a few days captured Le Mans, forcing Henry to a sudden
flight in which he was almost taken prisoner. A few days later still
Philip stormed the walls of Tours and took that city. Henry was almost a
fugitive with few followers and few friends in the hereditary county from
which his house was named. He had turned aside from the better fortified
and more easily defended Normandy against the advice of all, and now
there was nothing for him but to yield. Terms of peace were settled in a
final conference near Colombieres on July 4, 1189. At the meeting Henry
was so ill that he could hardly sit his horse, though Richard and Philip
had sneered at his illness and called it pretence, but he resolutely
endured the pain as he did the humiliation of the hour. Philip's demands
seem surprisingly small considering the man and the completeness of his
victory, but there were no grounds on which he could demand from Henry
any great concession. One thing he did insist upon, and that was for him
probably the most important advantage which he gained. Henry must
acknowledge himself entirely at his mercy, as a contumacious vassal, and
accept any sentence imposed on him. In the great task which Philip
Augustus had before him, already so successfully begun, of building up in
France a strong monarchy and of forcing many powerful and independent
vassals into obedience to the crown, nothing could be more useful than
this precedent, so dramatic and impressive, of the unconditional
submission of the most powerful of all the vassals, himself a crowned
king. All rights over the disputed county of Auvergne were abandoned.
Richard was acknowledged heir and was to receive the homage of all
barons. Those who had given in their allegiance to Richard should remain
with him till the crusade, which was to be begun the next spring, and
20,000 marks were to be paid the king of France for his expenses on the
captured castles, which were to be returned to Henry.

These were the principal conditions, and to all these Henry agreed as he
must. That he intended to give up all effort and rest satisfied with this
result is not likely, and words he is said to have used indicate the
contrary, but his disease and his broken spirits had brought him nearer
the end than he knew. One more blow, for him the severest of all,
remained for him to suffer. He found at the head of the list of those who
had abandoned his allegiance the name of John. Then his will forsook him
and his heart broke. He turned his face to the wall and cried: "Let
everything go as it will; I care no more for myself or for the world." On
July 6 he died at Chinon, murmuring almost to the last, "Shame on a
conquered king," and abandoned by all his family except his eldest son
Geoffrey, the son, it was said, of a woman, low in character as in birth.

[48] Gesia Henrici, i. 338.

[49] Gervase of Canterbury, i. 371; Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis
Instructione, iii. 2. (Opera, viii. 231.)

[50] Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis Instructione. (Opera, viii.

[51] Ralph de Diceto, ii. 55.

[52] Gervase of Canterbury, i. 435.



The death of Henry II may be taken to mark the close of an epoch in
English history, the epoch which had begun with the Norman Conquest. We
may call it, for want of a better name, the feudal age,--the age during
which the prevailing organization, ideals, and practices had been
Norman-feudal. It was an age in which Normandy and the continental
interests of king and barons, and the continental spirit and methods, had
imposed themselves upon the island realm. It was a time in which the
great force in the state and the chief factor in its history had been the
king. The interests of the barons had been on the whole identical with
his. The rights which feudal law and custom gave him had been practically
unquestioned, save by an always reluctant Church, and baronial opposition
had taken the form of a resistance to his general power rather than of a
denial of special rights. Now a change had silently begun which was soon
to show itself openly and to lead to great results. This change involved
only slowly and indirectly the general power of the king, but it takes
its beginning from two sources: the rising importance of England in the
total dominions of the king, and the disposition to question certain of
his rights. Normandy was losing its power over the English baron, or if
this is too strong a statement for anything that was yet true, he was
beginning to identify himself more closely with England and to feel less
interest in sacrifices and burdens which inured only to the benefit of
the king and a policy foreign to the country. To the disposition to
question the king's actions and demands Henry had himself contributed not
a little by the frequency and greatness of those demands, and by the
small regard to the privileges of his vassals shown in the development of
his judicial reforms and in his financial measures these last indeed
under Henry II violated the baronial rights less directly but, as they
were carried on by his sons, they attacked them in a still more decisive
way. When once this disposition had begun, the very strength of the
Norman monarchy was an element of weakness, for it gave to individual
complaints a unity and a degree of importance and interest for the
country which they might not otherwise have had. In this development the
reign of Richard, though differing but little in outward appearance from
his father's, was a time of rapid preparation, leading directly to the
struggles of his brother's reign and to the first great forward step, the
act which marks the full beginning of the new era.

Richard could have felt no grief at the death of his father, and he made
no show of any. Geoffrey had gone for the burial to the nunnery of
Fontevrault, a favourite convent of Henry's, and there Richard appeared
as soon as he heard the news, and knelt beside the body of his father,
which was said to have bled on his approach, as long as it would take to
say the Lord's prayer. Then we are told he turned at once to business.
The first act which he performed, according to one of our authorities, on
stepping outside the church was characteristic of the beginning of his
reign. One of the most faithful of his father's later servants was
William Marshal, who had been earlier in the service of his son Henry. He
had remained with the king to the last, and in the hurried retreat from
Le Mans he had guarded the rear. On Richard's coming up in pursuit he had
turned upon him with his lance and might have killed him as he was
without his coat of mail, but instead, on Richard's crying out to be
spared, he had only slain his horse, and so checked the pursuit, though
he had spared him with words of contempt which Richard must have
remembered: "No, I will not slay you," he had said; "the devil may slay
you." Now both he and his friends were anxious as to the reception he
would meet with from the prince, but Richard was resolved to start from
the beginning as king and not as Count of Poitou. He called William
Marshal to him, referred to the incident, granted him his full pardon,
confirmed the gift to him which Henry had recently made him of the hand
of the heiress of the Earl of Pembroke and her rich inheritance, and
commissioned him to go at once to England to take charge of the king's
interests there until his own arrival. This incident was typical of
Richard's action in general. Henry's faithful servants suffered nothing
for their fidelity in opposing his son; the barons who had abandoned him
before his death, to seek their own selfish advantage because they
believed the tide was turning against him, were taught that Richard was
able to estimate their conduct at its real worth.

Henry on his death-bed had made no attempt to dispose of the succession.
On the retreat from Le Mans he had sent strict orders to Normandy, to
give up the castles there in the event of his death to no one but John.
But the knowledge of John's treason would have changed that, even if it
had been possible to set aside the treaty of Colombieres. There was no
disposition anywhere to question Richard's right. On July 20 at Rouen he
was formally girt with the sword of the duchy of Normandy, by the
archbishop and received the homage of the clergy and other barons. He at
once confirmed to his brother John, who had joined him, the grants made
or promised him by their father: L4000 worth of land in England, the
county of Mortain in Normandy, and the hand and inheritance of the
heiress of the Earl of Gloucester. To his other brother, Geoffrey, he
gave the archbishopric of York, carrying out a wish which Henry had
expressed in his last moments; and Matilda, the daughter of Henry the
Lion, was given as his bride to another Geoffrey, the heir of the county
of Perche, a border land whose alliance would be of importance in case of
trouble with France. Two days later he had an interview with King Philip
at the old meeting-place near Gisors. There Philip quickly made evident
the fact that in his eyes the king of England was a different person from
the rebellious Count of Poitou, and he met Richard with his familiar
demand that the Norman Vexin should be given up. Without doubt the point
of view had changed as much to Richard, and he adopted his father's
tactics and promised to marry Adela. He also promised Philip 4000 marks
in addition to the 20,000 which Henry had agreed to pay. With these
promises Philip professed himself content. He received Richard's homage
for all the French fiefs, and the treaty lately made with Henry was
confirmed, including the agreement to start on the crusade the next

In the meantime by the command of Richard his mother, Eleanor, was set
free from custody in England; and assuming a royal state she made a
progress through the kingdom and gave orders for the release of
prisoners. About the middle of August Richard himself landed in England
with John. No one had any grounds on which to expect a particularly good
reign from him, but he was everywhere joyfully received, especially by
his mother and the barons at Winchester. A few days later the marriage of
John to Isabel of Gloucester was celebrated, in spite of a formal protest
entered by Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, because the parties were
related within the prohibited degrees. The coronation took place on
Sunday, September 3, and was celebrated apparently with much care to
follow the old ritual correctly and with much formal pomp and ceremony,
so that it became a new precedent for later occasions down to the present

