The Assize of Clarendon was drawn up in February 1166, and in March Henry sailed for France. Trouble awaited him there on every hand, and during the next two years he had to meet no less than thirteen revolts or wars. Aquitaine declared against the imperial system; loud complaints were raised of Henry's contempt of old franchises and liberties, and of the "officers of a strange race" who violated the customs of the country by orders drawn up in a foreign tongue - the langue d'oil, the speech of Norman and Angevin. Maine, Touraine, and Britanny were in chronic revolt. The Welsh rose and conquered Flint. The King of Scotland was in treaty with France. Warring parties in Ireland claimed Henry's interference. England was uneasy and discontented. Louis of France was allied with all Henry's enemies - Gascons, Bretons, Welsh and Scotch; he aided the Count of Flanders and the Count of Boulogne in preparing a fleet of six hundred ships to attack the southern coast of England. The Pope's attitude was cautious and uncertain. When Barbarossa's armies were triumphant in Italy, when Henry's Italian alliances were strong and his bribes were big, Alexander leaned to the king; when success again returned to Rome he looked with more effectual favour on the demands of the archbishop. The rising tide of disaffection tried the king sorely. It was in vain that he sought to win over the leaders of the ecclesiastical party, the canon lawyers, such as John of Salisbury, or Master Herbert of Bosham, with whom he argued the point at his Easter Court at Angers. John of Salisbury flatly rejected the Constitutions, declaring that his first obedience was due to the Pope and the archbishop. Herbert was yet more defiant. "Look how this proud fellow comes!" said Henry, as the stately Herbert entered in his splendid dress of green cloth of Auxerre, with a richly trimmed cloak hanging after the German fashion to his heels. He was no true servant to the king, declared Herbert when he had seated himself, who would allow him to go astray. As for the customs, there were bad enough customs in other countries against the Church of God, but at least they were not written down either in the lands of the King of France or of the King of the Germans. "Why do you diminish his dignity?" hastily demanded the king, "by not calling him the Emperor of the Germans?" "The King of the Germans he is," retorted Herbert, "though when he writes, he signs Imperator Romanorum semper Augustus.'" "Shame!" cried the king, "here is an outrage! Why should this son of a priest disturb my kingdom and disquiet my peace?" "Nay," said Herbert, "I am not the son of a priest, for it was after my birth my father became a priest; neither is he the son of a king save one whom his father begat being king." "Whosesoever son he may be," cried a baron who sat by, "I would give the half of my land that he were mine!" Henry heard the words bitterly, and held his peace; and in a few moments ordered the intractable Herbert to depart.

The strife between Church and State was, in fact, taking every day a new harshness. Gregory VII. a century earlier had suggested that kingly power was of diabolic origin. "Who is ignorant that kings and princes have their beginning in this, that knowing not God, they by rapine, perfidy, and slaughter, the devil moving them, affect rule over their equals-that is, over men, with blind greed and intolerable presumption." But the papal theory of a vast Christian republic of all peoples, under the leadership of Rome, found little favour with the kings of the rising states which were beginning to shape themselves into the great powers of modern Europe. Henry, steeped in the new temper, proposed a rival theory of the origin of government. "Thou," he wrote to the Pope, "by the papal authority granted thee by men, thinkest to prevail over the authority of the royal dignity committed to me by God." The wisest of the churchmen of England used more sober language than all this. "Ecclesiastical dignity," wrote Ralph of Diceto, later the Dean of St. Paul's, "rather advances than abolishes royal dignity, and the royal dignity is wont rather to preserve than to destroy ecclesiastical liberty, for kings have no salvation without the Church, nor can the Church obtain peace without the protection of the king." To the fiery zeal of the archbishop, on the other hand, the secular power was as "lead" compared to the fine "gold" of the spiritual dignity. Henry, he cried loudly, was a "tyrant"-a word which to medieval ears meant not an arbitrary or capricious ruler, since that was the admitted right of every ruler, but a king who governed without heeding the eternal maxims of the "law of nature," an idea which theologians had borrowed from the theories of the ancient law of Rome, and modified to mean the law of Scripture or of the Church. But in the arguments of Thomas this law took the narrowest proportions, with no wider interpretation than that given by the pedantic temper of a fanatical ecclesiastical politician. He fought his battles too often by violent and vulgar methods, and Henry reaped the profit of his errors. How far our national solution of the problem raised between Church and State might have been altered or delayed if the claims of the Church had at this moment been represented by a leader of supreme moral and spiritual authority, it is hard to say. But Thomas was far from being at the highest level of his own day in religious thought. When some years later the holy Hugh of Lincoln forbade his archdeacons and their officers to receive fines instead of inflicting penance for crimes, he was met by the objection that the blessed archbishop and martyr Thomas himself had taken fines. "Believe me," said Hugh, "not for that was he a saint; he showed other marks of holiness, by another title he won the martyr's palm."

