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´╗┐Title: Pope Adrian IV - An Historical Sketch
Author: Raby, Richard
Language: English
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The following sketch was written to supply what its author felt
persuaded could not fail to interest his fellow Catholics in England;
namely, some account of the only English Pope who ever reigned.

In it he does not pretend to any novelty of research; but simply to
present a connected narrative of such events in the history of Pope
Adrian IV. as have hitherto lain broken and concealed in old
chronicles, or been slightly touched for the most part in an
incidental way by modern writers.

In the course of his sketch, the author has ventured to take part with
Pope Adrian in some acts of his, which it is commonly the mode to
condemn. Should his opinions in so doing not be deemed sound, he yet
hopes that at least the spirit which inspired them--in other words,
the spirit to promote the cause of practical rather than theoretical
policy, as also of public order and legitimate authority, will deserve

For the rest, the striking similarity between the difficulties which
Pius IX. in our day has to contend with, and those which Pope Adrian
had to encounter in the twelfth century, should only lend the more
interest to his story.

R. R.

_Munich, May, 1849._


THE information, which has come down to us respecting the early life
of the only Englishman, who ever sat on the papal throne, is so
defective and scanty, as easily to be comprised in a few paragraphs.

Nicholas Breakspere was born near St. Albans, most probably about the
close of the 11th century. His father was a clergyman, who became a
monk in the monastery of that city, while his son was yet a boy. Owing
to extreme poverty, Nicholas could not pay for his education, and was
obliged to attend the school of the monks on charity. [1] This
circumstance would seem to have put his father so painfully to the
blush, that he took an unnatural dislike to his son; whom he shortly
compelled by his threats and reproaches to flee the neighbourhood in a
state of utter destitution.

Thus cruelly cast on the world, Nicholas to settle the church in those
remote countries, where it had been planted about 150 years. The
circumstances which led to this legation were as follows:[2]--originally
the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, were
spiritually subject to the archbishop of Hamburg, whose province was
then the most extensive in Christendom. In the year 1102, Denmark
succeeded, after much protracted agitation of the question, in
obtaining from Pope Paschal II., a metropolitan see of its own, which
was founded at Lund; and to whose authority Sweden and Norway were
transferred. The same feeling of national independence, which had
procured this boon for Denmark, was not long before it began to work
in those kingdoms also; and the more so as the Danish supremacy was
asserted over them with much greater rigour than had formerly been
that of Hamburg, and was otherwise repugnant to them, as emanating
from a power with which they stood in far closer political relations,
and more constant rivalry than with Germany. After some indirect
preliminary steps in the business,--which do not seem to have
forwarded it,--the kings of Sweden and Norway sent ambassadors to Pope
Eugenius III., to request for their states the same privilege which
his predecessor had granted to Denmark; and which he himself had just
extended to Ireland, in the erection of the four archbishoprics of
that country. The arrival of these ambassadors at Rome happened a year
before the elevation of the abbot of St. Rufus to the see of Albano.
The pope promised to accede to their request. It was in fulfilment of
this promise that Nicholas Breakspere was sent into the north.
Doubtless, the circumstance of his being an Englishman had weight in
his selection; as, in consequence of that circumstance, he would be
viewed as far more likely to possess a correct knowledge of the
character and government peculiar to northern nations than an Italian.

Taking England in his way, the Cardinal legate passed thence into
Norway; where he landed in June of the year above-mentioned. The
country was then governed by three brothers, named Sigurd, Inge, and
Eystein, sons of the late King Harrold Gille. Between the first two, a
serious quarrel happened to rage. For a Norwegian nobleman having
murdered the brother of Sigurd's favourite concubine, and then entered
the service of Inge, the latter shielded his client against the
punishment which Sigurd sought to inflict.

Before entering on the affairs of the Church, the Cardinal Legate saw
that this quarrel must first be settled. Of the three brothers, Inge
seems to have stood the highest in the esteem of all classes in the
state, by reason of his benevolence, and other virtues. With him the
cardinal took part, and compelled Sigurd, together with Eystein,--who
seems also to have meddled in the dispute against Inge,--to agree to a
reconciliation. At the same time, he visited with ecclesiastical
censures the former two, for various crimes, of which they had been
guilty in other respects.

On the settlement of this quarrel, he proceeded at once to the special
business of his legation,--the erection of an archbishopric for the
kingdom. This he decided to fix at Nidrosia, or Nidaros, the capital
of the province, over which Sigurd in those days ruled, and
corresponding to the city and district of Drontheim now. The selection
of Nidrosia was made chiefly out of honor to St. Olaff, whose relics
reposed in its church.

Here, he invested John, Bishop of Stavanger, with the Pallium; and
subjected to his jurisdiction the sees of Apsloe, Bergen, and
Stavanger, those of the small Norwegian colonies, of the Orcades,
Hebrides, and Furo Isles, and that of Gaard in Greenland. The Shetland
and western isles of Scotland, with the Isle of Man, and a new
bishopric which the cardinal founded at Hammer in Norway,--and in
which he installed Arnold, at that time expelled the see of Gaard,--were
also included in the province of Nidrosia. The bishop of Sodor
and Man, as well as the bishops of the Shetland and western isles, had
till this time been suffragans of the see of York, but obeyed the
authority of Nidrosia for the next 200 years; after which, the
Norwegian primate lost his rights over those islands, which returned
under their first jurisdiction. The greater part of the other sees had
already, directly, or indirectly, acknowledged the authority of the
bishops of Nidrosia, while the rest had bowed to the supremacy of
Hamburg. [3]

The possession of a metropolitan see of their own spread such
satisfaction among the people of Norway, that no mark of respect
seemed too great for the immediate dispenser of the boon; and under
this feeling, they allowed the Cardinal Legate to introduce various
regulations into the country beyond what his powers entitled him to
do, and even to reform their civil institutions. Thus there is every
reason to assume,--though positive historical evidence is wanting,--that
he bound the Norwegian Church to the payment of Peter's pence to
the Holy See. He also effected extensive reforms as regards the
celibacy of the clergy; but, in spite of his great influence, does not
seem to have been able to carry them so far as he could have wished.
Various rites and ceremonies of religion, into which abuses had crept,
were purged by him. Moreover, he placed the public peace on a surer
footing than it was before, by means of a law which he procured to be
passed, forbidding all private persons to appear armed in the streets;
while to the king alone was reserved the right of a body guard of
twelve men. [4] Snorrow relates, that no foreigner ever came to
Norway, who gained so much public honor and deference among the people
as Nicholas Breakspere. On his departure he was loaded with presents,
and promised perpetual friendship to the country. When he became pope,
he kept his promise, and invariably treated all Norwegians who visited
Rome during his reign with extraordinary attention. He also sent into
Norway, architects and other artists from England, to build the
cathedral and convent of the new see of Hammer. On his death the
nation honored his memory as that of a saint.

Having finished the business of his legation to Norway, Nicholas
Breakspere next passed into Sweden. His first proceeding in this
kingdom was to hold a synod at Lingkopin; to fix on a see for the new
archbishopric about to be created. But the members, consisting of the
heads of the clergy of Sweden and Gothland, could not agree on the
point, as, out of a spirit of provincial rivalry, the one party
claimed the honor for Upsala, and the other for Skara. Finding that
the dispute was too hot to be soon settled, the Cardinal Legate
consecrated St. Henry of Upsala bishop of that city, introduced
various new regulations respecting the celibacy of the clergy and the
payment of Peter's pence to the pope; and then took his departure for
Denmark on his way to Rome. The pallium which was destined for the new
primate of Sweden, he deposited, until the difficulties in the way of
the election of that dignitary should be removed, with Eskill,
Archbishop of Lund, who received him in the most honorable and cordial
manner, notwithstanding that by his agency the authority of the Danish
Church was so seriously curtailed. The Cardinal Legate would seem to
have sought by this act of confidence to soothe the soreness, which
Eskill must naturally have felt at seeing his honors so shorn. The
primate of Lund was also informed that he should still continue to
preserve the title of Primate of Sweden, with the right of
consecrating and investing with the pallium the future archbishops of
that kingdom. Farther, he was promised, as some compensation for what
he had lost, the grant of a right from the Holy See of annexing to his
archiepiscopal dignity the style of "Legati nati Apostolicis Sedis" in
the three kingdoms. [5] During the stay of Nicholas Breakspere in
Denmark, it happened that John, a younger son of Swercus, King of
Sweden and Gothland, and a prince whose radically bad character had
been totally ruined by a neglected education, carried off by violence,
and dishonored the wife of his eldest brother Charles, together with
her widowed sister,--princesses of unsullied fame, and nearly related
to Sweno III., at that time, king of Denmark. This atrocity naturally
excited a deep resentment against its author, at home and abroad: and
roused Sweno to resolve on invading Sweden and Gothland with all his
forces, in revenge of so insulting an outrage; a resolution in which
he grew all the more fixed, by the recollection that Swercus himself
had formerly injured Nicholas, a predecessor of Sweno on the throne,
by perfidiously seducing, and marrying his intended bride--an injury
all the bitterer, as Nicholas never could retaliate it, by reason of
domestic broils with his own people.

The Cardinal Legate no sooner became aware of this gathering storm,
than he sought to avert its outbreak; and repaired to King Sweno, with
whom he remonstrated against the projected war, not only on religious,
but prudential grounds; depicting to him the many serious obstacles by
sea and land which must be surmounted before any advantage could be
won; and reminding him, "that if the spider, by disembowelling
herself, as least, caught the flies she gave chace to, yet the Danes
could only expect to run the certain peril of their lives in their
proposed campaign." [6] The cardinal's interference in this instance
in behalf of peace, seems not to have been crowned with the same
success, as in Norway. King Sweno, a proud and obstinate man, lent a
respectful, but callous ear to his arguments; and was equally
impervious to the efforts of the ambassadors, whom Swercus also sent
to prevent hostilities.

The events of the war which followed brought condign punishment to
each party: for Prince John, on being directed by his father to levy
troops for the defence of the state, was massacred in a popular riot
as the odious cause of the public dangers; and Sweno, on his invasion
of Sweden, having been inveigled by the wily tactics of Swercus--who
feigned to retire before him--to push his expedition beyond its
original destination as far as Finland, was there surprised by a
rising of the natives, who destroyed the flower of his army; while he
himself escaped with difficulty into Denmark, covered with shame, at
so ignoble and fatal a defeat. Not long afterwards, Sweno was murdered
in his bed by two of his chief nobles, who had long cherished disloyal
feelings towards their king; and, at last, entered into a treasonable
correspondence with Swercus. The end of the latter proved eventually
not less tragical. In the mean time, Nicholas Breakspere had quitted
the country, and returned to Rome. On his arrival he found Pope
Eugenius dead, and succeeded by Anastasius IV., an old man of ninety.
Anastasius, who reigned little more than a year, among other acts,
confirmed, by a bull addressed to John, Archbishop of Nidrosia, all
that the English legate had done in Norway, with the exception,
however, of that concession to the primate of Lund, by which the
latter was to enjoy the right of investing the new archbishops of
Norway and Sweden with the pallium. This right, Anastasius reserved to
the Holy See. The venerable pontiff died shortly afterwards, December
2nd, 1154.

On the following day the conclave met in St. Peter's church, and
elected the cardinal bishop of Albano to the vacant throne; in which
he was solemnly installed on the morrow, and took the name of Adrian
IV.--thus giving not the least striking among many examples in the
dynasty of the popes, of an exaltation from the meanest station in
society to one the sublimest in dignity, and most awful in
responsibility that exists under heaven.

[1] Guillelmus Neubrigensis, de rebus Anglicis, lib. 2. cap. 6. 8.

[2] Munter, Kirchengeschichte V. Danemark und Norwegen. Buch 2. tom.

[3] Munter, ibid.

[4] Torfaeus, Hist. Rer. Norweg. pars. 3. lib. 9. cap. 12.

[5] Munter, &c., ibid.

[6] Joannes Magnus, Hist. Gott. lib. 18. cap. 17.


At the moment, Adrian IV. took his seat behind the helm of Peter's
bark, the winds and waves raged furiously against her, nor ceased to
do so, during the whole time that he steered her course. That time,
though short, was yet long enough to prove him a skilful and fearless
pilot,--as much so as the very foremost of his predecessors or
successors, who have acquired greater fame than he, simply because a
more protracted term of office enabled them to carry out to completer
results than he could do, designs in no wise loftier than Adrian's;
and, in so doing, to unveil before the world more fully than was
permitted to him, characters not, therefore, nobler or more richly
endowed than his.

The first difficulty with which the English pope had to grapple, on
his accession to power, was the refractory spirit of the citizens of
Rome, among whom Arnold of Brescia had, some time before, stirred up
the republican mania.

Arnold was a native of the city, indicated by his surname, and was
born there most likely about the year 1105. His was one of those proud
and ambitious natures, in which imagination and enthusiasm are mixed
up in far greater proportions, than judgment and sobriety. From his
childhood he developed shining parts and an ardor for study,
calculated to elicit their full force. To pursue his studies with as
little interruption as possible, he adopted, while yet a boy, the
clerical habit, and not long afterwards obtained minor orders. [1]

In those days, events were passing, at home and abroad, well adapted
to excite all that extravagance, which was to be expected from a
character like his. In Italy, it was the era of the spread of those
republican principles, which were at last fought out so heroically and
through such perils by the cities of Lombardy, against local barons
and transalpine emperors; in Europe, at large, it was the era of the
bloom of intellectual chivalry, whose seat was Paris, whose foremost
champion, Abailard. But it was also the era of a wide-spread
demoralization of the clergy, among whom simony and concubinage were
the order of the day; and, consequently, every other disorder which
naturally follows in the wake of those two capital vices. In the midst
of such a complicated state of things, requiring so much steadiness of
eye to view it properly, so as not to be misled,--on the one hand by a
false admiration, and on the other by a false disgust,--the youth
Arnold devoured the pages of Livy; and imbibed from him, as well as
from other Roman classics, those principles of heathen republicanism,
which he subsequently sought to restore to practice, in the metropolis
of Christendom, with such fatal results to society and himself.

