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however, never reached a fulfillment. Prince

Arthur married the daughter of Philip,

and his. father-in-law espoused his cause

and aided him in the hostilities which ensued.

Shortly after this change of policy on

the part of the French king, Arthur was taken

prisoner by his uncle John, and was shut

up in the castle of Bristol. The English

king, with his usual perfidy, gave. orders

to Hubert de Burgh, governor of Falaise,

to which place Arthur had .been transferred,

to put the prisoner to death; but the heart

of Hubert failed him in the execution of

the order, and King John was deceived

with a false report of the prince's execution

and funeral. The people of Brittany also

believing that Arthur had been murdered,

rose in revolt, and Hubert, in order to save

himself from odium and probable destruction, was obliged to divulge the truth.

Great was the wrath thus enkindled against

the unnatural king. The barons of England

refused to join his standard, and Philip, making war upon him in the French provinces

belonging to the English crown, overthrew his

authority and drove him out of Normandy.

That great duchy, after having belonged to

England for more than three centuries, was

torn away and united to France. So great an

offense and injury to the English crown had

not been known since the days of Rollo the


In the ninth year of his reign, King John

fell into a violent quarrel with Pope Innocent

III. The matter at issue was the choice of a

new archbishop for the see of Canterbury.

The choice of the Pope was the distinguished

Stephen Langton, already a cardinal of the

Church. The appointment, however, was violently opposed by John, and, in 1208, Innocent

laid the kingdom under an interdict. But the

punishment was insufficient to bring the monarch to his senses. He continued his career of

injustice and folly, making war on the people

of Wales and Ireland, and filling his coffers by

confiscation and cruel extortion. On one occasion he called together all the abbots and

abbesses of the religious houses in London,

and then deliberately informed them that they

were his prisoners until what time they should

pay him a large sum of money. So flagrant

was the outrage thus perpetrated against the

honor and dignity of the church, that the

Pope proceeded to excommunicate King John,

and to absolve his subjects from their oath

of allegiance. The Holy Father, in his wrath,

went to the extreme of inviting the Christian princes of Europe to unite in a crusade

against the audacious and disobedient king

of England. Philip of France, as the secular

head of Western Christendom, was especially

besought to undertake a war; and he was by

no means loth to seize the opportunity of

increasing his own power at the expense of

his fellow prince.

This movement, however, aroused the ire

of the English barons, who, though they

heartily detested their king and his policy,

were not at all disposed to yield to the settlement of their national affairs by the French.

Philip proceeded with his preparations for the

invasion; and King John, taking advantage

of the reaction among his subjects, collected

a large army at Dover. Just before his departure, the French monarch received from

the Pope, by the hands of the legate Pandulf,

a message to abandon the undertaking! For,

in the mean time, His Holiness had made an

offer to the refractory John that, if the

latter would accept Langton as archbishop

of Canterbury, and resign the crown of England into the papal hands, the Pope would

restore the same to him, and would forbid

the invasion of his realm by the French.

These terms were accepted by the base

Plantagenet, who laid down his crown at

the feet of Pandulf. This haughty cardinal

is said to have kicked contemptuously the

diadem which had once been worn by William the Conqueror. Satisfied with this

act of abasement, he then replaced the dishonored crown on the head of the alleged


Great was the rage of Philip on receiving

the message of the Pope. Fearing to disobey, and unwilling that his military preparations should come to naught, he diverted

the expedition against the territories of

Earl Ferrand of Flanders. The latter immediately applied to King John for help;

and that monarch responding with an unusual show of alacrity, sent a large squadron to aid the Flemish earl in maintaining his independence. A battle was fought

between the English and French fleets, in

which the armament of Philip was either

destroyed or dispersed. So signal was the