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Unformatted text preview: sentence, however violent and oppressive. Next day, he demanded of Becket the sum of three hundred pounds, which the primate had levied upon the honours of Eye and Berkham, while in his possession. Becket, after premising that he was not obliged to answer to this suit, because it was not contained in his summons; after remarking, that he had expended more than that sum in the repairs of those castles, and of the royal palace at London; expressed however his resolution that money should not be any ground of quarrel between him and his sovereign: He agreed to pay the sum; and immediately gave sureties for it.c In the subsequent meeting, the king demanded five hundred marks, which, he affirmed, he had lent Becket during the war at Toulouse;d and another sum to the same amount, for which that prince had been surety for him to a Jew. Immediately after these two claims, he preferred a third of still greater importance: He required him to give in the accounts of his administration while chancellor, and to pay the balance due from the revenues of all the prelacies, abbies, and baronies, which had, during that time, been subjected to his management.e Becket observed, that, as this demand was totally unexpected, he had not come prepared to answer it; but he required a delay, and promised in that case to give satisfaction. The king insisted upon sureties; and Becket desired leave to consult his suffragans in a case of such importance.f It is apparent, from the known character of Henry, and from the usual vigilance of his government, that, when he promoted Becket to the see of Canterbury, he was, on good grounds, well pleased with his administration in the former high office, with which he had entrusted him; and that, even if that prelate had dissipated money beyond the income of his place, the king was satisfied that his expences were not blameable, and had in the main been calculated for his service.g Two years had since elapsed; no demand had during that time been made upon him; it was not till the quarrel arose PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 221 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 concerning ecclesiastical privileges, that the claim was started, and the primate was, of a sudden, required to produce accounts of such intricacy and extent before a tribunal, which had shown a determined resolution to ruin and oppress him. To find sureties, that he should answer so boundless and uncertain a claim, which in the king’s estimation amounted to 44,000 marks,h was impracticable; and Becket’s suffragans were extremely at a loss what counsel to give him, in such a critical emergency. By the advice of the bishop of Winchester he offered two thousand marks as a general satisfaction for all demands: But this offer was rejected by the king. i Some prelates exhorted him to resign his see, on condition of receiving an acquittal: Others were of opinion, that he ought to submit himself entirely to the king’s mercy:k...
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- Spring '08