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Title: The Eighteen Christian Centuries
Author: White, James
Language: English
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                                  THE
                     EIGHTEEN CHRISTIAN CENTURIES.


                                  BY
                         THE REV. JAMES WHITE,
                   AUTHOR OF A "HISTORY OF FRANCE."


                         With a Copious Index.


                  FROM THE SECOND EDINBURGH EDITION.


                               NEW YORK:
                       D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
                          549 & 551 BROADWAY.
                                 1878.



                   NOTE BY THE AMERICAN PUBLISHERS.

This valuable work, which has been received with much favour in Great
Britain, is reprinted without abridgment from the second Edinburgh
edition. The lists of names of remarkable persons in the present issue
have been somewhat enlarged, and additional dates appended, thereby
increasing the value of the book.



                               CONTENTS.


                                                                  PAGE


                            FIRST CENTURY.

  THE BAD EMPERORS                                                   9


                            SECOND CENTURY.

  THE GOOD EMPERORS.                                                41


                            THIRD CENTURY.

  ANARCHY AND CONFUSION--GROWTH OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.            65


                            FOURTH CENTURY.

  THE REMOVAL TO CONSTANTINOPLE--ESTABLISHMENT OF
  CHRISTIANITY--APOSTASY OF JULIAN--SETTLEMENT OF THE GOTHS.        83


                            FIFTH CENTURY.

  END OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE--FORMATION OF MODERN STATES--GROWTH
  OF ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY.                                     105


                            SIXTH CENTURY.

  BELISARIUS AND NARSES IN ITALY--SETTLEMENT OF THE
  LOMBARDS--LAWS OF JUSTINIAN--BIRTH OF MOHAMMED.                  123


                           SEVENTH CENTURY.

  POWER OF ROME SUPPORTED BY THE MONKS--CONQUESTS OF THE
  MOHAMMEDANS.                                                     141


                            EIGHTH CENTURY.

  TEMPORAL POWER OF THE POPES--THE EMPIRE OF CHARLEMAGNE.          171


                            NINTH CENTURY.

  DISMEMBERMENT OF CHARLEMAGNE'S EMPIRE--DANISH INVASION
  OF ENGLAND--WEAKNESS OF FRANCE--REIGN OF ALFRED.                 193


                            TENTH CENTURY.

  DARKNESS AND DESPAIR.                                            219


                           ELEVENTH CENTURY.

  THE COMMENCEMENT OF IMPROVEMENT--GREGORY THE SEVENTH--FIRST
  CRUSADE.                                                         241


                           TWELFTH CENTURY.

  ELEVATION OF LEARNING--POWER OF THE CHURCH--THOMAS
  À-BECKETT.                                                       269


                          THIRTEENTH CENTURY.

  FIRST CRUSADE AGAINST HERETICS--THE ALBIGENSES--MAGNA
  CHARTA--EDWARD I.                                                297


                          FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

  ABOLITION OF THE ORDER OF THE TEMPLARS--RISE OF MODERN
  LITERATURES--SCHISM OF THE CHURCH.                               325


                          FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

  DECLINE OF FEUDALISM--AGINCOURT--JOAN OF ARC--THE
  PRINTING-PRESS--DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.                            359


                          SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

  THE REFORMATION--THE JESUITS--POLICY OF ELIZABETH.               401


                         SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

  ENGLISH REBELLION AND REVOLUTION--DESPOTISM OF LOUIS THE
  FOURTEENTH.                                                      447


                          EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

  INDIA--AMERICA--FRANCE                                           491


  INDEX                                                            527



                          FIRST CENTURY.


Emperors.

  A.D.

      AUGUSTUS CÆSAR.

  14. TIBERIUS.

  37. CAIUS CALIGULA.

  41. CLAUDIUS.

  54. NERO. First Persecution of the Christians.

  68. GALBA.

  69. OTHO.     }

  69. VITELLIUS.}

  69. VESPASIAN.}

  79. TITUS.

  81. DOMITIAN. Second Persecution of the Christians.

  96. NERVA.

  98. TRAJAN.


Authors.

LIVY, OVID, TIBULLUS, STRABO, COLUMELLA, QUINTUS CURTIUS, SENECA,
LUCAN, PETRONIUS, SILIUS ITALICUS, PLINY THE ELDER, MARTIAL,
QUINCTILIAN, TACITUS.


Christian Fathers and Writers.

BARNABAS, CLEMENT OF ROME, HERMAS, IGNATIUS, POLYCARP.



                                  THE
                     EIGHTEEN CHRISTIAN CENTURIES.



                          THE FIRST CENTURY.

                           THE BAD EMPERORS.


Nobody disputes the usefulness of History. Many prefer it, even for
interest and amusement, to the best novels and romances. But the
extent of time over which it has stretched its range is appalling to
the most laborious of readers. And as History is growing every day,
and every nation is engaged in the manufacture of memorable events, it
is pitiable to contemplate the fate of the historic student a hundred
years hence. He is not allowed to cut off at one end, in proportion as
he increases at the other. He is not allowed to forget Marlborough,
in consideration of his accurate acquaintance with Wellington. His
knowledge of the career of Napoleon is no excuse for ignorance of
Julius Cæsar. All must be retained--victories, defeats--battles,
sieges--knights in armour, soldiers in red; the charge at Marathon,
the struggle at Inkermann--all these things, a thousand other things,
at first apparently of no importance, but growing larger and larger
as time develops their effects, till men look back in wonder that
the acorn escaped their notice which has produced such a majestic
oak,--a thousand other things still, for a moment rising in apparently
irresistible power, and dying off apparently without cause, must be
folded up in niches of the memory, ready to be brought forth when
needed, and yet room be left for the future. And who can pretend
to be qualified for so great a work? Most of us confess to rather
dim recollections of things occurring in our own time,--in our own
country--in our own parish; and some, contemplating the vast expanse
of human history, its innumerable windings and perplexing variations,
are inclined to give it up in despair, and have a sulky sort of
gratification in determining to know nothing, since they cannot
know all. All kings, they say, are pretty much alike, and whether
he is called John in England, or Louis in France, doesn't make much
difference. Nobles also are as similar as possible, and peoples are
everywhere the same. Now, this, you see, though it ambitiously pretends
to be ignorance, is, in fact, something infinitely worse. It is false
knowledge. It might be very injurious to liberty, to honour, and to
religion itself, if this wretched idea were to become common, for where
would be the inducement to noble endeavour? to reform of abuses? to
purity of life? Kings and nobles and peoples are not everywhere the
same. They are not even _like_ each other, or like themselves in the
same land at different periods. They are in a perpetual series, not
only of change, but of contrast. They are "variable as the sea,"--calm
and turbulent, brilliant and dark by turns. And it is this which
gives us the only chance of attaining clearness and distinctness
in our historic views. It is by dissimilarities that things are
individualized: now, how pleasant it would be if we could simplify and
strengthen our recollections of different times, by getting personal
portraits, as it were, of the various centuries, so as to escape the
danger of confounding their dress or features. It would be impossible
in that case to mistake the Spanish hat and feather of the sixteenth
century for the steel helmet and closed vizor of the fourteenth. We
should be able, in the same way, to distinguish between the modes of
thought and principles of action of the early ages, and those of the
present time. We should be able to point out anachronisms of feeling
and manners if they occurred in the course of our reading, as well
as of dress and language. It is surely worth while, therefore, to
make an attempt to individualize the centuries, not by affixing to
them any arbitrary marks of one's own, but by taking notice of the
distinguishing quality they possess, and grouping round that, as a
centre, the incidents which either produce this characteristic or are
produced by it. What should we call the present century, for instance?
We should at once name it the Century of Invention. The great war with
Napoleon ending in 1815, exciting so many passions, and calling forth
such energy, was but the natural introduction to the wider efforts and
amazing progress of the succeeding forty years. Battles and bulletins,
alliances and quarrels, ceased, but the intellect aroused by the
struggle dashed into other channels. Commerce spread its humanizing
influences over hitherto closed and unexplored regions; the steamboat
and railway began their wondrous career. The lightning was trained
to be our courier in the electric telegraph, and the sun took our
likenesses in the daguerreotype. How changed this century is in all its
attributes and tendencies from its predecessor, let any man judge for
himself, who compares the reigns of our first Hanoverian kings with
that of our gracious queen.

In nothing, indeed, is the course of European history so remarkable as
in the immense differences which intervals of a few years introduce.
In the old monarchies of Asia, time and the world seem almost to stand
still. The Indian, the Arab, the Chinese of a thousand years ago, wore
the same clothes, thought the same thoughts, and led the same life as
his successor of to-day. But with us the whole character of a people
is changed in a lifetime. In a few years we are whirled out of all our
associations. Names perhaps remain unaltered, but the inner life is
different; modes of living, states of education, religious sentiments,
great national events, foreign wars, or deep internal struggles--all
leave such ineffaceable marks on the history of certain periods, that
their influence can be traced through all the particulars of the time.
The art of printing can be followed, on its first introduction, into
the recesses of private life, as well as in the intercourse of nations.
The Reformation of religion so entirely altered the relations which the
states of the world bore to each other, that it may be said to have put
a limit between old history and new, so that human character itself
received a new development; and actions, both public and private, were
regulated by principles hitherto unknown.

In one respect all the past centuries are alike,--that they have done
their part towards the formation of this. We bear the impress, at this
hour, of the great thoughts and high aspirations, the struggles, and
even the crimes, of our ancestral ages; and yet they have no greater
resemblance to the present, except in the unchangeable characteristics
of human nature itself, than the remotest forefathers in a long line
of ancestry, whose likenesses hang in the galleries of our hereditary
nobles, bear to the existing owner of title and estate. The ancestor
who fought in the wars of the Roses has a very different expression
and dress from the other ancestor who cheated and lied (politically,
of course) in the days of the early Georges. Yet from both the present
proprietor is descended. He retains the somewhat rusty armour on an
ostentatious nail in the hall, and the somewhat insincere memoirs in a
secret drawer in the library, and we cannot deny that he is the joint
production of the courage of the warrior and the duplicity of the
statesman; anxious to defend what he believes to be the right, like the
supporter of York or Lancaster--but trammelled by the ties of party,
like the patriot of Sir Robert Walpole.

If we could affix to each century as characteristic a presentment as
those portraits do of the steel-clad hero of Towton, or the be-wigged,
be-buckled courtier of George the Second, our object would be gained.
We should see a whole history in a glance at a century's face. If
it were peculiarly marked by nature or accident, so much the more
easy would it be to recognise the likeness. If the century was a
warlike, quarrelsome century, and had scars across its brow; if it
was a learned, plodding century, and wore spectacles on nose; if it
was a frivolous, gay century, and simpered forever behind bouquets of
flowers, or tripped on fantastic toe with a jewelled rapier at its
side, there would be no mistaking the resemblance; there would also be
no chance of confusing the actions: the legal century would not fight,
the dancing century would not depose its king.

Taking our stand at the beginning of our era, there are only eighteen
centuries with which we have to do, and how easily any of us get
acquainted with the features and expression of eighteen of our friends!
Not that we know every particular of their birth and education, or can
enter into the minute parts of their character and feelings; but we
soon know enough of them to distinguish them from each other. We soon
can say of which of the eighteen such or such an action or opinion
is characteristic. We shall not mistake the bold deed or eloquent
statement of one as proceeding from another.

    "Boastful and rough, your first son is a squire.
     The next a tradesman, meek, and much a liar:
     Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave:
     Will sneaks a scrivener, an exceeding knave.
     Is he a churchman? then he's fond of power:
     A Quaker? sly: a Presbyterian? sour:
     A smart free-thinker? all things in an hour."

Now, though it is impossible to put the characteristics of a whole
century into such terse and powerful language as this, it cannot be
doubted that each century, or considerable period, has its prevailing
Thought,--a thought which it works out in almost all the ramifications
of its course; which it receives from its predecessor in a totally
different shape, and passes on to its successor in a still more
altered form. Else why do we find the faith of one generation the
ridicule and laughing-stock of the next? How did knighthood rise
into the heroic regions of chivalry, and then sink in a succeeding
period into the domain of burlesque? How did aristocracy in one age
concentrate into kingship in another? And in a third, how did the
golden ring of sovereignty lose its controlling power, and republics
take their rise? How did the reverence of Europe settle at one time on
the sword of Edward the Third, and at another on the periwig of Louis
the Fourteenth? These and similar inquiries will lead us to the real
principles and motive forces of a particular age, as they distinguished
it from other ages. We shall label the centuries, as it were, with
their characteristic marks, and know where to look for thoughts and
incidents of a particular class and type.

Let us look at the first century.

Throughout the civilized world there is nothing but Rome. Under
whatever form of government--under consuls, or triumvirs, or
dictators--that wonderful city was mistress of the globe. Her internal
dissensions had not weakened her power. While her streets were running
with the blood of her citizens, her eagles were flying triumphant in
Farther Asia and on the Rhine. Her old constitution had finally died
off almost without a blow, and unconsciously the people, still talking
of Cato and Brutus, became accustomed to the yoke. For seven-and-twenty
years they had seen all the power of the state concentrated in one man;
but the names of the offices of which their ancestors had been so proud
were retained; and when Octavius, the nephew of the conqueror Julius
Cæsar, placed himself above the law, it was only by uniting in his own
person all the authority which the law had created. He was consul,
tribune, prætor, pontifex, imperator,--whatever denomination conferred
dignity and power; and by the legal exercise of all these trusts he had
no rival and no check. He was finally presented by the senate with the
lofty title of Augustus, which henceforth had a mysterious significance
as the seal of imperial greatness, and his commands were obeyed without
a murmur from the Tigris to the Tyne. But whilst in the enjoyment of
this pre-eminence, the Roman emperor was unconscious that in a village
of Judea, in the lowest rank of life, among the most contemned tribe of
his dominions, his Master was born. [A.D. 1.] By this event the whole
current of the world's history was changed. The great became small and
the small great. Rome itself ceased to be the capital of the world,
for men's eyes and hearts, when the wonderful story came to be known,
were turned to Jerusalem. From her, commissioned emissaries were to
proceed with greater powers than those of Roman prætors or governors.
From her gates went forth Peter and John to preach the gospel. Down
her steep streets rode Paul and his companions, breathing anger
against the Church, and ere they reached Damascus, behold, the eyes
of the persecutor are blinded with lightning, and his understanding
illuminated with the same flash; and henceforth he proceeds, in
lowliness and humility, to convey to others the glad tidings that had
been revealed to himself. Away in all directions, but all radiating
from Jerusalem, travelled the messengers of the amazing dispensation.
Everywhere--in all centuries--in all regions, we shall encounter the
results of their ministry; and as we watch the swelling of the mighty
tide, first of Christian faith and then of priestly ambition, which
overspread the fairest portions of the globe, we shall wonder more
and more at the apparent powerlessness of its source, and at the vast
effects for good and evil which it has produced upon mankind.

What were they doing at Rome during the thirty-three years of our
Saviour's sojourn upon earth? For the first fourteen of them Augustus
was gathering round him the wits, and poets, and sages, who have made
his reign immortal. [A.D. 14.] After that date his successor, Tiberius,
built up by stealthy and slow degrees the most dreadful tyranny the
world had ever seen,--a tyranny the results of which lasted long after
the founders of it had expired. For from this period mankind had
nothing to hope but from the bounty of the emperor. It is humiliating
to reflect that the history of the world for so long a period consists
of the deeds and dispositions of the successive rulers of Rome.
All men, wherever their country, or whatever their position, were
dependent, in greater or less degree, for their happiness or misery
on the good or bad temper of an individual man. If he was cruel, as
so many of them were, he filled the patricians of Rome with fear, and
terrified the distant inhabitants of Thrace or Gaul. His benevolence,
on the other hand, was felt at the extremities of the earth. No
wonder that every one was on the watch for the first glimpse of a new
emperor's character and disposition. What rejoicings in Italy and
Greece and Africa, and all through Europe, when a trait of goodness
was reported! and what a sinking of the heart when the old story was
renewed, and a monster of cruelty succeeded to a monster of deceit!
For the fearfullest thing in all the descriptions of Tiberius is the
duplicity of his behaviour. He withdrew to an island in the sunniest
part of the Mediterranean, and covered it with gorgeous buildings,
and supplied it with all the implements of luxury and enjoyment. From
this magnificent retirement he uttered a whisper, or made a motion
with his hand, which displaced an Eastern monarch from his throne, or
doomed a senator to death. He was never seen. He lived in the dreadful
privacy of some fabled deity, and was only felt at the farthest ends
of his empire by the unhappiness he occasioned; by his murders, and
imprisonments, and every species of suffering, men's hearts and minds
were bowed down beneath this invisible and irresistible oppressor.
Self-respect was at an end, and liberty was not even wished for. The
emperor had swallowed up the empire, and there was no authority or
influence beside. This is the main feature of the first or Imperial
Century, that, wherever we look, we see but one,--one gorged and
bloated brutalized man, sitting on the throne of earthly power, and
all the rest of mankind at his feet. [A.D. 37.] Humanity at its flower
had culminated into a Tiberius; and when at last he was slain, and the
world began to breathe, the sorrow was speedily deeper than before, for
it was found that the Imperial tree had blossomed again, and that its
fruit was a Caligula.

This was a person with much the same taste for blood as his
predecessor, but he was more open in the gratification of this
propensity. He did not wait for trial and sentence,--those dim
mockeries of justice in which Tiberius sometimes indulged. He had a
peculiar way of nodding with his head or pointing with his finger,
and the executioner knew the sign. The man he nodded to died. For the
more distinguished of the citizens he kept a box,--not of snuff, like
some monarchs of the present day, but of some strong and instantaneous
poison. Whoever refused a pinch died as a traitor, and whoever took one
died of the fatal drug. [A.D. 41.] Even the degenerate Romans could
not endure this long, and Chæreas, an officer of his guard, put him to
death, after a sanguinary reign of four years.

Still the hideous catalogue goes on. Claudius, a nephew of Tiberius,
is forced upon the unwilling senate by the spoilt soldiers of the
capital, the Prætorian Guards. Colder, duller, more brutal than the
rest, Claudius perhaps increased the misery of his country by the
apathy and stupidity of his mind. The other tyrants had some limit
to their wickedness, for they kept all the powers of the State in
their own hands, but this man enlisted a countless host of favourites
and courtiers in his crusade against the happiness of mankind. Badly
eminent among these was his wife, the infamous Messalina, whose name
has become a symbol of all that is detestable in the female sex. Some
people, indeed, in reading the history of this period, shut the book
with a shudder, and will not believe it true. They prefer to think that
authors of all lands and positions have agreed to paint a fancy picture
of depravity and horror, than that such things were. But the facts are
too well proved to be doubted. We see a dull, unimpassioned, moody
despot; fond of blood, but too indolent to shed it himself, unless at
the dictation of his fiendish partner and her friends; so brutalized
that nothing amazed or disturbed him; so unobservant that, relying on
his blindness, she went through the ostentatious ceremony of a public
marriage with one of her paramours during the lifetime, almost under
the eyes, of her husband; and yet to this frightful combination of
ferocity and stupidity England owes its subjection to the Roman power,
and all the blessings which Roman civilization--bringing as it did the
lessons of Christianity in its train--was calculated to bestow. In the
forty-fourth year of this century, and the third year of the reign of
Claudius, Aulus Plautius landed in Britain at the head of a powerful
army; and the tide of Victory and Settlement never subsided till the
whole country, as far north as the Solway, submitted to the Eagles.
The contrast between the central power at Rome, and the officials
employed at a distance, continued for a long time the most remarkable
circumstance in the history of the empire. Tiberius, Caligula,
Claudius, vied with each other in exciting the terror and destroying
the happiness of the world; but in the remote extremities of their
command, their generals displayed the courage and virtue of an earlier
age. They improved as well as conquered. They made roads, and built
bridges, and cut down woods. They established military stations, which
soon became centres of education and law. They deepened the Thames,
and commenced those enormous embankments of the river, to which, in
fact, London owes its existence, without being aware of the labour
they bestowed upon the work. If by some misfortune a great fissure
took place--as has occurred on a small scale once before--in these
artificial dikes, it would task the greatest skill of modern engineers
to repair the damage. They superseded the blood-stained ceremonies of
the Druids with the more refined worship of the heathen deities, making
Claudius himself a tutelary god, with priest and temple, in the town
of Colchester; and this, though in our eyes the deification of one of
the worst of men, was, perhaps, in the estimation of our predecessors,
only the visible embodiment of settled government and beneficent power.
But murder and treachery, and unspeakable iniquity, went their way
as usual in the city of the Cæsars. Messalina was put to death, and
another disgrace to womanhood, in the person of Agrippina, took her
place beside the phlegmatic tyrant. Thirteen years had passed, when
the boundary of human patience was attained, and Rome was startled one
morning with the joyful news that her master was no more. [A.D. 54.]
The combined cares of his loving spouse and a favourite physician had
produced this happy result,--the one presenting him with a dish of
deadly mushrooms, and the other painting his throat for a hoarseness
with a poisoned feather.

Is there no hope for Rome or for mankind? Is there to be a perpetual
succession of monster after monster, with no cessation in the dreadful
line? It would be pleasant to conceal for a minute or two the name of
the next emperor, that we might point to the glorious prospect now
opening on the world. But the name has become so descriptive that
deception is impossible. When the word Nero is said, little more is
required. But it was not so at first; a brilliant sunrise never had so
terrible a course, or so dark a setting. We still see in the earlier
statues which remain of him the fine outline of his face, and can fancy
what its expression must have been before the qualities of his heart
had stamped their indelible impression on his features. For the first
five years of his reign the world seemed lost as much in surprise as in
admiration. Some of his actions were generous; none of them were cruel
or revengeful. He was young, and seemed anxious to fulfil the duties of
his position. But power and flattery had their usual effect. All that
was good in him was turned into evil. He tortured the noblest of the
citizens; and degraded the throne to such a degree by the expositions
he made of himself, sometimes as a musician on the stage, sometimes
as a charioteer in the arena, that if there had been any Romans left
they would have despised the tyrant more than they feared him. But
there were no Romans left. The senators, the knights, the populace,
vied with each other in submission to his power and encouragement of
his vices. The rage of the monster, once excited, knew no bounds. He
burned the city in the mere wantonness of crime, and fixed the blame
on the unoffending Christians. These, regardless of age or condition
or sex, he destroyed by every means in his power. He threw young
maidens into the amphitheatre, where the hungry tigers leapt out upon
them; he exposed the aged professors of the gospel to fight in single
combat with the trained murderers of the circus, called the Gladiators;
and once, in ferocious mockery of human suffering, he enclosed whole
Christian families in a coating of pitch and other inflammable
materials, and, setting fire to the covering, pursued his sport all
night by the light of these living flambeaux. Some of his actions it
is impossible to name. It will be sufficient to say that at the end of
thirteen years the purple he disgraced was again reddened with blood.
Terrified at the opposition that at last rose against him--deserted, of
course, by the confederates of his wickedness--shrinking with unmanly
cowardice from a defence which might have put off the evil day, he
fled and hid himself from his pursuers. Agonized with fear, howling
with repentant horror, he was indebted to one of his attendants for
the blow which his own cowardly hand could not administer, and he
died the basest, lowest, and most pitiless of all the emperors. And
all those hopes he had disappointed, and all those iniquities he had
perpetrated, at the age of thirty-two. He was the last of the line
of Cæsar; and if that conqueror had foreseen that in so few years
after his death the Senate of Rome would have been so debased, and the
people of Rome so brutalized, he would have pardoned to Brutus the
precautionary blow which was intended to prevent so great a calamity.

[A.D. 68.]

Galba was elected to fill his place, and was murdered in a few months.

The degraded prætorians then elevated one of the companions of Nero's
guilty excesses to the throne in the person of Otho, but resistance was
made to their selection. [A.D. 69.] The forces in Germany nominated
Vitellius to the supreme authority; and Otho, either a voluptuary tired
of life, or a craven incapable of exertion, committed suicide to save
the miseries of civil war. But this calamity was averted by a nobler
hand. Vitellius had only time to show that, in addition to the usual
vices of the throne, he was addicted to the animal enjoyments of eating
and drinking to an almost incredible degree, when he heard a voice from
the walls of Jerusalem which hurled him from the seat he had so lately
taken; for the legions engaged in that most memorable of sieges had
decided on giving the empire of the world to the man who deserved it
best, and had proclaimed their general, Flavius Vespasian, Imperator
and Master of Rome.

[A.D. 70.]

Now we will pause, for we have come to the year seventy of this
century, and a fit breathing-time to look round us and see what
condition mankind has fallen into within a hundred years of the end of
the Republic. We leave out of view the great empires of the farther
East, where battles were won, and dynasties established on the plains
of Hindostan, and within the Chinese Wall. The extent of our knowledge
of Oriental affairs is limited to the circumference of the Roman
power. Following that vast circle, we see it on all sides surrounded by
tribes and nations who derive their sole illumination from its light,
for unless the Roman conquests had extended to the confines of those
barbaric states, we should have known nothing of their existence.
Beyond that ring of fire it is almost matter of conjecture what must
have been going on. Yet we learn from the traditions of many peoples,
and can guess with some accuracy from the occurrences of a later
period, what was the condition of those "outsiders," and what were
their feelings and intentions with regard to the civilized portions of
the world. Bend your eyes in any direction you please, and what names,
what thoughts, suggest themselves to our minds! We see swarms of wild
adventurers with wives and cattle traversing with no definite object
the uncultivated districts beyond the Danube; occasionally pitching
their tents, or even forming more permanent establishments, around
the roots of Caucasus and north of the Caspian Sea, where grass was
more plentiful, and hills or marshes formed an easily defended barrier
against enemies as uncivilized as themselves. Coming from no certain
region--that is, forgetting in a few years of wandering the precise
point from which they set out, pushed forward by the advancing waves
of great national migrations in their rear--moving onward across the
upper fields of Europe, but keeping themselves still cautiously from
actual contact with the Roman limits, from those hordes of homeless,
lawless savages are derived the most polished and greatest nations
of the present day. Forming into newer combinations, and taking
different names, their identity is scarcely to be recognised when,
three or four centuries after this, they come into the daylight of
history; but nobody can doubt that, during these preliminary ages,
they were gathering their power together, hereafter, under the
impulse of fresh additions, to be hurled like a dammed-up river upon
the prostrate realm, carrying ruin and destruction in their course,
but no less certainly than the overflowing Nile leaving the germs of
future fertility, and enriching with newer vegetation the fields they
had so ruthlessly submerged. And year by year the mighty mass goes on
accumulating. The northern plains become peopled no one knows how. The
vast forests eastward of the Rhine receive new accessions of warriors,
who rapidly assimilate with the old. United in one common object of
retaining the wild freedom of their tribe, and the possession of the
lands they have seized, they have opposed the advance of the Roman
legions into the uncultivated districts they call their own; they
have even succeeded in destroying the military forces which guarded
the Rhine, and have with difficulty been restrained from crossing
the great river by a strong line of forts and castles, of which the
remains astonish the traveller of the present day, as, with Murray's
Guide-Book in his hand, he gazes upon their ruins between Bingen and
Aix-la-Chapelle.

Repelled by these barriers, they cluster thicker than ever in the woods
and valleys, to which the Romans have no means of penetrating. Southern
Gaul submits, and becomes a civilized outpost of the central power; but
far up in the wild regions of the north, and even to the eastward of
the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland, the assemblage goes on. Scandinavia
itself becomes over-crowded by the perpetual arrival of thousands of
these armed and expatriated families, and sends her teeming populations
to the east and south. But all these incidents, I must remind you,
are occurring in darkness. We only know that the desert is becoming
peopled with crowded millions, and that among them all there floats
a confused notion of the greatness of the Roman power, the wealth
of the cities and plains of Italy; and that, clustering in thicker
swarms on the confines of civil government, the watchful eyes of
unnumbered savage warriors are fixed on the territories lying rich
and beautiful within the protection of the Roman name. So the whole
Roman boundary gets gradually surrounded by barbaric hosts. Their
trampings may be heard as they marshal their myriads and skirt the
upper boundaries of Thrace; but as yet no actual conflict has occurred.
A commotion may become observable among some of the farthest distant
of the half intimidated of the German tribes; or an enterprising
Roman settler beyond the frontier, or travelling merchant, who has
penetrated to the neighbourhood of the Baltic, may bring back amazing
reports of the fresh accumulations of unknown hordes of strange and
threatening aspect; but the luxurious public in Rome receive them
merely as interesting anecdotes to amuse their leisure or gratify their
curiosity: they have no apprehension of what may be the result of those
multitudinous arrivals. They do not foresee the gradual drawing closer
to their outward defences--the struggle to get within their guarded
lines--the fight that is surely coming between a sated, dull, degraded
civilization on the one side, and a hungry, bold, ambitious savagery
on the other. They trust every thing to the dignity of the Eternal
City, and the watchfulness of the Emperor: for to this, his one idea
of irresistible power equally for good or evil, the heart of the Roman
was sure to turn. And for the eleven years of the reigns of Vespasian
and Titus, the Roman did not appeal for protection against a foreign
enemy in vain. Rome itself was compensated by shows and buildings--with
a triumph and an arch--for the degradation in which it was held. But
prætor and proconsul still pursued their course of oppressing the
lands committed to their defence; and the subject, stripped of his
goods, and hopeless of getting his wrongs redressed, had only the
satisfaction of feeling that the sword he trembled at was in the hand
of a man and not of an incarnate demon. A poor consolation this when
the blow was equally fatal. Vespasian, in fact, was fonder of money
than of blood, and the empire rejoiced in having exchanged the agony of
being murdered for the luxury of being fleeced. [A.D. 79.] With Titus,
whom the fond gratitude of his subjects named the Delight of the human
race, a new age of happiness was about to open on the world; but all
the old horrors of the Cæsars were revived and magnified when he was
succeeded, after a reign of two years, by his brother, the savage and
cowardly Domitian. [A.D. 81.] With the exception of the brief period
between the years 70 and 81, the whole century was spent in suffering
and inflicting pain. The worst excesses of Nero and Caligula were now
imitated and surpassed. The bonds of society became rapidly loosened.
As in a shipwreck, the law of self-preservation was the only rule.
No man could rely upon his neighbour, or his friend, or his nearest
of kin. There were spies in every house, and an executioner at every
door. An unconsidered word maliciously reported, or an accusation
entirely false, brought death to the rich and great. To the unhappy
class of men who in other times are called the favourites of fortune,
because they are born to the possession of great ancestral names and
hereditary estates, there was no escape from the jealous and avaricious
hatred of the Emperor. If a patrician of this description lived in the
splendour befitting his rank--he was currying favour with the mob! If
he lived retired--he was trying to gain reputation by a pretence of
giving up the world! If he had great talents--he was dangerous to the
state! If he was dull and stupid--oh! don't believe it--he was only an
imitative Brutus, concealing his deep designs under the semblance of
fatuity! If a man of distinguished birth was rich, it was not a fitting
condition for a subject--if he was poor, he was likely to be seduced
into the wildest enterprises. So the prisons were filled by calumny and
suspicion, and emptied by the executioner. A dreadful century this--the
worst that ever entered into tale or history; for the memory of former
glories and comparative freedom was still recent. A man who was sixty
years old, in the midst of the terrors of Tiberius, had associated
in his youth with the survivors of the Civil War, with men who had
embraced Brutus and Cassius; he had seen the mild administration of
Augustus, and perhaps had supped with Virgil and Horace in the house
of Mæcenas. And now he was tortured till he named a slave or freedman
of the Emperor his heir, and then executed to expedite the succession.
There was a hideous jocularity in some of these imperial proceedings,
which, however, was no laughing-matter at the time. When a senator was
very wealthy, it was no unusual thing for Tiberius and his successors
to create themselves the rich man's nearest relations by a decree of
the Senate. The person so honoured by this graft upon his family tree
seldom survived the operation many days. The emperor took possession of
the property as heir-at-law and next of kin; and mourned for his uncle
or brother--as the case might be--with the most edifying decorum.

But besides giving the general likeness of a period, it is necessary
to individualize it still further by introducing, in the background of
the picture, some incident by which it is peculiarly known, as we find
Nelson generally represented with Trafalgar going on at the horizon,
and Wellington sitting thoughtful on horseback in the foreground of the
fire of Waterloo. Now, there cannot be a more distinguishing mark than
a certain great military achievement which happened in the year 70 of
this century, and is brought home to us, not only as a great historical
event in itself, but as the commencement of a new era in human affairs,
and the completion of a long line of threats and prophecies. This was
the capture and destruction of Jerusalem. The accounts given us of this
siege transcend in horror all other records of human sorrow. It was at
the great annual feast of the Passover, when Jews from all parts of the
world flocked to the capital of their nation to worship in the Temple,
which to them was the earthly dwelling-place of Jehovah. The time was
come, and they did not know it, when God was to be worshipped in spirit
and in truth. More than a million strangers were resident within the
walls. There was no room in house or hall for so vast a multitude; so
they bivouacked in the streets, and lay thick as leaves in the courts
of the holy place. Suddenly the Roman trumpets blew. The Jews became
inspired with fanatical hatred of the enemy, and insane confidence that
some miracle would be wrought for their deliverance. They deliberated,
and chose for their leaders the wildest and most enthusiastic of the
crowd. They refused the offers of mercy and reconciliation made to
them by Titus. They sent back insulting messages to the Roman general,
and stood expectant on the walls to see the idolatrous legions smitten
by lightning or swallowed up by an earthquake. But Titus advanced his
forces and hemmed in the countless multitude of men, and women, and
children--few able to resist, but all requiring to be fed. Famine and
pestilence came on; but still the mad fanatics of the Temple determined
to persevere. They occasionally opened a gate and rushed out with the
cry of "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" and were slaughtered
by the unpitying hatred of the Roman soldiers. Their cruelty to
their prisoners, when they succeeded in carrying off a few of their
enemies, was great; but the patience of Titus at last gave way, and
he soon bettered the instruction they gave him in pitilessness and
blood. He drew a line of circumvallation closer round the city, and
intercepted every supply; when deserters came over, he crucified them
all round the trenches; when the worn-out people came forth, imploring
to be suffered to pass through his ranks, he drove them back, that
they might increase the scarcity by their lives, or the pestilence
by adding to the heaps of unburied dead. Dissensions were raging all
this time among the defenders themselves. They fought in the streets,
in the houses, and heaped the floor and outcourts of the Temple with
thousands of the slain. There was no help either from heaven or earth;
eleven hundred thousand people had died of plague and the sword; and
the rest were doomed to perish by more lingering torments. Nearest
relations--sisters, brothers, fathers, wives--all forgot the ties of
natural affection under this great necessity, and fought for a handful
of meal, or the possession of some reptile's body if they were lucky
enough to trace it to its hiding-place; and at last--the crown of all
horrors--the daughter of Eleazer killed her own child and converted it
into food. The measure of man's wrong and Heaven's vengeance was now
full. The daily sacrifice ceased to be offered; voices were audible
to the popular ear uttering in the Holy of Holies, "Let us go hence."
The Romans rushed on--climbed over the neglected walls--forced their
way into the upper Temple, and the gore flowed in streams so rapid and
so deep that it seemed like a purple river! Large conduits had been
made for the rapid conveyance away of the blood of bulls and goats
offered in sacrifice; they all became choked now with the blood of
the slaughtered people. At last the city was taken; the inhabitants
were either dead or dying. Many were crushed as they lay expiring in
the great tramplings of the triumphant Romans; many were recovered by
food and shelter, and sold into slavery. The Temple and walls were
levelled with the ground, and not one stone was left upon another. The
plough passed over where palace and tower had been, and the Jewish
dispensation was brought to a close.

History in ancient days was as exclusive as the court newsman in ours,
and never published the movements of anybody below a senator or a
consul. All the Browns and Smiths were left out of consideration; and
yet to us who live in the days when those families--with the Joneses
and Robinsons--form the great majority both in number and influence,
it would be very interesting to have any certain intelligence of their
predecessors during the first furies of the Empire. We have but faint
descriptions even of the aristocracy, but what we hear of them shows,
more clearly than any thing else, the frightful effect on morals and
manliness of so uncontrolled a power as was vested in the Cæsars, and
teaches us that the worst of despotisms is that which is established by
the unholy union of the dregs of the population and the ruling power,
against the peace and happiness and security of the middle class. You
see how this combination of tyrant and mob succeeded in crushing all
the layers of society which lay between them, till there were left
only two agencies in all the world--the Emperor on his throne, and the
millions fed by his bounty. The hereditary nobility--the safest bulwark
of a people and least dangerous support of a throne--were extirpated
before the end of the century, and impartiality makes us confess that
they fell by their own fault. As if the restraints of shame had been
thrown off with the last hope of liberty, the whole population broke
forth into the most incredible licentiousness. If the luxury of
Lucullus had offended the common sense of propriety in the later days
of the republic, there were numbers now who looked back upon his feasts
as paltry entertainments, and on the wealth of Croesus as poverty. The
last of the Pompeys, in the time of Caligula, had estates so vast, that
navigable rivers larger than the Thames performed the whole of their
course from their fountain-head to the sea without leaving his domain.
There were spendthrifts in the time of Tiberius who lavished thousands
of pounds upon a supper. The pillage of the world had fallen into the
hands of a few favoured families, and their example had introduced a
prodigality and ostentation unheard of before. No one who regarded
appearances travelled anywhere without a troop of Numidian horsemen,
and outriders to clear the way. He was followed by a train of mules
and sumpter-horses loaded with his vases of crystal--his richly-carved
cups and dishes of silver and gold. But this profusion had its natural
result in debt and degradation. The patricians who had been rivals of
the imperial splendour became dependants on the imperial gifts; and the
grandson of the conqueror of a kingdom, or the proconsul of the half of
Asia, sold his ancestral palace, lived for a while on the contemptuous
bounty of his master, and sank in the next generation into the nameless
mass. Others, more skilful, preserved or improved their fortunes while
they rioted in expense. By threats or promises, they prevailed on
the less powerful to constitute them their heirs; they traded on the
strength, or talents, or the beauty of their slaves, and lent money
at such usurious interest that the borrower tried in vain to escape
the shackles of the law, and ended by becoming the bondsman of the
kind-hearted gentleman who had induced him to accept the loan.

If these were the habits of the rich, how were the poor treated? The
free and penniless citizens of the capital were degraded and gratified
at the same time. The wealthy vied with each other in buying the favour
of the mob by shows and other entertainments, by gifts of money and
donations of food. But when these arts failed, and popularity could
no longer be obtained by merely defraying the expense of a combat of
gladiators, the descendants of the old patricians--of the men who
had bought the land on which the Gauls were encamped outside the
gates of Rome--went down into the arena themselves and fought for
the public entertainment. Laws indeed were passed even in the reign
of Tiberius, and renewed at intervals after that time, against this
shameful degradation, and the stage was interdicted to all who were
not previously declared infamous by sentence of a court. But all was
in vain. Ladies of the highest rank, and the loftiest-born of the
nobility, actually petitioned for a decree of defamation, that they
might give themselves up undisturbed to their favourite amusement. This
perhaps added a zest to their enjoyment, and rapturous applauses must
have hailed the entrance of the beautiful grandchild of Anthony or
Agrippa, in the character and drapery of a warlike amazon--the louder
the applause and greater the admiration. Yet in order to gratify them
with such a sight, she had descended to the level of the convict, and
received the brand of qualifying disgrace from a legal tribunal. But
the faint barrier of this useless prohibition was thrown down by the
policy and example of Domitian. The emperor himself appeared in the
arena, and all restraint was at an end. Rather, there was a fury of
emulation to copy so great a model, and "Rome's proud dames, whose
garments swept the ground," forgot more than ever their rank and
sex, and were proud, like their lovers and brothers, not merely to
mount the stage in the lascivious costume of nymph or dryad, but to
descend into the blood-stained lists of the Coliseum and murder each
other with sword and spear. There is something strangely horrible in
this transaction, when we read that it occurred for the first time in
celebration of the games of Flora--the goddess of flowers and gardens,
who, in old times, was worshipped under the blossomed apple-trees in
the little orchards surrounding each cottage within the walls, and was
propitiated with children's games and chaplets hung upon the boughs.
But now the loveliest of the noble daughters of the city lay dead upon
the trampled sand. What was the effect upon the populace of these
extraordinary shows?

Always stern and cruel, the Roman was now never satisfied unless with
the spectacle of death. Sometimes in the midst of a play or pantomime
the fierce lust of blood would seize him, and he would cry out for a
combat of gladiators or nobles, who instantly obeyed; and after the
fight was over, and the corpses removed, the play would go on as if
nothing had occurred. The banners of the empire still continued to bear
the initial letters of the great words--the Senate and people of Rome.
We have now, in this rapid survey, seen what both those great names
have come to--the Senate crawling at the feet of the emperor, and the
people living on charity and shows. The slaves fared worst of all,
for they were despised by rich and poor. The sated voluptuary whose
property they were sometimes found an excitement to his jaded spirits
by having them tortured in his sight. They were allowed to die of
starvation when they grew old, unless they were turned to use, as was
done by one of their possessors, Vidius Pollio, who cast the fattest of
his domestics into his fish-pond to feed his lampreys. The only other
classes were the actors and musicians, the dwarfs and the philosophers.
They contributed by their wit, or their uncouth shape, or their
oracular sentences, to the amusement of their employers, and were safe.
They were licensed characters, and could say what they chose, protected
by the long-drawn countenance of the stoic, or the comic grimaces of
the buffoon. So early as the time of Nero, the people he tyrannized and
flattered were not less ruthless than himself. In his cruelty--in his
vanity--in his frivolity, and his entire devotion to the gratification
of his passions--he was a true representative of the men over whom he
ruled. Emperor and subject had even then become fitted for each other,
and flowers, we are credibly told by the historians, were hung for many
years upon his tomb.

Humanity itself seemed to be sunk beyond the possibility of
restoration; but we see now how necessary it was that our nature should
reach its lowest point of depression to give full force to the great
reaction which Christianity introduced. Men were slavishly bending at
the footstool of a despot, trembling for life, bowed down by fear and
misery, when suddenly it was reported that a great teacher had appeared
for a while upon earth, and declared that all men were equal in the
sight of God, for that God was the Father of all. The slave heard this
in the intervals of his torture--the captive in his dungeon--the widow
and the orphan. To the poor the gospel, or good news, was preached.
It was this which made the trembling courtiers of the worst of the
emperors slip out noiselessly from the palace, and hear from Paul of
Tarsus or his disciples the new prospect that was opening on mankind.
It spread quickly among those oppressed and hopeless multitudes. The
subjection of the Roman empire--its misery and degradation--were only a
means to an end. The harsher the laws of the tyrant, the more gracious
seemed the words of Christ. The two masters were plainly set before
them, which to choose. And who could hesitate? One said, "Tremble!
suffer! die!" The other said, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and
heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"



                            SECOND CENTURY.


Emperors.

  A.D.

       TRAJAN--(_continued._) Third Persecution of the Christians.

  117. ADRIAN. Fourth Persecution of the Christians.

  138. ANTONINUS PIUS.

  161. MARCUS AURELIUS.

  180. COMMODUS.

  193. PERTINAX--DIDIUS, and NIGER--Defeated by

  193. SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS.


Authors.

PLINY THE YOUNGER, PLUTARCH, SUETONIUS, JUVENAL, ARRIAN, ÆLIAN,
PTOLEMY, (Geographer,) APPIAN, EPICTETUS, PAUSANIAS, GALEN,
(Physician,) ATHENÆUS, TERTULLIAN, JUSTIN MARTYR, TATIAN, IRENÆUS,
ATHENAGORAS, THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH, CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, MARCION,
(Heretic.)



                          THE SECOND CENTURY.

                          THE GOOD EMPERORS.


In looking at the second century, we see a total difference in the
expression, though the main features continue unchanged. There is still
the central power at Rome, the same dependence everywhere else; but the
central power is beneficent and wise. As if tired of the hereditary
rule of succession which had ended in such a monster as Domitian, the
world took refuge in a new system of appointing its chiefs, and perhaps
thought it a recommendation of each successive emperor that he had no
relationship to the last. We shall accordingly find that, after this
period, the hereditary principle is excluded. It was remarked that, of
the twelve first Cæsars, only two had died a natural death--for even
in the case of Augustus the arts of the poisoner were suspected--and
those two were Vespasian and Titus, men who had no claim to such an
elevation in right of lofty birth. Birth, indeed, had ceased to be a
recommendation. All the great names of the Republic had been carefully
rooted out. Few people were inclined to boast of their ancestry
when the proof of their pedigree acted as a sentence of death; for
there was no surer passport to destruction in the times of the early
emperors than a connection with the Julian line, or descent from a
historic family. No one, therefore, took the trouble to inquire into
the genealogy of Nerva, the old and generous man who succeeded the
monster Domitian. [A.D. 96.] His nomination to the empire elevated him
at once out of the sphere of these inquiries, for already the same
superstitious reverence surrounded the name of Augustus which spreads
its inviolable sanctity on the throne of Eastern monarchs. Whoever sits
upon that, by whatever title, or however acquired, is the legitimate
and unquestioned king. No rival, therefore, started up to contest the
position either of Nerva himself, or of the stranger he nominated to
succeed him. [A.D. 102.] Men bent in humble acquiescence when they
knew, in the third year of this century, that their master was named
Trajan,--that he was a Spaniard by birth, and the best general of Rome.
For eighty years after that date the empire had rest. Life and property
were comparatively secure, and society flowed on peaceably in deep
and well-ascertained channels. A man might have been born at the end
of the reign of Domitian, and die in extreme old age under the sway
of the last of the Antonines, and never have known of insecurity or
oppression--

    "Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
     Could touch him farther!"

No wonder those agreeable years were considered by the fond gratitude
of the time, and the unavailing regrets of succeeding generations,
the golden age of man. Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus
Aurelius Antoninus--these are still great names, and are everywhere
recognised as the most wonderful succession of sovereigns the world has
ever seen. They are still called the "Good Emperors," the "Wise Rulers."

It is easy, indeed, to be good in comparison with Nero, and wise in
comparison with Claudius; but the effect of the example of those
infamous tyrants made it doubly difficult to be either good or wise.
The world had become so accustomed to oppression, that it seemed at
first surprised at the change that had taken place. The emperors
had to create a knowledge of justice before their just acts could
be appreciated. The same opposition other men have experienced in
introducing bad and cruel measures was roused by their introduction
of wise and salutary laws. What! no more summary executions, nor
forfeitures of fortunes, nor banishments to the Danube? All men equal
before the dread tribunal of the imperial judge? The world was surely
coming to an end, if the emperor did not now and then poison a senator,
or stab his brother, or throw half a dozen courtiers to the beasts!
It is likely enough that some of the younger Romans at first lamented
those days of unlimited license and perpetual excitement; but in the
course of time those wilder spirits must have died out, and the world
gladly acquiesced in an existence of dull security and uninteresting
peace. By the end of the reign of Trajan the records of the miseries of
the last century must have been studied as curiosities--as historical
students now look back on the extravagances and horrors of the French
Revolution. Fortunately, men could not look forward to the times, more
pitiable still, when their descendants should fall into greater sorrows
than had been inflicted on mankind by the worst of the Cæsars, and they
enjoyed their present immunity from suffering without any misgivings
about the future. But a government which does every thing for a people
renders it unable to do any thing for itself. The subject stood quietly
by while the emperor filled all the offices of the State--guarded him,
fed him, clothed him, treated him like a child, and reduced him at
last to childlike dependence. An unjust proconsul, instead of being
supported and encouraged in his exactions, was dismissed from his
employment and forced to refund his ill-got gains,--the population,
relieved from their oppressor, saw in his punishment the hand of an
avenging Providence. The wakeful eye of the governor in Rome saw the
hostile preparations of a tribe of barbarians beyond the Danube; and
the legions, crossing the river, dispersed and subdued them before they
had time to devastate the Roman fields. The peaceful colonist saw, in
the suddenness of his deliverance, the foresight and benevolence of a
divinity. No words were powerful enough to convey the sentiments of
admiration awakened, by such vigour and goodness, in the breast of a
luxurious and effeminate people; and accordingly, if we look a little
closely into the personal attributes of the five good emperors, we
shall see that some part of their glory is due to the exaggerations of
love and gratitude.

Nerva reigned but sixteen months, and had no time to do more than
display his kindness of disposition, and to name his successor. This
was Trajan, a man who was not even a Roman by birth, but who was
thought by his patron to have retained, in the distant province of
Spain where he was born, the virtues which had disappeared in the
centre and capital of the empire. The deficiency of Nerva's character
had been its softness and want of force. The stern vigilance of Trajan
made ample amends. He was the best-known soldier of his time, and
revived once more the terror of the Roman arms. He conquered wherever
he appeared; but his warlike impetuosity led him too far. He trod in
the footsteps of Alexander the Great, and advanced farther eastward
than any of the Roman armies had previously done. But his victories
were fruitless: he attached no new country permanently to the empire,
and derives all his glory now from the excellence of his internal
administration. He began his government by declaring himself as
subordinate to the laws as the meanest of the people. His wife, Pompeia
Plotina, was worthy of such a husband, and said, on mounting the steps
of the palace, that she should descend them unaltered from what she
was. The emperor visited his friends on terms of equality, and had the
greatness of mind, generally deficient in absolute princes, to bestow
his confidence on those who deserved it. Somebody, a member perhaps
of the old police who had made such fortunes in the time of Domitian
by alarming the tyrant with stories of plots and assassinations, told
Trajan one day to beware of his minister, who intended to murder him
on the first opportunity. "Come again, and tell me all particulars
to-morrow," said the emperor. In the mean time he went unbidden and
supped with the accused. He was shaved by his barber--was attended for
a mock illness by his surgeon--bathed in his bath--and ate his meat
and drank his wine. On the following day the informer came. "Ah!" said
Trajan, interrupting him in his accusation of Surenus, "if Surenus had
wished to kill me, he would have done it last night."

[A.D. 117.]

The emperor died when returning from a distant expedition in the
East, and Pompeia declared that he had long designated Adrian as his
successor. This evidence was believed, and Adrian, also a Spaniard by
birth, and eminent as a military commander, began his reign. Trajan had
been a general--a conqueror, and had extended for a time the boundaries
of the Roman power. But Adrian believed the empire was large enough
already. He withdrew the eagles from the half-subdued provinces, and
contented himself with the natural limits which it was easy to defend.
But within those limits his activity was unexampled. He journeyed from
end to end of his immense domain, and for seventeen years never rested
in one spot. News did not travel fast in those days--but the emperor
did. Long before the inhabitants of Syria and Egypt heard that he had
left Rome on an expedition to Britain, he had rushed through Gaul,
crossed the Channel, inquired into the proceedings of the government
officers at York, given orders for a wall to keep out the Caledonians,
(an attempt which has proved utterly vain at all periods of English
history, down to the present day,) and suddenly made his appearance
among the bewildered dwellers in Ephesus or Carthage, to call
tax-gatherers to order and to inspect the discipline of his troops.
The master's eye was everywhere, for nobody knew on what point it was
fixed. And such a master no kingdom has been able to boast of since.
His talents were universal. He read every thing and forgot nothing.
He was a musician, a poet, a philosopher. He studied medicine and
mineralogy, and plead causes like Cicero, and sang like a singer at the
opera. Perhaps it is difficult to judge impartially of the qualities
of a Roman emperor. One day he found fault on a point of grammar with
a learned man of the name of Favorinus. Favorinus could have defended
himself and justified his language, but continued silent. His friends
said to him, "Why didn't you answer the emperor's objections?" "Do
you think," said the sensible grammarian, "I am going to enter into
disputes with a man who commands thirty legions?" But the greatness
of Adrian's character is, that he _did_ command those thirty legions.
He was severe and just; and Roman discipline was never more exact.
The result of this was shown on the grand scale only once during this
reign, and that was in the case of the revolted Jews. We have seen the
state to which their Temple at Jerusalem was reduced by Titus. Fifty
years had now passed, and the passionate love of the people for their
native land had congregated them once more within their renovated
walls, and raised up another temple on the site of the old. They still
expected the Messiah, for the Messiah to them represented vengeance
upon the Romans and triumph over the world. An impostor of the name
of Barcho-chebas led three hundred thousand of them into the field.
They were mad with national hatred, and inspired with fanatical hope.
It took three years of desperate effort to quell this sedition; and
then Adrian had his revenge. The country was laid waste. Fifty towns
and a thousand villages were sacked and burned. The population, once
more nearly exhausted by war and famine, furnished slaves, which were
sold all over the East. Jerusalem itself felt the conqueror's hatred
most. Its name was blotted out--it was called Ælia Capitolina; and,
with ferocious mockery, over the gate of the new capital of Judea
was affixed the statue of the unclean beast, the abomination of the
Israelite. But nothing could keep the Jews from visiting the land of so
many promises and so much glory. Whenever they had it in their power,
they crept back from all quarters, if it were only to weep and die amid
the ruins of their former power.

Trajan and Adrian had now made the world accustomed to justice in its
rulers; and as far as regards their public conduct, this character
is not to be denied. Yet in their private relations they were not so
faultless. Trajan the great and good was a drunkard. To such a pitch
did he carry this vice, that he gave orders that after a certain hour
of the day none of his commands were to be obeyed. Adrian was worse: he
was regardless of life; he put men to death for very small offences. An
architect was asked how he liked a certain series of statues designed
by the emperor and ranged in a sitting attitude round a temple which
he had built. The architect was a humourist, not a courtier. "If the
goddesses," he said, "take it into their heads to rise, they will never
be able to get out at the door." A poor criticism, and not a good
piece of wit, but not bad enough to justify his being beheaded; yet
the answer cost the poor man his life. As Adrian grew older, he grew
more reckless of the pain he gave. He had a brother-in-law ninety years
of age, and there was a grandson of the old man aged eighteen. He had
them both executed on proof or suspicion of a conspiracy. The popular
feeling was revolted by the sight of the mingled blood of two sufferers
so nearly related, at the opposite extremities of life. The old man,
just before he died, protested his innocence, and uttered a revengeful
prayer that Adrian might wish to die and find death impossible! This
imprecation was fulfilled. The emperor was tortured with disease, and
longed for deliverance in vain. He called round him his physicians, and
priests, and sorcerers, but they could give him no relief. He begged
his slaves to kill him, and stabbed himself with a dagger; but in
spite of all he could not die. Lingering on, and with no cessation of
his pain, he must have had sad thoughts of the past, and no pleasant
anticipations of the future, if, as we learn from the verses attributed
to him, he believed in a future state. His lines still remain, but are
indebted to Pope, who paraphrased them, for their Christian spirit and
lofty aspiration:--

    "Vital spark of heavenly flame!
     Quit, oh, quit this mortal frame!
     Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying,
     Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying!
     Cease, fond nature, cease thy strife,
     And let me languish into life!

    "Hark! they whisper! angels say,
     Sister spirit, come away!
     What is this absorbs me quite,
     Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
     Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
     Tell me, my soul, can this be death?

    "The world recedes; it disappears!
     Heaven opens on my eyes! my ears
       With sounds seraphic ring:
     Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
     O Grave! where is thy victory?
       O Death! where is thy sting?"

His wish was at last achieved. He died aged sixty-two, having reigned
twenty-one years. In travelling and building his whole time was spent.
Temples, theatres, bridges--wherever he went, these evidences of his
wisdom or magnificence remained. He persecuted the Christians, but
found persecution a useless proceeding against a sect who gloried in
martyrdom, and whose martyrdoms were only followed by new conversions.
He tried what an opposite course of conduct would do, and is said to
have intended to erect a temple to Jesus Christ. "Take care what you
do," said one of his counsellors: "if you permit an altar to the God of
the Christians, those of the other gods will be deserted."

[A.D. 138.]

But now came to supreme authority the good and wise Antoninus Pius, who
was as blameless in his private conduct as in his public acts. His fame
extended farther than the Roman arms had ever reached. Distant kings,
in lands of which the names were scarcely known in the Forum, took him
as arbiter of their differences. The decision of the great man in Rome
gave peace on the banks of the Indus. The barbarians themselves on the
outskirts of his dominions were restrained by respect for a character
so pure and power so wisely used. An occasional revolt in Britain
was quelled by his lieutenants--an occasional conspiracy against his
authority was caused by the discontent which turbulent spirits feel
when restrained by law. The conspiracies were repressed, and on one
occasion two of the ringleaders were put to death. The Senate was for
making further inquiry into the plot. "Let us stop here," said the
emperor. "I do not wish to find out how many people I have displeased."
Some stories are told of him, which show how little he affected the
state of a despotic ruler. A pedantic philosopher at Smyrna, of the
name of Polemo, returned from a journey at a late hour, and found the
proconsul of Rome lodged in his house. This proconsul was Antonine,
who at that time had been appointed to the office by Adrian. Instead
of being honoured by such a guest, the philosopher stormed and raged,
and made so much noise, that in the middle of the night the sleepless
proconsul left the house and found quarters elsewhere. When years
passed on, and Antonine was on the throne, Polemo had the audacity to
present himself as an old acquaintance. "Ha! I remember him," said the
emperor: "let him have a room in the palace, but don't let him leave
it night or day." The imprisonment was not long, for we find the same
Polemo hero of another anecdote during this visit to Rome. He hissed
a performer in the theatre, and stamped and screeched, and made such
a disturbance that the unfortunate actor had to leave the stage. He
complained of Polemo to the emperor. "Polemo!" exclaimed Antonine; "he
forced you off the stage in the middle of the day, but he drove me
from his house in the middle of the night, and yet I never appealed."
It would be pleasant if we could learn that Polemo did not get off so
easily. But the twenty-two years of this reign of mildness and probity
were brought to a close, and Marcus Aurelius succeeded in 161.

[A.D. 161]

Marcus Aurelius did no dishonour to the discernment of his friend and
adoptive father Antoninus Pius. Studying philosophy and practising
self-command, he emulated and surpassed the virtues of the self-denying
leaders of his sect, and only broke through the rule he imposed
on himself of clemency and mildness, when he found philosophy in
danger of being counted a vain deceit, and the active duties of human
brotherhood preferred to the theoretic rhapsodies on the same subject
with which his works were filled. Times began to change. Men were
dissatisfied with the unsubstantial dream of Platonist and Stoic. There
were symptoms of an approaching alteration in human affairs, which
perplexed the thoughtful and gave promise of impunity to the bad.
Perhaps a man who, clothed in the imperial purple, bestowed so much
study on the intellectual niceties of the Sophists, and endeavoured
to keep his mind in a fit state for abstract speculation by scourging
and starving his body, was not so fitted for the approaching crisis
as a rougher and less contemplative nature would have been. Britain
was in commotion, there were tumults on the Rhine, and in Armenia the
Parthians cut the Roman legions to pieces. And scarcely were those
troubles settled and punished, when a worse calamity befell the Roman
empire. Its inviolability became a boast of the past. The fearful
passions for conquest and rapine of the border-barbarians were roused.
Barbaric cohorts encamped on the fields of Italy, and the hosts of wild
men from the forests of the North pillaged the heaped-up treasures
of the garden of the world. The emperor flew to the scene of danger,
but the fatal word had been said. Italy was accessible from the Alps
and from the sea; and, though a bloody defeat at Aquileia flung back
the invaders, disordered and dispirited, over the mountains they had
descended with such hopes, the struggle was but begun. The barbarians
felt their power, and the old institutions of Rome were insufficient
to resist future attacks. But to the aid of the old Roman institutions
a new institution came, an institution which was destined to repel the
barbarians by overcoming barbarism itself, and save the dignity of
Rome by giving it the protection of the Cross. But at present--that
is, during the reign of the philosophic Marcus Aurelius--a persecution
raged against the Christians which seemed to render hopeless all
chance of their success. The mild laws of Trajan and Adrian, and
the favourable decrees of Antoninus Pius, were set aside by the
contemptuous enmity of this explorer of the mysterious heights of
virtue, which occasionally carried him out of sight of the lower but
more important duties of life. An unsocial tribe the Christians were,
who rigorously shut their eyes to the beauties of abstract perfection,
and preferred the plain orders of the gospel to the most ambitious
periods of the emperor. But the persecution of a sect so small and so
obscure as the Christian was at that time, is scarcely perceptible as
a diminution of the sum of human happiness secured to the world by
the gentleness and equity which regulated all his actions. Here is an
example of the way in which he treated rebels against his authority.
An insurrection broke out in Syria and the East, headed by a pretended
descendant of the patriot Cassius, who had conspired against Julius
Cæsar. The emperor hurried to meet him--some say to resign the empire
into his hands, to prevent the effusion of blood; but the usurper died
in an obscure commotion, and nothing was left but to take vengeance
on his adherents. This is the letter the conqueror wrote to the
Senate:--"I beseech you, conscript Fathers! not to punish the guilty
with too much rigour. Let no Senator be put to death. Let the banished
return to their country. I wish I could give back their lives to those
who have died in this quarrel. Revenge is unworthy of an emperor. You
will pardon, therefore, the children of Cassius, his son-in-law, and
his wife. Pardon, did I say? Ah! what crime have they committed? Let
them live in safety, let them retain all that Cassius possessed. Let
them live in whatever place they choose, to be a monument of your
clemency and mine."

In such hands as these the fortune of mankind was safe. A pity
that the father's feelings got the better of his judgment in the
choice of his successor. It is the one blot on his otherwise perfect
disinterestedness. In dying, with such a monster as Commodus ready
to leap into his seat, he must have felt how inexpressibly valuable
his life would be to the Roman people. He perhaps saw the danger to
which he exposed the world; for he committed his son to the care of
his wisest counsellors, and begged him to continue the same course of
government he had pursued. Perhaps he was tired of life, perhaps he
sought refuge in his self-denying philosophy from the prospect he saw
before him of a state of perpetual struggle and eventual overthrow.
When the Tribune came for the last time to ask the watchword of the
day, "Go to the rising sun," he said; "for me, I am just going to set."

And here the history of the Second Century should close. It is painful
to go back again to the hideous scenes of anarchy and crime from which
we have been delivered so long. What must the sage counsellors, the
chosen companions and equals in age of the Antonines, have thought
when all at once the face of affairs, which they must have believed
eternal, was changed?--when the noblest and wisest in the land were
again thrown heedlessly into the arena without trial?--when spies
watched every meal, and the ferocious murderer on the throne seemed to
gloat over the struggles of his victims? Yet, if they had reflected
on the inevitable course of events, they must have seen that a
government depending on the character of one man could never be relied
on. Where, indeed, could any element of security be found? The very
ground-work of society was overthrown. There was no independent body
erect amid the general prostration at the footstool of the emperor.
Local self-government had ceased except in name. All the towns which
hitherto had been subordinate to Rome, but endowed at the same time
with privileges which were worth defending, had been absorbed into the
great whirlpool of imperial centralization, and were admitted to the
rights of Roman citizenship,--now of little value, since it embraced
every quarter of the empire. Jupiter and Juno, and the herd of effete
gods and goddesses, if they had ever held any practical influence
over the minds of men, had long sunk into contempt, except in so far
as their rich establishments were defended by persons interested in
their maintenance, and the processions and gaudy display of a foul and
meretricious worship were pleasing to the depraved taste of the mob.
But the religious principle, as a motive of action, or as a point of
combination, was at an end. Augurs were still appointed, and laughed
at the uselessness of their office; oracles were still uttered, and
ridiculed as the offspring of ignorance and imposture; conflicting
deities fought for pre-eminence, or compromised their differences by an
amalgamation of their altars, and perhaps a division of their estates.
It was against this state of society the early Fathers directed their
warnings and denunciations. The world did certainly lie in darkness,
and it was indispensable to warn the followers of Christ not to be
conformed to the fashion of that fleeting time. Some, to escape the
contagion of this miserable condition, when men were without hope, and
without even the wretched consolation which a belief in a false god
would have given them, fled to the wilds and caves. Hermits escaped
equally the perils of sin and the hostility of the heathen. Believers
were exhorted to flee from contamination, and some took the words
in their literal meaning. But not all. Many remained, and fought the
good fight in the front of the battle, as became the soldiers of the
cross. In the midst of the anarchy and degradation which characterized
the last years of the century, a society was surely and steadily
advancing towards its full development, bound by rules in the midst
of the helplessness of external law, and combined by strong faith,
in a world of utter unbelief--an empire within an empire--soon to be
the only specimen left either of government or mutual obligation, and
finally to absorb into its fresh and still-spreading organization the
withered and impotent authority which had at first seen in it its enemy
and destroyer, and found it at last its refuge and support. Yet at
this very time the empire had never appeared so strong. By a stroke of
policy, which the event proved to be injudicious, Marcus Aurelius, in
the hope of diminishing the number of his enemies, had converted many
thousands of the barbarians into his subjects. They had settlements
assigned them within the charmed ring. What they had not been able to
obtain by the sword was now assured to them by treaty. But the unity of
the Roman empire by this means was destroyed. Men were admitted within
the citadel who had no reverence implanted in them from their earliest
years for the majesty of the Roman name. They saw the riches contained
in the stronghold, and were only anxious to open the gates to their
countrymen who were still outside the walls.

But before we enter on the downward course, and since we are now
arrived at the period of the greatest apparent force and extent of the
Roman empire, let us see what it consisted of, and what was the real
amount of its power.

Viewed in comparison with some of the monarchies of the present day,
neither its extent of territory, nor amount of population, nor number
of soldiers, is very surprising. The Queen of England reigns over more
subjects, and commands far mightier fleets and armies, than any of
the Roman emperors. The empire of Russia is more extensive, and yet
the historians of a few generations ago are lost in admiration of the
power of Rome. The whole military force of the empire amounted to four
hundred and fifty thousand men. The total number of vessels did not
exceed a thousand. But see what were the advantages Rome possessed in
the compactness of its territory and the unity of its government. The
great Mediterranean Sea, peopled and cultivated on both its shores, was
but a peaceful lake, on which the Roman galley had no enemy to fear,
and the merchant-ship dreaded nothing but the winds and waves. There
were no fortresses to be garrisoned on what are now the boundaries of
jealous or hostile kingdoms. If the great circuit of the Roman State
could be protected from barbarian inroads, the internal defence of all
that vast enclosure could be left to the civil power. If the Black Sea
and the Sea of Azoff could be kept clear of piratical adventurers, the
broad highway of the Mediterranean was safe. A squadron near Gibraltar,
a squadron at the Dardanelles, and the tribes which might possibly
venture in from the ocean--the tribes which, slipping down from the
Don or the Dnieper, might thread their way through the Hellespont and
emerge into the Egean--were caught at their first appearance; and when
the wisdom of the Romans had guarded the mouths of the Danube from the
descent, in canoe or coracle, of the wild settlers on its upper banks,
the peace and commerce of the whole empire were secured. With modern
Europe the case is very different. There are boundaries to be guarded
which occupy more soldiers than the territories are worth. Lines are
arbitrarily fixed across the centre of a plain, or along the summit
of a mountain, which it is a case of war to pass. Belgium defends
her flats with a hundred thousand men, and the marshes of Holland
are secured by sixty thousand Dutch. The State of Dessau in Germany,
threatens its neighbours with fifteen hundred soldiers, while Reuss
guards its dignity and independence with three hundred infantry and
fifty horse. But the Great Powers, as they are called, take away from
the peaceable and remunerative employments of trade or agriculture an
amount of labour which would be an incalculable increase to the riches
and happiness of the world. The aggregate soldiery of Europe is upwards
of five millions of men,--just eleven times the largest calculation
of the Roman legions. The ships of Europe--to the smaller of which
the greatest galleys of the ancient world would scarcely serve as
tenders--amount to 2113. The number of guns they carry, against which
there is nothing we can take as a measure of value in ancient warfare,
but which are now the greatest and surest criterions of military power,
amounts to 45,367. But this does not give so clear a view of the
alteration in relative power as is yielded by an inspection of some
of the separate items. Gaul, included within the Rhine, was kept in
order by six or seven legions. The French empire has on foot an army of
six hundred and fifty thousand men, and a fleet of four hundred sail.
Britain, which was garrisoned by thirty thousand men, had, in 1855, an
army at home and abroad of six hundred and sixty thousand men, and a
fleet of five hundred and ninety-one ships of war, with an armament of
seventeen thousand guns. The disjointed States which now constitute the
Empire of Austria, and which occupied eight legions in their defence,
are now in possession of an army of six hundred thousand men; and
Prussia, whose array exceeds half a million of soldiers, was unheard of
except in the discussions of geographers.[A]

[A.D. 181.]

With the death of the excellent Marcus Aurelius the golden age came to
a close. Commodus sat on the throne, and renewed the wildest atrocities
of the previous century. Nero was not more cruel--Domitian was not so
reckless of human life. He fought in the arena against weakly-armed
adversaries, and slew them without remorse. He polluted the whole
city with blood, and made money by selling permissions to murder.
Thirteen years exhausted the patience of the world, and a justifiable
assassination put an end to his life. There was an old man of the
name of Pertinax, originally a nickname derived from his obstinate or
pertinacious disposition, who now made his appearance on the throne
and perished in three months. It chanced that a certain rich man of
the name of Didius was giving a supper the night of the murder to some
friends. The dishes were rich, and the wine delicious. Inspired by
the good cheer, the guests said, "Why don't you buy the empire? The
soldiers have proclaimed that they will give it to the highest bidder."
Didius knew the amount of his treasure, and was ambitious: he got up
from table and hurried to the Prætorian camp. On the way he met the
mutilated body of the murdered Pertinax, dragged through the streets
with savage exultation. Nothing daunted, he arrived at the soldiers'
tents. Another had been before him--Sulpician, the father-in-law and
friend of the late emperor. A bribe had been offered to each soldier,
so large that they were about to conclude the bargain; but Didius bade
many sesterces more. The greedy soldiery looked from one to the other,
and shouted with delight, as each new advance was made. [A.D. 193.] At
last Sulpician was silent, and Didius had purchased the Roman world at
the price of upwards of £200 to each soldier of the Prætorian guard. He
entered the palace in state, and concluded the supper, which had been
interrupted at his own house, on the viands prepared for Pertinax. But
the excitement of the auction-room was too pleasant to be left to the
troops in Rome. Offers were made to the legions in all the provinces,
and Didius was threatened on every side. Even the distant garrisons of
Britain named a candidate for the throne; and Claudius Albinus assumed
the imperial purple, and crossed over into Gaul. More irritated still,
the army in Syria elected its general, Pescennius Niger, emperor, and
he prepared to dispute the prize; but quietly, steadily, with stern
face and unrelenting heart, advancing from province to province,
keeping his forces in strict subjection, and laying claim to supreme
authority by the mere strength of his indomitable will, came forward
Septimius Severus, and both the pretenders saw that their fate was
sealed. Illyria and Gaul recognised his title at once. Albinus was
happy to accept from him the subordinate title of Cæsar, and to rule as
his lieutenant. Didius, whose bargain turned out rather ill, besought
him to be content with half the empire. Severus slew the messengers
who brought this proposition, and advanced in grim silence. The Senate
assembled, and, by way of a pleasant reception for the Illyrian chief,
requested Didius to prepare for death. The executioners found him
clinging to life with unmanly tenacity, and killed him when he had
reigned but seventy days. One other competitor remained, the general of
the Syrian army--the closest friend of Severus, but now separated from
him by the great temptation of an empire in dispute. This was Niger,
from whom an obstinate resistance was expected, as he was equally
famous for his courage and his skill. But fortune was on the side of
Severus. Niger was conquered after a short struggle, and his head
presented to the victor. Was Albinus still to live, and approach so
near the throne as to have the rank of Cæsar? Assassins were employed
to murder him, but he escaped their assault. The treachery of Severus
brought many supporters to his rival. The Roman armies were ranged
in hostile camps. Severus again was fortunate, and Albinus, dashing
towards him to engage in combat, was slain before his eyes. He watched
his dying agonies for some time, and then forced his horse to trample
on the corpse. A man of harsh, implacable nature--not so much cruel as
impenetrable to human feelings, and perhaps forming a just estimate
of the favourable effect upon his fortunes of a disposition so calm,
and yet so relentless. The Prætorians found they had appointed their
master, and put the sword into his hand. He used it without remorse.
He terrified the boldest with his imperturbable stillness; he summoned
the seditious soldiery to wait on him at his camp. They were to come
without arms, without their military dress, almost like suppliants,
certainly not like the ferocious libertines they had been when they
had sold the empire at the highest price. "Whoever of you wishes to
live," said Severus, frowning coldly, "will depart from this, and
never come within thirty leagues of Rome. Take their horses," he added
to the other troops who had surrounded the Prætorians, "take their
accoutrements, and chase them out of my sight." Did the Senate receive
a milder treatment? On sending them the head of Albinus, he had written
to the Conscript Fathers alarming them with the most dreadful threats.
And now the time of execution had come. He made them an oration in
praise of the proscriptions of Marius and Sylla, and forced them to
deify the tyrant Commodus, who had hated them all his life. He then
gave a signal to his train, and the streets ran with blood. All who
had borne high office, all who were of distinguished birth, all who
were famous for their wealth or popular with the citizens, were put
to death. He crossed over to England and repressed a sedition there.
His son Caracalla accompanied him, and commenced his career of warlike
ardour and frightful ferocity, which can only be explained on the
ground of his being mad. He tried even to murder his father, in open
day, in the sight of the soldiers. He was stealing upon the old man,
when a cry from the legion made him turn round. His inflexible eye fell
upon Caracalla--the sword dropped from his unfilial hand--and dreadful
anticipations of vengeance filled the assembly. The son was pardoned,
but his accomplices, whether truly or falsely accused, perished by
cruel deaths. At last the emperor felt his end approach. He summoned
his sons Caracalla and Geta into his presence, recommended them to live
in unity, and ended by the advice which has become the standing maxim
of military despots, "Be generous to the soldiers, and trample on all
beside."

With this hideous incarnation of unpitying firmness on the
throne--hopeless of the future, and with dangers accumulating on every
side, the Second Century came to an end, leaving the amazing contrast
between its miserable close and the long period of its prosperity by
which it will be remembered in all succeeding time.



                            THIRD CENTURY.


Emperors.

  A.D.

            SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS--(_continued._) Fifth Persecution of the
              Christians.

  211.      CARACALLA and GETA.

  217.      MACRINUS.

  218.      HELIOGABALUS.

  222.      ALEXANDER SEVERUS.

  235.      MAXIMIN. Sixth Persecution.

  238.      MAXIMUS and BALBINUS

  238.      GORDIAN.

  244.      PHILIP THE ARABIAN.

  249.      DECIUS. Seventh Persecution.

  251.      VIBIUS.

  251.      GALLUS.

  254.      VALERIAN. Eighth Persecution.

  260.      GALLIEN.

  268.      CLAUDIUS THE SECOND.

  270.      AURELIAN. Ninth Persecution.

  275.      TACITUS.

  276.      FLORIAN.

  277.      PROBUS.

  278.      CARUS.

  278.      CARINUS and NUMERIAN.

  284.      DIOCLETIAN and MAXIMIAN. Tenth and Last Persecution.


Authors.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, DION CASSIUS, ORIGEN, CYPRIAN, PLOTINUS,
LONGINUS, HIPPOLITUS PORTUENSIS, JULIUS AFRICANUS CELSUS, ORIGEN.



                          THE THIRD CENTURY.

        ANARCHY AND CONFUSION--GROWTH OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.


We are now in the twelfth year of the Third Century. Septimius Severus
has died at York, and Caracalla is let loose like a famished tiger
upon Rome. He invites his brother Geta to meet him to settle some
family feud in the apartment of their mother, and stabs him in her
arms. The rest of his reign is worthy of this beginning, and it would
be fatiguing and perplexing to the memory to record his other acts.
Fortunately it is not required; nor is it necessary to follow minutely
the course of his successors. What we require is only a general view of
the proceedings of this century, and that can be gained without wading
through all the blood and horrors with which the throne of the world is
surrounded. Conclusive evidence was obtained in this century that the
organization of Roman government was defective in securing the first
necessities of civilized life. When we talk of civilization, we are too
apt to limit the meaning of the word to its mere embellishments, such
as arts and sciences; but the true distinction between it and barbarism
is, that the one presents a state of society under the protection of
just and well-administered law, and the other is left to the chance
government of brute force. There was now great wealth in Rome--great
luxury--a high admiration of painting, poetry, and sculpture--much
learning, and probably infinite refinement of manners and address. But
it was not a civilized state. Life was of no value--property was not
secure. A series of madmen seized supreme authority, and overthrew all
the distinctions between right and wrong. Murder was legalized, and
rapine openly encouraged. It is a sort of satisfaction to perceive that
few of those atrocious malefactors escaped altogether the punishment
of their crimes. If Caracalla slays his brother and orders a peaceable
province to be destroyed, there is a Macrinus at hand to put the
monster to death. [A.D. 218.] But Macrinus, relying on the goodness
of his intentions, neglects the soldiery, and is supplanted by a boy
of seventeen--so handsome that he won the admiration of the rudest of
the legionaries, and so gentle and captivating in his manners that
he strengthened the effect his beauty had produced. He was priest of
the Temple of the Sun at Emesa in Phoenicia; and by the arts of
his grandmother, who was sister to one of the former empresses, and
the report that she cunningly spread abroad that he was the son of
their favourite Caracalla, the affection of the dissolute soldiery
knew no bounds. Macrinus was soon slaughtered, and the long-haired
priest of Baal seated on the throne of the Cæsars, under the name
of Heliogabalus. As might be expected, the sudden alteration in
his fortunes was fatal to his character. All the excesses of his
predecessors were surpassed. His extravagance rapidly exhausted the
resources of the empire. His floors were spread with gold-dust. His
dresses, jewels, and golden ornaments were never worn twice, but went
to his slaves and parasites. He created his grandmother a member
of the Senate, with rank next after the consuls; and established a
rival Senate, composed of ladies, presided over by his mother. Their
jurisdiction was not very hurtful to the State, for it only extended
to dresses and precedence of ranks, and the etiquette to be observed
in visiting each other. But the evil dispositions of the emperor were
shown in other ways. He had a cousin of the name of Alexander, and
entertained an unbounded jealousy of his popularity with the soldiers.
Attempts at poison and direct assassination were resorted to in vain.
The public sympathy began to rise in his favour. The Prætorians
formally took him under their protection; and when Heliogabalus,
reckless of their menaces, again attempted the life of Alexander, the
troops revolted, proclaimed death to the infatuated emperor, and slew
him and his mother at the same time.

[A.D. 222.]

Alexander was now enthroned--a youth of sixteen; gifted with higher
qualities than the debased century in which he lived could altogether
appreciate. But the origin of his noblest sentiments is traced to
the teaching he had received from his mother, in which the precepts
of Christianity were not omitted. When he appointed the governor of
a province, he published his name some time before, and requested
if any one knew of a disqualification, to have it sent in for his
consideration. "It is thus the Christians appoint their pastors,"
he said, "and I will do the same with my representatives." When his
justice, moderation, and equity were fully recognised, the beauty of
the quotation, which was continually in his mouth, was admired by all,
even though they were ignorant of the book it came from: "Do unto
others as you would that they should do unto you." He trusted the
wisest of his counsellors, the great legalists of the empire, with the
introduction of new laws to curb the wickedness of the time. But the
multiplicity of laws proves the decline of states. In the ancient Rome
of the kings and earlier consuls, the statutes were contained in forty
decisions, which were afterwards enlarged into the laws of the Twelve
Tables, consisting of one hundred and fifty texts. The profligacy of
some emperors, the vanity of others, had loaded the statute-book with
an innumerable mass of edicts, senatus-consultums, prætorial rescripts,
and customary laws. It was impossible to extract order or regularity
from such a chaos of conflicting rules. The great work was left for
a later prince; at present we can only praise the goodness of the
emperor's intention. But Alexander, justly called Severus, from the
simplicity of his life and manners, has held the throne too long. The
Prætorians have been thirteen years without the donation consequent on
a new accession.

Among the favourite leaders selected by Alexander for their military
qualifications was one Maximin, a Thracian peasant, of whose strength
and stature incredible things are told. He was upwards of eight feet
high, could tire down a horse at the gallop on foot, could break its
leg by a blow of his hand, could overthrow thirty wrestlers without
drawing breath, and maintained this prodigious force by eating forty
pounds of meat, and drinking an amphora and a half, or twelve quarts,
of wine. This giant had the bravery for which his countrymen the
Goths have always been celebrated. He rose to high rank in the Roman
service; and when at last nothing seemed to stand between him and the
throne but his patron and benefactor, ambition blinded him to every
thing but his own advancement. He murdered the wise and generous
Alexander, and presented for the first time in history the spectacle
of a barbarian master of the Roman world. Other emperors had been born
in distant portions of the empire; an African had trampled on Roman
greatness in the person of Septimius Severus; a Phoenician priest had
disgraced the purple in the person of Heliogabalus; Africa, however,
was a Roman province, and Emesa a Roman town. But here sat the colossal
representative of the terrible Goths of Thrace, speaking a language
half Getic, half Latin, which no one could easily understand; fierce,
haughty, and revengeful, and cherishing a ferocious hatred of the
subjects who trembled before him--a hatred probably implanted in him
in his childhood by the patriotic songs with which the warriors of his
tribe kept alive their enmity and contempt for the Roman name. The
Roman name had indeed by this time lost all its authority. The army,
recruited from all parts of the empire, and including a great number
of barbarians in its ranks, was no longer a bulwark against foreign
invasion. Maximin, bestowing the chief commands on Pannonians and other
mercenaries, treated the empire as a conquered country. He seized on
all the wealth he could discover--melted all the golden statues, as
valuable from their artistic beauty as for the metal of which they
were composed--and was threatening an approach to Rome to exterminate
the Senate and sack the devoted town. In this extremity the Senate
resumed its long-forgotten power, and named as emperors two men of
the name of Gordian--father and son--with instructions "to resist the
enemy." But father and son perished in a few weeks, and still the
terrible Goth came on. His son, a giant like himself, but beautiful as
the colossal statue of a young Apollo, shared in all the feelings of
his father. Terrified at its approaching doom, the Senate once more
nominated two men to the purple, Maximus and Balbinus: Balbinus, the
favourite, perhaps, of the aristocracy, by the descent he claimed from
an illustrious ancestry; while Maximus recommended himself to the now
perverted taste of the commonalty by having been a carter. Neither was
popular with the army; and, to please the soldiers, a son or nephew of
the younger Gordian was associated with them on the throne. But nothing
could have resisted the infuriated legions of the gigantic Maximin;
they were marching with wonderful expedition towards their revenge. At
Aquileia they met an opposition; the town shut its gates and manned its
walls, for it knew what would be the fate of a city given up to the
tender mercies of the Goths. Meanwhile the approach of the destroyer
produced great agitation in Rome. The people rose upon the Prætorians,
and enlisted the gladiators on their side. Many thousands were slain,
and at last a peace was made by the intercession of the youthful
Gordian. Glad of the cessation of this civic tumult, the population
of Rome betook itself to the theatres and shows. Suddenly, while the
games were going on, it was announced that the army before Aquileia
had mutinied and that both the Maximins were slain. [A.D. 235.] All at
once the amphitheatre was emptied; by an impulse of grateful piety, the
emperors and people hurried into the temples of the gods, and offered
up thanks for their deliverance. The wretched people were premature
in their rejoicing. In less than three months the spoiled Prætorians
were offended with the precaution taken by the emperors in surrounding
themselves with German guards. They assaulted the palace, and put
Maximus and Balbinus to death. Gordian the Third was now sole emperor,
and the final struggle with the barbarians drew nearer and nearer.

Constantly crossing the frontiers, and willingly received in the Roman
ranks, the communities who had been long settled on the Roman confines
were not the utterly uncultivated tribes which their name would seem
to denote. There was a conterminous civilization which made the two
peoples scarcely distinguishable at their point of contact, but which
died off as the distance from the Roman line increased. Thus, an
original settler on the eastern bank of the Rhine was probably as
cultivated and intelligent as a Roman colonist on the other side; but
farther up, at the Weser and the Elbe, the old ferocity and roughness
remained. Fresh importations from the unknown East were continually
taking place; the dwellers in the plains of Pannonia, now habituated
to pasturage and trade, found safety from the hordes which pressed
upon them from their own original settlements beyond the Caucasus, by
crossing the boundary river; and by this means the banks were held by
cognate but hostile peoples, who could, however, easily be reconciled
by a joint expedition against Rome. New combinations had taken place
in the interior of the great expanses not included in the Roman
limits. The Germans were no longer the natural enemies of the empire.
They furnished many soldiers for its defence, and several chiefs
to command its forces. But all round the external circuit of those
half-conciliated tribes rose up vast confederacies of warlike nations.
There were Cheruski, and Sicambri, and Attuarians, and Bruttuarians,
and Catti, all regularly enrolled under the name of "Franks," or
the brave. The Sarmatians or Sclaves performed the same part on the
northeastern frontier; and we have already seen that the irresistible
Goths had found their way, one by one, across the boundary, and
cleared the path for their successors. The old enemies of Rome on the
extreme east, the Parthians, had fallen under the power of a renovated
mountain-race, and of a king, who founded the great dynasty of the
Sassanides, and claimed the restoration of Egypt and Armenia as ancient
dependencies of the Persian crown. To resist all these, there was, in
the year 241, only a gentle-tempered youth, dressed in the purple which
had so lost its original grandeur, and relying for his guidance on
the wisdom of his tutors, and for his life on the forbearance of the
Prætorians. The tutors were wise and just, and victory at first gave
some sort of dignity to the reign of Gordian. [A.D. 244.] The Franks
were conquered at Mayence; but Gordian, three years after, was murdered
in the East; and Philip, an Arabian, whose father had been a robber of
the desert, was acknowledged emperor by senate and army. Treachery,
ambition, and murder pursued their course. There was no succession to
the throne. Sometimes one general, luckier or wiser than the rest,
appeared the sole governor of the State. At other times there were
numberless rivals all claiming the empire and threatening vengeance
on their opponents. Yet amidst this tumult of undistinguishable
pretenders, fortune placed at the head of affairs some of the best
and greatest men whom the Roman world ever produced. There was
Valerian, whom all parties agreed in considering the most virtuous and
enlightened man of his time. [A.D. 253.] Scarcely any opposition was
made to his promotion; and yet, with all his good qualities, he was the
man to whom Rome owed the greatest degradation it had yet sustained.
He was taken prisoner by Sapor, the Persian king, and condemned, with
other captive monarchs, to draw the car of his conqueror. No offers of
ransom could deliver the brave and unfortunate prince. He died amid his
deriding enemies, who hung up his skin as an offering to their gods.
Then, after some years, in which there were twenty emperors at one
time, with army drawn up against army, and cities delivered to massacre
and rapine by all parties in turn, there arose one of the strong minds
which make themselves felt throughout a whole period, and arrest for a
while the downward course of states. [A.D. 276.] The emperor Probus,
son of a man who had originally been a gardener, had distinguished
himself under Aurelian, the conqueror of Palmyra, and, having survived
all his competitors, had time to devote himself to the restoration
of discipline and the introduction of purer laws. His victories over
the encroaching barbarians were decided, but ineffectual. New myriads
still pressed forward to take the place of the slain. On one occasion
he crossed the Rhine in pursuit of the revolted Germans, overtook them
at the Necker, and killed in battle four hundred thousand men. Nine
kings threw themselves at the emperor's feet. Many thousand barbarians
enlisted in the Roman army. Sixty great cities were taken, and made
offerings of golden crowns. The whole country was laid waste. "There
was nothing left," he boasted to the Senate, "but bare fields, as if
they had never been cultivated." So much the worse for the Romans. The
barbarians looked with keener eyes across the river at the rich lands
which had never been ravaged, and sent messages to all the tribes
in the distant forests, that, having no occasion for pruning-hooks,
they had turned them into swords. But Probus showed a still more
doubtful policy in other quarters. When he conquered the Vandals
and Burgundians, he sent their warriors to keep the Caledonians in
subjection on the Tyne. The Britons he transported to Moesia or Greece.
What intermixtures of race may have arisen from these transplantations
it is impossible to say; but the one feeling was common to all the
barbarians, that Rome was weak and they were strong. He settled a large
detachment of Franks on the shores of the Black Sea; and of these an
almost incredible but well-authenticated story is told. They seized or
built themselves boats. They swept through the Dardanelles, and ravaged
the isles of Greece. They pursued their piratical career down the
Mediterranean, passed the pillars of Hercules into the Great Sea, and,
rounding Spain and France, rowed up the Elbe into the midst of their
astonished countrymen, who had long given them up for dead. A fatal
adventure this for the safety of the Roman shores; for there were the
wild fishermen of Friesland, and the audacious Angles of Schleswig and
Holstein, who heard of this strange exploit, and saw that no coast was
too distant to be reached by their oar and sail. But if these forced
settlements of barbarians on Roman soil were impolitic, the generous
Probus did not feel their bad effect. His warlike qualities awed his
foes, and his inflexible justice was appreciated by the hardy warriors
of the North, who had not yet sunk under the debasing civilization of
Rome. In Asia his arms were attended with equal success. He subdued the
Persians, and extended his conquests into Ethiopia and the farthest
regions of the East, bringing back some of its conquered natives to
swell the triumph at Rome and terrify the citizens with their strange
and hideous appearance. But Probus himself must yield to the law
which regulated the fate of Roman emperors. He died by treachery and
the sword. All that the empire could do was to join in the epitaph
pronounced over him by the barbarians, "Here lies the emperor Probus,
whose life and actions corresponded to his name."

Three or four more fantastic figures, "which the likeness of a kingly
crown have on," pass before our eyes, and at last we observe the
powerful and substantial form of Diocletian, and feel once more we
have to do with a real man. [A.D. 284.] A Druidess, we are told,
had prophesied that he should attain his highest wish if he killed
a wild boar. In all his hunting expeditions he was constantly on
the look-out, spear in hand, for an encounter with the long-tusked
monster. Unluckily for a man who had offended Diocletian before,
and who had basely murdered his predecessor, his name was Aper; and
unluckily, also, _aper_ is Latin for a boar. This fact will perhaps be
thought to account for the prophecy. It accounts, at all events, for
its fulfilment; for, the wretched Aper being led before the throne,
Diocletian descended the steps and plunged a dagger into his chest,
exclaiming, "I have killed the wild boar of the prediction." This is
a painful example of how unlucky it is to have a name that can be
punned upon. Determined to secure the support of what he thought the
strongest body in the State, he gratified the priests by the severest
of all the many persecutions to which the Christians had been exposed.
By way of further showing his adhesion to the old faith, he solemnly
assumed the name of Jove, and bestowed on his partner on the throne
the inferior title of Hercules. In spite of these truculent and absurd
proceedings, Diocletian was not altogether destitute of the softer
feelings. The friend he associated with him on the throne--dividing
the empire between them as too large a burden for one to sustain--was
called Maximian. They had both originally been slaves, and had neither
of them received a liberal education. Yet they protected the arts, they
encouraged literature, and were the patrons of modest merit wherever it
could be found. They each adopted a Cæsar, or lieutenant of the empire,
and hoped that, by a legal division of duties among four, the ambition
of their generals would be prevented. But the limits of the empire
were too extended even for the vigilance of them all. In Britain,
Carausius raised the standard of revolt, giving it the noble name of
national independence; and, with the instinctive wisdom which has been
the safeguard of our island ever since, he rested his whole chance of
success upon his fleet. Invasion was rendered impossible by the care
with which he guarded the shore, and it is not inconceivable that even
at that early time the maritime career of Britain might have been begun
and maintained, if treason, as usual, had not cut short the efforts of
Carausius, who was soon after murdered by his friend Allectus. The
subdivision of the empire was a successful experiment as regarded its
external safety, but within, it was the cause of bitter complaining.
There were four sumptuous courts to be maintained, and four imperial
armies to be paid. Taxes rose, and allegiance waxed cold. The Cæsars
were young, and looked probably with an evil eye on the two old men who
stood between them and the name of emperor. However it may be, after
many victories and much domestic trouble, Diocletian resolved to lay
aside the burden of empire and retire into private life. His colleague
Maximian felt, or affected to feel, the same distaste for power, and
on the same day they quitted the purple; one at Nicomedia, the other
at Milan. Diocletian retired to Salona, a town in his native Dalmatia,
and occupied himself with rural pursuits. He was asked after a while
to reassume his authority, but he said to the persons who made him the
request, "I wish you would come to Salona and see the cabbages I have
planted with my own hands, and after that you would never wish me to
remount the throne."

The characteristic of this century is its utter confusion and want
of order. There was no longer the unity even of despotism at Rome to
make a common centre round which every thing revolved. There were
tyrants and competitors for power in every quarter of the empire--no
settled authority, no government or security, left. In the midst of
this relaxation of every rule of life, grew surely, but unobserved, the
Christian Church, which drew strength from the very helplessness of the
civil state, and was forced, in self-defence, to establish a regular
organization in order to extend to its members the inestimable benefits
of regularity and law. Under many of the emperors Christianity was
proscribed; its disciples were put to excruciating deaths, and their
property confiscated; but at that very time its inner development
increased and strengthened. The community appointed its teachers, its
deacons, its office-bearers of every kind; it supported them in their
endeavours--it yielded to their directions; and in time a certain
amount of authority was considered to be inherent in the office of
pastor, which extended beyond the mere expounding of the gospel or
administration of the sacraments. The chief pastor became the guide,
perhaps the judge, of the whole flock. While it is absurd, therefore,
in those disastrous times of weakness and persecution to talk in
pompous terms of the succession of the Bishops of Rome, and make out
vain catalogues of lordly prelates who sat on the throne of St. Peter,
it is incontestable that, from the earliest period, the Christian
converts held their meetings--by stealth indeed, and under fear of
detection--and obeyed certain canons of their own constitution. These
secret associations rapidly spread their ramifications into every
great city of the empire. When by the friendship, or the fellowship,
of the emperor, as in the case of the Arabian Philip, a pause was
given to their fears and sufferings, certain buildings were set apart
for their religious exercises; and we read, during this century, of
basilicas, or churches, in Rome and other towns. The subtlety of the
Greek intellect had already led to endless heresies and the wildest
departures from the simplicity of the gospel. The Western mind was
more calm, and better adapted to be the lawgiver of a new order of
society composed of elements so rough and discordant as the barbarians,
whose approach was now inevitably foreseen. With its well-defined
hierarchy--its graduated ranks, and the fitness of the offices for
the purposes of their creation; with its array of martyrs ready to
suffer, and clear-headed leaders fitted to command, the Western Church
could look calmly forward to the time when its organization would
make it the most powerful, or perhaps the only, body in the State; and
so early as the middle of this century the seeds of worldly ambition
developed themselves in a schism, not on a point of doctrine, but on
the possession of authority. A double nomination had made the anomalous
appointment of two chief pastors at the same time. Neither would yield,
and each had his supporters. All were under the ban of the civil power.
They had recourse to spiritual weapons; and we read, for the first time
in ecclesiastical history, of mutual excommunications. Novatian--under
his breath, however, for fear of being thrown to the wild beasts for
raising a disturbance--thundered his anathemas against Cornelius as an
intruder, while Cornelius retorted by proclaiming Novatian an impostor,
as he had not the concurrence of the people in his election. This gives
us a convincing proof of the popular form of appointing bishops or
presbyters in those early days, and prepares us for the energy with
which the electors supported the authority of their favourite priests.

But, while this new internal element was spreading life among the
decayed institutions of the empire, we have, in this century, the first
appearance, in great force, of the future conquerors and renovators
of the body politic from without. It is pleasant to think that the
centuries cast themselves more and more loose from their connection
with Rome after this date, and that the barbarians can vindicate
a separate place in history for themselves. In the first century,
the bad emperors broke the strength of Rome by their cruelty and
extravagance. In the second century, the good emperors carried on the
work of weakening the empire by the softening and enervating effects
of their gentle and protective policy. The third century unites the
evil qualities of the other two, for the people were equally rendered
incapable of defending themselves by the unheard-of atrocities of some
of the tyrants who oppressed them and the mistaken measures of the
more benevolent rulers, in committing the guardianship of the citizens
to the swords of a foreign soldiery, leaving them but the wretched
alternative of being ravaged and massacred by an irruption of savage
tribes or pillaged and insulted by those in the emperor's pay.

The empire had long been surrounded by its foes. [A.D. 273.] It will
suffice to read the long list of captives who were led in triumph
behind the car of Aurelian when he returned from foreign war, to
see the fearful array of harsh-sounding names which have afterwards
been softened into those of great and civilized nations. It is in
following the course of some of these that we shall see how the
present distribution of forces in Europe took place, and escape from
the polluted atmosphere of Imperial Rome. In that memorable triumph
appeared Goths, Alans, Roxolans, Franks, Sarmatians, Vandals, Allemans,
Arabs, Indians, Bactrians, Iberians, Saracens, Armenians, Persians,
Palmyreans, Egyptians, and ten Gothic women dressed in men's apparel
and fully armed. These were, perhaps, the representatives of a large
body of female warriors, and are a sign of the recent settlement of the
tribe to which they belonged. They had not yet given up the habits of
their march, where all were equally engaged in carrying the property
and arms of the nation, and where the females encouraged the young men
of the expedition by witnessing and sometimes sharing their exploits in
battle.

