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Title: The Law of Civilization and Decay - An Essay on History
Author: Adams, Brooks, 1848-1927
Language: English
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  An Essay on History



  New York

  _All rights reserved_

  Copyright, 1896,

  Set up and electrotyped September, 1896. Reprinted February,
  September, 1897.

  Norwood Press
  J. S. Cushing & Co. Berwick & Smith
  Norwood Mass. U.S.A.


In offering to the public a second edition of _The Law of Civilization
and Decay_ I take the opportunity to say emphatically that such value
as the essay may have lies in its freedom from any preconceived bias.
All theories contained in the book, whether religious or economic, are
the effect, and not the cause, of the way in which the facts unfolded
themselves. I have been passive.

The value of history lies not in the multitude of facts collected, but
in their relation to each other, and in this respect an author can have
no larger responsibility than any other scientific observer. If the
sequence of events seems to indicate the existence of a law governing
social development, such a law may be suggested, but to approve or
disapprove of it would be as futile as to discuss the moral bearings of

Some years ago, when writing a sketch of the history of the colony of
Massachusetts Bay, I became deeply interested in certain religious
aspects of the Reformation, which seemed hardly reconcilable with
the theories usually advanced to explain them. After the book had
been published, I continued reading theology, and, step by step,
was led back, through the schoolmen and the crusades, to the revival
of the pilgrimage to Palestine, which followed upon the conversion
of the Huns. As ferocious pagans, the Huns had long closed the road
to Constantinople; but the change which swept over Europe after the
year 1000, when Saint Stephen was crowned, was unmistakable; the West
received an impulsion from the East. I thus became convinced that
religious enthusiasm, which, by stimulating the pilgrimage, restored
communication between the Bosphorus and the Rhine, was the power which
produced the accelerated movement culminating in modern centralization.

Meanwhile I thought I had discovered not only that faith, during
the eleventh, twelfth, and early thirteenth centuries, spoke by
preference through architecture, but also that in France and Syria,
at least, a precise relation existed between the ecclesiastical and
military systems of building, and that the one could not be understood
without the other. In the commercial cities of the same epoch, on
the contrary, the religious idea assumed no definite form of artistic
expression, for the Gothic never flourished in Venice, Genoa, Pisa,
or Florence, nor did any pure school of architecture thrive in the
mercantile atmosphere. Furthermore, commerce from the outset seemed
antagonistic to the imagination, for a universal decay of architecture
set in throughout Europe after the great commercial expansion of the
thirteenth century; and the inference I drew from these facts was,
that the economic instinct must have chosen some other medium by
which to express itself. My observations led me to suppose that the
coinage might be such a medium, and I ultimately concluded that, if the
development of a mercantile community is to be understood, it must be
approached through its money.

Another conviction forced upon my mind, by the examination of long
periods of history, was the exceedingly small part played by conscious
thought in moulding the fate of men. At the moment of action the human
being almost invariably obeys an instinct, like an animal; only after
action has ceased does he reflect.

These controlling instincts are involuntary, and divide men into
species distinct enough to cause opposite effects under identical
conditions. For instance, impelled by fear, one type will rush upon an
enemy, and another will run away; while the love of women or of money
has stamped certain races as sharply as ferocity or cunning has stamped
the lion or the fox.

Like other personal characteristics, the peculiarities of the mind
are apparently strongly hereditary, and, if these instincts be
transmitted from generation to generation, it is plain that, as the
external world changes, those who receive this heritage must rise or
fall in the social scale, according as their nervous system is well
or ill adapted to the conditions to which they are born. Nothing is
commoner, for example, than to find families who have been famous
in one century sinking into obscurity in the next, not because the
children have degenerated, but because a certain field of activity
which afforded the ancestor full scope, has been closed against his
offspring. Particularly has this been true in revolutionary epochs such
as the Reformation; and families so situated have very generally become

When this stage had been reached, the Reformation began to wear a new
aspect, but several years elapsed before I saw whither my studies led.
Only very slowly did a sequence of cause and effect take shape in my
mind, a sequence wholly unexpected in character, whose growth resembled
the arrangement of the fragments of an inscription, which cannot be
read until the stones have been set in a determined order. Finally, as
the historical work neared an end, I perceived that the intellectual
phenomena under examination fell into a series which seemed to
correspond, somewhat closely, with the laws which are supposed to
regulate the movements of the material universe.

