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From 1226 to 1270 the crown of France was worn by a saint, whose actions, public and private alike, were governed by moral and religious principles, and whose aim was the salvation of souls. It is therefore essential to begin by considering the king’s psychology, which explains most things in his reign. It is, moreover, of extraordinary interest in attaining an intimate understanding of the Middle Ages, and we are enabled to follow it closely, as there are trustworthy documents extant, notably the valuable memoirs dictated by the Sire de Joinville, who accompanied the king on his first Crusade. Louis IX and Louis XI are the two medieval French kings about whom we know most. After ascertaining the principles which guided his policy, we shall try to discover whether his court and servants were animated by a like spirit, and what were the instruments and resources at his disposal. Then we shall observe his conduct, first while defending himself successfully against his rebellious vassals, and later, during the second half of his reign, when he endeavoured to realise his ideals in his internal government and external policy.

The figure of his mother, Blanche of Castile, is inseparable from his. He was 12 years of age, and she 38, when Louis VIII died. It was she who educated and formed the young king; she governed during his minority, never ceased to take a part in public affairs, and, at the end of her life, she was again regent from 1248 to 1252 during his absence in the East. Through her mother, she was a grand-daughter of the imperious Eleanor of Aquitaine and the great English King Henry II; and her father was Alfonso the Noble, one of the most valiant Kings of Castile. Blanche possessed a commanding character, great energy, and a taste and talent for politics. She was a virtuous woman full of ardent piety, who brought up her children in the practice of an enthusiastic and uncompromising devotion. Louis IX, in particular, was educated as though destined for the Church, austerely, andnone too gently. An anecdote told by Joinville shews that Philip Augustus also took a share in his grand­son’s education, counselling him to be strict to those about him.

Physically Louis was unlike his mother. He took after his paternal grandmother, the blonde Isabella of Hainault, and his father, the delicate Louis VIII. Fra Salimbene, who saw Louis IX in 1248 before his departure for the Holy Land, says, “the king was thin, slender, lean, and tall; he had an angelic countenance and a gracious person.” Even at this time his health was wretched. He suffered from chronic attacks of erysipelas which caused him intense pain. Moreover in 1242, while fighting the English in the marshy district of Saintonge, he had, contracted a malarial infection which brought on pernicious anaemia, and he nearly died of it in 1244. His ascetic life and self-imposed mortifications tended to enfeeble him yet further. In Egypt he was again seriously ill. By the time he returned to France he was bald and bent; and by the end of his life he was a mere shadow.

Constantly subject to illness and of a nervous and irritable temperament, he had achieved a remarkable mastery over himself. He must not be represented as a sanctimonious devotee. His character was energetic and decided, nay even obstinate; he was a brave knight and a king who knew how to punish. He was not devoid of a certain hardness; he complained to his confessor that, when praying, he had no tears “to water the aridity of his heart.” In dealing with his courtiers he always maintained a certain distance, and never spoke familiarly to any one. And yet there radiated from him a singular charm. The friendly intercourse, full of naturalness and delicate humour, which he daily extended to those whom he esteemed, exercised on them so great an attraction that never was king more dearly loved. His simple manners blending with a truly kingly majesty, his perfect good-faith, his aversion to lying and hypocrisy, inspired affectionate admiration, and he was venerated for his temperance, chastity, and the fervour of his piety. On this last point there is a large amount of evidence, which was collected shortly after his death for the purpose of his canonisation, and which was faithfully summarised by William of St Pathus, confessor to Queen Margaret. Like all great saints, Louis IX spent much time both by day and by night in the exercises of prayer and meditation, depriving himself of bodily enjoyments, practising mortification, having himself scourged with little iron chains, and tending the poor and sick, especially those suffering from the more loathsome diseases. But it must be remembered above all that he was a mystic and a moralist. “This saintly man loved God with all his heart,” says Joinville; he sought to attain the state of ecstasy, and, face downwards on the ground, he became absorbed in prayer from which he emerged dazed and murmuring, “Where am I?”. He was tormented by the thought that God, Who had died on the cross for men, was not loved and served as He deserved, that there were lukewarm Christians (among whom he included his friend the Sire de Joinville), blasphemers, and infidels, and that he himself did not love his Saviour enough, nor suffer enough for His sake. But he was not one of those mystics to whom the love of God is all-sufficing and all-excusing. Sin horrified him. Few saints who mixed in the life of the world so clearly discerned, in the Middle Ages, the essential principles of Christianity. His devotion was enlightened and his faith grounded on a deep knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. He took greater pleasure in sermons, the study of passages of Scripture, conversations with theologians, and discussions on morality with the people round him, than in hearing an endless succession of masses, like his pious cousin Henry III.

We can therefore comprehend the attitude which he assumed to his family, his counsellors, and his subjects. In his eyes his first duty was to guide them all to Heaven. He believed that in this respect he possessed a right which none could dispute. So great in these matters was his authority as head of the family, that once his wife, in danger of death, refused to vow a pilgrimage, because he was not near her and could not give his permission. His idea of the royal power, and the principles of his internal and external policy, were in perfect conformity with his perpetual preoccupation for the salvation of souls. He did indeed succeed in avoiding vainglory, had no love of power, and even contemplated abdication; he only retained the crown from a sense of duty. But he believed firmly that his sacring conferred on him very extensive rights, and that, when his conscience pointed out to him clearly a course to be taken, he might then resort to arbitrary actions and ignore all counsel. This just and moderate king was one of the founders of the absolute monarchy in France. But he shewed to his subjects the devotion of a father, going so far as to risk his life for them, and he respected established rights and privileges whenever they were not absolutely opposed to his moral ideal. Towards the neighbouring kingdoms he displayed scrupulous justice, and he was a peacemaker. On the other hand, as was inevitable, this saint had no feelings of tolerance either towards heresy among his subjects, or towards the Muslims. The figure of Louis IX offers a violent contrast to that of his contemporary, Frederick II.

Although St Louis was so firm, his internal and external policy was occasionally swayed by the influence of his court and his officials, and this must be recognised. Margaret, daughter of the Count of Provence, whom he married in 1234, was of an arrogant and restless nature; she did not succeed, like her sister Eleanor, wife of Henry III, in filling the court of her husband with natives of Provence, but Louis had to keep a close watch on her, and he allowed himself to be somewhat influenced by her in his relations with England. Of the king’s three brothers, the eldest, Robert of Artois, was imprudent and unruly, as he amply proved during the Egyptian Crusade. The next, Alphonse of Poitiers, was a reasonable person, who resembled Louis IX, though with fewer virtues. But the youngest, the proud and ambitious Charles of Anjou, involved the king in a very, risky Mediterranean policy.

At first Louis IX’s chief counsellors were experienced and wise survivors from the reign of Philip Augustus. Those whom he subsequently selected for himself were for the most part churchmen, such as Eude Rigatwl, Archbishop of Rouen, William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris, Matthew of Vendôme, Abbot of St Denis, Guy Foulquoi (the future Pope Clement IV), and the famous Robert of Sorbon, founder of the College of the Sorbonne. Or else they were petty nobles such as his beloved chamberlain and secretary, Peter of Villebeon. His counsellors were mostly Frenchmen from the Orleanais, the He de France, Picardy, and Champagne, who retained the traditions and ideas of the old Capetian monarchy. We do not yet find in the Curia Regis those lawyers of the Midi, politicians devoid of scruples, who later, under Philip the Fair, imported subversive principles and revolutionary methods into the central government. The officials round Louis IX, although they laboured ardently for the advantage and power of the king, were conservative. It was chiefly the officers in charge of the bailiwicks and sencschalships far from the king’s eye who were dangerous to the nobility, the clergy, and the privileged bourgeoisie. The division of France into bailiwicks (in the north) and seneschalships (in the Midi) was now an accomplished fact, and the important persons placed over them possessed unlimited powers; they managed the royal demesnes and farmed them out to agents, who guaranteed payment of the revenues; they represented the king in districts where the comital powers were his as well, and even in the great fiefs adjoining their circumscriptions which belonged to some count or duke. They laboured, with a zeal often excessive and unjust, to extend the judicial rights and the possessions of the king; they undermined the seignorial privileges of the nobles and prelates; while the petty officials under their orders tyrannised over the peasants and the bourgeois. It was in vain that St Louis strove to oppose these methods; in spite of his fairmindedness and his scruples, the corrosive action of the administration created by Philip Augustus still continued.

The conservative character of the government contemplated by St Louis, as also the monarchical progress achieved under the influence of the king’s servants, can clearly be seen in the history of the Curia Regis during this reign.

If we except the great constitutional struggles then going on in England, with which there is no analogy in France, the Capetian Curia Regis presents certain great resemblances to that of the Plantagenets. The term and the institution both remained vague. The Curia assisted the king to govern; it was formed from those who had been summoned for some special object, or who chanced to be residing at court, or who held office there and were in receipt of a regular salary. Sometimes they formed great and very numerous assemblies, summoned by the king, and similar to those of previous centuries; sometimes they were little meetings of men competent to deal with politics, law, or finance: officers of the Crown, the “clercs du roi,” the “chevaliers du roi.”

