« IndietroContinua »
ordered the general body of the clergy to pay into the exchequer of his majesty, during five successive years, a tenth part of their annual rents. They also placed at his disposal, during that period, one year's income of the vacant benefices, and the value of the goods of all clergymen, who died intestate. In like manner, during the war between Henry the third and the earl of Leicester, the pope granted to the monarch a tenth part of the revenues of the church for three years.
It should be added, that, through all the contests of Henry with the mad parliament as history has called it, and with the earl of Leicester its supporter, the pope was uniformly attached to the royal cause nothing could be more wise or more suitable to his paternal character, than the advice which he gave to the monarch, on the victory gained by him at Evesham: "The news of it," says Mr. Lingard*, "filled the pope with joy: he "instantly wrote to the king and prince, to express "his gratitude to the Almighty for so propitious "an event; but, at the same time, earnestly ex"horted them to use with moderation the licence "of victory; to temper justice with mercy; to re"collect that revenge was unworthy of a christian, "and that clemency was the firmest pillar of a "throne."
It would, however, be doing a great injustice to the popes to suppose, that the money, which they received from the impositions which have been mentioned, was altogether employed in carrying Hist. vol. ii. p. 358, cites Rymer, i. 817, 820.
on their wars, or in the support of their magnificence or pleasures. The wars, in which they voluntarily engaged, were not numerous. In their quality of sovereign princes, they had all the inherent rights of sovereignty to enforce and defend their claims by arms; but they seldom were aggressors: and it is not a little remarkable, nor a little to their honour, that it is difficult to specify a single instance, in which they increased their temporal territory by conquest. The whole even of their present possessions consists, with a small exception, of the patrimonies, which they successively inherited under the donations of Pepin, Charlemagne, Lewis, Lothaire, the emperor Henry Otho, and the countess Matildis.
Speaking therefore generally, the wars of the popes were wars of defence; and, considering how important it was to christendom, that their independence, as sovereigns of a respectable dominion*, should be preserved, and the constant aid which the clergy derived from them, their claims on these to contribute to the relief of their pressing wants, were natural, and certainly not always unreasonable.
Add to this, the heavy expenses inseparably incident to the obligation which the superintendence of all christian churches, (then universally acknowledged to be their prerogative duty),-and the propagation of the gospel in pagan countries, imposed on them.
* Haud contemnendi imperii, as his state is described by Bellarmine in his answers to James the first.
STATUTES AGAINST PROVISORS, AND THE EXPORTATION OF ECCLESIASTICAL REVENUES
OUT OF THE KINGDOM.
DURING the period of which we are now writing, both the monarch and his subjects, as well ecclesiastical as lay, frequently complained, that the popes too often invaded the acknowledged rights of the patrons of ecclesiastical benefices, and even forced foreigners into them.
Towards the commencement of the twelfth century, the popes began to reserve to themselves the presentation to all benefices, which became vacant, while the incumbent was attending the court of Rome, on any occasion, or on his journey to that court or from it; and to such benefices, as became vacant by the promotion of the incumbent to a bishopric or abbey. They also assumed to themselves a right to nominate, by anticipation, to benefices, before they became void; or to direct the patrons to nominate specified individuals; these were called papal provisions. Pope Gregory the ninth, ordered St. Edmund, the archbishop of Canterbury, Grossetete bishop of Lincoln, and the bishop of Sarum to provide certain Roman clergymen*, with vacant benefices in England, under pain of losing their own right of collation, till provision should be made for them.
* Matt. Paris, p. 658, says the number of them was three hundred; this must be an exaggeration.
The necessities of the popes led them to these measures the kings and the clergy remonstrated against them; but the kings were sometimes insincere in their remonstrances, as, by obtaining these grants for themselves, they were enabled to provide for their own favourites. Some concessions, however, were obtained from the pope on behalf of lay patrons: but the general evil continuing, the barons and clergy addressed a letter to the pope, containing a list of the grievances of the kingdom. They dwell on the exactions of the Roman see, and particularly complain, that " their "livings were disposed of to foreigners;-to men, "who neither understood English, nor were other"wise qualified for church preferment; and that "the Italians thus received 60,000 marks yearly "from the church,-which was more than the "whole revenues of the crown,-to the neglect of "instruction, and disuse of hospitality*." These remonstrances seem to have produced some effect: the pope issued a bull, in which, "he professed a "dislike of the practice; but alleged the neces
* Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum, prout ab Orthuino Gratio, Presbytero Daventriensi, editus est, Coloniæ, A.D. MDXXXv. in concilii tunc indicendi usum et admonitionem: ab innumeris mendis repurgatus, juxta editiones singulares et potiores plerorumque tractatuum, qui in eo continentur: unâ cum appendice sive tomo ii. scriptorum veterum, quorum pars magna nunc primum e MSS. codicibus in lucem prodit, qui ecclesiæ Rom. errores et abusus detegunt et damnant, necessitatemque reformationis urgent. Quorum omnium ratio in præfatione ad Lectorem, Fasciculo prefixå redditur. Operâ et Studio Edwardi Brown, Parochi Sundrigiæ agro Cantiano.-Lond. 1690.-See tom. ii. p. 415.
sities, by which he had been driven to it: he empowered all the patrons of benefices in the 'possession of foreigners to present to them immediately; and declared that the individuals so "presented might take possession of the benefices, instantly on the death or resignation of the ac "tual incumbents, and in despite of any provision, that might thereafter be made by him or "his successors*.
The practice, however, was continued. It was more sensibly felt, during the great schism. The popes themselves, and the greater part of the cardinals, and of other ecclesiastics then about the papal court, were of French extraction: it was an obvious remark, that to provide such persons with English benefices, which was improper at all times, was then singularly unwise; and must then be viewed by the English with particular indignation. The practice, therefore, was frequently and loudly complained of; but the complaint was neglected; and the consequence, as might have been foreseen, was, that the nation took the affair into its own hands, and redressed the grievance. Several lawst. were enacted, which provided that the court of Rome should present or collate to no bishopric or living in England; and that those, who disturbed any patron in the presentation to a living, by virtue of a papal provision, should pay fine and ransom to the king.
* Lingard's Hist. vol. ii. p. 311, cites Matthew Paris, 741. Annal. Burt. 326, 330. Rym. i. 294.
Mr. Justice Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, book iv. c. 8, cites 25 Edw. III, st. 6; 27 Edw. III, st. 1. c. 1; 38 Edw, III, st. 1. c. 4. & st. 2, c. 1, 2, 3, 4.