Richard was then just coming to the end of his thirty-second year. In
physical appearance he was not like either the Norman or the Angevin
type, but was taller and of a more delicate and refined cast, and his
portrait shows a rather handsome face. In character and ambitions also he
was not a descendant of his father's line. The humdrum business of ruling
the state, of developing its law and institutions, of keeping order and
doing justice, or even of following a consistent and long-continued
policy of increasing his power or enlarging his territories, was little
to his taste. He was determined, as his father had been, to be a strong
king and to put down utterly every rebellion, but his determination to be
obeyed was rather a resolution of the moment than a means to any foreseen
and planned conclusion. He has been called by one who knew the time most
thoroughly "the creation and impersonation of his age," and nothing
better can be said. The first age of a self-conscious chivalry,
delighting intensely in the physical life, in the sense of strength and
power, that belonged to baron and knight, and in the stirring scenes of
castle and tournament and distant adventure, the age of the troubadour,
of an idealized warfare and an idealized love, the age which had
expressed one side of itself in his brother Henry, expressed a more manly
side in Richard. He was first of all a warrior; not a general but a
fighter. The wild enthusiasm of the hand-to-hand conflict, the matching
of skill against skill and of strength against strength, was an intense
pleasure to him, and his superiority in the tactics of the battle-field,
in the planning and management of a fight, or even of a series of attacks
or defences, a march or a retreat, placed him easily in the front rank of
commanders in an age when the larger strategy of the highest order of
generalship had little place. Of England he had no knowledge. He was born
there, and he had paid it two brief visits before his coronation, but he
knew nothing of the language or the people. He had spent all his life in
his southern dominions, and the south had made him what he was. His
interest in England was chiefly as a source of supplies, and to him the
crusade was, by the necessities of his nature, of greater importance than
the real business of a king. For England itself the period was one during
which there was no king, though it was by the authority of an absent king
that a series of great ministers carried forward the development of the
machinery and law which had begun to be put into organized form in
Henry's reign, and carried forward also the training of the classes who
had a share in public affairs for the approaching crisis of their
history. From this point of view the exceedingly burdensome demands of
Richard upon his English subjects are the most important feature of his

At the beginning of his reign Richard had, like his father, a great work
to do, great at least from his point of view; but the difference between
the two tasks shows how thoroughly Henry had performed his. Richard's
problem was to get as much money as possible for the expenses of the
crusade, and to arrange things, if possible, in such a shape that the
existing peace and quiet would be undisturbed during his absence. About
the business of raising money he set immediately and thoroughly. The
medieval king had many things to sell which are denied the modern
sovereign: offices, favour, and pardons, the rights of the crown, and even
in some cases the rights of the purchaser himself. This was Richard's
chief resource. "The king exposed for sale," as a chronicler of the time
said,[53] "everything that he had"; or as another said,[54] "whoever
wished, bought of the king his own and others' rights": not merely was the
willing purchaser welcome, but the unwilling was compelled to buy wherever
possible. Ranulf Glanvill, the great judge, Henry's justiciar and "the eye
of the king," was compelled to resign and to purchase his liberty with the
great sum, it is asserted, of L15,000. In most of the counties the former
sheriffs were removed and fined, and the offices thus vacated were sold to
the highest bidder. The Bishop of Durham, Hugh de Puiset, bought the
earldom of Northumberland and the justiciarship of England; the Bishop of
Winchester and the Abbot of St. Edmund's bought manors which belonged of
right to their churches; the Bishop of Coventry bought a priory and the
sheriffdoms of three counties; even the king's own devoted follower,
William of Longchamp, paid L3000 to be chancellor of the kingdom. Sales
like these were not unusual in the practice of kings, nor would they have
occasioned much remark at the time, if the matter had not been carried to
such extremes, and the rights and interests of the kingdom so openly
disregarded. The most flagrant case of this sort was that relating to the
liege homage of the king of Scotland, which Henry had exacted by formal
treaty from William the Lion and his barons. In December, 1189, King
William was escorted to Richard at Canterbury by Geoffrey, Archbishop of
York and the barons of Yorkshire, and there did homage for his English
lands, but was, on a payment of 10,000 marks, released from whatever
obligations he had assumed in addition to those of former Scottish kings.
Nothing could show more clearly than this how different were the interests
of Richard from his father's, or how little he troubled himself about the
future of his kingdom.

Already before this incident, which preceded Richard's departure by only
a few days, many of his arrangements for the care of the kingdom in his
absence had been made. At a great council held at Pipewell abbey near
Geddington on September 15, vacant bishoprics were filled with men whose
names were to be conspicuous in the period now beginning. Richard's
chancellor, William Longchamp, was made Bishop of Ely; Richard Fitz
Nigel, of the family of Roger of Salisbury, son of Nigel, Bishop of Ely,
and like his ancestors long employed in the exchequer and to be continued
in that service, was made Bishop of London; Hubert Walter, a connexion of
Ranulf Glanvill, and trained by him for more important office than was
now intrusted to him, became Bishop of Salisbury; and Geoffrey's
appointment to York was confirmed. The responsibility of the
justiciarship was at the same time divided between Bishop Hugh of Durham
and the Earl of Essex, who, however, shortly died, and in his place was
appointed William Longchamp. With them were associated as assistant
justices five others, of whom two were William Marshal, now possessing
the earldom of Pembroke, and Geoffrey Fitz Peter himself afterwards
justiciar. At Canterbury, in December, further dispositions were made.
Richard had great confidence in his mother, and with good reason.
Although she was now nearly seventy years of age, she was still vigorous
in mind and body, and she was always faithful to the interests of her
sons, and wise and skilful in the assistance which she gave them. Richard
seems to have left her with some ultimate authority in the state, and he
richly provided for her wants. He assigned her the provision which his
father had already made for her, and added also that which Henry I had
made for his queen and Stephen for his, so that, as was remarked at the
time, she had the endowment of three queens. John was not recognized as
heir nor assigned any authority. Perhaps Richard hoped to escape in this
way the troubles of his father, but, perhaps remembering also how much a
scanty income had had to do with his brother Henry's discontent, he gave
him almost the endowment of a king. Besides the grants already made to
him in Normandy, and rich additions since his coming to England, he now
conferred on him all the royal revenues of the four south-western
counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset. He already held the
counties of Derby and Nottingham. Richard plainly intended that political
rights should not go with these grants, but he shows very little
knowledge of John's character or appreciation of the temptation which he
put in his way in the possession of a great principality lacking only the
finishing touches.

John's position was not the only source from which speedy trouble was
threatened when Richard crossed to Normandy on December 11. He had
prepared another, equally certain, in the arrangement which had been made
for the justiciarship. It was absurd to expect Hugh of Puiset and William
Longchamp to work in the same yoke. In spirit and birth Hugh was an
aristocrat of the highest type. Of not remote royal descent, a relative
of the kings both of England and France, he was a proud, worldly-minded,
intensely ambitious prelate of the feudal sort and of great power, almost
a reigning prince in the north. Longchamp was of the class of men who
rise in the service of kings. Not of peasant birth, though but little
above it, he owed everything to his zealous devotion to the interests of
Richard, and, as is usually the case with such men, he had an immense
confidence in himself; he was determined to be master, and he was as
proud of his position and abilities as was the Bishop of Durham of his
blood. Besides this he was naturally of an overbearing disposition and
very contemptuous of those whom he regarded as inferior to himself in any
particular. Hugh in turn felt, no doubt, a great contempt for him, but
Longchamp had no hesitation in measuring himself with the bishop. Soon
after the departure of the king he turned Hugh out of the exchequer and
took his county of Northumberland away from him. Other high-handed
proceedings followed, and many appeals against his chancellor were
carried to Richard in France. To rearrange matters a great council was
summoned to meet in Normandy about the end of winter. The result was that
Richard sustained his minister as Longchamp had doubtless felt sure would
be the case. The Humber was made a dividing line between the two
justiciars, while the pope was asked to make Longchamp legate in England
during the absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was going on the
crusade. Perhaps Richard now began to suspect that he had been preparing
trouble for England instead of peace, for at the same time he exacted an
oath from his brothers, Geoffrey, whose troubles with his church of York
had already begun, and John, not to return to England for three years;
but John was soon after released from his oath at the request of his

Richard was impatient to be gone on the crusade, and he might now believe
that England could be safely left to itself; but many other things
delayed the expedition, and the setting out was finally postponed, by
agreement with Philip, to June 24. The third crusade is the most
generally interesting of all the series, because of the place which it
has taken in literature; because of the greatness of its leaders and
their exploits; of the knightly character of Saladin himself; of the
pathetic fate of the old Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who lost his life
and sacrificed most of his army in an attempt to force his way overland
through Asia Minor; and of its real failure after so great an expenditure
of life and effort and so many minor successes--the most brilliant of all
the crusades, the one great crusade of the age of chivalry: but it
concerns the history of England even less than does the continental
policy of her kings. It belongs rather to the personal history of
Richard, and as such it serves to explain his character and to show why
England was left to herself during his reign.