During the reign of St Louis, however, the work of subdivision and specialisation, which had begun long before, became accelerated, and the rational organisation of the central government made great strides. As far as we can judge from very inadequate documents, there was as yet no distinct political Council; the word Consilium was applied to every kind of meeting of the Curia. On the other hand, the commissions of legal officials and of financial officials were taking shape; their traditions were becoming established, and their methods of work were improving.

We know the dates when the Courts of King’s Bench and Common Pleas were established in England; it is impossible to assign a date to the Parlement de Paris which in France corresponds with these. If, however, it were absolutely necessary to decide at which period the Curia Regis gave birth to the Parlement de Paris, we should select the reign of St Louis. In the first place, it was towards the middle of the thirteenth century that the word parlamentum, although still often applied to general courts, began to assume the special meaning which it retained throughout five centuries and to describe the Curia in its judicial sittings. In the second place the itinerant character of the commissions of judges was disappearing more and more. Their establishment in Paris had become inevitable owing to the new character of the procedure. At the beginning of the thirteenth century a large number of judgments, even of great importance, were given verbally, without any written document, and their substance could only be established by means of record, i.e. by witnesses. After the annexation of Normandy to the royal domain, and under the influence of Norman methods, written proceedings superseded the system of record. Judgments began to be entered on rolls, certainly not later than 1254, and by 1263 the more interesting were being registered. In short, a Record Office was definitely established, which necessitated fixed premises, as the piles of documents very quickly assumed enormous proportions; to ensure the swift transaction of business, it became necessary for the legal staff to remain in Paris, although the king and his court still made frequent changes of residence. Finally, and this was the chief sign of a great transformation, this legal staff* gradually eliminated the non-professional element. Twenty or thirty individuals, who had studied customary law and who spent their lives in examining cases and giving decisions, formed the “parlement.” In each case, one of them presided and pronounced judgment. They were called “conseillers,” “maitres,” “chevaliers du roi,” or “clercs du roi.” Bailiffs were also very often to be found among the judges. There were among the bailiffs of St Louis some professional jurists who spent part of their career as maitres in the Parlement; such was, for instance, Peter of Fontaines, bailiff of Vermandois in 1253, who, by desire of Louis IX, wrote a treatise for the legal instruction of the princes. But those who appear under this title in the list of judges were bailiffs still acting as such, who sat either because they happened to be in Paris with the king, or because they were concerned in the case. In like manner bishops were summoned when a prelate was involved in a case. For the same reason it was recognised that the magnates had a right to be tried by the “peers of France”, who on such occasions sat with the legal officers of the king; but (on this point as on many others we must not accept every statement made by Matthew Paris) there was no “court of twelve peers" .The real royal judges, those who presided over all the cases of which the king took cognisance, were professional lawyers, often of obscure birth, whom he had chosen for their talents and their uprightness. These ancestors of the proud Parlement de Paris, which played so important a part throughout the whole existence of the French monarchy, became established as a body in the reign of St Louis. Moreover they could sit in other sections of the Curia, and in the solemn assemblies, and might be political counsellors as well as judges; and for this reason the Parlement, or Curia Regis sitting to try cases, would never renounce its political claims.

The origins of the Chambre des Comptes are even more obscure than those of the Parlement de Paris. The financial documents of the thirteenth century have almost disappeared, and we have no treatise of this ancient time comparable with the Dialogus de Scaccario. But the organisation of the Curia Regis sitting to receive the accounts rendered by the bailiffs, and to prepare in advance for the audit, is certainly much older than that of the Parlement; it was only perfected during the reign of St Louis. Here also there is no doubt that the annexation of Normandy tended to aid the progress of monarchical administration. Borelli de Serres, who has displayed so much penetration in studying the origin oi public finance in France, has discovered an account dealing with the bailiwicks of Normandy in 1229-1230; it is much more methodical and regular than the accounts of the bailiwicks of France in the same period. Evidently the king’s servants deputed to sit at the Exchequers of Rouen and Caen brought thence better rules—not only for legal but also for financial administration. From a comparison of the few rolls that remain, it is evident that greater order and precision had gradually been introduced into the classification of receipts and expenditure. But the great reforms in the financial services and in the Treasury did not take place until the reigns of Philip the Fair and his sons.

A budget founded on the same methods as those obtaining in the time of his father and grandfather was indeed congenial to the conservative tastes, the simplicity, and the pacific policy of St Louis. It is impossible to estimate the king’s total revenues at this period; the documents are not sufficiently coherent. But we can at least say that the character of the royal revenues had not changed. Most of the resources were still derived from the royal demesne. Besides this, the officials still continued to collect profitable fines, sums paid in lieu of military service, donations voluntary only in name which were demanded from towns and which tended more and more to their financial ruin, and finally heavy tallages imposed from time to time on the Italian bankers and the Jews. On the occasions of the two crusades of St Louis and the Sicilian expedition of Charles of Anjou, the clergy had to pay very heavy taxes. In all this there was nothing really new.

Nor was there any essential modification in the methods by which the royal revenues were collected. The provostship of Paris had, indeed, been reformed, but this reform did not bear the character which has been assigned to it by historians up to our day. Relying on references in the Grandes Chroniques de France and in Joinville, it was believed that this office had been farmed out at the beginning of the reign to various unscrupulous bourgeois, who were supposed to have oppressed the population to the grave detriment of the royal treasury; St Louis, “having,” says Joinville, “learned the whole truth... would not allow the provostship of Paris any longer to be farmed,” and entrusted it with good pay to an honest man named Stephen Boileau, who did justice without bias, and was so careful that the Treasury’s receipts were doubled. In reality the reform had neither these motives nor these results. Stephen Boileau’s predecessors were prominent and honest merchants. Boileau himself had at first farmed the provostship. But after about 1265 it is probable that neither he nor any one else would have accepted the office on these terms, for it threatened to become ruinous. The revenues indeed remained the same, while the expenses charged to the provostship were daily increasing. About this time the king decided that Stephen Boileau should cease to farm the office and should become a mere agent; the receipts became increasingly inadequate, but the deficit was henceforth borne by the Treasury. The population was no less oppressed than heretofore, because, in order to bring in the various revenues of the demesne within the provostship of Paris, Stephen Boileau entrusted their collection to numerous farmers, so that the inconveniences which the former system had imposed on the subjects were retained. This is a characteristic example; even in Paris there was no attempt to suppress the system by which the royal demesne was exploited, so as to supersede it by a system of direct collection.

Louis IX had many opportunities of adding considerably to his resources by acquiring new domains. His scrupulous honesty prevented this. The tale of acquisitions during his reign is quickly told. By the treaty of Paris which in 1229 ended the Crusade against the Albigenses, the Count of Toulouse was deprived of the duchy of Narbonne, i.e. Lower Languedoc; everything within this district which had belonged in demesne to the count, especially the viscounty of Nunes, henceforth formed part of the royal demesne; the rest passed from the suzerainty of the count into that of the king. In 1239 the Count and Countess of Macon, who were child­ess, sold their county to the king. Finally, after the death of the king's uncle,Philip Hurepel,the counties of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis and Mortain, and the castellany of Domfront, accrued to the royal domain. On the other hand, Louis IX formed for his younger sons appanages which almost counterbalanced the above-mentioned annexations; thus Peter received the counties of Alenyon and Perche, and Robert that of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis. These appanages awarded to his sons were, however, very modest compared to those which he conferred on his three brothers, in obedience to the will of his father Louis VIII. On attaining their majority, one of them, Robert, received Artois (1237); to another, Alphonse, were given Poitou, Saintonge, and Auvergne (1241), to which was added, after his marriage to Joan of Toulouse, the heritage of Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, who died in 1249; finally the youngest, Charles, received Anjou and Maine (1246). If these magnificent provinces had not been assigned to the princes of the royal family, over half the kingdom would have formed part of the royal domain. But possibly the unification of France rather gained than lost from this policy of appanages. In particular, it seems that the very careful administration of Alphonse of Poitiers contributed to the rapid assimilation of the provinces of the Midi.

The advantages which the monarchy reaped from the moderation and uprightness of Louis IX can clearly be seen in the monetary history of the reign. The king was loth to make excessive profits on the Mint, or to make arbitrary changes in the relation between the coins and the money of account; neither did he, at his own good pleasure, modify the ratio between gold and silver coins. The king's currency inspired so much confidence that he was enabled to restrict to his advantage the circulation of the seignorial currencies, without arousing excessive indignation. He did not claim, as did later Philip the Fair, that he held the exclusive right of coining, or of authorising the coining of money, but he prohibited the use of any currency other than his in all places where there was no seignorial mint, and he ordained that the royal currency should be accepted per totum regnum. His officials, of course, went farther than he did, and often attempted unduly to prevent the currency of seignorial money. But the next generation experienced much graver abuses and looked back regretfully to the good coinage of St Louis.

