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which would at the same time have the most pernicious effect upon his own situation; and indeed, the very measures that he was actually employing to chastise Eleanor for her share in the late conspiracy, were far more severe than those which Gervase supposes he now proposed to adopt. He held her already in strict imprisonment; and surely it is absurd to say that he sought to punish her farther by setting her at liberty, and putting her in possession of one quarter of all France.
If we are to credit the tale at all, some strong motive must be suggested, totally independent and distinct from Henry's indignation against the Queen; nor have the imaginations of historians failed to seek, amidst the scandal of the day, for other inducements. Lust, however, could hardly be the incentive, for Henry was not a man to suffer his union with Eleanor to restrain, even in the slightest degree, his passion for other women.
We are told, indeed, that his purpose was to marry the Princess Alice, or Alais, the daughter of the King of France, who had been promised to his son Richard at the conferences of Montmirail in the year 1169; but there are various causes for supposing that such a statement is quite visionary. The Princess Alice was the daughter of Louis by his third wife, Adelaide of Champagne, whom he married in the autumn of the year 1160, after the death of Constance of Castile. I cannot discover at what precise period she was born; but it would seem
probable that the statement of Mon. Henault is right, and that the eldest child of Louis the Young by his third wife, was Philip, afterwards known as Philip Augustus, in which case, Alice, who was the eldest of his two daughters by that wife, could not have come into the world earlier than the autumn of the year 1166, Philip having been born in the autumn of the year 1165. Cardinal Huguson arrived in England in the latter part of 1175; so that at this time, Alice of France could have been but nine years old, and between eight and nine when Henry sent to demand the presence of a legate. Thus at the time we speak of, love for the princess could have no part whatsoever in the proceedings of Henry, if the statement be correct that the birth of Alice did not precede that of her brother. I shall have occasion to show hereafter, however, what are the causes for believing that some mistake may have taken place on this point. At all events, the princess, at the period when Henry sent for the legate, could not have been much more than thirteen years of age, even supposing that she was the eldest child of Louis by Adelaide of Champagne; and it is scarcely possible to imagine, that however fierce and violent might be the passions of Henry, he could have conceived such a desire of marrying a mere child as to lose sight entirely of every consideration of policy, prudence, and good sense. I cannot help therefore believing, that historians in general have been deceived in regard to the views with which
Huguson was brought to England; and there is certainly not the slightest historical ground for stating, as many authors have stated, that, at this period, Henry's intentions towards the Princess Alice* were anything but perfectly pure.
During the stay of the Legate in England, a council was held at Northampton, on the 2nd of February, 1176 ; in which, with the advice of his eldest son and all the nobles and prelates of the realm, Henry confirmed the constitutions of Clarendon, much to the horror and indignation of the monks of Canterbury. It would seem, that no sooner had this been done, than the outcry of the monasteries became great, and that Huguson himself joined in requesting the King to abandon those parts of the statutes of Clarendon which brought the clergy under the secular arm. Henry would not consent to annul the constitutions, and we consequently find no law to that effect; but at the same time, he is reported by Diceto, who seems to me in every respect worthy of credit, to have given the legate a letter for the Pope, in which he stated :—“That out of love for the Church of Rome, as well as for Alexander himself, and at the solicitation of the legate, he had granted, notwithstanding the opposition of the principal people of his realm, that certain articles should be observed in his kingdom,' which were to
* This princess is called by various writers Alix, Alais, and Adelais or Adelaide ; but her name, according to modern use, is simply Alice.
the effect,--that no clergyman should be taken before any lay judge, except for offences against the forest laws, and in cases where a lay fief held by the clergy was concerned; that no vacant bishoprics or abbeys should be held in the King's hand for more than a year, unless on account of some urgent necessity or some evident cause; and, moreover, that the wilful and premeditated slaying of the clergy, when proved by conviction or confession before the King's Justiciary, 'the bishop or his official being present,'* besides the usual punish
* It is worthy of remark that Mr. Berington—who has written a book which shows, amongst other curious things, how flat the pompous language of Gibbon would be without his powers of thought, and how dull his sarcastic forms appear without the wit that animated them-has translated the whole of the King's letter as it appears in Diceto, except the very important words, which I have printed in italics, and which he has thought fit to omit entirely. In taking them into consideration, we must never forget, that the clergy were strictly forbidden from being present at any judgment which went to the shedding of blood, and that therefore this clause, omitted by Mr.Berington, affected the concessions made by Henry in a very extraordinary manner. It was, evidently, the object of the King to drive ecclesiastics by various inconveniences to abandon voluntarily those privileges for which they strove. If a clergyman was murdered, the case must either have been brought to the court of the King's Justiciary, which could punish with death or loss of limb, or it must remain in the clerical court, as when the murderer was a clergyman ; but the King exacted, that before the full punishment he assigned to the crime could be awarded, the clergy should take part in the proceedings of the secular court, which was the first step towards bringing them under the secular jurisdiction. If
ment for the murder of a layman, should be attended by the criminal's forfeiture of all inheritance by himself and his heirs for ever; and, moreover, that the clergy should not be compelled to undergo trial by battle.”
This concession was by no means so important as it seems, for Henry so framed it as to have a tendency to bring the clergy to seek rather than oppose any longer the execution of the constitutions of Clarendon. The obligations imposed upon the bishop or his official to be present on trials, in secular courts, where the murder of a clergyman was concerned, could have but one of two effects, either to make the clergy abandon the regulation which prevented them from appearing in cases affecting the life or limbs of the accused, or else to leave offences committed against ecclesiastics almost altogether unpunished. Henry was too wise and too just to retaliate upon the clergy, which he might have done on the very first opposition offered by Becket. He might have openly put them altogether beyond the protection of those laws which they themselves refused to recognise ; and the argument would have been unanswerable if he had said, “When a clergyman refuses to submit his own actions towards
they refused so to take part in the proceedings, they left the matter just where it was before ; and it is shown by a letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, written about this period, that the clergy who claimed immunity from the perralties of the secular law, derived little protection from it.