Richard and Philip met at Vezelai at the end of June, 1190, to begin the
crusade. There they made a new treaty of alliance and agreed to the equal
division of all the advantages to be gained in the expedition, and from
thence Richard marched down the Rhone to Marseilles, where he took ship
on August 7, and, by leisurely stages along the coast of Italy, went on
to Messina which he reached on September 23. Much there was to occupy
Richard's attention in Sicily. Philip had already reached Messina before
him, and many questions arose between them, the most important of which
was that of Richard's marriage. Towards the end of the winter Queen
Eleanor came to Sicily, bringing with her Berengaria, the daughter of the
king of Navarre, whom Richard had earlier known and admired, and whom he
had now decided to marry. Naturally Philip objected, since Richard had
definitely promised to marry his sister Adela; but now he flatly refused
to marry one of whose relations with his father evil stories were told.
By the intervention of the Count of Flanders a new treaty was made, and
Richard was released from his engagement, paying 10,000 marks to the king
of France. Quarrels with the inhabitants of Messina, due partly to the
lawlessness of the crusaders and partly to Richard's overbearing
disposition, led to almost open hostilities, and indirectly to jealousy
on the part of the French. Domestic politics in the kingdom of Sicily
were a further source of trouble. Richard's brother-in-law, King William,
had died a year before the arrival of the crusaders, and the throne was
in dispute between Henry VI, the new king of Germany, who had married
Constance, William's aunt and heiress, and Tancred, an illegitimate
descendant of the Norman house. Tancred was in possession, and to
Richard, no doubt, the support of Sicily at the time seemed more
important than the abstract question of right or the distant effect of
his policy on the crusade. Accordingly a treaty was made, Tancred was
recognized as king, and a large sum of money was paid to Richard; but to
Henry VI the treaty was a new cause of hostility against the king of
England, added to his relationship with the house of Guelf. The winter in
Sicily, which to the modern mind seems an unnecessary waste of time, had
added thus to the difficulties of the crusade new causes of ill-feeling
between the French and English, and given a new reason for suspicion to
the Germans.

It was only on April 10, 1191, that Richard at last set sail on the real
crusade. He sent on a little before him his intended bride, Berengaria,
with his sister Joanna, the widowed queen of Sicily. The voyage proved a
long and stormy one, and it was not until May 6 that the fleet came
together, with some losses, in the harbour of Limasol in Cyprus. The
ruler of Cyprus, Isaac, of the house of Comnenus, who called himself
emperor, showed so inhospitable a mein that Richard felt called upon to
attack and finally to overthrow and imprison him and to take possession
of the island. This conquest, in a moment of anger and quite in
accordance with the character of Richard, though hardly to be justified
even by the international law of that time, was in the end the most
important and most permanent success of the third crusade. Shortly before
his return home Richard gave the island to Guy of Lusignan, to make up to
him his loss of the kingdom of Jerusalem; and his descendants and their
successors retained it for four centuries, an outpost of Christendom
against the advancing power of the Turks. In Cyprus Richard was married
to Berengaria, and on June 5 he set sail for Acre, where he arrived on
the 8th.

The siege of the important port and fortress of Acre, which had been
taken by Saladin shortly before the fall of Jerusalem, had been begun by
Guy of Lusignan at the end of August, 1189, as the first step toward the
recovery of his kingdom. Saladin, recognizing the importance of the post,
had come up with an army a few days later, and had in turn besieged the
besiegers. This situation had not materially changed at the time of
Richard's arrival. Both the town and the besiegers' camp had remained
open to the sea, but though many reinforcements of new crusaders had come
to the Christians almost from the beginning of the siege, little real
progress had been made; even the arrival of King Philip in April had made
no important change. Richard, on landing, found a condition of things
that required the exercise of the utmost tact and skill. Not merely was
the military problem one of the greatest difficulty, but the bitter
factional dissensions of the native lords of Palestine made a successful
issue almost hopeless. Guy of Lusignan had never been a popular king, and
during the siege his wife Sibyl and their two daughters had died, while
his rival, Conrad marquis of Montferrat, had persuaded his sister Isabel
to divorce her husband and to marry him. The result was a conflict for
the crown, which divided the interests and embittered the spirits of
those whom the crusaders had come to aid. Philip had declared for Conrad.
Guy was a man somewhat of Richard's own type, and he would have been
attracted to him apart from the natural effect of Philip's action. One
who is disposed to deny to Richard the qualities of the highest
generalship must admit that he handled the difficult and complicated
affairs he had to control with great patience and unusual self-command,
and that he probably accomplished as much in the circumstances as any one
could have done.

The siege was now pressed with more vigour, and before the middle of
July, Acre surrendered. Then Philip, whose heart was always in his plans
at home, pleaded ill health and returned to France. After this began the
slow advance on Jerusalem, Saladin's troops hanging on the line of march
and constantly attacking in small bodies, while the crusaders suffered
greatly from the climate and from lack of supplies. So great were the
difficulties which Richard had not foreseen that at one time he was
disposed to give up the attempt and to secure what he could by treaty,
but the negotiations failed. The battle of Arsuf gave him an opportunity
to exercise his peculiar talents, and the Saracens were badly defeated;
but the advance was not made any the easier. By the last day of the year
the army had struggled through to within ten miles of the holy city.
There a halt was made; a council of war was held on January 13,1192, and
it was decided, much against the will of Richard, to return and occupy
Ascalon before attempting to take and hold Jerusalem--probably a wise
decision unless the city were to be held merely as material for
negotiation. Various attempts to bring the war to an end by treaty had
been going on during the whole march; Richard had even offered his
sister, Joanna, in marriage to Saladin's brother, whether seriously or
not it is hardly possible to say; but the demands of the two parties
remained too far apart for an agreement to be reached. The winter and
spring were occupied with the refortification of Ascalon and with the
dissensions of the factions, the French finally withdrawing from
Richard's army and going to Acre. In April the Marquis Conrad was
assassinated by emissaries of "the Old Man of the Mountain"; Guy had
little support for the throne except from Richard; and both parties found
it easy to agree on Henry of Champagne, grandson of Queen Eleanor and
Louis VII, and so nephew at once of Philip and Richard, and he was
immediately proclaimed king on marrying Conrad's widow, Isabel. Richard
provided for Guy by transferring to him the island of Cyprus as a new
kingdom. On June 7 began the second march to Jerusalem, the army this
time suffering from the heats of summer as before they had suffered from
the winter climate of Palestine. They reached the same point as in the
first advance, and there halted again; and though all were greatly
encouraged by Richard's brilliant capture of a rich Saracen caravan, he
himself was now convinced that success was impossible. On his arrival
Richard had pushed forward with a scouting party until he could see the
walls of the city in the distance, and obliged to be satisfied with this,
he retreated in July to Acre. One more brilliant exploit of Richard's own
kind remained for him to perform, the most brilliant of all perhaps, the
relief of Joppa which Saladin was just on the point of taking when
Richard with a small force saved the town and forced the Saracens to
retire. On September 2 a truce for three years was made, and the third
crusade was at an end. The progress of Saladin had been checked, a series
of towns along the coast had been recovered, and the kingdom of Cyprus
had been created; these were the results which had been gained by the
expenditure of an enormous treasure and thousands of lives. Who shall say
whether they were worth the cost.

During all the summer Richard had been impatient to return to England,
and his impatience had been due not alone to his discouragement with the
hopeless conditions in Palestine, but partly to the news which had
reached him from home. Ever since he left France, in fact, messages had
been coming to him from one and another, and the story they told was not
of a happy situation. Exactly those things had happened which ought to
have been expected. Soon after the council in Normandy, William Longchamp
had freed himself from his rival Hugh of Durham by placing him under
arrest and forcing him to surrender everything he had bought of the king.
Then for many months the chancellor ruled England as he would, going
about the country with a great train, almost in royal state, so that a
chronicler writing probably from personal observation laments the fact
that a house that entertained him for a night hardly recovered from the
infliction in three years. Even more oppressive on the community as a
whole were the constant exactions of money which he had to make for the
king's expenses. The return of John to England in 1190, or early in 1191,
made at first no change, but discontent with the chancellor's conduct
would naturally look to him for leadership, and it is likely John was
made ready to head an active opposition by the discovery of negotiations
between Longchamp and the king of Scotland for the recognition of Arthur
of Britanny as the heir to the kingdom, negotiations begun--so the
chancellor said--under orders from Richard. About the middle of summer,
1191, actual hostilities seemed about to begin. Longchamp's attempt to
discipline Gerard of Camville, holder of Lincoln castle and sheriff of
Lincolnshire, was resisted by John, who seized the royal castles of
Nottingham and Tickhill. Civil war was only averted by the intervention
of Walter of Coutances, Archbishop of Rouen, who had arrived in England
in the spring with authority from the king to interfere with the
administration of Longchamp if it seemed to him and the council wise to
do so. By his influence peace was made, at an assembly of the barons at
Winchester, on the whole not to the disadvantage of John, and embodied in
a document which is almost a formal treaty. One clause of this agreement
is of special interest as a sign of the trend of thought and as
foreshadowing a famous clause in a more important document soon to be
drawn up. The parties agreed that henceforth no baron or free tenant
should be disseized of land or goods by the king's justices or servants
without a trial according to the customs and assizes of the land, or by
the direct orders of the king. The clause points not merely forward but
backward, and shows what had no doubt frequently occurred since the
departure of the king.

