M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

The history of England : written in French (Volume 1) online

. (page 110 of 360)
Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 110 of 360)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and Chinon, of which he was Governour (5). The
other Affair which kept John beyond Sea, was to caufe
himfelf to be owned for Sovereign by the Provinces the
Englijh held in France. Though in England every thing
went to his wife, it was not fo in France, where
young Arthur his Nephew created him great Uneafinefs.
Befides his natural Ri:;bt to thefe Provinces, it was to be
feared, the King ol France would affift him with all his
Forces to take poffeffion. And indeed, nothing could be
more advantagious for that Monarch, than to fee them
rent from the Englijh Monarchy. Moreover, all feemed
inclined to favour Arthur. The Governor of Angers (6)
had already delivered that Place to him, and all the Lords
of Poitlou, Touraint, Maine, and Anjou, were refolved to
acknowledge him for Sovereign (7). So that John now


M. Pjris

M. Paris.


J hn raits
Mans una
raze; lbs
M. Paiisi

M Pnris.


M. Paiis,

faw himfelf as it were excluded from a great Part of his
Brother's Inheritance. As this Example might prove of
dangerous confequence with regard to Normandy, and even
have fome Influence in England, John was in great per-
plexity. However, as he had Richard's Treafure in his
hands, he feafonabfy ufed it to gain the principal Lords of
Nor?;:'. "... tin fame means, he levied'an Army, and

laid Siege to Mans, which had fided with the Duke of
Bretagne. This Place not making a long refiftance, he
believed it neceffary to if rike a Terror into the Normans,
by an Inftance of Severity, which fhculd frighten them
from declaring againft him. For that purpofe, he ordered
the Walls of Mfins to be razed, and the chief Burghers
made Prifoners. Thefe rigorous Proceedings had the de-
lired Effect. However inclined the Normans were to Ar-
thur, they thought it prudent to fubmit to his Uncle, in
order to avoid the impending Evils. As foon as they had
taken this Refolutiun, John came to Roan, where he was
crowned Duke of Normandy (8) by the Archbifhop of that
City, who had been a great Inftrument in difpofing the
Pet. pie in his favour.

It was by no means proper for John to think of re-
ducing the other Provinces in France, before he had taken
polieliion of the Crown of England. Beiides that a too
long Delay might be prejudicial to him, fo great an Un-
dertaking would be impracticable, without the Affiftance of
the Englijh. He was determined therefore to pafs the Sea,
and arriving at London the 25th of May (9), he caufed
himfelf to be crowned next day in IP'cJtminJter Abbey.
Before the Ceremony began, Hubert Archbifhop of Can-
terbury made the following Speech to the Lords and People

" "r\J ^ ^ er, ° n can have a ^'& nt t0 l ^ e Crown of this AnUijhtp
'' -i.^ Kingdom, unlefs, after humbly invoking God's •/ Came ' b "'
" Holy Spirit, he be firft unanimoufiy elected for his ex- ^.'pam',*'
'' traordinary Virtues, and then folemnly anointed King p. 19;.
" after the Example of Saul and David, whom God was
" pleafed to let over his People, though neither was Son
" of a King, or royally defcended. The former was
" chofen for his Valour, the latter for his Humility and
" Piety ; it pleafed God that fuch as were to be cloathed
" with Sovereign Power, fhould be eminently diftinguifh-
" ed by their Virtues. If therefore any one of the Fa-
" mily of the late King excels the reft, we ought readily
" to confent to his Election. I fpeak this in favour of
' the noble Duke John here prefent, Brother to our il-
" luftrious King Ric hard, who died without Iffue. This
" Prince, being endowed with all forts of Virtues, and
" particularly with great Valour and Prudence, as well in
" refuect of his Merits as Birth, with the Invocation of
" the Holy Spirit, we eleit King."

After this fhort Harangue, the Archbifhop fet the Crown John !t
on John's head, having firft adminiftred to him the cufto- crc, """ J -
mary Oath. The Biihop of Durham protefted againft n' y t i! U
the Coronation, as done in the Abfence of the Archbifhop
of Tori. But this Pretenfion being founded neither on
Law nor Cuftom, was not regarded.

