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The History of England From the Norman Conquest to the Death of John
Henry Outgeneralled
by Adams, George Burton


The prince who died thus pitifully on June 11, 1183, was near the middle of his twenty-ninth year. He had never had an opportunity to show what he could do as a ruler in an independent station, but if we may trust the indications of his character in other directions, he would have belonged to the weakest and worst type of the combined houses from which he was descended. But he made himself beloved by those who knew him, and his early death was deeply mourned even by the father who had suffered so much from him. Few writers of the time saw clearly enough to discern the frivolous character beneath the surface of attractive manners, and to the poets of chivalry lament was natural for one in whom they recognized instinctively the expression of their own ideal. His devoted servant, William Marshal, carried out the mission with which he had been charged, and after an absence of two years on a crusade for Henry the son, he returned and entered the service of Henry the father.

The death of a king who had never been more than a king in name made no difference in the political situation. It was a relief to Richard who once more and quickly got the better of his enemies. It must also in many ways have been a relief to Henry, though he showed no disposition to take full advantage of it. The king had learned many things in the experience of the years since his eldest son was crowned, but the conclusions which seem to us most important, he appears not to have drawn. He had had indeed enough of crowned kings among his sons, and from this time on, though Richard occupied clearly the position of heir to the crown, there was no suggestion that he should be made actually king in the lifetime of his father. There is evidence also that after the late war the important fortresses both of Aquitaine and Britanny passed into the possession of Henry and were held by his garrisons, but just how much this meant it is not easy to say. Certainly he had no intention of abandoning the plan of parcelling out the great provinces of his dominion among his sons as subordinate rulers. It almost seems as if his first thought after the death of his eldest son was that now there was an opportunity of providing for his youngest. He sent to Ranulf Glanvill, justiciar of England, to bring John over to Normandy, and on their arrival he sent for Richard and proposed to him to give up Aquitaine to his brother and to take his homage for it. Richard asked for a delay of two or three days to consult his friends, took horse at once and escaped from the court, and from his duchy returned answer that he would never allow Aquitaine to be possessed by any one but himself.

The death of young Henry led at once to annoying questions raised by Philip of France. His sister Margaret was now a widow without children, and he had some right to demand that the lands which had been ceded by France to Normandy as her marriage portion should be restored. These were the Norman Vexin and the important frontier fortress of Gisors. In the troublous times of 1151 Count Geoffrey might have felt justified in surrendering so important a part of Norman territory and defences to the king of France in order to secure the possession of the rest to his son, but times were now changed for that son, and he could not consent to open up the road into the heart of Normandy to his possible enemies. He replied to Philip that the cession of the Vexin had been final and that there could be no question of its return. Philip was not easily satisfied, and there was much negotiation before a treaty on the subject was finally made at the beginning of December, 1183. At a conference near Gisors Henry did homage to Philip for all his French possessions, a liberal pension was accepted for Margaret in lieu of her dower lands, and the king of France recognized the permanence of the cession to Normandy on the condition that Gisors should go to one of the sons of Henry on his marriage with Adela which was once more promised. This marriage in the end never took place, but the Vexin remained a Norman possession.

The year 1184 was a repetition in a series of minor details, family quarrels, foreign negotiations, problems of government, and acts of legislation, of many earlier years of the life of Henry. After Christmas, 1183, angered apparently by a new refusal of Richard to give up Aquitaine to John, or to allow any provision to be made for him in the duchy, Henry gave John an army and permission to make war on his brother to force from him what he could. Geoffrey joined in to aid John, or for his own satisfaction, and together they laid waste parts of Richard's lands. He replied in kind with an invasion of Britanny, and finally Henry had to interfere and order all his sons over to England that he might reconcile them. In the spring of the year he found it necessary to try to make peace again between the king of France and the Count of Flanders. The agreement which he had arranged in 1182 had not really settled the difficulties that had arisen. The question now chiefly concerned the lands of Vermandois, Amiens, and Valois, the inheritance which the Countess of Flanders had brought to her husband. She had died just before the conclusion of the peace in 1182, without heirs, and it had been then agreed that the Count should retain possession of the lands during his life, recognizing certain rights of the king of France. Now he had contracted a second marriage in the evident hope of passing on his claims to children of his own. Philip's declaration that this marriage should make no difference in the disposition of these lands which were to prove the first important accession of territory made by the house of Capet since it came to the throne, was followed by a renewal of the war, and the best efforts of Henry II only succeeded in bringing about a truce for a year.

