Anselm

, archbishop of Canterbury in the reigns of William Rufus and Henry I was an Italian by birth, and born in 1033 at Aost, or Augusta, a town at the foot of the Alps, belonging to the duke of Savoy. He was descended of a considerable family: his father’s name was Gundulphus, and his mother’s Hemeberga. From early life his religious cast of mind was so prevalent, that, at the age of fifteen, he offered himself to a monastery, but was refused, | lest his father should have been displeased. After, however, he had gone through a course of study, and travelled for some time in France and Burgundy, he took the monastic habit in the abbey of Bee in Normandy, of which Lanfranc, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, was then prior. This was in 1060, when he was twenty-seven years old. Three years after, when Lanfranc was made abbot of Caen, Anselm succeeded him in the priory of Bee, and on the death of the abbot, was raised to that office. About the year 1092, Anselm came over into England, by the inritation of Hugh, earl of Chester, who requested his assistance in his sickness. Soon after his arrival, William Rufus, falling sick at Gloucester, was much pressed to fill up the see of Canterbury. The king, it seems, at that time, was much influenced by one Kanulph, a clergyman, who, though a Norman and of mean extraction, had a great share in the king’s favour, and at last rose to the post of prime minister. This man, having gained the king’s ear by flattering his vices, misled him in the administration, and put him upon several arbitrary and oppressive expedients. Among others, one was, to seize the revenues of a church, upon the death of a bishop or abbot; allowing the dean and chapter, or convent, but a slender pension for maintenance. But the king now falling sick, began to be touched with remorse of conscience, and among other oppressions, was particularly afflicted for the injury he had done the church and kingdom in keeping the see of Canterbury, and some others, vacant. The bishops and other great men therefore took this opportunity to entreat the king to fill up the vacant sees; and Anselm, who then lived in the neighbourhood of Gloucester, being sent for to court, to assist the king in his illness, was considered by the king as a proper person, and accordingly nominated to the see of Canterbury, which had been four years vacant, and was formerly filled by his old friend and preceptor Lanfranc. Anselm was with much difficulty prevailed upon to accept this dignity, and evidently foresaw the difficulties of executing his duties conscientiously under such a sovereign as William Rufus. Before his consecration, however, he gained a promise from the king for the restitution of all the lands which were in the possession of that see in Lanfranc’s time. /Vnd thus having secured the temporalities of the archbishopric, and done homage to the king, he was consecrated with great solemnity on the 4th of December, 1093. | Soon after his consecration, the king intending to wrest the duchy of Normandy from his brother Robert, and endeavouring to raise what money he could for that purpose, Anselm made him an offer of five hundred pounds; which the king thinking too little, refused to accept, and the archbishop thereby fell under the king’s displeasure. About that time, he had a dispute with the bishop of London, touching the right of consecrating churches in a foreign diocese. The next year, the king being ready to embark for Normandy, Anseim waited upon him, and desired his leave to convene a national synod, in which the disorders of the church and state, and the general dissolution of manners, might be remedied: but the king refused his request, and even treated him so roughly, that the archbishop and his retinue withdrew from the court, the licentious manners of which, Anselm, who was a man of inflexible piety, had censured with great freedom. Another cause of discontent between him and the archbishop, was Anselm’s desiring leave to go to Rome, to receive the pall from pope Urban II. whom the king of England did not acknowledge as pope, being more inclined to favour the party of his competitor Guibert. To put an end to this misunderstanding, a council, or convention, was held at Rockingham castle, March 11, 1095. In this assembly, Anselm, opening his cause, told them with what reluctancy he had accepted the archbishopric; that he had made an express reserve of his obedience to pope Urban; and that he was now brought under difficulties upon that score. He therefore desired their advice how to act in such a manner, as neither to fail in his allegiance to the king, nor in his duty to the holy see. The bishops were of opinion, that he ought to resign himself wholly to the king’s pleasure. They told him, there was a general complaint against him, for intrenching upon the king’s prerogative; and that it would be prudence in him to wave his regard for Urban; that bishop (for they would not call him pope) being in no condition to do him either good or harm. To this Anselm returned, that he was engaged to be no farther the king’s subject than the laws of Christianity would give him leave; that as he was willing “to render unto Cassar the things that were Caesar’s,” so he must likewise take in the other part of the precept, and “give unto God that which was God’s.” Upon this William, bishop of Durham, a court prelate, who had inflamed | the difference, and managed the argument for the king, insisted, that the nomination of the pope to the subject was the principal jewel of the crown, and that by this privilege the kings of England were distinguished from the rest of the princes of Christendom. This is sound doctrine, if that had really been the question; but, whatever may be now thought of it, Anselm held an opinion in which succeeding kings and prelates acquiesced, and in the present instance, there is reason to think that William Rufus’s objection was not to the pope, but to a pope. Be this as it may, the result of this council was that the majority of the bishops, under the influence of the court, withdrew their canonical obedience, and renounced Anselm for their archbishop, and the king would have even had them to try and depose him, but this they refused. In consequence of this proceeding, Anselm desired a passport to go to the continent, which the king refused, and would permit only of a suspension of the affair from March to Whitsuntide; but long before the expiration of the term, he broke through the agreement, banished several clergymen who were Anselm’s favourites, and miserably harrassed the tenants of his see. Whitsuntide being at length come, and the bishops having in vain endeavoured to soften Anselm into a compliance, the king consented to receive him into favour upon his own terms; and, because Anselm persisted in refusing to receive the pall from the king’s hands, it was at last agreed that the pope’s nuncio, who had brought the pall into England, should carry it clown to Canterbury, and lay it upon the altar of the cathedral, from whence Anselm was to receive it, as if it had been put into his hands by St. Peter himself.

This may appear trifling; but as we have already said that the king’s objection was to a pope, and not to Me pope, jt is necessary to prove this by a circumstance which occurred during the interval above-mentioned, especially as this part of Anselm’s conduct has been objected to by some late biographers more acquainted with the opinions of their own time, than with the opinions and state of society in that of Anselm. During the above interval, Walter, bishop of Alba, was sent by Urban into England, attended by two clergymen, who officiated in the king’s chapel. These ecclesiastics had been privately dispatched to Rome, to inquire into the late election, and examine which of the two pretenders, Guibert or Urban, was | canonically chosen, and finding the right lay in Urban, applied to him, and endeavoured to persuade him to send the king the archbishop of Canterbury’s pall. This was the king’s point; who thought, by getting the pall into his possession, he should be able to manage the archbishop. The pope complied so far, as to send the bishop of Alba to the king with the pall, but with secret orders concerning the disposal of it. This prelate arriving at the English court, discoursed very plausibly to the king, making him believe the pope was entirely in his interest; in consequence of which William ordered Urban to be acknowledged as pope in all his dominions. After he had thus far gratified the see of Rome, he began to treat with the legate about the deprivation of Anselm; but was greatly disappointed, when that prelate assured him the design was impracticable. As therefore it was now too late to go back, he resolved, since he could not have his revenge upon Anselm, to drop the dispute, and pretend himself reconciled. Matters being thus adjusted, the archbishop went to Canterbury, and received the pall with great solemnity the June following. And now it was generally hoped, that all occasion of difference between the king and the archbishop was removed; but it appeared soon after, that the reconciliation on the king’s part was not sincere. For William, having marched his forces into Wales, and brought that country to submission, took that opportunity to quarrel with Anselm, pretending he was not satisfied with the quota the archbishop had furnished for that expedition. Finding therefore his authority too weak to oppose the corruptions of the times, Anselm resolved to go in person to Rome, and consult the pope. But the king, to whom he applied for leave to go out of the kingdom, seemed surprised at the request, and gave him a flat denial. His request being repeated, the king gave his compliance in the form of a sentence of banishment, and at the meeting of the great council, Oct. 1097, commanded him to leave the kingdom within eleven days, without carrying any of his effects with him, and declared at the same time thut he should never be permitted to return. Anselm, nowise affected by this harsh conduct, went to Canterbury, divested himself of his archiepiscopal robes, and set out on his journey, embarking at Dover, after his baggage had been strictly searched by the king’s officers. As soon as the king heard that he had crossed the | channel, he seized upon the estates and revenues of the archbishopric, and made every thing void which Anselm had done. The archbishop, however, got safe to Rome, and was honourably received by the pope, and after a short stay in that city, he accompanied the pope to a country seat near Capua, whither his holiness retired on account of the unhealthiness of the town. Here Anselm wrote a book, in which he gave an account of the reason of our Saviour’s incarnation. The pope wrote to the king of England in a strain of authority, enjoining him to reinstate Anselm in all the profits-und privileges of his see, and Anselm wrote into England upon the same subject. The king, on the other hand, endeavoured to get Anselm discountenanced abroad, and wrote to Roger, duke of Apulia, and others, to that purpose. But, notwithstanding his endeavours, Anselm was treated with all imaginable respect wherever he came, and was very serviceable to the pope in the council of Bari, which was held to oppose the errors of the Greek church, with respect to the procession of the Holy Ghost. In this synod Anselm answered the objections of the Greeks, and managed the argument with so much judgment, learning, and penetration, that he silenced his adversaries, and gave general satisfaction to the Western church. This argument was afterwards digested by him into a tract, and is extant among his other works. In the same council Anselm generously interposed, and prevented the pope from pronouncing sentence of excommunication against the king of England, for his frequent outrages on religion. After the synod of Bari was ended, the pope and Anselm returned to Rome, where an ambassador from the king of England was arrived, in order to disprove Anselm’s allegations and complaints against his master. At first the pope was peremptory in rejecting this ambassador; but the latter in a private conference, and through the secret influence of a large sum of money, induced the court of Rome to desert Auselm. Still the pope could not be resolute; for when the archbishop would have returned to Lyons, he could not part with him, but lodged him in a noble palace, and paid him frequent visits. About this time the pope having summoned a council to sit at Rome, Anselm had a very honourable seat assigned to him and his successors, this being the first appearance of an archbishop of Canterbury in a Roman synod. Nor was this all. for | the bishop of Lucca, one of the members, alluded to Anselm’s case in a manner so pointed, that the pope was obliged to promise that matters should be rectified. When the council broke up, Anselm returned to Lyons, where he was entertained for some time by Hugo the archbishop, and remained there until the death of king William and pope Urban in 1100. Henry I. who succeeded William, having restored the sees of Canterbury, Winchester, and Salisbury, which had been sei‘/ed by his predecessor, Anselm was solicited to return to England, and on his arrival at Clugny, an agent from the king presented him with a letter of invitation to his bishopric, and an excuse for his majesty’s not waiting until Anselm’s return, and receiving the crown from the hands of another prelate.

