Thematic Divisions in Book 4
1. Lanfranc2. Gregory VII3. William the Conqueror4. William Rufus5. Henry I6. Stephen and Henry II7. Frederick Barbarossa8. Thomas Becket9. Becket's letters10. Becket's martyrdom and miracles11. Events of 1172-7812. Waldensians13. Other incidents of Henry II's reign14. First year of Richard I's reign15. Strife at Canterbury16. Richard I and Third Crusade17. William Longchamp18. King John19. Henry III's early reign20. Innocent III and mendicant orders21. Papal oppression of the English Church22. Albigensian Crusade23. Hubert de Burgh24. Gregory IX25. Schism between Greek and Latin Church26. Papal exactions from England27. Louis IX on Crusade28. Frederick II29. Opponents of Papacy30. Robert Grosseteste31. Aphorisms of Robert Grosseteste32. Persecution of Jews33. Papal oppression and Alexander IV34. Conflicts in universities and mendicant orders35. Henry III and the barons36. Battle of Lewes37. Battle of Evesham38. End of baronial war39. Ecclesiastical matters and Edward prince of Wales goes on crusade40. Foreign events in Henry III's reign41. First seven years of Edward I's reign42. War with Scotland43. Philip IV and Boniface VIII44. Events of 1305-745. Cassiodorous's letter46. Pierre de Cugniere47. Death of Edward I48. Piers Gaveston49. The Despensers and the death of Edward II50. John XXIII and Clement VI51. Rebellion in Bury St. Edmunds52. Edward III and Scotland53. Edward III and Philip VI54. Edward III and Archbishop Stratford55. Events of 1341-556. Outbreak of the Hundred Years War57. English ecclesiastical affairs 1330-6458. Anti-papal writers59. Quarrel among mendicants and universities60. Table of the Archbishops of Canterbury
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237 [214]

K. Henry the 2. Thomas Beckets letters of complaynt to the Pope.

gaine and him, and so betwene the Archbishop and other. Whereof if the Reader (peraduenture) shalbe desirous to see the copies: I thought here to expresse certaine of them, to satisfie his desire: first beginning wt MarginaliaBecket complayneth of his prince to the Pope.the Epistle of Becket complaining of his prince, to the Pope in maner and forme as foloweth.

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The copie of an Epistle sent of Thomas Becket, to Pope Alexander.

TO your presence and audience I flee (moste holy father) that you, who hath bought the libertie of the Churche with your so great daunger: might the rather attend to the same (either being the onely or chiefest cause of my persecution) vsing and following therein the example of you. It grieueth me that the state of the Church should fall to any decay, and that the liberties therof should be infringed thorough the auarice of princes. For the which cause, I thought to resist betime that inconueniencie beginning so to grow. And the more I thought my selfe obliged to the same my Prince (vnto whome next vnder God, I am moste chiefly bound) the more boldnesse I tooke to me, to withstand his vnrightfull attempts: till such that were on the contrary part (my aduersaries) preuailed, working my disquietnesse, and incensing him against me. Whereupon (as the maner is amongst Princes) they raised vp against me citations and slaunders, to the occasion of my persecution: but I had rather to be proscribed, then to subscribe. Besides this, I was also called to iudgement, and cited before the king to make answere there as a lay person, to secular accomptes: where as they whome I most trusted did most forsake me. For I saw my fellow brethren the Bishops, through the instigation of some, ready to my condemnation. Wherupon all being set against me, & I thus oppressed on euery side, tooke my refuge to appeale to your goodnesse, which casteth off none in their extremities: being ready to make my declaration before you, that I ought neither to be iudged there in that place, nor yet of them. For what were that (father) but to vsurpe to thēselues your right? and to bring the spiritualtie vnder the temporaltie? MarginaliaTo keepe vnder the pride of prelates is no cause sufficient to vnking a Prince. Which thing (once begon) may breede an example to many. And therefore, so much the more stouter I thought to be in withstanding this matter: how much more prone and procliue, I saw the way to hurt: if they once might see vs to be faint and weake in the same. But they will say to me here againe: geue to Cesar, that which belongeth to Cesar. &c. But to answere againe therunto (albeit we are boūd to obey our king in most things) yet not in such maner of things, whereby he is made to be no king: neither were they then things belonging to Cesar, but to a tyrāt. Concerning the which points, these Bishops should (not for me onely, but for themselues) haue resisted the king. For if the extreme iudgemēt be reserued to him which is able to iudge both body and soul: is it not then extreme pride for men there to iudge, which iudge but by themselues? If the cause of the bishops and of the clergie, (which I maintaine) be right: why be they set against me? Why do they reprehēd me? For if that I appealed to him, before whome either it was not lawfull, or els not expedient for me to do: what seeme they by this, but either to blame me causelesse, or els to distrust your equity? For me to be conuicted before your holinesse: it had bene a double confusion. Or wherein haue I deserued to be persecuted of them, for whose cause I haue set my selfe to stande in their behalfe? And if they had willed, I had preuailed: but it is ill with the head, when he is left of his members and forsaken: as if the eyes shoulde take the toung to speake against the head. If they had had eyes to haue foresene the matter, they might vnderstand themselues to speake their owne destruction: and that the Princes did vse their helpe, but to their owne seruitude. And what so great cause of hatred had they against me, to procure their owne vndoing, in vndoing of me? So, while they neglected spirituall things in steade of temporall, they haue lost them both. What shoulde I speake more of this, that I repugning them and appealing to your audience (yet notwithstanding) they durst presume to stand in iudgement and condemnation against me, as children against their father? Yea, and not against me onely, but against the vniuersall Church of God (conspiring together with the Prince) being with me offended. And this suspection might also as well pertaine to you holy father. But to this they will say: that they owe their duety and seruice vnto the king, as their Lord: to whom they are bound, vpon their allegeance. To whom I answer, that to him they stand bound bodely, to me spiritually. But to whom ought they rather to stand bound, then to themselues? And were it not better to sustaine the losse of corporall, then of spirituall things? MarginaliaIf ye meane by spiritual things, such as pertaine to the spirituall part of man, I graunt, but your liberties be not such as which pertayne to the inward or spirituall man but rather are thinges more corporall. But here they wil say againe: at this time the Prince was not to be prouoked. Howe subtily do thse men dispute for their owne bondage? Yea, they them selues prouoke him by their owne excesse, ministring wings vnto him to fight against them, for he woulde haue rested if they had resisted. And when is constancie more to be required, then in persecution? Be not a mans chiefe frendes most tried in persecution? If they geue ouer still, how shall they obtaine the victorie? Sometime they must needes resist. Condescend therefore (holy father)to my exile and persecution. MarginaliaPersecution tryeth a true friend, but euery cause maketh not a true persecution. And remember, that I also once was a great man, in the time when it was: and now for your sake thus iniuriously I am intreated. Vse your rigour and restraine them, by whose instigation the name of this persecution began. And let none of these things be imputed to the king, who rather is to be counted the repairer then the author of this businesse.

