Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/372

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the Inquisition was rapid throughout most of the lands of Christendom. I shall have occasion hereafter to trace its vicissitudes in the principal centres of its activity, and need here only indicate the limits of its extension.

The northern nations were too far removed from the focus of heresy to be exposed to aberrations from the faith at the time when papal supremacy found its most useful instruments in the Mendicant inquisitors. Consequently the papal Inquisition cannot be said to have had an existence in the British Islands, Denmark, or Scandinavia. The edicts of Frederic II. had no currency there; and when, in 1277, Robert Kilwarby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the masters of Oxford denounced certain errors springing from the Averrhoist doctrines; when, in 1286, Archbishop Peckham condemned the heresy of Friar Richard Crapewell, and in 1368 Archbishop Langham denounced as heretical thirty articles of scholastic speculation, even had there been martyrs ready there were no law’s under which to punish them, although lawyers had sought to introduce the penalty of the stake, and it had once been inflicted by a council of Oxford, in 1222, on a clerk who had apostatized to Judaism. We shall see hereafter that in the affair of the Templars the papal Inquisition was found necessary to procure condemnation, but even then it was so opposed to the character of English institutions that it worked defectively and disappeared as soon as the occasion for its temporary introduction passed away. When Wickliff came and was followed by Lollardry, the English conceptions of the relations between Church and State had already become such that there was no thought of applying to Rome for a special tribunal with which to meet the threatened danger. The statute of May 25, 1382, directs the king to issue to his sheriffs commissions to arrest Wickliff's travelling preachers, and aiders and abettors of heresy, and to hold them till they justify themselves "selonc reson et la ley de seinte esglise;" and, in the following July, royal letters ordered the authorities of Oxford to make inquisition for heresy throughout the university. The weakness of Richard II. allowed the Lollards to become a powerful political as well as religious party, but their chances disappeared with the revolution which placed Henry IV. on the throne. The support of the Church was a necessity to the new dynasty, which lost no time in earning its gratitude. After the burning of Sawtré by a