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thority still, is found in the chroniclers who wrote shortly after these events, when Rome had encircled the head of Becket with a halo, which, though very different from the effulgence that shone upon the countenance of Moses, as effectually dazzled the eyes of the monkish beholders ; and we must recollect, that almost every chronicler of that age was either monk or priest. The last and least worthy of all sources of information, is that of the manifold writers of Becket's life, professed eulogists, who seldom or ever suffered the undisguised truth to appear, except when barbarism or superstition led them to mistake a vice for a virtue.
It is sufficiently ascertained, that Becket kept his eyes upon the Archbishopric, that he proceeded to England in order to secure his election, and that it was not till he was perfectly certain of the determination of the King that he affected to be indifferent to the matter, or unwilling to assume the dignity.* The difficulty which Henry met with
* In arriving at this conclusion, we must put aside the authority of Becket's professed eulogists, who made a point of declaring that the humble and self-denying Chancellor, whose train had surpassed that of any monarch, as they themselves admit; whose table was that of the most finished epicure; whose horses and monkeys, and grooms leading them, had dazzled and astonished the French peasantry; who had absorbed all favours, and had even received the homage of a number of vassals in the county of Toulouse, was too humble and lowly-minded to desire, or even accept, without the greatest unwillingness, in overcoming the repugnance of the English clergy, was far greater than any that he had to encounter in removing scruples from the mind of Becket. Various means of menace and intimidation were resorted to, to drive the clergy to elevate the King's favourite ; and we are distinctly told, by the Bishop of London himself, that he and all his relations were threatened with exile and proscription unless he yielded to the royal mandate, which was borne to England by Richard de Lucy, the King's Justiciary, with orders from Henry himself to use the same means for the elevation of Becket to the see of Canterbury, that he would employ for the elevation of the King's son to the throne of his father, if that father were dead.
Such means, then, being used, nothing remained for the suffragans, and other electors, but to accept the Archbishop upon Henry's recommendation; and Becket was accordingly elected on the third of June, 1162. * The royal assent was immediately
a dignity which placed him at the head of his profession in England and required from him the renunciation of none of his posts and offices. The authority of Foliot is much better, though he was Becket's enemy; and that prelate boldly charges him in the face of the whole world—while Henry and Becket were both still living—with keeping his eye fixed upon the see of Canterbury, and coming over to strive for it, as soon as possible after it was vacant. See an after note in reference to Becket and Foliot.
* This is the date mentioned by Lord Lyttleton. Dr. Lingard places it on the 30th of May. Thomas Wikes says it was III nones of June; but the matter is of no great moment.
given by Prince Henry, who was then in England and under Becket's tutelage ; and, shortly after, the new Archbishop proceeded to Canterbury, took priest's orders one day, and was consecrated Archbishop the next. We are told, that the only person who ventured to make any observation upon this strange and indecent transaction, was the Bishop of Hereford, who remarked that the King had worked a miracle, having changed, within four and twenty hours, a layman and a soldier into a priest and an archbishop. The King did not resent the jest, even if it was related to him, for we find this same Bishop of Hereford very soon after translated to London.
These events occurred while Henry was contending with the King of France, or delivering him from the dangers which he had brought upon himself. In the meantime, however, other important changes had taken place in the state of England, which strongly called for the presence of the monarch; and Henry having, somewhere about this period, suppressed a revolt amongst the people of Aquitaine, always a turbulent and excitable race, returned to Great Britain in 1163, to pacify, or to punish the Welsh princes, who were once more in arms in the southern part of the principality. The cause of this resumption of hostilities on the part of the Welsh, was principally, it would appear, the violation of Henry's own engagements with Rees ap Gryffyth, to whom he had promised certain ter
ritories in a compact form and position. The King, however, had given him nothing but territories scattered through various districts, by which his power was bridled, and his dignity decreased. This injury he had borne more patiently than could have been expected, but another inflicted upon him by Walter de Clifford raised his indignation to a higher pitch, and he complained loudly to Henry himself. His complaints produced no satisfactory results: Henry, detained on the Continent, paid little attention to him; and Rees rose in arms, reducing, in a very short space of time, the whole of Cardiganshire to subjection and destroying all the castles which had been built for its protection. About the same time also he overran Pembrokeshire, but was forced to raise the siege of Caermarthen, by the Earls of Cornwall and Pembroke, aided by some of the Welsh princes of the English party. He then retired into the mountainous districts of Brecknock, where he remained in arms at the head of a large force, making war from time to time upon the neighbouring nobles. Henry himself, as we have said, returned at length to England, and advanced into South Wales with a large force, which soon induced the Welsh Prince to submit, upon the mild terms to which Henry was willing to accede. Many of the demands of Rees ap Gryffyth were granted, and he had the satisfaction of obtaining possession of Dynevor, the residence of his ancestors, kings of South Wales.
Thus happily terminated this insurrection ; but the disturbance which Henry was to receive from the valiant inhabitants of Wales was not yet at an end. Scarcely had a year passed, ere Rees ap Gryffyth was once more in arms against the King of England; and it is more probable that the growing dissensions which sprang up rapidly between Henry and the Archbishop, encouraged the Welsh Prince to break the oath that he had so lately taken, than that the murder of one of his kinsmen was really attributable to the Earl of Pembroke. However that may be, Rees ap Gryffyth not only overran and desolated the county of Cardigan, but also carrying the war into Pembrokeshire, attacked and greatly injured the colonies of Flemings, which Henry and several other monarchs had settled there; and moreover, knowing now that he had little to hope from the clemency of the often offended King of England, he negociated with all the other Welsh princes, urging them by every argument which could have weight with a high-spirited and patriotic nation, to throw off the yoke of those foreign sovereigns, who had, day by day, cooped them within narrower bounds, and imposed new badges of servitude upon them. Nor was his oratory unsuccessful. All the Welsh princes, almost without exception, comprising even those who were the most deeply indebted to Henry's clemency and to his generosity, took up arms to cast off his sway, and to recover the independence of Wales ; so that