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transmarine dominions; and had not the authority of Queen Eleanor, and
the menaces of the English council, prevailed over the inclinations of
that turbulent prince, he was ready to have crossed the seas, and to
have put in execution his criminal enterprises.
[FN [b] Hoveden, p. 665. Knyghton, p. 2403. [c] W. Heming. p. 528.
[d] Hoveden, p. 680. Bened. Abb. p. 626, 700. Brompton, p. 1193.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[MN War with France.]
When we consider such powerful and martial monarchs inflamed with
personal animosity against each other, enraged by mutual injuries,
excited by rivalship, impelled by opposite interests, and instigated
by the pride and violence of their own temper; our curiosity is
naturally raised, and we expect an obstinate and furious war,
distinguished by the greatest events, and concluded by some remarkable
catastrophe. Yet are the incidents which attend those hostilities so
frivolous that scarce any historian can entertain such a passion for
military descriptions as to venture on a detail of them: a certain
proof of the extreme weakness of princes in those ages, and of the
little authority they possessed over their refractory vassals! The
whole amount of the exploits on both sides is, the taking of a castle,
the surprise of a straggling party, a rencounter of horse, which
resembles more a rout than a battle. Richard obliged Philip to raise
the siege of Verneuil; he took Loches, a small town in Anjou: he made

Online LibraryDavid HumeThe History of England, Volume I → online text (page 40 of 57)