About the middle of September a new element of discord was brought into
the situation by the landing of Geoffrey, who had now been consecrated
Archbishop of York, and who asserted that he, as well as John, had
Richard's permission to return. Longchamp's effort to prevent his coming
failed; but on his landing he had him arrested at the altar of the Priory
of St. Martin's, Dover, where he had taken sanctuary, and he was carried
off a prisoner with many indignities. This was a tactical mistake on
Longchamp's part. It put him greatly in the wrong and furnished a new
cause against him in which everybody could unite. In alarm he declared he
had never given orders for what was done and had Geoffrey released, but it
was too late. The actors in this outrage were excommunicated, and the
chancellor was summoned to a council called by John under the forms of a
great council. At the first meeting, held between Reading and Windsor on
October 5, he did not appear, but formal complaint was made against him,
and his deposition was moved by the Archbishop of Rouen. The meeting was
then adjourned to London, and Longchamp, hearing this, left Windsor at the
same time and took refuge in the Tower. For both parties, as in former
times of civil strife, the support of the citizens of London was of great
importance. They were now somewhat divided, but a recognition of the
opportunity inclined them to the stronger side; and they signified to John
and the barons that they would support them if a commune were granted to
the city.[55] This French institution, granting to a city in its corporate
capacity the legal position and independence of the feudal vassal, had as
yet made no appearance in England. It was bitterly detested by the great
barons, and a chronicler of the time who shared this feeling was no doubt
right in saying that neither Richard nor his father would have sanctioned
it for a million marks, but as he says London found out that there was no
king.[56] John was in pursuit of power, and the price which London
demanded would not seem to him a large one, especially as the day of
reckoning with the difficulty he created was a distant one and might never
come. The commune was granted, and Longchamp was formally deposed. John
was recognized as Richard's heir, fealty was sworn to him, and he was made
regent of the kingdom; Walter of Rouen was accepted as justiciar; and the
castles were disposed of as John desired. Longchamp yielded under protest,
threatening the displeasure of the king, and was allowed to escape to the

The action of John and the barons in deposing Longchamp made little
actual change. John gained less power than he had expected, and found the
new justiciar no more willing to give him control of the kingdom than the
old one. The action was revolutionary, and if it had any permanent
influence on the history of England, it is to be found in the training it
gave the barons in concerted action against a tyrannous minister,
revolutionary but as nearly as possible under the forms of law. While
these events were taking place, Philip was on his way from Tyre to
France. He reached home near the close of the year, ready for the
business for which he had come, to make all that he could out of
Richard's absence. Repulsed in an attempt to get the advantage of the
seneschal of Normandy he applied to John, perhaps with more hope of
success, offering him the hand of the unfortunate Adela with the
investiture of all the French fiefs. John was, of course, already
married, but that was a small matter either to Philip, or to him. He was
ready to listen to the temptation, and was preparing to cross to discuss
the proposition with Philip, when his plans were interrupted by his
mother. She had heard of what was going on and hastily went over to
England to interfere, where with difficulty John was forced to give up
the idea. The year 1192 passed without disturbance. When Longchamp tried
to secure his restoration by bribing John, he was defeated by a higher
bid from the council. An attempt of Philip to invade Normandy was
prevented by the refusal of his barons to serve, for without accusing the
king, they declared that they could not attack Normandy without
themselves committing perjury. At the beginning of 1193 the news reached
England that Richard had been arrested in Germany and that he was held in
prison there.

[53] Benedict of Peterborough, ii. 90.

[54] Roger of Howden, iii. 18.

[55] Round, Commune of London, ch. xi.

[56] Richard of Devizes, Chronicles of Stephen, iii. 416.



Richard was indeed in prison in Germany. To avoid passing through
Toulouse on account of the hostility of the count he had sailed up the
Adriatic, hoping possibly to strike across into the northern parts of
Aquitaine, and there had been shipwrecked. In trying to make his way in
disguise through the dominions of the Duke of Austria he had been
recognized and arrested, for Leopold of Austria had more than one ground
of hatred of Richard, notably because his claim to something like an
equal sovereignty had been so rudely and contemptuously disallowed in the
famous incident of the tearing down of his banner from the walls of Acre.
But a greater sovereign than Leopold had reason to complain of the
conduct of Richard and something to gain from his imprisonment, and the
duke was obliged to surrender his prisoner to the emperor, Henry VI.

When the news of this reached England, it seemed to John that his
opportunity might at last be come, and he crossed over at once to the
continent. Finding the barons of Normandy unwilling to receive him in the
place of Richard, he passed on to Philip, did him homage for the French
fiefs, and even for England it was reported, took oath to marry Adela,
and ceded to him the Norman Vexin. In return Philip promised him a part
of Flanders and his best help to get possession of England and his
brother's other lands. Roger of Howden, who records this bargain,
distinguishes between rumour and what he thought was true, and it may be
taken as a fair example of what it was believed John would agree to in
order to dispossess his imprisoned brother. He then returned to England
with a force of mercenaries, seized the castles of Wallingford and
Windsor, prepared to receive a fleet which Philip was to send to his aid,
and giving out that the king was dead, he demanded the kingdom of the
justices and the fealty of the barons. But nobody believed him; the
justices immediately took measures to resist him and to defend the
kingdom against the threatened invasion, and civil war began anew. Just
then Hubert Walter, Bishop of Salisbury, arrived from Germany, bringing a
letter from Richard himself. It was certain that the king was not dead,
but the news did not promise an immediate release. The emperor demanded a
great ransom and a crowd of hostages of the barons. The justices must at
once set about raising the sum, and a truce was made with John until

The terms of his release which Richard had stated in his letter did not
prove to be the final ones. Henry VI was evidently determined to make all
that he could out of his opportunity, and it was not till after the middle
of the year 1193 that a definite agreement was at last made. The ransom
was fixed at 150,000 marks, of which 100,000 were to be on hand in London
before the king should go free. It was on the news of this arrangement
that Philip sent his famous message to John, "Take care of yourself: the
devil is loosed." In John's opinion the best way to take care of himself
was to go to Philip's court, and this he did on receiving the warning,
either because he was afraid of the view Richard might take of his conduct
on his return, or because he suspected that Philip would throw him over
when he came to make a settlement with Richard. There were, however, still
two obstacles in the way of Richard's return: the money for the ransom
must be raised, and the emperor must be persuaded to keep his bargain.
Philip, representing John as well, was bidding against the terms to which
Richard had agreed. They offered the emperor 80,000 marks, to keep him
until the Michaelmas of 1194; or L1000 a month for each month that he was
detained; or 150,000 marks, if he would hold him in prison for a year, or
give him up to them. Earlier still Philip had tried to persuade Henry to
surrender Richard to him, but such a disposition of the case did not suit
the emperor's plans, and now he made Philip's offers known to Richard. If
he had been inclined to listen, as perhaps he was, the German princes,
their natural feeling and interest quickened somewhat by promises of money
from Richard, would have insisted on the keeping of the treaty. On
February 4, 1194, Richard was finally set free, having done homage to the
emperor for the kingdom of England and having apparently issued letters
patent to record the relationship,[57] a step towards the realization of
the wide-reaching plans of Henry VI for the reconstruction of the Roman
Empire, and so very likely as important to him as the ransom in money.

The raising of this money in England and the other lands of the king was
not an easy task, not merely because the sum itself was enormous for the
time, but also because so great an amount exceeded the experience, or
even the practical arithmetic of the day, and could hardly be accurately
planned for in advance. It was, however, vigorously taken in hand by
Eleanor and the justices, assisted by Hubert Walter, who had now become
Archbishop of Canterbury by Richard's direction and who was soon made
justiciar, and the burden seems to have been very patiently borne. The
method of the Saladin tithe was that first employed for the general
taxation by which it was proposed to raise a large part of the sum. All
classes, clerical and feudal, burgess and peasant, were compelled to
contribute according to their revenues, the rule being one-fourth of the
income for the year, and the same proportion of the movable property; all
privileges and immunities of clergy and churches as well as of laymen
were suspended; the Cistercians even who had a standing immunity from all
exactions gave up their whole year's shearing of wool, and so did the
order of Sempringham; the plate and, jewels of the churches and
monasteries, held to be properly used for the redemption of captives,
were surrendered or redeemed in money under a pledge of their restoration
by the king. The amount at first brought in proved insufficient, and the
officers who collected it were suspected of peculation, possibly with
justice, but possibly also because the original calculation had been
inaccurate, so that a second and a third levy were found necessary. It
was near the end of the year 1193 before the sum raised was accepted by
the representatives of the emperor as sufficient for the preliminary
payment which would secure the king's release.

Richard, set free on February 4, did not feel it necessary to be in
haste, and he only reached London on March 6. There he found things in as
unsettled a state as they had been since the beginning of his
imprisonment. He had made through Longchamp a most liberal treaty with
Philip to keep him quiet during his imprisonment; he had also induced
John by a promise of increasing his original grants to return to his
allegiance to himself: but neither of these agreements had proved binding
on the other parties. John had made a later treaty with Philip,
purchasing his support with promises of still more extensive cessions of
the land he coveted, and under this treaty the king of France had taken
possession of parts of Normandy, while the justiciar of England, learning
of John's action, had obtained a degree of forfeiture against him from a
council of the barons and had begun the siege of his castles. This war on
John was approved by Richard, who himself pushed it to a speedy and
successful end. Then on March 30 the king met a great council of the
realm at Nottingham. His mother was present, and the justiciar, and
Longchamp, who was still chancellor, though he had not been allowed to
return to England to remain until now. By this council John was summoned
to appear for trial within forty days on pain of the loss of all his
possessions and of all that he might expect, including the crown.
Richard's chief need would still be money both for the war in France and
for further payments on his ransom; and he now imposed a new tax of two
shillings on the carucate of land and called out one-third of the feudal
force for service abroad. Many resumptions of his former grants were also
made, and some of them were sold again to the highest bidders. Two weeks
later the king was re-crowned at Winchester, apparently with something
less of formal ceremony than in his original coronation, but with much
more than in the annual crown-wearings of the Norman kings, a practice
which had now been dropped for almost forty years. Whether quite a
coronation in strict form or not, the ceremony was evidently regarded as
of equivalent effect both by the chroniclers of the time and officially,
and it probably was intended to make good any diminution of sovereignty
that might be thought to be involved in his doing homage to the emperor
for the kingdom.

