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upon it the character of holder of the national purse,
and thus suggesting the exaction of redress of grievances
by denial of supplies.

By natural bent the king was papal, and he was always
in need of the pope's dispensing power -to release him
from his oaths. The papacy, on the other hand, wanted


money for its war of supremacy with the Emperor, who
was the embodiment of the lay power. That struggle
was still raging, and nothing less than the suprem-
acy was at stake ; compromise or adjustment was out
of the question. Popes were bellowing their loudest in
bad Latin ; emperors were responding in the same strain.
The successor of St. Peter saluted the heir of the Csesars
as the great dragon and the anti-Christ. The heir of the
Csesars saluted the successor of St. Peter as the beast of
blasphemy and the king of plagues. The Peter of the
Vatican warred, as usual, with the sword which the
Peter of the Gospel had been commanded to put up,
by instigating rebellion and kindling war. With the
connivance of the king, the pope wrung, under various
pretexts, vast sums from the " English clergy, whom he
treated as his vassals and his tributaries, importing the
idea of feudal sovereignty, then dominant, into ecclesi-
astical headship, while they, having no Great Charter,
were without protection against their tyrant's demands.
He further, under cover of providing fit persons for
succession to benefices, grasped for his Italians a large
share of the patronage of the English church. Three
hundred benefices at one swoop he demanded for his
creatures, who were to draw the revenues in Italy.
Appeals and citations to the Roman Curia, notoriously
corrupt and venal, were multiplied. Pillaged at once
by pope, king, and alien favourites, England groaned
aloud. The extortions of the pope would be felt the
more because to the English people the Italian papacy
was thoroughly a foreign power. Dearths, due to
local failure of harvests, there being no good means of
distribution, occurring ever and anon in what some


have regarded as the golden age of labour, added to the

Agamst the ecclesiastical abuses uprose in the early-
part of the reign Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury,
a saint of the type of Anselm, but far weaker, who,
after a vain struggle, sinking into despair, went to end
his days abroad ; uprose with far more force Grosseteste,
Bishop of Lincoln and chancellor of the university of
Oxford, the intellectual light and master spirit of his
age, orthodox, papal, a friend of the friars, but a reso-
lute enemy and a bold denouncer, even in the pope's
teeth, of ecclesiastical abuse, with Walter De Cantelupe,
the staunchly patriot Bishop of Worcester, at his side ;
uprose in a fitful and feeble way the national clergy,
patriotic for the most part as well as opposed to papal
spoliation of their order, but lacking courage to beard
the pope, especially when he had the king on his side ;
uprose the baronage, which addressed to the pope a
strong, but ineffectual protest ; uprose a rougher cham-
pion, Sir Robert Twenge, a patron of a living, who,
having been robbed of his presentation, founded a secret
society which did popular justice on the Italians and the
agencies of rapine. Oxford students, too, showed their
temper to the papal legate, Otho, when he visited their
city. His brother, who, to guard him from poison, acted
as his cook, having thrown scalding broth on one of
their number while they were crowding round the leg-
1237 ate's quarters, they assaulted the legate's train with
bows and arrows, drove him from the city, and under-
went excommunication for the riot. Doctrinal revolt
as yet there was none, but the revolt against papal
extortion was the faint dawn of the Reformation. I^apal

vii HENRY 111 157

usurpation, however, was still at its zenith, and its two
new bodies of militia, the Dominicans and the Francis-
cans, well served the power which had given them birth.

Against the political and fiscal abuses the barons pro-
tested in the council of the realm. Taking advantage of
the king's need, they forced him again and again to renew
the Great Charter. This he did with the most awful
forms which the church could devise to bind his faith,
knowing that whatever was bound, however tightly, the
pope could loose. Henry III. had not like his father a
body of mercenaries to make him independent of political
support. He could not afford to pay for it, if he desired.
He had to manage his parliament, by which name the
national council may henceforth be called, and the par-
liament becomes more at once of a tax-granting and a
representative body, delegates of the knights being sum-
moned on occasion. A leader only was wanting to the
opposition. The Earl of Chester stood forth, but he soon 1232
died. Richard Marshall, son of the great regent, took 1232
arms with the sinister aid of the marauding Welsh, but
in the end he was driven or decoyed to Ireland and was
there done to death. Richard, Earl of Cornwall, the 1234
king's brother, was much wiser than the king, as well as
powerful from his immense wealth, and he was on the
side of reform. But for strong measures he stood too
near the throne, and his wealth having elected him King
of the Romans, his thoughts were turned to a foreign

