the barons were with other laws enacted by legitimate authority in a parliament at Marlborough. To crown this important work, and to extinguish, if it were possible, the very embers of discontent, the clergy were brought forward with a grant of the twentieth of their revenues, as a fund which might enable those who had been prevented by poverty to redeem their estates according to the decision of the arbitrators at Kenilworth. The outlaws in the Isle of Ely were also reduced. The King’s poverty had disabled him from undertaking offensive measures against them: but a grant of the tenth part of the church revenues for three years, which he had obtained from the Pope, infused new vigor into his councils; bridges were thrown over the rivers; roads were constructed across the marshes; and the rebels returned to their obedience on condition that they should enjoy the benefit of the Dictum of Kenilworth, which they had so contemptuously and obstinately refused.
Louis IX, King of France, 1226-1270, was at once a monarch of great ability and a man of intense religious spirit. Naturally, in such a time as that of his reign, a man like Louis would be a crusader. His first expedition—called the Seventh Crusade, 1248-1254—was directed against Egypt. He captured Damietta in 1249 and pushed into the interior, but was defeated by the Egyptian Sultan and taken prisoner with his entire army. He was liberated on the surrender of Damietta and the payment of a large ransom, and in 1254 he returned to France.
The state of Europe meanwhile had become unfavorable to further prosecution of the crusades, and Louis was the only monarch who longer took a serious interest in the fate of the Christian colonies of Asia. He also wished to avenge the honor of the French arms in Egypt, and so at length he planned a new expedition against the Moslems in that country. But he long kept this purpose a secret “between God and himself.” Louis consulted Pope Clement IV, who at first tried to discourage the perilous enterprise; but finally the Pontiff gave his approval, and while admitting no others as yet into his designs, Louis quietly made preparation and awaited the favorable hour.
At last, the great Parliament of France being assembled in the hall of the Louvre, the King entered, bearing in his hand the crown of thorns of Christ. At sight of this, the whole assembly became aware of the monarch’s intentions, which he now fully made known, exhorting all who heard him to take the cross. A sad surprise fell upon the reluctant parliament; but Louis was strongly seconded by the Pope’s legate, and many of the prelates, nobles, and knights received the cross.
Notwithstanding the deep regret which