In the spring of 1166 Thomas was appointed Papal Legate for England, and he at once used his new authority to excommunicate in June all the king's chief agents - Richard of Ilchester, John of Oxford, Richard de Lucy, Jocelyn of Bailleul - while the king himself was only spared for the moment that he might have a little space for repentance. Rumour asserted too that the Primate acted as counsellor to the foreign enemies of England, declaring that he would either restore himself to his see or take away Henry's crown. He saw with delight the growing irritation of England under its sufferings after the Assize of Clarendon; ancient prophecies of Merlin's which foretold disaster were on his lips, and he grew yet more defiant in his sense of the king's impending ruin. The pride and temper of Henry kept pace with those of Thomas. He became more and more fierce and uncompromising. In answer to the excommunications he forced the Cistercians in 1166, by threats of vengeance in England, to expel Thomas from Pontigny. When papal legates arrived in 1167 with proposals for mediation, he bluntly expressed his hope that he might never see any more cardinals. His political activity was unceasing. He completed the conquest of Britanny, and concluded a treaty of marriage between his son Geoffrey and its heiress Constance. The Count of Blois was won at a cost of L500 a year. Mortain was bought from the Count of Boulogne. "Broad and deep ditches were made between France and Normandy." A frontier castle was raised at Beauvoir. His second son Richard, then twelve years old, was betrothed to Louis's daughter Adela; and his daughter Eleanor to the King of Castile. He secured the friendship of Flanders. He was busy building up a plan of Italian alliances and securing the passes over the Alps. Milan, Parma, Bologna, Cremona, the Marquis of Montferrat, the barons of Rome, all were won by his lavish pay. The alliance of Sicily was established by the betrothal of his daughter with its king. The states of the Pope were being gradually hemmed in between Henry's allies to north and south. The threat of an imperial alliance was added to hold his enemies in awe. In the spring of 1168 his eldest daughter was married to the Emperor's cousin, Henry the Lion, the national hero of Germany, second only to Barbarossa in power, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Saxony, Lord of Brunswick, and of vast estates in Northern Germany, with claims to the inheritance of Tuscany and of the Lombard possessions of the House of Este. For the purpose of a judicious threat, he even entertained an imperial embassy which promised him armed help and urged him to recognize the anti-Pope, whose first act, as both Henry and Thomas well understood, would have been the deposition of the archbishop.

At last the moment seemed come, not only to win a peace with France, but to carry out a long-cherished scheme for the ordering of the Angevin Empire. He met the King of France at Montmirail on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1169, and the mighty Angevin ruler bowed himself before his feebler suzerain lord to renew his homage. "On this day, my lord king, on which the three kings offered gifts to the King of kings, myself, my sons, and my land, I commend to your keeping." His continental estates were divided among his sons, to be held under his supreme authority. The eldest, Henry, who had in 1160 done homage to Louis for Normandy, now did homage for Anjou, Maine, and Britanny. Richard received Aquitaine, and Geoffrey was set over Britanny under his elder brother as overlord. This division of Henry's dominions by no means implied any intention on the king's part of giving up the administration of the provinces. It was but the first step towards the realization of his imperial system, by which he was to reign as supreme lord, surrounded by the sub-rulers of his various provinces. Harassed as he had been with ceaseless wars, from the Welsh mountains to the Pyrenees, he might well believe that such a system would best provide for the defence of his unwieldy states; "When he alone had the rule of his kingdom," as he said later, "he had let nothing go of his rights; and now, when many were joined in the government of his lands, it would be a shame that any part of them were lost." In the difficulties of internal administration the system might prove no less useful. That any serious difference of interest could arise between himself and the sons whom he loved "more than a father," Henry could never, then or afterwards, believe. He rather trusted that a wise division of authority between them might secure the administrative power in the royal house, and prevent the growth of excessive influence among his ministers. But for all his hopes, the treaty of Montmirail was in fact a crowning triumph for France; it was virtually the first breaking up of the Empire, and had in it the seeds of Henry's later ruin.

