« EdellinenJatka »
cribed to the advice of Glanville, who has in his book given a very particular description of it, and expatiated upon its great importance as an improvement of the law.
It is obvious that the entirely new form and character assumed by judicial proceedings, after the commencement of the practice of trying and deciding causes by evidence, would render the old machinery for the administration of the law altogether unserviceable. An exercise of the judgment was now called for on the part of the court, instead of merely an exercise of the faculty of observation. Judges were therefore of necessity appointed in all the courts. It is probable that this innovation was partially introduced in the Saxon times ; but it was not generally established till after the conquest. The general character of the Norman domination, under which all authority was held to proceed and to derive its being from the crown, was especially favourable to the completion of the new system. It appears to have been as early as 1118, in the reign of Henry I., that justices itinerant, or justices in Eyre, as they were called, were first appointed to go on circuits through the kingdom for the holding of all pleas both civil and criminal. They were not however made a regular part of the judicature of the kingdom till 1176, the twentysecond year of the reign of Henry II.
72,-DEATH OF HENRY II.
THIERRY. [In 1183 another outbreak of the fierce and turbulent spirit of the princes led the way to a new succession of family wars. This time Richard took up arms against Henry and Geoffrey, because his father called upon him to do homage to Henry for Aquitaine. A reconcilement between the brothers, effected by their father's interference, only suspended hostilities for a few months; the old king and his son Richard were then compelled to take the field against the other two. After deserting his father and his youngest brother alternately about half a dozen times, Prince Henry was suddenly taken ill, and died at Château-Martel, 11th June, 1103, in the twenty-seventh year of his age. Geoffrey still held out, supported by the chief nobility of Aquitaine, where there was a strong feeling of the people against the English king for his treatment of their hereditary chieftainess Eleanor; but he too in a short time made his submission and implored his father's pardop. A solemn family reconciliation then took place, at which even Eleanor was released from her prison and allowed to be present. But it did not last for more than a few months; Geoffrey then, in consequence of his father refusing to surrender to him the earldom of Anjou, fled to the court of France, where Philip II. was now king, and prepared for a new war; but before he could carry his design into execution he was, in August, 1186, thrown from his horse at a tournament, and so severely injured that he died in a few days after. No sooner was Geoffrey thus removed than his brother Richard hastened to the French court to take his place ; but after unsuccessfully attempting to excite a new revolt in Aquitaine, he was compelled to throw himself upon his father's clemency. A project of a new crusade, at the call of pope Clement III., in the beginning of 1188, for a moment united Henry and Philip; the impetuous Richard actually took the cross, carried away by the feeling which thrilled all Europe on the arrival of the news of the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in the preceding September ; but before the end of the same year the unhappy father saw his son again bearing arms against him in alliance with the French king. The pretext on the part of Philip and of Richard for this new war, was Henry's refusal to deliver up the princess Alice, the sister of the former, and the affianced bride of the latter, whose person as well as part of her dowry he had for many years had in his possession. Richard pretended to believe that his father wished
to marry the princess himself, and even asserted or insinuated that her honour had already fallen a sacrifice to Henry's passion ; it appears to be certain however that her restitution was only made a demand of the two confederates for popular effect, and was a very small part of their real object. Richard, having first done homage to Philip for all his father's continental possessions, immediately proceeded to wrest them from the old man by the sword. Henry's spirit seems now to have given way at last, and the resistance he offered to bis son was feeble and ineffective.]
Without means of defence, and without authority, enfeebled in mind and body, he determined to solicit peace, offering to submit to any conditions which might be imposed The conference of the two kings, (for it appears that Richard took no part in it, but awaited at a distance the issue of the negociations), was held in a plain between Tours and Azay-sur-Cher. Philip's demands were, that the king of England should expressly acknowledge himself his liege-man, and place himself at his mercy. That Alice should be given into the charge of five persons whom Richard should choose to guard her until his return from the crusade, to which he was to go with the king of France at mid-lent; that the king of England should renounce all right of sovereignty over the towns of Berry, which formerly belonged to the Dukes of Aquitaine, and that he should pay to the king of France twenty thousand marks of silver for the restitution of the conquered provinces ; that all those who had joined the son's party should remain vassals of the son and not of the father, unless they should choose of their own free will to return to the latter ; finally, that the king should receive his son Richard into his grace by the kiss of peace, and abjure sincerely and from the bottom of his heart all rancour and animosity against him.
The old king had neither the means nor the hope of obtaining more favourable conditions ; he therefore armed himself with patience as well as he was able, and conversed with king Philip, listening to his words with an air of docility, like one who receives law from another. They were both on horseback in the open field; and whilst they were conversing mouth to mouth, says a contemporary, it suddenly thundered, although the sky was cloudiess, and the lightning fell between them, without doing them any harm. They separated immediately, both extremely alarmed ; after a short interval, they again approached each other ; but a second peal of thunder, louder than the first, was heard almost at the same instant. The king of England, whom the sad necessity to which he was reduced, his grief, and the weak state of his health rendered more susceptible of alarm, probably fancying some connection between this accident of nature and his own fate, was so agitated by it, that he let go his horse's reins, and tottered so in his saddle, that he would have fallen to the ground had he not been supported by those around him. The conference was broken up; and as Henry II. continued too ill to be present at a second interview, the conditions of peace, drawn up in writing, were carried to his quarters, that he might formally ratify them.
