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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times by Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

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equity; to air his courage was his delight; he scorned inaction; he
opened his eyes to see the way of discretion; he broke his rest and was
unwearied in his solicitude." Suger has recounted in detail sixteen of
the numerous expeditions which Louis undertook into the interior, to
accomplish his work of repression or of exemplary chastisement.
Bouchard, Lord of Montmorency, Matthew de Beaumont, Dreux de Mouchy-le-
Chatel, Ebble de Roussi, Leon de Mean, Thomas de Marle, Hugh de Crecy,
William de la Roche-Guyon, Hugh du Puiset, and Amaury de Montfort
learned, to their cost, that the king was not to be braved with impunity.
"Bouchard, on taking up arms one day against him, refused to accept his
sword from the hands of one of his people who offered it to him, and said
by way of boast to the countess his wife, 'Noble countess, give thou
joyously this glittering sword to the count thy spouse: he who taketh it
from thee as count will bring it back to thee as king.' "In this very
campaign, Bouchard," by his death," says Suger, "restored peace to the
kingdom, and took away himself and his war to the bottomless pit of
hell." Hugh du Puiset had frequently broken his oaths of peace and
recommenced his devastations and revolts; and Louis resumed his course of
hunting him down, "destroyed the castle of Puiset, threw down the walls,
dug up the wells, and razed it completely to the ground, as a place
devoted to the curse of Heaven." Thomas de Marle, Lord of Couci, had
been_ committing cruel ravages upon the town and church of Laon, lands
and inhabitants; when "Louis, summoned by their complaints, repaired to
Laon, and there, on the advice of the bishops and grandees, and
especially of Raoul, the illustrious Count of Vermandois, the most
powerful, after the king, of the lords in this part of the country, he
determined to go and attack the castle of Couci, and so went back to his
own camp. The people whom he had sent to explore the spot reported that
the approach to the castle was very difficult, and in truth impossible.
Many urged the king to change his purpose in the matter; but he cried,
'Nay, what we resolved on at Laon stands: I would not hold back
therefrom, though it were to save my life. The king's majesty would be
vilified, if I were to fly before this scoundrel.' Forthwith, in spite
of his corpulence, and with admirable ardor, he pushed on with his troops
through ravines and roads encumbered with forests. . . . Thomas, made
prisoner and mortally wounded, was brought to King Louis, and by his
order removed to Laon, to the almost universal satisfaction of his own
folk and ours. Next day, his lands were sold for the benefit of the
public treasury, his ponds were broken up, and King Louis, sparing the
country because he had the lord of it at his disposal, took the road back
to Laon, and afterwards returned in triumph to Paris."

Sometimes, when the people, and their habitual protectors, the bishops,
invoked his aid, Louis would carry his arms beyond his own dominions, by
sole right of justice and kingship. It is known," says Suger, "that
kings have long hands." In 1121, the Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand made a
complaint to the king against William VI., Count of Auvergne, who had
taken possession of the town, and even of the episcopal church, and was
exercising therein "unbridled tyranny." The king, who never lost a
moment when there was a question of helping the Church, took up with
pleasure and solemnity what was, under these circumstances, the cause of
God; and having been unable, either by word of mouth or by letters sealed
with the seal of the king's majesty, to bring back the tyrant to his
duty, he assembled his troops, and led into revolted Auvergne a numerous
army of Frenchmen. He had now become exceeding fat, and could scarce
support the heavy mass of his body. Any one else, however humble, would
have had neither the will nor the power to ride a-horseback; but he,
against the advice of all his friends, listened only to the voice of
courage, braved the fiery suns of June and August, which were the dread
of the youngest knights, and made a scoff of those who could not bear the
heat, although many a time, during the passage of narrow and difficult
swampy places, he was constrained to get himself held on by those about
him." After an obstinate struggle, and at the intervention of William
VII., Duke of Aquitaine, the Count of Auvergne's suzerain, "Louis fixed a
special day for regulating and deciding, in parliament, at Orleans, and
in the duke's presence, between the bishop and the count, the points to
which the Auvergnats had hitherto refused to subscribe. Then
triumphantly leading back his army, he returned victoriously to France."
He had asserted his power, and increased his ascendency, without any
pretension to territorial aggrandizement.

[Illustration: Louis the Fat on an Expedition----69]

Into his relations with his two powerful neighbors, the King of England,
Duke of Normandy, and the Emperor of Germany, Louis the Fat introduced
the same watchfulness, the same firmness, and, at need, the same warlike
energy, whilst observing the same moderation, and the same policy of
holding aloof from all turbulent or indiscreet ambition, adjusting his
pretensions to his power, and being more concerned to govern his kingdom
efficiently than to add to it by conquest. Twice, in 1109 and in 1118,
he had war in Normandy with Henry I., King of England, and he therein was
guilty of certain temerities resulting in a reverse, which he hastened to
repair during a vigorous prosecution of the campaign; but, when once his
honor was satisfied, he showed a ready inclination for the peace which
the Pope, Calixtus II., in council at Rome, succeeded in establishing
between the two rivals. The war with the Emperor of Germany, Henry V.,
in 1124, appeared, at the first blush, a more serious matter. The
emperor had raised a numerous army of Lorrainers, Allemannians,
Bavarians, Suabians, and Saxons, and was threatening the very city of
Rheims with instant attack. Louis hastened to put himself in position;
he went and took solemnly, at the altar of St. Denis, the banner of that
patron of the kingdom, and flew with a mere handful of men to confront
the enemy, and parry the first blow, calling on the whole of France to
follow him. France summoned the flower of her chivalry; and when the
army had assembled from every quarter of the kingdom at Rheims, there was
seen, says Suger, "so great a host of knights and men a-foot, that they
might have been compared to swarms of grasshoppers covering the face of
the earth, not only on the banks of the rivers, but on the mountains and
over the plains." This multitude was formed in three divisions. The
third division was composed of Orleanese, Parisians, the people of
Etampes, and those of St. Denis; and at their head was the king in
person: "With them," said he, "I shall fight bravely and with good
assurance; besides being protected by the saint, my liege lord, I have
here of my country-men those who nurtured me with peculiar affection, and
who, of a surety, will back me living, or carry me off dead, and save my
body." At news of this mighty host, and the ardor with which they were
animated, the Emperor Henry V. advanced no farther, and, before long,
"marching, under some pretext, towards other places, he preferred the
shame of retreating like a coward to the risk of exposing his empire and
himself to certain destruction. After this victory, which was more than
as great as a triumph on the field of battle, the French returned, every
one, to their homes."

The three elements which contributed to the formation and character of
the kingship in France,--the German element, the Roman element, and the
Christian element,--appear in con-junction in the reign of Louis the Fat.
We have still the warrior-chief of a feudal society founded by conquest
in him who, in spite of his moderation and discretion, cried many a time,
says Suger, "What a pitiable state is this of ours, to never have
knowledge and strength both together! In my youth had knowledge, and in
my old age had strength been mine, I might have conquered many kingdoms;
"and probably from this exclamation of a king in the twelfth century came
the familiar proverb, "If youth but knew, and age could do! "We see the
maxims of the Roman empire and reminiscences of Charlemagne in Louis's
habit of considering justice to emanate from the king as fountain head,
and of believing in his right to import it everywhere. And what
conclusion of a reign could be more Christian-like than his when,
"exhausted by the long enfeeblement of his wasted body, but disdaining to
die ignobly or unpreparedly, he called about him pious men, bishops,
abbots, and many priests of holy Church; and then, scorning all false
shame, he demanded to make his confession devoutly before them all, and
to fortify himself against death by the comfortable sacrament of the body
and blood of Christ! Whilst everything is being arranged, the king on a
sudden rises, of himself, dresses himself, issues, fully clad, from his
chamber, to the wonderment of all, advances to meet the body of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and prostrates himself in reverence. Thereupon, in the
presence of all, cleric and laic, he lays aside his kingship, deposes
himself from the government of the state, confesses the sin of having
ordered it ill, hands to his son Louis the king's ring, and binds him to
promise, on oath, to protect the Church of God, the poor, and the orphan,
to respect the rights of everybody, and to keep none prisoner in his
court, save such a one as should have actually transgressed in the court
itself."

This king, so well prepared for death, in his last days found great cause
for rejoicing as a father. William VII., Duke of Aquitaine, had, at his
death, intrusted to him the guardianship of his daughter Eleanor, heiress
of all his dominions, that is to say, of Poitou, of Saintonge, of
Gascony, and of the Basque country, the most beautiful provinces of the
south-west of France, from the lower Loire to the Pyrenees. A marriage
between Eleanor and Louis the Young, already sharing his father's throne,
was soon concluded; and a brilliant embassy, composed of more than five
hundred lords and noble knights, to whom the king had added his intimate
adviser, Suger, set out for Aquitaine, where the ceremony was to take
place. At the moment of departure the king had them all assembled about
him, and, addressing himself to his son, said, "May the strong hand of
God Almighty, by whom kings reign, protect thee, my dear son, both thee
and thine! If, by any mischance, I were to lose thee, thee and those I
send with thee, neither my life, nor my kingdom would thenceforth be
aught to me." The marriage took place at Bordeaux, at the end of July,
1137, and, on the 8th of August following, Louis the Young, on his way
back to Paris, was crowned at Poitiers as Duke of Aquitaine. He there
learned that the king, his father, had lately died, on the 1st of August.
Louis the Fat was far from foreseeing the deplorable issues of the
marriage, which he regarded as one of the blessings of his reign.

In spite of its long duration of forty-three years, the reign of Louis
VII., called the Young, was a period barren of events and of persons
worthy of keeping a place in history. We have already had the story of
this king's unfortunate crusade from 1147 to 1149, the commencement at
Antioch of his imbroglio with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the
fatal divorce which, in 1152, at the same time that it freed the king
from a faithless queen, entailed for France the loss of the beautiful
provinces she had brought him in dowry, and caused them to pass into the
possession of Henry II., King of England. Here was the only event, under
Louis the Young's reign, of any real importance, in view of its long and
bloody consequences for his country. A Petty war or a sullen strife
between the Kings of France and England, petty quarrels of Louis with
some of the great lords of his kingdom, certain rigorous measures against
certain districts in travail of local liberties, the first bubblings of
that religious fermentation which resulted before long, in the south of
France, in the crusade against the Albigensians--such were the facts
which went to make up with somewhat of insipidity the annals of this
reign. So long as Suger lived, the kingship preserved at home the wisdom
which it had been accustomed to display, and abroad the respect it had
acquired under Louis the Fat; but at the death of Suger it went on
languishing and declining, without encountering any great obstacles. It
was reserved for Louis the Young's son, Philip Augustus, to open for
France, and for the kingship in France, a new era of strength and
progress.

Philip II., to whom history has preserved the name of Philip Augustus,
given him by his contemporaries, had shared the crown, been anointed, and
taken to wife Isabel of Hainault, a year before the death of Louis VII.
put him in possession of the kingdom. He was as yet only fifteen, and
his father, by his will, had left him under the guidance of Philip of
Alsace, Count of Flanders, as regent, and of Robert Clement, marshal of
France, as governor. But Philip, though he began his reign under this
double influence, soon let it be seen that he intended to reign by
himself, and to reign with vigor. "Whatever my vassals do," said he,
during his minority, "I must bear with their violence and outrageous
insults and villanous misdeeds; but, please God, they will get weak and
old whilst I shall grow in strength and power, and shall be, in my turn,
avenged according to my desire." He was hardly twenty, when, one day,
one of his barons seeing him gnawing, with an air of abstraction and
dreaminess, a little green twig, said to his neighbors, "If any one could
tell me what the king is thinking of, I would give him my best horse."
Another of those present boldly asked the King. "I am thinking,"
answered Philip, "of a certain matter, and that is, whether God will
grant unto me or unto one of my heirs grace to exalt France to the height
at which she was in the time of Charlemagne."