Such as they were, the financial resources of the monarchy enabled him to defend himself when attacked, to carry out two crusades, and finally to establish peace throughout the kingdom. This was achieved without any alteration in the old military system. In case of danger, he had recourse to feudal service, and the service of the communes in the royal demesne. The right of summoning to the host all the common people of the demesne was exercised, but almost solely to permit the levying of taxes in lieu of service. On the other hand, regular troops consisting of knights, cross-bowmen, and servants, were engaged and paid, who could be employed at will and depended on with safety. The enemies of France found themselves confronted with a sound and efficiently-led army.

In a word, under St Louis the French monarchy displayed no inordinate ambition, and did not possess the new resources which would have been necessary to satisfy it. But it perfected the earlier means of action, and, as will be seen, Louis knew how to reap full advantage from his twofold character as a supreme suzerain and the possessor of divine right bestowed by the sacring. During the childhood and youth of the king, the monarchy experienced some hard blows, which it succeeded in parrying; after 1243, or thereabouts, its triumph was assured, and it enjoyed an incomparable prestige. We must first study it on the defensive.

When Louis VIII died, he entrusted the care of the kingdom and of his son to Blanche of Castile. The barons were annoyed by this decision, and there were significant and alarming abstentions from the coronation of the young Louis IX on 29 November 1226. Blanche’s somewhat harsh methods left the barons no hope of dividing among themselves the rich heritage of Philip Augustus and his son. They immediately announced that they were unwilling to be governed by a woman and a stranger, who was sending the royal money to Spain, was teaching her son to dislike the nobles and to surround himself with priests, and was preventing him from being liberal with his possessions. They called her by the name which in the Roman de Renard is given to the she-wolf: Dame Herscnt. And in the winter of 1226-7 a feudal coalition was formed.

But the protagonists of the feudal opposition were of poor metal. The old members of the League which Philip Augustus had overthrown at Bou vines were no longer formidable; Ferrand, Count of Flanders, who had been set free on 6 January 1227, remained inert, and his accomplice, Renaud de Dammartin, Count of Boulogne, died soon after in prison. Philip Hurepel, the king’s uncle, a negligible and inefficient person, whom the barons would have liked as regent so that they might have a free held, was incapable of playing the part of a leader. The Count of Champagne, Thibaud le Chansonnier, was a great noble given to poetry, versatile and inconstant; he professed a platonic love for Blanche of Castile, which she turned to account; in his vacillations, he was formidable neithei* to the monarchy nor to the allies whom he betrayed. The nobles of Poitou, such as«the Count of La Marche, were perpetual busy-bodies, troublesome rather than dangerous, always ready to yield to force and to start fresh and useless intrigues the next day. Blanche’s most dangerous enemy was Peter of Dreux, great-grandson of Louis VI, who held the county of Brittany as guardian for his son, who was still a minor. He was a harsh and ambitious man, dissatisfied with his precarious position and with his temporary title of Count of Brittany. He was nicknamed Mauclerc, because of the brutality with which he treated the Breton clergy. Finally, the coalition could reckon on the Count of Toulouse, who had not yet made his submission, and on the King of England, who regretted the French possessions which had been wrested from John Lackland.

The struggle was confused and uninteresting; as intricate and as use­less as, in later days, was the Fronde during the minority of Louis XIV; as full of childish intrigues and betrayals; as disastrous for the hard­working populations of certain provinces, such as Champagne which was laid waste by the soldiers. The first coalition concluded between Peter Mauclerc, Thibaud of Champagne, the Poitevin nobles, and the King of England, was easily foiled by means of a few concessions, the most serious of which was the grant of Belleme and St James de Beuvron, important fortresses on the borders of Normandy and Brittany, which Peter Mauclerc demanded (February—March 1227). In the same year the nobles all but captured the young king. “All the barons” says Joinville, “were assembled at Corbeil. And the sainted king once told me that neither he nor his mother, who were at Montlhery, durst return to Paris, until the people of Paris came armed to fetch them. And he told me that from Montlhery onward the roads were full of men armed and unarmed as far as Paris, and that all prayed to Our Lord that He would grant to the king a good life and a long, and that He would defend and guard him from his enemies.” These vivid impressions of childhood must have made a deep mark on the mind of Louis IX; in such days he conceived a great horror of feudal disorder and vowed that he would restore peace to France.

During the years 1228-9, the nobles continued to agitate and to conspire; but Blanche of Castile, skilfully aided by an Italian prelate, the Cardinal-legate, Romano Frangipani, succeeded in partially disorganising the forces of her enemies. The cruel war between the Albigensian heretics and the royal troops, which had been going on in the county of Toulouse since 1226, came to an end, after a systematic devastation of the Toulousain district. The legate forced Count Raymond VII to submit and to accept very severe terms. Raymond was only allowed to retain the district of Toulouse, Agenais, Rouergue, Quercy, and the north of Albigeois (Treaty of Paris, 11 April 1229). In the north, Thibaud of Champagne was almost completely won over to the monarchical cause. The good towns in the royal domain between the Seine and Flanders, thirty-four in number, swore to serve faithfully the king and his mother. A heavy blow was struck at the prestige of Peter Mauclerc by the capture of his castle of Belleme, which was held to be one of the strongest fortresses in the kingdom. This was a strenuous operation of war, carried on absolutely ruthlessly in the heart of winter (January 1229) by the Marshal John Clement, in the presence of Louis IX and Blanche.

Peter Mauclerc then resolved on open treason, and on 9 October in the same year he landed in England. A few days later, he did homage for Brittany to Henry III. In the month of January he sent to bid defiance to the King of France. The year 1230 was particularly critical. The King of England, after having made considerable preparations and requisitioned several hundred vessels, landed at St Malo on 3 May. Meanwhile Champagne was invaded: Philip Hurepel, the Duke of Burgundy, and the other conspiring barons could not forgive Count Thibaud for having deserted to the queen’s party; it was asserted that he had poisoned Louis VIII and that he was Blanche of Castile’s lover. Fortunately for her, the inert Henry III had not sufficient energy to seize so good an opportunity; and, moreover, the French barons hesitated to betray their king openly and disobey the Pope, who was supporting Blanche of Castile. When they received their summons to the host to repel the English invasion, they did not refuse their service of forty days, and contributed their quotas to the royal army which invaded Brittany; they allowed the Curia Regis, assembled in the camp outside Ancenis, to declare that Peter Mauclerc had forfeited the guardianship of Brittany (June 1230). At the end of the forty days, they went back to their spoliation of Champagne; but Blanche of Castile, now free from anxiety in the west, was in a position to help her vassal. The enemies of the Count of Champagne dared not attack the army in which the young king was present in person, and, when Philip Hurepel concluded with the Queen Regent a peace favourable to himself, the coalition of nobles became disorganised (September). Meanwhile Henry III was feebly carrying out a useless military advance as far as Bordeaux; then, uneasy at the attitude of certain Poitevin barons, and unwell, he retraced his steps and returned to England (28 October). His subjects were very resentful at this wretched expedition, and for over ten years his financial embarrassments obliged him to postpone his plan of reconquering the fiefs lost by John Lackland. In 1234 Peter Mauclerc, counting on his support, again took up arms. As the King of England only sent some 60 knights and a body of Welsh bowmen, Peter was unable to resist the royal army, made his submission, and informed Henry III that he renounced his allegiance.

In the same year, 1234, on 25 April, Louis IX attained his majority. His mother, who still continued to play a great part in politics, had well defended the interests of the Crown during his minority. No foreign prince had succeeded in lessening its glory. By the marriage between Louis and Margaret of Provence, French influence was extended beyond the Rhone, which then served as frontier. Internally the royal domain had been increased by the addition of a part of the county of Toulouse. The lands which had for a time been granted to Peter Mauclerc had been recovered. Thibaud le Chansonnier, in return for the services rendered to him by the king, had ceded to him the direct suzerainty of the counties of Blois, Chartres, Sancerre, and Chateaudun. One by one all the great barons who had caused the disturbances had disappeared, or were about, to do so, Philip Hurepel was dead. Peter Mauclerc, after renewed attempts at disorder, soon relinquished Brittany to his son, John the Red, who had attained his majority. As to the versatile Count of Champagne, his part in the history of France ended in ridicule and humiliation; in 1236, after conspiring with Peter Mauclerc, he was made to come and sue for pardon at court; and the king’s young brother, Robert of Artois, arranged for ordure to be thrown on his head. Thibaud left for Navarre, of which he had become king, and Louis IX was rid of this troublesome and very undependable person.

