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Unformatted text preview: sation which the pope granted to Henry from his vow, that prince could not be prevailed on to depart from the resolution which he had taken. In one of these conferences, at which the French king was present, Henry said to that monarch: “There have been many kings of England, some of greater, some of less authority than myself: There have also been many arch bishops of Canterbury, holy and good men, and entitled to every kind of respect: Let Becket but act towards me with the same submission, which the greatest of his predecessors have paid to the least of mine, and there shall be no controversy between us.” Lewis was so struck with this state of the case, and with an offer which Henry made to submit his cause to the French clergy, that he could not forbear condemning the primate, and withdrawing his friendship from him during some time: But the bigotry of that prince, and their common animosity against Henry, soon produced a renewal of their former good correspondence. All difficulties were at last adjusted between the parties; and the 1170. 22d July. king allowed Becket to return, on conditions which may be esteemed both honourable and advantageous to that prelate. He was not required to give up any rights of the church, or resign any of those pretensions, which had been the original Compromise with ground of the controversy. It was agreed, that all these questions Becket. should be buried in oblivion; but that Becket and his adherents should, without making farther submission, be restored to all their livings, and that even the possessors of such benefices as depended on the see of Canterbury, and had been filled during the primate’s absence, should be expelled, and Becket have liberty to supply the Vacancies.d In return for concessions, which entrenched so deeply on the honour and dignity of the crown, Henry reaped only the advantage of seeing his ministers absolved from the sentence of excommunication pronounced against them, and of preventing the interdict, which, if these hard conditions had not been complied with, was ready to be laid on all his dominions.e It was easy to see how much he dreaded that event, when a prince of so high a spirit could submit to terms so dishonourable, in order to prevent it. So anxious was Henry to accommodate all differences, and to reconcile himself fully with Becket, that he took the most extraordinary steps to flatter his vanity, and even on one occasion humiliated himself so far as to hold the stirrup of that haughty prelate, while he mounted.f But the king attained not even that temporary tranquillity, which he had hoped to reap from these expedients. During the heat of his quarrel with Becket, while he was every day expecting an interdict to be laid on his kingdom, and a sentence of excommunication to be fulminated against his person, he had thought it prudent to have his son, prince Henry, associated with him in the royalty, and to make him be crowned king, by the hands of Roger archbishop of York. By this precaution, he both ensured the succession of that prince, which, considering the many past irregularities in that point, could not but be esteemed somewhat precarious; and he preserved at least his family on the throne, if the sentence of excommunication should have the effect which he dreaded, and should make his subjects renounce the...
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- Spring '08