The Archbifhop of Canterbury's Speech well deferves R ' mari ' «
fome Remarks. Several pretend to prove from thenc», aL't'spesb,
that by Election only the Kings of England in thofe days
afcended the Throne. They ground their Opinion upon
the Archbifeop's declaring it, on fo folemn an occalion
without any oppofition. They urge likewife the Silence
of the Prince elected, who muft have been offended at fo
bold an aifertion, if he had not been fatisfied, the People
had fuch a Right. But I do not fee how this Confe-
quence can be drawn. Hubert takes upon him to declare,
John comes to the Crown only by Election, without the
States appearing to have been firft confulted about it. Nay,
it does not appear, that after he had ended his Speech, he (o
much as asked the Affembly's Opinion but proceeded im-
mediately to the Coronation of the King, upon the People's
Acclamations, who were got together to fee the Cere-
mony. Befides, if John was elected at that time, whence
is it that all England had already fworn Fealty to him ?
Was it ufual to take the Oath before the Election ? Do
we find any fuch thing practifed in Elective Kingdoms ?
Moreover, if the Right of Election was then eftablifhed
in England, what made the Archbifhop alledge the Ex-

(1) Homines regni tarn dc Civitatibus, quam dc Burgis, & Co-nites, & Barones, 8c libere tencntes. Hsvcd. p. 793.

(2) A'-l the Biflicps, Earls, and Barons that had Catties, furnifhed them with Arms and Provisions, Hoved. p. 793'

(3) David, Brother to the Ming of Sceti ; Richard, Earl of Clare ; Ranulf, Earl or" Cteflcr > William, Earl of -Tutejbury j IVaUran, Earl of ffarwirt}
Roger, Conitobte of Cbrjlo ; William de Mowbray, Sec. Hovcd. ibid.

(a) And Cumberland, with their Appurtsrnincts. Homed, ibid.

£5) And all the other Caftles in his Cuftody. Hoved, p. 792. M. Paris, p. 196.

(6) -ILzixas de Furttei, Nephew to Robert de Turnbam. Hoved: ibid. M. font.

\-j) Declaring it to be ihe Right and Cuftom of thofe Territories, for the Son of the elder Brother deceafed, to fucceed before the younger. Htved. ibid.

M. Paris, p. 196.

(Sj On April 25. He was girt tvitb the tv-ord cf that Dukedom (as M. Paris exprefTts it) in the Cathedral of Roan ; and the Archlifliop put on hi;
Head a golden Circle, or Coronet, adorned ali round with golden Rofes, curioufly wrought, p- 190. He took, an Oath at the lame time, which fee tb<d.
and in Hwtd. p. 792, 793.

(9) He landed at Sbvtbam in Sujfex, May 25, and came the next Day to Linden to be crowned* Hcved*

7 2mples

Book VIII.

7- JOHN.



a-nDles of Saul and David ? Would it not have been that end, flic defired that Monarch to give her a meeting 1199,
more to the pu.pofe to produce thofe of tf»e former Kings at Tours where fhe delivered the young Duke into Ins
of England ? But ot theft he fays not a word. He con- hands (,), furrendenng to him withal, the pnnc.pa] I laces
,felf with infifting upon the Examples of two of Bretagne, Touraine, Poitlou, Jnjou, and Maine, to hold
much more proper to cfbbhfh a new them lor Arthur.

Philip defired nothing fo much as the recovery of the PhilipWii

Mi Paris.
p. 197.

tents him

Kings of Ifrael, much more proper to e
Right than to prove its Antiquity. There are even fome
Authors that affirm, the whole AfTembly was extremely
furprized at the Archbifliop's Difcourfc : Adding, that
after the Ceremony, being asked the reafon of fo extra-
ordinary a Proceeding, he 'replied, That be for cj aw John
would bring the Kingdom into great Confufton, and therefore
bad judged it proper to let him know, that he mounted the
Throne ' by Election, and not by H E R E o 1 r a r v
Succession*, to the end he might always remember,
that thofe who gave him the Crown, had likewife the Power
to lake it away. It this particular was certain, the Right
of Election would be overthrown by the Archbifliop's -wn
words. For there is no need of any private reafons tor
the ufe of a Right, when it is certainly eftabhfhed. But it
is not likely that Hubert had the gift of forefeeing what
did not happen till feveral years after.

