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Pharaoh should set the Israelites to farces was the bull's-eye and centrepoint make a pin instead of a pyramid ; and of all the universe ? And yet it is not fine young men who work themselves So. The ends for which they give away into a decline, and are driven off in a their priceless youth, for all they know, hearse with white plumes upon it. may be chimerical or hurtful; the glory Would you not suppose these persons and riches they expect may never come, had been whispered, by the Master of or may find them indifferent; and they the Ceremonies, the promise of some and the world they inhabit are so inconmoinentous destiny? and that this luke siderable that the mind freezes at the warm bullet on which they play their thought.-Cornhill Magazine.
LIFE AND TIMES OF THOMAS BECKET.
BY JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE.
Becket was now forty-four years old. State and king; to place the pope, and The king was thirty. The ascendency himself as the pope's legate, in the posiwhich Becket had hitherto exercised tion of God's vicegerents. When he over his sovereign through the advantage found it written that' by me kings reign of age was necessarily diminishing as the and princes decree judgment,' he approking came to maturity, and the two priated the language to himself, and his great antagonists, as they were hence- single aim was to convert the words thus forth to be, were more fairly matched construed into reality. than Becket perhaps expected to find The first public intimation which them. The archbishop was past the Becket gave of his intentions was his time of life at which the character can resignation of the chancellorship. He be seriously changed. After forty men had been made archbishop that the offimay alter their opinions, their policy, ces might be combined; he was no soonand their conduct; but they rarely alter er consecrated than he informed the king their dispositions; and Becket remained that the duties of his sacred calling left as violent, as overbearing, as ambitious, him no leisure for secular business. He as unscrupulous, as he had shown him- did not even wait for Henry's return self when chancellor, though the objects from Normandy. He placed the great at which he was henceforth to aim were seal in the hands of the chief justice, the entirely different. It would be well for young prince, and the barons of the Exhis memory were it possible to credit chequer, demanding and receiving from him with a desire to reform the Church them a hurried discharge of his responsiof which he was the head, to purge away bilities. The accounts, for all that apthe corruption of it, to punish himself the pears, were never examined. Grim, permoral disorders of the clergy, while he haps, when accusing him of rapine and denied the right to punish them to the murder, was referring to a suppression of State. We seek in vain, however, for a disturbance in Aquitaine, not to any the slightest symptom of any such desire. special act of which he was guilty in Throughout his letters there is not the England; but the unsparing ruthlessness faintest consciousness that anything was which he displayed on that occasion was amiss. He had been himself amongst an indication of the disposition which the grossest of pluralists; so far from was displayed in all that he did, and he being ashamed of it, he still aimed at re- was wise in anticipating inquiry. taining the most lucrative of his bene- The king had not recovered from his fices. The idea with which his mind surprise at such unwelcome news when was filled was not the purity of the he learned that his splendid minister had Church, but the privilege and supremacy laid aside his magnificence and had asof the Church. As chancellor he had sumed the habit of a monk, that he was been at the head of the State under the always in tears-tears which flowed from king. As archbishop, in the name of the him with such miraculous abundance as Church, he intended to be head both of to evidence the working in him of some
special grace,* or else of some special peremptory sentences, pronounced with-
tionem incurrit. Asserit enim rex juxta digarchbishop's noninee, and the archbish- teneat in capite vel minister ejus citra ipsius op excommunicated the knight. Such conscientiam sit excommunicandus ab aliquo,
ne si hoc regem lateat lapsus ignorantiâ com* « Ut putaretur possessor irrigui superior- municet excommunicato; comitem vel baronis et inferioris.' The “superior' fountain of em ad se venientem in osculo vel consilio adtears was the love of God; the 'inferior' was mittat.'—Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, vol. the fear of hell.
ii. p. 222.
