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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 76

When Edgar Athcling, at the summons of Peter the Hermit, received the scrip and staff of the holy pilgrim, and set forth to fight the pagans in Asia, Gilbert caught the crusading mania, and followed Edgar's consecrated standard. He reached Syria in safety, where, whilst fighting with all the enthusiasm of a zealous bigot, he was made prisoner, and after a series of misfortunes, sold as a slave to a wealthy emir, whose daughter, Mathildis, felt deep pity for the woes of the desolate stranger. After a period, the kind emir permitted Gilbert to return to freedom and his native land. Scarcely had he departed, when the fair Mathildis, whose affections he unwittingly had won, resolved to seek him in the far west. She reached London in safety, and landing at Qucenhithc, where all was foreign and strange to lier, excited attention by her singular dress and manners. Soon a crowd collected around her, but to every eagerly pressed question, she replied : " London, Gilbert; Gilbert, London;" these two words, which she repeatedly reiterated, being all the English she could speak. At length it was resolved to convey her to the bishop, and whilst proceeding with this view down the Poultry, Gilbert, attracted by the crowd, came forth from his shop, when having recognized her, he joyfully took her home, and had her baptized and made his wife. Such are the singular circumstances which gave to the sainted Pocket a Syrian mother, and which might be deemed a romantic fiction, hut that at the ueriod of the crusades, society became one checkered tissue of improbable incidents and wild adventures. After receiving a learned education at Paris and Bologna, Thomas à Bccket ; ; for a period, and employing the revenue was introduced by his patron, Archbishop Theobald, to the king, who, perceiving his extraordinary talents and erudition, elevated him to the chancellorship, and treated him with the greatest friendship and familiarity. Whilst holding the great seal, Pocket spent much of his time with his royal master in hunting, feasting, and other amusements. After the death of the primate Theobald, Henry, despite the warnings and entreaties of his consort and his mother, who perceived the dangers to the crown of entrusting a power, almost more than regal, to an Anglo-Saxon of mean birth, resolved to confer the vacant primateship on his favourite chancellor. At first Iiecket refused the important dignity, declaring, that if it was forced upon him, his conscience would compel him, even in defiance of the interests of the crown, to uphold the rights and privileges of the church. Put Henry would not listen to the earnestly-urged objections of his favourite chancellor—in fact, he was most desirous to confer the primacy on one who would not oppose his encroachments on the church revenues, and precisely such an one he erroneously deemed Eecket, who, on being irrevocably installed as Archbishop of Canterbury, resigned the great seal, relinquished the pomp and luxuries of his former life, and became a most determined supporter of the church and people against the aggressions of the crown. The disputes between Pocket and the King have too commonly been made a subject of religious partizanship ; Protestant writers defending the King, and the Roman Catholics upholding the cause of Pcckct. The question, however, is not one between church and church, as then the Church of Rome was alone dominant in England, but one of power between the crown and the church, or rather of civil liberty, of which Peckct was the champion and the imftmchmg martyr. King Henry, following the unworthy example of his Norman predecessors, had, whenever a bishop died, been in the habit of holding the benefice vacant to Ins own purpose, greatly to the injury of the poor, who depended for their charities almost solely on the favours of the church. During his chancellorship, Pecket had not once opposed these proceedings, but now that he was primate, he pronounced them unjust, tyrannical, and lawless, and although the king withheld the revenues, he boldly filled the curateships. F2

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