Imatges de pÓgina

tending, that they should be first degraded by the ordinary, and then put into the hands of the magistrate, to be tried in the king's courts : the archbishop insisting, that for the first crime, the clerk should be tried in the bishop's court, and that, if he were convicted, he should be degraded and punished by spiritual inflictions, either with or without fine, imprisonment or flagellation, at the will of the court; but the prelate admitted, that a degraded clerk forfeited the protection of the ecclesiastical law; so that, if after his degradation he was guilty of felony, he might be prosecuted in the king's courts.

2.—That the point at issue between the king and the prelate was,-not what the law was before the Norman conquest, but, what it was at the actual time of the dispute : to this I beg leave to call your particular attention.

3.-That the Constitutions of Clarendon pro fessed not to reform, or make an alteration in the law, but to describe its actual state; asserting, at the same time, that such as it then described it, such it had been from the first.

4.—That some of these Constitutions propounded what never had been, -what never afterwards was,—and what is not now the law of England.

5.-And therefore, that, on the merits, to use a legal term, the archbishop was completely in the right, and the monarch completely in the wrong.

To prove against Doctor Southey, that several of the Constitutions of Clarendon were innovations

upon the actual state of the law in the reign of Henry II, I quoted a passage from Mr. Sharon Turner's History of England. In a note to your eighth letter, you say, (p. 75)," Mr. Butler


p. (84) has quoted one half only of this passage, "to prove a point which was confuted by the "remainder." To disprove this charge, I shall now transcribe the whole passage*, and leave it, without note or comment, to the sentence of the reader. The part quoted in my letter to Doctor Southey, is printed within the brackets.



[In justice to Becket, it must be admitted, "that these famous articles completely changed "the legal and civil state of the clergy, and were an actual subversion, as far as they went, of "the papal policy and system of hierarchy, so "boldly introduced by Gregory VII.] These new "Constitutions abolished that independence on the legal tribunals of the country, which William "had unwarily permitted, and they again subjected the clergy, as in the time of the AngloSaxons, to the common law of the land. The eighth article vested the ultimate judgment in "ecclesiastical causes in the king; by the fourth, "no clergyman was to depart from the kingdom "without the royal licence; and if required, was "to give security, that he would do nothing "abroad to the prejudice of the king or the king"dom; by the twelfth, the revenues of all pre

lacies, abbeys, and priories, were to be paid into *Turner's History of England, Vol. I. p. 213.


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" the exchequer during their vacancy, and, when " the successor should be appointed, he was to do

homage to his king, as his leige lord, before his

consecration. These, and other points in these “ celebrated Constitutions, though wise and just, “ and now substantially the law of the land, were

yet so hostile to the great papal system of making the church independent of the secular power, if not superior to it, that an ecclesiastic of that day, according to the prevailing feeling

of his order, might have resisted them. The “ fault of Becket lay in taking the prelacy with

a knowledge of the king's intention to have these NEW Laws established, and in provoking the contest and pursuing his opposition with all the

pride and vehemence of fierce ambition, and u vindictive hostility.”


Temporal Power of the Pope *. 1.- The Roman Catholics believe, that the Popes do not profess, directly or indirectly, by divine right, any title whatever to temporal power, either in secular or spiritual concerns.

History of the Revolutions of the

In my

* Í beg leave to refer to the account which I have given of the authority of the Pope, in the tenth Letter in “ The “ Book of the Roman Catholic Church.” —This work has been translated into French, and I have the satisfaction to find it is approved.

"Germanic Empire," and my "Historical Me"moirs of the English, Irish, and Scottish Ca

tholicst," a succinct account is given of the rise, extension, decline and fall of the Pope's temporal power +,

I first mention the rise of the Pope's temporal power: I have thus abridged it in my seventh letter to Doctor Southey: "From an humble "fisherman, the Pope successively became owner "of houses and lands, acquired the power of "magistracy in Rome, and large territorial posses"sions in Italy, Dalmatia, Sicily, Sardinia, France "and Africa; and ultimately obtained the rank "and consequence of a great temporal prince."

I then proceed as follows :—

2.-" The Popes soon advanced a still higher "claim. In virtue of an authority, which they "pretended to derive from heaven, some of them "asserted that the Pope was the supreme temporal lord of the universe, and that all princes "and civil governors were, even in temporal concerns, subject to them. In conformity


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"A succinct History of the Geographical and Political "Revolutions of the Empire of Germany, or the principal "States which composed the Empire of Charlemagne, from "his Coronation in 800 to its dissolution in 1806, with some "account of the Genealogical House of Hapsburgh, and of the "six secular Electors of Germany, and of Roman, French and English Nobility." 8vo. Printed separately and in the second volume of the writer's works.


+ Vol. I. ch. VII.

Hist. of Germ. Emp. Part. III. Sec. III.


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" this doctrine they took upon them to try, con“ demn and depose sovereign princes, to absolve

subjects from their allegiance to them, and to grant their kingdom to others.

“ That a claim so unfounded and impious, so hostile to the peace of the world, and apparently

so extravagant and visionary, should have been “ made, is strange :-stranger still, is the success “ it met with. There scarcely is a kingdom of “ Christian Europe, the sovereign of which did

not, on some occasion or other, acquiesce in it, “ so far at least as to invoke it against his own “ antagonist; and, having once urged it against

an antagonist, it was not always easy-for him

to deny the justice of it, when urged against " himself.”

In a further part of the same work*, I mention the decline of the temporal power of the Popes. I assign it “to their extravagant pretensions, unjust

enterprises, and dissolute lives ;—to the transfer “ of the papal see to Avignon ; to the grand

schism; to the discussions at the Councils of “ Constance, Basle and Pisa; to the writings of “ the men of learning of those times; and to the “ rough attacks of the Albigenses, Wickliffites,

Waldenses, and the other separatists from the church, in the 14th and 15th centuries.”

3.—Finallyt, I describe the total fall of the Pope's temporal power. I notice the leading events

* Hist. of Germ. Empire, Part IV. Sect. 4. + Ibid.

do . - Sect 5.

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