It was not granted to Philip Augustus to resuscitate the Frankish empire
of Charlemagne, a work impossible for him or any one whatsoever in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries; but he made the extension and
territorial construction of the kingdom of France the chief aim of his
life, and in that work he was successful. Out of the forty-three years
of his reign, twenty-six at the least were war-years, devoted to that
very purpose. During the first six, it was with some of his great French
vassals, the Count of Champagne, the Duke of Burgundy, and even the Count
of Flanders, sometime regent, that Philip had to do battle, for they all
sought to profit by his minority so as to make themselves independent and
aggrandize themselves at the expense of the crown; but, once in
possession of the personal power as well as the title of king, it was,
from 1187 to 1216, against three successive kings of England, Henry II.,
Richard Coeur de Lion, and John Lackland, masters of the most beautiful
provinces of France, that Philip directed his persistent efforts. They
were in respect of power, of political capacity and military popularity,
his most formidable foes. Henry II., what with his ripeness of age, his
ability, energy, and perseverance, without any mean jealousy or puerile
obstinacy, had over Philip every advantage of position and experience,
and he availed himself thereof with discretion, habitually maintaining
his feudal status of great French vassal as well as that of foreign
sovereign, seeking peace rather than strife with his youthful suzerain,
and some-times even going to his aid. He thus played off the greater
part of the undeclared attempts or armed expeditions by which, from 1186
to 1189, Philip tried to cut him short in his French possessions, and,
so long as Henry IL lived, there were but few changes in the territorial
proportions of the two states. But, at Henry's death, Philip found
himself in a very different position towards Henry's two sons, Richard
Coeur de Lion and John Lackland. They were of his own generation; he had
been on terms with them, even in opposition to their own father, of
complicity and familiarity: they had no authority over him, and he had no
respect for them. Richard was the feudal prince, beyond comparison the
boldest, the most unreflecting, the most passionate, the most ruffianly,
the most heroic adventurer of the middle ages, hungering after movement
and action, possessed of a craving spirit for displaying his strength,
and doing his pleasure at all times and in all places, not only in
contempt of the rights and well-being of his subjects, but at the risk of
his own safety, his own power, and even of his crown. Philip was of a
sedate temperament, patient, persevering, moved but little by the spirit
of adventure, more ambitious than fiery, capable of far-reaching designs,
and discreet at the same time that he was indifferent as to the
employment of means. He had fine sport with Richard. We have already
had the story of the relations between them, and their rupture during
their joint crusade in the East. On returning to the West, Philip did
not wrest from King Richard those great and definitive conquests which
were to restore to France the greater part of the marriage-portion that
went with Eleanor of Aquitaine; but he paved the way for them by petty
victories and petty acquisitions, and by making more and more certain his
superiority over his rival. When, after Richard's death, he had to do
with John Lackland, cowardly and insolent, knavish and addle-pated,
choleric, debauched, and indolent, an intriguing subordinate on the
throne on which he made pretence to be the most despotic of kings, Philip
had over him, even more than over his brother Richard, immense
advantages. He made such use of them that after six years' struggling,
from 1199 to 1205, he deprived John of the greater part of his French
possessions, Anjou, Normandy, Touraine, Maine, and Poitou. Philip would
have been quite willing to dispense with any legal procedure by way of
sanction to his conquests, but John furnished him with an excellent
pretext; for on the 3d of April, 1203, he assassinated with his own hand,
in the tower of Rouen, his young nephew Arthur, Duke of Brittany, and in
that capacity vassal of Philip Augustus, to whom he was coming to do
homage. Philip had John, also his vassal, cited before the court of the
barons of France, his peers, to plead his defence of this odious act.
"King John," says the contemporary English historian Matthew Paris, "sent
Eustace, Bishop of Ely, to tell King Philip that he would willingly go to
his court to answer before his judges, and to show entire obedience in
the matter, but that he must have a safe-conduct. King Philip replied,
but with neither heart nor visage unmoved, 'Willingly; let him come in
peace and safety.' 'And return so too, my lord?' said the bishop.
'Yes,' rejoined the king, 'if the decision of his peers allow him.'
And when the envoys from England entreated him to grant to the King of
England to go and return in safety, the King of France was wroth, and
answered with his usual oath, 'No, by all the saints of France, unless
the decision tally therewith.' 'My lord king,' rejoined the bishop, 'the
Duke of Normandy cannot come unless there come also the King of England,
since the duke and the king are one and the same person. The baronage of
England would never allow it in any way, and if the king were willing,
he would run, as you know, risk of imprisonment or death.' King Philip
answered him, 'How now, my lord bishop? It is well known that my
liegeman, the Duke of Normandy, by violence got possession of England.
And so, prithee, if a vassal increase in honor and power, shall his lord
suzerain lose his rights? Never!'

"King John was not willing to trust to chance and the decision of the
French, who liked him not; and he feared above everything to be
reproached with the shameful murder of Arthur. The grandees of France,
nevertheless, proceeded to a decision, which they could not do lawfully,
since he whom they had to try was absent, and would have gone had he been
able."

The condemnation, not a whit the less, took full effect; and Philip
Augustus thus recovered possession of nearly all the territories which
his father, Louis VII., had kept but for a moment. He added, in
succession, other provinces to his dominions; in such wise that the
kingdom of France, which was limited, as we have seen, under Louis the
Fat, to the Ile-de-France and certain portions of Picardy and Orleanness,
comprised besides, at the end of the reign of Philip Augustus,
Vermandois, Artois, the two Vexins, French and Norman, Berri, Normandy,
Maine, Anjou, Poitou, Touraine, and Auvergne.

In 1206 the territorial work of Philip Augustus was well nigh completed;
but his wars were not over. John Lackland, when worsted, kicked against
the pricks, and was incessantly hankering, in his antagonism to the King
of France, after hostile alliances and local conspiracies easy to hatch
amongst certain feudal lords discontented with their suzerain. John was
on intimate terms with his nephew, Otho IV., Emperor of Germany and the
foe of Philip Augustus, who had supported against him Frederick II., his
rival for the empire. They prepared in concert for a grand attack upon
the King of France, and they had won over to their coalition some of his
most important vassals, amongst others, Renaud de Dampierre, Count of
Boulogne. Philip determined to divert their attack, whilst anticipating
it, by an unexpected enterprise--the invasion of England itself.
Circumstances seemed favorable. King John, by his oppression and his
perfidy, had drawn upon him the hatred and contempt of his people; and
the barons of England, supported and guided by the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Stephen Langton, had commenced against him the struggle which
was to be ended some years afterwards by the forced concession of Magna
Charta, that foundation-stone of English liberties. John, having been
embroiled for five years past with the court of Rome, affected to defy
the excommunication which the pope had hurled at him, and of which the
King of France had been asked by several prelates of the English Church
to insure the efficient working. On the 8th of April, 1213, Philip
convoked, at Soissons, his principal vassals or allies, explained to them
the grounds of his design against the King of England, and, by a sort of
special confederation, they bound themselves, all of them, to support
him. One of the most considerable vassals, however, the sometime regent
of France during the minority of Philip, Ferrand, Count of Flanders, did
not attend the meeting to which he had been summoned, and declared his
intention of taking no part in the war against England. "By all the
saints of France," cried Philip, "either France shall become Flanders, or
Flanders France!" And, all the while pressing forward the equipment of a
large fleet collected at Calais for the invasion of England, he entered
Flanders, besieged and took several of the richest cities in the country,
Cassel, Ypres, Bruges, and Courtrai, and pitched his camp before the
walls of Ghent, "to lower," as he said, "the pride of the men of Ghent
and make them bend their necks beneath the yoke of kings." But he heard
that John Lackland, after making his peace with the court of Rome through
acceptance of all the conditions and all the humiliations it had thought
proper to impose upon him, had just landed at Rochelle, and was exciting
a serious insurrection amongst the lords of Saintonge and Poitou. At the
same time Philip's fleet, having been attacked in Calais roads by that of
John, had been half destroyed or captured; and the other half had been
forced to take shelter in the harbor of Damme, where it was strictly
blockaded. Philip, forthwith adopting a twofold and energetic
resolution, ordered his son Philip to go and put down the insurrection of
the Poitevines on the banks of the Loire, and himself took in hand the
war in Flanders, which was of the most consequence, considering the
quality of the foe and the designs they proclaimed. They had at their
head the Emperor Otho IV., who had already won the reputation of a brave
and able soldier; and they numbered in their ranks several of the
greatest lords, German, Flemish, and Dutch, and Hugh de Boves, the most
dreaded of those adventurers in the pay of wealthy princes who were known
at that time by the name of roadsters (routiers, mercenaries). They
proposed, it was said, to dismember France; and a promise to that effect
had been made by the Emperor Otho to his principal chieftains assembled
in secret conference. "It is against Philip himself, and him alone," he
had said to them, "that we must direct all our efforts; it is he who must
be slain first of all, for it is he alone who opposes us and makes
himself our foe in everything. When he is dead, you will be able to
subdue and divide the kingdom according to our pleasure; as for thee,
Renaud, thou shalt take Peronne and all Vermandois; Hugh shall be master
of Beauvais, Salisbury of Dreux, Conrad of Mantes, together with Vexin,
and as for thee, Ferranti, thou shalt have Paris."

The two armies marched over the Low Countries and Flanders, seeking out
both of them the most favorable position for commencing the attack. On
Sunday, the 27th of August, 1214, Philip had halted near the bridge of
Bouvines, not far from Lille, and was resting under an ash beside a small
chapel dedicated to St. Peter. There came running to him a messenger,
sent by Guerin, Bishop of Senlis, his confidant in war as well as
government, and brought him word that his rear-guard, attacked by the
Emperor Otho, was not sufficient to resist him. Philip went into the
chapel, said a short prayer, and cried as he came out, "Haste we forward
to the rescue of our comrades!" Then he put on his armor, mounted his
horse, and made swiftly for the point of attack, amidst the shouts of all
those who were about him, "To arms! to arms!"

[Illustration: BATTLE OF BOUVINES----81]

Both armies numbered in their ranks not only all the feudal chivalry on
the two sides, but burgher-forces, those from the majority of the great
cities of Flanders being for Otho, and those from sixteen towns or
communes of France for Philip Augustus. It was not, as we have seen, the
first time that the forces from the French rural districts had taken part
in the king's wars; Louis the Fat had often received their aid against
the tyrannical and turbulent lords of his small kingdom; but since the
reign of Louis the Fat the organization and importance of the communes
had made great progress in France; and it was not only rural communes,
but considerable cities, such as Amiens, Arras, Beauvais, Compiegne, and
Soissons, which sent to the army of Philip Augustus bodies of men in
large numbers and ready trained to arms. Contemporary historians put the
army of Otho at one hundred thousand, and that of Philip Augustus at from
fifty to sixty thousand men; but amongst modern historians one of the
most eminent, M. Sismondi, reduces them both to some fifteen or twenty
thousand. One would say that the reduction is as excessive as the
original estimate. However that may be, the communal forces evidently
filled an important place in the king's army at Bouvines, and maintained
it brilliantly. So soon as Philip had placed himself at the head of the
first line of his troops, "the men of Soissons," says William the Breton,
who was present at the battle, "being impatient and inflamed by the words
of Bishop Guerin, let out their horses at the full speed of their legs,
and attacked the enemy. But the Flemish knights prick not forward to the
encounter, indignant that the first charge against them was not made by
knights, as would have been seemly, and remain motionless at their post.
The men of Soissons, meanwhile, see no need of dealing softly with them
and humoring them, so thrust them roughly, upset them from their horses,
slay a many of them, and force them to leave their place or defend
themselves, willy nilly. At last, the Chevalier Eustace, scorning the
burghers and proud of his illustrious ancestors, moves out into the
middle of the plain, and with haughty voice, roars, "Death to the
French!" The battle soon became general and obstinate; it was a
multitude of hand-to-hand fights in the midst of a confused melley.
In this melley, the knights of the Emperor Otho did not forget the
instructions he had given them before the engagement: they sought out the
King of France himself, to aim their blows at him; and ere long they knew
him by the presence of the royal standard, and made their way almost up
to him. The communes, and chiefly those of Corbeil, Amiens, Beauvais,
Compiegne, and Arras, thereupon pierced through the battalions of the
knights and placed themselves in front of the king, when some German
infantry crept up round Philip, and with hooks and light lances threw him
down from his horse; but a small body of knights who had remained by him
overthrew, dispersed, and slew these infantry, and the king, recovering
himself more quickly than had been expected, leaped upon another horse,
and dashed again into the melley. Then danger threatened the Emperor
Otho in his turn. The French drove back those about him, and came right
up to him; a sword thrust, delivered with vigor, entered the brain of
Otho's horse; the horse, mortally wounded, reared up and turned his head
in the direction whence he had come; and the emperor, thus carried away,
showed his back to the French, and was off in full flight. "Ye will see
his face no more to-day," said Philip to his followers: and he said
truly. In vain did William des Barres, the first knight of his day in
strength, and valor, and renown, dash off in pursuit of the emperor;
twice he was on the point of seizing him, but Otho escaped, thanks to the
swiftness of his horse and the great number of his German knights, who,
whilst their emperor was flying, were fighting to a miracle. But their
bravery saved only their master; the battle of Bouvines was lost for the
Anglo-Germano-Flemish coalition. It was still prolonged for several
hours; but in the evening it was over, and the prisoners of note were
conducted to Philip Augustus. There were five counts, Ferrand of
Flanders, Renaud of Boulogne, William of Salisbury, a natural brother of
King John, Otho of Tecklemburg, and Conrad of Dartmund; and twenty-five
barons "bearing their own standard to battle." Philip Augustus spared
all their lives; sent away the Earl of Salisbury to his brother, confined
the Count of Boulogne at Peronne, where he was subjected "to very
rigorous imprisonment, with chains so short that he could scarce move one
step," and as for the Count of Flanders, his sometime regent, Philip
dragged him in chains in his train,

[Illustration: The Battle of Bouvines----81]

It is difficult to determine, from the evidence of contemporaries, which
was the more rejoiced at and proud of this victory, king or people. "The
same day, when evening approached," says William the Breton, "the army
returned laden with spoils to the camp; and the king, with a heart full
of joy and gratitude, offered a thousand thanksgivings to the Supreme
King, who had vouchsaved to him a triumph over so many enemies. And in
order that posterity might preserve forever a memorial of so great a
success, the Bishop of Senlis founded, outside the walls of that town, a
chapel, which he named Victory, and which, endowed with great possessions
and having a government according to canonical rule, enjoyed the honor of
possessing an abbot and a holy convent. . . . Who can recount,
imagine, or set down with a pen, on parchment or tablets, the cheers of
joy, the hymns of triumph, and the numberless dances of the people; the
sweet chants of the clergy; the harmonious sounds of warlike instruments;
the solemn decorations of the churches, inside and out; the streets, the
houses, the roads of all the castles and towns, hung with curtains and
tapestry of silk and covered with flowers, shrubs and green branches; all
the inhabitants of every sort, sex, and age running from every quarter to
see so grand a triumph; peasants and harvesters breaking off their work,
hanging round their necks their sickles and hoes (for it was the season
of harvest), and throwing themselves in a throng upon the roads to see in
irons that Count of Flanders, that Fernand whose arms they had formerly
dreaded!"

It was no groundless joy on the part of the people, and a spontaneous
instinct gave them a forecast of the importance of that triumph which
elicited their cheers. The battle of Bouvines was not the victory of
Philip Augustus, alone, over a coalition of foreign princes; the victory
was the work of king and people, barons, knights, burghers, and peasants
of Ile-de-France, of Orleanness, of Picardy, of Normandy, of Champagne,
and of Burgundy. And this union of different classes and different
populations in a sentiment, a contest, and a triumph shared in common was
a decisive step in the organization and unity of France. The victory of
Bouvines marked the commencement of the time at which men might speak,
and indeed did speak, by one single name, of the French. The nation in
France and the kingship in France on that day rose out of and above the
feudal system.

