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set down in a schedule drawn up by Becket, and to give peace and security to all his friends. Perhaps the King was a little elated by the triumph which he had gained, in causing his son to be crowned in opposition to all the efforts of Becket; for the Archbishop had written mandates to the other English prelates, forbidding them to be present at the coronation of the young king upon pain of anathema. These letters, indeed, as well as the one formerly mentioned from the Pope, the terror of Henry's late proclamation and the fact of the King's presence in England, prevented from being delivered, or at least published, till the coronation was over ; but the King was undoubtedly aware that they had been sent, and was also informed of various other measures which Becket had taken to prevent or delay the ceremony. He now, however, took Becket apart, conversed with him for some time, and seemed to have forgotten almost entirely their long enmity, and all the mortifications which he had received from the Archbishop.
Notwithstanding these demonstrations of a full reconciliation with Becket, Henry refused, on the present occasion, to give him the kiss of peace, as was usually done in such circumstances. On this point Becket had insisted with great determination, but it had been left open in the agreement between Henry and the Pope, whether Henry was to do it in person, or to command his son the young king to perform that ceremony. It was indeed
but a ceremony; yet we may easily conceive that it was a very distasteful one to the English king after all that had passed, especially if any portion of the insolent triumph which Becket displayed in his letters now appeared in his demeanour. The gracious behaviour of the King, however, so far elated the presumptuous prelate, that, if we may believe his own statements, he ventured in bold language to harangue his sovereign on this very first meeting, in regard to the faults which he thought fit to attribute to him. Henry received his admonitions with hypocritical meekness, though there can be little or no doubt that he was indignant at them in his heart. We have indeed no account but Becket's of the conversation which took place; and there is every probability that in his letter to the Pope, he employed no slight exaggeration regarding both his behaviour to the King and the King's demeanour towards him ; for it is very natural that such should be the result of success upon a proud, and triumph upon a vain, man. He says that the King spoke upon the subject of their late disputes with tears in his eyes, and calling those who had advised him traitors, promised to cast them off. If Henry did do all this, his weakness was as inexcusable as his hypocrisy was disgusting ; but, nevertheless, we have great reason to suppose, as I have said, that there was a good deal of exaggeration in all this statement; for we find that in various substantial points the King, by Becket's own admission, would not at all give way, even in a matter where the Archbishop evidently considered refusal as painful and humiliating. Henry thus forced Becket to make a petition to be received into grace and favour, in the presence of all the Bishops that surrounded him; and though the prelate took advantage of the favourable circumstances of the occasion to make a variation from the words which had been originally agreed upon, and softened the task by inducing the Archbishop of Sens to speak for him, he evidently considered the act a great humiliation. The King, it would appear, did not think it worth while to renew the dispute on account of the change which Becket had made in the terms of his petition; and the meeting concluded without any unpleasant circumstance, except a discussion in regard to some of Henry's friends and servants, with whom the Archbishop, notwithstanding the urgent prayers of the Bishop of Lisieux, refused to be reconciled, and who in return treated him with contempt and reprobation.
From the demeanour of the Archbishop at this meeting, Henry might very well judge that no concession on his part would ever make his former courtier his friend. In fact, he had armed the pride of his servant against himself, and the rebellion of pride is never to be quelled. A number of absurd stories were propagated, both at the time and afterwards, regarding Henry's private feelings
towards Becket, and the monarch's words and actions in his own court. Some of these were reported to the prelate, and probably believed by him; but some have certainly been manufactured since, for the purpose of blackening the character of Henry. Thus it was said, that the King had sworn, immediately before the meeting with Becket, never to give him the kiss of peace; and William of Nangis declares that he caused a mass for the dead to be celebrated, on his pretended reconciliation with his Archbishop. The latter tale is certainly false, and the former probably so, though Henry had undoubtedly sworn long before, not to give him the kiss of peace, from the obligations of which oath he had been absolved by the Pope.
The first proceedings of the monarch promised fairly for the fulfilment of all his engagements towards the Archbishop. He immediately sent messengers into England, bearing letters to his son, with an express command to restore to the see of Canterbury, and to all Becket's friends, the lands and possessions which had been taken from them, exactly as they had enjoyed them three months before they had quitted England. Becket indeed sought to obtain more—namely, compensation for all that had been received by the King during his absence; and though the Pope prevented him from urging this point at the time, the prelate never pretended that he would ultimately give it up. Thus the King of England and the Archbishop parted, with the seeds
of fresh dissensions ready to burst forth, and bear bitter fruit. Henry returned hastily from Freteval, into Normandy; but scarcely had he arrived, when—perhaps in consequence of the suppression of his feelings and the struggle with himself which must have taken place during his meeting with Becket,—he was seized with a violent fit of illness, and for some time his life seems to have been despaired of. In this state the King made a disposition of his territories by will, leaving to his son Henry Normandy and Touraine, in addition to Anjou and Maine, confirming the gift of Aquitaine to Richard, and putting the solemn sanction of his last act to the establishment he had formed for Geoffrey in Britanny. For his youngest son John, who was yet in infancy, he made no provision of any kind, but left him to the generosity and affection of his eldest brother ;* and with this exception, his will would seem to have contained very nearly the same disposition of his property, as might have been made at present under our existing laws and customs. The eldest son enjoyed the whole hereditary estates of his father, the second son inherited the portion of his mother, and the third received that which had been ob
* Hoveden differs from this statement; but if anything was left to John, it was of little importance. I am inclined to believe, that in the passage of Hoveden, which reports the King's will, an erroneous transposition of some words has been made by the copyist.