There was another side to the treaty. Henry and Thomas met at Montmirail for the first time since the council of Northampton over four years before, to renew a quarrel in which no terms of peace were possible. The old hopeless dispute raged afresh, the king demanding a vow to obey the "customs of the kingdom," Thomas insisting on his clause "saving my order," "saving the honour of God." The former weary negotiations began again; new envoys hurried backwards and forwards; interminable letters argued the limits of the temporal and spiritual powers in phrases which lost nothing of their arrogance from the fact that neither side had the power to enforce their claims. The Primate would have no counsels. "Believe me," Thomas wrote of Henry, "who know the manners of the man, he is of such a disposition that nothing but punishment can mend." He excommunicated the bishops of London and Salisbury and a number of clerks and laymen, till in the chapel of the king there was scarcely one who was able to give him the kiss of peace. Henry "shook with fear," according to the boast of Thomas, at the excommunications. In vain the Pope sought to moderate his zeal. In the summer of 1169 two legates were sent to settle the dispute, of whom one was pledged to the king and the other to the archbishop. Henry, like every one else, saw the futility of their mission, and "led them for a week," as one of them complained, "through many windings both of road and speech." With a scornful taunt that "he did not care an egg for them and their excommunications," he finally mounted his horse to ride off from the conference. "I see, I see!" he said to the frightened bishops who hurried after him to call him back; "they will interdict my land, but surely I who can take the strongest of castles in any single day, shall I not avail to scotch a single clerk if he should interdict my land!" When a compromise seemed possible, he suddenly added to the form of peace he had proposed the words, "saving the dignity of my kingdom." This broke off all negotiations. "The dignity of the kingdom," said Thomas, "was only a softer name for the Constitutions of Clarendon." "If the king," said John of Salisbury, "had obtained the insertion of this clause, he had carried the royal customs, only changing the name." A new attempt at reconciliation was made in November at Montmartre, but Henry refused to give the Primate the "kiss of peace," which in feudal custom was the binding sign of perfect friendship; and when the Pope thought to compel his submission, first by threats and promises, then by a formal threat of interdict, he answered by despatching very decided orders to England. Anyone who carried an interdict to England was to suffer as a traitor; all clerks were summoned home from abroad; none might leave the kingdom without an order from the king; if any man should observe an interdict he was to be banished with all his kindred. All appeal to Pope or archbishop was forbidden; no mandate might be carried to Pope or archbishop; if any man favoured Pope or archbishop his goods and those of his kindred should be confiscated. All subjects of the realm, from boys to old men, must swear obedience to these articles.

But if Henry had long been used to see his mere will turn into absolute law, he had now reached a point where the submission of his subjects broke down. The laity indeed obeyed, but the clergy, with the Archbishop of York at their head, absolutely refused to abjure obedience to Pope and Primate. Throughout the strife the leading clergy had sought to avoid taking sides, but as the king's attitude became more and more arbitrary, a steady undercurrent of resistance made itself felt. As early as 1166 the king's officer, Richard of Ilchester, sought counsel of Ralph of Diceto as to the duty of observing his excommunication by Thomas. The answer shows the nobler influence of the Church in maintaining the rigid rule of law as opposed to arbitrary government, and its large sense that general order was to be preferred to private good. He laid down that an archbishop's spiritual rights are indestructible; that in all cases submission to law was the highest duty; and that it was better humbly to accept even a harsh sentence than to set an evil example of disobedience by which others might be led to their ruin. In 1167 the clergy had been called to London to swear fealty to the anti-Pope; but "as the bishops refused to take so detestable an oath against God and the Pope, this unlawful and wicked business came to an end." The bishops had obeyed the excommunication of Foliot by the Primate; they had refused to join in his appeal to Rome or to hold communion with him. It now seemed as though in this last decree of 1169 Henry had reached the limits of his authority over the Church, and it may be that some sense of peril induced him at the Pope's orders to summon Thomas to Normandy to renew negotiations for the peace of Montmartre. But the meeting never took place. Before Thomas could reach Caen he was stopped by news that Henry had suddenly left for England. In the midst of a terrible storm the king crossed the Channel on the 3rd of March 1170, and barely escaping with his life, landed at Portsmouth after four years' absence.

So sudden was his journey that a rumour spread that he had fled over sea to avoid the interdict proclaimed by Thomas. But during his absence trouble had been steadily growing in England. In his sore straits for money during these last years, Henry could not always be particular as to means. Jews were robbed and banished; the bishopric of Lincoln was added to the half-dozen sees already vacant, and its treasure swept into the royal Hoard; an "aid" was raised for the marriage of his daughter, and a terrible list of fines levied under the Assize of Clarendon. The sums raised told, in fact, of the general increase of wealth. The national income, which at the beginning of Henry's reign had been but L22,000, was raised in the last year to L48,000, and an enormous treasure had been accumulated said to be equal to 100,000 marks, or, by another account, to be worth L900,000. The increase of trade was shown by the growing numbers of Jews, the bankers and usurers of the time. At the beginning of Henry's reign they were still so few that it was possible to maintain a law which forbade their burial anywhere save in one cemetery near London. Before its close their settlements were so numerous that Jewish burial-grounds had to be established near every great town. Their banking profits were enormous, and Christians who saw the wages of sin heaped up before their eyes, looked wistfully at a business forbidden by the ecclesiastical standard of morals of that day.

