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be very "indiscreet and unskilful" to bleed a young lady on the fourth day of the moon, he was so far a step in advance of most surgeons of the passing generation, who took Lancet ruthlessly in hand on every day throughout the year; while modern science carries out the archbishop's idea more consistently, and pronounces it indiscreet and unskilful to bleed at all, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.
The collegians of Canterbury must have had their amusements as well as their studies; and probably of the same active kind as those which have been the delight of English youth in all generations. We may give a fair guess at them from a letter of Alcuin with regard to the education of the young monks at Wearmouth. He issues a monition-as more than one Vice-Chancellor has done to the undergraduates of a modern university-"not to pursue the winding mazes of hares," or-a profanity from which young Oxford and Cambridge would shrink-" to dig up the burrows of foxes."
self to victims of a cheap quality. He had only to be prepared to pay the wehr-gild, according to the legal tariff, and the state was satisfied that justice had been done. Churls could be killed at the rate of ten pounds a-piece; Welshmen, and we fear Scots, could be done cheaper. But archbishops came expensive : thirty-six times that amount, as for a prince of the blood-royal, was held a fair equivalent. An archbishop of Canterbury, indeed, if Hume's authorities are to be trusted, had a price set upon his head higher than a king of Kent. So, also, in matters of testimony, a thane's oath was to be taken as equal to that of six churls; and it took hard swearing on the part of six thanes to contradict a king. Where such a judicial system prevailed without shocking any sense of natural justice, and money could not only screen the powerful offender from punishment, but clear him from guilt in the eyes of society, the application of the same principle to spiritual matters was easy and natural enough. It was right that there should be Archbishop Theodore is also some restitution made to Heaven known as the first who arranged for wrong done; it must be made into a regular system-at all events by prayer, by fasting, and by almsin the Western Church-the prin- deeds. Whatever truth there was ciple of vicarious penance for sins in this theory of penance-and committed after baptism. The there was surely some-it was lost "Penitential," which he now drew in the abuses to which such a sysup, is the foundation upon which has tem naturally led. The commutabeen built that elaborate structure tion of personal punishment for a of religious ethics which has a volu- money payment, already admitted minous literature of its own, and in secular law, found its place natuwhich has been at once the strength rally in penitential discipline; so and the disgrace of Rome. There that, in the Canons of Edgar, we is this to be remembered, in justice have actually a rule given, by which to the original framers of the system a rich man may condense a fast of by which it has been thought pos- seven years, enjoined upon him as sible to compound for sin by a pay- a ment to Heaven, that the whole tenor of ancient law admitted this principle of satisfaction. Even human life had its fixed price; and the Saxon code laid down the value of each individual member of the state with great precision. Murder was by no means a ruinous indulgence for a rich man in those days, provided always that he confined him
penance by the church, into three days, by the simple rules of arithmetic-for as seven years is to one man, so will three days be to the necessary number of men whom the penitent is to provide, and pay to fast with him and for him. It is premised that this rule will only suit when "the sinner is a powerful man, and well provided with friends." Such monstrous corruptions as
these did not pass unrebuked by the Saxon Church itself: fifty years afterwards, at the synod of Cloveshoo, the system of vicarious penance was distinctly reprobated; but it was in full work again under Dunstan, and has never been fairly purged from the Roman Church.