On the completion of his studies at home, he repaired, thirsting for
deeper draughts of knowledge, to Paris; and became one of the most
devoted scholars of Abailard; whose rationalist invasions of the
domain of theological doctrine,--by which the supreme authority of the
Church in matters of faith was threatened,--accorded with Arnold's
tone of mind. In fact, he soon arrived, by the line of argument which
the lessons of his master and his own feelings led him to adopt, at
the firm persuasion that he alone had hit upon the true plan for
reforming, not only the political, but the religious abuses of the
age; and, moreover, that none but he could carry that plan out. Under
this hallucination, which the fumes of pagan principles of
statesmanship and rationalist principles of Christianity, fermenting
together, had hatched in his brain, he returned, after a few years'
stay at Paris, to Brescia; not failing to visit, at his passage of the
Alps, the Waldenses, and other sects, with whose tenets he secretly

On his arrival at Brescia, he opened his career by a series of pulpit
philippics against the temporal government of the Prince Bishop, and
the immoral lives of the clergy. With fiery eloquence, that told all
the more by reason of the sanctity of the preacher's exterior--a
precaution which he took so well that even St. Bernard admitted its
success--Arnold opposed the doctrines and practice of Holy Writ to the
vices and luxuries which he denounced; affirming that the corruption
of the Church was caused by her having overstepped the boundaries of
her domain. That she had done so, was proved, he said, by the wealth
and political power which she had acquired, contrary to the spirit and
example of apostolic times; to whose simplicity she must return if she
was to be reformed as she ought to be, and as, for the good of
society, it was indispensable she should be. Of course, this line of
argument received all that applause which it never fails to do
whenever urged. For the reformation of the Church, by reducing her to
the poverty of the apostolic ages, involves,--besides such purely
spiritual advantages as are set forth at large in the plan,--others of
a material kind, which, if not usually paraded with the first, are not
the less kept steadily in view. For instance, that those who carry out
the reforms in question will be sure to get well paid for their pains;
seeing that the transaction necessarily passes so much money and goods
through their fingers, as well to private, as public profit. And,
then, there is the secret satisfaction naturally felt above all by the
rich and lax, at seeing the clergy, by means of this very reformation,
deprived of much formidable influence--such as wealth always bestows
on its possessors--and which is surely as necessary to the Church as
to any other public corporation, to the end that she may carry out
efficiently the affairs of her vast mission; keep up her dignity amid
an irreverent world; shield her oppressed; relieve her poor members,
and strike respect into powerful sinners, who would not only scorn but
trample on her too, if she had nothing but words to oppose to blows.

In consequence of Arnold's sermons--preached not only at Brescia, but
also in other towns of Lombardy,--and which, besides their virulent
censure of the existing abuses in Church and State, broached opinions
contrary to orthodox faith, especially in regard to infant baptism,
and the sacrament of the Eucharist,--an insurrection broke out against
the Prince Bishop Manfred, in the year 1138, and lasted through the

Manfred made a vigorous stand to begin with; then seemed on the point
of giving way, when an unexpected event turned the scales in his
favour. This was the calling by Pope Innocent II., in the year 1139,
of all the bishops and abbots of the Church to an oecumenical council
at Rome, to condemn the memory of his late rival, the anti-pope
Anacletus II. Among the rest, the Bishop Manfred and the abbots of
Brescia appeared; and did not fail to seize the opportunity of
denouncing the actions and opinions of Arnold to the pope and the
curia. The proper course was forthwith taken; the proceedings of so
pernicious a disturber of the public peace were condemned; himself
warned to hold his tongue in future, and banished out of Italy under
an oath not to return thither, without an express papal permission.

Arnold now betook himself again into France; and smarting with wounded
pride and ambition, vindictively espoused the party of his old master
Abailard, just then embroiled in his famous dispute with St. Bernard.
For the abbot of Clairvaux had found out that it would never do to
allow that honest, but mistaken man to go on spreading his views any
longer unopposed, if the orthodox faith was to be preserved intact in
Christendom; and so, after more than once privately warning him of his
errors to no purpose, accepted a challenge which Abailard at last
vauntingly sent him to a public disputation. This disputation came off
at the Synod of Sens, A. D. 1140, and resulted in the total defeat of
the philosopher by the monk. But Abailard appealed from the synod to
the pope; whereupon the synod suspended its farther measures, and
advised the Holy See through St. Bernard of what had transpired. In
doing so, the latter took care to expose the fatal consequences to
revealed religion involved in Abailard's opinions, and, in one of his
letters on this subject, stated the case thus: "That inasmuch as
Abailard is prepared to explain everything by means of reason, he
combats as well Faith as Reason: for, what is so contrary to Reason,
as to wish to go beyond the limits of Reason by means of Reason? and,
what more contrary to Faith, than to be unwilling to believe that
which one is unable to reach by means of Reason?"

Abailard fared no better at Rome than at Sens. His defeat was ratified
by that authority from which there is no appeal. Moreover, he was
commanded to desist from holding any more lectures; and all persons
who should obstinately maintain his errors were excommunicated.
Foremost among these was Arnold of Brescia, who scorned to imitate
Abailard's submission to the authority of the Church, and blamed his
penitential retreat at Clugny, where he shortly died an edifying

St. Bernard,--who had previously formed an ill opinion of Arnold from
the reports which preceded him out of Italy,--no sooner saw him at
Sens actively interested for Abailard, than he penetrated the entire
duplicity of his character; at the same time that he felt fully alive
to the damage, which the victory just won over error might yet suffer
from a man so able and resolute. Wherefore, as it was not his custom
to serve the cause of truth by halves, the saint resolved to include
the scholar with the master in his denunciations to the pope; who, at
his instance, ordered that Arnold too, as well as Abailard, should be
incarcerated in a convent. But the crafty Italian managed to elude his
doom by a timely flight; and after running many dangers by reason of
the keen chace which St. Bernard gave him, found a safe retreat at

In that age Zurich, by reason of the trade of Germany and Italy
passing through it, was the most flourishing town of Switzerland.
Trading communities are commonly as fond of novelty in opinion as in
wares. Zurich verified this assertion in many ways; for, owing to its
free government, its proximity to the republics of Lombardy, and to
the settlements of the Waldenses in the Alps, the place swarmed with
that motley tribe of political and religious dreamers which Liberty is
ever doomed to tolerate in her train. Of course, Arnold had his clique
among the rest. His reception by the citizens was enthusiastic; a
public situation was given to him; and he resided in the city for the
next six years. During that interval, he confined his activity to
Zurich and the cantons bordering it. In these he propagated his
doctrines with success, and seems to have been forgotten by the public
of France and Italy. No doubt, he may be viewed as having helped to
pave the way for Zwingli in the 16th, and Strauss in the 19th,--both
of whom, like Arnold, spread the poison of their ideas from Zurich.

In the meantime, events were transpiring at Rome which were destined
to call Arnold from his retreat, and produce him again on the great
stage of the world in a part more important than ever. These were the
attempts of the Romans to restore their ancient republic on the ruins
of the papal government. These attempts were not peculiar to the 12th
century, but had been made in preceding ages, invariably to no other
purpose than anarchy to the city, and scandal to the world. Indeed,
there seems always to have been a party at Rome whose adherents, more
pagan than Christian in their hearts, perversely mistook the destiny
of the city; and far from viewing its new spiritual empire as nobler
than its old material one, held the former as something meanly
inferior to the latter; wholly blind to the fact that the senate and
emperors had been merely types of the hierarchy and the popes, and
that in these, and not in those, God had decreed, from the time of
Romulus himself, the true power and majesty of Rome should eventually
reside. This party then,--who viewed the pope as the Jews viewed our
Saviour, whom they would not accept as their Messias, but reviled him
as an impostor because he possessed no worldly-power; this party it
was that, at the end of the 8th century, treated Leo III. with such
impious cruelty in their first recorded attempt to overthrow the papal
government; that in the 10th century not only dethroned, but
imprisoned and murdered, by the hands of the consul Crescentius,
Benedict VI., and plunged the state into such disorders as to render
necessary the bloody but just intervention of Otho III. Emperor of
Germany, who delivered the Holy See from the oppression and
indignities which overwhelmed it. About the middle of the 12th
century, the example of the cities of Lombardy, roused to their
struggle for freedom to a great degree by the eloquence of Arnold of
Brescia, again awoke the republican faction at Rome; where other
elements of lawlessness unhappily existed in the papal schism which
then raged, and in which the anti-pope Anacletus drove from the Holy
See Innocent II., the lawful pope. On the death of Anacletus and the
return of Innocent, the sentence of the council, above mentioned,
against Arnold of Brescia, still more embittered the revolutionary
spirits of the city, worked up to wild enthusiasm by the temporary
presence of that arch-demagogue on the spot to defend his cause. At
last the pope's conduct to the citizens of Tivoli burst the storm of
rebellion over his head.

During the late schism, Tivoli had sided with Anacletus, and on his
death still refused to acknowledge Innocent. A Roman army was
accordingly marched out to reduce the place to obedience, but was
defeated by a sudden sally of the besieged. A fresh army which was
shortly raised behaved better, and Tivoli was reduced. Burning with
shame at the disgraceful failure of their first attempt, the Romans
clamoured for the total destruction of a hated rival and the
dispersion of its inhabitants. But the pope, satisfied with the
triumph of his authority, would lend no countenance to so guilty a
severity, and concluded with his chastised children a fatherly peace.
For thus checking the bad passions of his subjects, he incurred their
displeasure; whereupon, the republican leaders, perceiving their
opportunity seized it at once, and, by their virulent denunciations to
the mob of the pretended tyranny of priests, soon stirred up an
insurrection; and got the citizens to hold a congress in the Capitol,
at which the papal government was declared at an end, and the ancient
republic restored. Innocent strove to counteract this revolution, and
called a synod at the Lateran; before which he protested against any
right of the laity to interfere with his government, much less to
alter it. But his efforts were vain; and he took his ill-fortune so
much to heart that he sickened and died of grief.

Celestine II., his successor, had, as papal legate in France, formerly
befriended Arnold of Brescia: a circumstance that could not fail to
make him popular, and conduce to give effect to his efforts at
conciliation; so that he completely succeeded in allaying the
revolutionary storm during his short reign, which his death terminated
in the spring of the following year.

Under Lucius II., who was next elected to the papal throne, the public
disorders burst forth again in an aggravated degree. Lucius deeply
offended the Romans by seeking to secure himself against their fickle
loyalty in an alliance with Roger, the Norman king of Sicily. In
resentment of this proceeding, the newly elected senate first caused
the strongholds of the Frangipani, and of other adherents of the papal
party within the city, to be demolished, and then sent an embassy to
Conrad III. of Germany to invite him to come and assume the imperial
crown under their auspices, and act as counter-check to the king of
Sicily. But Conrad, mistrusting the high-flown letter containing the
invitation, and feeling moreover little sympathy with rebels against
the pope, declined it.

Hereupon, Lucius thought it the proper time to strike a blow towards
recovering his authority. To this end he marshalled his cardinals and
other dignitaries in all their pomp; put himself at their head, and,
escorted by an armed array of lay partisans, set out for Rome with the
intention of besieging the Capitol.

At first the people, awed by so solemn and resolute an appearance of
the Supreme Pontiff, showed signs if not of helping, at least, of not
resisting his attempt. But the agents of the senate, actively at work
among the crowd, succeeded in dissipating this fatal apathy, and in
rousing, in its stead, so furious a spirit of hostility, that the
result announced itself in a sacrilegious shower of stones, which
rained cruelly on the heads of the priestly host, wholly scattering
it, and hitting the pope himself on the temples; who shortly died from
the effects of the contusion. This catastrophe happened January 25th,

The next day the dispersed cardinals came together again in St.
Caesarius' church, and set the thorny tiara on the head of a stranger
to their order. This was the abbot of the Cistercian convent of St.
Anastasius in Rome, formerly a monk under St. Bernard at Clairvaux. He
took the name of Eugenius III. He bore the reputation of a mild and
conciliating man; which fact would probably weigh all the more with
the conclave under existing circumstances, from the recollection of
Celestine II., whose gentleness had tamed what it appeared sternness
could not subdue.

But Eugenius now showed that he was not wanting in one set of
qualities, because it had hitherto served his purpose to display
another. For, rather than recognize the new senate, which the
republican party wished to make him do, he quitted the city overnight
with all his suite; went through the ceremony of his installation at
the convent of Forsa; and then retired to Viterbo.

Here he resided some months, and vainly endeavoured through St.
Bernard's agency to induce the Emperor Conrad to arm in his behalf. At
last, losing all patience at the lengths to which the Romans--encouraged
by his absence--had begun to carry things, he levied at
Tivoli, and other well affected places, recruits in his service, took
himself the command, and marched to attack his rebellious subjects.

His expedition was crowned with success; the republicans were humbled,
and sued for peace. This was granted to them on the conditions, that
for the future the pope should nominate the senators; that his Prefect
should be restored and their Patrician abolished. Eugenius then held
his triumphant entry into Rome amid demonstrations of enthusiastic
loyalty, and celebrated there the Christmas of 1145. But it was not
long before the clouds of disaffection gathered again as blackly as
ever, and discharged such a tempest, on the refusal of Eugenius to
give up Tivoli to the implacable hatred of the Romans, that he was
forced to flee over the Tiber, amid a volley of darts and stones,
hurled after him by the mob. Such in fact were the straits to which
the unfortunate pontiff was now reduced, that he at length found it
expedient to pass into France.

It was at this juncture (A. D. 1142,) that Arnold of Brescia received
an invitation from the Roman senate, now wholly rid as it would seem
of its great foe, to visit the eternal city, and lend his aid in
completing, as far as possible, the restoration of the old republic.

Such a golden opportunity of realizing the dearest dream of his
ambition was irresistible. He accepted the invitation at once; and
glowing with the thought of shortly reviving in his own person a Roman
tribune of the ancient stamp, he crossed the Alps at the head of a
fanatical rabble of Swiss, whom, under the hopes of sharing the
glories of the expedition, he had seduced to follow him as a guard
amid its perils.

