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DAVID HUME, ESQ.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND
informed of the insolent, tyrannical conduct of his minister, thought proper to restrain his power: he sent new orders, appointing Walter, archbishop of Rouen, William Mareshal, earl of Strigul, Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, William Brie were, and Hugh Bardolf, counsellors to Longchamp, and commanding him to take no measure of importance without their concurrence and approbation. But such general terror had this man impressed by his violent conduct, that even the archbishop of Rouen and the earl of Strigul durst not produce this mandate of the king's: and Longchamp still maintained an uncontrolled authority over the nation. But when he proceeded so far as to throw into prison Geoffrey, archbishop of York, who had opposed his measures, this breach of ecclesiastical privileges excited such a universal ferment, that Prince John, disgusted with the small share he possessed in the government, and personally disobliged by Longchamp, ventured to summon at Reading a general council of the nobility and prelates, and cite him to appear before them. Longchamp thought it dangerous to intrust his person in their hands, and he shut himself, up in the tower of London; but being soon obliged to surrender that fortress, he fled beyond sea, concealed under a female habit, and was deprived of his offices of chancellor and chief justiciary, the last of which was conferred on the archbishop of Rouen, a prelate of prudence and moderation. The commission of legate, however, which had been renewed to Longchamp by Pope Celestine, still gave him, notwithstanding his absence, great authority in the kingdom, enabled him to disturb the government, and forwarded the views of Philip, who watched every opportunity of annoying Richard's dominions.
1192. That monarch first attempted to carry open war into Normandy: but as the French nobility refused to follow him in an invasion of a state which they had sworn to protect, and as the pope, who was the general guardian of all princes that had taken the cross, threatened him with ecclesiastical censures, he desisted from his enterprise, and employed against England the expedient of secret policy and intrigue. He debauched Prince John from his allegiance; promised him his sister Alice in marriage; offered to give him possession of all Richard's transmarine dominions; and had not the authority of Queen Eleanor, and the menaces of the English council, prevailed over the inclinations of that turbulent prince, he was ready to have crossed the seas, and to have put in execution his criminal enterprises. The jealousy of Philip was every moment excited by the glory which the great actions of Richard were gaining him in the east, and which, being compared to his own desertion of that popular cause, threw a double lustre on his rival. His envy, therefore, prompted him to obscure that fame which he had not equalled; and he embraced every pretence of throwing the most violent and most improbable calumnies on the king of England. There was a petty prince in Asia, commonly called the Old Man of the Mountain, who had acquired such an ascendant over his fanatical subjects, that they paid the most implicit deference to his commands; esteemed assassination meritorious when sanctified by his mandate; courted danger, and even certain death, in the execution of his orders; and fancied, that when they sacrificed their lives for his sake, the highest joys of paradise were the infallible reward of their devoted obedience.(*) It was the custom of this prince, when he imagined himself injured, to despatch secretly some of his subjects against the aggressor, to charge them with the execution of his revenge, to instruct them in every art of disguising their purpose; and no precaution was sufficient to guard any man, however powerful, against the attempts of these subtle and determined ruffians. The greatest monarchs stood in awe of this prince of the assassins, (for that was the name of his people. whence the word has passed into most European languages,) and it was the highest indiscretion in Conrade, marquis of Montferrat, to offend and affront him. The inhabitants of Tyre, who were governed by that nobleman, had put to death some of this dangerous people: the prince demanded satisfaction; for as he piqued himself on never beginning any offence,(**)he had his regular and established formalities in requiring atonement: Conrade treated his messengers with disdain: the prince issued the fatal orders: two of his subjects, who had insinuated themselves in disguise among Conrade's guards, openly, in the streets of Sidon, wounded him mortally; and when they were seized and put to the most cruel tortures, they triumphed amidst their agonies, and rejoiced that they had been destined by Heaven to suffer in so just and meritorious a cause.
[* W. Heming. p. 532. Brompton, p. 1243.]
[** Rymer vol. i. p. 71.]
Every one in Palestine knew from what hand the blow came. Richard was entirely free from suspicion. Though that monarch had formerly maintained the cause of Lusignan against Conrade, he had become sensible of the bad effects attending those dissensions, and had voluntarily conferred on the former the kingdom of Cyprus, on condition that he should resign to his rival all pretensions on the crown of Jerusalem,(*) Conrade himself, with his dying breath, had recommended his widow to the protection of Richard;(**) the prince of the assassins avowed the action in a formal narrative which he sent to Europe; yet, on this foundation, the king of France thought fit to build the most egregious calumnies, and to impute to Richard the murder of the marquis of Montferrat, whose elevation he had once openly opposed. He filled all Europe with exclamations against the crime; appointed a guard for his own person, in order to defend himself against a like attempt; and endeavored, by these shallow artifices, to cover the infamy of attacking the dominions of a prince whom he himself had deserted, and who was engaged with so much glory in a war universally acknowledged to be the common cause of Christendom.
[* Vinisauf, p. 391.]
[** Brompton, p. 1248.]
But Richard's heroic actions in Palestine were the best apology for his conduct. The Christian adventurers under his command determined, on opening the campaign, to attempt the siege of
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