Ten successive archbishops had now been buried in the Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul; seven (the last was Theodore) lay in the porch; afterwards, there being no more room, the bodies were deposited within the church itself, the prejudice against intramural burial appearing to have gradually worn out. The value
attached to such sacred remains has been already noticed. The monastery, in consequence, claimed a far higher degree of sanctity than the cathedral. But now the see was occupied by an architectural bishop. Cuthbert, who had already been busy in ornamenting the cathedral of his see of Hereford, proceeded to do the same at Canterbury. He grew attached to his own work; and the clergy who lived there with him -his "family," as it is pleasant to find them called in those days-took a very natural pride in it also. Perhaps the jealousy with which they regarded their brethren of the abbey, and the superior holiness which these assumed for their church as the sepulchre of the saints, was equally natural. Archbishop Cuthbert determined that whatever virtue there might be in his bones, his own cathedral church should have the benefit of it. But he was obliged to proceed with the utmost caution, for the monks were not the men to forego their established privileges without a struggle. Dr Hook tells the story well :—
proceeding which he had before devised to give the cathedral a triumph over the The grateful insolent Augustinians. strictly to his injunctions. canons, clerks, and servants, adhered A mysterious silence was kept as to the archbishop's state of health. It was known that he was ill, but whether the illness was to be unto death no one was prepared to say. At length the cathedral bell was heard to give out its solemn ing bell, and many a devout knee was It was supposed to be the passbent in private, and many a prayer uttered for the soul of the spiritual father who was now passing to his
account. When at last the knell
"Cuthbert felt at last that the stroke of death was upon him, and the clerks of the cathedral were summoned to the bedside of their archbishop. They came prepared, as usual when he could not attend the public worship, to chant the psalms of the day, and to read the comfortable words of Scripture. He then confided to the whole body the plan of
sounded, the monks of St Augustine, with solemn step and slow, paced through the city to bear the body of the archbishop to the monastery, until, arriving at the archbishop's palace, they were received by the cathedral party with shouts of ridicule and triumph. archbishop had been carefully laid in the grave prepared for him in the cathehis death. His chapter had borne him dral, three days before the bell announced to his last home at midnight. They were watching at his grave when the cathedral bell at last gave sound. It startled their consciences; they almost felt at first as if they had been guilty of a crime; but the feeling was momentary, and in the deep tone of the bell
they heard their triumph proclaimed.""
Subsequent events proved that the cathedral party had not overrated the spirit of their rivals. When the next archbishop's death was expected, the monks and their retainers waited under arms, their abbot at their head, determined to seize the body and bury it within their own walls. But again the clergy of the chapter outwitted them by a similar stratagem. The monks were furious; and their abbot, Jaenbert, threatened an appeal to the Pope, and vengeance temporal and spiritual. The chapter seem to have had more wit than courage; they stopped Jaenbert's mouth by electing him archbishop, and they allowed him to be buried at St Augustine's. He took the precaution of being carried into the monastery before his death. But he was
the last of the line who rests there.
Dr Hook observes with truth, that, although the sanctity of the
relics and the prestige attached to their possession were the chief motives to these faction-fights over the deceased archbishops, there were other less romantic considerations at work. Kings and earls, as well as churchmen, came to be buried; and large gifts were made to the religious house, not only of money and gems, of which the Dean quotes instances, but of lands. We are afraid the authorities of the cloister were not always very particular as to the personal sanctity of those to whom they gave burial under these circumstances. The monks of Abingdon, as we read in their Chronicle, which the Master of the Rolls has lately given us, buried a lady "with great honours, in the cloister in front of the church door," who had no better claim to such distinction than having been "concubinæ loco" to King Henry I.;* but a son of hers gave them Langford Mill as a "soul - sceat." Even though an archbishop's burial might bring in neither lands nor money, his bones had a value besides their sanctity; they might work miracles; it was hard if they could not be induced to do that much for their own cathedral; and those who came to be healed at his shrine would not come empty-handed.
It was during Jaenbert's primacy -not otherwise memorable-that Offa, King of Mercia, in a succession of victorious battles, reduced the kingdoms of Northumberland, Kent, and Wessex. The Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have entertained the idea of making himself a sovereign prince in Kent, as a feudatory of Charlemagne, to whom he applied for aid. It was not given, however; and Offa punished his rebellious subject-for such he considered him-in a very characteristic manner. He determined
to have an archbishop of his own for Mercia. He pronounced in full witanagemot, that Lichfield henceforth was an archbishopric, and for its endowment he confiscated all the property of the see of Canterbury within the territory of Mercia. He applied to Pope Hadrian for a pallium, and obtained it; but he had to pay dear for it, in more ways than one. The Pope now, for the first time, got a footing for two legates in England, ostensibly to assist in regulating the disordered affairs of the Church. They decided in favour of Offa's new archbishop; and the King of Mercia, in the gratitude of his heart, volunteered to become an actual subscriber to the expenses of St Peter's at Rome, which laid the foundation of the charge called "Peter's pence.' Lichfield continued for many years to be a provocation to Canterbury; and it was not until the terrible Offa had gone the way of his forefathers, and a more energetic prelate had succeeded Jaenbert, that the supremacy was finally restored to Canterbury, and the rival archbishop was reduced once more to a suffragan.
