Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

been fully informed of the difficult situation his purposed exactions had created in England. Apparently he was not disturbed by the news, and not believing that there was any substantial ground for the grievance, or that his wishes were in fact impossible to satisfy, he proposed to compel the nation to obedience by the extreme measure of an interdict. This was averted by the expostulations of the English cardinal, John Tolet, a member of the Cistercian Order. He pointed out that the whole world was slipping away from the papacy. “There are difficulties,” he said, “in the Holy Land; the Greek Church has left us; Frederick, who is more powerful than any Christian prince, is opposed to us. You and we (cardinals], who are the support of the Church, are driven from the seat of the papacy, from Rome, and even from Italy. Hungary, with its great territory, awaits its destruction at the hands of the Turk. Germany is torn with civil war. Spain is raging to the length of cutting out the tongues of bishops. France is already impoverished by us, and is conspiring against us. England, frequently troubled by our injuries, now at length wounded by our blows and injured by our spurs, like Balaam's ass, speaks and protests and complains that its burden is intolerable and that its injury is past remedy. We, like the Jews, hated by all, provoke all to hate us.”

Although no reply to the expostulations of the English churchmen, clerical and lay, is recorded, the letter apparently had its effect in enforcing the expostulation of Cardinal Tolet; and the papal demands for so large a share in the ecclesiastical revenues were not pressed, at least directly. Innocent IV had, to some extent, won the English king from active opposition by some shadowy concessions as to“ provision,”and by promises that an Italian should not be appointed to succeed an Italian in an English benefice. Moreover, there is little doubt that Henry foresaw that the time was coming when he would have to rely upon the pope to obtain a subsidy from the ecclesiastical revenues sufficient to meet his most pressing necessities. Both in the year 1246' and the two following years? the pope pressed Henry to pay him the annual tribute of 1,000 marks; and in December, 1246, he ordered his agent not to neglect his duty, but to collect for him half of the revenues of every benefice from which the holder had been absent, even with permission, for six months in the year. At the close of the year, also, the advent of newlyappointed agents and collectors seemed to show that Pope Innocent had not in any way abandoned his hopes of obtaining all that he needed from the English Church in the way of pecuniary assistance in his many necessities. In regard to the national annual payment, a letter of the pope, at the very close of 1249, makes it apparent that at that date only 500 marks were owing, and this sum Innocent IV had borrowed from Florentine merchants on the strength of the debt, and begs Henry to be good enough to see that they are paid.*

i Matthew Paris, iv. 579.

? Rymer, i. 266.
2 Ibid. 267 and P. R. O. Papal Bulls, Bundle liji. No. 3.
3 Ibid., 266. This document is wrongly placed in 1266.
* Ibid., 271.

CHAPTER XV HENRY III PREPARES FOR THE CRUSADE The king had now reached the middle of his long and troubled reign. His relations with his nobles and his people had temporarily somewhat improved, but the loyalty of his subjects was soon again tested to the utmost limit by the introduction of his foreign relations by marriage, and their friends, into place and power in England, and by his further demands for money to carry out his mistaken policy abroad. Moreover, the feeling of insecurity and distrust was increased in the popular mind by a suspicion that Henry had been working in the Curia for his own end. It was thought, apparently not without some grounds, that he would not be wholly displeased to see English ecclesiastics compelled by papal authority to pay the various sums demanded of them, provided that he could himself gain the pope over to his side, and secure the weight of his supreme authority over churchmen when the time again came, as inevitably it must, for him to seek help from the Church revenues.

Innocent IV had already, on 10th October, 1246, made an Englishman, Friar John, minister of the Franciscans in Provence, his collector in the two provinces of Canterbury and York. To facilitate the collection of the sums of money claimed, he had given him powers to appoint others of his brethren to assist, and they were to use the extreme penalties of the Church to compel obedience.' Friar John, acting on the authority thus given him, appointed another English Franciscan, Friar Alexander, as his associate in the unpopular duty set them. From the outset they appear to have rendered the work still more unpopular, by the large sums they everywhere exacted under the head of "procurations," that is, payments for their own support as papal envoys. As soon as possible they made their way to Bishop Grosseteste, who had always in word and deed shown himself a true friend to all sons of St. Francis, and presenting him their letters required the sum of six thousand marks as the contribution expected from his diocese for the papal collection. The bishop was astounded at the magnitude of the demand. Whilst fully admitting the papal right to require assistance, he did not hesitate to express his own sentiments : “This exaction," he said, “is unheard-of and shameful, for it is impossible for us to give what is asked of us; neither does it concern me only, but it affects the whole clergy and people, and indeed the entire kingdom. This being so, it would be rash and silly on my part were I to give you a final reply on so difficult a matter of business, or to consent to it, without consultation in the parliament of the country.”

Failing to secure at once what they had expected to get from the diocese of Lincoln, the two Franciscan friars betook themselves to St. Alban's. Here they did not take up their lodgings in the friars' guest-chamber, which had lately been established in the courtyard of the monastery for the Dominicans and Franciscans asking hospitality, but went to the great guest-house of the Abbey, where bishops and nobles were wont to be entertained, and where they were received with the honour due to the pope's representatives. | Additamenta, 119.

· Matthew Paris, iv. 600.

They at once proffered their demands for an immediate payment of four thousand marks, as the contribution of St. Alban's to the papal collection. But, here, too they were disappointed; the abbot pleaded his inability to meet the unexpected burden thus laid upon his house, and, in spite of their threats of grave spiritual penalties, he refused to satisfy the collectors. So far as St. Alban's was concerned, however, the matter did not rest here. The abbot was summoned to London by the friars to show cause why he did not pay the sum required of him, and, although he had appealed to the pope and the cardinals, he nevertheless put in an appearance by his proctor. Friar John at this court produced a papal letter dated the previous year, 1246, and addressed to the abbot, directly authorising his collector to make these peremptory demands. The sums of money “were intended,” the letter said, “to meet the daily increasing pressure of secular difficulties,” which made it necessary for the Holy See “to have recourse to the help of its subjects” generally. The Church, in resisting the evil tendencies of the age, was really fighting the battle “of all Churches and of all ecclesiastics."

On the strength of this mandate, Friar John ordered the abbot within eight days to pay over three hundred marks in silver, declaring that if he failed to do so, he would be excommunicated and his house placed under an interdict. To this threat, however, the proctor for St. Alban's replied, that having appealed to the pope personally they would await a personal reply. At the same time the worst was expected, since it became known that the pope was urging his envoy, by every means in his power, to send on the expected subsidy, or at least some part of it. Similar demands upon the Church of France had produced little or nothing, and they had only stirred up St. Louis to make

« PredošláPokračovať »