Графични страници
PDF файл

could not do. The conference at Mont- receive the homage of the barons while martre ended, as Becket meant that it his father was still living. should end, in nothing.

The pope in person had been invited He sent off despatches to the Arch- to perform the ceremony. The pope bishop of Sens and to his Roman agents, had found it impossible to go, and entirely well satisfied with himself, and among the other inconveniences resultbidding them tell the pope that Norman- ing from Becket's absence the indefinite dy had only to be laid under interdict postponement of this coronation had not and that the field was won Once more been the lightest. The king had been he had painfully to discover that he had reluctant to invade the acknowledged been building on a quicksand. Instead privilege of the Archbishop of Canterof the interdict, the pope sent orders to bury, and had put it off from year to the Archbishop of Rouen and the Bishe year. But the country was growing imof Nevers to absolve a second time the patient. The archbishop's exile might victims whom he had excommunicated now be indefinitely protracted. The deat Clairvaux. Instead of encouragement lay was growing dangerous, and the obto go on and smite the king with the ject of the commission for which the king spiritual sword, he received a distinct had asked, and which the pope had command to abstain for another interval. granted to the Archbishop of York, was Last of all, and worst of all, the pope to enable the Archbishop of York to act informed him that at the king's request

, in the coronation ceremony. The comfor certain important purposes, he had mission in its terms was all that Henry granted a commission, as legate over all could desire; the pope not only permitEngland, to his rival and enemy the ted the Archbishop of York to officiate, Archbishop of York. The king's envoys but enjoined him to do it. Promises had promised that the commission should were said to have been given that it was not be handed to the Archbishop of not to be used without the pope's conYork till the pope had been again con- sent; but in such a labyrinth of lies litsulted But the deed was done. The tle reliance can be placed on statements letter had been signed and delivered. unconfirmed by writing. The pope did The hair shirt and the five daily floggings not pretend that he had exacted from had been in vain then! Heaven was the English envoys any written engagestill inexorable. The archbishop raved ment. He had himself signed a paper like a madman. "Satan was set free for giving the Archbishop of York the necthe destruction of the Church.' ' At essary powers, and this paper was in the Rome it was always the same. Barab- king's hands. The coronation was the bas was let go, and Christ was cruci- symbol of the struggle in which Becket fixed.' 'Come what might, he would was now engaged. The sovereign, acnever submit, but he would trouble the cording to his theory, was the delegate Roman Church no more.'

of the Church. In receiving the crown

from the hands of the Archbishop of Becket had now been for more than Canterbury, the sovereign formally adfive years in exile. He had fought for mitted his dependent position; and so victory with a tenacity which would have long as it could be maintained that the done him credit had his cause been less coronation would not hold unless it was preposterous. At length it seemed that performed either by the Archbishop of hope was finally gone. At the supreme Canterbury or by the pope himself, the moment another opportunity was thrust sovereign's subject state was a practical into his hands. Henry's health was un- reality. certain; he had once been dangerously Becket saw the favorable moment, and ill. The succession to the English crown instantly snatched at it. He had many had not yet settled into fixed routine. powerful friends in England among the Of the Conqueror's sons William had peers and knights. The lay peers, he been preferred to Robert. Stephen sup says in his letters, had always been truer planted Matilda; but the son of Stephen to him than the clergy, they on their was set aside for Matilda's son. To pre- part having their own differences with vent disputes it had been long decided the crown. He had ascertained that the that Prince Henry must be crowned and coronation could not be postponed; and if he could make the validity of it to de- by defying his positive injunctions. To pend on his own presence, he might re- the superstitious English barons the exdeem his past mortifications, and bring istence of the inhibition threw a doubt Henry to his feet after all. He knew on the legality of the coronation, and as Alexander's nature, and set his agents to men's minds then were, and with the work upon him. He told them to say wild lawless disposition of such lion cubs that if the coronation was accomplished as the Plantagenet princes, a tainted title without his own presence the power of would too surely mean civil war. By illthe Roman see in England was gone; fortune offence was given at the same and thus, when all seemed lost he gained time to Lewis, who considered that his the feeble and uncertain pope to his side daughter should have been crowned with once more. In keeping with his con- her husband, and he resented what he duct throughout the whole Becket diffi- chose to regard as a wilful slight. The culty, Alexander did not revoke his pre- pope was told that the coronation oath vious letter. He left it standing as had been altered, that the liberties of the something to appeal to, as an evidence Church had been omitted, and that the of his goodwill to Henry. But he issued

