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deed of darkness, were no doubt carefully concealed by the actors, and are variously related by historians; but it appears froni the most probable ac. counts, that Arthur was first removed to the castle of Rouen, where John coming in a boat during the night, commanded the young prince to be brought forth, stabbed him with his own hands, and fastening a stone to the dead body, threw it into the Seine.
From that period, the king, detested by all his subjects, retained a very precarious authority. The Britons enraged, waged implacable war against him; the states of Britanny carried their com. plaints before Philip, and demanded justice for the wilful murder committed by John on the person of Arthur. Philip summoned John to stand a trial before him, and on his non-appearance, passed sentence upon that prince with the concurrence of the peers, declared him guilty of felony and parricide, and all his seignories and fiefs in France forfeited to his superior lord. Philip was not remiss in carry. ing the sentence into execution. John, however, attempted a defence, and even laid siege to Alençon. But Philip persuaded a body of knights assembled at a tournament, to take his part, and these readily joining against John, compelled him to raise the siege. :
This was the last military effort of that slothful prince for the defence of his dominions. But he had the meanness to put himself under the protection of Pope Innocent III. entreating him to interpose his authority between him and the French monarch; and the Pope condescended to send Philip orders to make peace with the king of England; but the French barons received the message with indignation : Philip seeing their good disposition, instead of obeying the Pope's orders, proceeded to lay siege to Chateaugaillard, the most
considerable fortress which remained to protect the frontier of Normandy.
Ann. 1205, 1206. Chateaugaillard was taken after an obstinate resistance, and the whole duchy lay open to the inva. der. While John basely sought safety by flying into England, Philip pushed his conquests with vigour. The whole duchy submitted to his authority, and thus, after being for nearly three centuries dismembered from, was again united to, the French monarchy.
John, on his arrival in England, threw all the blame of his ill success upon his barons, who, he pretended, had deserted his standard in Normandy; and he arbitrarily extorted from them a seventh of their moveables as a punishment for the offence. Soon after he forced them to grant him a rentage of two marks and a half on each knight's fee for an expedition into Normandy; which, however, he deferred till the next year. When the season came for attempting it, he summoned all his barons to attend him, and then deferred again the execution to another opportunity. The year following he put to sea, but returned soon after without making the least attempt. Another year elapsed when he promised that he would strike a most signal blow. He set sail, landed at Larochelle, marched to Angers, laid the city in ashes, and hearing that the enemy were preparing to oppose him, he re-imbarked his troops, and returned once more to his country loaded with shame and confusion. The mediation of the Pope procured him at last a truce of two years with France, where the province of Poitou alone acknowledged his authority,
Ann. 1207, 1208. Pope Innocent III. as ambitious as any of his predecessors, . having attained that dignity at the age of thirty-seven years, and being endowed with a lofty and enterprising genius, undertakes more openly than it had ever been done, to convert that superiority yielded him by all the European princes, into a real dominion over them. He first attenipted for that purpose, to reduce the whole catholic clergy under an absolute monarchy entirely dependant on their spiritual leader, and to impose taxes at pleasure upon them. In the first year of this century, taking advantage of the popular frenzy for crusades, he sent collectors over all Europe, who levied by his sole authority the fortieth of all eccle. siastical revenues for the relief of the Holy Land, and received the voluntary contributions of the laity to a like amount. But the death of the archbishop of Canterbury, soon offered the aspiring pontiff an opportunity of extending still farther his usurpations. As the monks or canons of Christ-church, Canterbury, possessed a right of voting in the election of their archbishop; some of the juniors who waited for that event, met clandestinely the night of the primate's death, and without any congé d'élire from the king, chose Reginald, their sub-prior, for the successor, installed him in the archiepiscopal throne before mid-night; and having enjoined him the strictest secrecy, sent him immediately to Rome to have his election confirmed.' But he was no sooner arrived in Flanders, than he revealed the purpose of his journey, which was immediately known in England. The king was enraged at it, the senior monks and the suffragan bishops of Canterbury, who were equally entitled to concur in the choice of their primate, were no less displeased at the exclusion gi iven them
in the election; the junior monks themselves, ashamed of their conduct, and disgusted with the levity of Reginald, were willing to set aside his nomination. Thus the king easily persuaded the canons of Christ-church to make a new election, and departing from the right claimed by his predecessors, he ventured no farther than to inform them privately, that they would do him an acceptable service, if they chose the bishop of Norwich for their primate. The election of that prelate was accordingly made without a contradictory vote. But the suffragan bishops who had not concurred in it, persevering in their pretensions, sent an agent to defend their cause before Innocent; while the king, and the convent of Christ-church, dispatched to Rome, twelve monks of that order to support the election of the bishop of Norwich. The Pope having declared the two elections equally uncanonical, sent for the twelve monks deputed by the convent, and commanded them, under the penalty of excommunication to chuse for their primate, cardinal Langton, an Englishman by birth, but very much attached to the See of Rome. In vain did the monks represent, that they had received from their convent no authority for this purpose, the menaces and authority of the Pope compelled them to comply with his orders.
Innocent, conscious that this flagrant usurpation would be highly resented by the king, sent him a most affectionate letter, with a present of four gold rings set with precious stones, begging him to consider seriously the form of the rings, their number, their matter, and their colour. Their form being round shadowed out eternity, for which it was his duty to prepare ; their number four, denoted the four cardinal virtues, which it was his duty to prac
tise; their matter being gold, the most precious : of metals, signified wisdom the most yaluable of all accomplishments, and justly preferred by Solomon to riches, power, and all worldly attainments; and as to the colour of the stones, the blue of the saphire represented faith; the green of the emerald, hope; the redness of the ruby, charity; and the yellow of the topaz, good works. John, inflamed with the utmost rage when he heard of this attempt of the court of Rome, immediately vented his passion on the monks of Christ-church; he sent two knights of his retinue to expel them the convent, and take possession of their revenues. Innocent at first implored him in the most soothing terms, not to op. posé God and the church any longer, but finding that he was not sufficiently tamed to submission, he sent three prelates to intimate that if he persevered in his disobedience, the sovereign pontiff would be obliged to lay the kingdom under an interdict. All the English bishops entreated the king on their knees to prevent the scandal of this sentence by a speedy submission. He burst into the most inde. cent invectives against them, swore by God's teeth, his usual oath, that if the Pope presumed to lay his kingdom under an interdict, he would send to him all the bishops and clergy in England, and confiscate all their estates; and if thenceforth he caught any Romans in his dominions, he would put out their eyes and cut off their noses.
"Innocent, little frightened by these menaces, fulminated the sentence of interdiction, a great instrument of vengeance and policy employed at that time by the court of Rome. By its execution, a whole nation was of a sudden deprived of all exterior exercise of its religion; the altars were den spoiled of their ornaments ; the crosses, relics, images, statues of the saints were laid on the ground and covered up; the bells were removed from the steeples; mass was celebrated with shut doors, and none but the priests were admitted to