Still earlier in the year died Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, and long disputes followed between the monks of the cathedral church and the suffragan bishops of the province as to the election of his successor. The monks claimed the exclusive right of election, the bishops claimed the right to concur and represented on this occasion the interests of the king. After a delay of almost a year, Baldwin, Bishop of Worcester, was declared elected, but no final settlement was made of the disputed rights to elect. In legislation the year is marked by the Forest Assize, which regulated the forest courts and re-enacted the forest law of the early Norman kings in all its severity. One of its most important provisions was that hereafter punishments for forest offences should be inflicted strictly upon the body of the culprit and no longer take the form of fines. Not merely was the taking of game by private persons forbidden, but the free use of their own timber on such of their lands as lay within the bounds of the royal forests was taken away. The Christmas feast of the year saw another family gathering more complete than usual, for not merely were Richard and John present, but the Duke and Duchess of Saxony, still in exile, with their children, including the infant William, who had been born at Winchester the previous summer, and whose direct descendants were long afterwards to come to the throne of his grandfather with the accession of the house of Hanover. Even Queen Eleanor was present at this festival, for she had been released for a time at the request of her daughter Matilda.

One more year of the half decade which still remained of life to Henry was to pass with only a slight foreshadowing, near its close, of the anxieties which were to fill the remainder of his days. The first question of importance which arose in 1185 concerned the kingdom of Jerusalem. England had down to this time taken slight and only indirect part in the great movement of the crusades. The Christian states in the Holy Land had existed for nearly ninety years, but with slowly declining strength and defensive power. Recently the rapid progress of Saladin, creating a new Mohammedan empire, and not merely displaying great military and political skill, but bringing under one bond of interest the Saracens of Egypt and Syria, whose conflicts heretofore had been among the best safeguards of the Christian state, threatened the most serious results. The reigning king of Jerusalem at this moment was Baldwin IV, grandson of that Fulk V, Count of Anjou, whom we saw, more than fifty years before this date, handing over his French possessions to his son Geoffrey, newly wedded to Matilda the Empress, and departing for the Holy Land to marry its heiress and become its king. Baldwin was therefore the first cousin of Henry II, and it was not unnatural that his kingdom should turn in the midst of the difficulties that surrounded it to the head of the house of Anjou now so powerful in the west. The embassy which came to seek his cousin's help was the most dignified and imposing that could be sent from the Holy Land, with Heraclius the patriarch of Jerusalem at its head, supported by the grand-masters of the knights of the Temple and of the Hospital. The grand-master of the Templars died at Verona on the journey, but the survivors landed in England at the end of January, 1185, and Henry who was on his way to York turned back and met them at Reading. There Heraclius described the evils that afflicted the Christian kingdom so eloquently that the king and all the multitude who heard were moved to sighs and tears. He offered to Henry the keys of the tower of David and of the holy sepulchre, and the banner of the kingdom, with the right to the throne itself.

To such an offer in these circumstances there was but one reply to make, and a king like Henry could never have been for a moment in doubt as to what it should be. His case was very different from his grandfather's when a similar offer was made to him. Not merely did the responsibility of a far larger dominion rest on him, with greater dangers within and without to be watched and overcome, but a still more important consideration was the fact that there was no one of his sons in whose hands his authority could be securely left. His departure would be the signal for a new and disastrous civil war, and we may believe that the character of his sons was a deciding reason with the king. But such an offer, made in such a way, and backed by the religious motives so strong in that age, could not be lightly declined. A great council of the kingdom was summoned to meet in London about the middle of March to consider the offer and the answer to be made. The king of Scotland and his brother David, and the prelates and barons of England, debated the question, and advised Henry not to abandon the duties which rested upon him at home. It is interesting to notice that the obligations which the coronation oath had imposed on the king were called to mind as determining what he ought to do, though probably no more was meant by this than that the appeal which the Church was making in favour of the crusade was balanced by the duty which he had assumed before the Church and under its sanction to govern well his hereditary kingdom. Apparently the patriarch was told that a consultation with the king of France was necessary, and shortly after they all crossed into Normandy. Before the meeting of the council in London Baldwin IV had closed his unhappy reign and was succeeded by his nephew Baldwin V, a child who never reached his majority. In France the embassy succeeded no better. At a conference between the kings the promise was made of ample aid in men and money, but the great hope with which the envoys had started, that they might bring back with them the king of England, or at least one of his sons, to lead the Christian cause in Palestine, was disappointed; and Heraclius set out on his return not merely deeply grieved, but angry with Henry for his refusal to undertake what he believed to be his obvious religious duty.