At last came both the hour and the man. The hour
came when the silly king, having swallowed the pope's
bait and accepted for his younger son Edmund the king-
dom of Sicily, of which the pope called himself suzerain.


in pursuit of his chimera got desperately into the pope's
debt, pawned his kingdom and applied to his barons for
money. The man came in Simon De Montfort, a for-
eigner, who had inherited the English earldom of Leices-
ter, and to whom, probably to bring that earldom with
the other great places into the royal family, the king had
given his sister Eleanor in marriage. Simon De Mont-
fort was an adventurer, the son of that most hateful of
all adventurers who led, under Innocent III., the crusade
of extermination against the Albigenses. Whether he
was himself more adventurer or patriot, who, through
the mist of ages, can discern? He was the friend of
Grosseteste and of the good and learned Adam De
Marisco. He was highly religious and had the clergy,
the lower clergy at least, on his side. He had great in-

1248 fluence over the young. He had been sent as governor
to Gascony ; had apparently acted well ; but had been
embroiled, as it was easy to be, with the Gascons, and
afterwards with the king, who suspected his ambition and
avowed that he feared him more than thunder. He now

1257 stood forth as leader of the opposition in conjunction with
the Earl of Gloucester, an English magnate over whom
he had gained influence.

1268 To a parliament at Oxford, called by the royalists the
Mad Parliament, the barons came armed, with their re-
tainers. They preferred a long list of grievances; be-
stowal on foreigners of the hands of English heiresses and
of the custody of castles, abuse of feudal service, abuse of
escheats, abuse of purveyance, vexatious fines for non-
attendance at the courts of the itinerant justices or the
sheriff's court, illegal castle-building, use of the Jews for
the purposes of extortion. They forced the king to swear


to an agreement called the Provisions of Oxford, by which 1258
in effect power was taken from him for the time and vested
in a baronial board of reform authorized to appoint the
officers of state and the sheriffs, hold the royal castles,
rid the realm of the foreigners, and put an end to abuses
both in church and state. Three parliaments were to be
held every year. The king, restraint of whom was the
object, was to be assisted, that is, controlled, by a stand-
ing council of fifteen. The Provisions were proclaimed
in English as well as in French and Latin ; a proof that
the barons appealed to the people at large. Ostensibly
the board was composed in equal parts of royalists and
patriots ; practically the balance at once inclined to the
patriot side. But, as in all juntos, jealousies and dissen-
sions soon set in. De Montfort's towering ascendancy
gave umbrage to the Earl of Gloucester, and probably not
to him alone. Oligarchical reform moved slowly. So
thought the knights or bachelors, the class of land-own-
ing gentry below the barons, now growing in strength,
and trained in local administration, who came forward
with a protest. There is room to surmise that Gloucester
was for baronial, De Montfort for popular, reform. The
king began to intrigue and seized the Tower. He got
from Pope Alexander a dispensation from his oath, once
more showing how far Rome was the friend of liberty.
The king's son Edward, who now comes upon the scene,
and who had also sworn to the Provisions, refused to
break his own oath, and tried to keep his father in the
path of honour, true thus early to the motto of his life,
engraven on his tomb, Pactum Serva, There was an out-
break of civil war. Then there was an appeal to the king 1264
of France, St. Louis. St. Louis was a saint of righteous-