At his passage through Lombardy, where his name was so popular, new
bands joined his march. On reaching Rome, he and his men were received
in triumph. The citizens, when they heard him in his speeches, set off
by quotations from Livy and St. Paul, style them "Quirites," when they
heard him give his florid descriptions of the greatness of the ancient
republic, and launch his thunders of denunciation at the disgrace of
priestly rule, set no bounds to their enthusiasm, but forthwith
invested the orator with dictatorial powers. No sooner was this done,
than the indefatigable demagogue began his political reforms. These
comprised, among the rest, laws for restoring the equestrian rank, and
the tribunes of the people; for more strictly excluding the pope from
all part in the government; and for reducing to the narrowest limits
the prerogatives of the German emperors, as the first step towards
shaking off their yoke entirely.

At the end of three years, Pope Eugenius returned to Italy, and
addressed a letter from Brescia, in July 1148, to the Roman clergy,
warning them against the proceedings of Arnold, whom he denounced as a
"schismatic," and as the "main tool of the arch enemy of mankind;"
calling on them to desist from abetting rebellion, and to return under
the obedience of their lawful Superior: otherwise to incur

But neither this letter of Eugenius, nor three successive attempts
made by him in the course of the next four years,--at one time by
negotiation, at another by arms,--to enter his capital, availed his
purpose. At last, a fourth attempt towards the end of 1152, by means
of a treaty, under which he agreed to acknowledge the power of the
senate, succeeded.

Nevertheless he did not cease to suffer, during the short remainder of
his reign, bitter mortifications from the insolence of the senate, and
the dictator, Arnold of Brescia, who continued to reside in Rome in
all his greatness, and shortly before the pontiff's death in 1153,
aware of his repugnance to the republic, and alarmed at his growing
favour with the people, defied him openly, by increasing the number of
the senators, from fifty to a hundred, and by giving them as
presidents, two consuls after the ancient plan, instead of the
patrician till then in use.

It was for Eugenius III. that his old preceptor, St. Bernard, composed
at his disciple's request, his famous book "de Consideratione;" in
which the subject handled is, on the duties of a pope; and in which is
given such a graphic description of the degenerate character of the
Romans, as also of the Roman clergy in that age. The following extract
will not be out of place here:

"What is so well known to the world as the license and pride of the
Romans? They are a people opposed to peace, and ever given to
sedition; wild and hard to deal with from all time; who only know how
to obey when they can no longer resist; who possess understanding,
only that they may do evil by it, not to do good. Detested by heaven
and earth, they have impiously outraged both. They are criminals
before God, profaners of his sanctuary, rebels against themselves,
enviers of their neighbours, monsters towards those who do not belong
to them. They love no one, and are beloved by no one. They strive
after the show of being feared by all, while in fact they themselves
fear every body. They cannot endure any submission; but yet know not
how to rule. They are false to their superiors, and oppress their
subjects. They are shameless in their demands, and reject petitions
with a haughty front. With blustering and impatience they press for
presents, and are thankless when they have received them. They are
great talkers with the tongue, but helpless creatures when it comes to
act. They are spendthrifts in promises, niggards in the performance;
the most crawling sycophants, and the most venomous slanderers; who
feign the most honest simplicity, and are the most malicious of
deceivers." [2]

[1] Niccolini, Vita di Arnaldo da Brescia. (Prefixed to his tragedy.)
Francke, Arnold von Brescia und Seine Zeit.

[2] De Consideratione, lib. iv. cap. 2. (Cited by Francke, page 190.)


Such were the depraved spirits, and such the ignoble tyranny, which
oppressed the Holy See on the demise of Eugenius III.; an oppression
which, if its violence seemed to slumber during the short career of
Anastasius IV., whose patriarchal age and paternal goodness to the
poor in a famine which desolated the country under his pontificate,
commanded respect and won all hearts, yet woke up again with fresh
vigour on the accession of his successor, the English Pope Adrian IV.

Adrian, however, was as well by nature as by the experience of his
past life, a character not likely to be daunted by the threatening
prospect before him; and behaved with such courage and decision, as
for the time to confound his rebellious subjects, and reduce them to
obedience. For when, on his assumption of the tiara, the
senate,--which by this time seems to have arrived at the last pitch of
insolence, under the training of Arnold of Brescia,--made a formal
proposition to the new pope, to renounce once for all his right to the
government of the state; he no sooner heard it than he sternly
rejected it, and drove the deputation through whom it came with
ignominy out of his presence. Hereupon the mob, worked upon by the
orators and other agents of the republic, flew to arms, and led by
Arnold of Brescia himself,--who had been fetched out of the country on
purpose,--gave in to every disorder; and, among other excesses,
murdered Cardinal Gerard, a well known adherent of the pope, as he was
passing along the Via Sacra to an audience. Adrian declared this
atrocity tantamount to high treason, and at once resolved to punish it
by striking a blow such as till his time had not been struck at Rome
at all. This was to lay the city under an interdict. No calamity in
the middle ages was more dreaded, more cruelly felt by society, than
an interdict. This naturally arose out of that profound religious
faith, which in those times pervaded all classes of men alike, in the
midst of the greatest crimes and disorders. The interdict, which Pope
Adrian thus fulminated against Rome, lasted from Palm Sunday till
Maunday Thursday. It will not be uninteresting here to briefly
describe an interdict. It was usually announced at midnight by the
funeral toll of the church bells; whereupon the entire clergy might
presently be seen issuing forth, in silent procession, by torch light,
to put up a last prayer of deprecation before the altars for the
guilty community. Then the consecrated bread, that remained over, was
burnt; the crucifixes and other sacred images were veiled up; the
relics of the saints carried down into the crypts. Every memento of
holy cheerfulness and peace was withdrawn from view. Lastly, a papal
legate ascended the steps of the high altar, arrayed in penitential
vestment, and formally proclaimed the interdict. From that moment
divine service ceased in all the churches; their doors were locked up;
and only in the bare porch might the priest, dressed in mourning,
exhort his flock to repentance. Rites in their nature joyful, which
could not be dispensed with, were invested in sorrowful attributes: so
that baptism could only be administered in secret; and marriage
celebrated before a tomb instead of an altar. The administration of
confession and communion was forbidden. To the dying man alone might
the viaticum, which the priest had first consecrated in the gloom and
solitude of the morning dawn, be given; but extreme unction and burial
in holy ground were denied him. Moreover, the interdict, as may
naturally be supposed, seriously affected the worldly, as well as
religious cares of society: so that trade suffered, and even the
proprieties of men's personal appearance fell into neglect.

At first, the Romans seemed as if they would not flinch under the
novel and terrible blow dealt at them. But this was a passing bravado.
They soon began to feel uneasy, and then horrified at the cessation of
the divine offices, and the refusal of the sacraments in Holy Week,--a
season of all others when the most lukewarm piety bestirs itself. The
consequence was, that they assembled tumultuously before the Capitol,
where the seriate was sitting; and demanded that measures should be
directly taken to bring about such an arrangement with the pope as
would relieve the city from the interdict.

Negotiations were accordingly entered upon by that body with Adrian at
Viterbo; whither he had retired to wait the issue of events. To the
overtures made, he answered that he was ready to come into them,
provided the senate would first banish Arnold of Brescia out of Rome,
abolish the republic, and, together with the citizens, return to their
duty. After much hesitation, and some attempts to procure a
modification of such sweeping terms,--attempts which the inflexibility
of the pope entirely frustrated,--those terms were accepted. On their
completion, Adrian revoked the interdict, held his triumphant entry
into Rome, and celebrated in the church of St. John Lateran, with
great pomp and jubilee, his coronation.

In the meantime Frederic Barbarossa, who had succeeded his uncle
Conrad III. on the German throne two years before, and had lately
undertaken his first expedition into Italy to restore his fallen power
in that country, and suppress its newly roused spirit of freedom, was
advancing, flushed with his conquest of Tortona, and his coronation as
king of Lombardy, at Pavia, with his army towards Rome, where he
proposed to give the last finish to his brilliant successes, by
receiving the crown of empire from the pope. Frederic and Adrian had
both sent forward ambassadors to each other, who crossed on the road
without knowing it: the king, to treat about the imperial crown; the
pope, to sound the intentions of a visitor, who was approaching in
such warlike array. The papal envoys encountered Frederic at St.
Quirico, in Tuscany; and, on being told that he meant nothing hostile
to the rights of the Church,--but, on the contrary, that he was ready
to act as her champion, and, therefore, came simply to ask the
imperial crown,--they promised the pope's acquiescence in his views,
provided, among other services required of him, he would procure the
delivery of Arnold of Brescia into the hands of justice.

This was all the more insisted upon, as that indefatigable demagogue,
having, after his banishment, obtained the protection of certain
counts of the Campagna, still continued to exercise from his place of
refuge the most pernicious influence over the popular mind in Rome.

Frederic readily undertook to do a service, which agreed as well with
his personal feeling as with his policy. For Arnold of Brescia, on the
election of the Duke of Swabia to the German throne, had written him a
letter, inviting him to come and receive the imperial crown from the
senate in contempt of the pope, but couched in such arrogant and
fanatical terms, as highly to incense the king, who refused to listen
to it; whereupon, Arnold aggravated his offence, by announcing that he
would persuade the Romans to choose an emperor of their own, and throw
up their allegiance to foreign ones.

The plan which Frederic took to seize Arnold, was, first of all, to
send a body of troops to waylay and capture one of the chiefs of the
lawless counts of the Campagna, who had been mainly instrumental in
liberating the arch-republican out of the hands of the papal officers,
into which he had shortly fallen before at Oriculum; and then to
threaten the speedy execution of the prisoner, unless Arnold were
given up as a ransom. This plan succeeded. The other Campagnian
counts, frightened at the resolute conduct of Frederic, and trembling
at the consequences of his further anger, if the ransom demanded were
not given, soon brought their client, whose revolutionary doctrines so
much promoted those disorders by which they thrived, to the feet of
the king, and received back their brother in exchange. Arnold was
forthwith remanded in chains to Rome, there to await the arrival of
Frederic, who intended to have the culprit tried before his own

But Peter, the prefect of Rome, and commandant of the Castle of St.
Angelo, a devoted servant of the pope, into whose custody Arnold was
delivered, fearful lest his prisoner should escape by means of a
popular riot,--as he had once done before in the same
circumstances,--resolved to execute him on his own account; and, without
waiting forfurther instructions either from Frederic or Adrian, but
secretly abetted by several cardinals on the spot, had the unhappy man
led out early on the morning of the 18th of June, 1155, before the popular
or people's gate; where he was fastened to a cross projecting from the
midst of a pile of faggots, which, being fired, soon enveloped their
victim in the flames. His cries and the tumult of the execution roused
the citizens, dwelling hard by, from their beds, who presently ran up
lamenting and furious to the rescue; but, in vain; as they were thrust
back on all sides by the soldiers who kept the ground. Nevertheless,
such was the infatuated reverence which the people manifested for
their late tribune, that it was found expedient after his execution to
throw his ashes into the Tiber, to prevent them being enshrined as
holy relics. Arnold of Brescia was about fifty years old, when he thus
met his fate.

However shocking such cruel executions as he suffered may be to the
more enlightened benevolence, or more sensual refinement of the
present day; yet, from the point of view of the middle ages,--that the
visible punishment of a crime should be commensurate with, and, as it
were, symbolise its moral enormity,--there can be no doubt but that in
the present case the criminal received only what he deserved. Few men
ever did worse mischief to society in their day, than Arnold of
Brescia. Private ambition was his ruling passion, and his hopes of
gratifying it were set on the realization of dreams and fancies,
engendered of an unbridled imagination, which an admixture of
mysticism further distempered. A false scandal which he took at the
discrepancy between the lives and doctrines of the clergy, in his time
widely corrupted, heightened by his Pharisaical pride,--which a bodily
temperament, naturally disinclined to sensual excess, inflated all the
more--as, by means of such bodily temperament, he was enabled with so
little merit of his own, to keep up an exterior severity of demeanour
closely resembling a holy asceticism,--led him at last to confound the
abuse of religion with religion itself; and, under the further
influence of his insatiable thirst for notoriety, to broach
schismatical views, and then a plan of ecclesiastical as well as
political reform for the world, of which, he persuaded himself, he was
marked out to be the apostle.

That reform, as we have seen, was simply the return of society,
politically, under the republican institutions of pagan Rome; and,
spiritually under the religious government of the apostolic ages. A
fanatic of this description, endowed in an extraordinary manner with
eloquence to announce his views, and with boldness and energy to
pursue the career of carrying them out,--as was Arnold of Brescia's
case,--may well be imagined to have seduced the multitude, at all
times giddy,--but in his day oppressed and shocked by many gross
abuses,--in the way he did; and so to have elicited the stern
hostility of the constituted authorities in church and state, who,
naturally perceiving in the progress of such a man only "confusion
worse confounded," and ruin to the temporal and eternal interests of
society, were in duty bound to eradicate the evil before it was too
late, and, in doing so, not to shun harsh means where gentle ones
failed; but, if words proved fruitless, to use the sword. The
obstinacy, the infatuated obstinacy of Arnold of Brescia in the face
of so many warnings, as from time to time were given to him, plainly
proved that he was incorrigible; and that, therefore, as it was no
more possible for society to prosper, as it should do, while he
continued to infect it with his wild theories, than for the bodily
health to nourish while eaten into by a cancer, to extirpate him, like
it, was the only course left,--a course which thus became morally as
much a duty in his case, as it would physically become so in that.