The triumph of Probus, when only seven years had passed, presents us
with a list of the same peoples, often conquered but never subdued.
Their defeats, indeed, had the double effect of showing to them
their own ability to recruit their forces, and of strengthening the
degraded people of Rome in the belief of their invincibility. After
the loss of a battle, the Gothic or Burgundian chief fell back upon
the confederated tribes in his rear; a portion of his army either
visited Rome in the character of captives, or enlisted in the ranks of
the conquerors. In either case, the wealth of the great city and the
undefended state of the empire were permanently fixed in their minds;
the populace, on the other hand, had the luxury of a noble show and
double rations of bread--the more ambitious of the emperors acting
on the professed maxim that the citizen had no duty but to enjoy the
goods provided for him by the governing power, and that if he was fed
by public doles, and amused with public games, the purpose of his life
was attained. The idlest man was the safest subject. A triumph was,
therefore, more an instrument of degradation than an encouragement
to patriotic exertion. The name of Roman citizen was now extended to
all the inhabitants of the empire. The freeman of York was a Roman
citizen. Had he any patriotic pride in keeping the soil of Italy
undivided? The nation had become too diffuse for the exercise of this
local and combining virtue. The love of country, which in the small
states of Greece secured the individual's affection to his native city,
and yet was powerful enough to extend over the whole of the Hellenic
territories, was lost altogether when it was required to expand itself
over a region as wide as Europe. It is in this sense that empires fall
to pieces by their own weight. The Roman power broke up from within.
Its religion was a source of division, not of union--its mixture of
nations, and tongues, and usages, lost their cohesion. And nothing was
left at the end of this century to preserve it from total dissolution,
but the personal qualities of some great rulers and the memory of its
former fame.



                            FOURTH CENTURY.


Emperors.

                  A.D.

                  304. GALERIUS and CONSTANTIUS.

                  305. MAXIMIN.

                  306. CONSTANTINE.

                  337. CONSTANTINE II., CONSTANS and
                       CONSTANTIUS.

                  361. JULIAN THE APOSTATE.

                  363. JOVIAN.

  A.D.    _West._                     A.D.   _East._

  364. VALENTINIAN.                   364. VALENS.

  367. GRATIAN.

  375. VALENTINIAN II.                379. THEODOSIUS.

  395. HONORIUS.                      395. ARCADIUS.


Authors.

DONATUS, EUTROPIUS, ST. ATHANASIUS, AUSONIUS, CLAUDIAN, ARNOBIUS,
(303,) LACTANTIUS, (306,) EUSEBIUS, (315,) ARIUS, (316,) GREGORY
NAZIANZEN, (320-389,) BASIL THE GREAT, Bishop Of Cesarea, (330-379,)
AMBROSE, (340-397,) AUGUSTINE (353-429,) THEODORET, (386-457,) MARTIN,
Bishop of Tours.



                          THE FOURTH CENTURY.

  THE REMOVAL TO CONSTANTINOPLE--ESTABLISHMENT OF
  CHRISTIANITY--APOSTASY OF JULIAN--SETTLEMENT OF THE GOTHS.


As the memory of the old liberties of Rome died out, a nearer approach
was made to the ostentatious despotisms of the East. Aurelian, in
270, was the first emperor who encircled his head with a diadem; and
Diocletian, in 284, formed his court on the model of the most gorgeous
royalties of Asia. On admission into his presence, the Roman Senator,
formerly the equal of the ruler, prostrated himself at his feet. Titles
of the most unmanly adulation were lavished on the fortunate slave or
herdsman who had risen to supreme power. He was clothed in robes of
purple and violet, and loaded with an incalculable wealth of jewels
and gold. It was from deep policy that Diocletian introduced this
system. Ceremony imposes on the vulgar, and makes intimacy impossible.
Etiquette is the refuge of failing power, and compensates by external
show for inherent weakness, as stiffness and formality are the refuge
of dulness and mediocrity in private life. There was now, therefore,
seated on the throne, which was shaken by every commotion, a personage
assuming more majestic rank, and affecting far loftier state and
dignity, than Augustus had ventured on while the strength of the
old Republic gave irresistible force to the new empire, or than the
Antonines had dreamt of when the prosperity of Rome was apparently at
its height. But there was still some feeling, if not of self-respect,
at least of resistance to pretension, in the populace and Senators
of the capital. Diocletian visited Rome but once. He was attacked in
lampoons, and ridiculed in satirical songs. His colleague established
his residence in the military post of Milan. We are not, therefore,
to feel surprised that an Orientalized authority sought its natural
seat in the land of ancient despotisms, and that many of the emperors
had cast longing eyes on the beautiful towns of Asia Minor, and even
on the far-off cities of Mesopotamia, as more congenial localities
for their barbaric splendours. By a sort of compromise between his
European origin and Asiatic tastes, the emperor Constantine, after many
struggles with his competitors, having attained the sole authority,
transferred the seat of empire from Rome to a city he had built on the
extreme limits of Europe, and only divided from Asia by a narrow sea.
All succeeding ages have agreed in extolling the situation of this
city, called, after its founder, Constantinople, as the finest that
could have been chosen. All ages, from the day of its erection till the
hour in which we live, have agreed that it is fitted, in the hands of a
great and enterprising power, to be the metropolis and arbiter of the
world; and Constantinople is, therefore, condemned to the melancholy
fate of being the useless and unappreciated capital of a horde of
irreclaimable barbarians. To this magnificent city Constantine removed
the throne in 329, and for nearly a thousand years after that, while
Rome was sacked in innumerable invasions, and all the capitals of
Europe were successively occupied by contending armies, Constantinople,
safe in her two narrow outlets, and rich in her command of the two
continents, continued unconquered, and even unassailed.

Rome was stripped, that Constantinople might be filled. All the wealth
of Italy was carried across the Ægean. The Roman Senator was invited
to remove with his establishment. He found, on arriving at his new
home, that by a complimentary attention of the emperor, a fac-simile of
his Roman palace had been prepared for him on the Propontis. The seven
hills of the new capital responded to the seven hills of the old. There
were villas for retirement along the smiling shores of the Dardanelles
or of the Bosphorus, as fine in climate, and perhaps equal in romantic
beauty, to Baiæ or Brundusium. There was a capital, as noble a piece
of architecture as the one they had left, but without the sanctity
of its thousand years of existence, or the glory of its unnumbered
triumphs. One omission was the subject of remark and lamentation. The
temples were nowhere to be seen. The images of the gods were left at
Rome in the solitude of their deserted shrines, for Constantine had
determined that Constantinople should, from its very foundation, be the
residence of a Christian people. Churches were built, and a priesthood
appointed. Yet, with the policy which characterized the Church at
that time, he made as little change as possible in the external
forms. There is still extant a transfer of certain properties from
the old establishment to the new. There are contributions of wax for
the candles, of frankincense and myrrh for the censers, and vestures
for the officiating priests as before. Only the object of worship is
changed, and the images of the heathen gods and heroes are replaced
with statues of the apostles and martyrs.

It is difficult to gather a true idea of this first of the Christian
emperors from the historians of after-times. The accounts of him by
contemporary writers are equally conflicting. The favourers of the old
superstition describe him as a monster of perfidy and cruelty. The
Church, raised to supremacy by his favour, sees nothing in him but
the greatest of men--the seer of visions, the visible favourite of
the Almighty, and the predestined overthrower of the powers of evil.
The easy credulity of an emancipated people believed whatever the
flattery of the courtiers invented. His mother Helena made a journey to
Jerusalem, and was rewarded for the pious pilgrimage by the discovery
of the True Cross. Chapels and altars were raised upon all the places
famous in Christian story; relics were collected from all quarters,
and we are early led to fear that the simplicity of the gospel is
endangered by its approach to the throne, and that Constantine's object
was rather to raise and strengthen a hierarchy of ecclesiastical
supporters than to give full scope to the doctrine of truth. But not
the less wonderful, not the less by the divine appointment, was this
unhoped-for triumph of Christianity, that its advancement formed part
of the ambitious scheme of a worldly and unprincipled conqueror. Rather
it may be taken as one among the thousand proofs with which history
presents us, that the greatest blessings to mankind are produced
irrespective of the character or qualities of the apparent author. A
warrior is raised in the desert when required to be let loose upon
a worn-out society as the scourge of God; a blood-stained soldier
is placed on the throne of the world when the time has come for the
earthly predominance of the gospel. But neither is Attila to be blamed
nor Constantine to be praised.

It was the spirit of his system of government to form every society
on a strictly monarchical model. There was everywhere introduced a
clearly-defined subordination of ranks and dignities. Diocletian, we
saw, surrounded the throne with a state and ceremony which kept the
imperial person sacred from the common gaze. Constantine perfected his
work by establishing a titled nobility, who were to stand between
the throne and the people, giving dignity to the one, and impressing
fresh awe upon the other. In all previous ages it had been the office
that gave importance to the man. To be a member of the Senate was a
mark of distinction; a long descent from a great historic name was
looked on with respect; and the heroic deeds of the thousand years of
Roman struggle had founded an aristocracy which owed its high position
either to personal actions or hereditary claims. But now that the
emperors had so long concentrated in themselves all the great offices
of the State--now that the bad rulers of the first century had degraded
the Senate by filling it with their creatures, the good rulers of
the second century had made it merely the recorder of their decrees,
and the anarchy of the third century had changed or obliterated its
functions altogether--there was no way left to the ambitious Roman
to distinguish himself except by the favour of the emperor. The
throne became, as it has since continued in all strictly monarchical
countries, the fountain of honour. It was not the people who could name
a man to the consulship or appoint him to the command of an army. It
was not even in the power of the emperor to find offices of dignity
for all whom he wished to advance. So a method was discovered by which
vanity or friendship could be gratified, and employment be reserved for
the deserving at the same time. Instead of endangering an expedition
against the Parthians by intrusting it to a rich and powerful courtier
who desired to have the rank of general, the emperor simply named
him Nobilissimus, or Patricius, or Illustris, and the gratified
favourite, the "most noble," the "patrician," or the "illustrious,"
took place with the highest officers of the State. A certain title
gave him equal rank with the Senator, the judge, or the consul. The
diversity of these honorary distinctions became very great. There
were the clarissimi--the perfectissimi--and the egregii--bearing the
same relative dignity in the court-guide of the fourth century, as the
dukes, marquises, earls, and viscounts of the peerage-books of the
present day. But so much did all distinction flow from proximity to the
throne, that all these high-sounding names owed their value to the fact
of their being bestowed on the associates of the sovereign. The word
Count, which is still the title borne by foreign nobles, comes from the
Latin word which means "companion." There was a Comes, or Companion, of
the Sacred Couch, or lord chamberlain--the Companion of the Imperial
Service, or lord high steward--a Companion of the Imperial Stables,
or lord high constable; through all these dignitaries, step above
step, the glorious ascent extended, till it ended in the Companion of
Private Affairs, or confidential secretary. At the head of all, sacred
and unapproachable, stood the embodied Power of the Roman world, who,
as he had given titles to all the magnates of his court, heaped also
a great many on himself. His principal appellation, however, was not
as in our degenerate days "Majesty," whether "Most Catholic," "Most
Christian," or "Most Orthodox," but consisted in the rather ambitious
attribute--eternity. "Your Eternity" was the phrase addressed to some
miserable individual whose reign was ended in a month. It was proposed
by this division of the Roman aristocracy to furnish the empire with
a body for show and a body for use; the latter consisting of the real
generals of the armies and administrators of the provinces. And with
this view the two were kept distinct; but military discipline suffered
by this partition. The generals became discontented when they saw
wealth and dignities heaped upon the titular nobles of the court; and
to prevent the danger arising from ill will among the legions on the
frontier, the emperor withdrew the best of his soldiers from the posts
where they kept the barbarians in check, and entirely destroyed their
military spirit by separating them into small bodies and stationing
them in towns. This exposed the empire to the foreign foes who still
menaced it from the other side of the boundary, and gave fresh
settlements in the heart of the country to the thousands of barbarian
youth who had taken service with the eagles. In every legion there was
a considerable proportion of this foreign element: in every district
of the empire, therefore, there were now settled the advanced guards
of the unavoidable invasion. Men with barbaric names, which the Romans
could not pronounce, walked about Roman towns dressed in Roman uniforms
and clothed with Roman titles. There were consulars and patricians in
Ravenna and Naples, whose fathers had danced the war-dance of defiance
when beginning their march from the Vistula and the Carpathian range.

All these troops must be supported--all these dignitaries maintained
in luxury. How was this done? The ordinary revenue of the empire in
the time of Constantine has been computed at forty millions of our
money a year. Not a very large amount when you consider the number of
the population; but this is the sum which reached the treasury. The
gross amount must have been far larger, and an ingenious machinery was
invented by which the tax was rigorously collected; and this machinery,
by a ludicrous perversion of terms, was made to include one of the most
numerous classes of the artificial nobility created by the imperial
will. In all the towns of the empire some little remains were still to
be found of the ancient municipal government, of which practically they
had long been deprived. There were nominal magistrates still; and among
these the _Curials_ held a distinguished rank. They were the men who,
in the days of freedom, had filled the civic dignities of their native
city--the aldermen, we should perhaps call them, or, more nearly, the
justices of the peace. They were now ranked with the peerage, but with
certain duties attached to their elevation which few can have regarded
in the light of privilege or favour. To qualify them for rank, they
were bound to be in possession of a certain amount of land. They were,
therefore, a territorial aristocracy, and never was any territorial
aristocracy more constantly under the consideration of the government.
It was the duty of the curials to distribute the tax-papers in their
district; but, in addition to this, it was unfortunately their duty
to see that the sum assessed on the town and neighbourhood was paid
up to the last penny. When there was any deficiency, was the emperor
to suffer? Were the nobilissimi, the patricii, the egregii, to lose
their salaries? Oh, no! As long as the now ennobled curial retained
an acre of his estate, or could raise a mortgage on his house, the
full amount was extracted. The tax went up to Rome, and the curial,
if there had been a poor's house in those days, would have gone into
it--for he was stripped of all. His farm was seized, his cattle were
escheated; and when the defalcation was very great, himself, his wife
and children were led into the market and sold as slaves. Nothing so
rapidly destroyed what might have been the germ of a middle class
as this legalized spoliation of the smaller landholders. Below this
rank there was absolutely nothing left of the citizenship of ancient
times. Artificers and workmen formed themselves into companies; but
the trades were exercised principally by slaves for the benefit of
their owners. These slaves formed now by far the greatest part of the
Roman population, and though their lot had gradually become softened
as their numbers increased, and the domestic bondsman had little to
complain of except the greatest of all sorrows, the loss of freedom,
the position of the rural labourers was still very bad. There were
some of them slaves in every sense of the word--mere chattels, which
were not so valuable as horse or dog. But the fate of others was
so far mitigated that they could not be sold separate from their
family--that they could not be sold except along with the land; and at
last glimpses appear of a sort of rent paid for certain portions of the
lord's estate in full of all other requirements. But this process had
again to be gone through when many centuries had elapsed, and a new
state of society had been fully established, and it will be sufficient
to remind you that in the fourth century, to which we are now come,
the Roman world consisted of a monarchy where all the greatness and
magnificence of the empire were concentrated on the emperor and his
court; that the monarchical system was rapidly pervading the Church;
and that below these two distinct but connected powers there was no
people, properly so called--the country was oppressed and ruined, and
the ancient dignity of Rome transplanted to new and foreign quarters,
at the sacrifice of all its oldest and most elevating associations.
The half-depopulated city of Romulus and the Kings--of the Consuls
and Augustus, looked with ill-disguised hatred and contempt on the
modern rival which denied her the name of Capital, and while fresh
from the builder's hand, robbed her of the name of the Eternal City.
We shall see great events spring from this jealousy of the two towns.
In the mean time, we shall finish our view of Constantine by recording
the greatness of his military skill, and merely protest against the
enrolment in the list of _saints_ of a man who filled his family
circle with blood--who murdered his wife, his son, and his nephew,
encouraged the contending factions of the now disputatious Church--gave
a fallacious support to the orthodox Athanasius, and died after a
superstitious baptism at the hands of the heretical Arius. [A.D. 337.]
An unbiassed judgment must pronounce him a great politician, who
played with both parties as his tools, a Christian from expediency and
not from conviction. It is a pity that the subserviency of the Greek
communion has placed him in the number of its holy witnesses, for we
are told by a historian that when the emperor, after the dreadful
crimes he had perpetrated, applied at the heathen shrines for expiatory
rites, the priests of the false gods had truly answered, "there are no
purifications for such deeds as these." But nothing could be refused
to the benefactor of the Church. The great ecclesiastical council of
this age, (325), consisting of three hundred and eighteen bishops,
and presided over by Constantine in person, gave the Nicene Creed as
the result of their labours--a creed which is still the symbol of
Christendom, but which consists more of a condemnation of the heresies
which were then in the ascendant, than in the plain enunciation
of the Christian faith. A layman, we are told, an auditor of the
learned debates in this great assembly, a man of clear and simple
common sense, met some of the disputants, and addressed them in these
words:--"Arguers! Christ and his apostles delivered to us, not the art
of disputation, nor empty eloquence, but a plain and simple rule which
is maintained by faith and good works." The disputants, we are further
told, were so struck with this undeniable truth that they acknowledged
their error at once.

But not yet firm and impregnable were the bulwarks of Christianity.
[A.D. 360.] While dreaming anchorites in the deserts of Thebais were
repeating the results of fasting and insanity as the manifestation
of divine favour, the world was startled from its security by the
appalling discovery that the emperor himself, the young and vigorous
Julian, was a follower of the old philosophers, and a worshipper of
the ancient gods. And a dangerous antagonist he was, even independent
of his temporal power. His personal character was irreproachable, his
learning and talent beyond dispute, and his eloquence and dialectic
skill sharpened and improved by an education in Athens itself. Less
than forty years had elapsed since Constantine pronounced the sentence
of banishment on the heathen deities. It was not possible that the
Christian truth was in every instance received where the old falsehood
was driven away. We may therefore conclude, without the aid of historic
evidence, that there must have been innumerable districts--villages
in far-off valleys, hidden places up among the hills--where the name
of Christ had not yet penetrated, and all that was known was, that
the shrine of the local gods was overthrown, and the priests of the
old ceremonial proscribed. When we remember that the heathen worship
entered into almost all the changes of the social and family life--that
its sanction was necessary at the wedding--that its auguries were
indispensable at births--that it crowned the statue of the household
god with flowers--that it kept alive the fire upon the altar of the
emperor--and that it was the guardian of the tombs of the departed, as
it had been the principal consolation during the funeral rites,--we
shall perceive that, irrespective of absolute faith in his system of
belief, the cessation of the priest's office must have been a serious
calamity. The heathen establishment had been enriched by the piety or
ostentation of many generations. There must have been still alive many
who had been turned out of their comfortable temples, many who viewed
the assumption of Christianity into the State as a political engine
to strengthen the tyranny under which the nations groaned. We may see
that self-interest and patriotism may easily have been combined in the
effort made by the old faith to regain the supremacy it had lost. The
Emperor Julian endeavoured to lift up the fallen gods. He persecuted
the Christians, not with fire and sword, but with contempt. He scorned
and tolerated. He preached moderation, self-denial, and purity of life,
and practised all these virtues to an extent unknown upon a throne, and
even then unusual in a bishop's palace.

How those Christian graces, giving a charm and dignity to the
apostate emperor, must have received a still higher authority from
the painful contrast they presented to the agitated condition and
corrupted morals of the Christian Church! Everywhere there was war and
treachery, and ambition and unbelief. Half the great sees were held
by Arians, who raved against the orthodox; and the other half were
held by Athanasius and his followers, who accused their adversaries
of being "more cruel than the Scythians, and more irreconcilable than
tigers." At Rome itself there was an orthodox bishop and an Arian
rival. It is not surprising that Julian, disgusted with the scenes
presented to him by the mutual rage of the Christian sects, thought
the surest method of restoring unity to the empire would be to silence
all the contending parties and reintroduce the peaceful pageantries
of the old Pantheon. If some of the fanciful annotators of the new
faith had allegorized the facts of Christianity till they ceased to
be facts at all, Julian performed the same office for the heathen
gods. Jupiter and the rest were embodiments of the hidden powers of
nature. Vulcan was the personification of human skill, and Venus the
beautiful representative of connubial affection. But men's minds
were now too sharpened with the contact they had had with the real to
be satisfied with such fallacies as these. Eloquent teachers arose,
who separated the eternal truths of revelation from the accessories
with which they were temporarily combined. Ridicule was retorted on
the emperor, who had sneered at the Christian services. Who, indeed,
who had caught the slightest view of the spirituality of Christ's
kingdom, could abstain from laughing at the laborious heathenism of
the master of the world? He cut the wood for sacrifice, he slew the
goat or bull, and, falling down on his knees, puffed with distended
cheeks the sacred fire. He marched to the temple of Venus between
two rows of dissolute and drunken worshippers, striving in vain by
face and attitude to repress the shouts of riotous exultation and the
jeers of the spectators. Then, wherever he went he was surrounded by
pythonesses, and augurs, and fortune-tellers, magicians who could work
miracles, and necromancers who could raise the dead. When he restored
a statue to its ancient niche, he was rewarded by a shake of its head;
when he hung up a picture of Thetis or Amphitrite, she winked in sign
of satisfaction. Where miracles are not believed, the performance of
them is fatal. But his expenditure of money in honouring the gods was
more real, and had clearer results. He nearly exhausted the empire by
the number of beasts he slew. He sent enormous offerings to the shrines
of Dodona, and Delos, and Delphi. He rebuilt the temples, which time or
Christian hatred had destroyed; and, by way of giving life to his new
polity, he condescended to imitate the sect be despised, in its form
of worship, in its advocacy of charity, peace, and good will, and in
its institutions of celibacy and retirement, which, indeed, had been
a portion of heathen virtue before it was admitted into the Christian
Church. But his affected contempt soon degenerated into persecution.
He would have no soldiers who did not serve his gods. Many resigned
their swords. He called the Christians "Galileans," and robbed them
of their property and despitefully used them, to try the sincerity of
their faith. "Does not your law command you," he said, "to submit to
injury, and to renounce your worldly goods? Well, I take possession
of your riches that your march to heaven may be unencumbered." All
moderation was now thrown off on both sides. Resistance was made by the
Christians, and extermination threatened by the emperor. In the midst
of these contentions he was called eastward to resist the aggression
of Sapor, the Persian king. An arrow stretched Julian on his couch.
He called round him his chief philosophers and priests. With them, in
imitation of Socrates, he entered into deep discussions about the soul.
[A.D. 363.] Nothing more heroic than his end, or more eloquent than
his parting discourse. But death did not soften the animosity of his
foes. The Christians boasted that the arrow was sent by an angel, that
visions had foretold the persecutor's fall, and that so would perish
all the enemies of God. The adherents of the emperor in return blamed
the Galileans as his assassins, and boldly pointed to Athanasius, the
leader of the Christians, as the culprit. Athanasius would certainly
not have scrupled to rid the world of such an Agag and Holofernes, but
it is more probable that the death occurred without either a miracle
or a murder. The successors of Julian were enemies of the apostate.
They speedily restored their fellow-believers to the supremacy they
had lost. A ferocious hymn of exultation by Gregory of Nazianzen
was chanted far and wide. Cries of joy and execration resounded in
market-places, and churches, and theatres. The market-places had been
closed against the Christians, their churches had been interdicted,
and the theatres shut up, by the overstrained asceticism of the
deceased. It was perceived that Christianity had taken deeper root
than the apostate had believed, and henceforth no effort could be
made to revivify the old superstition. After a nominal election of
Jovian, the choice of the soldiers fell on two of their favourite
leaders, Valentinian and Valens, brothers, and sufferers in the late
persecutions for their faith. Named emperors of the Roman world, they
came to an amicable division of the empire into East and West. Valens
remained in Constantinople to guard the frontiers of the Danube and
the Euphrates; while Valentinian, who saw great clouds darkening over
Italy and Gaul, fixed his imperial residence in the strong city of
Milan. The separation took place in 364, and henceforth the stream of
history flows in two distinct and gradually diverging channels. This
century has already been marked by the removal of the seat of power
to Constantinople; by the attempt at the restoration of Paganism by
Julian; and we have now to dwell for a little on the third and greatest
incident of all, the invasion of the Goths, and final settlement of
hostile warriors on the Roman soil.

Names that have retained their sound and established themselves as
household words in Europe now meet as at every turn. Valentinian is
engaged in resisting the Saxons. The Britons, the Scots, the Germans,
are pushing their claims to independence; and in the farther East,
the persecutions and tyranny of the contemptible Valens are suddenly
suspended by the news that a people hitherto unheard of had made their
appearance within an easy march of the boundary, and that universal
terror had taken possession of the soldiers of the empire. Who were
those soldiers? We have seen for many years that the policy of the
emperors had been to introduce the barbarians into the military
service of the State, and to expose the wasted and helpless inhabitants
to the rapacity of their tax-gatherers. This system had been carried
to such a pitch, that it is probable there were none but mercenaries
of the most varying interests in the Roman ranks. Yet such is the
effect of discipline, and the pride of military combination, that all
other feelings gave way before it. The Gothic chief, now invested with
command in the Roman armies, turned his arms against his countrymen.
The Albanian, the Saxon, the Briton, elevated to the rank of duke or
count, looked back on Marius and Cæsar as their lineal predecessors in
opposing and conquering the enemies of Rome. The names of the generals
and magistrates, accordingly, which we encounter after this date,
have a strangely barbaric sound. There are Ricimer, and Marcomir, and
Arbogast--and finally, the name which overtopped and outlived them
all, the name of Alaric the Goth. Now, the Goths, we have seen, had
been settled for many generations on the northern side of the Danube.
Much intercourse must have taken place between the inhabitants of the
two banks. There must have been trade, and love, and quarrellings,
and rejoicings. At shorter and shorter intervals the bravest of the
tribes must have passed over into the Roman territory and joined the
Legions. Occasionally a timid or despotic emperor would suddenly order
his armies across, and carry fire and sword into the unsuspecting
country. But on the whole, the terms on which they lived were not
hostile, for the ties which united the two peoples were numerous and
strong. Even the languages in the course of time must have come to be
mutually intelligible, and we read of Gothic leaders who were excellent
judges of Homer and seldom travelled without a few chosen books. This
being the case, what was the consternation of the almost civilized
Goths in the fertile levels of the present Wallachia and Moldavia to
hear that an innumerable horde of dreadful savages, calling themselves
Huns and Magyars, had appeared on the western shore of the Black Sea,
and spread over the land, destroying, murdering, burning whatever
lay in their way! Cooped up for an unknown period, it appeared, on
the northeastern side of the Palus Maeotis, now better known to us
as the Sea of Azof--living on fish out of the Don, and on the cattle
of the long steppes which extend across the Volga, these sons of the
Scythian desert had never been heard of either by the Goths or Romans.
A hideous people to behold, as the perverted imagination of poet or
painter could produce. They were low in stature, but broad-shouldered
and strong. Their wide cheek-bones and small eyes gave them a savage
and cruel expression, which was increased by their want of nose, for
the only visible appearance of that indispensable organ consisted of
two holes sunk into the square expanse of their faces. Fear is not a
flattering painter, but from these rude descriptions it is easy to
recognise the Calmuck countenance; and when we add their small horses,
long spears, and prodigious lightness and activity, we shall see a
very close resemblance between them and their successors in the same
district, the Russian Cossacks of the Don. On, on, came the torrent of
these pitiless, fearless, ugly, dirty, irresistible foes. The Goths,
terrified at their aspect, and bewildered with the accounts they
heard of their numbers and mode of warfare, petitioned the emperor to
give them an asylum on the Roman side. Their prayer was granted on
condition of depositing their children and arms in Roman hands. They
had no time to squabble about terms. Every thing was agreed to. Boats
manned by Roman soldiers were busy, day and night in transporting
the Gothic exiles to the Roman side. Arms and jewels, and wives and
children, the furniture of their tents, and idols of their gods, all
got safely across the guarding river. The Huns, the Alans, and the
other unsightly hordes who had gathered in the pursuit, came down to
the bank, and shouted useless defiance and threats of vengeance. The
broad Danube rolled between; and there rested that night on the Roman
soil a whole nation, different in interest, in manners and religion,
from the population they had joined, numbering upwards of a million
souls, bound together by every thing that constitutes the unity of a
people. The avarice and injustice of the Roman authorities negatived
the clause of the agreement that stipulated for the surrender of the
Gothic arms. To redeem their swords and spears, they parted with
the silver and gold they had amassed in their predatory incursions
on the Roman territory. They know that once in possession of their
weapons they could soon reclaim all they gave--and in no long time
the attempt was made. Fritigern, the leader of their name, led them
against the armies of Rome. Insulted at their audacity, the Emperor
Valens, at the head of three hundred thousand men, met them in the
plain of Adrianople. The existence of the Gothic people was at stake.
[A.D. 379.] They fought with desperation and hatred. The emperor was
defeated, leaving two-thirds of his army on the field of battle.
Seeking safety in a cottage at the side of the road, he was burned by
the inexorable pursuers, who, gathering up their broken lines, marched
steadily through the intervening levels and gazed with enraptured eyes
on the glittering towers and pinnacles of Constantinople itself. But
the walls were high and strongly armed. The barbarians were inveigled
into a negotiation, and mastered by the unequal powers of lying
at all times characteristic of the Greeks. Fritigern consented to
withdraw his troops: some were embodied in the levies of the empire,
and others dispersed in different provinces. Those settled in Thrace
were faithful to their employers, and resisted their ancient enemies
the Huns; but the great body of the discontented conquerors were ready
for fresh assaults on the Roman land. Theodosius, called to the throne
in 379, succeeded in staving off the evil day; but when the final
partition of the empire took place between his two sons--Honorius
and Arcadius--there was nothing to oppose the terrible onset of the
Goths. [A.D. 394.] At their head was Alaric, the descendant of their
original chiefs, and himself the bravest of his warriors. He broke
into Greece, forcing his way through Thermopylæ, and devastated the
native seats of poetry and the arts with fire and sword. The ruler at
Constantinople heard of his advance with terror, and opposed to him
the Vandal Stilicho, the greatest of his generals. But the wily Alaric
declined to fight, and out-manoeuvred his enemies, escaping to the sure
fastnesses of Epirus, and sat down sullen and discontented, meditating
further expeditions into richer plains, and already seeing before him
the prostrate cities of Italy. The terror of Arcadius tried in vain
to soften his rage, or satisfy his ambition with vain titles, among
others, that of Count of the Illyrian Border. The spirit of aggression
was fairly roused. All the Gothic settlers in the Roman territory were
ready to join their countrymen in one great and combined attack;--and
with this position of the personages of the drama, the curtain falls on
the fourth century, while preparations for the great catastrophe are
going on.



                             FIFTH CENTURY


Emperors.

  A.D.   _West._

       HONORIUS--(_cont._)

  424. VALENTINIAN III.

  455. PETRONIUS MAXIMUS.

  455. AVITUS.

  457. MAJORIANUS.

  461. SEVERUS.

  467. ANTHEMIUS.

  472. OLIBIUS.

  473. GLYCERIUS.

  474. JULIUS NEPOS.

  475. AUGUSTULUS ROMULUS.

  A.D.   _East._

       ARCADIUS--(_cont._)

  408. THEODOSIUS II.

  450. MARCIAN.

  457. LEO THE GREAT.

  474. ZENO.

  491. ANASTASIUS.


King of the Franks.

  A.D.

  481. CLOVIS.


King of Italy.

  A.D.

  489. THEODORIC.


Authors.

CHRYSOSTOM, JEROME, AUGUSTINE, PELAGIUS, (405,) SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS,
PATRICIUS, MACROBIUS, VICENTIUS OF LERINS, (died 450,) CYRIL, BISHOP OF
ALEXANDRIA, (412-444.)



                          THE FIFTH CENTURY.

  END OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE--FORMATION OF MODERN STATES--GROWTH OF
  ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY.


We find the same actors on the stage when the curtain rises again, but
circumstances have greatly changed. After his escape from Stilicho,
Alaric had been "lifted on the shield," the wild and picturesque way
in which the warlike Goths nominated their kings, and henceforth
was considered the monarch of a separate and independent people, no
longer the mere leader of a band of predatory barbarians. In this new
character he entered into treaties with the emperors of Constantinople
or Rome, and broke them, as if he had already been the sovereign of a
civilized state.

In 403 he broke up from his secure retreat on the Adriatic, and burst
into Italy, spreading fire and famine wherever he went. Honorius,
the Emperor of the West, fled from Milan, and was besieged in Asti
by the Goths. Here would have ended the imperial dynasty, some years
before its time, if it had not been for the watchful Stilicho. This
Vandal chief flew to the rescue of Honorius, repulsed Alaric with
great slaughter, and delivered his master from his dangerous position.
The grateful emperor entered Rome in triumph, and for the last time
the Circus streamed with the blood of beasts and men. [A.D. 408.] He
retired after this display to the inaccessible marshes of Ravenna, at
the mouths of the Po, and, secure in that fortress, sent an order to
have his preserver and benefactor murdered; Stilicho, the only hope
of Rome, was assassinated, and Alaric once more saw all Italy within
his grasp. It was not only the Goths who followed Alaric's command. All
the barbarians, of whatever name or race, who had been transplanted
either as slaves or soldiers--Alans, Franks, and Germans--rallied
round the advancing king, for the impolitic Honorius had issued an
order for the extermination of all the tribes. There were Britons,
and Saxons, and Suabians. It was an insurrection of all the manly
elements of society against the indescribable depravation of the
inhabitants of the Peninsula. The wildest barbarian blushed in the
midst of his ignorance and rudeness to hear of the manners of the
highest and most distinguished families in Rome. Nobody could hold out
a hand to avert the judgment that was about to fall on the devoted
city. Ambassadors indeed appeared, and bought a short delay at the
price of many thousand pounds' weight of gold and silver, and of large
quantities of silk; but these were only additional incitements to the
cupidity of the invader. Tribe after tribe rose up with fresh fury;
warriors of every hue and shape, and with every manner of equipment.
The handsome Goth in his iron cuirass; the Alan with his saddle covered
with human skin; the German making a hideous sound by shrieking on
the sharp edge of his shield; and the countryman of Alaric himself
sounding the "horn of battle," which terrified the Romans with its
ominous note--all started forward on the march. At the head of each
detachment rode a band, singing songs of exultation and defiance; and
the Romans, stupefied with fear, saw these innumerable swarms defile
towards the Milvian bridge and close up every access to the town.
There was no corn from Sicily or Africa; a pest raged in every house,
and hunger reduced the inhabitants to despair. The gates were thrown
open, and all the pent-up animosity of the desert was poured out upon
the mistress and corrupter of the world. For six days the city was
given up to remorseless slaughter and universal pillage. The wealth
was incalculable. The captives were sold as slaves. The palaces were
overthrown, and the river choked with carcasses and the treasures of
art which the barbarians could not appreciate. "The new Babylon," cries
Bossuet, the great Bishop of Meaux, "rival of the old, swelled out like
her with her successes, and, triumphing in her pleasures and riches,
encountered as great a fall." And no man lamented her fate.

[A.D. 410.]

Alaric, who had thus achieved a victory denied to Hannibal and Pyrrhus,
resolved to push his conquests to the end of Italy. But on his march
towards the Straits of Sicily, illness overtook him. His life had been
unlike that of other men, and his burial was to excite the wonder of
the Bruttians, among whom he died. A large river was turned from its
course, and in its channel a deep grave was dug and ornamented with
monumental stone. To this the body of the barbaric king was carried,
clothed in full armour, and accompanied with some of the richest spoils
of Rome; and then the stream was turned on again, the prisoners who
had executed the works were slaughtered to conceal the secret of the
tomb, and nobody has ever found out where the Gothic king reposes. But
while the Busentino flowed peaceably on, and guarded the body of the
conqueror from the revenge of the Romans, new perils were gathering
round the throne of the Western emperor. As if the duration of the
empire had been inseparably connected with the capital, the reverence
of mankind was never bestowed on Milan or Ravenna, in which the court
was now established, as it had been upon Rome. Britain had already
thrown off the distant yoke, and submitted to the Saxon invaders.
Spain had also peaceably accepted the rule of the three kindred tribes
of Sueves and Alans and Vandals. Gaul itself had given its adhesion
to the Burgundians (who fixed their seat in the district which still
bears their name) and offered a feeble resistance to any fresh invader.
Ataulf, the brother of Alaric, came to the rescue of the empire, and of
course completed the destruction. He married the sister of Honorius,
and retained her as a hostage of the emperor's good faith. He promised
to restore the revolted provinces to their former master, and succeeded
in overthrowing some competitors who had started up to dispute with
Ravenna the wrecks of former power. He then forced his way into Spain,
and the hopes of the degenerate Romans were high. But murder, as usual,
stopped the career of Ataulf, and all was changed. [A.D. 415.] The
emperor ratified the possessions which he could not dispute, and in
the first twenty years of this century three separate kingdoms were
established in Europe. This was soon followed by a Vandal conquest of
the shores of Africa, which raised Carthage once more to commercial
importance, united Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia to the new-founded
state, and by the creation of a fleet gained the command of the
Mediterranean Sea, and threatened Constantinople itself.

With so many provinces not only torn from the empire, but erected into
hostile kingdoms, nothing was wanting but some new irruption into the
still dependent territories to put a final end to the Roman name. And a
new incursion came. In the very involved relations existing between the
emperors of the East and West, it is difficult to follow the course of
events with any clearness. While the deluded populace of Constantinople
were rejoicing in the fall of their Italian rival, they heard with
amazement, in 441, that a savage potentate, who had pitched his tents
in the plains of Pannonia and Thrace, and kept round him, for defence
or conquest, seven hundred thousand of those hideous-featured Huns who
had spread devastation and terror all over the populations of Asia,
from the borders of China to the Don, had determined on stretching his
conquests over the whole world, and merely hesitated with which of the
doomed empires to begin his career. His name was Attila, or, according
to its native pronunciation, Etzel; and it soon resounded, louder and
more terrifying than that of Alaric the Goth. The Emperor of the East
sent an embassy to this dreadful neighbour, a minute account of which
remains, and from which we learn the barbaric pomp and ceremony of the
leader of the Huns, and the perfidy and debasement of the Greeks. An
attempt was made to poison the redoubtable chief, and he complained
of the guilty ambassador to the very person who had given him his
instructions for the deed. Unsatisfied with the result, the Hunnish
monarch advanced his camp. Constantinople, anxious to ward off the blow
from itself, descanted to the savage king on the exposed condition and
ill-defended wealth of the Italian towns. Treachery of another kind
came to his aid. An offended sister of the emperor sent to Attila her
ring as a mark of espousal, and he now claimed a portion of the empire
as the dowry of his bride. When this was refused, he reiterated his old
claim of satisfaction for the attempt upon his life, and ravaged the
fields of Belgium and Gaul, in the double character of avenger of an
insult and claimant of an inheritance. It does not much matter under
what plea a barbarous chieftain, with six hundred thousand warriors,
makes a demand. It must be answered sword in hand, or on the knees.
The newly-established Frankish and Burgundian kings gathered their
forces in defence of their Christian faith and their recently-acquired
dominions. Attila retired from Orleans, of which he had commenced the
siege, and chose for the battle-field, which was to decide the destiny
of the world, a vast plain not far from Châlons, on the Marne, where
his cavalry would have room to act, and waited the assault of all the
forces that France and Italy could collect. The Visigoths prepared
for the decisive engagement under their king, Theodoric; the Franks
of the Saal under Meroveg; the Ripuarian Franks, the Saxons, and the
Burgundians were under leaders of their own. [A.D. 451.] It was a
fight in which were brought face to face the two conquering races of
the world, and upon its result it depended whether Europe was to be
ruled by a dynasty of Calmucks or left to her free progress under her
Gothic and Teutonic kings. Three hundred thousand corpses marked the
severity of the struggle, but victory rested with the West. Attila
retreated from Gaul, and wreaked his vengeance on the Italian cities.
He destroyed Aquileia, whose terrified inhabitants hid themselves in
the marshes and lagoons which afterwards bore the palaces of Venice;
Vicenza, Padua, and Verona were spoiled and burned. Pavia and Milan
submitted without resistance. On approaching Rome, the venerable
bishop, Saint Leo, met the devastating Hun, and by the gravity of his
appearance, the ransom he offered, and perhaps the mystic dignity
which still rested upon the city whose cause he pleaded, prevailed on
him to retire. Shortly after, the chief of this brief and terrible
visitation died in his tent on the banks of the Danube, and left no
lasting memorial of his irruption except the depopulation his cruelty
had caused, and the ruin he had spread over some of the fairest regions
of the earth.

But Rome, spared by the influence of the bishop from the ravage of
the Huns, could not escape the destroying enmity of Genseric and the
Vandals. Dashing across from Africa, these furious conquerors destroyed
for destruction's sake, and affixed the name of Vandalism on whatever
is harsh and unrefined. For fourteen days the spoilers were at work in
Rome, and it is only wonderful that after so many plunderings any thing
worth plundering remained. When the sated Vandals crossed to Carthage
again, the Gothic and Suevic kings gave the purple to whatever puppet
they chose. Afraid still to invest themselves with the insignia of
the Imperial power, they bestowed them or took them away, and at last
rendered the throne and the crown so contemptible, that when Odoacer
was proclaimed King of Italy, the phantom assembly which still called
itself the Roman Senate sent back to Constantinople the tiara and
purple robe, in sign that the Western Empire had passed away. Zeno, the
Eastern ruler, retained the ornaments of the departed sovereignty, and
sent to the Herulean Odoacer the title of "Patrician," sole emblem left
of the greatness and antiquity of the Roman name. It may be interesting
to remember that the last who wore the Imperial crown was a youth who
would probably have escaped the recognition of posterity altogether, if
he had not, by a sort of cruel mockery of his misfortunes, borne the
names of Romulus Augustulus--the former recalling the great founder of
the city, and the latter the first of the Imperial line.

Thus, then, in 476, Rome came to her deserved and terrible end; and
before we trace the influence of this great event upon the succeeding
centuries, it will be worth while to devote a few words to the cause of
its overthrow. These were evidently three--the ineradicable barbarity
and selfishness of the Roman character, the depravation of manners in
the capital, and the want of some combining influence to bind all the
parts of the various empire into a whole. From the earliest incidents
in the history of Rome, we gather that she was utterly regardless of
human life or suffering. Her treatment of her vanquished enemies, and
her laws upon parental authority, upon slaves and debtors, show the
pitiless disposition of her people. Look at her citizens at any period
of her career--her populace or her consuls--in the field of battle
or in the forum, you will always find them the true descendants of
those blood-stained refugees, who established their den of robbers on
the seven hills, and pretended they were led by a man who had been
suckled by a wolf. While conquest was their object, this sanguinary
disposition enabled them to perform great exploits; but when victory
had secured to them the blessings of peace and safety, the same thirst
for excitement continued. They cried out for blood in the amphitheatre,
and had no pleasure in any display which was not accompanied with pain.
The rival chief who had perilled their supremacy in the field was led
in ferocious triumph at the wheel of his conqueror, and beheaded or
flogged to death at the gate of the Capitol. The wounded gladiator
looked round the benches of the arena in hopes of seeing the thumbs
of the spectators turned down--the signal for his life being spared;
but matrons and maids, the high and the low, looked with unmoved faces
upon his agonies, and gave the signal for his death without remorse.
They were the same people, even in their amusements, who gave order for
the destruction of Numantium and Carthage. But cruelty was not enough.
They sank into the wildest vices of sensuality, and lost the dignity
of manhood, and the last feelings of self-respect. Never was a nation
so easily habituated to slavery. They licked the hand that struck them
hardest. They hung garlands for a long time on the tomb of Nero. They
insisted on being revenged on the murderers of Commodus, and frequently
slew more citizens in broils in the street and quarrels in the theatre,
than had fought at Cannæ or Zama. It might have been hoped that the
cruelty which characterized the days of their military aggression
would be softened down when they had become the acknowledged rulers of
the world. Luxury itself, it might be thought, would be inconsistent
with the sight of blood. But in this utterly detestable race the two
extremes of human society seemed to have the same result. The brutal,
half-clothed savage of an early age conveyed his tastes as well as his
conquests to the enervated voluptuary of the empire. The virtues, such
as they were, of that former period--contempt of danger, unfaltering
resolution, and a certain simplicity of life--had departed, and all the
bad features were exaggerated. Religion also had disappeared. Even a
false religion, if sincerely entertained, is a bond of union among all
who profess its faith. But between Rome and its colonies, and between
man and man, there was soon no community of belief. The sweltering
wretches in the Forum sneered at the existence of Bacchus in the midst
of his mysteries, and imitated the actions of their gods, while they
laughed at the hypocrisy of priests and augurs, who treated them as
divine. A cruel, depraved, godless people--these were the Romans who
had enslaved the world with their arms and corrupted it with their
civilization. When their capital fell, men felt relieved from a burden
and shame. The lessons of Christianity had been thrown away on a
population too gross and too truculent to receive them. Some of gentler
mould than others had received the Saviour; but to the mass of Romans
the language of peace and justice, of forgiveness and brotherhood, was
unknown. It was to be the worthier recipients of a pure and elevating
faith, that the Goth was called from his wilderness and the German from
his forest.

But the faith had to be purified itself before it was fitted for the
reception of the new conquerors of the world. The dissensions of the
Christian Churches had added only a fresh element of weakness to the
empire of Rome. There were heretics everywhere, supporting their
opinions with bigotry and violence--Arians, Sabellians, Montanists, and
fifty names besides. Torn by these parties, dishonoured by pretended
conversions, the result of flattery and ambition, the Christian Church
was further weakened by the effect of wealth and luxury upon its
chiefs. While contending with rival sects upon some point of discipline
or doctrine, they made themselves so notorious for the desire of
riches, and the infamous arts they practised to get themselves
appointed heirs of the rich members of their congregations, that a
law was passed making a conveyance in favour of a priest invalid. And
it is not from Pagan enemies or heretical rivals we learn this--it
is from the letters still extant of the most honoured Fathers of the
Church. One of them tells us that the Prefect Pretextatus, alluding
to the luxury of the Pontiffs, and to the magnificence of their
apparel, said to Pope Damasus, "Make me Bishop of Rome, and I will
turn Christian." "Far, then," says a Roman Catholic historian of our
own day, "from strengthening the Roman world with its virtues, the
Christian society seemed to have adopted the vices it was its office
to overcome." But the fall of Roman power was the resurrection of
Christianity. It had a Resurrection, because it had had a Death, and a
new world was now prepared for its reception. Its everlasting truths,
indeed, had been full of life and vigour all through the sad period
of Roman depravation, but the ground was unfitted for their growth;
and the great characteristic of this century is not the conquest of
Rome by Alaric the Goth, or the dreadful assault on Europe by Attila
the Hun, or the final abolition of the old capital of the world by
Odoacer the Herulean, but rather the ecclesiastical chaos which spread
over the earth. The age of martyrs had passed--the philosophers had
begun their pestiferous tamperings with the facts of revelation--and
over all rioted and stormed an ambitious and worldly priesthood, who
hated their opponents with more bitterness than the heathens had
displayed against the Christians, and ran wild in every species of
lawlessness and vice. The deserts and caves which used to give retreat
to meditative worshippers or timid believers, now teemed with thousands
of furious and fanatical monks, who rushed occasionally into the great
cities of the empire, and filled their streets with blood and rapine.
Guided by no less fanatical bishops, they spread murder and terror
over whole provinces. Alexandria stood in more fear of these professed
recluses than of an army of hostile soldiers. "There is a race," says
Eunapius, "called monks--men indeed in form, but hogs in life, who
practise and allow abominable things. Whoever wears a black robe, and
is not ashamed of filthy garments, and presents a dirty face to the
public view, obtains a tyrannical authority." False miracles, absurd
prophecies, and ludicrous visions were the instruments with which these
and other impostors established their power. Mad enthusiasts imprisoned
themselves in dungeons, or exposed themselves on the tops of pillars,
naked, except by the growth of their tangled hair, and the coating of
filth upon their persons,--and gained credit among the ignorant for
self-denial and abnegation of the world.

All the high offices of the Church were so lucrative and honourable as
to be the object of universal desire.

To be established archbishop of a diocese cost more lives than the
conquest of a province. When the Christian community needed support
from without, they had recourse to some rich or powerful individual,
some general of an army, or governor of a district, and begged him
to assume the pastoral staff in exchange for his military sword.
Sometimes the assembled crowd cried out the name of a favourite who
was not even known to be a Christian, and the mitre was conveyed by
acclamation to a person who had to undergo the ceremonies of baptism
and ordination before he could place it on his head. Sometimes the
exigencies of the congregation required a scholar or an orator for
its head. It applied to a philosopher to undertake its direction. He
objected that his philosophy had been declared inconsistent with the
Christian faith, and his mode of life contrary to Christian precept.
They forgave him his philosophy, his horses and hounds, his wife and
children, and constituted him their chief. Age was of no consequence.
A youth of eighteen has been saluted bishop by a cry which seemed to
the multitude the direct inspiration of Heaven, and seated in the
chair of his dignity almost without his knowledge. Once established
on his episcopal seat, he had no superior. The Roman Bishop had not
yet asserted his supremacy over the Church. Each prelate was sovereign
Pontiff of his own see, and his doctrines for a long time regulated the
doctrines of his flock. Under former bishops, Milan had been Arian,
under Ambrose it was orthodox, and with a change of master might
have been Arian again. The emperors had occasionally interfered with
their authoritative decisions, but generally the dispute was left in
divided dioceses to be settled by argument, when the rivals' tempers
allowed such a mode of warfare, but more frequently by armed bands of
the retainers of the respective creeds, and sometimes by an appeal to
miracles. But with this century a new spirit of bitterness was let
loose upon the Church. Councils were held, at which the doctrines of
the minority were declared dangerous to the State, and the civil power
was invoked to carry the sentence into effect. In Africa, where the
great name of Augustin of Hippo admitted no opposition, the Donatists,
though represented by no less than two hundred and seventy-nine
prelates, were condemned as heretics, and given over to the persecuting
sword. But in other quarters the dissidents looked for support to
the civil power, when it happened to be of their opinion in Church
affairs. Rome chose Clovis, the politic and energetic Frank, for its
guardian and protector, and the Arians threw themselves in the same
way on the support of the Visigoths and Burgundians. A difference of
faith became a pretext for war. Clovis, who envied his neighbours
their territories south of the Loire, led an expedition against them,
crying, "It is shameful to see those Arians in possession of such
goodly lands!" and everywhere a vast activity was perceptible in
the Church, because its interests were now connected with those of
kings and peoples. In earlier times, discussions were carried on on a
great variety of doctrines which, though widely spread, were not yet
authoritatively declared to be articles of faith. St. Jerome himself,
and others, had had to defend their opinions against the attacks of
various adversaries, who, without ceasing to be considered true members
of the Church, wrote powerfully against the worship of martyrs and
their relics; against the miracles professedly wrought at their tombs;
against fasting, austerities, and celibacy. No appeal was made on
those occasions either to the Bishop of Rome as head of the Church,
or to the emperor as head of the State. Now, however, the spirit of
moderation was banished, and the decrees of councils were considered
superior to private or even diocesan judgment. Life and freedom of
discussion were at an end under an enforced and rigid uniformity. But
the struggle lasted through the century. It was the period of great
convulsions in the State, and disputations, wranglings, and struggle
in the Church. How these, in a State tortured by perpetual change,
and a Church filled with energy and fire, acted upon each other, may
easily be supposed. The doubtful and unsteady civil government had
subordinated itself to the turbulent ardour of the perplexed but
highly-animated Church. After the conquest of Rome, where was the
barbaric conqueror to look for any guide to internal unity, or any
relic of the vanished empire by which to connect himself with the past?
There was only the Church, which was now not only the professed teacher
of obedience, peace, and holiness, but the only undestroyed institution
of the State. The old population of Rome had been wasted by the sword,
and famine, and deportation. The emperors of the West had left the
scene; the Roman Senate was no more. There was but one authority which
had any influence on the wretched crowd who had returned to their
ancient capital, or sought refuge in its ruined palaces or grass-grown
streets from the pursuit of their foes; and that was the Bishop of
the Christian congregation--whose palace had been given to him by
Constantine--who claimed already the inheritance of St. Peter--and who
carried to the new government either the support of a willing people,
or the enmity of a seditious mob.

[A.D. 489.]

A new hero came upon the scene in the person of Theodoric, the
Ostrogoth. Odoacer tried in vain to resist the two hundred thousand
warriors of this tribe who poured upon Italy in 490, and, after
a long resistance in Ravenna, yielded the kingdom of Italy to his
rival. Theodoric, though an Arian, cultivated the good opinion of the
orthodox, and gained the favour of the Roman Bishop. He had almost a
superstitious veneration for the dignities of ancient Rome. He treated
with respect an assembly which called itself the Senate, but did not
allow his love of antiquity to blind him to the degeneracy of the
present race. He interdicted arms to all men of Roman blood, and tried
in vain to prevent his followers from using the appellation "Roman"
as their bitterest form of contempt. Lands were distributed to his
followers, and they occupied and improved a full third of Italy. Equal
laws were provided for both populations, but he forbade the toga and
the schools to his countrymen, and left the studies and refinements of
life, and offices of civil dignity, to the native race. The hand that
holds the pen, he said, becomes unfitted for the sword. But, barbarian
as he was called, he restored the prosperity which the fairest region
of the earth had lost under the emperors. Bridges, aqueducts, theatres,
baths, were repaired; palaces and churches built. Agriculture was
encouraged, attempts were made to drain the Pontine Marshes; iron-mines
were worked in Dalmatia, and gold-mines in Bruttium. Large fleets
protected the coasts of the Mediterranean from pirates and invaders.
Population increased, taxes were diminished; and a ruler who could
neither read nor write attracted to his court all the learned men of
his time. Already the energy of a new and enterprising people was felt
to the extremities of his dominions. A new race, also, was established
in Gaul. Klodwig, leader of the Franks, received baptism at the hands
of St. Remi in 496, and began the great line of French rulers, who,
passing his name through the softened sound of Clovis, presented, in
the different families who succeeded him, eighteen kings of the name of
Louis, as if commemorative of the founder of the monarchy.

In England the petty kingdoms of the Heptarchy were in the course of
formation, and though, when viewed closely, we seemed a divided and
even hostile collection of individual tribes, the historian combines
the separate elements, and tells us that, before the fifth century
expired, another branch of the barbarians had settled into form and
order, and that the Anglo-Saxon race had taken possession of its place.

With these newly-founded States rising with fresh vigour from among the
decayed and festering remains of an older society, we look hopefully
forward to what the future years will show us.



                            SIXTH CENTURY.


Kings of the Franks.

  A.D.

       CLOVIS.--(_cont._)

  511. CHILDEBERT, THIERRY, CLOTAIRE, CLODOMIR.

  559. CLOTAIRE (sole King).

  562. CHARIBERT, GONTRAN, SIGEBERT and CHILDERIC.

  584. CLOTAIRE II., (of Soissons.)

  596. THIERRY II., THEODOBERT, (of Paris and Austrasia.)


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

       ANASTASIUS.--(_cont._)

  518. JUSTIN.

  527. JUSTINIAN I.

  565. JUSTIN II.

  578. TIBERIUS II.

  582. MAURICE.


Authors.

BOETHIUS, PROCOPIUS, GILDAS, GREGORY OF TOURS, COLUMBA, (520-597,)
PRISCIAN, COLUMBANUS, BENEDICT, EVAGRIUS, (SCHOLASTICUS,) FULGENTIUS,
GREGORY THE GREAT.



                          THE SIXTH CENTURY.

  BELISARIUS AND NARSES IN ITALY--SETTLEMENT OF THE LOMBARDS--LAWS OF
  JUSTINIAN--BIRTH OF MOHAMMED.


Theodoric, though not laying claim to universal empire in right of
his possession of Rome and Italy, exercised a sort of supremacy over
his contemporaries by his wisdom and power. He also strengthened his
position by family alliances. His wife was sister of Klodwig or Clovis,
King of the Franks. He married his own sister to Hunric, King of the
Vandals, his niece to the Thuringian king. One of his daughters he
gave to Sigismund, King of the Burgundians, and the other to Alaric
the Second, King of the Visigoths. Relying on the double influence
which his relationship and reputation secured to him, he rebuked or
praised the potentates of Europe as if they had been his children, and
gave them advice in the various exigencies of their affairs, to which
they implicitly submitted. He would fain have kept alive what was
left of the old Roman civilization, and heaped honours on the Senator
Cassiodorus, one of the last writers of Rome. "We send you this man
as ambassador," he said to the King of the Burgundians, "that your
people may no longer pretend to be our equals when they perceive what
manner of men we have among us." But his rule, though generous, was
strict. He imprisoned the Bishop of Rome for disobedience of orders
in a commission he had given him, and repressed discontent and the
quarrels of the factions with an unsparing hand. But the death of this
great and wise sovereign showed on what unstable foundations a barbaric
power is built. Frightful tragedies were enacted in his family. His
daughter was murdered by her nephew, whom she had associated with her
in the guardianship of her son. But vengeance overtook the wrong-doer,
and a strange revolution occurred in the history of the world. The
emperor reigning at Constantinople was the celebrated Justinian. He
saw into what a confused condition the affairs of the new conquerors
of Italy had fallen. Rallying round him all the recollections of the
past--giving command of his armies to one of the great men who start
up unexpectedly in the most hopeless periods of history, whose name,
Belisarius, still continues to be familiar to our ears--and rousing
the hostile nationalities to come to his aid, he poured into the
peninsula an army with Roman discipline and the union which community
of interests affords. [A.D. 535.] In a remarkably short space of time,
Belisarius achieved the conquest of Italy. The opposing soldiers threw
down their arms at sight of the well-remembered eagles. The nations
threw off the supremacy of the Ostrogoths. Belisarius had already
overthrown the kingdom of the Vandals and restored Africa to the empire
of the East. He took Naples, and put the inhabitants to the sword.
He advanced upon Rome, which the Goths deserted at his approach. The
walls of the great city were restored, and a victory over the fugitives
at Perugia seemed to secure the whole land to its ancient masters.
But Witig, the Ostrogoth, gathered courage from despair. He besought
assistance from the Franks, who had now taken possession of Burgundy;
and volunteers from all quarters flocked to his standard, for he had
promised them the spoils of Milan. Milan was immensely rich, and had
espoused the orthodox faith. The assailants were Arians, and intent on
plunder. Such destruction had scarcely been seen since the memorable
slaughter of the Huns at Châlons on the Marne. The Ostrogoths and
Burgundian Franks broke into the town, and the streets were piled up
with the corpses of all the inhabitants. There were three hundred
thousand put to death, and multitudes had died of famine and disease.
The ferocity was useless, and Belisarius was already on the march;
Witig was conquered, in open fight, while he was busy besieging Rome;
Ravenna itself, his capital, was taken, and the Ostrogothic king was
led in triumph along the streets of Constantinople.

[A.D. 540.]

But the conqueror of the Ostrogoths fell into disfavour at court. He
was summoned home, and a great man, whom his presence in Italy had kept
in check, availed himself of his absence. Totila seemed indeed worthy
to succeed to the empire of his countryman Theodoric. He again peopled
the utterly exhausted Rome; he restored its buildings, and lived among
the new-comers himself, encouraging their efforts to give it once more
the appearance of the capital of the world. But these efforts were
in vain. There was no possibility of reviving the old fiction of the
identity of the freshly-imported inhabitants and the countrymen of
Scipio and Cæsar. Only one link was possible between the old state of
things and the new. It was strange that it was left for the Christian
Bishop to bridge over the chasm that separated the Rome of the
Consulship and the Empire from the capital of the Goths. Yet so it was.
While the short duration of the reigns of the barbaric kings prevented
the most sanguine from looking forward to the stability of any power
for the future, the immunity already granted to the clerical order, and
the sanctuary afforded, in the midst of the wildest excesses of siege
and storm, by their shrines and churches, had affixed a character of
inviolability and permanence to the influence of the ecclesiastical
chief. At Constantinople, the presence of the sovereign, who affected a
grandeur to which the pretensions to divinity of the Roman emperors had
been modesty and simplicity, kept the dignity of the Bishop in a very
secondary place. But at Rome there was no one left to dispute his rank.
His office claimed a duration of upwards of four hundred years; and
though at first his predecessors had been fugitives and martyrs, and
even now his power had no foundation except in the willing obedience
of the members of his flock, the necessity of his position had forced
him to extend his claims beyond the mere requirements of his spiritual
rule. During the ephemeral occupations of the city by Vandals and Huns
and Ostrogoths, and all the tribes who successively took possession of
the great capital, he had been recognised as the representative of the
most influential portion of the inhabitants. As it naturally followed
that the higher the rank of a ruler or intercessor was, the more likely
his success would be, the Christians of the orthodox persuasion had
the wisdom to raise their Bishop as high as they could. He had stood
between the devoted city and the Huns; he had promised obedience or
threatened resistance to the Goths, according to the conduct pursued
with regard to his flock by the conquerors. He had also lent to
Belisarius all the weight of his authority in restoring the power of
the emperors, and from this time the Bishop of Rome became a great
civil as well as ecclesiastical officer. All parties in turn united in
trying to win him over to their cause--the Arian kings, by kindness
and forbearance to his adherents; and the orthodox, by increasing the
rights and privileges of his see. And already the policy of the Roman
Pontiffs began to take the path it has never deserted since. They
looked out in all quarters for assistance in their schemes of ambition
and conquest. Emissaries were despatched into many nations to convert
them, not from heathenism to Christianity, but from independence to an
acknowledgment of their subjection to Rome. It was seen already that
a great spiritual empire might be founded upon the ruins of the old
Roman world, and spread itself over the perplexed and unstable politics
of the barbaric tribes. No means, accordingly, were left untried to
extend the conquests of the spiritual Cæsar. When Clovis the Frank was
converted by the entreaties of his wife from Arianism to the creed
of the Roman Church, the orthodox bishops of France considered it a
victory over their enemies, though these enemies were their countrymen
and neighbours. And from henceforth we find the different confessions
of faith to have more influence in the setting up or overthrowing of
kingdoms than the strength of armies or the skill of generals. Narses,
who was appointed the successor of Belisarius, was a believer in the
decrees of the Council of Nice. His orthodoxy won him the support of
all the orthodox Huns and Heruleans and Lombards, who formed an army
of infuriated missionaries rather than of soldiers, and gained to his
cause the majority of the Ostrogoths whom it was his task to fight.
Totila in vain tried to bear up against this invasion. The heretical
Ostrogoths, expelled from the towns by their orthodox fellow-citizens,
and ill supported by the inhabitants of the lands they traversed,
were defeated in several battles; and at last, when the resisting
forces were reduced to the paltry number of seven thousand men, their
spirits broken by defeat, and a continuance in Italy made useless by
the hostile feelings of the population, they applied to Narses for
some means of saving their lives. He furnished them with vessels,
which carried them from the lands which, sixty years before, had
been assigned them by the great Theodoric, and they found an obscure
termination to so strange and checkered a career, by being lost and
mingled in the crowded populations of Constantinople. This was in
553. The Ostrogoths disappear from history. The Visigoths have still
a settlement at the southwest of France and in the rich regions of
Spain, but they are isolated by their position, and are divided into
different branches. The Franks are a great and seemingly well-cemented
race between the Rhine and the sea. The Burgundians have a form of
government and code of laws which keep them distinct and powerful.
There are nations rising into independence in Germany. In England,
Christianity has formed a bond which practically gives firmness and
unity to the kingdoms of the Heptarchy; and it might be expected
that, having seen so many tribes of strange and varying aspect emerge
from the unknown regions of the East, we should have little to do but
watch the gradual enlightenment of those various races, and see them
assuming, by slow degrees, their present respective places; but the
undiscovered extremities of the earth were again to pour forth a swarm
of invaders, who plunged Italy back into its old state of barbarism and
oppression, and established a new people in the midst of its already
confused and intermixed populations.

Somewhere up between the Aller and the Oder there had been settled,
from some unknown period, a people of wild and uncultivated habits,
who had occasionally appeared in small detachments in the various
gatherings of barbarians who had forced their way into the South.
Following the irresistible impulse which seems to impel all the
settlers in the North, they traversed the regions already occupied
by the Heruleans and the Gepides, and paused, as all previous
invasions had done, on the outer boundary of the Danube. These were
the Longobards or Lombards, so called from the spears, _bardi_, with
which they were armed; and not long they required to wait till a
favourable opportunity occurred for them to cross the stream. In the
hurried levies of Narses some of them had offered their services, and
had been present at the victory over Totila the Goth. They returned,
in all probability, to their companions, and soon the hearts of
the whole tribe were set upon the conquest of the beautiful region
their countrymen had seen. If they hesitated to undertake so long an
expedition, two incidents occurred which made it indispensable. Flying
in wild fury and dismay from the face of a pursuing enemy, the Avars,
themselves a ferocious Asiatic horde which had terrified the Eastern
Empire, came and joined themselves to the Lombards. With united forces,
all their tents, and wives and children, their horses and cattle, this
dreadful alliance began their progress to Italy. The other incident
was, that in revenge for the injustice of his master, and dreading his
further malice, Narses himself invited their assistance. Alboin, the
Lombard king, was chief of the expedition. He had been refused the hand
of Rosamund, the daughter of Cunimond, chief of the Gepides. He poured
the combined armies of Lombards and Avars upon the unfortunate tribe,
slew the king with his own hand, and, according to the inhuman fashion
of his race, formed his drinking-cup of his enemy's skull. He married
Rosamund, and pursued his victorious career. He crossed the Julian
Alps, made himself master of Milan and the dependent territories, and
was lifted on the shield as King of Italy. At a festival in honour of
his successes, he forced his favourite wine-goblet into the hands of
his wife. She recognised the fearful vessel, and shuddered while she
put her lips to the brim. But hatred took possession of her heart. She
promised her hand and throne to Kilmich, one of her attendants, if he
would take vengeance on the tyrant who had offered her so intolerable a
wrong. The attendant was won by the bride, and slew Alboin. But justice
pursued the murderers. They were discovered, and fled to Ravenna, where
the Exarch held his court. Saved thus from human retribution, Rosamund
brought her fate upon herself. Captivated with the prospect of marrying
the Exarch, she presented a poisoned cup to Kilmich, now become her
husband, as he came from the bath. The effect was immediate, and the
agonies he felt told him too surely the author of his death. [A.D. 575.]
He just lived long enough to stab the wretched woman with his dagger,
and this frightful domestic tragedy was brought to a close.

Alboin had divided his dominion into many little states and dukedoms.
A kind of anarchy succeeded the strong government of the remorseless
and clear-sighted king, and enemies began to arise in different
directions. The Franks from the south of France began to cross the
Alps. The Greek settlements began to menace the Lombards from the
South. Internal disunion was quelled by the public danger, and
Antharis, the son of Cleph, was nominated king. To strengthen himself
against the orthodox Franks, he professed himself a Christian and
joined the Arian communion. With the aid of his co-religionists
he repelled the invaders, and had time, in the intervals of their
assaults, to extend his conquests to the south of the peninsula. There
he overthrew the settlements which owned the Empire of the East;
and coming to the extreme end of Italy, the savage ruler pushed his
war-horse into the water as deep as it would go, and, standing up in
his stirrups, threw forward his javelin with all his strength, saying,
"That is the boundary of the Lombard power." Unhappily for the unity
of that distracted land, the warrior's boast was unfounded, and it
has continued ever since a prey to discord and division. [A.D. 591.]
Another kingdom, however, was added to the roll of European states;
and this was the last settlement permanently made on the old Roman
territory.

The Lombards were a less civilized horde than any of their
predecessors. The Ostrogoths had rapidly assimilated themselves to
the people who surrounded them, but the Lombards looked with haughty
disdain on the population they had subdued. By portioning the country
among the chiefs of the expedition, they commenced the first experiment
on a great scale of what afterwards expanded into the feudal system.
There were among them, as among the other northern settlers, an
elective king and an hereditary nobility, owing suit and service to
their chief, and exacting the same from their dependants; and already
we see the working of this similarity of constitution in the diffusion
throughout the whole of Europe of the monarchical and aristocratic
principle, which is still the characteristic of most of our modern
states. From this century some authors date the origin of what are
called the "Middle Ages," forming the great and obscure gulf between
ancient and modern times. Others, indeed, wish to fix the commencement
of the Middle Ages at a much earlier date--even so far back as the
reign of Constantine. They found this inclination on the fact that to
him we are indebted for the settlement of barbarians within the empire,
and the institution of a titled nobility dependent on the crown. But
many things were needed besides these to constitute the state of
manners and polity which we recognise as those of the Middle Ages,
and above them all the establishment of the monarchical principle in
ecclesiastical government, and the recognition of a sovereign priest.
This was now close at hand, and its approach was heralded by many
appearances.

How, indeed, could the Church deprive itself of the organization
which it saw so powerful and so successful in civil affairs? A
machinery was all ready to produce an exact copy of the forms of
temporal administration. There were bishops to be analogous to the
great feudataries of the crown; priests and rectors to represent the
smaller freeholders dependent on the greater barons; but where was the
monarch by whom the whole system was to be combined and all the links
of the great chain held together by a point of central union? The
want of this had been so felt, that we might naturally have expected
a claim to universal superiority to have long ere this been made by
a Pope of Rome, the ancient seat of the temporal power. But with his
residence perpetually a prey to fresh inroads, a heretical king merely
granting him toleration and protection, the pretension would have been
too absurd during the troubles of Italy, and it was not advanced for
several years. The necessity of the case, however, was such, that a
voice was heard from another quarter calling for universal obedience,
and this was uttered by the Patriarch of Constantinople. Rome, we must
remember, had by this time lost a great portion of her ancient fame.
It was reserved for this wonderful city to rise again into all her
former grandeur, by the restoration of learning and the knowledge of
what she had been. At this period all that was known of her by the
ignorant barbarians was, that she was a fresh-repaired and half-peopled
town, which had been sacked and ruined five times within a century,
that her inhabitants were collected from all parts of the world, and
that she was liable to a repetition of her former misfortunes. They
knew nothing of the great men who had raised her to such pre-eminence.
She had sunk even from being the capital of Italy, and could therefore
make no intelligible claim to be considered the capital of the world.
Constantinople, on the other hand, which, by our system of education,
we are taught to look upon as a very modern creation compared with
the Rome of the old heroic ages of the kings and consuls, was at that
period a magnificent metropolis, which had been the seat of government
for three hundred years. The majesty of the Roman name had transferred
itself to that new locality, and nothing was more natural than that the
Patriarch of the city of Constantine, which had been imperial from its
origin, and had never been defiled by the presence of a Pagan temple,
should claim for himself and his see a pre-eminence both in power and
holiness. Accordingly, a demand was made in 588 for the recognition
throughout the Christian world of the universal headship of the
bishopric of Constantinople. But at that time there was a bishop of
Rome, whom his successors have gratefully dignified with the epithet
of Great, who stood up in defence, not of his own see only, but of all
the bishoprics in Europe. Gregory published, in answer to the audacious
claim of the Eastern patriarch, a vigorous protest, in which these
remarkable words occur:--"This I declare with confidence, that whoso
designates himself Universal Priest, or, in the pride of his heart,
consents to be so named--he is the forerunner of Antichrist." It was
therefore to Rome, on the broad ground of the Christian equality of all
the chief pastors of the Church, that we owe this solemn declaration
against the pretensions of the ambitious John of Constantinople.

But Constantinople itself was about to fade from the minds of men.
Dissatisfied with the opposition to its supremacy, the Eastern Church
became separated in interest and discipline and doctrine from its
Western branch. The intercourse between the two was hostile, and in
a short time nearly ceased. The empire also was so deeply engaged
in defending its boundaries against the Persians and other enemies
in Asia, that it took small heed of the proceedings of its late
dependencies, the newly-founded kingdoms in Europe. It is probable
that the refined and ostentatious court of Justinian, divided as it
was into fanatical parties about some of the deepest and some of the
most unimportant mysteries of the faith, and contending with equal
bitterness about the charioteers of the amphitheatre according as
their colours were green or blue, looked with profound contempt on
the struggles after better government and greater enlightenment of
the rabble of Franks, and Lombards, and Burgundians, who had settled
themselves in the distant lands of the West. The interior regulations
of Justinian formed a strange contrast with the grandeur and success of
his foreign policy. By his lieutenants Belisarius and Narses, he had
reconquered the lost inheritance of his predecessors, and held in full
sovereignty for a while the fertile shores of Africa, rescued from the
debasing hold of the Vandals; he had cleared Italy of Ostrogoths, Spain
even had yielded an unwilling obedience, and his name was reverenced in
the great confederacy of the Germanic peoples who held the lands from
the Atlantic eastward to Hungary, and from Marseilles to the mouth of
the Elbe. But his home was the scene of every weakness and wickedness
that can disgrace the name of man. Kept in slavish submission to his
wife, he did not see, what all the rest of the world saw, that she
was the basest of her sex, and a disgrace to the place he gave her.
Beginning as a dancer at the theatre, she passed through every grade of
infamy and vice, till the name of Theodora became a synonym for every
thing vile and shameless. Yet this man, successful in war and politic
in action, though contemptible in private life, had the genius of a
legislator, and left a memorial of his abilities which extended its
influence through all the nations which succeeded to any portion of the
Roman dominion, and has shaped and modified the jurisprudence of all
succeeding times. He was not so much a maker of new laws, as a restorer
and simplifier of the old; and as the efforts of Justinian in this
direction were one of the great features by which the sixth century is
distinguished, it will be useful to devote a page or two to explain in
what his work consisted.

The Roman laws had become so numerous and so contradictory that the
administration of justice was impossible, even where the judges
were upright and intelligent. The mere word of an emperor had been
considered a decree, and legally binding for all future time. No
lapse of years seems to have brought a law once promulgated into
desuetude. The people, therefore, groaned under the uncertainty of
the statutes, which was further increased by the innumerable glosses
or interpretations put upon them by the lawyers. All the decisions
which had ever been given by the fifty-four emperors, from Adrian to
Justinian, were in full force. All the commentaries made upon them by
advocates and judges, and all the sentences delivered in accordance
with them, were contained in thousands of volumes; and the result
was, when Justinian came to the throne in 526, that there was no
point of law on which any man could be sure. He employed the greatest
jurisconsults of that time, Trebonian and others, to bring some order
into the chaos; and such was the diligence of the commissioners,
that in fourteen months they produced the Justinian Code in twelve
books, containing a condensation of all previous constitutions.
[A.D. 527.] In the course of seven years, two hundred laws and fifty
judgments were added by the emperor himself, and a new edition of the
Code was published in 534. [A.D. 533.] Under the name of Institutes
appeared a new manual for the legal students in the great schools of
Constantinople, Berytus, and Rome, where the principles of Roman law
are succinctly laid down. The third of his great works was one for the
completion of which he gave Trebonian and his assessors ten years.
It is called the Digest or Pandects of Justinian, because in it were
digested, or put in order in a general collection, the best decisions
of the courts, and the opinions and treatises of the ablest lawyers.
All previous codes were ransacked, and two thousand volumes of legal
argument condensed; and in three years the indefatigable law-reformers
published their work, wherein three million leading judgments were
reduced to a hundred and fifty thousand. Future confusion was guarded
against by a commandment of the emperor abolishing all previous laws
and making it penal to add note or comment to the collection now
completed. The sentences delivered by the emperor, after the appearance
of the Pandects, were published under the name of the Novellæ; and
with this great clearing-out of the Augean stable of ancient law, the
salutary labours of Trebonian came to a close. In those laws are to be
seen both the virtues and the vices of their origin. They sprang from
the wise liberality of a despot, and handle the rights of subjects,
in their relation to each other, with the equanimity and justice of a
power immeasurably raised above them all. But the unlimited supremacy
of the ruler is maintained as the sole foundation for the laws
themselves. So we see in these collections, and in the spirit which
they have spread over all the codes which have taken them for their
model, a combination of humanity and probity in the civil law, with a
tendency to exalt to a ridiculous excess the authority of the governing
power.

This has been a century of wonderful revolutions. We have seen the
kingdom of the Ostrogoths take the lead in Europe under the wise
government of Theodoric the Great. We have seen it overthrown by
an army of very small size, consisting of the very forces they had
so recently triumphed over in every battle; and finally, after the
victories over them of Belisarius and Narses, we have seen the
last small remnant of their name removed from Italy altogether and
eradicated from history for all future time. But, strange as this
reassertion of the Greek supremacy was, the rapidity of its overthrow
was stranger still. A new people came upon the stage, and established
the Lombard power. The empire contracted itself within its former
narrow bounds, and kept up the phantom of its superiority merely by
the residence of an Exarch, or provincial governor, at Ravenna. The
fiction of its power was further maintained by the Emperor's official
recognition of certain rulers, and his ratification of the election of
the Roman bishops. But in all essentials the influence had departed
from Constantinople, and the Western monarchies were separated from the
East.

In the Northwest, the confederacy of the Franks, which had consolidated
into one immense and powerful kingdom under Clovis, became separated,
weakened, and converted into open enemies under his degenerate
successors.

But as the century drew to a close, a circumstance occurred, far away
from the scene of all these proceedings, which had a greater influence
on human affairs than the reconquest of Italy or the establishment
of France. This was the marriage of a young man in a town of Arabia
with the widow of his former master. In 564 this young man was born in
Mecca, where his family had long held the high office of custodiers
and guardians of the famous Caaba, which was popularly believed to be
the stone that covered the grave of Abraham. But when he was still a
child his father died, and he was left to the care of his uncle. The
simplicity of the Arab character is shown in the way in which the young
noble was brought up. Abu Taleb initiated him in the science of war
and the mysteries of commerce. He managed his horse and sword like an
accomplished cavalier, and followed the caravan as a merchant through
the desert. Gifted with a high poetical temperament, and soaring above
the grovelling superstitions of the people surrounding him, he used
to retire to meditate on the great questions of man's relation to his
Maker, which the inquiring mind can never avoid. Meditation led to
excitement. He saw visions and dreamed dreams. He saw great things
before him, if he could become the leader and lawgiver of his race. But
he was poor and unknown. His mistress Cadijah saw the aspirations of
her noble servant, and offered him her hand. He was now at leisure to
mature the schemes of national regeneration and religious improvement
which had occupied him so long, and devoted himself more than ever to
study and contemplation. This was Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, who
retired in 594 to perfect his scheme, and whose empire, before many
years elapsed, extended from India to Spain, and menaced Christianity
and Europe at the same time from the Pyrenees and the Danube.



                           SEVENTH CENTURY.


Kings of the Franks.

  A.D.

       THIERRY II. and THEODOBERT II.--(_cont._)

  614. CLOTAIRE III. (sole king.)

  628. DAGOBERT and CHARIBERT.

  638. SIGEBERT and CLOVIS II.

  654. CHILDERIC II.

  679. THIERRY IV.

  692. CLOVIS III. (PEPIN, Mayor.)

  695. CHILDEBERT III. (do.)


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

       MAURICE--(_cont._)

  602. PHOCAS.

  611. HERACLIUS.

  641. CONSTANTINE, (and others.)

  642. CONSTANS.

  668. CONSTANTIUS V.

  685. JUSTINIAN II.

  695. LEONTIUS.

  697. TIBERIUS.


Authors.

NENNIUS, (620,) BEDE, (674-735,) ALDHELM, ADAMNANUS.



                         THE SEVENTH CENTURY.

  POWER OF ROME SUPPORTED BY THE MONKS--CONQUESTS OF THE MOHAMMEDANS.


This, then, is the century during which Mohammedanism and Christianity
were marshalling their forces--unknown, indeed, to each other, but
preparing, according to their respective powers, for the period when
they were to be brought face to face. We shall go eastward, and follow
the triumphant march of the warriors of the Crescent from Arabia to
the shores of Africa; but first we shall cast a desponding eye on
the condition and prospects of the kingdoms of the West. Conquest,
spoliation, and insecurity had done their work. Wave after wave had
passed over the surface of the old Roman State, and obliterated almost
all the landmarks of the ancient time. The towns, to be sure, still
remained, but stripped of their old magnificence, and thinly peopled
by the dispossessed inhabitants of the soil, who congregated together
for mutual support. Trade was carried on, but subject to the exactions,
and sometimes the open robberies, of the avaricious chieftains who had
reared their fortresses on the neighbouring heights. Large tracts of
country lay waste and desolate, or were left to the happy fertility of
nature in the growth of spontaneous woods. Marshes were formed over
whole districts, and the cattle picked up an uncertain existence by
browsing over great expanses of poor and unenclosed land. These flocks
and herds were guarded by hordes of armed serfs, who camped beside
them on the fields, and led a life not unlike that of their remote
ancestors on the steppes of Tartary. A man's wealth was counted by his
retainers, and there was no supreme authority to keep the dignitaries,
even of the same tribe, from warring on each other and wasting their
rival's country with fire and sword. Agriculture, therefore, was in
the lowest state, and famines, plagues, and other concomitants of
want were common in all parts of Europe. One beautiful exception must
be made to this universal neglect of agriculture, in favour of the
Benedictine monks, established in various parts of Italy and Gaul in
the course of the preceding century. Religious reverence was a surer
safeguard to those lowly men than castles or armour could have been.
No marauder dared to trespass on lands which were under the protection
of priest and bishop. And these Western recluses, far from imitating
the slothful uselessness of the Eastern monks, turned their whole
attention to the cultivation of the soil. In this they bestowed a
double benefit on their fellow-men, for, in addition to the positive
improvement of the land, they rescued labour from the opprobrium into
which it had fallen, and raised it to the dignity of a religious
duty. Slavery, we have seen, was universally practised in all the
conquered territories, and as only the slaves were compelled to the
drudgeries of the field, the work itself borrowed a large portion of
the degradation of the unhappy beings condemned to it; and robbery,
pillage, murder, and every crime, were considered far less derogatory
to the dignity of free Frank or Burgundian than the slightest touch of
the mattock or spade. How surprised, then, were the haughty countrymen
and descendants of Clovis or Alboin to see the revered hands from which
they believed the highest blessings of Heaven to flow, employed in
the daily labour of digging, planting, sowing, reaping, thrashing,
grinding, and baking! At first they looked incredulously on. Even
the monks were disposed to consider it no part of their conventual
duties. But the founder of their institution wrote to them, "to
beware of idleness, as the greatest enemy of the soul," and not to
be uneasy if at any time the cares of the harvest hindered them from
their formal readings and regulated prayers. "No person is ever more
usefully employed than when working with his hands or following the
plough, providing food for the use of man." And the effects of these
exhortations were rapidly seen. Wherever a monastery was placed, there
were soon fertile fields all round it, and innumerable stacks of
corn. Generally chosen with a view to agricultural pursuits, we find
sites of abbeys at the present day which are the perfect ideal of a
working farm; for long after the outburst of agricultural energy had
expired among the monks of St. Benedict, the choice of situation and
knowledge of different soils descended to the other ecclesiastical
establishments, and skill in agriculture continued at all times a
characteristic of the religious orders. What could be more enchanting
than the position of their monastic homes? Placed on the bank of some
beautiful river, surrounded on all sides by the low flat lands enriched
by the neighbouring waters, and protected by swelling hills where
cattle are easily fed, we are too much in the habit of attributing the
selection of so admirable a situation to the selfishness of the portly
abbot. When the traveller has admired the graces of Melrose or of
Tintern--the description applies equally to almost all the foundations
of an early date--and has paid due attention to the chasteness of the
architecture, and beauty of "the long-resounding aisle and fretted
vault," he sometimes contemplates with a sneer the matchless charm of
the scenery, and exceeding richness of the haugh or strath in which
the building stands. "Ah," he says, "they were knowing old gentlemen,
those monks and priors. They had fish in the river, fat beeves upon
the meadow, red-deer on the hill, ripe corn on the water-side, a full
grange at Christmas, and snowy sheep at midsummer." And so they had,
and deserved them all. The head of that great establishment was not
wallowing in the fat of the land to the exclusion of envious baron or
starving churl. He was, in fact, setting them an example which it would
have been wise in them to follow. He merely chose the situation most
fitted for his purpose, and bestowed his care on the lands which most
readily yielded him his reward. It was not necessary for the monks in
those days to seek out some neglected corner, and to restore it to
cultivation, as an exercise of their ingenuity and strength. They were
free to choose from one end of Europe to the other, for the whole of
it lay useless and comparatively barren. But when these able-bodied
recluses, if such they may be called, had shown the results of patient
industry and skill, the peasants, who had seen their labours, or
occasionally been employed to assist them, were able to convey to their
lay proprietors or masters the lessons they had received. And at last
something venerable was thought to reside in the act of farming itself.
It was so uniformly found an accompaniment of the priestly character,
that it acquired a portion of its sanctity, and the rude Lombard or
half-civilized Frank looked with a kind of awe upon waving corn and
rich clover, as if they were the result of a higher intelligence and
purer life than he possessed. Even the highest officers in the Church
were expected to attend to these agricultural conquests. In this
century we find, that when kings summoned bishops to a council, or an
archbishop called his brethren to a conference, care was taken to
fix the time of meeting at a season which did not interfere with the
labours of the farm. Privileges naturally followed these beneficial
labours. The kings, in their wondering gratitude, surrounded the
monasteries with fresh defences against the envy or enmity of the
neighbouring chiefs. Their lands became places of sanctuary, as the
altar of the Church had been. Freedmen--that is, persons manumitted
from slavery, but not yet endowed with property--were everywhere put
under the protection of the clergy. Immunities were heaped upon them,
and methods found out of making them a separate and superior race.
At the Council of Paris, in 613, it was decreed that the priest who
offended against the common law should be tried by a mixed court of
priests and laymen. But soon this law, apparently so just, was not
considered enough, and the trial of ecclesiastics was given over to the
ecclesiastical tribunals, without the admixture of the civil element.
Other advantages followed from time to time. The Church was found in
all the kingdoms to be so useful as the introducer of agriculture, and
the preserver of what learning had survived the Roman overthrow, that
the ambitious hierarchy profited by the royal and popular favour. They
were the most influential, or perhaps it would be more just to say they
were the only, order in the State. There was a nobility, but it was
jarring and disunited; there were citizens, but they were powerless
and depressed; there was a king, but he was but the first of the
peers, and stood in dignified isolation where he was not subordinate
to a combination of the others. The clergy, therefore, had no enemy
or rival to dread, for they had all the constituents of power which
the other portions of the population wanted. Their property was more
secure; their lands were better cultivated; they were exempt from many
of the dangers and burdens to which the lay barons were exposed;
they were not liable to the risks and losses of private war; they had
more intelligence than their neighbours, and could summon assistance,
either in advice, or support, or money, from the farthest extremity
of Europe. Nothing, indeed, added more, at the commencement of this
century, to the authority of those great ecclesiastical chieftains,
than the circumstance that their interests were supported, not only
by their neighbouring brethren, but by mitred abbot and lordly bishop
in distant lands. If a prior or his monks found themselves ill used
on the banks of the Seine, their cause was taken up by all other
monks and priors wherever they were placed. And the rapidity of their
intercommunication was extraordinary. Each monastery seems to have had
a number of active young brethren who traversed the wildest regions
with letters or messages, and brought back replies, almost with the
speed and regularity of an established post. A convent on Lebanon was
informed in a very short time of what had happened in Provence--the
letter from the Western abbot was read and deliberated on, and an
answer intrusted to the messenger, who again travelled over the immense
tract lying between, receiving hospitality at the different religious
establishments that occurred upon his way, and everywhere treated with
the kindness of a brother. Monasteries in this way became the centres
of news as well as of learning, and for many hundred years the only
people who knew any thing of the state of feeling in foreign nations,
or had a glimpse of the mutual interests of distant kingdoms, were the
cowled and gowned individuals who were supposed to have given up the
world and to be totally immersed in penances and prayers. What could
Hereweg of the strong hand do against a bishop or abbot, who could tell
at any hour what were the political designs of conquerors or kings
in countries which the astonished warrior did not know even by name;
who retained by traditionary transmission the politeness of manner and
elegance of accomplishment which had characterized the best period of
the Roman power, when Christianized noblemen, on being promoted to an
episcopal see, had retained the delicacies of their former life, and
wrote love-songs as graceful as those of Catullus, and epigrams neither
so witty nor so coarse as those of Martial? Intelligence asserted its
superiority over brute force, and in this century the supremacy of the
Church received its accomplishment in spite of the depravation of its
principles. It gained in power and sank in morals. A hundred years of
its beneficial action had made it so popular and so powerful that it
fell into temptations, from which poverty or unpopularity would have
kept it free. The sixth century was the period of its silent services,
its lower officers endearing themselves by useful labour, and its
dignitaries distinguishing themselves by learning and zeal. In the
seventh century the fruit of all those virtues was to be gathered by
very different hands. Ambitious contests began between the different
orders composing the gradually rising hierarchy, from the monk in
his cell to the Bishop of Rome or Constantinople on their pontifical
thrones. It is very sad, after the view we have taken of the early
benefits bestowed on many nations by the labours and example of the
priests and monks, to see in the period we have reached the total
cessation of life and energy in the Church;--of life and energy, we
ought to say, in the fulfilment of its duties; for there was no want of
those qualities in the gratification of its ambition. Forgetful of what
Gregory had pronounced the chief sign of Antichrist, when he opposed
the pretension of his rival metropolitan to call himself Universal
Bishop, the Bishops of Rome were deterred by no considerations of
humility or religion from establishing their temporal power. Up to this
time they had humbly received the ratification of their election from
the Emperors of the East, whose subjects they still remained. But the
seat of their empire was far off, their power was a tradition of the
past, and great thoughts came into the hearts of the spiritual chiefs,
of inroads on the territory of the temporal rulers. In this design they
looked round for supporters and allies, and with a still more watchful
eye on the quarters from which opposition was to be feared. The bishops
as a body had fallen not only into contempt but hatred. One century
had sufficed to extinguish the elegant scholarship I have mentioned,
at one time characteristic of the Christian prelates. Ignorance had
become the badge of all the governors of the Church--ignorance and
debauchery, and a tyrannical oppression of their inferiors. The wise
old man in Rome saw what advantage he might derive from this, and
took the monks under his peculiar protection, relieved them from the
supervision of the local bishop, and made them immediately dependent on
himself. By this one stroke he gained the unflinching support of the
most influential body in Europe. Wherever they went they held forth
the Pope as the first of earthly powers, and began already, in the
enthusiasm of their gratitude, to speak of him as something more than
mortal. To this the illiterate preachers and prelates had nothing to
reply. They were sunk either in the grossest darkness, or involved in
the wildest schemes of ambition, bishoprics being even held by laymen,
and by both priest and laymen used as instruments of advancement and
wealth. From these the Pontiff on the Tiber, whose weaknesses and vices
were unknown, and who was held up for invidious contrast with the
bishops of their acquaintance by the libellous and grateful monks, had
nothing to fear. He looked to another quarter in the political sky, and
perceived with satisfaction that the kingly office also had fallen into
contempt. Having lost the first impulse which carried it triumphantly
over the dismembered Roman world, and made it a tower of strength in
the hands of warriors like Theodoric the Goth and Clovis the Frank, it
had forfeited its influence altogether in the pitiful keeping of the
bloodthirsty or do-nothing kings who had submitted to the tutelage of
the Mayors of the Palace.

One of the great supports of the royal influence was the fiction of
the law by which all lands were supposed to hold of the Crown. As
in ancient days, in the German or Scythian deserts, the ambitious
chieftain had presented his favourite with spear or war-horse in token
of approval, so in the early days of the conquest of Gaul, the leader
had presented his followers with tracts of land. The war-horse, under
the old arrangement, died, and the spear became rotten; but the land
was subject neither to death nor decay. What, then, was to become
of the warrior's holding when he died? On this question, apparently
so personal to the barbaric chiefs of the time of Dagobert of Gaul,
depended the whole course of European history. The kings claimed
the power of re-entering on the lands in case of the demise of the
proprietor, or even in case of his rebellion or disobedience. The
Leud, as he was called--or feudatory, as he would have been named at
a later time--disputed this, and contended for the perpetuity and
inalienability of the gift. It is easy to perceive who were the winners
in this momentous struggle. From the success of the leuds arose the
feudal system, with limited monarchies and national nobilities. The
success of the kings would have resulted in despotic thrones and
enslaved populations. Foremost in the struggle for the royal supremacy
had been the famous and unprincipled Brunehild, a woman more resembling
the unnatural creation of a romance than a real character. She had
succeeded at one time in subordinating the leuds, by exterminating the
recusants with remorseless cruelty; and her triumph might have been
final and irrevocable if she had not had the bad luck or impolitic
hardihood to offend the Church. The Abbot Columba, a holy man from the
far-distant island of Iona in the Hebrides of Scotland, had ventured to
upbraid her with her crimes. She banished him from the Abbey of Luxeuil
with circumstances of peculiar harshness, and there was no hope for her
more. The leuds she might have overcome singly, for they were disunited
and scattered; but now there was not a monastery in Europe which did
not side with her foes. Clotaire, her grandson, marched against her
at the instigation of priests and leuds combined. She was conquered
and taken. She was tortured for three days with all the ingenuity of
hatred, and on the fourth was tied to the tails of four wild horses and
torn to pieces, though the mother, sister, daughter, of kings, and now
more than eighty years of age. And this brings us to the institution
and use of the strange officers we have already named Mayors of the
Palace.

To aid them in their efforts against the royal assumptions, the leuds
long ago had elected one of themselves to be domestic adviser of the
king, and also to command the armies in war. This soon became the
recognised right of the Mayor of the Palace; and as in that state of
society the wars were nearly perpetual, and bearers of arms the only
wielders of power, the person invested with the command was in reality
the supreme authority in the State. When the king happened to be feeble
either in body or mind, the mayor supplied his place, without even the
appearance of inferiority; and when Dagobert, the last active member
of the Merovingian family, died in 638, his successors were merely the
nominal holders of the Crown. A new race rose into importance, and
it will not be very long before we meet the hereditary Mayors of the
Palace as hereditary Kings of the Franks. Here, then, was the whole of
Europe heaving with some inevitable change. It will be interesting to
look at the position of its different parts before they settled into
their new relations. The constitutions of the various kingdoms were
very nearly alike at this time. There were popular assemblies in every
nation. In France they were called the "Fields of May" or of "March,"
in England the "Wittenagemot," in Spain the "Council of Toledo." These
meetings consisted of the freemen and landholders and bishops. But it
was soon found inconvenient for the freemen and smaller proprietors to
attend, in consequence of the length of the journey and the miserable
condition of the roads; and the nobles and bishops were the sole
persons who represented the State. The nobles held a parallel rank
to each other in all countries, though called by different names. In
France, a person in possession of any office connected with the court,
or of lands presented by the Crown, was called a leud or entrustion, a
count or companion, or vassal. In England he was called a royal thane.
The lower order of freemen were called herimans, or inferior thanes;
in Latin _liberi_, or more simply, _boni homines_, good men. Below
these were the Romans, or old inhabitants of the country; below these,
the serfs or bondmen attached to the soil; and far down, below them
all, out of all hope or consideration, the slaves, who were the mere
chattels of their lords. This, then, was the constitution of European
society when the Arabian conquests began--at the head of the nation
the King, at the head of the people the Church; the nobles followed
according to their birth or power; the freemen, whether citizens
engaged in the first infant struggles of trade, or occupying a farm,
came next; and the wretched catalogue was ended by the despoiled serf,
from whom every thing, even his property in himself, had been taken
away. There were laws for the protection or restraint of each of these
orders, and we may gather an idea of the ranks they held in public
estimation by the following table of the price of blood:--

                                                                 Sols.

