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For as soon as he was crowned again, he presently cancels and annuls the Charter of the Forests, granted in his nonage, and therefore not bound to observe it, and then makes a new seal, forcing all that had grants by the former, to renew them, whereby he got abundance of money. After which he goes over into France to recover his rights there: to which purpose be raises great sums of money from the Londonere redemption of their liberties. About which time Constan. tine Fitz-Arnulf a citizen of London, (upon a tumult which arose in the city at a wrestling, which he purposely appointed) endeavoured to set up Lewis again, and in the heat of the disturbance he treache. rously cried out Mountjoy, Mountjoy, God for us and our Lord Lewis.
And though the mayor was a very discreet person, earnestly persuaded them to be quiet, yet Constantine by his seditious orations,
had made the people incapable of good council; so that there was little hope of appeasing them. The Lord Chief Justice having notice thereof, presently raised forces and entered the Tower of London, and sent for the principal men of the city to come before him, who all disclaimed their being concerned therein, and charged Fitz-Arnulf to be the chief author thereof. But he resolutely answered, that he had not done so much therein as he ought. Whereupon he was condemned to die, together with the crier who published the proclamation, and his nephew; and was accordingly executed, though when he saw the halter about his neck, he offered fifteen thousand marks for the saving of his life. This execution being done without noise, or the knowledge of the Londoners, the Lord Chief Justice comes into the city, and apprehending several who were guilty of this tumult, he caused their hands and feet to be cut off, for a terror to the rest, and then set them at liberty. The King likewise deposed several of the magistrates, but afterwards finding that the baser sort of people only were concerned in the disorder, he thereupon was reconciled to the city.
About this time an execrable impostor was brought before the Archbishop of Canterbury, who observing how easily the people were deluded in those times of darkness and superstition, he impudently caused himself to be wounded in his hands, feet, and sides, that by the resemblance of these bloody impressions, he might be acknowledged for their very Saviour: who was thereupon deservedly immured up between four walls; and with him a wretched woman, who pretended to be Mary the mother of this Christ; and some say another who called herself Mary Magdalen this punishment being thought
most fit for such miscreants, as monsters too impious, and unworthy to die by human hands, though it is very remarkable, that this man should have such a severe judgment at Oxford, and yet St. Francis, who was guilty of the same imposture, as to the wounds of Christ, though not the name, should soon after be canonized at Rome for the chief of Saints; and perhaps if this monster had been at Rome, he had been likewise sainted ; and if Saint Francis had been at Oxford he had been immured.
King Henry returning from France, brought over many Frenchmen with him, which he puts in places of trust and profit, and removes and fines his old officers. The lords could no longer endure so many indignities, to see themselves slighted and strangers advanced ; their persons likewise exposed to danger, and their estates to ruin, for which they could find no remedy but ihe king's confirming their charter of liberties, wherein it is strange to see upon what different grounds the king and the lords went. It seems the-King thought, that to confirm their charter, was to make himself less than a King; and the lords thought, as long as that was denied, they were no better than slaves, and as the King could endure no diminution, so the lords could endure no slavery. But the King might keep his own with sitting still; and the lords could not recover their own but by motion.
And hereupon they confederated together, the chief among them being Richard, the brother of William, late protector, and now Earl Marshal, who repair to the King, and boldly tell him of his faults, and requires satisfaction. Whereupon the King presently sends for whole legions of Frenchmen over, and withal summons a parliament at Oxford, whither the lords refuse to come. After this a parliament is called at Westminster, whither they likewise refuse to coine, unless the King would remove the Bishop of Winchester, and the French from the court; and more than this, they send him word, that unless he did this, they would expel both himself, and his evil counsellors out of the land, and create a new King.
Upon this threatning, pledges are required of the nobility for securing their allegiance : and writs are sent out to all who held by knights service, to repair to the King by a certain day, which the Earl Marshal and his associates refusing, the King, without the judgment of the court and his peers, caused them to be proclaimed out-laws, and seized upon all their lands, which he gives to the Frenchmen, and directs out-writs to attach their bodies wherever found. Upon which some of the confederate lords went over to the King, and the Earl Marshal is persuaded to do the same, which he refusing, a design is.
laid to draw bim over into Ireland to defend his estate there, which was seized upon by the King; where being circumvented by treachery, he lost his lito. Yet the King disavows being concerned therein, and lays the fault upon his oflicers. An easy way (saith the historian) for princes never to be found in any fault.
After this the lords went into Wales, and joined with Prince Llewellin: whither also came Hubert de Burg, Earl of Kent. Hereupon the King is advised to go himself thither; who complained, that he was not able in regard of his wants, saying, that his treasurers told him, all the rents of his exchequer would scarce maintain him in clothes, victuals, and alms: Whereupon some of his lords answered, that he might thank himself, if he were poor, since he gave so much of his revenue to his favourites, and had so far alienated his lands, that he was only a king in name, rather than for his estate ; though his ancestors were magnificent princes, who abounded in all wordly glory and wealth, and had heaped up vast treasures, only by the rents and profits of the kingdom. The king being stung with this just reprehension, began by their advice, to call his sheriffs, bailiffs, and other officers to a strict account, and squeezed great sums of money out of them, forcing Ralph Briton, his lord treasurer, to pay him a thousand pounds, and other very considerable sums, whereby be at this time filled his coffers.