When he came to England, September 1100, he was received with extraordinary respect by the king and people, but it being required that he should be re-invested by the king, and do the customary homage of his predecessors, he refused to comply, alledging the canons of the late synod at Rome about investitures. This synod excommunicated all lay persons, who should give investitures for abbies or cathedrals, and all ecclesiastics receiving investitures from lay hands, or who came under the tenure of homage for any ecclesiastical promotion, were put under the same censure. Displeased as the king was with Anselm’s adherence to this law, he was not sufficiently established on the throne to hazard an open rupture, and it was therefore agreed that the dispute should rest until Easter following, and in the mean time both parties were to send their agents to Rome, to try if they could persuade the pope to dispense with the canons of the late synod in rela­, tion to investitures. About this time, Anselm summoned a synod to meet at Lambeth, on occasion of the king’s intended marriage with Maud or Matilda, eldest daughter of Malcolm king of Scotland, and in this synod, it was determined, that the king might lawfully marry that princess, notwithstanding she was generally reported to be a nun, having worn the veil, and had her education in a religious house. Soon after the marriage, which Anselm celebrated, he was of signal service to king Henry against his brother the duke of Normandy, who had invaded England, and landed with a formidable army at Portsmouth, as he not only furnished the king with a large body of men, but was very active, likewise, in preventing a revolt of the great | men from him. To engage the primate to perform these services, we are assured by Eadmer, his fr.end, secretary, and biographer, that the king solemnly promised io govern the kingdom by his advice, and submit in all tilings to the will of the pope, a promise which he seems to have kept no longer than danger was in view.

The agents, sent by the king and the archbishop to Rome, being returned, brought with them a letter Irom pope Paschal to the king, in which his holiness absolutely refused to dispense with the canons concerning investitures. The king, on his part, resolved not to give up what for some reigns had passed for part of the royal prerogative, and thus the difference was continued between the king and Anselm. In this dispute the majority of the bishops and temporal nobility were on the court side; and some of them were very earnest with the king, to break entirely with the see of Rome; but it was not thought adTiseable to proceed to an open rupture without trying a farther expedient; and therefore fresh agents were dispatched by the king to Rome, with instructions to offer the pope this alternative; either to depart from his former declaration, and relax in the point of investitures, or to be content with the banishment of Anselm, and to lose the obedience of the English, and the yearly profits accruing from that kingdom. At the same time, Anselm dispatched two monks, to inform the pope of the menaces of the English court. But the king’s ambassadors could not prevail with the pope to recede from his declaration; his holiness protesting he would sooner lose his life than cancel the decrees of the holy fathers, which resolution he signified by letters to the king and Anselm. Soon after, the king, having convened the great men of the kingdom at London, sent Anselm word, that he must either comply with the usages of his father’s reign, or quit England; but the agents disagreeing in their report of the pope’s answer, Anselm thought proper not to return a positive answer till farther information. And thus the controversy slept for the present. The next year a national synod was held under Anselm at St. Peter’s, Westminster; at which the king and the principal nobility were present, and in which several abbots were deposed for simony, and many canons were made. By one of these the married clergy were commanded to put away their wives, and by | another it was decreed that the sons of priests should not be heirs to their fathers’ churches.