The towns were stirred with a new activity. London naturally led the way. The very look of the city told of its growing wealth. Till now the poor folk in towns found shelter in hovels of such a kind that Henry II. could order that the houses of heretics should be carried outside the town and burned. But the new wealth of merchant and Jew and trader was seen in the "stone houses," some indeed like "royal palaces," which sprang up on every hand, and offered a new temptation to house-breakers and plunderers of the thickly-peopled alleys. The new cathedral of St. Paul's had just been built. The tower and the palace at Westminster had been repaired by the splendid extravagance of Chancellor Thomas, and the citizens, impatient of the wooden bridge that spanned the river, were on the point of beginning the "London Bridge" of stone. In the next quarter of a century merchants of Kiln had their guild-hall in the city, while merchants of the Empire were settled by the river-side in the hall later known as the Steel Yard. Already charters confirmed to London its own laws and privileges, and only three or four years after Henry's death its limited freedom was exchanged for a really municipal life under a mayor elected by the citizens themselves. Oxford too, at the close of Henry's reign, was busy replacing its old wooden hovels with new "houses of stone"; and could buy from Richard a charter which set its citizens as free from toll or due as those of London, and gave them, instead of the king's bailiff, a mayor of their own election, under whom they could manage their own judicial and political affairs in their own Parliament. Winchester, Northampton, Norwich, Ipswich, Doncaster, Carlisle, Lincoln, Scarborough, York, won their charters at the same time - bought by the wealth which had been stored up in the busy years while Henry reigned. A chance notice of Gloucester shows us its two gaols - the city gaol which the citizens were bound to watch, and the castle prison of the king. The royal officers marked by their exactions the growth of the town's prosperity, and no longer limited themselves to time-honoured privileges of extortion. Bristol could claim its own coroners; it could assert its right to be free of frank-pledge; its burghers were in 1164 taken under the king's special patronage and protection; in 1172 he granted them the right of colonizing Dublin and holding it with all the liberties with which they held Bristol itself, to the wrath of the men of Chester who had long been rivals of the Bristol men, and who hastened to secure a royal writ ordering that they should be as free to trade with Dublin as they had ever been, for all the privileges of Bristol. Its merchants were fast lining the banks of the Severn with quays, and a later attempt to hinder them by law was successfully resisted. The new commercial spirit soon quickened alike the wits of royal officers and burghers. The weavers did not keep to the legal measure for the width of cloth. The woad-sellers no longer heaped up their measures, as of old, above the brim. The constables on their side began to demand outrageous dues on the sale of herrings, and what was more, whereas of old heavy goods, such as wood, hides, iron, woad, were sold outside the fair and escaped dues, now the constable of the castle insisted on tolls for every sale even without the bounds - a pound of pepper, or even more, had to go into his hand. The citizens of Lincoln had analized the Witham, and built up an illustration of the rapid development of the trading towns. As early as the beginning of the century its owner, the Bishop of Norwich, had seen its advantages, lying as it did at the mouth of the Ouse, and forming the only outlet for the trade of seven shires. It was not long before the prudent bishops had made of it the Liverpool of medieval times. The Lynn of older days, later known as "King's Lynn," with its little crowded market shut in between Guildhall and Church, the booths then as now leaning against the church walls, and a tangle of narrow lanes leading to the river-side, was in no way fit for the great demands of an awakened commerce; its life went on as of old, but the sea was driven back by a vast embankment, and the "Bishop's Lynn" rose on the newly-won land along the river-bank, with its great market-place, its church, its jewry, its merchant-houses, and its guild-houses; and soon, in the thick of the busiest quarter, by the wharves, rose the "stone house" of the bishop himself, looking closely out on the "strangers' ships" that made their way along the Ouse laden with provisions and with merchandise.

