Page 1426

1426 UNIVERSAL HISTORYTHE MODERN WORLD.

disaster, that the land forces of the French

broke up in disorder, and returned in haste to

their own provinces.

It appears that John was crazed by his

victory. Eager to follow up his advantage,

he purposed an invasion of France; but his

barons, though having no affection for the

French, and very willing to go to war to maintain the honor of England, were in no wise

disposed to follow the banner of an unpopular king on a foreign expedition. John

was therefore obliged to forego his project.

But though unsupported by his nobles and

by the temper of his kingdom, he still sought

to carry out his retaliatory purpose against

the French king. He accordingly sought

an alliance with Frederick II., Emperor of

Germany, with whom it was arranged to

make an invasion of France on the east,

while John would do the same in the provinces adjacent to the Channel. An English army, made up in large measure of the

refuse of the kingdom, was accordingly

landed at Poitou, and an expedition was

begun into Anjou and Brittany.

In a short time, however, the English

king received intelligence that his ally, the

German Emperor, had, in 1214, been decisively defeated by the French in the great

battle of Bouvines. Seeing that Philip

would now be able to concentrate all his

forces against the English, John made haste

to conclude with that monarch a five years'

truce, and quickly made his way back to

England.

The Island during the king's absence had

become the scene of a great commotion.

The barons, thoroughly disgusted with John's

vacillating conduct and unkingly bearing,

had made a conspiracy against him, and the

movement had gained such headway that

he quailed before his powerful but disloyal

subjects. Archbishop Langton lent the sanction of the Church to the insurrection and

proved himself to be an able and far-seeing leader. Having discovered a long-concealed copy of an old charter signed by

Henry I., wherein were set forth and guaranteed by the royal seal the rights and privileges of Englishmen, be made it the