| fallen in love with him when he was a prisoner to her

father in Jerusalem. Thomas received the first part

of his education at Merton Abbey in Surrey, whence · he'went to Oxford, and afterwards studied at Parisi

Being in high favour with Theobald, Archbishop of
Canterbury, he sent him to Bononia, to study the
civil law; and on his return made him'archdeacon of
Canterbury, and provost of Beverley. . Theobald also
recommended him to King Henry II in so effectual a
manner, that in 1158 he was appointed high chan-
cellor, and preceptor to the prince. Becket now laid
aside the churchman, and affected the courtier; he
conformed himself in every thing to the king's' hui
mour; he partook of all his diversions, and observed
the same hours of eating and going to bed. He kept
splendid levees, and courted popular applause; and
the expenses of his table exceeded those of the first
nobility. In 1159 he made a campaign with King
Henry into Toulouse, having in his own pay 1200
horse, besides a retinue of 700 knights or gen-
tlemen. .", nii
· In 1160, he was sent by the king to Paris, to treat
of a marriage between prince Henry and the king of
France's eldest daughter, in which he succeeded;
and returned with the young princess to England.
He had not enjoyed the chancellorship above four
years, when! Archbishop Theobald died; and the
king, who was then in Normandy, immediately sent
over some trusty persons to England, who managed
matters so well with the monks and clergy, that
Becket was almost unanimously elected archbishop.
His first step, which was to resign the office of
chancellor, much offended his benefactor; and his
subsequent baughtiness and obstinacy, and the
high tone in which he asserted the privileges
of the church, further widened the breach, and
disturbed, the peace of the kingdom. As the
guardian of his people, Henry wished for a commu.
nity of laws; but Becket. refused to repress the dist

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orders of his clergy, by suffering them to be tried in the same manner as the laity; and though for a time he assented to the famous constitutions of Clarendon, he retracted his acquiescence, and resigned his archiepiscopal office at the feet of the pope, who not only forgave the error of his judgment by reinstating him, but espoused his cause and annulled the decrees. Supported by the papal power, the primate excommunicated those who favoured the royal cause, and Henry, swollen with indignation, banished his relations and adherents, and sent them in disgrace and indigence to their exiled master. Becket continued to indulge his resentment: not only the representations and entreaties of the clergy, but the interference of the pope, by two cardinals, proved, for a time, abortive with the haughty prelate, who when, in 1167, be condescended to see his sove

reign, broke off the conference, because Henry refused i to give him the kiss of peace.

. ., In 1169, however, an accommodation was at length concluded between Henry and Becket, upon the confines of Normandy, where the king held the bridle of Becket's horse, while he mounted and dismounted twice. Soon after the archbishop embarked for England ; and upon his arrival received an order from the young king to absolve the suspended and excommunicated bishops; but, refusing to comply, the archbishop of York, and the bishops, of London and Salisbury, carried their complaint io the king in Normandy, who was highly provoked at this fresh instance of obstinacy in Becket, and said on the occasion, " That he was an unhappy prince, who maintained a great number of lazy, insignificant persons about him, none of whom had gratitude or spirit enough to revenge him on a single insolent prelate, who gave him so much disturbance;' or, as some report his words, Shall this fellow, who came to court on a lame horse, with all his estate in a wallet behind him, trample upon his king, the royal family, and the

whole kingdomWill none of all these lazy. cowardly knights whom I maintain, deliver me from this turbulent priest .' This passionate exclamation made too deep an impression on some of those who heard it, particularly on the four following barons, Regio · nald Fitz-Urse, William de Tracey, Hugh de More ville, and Richard Breto, who formed a resolution either to terrify the archbishop into submission, or to put him to death.. .