Immediately after this the king made ready to cross to France, where his
interests were then in the greatest danger, but he was detained by
contrary winds till near the middle of May. In the almost exactly five
years remaining of his life Richard never returned to England. He
belonged by nature to France, and England must have seemed a very foreign
land to him; but in passing judgment on him we must not overlook the fact
that England was secure and needed the presence of the king but little,
while many dangers threatened, or would seem to Richard to threaten, his
continental possessions. Even a Henry I would probably have spent those
five years abroad. Richard found the king of France pushing a new attack
on Normandy to occupy the lands which John had ceded him, but the French
forces withdrew without waiting to try the issue of a battle. Richard had
hardly landed before another enemy was overcome, by his own prudence
also, and another example given of the goodness of Richard's heart toward
his enemies and of his willingness to trust their professions. He had
said that his brother would never oppose force with force, and now John
was ready to abandon the conflict before it had begun. He came to
Richard, encouraged by generous words of his which were repeated to him,
and threw himself at his feet; he was at once pardoned and treated as if
he had never sinned, except that the military advantages he had had in
England through holding the king's castles were not given back to him.
Along all the border the mere presence of Richard seemed to check
Philip's advance and to bring to a better mind his own barons who had
been disposed to aid the enemy. About the middle of June almost all the
details of a truce were agreed upon by both sides, but the plan at last
failed, because Richard would not agree that the barons who had been on
the opposing sides in Poitou should be made to cease all hostilities
against each other, for this would be contrary, he said, to the ancient
custom of the land. The war went on a few weeks longer with no decisive
results. Philip destroyed Evreux, but fell back from Freteval so hastily,
to avoid an encounter with Richard, that he lost his baggage, including
his official records, and barely escaped capture himself. On November 1 a
truce for one year was finally made, much to the advantage Philip, but
securing to the king of England the time he needed for preparation.

When Richard crossed to Normandy not to return, he left England in the
hands of his new justiciar, Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, and
soon to be appointed legate of the pope, at once the head of Church and
State. No better man could have been found to stand in the place of the
king. Nephew of the wife of Glanvill, the great judge of Henry II's time,
spending much of his youth in the household of his uncle and some little
time also in the service of the king, he was by training and by personal
experience fitted to carry on the administration of England along the
lines laid down in the previous reign and even to carry forward law and
institutions in harmony with their beginnings and with the spirit of that
great period. Indeed the first itinerant justices' commission in definite
form that has come down to us dates but a few weeks after the king's
departure, and is of especial interest as showing a decided progress
since the more vague provisions of the Assize of Clarendon. A possible
source of danger to a successful ministry lay in the quarrelsome and
self-assertive Archbishop of York, the king's brother Geoffrey; but soon
after Richard's departure Hubert deprived him of power by a sharp stroke
and a skilful use of the administrative weapons with which he was
familiar. On complaint of Geoffrey's canons against him he sent a
commission of judges to York to examine the case, who ordered Geoffrey's
servants to be imprisoned on a charge of robbery, and on the archbishop's
refusal to appear before them to answer for himself they decreed the
confiscation of his estates. Geoffrey never recovered his position in
Richard's time.

The year 1195 in England and abroad passed by with few events of
permanent interest. Archbishop Hubert was occupied chiefly with
ecclesiastical matters and with the troubles of Geoffrey of York, and
conditions in the north were further changed by the closing of the long
and stormy career of the bishop, of Durham, Hugh of Puiset. In France the
truce was broken by Philip in June, and the war lingered until December
with some futile efforts at peace, but with no striking military
operations on either side. Early in December the two kings agreed on the
conditions of a treaty, which was signed on January 15, 1196. The terms
were still unfavourable to Richard; for Philip at last had Gisors and the
Norman Vexin ceded to him by competent authority and a part of his other
conquests and the overlordship of Angouleme, while Richard on his side
was allowed to retain only what he had taken in Berri.

As this treaty transferred to France the old frontier defences of
Normandy and opened the way down the Seine to a hostile attack upon
Rouen, the question of the building of new fortifications became an
important one to both the kings. The treaty contained a provision that
Andely should not be fortified. This was a most important strategic
position on the river, fitted by nature for a great fortress and
completely covering the capital of Normandy. At a point where the Seine
bends sharply and a small stream cuts through the line of limestone
cliffs on its right bank to join it, a promontory of rock three hundred
feet above the water holds the angle, cut off from the land behind it
except for a narrow isthmus, and so furnished the feudal castle-builder
with all the conditions which he required. The land itself belonged to
the Archbishop of Rouen, but Richard, to whom the building of a fortress
at the place was a vital necessity, did not concern himself seriously
with that point, and began the works which he had planned soon after the
signing of the treaty in which he had promised not to do so. The
archbishop who was still Walter of Coutances, Richard's faithful minister
of earlier days, protested without avail and finally retired to Rome,
laying the duchy under an interdict. Richard was no more to be stopped in
this case by an interdict than by his own promises, and went steadily on
with his work, though in the end he bought off the archbishop's
opposition by a transfer to him in exchange of other lands worth
intrinsically much more than the barren crag that he had seized. The
building occupied something more than a year, and when it was completed,
the castle was one of the strongest in the west. Richard had made use in
its fortification of the lessons which he learned in the Holy Land, where
the art of defence had been most carefully studied under compulsion; and
the three wards of the castle, its thick walls and strong towers, and the
defences crossing the river and in the town of New Andely at its foot,
seemed to make it impregnable. Richard took great pride in his creation.
He called it his fair child, and named it Chateau-Gaillard or "saucy

Philip had not allowed all this to go on without considering the treaty
violated, but the war of 1196 is of the same wearisome kind as that of
the previous year. The year brought with it some trouble in Britanny
arising from a demand of Richard's for the wardship of his nephew Arthur,
and resulting in the barons of Britanny sending the young prince to the
court of Philip. In England the rising of a demagogue in London to
protest against the oppression of the poor is of some interest. The
king's financial demands had never ceased; they could not cease, in fact,
and though England was prosperous from the long intervals of peace she
had enjoyed and bore the burden on the whole with great patience, it was
none the less heavily felt. In London there was a feeling not merely that
the taxes were heavy, but that they were unfairly assessed and collected,
so that they rested in undue proportion on the poorer classes. Of this
feeling William Fitz Osbert, called "William with the Beard," made
himself the spokesman. He opposed the measures of the ruling class,
stirred up opposition with fiery speeches, crossed over to the king, and,
basing on the king's interest in the subject a boast of his support,
threatened more serious trouble. Then the justiciar interfered by force,
dragged him out of sanctuary, and had him executed. The incident had a
permanent influence in the fact that Hubert Walter, who was already
growing unpopular, found his support from the clergy weakened because of
his violation of the right of sanctuary. He was also aggrieved because
Richard sent over from the continent the Abbot of Caen, experienced in
Norman finance, to investigate his declining revenues and to hold a
special inquisition of the sheriffs. The inquisition was not held because
of the death of the abbot, but later in the year Hubert offered to
resign, but finally decided to go on in office for a time longer.

The year 1197 promised great things for Richard in his war with the king
of France, but yielded little. He succeeded in forming a coalition among
the chief barons of the north, which recalls the diplomatic successes of
his ancestor, Henry I. The young Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault
had grievances of his own against Philip which he was anxious to avenge.
Count Philip, who had exercised so strong an influence over King Philip
at the time of his accession, had died early in the crusade, and the
Count of Hainault on succeeding him had been compelled to give up to
France a large strip of territory adjoining Philip's earlier annexation,
and on his death Count Baldwin had had to pay a heavy relief. The
coalition was joined by the Counts of Boulogne and Blois, and Britanny
was practically under the control of Richard. Philip, however, escaped
the danger that threatened him by some exercise of his varied talents of
which we do not know the exact details. Led on in pursuit of the Count of
Flanders until he was almost cut off from return, he purchased his
retreat by a general promise to restore the count all his rights and to
meet Richard in a conference on the terms of peace. On Richard's side the
single advantage gained during the campaign was the capture of the cousin
of the French king, Philip of Dreux, the warlike Bishop of Beauvais,
whose raids along the border and whose efforts at the court of Henry VI
of Germany against his release from imprisonment had so enraged Richard
that he refused upon any terms or under any pressure to set him free as
long as he lived. The interview between the kings took place on September
17, when a truce for something more than a year was agreed upon to allow
time for arranging the terms of a permanent peace.