But this growing wealth was still mainly confined to the towns. The great bulk of the country was purely agricultural, and had no concern in any questions of trade. There is a record of over five hundred pleas of the Gloucestershire fifty years later, and among all these there is outside the town of Gloucester but one case which deals with the lawful width for weaving cloth, and one or two as to the sale of bread, ale, or wine. The agricultural peasants seem, from the glimpses which we catch here and there, to have for the most part lived on the very verge of starvation. Every few years with dreary regularity we note the chronicler's brief record of cattle-plague, famine, pestilence. Half a century later we read in legal records the tale of a hard winter and its consequences - the dead bodies of the famine-stricken serfs lying in the fields on every side, and the judges of the King's Court claiming from the starving survivors the "murder-fine" ordained by law to be paid for every dead body found when the murderer was not produced. The system of cultivation was ignorant and primitive. Rendered timid by the repeated failure of crops, the poor people would set aside a part of their land to sow together oats, barley, and wheat, in the hope that whatever were the season something would come up which might serve for the rough black bread which was their main food. The low wet grounds were still undrained, and the number of cases of eye-disease which we find in the legends of miraculous cures point to the prevalence of ophthalmia brought on by damp and low living, as the army of lepers points to the filth and misery of the poor .The "common fields" and pastures of the villages must have lain on the higher grounds which were not mere swamps during half the year. But to these a dry season brought ruin. In time of drought the cattle had to be driven five or six miles to find water in the well or pool which served for the whole district. If by any chance disease broke out, the wearied beasts that met at the watering or drank of the tainted pool carried it far and wide, and plague soon raged from end to end of the country. Even in the days of Henry VIII. shrewd observers noted that the new grazing farms, where the cattle were better fed and kept separate, alone escaped these ravages, and that it was these farms whence came the only meat to be found in the country through the long winter months or in time of murrain. This purpose was doubtless served earlier by the great monastic estates, but means of transport scarcely existed; each district had to live on its own resources, and vast tracts of country were with every unfavourable season stricken by hunger and by the plague and famine fever that followed it.

One source of later misery was indeed unknown. The war of classes had not yet begun. The lawyers had not been at work hardening and defining vague traditions, and legally the position of the serf was far better than it was a hundred years later. The feudal system still preserved relations between the lord and his dependents, which were more easy and familiar than anything we know. The lord of the manor had not begun to encroach on the privileges or the "common" rights of the tenant, nor had the merchant guilds of the towns attacked the liberties of the craftsmen and lesser folk. For a century to come the battle for lands or rights was mainly waged between the lord or the men of one township or manor with the men of a neighbouring township or manor; and it was not till these had fairly ended their quarrel that lords and burghers turned to fight against the liberties and privileges of serfs and craftsmen. There are indications, on the other hand, that one effect of the new administration of justice, as it told on the poor, began early to show itself in the growth of an "outlaw" class. Crimes of violence were surprisingly common. Dead bodies were found in the wood, in the field, in the fold, in the barn. In an extraordinary number of cases the judges' records of a little later time tell of houses broken into by night and robbed, and every living thing within them slain, and no clue was ever found to the plunderers. There were stories in Henry's days of a new crime-of men wearing religious dress who joined themselves to wayfarers, and in such a case the traveller was never seen again alive. Tales of Robin Hood began to take shape. The by-ways and thickets were peopled with men, innocent or guilty, but all alike desperate. One Richard, we read, whose fellow at the plough fell dead in an epileptic fit, fled in terror of the judges to the woods, and so did many a worse man than Richard. We find constantly the same tale of the sudden quarrel, the blow with a stick or a stone, the thrust with the knife which every man carried, the stroke with a hatchet. Then the slayer in his panic flies to a nun's garden, to a monastery, or to the shelter of a church, where the men of the village keep guard over him till knights of the shire are sent from the Court, to whom he confesses his crime, and who allow him so many days to fly to the nearest port and forsake the kingdom. Perhaps he never reaches the coast, but takes to the woods, already haunted by "abjurors" like himself, or by outlaws flying from justice. In the social conditions of the England of that day the administration of justice was, in more ways than one, a very critical matter, and the efforts of over-zealous judges and sheriffs might easily end in driving the people to desperation before the severity of the law, or in crushing out under a heedless taxation a prosperity which was still new and still rare.

Henry perhaps already saw the deep current of discontent which only a year later was to break out in the most terrible rebellion of his reign. In any case the severity of the measures which he took shows how serious he thought the crisis. After his landing in March 1170 one month was given to inquiry as to the state of the country. In the beginning of April he held a council to consider the reform of justice. A commission was appointed to examine, during the next two months, every freeholder throughout the kingdom as to the conduct of judges and sheriffs and every other officer charged with the duty of collecting or accounting for the public money. Its members were chosen from among the most zealous opponents of the Court officials-the great barons, the priors, the important abbots of the shires - and they were all men who had no connection with the Exchequer or the Curia Regis. Their work was done, and their report presented within the time allowed; but the king, practical, businesslike, impatient of abuses, like every vigorous autocratic ruler, had no mind to wait two months to redress the grievances of his people. The barons who had been appointed as sheriffs at the opening of his reign had governed after the old corrupt traditions, or perhaps themselves suffering under the ruthless pressure of the barons of the Exchequer, had been driven to a like severity of extortion. By an edict of the king every sheriff throughout the country was struck from his post; of the twenty-seven only seven were restored to their places, and new sheriffs were appointed, all of whom save four were officers of the King's Court. The great local noble who had lorded it as he chose over the suitors of the Court for fifteen years, and fined and taxed and forfeited as seemed good to him, suddenly, without a moment's warning, saw his place filled by a stranger, a mere clerk trained in the Court among the royal servants, a simple nominee of the king; he could no longer doubt that the royal supremacy was now without rival, without limit, irresistible, complete. Such an act of absolute authority had indeed, as Dr. Stubbs says, "no example in the history of Europe since the time of the Roman Empire, except possibly in the power wielded by Charles the Great."