There was peace, and, Dr Hook thinks, episcopal indolence," at Canterbury for the next fifty years. But troubles enough were coming. During the middle of the ninth century, the pagan Danes were sweeping over England like a hurricane; coming in gusts, with an occasional lull between, to return with fresh strength, and carrying destruction wherever they went. The monastic chroniclers have exhausted a copious vocabulary of Scripture curses upon those terrible spoilers; for the religious houses were a tempting prey, and the Vikings cared little for archbishops of Canterbury, alive or dead. They
Chronicon. Monast. de Abbendon, vol. ii. p. 122. This chronicle gives a curious illustration of the struggles between the canons and the monks at Canterbury for the bodies of the archbishops. The canons of St Frideswide, in Oxford, carried off the parson of St Aldate's alive, when he was in extremis, that he might die in the habit of their order, and they might possess, not his bones (they would not be worth so much as an archbishop's), but his benefice. The brethren of Abingdon, to whom he had promised the reversion, were very indignant.-See vol. ii. p. 175.
had a sufficient respect, however, for an archbishop's head when it appeared upon his gold or silver coinage; and Dr Hook considers that the explanation of the fact, that both the monastery and the cathedral escaped comparatively unharmed when the city was twice pillaged by these invaders, is to be found in this-that the then arch
bishop, Ceolnoth, is remarkable for having exercised his privilege of coining to an extent far beyond his predecessors, if the number and varieties of his coin still in existence is to be taken as evidence; that, in short, he bought off his cathedral, as Ethelred (by advice of a subsequent archbishop) is said to have done his kingdom. Still, Canterbury did suffer. The next archbishop found that the Danes had been root-and-branch reformers of ecclesiastical abuses, and had suppressed the canonries effectually. The canons had all fled: St Augustine's monastery was turned into a fortress, and watch and ward took precedence of psalms and vigils. But Alfred was now king; and though these were bitter times for the Saxons, monks or laymen, a series of defeats was training him for victory. At last it came-that great battle of Ethandun, which broke the Danish power at one blow, as the Saxon chroniclers tell us, but which certainly ended in a treaty of partition. Perhaps the best test of its being really a decisive victory for Alfred is, that Guthrum and his chiefs consented to adopt the religion of their conquerors. They were all baptised, and "the archbishop," says the Dean, with zealous churchmanship, "had the satisfaction of blessing an united flock." We confess we cannot share his enthusiasm at these wholesale conversions and political baptisms. But he avails himself of a pause in his history to make a remark which will apply largely to all religious records, and should be always borne in mind by those who read them.
"A great part of the effects of the Gospel must always remain hidden from the eyes of the majority of men, and can find no place in history. They are not made known to us by the biographers of the present age, or the legends of ages past. When a man knows that he is an object of admiration to those around him, it must always be very difficult for him to preserve his Christian simplicity of character; and legends and biographies, very useful in their way, record, for the most part, the modes of action, and the death-bed scenes, which are
more or less connected with the fanaticism of the age, or the conventionalities of the existing religious world.—It is in little unrelatable acts of pure disinterested piety, in persons not canonised in their life, or in their death, that the real power of the Gospel may be discovered by the eye which looks beneath the surface."
The author is enthusiastic in his praises of Alfred. He does not go so far, indeed, as to claim for him what we find stated in a modern summary, that he founded our militia, our navy, all the arts and sciences, the University of Oxford, and trial by jury; but, after quoting Gibbon's ascription to him of "the virtues of an Antoninus, the learning and wisdom of a Cæsar, and the legislative spirit of a Lycurgus,""we make an addition," says the Dean, "the grace of an apostle!"