The last uprising of the malcontents occurred between 1240 and 1243. It might have had serious results, as the whole of the west and south of France was affected. In 1240, owing to causes which we shall consider later, the Albigenses again became active, and there were armed risings in Languedoc. In the following year Alphonse, the king’s brother, was invested with his appanage, and went to Poitou to receive the homage of his vassals. The most powerful of these was Hugh of Lusignan, Count of La Marche, who had married Isabella of Angouleme, widow of John Lackland and mother of Henry III, the very person whose marriage to the King of England had caused the appeal of the Poitevin barons and the sentence of disinheritance pronounced by the Court of France against John in 1202. She was a woman with an imperious and violent temper, before whom Hugh trembled. We learn from a very interesting letter written by a bourgeois of La Rochelle to Blanche of Castile, that Isabella could not bear the thought that her husband was vassal to Alphonse of Poitiers. She roundly declared to Hugh of Lusignan that he should never again share her bed if he consented to abase himself in this manner. Hugh, who would have preferred a policy of bargaining and small profits, resigned himself to the task of forming a conspiracy. Conditions were favourable. The Poitevin barons were proverbially addicted to treason. They held meetings, first among themselves, then with the Gascon barons and the mayors of Bordeaux, Bayonne, St Emilion, and La Reole. The “French,” they said, wish to enslave us; it were better to come to terms with the King of England, who is a long way off, and will not take from us our lands. And, in fact, they did come to terms with the King of England, and also with the King of Aragon, who was lord of Montpellier, and with the Count of Toulouse. At the court held at Poitiers on Christmas Day, Hugh of Lusignan defied his lord, the Count Alphonse, and war was prepared.

In the spring of 1242 the royal army very quickly captured the Poitevin strongholds. Henry III vainly demanded from his Parliament the resources necessary for a fresh invasion of France. He landed at Royan on 12 May 1242, with a small expedition consisting only of seven earls and 300 knights. Isabella welcomed her son warmly and thanked him for coming to succour his mother, whom the sons of Blanche of Spain so wickedly wished to tread underfoot. But when the armies of the two kings met near the bridge of Taillebourg on 21 July, there was no battle; alarmed at the sight of the French camp, which looked like a large and populous city, Henry’s scanty troops retired within the walls of Saintes. On the morrow, however, the English and the Gascons made a sortie. But Henry III gave the signal for flight. The Poitevins submitted; Hugh of Lusignan, Isabella, and their children presented themselves before Louis IX, and kneeling begged for mercy. Mad with anger, Isabella became a nun and retired to Fontevrault, where she died in 1246, quickly followed to the grave by her husband. Meanwhile Henry III retired to England two months after his defeat at Saintes, with yet another failure to his account.

This was the last English invasion during the reign of St Louis. It was also the end of the feudal anarchy in Poitou for many a day; order was established by the administration of Alphonse of Poitiers and later by that of the king’s officials.

But the Midi was not yet pacified. In that region, Louis IX reaped what the severity of his officials and the inquisitors had sown. The treaty of 1229 had not put an end to the persecutions from which Languedoc suffered. In the seigniory retained by Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, who was personally inclined to a tolerant and kindly policy, he was under the supervision of the legates and. the bishops, who rained excommunications on him whenever he shewed any signs of lukewarmness in religious affairs. In 1233 he was obliged to publish statutes against heresy, and to allow the Inquisition to be organised within his States. The persecution was ruthless, and it ruined, decimated, dispersed on distant pilgrimages, or terrorised by frequent auto-da-fes, a large number of families. Tolerant Catholics were prosecuted and heretics were offered a choice between conversion or death. “Behold”, said the Inquisitor, “the consuming fire which devours thy companions. Answer me quickly; either thou shalt burn in the fire, or thou shalt conform.... See, how the people crowd to see thee burn.”

In the new royal seneschalships of Beaucaire and Carcassonne, religious persecution was not the only evil. The seneschals and viguiers who administered them were knights from northern France; they treated districts as conquered country. The seneschals, once they were appointed by the king, lived like great independent barons, and profiting by the difficulties of the monarchy, they enjoyed absolute authority. Peter of Athies, who was seneschal of Beaucaire from 1239 to 1241, abused his position shamefully; greedy and licentious, he governed by fear, and refused to obey the orders sent by the king. “I would,” he said,gladly give a hundred silver marks if I might hear nothing more of the king and queen.” William of les Ormes, seneschal of Carcassonne, imprisoned some burgesses who, crippled by the taxes he had imposed, ventured to appeal to the king. Each seneschal had for lieutenants several vigulers (vicarii). These purchased their appointments, and meant to derive great profits therefrom; they disobeyed the seneschal even as he disobeyed the king. Filially, in each parish of the demesne, there was a baile to manage the king’s property and arrest delinquents. The batles were recruited from among the natives of the province, but were none the less violent and tyrannical. Thus the inhabitants were, in one way or the other, crushed beneath the weight of vexations, fines contrary to custom, arrests on false pretences, requisitions without payment, forced labour, injury to property, and, finally, arbitrary taxation.

During the early part of St Louis' reign, it frequently happened that similar abuses were suffered elsewhere, and there were complaints in the Midi about the officers of the Count of Toulouse, before the Albigensian crusade. But the oppression had become aggravated in the two seneschalships, because it was not easy to lodge a complaint at the king’s court, which was so far away. Moreover, it had assumed a much more destructive character, because the repression of heresy was an excuse for violent methods, and because the privileges of the lay and ecclesiastical aristocracy and of the bourgeoisie, which had been respected by the Counts of Toulouse, were now bitterly opposed by the king’s officials. Not only were those inhabitants convicted of heresy, the faidits punished and dispossessed, but very often the goods of those whom the Inquisition recognised as victims of false accusations were not returned to their owners, and the Catholic relatives of the faidits were persecuted and robbed. Finally, the seneschals, under pretext of restoring order and defending the king’s rights, were above all intent on destroying strongholds, preventing the exercise of seignorial and municipal jurisdiction, and extending the royal demesne properly so called to the limits of their seneschalships. They engaged in a bitter struggle with the nobles of the Cevennes in the mountainous districts of Gevaudan and Velay, and even in Vivarais, which was still territory of the Empire. The Albigensian crusade, which had ruined so many southern families, had left two powerful houses in the Cevennes—the Pelet, and the lords of Anduze—who were allowed to remain after promising fidelity and orthodoxy. Round these two families there existed a horde of brigand barons, poverty-stricken but formidable warriors, who passed their lives in quarrelling but would not brook foreign domination. Peter of Atliies succeeded in taking and demolishing a large number of strongholds, and in establishing royal bailes here and there in Gevaudan. His struggle with Dame Tiburge, widow of Bernard Pelet, was famous. He was not always victorious, but he destroyed five of the castles which had belonged to the Pelet family and shattered their prestige. In like manner, Peter Bermond of Anduze was partially dispossessed. Finally the towns, which had gradually obtained the right of forming consulats with important privileges with regard to administration, justice, and taxation, went back to their former insecurity. At Beaucaire, for instance, the consulate was suppressed, and the judicial and financial privileges of the town were persistently violated.

An outlaw, Raymond Trencavel, resolved to use the popular discontent to revive the Albigensian resistance. He was the son of Raymond Roger, Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne, one of Simon de Montfort’s victims. Raymond Trencavel, who had been excommunicated in 1227 and deprived of his possessions, had taken refuge at the court of the King of Aragon, a centre of intrigues against France. Without waiting for substantial support from the enemies of Louis IX, he appeared in Languedoc in 1240 with a band of exiles and of Catalan knights, persuaded part of the population in the seneschalship of Carcassonne to espouse his cause, and seized a few places. The seneschal William of les Ormes, the Archbishop of Narbonne, and the Bishop of Toulouse organised the defence of Carcassonne, and called for help from the Count of Toulouse, who however preserved a doubtful neutrality. In reality he was counting on Trencavel’s success, but did not wish to compromise himself immediately. Trencavel occupied the open bourg of Carcassonne, and 33 Catholic priests were massacred there. But the fortified cite resisted Trencavel’s furious assaults (17 September—11 October 1240), and he made off when he learnt that royal troops were approaching. Blanche of Castile, who seems at this time once more to have assumed control of affairs in the Midi, had entrusted a strong army to an efficient leader, the Chamberlain John of Beaumont, who was notorious for his brutality. Trencavel retreated across the Pyrenees.

Many of his partisans were hanged; many old families round Carcas­sonne were deprived of their possessions, and the land passed finally to new owners. But the Count of Toulouse, encouraged by the King of Aragon, the Count of Foix, and other Pyrenean seigneurs, secretly prepared a revolt. In 1241 he negotiated with Hugh of Lusignan, who was prepared to defy Alphonse of Poitiers. Meanwhile the Inquisitors, at this most untimely moment, redoubled their zeal, and even attacked Catholics who had merely kept up relations of friendship and neighbourliness with the Cathari. Exasperation increased, and the news spread that the English and the barons of the west were about to drive the French back to the Île de France. A fortnight after Henry III's landing at Royan, the two inquisitors who had just arrived at Avignonet to try heretics were assassinated with theii’ suite. It seemed, as though the whole of the Midi was about to revolt. Raymond VII seized Narbonne and Beziers. But Louis IX’s victory at Saintes demoralised the Southerners. Abandoned by the Count of Foix, and threatened, by a new crusade which would deprive him of his possessions, on 20 October 1242 Raymond VII sent suppliant letters to Louis IX and Blanche. Soon after he obtained peace, in return for a promise to observe the treaty of Paris and to destroy heresy within his dominions. The remaining strongholds, which served as habitual refuges for the heretics, very soon fell. The provincial nobles were decimated and ruined, and heresy, which depended on them, gradually disappeared.