  For the murder of a freeman, companion, or leud of the king,
      killed in his palace by an armed band                      1800
  A duke--among the Bavarians, a bishop                           960
  A relation of a duke                                            640
  The king's leud, a count, a priest, a judge                     600
  A deacon                                                        500
  A freeman, of the Salians or Ripuarians                         200
  A freeman, of the other tribes                                  160
  The slave--a good workman in gold                               100
  The man of middle station, a colon, or good workman in silver   100
  The freedman                                                     80
  The slave, if a barbarian--that is, of the conquering tribe      55
  The slave, a workman in iron                                     50
  The serf of the Church or the king                               45
  The swineherd                                                    30
  The slave, among the Bavarians                                   20

Distinctions of dress pointed out still more clearly the difference of
rank and station. The principal variety, however, was the method of
wearing the hair. The chieftain among the Franks considered the length
and profusion of his locks as the mark of his superiority. His broad
flowing tresses were divided up the middle of his head, and floated
over his shoulders. They were curled and oiled--not with common butter,
like some other nations, says an author quoted by Chateaubriand; not
twisted in little plaits, like those of the Goths, but carefully
combed out to their full luxuriance. The common soldier, on the other
hand, wore his hair long in front, but trimmed close behind. They
swore by their hair as the most sacred of their oaths, and offered
a tress to the Church on returning from a successful war. From this
peculiar consideration given to the hair arose the custom, still
prevalent, of shaving the heads of ecclesiastics. They were the serfs
of God, and sacrificed their locks in token that they were no longer
free. When a chief was dishonoured, when a king was degraded, when a
rival was to be rendered incapable of opposition, he was not, as in
barbarous countries, put to death: he was merely made bald. No amount
of popularity, no degree of right, could rouse the people in support of
a person whose head was bare. When his hair grew again, he might again
become formidable; but the scissors were always at hand. A tyrannical
king clipped his enemies' hair, instead of taking off their heads. They
were condemned to the barber instead of the executioner, and sometimes
thought the punishment more severe. The sons of Clothilde sent an
emissary to her, bearing in his hand a sword and a pair of scissors.
"O queen," he said, "your sons, our masters, wish to know whether you
will have your grandchildren slain or clipped." The queen paused for a
moment, and then said, "If my grandchildren are doomed not to mount the
throne, I would rather have them dead than hairless."

Distinguished thus from the lower orders, the nobility soon found that
their interests differed from those of the Church. The Church placed
itself at the head of the democracy in opposition to the overweening
pretensions of the chiefs. It opened its ranks to the conquered races,
and invested even the converted serf with dignities which placed him
above the level of Thane or Count. The head of the Western Church, now
by general consent recognised in the Bishop of Rome, was not slow to
see the advantage of his position as leader of a combination in favour
of the million. The doctrine of the equality of all men in the sight
of Heaven was easily commuted into a demand of universal submission
to the Holy See; and so wide was the range given to this claim to
obedience that it embraced the proudest of the nobles and haughtiest
of kings. It was a satisfaction to the slave in his dungeon to hear
that the great man in his castle had been forced to do homage to the
Church. There was one earthly power to which the oppressed could look
up with the certainty of support. It was this intimate persuasion in
the minds of the people which gave such undying vigour to the counsels
and pretensions of the ecclesiastical power. It was a power sprung from
the people, and exercised for the benefit of the people. The Popes
themselves were generally selected from the lowest rank. But what did
it matter to the man who led the masses of the trampled nations, and
stood as a shield between them and their tyrants, whether he claimed
relationship with emperors or slaves? What did it matter, on the other
hand, to those hoping and trusting multitudes, whether the object of
their confidence was personally a miracle of goodness and virtue, or a
monster of sin and cruelty? It was his office to trample on the necks
of kings and nobles, and bid the captive go free. While he continued
true to the people, the people were true to him. Monarchs who governed
mighty nations, and dukes who ruled in provinces the size of kingdoms,
looked on with surprise at the growth of a power supported apparently
by no worldly arms, but which penetrated to them through their courts
and armies. There was no great mind to guide the opposition to its
claims. The bishops were sunk in ignorance and sloth, and had lost the
respect of their countrymen. The populations everywhere were divided.
The succession to the throne was uncertain. The Franks, the leading
nation, were never for any length of time under one head. Neustria,
or the Western State, comprising all the land between the Meuse,
the Loire, and the Mediterranean, Austrasia, or the Eastern State,
comprising the land between the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Moselle,
and Burgundy, extending from the Loire to the Alps, were at one time
united under a common head, and at another held by hostile kings. The
Visigoths were obscurely quarrelling about points of divinity within
their barrier of the Pyrenees. England was the battle-field of half a
dozen little chieftains who called themselves kings; Germany was only
civilized on its western border. Italy was cut up into many States,
Lombards looking with suspicion on the Exarchate, which was still
nominally attached to the Eastern Empire, and Greeks established in the
South, sighing for the restoration of their power. Over all this chaos
of contending powers appeared the mitre and crozier of the Pope; always
at the head of the disaffected people, supported by the monks, who
felt the tyranny of the bishops as keenly as the commonalty felt the
injustice of their lords; always threatening vengeance on overweening
baron or refractory monarch--enhancing his influence with the glory
of new miracles wrought in his support, and witnessed unblushingly
by preaching friars, who were the missionaries of papal power;
concentrating all authority in his hands, and gradually laying the
foundation for a trampling and domination over mind and body such as
the world had never seen. From this almost universal prostration before
the claims of Rome, it is curious to see that the native Irish were
totally free. With contemptuous independence, they for a long time
rejected the arrogant assumptions of the successor of St. Peter, and
were firm in their maintenance of the equality of all the Sees. It was
from the newly-converted Anglo-Saxons that the chief recruits in the
campaign against the liberties of the national churches were collected.
Almost all the names of missionaries on behalf of the Roman pontiff in
this century have the home-sound in our ears of "Wigbert," "Willibald,"
"Wernefried," or "Adalbert." But there are no Gaelic patronymics from
the Churches of Ireland or Wales. They were sisters, they haughtily
said, not daughters of the Roman See, as the Anglo-Saxon Church had
been; and dwelt with pride on the antiquity of their conversion before
the pretensions of the Roman Bishops had been heard of; and thus was
added one more to the elements of dissension which wasted the strength
of Europe at the very time when unanimity was most required.

But towards the end of this period the rumours of a new power in the
East drew men's attention to the defenceless state in which their
internal disagreements had left them. The monasteries were filled with
exaggerated reports of the progress of this vast invasion, which not
only threatened the national existences of Europe, but the Christian
faith. It was a hostile creed and a destroying enemy. What had the
Huns been, compared with this new swarm--not of savage warriors turned
aside with a bribe or won by a prayer, but enthusiasts in what they
considered a holy cause, flushed with victory, armed and disciplined
in a style superior to any thing the West could show? We should try to
enter into the feelings of that distant time, when day by day myriads
of strange and hitherto unconquerable enemies were reported to be on
their march.

In the year 621 of the Christian era, Mohammed made his triumphant
entry into Medina, a great city of Arabia, having been expelled from
Mecca by the enmity of the Jews and the tribe of Koreish. This entry is
called the Hegira or Flight, and forms the commencement of the Moslem
chronology. All their records are dated from this event. The persons
who accompanied him were few in number--his father-in-law, some of
his wives, and some of his warriors; but the procession was increased
by the numerous believers in his prophetship who resided in the town.
At this place began the public worship inculcated by the leader. The
worshippers were summoned by a voice sounding from the highest pinnacle
of the mosque or church, and pronouncing the words which to this hour
are heard from every minaret in the East:--"God is great! God is great!
There is no God but God. Mohammed is the apostle of God. Come to
prayers, come to prayers!" and when the invitation is given at early
dawn, the declaration is added, "Prayer is better than sleep! prayer is
better than sleep." These exhortations were not without their intended
effect. Prayer was uttered by many lips, and sleep was banished from
many eyes; but the prayers were never thought so effectual as when
accompanied by sword and lance. Courage and devotedness were now the
great supports of the faith. Ali, the husband of Fatima the favourite
daughter of the chief, fought and prayed with the same irresistible
force. He conquered the unbelieving Jews and Koreishites, cleaving
armed men from the crown to the chin with one blow, and wielding a
city gate which eight men could not lift, as a shield. Abou Beker,
whose daughter was one of the wives of Mohammed, was little inferior
to Ali; and Mohammed himself saw visions which comforted and inspired
his followers in the midst of battle, and shouted, "On, on! Fight and
fear not! The gates of Paradise are under the shade of swords. He will
assuredly find instant admission who falls fighting for the faith!" It
was impossible to play the hypocrite in a religion where such strength
of arm and sharpness of blade were required. Prayers might indeed be
mechanical, or said for show, but the fighting was a real thing, and,
as such, prevailed over all the shams which were opposed to it. Looking
forth already beyond the narrow precincts of his power, Mohammed saw
in the distance, across the desert, the proud empires of Persia and
Constantinople. To both he wrote letters demanding their allegiance as
God's Prophet, and threatening vengeance if they disobeyed. Chosroes,
the Persian, tore the letter to pieces. "Even so," said Mohammed,
"shall his kingdom be torn." Heraclius the Greek was more respectful.
He placed the missive on his pillow, and very naturally fell asleep,
and thought of it no more. But his descendants were not long of having
their pillows quite so provocative of repose. The city of Medina
grew too small to hold the Prophet's followers, and they went forth
conquering and to conquer. There were Abou Beker the wise, and Omar
the faithful, and Khaled the brave, and Ali the sword of God. Mecca
fell before them, and city after city sent in its adhesion to the
claims of a Prophet who had such dreadful interpreters as these. The
religion he preached was comparatively true. He destroyed the idols
of the land, inculcated soberness, chastity, charity, and, by some
faint transmission of the precepts of the Bible, inculcated brotherly
love and forgiveness of wrong. But the sword was the true gospel. Its
light was spread in Syria and all the adjoining territories. People in
apparently sheltered positions could never be sure for an hour that
the missionaries of the new faith would not be climbing over their
walls with shouts of conquest, and giving them the option of conversion
or death. Power spread in gradually-widening circles, but at the
centre sad things were going on. Mohammed was getting old. He lost
his only son. He laid him in the grave with tears and sighs, and made
his farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. Had he no relentings at the visible
approach of the end? Was he to go to the grave untouched by all the
calamities he had brought upon mankind? the blood he had shed, the
multitudes he had beguiled? He had no touch of remorse for any of these
things; rather he continued firmer in his course than ever--seemed more
persuaded of the genuineness of his mission, and uttered prophecies of
the universal extension of his faith. "When the angels ask thee who
thou art," he said, as the body of his son was lowered into the tomb,
"say, God is my Lord, the Prophet of God was my father, and my faith
was Islam!" Islam continued his own faith till the last. He tottered to
the mosque where Abou Beker was engaged in leading the prayers of the
congregation, and addressed the people for the last time. "Every thing
happens," he said, "according to the will of God, and has its appointed
time, which is not to be hastened or avoided. My last command to you is
that you remain united; that you love, honour, and uphold each other;
that you exhort each other to faith and constancy in belief, and to the
performance of pious deeds: by these alone men prosper; all else leads
to destruction." A few days after this there was grief and lamentation
all over the faithful lands. He died on his sixty-third birthday, in
the eleventh year of the Hegira, which answers to our year 632.

Great contentions arose among the chief disciples for the succession
to the leadership of the faithful. Abou Beker was father-in-law of
the Prophet, and his daughter supported his cause. Omar was also
father-in-law of the Prophet, and his daughter supported his cause.
Othman had married two of the daughters of the Prophet, but both were
dead, and they had left no living child. Ali, the hero of the conquest,
was cousin-german of the Prophet, and husband of his only surviving
daughter. Already the practices of a court were perceptible in the
Emir's tent. The courtiers caballed and quarrelled; but Ayesha, the
daughter of Abou Beker, had been Mohammed's favourite wife, and her
influence was the most effectual. How this influence was exercised
amid the Oriental habits of the time, and the seclusion to which the
women were subjected, it is difficult to decide; but, after a struggle
between her and Hafya, the daughter of Omar, the widowed Othman was
found to have no chance; and only Ali remained, still young and ardent,
and fittest, to all ordinary judgments, to be the leader of the armies
of Allah. While consulting with some friends in the tent of Fatima,
his rivals came to an agreement. In a distant part of the town a
meeting had been called, and the claims of the different pretenders
debated. Suddenly Omar walked across to where Abou Beker stood, bent
lowly before him, and kissed his hand in token of submission, saying,
"Thou art the oldest companion and most secret friend of the Prophet,
and art therefore worthy to rule us in his place." The example was
contagious, and Abou Beker was installed as commander and chief of
the believers. A resolution was come to at the same time, that any
attempt at seizing the supremacy against the popular will should be
punished with death. Ali was constrained to yield, but lived in haughty
submission till Fatima died. He then rose up in his place, and taking
his two sons with him, Hassan and Hossein, retired into the inner
district of Arabia, carrying thus from the camp of the usurping caliph
the only blood of the Prophetchief which flowed in human veins. Yet
the spirit of the Prophet animated the whole mass. Energy equal to
Ali's was exhibited in Khaled. Omar was earnest in the collection
of all the separated portions of the Koran. Othman was burning to
spread the new empire over the whole earth; and in this combination
of courage, ambition, and fanaticism all Arabia found its interest to
join, and ere a year had elapsed from the death of the Prophet, the
whole of that peninsula, and all the swart warriors who travelled its
sandy steppes, had accepted the great watchword of his religion--"There
is no God but God, and Mohammed is the Prophet of God." Ere another
year had elapsed the desert had sent forth its swarms. The plains of
Asia were overflowed. The battle-cry of Zeyd, the general of the army,
was heard in the great commercial cities of the East, and in the lands
where the gospel of peace had first been uttered, Emasa and Damascus,
and on the banks of Jordan. It was natural that the first effort of the
false should be directed against the true. But not indiscriminate was
the wrath of Abou Beker against the professors of Christianity. The
claims of that dispensation were ever treated with respect, but the
depraved priesthood were held up to contempt. "Destroy not fruit-tree
nor fertile field on your path," these were the instructions of the
Caliph to the leaders of the host. "Be just, and spare the feelings of
the vanquished. Respect all religious persons who live in hermitages or
convents, and spare their edifices. But should you meet with a class
of unbelievers of a different kind, who go about with shaven crowns,
and belong to the synagogue of Satan, be sure you cleave their skulls,
unless they embrace the true faith or render tribute."

Gentle and merciful, therefore, to the peaceful inhabitants, respectful
to the gloomy anchorite and industrious monk, but breathing death
and disgrace against the proud bishop and ambitious presbyter, the
mighty horde moved on. Syria fell; the Persian monarchy was menaced,
and its western provinces seized; a Christian kingdom called Hira,
situated on the confines of Babylonia, was made tributary to Medina;
and Khaled stood triumphant on the banks of the Euphrates, and sent a
message to the Great King, commanding him either to receive the faith,
or atone for his incredulity with half his wealth. The despot's ears
were unaccustomed to such words, and the fiery deluge went on. At the
end of the third year, Abou Beker died, and Omar was the successor
appointed by his will. This was already a departure from the law of
popular election, but Islam was busy with its conquests far from its
central home, and accepted the nomination. Khaled's course continued
westward and eastward, forcing his resistless wedge between the
exhausted but still majestic empires of the Greeks and Persians. Blow
after blow resounded as the great march went on. Constantinople, and
Madayn upon the Tigris, the capitals of Christianity and Mithrism, were
equally alarmed and equally powerless. Omar, the Caliph--the word means
the Successor of the Apostle--determined to join the army which was
encamped against the walls of Jerusalem, and added fresh vigour to the
assailants by the knowledge that they fought under his eye.

Heraclius, the degenerate inheritor of the throne of Constantine,
and Yezdegird, the successor of Darius and Xerxes, if they had moved
towards the seat of war would have been surrounded by all the pomp of
their exalted stations. Battalions of guards would have encompassed
their persons, and countless officers of their courts attended their
progress.

Omar, who saw already the world at his feet, journeyed by slow
stages on a wretched camel, carrying his provisions hanging from his
saddle-bow, and slept at night under the shelter of some tree, or on
the margin of some well. He had but one suit, and that of worsted
material, and yet his word was law to all those breathless listeners,
and wherever he placed his foot from that moment became holy ground.
Jerusalem and Aleppo yielded; Antioch, the chief seat of Grecian
government, fell into his hands; Tyre and Tripoli submitted to his
power; and the Saracenic hosts only paused when they reached the border
of the sea, which they knew washed the fairest shores of Africa and
Europe. It did not much matter who was in nominal command. Khaled
died; Amru took his place; and yet the tide went on. The great city of
Alexandria, which disputed with Constantinople the title of Capital of
the World, with its almost fabulous wealth, its four thousand palaces,
and five thousand baths, and four hundred theatres, was twice taken,
and brought on the submission and conversion of the whole of Egypt.
Amru in his hours of leisure was devoted to the cultivation of taste
and genius. In John the Grammarian, a Christian student, he found a
congenial spirit. Poetry, philosophy, and rhetoric were treated of in
the conversations of the Arabic conqueror and the monkish scholar. At
last, in reliance on his literary taste, the priest confided to the
Moslem that in a certain building in the town there was a library so
vast that it had no equal on earth either for number or value of the
manuscripts it contained. This was too important a treasure to be dealt
with without the express sanction of the Caliph. So the Christian
legend is, that Omar replied to the announcement of his general,
"Either what those books contain is in the Koran, or it is not. If it
is, these volumes are useless; if it is not, they are wicked. Burn
them." The skins and parchments heated the baths of Alexandria for
many months, irrecoverable monuments of the past, and an everlasting
disgrace to the Saracen name. Yet the story has been doubted; at
least, the extent of the destruction. Rather, it has been supposed,
the ignorant fanaticism of the illiterate monks, in covering with the
legends of saints the obliterated lines of the classic authors, has
been more destructive to the literary treasures of those ancient times
than the furious zeal of Amru or the bigotry of Omar.

If this great overflow from the desert of Arabia had consisted of
nothing but armed warriors or destructive fanatics, its course would
have been as transient as it was terrible. The Gothic invaders who had
desolated Europe fortunately possessed the flexibility and adaptiveness
of mind which fitted them for the reception of the purer faith and more
refined manners of the vanquished races. They mixed with the people who
submitted to their power, and in a short time adopted their habits and
religion. Whatever faith they professed in their original seats, seems
to have worn out in the long course of their immigration. The powers
they had worshipped in their native wilds were local, and dependent on
clime and soil. An easy opening, therefore, was left for Christianity
into hearts where no hostile deity guarded the portal of approach. But
with the Saracens the case was reversed. Incapable of assimilation with
any rival belief--jealously exclusive of the commonest intercourse
with the nations they subdued--unbending, contemptuous to others, and
carried on by burning enthusiasm in their own cause, and confidence
in the Prophet they served, there was no possibility of softening or
elevating them from without. The pomps of religious worship, which
so awed the wondering tribes of Franks and Lombards, were lost on a
people who considered all pomp offensive both to God and man. They
saw the sublimity of simple plainness both in word and life. Their
caliph lived on rice, and saddled his camel with his own hands. He
ordered a palace to be burned, which Seyd, who had conquered for
him the capital of Persia, had built for his occupation. Unsocial,
bigoted, austere, drinking no wine, accumulating no personal wealth,
how was the mind of this warrior of the wilderness to be trained to the
habits of civilized society, or turned aside from the rude instincts
of destructiveness and domination? But the Arab intellect was subtle
and active. Mohammedanism, indeed, armed the multitude in an exciting
cause, and sent them forth like a destroying fire; but there was
wisdom, policy, refinement, among the chiefs. While they devastated the
worn-out territories of the Persian, and laid waste his ostentatious
cities, which had been purposely built in useless places to show the
power of the king, they founded great towns on sites so adapted for
the purposes of trade and protection that they continue to the present
time the emporiums and fortresses of their lands. Balsorah, at the top
of the Persian Gulf, at the junction of the Tigris and the Euphrates,
was as wisely selected for the commercial wants of that period as
Constantinople itself. Bagdad was encouraged, Cufa built and peopled in
exchange for the gorgeous but unwholesome Madayn, from which Yezdegird
was driven. Many other towns rose under the protection of the Crescent;
and by the same impulse which made the Saracens anxious to raise new
centres of wealth and enterprise in the East, they were excited to the
most amazing efforts to make themselves masters of the greatest city
in the world, the seat of arts, of literature, and religion; and they
pushed forward from river to river, from plain to plain, till, in the
year 672, they raised their victorious standard in front of the walls
of Constantinople. Here, however, a new enemy came to the encounter,
and for the first time scattered dismay among the Moslem ranks. From
the towers and turrets came down a shower of fire, burning, scorching,
destroying, wherever it touched. Projected to great distances, and
wrapping in a moment ship after ship in unextinguishable flames, these
discharges appeared to the warriors of the Crescent a supernatural
interference against them. This was the famous Greek fire, of which the
components are not now known, but it was destructive beyond gunpowder
itself. Water could not quench it, nor length of time weaken its power.
For five successive years the assault was renewed by fresh battalions
of the Saracens, but always with the same result. So, giving up at
last their attempts against a place guarded by lightning and by the
unmoved courage of the Greek population, they poured their thousands
along the northern shores of Africa. Cyrene, the once glorious capital
of the Pentapolis, in which Carthage saw her rival and Athens her
superior, yielded to their power. Everywhere high-peaked mosques,
rising where a short time before the shore had been unoccupied or in
cities where the Basilicas of Christian worship had been thrown down,
marked the course of conquest. Carthage received its new lords. Hippo,
the bishopric of the best of ancient saints, the holy Augustine,
saw its church supplanted by the temples of the Arabian impostor. A
check was sustained at Tchuda, where their course was interrupted by
a combined assault of Christian Greeks and the indigenous Berbers.
Internal troubles also arrested their career, for there were disputes
for the succession, and court intrigues and open murders, and all the
usual accompaniments of a contest for an elective throne. One after
another, the Caliphs had been murdered, or had died of broken hearts.
The old race--the "Companions," as they were called, because they had
been the contemporaries and friends of Mohammed--had died out. Ali,
after three disappointments, had at last been chosen. His sons Hassan
and Hossein had been put to death; and it was only in the time of the
eighth successor, when Abdelmalek had overcome all competition, that
the unity of the Moslem Empire was restored, and the word given for
conquest as before. This was in the 77th year of the Hegira, (698 of
our era,) and an army was let loose upon the great city of Carthage, at
the same time that movements were again ordered across the limits of
the Grecian Empire, in Asia, and advances made towards Constantinople.
Carthage fell--Tripoli was occupied--and now, with their territories
stretching in unbroken line from Syria along the two thousand miles
of the southern shore of the great Mediterranean Sea, the conquerors
rested from their labours for a while, and prepared themselves for
a dash across the narrow channel, from which the hills of Atlas and
the summits of Gibraltar are seen at the same time. What has Europe,
with its divided peoples, its worn-out kings, its indolent Church, and
exhausted fields, to oppose to this compact phalanx of united blood,
burning with fanatical faith, submissive to one rule, and supported
by all the wealth of Asia and Africa; whose fleets sweep the sea, and
whose myriads are every day increased by the accession of fresh nations
of Berbers, Mauritanians, and the nameless children of the desert?

This is the hopeless century. Manhood, patriotism, Christianity
itself, are all at the lowest ebb. But let us turn to the next, and
see how good is worked out of evil, and acknowledge, as in so many
instances the historian is obliged to do, that man can form no estimate
of the future from the plainest present appearances, but that all
things are in the hands of a higher intelligence than ours.



                            EIGHTH CENTURY.


Kings of the Franks.

  A.D.

       CHILDEBERT III.--(_cont._)

  711. DAGOBERT III.}

  716. CHILDERIC.   }  CHARLES MARTEL Mayor.

  720. THIERRY.     }

  742. CHILDERIC III.

  _Carlovingian Line._

  751. PEPIN THE SHORT.

  768. CHARLEMAGNE.


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

       TIBERIUS.--(_cont._)

  711. PHILIPPICUS BARDANES.

  713. ANASTASIUS II.

  714. THEODOSIUS III.

  716. LEO THE ISAURIAN.

  741. CONSTANTINE COPRONYMUS.

  775. LEO IV.

  781. CONSTANTINE PORPHYROGENITUS.

  802. NICEPHORUS.


Authors.

ALCUIN, (735-804,) BEDE, (674-735,) EGBERT, CLEMENS, DUNGAL, ACCA, JOHN
DAMASCANUS.



                          THE EIGHTH CENTURY.

  TEMPORAL POWER OF THE POPES--THE EMPIRE OF CHARLEMAGNE.


This is indeed a great century, which has Pepin of Heristhal at its
commencement and Charlemagne at its end. In this period we shall see
the course of the dissolution of manners and government arrested
throughout the greater part of Europe, and a new form given to its
ruling powers. We must remember that up to this time the progress of
what we now call civilization was very slow; or we may perhaps almost
say that the extent of civilized territory was smaller than it had been
at the final breaking up of the Roman Empire four hundred years before.
England had lost the elevating influences which the residence of Roman
generals and the presence of disciplined forces had spread from the
seats of their government. Every occupied position had been a centre
of life and learning; and we see still, from the discoveries which
the antiquaries of the present day are continually making, that the
dwellings of the Prætors and military commanders were constructed in a
style of luxury and refinement which argues a high state of culture and
art. All round the circumference of the Romanized portion of Britain
these head-quarters of order and improvement were fixed; outside of it
lay the obscure and tumultuous populations of Wales and Scotland; and
if we trace the situations of the towns with terminations derived from
_castra_, (a camp,) we shall see, by stretching a line from Winchester
in the south to Ilchester, thence up to Gloucester, Worcester,
Wroxeter, and Chester, how carefully the Western Gael were prevented
from ravaging the peaceful and orderly inhabitants; and, as the same
precautions were taken to the North against the Picts and Scots, we
shall easily be able to estimate the effect of those numerous schools
of life and manners on the country-districts in which they were placed.
All these establishments had been removed. Barbarism had reasserted her
ancient reign; and at the century we have now reached, the institution
which alone could compete in its elevating effect with the old imperial
subordination, the Christian Church, had not yet established its
authority except for the benefit of ambitious bishops; and the same
anarchy reigned in the ecclesiastical body as in the civil orders. The
eight or nine kingdoms spread over the land were sufficiently powerful
in their separate nationalities to prevent any unity of feeling among
the subjects of the different crowns. A prelate of the court of
Deiria had no point of union with a prelate protected by the kings of
Wessex. And it was this very incapacity of combination at home, from
the multiplicity of kings, which led to the astonishing spectacle in
this century of the efforts of the Anglo-Saxon clergy in behalf of the
Bishop of Rome in distant countries. In this great struggle to extend
the power of the Popes, the regular orders particularly distinguished
themselves. The fact of submitting to convent-rules, of giving up the
stormy pleasures of independence for the safe placidity of unreasoning
obedience, is a proof of the desire in many human minds of having
something to which they can look up, something to obey, in obeying
which their self-respect may be preserved, even in the act of offering
up their self-will--a desire which, in civil actions and the atmosphere
of a court, leads to slavery and every vice, but in a monastery
conducts to the noblest sacrifices, and fills the pages of history
with saints and martyrs. The Anglo-Saxon, looking out of his convent,
saw nothing round him which could give him hope or comfort. Laws were
unsettled, the various little principalities were either hostile or
unconnected, there was no great combining authority from which orders
could be issued with the certainty of being obeyed; and even the
clergy, thinly scattered, and dependent on the capricious favour or
exposed to the ignorant animosity of their respective sovereigns, were
torn into factions, and practically without a chief. But theoretically
there was the noblest chiefship that ever was dreamed of by ambition.
The lowly heritage of Peter had expanded into the universal government
of the Church. In France this claim had not yet been urged; in the
East it had been contemptuously rejected; in Italy the Lombard kings
were hostile; in Spain the Visigoths were heretic, and at war among
themselves; in Germany the gospel had not yet been heard; in Ireland
the Church was a rival bitterly defensive of its independence; but
in England, among the earnest, thoughtful Anglo-Saxons, the majestic
idea of a great family of all the Christian Churches, wherever placed,
presided over by the Vicar of Christ and receiving laws from his
hallowed lips, had impressed itself beyond the possibility of being
effaced. Rome was to them the residence of God's vicegerent upon earth;
obedience to him was worship, and resistance to his slightest wish
presumption and impiety. So at the beginning of this century holy men
left their monasteries in Essex, and Warwickshire, and Devon, and knelt
at the footstool of the Pope, and swore fealty and submission to the
Holy See.

It has often been observed that the Papacy differs from other powers in
the continued vitality of its members long after the life has left it
at the heart. Rome was weak at the centre, but strong at the extremity
of its domain. The Emperor of Constantinople looked on the Pope as his
representative in Church-affairs, ratified his election, and exacted
tribute on his appointment. The Exarch of Ravenna, representing as he
did the civil majesty of the successor of the Cæsars, looked down on
him as his subordinate. There was also a duke in Rome whose office it
was to superintend the proceedings of the bishop, and another officer
resident in the Grecian court to whom the bishop was responsible
for the management of his delegated powers. But outside of all this
depression and subordination, among tribes of half-barbaric blood,
among dreamy enthusiasts contemplating what seemed to them the simple
and natural scheme of an earthly judge infallible in wisdom and
divinely inspired; among bewildered and trampled ecclesiastics, looking
forth into the night, and seeing, far above all the storms and darkness
that surrounded them in their own distracted land, a star by which they
might steer their course, undimmed and unalterable--the Pope of Rome
was the highest and holiest of created men. No thought is worth any
thing that continues in barren speculation. Honour, then, to the brave
monks of England who went forth the missionaries of the Papal kings!
Better the struggles and dangers of a plunge among the untamed savages
of Friesland, and the blood-stained forests of the farthest Germany, in
fulfilment of the office to which they felt themselves called, than the
lazy, slumbering way of life which had already begun to be considered
the fulfilment of conventual vows. Soldiers of the Cross were they,
though fighting for the advancement of an ambitious commander more than
the success of the larger cause; and we may well exult in the virtues
which their undoubting faith in the supremacy of the pontiff called
forth, since it contrasts so nobly with the apathy and indifference to
all high and self-denying co-operation which characterized the rest of
the world. We shall see the monk Winifried penetrate, as the Pope's
minister, into the darkness beyond the Rhine, and emerge, with crozier
and mitre, as Boniface the Archbishop of Mayence, and converter to the
Christian faith of great and populous nations which were long the most
earnest supporters of the rights and pre-eminence of Rome. This is one
strong characteristic of this century, the increased vigour of the
Papacy by the efforts of the Anglo-Saxons on its behalf; and now we are
going to another still stronger characteristic, the further increase of
its influence by the part it played in the change of dynasty in France.

A strange fortune, which in the old Greek mythologies would have been
looked on as a fate, overshadowing the blood-stained house of Clovis,
had befallen his descendants through all their generations for more
than a hundred years. Feeble in mind, and even degenerated in body,
the kings of that royal line had been a sight of grief and humiliation
to their nominal subjects. Married at fifteen, they had all sunk into
premature old age, or died before they were thirty. Too listless for
work, and too ignorant for council, they had accepted the restricted
sphere within which their duties were confined, and showed themselves,
on solemn occasions, at the festivals of the Church, and other great
anniversaries, bearing, like their ancestors, the long flowing locks
which were the natural sign of their crowned supremacy, seated in a
wagon drawn by oxen, and driven by a wagoner with a goad--a primitive
relic of vanished times, and as much out of place in Paris in the
eighth century as the state carriage of the Queen or the Lord-Mayor's
coach of the present day among ourselves Strange thoughts must have
passed through the minds of the spectators as they saw the successors
of the rough leader of the Franks degraded to this condition; but the
change had been gradual; the public sentiment had become reconciled
to the apparent uselessness of the highest offices of the State; for
under another title, and with much inferior rank, there was a man who
held the reins of government with a hand of iron, and whose power was
perhaps strengthened by the fiction which called him the servant and
minister of the _fainéant_ or do-nothing king. A succession of men
arose in the family of the mayors of the palace, as remarkable for
policy and talent as the representatives of the royal line were for the
want of these qualities. The origin of their office was conveniently
forgotten, or converted by the flattery of their dependants into an
equality with the monarchs. Chosen, they said, by the same elective
body which nominated the king, they were as much entitled to the
command of the army and the administration of the law as their nominal
masters to the possession of the palace and royal name. And when
for a long period this claim was allowed, who was there to stand up
in opposition, either legal or forcible, to a man who appointed all
the judges and commanded all the troops? The office at last became
hereditary. The successive mayors left their dignity to their sons by
will; and time might have been slow in bringing power and title into
harmony with each by giving the name of king to the man who already
exercised all the kingly power and fulfilled all the kingly duties, if
Charles Martel, the mayor, had not, in 732, established such claims to
the gratitude of Europe by his defeat of the Saracens, who were about
to overrun the whole of Christendom, that it was impossible to refuse
either to himself or his successor the highest dignity which Europe had
to bestow. When other rulers and princes were willing to acknowledge
his superiority, not only in power, but in rank and dignity, it was
necessary that their submission should be offered, not to a mere
Major-domo, or chief domestic of a court, but to a free sovereign and
anointed king. The two most amazing fictions, therefore, which ever
flourished on the contemptuous forbearance of mankind, were both about
to expire beneath the breath of reality at this time--the kingship
of the descendants of Clovis, and the pretensions of the successors
of Constantine. The Saracens appeared upon the scene, and those
gibbering and unsubstantial ghosts, as if they scented the morning air,
immediately disappeared. The Emperors of the East, by a self-deluding
process, which preserved their dignity and flattered their pride,
professed still to consider themselves the lords of the Roman Empire,
and took particular pains to acknowledge the kings and potentates,
who established themselves in the various portions of it, as their
representatives and lieutenants. They lost no time in sending the title
of Patrician and the ensigns of royal rank to the successful founders
of a new dynasty, and had gained their object if they received the new
ruler's thanks in return. At Rome, as we have said, they protected the
bishop, and gave him the investiture of his office. They retained also
the territories called the Exarchate of Ravenna, but with no power of
vindicating their authority if it was disputed, or of exacting revenue,
except what the gratitude of the bishop or the Exarch might induce
them to present to their patron on their nomination or instalment. A
long-haired, sad-countenanced, decrepit young man in a wagon drawn by
oxen, and a vain voluptuary, wrapped in Oriental splendour, without
influence or wealth, were the representatives at this time of the
irresistible power of the Frankish warriors, and the glories of Julius
and Augustus. But the present had its representatives as well as the
past. Charles Martel had still the Frankish sword at his command; the
Roman Pontiff had thousands ready to believe and support his claims to
be the spiritual ruler of the world. Something was required to unite
them in one vast effort at unity and independence, and this opportunity
was afforded them by the common danger to which the Saracenic invasion
exposed equally the civil and ecclesiastical power. Africa, we have
seen, was fringed along the whole of the Mediterranean border with the
followers of the Prophet. In one generation the blood of the Arabian
and Mauritanian deserts became so blended, that no distinction whatever
existed between the men of Mecca and Medina and the native tribes.
Where Carthaginian and Roman civilization had never penetrated, the
faith of Mohammed was accepted as an indigenous growth. Fanaticism
and ambition sailed across the Channel; and early in this century
the hot breath of Mohammedanism had dried up the promise of Spain;
countless warriors crossed to Gibraltar; their losses were supplied
by the inexhaustible populations from the interior, (the ancestors
of the Abd-el Kaders and Ben Muzas of modern times,) and, elate with
hopes of universal conquest, the crowded tents of the Moslem army were
seen on the northern slopes of the Pyrenees, and presently all the
plains of Languedoc, and the central fields of France as far up as the
Loire, were inundated by horse and man. Incredible accounts are given
of the number and activity of the desert steeds bestrode by these
turbaned apostles. A march of a hundred miles--a village set on fire,
and all the males extirpated--strange-looking visages, and wild arrays
of galloping battalions seen by terrified watchers from the walls of
Paris itself; then, in the twinkling of an eye, nothing visible but
the distant dust raised up in their almost unperceived retreat,--these
were the peculiarities of this new and unheard-of warfare. And while
these dashes were made from the centre of the invasion, alarming the
inhabitants at the extremities of the kingdom, the host steadily moved
on, secured the ground behind it before any fresh advance, and united
in this way the steadiness of European settlement with the wild fury
of the original mode of attack. Already the provinces abutting on the
Pyrenees had owned their power. Gascony up to the Garonne, and the
Narbonnais nearly to the Rhine, had submitted to the conquerors; but
when the dispossessed proprietors of Novempopulania and Septimania, as
those districts were then called, and the powerful Duke of Aquitaine,
also fled before the advancing armies; when all the churches were
filled with prayer, and all the towns were in momentary expectation of
seeing the irresistible horsemen before their walls, patriotism and
religion combined to call upon all the Franks and all the Christians to
expel the infidel invader. So Charles, the son of Pepin, whose exploits
against the Frisons and other barbaric peoples in the North had already
acquired for him the complimentary name of Martel, or the Hammer, put
himself at the head of the military forces of the land, and encountered
the Saracenic myriads on the great plain round Tours. The East and
West were brought front to front--Christianity and Mohammedanism stood
face to face for the first time; and it is startling to consider for
a moment what the result of an Asiatic victory might have been. If
ever there was a case in which the intervention of Divine Providence
may be claimed without presumption on the conquering side, it must
be here, where the truths of revelation and the progress of society
were dependent on the issue. The two faiths, according to all human
calculation, had rested their supremacy on their respective champions.
If Charles and his Franks and Germans were defeated, there was nothing
to resist the march of the perpetually-increasing numbers of the
Saracens till they had planted their standards on the pinnacles of
Rome. The first glow of Christian belief had been exchanged, we have
seen, for ambitious disputes, or died off in many of the practices of
superstition. The very man in whom the Christian hope was placed was
suspected of leaning to the Wodenism of his Northern ancestors, and
was scarcely bought over to the defence of the Church's faith by a
permission to pillage the Church's wealth. Mohammedanism, on the other
hand, was fresh and young. Its promises were clear and tempting--its
course triumphant, and its doctrines satisfactory equally to the
pride and the indolence of the human heart. But in the former, though
unperceived by the warriors at Tours and the prelates at Rome, lay the
germ of countless blessings--elevating the mind by the discovery of
its strength at the same moment in which it is abased by the feeling
of its weakness, and gifted above all with the power of expansion and
universality; themselves proofs of its divine original, to which no
false religion can lay the slightest claim. Cultivate the Christian
mind to the highest--fill it with all knowledge--place round it the
miracles of science and art--station it in the snows of Iceland or the
heats of India--Christianity, like the all-girding horizon of the sky,
widens its circle so as to include the loftiest, and contain within
its embrace the utmost diversities of human life and speculation. But
with the Mohammedan, as with other impostures, the range is limited.
When intellect expands, it bursts the cerement in which it has been
involved; and with Buddhism, and Mithrism, and Hindooism, it will be
as it was with Druidism, and the more elegant heathendom of Greece
and Rome: there will be no safety for them but in the ignorance and
barbarism of their disciples. On the result of that great day at Tours
in the year 732, therefore, depended the intellectual improvement and
civil freedom of the human race. Few particulars are preserved of
this momentous battle; but the result showed that the light cavalry,
in which the Saracens excelled, were no match for the firm line of
the Franks. When confusion once began among the swarthy cavaliers of
Abderachman, there was no restoration possible. In wild confusion the
_mêlée_ was continued; and all that can be said is, that the slaughter
of upwards of three hundred thousand of these impulsive pilgrims of
the desert so weakened the Saracenic power in Europe, that in no long
time their hosts were withdrawn from the soil of Gaul, and guarded
with difficulty the conquest they had made behind the barrier of the
Pyrenees. Could the gratitude of Church or State be too generous
to the man who preserved both from the sword of the destroyer? If
Charles pillaged a monastery or seized the revenues of a bishopric,
nobody found any fault. It was almost just that he should have the
wealth of the cathedral from which he had driven away the mufti and
muezzin. But monasteries and bishops were still powerful, and did not
look on the proceedings of Charles the Hammer with the equanimity of
the unconcerned spectators. They perhaps thought the battle of Tours
had only given them a choice of spoilers, instead of protection from
spoliation. In a short time, however, the policy of the sagacious
leader led him to see the necessity of gaining over the only united
body in the State. He became a benefactor of the Church, and a staunch
ally of the Roman bishop. Both had an object to obtain. What the
phantom king was to Charles, the phantom emperor was to the Pope. If
there was unison between the two dependants, it would be easy to get
rid of the two superiors. Presents and compliments were interchanged,
and moral support trafficked for material aid. Wherever the one sent
missionaries with the Cross, the other sent warriors to their support.
The Pontiff bestowed on the Mayor the keys of the sepulchre of St.
Peter, and the title of Consul and Patrician, and begged him to come to
his assistance against Luitprand, the Lombard king. But this was far
too great an exploit to be expected by a simple Bishop, and performed
by a simple Mayor of the Palace. So the next great thing we meet with
in this century is the investiture of the Mayor with the title of
king, and of the Bishop with the sovereignty of Rome and Ravenna. This
happened in 752. Pepin the Short, as he was unflatteringly called by
his subjects, succeeded Charles in the government of the Franks. The
king was Childeric the Third, who lived in complete seclusion and
cherished his long hair as the only evidence of monarchy left to the
sons of Clovis. Wars in various regions established the reputation
of Pepin as the worthy successor of Charles; and by a refinement of
policy, the crown, the consummation of all his hopes, was reached in
a manner which deprived it of the appearance of injustice, for it was
given to him by the hands of saints and popes, and ratified by the
council of the nation. He had already asked Pope Zachariah, "who had
the best right to the name of king?--he who had merely the title, or he
who had the power?" And in answer to this, which was rather a puzzling
question, our countryman Winifried, in his new character of Boniface
and archbishop, placed upon his head the golden round, and Might and
Right were restored to their original combination. But St. Boniface was
not enough. In two years the Pope himself clambered over the Alps and
anointed the new monarch with holy oil; and by the same act stripped
the long hair from the head of the Merovingian puppet, and condemned
him and his descendants to the privacy of a cloister.

Now then that Pepin is king, let Luitprand, or any other potentate,
beware how he does injury to the Pope of Rome. Twice the Frank armies
are moved into Italy in defence of the Holy See; and at last the
Exarchate is torn from the hands of its Lombard oppressor, and handed
over in sovereignty to the Spiritual Power. Rome itself is declared
at the same time the property of the Bishop, and free forever from
the suzerainty of the Emperors of the East. No wonder the gratitude
of the Popes has made them call the kings of France the eldest sons
of the Church. Their donations raised the bishopric to the rank of
a royal state; yet it has been remarked that the generosity of the
French monarchs has always been limited to the gift of other people's
lands. They were extremely liberal in bestowing large tracts of country
belonging to the Lombard kings or the Byzantine Cæsars; but they kept
a very watchful eye on the possessions of pope and bishop within
their own domain. They reserved to themselves the usufruct of vacant
benefices, and the presentations to church and abbey. At almost all
periods, indeed, of their history, they have seemed to retain a very
clear remembrance of the position which they held towards the Papacy
from the beginning, and, while encouraging its arrogance against other
principalities and powers, have held a very contemptuous language
towards it themselves.

This, then, is the great characteristic of the present century,
the restoration of the monarchical principle in the State, and its
establishment in the Church. During all these wretched centuries, from
the fall of the Roman Empire, the progress has been towards diffusion
and separation. Kings rose up here and there, but their kingships were
local, and, moreover, so recent, that they were little more than the
first officer or representative of the warriors whose leaders they
had been. A longing for some higher and remoter influence than this
had taken possession of the chiefs of all the early invasions, and
we have seen them (even while engaged in wresting whole districts
from the sway of the old Roman Empire) accepting with gratitude
the ensigns of Roman authority. We have seen Gothic kings glorying
in the name of Senator, and Hunnish savages pacified and contented
by the title of Prætor or Consul. The world had been accustomed to
the oneness of Consular no less than Imperial Rome for more than a
thousand years; for, however the parties might be divided at home, the
great name of the Eternal City was the sole sound heard in foreign
lands. The magic letters, the initials of the Senate and People, had
been the ornament of their banners from the earliest times, and a
division of power was an idea to which the minds of mankind found it
difficult to become accustomed. It was better, therefore, to have
only a fragment of this immemorial unity than the freshness of a new
authority, however extensive or unquestionable. Vague traditions must
have come down--magnified by distance and softened by regret--of the
great days before the purple was torn in two by the transference of
the seat of power to Constantinople. There were nearly five hundred
years lying between the periods; and all the poetic spirits of the new
populations had cast longing, lingering looks behind at the image of
earthly supremacy presented to them by the existence of an acknowledged
master of the world. A pedantic sophist, speaking Greek--the language
of slaves and scholars--wearing the loftiest titles, and yet hemmed
in within the narrow limits of a single district, assumed to be the
representative of the universal "Lord of human kind," and called
himself Emperor of the East and West. The common sense of Goth and
Saxon, of Frank and Lombard, rebelled against this claim, when they
saw it urged by a person unable to support it by fleets and armies.
When, in addition to this want of power, they perceived in this
century a want of orthodox belief, or even what they considered an
impious profanity, in the successor of Augustus and Constantine, they
were still more disinclined to grant even a titular supremacy to the
Byzantine ruler. Leo, at that time wearing the purple, and zealous for
the purity of the faith, issued an order for the destruction of the
marble representations of saints and martyrs which had been used in
worship; and within the limits of his personal authority his mandate
was obeyed. But when it reached the West, a furious opposition was made
to his command. The Pope stood forward as champion of the religious
veneration of "storied urn and animated bust." The emperor was branded
with the name of Iconoclast, or the Image-breaker, and the eloquence
of all the monks in Europe was let loose upon the sacrilegious Cæsar.
Interest, it is to be feared, added fresh energy to their conscientious
denunciations, for the monks had attracted to themselves a complete
monopoly of the manufacture of these aids to devotion--and obedience
to Leo's order would have impoverished the monasteries all over the
land. A Western emperor, it was at once perceived, would not have been
so blind to the uses of those holy sculptures, and soon an intense
desire was manifested throughout the Western nations for an emperor
of their own. Already they were in possession of a spiritual chief,
who claimed the inheritance of the Prince of the Apostles, and looked
down on the Patriarchs of Constantinople as bishops subordinate to his
throne. Why should not they also have a temporal ruler who should renew
the old glories of the vanished Empire, and exercise supremacy over
all the governors of the earth? Why, indeed, should not the first of
those authorities exert his more than human powers in the production
of the other? He had converted a Mayor of the Palace into a King of
the Franks. Could he not go a step further, and convert a King of the
Franks into an Emperor of the West? With this hope, not yet perhaps
expressed, but alive in the minds of Pepin and the prelates of France,
no attempt was made to check the Roman pontiffs in the extravagance
of their pretensions. Lords of wide domains, rich already in the
possession of large tracts of country and wealthy establishments
in other lands, they were raised above all competition in rank and
influence with any other ecclesiastic; and relying on spiritual
privileges, and their exemption from active enmity, they were more
powerful than many of the greatest princes of the time. Everywhere the
mystic dignity of their office was dwelt upon by their supporters.
For a long time, as we have seen, their omnipotence was acknowledged
by the two classes who saw in the use of that spiritual dominion a
counterpoise to the worldly sceptres by which they were crushed. But
now the worldly sceptres came to the support of the spiritual dominion.
Its limit was enlarged, and made to include the regulation of all human
affairs. [A.D. 768.] It was its office to subdue kings and bind nobles
in links of iron; and when the son of Pepin, Charles, justly called the
Great, though travestied by French vanity into the name of Charlemagne,
sat on the throne of the Franks, and carried his arms and influence
into the remotest States, it was felt that the hour and the man were
come; and the Western Empire was formally renewed.

The curious thing is, that this longing for a restoration of the Roman
Empire, and dwelling on its usefulness and grandeur, were dominant,
and productive of great events, in populations which had no drop of
Roman blood in their veins. The last emperor resident in Rome had never
heard the names of the hordes of savages whose descendants had now
seized the plains of France and Italy. Yet it seemed as if, with the
territory of the Roman Empire, they had inherited its traditions and
hopes. They might be Saxons, or Franks, or Burgundians, or Lombards,
by national descent, but by residence they were Romans as compared
with the Greeks in the East,--and by religion they were Romans as
compared with the Sclaves and Saracens, who pressed on them on the
North and South. It would not be difficult in this country to find
the grandchildren of French refugees boasting with patriotic pride of
the English triumphs at Cressy and Agincourt--or the sons of Scottish
parents rejoicing in their ancestors' victory under Cromwell at Dunbar;
and here, in the eighth century, the descendants of Alaric and Clovis
were patriotically loyal to the memory of the old Empire, and were
reminded by the victories of Charlemagne of the trophies of Scipio and
Marius. These victories, indeed, were not, as is so often found to
be the case, the mere efforts of genius and ambition, with no higher
object than to augment the conqueror's power or reputation. They were
systematically pursued with a view to an end. In one advancing tide,
all things tended to the Imperial throne. Whatever nation felt the
force of Charlemagne's sword felt also a portion of its humiliation
lightened when its submission was perceived to be only an advancement
towards the restoration of the old dominion. It might have been
degrading to acknowledge the superiority of the son of Pepin--but who
could offer resistance to the successor of Augustus? So, after thirty
years of uninterrupted war, with campaigns succeeding each in the most
distant regions, and all crowned with conquest; after subduing the
Saxons beyond the Weser, the Lombards as far as Treviso, the Arabs
under the walls of Saragossa, the Bavarians in the neighbourhood of
Augsburg, the Sclaves on the Elbe and Oder, the Huns and Avars on the
Raab and Danube, and the Greeks themselves on the coast of Dalmatia;
when he looked around and saw no rebellion against his authority,
but throughout the greater part of his domains a willing submission
to the centralizing power which rallied all Christian states for the
defence of Christianity, and all civilized nations for the defence
of civilization,--nothing more was required than the mere expression
in definite words of the great thing that had already taken place,
and Charlemagne, at the extreme end of this century, bent before the
successor of St. Peter at Rome, and stood up crowned Emperor of the
West, and champion and chief of Christendom.

[A.D. 786-814.]

The period of Charlemagne is a great date in history; for it is the
legal and formal termination of an antiquated state of society. It was
also the introduction to another, totally distinct from itself and from
its predecessor. It was not barbarism; it was not feudalism; but it
was the bridge which united the two. By barbarism is meant the uneasy
state of governments and peoples, where the tribe still predominated
over the nation; where the Frank or Lombard continued an encamped
warrior, without reference to the soil; and where his patriotism
consisted in fidelity to the traditions of his descent, and not to
the greatness or independence of the land he occupied. In the reign
of Charlemagne, the land of the Frank became practically, and even
territorially, France; the district occupied by the Lombards became
Lombardy. The feeling of property in the soil was added to the ties
of race and kindred; and at the very time that all the nations of the
Invasion yielded to the supremacy of one man as emperor, the different
populations asserted their separate independence of each other, as
distinct and self-sufficing kingdoms--kingdoms, that is to say, without
the kings, but in all respects prepared for those individualized
expressions of their national life. For though Charlemagne, seated in
his great hall at Aix-la-Chapelle, gave laws to the whole of his vast
domains, in each country he had assumed to himself nothing more than
the monarchic power. To the whole empire he was emperor, but to each
separate people, such as Franks and Lombards, he was simply king. Under
him there were dukes, counts, viscounts, and other dignitaries, but
each limited, in function and influence, to the territory to which he
belonged. A French duke had no pre-eminence in Lombardy, and a Bavarian
graf had no rank in Italy. Other machinery was at times employed by
the central power, in the shape of temporary messengers, or even of
emissaries with a longer tenure of office; but these persons were sent
for some special purpose, and were more like commissioners appointed
by the Crown, than possessors of authority inherent in themselves. The
term of their ambassadorship expired, their salary, or the lands they
had provisionally held in lieu of salary, reverted to the monarch,
and they returned to court with no further pretension to power or
influence than an ambassador in our days when he returns from the
country to which he is accredited. But when the great local nobility
found their authority indissolubly connected with their possessions,
and that ducal or princely privileges were hereditary accompaniments
of their lands, the foundations of modern feudalism were already laid,
and the path to national kingship made easy and unavoidable. When
Charlemagne's empire broke into pieces at his death, we still find, in
the next century, that each piece was a kingdom. Modern Europe took
its rise from these fragmentary though complete portions; and whereas
the breaking-up of the first empire left the world a prey to barbaric
hordes, and desolation and misery spread over the fairest lands, the
disruption of the latter empire of Charlemagne left Europe united as
one whole against Saracen and savage, but separated in itself into many
well-defined states, regulated in their intercourse by international
law, and listening with the docility of children to the promises or
threatenings of the Father of the Universal Church. For with the
empire of Charlemagne the empire of the Papacy had grown. The temporal
power was a collection of forces dependent on the life of one man; the
spiritual power is a principle which is independent of individual aid.
So over the fragments, as we have said, of the broken empire, rose
higher than ever the unshaken majesty of Rome. Civil authority had
shrunk up within local bounds; but the Papacy had expanded beyond the
limits of time and space, and shook the dreadful keys and clenched the
two-edged sword which typified its dominion over both earth and heaven.



                            NINTH CENTURY.


Emperors.

  A.D.  _West._

  800. CHARLEMAGNE, (crowned by the Pope.)

  814. LOUIS THE DEBONNAIRE.

  840. CHARLES THE BALD.

  877. LOUIS THE STAMMERER.

  879. LOUIS III. and CARLOMAN.

  884. CHARLES THE FAT.

  887. ARNOLD.

  899. LOUIS IV.

  A.D.    _East._

       NICEPHORUS--(_cont_.)

  811. MICHAEL.

  813. LEO THE ARMENIAN.

  821. MICHAEL THE STAMMERER.

  829. THEOPHILUS.

  842. MICHAEL III.

  886. LEO THE PHILOSOPHER.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

  887.  EUDES, (Count of Paris.)

  898.  CHARLES THE SIMPLE.


Kings of England.

  A.D.

  827.  EGBERT.

  837.  ETHELWOLF.

  857.  ETHELBALD.

  860.  ETHELBERT.

  866.  ETHELRED.

  872.  ALFRED THE GREAT.


Authors.

JOHN SCOTUS, (ERIGENA,) HINCMAR, HERIC, (preceded Des Cartes in
philosophical investigation,) MACARIUS.



                          THE NINTH CENTURY.

  DISMEMBERMENT OF CHARLEMAGNE'S EMPIRE--DANISH INVASION OF
  ENGLAND--WEAKNESS OF FRANCE--REIGN OF ALFRED.


The first year of this century found Charlemagne with the crown of
the old Empire upon his head, and the most distant parts of the world
filled with his reputation. As in the case of the first Napoleon, we
find his antechambers crowded with the fallen rulers of the conquered
territories, and even with sovereigns of neighbouring countries. Among
others, two of our Anglo-Saxon princes found their way to the great
man's court at Aix-la-Chapelle. Eardulf of Northumberland pleaded his
cause so well with Charlemagne and the Pope, that by their good offices
he was restored to his states. But a greater man than Eardulf was also
a visitor and careful student of the vanquisher and lawgiver of the
Western world. Originally a Prince of Kent, he had been expelled by the
superior power or arts of Beortrick, King of the West Saxons, and had
betaken himself for protection, if not for restoration, to the most
powerful ruler of the time. Whether Egbert joined in his expeditions or
shared his councils, we do not know, but the history of the Anglo-Saxon
monarchies at this date (800 to 830) shows us the exact counterpart,
on our own island, of the actions of Charlemagne on the wider stage
of continental Europe. Egbert, on the death of Beortrick, obtained
possession of Wessex, and one by one the separate States of the British
Heptarchy were subdued; some reduced to entire subjection, others only
to subordinate rank and the payment of tribute, till, when all things
were prepared for the change, Egbert proclaimed the unity of Southern
Britain by assuming the title of Bretwalda, in the same way as his
prototype had restored the unity of the empire by taking the dignity
of Emperor. It is pleasant to pause over the period of Charlemagne's
reign, for it is an isthmus connecting two dark and unsatisfactory
states of society,--a past of disunion, barbarity, and violence,
and a future of ignorance, selfishness, and crime. The present was
not, indeed, exempt from some or all of these characteristics. There
must have been quarrellings and brutal animosities on the outskirts
of his domain, where half-converted Franks carried fire and sword,
in the name of religion, among the still heathen Saxons; there must
have been insolence and cruelty among the bishops and priests, whose
education, in the majority of instances, was limited to learning the
services of the Church by heart. Many laymen, indeed, had seized on the
temporalities of the sees; and, in return, many bishops had arrogated
to themselves the warlike privileges and authority of the counts and
viscounts. But within the radius of Charlemagne's own influence, in his
family apartments, or in the great Hall of Audience at Aix-la-Chapelle,
the astonishing sight was presented of a man refreshing himself, after
the fatigues of policy and war, by converting his house into a college
for the advancement of learning and science. From all quarters came
the scholars, and grammarians, and philosophers of the time. Chief
of these was our countryman, the Anglo-Saxon monk Alcuin, and from
what remains of his writings we can only regret that, in the infancy
of that new civilization, his genius, which was undoubtedly great,
was devoted to trifles of no real importance. Others came to fill up
that noble company; and it is surely a great relief from the bloody
records with which we have so long been familiar, to see Charlemagne
at home, surrounded by sons and daughters, listening to readings and
translations from Roman authors; entering himself into disquisitions on
philosophy and antiquities, and acting as president of a select society
of earnest searchers after information. To put his companions more at
their ease, he hid the terrors of his crown under an assumed name, and
only accepted so much of his royal state as his friends assigned to him
by giving him the name of King David. The best versifier was known as
Virgil. Alcuin himself was Horace; and Angelbert, who cultivated Greek,
assumed the proud name of Homer. These literary discussions, however,
would have had no better effect than refining the court, and making
the days pass pleasantly; but Charlemagne's object was higher and
more liberal than this. Whatever monastery he founded or endowed was
forced to maintain a school as part of its establishment. Alcuin was
presented with the great Abbey of St. Martin of Tours, which possessed
on its domain twenty thousand serfs, and therefore made him one of the
richest land-owners in France. There, at full leisure from worldly
cares, he composed a vast number of books, of very poor philosophy
and very incorrect astronomy, and perhaps looked down from his lofty
eminence of wealth and fame on the humble labours of young Eginhart,
the secretary of Charlemagne, who has left us a Life of his master,
infinitely more interesting and useful than all the dissertations of
the sage. From this great Life we learn many delightful characteristics
of the great man, his good-heartedness, his love of justice, and
blind affection for his children. But it is with his public works,
as acting on this century, that we have now to do. Throughout the
whole extent of his empire he founded Academies, both for learning
and for useful occupations. He encouraged the study and practice of
agriculture and trade. The fine arts found him a munificent patron;
and though the objects on which the artist's skill was exercised were
not more exalted than the carving of wooden tables, the moulding of
metal cups, and the casting of bells, the circumstances of the time
are to be taken into consideration, and these efforts may be found
as advanced, for the ninth century, as the works of the sculptors
and metallurgists of our own day. It is painful to observe that the
practice of what is now called adulteration was not unknown at that
early period. There was a monk of the name of Tancho, in the monastery
of St. Gall, who produced the first bell. Its sound was so sweet and
solemn, that it was at once adopted as an indispensable portion of the
ornament of church and chapel, and soon after that, of the religious
services themselves. Charlemagne, hearing it, and perhaps believing
that an increased value in the metal would produce a richer tone, sent
him a sufficient quantity of silver to form a second bell. The monk,
tempted by the facility of turning the treasure to his own use, brought
forward another specimen of his skill, but of a mixed and very inferior
material. What the just and severe emperor might have done, on the
discovery of the fraud, is not known; but the story ended tragically
without the intervention of the legal sword. At the first swing of the
clapper it broke the skull of the dishonest founder, who had apparently
gone too near to witness the action of the tongue; and the bell was
thenceforth looked on with veneration, as the discoverer and punisher
of the unjust manufacturer.

The monks, indeed, seem to have been the most refractory of subjects,
perhaps because they were already exempted from the ordinary
punishments. In order to produce uniformity in the services and
chants of the Church, the emperor sent to Rome for twelve monkish
musicians, and distributed them in the twelve principal bishoprics of
his dominions. The twelve musicians would not consent to be musical
according to order, and made the confusion greater than ever, for each
of them taught different tunes and a different method. The disappointed
emperor could only complain to the Pope, and the Pope put the recusant
psalmodists in prison. But it appears the fate of Charlemagne, as of
all persons in advance of their age, to be worthy of congratulation
only for his attempts. The success of many of his undertakings was not
adequate to the pains bestowed upon them. He held many assemblages,
both lay and ecclesiastical, during his lengthened reign; he published
many excellent laws, which soon fell into disuse; he tried many reforms
of churches and monasteries, which shared the same fortune; he held the
Popes of Rome and the dignitaries of his empire in perfect submission,
but professed so much respect for the office of Pontiff and Bishop,
that, when his own overwhelming superiority was withdrawn, the Church
rebelled against the State, and claimed dominion over it. His sense
of justice, as well as the custom of the time, led him to divide his
states among his sons, which not only insured enmity between them, but
enfeebled the whole of Christendom. Clouds, indeed, began to gather
over him some time before his reign was ended. One day he was at a
city of Narbonese Gaul, looking out upon the Mediterranean Sea. He
saw some vessels appear before the port. "These," said the courtiers,
"must be ships from the coast of Africa, Jewish merchantmen, or British
traders." But Charlemagne, who had leaned a long time against the
wall of the room in a passion of tears, said, "No! these are not the
ships of commerce; I know by their lightness of movement. They are
the galleys of the Norsemen; and, though I know such miserable pirates
can do me no harm, I cannot help weeping when I think of the miseries
they will inflict on my descendants and the lands they shall rule." A
true speech, and just occasion for grief, for the descents of these
Scandinavian rovers are the great characteristic of this century, by
which a new power was introduced into Europe, and great changes took
place in the career of France and England.

It would perhaps be more correct to say that, by this new mixture of
race and language, France and England were called into existence.
England, up to this date, had been a collection of contending states;
France, a tributary portion of a great Germanic empire. Slowly
stretching northward, the Roman language, modified, of course, by
local pronunciation, had pushed its way among the original Franks.
Latin had been for many years the language of Divine Service, and of
history, and of law. All westward of the Rhine had yielded to those
influences, and the old Teutonic tongue which Clovis had brought
with him from Germany had long disappeared, from the Alps up to the
Channel. [A.D. 814.] When the death of Charlemagne, in 814, had
relaxed the hold which held all his subordinate states together, the
diversity of the language of Frenchman and German pointed out, almost
as clearly as geographical boundaries could have done, the limits of
the respective nations. From henceforward, identity of speech was to
be considered a more enduring bond of union than the mere inhabiting
of the same soil. But other circumstances occurred to favour the
idea of a separation into well-defined communities; and among these
the principal was a very long experience of the disadvantages of an
encumbered and too extensive empire. Even while the sword was held
by the strong hand of Charlemagne, each portion of his dominions saw
with dissatisfaction that it depended for its peace and prosperity on
the peace and prosperity of all the rest, and yet in this peace and
prosperity it had neither voice nor influence. The inhabitants of the
banks of the Loire were, therefore, naturally discontented when they
found their provisions enhanced in price, and their sons called to
arms, on account of disturbances on the Elbe, or hostilities in the
south of Italy. These evils of their position were further increased
when, towards the end of Charlemagne's reign, the outer circuit of
enemies became more combined and powerful. In proportion as he had
extended his dominion, he had come into contact with tribes and
states with whom it was impossible to be on friendly terms. To the
East, he touched upon the irreclaimable Sclaves and Avars--in the
South, he came on the settlements of the Italian Greeks--in Spain,
he rested upon the Saracens of Cordova. It was hard for the secure
centre of the empire to be destroyed and ruined by the struggles of
the frontier populations, with which it had no more sympathy in blood
and language than with the people with whom they fought. Already,
also, we have seen how local their government had become. They had
their own dukes and counts, their own bishops and priests to refer to.
The empire was, in fact, a name, and the land they inhabited the only
reality with which they were concerned. We shall not be surprised,
therefore, when we find that universal rebellion took place when Louis
the Debonnaire, the just and saint-like successor of Charlemagne,
endeavoured to carry on his father's system. Even his reforms served
only to show his own unselfishness, and to irritate the grasping and
avaricious offenders whom it was his object to amend. Bishops were
stripped of their lay lordships--prevented from wearing sword and
arms, and even deprived of the military ornament of glittering spurs
to their heels. The monks and nuns, who had almost universally fallen
into evil courses, were forcibly reformed by the laws of a second St.
Benedict, whose regulations were harsh towards the regular orders, but
useless to the community at large--a sad contrast to the agricultural
and manly exhortations of the first conventual legislator of that
name. Nothing turned out well with this simplest and most generous of
the Carlovingian kings. His virtues, inextricably interlaced as they
were with the weaknesses of his character, were more injurious to
himself and his kingdom than less amiable qualities would have been.
Priest and noble were equally ignorant of the real characteristics
of a Christian life. When he refunded the exactions of his father,
and restored the conquests which he considered illegally acquired,
the universal feeling of astonishment was only lost in the stronger
sentiment of disdain. An excellent monk in a cell, or judge in a court
of law, Louis the Debonnaire was the most unfit man of his time to
keep discordant nationalities in awe. His children were as unnatural
as those of Lear, whom he resembled in some other respects: for he
found what little reverence waits upon a discrowned king; and personal
indignities of the most degrading kind were heaped upon him by those
whose duty it was to maintain and honour him. Superstition was set
to work on his enfeebled mind, and twice he did public penance for
crimes of which he was not guilty; and on the last occasion, stripped
of his military baldric--the lowest indignity to which a Frankish
monarch could be subjected--clothed in a hair shirt by the bands of an
ungrateful bishop, he was led by his triumphant son, Lothaire, through
the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle. [A.D. 833.] But natural feeling was
not extinguished in the hearts of the staring populace. They saw in
the meek emperor's lowly behaviour, and patient endurance of pain and
insult, an image of that other and holier King who carried his cross up
the steeps of Jerusalem. They saw him denuded of the symbols of earthly
power and of military rank, oppressed and wronged--and recognised in
that down-trodden man a representation of themselves. This sentiment
spread with the magic force of sympathy and remorse. All the world, we
are told, left the unnatural son solitary and friendless in the very
hour of his success; and Louis, too pure-minded himself to perceive
that it was the virtue of his character which made him hated, persisted
in pushing on his amendments as if he had the power to carry them
into effect. He ordered all lands and other goods which the nobles
had seized from the Church to be restored--a tenderness of conscience
utterly inexplicable to the marauding baron, who had succeeded by open
force, and in a fair field, in despoiling the marauding bishop of land
and tower. It was arming his rival, he thought, with a two-edged sword,
this silence as to the inroads of the churchman on the property of the
nobles, and prevention of their just reprisals on the property of the
prelate, by placing it under the safeguard of religion. The rugged
warrior kept firm hold of the bishopric or abbey he had secured, and
the belted bishop reimbursed himself by appropriating the wealth of his
weaker neighbours.

But Louis was as unfortunate in his testamentary arrangement as in all
the other regulations of his life. Lothaire was to retain the eastern
portion of the empire; Charles, his favourite, had France as far as
the Rhine; while Louis was limited to the distant region of Bavaria.
[A.D. 840.] And having made this disposition of his power, the meek
and useless Louis descended into the tomb--a striking example, the
French historians tell us, of the great historic truth renewed at such
distant dates, that the villanies and cruelties of a race of kings
bring misery on the most virtuous of their descendants. All the crimes
of the three preceding reigns--the violence and disregard of life
exhibited by Charlemagne himself--found their victim and expiation
in his meek and gentle-minded son. The harshness of Henry VIII. of
England, they add, and the despotic claims of James, were visited on
the personally just and amiable Charles; and they point to the parallel
case of their own Louis XVI., and see in the sad fortune of that mild
and guileless sovereign the final doom of the murderous Charles IX.,
and the voluptuous and hypocritical Louis XIV. But these kings are
still far off in the darkness of the coming centuries. It is a strange
sight, in the middle of the ninth century, to see the successor of the
great Emperor stealing through the confused and chaotic events of that
wretched period, stripped as it were of sword and crown, but everywhere
displaying the beauty of pure and simple goodness. He refused to
condemn his enemies to death. He was only inexorable towards his own
offences, and sometimes humbled himself for imaginary sins. A protector
of the Church, a zealous supporter of Rome, it would give additional
dignity to the act of canonization if the name of Louis the Debonnaire
were added to the list of Saints.

But we have left the empire which it had taken so long to consolidate,
now legally divided into three. There is a Charles in possession of the
western division; a Louis in the farther Germany; and Lothaire, the
unfilial triumpher at Aix-la-Chapelle, invested with the remainder of
the Roman world. But Lothaire was not to be satisfied with remainders.
Once in power, he was determined to recover the empire in its undivided
state. He was King of Italy; master of Rome and of the Pope; he was
eldest grandson of Charlemagne, and defied the opposition of his
brothers. [A.D. 842.] A battle was fought at Fontenay in 842, in which
these pretensions were overthrown; and the final severance took place
in the following year between the French and German populations.
The treaty between the brothers still remains. It is written in
duplicate--one in a tongue still intelligible to German ears, and the
other in a Romanized speech, which is nearer the French of the present
day than the English of Alfred, or even of Edward the Confessor, is to
ours.

[A.D. 843.]

France, which had hitherto attained that title in right of its
predominant race, held it henceforth on the double ground of language
and territory. But there is a curious circumstance connected with the
partition of the empire, which it may be interesting to remember.
France, in gaining its name and language, lost its natural boundary of
the Rhine. Up to this time, the limit of ancient Gaul had continued
to define the territory of the Western Franks. In rude times, indeed,
there can be no other divisions than those supplied by nature; but
now that a tongue was considered a bond of nationality, the French
were contented to surrender to Lothaire the Emperor a long strip of
territory, running the whole way up from Italy to the North Sea,
including both banks of the Rhine, and acting as a wall of partition
between them and the German-speaking people on the other side,--a great
price to pay, even for the easiest and most widely-spread language in
Europe. Yet the most ambitious of Frenchmen would pause before he undid
the bargain and reacquired the "exulting and abounding river" at the
sacrifice of his inimitable tongue.

Very confused and uncertain are all the events for a long time after
this date. We see perpetual attempts made to restore the reality as
well as the name of the Empire. These battles and competitions of the
line of Charlemagne are the subject of chronicles and treaties, and
might impose upon us by the grandeur of their appearance, if we did
not see, from the incidental facts which come to the surface, how
unavailing all efforts must be to arrest the dissociation of state
from state. The principle of dissolution was at work everywhere.
Kingship itself had fallen into contempt, for the great proprietors
had been encouraged to exert a kind of personal power in the reign of
Charlemagne, which contributed to the strength of his well-consolidated
crown; but when the same individual influence was exercised under the
nominal supremacy of Louis the Debonnaire or Charles the Bald, it
proved a humiliating and dangerous contrast to the weakness of the
throne. A combination of provincial dignitaries could at any time
outweigh the authority of the king, and sometimes, even singly, the
owners of extensive estates threw off the very name of subject. They
claimed their lands as not only hereditary possessions, but endowed
with all the rights and privileges which their personal offices had
bestowed. If their commission from the emperor had given them authority
to judge causes, to raise taxes, or to collect troops, they maintained
from henceforth that those high powers were inherent in their lands.
The dukes, therefore, invested their estates with ducal rights,
independent of the Crown, and left to the holder of the kingly name
no real authority except in his own domains. Brittany, and Aquitaine,
and Septimania, withdrew their allegiance from the poor King of
France. He could not compel the ambitious owners of those duchies to
recognise his power, and condescended even to treat them as rival and
acknowledged kings. Then there were other magnates who were not to be
left mere subjects when dukes had risen to such rank. So the Marquises
of Toulouse and Gothia, a district of Languedoc, and Auvergne, were
treated more as equals than as appointed deputies recallable at
pleasure. But worse enemies of kingly dignity than duke or marquis
were the ambitious bishops, who looked with uneasy eyes on the rapid
rise of their rivals the lay nobility. Already the hereditary title of
those territorial potentates was an accomplished fact; the son of the
count inherited his father's county. But the general celibacy of the
clergy fortunately prevented the hereditary transmission of bishopric
and abbey. To make up for the want of this advantage, they boldly
determined to assert far higher claims as inherent in their rank than
marquis or count could aim at. Starting from the universally-conceded
ground of their right to reprimand and punish any Christian who
committed sin, they logically carried their pretension to the right
of deposing kings if they offended the Church. More than fifty years
had passed since Charlemagne had received the imperial crown from the
hands of the Pope of Rome. Dates are liable to fall into confusion in
ignorant times and places, and it was easy to spread a belief that
the popes had always exercised the power of bestowing the diadem upon
kings. To support these astounding claims with some certain guarantee,
and give them the advantage of prescriptive right by a long and
legitimate possession, certain documents were spread abroad at this
time, purporting to be a collection by Isidore, a saint of the sixth
century, of the decretals or judicial sentences of the popes from a
very early period, asserting the unquestioned spiritual supremacy of
the Roman See at a date when it was in reality but one of many feeble
seats of Christian authority; and to equalize its earthly grandeur
with its religious pretension, the new edition of Isidore contained
a donation by Constantine himself, in the beginning of the fourth
century, of the city of Rome and enormous territories in Italy, to
be held in sovereignty by the successors of St. Peter. These are now
universally acknowledged to be forgeries and impostures of the grossest
kind, but at the time they appeared they served the purpose for which
they were intended, and gave a sanction to the Papal assumptions far
superior to the rights of any existing crown.

[A.D. 859.]

Charles the Bald was a true son of Louis the Debonnaire in his devotion
to the Church. When the bishops of his own kingdom, with Wenilon of
Sens as their leader, offended with some remissness he had temporarily
shown in advancing their worldly interests, determined to depose
him from the throne, and called Louis the German to take his place,
Charles fled and threw himself on the protection of the Pope. And
when by submission and promises he had been permitted to re-enter
France, he complained of the conduct of the prelates in language
which ratified all their claims. "Elected by Wenilon and the other
bishops, as well as by the lieges of our kingdom, who expressed their
consent by their acclamations, Wenilon consecrated me king according
to ecclesiastic tradition, in his own diocese, in the Church of the
Holy Cross at Orleans. He anointed me with the holy oil; he gave me
the diadem and royal sceptre, and seated me on the throne. After that
consecration I could not be removed from the throne, or supplanted
by any one, at least without being heard and judged by the bishops,
by whose ministry I was consecrated king. It is they who are as the
thrones of the Divinity. God reposes upon them, and by them he gives
forth his judgments. At all times I have been ready to submit to their
fatherly corrections, to their just castigations, and am ready to
do so still." What more could the Church require? Its wealth was the
least of its advantages, though the abbacies and bishoprics were richer
than dukedoms all over the land. Their temporal power was supported
by the terrors of their spiritual authority; and kings, princes, and
people appeared so prone to the grossest excesses of credulity and
superstition, that it needed little to throw Europe itself at the
feet of the priesthood, and place sword and sceptre permanently in
subordination to the crozier. Blindly secure of their position, rioting
in the riches of the subject land, the bishops probably disregarded, as
below their notice, the two antagonistic principles which were at work
at this time in the midst of their own body--the principle of absolute
submission to authority in articles of faith, and the principle of
free inquiry into all religious doctrine. The first gave birth to
the great mystery of transubstantiation, which now first made its
appearance as an indispensable belief, and was hailed by the laity and
inferior clergy as a crowning proof of the miraculous powers inherent
in the Church. The second was equally busy, but was not productive of
such permanent effects. At the court of Charles the Bald there was a
society of learned and ingenious men, presided over by the celebrated
John Scot Erigena, (or native of Ireland,) who had studied the early
Fathers and the Platonic philosophy, and were inclined to admit human
reason to some participation in the reception of Christian truths.
There were therefore discussions on the real presence, and free-will,
and predestination, which had the usual unsatisfactory termination of
all questions transcending man's understanding, and only embittered
their respective adherents without advancing the settlement on either
side. While these exercitations of talent and dialectic quickness were
carried on, filling the different dioceses with wonder and perplexity,
the great body of the people in various countries of Europe were
recalled to the practical business of life by disputes of a far more
serious character than the wordy wars of Scotus and his foes. Michelet,
the most picturesque of the recent historians of France, has given us
an amazing view of the state of affairs at this time. It is the darkest
period of the human mind; it is also the most unsettled period of
human society. Outside of the narrowing limits of peopled Christendom,
enemies are pressing upon every side. Saxons on the East are laying
their hands in reverence on the manes of horses, and swearing in the
name of Odin; Saracens, in the South and West, are gathering once more
for the triumph of the Prophet; and suddenly France, Germany, Italy,
and England, are awakened to the presence and possible supremacy of a
more dreaded invader than either, for the Vikinger, or Norsemen, were
abroad upon the sea, and all Christendom was exposed to their ravages.
Wherever a river poured its waters into the ocean, on the coast of
Narbonne, or Yorkshire, or Calabria, or Friesland, boats, small in
size, but countless in number, penetrated into the inland towns, and
disembarked wild and fearless warriors, who seemed inspired by the
mad fanaticism of some inhuman faith, which made charity and mercy
a sin. Starting from the islands and rugged mainland of the present
Denmark and Norway, they swept across the stormy North Sea, shouting
their hideous songs of glory and defiance, and springing to land when
they reached their destination with the agility and bloodthirstiness
of famished wolves. Their business was to carry slaughter and
destruction wherever they went. They looked with contempt on the lazy
occupations of the inhabitants of town or farm, and, above all, were
filled with hatred and disdain of the monks and priests Their leaders
were warriors and poets. Gliding up noiseless streams, they intoned
their battle-cry and shouted the great deeds of their ancestors when
they reached the walls of some secluded monastery, and rejoiced in
wrapping all its terrified inmates in flames. Bards, soldiers, pirates,
buccaneers, and heathens, destitute of fear, or pity, or remorse,
amorous of danger, and skilful in management of ship and weapon, these
were the most ferocious visitants which Southern Europe had ever seen.
No storm was sufficient to be a protection against their approach.
On the crest of the highest waves those frail barks were seen by the
affrighted dwellers on the shore, careering with all sail set, and
steering right into their port. All the people on the coast, from
the Rhine to Bayonne, and from Toulouse to the Grecian Isles, fled
for protection to the great proprietors of the lands. But the great
proprietors of the lands were the peaceful priors of stately abbeys,
and bishops of wealthy sees. Their pretensions had been submitted to
by kings and nobles; they were the real rulers of France; and even
in England their authority was very great. Excommunications had been
their arms against recusant baron and refractory count; but the Danish
Northmen did not care for bell, book, and candle. The courtly circle of
scholars and divines could give no aid to the dishoused villagers and
trembling cities, however ingenious the logic might be which reconciled
Plato to St. Paul; and Charles the Bald, surprised, no doubt, at the
inefficacy of prayers and processions, was forced to replace the
influence in the hands, not which carried the crozier and cross, but
which curbed the horse and couched the spear. The invasion of the
Danes was, in fact, the resuscitation of the courage and manliness
of the nationalities they attacked. Dreadful as the suffering was at
the time, it was not given to any man then alive to see the future
benefits contained in the present woe. We, with a calmer view, look
back upon the whole series of those events, and in the intermixture
of the new race perceive the elements of greatness and power.
Priest-ridden, down-trodden populations received a fresh impulse from
those untamed children of the North; and in the forcible relegation
of ecclesiastics to the more peaceable offices of their calling, we
see the first beginning of the gradation of ranks, and separation of
employments, which gave honourable occupation to the respective leaders
in Church and State; which limited the clergyman to the unostentatious
discharge of his professional duties, and left the baron to command his
warriors and give armed protection to all the dwellers in the land.
For feudalism, as understood in the Middle Ages, was the inevitable
result of the relative positions of priest and noble at the time of
the Norsemen's forays. It was found that the possession of great
domains had its duties as well as its rights, and the duty of defence
was the most imperative of all. Men held their grounds, therefore,
on the obligation of keeping their vassals uninjured by the pirates;
the bishops were found unable to perform this work, and the territory
passed away from their keeping. Vast estates, no doubt, still remained
in their possession, but they were placed in the guardianship of the
neighbouring chateaux; and though at intervals, in the succeeding
centuries, we shall see the prelate dressing himself in a coat of mail,
and rendering in person the military service entailed upon his lands,
the public feeling rapidly revolted against the incongruity of the
deed. The steel-clad bishop was looked on with slender respect, and
was soon found to do more damage to his order, by the contrast between
his conduct and his profession, than he could possibly gain for it by
his prowess or skill in war. Feudalism, indeed, or the reciprocal
obligation of protection and submission, reached its full development
by the formal deposition of a descendant of Charlemagne, on the express
ground of his inability to defend his people from the enemies by which
they were surrounded. [A.D. 879.] A congress of six archbishops, and
seventeen bishops, was held in the town of Mantela, near Vienne; and
after consultation with the nobility, they came to the following
resolution:--"That whereas the great qualities of the old mayors of the
palace were their only rights to the throne, and Charlemagne, whom all
willingly obeyed, did not transmit his talents, along with his crown,
to his posterity, it was right to leave that house." They therefore
sent an offer of the throne of Burgundy to Boso, Count of the Ardennes,
with the conditions "that he should be a true patron and defender
of high and low, accessible and friendly to all, humble before God,
liberal to the Church, and true to his word."

By this abnegation of temporal weapons, and dependence on the armed
warrior for their defence, the prelates put themselves at the head
of the unarmed peoples at the same moment that they exercised their
spiritual authority over all classes alike. It was useless for them to
draw the sword themselves, when they regulated every motion of the hand
by which the sword was held.

While this is the state of affairs on the Continent--while the great
Empire of Charlemagne is falling to pieces, and the kingly office is
practically reduced to a mere equality with the other dignities of the
land--while this disunion in nations and weakness in sovereigns is
exposing the fairest lands in Europe to the aggressions of enemies on
every side--let us cast our eyes for a moment on England, and see in
what condition our ancestors are placed at the middle of this century.
A most dreadful and alarming condition as ever Old England was in. For
many years before this, a pirate's boat or two from the North would
run upon the sand, and send the crews to burn and rob a village on the
coast of Berwick or Northumberland. Pirates we superciliously call
them, but that is from a misconception of their point of honour, and of
the very different estimate they themselves formed of their pursuits
and character. They were gentleman, perhaps, "of small estate" in some
outlying district of Denmark or Norway, but endowed with stout arms and
a great wish to distinguish themselves--if the distinction could be
accompanied with an increase of their worldly goods. They considered
the sea their own domain, and whatever was found on it as theirs
by right of possession. They were, therefore, lords of the manor,
looking after their rights, their waifs and strays, their flotsams and
jetsams. They were also persons of a strong religious turn, and united
the spirit of the missionary to the courage of the warrior and the
avidity of the conqueror. Odin was still their god, the doors of the
Walhalla were still open to them after death, and the skulls of their
enemies were foaming with intoxicating mead. The English were renegades
from the true faith, a set of drivelling wretches who believed in a
heaven where there was no beer, and worshipped a god who bade them
pray for their enemies and bless the very people who used them ill.
The remaining similarity in the language of the two peoples must have
added a bitterness to the contemptuous feelings of the unreclaimed
rovers of the deep; and probably, on their return, these enterprising
warriors were as proud of the number of priests they had slain, as of
the more valuable trophies they carried home. Denmark itself, up to
this time, had been distracted with internal wars. It was only the
more active spirits who had rushed across from the Sound, and solaced
themselves, in the intervals of their own campaigns, with an onslaught
upon an English town. But now the scene was to change. The inroads
of separate crews were to be exchanged for national invasions.
[A.D. 838.] Harold of the Fair Hair was seated on an undisputed throne,
and repressed the outrages of these adventurous warriors by a strong
and determined will. He stretched his sceptre over all the Scandinavian
world, and neither the North Sea nor the Baltic were safe places for
piracy and spoil. One of his countrymen had founded the royal line of
Russia, and from his capital of Kieff or Novgorod was civilizing, with
whip and battle-axe, the original hordes which now form the Empire
of the Czars. Already, from their lurking-places on the shores of
the Black Sea, the Norwegian predecessors of the men of Odessa and
Sebastopol were threatening a dash upon Constantinople; while sea-kings
and jarls, compelled to be quiet and peaceable at home, but backed by
all the wild populations of the North, anxious for glory, and greedy
of gold and corn, resolved to reduce England to their obedience, and
collected an enormous fleet in the quiet recesses of the Baltic,
withdrawn from the observation of Harold. It seems fated that France is
always, in some sort or other, to set the fashion to her neighbours.
We have seen, at the beginning of this century, how England followed
the example of the Frankish peoples in consolidating itself into one
dominion. Charlemagne was recognised chief potentate of many states,
and Egbert was sovereign of all the Saxon lands, from Cornwall to the
gates of Edinburgh. But the model was copied no less closely in the
splitting-up of the central authority than in its consolidation. While
Louis the Debonnaire and Charles the Bald were weakening the throne of
Charlemagne, the states of Egbert became parcelled out in the same
way between the descendants of the English king. Ethelwolf was the
counterpart of Louis, and carried the sceptre in too gentle a hand. He
still further diminished his authority by yielding to the dissensions
of his court. Like the Frankish ruler, also, he left portions of his
territory to his four sons; of whom it will be sufficient for us to
remember that the youngest was the great Alfred--the foremost name in
all mediæval history; and by an injudicious marriage with the daughter
of Charles the Bald, and his unjust divorce of the mother of all his
sons, he offended the feelings of the nation, and raised the animosity
of his children. Ethelbald his son completed the popular discontent
by marrying his father's widow, the French princess, who had been
the cause of so much disagreement; and while the people were thus
alienated, and the guiding hand of a true ruler of men was withdrawn,
the terrible invasion of Danes and Jutlanders went on. [A.D. 839.] They
sailed up the Thames and pillaged London. Winchester was given to the
flames. The whole isle of Thanet was seized and permanently occupied.
The magic standard, a raven, embroidered by the daughters of the famous
Regner Lodbrog, (who had been stung to death by serpents in a dungeon
into which he was thrown by Ella, King of Northumberland,) was carried
from point to point, and was thought to be the symbol of victory and
revenge. The offending Northumbrian now felt the wrath of the sons of
Lodbrog. They landed with a great army, and after a battle, in which
the chiefs of the English were slain, took the Northumbrian kingdom.
Nottingham was soon after captured and destroyed. It was no longer a
mere incursion. The nobles and great families of Denmark came over to
their new conquest, and stationed themselves in strong fortresses,
commanding large circles of country, and lived under their Danish
regulations. The land, to be sure, was not populous at that time, and
probably the Danish settlements were accomplished without the removal
of any original occupiers. [A.D. 860.] But the castles they built, and
the towns which rapidly grew around them, acted as outposts against
the remaining British kingdoms; and at last, when fleet after fleet
disembarked their thousands of warlike colonists--when Leicester,
Lincoln, Stamford, York, and Chester, were all in Danish hands, and
stretched a line of intrenchments round the lands they considered their
own--the divided Anglo-Saxons were glad to purchase a cessation of
hostilities by guaranteeing to them forever the places and territories
they had secured. And there was now a Danish kingdom enclosed by
the fragments of the English empire; there were Danish laws and
customs, a Danish mode of pronunciation, and for a good while a still
broader gulf of demarcation established between the peoples by their
diversity in religious faith. [A.D. 872.] But when Alfred attained the
supreme power--and although respecting the treaties between the Danes
and English, yet evidently able to defend his countrymen from the
aggressions of their foreign neighbour--the pacified pirate, tired of
the sea, and softened by the richer soil and milder climate of his new
home, began to perceive the very unsatisfactory nature of his ancient
belief, and rapidly gave his adhesion to the lessons of the gospel.
Guthrum, the Danish chieftain, became a zealous Christian according to
his lights, and was baptized with all his subjects. Alfred acted as
godfather to the neophyte, and restrained the wildest of his followers
within due bounds. Perhaps, even, he was assisted by his Christianized
allies in the great and final struggle against Hastings and a new swarm
of Scandinavian rovers, whose defeat is the concluding act of this
tumultuous century. Alfred drew up near London, and met the advancing
hosts on the banks of the river Lea, about twenty miles from town. The
patient angler in that suburban river seldom thinks what great events
occurred upon its shore. Great ships--all things are comparative--were
floating upon its waters, filled with armed Danes. Alfred cut certain
openings in the banks and lowered the stream, so that the hostile navy
stranded. Out sprang the Danes, astonished at the interruption to their
course, and retreated across the country, nor stopped till they had
placed themselves in inaccessible positions on the Severn. But the
century came to a close. Opening with the great days of Charlemagne,
it is right that it should close with the far more glorious reign
of Alfred the patriot and sage;---a century illuminated at its two
extremes, but in its middle period dark with disunion and ignorance,
and not unlikely, unless controlled to higher uses, to give birth to a
state of more hopeless barbarism than that from which the nations of
Europe had so recently emerged.



                            TENTH CENTURY.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

       LOUIS IV.--(_cont._)

  911. CONRAD.

  920. HENRY THE FOWLER.

  936. OTHO THE GREAT.

  973. OTHO II.

  983. OTHO III.


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

       LEO.--(_cont._)

  911. CONSTANTINE IX.

  915. CONSTANTINE and ROMANUS.

  959. ROMANUS II.

  963. NICEPHORUS PHOCAS.

  969. JOHN ZIMISCES.

  975. BASILIUS AND CONSTANTINE X.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

       CHARLES THE SIMPLE.--(_cont._)

  923. RODOLPH.

  936. LOUIS IV., (d'Outremer.)

  954. LOTHAIRE.

  986. LOUIS V., (le Fainéant.)

  987. HUGH CAPET, (new Dynasty.)

  996. ROBERT THE WISE.


Kings of England.

  A.D.

       ALFRED.--(_cont._)

  901. EDWARD THE ELDER.

  925. ATHELSTANE.

  941. EDMUND I.

  948. ELDRED.

  955. EDWY.

  959. EDGAR.

  976. EDWARD II.

  978. ETHELRED II.


Authors.

SUIDAS, (Lexicographer), GERBERT, ODO, DUNSTAN.



                          THE TENTH CENTURY.

                         DARKNESS AND DESPAIR.


The tenth century is always to be remembered as the darkest and most
debased of all the periods of modern history. It was the midnight of
the human mind, far out of reach of the faint evening twilight left
by Roman culture, and further still from the morning brightness of
the new and higher civilization. If we try to catch any hope of the
future, we must turn from the oppressed and enervated populations of
France and Italy to the wild wanderers from the North. By following
the latter detachment of Norsemen who made their settlements on
the Seine, we shall see that what seemed the wedge by which the
compactness of an organized kingdom was to be split up turned out
to be the strengthening beam by which the whole machinery of legal
government had been kept together. Romanized Gauls, effeminated
Franks, Goths, and Burgundians, were found unfitted for the duties
either of subjects or rulers. They were too ambitious to obey, and
too ignorant to command. Religion itself had lost its efficacy, for
the populations had been so fed with false legends, that they had no
relish for the truths of the gospel, which, indeed, as an instrument
of instruction, had fallen into complete disuse. Ship-loads of false
relics, and army-rolls of imaginary saints, were poured out for
the general veneration. The higher dignitaries of the Church were
looked on with very different feelings, according to the point of
view taken of them. When regarded merely as possessors of lands and
houses, they were loved or hated according to the use they made of
their power; but at the very time when cruelties and vices made them
personally the objects of detestation or contempt, the sacredness
of their official characters remained. Petitions were sent to the
kings against the prelates being allowed to lead their retainers into
battle, not entirely from a scruple as to the unlawfulness of such a
proceeding, but from the more serious consideration that their death
or capture would be taken as a sign of the vengeance of Heaven, and
damp the ardour of the party they supported. Churches and cathedrals
were filled with processionary spectacles, and their altars covered
with the offerings of the faithful; and yet so brutal were the manners
of the times, and so small the respect entertained for the individual
priest, that laymen of the highest rank thought nothing of knocking
down the dignitaries of the Church with a blow on the head, even while
solemnly engaged in the offices of devotion. The Roman pontiffs, we
have seen, did not scruple to avail themselves of the forgeries of
their enthusiastic supporters to establish their authority on the basis
of antiquity, and at the middle of this century we should find, if we
inquired into it, that the sacred city and chair of St. Peter were a
prey to the most violent passions. Many devout Roman Catholics have
been, at various periods, so horrified with the condition of their
chiefs, and of the perverted religion which had arisen from tradition
and imposture, that they have claimed the mere continued existence of
the Papacy as a proof of its Divine institution, and a fulfilment of
the prophecy that "the gates of hell should not prevail against it."
Yet even in the midst of this corruption and ignorance, there were not
wanting some redeeming qualities, which soften our feelings towards
the ecclesiastic power. It was at all times, in its theory, a protest
against the excesses of mere strength and violence. The doctrines it
professed to teach were those of kindness and charity; and in the great
idea of the throned fisherman at Rome, the poorest saw a kingdom which
was not of this world, and yet to which all the kingdoms of this world
must bow. Temporal ranks were obliterated when the descendants of kings
and emperors were seen paying homage to the sons of serfs and workmen.
The immunity, also, from spoil and slaughter, which to a certain extent
still adhered to episcopal and abbatial lands, reflected a portion
of their sanctity on the person of the bishop and abbot. Mysterious
reverence still hung round the convents, within which such ceaseless
prayers were said and so many relics exposed, and whither it was also
known that all the learning and scholarship of the land had fled for
refuge. The doles at monastery-doors, however objected to by political
economists, as encouragements of mendicancy and idleness, were viewed
in a very different light by the starving crowds, who, besides being
qualified by destitution and hunger for the reception of charitable
food, had an incontestable right, under the founder's will, to be
supported by the establishment on whose lands they lived. The abbot
who neglected to feed the poor was not only an unchristian contemner
of the precepts of the faith, but ran counter to the legal obligations
of his place. He was administrator of certain properties left for the
benefit of persons about whose claims there was no doubt; and when the
rapacious methods of maintaining their adherents, which were adopted by
the count and baron, were compared with the baskets of broken victuals,
and the jugs of foaming beer, which were distributed at the buttery
of the abbey, the decision was greatly in favour of the spiritual
chief. His ambling mule, and swift hound, and hooded hawks, were not
grudged, nor his less defensible occupations seriously inquired into,
as long as the beef and mutton were not stinted, and the liquor flowed
in reasonable streams. As to his theological tenets, or knowledge of
history, either sacred or profane, the highest ecclesiastic was on
the same level of utter ignorance and indifference with the lowest
of his serfs. There were no books of controversial divinity in all
this century. There were no studies exacted from priest or prelate.
All that was required was an inordinate zeal in the discovery of holy
relics, and an acquaintance with the unnumbered ceremonies performed
in the celebration of the service. Morals were in as low a state as
learning. Debauchery, drunkenness, and uncleanness were the universal
characteristics both of monk and secular. So it is a satisfaction to
turn from the wretched spectacle of the decaying and corrupt condition
of an old society, to the hardier vices of a new and undegenerated
people. Better the unreasoning vigour of the Normans, and their wild
trust in Thor and Odin--their spirit of personal independence and pride
in the manly exercises--than the creeping submission of an uneducated
population, trampled on by their brutal lay superiors, and cheated out
of money and labour by the artifices of their priests.

