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Unformatted text preview: which were still more strongly opposed by the prevailing opinions and sentiments of the age. Principle, therefore, stood on the one side; power on the other; and if the English had been actuated by conscience, more than by present interest, the controversy must soon, by the general defection of Henry’s subjects, have been decided against him. Becket, in order to forward this event, filled all places with exclamations against the violence which he had suffered. He compared himself to Christ, who had been condemned by a lay tribunal,u and who was crucified anew in the present oppressions under which his church laboured: He took it for granted, as a point incontestible, that his cause was the cause of God:w He assumed the character of champion for the patrimony of the divinity: He pretended to be the spiritual father of the king and all the people of England:x He even told Henry, that kings reign solely by the authority of the church:y And though he had thus torn off the veil more openly on the one side, than that prince had on the other, he seemed still, from the general favour borne him by the ecclesiastics, to have all the advantage in the argument. The king, that he might employ the weapons of temporal power remaining in his hands, PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 224 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 suspended the payment of Peter’s pence; he made advances towards an alliance with the emperor, Frederic Barbarossa, who was at that time engaged in violent wars with pope Alexander; he discovered some intentions of acknowledging Pascal III. the present anti-pope, who was protected by that emperor; and by these expedients he endeavoured to terrify the enterprising, though prudent pontiff, from proceeding to extremities against him. But the violence of Becket, still more than the nature of the 1166. controversy, kept affairs from remaining long in suspence between the parties. That prelate, instigated by revenge, and animated by the present glory attending his situation, pushed matters to a decision, and issued a censure, excommunicating the king’s chief ministers by name, and comprehending in general all those who favoured or obeyed the constitutions of Clarendon: These constitutions he abrogated and annulled; he absolved all men from the oaths which they had taken to observe them; and he suspended the spiritual thunder over Henry himself, only that the prince might avoid the blow by a timely repentance.z The situation of Henry was so unhappy, that he could employ no expedient for saving his ministers from this terrible censure, but by appealing to the pope himself, and having recourse to a tribunal, whose authoriy he had himself attempted to abridge in this very article of appeals, and which, he knew, was so deeply engaged on the side of his adversary. But even this expedient was not likely to be long effectual. Becket had obtained from the pope a legantine commission over England; and in virtue of that authority, which admitted of no appeal, he summoned the bishops of London, Salisbury, an...
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08