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the crown for the king. Nevertheless, various causes into which it is not necessary to enter, induced Louis to espouse the cause of Stephen on his return, and to make preparations for depriving Geoffrey of the Duchy of Normandy, with the design, it would appear, of bestowing it upon Eustace, Stephen's son, who had married Constance, sister of the French monarch. Through the mediation of Suger, however, a treaty was concluded between the weak king of France, and Geoffrey Plantagenet, by which Geoffrey agreed to make over Normandy itself to his son Henry, the King of France giving that prince full investiture thereof. On his part, Louis received the Norman vexin, and thus became pledged to support the family of Plantagenet in the Duchy of Normandy.

As soon as these points were settled, the king proceeded to the Duchy, and performed his part of the agreement, by formally giving it up to Henry and receiving his homage; and on this occasion, it is supposed, the young Duke for the first time beheld Eleanor, Queen of France. He was destined, however, to be very soon in arms against her husband. That weak and unstable prince soon found occasion of quarrel against Geoffrey of Anjou; and instead of attacking the father in his dominions, he attacked the son in those with which he had just invested him. Henry, however, was prepared to receive him; but the war passed off without any remarkable action, and the King of France had the

mortification of being obliged to retire from Arques, before his own vassal, at the head of a superior force.

A treaty of peace succeeded; and in the autumn of the year 1151, Geoffrey of Anjou died of a fever, leaving to Henry, his eldest son, besides the duchy of Normandy, with which he was already invested, the three remaining counties of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine, comprising one of the richest and most beautiful districts in France. In order to do homage for these new possessions, Henry was once more obliged to visit the court of France; and there he again met with Eleanor, the wife of the French King. It is asserted that on these occasions that Princess became fascinated with the demeanour and appearance of Henry Plantagenet, and conceived for him the passion which afterwards terminated in their union. Whether this might or might not increase her efforts for a divorce, I cannot tell; but at all events, she employed every means to urge that step upon the King. There can be no doubt that her marriage with Louis, her fourth cousin, was contrary to the canons of the Roman Church; and Eleanor took advantage of the fact to press upon the timid conscience of Louis, that they were living in a state of incest, their marriage never having been legalized by a dispensation from Rome.

Louis, on his part, had long entertained a wish to separate from his criminal wife, who, it must be remembered, had brought no male heirs to the throne of France: but motives of policy had hitherto restrained him; for Eleanor had brought him as her dower the vast duchy of Aquitaine, which comprised a large portion of the south of France, and the evil consequences of suffering such an inheritance to become the prize of any new suitor, had been laid before Louis in the strongest language, by his great minister Suger. That minister, however, died on the thirteenth of January, 1152; and immediately after, Louis, calling a council at Beaugency, laid before them his scruples regarding the consanguinity of Eleanor and himself, together with the fact that no dispensation had been received from the Pope. The Clergy pronounced the marriage null; the sentence was confirmed by Papal authority; and Louis, who had no pretence for keeping possession of the territories which Eleanor had brought him in marriage, immediately resigned to her the duchy of Aquitaine, and all its dependen

cies.

Eleanor, who had most likely already fixed upon her future husband, set off with all speed for her duchy; and so great, in those days, was the desire of wealth and the carelessness of reputation, that both the nephew of Stephen, now become Count of Blois, and a younger brother of Henry, Geoffrey Plantagenet, endeavoured to stop this fair Proserpine in her course, and make her a bride by force. The first laid an ambush at Tours—the second somewhere farther on; but Eleanor contrived to

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escape both, and as soon as she arrived in Aquitaine dispatched a messenger to Henry, giving him notic that she was ready to become his wife,

It is probable that this was not the first intimation of her feelings which he had received; her call at all events found him ready and willing; and he immediately set off to join her at Poitiers, where they were married with somewhat indecent haste, within six weeks after her divorce from her former husband.

This marriage surprised and incensed Louis not a little; but the deed was done ; and Henry Plantagenet had added, by his marriage with Eleanor, the Duchy of Aquitaine, to Maine, Anjou, Touraine, and Normandy.

The indignation of Louis, or rather his mortification and disappointment, induced him to seek confederates amongst his own vassals, in order to make war upon Henry, who, in fact, had injured him in nothing. In Anjou he stirred up against that Prince his young brother Geoffrey; and, leaguing himself at the same time with the other disappointed suitor for Eleanor's hand, with Eustace, the son of Stephen King of England, and with his own rebellious brother the Count of Dreux, he attacked the frontiers of Normandy, and laid siege to Neufmarché.

It is probable that the confederates imagined that Henry had quitted Normandy, for since his marriage with Eleanor he had been collecting troops to assert his right to the throne of England, and had

reached Barfleur for the purpose of embarking. The news of the invasion of his territories reached him there, however, and immediately altering his course, he took the field against Louis, at the head of a bril. liant and chivalrous army. Neufmarché he could not save, for either from weakness or treachery it had surrendered before his arrival; but he drove the French out of Normandy, and punished the King of France by ravaging his territories before his face; after which he proceeded into Anjou, and suppressed the insurrection which had been raised by his brother.

On his return, which was speedy, he found that Normandy had been again attacked; but Henry was ready to act promptly against his assailants; the Norman Barons supported him vigorously, and willingly; Louis fell ill of a fever; his army mouldered away; and the overtures for peace which were made by the young Duke of Normandy were gladly received by the French King, who was by this time heartily weary of a war in which he had reaped little but disgrace. A truce was accordingly concluded, and negociations were entered upon for the arrangement of a more durable peace.

Henry, in the meanwhile, rewarded with great discrimination and liberality the Barons who had shewn their attachment to him in the late war; and the wisdom of such conduct soon became apparent, for no sooner did he attempt to renew the expedition to England, than he found himself once more

VOL. I.

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