ness as well as of religion, but he was a king and a
Frenchman. His award annulled the Provisions of Ox
ford and restored to Henry all his regal powers, including
the nomination of the officers of state, without exclusion
of foreigners, and all his castles. Only the charters were
saved. It was not likely that this award would be ac-
cepted. De Montfort and his party seem to have treated
it as self-contradictory and, therefore, null, the Provisions
having been in accordance with the charters. London
and the Cinque Ports appear never to have consented to
the arbitration. Civil war followed. With the king were
most of the magnates, both lay and ecclesiastical, though
the young De Clare, the new Earl of Gloucester, felt
De Montfort's influence on youth ; while two bishops,
Thomas and Walter De Cantelupe, remained true to the
patriot cause. With De Montfort were the lesser barons,
the knights or gentry, London, the Cinque Ports, ahvays
high-hearted and boisterous, and the cities generally, the
body of the clergy, the universities, and the mass of the
people. It is thought not unlikely that the Walter De
Weshyngton in his camp was an ancestor of Washington.
There were some minor actions and sieges, the most
notable incident in which was the appearance of a body
of Oxford students under their banner against the king
at Northampton. Then the war gathered to a head at
1264 Lewes. The castle and priory at Lewes were occupied
by the royal army under the king, his son Edward, and
his brother Richard, King of the Romans, now on his side.
Upon them moved De Montfort from London, the citizens
of which were in force under his banner. A last bid for
peace, made through the bishops of Worcester and Lon-
don, failed, and both sides appealed to the sword. The


battle was a medieval prototype of the battles between
Cavalier and Puritan at an after day. By the royalists
the night before was spent in revelry and debauchery,
which even profaned the altar. De Montfort, by assump-
tion of the cross, prayer, and confession, gave his soldiers,
the character of crusaders. On the point of going into
action they all fell on the ground in prayer, stretching
out their arms in the form of a cross. Young Edward,
hot as Rupert, charged headlong on the Londoners, whom
he longed to punish for insulting and pelting his mother,
broke them, and pursued them with great slaughter far
over the downs. He returned from the pursuit, like
Rupert, to find that in his absence the day had been lost.
De Montfort, an experienced commander, like Cromwell,
with his men well in hand, had beaten the main body of
the royal army and put it to flight, many a royalist being
swallowed up with his charger in the morass. The king,
after fighting hard, was shut up in the priory. His
brother, Earl Richard, had fled and had been captured,
amid the jeers of his enemies, in a wind-mill. Edward,
after a vain reconnaissance, found that there was nothing
for it but surrender. A capitulation, called the Mise of
Lewes, followed ; the Provisions of Oxford were con-
firmed, and Henry was compelled to accept a constitution
binding him to govern by the advice of a council of nine
native Englishmen, which would have made him a puppet

Under the auspices of De Montfort a parliament Avas 1265
called, to which were summoned, besides barons and pre-
lates, four knights from each shire. That assembly put
the government into the hands of nine councillors by
whom the king was to be guided, and who were to ap-

VOL. I 10


point the great officers of state. This was a veiled king-
ship of De Montfort. The royalist party was still alive
and active, and the queen liad got an army on foot in
France, to meet which England was summoned to as-
semble in warlike array on Barham Down, while the
papacy continued to launch its thunderbolts in aid of the

De Montfort threw himself on the nation. He had the
bulk of it with him; while the body of the clergy, ground
between pope and king, was for ecclesiastical independence
and reform. He called a parliament to which, besides
the few magnates of his party, some bishops, and a great
body of the minor dignitaries of the church, were sum-
moned two knights from each county and two burghers
from*eacli borough. Representation was not by any means
a new thing. It was the natural and necessary expedient
when the sense of any district or large body of people was
to be taken, and had been used by preceding kings, for the
purpose both of assessment and of information. It entered
into the constitution of the county court, to which the
boroughs sent deputies. There was an example of it in
the councils of the church. But representation of the
people in parliament was new. De Montfort's parliament,
however, if it was full, was not free, being confined to his
partisans. Nor was it called for legislation, but to meet a
constitutional crisis. The measure was revolutionary, and
was not repeated for many years. Its importance was not
felt at the time as it is felt now. Nevertheless, the child
had been born ; and though the father of the institution
lived not to cherish it, a foster-father in the disguise
of an enemy was at hand.

