« ForrigeFortsett »
the martyrdom of Becket, as it ville, and Richard Brito, making was called.
no dfference between a fally of “ While he (Becket) was thus anger, and a fettled intention to preparing himself for that - mar. command a wicked action, thought tyrdom which he said he expected, they should much oblige the king the archbishop of York and the by murdering Becket.
Never bishops of London and Salisbury theless it appears, that they rather had gone over to Normandy, and desired to induce that prelate, by at the feet of the king implored threats and pretended orders from his justice and clemency, for them. the king, to take off the cenfures felves, for his whole clergy, and which he had laid on the bishops; for his kingdom. When he had or, in case of his refusal, to carry heard their complaints he was ex. him forcibly out of the kingdom; tremely incenfed, and faid, that, but if, from his resistance, they if all who confented to his son's co- could not succeed in either of these ronation were to be excommunicated; purposes, they refolved, and even by the eyes of God, he himself foould bound themselves by an execrable not be excepted. The archbishop, oath, to put him to death. Thus however, entreated him to proceed determined, they passed hastilyo, with discretion and temper in this ver to England, without the king's buliness. But not being able to knowledge, and went to a castle mafter the violence of his passion, belonging to Ranulf de Broc, 4he broke out into furious expref- bout fix miles from Caňterbury, fions of angerç faying, " that a where they laid all the night, in
whom he had raifed from the consultations with him and Robert “ duft trampled upon the whole his brother, by what methods they “ kingdom, dishonoured the whole hould execute their flagitious un“ royal family, had driven him and dertaking. Ranulf had under his “ his children from the throne, and orders:a band of Soldiers, wbahad “ triumphed there unrefifted; and, been employed for fome time in " that he was very unfortunate to guarding the coast. They agreed “ have maintained ja many, cowardly to take along with them a num. " and ungrateful men in his court, ber-of these, sufficient to hinder
Trone of whom would revenge him the citizens of Canterbury, or
of the injuries, he fuftained from one any of the knights of Becket's - turbulent priet." Having thus household, from attempting to aid vented his rage, he thought 10 him; and on the following day, mure of what he had said; but, un. being the twenty-ninth of Dece.nhappily for him, his words were ber in the year eleven hundred taken notice of, by fome of those and seventy, they came to Çan. pests of a court, who are ready to terbury, concealing their armsas catch at every occasion of serving much as was possible, and dividing the pasions of a prince to the pre- their followers into many small judice of his honour and intereft. parties, that they might give po Four gentlemen of his bedcham. alarm. Presently afterwards the ber, knights and barons of the four knights entered the castle uokingdoin, Reginald Fitzurse, Wil. armed, and a message being sent liam de Tracey, Hugh de More. by them to acquaint the archbi.
fhop, that they were come to speak head of the young king. Becket with him on the part of the king made answer, that saving the batheir master, he adınitted them nour of God, and his own foul, he into his chamber, where they earnestly desired to place many found him in conversation with inore crowns upon the head of that fome of his clergy. They sat down prince, instead of taking this off, before him without returning his and loved him more senderly than falutation ; and, after a long fi. any other man could, except his lence, Reginald Fitzurre said to royal father. him, " We bring you orders A vehement dispute then arole “ from the king. Will you hear between Fitzuile and him, about
them in public, or in pri. fome words which he affirmed the "vate?” Becket answered, " that king to have spoken, on the day " Thould be as pleased them beft.” when his peace was made, per. Fitzurfe then defiring him to dif. mitting him to obtain what repa. miss all his company, he bid them ration or justice he could from the leave the room; but the porter pope, against those bishops who kept the door open; and after had invaded the rights of his fee, the above-mentioned gentleman and even promising to alift him had delivered a part of whaç he therein; for the truth of which he called the king's orders, Becker, appealed to Fitzurfe himself, as fearing some violence from the having been present. But that rough manner in which he spoke, gentleman constantly denied that called in again all the clergy who he had heard it, or any thing like were in the antichamber, and told it, and urged the great improba. the four knights, that whatever bility that the king hould have they had to inform him of might consented to give up his friends be said in their presence. Where- to Becket's revenge for what they upon Fitzurse commanded him in did by his orders. And certainly, the name of the king to release if it was true, one cannot but the excommunicated and suspende wonder, that the archbishop thould ed bishops. He said, the pope, not have mentioned it in any one not he, had passed that sentence of his letters, and particularly in opon them, nor was it in his pow. the account which he wrote to the er to take it off. They replied, pope of all that passed on that day! it was inflicted by his procure. T'he words he repeated there, as ment. To which he boldly made fpoken by Henry, even admittinganswer, that if the pope had been that they were given without any pleased thus to revenge the injury exaggeration, would not authodone to the church, he confeit, it rise the construction he paw put did not displease him. These words upon them.. But that he himlelf gave occasion to .very bitter re. did not believe he had such a com. proaches from the rage of Fitzurfe, miffion appears from the appre. He charged the bishop with having henfions he expreft to his Holiness, violated the reconciliation fo lately in a subsequent letter, of the of. concluded, and having formed a fence that he hould give to the design ta tear the crown from the king by these acts, and from the
extraordinary care he took to con. words one of them turned to the ceal his intention till after he had ecclefiafticks there present, and in performed it.