Philip Augustus was about the same time apprised of his son Louis's
success on the banks of the Loire. The incapacity and swaggering
insolence of King John had made all his Poitevine allies disgusted with
him; he had been obliged to abandon his attack upon the King of France in
the provinces, and the insurrection, growing daily more serious, of the
English barons and clergy for the purpose of obtaining Magna Charta was
preparing for him other reverses. He had ceased to be a dangerous rival
to Philip.

No period has had better reason than our own to know how successes and
conquests can intoxicate warlike kings; but Philip, whose valor, on
occasion, was second to none, had no actual inclination towards war or
towards conquest for the sole pleasure of extending his dominion.
"Liking better, according to his custom," says William the Breton, "to
conquer by peace than by war," he hasted to put an end by treaties,
truces, or contracts to his quarrels with King John, the Count of
Flanders, and the principal lords made prisoners at Bouvines; discretion,
in his case, was proof against the temptations of circumstances, or the
promptings of passion, and he took care not to overtly compromise his
power, his responsibility, and the honor of his name by enterprises which
did not naturally come in his way, or which he considered without chances
of success. Whilst still a youth, he had given, in 1191, a sure proof of
that self-command which is so rare amongst ambitious princes by
withdrawing from the crusade in which he had been engaged with Richard
Coeur de Lion; and it was still more apparent in two great events at the
latter end of his reign--the crusade against the Albigensians and his son
Louis's expedition in England, the crown of which had, in 1215, been
offered to him by the barons at war with King John in defence of Magna
Charta.

The organization of the kingdom, the nation, and the kingship in France
was not the only great event and the only great achievement of that
epoch. At the same time that this political movement was going on in the
State, a religious and intellectual ferment was making head in the Church
and in men's minds. After the conquest of the Gauls by the Franks, the
Christian clergy, sole depositaries of all lights to lighten their age,
and sole possessors of any idea of opposing the conquerors with arguments
other than those of brute force, or of employing towards the vanquished
any instrument of subjection other than violence, became the connecting
link between the nation of the conquerors and the nation of the
conquered, and, in the name of one and the same divine law, enjoined
obedience on the subjects, and, in the case of the masters, moderated the
transports of power. But in the course of this active and salutary
participation in the affairs of the world, the Christian clergy lost
somewhat of their primitive and proper character; religion in their hands
was a means of power as well as of civilization; and its principal
members became rich, and frequently substituted material weapons for the
spiritual authority which had originally been their only reliance. When
they were in a condition to hold their own against powerful laymen, they
frequently adopted the powerful laymen's morals and shared their
ignorance; and in the seventh and eighth centuries the barbarism which
held the world in its clutches had made inroads upon the Church.
Charlemagne essayed to resuscitate dying civilization, and sought amongst
the clergy his chief means of success; he founded schools, filled them
with students to whom promises of ecclesiastical preferments were held
out as rewards of their merit, and, in fine, exerted himself with all his
might to restore to the Christian Church her dignity and her influence.
When Charlemagne was dead, nearly all his great achievements disappeared
in the chaos which came after him; his schools alone survived and
preserved certain centres of intellectual activity. When the feudal
system had become established, and had introduced some rule into social
relations, when the fate of mankind appeared no longer entirely left to
the risks of force, intellect once more found some sort of employment,
and once more assumed some sort of sway. Active and educated minds once
more began to watch with some sort of independence the social facts
before their eyes, to stigmatize vices and to seek for remedies. The
spectacle afforded by their age could not fail to strike them. Society,
after having made some few strides away from physical chaos, seemed in
danger of falling into moral chaos; morals had sunk far below the laws,
and religion was in deplorable contrast to morals. It was not laymen
only who abandoned themselves with impunity to every excess of violence
and licentiousness; scandals were frequent amongst the clergy themselves;
bishoprics and other ecclesiastical benefices, publicly sold or left by
will, passed down through families from father to son, and from husband
to wife, and the possessions of the Church served for dowry to the
daughters of bishops. Absolution was at a low quotation in the market,
and redemption for sins of the greatest enormity cost scarcely the price
of founding a church or a monastery. Horror-stricken at the sight of
such corruption in the only things they at that time recognized as holy,
men no longer knew where to find the rule of life or the safeguard of
conscience. But it is the peculiar and glorious characteristic of
Christianity that it is unable to bear for long, without making an effort
to check them, the vices it has been unable to prevent, and that it
always carries in its womb the vigorous germ of human regeneration. In
the midst of their irregularities, the eleventh and twelfth centuries saw
the outbreak of a grand religious, moral, and intellectual fermentation,
and it was the Church herself that had the honor and the power of taking
the initiative in the reformation. Under the influence of Gregory VII.
the rigor of the popes began to declare itself against the scandals of
the episcopate, the traffic in ecclesiastical benefices, and the bad
morals of the secular clergy. At the same time, austere men exerted
themselves to rekindle the fervor of monastic life, re-established rigid
rules in the cloister, and refilled the monasteries by their preaching
and example. St. Robert of Moleme founded the order of Citeaux; St.
Norbert that of Premontre; St. Bernard detached Clairvaux from Meaux,
which he considered too worldly; St. Bruno built Chartreuse; St. Hugo,
St. Gerard, and others besides gave the Abbey of Cluni its renown; and
ecclesiastical reform extended everywhere. Hereupon rich and powerful
laymen, filled with ardor for their faith or fear for their eternal
welfare, went seeking after solitude, and devoted themselves to prayer in
the monasteries they had founded or enriched with their wealth; whole
families were dispersed amongst various religious houses; and all the
severities of penance hardly sufficed to quiet imaginations scared at the
perils of living in the world or at the vices of their age. And, at the
same time, in addition to this outburst of piety, ignorance was decried
and stigmatized as the source of the prevailing evils; the function of
teaching was included amongst the duties of the religious estate; and
every newly-founded or reformed monastery became a school in which pupils
of all conditions were gratuitously instructed in the sciences known by
the name of liberal arts. Bold spirits began to use the rights of
individual thought in opposition to the authority of established
doctrines; and others, without dreaming of opposing, strove at any rate
to understand, which is the way to produce discussion. Activity and
freedom of thought were receiving development at the same time that
fervent faith and fervent piety were.

This great moral movement of humanity in the eleventh and twelfth
centuries arose from events very different in different parts of the
beautiful country which was not yet, but was from that time forward
tending to become, France. Amongst these events, which cannot be here
recounted in detail, we will fix upon two, which were the most striking,
and the most productive of important consequences in the whole history of
the epoch, the quarrel of Abelard with St. Bernard and the crusade
against the Albigensians. We shall there see how Northern France and
Southern France differed one from the other before the bloody crisis
which was to unite them in one single name and one common destiny.

In France properly so called at that time, north of the Rhone and the
Loire, the church had herself accomplished the chief part of the reforms
which had become necessary. It was there that the most active and most
eloquent of the reforming monks had appeared, had preached, and had
founded or regenerated a great number of monasteries. It was there that,
at first amongst the clergy, and then, through their example, amongst the
laity, Christian discipline and morals had resumed some sway. There,
too, the Christian faith and church were, amongst the mass of the
population, but little or not at all assailed; heretics, when any
appeared, obtained support neither from princes nor people; they were
proceeded against, condemned, and burned, without their exciting public
sympathy by their presence, or public commiseration by their punishment.
It was in the very midst of the clergy themselves, amongst literates and
teachers, that, in Northern France, the intellectual and innovating
movement of the period was manifested and concentrated. The movement was
vigorous and earnest, and it was a really studious host which thronged to
the lessons of Abelard at Paris, on Mount St. Genevieve, at Melun, at
Corbeil, and at the Paraclete; but this host contained but few of the
people; the greater part of those who formed it were either already in
the church, or soon, in various capacities, about to be. And the
discussions raised at the meetings corresponded with the persons
attending them; there was the disputation of the schools; there was no
founding of sects; the lessons of Abelard and the questions he handled
were scientifico-religious; it was to expound and propagate what they
regarded as the philosophy of Christianity, that masters and pupils made
bold use of the freedom of thought; they made but slight war upon the
existing practical abuses of the church; they differed from her in the
interpretation and comments contained in some of her dogmas; and they
considered themselves in a position to explain and confirm faith by
reason. The chiefs of the church, with St. Bernard at their head, were
not slow to descry, in these interpretations and comments based upon
science, danger to the simple and pure faith of the Christian; they saw
the apparition of dawning rationalism confronting orthodoxy. They were,
as all their contemporaries were, wholly strangers to the bare notion of
freedom of thought and conscience, and they began a zealous struggle
against the new teachers; but they did not push it to the last cruel
extremities. They had many a handle against Abelard: his private life,
the scandal of his connection with Heloise, the restless and haughty
fickleness of his character, laid him open to severe strictures; but his
stern adversaries did not take so much advantage of them as they might
have taken. They had his doctrines condemned at the councils of Soissons
and Sens; they prohibited him from public lecturing; and they imposed
upon him the seclusion of the cloister; but they did not even harbor the
notion of having him burned as a heretic, and science and glory were
respected in his person, even when his ideas were proscribed. Peter the
Venerable, Abbot of Cluni, one of the most highly considered and honored
prelates of the church, received him amongst his own monks, and treated
him with paternal kindness, taking care of his health, as well as of his
eternal welfare; and he who was the adversary of St. Bernard and the
teacher condemned by the councils of Soissons and Sens, died peacefully,
on the 21st of April, 1142, in the abbey of St. Marcellus, near
Chalon-sur-Saone, after having received the sacraments with much piety,
and in presence of all the brethren of the monastery. "Thus," wrote
Peter the Venerable to Heloise, abbess for eleven years past of the
Paraclete, "the man who, by his singular authority in science, was known
to nearly all the world, and was illustrious wherever he was known,
learned, in the school of Him who said, 'Know that I am meek and lowly of
heart,' to remain meek and lowly; and, as it is but right to believe, he
has thus returned to Him."

The struggle of Abelard with the Church of Northern France and the
crusade against the Albigensians in Southern France are divided by much
more than diversity and contrast; there is an abyss between them. In
their religious condition, and in the nature as well as degree of their
civilization, the populations of the two regions were radically
different. In the north-east, between the Rhine, the Scheldt, and the
Loire, Christianity had been obliged to deal with little more than the
barbarism and ignorance of the German conquerors. In the south, on the
two banks of the Rhone and the Garonne, along the Mediterranean, and by
the Pyrenees, it had encountered all manner of institutions, traditions,
religions, and disbeliefs, Greek, Roman, African, Oriental, Pagan, and
Mussulman; the frequent invasions and long stay of the Saracens in those
countries had mingled Arab blood with the Gallic, Roman, Asiatic, and
Visigothic, and this mixture of so many different races, tongues, creeds,
and ideas had resulted in a civilization more developed, more elegant,
more humane, and more liberal, but far less coherent, simple, and strong,
morally as well as politically, than the warlike, feudal civilization of
Germanic France. In the religious order especially, the dissimilarity
was profound. In Northern France, in spite of internal disorder, and
through the influence of its bishops, missionaries, and monastic
reformers, the orthodox Church had obtained a decided superiority and
full dominion; but in Southern France, on the contrary, all the
controversies, all the sects, and all the mystical or philosophical
heresies which had disturbed Christendom from the second century to the
ninth, had crept in and spread abroad. In it there were Arians,
Manicheans, Gnostics, Paulicians, Cathars (the pure), and other sects of
more local or more recent origin and name, Albigensians, Vaudians, Good
People and Poor of Lyons, some piously possessed with the desire of
returning to the pure faith and fraternal organization of the primitive
evangelical Church, others given over to the extravagances of imagination
or asceticism. The princes and the great laic lords of the country, the
Counts of Toulouse, Foix, and Comminges, the Viscount of Beziers, and
many others had not remained unaffected by this condition of the people:
the majority were accused of tolerating and even protecting the heretics;
and some were suspected of allowing their ideas to penetrate within their
own households. The bold sallies of the critical and jeering spirit, and
the abandonment of established creeds and discipline, bring about, before
long, a relaxation of morals; and liberty requires long time and many
trials before it learns to disavow and rise superior to license. In many
of the feudal courts and castles of Languedoc, Provence, and Aquitaine,
imaginations, words, and lives were licentious; and the charming poetry
of the troubadours and the gallant adventures of knights caused it to be
too easily forgotten that morality was but little more regarded than the
faith. Dating from the latter half of the eleventh century, not only the
popes, but the whole orthodox Church of France and its spiritual heads,
were seriously disquieted at the state of mind of Southern France, and
the dangers it threatened to the whole of Christendom. In 1145
St. Bernard, in all the lustre of his name and influence, undertook, in
concert with Cardinal Alberic, legate of the Pope Eugenius III., to go
and preach against the heretics in the countship of Toulouse. "We see
here," he wrote to Alphonse Jourdain, Count of Toulouse, "churches
without flocks, flocks without priests, priests without the respect which
is their due, and Christians without Christ; men die in their sins
without being reconciled by penance or admitted to the holy communion;
souls are sent pell-mell before the awful tribunal of God; the grace of
baptism is refused to little children; those to whom the Lord said,
'Suffer little children to come unto Me,' do not obtain the means of
coming to salvation. Is it because of a belief that these little
children have no need of the Saviour, inasmuch as they are little? Is it
then for nought that our Lord from being great became little? What say
I? Is it then for nought that He was scourged and spat upon, crucified
and dead?" St. Bernard preached with great success in Toulouse itself,
but he was not satisfied with easy successes. He had come to fight the
heretics; and he went to look for them where he was told he would find
them numerous and powerful. "He repaired," says a contemporary
chronicler, "to the castle of Vertfeuil (or Verfeil, in the district of
Toulouse), where flourished at that time the scions of a numerous
nobility and of a multitude of people, thinking that, if he could
extinguish heretical perversity in this place where it was so very much
spread, it would be easy for him to make head against it elsewhere. When
he had begun preaching, in the church, against those who were of most
consideration in the place, they went out, and the people followed them;
but the holy man, going out after them, gave utterance to the word of God
in the public streets. The nobles then hid themselves on all sides in
their houses; and as for him, he continued to preach to the common people
who came about him. Whereupon, the others making uproar and knocking
upon the doors, so that the crowd could not hear his voice, he then,
having shaken off the dust from his feet as a testimony against them,
departed from their midst, and, looking on the town, cursed it, saying,
'Vertfeuil, God wither thee!' Now there were, at that time, in the
castle, a hundred knights abiding, having arms, banners, and horses, and
keeping themselves at their own expense, not at the expense of other."