The king had an interview with the archbishop about mid-lent, 1103, in which he laboured both by threats and promises, to bring him to do homage for the temporalities of his see, but when he found him inflexible, he joined with the bishops and nobility in desiring Anselm to take a journey to Rome, to tiy if he could pe; suade the pope to relax, and Anselm accordingly set out, April 29. At the same time, the king dispatched one William Warelwast to Home, who, arriving there before Anselm, solicited-for the king his master, but to no purpose, as the pope persisted in refusing to grant the king the right of investiture. But, at the same time, his Holiness wrote a very ceremonious letter to the king of England, entreating him to wave‘ the contest, and promising all imaginable, compliance in other matters. Anselm, having taken leave of the court of Rome, returned to Lyons, where he received a sharp and reprimanding letter from a monk, acquainting him with the lamentable condition of the province of Canterbury, and blaming him for absenting himself at such a critical time. During the archbishop’s stay at Lyons, the king sent another embassy to Rome, to try if he could prevail with the pope to bring Anselm to a submission. But the pope, instead of being gained, excommunicated some of the English court, who had dissuaded the king from parting with the investitures, yet he declined pronouncing any censure against the king. Anselm, perceiving the court of Rome dilatory in its proceedings, removed from Lyons, and made a visit to the countess Adela, the conqueror’s daughter, at her castle in Blois. This lady inquiring into the business of Anselm’s journey, he told her that, after a great deal of patience and expectation, he must now be forced to excommunicate the king of England. The countess was extremely concerned for her brother, and wrote to the pope to procure an accommodation. The king, who was come into Normandy, hearing that Anselm designed to excommunicate him, desired his sister to bring him with her into Normandy, with a promise of condescension in several articles. To this Anselm agreed, and waited upon the king at a castle called L’Aigle, July 1105, where the king restored to him the revenues of the archbishopric, but would not | permit him to come into England, unless he would comply in the affair of the investitures, which Anselm refusing, continued in France, till the matter was once more laid before the pope. But now the English bishops, who had taken part with the court against Anselm, began to change their minds, as appears by their letter directed to him in Normaiuly, in which, after having set forth the deplorable state of the church, they press him to come over with all speed, promising to stand by him, and pay him the regard due to his character. This was subscribed by Gerrard archbishop of York, Robert bishop of Chester, Herbert bishop of Norwich, Ralph bishop of Chichester, Samson bishop of Worcester, and William elect of Winchester. Anselm expressed his satisfaction at this conduct of the bishops, but acquainted them that it was not in his power to return, till he was farther informed of the proceedings of the court of Rome. In the mean time, being told, that the king had fined some of the clergy for a late breach of the canons respecting marriage, he wrote to his highness to complain of that stretch of his prerogative. At length the ambassadors returned from Rome, and brought with them a decision more agreeable than the former, for now th pope thought fit to make some advances towards gratifying the king, and though he would not give up the point of investitures, yet he dispensed so far as to give the bishops and abbots leave to do homage for their temporalities. The king, who was highly pleased with this condescension in the pope, sent immediately to invite Anselm to England; but the messenger finding him sick, the king himself went over into Normandy, and visited him at the abbey of Bee, where all differences between them were completely adjusted. As soon as Anselm. recovered, he embarked for England, and landing at Dover, was received with extraordinary marks of welcome, the queen herself travelling before him upon the road, to provide for his better entertainment. From this time very little happened in the life of this celebrated prelate, excepting only his contest with Thomas, archbishop elect of York, who endeavoured to disengage himself from a dependency on the see of Canterbury; but although Anselm died before the point was settled, Thomas was obliged to comply, and make his submission as usual to the archbishop of Canterbury. Anselm died at Canterbury, in | the seventy-sixth year of his age, and the seventeenth of his prelacy, April 21, 1109.

Anselm’s character, in his own times, appears to have been that of a man of ardent piety, extensive learning, and great firmness and constancy in pursuing the measures which he thought most conducive to the interests of the church. How far he acted right in his adherence to the papal dominion, cannot he judged from what is now thought on that subject, but what was then either law or practice. There can be no doubt that in the early ages of the English church, the pope had a kind of patriarchal power in England, and although we find instances of disputes between some of our kings and the court of Home on this subject, we generally also find that they ended in the submission of the former, or in such a compromise as the mutual interests of the contending parties required for a temporary truce. Never until the reformation was the point completely settled, although it was, until that period, a perpetual source of litigation, and sometimes, it must be confessed, our monarchs shewed a firmness that might have deprived the court of Rome of her boasted supremacy, had they not been thwarted by the superstitious fears of their subjects.

