Page images

thousand were killed, and that a great number were taken, though one of the Papal writers makes the loss amount to two-thirds of the whole, and declares, that since the field of Cannæ, there had not been so great a slaughter of Roman troops.

Alexander, we are told, burst into tears at these tidings, and in vain endeavoured to collect such å force as might defend Rome. So marked a success, however, gave new energy to the Emperor Frederic. Instead of pressing the siege of Ancona to a surrender at discretion, which he probably intended, he received the submission of the people of that city, upon their paying a large fine and giving hostages; and marching on with the utmost rapidity towards Rome, he led the way himself at the head of his cavalry and accompanied by the Empress. Coming up with some of the troops of the King of Sicily, who had advanced to the aid of Alexander, he drove them before him, making a number of prisoners, and with uninterrupted success he hastened on to Rome itself, at the gates of which city he arrived about the middle of the year. It was not without a struggle, however, that he gained possession of Rome itself ; but that object was effected at length, and he caused himself and the Empress to be crowned in the church of Saint Peter, by the hands of Pascal the Antipope.

Rome was at that time full of fortresses; and, in fact, the house of each of the great Barons was in itself a castle. Alexander remained in Rome, at the fortified house of the Frangipani family, after Frederic was in possession of the greater part of the city; but finding the neighbourhood dangerous, and the people of Rome anxious to be freed from his presence, he made his escape in disguise to Terracina, and passing by Gaeta," found refuge in Beneventum. The Emperor Frederic remained in Rome for some time; too long, indeed, though by so doing he extended his influence far around him in Italy; for a pestilential fever broke out in his army, which in a very short space of time diminished it in a terrible degree. The Archbishop of Cologne, the Bishops of Liege, Spires, Ratisbon, and a number of other prelates, with some of Frederic's near relations and principal officers, died in the space of a few days. As is common with fevers in Rome and its neighbourhood, the disease attacked the strangers and spared the inhabitants; and Frederic, obliged to fly from Rome and the Campania, took his way back towards Lombardy, carrying with him numerous hostages, taken from the principal inhabitants; but bearing with his army the fever which it had contracted in the imperial city. Alexander rejoiced at the news of the unexpected destruction of such a number of the enemy; and he, as well as Becket, taking the pleasantest view of the year's history, ascribed the pestilence to an immediate judgment of God on the head of Frederic.

To what cause they attributed the capture of Rome by the Emperor, and the terrible reverses

that Alexander himself had met with, does not appear; but they certainly never thought of ascribing those evils to pride, ambition, or corruption on their own part.

It is necessary now to leave the affairs of Italy, and to turn once more to what was passing in France, in order to bring the affairs of Aquitaine and Poitou, which we have slightly noticed in speaking of Britanny, up to that point where we have left the other affairs of Henry the Second.

I have shown that after the suspension of arms in 1167, Louis had taken advantage of some causes of discontent which existed amongst the Barons of Britanny, Poitou, and Aquitaine, to urge them into revolt against their sovereign. It is probable Louis intended that the flame should not break out till the truce had expired, and till he himself had recovered from the capture and destruction of Chaumont. But the wary eye of the King of England was upon the insurgents; the rebellion of Aquitaine and Poitou assumed a tangible form towards the end of the year 1167, and in the midst of the winter which succeeded, Henry marched into those provinces at the head of a considerable force, took and burnt the Castle of Lusignan, and reduced the whole to apparent subjection.

As soon as this was done, the King returned to the north of France, and resumed the negociations which were going on with Louis regarding a treaty of peace. Those negociations had already con

tinued some time; and in order to bring them to a a definitive issue, Henry had commissioned the Count of Flanders to confer with the Count of Champagne, and to draw up such conditions as, without being derogatory to him, might be acceptable to the King of France. The paper thus drawn up was laid before Louis at Soissons, shortly before Easter, 1168. Though desirous of war, the terms proposed were so reasonable that the French monarch consented to receive them as the basis of a treaty of peace; and he sent the Count of Champagne to meet Henry at a place appointed, in order to receive the King of England's signature to the treaty.

In the meantime, however, new signs of revolt had appeared in Poitou, and Henry had hurried thither to prevent the mischief in the beginning. Louis, taking the absence of Henry at the place of meeting as an insult, hastened, as I have before said, to Bourges, and pledged himself to the revolted nobles of Aquitaine and Britanny, that he would never sign a treaty of peace with the King of England, till all they had forfeited had been restored to them. This might seem an insurmountable bar to any pacific arrangements; but Henry found means to renew the negociation, and yielded so much, that the King of France was ashamed to remain obstinate. It was accordingly again agreed by Henry and those who treated for Louis, that a treaty of peace should be drawn up, very nearly on

the conditions proposed at Soissons. At this period occurred the assassination of the Earl of Salisbury; and while Guy of Lusignan fled to the Holy Land, his accomplices, whom Henry had punished for that offence, by confiscating their property and ravaging their estates, took refuge at the court of Louis, and loudly complained of the punishment they had received, as if Henry had exceeded his power as sovereign. Louis was very ready to assert their cause; and in truth he only sought for an opportunity of breaking a promise he had made to meet Henry at La Ferté Bernard for the purpose of concluding the peace which had been before arranged. He therefore insolently demanded not only that the English monarch should suffer the revolted barons of Poitou and Britanny to be present at their meeting, but should give them hostages for their safety in coming and going. With this, also, Henry complied; but before the expiration of the truce, he had, as we have shown, punished the fresh revolt of Eudes in Britanny, both by the very justifiable means of confiscation, and by the infamous act of dishonouring his daughter.

The complaints and solicitations of all the insurgent nobles who now thronged about him from the territories of his rival, the instigations of Becket, and the insinuations of many members of his own court and family inimical to Henry, sent Louis to the proposed meeting at La Ferté in a state of fury, which made him forget all kingly moderation. On

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »