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Unformatted text preview: ity towards his patron. Lord Lyttelton chuses to follow the authority of a manuscript letter, or rather manifesto, of Folliot, bishop of London, which is addressed to Becket himself, at the time when the bishop appealed to the pope from the excommunication pronounced against him by his primate. My reasons, why I give the preference to Fitz-Stephens are, (1.) If the friendship of Fitz-Stephens might render him partial to Becket even after the death of that prelate, the declared enmity of the bishop must, during his lifetime, have rendered him more partial on the other side. (2.) The bishop was moved by interest, as well as enmity, to calumniate Becket. He had himself to defend against the sentence of excommunication, dreadful to all, especially to a prelate: And no more effectual means than to throw all the blame on his adversary. (3.) He has actually been guilty of palpable calumnies in that letter. Among these, I reckon the following: He affirms, that, when Becket subscribed the Constitutions of Clarendon, he said plainly to all the bishops of England, It is my master’s pleasure, that I should forswear myself and at present I submit to it, and do resolve to incur a perjury, and repent afterwards as I may. However barbarous the times, and however negligent zealous churchmen were then of morality, these are not words which a primate of great sense and of much seeming sanctity would employ in an assembly of his suffragans: He might act upon these principles, but never surely would publicky avow them. Folliot also says, that all the bishops were resolved obstinately to oppose the Constitutions of Clarendon, but the primate himself betrayed them from timidity, and led the way to their subscribing. This is contrary to the testimony of all the historians, and directly contrary to Becket’s character, who surely was not destitute either of courage or of zeal for ecclesiastical immunities. (4.) The violence and injustice of Henry, ascribed to him by FitzStephens, is of a piece with the rest of the prosecution. Nothing could be more iniquitous, than, after two years silence, to make a sudden and unprepared demand upon Becket to the amount of 44,000 marks (equal to a sum of near a million in our time) and not allow him the least interval to bring in his accounts. If the king was so palpably oppressive in one article, he may be presumed to be equally so in the rest. (5.) Though Folliot’s letter, or rather manifesto, be addressed to Becket himself, it does not acquire more authority on that account. We know not what answer was made by Becket: The collection of letters cannot be supposed quite complete. But that the PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 368 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 collection was not made by one (whoever he were) very partial to that primate, appears from the tenor of them, where there are many passages very little favourable to him: Insomuch that the editor of them at Bru...
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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