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CHAP.

IV.

Offer of

Steward

Simon.

that the French nobility, after the death of the Queen

Regent and during the absence of Louis IX on cru1252-53

sade, offered him a place among the guardians of the the High

Crown, and the office of High Steward of France

with all the honours appertaining to it. It is a still ship of France to more striking proof of the justice of that estimate

that he twice declined this splendid offer, being unwilling to prove a renegade' from the service of him

who had called him a traitor a few months before.? Anarchy in Hardly had Simon turned his back on Gascony Gascony.

than the miserable country was again in uproar. Civil war broke out; every mans hand was against his neighbour; Gaston of Bearn transferred his allegiance to the King of Aragon. Some authorities

declare that the king deposed Simon in the autumn resigns his office. of 1252, and ordered the edict to be proclaimed in

Gascony. If this is true, it is probably the reason why he left the country. His last expedition seems to have been undertaken merely with the object of taking private vengeance on his foes, and not in his quality of seneschal. Even if he had not been formally dismissed, the events of the past year must have shown him that it would be impossible for him any longer to hold the province. At any rate he practically resigned his post in the winter of 12521253. He was afterwards compensated in a pecuniary

Simon

1 Matt. Par. 863, 879. His brother Amauri, now dead some years, had been High Constable of France.

2 "Constanter comes, ne transfuga videretur, renuebat.'--Matt. Par. 865.

3 Se transtulit ad regem Hispaniæ.'—Matt. Par. 864.

Matt. West. 250 ; Matt. Par. 867 says it was in 1253 ; Ann. Dunst. 184, say the king deposed him, but he refused to obey; T. Wikes 104 says the earl, enraged at his dismissal, gave up three castles to the enemy, these being probably the three he gave up to Henry (above p. 96). i Fæd. i. 289, 292. ? Which the Gascons 'pugnam anilem reputabant.'—Matt. Par.

CHAP.

IV.

1253

arrives in

point of view, at least to some extent, for the remaining two years of his term of office. He remained inactive in France some time, and looked on at the failure of all atteinpts to allay the disorder. The The king king arrived at Bordeaux early in September 1253, Gascony : having placed the Regency in the hands of the queen and the Earl of Cornwall. As late as April he had, or pretended to have, the intention of going to the Holy Land; when he was on the point of starting for Gascony the Pope excommunicated all who should disturb the kingdom during his absence in Palestine. The crusades were a pretext which Henry and the Pope knew well how to use.

On his arrival in Gascony Henry succeeded in his success recovering his own castles, though at great loss; his

only

partial : army suffered terribly from privations. At the same time he busied himself in furthering the marriage of his son Edward to the sister of the King of Castile, and of his daughter Beatrice to the eldest son of the King of Aragon. He hoped doubtless to anticipate any attempts on Gascony from that side. His efforts towards subjugating the country were confined to the destruction of vineyards. He released his prisoners, who at once rejoined their companions. Soon after his arrival he had summoned Simon de Montfort to he applies his aid, but apparently in vain. Matters were now for aid.

to Simon looking so hopeless that he had to repeat his request in a humbler tone, begging the earl to come and treat with him, promising him a safe conduct and leave to return if he wished to do so. At the same time he

877.

IV.

Simon comes to

aid.

СНАР. made efforts to conciliate him by grants of money.

Simons influence in France was invaluable to the 1253-54

king, and he was begged to bring with him all the

light troops he could find. At length he gave way. the kings

If he had seen with secret joy the kings distress, he had now the serene satisfaction of returning good for evil. The last words of the old Bishop of Lincoln are said to have prompted him to this exercise of charity; he obeyed 'that dear friend who had been to him as a father confessor,' and went with a large force to the kings assistance. The Gascons, who feared him like a thunderbolt,'' gave way at once; the Pope opportunely excommunicated Gaston of Bearn and

his associates, and the province was again reduced Partial re- to order. Financial difficulties were settled between concilia

the brothers-in-law, at least in some degree, and the tion.

breach was for the time healed over. How long Simon remained with the king we do not know. He may have spent Christmas with the Court, and have returned with Earl Richard and other magnates immediately afterwards for the Parliament which met in January 1254 to discuss the kings demands for aid. He was in England at any rate by Easter of that year. Whether it was want of money, or the arrangements for Prince Edwards marriage, which

kept Henry at Bordeaux, is not clear; at any rate Henry

he remained there in wasteful idleness till the autumn returns to

of 1254, and then returned by way of Paris, where England.

1 Lettres de Rois i. 87, 90, 95, 96.

? Cui (sc. episcopo) comes tanquam patri confessori extitit familiarissimus.'— Matt. Par. 879.

s • Tanquam fulgur formidabant.'— Matt. Par. 879.

the two Courts vied with each other in splendour and extravagance, to England. He landed at Dover shortly after Christmas in that year.

CHAP.

IV.

1254

· His debts incurred during this expedition are said by Matt. Par. 913, to have amounted to more than 300,000 marks. This is over and above what he actually paid.

108

CHAPTER V.

PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY, 1249-1257.

CHAP. The state of things in England had not improved V.

during Simons absence in Gascony. The wearisome 1219-52

tale of oppression and futile resistance, of broken proPecuniary difficulties mises and disunion, need not be told in full. The continue.

king tried all sorts of means to get money, mulcted the Londoners and the Jews, and made spasmodic efforts to be thrifty, but all in vain. He did not give de Montfort much aid, but the contributions, which apparently nothing but Simons presence could obtain, small as they were, increased his difficulties. In 1 252 there came a change. The king, who, as we

have seen, had already given up the part of national The Pope leader which sat so badly on him, was now in close grants the king a

communication with the Pope, and had procured a tenth for three years.

bull granting him a tithe of the spiritual revenues of the Church for the space of three years, on the pretext of an aid for his expenses in the contemplated crusade.' An assembly of the prelates accordingly met in London in October 1252. The clergy appear to

· According to Matt. Par. 834, he had got the bull as early as April 1252, and had ordered the crusade to be proclaimed in London with great solemnity, vowing to start on it before 24 June ; but his intention was mistrusted from the first. The original bull appears not to be extant ; that given in Fæd. i. 280, under the year 1252, belongs to 1253, and alludes to an opposition to the grant of the tenth.

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