Between the meeting of the council in London and the crossing into Normandy, Henry had taken steps to carry out an earlier plan of his in regard to his son John. He seems now to have made up his mind that Richard could never be induced to give up Aquitaine or any part of it, and he returned to his earlier idea of a kingdom of Ireland. Immediately after the council he knighted John at Windsor and sent him to take possession of the island, not yet as king but as lord (dominus). On April 25 he landed at Waterford, coming, it is said, with sixty ships and a large force of men-at-arms and foot-soldiers. John was at the time nearly nineteen years old, of an age when men were then expected to have reached maturity, and the prospect of success lay fair before him; but he managed in less than six months to prove conclusively that he was, as yet at least, totally unfit to rule a state. The native chieftains who had accepted his father's government came in to signify their obedience, but he twitched their long beards and made sport before his attendants of their uncouth manners and dress, and allowed them to go home with anger in their hearts to stir up opposition to his rule. The Archbishop of Dublin and the barons who were most faithful to his father offered him their homage and support, but he neglected their counsels and even disregarded their rights. The military force he had brought over, ample to guard the conquests already made, or even to increase them, he dissipated in useless undertakings, and kept without their pay that he might spend the money on his own amusements, until they abandoned him in numbers, and even went over to his Irish enemies. In a few months he found himself confronted with too many difficulties, and gave up his post, returning to his father with reasons for his failure that put the blame on others and covered up his own defects. Not long afterwards died Pope Lucius III, who had steadily refused to renew, or to put into legal form, the permission which Alexander III had granted to crown one of Henry's sons king of Ireland; and to his successor, Urban III, new application was at once made in the special interest of John, and this time with success. The pope is said even to have sent a crown made of peacock's feathers intertwined with gold as a sign of his confirmation of the title.

John was, however, never actually crowned king of Ireland, and indeed it is probable that he never revisited the island. In the summer of the next year, 1186, news came, in the words of a contemporary, "that a certain Irishman had cut off the head of Hugh of Lacy." Henry is said to have rejoiced at the news, for, though he had never found it possible to get along for any length of time without the help of Hugh of Lacy in Ireland, he had always looked upon his measures and success with suspicion. Now he ordered John to go over at once and seize into his hand Hugh's land and castles, but John did not leave England. At the end of the year legates to Ireland arrived in England from the pope, one object of whose mission was to crown the king of Ireland, but Henry was by this time so deeply interested in questions that had arisen between himself and the king of France because of the death of his son Geoffrey, the Count of Britanny, that he could not give his attention to Ireland, and with the legates he crossed to Normandy instead, having sent John over in advance.

Affairs in France had followed their familiar course since the conference between Henry and Philip on the subject of the crusade in the spring of 1185. Immediately after that meeting Henry had proceeded with great vigour against Richard. He had Eleanor brought over to Normandy, and then commanded Richard to surrender to his mother all her inheritance under threat of invasion with a great army. Richard, whether moved by the threat or out of respect to his mother, immediately complied, and, we are told,48 remained at his father's court "like a well-behaved son," while Henry in person took possession of Aquitaine. In the meantime the war between Philip II and the Count of Flanders had gone steadily on, the king of England declining to interfere again. At the end of July, 1185, the count had been obliged to yield, and had ceded to Philip Amiens and most of Vermandois, a very important enlargement of territory for the French monarchy. This first great success of the young king of France was followed the next spring by the humiliation and forced submission of the Duke of Burgundy.

In all these events the king of England had taken no active share. He was a mere looker-on, or if he had interfered at all, it was rather to the advantage of Philip, while the rival monarchy in France had not merely increased the territory under its direct control, but taught the great vassals the lesson of obedience, and proclaimed to all the world that the rights of the crown would be everywhere affirmed and enforced. It was clearly the opening of a new era, yet Henry gave not the slightest evidence that he saw it or understood its meaning for himself. While it is certain that Philip had early detected the weakness of the Angevin empire, and had formed his plan for its destruction long before he was able to carry it out, we can only note with surprise that Henry made no change in his policy to meet the new danger of which he had abundant warning. He seems never to have understood that in Philip Augustus he had to deal with a different man from Louis VII. That he continued steadily under the changed circumstances his old policy of non-intervention outside his own frontiers, of preserving peace to the latest possible moment, and of devoting himself to the maintenance and perfection of a strong government wherever he had direct rule, is more creditable to the character of Henry II than to the insight of a statesman responsible for the continuance of a great empire, and offered the realization of a great possibility. To Philip Augustus it was the possibility only which was offered; the empire was still to be created: but while hardly more than a boy, he read the situation with clear insight and saw before him the goal to be reached and the way to reach it, and this he followed with untiring patience to the end of his long reign.

