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shown that he (as king of England) was a tributary and feudatory subject of the pope. Notwithstanding this reply, Henry wrote at once to Gregory IX on behalf of the emperor, without, however, doing much good; and, on consideration, he advised the legate that it would be politic for him to leave the country. Otho promised to do so if a safe conduct was furnished him, saying: “It was you that called me from the Curia,” and now “I demand a safe conduct from you that I may return in security.”
In view of his departure, the cardinal sent official letters to the various episcopal sees in England requiring immediate payment of large sums, said to be due as “procurations,” for the proper support of his dignity in the country. At the same time, acting on letters from the pope, he offered to absolve all who had taken the crusading oath, on the payment of a sum of money to go towards replenishing the papal coffers. He also devised a scheme for levying a tax of a fifth on all foreigners beneficed in England, for the papal quarrel with the emperor. To those who upbraided Henry for allowing all these sums of money to be taken out of the kingdom, he merely replied: “I neither dare nor wish to oppose the pope in anything." At the same time, on the other hand, he was induced to declare that the “Caursini” money lenders, who had for the most part come from Siena, should be at once banished from the kingdom. Many of them, however, by a judicious expenditure of money, were enabled to remain secretly in the country.
In the late spring of 1240 the English prelates were again called together to hear from the legate an “instant demand” from the pope. Otho explained what great sums Pope Gregory had been obliged to spend in de
* Matthew Paris, iv. 4-5. 2 Ibid., iv. 10. 3 Ibid., 7-8.
fending the Church against the emperor, and to help him in his difficulties, he required them to give him a fifth part of all ecclesiastical goods. Without hesitation the bishops unanimously refused. They replied that they could not, without much consideration, agree to any such impossible burden, especially as this really was a matter affecting the whole Church. The meeting was consequently adjourned to some future time.'
Before this second meeting could take place, however, the archbishop of Canterbury, by urgent letters to the pope, endeavoured to secure some redress of the evil custom by which the king could keep bishoprics, etc., vacant for long periods of time. He proposed that should such benefices be vacant for more than six months, they might be filled by the appointment of the archbishop of Canterbury. This was granted to him by papal letters on 14th May, 1240, but on the protest of the king that this was an infringement of his royal prerogative, the pope gave way; but “not without the expenditure of great sums of money," writes Matthew Paris, did Henry obtain the practical revocation of these letters, by another, dated 28th July, 1240. The result of the royal victory in this matter over the archbishop was that the king, feeling himself stronger than ever, once more effectually prevented the papal confirmation of the election of Boniface to Winchester, although the choice had been canonically and fittingly made.
About this time it was rumoured in England that the pope had promised the Roman citizens that if they would help him against the emperor, he would find fitting benefices for their sons and relatives in England. Colour was given to this report by the assertion that the archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Grosseteste, and the bishop of Salisbury had been directed to make provision for some 300 Romans from the first benefices that fell vacant in their dioceses, their own right of presentation being suspended until these had been satisfied.' Before this, however, St. Edmund first, and then the other prelates, had capitulated to the pope's demands upon the property of the English Church, and the papal collectors swept some 800 marks into their coffers from the episcopal revenues.” Upon this final demand, blank despair as to the state to which the English Church was reduced seized upon the archbishop, and he fled from England for ever.
i Matthew Paris, iv. 10. 3 Ibid., f. 316.
2 Brit. Mus. Add. MS., 15,354, f. 294. 4 Matthew Paris, iv, 15.
Many of the ecclesiastics could ill spare the large sums which were at this time extorted from them and sent over to Rome to make a protest. One collector, Peter Rosso, earned an unenviable reputation by endeavouring to set the ready generosity of one prelate against the tardy reluctance of another, in order thus to induce prompt payment. The abbots of Bury St. Edmunds and of Battle, acting for the religious of England, complained to the king of the impossibility of paying the proposed tax and of keeping up their houses. The king, however, denounced them to the legate, and offered, should Otho desire to imprison them for their disobedience to the pope, to lend him a prison for the purpose. Seeing themselves thus abandoned, most of the abbots paid as best they might, and only a few stood out against what they declared to be an absolutely insupportable tax.
Meanwhile Pope Gregory had calculated beforehand upon the money he expected to receive from England and had endeavoured to discount it in France. Writing to his legate, he pointed out that the Holy See had borrowed on " Matthew Paris, iv. 38.
2 Ibid., 15.
the credit of large sums payable to it by all nations. The English were behind the other nations in their payments, and creditors were pressing; the pope consequently suggested that various foreign monasteries, of which a list was given in another document, should be invited to take up the credits, and that the English collectors should be ordered to send on the English money when it came to hand.'
All during the year 1240, the attempts to extract money out of the unwilling English clergy went on. Two more meetings were held at Northampton between the bishops and the legate, who was now accompanied by the notorious Peter Rosso. At the first of these nothing was done, as the prelates declared that they were obliged to consult their archdeacons before consenting to anything. At the second, they urged many reasons why they should not be compelled to pay. Previously, they declared, they had given a tenth to the pope, on the condition that it should not be construed into a precedent; and now that another demand was made, it was necessary that they should refuse, or it would be argued by canonists “that two acts make a custom.” Moreover, they pointed out that the universal feeling was that the clergy did not wish to contribute to the expenses of a war against the emperor, and that if the contribution was to be general, it ought to be settled by some general council.
The legate concluded from the experience of these two meetings that his only chance of success was to try and carry his point in small assemblies. His first attempt was upon the rectors of Berkshire, and in their reply, according to the annalist of Burton, the other clergy of England acquiesced. They first declared their complete un1 Mon. Germ., Ep. Selectae, i. 693. ? Matthew Paris, iv. 38.
* Ann. Burton (Ann. Mon., i.), 265.
willingness to contribute to support the war against the emperor Frederick, who was not excommunicated “because he had seized upon or attacked the patrimony of the Roman Church.” Further, just as “the Roman Church had its patrimony, the administration of which belonged to the lord pope," so “other Churches had theirs, consisting of the gifts of kings, princes, and other faithful nobles," which was not subject to tax nor liable to “pay tribute to the Roman Church;" also “all the Churches were under the care and guardianship of the lord pope, but were not under his dominion nor were they his property.” Their protest then went on to point out that ecclesiastical revenues were intended for the up-keep of church fabrics, for the support of the ministers, and for alms to the poor, and such revenues ought not to be used for other things, especially as, in most cases, they were not sufficient to carry out these specific ends, etc. The legate, seeing that when united he could do little with them, determined to take them apart. He first secured the goodwill of the king, and then getting the authority of the bishops, who had already given in to his demands, won over some of the archdeacons to his side. The rest, rather than become noted as opposed to their brethren, gradually relaxed their opposition.
In the October of this year, 1240, the legate was at last really recalled to Rome. Gregory IX had determined upon assembling a general council in the Eternal City, and required the assistance of Otho in preparation for it. In August the pontiff had issued his letters to kings to send their proctors, and the bishops to assemble early in the coming year. He wrote to the bishop of Glasgow that the time had come for others to share his troubles and cares. “From the very foundation of the Church,”