In the mean time, much had still to be negotiated between Frederic and
Adrian, before the latter felt satisfied to confer on the former the
imperial crown. Adrian was too well acquainted with the character of
Barbarossa, not to feel it a paramount duty to require every
guarantee, before adding to the power and greatness of a man who, like
him, thirsted for universal sway, under which not only the State, but
the Church also should bend; and who, in pursuit of his object allowed
no barrier, which he could throw down by fair means or by foul, to
stand against him. Thus it was that, although in his present
transactions with the pope, he made plenty of fair promises, he yet
would not pledge his word to them, lest by doing so he should commit
his plans of future ambition; plans which, though he felt he should
not hesitate to save, if driven to it at the cost of his honor, he yet
would prefer to forward, if possible, without so mortifying an
alternative. But, when after all his pains he found out that the pope
was not to be thrown off his guard, and that the transcendent stake at
issue was not to be won, except by confirming his word with an oath,
he submitted to take it; and, so, swore on the gospels and on the
cross, before his own and the papal ambassadors in his camp near
Viterbo, that he would neither injure the pope nor his cardinals; but
would protect their persons and rights against all aggression. [1]

Hereupon, Adrian felt confidence enough to leave Nepi, and repair to
meet Frederic at Sutri; to which spot the latter had, in the mean
time, advanced his camp. As Adrian drew near, he was encountered by a
splendid deputation of German princes and bishops, who conducted him
to the royal tent. As soon as the pope appeared before it, Frederic,--who
was waiting to receive him,--courteously advanced to assist his
Holiness in dismounting from his horse; but did not offer to render
the ancient homage, usual on such an occasion, of holding the pope's
stirrup. In vain did Adrian keep his seat in expectation that this
homage, would be paid; the king persisted in avoiding what his pride
could not brook. Terrified at such a bad omen, the cardinals of the
papal suite took to flight, and sought safety in the neighbouring
fortress of Castellano; leaving their lord to confront alone the
danger which seemed to threaten him. But Adrian retained his courage
and coolness intact. Alighting from his horse, he quietly sat down in
the episcopal chair, which had been prepared for him, and suffered
Frederic to approach and kiss his feet; but, when the king rose up to
receive the papal kiss of peace in return, Adrian refused it, and told
him that he would not give it, until the homage, due from the temporal
to the spiritual power, had been paid in full.

As Frederic denied, in vindication of his behaviour, the authenticity
of the homage in question, a hot controversy ensued between the
parties at issue; in which the king turned a deaf ear to every
argument and example that was adduced to prove his error, seeking to
evade their force, now by sophistical, now by threatening
representations, until the pope, disgusted at his disingenuous
conduct, and tired out with a dispute, which had lasted over the next
day, to no purpose, cut it short by abruptly quitting the camp.
Hereupon the king, perceiving that he must again offer sacrifice to
his policy, suffered the prelates, who surrounded him, and till this
critical moment had so vainly sought to convince him of the justice of
the pope's cause, to overrule him; and then set out for Nepi, whither
Adrian had returned. On his arrival, he no sooner beheld Adrian coming
forth to meet him, than, advancing reverently on foot, he held the
pontiff's stirrup; who, on touching the ground, directly enfolded the
king in his arms, amid the cheers of the spectators of both parties.

All these proceedings,--and the latter one, in particular,--have been
held up, by many writers, as setting in the strongest light the
arrogance and tyranny of the church in the middle ages. From our point
of view, at this day, for estimating the relative importance of Church
and State, no doubt, the result of the dispute between Adrian and
Frederic was wrong; because it ought to have proved diametrically the
reverse to be right. In the 12th century, however, the profound
conviction of Christendom was this: that the pope literally
represented on earth, in the character of vicar or vicegerent, our
Saviour in heaven; and, as it may be taken for granted, that, were the
Redeemer to reappear among men now, as he appeared 1800 years ago, the
proudest monarch of Christendom, in the 19th century, persuaded of the
fact, would,--whether catholic or protestant,--certainly not hesitate
to show this honor to our Divine Lord, on receiving his visit: so the
sovereigns of the middle ages did actually deem it right and honorable
to pay that homage to Christ, in the person of the pope, in whom they
acknowledged, from the bottom of their souls, our Lord's Regent on
earth, and as such their immeasurable Superior. In requiring Frederic
Barbarossa to pay him the typical homage of holding his stirrup,
Adrian did plainly nothing but what was entirely in accordance with
the spirit of the age, and, at the same time, with traditional usage,
as then received by Christian princes. [2] But Frederic did do what
was contrary to both in his refusal; and that, too, while professing
to be imbued with the very faith out of which the homage in question
sprang. Thus, it is no wonder that Adrian should view such an
inconsistency as most inauspicious for the liberties of the
church,--with which those of society were then so closely bound up,--and
should, therefore, feel it imperative to pursue a line of conduct,
which at first glance may appear so arrogantly exacting; but which,
found, on closer examination, to have involved the assertion of the
most sacred interests against a man, who was known to respect none in
promotion of his ends, assumes a character calculated rather to
conciliate our approval than to confirm our censure.

As soon as the friendly relations between the pope and the king had
been thus far restored, they set out, for Rome, to celebrate the

In the mean time, the senate, though deeply offended at not having
been consulted on so momentous an affair, sent forward an embassy to
congratulate Frederic as he drew near. This it did in fulsome and
arrogant terms, informing him, moreover, that the 'Queen of the
world'--as the city was styled by the orator,--felt graciously
disposed to confer on him, of her own good pleasure, the diadem of
empire, if he, on his part, would promise to abolish the papal
government, restore the ancient Republic, and make a present of 5000
silver crowns to the officers of the state. But Frederic no sooner
perceived this drift of the speech,--whose tone from the beginning had
greatly irritated him,--than he cut it short by an outburst of
indignant sarcasm on men, who, sunk to the lowest pitch of national
degeneracy, yet thought to beard with the shadow of their past, the
substance of his present greatness, and to dictate terms to a prince,
who came not as their servant but as their master. After having
delivered himself further in the same caustic style, he asked them
what answer they had to give; and, on being informed that they could
give none till they had reported their reception to the senate, he
haughtily bid them begone and do so.

Aware that such conduct would highly incense the Romans, and very
likely urge them to revenge it by throwing obstacles in the way of his
coronation, Frederic consulted the pope as to what had best be done;
who advised him to send without delay a body of picked troops to
occupy St. Peter's, and the Leontine quarter of the city, in which
that church stood, promising that the papal guards on the spot should
support the movement.

Frederic accordingly despatched during the night 1000 men on this
service, which they successfully performed.

The next morning, June 18th, 1155, by sun-rise, he himself set out,
preceded by the pope, for the city, and passed into it by the golden
gate, before which his whole army in compact and resplendent array,
drew up. At St. Peter's he was received by the pope, who, surrounded
by his cardinals and prelates, awaited the king's arrival on the steps
of the great door. The pontifical high mass was then sung, and, on its
termination, Frederic, enthroned amidst the princes and dignitaries of
the empire, was solemnly crowned Emperor by the hands of the Pope, the
whole congregation bursting out, at so stirring and eventful a
spectacle, into acclamations of joy and triumph. [3]

In the mean time, a squadron of imperial troops took possession of the
bridge near the Castle of Crescentius--now St. Angelo--over which the
road into the heart of the town led; and, by so doing, shut out the
ill disposed citizens on the right bank of the Tiber, from
interrupting the ceremony. When all was over at St. Peter's, Frederic
issued out of the church with the crown on his head, and mounting his
horse, while his suite continued on foot, rode back through the'
golden gate, to celebrate in his tent, erected against the city walls,
the coronation banquet.

As to Pope Adrian, he retired to his palace near St. Peter's. So far
everything had turned out well. But a new scene was now to be acted.
For as the emperor and his soldiers, divested of their armour on
account of the great heat, were carousing under the cool shade of
their tents, in honor of the day, their toasts and songs were suddenly
interrupted by the alarm that the Romans had risen, and were advancing
over the Tiber to attack the camp.

The truth was, that the senate and citizens, exasperated beyond
measure at Frederic's treatment of their ambassadors, and at his
superior generalship in occupying the city and effecting his
coronation in their teeth, had met at the Capitol while he was at St.
Peter's; and passed the resolution not to let so mortifying a day pass
over without striking a blow in revenge.

Wherefore, as soon as the coronation was finished, and the scene
clear, the furious populace burst over the Tiber; and, after first
butchering what few German soldiers still lingered imprudently at St.
Peter's, rushed on to the grand attack.

Frederic no sooner heard this unwelcome news, than he started from
table, gave the word to arm, and sallied out to encounter the enemy.
The battle that ensued was maintained on both sides with unflinching
courage and varied fortunes: now the Romans drove the Germans beyond
their lines; now the Germans pursued the Romans into the heart of the
city. Such was the hatred which each party felt against the other,
that not only the men but the women joined in the struggle. When it
had thus lasted till sunset, victory declared for the Germans. The
Romans fled on all sides with a loss of more than 1000 killed or
drowned, and 200 captured. The emperor, as Otto of Frisingen asserts,
[4] had the extraordinary good fortune to lose in such an obstinate
and bitter combat only two men,--one killed and one made prisoner.
"Such!" cried Frederic, as he beheld the defeat of the enemy, and
recollected the terms of the senate the day before, "Such, O! Rome, is
the price which thy Prince pays for thy crown; such the way in which
we Germans buy our empire!" [5]

On the morrow he turned over his prisoners to Peter, the prefect of
Rome; who executed some, as notorious ringleaders, on the spot; and
allowed others to ransom themselves at exorbitant rates. Indeed, that
stern functionary would have put the whole of them to death, had not
Adrian, in whose breast this unfortunate outbreak had produced the
liveliest regret, interfered in their behalf, so that it was
reluctantly resolved to set them free.

Notwithstanding his victory, as no market for provisions could be
opened for his army, by reason of the animosity of the Roman
peasantry, Frederic was obliged to raise his camp, and seek a more
friendly and fruitful neighbourhood, where the soldiers might enjoy
repose after so trying a campaign. The spot he removed to was near
Tivoli. Here he halted for several days, and received a visit in his
quarters from Pope Adrian, who kept with the emperor the feast of SS.
Peter and Paul. Both sovereigns appeared at high mass on this occasion
wearing their insignia of state. After the service, Adrian solemnly
absolved the emperor's troops from all guilt which the slaughter they
had made of the Romans in the late conflict might appear to lay them
under; the maxim adopted being that "he who fights out of obedience to
his prince against the enemy of the state, must not be deemed a
murderer but an avenger." [6]

And yet Frederic did not hesitate to seize an opportunity which now
offered of breaking his oaths, and of repaying the pope's good offices
by invading his rights. For, on the citizens of Tivoli offering him,
at his secret instigation, the sovereignty of their city, which
belonged to the Holy See, he accepted it; and only on Adrian's
determined opposition to such an usurpation, affected to restore it
with reservation of his imperial prerogatives over the
place;--prerogatives which he could not define, and which meant in fact
nothing more than the renewal of his aggression at the next more
favourable opportunity. For now the complaints of his army, worn out
by fatigue, exposed, moreover, to every vexation, through the ever
increasing animosity of the Italians, and hence doubly impatient to
return into Germany, from which it had been absent much longer than
the terms of feudal service required, obliged Frederic to think of
finishing his campaign, and marching home directly, if he did not mean
to be left alone in the heart of a hostile country; a predicament into
which the desertion of his men was already beginning to betray him. He
accordingly took the road back into Germany soon after he had made
restitution to the pope as above described; and after running many
perils in his progress through regions so justly hostile to him,
regained his own states beyond the Alps, not so much gratified by the
acquisition of the imperial crown, as embittered by what he had gone
through in pursuit of it, and resolved not to delay longer than he
could help a second invasion of Italy, which should compensate the
mishaps and mortifications of the first.

[1] Muratori, Storia d' Italia, vol. 7. p. 135. Leipsic, 1748.

[2] Muratori, Dissertazione sopra le Antichita Italiane, dissert. 4.

[3] Otto Frisingensis, lib. 1. cap. 23.

[4] Otto Frisingensis, ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Otto Frisingensis, ibid.


While Frederic was yet fighting his way home through Italy, Adrian had
to face about and confront another foe in William, the Norman king of

William had lately succeeded his father Roger, a wise and able
monarch, to whom however his son, as so commonly happens, bore no sort
of resemblance; but by his incapacity and total subjection under the
influence of a profligate favourite of low birth, named Wrajo, soon
threw the state, which Roger had left in so prosperous a condition,
into the worst disorder.

The breach between him and the pope arose out of a letter which the
latter had occasion to address to the king at Salerno, in which the
royal title was omitted, and that of mere lord substituted. Adrian did
this because William had assumed the crown of Sicily without first
asking it of the pope, who, as the feudal patron of that island by
ancient compact with its Norman conquerors under Robert de Guiscard,
in the time of Pope Leo IX. (A. D. 1053), justly felt his rights
infringed by a proceeding which set at nought their established forms.
In revenge of this pretended insult, William refused to negotiate with
the ambassadors through whom it came; and, furthermore, gave orders to
his chancellor Scitinius, whom he had just made viceroy of Apulia, to
attack the domain of the Church, which that officer accordingly did,
by laying siege to Beneventum, and devastating its territory. But as
this proceeding caused a number of disaffected crown vassals of
Apulia, already secretly tampered with by agents of the Greek emperor,
anxious to recover his lost sway in Italy, to revolt against the
Sicilian government,--many of whom in so doing marched to the relief
of Beneventum,--Scitinius was soon obliged to raise the siege of that
city, and turn his arms against some more vulnerable point. To this
end, he passed direct into the Campagna, and there set fire to the
towns of Ciparano, Barbuco, and Todi; after which, he made his
retreat, demolishing by the way the walls of Aquino, and driving a
crowd of monks out of their convents, which he gave up to the plunder
of the soldiers.

These events had transpired while Frederic Barbarossa was yet
advancing towards Rome, to demand the imperial crown, and on his
arrival formed one of the heads of complaint to him on the part of the
pope, who hoped to use the strong arm of the professed champion of the
Church in redressing her wrongs. Frederic, indeed, expressed the
warmest zeal in the pope's cause, and, none the less so, as it
presented, under the appearance of a sacred duty, a prospect so
inviting to his own ambition. But, as we have seen, he was reluctantly
compelled by his murmuring soldiers to close his campaign and return
home. He did not, however, lose sight of Sicily; which, as will be
described in the sequel, gave rise to a fresh and sharper quarrel
between him and the pope.

Disappointed in his hopes of assistance from Frederic, Adrian, with
characteristic energy, resolved to assist himself; and rejoined to the
ruffianism of William with a ban of excommunication, a proceeding
which instantly decided in the pope's cause several of the most
powerful nobles of Apulia, especially Robert Count of Loritelli, the
king's cousin, Andrew Count of Rupi Canino, Richard Count of Aquila,
and Robert Prince of Capua; men who, like the bulk of their order,
were impatient to shake off the oppressive and ignominious yoke of the
royal favourite Wrajo. Backed by these, who again were secretly
encouraged by the court of Constantinople, Adrian followed up his ban
of excommunication, by invading at the head of his troops the Terra di
Lavoro, which he totally subdued, and then proceeded to Beneventum,
where he fixed his head quarters.