When Henry returned to England at the end of April, 1186, he abandoned all prospect of profiting by the opportunity which still existed, though in diminished degree, of checking in its beginning the ominous growth of Philip's power, an opportunity which we may believe his grandfather would not have overlooked or neglected. By the end of the summer all chance of this was over, and no policy of safety remained to Henry but a trial of strength to the finish with his crafty suzerain, for Philip had not merely returned successful from his Burgundian expedition, but he had almost without effort at concealment made his first moves against the Angevin power. His opening was the obvious one offered him by the dissensions in Henry's family, and his first move was as skilful as the latest he ever made. Richard was now on good terms with his father; it would even appear that he had been restored to the rule of Aquitaine; at any rate Henry's last act before his return to England in April had been to hand over to Richard a great sum of money with directions to subdue his foes. Richard took the money and made successful and cruel war on the Count of Toulouse, on what grounds we know not. Geoffrey, however, offered himself to Philip's purposes. Henry's third son seems to have been in character and conduct somewhat like his eldest brother, the young king. He had the same popular gifts and attractive manners; he enjoyed an almost equal renown for knightly accomplishments and for the knightly virtue of "largesse"; and he was, in the same way, bitterly dissatisfied with his own position. He believed that the death of his brother ought to improve his prospects, and his mind was set on having the county of Anjou added to his possessions. When Richard and his father refused him this, he turned to France and betook himself to Paris. Philip received him with open arms, and they speedily became devoted friends. Just what their immediate plans were we cannot say. They evidently had not been made public, and various rumours were in circulation. Some said that Geoffrey would hold Britanny of Philip; or he had been made seneschal of France, an office that ought to go with the county of Anjou; or he was about to invade and devastate Normandy. It is probable that some overt action would have been undertaken very shortly when suddenly, on August 19, Geoffrey died, having been mortally hurt in a tournament, or from an attack of fever, or perhaps from both causes. He was buried in Paris, Philip showing great grief and being, it is said, with difficulty restrained from throwing himself into the grave.

The death of Geoffrey may have made a change in the form of Philip's plans, and perhaps in the date of his first attempt to carry them out, but not in their ultimate object. It furnished him, indeed, with a new subject of demand on Henry. There had been no lack of subjects in the past, and he had pushed them persistently: the question of Margaret's dower lands,--the return of the Norman Vexin,--and of the payment of her money allowance, complicated now by her second marriage to Bela, king of Hungary; the standing question of the marriage of Philip's sister Adela; the dispute about the suzerainty of Auvergne still unsettled; and finally Richard's war on the Count of Toulouse. Now was added the question of the wardship of Britanny. At the time of his death one child had been born to Geoffrey of his marriage with Constance,--a daughter, Eleanor, who was recognized as the heiress of the county. Without delay Philip sent an embassy to Henry in England and demanded the wardship of the heiress, with threats of war if the demand was not complied with. The justice of Philip's claim in this case was not entirely clear since he was not the immediate lord of Britanny, but kings had not always respected the rights of their vassals in the matter of rich heiresses, and possibly Geoffrey had actually performed the homage to Philip which he was reported to be planning to do. In any case it was impossible for Henry to accept Philip's view of his rights, but war at the moment would have been inconvenient, and so he sent a return embassy with Ranulf Glanvill at its head, and succeeded in getting a truce until the middle of the winter. Various fruitless negotiations followed, complicated by an attack made by the garrison of Gisors on French workmen found building an opposing castle just over the border. Henry himself crossed to Normandy about the middle of February, 1187, but personal interviews with Philip led to no result, and the situation drifted steadily toward war. The birth of a posthumous son to Geoffrey in March--whom the Bretons insisted on calling Arthur, though Henry wished to give him his own name, a sure sign of their wish for a more independent position--brought about no change. Philip had protected himself from all danger of outside interference by an alliance with the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and was determined on war. By the middle of May both sides were ready. Henry divided his army into four divisions and adopted a purely defensive policy.