Such a state of things as a monarchy in abeyance with


an unavowed dictatorship could not last. The nation
wanted a real king. De Montfort's elevation was sure to
breed jealousies and discord. His sons grew insolent and
affronted his one supporter among the high nobility,
the Earl of Gloucester. The pope was always .active on
the side of his royal liegeman. Edward escaped from the
captivity in which as a hostage he had been held, and gave
the royalists a leader. He gave them a popular leader by
pledging himself to the Earl of Gloucester to carry out the
reforms. Civil war again broke out, and now Edward 1265
was a general. From the tower of Evesham Abbey, De
Montfort, looking towards Kenilworth, whence he ex-
pected to see his son's force marching to his aid, saw
instead the army of Edward, who had surprised the young
De Montfort's army in its camp, marching to overwhelm
him. He could not help paying a soldier's meed of praise
to the order in which the foe came on. But he knew that
all was over. " May the Lord," he said, " have mercy on
our souls, for our bodies are in the enemy's power." He
fell fighting like a lion, with one of his sons and , his
friends, who, though he had conjured them to save them-
selves, had refused to leave his side. His corpse was
mutilated by the rage of the victors. But the people
reverenced him as a saint, miracles were performed by his
relics, and to him rose the hymn.

Salve, Simon Montis Fortis,

Totius Jios militice!
Pcenas duras pasaus mortis.

Protector gentis Anglice !

Restored royalty was at first bent on wreaking its ven-
geance by sweeping confiscations. This drove the disin-
herited to take up arms, and De Clare once more passed

164 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap, vii

to the side of opposition. But in the end, temperate
counsels prevailed and brought about a settlement. No
blood was shed on the scaffold. Nor, though heavy fines
were imposed, were any estates ultimately confiscated
except those of De Montfort and his sons. The king
1267 ratified, formally at least, in the parliament of Marl-
borough, the chief reforms which had been sought by the
patriot barons. Calm presently returned. The last of
the storm was the murder of Henry, son of Richard, Earl
of Cornwall, by the two surviving sons of De Montfort in

1271 the church at Viterbo. All was so quiet that Edward felt
at liberty to shake off the dust of civil strife and to gratify

1270 at once his martial spirit and his piety by taking part
in the last crusade. Old Henry ended his days in peace.

1272 He would have been a good priest ; he was a bad king.
That he was a king instead of being a priest was not his
fault. Edward, now thirty-three, was proclaimed, though

1272 absent, without opposition. The days of doubtful succes-
sion and of an interruption of the king's peace were at an


Born 1239 ; Succeeded 1272 ; Died 1307

TkE MONTFORT'S parliament was partisan, revolution-
ary, and transient. To make parliamentary govern-
ment national, constitutional, and permanent there was
needed a king liberal enough to desire partnership with
his people, too strong to lose his authority thereby, mag-
nanimous enough to embrace and perpetuate the offspring
of revolution. He comes. Edward I. is the greatest
ruler of the middle age. Louis IX. of France was more
saint and crusader than ruler ; Alphonso the Wise was
more sage than ruler ; Frederick II. was not so much a
king of the middle age as a Voltairean autocrat born
before his time, nor did his work endure.

The reign of Edward I. is an epoch in the history not
of England only but of the world. He reigns now
through the institutions to which he gave life over
almost all European nations, in America, in Australia, in
Japan. He will continue to reign, even if his special in-
stitutions should pass away, as the statesman who achieved
a union of authority with national opinion.

The favourite saint of Henry III. was Edward the Con-
fessor. After him he named his son. Happily for the
land which his son was to govern, the resemblance ended
with the name. The name, however, commended the new



king to the English people. In their minds it was iden-
tified with long-lost liberties and the good times of old.
They fondly traced the new king's pedigree through
Margaret, the queen of Malcolm Canmore, to the old
Saxon line. Nor were they wrong in thinking that they
had in Edward a thoroughly English king. If he spoke
French it was not as a Norman ; nor was it Norman
French that he spoke ; it was the French of Paris, the
court language of those days as it was afterwards of the
days of Louis XIV. He spoke English as well, and could
speak it to the heart of his people. . If he was a power
in Europe, it was not because he unhappily held fiefs in
southern France, but because he was a mighty king of
England. If Europe respected him as an arbitrator, it
was because his name as an English king stood high.