His private life is allowed to have been pious, humble, and exemplary, and his works, which are partly scholastical, and partly devotional, prove that he was a man of first learning and genius in his time. Like Augustine, whom he seems to have followed as his model, and whose “Meditations,” as they are called, are chiefly abstracts from Anselm’s works, he abounds both in profound argumentation on the most abstruse and difficult subjects, and in devout sentiments on practical religion. Brucker, after remarking that he applied the subtlety of logic to theology, gives as an example of his refinement, his arguments for the being of God, derived from the abstract idea of the deity, afterwards resumed by Des Cartes. His writings on the will of God, on free will, truth, the consistency of the doctrine of divineprescience, with that of predestination, and other points, which abound in logical and metaphysical abstractions, entitle him to the honour of having largely contributed towards preparing the way for the scholastic system, which soon afterward universally prevailed.

His works have been often reprinted. The first edition | is that of Nuremberg, 1491, fol. The best is said to be that of Gerberon, Paris, 1675, reprinted in 1721, and again at Venice, 1744, 2 vols. folio. In the library of Lyons there is a beautiful manuscript of his Meditations and prayers. His printed works consist of, 1. “Epistolarum libri iv.” 2. “Monologium, seu soliloquium.” 3. “Prosologium, seu alloquium.” 4. lt Liber incerti autoris pro insipiente adversus Anselmi Prosologium.“5.” Liber contra insipientem, seu apologeticus adversus librum precedentem.“6.” Dialogus de veritate.“7.” Dialogus de libero arbitrio.“8.” Dialogus de casu diaboli.“9.” Disputatio dialectica de grammatical’ 10. “Tractatus de sacramento altaris, seu de corpore et sanguine Domini.” 11.“Liber de fide, seu de Incarnatione Verbi.” 12. “De nuptiis consanguineorum.” 13. “Libri ii. contra gentiles, cur Deus homo.” 14. “De processione Spiritus Sancti, contra Grsecos.” 15. “De conceptu Virginali active, et peccato originali.” 16. “^ragmen ta variorum Anselmi tractatuumde conceptu Virginali passivo.” 17. “De tribus Walleranni questionibus ac proesertim de fermento et azymo.” 18. “De sacramentorum diversitate.” 19. “Concordia prescientiae, pnedestinationis, et gratiae cum libertate.” 20. “Liber de voluntate Dei.” 21. “Meditationum libri x.” 22. “Liber de salute animae.” 23. “Meditatio ad sororem de beneficiis Dei.” 24. “Meditatio de passione Christi.” 25. “Alloquia caelestia, sive faculas piorum affectuum,” &c. 26. “Mantissa meditationum et orationum in quinque partes tributa.” 27. “Hymni et psalterium in commemoratione Deiparas.” 28. “Liber de excellentia gloriosae Virginis Mariae.” 29. “Liber de quatuor yirtutibus B. Marise, ej usque sublimitate.” 30. “Passio Ss. Guigneri sive Fingaris, Pialse, et Sociorum.” 31. “Liber exhortationum ad contemptum temporalium et desiderium aeternorum.” 32. “Admonitio pro moribundo.” 33. “Parasnesis ad virginem lapsam.” 34. “Sermo sive liber de beatitudine.” 35. “Homilia in illud, Introit Jesus in quoddam castellum.” 36. “Homiliae in aliquot Evangelia.” 37. “Carmen de contemptu mundi, et alia carmina.” There are some other pieces ascribed to Anselm in the edition of Cologne, 1612; and in the edition of Lyons, 1630; but they are generally thought supposititious.

It yet remains to be noticed that Anselm was canonized in the reign of Henry VII. at the instance of cardinal | Morton, then archbishop of Canterbury, a singular mark of veneration for one who had been dead so long. His life was written by Eadmer, the historian, his secretary, and by John of Salisbury, but the account given by the latter is deformed by many supposed miracles. 1

1

Parker de Antiq. Britan. Eccles.—Wharton’s Anglia Sacra.—Eadmori Hist.—Tanner Bibl. who gives a list of his Mss. and the libraries in which they are to be found.—Biog. Britannica.—Henry’s Hist. of Great Britain, vol. V. p. 280. vol. VI. p. 128.—Godwin de Presulibus à Richardson.—Archæologia, vol. I. p. 25.—Milner’s Church Hist. vol. III. p. 335.—Saxii Onomasticon.