The feast of the Nativity was kept with due solemnity at the palace of Westminster, and the king
appeared with his crown on the day of the Epiphany. While he was keeping this festival with
remarkable splendour in the great hall, just as at his first coronation, news was brought him on
that very day, from his spies beyond the sea, that, notwithstanding the potency and splendour of
his royal state, his adversaries would, without question, invade the kingdom during the following
summer, or make an attempt to invade it. Than this, there was nothing that could befall him
more desirable, inasmuch as he imagined that it would put an end to all his doubts and troubles.
Still, however, most shrewdly coming to the conclusion that money, which was now nearly failing
him, forms the sinews of war, he had recourse to the modes of exaction which had been
practised by king Edward, and which he himself had condemned in full parliament; these were
the so-called "benevolences," a name detestable in every way. He accordingly sent chosen
men, children of this world, wiser in their generation than the children of light, who were by
means of prayers and threats, by right or by wrong, to scrape up immense sums of money, after
examining the archives of the realm, from persons of nearly all conditions.
Oh God! why should we any longer dwell on this subject, multiplying our recital of things so
distateful, so numerous that they can hardly be reckoned, and