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sees; that this was very injurious to the interests of religion, as the motives of their nomination were seldom pure; that Charlemagne, and his successors, endowed the bishoprics with ample territorial possessions; and that, while they were vacant, the monarchs claimed a right to receive the profits of them for their benefit, and on this account frequently delayed to fill them up. It appears from the records of the Exchequer, that Henry I. of England, in the sixteenth year of his reign, had in his hands one archbishopric, five bishoprics, and three abbeys; in the nineteenth, one archbishopric, five bishoprics, and six abbeys; and, in the thirtyfirst, one archbishopric, six bishoprics, and seven abbeys*. You must be sensible that this was an intolerable grievance; but it did not rest here: The monarchs often sold their right of nomination to the vacant sees; and thus, to use your own words, “simony became the characteristic sin of the age.
When the vacancy was immoderately protracted, the popes often threatened to appoint to the see, without waiting for the king's nomination ; and sometimes carried their threats into execution. To prevent it, the monarchs required, that on the death or removal of every bishop, his ring and erosier should be transmitted to him. On the appointment of the bishop's successor, the monarch delivered the emblems to him. The bishops did homage and fealty; and then placed the ring and crosier in the hands of the metropolitan, and received them back from him.
* Lingard, vol. 2, p. 65; he cites Madox, 209--212.
In this ceremonial, three things gave offence to the popes : ist, they contended, that the monarch's nomination to the vacant see was an usurpation of the rights of the clergy, to whom alone, both by the constitution of the church, and the length of usage, it justly belonged: 2dly, that the delivery of the ring and crosier,—the acknowledged emblems of episcopal jurisdiction,— was a spiritual ceremony, which it was a sacrilege in a layman to perform ; that even, if this could be explained away, it facilitated the simoniacal traffic of benefices: and, 3dly, that ecclesiastics, on account of their sacred character, ought to be exempted from doing homage and fealty,-or, at least, from the obligation of personal service in war, which was attached to them.
Permit me to ask, if the popes were not founded in all these objections, that only excepted which sought, on account of their supposed sanctity of character, to exempt the clergy from homage and fealty? So much was this the case, that in every state in Europe the contest was settled, by allowing the greater part of the papal claims. The right of electing the bishops was appropriated and confirmed to the clergy. It was provided, that the bishops should be invested with their temporalities, by delivering the sceptre; and that personal military service should not be required from them. Thus we find, that, on the merits,
you must excuse a lawyer's using this word,—the popes were right on most points of the case; and that their main object in asserting their claims was generally commendable. So far as they resorted to temporal means for establishing them, they were completely wrong. So far as they resorted to spiritual means, they acted within their proper sphere. But, in the use of these means, were they always right? “Where “ much is done,” says doctor Johnson, “something wrong will always be found.”
You present us with an homely likeness of St. Anselm. You cannot call in question his piety, his zeal, his disinterestedness, the beauty of his genius, his firmness, or his learning. You acknowledge that a surprising revival of literature had been effected by him, and Lanfranc his immediate predecessor. You blame him, however, for the part which he took in the dispute on investitures. But, according to the principles universally received in his time, was he not always in the right? and even, according to the received opinions of our times, was he much in the wrong? You do not sufficiently notice, that the dispute between him and the king turned on other matters besides investitures ;-on the long vacancy of sees and benefices; on the king's appropriating the profits of them to his own use; on his exactions and simoniacal sales. On each of these heads was not Anselm justifiable? You do not give him the praise he merits, for his conduct between Henry I. and Robert. Permit me to request you to peruse Bishop Gibson's celebrated preface to his Codex Juris Ecclesiastici ; and then say, whether that prelate, and all the prelates of his high school, would not, if they had lived in the times of Anselm, have thought it their duty to act, in a great measure, like him?
IMMUNITIES OF THE CHURCH-ST. THOMAS
A BECKET. .
SIR, YOU dedicate a great part of your eighth chapter to the contest between Henry II. and the celebrated Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, whom the church of Rome numbers among her saints. You try him by the present constitution, the present laws, and the present manners of christian states, and by the present notions of what is fit and proper, and you pronounce him guilty. But is it not by the constitutions, the laws, the customs, the manners, and the notions of his own time, that he should be tried? To pronounce a fair judgment on him, should we not transport ourselves to the middle of the twelfth century, and to the circumstances of the world at that period ? If we did so, should we not find that the clerical immunities, upon which the contest in its first stage wholly turned, founded a part of the constitution of every christian state, and of England not less than any other ? That they had been both granted and confirmed to the church by wise and great princes ? That, from the time, in which they date their existence, until many centuries after the æra of which we are speaking, they had been observed and respected by the good ? And that they had never been infringed by any, whose name history
has handed down to us with honour? Taking all these circumstances into consideration, can we justly blame the illustrious prelate for his vigorous and resolute defence of rights, which most certainly, in his time, made a part of the law of England, and were an acknowledged bulwark of the English constitution? Had this eminent man submitted to the monarch in the contest in which they had engaged, what guard against the royal abuse of have been maintained ? You and I have read with delight, what the most eloquent man of our times has said and written of the spoliation of the Gallican clergy, and his verified predictions of its disastrous result. Had any observer, equally profound and gifted, lived in the days of Becket, would he not have predicted a result equally disastrous, if Henry's aggressions had been crowned with success? Let us listen to Montesquieu : “ I am not,” says that great man, “ violently in love with the privileges “ of the clergy; but I wish that their jurisdiction “ should once be well established. After that, the
question is not, whether it was right so to esta“ blish it, but whether it is established; whether “ it makes part of the laws of the land; and whether “ it is connected with them throughout? As much
as the power of the church is dangerous in a republic, so much it is useful in a monarchy,
particularly in those which tend to despotism. “ Where would Spain and Portugal be, since the s loss of their laws, without this power,—the only “ check on arbitrary sway ??'
Now, all history informs us, that long before the