Global Folio Search
uses Google technology and indexes only and selectively internet - libraries having books with free public access



page 2

when the king empowered Glanville, the justiciary, to inquire into the authors of these crimes, the guilt was found to involve so many of the most considerable citizens, that it was deemed more prudent to drop the prosecution; and very few suffered the punishment due to this enormity. But the disorder stopped not at London. The inhabitants of the other cities of England, hearing of this slaughter of the Jews, imitated the example: in York five hundred of that nation, who had retired into the castle for safety, and found themselves unable to defend the place, murdered their own wives and children, threw the dead bodies over the walls upon the populace, and then setting fire to the houses, perished in the flames. The gentry of the neighborhood, who were all indebted to the Jews, ran to the cathedral, where their bonds were kept, and made a solemn bonfire of the papers before the altar. The compiler of the Annals of Waverley, in relating these events, blesses the Almighty for thus delivering over this impious race to destruction. The ancient situation of England, when the people possessed little riches and the public no credit, made it impossible for sovereigns to bear the expense of a steady or durable war, even on their frontiers; much less could they find regular means for the support of distant expeditions like those into Palestine, which were more the result of popular frenzy than of sober reason or deliberate policy. Richard therefore knew that he must carry with him all the treasure necessary for his enterprise, and that both the remoteness of his own country and its poverty, made it unable to furnish him with those continued supplies, which the exigencies of so perilous a war must necessarily require. His father had left him a treasure of above a hundred thousand marks; and the king, negligent of every consideration but his present object, endeavored to augment his sum by all expedients, how pernicious soever ta the public, or dangerous to royal authority. He put to sale the revenues and manors of the crown; the offices of greatest trust and power, even those of forester and sheriff, which anciently were so important,(*)became venal; the dignity of chief justiciary, in whose hands was lodged the whole execution of the laws, was sold to Hugh de Puzas, bishop of Durham, for a thousand marks; the same prelate bought the earldom of Northumberland for life;(**) many of the champions of the cross, who had repented of their vow, purchased the liberty of violating it; and Richard, who stood less in need of men than of money, dispensed, on these conditions, with their attendance. Elated with the hopes of fame, which in that age attended no wars but those against the infidels, he was blind to every other consideration; and when some of his wiser ministers objected to this dissipation of the revenue and power of the crown, he replied, that he would sell London itself could he find a purchaser.(***)Nothing indeed could be a stronger proof how negligent he was of all future interests in comparison of the crusade, than his selling, for so small a sum as ten thousand marks, the vassalage of Scotland, together with the fortresses of Roxborough and Berwick, the greatest acquisition that had been made by his father during the course of his victorious reign; and his accepting the homage of William in the usual terms, merely for the territories which that prince held in England.(****)The English of all ranks and stations were oppressed by numerous exactions: menaces were employed both against the innocent and the guilty, in order to extort money from them; and where a pretence was wanting against the rich, the king obliged them, by the fear of his displeasure, to lend him sums which he knew it would never be in his power to repay.

[* The sheriff had anciently both the administration of justice and the management of the king's revenue committed to him in the county. See Hale, of Sheriffs' Accounts.]
[** M. Paris, p. 109.]
[*** W. Hemming, p. 519. Knyghton, p. 2402.]
[**** Hoveden, p. 562. Rymer, vol. i. p. 64. M.West. p. 257.]

But Richard, though he sacrificed every interest and consideration to the success of this pious enterprise, carried so little the appearance of sanctity in his conduct, that Fulk curate of Neuilly, a zealous preacher of the crusade, who from that merit had acquired the privilege of speaking the boldest truths, advised him to rid himself of his notorious vices, particularly his pride, avarice, and voluptuousness, which he called the king's three favorite daughters. "You counsel well, " replied Richard; "and I hereby dispose of the first to the Templars, of the second to the Benedictines, and of the third to my prelates. " Richard, jealous of attempts which might be made on England during his absence, laid Prince John, as well as his natural brother Geoffrey, archbishop of York, under engagements, confirmed by their oaths, that neither of them should enter the kingdom till his return; though he thought proper, before his departure, to withdraw this prohibition. The administration was left in the hands of Hugh, bishop of Durham, and of Longchamp, bishop of Ely, whom he appointed justiciaries and guardians of the realm. The latter was a Frenchman of mean birth, and of a violent character; who by art and address had insinuated himself into favor, whom Richard had created chancellor, and whom he had engaged the pope also to invest with the legantine authority, that, by centring every kind of power in his person, he might the better insure the public tranquillity. All the military and turbulent spirits flocked about the person of the king, and were impatient to distinguish themselves against the infidels in Asia; whither his inclinations, his engagements, led him, and whither he was impelled by messages from the king of France, ready to embark in this enterprise. The emperor Frederic, a prince of great spirit and conduct, had already taken the road to Palestine, at the head of one hundred and fifty thousand men, collected from Germany and all the northern states. Having surmounted every obstacle thrown in his way by the artifices of the Greeks and the power of the infidels, he had penetrated to the borders of Syria; when, bathing in the cold river Cydnus, during the greatest heat of the summer season, he was seized with a mortal distemper, which put an end to his life and his rash enterprise.(*)

[* Benedict. Abbas, p. 556.]

* * *

Back To Section  

© Idea and design by Galina Rossi

All materials from this site are permitted for non commersial use unless otherwise indicated. If you reduplicate documents from here you have to indicate Monsalvat as a source and place link to us.

Global Folio         Cyprus Explorer        Medievalist         Smart Trader   Библиотека Медиевалиста   Ломоносов: жизнь, творчество, эпоха