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Unformatted text preview: the general flame, checked its progress among his subjects; and as he is accused of open profaneness,z and was endued with a sharp wit,a it is likely that he made the romantic chivalry of the crusaders the object of his perpetual raillery. As an instance of his irreligion, we are told, that he once accepted of sixty marks from a Jew, whose son had been converted to Christianity, and who engaged him by that present to assist him in bringing back the youth to Judaism. William employed both menaces and persuasion for that purpose; but finding the convert obstinate in his new faith, he sent for the father, and told him, that as he had not succeeded, it was not just that he should keep the present; but as he had done his utmost, it was but equitable that he should be paid for his pains; and he would therefore retain only thirty marks of the money.b At another time, it is said, he sent for some learned Christian theologians and some rabbies, and bade them fairly dispute the question of their religion in his presence: He was perfectly indifferent between them; had his ears open to reason and conviction; and would embrace that doctrine, which upon comparison should be PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 171 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 found supported by the most solid arguments.c If this story be true, it is probable that he meant only to amuse himself by turning both into ridicule: But we must be cautious of admitting every thing related by the monkish historians to the disadvantage of this prince: He had the misfortune to be engaged in quarrels with the ecclesiastics, particularly with Anselm, commonly called St. Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury; and it is no wonder his memory should be blackened by the historians of that order. After the death of Lanfranc, the king, for several years, retained Quarrel with Anselm, in his own hands the revenues of Canterbury, as he did those of the primate. many other vacant bishoprics: but falling into a dangerous sickness, he was seized with remorse, and the clergy represented to him, that he was in danger of eternal perdition, if before his death he did not make atonement for those multiplied impieties and sacrileges, of which he had been guilty.d He resolved therefore to supply instantly the vacancy of Canterbury; and for that purpose he sent for Anselm, a Piedmontese by birth, abbot of Bec in Normandy, who was much celebrated for his learning and piety. The abbot earnestly refused the dignity, fell on his knees, wept, and entreated the king to change his purpose;e and when he found the prince obstinate in forcing the pastoral staff upon him, he kept his fist so fast clenched, that it required the utmost violence of the bystanders to open it, and force him to receive that ensign of spiritual dignity.f William soon after recovered; and his passions regaining their wonted vigour, he returned to his former violence and rapine. He detained in prison several persons whom he had ordered to be freed during the time of his penitence; he still preyed upon the ecclesiastical benefices; the sale of spiritual dignit...
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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