Beacon Lights of History, Volume 05 eBook

John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 266 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 05.
Becket is enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen, even as Cromwell is among the descendants of the Puritans; and substantially for the same reason,—­because they both fought bravely for their respective causes,—­the cause of the people in their respective ages.  Both recognized God Almighty, and both contended against the despotism of kings seeking to be absolute, and in behalf of the people who were ground down by military power.  In the twelfth century the people looked up to the clergy as their deliverers and friends; in the seventeenth century to parliaments and lawyers.  Becket was the champion of the clergy, even as Cromwell was the champion—­at least at first—­of the Parliament.  Carlyle eulogizes Cromwell as much as Froude abuses Becket; but Becket, if more haughty and repulsive than Cromwell in his private character, yet was truer to his principles.  He was a great hero, faithful to a great cause, as he regarded it, however averse this age may justly be to priestly domination.  He must be judged by the standard which good and enlightened people adopted seven hundred years ago,—­not in semi-barbarous England alone, but throughout the continent of Europe.  This is not the standard which reason accepts to-day, I grant; but it is the standard by which Becket must be judged,—­even as the standard which justified the encroachments of Leo the Great, or the rigorous rule of Tiberius and Marcus Aurelius, is not that which enthrones Gustavus Adolphus and William of Orange in the heart of the civilized world.

AUTHORITIES

Eadmer’s Life of Anselm; Historia Novarum; Sir J. Stephen’s Life of Becket, of William of Malmsbury, and of Henry of Huntington; Correspondence of Thomas Becket, with that of Foliot, Bishop of London, and John of Salisbury; Chronicle of Peter of Peterborough; Chronicle of Ralph Niper, and that of Jocelyn of Brakeland; Dugdale’s Monasticon; Freeman’s Norman Conquest; Michelet’s History of France; Green, Hume, Knight, Stubbs, among the English historians; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Hook’s Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury; Lord Littleton on Henry II.; Stanley’s Memorials of Canterbury; Milman’s Latin Christianity; article by Froude; Morris’s Life of Thomas a Becket; J. Craigie Robertson’s Life of Thomas Becket.

THE FEUDAL SYSTEM.

* * * * *

ABOUT A.D. 800-1300.

There is no great character with whom Feudalism is especially identified.  It was an institution of the Middle Ages, which grew out of the miseries and robberies that succeeded the fall of the Roman Empire.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Beacon Lights of History, Volume 05 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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