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A.D. 1244.]



nobles, now declared that, if the king would, of his own free will, elect such counsellors, and would so manage the laws of the kingdom, they would be content, and would, at the stated time, give him a reply, and provide him with assistance, on condition, however, that, whatever money was granted to him should be expended by the twelve above-mentioned nobles for the king's benefit. The king, however, after putting them off for some days, endeavoured to weary them. into consenting to give him their assistance without putting it off till a future time, and summoned them to meet him repeatedly; but he did not, however, overreach them; for the nobles, wisely weighing the matter in their minds, remained immovably fixed in their determination. The king, at length, hoping to incline the clergy at least to consent to his wishes, convoked the prelates, and publicly showed them letters from the pope to the following effect.

The pope's letter to the prelates of England.

"Innocent, bishop, &c. &c., to the archbishops and bishops, and to his beloved sons the abbats, priors, archdeacons, deans, and other prelates of the churches, and clerks in England, Health and the apostolic benediction.-Our mother Church should allow prerogatives to those who are exalted above their fellows by kingly honours, and should be forward to attach importance to them, inasmuch as their power is always zealous in devotion to her, the Church, and ever watchful in her service. Inasmuch, therefore, as, amongst all the other princes of the earth, we enfold our well-beloved son in Christ, the illustrious king of England, in the arms of our especial affection, being one who, as a devout Catholic prince, always shows reverence to the Roman church, his mother, by his filial subjection and duty, in such a way that he never turns aside from doing its good pleasure, but, what is more, has always, with prompt solicitude, done those things which he knows to be pleasing and agreeable to us, it is not a matter of wonder, nay, it is becoming and proper for us, that we should comply the more easily with his entreaties, and seek the glory and increase of his honour and condition, when your liberality shall agree with what he himself desires. And whereas the said king, as has been set forth to us on his part, has already borne the burden of some heavy expenses on

account of some great and difficult matters which pressed on him, and is still under the necessity of incurring further expense, so as to be in need of your assistance, we beg, warn, and earnestly entreat your community, and by these apostolic writings, order you, inasmuch as it becomes you, and is expedient for you, to support the said king in his labour, and to lighten his burdens, to give him honourable and liberal assistance from your revenues, so that, without any damage to your honour and condition, and without any loss or inconvenience to any one, he may be prevented from being oppressed by a too heavy burden, and that, by the helping right hand of your assistance, he may more easily endure the burden of his expenses, and that, by so doing, you may be able at a future time to claim for yourselves the favour and thanks of the said king (which you, without doubt, are in want of), in whose good things you are participators, and in whose honour and glory too you are not without a share; and also that we, who wish from this time to show ourselves more prone to promote the advantage of you and your churches, may have good reason to commend the promptitude of your devotion. Given at Genoa, the twenty-ninth of July, in the second year of our pontificate.”

He also wrote in the same style to each of the prelates separately, not, however, without the expense of a large sum of money, which was sent to him for his trouble in writing.

It was, however, determined by common consent, from which determination the nobles would not depart, that the answer to the pope's letter of entreaty on behalf of the king, should be put off till the before-mentioned period ; therefore, when they were leaving, on the last day of the council, which had lasted for six days, till the night of each day, the king begged of all the prelates to meet again on the morrow. In accordance with this request, they assembled in the infirmary of the chapel of St. John the Evangelist, when the king sent Simon, earl of Leicester, P. of Savoy, Ralph Fitz Nicholas, William de Cantelupe, and John Fitz G., who, on the part of the king, explained his wishes to them, and earnestly begged of them to obey his will, on account of the request of his holiness the pope, even though the king's should not be taken into consideration. They also set forth to them the king's great necessity, and the perils impending

A.D. 1244.]



over him and the kingdom; namely, that war had broken out in Gascony, and that the insolence of the Welsh must be repressed. The prelates then asked for a copy of the pope's letter, in order that they might deliberate upon it; but whilst these discussions were going on, the king suddenly arrived in haste amongst them, and, protesting with his usual oath that their honour should be as dear to him as his own, and vice versa his ought to be dear to them in the same degree, he heaped entreaty upon entreaty in the above matter; but as they persisted in their reply, that they would consider of the matter, he went away in a disturbed state. After a long deliberation, some parties wishing that the prelates and laymen would give a milder answer to the king, the bishop of Winchester replied to them in these words on theological authority : "Let us not separate ourselves from the general wish; for it is written, ‘If we are divided, we shall immediately die."" All arrangement was therefore postponed till the before-named term, both as regarded the request of the pope on the king's behalf, as well as of the king himself. He, however, thinking that he would not be able to weaken their determination when all united together, resorted to the cunning plan of the Romans, and determined, as he had done in another case, to try them one by one singly, and by imposing on them by false arguments to bend them to his will. He therefore returned, and asked them to wait one day longer; but some of the prelates, seeing the drift of this, would not be entrapped, and went away early in the morning, and thus prudently escaped the snares in which they were once caught, and thus the council broke up, much to the king's discontent.