William, who in the mean time was in Sicily, and lulled asleep to
every interest under the noxious influence of Wrajo, no sooner became
aware of his bad fortune across the water,--where, owing to the events
just related, all his Italian possessions, with the exception of
Naples, Amalfi, Sorrento, and a few other towns and castles of
secondary importance, were wrested from him,--than he presently shook
off his lethargy, sailed over to Salerno, and from that city sent
ambassadors to the pope to negotiate a peace.

To this step he was urged all the more by finding out that Emanuel,
the Greek emperor, after refusing to stand his ally at the beginning
of the war, was in correspondence, through his minister Palaeologus,
with Adrian; trying to procure from the latter the cession of three
sea-ports of Apulia in consideration of a large sum of money, and of
the promise to expel the Sicilian king from his Italian dominions. The
offers which William made were, namely: to pay a sum equivalent to
that tendered by Emanuel; to surrender the three sea-ports in question
as an indemnification for the damage done by Scitinius; and to swear
fealty to the pope as the liege lord of Sicily.

At first Adrian doubted if these terms were genuine, and sent a
cardinal to Salerno, to learn the truth. On being advised that all was
straightforward, he declared his readiness to accept them. But a cabal
in the German interest among the cardinals now put in such a strong
opposition to the pope's intention, that, taken by surprise, he
dropped it, and retracted his favourable answer to William.

The truth was, a reconciliation between Adrian and William, would have
seriously embarrassed Frederic Barbarossa's designs on Sicily;--to say
nothing of the protection which such an event would secure to the pope
against those farther aggressions on the Church, which the emperor had
in view.

Driven to desperation by the final decision of the pope, William, who,
with all his faults, seems still to have been capable of a rash energy
when real danger stared him in the face, resolved to throw himself
again on the chance of war. Collecting a formidable armament by sea
and land, he invested Brundusium; which, with the exception of the
citadel, had fallen into the hands of Michael Ducas, the Greek
general. [1] The citadel, which could not be subdued by arms, was
obliged at last to yield to famine; when, in the moment that the
garrison was about to close with the terms of surrender, proposed by
the enemy, William came up with his army, and obliged the Greek
commander, instead of taking possession of the citadel, to face about
and fight a pitched battle for the town. The struggle was obstinate
and bloody: fortune often changed sides; but at last declared for the
Sicilians, into whose hands Ducas himself fell.

The recovery of Brundusium, which followed this victory, seasonably
placed at William's disposal a number of rich Greek captives,--whom he
sent to Palermo,--much ready money and precious property, besides
ships and stores.

A crowd of Apulian malcontents had also the misfortune to fall into
his power; on whom he did not fail to wreak his vengeance, by
executing some; blinding and maiming others; and selling the rest into

Flushed with this success, he next marched to Bari. Here he met with
no resistance; but, on the contrary, an affecting appeal to his mercy
in the spectacle of the citizens coming out before him, dressed in
sackcloth, in token of submission. So solemn a humiliation, however,
could not atone in the king's eye, for their crime in having
demolished the citadel of the town, because it refused to turn
disloyal, when the rebellion first broke out. To their entreaties for
pardon, he sternly replied, that he should deal out strict justice to
them; that as they had not spared his house, he should not spare their
houses. A respite of two days only was allowed them, in which to quit
their homes with their goods; upon its expiration, the entire city
with its walls was reduced to a heap of ruins. Struck with terror at
so cruel a vengeance, the rest of the revolted Apulian towns hastened
to send in their submission; whereupon, William turned his arms at
once against Beneventum; where not only the pope, but also prince
Robert of Capua, and several other leaders of the rebellion resided.
As the king approached, the prince of Capua, seized with terror, fled;
but with so little caution as to fall into an ambush set for him by
his vassal and fellow rebel, Richard Count of Fondi; who took the
prince his son and daughter prisoners, and delivered them to his
sovereign; by which piece of seasonable perfidy, Richard atoned for
his treason, and recovered the royal favour.

As to Robert, he was shipped off to Palermo, thrown into a dungeon,
where his eyes were put out. In this sad condition, however, he did
not long survive, as the severity of his treatment soon brought death
to his relief.

With such melancholy proofs of the mutability of worldly fortune
before his eyes, and viewing, moreover, the success of his enemy as a
sign of the divine disapprobation of his having been so weak as to
refuse terms of peace against his better judgment, Adrian now resolved
to lose no time in doing what was yet in his power towards repairing
his error; and began by successfully requesting the Sicilian king, to
give up farther pursuit of his vengeance against the rest of the rebel
chiefs, still shut up in Beneventum, and to pardon them on condition
of their quitting the kingdom. He next offered to close with those
terms of peace,--the rejection of which had caused the present war,--and
sent ambassadors to the king on the subject. William received them
respectfully and opened negotiations with them. The pope, on his part,
engaged to invest the king in feoff with the kingdom of Sicily, the
duchy of Apulia, the principality of Capua, Naples, Salerno, and
Malfi, with the March and with all that he claimed on this side the
Marsa. The king, in return, engaged to swear fealty to the pope; to
defend him against his enemies; and to pay him a fixed yearly tribute
for Apulia, Calabria, and the March. These formed the principal
articles of the treaty now agreed to. But there were others included,
in which the king took advantage of his position as conqueror, to
exact terms in favour of the secular, and to the detriment of the
spiritual power in his states. By these terms, the royal right to
confirm canonical elections, was extended; appeals to Rome, from
Apulia were restricted; while in Sicily, they were wholly abolished,
as well as the right to send legates into the island.

This peace was signed in the church of St. Marcianus near Beneventum;
where, in the presence of a splendid array of nobles, and of a vast
crowd of people, the king of Sicily prostrated himself in homage at
the feet of the pope; who then embraced his august vassal, and
invested him with feoffs of Sicily, Apulia, and Capua, by presenting
him with three Standards representing those states. After all was
over, the king made rich presents of plate, and precious garments to
the cardinals in the suite of the pope, of whom he then took leave and
returned to Palermo.

Shortly afterwards Adrian published a bull, in which the peace was

On his way from Beneventum to Rome, he visited Orvieto; a city which
had for a long time stood in open rebellion against him as its prince,
but had recently returned to its duty. Here he stayed some time, and
received the most loyal demonstrations from the citizens, on whom he
conferred many tokens of his paternal regard. From Orvieto, he
proceeded to Viterbo for the winter, and then repaired to Rome.

[1] Hugoni Fracundi. Muratori, Scrip. Rer. Italic. vol. 7. page 268.


Soon after his accession, Adrian received, among other letters of
congratulation, one from Henry II. king of England, who had succeeded
to his crown at the same time as the pope. This letter was as

"A sweet breath of air hath breathed in our ears, inasmuch as we learn
that the news of your elevation hath scattered like a refulgent
aurora, the darkness of the desolation of the Church. The Apostolic
See rejoiceth in having obtained such a consolation of her widowhood.
All the churches rejoice at beholding the new light arise, and hope to
behold it expand to broad day. But in particular our west rejoiceth
that a new light hath arisen to illuminate the globe of the earth; and
that, by divine favour, the west hath restored that sun of
Christianity which towards the east was set. Wherefore, most holy
Father, we, sharing in the general jubilee at your honors, and
celebrating with devout praise the bounties of the divine Majesty,
will lay open to you our desires, confiding as we do, with filial
devotion, in your paternal goodness. For, if the carnal son exposeth
to his father, in confidence, his carnal desires, how much more should
not the spiritual son do so with regard to his spiritual one?
Assuredly, among other desires of our heart, we do not a little
desire, that, as the Almighty's right arm hath chosen your most
reverend person to be spiritually planted, like a tree of life in the
midst of paradise, and to be transplanted from this land of ours, into
his orchard, you will chiefly take care to reform, by your conduct and
doctrine, all the churches, that all generations may call your land
blessed through your beatitude. This, too, we thirst for with a
sincere heart, that the spirit of tempests, which is wont to rage
furiously about the pinnacle of honor, may never wrest you from the
concern of your sanctification; lest, by reason of any deficiency in
you, the deepest abyss of disgrace should succeed to the highest
summit of dignity. And this we ardently long for, that, as the
regulation of the Church universal belongs to you, you will take care
to create such cardinals, free of reproach, as shall know how to
appreciate your burthen, and be willing and competent to aid you in
supporting it; not regarding ties of country, quality of birth, or
extent of power; but that they love God, hate avarice, thirst after
justice, and burn with the zeal of souls. Nor are we slightly affected
by the desire that, as the unworthiness of ministers is detrimental
above all things to the Church, you will vigilantly watch, whenever
your Providence shall happen to be petitioned, touching the collation
of benefices, lest any unworthy person intrude into the Patrimony of
the Crucified. And seeing that the Holy Land,--blest by the origin of
our redemption,--consecrated by the life and death of Christ,--a land
which Christian devotion holds in particular respect,--is distracted
by incursions of the infidels, and polluted by their abominations, we
wish from our very soul that you would provide men, of your own devout
solicitude, in its defence. And, in regard of that empire of
Constantinople,--once so illustrious, now so wofully desolate,--what
Christian man ought not to desire that, by your care and prudence, it
may receive timely consolation? For the rest, we confide and hope in
the Lord, that, as you have not failed, while rising from virtue to
virtue, and from honor to honor, to shine according to the exigence of
each of them, so you will not fail, now that you are called to the
apogee of apostolical elevation, to illustrate and inflame the subject
Church, in such a manner, as shall permit no one to hide himself from
your light and heat; and that, after your death, you will leave behind
such vestiges of sanctity, that your native land,--which congratulates
itself on your happy beginning,--will find much more glory in the
Lord, in your happier end. Finally, we request of your Paternity, with
full confidence, that you will be pleased to remember us, our family,
and kingdom, especially in your prayers and vows." [1]

A few months after the receipt of this letter,
Adrian was visited by his renowned countryman, John of
Salisbury,--afterwards bishop of Chartres,--who arrived in a diplomatic
capacity, from king Henry, to procure the papal sanction to a projected
conquest of Ireland, by England.

The motives to this ambitious scheme,--which William the Conqueror,
and Henry I., had also entertained,--were alleged to be the
civilisation of the Irish people, and the reformation of the Irish
Church; both of which were represented as given over to barbaric
anarchy, and the most crying abuses. And, indeed, such was the real
state of civil and religious affairs in that country in the 12th
century,--as will be shown lower down,--that the motives in question,
derived the greatest weight from the circumstance, and induced the
pope to give the sanction requested. This he did in the following

"Adrian, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his most dear son
in Christ, the illustrious king of the English, health and apostolical

"Thy Magnificence thinketh, praiseworthily and fruitfully, touching
the propagation of thy glorious name over the earth, and the laying up
a reward of eternal felicity in heaven, when, like a Catholic prince,
thou dost project the extension of the boundaries of the Church, the
proclamation of the Christian faith to ignorant and rude people, and
the extirpation of the weeds of vice from the Lord's vineyard; and
when, to the better execution hereof, thou dost request the advice and
favour of the Apostolic See. In which matter, we feel confident that,
as thou shalt proceed with higher counsel, and greater discretion, so
thou wilt make, under the Lord's favour, the happier progress, seeing
that those things usually reach a good issue, which have sprung out of
an ardour for the faith and love of religion. Certainly, there can be
no doubt that Ireland, as well as all the isles, which Christ the Sun
of justice hath illuminated, and which have borne testimony to the
Christian Faith, are subject to St. Peter, and the most Holy Roman
Church. On which account, we are all the more ready to plant therein,
the plantation of the Faith, and the seed which is grateful to God, as
we discover on close examination it is required of us. Forasmuch,
then, as thou hast signified to us, most clear son in Christ, that
thou art wishful to enter the island of Ireland, to subdue that people
under the laws, and to root out of it the weeds of vice, and art
wishful to pay to St. Peter, a pension of one penny a-year for each
house, and to preserve intact the rights of the Church in that
country; we, regarding favourably, and vouchsafing to thy petition our
gracious assent, hold it to be a grateful and acceptable thing, that
thou shouldst enter that island, to extend the boundaries of the
Church; to stem the torrent of crime; to correct morals; to introduce
virtue; to augment the Christian religion; and to execute what thy
mind may have found good for God's honor, and the country's
prosperity. And let the people thereof receive thee honorably, and
respect thee as their Lord; the rights of the Church remaining intact,
and saving the pension to St. Peter and the most Holy Roman Church of
one penny a-year for each house. And, shouldst thou be so fortunate as
to accomplish what thou hast planned, strive to improve the Irish
nation, by good morals; and act in such a manner by thyself, as well
as by those whom thou shalt employ, and whom thou shalt first have
proved to be trustworthy by reason of their fidelity, their opinions
and conduct, that the Church may be adorned, the Christian faith
extended, and everything that belongs to the honor of God, and
salvation of souls, so ordered by thee in Ireland, as to qualify thee
to deserve an eternal reward in heaven, and a glorious name on earth
through all ages." [2]

This famous brief, by which Henry II. of England held himself divinely
authorized to conquer Ireland, is strongly disapproved of by many
writers, especially by Irish ones; who will not alloy it the least
excuse, but overwhelm it with abusive censure. And yet the plain truth
is, Adrian meant it, as he worded it, for Ireland's good.

However false the grant of Constantine the Great,--on which the claim
set up for St, Peter's dominion over the islands is founded,--may have
been proved in later times to be; yet it is certain that both the
grant and claim in question were in the 11th, and 12th centuries
firmly believed in by all orthodox christians, just as much so as that
the Pope was literally our Saviour's vicar on earth, before whose
powers every other had to bow. That the king of England was secretly
guided by worldly motives, while ostensibly professing religious ones,
was his concern and not the pope's: whose business was to weigh the
merits of the case, not by reasons imputed, but by those propounded;
which, if he found them, from the religious point of view of his
times, sound, he was justified in accepting.