It is not the first time, though Dr Hook may not have been aware of it, that Alfred has had a place assigned him amongst the apostles. Our author's dictum has been illustrated-we can hardly say confirmed
by the monk, whoever he was, who wrote the Chronicle of Abingdon before quoted. "He was a Judas among the twelve," says the Benedictine, speaking of this pattern monarch," heaping evil upon evil upon us.' The poor monks of Abingdon say they found him worse than the very Danes; for he robbed them of what poor tenements they had left, and built himself an “œdificium" of some kind on their property. Subsequent charters of kings Edred and Edwy, granted to the
* Chron. de Abbendon, i. 50, 125.
house, recite this spoliation as an acknowledged fact-a deed of " diabolical avarice," which they are fain to undo; and William of Malmsbury-quite an independent witness confirms the story. Alfred has had so much more than justice done to him by most writers, that it is only fair that the advocatus diaboli should be heard in his case when he has anything to say.
It is as hard to gather the true character of a monarch from these monastic writers as it would be to judge of the policy of a modern statesman from the leading articles of a violent party newspaper. There is no doubt, we suppose, that Edgar was a profligate; but he is said to have founded forty-seven monasteries, and "the grateful monks spoke of him as a man of godliness." They did indeed. Florence of Worcester speaks of him in the same fervent style that Mr Gibbon and Dr Hook use of Alfred, calling him the "flower and glory of England," and comparing him to Romulus, Cyrus the Great, Alexander, Artaxerxes, and Charlemagne-to whom our Abingdon friend adds "David." It is possible to hope that, in his sensual and impetuous character, there was an under-current of better feeling that there was a conscience which continually prompted him to repentance, in the only form in which repentance was then understood by kings. He was only sixteen when he came to the throne, and his reign brought good days for England. But the king de facto was an Archbishop of Canterbury. That dream of royal power which had once tempted Jaenbert was fulfilled in reality, though not in name, to Dunstan. For more than forty years he ruled the kingdom-" England's breast-plate," as he was called; for though his own primacy lasted only twenty-eight, he was the moving spirit in all the acts of his predecessor, Odo the Dane, who regarded him as a son, and a son to whose superior genius he yielded with a paternal satisfaction. King Edgar's rescripts, which began with
the form-"I and my archbishop"
would have been more correctly worded "My archbishop and I." Dr Hook discusses with fairness and ability a character upon which unmeasured praise or blame has been usually heaped, according to the sympathies of the historian. It was natural that the foremost man in the great battle between the Benedictines and the seculars should be both canonised and execrated. Our readers will gladly spare us from reproducing the controversy. Be he what he might besides, Dunstan was the giant of his age; and Dr Hook justly ranks him with Becket and Richelieu. If he was an unscrupulous politician," unscrupulous is the natural adjective of politics. He was an eloquent preacher, a well-read theologian, a sculptor, a musician, an artist, a geometrician, and a worker in gold and silver. If he ruled princes, he could make courtiers mad with jealousy by the softer talents which are said to win ladies' hearts. No wonder that his rivals whispered of him that he knew more than any Christian ought to know; that he had learned the old sinful heathen spells that lay buried, as all men knew, in the charmed island of Avalon, and which had doubtless been revived in the college of Glastonbury-the Eton of those days, where Dunstan had been educated, and which gave seven archbishops to Canterbury. Of the miracles which he is said to have worked, and of his personal conflicts with the powers of darkness, we think it would have been more judicious not to have attempted any philosophical explanation. Chronic brain-fever the wonders of ventriloquism-the Eolian harp—and unsuspected mechanical science, have all been suggested as solutions more ingenious than satisfactory. The imagination of the ignorant will always be busy with the supernatural, half inventing and half believing. Dr Hook himself must have found it so, if he has had any experience amongst the rustic“ Anglo-Saxons" even of his own more