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whereupon the king sent him signed and sealed letters, promising to find what might be needful, upon which letters the pope could borrow from the Italian money lenders what he wanted for the support of his army.'
It was not until April, 1255, that Alexander IV, who had now succeeded Pope Innocent, laid down the conditions upon which the kingdom of Sicily had been given to Edmund, the son of Henry III, in a lengthy Bull. He speaks of the well-known love and faithful service of the English for “their mother, the Roman Church," and how anxiously and with what generosity she watched to requite such affectionate loyalty. His predecessor had given over the kingdom of Sicily to Edmund, "out of the plenitude of his power, supplying any defect if such existed." He now, he says, desires to lay down the conditions of this gift; it is not to be divided, but held as one kingdom from the Holy See, Edmund and his successors doing homage and taking the oath of allegiance to him and his successors in the papal Chair ; every feast of SS. Peter and Paul two thousand ounces of gold are to be paid to the pope as tribute, and a body of troops is to be found to serve the pope's interests at the expense of the king of Sicily for three months yearly. Then, after providing for the jurisdiction of the churches of the territory, the document demands a promise that the holder of the crown of Sicily will not strive to hold also the office of the king of the Romans, under pain of excommunication. Edmund is also to remit entirely the sum of a hundred thousand pounds, which Pope Innocent IV had promised to enable him to secure his position. He then gives the form of homage which the king, in the name of the young prince, is to take before his nuncio, and to send to the pope in a document
* Matthew Paris, v. 457-459.
sealed with a golden seal. This oath Edmund is to take in his own name when he reaches the age of fifteen, and at any time at the pleasure of the pope he and his successors may be called upon to renew it. Moreover, the king and his eldest son Edward shall swear to the same, and be sureties for the keeping of these conditions, until Edmund reaches the age appointed. Then comes the money question: the Bull requires that the king of England shall repay the expenses already incurred by the pope in the Sicilian business. These are put at 135,541 marks; and after three payments have been made of 10,000 marks, the pope will be content to take the king's promise to pay the rest to various money lenders of Siena, Florence, Bologna, and other parts of Italy. When the payment of these sums is secured, the king of England shall come, or send a representative, with a sufficient force, to take possession of this kingdom of Sicily. If he neither comes nor sends, then he shall lose all the sums of money he has already advanced for this business, and “he, the said king, shall be excommunicate, and the whole of England placed under an ecclesiastical interdict."
Towards the end of April, 1255, the pope is found urging Henry to pay some of the money required under these conditions, and he suggests that four thousand pounds would satisfy him for the present. A fortnight later, in a letter addressed to the archbishop of Canterbury and his chaplain Rustand, the new nuncio for England, Alexander IV suggests that Henry III might have his crusading oath changed into one that binds him to take up the Sicilian questions and defend the Church against the rebellion of Manfred, the son of Frederick the emperor.* About the
1 Rymer, i. 316-318.
Ibid., 319. . . Ibid., 320; cf. Matthew Paris, v. 520.
same time, also, those who had received money to fight in the Holy Land were ordered by the papal letters to restore it to the king for the Sicilian business, and all sums received for absolutions from the crusading vows, and which by previous letters were to be expended on the purposes of the Holy Land, were now to be handed over for the same end.
In 1255, again, the king was in great straits for money. However, as the feast of St. Edward the Confessor approached, and it seemed doubtful whether he could be present on account of business in the northern parts, he directed his treasurer to make the usual presents in his name: that is, thirty-six monks' cowls to be offered at the great silver cross on the High Altar, and a golden dish of an ounce weight, which the king was wont to offer at the Mass on St. Edward's day. Besides this, he directed that both of the king's halls at Westminster were to be filled with the poor of London, where they were to be entertained as usual.? The king, however, was able to be present at the feast, and taking advantage of the presence of so many nobles and churchmen, he asked them to come to his aid in money matters. He first appealed to his brother, Richard of Cornwall, to whom the pope had also written, begging him to come to his brother's assistance, and to lend him 40,000 marks towards the Sicilian expedition. The earl refused, because the whole matter had been undertaken altogether without the advice or consent of the English nobles. In this refusal the earl of Cornwall was supported by the rest of the nobility then present, who appealed to the provisions of Magna Charta, which only allowed such grants to be made in parliament. When the king returned from Gascony, writes Matthew 1 Rymer, i. 322.
? Ibid., 328.
Paris, “ he was in debt to the amount of 300,050 marks”; but he was not deterred by this from daily scattering what he had, and hoped to have, among his foreign friends.
About this same time, Rustand, the papal envoy upon whom the king had bestowed a prebend at York, commenced to preach a crusade in London and elsewhere, against Manfred, the son of the late emperor. Manfred had made an alliance, he declared, with the Saracens, and was thus equally an enemy of the Church and of all Christian nations, and the same Indulgences were promised to those who would take up the quarrel, as to those who took the Cross against the infidel. At the end of one discourse to some religious in their Chapter-house, he is reported to have added: “Be ye obedient sons: enter into an obligation with such and such a money lender, for so much money."?
Meanwhile, Alexander IV had dispatched one of his cardinals with an army into Apulia, to endeavour to establish some hold over the kingdom he was offering to Henry for his son. After a brief success, the papal forces were pushed back into the part of the country about Monte Cassino, known as the Terra laboris—the land of labourand further disaster seemed to threaten, when, on 26th September, 1255, he wrote an urgent letter to Henry, to come quickly to the assistance of his troops, whilst the island of Sicily and some other parts of the kingdom still remained faithful to the Roman Church. Further, he insisted, that whatever else he did, the English king must at once send money and a capable leader to take charge of the operations. “Away with delays,” he writes in conclusion, “Away, beloved son, with delays; for, as you know, the end is always bad for those who are prepared, to put things off.” 1
* Matthew Paris, v. 520-521.
About this same time Rustand the legate, and the bishop of Hereford, who was practically the pope's agent in England, obtained letters in blank to any monastery they might please, to enable them to collect money for the pope's needs. Against the provision of the fourth Lateran Council under Innocent III, which prohibited borrowing and contracting debts, this letter urged the religious houses to raise money for the needs of the Church, by borrowing five, six, or seven hundred marks or more. In the same way, but unsuccessfully, the pope tried to induce Richard of Cornwall to lend him five thousand marks.
Rustand, failing to induce the king to do anything, or to obtain much money from the bishops and nobles singly, summoned all the prelates to meet in London on 13th October, 1255, trusting that “like obedient sons, they would be favourable to what had been asked, and what was yet to be asked of them.” In the assembly, after the reading and examination of his powers, the nuncio told them what he desired, which was in fact so large a sum of money, that for ever after the English Church, and for that matter the whole kingdom, would have been hopelessly impoverished. As an example of these desired impositions, the chronicler mentions that the monks of St. Alban’s alone were to furnish six hundred marks for the pope's use, which they could do only by borrowing on usurious conditions, especially as Rustand and the bishop of Hereford desired to shorten the term allowed for payment. Against this, some of the bishops stood firmly opposed: it was a sub
1 Rymer, i. 328. 2 Matthew Paris, v. 524. Some suspicion seems to attach to this letter.