Rollo, the Norman chief, had pushed his unresisted galleys up the
Seine, and strongly intrenched himself in Rouen, in the first year
of this century. From this citadel, so admirably selected for his
purposes, whether of defence or conquest, he spread his expeditions
on every side. The boats were so light that no shallowness of water
hindered their progress even to the great valleys where the river was
still a brook. When impediments were encountered on the way, in the
form of waterfall, or, more rarely, of bridge or weir, the adventurers
sprang to shore and carried their vessels along the land. When greater
booty tempted them, they even crossed long tracts of country, hauling
their boats along with them, and launching them in some peaceful
vale far away from the sea. Every islet in the rivers was seized and
fortified; so that, dotted about over all the beautiful lands between
the Seine and the borders of Flanders, were stout Norman colonies,
with all the pillage they had obtained securely guarded in those
unassailable retreats, and ready to carry their maritime depredations
wherever a canoe could swim. Their rapidity of locomotion was equal
to that of the Saracenic hordes who had poured down from the Pyrenees
in the days of Charles the Hammer. But the Norsemen were of sterner
stuff than the light chivalry of Abderachman. Where they stopped they
took root. They found it impossible to carry off all the treasure they
had seized, and therefore determined to stay beside it. Rouen was at
first about to be laid waste, but the policy of the bishop preserved it
from destruction, while the wisdom of the rovers converted it into a
fortress of the greatest strength. Strong walls were reared all round.
The beautiful river was guarded night and day by their innumerable
fleet, and in a short time it was recognised equally by friend and foe
as the capital and headquarters of a new race. Nor were the Normans
left entirely to Scandinavia for recruits. The glowing reports of their
success, which successively arrived at their ancient homes, of course
inspired the ambitious listeners with an irresistible desire to launch
forth and share their fortune; but there were not wanting thousands
of volunteers near at hand. King and duke, bishop and baron, were all
unable to give protection to the cultivator of the soil and shepherd
of the flock. These humble sufferers saw their cabins fired, and all
their victuals destroyed. Rollo was too politic to make it a war of
extermination against the unresisting inhabitants, and easily opened
his ranks for their reception. The result was that, in those disastrous
excursions, shouting the war-cry of Norway, and brandishing the
pirate's axe, were many of the original Franks and Gauls, allured by
the double inducement of escaping further injury themselves and taking
vengeance on their former oppressors. Religious scruples did not stand
in their way. They gave in their adhesion to the gods of the North, and
proved themselves true converts to Thor and Odin, by eating the flesh
of a horse that had been slain in sacrifice. It is perhaps this heathen
association with horseflesh as an article of food, which has banished
it from Christian consumption for so long a time. But an effort is
now made in France to rescue the fattened and roasted steed from the
obloquy of its first introduction; and the success of the movement
would be complete if there were no other difficulty to contend against
than the stigma of its idolatrous origin. Yet the recruits were not
all on one side, for we read of certain sea-kings who have grown tired
of their wandering life, and taken service under the kings of France.
Of these the most famous was Hastings, whom we saw defeated at the end
of the last century, on the banks of the river Lea. He is old now, and
so far forgetful of his Scandinavian origin that some French annalists
claim him as a countryman of their own, and maintain that he was the
son of a husbandman near Troyes. He is now a great landed lord, Count
of Chartres, and in high favour with the French king. When Rollo had
established his forces on the banks of the Eure, one of the tributaries
of the Seine, the ancient pirate went at the head of an embassy to see
what the new-comer required. Standing on the farther bank of the little
river, he raised his voice, and in good Norwegian demanded who they
were, and who was their lord. "We have no lord!" they said: "we are all
equal." "And why do you come into this land, and what are you going to
do?" "We are going to chase away the inhabitants, and make the country
our home. But who are you, who speak our language so well?" The count
replied, "Did you never hear of Hastings the famous pirate, who had so
many ships upon the sea, and did such evil to this realm?" "Of course,"
replied the Norsemen: "Hastings began well, but has ended poorly."
"Have you no wish, then," said Hastings, "to submit yourselves to King
Charles, who offers you land and honours on condition of fealty and
service?" "Off! off!--we will submit ourselves to no man; and all we
can take we shall keep, without dependence on any one. Go and tell the
king so, if you like." Hastings returned from his unsuccessful embassy,
and the attempt at compromise was soon after followed by a victory of
Rollo, which decided the fate of the kingdom. The conquerors mounted
the Seine, and laid siege to Paris; but failing in this, they retraced
their course to Rouen, and made themselves masters of Bayeux, and of
other places. Rollo was now raised to supreme command by the voices of
his followers, and took rank as an independent chief. But he was too
sagacious a leader to rely entirely on the favour or success of his
countrymen. He protected the native population, and reconciled them
to the absence of their ancient masters, by the increased security in
life and property which his firmness produced. He is said to have hung
a bracelet of gold in an exposed situation, with no defence but the
terror of his justice, and no one tried to remove it. He saw, also,
that however much his power might be dreaded, and his family feared, by
the great nobility of France with whom he was brought into contact, his
position as a heathen and isolated settler placed him in an inferior
situation. The Archbishop of Rouen, who had been his ally in the
peaceable occupation of the city, was beside him, with many arguments
in favour of the Christian faith. The time during which the populations
had been intermixed had smoothed many difficulties on either side.
[A.D. 911.] The worship of Thor and Odin was felt to be out of place in
the midst of great cathedrals and wealthy monasteries, and it created
no surprise when, in a few years, the ambitious Rollo descended from
his proud independence, did suit and service to his feeble adversary
Charles the Simple, and retained all his conquests in full property as
Duke of Normandy and Peer of France.

Already the divinity that hedged a king placed the crown, even when
destitute of real authority, at an immeasurable height above the
loftiest of the nobles; and it will be well to preserve this in our
memory; for to the belief in this mystical dignity of the sovereign,
the monarchical principle was indebted for its triumph in all the
states of Europe. No matter how powerless the anointed ruler might
be--no matter how greatly a combination of vassals, or a single vassal,
might excel him in men and money--the ineffable supremacy of the sacred
head was never denied. This strange and ennobling sentiment had not yet
penetrated the mind of Rollo and his followers, at the great ceremonial
of his reception as a feudatory of the Crown. He declined to bend
the knee before his suzerain, but gave him his oath of obedience and
faith, standing at his full height. When a stickler for court etiquette
insisted on the final ceremony of kissing the foot of the feudal
superior, the duke made a sign to one of his piratical attendants to
go through the form instead of him. Forth stalked the Norseman towards
the overjoyed Charles, and without stooping his body laid hold of the
royal boot, and, lifting it with all his strength up to his mouth,
upset the unfortunate and short-legged monarch on his back, to the
great consternation of his courtiers, and the hilarious enjoyment of
his new subjects. But there was henceforth a new element in French
society. The wanderers were unanimously converted to Christianity, and
the shores of the whole kingdom perpetually guarded from piratical
invaders by the contented and warlike countrymen of Hastings and Rollo.
Normandy and Brittany were the appanage of the new duke, and perhaps
they were more useful to the French monarch, as the well-governed
territories of a powerful vassal, than if he had held them in full
sovereignty in their former disorganized and helpless state. Language
soon began to exert its combining influence on the peoples thus brought
into contact, and in a few years the rough Norse gave place to the
Romanized idiom of the rest of the kingdom, and the descendants of
Rollo in the next generation required an interpreter if any of their
relatives came to visit them from Denmark.

But the true characteristic event of this century was the first
establishment of real feudalism. The hereditary nature of lands and
tenements had long been recognised; the original granter had long
surrendered his right to reclaim the property on the death of the
first possessor. Gradually also, and by sufferance, the offices to
which, in the stronger periods of royalty, the favoured subjects had
been promoted for life or a definite time were considered to belong
to the descendant of the holder. But it was only now, in the weak
administration of a series of nominal kings, that the rights and
privileges of a titular nobility were legally recognised, and large
portions of the monarchy forever conveyed away from the control of
the Crown. There is a sort of natural feudalism which must always
exist where there are degrees of power and influence, and which is
as potent at this moment as in the time we are describing. A man who
expects a favour owes and performs suit and service to the man who
has the power of bestowing it. A man with land to let, with money to
lend, with patronage to exert, is in a sort of way the "superior"
of him who wants to take the farm, or borrow the money, or get the
advancement. The obligations of these positions are mutual; and only
very advanced philosophers in the theory of disunion and ingratitude
would object to the reciprocal feelings of kindness and attachment
they naturally produce. In a less settled state of society, such
as that now existing, or which lately existed, at the Cape of Good
Hope and in New Zealand, the feudal principle is fresh and vigorous,
though not recognised under that name, for the peaceful or weak are
glad to pay deference and respect to the wielder of the protective
sword. In the tenth century there were customs, but no laws, for laws
presuppose some external power able to enforce them, and the decay of
the kingly authority had left the only practical government in the
hands of the great and powerful. They gave protection in return for
obedience. But when more closely inquired into, this assumption of
authority by a nobility or upper class is found to have been purely
defensive on the part of the lay proprietors, against the advancing
tide of a spiritual Democracy, which threatened to submerge the whole
of Europe. Already the bishops and abbots had got possession of nearly
half the realm of France, and in other countries they were equally
well provided. Those great officers were the leaders of innumerable
priests and monks, and owed their dignities to the popular will. The
Pope himself--a sovereign prince when once placed in the chair of St.
Peter--was indebted for his exaltation to a plurality of votes of the
clergy and people of Rome. Election was, in fact, the universal form
of constituting the rule under which men were to live. But who were
the electors? The appointment was still nominally in the people, but
the people were almost entirely under the influence of the clerical
orders. Mechanics and labourers were the serfs or dependants of the
rich monasteries, and tillers of the episcopal lands. The citizens
had not yet risen into wealth or intelligence, and, though subject in
their persons to the baron whose castle commanded their walls, they
were still under the guidance of their priests. No middle class existed
to hold the balance even between the nobility and the Church; and the
masses of the population were naturally disposed to throw power into
the hands of persons who sprang, in most instances, from families no
better than their own, and recommended themselves to popular favour
by opposition (often just, but always domineering) to the proceedings
of the lay aristocracy. The labouring serfs, who gave the vote, were
not much inferior in education or refinement to the ordained serfs who
canvassed for their favour. Abbacies, priories, bishoprics, parochial
incumbencies, and all cathedral dignities, were held by a body distinct
from the feudal gentry, and elevated, mediately or immediately, by
universal suffrage. If some stop had not been put to the aggressions of
the priesthood, all the lands in Christendom would have been absorbed
by its insatiable greed--all the offices of the State would have been
conveyed to sacerdotal holders; all kings would have been nominated by
the clerical voice alone, and freedom and progress would never have had
their birth. The monarchs--though it is almost mockery to call them so
in England--were waging an unsuccessful war with the pretensions of
St. Dunstan, who was an embodiment of the pitiless harshness and blind
ambition of a zealot for ecclesiastic supremacy. In France a succession
of imbecile rulers, whose characters are clearly enough to be guessed
from the descriptive epithets which the old chroniclers have attached
to their names, had left the Crown a prey to all its enemies. What was
to be expected from a series of governors whose mark in history is
made by such nicknames as "The Bald," "The Stammerer," "The Fat," and
finally, without circumlocution, "The Fool"? Everybody tried to get
as much out of the royal plunder as he could. Bishops got lands and
churches. Foreign pirates, we have seen, got whole counties at a time,
and in self-defence the nobility were forced to join in the universal
spoil. Counties as large as Normandy were retained as rightful
inheritances, independent of all but nominal adhesion to the throne.
Smaller properties were kept fast hold of, on the same pretence. And
by this one step the noble was placed in a position of advantage over
his rival the encroaching bishop. His power was not the mere creation
of a vote or the possession of a lifetime. His family had foundations
on which to build through a long succession of generations. Marriage,
conquest, gift, and purchase, all tended to the consolidation of his
influence; and the result was, that, instead of one feeble and decaying
potentate in the person of the king, to resist the aggressions of an
absorbing and levelling Church, there were hundreds all over the land,
democratic enough in regard to their dislike of the supremacy of the
sovereign, but burning with a deep-seated aristocratic hatred of the
territorial aggrandizement of the dissolute and low-born clergy. Europe
was either in this century to be ruled by mailed barons or surpliced
priests. Sometimes they played into each other's hands. Sometimes
the warrior overwhelmed an adversary by enlisting on his side the
sympathies of the Church. Sometimes the Church, in its controversies
with the Crown, cast itself on the protection of the warrior, but
more frequently it threw its weight into the scale of the vacillating
monarch, who could reward it with such munificent donations. But
those munificent donations were equivalent to aggressions on the
nobles. There was no use in their trying to check the aggrandizement
of the clerical power, if the Crown continued its gifts of territory
and offices to the priests and churches. And at last, when the
strong-handed barons of France were tired out with the fatuity of
their effete kings, they gave the last proof of the supremacy they had
attained, by departing from the line of Charlemagne and placing one
of themselves upon the throne. Hugh Capet, the chief of the feudal
nobles, was chosen to wear the crown as delegate and representative of
the rest. The old Mayors of the Palace had been revived in his family
for some generations; and when Louis the son of Lothaire died, after a
twelvemonth's permissive reign, in 987, the warriors and land-owners
turned instinctively to the strongest and most distinguished member
of their body to be the guardian of the privileges they had already
secured. This was an aristocratic movement against the lineal supremacy
of the Crown, and in reply to the democratic policy of the Church. But
the Pope was too clear-sighted to lose the chance of attaching another
champion to the papal chair. [A.D. 987.] He made haste to ratify the
new nomination to the throne, and pronounced Hugh Capet "King of France
in right of his great deeds."

Hugh Capet had been first of the feudal nobility; but from thenceforth
he laboured to be "every inch a king." He tried to please both parties,
and to humble them at the same time. He did not lavish crown-lands or
lofty employments on the clergy; he took a new and very economical way
of attaching them to his cause. He procured his election, it is not
related by what means, to the highest dignities in the Church, and,
although not in holy orders, was invested with the abbacies of St.
Denis and St. Martin's and St. Germain's. The clergy were delighted
with the increase to the respectability of their order, which had thus
a king among its office-bearers. The Pope, we have seen, was first to
declare his legitimacy; the bishops gave him their support, as they
felt sure that, as a threefold abbot, he must have interests identical
with their own. He was fortunate, also, in gaining still more venerated
supporters; for while he was building a splendid tomb at St. Valery,
the saint of that name appeared to him and said, with larger promise
than the witches to Banquo, "Thou and thy descendants shall be kings to
the remotest generations."

With the nobles he proceeded in a different manner. His task, you
will remember, was to regain the universal submission of the nation;
and success at first seemed almost hopeless, for his real power,
like that of the weakest of his immediate predecessors, extended no
further than his personal holdings. In his fiefs of France proper (the
small district including Paris) and Burgundy he was all-powerful;
but in the other principalities and dukedoms he was looked on merely
as a neighbouring potentate with some shadowy claims of suzerainty,
with no right of interference in their internal administration. The
other feudatories under the old monarchy, but who were in reality
independent sovereigns under the new, were the Dukes of Normandy and
Flanders, and Aquitaine and Toulouse. These made the six lay peerages
of the kingdom, and, with the six ecclesiastical chief rulers, made
the Twelve Peers of France. Of the lay peerages it will be seen that
Hugh was in possession of two--the best situated and most populous of
all. The extent of his possessions and the influence of his name were
excellent starting-points in his efforts to restore the power of the
Crown; but other things were required, and the first thing he aimed at
was to place his newly-acquired dignity on the same vantage-ground of
hereditary succession as his dukedoms had long been. [A.D. 989.] With
great pomp and solemnity he himself was anointed with the holy oil by
the hands of the Pope; and he took advantage of the self-satisfied
security of the other nobles to have the ceremony of a coronation
performed on his son during his lifetime, and by this arrangement the
appearance of election was avoided at his death. Its due weight must
be given to the universal superstition of the time, when we attribute
such importance to the formal consecration of a king. Externals, in
that age, were all in all. Something mystic and divine, as we have
said before, was supposed to reside in the very fact of having the
crown placed on the head with the sanction and prayers of the Church.
Opposition to the wearer became not only treason, but impiety; and
when the same policy was pursued by many generations of Hugh's
successors, in always procuring the coronation of their heirs before
their demise, and thus obliterating the remembrance of the elective
process to which they owed their position, the royal power had the
vast advantage of hereditary descent added to its unsubstantial but
never-abandoned claim of paramount authority. The effects of this
momentous change in the dynasty of one of the great European nations
were felt in all succeeding centuries. The family connection between
the house of France and the Empire was dissolved; and the struggle
between the old condition of society and the rising intelligence of
the peoples--which is the great characteristic of the Middle Ages--took
a more defined form than before: aristocracy assumed its perfected
shape of king and nobility combined for mutual defence on one side,
and on the other the towns and great masses of the nations striving
for freedom and privilege under the leadership of the sympathizing and
democratic Church; for the Church was essentially democratic, in spite
of the arrogance and grasping spirit of some of its principal leaders.
From hereditary aristocracy and hereditary royalty it was equally
excluded; and the celibacy of the clergy has had this good effect,
if no other: Its members were recruited from the people, and derived
all their influence from popular support. In Germany the same process
was going on, though without the crowning consummation of making the
empire non-elective. [A.D. 962.] Otho, however--worthier of the name
of Great than many who have borne that ambitious title--succeeded in
limiting that highest of European dignities to the possessors of the
German crown, and commenced the connection between Upper Italy and the
Emperors which still subsists (so uneasily for both parties) under the
house of Austria.

In England the misery of the population had reached its maximum. The
immigration of the Norsemen had been succeeded by numberless invasions,
accompanied with all the horrors of barbarism and religious hatred; for
the Danes who devastated the shores in this age were as remorselessly
savage, and as bitterly heathen, as their predecessors a hundred
years before. No place was safe for the unhappy Christianized Saxons.
Their sufferings were of the same kind as those of the inhabitants of
Normandy when Rollo began his ravages. Their priest-ridden kings and
impoverished nobles could give them no protection. Bribes were paid to
the assailants, and only brought over increasing and hungrier hordes.
The land was a prey to wretchedness of every kind, and it was slender
consolation to the starving and trampled multitudes that all the world
was suffering to almost the same extent. Saracens were devastating the
coasts of Italy, and a wild tribe of Sclaves trying to burst through
the Hungarian frontier. At Rome itself, the capital of intellect
and religion, such iniquities were perpetrated on every side that
Protestant authors themselves consent to draw a veil over them for the
sake of human nature; and in those sketches we require to do nothing
more than allude to the crimes and wickedness of the papal court as
one of the features by which the century was marked. Women of high
rank and infamous character placed the companions of their vices in
the highest offices of the Church, and seated their sons or paramours
on the papal throne. Spiritual pretensions rose almost in proportion
to personal immorality, and the curious spectacle was presented of a
power losing all respect at home by conduct which the heathen emperors
of the first century scarcely equalled; of popes alternately dethroning
and imprisoning each other--sometimes of two popes at a time--always
dependent for life or influence on the will of the emperor, or whoever
else might be dominant in Italy--and yet successfully claiming the
submission and reverence of distant nations as "Bishop of all the
world" and lineal "successors of the Prince of the Apostles." This
claim had never been expressly made before, and is perhaps the most
conclusive proof of the darkness and ignorance of this period. Men were
too besotted to observe the incongruity between the life and profession
of those blemishes of the Church, even when by travelling to the seat
of government they had the opportunity of seeing the Roman pontiff and
his satellites and patrons. The rest of the world had no means of
learning the real state of affairs. Education had almost died out among
the clergy themselves. Nobody else could write or read. Travelling
monks gave perverted versions, we may believe, of every thing likely to
be injurious to the interests of the Church; and the result was, that
everywhere beyond the city-walls the thunder of a Boniface the Seventh,
or a John the Twelfth, was considered as good thunder as if it had
issued from the virtuous indignation of St. Paul.

But just as this century drew to a close, various circumstances
concurred to produce a change in men's minds. It was a
universally-diffused belief that the world would come to an end when
a thousand years from the Saviour's birth were expired. The year 999
was therefore looked upon as the last which any one would see. And if
ever signs of approaching dissolution were shown in heaven and earth,
the people of this century might be pardoned for believing that they
were made visible to them. Even the breaking up of morals and law, and
the wide deluge of sin which overspread all lands, might be taken as a
token that mankind were deemed unfit to occupy the earth any more. In
addition to these appalling symptoms, famines were renewed from year to
year in still increasing intensity and brought plague and pestilence
in their train. The land was left untilled, the house unrepaired, the
right unvindicated; for who could take the useless trouble of ploughing
or building, or quarrelling about a property, when so few months were
to put an end to all terrestrial interests? Yet even for the few
remaining days the multitudes must be fed. Robbers frequented every
road, entered even into walled towns; and there was no authority left
to protect the weak, or bring the wrong-doer to punishment. Corn and
cattle were at length exhausted; and in a great part of the Continent
the most frightful extremities were endured; and when endurance could
go no further, the last desperate expedient was resorted to, and human
flesh was commonly consumed. One man went so far as to expose it for
sale in a populous market-town. The horror of this open confession of
their needs was so great, that the man was burned, but more for the
publicity of his conduct than for its inherent guilt. Despair gave
a loose to all the passions. Nothing was sacred--nothing safe. Even
when food might have been had, the vitiated taste made bravado of
its depravation, and women and children were killed and roasted in
the madness of the universal fear. Meantime the gentler natures were
driven to the wildest excesses of fanaticism to find a retreat from
the impending judgment. Kings and emperors begged at monastery-doors
to be admitted brethren of the Order. Henry of Germany and Robert of
France were saints according to the notions of the time, and even now
deserve the respect of mankind for the simplicity and benevolence of
their characters. Henry the Emperor succeeded in being admitted as a
monk, and swore obedience on the hands of the gentle abbot who had
failed in turning him from his purpose. "Sire," he said at last, "since
you are under my orders, and have sworn to obey me, I command you to
go forth and fulfil the duties of the state to which God has called
you. Go forth, a monk of the Abbey of St. Vanne, but Emperor of the
West." Robert of France, the son of Hugh Capet, placed himself, robed
and crowned, among the choristers of St. Denis, and led the musicians
in singing hymns and psalms of his own composition. Lower men were
satisfied with sacrificing the marks of their knightly and seignorial
rank, and placed baldrics and swords on the altars and before the
images of saints. Some manumitted their serfs, and bestowed large
sums upon charitable trusts, commencing their disposition with words
implying the approaching end of all. Crowds of the common people would
sleep nowhere but in the porches, or at any rate within the shadow,
of the churches and other holy buildings; and as the day of doom drew
nearer and nearer, greater efforts were made to appease the wrath of
Heaven. Peace was proclaimed between all classes of men. From Wednesday
night till Monday evening of each week there was to be no violence or
enmity or war in all the land. It was to be a Truce of God; and at
last, all their strivings after a better state, acknowledgments of
a depraved condition, and heartfelt longings for something better,
purer, nobler, received their consummation, when, in the place of the
unprincipled men who had disgraced Christianity by carrying vice and
incredulity into the papal chair, there was appointed to the highest of
ecclesiastical dignities a man worthy of his exaltation; and the good
and holy Gerbert, the tutor, guide, and friend of Robert of France, was
appointed Pope in 998, and took the name of Sylvester the Second.



                           ELEVENTH CENTURY.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

        OTHO III.--(_cont_.)

  1002. HENRY OF BAVARIA.

  1024. CONRAD II.

  1039. HENRY III.

  1056. HENRY IV.


Kings of England.

  A.D.

        ETHELRED II.--(_cont._)

  1013. SWEYN.                          }

  1015. CANUTE THE GREAT.               }

  1017. EDMUND II.                      } Danes.

  1039. HAROLD and HARDICANUTE.         }

  1042. EDWARD THE CONFESSOR.

  1066. HAROLD, (son of Godwin.)

  1066. WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

  1087. WILLIAM RUFUS.


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

        BASILIUS.--(_cont._)

  1028. ROMANUS III.

  1042. EMPRESS ZOE and THEODORA.

  1056. MICHAEL VI.

  1057. ISAAC COMNENUS.

  1059. CONSTANTINE X., (DUCAS.)

  1067. EUDOXIA and CONSTANTINE XI.

  1068. ROMANUS IV., (DIOGENES.)

  1071. MICHAEL.

  1078. { Two princes of the

  1081. { House of the Comneni.

  1081. ALEXIS I.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

        ROBERT THE WISE.--(_cont._)

  1031. HENRY I.

  1060. PHILIP I.


  1096. THE FIRST CRUSADE.


Authors.

ANSELM, (1003-1079,) ABELARD, (1079-1142,) BERENGARIUS, ROSCELIN,
LANFRANC, THEOPHYLACT, (1077.)



                         THE ELEVENTH CENTURY.

  THE COMMENCEMENT OF IMPROVEMENT--GREGORY THE SEVENTH--FIRST CRUSADE.


And now came the dreaded or hoped-for year. The awful Thousand had
at last commenced, and men held their breath to watch what would be
the result of its arrival. "And he laid hold of the dragon, that old
serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him for a thousand
years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set
a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till
the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be
loosed a little season." (Revelation xx. 2, 3.) With this text all
the pulpits in Christendom had been ringing for a whole generation.
And not the pulpits only, but the refection-halls of convents, and
the cottages of the starving peasantry. Into the castle also of the
noble, we have seen, it had penetrated; and the most abject terror
pervaded the superstitious, while despair, as in shipwrecked vessels,
displayed itself amid the masses of the population in rioting and
insubordination. The spirit of evil for a little season was to be let
loose upon a sinful world; and when the observer looked round at the
real condition of the people in all parts of Europe--at the ignorance
and degradation of the multitude, the cruelty of the lords, and the
unchristian ambition and unrestrained passions of the clergy--it must
have puzzled him how to imagine a worse state of things even when the
chain was loosened from "that old serpent," and the world placed
unresistingly in his folds. Yet, as if men's minds had now reached
their lowest point, there was a perpetual rise from the beginning of
this date. When the first day of the thousand-and-first year shone
upon the world, it seemed that in all nations the torpor of the past
was to be thrown off. There were strivings everywhere after a new
order of things. Coming events cast their shadows a long way before;
for in the very beginning of this century, when it was reported that
Jerusalem had been taken by the Saracens, Sylvester uttered the
memorable words, "Soldiers of Christ, arise and fight for Zion." By
a combination of all Christian powers for one object, he no doubt
hoped to put an end to the party quarrels by which Europe was torn
in pieces. And this great thought must have been germinating in the
popular heart ever since the speech was spoken; for we shall see at the
end of the period we are describing how instantaneously the cry for
a crusade was responded to in all lands. In the mean time, the first
joy of their deliverance from the expected destruction impelled all
classes of society in a more honourable and useful path than they had
ever hitherto trod. As if by universal consent, the first attention
was paid to the maintenance of the churches, those holy buildings by
whose virtues the wrath of Heaven had been turned away. In France, and
Italy, and Germany, the fabrics had in many places been allowed to fall
into ruin. They were now renovated and ornamented with the costliest
materials, and with an architectural skill which, if it previously
existed, had had no room for its display. Stately cathedrals took the
place of the humble buildings in which the services had been conducted
before. Every thing was projected on a gigantic scale, with the idea of
permanence prominently brought forward, now that the threatened end of
all things was seen to be postponed. The foundations were broad and
deep, the walls of immense thickness, roofs steep and high to keep off
the rain and snow, and square buttressed towers to sustain the church
and furnish it at the same time with military defence. It was a holy
occupation, and the clergy took a prominent part in the new movement.
Bishops and monks were the principal members of a confraternity who
devoted themselves to the science of architecture and founded all their
works on the exact rules of symmetry and fitness. Artists from Italy,
where Roman models were everywhere seen, and enthusiastic students from
the south of France, where the great works of the Empire must have
exercised an ennobling influence on their taste and fancy, brought
their tribute of memory or invention to the design. Tall pillars
supported the elevated vault, instead of the flat roof of former days;
and gradually an approach was made to what, in after-periods, was
recognised as the pure Gothic. Here, then, was at last a real science,
the offspring of the highest aspirations of the human mind. Churches
rising in rich profusion in all parts of the country were the centres
of architectural taste. The castle of the noble was no longer to be a
mere mass of stones huddled on each other, to protect its inmates from
outward attack. The skill of the learned builder was called in, and on
picturesque heights, safe from hostile assault by the difficulty of
approach, rose turret and bartizan, arched gateway and square-flanked
towers, to add new features to the landscape, and help the march of
civilization, by showing to that allegorizing age the result, both
for strength and beauty, of regularity and proportion. For at this
time allegory, which gave an inner meaning to outward things, was in
full force. There was no portion of the parish church which had not
its mystical significance; and no doubt, at the end of this century,
the architectural meaning of the external alteration of the structure
was perceived, when the great square tower, which typified resistance
to worldly aggression, was exchanged for the tall and graceful spire
which pointed encouragingly to heaven. Occasions were eagerly sought
for to give employment to the ruling passion. Building went on in all
quarters. The beginning of this century found eleven hundred and eight
monasteries in France alone. In the course of a few years she was put
in possession of three hundred and twenty-six more. [A.D. 1035.] The
magnificent Abbey of Fontenelle was restored in 1035 by William of
Normandy; and this same William, whom we shall afterwards see in the
somewhat different character of Conqueror and devastator of England,
was the founder and patron of more abbeys and monasteries than any
other man. Many of them are still erect, to attest the solidity of his
work; the ruins of the others raise our surprise that they are not
yet entire--so vast in their extent and gigantic in their materials.
But the same character of permanence extended to all the works of
this great builder's[B] hands--the systems of government no less than
the fabrics of churches. The remains of his feudalism in our country,
no less than the fragments of his masonry at Bayeux, Fecamp, and St.
Michael's, attest the cyclopean scale on which his superstructures were
reared. Nor were these great architectural efforts which characterize
this period made only on behalf of the clergy. It gives a very narrow
notion, as Michelet has observed, of the uses and purposes of those
enormous buildings, to view them merely as places for public worship
and the other offices of religion. The church in a district was, in
those days, what a hundred other buildings are required to make up in
the present. It was the town-hall, the market-place, the concert-room,
the theatre, the school, the news-room, and the vestry, all in one.
We are to remember that poverty was almost universal. The cottages in
which the serfs and even the freemen resided were wretched hovels.
They had no windows, they were damp and airless, and were merely
considered the human kennels into which the peasantry retired to sleep.
In contrast to this miserable den there arose a building vast and
beautiful, consecrated by religion, ornamented with carving and colour,
large enough to enable the whole population to wander in its aisles,
with darker recesses under the shade of pillars, to give opportunity
for familiar conversation or the enjoyment of the family meal. The
church was the poor man's palace, where he felt that all the building
belonged to him and was erected for his use. It was also his castle,
where no enemy could reach him, and the love and pride which filled his
heart in contemplating the massive proportions and splendid elevation
of the glorious fane overflowed towards the officers of the church.
The priest became glorified in his eyes as the officiating servant in
that greatest of earthly buildings, and the bishop far outshone the
dignity of kings when it was known that he had plenary authority over
many such majestic fabrics. Ascending from the known to the unknown,
the Pope of Rome, the Bishop of Bishops, shone upon the bewildered mind
of the peasant with a light reflected from the object round which all
his veneration had gathered from his earliest days--the scene of all
the incidents of his life--the hallowed sanctuary into which he had
been admitted as an infant, and whose vaults should echo to the funeral
service when he should have died.

But this century was distinguished for an upheaving of the human
mind, which found its development in other things besides the bursting
forth of architectural skill. It seemed that the chance of continued
endurance, vouchsafed to mankind by the rising of the sun on the first
morning of the eleventh century, gave an impulse to long-pent-up
thoughts in all the directions of inquiry. The dulness of unquestioning
undiscriminating belief was disturbed by the freshening breezes of
dissidence and discussion. The Pope himself, the venerable Sylvester
the Second, had acquired all the wisdom of the Arabians by attending
the Mohammedan schools in the royal city of Cordova. There he had
learned the mysteries of the secret sciences, and the more useful
knowledge--which he imported into the Christian world--of the Arabic
numerals. The Saracenic barbarism had long yielded to the blandishments
of the climate and soil of Spain; and emirs and sultans, in their
splendid gardens on the Guadalquivir, had been discussing the most
abstruse or subtle points of philosophy while the professed teachers
of Christendom were sunk in the depths of ignorance and credulity.
Sylvester had made such progress in the unlawful learning accessible at
the head-quarters of the unbelievers, that his simple contemporaries
could only account for it by supposing he had sold himself to the
enemy of mankind in exchange for such prodigious information. He was
accused of the unholy arts of magic and necromancy; and all that
orthodoxy could do to assert her superiority over such acquirements
was to spread the report, which was very generally credited, that when
the years of the compact were expired, the paltering fiend appeared
in person and carried off his debtor from the midst of the affrighted
congregation, after a severe logical discussion, in which the father
of lies had the best of the argument. This was a conclusive proof
of the danger of all logical acquirements. But as time passed on,
and the darkness of the tenth century was more and more left behind,
there arose a race of men who were not terrified by the fate of the
philosophic Sylvester from cultivating their understandings to the
highest pitch. Among those there were two who particularly left their
marks on the genius of the time, and who had the strange fortune also
of succeeding each other as Archbishops of Canterbury. These were
Lanfranc and Anselm. [A.D. 1042.] When Lanfranc was still a monk at
Caen, he had attracted to his prelections more than four thousand
scholars; and Anselm, while in the same humble rank, raised the schools
of Bec in Normandy to a great reputation. From these two men, both
Italians by birth, the Scholastic Philosophy took its rise. The old
unreasoning assent to the doctrines of Christianity had now new life
breathed into it by the permitted application of intellect and reason
to the support of truth. In the darkness and misery of the previous
century, the deep and mysterious dogma of Transubstantiation had made
its first authoritative appearance in the Church. Acquiesced in by the
docile multitude, and accepted by the enthusiastic and imaginative as
an inexpressible gift of fresh grace to mankind, and a fitting crown
and consummation of the daily-recurring miracles with which the Mother
and Witness of the truth proved and maintained her mission, it had been
attacked by Berenger of Tours, who used all the resources of reason and
ingenuity to demonstrate its unsoundness. [A.D. 1059.] But Lanfranc
came to the rescue, and by the exercise of a more vigorous dialectic,
and the support of the great majority of the clergy, confuted all that
Berenger advanced, had him stripped of his archdeaconry of Angers and
other preferments, and left him in such destitution and disfavour
that the discomfited opponent of the Real Presence was forced to
read his retractation at Rome, and only expiated the enormity of his
fault by the rigorous seclusion of the remainder of his life. The
hopeful feature in this discussion was, that though the influence of
ecclesiastic power was not left dormant, in the shape of temporal
ruin and spiritual threats, the exercise of those usual weapons of
authority was accompanied with attempts at argument and conviction.
Lanfranc, indeed, in the very writings in which he used his talents
to confute the heretic, made such use of his reasoning and inductive
faculties that he nearly fell under the ban of heresy himself. He had
the boldness to imagine a man left to the exercise of his natural
powers alone, and bringing observation, argument, and ratiocination
to the discovery of the Christian dogmas; but he was glad to purchase
his complete rehabilitation, as champion of the Church, by a work in
which he admits reason to the subordinate position of a supporter or
commentator, but by no means a foundation or inseparable constituent of
an article of the faith. Any thing was better than the blindness and
ignorance of the previous age; and questions of the purest metaphysics
were debated with a fire and animosity which could scarcely have been
excited by the greatest worldly interests. The Nominalists and Realists
began their wordy and unprofitable war, which after occasional truces
may at any moment break out, as it has often done before, though it
would now be confined to the professorial chairs in our universities,
and not exercise a preponderating influence on the course of human
affairs. The dispute (as the names of the disputants import) arose
upon the question as to whether universal ideas were things or only
the names of things, and on this the internecine contest went on.
All the subtlety of the old Greek philosophies was introduced into
the scholasticisms and word-splittings of those useless arguers; and
vast reputations, which have not yet decayed, were built on this very
unsubstantial foundation.

It shows how immeasurably the efforts of the intellect, even when
misapplied, transcend the greatest triumphs of military skill, when we
perceive that in this age, which was illustrated by the Conquest of
England, first by the Danes, and then by William, by the marvellous
rise and triumphant progress of the sons of Tancred of Hauteville, and
by the startling incidents of the First Crusade,--the central figure
is a meagre, hard-featured monk, who rises from rank to rank, till
he governs and tramples on the world under the name of Gregory the
Seventh. It may seem to some people, who look at the present condition
of the Romish Church, that too prominent a place is assigned in these
early centuries to the growth and aggrandizement of the ecclesiastical
power; but as the object of these pages is to point out what seems
the main distinguishing feature of each of the periods selected for
separate notice, it would be unpardonable to pass over the Papacy,
varying in extent of power and pretension at every period when it
comes into view, and always impressing a distinct and individualizing
character on the affairs with which it is concerned. It is the most
stable, and at the same time the most flexible, of powers. Kingdoms
and dynasties flourish and decay, and make no permanent mark on the
succeeding age. The authority of a ruler like Charlemagne or Otho
rises in a full tide, and, having reached its limits, yields to the
irresistible ebb. But Roman influence knows no retrocession. Even when
its pretensions are defeated and its assaults repulsed, it claims as
_de jure_ what it has lost _de facto_, and, though it were reduced to
the possession of a single church, would continue to issue its orders
to the habitable globe.

Like the last descendant of the Great Mogul, who professed to rule over
Hindostan while his power was limited to the walls of his palace at
Delhi, the bearer of the Tiara abates no jot of his state and dignity
when every vestige of his influence has disappeared. While ridiculed
as a puppet or pitied as a sufferer at home, he arrogates more than
royal power in regions which have long thrown off his authority, and
announces his will by the voice of blustering and brazen heralds to a
deaf and rebellious generation, which looks on him with no more respect
than the grotesquely-dressed conjurers before a tent-door at a fair.
But the herald's voice would have been listened to with respect and
obedience if it had been heard at the Pope's gate in 1073. There had
never been such a pope before, and never has been such a pope since.
Others have been arrogant and ambitious, but no one has ever equalled
Hildebrand in arrogance and ambition. Strength of will, also, has been
the ruling character of many of the pontiffs, but no one has ever
equalled Hildebrand in the undying tenacity with which he pursued his
object. He was like Roland, the hero of Roncesvalles, who even in
defeat knew how to keep his enemies at a distance by blowing upon his
horn. When Durandal foiled the vanquished Gregory, he spent his last
breath in defiant blasts upon his Olifant.

But there were many circumstances which not only rendered the rise
of such a person possible, but made his progress easy and almost
unavoidable. First of all, the crusading spirit which commenced with
this century had introduced a great change in the principles and
practice of the higher clergy. It is a mistake to suppose that the
expedition to Jerusalem, under the preaching of Peter the Hermit, which
took place in 1094, was the earliest manifestation of the aggressive
spirit of the Christian, as such, against the unbeliever. A holy
war was proclaimed against the Saracens of Italy at an early date.
An armed assault upon the Jews, as descendants of the murderers of
Christ, had taken place in 1080. Even the Norman descent on England was
considered by the more devout of the Papist followers in the light of
a crusade against the enemies of the Cross, as the Anglo-Saxons were
not sufficiently submissive to the commands of Rome. Bishops, we saw,
were held in a former century to derogate from the sanctity of their
characters when they fought in person like the other occupants of
fiefs. But the sacred character which expeditions like those against
Sicily and Salerno gave to the struggle made a great difference in
the popular estimate of a prelate's sphere of action. He was now held
to be strictly in the exercise of his duty when he was slaying an
infidel with the edge of the sword. He was not considered to be more
in his place at the head of a procession in honour of a saint than at
the head of an army of cavaliers destroying the enemies of the faith.
Warlike skill and personal courage became indispensable in a bishop
of the Church; and in Germany these qualities were so highly prized,
that the inhabitants of a diocese in the empire, presided over by a man
of peace and holiness, succeeded in getting him deposed by the Pope
on the express ground of his being "placable and far from valiant."
The epitaph of a popular bishop was, that he was "good priest and
brave chevalier." The manners and feelings of the camp soon became
disseminated among the reverend divines, who inculcated Christianity
with a battle-axe in their hands. They quarrelled with neighbouring
barons for portions of land. They seized the incomes of churches and
abbeys. Bishop and baron strove with each other who could get most
for himself out of the property of the Church. The layman forced his
serfs to elect his infant son to an abbacy or bishopric, and then
pillaged the estate and stripped the lower clergy in the minor's name.
Other abuses followed; and though the strictness of the rule against
the open marriage of priests had long ceased, and in some places the
superiority of wedded incumbents had been so recognised that the
appointment of a pastor was objected to unless he was accompanied by
a wife--still, the letter of the Church-law, enjoining celibacy on
all orders of the clergy, had never been so generally neglected as at
the present time. No attempt was made to conceal the almost universal
infraction of the rule. Bishops themselves brought forward their wives
on occasions of state and ceremony, who disputed the place of honour
with the wives of counts and barons. When strictly inquired into,
however, these alliances were not allowed to have the effect of regular
matrimony. They were looked upon merely as a sort of licensed and not
dishonourable concubinage, and the children resulting from them were
deprived of the rights of legitimacy. Yet the wealth and influence
of their parents made their exclusion from the succession to land of
little consequence. They were enriched sufficiently with the spoil of
the diocese to be independent of the rights of heirship. This must
have led, however, to many cases of hardship, when the feudal baron,
tempted by the riches of the neighbouring see, had laid violent hands
on the property, and by bribery or force procured his own nomination as
bishop. The children of any marriage contracted after that time lost
their inheritance of the barony by the episcopal incapacity of their
father, and must have added to the general feeling of discontent caused
by the junction of the two characters. For when the tyrannical lord
became a prelate, it only added the weapons of ecclesiastic domination
to the baronial armory of cruelty and extortion. He could now withhold
all the blessings of the Church, as bishop, unless the last farthing
were yielded up to his demands as landlord. An appalling state of
things, when the refractory vassal, who had escaped the sword, could be
knocked into submission by the crozier, both wielded by the same man.
The Church, therefore, in its highest offices, had become as mundane
and ambitious as the nobility. And it must have been evident to a far
dimmer sight than Hildebrand's, that, as the power and independence
of the barons had been gained at the expense of the Crown, the wealth
and possessions of the bishops would weaken their allegiance to the
Pope. Sprung from the lowest ranks of the people, the grim-hearted monk
never for a moment was false to his order. He looked on lords and kings
as tyrants and oppressors, on bishops themselves as lording it over
God's heritage and requiring to be held down beneath the foot of some
levelling and irresistible power, which would show them the nothingness
of rank and station; and for this end he dreamed of a popedom,
universal in its claims, domineering equally over all conditions of
men--an incarnation of the fiercest democracy, trampling on the people,
and of the bitterest republicanism, aiming at more than monarchical
power. He had the wrath of generations of serfdom rankling in his
heart, and took a satisfaction, sweetened by revenge, in bringing low
the haughty looks of the proud. And in these strainings after the
elevation of the Papacy he was assisted by several powers on which he
could securely rely.

The Normans, who by a wonderful fortune had made themselves masters of
England under the guidance of William, were grateful to the Pope for
the assistance he had given them by prohibiting all opposition to their
conquest on the part of the English Church. Another branch of Normans
were still more useful in their support of the papal chair. A body of
pilgrims to Jerusalem, amounting to only forty men, had started from
Scandinavia in 1006, and, having landed at Salerno, were turned aside
from completing their journey by the equally meritorious occupation of
resisting the Saracens who were besieging the town. They defeated them
with great slaughter, and were amply rewarded for their prowess with
goods and gear. News of their gallantry and of their reward reached
their friends and relations at home. In a few years they were followed
by swarms of their countrymen, who disposed of their acquisitions in
Upper Italy to the highest bidder, and were remunerated by grants of
land in Naples for their exertion on behalf of Sergius the king. But
in 1037 a fresh body of adventurers proceeded from the neighbourhood
of Coutances in Normandy, under the command of three brothers of the
family of Hauteville, to the assistance of the same monarch, and,
with the usual prudence of the Norman race, when they had chased the
enemy from the endangered territory, made no scruple of keeping it
for themselves. Robert, called Guiscard, or the Wise, was the third
brother, and succeeded to the newly-acquired sovereignty in 1057. In
a short time he alarmed the Pope with the prospect of so unscrupulous
and so powerful a neighbour. His Holiness, therefore, demanded the
assistance of the German Emperor, and boldly took the field. The
Normans were no whit daunted with the opposition of the Father of
Christendom, and dashed through all obstacles till they succeeded
in taking him prisoner. Instead of treating him with harshness, and
exacting exorbitant ransom, as would have been the action of a less
sagacious politician, the Norman threw himself on his knees before the
captive pontiff, bewailed his hard case in being forced to appear so
contumacious to his spiritual lord and master, and humbly besought
him to pardon his transgression, and accept the suzerainty of all the
lands he possessed and of all he should hereafter subdue. [A.D. 1059.]
It was a delightful surprise to the Pope, who immediately ratified all
the proceedings of his repentant son, and in a short time was rewarded
by seeing Apulia and the great island of Sicily held in homage as
fiefs of St. Peter's chair. From thenceforth the Italian Normans were
the bulwarks of the papal throne. But, more powerful than the Normans
of England, and more devoted personally to the popes than the greedy
adventurers of Apulia, the Countess Matilda was the greatest support
of all the pretensions of the Holy See. Young and beautiful, the
holder of the greatest territories in Italy, this lady was the most
zealous of all the followers of the Pope. Though twice married, she on
both occasions separated from her husband to throw herself with more
undivided energy into the interests of the Church. With men and money,
and all the influence that her position as a princess and her charms as
a woman could give, the sovereign pontiff had no enemy to fear as long
as he retained the friendship of his enthusiastic daughter.

[A.D. 1060.]

Hildebrand was the ruling spirit of the papal court, and was laying his
plans for future action, while the world was still scarcely aware of
his existence. He began, while only Archdeacon of Rome, by a forcible
reformation of some of the irregularities which had crept into the
practice of the clergy, as a preparatory step to making the clergy
dominant over all the other orders in the State. He gave orders, in the
name of Stephen the Tenth, for every married priest to be displaced and
to be separated from his wife. For this end he stirred up the ignorant
fanaticism of the people, and encouraged them in outrages upon the
offending clergy, which frequently ended in death. The virtues of the
cloister had still a great hold on the popular veneration, in spite
of the notorious vices of the monastic establishments, both male and
female; and Hildebrand's invectives on the wickedness of marriage,
and his praises of the sanctity of a single life, were listened to
with equal admiration. The secular clergy were forced to adopt the
unsocial and demoralizing principles of their monkish rivals; and
when all family affections were made sinful, and the feelings of the
pastor concentrated on the interests of his profession, the popes had
secured, in the whole body of the Church, the unlimited obedience
and blind support which had hitherto been the characteristic of the
monastic orders. With the assistance of the warlike Normans, the
wealth and influence of the Countess Matilda, the adhesion of the
Church to his schemes of aggrandizement, he felt it time to assume in
public the power he had exercised so long in the subordinate position
of counsellor of the popes; and the monk seated himself on what he
considered the highest of earthly thrones, and immediately the contest
between the temporal and spiritual powers began. [A.D. 1073.] The King
of France (Philip the First) and the Emperor of Germany (Henry the
Fourth) were both of disreputable life, and offered an easy mark for
the assaults of the fiery pontiff. He threatened and reprimanded them
for simony and disobedience, proclaimed his authority over kings and
princes as a fact which no man could dispute without impiety, and had
the inward pleasure of seeing the proudest of the nobles, and finally
the most powerful of the sovereigns, of Europe, forced to obey his
mandates. The pent-up hatred of his race and profession was gratified
by the abasement of birth and power.

The struggle with the Empire was on the subject of investiture.
The successors of Charlemagne had always retained a voice in the
appointment of the bishops and Church dignitaries in their states;
they had even frequently nominated to the See of Rome, as to the other
bishoprics in their dominions. The present wearer of the iron crown
had displaced three contending popes, who were disturbing the peace
of the city by their ferocious quarrels, and had appointed others in
their room. There was no murmur of opposition to their appointment.
They were pious and venerable men; and of each of them the inscrutable
Hildebrand had managed to make himself the confidential adviser,
and in reality the guide and master. Even in his own case he waited
patiently till he had secured the emperor's legal ratification of his
election, and then, armed with legitimacy, and burning with smothered
indignation, he kicked down the ladder by which he had risen, and
wrote an insulting letter to the emperor, commanding him to abstain
from simony, and to renounce the right of investiture by the ring and
cross. These, he maintained, were the signs of spiritual dignity, and
their bestowal was inherent in the Pope. The time for the message
was admirably chosen; for Henry was engaged in a hard struggle for
life and crown with the Saxons and Thuringians, who were in open
revolt. Henry promised obedience to the pontiff's wish, but when his
enemies were defeated he withdrew his concession. The Pope thundered
a sentence of excommunication against him, released his subjects from
their oath of fealty, and pronounced him deprived of the throne.
The emperor was not to be left behind in the race of objurgation.
[A.D. 1076.] He summoned his nobles and prelates to a council at Worms,
and pronounced sentence of deprivation on the Pope. Then arose such
a storm against the unfortunate Henry as only religious differences
can create. His subjects had been oppressed, his nobility insulted,
his clergy impoverished, and all classes of his people were glad of
the opportunity of hiding their hatred of his oppressions under the
cloak of regard for the interests of religion. He was forced to yield;
and, crossing the Alps in the middle of winter, he presented himself
at the castle of Canossa. Here the Pope displayed the humbleness and
generosity of his Christian character, by leaving the wretched man
three days and nights in the outer court, shivering with cold and
barefoot, while His Holiness and the Countess Matilda were comfortably
closeted within. And after this unheard-of degradation, all that could
be wrung from the hatred of the inexorable monk was a promise that the
suppliant should be tried with justice, and that, if he succeeded in
proving his innocence, he should be reinstated on his throne; but if
he were found guilty, he should be punished with the utmost rigour of
ecclesiastical law.

Common sense and good feeling were revolted by this unexampled
insolence. Friends gathered round Henry when the terms of his sentence
were heard. The Romans themselves, who had hitherto been blindly
submissive, were indignant at the presumption of their bishop. None
continued faithful except the imperturbable Countess Matilda. He was
still to her the representative of divine goodness and superhuman
power. But her troops were beaten and her money was exhausted in
the holy quarrel. Robert Guiscard, indeed, came to the rescue, and
rewarded himself for delivering the Pope by sacking the city of Rome.
Half the houses were burned, and half the population killed or sold
as slaves. It was from amidst the desolation his ambition had caused
that the still-unsubdued Hildebrand was guarded by the Normans to
the citadel of Salerno, and there he died, issuing his orders and
curses to his latest hour, and boasting with his last breath that
"he had loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and that therefore
he expired in exile." [A.D. 1085.] After this man's throwing off the
mask of moderation under which his predecessors had veiled their
claims, the world was no longer left in doubt of the aims and objects
of the spiritual power. There seems almost a taint of insanity in
the extravagance of his demands. In the published collection of his
maxims we see the full extent of the theological tyranny he had in
view. "There is but one name in the world," we read; "and that is
the Pope's. He only can use the ornaments of empire. All princes
ought to kiss his feet. He alone can nominate or displace bishops and
assemble or dissolve councils. Nobody can judge him. His mere election
constitutes him a saint. He has never erred, and never shall err in
time to come. He can depose princes and release subjects from their
oaths of fidelity." Yet, in spite of the wildness of this language, the
ignorance of the period was so great, and the relations of European
nations so hostile, that the most daring of these assumptions found
supporters either in the superstitious veneration of the peoples or the
enmity and interests of the princes. The propounder of those amazing
propositions was apparently defeated, and died disgraced and hated; but
his successors were careful not to withdraw the most untenable of his
claims, even while they did not bring them into exercise. They lay in
an armory, carefully stored and guarded, to be brought out according
to the exigencies either of the papal chair itself, or of the king
or emperor who for the moment was in possession of the person of the
Pope. None of the great potentates of Europe, therefore, was anxious
to diminish a power which might be employed for his own advantage,
and all of them by turns encouraged the aggressions of the Papacy,
with a short-sighted wisdom, to be an instrument of offence against
their enemies. Little encouragement, indeed, was offered at this time
to opposition to the spiritual despot. Though Hildebrand had died a
refugee, it was remarked with pious awe that Henry the Fourth, his
rival and opponent, was punished in a manner which showed the highest
displeasure of Heaven. His children, at the instigation of the Pope,
rebelled against him. He was conquered in battle and taken prisoner by
his youngest son. [A.D. 1106] He was stripped of all his possessions,
and at last so destitute and forsaken that he begged for a subchanter's
place in a village church for the sake of its wretched salary, and
died in such extremity of want and desolation that hunger shortened
his days. For five years his body was left without the decencies of
interment in a cellar in the town of Spires.

But an immense movement was now to take place in the European mind,
which had the greatest influence on the authority of Rome. [A.D. 1095]
A crusade against the enemies of the faith was proclaimed in the
year 1095, and from all parts of Europe a great cry of approval was
uttered in all tongues, for it hit the right chord in the ferocious and
superstitious heart of the world; and it was felt that the great battle
of the Cross and the Crescent was most fitly to be decided forever on
the soil of the Holy Land.

From the very beginning of this century the thought of armed
intervention in the affairs of Palestine had been present in the
general mind. Religious difference had long been ready to take the form
of open war. As the Church strengthened and settled into more dogmatic
unity, the desire to convert by force and retain within the fold by
penalty and proscription had increased. As yet some reluctance was
felt to put a professing Christian to death on merely a difference
of doctrine, but with the open gainsayers of the faith no parley
could be held. Thousands, in addition to their religious animosities,
had personal injuries to avenge; for pilgrimage to Jerusalem was
already in full favour, and the weary wayfarers had to complain of the
hostility of the turbaned possessors of the Holy Sepulchre, and the
indignities and peril to which they were exposed the moment they came
within the infidel's domain. Why should the unbelievers be allowed any
longer to retain the custody of such inherently Christian territories
as the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane? Why should
the unbaptized followers of Mohammed, those children of perdition,
pollute with hostile feet the sacred ground which had been the
witness of so many miracles and still furnished so many relics which
manifested superhuman power? Besides, what was the wealth of other
cities--their gold and precious jewels--to the store of incalculable
riches contained in the very stones and woodwork of the metropolis and
cradle of the faith? Bones of martyrs--garments of saints--nails of the
cross--thorns of the crown--were all lying ready to be gathered up by
the faithful priesthood who would lead the expedition. And who could
be held responsible, in this world or the next, for any sins, however
grievous, who had washed them out by purifying the floors of Zion with
the blood of slaughtered Saracens and saying prayers and kneeling
in contemplation within sight of the Sepulchre itself? So Peter the
Hermit, an enthusiast who preached a holy war, was listened to as if
he spake with the tongues of angels. The ravings of his lunacy had a
prodigious effect on all classes and in all lands; and suddenly there
was gathered together a confused rabble of pilgrims, armed in every
variety of fashion--princes and beggars, robbers and adventurers--the
scum of great cities and the simple-hearted peasantry from distant
farms--upwards of three hundred thousand in number, all pouring down
towards the seaports and anxious to cross over to the land where so
many high hopes were placed. Vast numbers of this multitude found their
way from France through Italy; and luckily for Urban the Second--the
fifth in succession from Gregory--they took the opportunity of paying
a visit to the city of Rome, scarcely less venerable in their eyes
than Jerusalem itself. They were the soldiers of the Cross, and in
that character felt bound to pay a more immediate submission to the
Chief of Christianity than to their native kings. They found the city
divided between two rivals for the tiara, and, having decided in favour
of Urban, chased away the anti-pope who was appointed by the Imperial
choice. Terrified at the accession of such powerful supporters, the
Germans were withdrawn from Italy, and Urban felt that the claims
of Hildebrand were not incapable of realization if he could get
quit of unruly barons and obstinate monarchs by engaging them in a
distant and ruinous expedition. It needed little to spread the flame
of fanaticism over the whole of Christendom. The accounts given of
this first Crusade transcend the wildest imaginings of romance. An
indiscriminate multitude of all nations and tongues seemed impelled
by some irresistible impulse towards the East. Ostensibly engaged in
a religious service, enriched with promises and absolutions from the
Pope, giving up all their earthly possessions, and filled with the one
idea of liberating the Holy Land, it might have been expected that the
sobriety and order of their march would have been characteristic of
such elevating aspirations. But the infamy of their behaviour, their
debauchery, irregularity, and dishonesty, have never been equalled
by the basest and most degraded of mankind. Like a flood they poured
through the lands of Italy, Bohemia, and Germany, polluting the cities
with their riotous lives, and poisoning the air with the festering
corruption of their innumerable dead. They at last found shipping from
the ports, and presented themselves, drunk with fanatical pride, and
maddened with the sufferings they had undergone, before the astonished
people of Constantinople. That enervated and over-civilized population
looked with disgust on the unruly mass. Of the vast multitudes who had
started under the guidance of Peter the Hermit, not more than 20,000
survived; and of these none found their way to the object of their
search. The Turks, who had by this time obtained the mastery of Asia,
cut them in pieces when they had left the shelter of Constantinople,
and Alexis Comnenus, the Grecian emperor, had little hope of aid
against the Mohammedan invaders from the unruly levies of Europe.

But in the following year a new detachment made their appearance in
his states. This was the second ban, or crusade of the knights and
barons. Better regulated in its military organization than the other,
it presented the same astonishing scenes of debauchery and vice; and
dividing, for the sake of sustenance, into four armies, and taking four
different routes, they at length, in greatly-diminished numbers, but
with unabated hope and energy, presented themselves before the walls
of Constantinople. This was no mob like their famished and fainting
predecessors. All the gallant lords of Europe were here, inspired by
knightly courage and national rivalries to distinguish themselves in
fight and council. Of these the best-known were Godfrey of Bouillon,
Baldwyn of Flanders, Robert of Normandy, (William the Conqueror's
eldest son,) Hugh the Great, Count of Vermandois, and Raymond of St.
Gilles. Six hundred thousand men had left their homes, with innumerable
attendants--women, and jugglers, and servants, and workmen of all
kinds. Tens of thousands perished by the way; others established
themselves in the cities on their route to keep up the communication;
and at last the Genoese and Pisan vessels conveyed to the Golden Horn
the strength of all Europe, the hardy survivors of all the perils of
that unexampled march--few indeed in number, but burning with zeal and
bravery. Alexis lost no time in diverting their dangerous strength from
his own realms. He let them loose upon Nicea, and when it yielded to
their valour he had the cleverness to outwit the Christian warriors,
and claimed the city as his possession. On pursuing their course, they
found themselves, after a victory over the Turks at Dorylæum, in the
great Plain of Phrygia. Hunger, thirst, the extremity of heat, and
the difficulty of the march, brought confusion and dismay into their
ranks. All the horses died. Knights and chevaliers were seen mounted
on asses, and even upon oxen; and the baggage was packed upon goats,
and not unfrequently on swine and dogs. Thirst was fatal to five
hundred in a single day. Quarrels between the nationalities added to
these calamities. Lorrains and Italians, the men of Normandy and of
Provence, were at open feud. And yet, in spite of these drawbacks, the
great procession advanced. Baldwyn and Tancred succeeded in getting
possession of the town of Edessa, on the Euphrates, and opened a
communication with the Christians of Armenia. [A.D. 1098.] The siege
of Antioch was their next operation, and the luxuries of the soil and
climate were more fatal to the Crusaders than want and pain had been.
On the rich banks of the Orontes, and in the groves of Daphne, they
lost the remains of discipline and self-command and gave themselves
up to the wildest excesses. But with the winter their enjoyment came
to an end. Their camp was flooded; they suffered the extremities of
famine; and when there were no more horses and impure animals to eat,
they satiated their hunger on the bodies of their slaughtered enemies.
Help, however, was at hand, or they must have perished to the last man.
Bohemund corrupted the fidelity of a renegade officer in Antioch, and,
availing themselves of a dark and stormy night, they scaled the walls
with ladders, and rushed into the devoted city, shouting the Crusaders'
war-cry:--"It is the will of God!" and Antioch became a Christian
princedom. But not without difficulty was this new possession retained.
The Turks, under the orders of Kerboga, surrounded it with two hundred
thousand men. There was neither entrance nor exit possible, and the
worst of their previous sufferings began to be renewed. But Heaven
came to the rescue. A monk of the name of Peter Bartholomew dreamt
that under the great altar of the church would be found the spear
which pierced the Saviour on the cross. The precious weapon rewarded
their toil in digging, and armed with this the Christian charge was
irresistible, and the Turks were cut in pieces or dispersed. Instead
of making straight for Jerusalem, they lingered six months longer in
Antioch, suffering from plague and the fatigues they had undergone.
When at last the forward order was given, a remnant, consisting of
fifty thousand men out of all the original force, began the march. As
they got nearer the object of their search, and recognised the places
commemorated in Holy Writ, their enthusiasm knew no bounds. The last
elevation was at length surmounted, and Jerusalem lay in full view.
"O blessed Jesus," cries a monk who was present, "when thy Holy City
was seen, what tears fell from our eyes!" Loud shouts were raised of
"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! God wills it! God wills it!" They stretched
out their hands, fell upon their knees, and embraced the consecrated
ground. But Jerusalem was yet in the hands of the Saracens, and the
sword must open their way into its sacred bounds. The governor had
offered to admit the pilgrims within the walls, but in their peaceful
dress and merely as visitors. This they refused, and determined to
wrest it from its unbelieving lords. On the 15th of July, 1099, they
found that their situation was no longer tenable, and that they must
conquer or give up the siege. The brook Kedron was dried up, the
sun poured upon them with unendurable heat, their provisions were
exhausted, and in agonies of despair as well as of military ardour
they gave the final assault. The struggle was long and doubtful. At
length the Crusaders triumphed. Tancred and Godfrey were the first to
leap into the devoted town. Their soldiers followed, and filled every
street with slaughter. The Mosque of Omar was vigorously defended, and
an indiscriminate massacre of Mussulmans and Jews filled the whole
place with blood. In the mosque itself the stream of gore was up to
the saddle-girths of a horse. The onslaught was occasionally suspended
for a while, to allow the pious conquerors to go barefoot and unarmed
to kneel at the Holy Sepulchre; and, this act of worship done, they
returned to their ruthless occupation, and continued the work of
extermination for a whole week. The depopulated and reeking town was
added to the domains of Christendom, and the kingdom of Jerusalem was
offered to Godfrey of Bouillon. With a modesty befitting the most
Christian and noble-hearted of the Crusaders, Godfrey contented himself
with the humbler name of Baron of the Holy Sepulchre; and with three
hundred knights--which were all that remained to him when that crowning
victory had set the other survivors at liberty to revisit their native
lands--he established a standing garrison in the captured city, and
anxiously awaited reinforcements from the warlike spirits they had left
at home.



                           TWELFTH CENTURY.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

        HENRY IV.--(_cont._)

  1106. HENRY V.

  _House of Suabia._

  1138. CONRAD III.

  1152. FREDERICK BARBAROSSA.

  1190. HENRY VI.

  1198. PHILIP and OTHO IV., (of Brunswick.)


Kings of England.

  A.D.

  1100. HENRY I.

  1135. STEPHEN.

  1154. HENRY II.

  1189. RICHARD I.

  1199. JOHN.


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

        ALEXIS I.--(_cont._)

  1118. JOHN.

  1143. MANUEL.

  1183. ANDRONICUS I.

  1185. ISAAC II., (the Angel.)

  1195. ALEXIS III.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

         PHILIP I.--(_cont._)

  1108. LOUIS VI.

  1137. LOUIS VII.

  1180. PHILIP AUGUSTUS.


King of Scotland.

  A.D.

  1165. WILLIAM.


  1147. SECOND CRUSADE, led by Louis VII. of France.

  1189. THIRD CRUSADE, led by Frederick Barbarossa, Philip Augustus, and
          Richard of England.


Authors.

BERNARD, (1091-1153,) BECKET, (1119-1170,) EUSTATHIUS, THEODORUS,
BALSAMON, PETER LOMBARD, WILLIAM OF MALMESBURY, (1096-1143.)



                          THE TWELFTH CENTURY

  ELEVATION OF LEARNING--POWER OF THE CHURCH--THOMAS À-BECKETT.


The effect of the first Crusade had been so prodigious that Europe
was forced to pause to recover from its exhaustion. More than half a
million had left their homes in 1095; ten thousand are supposed to have
returned; three hundred were left with Godfrey in the Christian city
of Jerusalem; and what had become of all the rest? Their bones were
whitening all the roads that led to the Holy Land; small parties of
them must have settled in despair or weariness in towns and villages on
their way; many were sold into slavery by the rapacity of the feudal
lords whose lands they traversed; and when the madness of the time
had originated a Crusade of Children, and ninety thousand boys of ten
or twelve years of age had commenced their journey, singing hymns and
anthems, and hoping to conquer the infidels with the spiritual arms of
innocence and prayer, the whole band melted away before they reached
the coast. Barons, and counts, and bishops, and dukes, all swooped down
upon the devoted march, and before many weeks' journeying was achieved
the Crusade was brought to a close. Most of the children had died of
fatigue or starvation, and the survivors had been seized as legitimate
prey and sold as slaves.

Meantime the brave and heroic Godfrey--the true hero of the expedition,
for he elevated the ordinary virtues of knighthood and feudalism into
the nobler feelings of generosity and romance--gained the object of
his earthly ambition. Having prayed at the sepulchre, and cleansed
the temple from the pollution of the unbelievers' presence, wearied
with all his labours, and feeling that his task was done, he sank
into deep despondency and died. [A.D. 1100.] Volunteers in small
numbers had occasionally gone eastward to support the Cross Ambition,
thoughtlessness, guilt, and fanaticism sent their representatives
to aid the conqueror of Judea; and his successors found themselves
strong enough to bid defiance to the Turkish power. They carried all
their Western ideas along with them. They had their feudal holdings
and knightly quarrels. The most venerated names in Holy Writ were
desecrated by unseemly disputes or the most frivolous associations. The
combination, indeed, of their native habits and their new acquisitions
might have moved them to laughter, if the men of the twelfth century
had been awake to the ridiculous. There was a Prince of Galilee,
a Marquis of Joppa, a Baron of Sidon, a Marquis of Tyre. Our own
generation has renewed the strange juxtaposition of the East and West
by the language employed in steamboats and railways. Trains will soon
cross the Desert with warning whistles and loud jets of steam and
all the phraseology of an English line. For many years the waters of
the mysterious Red Sea have been dashed into foam by paddles made in
Liverpool or Glasgow. But these are visitors of a very different kind
from Bohemund and Baldwyn. Baldwyn, indeed, seemed less inclined than
his companions to carry his European training to its full extent. He
Orientalized himself in a small way, perhaps in imitation of Alexander
the Great, and, dressed in the long flowing robes of the country,
he made his attendants serve him with prostrations, and almost with
worship. He married a daughter of the land, and in other respects
endeavoured to ingratiate himself with the Saracens by treating them
with kindness and consideration. The bravery of those warriors of
the Desert endeared them to the rough-handed barons of the West. It
was impossible to believe that men with that one pre-eminent virtue
could be so utterly hateful as they had been represented; and when
the intercourse between the races became more unrestrained, even the
religious asperities of the Crusaders became mitigated, they found
so many points of resemblance between their faiths. There was not an
honour which the Christian paid to the Virgin which was not yielded
by the Mohammedan to Fatima. All the doctrines of the Christian creed
found their counterparts in the professions of the followers of the
Law. Allah was an incarnation of the Deity; and even the mystery of
the Trinity was not indistinctly seen in the legend of the three rays
which darted from the idea of Mohammed in the mind of the Creator.
While this community of sentiment softened the animosity of the
crusading leaders towards their enemies, a still greater community of
suffering and danger softened their feelings towards their followers
and retainers. In that scarcity of knights and barons, the value of a
serf's arm or a mechanic's skill was gratefully acknowledged. There had
been many mutual kindnesses between the two classes all through those
tedious and blood-stained journeys and desperate fights. A peasant had
brought water to a wounded lord when he lay fainting on the burning
soil; a workman had had the revelation of the true crown: they were
no longer the property and slaves of the noble, who considered them
beings of a different blood, but fellow-soldiers, fellow-sufferers,
fellow-Christians. They were not spoken of in the insulting language
of the West, and called "our thralls," "our slaves," "our bondsmen;"
at the worst they were called "our poor," and lifted by that word into
the quality of brothers and men. The precepts of the gospel in favour
of the humble and suffering were felt for the first time to have an
application to the men who had toiled on their lands and laboured in
their workshops, but who were now their support in the shock of battle,
and companions when the victory was won. Only they were poor; they had
no lands; they had no arms upon their shields. So Baldwyn gave them
large tracts of country; and they became vassals and feudatories for
fertile fields near Jericho and rich farms on the Jordan. They were
gentlemen by the strength of their own right hands, as the fathers of
their lords and suzerains had been.

But the amalgamation of race and condition was not carried on in the
East more surely or more extensively than in the West. The expenses
of preparing for the pilgrimage had impoverished the richest of the
lords of the soil. They had been forced to borrow money and to mortgage
their estates to the burghers of the great commercial towns, which,
quietly and unobserved, had spread themselves in many parts of France
and Italy. Genoa had already attained such a height of prosperity that
she could furnish vessels for the conveyance of half the army of the
Crusade. In return for her cargoes of knights and fighting-men, she
brought back the wealth of the East,--silks, and precious stones, and
spices, and vessels of gold and silver. The necessities of the time
made the money-holder powerful, and the men who swung the hammer, and
shaped the sword, and embroidered the banner, and wove the tapestry,
indispensable. And what hold, except kindness, and privilege, and
grants of land, had the baron on the skilful smith or the ingenious
weaver who could carry his skill and energy wherever he chose? Besides,
the multitudes who had been carried away from the pursuits of industry
to fall at the siege of Antioch or perish by thirst in the Desert had
given a greatly-increased value to their fellow-labourers left at
home. While the castle became deserted, and all the pomp of feudalism
retreated from its crumbling walls, the village which had grown in
safety under its protection flourished as much as ever--flourished,
indeed, so much that it rapidly became a town, and boasted of rich
citizens who could help to pay off their suzerain's encumbrances
and present him with an offering on his return. The impoverished
and grateful noble could do no less, in gratitude for gift and
contribution, than secure them in the enjoyment of greater franchises
and privileges than they had possessed before. The Church also gained
by the diminished number and power of the lords, who had seized upon
tithe and offering and had looked with disdain and hostility on the
aggressions of the lower clergy. True to its origin, the Church still
continued the leader of the people, in opposition to the pretensions
of the feudal chiefs. It was still a democratic organization for the
protection of the weak against the powerful; and though we have seen
that the bishops and other dignitaries frequently assumed the state and
practised the cruelties of the grasping and illiterate baron, public
opinion, especially in the North of Europe, was not revolted against
these instances of priestly domination, for whatever was gained by the
crozier was lost to the sword. It was even a consolation to the injured
serf to see the truculent landlord who had oppressed him oppressed in
his turn by a still more truculent bishop, especially when that bishop
had sprung from the dregs of the people, and--crown and consummation
of all--when the Pope, God's vicegerent upon earth, who dethroned
emperors and made kings hold his stirrup as he mounted his mule, was
descended from no more distinguished a family than himself. It was
the effort of the Church, therefore, in all this century, to lower
the noble and to elevate the poor. To gain popularity, all arts were
resorted to. The clergy were the showmen and play-actors of the time.
The only amusement the labourer could aim at was found for him, in rich
processions and gorgeous ceremony, by the priest. How could any fault
of the abbot or prelate turn away the affection of the peasant from the
Church, which was in a peculiar manner his own establishment? Never
had the drunkenness, the debauchery and personal indulgences of the
upper ecclesiastics reached such a pitch before. The gluttony of friars
and monks became proverbial. The community of certain monasteries
complained of the austerity of their abbots in reducing their ordinary
dinners from sixteen dishes to thirteen. The great St. Bernard
describes many of the rulers of the Church as keeping sixty horses in
their stables, and having so many wines upon their board that it was
impossible to taste one-half of them. Yet nothing shook the attachment
of the uneducated commons. Their priest got up dances and concerts
and miracles for their edification, and had a right to enjoy all the
luxuries of life. Once freed, therefore, from the watchful enmity
of lord and king, the Church was well aware that its power would be
irresistible. The people were devoted to it as their earthly defender
against their earthly oppressors, the caterer of all their amusements,
and as their guide in the path to heaven. Gratitude and credulity,
therefore, were equally engaged in its behalf. And new influences came
to its support. Romance and wonder gathered round the champions of the
Faith fighting in the distant regions of the East. Every thing became
magnified when seen through the medium of ignorance and fanaticism. The
tales, therefore, strange enough in themselves, which were related by
pilgrims returning from the Holy Land, and amplified a hundredfold by
the natural exaggeration of the vulgar, raised higher than ever the
glory of the Church. The fastings and self-inflicted scourgings of
holy men, it was believed, effected more than the courage of Godfrey
or Bohemund; and even of Godfrey it was said that his ascetic life and
painful penances caused more losses to the enemy than his matchless
strength and military skill.

It would be delightful if we could place ourselves in the position
of the breathless crowds at that time listening for the news from
Palestine. No telegraphic despatch from the Crimea or Hindostan was
ever waited for with such impatience or received with such emotion. The
baron summoned the palmer into his hall, and heard the strange history
of the march to Jerusalem, and the crowning of a Christian king, and
the creation of a feudal court, with a pang, perhaps, of regret that
he had not joined the pilgrimage, which might have made him Duke of
Bethlehem or monarch of Tiberias. But the peasants in their workshops,
or the whole village assembled in the long aisles of their church, lent
far more attentive ears to the wayfaring monk who had escaped from
the prison of the Saracen, and told them of the marvels accomplished
by the bones of martyrs and apostles which had been revealed to holy
pilgrims in their dream on the Mount of Olives. Footprints on the
heights of Calvary, and portions of the manger in Bethlehem, were
described in awe-struck voice; and when it was announced that in the
belt of the narrator, enwrapped in a silken scarf,--itself a fabric
of incalculable worth,--was a hair of an apostle's head, (which their
lord had purchased for a large sum,) to be deposited upon their altar,
they must have thought the sacrifices and losses of the Crusade
amply repaid. And no amount of these sacred articles seemed in the
least to diminish their importance. The demand was always greatly in
advance of the supply, however vast it might be. And as the mines of
California and Australia have hitherto deceived the prophets of evil,
by having no perceptible effect on the price of the precious metals,
the incalculable importation of saints' teeth, and holy personages'
clothes, and fragments of the true Cross, and prickles of the real
Crown of Thorns, had no depressing effect on the market-value of
similar commodities with which all Christian Europe was inundated.
Faith seemed to expand in proportion as relics became plentiful, as
credit expands on the security of a supply of gold. And as many of
those articles were actually of as clearly-recognised a pecuniary value
as houses or lands, and represented in any market or banking-house a
definite and very considerable sum, it is not too much to say that the
capital of the West was greatly increased by these acquisitions from
the East. The cup of onyx, carved in one stone, which was believed
to have been that in which the wine of the Last Supper was held when
our Saviour instituted the Communion, was pledged by its owner for an
enormous sum, and--what is perhaps more strange--was redeemed when the
term of the loan expired by the repayment of principal and interest.
The intercourse, therefore, between power and money showed that each
was indispensable to the other. The baron relaxed his severity, and the
citizen opened his purse-strings; the Church inculcated the equality
of all men in presence of the altar; and when the kings perceived what
merchandise might be made of privileges and exemptions accorded to
their subjects, and how at one great blow the townsman's squeezable
riches would be increased and the baron's local influence diminished,
there was a struggle between all the crowned heads as to which should
be most favourable to the commons. It was in this century, owing to
the Crusades, which made the commonalty indispensable and the nobility
weak, which strengthened the Crown and the Church and made it their
joint interest to restrain the exactions of the feudal proprietors,
that the liberties of Europe took their rise in the establishment
of the third estate. In the county of Flanders, the great towns had
already made themselves so wealthy and independent that it scarcely
needed a legal ratification of their franchise to make them free
cities. But in Italy a step further had been made, and the great word
Republic, which had been silent for so many years, had again been
heard, and had taken possession of the general mind. In spite of the
opposition and the military successes of Roger, the Norman king of
Sicily, the spirit which animated those great trading communities was
never subdued. In Venice itself--the greatest and most illustrious of
those republics, the first founded and last overthrown--the original
municipal form of government had never been abolished. At all times its
liberties had been preserved and its laws administered by officers of
its own choice, and from it proceeded at this time a feeling of social
equality and an example of commercial prosperity which had a strong
effect on the nascent freedom of the lower and industrious classes over
all the world. Genoa was not inferior either in liberty or enterprise
to any of its rivals. Its fleets traversed the Mediterranean, and,
being equally ready to fight or to trade, brought wealth and glory
home from the coasts of Greece and Asia. It is to be observed that the
first reappearance of self-government was presented in the towns upon
the coast, whose situation enabled them to compensate for smallness
of territory by the command of the sea. The shores of Italy and the
south of France, and the indented sea-line of Flanders, followed in
this respect the example set in former ages by Greece, and Tyre, and
Pentapolis, and Carthage. There can be no doubt that the sight of these
powerful communities, governed by their consuls and legislated for by
their parliamentary assemblies, must have put new thoughts into the
heads of the serfs and labourers returning, in vessels furnished by
citizens like themselves, from the conquest of Cyprus and Jerusalem,
where the whole harvest of wealth and glory had been reaped by their
lords. Encouraged by these examples, and by the protection of the King
of France and Emperor of Germany, the towns in Central and Western
Europe exerted themselves to emulate the republican cities of the
South. The nearest approach they could hope to the independence they
had seen in Pisa or Venice was the possession of the right of electing
their own magistrates and making their own laws. These privileges, we
have seen, were insured to them by the helplessness and impoverishment
of the feudal aristocracy and the countenance of the Church.

But the Church towards the middle of this century found that the
countenance she had given to liberty in other places was used as an
argument against herself in the central seat of her power. Rome, the
city of consuls and tribunes, was carried away by the great idea; and
under the guidance of Arnold of Brescia, a monk who believed himself
a Brutus, the standard was again hoisted on the Capitol, displaying
the magic letters S. P. Q. R., (Senatus Populus que Romanus.) The Pope
was expelled by the population, the freedom of the city proclaimed,
the separation of the spiritual and temporal powers pronounced by the
unanimous voice, the government of priests abolished, and measures
taken to maintain the authority the citizens had assumed. The banished
Pope had died while these things were going on, and his successor
was hunted down the steps of the Capitol, and the revolution was
accomplished. "Throughout the peninsula," says a German historian,
"except in the kingdom of Naples, from Rome to the smallest city,
the republican form prevailed." Every thing had concurred to this
result,--the force of arms, the rise of commerce, and the glorious
remembrance of the past. St. Bernard himself acquiesced in the position
now occupied by the Pope, and he wrote to his scholar Eugenius the
Third, to "leave the Romans alone, and to exchange the city against
the world," ("urbem pro orbe mutatam.") But the effervescence of the
popular will was soon at an end. The fear of republicanism made common
cause between the Pope and Emperor. Frederick Barbarossa revenged the
indignities cast on the chair of St. Peter by burning the rebellious
Arnold and re-establishing the ancient form of government by force. Yet
the spirit of equality which was thus repressed by violence fermented
in secret; nor was equality all that was aimed at amid some of the
swarming seats of population and commerce. We find indeed, from this
time, that in a great number of instances the original relations
between the town and baron were reversed: the noble put himself under
the protection of the municipality, and received its guarantee against
the assaults or injuries of the prouder and less politic members of his
class. It was a strange thing to see a feudal lord receive his orders
from the municipal officers of a country town, and still stranger to
perceive the low opinion which the courageous and high-fed burghers
entertained of the pomp and circumstance of the mailed knights of
whom they had been accustomed to stand in awe. Their ramparts were
strong, their granaries well filled, their companions stoutly armed;
and they used to lean over the wall, when a hostile champion summoned
them to submit to the exactions of a great proprietor, and watch
the clumsy charger staggering under his heavy armour, with shouts of
derision. Men who had thus thrown off their hereditary veneration
for the lords of the soil, and contentedly saw the deposition of
the Roman Pope by a Roman Senate and People, were not likely to pay
a blind submission to the spiritual dictation of their priests. In
the towns, accordingly, a spirit of free inquiry into the mysteries
of the faith began; and, while country districts still heard with
awe the impossible wonders of the monkish legends, there were rash
and daring scholars in several countries, who threw doubt upon the
plainest statements of Revelation. Of these the best-known is the
still famous Abelard, whose exertions as a religious inquirer have
been thrown into the shade by his more interesting character of the
hero of a love-story. The letters of Eloisa, and the unfortunate issue
of their affection, have kept their names from the oblivion which has
fallen upon their metaphysical triumphs. And yet during their lives
the glory of Abelard did not depend on the passionate eloquence of
his pupil, but arose from the unequalled sharpness of his intellect
and his skill in argumentation. Of noble family, the handsomest man
of his time, wonderfully gifted with talent and accomplishment, he
was the first instance of a man professing the science of theology
without being a priest. Wherever he went, thousands of enthusiastic
scholars surrounded his chair. His eloquence was so fascinating that
the listener found himself irresistibly carried away by the stream;
and if an opponent was hardy enough to stand up against him, the
acuteness of his logic was as infallible as the torrent of his oratory
had been, and in every combat he carried away the prize. He doubted
about original sin, and by implication about the atonement, and many
other articles of the Christian belief. The power and constitution
of the Church were endangered by the same weapons which assailed the
groundworks of the faith; and yet in all Europe no sufficient champion
for truth and orthodoxy could be found. Abelard was triumphant over
all his gainsayers, till at length Bernard of Clairvaux, who even in
his lifetime was looked on with the veneration due to a saint, who
refused an archbishopric, and the popedom itself, took up the gauntlet
thrown down by the lover of Eloisa, and reduced him to silence by the
superiority of his reasonings and the threats of a general council. It
is sufficient to remark the appearance of Abelard in this century, as
the commencement of a reaction against the dogmatic authority of the
Church. It was henceforth possible to reason and to inquire; and there
can be no doubt that Protestantism even in this modified and isolated
form had a beneficial effect on the establishment it assailed. A new
armory was required to meet the assaults of dialectic and scholarship.
Dialecticians and scholars were therefore, henceforth, as much valued
in the Church as self-flagellating friars and miracle-performing
saints. The faith was now guarded by a noble array of highly-polished
intellects, and the very dogma of the total abnegation of the
understanding at the bidding of the priest was supported by a show
of reasoning which few other questions had called forth. With the
enlargement of the clerical sphere of knowledge, refinement in taste
and sentiment took place. And at this time, as philosophic discussion
took its rise with Abelard, the ennobling and idealization of woman
took its birth contemporaneously with the sufferings of Eloisa. Up
to this period the Church had avowedly looked with disdain on woman,
as inheriting in a peculiar degree the curse of our first parents,
because she had been the first to break the law Knightly gallantry,
indeed, had thought proper to elevate the feminine ideal and clothe
with imaginary virtues the heroines of its fictitious idolatry. It made
her the aim and arbiter of all its achievements. The principal seat
in hall and festival was reserved for the softer sex, which hitherto
had been considered scarcely worthy of reverence or companionship.
Perhaps this courtesy to the ladies on the part of knights and nobles
began in an opposition to the wife-secluding habits of the Orientals
against whom they fought, as at an earlier date the worship of images
was certainly maintained by Rome as a protest against the unadorned
worship of the Saracens. Perhaps it arose from the gradual expansion
of wealth and the security of life and property, which left time and
opportunity for the cultivation of the female character. Ladies were
constituted chiefs of societies of nuns, and were obeyed with implicit
submission. Large communities of young maidens were presided over by
widows who were still in the bloom of youth; and so holy and pure
were these sisterhoods considered, that brotherhoods and monks were
allowed to occupy the same house, and the sexes were only separated
from each other, even at night, by an aged abbot sleeping on the
floor between them. Though this experiment failed, the fact of its
being tried proved the confidence inspired by the spotlessness of the
female character. Other things conspired to give a greater dignity to
what had been called the inferior sex. The death of whole families in
the Crusade had left the daughters heiresses of immense possessions.
In every country but France the Crown itself was open to female
succession, and it was henceforth impossible to affect a superiority
over a person merely because she was corporeally weak and beautiful,
who was lady of strong castles and could summon a thousand retainers
beneath the banners of her house. The very elevation of the women
with whom they were surrounded--the peeresses, and princesses, and
even the ladies of lower rank, to whom the voice of the troubadours
attributed all the virtues under heaven--necessitated in the mind of
the clergy a corresponding elevation in the character of the queen and
representative of the female sex, whom they had already worshipped as
personally without sin and endowed with superhuman power. At this time
the immaculate conception of the Holy Virgin was first broached as an
article of belief,--a doctrine which, after being dormant at intervals
and occasionally blossoming into declaration, has finally received
its full ratification by the authority of the present Pope,--Pius the
Ninth. In the twelfth century it was acknowledged and propagated as a
fresh increase to the glory of the mother of God; but it is now fixed
forever as indispensable to the salvation of every Christian.

Such, then, are the great features by which to mark this century,--the
combination of rank with rank caused by the mutual danger of lord and
serf in the Crusade, the rise of freedom by the commercial activity
imparted by the same cause to the towns, the elevation of the idea
of woman, without which no true civilization can take place. These
are the leading and general characteristics: add to them what we
have slightly alluded to,--the first specimens of the joyous lays
and love-sonnets of the young knights returning from Palestine and
pouring forth their admiration of birth and beauty in the soft
language of Italy or Languedoc,--the intercourse between distant
nations, which was indispensable in the combined expeditions against
the common foe, so that the rough German cavalier gathered lessons
in manner or accomplishment from the more polished princes of Anjou
or Aquitaine,--and it will be seen that this was the century of
awakening mind and softening influences. There were scholars like
Abelard, introducing the hitherto unknown treasures of the Greek and
Hebrew tongues, and yet presenting the finest specimens of gay and
accomplished gentlemen, unmatched in sweetness of voice and mastery
of the harp; and there were at the other side of the picture saints
like Bernard of Clairvaux, not relying any longer on visions and the
traditionary marvels of the past, but displaying the power of an
acute diplomatist and wide-minded politician in the midst of the most
extraordinary self-denial and the exercises of a rigorous asceticism,
which in former ages had been limited to the fanatical and insane. To
this man's influence was owing the Second Crusade, which occurred in
1147. [A.D. 1147.] Different from the first, which had been the result
of popular enthusiasm and dependent for its success on undisciplined
numbers and religious fury, this was a great European and Christian
movement, concerted between the sovereigns and ratified by the peoples.
Kings took the command, and whole nations bestowed their wealth and
influence on the holy cause. Louis the Seventh of France led all the
paladins of his land; and Conrad, the German Emperor, collected all
the forces of the West to give the finishing-blow to the power of the
Mohammedans and restore the struggling kingdom of Jerusalem. Seventy
thousand horsemen and two hundred and fifty thousand foot-soldiers were
the smallest part of the array. Whole districts were depopulated by the
multitudes of artificers, shopmen, women, children, buffoons, mimics,
priests, and conjurers who accompanied the march. It looked like one
of the great movements which convulsed the Roman Empire when Goths
or Burgundians poured into the land. But the results were nearly the
same as in the days of Godfrey and Bohemund. Valour and discipline,
national emulation and knightly skill, were of no avail against climate
and disease. Again the West astonished the Turks with the impetuosity
of its courage and the display of its hosts, but lay weakened and
exhausted when the convulsive effort was past. A million perished in
the useless struggle. Forty years scarcely sufficed to restore the
nobility to sufficient power to undertake another suicidal attempt.
[A.D. 1191.] But in 1191 the Third Crusade departed under the conduct
of Richard of England, and earned the same glory and unsuccess. The
century was weakened by those wretched but not fruitless expeditions,
which, in round numbers, cost two millions of lives, and produced such
memorable effects on the general state of Europe; yet it will be better
remembered by us if we direct our attention to some of the incidents
which have a more direct bearing on our own country. Of these the most
remarkable is the commencement of the long-continued enmity between
France and England, of the wars which lasted so many years, which made
our most eminent politicians at one time believe that the countries
were natural enemies, incapable of permanent union or even of mutual
respect; and these took their rise, as most great wars have done,
from the paltriest causes, and were continued on the most unfounded
pretences.

Henry the First was the son of William the Conqueror. On the death
of his brother William Rufus he seized the English crown, though the
eldest of the family, Robert, was still alive. Robert was fond of
fighting without the responsibility of command, and delighted to be
religious without the troubles of a religious life. He therefore joined
the First Crusade to gratify this double desire, and mortgaged his
dukedom of Normandy to Henry to supply him with horses and arms and
enable him to support his dignity as a Christian prince at Jerusalem.
His dukedom he never could recover, for his extravagances prevented
him from repayment of the loan. He tried to reconquer it by force,
but was defeated at the battle of Tinchebray, and was guarded by the
zealous affection of his brother all the rest of his life in the Tower
of London. He left a son, who was used as an instrument of assault
against Henry by the Suzerain of Normandy, Louis the Sixth, King of
France. Orders were issued to the usurping feudatory to resign his
possessions into the hands of the rightful heir; but, however obedient
the Duke of Normandy might profess to be to his liege lord the King of
France, the King of England held a very different language, and took
a different estimate of his position. [A.D. 1153.] And in the time of
the second Henry a change took place in their respective situations
which seemed to justify the assumptions of the English king. That
grandson of Henry the First had opposed his liege lord of France by
arms and arts, and at last by one great master-stroke turned his own
arms upon his rival and strengthened himself on his spoils. In the
Second Crusade the scrupulous delicacy of Louis the Seventh of France
had been revolted by the indiscreet or guilty conduct of Eleanor his
wife. He repudiated her as unworthy of his throne; and Henry, who had
no delicacies of conscience when they interfered with his interest,
offered the rejected Eleanor his hand; for she continued the undoubted
mistress of Poitou and Guienne. No stain derived from her principles
or conduct was reflected in the eyes of the ambitious Henry on those
noble provinces, and from henceforth his Continental possessions far
exceeded those of his suzerain. The other feudatories, encouraged by
this example, owned a very modified submission to their nominal head;
and the inheritors of the throne of the Capets were again reduced to
the comparative weakness of their predecessors of the Carlovingian
line. Yet there was one element of vitality of which the feudal barons
had not deprived the king. A fief, when it lapsed for want of heirs,
was reattached to the Crown; and in the turmoil and adventure of those
unsettled times the extinction of a line of warriors and pilgrims was
not an uncommon event. Even while a family was numerous and healthy the
uncertain nature of their possession deprived it of half its value,
for at the end of that gallant line of knights and cavaliers, slain
as they might be in battle, carried off by the pestilences which were
usual at that period, or wasted away in journeys to the Holy Land and
sieges in the heats of Palestine, stood the feudal king, ready to enter
into undisputed possession of the dukedoms or counties which it had
cost them so much time and danger to make independent and strong. In
the case of Normandy or Guienne themselves, Louis might have looked
without much uneasiness on the building of castles and draining of
marshes, when he reflected that but a life or two lay between him and
the enriched and strengthened fief; and when those lives were such
desperadoes as Richard and such cowards as John, the prospect did
not seem hopeless of an immediate succession. But the French kings
were still more fortunate in being opposed to such unamiable rivals
as the coarse and worldly descendants of the Conqueror. The personal
characters of those men, however their energy and courage might benefit
them in actual war, made them feared and hated wherever they were
known. They were sensual, cruel, and unprincipled to a degree unusual
even in those ages of rude manners and undeveloped conscience. Their
personal appearance itself was an index of the ungovernable passions
within Fat, broad-shouldered, low-statured, red-haired, loud-voiced,
they were frightful to look upon even in their calmest moods; but
when the Conqueror stormed, no feeling of ruth or reverence stood in
his way. When he was refused the daughter of the Count of Boulogne,
he forced his way into the chamber of the countess, seized her by the
hair of her head, dragged her round the room, and stamped on her with
his feet. Robert his son was of the same uninviting exterior. William
Rufus was little and very stout. Henry the Second was gluttonous and
debauched. Richard the Lion-Heart was cruel as the animal that gave him
name; and John was the most debased and contemptible of mankind. A race
of gentle and truthful men, on the other hand, ennobled the crown of
France. The kings, from Louis the Debonnaire to Louis the Seventh, or
Young, were favourites of the Church and champions of the people. The
harsh and violent nobility despised them, but they were venerated in
the huts where poor men lie. The very scruple which induced Louis to
divorce his wife, whose conduct had stained the purity of the Crusade,
almost repaid the loss of her great estates by the increased love and
respect of his subjects. [A.D. 1180.] And when the line of pure and
honourable rulers was for a while interrupted by the appearance, upon a
throne so long established in equity, of an armed warrior in the person
of Philip Augustus, it was felt that the sword was at last in the
hands of an avenger, who was to execute the decrees of Heaven upon the
enemies whom the moderation, justice, and mercy of his predecessors had
failed to move.

But before we come to the personal relations of the French and English
kings we must take a rapid view of one of the great incidents by which
this century is marked,--an incident which for a long time attracted
the notice of all Europe, and was productive of very important
consequences within our own country. Hitherto England had played the
part of a satellite to the Court of Rome. Previous to the quarrels with
France, indeed, one great tie between her and the Continental nations
was the community of their submission to the Pope. Foreigners have at
all times found wealth and kind treatment here. Germans, Italians,
Frenchmen, any one who could make interest with the patrons of large
livings, held rank and honours in the English Church. [A.D. 1154-1159.]
Little enough, it was felt, was all that could be done in behalf
of foreign ecclesiastics to repay them for the condescension they
showed in elevating Nicholas Breakspear, an Anglo-Saxon of St.
Alban's, to the papal chair. But Nicholas, in taking another name,
lost his English heart. As Adrian the Fourth, he preferred Rome to
England, and maintained his authority with as high a hand as any of
his predecessors. Knights and nobles, and even the higher orders of
the clergy, were at length discontented with the continual exactions
of the Holy See; and in 1162 the same battle which had agitated the
world between Henry the Fourth of Germany and Gregory the Seventh was
fought out in a still bitterer spirit between Henry the Second of
England and Thomas à-Beckett. All the story-books of English history
have told us the romantic incidents of the birth of the ambitious
priest. It is possible the obscurity of his origin was concealed by his
contemporaries under the interesting legend, which must have been a
very early subject for the fancy of the poet and troubadour, of a love
between a Red-Cross pilgrim and a Saracen emir's daughter. It shows a
remarkable softening of the ancient hatred to the infidels, that the
votaress of Mohammed should have been chosen as the mother of a saint.
But whatever doubt there may arise about the reality of the deserted
maiden's journey in search of her admirer, and her discovery of his
abode by the mere reiteration of his name, which is beautifully said
to be the only word of English she remembered, there is no doubt of
the early favour which the young Anglo-Saracen attained with the king,
or of the desire the sagacious Henry entertained to avail himself of
the great talents which made his favourite delightful as a companion
and indispensable as a chancellor, in the higher position still of
Archbishop of Canterbury and Comptroller of the English Church. For
high pretensions were put forward by the clergy: they insisted upon the
introduction of the canon laws; they claimed exemption from trial by
civil process; they were to be placed beyond the reach of the ordinary
tribunals, and were to be under their own separate rulers, and directly
subject in life and property to the decrees of Rome.

Henry knew but one man in his dominions able to contend in talent and
acuteness with the advocates of the Church, and that was his chancellor
and friend, the gay and generous and affectionate à-Beckett. So one
day, without giving him much time for preparation, he persuaded him
to be made a priest, and at the same moment named him Archbishop of
Canterbury and Primate of all England. Now, he thought, we have a
champion who will do battle in our cause and stand up for the liberties
of his native land. But à-Beckett had dressed himself in a hair shirt
and flogged himself with an iron scourge. He had invited the holiest of
the priests to favour him with their advice, and had thrown himself on
his knees on the approach of the most ascetic of the monks and friars.
All his fine establishments were broken up; his horses were sent away;
his silver table-services sold; and the new archbishop fasted on bread
and water and lay on the hard floor. Henry was astonished and uneasy;
and he had soon very good cause for his uneasiness, for his favourite
orator, his boon-companion, his gallant chancellor, from whom he had
expected support and victory, turned against him with the most ruthless
animosity, and pushed the pretensions of Rome to a pitch they had never
reached before. Nobody, however he may blame the double-dealing or the
ambition of à-Beckett, can deny him the praise of personal courage
in making opposition to the king. The Norman blood was as hot in him
as in any of his predecessors. When he got into a passion, we are
told by a contemporary chronicler, his blue eyes became filled with
blood. In a fit of rage he bit a page's shoulder. A favourite servant
having contradicted him, he rushed after the man on the stair, and,
not being able to catch him, gnawed the straw upon the boards. We may
therefore guess with what feelings the injured Plantagenet received
the behaviour of his newly-created primate. He stormed and raged,
terrified the other prelates to join him in his measures for curbing
the power of the Church, chafed himself for several years against the
unconquerable firmness of the arrogant archbishop, and finally failed
in every object he had aimed at. The violence of the king was met
with the affected resignation of the sufferer; and at last, when the
impatience of Henry gave encouragement to his followers to put the
refractory priest to death, the quarrel was lifted out of the ordinary
category of a dispute between the crown and the crozier: it became a
combat between a wilful and irreligious tyrant and a martyred saint.
It requires us to enter into the feelings of the twelfth century to
be able to understand the issue of this great conflict. In our own
day the assumptions of à-Beckett, and his claims of exemption from
the ordinary laws, have no sympathizers among the lovers of progress
or freedom. But in the time of the second Henry the only chance of
either, in England, was found under the shelter of the Church. That
great establishment was still the only protection against the lawless
violence of the king and nobles. The Norman possessors of the land
were still an army encamped on hostile soil and levying contributions
by the law of the strong hand. Disunion had not yet arisen between
the sovereign and his lords, except as to the division of the spoil.
The Crusades had not depopulated England to the same extent as some
of the other countries in Europe; and the wars of the troubled days
of Stephen and Matilda, though fatal to the prosperity of the land,
and destructive of many of the nobles on either side, had attracted
an immense number of high-born and strong-handed adventurers, who
amply supplied their place. The clergy had been forced to retain their
original position as leaders of the popular mind, superintendents of
the interests of their flocks, and teachers and comforters of the
oppressed: à-Beckett, therefore, was not in their eyes an ambitious
priest, sacrificing every thing for the elevation of his order. He
was a champion fighting the battles of the poor against the rich,--a
ransomer of at least one powerful body in the State from the capricious
cruelty of Henry and the grasping avarice of the Norman spoliation. The
down-trodden Saxons received with the transports of gratified revenge
any humiliation inflicted on the proud aristocracy which had thriven
on the ruin of their ancestors. The date of the Conquest was not yet
so distant as to hinder the feeling of personal wrong from mingling in
the conflict between the races. A man of sixty remembered the story
told him by his father of his dispossession of holt and field, on
which the old manor-house had stood since Alfred's days, and which now
had been converted into a crenelated tower by the foreign conqueror.
Nor are we to forget, in the midst of the idea of antiquity conveyed
at the present time by the fact of a person's ancestor having "come
in with William," that the bitterness of dispossession was increased
in the eyes of the long-descended Saxon franklin by the lowness of
his dispossessor's birth. Half the roll-call of the Norman army was
made up of the humblest names,--barbers and smiths, and tailors and
valets, and handicraftsmen of all descriptions. And yet, seated in
his fortified keep, supported by the sixty thousand companions of his
success, enriched by the fertile harvests of his new domain, this
upstart adventurer filled the wretched cottages of the land with a
distressed and starving peasantry; and where were those friendless and
helpless outcasts to look for succour and consolation? They found them
in the Church. Their countrymen generally filled the lower offices,
speaking in good Saxon, and feeling as good Saxons should; while the
lordly abbot or luxurious bishop kept high state in his monastery or
palace, and gave orders in Norman French with feelings as foreign as
his tongue. But à-Beckett was an Englishman; à-Beckett was Archbishop
of Canterbury, and chief of all the churchmen in the land. To honour
à-Beckett was to protest against the Conquest; and when the crowning
glory came, and the crimes of Henry against themselves attained their
full consummation in the murder of the prelate at the altar,--the
patriot in his resistance to oppression,--the enthusiasm of the country
knew no bounds. The penitential pilgrimage which the proudest of the
Plantagenets made to the tomb of his victim was but small compensation
for so enormous a wickedness, and for ages the name of à-Beckett was
a household word at the hearths of the English peasantry, as their
great representative and deliverer,--only completing the care he took
of their temporal interests while on earth by the superintendence he
bestowed on their spiritual benefit now that he was a saint in heaven.
Curses fell upon the head and heart of the royal murderer, as if by
a visible retribution. His children rebelled and died; the survivors
were false and hostile. Richard, who had the one sole virtue of animal
courage, was incited by his mother to resist his father, and was joined
in his unnatural rebellion by his brother John, who had no virtue at
all. His mind, before he died, had lost the energy which kept the
sceptre steady; and the century went down upon the glory of England,
which lay like a wreck upon the water, and was stripped gradually, and
one by one, of all the possessions which had made it great, and even
the traditions of military power which had made it feared. John was on
the throne, and the nation in discontent.