To underftand the motive of this Speech, we need only
confider the Circumftances of this pretended Election.
Hubert, as was faid, was entirely in John's Intereft. T'he
bufinefs was to procure that Prince a Crown, to which the
Duke of Bretagne had Pretenfions, not altogether ground-
lefs. However, by Promifes or Threats the Englijh were
brought to fwear to John. It was not therefore proper to
fay, he afcended the Throne by Hereditary Right, fince
the queftion between him and Arthur had been neither ex-
amined nor decided. Confequently it would have been adt

Provinces enjoyed by the Englijh in France. He h.:d ''' ''•'"•
even undertaken feveral Wars to that end, though with _ ^ j,",
little Succefs. It is no wonder therefore, if he did not
fail to embrace fo favorable an opportunity. Under colour
of adting for Arthur, he had now broke the five years
Truce made with Richard. He had even made himfclf
matter of Evreux, and the Provinces of Maine, whill't
the Bretons had furprized Angers, from whence Morchad,
King John's General, had driven them a little before.
News of theft things being brought to England, caufed J' ,hn Z c "
rohn to depart with precipitation, to look alter ins artairs mmdy.
beyond Sea (4). Upon his arrival at Roan (-), he affirm- Hoved._
bled an army of Englijh and Normans, which was quickly T| \
reinforced with the Troops brought by the Lords of his
Party from the other Provinces. This great Armament
furprized PhHip. As he was unwilling to run any hazard,
he pretended to defire to end his differences with the
King of England by way of Negotiation, and for that pur-
pofc demanded a Truce for fifty days. Inftead of improt ng Truer for
his Advantages, John fuffered himfelf to be deceived by his-ffi "!?*''
Enemy, and granted him a Truce. He imagined, the m. Vm\'.
Terror of his Arms obliged the King of France to defift

from his Projects. Before the Truce was expired, the
two Monarchs had an Intel view between Butivant and
Gaillon, to try to adjuft their differences. Philip talked
inc contrary to John's Intereft to revive it. But it was very high, and in fuch a ftrain, as fhewed he was void of
very advantages for him to mount the Throne by a fort all fear. He demanded the horman-Vexm for himfelf, «■
of Election, upon a double account. Firft, as it gave him and Poitlou, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine, for Arthur, for p . 795 .

which Provinces he had now received that Prince's Homage. M. Puis.
A demand fo oppofite to John's defigns, breaking oft" the
Conference, and caufing to vanifti all hopes of Peace, Ho-
fti'ities commenced on both fides.

a title to his Coronation : Secondly, as it gained him the
People of England, who were thereby more likely to fup-
port their Choice, than maintain him in his pretended He-
reditary Right, which was liable to many difficulties.

John was thirty two years of age when he came to the
fo much defired Crown, but which, by the juft Judgment
7be~R C ign °f { God, ferved only to render him more unhappy. Du-
John- r i n g the whole courfe of his Reign, he met with nothing

but misfortunes, and thofe the moft terrible ; having to
deal with three irreconcileable Enemies, namely, Philip
AuguJlus King of France, Pope Innocent III, and the Ba

Ike three
Events in

Joanna Countefs of Tboloufe, and Queen- Dowager of I ?"" b °f
icily, Siller of King John, died in the beginning of this Ki"™sSi/,r
War at Roan (6), where fhe was come to vifit the King H,.ved
her Brother. She was buried at Fontevraud, in a very *-'■•"';• H "}'.
fplendid manner, near the Kings Henry and Richard her xoul.


Father and Brother.