issued young king had been sworn to maintain another injunction to the Archbishop of the Constitutions of Clarendon. Becket York, strictly forbidding him to officiate; made the most of his opportunity ; misand he enclosed the injunction to Becket takes, exaggerations, wilful lies, and culto be used by him in whatever manner he pable credulity, did their work eftectivemight think fit. The Archbishop of ly; Lewis went to war again, and invadYork never received this letter. It was ed Normandy; the pope, believing that given, we are told, to the Bishop of Wor- he had been tricked and insulted, com: cester, who was in Normandy, and was manded Henry to make peace with the on the point of returning to England. archbishop under threat of instant perThe Bishop of Worcester was detained, sonal excommunication of himself and and it did not reach its destination. So an interdict over his whole dominions. runs the story; but the parts will not fit Henry flew back from England to Norone another, and there is a mystery left mandy. In a month he dispelled the unexplained.* This only is certain, that illusions of Lewis, and restored peace. the inhibition was not served on the It was less easy to calm Alexander, who Archbishop of York. Rumor may have regarded himself, if not openly defied, reached England that such a thing had yet as betrayed by the breach of the been issued; but the commission which promise that the commission to the Archhad been formerly granted remained bishop of York should not be used withlegally unrevoked, and on the 18th of out a fresh permission from himself. June Prince Henry was crowned at Henry knew that a sentence of excomWestminster in his father's presence by munication against himself, and an interthe Archbishop of York and the Bishops dict over his French dominions, was seof London, Durham, Rochester, and Sal- riously possible. The risk was too great isbury.

to be incurred without another effort to It was easy now for Becket to repre- compose the weary quarrel. The archsent to Alexander that the English bish- bishop, too, on his side had been taught ops had rewarded his kindness to them by often repeated experience that the

pope was a broken reed. Many times * It would appear from a letter of John of

the battle seemed to have been won, and Salisbury that the prohibitory letter had been

the pope's weakness or ill-will had purposely withheld by Becket, who was al- snatched the victory from him. He had lowing himself to be guided by some idle left England because he thought the vaticinia or prophecies. John of Salisbury writes to him (Letters, vol. ii. p. 236): Memi

continent a more promising field of batneritis quantum periculum ei infortunium ad

ile for him. He began to think that final se traxerit mora porrigendi ... prohibitorias success, if he was ever to obtain it, would Eboracensi archiepiscopo et episcopis trans- only be possible to him in his own see, Subtilitatem vestram vaticinia

his own people, surrounded by quæ non erant a Spiritu deluserunt.

among Vaticiniis ergo renunciemus in posterum,

his powerful friends. He too, on his quia nos in hâc parte gravius infortunia per. side, was ready for a form of agreement culerunt."

which would allow him to return and re

marinis. ...

possess himself of the large revenues of private between themselves, that no one which he had felt the want so terribly. heard it or knew the subject of it except More than once he and Henry met and from Becket's report. Count Theobald separated without a conclusion. At of Blois asserted, in a letter to the pope, length at Frêteval in Vendôme, on St. that in his presence (me presente) the Mary Magdalen's day, July 22, an inter- archbishop complained of the conduct of view took place in the presence of Lewis the English prelates, and that the king and a vast assemblage of prelates and empowered him to pass sentence on knights and nobles; where, on the terms them. Yet more remarkably, the archwhich had been arranged at Montmartre, bishop afterwards at Canterbury insisted the king and the archbishop consented to Reginald Fitzurse that the king's to be reconciled. The kiss which before promises to him had been given in the had been the difficulty was not offered audience of 500 peers, knights, and preby Henry and was not demanded by lates, and that Sir Reginald himself was Becket; but according to the account among the audience. Fitzurse denied given by Herbert, who describes what he that he heard the king give any sanction himself witnessed, and relates what Beck- to the punishment of the bishops. He et told him, after the main points were treated Becket's declaration as absurd settled, the king and the archbishop rode and incredible on the face of it. The apart out of hearing of every one but Count of Blois may have confounded themselves. There the archbishop asked what he himself heard with what Becket the king whether he might censure the told him afterwards, or he may have rebishops who had officiated at the corona- ferred to some other occasion. The tion. The king, so the archbishop in- charge against the king rests substantially formed his friends, gave his full and free on Becket's own uncorrected words; consent. The archbishop sprang from while, on the other side, are the internal his horse in gratitude to the king's feet. unlikelihood of the permission in itself The king alighted as hastily, and held the and the inconsistency of Becket's subsearchbishop's stirrup as he remounted. quent action with a belief that he had These gestures the spectators saw and the king's sanction for what he intended wondered at, unable, as Herbert says, to to do. Had he supposed that the king conjecture what was passing till it was would approve, he would have acted afterwards explained to them.