The Church principles of Gregory the Broi, and cross-questioned him in BeckSeventh were making their way through et's presence. It was not denied that Europe, but were making their way with he had killed a man. The king inquired
extreme slowness. Though the celibacy what Becket was prepared to do. Beck• of the clergy had been decreed by law, et's answer, for the present and all simi
clerical concubinage was still the rule in lar cases, was that a clerk in orders acEngland. A focaria and a family were cused of felony must be tried in the first still to be found in most country parson- instance in an ecclesiastical court, and ages. In theory the priesthood was a punished according to ecclesiastical law. caste. In practice priests and their If the crime was found to be of pecuflocks were united by common interests, liarly dark kind, the accused.might be common pursuits, common virtues, and deprived of his orders, and, if he again common crimes. The common law of offended, should lose his privilege. But England during the reigns of the Con- for the offence for which he was dequeror's sons had refused to distinguish prived, he was not to be again tried or between them. Clerks guilty of robbery again punished; the deprivation itself or murder had been tried like other fel was to suffice. ons in the ordinary courts, and if found The king, always moderate, was unguilty had suffered the same punish- willing to press the question to extremments. The new pretension was that ity. He condemned the judgment of they were a peculiar order, set apart for the bishop of Lincoln's court. He inGod's service, not amenable to secular sisted that the murderer should have a jurisdiction, and liable to trial only in real trial. But he appointed a mixed the spiritual courts. Under the loose commission of bishops and laymen to try administration of Stephen, the judges had him, the bishops having the preponderatbegun to recognise their immunity, and ing voice. the conduct of the lower class of clergy Philip de Broi pleaded that he had was in consequence growing daily more made his purgation in the regular manintolerable. Clergy, indeed, a great ner, that he had made his peace with the many of them had no title to be called. family of the man that he had killed, and They had received only some minor form that the matter was thus ended. He apoloof orders, of which no sign was visible in gised for having insulted the sheriff, and their appearance or conduct. They professed himself willing to make reasonwere clerks only so far as they held ben- able reparation. The sentence of the efices and claimed special privileges; for commission was that his benefices should the rest, they hunted, fought, drank, and be sequestered for two years, and that, gambled like other idle gentlemen. if the sheriff insisted upon it, he should
In the autumn of 1163 a specially be flogged. gross case of clerical offence brought the So weak a judgment showed Henry question to a crisis.
the real value of Becket's theory. The Philip de Broi, a young nobleman who criminal clerk was to be amenable to the held a cancnry at Bedford, had killed law as soon as he had been degraded, some one in a quarrel. He was brought not before ; and it was perfectly plain before the court of the Bishop of Lin- that clerks never would be degraded. coln, where he made his purgation eccle- They might commit murder upon mursiastico jure—that is to say, he paid the der, robbery upon robbery, and the law usual fees and perhaps a small fine. The would be unable to touch them. It relations of the dead man declared them- could not be. The king insisted that a selves satisfied, and Philip de Broi was sacred profession should not be used as acquitted. The Church and the rela a screen for the protection of felony. tions might be satisfied; public justice He summoned the whole body of the was not satisfied. The Sheriff of Bed- bishops to meet him in a council at fordshire declined to recognise the deci- Westminster in October. sion, and summoned the canon a second The council met. The archbishop was time. The canon insulted the sheriff in resolute. He replied for the other bishopen court, and refused to plead before ops in an absolute refusal to make any him. The sheriff referred the matter to concession. The judges and the laity the king. The king sent for Philip de generally were growing excited. Had the
clergy been saints, the claims advanced more satisfactory to themselves than to for them would have been scarcely toler- the laity. The practice of appealing to able. Being what they were, such pre- Rome in every cause in which a churchtensions were ridiculous. Becket might man was in any way connected had disorspeak in their name. He did not speak ganised the whole course of justice. their real opinions. Arnulf, Bishop The Constitutions (as they were called) of Lisieux, came over to use his influ- of Clarendon touched in detail on a ence with Becket, but he found him in- variety of points on which the laity conexorable. To risk the peace of the sidered theinselves injured. The geneChurch in so indefensible a quarrel ral provisions embodied in these famous seemed obstinate folly. The Bishop of resolutions would now be scarcely chalLisieux and several of the English pre- lenged in the most Catholic country in lates wrote privately to the pope to en- the world. treat him to interfere.
1. During the vacancy of any archAlexander had no liking for Becket. bishopric, bishopric, abbey, or priory of He had known him long, and had no be- royal foundation, the estates were to be lief in the lately assumed airs of sanctity. in the custody of the Crown. Elections Threatened as he was by the emperor to these preferments were to be held in and the antipope, he had no disposition the royal chapel, with the assent of the to quarrel with Henry, nor in the partic. king and council. ular question at issue does he seem to 2. In every suit to which a clerk was a have thought the archbishop in the right. party, proceedings were to commence On the spot he despatched a legate, a before the king's justices, and these jusmonk named Philip of Aumone, to tell tices were to decide whether the case Becket that he must obey the laws of the was to be tried before a spiritual or a civil realm, and submit to the king's pleasure. court.
