Imagens das páginas

remonstrance, enumerating all the grants they had made on former occasions, but always on condition that the imposition should not be turned into precedent. Their last subsidy, it appears, had been paid into the hands of four barons, who were to expend it at their discretion for the benefit of the king and kingdom ; an early instance of parliamentary control over public expenditure. On a similar demand in 1244, the king was answered by complaints against the violation of the charter, the waste of former subsidies, and the mal-administration of his servants. Finally, the barons positively refused any money ; and he extorted 1500 marks from the city of London. Some years afterwards they declared their readiness to burden themselves more than ever, if they could secure the observance of the charter ; and requested that the Justiciary, Chancellor, and Treasurer might be appointed with consent of parliament, according, as they asserted, to ancient customs, and might hold their offices during good behaviour.


HUME. The compunction of Richard for his undutiful behaviour towards his father was durable, and influenced him in the choice of his ministers and servants after his accession. Those who had seconded and favoured his rebellion, instead of meeting with that trust and honour which they expected, were surprised to find that they lay under disgrace with the new king, and were on all occasions hated and despised by him. The faithful ministers of Henry, who had vigorously opposed all the enterprises of his sons, were received with open arms, and were continued in those offices which they had honourably discharged to their former master. This prudent conduct might be the result of reflection ; but in a prince, like Richard, so much guided by passion, and so little by policy, it was commonly ascribed to a principle still more virtuous and more honourable.

Richard, that he might make atonement to one parent for his breach of duty to the other, immediately sent orders for releasing the queen dowager from the confinement in which she had long been detained ; and he entrusted her with the government of England till his arrival in that kingdom. His bounty to his brother John was rather profuse and imprudent. Besides bestowing on him the county of Mortaigne in Normandy, granting him a penson of four thousand marks a year, and marrying him to Avisa, the daughter of the Earl of Glocester, by whom he inherited all the possessions of that opulent family, he increased his appanage, which the late king had destined him, by other extensive grants and concessions. He conferred on him the whole estate of William Peverell, which had escheated to the crown ; he put him in possession of eight castles, with all the forests and honours annexed to them ; he delivered over to him no less than six earldoms, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Nottingham, Dorset, Lancaster and Derby; and endeavouring by favours, to fix that vicious prince in his duty, he put it too much in his power, whenever he pleased, to depart from it.

The king, impelled more by the love of military glory than by superstition, acted, from the beginning of his reign, as if the sole purpose of his government had been the relief of the Holy Land, and the recovery of Jerusalem from the Saracens. This zeal against infidels, being communicated to his subjects, broke out in London on the day of his coronation, and made them find a crusade less dangerous, and attained with more immediate profit. The prejudices of the age had made the lending of money on interest pass by the invidious name of usury: yet the necessity of the practice had still continued it, and the greater part of that kind of dealing fell every where into the hands of the Jews; who being already infamous on account