Edward's outward form has been well preserved to us.
He was tall, strong, and deep-chested, with long legs to
clip the saddle and lithe arms to wield the sword. The
manly beauty of his face was marred only by a drooping
eyelid. His hair was flaxen ; it turned white, but did
not fall, nor did his sight fail or his teeth decay. He
had a slight impediment in his speech. To his character
Catholicism may point as its highest type of the secular
kind. He was devout, loved the services of the church,
practised religious retirement in holy seasons, gave freely
to religious foundations. He was a good son to his weak
father and to his unpopular mother ; to his mother too
good, for it Avas by his eagerness to avenge an insult
offered to her that he threw away victory at Lewes. His
domestic life was perfectly pure, as that of his father had
been, and at his side was a wife whom he tenderly loved,
from whom he was never willingly parted, who, while she


lived, perhaps softened what was stern in him and tem-
pered what was fiery. She had gone with him to the
crusade, and the story of her sucking the poison from
his wound, though a fiction, might well have been true.
The strong sense of good faith and honour expressed in
his motto. Pactum Serva^ was perliaps derived rather from
feudal fealty than from the teachings of a church of
casuistry and dispensations.

In youth Edward's temper had been violent, and strange
stories had been told of its outbreaks by the De Montfort
party. In manhood he was sometimes too fiery, yet placa-
ble. " Show him mercy ? " he cried, when his pardon was
sought for an offender ; " I would show mercy to a dog
if he sought my grace." Having been insulted across a
stream, he spurs his horse into the water, regardless of
its depth or the high bank, and forgives the man on the
other side. He strikes an attendant in a rage, then fines
himself for having done it. He puts a man who has
highly offended him in prison, and sends an order that
he shall be kindly and courteously treated, but without
being allowed to know that the order for his being so
treated comes from the king. Coming upon a band of
outlaws, he singles out their gallant leader, engages him
in combat, vanquishes him, and pardons him for the sake
of his valour. . There is nothing of the Grand Monarch
about Edward I. His habits are simple ; his dress is
plain ; after his coronation he never wears his crown.
His magnificence is shown only on occasions of state.
In war he exposes himself as a common soldier, and
when, after a narrow escape from a missile, he is implored
to be cautious, replies, " We have undertaken a just war
in the name of the Lord, and we will not fear what man


can do unto us." On the night before battle he lies, like
his soldiers, on the bare ground, with his horse tethered
at his side. His horse kicks him and hurts him ; yet he
commands and wins the battle next day. When he is
cut off with his train on the Welsh hills, and they bring
him the last keg of wine, having reserved it for his use,
he bids them hand it round to all who share his peril.
The manners of his court appear to be frank and free.
His ladies exact of him the playful forfeit on Easter
Monday by hoisting him in his chair.
1272 At the time of his accession Edward was absent on his
crusade. But he was at once acknowledged as king.
The hereditary principle had taken firm root. Hence-
forth there is no accession charter, but only an improved
coronation oath. There was no interruption of the king's
peace. Two centuries later it will be held that the king
never dies. Edward and St. Louis were the last of the
crusaders and the best ; they went, not to win kingdoms
for themselves in Palestine, but to save the Holy Land.
Throughout his life of toil Edward looks forward, not to
rest, but to another crusade, in which his sword, instead
of being drawn against Christians, should be once more
drawn against the enemies of Christ. His heart was in
the holy war. He will make no treaties with the infidels.
If others do, he will stay with Fowin, his groom, and fight
it out. He came home bearing in his body the effects of
the assassin's poisoned dagger, which, however, his strong
constitution threw off. The assassin, an emissary of a fa-
natical sect, he had slain on the spot ; but he rebuked his
attendants when they struck the corpse. On his way home
he showed his prowess by unhorsing the redoubtable Count
of Chalons, who had played him false in a tournament.


From a baronage heading resistance to royal misrule
and encroachment the interest of political history passes
to a king who is a minister of progress. Mere checks
give birth to nothing. The king is still the regular mo-
tive power ; he alone can take in the situation and under-
stand the need. To credit Edward with a political theory
would be too much ; the days of political philosophy were
not yet ; no one had yet thought of framing a constitu-
tion. But Edward had statesmanlike instincts and a
policy. His policy was on the same lines as that of
Henry II., but broader and more patriotic. For feudal-

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