court. If it was referred to a spiritual The king was at Woodstock. The court, a civil officer was to attend to archbishop, thus commanded, could not watch the trial, and if a clerk was found refuse to obey. He repaired to the guilty of felony the Church was to cease court. He gave his promise. He un- to protect him. dertook, bonå fide et sine malo ingenio, to 3. No tenant-in-chief of the king, or submit to the laws of the land, whatever officer of his household, was to be exthey might be found to be. But a vague communicated, or his lands laid under engagement of this kind was unsatisfac- an interdict, until application had been tory, and might afterwards be evaded. first made to the king, or, in his absence, The question of the immunities of the to the chief justice. clergy had been publicly raised. The 4. Laymen were not to be indicted in a attention of the nation had been called bishop's court, either for perjury or other to it. Once for all the position in which similar offence, except in the bishop's the clergy were to stand to the law of the presence by a lawful prosecutor and land must be clearly and finally laid with lawful witnesses. If the accused was down. The judges had been directed of so high rank that no prosecutor to inquire into the customs which had would appear, the bishop might require been of use in England under the king's the sheriff to call a jury to inquire into grandfather, Henry the First. A second the case. council was called to meet at Clarendon, 5. Archbishops, bishops, and other near Winchester, in the following Janu- great persons were forbidden to leave ary, when these customs, reduced to wri- the realm without the king's permission. ting, would be placed in the archbishops 6. Appeals were to be from the archand bishops' hands, and they would be deacon to the bishop, from the bishop to required to consent to them in detail. the archbishop, from the archbishop to
The spiritual power had encroached the king, and no further; that, by the on many sides. Every question, either king's mandate, the case might be ended of person, conduct, or property, in which in the archbishop's court. * an ecclesiastic was a party, the Church courts had endeavored to reserve for the articles in the text are an epitome of
* The Constitutions were seventeen in all. themselves. Being judges in their own those which the Church found most objectioncauses, the decisions of the clergy were able.
The last article the king afterwards sion that he had meant to deceive Henry explained away. It was one of the most by words, and that he was being caught essential, but he was unable to maintain in his own snare. When driven to bay, it; and he was rash, or he was ill-ad- the archbishop's fiery nature always vised, in raising a second question, on broke into violence. Never, never,' he which the pope would naturally be sensi- said, 'I will never do it so long as tive, before he had disposed of the first. breath is in my body,'* In affected On the original subject of dispute, penitence for his guilty compliance, he whether benefit of (clergy was to mean retired to his see to afflict his fesh with impunity to crime, the pope had already public austerities. He suspended himpractically decided, and he could have self ab altaris officio (from the service of been brought without difficulty to give the altar) till the pope should absolve a satisfactory judgment upon it. Some him from his sin. The Bishop of Evlimit also might have been assigned to reux, who was present at Clarendon, adthe powers of excommunication which vised him to write to the pope for aucould be so easily abused, and which, if thority to sign. He pretended to comabused, might lose their terrors. But ply, but he commissioned a private friend appeals to the pope were the most lucra- of his own, John of Salisbury, who was tive source cf the pope's revenue. on the continent, to prepare for his restrict appeals was to touch at once his reception on the flight which he already pride and his exchequer.
meditated from England, and by all The Constitutions were drafted, and methods, fair and foul, to prevent the when the council assembled were submit- pope and cardinals from giving the king ted to Becket for approval. He saw in any further encouragement. The Bishop the article on the appeals a prospect of of Lisieux, on the other hand, whose recovering Alexander's support, and he previous intercession had decided the again became obstinate. None of the pope in the king's favor, went to Sens in bishops, however, would stand by him. person to persuade Alexander to cut the There was a general entreaty that he knot by sending legatine powers to the would not reopen the quarrel, and he Archbishop of York to override Becket's yielded so far as to give a general prom- obstinacy and to consent in the name of ise of conformity.* It was a promise the Church instead of him. given dishonestly - given with a con- John of Salisbury's account of his proscious intention of not observing it. He ceedings gives a curious picture of the had been tempted, he afterwards said, cause of God, as Becket called it, on its by an intimation that, if he would but earthly and grosser side. seem to yield, the king would be satisfied. Becket was a lawyer. He could archbishop) is most anxious to help you. If
The Count of Flanders (he wrote to the not really have been under any such extremity comes, send the count word, and illusion. In real truth he did not mean he will provide ships. I Everything which to be bound by the language of the Con- passed in London and at Winchester Clarenstitutions at all, but only by his own
don) is better known here than in England it
self. I have seen the King of France, who unlanguage, from which it would be easy to dertakes to write to the pope in your behalf. escape. The king by this time knew The feeling towards our king among the the man with whom he had to deal. The Constitutions were placed in writing * Sanctus archiepiscopus tunc primum before the bishops, who one and all were dolum quem fuerat suspicatus advertens, inrequired to signify their adherence under
terpositâ fide quam Deo debuit : “Non hoc
fiet,” respondit, quam diu in hoc vasculo their several hands and seals.
spirat hæc anima." Nam domestici regis seBecket, we are innocently told by his curum fecerant archiepiscopum quod nunbiographer Grim, now saw that he was to quam scriberentur leges, nunquam illarum be entrapped. There was no entrapping audientiâ procerum honorasset. Fictâ se
fieret recordatio, si regem verbo tantum in if his promise had been honestly given. conjuratione seductum videns, ad animam The use of the word is a frank confes- usque tristabatur.'—Materials for the History of
Thomas Becket, vol. ii. p. 382. * Foliot, however, says that many of the + Naves enim procurabit si hoc necessitas bishops were willing to stand out, and that vestra exegerit, et ipse ante, ut oporit, præBecket himself advised a false submission moneatur.- Joannis Sarisbiriensis Epistole, (Foliot to Becket, Giles, vol. i. p. 381).
vol. i. p. 188.