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son into the hands of one who had murdered his own nephew while in his custody." Her husband reproved her for the severity of this speech ; but, sensible of his danger, he immediately fled with his wife and son into Ireland, where he endeavoured to conceal himself. The king discovered the unhappy family in their retreat ; seized the wife and son whom he starved to death in prison ; and the baron himself narrowly escaped, by flying into France.
The court of Rome had artfully contrived a gradation of sentences ; by which she kept offenders in awe; still afforded them an opportunity of preventing the next anathema by submission ; and, in case of their obstinacy, was able to refresh the horror of the people against them, by new denunciations of the wrath and vengeance of heaven. As the sentence of interdict had not produced the desired effect on John, and his people, though extremely discontented, had hitherto been restrained from rising in open rebellion against him, he was soon to look for the sentence of excommunication ; and he had reason to apprehend, that notwithstanding all his precautions, the most dangerous consequences might ensue from it. He was witness of the other scenes which at that very time were acting in Europe, and which displayed the unbounded and uncontrolled power of the Papacy Innocent, far from being dismayed at his contests with the King of England, hari excommunicated the emperor Otho, John's nephew; and soon brought that powerful and haughty prince to submit to his authority. He published a crusade against the Albigenses, a species of enthusiasts in the south of France, whom he denominated heretics ; because, like other enthusiasts, they neglected the rights of the church, and opposed the power and influence of the clergy: The people from all points of Europe, moved by their superstition and their passion for wars and adventures, flocked to his standard : Simon de Montfort, the general of the crusade, acquired to himself a sovereignty in these provinces : The count of Toulouse, who protected, or perhaps only tolerated the Albigenses, was stripped of his dominions: And these sectaries themselves, though the most innocent and inoffensive of mankind, were exterminated with all the circumstances of extreme violence and barbarity. Here were therefore both an army and a general, dangerous from their zeal and valour, who might be directed to act against John ; and Innocent, after keeping the thunder long suspended, gave at last authority to the bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester to fulminate the sentence of excommunication against him. These prelates obeyed ; though their brethren were deterred from publishing, as the pope required of them, the sentence in the several churches of their dioceses.
No sooner was the excommunication known, than the effects of it appeared. Geoffrey, archdeacon of Norwich, who was entrusted with a considerable office in the court of exchequer, being informed of it while sitting on the bench, observed to his colleague the danger of serving under an excommunicated king; and he immediately left his chair, and departed the court. John gave orders to seize him, to throw him into prison, to cover his head with a great leaden cope ; and by this and other severe usage he put an end to his life : Nor was there any thing wanting to Geoffrey, except the dignity and rank of Becket, to exalt him to an equal station in heaven, with that great and celebrated martyr. Hugh de Wells, the chancellor, being elected, by the king's appointment, bishop of Lincoln, upon a vacancy in that see, desired leave to go abroad, in order to receive consecration from the archbishop of Rouen ; but he no sooner reached France than he hastened to Pontigray, where Langton then resided, and paid submission to him as his primate. The bishops, finding themselves exposed either to the jealousy of the king or hatred of the people, gradually stole out of the kingdom , and at last there remained only three prelates to perform the functions of the episcopal office. Many of the nobility, terrified by John's tyranny, and obnoxious to him on different accounts, imitated
the example of the bishops ; and most of the others who remained were, with reason, suspected of having secretly entered into a confederacy against him. John was alarmed at his dangerous situation ; a situation which prudence, vigour, and popularity might formerly have prevented, but which no virtues or abilities were now sufficient to retrieve. He desired a conference with Langton at Dover ; offered to acknowledge him as primate, to submit to the pope, to restore the exiled clergy, even to pay them a limited sum as a compensation for the rents of their confiscated estates. But Langton, perceiving his advantage, was not satisfied with these concessions : he demanded that full restitution and reparation should be made to all the clergy ; a condition so exorbitant that the king, who probably had not the power of fulfilling it, and who foresaw that this estimation of damages might amount to an immense sum, finally broke off the conference.