Whilft John was taken up with his Sifter's Funeral, Philip </'/-
rons" of his own Realn The firlt ftript'him of almoft Philip was in Bretagne, where he made himfelf mafter of«J^" hur -
all the Provinces held by his Predeceffors in France. The certain Places that had declared for John. Among thefe M . Pa t : ; .
fecond wrefted from him the Crown of England, and was the Caftle of Belun (7), which fPhUip ordered 10 be
though he reftored it afterwards, it was upon the Terms demolifhed as foon as it was in his power. This Pro-
of a difhonorable Homage. In fine, the Barons of Eng- ceeding offending William de la Roche, Governor of the
land compelled him to give up all the Prercgaiives enjoyed young Duke, he complained of it as a Breach of the
by his Predeceffors fince William the Conqueror. Thefe Treaty made with Philip, in the name of his Pupil. In-
are the three principal Events of this Reign, trie particu- deed, they had agreed, that all the Places, taken from the
lars whereof I am going to relate, as briefly as the fubjedt Enemy, fhould be delivered into the hands of the Duke,
will permit. as '° on as ne came of " a g e - But inftead of excufing the
As foon as John was crowned ( 1 ), his firft care was to thing from the Circumftances of the War, Philip fcorn-

marditb-Je rewarc | tno fe who had been inftrumental in placing him on fully replied, It was not to be expetled that the Confideration

subc b i .1
(erved bint,



of the Duke of Bretagne'r Intereji fhould hinder him from
confulting his own. At the fame time, without giving the
Governor other fatisfadtion, he marched on to beliege La-
vardin. But upon King John's approach at the head of a Johnmifei
numerous Army, he thought fit to retire into Maine. For ' '

He Shifts of
the King oj

the Throne. William Marfhal was created Earl of Pem-
broke ; Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, the Jufticiary, received the title
of Earl of EJfex : Archbilhop Hubert confidered as a re-
commence, the Office of High -Chancellor, conferred on

him by the King ; though many were of opinion, his ac- huiuciuuo muij, ut c.^ug,.... .... .« ...i.... ,.,. u ;-....,„.. x m Ljv ,

cepting it was a difparagement to his Ecclefiaftical Dig- the fame reafon, he found himfelf obliged alfo to quit that Hoved.

nitv. Indeed, Chancellors had been made Archbifhops of Province, and fhelter himfelf in his own Dominions.
Canterbury, for inftance, Thomas Becket ; but this was the Mean time, what he had done in Bretagne, and his Conftance

firft time an Archbifhop was inverted with the Chancel- reply upon that occafion, opened the Eyes of William de '"? 3 *," t /,l

lorfhip. la Roche. This prudent Governor, finding Philip had no j. hn.

The new King being fecure of the Englijh, flayed no other view than to ufe his young mafter as an Inftrument Hovcd.

longer in the Kingdom than was neceffary to amufe the to advance his own affairs, thought it his duty to endea-
vour to blaft his defigns. Accordingly, he carried away
and Arthur from the Court of Philip, and after

King of Scotland. This Prince was very urgent for the
reftitution of Northumberland and Cumberland, and threat-
ned to carry War into thofe Counties, unlefs he had fpeedy
fatisfadtion. John had no defign to comply with his de-
mands, but however, did not think proper to reject them
at fuch a juncture. To free himfelf from this difficulty,
he chofe to perfwade him gently to be fatisfied with a ge-
neral Promife, till his urgent affairs in France permitted
him to enter into Negotiation with him (2). Indeed, this

Con/lance and Arthur

a Reconciliation, brought them to King John (S). This
might have proved fatal to the King of France, if he had
not by good fortune, or perhaps by good management,
recovered his Iofs, which he looked upon as very neceflary
to ferve as a mark to his Ambition. There were fome
in the Court of King John, who, bribed by Philip, or
out of affection to the young Duke, intimated to Con-

was his only courfe, fince he could not relinquilh his Jhtnce, that her own and her Son's Life were in danger

affairs in France, without danger of lofing all.
vie Ducbejt Conjlancc, Mother of Arthur, perceived by John's Pro-
e/Brmgnc ceedings, that he defigned to feize all the Provinces in
fur.berfelf p rancCt poffeffed by Henry II, and Richard. But as fhe
found herfelf unable to oppofe it, (lie refolved to put the
Duke her Son under the King of France's Protection. To

near a Prince, who would be fo great a gainer by their

death. Thefe Intimations often repeated, made fuch an Tbtf return

Impreffion on the Princefs and the young Duke, that

+nd San un
dtrtbe pro-
tection oj


M. Paris.

Brora pton.

