Injudicious judgement

On the 23rd of January 1264, Louis IX made one of the most incredible blunders in the history of political arbitration when he ruled, in his Mise of Amiens, that his fellow monarch Henry III was not bound by the Provisions of Oxford. He had been asked by the royalists and Montfortians to reestablish peace in the realm, but his decision all but guaranteed war. While it may not seem surprising that one absolutist came out on the side of another absolutist, Louis had approved the Provisions only the previous September, when Henry appealed to him for help after Montfort first swept into power. His subsequent reversal has been attributed to lobbying by the papacy, which had already twice absolved Henry of his oath to observe the Provisions. Louis in fact tried to hide behind the pope in the only defence he gave for his ruling, but he was completely exposed in addressing the Montfortian argument that the Provisions were part of the evolution of good government going back to Magna Carta. Since the charter of liberties was by that time unassailable, he simply chose to ignore the link. The king of France declared that the English could have their Magna Carta, but not their Provisions. And that was that. Now, he implored, can’t we all just get along?

Louis IX , the errant peacemaker
                                        Louis IX , the errant peacemaker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.