Nor was this Henry's only act of high-handed government. On the 10th of April he called a council to London to consult about the coronation of his son. It was a dangerous innovation, against all custom and tradition, for no such coronation of the heir in his father's lifetime had ever taken place in England. But Henry was no mere king of England, nor did he greatly heed barbaric or insular prejudice when he had even before his eyes the example not only of the French Court, but of the Holy Roman Empire. The coronation was a necessary step in the completion of the plan unfolded at Montmirail for the ordering of the second empire of the West. Moreover, the settlement probably seemed to him more imperative than ever from the restlessness and discontent of the land. No king of England since the Conquest had succeeded peaceably to his father. The reign of Stephen had abundantly proved how vain were oaths of homage to secure the succession; and the sacred anointing, which in those days carried with it an inalienable consecration, was perhaps the only certain way of securing his son's right. It may well be, too, that, threatened as he was with interdict, he saw the advantage of providing for the peace and security of England by crowning as her king an innocent boy with whom the Church had no quarrel. The actual ceremony of consecration raised, indeed, an immediate and formidable difficulty. A king of England could be legally consecrated only by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Three years before Henry had forced the Pope, then in extreme peril, to grant special powers to the Archbishop of York to perform the rite, but he had not yet ventured to make use of the brief. Now, however, whether the case seemed to him more urgent, or whether his temper had grown more imperious, he cast aside his former prudence. On the 14th of June the lords and prelates were gathered together "in fear, none knowing what the king was about to decree." The younger Henry, a boy of fifteen, was brought before them; he was anointed and crowned by Roger of York. From this moment a new era opened in Henry's reign. The young king was now lord of England, in the view of the whole medieval world, by a right as absolute and sacred as that of his father. All who were discontented and restless had henceforth a leader ordained by law, consecrated by the Church, round whom they might rally. Delicate questions had to be solved as to the claims and powers of the new king, which never in fact found their answer so long as he lived. Meanwhile Henry had raised up for himself a host of new difficulties. The archbishop had a fresh grievance in the king's reckless contempt of the rights of Canterbury. The Church party both in England and in Europe was outraged at the wrong done to him. Many who had before wavered, like Henry of Blois, now threw themselves passionately on the side of Thomas. In the fierce contention that soon raged round the right of the archbishop to crown the king, and to deal as he chose with any prelate who might infringe his privileges, all other questions were forgotten. Not only the zealots for religious tradition, but all who clung loyally to established law and custom, were thrown into opposition. The French king was bitterly angry that his daughter had not been crowned with her husband. All Henry's enemies banded themselves together in a frenzy of rage. So immediate and formidable was the outburst of indignation that ten days after the coronation the king no longer ventured to remain in England; and on the 24th of June he hastily crossed the Channel. Near Falaise he was met by the bishop of Worcester, who had supported him at Northampton. The king turned upon him passionately, and broke out in angry words, "Now it is plain that thou art a traitor! I ordered thee to attend the coronation of my son, and since thou didst not choose to be there, thou hast shown that thou hast no love for me nor for my son's advancement. It is plain that thou favourest my enemy and hatest me. I will tear the revenues of the see from thy hands, who hast proved unworthy of the bishopric or any benefice. In truth thou wert never the son of my uncle, the good Count Robert, who reared me and thee in his castle, and had us there taught the first lessons of morals and of learning." Earl Robert's son, however, was swift in retort. He vehemently declared he would have no part in the guilt of such a consecration. "What grateful act of yours," he cried, "has shown that Count Robert was your uncle, and brought you up, and battled with Stephen for sixteen years for your sake, and for you was at last made captive? Had you called to mind his services you would not have driven my brothers to penury and ruin. My eldest brother's tenure, given him by your grandfather, you have curtailed. My youngest brother, a stout soldier, you have driven by stress of want to quit a soldier's life and give himself to the perpetual service of the hospital at Jerusalem, and don the monk's habit. Thus you know how to bless those of your own household! Thus you are wont to reward those who have deserved well of you! Why threaten me with the loss of my benefice? Be it yours if it suffice you not to have already seized an archbishopric, six vacant sees, and many abbeys, to the peril of your soul, and turned to secular uses the alms of your fathers, of pious kings, the patrimony of Jesus Christ!" All this abuse, and much more besides, the angry bishop poured out in the hearing of the knights who were riding on either side of the king. "He fares well with the king since he is a priest," commented a Gascon; "had he been a knight he would leave behind him two hides of land!" Some one else, thinking to please the king, abused the bishop roundly. Henry, however, turned on him with an outburst of rage. "Do you think, scoundrel, if I say what I choose to my kinsman and my bishop, that you or anyone else are at liberty to dishonour him with words and persecute him with threats? Scarce can I keep my hands from thy eyes!"