An. Bur'.

they privately withdrew from Ki::g John's Court, and m

to Phil

threw themfelves into the Arms of

their former Pro-


thinking h* would come and have an Int-rview with him. and w^nt himfelf as far as Aot-
M. Fan's, p. 196.

(l) On the day of h's Coronation. Moved- p. 793.
(z) King 'John fent the Biftiop ot Uurbjm ty meet h'.m
tingbam. Idem. p. 794..

(•) Who immediately feut the Duke to Pjrn, to his Son Lrwis. Idem. p. 791.
($) He Tailed from Sborebam, June 19, with a numerous Army. Brompr. p. 1282.
(ef) Pb.lip Earl of Flanders entered here iuto a Treaty with him. M. bans, p. 198. Hrved. (6) In Sepirnb. ld:r-.. p

(-'j He took it ia O.^iai. hoied. Ibid. (% J To whom he alio delivered Mans. Hid,

NO.. XIV. Vn,,l, U U U





ihi 1 a/-


■ ■■'..

:• 795-

The H I S T R T of E N G L A N D.

Vol. I.

A? Arthurs return furnifheJ Philip with a plaufible given him. Bretagne alone, to which "John could lay no 120c.
me. the War, it caufed John to lofe all manner of Claim, remained in fubjection to the Duke.

1 200.

Philip fues

fir Peace.

pretence to coutinu

the hones he had entertained, whiift the young Prince was But whilft John was making all thefe Conquefts, he HefaBs
in his cuftody. In all appearance, this War was like to himfelf was vanquifhtd by the Charms of Ifabella of An- \i^-\u ",f
be of lono- continuance. John had ftrengthened himfelf goulfrne, one of the greateft Beauties in her time. She Angou! me
with the Alliance of the Emperor Otho of Saxony his Ne- had been contracted to Hugh Earl of Marche ; but, being A». B rton

then too young, the Marriage was not confummated. Se-
veral Obftacles afterwards intervened, which prevented the
Confummation, though the Contract flill remained in
force. The violent Pafiion John entertained for this
Lady, made him with all imaginable ardor fcek means to
poiTefs her. But his ends could not be attained without
very great difficulties. There were no lefs than two Mar-
riages to break through at once ; namely, his own with
Avifa of Gloccjlcr, ( who during the nine years they had
been together, had never given him anv caufe to com-
plain, ) and that of Ifabella, with the Earl of Aim the.
However, his new Paffion putting him in mind, thatv/w/a K j
was related to him within the degrees forbidden by the m. Pari!.
Canons, and that the Archbifllop of Canterbury protefted Htdiimca
againft his Marriage, he deiired the Pope to annul it. G Iocefter.
lip fenfible, it would not be poffible at fuch a Juncture to Whether the Pope was willing to do the King a Pleafure, Diceto.
make any great progrefs. And therefore, finding 'the War or was glad of an occafion to exert the Authority of the An - Bu ' ton -

Church, he appointed the Archbifhop of Bourdeaux and
two other Bifhcps, Judges of the Cafe. After a (lender
Examination, the Commiffioners declared John's Marriage
with Avifa null and void ; which done, the King demand- H ' ma "<"
ed Ifubella of the Earl of Angov.leme her Father, who gave a e "'
her to him, without fcrupling to break his word, to pro-
cure a Crown for his Daughter.

In this manner mod Hiftorians fpeak cf John's fecond
Marriage. They allure us, his Love for Ifabella of An-
That Philip fhould give no affiftance to the Duke of gouUme, was the real Motive of his annulling the firft (5).
Bretagne, but fuffer j'ohn to take poffeffion of Poiclou, There is one however, who undertakes to vindicate the Diceta<
Maine, Touraine, and Anjou, without moleftaticn. King, by intimating, that Avifa was divorced before his p. 706.

Paffion for Ifabella. But I queftion whether the Authority M - Pari - -
of a fingle Hiftorian can out-weigh the Teftimony of all
the reft (6).