the name of the king commanded Their conversation concerning them to secure the person of Becthis matter being ended, thefour ket; declaring, they should answer knights declared to him, it was for him, if he escaped. Which the king's command, that he and being heard by him, he asked the all who belonged to him thould knights, “Why any of them depart out of the kingdom: for “hould imagine he intended to that neither he nor his mould any “ Aly? Neither for fear of the king, longer enjoy the peace he had nor. of any one living, will I broken. He replied, that he “ (faid he) be driven to flight. I would never again put the sea be. came not bither to fly, but to stand tween him and his church : add. " the malice of the impious, and the ing, that it would not have been rage of afaffins." Upon this for the honour of the king to have they went out, and commanded sent such an order. They faid, the knights of his houshold, at they would prove that' they the peril of their lives, to go with brought it from the king, and them, and wait the event in fi. urged, as a reason for it, Becket's lence and tranquillity. Proclama. having opprobriously cast out of tion was likewise made to the same the church, at the inftigation of effect in the city. After their de. his own furious parlions, the mi, parture John of Salisbury reproved nifters and domestic servants of the primate for having spoken to the king; whereas he ought to them so sharply, and told him, have left their examination and he would have done better, if he punishment to the royal justice. had taken counsel of his friends He answered, with warmth, that what answer to make. But he re: if any man whatsoever presumed plied, "There is no want of more to infringe the laws of the holy Ro- i counsel. What I ooght to do I man see, or the rights of the “ well know." Intelligence bechurch of Christ, and did not ing brought to him that the four voluntarily make satisfaction, he knights were arming, he said, with would not spare such an offender, an air of unconcern, “What mat'nor delay any longer to pronouncé ters it? let them arm." Never. ecclesiastical censures against him. theless some of his fervants hutand They immediately rose up, and barred the abbey-gate : after going nearer to him, faid, “ We which the monks who were with
give you notice that you bave him, alarmed at his danger, led spoken to the peril of your head.” him into the church, where the His answer was, “ Are you come evening service was performing, " to kill meI have committed
private way through the " cause to the supreme judge of all, cloysters. « and am therefore unmoved at your The knights were now come 66. threais. Nor are your swords before the gate of the abbey, and " more ready to frike than my mind 'would have broken it open with ss is to fuffer inartyrdom.” At these instruments shey had brought for
that purpose : But Robert de Broc, “and peace in my blood. But in to whom the house was better “ the name of God, I forbid yox ta known, thewed them a pallage “ hurt any of my people. They through a window, by which they now rushed upon him, and en. got in, and, not finding Becket in deavoured to drag him out of the any chamber of the palace, fol. church, with an intention (as they lowed him to the cathedral. When afterwards declared themselres) to the monkswithinsaw them coming, carry him in bonds to the king; they haftened to lock the door ; or, if they could not do that, to but the archbishop forbad them to kill him in a less sacred place : do it, saying, "You ought not to but he clinging fast to one of the " make a castle of the church. It pillars of the choir, they could " will protect us jufficiently without not force him from thence. Dur. " being Hut: nor did I come hither ing the struggle he hook William
to reht, but to frffer." Which de Tracey fo roughly, that he al. they not regarding, he himself most threw him down; and as Re. opened the door, called in fome of ginald Fitzurfe preft harder upon the monks, who stood without, him than any of the others, he and then went up to the high thrust bim away, and called him