The year closed in England with an incident of great interest, but one
which has sometimes been made to bear an exaggerated importance. At a
council of the kingdom held at Oxford on December 7, the justiciar
presented a demand of the king that the baronage should unite to send him
at their expense three hundred knights for a year's service with him
abroad. Evidently it was hoped that the clergy would set a good example.
The archbishop himself expressed his willingness to comply, and was
followed by the Bishop of London to the same effect. Then Bishop Hugh of
Lincoln, being called upon for his answer, to the great indignation of
the justiciar, flatly refused on the ground that his church was not
liable for service abroad. The Bishop of Salisbury, next called upon,
made the same refusal; and the justiciar seeing that the plan was likely
to fail dissolved the council in anger. One is tempted to believe that
some essential point is omitted from the accounts we have of this
incident, or that some serious mistake has been made in them, either in
the speech of Bishop Hugh given us in his biography or in the terms of
Richard's demand recorded in two slightly different forms. Hubert must
have believed that the baronage in general were going to follow the
example given them by the two bishops and refuse the required service, or
he would not have dissolved the council and reported to the king that his
plan had failed. But to refuse this service on the ground that it could
not be required except in England was to go against the unbroken practice
of more than a hundred years. Nor was there anything contrary to
precedent in the demand for three hundred knights to serve a year. The
union of the military tenants to equip a smaller force than the whole
service due to the lord, but for a longer time than the period of
required feudal service, was not uncommon. The demand implied a feudal
force due to the king from England of less than three thousand knights,
and this was well within his actual rights, though if we accept the very
doubtful statement of one of our authorities that their expenses were to
be reckoned at the rate of three shillings per day, the total cost would
exceed that of any ordinary scutage.

Richard clearly believed, as did his justiciar, that he was making no
illegal demand, for he ordered the confiscation of the baronies of the
two bishops, and Herbert of Salisbury was obliged to pay a fine. It was
only a personal journey to Normandy and the great reputation for sanctity
of the future St. Hugh of Lincoln that relieved him from the same
punishment. The importance of the right of consent to taxation in the
growth of the constitution has led many writers to attach a significance
to this incident which hardly belongs to it. Whatever were the grounds of
his action, the Bishop of Lincoln could have been acting on no general
constitutional principle. He must have been insisting on personal rights
secured to him by the feudal law. If his action contributed largely, as
it doubtless did, to that change of earlier conditions which led to the
beginning of the constitution, it was less because he tried to revive a
principle of general application, which as a matter of fact had never
existed, than because he established a precedent of careful scrutiny of
the king's rights and of successful resistance to a demand possibly of
doubtful propriety. It is as a sign of the times, as the mark of an
approaching revolution, that the incident has its real interest.

About the time that Richard sent over to England his demand for three
hundred knights news must have reached him of an event which would seem
to open the way to a great change in continental affairs. The
far-reaching plans of the emperor, Henry VI, had been brought to an end
by his death in Sicily on September 28, 1197, in the prime of his life.
His son, the future brilliant Emperor Frederick II, was still an infant,
and there was a prospect that the hold of the Hohenstaufen on the empire
might be shaken off. About Christmas time an embassy reached Richard from
the princes of Germany, summoning him on the fealty he owed the empire to
attend a meeting at Cologne on February 22 to elect an emperor. This he
could not do, but a formal embassy added the weight of his influence to
the strong Guelfic party; and his favourite nephew, who had been brought
up at his court, was elected emperor as Otto IV. The Hohenstaufen party
naturally did not accept the election, and Philip of Suabia, the brother
of Henry VI, was put up as an opposition emperor, but for the moment the
Guelfs were the stronger, and they enjoyed the support of the young and
vigorous pope, Innocent III, who had just ascended the papal throne, so
that even Philip II's support of his namesake of Suabia was of little

From the change Richard gained in reality nothing. It was still an age
when the parties to international alliances sought only ends to be gained
within their own territories, or what they believed should be rightfully
their territories, and the objects of modern diplomacy were not yet
regarded. The truce of the preceding September, which was to last through
the whole of the year 1198, was as little respected as the others had
been. As soon as it was convenient, the war was reopened, the baronial
alliance against the king of France still standing, and Baldwin of
Flanders joining in the attack. At the end of September Richard totally
defeated the French, and drove their army in wild flight through the town
of Gisors, precipitating Philip himself into the river Epte by the
breaking down of the bridge under the weight of the fugitives, and
capturing a long list of prisoners of distinction, three of them, a
Montmorency among them, overthrown by Richard's own lance, as he boasted
in a letter to the Bishop of Durham. Other minor successes followed, and
Philip found himself reduced to straits in which he felt obliged to ask
the intervention of the pope in favour of peace. Innocent III, anxious
for a new crusade and determined to make his influence felt in every
question of the day, was ready to interfere on his own account; and his
legate, Cardinal Peter, brought about an interview between the two kings
on January 13, 1199, when a truce for five years was verbally agreed
upon, though the terms of a permanent treaty were not yet settled.

In the meantime financial difficulties were pressing heavily upon the
king of England. Scutages for the war in Normandy had been taken in 1196
and 1197. In the next year a still more important measure of taxation
was adopted, which was evidently intended to bring in larger sums to the
treasury than an ordinary scutage. This is the tax known as the Great
Carucage of 1198. The actual revenue that the king derived from it is a
matter of some doubt, but the machinery of its assessment is described
in detail by a contemporary and is of special interest.[58] The unit of
the new assessment was to be the carucate, or ploughland, instead of
the hide, and consequently a new survey of the land was necessary to
take the place of the old Domesday record. To obtain this, practically
the same machinery was employed as in the earlier case, but to the
commissioners sent into each county by the central government two local
knights, chosen from the county, were added to form the body before whom
the jurors testified as to the ownership and value of the lands in their
neighbourhoods. Thanks to the rapid judicial advance and administrative
reforms of the past generation, the jury was now a familiar institution
everywhere and was used for many purposes. Its employment in this case
to fix the value of real property for taxation, and of personal property
as in the Saladin tithe of 1188, though but a revival of its earlier use
by William I, marks the beginning of a continuous employment of jurors
in taxation in the next period which led to constitutional results--the
birth of the representative system, and we may almost say to the origin
of Parliament in the proper meaning of the term--results of even greater
value in the growth of our civil liberty than any which came from it in
the sphere of judicial institutions important as these were.

Now in the spring of 1199 a story reached Richard of the finding of a
wonderful treasure on the land of the lord of Chalus, one of his under
vassals in the Limousin. We are told that it was the images of an
emperor, his wife, sons, and daughters, made of gold and seated round a
table also of gold. If the story were true, here was relief from his
difficulties, and Richard laid claim to the treasure as lord paramount of
the land. This claim was of course disputed, and with his mercenaries the
king laid siege to the castle of Chalus. It was a little castle and
poorly defended, but it resisted the attack for three days, and on the
third Richard, who carelessly approached the wall, was shot by a crossbow
bolt in the left shoulder near the neck. The wound was deep and was made
worse by the surgeon in cutting out the head of the arrow. Shortly
gangrene appeared, and the king knew that he must die. In the time that
was left him he calmly disposed of all his affairs. He sent for his
mother who was not far away, and she was with him when he died. He
divided his personal property among his friends and in charity, declared
John to be his heir, and made the barons who were present swear fealty to
him. He ordered the man who had shot him to be pardoned and given a sum
of money; then he confessed and received the last offices of the Church,
and died on April 6, 1199, in the forty-second year of his age.

The twelfth century was drawing to its end when Richard died, but the
close of the century was then as always in history a purely artificial
dividing line. The real historical epoch closed, a new age began with the
granting of the Great Charter. The date may serve, however, as a point
from which to review briefly one of the growing interests of England that
belongs properly within the field of its political history--its organized
municipal life. The twelfth century shows a slow, but on the whole a
constant, increase in the number, size, and influence of organized towns
in England, and of the commerce, domestic and foreign, on which their
prosperity rested. Even in the long disorder of Stephen's reign the
interruption of this growth seems to have been felt rather in particular
places than in the kingdom as a whole, and there was no serious set-back
of national prosperity that resulted from it. Not with the rapidity of
modern times, but fairly steadily through the century, new articles
appear in commerce; manufactures rise to importance, like that of cloth;
wealth and population accumulate in the towns, and they exert an
unceasing pressure on the king, or on the lords in whose domain they are,
for grants of privileges.

Such grants from the king become noticeably frequent in the reign of
Richard and are even more so under John. The financial necessities of
both kings and their recklessness, at least that of Richard, in the
choice of means to raise money, made it easy for the boroughs to purchase
the rights or exemptions they desired. The charters all follow a certain
general type, but there was no fixed measure of privilege granted by
them. Each town bargained for what it could get from a list of possible
privileges of some length. The freedom of the borough; the right of the
citizens to have a gild merchant; exemption from tolls, specified or
general, within a certain district or throughout all England or also
throughout the continental Angevin dominions; exemption from the courts
of shire and hundred, or from the jurisdiction of all courts outside the
borough, except in pleas of the crown, or even without this exception;
the right to farm the revenues of the borough, paying a fixed "firma," or
rent, to the king, and with this often the right of the citizens to elect
their own reeve or even sheriff to exempt them from the interference of
the king's sheriff of the county. This list is not a complete one of the
various rights and privileges granted by the charters, but only of the
more important ones.

