1428 UNIVERSAL HISTORYTHE MODERN WORLD.
upon them and shot down several of their
number. He then made his escape into Sherwood forest, where he became the head of a
band of outlaws like himself. Their practice
was to pillage the estates of the rich, to rob
the wealthy and titled personages, distributing
the proceeds of their lawlessness to the poor
and needy. So persistently was this policy
pursued by the merry Robin and his men that
they gained a great reputation among the
peasants, insomuch that ballads commemorative of his exploits and chivalry became the
most popular literature of the times, and have
ever since remained as a witness of the esteem
in which even a lawless benefactor is held by
an oppressed people.
On the death of the king the crown descended to his eldest son, Henry of Winchester, who took the title of Henry the Third.
Being only eight years of age at the time of
his father's death, the management of the
kingdom was intrusted to the Earl of Pembroke. The latter had the wisdom during his
administration to confirm the articles of Magna
Carta, and by this means those English barons who had still adhered to the fortunes of
Prince Louis of France were won
back to the. royal cause. Louis,
though his forces were greatly reduced, ventured on a battle in 1217,
in which he was so disastrously defeated that he was glad to escape
with the remnant of his followers
from the kingdom. Two years afterward the Earl of Pembroke died, and
his office of protector was given to
Hubert de Burgh.
When King Henry reached the
age of sixteen he was declared capable of conducting the government.
In the following year, 1224, Philip
of France died and was succeeded by
his son Louis, but the latter soon
after passed away and the crown descended to his son Louis IX., who
being a mere child was left to the
guardianship of his mother, Blanche
of Castile. Perceiving the exposed
condition of the French kingdom on
account of the minority of Louis,
King Henry determined to invade
France and attempt the recovery of
Normandy. He accordingly raised a
large army, and in 1230 undertook
an expedition against the French. But
he soon showed himself to be of little
competency for such an undertaking.
One disaster followed another until in
the course of a few months the king
was glad to give up the enterprise and
return to England. In his matrimonial adventure he was scarcely more
fortunate than in war. In his search for a
queen he chose Eleanor, daughter of the Earl
of Provence, who brought with her into England a retinue of friends, for whom important places in the government were provided.
A great offense was thus given to the English
barons, who would not quietly brook the elevation of strangers and foreigners to the chief
offices of England.
While the king was thus exhibiting his folly