Theories can be tested only by applying them to facts, and the facts
relating to successive phases of human thought, whether conscious or
unconscious, constitute history; therefore, if intellectual phenomena
are evolved in a regular sequence, history, like matter, must be
governed by law. In support of such a conjecture, I venture to offer
an hypothesis by which to classify a few of the more interesting
intellectual phases through which human society must, apparently,
pass, in its oscillations between barbarism and civilization, or, what
amounts to the same thing, in its movement from a condition of physical
dispersion to one of concentration. The accompanying volume contains
the evidence which suggested the hypothesis, although, it seems hardly
necessary to add, an essay of this size on so vast a subject can only
be regarded as a suggestion.

The theory proposed is based upon the accepted scientific principle
that the law of force and energy is of universal application in nature,
and that animal life is one of the outlets through which solar energy
is dissipated.

Starting from this fundamental proposition, the first deduction is,
that, as human societies are forms of animal life, these societies must
differ among themselves in energy, in proportion as nature has endowed
them, more or less abundantly, with energetic material.

Thought is one of the manifestations of human energy, and among the
earlier and simpler phases of thought, two stand conspicuous--Fear and
Greed. Fear, which, by stimulating the imagination, creates a belief
in an invisible world, and ultimately develops a priesthood; and Greed,
which dissipates energy in war and trade.

Probably the velocity of the social movement of any community
is proportionate to its energy and mass, and its centralization
is proportionate to its velocity; therefore, as human movement
is accelerated, societies centralize. In the earlier stages of
concentration, fear appears to be the channel through which energy
finds the readiest outlet; accordingly, in primitive and scattered
communities, the imagination is vivid, and the mental types produced
are religious, military, artistic. As consolidation advances, fear
yields to greed, and the economic organism tends to supersede the
emotional and martial.

Whenever a race is so richly endowed with the energetic material that
it does not expend all its energy in the daily struggle for life,
the surplus may be stored in the shape of wealth; and this stock of
stored energy may be transferred from community to community, either by
conquest, or by superiority in economic competition.

However large may be the store of energy accumulated by conquest, a
race must, sooner or later, reach the limit of its martial energy,
when it must enter on the phase of economic competition. But, as the
economic organism radically differs from the emotional and martial,
the effect of economic competition has been, perhaps invariably, to
dissipate the energy amassed by war.

When surplus energy has accumulated in such bulk as to preponderate
over productive energy, it becomes the controlling social force.
Thenceforward, capital is autocratic, and energy vents itself through
those organisms best fitted to give expression to the power of capital.
In this last stage of consolidation, the economic, and, perhaps, the
scientific intellect is propagated, while the imagination fades,
and the emotional, the martial, and the artistic types of manhood
decay. When a social velocity has been attained at which the waste of
energetic material is so great that the martial and imaginative stocks
fail to reproduce themselves, intensifying competition appears to
generate two extreme economic types,--the usurer in his most formidable
aspect, and the peasant whose nervous system is best adapted to thrive
on scanty nutriment. At length a point must be reached when pressure
can go no further, and then, perhaps, one of two results may follow: A
stationary period may supervene, which may last until ended by war, by
exhaustion, or by both combined, as seems to have been the case with
the Eastern Empire; or, as in the Western, disintegration may set in,
the civilized population may perish, and a reversion may take place to
a primitive form of organism.

The evidence, however, seems to point to the conclusion that, when
a highly centralized society disintegrates, under the pressure of
economic competition, it is because the energy of the race has been
exhausted. Consequently, the survivors of such a community lack the
power necessary for renewed concentration, and must probably remain
inert until supplied with fresh energetic material by the infusion of
barbarian blood.

                                                 BROOKS ADAMS.

  Quincy, August 20, 1896.



                      CHAPTER I

  The Romans                                          1

                      CHAPTER II

  The Middle Age                                     48

                      CHAPTER III

  The First Crusade                                  79

                      CHAPTER IV

  The Second Crusade                                103

                      CHAPTER V

  The Fall of Constantinople                        124

                      CHAPTER VI

  The Suppression of the Temple                     152

                      CHAPTER VII

  The English Reformation                           186

                      CHAPTER VIII

  The Suppression of the Convents                   220

                      CHAPTER IX

  The Eviction of the Yeomen                        243

                      CHAPTER X

  Spain and India                                   286

                      CHAPTER XI

  Modern Centralization                             313

                      CHAPTER XII

  Conclusion                                        352

  Index                                             385




When the Romans first emerged from the mist of fable, they were already
a race of land-owners who held their property in severalty, and, as the
right of alienation was established, the formation of relatively large
estates had begun. The ordinary family, however, held, perhaps, twelve
acres, and, as the land was arable, and the staple grain, it supported
a dense rural population. The husbandmen who tilled this land were
of the martial type, and, probably for that reason, though supremely
gifted as administrators and soldiers, were ill-fitted to endure
the strain of the unrestricted economic competition of a centralized
society. Consequently their conquests had hardly consolidated before
decay set in, a decay whose causes may be traced back until they are
lost in the dawn of history.