Now, there is the best evidence in cotemporary writings, especially in
those of Giraldus and St. Bernard, that Ireland was, as above said,
given up in the 12th century, to the worst demoralization in Church
and State, that a country, not wholly pagan or savage, could be.
Giraldus, who travelled in Ireland in the suite of King John, and
attentively observed its condition, expresses in his work [3] written
on the subject, his surprise that a nation, in which the Christian
faith had been planted so far back as the days of St. Patrick, and had
gone on increasing more or less ever since, should yet in his age be
so ignorant in the very rudiments of religion. "A nation" as he
proceeds to describe it, "filthy in the extreme, buried in vice, and
of all nations the most ignorant of the rudiments of the faith." In
support of this severe censure, he accuses the Irish of "despising
matrimony, of being addicted to incest, of refusing to pay tithes, and
of totally neglecting attendance at Church." In another place he
writes, that the people in many districts continued still to be
pagans, through the indifference of the clergy. St. Bernard draws a
picture not less darkly shaded. In his life of St. Malachy, [4]
adverting to the state of the Irish church on the promotion of that
saint to the episcopacy, he describes how the new bishop soon found
out that he had to do with "brutes and not with men; how that nowhere
he had met with such barbarism of every sort; nowhere found a race so
perverse in their morals, so savagely opposed to religious rites, so
impious towards the faith, so headstrong against discipline, so
barbarous towards the laws, so filthy in their habits of life; a
people, Christians in name, but heathens in practice, who paid no
tithes, who contracted no lawful marriages, who never confessed their
sins, who had hardly any one among them to ask or give a penance, in
whose churches neither the voice of the preacher nor the chorus of the
chanters was ever heard."

The political was in complete harmony with the religious state of the
country. Parcelled out among petty kings and chiefs, who seemed only
to subsist by devouring each other, and, in the crush and tumult of
their feuds, stood so thick on the ground, as hardly to have elbow
room, the whole island presented one untiring round of treacheries,
massacres, conflagrations and plunderings, wholesale and retail, such
as is without example elsewhere in history, with no other hope, so
long as left to itself, of anything but an aggravation of the evil--if
that were possible. That Adrian, with such a state of things before
his eyes, should readily give his sanction to a project which, however
liable to be clogged by human imperfection, could not at any rate make
things worse, but haply might make them better, was surely a
proceeding quite consistent with the character of a wise and zealous
pope; of a pope too, who lived and thought when the crusades were at
their height, and who may, therefore, be very well supposed to have
viewed the condition of Ireland,--once the island of saints, but now
the scene of worse than pagan abominations,--as not less calculated
for the efforts of holy chivalry, than Palestine.

If then it can appear that Adrian might have acted, in his brief to
Henry, just as well out of motives of religious duty, as out of those
of court policy, it is a perverse thing to award him the latter rather
than the former; because to do so is to make him not less absurdly
than wickedly inconsistent with his previous and subsequent
career:--which was marked by one unswerving purpose to defend the Church
against the encroachments of secular power, to maintain her doctrines
intact, and to extend her boundaries to the utmost. Besides, it should
not be forgotten, that his brief was confirmed by his illustrious
successor, Alexander III., who thus gave his testimony to the
uprightness of intention which originated it, as well as to its proper
adaptation in the spirit of that age, to the emergency which elicited
it; an emergency which, from the terms used by Alexander in conveying
his confirmation, would seem by no means to have diminished, but
rather to have increased in the mean time. In short, it is nothing
better than a logical solecism, to wish to maintain that two such
popes as Adrian IV. and Alexander III., educated in the school of the
sublime Hildebrand, and ranking among the very foremost of his
disciples, by the intelligent and dauntless manner in which they
withstood the storm of imperial usurpation, which threatened to
shatter the Church under their pontificates, should deviate from their
glorious career, to belie their principles,--the one, by granting out
of national prejudice and court sycophancy a license of spoliation to
a king of England,--and the other, by confirming it out of reasons
just as unworthy.

As it was, Providence did not see fit to allow the views either of
Adrian or Henry, to be carried out as originally intended. For the
expedition of the king against Ireland, was put off, on account of
various obstacles, for fourteen years, during which term, the papal
brief was consigned to the royal archives, and there forgotten. Nor
was it till six years after the actual invasion of Ireland by
Strongbow, that its existence was remembered by Henry; who, anxious to
consolidate his new conquest, had the authority of Adrian's brief
renewed, by procuring another in confirmation of it from Alexander,
and then caused both documents to be read up before the Irish bishops,
assembled in synod at Waterford; by whom his sovereignty had already,
without any reference to papal commands, been acknowledged.

That the English sway turned out so unjust and disastrous to Ireland,
reflects no blame on Adrian, than whom no one would have more deplored
the evil, and striven against its true causes, than he. Rather ought
he, from the spirit of his brief,--the only fair test to apply to
him,--to be regarded as the head of that small, unfortunately so very
small, band of Englishmen, who have ever meant well to the sister
isle; and who, to speak the sober truth, if their views might prevail,
would alone be likely to promote her true prosperity, by shielding her
not only against her outward, but her inward foes; to which
latter,--consisting in those elements of social discord so profusely, so
deeply rooted, as it would seem, in the nature of her people,---she owes
by far the worst portion of her calamities. No doubt Pope Adrian, a man
of the most shrewd practical intellect, and from the circumstances of
his life, of the deepest experience in human nature, saw clearly
enough then,--what continues to be seen so clearly by men of his stamp
now,--that Ireland could never truly prosper, so long as left to her
own management, by reason of the incurable defect mentioned above; and
that, therefore, to sanction her sisterly, not her slavish connection,
with a nation like the English, so eminent for those very qualities of
order and self maintenance, in which she is so wanting, would be a
work of as great charity in itself, as of mutual advantage to the
parties concerned. For the rest, it should not be forgotten, that,
however much the English occupation of Ireland may, through a series
of causes, not to be foreseen in Adrian's time, have turned out a
curse; yet the occupation in question had the immediate effect of
producing the reform of those religious abuses, which constituted the
worst misfortunes of the country, and which, till Henry had actually
arrived thither, continued in all their hideous deformity. This happy
result took place, under the auspices of Henry, at the synod of
Cashel, summoned by him at the beginning of the year 1172, and
attended by all the heads of the Irish clergy.

Besides the brief in question, Adrian gave to John of Salisbury, as
the latter relates in the last chapter of his Metalogicus, a gold ring
set with a fine emerald, for the king his master, in token of
investment with the Lordship of Ireland; which important jewel, whose
rare virtues, John of Salisbury adds, were he to describe, would
require a volume to enumerate, was also deposited in the royal

Not only Henry II. of England, but Louis VII. of France, a year or two
later, solicited Adrian's approbation of a scheme of foreign conquest,
which, in this case was intended to be carried out in Spain, where the
French monarch pretended he wanted to serve the Church, by expelling
the Saracens. But the pope treated the application of Louis, very
differently to that of Henry. For in his brief of reply [5] after
awarding all praise to the religious zeal alleged by the French king
as his motive, he points out the flagrant wrong which Louis would
commit in gratuitously interfering in the affairs of an independent
nation like Spain,--the consent of whose princes could alone justify
such a step: so that until such consent should be obtained, he,
Adrian, could do nothing else than totally condemn and warn, him
against his project.

Adrian's conduct in this instance, was not less consistent than in the
other. For as over Ireland in its character of an island, he believed
himself to possess, through the supposed testament of Constantine,
certain rights, and thought proper to exercise them; so over Spain,
being ignorant of any such rights, he arrogated none, but acted as
became him on the general principles of Christian justice.

[1] Baronius, Annus, 1154

[2] Baronius, Annus 1159; rectified by Pagi to 1155.

[3] Topograp. Hiber. Distinc. tertia cap. 14.

[4] De vita Malachiae Episcopi, cap. viii.

[5] Bouquet's Receuil, &c. t. 15. P. 690.


It was most likely on occasion of this embassy, that John of
Salisbury,--although he mentions other visits paid by him to
Adrian,--held the interesting conversation with the English pope, which
he reports at length, in his Polycraticus. [1] In that work, he says, he
well remembers how, during a sojourn at the papal court in Beneventum,
he was treated on the most familiar footing by his Holiness; whose
habit it was to gather round him a few select friends, with whom he
would freely discuss a variety of topics; and how, among others, he
once asked John to state candidly what he knew of the people's
opinion, touching the Roman Church and her head. Whereupon, the envoy
of Henry, using the liberty of the spirit, told without disguise, all
that he had heard in various parts on the subject. For example: that
the Roman Church, the mother of all others, showed herself according
to many not so much a mother as a step-mother to her daughters. That
scribes and pharisees sat in her, who loaded other mens' shoulders
with burdens, which they would not touch even with their fingers. That
these said scribes and pharisees played the tyrant over the clergy,
and bore no palpable resemblance to such shepherds as tread the true
path of life; but that they heaped up rich furniture, ornamented their
tables with gold and silver plate, distracted the Church with
controversies and by setting the pastors and the people by the ears.
That they, in no manner, commiserated the sorrows of the unfortunate;
but made merry over the plunder of churches, and administered justice,
not according to the truth, but the price. Then, that other people
said the Roman Pontiff himself was a tyrant; and that, while the
churches, which their ancestors had built, were falling to ruin, and
the altars stood desolate, he appeared abroad arrayed in gold and
purple. But that the divine wrath would eventually overtake such
priests as lived in pride and luxury, and levied taxes on the
provinces like men, who meant to equal the wealth of Croesus: "for the
Lord had said, that as they measured out to others, so would he
measure out to them: and the Ancient of Days could not lie." Upon
hearing this, and much more to the same effect, the pope asked John of
Salisbury what he himself thought? Who replied, that the question very
much perplexed him, as, on the one hand, he feared to pass for a
flatterer, if he went contrary to public opinion, and on the other, to
give offence, if he spoke the truth. Nevertheless, as cardinal Guido
Clement had bore witness in favour of the people, he, John of
Salisbury, dared not contradict him. For the cardinal had said that
the Church of Rome contained a world of avarice and deceit, from which
every evil sprung. This he had not said in a corner, but before all
his brethren, in presence of Pope Eugenius; and yet he, John of
Salisbury, would not hesitate to declare that, as far as his
experience went, he had never seen anywhere clergymen of greater
virtue, or more opposed to avarice, than those of Rome. Such was the
gravity and modesty of many of them, that in those respects they
equalled Fabricius, while, in possessing the true faith, they had the
advantage over him. Then, with regard to the pope himself,--as his
Holiness insisted on being plainly spoken to,--he would say, that,
inasmuch as the Holy Ghost could not err, so whatever his Holiness
might teach, must be followed; though, what his Holiness might do, was
not always to be imitated. His Holiness was styled Father and Lord of
all: but why, if he was the Father, did he require presents from his
children? and why, if he was the Lord, did he not strike awe into the
Romans, curb their insolence, and reclaim them to their duty? At all
this the pope laughed heartily, and expressed himself well pleased at
having found a man so honest and plain spoken; adding, that if ever he
should hear anything further to the same purpose, by no means to omit
reporting it. Adrian then proceeded to pass his own conduct in review,
said many things for and against himself, and made reflections on the
arduousness of the papal office, affirming that no other was so full
of cares, and that no man was more wretched than a Roman Pontiff: "for
his throne was set with thorns, his mantle pierced with sharp points,
and so heavy as to weigh the strongest shoulders to the ground." Much
sooner would he prefer never to have left his native English soil, or
to have remained for ever hidden in his cell at St. Rums, than to have
entered such straits; but the divine dispensation had called him, and
he dared not disobey. He further said, that it had always been the
Lord's pleasure, that he should grow between the hammer and the anvil;
that now he prayed the Lord would be pleased to put his hand under the
burden, as it was become insupportable. The pope then concluded his
observations, by relating to the company, the fable of the Belly and
the Members,--which the charges laid at his door suggested to him, and
which John of Salisbury gives at length in Adrian's words; a fable, by
the way, which assuredly has lost none of its point since those times,
but remains as pregnant with wisdom for the nineteenth, as for the
twelfth century.

Pope Anastasius IV. had conferred on the Knights Hospitallers of
Jerusalem the privilege of exemption from tithes on their property, in
consideration of its exclusive destination to the relief of pilgrims
and of the poor. This privilege soon gave rise to a quarrel between
the knights and the clergy of Jerusalem,---who naturally took it ill,
that so important a source of revenue, as the tithes on the
possessions of the order of St. John no doubt constituted, should thus
be stopped. The patriarch reproached the grand master with abusing his
privilege, and, at last, grew so embittered, that he drew up a charge
against him, of acts of aggression on the rights of the oriental
church,--for example: "That the Hospitallers allowed all such persons
to attend their church as were excommunicated by the bishops, and did
not even refuse such outcasts the holy sacrament and extreme unction
when dying, as well as Christian burial when dead; that when, for some
great crime, silence was imposed on the churches of a town or
district, the knights were always the first to ring their bells, and
call the people, on whom the interdict was laid, to Mass, for no other
purpose, than to get the offerings and fees, which otherwise would
accrue to the parish church; that the priests of St. John did not, on
their ordination, present themselves, according to ancient custom,
before the bishop of the diocese, to ask his permission to do duty
therein; that the bishop was never advised of the lawful or unlawful
suspension of a priest; lastly, that the knights of St. John
absolutely refused to pay tithes on their property." From these
general charges the patriarch next descended to particular ones of
affronts to himself,--for instance: "That, as the hospital of St. John
stood opposite the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the knights had
erected their buildings on a scale of magnificence superior to the
latter church, purely out of a feeling to insult the patriarch;
moreover, that, when the patriarch ascended according to traditional
usage, the place of our Saviour's passion, to absolve the people from
their sins and preach to them, the Hospitallers invariably set all
their bells a-ringing with such violence, as plainly proved that they
meant to drown his voice and interrupt him in the performance of his
duty; that when he had often complained to the citizens of this
misconduct, and these had expostulated with the perpetrators, the
latter only replied, that they would yet play him worse turns; that
they had, in fact, kept their word; for they had shot arrows at him in
the church itself, while celebrating there the divine offices. These
arrows he (the patriarch) had caused to be picked up, and exposed in a
bundle on Mount Calvary as a memorial." [2]

With these charges the patriarch, attended by other oriental prelates,
set out for Italy, to lay his case before the pope. After running many
perils by reason of the war, then going on between the pope and the
king of Sicily, the party at last reached Beneventum. The trial that
took place lasted several days; when the result of the pleadings for
and against was, that Adrian became convinced of the hollowness of the
accusations, laid by the patriarch against the knights of St. John,
and, therefore, refused to grant the redress sought for,--namely, to
annul the patent of privileges conferred by Anastasius. William of
Tyre,--who describes the transaction as a partisan of the
patriarch,--plainly says that the pope took bribes to decide as he
did. But Pagi [3] denies this flatly, and affirms that Adrian
proceeded in this, as well as in every other act of his authority,
conscientiously and disinterestedly. Indeed, it is rather unfortunate
for William of Tyre, that of the three cardinals, whom he alone
excepts from the charge of bribery, two, namely, Octavian, and John
of St. Martin,--afterwards figured as principal actors in the
scandalous schism which rent the Church after Adrian's death: the
first as Frederic Barbarossa's anti-pope, under the name of Victor
IV. in opposition to Alexander III. the lawful pope; the second as
Victor's legate, and as chief supporter, after his death, of
Anacletus III., whom the emperor next started against Alexander.
Peter of Blois, too, in his letter [4] to cardinal Papiensis,
describes Octavian as having passed his whole life in amassing
riches wherewith to disturb the Church, and as having been but
too successful in corrupting a powerful party in the Roman curia
to his views.

