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of Canterbury by the time which he appointed in his letter, “he would

pronounce the same sentence against him, which he had pronounced against the emperor Frederica :" and by his approbation the archbishop seconded this impudent and unchristian resolution, with notifying to the king, “ that he would put the kingdom under an interdict, if he did not in fifteen days make his peace."

The king had a mighty passion for his family, and in the advancement of the late king Stephen to the crown in opposition to the juster title of his mother Maud, and in the controversy which had given him so much trouble and let so many dangers and disquiets in upon him, he was made abundantly sensible, how difficult it would be for a minor to bear up against the prevailing power of the clergy, headed by the bishop of Rome. The late ill treatment of the emperor Frederic could not but confirm him in this apprehension: and it seems very probable, that considerations of this kind, together with the vexatious and incurable obstinacy of the archbishop, broke the resolution which the king had hitherto shown in opposing the designs of the court of Rome, and brought this controversy to an issue which was likely to have frustrated all the ends the king hoped to have served by it; for this agreement, instead of securing the succession, did, by helping to raise the usurpation of the bishops of Rome, enable pope Innocent the Third to depose his son king John, and bade fair for the disinheriting of his family.

Whatever were the reasons by which this prince moved in that affair, the writers of Becket's story generally say, he was frightened into the agreement, as not daring to stand the shock of the interdict and sentence of pope Alexander. Thus much is evident, that an agreement was made the two-and-twentieth of July (1170), being the feast of St Mary Magdalen : by which the king yielded that the archbishop and all his followers should return to England, and peaceably enjoy what they had held before this controversy began; and this without so much as a promise on the side of the archbishop to observe the laws of England, or so much as the king's presuming to open his mouth for those usages', “which with so much obstinacy he had before * Baron. Annal. ann. 1170. N. 20.

b Ibid. " Those usages.] The ancient prerogatives, that is, of the crown of England in ecclesiastical matters, the chief of which had been collected together, and formally recognized in a council convened by the king in the month of

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defended;" as that prelate, according to his rude and unchristian manner, relates this affair to pope Alexandera.

The king was pleased with this agreement, as princes commonly are, when they are ill-used and insulted by their own subjects. But the archbishop sped worse ; for his success made a wonderful accession to his natural vanity and haughtiness, and at last proved fatal to him. His zeal was now become all fire, and that his opposers might not be kept in suspense what they were to expect from him, before he left Normandy he sent letters of excommunication against Roger archbishop of York for crowning the young king, and together with him the bishops of London and Durham, and all that assisted in that solemnity b; the doing whereof, as he pretended, did of right belong to him.

The king was sensible of that prelate's design, and endeavoured to prevent it, by appointing men to guard the ports, and seize such persons as they found bringing letters of this kind. However, they arrived safe, and in the beginning of Advent returned the angry prelate himself who had sent them, and who defended them with a fury agreeable to that which gave them a beginning. And fire so naturally produceth fire, that it is no wonder if the king was transported beyond the bounds of temper, to see himself affronted in the ill usage of those who had distinguished themselves by a steady zeal for his service ;—and the excommunicated and suspended bishops leaving England, and coming to the king in Normandy, and complaining to him, that the archbishop was grown so imperious that they were not able to live under him, and that when the archbishop came to wait on the young king he came attended by soldiers, and so attended would have entered the king's palace: this (saith the same author) so raised the

January 1164, and to which, after some demur, Becket promised obedience, but afterwards revoked his promise, to the great indignation of the king, and the almost universal disapproval of the bishops and great body of the clergy, as well as of the nobles. Hereupon the archbishop withdrew privately into France, where he continued several years under the protection of that court and of the pope, persisting all the while in treating the king in his letters with great insolence. He declares the statutes of Clarendon void, excommunicates their abettors, &c., and procures the pope's permission to excommunicate the king, if he did not submit very shortly ; engages the French king in a war against Henry, and at length terrifies the king into concession. See these particulars related at large, Inett, vol. i. p. 253—71.

« Baron. Annal. ann. 1170. N. 22. b Gervas. Chron. ann. 1170. [X. Script.] col. 1413. N. 30. 40. c Ibid.

indignation of the king, that he said “in passion, he maintained a company of cowardly and slothful men, of which not one would vindicate him from the many injuries which he sustained a :” or as others report his words, that “among all those he maintained or had obliged by his favours, he had none that would vindicate him from one priest that troubled him and his kingdom, and sought to depose and to disinherit him b.” The king's domestics thinking themselves reproached by this reflection, were officious beyond their duty and beyond what the king intended; and presently laying hold of these hasty expressions, four of them, viz. Reginald Fitz-Urse, William de Traci, Richard Brito, and Hugh de Morevile, resolved upon the death of the archbishop, and hasting away to England, with all the circumstances of inhumanity, murdered that unhappy prelate in his own Cathedral church, December 28, 1170.