To confer these all upon a town was to give it the fullest right obtained
by English towns and to put it practically in the position which London
had reached in the charter of Henry I's later years. London, if we may
trust our scanty evidence, advanced at one time during this period to a
position reached by no other English city, to the position of the French
commune.[59] Undoubtedly the word "commune," like other technical words,
was sometimes used at the time loosely and vaguely, but in its strict and
legal sense it meant a town raised to the position of a feudal vassal and
given all the rights as well as duties of a feudal lord, a seigneurie
collective populaire, as a French scholar has called it.[60] Thus
regarded, the town had a fulness of local independence to be obtained
in no other way. To such a position no English city but London attained,
and it may be thought that the evidence in London's case is not full
enough to warrant us in believing that it reached the exact legal status
of a commune.

We find it related as an incident of the struggle between John and
Longchamp in 1191, when Longchamp was deposed, that John and the barons
conceded the commune of London and took oath to it, and about the same
time we have proof that the city had its mayor. Documentary evidence has
also been discovered of the existence at the same date of the governing
body known on the continent as the echevins. But while the mayor and the
echevins are closely associated with the commune, their presence is not
conclusive evidence of the existence of a real commune, nor is the use of
the word itself, though the occurrence of the two together makes it more
probable. Early in 1215, when John was seeking allies everywhere against
the confederated barons, he granted a new charter to London, which
recognized the right of the citizens to elect their own mayor and required
him to swear fealty to the king. If we could be sure that this oath was
sworn for the city, it would be conclusive evidence, since the oath of the
mayor to the lord of whom the commune as a corporate person "held" was a
distinguishing mark of this relationship. The probability that such was
the case is confirmed by the fact that a few weeks later, in the famous
twelfth clause of the Great Charter, we find London put distinctly in the
position of a king's vassal. This evidence is strengthened by a comparison
with the corresponding clause of the Articles of the Barons, a kind of
preliminary draft of the Great Charter, and much less carefully drawn,
where there is added to London a general class of towns whose legal right
to the privilege granted it would not have been possible to defend.[61]
That London maintained its position among the king's vassals in the
legally accurate Great Charter is almost certain proof that it had some
right to be classed with them. But even if London was for a time a
commune, strictly speaking, it did not maintain the right in the next
reign, and that form of municipal organization plays no part in English
history.[62] It is under the form of chartered towns, not communes, that
the importance of the boroughs in English commercial and public life
continued to increase in the thirteenth as it had in the twelfth century.

[57] Ralph de Diceto, ii, 113.

[58] Roger of Howden, iv. 46.

[59] Round, The Commune of London.

[60] Luchaire, Communes Francaises, 97.

[61] Articles of the Barons, c. 32; Stubbs, Select Charters, 393.

[62] See London and the Commune in Engl. Hist. Rev., Oct. 1904.



The death of Richard raised a question of succession new in the history
of England since the Norman Conquest. The right of primogeniture, the
strict succession of the eldest born, carrying with it the right of the
son of a deceased elder brother to stand in the place of his father, the
principle which was in the end to prevail, had only begun to establish
itself. The drift of feeling was undoubtedly towards it, but this
appeared strongly in the present crisis only in the northwestern corner
of the Angevin dominions in France, where it was supported by still
stronger influences. The feudal law had recognized, and still recognized,
many different principles of succession, and the prevailing feeling in
England and Normandy is no doubt correctly represented in an incident
recorded by the biographer of William Marshal. On receiving the news of
Richard's death at Rouen, William went at once to consult with the
archbishop and to agree on whom they would support as heir. The
archbishop inclined at first to Arthur, the son and representative of
John's elder brother, Geoffrey, but William declared that the brother
stood nearer to his father and to his brother than the grandson, or
nephew, and the archbishop yielded the point without discussion. Neither
in England nor in Normandy did there appear the slightest disposition to
support the claims of Arthur, or to question the right of John, though
possibly there would have been more inclination to do so if the age of
the two candidates had been reversed, for Arthur was only twelve, while
John was past thirty.

Neither of the interested parties, however, was in the least disposed to
waive any claims which he possessed. John had had trouble with Richard
during the previous winter on a suspicion of treasonable correspondence
with Philip and because he thought his income was too scanty, and he was
in Britanny, even at the court of Arthur, when the news of Richard's
death reached him. He at once took horse with a few attendants and rode
to Chinon, where the king's treasure was kept, and this was given up
without demur on his demand by Robert of Turnharn, the keeper. Certain
barons who were there and the officers of Richard's household also
recognized his right, on his taking the oath which they demanded, that he
would execute his brother's will, and that he would preserve inviolate
the rightful customs of former times and the just laws of lands and
people. From Chinon John set out for Normandy, but barely escaped capture
on the way, for Arthur's party had not been idle in the meantime. His
mother with a force from Britanny had brought him with all speed to
Angers, where he was joyfully received. William des Roches, the greatest
baron of the country and Richard's seneschal of Anjou, had declared for
him at the head of a powerful body of barons, who probably saw in a weak
minority a better chance of establishing that local freedom from control
for which they had always striven than under another Angevin king. At Le
Mans Arthur was also accepted with enthusiasm as count a few hours after
a cold reception of John and his hasty departure.

There Constance and her son were met by the king of France, who, as soon
as God had favoured him by the removal of Richard,--so the French
regarded the matter,--seized the county of Evreux and pushed his
conquests almost to Le Mans. Arthur did homage to Philip for the
counties of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine; Tours received the young count as
Angers and Le Mans had done; Philip's right of feudal wardship was
admitted, and Arthur was taken to Paris under his secure protection,
secure for his own designs and against those of John. Philip could hardly
do otherwise than recognize the rights of Arthur. It was perhaps the most
favourable opportunity that had ever occurred to accomplish the
traditional policy of the Capetians of splitting apart the dominions of
the rival Norman or Angevin house. That policy, so long and so
consistently followed by Philip almost from his accession to the death of
Arthur, in the support in turn of young Henry, Richard, John, and Arthur
against the reigning king, was destined indeed never to be realized in
the form in which it had been cherished in the past; but the devotion of
a part of the Angevin empire to the cause of Arthur was a factor of no
small value in the vastly greater success which Philip won, greater than
any earlier king had ever dreamed of, greater than Philip himself had
dared to hope for till the moment of its accomplishment.

From Le Mans John went direct to Rouen. The barons of Normandy had
decided to support him, and on April 25 he was invested with the insignia
of the duchy by the archbishop, Walter of Coutances, taking the usual
oath to respect the rights of Church and people. His careless and
irreverent conduct during the ceremony displeased the clergy, as his
refusal to receive the communion on Easter day, a week before, had
offended Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, who came a part of the way with him from
Chinon. As the lance, the special symbol of investiture, was placed in
his hand, he turned to make some jocular remark to his boon companions
who were laughing and chattering behind him, and carelessly let it fall,
an incident doubtless considered at the time of evil omen, and easily
interpreted after the event as a presage of the loss of the duchy. From
Normandy John sent over to England to assist the justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz
Peter, in taking measures to secure his succession, two of the most
influential men of the land, William Marshal and Hubert Walter,
Archbishop of Canterbury, who had been in Normandy since the death of
Richard, while he himself remained a month longer on the continent, to
check, if possible, the current in favour of Arthur. He took Le Mans and
destroyed its walls in punishment, and sent a force to aid his mother in
Aquitaine; but the threatening attitude of Philip made it impossible for
him to accomplish very much. No slight influence on the side of John was
the strong support and vigorous action in his favour of that remarkable
woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine, then about eighty years of age. She seems
never to have cared for her grandson Arthur, and for this his mother was
probably responsible. Constance appears to have been a somewhat difficult
person, and what was doubtless still more important, she had never
identified herself with the interests of her husband's house, but had
always remained in full sympathy with the separatist tendencies and
independent desires of her own Britanny.[63] She had no right to count
on any help from Eleanor in carrying out her ambitions, and Aquitaine
was held as securely for John by his mother as Normandy was by the
decision of its leading barons.

In England, although no movement in favour of Arthur is perceptible,
there was some fear of civil strife, perhaps only of that disorder which
was apt to break out on the death of the king, as it did indeed in this
case, and many castles were put in order for defence. What disorder there
was soon put down by the representatives of the king, whom John had
appointed, and who took the fealty of the barons and towns to him. On the
part of a considerable number of the barons--the names that are recorded
are those of old historic families, Beaumont, Ferrers, Mowbray, De Lacy,
the Earls of Clare and Chester--there was found to be opposition to
taking the oath of fealty on the ground of injustice committed by the
administration. Whether these complaints were personal to each baron, as
the language has been taken to mean, or complaints of injustice in
individual cases wrought by the general policy of the government, as the
number of cases implies, it is hardly possible to say. The probability is
that both explanations are true. Certainly the old baronage could easily
find grounds enough of complaint in the constitutional policy steadily
followed by the government of the first two Angevin kings. The crisis was
wisely handled by the three able men whom John had appointed to represent
him. They called an assembly of the doubtful barons at Northampton and
gave to each one a promise that he should have his right (jus suum). In
return for these promises the oaths were taken, but the incident was as
ominous of another kind of trouble as the dropping of the lance at Rouen.
We can hardly understand the reign of John unless we remember that at its
very beginning men were learning to watch the legality of the king's
actions and to demand that he respect the limitations which the law
placed on his arbitrary will.

