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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/449

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John
John
443

logie, 1889, p. 1698). In any case there can be hardly a doubt that the work was composed during the period of John's residence with Abbat Peter, to whom he dedicated it.

In spite of the assistance which he received from friends (cf. epist. cxciv. p. 19, &c), John's means were still very narrow (epist. cxlviii. pp. 237 f.) In 1165 he learned that all his property was sequestrated (epist. cxl. p. 200). He was, indeed, able to earn a little, thanks to his excellent scholarship, by writing letters for others (if this be the meaning of 'negotiate litterarum,' epist. clxviii. p. 266). But his expenses were also heavy; for, as the ecclesiastical conflict became more acute, after Archbishop Thomas had gone into exile, John's services were constantly employed in affairs of trust, which required long and expensive travels. One of these journeys, to Angers, cost him no less than 15l, (l. c.) But as time went on he seems to have become better off, and he was able to indulge his literary tastes by having books transcribed for him at his own cost (epist. ccxi. pp. 53 ff.)

John remained abroad, because he held that the principles to which he was devoted would be compromised by an unconditional return. Still he was persuaded of his entire loyalty, alike to church and king (epist. cxxxix. cxlii. pp. 199, 204), and he long trusted that the mediation of friends would make it possible for him to go back without any surrender of principle on the great question of the day. He sought repeatedly the good offices of Richard, archdeacon of Poitiers, of Gilbert Foliot, the bishop of London, and later on of Henry, bishop of Bayeux (in 1165, epist. cxli. pp. 202 f., in 1166, epistt. cxlviii. clxii. clxiii. pp. 237, 256); nor were his hopes unreasonable. True as he was to the archbishop's cause, he was frankly critical of his methods, and by no means approved the unsteady diplomacy of the papal court. His counsels were always on the side of moderation, and he did not spare his reproofs of Thomas's want of tact and temper in carrying on the contest. But it appeared more and more clearly that he could not separate his allegiance to the cause from his attachment to the fortunes of the archbishop, and the exile of both continued until 1170.

Early in 1165 John had audience both of the pope at Sens and of the French king at Paris, in the hope of restoring peace to the English church (epist. cxxxviii. pp. 194 f.) Meantime his friends pleaded his cause with King Henry. He was told that he might be taken back into favour if he would renounce obedience to the archbishop and cease to act against the king (epist. cxlii. pp. 204 f.) At Easter in the following year he attended the meeting of Henry and Louis VII at Angers (epist. cxlviii. p. 266), when he was offered similar terms, coupled with the acceptance of the obnoxious customs (the constitutions of Clarendon). These he naturally rejected (epist. clxxx. p. 294); but on the other hand he was equally firm, just afterwards, in urging Thomas not to proceed to the extreme measure of excommunicating Henry or placing England under an interdict (epist. clxxv. p. 282). Throughout he was indefatigable in promoting the cause he had at heart; and if at the first glance it might seem that he was seldom called upon to play a leading part, and that his business was rather to keep his friends informed of the progress of affairs, and to incite them to continued activity, there is, on the other hand, no doubt that in actual negotiations also his services were of the greatest value (see a letter of Bishop John of Poitiers in Robertson's Materials, v. 224).

In this same year, 1166, John was joined at Rheims by his brother Richard (epistt. clxxxiv. clxxxvii. pp. 309, 327), who, like him, had suffered through his attachment to the archbishop's cause (epist. cxl. p. 200), but had since been partly reinstated in the king's favour (epist. clxi. p. 254), and the two remained in company until the end of their life abroad. In 1166, also, John received an invitation from his friend Gerard la Pucelle to go to Cologne, evidently to watch the progress of events in Germany, but he declined (epist. clxviii. p. 267). Next year he planned an interview with the cardinals who were sent on a legation by Alexander III to deal with the issue between the archbishop and the king (epistt. ccxxii. ccxxiii. pp. 78 ff.); but the project seems to have come to nothing, and we have little definite information about his movements until the summer of 1169, half a year after Thomas's famous interview with the kings of England and France at Montmirail, when John paid a visit to the new papal envoys at Vezelay (epist. ccxcii. p. 218), from whom he learned that the cause was prospering. When peace was at last made at Fr├ęteval, on 22 July 1170, there was no longer any obstacle to John's return to England. He wrote in October to the monks of Canterbury, announcing that their head was to be expected immediately (epist. ccxcix. p. 239). John himself landed on 9 Nov., and went at once to Canterbury, where he found the property of the church in the possession of the royal officers, the houses and barns empty. After attending a synod there he went on to Henry, 'the young king's,' court, where he was 'satis humane receptus.' He then hastened to see his aged mother.