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CHAPTER III.

PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY, 1232-49.

Introduc

WE left the king at the point when he had just

CHAP

III. dismissed his old and faithful servant, the Earl of

1232 Kent. In spite of the unpopularity of the justiciar, it was an evil day for the country when he fell. It was tion of

aliens. better to be fined by Hubert de Burgh, than to be robbed by Peter des Roches. The bishop was now completely master of the situation. He soon introduced numbers of Poitevins, his fellow-countrymen, and others into England : many were placed in positions of authority, others served him as armed dependents. The expedition of 1230 had produced a The gofinancial crisis. The clergy had already refused the in diffitaxes demanded. In the council of March 1232 the culties. lay magnates declared they were already half-ruined by the expenses of personal service in the war, and were neither able nor in duty bound to give further aid. The clergy evaded the question with the plea that they could not vote in the absence of many of their members. So soon then had men come round again to the position taken up by the framers of Magna Carta. Here were both the great principles Principles therein stated, the necessity for completeness in the of the

opposition. composition of the council, and the right of assent to

CHAP.

III.

to Peter des Roches.

an extraordinary tax, again clearly put forward; here

were the clergy and the laity again simultaneously, 1232-34

though not yet jointly, opposing unlawful claims. Opposition Peter des Roches had already made the king believe

that it was his own fauit if he could get no money from his subjects. Henry now procured from the Pope a dispensation from the oath to Magna Carta, on the ground that he hadsworn in youthful ignorance to things injurious to the welfare of his realm and to his royal prerogative. The temper of the country was growing dangerous. The barons refused to appear at Oxford, and backed their refusal with the threat that, if Henry did not dismiss the bishop, they would look to choosing another king. When at length, after a third summons, they made their appearance, it was in arms. The Earl of Pembroke, against whom the chief efforts of Peter des Roches were directed, and several other great barons, were outlawed, and their properties confiscated and given to the Poitevins. Robert Bacon, a Dominican, and a clerk in the Curia, when preaching before the king, told him to his face that he would have no peace till the bishop and his satellites were gone. It was no opportune time for a foreigner like Simon de Montfort to be claiming his rights, and during all this period he was probably, as we have seen,

absent from England. Danger of The declaration of Peter des Roches, when the

bishops tried to protect the outlaws, that there were no peers in England as in France, and that the king could punish rebels as he pleased, seems to have brought matters to a crisis. Collisions between the

· Letters of Gregory IX, 1233 and 1234, quoted by Pauli, Gesch. von Eng. iii. 594.

civil war.

Earl Marshall and the kings troops followed in the CHAP.

III. winter; the Welsh, at the earls instigation, entered Wiltshire, and freed Hubert de Burgh from captivity.

1232-34 The Pope himself' wrote to ask mercy for the man who had worked with his legates to preserve England from a complete rupture with the holy see. At last, in the Parliament of February 1234, Archbishop Edmund, who had just been appointed by the Pope, took the lead of the opposition. In full council he reminded the king of the evil done by this same Peter des Roches in the days of his father John, and declared that he and his had incurred the ban for their violation of the law of the land. The king yielded to the voice of the Church. Peter des Roches was dis- Dismissal

of Peter missed. Hubert de Burgh was restored to favour, but not des to office; the other outlaws were pardoned. Stephen Roches. de Segrave, one of the most odious of the kings instruments, was also degraded from his office of justiciar; and this important post seems to have remained unfilled, or reduced to political insignificance, till the appointment of Hugh Bigod by the barons in the Mad Parliament."

Thus the first important constitutional victory of i Fæd. i. 211.

? See Foss, Fudges ii. 136, 151, ed. 1848. It has been implied, from a passage in Matt. Paris, p. 495, that Sinon de Pateshulle held the office of Chief Justiciar in 1233, and his son Hugh in 1234 ; but this rests on a misinterpretation of the words. The latter was only one of the justiciars at this time, and was appointed, not to the office of Chief Justiciar, but to that of Treasurer. Foss is of opinion that the former office remained vacant from 1234 to 1258. He also believes the office of Chancellor to have been vacant from 1244 to 1261, though several persons are mentioned in the interval as Custodes Sigilli, a new title first used in 1255, whose holders seem to have taken the place of the Chancellor. Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 275, says, “There (sc. in the exchequer) the treasurer stepped into the place of the justiciar, and became from the middle of the reign of Henry III one of the chief officers of the Crown.'

CHAP.

III.

the reign was won; thus was a great maxim of State,

England for the English, successfully upheld. The 1234-36

dismissal of foreigners from office formed an imImportance of the portant stipulation in Magna Carta ; there was no dismissal of aliens.

point perhaps which attracted so much attention all through this period. But it was not yet understood that such relief was only temporary; that the evils abolished were noisome weeds, whose strength lay far beneath the surface, only to be uprooted by the ploughshare of a radical reform. Two events soon made this fact visible to all. The king, urged by his dynastic ambition, succeeded in 1235 in bringing

about the marriage of his sister Isabella to Frederick The kings II; but, as if to neutralise any good effects which marriage.

that alliance might have had, he next year united himself to Eleanor of Provence, whose sister had shortly before become Queen of France. For both these affairs much money was wanted. Henry bound himself to pay 30,000 marks as Isabellas marriage-portion. His marriage with Eleanor was celebrated with a magnificence which, for the moment, all that was high and rich and splendid in England united in con

tributing to produce. But a Nemesis was at hand. Pecuniary The king could not claim the regular feudal aids in difficulties.' either of these cases; he had therefore to collect the

money under other names.? His difficulties are shown by the fact that he had to ask the Emperor for a respite, and did not pay the full amount of the dowry till 1237. The demand, repeated in that year on

See a detailed account in Matt. Par. 420.

? The Annals of Tewkesbury say that tallage was exacted ; in Ann., Dunst. 142 it is said scutage was taken.

· Fæd, i. 228, 232.

СНАР.

III.

account of the expenses of his own marriage, was probably the main reason of the opposition which produced another confirmation of the charters, a remedy

1236 not yet seen to be hopeless with such a king as Henry III.

Meanwhile the old cause of discontent had ap- Influx of peared again. With the queen had come over her continued. uncles, William, bishop-elect of Valence,' Peter, Boniface, and Thomas of Savoy. It will be remembered that it was at the kings marriage that Simon de Montfort, himself a foreigner, made his first public appearance. Nothing in the history of that great man is more striking than the complete unlikeness between him and all those with whom he was at one time classed, under the hated name of alien. The popular feeling against foreign interference was not slow in manifesting itself. At the Great Council which met The at Merton in 1236, shortly after the marriage, it was a Merton. significant fact that the lay magnates, in resisting the wish of the clergy to introduce the papal decision as to the legitimacy of children born before marriage, appealed to the law of England, and protested against any alteration therein. The laws passed at this council, which are regarded as the first statutes passed by king and Parliament together, were little more than a kind of appendix to the feudal regulations of Magna Carta ; but, as such, their tendency was to protect the unprotected, to introduce law instead of caprice, to prevent unjust action on the part of the kings officers. Moreover, the union of interests, so remarkable in Magna Carta, was strengthened,

"To be distinguished from William of Valence, the kings stepbrother.

statutes of

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