Philip's attack fell on the lands of disputed allegiance on the eastern edge of the duchy of Aquitaine near his own possessions, and after a few minor successes he laid siege to the important castle of Châteauroux. This was defended by Richard in person, with his brother John, but Philip pressed the siege until Henry drew near with an army, when he retired a short distance and awaited the next move. Negotiations followed, in the course of which the deep impression that the character of Philip had already made on his great vassals is clearly to be seen.49 Henry's desire was to avoid a battle, and this was probably the best policy for him; it certainly was unless he were willing, as he seems not to have been, to bring on at once the inevitable mortal struggle between the houses of Capet and Anjou. Unimportant circumstances on both sides came in to favour Henry's wish and to prevent a battle, and finally Henry himself, by a most extraordinary act of folly, threw into the hands of Philip the opportunity of gaining a greater advantage for his ultimate purposes than he could hope to gain at that time from any victory. Henry's great danger was Richard. In the situation it was incumbent on him from every consideration of policy to keep Richard satisfied, and to prevent not merely the division of the Angevin strength, but the reinforcement of the enemy with the half of it. He certainly had had experience enough of Richard's character to know what to expect. He ought by that time to have been able to read Philip Augustus's. And yet he calmly proceeded to a step from which, it is hardly too much to say, all his later troubles came through the suspicion he aroused in Richard's mind,--a step so unaccountable that we are tempted to reject our single, rather doubtful account of it. He wrote a letter to Philip proposing that Adela should be married to John, who should then be invested with all the French fiefs held by the house of Anjou except Normandy, which with the kingdom of England should remain to Richard.50 If Henry was blind enough to suppose that the Duke of Aquitaine could be reconciled to such an arrangement, Philip saw at once what the effect of the proposal would be, and he sent the letter to Richard.

The immediate result was a treaty of peace to continue in force for two years, brought about apparently by direct negotiations between Richard and Philip, but less unfavourable to Henry than might have been expected. It contained, according to our French authorities, the very probable agreement that the points in dispute between the two kings should be submitted to the decision of the curia regis of France, and Philip was allowed to retain the lordships of Issoudun and Fréteval, which he had previously occupied, as pledges for the carrying out of the treaty. The ultimate result of Philip's cunning was that Richard deserted his father and went home with the king of France, and together they lived for a time in the greatest intimacy. Philip, it seemed, now loved Richard "as his own soul," and showed him great honour. Every day they ate at table from the same plate, and at night they slept in the same bed. One is reminded of Philip's ardent love for Geoffrey, and certain suspicions inevitably arise in the mind. But at any rate the alarm of Henry was excited by the new intimacy, and he did not venture to go over to England as he wished to do until he should know what the outcome was to be. He sent frequent messengers to Richard, urging him to return and promising to grant him everything that he could justly claim, but without effect. At one time Richard pretended to be favourably inclined, and set out as if to meet his father, but instead he fell upon the king's treasure at Chinon and carried it off to Aquitaine to use in putting his own castles into a state of defence. His father, however, forgave even this and continued to send for him, and at last he yielded. Together they went to Angers, and there in a great assembly Richard performed liege homage to his father once more and swore fealty to him "against all men," a fact which would seem to show that Richard had in some formal way renounced his fealty while at Philip's court, though we have no account of his doing so. During this period, in September, 1187, an heir was born to King Philip, the future Louis VIII.

As this year drew to its close frequent letters and messengers from the Holy Land made known to the west one terrible disaster after another. Saladin with a great army had fallen on the weak and divided kingdom and had won incredible successes. The infant king, Baldwin V, had died before these events began, and his mother Sibyl was recognized as queen. She immediately, against the expressed wish of the great barons, gave the crown to her husband, Guy of Lusignan. He was a brave man and an earnest defender of the Holy Land, but he could not accomplish the impossible task of maintaining a kingdom, itself so weak, in the face of open and secret treachery. In October the news reached Europe of the utter defeat of the Christians, of the capture of the king, and worse still of the true Cross by the infidels. The pope, Urban III, died of grief at the tidings. His successor, Gregory VIII, at once urged Europe to a new crusade in a long and vigorous appeal. Very soon afterwards followed the news of the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin. The Emperor Frederick was anxious to put himself at the head of the armies of Christendom, as he was entitled to do as sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, and lead them to recover the holy places. But while most princes delayed and waited to know what others would do, the impulsive and emotional Richard took the cross the next morning, men said, after he had learned the news. This he did without the knowledge of his father who was shocked to learn of it, and shut himself up for days, understanding more clearly than did his son what the absence of the heir to the throne on such a long and uncertain expedition would mean at such a time.