of their religion, had no honour to lose, and were apt to exercise a profession, odious in itself, by every kind of rigour, and even sometimes by rapine and extortion. The industry and frugality of this people had put them in possession of all the ready money, which the idleness and profusion common to the English with other European nations enabled them to lend at exorbitant and unequal interest. The monkish writers represent it as a great stain on the wise and equitable government of Henry, that he had carefully protected this infidel race from all injuries and insults ; but the zeal of Richard afforded the populace a pretence for venting their animosity against them. The king had issued an edict prohibiting their appearance at his coronation, but some of them bringing him large presents from their nation, presumed, in confidence of that merit, to approach the hall in which he dined : being discovered, they were exposed to the insults of the bystanders ; they took to flight; the people pursued them ; the rumour was spread, that the king had issued orders to massacre all the Jews; a command so agreeable was executed in an instant, on such as fell into the hands of the populace ; those who had kept at home were exposed to equal danger ; the people, moved by rapacity and zeal, broke into their houses, which they plundered, after having murdered the owners; where the Jews barricaded their doors and defended themselves with vigour, the rabble set fire to the houses and made way through the flames to exercise their pillage and violence ; the usual licentiousness of London, which the sovereign power with difficulty restrained, broke out with fury, and continued these outrages; the houses of the richest citizens, though Christians, were next attacked and plundered ; and weariness and satiety at last put an end to the disorder ; yet, when the king impowered Glanville, the justiciary, to inquire into the authors of these crimes, the guilt was found to involve so many of the most considerable citizens, that it was deemed more prudent to drop the prosecution ; and very few suffered the punishment due to this enormity. But the disorder stopped not at London. The inhabitants of the other cities of England, hearing of this slaughter of the Jews, imitated the example: in York, five hundred of that nation, who had retired into the castle for safety, and found themselves unable to defend the place, murdered their own wives and children, threw the dead bodies over the walls upon the populace, and then setting fire to the houses, perished in the flames. The gentry of the neighbourhood, who were all indebted to the Jews, ran to the cathedral, where their bonds were kept, and made a solemn bonfire of the papers before the altar. The compiler of the Annals of Waverley, in relating these events, blesses the Almighty for thus delivering over this impious race to destruction.

The ancient situation of Engiand, when the people possessed little riches, and the public no credit, made it impossible for sovereigns to bear the expense of a steady or durable war even on their frontiers ; much less could they find regular means for the support of distant expeditions like those into Palestine, which were more the result of popular frenzy than of sober reason or deliberate policy. Richard, therefore, knew that he must carry with him all the treasure necessary for his enterprise, and that both the remoteness of his own country and its poverty made it unable to furnish him with those continued supplies which the exigencies of so perilous a war must necessarily require. His father had left him a treasure of above a hundred thousand marks; and the king, negligent of every consideration but his present object, endeavoured to augment this sum by all expedients, how pernicious soever to the public, or dangerous to royal authority. He put to sale the revenues and manors of the crown ; the offices of greatest trust and power, even those of forester and sheriff, which anciently were so important, became venal; the dignity of chief justiciary, in whose bands was lodged the whole execution of the laws, was sold to Hugh de Puzas, bishop of Durham, for a thousand marks ;

the same prelate bought the earldom of Northumberland for life ; many of the champions of the cross, who had repented of their vow, purchased the liberty of violating it; and Richard, who stood less in need of men than of money, dispensed, on these conditions, with their attendance.

Elated with the hopes of fame, which in that age attended no wars but those agains; the infidels, he was blind to every other consideration ; and when some of his wiser ministers objected to this dissipation of the revenue and power of the crown, he replied, that he would sell London itself, could he find a purchaser. Nothing indeed could be a stronger proof how negligent he was of all future interests, in comparison of the crusade, than his selling, for so small a sum as ten thousand marks, the vassalage of Scotland, together with the fortresses of Roxburgh and Berwick, the greatest acquisition that had been made by his father during the course of his victorious reign ; and his accepting the homage of William in the usual terms, merely for the territories which that prince held in England. The English, of all ranks and stations, were oppressed by numerous exactions; menaces were employed, both against the innocent and the guilty, in order to extort money from them: and where a pretence was wanting against the rich, the king obliged them, by the fear of his displeasure, to lend him sums which, he knew, it would never be in his power to repay.

But Richard, though he sacrificed every interest and consideration to the success of this pious enterprise, carried so little the appearance of sanctity in his conduct, that Fulk, curate of Neuilly, a zealous preacher of the crusade, who from that merit had acquired the privilege of speaking the boldest truths, advised him to rid himself of his notorious vices, particularly his pride, avarice, and voluptuousness, which he called the king's three favourite daughters. You counsel well, replied Richard, and I hereby dispose of the first to the Templars, of the second to the Benedictines, and of the third to my prelates.

