Page 1421

1421 THE CRUSADESENGLAND AND FRANCE IN THE 13TH CENTURY. 1421

Mohammedan were of the Devil. Acting under

this blind and superstitious fanaticism, they

were little disposed to admit the merit,

much less to copy the advantages, of Asiatic

discoveries in art and science. It has been

said that those great factors of civilizationgunpowder, the art of printing, and the

mariner's compasswere known in Asia

before the epoch of the Crusades, and there

is little reason to doubt that such was actually

the case; but it would perhaps be difficult

to prove that a knowledge of these sterling

inventions was obtained in Europe from

the Christian warriors returning from Palestine. It was in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that Europeans began to

employ the compass, to manufacture explosives for the purposes of war, and to print

from movable types. Perhaps the rumor and

general fame of such arts may have preceded,

by a considerable period, their actual introduction among the nations of the West.

CHAPTER XCIII.ENGLAND AND FRANCE IN THE THIRTEENTH

CENTURY.

THE present Book may be

appropriately closed with

a brief sketch of the history of England and

France in the twelfth and

thirteenth centuries. In

the former country, beginning with the accession of the House

of Plantagenet, we come, in 1154, to the

reign of Henry II. This distinguished prince

was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet and

Matilda, daughter of Henry I. Though

no Crusader himself, he gave to the Holy

Wars the greatest of all Crusaders in the person of his son, the Lion Heart. The reign

of Henry extended to the year 1189, and

was on the whole a time of distress and

trouble.

The middle of this period was noted for

a violent outbreak between the civil and

ecclesiastical authorities of the kingdom, the

former headed by the king, and the latter

by the celebrated Thomas a Becket, archbishop Of Canterbury. On the one side

were arrayed most of the barons and lords,

and not a few of the clergy, including at one

time the Archbishop of York; while on the

other were marshaled most of the bishops

and priests, backed by the whole power of

Rome. From the peculiar structure of English society it happened that the common

people, who were grievously oppressed by

the barons, were all on the side of the church

as against the king. By them the Archbishop of Canterbury was regarded as a

friend, champion, and protector, and they

looked to him as to one able to deliver them

from the woes of secular despotism. Becket

himself had been a soldier, and besides the

reputation which he had gained in the field,

he bore the name of one of the ripest scholars

of the age. He had been the bosom friend

of Henry Plantagenet, and by the influence

of that sovereign had been raised through successive grades of ecclesiastical preferment to

the archbishopric of Canterbury. His break

with the king may be dated from the year

1164, when, by setting himself in antagonism

to a series of royal measures known as the

"Constitution of Clarendon he incurred the

monarch's undying enmity. The great prelate's opposition was without doubt based upon

a sincere devotion to the cause of the English

commons, no less than on the purpose to

maintain the independence of ecclesiastical

authority.

In the beginning of the quarrel, King

Henry withdrew his son from the tutorship of

Becket, and placed him with the Archbishop

of York. By and by the Pope interfered, and

Becket was at the first ordered to cease from

his opposition to the measures of the king.

Henry procured the archbishop's trial by the

parliament of Northampton, and he was

obliged to fly from the kingdom. More than

four hundred of his relatives were driven into

exile; but Beck, having surrendered his authority into the hands of the Pope, was reinstated by him in all his former and several

additional dignities. The measure was openly

canvassed in the Romish See of excommunicating King Henry from the communion of