pimp. This opprobrious language The knights, finding, no ob- more enraged that violent man; Atacle, rushed into the choir, and, he lifted up his fword against the brandishing their weapons, ex- head of Becket, who then bowing claimed, " Where is Thomas his neck, and joining his hands “ Becket? where is that traitor to together in a posture of prayer, " the king and kingdom?" at recommended his own foal, and which he making no answer, they the cause of the church, to God, called out more loudly,: “ Where and to the saints of that cathedral. " is the archbishop ? He then But one of the monks of Canter. turned, and coming down the bury interposing his arm to ward fleps of the altar, « Here am I, off the blow, it was almost cot “ no traitor, but a priet. What off; and the archbishop also was “ would you have with me? I am wounded in the crown of his " ready to suffer in the name of him head. He food a second ftroke, or who redeemed me with his blood. which likewife fell on his head, in " God forbid that I should fly for the same devout pofture, without
fear of your swords, or recede a motion, word, or groan: but, “ from justice," They once more after receiving a third, he fell commanded him to iake off the proftrate on his face ; and all the excommunication and fufpenfion accomplices prefling now to of the bishops. He replied, " No Thare in the murder, a piece of his • satisfaction has yet been made ; fkull was Aruck off by Richard “ nor will I absolve them. Then Brito. Lastly, Hugh the fubdea" (faid they) thou thalt inftantly con, who had joined himself to “ die, according to thy desert. them at Canterbury, scooped out " I am ready to die (anfwered he) the brains of the dead archbifhop " that the church may obtain liberty with the point of a sword, and
fcattered them over the pave- came the champion of the church
from an ambitious defire of sharing Thus, in the fifty-third year of its power; a power more indehis age, was affaslinated Thomas pendent on the favour of the king, Becket'; a man of great talents, and therefore more agreable to the of elevated thoughts, and of in- haughtiness of his mind, than that vincible courage ; but of a most which he had enjoyed as a mi. violent and turbulent fpirit; ex. nister of the crown. And this sula cessively passionate, haughty, and picion is increased by the marks vain-glorious ; in his resolutions of curing and falseness, which inflexible, in his resentments im- are evidently seen in his conduct placable. It cannot be denied that on some occasions. Neither is it he was guilty of a wilful and pre- impoffible, that, when firft he almeditated perjary :- that he op. sumed his new character, he might posed the neceffary course of pub- act the part of a zealot, merely lic justice, and acted in defiance or principally from motives of arof the laws of his country ; laws rogance and ambition ; yet, af. which he had most folemnly ac- terwards, being engaged, and inknowledged and confirmed: nor Alamed by the context, work himis it less evidents that; during the felf up into a real enthufiasm. heat of this dispute, he was in The continual praises of those the highest degree ongrateful to a with whom he acted, the honours very kind master, whose conf. done him in his exile by all the dence in him had been boundless, clergy of France, and the vanity and who from a private condition which appears fo predominant in had advanced him to be the se. his mind, may have conduced to cond man in his kingdom. On operate fuch a change. He cera, what motives he acted can be cer- tainly shewed in the latter part
of tainly judged of by him alone to his life a spirit as fervent as the wbom all hearts are open. He warmest enthufiaft's ; such a spirit might be milled by the prejudices indeed as constitutes heroin, when of a bigotted age, and think he it exerts itself in a cause beneficial was doing an acceptable service to to mankind. Had" he defended God, in contending, even to the established laws of his country, death, for the utmost excess of and the fundamental rules of civil ecclefiaftical and papal authority. justice, with as much zeal and Yet the ftrength of his under: intrepidity as he opposed them, standing, his conversation in courts he would have deserved to be and camps, among persons whofcranked with those great men, whofe notions were more free and en virtues make one easily forget the larged, the different colour of his allay of fome natural imperfec. former life, and the suddenness of tions : but, unhappily, his good the 'change which seemed to be qualities were fo misapplied, that wrought in him upon his election they became no less hurtful to to Canterbury, would make one the public weal of the king. fufpect, as many did in the times dom, than the worst of his wherein he lived, thar he only bea rices.