« PreviousContinue »
1260 Letter from
barons summon a
CHAP. still more distinct command not to do so till he reVII.
turned. If anything had been needed to convince
them of the necessity of union, and the danger of the Pope. yielding a foot to the attempted renewal of Henrys
foreign policy, it was supplied by a letter from the Pope, which seems to have arrived about this time in answer to their remonstrances on the effect of the usurpation of lay patronage.' In it the Pope lays down the principle that no layman has a right to dispose of ecclesiastical things, although his predecessor had fifteen years before confirmed the right of presenta
tion ;the laity may not even, he declares, call upon the The Church to reform her ways. With such a warning as
this before their eyes, and with the kings attitude Parlia- plainly declared, the barons summoned a Parliament
in opposition to his mandate, and informed the king that, if he did not soon return from France, he might find it impossible to return when he wished. 3 Henry had, in fear of another outbreak, begged his brother Richard to hinder an intended invasion of his half-brothers, and the assembling of forces in France; while he reported to Louis, probably prematurely, that de Montfort was bringing men and arms into England, whence his attitude towards the king was plainly visible.' Meanwhile, as he confessed a year later, he was himself collecting forces, and in fact brought them into the country soon after his own
return. Return of Alarmed by the attitude of the barons, and still the king.
more by the report that Prince Edward had shown a decided leaning towards them, Henry suddenly re
1 Ann. Burt. 487.
Fad. i. 262.
3 Ann. Dunst. 315.
appeared in London a few days after Parliament had met. There was some ground for the rumours as to his son ; for the old quarrel had burst out again between Gloucester and Leicester, and Edward had taken his uncles side. The king immediately entered London and shut the gates, while the barons held their Parliament in the Temple. The city had decided, on the approach of the disputants with their armed followings, in violation of the Provision of 1259, which forbade the bearing of arms, to obviate the chance of disturbance by shutting both parties out. Henry however admitted Gloucester, who doubtless during his long stay in France ? had come to a good understanding with him ; Edward and de Montfort remained outside with their partisans. It seems very Prince probable, from Edwards character and general atti- Edward. tude at this time, that he preferred Leicester to Gloucester ; but though the king refused to see him for a whole fortnight, from fear that his Roman sense of justice would give way before parental fondness," he was at the end of that interval reconciled to his father. Henry, having secured his son, gave vent to Henry his long-concealed displeasure in an open attack on attacks de Simon, using, according to one account, false witnesses against him. What was the ground of the attack we know not, but it probably had something to do with the recent breach of filial duty committed by the prince. Be that as it may, Simon answered everything as he had once before on a similar occa
| Parliament met on 19 April ; Henry returned on 23 April.
CHAP. sion, so that his accusers were powerless. Richard, VIII.
as usual, acted peacemaker, and Simon seems so far 1200
to have been taken back into favour that he was sent, War and truce with as the most able and prudent general in England,' to the Welch.
conduct the war against the Welch. His skill was not however called into requisition, for a truce was
made shortly afterwards. Connexion Perhaps it was owing to this that he was not prebetween
sent as high steward at the marriage of the Princess Earl Simon and Prince Beatrice, in October 1260, at which Henry of Almaine Edward :
discharged the duty for him. That this absence is not to be looked on as implying any disgrace, is made more probable by the fact that about the same time de Montforts two sons were knighted by Prince Edward. It may have been owing to the dangerous influence, which the earl seemed at this time to be getting over the chivalrous spirit of the young prince, that the latter was sent to Gascony, of which province t will be remembered he had been made lieutenant five years before. It seems very likely that the
thought of making Edward regent had crossed the character of mind of de Montfort. The nobility of character and the Prince. warm impulses of the young prince, the sense of
honour which from the first distinguished him, and the sympathy for the oppressed, of which he had already given evidence, were enough to encourage such hopes. But these qualities were at this time overpowered by others—a hot-headed rashness, and a quickness of resentment which made him lose sight of aims requiring patience and forethought, and a fickleness of temper which caused him with reason to be compared
1 'Bel ator prudentior et validior Angliæ,'—Matt. West, 299.
to the leopard. He had as yet but little of that bitter experience which made him afterwards so great a king, and de Montfort, if he ever cherished the idea of raising him into his fathers place, must have soon found it impracticable. Deprived of one possible advocate at Court, Simon soon lost the other too; for King Richard, obeying the repeated injunctions of the Pope, departed for Germany. Henry was left to his own devices.
He employed his time during the autumn of 1260 Henry in strengthening the Tower of London, whence he recovers his
position. expected to command the city. He had already compelled all the citizens, from the age of twelve upwards, to swear a renewed allegiance to him ; and, growing confident in his own strength and the prospect of papal support, he began, according to the confession of his own partisans, to issue ordinances contrary to the spirit of the Provisions. He even ventured to summon Parliament to meet in the Tower, but this the barons refused to do, demanding that they should meet in the usual place of assembly at Westminster. Hugh Bigod, the justiciar ap- Change of pointed by the barons in 1258, had resigned early
justiciars. in 1260, for what reason, unless it were a sense of failure in a task for which a Bigod was hardly likely to be fitted, we do not know. Hugh Despenser, a staunch supporter of de Montfort, had been appointed in his place, and this shows the influence exerted by the earl up to the return of Henry from France. But
IT. Wykes 125.
? On what occasion this was does not appear, but it seems to have been in the spring of 1261, after Henry had fortified the Tower (Ann. Dunst, 217). Dr. Pauli thinks it was at the autumn Parliament of 1260.
CHAP. now things were changed. An uneasy feeling was VIII.
abroad. It was evident that the Provisions were no 1260
longer valid, that the baronial Government, if not Feeling against the already extinct, was tottering to its fall. Their errors baronial
had roused fresh resistance. Several towns had regovern
fused to admit the itinerant justices appointed by the barons, since their visit had been repeated after an interval less than that ordained in the Provisions of 1259. Another authority tells us that the justices themselves were subjected to vexatious interference on the part of the barons, probably those discontented nobles through whose territories they passed, not
those who held the reins of power in London. Henry
All this confusion produced a feeling of hostility takes ad- to the baronial régime. Meanwhile, like a great vantage of this feeling. undertone of misery, the scarcity of food continued
throughout England. Things were probably not worse than they were before 1258, but the fact that they were not much better was enough to condemn a Government which had entered into power with such pretensions. The king had openly announced, as far back as February 1260, that as the barons had not kept their share of the pact, he was not bound to keep his; yet he thought it worth while to allay anxiety by issuing an edict commanding the seizure of all who spread abroad reports that he intended arbitrarily to alter the law of the land. Meanwhile he appeared to be making strenuous efforts to settle his private disputes with the Earl of Leicester. It was certainly to his interest to remove all causes of complaint that might strengthen Simons position. In
' E.g. Hereford.-Nic. Trivet 248 : Worcester. ---Ann. Wig. 446. Roy. Letters ii. 168-575; Fæd. i. 407.