Having laid their plan, they left the court at different times, and took different routes, to prevent suspicion; but being conducted by the devil, as some monkish historians tell us, they all arrived at the castle of Ranulph de Broc, about six miles from Canterbury, on the same day, Dec. 28, 1170, and almost at the same hour. Here they settled the whole scheme of their proceedings, and next morning early set out for Canterbury, accompanied by a body of resolute men, with arms concealed under their clothes. These men they placed in different parts of the city, to prevent any interruption from the citizens. The four barons above-named then went unarmied, with twelve of their company, to the are chiepiscopal palacé, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and were admitted into the apartment where the 'archbishop sat conversing with some of his clergy. After their admission a long silence ensued, which was at length broken by Reginald Fitz-Urse, who told the archbishop that they were sent by the king to command him to absolve the prelates and others, whom he had excommunicated; and then to go to Winchester, and make satisfaction to the young king, whom he had endeavoured to dethrone. On this a very long and violent altercation followed, in the course of which they gave several hints, that his life was in danger if he did not comply. But he remained undaunted in his refusal. At their de. parture they charged his servants not to allow him to fee; on which he cried out, with great vehemence, Flee! I will never flee from any man living; I ani not come to flee, but to defy the rage of impious assassins. When they were gone, his friends blamed him for the roughness of his answers, which had inflamed the fury of his enemies, and earnestly pressed him to make his escape; but he only answered,.. I have no need of your advice : I lcnow what I ought to do.'

The barons finding their threats ineffectual, put on their coats of mail, and, taking each a sword in his right hand, and an axe in his left, returned to the palace, but found the gate shut. When they were preparing to break it open, Robert de Broc conducted them up a back staircase, and let them in at a window. A cry then arose, . They are armed, they are armed ! on which the clergy hurried the archbishop almost by force into the church, hoping that the sacredness of the place would protect him from violence. They would also have shut the door, but he cried out, 6 Begone, ye cowards ! I charge you; on your obedience, do not shut the door. What! will you make a castle of a church ?' The conspirators having searched the palace, came to the church, and one of them crying, " Where is the traitor ? Where is the archbishop Becket advanced boldly, and said, “ Here I am, an archbishop, but no traitor. Flee,' cried the conspirator, or you are a dead man! (I will never flee,' replied Becket. William de Tracey then took hold of his robes, and said, You are my prisoner; come along with me. But Becket, seizing him by the collar, shook him with so much force, that he almost threw him down. 'De Tracey, enraged at this resistance, aimed a blow with his sword, which almost cut off the arm of one Edward Grim, a priest, and slightly wounded the archbishop on the head. By three other blows given by the other conspirators, his skull was cloven almost in two, and his brains scattered about the pavement of the church.

The assassins, conscious of their crime, and dreading its consequences, durst not return to the king's court at Normandy, but retired to Knaresborough in Yorksbire, where every body avoided their company, hardly any person even choosing to eat or drink with them. They at length took a voyage to Rome, and, being admitted to penance by Pope Alexander III, they went to Jerusalem ; where, according to the pope's order, they spent their lives in penitential austerities, and died in the Black Mountain. They were buried at Jerusalem, without the church door belonging to the Templars, and this inscription was put over them :



Henry was immediately from the imp

King Henry was much disturbed at the news of Becket's death, and immediately dispatched an embassy to Rome to clear himself from the imputation of being the cause of it. Immediately all divine offices ceased in the church of Canterbury; and this for a year, excepting nine days, at the end of which, by order of the pope, it was re-consecrated. Two years after, Becket was canonized; and the following year, Henry, returning to England, went to Canterbury, where he did penance as a testimony of his regret for the murder of Becket. When he came within sight of the church where the archbishop was buried, he alighted off his horse, and walked barefoot, in the habit of a pilgrim, till he came to Becket's tomb; where, after he had prostrated himself, and prayed for a considerable time, he submitted to be scourged by the monks, and passed all that day and night without any refresh: inent, and kneeling upon the bare stone. In 1221 Becket's body was taken up, in the presence of King Henry III, and several nobility, and deposited in a rich shrine on the east side of the church. The

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