The disturbances whose history we have just summarised, marked alike the close of the Albigensian resistance and the end of the dangers which had threatened the monarchy ever since the coalition of Bouvines. Henceforward Louis IX could devote himself to the salvation of his soul and the good government of his kingdom.

The dominant preoccupation in St Louis’ mind was to lead num heavenward in his company. Therefore the Christian education of his subjects in every rank of life was his chief interest. Every evening, at bed-time, he personally gave religious instruction to his children. He wrote for their use with his own hand the Enseignements, which are chiefly pious precepts. Vincent of Beauvais, the famous author of the Speculum, tells us that St Louis charged him to give moral and religious instruction to “princes, knights, counsellors, ministers and others, who were resident at court or administering public affairs elsewhere.” The king liked to arrange sermons for the edification of his barons, for the common people, or even for the clergy. He considered, that there were never enough houses dedicated to prayer. “And so”, says Joinville, “even as the writer who has written a book illuminates it with gold and azure, the said king illuminated his kingdom with beautiful abbeys.” One of the most perfect gems of Gothic art, the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, was built at his order (1246-8) to provide a worthy abode for the relics of the Passion, which he purchased from the needy Emperor Baldwin. What may be termed the social policy of St Louis was definitely religious in character. When lie founded in Paris the famous lay congregation of the Quinze-Vingts, to provide an asylum for 300 blind folk, when he sent succour to provinces threatened with famine, when he personally attended the poor and sick, he was applying the precepts of his religion with, intellb gence and love, but he was far from possessing any of our modern ideas. For this same man, still with the intention of securing his own salvation and that of others, showed himself capable of cruel fanaticism.

He indeed punished blasphemers and persecuted heretics with great harshness. It was owing to his active co-operation that Popes Gregory IX and Innocent IV were enabled to establish the Inquisition in France, when in most countries of Europe it was repulsed by the secular clergy. And especially from 1233 onwards the persecution became systematically organised, and spread almost throughout France, because of the resistance offered by the Cathari in the South and infection from the Albigensian heresy in the Northern provinces. Louis and his mother defrayed the expenses of the inquisitors, and supplied them with a guard for their protection. The secular clergy had abandoned their ancient prerogative at the request of the Pope and the king; while councils at Beziers, Albi, and Tours established the tribunals of the Inquisition and their terrible secret procedure, which was to exert so sinister an influence on French criminal law. The officials of St Louis offered no opposition to prosecutions which enabled, them, by means of confiscations tending to the king’s advantage, to enrich the treasury and round off the demesne.

The prevailing credulity is shown by the belief accorded to Brother Robert, who between 1233 and 1239 terrorised the tie de France, Burgundy, Champagne, and Flanders. He was a converted Patarine, and was therefore nicknamed the Bougre, or Bulgar. After a holocaust of 183 heretics, or so-called heretics, who were burned before an immense throng at Mont-Aimé in Champagne, men realised that this maniac was condemning Orthodox and Cathari alike; he died in prison. We have seen how in the Midi the Albigensian resistance ended in the final submission of Raymond VII. But the persecution continued, and the Count of Toulouse helped therein, in accordance with his promise. He shewed great zeal. In the year of his death (1249) he burned near Agen 80 Cathari who had recanted their errors, and whom an inquisitor would not have handed over to the secular arm for execution. After him came the greedy Alphonse of Poitiers, who married his daughter and took possession of the country; he was less barbarous, but gave his support to prosecutions from which the king allowed him to benefit.

Personally Louis IX would certainly not have ordered the burning of repentant heretics, foi’ one of his great desires was for conversions. Just as at his abbey of Royaumont he educated Saracen children whom he had brought from the East, so by his generous gifts he succeeded in persuading a certain number of Jews to be baptised. But all toleration was foreign to his mind, and it was only with great difficulty that he was persuaded to allow the presence of Jews in his kingdom for financial reasons which his counsellors urged on him. Joinville tells us that he allowed that very good clerks, capable by their attainments of convert­ing infidels, might argue with the Jews, but that the only possible attitude for a layman, if he heard them decrying the Christian law, was “to plunge his sword into their bellies, as far as it would go,”

Nowhere was the rigidity of Louis IX’s principles in the internal government of his kingdom more forcibly shewn than in the exercise of his duties as a judge. There he applied the theory of monarchy rendered divine by the sacring to its full extent. He regarded himself as God’s delegate. He was pre-eminently the king justiciar. No doubt many of the events in the judicial history of his reign—which has scarcely begun to be written—are manifestations of the tenacious activity of his counsellors sitting in the Parlement, and of the enterprising spirit shewn by his bailiffs and seneschals. But it seems possible to trace the king’s share, which was no small one. In the first place, he liked to try eases himself, according to his conscience. In several great criminal cases he imposed his will. He also liked to set the over-litigious on the “right and straight” path. Joinville depicts him at the foot of an oak at Vincennes, or else seated in his garden in Paris, superintending the exercise of justice by his counsellors, and altering the sentence when it did not please him. Moreover he took care that justice should be equal for all. Neither the most noble families, nor the members of his household, could expect any favour from him. Charles of Anjou, who was selfish and vainglorious, was slow to understand that the king’s brother must pay his debts and consider other people. Louis IX did not spare him.

The old barbarous customs of vengeance, of private war, of judicial duels, horrified Louis. The judicial duel was used either as a method of proof against a witness accused of falsehood, or a means of recourse against a judge appealed against for false judgment. Influenced obviously by Canon Law, which did not admit the duel, Louis IX forbade its use before the royal, judges. This was one cause for the enormous multiplication of appeals brought before the Parlement of Paris. The king went still farther, when he attacked the old right of vengeance which was practised by the bourgeois and the peasants as well as the nobles, but which had specially terrible results when it caused war between two great feudal families. The remedies which had been found, a truce or surety between families at feud, a “paix a partie,”i.e. “peace between the parties,” terminating the blood-feud and accompanied? by a penance for the guilty, all this did not content St Louis. He established, or at least revived, the Quarantaine-le-Roi, a truce of 40 days imposed on those of the relatives who had not taken part in the original affray.

He revised those paix a partie which did not seem to him to impose severe enough penances on the murderers. Finally, about January 1258, he decided to forbid all private wars, all incendiarism, all disturbance caused to husbandry throughout his kingdom, and the carrying of arms was strictly prohibited. Family feuds did not absolutely cease, but they were effectively checked by the interdict against carrying arms; in the Midi, even outside the royal domain, cognisance of any infraction of this law was one of the cases reserved for trial at the royal courts.

It was not enough to impose on others order and justice, and a respect for persons and property. St Louis realised that for the last fifty years the monarchy had been committing crimes of violence and injustice, alike in the old domain and the new. When he was on the point of departure for the Egyptian Crusade, he felt scruples over leaving unanswered the complaints he had received, and he determined to entrust a mission of reparation to certain trustworthy men. Hence the system of circuits of enquetteurs, which began in 1247, and which, after the king returned from Palestine, took place every year. Before and after the days of St Louis, it sometimes happened that the Kings of France sent counsellors to make distant circuits; but this was intended, in the narrowest sense of the word, to serve the king’s interests, to compel obedience from his officials, to make peculators disgorge their ill-gotten gains, or to restore the tranquillity which had been disturbed. St Louis, in his letters of January 1247, declared that the mission of the enqueteurs was to “receive in writing and to examine the grievances which may be brought against us and our ancestors, as also allegations of the injustices and exactions of which our bailiffs, provosts, foresters, sergeants, and their subordinates may have been guilty.” Thus the king wished to repair the sins which had been committed; the inquests had a moral and religious character. Moreover, the enqueteurs were almost always Franciscan friars, especially at first. Gradually there were introduced among them some counsellors from the Court, who presided over the commissions, because it was recognised that the religious lacked experience and frequently allowed themselves to be deceived. But until the end of the reign, the people regarded the circuits of enqueteurs as intended “to give justice to everyone, the poor as well as the rich.” After the death of St Louis, the character of these missions completely changed.

Only a small part of the depositions collected has survived. Nevertheless it fills a folio volume of the Recueil des Historiens de France Sometimes we find complaints classed according to a geographical plan, and relating to all kinds of subjects, often futile and trivial. Sometimes we find a wide inquest concerning the administration of some bailiff or provost, and occasionally the emptiness of the accusations proves that the official was an honest man. But very many abuses, violent actions, and arbitrary proceedings, are freely denounced. This enormous mass of documents was not collected in vain; the enqueteurs possessed most extensive powers to right wrongs. Moreover the statements received gave rise to ordennance such as that of 1254 on the administration of bailiffs and seneschals.

By means of the Inquests of St Louis, his letters and ordonnance and other documents, we can form some idea of his attitude towards the clergy, the nobles, the privileged towns, and the common people.