openly and at once. Instead of consultThat the king should have consented as ing the king, he had no sooner left the absolutely and unconditionally as Becket Frêteval conference than he privately said that he did, or even that he should obtained from the pope letters of suspenhave consented at all in Becket's sense sion against the Archbishop of York of the word, to the excommunication of and the Bishop of Durham, and letters of persons who had acted by his own orders excommunication against the Bishops of and under a supposed authority from the London, Salisbury, and Rochester; and pope, is so unlikely in itself, so inconsis- while he permitted Henry to believe that tent with Henry's conduct afterwards, he was going home to govern his diocese that we may feel assured that Henry's in peace, he had instruments in his portaccount of what took place would, if we folio which were to explode in lightning knew it, have been singularly different. the'moment that he set foot in England, But we are met with a further difficulty. and convulse the country once more. Herbert says positively that the conver- The Nineteenth Century, sation between Becket and the king was


BY A. K. H. B.

THERE are opinions held by human the human being that holds them. You beings which, being revealed to you, en- are placed in a position to say not mereable you to form an estimate of the mor- ly whether the human being be a wise al as well as of the intellectual state of man or a blockhead, but whether or not

he be a vulgar person, a brutal person, a to such as fancy it is represented in scoundrel, a rogue. A well-known apo- him. It chanced that a poor woman thegm as to them that has brains and had been sentenced to be hanged, at the no money, and them that has money and period of Smith's conversation with no brains,' stamped the mortal who Sampson. Upon this Smith ventured adopted it : stamped him not simply in the seemingly innocent remark that this the respect of his grammar, but of his was a sad thing, a woman being hanged. deeper nature. So with the man who No,' said Sampson, always eager to holds it quite fit on due occasion to show that any man cleverer than himself thrash his wife. So with him who said, was unsound in doctrine : No,' said and possibly thought, that it is right to that being : 'God will damn a woman detain his fellow-creatures in ‘involun- just as soon as a man: and therefore, in tary servitude.' So with the jaunty saying that it is a sadder thing to hang toady, not himself a Bohemian but writ a woman than to hang a man, you are ing a funkey-like life of a Bohemian, accusing God.' Such were the words, who stated in print (I have read it) that and Smith did not forget them : though

a tradesman is an animal who exists to he did not repeat them till the creature supply a gentleman without payment that uttered them was removed to anwith what he may want.' Give me rath- other sphere of uselessness. Now, said er, as a daily associate, the person who Smith, here was Brutality in opinion and maintains that this world is a flat surface expression. That particular line of and not a globe. He must be very stu- thought and argument was Brutal. And pid; but he may be an honest man. In- Smith thought of a certain great genius deed, all one learns of him leads to the who, like most other men worth countassurance that he is so.

ing, thought a little extra-tenderness not But there are opinions which are capa- unfit towards the more suffering and ble of being held only by a very brutal gentler half of poor humanity : or a very vulgar person. The person may be brutal without being vulgar; and

Then gently scan your fellow-man,

Still gentlier sister-woman. of course he may be vulgar without be. ing brutal. A Spanish Inquisitor, look The person who says No to that is ing on quietly at the burning of a Jew, brutal besides being blind. Sampson was unquestionably brutal, but not neces- might have remarked, indeed, that he sarily vulgar; while the Puritan preacher always took the very blackest possible in America who got a poor witch burnt, view of the behavior of both man and and having complacently beheld her ago- woman : and that the question of degree nies, preached a sermon on the occasion accordingly mattered but little with him. in which he expressed a super-devilish Smith, in reply to Sampson's cheerful (or infra.devilish) satisfaction that she argument, felt much disposed to say that had (as he expressed it) 'gone howling it was a dreadful thing to think of God out of one fire into another,' was not damning' either woman or man. But he only a brute, but a vulgar brute. I have

