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CHAP. as in 1215, by the extension to subtenants of the III.
same privileges which the greater nobles extorted 1236-37
from the king. The statutes were indeed not altoConstitu
gether satisfactory to the barons; they had in vain advances. attempted to diminish the centralisation of power in
the kings hands. They had more success shortly afterwards, when they insisted on the privilege of meeting only at Westminster. This principle had been hinted at, though not exactly laid down, in that clause of Magna Carta which provided that the council should be summoned to meet at a certain
place. It will be seen later to what use it was put by Appoint- the constitutional party. In this same eventful year ment of ministers. (1236) another great advance in constitutional prin
ciples was made. The king tried to force Ralph, Bishop of Chichester, to give up the great seal. The bishop boldly refused, saying that it had been given him by common counsel of the realm, and without assent of the same he would not resign it.'?
This was a distinct improvement on the principle enunciated in Magna Carta, when it was only demanded that the great officers should be men acquainted with the law of the land, not that their appointment should depend on
the authority of the National Council. Parlia
The principle, that national assent was necessary mentary
for taxation, received a confirmation next year (1237), influence in taxation; when the council, according to the precedent of twelve
years before, made the grant of a thirtieth dependent on a renewal of the charters. At the same time it was proposed that the council should have a share in the
1 In the question of jurisdiction in cases of trespass. - Ann. Burt. 249.
* Matt. Par. 430. He had been appointed in 1233 for life.
disposal of the tax. The money was to be put into СНАР. the custody of certain of the magnates, to be spent by their counsel for the good of king and country. 1237-38 The barons also strengthened their hold upon the lower classes, by special provisions ensuring a just assessment by four men elected for the purpose, and protecting the poorest class from suffering from the tax. The confirmation of the charters which was the price of this concession is the first public document to which we find the signature of Simon de Montfort attached? But he was not ready yet; had Richard Richard of of Cornwall taken up with a good heart the position as a leader. to which the popular voice called him, he might have rendered the labours of de Montfort to a great extent unnecessary. But he had much of his brothers fickleness and want of purpose. He was not without insight and sympathy with the people, but allowed himself to be led away by dynastic ambition and the enjoyment of wealth from the performance of sterner duties, and his temporising character led him constantly to appear as arbitrator and mediator when the possibility of half-measures was long past. After this second great success the constitutional Influence
of aliens : struggle seems to have experienced a slight lull. The king took advantage of it merely to heap up materials for a fresh disturbance. William of Valence, the queen's uncle, remained supreme ; his brothers and other foreigners were richly endowed with lands and offices. To such an extent did this reach that extravain 1238 even the Pope found himself constrained to the king.
i Fæd, i. 232 ; Matt. Par. 436 ; Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 53.
? Ann. Tewk. 103 ; confirmation dated Jan. 28, 1237. The same authority states that cives et burgenses et alii multi' were present at the “colloquium' in which the money was voted.
remonstrate with Henry on his ill-judged liberality to
prelates and nobles, on the ground that such conduct 1238-42 was damaging to the Church, of which England was a Papal extortions.
fief.' To protect the papal interests the legate Otho had been sent to England the year before. The feeling against him may be guessed from the riot at Osney, the protection of the actors in which was one of the first steps by which Bishop Grosseteste won his universal popularity. The general state of the country was not likely to be happy under such a rule.
Robbers were unusually numerous in different parts of Grievances England. The grievances of the Church produced a of the Church. strong remonstrance from the clergy, headed by the
Bishop of Lincoln, in 1240. But it was all in vain ; the legate, though appealed to, would not or could not protect them. The clergy, it is said, as a body, refused to pay ; but it is evident that many persons, principally the higher clergy, were forced separately to contribute. On this Church, already losing all confidence in him as a protector, Henry had tried to force William of Valence in the place of Peter des Roches; but before the struggle ended that prelate died. He was more successful in obtaining the election of Boniface of Savoy to the vacant see of Canterbury, in the place of the sainted Edmund.
During the absence of Richard of Cornwall and other magnates on crusade there was not much chance of parliamentary opposition ; but when, soon after their return, the king resolved on the expedition to France, financial difficulties revived it again. In the famous council of 1242, of which some mention has been already made, followed the first instance of an 1 Fæd. i. 234.
? Ann. Tewk, 115. 3 See below, ch. vi. • Ann. Tewk. 115, compared with Ann. Dunst. 154.
The council of 1242.
See p. 55.
absolute refusal of aid, the confirmation of the charters CHAP. having usually solved the difficulty. So important was this refusal considered at the time, that a special
Opposition report of the proceedings ? was drawn up, in order of the that the barons' answer might not be forgotten. They baronage : enumerated the various occasions on which tax had been paid, and the conditions under which assent had been given. The king had not kept his promises; his confirmation of the charters was worthless. They asked, pertinently enough, what had become of the money voted five years before, and declared moreover that the king used judicial means to amerce his subjects unjustly. As for the war with France, it would be time enough to discuss that when the King of France had broken truce. In this famous protest the political
principles right to know what had become of their money is advanced. clearly demanded, and the report incidentally proves not only that discussion on taxation was usual, and that a tax, instead of being merely announced, had come to be demanded, but it shows that the barons had begun to interfere even in the executive. The discussion of peace or war is a great step towards the actual exercise of executive authority. The summons to this Parliament, addressed by the king to the magnates, recognises the right, in stating that the object of their meeting is to discuss 'certain important business touching our State and that of our kingdom.'3 One would much wish to know what part Simon de Montfort took in this debate. Many barons supported the
"Contradixerunt igitur regi in faciem, nolentes amplius sic pecunia sua frustratorie spoliari.'--Matt. Par. 580.
? Matt. Par. 581, 582 ; Stubbs, Sel. Ch. 359.
3 This was not however the first time the summons had taken this form, as Gneist, Verw. 302, seems to imply ; see note to p. 12.
1242-44 Effect on England of the struggle between Pope and Emperor.
king in the field, though they had withstood him in the council-hall, and among them, if the song already mentioned can be relied on, was Simon de Montfort.'
From May 1242 till September 1243 the king was abroad. No sooner did he return than the constitutional difficulties began again. The year 1243 was an important one for England. It was the year of the accession of Innocent IV, under whom the gigantic struggle between the papacy and the empire came to its climax, and enlisted on one side or the other all the forces of the civilised world. The policy of the Church had a most important effect on the internal affairs of England, and more than any other single cause contributed to the outbreak of 1258. Innocent, immediately after his accession, made strenuous efforts to collect funds for a renewal of the conflict with the empire. The visit of the papal nuncio, Martin, who came armed with unusual powers, and enforced local contributions throughout England early in the year 1244, produced an indignant remonstrance from the English Church. The clergy, besides declaring the demand in itself unjust, in that the Emperor was not yet condemned by the voice of Christendom, set forth the evils produced by this constant drain on the national Church, whose funds ought to have been devoted to other purposes, and declared that without consent of the king and magnates, their joint patrons, they had no right to contribute at all. The spirit of the protest is intensely national ; the clergy were anxious to join with the laity to protect their
Protest of the English Church,
I See p. 55.
Ann. Burt, 265. It is given also by Matt. Par. 535, under the year 1240, as coming from the rectors of Berkshire.