The king well understood, indeed, in what a critical position matters stood. He swiftly agreed to every conceivable concession on every hand. He met the papal messengers and bent to their terms of reconciliation. On the 20th of July he had a conference with Louis near Freteval in Touraine, and next day the kings parted amicably. On the 22d an interview between the king and the archbishop followed. The royal customs were not mentioned; no oath was exacted from the Primate; he was promised safe return and full possession of his see, and the "kiss of peace"; he was to crown once more the young king and his wife. At the close of the conference Thomas lighted from his horse to kiss the king's foot, but Henry, rivalling him in courtesy, dismounted to hold the Primate's stirrup, with the words, "It is fit the less should serve the greater!" But if there was a show of peace "the whole substance of it consisted only in hope," as Thomas wrote. Each side was full of distrust. Thomas demanded immediate restitution of his see, and liberty to excommunicate the bishops who had shared in the coronation. Henry wanted first to see "how Thomas would behave in the affairs of the kingdom." The king and Primate met for the last time in October 1170 at Chaumont with seeming friendliness, but any real peace was as far off as ever. "My lord," said Thomas, as he bade farewell, "my heart tells me that I part from you as one whom you shall see no more in this life." "Do you hold me as a traitor?" asked the king. "That be far from thee, my lord!" answered Thomas. But to the Primate the king's fair promises were but the tempting words of the devil - "all these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me." He begged from the Pope unlimited powers of excommunication. "The more potent and fierce the prince is," he said, "the stronger stick and harder chain is needed to bind him and keep him in order." He had warning visions. He spoke of returning to his church "perhaps to perish for her." "I go to England," he said; "whether to peace or to destruction I know not; but God has decreed what fate awaits me."

The king's conduct indeed gave ground for fear. He had summoned clergy abroad against law and custom to elect bishops who, in contempt of the Primate's rights, were to be sent to Rome for consecration. In the general doubt as to the king's attitude, no one dared to speak to envoys sent by Thomas to England. Ranulf de Broc was still wasting the lands of Canterbury; the palace was half in ruins, the barns destroyed, the lands uncultivated, the woods cut down. The Primate's friends urged him to keep out of England for fear of treachery. Thomas, however, was determined to return, and to return with uncompromising defiance. He sent before him letters excommunicating the bishops of London and Salisbury, and suspending the Bishop of Durham and the Archbishop of York, for having joined in the coronation; and on the following day, under the protection of John of Oxford as the king's officer, he landed at Sandwich. The excommunications had set the whole quarrel aflame again, and John of Oxford with difficulty prevented open fighting. The royal officers demanded absolution for the bishops. Thomas flatly refused unless they would swear to appear at his court for justice, an oath which the bishops in their terror of the king dared not take. They fled to Henry's court in Normandy; while on the 1st of December Thomas passed on to Canterbury. The men of Kent were stout defenders of their customary rights; they clung tenaciously to their special privileges; they had their own views of inheritance, their fixed standard of fines, their belief that the Crown had no right to the property of thief or murderer, who had been hanged - "the father to the bough, the son to the plough," said they, in Kent at least. They were a very mixed population, constantly recruited from the neighbouring coasts. They held the outposts of the country as the advanced guard formally charged with the defence of its shores from foreign invasion, which was a very present terror in those days. Lying near the Continent they caught every rumour of the liberties won by the Flemish towns or French communes; commerce and manufacture were doing their work in the ports and among the iron mines of the forests; and it seems as though the shire very early took up the part it was to play again and again in medieval history, and even later, as the asserter and defender of popular privileges. From such a temper Thomas was certain to find sympathy as he passed through the country in triumph. At Canterbury the monks received him as an angel of God, crying, "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord." "I am come to die among you," said Thomas in his sermon. "In this church there are martyrs," he said again, "and God will soon increase their number." A few days later he made a triumphant progress through London on his way to visit the young king; his fellow-citizens crowded round him with loud blessings, while a procession of three hundred poor scholars and London clerks raised a loud Te Deumas Thomas rode along with bowed head scattering alms on every side. His old pupil Henry refused, however, to receive him, and Thomas returned to Canterbury.

