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purposes of the expedition. He also hoped to obtain money by giving a general and roving commission to the Dominicans and Franciscans to collect, in aid of the Empire of Constantinople. The terms of their authorisation suggests that they might inquire as to any usury having been practised, and by ecclesiastical censure might compel those who had grown rich in this way to give up the proceeds to them; they might offer special Indulgences to those who would take the cross, or contribute of their substance to the work; they might during three years claim the sums left in wills under the general heading of good works, or in restitution for ill-gotten goods; they might even in the case of living persons who possessed property to which they had no right, if the real owners could not be found, compel them to make restitution to them. By these and other means, it is suggested that the friars would be able to secure considerable sums of money to be used in the crusading expeditions.
But Pope Innocent was not content to leave matters to the good-will of the multitude or to allow the success of his projected expeditions to depend on chance contributions, or on uncertain sums obtainable by the friars for dispensations or as restitution. On the 12th of June, 1246, in a letter to the king already quoted,' he makes it clear that he looked for more than that, and in his letter to the bishops in July he asked for a twentieth part of all English ecclesiastical benefices for three years.? Later on the demand was extended to a third or even to a half of the English ecclesiastical revenues for the same period, and the bishop of London was appointed to see that the collection was made. Rymer, i. 266.
? Registres, ut sup., No. 2,018. 3 Matthew Paris, iv. 580.
On ist December, 1246, the bishop of London summoned some of the chief ecclesiastics to meet him at St. Paul's to discuss the situation. It was evident to all that the contribution thus demanded was wholly out of the question, and, whilst they were actually debating the matter, the king sent to put a stop to it, by absolutely prohibiting the clergy from consenting to the subsidy demanded of them. Before separating, a formal statement as to the impossibiliy of doing what the pope demanded, was drawn up by the clergy and put into writing. “Had the real state and condition of England been known to the pope and cardinals at the time of the Council,” this document says, “it would have been impossible to have passed the statute,” and still more impossible to have endeavoured to enforce it. To exact anything like half the revenues would make the life of the canons in the English cathedral churches impossible, and the Divine Office would cease. Religious houses, also, in great measure were supported, and their works of charity maintained, by the revenues of impropriated churches. If half these were to be taken away, the religious would be compelled to beg for their living, and they would be obliged to give up that hospitality and charity, to maintain which they were established. The same would inevitably be the lot of the rectors of parish churches, who never had so great a margin from their revenues as to be able to live on only one half of what they received, and it was impossible to imagine what would become of the poor, who in such great number had ever been maintained in England out of the patrimony of the Church.
Lastly a rough calculation was made as to the enormous sums of money that would be paid out of the country to the pope, in the event of this half being exacted by
this authority. “Quite recently,” says the document, “under the name of a twentieth of the ecclesiastical property, the pope received six thousand marks. On the same basis the sum now asked would be sixty thousand marks" at least, and there was reason to believe that it would not fall far short of eighty thousand. Such a payment, the writers declared, could not be furnished by the whole kingdom of England, much less by the Church alone. The writer of the memorandum concluded by pointing out, that when King Richard had to be ransomed, to obtain the sixty thousand marks required from the entire kingdom, it was necessary to sell and pledge chalices and other ecclesiastical plate before the ransom could be made up. Seeing, therefore, the impossibility of satisfying the papal demands, the bishop of London is asked to acquaint the proctors of Innocent IV with the refusal of the English Church, and with their determination if necessary to appeal to a General Council.'
About Christmastide of 1247, the king summoned a parliament to meet in London on the feast of the Purification, 2nd February, to consider the question of these constant papal demands, which affected France no less than it did England. In fact the discontent manifested in the former country is said by the historian of the time to have seriously interfered "with the devotion of the faithful, and that filial affection which every Christian is bound to show towards their spiritual father the pope."? With the French laity the feeling of bitter resentment against the demands went to much greater lengths than they did in this country, and found expression in movements directed against religion and against the clergy generally.
Parliament met in London on 3rd February, 1248. The bishops elected to stay away, that the representatives 1 Matthew Paris, iv. 581-585.
2 Ibid., 591.
of the clergy might have greater freedom of speech in discussing the grievances of the English Church. This liberty they used, and they were listened to, in entire sympathy, by the king. It was agreed that a joint appeal from the clergy and people of the province of Canterbury should be addressed to the pope, and dispatched at once to the Curia, with a second letter to the cardinals, urging them to turn the pope from his purpose.
The letter to Innocent IV. sealed with the seal of the city of London, was couched in most respectful terms, but left no doubt as to the meaning of the memorialists. “ Since the English Church from the time of its reception of the Catholic faith” (runs this document), “has studied to satisfy God and its mother, the holy Roman Church, so will it faithfully and devoutly serve it, without ever drawing back from its pledged obedience, but rather ever increase (in its loyalty) with the growth of its moral teaching."? Nevertheless, it is necessary that the pope should understand that what he asks is impossible. Kneeling at his feet, they beg of him to realise that the amount of money now wanted cannot be obtained, especially as their “temporal lord, the king” urgently requires their help against his enemies. “We send,” they conclude, “the bearers of these letters to your Holiness with our prayer, so that they may explain to you the inconveniences and dangers that would immediately follow what is proposed (by you). These we cannot be reasonably expected to face, though we are bound to you by every bond of charity, obedience, and devotion. Since our whole body (of clergy and laity) have no common seal, we send this letter to your Holiness, authenticated by the seal of the Corporation of the City of London. At the same time and by ? per incrementa morum.
? Matthew Paris, iv. 595.
the same messengers, a joint letter of clergy and laity was dispatched to the cardinals in Curia, whom the writers address as “columns supporting the Church of God.” The document points out how much the English Church has contributed to the pope since the time of the Lateran Council, thirty years before: first, a twentieth part of ecclesiastical revenues for three years for the Holy Land; then a tenth to help the pope himself; then many other contributions for various purposes ordered by the pontiff and paid with prompt obedience by the English Church. Besides this, “by command of the Apostolic See they have frequently been compelled to assist their king and temporal lord," and even more than once, at the request of the cardinals, they have come to his help. Now, once more, demands are made from the Church, which cannot be satisfied : from some, half of their revenues; from others, a third part; and from the rest a twentieth of all they possess. Part is intended to help the French, who are our enemies, and those of our nation, to conquer the Greek empire ; part is to be devoted to assist the expedition to the Holy Land, which, according to common opinion, can be recovered from the enemy with less difficulty; part, too, is to be given for other purposes, which the Apostolic See is to settle.” These demands are so absurd, and hard, and impossible, that they beg the cardinals “ for God and the honour of the Apostolic See,” to induce the pope to withdraw his commands, and thus "recall to the bosom and obedience of Mother Church those who are wandering forth and being dispersed abroad ; lest they who have been joined together in love and devotion may be separated and become as strangers." 1. Before the messengers could reach Lyons the pope had
Matthew Paris, iv. 596-597.