                          THIRTEENTH CENTURY.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

        OTHO, (of Brunswick.)--(_cont._)

  1212. FREDERICK II.

  1247. WILLIAM, (of Holland.)

  1257. RICHARD, (of Cornwall.)

  1257. ALPHONSO, (of Castile.)

  1273. RODOLPH, (of Hapsburg.)

  1291. ADOLPH, (of Nassau.)

  1298. ALBERT I., (of Austria.)


Kings of France.

  A.D.

        PHILIP AUGUSTUS.--(_cont._)

  1223. LOUIS VIII.

  1226. LOUIS IX., (the Fat.)

  1270. PHILIP III., (the Hardy.)

  1285. PHILIP IV., (the Handsome.)


Kings of Scotland.

  A.D.

        WILLIAM.--(_cont._)

  1214. ALEXANDER II.

  1249. ALEXANDER III.

  1286. MARGARET.

  1291. JOHN BALIOL, deposed 1296.


Emperors of Constantinople.

  A.D.

  1203. ISAAC.

  1204. ALEXIS IV.

  1204. DUCAS, (Usurper,) dethroned by warriors of Fourth Crusade.

  _Latin Empire._

  1204. BALDWYN, (of Flanders.)

  1206. HENRY, (his brother.)

  1216. PETER, (of Courtney.)

  1219. ROBERT, (his son.)

  1228. JOHN, (of Brienne.)

  1231. BALDWYN.

  _Greek Empire of Nicæa._

  1222. JOHN DUCAS.

  1255. THEODORUS II.

  1261. JOHN LASCARIS--retakes Constantinople.

  1261. MICHAEL.

  1282. ANDRONICUS II.


Kings of England.

  A.D.

        JOHN.--(_cont._)

  1216. HENRY III.

  1276. EDWARD I.


  1201. FOURTH CRUSADE.

  1217. FIFTH CRUSADE.

  1228. SIXTH CRUSADE.

  1248. SEVENTH CRUSADE.

  1270. EIGHTH AND LAST CRUSADE, by St. Louis against Tunis.


Authors.

ROGER BACON, MATTHEW PARIS, ALEXANDER HALES, (Irrefragable Doctor,)
THOMAS AQUINAS, (the Angelic Doctor.)



                        THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.

  FIRST CRUSADE AGAINST HERETICS--THE ALBIGENSES--MAGNA CHARTA--
  EDWARD I.


The progress and enlightenment of Europe proceed from this period
at a constantly-increasing rate. The rise of commercial cities,
the weakening of the feudal aristocracy, the introduction of the
learning of the Saracenic schools, and the growth of universities
for the cultivation of science and language, contributed greatly to
the result. Another cause used to be assigned for this satisfactory
advance, in the discovery which had been made in the last century at
Amalfi, of a copy of the long-forgotten Pandects of Justinian, and the
reintroduction of the Roman laws, in displacement of the conflicting
customs and barbarous enactments of the various states; but the fact
of the continued existence of the Roman Institutes is not now denied,
though it is probable that the discovery of the Amalfi manuscript may
have given a fresh impulse to the improvement of the local codes.
But an increase of mental activity had at first its usual regretable
accompaniment in the contemporaneous rise of dangerous and unfounded
opinions. Philosophy, which began with an admiration of the skill and
learning of Aristotle, ended by enthroning him as the uncontrolled
master of human reason. Wherever he was studied, all previous standards
of faith and argument were overthrown. The cleverest intellects of
the time could find themselves no higher task than to reconcile the
Christian Scriptures with the decrees of the Stagyrite, for it was
felt that in the case of an irreconcilable divergence between the
teaching of Christ and of Aristotle the scholars of Christendom would
have pronounced in favour of the Greek. A formulary, indeed, was found
out for the joint reception of both; many statements were declared
to be "true in philosophy though false in religion," so that the
most orthodox of Churchmen could receive the doctrines of the Church
by an act of belief, while he gave his whole affection to Aristotle
by an act of the understanding. When teachers and preachers tamper
with the human conscience, the common feelings of honour and fair
play revolt at the degrading attempt. Men of simple minds, who did
not profess to understand Aristotle and could not be blinded by the
subtleties of logic, endeavoured to discover "the more excellent way"
for themselves, but were bewildered by the novelty of their search
for Truth. There were mystic dreamers who saw God everywhere and in
every thing, and counted human nature itself a portion of the Deity,
or maintained that it was possible for man to attain a share of the
divine by the practice of virtue. This Pantheism gave rise to numerous
displays of popular ignorance and impressibility. Messiahs appeared
in many parts of Europe, and were followed by great multitudes. Some
enthusiasts taught that a new dispensation was opening upon man; that
God was the Governor of the world during the Old Testament period;
that Christ had reigned till now, but that the reign of the Holy
Spirit was about to commence, and all things would be renewed. Others,
more hardy, declared their adhesion to the Persian principle of a
duality of persons in heaven, and revived the old Manichean heresy
that the spirit of Hatred was represented in the Jewish Scriptures and
the spirit of Love in the Christian; that the Good god had created
the soul, and the Evil god the body,--on which were justified the
sufferings they voluntarily inflicted on the workmanship of Satan, and
the starvings and flagellations required to bring it into subjection.
This belief found few followers, and would have died out as rapidly as
it had arisen; but the malignity of the enemies of any change found it
convenient to identify those wild enthusiasts with a very different
class of persons who at this time rose into prominent notice. The rich
counties of the South of France were always distinguished from the rest
of the nation by the possession of greater elegance and freedom. The
old Roman civilization had never entirely deserted the shores of the
Mediterranean or the valleys of Languedoc and Provence. In Languedoc a
sect of strange thinkers had given voice to some startling doctrines,
which at once obtained the general consent. Toulouse was the chief
encourager of these new beliefs, and in its hostility to Rome was
supported by its reigning sovereign, Count Raymond VI. This potentate,
from the position of his States,--abutting upon Barcelona, where the
Spaniards, who remembered their recent emancipation from the Mohammedan
yoke, were famous for their tolerance of religious dissent,--and
deriving the greater portion of his wealth from the trade and industry
of the Jews and Arabs established in his seaport towns, saw no great
evil in the principles professed by his people. Those principles,
indeed, when stripped of the malicious additions of his enemies, were
not different from the creed of Protestantism at the present time. They
consisted merely of a complete denial of the sovereignty of the Pope,
the power of the priesthood, the efficacy of prayers for the dead, and
the existence of purgatory.

The other princes of the South looked on religion as a mere instrument
for the advancement of their own interests, and would have imitated
the greater sovereigns of Europe, several of whom for a very slender
consideration would have gone openly over to the standard of Mohammed.
The inhabitants, therefore, of those opulent regions, by the favour of
Raymond and the indifference of the rest, were left for a long time
to their own devices, and gave intimation of a strong desire to break
off their connection with the hierarchy of Rome. And no wonder they
were tired of their dependence on so grasping and unprincipled a power
as the Church had proved to them. More depraved and more exacting
in this district than in any other part of Europe, the clergy had
contrived to alienate the hearts of the common people without gaining
the friendship of the nobility. Equally hated by both,--despised for
their sensuality, and no longer feared for their spiritual power,--the
priests could offer no resistance to the progress of the new opinions.
Those opinions were in fact as much due to the vices of the clergy as
to the convictions of the congregations. Any thing hostile to Rome was
welcomed by the people. A musical and graceful language had grown up
in Languedoc, which was universally recognised as the fittest vehicle
for descriptions of beauty and declarations of love, and had been
found equally adapted for the declamations of political hatred and
denunciations of injustice. But now the whole guild of troubadours,
ceasing to dedicate their muses to ladies' charms or the quarrels
of princes, poured forth their indignation in innumerable songs on
their clerical oppressors. The infamies of the whole order--the monks
black and white, the deacons, the abbots, the bishops, the ordinary
priests--were now married to immortal verse. Their spoiling of orphans,
their swindling of widows and wards, their gluttony and drunkenness,
were chronicled in every township, and were incapable of denial.
Their dishonesty became proverbial. The simplest peasant, on hearing
of a scandalous action, was in the habit of saying, "I would rather
be a priest than be guilty of such a deed." But there were two men
then alive exactly adapted to meet the exigencies of the time. One
was a noble Castilian of the name of Dominic Guzman, who had become
disgusted with the world, and had taken refuge from temptations and
strife among the brethren of a reformed cathedral in Spain. But
temptations and strife forced their way into the cells of Asma, and the
eloquent friar was torn away from his prayers and penances and brought
prominently forward by the backslidings of the men of Languedoc. The
saturnine and self-sacrificing Spaniard had no sympathy with the joyous
proceedings of the princes and merchants of the South. He saw sin in
their enjoyment even of the gifts of nature,--their gracious air and
beautiful scenery. How much more when the gayety of their meetings was
enlivened by interludes throwing ridicule on the pretensions of the
bishops, by hootings at any ecclesiastic who presented himself in the
street, and by sneers and loud laughter at the predictions and miracles
with which the Church resisted their attack! The unbelieving populace
did not spare the personal dignity of the missionary himself. They
pelted him with mud, and fixed long tails of straw at the back of his
robe; they outraged all the feelings of his heart, his Castilian pride,
his Christian belief, his clerical obedience. There is no denying
the energy with which he exerted himself to recall those wandering
sheep to the true fold. His biographer tells us of the successes of
his eloquence, and of the irresistible effect of the inexhaustible
fountain of tears with which he inundated his face till they formed
a river down to his robes. His writings, we are assured, being found
unanswerable by the heretics, were submitted to the ordeal of fire.
Twice they resisted the hottest flames which could be raised by
wood and brimstone, and still without converting the incredulous
subjects of Count Raymond. His miracles, which were numerous and
undeniable, also had no effect. Even his prayers, which seem to have
moved houses and walls, had no efficacy in moving the obdurate hearts
of the unbelievers; and at last, tired out with their recalcitrancy,
the dreadful word was spoken. He cursed the men of Languedoc, the
inhabitants of its towns, the knights and gentlemen who received his
oratory with insult, and in addition to his own anathemas called in the
spiritual thunder of the Pope.

This was the other man peculiarly fitted for the work he had to do. His
cruelty would have done no dishonour to the blood-stained scutcheon of
Nero, and his ambition transcended that of Gregory the Seventh. His
name was Innocent the Third. [A.D. 1207.] For one-half of the crimes
alleged against those heretics, who, from their principal seat in the
diocese of Albi, were known as Albigenses, he would have turned the
whole of France into a desert; and when, with greedy ear, he heard the
denunciations of Dominic, he declared war on the devoted peasants,--war
on the consenting princes; a holy war--more meritorious than a Crusade
against the Turks and infidels--where no life was to be spared, and
where houses and lands were to be the reward of the assailants. All the
wild spirits of the age were wakened by the call. It was a pilgrimage
where all expenses were paid, without the danger of the voyage to the
East or the sword of the Saracen. Foremost among those who hurried
to this mingled harvest of money and blood, of religious absolution
and military fame, was the notorious Simon de Montfort, a man fitted
for the commission of any wickedness requiring a powerful arm and
unrelenting heart. Forward from all quarters of Europe rushed the
exterminating emissaries of the Pope and soldiers of Dominic. "You
shall ravage every field; you shall slay every human being: strike,
and spare not. The measure of their iniquity is full, and the blessing
of the Church is on your heads." These words, sung in sweet chorus by
the Pope and the Monk, were the instructions on which De Montfort was
prepared to act; and what could the sunny Languedoc, the land of song
and dance, of olive-yard and vineyard, do to repel this hostile inroad?
Suddenly all the music of the troubadours was hushed in dreadful
expectation. Raymond was alarmed, and tried to temporize. [A.D. 1208.]
Promises were made and explanations given, but without any offer of
submission to the yoke of Rome: so the infuriated warriors came on,
burning, slaying, ravaging, in terms of their commission, till Dominic
himself grew ashamed of such blood-stained missionaries; and when their
slaughters went on, when they had murdered half the population in cold
blood, and ridden down the peasantry whom despair had summoned to the
defence of their houses and properties, the saintly-minded Spaniard
could no longer honour their hideous butcheries with his presence.
He contented himself with retiring to a church and praying for the
good cause with such zeal and animation that De Montfort and eleven
hundred of his ruffians put to flight a hundred thousand of the armed
soldiers of the South, who felt themselves overthrown and scattered
by an invisible power. Yet not even the prayers of Dominic could keep
the outraged people in unresisting acquiescence. Simon de Montfort was
expelled from the territories he had usurped, and found a mysterious
death under the walls of Toulouse in 1218.

[A.D. 1223.]

The old family was restored in the person of Raymond the Seventh, and
preparations made for defence. But Louis the Eighth of France came to
the aid of the infuriated Pope. Two hundred thousand men followed in
the holy campaign. All the atrocities of the former time were renewed
and surpassed. Town after town yielded, for all the defenders had died.
Pestilence broke out in the invading force, and Louis himself was
carried off by fever. Champions, however, were ready in all quarters to
carry on the glorious cause. Louis the Ninth was now King of France,
and under the government of his mother, Blanche of Castile, the work
commenced by her countryman was completed. The final victory of the
crusaders and punishment of the rebellious were celebrated by the
introduction of the Inquisition, of which the ferocious Dominic was
the presiding spirit. The fire of persecution under his holy stirrings
burnt up what the sword of the destroyer had left, and from that time
the voice of rejoicing was heard no more in Languedoc: her freedom of
thought and elegance of sentiment were equally crushed into silence
by the heel of persecution. The "gay science" perished utterly; the
very language in which the sonnets of knight and troubadour had been
composed died away from the literatures of the earth; and Rome rejoiced
in the destruction of poetry and the restoration of obedience. This is
a very mark-worthy incident in the thirteenth century, as it is the
first experiment, on a great scale, which the Church made to retain her
supremacy by force of arms. The pagan and infidel, the denier of Christ
and the enemies of his teaching, had hitherto been the objects of the
wrath of Christendom. This is the first instance in which a difference
of opinion between Christians themselves had been the ground for
wholesale extermination; for those unfortunate Albigenses acknowledged
the divinity of the Saviour and professed to be his disciples. It
is the crowning proof of the totally-secularized nature of the
established faith. Its weapons were no longer argument and proof, or
even persuasion and promise. The horse up to his fetlocks in blood, the
sword waved in the air, the trampling of marshalled thousands, were
henceforth the supports of the religion of love and charity; and fires
glowing in every market-place and dungeons gaping in every episcopal
castle were henceforth the true expositors of the truth as it is in
Jesus. Fires, indeed, and dungeons, were required to compensate for the
incompleteness, as it appeared to the truly orthodox, of the vengeance
inflicted on the rebels. The Abbot of Citeaux, who gave his spiritual
and corporeal aid to the assault on Beziers, was for a moment made
uneasy by the difficulty his men experienced in distinguishing between
the heretics and believers at the storm of the town. At last he got
out of the difficulty by saying, "Slay them all! The Lord will know
his own." The same benevolent dignitary, when he wrote an account of
his achievement to the Pope, lamented that he had only been able to
cut the throats of twenty thousand. And Gregory the Ninth would have
been better pleased if it had been twice the number. "His vast revenge
had stomach for them all," and already a quarter of a million of the
population were the victims of his anger. Every thing had prospered
to his hand. Raymond was despoiled of the greater portion of his
estates, the voice of opposition was hushed, the castles of the nobles
confiscated to the Church; and yet, when the treaty of Meaux, in 1229,
by which the war was concluded, came to be considered, it was perceived
that the pacification of Languedoc turned not so much to the profit of
Rome as of the rapidly-coalescing monarchy of France.

Long before this, in 1204, Philip Augustus had found little difficulty
in tearing the continental possessions of the English crown, except
Guienne, from the trembling hands of John. The possession of Normandy
had already made France a maritime power; and now, by the acquisition
of the Narbonnais and Maguelonne from Raymond the Seventh, she not
only extended her limits to the Mediterranean, but, by the extinction
of two such vassals as the Count of Toulouse and the Duke of Normandy,
incalculably strengthened the royal crown. Extinguished, indeed, was
the power of Toulouse; for by the same treaty the unfortunate Raymond
bought his peace with Rome by bestowing the county of Venaissin and
half of Avignon on the Holy See. These sacrifices relieved him from the
sentence of excommunication, and made him the best-loved son of the
Church, and the poorest prince in Christendom.

While monarchy was making such strides in France, a counterbalancing
power was formed in England by the combination of the nobility and
the rise of the House of Commons. The story of Magna Charta is so
well known that it will be sufficient to recall some of its principal
incidents, which could not with propriety be omitted in an account of
the important events of the thirteenth century. No event, indeed, of
equal importance occurred in any other country of Europe. However more
startling a crusade or a victory might be at the time, the results of
no single incident have ever been so enduring or so wide-spread as
those of the meeting of the barons at Runnymede and the summoning of
the burgesses to Parliament.

The whole reign of John (1199-1216) is a tale of wickedness and
degradation. Richard of the Lion-Heart had been cruel and unprincipled;
but the sharpness of his sword threw a sort of respectability over
the worst portions of his character. His practical talents, also, and
the romantic incidents of his life, his confinement, and even of his
death, lifted him out of the ordinary category of brutal and selfish
kings and converted a very ferocious warrior into a popular hero. But
John was hateful and contemptible in an equal degree. He deserted his
father, he deceived his brother, he murdered his nephew, he oppressed
his people. He had the pride that made enemies, and wanted the courage
to fight them. A knight without truth, a king without justice, a
Christian without faith,--all classes rebelled against him. Innocent
the Third scented from afar the advantage he might obtain from a
monarch whose nobility despised him and who was hated by his people.
And when John got up a quarrel about the nomination of an archbishop
to Canterbury, the Pope soon saw that though Langton was no à-Beckett,
still less was John a Henry the Second. A sentence of excommunication
was launched at the coward's head, and the crown of England offered to
Philip Augustus of France. Philip Augustus had the modesty to refuse
the splendid bribe, and contented himself with aiding to weaken a
throne he did not feel inclined to fill. It is characteristic of John,
that in the agonies of his fear, and of his desire to gain support
against his people, he hesitated between invoking the assistance of the
Miramolin of Morocco and the Pope of Rome. As good Mussulman with the
one as Christian with the other, he finally decided on Innocent, and
signed a solemn declaration of submission, making public resignation
of the crowns of England and Ireland "to the Apostles Peter and
Paul, to Innocent and his legitimate successors;" and, aided by the
blessings of these new masters, and by the enforced neutrality of
France, he was enabled to defeat his indignant nobles, and force them
for two years to wear the same chains of submission to Rome which
weighed upon himself. But in 1215 the patience of noble and peasant,
of bishop and priest, was utterly exhausted. [A.D. 1215.] John fled
on the first outburst of the collected storm, and thought himself
fortunate in stopping its violence by signing the Great Charter,
the written ratification of the liberties which had been conferred
by some of his predecessors, but whose chief authority was in the
traditions and customs of the land. This was not an overthrow of an
old constitution and the substitution of a new and different code, but
merely a formal recognition of the great and fundamental principles
on which only government can be carried on,--security of person and
property, and the just administration of equitable laws. All orders in
the State were comprehended in this national agreement. The Church was
delivered from the exactions of the king, and left to an undisturbed
intercourse on spiritual matters with her spiritual head. She was to
have perfect freedom of election to vacant benefices, and the king's
rapacity was guarded against by a clause reducing any fine he might
impose on an ecclesiastic to an accordance with his professional
income, and not with the extent of his lay possessions. The barons,
of course, took equal care of their own interests as they had shown
for those of the Church. They corrected many abuses from which they
suffered, in respect to their feudal obligations. They regulated the
fines and quit-rents on succession to their fiefs, the management of
crown wards, and the marriage of heiresses and widows. They insisted
also on the assemblage of a council of the great and lesser barons,
to consult for the general weal, and put some check on the disposal
of their lands by their tenants, in order to keep their vassals from
impoverishment and their military organization unimpaired. But when
church and aristocracy were thus protected from the tyranny of the
king, were the interests of the great mass of the people neglected?
This has sometimes been argued against the legislators of Runnymede,
but very unjustly; for as much attention was paid to the liberties
and immunities of the municipal corporations and of ordinary subjects
as to those of the prelates and lords. Every person had the right to
dispose of his property by will. No arbitrary tolls could be exacted of
merchants. All men might enter or leave the kingdom without restraint.
The courts of law were no longer to be stationary at Westminster, to
which complainants from Northumberland or Cornwall never could make
their way, but were to travel about, bringing justice to every man's
door. They were to be open to every one, and justice was to be neither
"sold, refused, nor delayed." Circuits were to be held every year. No
man was to be put on his trial from mere rumour, but on the evidence
of lawful witnesses. No sentence could be passed on a freeman except
by his peers in jury assembled. No fine could be imposed so exorbitant
as to ruin the culprit. But the bishops and clergy, the nobility and
their vassals, the corporations and freemen, were not the main bodies
of the State; and the framers of Magna Charta have been blamed for
neglecting the great majority of the population, which consisted of
serfs or villeins. This accusation is, however, not true, even with
respect to the words of the Charter; for it is expressly provided that
the carts and working-implements of that class of the people shall
not be seizable in satisfaction of a fine; and in its intention the
accusation is more untenable still; for although the reformers of 1215
had no design of granting new privileges to any hitherto-unprivileged
order and their work was limited to the legal re-establishment of
privileges which John had attempted to overthrow, the large and
liberal spirit of their declarations is shown by the notice they take
of the hitherto-unconsidered classes. For the protection accorded to
their ploughs and carts, which are specifically named in the Charter,
ratified at once their right to hold property,--the first condition of
personal freedom and independence,--and, by an analogy of reasoning,
restrained their more immediate masters from tyranny and injustice. It
could not be long before a man secured by the national voice in the
possession of one species of property extended his rights over every
thing else. If the law guaranteed him the plough he held, the cart he
drove, the spade he plied, why not the house he occupied, the little
field he cultivated? And if the poorest freeman walked abroad in the
pride of independence, because the baron could no longer insult him,
or the priest oppress him, or the king himself strip him of land and
gear, how could he deny the same blessings to his neighbour, the rustic
labourer, who was already master of cart and plough and was probably
richer and better fed than himself?

But a firmer barrier against the encroachments of kings and nobles
than the written words of Magna Charta was still required, and people
were not long in seeing how little to be trusted are legal forms when
the contracting parties are disposed to evade their obligations. John
indeed attempted, in the very year that saw his signature to the
Charter, to expunge his name from the obligatory deed by the plenary
power of the Pope. Innocent had no scruple in giving permission to
his English vassal to break the oath and swerve from his engagement.
But the English spirit was not so broken as the king's, and the
barons took the management of the country into their own hands. When
the experience of a few years of Henry the Third had shown them that
there was no improvement on the personal character of his predecessor,
they took effectual measures for the protection of all classes of the
people. Henry began his inglorious reign in 1216, and ended it in
1272. In those fifty-six years great changes took place, but all in an
upward direction, out of the darkness and unimpressionable stolidity
of previous ages. The dawn of a more intellectual period seemed at
hand, and already the ghosts of ignorance and oppression began to scent
the morning air. In 1264 an example was set by England which it would
have been well if all the other Western lands had followed, for by the
institution of a true House of Commons it laid the foundation for the
only possible liberal and improvable government,--the only government
which can derive its strength from the consent of the governed
legitimately expressed, and vary in its action and spirit with the
changes in the general mind. In cases of error or temporary delusion,
there is always left the most admirable machinery for retracing its
steps and rectifying what is wrong. In cases of universal approval and
unanimous exertion, there is no power, however skilfully wielded by
autocrats or despots, which can compare with the combined energy of a
whole and undivided people.

[A.D. 1226-1270.]

The contemporary of this Henry on the throne of France was the gentle
and honest Louis the Ninth. If those epithets do not sound so high as
the usual phraseology applied to kings, we are to consider how rare are
the examples either of honesty or gentleness among the rulers of that
time, and how difficult it was to possess or exercise those virtues.
But this gentle and honest king, who was scarcely raised in rank when
the Church had canonized him as a saint, achieved as great successes
by the mere strength of his character as other monarchs had done by
fire and sword. His love of justice enabled him to extend the royal
power over his contending vassals, who chose him as umpire of their
quarrels and continued to submit to him as their chief. He heard
the complaints of the lower orders of his people in person, sitting,
like the kings of the East, under the shade of a tree, and delivering
judgment solely on the merits of the case. His undoubted zeal on behalf
of his religion permitted him, without the accusation of heresy, to
put boundaries to the aggressions of the Church. He resisted its more
violent claims, and gave liberty to ecclesiastics as well as laymen,
who were equally interested in the curtailment of the Papal power. He
granted a great number of municipal charters, and published certain
Establishments, as they were called, which were improvements on the old
customs of the realm and were in a great measure founded on the Roman
law. The spirit of the time was popular progress; and both in France
and England great advances were made; deliberative national assemblies
took their rise,--in France, under the conscientious monarch, with the
full aid and influence of the royal authority, in England, under the
feeble and selfish Henry, by the necessity of gaining the aid of the
Commons against the Crown to the outraged and insulted nobility. In
both nations these assemblies bore for a long time very distinguishable
marks of their origin. The Parliaments of France, sprung from the
royal will, were little else than the recorders of the decrees of the
monarch; while the Parliaments of England, remembering their popular
origin, have always had a feeling of independence, and a tendency to
make rather hard bargains with our kings. Even before this time the
Great Council had occasionally opposed the exactions of the Crown; but
when the falsehood and avarice of Henry III. had excited the popular
odium, the barons of 1263, in noble emulation of their predecessors
of 1215, had risen in defence of the nation's liberties, and the last
hand was put to the building up of our present constitution, by the
summoning, "to consult on public affairs," of certain burgesses from
the towns, in addition to the prelates, knights, and freeholders
who had hitherto constituted the parliamentary body. But those
barons and tenants-in-chief attended in their own right, and were
altogether independent of the principle of election and representation.
[A.D. 1265.] The summons issued by Simon de Montfort (son of the
truculent hero of the Albigensian crusade, and brother-in-law of Henry)
invested with new privileges the already-enfranchised boroughs. From
this time the representatives of the Commons are always mentioned in
the history of parliaments; and although this proceeding of De Montfort
was only intended to strengthen his hands against his enemies, and,
after his temporary object was gained, was not designed to have any
further effect on the constitutional progress of our country, still,
the principle had been adopted, the example was set, and the right to
be represented in Parliament became one of the most valued privileges
of the enfranchised commons.

It is observable that this increase of civil freedom in the various
countries of Europe was almost in exact proportion to the diminution
of ecclesiastical power. It is equally observable that the weakening
of the priestly influence rapidly followed the infamous excesses
into which its intolerance and pride had hurried the princes and
other supporters of its claims. Never, indeed, had it appeared in so
palmy and flourishing a state as in the course of this century; and
yet the downward journey was begun. The devastation it carried into
Languedoc, and the depopulation of all those sunny regions near the
Mediterranean Sea--the crusades against the Saracens in Asia, to which
it sent the strength of Europe, and against the Moors in Africa, to
which it impelled the most obedient, and also, when his religious
passions were roused, the most relentless, of the Church's sons,
no other than St. Louis--and the submission of the Patriarchates of
Jerusalem and Alexandria to the Romish See--these and other victories
of the Church were succeeded, before the century closed, by a manifest
though silent insurrection against its spiritual domination. There
were many reasons for this. The inferior though still dignified clergy
in the different nations were alienated by the excessive exactions
of their foreign head. In France the submissive St. Louis was forced
to become the guardian of the privileges and income of the Gallican
Church. In England the number of Italian incumbents exceeded that of
the English-born; and in a few years the Pope managed to draw from the
Church and State an amount equal to fifteen millions of our present
coin. In Scotland, poorer and more proud, the king united himself to
his clergy and nobles, and would not permit the Romish exactors to
enter his dominions. The avarice and venality of Rome were repulsive
equally to priest and layman. The strong support, also, which hitherto
had arisen to the Holy See from the innumerable monks and friars,
could no longer be furnished by the depressed and vitiated communities
whom the coarsest of the common people despised for their sensuality
and vice. In earlier times the worldly pretensions of the secular
clergy were put to shame by the poverty and self-denial of the regular
orders. Their ascetic retirement, and fastings, and scourgings, had
recommended them to the peasantry round their monasteries, by the
contrast their peaceful lives presented to the pomp and self-indulgence
of bishops and priests. But now the character of the two classes was
greatly changed. The parson of the parish, when he was not an Italian
absentee, was an English clergyman, whose interests and feelings were
all in unison with those of his flock; the monks were an army of
mercenary marauders in the service of a foreign prince, advocating his
most unpopular demands and living in the ostentatious disregard of all
their vows. Even the lowest class of all, the thralls and villeins,
were not so much as before in favour of their tonsured brothers, who
had escaped the labours of the field by taking refuge in the abbey;
for Magna Charta had given the same protection against oppression to
themselves, and the enfranchisement of the boroughs had put power
into the hands of citizens and freemen, who would not be so apt to
abuse it as the martial baron or mitred prelate had been. The same
principles were at work in France; and when the newly-established
Franciscans and Dominicans were pointed to as restoring the purity and
abnegation of the monks of old, the time for belief in those virtues
being inherent, or even possible, in a cloister, was past, and little
effect was produced in favour of Rome by the bloodthirsty brotherhood
of the ferocious St. Dominic or the more amiable professions of the
half-witted St. Francis of Assisi. [A.D. 1272.] The tide, indeed,
had so completely turned after the commencement of the reign of
Edward the First, that the Churchmen, both in England and France,
preferred being taxed by their own Sovereign to being subjected to
the arbitrary exactions of the Pope. Edward gave them no exemption
from the obligation to support the expenses of the State in common
with all the other holders of property, and pressed, indeed, rather
more heavily upon the prelates and rich clergy than on the rest of the
contributors, as if to drive to a decision the question, to which of
the potentates--the Pope or the sovereign--tribute was lawfully due.
When this object was gained, a bull was let loose upon the sacrilegious
monarch by Boniface the Eighth, which positively forbids any member
of the priesthood to contribute to the national exchequer on any
occasion or emergency whatever. But the king made very light of the
papal authority when it stood between him and the revenues of his
crown, and the national clergy submitted to be taxed like other men.
In France the same discussion led to the same result. The Gallican and
English Churches asserted their liberties in a way which must have been
peculiarly gratifying to the kings,--namely, by subsidies to the Crown,
and disobedience to the fulminations of the Pope.

But no surer proof of the increased wisdom of mankind can be given
than the termination of the Crusades. Perhaps, indeed, it was found
that religious excitement could be combined with warlike distinction
by assaults on the unbelieving or disobedient at home. There seemed
little use in traversing the sea and toiling through the deserts of
Syria, when the same heavenly rewards were held out for a campaign
against the inhabitants of Languedoc and the valleys of the Alps.
Clearer views also of the political effect of those distant expeditions
in strengthening the hands of the Pope, who, as spiritual head of
Christendom, was _ex officio_ commander of the crusading armies, must
no doubt have occurred to the various potentates who found themselves
compelled to aid the very authority from whose arrogance they suffered
so much. The exhaustion of riches and decrease of population were
equally strong reasons for repose. But none of all these considerations
had the least effect on the simple and credulous mind of Louis the
Ninth. Resisting as he did the interference of the Pope in his
character of King of France, no one could yield more devoted submission
to the commands of the Holy Father when uttered to him in his character
of Christian knight. At an early age he vowed himself to the sacred
cause, and in the year 1248 the seventh and last crusade to the Holy
Land took its way from Aigues-Mortes and Marseilles, under the guidance
of the youthful King and the Princes of France. Disastrous to a more
pitiful degree than any of its predecessors, this expedition began its
course in Egypt by the conquest of Damietta, and from thenceforth sank
from misery to misery, till the army, surprised by the inundations
of the Nile, and hemmed in by the triumphant Mussulmans, surrendered
its arms, and the nobility of France, with its king at its head,
found itself the prisoner of Almohadam. An insurrection in a short
time deprived their conqueror of life and crown, and a treaty for the
payment of a great ransom set the captives free. Ashamed, perhaps,
to return to his own country, sighing for the crown of martyrdom,
zealous at all events for the privileges of a pilgrim, Louis betook
himself to Palestine, and, as he was bound by the convention not
to attack Jerusalem, he wasted four years in uselessly rebuilding
the fortifications of Ptolemais, and Sidon, and Jaffa, and only
embarked on his homeward voyage when the death of his mother and the
discontent of his subjects necessitated his return. [A.D. 1254.] After
an absence of six years, the enfeebled and exhausted king sat once more
in the chair of judgment, and gained all hearts by his generosity
and truth. Yet the old fire was not extinct. His oath was binding
still, and in 1270, girt with many a baron bold, and accompanied by
his brother, Charles of Anjou, and the gay Prince Edward of England,
he fixed the red cross upon his shoulder and led his army to the
sea-shore. The ships were all ready, but the destination of the war was
changed. A new power had established itself at Tunis, more hostile to
Christianity than the Moslem of Egypt, and nearer at hand. In an evil
hour the King was persuaded to attack the Tunisian Caliph. He landed
at Carthage, and besieged the capital of the new dominion. But Tunis
witnessed the death of its besieger, for Louis, worn out with fatigue
and broken with disappointment, was stricken by a contagious malady,
and expired with the courage of a hero and the pious resignation of a
Christian. With him the crusading spirit vanished from every heart.
All the Christian armies were withdrawn. The Knights-Hospitallers,
the Templars, the Teutonic Order, passed over to Cyprus, and left the
hallowed spots of sacred story to be profaned by the footsteps of the
Infidel. Asia and Europe henceforth pursued their separate courses; and
it was left to the present day to startle the nations of both quarters
of the world with the spectacle of a war about the possession of the
Holy Places.

The century which has the slaughter of the Albigenses, the Magna
Charta, the rise of the Commons, the termination of the Crusades, to
distinguish it, will not need other features to be pointed out in
order to abide in our memories. Yet the reign of Edward the First,
the greatest of our early kings, must be dwelt on a little longer, as
it would not be fair to omit the personal merits of a man who united
the virtues of a legislator to those of a warrior. Whether it was
the prompting of ambition, or a far-sighted policy, which led him to
attempt the conquest of Scotland, we need not stop to inquire. It
might have satisfied the longings both of policy and ambition if he
had succeeded in creating a compact and irresistible Great Britain
out of England harassed and Scotland insecure. And if, contented with
his undivided kingdom, he had devoted himself uninterruptedly to the
introduction and consolidation of excellent laws, and had extended the
ameliorations he introduced in England to the northern portion of his
dominions, he would have earned a wider fame than the sword has given
him, and would have been received with blessings as the Justinian of
the whole island, instead of establishing a rankling hatred in the
bosoms of one of the cognate peoples which it took many centuries to
allay, if, indeed, it is altogether obliterated at the present time;
for there are not wanting enthusiastic Scotchmen who show considerable
wrath when treating of his assumptions of superiority over their
country and his interference with their national affairs.

Edward's sister had been the wife of Alexander the Third of Scotland.
Two sons of that marriage had died, and the only other child, a
daughter, had married Eric the Norwegian. In Margaret, the daughter of
this king, the Scottish succession lay, and when her grandfather died
in 1290, the Scottish states sent a squadron to bring the young queen
home, and great preparations were made for the reception of the "Maid
of Norway." But the Maid of Norway was weak in health; the voyage was
tempestuous and long; and weary and exhausted she landed on one of the
Orkney Islands, and in a short time a rumour went round the land that
the hope of Scotland was dead. Edward was among the first to learn
the melancholy news. He determined to assert his rights, and began
by trying to extend the feudal homage which several of the Scottish
kings had rendered for lands held in England, over the Scottish crown
itself. When the various competitors for the vacant throne submitted
their pretensions to his decision he made their acknowledgment of
his supremacy an indispensable condition. Out of the three chief
candidates he fixed on John Baliol, who, in addition to the most legal
title, had perhaps the equal recommendation of being the feeblest
personal character. Robert Bruce and Hastings, the other candidates,
submitted to their disappointment, and Baliol became the mere viceroy
of the English king. He obeyed a summons to Westminster as a vassal
of Edward, to answer for his conduct, and was treated with disdain.
[A.D. 1293.] But the Scottish barons had more spirit than their king.
They forced him to resist the pretensions of his overbearing patron,
and for the first time, in 1295, began the long connection between
France and Scotland by a treaty concluded between the French monarch
and the twelve Guardians of Scotland, to whom Baliol had delegated his
authority before retiring forever to more peaceful scenes. From this
time we find that, whenever war was declared by France on England,
Scotland was let loose on it to distract its attention, in the same way
as, whenever war was declared upon France, the hostility of Flanders
was roused against its neighbour. But the benefits bestowed by England
on her Low Country ally were far greater than any advantage which
France could offer to Scotland. Facilities of trade and favourable
tariffs bound the men of Ghent and Bruges to the interests of Edward.
But the friendship of France was limited to a few bribes and the loan
of a few soldiers. Scotland, therefore, became impoverished by her
alliance, while Flanders grew fat on the liberality of her powerful
friend. England itself derived no small benefit both from the hostility
of Scotland and the alliance of the Flemings. When the Northern army
was strong, and the King was hard pressed by the great Wallace, the
sagacious Parliament exacted concessions and immunities from its
imperious lord before it came liberally to his aid; and whenever we
read in one page of a check to the arms of Edward, we read in the next
of an enlargement of the popular rights. When the first glow of the
apparent conquest of Scotland was past, and the nation was seen rising
under the Knight of Elderslie after it had been deserted by its natural
leaders, the lords and barons,--and, later, when in 1297 he gained a
great victory over the English at Stirling,--the English Parliament
lost no time in availing themselves of the defeat, and sent over to the
king, who was at the moment in Flanders menacing the flanks of France,
a parchment for his signature, containing the most ample ratification
of their power of granting or withholding the supplies. It was on
the 10th of October, 1297, that this important document was signed;
and, satisfied with this assurance of their privileges, the "nobles,
knights of the shire, and burgesses of England in parliament assembled"
voted the necessary funds to enable their sovereign lord to punish his
rebels in Scotland. Perhaps these contests between the sister countries
deepened the patriotic feeling of each, and prepared them, at a later
day, to throw their separate and even hostile triumphs into the united
stock, so that, as Charles Knight says in his admirable "Popular
History," "the Englishman who now reads of the deeds of Wallace and
Bruce, or hears the stirring words of one of the noblest lyrics of
any tongue, feels that the call to 'lay the proud usurper low' is one
which stirs his blood as much as that of the born Scotsman; for the
small distinctions of locality have vanished, and the great universal
sympathies for the brave and the oppressed stay not to ask whether the
battle for freedom was fought on the banks of the Thames or of the
Forth. The mightiest schemes of despotism speedily perish. The union
of nations is accomplished only by a slow but secure establishment of
mutual interests and equal rights."



                          FOURTEENTH CENTURY.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

        ALBERT.--(_cont._)

  1308. HENRY VII., (of Luxemburg.)

  1314. LOUIS IV., (of Bavaria).                 } Rival

  1314. FREDERICK III., (of Austria,) died 1330. } Emperors

  1347. CHARLES IV., (of Luxemburg.)

  1378. WENCESLAS, (of Bohemia.)


Kings of France.

  A.D.

        PHILIP IV.--(_cont._)

  1314. LOUIS X., (Hutin.)

  1316. PHILIP V., (the Long.)

  1322. CHARLES IV., (the Handsome.)

  1328. PHILIP VI.

  1350. JOHN II., (the Good.)

  1364. CHARLES V., (the Wise.)

  1380. CHARLES VI., (the Beloved.)


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

        ANDRONICUS II.--(_cont._)

  1332. ANDRONICUS III.

  1341. JOHN PALÆOLOGUS.

  1347. JOHN CANTACUZENUS.

  1355. JOHN PALÆOLOGUS, (restored.)

  1391. MANUEL PALÆOLOGUS.


Kings of England.

  A.D.

        EDWARD I.--(_cont._)

  1307. EDWARD II.

  1327. EDWARD III.

  1377. RICHARD II.

  1399. HENRY IV.


Kings of Scotland.

  A.D.

  1306. ROBERT BRUCE

  1329. DAVID II.

  1371. ROBERT II.

  1390. ROBERT III.


  1311. Suppression of the Knights Templars.

  1343. Cannon first used.

  1370. John Huss born.

  1383. Bible first translated into a vulgar tongue, (Wickliff's.)


Authors.

DANTE, PETRARCH, BOCCACCIO, CHAUCER, FROISSART, JOHN DUNS SCOTUS,
BRADWARDINE, WILLIAM OCCAM, WICKLIFF.



                        THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

  ABOLITION OF THE ORDER OF THE TEMPLARS--RISE OF MODERN
  LITERATURES--SCHISM OF THE CHURCH.


In the year 1300 a jubilee was celebrated at Rome, when remission of
sins and other spiritual indulgences were offered to all visitors by
the liberal hand of Pope Boniface the Eighth. And for the thirty days
of the solemn ceremonial, the crowds who poured in from all parts
of Europe, and pursued their way from church to church and kissed
with reverential lips the relics of the saints and martyrs, gave an
appearance of strength and universality to the Roman Church which had
long departed from it. Yet the downward course had been so slow, and
each defection or defeat had been so covered from observation in a
cloud of magnificent boasts, that the real weakness of the Papacy was
only known to the wise and politic. Even in the splendours and apparent
triumph of the jubilee processions it was perceived by the eyes of
hostile statesmen that the day of faith was past.

Dante, the great poet of Italy, was there, piercing with his Ithuriel
spear the false forms under which the spiritual tyranny concealed
itself. Countless multitudes deployed before him without blinding him
for a moment to the unreality of all he saw. Others were there, not
deriving their conclusions, like Dante, from the intuitive insight
into truth with which the highest imaginations are gifted, but from
the calmer premises of reason and observation. Even while the pæans
were loudest and the triumph at its height, thoughts were entering
into many hearts which had never been harboured before, but which in
no long space bore their fruits, not only in opposition to the actual
proceedings of Rome, but in undisguised contempt and ridicule of all
its claims. Boniface himself, however, was ignorant of all these
secret feelings. He was now past eighty years of age, and burning with
a wilder personal ambition and more presumptuous ostentation than
would have been pardonable at twenty. He appeared in the processions
of the jubilee, dressed in the robes of the Empire, with two swords,
and the globe of sovereignty carried before him. A herald cried,
at the same time, "Peter, behold thy successor! Christ, behold thy
vicar upon earth!" But the high looks of the proud were soon to be
brought low. The King of France at that time was Philip the Handsome,
the most unprincipled and obstinate of men, who stuck at no baseness
or atrocity to gain his ends,--who debased the Crown, pillaged the
Church, oppressed the people, tortured the Jews, and impoverished the
nobility,--a self-willed, strong-handed, evil-hearted despot, and
glowing with an intense desire to humble and spoil the Holy Father
himself. If he could get the Pope to be his tax-gatherer, and, instead
of emptying the land of all its wealth for the benefit of the Roman
exchequer, pour Roman, German, English, European contributions into his
private treasury, the object of his life would be gained. His coffers
would be overflowing, and his principal opponent disgraced. A wonderful
and apparently impossible scheme, but which nevertheless succeeded. The
combatants at first seemed very equally matched. When Boniface made an
extravagant demand, Philip sent him a contemptuous reply. When Boniface
turned for alliances to the Emperor or to England, Philip threw himself
on the sympathy of his lords and the inhabitants of the towns; for
the parts formerly played by Pope and King were now reversed. The
Papacy, instead of recurring to the people and strengthening itself
by contact with the masses who had looked to the Church as their
natural guard from the aggressions of their lords, now had recourse
to the more dangerous expedient of exciting one sovereign against
another, and weakened its power as much by concessions to its friends
as by the hostility of its foes. The king, on the other hand, flung
himself on the support of his subjects, including both the Church and
Parliament, and thus raised a feeling of national independence which
was more fatal to Roman preponderance than the most active personal
enmity could have been. Accordingly, we find Boniface offending the
population of France by his intemperate attacks on the worst of kings,
and that worst of kings attracting the admiration of his people by
standing up for the dignity of the Crown against the presumption of the
Pope. The fact of this national spirit is shown by the very curious
circumstance that while Philip and his advisers, in their quarrels
with Boniface, kept within the bounds of respectful language in the
letters they actually sent to Rome, other answers were disseminated
among the people as having been forwarded to the Pope, outraging all
the feelings of courtesy and respect. It was like the conduct of the
Chinese mandarins, who publish vainglorious and triumphant bulletins
among their people, while they write in very different language to
the enemy at their gates. Thus, in reply to a very insulting brief of
Boniface, beginning, "Ausculta, fili," (Listen, son,) and containing
a catalogue of all his complaints against the French king, Philip
published a version of it, omitting all the verbiage in which the
insolent meaning was involved, and accompanied it in the same way with
a copy of the unadorned eloquence which constituted his reply. In this
he descended to very plain speaking. "Philip," he says, "by the grace
of God, King of the French, to Boniface, calling himself Pope, little
or no salutation. Be it known to your Fatuity that we are subject in
temporals to no man alive; that the collation of churches and vacant
prebends is inherent in our Crown; that their 'fruits' belong to us;
that all presentations made or to be made by us are valid; that we
will maintain our presentees in possession of them with all our power;
and that we hold for fools and idiots whosoever believes otherwise."
This strange address received the support of the great majority of
the nation, and was meant as a translation into the vulgar tongue of
the real intentions of the irritated monarch, which were concealed
in the letter really despatched in a mist of polite circumlocutions.
Boniface perceived the animus of his foe, but bore himself as loftily
as ever. When a meeting of the barons, held in the Louvre, had appealed
to a General Council and had passed a vote of condemnation against
the Pope as guilty of many crimes, not exclusive of heresy itself, he
answered, haughtily, that the summoning of a council was a prerogative
of the Pope, and that already the King had incurred the danger of
excommunication for the steps he had taken against the Holy Chair. To
prevent the publication of the sentence, which might have been made a
powerful weapon against France in the hands of Albert of Germany or
Edward of England, it was necessary to give notice of an appeal to a
General Council into the hands of the Pope in person. He had retired
to Anagni, his native town, where he found himself more secure among
his friends and relations than in the capital of his See. Colonna, a
discontented Roman and sworn enemy of Boniface, and Supino, a military
adventurer, whom Philip bought over with a bribe of ten thousand
florins, introduced Nogaret, the French chancellor and chief adviser of
the king, into Anagni, with cries from their armed attendants of "Death
to the Pope!" "Long live the King of France!" The cardinals fled in
dismay. The inhabitants, not being able to prevent their visitors from
pillaging the shops, joined them in that occupation, and every thing
was in confusion. The Pope was in despair. His own nephew had abandoned
his cause and made terms for himself. Accounts vary as to his behaviour
in these extremities. Perhaps they are all true at different periods of
the scene. At first, overwhelmed with the treachery of his friends, he
is said to have burst into tears. Then he gathered his ancient courage,
and, when commanded to abdicate, offered his neck to the assailants;
and at last, to strike them with awe, or at least to die with dignity,
he bore on his shoulders the mantle of St. Peter, placed the crown of
Constantine on his head, and grasped the keys and cross in his hands.
Colonna, they say, struck him on the cheek with his iron gauntlet till
the blood came. Let us hope that this is an invention of the enemy; for
the Pope was eighty-six years old, and Colonna was a Roman soldier.
There is always a tendency to elevate the sufferer in the cause we
favour, by the introduction of ennobling circumstances. In this and
other instances of the same kind there is the further temptation in
orthodox historians to make the most they can of the martyrdom of
one of their chiefs, and in a peculiar manner to glorify the wrongs
of their hero by their resemblance to the sufferings of Christ. But
the rest of the story is melancholy enough without the aggravation of
personal pain. The pontiff abstained from food for three whole days.
He consumed his grief in secret, and was only relieved at last from
fears of the dagger or poison by an insurrection of the people. They
fell upon the French escort when they perceived how weak it was, and
carried the Pope into the market-place. He said, "Good people, you have
seen how our enemies have spoiled me of my goods. Behold me as poor as
Job. I tell you truly, I have nothing to eat or drink. If there is any
good woman who will charitably bestow on me a little bread and wine, or
even a little water, I will give her God's blessing and mine. Whoever
will bring me the smallest thing in this my necessity, I will give him
remission of all his sins." All the people cried, "Long live the Holy
Father!" They ran and brought him bread and wine, and any thing they
had. Everybody would enter and speak to him, just as to any other of
the poor. In a short time after this he proceeded to Rome, and felt
once more in safety. But his heart was tortured by anger and a thirst
for vengeance. He became insane; and when he tried to escape from the
restraints his state demanded, and found his way barred by the Orsini,
his insanity became madness. He foamed at the mouth and ground his
teeth when he was spoken to. He repelled the offers of his friends with
curses and violence, and died without the sacraments or consolations of
the Church. [A.D. 1303.] The people remembered the prophecy made of him
by his predecessor Celestin:--"You mounted like a fox; you will reign
like a lion; you will die like a dog."

But the degradation of the papal chair was not yet complete, and Philip
was far from satisfied. Merely to have harassed to death an old man
of eighty-six was not sufficient for a monarch who wanted a servant
in the Pope more than a victim. To try his power over Benedict the
Eleventh, the successor of Boniface, he began a process in the Roman
court against the memory of his late antagonist. Benedict replied by
an anathema in general terms on the murderers of Boniface, and all
Philip's crimes and schemings seemed of no avail. But one day the
sister of a religious order presented His Holiness with a basket of
figs, and in a short time the pontifical throne was vacant.

Now was the time for the triumph of the king. He had devoted much
time and money to win over a number of cardinals to his cause, and
obtained a promise under their hands and seals that they would vote
for whatever candidate he chose to name. He was not long in fixing on
a certain Bernard de Goth, Archbishop of Bordeaux, the most greedy
and unprincipled of the prelates of France, and appointed a meeting
with him to settle the terms of a bargain. They met in a forest, they
heard mass together, and took mutual oaths of secrecy, and then the
business began. "See, archbishop," said the king: "I have it in my
power to make you Pope if I choose; and if you promise me six favours
which I will ask of you, I will assure you that dignity, and give you
evidence of the truth of what I say." So saying, he showed the letters
and delegation of both the electoral colleges. The archbishop, filled
with covetousness, and seeing at once how entirely the popedom depended
on the king, threw himself trembling with joy at Philip's feet. "My
lord," he said, "I now perceive you love me more than any man alive,
and that you render me good for evil. It is for you to command,--for
me to obey; and I shall always be ready to do so." The king lifted
him up, kissed him on the mouth, and said to him, "The six special
favours I have to ask of you are these. First, that you will reconcile
me entirely with the Church, and get me pardoned for my misdeed in
arresting Pope Boniface. Second, that you will give the communion to
me and all my supporters. Third, that you will give me tithes of the
clergy of my realm for five years, to supply the expenses of the war
in Flanders. Fourth, that you will destroy and annul the memory of
Boniface the Eighth. Fifth, that you will give the dignity of Cardinal
to Messer Jacopo, and Messer Piero de la Colonna, along with certain
others of my friends. As for the sixth favour and promise, I reserve
it for the proper time and place, for it is a great and secret thing."
The archbishop promised all by oath on the Corpus Domini, and gave his
brother and two nephews as hostages. The king, on the other hand, made
oath to have him elected Pope.

[A.D. 1305.]

His Holiness Clement the Fifth was therefore the thrall and servant of
Philip le Bel. No office was too lowly, or sacrifice too large, for
the grateful pontiff. He carried his subserviency so far as to cross
the Alps and receive the wages of his obedience, the papal tiara, at
Lyons. He became in fact a citizen of France, and subject of the crown.
He delivered over the clergy to the relentless hands of the king. He
gave him tithes of all their livings; and as the Count of Flanders
owed money to Philip which he had no means of paying, the generosity
of the Pope came to the rescue, and he gave the tithes of the Flemish
clergy to the bankrupt count in order to enable him to pay his debt to
the exacting monarch. But the gift of these taxes was not a transfer
from the Pope to the king or count: His Holiness did not reduce his
own demands in consideration of the subsidies given to those powers.
He completed, indeed, the ruin the royal tax-gatherers began; for he
travelled in more than imperial state from end to end of France, and
ate bishop and abbot, and prior and prebendary, out of house and home.
Wherever he rested for a night or two, the land became impoverished;
and all this wealth was poured into the lap of a certain Brunissende
de Périgord, who cost the Church, it was popularly said, more than
the Holy Land. But the capacity of Christian contribution was soon
exhausted; and yet the interminable avarice of Pope and King went on.
The honourable pair hit upon an excellent expedient, and the Jews were
offered as a fresh pasture for the unimpaired appetite of the Father
of Christendom and the eldest son of the Church. Philip hated their
religion, but seems to have had a great respect for the accuracy of
their proceedings in trade. So, to gratify the first, he stripped
them of all they had, and, to prove the second, confiscated the money
he found entered in their books as lent on interest to Christians.
He was found to be a far more difficult creditor to deal with than
the original lenders had been, and many a baron and needy knight had
to refund to Philip the sums, with interest at twenty per cent.,
which they might have held indefinitely from the sons of Abraham and
repudiated in an access of religious fervour at last.

But worse calamities were hanging over the heads of knights and barons
than the avarice of Philip and the dishonesty of Clement. Knighthood
itself, and feudalism, were about to die,--knighthood, which had
offered at all events an ideal of nobleness and virtue, and feudalism,
which had replaced the expiring civilization of Rome founded on the
centralization of power in one man's hands, and the degradation of all
the rest, with a new form of society which derived its vitality from
independent action and individual self-respect. It was by a still wider
expansion of power and influence that feudalism was to be superseded.
Other elements besides the possession of land were to come into the
constitution of the new state of human affairs. The man henceforth
was not to be the mere representative of so many acres of ground. His
individuality was to be still further defined, and learning, wealth,
knowledge, arts, and sciences were from this time forth to have as
much weight in the commonwealth as the hoisted pennon and strong-armed
followers of the steel-clad warrior.

    "The old order changeth, giving place to new,
     Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

We have already seen the prosperity of the towns, and have even heard
the contemptuous laughter with which the high-fed burghers of Ghent
or Bruges received the caracollings of their ponderous suzerain as,
armed _cap-à-pied_, he rode up to their impregnable walls. Not less
barricaded than the contemptuous city behind the steel fortifications
with which he protected his person, the knight had nothing to fear so
long as he bestrode his war-horse and managed to get breath enough
through the openings of his cross-barred visor. He was as safe in his
iron coating as a turtle in its shell; but he was nearly as unwieldy as
he was safe. When galloping forward against a line of infantry, nothing
could resist his weight. With heavy mace or sweeping sword he cleared
his ground on either side, and the unarmoured adversary had no means
of repelling his assault. A hundred knights, therefore, we may readily
believe, very often have put their thousands or tens of thousands to
flight. We read, indeed, of immense slaughters of the common people,
accompanied with the loss of one single knight; and this must be
attributed to the perfection which the armourer's art had attained,
by which no opening for arrow or spear-point was left in the whole
suit. But military instruments had for some time been invented, which,
by projecting large stones with enormous force, flattened the solid
cuirass or crushed the glittering helm. Once get the stunned or wounded
warrior on the ground, there was no further danger to be apprehended.
He lay in his iron prison unable to get up, unable to breathe, and
with the additional misfortune of being so admirably protected that his
enemies had difficulty in putting him out of his pain. This, however,
was counterbalanced by the ample time he possessed, during their futile
efforts to reach a vital part, to bargain for his life; and this was
another element in the safety of knightly war. A ransom could at all
times preserve his throat, whereas the disabled foot-soldier was
pierced with relentless point or trodden down by the infuriated horse.
The knight's position, therefore, was more like that of a fighter
behind walls, only that he carried his wall with him wherever he went,
and even when a breach was made could stop up the gap with a sum of
money. Nobody had ever believed it possible for footmen to stand up
against a charge of cavalry. No manoeuvres were learned like the hollow
squares of modern times, which, at Waterloo and elsewhere, have stood
unmoved against the best swordsmen of the world. But once, at the
beginning of this century, in 1302, a dreadful event happened, which
gave a different view of the capabilities of determined infantry in
making head against their assailants, and commenced the lesson of the
resistibility of mounted warriors which was completed by Bannockburn in
Scotland, and Crecy and Poictiers.

The dreadful event was the entire overthrow of the knights and
gentlemen of France by the citizens of a Flemish manufacturing town
at the battle of Courtrai. Impetuous valour, and contempt for smiths
and weavers, blinded the fiery nobles. They rushed forward with loose
bridles, and, as they had disdained to reconnoitre the scene of the
display, they fell headlong, one after another, horse and plume,
sword and spur, into one enormous ditch which lay between them and
their enemies. On they came, an avalanche of steel and horseflesh,
and floundered into the muddy hole. Hundreds, thousands, unable to
check their steeds, or afraid to appear irresolute, or goggling in
vain through the deep holes left for their eyes, fell, struggled,
writhed, and choked, till the ditch was filled with trampled knights
and tumbling horses, and the burghers on the opposite bank beat in the
helmets of those who tried to climb up, with jagged clubs, and hacked
their naked heads. And when the whole army was annihilated, and the
spoils were gathered, it was found there were princes and lords in
almost incredible numbers, and four thousand golden spurs to mark the
extent of the knightly slaughter and give name to the engagement. It
is called the Battle of the Spurs,--for a nobler cause than another
engagement of the same name, which we shall meet with in a future
century, and which derived its appellation from the fact that spurs
were more in requisition than swords.

Philip was at this moment in the middle of his quarrel with Boniface.
He determined to compensate himself for the loss he had sustained
in military fame at Courtrai by fiercer exactions on his clergy and
bitterer enmity to the Pope. We have seen how he pursued the wretched
Boniface to the grave, and persisted in trying to force the obsequious
Clement to blacken his memory after he was dead. Clement was unwilling
to expose the vices and crimes of his predecessor, and yet he had given
a promise in that strange meeting in the forest to work his master's
will; he was also resident in France, and knew how unscrupulous his
protector was. Philip availed himself of the discredit brought on
knighthood by the loss of all those golden spurs, and compounded for
leaving the deceased pontiff alone, by exacting the consent of Clement
to his assault on the order of the Templars, the wealthiest institution
in the world, who held thousands of the best manors in France, and
whose spoils would make him the richest king in Christendom. Yet the
Templars were no contemptible foes. In number they were but fourteen
thousand, but their castles were over all the land; they were every
one of them of noble blood, and strong in the relationship of all the
great houses in Europe. If they had united with their brethren, the
Knights Hospitallers, no sovereign could have resisted their demands;
but, fortunately for Philip, they were rivals to the death, and gave no
assistance to each other when oppressed. Both, in fact, had outlived
the causes of their institution, and had forfeited the respect of the
masses of the people by their ostentatious abnegation of all the rules
by which they professed to be bound. Poverty, chastity, and brotherly
kindness were the sworn duties of the most rich, sensual, and unpitying
society which ever lived. When Richard of England was dying, he made an
imaginary will, and said, "I leave my avarice to the Citeaux, my luxury
to the Grey Friars, and my pride to the Templars." And the Templars
took possession of the bequest. When driven from the Holy Land, they
settled in all the Christian kingdoms from Denmark to the south of
Italy, and everywhere presented the same spectacle of selfishness and
debauchery. In Paris they had got possession of a tract of ground
equal to one-third of the whole city, and had covered it with towers
and battlements, and within the unapproachable fortress lived a life
of the most luxurious self-indulgence. Strange rumours got abroad
of the unholy rites with which their initiations were accompanied.
Their receptions into the order were so mysterious and sacred that
an interloper (if it had been the King of France) would have been
put to death for his intrusion. Frightful stories were told of their
blasphemies and hideous ceremonials. Reports came even from over the
sea, that while in Jerusalem they had conformed to the Mohammedan faith
and had exchanged visits and friendly offices with the chiefs of the
unbelievers. Against so dark and haughty an association it was easy to
stir up the popular dislike. Nobody could take their part, they lived
so entirely to themselves and shunned sympathy and society with so cold
a disdain. They were men of religious vows without the humility of that
condition, so they were hated by the nobles, who looked on priests
as their natural inferiors; they were nobles without the individual
riches of the barons and counts, and they were hated by the priests,
who were at all times the foes of the aristocracy. Hated, therefore, by
priest and noble, their policy would have been to make friends of the
lower orders, rising citizens, and the great masses of the people. But
they saw no necessity for altering their lofty course. They bore right
onward in their haughty disregard of all the rest of the world, and
were condemned by the universal feeling before any definite accusation
was raised against them.

Clement yielded a faint consent to the proceedings of Philip, and that
honourable champion of the faith gave full loose to his covetousness
and hatred. First of all he prayed meekly for admission as a brother
of the order. He would wear the red cross upon his shoulder and obey
their godly laws. If he had obtained his object, he would have procured
the grand-mastership for himself and disposed of their wealth at his
own discretion. The order might have survived, but their possessions
would have been Philip's. They perhaps perceived his aim, and declined
to admit him into their ranks. A rejected candidate soon changes his
opinion of the former object of his ambition. He now reversed his plan,
and declared they were unworthy, not only to wallow in the wealth and
splendour of their commanderies, but to live in a Christian land. He
said they were guilty of all the crimes and enormities by which human
nature was ever disgraced. James de Molay, the grand-master, and all
the knights of the order throughout France, were seized and thrown into
prison. Letters were written to all other kings and princes, inciting
them to similar conduct, and denouncing the doomed fraternity in the
harshest terms. The promise of the spoil was tempting to the European
sovereigns, but all of them resisted the inducement, or at least took
gentler methods of attaining the same end. But Philip was as much
pleased with the pursuit as with the catching of the game. He summoned
a council of the realm, and obtained at the same time a commission
of inquiry from the Pope. With these two courts to back him, it was
impossible to fail. The knights were kept in noisome dungeons. They
were scantily fed, and tormented with alternate promises and threats.
When physically weak and mentally depressed, they were tortured in
their secret cells, and under the pressure of fear and desperation
confessed to whatever was laid to their charge. Relieved from their
torments for a moment, they retracted their confessions; but the
written words remained. [A.D. 1312.] And in one day, before the public
had been prepared for such extremity of wrong, fifty-four of these
Christian soldiers--now old, and fallen from their high estate--were
publicly burned in the place of execution, and no further limit was
placed to the rapacity of the king. Still the odious process crept on
with the appearance of law, for already the forms of perverted justice
were found safer and more certain than either sword or fagot; and at
last, in 1314, the ruined brotherhood were allowed to join themselves
to other fraternities. The name of Templar was blotted out from the
knightly roll-call of all Europe; and in every nation, in England and
Scotland particularly, the order was despoiled of all its possessions.
Clement, however, was furious at seeing the moderation of rulers like
Edward II., who merely stripped the Templars of their houses and lands,
and did not dabble, as his patron Philip had done, in their blood,
and rebuked them in angry missives for their coldness in the cause of
religion.

Now, early in this century, a Pope had been personally ill used, and
his successor had become the pensioner and prisoner of one of the
basest of kings; a glorious brotherhood of Christian knights had been
shamelessly and bloodily destroyed. Was there no outcry from outraged
piety?--no burst of indignation against the perpetrator of so foul a
wrong? Pity was at last excited by the sufferings and humiliations
of the brothers of the Temple; but pity is not a feeling on which
knighthood can depend for vitality or strength. Perhaps, indeed, the
sympathy raised for the sad ending of that once-dreaded institution
was more fatal to its revival, and more injurious to the credit of
all surviving chivalry, than the greatest amount of odium would have
been. Speculative discussions were held about the guilt or innocence
of the Templars, but the worst of their crimes was the crime of being
weak. If they had continued united and strong, nobody would have heard
of the excesses laid to their charge. Passing over the impossible
accusations brought against them by ignorance and hatred, the offence
they were charged with which raised the greatest indignation, and was
least capable of disproof, was that in their reception into the order
they spat upon the crucifix and trampled on the sign of our salvation.
Nothing can be plainer than that this, at the first formation of the
order, had been a symbol, which in the course of years had lost its
significance. At first introduced as an emblem of Peter's denial and
of worldly disbelief, to be exchanged, when once they were clothed
with the Crusader's mantle, for unflinching service and undoubting
Faith,--a passage from death unto life,--it had been retained long
after its intention had been forgotten; and nothing is so striking as
the confession of some of the younger knights, of the reluctance, the
shame and trembling, with which, at the request of their superior, they
had gone through the repulsive ceremony. This is one of the dangers of
a symbolic service. The symbol supersedes the fact. The imitation of
Peter becomes a falling away from Christ. But a century before this
time, who can doubt that all Christendom would have rushed to the
rescue of the Pope if he had been seized in his own city and maltreated
as Boniface had been, and that every gentleman in Europe would have
drawn sword in behalf of the noble Templars?

But papacy, feudalism, and knighthood, as they had risen and flourished
together, were enveloped in the same fall. The society of the Dark
Ages had been perfect in its symmetry and compactness. Kings were but
feudal leaders and chiefs in their own domains. Knighthood was but the
countenance which feudalism turned to its enemies, while hospitality,
protection, and alliance were its offerings to its friends. Over all,
representative of the heavenly power which cared for the helpless
multitudes, the serfs and villeins, those who had no other friend,--the
Church extended its sheltering arms to the lowest of the low. Feudalism
could take care of itself; knighthood made itself feared; but the
multitudes could only listen and be obedient. All, therefore, who
had no sword, and no broad acres, were natural subjects of the Pope.
But with the rise of the masses the relations between them and the
Church became changed. It was found that during the last two hundred
years, since the awakening of mercantile enterprise by the Crusades
and the commingling of the population in those wild and yet elevating
expeditions, by the progress of the arts, by the privileges wrung
from king and noble by flourishing towns or purchased from them with
sterling coin, by the deterioration in the morals of priest and baron,
and the rise in personal importance of burghers, who could fight like
those of Courtrai or raise armies like those of Pisa and Genoa,--that
the state of society had gradually been changed; that the commons were
well able to defend their own interest; that the feudal proprietor had
lost his relative rank; that the knight was no longer irresistible
as a warrior; and that the Pope had become one of the most worldly
and least scrupulous of rulers. Far from being the friend of the
unprotected, the Church was the subject of all the ballads of every
nation, wherein its exactions and debaucheries were sung at village
fairs and conned over in chimney-corners. Cannon were first used in
this century at the siege of Algesiras in 1343; and with the first
discharge knighthood fell forever from the saddle. The Bible was first
translated into a national tongue,[C] and Popery fell forever from its
unopposed dominion. How, indeed, even without this incident, could the
Papacy have retained its power? From 1305 till 1376 the wearers of the
tiara were the mere puppets of the Kings of France. They lived in a
nominal freedom at Avignon, but the college of electors was in the pay
of the French sovereign, and the Pope was the creature of his hands.
This was fatal to the notion of his independence. But a heavier blow
was struck at the unity of the papal power when a double election, in
1378, established two supreme chiefs, one exacting the obedience of
the faithful from his palace on the banks of the Rhone, and the other
advancing the same claim from the banks of the Tiber. From this time
the choice of the chief pontiff became a political struggle between
the principal kings. There were French and German, and even English,
parties in the conclave, and bribes were as freely administered as
at a contested election or on a dubious question in the time of Sir
Robert Walpole. Family interest also, from this time, had more effect
on the policy of the Popes than the ambition to extend their spiritual
authority. They sacrificed some portion of their claims to insure
the elevation of their relations. Alliances were made, not for the
benefit of the Roman chair, but for some kinsman's establishment in a
principality. Dukedoms became appanages of the papal name, and every
new Pope left the mark of his beneficence in the riches and influence
of the favourite nephew whom he had invested with sovereign rank.
Italy became filled with new dynasties created by these means, and the
politics of the papal court became complicated by this diversity of
motive and influence. Yet feudalism struggled on in spite of cannon and
the rise of the middle orders; and Popery struggled on in spite of the
spread of information and the diffusion of wealth and freedom. For some
time, indeed, the decline of both those institutions was hidden by a
factitious brilliancy reflected on them by other causes. The increase
of refinement gave rise to feelings of romance, which were unknown in
the days of darkness and suffering through which Europe had passed. A
reverence for antiquity softened the harsher features by which they
had been actually distinguished, and knighthood became subtilized into
chivalry. [A.D. 1350.] As the hard and uninviting reality retreated
into the past, the imagination clothed it in enchanting hues; and at
the very time when the bowmen and yeomanry of England had shown at
Crecy how unfounded were the "boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,"
Edward III. had instituted the Order of the Garter,--a transmutation
as it were of the rude shocks of knighthood into carpet pacings in the
gilded halls of a palace; as in a former age the returned Crusaders
had supplied the want of the pride and circumstance of the real
charge against the Saracen by introducing the bloodless imitation
of it afforded by the tournament. In the same way the personal
disqualification of the Pope was supplied by an elevation of the ideal
of his place and office. Religion became poetry and sentiment; and
though henceforth the reigning pontiff was treated with the harshness
and sometimes the contempt his personal character deserved, his
throne was still acknowledged as the loftiest of earthly thrones. The
plaything of the present was nevertheless an idol and representative
of the past; and kings who drove him from his home, or locked him up
in their prisons, pretended to tremble at his anger, and received his
letters on their knees.

It must have been evident to any far-seeing observer that some great
change was in progress during the whole of this century, not so much
from the results of Courtrai, or Crecy, or Poictiers, or the migration
of the Pope to Avignon, or the increasing riches of the trading and
manufacturing towns, as from the great uprising of the human mind
which was shown by the almost simultaneous appearance of such stars
of literature as Dante, and Petrarch, and Boccaccio, and our English
Chaucer. I suppose no single century since has been in possession of
four such men. Great geniuses, indeed, and great discoveries, seem
to come in crops, as if a certain period had been fixed for their
bursting into flower; and we find the same grand ideas engaging
the intellects of men widely dispersed, so that a novelty in art or
science is generally disputed between contending nations. But this
synchronous development of power is symptomatic of some wide-spread
tendency, which alters the ordinary course of affairs; and we see in
the Canterbury Tales the dawning of the Reformation; in Shakspeare
and Bacon the inauguration of a new order of government and manners;
in Locke and Milton a still further liberation from the chains of a
worn-out philosophy; in Watt, and Fulton, and Cartwright, we see the
spread of civilization and power. In Walter Scott and Wordsworth, and
the wonderful galaxy of literary stars who illuminated the beginning
of this century, we see Waterloo and Peace, a widening of national
sympathies, and the opening of a great future career to all the
nations of the world. For nothing is so true an index of the state
and prospects of a people as the healthfulness and honest taste of
its literature. It was in this sense that Fletcher of Saltoun said,
(or quoted,) "Give me the making of the ballads of a people, and I
don't care who makes the laws." While we have such pure and wholesome
literature as is furnished us by Hallam, and Macaulay, and Alison, by
Tennyson, Dickens, Thackeray, and the rest, philosophy like Hamilton's,
and science like Herschel's and Faraday's, we have no cause to look
forward with doubt or apprehension.

  "Naught shall make us rue
   If England to herself do rest but true."

But those pioneers of the Fourteenth Century had dangers and
difficulties to encounter from which their successors have been free.
It is a very different thing for authors to write for the applause of
an appreciating public, and for them to create an appreciating public
for themselves. Their audience must at first have been hostile.
First, the critical and scholarly part of the world was offended with
the bad taste of writing in the modern languages at all. Secondly,
the pitch at which they struck the national note was too high for the
ears of the vulgar. A correct and dignified use of the spoken tongue,
the conveyance, in ordinary and familiar words, of lofty or poetical
thoughts, filled both those classes with surprise. To the scholar it
seemed good materials enveloped in a very unworthy covering. To "the
general" it seemed an attempt to deprive them of their vernacular
phrases and bring bad grammar and coarse expressions into disrepute.
Petrarch was so conscious of this that he speaks apologetically of his
sonnets in Italian, and founds his hope of future fame on his Latin
verses. But more important than the poems of Dante and Chaucer, or
the prose of Boccaccio, was the introduction of the new literature
represented by Froissart. Hitherto chronicles had for the most part
consisted of the record of such wandering rumours as reached a
monastery or were gathered in the religious pilgrimages of holy men.
Mingled, even the best of them, with the credulity of inexperienced
and simple minds, their effect was lost on the contemporary generation
by the isolation of the writers. Nobody beyond the convent-walls knew
what the learned historians of the establishment had been doing. Their
writings were not brought out into the light of universal day, and a
knowledge of European society gathered point by point, by comparing,
analyzing, and contrasting the various statements contained in those
dispersed repositories. But at this time there came into notice the
most inquiring, enterprising, picturesque, and entertaining chronicler
that had ever appeared since Herodotus read the result of his personal
travels and sagacious inquiries to the assembled multitudes of Greece.

John Froissart, called by the courtesy of the time Sir John, in honour
of his being priest and chaplain, devoted a long life to the collection
of the fullest and most trustworthy accounts of all the events and
personages characteristic of his time. From 1326, when his labours
commenced, to 1400, when his active pen stood still, nothing happened
in any part of Europe that the Paul Pry of the period did not rush
off to verify on the spot. If he heard of an assemblage of knights
going on at the extremities of France or in the centre of Germany,
of a tournament at Bordeaux, a court gala in Scotland, or a marriage
festival at Milan, his travels began,--whether in the humble guise of a
solitary horseman with his portmanteau behind his saddle and a single
greyhound at his heels, as he jogged wearily across the Border, till
he finally arrived in Edinburgh, or in his grander style of equipment,
gallant steed, with hackney led beside him, and four dogs of high
race gambolling round his horse, as he made his dignified journey
from Ferrara to Rome. Wherever life was to be seen and painted, the
indefatigable Froissart was to be found. Whatever he had gathered up on
former expeditions, whatever he learned on his present tour, down it
went in his own exquisite language, with his own poetical impression
of the pomps and pageantries he beheld; and when at the end of his
journey he reached the court of prince or potentate, no higher treat
could be offered to the "noble lords and ladies bright" than to form a
glittering circle round the enchanting chronicler and listen to what
he had written. From palace to palace, from castle to castle, the
unwearied "picker-up of unconsidered trifles" (which, however, were
neither trifles nor unconsidered, when their true value became known,
as giving life and reality to the annals of a whole period) pursued
his happy way, certain of a friendly reception when he arrived, and
certain of not losing his time by negligence or blindness on the
road. If he overtakes a stately cavalier, attended by squires and
men-at-arms, he enters into conversation, drawing out the experiences
of the venerable warrior by relating to him all he knew of things and
persons in which he took an interest. And when they put up at some
hostelry on the road, and while the gallant knight was sound asleep
on his straw-stuffed couch, and his followers were wallowing amid the
rushes on the parlour floor, Froissart was busy with pen and note-book,
scoring down all the old gentleman had told him, all the fights he had
been present at, and the secret history (if any) of the councils of
priests and kings. In this way knights in distant parts of the world
became known to each other. The same voice which described to Douglas
at Dalkeith the exploits of the Prince of Wales sounded the praises of
Douglas in the ears of the Black Prince at Bordeaux. A community of
sentiment was produced between the upper ranks of all nations by this
common register of their acts and feelings; and knighthood received its
most ennobling consummation in these imperishable descriptions, at the
very time when its political and military influence came to a close.
Froissart's Chronicles are the epitaph of feudalism, written indeed
while it was yet alive, but while its strength was only the convulsive
energy of approaching death. The standard of knightly virtue became
raised in proportion as knightly power decayed. In the same way as the
increased civilization and elevating influences of the time clothed
the Church in colours borrowed from the past, while its real influence
was seriously impaired, the expiring embers of knighthood occasionally
flashed up into something higher; and in this century we read of Du
Guesclin of France, Walter Manny and Edward the Third of England, and
many others, who illustrated the order with qualifications it had
never possessed in its palmiest state.

Courtrai was fought and Amadis de Gaul written almost at the same
time. Let us therefore mark, as a characteristic of the period we have
reached, the decay of knighthood, or feudalism in its armour of proof,
and the growth at the same time of a sense of honour and generosity,
which contrasted strangely in its softened and sentimentalized
refinement with the harshness and cruelty which still clung to the
ordinary affairs of life. Thus the young conqueror of Poictiers led his
captive John into London with the respectful attention of a grateful
subject to a crowned king. He waited on him at table, and made him
forget the humiliation of defeat and the griefs of imprisonment in
the sympathy and reverence with which he was everywhere surrounded.
This same prince was regardless of human life or suffering where the
theatrical show of magnanimity was not within his reach, bloodthirsty
and tyrannical, and is declared by the chronicler himself to be of "a
high, overbearing spirit, and cruel in his hatred." It shows, however,
what an advance had already been made in the influence of public
opinion, when we read how generally the treatment of the noble captive,
John of France, was appreciated. In former ages, and even at present in
nations of a lower state of feelings, the kind treatment of a fallen
enemy, or the sparing of a helpless population, would be attributed
to weakness or fear. Chivalry, which was an attempt to amalgamate the
Christian virtues with the rougher requirements of the feudal code,
taught the duty of being pitiful as well as brave. And though at this
period that feeling only existed between knight and knight, and was not
yet extended to their treatment of the common herd, the principle was
asserted that war could be carried on without personal animosity, and
that courage, endurance, and the other knightly qualities were to be
admired as much in an enemy as a friend.

There was, however, another reason for this besides the natural
admiration which great deeds are sure to call forth in natures capable
of performing them; and that was, that Europe was divided into petty
sovereignties, too weak to maintain their independence without foreign
aid, too proud to submit to another government, and trusting to the
support their money or influence could procure. In all countries,
therefore, there existed bodies of mercenary soldiers--or Free Lances,
as they were called--claiming the dignity and rank of knights and
noblemen, who never knew whether the men they were fighting to-day
might not be their comrades and followers to-morrow. In Italy, always a
country of divisions and enmities, there were armed combatants secured
on either side. Unconnected with the country they defended by any ties
of kindred or allegiance, they found themselves opposed to a body,
perhaps of their countrymen, certainly of their former companions; and,
except so much as was required to earn their pay and preserve their
reputation, they did nothing that might be injurious to their temporary
foes. Battles accordingly were fought where feats of horsemanship
and dexterity at their weapons were shown; where rushes were made
into the vacant space between the armies by contending warriors, and
horse and man acquitted themselves with the acclamations, and almost
with the safety, of a charge in the amphitheatre at Astley's. But no
blood was spilt, no life was taken; and a long summer day has seen a
confused mêlée going on between the hired combatants of two cities or
principalities, without a single casualty more serious than a cavalier
thrown from his horse and unable to rise from the weight and tightness
of his armour. Fights of this kind could scarcely be considered in
earnest, and we are not surprised to find that the burden and heat of
an engagement was thrown upon the light-armed foot: we gather, indeed,
towards the end of Froissart's Chronicles, that while the cavaliers
persisted in endeavouring to distinguish their individual prowess, as
at the battle of Navareta in Spain, and got into confusion in their
eagerness of assault, "the sharpness of the English arrows began to be
felt," and the fate of the battle depended on the unflinching line and
impregnable solidity of the archers and foot-soldiers. These latter
took a deeper interest in the result than the more showy performers,
and were not carried away by the vanities of personal display.

Look at the year 1300, with the jubilee of Boniface going on. Look
at 1400, with the death of Chaucer and Froissart, and the enthroning
of Henry the Fourth, and what an amount of incident, of change and
improvement, has been crowded into the space! The rise of national
literatures, the softening of feudalism, the decline of Church
power,--these--illustrated by Dante and Chaucer, by the alteration
in the art of war, and above all, perhaps, by the translation of the
Bible into the vulgar tongue--were not only the fruits gained for the
present, but the promise of greater things to come. There will be
occasional backslidings after this time, but the onward progress is
steady and irresistible: the regressions are but the reflux waves in
an advancing tide, caused by the very force and vitality of the great
sea beyond. And after this view of some of the main features of the
century, we shall take a very cursory glance at some of the principal
events on which the portraiture is founded.

It is a bad sign of the early part of this period that our great
landmarks are still battles and invasions. [A.D. 1314.] After
Courtrai in 1302, where the nobility rushed blindfold into a natural
ditch, we come upon Bannockburn in 1314, where Edward the Second,
not comprehending the aim of his more politic father,--whose object
was to counterpoise the growing power of the French monarchy by
consolidating his influence at home,--had marched rather to revenge
his outraged dignity than to establish his denied authority, and
was signally defeated by Robert Bruce. Is it not possible that the
stratagem by which the English chivalry suffered so much by means
of the pits dug for their reception in the space in front of the
Scottish lines was borrowed from Courtrai,--art supplying in that dry
plain near Stirling what nature had furnished to the marshy Brabant?
However this may be, the same fatal result ensued. Pennon and standard,
waving plume and flashing sword, disappeared in those yawning gulfs,
and at the present hour very rusty spurs and fragments of broken
helmets are dug from beneath the soil to mark the greatness and the
quality of the slaughter. Meantime, in compact phalanx--protected by
the knights and gentlemen on the flanks, but left to its own free
action--the Scottish array bore on. Strong spear and sharp sword did
the rest, and the English army, shorn of its cavalry, disheartened by
the loss of its leaders, and finally deserted by its pusillanimous
king, retreated in confusion, and all hope of retaining the country
by the right of conquest was forever laid aside. Poor Edward had,
in appalling consciousness of his own imperfections, applied to the
Pope for permission to rub himself with an ointment that would make
him brave. Either the Pope refused his consent or the ointment failed
of its purpose. Nothing could rouse a brave thought in the heart of
the fallen Plantagenet. Sir Giles de Argentine might have been more
effectual than all the unguents in the world. He led the king by the
bridle till he saw him in a place of safety. He then stopped his horse
and said, "It has never been my custom to fly, and here I must take my
fortune." Saying this, he put spurs to his horse, and, crying out, "An
Argentine!" charged the squadron of Edward Bruce, and was borne down by
the force of the Scottish spears. The fugitive king galloped in terror
to the castle of Dunbar, and shipped off by sea to Berwick.

The next battle is so strongly corroborative of the failing supremacy
of heavy armour, and the rising importance of the well-trained
citizens, that it is worth mention, although at first sight it
seems to controvert both these statements; for it was a fight in
which certain courageous burghers were mercilessly exterminated by
gorgeously-caparisoned knights. [A.D. 1328.] The townsmen of Bruges and
Ypres had grown so proud and pugnacious that in 1328 they advanced to
Cassel to do battle with the young King of France, Philip of Valois,
at the head of all his chivalry. There was a vast amount of mutual
contempt in the two armies. The leader of the bold Flemings, who
was known as Little Jack, entered the enemy's camp in disguise, and
found young lords in splendid gowns proceeding from point to point,
gossiping, visiting, and interchanging their invitations. Making his
way back, he ordered a charge at once. The rush was nearly successful,
and was only checked within a few yards of the royal tent. But the
check was tremendous. The bloated burghers, filled with pride and
gorged with wealth, had thought proper to ensconce their unwieldy
persons in cuirasses as brilliant and embarrassing as the armour of the
knights. The knights, however, were on horseback, and the embattled
townsfolk were on foot. Great was the slaughter, useless the attempt
to escape, and thirteen thousand were overborne and smothered. Ten
thousand more were executed by some form of law, and the Bourgeoisie
taught to rely for its safety on its agility and compactness, and not
on "helm or hauberk's twisted mail."

The crop of battles grows rich and plentiful, for Edward the Third and
Philip of Valois are rival kings and warriors, and may be taken as
the representatives of the two states of society which were brought
at this time face to face. For Edward, though as true a knight as
Amadis himself in his own person, in policy was a favourer of the new
ideas. When the war broke out, Philip behaved as if no change had taken
place in the seat of power and the world had still continued divided
between the lords and their armed retainers. He threw himself for
support on the military service of his tenants and the aristocratic
spirit of his nobles. Edward, wiser but less romantic, turned for
assistance to the Commons of England,--bought over their good will and
copious contributions by privileges granted to their trades,--invited
skilled workmen over from Flanders, which, with the freest spirit in
Europe, was under the least improved of the feudal governments,--and
established woollen-works at York, fustian-works at Norwich, serges
at Colchester, and kerseys in Devonshire. Mills were whirling round
in all the counties, and ships coming in untaxed at every harbour.
Fortunately, as is always the case in this country, it was seen that
the success of one class of the people was beneficial to every other
class. The baron got more rent for his land and better cloth for his
apparel by the prosperity of his manufacturing neighbours. Money was
voted readily in support of a king who entered into alliance with their
best customers, the men of Ghent and Bruges; and at the head of all
the levies which the parliament's liberality enabled him to raise were
the knights and gentlemen of England, totally freed now from any bias
towards the French or prejudice against the Saxon; for they spoke the
English tongue, dressed in English broadcloth, sang English ballads,
and astonished the men of Gascony and Guienne with the vehemence of
their unmistakably English oaths. Yet some of them held lands in feudal
subjection to the French king. Flanders itself confessed the same
sovereignty; and men of delicate consciences might feel uneasy if they
lifted the sword against their liege lord. To soothe their scruples,
James Van Arteveldt, the Brewer of Ghent, suggested to Edward the
propriety of his assuming the title of King of France. The rebellious
freeholders would then be in their duty in supporting their liege's
claims. So Edward, founding upon the birth of his mother, the daughter
of the last King, Philip le Bel,--who was excluded by the Salic law, or
at least by French custom, from the throne,--made claim to the crown
of St. Louis, and transmitted the barren title to all his successors
till the reign of George the Fourth. As if in right of his property
on both sides of the Channel, Edward converted it into his exclusive
domain. [A.D. 1340.] He so entirely exterminated the navy of France,
and impressed that chivalrous nation with the danger of the seas by
the victory of Helvoet Sluys, that for several centuries the command
of the strait was left undisputed to England. Philip had endeavoured
to obtain the mastery of it with a fleet of a hundred and fifty ships,
mounted by forty thousand men. The Genoese had furnished an auxiliary
squadron, and also a commander-in-chief, of the name of Barbavara. But
the French admiral was a civilian of the name of Bahuchet, who thought
the safest plan was the best, and kept his whole force huddled up in
the commodious harbour. Edward collected a fleet of scarcely inferior
strength, and fell upon the enemy as they lay within the port. It
was in fact a fight on the land, for they ranged so close that they
almost touched each other, and the gallant Bahuchet preserved himself
from sea-sickness at the expense of all their lives. For the English
archers made an incredible havoc on their crowded decks, and the
pike-men boarded with irresistible power. Twenty thousand were slain
in that fearful _mêlée_; and Edward, to show how sincere he was in
his claim upon the throne of France, hanged the unfortunate Bahuchet
as a traitor. The man deserved his fate as a coward: so we need not
waste much sympathy on the manner of his death. This success with his
ships was soon followed by the better-known victory of Crecy, 1346,
and the capture of Calais. [A.D. 1356.] In ten years afterwards, the
crowning triumph of Poictiers completed the destruction of the military
power of France, by a slaughter nearly as great as that at Sluys and
Crecy. In addition to the loss of lives in these three engagements,
amounting to upwards of ninety thousand men, we are to consider the
impoverishment of the country by the exorbitant ransoms claimed for
the release of prisoners. John, the French king, was valued at three
million crowns of gold,--an immense sum, which it would have exhausted
the kingdom to raise; and, in addition to those destructive fights and
crushing exactions, France was further weakened by the insurrection of
the peasantry and the frightful massacres by which it was put down. If
to these causes of weakness we add the depopulation produced by the
unequalled pestilence, called the Plague of Florence, which spread all
over the world, and in the space of a year carried off nearly a third
of the inhabitants of Europe, we shall be justified in believing that
France was reduced to the lowest condition she has ever reached, and
that only the dotage of Edward, the death of the Black Prince, and
the accession of a king like Richard II., saved that noble country
from being, for a while at least, tributary and subordinate to her
island-conqueror.



                          FIFTEENTH CENTURY.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

  1400. RUPERT.

  1410. JOSSUS.

  1410. SIGISMUND.

  _House of Austria._

  1438. ALBERT II.

  1440. FREDERICK IV.

  1493. MAXIMILIAN I.


Kings of England.

  A.D.

  1399. HENRY IV.

  1413. HENRY V.

  1422. HENRY VI.

  1461. EDWARD IV.

  1483. EDWARD V.

  1483. RICHARD III.

  1485. HENRY VII.


Kings of Scotland.

  A.D.

        ROBERT III.--(_cont._)

  1406. JAMES I.

  1437. JAMES II.

  1460. JAMES III.

  1488. JAMES IV.


Emperors of the East.

  A.D.

        MANUEL PALÆOLOGUS.--(_cont._)

  1425. JOHN PALÆOLOGUS II.

  1448. CONSTANTINE XIII., (PALÆOLOGUS.)

  1453. Capture of Constantinople by the Turks, and
        close of the Eastern Empire.


Sultans of Turkey.

  A.D.

  1451. MOHAMMED II.

  1481. BAJAZET II.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

        CHARLES VI.--(_cont._)

  1422. CHARLES VII.

  1461. LOUIS XI.

  1483. CHARLES VIII.

  1498. LOUIS XII.


Kings of Spain.

  A.D.

  1479. Union of the Kingdom under FERDINAND and ISABELLA.


  1452. INVENTION OF PRINTING.

  1455. WARS OF THE ROSES BEGIN.

  1483. LUTHER BORN.

  1492. DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.


Eminent Men.

JOHN HUSS, (1370-1415,) XIMINES



                         THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY

  DECLINE OF FEUDALISM--AGINCOURT--JOAN OF ARC--THE
  PRINTING-PRESS--DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.


The whole period from the twelfth to the fifteenth century has
generally been considered so unvarying in its details, one century
so like another, that it has been thought sufficient to class them
all under the general name of the Middle Ages. Old Monteil, indeed,
the author of "The French People of Various Conditions," declines to
individualize any age during that lengthened epoch, for "feudalism,"
he says, "is as little capable of change as the castles with which it
studded the land." But a closer inspection does by no means justify
this declaration. From time to time we have seen what great changes
have taken place. The external walls of the baronial residence may
continue the same, but vast alterations have occurred within. The rooms
have got a more modern air; the moat has begun to be dried up, and
turned into a bowling-green; the tilt-yard is occasionally converted
into a garden; and, in short, in all the civilized countries of Europe
the life of society has accumulated at the heart. Power is diffused
from the courts of kings; and instead of the spirit of independence
and opposition to the royal authority which characterized former
centuries, we find the courtiers' arts more prevalent now than the
pride of local grandeur. The great vassals of the Crown are no longer
the rivals of their nominal superior, but submissively receive his
awards, or endeavour to obtain the sanction of his name to exactions
which they would formerly have practised in their own. Monarchy, in
fact, becomes the spirit of the age, and nobility sinks willingly
into the subordinate rank. This itself was a great blow to the feudal
system, for the essence of that organized society was equality among
its members, united to subordination of conventional rank,--a strange
and beautiful style of feeling between the highest and the lowest
of that manly brotherhood, which made the simple chevalier equal to
the king as touching their common knighthood,--of which we have at
the present time the modernized form in the feeling which makes the
loftiest in the land recognise an equal and a friend in the person
of an untitled gentleman. But this latter was to be the result of
the equalizing effect of education and character. In the fifteenth
century, feudalism, represented by the great proprietors, was about
to expire, as it had already perished in the decay of its armed and
mailed representatives in the field of battle. By no lower hand than
its own could the nobility be overthrown either in France or England.
The accident of a feeble king in both countries was the occasion of
an internecine struggle,--not, as it would have been in the tenth
century, for the possession of the crown, but for the custody of the
wearer of it. The insanity of Charles VI. almost exterminated the
lords of France; the weakness of Henry VI. and the Wars of the Roses
produced the same result in England. It seemed as if in both countries
an epidemic madness had burst out among the nobility, which drove them
to their destruction. Wildly contending with each other, neglecting and
oppressing the common people, the lords and barons were unconscious of
the silent advances of a power which was about to overshadow them all.
And, as if to drive away from them the sympathy which their fathers
had known how to excite among the lower classes by their kindness and
protection, they seemed determined to obliterate every vestige of
respect which might cling to their ancient possessions and historic
names, by the most unheard-of cruelty and falsehood in their treatment
of each other.

The leader of one of the parties which divided France was John, son of
Philip the Hardy, prince of the blood royal and Duke of Burgundy. The
leader of the other party was Louis of Orleans, brother of the demented
king, and the gayest cavalier and most accomplished gentleman of his
time. The Burgundian had many advantages in his contest for the reins
of government. The wealth and population of the Low Countries made him
as powerful as any of the princes of Europe, and he could at all times
secure the alliance of England to the most nefarious of his schemes by
the bribe of a treaty of trade and navigation. He accordingly brought
his great possessions in Flanders to the aid of his French ambition,
and secured the almost equally important assistance of the University
of Paris, by giving in his adhesion to the Pope it had chosen and
denying the authority of the Pope of his rival Orleans. Orleans had
also offended the irritable population of Paris by making his vows,
on some solemn occasion, by the bones of St. Denis which adorned the
shrine of the town called after his name,--whereas it was well known to
every Parisian that the real bones of the patron of France were those
which were so religiously preserved in the treasury of Notre Dame. The
clergy of the two altars took up the quarrel, and as much hostility
was created by the rival relics of St. Denis and Paris as by the rival
pontiffs of Avignon and Rome. Thus the Church, which in earlier times
had been a bond of unity, was one of the chief causes of dissension;
and the result in a few years was seen in the attempt made by France
to shake off, as much as possible, the supremacy of both the divided
Popes, as it managed to shake off entirely the yoke of the divided
nobility.

Quarrels and reconciliations among the princes, feasts and festivals
among the peerage, and the most relentless treatment of the citizens,
were the distinguishing marks of the opening of this century. Isabella
of Bavaria, the shameless wife of the hapless Charles, added a great
feature of infamy to the state of manners at the time, by the openness
of her profligacy, and her neglect of all the duties of wife and queen.
Rioting with the thoughtless Orleans, while her husband was left to the
misery of his situation, unwashed, unshorn, and clothed in rags and
filth, the abandoned woman roused every manly heart in all the land
against the cause she aided. Relying on this national disgust, the wily
Burgundian waited his opportunity, and revenged his private wrongs
by what he afterwards called the patriotic dagger of an assassin.
[A.D. 1407.] On the night of the 23d of December, 1407, the gay and
handsome Louis was lured by a false message from the queen's quarters
to a distant part of the town, and was walking in his satin mantle,
twirling his glove in his hand, and humming the burden of a song, when
he was set on by ten or twelve of the adherents of his enemy, stabbed,
and beaten long after he lay dead on the pavement, and was then left
motionless and uncared-for under the shade of the high house-walls of
the Vieille Rue du Temple.