The advisability, the possibility even, of such a crusade would all depend upon Philip, and the movements of Philip just then were very disquieting. About the beginning of the new year, 1188, he returned from a conference with the Emperor Frederick, which in itself could bode no good to the father-in-law and supporter of Henry the Lion, and immediately began collecting a large army, "impudently boasting," says the English chronicler of Henry's life, "that he would lay waste Normandy and the other lands of the king of England that side the sea, if he did not return to him Gisors and all that belonged to it or make his son Richard take to wife Adela the daughter of his father Louis." Philip evidently did not intend to drop everything to go to the rescue of Jerusalem nor was he inclined at any expense to his own interests to make it easy for those who would. Henry who was already at the coast on the point of crossing to England, at once turned back when he heard of Philip's threats, and arranged for a conference with him on January 21. Here was the opportunity for those who were urging on the crusade. The kings of France and England with their chief barons were to be together while the public excitement was still high and the Christian duty of checking the Saracen conquest still keenly felt. The Archbishop of Tyre, who had come to France on this mission, gave up all his other undertakings as soon as he heard of the meeting and resolved to make these great princes converts to his cause. It was not an easy task. Neither Henry nor Philip was made of crusading material, and both were far more interested in the tasks of constructive statesmanship which they had on hand than in the fate of the distant kingdom of Jerusalem. A greater obstacle than this even was their fear of each other, of what evil one might do in the absence of the other, the unwillingness of either to pledge himself to anything definite until he knew what the other was going to do, and the difficulty of finding any arrangement which would bind them both at once. It is practically certain that they yielded at last only to the pressure of public opinion which must have been exceedingly strong in the excitement of the time and under the impassioned eloquence of a messenger direct from the scene of the recent disasters. It was a great day for the Church when so many men of the highest rank, kings and great barons, took the cross, and it was agreed that the spot should be marked by a new church, and that it should bear the name of the Holy Field.

Whatever may be true of Philip, there can, I think, be no doubt that, when Henry took the cross, he intended to keep his vow. It was agreed between them that all things should remain as they were until their return; and Henry formally claimed of his suzerain the protection of his lands during his absence, and Philip accepted the duty.51 A few days after taking the cross Henry held an assembly at Le Mans and ordered a tax in aid of his crusade. This was the famous Saladin tithe, which marks an important step in the history of modern taxation. It was modelled on an earlier tax for the same purpose which had been agreed upon between France and England in 1166, but it shows a considerable development upon that, both in conception and in the arrangements for carrying out the details of the tax. The ordinance provided for the payment by all, except those who were themselves going on the crusade, of a tenth, a "tithe," of both personal property and income, precious stones being exempt and the necessary tools of their trade of both knights and clerks. Somewhat elaborate machinery was provided for the collection of the tax, and the whole was placed under the sanction of the Church. A similar ordinance was shortly adopted by Philip for France, and on February 11, Henry, then in England, held a council at Geddington, in Northamptonshire, and ordained the same tax for England.

In the meantime the crusade had received a check, and partly, at least, through the fault of its most eager leader, Richard of Poitou. A rebellion had broken out against him, and he was pushing the war with his usual rapidity and his usual severities, adopting now, however, the interesting variation of remitting all other penalties if his prisoners would take the cross. If Richard was quickly master of the rebellion, it served on the one hand to embitter him still more against his father, from the report, which in his suspicious attitude he was quick to believe, that Henry's money and encouragement had supported the rebels against him; and on the other, to lead to hostilities with the Count of Toulouse. The count had not neglected the opportunity of Richard's troubles to get a little satisfaction for his own grievances, and had seized some merchants from the English lands. Richard responded with a raid into Toulouse, in which he captured the chief minister of the count and refused ransom for him. Then the count in his turn arrested a couple of English knights of some standing at court, who were returning from a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella. Still Richard refused either ransom or exchange, and an appeal to the king of France led to no result. Richard told his father afterwards that Philip had encouraged his attack on the count. Soon, however, his rapid successes in Toulouse, where he was taking castle after castle, compelled Philip to more decided interference; probably he was not sorry to find a reason both to postpone the crusade and to renew the attack on the Angevin lands. First he sent an embassy to Henry in England to protest against Richard's doings, and received the reply that the war was against Henry's will, and that he could not justify it. With a great army Philip then invaded Auvergne, captured Châteauroux and took possession of almost all Berri. An embassy sent to bring Philip to a better mind was refused all satisfaction, and Henry, seeing that his presence was necessary in France, crossed the channel for the last of many times and landed in Normandy on July 1, 1188.

