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Unformatted text preview: fter many remonstrances and menaces, that Becket, though with the worst grace imaginable, was induced to comply with the royal mandate. Henry, though he found himself thus grievously mistaken in the character of the person whom he had promoted to the primacy, determined not to desist from his former intention of retrenching clerical usurpations. He was entirely master of his extensive dominions: The prudence and vigour of his administration, attended with perpetual success, had raised his character above that of any of his predecessors:f The papacy seemed to be weakened by a schism, which divided all Europe: And he rightly judged, that, if the present favourable opportunity were neglected, the crown must, from the prevalent superstition of the people, be in danger of falling into an entire subordination under the mitre. The union of the civil and ecclesiastical power serves extremely, in every civilized government, to the maintenance of peace and order; and prevents those mutual incroachments, which, as there can be no ultimate judge between them, are often attended with the most dangerous consequences. Whether the supreme magistrate, who unites these powers, receives the appellation of prince or prelate, is not material: The superior weight, which temporal interests commonly bear in the apprehensions of men above spiritual, renders the civil part of his character most prevalent; and in time prevents those gross impostures and bigotted persecutions, which, in all false religions, are the chief foundation of clerical authority. But during the progress of ecclesiastical usurpations, the state, by the resistance of the civil magistrate, is naturally thrown into convulsions; and it behoves the prince, both for his own interest, PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 216 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 and for that of the public, to provide, in time sufficient barriers against so dangerous and insidious a rival. This precaution had hitherto been much neglected in England, as well as in other catholic countries; and affairs at last seemed to have come to a dangerous crisis: A sovereign of the greatest abilities was now on the throne: A prelate of the most inflexible and intrepid character was possessed of the primacy: The contending powers appeared to be armed with their full force, and it was natural to expect some extraordinary event to result from their conflict. Among their other inventions to obtain money, the clergy had inculcated the necessity of pennance as an atonement for sin: and having again introduced the practice of paying them large sums as a commutation, or species of atonement, for the remission of those pennances, the sins of the people, by these means, had become a revenue to the priests; and the king computed, that, by this invention alone, they levied more money upon his subjects, than flowed, by all the funds and taxes, into the royal exchequer.g That he might ease the peo...
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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