CHAPTER XVII. RICHARD I AND THE CRUSADE
John's position was not the only source from which speedy trouble was threatened when Richard crossed to Normandy on December 11. He had prepared another, equally certain, in the arrangement which had been made for the justiciarship. It was absurd to expect Hugh of Puiset and William Longchamp to work in the same yoke. In spirit and birth Hugh was an aristocrat of the highest type. Of not remote royal descent, a relative of the kings both of England and France, he was a proud, worldly-minded, intensely ambitious prelate of the feudal sort and of great power, almost a reigning prince in the north. Longchamp was of the class of men who rise in the service of kings. Not of peasant birth, though but little above it, he owed everything to his zealous devotion to the interests of Richard, and, as is usually the case with such men, he had an immense confidence in himself; he was determined to be master, and he was as proud of his position and abilities as was the Bishop of Durham of his blood. Besides this he was naturally of an overbearing disposition and very contemptuous of those whom he regarded as inferior to himself in any particular. Hugh in turn felt, no doubt, a great contempt for him, but Longchamp had no hesitation in measuring himself with the bishop. Soon after the departure of the king he turned Hugh out of the exchequer and took his county of Northumberland away from him. Other high-handed proceedings followed, and many appeals against his chancellor were carried to Richard in France. To rearrange matters a great council was summoned to meet in Normandy about the end of winter. The result was that Richard sustained his minister as Longchamp had doubtless felt sure would be the case. The Humber was made a dividing line between the two justiciars, while the pope was asked to make Longchamp legate in England during the absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was going on the crusade. Perhaps Richard now began to suspect that he had been preparing trouble for England instead of peace, for at the same time he exacted an oath from his brothers, Geoffrey, whose troubles with his church of York had already begun, and John, not to return to England for three years; but John was soon after released from his oath at the request of his mother.
Richard was impatient to be gone on the crusade, and he might now believe that England could be safely left to itself; but many other things delayed the expedition, and the setting out was finally postponed, by agreement with Philip, to June 24. The third crusade is the most generally interesting of all the series, because of the place which it has taken in literature; because of the greatness of its leaders and their exploits; of the knightly character of Saladin himself; of the pathetic fate of the old Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who lost his life and sacrificed most of his army in an attempt to force his way overland through Asia Minor; and of its real failure after so great an expenditure of life and effort and so many minor successes - the most brilliant of all the crusades, the one great crusade of the age of chivalry: but it concerns the history of England even less than does the continental policy of her kings. It belongs rather to the personal history of Richard, and as such it serves to explain his character and to show why England was left to herself during his reign.
Richard and Philip met at Vezelai at the end of June, 1190, to begin the crusade. There they made a new treaty of alliance and agreed to the equal division of all the advantages to be gained in the expedition, and from thence Richard marched down the Rhone to Marseilles, where he took ship on August 7, and, by leisurely stages along the coast of Italy, went on to Messina which he reached on September 23. Much there was to occupy Richard's attention in Sicily. Philip had already reached Messina before him, and many questions arose between them, the most important of which was that of Richard's marriage. Towards the end of the winter Queen Eleanor came to Sicily, bringing with her Berengaria, the daughter of the king of Navarre, whom Richard had earlier known and admired, and whom he had now decided to marry. Naturally Philip objected, since Richard had definitely promised to marry his sister Adela; but now he flatly refused to marry one of whose relations with his father evil stories were told. By the intervention of the Count of Flanders a new treaty was made, and Richard was released from his engagement, paying 10,000 marks to the king of France. Quarrels with the inhabitants of Messina, due partly to the lawlessness of the crusaders and partly to Richard's overbearing disposition, led to almost open hostilities, and indirectly to jealousy on the part of the French. Domestic politics in the kingdom of Sicily were a further source of trouble. Richard's brother-in-law, King William, had died a year before the arrival of the crusaders, and the throne was in dispute between Henry VI, the new king of Germany, who had married Constance, William's aunt and heiress, and Tancred, an illegitimate descendant of the Norman house. Tancred was in possession, and to Richard, no doubt, the support of Sicily at the time seemed more important than the abstract question of right or the distant effect of his policy on the crusade. Accordingly a treaty was made, Tancred was recognized as king, and a large sum of money was paid to Richard; but to Henry VI the treaty was a new cause of hostility against the king of England, added to his relationship with the house of Guelf. The winter in Sicily, which to the modern mind seems an unnecessary waste of time, had added thus to the difficulties of the crusade new causes of ill-feeling between the French and English, and given a new reason for suspicion to the Germans.