All things were now, indeed, drawing to a close with Henry, who was not merely worn out and ill, but was plunged into a tide of events flowing swiftly against all the currents of his own life. Swept away by the strong forces of a new age which he could no longer control, driven and thwarted by men, even his own sons, whose ideals of conduct and ambition were foreign to his own and never understood, compelled to do things he had striven to avoid, and to see helplessly the policy of his long reign brought to naught, the coming months were for him full of bitter disasters which could end only, as they did, in heartbreak and death. Not yet, however, was he brought to this point, and he got together a great army and made ready to fight if necessary. But first, true to his policy of negotiation, he sent another embassy to Philip and demanded restitution under the threat of renouncing his fealty. Philip's answer was a refusal to stop his hostilities until he should have occupied all Berri and the Norman Vexin. War was now inevitable, but it lingered for some time without events of importance, and on August 16 began a new three days' conference at the historic meeting-place of the kings near Gisors. This also ended fruitlessly; some of the French even attacked the English position, and then cut down in anger the old elm tree under which so many conferences had taken place. Philip was, however, in no condition to push the war upon which he had determined. The crusading ardour of France which he himself did not feel, and which had failed to bring about a peace at Gisors, expressed itself in another way; and the Count of Flanders and Theobald of Blois and other great barons of Philip notified him that they would take no part in a war against Christians until after their return from Jerusalem.

Philip's embarrassment availed Henry but little, although his own force remained undiminished. A sudden dash at Mantes on August 30, led only to the burning of a dozen or more French villages, for Philip by a very hurried march from Chaumont was able to throw himself into the city, and Henry withdrew without venturing a pitched battle. On the next day Richard, who till then had been with his father, went off to Berri to push with some vigour the attack on Philip's conquests there, promising his father faithful service. A double attack on the French, north and south, was not a bad plan as Philip was then situated, but for some reason not clear to us Henry seems to have let matters drift and made no use of the great army which he had got together. The king of France, however, saw clearly what his next move should be, and he sent to propose peace to Henry on the basis of a restoration of conquests on both sides. Henry was ever ready for peace, and a new conference took place at Chatillon on the Indre, where it was found that Philip's proposition was the exchange of his conquests in Berri for those of Richard in Toulouse, and the handing over to him of the castle of Pacy, near Mantes, as a pledge that the treaty would be kept. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Philip knew that this demand would be refused, as it was, and that he had only made the proposal of peace in order to gain time to collect a new force. In this he must now have succeeded, for he immediately took the offensive in Berri and added somewhat to his conquests, probably by hiring the German mercenaries whom we learn he shortly afterwards defrauded of their pay.

In the meantime Richard and Philip were drawing together again, in what way exactly we do not know. We suspect some underhanded work of Philip's which would be easy enough. Evidently Richard was still very anxious about the succession, and it seems to have occurred to him to utilize his father's desire for peace on the basis of Philip's latest proposition, to gain a definite recognition of his rights. At any rate we are told that he brought about the next meeting between the kings, and that he offered to submit the question of the rights or wrongs of his war with Toulouse to the decision of the French king's court. This dramatic and fateful conference which marks the success of Philip's intrigues began on November 18 at Bonmoulins, and lasted three days. Henry was ready to accept the proposal now made that all things should be restored on both sides to the condition which existed at the taking of the cross, but here Richard interposed a decided objection. He could not see the justice of being made to restore his conquests in Toulouse which he was holding in domain, and which were worth a thousand marks a year, to get back himself some castles in Berri which were not of his domain but only held of him. Then Philip for him, evidently by previous agreement, brought forward the question of the succession. The new proposition was that Richard and Adela should be married and that homage should be paid to Richard as heir from all the Angevin dominions. It seems likely, though it is not so stated, that on this condition Richard would have agreed to the even exchange of conquests. As time went on the discussion, which had been at first peaceable and calm, became more and more excited so that on the third day the attendants came armed. On that day harsh words and threats were exchanged. To Richard's direct demand that he should make him secure in the succession, Henry replied that he could not do it in the existing circumstances, for, if he did, he would seem to be yielding to threats and not acting of his own will. Then Richard, crying out that he could now believe things that had seemed incredible to him, turned at once to Philip, threw off his sword, and in the presence of his father and all the bystanders offered him his homage for all the French fiefs, including Toulouse, saying his father's rights during his lifetime and his own allegiance to his father. Philip accepted this offer without scruple, and promised to Richard the restoration of what he had taken in Berri, with Issoudun and all that he had conquered of the English possessions since the beginning of his reign.