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Besides this Epistle sent vnto the Pope: 

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Becket's letters

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008) because it was awaiting the delivery of research materials from the British Library. This commentary will become available in due course from the 'Late Additions and Corrections' page of the edition.

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he wryteth also an other letter, sent to the King in Latine: the tenour whereof (he that is disposed to read) may peruse in our former edition, with the notes adioyned withall.

Besides which Epistle to the king in Latin, he sent also one or two mo, to the said king Henry the second, much after the like rate & sort. The one thus beginning: Loqui de Deo, liberæ mentis est & valdè quietæ. Indè est quòd loquar ad Dominum meum, & vtinam ad omnes pacificum. &c. Which Epistle, for that I woulde not ouercharge the volume of these Hystories with too much matter superfluous, I thought here to omit. The other he sent afterward, wherof the wordes be these.

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¶ An other letter of Becket, Archbishop of Canterburie, sent to the king.

TO his Lorde and frende Henry by the grace of God, king of England, Duke of Normandy & Aquitane, Earle of Angeow: Thomas by the same grace, humble minister of the church of Cāterburie (sometime his temporally, but now more his in the Lord) health and true repentaunce with amendement. I haue long looked for, that the Lord would looke vpon you: and that you would conuert and repent, departing from your peruerse way: and cutte off from you your wicked and peruerse counsellours, by whose instinction (as it is thought) you are fallen into that deepe, wherof the Psalme speaketh. A sinner when he commeth to the depth of mischiefes, is without all care or feare. And albeit, we haue hetherto quietly suffred and borne: considering and earnestly looking if there woulde any messenger come that woulde say: Your soueraigne Lorde the king (which nowe a long time hath erred and ben deceiued, and led euen to the destruction of the church) through Gods mercy with aboundant humility, doth now againe make speede for the deliueraunce of the Church, and to make satisfaction and amendement. Yet notwithstanding, we cease not (day by day continually) to call vpon almightie God, with most humble deuotion: that, that which we haue long desired for you and by you, we may speedely obtaine with aboundant effect. And this is one poynte, that the care of the Church of Canterburie, whereunto God hath presently appoynted vs (albeit vnworthy) you being K. doeth specially constraine me (in that as yet, we are deteined in exile) to write vnto your maiestie letters commonitorie, exhortatorie, and of correction. But I woulde to God they were fully able to correct least that I be to great a cloker of your outragies (if there be any) as in deede there are: for the which we are not a litle sorie. I meane specially of them which are done by you in euery place, about the Church of God and the Ecclesiasticall persons, without any reuerence either of dignitie or person: and least also that I appeare negligent to the great danger of my soule: for without doubt hee beareth the offence of him which doth commit any offence: who neglecteth to correct that, which an other ought to amend. For it is written not onely they which doe commit euill, but also they which consent therunto are coūted partakers of the same. For they verely do cōsent, which when they both might and ought, doe not resist or at the least reproue. For the errour which is not resisted is alowed, and the truth whē it is not defended is oppressed: neither doth it lacke a priuie note of society in him, which ceaseth to withstand a manifest mischief. Marginalia2.(2) For like as (most noble Prince) a small Citie doeth not diminish the prerogatiue of so mighty a kingdome as your is: so your royal power ought not to oppresse or chaunge the measure of the religious dispensatiō. For it is prouided alwaies by the lawes, that al iudgemēts agaynst Priests, should proceede by the determination of Priestes. For whatsoeuer Byshoppes they are: albeit that they do erre as other men do, (not exceeding in any poynt contrary to the religion of faith) they ] Marginalia3.(3) ought not, nor can in any case be iudged of the seculare power. Truely, it is the parte of a good and religious Prince, to repaire the ruinous Churches, to builde newe, to honour the Priestes: and with great reuerence to defend them (after the example of the godly prince of most happy memory. Marginalia4.(4) Constantinus which sayd, when a complaint of the Clergy was brought to him. You said he, can be iudged by no secular iudge, which are reserued to the only iudgement of God. And for so much as we doe read that the holy Apostles and their successors (appoynted by the testimonie of God) cōmanded that no persecution nor troubles ought to be made, nor to enuie those which laboure in the fielde of the Lorde: and that the stewardes of the eternall King shoulde not be expelled and put out of their seates. Who then doubteth, but that the Priestes of Christ

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