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truce with the French, and upon his return home, he laid new exact. ions on the Jews and Londoners.
In the next parliament at Westminster, enquiry was made how much money the Pope had yearly out of England, and it was found to be annually threescore thousand marks, which was more than the revenue of the crown, which the King ordered an account to be taken of, and sent it to the council at Lyons. This so vexed the Pope that he said, It is time to make an end with the Emperor (with whom he was then at variance) that we may crush these petty kings, for the dragon once appeased or destroyed, these lesser snakes will soon be trodden down. Upon which it was absolutely ordained, that the Pope should have no more money out of England. But the King being of an irresolute and wavering nature, and afraid of threats, soon gave over, and the Pope continued his former rapine.
The King had now abundance of grandees come to see him from foreign parts, and having called a parliament at London, he is sharply taxed for his expences, and severely reprehended for his breach of promise; having vowed and declared in his charter, never more to injure the state again; also for his violent taking up provisions of wax, silk, robes, and especially of wine, contrary to the will of the seller, and many other grievances they complain of. All which the King hears patiently, in hope of obtaining supplies, which yet they would not give, and thereupon the parliament is prorogued till the Midsummer following, and the King growing more furious than before, it was then dissolved in discontent. But the parliament not supplying him, he is advised to supply his wants with sale of his plate, and jewels of the crown, being told, that though they were sold, yet they would revert to him again; and having with great loss received money for them, he asked who had bought them ? answer was made, The City of London. That City (said he) is an inexhaustible gulpb, if Octavius's treasure were to be sold, they would surely buy it.
In his two and fortieth year another parliament is held, which by some was called Insanum Parliamentum, the mad parliament; because at this parliament the lords came with great retinues of armed
and many things were enacted contrary to the King's prerogative. And now to vex the city, the King commands a fair to be kept at Westminster, forbidding, under great penalties, all exercise of merchandize within London for fifteen days. But this novelty came to nothing, for the inconvenience of the place, as it was then, and the foulness of the weather, brought more damage to the traders than benefit.
At Christmas likewise he demands new-year's gifts of the Londoners, and shortly after writes unto them his letters, imperiously commanding them to aid him with inoney, and thereby gets twenty thousand pound of them, for which the next year he craves pardon of them. But not withstanding his continual taking up of all provisions for his house without money, yet he lessens his house-keeping in no honourable manner. Now seeing he could get nothing of the states assembled in parliament, he sends or writes to every nobleman in particular, declaring his poverty, and how he was bound by charter in a debt of thirty thousand pound to those of Bourdeaux and Gascoign, who otherwise would not have suffered him to come back to England. But failing of any relief from the temporal lords, he addressed his letters to the bishops, of whom he finds as little relief; yet by much importunity and his own presence, he got an hundred pound of the Abbot of Ramsey ; but the Abbot of Burrough had the confidence to deny him, though the King told him, it was more charity to give money to him, than to a beggar that went from door to door. The Abbot of St. Alban's was yet more kind, and gave him threescore marks ; to such lowness did the profuseness of this indigent King bring him.
But now the Lords assemble again at London, and press him with his promise, that the Lord Chief Justice, Chancellor and Treasurer, should be appointed by the general council of the kingdom, but they go home again frustrate of their desires. Not long after a parliament is assembled at London, and Henry de Bath one of the judges, and councellor to the King, who by corruption had got a vast estate, is accused by Philip Darcy; and Bath thereupon appears strongly guarded with his friends. The accusations were many, but especially two; that he troubled the whole realm, and stirred up all the lords thereof against the King, and that for reward he had discharged a malefactor out of prison. The King was so enraged to see him with so many men, that mounting into an high place, he cries out aloud, “Whosoever kills Henry de Bath, shall be pardoned for his death, and I do here acquit him;" and so departs. But Sir John Mansel, one of his council spake thus to some who was ready to execute his will :
66. Gentlemen and friends, it is not necessary for us to put that presently in execution which the King commandeth in his anger; for it may be when his wrath is over, he will be sorry for what he hath said. Besides, if any violence be offered to Bath, here are his friends ready to revenge it to the utmost.” And so Sir Henry Bath escaped the present danger, and afterwards with money and friends made his peace.
About this time the King by proclamation calls the Londoners to Westminster, and there causeth the Bisbops of Worcester and Chichester to declare his intentions, and to exhort the people to undertake the recovery of the Holy Land from the Saracens, the King being persuaded thereto by the Pope, who usually sent princes abroad to recover Palestine, on purpose that he might fleece the subjects of some, and seize the lands of others at home in their absence.
But the Londoners had no mind to this pilgrimage, and therefore all the bishop's arguments prevailed only upon three poor knights, whom the King thereupon in open view, embraced, kissed, and calls his brethren; but checks the Londoners as ignoble mercenaries, and there himself takes his oath for performing his journey, and to set forth upon Midsummer day next. In taking his oath he lays his right hand upon his breast, according to the manner of a priest, and after on the book, and kissed it as a layman.