The Latins had little economic versatility; they lacked the instinct
of the Greeks for commerce, or of the Syrians and Hindoos for
manufactures. They were essentially land-owners, and, when endowed with
the acquisitive faculty, usurers. The latter early developed into a
distinct species, at once more subtle of intellect and more tenacious
of life than the farmers, and on the disparity between these two types
of men, the fate of all subsequent civilization has hinged. At a remote
antiquity Roman society divided into creditors and debtors; as it
consolidated, the power of the former increased, thus intensifying the
pressure on the weak, until, when centralization culminated under the
Cæsars, reproduction slackened, disintegration set in, and, after some
centuries of decline, the Middle Ages began.

The history of the monarchy must probably always remain a matter of
conjecture, but it seems reasonably certain that the expulsion of
the Tarquins was the victory of an hereditary monied caste, which
succeeded in concentrating the functions of government in a practically
self-perpetuating body drawn from their own order.[1] Niebuhr has
demonstrated, in one of his most striking chapters, that usury was
originally a patrician privilege; and some of the fiercest struggles
of the early republic seem to have been decided against the oligarchy
by wealthy plebeians, who were determined to break down the monopoly
in money-lending. At all events, the conditions of life evidently
favoured the growth of the instinct which causes its possessor to suck
the vitality of the economically weak; and Macaulay, in the preface to
_Virginia_, has given so vivid a picture of the dominant class, that
one passage at least should be read entire.

   “The ruling class in Rome was a monied class; and it made and
    administered the laws with a view solely to its own interest.
    Thus the relation between lender and borrower was mixed up
    with the relation between sovereign and subject. The great
    men held a large portion of the community in dependence by
    means of advances at enormous usury. The law of debt, framed
    by creditors, and for the protection of creditors, was the
    most horrible that has ever been known among men. The liberty,
    and even the life, of the insolvent were at the mercy of
    the patrician money-lenders. Children often became slaves in
    consequence of the misfortunes of their parents. The debtor was
    imprisoned, not in a public gaol under the care of impartial
    public functionaries, but in a private workhouse belonging
    to the creditor. Frightful stories were told respecting these

But a prisoner is an expense, and the patricians wanted money. Their
problem was to exhaust the productive power of the debtor before
selling him, and, as slaves have less energy than freemen, a system was
devised by which the plebeians were left on their land, and stimulated
to labour by the hope of redeeming themselves and their children from
servitude. Niebuhr has explained at length how this was done.

For money weighed out a person could pledge himself, his family, and
all that belonged to him. In this condition he became _nexus_, and
remained in possession of his property until breach of condition,
when the creditor could proceed by summary process.[2] Such a contract
satisfied the requirements, and the usurers had then only to invent a
judgment for debt severe enough to force the debtor to become _nexus_
when the alternative was offered him. This presented no difficulty.
When an action was begun the defendant had thirty days of grace, and
was then arrested and brought before the prætor. If he could neither
pay nor find security, he was fettered with irons weighing not less
than fifteen pounds, and taken home by the plaintiff. There he was
allowed a pound of corn a day, and given sixty days in which to settle.
If he failed, he was taken again before the prætor and sentenced.
Under this sentence he might be sold or executed, and, where there
were several plaintiffs, they might cut him up among them, nor was
any individual liable for carving more than his share.[3] A man so
sentenced involved his descendants, and therefore, rather than submit,
the whole debtor class became _nexi_, toiling for ever to fulfil
contracts quite beyond their strength, and year by year sinking more
hopelessly into debt, for ordinarily the accumulated interest soon
raised “the principal to many times its original amount.”[4] Niebuhr
has thus summed up the economic situation:--

   “To understand the condition of the plebeian debtors, let the
    reader, if he is a man of business, imagine that the whole of
    the private debts in a given country were turned into bills
    at a year, bearing interest at twenty per cent or more; and
    that the non-payment of them were followed on summary process
    by imprisonment, and by the transfer of the debtor’s whole
    property to his creditor, even though it exceeded what he
    owed. We do not need those further circumstances, which are
    incompatible with our manners, the personal slavery of the
    debtor and of his children, to form an estimate of the fearful
    condition of the unfortunate plebeians.”[5]