He was lying on a bed when he received the men sent to him by the King of France, and they read him the treaty of peace, article by article.
When they came to that which mentioned persons engaged secretly or openly on Richard's side, the king asked their names, that he might know how many there were whose homage he was forced to renounce. The first they named to him was John, his youngest son; on hearing this name, seized by an almost convulsive movement, he raised himself on his seat, and throwing around him a piercing and woe-struck glance, said, “ Can it be true, that John my heart's darling, my favourite son, him whom I have loved above all the others, and for whose sake I have brought upon myself all these miseries, has also deserted me?" They replied that thus it was ; that nothing could be more true. Well,” said he, falling back on his bed, and turning
his face to the wall, “ henceforward let things take their own course, I have no more care for myself or for the world.” Some moments after, Richard approached the bed, and asked his father for the kiss of peace, in execution of the treaty. The king gave it him with an air of apparent calmness; but as Richard was going away, he heard his father murmur in a low voice : “If God would only grant that I might not die before avenging myself on thee !” On his arrival at the French camp, the count of Poictiers repeated these words to Philip and his courtiers, who raised shouts of laughter, and made many jokes on the good peace that had just been concluded between the father and son.
The King of Eugland, finding his illness increase, had himself conveyed to Chinon, where, in a few days, he fell into a state bordering on death. In his last moments, he was heard to utter broken exclamations in allusion to his misfortunes, and the conduct of his sons. “Shame,” he cried, “shame on a vanquished king ! Cursed be the day I was born, and cursed of God be the sons I leave behind me." The bishops and churchmen who surrounded him, used all their efforts to make him retract this malediction against his children ; but he persisted in it till his latest breath.
After his death, his corpse was treated by his servants, in the same manner as that of William the Conqueror had been ; they all abandoned it, after having stripped it of its clothing, and carried off everything of value in the room and in the house. King Henry had wished to be interred at Fontevrault, a celebrated nunnery, some leagues south of Chinon ; it was with difficulty that men were found to wrap the body in a shroud, and a carriage and horses to remove it. The corpse was already deposited in the great church of the abbey, awaiting the day of burial, when count Richard was apprised by public rumour of his father's death; he went to the church, and found the king lying in a coffin, with his face uncovered, and still showing by the contraction of the features, traces of violent agony.
This sight caused the count of Poictiers an involuntary shuddering. He knelt down, and prayed before the altar, but rose in a few moments, after the interval of a paternoster, say the historians of that time, and went out, pot to return. Contemporaries declare that from the moment Richard entered the church, till he left it, streams of blood flowed incessantly from both nostrils of the deceased. The next day the ceremony of sepulture took place ; it was wished to decorate the corpse with some of the emblems of royalty ; but the keepers of the treasury at Chinon refused, and, after much entreaty, sent only an old sceptre, and a ring of little value. For want of a crown a sort of diadem formed of the gold embroidery of a woman's garment was placed on the king's head, and in this strange tawdry attire, Henry, son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, King of England, duke of Normandy, Aquitaine, and Brittany, count of Anjou and Maine, lord of Tours and Anboise, descended to his last abode.
A contemporary writer thinks he sees in the misfortunes of Henry II. a sign of the Divine vengeance upon the Normans, the tyrants of Conquered England. He compares this miserable death to those of William the Conqueror, of Henry II.'s brothers, and of his two eldest sons, who all perished by a violent death in the flower of their age. This,” he says, was the punishment of their illegitimate reign.” But, without agreeing with this superstitious opinion, it is at any rate certain, as far as concerns Henry II., that his miseries were the direct consequence of that fortune which had united the southern provinces of Gaul under his dominion, He had rejoiced over this increase of power as an increase of good fortune ; he had given his sons the countries of others as their appanages, glorying to see his family reign over several nations of different race and manners, and to unite under the same political yoke those whom nature bad divided. But nature did not lose her
(THIERRY. rights, and, on the first movement made by the people to recover their independence, division entered the family of the foreign king, who saw his children made instruments in the hands of his own subjects to be employed against himself, and who, troubled to his latest hour by domestic war, experienced, in dying, the most bitter sentiment that any man can carry to the tomb, that of dying by a parricide.
-3.-CHARACTER OF HENRY II.
PETER OF Blois.
From the “ Quarterly Review."