The terms made by the nobles with the king's consent.

"With respect to the liberties obtained, granted, and confirmed by a charter of the king at a former time, that they shall be henceforth observed; for the greater security whereof a new charter shall be made, which shall make particular mention of these matters. And that those persons shall be excommunicated by all the prelates, who knowingly and deliberately presume either to violate the liberties granted by his majesty the king, or to prevent them from being observed, and the condition of those shall be reformed who

since the last grant have incurred any injury in their liberties. And whereas the promise which had been made at that time had not as yet been fulfilled by the king, thus paying no regard to the virtue of the oath he had taken, nor showing any fear of the sentence pronounced by the holy man Edmund, in order that danger of this kind might not occur in future, and thus new dangers arise worse than the former ones, it was agreed, four of the most discreet persons, of rank and power, should be chosen by common consent, who should be of the king's council, and sworn faithfully to dispose all matters connected with the king and kingdom, and to show justice to all, without any respect to persons. These shall remain by the king, and if not all of them, at least two shall always be present to hear the complaints of each and all, and, as soon as they can, to afford relief to those who are suffering injury. By their inspection, and on their evidence, the king's treasury shall be managed, and the money granted to him by the community in general shall be expended, for the benefit of the king and kingdom, according as they shall see to be most expedient and advantageous; and they shall be the preservers of the said liberties; and as they are elected by the common consent of all, so no one of them shall be removed or deprived of his office without the general consent. And if one of them is taken from amongst us by death, then another person shall be substituted in his place, by the consent and election of the other three, within two months. And the whole community shall not again assemble without these said four persons, unless when necessary, or at their request. Briefs which have been obtained in opposition to the king, and contrary to the custom of the kingdom, shall be entirely revoked and abolished. Mention should also be made of the sentence to be pronounced against gainsayers; also of the obligation of an oath between parties; also that, with respect to the circuits of the justiciaries, a justiciary and chancellor shall be elected by all; and as they ought to be frequently with the king, they shall also be amongst the number of the preservers of the liberties. And if on any occasion the king shall take away his seal from the chancellor, whatever is sealed in the interval shall be considered null and void; and afterwards the seal shall be given back to the chancellor. No chancellor or justiciary shall be appointed in the place of another, unless by a special and



general convocation, and by the free consent of all. Two justiciaries shall be elected in the Bench, and two barons also shall be appointed in the Exchequer, and at least one person shall be appointed justiciary of the Jews. On this occasion, all the aforesaid officials shall be made and appointed by the common, universal, and free election of all; so that, as they will have to settle the affairs of all, so the assent of each and all shall concur in their election. And afterwards, when there is necessity for any one else to be substituted or appointed in the place of any of the aforesaid officials, the substitution or appointment shall be made on the provision and by the authority of these four councillors aforesaid. Those who have been hitherto suspected, or who are least necessary, shall be removed from the side of the king."

The pope sends Master Martin into England invested with new and extraordinary powers.

Whilst the nobles had for the space of three weeks been diligently arranging these matters for the advantage of the commonwealth, that old enemy, that disturber of peace and originator of schisms, the devil, impeded all the said matters by means of the pope's avarice. For the pontiff, thinking that the pliant English would, according to their usual custom, submit their necks to the already-mentioned contribution, both on account of the king's eagerness, and also on account of the urgency of this request, sent a clerk of his à latere, one Master Martin, whom, owing to his infamous rapacity, many called Master Mattin,* who was invested with new and extraordinary powers, greater than we ever remember any legate to have had before. For he extended his hands to exact contributions, to make provisions for unknown purposes, in accordance with the impulse of his own mind, without any regard to reason, and, being armed with cruel authority by the pope, from whom he showed new charters every day, according to his desires, or adapted to any sudden case of emergency, he forcibly extorted revenues, to be conferred on the pope's relations. Hence many said that he had a number of parchments not written, but sealed with the papal bull, so that he might write in them whatever he pleased, which God forbid. This sophist of a

*The French translator reads "Marin," pirate.

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