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CHAP. only ground, though certainly a strong one, for
believing that Simon took part in this crusade. 1240-42 The little band of Christians was hard pressed at Richard of Cornwall this time by the superior power of the Mohammedans, in the East. and Richards assistance, rendered perhaps even more
valuable by his great wealth than by the troops he brought with him, was welcomed with the greatest joy on his arrival at Acre in the autumn of 1240. There was however but little for him to do; a truce had already been struck, involving the release of the captives, and a special treaty was made between the earl and the Sultan of Egypt, which gave the former time to rebuild the shattered strongholds of the Christians, and otherwise to place their affairs on a better footing. In May 1241 he re-embarked, and on his passage through Italy visited his brotherin-law the Emperor. He was entertained by him for two months with all that eastern luxury and elegance, which increased the fame and injured the reputation of Frederick II.3 If Simon de Montfort was in the Holy Land he would probably have returned with Richard. He may have stayed to close the eyes of his brother, who died on his way home, at Otranto,
in the summer of this year. Simon
Whatever be the truth on this point, we find him returns to England. in England early in 1242. He must have been present
| About the same time however Simon sold property to the Canons of Leicester to the amount of 1,000l. ---Greens Princesses, 77.
· See Richards own letter, giving an account of the expedition.Matt. Par. 566.
* Matthew Paris gives an interesting account of the musical and other entertainments, and especially of the performance of two Saracen girls of great beauty, who danced exquisitely on rolling spheres, and glided to and fro over the polished floor wherever they would, singing and clapping their hands, interlacing their arms, and bending their bodies to the tune of the cymbals and tambourines on which they played.
at the important council of that year, in which the king met with the most determined opposition to his demands for money, and had to submit to a sound rating from the assembled baronage for his wasteful- Prepara
tions for ness, and his unconstitutional action in breaking the war with
France, truce with France without their consent.' The names of the barons are not given by the historians, but there is no reason to doubt that Simon took his place among them ; which side he took must however remain uncertain. Louis IX had made his brother Alfonso Count of Poitou, an insult to the English claims, and especially to Richard of Cornwall, who held that title. The Count of la Marche, Henrys stepfather, found little difficulty in persuading the king to undertake an expedition to France. He promised to find the men if the English would provide the money. Henry, , with his usual rashness and short-sighted ambition, entered on the war with a light heart. In spite of the opposition of the magnates he collected a large sum of money, by means only too well-known to the financial policy of the day, the policy of attacking singly those whom he could not break when united together.
In May 1242 Henry entered upon his ill-advised Expedition expedition, attended by the queen, Earl Richard, and a few nobles, among whom was Simon de Montfort. It is to this affair that we must probably refer a Contemvery interesting satirical song, written by a French- porary man, on a certain assembly held in England to discuss an expedition against France. The writer, in sarcastic
See below, p. 66.
? Polit. Songs, p. 63. Mr. Wright refers this song to 1264, and says it alludes to the mediation of the King of France. But nothing in
and somewhat coarse language, paints the extravagant
pretensions of the English king, the ardent wish of 1242 Henry and his brother Richard to recover Normandy, Song on the expedi- and the paternal pride which the former takes in his France.
son Edward of the flaxen hair.' Henry thinks he has only to land and the French will run away; he will march on Paris, will carry off the Sainte Chapelle just as it stands, for a trophy of his victory; will have Edward crowned in St. Denis, and will celebrate the occasion with a great feast of beef and pork. But at the assembly in London, in which the king proposes the expedition, 'not a baron, from best to worst, will move.' Afterwards however the Earls of Gloucester and Winchester support the king, outdoing him in braggadocio; upon which Sir Simon de Montfort starts to his feet, with anger in his face, and advises the king to let the matter drop, for the Frenchman is no lamb,' and will defend himself bravely. Thereupon ensues a quarrel between de Montfort and Roger Bigod, who is indignant at Simons freedom of speech, and vows, perhaps in allusion to his own name, by Godelamit' that the affair shall be brought to a glorious conclusion. The king appeases him, and there is an end of the matter. These events are of course not introduced here as undoubted matter of history, but, allowing for poetical treatment and a
the song agrees with this hypothesis. There is no allusion to an act of mediation ; invasion and conquest are alone spoken of. The opposition mentioned is just that of the Parliament of 1242 ; we know of no Parliament in 1263, or 1264, at which the events of the song would have been possible; at the latter period there was no talk of an invasion of France, and Normandy was formally given up in 1259. The only difficulty is that Edward, then three years old, is called a bold knight ; but that is probably only a satirical exaggeration of his fathers pride in him.
foreign author, there is much probability in them. CHAP. The attitude in which Simon de Montfort is represented is just that which he is likely to have taken ; the traits of the other characters accord with what we know of them. The expedition undertaken so lightly ended in a Failure of
the expedimiserable failure. The Count of la Marche proved a broken reed. Deserted by him, the English suffered a severe defeat at the battle of Saintes, and the Earls of Leicester, Salisbury, and Norfolk, with a few other great barons, were hardly able to save the army from destruction, and the country from the penalty of a royal ransom. This doubtless increased the favour in which Simon already stood at this time with the king,' and which the Count of Toulouse and the King of Aragon, hereditary foes of the house of Montfort, tried in vain to undermine. Henry bestowed upon Simon in him several marks of friendship ;3 he held a most with the
high favour important position in the royal council ; and when the king. other nobles left for England, disgusted at the illsuccess of the campaign, and at the idle frivolities in which Henry wasted time and money at Bordeaux, he and William of Salisbury, though much to their own loss, remained.
Simon had a year to examine the restless party-spirit, the faithlessness, the hatred of authority, which characterised those who had been
· Lettres de Rois, 58, where Henry uses his royal privilege of taking possession of all prisoners in Simons favour : the letter is dated 3 July ; battle of Saintes fought 22 July.
2 Matt. Par. 590, 596.
* Gists mentioned by Pauli, Simon de Mont., 46. A year later Kenil. worth was finally conferred on the earl and countess; the king became surety to Eleanor for 400l. a year, owed to her from her Irish estates; Simon was made guardian of Leicester Castle, and had certain wardships made over to him.-Greens Princesses, 82, 85.
1243 A truce with France.
once his fathers foes, and were now in nothing but name the subjects of the King of England. Henry at length concluded a disgraceful truce with France, in which he resigned all claim on Poitou, the original motive of the war. This was in September 1243. He returned to England with even less honour and in greater difficulties than thirteen years before ; while Simon de Montfort had in the interval made good his position in the country he had adopted as his own.