News of all these things travelled fast to the king in Normandy. The excommunicated bishops, falling at his feet, told him of the evil done against his peace; rumour, growing as it crossed the sea, said that the archbishop had travelled through the country with a mighty army of paid soldiers, and had sought to enter into the king's fortresses, and that he was ready to "tear the crown from the young king's head." Henry, "more angry than was fitting to the royal majesty," was swept beyond himself by one of his mad storms of passion. "What a pack of fools and cowards," he shouted aloud in his wrath, "I have nourished in my house, that not one of them will avenge me of this one upstart clerk!" A council was at once summoned. Thomas, the king said, had entered as a tyrant into his land, had excommunicated the bishops for obedience to the king, had troubled the whole realm, had purposed to take away the royal crown from his son, had begged for a legation against Henry, and had obtained from the Pope grants of presentations to churches, which deprived knights and barons as well as the king himself of their property. The council fell in with the king's mood. Thomas was worthy of death. The king would have neither quiet days nor a peaceful kingdom while he lived. "On my way to Jerusalem," said one sage adviser, "I passed through Rome, and asking questions of my host, I learned that a pope had once been slain for his intolerable pride!"

But while the king was still busied in devising schemes for the punishment or ruin of Thomas, came news that he was rid of his enemy, and that the archbishop had won the long looked-for crown of martyrdom. Four knights who had heard the king's first outburst of rage had secretly left the Court, and travelling day and night, had reached Canterbury on the 29th, and had there in the cathedral slain the archbishop. Henry was at Argentan when the news of the murder was brought to him. So overwhelming was his despair that those about him feared for his reason. For three days he neither ate nor spoke with any one, and for five weeks his door was closed to all comers. The whole flood of difficulties against which he had so long fought desperately was at once let loose upon him. In England the feeling was indescribable. All the religious fervour of the people was passionately thrown on the side of the martyr. The church of Canterbury closed for a year. The ornaments were taken from the altar, the walls were stripped, the sound of the bells ceased. Excitement was raised to its utmost pitch as it became known that miracles were wrought at the tomb. The clergy were forced into hostility; they dared no longer take Henry's side. The barons saw the opportunity for which they had waited fifteen years. Henry had himself provided them with a ready instrument to execute their vengeance, and the boy-king, consecrated scarcely six months ago, and already urged to revolt by his mother and the king of France, was only too willing to hear the tale of their accumulated wrongs and discontents. All Christendom had been watching the strife; all Christendom was outraged at its close. The Pope shut himself up for eight days, and refused to speak to his own servants. The king of France, - who had now a cause more powerful than any he had ever dreamt of, - Theobald of Blois, and William of Champagne, the Archbishop of Sens, wrote bitterly to Rome that it was Henry himself who had given orders for the murder. The king's messengers sent to plead with the Pope found matters almost desperate. Alexander had determined to excommunicate him at Easter, and to lay an interdiction on all his lands. In their despair, and not venturing to tell their master what they had done, they swore on Henry's part an unreserved submission to the Pope, and the excommunication was barely averted for a few months, while a legation was sent to pronounce an interdiction on his lands, and receive his submission. Henry, however, was quite determined that he would neither hear the sentence nor repeat the oath taken by his envoys at Rome. Orders were given to allow no traveller, who might intend evil against the king, to cross into England; and before the legates could arrive in Normandy Henry himself was safe beyond the sea. On the 6th of August, as he passed through Winchester, he visited the dying Henry of Blois, and heard the bishop's last words of bitter reproach as he foretold the great adversities which the Divine vengeance held in store for the true murderer of the archbishop. But England itself was no safe refuge for the king in this great extremity. Hurrying on to Wales, he rapidly settled the last details of a plan for the conquest of Ireland, and hastened to set another sea between himself and the bearers of the papal curse. As he landed on Irish shores on the 16th of October, a white hare started from the bushes at his feet, and was brought to him as a token of victory and peace. Here at last he was in safety, beyond the reach of all dispute, in a secure banishment where he could more easily avoid the interdict or more secretly bow to it. The wild storms of winter, which his terrified followers counted as a sign of the wrath of God, served as an effectual barrier between him and his enemies; and for twenty weeks no ship touched Irish shores, nor did any news reach him from any part of his dominions.