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made, might not matters have been worse than they are,-might not the clergy by this time have been stipendiaries? Such, some twelve years ago, was the state of drunken anarchy-(but not with wine)-- which this nation was in, that nothing would have surprised me. Might we not have lost all? The world was openmouthed as Charybdis.


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I will make Mephibosheth's answer,-“ Yea, let him take all ; forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own

Robbery and spoliation, spoliation and robbery, is the only change I can ring upon the Act. After all, had all gone, we might have had the satisfaction to know that we had tried to save what we could.


And this, I conceive, is what many good men did. They acted somewhat after Cranmer's example ; and a good example it was ! Had further opposition been made, we might have had a collision, disastrous and untimely, as that between Thomas à Becket and Henry II.


I would not stand up for Thomas à Becket's character as a whole ; but I think on some points he has been much maligned. He was a bold man, at least, and did not shrink from what he considered a duty. But this would lead me into a long story. Besides, the wind is hushed, and we shall get a good walk. Air and exercise save the doctor. We can take Selden's “Cottage"

in our way


Agreed. But recollect that we recur to Thomas à Becket's history. Tradition calls the old Rectory-house here his palace ; and I have no doubt you have collected all you can relating to him and his eventful life.

4 2 Sam. xix. 30.

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EUBULUS. The shaking out of my note-book is at your service. But do not let me lead you astray either as regards Thomas à Becket, or the immunities of the clergy. My motto is from that remarkable work of Southey's,—the “ Vindiciæ Anglicanæ, which he wrote, con amore, and would willingly have gone on with : “ When any thing becomes manifestly and notoriously an evil and a nuisance, it ought to be abated, whatever prescription may be pleaded for it."

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5 See p. 354.

Life of Thomas à Becket,


Thomas Becket.


“Surely, sir,
There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
For, being not propp'd by ancestry, whose grace
Chalks successors their way, nor call’d upon
For high feats done to the crown; neither allied
To eminent assistants, but, spider-like,
Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,
The force of his own merit makes his way ;
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys
A place next to the king.

I cannot tell
What heaven hath given him : let some graver eye
Pierce into that ; but I can see his pride
Peep through each part of him."

HENRY VIII. Act i. Sc. i.


Q. Kath.

“ You are meek and humble-mouth'd;
You sign your place and calling, in full seeming
With meekness and humility; but your heart
Is cramm’d with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.”

Ibid. Act ii. Sc. iv.




“ Noble madam,
Men's evil manners live in brass ; their virtues

We write in water. May it please your highness
To hear me speak his good now?

Yes, good Griffith ;
I were malicious else.

This cardinal,
Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly
Was fashion'd to much honour. From his cradle,
He was a scholar, and a ripe, and good one ;
Exceeding wise, fair spoken, and persuading :
Lofty and sour to them that lov'd him not ;
But, to those men that sought him, sweet as summer.

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His overthrow heap'd happiness upon him,
For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
And found the blessedness of being little :
And, to add greater honours to his age
Than man could give him, he died, fearing God !”

Ibid. Act iv. Sc. ii.

Life of Thomas à Becket,


Thomas Becket.

Creon. 'Tis just I die, indeed, for I confess

I am troublesome to life now, and the state
Can hope for nothing worthy from me now,
Either in force or counsel ; I've o' late
Employ'd myself quite from the world, and he
That once begins to serve his Maker faithfully,
Can never serve a worldly prince well after ;

'Tis clear another way.

Oh, give not confidence
To all he speaks, my lord, to his own injury.
His preparation only for the next world
Makes him talk wildly to his wrong

of this ;
He is not lost in judgment."

Massinger, The Old Law.

HENRY II. was the greatest sovereign of his day, and Thomas à Becket the greatest ecclesiastic. Rome had her popes and cardinals, Bologna and Paris their schools, but amongst all their men of renown, none was so great a man as the sometime bosomfriend and the wary chancellor of Henry.

Thomas à Becket—the name established by use, which is the criterion of language, though Thomas Becket were, perhaps, more critically correct--was born in London, December 21, 1117'. His father was a citizen, named Gilbert. His mother was said

1 Or, as others say, 1118.

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