Richard, jealous of attempts which might be made on England during his absence, laid prince John, as well as his natural brother Geoffrey Archbishop of York, under engagements, confirmed by their oaths, that neither of them should enter the kingdom till his return ; though he thought proper, before his departure, to withdraw this prohibition. The administration was left in the hands of Hugh bishop of Durham, and of Longchamp bishop of Ely, whom he appointed justiciaries and guardians of the realm. The latter was a Frenchman of mean birth and of a violent character; who by art and address had insinuated himself into favour, whom Richard had created chancellor, and whom he had engaged the pope also to invest with the legatine authority, that, by centering every kind of power in his person, he might the better ensure the public tranquillity. All the military and turbulent spirits flocked about the person of the king, and were impatient to distinguish themselves against the infidels in Asia ; whither his inclinations, his engagements, led him, and whither he was impelled by messages from the king of France, ready to embark in this enterprise.

The emperor Frederic, a prince of great spirit and conduct, had already taken the road to Palestine at the head of 150,000 men, collected from Germany and all the northern states. Having surmounted every obstacle thrown in his way by the artifices of the Greeks and the power of the infidels, he had penetrated to the borders of Syria ; when, bathing in the cold river Cydnus during the greatest heat of the summer season, he was seized with a mortal distemper, which put an end to his life, and his rash enterprise. His army, under the command of his son Conrade, reached Palestine ; but was so diminished by fatigue, famine, maladies, and the sword, that it scarcely amounted to eight thousand men ; and was unable to make any progress against the great power, valour and conduct of Saladin. These

reiterated calamities attending the crusades, had taught the kings of France and England, the necessity of trying another road to the Holy Land; and they determined to conduct their armies thither by sea, to carry their provisions along with them, and by means of their naval power, to maintain an open communication with their own states, and with the western parts of Europe. The place of rendezvous was appointed in the plains of Vezelay on the borders of Burgundy. Philip and Richard on their arrival there, found their combined army amount to one hundred thousand men ; a mighty force, animated with glory and religion, conducted by two warlike monarchs, provided with every thing which their several dominions could supply, and not to be overcome but by their own misconduct, or by the unsurmountable obstacles of nature.

The French prince and the English here reiterated their promises of cordial friendship, pledged their faith not to invade each other's dominions during the crusade, mutually exchanged the oaths of all their barons and prelates to the same effect, and subjected themselves to the penalty of interdicts and excommunications, if they should ever violate this public and solemn engagement. They then separated, Philip took the road to Genoa, Richard that to Marseilles, with a view of meeting their fleets, which were severally appointed to rendezvous in these harbours. They put to sea ; and nearly about the same time, were obliged by stress of weather to take shelter in Messina, where they were detained during the whole winter. This incident laid the foundation of animosities which proved fatal to their enterprise.


SOUTHEY. The fleet with which Cæur de Lion sailed from Sicily, consisted of thirteen of those large vessels called dromones ; 150 of what were then called busses ; fiftythree galleys, and a great number of small craft. The Sicilians said that so fine a fleet had never before been seen in the harbour of Messina, and probably never again would. They were amazed at the magnitude, and number, and beauty of the ships. The French part of the armament had excited no such admiration ; and the feeling of envious hostility which the French king afterwards manifested toward Richard, was, in part, no doubt occasioned by the knowledge of his naval superiority. The sailors, also, were what English sailors from that time have never ceased to be; in the storms which they encountered on their way to the Levant, they are said, by one who was in the fleet, to have done every thing that it was possible for human skill to do. More than any other historical character, Richard Cæur de Lion resembles a knight of romance ; and the circumstances which occurred in his way to Palestine have the air of an adventure in romance more than of authentic history, though the facts are incontestable. “He was no sooner abroad in the main sea, but a great tempest arose, wherewith his whole navy was sore tossed and turmoiled up and down the seas.” The king himself was driven first to Crete, afterwards to Rhodes. Three of his ships foundered off the coast of Cyprus : three others were refused admittance into the harbours there ; they were wrecked in consequence, and the men who escaped to shore were cast into prison. The vessel with queen Joan and the lady Berengaria on board was driven in the same direction : they requested permission to land, announcing who they were, and that permission was refused. One of the Compeni family, Isaac by name, had taken possession of Cyprus for himself, in full sovereignty. Like other Greeks, or Griffons as they were called, he thought that the crusaders, if not worse than Saracens, were quite as much to be dreaded : such reports as might reach him of Richard's exploits at