The traditional defensive attitude of the Capetian monarchy and lay society towards the Church was not interrupted by St Louis. Astonishment has been expressed because so pious a king, albeit showing the greatest theoretical respect towards any wearer of the tonsure, and exercising the greatest care in the disposal of any benefices to which he held the nomination, should yet have proved so energetic a layman.He did not question either the spiritual supremacy of the Church, nor the old alliance which bound it to the monarchy. He only aimed at repressing the abuses which threatened the temporal power, and, in this sphere as elsewhere, he wished to preserve every one’s rights. His mothe Blanche of Castile had set him an example. She had had violent conflicts with the Bishop of Beauvais, with the Archbishop of Rouen, and with the masters and students of the University of Paris, whose courses were interrupted for two years (1229-31).

Joinville records interviews between the king and certain bishops about temporal matters. St Louis spoke to them very sharply, and did not hesitate to accuse them of covetousness and disloyalty. In like manner, the Inquests prove that his officials insisted that the clergy should shew them respect; thus a viguier once condemned some monks to be fined because they had not left their refectory and come in a body to receive him. St Louis repressed his officials when they exceeded their powers, but did not permit their legitimate authority and their independence to be questioned. If they refused to seize the goods of excommunicated persons, the king upheld them; he considered that in such cases the Church should not call for his support. As regards jurisdiction, he preserved the same attitude as his grandfather Philip Augustus. As certain prelates offered a stubborn resistance to the jurisdiction of the royal and seignorial judges, an assembly was held at St Denis in 1235, and the king joined the barons in sending a protest to Pope Gregory IX against the proceedings of the clergy.

In other circumstances he made common cause with his clergy against the Holy See, or even, towards the end of his reign, with the Holy See against his clergy. Relations between Church and State in France as well as in England, during the last three centuries of the Middle Ages, were affected by the greed and favouritism of the Popes, who claimed to dispose of the benefices and property of the churches, while the governments did not wish foreigners to monopolise appointments to bishoprics and abbeys, nor gold to be taken out of the kingdom. The first great ordonnance prohibi ting irregularappointments to benefices, and thelevying of taxes for the benefit of the Roman Curia, was for long attributed to St Louis; this pretended “Pragmatic Sanction” is a forgery, which was fabricated by the counsellors of Charles VII in 1438. But in his youth St Louis would not have been disinclined to favour such an edict. In 1247 the demands for money made by the Popes, who claimed the right of taxing the clergy in France to maintain the struggle with the Emperor Frederick, provoked a manifestation with which St Louis associated himself. Ambassadors from the king and clergy were sent to Rome to make solemn complaint that benefices were being bestowed on foreigner’s, and that the French Church was being robbed by the Roman Curia. But after his crusade in Egypt and Palestine, St Louis changed his tone, and was inclined to side with the Holy See against the clergy. He became bent only on the deliverance of the Holy Land, and the conquest of Sicily, so ardently desired by the Popes, seemed to him the first stage of this deliverance. Willingly or unwillingly, the clergy of France had to pay and to borrow in support of those great schemes.

Thus the relations of St Louis with the clergy were, as was natural, determined by the traditional policy of the monarchy and by circumstances. As regards the nobles, it is equally impossible to describe his attitude in a single phrase. As further documents are published, and the provincial history better known, the impression is rendered more complex.

Personally Louis IX was conservative. If we consider his decisions, or study carefully the Life of Joinville, who composed his memoirs, or at least put the finishing touches to them, in the days of Philip the Fair and noted the changes that had taken place, we feel that Louis had .a great idea of the sacred rights of the monarchy, but that he still adhered to the feudal point of view. He did not use the victories achieved by himself and his mother to destroy the turbulent dynasties of Brittany or Poitou, and the motive force in his negotiations with the King of England was, as will be seen, to resume correct feudal relations with him. When he suppressed the judicial duel, it was only in the royal domain. It is a mistake to talk of the extension in his reign of “royal cases,” i.e. cases in which the royal justice, as such, reserved for itself the trial. When we examine the facts, it will be found that these so-called royal cases, in the time of St Louis, can almost all be explained by feudal law. The multiplication of the “bourgeois du roi,” who escaped the law-courts of their feudal lords, does not seem to have been systematically intended by Louis IX, nor by the Parlement of Paris. The king carried his respect for the independence of his barons so far that, in 1246, he allowed those in the north and west, under the influence of the anticlerical agitation of Frederick II, to organise a league to oppose the temporal claims and the excessive enrichment of the clergy and the Pope; it had a directing committee, subscriptions, and statutes. For twelve years we find the Holy See fulminating vainly against the statutarii; the king was not disturbed, and remained neutral, both because he shared some of the opinions held by the leaguers, and because he did not feel for his nobles the meddlesome mistrust of a Philip Augustus or a Louis XI.

Nevertheless the nobles—even in the ancient domain, and even after the troubles which we have described had been allayed—complained and grumbled, and Louis’ reign was not regarded as a Golden Age until later, in retrospect, when the violent methods of his successors were being experienced. This was because Louis IX considered that, as supreme suzerain and as king, he had a right to repress injustices and brutalities with severity. He frequently punished barons who had executed accused men without a trial or by a wrongful judgment. He attempted to stop tournaments, which were the favourite pastime of the nobles. His prohibitions of carrying arms, and of vengeance, although in practice they had to be modified, caused great irritation. But above all the nobles were exasperated by the slow, steady, and irresistible progress of the monarchical administration, which was assisted in its work by the king’s brothers in their appanages. Appeals to the Curia Regis became multiplied; the encroachments of the bailiffs and seneschals of the king and his brothers on seignorial jurisdictions, even when disavowed, created precedents which were not forgotten.

A similar picture is supplied by the documents concerning municipal history. In theory the alliance between the monarchy and the towns continued. “Preserve,” writes Louis IX in his Enseignements to his son, “the good towns and communes of thy kingdom in the state and in the franchises in which thy predecessors preserved them; and if there is aught to amend, amend and redress it. And keep them in thy favour and thy love, for if thou art strong in the friendship and wealth of the great towns, thy subjects and foreigners will fear to act ill towards thee, especially thy peers and thy barons.” The fidelity of the great towns of the ancient domain had indeed been precious during the troubles of the regency, and Louis IX granted many confirmations of their liberties. It is none the less true that it was during his reign that the decay of urban liberties began in France. This tendency to decline was inevitable. Owing to economic progress, there had arisen capitalist oligarchies which had seized municipal power, which governed to their own advantage, kept wages low, and crushed the poorer people with heavy taxes. The “mediocres” formed leagues, and insurrections took place. The towns, unquiet and ill-administered, were unable to pay the heavy sums which the monarchy demanded from them. Ballads made by the petty bourgeois of Arras about the great defrauders and their false declarations of properties and incomes have been found. Then the king took serious measures. In 1262 there appeared two ordonnances which were designed to put the king’s officials in a position to know exactly the state of the towns’ finances, and to organise monarchical control; every year the municipalities were to be re-elected on the same day—29 October—and the accounts for the last year were to be brought to Paris by the outgoing echevins and their successors on 17 November. These ordonnances were carried out only in “France” and in Normandy, and only for some 20 years. But thus there began an administrative superintendence which never again slackened. Moreover, it did not lead the monarchy to moderate its fiscal demands. The towns, faced with constantly increasing exactions, were deeply in debt by the end of the reign.

Outside the “great towns,” the common people in the bourgs and country districts of the royal domain suffered, as is proved by the Inquests, from plundering by subordinate officers, and from fines inflicted rightly or wrongly by the provosts. They were rigorously held in hand, and brawls were severely punished. But they were also protected, wherever the monarchy possessed any effective power.

As a whole the French peasants owed to St Louis and his mother a period of tranquillity such as they had not enjoyed since time immemorial. Therefore when they learned of Louis IX’s misfortunes in the Holy Land, they were more deeply affected than the nobles and the clergy; in 1251, throughout the north-east of the kingdom, the shepherds and peasants, the “pastoureaux,” rose to join the king at the bidding of a visionary. This “Crusade of the Pastoureaux” ended badly; they took to pillaging churches and the houses of bourgeois. After much hesitation, Blanche of Castile decided to order its repression. She had thought that these unfortunate men would really go to deliver her son. This was not the only proof she gave of her sympathy with the poor. In the following year (1252) she went herself to deliver the peasants whom the Chapter of Notre Dame at Paris had caused to be arrested wholesale for refusing to pay the taille, and whom they had cruelly thrust into stifling prisons.

In order really to understand and grasp, in a definite and limited field, the attitude of the monarchy towards the various classes in the nation, it is well to examine the king’s policy in the seneschalships of Beaucaire and Carcassonne, and that of his brother Alphonse of Poitiers in the county of Toulouse during the last years of the reign.