Public conscience was not very acute at that time; and, although no
man for a moment doubted the hand that had guided the blow, the Duke
of Burgundy was allowed to attend the funeral of his murdered cousin,
and to hold the pall in the procession, and to weep louder than any
as the coffin was lowered into the vault. But the common feelings of
humanity were roused at last. People remembered the handsome, kindly,
merry-hearted Orleans thus suddenly struck low, and the ominous looks
of the Parisians warned the powerful Burgundy that it was time to take
his hypocrisy and his tears out of the sight of honest men. He slipped
out of the city, and betook himself to his Flemish states. But the helm
was now without a steersman; and, while all were looking for a guide
out of the confusion into which the appalling incident had brought the
realm, the guilty duke himself, armed _cap-à-pie_, and surrounded by a
body-guard which silenced all opposition, made his solemn entry into
the town, and fixed on the door of his hotel the emblematic ornament of
two spears, one sharp at the point as if for immediate battle, and one
blunted and guarded as if for a friendly joust. Eloquence is never long
absent when power is in want of an oration. A great meeting was held,
in which, by many brilliant arguments and incontrovertible examples
from holy writ and other histories, John Petit proved, to the entire
satisfaction of everybody who did not wish to be slaughtered on the
spot, that the doing to death of the Duke of Orleans was a good deed,
and that the doer was entitled to the thanks of a grateful country. The
thanks were accordingly given, and the murderer was at the height of
his ambition. As a warning to the worthy citizens of what they had to
expect if they rebelled against his authority, he took the opportunity
of hurrying northward to his states, where the men of Liege were in
revolt, and, having broken their ill-formed squares, committed such
slaughter upon them as only the madness of fear and hatred could have
suggested. Dripping with the blood of twenty-four thousand artisans,
he returned to Paris, where the citizens were hushed into silence,
and perhaps admiration, by the terrors of his appearance. They called
him John the Fearless,--a noble title, most inadequately acquired;
but, in spite of their flattery and their submission, he did not feel
secure without the presence of his faithful subjects. He therefore
summoned his Flemings and Burgundians to share his triumphs, and a
loose was given to all their desires. They pillaged, burned, and
destroyed as if in an enemy's country, encamping outside the walls,
and giving evident indications of an intention to force their way into
the streets. But the sight of gore, though terrifying at first, sets
the tamest of animals wild. The Parisians smelt the bloody odour and
made ready for the fray. The formidable incorporation of the Butchers
rose knife in hand, and at the command of their governor prepared to
preserve the peace of the city. Burgundians and Orleanists were equally
to be feared, and by a curious coincidence both those parties were
at the gate; for the Count of Armagnac, father-in-law of the orphan
Duke of Orleans, had assumed the leadership of the party, and had
come up to Paris at the head of his infuriated Gascons and the men of
Languedoc. North and South were again ranged in hostile ranks, and
inside the walls there was a reign of terror and an amount of misery
never equalled till that second reign of terror which is still the
darkest spot in the memory of old men yet alive. No man could put faith
in his neighbour. The murder of the Duke of Orleans had dissolved all
confidence in the word of princes. One half of France was ready to draw
against the other. Each half was anxious for support, from whatever
quarter it came, and to gain the destruction of their rivals would
sacrifice the interests of the nation.

But the same spirit of disunion and extirpation of ancient landmarks
was at work in England. The accession of Henry the Fourth was not
effected without the opposition of the adherents of the former king
and of the supporters, on general principles, of the legitimate line.
There were treasons, and plots, and pitiless executions. The feudal
chiefs were no longer the compact body which could give laws both to
King and Parliament, but ranged themselves in opposite camps and waited
for the spoils of the vanquished side. The clergy unanimously came to
the aid of the usurper on his faithful promise to exempt them from
taxation; and, by thus throwing their own proportion of the public
burdens on the body of the people, they sundered the alliance which
had always hitherto subsisted between the Church and the lower class.
Another bribe was held out to the clerical order for its support to
the unlineal crown by the surrender to their vengeance of any heretics
they could discover. [A.D. 1401.] In the second year of this reign,
accordingly, we find a law enabling the priests to burn, "on some
high and conspicuous piece of ground," any who dissented from their
faith. This is the first legal sanction in England to the logic of
flame and fagot. How dreadfully this permission was used, we shall see
ere many years elapse. In the mean time, it is worth while to remark
that in proportion as the Church lost in popularity and affection it
gained in legal privilege. While it was strong it did not need to be
cruel; and if it had continued its care of the poor and helpless, it
would have been able to leave Wickliff to his dissertations on its
doctrinal errors undisturbed. A Church which is found to be nationally
beneficial, and which endears itself to its adherents by the practical
graces of Christianity, will never be overthrown, or even weakened, by
any theoretical defects in its creeds or formularies. It was perhaps,
therefore, a fortunate circumstance that the Church of Rome had
departed as much by this time from the path of honesty and usefulness
as from the simplicity of gospel truth. The Bible might have been
looked at in vain, even in Wickliff's translation, if its meanings had
not been rendered plain by the lives and principles of the clergy.
Henry the Fifth, feeling the same necessity of clerical support which
had thrown his father into the hands of the Church, left nothing
untried to attach it to his cause. All the opposition which had been
offered to its claims had hitherto been confined to men of low rank,
and generally to members of its own body. Wickliff himself had been
but a country vicar, and had been unnoticed and despised in his small
parsonage at Lutterworth. But three-and-twenty years after he was
dead, his name was celebrated far and wide as the enemy of constituted
authority and a heretic of the most dangerous kind. His guilt consisted
in nothing whatever but in having translated the Bible into English;
but the fact of his having done so was patent to all. No witnesses were
required. The bones of the old man were dug up from their resting-place
in the quiet churchyard in Leicestershire, carried ignominiously to
Oxford, and burned amid the howls and acclamations of an infuriated
mob of priests and doctors. This was in 1409. But, in his character of
heretic and unbeliever, Wickliff had high associates in this same year;
for the General Council sitting at Pisa declared the two Popes--of
Avignon and Rome--who still continued to divide the Christian world, to
be "heretics, perjurers, and schismatics."

Europe, indeed, was ripe for change in almost all the relations both
of Church and State. There would seem no close connection between
Bohemia and England; yet in a very short time the doctrines of Wickliff
penetrated to Prague. There Huss and Jerome preached against the
enormities and contradictions of the Romish system, and bitterly
paid for their presumption in the fires of Constance before many
years had passed. But in England the effects of the new revelation
of the hidden gospel had been stronger than even at Prague. Public
opinion, however, divided itself into two very different channels; and
while the whole nation listened with open ear to the denunciations
rising everywhere against the corruption, pride, and sensuality of
the priesthood, it rushed at the same time into the wildest excesses
of cruelty against the opponents of any of the doctrinal errors or
superstitious beliefs in which it had been brought up. In the same
year in which several persons were burnt in Smithfield as supporters
of Wickliff and the Bible, the Parliament sent up addresses to the
Crown, advising the king to seize the temporalities of the Church,
and to apply the riches wasted on luxurious monks and nuns to the
payment of his soldiers. Henry the Fifth adroitly availed himself of
the double direction in which the popular feeling ran. He gained over
the priesthood by exterminating the opponents of their ceremonies
and faith, and rewarded himself by occasionally confiscating the
revenues of a dozen or two of the more notorious monasteries. In 1417
a heavier sacrifice was demanded of him than his mere presence at the
burning of a plebeian heretic like John Badby, whose execution he had
attended at Smithfield in 1410. He was required to give up into the
hands of the Church the great and noble Oldcastle, Lord Cobham. The
Church, as if to mark its triumph, did not examine the accused on
any point connected with civil or political affairs. It questioned
him solely on his religious beliefs; and as it found him unconvinced
of the necessity of confession to a priest, of pilgrimages to the
shrines of saints, of the worship of images, and of the doctrine of
transubstantiation, it delivered him over to the secular arm, and
the stout old soldier was taken to St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, and
suspended, by an iron chain round his body, above a fire, to die by
the slowest and most painful of deaths. But, in this yielding up of a
nobleman to the vengeance of the priesthood, Henry had a double motive:
he terrified the proudest of the barons, and attached to himself the
other bodies in the State. The people were still profoundly ignorant,
and looked on the innovators as the enemies both of God and man. And
nothing but this can account for the astonishing spectacle presented
by Europe at this date. The Church torn by contending factions--three
Popes at one time--and council arrayed against council; every nation
disgusted with its own priesthood, and enthusiasm bursting out in
the general confusion into the wildest excesses of fanaticism and
vice,--and yet a total incapacity in any country of devising means of
amendment. Great efforts were made, by wise and holy men within the
Church itself, to shake off the impediments to its development and
increase. Reclamations were made, more in sorrow than in anger, against
the universal depravation of morals and beliefs. The Popes were not
unmoved with these complaints, and gave credence to the forebodings
of evil which rose from every heart. Yet the network of custom, the
authority of tradition, and the unchangeableness of Roman policy
marred every effort at self-reformation. An opening was apparently
made for the introduction of improvement, by the declaration of the
supremacy of general councils, and the cessation of the great schism
of the West on the nomination of Martin the Fifth to the undisputed
chair. [A.D. 1429.] But the force of circumstances was irresistible.
Cardinals who approved of the declaration while members of the council
repudiated its acts when, by good fortune, they succeeded to the
tiara; and one of them even ventured the astounding statement that
in his character of Æneas Sylvius, and approver of the decree of
Basle, he was guilty of damnable sin, but was possessed of immaculate
virtue in the character of Paul the Second. It was obvious that this
unnatural state of things could not last. An establishment conscious of
its defects, but unable to throw them off, and finally forced to the
awful necessity of defending them by the foulest and most unpardonable
means, might have read the inevitable result in every page of history.
But worse remained behind. There sat upon the chair of St. Peter, in
the year 1492, the most depraved and wicked of mankind. No earthly
ruler had equalled him in profligacy and the coarser vices of cruelty
and oppression since the death of the Roman Nero. This was a man of
the name of Borgia, who fixed his infamous mark on the annals of the
Papacy as Alexander the Sixth. While this bloodthirsty ruffian was at
the summit of sacerdotal power--this poisoner of his friends, this
polluter of his family circle with unimaginable crimes--as the visible
representative upon earth of the Church of Christ, what hope could
there be of amendment in the lower orders of the clergy, or continuance
of men's belief in the popish claims? Long before this, in 1442, the
falsehood of the pretended donation of Constantine, on which the Popes
founded their territorial rights, was triumphantly proved by the
learned Valla; and at the end of the century the reverence of mankind
for the successor of the Prince of the Apostles was exposed to a trial
which the authenticity of all the documents in the world could not
have successfully stood, in the personal conduct of the Pope and his
familiars.

While this was the general state of Europe in the fifteenth century
as regards the position of the clergy, high and low, the Church,
in all countries, threw itself on the protection of the kings. By
the middle, or towards the end, of this period, there was no other
patronage to which they could have recourse. The nobility in France
and England were practically eradicated. All confidence between baron
and baron was at an end, and all belief in knightly faith and honour
in the other classes of the people. As if the time for a new state
of society was arrived, and instruments were required to clear the
way for the approaching form, the nobility and gentry of England
first were effectual in overthrowing their noble brethren in France,
and then, with infuriate bitterness, turned their swords upon each
other. The most rememberable general characteristic of this century is
the consolidation of royal power. The king becomes despotic because
the great nobility is overthrown and the Church stripped of its
authority. Tired of hoping for aid from their ancient protector, the
lowest classes cast their eyes of helplessness to the throne instead
of to the crozier. They see in the reigning sovereign an ideal of
personified Power. All other ideals with which the masses of the people
have deluded themselves have passed away. The Church is stripped of
the charm which its lofty claims and former kindness gave it. It is
detected for the thing it is,--a corporation for the grinding of the
poor and the support of tyranny and wrong. The nobility is stripped
also of the glitter which covered its harsh outlines with the glow
of Christian qualifications. It is found to be selfish, faithless,
untrustworthy, and divided against itself. To the king, then, as the
last refuge of the unfortunate, as the embodied State, a combination,
in his own person, of the manly virtues of the knight with the
Christian tenderness of the priest, the public transfers all the
romantic confidence it had lavished on the other two. And, as if to
prove that this idea came to its completeness without reference to
the actual holder of sovereign authority, we find that in France the
first really despotic king was Louis the Eleventh, and in England the
first king by divine right was Henry the Seventh. Two more unchivalrous
personages never disgraced the three-legged stool of a scrivener. Yet
they sat almost simultaneously on two of earth's proudest thrones.

No century had ever witnessed so great a change in manners and
position as this. In others we have seen a gradual widening-out of
thought and tendencies, all, however, subdued by the universal shadow
in which every thing was carried on. But in this the progress was
by a sudden leap from darkness into light. In ancient times Europe
was held together by certain communities of interest and feeling, of
which the chief undoubtedly was the centralization of the spiritual
power in Rome. At the Papal Court all the nations were represented,
and Stockholm and Saragossa were brought into contact by their common
dependence on the successor of St. Peter. The courtly festivals which
invited a knight of Scotland to cross blunted spears in a glittering
tournament with a knight of Sicily in the court of an emperor of
Germany was another bond of union between remotest regions; and in
the fourteenth century the indefatigable Froissart, as we remarked,
conveyed a knowledge of one nation to another in the entertaining
chapters with which he delighted the listeners in the different
palaces where he set up his rest. But all these lights, it will be
observed, illumined only the hill-tops, and left the valleys still
obscure. Ambitious Churchmen encountered their brethren of all
kindreds and tongues in the court of the Vatican; tiltings were only
for the high-born and rich, and Froissart himself poured forth his
treasures only for the delight of lords and ladies. The ballads of
the common people, on the other hand, had had a strongly disuniting
effect. The songs which charmed the peasant were directed against the
exacting priest and oppressive noble. In England they were generally
pointed against the Norman baron, with whose harshness and pride
were contrasted the kindness and liberality of Robin Hood and his
peers. The French ballads were hostile to the English invader; the
Scottish poems were commemorative of the heroism of Wallace and the
cruelties of the Southern hordes. Literatures were thus condemned
to be hostile, because they were not lofty enough to overlook the
boundaries of the narrow circles in which they moved. By slow and
toilsome process books were multiplied,--carefully copied in legible
hand, and then chained up, like inestimable jewels, in monastery or
palace, as too valuable to be left at large. A king's library was
talked of as a wonder when it contained six or seven hundred volumes.
The writings of controversialists were passed from hand to hand, and
the publication of a volume was generally achieved by its being read
aloud at the refectory-table of the college and then discussed, in
angry disputations, in the University Hall. Not one man in five hundred
could read, if the book had been written in the plainest text; and at
length the running hand was so indistinct as to be not much plainer
than hieroglyphics. The discoveries, therefore, of one age had all to
be discovered over again in the next. Roger Bacon, the English monk,
in the eleventh century, was acquainted with gunpowder, and had clear
intimations of many of the other inventions of more recent times.
But what was the use of all his genius? He could only write down his
triumph in a book; the book was carefully arranged on the shelf of
his monastery; clever men of his own society may have carried the
report of his doings to the neighbouring establishments; but time
passed on, those clever men died out, the book on the monastery shelf
was gradually covered with dust, and Roger Bacon became a conjurer in
popular estimation, who foretold future events and took counsel from
a supernatural brazen head. But in this century the art of printing
was discovered and perfected. A thousand copies now darted off in
all directions, cheap enough to be bought by the classes below the
highest, portable enough to be carried about the person to the most
distant lands, and in a type so large and clear that a very little
instruction would enable the most illiterate to master its contents.
Here was the lever that lifted the century at its first appearance
into the light of modern civilization. And it came at the very nick of
time. Men's minds were disturbed on many subjects; for old unreasoning
obedience to authority had passed away. Who was to guide them in their
future voyage? Isolated works would no longer be of any use. Great
scholars and acute dialecticians had been tried and found wanting. They
only acted on the highly-educated class; and now it was the people
in mass--the worker, the shopkeeper, the farmer, the merchant--who
were anxious to be informed; and what could a monk in a cell, or
even Chaucer with his harp in hand, do for the edification of such
a countless host? People would no longer be fed on the dry crust of
Aristotelianism or be satisfied with the intellectual jugglery of the
Schoolmen. Rome had lost its guiding hand, and its restraining sword
was also found of no avail. Some rest was to be found for the minds
which had felt the old foundation slip away from them; and in this
century, thus pining for light, thus thrusting forward eager hands to
be warmed at the first ray of a new-risen sun, there were terrible
displays of the aberrations of zeal without knowledge.

Almost within hearing of the first motion of the press, incalculable
numbers of enthusiasts revived the exploded sect of the Flagellants of
former centuries, and perambulated Europe, plying the whip upon their
naked backs and declaring that the whole of religion consisted in the
use of the scourge. Others, more crazy still, pronounced the use of
clothes to be evidence of an unconverted nature, and returned to the
nakedness of our first parents as proof of their restoration to a state
of innocence. Mortality lost all its terrors in this earnest search
for something more than the ordinary ministrations of the faith could
bestow; and in France and England the hideous spectacles called the
Dance of Death were frequent. In these, under the banner of a grinning
skeleton, the population danced with frantic violence, shouting,
shrieking, in the exultation of the time,--a scene where the joyous
appearance of the occupation contrasted shockingly with the awful place
in which the orgies were held, for the catacombs of Paris, filled with
the bones and carcasses of many generations, were the chosen site for
these frightful exhibitions. Like the unnatural gayety that reigned in
the same city when the guillotine had filled every family with terror
or grief, they were but an abnormal development of the sentiment of
despair. People danced the Dance of Death, because life had lost its
charm. Life had lost its security in the two most powerful nations
of the time. England was shaken with contending factions, and France
exhausted and hopeless of restoration. [A.D. 1451.] The peasantry in
both were trampled on without remorse. Jack Cade led up his famishing
thousands to lay their sufferings before the throne. They asked
for nothing but a slight relaxation of the burdens that oppressed
them, and were condemned without mercy to the sword and gallows. The
French "Jacques Bonhomme" was even in a worse condition. There was
no controlling power on the throne to guard him from the tyrannies
of a hundred petty superiors. The Church of his country was as much
conquered by the Church of England as its soil by the English arms.
A cardinal, bloated and bloody, dominated both London and Paris, and
sent his commands from the Palace at Winchester, which were obeyed by
both nations. [A.D. 1452.] [A.D. 1483.] [A.D. 1492.] And all this on
the very eve of the introduction of the perfected printing-press, the
birth of Luther, and the discovery of America! From the beginning of
the century till government became assured by the accession of Henry
VII. and Louis XI., the whole of Europe was unsettled and apparently on
the verge of dissolution. In the absence of the controlling power of
the Sovereign, each little baron asserted his own right and privileges,
and aimed perhaps at the restoration of his feudal independence, when
the spirit of feudalism had passed away. The nobility, even if it had
been united, was not now numerous enough to present a ruling body to
the State. It became despised as soon as it was seen to be powerless;
and at last, in sheer exhaustion, the people, the churches, and the
peerage of the two proudest nations in the world lay down helpless and
unresisting at the footstool of the only authority likely to protect
them from each other or themselves. When we think of the fifteenth
century, let us remember it as the period when mankind grew tired
of the establishments of all former ages, when feudalism resigned
its sword into the hands of monarchy, and when the last days of the
expiring state of society were distinguished by the withdrawal of the
death-grasp by France and England from each other's throats, and the
establishment of respectful if not friendly sentiments between them.
By the year 1451, there was not one of all the conquests of the Edwards
and Henrys left to the English except Calais. If that miserable relic
had also been restored, it would have prevented many a heart-burning
between the nations, and advanced, perhaps by centuries, the happy time
when each can look across the narrow channel which divides them without
a wish save for the glory and prosperity of the other.

It is like going back to the time of the Crusades to turn our eyes
from the end of this century to the beginning, so great and essential
is the change that has taken place. Yet it is necessary, having given
the general view of the condition of affairs, to descend to certain
particulars by which the progress of the history may be more vividly
defined. And of these the principal are the battle of Agincourt, the
relief of Orleans, the invention of Guttenberg, and the achievement
of Columbus. These are fixed on, not for their own intrinsic merits,
but for the great results they produced. Agincourt unfeudalized
France; Joan of Arc restored man's faith in human virtue and divine
superintendence; printing preserved forever the conquests of the human
intellect; and the discovery of America opened a new world to the
energies of mankind.

We must return to the state of France when the Duke of Orleans was so
treacherously slain by the ferocious Duke of Burgundy in 1407. For a
time the crime was successful in establishing the murderer's power,
and the Burgundians were strengthened by obtaining the custody of the
imbecile king, Charles the Sixth, and the support of his infamous
consort, Isabeau of Bavaria. But authority so obtained could not be
kept without plunging into greater excesses. So the populace were let
loose, and no man's life was safe. In self-defence--burning with
hatred of the slayer of his son-in-law and betrayer of his country--the
Count of Armagnac denounced the dominant party. [A.D. 1411.] Burgundy
threw himself into the arms of England, and was only outbidden in his
offers of submission by the Armagnacs in the following year. Each party
in turn promised to support the English king in all his claims, and
before he set foot in France he already found himself in possession
of the kingdom. [A.D. 1413.] Many strong places in the South were
surrendered to him as pledges of the fidelity of his supporters. The
whole land was the prey of faction and party hate. The Church had
repudiated both Pope and Council; the towns were in insurrection in
every street; and Henry the Fifth was only twenty-six years of age,
full of courage and ambition, supported by the love and gratitude of
the national Church, and anxious to glorify the usurpation of his
family by a restoration of the triumphs of Cressy and Poictiers. He
therefore sent an embassy to France, demanding his recognition by
all the States as king, though he modestly waived the royal title
till its present holder should be no more. He declared also that he
would not be content without the hand of Catharine, the French king's
daughter, with Normandy and other counties for her dowry; and when
these reasonable conditions, as he had anticipated, were rejected,
and all his preparations were completed, he threw off the mask of
negotiation, and sailed from Southampton with an army of six thousand
men-at-arms and twenty-four thousand archers. A beautiful sight it
must have been that day in September, 1415, when the enormous convoy
sailed or rowed down the placid Southampton water. Sails of various
colours, and streamers waving from every mast, must have given it the
appearance of an immense regatta; and while all France was on the watch
for the point of attack, and Calais was universally regarded as the
natural landing-place for an English army, the great flotilla pursued
its course past the Isle of Wight, and struck out for the opposite
coast, filling up the mouth of the Seine with innumerable vessels,
and casting anchor off the town of Harfleur. Prayers for its success
ascended from every parish in England; for the clergy looked on the
youthful king as their champion against all their enemies,--against
the Pope, who claimed their tithes, against the itinerant monks, who
denied and resisted their authority, and against the nobles, who envied
them their wealth and territories. And no wonder; for at this time the
ecclesiastical possessions included more than the half of England.
Of fifty-three thousand knightly holdings on the national register,
twenty-eight thousand belonged to mother Church! Prayers also for its
success were uttered in the workshops and markets. People were tired
of the long inaction of Richard the Second's time, and longed for the
stirring incidents they had heard their fathers speak of when the Black
Prince was making the "Mounseers" fly. For by this time a stout feeling
of mutual hatred had given vigour to the quarrel between the nations.
Parliament had voted unexampled supplies, and "all the youth of England
was afire."

Meantime the siege of Harfleur dragged its slow length along.
Succours were expected by the gallant garrison, but succour never
came. Proclamations had indeed been issued, summoning the _ban_ and
_arrière ban_ of France, and knights were assembling from all quarters
to take part in the unavoidable engagement. But the counsels at
head-quarters were divided. The masses of the people were not hearty
in the cause, and the men of Harfleur, at the end of the fifth week
of their resistance, sent to say they would surrender "if they were
not relieved by a great army in two days." "Take four," said Henry,
wishing nothing more than a decisive action under the very walls. But
the time rapidly passed, and Harfleur was once more an English town.
Henry might look round and triumph in the possession of streets and
houses; but that was all, for his usual barbarity had banished the
inhabitants. The richer citizens were put to ransom; all the rest were
driven from the place,--not quite naked, nor quite penniless, for one
petticoat was left to each woman, and one farthing in ready money.
Generosity to the vulgar vanquished was not yet understood, either
as a Christian duty or a stroke of policy. But courage, not unmixed
with braggadocio, was still the character of the time. The English had
lost many men from sickness during the siege. No blow had been boldly
struck in open field, and a war without a battle, however successful
in its results, would have been thought no better than a tournament.
All the remaining chivalry of France was now collected under its chiefs
and princes, and Henry determined to try what mettle they were of. He
published a proclamation that he and his English would march across
the country from Harfleur to Calais in spite of all opposition; and,
as the expedition would occupy eight days at least, he felt sure that
some attempt would be made to revenge so cutting an insult. He might
easily have sent his forces, in detachments, by sea, for there was not
a French flag upon all the Channel; but trumpets were sounded one day,
swords drawn, cheers no doubt heartily uttered, by an enthusiastic
array of fifteen thousand men, and the dangerous march began. It
was the month of October, the time of the vintage: there was plenty
of wine; and a French author makes the characteristic remark, "with
plenty of wine the English soldier could go to the end of the world."
When the English soldier, on this occasion, had got through the eight
days' provisions with which he started, instead of finding himself at
Calais, he was only advanced as far as Amiens, with the worst part of
the journey before him. The fords of the Somme were said to be guarded;
spies came over in the disguise of deserters, and told the king that
all the land was up in arms, that the princes were all united, and that
two hundred thousand men were hemming them hopelessly round. In the
midst of these bad news, however, a ray of light broke in. A villager
pointed out a marsh, by crossing which they could reach a ford in
the stream. They traversed the marsh without hesitation, waded with
difficulty through morass and water, and, behold! they were safe on the
other side. The road was now clear, they thought, for Calais; and they
pushed cheerily on. But, more dangerous than the marsh, more impassable
than the river, the vast army of France blocked up their way. Closing
across a narrow valley which lay between the castle of Agincourt and
the village of Tramecourt, sixty thousand knights, gentlemen, and
man-at-arms stood like a wall of steel. There were all the great names
there of all the provinces,--Dukes of Lorraine, and Bar, and Bourbon,
Princes of Orleans and Berri, and many more. Henry by this time had but
twelve thousand men. He found he had miscalculated his movements, and
was unwilling to sacrifice his army to the point of honour. He offered
to resign the title of King of France and to surrender his recent
conquest at Harfleur. But the princes were resolved not to negotiate,
but to revenge. Henry then said to the prisoners he was leading in his
train, "Gentlemen, go till this affair is settled. If your captors
survive, present yourselves at Calais." His forces were soon arranged.
Archers had ceased to be the mere appendages to a line of battle: they
now constituted almost all the English army. All the night before they
had been busy in preparation. They had furbished up their arms, and
put now cords to their bows, and sharpened the stakes they carried to
ward off the attack of cavalry. At early dawn they had confessed to the
priest; and all the time no noise had been heard. Henry had ordered
silence throughout the camp on pain of the severest penalties,--loss
of his horse to a gentleman, and of his right ear to a common soldier.
[A.D. 1415.] The 23d of October was the great, the important day. Henry
put a noble helmet on his head, surmounted by a golden crown, sprang
on his little gray hackney, encouraged his men with a few manly words,
reminding them of Old England and how constantly they had conquered the
French, and led them to a field where the grass was still green, and
which the rains had not converted into mud; for the weather had long
been unpropitious. And here the heroic little army expected the attack.
But the enemy were in no condition to make an advance. Seated all night
on their enormous war-horses, the heavy-armed cavaliers had sunk the
unfortunate animals up to their knees in the adhesive soil. Old Thomas
of Erpingham, seeing the decisive moment, completed the marshalling of
the English as soon as possible, and, throwing his baton in the air,
cried, "Now, Strike!" A great hurrah was the answer to this order; but
still the French line continued unmoved. If it had been turned into
stone it could not have been more inactive. Ranged thirty-two deep,
and fixed to the spot they stood on, buried up in armour, and crowded
in the narrow space, the knights could offer no resistance to the
attack of their nimble and lightly-armed foes. A flight of ten thousand
arrows poured upon the vast mass, and saddles became empty without a
blow. There came, indeed, two great charges of horse from the flank
of the French array; but the inevitable shaft found entrance through
their coats of mail, and very few survived. Of these the greater part
rushed, blind and wounded, back among their own men, crashing upon the
still spell-bound line and throwing it into inextricable confusion.
Horse and man rolled over in the dirt, struggling and shrieking in an
undistinguishable mass. Meanwhile the archers, throwing aside their
stakes and seizing the hatchets hanging round their necks, advanced
at a run,--poured blows without cessation on casque and shield,
completing the destruction among the crowded multitudes which their
own disorder had begun; and, as the same cause which hindered their
advance prevented their retreat, they sat the hopeless victims of
a false position, and were slaughtered without an attempt made to
resist or fly. The fate of the second line was nearly the same. Henry,
forcing his way with sword and axe through the living barrier of horse
and cavalier, led his compact array to the glittering body beyond.
There the _mêlée_ became more animated, and prowess was shown upon
either side. But the rear-guard, warned by previous experience, took
flight before the middle lines were pierced, and Henry saw himself
victor with very trifling loss, and only encumbered with the number
of the slain, and still more with the multitude of prisoners. Almost
all the surviving noblemen had surrendered their swords. They knew
too well the fate of wounded or disarmed gentlemen even among their
countrymen, and trusted rather to the generosity of the conqueror than
the mercy of their own people. Alas that we must again confess that
Henry was ignorant of the name of generosity! Alarmed for a moment at
the threatening aspect of some of the fugitives who had resumed their
ranks, he gave the pitiless word that every prisoner was to be slain.
Not a soldier would lift his hand against his captive,--from the double
motive of tenderness and cupidity. To tell an "archer good" to murder
a great baron, the captive of his bow and spear, was to tell him to
resign a ransom which would make him rich for life. But Henry was not
to be balked. He appointed two hundred men to be executioners of his
command; and thousands of the young and gay were slaughtered in cold
blood. Was it hideous policy which thus led Henry to weaken his enemy's
cause by diminishing the number of its knightly defenders, or was it
really the result of the fear of being overcome? Whichever it was, the
effect was the same. Ten thousand of the gentlemen of France were the
sufferers on that day,--a whole generation of the rich and high-born
swept away at one blow! It would have taken a long time in the course
of nature to supply their place; but nature was not allowed to have
her way. Wars and dissensions interfered with her restorative efforts.
Six-and-thirty years were yet to be spent in mutual destruction, or in
struggles against the English name; and when France was again left free
from foreign occupation, when French chivalry again wished to assume
the chief rule in human affairs, it was found that chivalry was out of
place; a new state of things had arisen in Europe; the greatest exploit
which had been known in their national annals had been performed by a
woman; and knighthood had so lost its manliness that, when prosperity
and population had again made France a powerful kingdom, the silk-clad
courtiers of an unwarlike monarch thought it good taste to sneer at the
relief of Orleans and the mission of Joan of Arc!

Six years after Agincourt, the English conqueror and the wretched
phantom of kingship called Charles the Sixth descended to their
graves. [A.D. 1421.] Military honour and patriotism seemed utterly at
an end among the French population, and our Henry the Sixth, the son of
the man of Agincourt, succeeded in the great object of English ambition
and was recognised from the Channel to the Loire as King of France. In
the Southern provinces a spark of the old French gallantry was still
unextinguished, but it showed itself in the gay unconcern with which
the Dauphin, now Charles the Seventh, bore all the reverses of fortune,
and consoled himself for the loss of the noblest crown in Europe by the
enjoyments of love and festivity. Perhaps he saw that the whirligig
of time would bring about its revenges, and that the curse of envious
faction would vex the councils of the conquerors as it had ruined the
fortunes of the subdued. The warriors of Henry still remained, but,
without the controlling hand, they could direct their efforts to no
common object. The uncles of the youthful king speedily quarrelled.
The gallant Bedford was opposed by the treacherous Glo'ster, and both
were dominated and supplanted by the haughty prelate, the Cardinal
Bishop of Winchester. Offence was soon taken at the presumption of the
English soldiery. Religious animosities supervened. The Churches of
England and France had both made successful endeavours to establish a
considerable amount of national independence, and the French bishops,
who had withdrawn themselves from the absolutism of Rome, were little
inclined to become subordinate to Winchester and Canterbury. A court
gradually gathered round the Dauphin, which inspired him with more
manly thoughts. His feasts and tournaments were suspended, and, with
his hand on the hilt of his sword, he watched the proceedings of the
English. These proceedings were uniformly successful when restricted
to the operations of war. They defeated the men of Gascony and the
reinforcements sent over by the Scotch. They held a firm grasp of Paris
and all the strong places of the North, and cast down the gauntlet to
the rest of France by laying siege to the beautiful city of Orleans in
the winter of 1428. [A.D. 1428.] Once in possession of the Loire, they
would be able at their leisure to extend their conquests southward; and
all the loyal throughout the country took up the challenge and resolved
on the defence of the beleaguered town. The English must have begun by
this time to despise their enemy; for, in spite of the greatness of
the stake, they undertook the siege with a force of less than three
thousand men. To make up for the deficiency in numbers, they raised
twelve large bastions all round the walls, exhausting the troops by
the labour and finding it impossible to garrison them adequately when
they were finished. It seems that Sebastopol was not the first occasion
on which our soldiers were overworked. To surround a city of several
thousand inhabitants, strongly garrisoned, and with an open country
at its back for the supply of provisions, would have required a large
and well-directed force. But the moral effects of Agincourt, and even
of Cressy and Poictiers, were not yet obliterated. Public spirit was
dead, and very few entertained a hope of saving the doomed place.
Statesmen, politicians, and warriors, all calculated the chances of
success and decided against the cause of France. But in the true heart
of the common people far better feelings survived. They were neither
statesmen, nor politicians, nor warriors; but they were loyal and
devoted Frenchmen, and put their trust in God.

A peasant-girl, eighteen years of age, born and bred in a little
village called Domremy, in Lorraine, was famous for her religious
faith and simplicity of character. Her name was Joan d'Arc,--a dreamy
enthusiast, believing with full heart all the legends of saints and
miracles with which the neighbourhood was full. She rested, also, with
a sort of romantic interest on the personal fortunes of the young
discrowned king, who had been unjustly excluded by foreigners from his
rights and was now about to lose the best of his remaining possessions.
She walked in the woods and heard voices telling her to be up and
doing. She went to pray in the dim old church, and had glorious visions
of angels who smiled upon her. One time she saw a presence with a
countenance like the sun, and wings upon his shoulders, who said, "Go,
Joan, to the help of the King of France." But she answered, "My lord,
I cannot ride, nor command men-at-arms." The voice replied, "Go to M.
de Baudricourt at Vaucouleurs: he will take thee to the king. Saint
Catharine and Saint Marguerite will come to thy assistance." There was
no voluntary deception here. The girl lived in a world of her own, and
peopled it out of the fulness of her heart. She went to Vaucouleurs:
she saw M. de Baudricourt. He took her to Poictiers, where the Dauphin
resided, and when she was led into the glittering ring an attempt was
made to deceive her by representing another as the prince; but she
went straight up to the Dauphin and said to him, "Gentle Dauphin, my
name is Joan the Maid. The King of Heaven sends to you, through me,
that you shall be anointed and crowned at Rheims, and you shall be
lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who is King of France." All the court
was moved,--the more pure-minded, with sympathy for the girl, the more
experienced, with the use that might be made of her enthusiasm to rouse
the nation. Both parties conspired to aid Joan in her design; and,
clothed in white armour, mounted on a war-horse, holding the banner of
France in her hand, and waited on by knights and pages, she set forth
on her way to Orleans. It was like a religious procession all the way.
She prayed at all the shrines, and was blest by the clergy, and held on
her path undismayed with all the dangers that occurred at every step.
At length, on the 30th of April, she made her entry into Orleans. Her
coming had long been expected; and, now that it had really happened,
people looked back at the difficulties of the route and thought the
whole march a miracle. Meantime Joan knelt and gave thanks in the great
church, and the true defence of Orleans began. Into the hard-pressed
city had gathered all the surviving chivalry of France,--Dunois,
the bastard of Orleans, La Hire, Saintrailles, rough and dissolute
soldiers, yet all held in awe by the purity and innocence of the
Maid. With Joan at the head of the column of assault, the English
intrenchments fell one after another. In spite of wounds and hardships,
the peasant-girl pushed fearlessly on; the knights and gentlemen
could not decline to follow where she led the way; and ten days after
her arrival old Talbot and Falstaff gathered up the fragments of
their troops and made a precipitate retreat from the scene of their
discomfiture. But there was not yet rest for the dreamer of Domremy.
She hurried off to the Dauphin. "Gentle Dauphin," she said, "till you
are crowned with the old crown and bedewed with the holy oil, you can
never be King of France. Come with me to Rheims. There shall no enemy
hurt you on the way." The country through which they had to pass was
bristling with English castles and swarming with wandering troops. Yet
the counsel which appeared so hardy was in fact the wisest that could
be given. The faith in the sanctity of coronations was still strong.
Whoever was first crowned would in the eye of faith be true king.
Winchester was bringing over the English claimant. All France would be
startled at the news that the descendant of St. Louis was beforehand
with his rival; and the march was successfully made. [July 17, 1429.]
"Gentle king," said Joan, kneeling after the ceremony, and calling him
for the first time King,--"Gentle King, Orleans is saved, the true king
is crowned. My task is done. Farewell." But they would not let her
leave them so soon. The people crowded round her and blest her wherever
she appeared. "Oh, the good people of Rheims!" she cried: "when I die
I should like to be buried here." "When do you think you shall die?"
inquired the archbishop,--perhaps with a sneer upon his lips. "That I
know not," she replied: "whenever it pleases God. But, for my own part,
I wish to go back and keep the sheep with my sister and brothers. They
will be so glad to see me again!" But this was not to be.

If Talbot and Suffolk had been foiled and vanquished by Dunois and La
Hire, they would have accepted their defeat as one of the mischances of
war. A knightly hand ennobles the blow it gives. But to be humbled by
a woman, a peasant, a prophetess, an impostor,--this was too much for
the proud stomachs of our steel-clad countrymen. But far worse was it
in the eyes of our stole-clad ecclesiastics. Apparitions of saints and
angels vouchsafed to the recalcitrant Church of France!--voices heard
from heaven denouncing the claims of the English king!--visible glories
hanging round the head of a simple shepherdess! It was evident to every
clergyman and monk and bishop in England that the woman was a witch or
a deceiver. And almost all the clergymen in France thought the same;
and after a while, when the exploit was looked back upon with calmness,
almost all the soldiers on both sides were of the same opinion. Nobody
could believe in the exaltation of a pure and enthusiastic mind, making
its own visions, and performing its own miracles, without a tincture of
deceit. It was easier and more orthodox to believe in the liquefaction
of the holy oil and the wonders wrought by the bones of St. Denis: so,
with a nearly universal assent of both the parties, the humbled English
and delivered French, the most heroic and most feminine of women was
handed over to the Church tribunals, and Joan's fate was sealed.
Unmanly priests, whose law prevented them from having wives, unloving
bishops, whose law prevented them from having daughters,--how were
they to judge of the loving heart and trusting tenderness of a girl
not twenty years of age, standing before them, with modesty not shown
in blushes but in unabated simplicity of behaviour, telling the tale
of all her actions as if she were pouring it into the ears of father
and mother in her own old cottage at home, unconscious, or at least
regardless, of scowling looks, and misleading questions, directed to
her by those predetermined murderers? No one tried to save her. Charles
the Seventh, with the oil of Rheims scarcely dried upon his head,
made no attempt to get her from the hands of her enemies. The process
took place at Rouen. Magic and heresy were the crimes laid to her
charge; and as generosity was magic in the eyes of those narrow-souled
inquisitors, and trust in God was heresy, there was no defence
possible. Her whole life was a confession. First, she was condemned to
perpetual imprisonment, and to resume the dress of her sex. Then she
was exposed to every obloquy and insult which hatred and superstition
could pour upon her. A gallant "Lord" accompanied the Count de Ligny in
a visit to her cell. She was chained to a plank by both feet, and kept
in this attitude night and day. The noble Englishman did honour to
his rank and country. When Joan said, "I know the English will procure
my death, in hopes of getting the realm of France; but they could not
do it, no, if they had a hundred thousand _Goddams_ more than they
have to-day;" the gallant visitor was so enraged by those depreciating
remarks, and perhaps at the nickname thus early indicative of the
national oath, that he drew his dagger, and would have struck her, if
he had not been hindered by Lord Warwick. Another gentleman, on being
admitted to her prison, insulted her by the grossness of his behaviour,
and then overwhelmed her with blows. It was time for Joan to escape her
tormentors. She put on once more the male apparel which she had thrown
off, and sentence of death was passed. On the 30th of May, 1431, in the
old fishmarket of Rouen, the great crime was consummated. [A.D. 1431.]
The flames mounted very slowly; and when at last they enveloped her
from the crowd, she was still heard calling on Jesus, and declaring,
"The voices I heard were of God!--the voices I heard were of God!" The
age of chivalry was indeed past, and the age of Church-domination was
also about to expire. The peasant-girl of Domremy wrote the dishonoured
epitaph of the first in the flame of Rouen, and a citizen of Mentz was
about to give the other its death-blow with the printing-press.

This is one of the inventions apparently unimportant, by which
incalculable results have been produced. At first it was intended
merely to simplify the process of copying the books which were
already well known. And, if we may trust some of the stories told of
the earliest specimens of the art, we shall see that there was some
slight portion of dishonesty mingled with the talent of the Fathers
of printing. These were Guttenberg of Mentz, and his apprentice or
partner Faust. [A.D. 1455.] The first of their productions was a
Latin Bible; and the letters of this impression were such an exact
imitation of the works of the amanuensis that they passed it off as
an exquisite specimen of the copyist's art. Faust sold a copy to the
King of France for seven hundred crowns, and another to the Archbishop
of Paris for four hundred. The prelate, enchanted with his bargain,
(for the usual price was several hundred crowns above what he had
given,) showed it in triumph to the king. The king compared the two,
and was filled with astonishment. They were identical in every stroke
and dot. How was it possible for any two scribes, or even for the same
scribe, to produce so undeniable a fac-simile of his work? The capital
letters of the edition were of red ink. They inquired still further,
and found that many other copies had been sold, all precisely alike
in form and pressure. They came to the conclusion that Faust was a
wizard and had sold himself to the devil, and that the initials were
of blood. The Church and State, in this case united in the persons of
king and archbishop, had the magician apprehended. To save himself
from the flames, the unhappy Faust had to confess the deceit, and also
to discover the secret of the art. The whole mystery consisted in
cutting letters upon movable metal types, and, after rubbing them with
ink when they were correctly set, imprinting them upon paper by means
of a screw. A simple expedient, as it appeared to everybody when the
secret was spread abroad; for there had been seals stamping impressions
on wax for many generations. Medals and coins had been poured forth
from the dies of every nation from the dawn of history. In England,
playing-cards had been produced for several years, with the figures
impressed on them from wooden blocks; and in 1423 a stamped book,
with wood engravings, had made its appearance, which now, with many
treasures of typography, is in the library of Lord Spencer. Even in
Nineveh, we learn from recent discovery, the dried bricks, while in a
soft state, had been stamped with those curious-looking inscriptions,
by a board in which the unsightly letters were set in high relief.
Wooden letters had also long been known; and yet it was not till 1440
that Guttenberg bethought him of the process of printing, and only
after ten or twelve years' labour that he brought his experiments to
perfection and with one crush of the completed press opened new hopes
and prospects to the whole family of mankind. But things apparently
unconnected are brought together for good when the great turning-points
of human history are attained. There are always pebbles of the brook
within reach when the warrior-shepherd has taken the sling in his hand.
Shortly before the invention of printing, a discovery was made without
which Guttenberg's skill would have been of no avail. This was the
applicability of linen rags to the manufacture of paper. Parchment, and
preparations of straw and papyrus, had sufficed for the transcriber and
author of those unliterary times, but would have been inadequate to
supply the demand of the new process; and therefore we may say that, as
gunpowder was essential to the use of artillery, and steam-power for
the railway-train, linen paper was indispensable to the development of
the press. And the development was rapid beyond all imagination. In the
remaining portion of the century, eight thousand five hundred and nine
books were published, of which the English Caxton and his followers
supplied one hundred and forty-two,--a small contribution in actual
numbers, but valuable for the insight it gives us into the favourite
literature of the time. Among those volumes there are

    "Songs of war for gallant knight,
     Lays of love for lady bright;"

"The Tale of Troy divine," for scholars; "Tullie, of old age," and
"of Friendship," and "Virgil's Æneid," for the classical; "Lives of
Our Ladie and divers Saints," for the religious; and "The Consolation
of Boethius," for the afflicted. But several editions prove the
popularity of the Father of English poetry; and we find the "Tales of
Cauntyrburrie," and the "Book of Fame," and "Troylus and Cresyde, made
by Geoffrey Chaucer," the great and fitting representatives of the
native English muse.

We ought to remember, in judging of the paucity of books produced in
England, that the Wars of the Roses broke out at the very time when
Guttenberg's labours began. In such a season of struggle and unrest as
the thirty years of civil strife--for though Mr. Knight, in his very
interesting sketch of this date,[D] has shown that the period of actual
and open war was very short, the state of uneasiness and expectation
must have endured the whole time--there was small encouragement to the
peaceful triumphs of art or literature. And, moreover, the pride of
station was revolted by the prospect of the spread of information among
the classes to whom it had not yet reached. The noble could afford to
acknowledge his inferiority in learning and research to the priest
or monk, for it was their trade to be wise and learned, and their
scholarship was even considered a badge of the lowness of their birth,
which had given them the primer and psalter instead of the horse and
sword. But those high-hearted cavaliers could ill brook the notion of
educated clowns and peasants. And, strange to say, the sentiment was
shared and exaggerated by the peasants and clowns themselves. Jack
Cade is represented, by an anachronism of date but with perfect truth
of character, as profoundly irritated at the invention of printing, and
the building of a paper-mill, and the introduction of such heathenish
words as nominatives and adverbs: so that the press began its career
opposed by the two greatest parties of the State. Yet truth is mighty
and will prevail. No nobility in Europe gives such contributions to
the general stock of high and healthy thought as the descendants of
the men of Towton and Bosworth, and no peasantry values more deeply,
or would defend more gallantly, the gifts poured upon it by a free
and sympathizing press. Warwick the King-maker, if he had lived just
now, would have made speeches in Parliament and had them reported in
the _Times_, and Jack Cade would have been sent to the reformatory and
taught to read and write.

But, with the peerages of Europe greatly thinned, with mounted
feudalism overthrown, with the press rejoicing as a giant to run its
course, something also was needed in order to make a wider theatre for
the introduction of the new life of men. Another world lay beyond the
great waters of the Atlantic. Whispers had been going round the circle
of earnest inquirers, which gradually grew louder and louder till they
reached the ears of kings, that great things lay hidden in the awful
and mysterious solitudes of the ocean; that westward, to balance the
preponderance of our used-up continent, must be solid land, equal
in weight and size, so that the uninterrupted waters would conduct
the adventurous mariner to the farther India by a nearer route than
Bartholomew Diaz, the Portuguese, had just discovered. [A.D. 1487.]
This man sailed to the southern extremity of Africa, passed round to
the east without being aware of his achievement, and penetrated as
far as Lagoa Bay. But the crew became discontented, and the navigator
retraced his steps. Alarmed at the commotion of the vast waves of the
Southern Ocean pouring its floods against the Table Mountain, he had
retired from further research, and called the southern point of his
pilgrimage the Cape of Storms. It is now known to us by a happier
augury as the Cape of Good Hope. But, whether perpetually haunted by
tempests or not, the truth was discovered that the land ceased at that
promontory and left an unexplored sea beyond. This was cherished in
many a heart; for in this century maritime discovery kept pace with
the other triumphs of mental power. Wherever ship could swim man could
venture. The Azores had been discovered in 1439 and colonized by the
Portuguese in 1440. Already in possession of Cape Verd, Madeira, and
the Canaries, Portugal looked forward to greater discoveries, for these
were the nurseries of gallant and skilful mariners. But the glory was
left for another nation,--though, by a strange caprice of fortune, the
chance of it had been offered to nearly all.

The life of Columbus is more wonderful than a romance. He hawked about
his notion of the way to India at all the courts of Europe. By birth
a Genoese, he considered the great ocean the patrimony of any person
able to seize it. When his services, therefore, were rejected by his
own country, he offered them successively to Portugal, to Spain, and to
England. Henry the Seventh was inclined to venture a small sum in the
lottery of chances; but, while still in negotiation with the brother
of Columbus, the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, closed with
the navigator's terms, and on the 3d of August, 1492, the squadron of
discovery, consisting of a vessel of some size, and two small pinnaces,
with a crew at most of a hundred persons in all the three, sailed from
the port of Palos, in Andalusia. Three weeks' constant progress to
the westward took them far beyond all previous navigation. The men
became disheartened, discontented, and finally rebellious. Against all,
Columbus bore up with the self-relying energy of a great mind, but was
driven to the compromise of promising, if they confided in him for
three days longer, he would return, if the object of his voyage was
yet unattained. But by this time his sagacious observation had assured
him of success. Strange appearances began to be perceived from the
ship's decks. A carved piece of wood floated past, then a reed newly
cut, and, best sign of all, a branch with red berries still fresh.
"From all these symptoms, Columbus was so confident of being near land,
that on the evening of the 11th of October, after public prayers for
success, he ordered the sails to be furled, and the ships to lie to,
keeping strict watch, lest they should be driven ashore in the night.
During this interval of suspense and expectation no man shut his eyes:
all kept upon deck, gazing intently towards that quarter where they
expected to discover the land, which had been so long the object of
their wishes. About two hours before midnight, Columbus, standing on
the forecastle, observed a light at a distance, and privately pointed
it out to Pedro Guttierez, a page of the queen's wardrobe. Guttierez
perceiving it, and calling to Salcedo, comptroller of the fleet, all
three saw it in motion, as if it were carried from place to place. A
little after midnight the joyful sound of '_Land! land!_' was heard
from the Pinta, which kept always ahead of the other ships. But, having
been so often deceived by fallacious appearances, every man was now
become slow of belief, and waited in all the anguish of uncertainty
and impatience for the return of day. As soon as morning dawned, all
doubts and fears were dispelled. From every ship an island was seen
about two leagues to the north, whose flat and verdant fields, well
stored with wood, and watered with many rivulets, presented the aspect
of a delightful country. The crew of the Pinta instantly began the _Te
Deum_ as a hymn of thanksgiving to God, and were joined by those of
the other ships, with tears of joy and transports of congratulation.
This office of gratitude to Heaven was followed by an act of justice to
their commander. They threw themselves at the feet of Columbus, with
feelings of self-condemnation mingled with reverence. They implored
him to pardon their ignorance, incredulity, and insolence, which had
created him so much unceasing disquiet and had so often obstructed the
prosecution of his well-concerted plan; and, passing in the warmth
of their admiration from one extreme to another, they now pronounced
the man whom they had so lately reviled and threatened to be a person
inspired by Heaven with sagacity and fortitude more than human, in
order to accomplish a design so far beyond the ideas and conception of
all former ages."

Many excellent writers have described this wondrous incident, but none
so well as the historian of America, Dr. Robertson, whose eloquent
account is borrowed in the preceding lines. The great event occurred on
Friday, the 12th of October, 1492, and the connection between the two
worlds began. The place he first landed at was San Salvador, one of the
Bahamas; and after attaching Cuba and Hispaniola to the Spanish crown,
and going through imminent perils by land and sea, he achieved his
glorious return to Palos on the 15th of March, 1493. He brought with
him some of the natives of the different islands he had discovered,
and their strange appearance and manners were vouchers for the facts
he stated. The whole town, when he came into the harbour, was in an
uproar of delight. "The bells were rung, the cannon fired, Columbus
was received at landing with royal honours, and all the people, in
solemn procession, accompanied him and his crew to the church, where
they returned thanks to Heaven, which had so wonderfully conducted,
and crowned with success, a voyage of greater length, and of more
importance, than had been attempted in any former age."[E]



                          SIXTEENTH CENTURY.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

        MAXIMILIAN I.--(_cont._)

  1519. CHARLES V.,(1st of Spain.)

  1558. FERDINAND I.

  1564. MAXIMILIAN II.

  1576. RODOLPH II.


Kings of England.

  A.D.

        HENRY VII.--(_cont._)

  1509. HENRY VIII.

  1547. EDWARD VI.

  1553. MARY.

  1558. ELIZABETH.


Kings of Scotland.

  A.D.

        JAMES IV. (_cont._)

  1513. JAMES V.

  1542. MARY.

  1567. JAMES VI.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

        LOUIS XII.--(_cont._)

  1515. FRANCIS I.

  1547. HENRY II.

  1559. FRANCIS II.

  1560. CHARLES IX.

  1574. HENRY III.

  (_The Bourbons._)

  1589. HENRY IV.


Kings of Spain.

  A.D.

  1512. FERDINAND V., (the Catholic.)

  1516. CHARLES I., (Emperor of Germany.)

  1556. PHILIP II.

  1598. PHILIP III.


Distinguished Men.

LEONARDO DA VINCI, MICHAEL ANGELO, RAFFAELLE, CORREGGIO, TITIAN,
(Painters,) SIR PHILIP SYDNEY, RALEIGH, SPENSER, SHAKSPEARE,
(1564-1616,) ARIOSTO, TASSO, LOPE DE VEGA, CALDERON, CERVANTES,
SCALIGER, (1484-1558,) COPERNICUS, (1473-1543,) KNOX, (1505-1572,)
CALVIN, (1509-1564,) BEZA, (1519-1605,) BELLARMINE, (1542-1621,) TYCHO
BRAHE, (1546-1601.)



                        THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

  THE REFORMATION--THE JESUITS--POLICY OF ELIZABETH


In the last two years of the preceding century the course of maritime
discovery had been accelerated by fresh success. To balance the glories
of Columbus in the West, the "regions of the rising sun" had been
explored by Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese. This great navigator sailed
back into the harbour of Lisbon on the 16th of September, 1499, with
the astonishing news that he had doubled the Cape of Storms, which
had so alarmed Bartholomew Diaz, and established relations of amity
and commerce with the vast continent of India, having traded with a
civilized and industrious people at Calicut, a great city on the coast
of Malabar. Under these reiterated widenings of men's knowledge of the
globe, the human mind itself expanded. Familiar names meet us from
henceforth in the most distant quarters of the world. All national
or domestic history becomes mixed up with elements hitherto unknown.
The balance of power, which is the new constitution of the European
States, depends on circumstances and places of the most heterogeneous
character. A treaty between France and Spain, or between England and
either, is regulated by events occurring on the Amazon or Ganges.
The whole world gets more closely connected than ever it was before,
and we can look back on the proceedings of previous ages as filling
a very narrow theatre, and regulated by very contracted interests,
when compared with the universal policies on which public affairs have
now to rest. At first, however, the great results of these stupendous
discoveries were naturally not observed. Contemporaries are justly
accused of magnifying the small affairs of life of which they are
witnesses; but this observation does not hold good with respect to the
really momentous incidents of human history. A man who saw Columbus
return from his voyage, or Guttenberg pulling at his press, could not
rise to the contemplation of the prodigious consequences of these
two events. He thought, perhaps, a quarrel between two neighbouring
potentates, or a battle between France and Spain, the greatest incident
of his time. His son forgot all about the quarrel; his grandson had
no recollection of the battle; but widening in a still increasing
circle, expanding into still more wonderful proportions, were the
Discovery of America and the Art of Printing,--showing themselves in
combinations of events and changes of circumstances where they were
never expected to appear,--the one threatening to overthrow the freedom
of every State in Europe by the supremacy of the Spanish crown, the
other in reality preventing the chance of that consummation by raising
up the indomitable spirit of spiritual liberty. For there now came to
the aid of national independence the far more elevating feelings of
religious emancipation. Protestantism was not limited in this century
to denial of the spiritual authority of popes, but embodied itself also
in resistance to the political ambition of kings. America might have
enabled Charles the Fifth to conquer all Europe, if the Reformation had
not strengthened men's minds with a determination to stand up against
oppression.

But the commencement of this century gave no intimation of its
tempestuous course. The first few years saw the peaceable accession to
the thrones of Spain and France and England of the three sovereigns
whose contemporaneous reigns, and also whose personal characters,
had the most preponderating influence on the succeeding current of
events. We have left Spain for a long time out of these general views
of a century's condition and special notices of individual incidents
which affected the condition of the world; for Spain for a long time
lay obscurely between the ocean and the Pyrenees and carried on wars
and policies which were limited by its territorial bounds. But, if we
take a hurried retrospect of the last few years, we shall see that the
different nations contained in the Peninsula had amalgamated into one
mighty and strongly-cemented State. [A.D. 1497.] Ferdinand of Aragon,
by marriage with Isabella of Castile, united the various nationalities
under one homogeneous government, and by wisdom and magnanimity--the
wisdom being the man's and the magnanimity the woman's--had rendered
forever famous the joint reign of husband and wife, had reconciled
the jarring factions of their respective subjects, and seen with
the triumphant faith of believers and the satisfaction of sagacious
rulers the reunion of the last Mohammedan State to the dominion of
the Cross and of the crown. They watched the long, slow march of the
Moorish king and his cavaliers as they took their way in poverty and
despair from the towers and meadows of Granada, which a possession of
seven hundred years had failed to make their own. This--the conquest
of Granada--took place in 1491; and 1516 saw the supreme power over
all united Spain descend on the head of the grandson of Ferdinand and
Isabella,--inheriting, along with their royal dignity, the cautious
wisdom of the one and the wider intelligence of the other. In three
years from that time--it will be easy to remember that Charles's age
is the same as the century's--he was elected to the Imperial crown,
so that the greatest dominion ever held by one man since the days of
Charlemagne now fell to the rule of a youth of nineteen years of age.
Germany, the Netherlands, Naples, Sicily, and Spain, more than equalled
the extent and power of Charlemagne's empire. [A.D. 1520.] But ere
Charles was a year older, vaster dominions than Charlemagne had ever
dreamt of acknowledged his royal sway; for Montezuma, the Emperor of
Mexico, whose realm was without appreciable limit either in size or
wealth, professed himself the subject and servant of the Spanish king.

Henry the Eighth of England had also succeeded at an early age, being
but eighteen in 1509, when the death of his father, the politic and
successful founder of the Tudor dynasty, left him with a people silent
if not quite satisfied, and an exchequer overflowing with what would
now amount to ten or twelve millions of gold. This treasure had been
accumulated by the infamous exactions of the late sovereign, who was
aided in the ignoble service by two men of the names of Empson and
Dudley. These were spies and informers, not, as in other climes and
countries, about the religious or political sentiments of the people,
but about their titles to their estates, the fines they were disposed
to pay, or the bribes they would advance to the royal extortioner to
avoid litigation and injustice. Henry had an admirable opportunity
of showing his hatred of these practices, and availed himself of it
at once. Before he had been four months on the throne, Empson and
Dudley were ignominiously hanged; and with safe conscience, after
this sacrifice at the shrine of legality, he entered into possession
of the pilfered store. The people applauded the rapid decision of his
character in both these instances, and scarcely grudged him the money
when the subordinates were given up to their revenge. They could
not, indeed, grudge their young king any thing; his manners were so
open and sincere, his laugh so ready, and his teeth so white; for we
are not to forget, in compliment to what is facetiously called the
dignity of history, the immense advantages a ruler gains by the fact
of being good-looking. Nobody feels inclined to find fault with a
lad of eighteen, if moderately endowed with health and features; but
when that lad is eminently handsome, rioting in strength and spirits,
open in disposition, and, above all, a king, you need not wonder at
the universal inclination to overlook his faults, to exaggerate his
virtues, and even, after an interval of two hundred and fifty years, to
hear the greatest tyrant of our history, and the worst man perhaps of
his time, talked of by the ordinary title of Bluff King Hal. If he had
been as ugly and hump-backed as his grand-uncle Richard the Third, he
would have been detested from the first.

But in the neighbouring land of France there reigned at the same
time a prince almost as handsome as Henry, and nearly as popular
with his people, with as little real cause. In 1515, Francis
the First was twenty years of age, a perfect specimen of manly
strength,--accomplished in all knightly exercises,--generous and
magnificent in his intercourse with his nobility,--and the greatest
_roué_ and debauchee in all the kingdom of France. Here, then, at the
beginning of the age we have now to examine, were the three mightiest
sovereigns of Europe, all arriving at their crowns before attaining
their majority; and with so many years before them, and such powerful
nations obeying their commands, great prospects for good or evil were
opening on the world. But in the early years of the century no human
eye perceived in what direction the future was going to pursue its
course. People were all watching for the first indication of what was
to come, and kept their eyes on the courts of Paris and London and
Madrid; but nobody suspected that the real champions of the time were
already marshalling their forces in far different situations. There
was a thoughtful monk in a convent in Germany, and a Spanish soldier
before the walls of Pampeluna. These were the true movers of men's
minds, of the great thoughts by which events are created; and their
names were soon to sound louder than those of Henry or Charles or
Francis; for one was Martin Luther, the hero of the Reformation, and
the other was Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Take note
of them here as mere accessories to the march of general history: we
shall return to them again as characteristics of the century on which
they placed their indelible mark. At this time, in the gay young days
of the three crowned striplings, these future combatants are totally
unknown. Brother Martin is singing charming hymns to the Virgin, in a
voice which it was delightful to hear; and Don Ignacio is also singing
to his guitar the praises of one of the beautiful maidens of his native
land. Public opinion was still stagnant with regard to home-affairs,
in spite of the efforts of the infant press. People, bowed down by the
claims of implicit obedience exacted from them by the Church, accepted
with wondering submission the pontificate of such an atrocious murderer
as Alexander the Sixth; and some even ingeniously founded an argument
of the divine institution of the Papacy upon its having survived the
eleven years' desecration of that monster of cruelty and unbelief. Yet
now it happened by a strange coincidence that the chair of St. Peter
was to be filled by a gayer and more accomplished ruler than any of the
earthly thrones we have mentioned. In 1513, Leo the Tenth, the most
celebrated of the family of the Medicis of Florence, put on the tiara
at the age of thirty-six, a period of life which was considered as
youthful for the father of Christendom as even the boyish years of the
temporal kings. And Leo did not belie the promise of his juvenility.
None of the dulness of age, or even the caution of maturity, was
perceived in his public or private conduct. He was a patron of arts
and sciences, and buffoonery, and infidelity; and it is curious to
observe how the pretensions of Rome were more shaken by the frivolous
magnificence of a good-hearted, graceful voluptuary than they had been
by the crimes of his two immediate predecessors, the truculent Borgia
and the warlike Julius the Second.

This latter pontiff was intended by nature for a leader of Free Lances,
to live forever in "the joy of battle," and must have felt a little
out of his element as the head of the Christian Church. However, he
rapidly discovered that he was a secular prince as well as a spiritual
teacher, and cast his eyes in the former capacity with ominous ill will
on the industrious Republic of Venice. The fishermen and fugitives of
many centuries before, who had settled among the Adriatic lagoons,
had risen into the position of princes and treasurers of Europe. By
their possessions in the East, and their trading-factories established
along the whole route from India to the Mediterranean, they had made
themselves the intermediaries between the barbaric pearls and gold,
the silks and spices, of the Oriental regions, and the requirements
of the West. Their galleys were daily bringing them the commodities
of the Levant, which they distributed at an exorbitant profit among
the nations beyond the Straits of Gibraltar. Mercantile wealth and
maritime enterprise elevated the taste and confidence of those Venetian
traffickers, till their whole territory, amid the lifeless waters
of their canals, was covered with stately palaces, and their fleets
assumed the dominion of the inland seas. On the mainland they had
stretched their power over Dalmatia and Trieste, and in their own
peninsula over Rimini and Ferrara and a great part of the Romagna. Two
ruling passions agitated the soul of Julius the Second: one was to
recover whatever territory or influence had once belonged to the Holy
See; the other was to expel the hated barbarian, whether Frenchman,
or Swiss, or Austrian, from the soil of Italy. To achieve this last
object he would sacrifice any thing except the first; and to unite
the two was difficult. He made his approaches to Venice in a gentle
manner at first. He asked her to restore the lands she had lately won,
which he claimed as appendages of his chair, because they had been
torn unjustly from the original holders by Cæsar Borgia, the son of
Alexander the Infamous; and if she had agreed to this he would no doubt
have proceeded with his further scheme of banishing all ultramontane
invaders. But as the commercial council of the great emporium hesitated
at giving up what they had entered in their books as fairly their
own, he altered his note in a moment, put on the insignia of his holy
office, and, denouncing the astonished republic as rebellious and
ungrateful to Mother Church, he called in the aid of the very French
whom he was so anxious to get quit of, to execute his judgment upon the
offending State. Venice was rich, and France at that time was poor and
at all times is greedy. So preparations were made for an assault with
the readiness and glee with which a party of freebooters would make a
descent on the Bank of England. The temptation also was too great to be
resisted by other kings and princes, who were as hungry for spoil and
as attached to religion as the French. So in an incredibly short space
of time the league of Cambrai was joined by Maximilian, the Emperor of
Germany, and Ferdinand of Spain, and dukes and marquesses of less note.
There were few of the Southern potentates, indeed, who had not some
cause of complaint against the haughty Venetians. [A.D. 1508.] Some
(as the German Maximilian) they had humbled by defeat; others they had
insulted by their purse-proud insolence; others, again, by superiority
in commercial skill; and all, by the fact of being wealthy and, as they
fancied, weak.

Louis the Twelfth of France was first in the field. He conquered at
Agnadello, and, forcing his way to the shore, alarmed the marble halls
of the Venetians with the sound of his harmless cannonade. The Pope
was next, and took possession of the towns he wanted. The Duke of
Ferrara laid hold of some loose articles in the confusion, and the
Marquis of Mantua got back some villages which his grandfather had
lost. Maximilian was disconsolate at not being in time for the general
pillage, and had to content himself with Padua and Vicenza and Verona.
Maximilian was a gentleman in difficulties, who has the misfortune to
be known in history as Max the Penniless. The Venetians sent to tell
him they were ready to acknowledge his suzerainty as emperor, and to
pay him a tribute of fifty thousand ducats. The man would have forgiven
them a hundred times their offences for half the money, and was anxious
to close with their offer. But they had made no similar proposition
to the French king, nor to Ferdinand, nor even of a ten-pound note
to the Mantuan Marquis or the Magnifico of Ferrara. Wherefore they
all began to hate the emperor. Louis declined to give him any more
assistance. Julius sent a secret message to the Venetians that Holy
Church was not inexorable; and Venice, relying on the placability of
Rome, hung out her flag against her secular foes in prouder defiance
than ever. She knelt at the feet of the Pope, and allowed him to retain
his acquisitions in Romagna and elsewhere; and as his first object,
the enrichment of his domain, was accomplished, he lost no time in
carrying out the second. [A.D. 1510.] By the fortunate possession
of an unlimited power of loosing mankind from unpleasant oaths and
obligations, he astonished his late confederates by publishing a
sentence releasing the Venetians from the censures of the Church and
the Allies from the covenants of the Treaty of Cambrai. He then joined
the pontifical forces to the troops of Venice, and in hot haste made a
rush upon the French. He bought over Ferdinand of Spain to the cause
by giving him the investiture of Naples, hired a multitude of Swiss
mercenaries, and, drawing the sword like a stout man-at-arms as he was,
he laid siege to Mirandola. In spite of his great age,--he was now past
seventy,--he performed all the offices of an active general, visited
the trenches, encouraged his army, and after a two months' bombardment
disdained to enter the city by the opened gate, but was triumphantly
carried in military pomp through a breach in the shattered wall. His
perfidy as a statesman and audacity as a soldier were too much for the
Emperor and the King of France. [A.D. 1511.] They collected as many
troops as they could, and threatened to summon a general council; for
what excommunication as an instrument of offence was to the popes, a
general council was to the civil power. The French clergy met at Tours,
and supported the Crown against Julius. The German emperor was still
more indignant. He published a paper of accusations, in which the
bitterness of his penniless condition is not concealed. "The enormous
sums daily extracted from Germany," he says, "are perverted to the
purposes of luxury or worldly views, instead of being employed for
the service of God or against the Infidels. So extensive a territory
has been alienated for the benefit of the Pope that scarcely a florin
of revenue remains to the Emperor in Italy." Louis and the French
appeared triumphant in the field; but their triumphs threw them into
dismay, for their protean adversary, when defeated as temporal prince,
thundered against them as successor of St. Peter, and taught them that
their victories were impiety and their acquisitions sacrilege. A hard
case for Louis, where if he retreated his territories were seized,
and if he advanced his soul was in danger. The war, which had begun
as a combination against Venice, was now converted into a holy league
in defence of Rome. Spaniards came to the rescue; and Henry, the
youthful champion of England, and all who either thought they loved
religion or who really hated France, were inspired as if for a crusade.
[A.D. 1512.] And Maximilian himself, poor and friendless,--how was it
possible for him to continue obstinately to reject the overtures of the
Pope, the purse of the Venetians, or the far more tempting whisperings
of Ferdinand of Aragon, who said to him, "Julius is very old. Would
it not be possible to win over the cardinals to make your majesty his
successor?" Such a golden dream had never suggested itself to the
pauperized emperor before. He swallowed the bait at once. He determined
to bribe the Sacred College, and, to raise the necessary funds, pawned
the archducal mantle of Austria to the rich merchants, the Fuggers
of Antwerp, for a large sum, and wrote to his daughter Margaret,
"To-morrow I shall send a bishop to the Pope, to conclude an agreement
with him that I may be appointed his coadjutor and on his death succeed
to the Papacy, that you may be bound to worship me,--of which I
shall be very proud." This may appear a rather jocular announcement
of so serious a design; but there is no doubt that the project was
entertained. Matters, however, advanced at too rapid a pace for the
slow calculations of politicians. The French, by a noble victory at
Ravenna, established their fame as warriors, and roused the fear of
all the other powers. Maximilian grasped at last the Venetian ducats
which had been offered him so long before, and turned suddenly against
his ally. Ferdinand and Henry pressed forward on France itself on the
side of the Pyrenees. Foot by foot the land of Italy was set free from
the French invaders, and Julius the Second, dying before the emperor's
plans were matured, left the tangled web of European politics to be
unravelled by a younger hand.

We have dwelt on this strange contest, where many sovereign states
combined to overthrow a colony of traders, and failed in all their
attempts, because it is the last great appearance that Venice has made
in the general history of the world. From this time her power rapidly
decayed. Her galleys lay rotting at their wharves, and the marriage of
her Doge to the Sea was a symbol without a meaning. The discovery of
a passage to India by the Cape, which we saw announced to Europe by
Vasco da Gama in the last year of the late century, was a sentence of
death to the carriers of the Adriatic. Commerce sought other channels
and enriched other lands. Wherever the merchant-vessels crowded the
harbour, whether with the commodities of the East or West, the war-ship
was sure to follow, and the treasures gained in traffic to be guarded
by a navy. All the ports of Spain became rallying-places of wealth
and power in this century. Portugal covered every sea with her guns
and galleons; Holland rose to dignity and freedom by her heavy-armed
marine; and England began the career of enterprise and liberty which
is still typified and assured by the preponderance of her commercial
and royal fleets. Questions are asked--which the younger among us, who
may live to see the answer, may amuse themselves by considering--as to
the chance of Venice recovering her ancient commerce if the pathway of
Eastern trade be again traced down the Mediterranean, when the Isthmus
of Suez shall be cut through by a canal or curtailed by a railway.
In former times the whole civilized world lay like a golden fringe
round the shores of that one sea, and the nation which predominated
there, either in wealth or arms, was mistress of the globe. But
the case is altered now. If the Gates of Hercules were permanently
closed, the commerce of the world would still go on; and, so far from
a Mediterranean supremacy indicating a universal pre-eminence, it is
perhaps worthy of remark that the only Mediterranean nations which have
in later times been recognised as of first-rate rank in Europe have had
their principal ports upon the Atlantic and in the Channel.

There is a circumstance which we may observe as characteristic of many
of the European states at this time,--the desire of combination and
consolidation at home even more than of foreign conquest. In Spain the
cessation of the oligarchy of kingships had established a national
crown. The hopes of recasting the separated and mutilated limbs of
ancient Latium into a gigantic Italy were rife in that sunny land of
high resolves and futile acts. In Germany, the official supremacy
of the emperor was insufficient to prevent the strong definement of
the corporate nationalities. Holland secured its individuality by
unheard-of efforts; and in England the great thought took possession
of the political mind of a union of the whole island. Visions already
floated before the statesmen on both sides of the Tweed of a Great
Britain freed from intestine disturbance and guarded by undisputed
seas. But the general intelligence was not yet sufficiently far
advanced. [A.D. 1502.] The Scotch were too Scotch and the English too
English to sink their national differences; and we can only pay homage
to the wisdom which by a marriage between the royal houses--James
the Fourth, and Margaret of England--planted the promise which came
afterwards to maturity in the junction of the crowns in 1603, and the
indissoluble union of the countries in 1707.

Meantime, the wooing was of the harshest. The last great battle,
Flodden, that marked the enmity of the kingdoms, was decided in this
century, and has left a deep and sorrowful impression even to our
own times. There is not a cottage in Scotland where "The Fight of
Flodden" is not remembered yet. And its effects were so desolating and
dispiriting that it may be considered the death-bed to the feeling of
equality which had hitherto ennobled the weaker nation. From this time
England held the position of a virtual superior, regulating her conduct
without much regard to the dignity or self-respect of her neighbour,
and employing the arts of diplomacy, and the meaner tricks of bribery
and corruption, only because they were more easy and less expensive
than the open method of invasion and conquest. "Scotland's shield" was
indeed broken at Flodden, but her character for courage and honour
remained. It was the treachery of Solway Moss, and the venality of most
of the surviving nobility, that were the real causes of her weakness,
and of the subordinate place which at this time she held in Europe.

Thus the object which in other nations had been gained by a union of
crowns was attained also in our island by the absence of opposition
between the peoples. Flodden and Pinkie may therefore be looked upon
with kindlier eyes if they are regarded as steps to the formation of
so great a realm. No nation retained its feudal organization so long
as Scotland, or so completely departed from the original spirit of
feudalism. Instead of being leaders and protectors of their dependants,
and attached vassals of the kings, the barons of the North were an
oligarchy of armed conspirators both against the crown and the people.
Few of the earlier Stuarts died in peaceful bed; for even those of
them who escaped the dagger of the assassin were hunted to death by
the opposition and falsehood of the chiefs. Perpetually engaged in
plots against the throne or forays against each other, the Scottish
nobility weakened their country both at home and abroad. Law could
have no authority where mailed warriors settled everything by the
sword, and no resistance could be offered to a foreign enemy by men
so divided among themselves. Down to a period when the other nations
of Europe were under the rule of legal tribunals, the High Street of
Edinburgh was the scene of violence and bloodshed between rival lords
who were too powerful for control by the civil authority. A succession
of foolishly rash or unwisely lenient sovereigns left this ferocity and
independence unchecked; and though poetry and patriotism now combine
to cast a melancholy grace on the defeat at Flodden, from the Roman
spirit with which the intelligence was received by the population
of the capital, the unbiassed inquirer must confess that, with the
exception of the single virtue of personal courage, the Scottish array
was ennobled by no quality which would have justified its success. It
was ill commanded, ill disciplined, and ill combined. The nobility, as
usual, were disaffected to the king and averse to the War. But the
crown-tenants and commonalty of the Lowlands were always ready for an
affray with England; and James the Fourth, the most chivalrous of that
line of chivalrous and unfortunate princes, merrily crossed the Border
and prepared for feats of arms as if at a tournament. [A.D. 1513.]
The cautious Earl of Surrey, the leader of the English army, availed
himself of the knightly prepossessions of his enemy, and sent a herald,
in all the frippery of tabard and cross, to challenge him to battle
on a set day, when Lord Thomas Howard would run a tilt with him at
the head of the English van. James fell into the snare, and regulated
his movements, in fact, by the direction of his opponent. When, in a
momentary glimpse of common sense, he established his quarters on the
side of a hill, from which it would have been impossible to dislodge
him, Surrey relied on the absurd generosity of his character, and sent
a message to complain that he had placed himself on ground "more like
a fortress or a camp than an ordinary battle-field." James pretended
to despise the taunt, and even to refuse admission to the herald; but
it worked on his susceptible and fearless nature; for we find that he
allowed the English to pass through difficult and narrow ways, which
were commanded by his guns, and when they were fairly marshalled on
level ground he set fire to his tents and actually descended the hill
to place himself on equal terms with the foe. Such a beginning had
the only possible close. Strong arms and sharp swords are excellent
supports of generalship, but cannot always be a substitute for it.
Never did the love of fight so inherent in the Scottish character
display itself more gallantly than on this day. Again and again the
Scottish earls dashed forward against the English squares. These were
composed of the steadiest of the pikemen flanked by the wondrous
archers who had turned so many a tide of battle. Fain would the veteran
warriors have kept their men in check; fain would the commanders of
the French auxiliaries have restrained the Scottish advance. But the
Northern blood was up. Onward they went, in spite of generalship and
all the rules of discipline, and with a great crash burst upon the wall
of steel. It was magnificent, as the Frenchmen said at Balaklava, but
it was not war. Repelled by the recoil of their own impetuous charge,
they fell into fragments and encumbered the gory plain. Very few fled,
very few had the opportunity of flying; for the cloth-yard shaft never
missed its aim. There was no crying for quarter or sparing of the
flashing blade. Both sides were irritated to madness. James pushed on,
shouting and waving his bloody sword, and was wounded by an arrow and
gashed with a ponderous battle-axe when he had forced himself within a
few paces of Surrey. Darkness was now closing in. The king's death was
rapidly known, but still the struggle went on. At length the wearied
armies ceased to kill. The Scotch retreated, and in the dawn of the
next morning a compact body of them was seen still threatening on the
side of a distant hill. But the day was lost and won. The chivalry of
Scotland received a blow from which it never recovered. What Courtrai
had been to the French, and Granson and Nanci to the Burgundians, and
Towton and Tewkesbury to the English, the 9th of September, 1513,
was to the peerage of the North. Thirteen earls were killed, fifteen
barons, and chiefs and members of all the gentle houses in the land.
Some were stripped utterly desolate by this appalling slaughter; and
from many a hall, as well as from humble shieling, rose the burden of
the tearful ballad, "The flowers o' the forest are a' wedd awa'." There
were ten thousand slain in the field, the gallant James cut off in
the prime of strength and manhood, and the sceptre which required the
grasp of an Edward the First left to be the prize of an unprincipled
queen-mother, or any ambitious cabal which could conspire to seize it.
James the Fifth was but a year or two old, and the country discouraged
and demoralized.

But Henry the Eighth was destined to some other triumphs in this
fortunate year. First there was the victory which his forces won at
Guinegate, near Calais, where the French chivalry fled in the most
ignominious manner, and struck their rowels into their horses' flanks,
without remembering that they carried swords in their hands. This
is known in history as the second Battle of the Spurs,--not, as at
Courtrai, for the number of those knightly emblems taken off the heels
of the dead, but for the amazing activity they displayed on the heels
of the living. And, secondly, he could boast that the foremost man
in Christendom wore his livery and pocketed his pay; for Maximilian
the Penniless, successor of Charlemagne and Constantine and Augustus,
enlisted and did good service as an English trooper at a hundred crowns
a day. Let Henry rejoice in these achievements while he may; for the
time is drawing near when the old sovereigns of Europe are to be moved
out of the way and France and Spain are to be governed by younger men
and more ambitious politicians than himself. Evil times indeed were
at hand, when it required the strength of youth and wisdom of policy
to guide the bark not only of separate states, but of settled law and
Christian civilization. For, however pleasant it may be to trace Henry
through his home-career and Francis and Charles in their national
rivalries, we are not to forget that the real interest of this century
is that it is the century of the Reformation,--a movement before whose
overwhelming importance the efforts of the greatest individuals sink
into insignificance,--an upheaving of hidden powers and principles,
which in truth so altered all former relations between man and man that
it found the most influential personage in Europe, not in the Apostolic
Emperor, or the Christian King, or the Defender of the Faith, but in a
burly friar at Wittenberg, whose name had never been heard before.

Let us see what was the general condition of the Romish Chair before
the outburst of its enemies at this time. One thing is very observable:
that its claims to supremacy and obedience were, ostensibly at least,
almost universally acquiesced in. From Norway to Calabria the theory
of a Universal Church, divinely founded and divinely sustained, in
possession of superhuman power and uncommunicated knowledge, governed
by an infallible chief, and administered by an uninterrupted line
of priests and bishops, who had given up the vanities of the world,
satisfier of doubts, and sole instrument of salvation,--this seemed so
perfect and so natural an organization that it had been accepted from
time immemorial as incapable of denial. If a voice was heard here and
there in an Alpine valley or in a scholastic debating-room impugning
these arrangements or asking proof from history or revelation, the
civil power was let loose upon the gainsayer, with the general consent
of orthodox men, and the Vaudois were murdered with sword and spear
and the inquiring student chained in his monkish cell. The theory and
organization of the Universal Church were, in fact, never so well
defined as at the moment when its reign was drawing to a close. Nobody
doubted that a general Father, clothed in infallible wisdom, and armed
with powers directly committed to him for the guidance or punishment of
mankind, was the Heaven-sent arbiter of differences, the rewarder of
faithful kings, the corrector of unruly nations; and yet the spectacle
was presented, to the believers in this ideal, of a series of wicked
and abandoned rulers sitting in Peter's chair, and only imitating the
apostle in his furiousness and his denial; cardinals depraved and
worldly beyond the example of temporal princes; a priesthood steeped,
for the most part, in ignorance and vice, and monks and nuns the
_opprobria_ of all nations where they were found. Never were claims
and performances brought into such startling contrast before. The
Pope was the representative upon earth of the Saviour of men; and he
poisoned his guests, like Borgia, slew his opponents, like Julius,
or led the life of an intellectual epicure, like Leo the Tenth. In
former times the contrariety between doctrine and practice would have
been slightly known or easily reconciled. Few comparatively visited
Rome; cardinals were seldom seen; priests were not more ignorant than
their parishioners, and monks not more wicked than their admirers. All
believed in the miraculous efficacy of the wares in which even the
lower order of the clergy dealt, and their rule in country places was
so lax, their penances so easily performed or commuted, their relations
with their people so friendly and on such equal terms, that in the
rural districts the voice of complaint was either unheard or neglected.
In Italy, the head-quarters of the faith, the excesses of priestly
rule were the most glaring and wide-spread. Rome itself was always the
seat of turbulence and disaffection. The lives of professedly holy men
were known, and the vices of popes and prelates pressed heavily on the
people, who were the first victims of their avarice or cruelty. But
the utmost extent of their indignation never reached to a questioning
of the foundation of the power from which they suffered. An Italian
crushed to the earth by the extortion of his Church, irritated perhaps
by the personal wickedness of his director, sought no escape from such
inflictions in disbelieving either the temporal or spiritual authority
of his oppressor. Rather he would have looked with savage satisfaction
on the fagot-fire of any one who hinted that the principles of his
Church required the slightest amendment; that the absolution of his
sensual confessor was not altogether indispensable; that the image he
bowed down to was common wood, or that the relics he worshipped were
merely dead men's bones. Perhaps, indeed, in those luxurious regions,
a bare and unadorned worship would not seem to be worship at all. With
his impassioned mind and glowing fancy, the Spaniard or Italian must
pour out his whole being on the object of his adoration. He loves his
patron saint with the warmth of an earthly affection, and thinks he
undervalues her virtues or her claims if he does not heap her shrine
with his offerings and address her image with rapture. He must make
external demonstration of his inward feelings, or nobody will believe
in their existence. The crouchings and kneelings, therefore, which our
colder natures stigmatize as idolatry, are to him nothing more than
the outward manifestation of affection and thankfulness. He does the
same to his master or his benefactor without degradation in the eyes
of his countrymen. Without these bowings and genuflections his conduct
would be thought ungrateful and disrespectful. That this amount of
warm-hearted sincerity is wasted upon such unworthy objects as his
saints and relics is greatly to be deplored; but wide allowances must
be made for peculiarities of situation and disposition; and we should
remember that whereas in the North a religion of forms and ceremonies
would be a body without a soul, because there would be no inward
exaltation answering to the outward manifestation, the Southern heart
sees a meaning where there is none to us, is conscious of a sense of
trust and reverence where we only see slavishness and imposture, and
a feeling of divine consolation and hope in services which to us are
histrionic and absurd. Religious belief, in the sense of a true and
undivided faith in the doctrines of Christianity, had no recognised
existence at the period we have reached. But this absence of religious
belief was combined, however strange the statement may appear, with
a most implicit trust in the directions and authority of the Church.
Sunny skies might have shone forever over the political abasement
and slightly Christianized paganism of the inhabitants of the two
peninsulas and the Southeast of Europe, but a cloud was about to rise
in the North which dimmed them for a time, but which, after it burst
in purifying thunder, has refreshed and cleared the atmosphere of the
whole world.

The first book that Guttenberg published in 1451 was the Holy
Bible,--in the Latin language, to be sure, and after the Vulgate
edition, but still containing, to those who could gather it, the
manna of the Word. Two years after that, in 1453, the capture of
Constantinople by the Turks had scattered the learning of the Greeks
among all the nations of the West. The universities were soon supplied
with professors, who displayed the hitherto-unexplored treasures of the
language of Pericles and Demosthenes. Everywhere a spirit of inquiry
began to reawaken, but limited as yet to subjects of philosophy and
antiquity. Christianity, indeed, had so lost its hold on the minds of
scholars that it was not considered worth inquiring into. It was looked
on as a fable, and only profitable as an instrument of policy. Erasmus
was alarmed at the state of feeling in 1516, and expressed his belief
that, if those Grecian studies were pursued, the ancient deities would
resume their sway. But the Bible was already reaping its appointed
harvest. Its voice, lost in the din of speculative philosophies and
the dissipation of courts, was heard in obscure places, where it never
had penetrated before. In 1505, Luther was twenty-two years of age. He
had made himself a scholar by attendance at schools where his poverty
almost debarred him from appearing. At Eisenach he gained his bread by
singing at the richer inhabitants' doors. Afterwards he had gone to
Erfurt, and, tired or afraid of the world, anxious for opportunities
of self-examination, and dissatisfied with his spiritual state, he
entered the convent of the Augustines, and in two years more, in 1507,
became priest and monk. There was an amazing amount of goodness and
simplicity of life among the brotherhood of this community. Learning
and devout meditation were encouraged, holy ascetic lives were led, the
body was kept under with fastings and stripes. A Bible was open to them
all, but chained to its place in the chapel, and only to be studied
by standing before the desk on which it lay. All these things were
insufficient, and Brother Martin was miserable. His companions pitied
and respected him. Staupitz, a man of great rank in the Church, a sort
of inspector-general of a large district, visited the convent, and in
a moment was attracted by the youthful monk. He conversed with him,
soothed his agitated mind, not with anodynes from the pharmacopoeia of
the Church, but from the fountain-head of the faith. He painted God as
the forgiver of sinners, the Father of all men; and Luther took some
comfort. But, on going away, the kind-hearted Staupitz gave the young
man a Bible,--a Bible all to himself, his own property, to carry in
his bosom, to study in his cell. His vocation was at once fixed. The
Reformer felt his future all before him, like Achilles when he grasped
the sword and rejected the feminine toys. The books he had taken
with him into the monastery were Plautus and Virgil; but he studied
plays and epics no more. Augustin and the Bible supplied their place.
Hungering for better things than the works of the law,--abstinence,
prayer-repetitions, scourgings, and all the wearisome routine of
mechanical devotion,--he dashed boldly into the other extreme, and
preached free grace,--grace without merit, the great doctrine which is
called, theologically, "justification by faith alone." This had been
the main theme of his master Augustin, and Luther now gave it practical
shape. In 1510 he was sent on some business of his convent to Rome,--to
Rome, the head-quarters of the Church, the earthly residence of the
infallible! How holy will be its dwellings, how gracious the words of
its inhabitants! The German monk saw nothing but sin and infidelity.
In high places as in low, the taint of corruption was polluting all
the air. In terror and dismay, he left the city of iniquity within
a fortnight of his arrival, and hurried back to the peacefulness of
his convent. "I would not for a hundred thousand florins have missed
seeing Rome," he said, long afterwards. "I should always have felt
an uneasy doubt whether I was not, after all, doing injustice to the
Pope. As it is, I am quite satisfied on the point." The Pope was Julius
the Second, whose career we followed in the League of Cambrai; and
we may enter into the surprise of Luther at seeing the Father of the
Faithful breathing blood and ruin to his rival neighbours. But the
force of early education was still unimpaired. The Pope was Pope, and
the devout German thought of him on his knees. But in the year 1517 a
man of the name of Tetzel, a Dominican of the rudest manners and most
brazen audacity, appeared in the market-place of Wittenberg, ringing a
bell, and hawking indulgences from the Holy See to be sold to all the
faithful. A new Pope was on the throne,--the voluptuous Leo the Tenth.
He had resolved to carry on the building of the great Church of St.
Peter, and, having exhausted his funds in riotous living, he sent round
his emissaries to collect fresh treasures by the sale of these pardons
for human sin. "Pour in your money," cried Tetzel, "and whatever crimes
you have committed, or may commit, are forgiven! Pour in your coin,
and the souls of your friends and relations will fly out of purgatory
the moment they hear the chink of your dollars at the bottom of the
box." Luther was Doctor of Divinity, Professor in the University,
and pastoral visitor of two provinces of the empire. He felt it was
his duty to interfere. He learned for the first time himself how far
indulgences were supposed to go, and shuddered at the profanity of the
notion of their being of any value whatever. On the festival of All
Saints, in November, 1517, he read a series of propositions against
them in the great church, and startled all Germany like a thunderbolt
with a printed sermon on the same subject. The press began its work,
and people no longer fought in darkness. Nationalities were at an end
when so wide-embracing a subject was treated by so universal an agent.
The monk's voice was heard in all lands, even in the walls of Rome, and
crossed the sea, and came in due time to England. "Tush, tush! 'tis
a quarrel of monks," said Leo the Tenth; and, with an affectation of
candour, he remarked, "This Luther writes well: he is a man of fine
genius."

Gallant young Henry the Eighth thought it a good opportunity to show
his talent, and meditated an assault on the heretic,--a curious duel
between a pale recluse and the gayest prince in Christendom. But
the recluse was none the worse when the book was published, and the
prince earned from the gratitude of the Pope the name "Defender of
the Faith," which is still one of the titles of the English crown.
Penniless Maximilian looked on well pleased, and wrote to a Saxon
counsellor, "All the popes I have had any thing to do with have been
rogues and cheats. The game with the priests is beginning. What your
monk is doing is not to be despised: take care of him. It may happen
that we shall have need of him." Luther's own prince, the Elector of
Saxony, was his firm friend, and on one side or other all Europe was
on the gaze. Leo at last perceived the danger, and summoned the monk
to Rome. He might as well have yielded in the struggle at once, for
from Rome he never could have returned alive. He consented, however, to
appear before the Legate at Augsburg, attended by a strong body-guard
furnished by the Elector, and held his ground against the threats
and promises of the Cardinal of Cajeta. But Maximilian carried his
poverty and disappointment to the grave in 1519; and when Leo saw
the safe accession of his successor Charles the Fifth, the faithful
servant of St. Peter, he pushed matters with a higher hand against
the daring innovator. Brother Martin, however, was unmoved. He would
not retreat; he even advanced in his course, and wrote to the Pope
himself an account of the iniquities of Rome. "You have three or four
cardinals," he says, "of learning and faith; but what are these three
or four in so vast a crowd of infidels and reprobates? The days of
Rome are numbered, and the anger of God has been breathed forth upon
her. She hates councils, she dreads reforms, and will not hear of a
check being placed on her desperate impiety." This was a dangerous
man to meet with such devices as bulls and interdicts. Charles
determined to try harsher measures, and summoned him to appear at
a Diet of the States held in Worms. The emperor was now twenty-one
years old. His sceptre stretched over the half of Europe, and across
the great sea to the golden realm of Mexico. Martin begged a new gown
from the not very lavish Elector, and went in a sort of chariot to
the appointed city,--serene and confident, for he had a safe-conduct
from the emperor and various princes, and trusted in the goodness of
his cause. [A.D. 1521.] Such a scene never occurred in any age of the
world as was presented when the assemblage met. All the peers and
potentates of the German Empire, presided over by the most powerful
ruler that ever had been known in Europe, were gathered to hear the
trial and condemnation of a thin, wan-visaged young man, dressed in
a monk's gown and hood and worn with the fatigues and hazards of his
recent life. "Yet prophet-like that lone one stood, with dauntless
words and high," and answered all questions with force and modesty.
But answers were not what the Diet required, and retractation was
far from Luther's mind. So the Chancellor of Trèves came to him and
said, "Martin, thou art disobedient to his Imperial Majesty: wherefore
depart hence under the safe-conduct he has given thee." And the monk
departed. As he was nearing his destination, and was passing through a
wood alone, some horsemen seized his person, dressed him in military
garb, and put on him a false beard. They then mounted him on a led
horse and rode rapidly away. His friends were anxious about his fate,
for a dreadful sentence had been uttered against him by the emperor on
the day when his safe-conduct expired, forbidding any one to sustain
or shelter him, and ordering all persons to arrest and bring him into
prison to await the judgment he deserved. People thought he had been
waylaid and killed, or at all events sent into a dungeon. Meantime he
was living peaceably and comfortably in the castle of Wartburg, to
which he had been conveyed in this mysterious manner by his friend the
Elector,--safe from the machinations of his enemies, and busily engaged
in his immortal translation of the Bible.

The movement thus communicated by Luther knew no pause nor end.
It soon ceased to be a merely national excitement caused by local
circumstances, and became the one great overwhelming question of
the time. Every thing was brought into its vortex: however distant
might be its starting-point, to this great central idea it was sure
to attach itself at last. Involuntarily, unconsciously, unwillingly,
every government found that the Reformation formed part of its scheme
and policy. One nation, and one only, had the clear eye and firm
hand to make it ostensibly, and of its deliberate choice, the guide
and landmark in its dangerous and finally triumphant career. This
was England,--not when under the degrading domination of its Henry
or the heavy hand of its Mary, but under the skilful piloting of the
great Elizabeth, the first of rulers who seems to have perceived that
submission to a foreign priest is a political error on the part both
of kings and subjects, and that occupation by a foreign army is not
more subversive of freedom and independence than the supremacy of a
foreign Church. Hitherto England had been nearly divided from the whole
world, and was merely one of the distant satellites that revolved on
the outside of the European system, the centre of which was Rome.
She was now to burn with light of her own. The Continent, indeed,
at the commencement of the Reformation, seemed almost in a state of
dissolution. In 1529 disunion had attained such a pitch in the Empire
that the different princes were ranged on hostile sides. At the Diet
of Spires, in this year, the name of Protestant had been assumed by
the opponents of the excesses and errors of the Church of Rome. At
the same time that the religious unity was thus finally thrown off,
the Turks were thundering at the Eastern gates of Europe, and Solyman
of Constantinople laid siege to Vienna. France was exhausted with her
internal troubles. Spain came to the rescue of the outraged faith, and
made heresy punishable with death throughout all her dominions. While
the Netherlands, against which this was directed, was groaning under
this new infliction, disorder seemed to extend over the solid earth
itself. There were earthquakes and great storms in many lands. Lisbon
was shaken into ruins, with a loss of thirty thousand inhabitants; and
the dykes of Holland were overwhelmed by a prodigious rising of the
sea, and four hundred thousand people were drowned.