After the not very effectual mission of St. Bernard, who died in 1153,
and for half a century, the orthodox Church was several times occupied
with the heretics of Southern France, who were before long called
Albigensians, either because they were numerous in the diocese of Albi,
or because the council of Lombers, one of the first at which their
condemnation was expressly pronounced (in 1165), was held in that
diocese. But the measures adopted at that time against them were at
first feebly executed, and had but little effect. The new ideas spread
more and more; and in 1167 the innovators themselves held, at
St. Felix-de-Caraman, a petty council, at which they appointed bishops
for districts where they had numerous partisans. Raymond VI., who, in
1195, succeeded his father, Raymond V., as Count of Toulouse, was
supposed to be favorably disposed towards them; he admitted them to
intimacy with him, and, it was said, allowed himself, in respect of the
orthodox Church, great liberty of thought and speech. Meanwhile the
great days and the chief actors in the struggle commenced by St. Bernard
were approaching. In 1198, Lothaire Conti, a pupil of the University of
Paris, was elected pope, with the title of Innocent III.; and, four or
five years later, Simon, Count of Montfort l'Amaury, came back from the
fifth crusade in the East, with a celebrity already established by his
valor and his zeal against the infidels. Innocent III., no unworthy
rival of Gregory VII., his late predecessor in the Holy See, had the same
grandeur of ideas and the same fixity of purpose, with less headiness in
his character, and more knowledge of the world, and more of the spirit of
policy. He looked upon the whole of Christendom as his kingdom, and upon
himself as the king whose business it was to make prevalent everywhere
the law of God. Simon, as Count of Montfort l'Amaury, was not a powerful
lord; but he was descended, it was said, from a natural son of King
Robert his mother, who was English, had left him heir to the earldom of
Leicester, and he had for his wife Alice de Montmorency. His social
status and his personal renown, superior as they were to his worldly
fortunes, authorized in his case any flight of ambition; and in the East
he had learned to believe that anything was allowed to him in the service
of the Christian faith. Innocent III., on receiving the tiara, set to
work at once upon the government of Christendom. Simon de Montfort, on
returning from Palestine, did not dream of the new crusade to which he
was soon to be summoned, and for which he was so well prepared.

Innocent III. at first employed against the heretics of Southern France
only spiritual and legitimate weapons. Before proscribing, he tried to
convert them; he sent to them a great number of missionaries, nearly all
taken from the order of Citeaux, and of proved zeal already; many amongst
them had successively the title and power of legates; and they went
preaching throughout the whole country, communicating with the princes
and laic lords, whom they requested to drive away the heretics from their
domains, and holding with the heretics themselves conferences which
frequently drew a numerous attendance. A knight "full of sagacity,"
according to a contemporary chronicler, "Pons d'Adhemar, of Rodelle, said
one day to Foulques, Bishop of Toulouse, one of the most zealous of the
pope's delegates, 'We could not have believed that Rome had so many
powerful arguments against these folk here.' 'See you not,' said the
bishop, 'how little force there is in their objections?' 'Certainly,'
answered the knight. 'Why, then, do you not expel them from your lands?'
'We cannot,' answered Pons; 'we have been brought up with them; we have
amongst them folk near and dear to us, and we see them living honestly.'"
Some of the legates, wearied at the little effect of their preaching,
showed an inclination to give up their mission. Peter de Castelnau
himself, the most zealous of all, and destined before long to pay for his
zeal with his life, wrote to the pope to beg for permission to return to
his monastery. Two Spanish priests, Diego Azebes, Bishop of Osma, and
his sub-prior Dominic, falling in with the Roman legates at Montpellier,
heard them express their disgust. "Give up," said they to the legates,
"your retinue, your horses, and your goings in state; proceed in all
humility, afoot and barefoot, without gold or silver, living and teaching
after the example of the Divine Master." "We dare not take on ourselves
such things," answered the pope's agents; "they would seem sort of
innovation; but if some person of sufficient authority consent to precede
us in such guise, we would follow him readily." The Bishop of Osma sent
away his retinue to Spain, and kept with him only his companion Dominic;
and they, taking with them two of the monks of Citeaux, Peter de
Castelnau and Raoul,--the most fervent of the delegates from Rome,--began
that course of austerity and of preaching amongst the people which was
ultimately to make of the sub-prior Dominic a saint and the founder of a
great religious order, to which has often, but wrongly, been attributed
the origin, though it certainly became the principal agent, of the
Inquisition. Whilst joining in humble and pious energy with the two
Spanish priests, the two monks of Citeaux, and Peter de Castelnau
especially, did not cease to urge amongst the laic princes the
extirpation of the heretics. In 1205 they repaired to Toulouse to demand
of Raymond VI. a formal promise, which indeed they obtained; but Raymond
was one of those undecided and feeble characters who dare not refuse to
promise what they dare not attempt to do. He wished to live in peace
with the orthodox Church without behaving cruelly to a large number of
his subjects. The fanatical legate, Peter de Castelnau, enraged at his
tergiversation, instantly excommunicated him; and the pope sent the count
a threatening letter, giving him therein to understand that in case of
need stronger measures would be adopted against him. Raymond,
affrighted, prevailed on the two legates to repair to St. Gilles, and he
there renewed his promises to them; but he always sought for and found on
the morrow some excuse for retarding the execution of them. The legates,
after having reproached him vehemently, determined to leave St. Gilles
without further delay, and the day after their departure (January 15th,
1208), as they were getting ready to cross the Rhone, two strangers, who
had lodged the night before in the same hostelry with them, drew near,
and one of the two gave Peter de Castelnau a lance-thrust with such
force, that the legate, after exclaiming, "God forgive thee, as I do!"
had only time to give his comrade his last instructions, and then
expired.

Great was the emotion in France and at Rome. It was barely thirty years
since in England, after an outburst of passion on the part of King Henry
II., four knights of his court had murdered the Archbishop Thomas-a-
Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. Was the Count of Toulouse, too, guilty
of having instigated the shedding of blood and the murder of a prelate?
Such was, in the thirteenth century, the general cry throughout the
Catholic Church and the signal for war against Raymond VI.; a war
undertaken on the plea of a personal crime, but in reality for the
extirpation of heresy in Southern France, and for the dispossession of
the native princes, who would not fully obey the decrees of the papacy,
in favor of foreign conquerors who would put them into execution. The
crusade against the Albigensians was the most striking application of two
principles equally false and fatal, which did more than as much evil to
the Catholics as to the heretics, and to the papacy as to freedom; and
they are, the right of the spiritual power to claim for the coercion of
souls the material force of the temporal powers, and its right to strip
temporal sovereigns, in case they set at nought its injunctions, of their
title to the obedience of their people; in other words, denial of
religious liberty to conscience and of political independence to states.
It was by virtue of these two principles, at that time dominant, but not
without some opposition, in Christendom, that Innocent III., in 1208,
summoned the King of France, the great lords and the knights, and the
clergy, secular and regular, of the kingdom to assume the cross and go
forth to extirpate from Southern France the Albigensians, "worse than the
Saracens;" and that he promised to the chiefs of the crusaders the
sovereignty of such domains as they should win by conquest from the
princes who were heretics or protectors of heretics.

Throughout all France, and even outside of France, the passions of
religion and ambition were aroused at this summons.

Twelve abbots and twenty monks of Citeaux dispersed themselves in all
directions preaching the crusade; and lords and knights, burghers and
peasants, laymen and clergy, hastened to respond. "From near and far
they came," says the contemporary poet-chronicler, William of Tudela;
"there be men from Auvergne and Burgundy, France and Limousin; there be
men from all the world; there be Germans, Poitevines, Gascons, Rouergats,
and Saintongese. Never did God make scribe who, whatsoever his pains,
could set them all down in writing, in two months or in three." The poet
reckons "twenty thousand horsemen armed at all points, and more than two
hundred thousand villeins and peasants, not to speak of burghers and
clergy." A less exaggerative though more fanatical writer, Peter of
Vaulx-Cernay, the chief contemporary chronicler of this crusade, contents
himself with saying that, at the siege of Carcassonne, one of the first
operations of the crusaders, "it was said that their army numbered fifty
thousand men." Whatever may be the truth about the numbers, the
crusaders were passionately ardent and persevering: the war against the
Albigensians lasted fifteen years (from 1208 to 1223), and of the two
leading spirits, one ordering and the other executing, Pope Innocent III.
and Simon de Montfort, neither saw the end of it. During these fifteen
years, in the region situated between the Rhone, the Pyrenees, the
Garonne, and even the Dordogne, nearly all the towns and strong castles,
Beziers, Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, Lavaur, Gaillac, Moissae, Minerve,
Termes, Toulouse, &c., were taken, lost, retaken, given over to pillage,
sack, and massacre, and burnt by the crusaders with all the cruelty of
fanatics and all the greed of conquerors. We do not care to dwell here
in detail upon this tragical and monotonous history; we will simply
recall some few of its characteristics. Doubt has been thrown upon the
answer attributed to Arnauld-Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux, when he was asked,
in 1209, by the conquerors of Beziers, how, at the assault of the city,
they should distinguish the heretics from the faithful: "Slay them all;
God will be sure to know His own." The doubt is more charitable than
reasonable; for it is a contemporary, himself a monk of Citeaux, who
reports, without any comment, this hateful speech. Simon de Montfort,
the hero of the crusade, employed similar language. One day two
heretics, taken at Castres, were brought before him; one of them was
unshakable in his belief, the other expressed a readiness to turn
convert: "Burn them both," said the count; "if this fellow mean what he
says, the fire will serve for expiation of his sins, and, if he lie, he
will suffer the penalty for his imposture." At the siege of the castle
of Lavaur, in 1211, Amaury, Lord of Montr6al, and eighty knights, had
been made prisoners: and "the noble Count Simon," says Peter of Vaulx-
Cernay, decided to hang them all on one gibbet; but when Amaury, the most
distinguished amongst them, had been hanged, the gallows-poles, which,
from too great haste, had not been firmly fixed in the ground, having
come down, the count, perceiving how great was the delay, ordered the
rest to be slain. The pilgrims therefore fell upon them right eagerly
and slew them on the spot. Further, the count caused stones to be heaped
upon the lady of the castle, Amaury's sister, a very wicked heretic, who
had been cast into a well. Finally our crusaders, with extreme alacrity,
burned heretics without number."

In the midst of these atrocious unbridlements of passions supposed to be
religious, other passions were not slow to make their appearance.
Innocent III. had promised the crusaders the sovereignty of the domains
they might win by conquest from princes who were heretics or protectors
of heretics. After the capture, in 1209, of Beziers and Carcassonne,
possessions of Raymond Roger, Viscount of Albi, and nephew of the Count
of Toulouse, the Abbot of Citeaux, a legate of the pope, assembled the
principal chiefs of the crusaders that they might choose one amongst them
as lord and governor of their conquests. The offer was made,
successively, to Eudes, Duke of Burgundy, to Peter de Courtenay, Count of
Nevers, and to Walter de Chatilion, Count of St. Paul; but they all three
declined, saying that they had sufficient domains of their own without
usurping those of the Viscount of Beziers, to whom, in their opinion,
they had already caused enough loss. The legate, somewhat embarrassed,
it is said, proposed to appoint two bishops and four knights, who, in
concert with him, should choose a new master for the conquered
territories. The proposal was agreed to, and, after some moments of
hesitation, Simon de Montfort, being elected by this committee, accepted
the proffered domains, and took imdiate possession of them on publication
of a charter conceived as follows: "Simon, Lord of Montfort, Earl of
Leicester, Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne. The Lord having
delivered into my hands the lands of the heretics, an unbelieving people,
that is to say, whatsoever He hath thought fit to take from them by the
hand of the crusaders, His servants, I have accepted humbly and devoutly
this charge and administration, with confidence in His aid." The pope
wrote to him forthwith to confirm him in hereditary possession of his new
dominions, at the same time expressing to him a hope that, in concert
with the legates, he would continue to carry out the extirpation of the
heretics. The dispossessed Viscount, Raymond Roger, having been put in
prison by his conqueror in a tower of Carcassonne itself, died there at
the end of three months, of disease according to some, and a violent
death according to others; but the latter appears to be a groundless
suspicion, for it was not to cowardly and secret crimes that Simon de
Montfort was inclined.