During the quarter of a century which preceded his death, Louis IX, without relinquishing the repression of heresy, healed the wounds of his southern provinces. He undertook the administration himself, with the help of his mother, his brother Alphonse, the Parlement of Paris, and the enqueters. The royal seneschals and viguiers of Languedoc no longer enjoyed the dangerous independence which they had been granted during the early years of his reign. After 1254, the seneschals only remained in office for one or two years, four at the most. They were supervised by the enqueteurs, and occasionally the Parlement of Paris reversed their decisions as improper. The index senescalli, who helped them to try cases, gradually absorbed their judicial functions; he became the index maior (juge mage, senior judge); he alone was allowed to condemn any one to imprisonment in grave cases. The old customof summoning the great landowners to give their opinion on the advisability of exporting wheat was restored, and these small assemblies in the seneschalships had sometimes to discuss other questions. And finally, by the famous ordonnances of 1254 and 1259, these seneschals, so carefully counselled and supervised, received instructions breathing the very spirit of St Louis; the king was bent on forcing them to execute righteous judgment, on preventing them from extorting money by fraudulent means, or making the taxes heavier; in certain specified cases, the confiscations imposed under pretext of heresy were to be cancelled; the king’s officers were to repress vice, and to set a good example. At least in their administrative clauses, these ordinances were useful, as the enqueteurs could ensure their being carried out.

In the county of Toulouse, Alphonse of Poitiers pursued a similar course. It is obvious that St Louis exercised very great influence on his brother, as on the rest of the family. It is noteworthy that Alphonse of Poitiers did not settle at Toulouse after the death of his father-in-law, Raymond VII; he lived near his brother in Paris or thereabouts, and accompanied him on his two Crusades. He was a lover of red-tape, careful, avaricious, and fond of prolonging business. But the ordonnances on administrative reform published by the ttvo brothers prove satisfactorily by their date and their contents how well they agreed. The general results of their administration were alike.

Throughout Languedoc, the history of the lay and the ecclesiastical aristocracy at this period is only a story of decadence. The old families were ruined; the new-comers from the North, except the Lévis family, were of no account. Louis IX and Alphonse of Poitiers moderated the excessive zeal of the seneschals and bailes, and curbed, not without difficulty, their tendency to usurp lands, rights, and jurisdictions, even within the territory of bishops and abbots. They put a stop to the more scandalous conflicts arising therefrom. Both of them insisted on the strict observance of the ordonnances against carrying arms, and to the best of their ability they repressed the deep-rooted habits of private war. The towns and country districts of the Midi began to expand and to prosper during these happy days ah the end of the reign. Louis IX, even though he repressed the abuse of power by urban oligarchies, shewed favour to the bourgeoisie, restoring some of the old liberties, for instance reinstating the consulate at Nimes. When he created the town of Aigues-Mortes, so as to have a port of his own on the Mediterranean, he conferred on it great privileges, which attracted a crowd of immigrants (1246). Carcassonne, which had been completely deserted for seven years afteiTrencavel’s revolt, was repopulated. Alphonse of Poitiers, who was more meddlesome than his brother, and was in constant conflict with the town of Toulouse, was nevertheless a great builder of villes neuves. In a word, the two brothers pacified the Midi. The brilliant seignorial life of the twelfth century had disappeared, but the bourgeois and the peasants regained security under the Capetian government.

With those differences and distinctions which provincial and local history record, but which cannot here be mentioned, France, during the peaceful period which ended St Louis' reign, presented a spectacle of order, steady work, and development. The land was well cultivated, and the wastes and the forests were being put under cultivation. The economic and social condition of the peasants was improving; the day of wholesale enfranchisements was dawning. The towns were developing in spite of the precarious condition of the municipal finances. Merchants and students travelled in security. Great artists, such as Peter of Montreuil, had brought Gothic architecture to a pitch of perfection which was never surpassed. The most celebrated poem, perhaps, of the Middle Ages, the Roman de la Rose, dates from this period. French prose was being created; we have a model in Primat’s Grandes Chroniques de France, which were commissioned by the king. The racy language of French writers seemed to the neighbouring peoples the most delightful of all. The monarchy greatly contributed to the prosperity of the nation by its wisdom, and its prestige gained thereby. France and her monarchy became great at the same time.

We have pointed out some shadows in this brilliant picture. The king sincerely desired to recognise, to reveal, to efface these. But his bailiffs and seneschals were often too strong for him. The Inquests and the ordonnances could not succeed in restoring the France of fifty years back, and the ground gained by the king’s servants was seldom lost. Owing to the very fact that Louis IX was a saint, their proceedings were even more dangerous to the institutions and customs of the past, for the king, the upright man, retained the love of his subjects; against his own will, and without losing his halo, he profited by the abuses of power committed by his servants. In this reign, monarchical progress was the complex result of the sanctity of a revered ruler, and the patient and obstinately aggressive policy of the king’s servants.


In foreign policy, Louis IX was more his own master. He did not go to war with Christians unless he was attacked, and, when his safety was assured, he imposed on his counsellors a pacific and conciliatory policy toward the Western States. “Avoid,” he wrote in his Enseignements to his heir, “making war on Christians. If thou art wronged, try sundry means of seeing whether thou canst retrieve thy rights before having recourse to arms.” On the other hand, he organised two offensive expeditions with the object of reconquering the Holy Land and converting the Infidels, or exterminating them if they resisted. The Crusade was his chief aim in foreign policy.

He lamented the conflict between the Holy See and the Empire, which was a great obstacle to the deliverance of Jerusalem, but he did nothing to weigh down the balance. To understand his attitude, he must not be considered from the standpoint of a Catholic of today. In his eyes the imperial power and the papal power were equally legitimate and ought to remain intact. On the other hand, the independence and neutrality of the kingdom of France had to be maintained. He did not wish his brother Robert of Artois to accept the imperial crown, offered him by Gregory IX (1240); but he obliged Frederick II to release the French prelates who had been captured at sea on their way to the council at Rome (1241). When Innocent IV was in peril in Rome and crossed the Alps, Louis IX did not offer him refuge in France, and the Pope stopped at the frontier at Lyons, which was still an imperial city. The representatives of Louis in the Council of Lyons begged the Pope to be conciliatory; for was not Frederick II offering to submit to the arbitration of the Kings of France and England? Innocent IV rejected all compromise, and declared his enemy to have forfeited his kingdoms (1245). Louis IX remained neutral. He might have seized the opportunity of extending the frontiers of his kingdom beyond the Rhone. He did not seek to fish in troubled waters. The only advantage he sought from the Pope’s critical position was to obtain his favour for the marriage of Charles of Anjou to the heiress of Provence (1246). But he continued to treat Frederick II amicably. He even allowed him to issue a proclamation to the French barons, and to correspond with those who in 1246 founded, as we have seen, a league against the encroachments of the Church. Only when Frederick II invited the leaguers to join him in marching on Lyons and seizing the Pope, St Louis informed Innocent IV that he would protect him. Frederick abandoned his plan (1247).

Without waiting for the close of this tragic conflict, which was by no means ended by the death of Frederick II (1250), Louis left for the East. He had ceased to count on the reconciliation of the two adversaries, or on their co-operation. In 1246 the Pope himself had given secret orders that the preaching of the expedition to the Holy Land was to be stopped in Germany; he was bent only on securing partisans against Frederick. Now it was in the month of December 1244 that Louis had token the Cross, for reasons which have been given elsewhere. At the time when the capture of Jerusalem by the Khwarazmian Turks, and the victory of the Emir Baibars Bunduqdari at Gaza became known in France, Louis was in the clutches of malarial fever, and his death was expected; as soon as he was strong enough to speak, he took the Cross. The expedition, which was to be so imprudently conducted, was prepared with the greatest care, and at enormous cost. Heavy subsidies were demanded from the clergy and the towns. The town and port of Aigues-Mortes were constructed to ensure the safe departure of the fleet. The island of Cyprus was chosen as the base for supplies, and St Louis stayed there for eight months to concentrate his army. Unfortunately, these great preparations were not supplemented by reliable information concerning the country about to be invaded. Louis IX had decided, not without good reason, to attack in his own country Ayyub, the Sultan of Egypt, who, as we have seen, could be considered the author of the defeats sustained by the Christians in 1244. There was, however, no exact information about Egypt or the Nile. The disasters of the Crusade in 1218-21 had taught the crusaders no lessons, and they were to be repeated.

