Imatges de pàgina


$13. Anseim and William

Ru us.

$14. Anselm and Henry I.

mysteries of Christianity in the work which formed the basis of Christian theological arguments, even in times when men had broken away from the moorings at which the medieval Church lay anchored.

All the learning, and all the piety and righteousness of monasticism, were concentrated in Anselm. Well might he shrink from accepting the archbishopric from the hands of William. As soon as the king recovered his health, he plunged into his old contemptuous scorn of God and man. A quarrel soon sprang up between the two men on various grounds, chiefly on the question of the recognition of Pope Urban, the pope of the Church, or of Pope Clement, the anti-pope supported by the emperor. William wanted to keep the question open, and alleged truly that his father had prohibited the recognition of any pope without license from himself. The declaration was evidently something very different in the mouths of the two kings. It was Anselm's clear duty to announce that there was a realm of conscience into which mere force, clothing itself in the forms of state expediency, could not be allowed to enter. Urban, he declared, was pope and not Clement. All the threats of the king could not make it otherwise. In vain the time-serving bishops ranged themselves on the king's side. Anselm. cared for none of their threats. William was obliged to give way. Then the quarrel blazed up afresh, and Anselm asked and obtained permission to return to the Continent to confer with the pope. The Red King was left to his sins and to his bloody death in the New Forest.

In Henry I. Anselm had another kind of man to deal with. Cautious and self-controlled, if it were but for the sake of the strength which he gained by it, Henry established in England the rule of stern inflexible justice, except where his special ends were to be served.

Anselm, too, had learned upon the Continent views which he had not entertained when he first took possession of the see of Canterbury. He had then received investiture from William, as his predecessors had received investiture before him, by the reception of the pastoral staff. He found that by the pope and the churchmen by whom the pope was surrounded, this acceptance of an ecclesiastical dignity at the hands of a layman was condemned as scandalous and illegal. It has been said that he adopted this new view from mere subservience to the papal authority. But it should not be forgotten that since he had received investiture from William, a bitter experience had taught him what a miserable bondage it was to be beaten about hither and thither at the caprice of a rude and godless king. The pastoral staff might be nothing in itself, but it was the symbol of a rule and guidance which rested on another basis than that of material force. Yet he could not but acknowledge that Henry too had right on his side. If bishops and archbishops had broad lands at their disposal, and warlike knights at their command, it could not be a matter of indifference to a king who tried-as in some sort Henry was trying to fulfil the duties of his office, who it was who held positions of such authority, and in what spirit towards the realm they fulfilled the duties incumbent upon them through those positions. The Concordat by which the dispute was settled acknowledged both these rights. Investiture by the delivery of the staff was to come from the pope, but homage was to be done, as by a feudal baron, to the king.

It is easy to speak contemptuously of Anselm for grasping at the shadow and flinging away the substance. No man flings away the substance who cares only to announce the truth. It was an eternal truth for all time that there was a sphere of the mind and heart


$15. Principles involved in the Quarrel.


§ 16. The Anarchy of Stephen.

which ought, for the good of mankind, to be left untouched by the compulsory action of the state. It was a temporary truth for the eleventh and twelfth centuries, that those who addressed themselves to raise the moral and spiritual condition of their fellows needed the support of a central ecclesiastical organisation to maintain them against the violence or the avarice of those who wielded the power of the state. Of course there were sure to be future troubles, but it would not be through the fault of Anselm. The troubles would come simply because the temporary truth of one century would cease to be the temporary truth of another. It might very well be that the ecclesiastical organisation of Rome would set itself against moral and intellectual progress. It might very well be that the powers of the state would be harshly and unjustly used. Above all, Rome, far away as she was, was not likely to know the facts of each case as it arose so well as persons living upon the spot. There is no absolute permanence in nationality. Frontiers change, and habits change, till that which is a whole today may become a part to-morrow. But a people welded together into a coherent body is, on the whole, a better judge of its affairs than any distant power can possibly be. The day would come when those who were most bitterly opposed to the Roman see would be those who most truly maintained the principles of Anselm. His spirit rests with the men who in the seventeenth century passed the Toleration Act, and founded the liberty of the press.

Henry I. went far to establish monarchical order in England. But it was an order which depended on his own character for its maintenance. When he died, he was succeeded by the weak Stephen. The English people had no general organisation except in the person of the king. If the king was incompetent to furnish this organisation,

the people dropped asunder as a faggot drops when the band is loosed. The Norman baronage could wreak its vengeance or satisfy its greed on each town or hamlet in detail. The horror of those days far surpassed the horror of the tyranny of Rufus. 'Men said that Christ and his saints were asleep.' On every side arose fortified castles, the abodes of robbery and wrong. At last, in the young Henry, a head was found capable of carrying on the work of his grandfather.

It was not difficult for the strong man to reduce the exhausted land to order, to dismantle the fortified castles of the barons which had been the strongholds of robbery and wrong, and to dismiss the mercenary bands of foreign soldiers, which had formed the main support of the oppressors in that evil time. Happily for England, Henry was more than a strong man. Without gentleness or sympathy, he had the clear head of an organiser, and a prompt eye to reject forms of organisation which might have been successful in another land or time, but which were not suitable to the England of his own day. There was much to lead a king at his time to strive after the ideal of the old Roman Empire. Its memories were still green on the Continent. Henry's reign was almost exactly contemporaneous with that of Frederick Barbarossa, who wore the crown of the Cæsars haughtily in defiance of all who sought to diminish its lustre. The study of the Roman law had just been quickened afresh in England, as in the rest of Europe, bringing with it its scientific precision, its reverence for despotic authority, and that contempt for traditionary custom and for the mere instinct of the unlearned masses which had gone far to bring about the ruin of the Roman Empire. Henry no doubt could not have succeeded in establishing a pure despotism in England if he had tried. But it was none the less a merit in him that he did not try, and


first Acts of

$17. The Henry II.



tary Reforms.

that he worked steadily to carry out the plans of his grandfather and his great grandfather, by associating the greatness of the English crown with the active co-operation of the English people.

It was in this spirit that he completed the organisation of the national army. The feudal landowners were bound to follow him into the field for forty days in the year. Henry had many reasons for distrusting such a force. Besides being King of England, he was a great continental prince, ruling by various titles over sunny lands which stretched from the English Channel to the Pyrenees. To defend so long a line he wished to have English help, and he soon found that the short service of the English feudal force was of little use to him. As the trouble of crossing the sea was also highly disagreeable to the feudal tenants themselves, a bargain was soon effected by which they were excused from military service on payment of a sum of money, which bore the name of scutage. With this money Henry paid mercenary troops on whom he could depend all the year round, and whom he never, except on one occasion of desperate need, brought over into England. Such a change was of more than military importance. No doubt the feudal lords. still continued to bear arms and to be proud of their fighting powers. But they were seldom brought under the stress and training of actual war, and they thus became far less formidable to the king than they had been in earlier days. Nor was Henry content with weakening the military power of the baronage. In the old English system the fyrd, or national militia, was drawn from the free landed population irrespective of tenure. By the assize of arms, Henry provided that every man whose property reached a certain specified amount should, in proportion to his wealth, possess arms, which he was never to be allowed to sell or pledge. By this arrange

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