Preparations were made in all quarters for a great and momentous
struggle: nobody could tell where it would break forth or where it
would end. And ever and anon Luther's rallying-cry was heard in answer
to the furious denunciations of cardinals and popes. Interests get
parcelled out in so many separate portions that it is impossible
to unravel the state of affairs with any clearness. We shall only
notice that, in 1531, the famous league of Smalcalde first embodied
Protestantism in its national and lay constitution by the banding
together of nine of the sovereign princes of Germany, and eleven free
cities, in armed defence, if needed, of their religious belief. Where
is the fiery Henry of England, with his pen or sword? A very changed
man from what we saw him only thirteen years ago. He has no pen now,
and his sword is kept for his discontented subjects at home. In 1534,
King and Lords and Commons, in Parliament assembled, threw off the
supremacy of Rome, and Henry is at last a king, for his courts hold
cognizance of all causes within the realm, whether ecclesiastical or
civil. Everybody knows the steps by which this embodied selfishness
achieved his emancipation from a dominant Church. It little concerns
us now, except as a question of historic curiosity, what his motives
were. Judging from the analogy of all his other actions, we should
say they were bad; but by some means or other the evil deeds of this
man were generally productive of benefit to his country. He cast off
the Pope that he might be freed from a disagreeable wife; but as the
Pope whom he rejected was the servant of Charles, (the nephew of the
repudiated queen,) he found that he had freed his kingdom at the same
time from its degrading vassalage to the puppet of a rival monarch.
He dissolved the monasteries in England for the purpose of grasping
their wealth; but the country found he had at the same time delivered
it from a swarm of idle and mischievous corporations, which in no long
time would have swallowed up the land. Their revenues were immense,
and the extent of their domains almost incredible. Before people had
recovered from their disgust at the hateful motives of their tyrant's
behaviour, the results of it became apparent in the elevation of the
finest class of the English population; for the "bold peasantry, their
country's pride," began to establish their independent holdings on
the parcelled-out territories of the monks and nuns. Vast tracts of
ground were thrown open to the competition of lay proprietors. Even the
poorest was not without hope of becoming an owner of the soil; nay, the
released estates were so plentiful that in Elizabeth's reign an act was
passed making it illegal for a man to build a cottage "unless he laid
four acres of land thereto." The cottager, therefore, became a small
farmer; and small farmers were the defence of England; and the defence
of England was the safety of freedom and religion throughout the world.
There were some hundred thousands of those landed cottagers and smaller
gentry and great proprietors established by this most respectable
sacrilege of Henry the Eighth, and for the sake of these excellent
consequences we forgive him his pride and cruelty and all his faults.
But Henry's work was done, and in January, 1547, he died. The rivals
with whom he started on the race of life were still alive; but life was
getting dark and dreary with both of them. Francis was no longer the
hero of "The Field of the Cloth-of-Gold," conqueror of Marignano, the
gallant captive of Pavia, or the winner of all hearts. He was worn out
with a life of great vicissitudes, and heard with ominous foreboding
the news of Henry's death. [March 11, 1547.] A fate seemed to unite
them in all those years of revelry and hate and friendship, and in a
few weeks the most chivalrous and generous of the Valois followed the
most tyrannical of the Tudors to the tomb. A year before this, the
Monk of Wittenberg, now the renowned and married Dr. Martin Luther,
had left a place vacant which no man could fill; and now of all those
combatants Charles was the sole survivor. Selfish as Henry, dissolute
as Francis, obstinate as Martin, his race also was drawing to a close.
But the play was played out before these chief performers withdrew. All
Europe had changed its aspect. The England, the France, the Empire, of
five-and-twenty years before had utterly passed away. New objects were
filling men's minds, new principles of policy were regulating states.
Protestantism was an established fact, and the Treaty of Passau in 1552
gave liberty and equality to the professors of the new faith. Charles
was sagacious though heartless as a ruler, but an unredeemed bigot as
an individual man. The necessities of his condition, by which he was
forced to give toleration to the enemies of the Church, weighed upon
his heart. A younger hand and bloodier disposition, he thought, were
needed to regain the ground he had been obliged to yield; and in Philip
his son he perceived all these requirements fulfilled. When he looked
round, he saw nothing to give him comfort in his declining years. War
was going on in Hungary against the still advancing Turks; war was
raging in Lorraine between his forces and the French; Italy, the land
of volcanoes, was on the eve of outbreak and anarchy; and, thundering
out defiance of the Imperial power and the Christian Cross, the guns
of the Ottoman fleet were heard around the shores of Sicily and up to
the Bay of Naples. The emperor was faint and weary: his armies were
scattered and dispirited; his fleets were unequal to their enemy: so in
1556 he resigned his pompous title of monarch of Spain and the Indies,
with all their dependencies, to his son, and the empire to his brother
Ferdinand, who was already King of Hungary and Bohemia and hereditary
Duke of Austria; and then, with the appearance of resignation, but his
soul embittered by anger and disappointment, he retired to the Convent
of St. Just, where he gorged himself into insanity with gluttonies
which would have disgraced Vitellius, and amused himself by interfering
in state affairs which he had forsworn, and making watches which
he could not regulate, and going through the revolting farce of a
rehearsal of his funeral, with his body in the coffin and the monks of
the monastery for mourners. Those theatrical lamentations were probably
as sincere as those which followed his real demise in 1558; for when he
surrendered the power which made him respected he gave evidence only
of the qualities which made him disliked.

The Reformation, you remember, is the characteristic of this century.
We have traced it in Germany to its recognition as a separate and
liberated faith. In England we are going to see Protestantism
established and triumphant. But not yet; for we have first to notice
a period when Protestantism seems at its last hour, when Mary, wife
of the bigot Philip, and true and honourable daughter of the Church,
is determined to restore her nation to the Romish chair, or die in
the holy attempt. We are not going into the minutiæ of this dreadful
time, or to excite your feelings with the accounts of the burnings and
torturings of the dissenters from the queen's belief. None of us are
ignorant of the cruelty of those proceedings, or have read unmoved the
sad recital of the martyrdom of the bishops and of such men as the
joyous and innocent Rowland Taylor of Hadleigh. Men's hearts did not
become hardened by these sights. Rather they melted with compassion
towards the dauntless sufferers; and, though the hush of terror
kept the masses of the people silent, great thoughts were rising in
the general mind, and toleration ripened even under the heat of the
Smithfield fires. Attempts have been made to blacken Mary beyond her
demerits and to whiten her beyond her deservings. Protestants have
denied her the virtues she unquestionably possessed,--truthfulness,
firmness, conscientiousness, and unimpeachable morals. Her panegyrists
take higher ground, and claim for her the noblest qualifications
both as queen and woman,--patriotism, love of her people, fulfilment
of all her duties, and exquisite tenderness of disposition. It will
be sufficient for us to look at her actions, and we will leave her
secret sentiments alone. We shall only say that it is very doubtful
whether the plea of conscientiousness is admissible in such a case.
If perverted reasoning or previous education has made a Thug feel it
a point of conscience to put his throttling instrument under a quiet
traveller's throat, the conscientious belief of the performer that his
act is for the good of the sufferer's soul will scarcely save him from
the gallows. On the contrary, a conscientious persistence in what is
manifestly wrong should be an aggravation of the crime, for it gives
an appearance of respectability to atrocity, and, when punishment
overtakes the wrong-doers, makes the Thug an honoured martyr to his
opinions, instead of a convicted felon for his misdeeds. Let us hope
that the rights of conscience will never be pleaded in defence of
cruelty or persecution.

[A.D. 1554.]

The restoration of England to the obedience of the Church, the marriage
of Mary, the warmest partisan of Popery, with Philip, the fanatical
oppressor of the reformed,--these must have raised the hopes of
Rome to an extraordinary pitch. But greater as a support, and more
reliable than queens or kings, was the Society of the Jesuits, which
at this time demonstrated its attachment to the Holy See, and devoted
itself blindly, remorselessly, unquestioning, to the defence of the
old faith. Having sketched the rise of Luther, a companion-picture
is required of the fortunes of Ignatius Loyola. We hinted that a
Biscayan soldier, wounded at the siege of Pampeluna in Spain, divided
the notice of Europe with the poor Austin Friar of Wittenberg.
Enthusiasm, rising almost into madness, was no bar, in the case of
this wonderful Spaniard, to the possession of faculties for government
and organization which have never been surpassed. Shut out by the
lameness resulting from his wound from the struggles of worldly and
soldierly ambition, he gave full way to the mystic exaltation of his
Southern disposition. He devoted himself as knight and champion to the
Virgin, heard with contempt and horror of the efforts made to deny the
omnipotence of the Chair of Rome, and swore to be its defender. Others
of similar sentiments joined him in his crusade against innovation.
[A.D. 1540.] A company of self-denying, self-sacrificing men began,
and, adding to the previous laws of their order a vow of unqualified
submission to the Pope, they were recognised by a bull, and the Society
of Jesus became the strongest and most remarkable institution of modern
times. Through all varieties of fortune, in exile and imprisonment, and
even in dissolution, their oath of uninquiring, unhesitating obedience
to the papal command has never been broken. With Protean variety of
appearance, but unvarying identity of intention, these soldiers of St.
Peter are as relentless to others, and as regardless of themselves, as
the body-guard of the old Assassins. No degradation is too servile,
no place too distant, no action too revolting, for these unreasoning
instruments of power. Wilfully surrendering the right of judgment and
the feelings of conscience into the hands of their superior, there
is no method by law or argument of regulating their conduct. The one
principle of submission has swallowed up all the rest, and fulfilment
of that duty ennobles the iniquitous deeds by which it is shown. Other
societies put a clause, either by words or implication, in their
promise of obedience, limiting it to things which are just and proper.
This limit is ostentatiously abrogated by the followers of Loyola. The
merit of obeying an order to slay an enemy of the Church more than
compensates for the guilt of the murder. In other orders a homicide is
looked upon with horror; in this, a Jesuit who kills a heretical king
by command of his chiefs is venerated as a saint. Against practices
and feelings like these you can neither reason nor be on your guard.
In all kingdoms, accordingly, at some time or other, the existence of
the order has been found inconsistent with the safety of the State,
and it has been dissolved by the civil power. The moment, however,
the Church regains its hold, the Jesuits are sure to be restored. The
alliance, indeed, is indispensable, and the mutual aid of the Order
and of the Papacy a necessity of their existence. Incorporated in
1540, the brothers of the Company of Jesus considered the defections
of the Reformation in a fair way of being compensated when the death
of our little, cold-hearted, self-willed Edward the Sixth--a Henry
the Eighth in the bud--left the throne in 1553 to Mary, a Henry the
Eighth full blown. [A.D. 1558.] When nearly five years of conscientious
truculence had shown the earnestness of this unhappy woman's belief,
the accession of Elizabeth inaugurated a new system in this country,
from which it has never departed since without a perceptible loss
both of happiness and power. A strictly home and national policy was
immediately established by this most remarkable of our sovereigns, and
pursued through good report and evil report, sometimes at the expense
of her feelings--if she was so little of a Tudor as to have any--of
tenderness and compassion, sometimes at the expense--and here she was
Tudor enough to have very acute sensations indeed--of her personal and
official dignity, but always with the one object of establishing a
great united and irresistible bulwark against foreign oppression and
domestic disunion. It shows how powerful was her impression upon the
course of European history, that her character is as fiercely canvassed
at this day as in the speech of her contemporaries. Nobody feels as
if Elizabeth was a personage removed from us by three hundred years.
We discuss her actions, and even argue about her looks and manners,
as if she had lived in our own time. And this is the reason why such
divergent judgments are pronounced on a person who, more than any other
ruler, united the opinions of her subjects during the whole of her
long and agitated life. Her acts remain, but her judges are different.
If we could throw ourselves with the reality of circumstance as well
as the vividness of feeling into the period in which she moved and
governed, we should come to truer decisions on the points submitted to
our view. But if we look with the refinements of the present time, and
the speculative niceties permissible in questions which have no direct
bearing on our prosperity and safety, we shall see much to disapprove
of, which escaped the notice, or even excited the admiration, of the
people who saw what tremendous arbitraments were on the scale. If we
were told that a cold-blooded individual had placed on one occasion
some murderous weapons on a height, and then requested a number of his
friends to stand before them, while some unsuspecting persons came
up in that direction, and then, suddenly telling his companions to
stand on one side, had sent bullets hissing and crashing through the
gentlemen advancing to him, you would shudder with disgust at such
atrocious cruelty, till you were told that the cold-blooded individual
was the Duke of Wellington, and the advancing gentlemen the French
Old Guard at Waterloo. And in the same way, if we read of Elizabeth
interfering in Scotland, domineering at home, and bellicose abroad,
let us inquire, before we condemn, whether she was in her duty during
those operations,--whether, in fact, she was resisting an assault, or
capriciously and unjustifiably opening her batteries on the innocent
and unprepared. Fiery-hearted, strong-handed Scotchmen are ready to
fight at this time for the immaculate purity and sinless martyrdom of
their beautiful Mary, and sturdy Englishmen start up with as bold a
countenance in defence of good Queen Bess. It is not to be doubted
that a roll-call as numerous as that of Bannockburn or Flodden could
be mustered on this quarrel of three centuries ago; but the fight is
needless. The points of view are so different that a verdict can never
be given on the merits of the two personages principally engaged; but
we think an unprejudiced examination of the course of Elizabeth's
policy in Scotland, and her treatment of her rival, will establish
certain facts which neither party can gainsay.

1st. From this it will result, that, to keep reformed England secure,
it was indispensable to have reformed Scotland on her side.

2d. That, in order to have Scotland either reformed or on her side, it
was indispensable to render powerless a popish queen,--a queen who was
supported as legitimate inheritor of England by the Pope and Philip of
Spain, and the King and princes of France.

3d. That Elizabeth had a right, by all the laws of self-preservation,
to sustain by every legal and peaceable means that party in Scotland
which was _de facto_ the government of the country, and which promised
to be most useful to the objects she had in view. Those objects have
already been named,--peace and security for the Protestant religion,
and the honour and independence of the whole British realm.

To gain these ends, who denies that she bribed and bullied and
deceived?--that she degraded the Scottish nobles by alternate promises
and threats, and weakened the Scottish crown by encouraging its
enemies, both ecclesiastical and civil? In prudishly finding fault
with these proceedings, we forget the Scotch, French, Spanish, popish,
emissaries who were let loose upon England; the plots at home, the
scowling messages from abroad; the excommunications uttered from Rome;
the massacre of the Protestants gloried in in France, and the vast
navies and immense armies gathering against the devoted Isle from all
the coasts and provinces of Spain.

In 1568, after the defeat of the queen's party at Langside, Mary
threw herself on the pity and protection of Elizabeth, and was kept
in honourable safety for many years. She did not allow her to collect
partisans for the recovery of her kingdom, nor to cabal against the
government which had expelled her. To do so would not have been to
shelter a fugitive, but to declare war on Scotland. In 1848, Louis
Philippe, chased by the revolutionists of Paris, came over to England.
He was kept in honourable retirement. He was not allowed to cabal
against his former subjects, nor to threaten their policy. To do so
would not have been to shelter a fugitive, but to declare war on
France. Even in the case of the earlier Bourbons, we permitted no
gatherings of forces on their behalf, and did not encourage their
followers to molest the settled government,--no, not when the throne of
France was filled by an enemy and we were at deadly war with Napoleon.
But Mary was put to death. A sad story, and very melancholy to read in
quiet drawing-rooms with Britannia ruling the waves and keeping all
danger from our coasts. But in 1804, if Louis the Eighteenth or Charles
the Tenth, instead of eating the bread of charity in peace, had been
detected in conspiracy with our enemies, in corresponding with foreign
emissaries, when a thousand flat-bottomed boats were marshalling for
our invasion at Boulogne, and Brest and Cherbourg and Toulon were
crowded with ships and sailors to protect the flotilla, it needs no
great knowledge of character to pronounce that English William Pitt
and Scottish Harry Dundas would have had the royal Bourbon's head on
a block, or his body on Tyburn-tree, in spite of all the romance and
eloquence in the world.

Mary's guilt or innocence of the charges brought against her in
her relations with Darnley and Bothwell has nothing to do with the
treatment she received from Elizabeth. She was not amenable to English
law for any thing she did in Scotland, nor was she condemned for any
thing but treasonable practices which it was impossible to deny.
She certainly owed submission and allegiance to the English crown
while she lived under its protection. Let us indulge our chivalrous
generosity, and enjoy delightful poems in defence of an unfortunate and
beautiful sovereign, by believing that the blots upon her fame were
the aspersions of malignity and political baseness: the great fact
remains, that it was an indispensable incident to the security of both
the kingdoms that she should be deprived of authority, and finally, as
the storm darkened, and derived all its perils from her conspiracies
against the State and breaches of the law, that she should be deprived
of life. Far more sweeping measures were pursued and defended by the
enemies of Elizabeth abroad. Present forever, like a skeleton at a
feast, must have been the massacre of St. Bartholomew in the thoughts
of every Protestant in Europe, and most vividly of all in those of the
English queen. That great blow was meant to be a warning to heretics
wherever they were found, and in olden times and more revengeful
dispositions might have been an excuse for similar atrocity on the
other side. The Bartholomew massacre and the Armada are the two great
features of the latter part of this century; and they are both so well
known that it will be sufficient to recall them in a very few words.

This massacre was no chance-sprung event, like an ordinary popular
rising, but had been matured for many years. The Council of Trent,
which met in 1545 and continued its sittings till 1563, had devoted
those eighteen years to codifying the laws of the Catholic Church. A
definite, clear, consistent system was established, and acknowledged
as the religious and ecclesiastical faith of Christendom. Men were not
now left to a painful gathering of the sentiments and rescripts of
popes and doctors out of varying and scattered writings. Here were the
statutes at large, minutely indexed and easy of reference. From these
many texts could be gathered which justified any method of diffusing
the true belief or exterminating the false. And accordingly, a short
time after the close of the Council, an interview took place between
two personages, of very sinister augury for the Protestant cause.
Catherine de Medicis and the Duke of Alva met at Bayonne in 1565. In
this consultation great things were discussed; and it was decided by
the wickedest woman and harshest man in Europe that government could
not be safe nor religion honoured unless by the introduction of the
Inquisition and a general massacre of heretics in every land. A few
months later saw the ferocious Alva beginning his bloodthirsty career
in the Netherlands, in which he boasted he had put eighteen thousand
Hollanders to death on the scaffold in five years. Catherine also
pondered his lessons in her heart, and when seven years had passed, and
the Huguenots were still unsubdued, she persuaded her son Charles the
Ninth that the time was come to establish his kingdom in righteousness
by the indiscriminate murder of all the Protestants. An occasion was
found in 1572, when the marriage of Henry of Navarre, afterwards the
best-loved king of France, with the Princess Margaret de Valois, held
out a prospect of soothing the religious troubles, and also (which
suited her designs better) of attracting all the heads of the Huguenot
cause to Paris. Every thing turned out as she hoped. There had been
feasts and gayeties, and suspicion had been thoroughly disarmed.
Suddenly the tocsin was sounded, and the murderers let loose over all
the town. No plea was received in extenuation of the deadly crime of
favouring the new opinions. Hospitality, friendship, relationship,
youth, sex, all were disregarded. The streets were red with blood, and
the river choked with mutilated bodies. Upwards of seventy thousand
were butchered in Paris alone, and the metropolitan example was
followed in other places. The deed was so awful that for a while it
silenced the whole of Europe. Some doubted, some shuddered; but Rome
sprang up with a shout of joy when the news was confirmed, and uttered
prayers of thanksgiving for so great a victory. If it could have been
possible to put every gainsayer to death everywhere, the triumph would
have been complete; but there were countries where Catherine's dagger
could not reach; and whenever her name was heard, and the terrible
details of the massacre were known, undying hatred of the Church which
encouraged such iniquity mingled with the feelings of pity and alarm.
For no one henceforth could feel safe. The Huguenots were under the
highest protection known to the heart of man. They were guests, and
they were taken unawares in the midst of the rejoicings of a marriage.
Rome lost more by the massacre than the Protestants. People looked
round and saw the butcheries in the Netherlands, the slaughters in
Paris, the tortures in the Inquisition, and over all, rioting in hopes
of recovered dominion, supported by his priests and Dominicans, a Pope
who plainly threatened a repetition of such scenes wherever his power
was acknowledged. Germany, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and
the Northern nations, were lost to the Church of Rome more surely by
the scaffold and crimes which professed to bring her aid, than by any
other cause. Elizabeth was now the accepted champion and leader of the
Protestants, and on her all the malice of the baffled Romanists was
turned. To weaken, to dethrone or murder the English heretic was the
praiseworthiest of deeds.

But one great means of distracting England from her onward course was
now removed. In former days Scotland would have been let loose upon
her unguarded flanks; but by this time the genius of Knox, running
parallel with the efforts of the Southern reformers, had raised a
religious feeling which responded to the English call. Scotland, freed
from an oppressive priesthood, did manful battle at the side of her
former enemy. Elizabeth was kept safe by the joint hatred the nations
entertained to Rome, and, as regarded foreigners, the Union had already
taken place. On one sure ground, however, those foreigners could still
build their hopes. Mary, conscientious in her religion, and embittered
in her dislike, was still alive, to be the rallying-point for every
discontented cry and to represent the old causes,--the legitimate
descent and the true faith. The greatest circumspection would have
been required to keep her conduct from suspicion in these embarrassing
circumstances. But she was still as thoughtless as in her happier
days, and exposed herself to legal inquiries by the unguardedness of
her behaviour. The wise counsellors of Elizabeth saw but one way to
put an end to all those fears and expectations; and Mary, after due
trial, was condemned and executed. [A.D. 1587.] Hope was now at an end;
but revenge remained, and the great Colossus of the Papacy bestirred
himself to punish the sacrilegious usurper. Philip the Second was
still the most Catholic of kings. More stern and bigoted than when he
had tried to restrain the burning zeal of Mary of England, he was
resolved to restore by force a revolted people to the Chair of St.
Peter and exact vengeance for the slights and scorns which had rankled
in his heart from the date of his ill-omened visit. He prepared all
his forces for the glorious attempt. Nothing could have been devised
more calculated to bring all English hearts more closely to their
queen. Every report of a fresh squadron joining the fleets already
assembled for the invasion called forth more zeal in behalf of the
reformed Church and the undaunted Elizabeth. Scotland also held some
vessels ready to assist her sister in this great extremity, and lined
her shores with Presbyterian spearmen. Community of danger showed more
clearly than ever that safety lay in combination. Chains, we know, were
brought over in those missionary galleys, and all the apparatus of
torture, with smiths to set them to work. But the smiths and the chains
never made good their landing on British ground. The ships covered all
the narrow sea; but the wind blew, and they were scattered. It was
perhaps better, as a warning and a lesson, that the principal cause of
the Spaniard's disaster was a storm. If it had been fairly inflicted on
them in open battle, the superior seamanship or numbers or discipline
of the enemy might have been pleaded. But there must have mingled
something more depressing than the mere sorrow of defeat when Philip
received his discomfited admiral with the words, "We cannot blame you
for what has happened: we cannot struggle against the will of God."



                         SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

        HENRY IV.--(_cont._)

  1610. LOUIS XIII.

  1643. LOUIS XIV.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

        RODOLPH II.--(_cont._)

  1612. MATTHIAS.

  1619. FERDINAND II.

  1637. FERDINAND III.

  1658. LEOPOLD I.


Kings of England and Scotland.

  A.D.

        ELIZABETH.--(_cont._)

  (_House of Stuart._)

  1603. JAMES I.

  1625. CHARLES I.

  1649. Commonwealth.

  1660. CHARLES II.

  1685. JAMES II.

  1689. WILLIAM III. and MARY.


Kings of Spain.

  A.D.

        PHILIP III.--(_cont._)

  1621. PHILIP IV.

  1665. CHARLES II.


Distinguished Men.

BACON, MILTON, LOCKE, CORNEILLE, RACINE, MOLIÈRE, KEPLER, (1571-1630,)
BOYLE, (1627-1691,) BOSSUET, (1627-1704,) NEWTON, (1642-1727,)
BURNET, (1643-1715,) BAYLE, (1647-1706,) CONDÉ, TURENNE, (1611-1675,)
MARLBOROUGH, (1650-1722.)



                       THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

  ENGLISH REBELLION AND REVOLUTION--DESPOTISM OF LOUIS THE FOURTEENTH.


We are apt to suppose that progress and innovation are so peculiarly
the features of these latter times that it is only in them that a man
of more than ordinary length of life has witnessed any remarkable
change. We meet with men still alive who were acquainted with Franklin
and Voltaire, who have been presented at the court of Louis the
Sixteenth and have visited President Pierce at the White House. But
the period we have now to examine is quite as varied in the contrasts
presented by the duration of a lifetime as in any other age of the
world. Of this we shall take a French chronicler as an example,--a
man who was as greedy of news, and as garrulous in relating it, as
Froissart himself, but who must take a very inferior rank to that
prose minstrel of "gentle blood," as he limited his researches
principally to the scandals which characterized his time. We mean the
truth-speaking libeller Brantôme. [A.D. 1616.] This man died within a
year or two of Shakspeare, and yet had accompanied Mary to Scotland,
and given that poetical account of the voyage from Calais, when she
sat in the stern of the vessel with her eyes fixed on the receding
shore, and said, "Adieu, France, adieu! I shall never see you more;"
and again, on the following morning, bending her looks across the
water when land was no longer to be seen, and exclaiming, "Adieu,
France! I shall never see you more." The mere comparison of these two
things--the return of Mary to her native kingdom, torn at that time
with all the struggles of anarchy and distress, and the death of the
greatest of earth's poets, rich and honoured, in his well-built house
at Stratford-on-Avon--suggests a strange contrast between the beginning
of Brantôme's literary career and its close: the events filling up
the interval are like the scarcely-discernible heavings in a dark
and tumultuous sea,--a storm perpetually raging, and waves breaking
upon every shore. In his own country, cruelty and demoralization
had infected all orders in the State, till murder, and the wildest
profligacy of manners, were looked on without a shudder. Brantôme
attended the scanty and unregretted funeral of Henry the Third, the
last of the house of Valois, who was stabbed by the monk Jacques
Clement for faltering in his allegiance to the Church. A sentence had
been pronounced at Rome against the miserable king, and the fanatic's
dagger was ready. Sixtus the Fifth, in full consistory, declared that
the regicide was "comparable, as regards the salvation of the world,
to the incarnation and the resurrection, and that the courage of the
youthful Jacobin surpassed that of Eleazar and Judith." "That Pope,"
says Chateaubriand, the Catholic historian of France, "had too little
political conviction, and too much genius, to be sincere in these
sacrilegious comparisons; but it was of importance to him to encourage
the fanatics who were ready to murder kings in the name of the papal
power." Brantôme had seen the issuing of a bull containing the same
penalties against Elizabeth, the death of Mary on the scaffold, and
the failure of the Armada. After the horrors of the religious wars,
from the conspiracy of Amboise in 1560 to the publication of the edict
of toleration given at Nantes in 1598, he had seen the comparatively
peaceful days of Henry the Fourth, till fanaticism again awoke a
suspicion of a return to his original Protestant leanings, as shown
in his opposition to the house of Austria, and Ravaillac renewed the
meritorious work of Clement in 1610. Last of all, the spectator of all
these changes saw England and Scotland forever united under one crown,
and the first rise of the master of the modern policy of Europe, for
in the year of Brantôme's death a young priest was appointed Secretary
of State in France, whom men soon gazed on with fear and wonder as the
great Cardinal Richelieu.

In England the alterations were as great and striking. After the
troubled years from Elizabeth's accession to the Armada, a period of
rest and progress came. Interests became spread over the whole nation,
and did not depend so exclusively on the throne. Wisdom and good
feeling made Elizabeth's crown, in fact, what laws and compacts have
made her successors',--a constitutional sovereign's. She ascertained
the sentiments of her people almost without the intervention of
Parliament, and was more a carrier-through of the national will than
the originator of absolute decrees. The moral battles of a nation in
pursuit of some momentous object like religious or political freedom
bring forth great future crops, as fields are enriched on which
mighty armies have been engaged. The fertilizing influence extends
in every direction, far and near. If, therefore, the intellectual
harvest that followed the final rejection of the Pope and crowning
defeat of the Spaniard included Shakspeare and Bacon, and a host of
lesser but still majestic names, we may venture also to remark, on the
duller and more prosaic side of the question, that in the first year
of the seventeenth century a patent was issued by which a commercial
speculation attained a substantive existence, for the East India
Company was founded, with a stock of seventy-two thousand pounds, and
a fleet of four vessels took their way from the English harbours, on
their first voyage to the realm where hereafter their employers, who
thus began as merchant adventurers, were to rule as kings. The example
set by these enterprising men was followed by high and low. During
the previous century people had been too busy with their domestic
and religious disputes to pay much attention to foreign exploration.
They were occupied with securing their liberties from the tyranny of
Henry the Eighth and their lives from the truculence of Mary. Then
the plots perpetually formed against Elizabeth, by domestic treason
and foreign levy, kept their attention exclusively on home-affairs.
But when the State was settled and religion secure, the long-pent-up
activity of the national mind found vent in distant expeditions. A
chivalrous contempt of danger, and poetic longing for new adventure,
mingled with the baser attractions of those maritime wanderings. The
families of gentle blood in England, instead of sending their sons
to waste their lives in pursuit of knightly fame in the service of
foreign states, equipped them for far higher enterprises, and sent
them forth to gather the riches of unknown lands beyond the sea.
Romantic rumours were rife in every manor-house of the strange sights
and inexhaustible wealth to be gained by undaunted seamanship and
judicious treatment of the natives of yet-unexplored dominions. Spain
and Portugal had their kingdoms, but the extent of America was great
enough for all. Islands were everywhere to be found untouched as yet by
the foot of European; and many a winter's night was spent in talking
over the possible results of sailing up some of the vast rivers that
came down like bursting oceans from the far-inland regions to which
nobody had as yet ascended,--the people and cities that lay upon their
banks, the gold and jewels that paved the common soil. Towards the
end of Elizabeth's reign, these imaginings had grown into sufficing
motives of action, and gentlemen were ready from all the ports of
the kingdom to sail on their adventurous voyages. In addition to the
chance those gallant mariners had of realizing their day-dreams by
the tedious methods of discovery and exploration, there was always
the prospect of making prize of a galleon of Spain; for at all times,
however friendly the nations might be in the European waters, a war
was carried on beyond the Azores. Not altogether lost, therefore,
was the old knightly spirit of peril-seeking and adventure in those
commercial and geographical speculations. There were articles of
merchandise in the hold, gaudy-coloured cloths, and bead ornaments, and
wretched looking-glasses, besides brass and iron; but all round the
captain's cabin were arranged swords and pistols, boarding-pikes, and
other implements of fight. Guns also of larger size peeped out of the
port-holes, and the crew were chosen as much with a view to warlike
operations as to the ordinary duties of the ship. The Spaniards had
made their way into the Pacific, and had established large settlements
on the shores of Chili and Peru. Scenes which have been reacted at the
diggings in modern times took place where the Europeans fixed their
seat, and ships loaded with the precious metals found their way home,
exposed to all the perils of storm and war. Drake had pounced upon
several of their galleys and despoiled them of their precious cargo.
Cavendish, a gentleman of good estate in Suffolk, had followed in his
wake, and, after forcing his way through the Straits of Magellan, had
reached the shores of California itself and there captured a Spanish
vessel freighted with a vast amount of gold. All these adventures of
the expiring sixteenth century became traditions and ballads of the
young seventeenth. Raleigh, the most accomplished gentleman of his
time, gave the glory of his example to the maritime career, and all
the oceans were alive with British ships. While Raleigh and others of
the upper class were carrying on a sort of cultivated crusade against
the monopoly of the Spaniards, others of a less aristocratic position
were busied in the more regular paths of commerce. We have seen the
formation of the India Company in 1600. Our competitors, the Dutch,
fitted out fleets on a larger scale, and established relations of trade
and friendship with the natives of Polynesia and New Holland, and even
of Java and India. But the zeal of the public in trading-speculations
was not only shown in those well-conducted expeditions to lands
easily accessible and already known: a company was established for
the purpose of opening out the African trade, and a commercial voyage
was undertaken to no less a place than Timbuctoo by a gallant pair of
seamen of the names of Thomson and Jobson. It was not long before these
efforts at honest international communication, and even the exploits
of the Drakes and Cavendishes, who acted under commissions from the
queen, degenerated into lawless piracy and the golden age of the
Buccaneers. The policy of Spain was complete monopoly in her own hands,
and a refusal of foreign intercourse worthy of the potentates of China
and Japan. All access was prohibited to the flags of foreign nations,
and the natural result followed. Adventurous voyagers made their
appearance with no flag at all, or with the hideous emblem of a death's
head emblazoned on their standard, determined to trade peaceably if
possible, but to trade whether peaceably or not. The Spanish colonists
were not indisposed to exchange their commodities with those of the
new-comers, but the law was imperative. The Buccaneers, therefore,
proceeded to help themselves to what they wanted by force, and at
length came to consider themselves an organized estate, governed
by their own laws, and qualified to make treaties like any other
established and recognised power. Cuba had been nearly depopulated by
the cruelties and fanaticism of its Spanish masters, and was seized on
by the Buccaneers. From this rich and beautiful island the pirate-barks
dashed out upon any Spanish sail which might be leaving the mainland.
Commanding the Gulf of Mexico, and with the power of crossing the
Isthmus of Panama by a rapid march, those redoubtable bandits held the
treasure-lands of the Spaniards in terrible subjection. And up to the
commencement even of the eighteenth century the frightful spectacle was
presented of a powerful confederacy of the wildest and most dissolute
villains in Europe domineering over the most frequented seas in the
world, and filling peaceful voyagers, and even well-armed men-of-war,
with alarm by their unsparing cruelty, and atrocities which it curdles
the blood to think of.

Eastward as far as China, westward to the islands and shores of the
great Pacific, up the rivers of Africa, and even among the forests of
New Holland and Tasmania, the swarms of European adventurers succeeded
each other without cessation. The marvel is, that, with such ceaseless
activity, any islands, however remote or small, were left for the
discovery of after-times. But the tide of English emigration rolled
towards the mainland of North America with a steadier flow than to
any other quarter. The idea of a northwest passage to India had taken
possession of men's minds, and hardy seamen had already braved the
horrors of a polar winter, and set examples of fortitude and patience
which their successors, from Behrens to Kane, have so nobly followed.
But the fertile plains of Virginia, and the navigable streams of the
eastern shore, were more alluring to the peaceful and unenterprising
settlers, whose object was to find a new home and carry on a
lucrative trade with the native Indians. In 1607, a colony, properly
so called,--for it had made provision for permanent settlement, and
consisted of a hundred and ten persons, male and female,--arrived at
the mouth of the Chesapeake. The river Powhatan was eagerly explored;
and at a point sufficiently far up to be secure from sudden attack from
the sea, and on an isthmus easily defended from native assault, they
pitched their tents on a spot which was hereafter known as Jamestown
and is still honoured as the earliest of the American settlements. Our
neighbour Holland was not behindhand either in trade or colonization,
and equally with England was excited to fresh efforts by its recovered
liberty and independence. In all directions of intellectual and
physical employment those two States went boundingly forward at the
head of the movement. The absolute monarchies lay lazily by, and
relied on the inertness of their mass for their defence against those
active competitors; and Spain, an unwieldy bulk, showed the intimate
connection there will always exist between liberal institutions at
home and active progress abroad. The sun never set on the dominions of
the Spanish crown, but the life of the people was crushed out of them
by the weight of the Inquisition and despotism. The United Provinces
and combined Great Britain had shaken off both those petrifying
institutions, and Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Dutchmen were ploughing
up every sea, presenting themselves at the courts of strange-coloured
potentates, in regions whose existence had been unknown a few years
before, and gradually accustoming the wealth and commerce of the world
to find their way to London and Amsterdam.

To go from these views of hardihood and enterprise, from the wild
heaving of unruly vigour which animated the traffickers and tyrants
of the main, to the peaceful and pedantic domestic reign of James the
First, shows the two extremes of European character at this time. The
English people were not more than four millions in number, but they
were the happiest and most favoured of all the nations. This was indeed
the time,

                    "Ere England's woes began,
    When every rood of land maintain'd its man;"

for we have seen how the division of the great monastic properties had
created a new order in the State. All accounts concur in describing
the opening of this century as the period of the greatest physical
prosperity of the body of the people. A great deal of dulness and
unrefinement there must still have been in the boroughs, where such
sage officials as Dogberry displayed their pomp and ignorance,--a
great deal of clownishness and coarseness in country-places, where
Audreys and Autolycuses were to be found; but among townsmen and
peasantry there was none of the grinding poverty which a more unequal
distribution of national wealth creates. There were great Whitsun
ales, and dancings round the Maypole; feasts on village greens, and a
spirit of rude and personal independence, which became mellowed into
manly self-respect when treated with deference by the higher ranks,
the old hereditary gentry and the retired statesmen of Queen Bess,
but bristled up in insolence and rebellion when the governing power
thwarted its wishes, or fanaticism soured it with the bitter waters of
polemic strife. The sturdy Englishman who doffed his hat to the squire,
and joined his young lord in sports upon the green, in the beginning
of James's reign, was the same stout-hearted, strong-willed individual
who stiffened into Puritanism and contempt of all earthly authorities
in the unlovely, unloving days of the Rump and Cromwell. Nor should
we miss the great truth which lies hidden under the rigid forms of
that period,--that the same noble qualities which characterized the
happy yeoman and jocund squire of 1620--their earnestness, energy,
and intensity of home affections--were no less existent in their
ascetic short-haired descendants of 1650. The brimfulness of life
which overflowed into expeditions against the Spaniards in Peru, and
unravellings of the tangled rivers of Africa, and trackings of the wild
bears among the ice-floes of Hudson's Bay, took a new direction when
the century reached the middle of its course, and developed itself
in the stormy discussions of the contending sects and the blood and
misery of so many battle-fields. How was this great change worked
on the English mind? How was it that the long-surviving soldier,
courtier, landholder, of Queen Elizabeth saw his grandson grow up into
the hard-featured, heavy-browed, keen-sworded Ironside of Oliver? A
squire who ruined himself in loyal entertainments to King James on his
larder-and-cellar-emptying journey from Edinburgh to London in 1603 may
have lived to see his son, and son's son, rejoicing with unholy triumph
over the victory of Naseby in 1644 and the death of Charles in 1649.

Great causes must have been at work to produce this astonishing
change, and some of them it will not be difficult to point out.
Perhaps, indeed, the prosperity we have described may itself have
contributed to the alteration in the English ways of thought. While
the nation was trampled on by Henry the Eighth, with property and
life insecure and poverty universally diffused, or even while it
was guided by the strong hand of Elizabeth, it had neither power nor
inclination to examine into its rights. The rights of a starving and
oppressed population are not very great, even in its own eyes. It is
the well-fed, law-protected, enterprising citizen who sees the value
of just and settled government, because the blessings he enjoys depend
upon its continuance. The mind of the nation had been pauperized along
with its body by the life of charitable dependence it had led at the
doors of church and monastery in the olden time. It little mattered
to a gaping crowd expecting the accustomed dole whether the great man
in London was a tyrannical king or not. They did not care whether he
dismissed his Parliaments or cut off the heads of his nobility. They
still found their "bit and sup," and saw the King, and Parliament, and
nobility, united in obedience to the Church. But when this debasing
charity was discontinued, independence came on. The idle hanger-on of
the religious house became a cottager, and worked on his own land; by
industry he got capital enough to take some additional acres; and the
man of the next generation had forgotten the low condition he sprang
from, and had so sharpened his mind by the theological quarrels of the
time that he began to be able to comprehend the question of general
politics. He saw, as every population and potentate in Europe saw with
equal clearness, that the question of civil freedom was indissolubly
connected with the relation between Church and State; he perceived
that the extent of divergence from the old faith regulated in a great
measure the spirit, and even the constitution, of government where it
took place,--that adhesion to Rome meant absolutism and dependence,
that Calvinism had a strong bias towards the republican form, and that
the Church he had helped to establish was calculated to fill up the
ground between those two extremes, and be the religious representative
of a State as liberal as Geneva by its attention to the interests of
all, and as monarchical as Spain by its loyalty to an hereditary crown.
Now, the middle ground in great and agitating affairs is always the
most difficult to maintain. Both sides make it their battle-field,
and try to win it to themselves; and according as one assailant seems
on the point of carrying his object, the defender of that disputed
territory has to lean towards the other. Both parties are offended at
the apparent inconsistency; and we are therefore not to be surprised if
we find the Church accused of looking to both the hostile camps in turn.

James was a fatal personage to every cause he undertook to defend. He
had neither the strength of will of Henry, nor the proud consistency of
Elizabeth; but he had the arrogance and presumption of both. Questions
which the wise queen was afraid to touch, and left to the ripening
influence of time, this blustering arguer dragged into premature
discussion, stripped them of all their dignity by the frivolousness
of the treatment he gave them, and disgusted all parties by the
harshness and rapidity of his partial decisions. Every step he took
in the quelling of religious dissension by declarations in favour of
proscription and authority which would have endeared him to Gregory the
Seventh, he accompanied with some frightful display of his absolutist
tendencies in civil affairs. The same man who roared down the modest
claims of a thousand of the clergy who wished some further modification
of the Book of Common Prayer threw recusant members of Parliament into
prison, persecuted personal enemies to death, with scarcely a form of
law, punished refractory towns with loss of franchises and privileges,
and made open declaration of his unlimited power over the lives and
properties of all his subjects. People saw this unvarying alliance
between his polemics and his politics, and began to consider seriously
whether the comforts their trade and industry had given them could be
safe under a Church calling itself reformed, but protected by such a
king. If he was only suspected in England, in his own country he was
fully known. Dearer to James would have been a hundred bishops and
cardinals seated in conclave in Holyrood than a Presbyterian Synod
praying against his policy in the High Kirk. He had even written to
the Pope with offers of accommodation and reconcilement, and made no
secret of his individual and official disgust at the levelling ideas
of those grave followers of Knox and Calvin. Those grave followers
of Knox and Calvin, however, were not unknown on the south side of
the Tweed. The intercourse between the countries was not limited to
the hungry gentry who followed James on his accession. A community of
interest and feeling united the more serious of the Reformers, and
visits and correspondence were common between them. But, while a regard
for their personal freedom and the security of their wealth attracted
the attention of the English middle class to the proceedings of King
James, events were going on in foreign lands which had an immense
effect on the development of the anti-monarchic, anti-episcopal spirit
at home. These events have not been sufficiently considered in this
relation, and we have been too much in the habit of looking at our
English doings in those momentous years,--from the end of James's reign
to the Restoration,--as if Britain had continued as isolated from her
Continental neighbours as before the Norman Conquest. But a careful
comparison of dates and actions will show how intimate the connection
had become between the European States, and how instantaneously the
striking of a chord at Prague or Vienna thrilled through the general
heart in Edinburgh and London.

The Reformation, after achieving its independence and equality at the
Treaty of Augsburg in 1555, had made great though silent progress.
Broken off in Germany into two parties, the Lutheran and the Calvinist,
who hated each other, as usual, in exact proportion to the smallness of
their difference, the union was still kept up between them as regarded
their antagonism to the Papists. With all three denominations, the
religious part of the question had fallen into terrible abeyance. It
was now looked on by the leaders entirely as a matter of personal
advancement and political rule. In this pursuit the fanaticism which
is generally limited to theology took the direction of men's political
conduct; and there were enthusiasts among all the sects, who saw
visions, and dreamed dreams, about the succession to thrones and the
raising of armies, as used to happen in more ancient times about the
bones of martyrs and the beatification of saints. The great object of
Protestants and Catholics was to obtain a majority in the college of
the Prince Electors by whom the Empire was bestowed. This consisted of
the seven chief potentates of Germany, of whom four were secular,--the
King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the Duke of
Saxony, and the Marquis of Brandenburg; and three ecclesiastic,--the
Archbishops of Mentz, Trèves, and Cologne. The majority was naturally
secured to the Romanists by the official adhesion of these last. But it
chanced that the Elector of Cologne fell violently in love with Agnes
of Mansfeldt, a canoness of Gerrestein; and having of course studied
the history of our Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn, he determined to
follow his example, and offered the fair canoness his hand. He was
unwilling, however, to offer his hand without the Electoral crozier,
and, by the advice of his friends, and with the promised support
of many of the Protestant rulers, he retained his ecclesiastical
dignity and made the beautiful Agnes his wife. This would not have
been of much consequence in a lower rank, for many of the cathedral
dignitaries in Cologne and other places had retained their offices
after changing their faith; but all Germany was awake to the momentous
nature of this transaction, for it would have conveyed a majority
of the Electoral voices to the Protestants and opened the throne of
the empire itself to a Protestant prince. Such, however, was the
strength at that time of the opposition to Rome, that all the efforts
of the Catholics would have been ineffectual to prevent this ruinous
arrangement but for a circumstance which threw division into the
Protestant camp. Gebhard had adhered to the Calvinistic branch of the
Reformation, and the Lutherans hated him with a deadlier hatred than
the Pope himself. With delight they saw him outlawed by the Emperor
and excommunicated by Rome, his place supplied by a Prince of Bavaria,
who was elected by the Chapter of Cologne to protect them from their
apostate archbishop, and the head of the house of Austria strengthened
by the consolidation of his Electoral allies and the unappeasable
dissensions of his enemies. While petty interests and the narrowest
quarrels of sectarianism divided the Protestants, and while the
Electors and other princes who had adopted their theological opinions
were doubtful of the political results of religious freedom, and many
had waxed cold, and others were discontented with the small extent of
the liberation from ancient trammels they had yet obtained, a very
different spectacle was presented on the other side. Popes and Jesuits
were heartily and unhesitatingly at work. "No cold, faint-hearted
doubtings teased them." Their object was incommoded by no refinements
or verbal differences; they were determined to assert their old
supremacy,--to trample out every vestige of resistance to their power;
and they entered upon the task without scruple or remorse. Ferdinand
the Emperor, the prop and champion of the Romish cause, was as sincere
and as unpitying as Dominic. When he had been nominated King Elect of
Bohemia, in 1598, while yet in his twentieth year, his first thought
was the future use he might make of his authority in the extermination
of the Protestant faith. The Jesuits, by whom he was trained from his
earliest years, never turned out a more hopeful pupil. His ambition
would have been, if he had had it in his power, to become a follower of
Loyola himself; but, as he was condemned by fate to the lower office
of the first of secular princes, he determined to employ all its power
at the dictation of his teachers. He went a pilgrimage to Loretto,
and, bowing before the miraculous image of the Virgin, promised to
reinstate the true Church in its unquestioned supremacy, and bent all
his thoughts to the fulfilment of his vow. Two-thirds of his subjects
in his hereditary states were Protestant, but he risked all to attain
his object. He displaced their clergy, and banished all who would not
conform. He introduced Catholics from foreign countries to supply the
waste of population, and sent armed men to destroy the newly-erected
schools and churches of the hateful heretics. This man was crowned King
of Bohemia in 1618, and Emperor of Germany in the following year.

The attention of the British public had been particularly directed to
German interests for the six years preceding this date, by the marriage
of Frederick, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, with Elizabeth, the
graceful and accomplished daughter of King James. Frederick was young
and ambitious, and was endeared to the English people as leader of the
Protestant cause against the overweening pretensions of the house of
Austria. That house was still the most powerful in Europe; for though
the Spanish monarchy was held by another branch, for all the purposes
of despotism and religion its weight was thrown into the same scale.
Spanish soldiers, and all the treasures of America, were still at the
command of the Empire; and perhaps Catholicism was rather strengthened
than weakened by the adherence of two of the greatest sovereigns in the
world, instead of having the personal influence of only one, as in the
reign of Charles the Fifth. All the Elector's movements were followed
with affectionate interest by the subjects of his father-in-law;
but James himself disapproved of opposition being offered to the
wildest excesses of royal prerogative either in himself or any other
anointed ruler. Besides this, he was particularly hostile to the
young champion's religious principles, for the latter was attached to
the Calvinistic or unepiscopal party. [A.D. 1619.] James declined to
give him any aid in maintaining his right to the crown of Bohemia, to
which he was elected by the Protestant majority of that kingdom on the
accession of Ferdinand to the Empire, and managed to show his feelings
in the most offensive manner, by oppressing such of Frederick's
co-religionists as he found in any part of his dominions. The advocates
of peace at any price have praised the behaviour of the king in this
emergency; but it may be doubted whether an energetic display of
English power at this time might not have prevented the great and cruel
reaction against freedom and Protestantism which the victory of the
bigoted Ferdinand over his neglected competitor introduced. A riot,
accompanied with violence against the Catholic authorities, was the
beginning of the troubles in Bohemia; and Ferdinand, as if to explain
his conduct to the satisfaction of James, published a manifesto,
which might almost be believed to have been the production of that
Solomon of the North. "If sovereign power," he says, "emanates from
God, these atrocious deeds must proceed from the devil, and therefore
must draw down divine punishment." This logic was unanswerable at
Whitehall, and the work of extermination went on. Feeble efforts were
forced upon the unwilling father-in-law; for all the chivalry of
England was wild with sympathy and admiration of the Bohemian queen.
Hundreds of gallant gentlemen passed over to swell the Protestant
ranks; and when they returned and told the tale of all the horrors
they had seen, the remorseless vengeance of the triumphant Church, and
all the threatenings with which Rome and the Empire endeavoured to
terrify the nations which had rebelled against their yoke, Puritanism,
or resistance to the slightest approach towards Popery either in
essentials or externals, became patriotism and self-defence; and at
this very time, while men's minds were inflamed with the descriptions
of the torturings and executions which followed the battle of Prague in
1620, and the devastation and depopulation of Bohemia, James took the
opportunity of forcing the Episcopal form of government on the Scottish
Presbyterians.

"The greatest matter," he says, in an address to the prelates of
the reluctant dioceses,--"the greatest matter the Puritans had to
object against the Church government was, that your proceedings were
warranted by no law, which now by this last Parliament is cutted
short. The sword is now put in your hands. Go on, therefore, to use
it, and let it rest no longer till ye have perfected the service
trusted to you; or otherwise we must use it both against you and
them." While the people of both nations were willing to sink their
polemic differences of Calvinist and Anglican in one great attempt
to deliver the Protestants in Germany from the power of the house
of Austria,--while for this purpose they would have voted taxes
and raised armies with the heartiest good will,--the king's whole
attention was bestowed on a set of manoeuvres for the obtaining a
Spanish-Austrian bride for his son. To gain this he would have humbled
himself to the lowest acts. At a whisper from Madrid, he interfered
with the German war, to the detriment of his own daughter; and
England perceived that his ineradicable love of power and hatred of
freedom had blinded him to national interests and natural affections.
If we follow the whole career of James, and a great portion of his
successor's, we shall see the same remarkable coincidence between the
events in England and abroad,--unpopularity of the king, produced by
his apparent lukewarmness in the general Protestant cause as much as
by his arbitrary acts at home. Whatever the nation desired, the king
opposed. When Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of the North, began his
triumphant career in 1630, and re-established the fallen fortunes of
Protestantism, Charles concluded a dishonourable peace with Spain,
without a single provision in favour of the Protestants of the German
States, and allowed the Popish Cardinal Richelieu first to consolidate
his forces by an unsparing oppression of the Huguenots in France, and
then to almost compensate for his harshness by a gallant support of the
Swedish hero in his struggle against the Austrian power.

There was no longer the same content and happiness in the towns
and country districts as there had been at the commencement of the
century. Men had looked with contempt and dislike on the proceedings
of James's court,--his coarse buffoonery, and disgraceful patronage
of a succession of worthless favourites; and they continued to look,
not indeed with contempt, but with increased dislike and suspicion,
on the far purer court and dignified manners of his unfortunate son.
A French princess, though the daughter of Henry the Fourth, was
regarded as an evil omen for the continuance of good government or
religious progress. Her attendants, lay and clerical, were not unjustly
considered spies, and advisers with interests hostile to the popular
tendencies. And all this time went on the unlucky coincidences which
distinguished this reign,--of Catholic cruelties in foreign lands,
and approaches to the Catholic ceremonial in the reformed Church.
While Tilly, the remorseless general of the Emperor, was letting loose
the most ferocious army which ever served under a national standard
upon the inhabitants of Magdeburg, heaping into the history of that
miserable assault all the sufferings that "horror e'er conceived or
fancy feigned,"--and while the echo of that awful butchery, which
has not yet died out of the German heart, was making sorrowful
every fireside in what was once merry England,--the king's advisers
pursued their blind way, torturing their opponents with knife and
burning-brand upon the pillory, flogging gentlemen nearly to death
upon the streets, and consecrating churches with an array of surplice,
and censer, and processions, and organ-blowings, which would have done
honour to St. Peter's at Rome. People saw a lamentable connection
between the excesses of Catholic cruelty and the tendency in our sober
establishment to Catholic traditions, and became fanatical in their
detestation of the simplest forms.

In ordinary times the wise man considers mere forms as almost below his
notice; but there are periods when the emblem is of as much importance
as the thing it typifies. Church ceremonies, and gorgeous robes, and
magnificent worship, were accepted by both parties as the touchstone
of their political and religious opinions. Laud pushed aside the
Archbishop of Glasgow, who stood at Charles's right hand on his visit
to Scotland in 1633, on the express ground that he had not the orthodox
fringe upon his habit,--a ridiculous ground for so open an insult, if
it had not had an inner sense. The Archbishop of Glasgow professed
himself a moderate Churchman by the plainness of his dress, and Laud
accepted it as a defiance. Meanwhile the essential insignificance of
the symbol threw an air of ridicule over the importance attached to it.
Dull-minded men, who had not the faculty of seeing how deep a question
may lie in a simple exposition of it, or frivolous men, who could
not rise to the real earnestness which enveloped those discussions,
were scandalized at the persistency of Laud in enforcing his fancies,
and the obstinacy of a great portion of the clergy and people in
resisting them. But the Puritans, with clearer eyes, saw that a dance,
according to proclamation, on the village green on Sunday, meant not
a mere desecration of the Sabbath, but a crusade against the rights
of conscience and an assertion of arbitrary power. Altars instead of
communion-tables in churches meant not merely a restoration of the
Popish belief in the real sacrifice of the mass, but a placing of the
king above the law, and the abrogation of all liberty. They could not
at this time persuade the nation of these things. The nation, for the
most part, saw nothing more than met their bodily eyes; and, in despair
of escaping the slavery which they saw the success of Ferdinand in
Germany was likely to spread over Europe, they began the long train of
voyages to the Western World, which times of suffering and uncertainty
have continued at intervals to the present day. It is said that
a vessel was stopped by royal warrant when it was on the point of
sailing from the Thames with emigrants to America in 1637. On board
were various persons whose names would probably never have been heard
of if they had been allowed in peace and safety to pursue their way
to Boston, but with which in a few years "all England rang from side
to side." They were Oliver Cromwell, and Hampden, and Haselrig, Lord
Brook, and Lord Saye.

Affairs had now reached such a crisis that they could no longer
continue undecided. A Parliament was called in 1640, after an
unexampled interval of eleven years, and, after a few days' session,
was angrily dissolved. Another, however, was indispensable in the
same year, and on the 3d of November the Long Parliament met. The
long-repressed indignation of the Commons broke forth at once. Laud
and Wentworth, the principal advisers of the king, were tried and
executed, and precautions taken, by stringent acts, to prevent a
recurrence of arbitrary government. Everywhere there seemed a rally
in favour of the Protestant or liberal cause. The death of Richelieu,
the destroyer of French freedom, opened a prospect of recovered
independence to the Huguenots; the victories of Torstenson the
Swede, worthy successor of Gustavus Adolphus, brought down the pride
of the Austrian Catholics; and Puritans, Independents, and other
outraged sects and parties, by the restoration of the Parliament,
got a terrible instrument of vengeance against their oppressors. A
dreadful time, when on both sides the forms of law were perverted to
the most lawless purposes; when peacefully-inclined citizens must
have been tormented with sad misgivings by the contending claims of
Parliament and King,--a Parliament correctly constituted and in the
exercise of its recognised authority, a King with no flaw to his
title, and professing his willingness to limit himself to the undoubted
prerogatives of his place. [A.D. 1642.] It was probably a relief to
the undecided when the arbitrament was removed from the court of
argument to the field of battle. All the time of that miserable civil
war, the other states of Europe were in nearly as great confusion as
ourselves. France was torn to pieces by factions which contended for
the mantle of the departed cardinal; Germany was traversed from end
to end by alternately retreating and advancing armies. But still the
simultaneousness of events abroad and at home is worthy of remark. The
great fights which decided the quarrel in England were answered by
victories of the Protestant arms in Germany and the apparent triumph
of the discontented in France. The young king, Louis the Fourteenth,
carried from town to town, and disputed between the parties, gave
little augury of the despotism and injustice of his future throne.
There were barricades in Paris, and insurrections all over the land.
But at last, and at the same time, all the combatants in England,
and France, and Germany--Huguenot, Puritan, Calvinist, Protestant,
and Papist--were tired out with the length and bitterness of the
struggle. So in 1648 the long Thirty Years' War was brought to a close
by the Peace of Westphalia. Kingly power in France was curtailed, the
house of Austria was humbled; and Charles was carried prisoner to
Windsor. The Protestants of Germany, by the terms of the peace, were
replaced in their ancient possessions. They had freedom of worship
and equality of civil rights secured. A general law preserved them
from the injustice or aggressions of their local masters; and the
compromise guaranteed by so many divergent interests, and guarded by
such equally-divided numbers, has endured to the present time. The
English conquerors would be contented with no less than their foreign
friends had obtained. But the blot upon their conduct, the blood
of the misguided and humbled Charles, hindered the result of their
wisest deliberations. Moderate men were revolted by the violence of
the act, and old English loyalty, delivered from the fear of foreign
or domestic oppression, was awakened by the sad end of a crowned and
anointed King. [A.D. 1649.] Nothing compensates in an old hereditary
monarchy for the want of high descent in its ruler. Not all Cromwell's
vigour and genius, his glory abroad and energetic government at home,
attracted the veneration of English squires, whose forefathers had
fought at Crecy, to the grandson of a city knight, or, at most, to the
descendant of a minister of Henry the Eighth. Charles the Second rose
before them with the transmitted dignity of a hundred kings. He counted
back to Scottish monarchs before the Norman Conquest, and traced by
his mother's side his lineal ancestry up to Charlemagne and Clovis.
English history presents no instance of the intrusion of an unroyal
usurper in her list of sovereigns. Cromwell stands forth the solitary
instance of a man of the people virtually seizing the crown; and the
ballads and pamphlets of the time show how the comparative humility of
his birth excited the scorn of his contemporaries. And this feeling was
not limited to ancient lords and belted cavaliers: it permeated the
common mind. There was something ennobling for the humblest peasant
to die for King and Cause; but, however our traditions and the lapse
of two hundred years may have elevated the conqueror at Worcester and
Dunbar, we are not to forget that, in the estimation of those who had
drunk his beer at Huntingdon or listened to his tedious harangues in
Parliament, there would be neither patriotism nor honour in dying for
bluff Old Noll. But there were more dangerous enemies to bluff Old Noll
than the newness of his name. The same cause which had made the nation
dissatisfied with the arbitrary pretensions of James and Charles was at
work in making it intolerant of the rule of the usurpers.

The great soldier and politician, who had overthrown an ancient dynasty
and crushed the seditions of the sects, had increased the commercial
prosperity of the three kingdoms. Wealth poured in at all the ports,
and was rapidly diffused over the land; internal improvements kept
pace with foreign enterprise; and the England which long ago had been
too rich to be arbitrarily governed was now again too rich to be
kept in durance by the sour-faced hypocrisies of the Puritans. Those
lank-haired gentlemen, whose conduct had not quite answered to the
self-denying proclamations with which they had begun, were no longer
able to persuade the well-to-do citizen, and the high-waged mechanic,
and the prosperous farmer, that religion consisted in speaking through
the nose and forswearing all innocent enjoyment. The great battle
had been fought, and the fruits of it, they thought, were secure.
Were people to be debarred from social meetings and merry-makings at
Christmas, and junketings at fairs, by act of Parliament? Acts of
Parliament would first have been required strong enough to do away with
youth and health, and the power of admiring beauty, and the hopes of
marriage. [A.D. 1641-49.] The troubles had lasted seven or eight years;
and all through that period, and for some time before, while the thick
cloud was gathering, all gayety had disappeared from the land. But
by the middle of Cromwell's time there was a new generation, in the
first flush of youth,--lads and lasses who had been too young to know
any thing of the dark days of Laud and Wentworth. They were twenty
years of age now. Were they to have no cakes and ale because their
elders were so prodigiously virtuous? They had many years of weary
restraint and formalism to make up for, and in 1660 the accumulated
tide of joyousness and delight burst all barriers. A flood of dancing
and revelry, and utter abandonment to happiness, spread over the
whole country; and merriest of the dancers, loudest of the revellers,
happiest of the emancipated, was the young and brilliant king. Never
since the old times of the Feasts of Fools and the gaudy processions of
the Carnival had there been such a riotous jubilee as inaugurated the
Restoration. The reaction against Puritanism carried the nation almost
beyond Christianity and landed it in heathenism again. The saturnalia
of Rome were renewed in the banquetings of St. James's. Nothing in
those first days of relaxation seemed real. King and courtiers and
cavaliers in courtly palaces, and enthusiastic townsfolk and madly
loyal husbandmen, seemed like mummers at a play; and it was not till
the candles were burned out, and the scenes grew dingy, and daylight
poured upon that ghastly imitation of enjoyment, that England came
to its sober senses again. Then it saw how false was the parody it
had been playing. It had not been happy; it had only been drunk; and
already, while Charles was in the gloss of his recovered crown, the
second reaction began. Cromwell became respectable by comparison with
the sensual debauchee who sold the dignity of his country for a little
present enjoyment and soothed the reproaches of his people with a joke.
Give us a Man to rule over us, the English said, and not a sayer of
witty sayings and a juggler with such sleight of hand. And yet the
example of the court was so contagious, and the fashion of enjoyment
so wide-spread, that on the surface every thing appeared prosperous
and happy. The stern realities of the first recusants had been so
travestied by the exaggerated imitation of their successors that no
faith was placed in the serious earnestness of man or woman. Frivolity
was therefore adopted as a mark of sense; and if the popular literature
of a period is to be accepted as a mirror held up to show the time
its image, the old English character had undergone a perfect change.
Thousands flocked every day to the playhouses to listen to dialogues,
and watch the evolvement of plots, where all the laws of decency and
honour were held up to ridicule. Comus and his crew, which long ago had
held their poetic festival in the pure pages of Milton, were let loose,
without the purity or the poetry, in every family circle. And the worst
and most disgusting feature of the picture is that those wassailers who
were thus the missionaries of vice were persecutors for religion. While
one royal brother was leading the revels at Whitehall, surrounded by
luxury and immorality as by an atmosphere without which he could not
live, the other, as luxurious, but more moodily depraved, listened to
the groans of tortured Covenanters at Holyrood House. Charles and James
were like the two executioners of Louis the Eleventh: one laughed, and
the other groaned, but both were pitilessly cruel. A recurrence to the
dark days of the Sects, the godly wrestlings in prayer of illiterate
horsemen, and the sincere fanaticism of the Fifth-Monarchy men, would
have been a change for the better from the filth and foulness of the
reign of the Merry Monarch and the blood and misery of that of the
gloomy bigot.

But happier times were almost within view, though still hid behind the
glare of those orgies of the unclean. From 1660 to 1688 does not seem a
very long time in the annals of a nation, nor even in the life of one
of ourselves. Twenty-eight years have elapsed since the Revolution in
Paris which placed Louis Philippe upon the throne; and the young man of
twenty at that time is not very old yet. But when men or nations are
cheated in the object of their hopes, it does not take long to turn
disappointment into hatred. The Restoration of 1660 was to bring back
the golden age of the first years of James,--the prosperity without
the tyranny, the old hereditary rule without its high pretensions,
the manliness of the English yeoman without his tendency to fanatical
innovation. And instead of this Arcadia there was nothing to be
seen but a kingdom without dignity, a king without honesty, and a
people without independence. England was no longer the arbiter of
European differences, as in the earlier reigns, nor dominator of all
the nations, as when the heavy sword of Cromwell was uneasy in its
sheath. It was not even a second-rate power: its capital had been
insulted by the Dutch; its monarch was pensioned by the French; its
religion was threatened by the Pope; the old animosities between
England and Scotland were unarranged; and the point to be remembered
in your review of the Seventeenth Century is that in the years from
the Restoration to the Revolution we had touched the basest string
of humility. We were neither united at home nor respected abroad. We
had few ships, little commerce, and no public spirit. France revenged
Crecy and Poictiers and Agincourt, by dressing our kings in her livery;
and the degraded monarchs pocketed their wages without feeling their
humiliation. Therefore, as the highest point we have hitherto stood
upon was when Elizabeth saw the destruction of the Armada, the lowest
was undoubtedly that when we submitted to the buffoonery of Charles and
the bloodthirstiness of James.

But far more remarkable, as a characteristic of this century, than
the lowering of the rank of England in relation to foreign states,
is the rise, for the first time in Europe, of a figure hitherto
unknown,--a true, unshackled, and absolute king, and that in the
least likely of all positions and in the person of the least likely
man. This was the appearance on the throne of France of Louis the
Fourteenth. Other monarchs, both in England and France, had attained
supreme power,--supreme, but not independent. No one had hitherto been
irresponsible to some other portions of the State. The strongest of the
feudal kings was held in check by his nobility,--the greatest of the
Tudors by Parliament and people. Declarations, indeed, had frequently
been made that God's anointed were answerable to God alone. But of the
two loudest of these declaimers, John, who said,--

  "What earthly power to interrogatory
   Can tax the free breath of a Christian king?"

had shortly after this magnificent oration surrendered his crown to the
Pope; and James the First, who blustered more fiercely (if possible)
about his superiority to human law, was glad to bend before his Lords
and Commons in anticipation of a subsidy, and eat his leek in peace.

But this phenomenon of a king above all other authority occurred, we
have observed, in the most unlikely country to present so strange a
sight; for nowhere was a European throne so weak and unstable as the
throne of the house of Bourbon after the murder of Henry the Fourth.
The moment that strong hand was withdrawn from the government, all
classes broke loose. The nobles conspired against the queen, Marie de
Medicis, who relied upon foreign favourites and irritated the nation to
madness. Paris rose in insurrection, and tore the wretched Concini,
her counsellor, whom she had created Marshal D'Ancre, to pieces; and,
to glut their vengeance still more, the judges condemned his innocent
wife to be burned as a sorceress. Louis the Thirteenth, the unworthy
son of the great Henry, rejoiced in these atrocities, which he thought
freed him from all restraint. But he found it impossible to quell
the wild passions by which he profited for a while. Civil war raged
between the court and country factions, and soon became embittered into
religious animosities. [A.D. 1622.] The sight of a king marching at
the head of a Catholic army against a portion of his Reformed subjects
was looked upon by the rapidly-increasing malcontents in England with
anxious curiosity. For year by year the strange spectacle was unrolled
before their eyes of what might yet be their fate at home. Perhaps,
indeed, the success of the royal arms, and the policy of strength and
firmness introduced by Cardinal Richelieu, may have contributed in no
slight degree to the measures pursued by Wentworth and Laud in their
treatment of the English recusants. With an anticipative interest in
our Hull and Exeter, the Puritans of England looked on the resistance
made by Rochelle; and we can therefore easily imagine with what
feelings the future soldiers of Marston Moor received the tidings that
the Popish cardinal had humbled the capital of the Huguenots by the
help of fleets furnished to them by Holland and England! Richelieu,
indeed, knew how to make his enemies weaken each other throughout
his whole career. [A.D. 1627.] Those enemies were the nobility of
France, the house of Austria, and the Reformed Faith. When Rochelle
was attacked the second time, and England pretended to arm for its
defence, he contrived to win Buckingham, the chief of the expedition,
to his cause, and procured a letter from King Charles, placing the
fleet, which apparently went to the support of the Huguenots, at the
service of the King of France! After a year's siege, and the most
heroic resistance, Rochelle fell at last, in 1628. And, now that the
Huguenots were destroyed as a dangerous party, the eyes of the great
minister were turned against his other foes. He divided the nobles
into hostile ranks, degraded them by petty annoyances, terrified them
by unpitying executions of the chiefs of the oldest families, showed
their weakness by arresting marshals at the head of their armies, and
during the remaining years of his authority monopolized all the powers
of the state. To weaken Spain and Austria, we have seen how he assisted
the Protestants in the Thirty Years' War; to weaken England, which
was only great when it assumed its place as bulwark and champion of
the Protestant faith, he encouraged the court in its suicidal policy
and the oppressed population in resistance. Ever stirring up trouble
abroad, and ever busy in repressing liberty at home, the ministry of
Richelieu is the triumph of unprincipled skill. But when he died,
in 1643, there was no man left to lift up the burden he threw off.
The king himself, Louis the Thirteenth, as much a puppet as the old
descendants of Clovis under their Mayors of the Palace, left the throne
he had nominally filled, vacant in the same year; and the heir to
the dishonoured crown and exhausted country was a boy of five years
of age, under the tutelage of an unprincipled mother, and with the
old hereditary counsellors and props of his throne decimated by the
scaffold or impoverished by confiscation. The tyranny of Richelieu
had at least attained something noble by the high-handed insolence
of all his acts. If people were to be trampled on, it was a kind of
consolation to them that their oppressor was feared by others as well
as themselves. But the oppression of the doomed French nation was
to be continued by a more ignoble hand. The Cardinal Mazarin brought
every thing into greater confusion than ever. In twenty millions of
men there will always be great and overmastering spirits, if only an
opportunity is found for their development; but civil commotion is not
the element in which greatness lives. All sense of honour disappears
when conduct is regulated by the shifting motives of party politics.
[A.D. 1648-1654.] The dissensions of the Fronde, accordingly, produced
no champion to whom either side could look with unmingled respect.
The Great Condé and the famous Turenne showed military talent of
the highest order, but a want of principle and a flighty frivolity
of character counterbalanced all their virtues. The scenes of those
six years are like a series of dissolving views, or the changing
combinations of a kaleidoscope: Condé and Turenne, always on opposite
sides,--for each changed his party as often as the other; battles
prepared for by masquerades and theatricals, and celebrated on both
sides with epigrams and songs; the wildest excesses of debauchery
and vice practised by both sexes and all ranks in the State;
archbishops fighting like gladiators and intriguing like the vulgarest
conspirators; princes imprisoned with a jest, and executions attended
with cheers and laughter; and over all an Italian ecclesiastic,
grinning with satisfaction at the increase of his wealth,--caballing,
cheating, and lying, but keeping a firm grasp of power:--no country was
ever so split into faction or so denuded of great men.

It seemed, indeed, like a demoniacal caricature of our British
troubles: no sternness, no reality; love-letters and witty verses
supplying the place of the Biblical language and awful earnestness of
the words and deeds of the Covenanters and Independents; the gentlemen
of France utterly debased and frivolized; religion ridiculed; nothing
left of the old landmarks; and no Cromwell possible. But, while all
these elements of confusion were heaving and tumbling in what seemed
an inextricable chaos, Mazarin, the vainest and most selfish of
charlatans, died, and the young king, whom he had kept in distressing
dependence and the profoundest political inactivity, found himself
delivered from a master and free to choose his path. This was in
1661. Charles and Louis were equally on their recovered thrones;
for what exile had been to the one, Mazarin had been to the other.
[A.D. 1641-1660.] Charles had had the experience of nineteen years and
of various fortunes to guide him. He had seen many men and cities,
and he deceived every expectation. Louis had been studiously brought
up by his mother and her Italian favourite in the abasement of every
lofty aspiration. He was only encouraged in luxury and vice, and kept
in such painful vassalage that his shyness and awkwardness revealed
the absence of self-respect to the very pages of his court; and he,
no less than Charles, deceived all the expectations that had been
formed of his career. He found out, as if by intuition, how brightly
the monarchical principle still burned in the heart of all the French.
Even in their fights and quarrellings there was a deep reverence
entertained for the ideal of the throne. The King's name was a tower
of strength; and when the nation, in the course of the miserable years
from 1610 to 1661, saw the extinction of nobility, religion, law,
and almost of civilized society, it caught the first sound that told
it it still had a king, as an echo from the past assuring it of its
future. It forgot Louis the Thirteenth and Anne of Austria, and only
remembered that its monarch was the grandson of Henry the Fourth.
Nobody remembered that circumstance so vividly as Louis himself; but
he remembered also that his line went upwards from the Bourbons, and
included the Saint Louis of the thirteenth century and the renewer
of the Roman Empire of the ninth. He let the world know, therefore,
that his title was Most Christian King as well as foremost of European
powers. He forced Spain to yield him precedence, and, for the first
time in history, exacted a humiliating apology from the Pope. The world
is always apt to take a man at his own valuation. Louis, swelling with
pride, ambitious of fame, and madly fond of power, declared himself the
greatest, wisest, and most magnificent of men; and everybody believed
him. Every thing was soon changed throughout the land. Ministers had
been more powerful than the crown, and had held unlimited authority in
right of their appointment. A minister was nothing more to Louis than
a _valet-de-chambre_. He gave him certain work to do, and rewarded him
if he did it; if he neglected it, he discharged him. At first the few
relics of the historic names of France, the descendants of the great
vassals, who carried their heads as lofty as the Capets or Valois,
looked on with surprise at the new arrangements in camp and court.
But the people were too happy to escape the oligarchic confederacy
of those hereditary oppressors to encourage them in their haughty
disaffection. Before Louis had been three years on the unovershadowed
throne, the struggle had been fairly entered on by all the orders
of the State, which should be most slavish in its submission. Rank,
talent, beauty, science, and military fame all vied with each other in
their devotion to the king. He would have been more than mortal if he
had retained his senses unimpaired amid the intoxicating fumes of such
incense. Success in more important affairs came to the support of his
personal assumptions. Victories followed his standards everywhere.
Generals, engineers, and administrators, of abilities hitherto
unmatched in Europe, sprang up whenever his requirements called them
forth. Colbert doubled his income without increasing the burdens on his
people. Turenne, Condé, Luxembourg, and twenty others, led his armies.
Vauban strengthened his fortifications or conducted his sieges, and
the dock-yards of Toulon and Brest filled the Mediterranean and the
Atlantic with his fleets. Poets like Molière, Corneille, and Racine
ennobled his stage; while the genius of Bossuet and Fénélon inaugurated
the restoration of religion. For eight-and-twenty years his fortunes
knew no ebb. He was the object of all men's hopes and fears, and almost
of their prayers. Nothing was too great or too minute for his decision.
He was called on to arbitrate (with the authority of a master) between
sovereign States, and to regulate a point of precedence between
the duchesses of his court. Oh, the weary days and nights of that
uneasy splendour at Versailles! when his steps were watched by hungry
courtiers, and his bed itself surrounded by applicants for place and
favour. No galley-slave ever toiled harder at his oar than this monarch
of all he surveyed at the management of his unruly family. It was the
day of etiquette and form. The rights of princesses to arm-chairs or
chairs with only a back were contested with a vigour which might have
settled the succession to a throne. The rank which entitled to a seat
in the king's coach or an invitation to Marly was disputed almost with
bloodshed, and certainly with scandal and bitterness. The depth of
the bows exacted by a prince of the blood, the number of attendants
necessary for a legitimated son of La Vallière or Montespan, put the
whole court into a turmoil of angry parties; and all these important
points, and fifty more of equal magnitude, were formally submitted
to the king and decided with a gravity befitting a weightier cause.
Nothing is more remarkable in the midst of these absurd inanities than
the great fund of good common sense that is found in all the king's
judgments. He meditates, and temporizes, and reasons; and only on great
occasions, such as a quarrel about dignity between the wife of the
dauphin and the Duchess of Maine, does he put on the terrors of his
kingly frown and interpose his irresistible command. It would have been
some consolation to the foreign potentates he bullied or protected--the
Austrian and Spaniard, or Charles in Whitehall--if they had known what
a wretched and undignified life their enslaver and insulter lived at
home. It was whispered, indeed, that he was tremendously hen-pecked
by Madame de Maintenon, whom he married without having the courage
to elevate her to the throne; but none of them knew the pettinesses,
the degradations, and the miseries of his inner circle. They thought,
perhaps, he was planning some innovation in the order of affairs in
Europe,--the destruction of a kingdom, or the change of a dynasty. He
was devoting his deepest cogitations to the arrangement of a quarrel
between his sons and his daughters-in-law, the invitations to a little
supper-party in his private room, or the number of steps it was
necessary to advance at the reception of a petty Italian sovereign.
The quarrels between his children became more bitter; the little
supper-parties became more dull. Death came into the gilded chambers,
and he was growing old and desolate. Still the torturing wheel of
ceremony went round, and the father, with breaking heart, had to leave
the chamber of his deceased son, and act the part of a great king, and
go through the same tedious forms of grandeur and routine which he had
done before the calamity came. Fancy has never drawn a personage more
truly pitiable than Louis growing feeble and friendless in the midst
of all that magnificence and all that heartless crowd. You pardon him
for retiring for consolation and sympathy to the quiet apartment where
Madame de Maintenon received him without formality and continued her
needlework or her reading while he was engaged in council with his
ministers. He must have known that to all but her he was an Office
and not a Man. He yearned for somebody that he could trust in and
consult with, as entering into his thoughts and interests; and that
calm-blooded, meek-mannered, narrow-hearted woman persuaded him that in
her he had found all that his heart thirsted for in the desert of his
royalty. But in that little apartment he was now to find refuge from
more serious calamities than the falsehood of courtiers or the quarrels
of women. Even French loyalty was worn out at last. Victories had
glorified the monarch, but brought poverty and loss to the population.
Complaints arose in all parts of the country of the excess of taxation,
the grasping dishonesty of the collectors, the extravagance of the
court, and even--but this was not openly whispered--the selfishness
of the king. He had lavished ten millions sterling on the palace and
gardens of Versailles; he had enriched his sycophants with pensions
on the Treasury; he had gratified the Church with gorgeous donations,
and with the far more fatal gift of vengeance upon its opponents.
The Huguenots were in the peaceful enjoyment of the rights secured
to them by the Edict of Nantes, granted by Henry the Fourth in 1598.
But those rights included the right of worshipping God in a different
manner from the Church, and denying the distinguishing doctrines of
the Holy Catholic faith. [A.D. 1685.] The Edict of Toleration was
repealed as a blot on the purity of the throne of the Most Christian
King. Thousands of the best workmen in France were banished by this
impolitic proceeding, and Louis thought he had shown his attachment
to his religion by sending the ingenuity and wealth, and glowing
animosity, of the most valuable portion of his subjects into other
lands. Germany calculated that the depopulation caused by his wars was
more than compensated by the immigration. England could forgive him
his contemptuous behaviour to her king and Parliament when she saw the
silk-mills of Spitalfields supplied by the skilled workmen of Lyons.
Eight hundred thousand people left their homes in consequence of this
proscription of their religion, and Germany and Switzerland grew rich
with the stream of fugitives. It is said that only five thousand found
their way to this country,--enough to set the example of peaceful
industry and to introduce new methods of manufacture.

But the full benefit of the measures of Louis and Maintenon was
denied us, by the distrust with which the Protestant exiles looked
on the accession to our throne of a narrower despot and more bigoted
persecutor than Louis; for in this same year James the Second succeeded
Charles. Relying on each other's support, and gratified with the formal
approval of the repeal of the Edict of Nantes pronounced by the Pope,
the two champions of Christendom pursued their way,--dismissals from
office, exclusion from promotion, proscription from worship in France,
and assaults on the Church, and bloody assizes, in England,--till all
the nations felt that a great crisis was reached in the fortunes both
of England and France, and Protestant and Romanist alike looked on
in expectation of the winding-up of so strange a history. Judicial
blindness was equally on the eyes of the two potentates chiefly
interested. James remained inactive while William Prince of Orange,
the avowed chief of the new opinions, was getting ready his ships and
army, and congratulated himself on the silence of his people, which
he thought was the sign of their acquiescence instead of the hush of
expectation. All the other powers--the Papal Chair included--were
not sorry to see a counterpoise to the predominance of France; and
when William appeared in England as the deliverer from Popery and
oppression, the battle was decided without a blow. [A.D. 1688.] James
was a fugitive in his turn, and found his way to Versailles. It is
difficult to believe that any of the blood of Scotland or Navarre
flowed in the veins of the pusillanimous king. He begged his protector,
through whose councils he had lost his kingdom, to give it him back
again; and the opportunity of a theatrical display of grandeur and
magnanimity was too tempting to be thrown away. Louis promised to
restore him his crown, as if it were a broken toy. It was a strange
sight, during the remainder of their lives, to see those two monarchs
keeping up the dignity of their rank by exaggerations of their former
state. No mimic stage ever presented a more piteous spectacle of
poverty and tinsel than the royal pair. Punctilios were observed at
their meetings and separations, as if a bow more or less were of as
much consequence as the bestowal or recovery of Great Britain; and
in the estimation of those professors of manners and deportment a
breach of etiquette would have been more serious than La Hogue or
the Boyne. In that wondrous palace of Versailles all things had long
ceased to be real. Speeches were made for effect, and dresses and
decorations had become a part of the art of governing, and for some
years the system seemed to succeed. When the king required to show
that he was still a conqueror like Alexander the Great, preparations
were made for his reception at the seat of war, and a pre-arranged
victory was attached lo his arrival, as Cleopatra wished to fix a
broiled fish to Anthony's hook. He entered the town of Mons in triumph
when Luxembourg had secured its fall. He appeared also with unbounded
applause at the first siege of Namur, and carried in person the news of
his achievement to Versailles. Every day came couriers hot and tired
with intelligence of fresh successes. Luxembourg conquered at Fleurus,
1690; Catinat conquered Savoy, 1691; Luxembourg again, in 1692, had
gained the great day of Steinkirk, and Nerwinde in 1693. But the tide
now turned. William the Third was the representative at that time of
the stubbornness of his new subjects' character, who have always found
it difficult to see that they were defeated. He was generally forced
to retire after a vigorously-contested fight; but he was always ready
to fight again next day, always calm and determined, and as confident
as ever in the firmness of his men. Reports very different from the
glorious bulletins of the earlier years of the Great Monarch now came
pouring in. Namur was retaken, Dieppe and Havre bombarded, all the
French establishments in India seized by the Dutch, their colony at St.
Domingo captured by the English, Luxembourg dead, and the whole land
again, for the second time, exhausted of men and money. It was another
opportunity for the display of his absolute power. France prayed him
to grant peace to Europe, and the earthly divinity granted France's
prayer. Europe itself, which had rebelled against him, accepted the
pacification it had won by its battles and combinations, as if it were
a gift from a superior being. [A.D. 1697.] He surrendered his conquests
with such grandeur, and looked so dignified while he withdrew his
pretensions, acknowledging the Prince of Orange to be King of England,
and the King of England to have no claim on the crown he had promised
to restore to him, that it took some time to perceive that the terms of
the Peace of Ryswick were proofs of weakness and not of magnanimity.
But the object of his life had been gained. He had abased every order
in the State for the aggrandizement of the Crown, and, for the first
time since the termination of the Roman Empire, had concentrated the
whole power of a nation into the will of an individual. And this
strange spectacle of a possessor of unlimited authority over the lives
and fortunes of all his subjects was presented in an age that had seen
Charles the First of England brought to the block and James the Second
driven into exile! The chance of France's peacefully rising again
from this state of depression into liberty would have been greater if
Louis, in displacing the other authorities, had not disgraced them. He
dissolved his Parliament, not with a file of soldiers, like Cromwell
or Napoleon, but with a riding-whip in his hand. He degraded the
nobility by making them the satellites of his throne and creatures
of his favour. He humbled the Church by secularizing its leaders; so
that Bossuet, bishop and orator as he was, was proud to undertake the
office of peacemaker between him and Madame de Montespan in one of
their lovers' quarrels. And the Frenchmen of the next century looked in
vain for some rallying-point from which to begin their forward course
towards constitutional improvement. They found nothing but parliaments
contemned, nobles dishonoured, and priests unchristianized.



                          EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.


Kings of France.

  A.D.

        LOUIS XIV.--(_cont._)

  1715. LOUIS XV.

  1774. LOUIS XVI.

  1793. LOUIS XVII.


Emperors of Germany.

  A.D.

        LEOPOLD I.--(_cont._)

  1705. JOSEPH I.

  1711. CHARLES VI.

  1740. MARIA-THERESA.

  1742. CHARLES VII.

  1745. FRANCIS I.

  1765. JOSEPH II.

  1790. LEOPOLD II.

  1792. FRANCIS II.


Kings of England and Scotland.

  A.D.

        WILLIAM III. and MARY.--(_cont._)

  1702. ANNE.

  (_Great Britain_, 1707.)

  1714. GEORGE I.    }

  1727. GEORGE II.   }  House of Hanover.

  1760. GEORGE III.  }


Kings of Spain.

  A.D.

  1700. PHILIP V.

  1724. LOUIS I.

  1724. PHILIP V. again.

  1745. FERDINAND VI.

  1759. CHARLES III.

  1788. CHARLES IV.


Distinguished Men.

ADDISON, STEELE, SWIFT, POPE, ROBERTSON, HUME, GIBBON, VOLTAIRE,
ROUSSEAU, LESAGE, MARMONTEL, MONTESQUIEU, FRANKLIN, (1706-1790,)
JOHNSON, (1709-1784,) GOLDSMITH, (1728-1774,) WOLFE, (1726-1759,)
WASHINGTON, (1732-1799.)



                        THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

                        INDIA--AMERICA--FRANCE.


The characteristic feature of this period is constant change on
the greatest scale. Hitherto changes have occurred in the internal
government of nations: the monarchic or popular feeling has found its
expression in the alternate elevation of the Kingly or Parliamentary
power. But in this most momentous of the centuries, nations themselves
come into being or disappear. Russia and Prussia for the first time
play conspicuous parts in the great drama of human affairs. France,
which begins the century with the despotic Louis the Fourteenth at
its head, leaves it as a vigorous Republic, with Napoleon Buonaparte
as its First Consul. The foundations of a British empire were laid in
India, which before the end of the period more than compensated for the
loss of that other empire in the West, which is now the United States
of America. It was the century of the breaking of old traditions,
and of the introduction of new systems in life and government,--more
complete in its transformations than the splitting up into hitherto
unheard-of nationalities of the old Roman world had been; for what Goth
and Vandal, and Frank and Lombard, were to the political geography
of Europe in the earlier time, new modes of thought, both religious
and political, were to the moral constitution of that later date. The
barbarous invasions of the early centuries were the overflowing of
rivers by the breaking down of the embankments; the revolutionary
madness of France was the sudden detachment of an avalanche which
had been growing unobserved, but which at last a voice or a footstep
was sufficient to set in motion. In all nations it was a period of
doubt and uneasiness. Something was about to happen, but nobody
could say what. The political sleight-of-hand men, who considered
the safety of the world to depend on the balance of power, where a
weight must be cast into one scale, exactly sufficient, and not more
than sufficient, to keep the other in equilibrio, were never so much
puzzled since the science of balancing began. A vast country, hitherto
omitted from their calculations, or only considered as a make-weight
against Sweden or Denmark, suddenly came forward to be a check, and
sometimes an over-weight, to half the states in Europe. Something had
therefore to be found to be a counterpoise to the twenty millions of
men and illimitable dominions of the Russian Czars. This was close at
the conjurer's hand in Prussia and her Austrian neighbour. Counties
were added,--populations fitted in,--Silesia given to the one,
Gallicia added to the other; and at last the whole of Poland, which
had ceased to be of any importance in its separate existence, was
cut up into such portions as might be required, with here a fragment
and there a fragment, till the scales stood pretty even, and the
three contiguous kingdoms were satisfied with their respective shares
of infamy and plunder. If you hear, therefore, of robberies upon a
gigantic scale,--no longer the buccaneering exploits of a few isolated
adventurers in the Western seas, but of kingdoms deliberately stolen,
or imperiously taken hold of by the right of the strong hand; of the
same Titanic magnitude distinguishing almost all other transactions;
colonies throwing off their allegiance, and swelling out into hostile
empires, instead of the usual discontent and occasional quarrellings
between the mother-country and her children; of whole nations breaking
forth into anarchy, instead of the former local efforts at reformation
ending in temporary civil strife; of commercial speculations reaching
the sublime of swindling and credulity, and involving whole populations
in ruin; and of commercial establishments, on the other hand, vaster
even in their territorial acquisitions than all the conquests of
Alexander,--you are to remember that these things can only have
happened in the Eighteenth Century; the century when the trammels of
all former experiences were thrown off, and when wealth, power, energy,
and mental aspirations were pushed to an unexampled excess. This
exaggerated action of the age is shown in the one great statement which
nearly comprehends all the rest. The Debt of this country, which at the
beginning of this century was sixteen millions and a half and tormented
our forefathers with fears of bankruptcy, had risen at the end of
it, in the heroic madness of conquest and national pride, to the sum
of three hundred and eighty millions, without a doubt of our perfect
competency to sustain the burden.

If the tendency of affairs on the other side of our encircling sea
was to pull down, to destroy, to modify, and to redistribute, the
tendency at home was to build up and consolidate; so that in almost
exact proportion to the wild experiments and frantic strugglings of
other nations after something new--new principles of government, new
theories of society--there arose in this country a dogged spirit of
resistance to all alterations, and a persistence in old paths and
old opinions. The charms which constitution-mongers saw in untried
novelties and philosophic systems existed for John Bull only in what
had stood the wear and tear of hundreds of years. The Prussians,
Austrians, Americans, and finally the French, were groping after
vague abstractions; and Frederick the Soldier, and Joseph the
Philanthropist, and Citizen Franklin, and Lafayette and Mirabeau,
were each in their own way carried away with the delusion of a golden
age; but the English statesmen clung rigidly to the realities of
life,--declared the universal fraternity of nations to be a cry of
knaves or hypocrites,--and answered all exclamations about the dignity
of humanity and the sovereignty of the people with "Rule Britannia,"
and "God save the King." How deeply this sentiment of loyalty and
traditionary Toryism is seated in the national mind is proved by
nothing so much as by the dreadful ordeal it had to go through in the
days of the first two Georges. It certainly was a faith altogether
independent of external circumstances, which saw the divinity that
hedges kings in such vulgar, gossiping, and undignified individuals.
And yet through all the troubled years of their reigns the great
British heart beat true with loyalty to the throne, though it was
grieved with the proceedings of the sovereigns; and when the third
George gave it a man to rally round--as truly native-born as the
most indigenous of the people, as stubborn, as strong-willed, and as
determined to resist innovation as the most consistent of the squires
and most anti-foreign of the citizens--the nation attained a point of
union which had never been known in all their previous history, and
looked across the Channel, at the insanity of the perplexed populations
and the threats of their furious leaders, with a growl of contempt
and hatred which warned their democrats and incendiaries of the fate
that awaited them here. There are times in all national annals when
the narrowest prejudices have an amazing resemblance to the noblest
virtues. When Hannibal was encamped at the gates of Rome, the bigoted
old Patricians in the forum carried on their courts of law as usual,
and would not deduct a farthing from the value of the lands they set
up for sale, though the besieger was encamped upon them. When a king
of Sicily offered a great army and fleet for the defence of Greece
against the Persians, the Athenian ambassador said, "Heaven forefend
that a man of Athens should serve under a foreign admiral!" The
Lacedemonian ambassador said the Spartans would put him to death if he
proposed any man but a Spartan to command their troops; and those very
prejudiced and narrow-minded patriots were reduced to the necessity of
exterminating the invaders by themselves. Great Britain, in the year
1800, was also of opinion that she was equal to all the world,--that
she could hold her own whatever powers might be gathered against
her,--and would not have exchanged her Hood, and Jervis, and Nelson,
for the assistance of all the fleets of Europe.

Nothing seems to die out so rapidly as the memory of martial
achievements. The military glory of this country is a thing of fits and
starts. Cressy and Poictiers left us at a pitch of reputation which
you might have supposed would have lasted for a long time. But in a
very few years after those victories the English name was a byword of
reproach. All the conquests of the Edwards were wrenched away, and
it needed only the short period of the reign of Richard the Second
to sink the recollection of the imperturbable line and inevitable
shaft. Henry the Fifth and Agincourt for a moment brought the previous
triumphs into very vivid remembrance. But civil dissensions between
York and Lancaster blunted the English sword upon kindred helmets, and
peaceful Henry the Seventh loaded the subject with intolerable taxes,
and his son wasted his treasures in feasts and tournaments. The long
reigns of Elizabeth and James were undistinguished by British armies
performing any separate achievements on the Continent; and again civil
war lavished on domestic fields an amount of courage and conduct which
would have eclipsed all previous actions if exhibited on a wider scene.
We need not, therefore, be surprised, if, after the astonishing course
of Louis the Fourteenth's arms, the discomfiture of his adversaries,
the constant repulses of the English contingent which fought under
William in Flanders, and at last the quiet, looking so like exhaustion,
which ushered in the Eighteenth Century, the British forces were
despised, and we were confessed, in the ludicrous cant which at
intervals becomes fashionable still, to be not a military nation. How
this astounding proposition agrees with the fact that we have met in
battle every single nation, and tribe, and kindred, and tongue, on the
face of the whole earth, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and have
beaten them all; how it further agrees with the fact that no civilized
power was ever engaged in such constant and multitudinous wars, so that
there is no month or week in the history of the last two hundred years
in which it can be said we were not interchanging shot or sabre-stroke
somewhere or other on the surface of the globe; how, further still,
the statement is to be reconciled with the fact, perceptible to all
mankind, that the result of these engagements is an unexampled growth
of influence and empire,--the acquisition of kingdoms defended by
millions of warriors in Hindostan, of colonies ten times the extent
of the conqueror's realm, defended by Montcalm and the armies of
France,--we must leave to the individuals who make it: the truth being
that the British people is not only the most military nation the world
has ever seen, not excepting the Roman, but the most warlike. It is
impossible to say when these pages may meet the reader's eye; but, at
whatever time it may be, he has only to look at the "Times" newspaper
of that morning, and he will see that either in the East or the West,
in China or the Cape, or the Persian Gulf, or on the Indus, or the
Irrawaddy, the meteor flag is waved in bloody advance. And this seems
an indispensable part of the British position. She is so ludicrously
small upon the map, and so absorbed in speculation, so padded with
cotton, and so sunk in coal-pits, that it is only constant experience
of her prowess that keeps the world aware of her power. The other great
nations can repose upon their size, and their armies of six or seven
hundred thousand men. Nobody would think France or Russia weak because
they were inactive. But with us the case is different: we must fight or
fall.

Twice in the century we are now engaged on, we rose to be first of the
military states in Europe, and twice, by mere inaction, we sank to the
rank of Portugal or Naples.

Charles the Second of Spain died in November, 1700,--a person so
feeble in health and intellect that in a lower state of life he would
have been put in charge of guardians and debarred from the management
of his affairs. As he was a king, these duties were performed on
his behalf by the priests, and the wretched young man--he succeeded
at three years old--was nothing but the slave and plaything of his
confessor. Yet, though his existence was of no importance, his decease
set all Europe in turmoil. By his testament, obtained from him on his
death-bed, he appointed the grandson of Louis the Fourteenth his heir.
A previous will had nominated Charles of Austria. A previous treaty
between Louis and William of England and the States of Holland had
arranged a partition of the Spanish monarchy for the benefit of the
contracting parties and the maintenance of the balance of power. But
now, when a choice was to be made between the wills and the treaty,
between the balance of power and his personal ambition, the temptation
was too great for the cupidity of the Grand Monarque. He accepted the
throne of Spain and the Indies for his grandson Philip of Anjou, and
sent him over the Pyrenees to take possession of his dignity. The
stroke was so sudden that people were silent from surprise. A French
prince at Madrid, at Milan, and Naples, was only the lieutenant in
those capitals for the French king. The preponderance of the house of
Bourbon was dangerous to the liberties of Europe, and when the house
of Bourbon was represented by the haughtiest, and vainest, and most
insulting of men, the dignity of the remaining sovereigns was offended
by his ostentatious superiority; and the house of Austria, which in
the previous century had been the terror of statesmen and princes, was
turned to as a shelter from its successful rival, and all the world
prepared to defend the cause of the Austrian Charles. The affairs of
Europe, which were disturbed by the death of an imbecile king in Spain,
were further complicated by the death of a still more imbecile king at
St. Germain's. James the Second brought his strange life to a close in
1701; and, though the advisers of Louis pointed out the consequence of
offending England at that particular time by recognising the Prince
of Wales as inheritor of the English crown, the vanity of the old man
who could not forego the luxury of having a crowned king among his
attendants prevailed over his better knowledge, and one day, to the
amazement of courtiers and council, he gave the royal reception to
James the Third, and threw down the gauntlet to William and England,
which they were not slow to take up. William of Orange was not popular
among his new subjects, and was always looked on as a foreigner.
Perhaps the memory of Ruyter and Van Tromp was still fresh enough to
make him additionally disliked because he was a Dutchman. But when it
was known over the country that the bigoted and insulting despot in
Paris had nominated a King of England, while the man the nation had
chosen was still alive in Whitehall, the indignation of all classes was
roused, and found its expression in loyalty and attachment to their
deliverer from Popery and persecution. Great exertions were made to
conduct the war on a scale befitting the importance of the interests
at stake. Addresses poured in, with declarations of devotion to the
throne; troops were raised, and taxes voted; and in the midst of these
preparations, the King, prematurely old, in the fifty-third year of
his age, died of a fall from his horse at Kensington, in March, 1702,
and the powers of Europe felt that the best soldier they possessed was
lost to the cause. Rather it was a fortunate thing for the confederated
princes that William died at this time; for he never rose to the rank
of a first-rate commander, and was so ambitious of glory and power that
he would not have left the way clear for a greater than himself.