Now for money to carry on this, the King demands a tenth of the estates of the clergy and layety for three years together. To which end a parliament is called at London, where the bishops are first dealt withal, as being a work of piety ; but they absolutely refused it, then the temporal lords are set upon, and they answer as the bishops, which put the King into so great a rage, that he drove out all that were in his chamber, as if he had been mad. Then he falls to persuade them apart, sending first for the Bishop of Ely, and tells him how kindly he had formerly been to him
; the bishop dissuades him from the journey by the example of the French king, and useth many other arguments, which the king hearing, commanded the bishop in great passion to be thrust out of doors, and perceiving by this what he might expect from others, he falls upon his former violent courses, and the City of London is compelled to contribute a thousand marks. Gascoign is likewise ready to revolt, unless speedy succour be sent them; and general musters are made, which occasions another parliament at London, who it seems began to consider that the King's turn must be served one way or other, and therefore they agree to relieve him the usual way, rather than force him to those extravagant courses which he took. Yet so as the reformation of the government, and the ratification of their laws and liberties might once again be solemnly confirmed.
After fifteen days consultation, a tenth is granted for this holy expedition ; and thereupon those often confirmed charters called Magna Charta, and Charta de Forestæ are again ratified, and that in the most solemn and ceremonious manner, that state and religion could possibly
devise. The King with all the chief nobility of the realm in their robes, and the bishops in their vestments, with burning candles in their hands, assemble to hear the terrible sentence of excommunication against the infringers of the same; and at the lighting of those candles, the King having received one in his hand, gives it to the prelate that stood by, saying, it becomes not me who am no priest to hold this candle, niy heart shall be a greater testimony; and withal laid his hand spread upon his breast during the reading of the sentence. Which done, he caused the charter of King John, his father, granted by his free consent, to be openly read. And then having thrown down their candles, which lay smoaking on the ground, they cried out, so let them who incur this sentence be extinct, and have no better savour than these snuffs. And the King with a loud voice said, as God help me, I will ; as I am a man, a christian, a knight, a king crowned and anointed, inviolably observe all these things. And therewithal the bells rung out, and the people shouted for joy.
Yet was not all quieted by this grant, for Simon Montford, Earl of Leicester, awhile after charging the
King with breach of promise, the King in a great rage replied, no promise was to be kept with an unworthy traitor. At which words Montford riseth up, and protested, that the King lied, and were he not protected by his royal dignity, le would make him repent his words. The King, commanded his attendants to lay hold of him, but the lords would not suffer it; yet after this great affront, Montford is again sent to Gascoign with a great fleet by the King, who goes also himself into France, and there spends a vast deal of money, but it is the Londoners must pay for all, for returning home about Christmas, they presented him with an hundred pound in money, and two hundred pound in plate, which was so slighted, and so ill taken, that advantage was soon found against them about the escape of a prisoner, which cost them three thousand marks, and commonly he had every year one quarrel or other with the citizens, which they are sure to make satisfaction for.
Soon after another parliament is called at London, wherein the lords again expostulate about their former liberties, requiring that the Lord Chief Justice, &c. should be chosen by parliament. They likewise require twenty four conservators should be elected, twelve by the King and twelve by themselves, to see to the due execution of these charters, which the King, knowing their strength, yielded to, and both he, and his son the prince, sware to confirm the same.
Awhile before, the King sent to some monasteries to borrow money, his officers alledging that the King was lord of all they had, who an
swered, they acknowledged that; but yet so as to defend it, and not to destroy it, or take it illegally away from them.
The lords'having thus got the government into their hands, oblige the King to free them from all obedience and allegiance whensoever he infringed their charter. Yet soon after the King sends to Rome to be freed from his oath ; which he obtained. Whereupon the lords put themselves into arms, and Montford, Earl of Leicester, their general, takes many castles. The King likewise raises forces. The barons march towards London, under a banner richly and beautifully flourished with the King's arms. And as they passed by the houses or possessions of those that favoured the Pope's bulls (whereby the King himself, and all others who had formerly sworn to observe and maintain those new ordinances and laws, and to support the authority of the twenty-four peers, were fully absolved from their oaths) they robbed and wasted them, as enemies to the King and kingdom.
They then approached the City of London, and by their letters desired the Lord Mayor and citizens to send them word whether they resolved to support the authority of the peers or not; protesting before God, themselves intended nothing else; and that if any thing were defective in those laws, they should be reformed.
The Lord Mayor sends these letters with all speed to the King, who desired likewise to know, whether they would support the laws of the twenty-four peers or not : they stoutly answered, that they would, since by the King's command they had all sworn so to do. The King was extremely enraged at this answer, but he could get no other, and the same answer they sent to the lords, who thereupon proceeded in their march, and were with much joy and kindness received into London, and soon after routed the prince, who came against them with a considerable army.
But some of the meaner sort of the city intending under the pretence of these disturbances, to do mischief, elected two ambitious fellows, whom they called the two constables of London, and agreed, that at the tolling of a great bell in St. Paul's church, as many as would join with them, should be ready to act whatever the two constables commanded them; and though all endeavours were used to prevent them, yet their desire of plunder so furiously transported them, that upon the tolling of that bell, a great number met together, and marching about eight miles westward from London, they ruined and destroyed the house and possessions of the King's brother Richard, King of the Romans, carrying away all his goods with them. Which insolent outrage much furthered the succeeding wars, for whereas before,