On May 25, John landed in England, and on the 27th, Ascension day, he was
crowned in Westminster by the Archbishop of Canterbury before a large
assembly of barons and bishops. The coronation followed the regular order,
and no dissenting voice made itself heard, though a rather unusual display
of force seems to have been thought necessary. Two authorities, both years
later and both untrustworthy, refer to a speech delivered during the
ceremony by the archbishop, in which he emphasized the fact that the
English crown was elective and not hereditary. Did not these authorities
seem to be clearly independent of one another we should forthwith reject
their testimony, but as it is we must admit some slight chance that such a
speech was made. One of these accounts, in giving what purports to be the
actual speech of Hubert Walter, though it must have been composed by the
writer himself, states a reason for it which could not possibly have been
entertained at the time.[64] The other gives as its reason the disputed
succession, but makes the archbishop refer not to the right of Arthur,
but to that of the queen of Castile, a reference which must also be
untrue.[65] If such a speech was made, it had reference unquestionably to
the case of Arthur, and it must be taken as a sign of the influence which
this case certainly had on the development, in the minds of some at least,
of something more like the modern understanding of the meaning of
election, and as a prelude to the great movement which characterizes the
thirteenth century, the rapid growth of ideas which may now without too
great violence be called constitutional. If such a speech was made we may
be sure also that it was not made without the consent of John, and that it
contained nothing displeasing to him. One of his first acts as king was to
make Hubert Walter his chancellor, and apparently the first document
issued by the new king and chancellor puts prominently forward John's
hereditary right, and states the share of clergy and people in his
accession in peculiar and vague language.[66]

John had no mind to remain long in England, nor was there any reason why
he should. The king of Scotland was making some trouble, demanding the
cession of Cumberland and Northumberland, but it was possible to postpone
for the present the decision of his claims. William Marshal was at last
formally invested with the earldom of Pembroke and Geoffrey Fitz Peter
with that of Essex. More important was a scutage, probably ordered at
this time, of the unusual rate of two marks on the knight's fee, twenty
shillings having been the previous limit as men remembered it. By June 20
John's business in England was done, and by July 1 he was again at Rouen
to watch the course of events in the conflict still undecided. On that
day a truce was made with Philip to last until the middle of August, and
John began negotiations with the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne and with
his nephew, Otto IV of Germany, in a search for allies, from whom he
gained only promises. On the expiration of the truce Philip demanded the
cession of the entire Vexin and the transfer to Arthur of Poitou, Anjou,
Maine, and Touraine,--a demand which indicates his determination to go
on with the war. For Poitou Philip had already received Eleanor's homage,
and she in turn invested John with it as her vassal. In the beginning of
the war which was now renewed Philip committed a serious error of policy,
to which he was perhaps tempted by the steady drift of events in his
favour since the death of Richard. Capturing the castle of Ballon in
Maine he razed it to the ground. William des Roches, the leader of
Arthur's cause, at once objected since the castle should belong to his
lord, and protested to the king that this was contrary to their
agreement, but Philip haughtily replied that he should do as he pleased
with his conquests in spite of Arthur. This was too early a declaration
of intentions, and William immediately made terms with John, carrying
over to him Arthur and his mother and the city of Le Mans. A slight study
of John's character ought to have shown to William that no dependence
whatever could be placed on his promise in regard to a point which would
seem to them both of the greatest importance. William took the risk,
however, binding John by solemn oath that Arthur should be dealt with
according to his counsel, a promise which was drawn up in formal charter.
On the very day of his arrival, it is said, Arthur was told of John's
intention to imprison him, and he fled away with his mother to Angers;
but William des Roches remained for a time in John's service.

The year 1199 closed with a truce preliminary to a treaty of peace which
was finally concluded on May 18. Philip II was at the moment in no
condition to push the war. He was engaged in a desperate struggle with
Innocent III and needed to postpone for the time being every other
conflict. Earlier in his reign on a political question he had defied a
pope, and with success; but Innocent III was a different pope, and on the
present question Philip was wrong. In 1193 he had repudiated his second
wife, Ingeborg of Denmark, the day after the marriage, and later married
Agnes of Meran whom he had hitherto refused to give up at the demand of
the Church. At the close of 1199 France was placed under an interdict
until the king should yield, and it was in this situation that the treaty
with John was agreed to. Philip for the moment abandoned his attempt
against the Angevin empire. John was recognized as rightful heir of the
French fiefs, and his homage was accepted for them all, including
Britanny, for which Arthur then did homage to John. These concessions
were not secured, however, without some sacrifices on the English side.
John yielded to Philip all the conquests which had been made from
Richard, and agreed to pay a relief of 20,000 marks for admission to his
fiefs. The peace was to be sealed by the marriage of John's niece, the
future great queen and regent of France, Blanche of Castile, to Philip's
son Louis, and the county of Evreux was to be ceded as her dower. The
aged but tireless Eleanor went to Spain to bring her granddaughter, and
the marriage was celebrated four days after the signing of the treaty,
Louis at the time being thirteen years old and Blanche twelve.

While his mother went to Spain for the young bride, John crossed to
England to raise money for his relief. This was done by ordering a
carucage at the rate of three shillings on the ploughland. The Cistercian
order objected to paying the tax because of the general immunity which
they enjoyed, and John in great anger commanded all the sheriffs to
refuse them the protection of the courts and to let go free of punishment
any who injured them, in effect to put them outside the law. This decree
he afterwards modified at the request of Hubert Walter, but he refused an
offer of a thousand marks for a confirmation of their charters and
liberties, and returned to Normandy in the words quoted by the
chronicler, "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the
servants of Christ."

John was now in a position where he should have used every effort to
strengthen himself against the next move of Philip, which he should have
known was inevitable, and where, if ever, he might hope to do so. Instead
of that, by a blunder in morals, in which John's greatest weakness lay,
by an act of passion and perfidy, he gave his antagonist a better excuse
than he could have hoped for when he was at last ready to renew the war.
John had now been for more than ten years married to Isabel of
Gloucester, and no children had been born of the marriage. In the
situation of the Angevin house he may well have wished for a direct heir
and have been ready to adopt the expedient common to sovereigns in such
cases. At any rate about this time he procured from the Bishops of
Normandy and Aquitaine a divorce, a formal annulling of the marriage on
the ground of consanguinity, the question raised at the time of their
marriage never, it would seem, having been settled by dispensation. Then
he sent off an embassy to ask for a daughter of the king of Portugal. In
the meantime he went on a progress through the French lands which had
been secured to him by treaty with Philip, and met the beautiful Isabel,
daughter of the Count of Angouleme, then twelve years of age, and
determined to marry her out of hand. The fact that she was already
betrothed to Hugh "the Brown," son and heir of his own vassal the Count
of La Marche, and that she was then living in the household of her
intended father-in-law, made no more difference to him than his own
embassy to Portugal. It seems possible indeed that it was in the very
castle of the Count of La Marche that the plan was formed. Isabel's
father also did not hesitate in the choice of sons-in-law, and his
daughter having been brought home, she was at once married to John. An
act of this kind was a most flagrant violation of the feudal contract,
nor was the moral blunder saved from being a political one by the fact
that the injured house was that of the Lusignans, great barons and long
turbulent and unruly vassals of Aquitaine. John had given them now a
legal right of appeal to his suzerain and a moral justification of

After his marriage John went back to England for the coronation of his
queen, which took place on October 8. At Lincoln he received the homage
of William of Scotland and made peace with the Cistercians, and then went
on a progress through the north as far as Carlisle. In the meantime, as
was to be expected, hostilities had begun with the family of the Count of
La Marche, and the king sent out a summons to the barons of England to
meet him at Portsmouth at Whitsuntide prepared for service abroad. On
receipt of this notice the earls held a meeting at Leicester and by
agreement replied to the king that they would not go over sea with him
unless he restored to them their rights. There is no evidence in the
single account we have of this incident that the earls intended to deny
their liability to service abroad. It is probable they intended to take
their position on the more secure principle that services due to the
suzerain who violated the rights of his vassal were for the time being,
at least, suspended. If this is so, the declaration of the earls is the
first clear evidence we have that the barons of England were beginning to
realize their legal right of resistance and to get sight of the great
principle which was so soon to give birth to the constitution. The result
of the opposition to John's summons we do not know, unless the statement
which follows in the chronicle that the king was demanding the castles of
the barons, and taking hostages if they retained them, was his answer to
their demand. At any rate they appeared as required at Portsmouth ready
for the campaign abroad, but John, instead of sending them over to
France, took away the money which they had brought to spend in his
service, and let them go home.

From the time of John's landing in Normandy, about June 1, 1201, until
the same time the next year, he was occupied with negotiating rather than
with fighting. Philip was not yet ready to take part himself in the war,
but he kept a careful watch of events and made John constantly aware that


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