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112 [134]

Actes and Monumentes Of the Church

64. for their contumacie and contempte of his regall power.

The Monkes of Caunterburie thus being expulsed, the king forthwith sendeth messengers to the Pope with his letters, wherein he doth sharply and expresly expostulate with the Pope: first, for that so uncurteously he repulsed the election of the Byshop of Norwyche, & set vp one Steuen Langton, a man vnknowē to him, and brought vp amongst his enemies a long tyme in the kyngdom of Fraunce, consecrating him Archebyshop of Caunterbury, & lettyng þe other go. Also which is more, redoūdeth to the subuersion and derogation of the liberties apperteining to his crowne, notwithstanding his consent being not asked before of the Monkes whiche should so haue doone, yet that not withstāding rashely presumed to promote and preferre the same. Wherfore he can not marueil, he sayth, enough that neyther the sayde Pope, nor the court of Rome doth consider and reuolue with them selues, howe necessary his loue and fauour hath been alwayes he therto to þe sea of Rome: and that they fyxe not the eye of reason vpon this, what great fruyte and reuenues hath proceaded hetherto to them out of the Realme of England, the lyke wherof hath not been receiued out of any other coūtrie besydes on this syde the Alpes. He addeth moreouer and sayeth, that for his liberties he will stande, if nede be, vnto death, neither can he be so remoued and shaken of from the election of the Byshop of Norwych, which he seeth to be so commodious to him and profitable. Finally, thus concludeth saying: that in case in this his request he be not harde, he wyll so prouide by the seas, that there shalbe no suche gaddyng & coursing ouer any more to Rome, suffering the ryches of the lande no more to be exported ouer, whereby he should be hym selfe the lesse able to resist his enemies. And seyng he hath of his owne at home Archebyshops, byshops, and other prelates of the churche, bothe of Englyshe men and of other, sufficiently prouided and instructed in all kynde of knowlege, therefore he shall not neade greatly to seke for iudgement and iustice farther abroade. Whan these came to the Popes intellygence, he directeth letters to the kyng agayne in this forme.

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MarginaliaThe popes letters answering K. Iohn.INnocentius P. seruaunt of the seruaūts of God, to our welbeloued sonne in Christe, the king of England, health, and Apopostolicall blessing. Where as we haue wrytten to you heretofore exhorting and intreting you after an humble, diligent, and gentle sort, concerning the matter of the churche of Cantorbury, you haue wrytten to vs agayne after a threating sort and vpbraiding maner, both spitefully and also frowardly. And where as we more and aboue that our right and dutie required, haue borne and geuen to you, you agayne for youre part haue geuē to vs not so much as by ryght &dutie you are bounde to do. And though youre deuotion, as you say, hath been to vs very necessary, yet consyder agayn that ours also is not a litle oportune and expediēt for you. MarginaliaIt is pitie but this pope shuld be honored of kinges & Princes.And wheras we in such lyke cases haue not shewed at any tyme the lyke honour to any prynce, as vnto you, you again haue so muche derogated to our honour, as no prince els hath presumed to dooe besides you alone, pretendinge certaine friuolous causes and occasions I can not tell what, why you would not condescende to the election of Steuen Langtō Cardinal of S. Chrisogono chosen by the Monkes of Cantorbury, for that the sayde Steuen as you saye, hath been conuersant and brought vp amongest youre enemies, and his persone to you vnknowen. MarginaliaA pitifull case that a king cānot cōstitute an archb. wtin his own realme, who him moste lyketh.But you knowe what is the prouerbe of Salomon: the net is cast, but in vaine in the eyes and syght of the flying byrdes, with muche other matter more in the same epistle, wherin he falleth into the cōmendation of Steuen Langton his Cardinall, declaring howe learned he was in liberall artes & in diuinitie, in so much he was prebendated at Paris, also come of an honest stok and an Englisheman borne, and not vnknowē to the kyng, seing the kyng had wryten thryse to hym before &c. MarginaliaThe kyng might writ to him, and yet his persone not greatly knowen to the kyng.Moreouer declaring in the sayde letter, howe the messengers of the kyng had specified to him an other cause, which was for that the Monkes of Caunterbury, whiche had to do in the election, came not to him before for his consent, declaring moreouer in the sayd letter, howe the sayde messengers of the king, intreated in the kyngs behalf, that for so much as the Popes letters wherein the kynge was commaunded to sende his proctors to Rome for the same matter, came not to the kynges hande, neither did the Monkes directe any such letters or message to the kyng to haue his consent, therfore þt the Pope considering the same, would graunt so muche for the regarde of the kynges honour, that þe Monkes of Canterbury should proceade not without the kinges assent therein. And for as muche as that hath beene done as yet, therfore they desyred some delaye therein to bee geuen, sufficient for the doynge thereof. Wherūto he sayde, that he had graunted, and fulfilled their request, in sendyng his letters and messengers once or twyse to the kyng for the same purpose, although he sayde, it was not the maner of the sea Apostolique, who hath the fulnes of power ouer the church of Caunterbury, to wayte for Prynces consentes in suche elections, who then could not be suffered to do, that which they came for &c.

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Wherfore in knitting vp his letter, thus cōcludeth in these wordes.

And therfore, seing the matter so standeth, we see no cause why we should require or tary for the kyngs fauour or consent any more therin, but intend so to proceade in this matter, neither inclining on the right hand nor on the left, according as the canonicall ordinaunces of the holy fathers shall directe vs: that is, that al impedimentes and delayes set asyde, so to prouide

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