From this time forth the war in Southern France changed character, or,
rather, it assumed a double character; with the war of religion was
openly joined a war of conquest; it was no longer merely against the
Albigensians and their heresies, it was against the native princes of
Southern France and their domains that the crusade was prosecuted. Simon
de Montfort was eminently qualified to direct and accomplish this twofold
design: sincerely fanatical and passionately ambitious; of a valor that
knew no fatigue; handsome and strong; combining tact with authority;
pitiless towards his enemies as became his mission of doing justice in
the name of the faith and the Church; a leader faithful to his friends
and devoted to their common cause whilst reckoning upon them for his own
private purposes, he possessed those natural qualities which confer
spontaneous empire over men and those abilities which lure them on by
opening a way for the fulfilment of their interested hopes. And as for
himself, by the stealthy growth of selfishness, which is so prone to
become developed when circumstances are tempting, he every day made his
personal fortunes of greater and greater account in his views and his
conduct. His ambitious appetite grew by the very difficulties it
encountered as well as by the successes it fed upon. The Count of
Toulouse, persecuted and despoiled, complained loudly in the ears of the
pope; protested against the charge of favoring the heretics; offered and
actually made the concessions demanded by Rome; and, as security, gave up
seven of his principal strongholds. But, being ever too irresolute and
too weak to keep his engagements to his subjects' detriment no less than
to stand out against his adversaries' requirements, he was continually
falling back into the same condition, and keeping off attacks which were
more and more urgent by promises which always remained without effect.
After having sent to Rome embassy upon embassy with explanations and
excuses, he twice went thither himself, in 1210 and in 1215; the first
time alone, the second with his young son, who was then thirteen, and who
was at a later period Raymond VII. He appealed to the pope's sense of
justice; he repudiated the stories and depicted the violence of his
enemies; and finally pleaded the rights of his son, innocent of all that
was imputed to himself, and yet similarly attacked and despoiled.
Innocent III. had neither a narrow mind nor an unfeeling heart; he
listened to the father's pleading, took an interest in the youth, and
wrote, in April, 1212, and January, 1213, to his legates in Languedoc and
to Simon de Montfort, "After having led the army of the crusaders into
the domains of the Count of Toulouse, ye have not been content with
invading all the places wherein there were heretics, but ye have further
gotten possession of those where-in there was no suspicion of heresy.
. . . The same ambassadors have objected to us that ye have usurped
what was another's with so much greed and so little consideration that of
all the domains of the Count of Toulouse there remains to him barely the
town of that name, together with the castle of Montauban. . . . Now,
though the said count has been found guilty of many matters against God
and against the Church, and our legates, in order to force him to
acknowledgment thereof, have excommunicated his person, and have left his
domains to the first captor, nevertheless, he has not yet been condemned
as a heretic nor as an accomplice in the death of Peter de Castelnau, of
sacred memory, albeit he is strongly suspected thereof. That is why we
did ordain that, if there should appear against him a proper accuser,
within a certain time, there should be appointed him a day for clearing
himself, according to the form pointed out in our letters, reserving to
ourselves the delivery of a definitive sentence thereupon: in all which
the procedure hath not been according to our orders. We wot not,
therefore, on what ground we could yet grant to others his dominions
which have not been taken away either from him or from his heirs; and,
above all, we would not appear to have fraudulently extorted from him the
castles he hath committed to us, the will of the Apostle being that we
should refrain from even the appearance of wrong."

But Innocent III. forgot that, in the case of either temporal or
spiritual sovereigns, when there has once been an appeal to force, there
is no stopping, at pleasure and within specified limits, the movement
that has been set going and the agents which have the work in hand. He
had decreed war against the princes who were heretics or protectors of
heretics; and he had promised their domains to their conquerors. He
meant to reserve to himself the right of pronouncing definitive judgment
as to the condemnation of princes as heretics, and as to dispossessing
them of their dominions; but when force had done its business on the very
spot, when the condemnation of the princes as heretics had been
pronounced by the pope's legates and their bodily dispossession effected
by his laic allies, the reserves and regrets of Innocent III. were vain.
He had proclaimed two principles--the bodily extirpation of the heretics
and the political dethronement of the princes who were their accomplices
or protectors; but the application of the principles slipped out of his
own hands. Three local councils assembled in 1210, 1212, and 1213, at
St. Gilles, at Arles, and at Lavaur, and presided over by the pope's
legates, proclaimed the excommunication of Raymond VI., and the cession
of his dominions to Simon de Montfort, who took possession of them for
himself and his comrades. Nor were the pope's legates without their
share in the conquest; Arnauld Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux, became
Archbishop of Narbonne; and Abbot Foulques of Marseilles, celebrated in
his youth as a gallant troubadour, was Bishop of Toulouse and the most
ardent of the crusaders. When these conquerors heard that the pope had
given a kind reception to Raymond VI. and his young son, and lent a
favorable ear to their complaints, they sent haughty warnings to Innocent
III., giving him to understand that the work was all over, and that, if
he meddled, Simon de Montfort and his warriors might probably not bow to
his decisions. Don Pedro II., king of Aragon, had strongly supported
before Innocent III. the claims of the Count of Toulouse and of the
southern princes his allies. "He cajoled the lord pope," says the
prejudiced chronicler of these events, the monk Peter of Vaulx-Cernay,
"so far as to persuade him that the cause of the faith was achieved
against the heretics, they being put to distant flight and completely
driven from the Albigensian country, and that accordingly it was
necessary for him to revoke altogether the indulgence be had granted to
the crusaders. . . . The sovereign pontiff, too credulously listening
to the perfidious suggestions of the said king, readily assented to his
demands, and wrote to the Count of Montfort, with orders and commands to
restore without delay to the Counts of Comminges and of Foix, and to
Gaston of Beam, very wicked and abandoned people, the lands which, by
just judgment of God and by the aid of the crusaders, he at last had
conquered." But, in spite of his desire to do justice, Innocent III.,
studying policy rather than moderation, did not care to enter upon a
struggle against the agents, ecclesiastical and laic, whom he had let
loose upon Southern France. In November, 1215, the fourth Lateran
council met at Rome; and the Count of Toulouse, his son, and the Count of
Foix brought their claims before it. "It is quite true," says Peter of
Vaulx-Cernay, "that they found there--and, what is worse, amongst the
prelates--certain folk who opposed the cause of the faith, and labored
for the restoration of the said counts; but the counsel of Ahitophel did
not prevail, for the lord pope, in agreement with the greater and saner
part of the council, decreed that the city of Toulouse and other
territories conquered by the crusaders should be ceded to the Count of
Montfort, who, more than any other, had borne himself right valiantly and
loyally in the holy enterprise; and, as for the domains which Count
Raymond possessed in Provence, the sovereign pontiff decided that they
should be reserved to him, in order to make provision, either with part
or even the whole, for the son of this count, provided always that, by
sure signs of fealty and good behavior, he should show himself worthy of
compassion."

This last inclination towards compassion on the part of the pope in favor
of the young Count Raymond, "provided he showed himself worthy of it,"
remained as fruitless as the remonstrances addressed to his legates; for
on the 17th of July, 1216, seven months after the Lateran council,
Innocent III. died, leaving Simon de Montfort and his comrades in
possession of all they had taken, and the war still raging between the
native princes of Southern France and the foreign conquerors. The
primitive, religious character of the crusade wore off more and more;
worldly ambition and the spirit of conquest became more and more
predominant; and the question lay far less between catholics and heretics
than between the old and new masters of the country, between the
independence of the southern people and the triumph of warriors come
from the north of France, that is to say, between two different races,
civilizations, and languages. Raymond VI. and his son recovered
thenceforth certain supports and opportunities of which hitherto the
accusation of heresy and the judgments of the court of Rome had robbed
them; their neighboring allies and their secret or intimidated partisans
took fresh courage; the fortune of battle became shifty; successes and
reverses were shared by both sides; and not only many small places and
castles, but the largest towns, Toulouse amongst others, fell into the
hands of each party alternately. Innocent III.'s successor in the Holy
See, Pope Honorius III., though at first very pronounced in his
opposition to the Albigensians, had less ability, less perseverance, and
less influence than his predecessor. Finally, on the 20th of June, 1218,
Simon de Montfort, who had been for nine months unsuccessfully besieging
Toulouse, which had again come into the possession of Raymond VI., was
killed by a shower of stones, under the walls of the place, and left to
his son Amaury the inheritance of his war and his conquests, but not of
his vigorous genius and his warlike renown.

[Illustration: Death of De Montfort----104]

The struggle still dragged on for five years with varied fortune on each
side, but Amaury de Montfort was losing ground every day, and Raymond
VI., when he died in August, 1222, had recovered the greater part of his
dominions. His son, Raymond VII., continued the war for eighteen months
longer, with enough of popular favor and of success to make his enemies
despair of recovering their advantages; and, on the 14th of January,
1224, Amaury de Montfort, after having concluded with the Counts of
Toulouse and Foix a treaty which seemed to have only a provisional
character, "went forth," says the History of Languedoc, "with all the
French from Carcassonne, and left forever the country which his house had
possessed for nearly fourteen years." Scarcely had he arrived at the
court of Louis VIII., who had just succeeded his father, Philip Augustus,
when he ceded to the King of France his rights over the domains which the
crusaders had conquered by a deed conceived in these terms: "Know that we
give up to our Lord Louis, the illustrious King of the French, and to his
heirs forever, to dispose of according to their pleasure, all the
privileges and gifts that the Roman Church did grant unto our father
Simon of pious memory, in respect of the countship of Toulouse and other
districts in Albigeois; supposing that the pope do accomplish all the
demands made to him by the king through the Archbishop of Bourges, and
the Bishops of Langres and Chartres; else, be it known for certain that
we cede not to any one aught of all these domains."

Whilst this cruel war lasted Philip Augustus would not take any part in
it. Not that he had any leaning towards the Albigensian heretics on the
score of creed or religious liberty; but his sense of justice and
moderation was shocked at the violence employed against them, and he
had a repugnance to the idea of taking part in the devastation of the
beautiful southern provinces. He took it ill, moreover, that the pope
should arrogate to himself the right of despoiling of their dominions, on
the ground of heresy, princes who were vassals of the King of France;
and, without offering any formal opposition, he had no mind to give his
assent thereto. When Innocent III. called upon him to co-operate in the
crusade, Philip answered, "that he had at his flanks two huge and
terrible lions, the Emperor Otho, and King John of England, who were
working with all their might to bring trouble upon the kingdom of France;
that, consequently, he had no inclination at all to leave France, or even
to send his son; but it seemed to him enough, for the present, if he
allowed his barons to march against the disturbers of peace and of the
faith in the province of Narbonne." In 1213, when Simon de Montfort had
gained the battle of Muret, Philip allowed Prince Louis to go and look on
when possession was taken of Toulouse by the crusaders; but when Louis
came back and reported to his father, "in the presence of the princes and
barons who were, for the most part, relatives and allies of Count
Raymond, the great havoc committed by Count Simon in the city after
surrender, the king withdrew to his apartments without any ado beyond
saying to those present, 'Sirs, I have yet hope that before very long
Count de Montfort and his brother Guy will die at their work, for God is
just, and will suffer these counts to perish thereat, because their
quarrel is unjust.'" Nevertheless, at a little later period, when the
crusade was at its greatest heat, Philip, on the pope's repeated
entreaty, authorized his son to take part in it with such lords as might
be willing to accompany him; but he ordered that the expedition should
not start before the spring, and, on the occurrence of some fresh
incident, he had it further put off until the following year. He
received visits from Count Raymond VI., and openly testified good will
towards him. When Simon de Montfort was decisively victorious, and in
possession of the places wrested from Raymond, Philip Augustus recognized
accomplished facts, and received the new Count of Toulouse as his vassal;
but when, after the death of Simon de Montfort and Innocent III., the
question was once more thrown open, and when Raymond VI., first, and then
his son Raymond VII., had recovered the greater part of their dominions,
Philip formally refused to recognize Amaury de Montfort as successor to
his father's conquests: nay, he did more; he refused to accept the
cession of those conquests, offered to him by Amaury de Montfort and
pressed upon him by Pope Honorius III. Philip Augustus was not a
scrupulous sovereign, nor disposed to compromise himself for the mere
sake of defending justice and humanity; but he was too judicious not to
respect and protect, to a certain extent, the rights of his vassals as
well as his own, and, at the same time, too discreet to involve himself,
without necessity, in a barbarous and dubious war. He held aloof from
the crusade against the Albigensians with as much wisdom, and more than
as much dignity, as he had displayed, seventeen years before, in
withdrawing from the crusade against the Saracens.

He had, in 1216, another great chance of showing his discretion. The
English barons were at war with their king, John Lackland, in defence of
Magna Charta, which they had obtained the year before; and they offered
the crown of England to the King of France, for his son, Prince Louis.
Before accepting, Philip demanded twenty-four hostages, taken from the
men of note in the country, as a guarantee that the offer would be
supported in good earnest; and the hostages were sent to him. But Pope
Innocent III. had lately released King John from his oath in respect of
Magna Charta, and had excommunicated the insurgent barons; and he now
instructed his legate to oppose the projected design, with a threat of
excommunicating the King of France. Philip Augustus, who in his youth
had dreamed of resuscitating the empire of Charlemagne, was strongly
tempted to seize the opportunity of doing over again the work of William
the Conqueror; but he hesitated to endanger his power and his kingdom in
such a war against King John and the pope. The prince was urgent in
entreating his father: "Sir," said he, "I am your liegeman for the fief
you have given me on this side of the sea; but it pertains not to you to
decide aught as to the kingdom of England; I do beseech you to place no
obstacle in the way of my departure." The king, "seeing his son's firm
resolution and anxiety," says the historian Matthew Paris, "was one with
him in feeling and desire; but, foreseeing the dangers of events to come,
he did not give his public consent, and, without any expression of wish
or counsel, permitted him to go, with the gift of his blessing." It was
the young and ambitious Princess Blanche of Castille, wife of Prince
Louis, and destined to be the mother of St. Louis, who, after her
husband's departure for England, made it her business to raise troops for
him and to send him means of sustaining the war. Events justified the
discreet reserve of Philip Augustus; for John Lackland, after having
suffered one reverse previously, died on the 19th of October, 1216; his
death broke up the party of the insurgent barons; and his son, Henry
III., who was crowned on the 28th of October, in Gloucester cathedral,
immediately confirmed the Great Charter. Thus the national grievance
vanished, and national feeling resumed its sway in England; the French
everywhere became unpopular; and after a few months' struggle, with equal
want of skill and success, Prince Louis gave up his enterprise and
returned to France with his French comrades, on no other conditions but a
mutual exchange of prisoners, and an amnesty for the English who had been
his adherents.

