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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/416

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John
John
410

he had allowed the time for action to slip by; it was now too late. He dismissed his army and ships, but embarked with a small following as if about to cross; landing again at Wareham, and pretending that the expedition had come to nought because his lords neglected to follow him. He accordingly made them pay for having been dismissed to their homes. Philip at once gained all Poitou except Rochelle, Thouars, and Niort, and on 23 June Chinon surrendered. Finding in 1206 that Almeric, viscount of Thouars, who had by that time surrendered to Philip, and his brother Guy, the seneschal of Brittany, were disaffected towards the French king, John gathered an army, and, sailing from Portsmouth, landed at Rochelle on 8 July. Many joined him, and on 1 Aug. he took Montauban. Almeric and several Poitevin lords allied themselves with him, and with their help he took Angers, and ravaged in Anjou and the districts of Nantes, Rennes, and La Mée. Philip ravaged the viscounty of Thouars, and John and the viscount evidently did not dare to meet him. John agreed to a truce for two years,concluded on 26 Oct., by which he surrendered his claim to all his former dominions north of the Loire (Rigord, William of Armorica, Chroniques de St.-Denys ap. Recueil, xvii. 60, 81, 393; Fœdera, i. 95; Wendover, iii. 187). Before the truce was signed he went off to Rochelle, and on 12 Dec. landed at Portsmouth. On 8 Jan. 1207 he met the bishops and abbots at Westminster, and asked them to make him a grant to be levied on the benefices of the clergy. They refused, and the matter was adjourned. He renewed his request at Oxford on 9 Feb., and on their refusal being repeated obtained from the barons the grant of a thirteenth on the movables of the laity. After prohibiting a council of the clergy he sent out letters to them requesting that they would likewise pay the thirteenth. Archbishop Geoffrey refused to allow his clergy to pay, and went into exile [see Geoffrey, Archbishop of York].

By the death of Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, on 12 July 1205, John lost a wise counsellor, whose control he had borne with impatience. His death was followed by a course of violent action on the king's part, which led to a breach of the long-standing alliance between the crown and the church. On hearing the news John hurried to Canterbury, disposed of the archbishop's effects as he chose, and obtained a promise from the chapter that they would not proceed to a new election before 30 Nov. The younger monks, however, elected the sub-prior Reginald secretly and without application to the king. The king heard of his election, and was highly displeased; the suffragan bishops appealed to Pope Innocent III because the election had been made without them, and the monks appealed against the bishops. John sent down messengers exhorting the monks to elect John de Grey, bishop of Norwich, one of his special friends, and offering them rewards if they would do so. They yielded, and on the 11th, in the presence of the king, elected and enthroned John de Grey, to whom John at once granted the temporalities, sending some of the monks to obtain the pope's confirmation and the pall. Their application was opposed by the agent of the sub-prior. John sent money to bribe the Roman officials, and, while declaring that the monks might elect whom they would, charged them to elect no one but his nominee. In the autumn the pope heard the case, quashed both the elections, and, a party of the monks being before him, caused them to elect Cardinal Stephen Langton. John was angry, and refused to receive Stephen into favour. On 17 June the pope consecrated Stephen himself. John, on findingthat the monks meant to adhere to Stephen, ordered an armed force to turn them out of their house, seized their property, and committed their church to the care of the monks of St. Augustine's. On 27 Aug. Innocent wrote to the bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester, bidding them try to persuade John, and if they failed lay the kingdom, under an interdict, and on 19 Nov. wrote again commanding the publication of the interdict. In January 1208 John declared that he would give way, and on 19 Feb. had an interview with Simon Langton, the archbishop's brother, at which, according to John's account, Simon said that the king must submit himself wholly to the archbishop. The negotiation failed. The three bishops besought the king to avoid an interdict, but he swore 'by God's teeth,' for that and 'God's feet' were his usual forms of oath, that if any one published the interdict he would send all the prelates, clerks, and monks in England off to the pope, and would seize their goods, and that if he caught a Roman in his kingdom he would tear out his eyes and cut off his nose. On 23 or 24 March 1208 the three bishops published the interdict, and with two other bishops left the kingdom. Then John sent to the pope offering to accept the archbishop, to place the temporalities in the pope's hands, and to restore the monks, provided that he need not receive Stephen into favour. Innocent bade him put the temporalities into the hands of the three bishops, to whom he sent authority to relax the interdict as soon as an