Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/313

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they fell a prey. Henry III, after forcibly assessing them several times, took (in 1230) suddenly from them a third of their possessions; afterward, to get a loan, he mortgaged all the Jews of Great Britain to Count Richard. The Jews begged, since their condition had become unendurable, for permission to emigrate; but it was refused them, since the king loved them all too dearly to let them go. Bishops, as Grossetete, of Lincoln, demanded their banishment, and Edward I ordered it in 1290; and in this way robbed himself of a most valuable instrument, by which previous kings had indirectly taxed their subjects. On account of the general lack of regular and sufficient income for the crown a lack under which all states at that time suffered some persons must be found who would take the place of those who had been banished. Such substitutes presented themselves in the associations of the Caorsines and the Italian money-brokers. Their way to England was paved by the Roman curia, which used them as its collectors, though the most prominent of them became bankrupt suddenly in 1345, and went off with debts unpaid. As usurers and financial managers for the crown, they were hated no less than the Jews.

In France the system of extortion practiced upon the Jews was still more methodical and crafty. Philip Augustus began his reign at the age of fifteen (1182) with the plundering and banishing of all Israelites. The report that they put a Christian to death every year at the time of their passover is said to have led him to this course, but the debts left him by his father were the immediate occasion. In the year 1198 they were recalled. Louis VIII declared all their claims for interest to be invalid, and ordered that the moneys due them should be paid to their lords, the king and the barons. Louis IX, convinced equally that all taking of interest was heinous sin, and that all the Jews of the land were his slaves, compelled them several times to purchase the privilege of remaining in the country; and, when he thought that he had extorted enough from them, banished them from his kingdom, with confiscation of whatsoever they still possessed. When the Jews implored before the governor of Karbonne for the restoration of the rights that had been taken away from them by the king, they complained: "The Jews are robbed of their means, and yet compelled to pay their debts; while, on the other hand, those who owe them are freed from the obligation to pay their Jewish creditors. They are forbidden to loan money on interest, and yet are not allowed to earn a living in any other way." The king's order was not completely carried out. Many remained, others returned afterward from time to time.

Louis's brother, Count Alphonse of Poictiers, made use of a particularly shrewd procedure in his state, which was afterward imitated in Germany. Under the pretext of expenditure for a crusade, he had himself authorized by the Pope to appropriate to himself all interest