It had always been a leading concern of the popes to heal the schism
between Constantinople and Rome. Adrian did his part, though
fruitlessly, towards so great a work. Shortly after his accession, he
sent to the Emperor Constantine legates on the subject, who also
carried a letter from the pope to Basilius, bishop of
Thessalonica,--one of the most influential and well disposed prelates,
at that day, in the east. This letter was to request his co-operation
in bringing about the re-union of the severed Churches. Basilius made
answer, that unity might easily be restored, as no essential
difference of belief existed between the two communions; in both of
which one and the same doctrine was taught, and one and the same Lamb,
namely Christ, offered up for the sins of the world; though without
doubt, some minor discrepancies existed between the two, whose removal
however belonged wholly to the pope: who, as he had the will had also
the power, no less than our Saviour himself, to unite into _one_ what
stood now so widely separated. Basilius would thus seem, to have been
of opinion that he was in no wise cut off from the Catholic Church,
notwithstanding the oriental might differ in certain rites from the
western Church. [5]

It was an old and gross abuse of the age, that the nobles asserted the
right to seize the effects of a bishop on his death. This abuse did
not escape severe censure, from several synods. But Pope Adrian, it
was, who condemned it the most effectually, by his bull to
Berengarius, archbishop of Narbonne, (A. D. 1156,) on occasion of
Ermengarda, Viscountess of Narbonne, renouncing the abuse in favour of
that prelate, which renunciation, the papal bull was issued to
confirm. In the year 1150, Raymond, count of Barcelona, made a similar
renunciation by charter, when about to go on a distant and perilous
journey. In it he says: "I hereby promise to God, to abolish the
detestable custom which has hitherto prevailed in my states,--to wit,
the custom whereby my bailiffs plundered the goods of a bishop when he
died:--a proceeding which I own to be contrary to divine and human
laws; wherefore, I renounce the said custom, and order that for the
future, if any thing be found in the house or grounds of a bishop
deceased, it shall be reserved for his successor." [6]

[1] Polycraticus, &c. lib. 6, cap, 24, and lib. 8, cap. 23.

[2] William of Tyre, lib. 18. cap. 3 & 7.

[3] Brev. Pontif. Rom. Annus 1154.

[4] No. 48.

[5] Pagi, ibid.

[6] Fleury, Livre 76.


The peace, which Adrian had concluded with the king of Sicily, was
soon seized by Frederic Barbarossa as the pretext for a new quarrel
with the Church. The grounds on which the German despot professed to
be aggrieved were as follow: a predecessor of his, Lothair II., had in
his Italian war, in the foregoing century, obliged the king of Sicily
to own the feudal superiority of Germany over Apulia. Pope Innocent
II., who protested against this proceeding as a violation of his
rights, could only so far induce Lothair to respect them, as to agree
to let their lawful owner for the future jointly exercise them with
their lawless usurper. So that, when the Sicilian King, as Duke of
Apulia, should be presented, at the ceremony of his installation, with
a flag, the Pope was to hold the pole with one hand, and the Emperor
with the other.

Frederic Barbarossa renewed this right of joint lordship over Apulia
by a concordat with Eugenius III., in which he expressly stipulated
not to make any treaty with the king of Sicily, without the previous
consent of the Pope, who, however, was not required to enter into any
such obligation towards the German monarch.

And yet Frederic now put on the face of an injured man, declaring
that what had not been stipulated, had yet always been taken for
granted; and that Adrian, by making peace with King William, unknown
to the emperor, had flagrantly violated the concordat. In the height
of his ill-will, an incident fell out which gave free vent to his
animosity against the pope.

To settle his power in Burgundy, he summoned a Diet of the Empire to
meet at Besancon, in October, 1157. This Diet was numerously and
splendidly attended, not only by German but by foreign princes and
ambassadors from all parts of Europe; among the rest, by two
cardinals, namely, Roland and Bernard, as legates from the pope. The
emperor received their credentials in his oratory, where he gave them
a special audience; at which they also presented him a letter from
Adrian, who complained in it of the impunity with which Frederic had
allowed certain marauding knights to detain and plunder Eskill,
Archbishop of Lund, while travelling through Burgundy to his diocese.
In chiding him for so faithless a discharge of his duty, as sworn
champion of the Roman Church, the pope reminded the emperor of the
favours he owed that Church, especially mentioning among them his
imperial crown: "not that she repented of having so far obliged him,
on the contrary, she would rejoice if she could confer on him still
greater benefits."

As Frederic listened to this letter, which his chancellor Raynald read
up to him, he reddened with anger at that part of it which spoke of
his crown as a gift of the Church; but at the word "benefits" he could
not control himself, for, by this word he insisted, in the blindness
of passion, that the pope meant to assert that the empire was a feoff
of the Holy See.

The fact was, the original word _beneficium_ did signify, in the
corrupt Latin of the middle ages, a feoff as well as a benefit in
general; and this was enough for the emperor's humour, who would
listen to no explanation from the legates, that the word was used, not
in its technical, but its classical sense. In the heat of the dispute
which ensued, Cardinal Roland,--afterwards Pope Alexander
III.--exclaimed: "From whom then hath the Emperor his dignity, if not
from the Pope?" Whereupon, the Count Palatine, Otho of Bavaria, one of
the courtiers present, seized by a fit of fury, drew his sword, and
rushed towards the cardinal; but was checked in his purpose by Frederic,
who threw himself between the two; and then closed the audience by
ordering the legates to be escorted back to Rome, with injunctions not
to deviate from the directest line of route, nor to tarry in any
ecclesiastical domain through which they might pass.

Historians are agreed that Adrian had no intention, in the present
case, of practically asserting,--as Frederic in his politic wrath said
he did,--the feudal superiority in question. The English pope,
however, was not the less a stickler for that superiority in theory,
as well as Cardinal Roland and the rest of the hierarchy;--a
superiority which Pope Gregory VII. supported by the feelings and
convictions of Christendom at his day, taught as follows: that the
Pope, as Vicar on earth of our Lord in heaven, ought to stand superior
over every human power; and sought to realize it as the only means of
reforming the frightful disorders of that age.

Frederic Barbarossa, on the other hand, took, as was natural to a man
like him, bent on crushing the spiritual beneath the temporal power,
the opposite side of the question;--a side which was just as repugnant
to the feeling of the overwhelming majority of Christendom then, as it
was a century before; nay, which was at variance with his own
conscience, if one may judge from his conduct at a later period, when,
abandoned by fortune, and his pride humbled in the dust, he was driven
to hearken to its voice. For the present, he proclaimed the only
doctrine which his pride could brook, namely,--that he held his crown
from God alone, to whose Servant, the Pope, it simply belonged to
perform the ceremony of coronation. This doctrine of his imperial
dignity he caused to be stated in a circular, which he addressed to
all the provinces of Germany in vindication of his behaviour towards
the papal legates:--a measure rendered imperative by the religious
temper of the age. In this circular, [1] he denounces all, who differ
from its views, as enemies of the doctrine of our Lord and His
Apostles, as, in short, their slanderers; and, among other
extravagancies of his virulence, declares that one cause, among the
rest, why he so unceremoniously dismissed the legates, was the
discovery which he had made of blank papers in their possession, ready
signed and sealed; which they could fill up at pleasure, and which
were meant to empower them to dismantle the altars, plunder the sacred
vessels, and deface the crucifixes in the German churches. He further
informs the bishops of Germany, that _he_, and _he_ alone, it is who
really strives to protect their liberties against the Roman See, whose
yoke they groaned under.

Those, however, to whom this consoling piece of news was sent, knew
but too well what a mockery the word liberty was in the mouth of a man
who like Frederic had long ago trampled on the Concordat of Worms, and
who disposed of the benefices of the Church after the arbitrary manner
of Henry IV., to subserve his political ends.

As companion-piece to his circular, Frederic published an edict
forbidding, in future, all correspondence between his clergy and Rome.

The account which the cardinals Roland and Bernard gave, on their
arrival at Rome, of the way in which they had been treated by
Frederic, created a lively sensation at the papal court. The imperial
party in the conclave sought to exculpate their patron in the face of
the reproaches heaped upon him, by ascribing all the blame to the
ignorance and mismanagement of the legates. In the midst of the
conflicting opinions of his clergy, Pope Adrian deeply felt the
indignity which he had suffered in the persons of his representatives,
but did not allow himself to be betrayed into any violent
manifestation of displeasure; on the contrary, after the first
excitement of his feelings was over, he wisely resolved to do all in
his power to conciliate the emperor, without derogating from his own
dignity. To this end he wrote a brief, of which the substance is as
follows, to all the archbishops and bishops of Germany:

"As often as anything is attempted in the Church contrary to the honor
of God and the salvation of souls, it should be the care of our
brother bishops, and of all who profess to act according to the Holy
Spirit, to chastise such deeds as have been wickedly done, in a manner
pleasing to God. Our illustrious son Frederic, Emperor of the Romans,
we say it with profound sorrow, hath lately done what, so far as we
know, is without example in the times of his predecessors. For, on our
sending him two of our worthiest brethren,--namely, Cardinals Bernard
of St. Clement and Roland of St. Mark, our chancellor,--he appeared at
first to receive them with cordiality; but the next day, when they
read to him our letter, he broke out into such violence of passion at
a certain expression contained therein, namely, 'We have conferred on
thee the benefit of the crown,' that it is lamentable to think of the
reproaches which he is said to have cast at them, of the insults which
he obliged them to bear from him, of the dishonourable manner in which
he dismissed them from his presence, and drove them out of his states.
And then he issued an edict, forbidding you to leave the kingdom to
visit the Apostolic See. Concerning which things, though we are much
troubled, yet we derive the greatest consolation from this, that he
did not go to such lengths by your advice or by that of his princes.
Wherefore, we feel assured, that by your advice it will be easy to
recover him from the infatuation of his mind. For which reason,
Brethren, since it is plain that in this matter not only our, but your
cause, and that of the entire Church is at stake, we exhort you in the
Lord to oppose yourselves as a wall before the house of God, and to
spare no pains in reclaiming as soon as possible our said son to the
right path; taking especial care, at the same time, that Raynald, his
chancellor, and the Count Palatine, who dared to vomit out the
greatest blasphemies against our said legates and the Roman Church,
make full and public satisfaction, to the end, that as many ears were
wounded by their virulent speech, so many may be reclaimed by their
return to the right path. And let our said son reflect on past and
present events, and enter on that path along which it is known that
Justinian and other Catholic emperors walked; as, by following their
example, he will not fail to obtain honor on earth and happiness in
heaven. You, too, should you succeed in reclaiming him, will at once
offer a grateful tribute of obedience to St. Peter, and assert your
own and the Church's liberty. At all events, our illustrious son will
learn from your admonitions,--will learn from the infallible
Gospel,--that the most holy Roman Church, built by God's hand on a
most firm rock, however much she may be shaken by the winds, will yet
endure throughout all ages under the Lord's protection."

This brief threw those to whom it was addressed into no small
perplexity; for while, on the one hand, they secretly leaned to the
cause of the Church, they had become on the other so cowed and
truckling under the iron despotism of the emperor, that they felt
themselves unequal to the task of responding to the pope as their duty
prompted; so that they resolved, after some deliberation on the
subject, to lay the brief before Frederic, and to square their reply
according to his remarks. These were a tissue of the most contemptible
subterfuges and trifling,--as for example, "that he had issued no
edict against his clergy passing into Italy as pilgrims, and all
others that wished to go thither, on reasonable grounds, attested by
their bishops, could still do so; that he was chiefly actuated in his
proceedings by the wish to correct those abuses under which his
churches were overtaxed, and the discipline of his convents almost
ruined; that, though God had raised the Church by means of the state,
yet the Church now sought to overthrow the state--a requital which he
(Frederic) viewed as by no means divine; that the evil designs of the
Church against the Empire were not only proved by her writings, but by
the pictures, which, contrary to the imperial wishes, were allowed to
continue undefaced at Rome, under one of which, representing the
Emperor Conrad kneeling to the Pope, and receiving the crown, an
inscription asserted that he did so as the vassal of his Holiness."
For the rest, the bishops begged of the pope to appease their
sovereign by apologetic letters, so that the Church might continue at
peace, and the Empire lose none of its dignity.

Adrian smiled at the perverse spirit of pride which this reply from
the German hierarchy showed Frederic to be possessed of; and took only
the firmer resolution to get the better of him, by opposing a calm
dignity to his passion. He accordingly selected Cardinals Henry and
Hyacinth,--men of more experience in diplomacy than the rest of their
brethren in the conclave,--to go as legates on a new embassy to the
emperor; who in the meanwhile had arrived at Augsburg to review his
troops, previous to his second invasion of Italy. The two cardinals,
after being plundered and imprisoned on their passage of the Alps,
into Tyrol, by robber knights, who infested those parts, and, aware of
the quarrel between the emperor and the pope, thought they might thus
turn it to account; but were severely punished for their pains by
Henry, duke of Bavaria, who freed the sufferers; enabled them to reach
Augsburg in safety; where they had audience of the emperor.

