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Unformatted text preview: d will you, by your abominable pretensions to grant them their investiture, assume the right of creating them.”a PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 184 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 But how convincing soever these arguments, they could not persuade Henry to resign so important a prerogative; and perhaps, as he was possessed of great reflection and learning, he thought, that the absurdity of a man’s creating his God, even allowing priests to be gods, was not urged with the best grace by the Roman pontiff. But as he desired still to avoid, at least to delay, the coming to any dangerous extremity with the church, he persuaded Anselm, that he should be able, by farther negociation, to attain some composition with Pascal; and for that purpose, he dispatched three bishops to Rome, while Anselm sent two messengers of his own, to be more fully assured of the pope’s intentions.b Pascal wrote back letters equally positive and arrogant both to the king and primate; urging to the former, that, by assuming the right of investitures, he committed a kind of spiritual adultery with the church, who was the spouse of Christ, and who must not admit of such a commerce with any other person;c and insisting with the latter, that the pretension of kings to confer benefices was the source of all simony; a topic which had but too much foundation in those ages.d Henry had now no other expedient than to suppress the letter addressed to himself, and to persuade the three bishops to prevaricate, and assert, upon their episcopal faith, that Pascal had assured them in private of his good intentions towards Henry, and of his resolution not to resent any future exertion of his prerogative in granting investitures; though he himself scrupled to give this assurance under his hand, lest other princes should copy the example and assume a like privilege.e Anselm’s two messengers, who were monks, affirmed to him, that it was impossible this story could have any foundation: But their word was not deemed equal to that of three bishops; and the king, as if he had finally gained his cause, proceeded to fill the sees of Hereford and Salisbury, and to invest the new bishops in the usual manner.f But Anselm, who, as he had good reason, gave no credit to the asseveration of the king’s messengers, refused not only to consecrate them, but even to communicate with them; and the bishops themselves, finding how odious they were become, returned to Henry the ensigns of their dignity. The quarrel every-day encreased between the king and the primate: The former, notwithstanding the prudence and moderation of his temper, threw out menaces against such as should pretend to oppose him in exerting the ancient prerogatives of his crown: And Anselm, sensible of his own dangerous situation, desired leave to make a journey to Rome, in order to lay the case before the sovereign pontiff. Henry, well pleased to rid himself without violence of so inflexible an antagonist, readily granted him permission. The prelate was attended to the...
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