You are aware that his complexion and hair were a little red, but the approach of old age has altered this somewhat, and the hair is turning grey. He is of middle size, such that among short men he seems tall, and even among tall ones not the least in stature. His head is spherical, as if it were the seat of great wisdom, and the special sanctuary of deep schemes. In size it is such as to correspond well with the neck and whole body. His eyes are round, and while he is calm, dove-like and quiet ; but when he is angry, they flash fire, and are like lightning. His hair is not grown scaut, but he keeps it well cut. His face is lion-like, and almost square. His nose projects in a degree proportionate to the synimetry of his whole body. His feet are arched ; his shins like a horse's ; his broad chest and brawny arms proclaim him to be strong, active, and bold. In one of his toes, however, part of the nail grows into the flesh, and increases enormously, to the injury of the whole foot. His hands by their coarseness show the man's carelessness; he wholly neglects all attention to them, and never puts a glove on, except he is hawking. He every day attends mass, councils, and other public business, and stands on his feet from morning till night. Though his shins are terribly wounded and discoloured by constant kicks from horses, he never sits down except on horseback, or when he is eating. In one day, if need requires, he will perform four or five regular days' journeys, and by these rapid and unexpected movements often defeats his enemies' plans. He uses straight boots, a plain hat, and a tight dress. He is very fond of field-sports, and if he is not fighting, amuses himself with hawking and hunting. He would have grown enormously fat, if he did not tame this tendency to belly by fasting and exercise. In mounting a horse and riding he preserves all the lightness of youth, and tires out the strongest men by his excursions almost every day. For he does not, like other kings, lie idle in his palace, but goes through his provinces examining into every one's conduct, and particularly that of the persons whom he has appointed judges of others. No one is shrewder in council, readier in speaking, more self-possessed in danger, more careful in prosperity, more firm in adversity. If he once forms an attachment to a man he seldom gives him up ; if he has once taken a real aversion to a person, he seldom admits him afterwards to any familiarity. He has for ever in his hands bows, swords, hunting-nets, and arrows, except he is at council or at his books; for as often as he can get breathing time from his cares and anxieties he occupies himself with private reading, or, surrounded by a knot of clergymen, he endeavours to solve some hard question. Your king knows literature well, but ours is much more deeply versed in it. I have had opportunities of measuring the attainments of each in literature ; for you know that the king of Sicily was my pupil for two years. He had learnt the rudiments of literature and versification, and by my industry and anxiety reached afterwards to fuller knowledge. As soon, however, as I left Sicily, he threw away his books, and gave himself up to the usual idleness of
palaces. But in the case of the king of England, the constant conversation of learned men, and the discussion of questions, makes his court a daily school. No one can be more dignified in speaking, more cautious at table, more moderate in drinking, more splendid in gifts, more generous in alms. He is pacific in heart, victorious in war, but glorious in peace, which he desires for his people as the most precious of earthly gifts. It is with a view to this that he receives, collects, and dispenses such an immensity of money. He is equally skilful and liberal in erecting walls, towers, fortifications, moats, and places of enclosure for fish and birds. His father was a very powerful and noble count, and did much to extend his territory, but he has gone far beyond his father, and has added the dukedoms of Normandy, of Aquitaine, and Brittany, the kingdoms of England, Scotland,  Ireland, and Wales, so as to increase, beyond all comparison, the titles of his father's splendour. No one is more gentle to the distressed, more affable to the poor, more overbearing to the proud. It has always, indeed, been his study, by a certain carriage of himself like a deity, to put down the insolent, to encourage the oppressed, and to repress the swellings of pride by continual and deadly persecution. Although, by the customs of the kingdom, he has the chief and most influential part in elections (of bishops ?], his hands have always been pure from anything like venality. But these and other excellent gifts of mind and body with which nature has enriched him, I can but briefly touch. I profess my own incompetence to describe them ;—and believe that Cicero or Virgil would labour in vain.'
In a letter to a certain archdeacon or dean (Roger) who had business with the king, Peter of Blois mentions that he had lately occasion to go to his majesty on matters respecting the church of Canterbury, and that he entered the presence with cheerfulness, in his usual way; but, says he,
* Reading and understanding in his face the disturbance of his spirit, I immediately suppressed what I was about to say, and held my tongue, for I was afraid that if I spoke I should give further occasion to the irritation which his face, the faithful index of his mind, betrayed. I deferred my business, therefore, till a luckier hour and serener countenance should favour my wishes. To speak to an angry prince ou business seems to me throwing out your fishing nets in a storin. He who does so, and will not wait till the gale is over, destroys himself and his nets. I know you are sent with a very harsh message to the king, and you must, therefore, be the more careful. Things which are in themselves pleasant, very often give offence, if related without consideration ; while an unpleasant message may be so managed as to give pleasure. Pray take care not to approach the king about your affair till you are advised by me, or by some one else who knows him, to go into the presence ; for he is a lamb when in good humour, but he is a lion, or worse than a lion, when seriously angry. It is no joke to incur the indignation of one in whose hands are honour and disgrace.”
* “I often wonder how one who has been used to the service of scholarship and the camps of learning can endure the annoyances of a court life. Among courtiers there is no order, no plan, no moderation, either in food, in horse exercises, or in watchings. A priest or a soldier attached to the court has bread put before him which is not kneaded, not leavened, made of the dregs of beer; bread like lead, full of bran, and unbaked; wine, spoilt either by being sour, or mouldy—thick, greasy, rancid, tasting of pitch, and vapid. I have sometimes seen wine so full of dregs put before noblemen, that they were compelled rather to filter than drink it,