The brief which they read to him from the pope, expressed the sorrow
of his Holiness at finding how greatly the term "beneficium" had been
misunderstood, and declared that no other than its ordinary meaning in
the Latin language was intended by it, and that the meaning of feoff
had not for a moment been entertained. Moreover, the word "contulimus"
in speaking of "conferring" the crown, was explained to have meant,
not that his Holiness had done so as though the emperor were his
vassal, but that he had simply set it on the emperor's head; an act
whereby it might be supposed that, at least, a feeling of thankfulness
and goodwill would be produced.

The brief ascribed to maliciously disposed persons the wrong
interpretations given to the pope's words, which had so deeply
incensed the emperor; and concluded by recommending to his good favour
the legates now accredited to him.

Frederic professed himself pacified by this brief; and, as soon as
some other points of difference were at his request satisfactorily
settled, he embraced the cardinals in token of his reconciliation with
the pope; and loaded them with such rich presents that they returned
home in the best humour.

[1] Radevicus, lib. i. cap. 10.


This reconciliation lasted but a short time: for, as Adrian was not a
character to tamely submit to any invasion of his rights, he could not
long keep on terms with a man like Frederic Barbarossa.

Towards the end of 1158, Frederic, after reducing Milan, held a great
Diet on the Roncalian Plains, between Cremona and Placentia; at which,
not only his German princes and prelates, but many Italian bishops,
and nearly all the consuls of the cities of Lombardy, were present. A
papal legate also appeared. At this Diet, Frederic caused certain
doctors of Roman law from Bologna to pronounce what were, and what
were not, his legal rights in Italy. After due investigation, they
awarded to their formidable client such a monopoly of fisheries,
mines, customs, taxes, and other dues, under the name of regalities,
that hardly anything in the entire country remained over, to which the
emperor could not lay claim under that title. The consequence was,
that the various towns, dioceses, convents, and chapters saw
themselves deprived, at a blow, of rights and property which they had
long possessed, and fairly acquired. It was impossible for Adrian not
to look with the liveliest displeasure at such wholesale spoliation on
the part of his imperial son; whose victims formally submitted to
their fate out of sheer terror and impotence of resistance.

But when, in the face of former oaths and pledges to uphold and make
good all the rights and property of the Holy See, Frederic began, with
reckless effrontery, to wrong that see by investing his uncle, Duke
Guelph VI., with Tuscany and Sardinia,--in fact, with the entire
inheritance of the Countess Matilda, who, as is well known, had
bequeathed it to Gregory VII. and his successors for ever,--the pope's
right thereto having been formally acknowledged by the Emperor
Lothair;--when, moreover, Frederic began to levy tribute on other
possessions of the Church, and did so under pretence of his imperial
prerogatives in Rome; when from these temporal, he passed to spiritual
usurpations, and intruded, firstly, his chancellor, Raynald, into the
vacant see of Cologne,--contrary to the provisions of the treaty of
Worms to which he has sworn; and, secondly, his favourite, Guido of
Blandrate, into the see of Ravenna,--in direct opposition to the
pope's wishes, to whose episcopal jurisdiction, Guido, as subdeacon in
the Roman church, was exclusively subject, and by whom he was destined
for other and more suitable preferment; then, at last, Adrian's
indignation could contain itself no longer, and he addressed to the
emperor a brief, in which, under a forced calmness and moderation of
style, his soreness at the outrages committed against him is yet
plainly perceptible.

This brief was carried to the emperor by a messenger of inferior rank;
who, moreover, did not wait for an answer, but disappeared as soon as
he had delivered it. This is asserted by some to have been meant as an
insult to Frederic, who, at any rate, took care to view it as such.
Adrian, however, was surely of too lofty a character to descend to
such a petty act of spleen; and it is far more likely that the
messenger, aware of what sort of letter he was carrying, and to what
sort of person, did not care, under the circumstances, to do more than
his bare errand; but, that done, to save himself, hastened from the
very possible consequences to his poor limbs of the first ebullitions
of the imperial wrath. Be that as it may, Frederic determined to let
the pope see that he too could act as meanly and spitefully as it was
pretended his Holiness had acted; and, accordingly, he gave his
secretary orders to set in his reply the name of the emperor before
that of the pope, who, at the same time, was to be addressed in the
second person singular; contrary to etiquette, which, even in that
age, required the plural number to be used towards persons of high
rank. To this insolence of Frederic, Adrian rejoined shortly and
pithily, rating him for his irreverence to the Holy See and to St.
Peter, demonstrating to him how his present conduct belied his former
oaths, and warning him lest, in seizing that which had not been given
to him, he should lose that which had. Frederic, conscious of the
grave nature of his crimes against the Holy See, but so long as
fortune favoured him, obstinate in his pride and deaf to religious
reproach, retorted Adrian's reproof more audaciously than ever.

The imperial bully now bid the pope, in plain terms, stick to those
things which,--as he said,--Christ was the first to perform and teach.
The law of justice, said he, has restored to every one his own; and he
(Frederic) will not fail to pay the full honor due to his
predecessors, by preserving intact the dignity and crown which they
had transmitted to him. Why he was not to require feudal oaths and
service from bishops, who professed to belong simply to God, is all
the more incomprehensible to him, as Christ, the great teacher of all
men, freely paid taxes to Caesar for himself and Peter. By so doing,
proceeds Frederic, he gave thee (Adrian) an example to follow, and a
lesson of the last importance in those words: "Learn of me, for I am
meek and humble of heart." From this sacrilegious irony he passes to
vulgar abuse; and tells the pope that his legates had been turned out
of Germany, because they were not preachers but thieves, not lovers of
peace but heapers of money, not reformers of the world but insatiate
seekers of gold. Did Pope Sylvester, he asks, possess any temporal
lordship in Constantine's time? and did not the popes afterwards owe
all their temporal power to the generosity of that prince, and the
rest of Frederic's predecessors? In conclusion, he remarks that it was
because he saw the monster pride seated even in the chair of Peter,
that he felt moved to use the language he did.

This letter was well calculated to provoke Adrian's deepest
indignation; but, as he never allowed his passions to get the better
of his judgment, and always knew how to curb the liveliest movements
of personal wrath, when the interests of the Church were at stake,
heartily tired, moreover, of the petty rubs on which the dispute
between him and Frederic was by the latter ostensibly made to hinge,
he bestirred himself once more to effect a reconciliation compatible
with his duty and character. To this end, he sent an embassy of a more
stately description than had ever represented a Pope before, composed
of five cardinals, one of whom was a personal friend of Frederic, to
the emperor at Bologna; whither he had arrived soon after Easter (A.
D. 1159) to pass sentence on the Milanese, who, in the mean time, had
again sought to shake off the German yoke.

The terms which this embassy was instructed to demand as fair and
equitable, were as follows: That for the future no imperial agent
should exercise pretended imperial prerogatives in Rome, without the
foreknowledge of the Pope; that no levies on the domains of the Church
should be made by the Emperor, except when he was crowned; that the
Italian bishops should not take oaths of particular, but only of
general homage; that the possessions of the Roman church, and the
revenues of Ferrara, Massa, Fighernola, of the Matilda inheritance, of
the country between Acquapendente and Rome, of Spoleto, Sardinia, and
Corsica,--all acknowledged in the middle ages as indisputable feoffs
of the Holy See,--should be restored.

At first the emperor haughtily refused to grant these conditions;
then, on further reflection, offered to abide by the decision of a
committee of arbitration, to consist of six cardinals chosen by the
pope, and six bishops chosen by himself. But Adrian, as Frederic
foresaw and reckoned upon, at once rejected this offer, as derogatory
to the dignity of a supreme Pontiff, which, regarded by christendom as
superior to every temporal jurisdiction, could not therefore bow to
one. At the same time, he reminded the Emperor of his concordat with
Pope Eugenius, and called on him to stand to it. Frederic rejoined,
that he considered himself exonerated from it, as Adrian had been the
first to break it by his treaty of peace with the king of Sicily. That
this charge was a false one, has already been shown. The Emperor
persisted in his proposition for a committee of arbitration. As both
parties continued inflexible, all prospect of a reconciliation
vanished. Indeed, measures of a hostile character seemed on the point
of being resorted to on both sides. For while Frederic gave audience
to a republican embassy from Rome, and appeared to listen favourably
to the overtures made; Adrian openly exhorted the Lombards to
persevere in their resistance to the emperor, and formed fresh
relations with the king of Sicily. He also addressed a brief to the
archbishops of Mayence, Cologne, and Treves, in which he gives his
feelings full vent, and asserts the superiority of his dignity over
the emperor's, in the true spirit of the hierarchy of that age.

"Praised be God in the highest," writes he, "that ye remain faithful;
while the flies of Pharao, sprung from the abyss of hell, and driven
about by the whirlwind, are turned to dust, instead of darkening the
sun according to their wish. Thanks be to God, who doubtless hath
enabled you to perceive that betwixt us and the king there can be no
more fellowship. This schism caused by him will yet rebound upon his
head. Yes! he is like the dragon that would needs fly through the
midst of heaven, and draw after him by his tail the third part of the
stars; but toppled into the abyss, and left to his successors nothing
but the warning, that he who exalts himself will be humbled. Thus does
this fox--who is your hammer too--think to lay waste the Lord's
vineyard; thus does this wicked son forget all gratitude and godly
fear. Not one of his promises has he kept; everywhere has he deceived
us; and deserves, therefore, our ban, as a rebel against God, and as a
true heathen. And not only he, but also--we say it for your
warning--every one who seconds him, yea, every one who either in word
or thought agrees with him. He sets up his power as equal to ours, as
though this last were confined to a mere corner like Germany--to
Germany, which, till the Popes exalted it, passed only for the
smallest of states: did not the German kings travel about in an
oxen-drawn chariot, like any poor philosopher, till Pope Zacharias
consecrated Charles? do they not still hold their court in a forest at
Aix, whereas we reside at Rome? Even as Rome is above Aix, so are we
above that king, who boasts of his world-wide sway; while he can
hardly keep in check one of his refractory princes, or even subdue the
rude and foolish race of the Frieslanders. In short, he possesses the
empire through us; and that which we gave him,--on the supposition of
gratitude alone,--we can resume. Do ye admonish him after this manner,
and reclaim him to the right path,--to peace with us; for it will
plunge you also into ruin, if there be schism between church and

It may easily be supposed, that words like these would be ill
calculated to arrest Frederic's unprincipled career; nor, of course,
did Adrian expect they would. He rather acted now under the persuasion
that conciliation had reached its limits, inasmuch as further
concessions would dishonour his dignity, and be a dereliction of his
duty as chief pastor of the Christian Church;--the unconditional
subjection of which under the brutal sway of the civil sword, Frederic
plainly proved that it was his great aim to effect. Adrian therefore
resolved, now that every advance and self-sacrifice on his side,
consistent with reason and justice, had been made in vain, to arm
himself with those thunders which the arm of a pope only can launch,
and which the feelings of Christendom rendered so dreadful even to the
most potent and hardened offenders.

To this course he was impelled all the more as Frederic, in further
proof of his contempt of the most sacred obligations, when they stood
in the way of his ambition, shortly added to his crimes against the
Church another against public morals, by wantonly repudiating, out of
motives of state policy, his lawful empress, to marry in her stead
Beatrix of Burgundy. Any remnants of hesitation to adopt extreme
measures which Adrian might still cherish, were completely eradicated
in his mind by this crying scandal; and he at once prepared a ban of
excommunication against the emperor; but in the moment of fulminating
it, death paralysed his arm. This happened Sept. 1st, 1159, near
Anagnia, in the Campagna, and according to William of Tyre, in
consequence of a quinsy. Pagi relates that the partisans of Frederic
told a story to this effect--that Pope Adrian died by a judgment of
God, who permitted him while drinking at a well, a few days after
denouncing excommunication against the emperor, to swallow a fly,
which stuck in his throat, and could not be extracted by the surgeons,
till the patient had expired through the inflammation produced by the
accident. Adrian, however, did not excommunicate the emperor at all,
but died on the eve of doing so. His body was carried to Rome, and
entombed in a costly sarcophagus of marble, beside that of Eugenius
III., in the nave of the old basilica of St. Peter.

In the year 1607, on the demolition of this church, the body was
exhumed and found entire, as well as the pontificals in which it was
arrayed. It was re-interred under the pavement of the new basilica.

According to Pagi, Pope Adrian IV. composed Catechisms of Christian
Doctrine for the Swedes and Norwegians, a Memoir of his Mission to
those nations--_de Legatione sua_--various Homilies, and a Treatise on
the Conception of the Blessed Virgin,--performances which appear to
have perished. The work, describing his mission to the north, must
have been of great interest for the light which it no doubt threw on
the history and manners of those countries. Munter, the church
historian of Denmark, mentions that he sought to discover it at Rome,
but without success; it being supposed, if still extant, to lie buried
beneath the impracticable hoards of the Vatican.

Cardinal Boso, an Englishman, and Pope Adrian's private secretary,
whom he sent out on a mission to Portugal, wrote a life of his patron,
but so invaluable a work is also unavailable, as no trace of it now
exists. From an anecdote preserved in William of Newbridge, Adrian IV.
would seem to have pushed integrity in money matters to a harsh
extreme; and so to have proved himself the antipodes of those popes
who afterwards practised nepotism. For it is related of him, that
rather than award a pittance towards the relief of his aged and
destitute mother out of those ample revenues, which as pope he had at
his disposal, but which he did not feel himself justified in diverting
to private uses, he allowed her to subsist as best she could on the
alms of the Chapter of Canterbury. Notwithstanding the incessant
conflicts of his short career, he yet found time to do something
towards the improvement and decoration of Rome. To this end he
projected and carried out various new buildings and restorations,
consisting in churches within and without the city, in castles for the
protection of the Campagna, and in additions to the Lateran Palace.
The duration of his pontificate comprised four years and eight months.

The End.


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