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Unformatted text preview: oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 and other spiritual dignitaries should be regarded as barons of the realm; should possess the privileges and be subjected to the burthens belonging to that rank; and should be bound to attend the king in his great councils, and assist at all trials, till the sentence, either of death or loss of members, be given against the criminal: That the revenue of vacant sees should belong to the king; the chapter, or such of them as he pleases to summon, should sit in the king’s chapel till they made the new election with his consent, and that the bishop-elect should do homage to the crown: That if any baron or tenant in capite should refuse to submit to the spiritual courts, the king should employ his authority in obliging him to make such submissions; if any of them throw off his allegiance to the king, the prelates should assist the king with their censures in reducing him: That goods, forfeited to the king, should not be protected in churches or church-yards: That the clergy should no longer pretend to the right of enforcing payment of debts contracted by oath or promise; but should leave these lawsuits, equally with others, to the determination of the civil courts: And that the sons of villains should not be ordained clerks, without the consent of their lord.o These articles, to the number of sixteen, were calculated to prevent the chief abuses, which had prevailed in ecclesiastical affairs, and to put an effectual stop to the usurpations of the church, which, gradually stealing on, had threatened the total destruction of the civil power. Henry, therefore, by reducing those ancient customs of the realm to writing, and by collecting them in a body, endeavoured to prevent all future dispute with regard to them; and by passing so many ecclesiastical ordinances in a national and civil assembly, he fully established the superiority of the legislature above all papal decrees or spiritual canons, and gained a signal victory over the ecclesiastics. But as he knew, that the bishops, though overawed by the present combination of the crown and the barons, would take the first favourable opportunity of denying the authority, which had enacted these constitutions; he resolved, that they should all set their seal to them, and give a promise to observe them. None of the prelates dared to oppose his will; except Becket, who, though urged by the earls of Cornwal and Leicester, the barons of principal authority in the kingdom, obstinately withheld his assent. At last, Richard de Hastings, grand prior of the templars in England, threw himself on his knees before him; and with many tears, entreated him, if he paid any regard, either to his own safety or that of the church, not to provoke, by a fruitless opposition, the indignation of a great monarch, who was resolutely bent on his purpose, and who was determined to take full revenge on every one, that should dare to oppose him.p Becket, finding himself deserted by all the world, even by his own brethren, was at last obliged to comply; and he promised, legally, with good faith, and without fraud or reserve,q to observe the con...
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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