Messina were not likely to induce a more favourable opinion; and he bad at this time assembled his forces at Limisso, with the determination of resisting any adventurers who might attempt to land.

Rhodes was not so distant, but that Richard heard how his people had been treated by the Cypriot emperor (as he was styled) in time to demand redress, He made immediately for Limisso, and found his affianced wife and his sister still off the harbour, in which they had been inhospitably, if not inhumanly, forbidden to enter. Perhaps the very strength of his resentment made him feel that it became him on this occasion to restrain his anger. Thrice he demanded the liberation of his people, and the restitution of whatever had been saved from the wrecks : those demands proving ineffectual, he then proceeded to take the justice that was denied him, and to inflict due punishment upon the offender. Isaac had easily captured men exhausted by long struggling with tempestuous weather, and who had hardly saved their lives by swimming to shore ; but he must have been the weakest of men to think of opposing a fleet of crusaders with a host of undisciplined and halfarmed Cypriots. Few of them, it is said, had any better weapons than clubs or stones ; and they thought to protect themselves with a barricade formed of logs, planks, chests, and benches --whatever could be hastily brought together. Richard, meantime, proceeded toward the landing-place with his galleys and small boats. His archers led the way, and soon cleared it, for their arrows are said to have fallen on the Cypriots like rain upon the summer grass. The victors," being but footmen, weather beaten, weary, and wet,” were in no plight for pursuing the routed enemy; they entered the town, and found it deserted by the inhabitants, but full of wealth and of provisions of every kind. Such of his ships as were collected then entered the port ; and Berengaria and his sister were received by Richard as a conqueror in the city where a refuge from the sea had been refused them.

During the course of the day, Isaac rallied the fugitives, about six miles from the town, and as if he supposed that weakness alone had withheld. the crusaders from pursuing their advantage, prepared to attack them on the morrow. But Ceur de Lion allowed him no time for this. Intelligence of his movements and of his designs was easily obtained, for Isaac was a tyrant ; guides also offered themselves; food, wine, and success had presently refreshed the English ; long before daybreak they were armed, and in motion ; and the Cypriots were taken so completely by surprise, that they were “slain like beasts.” The emperor Isaac escaped, not only unarmed, but half-naked; so utterly had he been unprepared for such an atta His horses, his armour, and his standard, were taken. The standard was sent to England ; and when Ceur de Lion returned thither, he deposited it himself at King St. Edmund's shrine. Terrified at this second discomfiture, Isaac now sent ambassadors, proposing to restore the prisoners whom he had unjustly captured, with all that had been saved from the wrecks ; to pay 20,000 marks in amends for the loss that had been sustained by shipwreok ; to accompany Cæur de Lion to the Holy Land, and to serve him there with 1000 knights, 400 light horsemen, and 500 well-armed foot; to acknowledge him for his sovereign lord, and swear fealty to him accordingly; and place his daughter and heiress, as hostage, in his hands. These conditions, more rigorous than Richard would have thought of imposing, were admitted. Isaac then came to the King of England in the field; and there, in presence of the chiefs of the crusaders, swore fealty, and promised, upon his oath thus pledged, not to depart till he should have performed all for which he had engaged. By this time Richard had been too well acquainted with his character to place much reliance either upon his word or oath ; tents were assigned for him and his retinue ; and a guard was appointed to keep him in custody. Offended at this, or affrighted by it, and with that inconsistency which proceeds from rashness as

« AnteriorContinuar »