The archbishop being thus murdered, the noise which attended it was in some measure answerable to the guilt and horror of the fact; for as that was barbarous beyond excuse, there wanted no industry to blacken the guilt and to fix it upon the king. On the other hand, the king was sensible of the ill use which would be made of it, and was just to his own honour and innocence; and to prevent the advantages which his enemies might reap from this occasion, king Henry employed his embassadors every where to assert his innocence. On the other hand, the French ministers aggravated the inhumanity of the deed; and the court of Rome could not but have reason to fear the consequence of this affair, as that which in the first view appeared very likely to intimidate their partisans, and make them cold in a design wherein that prelate had so fatally miscarried: therefore that court employed their emissaries to represent the horror of the fact, and used their eloquence to give the world such an idea thereof, as might beget impressions fitted to the purposes which they designed to serve by it. Nor did their exclamations set bounds to the displeasure of that court; but as they were very loud in their outcries against the king, so they threatened his kingdom with an interdict, and had doubtless kept their word, if the affairs of that court had not been too much perplexed to permit them to venture upon an undertaking attended with so much danger.

On the other hand, the king foreseeing what representations and what use the court of Rome would make of it, did not

* Gervas. Chron. ann. 1170. (X. Script.] col. 1414. N. 40.
b Baron. Annal. ann. 1170. N. 45.

without good grounds dread the issue of this affair, and took all possible precaution to prevent the ill effects thereof, and to do right to his own honour and innocence, and more especially in the court of Rome: in order whereto he presently sent an embassage thither. But that court, which never overlooked any advantage to serve itself, would not permit the embassadors to assert the king's innocence, until they had first made their way by good presents and round promises, that the king should abide by the award of the legates who should be sent to enquire into this affair ; a promise which in time entangled the king in difficulties which he was never able to overcome.

However, to put the evil day as far off as he could, the king sailed over to Ireland, to receive the homage of that kingdom. And as during his stay there that people generally submitted to his authority, so in a council which he held at Cashel, the bishops and clergy consented, and in the seventh canon ordained that divine service should be celebrated in all the churches of Ireland, according to the rites and customs of the church of England a. The settlement of Ireland took up the greatest part of this year; therefore the king fearing lest any ill use should be made of his long stay in that kingdom, ordered his ports to be stopped, and nobody to be suffered to come into England, that should pretend to bring letters of interdict against his kingdom.

Thus things passed on till the year following (1172); but before that time the legates of the court of Rome arrived in Normandy, where the king permitted them to wait till his return from Ireland ; but being returned from thence, without making any considerable stay in England, he went over to Normandy, where he met the legates in the latter end of September. It was the cause of the court of Rome and interest of the papacy, for which the late archbishop had lost his life, and that court was resolved to be paid for the blood of their martyr: and what was said of the martyrs of the first ages, that their blood was the seed of the church, was verified in this their martyr. And it was a mighty harvest which they reaped from his blood; for after all the noise and clamour they had made upon this subject, it appears plainly by the issue, that all their zeal and outcries upon this occasion were nothing else but arts to sell his blood the dearer.

Therefore after some time spent upon this occasion, the king was forced upon an agreement, which at once gave away all that

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· Concil. Brit., vol ü. p. 98.

he had been so long contending for, and which in the consequence thereof overwhelmed the rights of the church and the crown, and let in an usurpation which bore down all before it. There were seven articles upon which this accommodation was founded, of which three or four so nearly concern the church that they are not to be passed by.

First, that the king should never forsake pope Alexander or his catholic successors, so long as they used him as became a catholic king.

Secondly, in causes ecclesiastical appeals should be freely made to the bishops of Rome, and the king should neither hinder them himself nor permit others to hinder them; provided, that if any one should be suspected to have evil designs against the king or kingdom, they should give security before they departed out of his dominions.

Thirdly, that the king should after Christmas next ensuing go to the Holy Land in person for three years, unless dispensed with by the pope or his successors; and in the mean time, that he should maintain two hundred men for that service.

Fourthly, that he should abolish all such customs as in his time had been introduced to the prejudice of the church.

These articles, together with some others, by which he declares his innocence of the archbishop's death, and promises satisfaction, and to restore the rights of the church of Canterbury, being agreed upon, a council was called, where the king, the archbishop of Rouen, together with other Norman bishops and abbots, did in this assembly swear to observe the agreement; and so did his son king Henry, so far as the articles were general; and then the articles were sealed with the seal of the king. All that this mortified prince had in exchange, was absolution from the legates for the fault, of which he was first made to swear he was not guilty.

Thus this unhappy prelate's death, like that of Samson, drew destruction after it, and the church and crown suffered more by it, than by all the attempts and endeavours of his life. And watered with his blood, the papal usurpation presently grew up to its full complement and perfection ; for having before gained from the crown the patronage of bishoprics by forcing the right of investitures from the kings of England, and broken all the authority of provincial and diocesan bishops by settling the legantine power, and by assuming an authority to exempt the religious from

* Gervas. Chron. Cap. Twisden, Decem Scriptores, col. 1422.]

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