This was found in Marlborough. Military science was the characteristic
of this illustrious general; and no one before his time had ever
possessed in an equal degree the power of attaching an army to
its chief, or of regulating his strategic movements by the higher
consideration of policy and statesmanship. For the first time, in
English history at least, a march was equivalent to a battle. A
change of his camp, or even a temporary retreat, was as effectual
as a victory; and it was seen by the clearer observers of the time
that a campaign was a game of skill, and not of the mere dash and
intrepidity which appeal to the vulgar passions of our nature. Not
so, however, the general public: their idea of war was a succession
of hard knocks, with enormous lists of the killed and wounded. A
manoeuvre, without a charge of bayonets at the end of it, was little
better than cowardice; and complaints were loud and common against
the inactivity of a man who, by dint of long-prepared combinations,
compelled the enemy to retreat by a mere shift of position and cleared
the Low Countries of its invaders without requiring to strike a blow.
"Let them see how we can fight," cried all the corporations in the
realm: "anybody can march and pitch his camp." And it is not impossible
that the foreign populations who had never seen the red-coats, or,
at most, who had only known them acting as auxiliaries to the Dutch
and often compelled to retire before the numbers and impetuosity of
the French, had no expectation of success when they should be fairly
brought opposite their former antagonists. Friends and foes alike
were prepared for a renewal of the days of Luxembourg and Turenne.
In this they were not disappointed; for a pupil of Turenne renewed,
in a very remarkable manner, the glories of his master. Marlborough
had served under that great commander, and profited by his lessons.
He had fifty thousand British soldiers under his undivided command;
and, to please the grumblers at home and the doubters abroad, he made
the reign of Anne the most glorious in the English military annals by
thick-coming fights, still unforgotten, though dimmed by the exploits
of the more illustrious Wellington. The first of these was Blenheim,
against the French and Bavarians, in 1704. How different this was from
the hand-to-hand thrust and parry of ancient times is shown by the
fate of a strong body of French, who were so posted on this occasion
that the duke saw they were in his power without requiring to fire a
gun. He sent his aid-de-camp, Lord Orkney, to them to point out the
hopelessness of their position; and when he rode up, accompanied by
a French officer, to act, perhaps, as his interpreter, a shout of
gratulation broke from the unsuspecting Frenchmen. "Is it a prisoner
you have brought us?" they asked their countryman. "Alas! no," he
replies: "Lord Orkney has come from Marlborough to tell you you are
his prisoners. His lordship offers you your lives." A glance at the
contending armies confirmed the truth of this appalling communication,
and the brigade laid down its arms. The tide of victory, once begun,
knew no ebb till the grandeur of Louis the Fourteenth was overwhelmed.
Disgraces followed quickly one upon the other,--marshals beaten, towns
taken, conquests lost, his wealth exhausted, his people discontented,
and the bravest of his generals hopeless of success. Prince Eugene of
Savoy, equal to Marlborough in military genius, was more embittered
against the French monarch, to whom he had offered his services, and
who had had the folly to reject them. France, on the side of Germany
and the Low Countries, was pressed upon by the triumphant invaders.
In Spain, the affairs of the new king were more desperate still.
Gibraltar was taken in 1704. Lord Peterborough, a wiser Quixote, of
whose victories it is difficult to say whether they were the result of
madness or skill, marched through the kingdom at the head of six or
seven thousand English and conquered wherever he went.

When the war had lasted eight or nine years, the reputation of
Marlborough and the British arms was at its height. Our fleets were
masters of the sea, and the Grand Monarque sent humble petitions to
the opposing powers for peace upon any terms. People tell us that
Marlborough rejected all overtures which might have deprived him of the
immense emoluments he received for carrying on the war. [A.D. 1711.]
Perhaps, also, he was inspired by the love of fame; but, whether
meanness or ambition was his motive, his warlike propensities were
finally overcome,--for his wife, the imperious duchess, quarrelled with
Queen Anne,--the ministry was changed, and the jealousies of Whitehall
interfered with the campaigns in Flanders. [A.D. 1713.] Marlborough
was displaced, and a peace patched up, which, under the name of the
Peace of Utrecht, is quoted as showing what small fruits British
diplomacy sometimes derives from British valour. Louis the Fourteenth,
conquered at all points, his kingdom exhausted, and all his reputation
gone, saw his grandson in possession of the crown which had been the
original cause of the war, and Great Britain rewarded for all her
struggles by the empty glory of filling up the harbour of Dunkirk, and
the scarcely more substantial advantage, as many considered it at the
time, of retaining Gibraltar, a barren rock, and Minorca, a useless
island. After this, we find a long period of inaction on the continent
produce its usual effect. When thirty years had passed without the
foreign populations having sight of the British grenadiers, they either
forgot their existence altogether, or had persuaded themselves that
the new generation had greatly deteriorated from the old.[A.D. 1743.]
[A.D. 1745.] It needed the victory of Dettingen, and the more glorious
repulse of Fontenoy, to recall the soldiers of Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

In the interval, amazing things had been going on. Even while the
career of Marlborough was attended with such glory in arms, a peaceful
achievement was accomplished of far more importance than all his
victories. An Act of Union between the two peoples who occupied the
Isle was passed by both their Parliaments in 1707, and England and
Scotland disappeared in their separate nationalities, to receive the
more dignified appellation of the Kingdom of Great Britain. This was
a statesman's triumph; for the popular feeling on both sides of the
Tweed was against it. Scotland considered herself sold; and England
thought she was cheated. Clauses were introduced to preserve, as far
as possible, the distinctions which each thought it for its honour to
keep up. National peculiarities exaggerated themselves to prevent the
chance of being obliterated; and Scotchmen were never as Scotch, nor
Englishmen ever so English, as at the time when these denominations
were about to cease. As neighbours, with the mere tie between them of
being subjects of the same crown, they were on amicable and respectful
terms. But when the alliance was proposed to be more intimate, their
interests to be considered identical and the Parliaments to be merged
in one, both parties took the alarm. "The preponderating number of
English members would scarcely be affected by the miserable forty-five
votes reserved for the Scotch representatives," said Caledonia, stern
and wild. "The compact phalanx of forty-five determined Scotchmen will
give them the decision of every question brought before Parliament,"
replied England, with equal fear,--and equal misapprehension, as it
happily turned out. When eight years had elapsed after this great
event in our domestic history, with just sufficient experience of
the new machinery to find out some of its defects, it was put to the
proof by an incident which might have been fatal to a far longer
established system of government. This was a rebellion in favour of
the exiled Stuarts. James the Third, whom we saw recognised by Louis
the Fourteenth on the death of his father in 1701, made his appearance
among the Highlanders of the North in 1714, and summoned them to
support his family claims.

But the memory of his ancestors was too recent. Men of middle age
remembered James the Second in his tyrannical supremacy at Holyrood.
The time was not sufficiently remote for romance to have gathered
round the harsh reality and hidden its repulsive outlines. A few
months showed the Pretender the hopelessness of his attempt; and the
tranquillity of the country was considered to be re-established when
the adherents of the losing cause were visited with the harshest
penalties. The real result of these vindictive punishments was, that
they added the spirit of revenge for private wrong to the spirit of
loyalty to the banished line. Many circumstances concurred to favour
the defeated candidate, who seemed to require to do nothing but
bide his time. The throne was no longer held, even under legalized
usurpation, as the discontented expressed it, by one of the ancient
blood. [A.D. 1714.] A foreigner, old and stupid, had come over from
Hanover and claimed the Parliamentary crown, and the few remaining
links of attachment which kept the high-prerogative men and the Roman
Catholics inactive in the reign of Queen Anne, the daughter of their
rightful king, lost all their power over them on the advent of George
the First, who had to trace up through mother and grandmother till
he struck into the royal pedigree in the reign of James the First.
It was thought hard that descent from that champion of monarchic
authority and hereditary right should be pleaded as a title to a crown
dependent on the popular choice. As years passed on, the number of
the discontented was of course increased. Whoever considered himself
neglected by the intrusive government turned instinctively to the rival
house. A courtier offended by the brutal manners of the Hanoverian
rulers looked longingly across the sea to the descendant of his lineal
kings. The foreign predilections, and still more foreign English,
of the coarse-minded Georges, made them unpopular with the weak or
inconsiderate, who did not see that a very inelegant pronunciation
might be united with a true regard for the interests of their country.

The commercial passions of the nations succeeded to the military
enthusiasm of the past age, and brought their usual fruits of selfish
competition and social degradation. Money became the most powerful
principle of public and private life: Sir Robert Walpole, a man of
perfect honesty himself, founded his ministry on the avowed disbelief
of personal honesty among all classes of the people; and there were
many things which appeared to justify his incredulity. [A.D. 1720.]
There was the South-Sea Bubble, a swindling speculation, to which
our own railway-mania is the only parallel, where lords and ladies,
high ecclesiastics and dignified office-bearers, the highest and the
lowest, rushed into the wildest excesses of gambling and false play,
and which caused a greater loss of character and moral integrity than
even of money to its dupes and framers. There was the acknowledged
system of rewarding a ministerial vote with notes for five hundred or a
thousand pounds. There were the party libels of the time, all imputing
the greatest iniquities to the object of their vituperation, and left
uncontradicted except by savage proceedings at law or by similar
insinuations against the other side. There were philosophers like
Bolingbroke and clergymen like Swift. But let us distinguish between
the performers on the great scenes of life, the place hunter at St.
James's, and the great body of the English and Scottish gentry, and
their still undepraved friends and neighbours, whom it is the fashion
to involve in the same condemnation of recklessness and dishonour.
We are to remember that the dregs of the former society were not yet
cleared away. The generation had been brought up at the feet of the
professors of morality and religion as they were practised in the days
of Charles and James, with Congreve and Wycherly for their exponents on
the stage and Dryden for their poet-laureate.

It seems a characteristic of literature that it becomes pure in
proportion as it becomes powerful. While it is the mere vehicle for
amusement or the exercise of wit and fancy, it does not care in what
degrading quarters its materials are found. But when it feels that
its voice is influential and its lessons attended to by a wider
audience, it rises to the height of the great office to which it is
called, and is dignified because it is conscious of its authority.
In the incontestable amendment visible in the writings of the period
of Anne and the Georges, we find a proof that the vices of the busy
politicians and gambling speculators were not shared by the general
public. The papers of the _Spectator_ and _Tatler_, the writings of
Pope and Arbuthnot, were not addressed to a depraved or sensualized
people, as the works of Rochester and Sedley had been. When we talk,
therefore, of the Augustan age of Anne, we are to remember that its
freedom from grossness and immorality is still more remarkable than
its advance in literary merit, and we are to look on the conduct of
intriguing directors and bribed members of Parliament as the relics
of a time about to pass away and to give place to truer ideas of
commercial honesty and public duty. The country, in spite of coarseness
of manners and language, was still sound at heart. The jolly squire
swore at inconvenient seasons and drank beyond what was right, but he
kept open house to friend and tenant, administered justice to the best
of his ability, had his children Christianly and virtuously brought up,
and was a connecting link in his own neighbourhood between the great
nobles who affected almost a princely state, and the snug merchant in
the country town, or retired citizen from London, whom he met at the
weekly club. The glimpses we get of the social status of the country
gentlemen of Queen Anne make us enamoured of their simple ways and
patriarchal position. For the argument to be drawn from the character
and friends of Sir Roger de Coverly and the delightful Lady Lizard and
her daughters, is that the great British nation was still the home
of the domestic affections, that the behaviour was pure though the
grammar was a little faulty, and the ideas modest and becoming though
the expression might be somewhat unadorned. Hence it was that, when the
trial came, the heart of all the people turned to the uninviting but
honest man who filled the British throne. George the Second became a
hero, because the country was healthy at the core.

A son of the old Pretender, relying on the lax morality of the
statesmen and the venality of the courtiers, forgot the unshaken
firmness and dogged love of the right which was yet a living principle
among the populations of both the nations, and landed in the North of
Scotland in 1745, to recover the kingdom of his ancestors by force
of arms. The kingdoms, however, had got entirely out of the habit of
being recovered by any such means. The law had become so powerful, and
was so guarded by forms and precedents, that Prince Charles Edward
would have had a better chance of obtaining his object by an action of
ejectment, or a suit of recovery, than by the aid of sword and bayonet.
Everybody knows the main incidents of this romantic campaign,--the
successful battles which gave the insurgents the apparent command of
the Lowlands,--the advance into England,--the retreat from Derby,--the
disasters of the rebel army, and its final extinction at Culloden. But,
although to us it appears a very serious state of affairs,--a crown
placed on the arbitrament of war, battles in open field, surprise on
the part of the Hanoverians, and loud talking on the part of their
rivals,--the tranquillity of all ranks and in all quarters is the most
inexplicable thing in the whole proceeding. When the landing was first
announced, alarm was of course felt, as at a fair when it is reported
that a tiger has broken loose from the menagerie. But in a little time
every thing resumed its ordinary appearance. George himself cried,
"Pooh! pooh! Don't talk to me of such nonsense." His ministers, who
probably knew the state of public feeling, were equally unconcerned.
A few troops were brought over from the Continent, to show that force
was not wanting if the application of it was required. But in other
respects no one appeared to believe that the assumed fears of the
disaffected, and the no less assumed exultation of the Jacobites, had
any foundation in fact. Trade, law, buying and selling, writing and
publishing, went on exactly as before. The march of the Pretender was
little attended to, except perhaps in the political circles in London.
In the great towns it passed almost unheeded. Quiet families within a
few miles of the invaders' march posted or walked across to see the
uncouth battalions pass. Their strange appearance furnished subjects of
conversation for a month; but nowhere does there seem to have been the
terror of a real state of war,--the anxious waiting for intelligence,
"the pang, the agony, the doubt:" no one felt uneasy as to the result.
England had determined to have no more Stuart kings, and Scotland was
beginning to feel the benefit of the Union, and left the defence of the
true inheritor to the uninformed, discontented, disunited inhabitants
of the hills. When the tribes emerged from their mountains, they
seemed to melt like their winter snows. No squadrons of stout-armed
cavaliers came to join them from holt and farm, as in the days of the
Great Rebellion, when the royal flag was raised at Nottingham. Puritans
and Independents took no heed, and cried no cries about "the sword
of the Lord and of Gideon." They had turned cutlers at Sheffield and
fustian-makers at Manchester. The Prince found not only that he created
no enthusiasm, but no alarm,--a most painful thing for an invading
chief; and, in fact, when they had reached the great central plains of
England they felt lost in the immensity of the solitude that surrounded
them. If they had met enemies they would have fought; if they had found
friends they would have hoped; but they positively wasted away for lack
of either confederate or opponent. The expedition disappeared like a
small river in sand. What was the use of going on? If they reached
London itself, they would be swallowed up in the vastness of the
population, and, instead of meeting an army, they would be in danger
of being taken up by the police. So they reversed their steps. Donald
had stolen considerably in the course of the foray, and was anxious
to go and invest his fortune in his native vale. An English guinea--a
coin hitherto as fabulous as the _Bodach glas_--would pay the rent of
his holding for twenty years; five pounds would make him a cousin of
the Laird. But Donald never got back to display the spoils of Carlisle
or Derby. He loitered by the road, and was stripped of all his booty.
[A.D. 1746.] He was imprisoned, and hanged, and starved, and beaten,
and finally, after the strange tragi-comedy of his fight at Falkirk,
had the good fortune, on that bare expanse of Drummossie Moor, to
hide some of the ludicrous features of his retreat in the glory of
a warrior's death. Justice became revenge by its severity after the
insurrection was quelled. The followers of the Prince were punished
as traitors; but treason means rebellion against an acknowledged
government, which extends to its subjects the securities of law.
These did not exist in the Highlands. All those distant populations
knew of law was the edge of its sword, not the balance of its scales.
They saw their chiefs depressed, they remembered the dismal massacre
of Glencoe in William's time, and the legal massacres of George the
First's. They spoke another language, were different in blood, and
manners, and religion, and should have been treated as prisoners of
war fighting under a legal banner, and not drawn and quartered as
revolted subjects. It is doubtful if one man in the hundred knew the
name of the king he was trying to displace, or the position of the
prince who summoned him to his camp. Poor, gallant, warm-hearted,
ignorant, trusting Gael! His chieftain told him to follow and slay
the Saxons, and he required no further instruction. He was not cruel
or bloodthirsty in his strange advance. He had no personal enmity to
Scot or Englishman, and, with the simple awe of childhood, soon looked
with reverence on the proofs of wealth and skill which met him in the
crowded cities and cultivated plains. He was subdued by the solemn
cathedrals and grand old gentlemen's seats that studded all the road,
as some of his ancestors, the ancient Gauls, had been at the sight of
the Roman civilization. And, for all these causes, the incursion of
the Jacobites left no lasting bitterness among the British peoples.
Pity began before long to take the place of opposition; and when all
was quite secure, and the Highlanders were fairly subdued, and the
Pretender himself was sunk in sloth and drunkenness, a sort of morbid
sympathy with the gallant adventurers arose among the new generation.
Tender and romantic ballads, purporting to be "Laments for Charlie,"
and declarations of attachment to the "Young Chevalier," were composed
by comfortable ladies and gentlemen, and sung in polished drawing-rooms
in Edinburgh and London with immense applause. Macaulay's "Lays of
Ancient Rome," or Aytoun's "Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers," have as
much right to be called the contemporary expression of the sacrifice of
Virginia or the burial of Dundee as the Jacobite songs to be the living
voice of the Forty-Five. Who was there in the Forty-Five, or Forty-Six,
or for many years after that date, to write such charming verses? The
Highlanders themselves knew not a word of English; the blue bonnets
in Scotland were not addicted to the graces of poetry and music. The
citizens of England were too busy, the gentlemen of England too little
concerned in the rising, to immortalize the landing at Kinloch-Moidart
or the procession to Holyrood. The earliest song which commemorates
the Pretender's arrival, or laments his fall, was not written within
twenty years of his attempt. By that time George the Third was on the
safest throne in Europe, and Great Britain was mistress of the trade of
India and the illimitable regions of America. It was easy to sing about
having our "rightful King," when we were in undisputed possession of
the Ganges and the Hudson and had just planted the British colours on
Quebec and Montreal.

This rebellion of Forty-Five, therefore, is remarkable as a feature in
this century, not for the greatness of the interest it excited, but for
the small effect it had upon either government or people. It showed on
what firm foundations the liberties and religion of the nations rested,
that the appearance of armed enemies upon our soil never shook our
justly-balanced state. The courts sat at Westminster, and the bells
rang for church. People read Thomson's "Seasons," and wondered at
Garrick in "Hamlet" at Drury Lane.

Meantime, a great contest was going on abroad, which, after being
hushed for a while by the peace of 1748, broke out with fiercer
vehemence than ever in what is called the Seven Years' War.
[A.D. 1756-1763.] The military hero of this period was Frederick the
Second of Prussia, by whose genius and skill the kingdom he succeeded
to--a match for Saxony or Bavaria--rapidly assumed its position as a
first-rate power. A combination of all the old despotisms was formed
against him,--not, however, without cause; for a more unprincipled
remover of his neighbour's landmarks, and despiser of generosity and
justice, never appeared in history. But when he was pressed on one side
by Russia and Austria, and on the other by France, and all the little
German potentates were on the watch to pounce on the unprotected State
and get their respective shares in the general pillage, Frederick
placed his life upon the cast, and stood the hazard of the die in
many tremendous combats, crushed the belligerents one by one, made
forced marches which caught them unawares, and, though often defeated,
conducted his retreats so that they yielded him all the fruits of
victory. In his extremity he sought and found alliances in the most
unlikely quarters. Though a self-willed despot in his own domains, he
won the earnest support and liberal subsidies of the freedom-loving
English; and though a philosopher of the most amazing powers of
unbelief, he awakened the sympathy of all the religious Protestants in
our land. All his faults were forgiven--his unchivalrous treatment of
the heroic _King_ of Hungary, Maria-Theresa, the Empress-Queen, his
assaults upon her territory, and general faithlessness and ambition--on
the one strong ground that he opposed Catholics and tyrants, and,
though irreligious and even scoffing himself, was at the head of a
true-hearted Protestant people.

It is not unlikely the instincts of a free nation led us at that time
to throw our moral weight, if nothing more, into the scale against
the intrusion of a new and untried power which began to take part in
the conflicts of Europe; for at this period we find the ill-omened
announcement that the Russians have issued from their deserts a
hundred thousand strong, and made themselves masters of most of the
Prussian provinces. [A.D. 1758.] Though defeated in the great battle
of Zorndorf, they never lost the hope of renewing the march they
had made eleven years before, when thirty-five thousand of them had
rested on the Rhine. But Britain was not blind either to the past or
future. At the head of our affairs was a man whose fame continues as
fresh at the present hour as in the day of his greatness. William Pitt
had been a cornet of horse, and even in his youth had attracted the
admiration and hatred of old Sir Robert Walpole by an eloquence and a
character which the world has agreed in honouring with the epithet of
majestic; and when war was again perplexing the nations, and Britain,
as usual, had sunk to the lowest point in the military estimate of the
Continent, the Great Commoner, as he was called, took the government
into his hands, and the glories of the noblest periods of our annals
were immediately renewed or cast into the shade. Wherever the Great
Commoner pointed with his finger, success was certain. His fleets
swept the seas. Howe and Hawke and Boscawen executed his plans. In
the East he was answered by the congenial energy of Clive, and in the
West by the heroic bravery of Wolfe. For, though the war in which we
were now engaged had commenced nominally for European interests, the
crash of arms between France and England extended to all quarters of
the world. In India and America equally their troops and policies were
opposed, and, in fact, the battle of the two nations was fought out
in those distant realms. Our triumph at Plassey and on the Heights of
Abraham had an immense reaction on both the peoples at home. And a very
cursory glance at those regions, from the middle of the century, will
be a fitting introduction to the crowning event of the period we have
now reached,--namely, the French Revolution of 1789. The rise of the
British Empire in the East, no less than the loss of our dominion in
the West, will be found to contribute to that grand catastrophe, of
which the results for good and evil will be felt "to the last syllable
of recorded time."

The first commercial adventure to India was in the bold days of
Elizabeth, in 1591. In the course of a hundred years from that time
various companies had been established by royal charter, and a regular
trade had sprung up. In 1702 all previous charters were consolidated
into one, and the East India Company began its career. Its beginning
was very quiet and humble. It was a trader, and nothing more; but
when it saw a convenient harbour, a favourable landing-place, and
an industrious population, it bent as lowly as any Oriental slave
at the footstool of the unsuspecting Rajah, and obtained permission
to build a storehouse, to widen the wharf, and, finally, to erect a
small tower, merely for the defence of its property from the dangerous
inhabitants of the town. The storehouses became barracks, the towers
became citadels; and by the year 1750 the recognised possessions of
the inoffensive and unambitious merchants comprised mighty states, and
were dotted at intervals along the coast from Surat and Bombay on the
west to Madras and Calcutta on the east and far north. The French also
had not been idle, and looked out ill pleased, from their domains at
Pondicherry and Chandernagore, on the widely-diffused settlements and
stealthy progress of their silent rivals. They might have made as rapid
progress, and secured as extensive settlements, if they had imitated
their rivals' stealthiness and silence. But power is nothing in the
estimation of a Frenchman unless he can wear it like a court suit
and display it to all the world. The governors, therefore, of their
factories, obtained honours and ornaments from the native princes. One
went so far as to forge a gift of almost regal power from the Great
Mogul, and sat on a musnud, and was addressed with prostration by his
countrymen and the workmen in the warerooms. Wherever the British
wormed their way, the French put obstacles in their path. Whether there
was peace between Paris and London or not, made no difference to the
rival companies on the Coromandel shore. They were always at war, and
only cloaked their national hatred under the guise of supporters of
opposite pretenders to some Indian throne. Great men arose on both
sides. The climate or policies of Hindostan, which weaken the native
inhabitant, only call forth the energies and manly virtues of the
intrusive settler. No kingdom has such a bead-roll of illustrious names
as the British occupation. That one century of "work and will" has
called forth more self-reliant heroism and statesmanlike sagacity than
any period of three times the extent since the Norman Conquest. From
Clive, the first of the line, to the Lawrences and Havelocks of the
present day, there has been no pause in the patriotic and chivalrous
procession. Clive came just at the proper time. A born general, though
sent out in an humble mercantile situation, he retrieved the affairs of
his employers and laid the foundation of a new empire for the British
crown. Calcutta had been seized by a native ruler, instigated by the
French, in 1756. The British residents, to the number of one hundred
and forty-six, were packed in a frightful dungeon without a sufficiency
of light or air, and, after a night which transcends all nights of
suffering and despair, when the prison-doors were thrown open, but
twenty-two of the whole number survived. But these were twenty-two
living witnesses to the tyranny and cruelty of Surajah Dowlat. Clive
was on his track ere many months had passed. Calcutta was recovered,
other places were taken, and the battle of Plassey fought. In this
unparalleled exploit, Clive, with three thousand soldiers, principally
Sepoys, revenged the victims of the Black Hole, by defeating their
murderer at the head of sixty thousand men. This was on the 23d of
June, 1757; and when in that same year the news of the great European
war between the nations came thundering up the Ganges, the victors
enlarged their plans. They determined to expel the French from all
their possessions in the East; and Admiral Pococke and Colonel Coote
were worthy rivals of the gallant Clive. Great fleets encountered in
the Indian seas, and victory was always with the British flag. Battles
took place by land, and uniformly with the same result. Closer and
closer the invading lines converged upon the French; and at last, in
1761, Pondicherry, the last remaining of all their establishments, was
taken, after a vigorous defence, and the French influence was at an
end in India. These four years, from 1757 to 1761, had been scarcely
less prolific of distinguished men on the French side than our own. The
last known of these was Lally Tollendal, a man of a furious courage and
headstrong disposition, against whom his enemies at home had no ground
of accusation except his want of success and savageness of manner. Yet
when he returned, after the loss of Pondicherry and a long imprisonment
in England, he was attacked with all the vehemence of personal hatred.
He was tried for betraying the interests of the king, tortured, and
executed. The prosecution lasted many years, and the public rage seemed
rather to increase. [A.D. 1766.] Long after peace was concluded
between France and England, the tragedy of the French expulsion from
India received its final scene in the death of the unfortunate Count
Lally.

Quebec and its dependencies, during the same glorious administration,
were conquered and annexed by Wolfe; and already the throes of the
great Revolution were felt, though the causes remained obscure. Cut
off from the money-making regions of Hindostan and the patriarchal
settlements of Canada, the Frenchman, oppressed at home, had no outlet
either for his ambition or discontent. The feeling of his misery was
further aggravated by the sight of British prosperity. The race of
men called Nabobs, mercantile adventurers who had gone out to India
poor and came back loaded with almost incredible wealth, brought the
ostentatious habits of their Oriental experience with them to Europe,
and offended French and English alike by the tasteless profusion
of their expense. Money wrung by extortion from native princes was
lavished without enjoyment by the denationalized _parvenu_. A French
duke found himself outglittered by the equipage of the over-enriched
clove-dealer,--and hated him for his presumption. The Frenchman of
lower rank must have looked on him as the lucky and dishonourable
rival who had usurped his place, and hated him for the opportunity
he had possessed of winning all that wealth. Ground to the earth by
taxes and toil, without a chance of rising in the social scale or
of escaping from the ever-growing burden of his griefs, the French
peasant and small farmer must have listened with indignation to the
accounts of British families of their own rank emerging from a twenty
years' residence in Madras or Calcutta with more riches than half
the hereditary nobles. It was therefore with a feeling of unanimous
satisfaction that all classes of Frenchmen heard, in 1773, that the
old English colonies in America were filled with disaffection,--that
Boston had risen in insurrection, and that a spirit of resistance to
the mother-country was rife in all the provinces.

The quarrel came to a crisis between the Crown and the colonies within
fourteen years of the conquest of Canada. It seemed as if the British
had provided themselves with a new territory to compensate for the
approaching loss of the old; and bitter must have been the reflection
of the French when they perceived that the loyalty of that recent
acquisition remained undisturbed throughout the succeeding troubles.
Taxation, the root of all strength and the cause of all weakness,
had been pushed to excess, not in the amount of its exaction, but in
the principle of its imposition; and the British blood had not been
so colonialized as to submit to what struck the inhabitants of all
the towns as an unjustifiable exercise of power. The cry at first,
therefore, was, No tax without representation; but the cry waxed louder
and took other forms of expression. The cry was despised, whether
gentle or loud,--then listened to,--then resented. The passions of
both countries became raised. America would not submit to dictation;
Britain would not be silenced by threats. Feelings which would have
found vent at home in angry speeches in Parliament, and riots at a
new election, took a far more serious shape when existing between
populations separated indeed by a wide ocean, but identical in most
of their qualities and aspirations. The king has been blamed. "George
the Third lost us the colonies by his obstinacy: he would not yield
an inch of his royal dignity, and behold the United States our rivals
and enemies,--perhaps some day our conquerors and oppressors!"
Now, we should remember that the Great Britain of 1774 was a very
narrow-minded, self-opinionated, pig-headed Great Britain, compared to
the cosmopolitan, philanthropical, and altogether disinterested Great
Britain we call it now. If the king had bated his breath for a moment,
or even spoken respectfully and kindly of the traitors and rebels who
were firing upon his flags, he would have been the most unpopular man
in his dominions. Many, no doubt, held aloof, and found excuses for the
colonists' behaviour; but the influence of those meditative spirits
was small; their voice was drowned in the chorus of indignation at
what appeared revolt and mutiny more than resistance to injustice. And
when other elements came into the question,--when the French monarch,
ostensibly at peace with Britain, permitted his nobles and generals
and soldiers to volunteer in the patriot cause,--the sentiments of
this nation became embittered with its hereditary dislike to its
ancient foe. We turned them out of India: were they going to turn us
out of America? We had taken Canada: are they going to take New York?
We might have offered terms to our own countrymen, made concessions,
granted exemptions from imperial burdens, or even a share in imperial
legislation; but with Lafayette haranguing about abstract freedom, and
all the young counts and marquises of his expedition declaring against
the House of Lords, the thing was impossible. [A.D. 1778-1780.] War
was declared upon France, and upon Spain, and upon Holland. We fought
everywhere, and lavished blood and treasure in this great quarrel.
And yet the nation had gradually accustomed itself to the new view of
American wrongs. The Ministry, by going so far in their efforts at
accommodation, had confessed the original injustice of their cause.
So we fought with a blunted sword, and hailed even our victories with
misgivings as to our right to win them. But it was the season of vast
changes in the political distribution of all the world. Prussia was
a foremost kingdom. Russia was a European Empire. India had risen
into a compact dominion under the shield of Britain. Why should not
America take a substantive place in the great family of nations, and
play a part hereafter in the old game of statesmen, called the Balance
of Power? In 1783 this opinion prevailed. France, Spain, and Holland
sheathed their swords. The Independence of the United States was
acknowledged at the Peace of Versailles, and everybody believed that
the struggle against established governments was over.

France seemed elevated by the results of the American War, and Great
Britain humiliated. Prophecies were frequent about our rapid fall
and final extinction. Our own orators were, as usual, the loudest in
confessions of our powerlessness and decay. Our institutions were held
up to dislike; and if you had believed the speeches and pamphlets
of discontented patriots, you would have thought we were the most
spiritless and down-trodden, the most unmerciful and dishonest, nation
in the world. The whole land was in a fury of self-abasement at the
degradation brought upon our name and standing by the treachery and
iniquities of Warren Hastings in India; our European glory was crushed
by the surrender at Paris. It must be satisfactory to all lovers of
their country to know that John Bull has no such satisfaction as in
proving that he is utterly exhausted,--always deceived by his friends,
always overreached by his enemies, always disappointed in his aims.
In this self-depreciating spirit he conducts all his wars and all his
treaties; yet somehow it always happens that he gets what he wanted,
and the overreaching and deceiving antagonist gives it up. His power is
over a sixth of the human race, and he began a hundred years ago with
a population of less than fourteen millions; and all the time he has
been singing the most doleful ditties of the ill success that always
attends him,--of his ruinous losses and heart-breaking disappointments.
The men at the head of affairs in the trying years from the Peace of
Versailles to 1793 were therefore quite right not to be taken in by
the querulous lamentations of the nation. We had lost three millions
of colonists, and gained three million independent customers. We were
trading to India, and building up and putting down the oldest dynasties
of Hindostan. Ships and commerce increased in a remarkable degree;
the losses of the war were compensated by the gains of those peaceful
pursuits in a very few years; and we were contented to leave to Paris
the reputation of the gayest city in the world, and to the French the
reputation of the happiest and best-ruled people. But Paris was the
wretchedest of towns, and the French the most miserable of peoples.
When anybody asks us in future what was the cause of the French
Revolution, we need not waste time to discuss the writings of Voltaire,
or the unbelief of the clergy, or the immorality of the nobles. We must
answer at once by naming the one great cause by which all revolutions
are produced,--over-taxation. The French peasant, sighing for liberty,
had no higher object than an escape from the intolerable burden of his
payments. He cared no more for the rights of man, or the happiness
of the human race, than for the quarrels of Achilles and Agamemnon.
He wanted to get rid of the "taille," the "corvée," and twenty other
imposts which robbed him of his last penny. If he had had a chicken
in his pot, and could do as he liked with his own spade and pick-axe,
he never would have troubled his head about codes and constitutions.
But life had become a burden to him. Everybody had turned against him.
The grand old feudal noble, who would have protected and cherished
him under the shadow of his castle-wall, was a lord-chamberlain at
court. The kind old priest, who would have attended to his wants and
fed him, if required, at the church-door, was dancing attendance
in the antechamber of a great lady in Paris, or singing improper
songs at a jolly supper-party at Versailles. There were intendants
and commissaries visiting his wretched hovel at rapidly-decreasing
intervals of time, to collect his contributions to the revenue. These
men farmed the taxes, and squeezed out the last farthing like a Turkish
pasha. But while the small land-owner--and they were already immensely
numerous--and the serf--for he was no better--were oppressed by these
exactions, the gentry were exempt. The seigneur visited his castle for
a month or two in the year, but it was to embitter the countryman's
lot by the contrast. His property had many rights, but no duties.
In ancient times in France, and at all times in England, those two
qualities went together. Our upper classes lived among their tenants
and dependants. They had no alleviation of burdens in consequence of
their wealth, but they took care that their poorer neighbours should
have alleviation in consequence of their poverty. Cottages had no
window-tax. The pressure of the public burdens increased with the
power to bear them. But in France the reverse was the case. Poverty
paid the money, and wealth and luxury spent it. The evil was too
deep-rooted to be remedied without pulling up the tree. The wretched
millions were starving, toiling, despairing, and the thousands were
rioting in extravagance and show. The same thing occurred in 1789 as
had occurred in the last glimmer of the Roman civilization in the time
of Clovis. The Roman Emperor issued edicts for the collection of his
revenue. Commissioners spread over the land; the miserable Gaul saw
the last sheaf of his corn torn away, and the last lamb of his flock.
But when the last property of the poorest was taken away, the imperial
exchequer could not remain unfilled. You remember the unhappy men
called Curials,--holders of small estates in the vicinity of towns.
They were also endowed with rank, and appointed to office. Their office
was to make up from their own resources, or by extra severity among
their neighbours, for any deficiency in the sum assessed. Peasant,
land-owner, curial,--all sank into hopeless misery by the crushing of
this gold-producing machinery. They looked across the Rhine to Clovis
and the Franks, and hailed the ferocious warriors as their deliverers
from an intolerable woe. They could not be worse off by the sword of
the stranger than by the ledger of the tax-collector. In 1789 the
system of the old Roman extortion was revived. The village or district
was made a curial, and became responsible in its aggregate character
for the individual payments. If the number of payers diminished, the
increase fell upon the few who were not yet stripped. The Clovis of
the present day who was to do away with their oppressors, though
perhaps to immolate themselves, was a Revolution,--a levelling of all
distinctions, ranks, rights, exemptions, privileges. This was the
"liberty, equality, fraternity" that were to overflow the worn-out
world and fertilize it as the Nile does Egypt.

Great pity has naturally been expressed for the nobility (or gentry)
and clergy of France; but, properly considered, France had at that
time neither a nobility nor a clergy. A nobility with no status
independent of the king--with no connection with its estates beyond
the reception of their rents--with no weight in the legislature; with
ridiculously exaggerated rank, and ridiculously contracted influence;
with no interest in local expenditure or voice in public management; a
gentry, in short, debarred from active life, except as officers of the
army--shut out by monarchic jealousy from interference in affairs, and
by the pride of birth from the pursuits of commerce--is not a gentry
at all. A clergy, in the same way, is a priesthood only in right of
its belief in the doctrines it professes to hold, and the attention
it bestows on its parishioners. Except in some few instances, the
Christianity both of faith and practice had disappeared from France. It
was time, therefore, that nobility and clergy should also disappear.
The excesses of the Revolution which broke out in 1789, and reached
their climax in the murder of the king in 1793, showed the excesses
of the misgovernment of former years. If there had been one redeeming
feature of the ancient system, it would have produced its fruits in
the milder treatment of the victims of the reaction. In one or two
provinces, indeed, we are told that hereditary attachment still bound
the people to their superiors, and in those provinces, the philosophic
chronicler of the fact informs us, the centralizing system had not
completed its authority. The gentry still performed some of the duties
of their station, and the priests, of their profession. Everywhere
else blind hatred, unreasoning hope, and bloody revenge. The century,
which began with the vainglorious egotism of Louis the Fourteenth
and the war of the Spanish Succession,--which progressed through the
British masterdom of India and the self-sustaining republicanism of
America,--died out in the convulsive strugglings of thirty-one millions
of souls on the soil of France to breathe a purer political air and
shake off the trammels which had gradually been riveted upon them for
three hundred years. Great Britain had preceded them by a century, and
has ever since shown the bloodless and legal origin of her freedom by
the bloodless and legal use she has made of it. We emerged from the
darkness of 1688 with all the great landmarks of our country not only
erect, but strengthened. We had king, lords, and commons, and a respect
for law, and veneration for precedents, which led the great Duke of
Wellington to say, in answer to some question about the chance of a
British revolution, that "no man could foresee whether such a thing
might occur or not, but, when it did, he was sure it would be done by
Act of Parliament."

War with France began in 1793. Our military reputation was at the
lowest, for Wolfe and Clive had had time to be forgotten; and even
our navy was looked on without dismay, for the laurels of Howe and
Boscawen were sere from age. But in the remaining years of the century
great things were done, and Britannia had the trident firmly in her
hand. Jervis, and Duncan, and Nelson, were answering with victories at
sea the triumphs of Napoleon in Italy. And while fame was blowing the
names of those champions far and wide, a blast came across also from
India, where Wellesley had begun his wondrous career. [A.D. 1798.]
Equally matched the belligerents, and equally favoured with mighty
men of valour to conduct their forces, the feverish energy of the
newly-emancipated France being met by the healthful vigour of the
matured and self-respecting Britain, the world was uncertain how the
great drama would close. But the last year of the century seemed to
incline the scale to the British side. [A.D. 1799.] Napoleon, after
a dash at Egypt, had been checked by the guns of Nelson in the great
battle of the Nile. He secretly withdrew from his dispirited army, and
made his appearance in Paris as much in the character of a fugitive as
of a candidate for power. But all the fruits of his former battles had
been torn from his countrymen in his absence. Italy was delivered from
their grasp; Russia was pouring her hordes into the South; confusion
was reigning everywhere, and the fleets of Great Britain were blocking
up every harbour in France.

Napoleon was created First Consul, and the Century went down upon the
final preparations of the embittered rivals. Both parties felt now
that the struggle was for life or death, and "the boldest held his
breath for a time," when he thought of what awful events the Nineteenth
Century would be the scene.



                              FOOTNOTES.


[A] The following is a carefully compiled table of the forces of
    Europe in the year 1854-55. Since that time the Russian fleet
    has been destroyed, but the diminution has been more than
    counterbalanced by the increased navies of the other powers.

    Military Forces of Europe in 1855.

                        Men.       Ships.      Guns.

  Austria             650,000       102         752
  Bavaria             239,886       ...         ...
  Belgium             100,000       ...         ...
  Denmark              75,169       120         880
  France              650,000       407      11,773
  Germany             452,473       ...         ...
  Great Britain       265,000[1]    591      17,291
  Greece               10,226        25         143
  Ionian Isles          3,000         4         ...
  Modena and Parma      6,302       ...         ...
  Netherlands          58,647        84       2,000
  Papal States         11,274       ...         ...
  Portugal             33,000        44         404
  Prussia             525,000        50         250
  Russia              699,000       207       9,000
  Sardinia             48,088        40         900
  Sicilies            106,264        29         444
  Spain                75,000       410        1530
  Sweden              167,000       ...         ...
  Switzerland         108,000       ...         ...
  Tuscany              16,930       ...         ...
  Turkey              310,970       ...         ...
                   ----------      ----     -------
                    4,611,229      2113      45,367[2]


[1] Indian army 250,000, and militia 145,000, not included; making
    a total of 660,000


[2] Taking an average of ten men to each gun, the sailors will be
    453,670; which gives a total of fighting-men, 5,064,899!!!

[B] He was called Le Grand Bâtisseur.

[C] Wickliff's English Bible, 1383.

[D] Popular History--Henry VI.

[E] Dr. Robertson.



                                INDEX.


  Abdelmalek the caliph, 167.

  À-Beckett, the elevation and career of, 290 _et seq._

  Abelard, rise of free inquiry with, 280.

  Abou Beker, the exploits, &c. of, 157, 158
    --chosen Mohammed's successor, 160
    --his exploits, 161.

  Absolutism, rise of, in France under Louis XIV., 475 _et seq._

  Abu Taleb, uncle of Mohammed, 138.

  Academies, establishment of, by Charlemagne, 196.

  Adrian, the emperor, accession and reign of, 45 _et seq._
    --his death, 48.

  Adrian IV., Pope, 289.

  Africa, progress of the Saracens in, 166
    --trading-company to, 452.

  Agincourt, battle of, 381.

  Agriculture, state of, in seventh century, 142.

  Agrippina, the empress, 22.

  Alans, the, 100.

  Alaric the Goth, first appearance of, 98
    --hostilities with, 101
    --sack of Rome, 106
    --his death and burial, 107.

  Albigenses, tenets, &c. of the, 299
    --the crusade against them, 302 _et seq._

  Albinus, a candidate for the empire, 60.

  Alboin, King of the Lombards, 129.

  Alcuin at the court of Charlemagne, 194
    --as Abbot of Tours, 195.

  Aleppo taken by the Saracens, 163.

  Alexander VI., character, &c. of, 389, 406.

  Alexandria, the monks of, 115
    --taken by the Saracens, and destruction of the library, 163.

  Alexis, the emperor, and the Crusaders, 263.

  Alfred, rise and exploits of, 215.

  Ali becomes caliph, 167
    --the exploits &c. of, 157, 158, 160.

  Alva, the Duke of, the St. Bartholomew massacre planned with, 441
    --his cruelties in the Netherlands, 441.

  Amadis de Gaul, the romance of, 349.

  America, the discovery of, 396
    --growing importance of its discovery, 402
    --progress of British power in, 517.

  Amru, the Saracen conqueror, 163.

  Anagni, the arrest of Boniface VIII. at, 329.

  Anglican Church, the, under Henry II., 289 _et seq._

  Anglo-Saxons, establishment of the, 120.

  Anne, the literature of the reign of, 506.

  Anselm, learning, &c. of, 247.

  Antharis, conquest of Italy by, 130.

  Antioch, the capture of, by the Crusaders, 264
    --the battle of, 265.

  Antoninus Pius, the emperor, his character and reign, 49.

  Aquileia, siege of, by Maximin, 70
    --taken by Attila, 110.

  Aquitaine, power of the Dukes of, 204, 232.

  Arcadius, the emperor, 101.

  Architecture, advancement of, during the eleventh century, 242, 243.

  Argentine, Sir Giles d', death of, 353.

  Arians, enmity between, and the orthodox, 94
    --quarrels between, and the Athanasians, 117.

  Aristocracy, the Roman, their decay, 32 _et seq._

  Aristotle, supremacy given to, 297.

  Armagnac, the Count of, 364
    --struggle between, and Burgundy, 377.

  Armies, the modern, of Europe, 57.

  Arnold of Brescia, the revolt of, 278
    --his death, 279.

  Arteveldt, James Van, 355.

  Asia, stationary condition of, 14.

  Asti, siege of, by Alaric, 105

  Ataulf the Goth, career of, 108.

  Athanasians, division between the, and the Arians, 117.

  Attila the Hun, career of, 109 _et seq._

  Augustin, influence of, on Luther, 424.

  Augustus, the supremacy of, 17
    --his reign, 18.

  Aulus Plautius, landing of, in England, 21.

  Aurelian, the emperor, 72
    --his triumph, 79.

  Austrasia, kingdom of, 155.

  Austria, the power of, in the seventeenth century, 463
    --the seven years' war, 512.

  Auvergne, the Marquises of, 205.

  Avars, junction of the Lombards with the, 129.

  Avignon, acquired by the Pope, 306
    --the residence of the Popes at, 342.

  Azores, discovery of the, 395.


  Bacon, Roger, gunpowder known to, 372.

  Badby, John, martyrdom of, 367.

  Bahuchet, a French admiral, 355.

  Balbinus, appointment of, 69
    --his death, 70.

  Baldwyn, Count of Flanders, 263
    --habits of, in the East, 270.

  Baliol, maintained by Edward I., 319.

  Ballads, influence of, on the common people, 372.

  Bannockburn, the battle of, 352.

  Barbarians, first appearance of the, 25
    --their increased incursions, 51
    --their continued progress, 71
    --their increasing strength, 79 _et seq._

  Barbavara, a Genoese admiral, 355.

  Barcho-chebas, the rebellion of the Jews under, 47.

  Bedford, the Duke of, in France, 384.

  Belisarius, exploits of, 124
    --disgraced, 125.

  Bells, the invention of, 196.

  Benedict. _See_ St. Benedict.

  Benedict XI. poisoned, 331.

  Benedictine monks, industry, &c. of the, 142.

  Berenger, transubstantiation assailed by, 247.

  Bernard de Goth, elevated to the papacy as Clement V., 331 _et seq._

  Beziers, massacre of Albigenses in, 305.

  Bible, Wickliff's translation of the, 342
    --the first book printed by Guttenberg, 422.

  Bishops, increasing alarm of the, in the ninth century, 205
    --warlike, of the eleventh century, 251.

  Black Hole of Calcutta, the tragedy of the, 515.

  Blanche, mother of Louis IX., urges the persecution of the
        Albigenses, 304.

  Blenheim, the battle of, 500.

  Boccaccio, the works of, 344.

  Bohemund, the Crusader, 265.

  Boniface VII., Pope, 236.

  Boniface VIII., bull against Edward I. by, 315
    --jubilee celebrated by, 325
    --contest with Philip le Bel, 326 _et seq._
    --his arrest, 329 _et seq._
    --his death, 330.

  Boniface, Archbishop of Mayence, 175.

  Books, early value of, 372
    --multiplied by printing, 373.

  Borgia, elevation of, to the Papacy, 369.

  Brantôme, the memoirs of, 447.

  Bribery, prevalence of, under Walpole, 505.

  Brittany, power of the Dukes of, 204
    --acquired by Rollo the Norman, 226.

  Bruce, the victory of, at Bannockburn, 352.

  Bruges, defeat of the townsmen of, at Cassel, 353.

  Brunehild, cruelties and career of, 150
    --her death, 150.

  Brunissende de Périgord, mistress of Clement V., 332.

  Buccaneers, rise of the, 452.

  Burghers, increasing importance of the, 279.

  Burgundians, conquest of Gaul by the, 108.

  Burgundy, kingdom of, 155.

  Busentino, burial of Alaric in the, 107.


  Cade, the insurrection of, 374.

  Cadijah, wife of Mohammed, 138.

  Calais, taken by Edward III., 356.

  Caligula, the character, &c. of, 19.

  Caliphs, habits of the, 165.

  Calvinists and Lutherans, hatred between, 460.

  Cambrai, the league of, 409 _et seq._

  Canada, the conquest of, by the British, 517.

  Cannon, first employment of, 342.

  Capetian line, commencement of the, 231.

  Caracalla, character of, 62
    --his accession and reign, 65.

  Carausius, the revolt of, 75.

  Carlovingian line, close of the, 231.

  Carthage, subdued by the Saracens, 166.

  Cassel, the battle of, 353.

  Cassius, the rebellion of, 52.

  Cathedrals, building of, during the eleventh century, 242.

  Catherine de Medicis, the massacre of St. Bartholomew planned by,
        441.

  Catholicism, resemblances between, and Mohammedanism, 271.

  Cavendish, the naval exploits of, 451.

  Caxton, books printed by, 393.

  Celibacy, priestly, neglect of, during the eleventh century, 252
    --enforced by Hildebrand, 256.

  Centuries, characters of different, 13, 15, _et seq._

  Chæreas, assassination of Caligula by, 20.

  Châlons, the battle of, 110.

  Change, prevalence of, during eighteenth century, 491.

  Charlemagne, accession and reign of, 186 _et seq._
    --his conquests, 187
    --crowned Emperor of the West, 188
    --his era, 188 _et seq._
    --his polity, &c., 189
    --his court, &c., 193, 194 _et seq._
    --his encouragement of literature, &c., 195 _et seq._
    --his death, and disruption of his empire, 198, 201 _et seq._

  Charles, son of Louis the Debonnaire, 201
    --character and reign of, 206.

  Charles the Simple and Rollo the Norman, 225, 226, 227.

  Charles VI., decline of the French nobility under, 360 _et seq._
    --death of, 384.

  Charles VII., accession of, 384
    --the Maid of Orleans, 386 _et seq._
    --his desertion of her, 389.

  Charles IX., the massacre of St. Bartholomew, 442.

  Charles V., the emperor, extent of his dominions, 404
    --and Luther, 427
    --close of his career, 431, 432.

  Charles I., unpopularity of, 465
    --the execution of, 470.

  Charles II., England under, 472 _et seq._

  Charles II. of Spain, death of, and his will, 497.

  Charles Edward, the rising under, 507.

  Charles Martel, the defeat of the Saracens by, 176, 179, _et seq._

  Chatham, the ministry of, 513.

  Chaucer, the works of, 344.

  Childeric III., the last of the Merovingians, 182.

  Chivalry, rise of the orders of, 344
    --principles inculcated by, 349.

  Chosroes, King of Persia, 158.

  Christ, the birth of and its influence, 17.

  Christian Church, progressive development of the, 76
    --its organization, 78
    --corruption of the, 114
    --divisions in it, 116
    --persecutions, 118.

  Christians, persecution of the, by Nero, 23
    --policy of Adrian towards, 49.

  Christianity, influence of, 17
    --the first effects of, 36
    --progress of, 55
    --establishment of, by Constantine, 85
    --commencing struggle of, with Mohammedanism, 141.

  Church, the privileges conferred on, and its advantages, 145
    --corruptions, 147, 148
    --at variance with the nobility, 153
    --its unity, 155
    --state of, in England during eighth century, 172, 173
    --monarchical principle established in the, 183
    --effects of the Crusades on, 273
    --increasing pretensions and power of, 206, 207
    --possessions, &c. of, in France in the tenth century, 228
    --resistance to it, 230
    --policy of Hugh Capet, 231
    --state of, during the tenth century, 219
    --during the eleventh century, 253
    --in England under Henry II., 292 _et seq._
    --conditions of Magna Charta regarding, 308
    --changed position of, 342
    --state of, in the fifteenth century, 368 _et seq._
    --before the Reformation, 419 _et seq._

  Church of England, the, and its influence and tendencies, 457.

  Churches, schism between the Eastern and Western, 133
    --rebuilding, &c. of the, in the eleventh century, 242
    --their objects, &c., 244 _et seq._

  Churchmen, warlike, during the eleventh century, 251.

  Citeaux, the Abbot of, 305.

  Claudius, reign and character of, 20
    --his death, 22.

  Clement V., election of, 331, 332
    --his rapacity, &c., 332
    --the persecution of the Templars, 337 _et seq._

  Clergy, the, privileges conferred on, 145
    --corruption of the higher, 148
    --increasing claims of, in the ninth century, 204 _et seq._
    --claims of, in the tenth century, and resistance to them, 229
    --policy of Hugh Capet, 232
    --the higher character of, during the twelfth century, 274
    --character of, in Provence, 300
    --taxed in England by Edward I., 315
    --support Henry IV. in England, 365
    --the French at the time of the Revolution, 523.

  Clive, the exploits of, 515.

  Clotaire, overthrow of Brunehild by, 150.

  Clothilde, anecdote of, 153.

  Clovis, accession of, in France, 119
    --the descendants of, 175
    --set aside, 182.

  Cobham, Lord, martyrdom of, 367.

  Colonies, the first English and Dutch, 454.

  Colonna, the arrest of Boniface VIII. by, 329.

  Columbus, the career of, and his discovery of America, 395.

  Commerce, progress of, in England under Elizabeth, 449 _et seq._

  Commodus, accession and character of, 58 _et seq._

  Commons, rise of the, in England, 306
    --House of, first constituted in England, 311.

  Condé, the Great, 478, 481.

  Conrad, the emperor, heads the second Crusade, 284.

  Conservatism, strength of, in England during eighteenth century, 494.

  Constantine, accession of, and removal to Constantinople, 84
    --his character, 85
    --establishes Christianity, 85
    --his system of government, 86
    --nobility founded by him, 87
    --his system of taxation, 89
    --death, 92.

  Constantinople, removal of the seat of empire to, 84
    --subordination of the Bishop of, 125
    --supremacy claimed for the Bishop of, 132, 133
    --assailed by the Saracens, 166
    --early subordination of the Popes to, 174
    --pretensions of the emperors, 176, 177
    --the Crusaders at, 262, 263
    --diffusion of learning by capture of, 422.

  Convents, state of the, during the tenth century, 221.

  Coote, Sir Eyre, 516.

  Cornelius and Novatian, the schism between, 78.

  Council of Toledo, the, 151.

  Count, origin of the title of, 88.

  Courtrai, the battle of, 335.

  Covenanters, persecutions of the, in Scotland, 473.

  Crecy, battle of, 356.

  Cromwell, the rise &c. of, 470
    --England under, 471.

  Crown, position of the, in England and France during the tenth
        century, 230
    --new position given to the, under Hugh Capet, 233 _et seq._
    --its increasing power, 359 _et seq._

  Crusades, first suggestion of the, 242
    --the first, 260 _et seq._
    --losses in it, and its effects on Europe, 269
    --of children, 269
    --the second, 284
    --the third, 285
    --influence of, on the distribution of wealth, &c., 272
    --end of, 316.

  Crusading spirit, first rise of the, 250

  Cuba, the buccaneers at, 453.

  Culloden, the battle of, 507, 509.

  Cunimond, defeat and death of, 129.

  Curials, the, under the Roman emperors, 90, 523.

  Cyrene, conquest of, by the Saracens, 166.


  Dagobert, King, 151.

  Dance of Death, the, 374.

  Danes, the invasions of the, 209, 210
    --their invasions of England, 212 _et seq._
    --their settlements, 214, 215
    --continued incursions into England, 234.

  Dante, the works of, 325, 344.

  Democracy, early alliance of the Church with, 154.

  Dettingen, the battle of, 502.

  Diaz, Bartholomew, discovery of the Cape of Good Hope by, 395.

  Didius, purchase of the empire by, 59
    --his death, 60.

  Diocletian, accession and reign of, 74
    --abdicates, 76
    --system introduced by him, 83.

  Dominic, originates the crusade against the Albigenses, 301 _et seq._
    --establishment of the Inquisition under, 304.

  Domitian, the reign of, 28, 34.

  Dorylæum, the battle of, 264.

  Drake, the expeditions of, 451.

  Dress, distinctions from, among the Franks, 152.

  Dudley, the informer, 404.

  Duncan, the victories of, 525.

  Dunois, bastard of Orleans, 387.

  Dutch, the maritime settlements of the, 452.


  East India Company, founding of the, 450.

  Eastern Church, schism of the, 133.

  Eastern empire, falling supremacy of the, 185.

  Ecclesiastical power, decay of, in the thirteenth century, 313.

  Edessa, the Crusaders at, 264.

  Education, measures of Charlemagne for, 195.

  Edward I., taxation of the clergy by, 315
    --character of the reign of, 318
    --his attempts on Scotland, 319 _et seq._

  Edward II., the defeat of, at Bannockburn, 352.

  Edward III., the Garter instituted by, 344
    --policy of, his alliance with Flanders, &c., 354 _et seq._
    --war with France, 355 _et seq._
    --battles of Helvoet Sluys and Crecy, 355
    --of Poictiers, 356.

  Edward the Black Prince, his treatment of John, 349
    --his character, 349
    --his victory at Poictiers, 356.

  Egbert, subjugation of the Heptarchy by, 193, 194.

  Eginhart, the life of Charlemagne by, 195.

  Egypt, surrender of Louis IX. in, 317.

  Eleanor, wife of Louis VII., 286.

  Elizabeth, policy of, with regard to the Reformation, 428
    --the policy and measures of, and their results, 436 _et seq._
    --the Armada, 444
    --papal bull against, 448
    --changes in England under, 449.

  Elizabeth, daughter of James I., married to the Elector of Palatine,
        462.

  Ella, King of Northumberland, 214.

  Eloisa, influence of, 282.

  Empire of the West, restoration of, under Charlemagne, 188.

  Empson, the creature of Henry VII., 404.

  England, conquest of, by the Romans, and its effects, 21
    --severance of, from the Roman Empire, 107
    --formation of the Heptarchy in, 120
    --state of, in the sixth century, 128
    --divided state of, 155
    --state of, in the eighth century, 171
    --the Church and clergy, 172, 173
    --union of, under Egbert, 193, 194
    --state of, in the ninth century, 211 _et seq._
    --the invasions of the Danes, 212
    --its divided state, 213, 214
    --settlements of the Danes, 215
    --rise and career of Alfred, 215
    --the Church and the Crown in, during the tenth century, 229
    --state of, during the tenth century, 234
    --origin of the wars with France, 285 _et seq._
    --subservience to the papacy in, 289
    --position of the Church, and feeling towards the Normans, 292
    --state of, under John, 294
    --rise of the Commons, &c. in, 306
    --Magna Charta and its effects, 308 _et seq._
    --reign of Henry III., 311
    --supremacy of the papacy in, 314
    --independence of the Church, 316
    --the reign of Edward I. in, 318
    --the battle of Bannockburn, 352
    --the policy of Edward III., 354
    --decline of the nobility in, 360
    --divided state of, on accession of Henry IV., 365
    --the ballads of, 372
    --state of, during fifteenth century, 374
    --loss of her French possessions, 376
    --conquests of Henry V. in France, 378 _et seq._
    --accession of Henry VIII., 404
    --increasing commerce of, 413
    --first idea of union with Scotland, 414
    --battle of Flodden, 414
    --the reformation in, 428
    --the reign of Mary in, 433
    --the policy of Elizabeth and its results, 436
    --progress of, under Elizabeth, 450
    --the colonization of America by, 454
    --under James I., 455 _et seq._
    --state of parties, &c. on accession of Charles I., 465 _et seq._
    --political and religious parties, 466
    --the great rebellion, 468
    --the reaction against Puritanism in, 472
    --under Charles II., 472
    --its degraded position, 473
    --ingress of French Protestants into, 484
    --reign of James II., 484
    --William III., 486
    --state, &c. of, during eighteenth century, 493
    --state of, under the Georges, 494
    --is she a military nation? 496
    --the war of the succession, 498 _et seq._
    --the peace of Utrecht, 502
    --the ministry of Walpole, &c., 505
    --the Pretender in, 509
    --supports Frederick the Great, 512
    --the rise of her Indian empire, 514 _et seq._
    --the revolt of the United States, 518 _et seq._
    --her progress, 520, 521
    --her revolution and freedom contrasted with those of France, 525.

  Episcopacy, James's attempt to force, on Scotland, 464.

  Ethelbald, the reign of, 214.

  Ethelwolf, the reign of, 214.

  Etiquette, supremacy of, under Louis XIV., 481.

  Eugene, Prince, 501.

  Eugenius III., Pope, 279.

  Eunapius, character of the early monks by, 115.

  Europe, modern, compared with ancient Rome, 56 _et seq._
    --state of, in the seventh century, 167
    --in the eighth, 171
    --rise of the modern kingdoms of, 190
    --state of, during the tenth century, 219
    --effects of the first Crusade on, 269
    --progressive advances of, 297
    --state of, during fifteenth century, 375
    --changed aspect of, in sixteenth century, 431
    --sensation caused by massacre of St. Bartholomew, 442
    --changes in, during eighteenth century, 491, 492
    --the seven years' war, 512.


  Famines, frequency of, during the tenth century, 236.

  Faust and the mention of printing, 391.

  Favorinus the Grammarian, anecdote of, 46.

  Ferdinand of Spain, a party to the league of Cambrai, 409
    --declares war against France, 412.

  Ferdinand, the emperor, character and policy of, 462.

  Ferdinand and Isabella, union of Spain under, 403.

  Feudal organization, long retention of, in Scotland, 415.

  Feudal system, origin of the, 149.

  Feudalism, progress of, in the ninth century, 210
    --full establishment of, 279
    --decay of, 333, 341
    --continued decline of, 359.

  Fields of May or March in France, the, 151.

  Fine arts, encouragement of, by Charlemagne, 196.

  Flagellants, tenets, &c. of the, 374.

  Flanders, power of the Dukes of, 232
    --rise of the towns of, 277
    --the alliance of Edward III. with, 354.

  Flodden, battle of, and its effects, 414, 415, _et seq._

  Fontenelle, the abbey of, 244.

  Fontenoy, the battle of, 502.

  France, accession of Clovis in, 119
    --accession of Pepin to crown of, 183
    --position of, under Charlemagne, 198
    --loses the boundary of the Rhine, 203
    --power of the great nobles, 204
    --state of, during the tenth century, 219
    --settlement of Rollo in, 222 _et seq._
    --possessions of the clergy in, 228
    --accession of Hugh Capet, 231
    --his policy, 232 _et seq._
    --its separation from the empire, 233
    --monasteries in, 244
    --origin of the English wars, 285 _et seq._
    --the kings of, contrasted with the Plantagenets, 288
    --acquisitions of, in Languedoc, &c., 305
    --reign of Louis IX. in, 311 _et seq._
    --the parliaments of, 312
    --supremacy of the papacy in, 314
    --degeneracy of the clergy, 315
    --independence of the church, 316
    --subserviency of the Popes to, 342
    --title of King of, assumed by Edward III., 355
    --depressed state of, at close of fourteenth century, 356
    --decline, of the nobility in, 360
    --state of, during fifteenth century, 374, 375
    --expulsion of the English from, 376
    --its history during the century, 376
    --career of Joan of Arc, 386
    --accession of Francis I., 405
    --a party to the league of Cambrai, 409
    --the massacre of St. Bartholomew in, 442
    --changes witnessed by Brantôme in, 448
    --rise of absolutism under Louis XIV. in, 475 et seq.
    --policy of Richelieu and reign of Louis XIII., 476 _et seq._
    --the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 483
    --changes in, during eighteenth century, 491
    --contests in India and America with, 513
    --the policy and overthrow of, in India, 514 _et seq._
    --depression and discontent before the Revolution, 517
    --aids the North American colonies, 519
    --causes of the Revolution, 522
    --general discontent, 523
    --the Revolution, 524 _et seq._

  Francis I., accession and character of, 405
    --death of, 431.

  Franks, tribes composing the, 71
    --state of the, in the sixth century, 128
    --institutions, &c. of the, 151
    --divisions of their kingdom, 155.

  Frederick the Great, the career of, 512.

  Frederick, Elector Palatine, marriage of, to Elizabeth of England,
        462.

  Frederick Barbarossa, capture, &c. of Rome by, 279.

  Free lances, the rise, &c. of the, 350 _et seq._

  Freedom, rise of, in England, 306 _et seq._

  French ballads, the early, 372.

  French Revolution, the, 524 _et seq._

  Fritigern, defeat of Valens by, 100.

  Froissart, the writings of, and their influence, 347.

  Fronde, the wars of the, 478.


  Galba, the emperor, 24.

  Garter, institution of order of, 344.

  Gaul, severance of, from the Roman empire, 108.

  Gebhard, Elector of Cologne, 460.

  Genoa, prosperity of, during the Crusades, 272
    --greatness of, 277.

  Genseric, sack of Rome by, 111.

  George I. and II., characters of, 494.

  George III., loyalty to, in England, 494
    --the alleged loss of the United States by his obstinacy, 518.

  Georges, England under the, 494.

  Germans, defeat of the, by Probus, 73.

  Germany, state of, in the sixth century, 128
    --divided state of, 155
    --separation between France and the Empire, and reign of Otho the
        Great, 234
    --progress, &c. of the Reformation in, 460
    --ingress of French Huguenots into, 484.

  Geta, murder of, 65.

  Gibraltar, cession of, to England, 501.

  Gladiatorial shows, passion of the Romans for, 34 _et seq._

  Glo'ster, the Duke of, uncle of Henry VI., 384.

  Godfrey of Bouillon, 263
    --chosen King of Jerusalem, 266
    --his death, 270.

  Good Hope, Cape of, discovered, 395.

  Gordian, appointed emperor, 69
    --his reign, 70
    --his death, 72.

  Goths, first appearance of the, 98
    --admitted within the empire, 99.

  Gothia, the Marquises of, 205.

  Granada, loss of, by the Moors, 403.

  Great Britain, the union of, 502, _See_ England.

  Great Rebellion, origin and history of the, 467 _et seq._

  Greek fire, the, 166.

  Gregory the Great, Pope, 133.

  Gregory VII., (Hildebrand,) career, &c. of, 249 _et seq._,
        255 _et seq._ _See_ Hildebrand.

  Gregory IX., persecution of the Albigenses under, 305.

  Guienne, how acquired by England, 286.

  Guinegate, the battle of, 418.

  Gunpowder, influence of discovery of, 342.

  Guthrum, alliance of, with Alfred, 215.

  Guttenberg, the invention of printing by, 390
    --printing of the Bible by, 422.


  Hadrian. _See_ Adrian.

  Hair, distinction from the, among the Franks, 152.

  Harfleur, siege of, by Henry V., 378.

  Harold of the Fair Hair, the reign of, 213.

  Hastings the Dane, defeated by Alfred, 216
    --enters the service of France, 224.

  Heathenism, Julian's attempt to restore, 95 _et seq._

  Hegira, the, 157.

  Helena, the mother of Constantine, 86.

  Heliogabalus, the reign of, 66.

  Helvoet Sluys, battle of, 355.

  Henrietta Maria, unpopularity of, 466.

  Henry I., acquisition of Normandy by, 285.

  Henry II., claims of, on France, 286
    --character of, 288
    --and À-Beckett, 289 _et seq._
    --his death, 294.

  Henry III., reign of, in England, 311.

  Henry IV., divided state of England under, 365.

  Henry V., persecution of the Lollards under, 365, 366
    --invasion of France by, 377
    --captures Harfleur, 378
    --battle of Agincourt, 381
    --his death, 384.

  Henry VI. recognised as King of France, 384.

  Henry VII., character, &c. of, 371
    --treasure accumulated by, and how, 404.

  Henry VIII., accession and character of, 404
    --declares war against France, 412
    --triumphs of, in 1513, 418
    --controversy of, with Luther, 426
    --throws off the papal supremacy, 430
    --death of, 431.

  Henry III. of France, the murder of, 448.

  Henry, the emperor, 237.

  Henry IV. of Germany, attacks of Hildebrand on, 256
    --the struggle between them, 257 _et seq._
    --the death of, 260.

  Heptarchy, the, 120
    --subjugation of the, by Egbert, 193, 194.

  Heraclius, Emperor of the East, 158.

  Heresies, various, of the thirteenth century, 298.

  Heretics, first crusade against the, 302 _et seq._
    --first law against, in England, 365.

  Highlanders, the, in the Forty-Five, 510.

  Hildebrand, the career, &c. of, 249 et seq., 255 _et seq._
    --his struggle with the emperor, 257 _et seq._
    --his death, 259.

  Hippo subdued by the Saracens, 166.

  Hira subjugated by the Mohammedans, 162.

  History, uses of, and difficulties of studying it from its extent,
        11.

  Holland, increasing commerce of, 412
    --the colonies of, 454.

  Holy Land, the first Crusade to the, 262
    --and last, 317.

  Honorius, the emperor, 101
    --besieged by Alaric, 105
    --murders Stilicho, 106.

  Hugh Capet, accession of, to the French throne, 231
    --his policy, 232.

  Hugh the Great, Count of Vermandois, 263.

  Huguenots, the, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 483.

  Huns, first appearance of the, 99.

  Huss, the martyrdom of, 367.


  Iconoclast emperor, the, 185.

  Images, defence, &c. of, 185 _et seq._

  Immaculate conception, dogma of the, 283.

  India, Vasco da Gama's voyage to, 401
    --effect of the new route to, on Venice, 412
    --rise of the British power in, 491, 514 _et seq._

  Indulgences, protest of Luther against, 425.

  Innocent III., originates the crusade against the Albigenses,
        302 _et seq._
    --excommunication of John by, 307, 310.

  Innovation, general tendency to, during eighteenth century,
        493 _et seq._

  Inquiry, commencement of, with Scotus Erigena, 207
    --rise of, with the Crusades, 280.

  Inquisition, the, established under Dominic, 304.

  Intellect, direction of, in the present century, 13.

  Invention, the present century distinguished by, 13.

  Investiture, claims of Hildebrand regarding, 257 _et seq._

  Irish Church, the early, its state, &c., 156.

  Isabella, queen of Charles VI., profligacy of, 362.

  Italy, ravaged by Attila, 110
    --irruption of the Lombards into, 129
    --state of, in seventh century, 141
    --divided state of, 155
    --state of, during the tenth Century, 235
    --conquests of the Normans in, 254
    --rise of the republics of, 277
    --state of, before the Reformation, 420.


  Jacobite songs, the, 510.

  Jacques de Molay, death of, 339.

  James I., England under, 455
    --influence of his character, &c., 458
    --his conduct towards the Elector Palatine, 464
    --his attempt to introduce Episcopacy into Scotland, 464.

  James II., persecution of the Covenanters by, 473
    --accession of, in England, and his dethronement, 485
    --death of, 498.

  James III., the rebellion in favour of, 503.

  James IV. of Scotland married to Margaret of England, 414
    --the battle of Flodden, 416.

  Jamestown, the first English settlement in America, 454.

  Jerome, the martyrdom of, 367.

  Jerusalem, importance given by Christianity to, 17
    --the capture and destruction of, 30 _et seq._
    --named Ælia Capitolina by Adrian, 47
    --taken by the Saracens, 162
    --commencement of pilgrimage to, 260
    --the capture of, by the Crusaders, 266
    --the kingdom of, 266.

  Jervis, the victories of, 525.

  Jesuits, institution and influence of the, 435.

  Jews, the dispersion of the, 30 _et seq._
    --their rebellion against Adrian, 46
    --crusade against the, 251
    --spoliation of, by Philip le Bel, 333.

  Joan of Arc, history of, 386 _et seq._
    --her death, 390.

  John, (of England,) character of, 288
    --state of England under, 294
    --excommunication, &c. of, 307
    --signs Magna Charta, 308
    --his attempt to evade the charter, 310.

  John, (of France,) the treatment of, by Edward the Black Prince, 349
    --his capture at Poictiers and ransom, 356.

  John XII., Pope, 236.

  John, Duke of Burgundy, 361
    --murders Louis of Orleans, 362
    --assumes the regency, 363
    --rule of, in France, 376.

  John, Bishop of Constantinople, supremacy claimed by, 133.

  Jovian, the emperor, 97.

  Jubilee, the, in 1300, 325.

  Julian the Apostate, reign and character of, 93 _et seq._

  Julius II., character of, 408
    --acquisitions from Venice, 410
    --declares war against France, &c., 410
    --impression made on Luther by, 424.

  Justinian, efforts of, to recover Italy, 124
    --internal government of, 134
    --his law-reforms, 135 _et seq._
    --re-introduction of code of, 297.


  Khaled, the lieutenant of Mohammed, 158
    --his exploits, 162
    --and death, 163.

  Kieff, the kingdom of, 213.

  Kilmich, murder of Alboin by, 130.

  Kingdoms, modern, rise of, 190.

  Klodwig or Clovis, accession of, in France, 119. _See_ Clovis.

  Knight, position, &c. of the, 334, 335.

  Knighthood, decay of, 333, 341.


  Lally, Count, the execution of, 516.

  Land, grants of, and system these originate, 149.

  Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, 247
    --defends transubstantiation, 247.

  Languedoc, the Albigenses in, 299
    --extirpation of the Albigenses in, 304
    --peace of, 305.

  Laud, Archbishop, 467
    --execution of, 468.

  Law, the reform of, by Justinian, 135.

  Laws, great increase of, in Rome, 67.

  Lea, defeat of the Danes at the, 216.

  Learning, advancement of, during the eleventh century, 246 _et seq._

  Leo the Iconoclast, 185.

  Leo, Pope, Rome saved from Attila by, 110.

  Leo X., character of, 407
    --influence of, on the Reformation, 425.

  Leuds or Feudatories, the, 149
    --their struggle with the crown, 150 _et seq._

  Libraries, early, 372.

  Liege, massacre at, by John the Fearless, 363.

  Literature, revival of, with Dante, &c., 344
    --the modern, of England, 345
    --slow diffusion of, before printing, 372
    --French, under Louis XIV., 481
    --English, during the eighteenth century, 506.

  Lombards, or Longobards, irruption of the, 129 _et seq._
    --character and polity of the, 131 _et seq._

  Long Parliament, the, 468.

  Lothaire, son of Louis the Debonnaire, 201, 202, 203
    --emperor, 204.

  Louis, origin of name of, 120.

  Louis the Debonnaire, reign of, 200.

  Louis, son of Louis the Debonnaire, 201.

  Louis VII. heads the second Crusade, 284
    --divorces his wife, 286.

  Louis VIII., crusade against the Albigenses under, 304.

  Louis IX., crusade against the Albigenses under, 304
    --character and reign of, 311 _et seq._
    --seventh Crusade under, 317
    --prisoner and ransomed, 317
    --his death, 318.

  Louis XI., first despotic King of France, 371.

  Louis XII., a party to the league of Cambrai, 409
    --war with the Pope, 411
    --expelled from Italy, 412.

  Louis XIII., reign of, in France, 476.

  Louis XIV., accession of, 469
    --rise of, as the absolute King, 475 _et seq._
    --the accession, policy, and reign of, 479
    --private life of, 482
    --the revocation or the Edict of Nantes, 483
    --his reception, &c. of James II., 485, 486
    --his successes in war, 486
    --peace of Ryswick, 487
    --the war of the Succession, 489 _et seq._
    --the peace of Utrecht, 502.

  Louis XVI., the execution of, 524.

  Louis of Orleans, struggle of, with John of Burgundy, 361
    --his murder, 362.

  Lower classes, how regarded by the Crusaders, 271.

  Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, 406
    --character of, and institution of the Jesuits by, 434.

  Luitprand, King of Lombardy, 182, 183.

  Luther, early life of, 406
    --the rise and career of, 423 _et seq._
    --death of, 431.

  Lutherans and Calvinists, hatred between, 460.

  Luxembourg, the marshal, 481
    --the victories of, 486.


  Macrinus, the emperor, 66.

  Magdeburg, the sack of, 466.

  Magna Charta, effects of, 306, 308
    --its conditions, 308 _et seq._

  Magyars, first appearance of the, 99.

  Mahomet. _See_ Mohammed.

  Maid of Norway, the, 319.

  Maintenon, Madame de, married to Louis XIV., 482.

  Marcus Aurelius, accession and reign of, 50 _et seq._

  Marlborough, the victories of, 499 _et seq._

  Martin V., Pope, 368.

  Mary, the reign of, in England, 433.

  Mary of Scotland, policy of Elizabeth toward, 437 _et seq._
    --defence of her execution, 439, 443.

  Mary de Medicis, position of, in France, 475.

  Matilda, the countess, 255, 258.

  Maximilian, the emperor, a party to the league of Cambrai, 409
    --hostilities with the Pope, 411
    --proposed as his successor, 411
    --turns against the French, 412
    --in the pay of Henry VIII., 418
    --and Luther, 426.

  Maximian, the emperor, 75
    --abdicates, 76.

  Maximin, the accession and reign of, 68.

  Maximus, appointment of, 69
    --his death, 70.

  Mayors of the palace, origin of the, 150
    --powers, &c. of the, 176.

  Mazarin, the cardinal, the policy, &c. of, 478
    --his death, 479.

  Mecca, capture of, by Mohammed, 158.

  Mediterranean, supremacy of Rome over the, 56
    --diminished importance of the, 413.

  Meroveg, King of the Franks, 110.

  Messalina, the empress, 20
    --her death, 22.

  Mexico, conquest of, by the Spaniards, 404.

  Michelet, picture of France in the ninth century by, 208.

  Middle Ages, commencement of the, 131.

  Middle class, destruction of the, under the Roman emperors, 90.

  Milan, sack of, by the Franks, &c., 124.

  Military spirit, strength of the, in England, 496.

  Military strength, the, of ancient Rome and modern Europe,
        56 _et seq._

  Minorca ceded to England, 502.

  Mirandola, Julius II. at siege of, 410.

  Mohammed, birth and career of, 138
    --death of, 159
    --his successors, 159 _et seq._

  Mohammedanism, commencing struggle of, with Christianity, 141
    --progress of, 157 _et seq._
    --first arrested by battle of Tours, 179
    --resemblances between, and Catholicism, 271.

  Monarchical principle, restoration of the, with Pepin, 183.

  Monasteries, influence of, on agriculture, 143
    --their intelligence, &c., 146
    --commencement of corruption, 147
    --the early English, 173
    --reformation of, by St. Benedict, 200
    --state of the, during the tenth century, 221
    --number of, in France, 244
    --dissolution of the, in England, 430.

  Monks, the early, 115
    --industry, &c. of, 142 _et seq._
    --the early English, 172, 173
    --gluttony, &c. of the, 274
    --degeneracy of in the thirteenth century, 314.

  Moors, final loss of Spain by the, 403.

  Municipalities, rise of the 277
    --their growing importance, 279.

  Murder, fines for, among the Franks, 152.

  Music, encouragement of, by Charlemagne, 197.


  Nantes, edict of, its revocation, 483.

  Napoleon, the rise, &c. of, 525.

  Narses, exploits of, in Italy, 127.

  National debt, the English, its growth, 493.

  Navareta, the battle of, 351.

  Navies of Modern Europe, the, 57 _et seq._

  Nelson, the victories of, 525.

  Netherlands, Alva's cruelties in the, 441.

  Nero, character and reign of, 22.

  Nerva, the emperor, 42, 44.

  Neustria, kingdom of, 155.

  Nice, the Council of, 92.

  Nicea taken by the Crusaders, 264.

  Nicene creed, the, 92.

  Nicholas Breakspear becomes pope, 289.

  Niger, a candidate for the empire, 60.

  Nobility, new, originated by Constantine, 87
    --collision between, and the Church, 153
    --policy of Hugh Capet towards the, 232
    --effects of the Crusades on the, 276
    --conditions of Magna Charta regarding the, 308
    --decline of the, 359 _et seq._
    --policy of Richelieu against the, 476 _et seq._
    --the French, at the time of the Revolution, 523.

  Nogaret, Chancellor of France, 329.

  Nominalists, rise of the, 248.

  Normans, the conquest of England by the, 253
    --feeling against the, in England, 292.

  Norman kings, character of the, 288.

  Normandy, settlement of the Normans in, 222 _et seq._
    --power of the dukes, 232.

  Norsemen, Charlemagne's prescience regarding the, 197
    --progress of the, in the ninth century, 208
    --their invasions of England, 212 _et seq._
    --results of the settlements of the, in France, 219
    --settlement under Rollo, 222 _et seq._

  North America, the English colonization of, 454.

  Novellæ of Justinian, the, 136.

  Novatian and Cornelius, the schism between, 78.

  Novgorod, the kingdom of, 213.

  Nunneries, reformation of, by St. Benedict, 200
    --of the twelfth century, the, 283.


  Odoacer, King of Italy, 111
    --overthrow of, 118.

  Omar, the lieutenant of Mohammed, 158, 160
    --chosen caliph, 162
    --destruction of the Alexandrian library, 164
    --his habits, 163, 165.

  Orleans, the siege of, 385
    --relieved by Joan of Arc, 387 _et seq._

  Ostrogoths, overthrow of the, in Italy, 127.

  Otho, the emperor, 24.

  Otho the Great, the emperor, 234.


  Padua, destroyed by Attila, 110.

  Palos, the return of Columbus to, 397.

  Palestine, eagerness for news from, during the Crusades, 275.

  Pandects of Justinian, the, 136.

  Pantheism, form of, in the thirteenth century, 298.

  Papacy, the, state of, during the tenth century, 220, 235
    --supremacy of, under Hildebrand, 250 _et seq._
    --general subjection to, 289
    --triumphs of, in the thirteenth century, 314
    --diminished consideration of, 325
    --struggle of Philip the Handsome with, 326 _et seq._
    --the schism in, 342
    --state of, in the fifteenth century, 369.

  Papal supremacy, the, abjured by England, 430.

  Paper, first manufacture of, from rags, 392.

  Paris, state of, under John the Fearless, 364
    --the massacre of St. Bartholomew in, 442.

  Parliament, first summoned in England, 313
    --concessions wrung from Edward I. by, 320.

  Parliaments, the French, what, 312.

  Party libels, prevalence of, under Walpole, 505.

  Passau, the treaty of, 431.

  Peasantry, the, insurrection of, during fourteenth century, 356
    --state of, during fifteenth century, 374 _et seq._
    --the French, before the Revolution, 521.

  People, state of the, under the early emperors, 34 _et seq._
    --conditions of Magna Charta regarding the, 309.

  Pepin, accession of, 182
    --crowned king, 183.

  Persia, new monarchy of, 71
    --subdued by the Mohammedans, 165.

  Pertinax, accession and murder of, 59.

  Pestilence, frequency of, during the tenth century, 236.

  Peter the Hermit, preaches the first Crusade, 262.

  Peterborough, Lord, the victories of, in Spain, 501.

  Petrarch, the works of, 344, 346.

  Philip, the emperor, 72.

  Philip I. of France, attacks of Hildebrand on, 256.

  Philip le Bel, struggle of, with Boniface VIII., 326 _et seq._
    --arrests the latter, 329 _et seq._
    --poisons Benedict XI., 331
    --secures election of Bernard de Goth, 331
    --the persecution of the Templars, 337 _et seq._

  Philip VI., war with Edward III., 355.

  Philip II., accession of, 432
    --the Spanish Armada, 444.

  Philip of Valois, the victory of, at Cassel, 353.

  Philip Augustus, conquest of the English possessions by, 305.

  Pinkie, the battle of, 415.

  Pitt, (Lord Chatham,) the ministry of, 513.

  Plague of Florence, the, 356.

  Plantagenets, character of the, 288.

  Plassey, the battle of, 513, 516.

  Pococke, Admiral, exploits of, in the East, 516.

  Poictiers, the battle of, 356.

  Poitou, how acquired by England, 286.

  Poland, the partition of, 492.

  Polemo, a philosopher, anecdote of, 50.

  Pompeia Plotina, wife of Trajan, 45.

  Pondicherry, the capture of, by the English, 516.

  Poor, relations of the Church to the, 274.

  Pope, the claims to supremacy of, 132 _et seq._
    --efforts of the early English monks on behalf of, 172, 173
    --his position in the eighth century, 174, 175
    --alliance, &c. between Charles Martel and, 182
    --crowns Pepin, 183
    --supremacy of, after Hildebrand, 259
    --the revolt of Arnold of Brescia against, 278
    --his supremacy denied by the Albigenses, 299
    --position, &c. of, before the Reformation, 420.

  Popes, the, the claims of supremacy by, 148
    --increasing supremacy of, 133
    --increasing pretensions of, 186, 190
    --subservience of, to France, 342
    --the rival, 342.

  Popular assemblies, early, 151.

  Portugal, maritime discoveries of, 395
    --increasing naval power of, 412.

  Prætorian Guards, sale of the empire by the, 59.

  Printing, influences of, 14
    --discovery of, and its effects, 373, 391
    --growing importance of discovery of, 402.

  Probus, the emperor, 72
    --his conquests and policy, 73.

  Protestantism, influence of, 402
    --establishment of, by treaty of Passau, 431
    --established in England under Elizabeth, 436 _et seq._

  Protestants, the, expelled from France, 484.

  Provençal dialect, disappearance of the, 304.

  Prussia, rise of, during eighteenth century, 491, 492
    --the seven years' war, 512.

  Puritanism, origin, &c. of, in England, 456 _et seq._, 464
    --growing tendency to, 466.


  Quebec, the battle of, 513.


  Raleigh, the naval exploits of, 452.

  Ravenna, the Exarch of, 137
    --the exarchate of, 177
    --transferred to the Pope, 183.

  Raymond of Toulouse, the leader of the Albigenses, 299.

  Raymond VII., Count of Toulouse, 303
    --deprived of his possessions, 306.

  Realists, rise of the, 248.

  Rebellion of 1715, the, 504
    --and of 1745, 507.

  Reformation, influences of the, 14
    --supreme importance of, 419
    --state of the Church before it, 419 _et seq._
    --the rise of the, 422 _et seq._

  Regner Lodbrog, 214.

  Relics, the system of, 262
    --passion for, during the Crusades, 276.

  Religion, state of, during the tenth century, 219
    --in the thirteenth century, 298
    --before the reformation, 422.

  Republics, the Italian, rise of, 277.

  Revolution of 1688, the, 485.

  Rheims, coronation of Charles VII. at, 388.

  Richard Coeur de Lion, character of, 288
    --heads the third Crusade, 285.

  Richelieu, Cardinal, 449
    --the policy of, and its results, 476 _et seq._
    --the death of, 468.

  Robert of Normandy, the Crusader, 263
    --loss of Normandy by, 285
    --a prisoner in England, 286.

  Robert, son of Hugh Capet, 237.

  Robert Guiscard, conquests of, in Italy, 254
    --sack of Rome by, 258.

  Rochelle, the capture of, from the Huguenots, 476, 477.

  Rois fainéants, the 175, 176.

  Rollo, settlement of, in Normandy, 222 _et seq._
    --created Duke of Normandy, 225 _et seq._

  Romans, the conquest of England by, and its effects, 21
    --passion of, for gladiatorial shows, 34.

  Roman empire, first broken in on by the barbarians, 51
    --its extent and forces, 56
    --compared with modern Europe, 57 _et seq._
    --divided into East and West, 97.

  Roman law, reintroduction of, in Europe, 297.

  Rome, the supremacy of, the characteristic of the first century, 16
    --power of the emperor, 20
    --state of, during the first century, 35
    --increasing weakness of, 79 _et seq._
    --removal of the seat of empire from, 84
    --the sack of, by Alaric, 106
    --sacked by the Vandals, 111
    --causes of her fall, 111 _et seq._
    --recovered by Belisarius, 124
    --taken, &c. by Totila, 125
    --supremacy of the Bishop of, 126 _et seq._
    --fallen state of, in the sixth century, 133
    --the Bishops of, claim supremacy, 148
    --influence of the unity of, 184
    --state of during the tenth century, 235
    --sack of, by the Normans, 258
    --the Crusaders at, 262
    --Arnold of Brescia in, 278
    --jubilee at, 1300, 325
    --state of, before the Reformation, 420
    --Luther at, 424.

  Romish Church, influence of the Jesuits on, 434 _et seq._
    --rejoicings of, on massacre of St. Bartholomew, 442.

  Romulus Augustulus, the emperor, 111.

  Rosamund, wife of Alboin, 129.

  Roses, the wars of the, 393
    --effect of, on the nobility, 360.

  Rouen, occupied by the Normans, 222
    --execution of Joan of Arc at, 390.

  Royal power, general consolidation of, in the fifteenth century, 370.

  Russia, the Danes in, 213
    --rise of, during eighteenth century, 491, 492
    --the seven years' war, 512.


  St. Bartholomew, the massacre of, 442
    --its effects, 442.

  St. Benedict, industry, &c. inculcated by, 142, 143
    --the second, 200.

  St. Bernard on the luxury, &c. of the clergy, 274
    --discussions of, with Abelard, 281
    --the second Crusade originated by, 284.

  St. Boniface, coronation of Pepin by, 183.

  St. Columba, and Brunehild, 150.

  St. Dominic. _See_ Dominic.

  St. Francis of Assisi, 315.

  St. Louis. _See_ Louis IX.

  St. Remi, Clovis baptized by, 119.

  Sapor, the capture of Valerian by, 72
    --death of Julian in war with, 96.

  Saracens, the, the conquests of, 162 _et seq._
    --their defeat by Charles Martel, 176, 179 _et seq._
    --in Spain, 246
    --crusade against, in Italy, 251
    --in Palestine, 270, 271.

  Sarmatians, the, 71.

  Sassanides, dynasty of, 71.

  Saxons, feeling of the, towards the Normans in England, 292.

  Saxony, the Elector of, and Luther, 426, 428.

  Scholastic philosophy, rise of the, 247.

  Schools, establishment of, under Charlemagne, 195.

  Scotland, state of, in the eighth century, 171, 172
    --resistance to the papacy in, 314
    --Edward I.'s attempt on, 319 _et seq._
    --the battle of Bannockburn, 352
    --the ballads of, 372
    --effects of battle of Flodden in, 414, 418
    --its subsequent state, 415 _et seq._
    --the policy of Elizabeth in, 437 _et seq._
    --James's attempt to force Episcopacy on, 464
    --persecution of the Covenanters in, 473
    --the Union Act, 502
    --the rebellion of 1715, 504
    --and of 1745, 507.

  Scotus Erigena, career, &c. of, 207.

  Septimania, power of the Dukes of, 204.

  Serfs, conditions of Magna Charta regarding the, 309.

  Seven years' war, the, 512.

  Severus, Alexander, accession and reign of, 67.

  Severus, Septimius, accession and reign of, 60 _et seq._

  Sicily, conquest of, by the Normans, 255.

  Simon de Montfort, the crusade against the Albigenses under, 302
    --his death, 303.

  Simon de Montfort, summoning of parliament by, 313.

  Sixtus V., approval of the murder of Henry III. by, 448.

  Slaves, state of the, under the Romans, 35, 90.

  Smalcalde, the Protestant league of, 429.

  Society, state of, under James I., 455.

  Solway Moss, the battle of, 414.

  South Sea bubble, the, 505.

  Spain, severance of, from the Roman empire, 108
    --the Saracens in, 246
    --threatened predominance of, in sixteenth century, 402
    --its increasing importance, 403
    --increasing naval power of, 412
    --consolidation of, in the sixteenth century, 413
    --continued hostilities with, at sea, 451
    --the attacks of the buccaneers on her colonies, &c., 452.

  Spanish Armada, the, and its defeat, 444.

  Spanish Succession, the war of the, 498 _et seq._

  Spurs, the battle of the, at Courtrai, 336
    --at Guinegate, 418.

  Staupitz, connection of, with Luther, 423.

  Stephen, the wars of, in England, 292.

  Stilicho, opposed to Alaric, 101, 105
    --his murder, 106.

  Strafford, execution of, 468.

  Succession, the war of the, 498 _et seq._

  Sulpician, a candidate for the empire, 59.

  Supino, betrayal of Anagni by, 328.

  Surenus, minister of Trajan, 45.

  Surrey, the Earl of, at Flodden, 416.

  Switzerland, ingress of French Protestants into, 484.

  Sylvester II., Pope, 238, 242
    --his character, &c., 246.

  Syria, progress of Mohammedanism in, 158, 161.


  Talbot, raises the siege of Orleans, 387.

  Tancho, the invention of bells by, 196.

  Taxes, system of collecting, under Constantine, 89.

  Taylor, Rowland, the martyr, 433.

  Tchuda, check of the Saracens at, 166.

  Templars, the destruction of the, 337 _et seq._
    --the charges against them, 340.

  Tetzel, the sale of indulgences by, 425.

  Theodora, wife of Justinian, 134.

  Theodoric the Goth, at the battle of Châlons, 110.

  Theodoric, the reign of, 119
    --his supremacy, 123
    --his death, 123.

  Theodosius, the emperor, 101.

  Tiberius, the reign of, 18
    --his character, 19.

  Tilly, the sack of Magdeburg by, 466.

  Timbuctoo, expedition by Englishmen to, 452.

  Tinchebray, the battle of, 286.

  Titus, the reign of, 28
    --the siege and capture of Jerusalem, 30 _et seq._

  Torstenson, the victories of, 468.

  Totila, King of the Goths, 125, 127.

  Toulouse, the Marquises of, 205
    --power of the Dukes of, 232
    --the Albigenses in, 299.

  Tours, the battle of, 179 _et seq._

  Towns, effect of the Crusades on the, 273, 277
    --increasing power of the, in the fourteenth century, 334.

  Trajan, the accession and reign of, 42, 44 _et seq._

  Transubstantiation, doctrine of, 247.

  Trebonian, the Justinian code drawn up by, 136.

  Tripoli, conquered by the Saracens, 167.

  Troubadours, attacks on the clergy by the, 300.

  Truce of God, the, 238.

  Tunis, crusade of Louis IX. against, 318.

  Turenne, the victories of, 478, 481.


  Union Act, passing of the, 502.

  United States, the revolt of the, 518 _et seq._

  Universal church, belief in a, before the Reformation, 419.

  Urban II. and the first Crusaders, 262.

  Utrecht, thy peace of, 502.


  Valens, the emperor, 97
    --his defeat and death, 100.

  Valentinian, the emperor, 97.

  Valerian, the emperor, 72.

  Vandals, conquest of Africa by the, 108
    --sack of Rome by the, 111
    --overthrow of the, by Belisarius, 124.

  Vasco da Gama, the discovery of the route to India by, 401.

  Venaissin, acquisition of, by the Pope, 306.

  Venice, rise of, 277
    --power, &c. of, 407
    --attacked by Julius II., 408
    --league of Cambrai, 409
    --decay of the power of, 412.

  Verona destroyed by Attila, 110.

  Versailles, Louis XIV. at, 481
    --its cost, 483
    --the peace of, 520.

  Vespasian, accession of, 24.

  Vicenza, taken by Attila, 110.

  Vidius Pollio, anecdote of, 36.

  Vikinger, the, 208.

  Virginia, settlement of, by the English, 454.

  Visigoths, settlements of the, in Spain, &c., 128.

  Vitellius, the emperor, 24.


  Wales, early state of, 171, 172.

  Wallace, the victories, &c. of, 320.

  Walpole, Sir R., the ministry of, 505.

  Wartburg, seclusion of Luther at, 428.

  Wealth, influence of the Crusades on, 272.

  Wellington, the victories of, in India, 525.

  Wenilon, Bishop of Sens, 206.

  Wentworth, execution of, 468.

  Western Church, severance of the Eastern from, 133.

  Wickliff, his translation of the Bible, 342.

  Wickliffites, persecution of the, 365.

  William of Normandy, churches, &c. erected by, 244
    --the conquest of England by, 253
    --character of, 288.

  William Rufus, character of, 288.

  William III., accession of, in England, 485
    --his reign, 486
    --the death of, 499.

  Winchester, the Bishop of, 384.

  Winifried, the monk, 175.

  Witig, King of the Ostrogoths, 124
    --his overthrow, 125.

  Wittenagemot, the, 151.

  Wolfe, the conquest of Canada by, 517.

  Woman, increased respect paid to, 283.

  Worms, the Diet of, Luther before, 427.


  Yeomanry, rise of, in England, 431.

  Yezdegird, King of Persia, 162, 165.


  Zorndorf, the battle of, 513.



                               THE END.



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in style, earnestly devout in feeling._"--LONDON LITERARY WORLD.

                     D. APPLETON & CO., NEW YORK,

                          HAVE JUST PUBLISHED

                     The Life and Words of Christ.

                     _By CUNNINGHAM GEIKIE, D.D._


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                                   _D. APPLETON & CO., Publishers,_
                                          549 & 551 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.



Transcriber's Note

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent
  spelling and hyphenation in the original document have been
  preserved. Sidenotes have been enclosed in brackets and moved
  to the beginning of the respective sentence.





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