A little after the King's Marriage, Conjlance of Bretagne, Conlhnee /
who was married to Ralph Earl of Chejler, having loft Breta sne
her fecond Husband, or, as fome fay, voluntarily quitted c/xhouai?
him, efpoufed for her third Guy de Tliouars. She died in Argentre.
1 201, having lived about a year with her new Spoufe. ^fff'
By this third Marriase he left a Daughter called Alice,

phew, who promifed to make a powerful diverfion in his
favour. He had likewife gained the Earl of Flanders, and
by an unexpected turn, all Guienne had juft declared for
him. All thefe Advantages were fufficient to enable him
to carry on the War without dreading his Enemy. The
Province of Guienne was fo confiderable, that John im-
mediately laid afide his other defigns to go and take pof-

His Affairs ftanding thus, he had reafon to flatter him-
felf with the hopes of Succefs in the continuation of the
War. However, he chofe rather to liften to the Propo-
fals of Peace, infinuated to him from Philip by the Car-
dinal of Capua. The King's numerous Forces, his Alli-
ance with the Emperor and the Earl of Flanders, and
the Succours he might expect from the Gafcons, made Phi-

promifed him no advantage, he turned about to procure by
a Peace, what he could not expect by Arms. As he con-
fidered the voung Duke of Bretagne's Intetefts, only with
a view to his own, he relinquifhed that Prince, to obtain
the better Terms for himfelf. After a fhort Truce, which
brought on a Treaty, a Peace was concluded ( 1 ) by the
Mediation of the Cardinal of Capua, the Pope's Legate,
upon thefe Conditions :

Treaty ef
Fence be-
tween the

Ad. Pub'" That he fhould reftore to John the Earldom of Evreux,
t.i. p. 117. Berry, Auvergne, and in general whatever was taken from
Dicct0 - the Englijh fince Richard's death.

An. Burton
p. 799.
M. Paris.

That immediately after the reftitution of Berry, and
Auvergne, John fhould refign thefe two Provinces, for a
certain time, to Prince Lewis Son of Philip, and pay him
twenty thoufand (2) Marks of Silver for the Dowry of
Blanche of Cajlile his Niece (3), whom that Prince was to

That in cafe John died without IlTue, he fhould leave who was Duchefs of Bretagne, after the death of her Bro-


frince Lewis

Blanche of
M. Paris.

thefe two Provinces to Lewis.

That John fhould not affift, directly, or indirectly,
the Emperor Otho his Nephew, who was at war with

This Treaty was fatal to the Duke of Bretagne. The
young Prince finding he was too weak to refift the King
his Uncle, without the Affiftance of France, quickly
loft all the Provinces that had declared for him. Nay, he
faw himfelf obliged to do Homage for Bretagne to King
John, as his PredecefTbrs had always done to the Dukes
of Normandy. However, though the King of France
had thus deferted him, he chofe rather to ftay with him,
than to truft himfelf with an Uncle, of whom he had en-
tertained a Sufpicion, which could not be blotted out of his

As foon as the Peace was figned, Queen Eleanor fet

frvm the
Emperor to
King John.
An. Burton.

John tales

P".fM"" °f
the Provin-
ce! tbjt had

Jiiied -with

ther Arthur

John thought himfelf happy in obtaining for a moderate The Englift
Sum, and the resignation of Berry and Auvergne, the la y <• ma "
Provinces in France, enjoyed by his Anceftors. But the e /'h|
Englijh deemed the Treaty fo difhonourable, that they
could not forbear murmuring. They confidered their King
as a Slothful and cowardly Prince, who was fo mean-fpirited
as to purchafe a Peace, when all things feemed to promife
him a good Iffue of the War. But thefe Murmurings
gave him but little Uneafinefs. He imagined he had
done enough, in depriving the Duke his Nephew of the
Protection of France, and reducing him to Bretagne alone,
of which alfo he did not defpair of one day difpoileffing

As foon as he had fettled his Affairs in France, and J ohn ""*"»
fecured his new Acquifitions, he returned to England (7), ^ p| r a ." *
where prefently after he convened an Aflembly or Par- He demar.dt

Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 110 of 360)