At this juncture, as well as in the crusade against the Albigensians,
Philip Augustus behaved towards the pope with a wisdom and ability hard
of attainment at any time, and very rare in his own: he constantly
humored the papacy without being subservient to it, and he testified
towards it his respect, and at the same time his independence. He
understood all the gravity of a rupture with Rome, and he neglected
nothing to avoid one; but he also considered that Rome, herself not
wanting in discretion, would be content with the deference of the King of
France rather than get embroiled with him by exacting his submission.
Philip Augustus, in his political life, always preserved this proper
mean, and he found it succeed; but in his domestic life there came a day
when he suffered himself to be hurried out of his usual deference towards
the pope; and, after a violent attempt at resistance, he resigned himself
to submission. Three years after the death of his first wife, Isabel of
Hainault, who had left him a son, Prince Louis, he married Princess
Ingeburga of Denmark, without knowing anything at all of her, just as it
generally happens in the case of royal marriages. No sooner had she
become his wife than, without any cause that can be assigned with
certainty, he took such a dislike to her that, towards the end of the
same year, he demanded of and succeeded in obtaining from a French
council, held at Compiegne, nullity of his marriage on the ground of
prohibited consanguinity. "O, naughty France! naughty France! O, Rome!
Rome!" cried the poor Danish princess, on learning this decision; and she
did in fact appeal to Pope Celestine III. Whilst the question was being
investigated at Rome, Ingeburga, whom Philip had in vain tried to send
back to Denmark, was marched about, under restraint, in France from
castle to castle and convent to convent, and treated with iniquitous and
shocking severity. Pope Celestine, after examination, annulled the
decision of the council of Compiegne touching the pretended
consanguinity, leaving in suspense the question of divorce, and,
consequently, without breaking the tie of marriage between the king and
the Danish princess. "I have seen," he wrote to the Archbishop of Sens,
"the genealogy sent to me by the bishops, and it is due to that
inspection and the uproar caused by this scandal that I have annulled the
decree; take care now, therefore, that Philip do not marry again, and so
break the tie which still unites him to the Church." Philip paid no heed
to this canonical injunction; his heart was set upon marrying again; and,
after having unsuccessfully sought the band of two German princesses, on
the borders of the Rhine, who were alarmed by the fate of Ingeburga, he
obtained that of a princess, a Tyrolese by origin, Agnes (according to
others, Mary) of Merania, that is, Moravia (an Austrian province, in
German _Moehren,_ out of which the chroniclers of the time made Meranie
or Merania, the name that has remained in the history of Agnes). She was
the daughter of Berthold, Marquis of Istria, whom, about 1180, the
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa had made Duke of Moravia. According to all
contemporary chronicles, Agnes was not only beautiful, but charming; she
made a great impression at the court of France; and Philip Augustus,
after his marriage with her in June, 1196, became infatuated with her.
But a pope more stern and bold than Celestine III., Innocent III., had
just been raised to the Holy See, and was exerting himself, in court as
well as monastery, to effect a reformation of morals. Immediately after
his accession, he concerned himself with the conjugal irregularity in
which the King of France was living. "My predecessor, Celestine," he
wrote to the Bishop of Paris, "would fain have put a stop to this
scandal, but he was unsuccessful; as for me, I am quite resolved to
prosecute his work, and obtain by all and any means fulfilment of God's
law. Be instant in speaking thereof to the king on my behalf; and tell
him that his obstinate refusals may probably bring upon him both the
wrath of God and the thunders of the Church." And indeed Philip's
refusals were very obstinate; for the pride of the king and the feelings
of the man were equally wounded. "I had rather lose half my domains,"
said he, "than separate from Agnes." The pope threatened him with the
interdict,--that is, the suspension of all religious ceremonies,
festivals, and forms in the Church of France. Philip resisted not only
the threat, but also the sentence of the interdict, which was actually
pronounced, first in the churches of the royal domain, and afterwards in
those of the whole kingdom. "So wroth was the king," says the chronicle
of St. Denis, "that he thrust from their sees all the prelates of his
kingdom, because they had assented to the interdict." "I had rather turn
Mussulman," said Philip; "Saladin was a happy man, for he had no pope."
But Innocent III. was inflexible; he claimed respect for laws divine and
human, for the domestic hearth and public order. The conscience of the
nation was troubled. Agnes herself applied to the pope, urging her
youth, her ignorance of the world, the sincerity and purity of her love
for her husband. Innocent III. was touched, and before long gave
indisputable evidence that he was, but without budging from his duty and
his right as a Christian. For four years the struggle went on. At last
Philip yielded to the injunction of the pope and the feeling of his
people; he sent away Agnes, and recalled Ingeburga. The pope, in his
hour of victory, showed his sense of equity and his moral appreciation;
taking into consideration the good faith of Agnes in respect of her
marriage, and Philip's possible mistake as to his right to marry her, he
declared the legitimacy of the two children born of their union. Agnes
retired to Poissy, where, a few months afterwards, she died. Ingeburga
resumed her title and rights as queen, but without really enjoying them.
Philip, incensed as well as beaten, banished her far from him and his
court, to Etampes, where she lived eleven years in profound retirement.
It was only in 1212 that, to fully satisfy the pope, Philip, more
persevering in his political wisdom than his domestic prejudices,
restored the Danish princess to all her royal station at his side. She
was destined to survive him.

There can be little doubt but that the affection of Philip Augustus for
Agnes of Merania was sincere; nothing can be better proof of it than the
long struggle he maintained to prevent separation from her; but, to say
nothing of the religious scruples which at last, perhaps, began to prick
the conscience of the king, great political activity and the government
of a kingdom are a powerful cure for sorrows of the heart, and seldom is
there a human soul so large and so constant as to have room for
sentiments and interests so different, both of them at once, and for a
long continuance. It has been shown with what intelligent assiduity
Philip Augustus strove to extend, or, rather, to complete the kingdom of
France; what a mixture of firmness and moderation he brought to bear upon
his relations with his vassals, as well as with his neighbors; and what
bravery he showed in war, though he preferred to succeed by the weapons
of peace. He was as energetic and effective in the internal
administration of his kingdom as in foreign affairs. M. Leopold Delisle,
one of the most learned French academicians, and one of the most accurate
in his knowledge, has devoted a volume of more than seven hundred pages
octavo to a simple catalogue of the official acts of Philip Augustus, and
this catalogue contains a list of two thousand two hundred and thirty-six
administrative acts of all kinds, of which M. Delisle confines himself to
merely setting forth the title and object. Search has been made in this
long table to see what part was taken by Philip Augustus in the
establishment and interior regulation of the communes, that great fact
which is so conspicuous in the history of French civilization, and which
will before long be made the topic of discourse here. The search brings
to light, during this reign, forty-one acts confirming certain communes
already established, or certain privileges previously granted to certain
populations, forty-three acts establishing new communes, or granting new
local privileges, and nine acts decreeing suppression of certain
communes, or a repressive intervention of the royal authority in their
internal regulation, on account of quarrels or irregularities in their
relations either with their lord, or, especially, with their bishop.
These mere figures show the liberal character of the government of Philip
Augustus, in respect of this important work of the eleventh, twelfth, and
thirteenth centuries. Nor are we less struck by his efficient energy in
his care for the interests and material civilization of his people. In
1185, "as he was walking one day in his palace, he placed himself at a
window whence he was sometimes pleased, by way of pastime, to watch the
Seine flowing by. Some carts, as they passed, caused the mud with which
the streets were filled to emit a fetid smell, quite unbearable. The
king, shocked at what was as unhealthy as it was disgusting, sent for the
burghers and provost of the city, and ordered that all the thoroughfares
and streets of Paris should be paved with hard and solid stone, for this
right Christian prince aspired to rid Paris of her ancient name, Lutetia
(Mud-town)." It is added that, on hearing of so good a resolution, a
moneyed man of the day, named Gerard de Poissy, volunteered to contribute
towards the construction of the pavement eleven thousand silver marks.
Nor was Philip Augustus less concerned for the external security than for
the internal salubrity of Paris. In 1190, on the eve of his departure
for the crusade, "he ordered the burghers of Paris to surround with a
good wall, flanked by towers, the city he loved so well, and to make
gates thereto;" and in twenty years this great work was finished on both
sides of the Seine. "The king gave the same orders," adds the historian
Rigord, "about the towns and castles of all his kingdom; "and indeed it
appears from the catalogue of M. Leopold Delisle, at the date of 1193,
"that, at the request of Philip Augustus, Peter de Courtenai, Count of
Nevers, with the aid of the church-men, had the walls of the town of
Auxerre built." And Philip's foresight went beyond such important
achievements. "He had a good wall built to enclose the wood of
Vincennes, heretofore open to any sort of folk. The King of England, on
hearing thereof, gathered a great mass of fawns, hinds, does, and bucks,
taken in his forests in Normandy and Aquitaine; and having had them
shipped aboard a large covered vessel, with suitable fodder, he sent them
by way of the Seine to King Philip Augustus, his liege-lord at Paris.
King Philip received the gift gladly, had his parks stocked with the
animals, and put keepers over them." A feeling, totally unconnected with
the pleasures of the chase, caused him to order an enclosure very
different from that of Vincennes. "The common cemetery of Paris, hard by
the Church of the Holy Innocents, opposite the street of St. Denis, had
remained up to that time open to all passers, man and beast, without
anything to prevent it from being confounded with the most profane spot;
and the king, hurt at such indecency, had it enclosed by high stone
walls, with as many gates as were judged necessary, which were closed
every night." At the same time he had built, in this same quarter, the
first great municipal market-places, enclosed, likewise, by a wall, with
gates shut at night, and surmounted by a sort of covered gallery. He was
not quite a stranger to a certain instinct, neither systematic nor of
general application, but practical and effective on occasion, in favor of
the freedom of industry and commerce. Before his time, the ovens
employed by the baking trade in Paris were a monopoly for the profit of
certain religious or laic establishments; but when Philip Augustus
ordered the walling in of the new and much larger area of the city "he
did not think it right to render its new inhabitants subject to these old
liabilities, and he permitted all the bakers to have ovens wherein to
bake their bread, either for themselves, or for all individuals who might
wish to make use of them." Nor were churches and hospitals a whit less
than the material interests of the people an object of solicitude to him.
His reign saw the completion, and, it might almost be said, the
construction of _Notre-Dame de Paris,_ the frontage of which, in
particular, was the work of this epoch. At the same time the king had
the palace of the Louvre repaired and enlarged; and he added to it that
strong tower in which he kept in captivity for more than twelve years
Ferrand, Count of Flanders, taken prisoner at the battle of Bouvines. It
would be a failure of justice and truth not to add to these proofs of
manifold and indefatigable activity on the part of Philip Augustus the
constant interest he testified in letters, science, study, the University
of Paris, and its masters and pupils. It was to him that in 1200, after
a violent riot, in which they considered they had reason to complain of
the provost of Paris, the students owed a decree, which, by regarding
them as clerics, exempted them from the ordinary criminal jurisdiction,
so as to render them subject only to ecclesiastical authority. At that
time there was no idea how to efficiently protect freedom save by
granting some privilege.

A death which seems premature for a man as sound and strong in
constitution as in judgment struck down Philip Augustus at the age of
only fifty-eight, as he was on his way from Pacy-sur-Eure to Paris to be
present at the council which was to meet there and once more take up the
affair of the Albigensians. He had for several months been battling with
an incessant fever; he was obliged to halt at Mantes, and there he died
on the 14th of January, 1223, leaving the kingdom of France far more
extensive and more compact, and the kingship in France far stronger and
more respected than he had found them. It was the natural and
well-deserved result of his life. At a time of violence and irregular
adventure, he had shown to Europe the spectacle of an earnest,
far-sighted, moderate, and able government, and one which in the end,
under many hard trials, had nearly always succeeded in its designs,
during a reign of forty-three years.

He disposed, by will, of a considerable amount amassed without parsimony,
and even, historians say, in spite of a royal magnificence. We will take
from that will but two paragraphs, the first two:--

"We will and prescribe first of all that, without any gainsaying, our
testamentary executors do levy and set aside, out of our possessions,
fifty thousand livres of Paris, in order to restore, as God shall inspire
them with wisdom, whatsoever may be due to those from whom they shall
recognize that we have unjustly taken or extorted or kept back aught; and
we do ordain this most strictly."

"We do give to our dear spouse _Isamber_ (evidently _Inyeburya_), Queen
of the French, ten thousand livres of Paris. We might have given more to
the said queen, but we have confined ourselves to this sum in order that
we might make more complete restitution and reparation of what we have
unjustly levied."

There is in these two cases of testamentary reparation, to persons
unknown on the one hand and to a lady long maltreated on the other, a
touch of probity and honorable regret for wrong-doing which arouses for
this great king, in his dying hour, more moral esteem than one would
otherwise be tempted to feel for him.

