Sunday, August 08, 2004

HYW(Duncan2): Things Remembered Differently

Below is a correspondence between King Edward III Plantagenet and Pope Benedict XII regarding the finding of the Papal Court on the Amiens Incident. King Edward, who seems less than satisfied with the finding, starts with a complaint to the well-intended Pope. After receiving two and replying another two, the Holy Father has sounded critically French; in which case I decide to give my own response.

I. King Edward III Plantagenet of England to Pope Benedict XII.

Holy Father,

While we appreciate your attempt to negotiate a truce in good faith, and note that two of the three sides, all who had representatives there and did faithfully fulfill said treaty. England will no longer be able to abide by such treaties, as the Country of France obviously has no ruler able to guarantee her participation in such treaties.

She obviously is nothing more than a loosely collection of Dukedoms and other provinces who answer to no Roi. Not once but twice the French broke the treaty, both times manufacturing feeble excuses for the action.

If you’re Man remembers rightly. The Roi’s representative was concerned with England’s word on the Bruce. So much so that both you and I sent out messengers to the Bruce to make sure he would honor such a treaty. He agreed to us that he would. I would like to point out that he was good for his word. Something many French no longer have the ability to say.

I thought that the greater Good of the Lord was more important to the “Nobles” of the realm. Now I see through the actions of a few and the stamp of approval placed by the rest of the French Lords that those in France only wanted to use the truce to take advantage for their worldly gain.

The official word from your offices was that if Lord Grand de Pre returned the fief, released the Bruce and his men for no charge, and paid restitution then you saw his sins as forgiven, He did none of the above.

On top of that Lord de Polignac attacked the Fief of Bordeaux, Holding several pilgrims hostage till My Bailiff would treat with him. He did of course do so for the pilgrim’s sake, he even went so far as to delude the Lord into thinking he would be willing to treat with him in the future.

I would like to think that the Lord Grande de Pre did not know that he was violating a papal truce, But Lord Polignac certainly did. And whether they understood it or not I would expect Both Lords to do the Chivalrous thing and take the punishment for their misdeeds. The Lord Grand de Pre has shown that he is not man enough to do it. I wonder how the Lord Polignac shall act?

King Edward III

II. Pope Benedict to King Edward. The late Truce.


You should know what kind of kingdom France was before you attempted to conquer it. That would have been the prudent thing.

To find you surpised that France is a collection of duchies is rather curious since her must unruley duc, the most in defience of the roi us the duc d'Aquitine. We think you are well aquainted with this recalcitrant vassal.

The whole world is not Angleterre writ large.

This truce, though mediated with our efforts and of much relief to us, was not our truce. We were neither a signatory nor a participant. Indeed confusion over this matter was one of the principle causes of its breech. We see England as confused as Grand Pre.

We find that errors were made, as is the nature of man since the fall, for no king governs angels. Indeed the establishment of a church and a state are the very manifestation of God's purpose in governing men so tempted by sin and wrongdoing. So was the offender condemned, judged by his peers under the watchful eye of authority and compensation made. Once again we facilitated the settlement of captives and ransoms, but the acts were actually performed by others, not by us.

We think it very noble for France to treat with you in your defiance over Aquitaine, yet now we hear you complain over a breech in truce where in punishment has been made and declare France not fit for treaty. Now is the world turned upside down.


III. King Edward to Pope Benedict.

Holy Father,

Perhaps your memory is failing you. I was never defient to the Roi, till I was attacked By the Roi. His only excuse was that I had spoke out against him when I questioned the reason for him to attack Navarra, his own family. It was the same Roi Philippe who sits now on the throne de Light.

With that as an example of how he deals with one who "defies" him I would have expected a much stronger reaction than a "I am bound by my nobles" answer. I did not set out to concuer France just to defend my lands from an unlawful attack. The Throne of France is the one who started the War not myself.

King Edward III

IV. Pope Benedict to King Edward.


Our memory fails us?

Who gave protection of Robert d'Artois after he was outlawed by the roi? He still resides in London. Do you, Eduard allow your vassals to harbor outlaws?

Who interfered with the royal courts in cases when the duc d'Aquitaine's vassals sought review and appeal? Are your noble's court's the last word in England? Is there no common law to which they can appeal in the king's courts?

Who refused to swear obediance as was commanded, and in the traditional form?

Our memory fails us? I think you would hope that it were so, but it is not, our memory is yet keen and sharp.


V. Lord Chief Justice of England (me) to Pope Benedict. Things remembered differently.

Most Holy Father Benedict XII,

While my office would not presume to dispute the quality of Your Holiness' memory, we too would like a chance to recall those points which we have chosen to remember.

First. When Robert of Artois came to London after being declared an outlaw without a fair trial, he was seeking Edward Plantagenet in his capacity as the King of England, not Duke of Aquitaine.

Second. We do have royal courts as the last resort in England, though we regret to say that none is royal enough so as to always be accomodating to the king's wish even if such wish were contrary to justice, as they apparently do in some other kingdom.

Third. Edward Plantagenet did swear obedience at Amiens in 1329 which Philippe of Valois acknowledged in 1331 as meeting the criteria of a traditional liege homage yet has chosen to forget since 1337.

We submit that the bigger problem of memory is not that it may become dull at times but rather that memory no matter how sharp cannot by itself testify to the truth behind knowledge which it contains.

A point that we hope would do us all well to remember.

Lord Chief Justice
Hereford and Essex


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