After two years affliction, a parliament is called at Westminster, wherein the bishops admonish the King, by his father's example, to be at peace and unity with his people, and remove from him strangers, and to govern the kingdom by natives of the realm, and by the laws, otherwise they would proceed by. ecclesiastical censure both against himself, and his counsellors. The King seeing no way to subsist, but by temporizing, removes all strangers from about him, 'calls his new officers to account, and restores the lords to their places and possessions.
Soon after another parliament is called, which the King would have to sit in the Tower, wbither the lords refusing to come, a place of more freedom is appointed, in which parliament the sheriffs are removed for corruption, and the King would have taken the great seal from the Bishop of Chichester, who refused to deliver it, as having received it from the Common Council of the kingdom.
In the twenty-first year of this King's reign, another parliament is called at London, where tbe King requires a great sum of money, which being directly opposed, the King promiseth by oath, never, more to injure the nobility, so they would but relieve him at present, and that he would use only the counsel of his natural subjects, and freely grant the inviolable observation of their liberties. Whereupon a subsidy was granted him, but with this condition, that four knights in ' every county be appointed to receive and pay in the same, either to some abbey or castle where it may be safely kept, that if the king fail of performing his oaths and promises, it may be restored to the county from whence it was collected.
About this time, the King, to please the lords, ordered Peter de Rivalis and some other of his French favorites, to appear in Westminster Hall, as delinquents, and he himself coming thither, sat in person upon the bench among bis judges : Peter de Rivalis being first called, the King looking sternly upon him, spake thus to him :
O thou traitor, by thy wicked advice I was drawn to set my seal to those treacherous letters for the destruction of the Earl Marshal in Irciand, the contents whereof were to me unknown. And by thine, and such like wicked counsel, I banished my natural subjects, and turned their minds and hearts from me. By the bad counsel of thee and thy accomplices, I was stirred np to make war upon them, to my exceeding loss, and the dishonor of my realm ; for thereby I wasted my treasure, and lost many worthy persons, together with much of my foriner honor and respect. I therefore require of thee an exact account as well of my treasure as the custody of the wards, together with many other perquisites and profits belonging to the crown.
To whom Rivalis, denying nothing whereof' he was charged, but falling to the ground, thus answered : 6 My sovereign Lord and King, I have been raised up and enriched with worldly goods only by you, confound not therefore your own creature, but please to grant me some time to make my defence against what I am charged with.” Thou shalt (said the King) be carried to the Tower of London, there to deliberate of it, till I am satisfied. And he was sent accordingly. But Stephen de Seagrave, Lord Chief Justice, whom the King lịkewise calted most wicked traitor, had time till Michaelmas to make up
his accounts, and so had others. But afterward by mediation, and paying very great fines to the King, they obtained their liberty and were awhile after again taken into grace and favour.
In the midst of these distractions and troubles, it pleased God to inflict upon this city, and the kingdom, the plague of famine, as well as the sword, whereby the poor miserably perished for want of bread.
The authors of those times relate this story very,credibly, to shew how displeasing unmercifulness and want of charity is in the sight of God. Several poor people plucked the ears of corn while they were green in the common fields, to keep themselves from starving; at which the owners being much offended, desired the priest of the parish to curse and excommunicate them all the next Sunday ; but one in the company adjured the priest, in the name of God, to exempt his corn from the sentence, saying, that it pleased him well that the poor, being pinched with famine, had taken his corn; and so commended whạt was left to the blessing of God. The priest being compelled by the importunity of the others, had no sooner began the sentence, but a sudden tempest of thunder, lightning, wind, hail, and rain, interrupted him, whereby all the corn fields thereabout were laid waste and destroyed, as if they had been trodden under foot with cart and horses ; yea no kind of fowl, nor beast would feed upon it. But this honest tenderhearted man found all his corn and ground, though mingled among theirs, altogether untouched, and without the least harm.
Awhile after the King calls another parliament at London, in order, to the raising of more money, having tried before to borrow of the Londoners, and found them to incline to the lords. To this parliament the lords come, armed for their own defence, and make Richard, the King's brother, spokesman'; wherein they aggravate his breach of promise, since neither were strangers removed from about him, but taken more into favour than before. Nor was the former money
dis. posed of according to appointment, but the King made bold to make use of it at his own pleasure; the Earl of Provence, the young queen's father, and Simon Montford, a new favorite, and a Frenchman born, now made Earl of Leicester, having a good share of the money collected, they acquaint him also with all the rest of the disorders of the kingdom.
The King was so moved at this their remonstrance, that taking his oath to refer the matter to divers grave men of the kingdom, articles were drawn, sealed, and publicly set up to the view of all. And soon after the Earl of March solicits the King to make another journey into France, whereupon he calls a parliament at London, and demands aid, which was not only opposed, but an account required of all the taxations hitherto given, with an absolute denial of any more. Upon which the King comes to the parliament in person, earnestly and indeed humbly craving their aid for this once. But all prevailed not, for they had made a vow to the contrary; and the King is driven to get what he can of particular men, of whom partly by gift, and partly by loan, he gets so much that he carries over with him thirty barrels of sterling money. This expedition had no better success that the former, for after a whole year's stay, the King was forced to make a dishonorable