His son, Louis VIII., inherited a great kingdom, an undisputed crown, and
a power that was respected. It was matter of general remark, moreover,
that, by his mother, Isabel of Hainault, he was descended in the direct
line from Hermengarde, Countess of Namur, daughter of Charles of
Lorraine, the last of the Carlovingians. Thus the claims of the two
dynasties of Charlemagne and of Hugh Capet were united in his person;
and, although the authority of the Capetians was no longer disputed,
contemporaries were glad to see in Louis VIII. this two-fold heirship,
which gave him the perfect stamp of a legitimate monarch. He was,
besides, the first Capetian whom the king his father had not considered
it necessary to have consecrated during his own life so as to impress
upon him in good time the seal of religion. Louis was consecrated at
Rheims no earlier than the 6th of August, 1223, three weeks after the
death of Philip Augustus; and his consecration was celebrated, at Paris
as well as at Rheims, with rejoicings both popular and magnificent.
But in the condition in which France was during the thirteenth century,
amidst a civilization still so imperfect and without the fortifying
institutions of a free government, no accidental good fortune could make
up for a king's want of personal merit; and Louis VIII. was a man of
downright mediocrity, without foresight, volatile in his resolves and
weak and fickle in the execution of them. He, as well as Philip
Augustus, had to make war on the King of England, and negotiate with the
pope on the subject of the Albigensians; but at one time he followed,
without well understanding it, his father's policy, at another he
neglected it for some whim, or under some temporary influence. Yet he
was not unsuccessful in his wax-like enterprises; in his campaign against
Henry III., King of England, he took Niort, St. Jean d'Angely, and
Rochelle; he accomplished the subjection of Limousin and Perigord; and
had he pushed on his victories beyond the Garonne, he might perhaps have
deprived the English of Aquitaine, their last possession in France; but
at the solicitation of Pope Honorius III., he gave up this war, to resume
the crusade against the Albigensians. Philip Augustus had foreseen this
mistake. After my death," he had said, "the clergy will use all their
efforts to entangle my son Louis in the matters of the Albigensians; but
he is in weak and shattered health; he will be unable to bear the
fatigue; he will soon die, and then the kingdom will be left in the hands
of a woman and children; and so there will be no lack of dangers." The
prediction was realized. The military campaign of Louis VIII. on the
Rhone was successful; after a somewhat difficult siege, he took Avignon;
the principal towns in the neighborhood, Nimes and Arles, amongst others,
submitted; Amaury de Montfort had ceded to him all his rights over his
father's conquests in Languedoc; and the Albigensians were so completely
destroyed or dispersed or cowed that, when it seemed good to make a
further example amongst them of the severity of the Church against
heretics, it was a hard matter to rout out in the diocese of Narbonne one
of their former preachers, Peter Isarn, an old man hidden in an obscure
retreat, from which he was dragged to be burned in solemn state. This
was Louis VIII.'s last exploit in Southern France. He was displeased
with the pope, whom he reproached with not keeping all his promises; his
troops were being decimated by sickness; and he was deserted by Theobald
IV., Count of Champagne, after serving, according to feudal law, for
forty days.

Louis, incensed, disgusted, and ill, himself left his army, to return to
his own Northern France; but he never reached it, for fever compelled him
to halt at Montpensier, in Auvergne, where he died on the 8th of
November, 1226, after a reign of three years, adding to the history of
France no glory save that of having been the son of Philip Augustus, the
husband of Blanche of Castille, and the father of St. Louis.

We have already perused the most brilliant and celebrated amongst the
events of St. Louis's reign, his two crusades against the Mussulmans; and
we have learned to know the man at the same time with the event, for it
was in these warlike outbursts of his Christian faith that the king's
character, nay, his whole soul, was displayed in all its originality and
splendor. It was his good fortune, moreover, to have at that time as his
comrade and biographer, Sire de Joinville, one of the most sprightly and
charming writers of the nascent French language. It is now of Louis in
France and of his government at home that we have to take note. And in
this part of his history he is not the only royal and really regnant
personage we encounter: for of the forty-four years of St. Louis's reign,
nearly fifteen, with a long interval of separation, pertained to the
government of Queen Blanche of Castille rather than that of the king her
son. Louis, at his accession in 1226, was only eleven; and he remained a
minor up to the age of twenty-one, in 1236, for the time of majority in
the case of royalty was not yet specially and rigorously fixed. During
those ten years Queen Blanche governed France; not at all, as is commonly
asserted, with the official title of regent, but simply as guardian of
the king her son. With a good sense really admirable in a person so
proud and ambitious, she saw that official power was ill suited to her
woman's condition, and would weaken rather than strengthen her; and she
screened herself from view behind her son. He it was who, in 1226, wrote
to the great vassals, bidding them to his consecration; he it was who
reigned and commanded; and his name alone appeared on royal decrees and
on treaties. It was not until twenty-two years had passed, in 1248, that
Louis, on starting for the crusade, officially delegated to his mother
the kingly authority, and that Blanche, during her son's absence, really
governed with the title of regent, up to the 1st of December, 1252, the
day of his death.

During the first period of his government, and so long as her son's
minority lasted, Queen Blanche had to grapple with intrigues, plots,
insurrections, and open war, and, what was still worse for her, with the
insults and calumnies of the crown's great vassals, burning to seize once
more, under a woman's government, the independence and power which had
been effectually disputed with them by Philip Augustus. Blanche resisted
their attempts, at one time with open and persevering energy, at another
dexterously with all the tact, address, and allurements of a woman.
Though she was now forty years of age, she was beautiful, elegant,
attractive, full of resources, and of grace in her conversation as well
as her administration, endowed with all the means of pleasing, and
skilful in availing herself of them with a coquetry which was
occasionally more telling than discreet. The malcontents spread the
most odious scandals about her. It so happened that one of the most
considerable amongst the great vassals of France, Theobald IV., Count of
Champagne, a brilliant and gay knight, an ingenious and prolific poet,
had conceived a passion for her; and it was affirmed not only that she
had yielded to his desires, in order to keep him bound to her service,
but that she had, a while ago, in concert with him, murdered her husband,
King Louis VIII. In 1230, some of the greatest barons of the kingdom,
the Count of Brittany, the Count of Boulogne, and the Count of St. Pol
formed a coalition for an attack upon Count Theobald, and invaded
Champagne. Blanche, taking with her the young king her son, went to
the aid of Count Theobald, and, on arriving near Troyes, she had orders
given, in the king's name, for the barons to withdraw: "If you have
plaint to make," said she, "against the Count of Champagne, present
before me your claim, and I will do you justice." "We will not plead
before you," they answered, "for the custom of women is to fix their
choice upon him, in preference to other men, who has slain their
husband." But in spite of this insulting defiance, the barons did
withdraw. Five years later, in 1235, the Count of Champagne had, in his
turn, risen against the king, and was forced, as an escape from imminent
defeat, to accept severe terms.

An interview took place between Queen Blanche and him; and "'Pardie,
Count Theobald,' said the queen, 'you ought not to have been against us;
you ought surely to have remembered the kindness shown you by the king my
son, who came to your aid, to save your land from the barons of France
when they would fain have set fire to it all and laid it in ashes.' The
count cast a look upon the queen, who was so virtuous and so beautiful
that at her great beauty he was all abashed, and answered her, 'By my
faith, madame, my heart and my body and all my land is at your command,
and there is nothing which to please you I would not readily do; and
against you or yours, please God, I will never go.' Thereupon he went
his way full pensively, and often there came back to his remembrance the
queen's soft glance and lovely countenance. Then his heart was touched
by a soft and amorous thought. But when he remembered how high a dame
she was, so good and pure that he could never enjoy her, his soft thought
of love was changed to a great sadness. And because deep thoughts
engender melancholy, it was counselled unto him by certain wise men that
he should make his study of canzonets for the viol and soft delightful
ditties. So made he the most beautiful canzonets and the most delightful
and most melodious that at any time were heard." (_Histoire des Dues et
des Comtes de Champagne,_ by M. d'Arbois de Jubainville, t. iv. pp. 249,
280; _Chroniques de Saint-Denis,_ in the _Recueil des Historiens des
Gaules et de France,_ t. xxi. pp. 111, 112.)

Neither in the events nor in the writings of the period is it easy to
find anything which can authorize the accusations made by the foes of
Queen Blanche. There is no knowing whether her heart were ever so little
touched by the canzonets of Count Theobald; but it is certain that
neither the poetry nor the advances of the count made any difference in
the resolutions and behavior of the queen. She continued her resistance
to the pretensions and machinations of the crown's great vassals, whether
foes or lovers, and she carried forward, in the face and in the teeth of
all, the extension of the domains and the power of the kingship. We
observe in her no prompting of enthusiasm, of sympathetic charitableness,
or of religious scrupulousness, that is, none of those grand moral
impulses which are characteristic of Christian piety, and which were
predominant in St. Louis. Blanche was essentially politic and concerned
with her temporal interests and successes; and it was not from her
teaching or her example that her son imbibed those sublime and
disinterested feelings which stamped him the most original and the rarest
on the roll of glorious kings. What St. Louis really owed to his mother
--and it was a great deal--was the steady triumph which, whether by arms
or by negotiation, Blanche gained over the great vassals, and the
preponderance which, amidst the struggles of the feudal system, she
secured for the kingship of her son in his minority. She saw by profound
instinct what forces and alliances might be made serviceable to the
kingly power against its rivals. When, on the 29th of November, 1226,
only three weeks after the death of her husband, Louis VIII., she had her
son crowned at Rheims, she bade to the ceremony not only the prelates and
grandees of the kingdom, but also the inhabitants of the neighboring
communes; wishing to let the great lords see the people surrounding the
royal child. Two years later, in 1228, amidst the insurrection of the
barons, who were assembled at Corbeil, and who meditated seizing the
person of the young king during his halt at Montlhery on his march to
Paris, Queen Blanche had summoned to her side, together with the faithful
chivalry of the country, the burghers of Paris and of the neighborhood;
and they obeyed the summons with alacrity. "They went forth all under
arms, and took the road to Montlhery, where they found the king, and
escorted him to Paris, all in their ranks and in order of battle. From
Montlhery to Paris, the road was lined, on both sides, by men-at-arms and
others, who loudly besought Our Lord to grant the young king long life
and prosperity, and to vouchsafe him protection against all his enemies.
As soon as they set out from Paris, the lords, having been told the news,
and not considering themselves in a condition to fight so great a host,
retired each to his own abode; and by the ordering of God, who disposes
as he pleases Him of times and the deeds of men, they dared not undertake
anything against the king during the rest of this year." (_Vie de Saint
Louis,_ by Lenain de Tillemont, t. i. pp. 429, 478.)

Eight years later, in 1236, Louis IX. attained his majority, and his
mother transferred to him a power respected, feared, and encompassed by
vassals always turbulent and still often aggressive, but disunited,
weakened, intimidated, or discredited, and always outwitted, for a space
of ten years, in their plots.

When she had secured the political position of the king her son, and as
the time of his majority approached, Queen Blanche gave her attention to
his domestic life also. She belonged to the number of those who aspire
to play the part of Providence towards the objects of their affection,
and to regulate their destiny in everything. Louis was nineteen; he was
handsome, after a refined and gentle style which spoke of moral worth
without telling of great physical strength; he had delicate and chiselled
features, a brilliant complexion, and light hair, abundant and glossy,
which, through his grandmother Isabel, he inherited from the family of
the Counts of Hainault. He displayed liveliness and elegance in his
tastes; he was fond of amusements, games, hunting, hounds and
hawking-birds, fine clothes, magnificent furniture. A holy man, they
say, even reproached the queen his mother with having winked at certain
inclinations evinced by him towards irregular connections. Blanche
determined to have him married; and had no difficulty in exciting in him
so honorable a desire. Raymond Beranger, Count of Provence, had a
daughter, his eldest, named Marguerite, "who was held," say the
chronicles, "to be the most noble, most beautiful, and best educated
princess at that time in Europe. . . . By the advice of his mother
and of the wisest persons in his kingdom," Louis asked for her hand in
marriage. The Count of Provence was overjoyed at the proposal; but he
was somewhat anxious about the immense dowry which, it was said, he would
have to give his daughter. His intimate adviser was a Provencal
nobleman, named Romeo de Villeneuve, who said to him, "Count, leave it to
me, and let not this great expense cause you any trouble. If you marry
your eldest high, the more consideration of the alliance will get the
others married better and at less cost." Count Raymond listened to
reason, and before long acknowledged that his adviser was right. He had
four daughters, Marguerite, Eleanor, Sancie, and Beatrice; and when
Marguerite was Queen of France, Eleanor became Queen of England, Sancie
Countess of Cornwall and afterwards Queen of the Romans, and Beatrice
Countess of Anjou and Provence, and ultimately Queen of Sicily. Princess
Marguerite arrived in France escorted by a brilliant embassy, and the
marriage was celebrated at Sens, on the 27th of May, 1234, amidst great
rejoicings and abundant largess to the people. As soon as he was married
and in possession of happiness at home, Louis of his own accord gave up
the worldly amusements for which he had at first displayed a taste; his
hunting establishment, his games, his magnificent furniture and dress,
gave place to simpler pleasures and more Christian occupations. The
active duties of the kingship, the fervent and scrupulous exercise of
piety, the pure and impassioned joys of conjugal life, the glorious plans
of a knight militant of the cross, were the only things which took up the
thoughts and the time of this young king, who was modestly laboring to
become a saint and a hero.

There was one heartfelt discomfort which disturbed and troubled sometimes
the sweetest moments of his life. Queen Blanche, having got her son
married, was jealous of the wife and of the happiness she had conferred
upon her; jealous as mother and as queen, a rival for affection and for
empire. This sad and hateful feeling hurried her into acts as devoid of
dignity as they were of justice and kindness. "The harshness of Queen
Blanche towards Queen Marguerite," says Joinville, "was such that Queen
Blanche would not suffer, so far as her power went, that her son should
keep his wife's company. Where it was most pleasing to the king and the
queen to live was at Pontoise, because the king's chamber was above and
the queen's below. And they had so well arranged matters that they held
their converse on a spiral staircase which led down from the one chamber
to the other. When the ushers saw the queen-mother coming into the
chamber of the king her son, they knocked upon the door with their
staves, and the king came running into his chamber, so that his mother
might find him there; and so, in turn, did the ushers of Queen
Marguerite's chamber when Queen Blanche came thither, so that she might
find Queen Marguerite there. One day the king was with the queen his
wife, and she was in great peril of death, for that she had suffered from
a child of which she had been delivered. Queen Blanche came in, and took
her son by the hand, and said to him, 'Come you away; you are doing no
good here.' When Queen Marguerite saw that the queen-mother was taking
the king away, she cried, 'Alas! neither dead nor alive will you let me
see my lord; and thereupon she swooned, and it was thought that she was
dead. The king, who thought she was dying, came back, and with great
pains she was brought round."