The next gradation of papal sentences was to absolve John's subjects from their oaths of fidelity and allegiance, and to declare every one excommunicated who had any commerce with him in public or in private ; at his table, in his council, or even in private conversation : And this sentence was accordingly, with all imaginable solemnity, pronounced against him. But as John still persevered in his contumacy, there remained nothing but the sentence of deposition ; which, though intimately connected with the former, had been distinguished from it by the artifice of the court of Rome ; and Innocent determined to dart this last thunderbolt against the refractory monarch. But as a sentence of this kind required an armed force to execute it, the pontiff, casting his eyes around, fixed at last on Philip, king of France, as the person into whose powerful hand he could most properly entrust that weapon, the ultimate resource of his ghostly authority. And he offered the monarch, besides the remission of all his sins, and endless spiritual benefits, the property and possession of the kingdom of England, as the reward of his labour.
It was the common concern of all princes to oppose these exorbitant pretensions of the Roman pontiff, by which they themselves were rendered vassals, and vassals totally dependent of the papal crown : Yet even Philip, the most able monarch of the age, was seduced by present interest, and by the prospect of so tempting a prize, to accept the liberal offer of the pontiff, and thereby to ratify that authority which, if he ever opposed its boundless usurpations, might next day tumble him from the throne. He levied a great army; summoned all vassals of the crown to attend him at Rouen ; collected a fleet of 1700 vessels, great and small, in the sea-ports of Normandy and Picardy; and partly from the zealous spirit of the age, partly from the personal regard universally paid him, prepared a force, which seemed equal to the greatness of the enterprise. The king, on the other hand, issued out writs, requiring the attendance of all his military tenants at Dover, and even of all ablebodied men, to defenå the kingdom in this dangerous extremity. A great number appeared ; and he selected an army of 60,000 men ; a power invincible, had they been united in affection to their prince, and animated with a becoming zeal for the defence of their native country. But the people were swayed by superstition, and regarded their king with horror, as anathematised by papal censures : The barons, besides lying under the same prejudices, were all disgusted by his tyranny, and were, many of them, suspected of holding a secret correspondence with the enemy: And the incapacity and cowardice of the king himself, ill fitted to contend with those mighty difficulties, made men prognosticate the most fatal effects from the French invasion.
Pandolf, whom the pope had chosen for his legate, and appointed to head this important expedition, had, before he left Rome, applied for a secret conference with his master, and had asked him, whether, if the king of England in this desperate situation, were willing to submit to the apostolic see, the church should, without
the consent of Pl.ilip, grant him any terms of accommodation ? Innocent, especting from his agreement with a prince so abject both in character and fortune, more advantages than from his alliance with a great and victorious monarch, who, after such mighty acquisitions might become too haughty to be bound by spiritual chains, explained to Pandolf the conditions on which he was willing to be reconciled to the king of England. The legate, therefore, as soon as he arrived in the north of France, sent over two knights templars to desire an interview of John at Dover, which was readily granted : He there represented to him, in such strong, and probably in such true colours, his lost condition, the disaffection of his subjects, the secret combination of his vassals against him, the mighty armament of France, that John yielded at discretion, and subscribed to all the conditions which Pandolf was pleased to impose upon him. He promised, among other articles, that he would subrnit himself entirely to the judgment of the pope; that he would acknowledge Langton for primate ; that he would restore all the exiled clergy and laity who had beeu banished on account of the contest; that he would make them full restitution of their goods, and compensation for all damages, and instantly consign eight thousand pounds in part of payment; and that every one outlawed or imprisoned for his adherence to the pope, should immediately be received into grace and favour. Four barons swore, along with the king, to the observance of this ignominious treaty.
