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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 116



ous expedients to which tho reckless Henry frequently resorted, to replenish his emptied coffers, as will be shewn further on. In the beginning of the year 1245, Eleanora gave birth to her second son, Prince Edmund. This year, the barons, without waiting for the King's consent, took upon themselves to curb the tyranny of the court of Home. After meeting in council and solemnly pronouncing that Martin, the Pope's nuncio, was unlawfully grasping the money of the kingdom, and remitting it to the Holy See, they sent a knight to him, commanding him to quit the kingdom before the expiration of three days, at the peril of his life. On receiving this unpleasant message, Martin hastened, breathless with alarm, to claim tho King's protection ; hut Henry, being annoyed at the wholesale plunder committed by him under the guise of religion, angrily replied, " May the devil take you, and carry you to hell and through it !" However, when the King's courtiers had appeased his anger, he granted the nuncio a passport and safe conduct to Dover, being only too glad to rid the country of such an avaricious rival. The Pope, then on terms of hostility with Germany, Erance, and Arragon, on hearing of these doings, wrathfully exclaimed, " I must make terms with the English, that I may humble these petty princes, for when the great dragon is crushed, the little serpents will be easily trodden under foot." This saying was soon published abroad, and excited great indignation against the Sovereign Pontiff. In 1246, the Queen Dowager Isabella died, and Eleanora was put inpossession of all her dower, To a prudent Queen this event would have proved a blessing; but Eleanora, being not a whit less extravagant than her royal lord, the princely income she now received from broad iands, fees, fines, &c, was all lavished on her foreign relations. "When, in 1248, her mother, the Countess Beatrice, then a widow, visited England, she loaded her with wealth, and prevailed on the already impoverished King to entertain her with extraordinary splendour, and on her departure to malie her princely presents, A proof of the irresistible influence of Eleanora over her royal lord ; he, at the time, being much annoyed at Count Raymond having, by the following will, disposed of all his wealth and possessions to his youngest daughter : — "Dear daughter—To you, at your marriage, I give and bequeath the whole of my land, together with my money, castles, and all my possessions ; for your sisters, Eleanora and Margnerita, being exalted by marriage in a high degree, do not need that the inheritance should be divided, in order for a portion of it to be given to either one of them." To add to the nation's disgust to foreigners, three sons and a daughter of Isabella, by the Count de la Marche, arrived, and by the connivance of the King, their half-brother, were speedily enriched, or married to wealthy English nobles. Indeed, Henry again so impoverished himself, to serve his own or the Queen's relations, that the parliament refused him more money, and to shut the mouth of his many clamorous creditors, his courtiers advised him to sell his plate and jewels ; " iior," said they, " as all rivers flow hack to the sea, so the treasure now sold will, in time, return to your majesty in remunerative gifts." The Queen approved of the measure ; but although the royal riches were offered for their worth, as old gold and silver, not a noble nor an Italian merchant could buy them, so scarce was money ; and greatly to the annoyance of the King and his favourites, the citizens of London raised the stipulated sum, and, cash in hand, purchased the profitable prize. " Ah !" exclaimed Henry, petulantly, "if the treasures of Octavian were for sale, those churlish Londoners would find money to purchase them ; their city is an inexhaustible treasury. However, I will not let slip an opportunity to replenish my emptied coffers from their overflowing wells of wealth." Having resolved to act as he had spoken, Henry, with his consort, kept Christmas at Westminster, where he established a fair to last for a fortnight, and, to annoy the citizens of London, ho ordered them to close their shops, and


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