vulgar brute. I have was a youth upon his preferment: and known one or two Puritans very like in those days a young preacher’s ‘soundhim. My friend Smith tells me that ness' was like a woman's virtue : and he many years ago, when a young lad, he was well aware that had he said anything was talking with a divine (since deceased) of that sort Sampson could have greatly named Sampson. Sampson was one of interfered with his chances of preferthose under-bred, un-scholarly, coarse ment by going about shaking his head grained illiterates who make one think and lifting up his hands together with how mysterious a thing it is that God his shoulders, and saying he feared Almighty permits such to represent young Smith was unsound, was dangerChristian life and doctrine to any; their ous, was Negative, was Broad. So apparent vocation being to make the Smith, by no small effort, held his tongue, young hate religion. Even so the Pope, and got away as fast as he could. But if well-advised, might largely subsidize a Time brings its revenges : and the day blatant railer at the Church of Rome, came on which Smith was able, without whose whole demeanor tends to make the smallest alarm, to tell Sampson exProtestantism ridiculous and disgusting actly what he thought of him and his

theology and his general career. The to be regarded as 'fine bodies,' ivverly estimate expressed was somewhat unfa- runnin',' and preaching in 'a fine style vorable. But there was no fight in Samp- o' langidge. I have no fear that such son; and he slunk away, like a dog with an unhappy time will be here in the life its tail between its legs.

of any one now living. But oh the suiNot Brutality in opinion is the writer's cidal idiotcy of such of the clergy as from present subject, however; but Vulgarity. temporary irritation join hands with We are to think of that order of beliefs such as would degrade their office in the and notions which imply vulgarity in the very dust! persons holding them. Let not any at- All this, however, is by the way; tempt be made at a definition of vulgari- though it is not quite irrelevant. Let it ty. I never saw a successful one; and now be said that an argument is selfthe last I saw was by Sir Arthur Helps. condemned when it commends itself We all know the thing when we see it. only to an exceptive or abnormal perAnd some of us unhappily see a good son: to a very stupid person, or a very deal of it. There are few more trying vulgar person ; or only to a Scotchman forms of it than the historical form: or a Highlander. Many folk know that when it states the proceedings of mortal there are such arguments; if indeed men, putting these in the most repulsive argument be the proper word. And any way. I do not at this moment recal any opinion, or belief, is self-condemned, example of a more dreadful fashion of which as a matter of fact you know can putting the attention of a parish priest never be accepted by educated folk, by to an afflicted family, than that of the folk of decent culture. The man who individual who stated that when he had stated, in all honesty, that not only he trouble in his house, the worthy man himself had never read either Milton or

under whom he sat' was most mindful; Shakspere, but that he did not believe in point of fact he was ivverly runnin',' any human being had ever read Milton - that is, making frequent pastoral visits. or Shakspere, was capable of accepting 'Ivverly runnin'' such was the acknow- and holding opinions which you, my ledgment of much thought and kind- gentle and friendly reader, could not acness, much bodily fatigue, on the part of cept or hold though your life depended a highly-educated and devout gentleman. upon it. Such a one could not at all see It is not much fitted to lead a man to or feel many considerations which are devote himself to the sacred office in the most apparent to you. Such a one will discountry where such is the manner of put- cern great force in considerations which ting things. Worst of all, the person you would put aside as not having the who used the phrase, though no doubt weight of a feather. There are opinions, desirous of putting his parish clergyman' most honestly held, which go naturally in his proper place, had no idea that he with grubby nails, uncultured souls, was speaking of him in unduly depreci- mean suspicions, coarse jokes receivatory phrase. But the faithful and dili- ed with horse-laughter, wretched tattle gent priest, now passed to his rest, who recorded and reiterated to a neighbor's related the fact to me, said rather sadly prejudice, and statements that the docthat he feared even such was the mode tor or the clergyman was (not duly in which a good deal of the best work of kind and attentive, but) ivverly runnin'. the best men was expressed in words in Last Sunday the writer, being in the a country known to us both. Other greatest of Scotch cities, was proceeding sentences, highly analogous, suggest towards the grandest of Scotch churches, themselves; but they are best put away when he met a Scotch divine whose and forgot. Let it be said, however, name is remarkably well known to fame. that should the evil days of what is That excellent individual, holding up a called Disestablishment come, and the quarto volume bound in morocco, utexisting independence of the National tered the exclamation ‘What a blessing Clergy cease, all those who are known to it is to read one's prayers! It is Peace. me will wash their hands of a work Peace.' Then he went on his way, lookwhich will have ceased to be the work ing very peaceful and comfortable. He for such as them. Doubtless human be serves one of the most influential of the ings will be found who will be content congregations of the Scotch Church;

« ПредишнаНапред »