But the ignominy of the king was not yet carried to its full height. Pandolf required him, as the first trial of obedience, to resign his kingdom to the church ; and he persuaded him, that he could nowise so effectually disappoint the French invasion, as by thus putting himself under the immediate protection of the apostolic see. John, lying under the agonies of present terror, made no scruple of submitting to this condition. He passed a charter, in which he said, that not constrained by fear, but of his own free will, and by the common advice and consent of his barons, he had, for remission of his own sins, and those of his family, resigned England and Ireland to God, to St. Peter and St Paul, and to pope Innocent, and his successors in the apostolic chair: He agreed to hold these dominions as feudatory of the church of Rome, by the annual payment of a thousand marks ; seven hundred for England, three hundred for Ireland : And he stipulated, that if he or his successors should ever presume to revoke or infringe this charter, they should instantly, except upon admonition they repented of their offence, forfeit all right to their dominions.
In consequence of this agreement, John did homage to Pandolf as the pope's legate with all the submissive rites which the feudal law required of vassals before their liege-lord and superior. He came disarmed into the legate's presence, who was seated on a throne ; he flung himself on his knees before him ; he lifted up his joined hands, and put them within those of Pandolf; he swore fealty to the pope ; and he paid part of the tribute which he owed for his kingdom as the patrimony of St. Peter. The legate, elated by this supreme triumph of sacerdotal power, could not forbear discovering extravagant symptoms of joy and exultation : He trampled on the money, which was laid at his feet, as an earnest of the subjection of the kingdom : An insolence of which, however offensive to all the English, no one present, except the archbishop of Dublin, dared to take any notice. But though Pandolf had brought the king to submit to these base conditions, he still refused to free him from the excommunication and interdict, till an estimation should be taken of the losses of the ecclesiastics, and full compensation and restitution should be made them.
87.--KING JOHN AND THE BARONS.
HUME. The introduction of the feudal law into England by William the Conqueror, had much infringed the liberties, however imperfect, enjoyed by the Anglo-Saxons, in their ancient government, and had reduced the whole people to a state of vassalage under the king or barons, and even the greater part to a state of real slavery. The necessity also of entrusting great power in the hands of a prince, who was to maintain military dominion over a vanquished nation, had engaged the Norman barons to submit to a more severe and absolute prerogative, than that to which men of their rank, in other feudal governments, were commonly subjected. The power of the crown, once raised to a high pitch, was not easily reduced; and the nation, during the course of a hundred and fifty years, was governed by an authority unknown, in the same degree, to all the kingdoms founded by the northern conquerors. Henry I., that he might allure the people to give an exclusion to his elder brother Robert, had granted them a charter, favourable in many particulars to their liberties ; Stephen had renewed the grant; Henry II. had confirmed it. But the concessions of all these princes had still remained without effect ; and the same un-limited, at least irregular authority, continued to be exercised both by them and their successors. The only happiness was, that arms were never yet ravished from the hands of the barons and people: The nation, by a great confederacy, might still vindicate its liberties; and nothing was more likely, than the character, conduct, and fortunes of the reigning prince, to produce such a general combination against him. Equally odious and contemptible, both in public and private life, he affronted the barons by his insolence, dishonoured their families by his gallantries, enraged them by his tyranny, and gave discontent to all ranks of men by his endless exactions and impositions. The effect of these lawless practices had already appeared in the general demand made by the barons of a restoration of their privileges; and after he had reconciled himself to the pope, by abandoning the independence of the kingdom, he appeared to all his subjects in so mean a light, that they universally thought they might with safety and honour insist upon their pretensions.
