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Unformatted text preview: become of a sudden his most rigid opponent, while every one beside complied with his will, rage at the disappointment, and indignation against such signal ingratitude, transported him beyond all bounds of moderation; and there seems to have entered more of passion than of justice, or even of policy, in this violent prosecution.w The barons, notwithstanding, in the great council voted whatever sentence he was pleased to dictate to them; and the bishops themselves, who undoubtedly bore a secret favour to Becket, and regarded him as the champion of their privileges, concurred with the rest, in the design of oppressing their primate. In vain did Becket urge, that his court was proceeding with the utmost regularity and justice in trying the mareschal’s cause, which however, he said, would appear, from the sheriff’s testimony, to be entirely unjust and iniquitous: That he himself had discovered no contempt of the king’s court; but on the contrary, by sending four knights to excuse his absence, had virtually acknowledged its authority: That he also, in consequence of the king’s summons, PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 220 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 personally appeared at present in the great council, ready to justify his cause against the mareschal, and to submit his conduct to their enquiry and jurisdiction: That even should it be found, that he had been guilty of non-appearance, the laws had affixed a very slight penalty to that offence: And that, as he was an inhabitant of Kent, where his archiepiscopal palace was seated, he was by law entitled to some greater indulgence than usual in the rate of his fine.x Notwithstanding these pleas, he was condemned as guilty of a contempt of the king’s court, and as wanting in the fealty which he had sworn to his sovereign; all his goods and chattels were confiscated;y and that this triumph over the church might be carried to the utmost, Henry, bishop of Winchester, the prelate who had been so powerful in the former reign, was, in spite of his remonstrances, obliged, by order of the court, to pronounce the sentence against him.z The primate submitted to the decree; and all the prelates, except Folliot, bishop of London, who paid court to the king by this singularity, became sureties for him.a It is remarkable, that several Norman barons voted in this council; and we may conclude, with some probability, that a like practice had prevailed in many of the great councils summoned since the conquest. For the contemporary historian, who has given us a full account of these transactions, does not mention this circumstance as any wise singular;b and Becket, in all his subsequent remonstrances with regard to the severe treatment, which he had met with, never sounds any objection on an irregularity, which to us appears very palpable and flagrant. So little precision was there at that time in the government and constitution! The king was not content with this...
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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