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DAVID HUME, ESQ.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Tancred's elevation, and only concluded a treaty with a prince whom he found in possession of the throne: that the king, or rather tyrant, of Cyprus had provoked his indignation by the most ungenerous and unjust proceedings; and though he chastised this aggressor, he had not retarded a moment the progress of his chief enterprise: that if he had at any time been wanting in civility to the duke of Austria, he had already been sufficiently punished for that sally of passion; and it better became men, embarked together in so holy a cause, to forgive each other's infirmities, than to pursue a slight offence with such unrelenting vengeance: that it had sufficiently appeared by the event, whether the king of France or he were most zealous for the conquest of the Holy Land, and were most likely to sacrifice private passions and animosities to that great object: that if the whole tenor of his life had not shown him incapable of a base assassination, and justified him from that imputation in the eyes of his very enemies, it was in vain for him, at present, to make his apology, or plead the many irrefragable arguments which he could produce in his own favor: and that, however he might regret the necessity, he was so far from being ashamed of his truce with Saladin, that he rather gloried in that event; and thought it extremely honorable that, though abandoned by all the world, supported only by his own courage, and by the small remains of his national troops, he could yet obtain such conditions from the most powerful and most warlike emperor that the East had ever yet produced. Richard, after thus deigning to apologize for his conduct, burst out into indignation at the cruel treatment which he had met with; that he, the champion of the cross, still wearing that honorable badge, should, after expending the blood and treasure of his subjects in the common cause of Christendom, be intercepted by Christian princes in his return to his own country, be thrown into a dungeon, be loaded with irons, be obliged to plead his cause as if he were a subject and a malefactor, and, what he still more regretted, be thereby prevented from making preparations for a new crusade, which he had projected, after the expiration of the truce, and from redeeming the sepulchre of Christ, which had so long been profaned by the dominion of infidels. The spirit and eloquence of Richard made such impression on the German princes, that they exclaimed loudly against the conduct of the emperor; the pope threatened him with excommunication; and Henry, who had hearkened to the proposals of the king of France and Prince John, found that it would be impracticable for him to execute his and their base purposes, or to detain the king of England any longer in captivity. He therefore concluded with him a treaty for his ransom, and agreed to restore him to his freedom for the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand marks about three hundred thousand pounds of our present money of which one hundred thousand marks were to be paid before he received his liberty, and sixty-seven hostages delivered for the remainder.(*) The emperor, as if to gloss over the infamy of this transaction, made at the same time a present to Richard of the kingdom of Arles, comprehending Provence, Dauphiny, Narbonne, and other states, over which the empire had some antiquated claims; a present which the king very wisely neglected.
[* Rymer, vol. i. p. 84.]
The captivity of the superior lord was one of the cases provided for by the feudal tenures; and all the vassals were in that event obliged to give an aid for his ransom. Twenty shillings were therefore levied on each knight's fee in England; but as this money came in slowly, and was not sufficient for the intended purpose, the voluntary zeal of the people readily supplied the deficiency. The churches and monasteries melted down their plate, to the amount of thirty thousand marks; the bishop, abbots, and nobles, paid a fourth of their yearly rent; the parochial clergy contributed a tenth of their tithes; and the requisite sura being thus collected queen Eleanor, and Walter, archbishop of Rouen, set out with it for Germany;
1194. paid the money to the emperor and the duke of Austria at Mentz; delivered them hostages for the remainder, and freed. Richard from captivity. His escape was very critical. Henry had been detected in the assassination of the bishop of Liege, and in an attempt of a like nature on the duke of Louvaine; and finding himself extremely obnoxious to the German princes on account of these odious practices, he had determined to seek support from an alliance with the king of France; to detain Richard, the enemy of that prince, in perpetual captivity; to keep in his hands the money which he had already received for his ransom; and to extort fresh sums from Philip and prince John, who were very liberal in their offers to him. He therefore gave orders that Richard should be pursued and arrested; but the king, making all imaginable haste, had already embarked at the mouth of the Schelde, and was out of sight of land when the messengers of the emperor reached Antwerp. The joy of the English was extreme on the appearance of their monarch, who had suffered so many calamities, who had acquired so much glory, and who had spread the reputation of their name into the farthest east, whither their fame had never before been able to extend. He gave them, soon after his arrival, an opportunity of publicly displaying their exultation, by ordering himself to be crowned anew at Winchester; as if he intended, by that ceremony, to reinstate himself in his throne, and to wipe off he ignominity of his captivity. Their satisfaction was not damped, even when he declared his purpose of resuming all those exorbitant grants which he had been necessitated to make before his departure for the Holy Land. The barons also, in a great council, confiscated, on account of his treason, all Prince John's possessions in England and they assisted the king in reducing the fortresses which still remained in the hands of his brother's adherents.(*) Richard, having settled every thing in England, passed over with an army into Normandy; being impatient to make war on Philip, and to revenge himself for the many injuries which he had received from that monarch.(**) As soon as Philip heard of the king's deliverance from captivity, he wrote to his confederate John in these terms: "Take care of yourself: the devil is broken loose. "(***)
[* Hoveden, p, 737. Ann. Waverl. p. 165. W. Heming. p. 540.]
[** Hoveden, p. 740.]
[*** Hoveden p. 739]
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