Louis gave to his wife consolation and to his mother support. Amongst
the noblest souls and in the happiest lives there are wounds which cannot
be healed and sorrows which must be borne in silence.

When Louis reached his majority, his entrance upon personal exercise of
the kingly power produced no change in the conduct of public affairs.
There was no vain seeking after innovation on purpose to mark the
accession of a new master, and no reaction in the deeds and words of the
sovereign or in the choice and treatment of his advisers; the kingship of
the son was a continuance of the mother's government. Louis persisted in
struggling for the preponderance of the crown against the great vassals;
succeeded in taming Peter Mauclerc, the turbulent Count of Brittany;
wrung from Theobald IV., Count of Champagne, the rights of suzerainty in
the countships of Chartres, Blois, and Sancerre, and the viscountship of
Chateaudun, and purchased the fertile countship of Macon from its
possessor. It was almost always by pacific procedure, by negotiations
ably conducted, and conventions faithfully executed, that he accomplished
these increments of the kingly domain; and when he made war on any of the
great vassals, he engaged therein only on their provocation, to maintain
the rights or honor of his crown, and he used victory with as much
moderation as he had shown before entering upon the struggle. In 1241,
he was at Poitiers, where his brother Alphonso, the new Count of Poitou,
was to receive, in his presence, the homage of the neighboring lords
whose suzerain he was. A confidential letter arrived, addressed not to
Louis himself, but to Queen Blanche, whom many faithful subjects
continued to regard as the real regent of the kingdom, and who probably
continued also to have her own private agents. An inhabitant of
Rochelle, at any rate, wrote to inform the queen-mother that a great
plot was being hatched amongst certain powerful lords, of La Marche,
Saintonge, Angoumois, and perhaps others, to decline doing homage to the
new Count of Poitou, and thus to enter into rebellion against the king
himself. The news was true, and was given with circumstantial detail.
Hugh de Lusignan, Count of La Marche, and the most considerable amongst
the vassals of the Count of Poitiers, was, if not the prime mover, at any
rate the principal performer in the plot. His wife, Joan (Isabel) of
Angouleme, widow of the late King of England, John Lackland, and mother
of the reigning king, Henry III., was indignant at the notion of becoming
a vassal of a prince himself a vassal of the King of France, and so
seeing herself--herself but lately a queen, and now a king's widow and a
king's mother--degraded, in France, to a rank below that of the Countess
of Poitiers. When her husband, the Count of La Marche, went and rejoined
her at Angouleme, he found her giving way alternately to anger and tears,
tears and anger. "Saw you not," said she, "at Poitiers, where I waited
three days to please your king and his queen, how that when I appeared
before them, in their chamber, the king was seated on one side of the
bed, and the queen, with the Countess of Chartres, and her sister, the
abbess, on the other side: They did not call me nor bid me sit with them,
and that purposely, in order to make me vile in the eyes of so many folk.
And neither at my coming in nor at my going out did they rise just a
little from their scats, rendering me vile, as you did see yourself. I
cannot speak of it, for grief and shame. And it will be my death, far
more even than the less of our land which they have unworthily wrested
from us; unless, by God's grace, they do repent them, and I see them in
their turn reduced to desolation, and losing somewhat of their own lands.
As for me, either I will lose all I have for that end or I will perish in
the attempt." Queen Blanche's correspondent added, "The Count of La
Marche, whose kindness you know, seeing the countess in tears, said to
her, 'Madam, give your commands: I will do all I can; be assured of
that.' 'Else,' said she, 'you shall not come near my person, and I will
never see you more.' Then the count declared, with many curses, that he
would do what his wife desired."

And he was as good as his word. That same year, 1241, at the end of the
autumn, "the new Count of Poitiers, who was holding his court for the
first time, did not fail to bid to his feasts all the nobility of his
appanage, and, amongst the very first, the Count and Countess of La
Marche. They repaired to Poitiers; but, four days before Christmas, when
the court of Count Alphonso had received all its guests, the Count of La
Marche, mounted on his war-horse, with his wife on the crupper behind
him, and escorted by his men-at-arms also mounted, cross-bow in hand and
in readiness for battle, was seen advancing to the prince's presence.
Every one was on the tiptoe of expectation as to what would come next.
Then the Count of La Marche addressed himself in a loud voice to the
Count of Poitiers, saying, 'I might have thought, in a moment of
forgetfulness and weakness, to render thee homage; but now I swear to
thee, with a resolute heart, that I will never be thy liegeman; thou dost
unjustly dub thyself my lord; thou didst shamefully filch this countship
from my step-son, Earl Richard, whilst he was faithfully fighting for God
in the Holy Land, and was delivering our captives by his discretion and
his compassion.' After this insolent declaration, the Count of La Marche
violently thrust aside, by means of his men-at-arms, all those who barred
his passage; hasted, by way of parting insult, to fire the lodging
appointed for him by Count Alphonso, and, followed by his people, left
Poitiers at a gallop." (_Histoire de Saint Louis,_ by M. Felix Faure,
t. i. p. 347.)

[Illustration: De la Marche's parting Insult----126]

This meant war; and it burst out at the commencement of the following
spring. It found Louis equally well prepared for it and determined to
carry it through. But in him prudence and justice were as little to seek
as resolution; he respected public opinion, and he wished to have the
approval of those whom he called upon to commit themselves for him and
with him. He summoned the crown's vassals to a parliament; and, "What
think you," he asked them, "should be done to a vassal who would fain
hold land without owning a lord, and who goeth against the fealty and
homage due from him and his predecessors?" The answer was, that the lord
ought in that case to take back the fief as his own property. "As my
name is Louis," said the king, "the Comet of La Marche doth claim to hold
land in such wise, land which hath been a fief of France since the days
of the valiant King Clovis, who won all Aquitaine from King Alaric, a
pagan without faith or creed, and all the country to the Pyrenean mount."
And the barons promised the king their energetic co-operation.

The war was pushed on zealously by both sides. Henry III., King of
England, sent to Louis messengers charged to declare to him that his
reason for breaking the truce concluded between them was, that he
regarded it as his duty towards his step-father, the Count of La Marche,
to defend him by arms. Louis answered that, for his own part, he had
scrupulously observed the truce, and had no idea of breaking it; but he
considered that he had a perfect right to punish a rebellious vassal. In
this young King of France, this docile son of an able mother, none knew
what a hero there was, until he revealed himself on a sudden. Near two
towns of Saintonge, Taillebourg and Saintes, at a bridge which covered
the approaches of one and in front of the walls of the other, Louis, on
the 21st and 22d of July, delivered two battles, in which the brilliancy
of his personal valor and the affectionate enthusiasm he excited in his
troops secured victory and the surrender of the two places. "At sight of
the numerous banners, above which rose the oriflamme, close to
Taillebourg, and of such a multitude of tents, one pressing against
another and forming as it were a large and populous city, the King of
England turned sharply to the Count of La Marche, saying, 'My father, is
this what you did promise me? Is yonder the numerous chivalry that you
did engage to raise for me, when you said that all I should have to do
would be to get money together?' 'That did I never say,' answered the
count. 'Yea, verily,' rejoined Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother of
Henry III.: 'for yonder I have amongst my baggage writing of your own to
such purport.' And when the Count of La Marche energetically denied that
he had ever signed or sent such writing, Henry III. reminded him bitterly
of the messages he had sent to England, and of his urgent exhortations to
war. 'It was never done with my consent,' cried the Count of La Marche,
with an oath; 'put the blame of it upon your mother, who is my wife; for,
by the gullet of God, it was all devised without my knowledge.'"

It was not Henry III. alone who was disgusted with the war in which his
mother had involved him; the majority of the English lords who had
accompanied him left him, and asked the King of France for permission to
pass through his kingdom on their way home. There were those who would
have dissuaded Louis from compliance; but, "Let them go," said he;
"I would ask nothing better than that all my foes should thus depart
forever far away from my abode." Those about him made merry over Henry
III., a refugee at Bordeaux, deserted by the English and plundered by the
Gascons. "Hold! hold! said Louis; "turn him not into ridicule, and make
me not hated of him by reason of your banter; his charities and his piety
shall exempt him from all contumely." The Count of La Marche lost no
time in asking for peace; and Louis granted it with the firmness of a
far-seeing politician and the sympathetic feeling of a Christian. He
required that the domains he had just wrested from the count should
belong to the crown, and to the Count of Poitiers, under the suzerainty
of the crown. As for the rest of his lands, the Count of La Marche, his
wife and children, were obliged to beg a grant of them at the good
pleasure of the king, to whom the count was, further, to give up, as
guarantee for fidelity in future, three castles, in which a royal
garrison should be kept at the count's expense. When introduced into the
king's presence, the count, his wife, and children, "with sobs, and
sighs, and tears, threw themselves upon their knees before him, and began
to cry aloud, 'Most gracious sir, forgive us thy wrath and thy
displeasure, for we have done wickedly and pridefully towards thee.'
And the king, seeing the Count of La Marche such humble guise before him,
could not restrain his compassion amidst his wrath, but made him rise up,
and forgave him graciously all the evil he had wrought against him."

A prince who knew so well how to conquer and how to treat the conquered
might have been tempted to make an unfair use, alternately, of his
victories and of his clemency, and to pursue his advantages beyond
measure; but Louis was in very deed a Christian. When War was not either
a necessity or a duty, this brave and brilliant knight, from sheer equity
and goodness of heart, loved peace rather than war. The successes he had
gained in his campaign of 1242 were not for him the first step in an
endless career of glory and conquest; he was anxious only to consolidate
them whilst securing, in Western Europe, for the dominions of his
adversaries, as well as for his own, the benefits of peace. He entered
into negotiations, successively, with the Count of La Marche, the King of
England, the Count of Toulouse, the King of Aragon, and the various
princes and great feudal lords who had been more or less engaged in the
war; and in January, 1213, says the latest and most enlightened of his
biographers, "the treaty of Lorris marked the end of feudal troubles for
the whole duration of St. Louis's reign. He drew his sword no more, save
only against the enemies of the Christian faith and Christian
civilization, the Mussulmans." (_Histoire de St. Louis,_ by M. Felix
Faure, t. i. p. 388.)

Nevertheless there was no lack of opportunities for interfering with a
powerful arm amongst the sovereigns his neighbors, and for working their
disagreements to the profit of his ambition, had ambition guided his
conduct. The great struggle between the Empire and the Papacy, in the
persons of Frederick II., Emperor of Germany, and the two popes, Gregory
IX. and Innocent IV., was causing violent agitation in Christendom, the
two powers setting no bounds to their aspirations of getting the dominion
one over the other, and of disposing one of the other's fate. Scarcely
had Louis reached his majority when, in 1237, he tried his influence with
both sovereigns to induce them to restore peace to the Christian world.
He failed; and thenceforth he preserved a scrupulous neutrality towards
each. The principles of international law, especially in respect of a
government's interference in the contests of its neighbors, whether
princes or peoples, were not, in the thirteenth century, systematically
discussed and defined as they are nowadays with us; but the good sense
and the moral sense of St. Louis caused him to adopt, on this point, the
proper course, and no temptation, not even that of satisfying his fervent
piety, drew him into any departure from it. Distant or friendly, by
turns, towards the two adversaries, according as they tried to intimidate
him or win him over to them, his permanent care was to get neither the
State nor the Church of France involved in the struggle between the
priesthood and the empire, and to maintain the dignity of his crown and
the liberties of his subjects, whilst employing his influence to make
prevalent throughout Christendom a policy of justice and peace.

That was the policy required, in the thirteenth century more than ever,
by the most urgent interests of entire Christendom.

She was at grips with two most formidable foes and perils. Through the
crusades she had, from the end of the eleventh century, become engaged in
a deadly struggle against the Mussulmans in Asia; and in the height of
this struggle, and from the heart of this same Asia, there spread,
towards the middle of the thirteenth century, over Eastern Europe, in
Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, and Germany, a barbarous and very
nearly pagan people, the Mongol Tartars, sweeping onward like an
inundation of blood, ravaging and threatening with complete destruction
all the dominions which were penetrated by their hordes. The name and
description of these barbarians, the fame and dread of their
devastations, ran rapidly through the whole of Christian Europe. "What
must we do in this sad plight?" asked Queen Blanche of the king, her son.
"We must, my mother," answered Louis (with sorrowful voice, but not
without divine inspiration, adds the chronicler), "we must be sustained
by a heavenly consolation. If these Tartars, as we call them, arrive
here, either we will hurl them back to Tartarus, their home, whence they
are come, or they shall send us up to Heaven." About the same period,
another cause of disquietude and another feature of attraction came to be
added to all those which turned the thoughts and impassioned piety of
Louis towards the East. The perils of the Latin empire of
Constantinople, founded, as has been already mentioned, in 1204, under
the headship of Baldwin, Count of Flanders, were becoming day by day more
serious. Greeks, Mussulmans, and Tartars were all pressing it equally
hard. In 1236, the emperor, Baldwin II., came to solicit in person the
support of the princes of Western Europe, and especially of the young
King of France, whose piety and chivalrous ardor were already celebrated
everywhere. Baldwin possessed a treasure, of great power over the
imaginations and convictions of Christians, in the crown of thorns worn
by Jesus Christ during His passion. He had already put it in pawn at
Venice for a considerable loan advanced to him by the Venetians; and he

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