CHAPTER XVI. HENRY OUTGENERALLED
The advisability, the possibility even, of such a crusade would all depend upon Philip, and the movements of Philip just then were very disquieting. About the beginning of the new year, 1188, he returned from a conference with the Emperor Frederick, which in itself could bode no good to the father-in-law and supporter of Henry the Lion, and immediately began collecting a large army, "impudently boasting," says the English chronicler of Henry's life, "that he would lay waste Normandy and the other lands of the king of England that side the sea, if he did not return to him Gisors and all that belonged to it or make his son Richard take to wife Adela the daughter of his father Louis." Philip evidently did not intend to drop everything to go to the rescue of Jerusalem nor was he inclined at any expense to his own interests to make it easy for those who would. Henry who was already at the coast on the point of crossing to England, at once turned back when he heard of Philip's threats, and arranged for a conference with him on January 21. Here was the opportunity for those who were urging on the crusade. The kings of France and England with their chief barons were to be together while the public excitement was still high and the Christian duty of checking the Saracen conquest still keenly felt. The Archbishop of Tyre, who had come to France on this mission, gave up all his other undertakings as soon as he heard of the meeting and resolved to make these great princes converts to his cause. It was not an easy task. Neither Henry nor Philip was made of crusading material, and both were far more interested in the tasks of constructive statesmanship which they had on hand than in the fate of the distant kingdom of Jerusalem. A greater obstacle than this even was their fear of each other, of what evil one might do in the absence of the other, the unwillingness of either to pledge himself to anything definite until he knew what the other was going to do, and the difficulty of finding any arrangement which would bind them both at once. It is practically certain that they yielded at last only to the pressure of public opinion which must have been exceedingly strong in the excitement of the time and under the impassioned eloquence of a messenger direct from the scene of the recent disasters. It was a great day for the Church when so many men of the highest rank, kings and great barons, took the cross, and it was agreed that the spot should be marked by a new church, and that it should bear the name of the Holy Field.
Whatever may be true of Philip, there can, I think, be no doubt that, when Henry took the cross, he intended to keep his vow. It was agreed between them that all things should remain as they were until their return; and Henry formally claimed of his suzerain the protection of his lands during his absence, and Philip accepted the duty. A few days after taking the cross Henry held an assembly at Le Mans and ordered a tax in aid of his crusade. This was the famous Saladin tithe, which marks an important step in the history of modern taxation. It was modelled on an earlier tax for the same purpose which had been agreed upon between France and England in 1166, but it shows a considerable development upon that, both in conception and in the arrangements for carrying out the details of the tax. The ordinance provided for the payment by all, except those who were themselves going on the crusade, of a tenth, a "tithe," of both personal property and income, precious stones being exempt and the necessary tools of their trade of both knights and clerks. Somewhat elaborate machinery was provided for the collection of the tax, and the whole was placed under the sanction of the Church. A similar ordinance was shortly adopted by Philip for France, and on February 11, Henry, then in England, held a council at Geddington, in Northamptonshire, and ordained the same tax for England.