To one at least of the historians of the time Richard's feeling about the succession did not seem strange, nor can it to us.52 For this act of Richard, after which peace was never restored between himself and his father, Henry must share full blame with him. Whether he was actuated by a blind affection for his youngest son, or by dislike and distrust of Richard, or by a remembrance of his troubles with his eldest son, his refusal to recognize Richard as his heir and to allow him to receive the homage of the English and French barons, a custom sanctioned by the practice of a hundred years in England and of a much longer period in France, was a political and dynastic blunder of a most astonishing kind. Nothing could show more clearly how little he understood Philip Augustus or the danger which now threatened the Angevin house. As for Richard, he may have been quick-tempered, passionate, and rash, not having the well-poised mind of the diplomatist or the statesman, at least not one of the high order demanded by the circumstances, and deceived by his own anger and by the machinations of Philip; yet we can hardly blame him for offering his homage to the king of France. Nor can we call the act illegal, though it was extreme and unusual, and might seem almost revolutionary. An appeal to his overlord was in fact the only legal means left him of securing his inheritance, and it bound Philip not to recognize any one else as the heir of Henry. Philip was clearly within his legal rights in accepting the offer of Richard, and the care with which Richard's declaration was made to keep within the law, reserving all the rights which should be reserved, shows that however impulsive his act may have seemed to the bystanders, it really had been carefully considered and planned in advance. The conference broke up after this with no other result than a truce to January 13, and Richard rode off with Philip without taking leave of his father.

For all that had taken place Henry did not give up his efforts to bring back Richard to himself, but they were without avail. He himself, burdened with anxiety and torn by conflicting emotions, was growing more and more ill. The scanty attendance at his Christmas court showed him the opinion of the barons of the hopelessness of his cause and the prudence of making themselves secure with Richard. He was not well enough to meet his enemies in the conference proposed for January 13, and it was postponed first to February 2 and then to Easter, April 9. It was now, however, too late for anything to be accomplished by diplomacy. Henry could not yield to the demands made of him until he was beaten in the field, nor were they likely to be modified. Indeed we find at this time the new demand appearing that John should be made to go on the crusade when Richard did. Even the intervention of the pope, who was represented at the conferences finally held soon after Easter and early in June, by a cardinal legate, in earnest effort for the crusade, served only to show how completely Philip was the man of a new age. To the threat of the legate, who saw that the failure to make peace was chiefly due to him, that he would lay France under an interdict if he did not come to terms with the king of England, Philip replied in defiant words that he did not fear the sentence and would not regard it, for it would be unjust, since the Roman Church had no right to interfere within France between the king and his rebellious vassal and he overbore the legate and compelled him to keep silence.

After this conference events drew swiftly to an end. The allies pushed the war, and in a few days captured Le Mans, forcing Henry to a sudden flight in which he was almost taken prisoner. A few days later still Philip stormed the walls of Tours and took that city. Henry was almost a fugitive with few followers and few friends in the hereditary county from which his house was named. He had turned aside from the better fortified and more easily defended Normandy against the advice of all, and now there was nothing for him but to yield. Terms of peace were settled in a final conference near Colombières on July 4, 1189. At the meeting Henry was so ill that he could hardly sit his horse, though Richard and Philip had sneered at his illness and called it pretence, but he resolutely endured the pain as he did the humiliation of the hour. Philip's demands seem surprisingly small considering the man and the completeness of his victory, but there were no grounds on which he could demand from Henry any great concession. One thing he did insist upon, and that was for him probably the most important advantage which he gained. Henry must acknowledge himself entirely at his mercy, as a contumacious vassal, and accept any sentence imposed on him. In the great task which Philip Augustus had before him, already so successfully begun, of building up in France a strong monarchy and of forcing many powerful and independent vassals into obedience to the crown, nothing could be more useful than this precedent, so dramatic and impressive, of the unconditional submission of the most powerful of all the vassals, himself a crowned king. All rights over the disputed county of Auvergne were abandoned. Richard was acknowledged heir and was to receive the homage of all barons. Those who had given in their allegiance to Richard should remain with him till the crusade, which was to be begun the next spring, and 20,000 marks were to be paid the king of France for his expenses on the captured castles, which were to be returned to Henry.

These were the principal conditions, and to all these Henry agreed as he must. That he intended to give up all effort and rest satisfied with this result is not likely, and words he is said to have used indicate the contrary, but his disease and his broken spirits had brought him nearer the end than he knew. One more blow, for him the severest of all, remained for him to suffer. He found at the head of the list of those who had abandoned his allegiance the name of John. Then his will forsook him and his heart broke. He turned his face to the wall and cried: "Let everything go as it will; I care no more for myself or for the world." On July 6 he died at Chinon, murmuring almost to the last, "Shame on a conquered king," and abandoned by all his family except his eldest son Geoffrey, the son, it was said, of a woman, low in character as in birth.

Footnotes

[48] Gesia Henrici, i. 338.

[49] Gervase of Canterbury, i. 371; Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis Instructione, iii. 2. (Opera, viii. 231.)

[50] Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis Instructione. (Opera, viii. 232.)

[51] Ralph de Diceto, ii. 55.

[52] Gervase of Canterbury, i. 435.

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