But nothing forwarded this confederacy so much as the concurrence of Langton, archbishop of Canterbury; a man whose memory, though he was obtruded on the nation by a palpable encroachment of the See of Rome, ought always to be respected by the English. This prelate, whether he was moved by the generosity of his nature, and his affection to public good ; or had entertained an animosity against John on account of the long opposition made by that prince to his election ; or thought that an acquisition of liberty to the people would serve to increase and secure the privileges of the church ; had formed the plan of reforming the government, and had prepared the way for that great innovation, by inserting those singular clauses above mentioned in the oath which he administered to the king, before he would absolve him from the sentence of excommunication. Soon after, in a private meeting of some principal barons at London, he showed them a copy of Henry I.'s charter, which, he said, he had happily found in a monastery; and he exhorted them to insist on the renewal and observance of it. The barons swore, that they would sooner lose their lives than depart from so reasonable a demand. The confederacy began now to spread wider, and to comprehend almost all the barons in England; and a new and more numerous meeting was summoned by Langton at St. Edmondsbury, under colour of devotion. He again produced to the assembly the old charter of Henry; renewed his exhortations of unanimity and vigo:ır in the prosecution of their purpose ; and represented in the strongest
colours the tyranny to which they had so long been subjected, and from which it now behoved them to free themselves and their posterity. The barons, inflamed by his eloquence, incited by the sense of their own wrongs, and encouraged by the appearance of their power and numbers, solemnly took an oath, before the high altar, to adhere to each other, to insist on their demands, and to make endless war on the king, till he should submit to grant them. They agreed, that, after the festival of Christmas, they would prefer in a body their common petition ; and, in the mean time, they separated, after mutually engaging, that they would put themselves in a posture of defence, would enlist men and purchase arms, and would supply their castles with the necessary provisions.
The barons appeared in London on the day appointed, and demanded of the king, that, in consequence of his own oath before the primate, as well as in deference to their just rights, he should grant them a renewal of Henry's charter, and a confirmation of the laws of St. Edward. The king, alarmed with their zeal and unanimity, as well as with their power, required a delay; promised that, at the festival of Easter, he would give them a positive answer to their petition ; and offered them the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of Ely, and the earl of Pembroke, the Mareschal, as sureties for his fulfilling this engagement. The barons accepted of the terms, and peaceably returned to their castles. During this interval
, John, in order to break or subdue the league of his barons, endeavoured to avail himself of the ecclesiastical power, of whose influence he had, from his own recent misfortunes, had such fatal experience. He granted to the clergy a charter, relinquishing for ever that important prerogative for which his father and all his ancestors had zealously contended ; yielding to them the free election on all vacancies ; reserving only the power to issue a congé d'élire, and to subjoin a confirmation of the election; and declaring that, if either of these were withheld, the choice should nevertheless be deemed just and valid. He made a vow to lead an army into Palestine against the infidels, and he took on him the cross; in hopes that he should receive from the church that protection which he tendered to every one that had entered into this sacred and meritorious engagement; and he sent to Rome his agent, William de Mauclerc, in order to appeal to the pope against the violence of his barons, and procure him a favourable sentence from that powerful tribunal. The barons also were not negligent on their part in endeavouring to engage the pope in their interests. They dispatched Eustace de Vescie to Rome ; laid their case before Innocent as their feudal lord ; and petitioned him to interpose his authority with the king, and oblige him to restore and confirm all their just and unbounded privileges.
Innocent beheld with regret the disturbances which had arisen in England, and was much inclined to favour John in his pretensions. He had no hopes of retaining and extending his newly acquired superiority over that kingdom, but by supporting so base and degenerate a prince, who was willing to sacrifice every consideration to his present safety. And he foresaw, that if the administration should fall into the hands of those gallant and high-spirited barons, they would vindicate the honour, liberty, and independence of the nation, with the same ardour which they now exerted in defence of their own. He wrote letters therefore to the prelates, to the nobility, and to the king himself. He exhorted the first to employ their good offices in conciliating peace between the contending parties, and putting an end to civil discord : To the second, he expressed his disapprobation of their conduct in employing force to extort concessions from their reluctant sovereign : The last he advised to treat his nobles with grace and indulgence, and to grant them such of their demands as should appear just and reasonable.
The barons easily saw, from the tenor of these letters, that they must reckon on