Sailing from Cyprus on 15 May 1249, Louis IX arrived at the Damietta mouth of the Nile on 5 June, only a few days before the annual rise of the river began. Damietta was easily taken, but it was six months before the flood abated. Meanwhile resources failed and discipline waned in the army. When the crusaders started to march on Cairo, and found themselves opposed by the army of the new Sultan, Turan-Shah, Ayyub’s son, the signal for disobedience was given by the king’s own brother, Robert of Artois. His rashness, for which he paid with his life, caused the defeat of Mausurah (19 December). A halt had to be called. The lack of fresh and sound food caused epidemics of scurvy and dysentery which decimated the army, still mercilessly harried by the Saracens. Joinville’s graphic account should be read. From his pages it is easy to picture the atrocious sufferings undergone by the crusaders, and the exploits they accomplished. Moreover many of them were earnestly aspiring to gain the martyr’s crown. When Guy of Chateau-Porcien, Bishop of Soissons, learned that a return to Damietta was inevitable, Joinville tells us that “he, having a great desire to go to God, did not wish to return to the land where he was born; he spurred his steed, and attacked the Turks single-handed, who killed him and placed him in the company of God, in the army of martyrs.” During this retreat, which ended in the capture of the army, Louis IX also nearly “went to God”; he was suffering from dysentery and almost at the point of death when he was captured (5 April 1250); an Arab physician tended him and cured him. He displayed his usual energy in negotiating his release. Brutally threatened with torture by the counsellors of Turan-Shah, then, when the latter was killed in a revolt of the Mamluks, threatened with death by the emirs and obliged to be present at the torture of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, he would not cede to the Sultan any of the Syrian strongholds, and refused to take the oath demanded by the Emirs, which seemed to him impious. He finally obtained his own release by restoring Damietta, and freed the remnants of his army by the payment of ransoms. He went on to Syria (May 1250) to fortify the strongholds which were still in Christian hands, and remained four years, in spite of the appeals of his mother and the advice of many of his faithful counsellors. Negotiations with the Tartars which had been begun at Cyprus were now resumed; he cherished the idle dream of converting them to Christianity; he despatched the Franciscan William of Rubruquis to the Great Khan, and, as before, received only an insolent invitation to make his submission.

The tidings of his mother's death (27 November 1252) ought to have decided him to return to France, but he did not set sail until 24 April 1254. Now civil war was raging in Flanders, and Henry III had again demanded from Blanche of Castile the fiefs forfeited by John Lackland. Opinions were fiiuch divided both in France and in England on the subject of the conquests of Philip Augustus and Louis VIII. In England, the party of the barons and the national Church wished to see the State relieved of the continental question, and considered that the people should not be expected to make fresh sacrifices for a matter of private interest; but his Poitevin and Gascon counsellors urged Henry III to reclaim the lost fiefs. In France, the counsellors of the monarchy were bent on resisting this claim with energy. Louis IX was inclined to follow an intermediate course. He did not question the lawfulness of the sentence of 1202, but he admired the piety of Henry III, and was moved by family feelings. Finally the position seemed to him ambiguous and dangerous; Henry III had retained in France only the duchy of Guyenne, but all ties of vassalship had been severed between the two kings, and Henry had recently concluded a treaty of alliance with the King of Castile (22 April 1254). As soon as he returned from Palestine. Louis IX entered on peace negotiations with Henry I. They dragged out their weary length. Finally,urged by his barons, who were assuming an increasingly disquieting attitude, Henry III yielded. Peace was concluded on 28 May 1258, and ratified at Paris in December 1259.

By the Treaty of Paris Henry III once more became the liegeman of the King of France, and renounced his claim to Normandy, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, and Poitou; but Louis IX restored to him all that he held in fiefs or in demesne in the dioceses of Limoges, Cahors, and Perigueux, as well as the succession to all that Alphonse of Poitiers held in Agenais and Saintonge, to the south of the Charente, should Alphonse die childless. As Henry III could not obtain money from his Parliament for his Sicilian scheme, he also demanded the sum necessary for the support of five hundred knights for two years.

Louis IX was convinced that he had served the interests of thefCrown well. “He was not my man, and he enters into homage to me,” he said in answer to all objections. A few counsellors regretted this peace, but we have no solid grounds for supposing that this was the general opinion in France. In like manner, the troubadour Sordello accused the king of cowardice and folly, because he did not use his rights as son of Queen Blanche to seize Castile. Louis IX paid no attention to idle bluster, and preferred to live on good terms with his cousin Alfonso X and consolidate this friendship by means of marriages. On the other hand, in Languedoc, he wished to settle every one’s rights by concluding the treaty of Corbeil with the King of Aragon (11 May 1258). The Kings of Aragon had foi’ long claimed suzerainty over Languedoc and the county of Toulouse. King James I renounced this claim, but still retained the troublesome seigniory of Montpellier. On his side Louis IX abandoned all rights over Catalonia and Roussillon. The heir to the throne, Philip, married Isabella of Aragon.                          

During the years which followed his return from Syria, Louis IX devoted himself to the task of making peace between Christians, His most important achievement was in Flanders. Already in 1246 he had tried to act as arbitrator in order to settle the quarrel between the two sons whom Margaret, Countess of Flanders, had had by her marriage with Bouchard of Avesnes, and the children of her second marriage with William of Dampierre; during the Crusade war had broken out, and Margaret, rather than yield Hainault to her son John of Avesnes, whom she hated, had offered this county and the guardianship of Flanders to Charles of Anjou. The King of the Romans, William of Holland, supported John of Avesnes, and the ambition of Charles of Anjou threatened to kindle a serious conflict. On his return, Louis insisted on acting as arbitrator (dit [award] of Peronne, 24 September 1256). John d'Avesnes renounced some fiefs and became the vassal of Charles of Anjou for Hainault.

Such was the influence of the King of France that, from the north to the south, foreigners took him as judge of their differences; the King of Navarre and his sister, the Count of Burgundy and the Count of Chalon, the Duke of Bar and his neighbours, the Count of Luxembourg and the Duke of Lorraine, Guigues, Dauphin of Viennois, and his neighbours, the Count of Savoy and Charles of Anjou, the inhabitants of Lyons and the canons of the cathedral church, all had recourse to him. The English barons a,nd Henry III entrusted to him the task of pronouncing on the validity of the Provisions of Oxford; the “Mise of Amiens” (24 January 1264) bears the very characteristic marks of his political ideas. He would not admit that a king should be prevented from choosing his own counsellors and officials. He annulled the Provisions, while ordering that old charters and customs were to be respected and all quarrels to be forgotten. The issues at stake were too serious; his decision was nugatory.

Louis IX, whose health was becoming more and more precarious, was ill again that year. And. yet he had not relinquished his Eastern plans, and meant to execute them at last, although late. The convention referring to the Sicilian expedition of Charles of Anjou was certainly in his eyes only a stage on the way to a new Crusade. We have already seen on what conditions Charles of Anjou became the champion of the Papacy against the Hohenstaufen. Here it will be enough to shew what was St Louis’ attitude.

The death of Frederick II had not modified his desire for preserving the balance of power and his respect for established rights; on his return from the Holy Land, he at first remained neutral, considering Conradin as the legitimate heir. But the aversion which he felt for Manfred, who did not hesitate to negotiate with the Muslims, and the emotion caused by the tragic events which disturbed the East in 1260-61, altered his views. In 1261 a Frenchman of energetic and obstinate character, Urban IV, became Pope; after his accession he appointed to the cardinalate Guy Foulquoi and two other counsellors of St Louis; he gradually induced the king to regard the question of Sicily as linked with the pacification of Christendom and the deliverance of the Holy Land. He offered the crown of Sicily to the Count of Provence, Charles of Anjou, who ever since 1258 had not ceased to intervene in the quarrels of the Piedmontese seigneuries, and who had inordinate ambitions. Louis IX, greatly respected by his family, could easily have put an end to it all by his veto. Charles of Anjou evidently succeeded in persuading him that fertile Sicily would be a good base of supplies, which would facilitate the crusade. Louis IX therefore undertook the negotiations, obtained from the Pope better conditions for his brother, and the convention of 15 August 1264 was in part his work. He allowed his subjects to enter Charles' service in large numbers, and the Holy See to levy crushing taxes on the Church of France.

. Having become master of Sicily, which is some 90 miles from Tunisia, Charles of Anjou was evidently among those who persuaded his brother that the first objective of the Crusade should be Tunis. Louis IX ceased to exercise a clear judgment where the Crusade and the Muslims were involved. He really believed that the Hafsid emir Mustansir, who frequently entered into negotiations with the Christian rulers, was disposed for conversion. North Africa would again become a great centre of Christianity. Should this plan fail, Tunis, an easy prey to seize, would at least furnish vast resources for a fresh expedition on Egypt. Consequently the very burdensome preparations which he had been making since 1267 for the deliverance of the Holy Land were at the last moment diverted to Barbary. On 1 July 1270, at the very height of the dog- days, Louis embarked. His weakness was steadily increasing. When Joinville, who refused to accompany him on this mad expedition, hade him farewell, the king was unable to sit on a horse, and Joinville had to carry him in his arms for a short distance. He was in quest of martyrdom and he obtained it. A malignant fever and dysentery decimated his army as soon as it landed, and he was one of the victims. He died on 25 August. A few hours before his death, he was heard to murmur: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.

Louis IX was lamented and praised throughout Christendom, and almost immediately there were tales of miracles wrought by his relics. He was canonised a few years later (1297). From a thousand proofs of the pure glory which surrounded his name in the Middle Ages, we will quote the following versicles and responses from an “Office of St Louis” composed in the fourteenth century:

“ Happy the kingdom governed by a king foreseeing, pious, refined in his character, courageous in adversity. He used his riches to succour the poor, he despised the soft things of life. He loved labour and defended the churches. He established the throne on justice. He caused France to enjoy peace. The Church owes to him her prosperity, and the whole of France the honour wherewith she is surrounded.”