CHAPTER XVII. RICHARD I AND THE CRUSADE
Henry on his death-bed had made no attempt to dispose of the succession. On the retreat from Le Mans he had sent strict orders to Normandy, to give up the castles there in the event of his death to no one but John. But the knowledge of John's treason would have changed that, even if it had been possible to set aside the treaty of Colombieres. There was no disposition anywhere to question Richard's right. On July 20 at Rouen he was formally girt with the sword of the duchy of Normandy, by the archbishop and received the homage of the clergy and other barons. He at once confirmed to his brother John, who had joined him, the grants made or promised him by their father: L4000 worth of land in England, the county of Mortain in Normandy, and the hand and inheritance of the heiress of the Earl of Gloucester. To his other brother, Geoffrey, he gave the archbishopric of York, carrying out a wish which Henry had expressed in his last moments; and Matilda, the daughter of Henry the Lion, was given as his bride to another Geoffrey, the heir of the county of Perche, a border land whose alliance would be of importance in case of trouble with France. Two days later he had an interview with King Philip at the old meeting-place near Gisors. There Philip quickly made evident the fact that in his eyes the king of England was a different person from the rebellious Count of Poitou, and he met Richard with his familiar demand that the Norman Vexin should be given up. Without doubt the point of view had changed as much to Richard, and he adopted his father's tactics and promised to marry Adela. He also promised Philip 4000 marks in addition to the 20,000 which Henry had agreed to pay. With these promises Philip professed himself content. He received Richard's homage for all the French fiefs, and the treaty lately made with Henry was confirmed, including the agreement to start on the crusade the next spring.
In the meantime by the command of Richard his mother, Eleanor, was set free from custody in England; and assuming a royal state she made a progress through the kingdom and gave orders for the release of prisoners. About the middle of August Richard himself landed in England with John. No one had any grounds on which to expect a particularly good reign from him, but he was everywhere joyfully received, especially by his mother and the barons at Winchester. A few days later the marriage of John to Isabel of Gloucester was celebrated, in spite of a formal protest entered by Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, because the parties were related within the prohibited degrees. The coronation took place on Sunday, September 3, and was celebrated apparently with much care to follow the old ritual correctly and with much formal pomp and ceremony, so that it became a new precedent for later occasions down to the present day.
Richard was then just coming to the end of his thirty-second year. In physical appearance he was not like either the Norman or the Angevin type, but was taller and of a more delicate and refined cast, and his portrait shows a rather handsome face. In character and ambitions also he was not a descendant of his father's line. The humdrum business of ruling the state, of developing its law and institutions, of keeping order and doing justice, or even of following a consistent and long-continued policy of increasing his power or enlarging his territories, was little to his taste. He was determined, as his father had been, to be a strong king and to put down utterly every rebellion, but his determination to be obeyed was rather a resolution of the moment than a means to any foreseen and planned conclusion. He has been called by one who knew the time most thoroughly "the creation and impersonation of his age," and nothing better can be said. The first age of a self-conscious chivalry, delighting intensely in the physical life, in the sense of strength and power, that belonged to baron and knight, and in the stirring scenes of castle and tournament and distant adventure, the age of the troubadour, of an idealized warfare and an idealized love, the age which had expressed one side of itself in his brother Henry, expressed a more manly side in Richard. He was first of all a warrior; not a general but a fighter. The wild enthusiasm of the hand-to-hand conflict, the matching of skill against skill and of strength against strength, was an intense pleasure to him, and his superiority in the tactics of the battle-field, in the planning and management of a fight, or even of a series of attacks or defences, a march or a retreat, placed him easily in the front rank of commanders in an age when the larger strategy of the highest order of generalship had little place. Of England he had no knowledge. He was born there, and he had paid it two brief visits before his coronation, but he knew nothing of the language or the people. He had spent all his life in his southern dominions, and the south had made him what he was. His interest in England was chiefly as a source of supplies, and to him the crusade was, by the necessities of his nature, of greater importance than the real business of a king. For England itself the period was one during which there was no king, though it was by the authority of an absent king that a series of great ministers carried forward the development of the machinery and law which had begun to be put into organized form in Henry's reign, and carried forward also the training of the classes who had a share in public affairs for the approaching crisis of their history. From this point of view the exceedingly burdensome demands of Richard upon his English subjects are the most important feature of his time.