Thus the usurer first exhausted a family and then sold it; and as his
class fed on insolvency and controlled legislation, the laws were as
ingeniously contrived for creating debt, as for making it profitable
when contracted. One characteristic device was the power given the
magistrate of fining for “offences against order.” Under this head “men
might include any accusations they pleased, and by the higher grades
in the scale of fines they might accomplish whatever they desired.”[6]
As the capitalists owned the courts and administered justice, they had
the means at hand of ruining any plebeian whose property was tempting.
Nevertheless, the stronghold of usury lay in the fiscal system, which
down to the fall of the Empire was an engine for working bankruptcy.
Rome’s policy was to farm the taxes; that is to say, after assessment,
to sell them to a publican, who collected what he could. The business
was profitable in proportion as it was extortionate, and the country
was subjected to a levy unregulated by law, and conducted to enrich
speculators. “Ubi publicanus est,” said Livy, quoting the Senate, “ibi
aut jus publicum vanum, aut libertatem sociis nullam esse.”[7]

Usury was the cream of this business. The custom was to lend to
defaulters at such high rates of interest that insolvency was nearly
certain to follow; then the people were taken on execution, and
slave-hunting formed a regular branch of the revenue service. In
Cicero’s time whole provinces of Asia Minor were stripped bare by the
traffic. The effect upon the Latin society of the fifth century before
Christ was singularly destructive. Italy was filled with petty states
in chronic war, the troops were an unpaid militia, which comprised the
whole able-bodied population, and though the farms yielded enough for
the family in good times, when the males were with the legions labour
was certain to be lacking. The campaigns therefore brought want, and
with want came the inability to pay taxes.

As late as the Tunic War, Regulus asked to be relieved from his
command, because the death of his slave and the incompetence of his
hired man left his fields uncared for; and if a general and a consul
were pinched by absence, the case of the men in the ranks can be
imagined. Even in victory the lot of the common soldier was hard
enough, for, beside the chance of wounds and disease, there was the
certain loss of time, for which no compensation was made. Though the
plebeians formed the whole infantry of the line, they received no part
of the conquered lands, and even the plunder was taken from them, and
appropriated by the patricians to their private use.[8] In defeat, the
open country was overrun, the cattle were driven off or slaughtered,
the fruit trees cut down, the crops laid waste, and the houses burned.
In speaking of the Gallic invasion, Niebuhr has pointed out that the
ravaging of the enemy, and the new taxes laid to rebuild the ruined
public works, led to general insolvency.[9]

Such conditions fostered the rapid propagation of distinct types of
mind, and at a very early period Romans had been bred destitute of the
martial instinct, but more crafty and more tenacious of life than the
soldier. These were the men who conceived and enforced the usury laws,
and who held to personal pledges as the dearest privilege of their
order; nor does Livy attempt to disguise the fact “that every patrician
house was a gaol for debtors; and that in seasons of great distress,
after every sitting of the courts, herds of sentenced slaves were led
away in chains to the houses of the nobless.”[10]

Of this redoubtable type the Claudian family was a famous specimen,
and the picture which has been drawn by Macaulay of the great usurer,
Appius Claudius, the decemvir, is so brilliant that it cannot be

   “Appius Claudius Crassus ... was descended from a long line of
    ancestors distinguished by their haughty demeanour, and by the
    inflexibility with which they had withstood all the demands
    of the plebeian order. While the political conduct and the
    deportment of the Claudian nobles drew upon them the fiercest
    public hatred, they were accused of wanting, if any credit
    is due to the early history of Rome, a class of qualities
    which, in a military commonwealth, is sufficient to cover a
    multitude of offences. The chiefs of the family appear to have
    been eloquent, versed in civil business, and learned after the
    fashion of their age; but in war they were not distinguished
    by skill or valour. Some of them, as if conscious where their
    weakness lay, had, when filling the highest magistracies, taken
    internal administration as their department of public business,
    and left the military command to their colleagues. One of them
    had been entrusted with an army, and had failed ignominiously.
    None of them had been honoured with a triumph....

   “His grandfather, called, like himself, Appius Claudius, had
    left a name as much detested as that of Sextus Tarquinius. This
    elder Appius had been consul more than seventy years before
    the introduction of the Licinian Laws. By availing himself
    of a singular crisis in public feeling, he had obtained the
    consent of the commons to the abolition of the tribuneship, and
    had been the chief of that Council of Ten to which the whole
    direction of the State had been committed. In a few months
    his administration had become universally odious. It had been
    swept away by an irresistible outbreak of popular fury; and
    its memory was still held in abhorrence by the whole city. The
    immediate cause of the downfall of this execrable government
    was said to have been an attempt made by Appius Claudius upon
    the chastity of a beautiful young girl of humble birth. The
    story ran that the Decemvir, unable to succeed by bribes and
    solicitations, resorted to an outrageous act of tyranny. A vile
    dependant of the Claudian house laid claim to the damsel as his
    slave. The cause was brought before the tribunal of Appius.
    The wicked magistrate, in defiance of the clearest proofs,
    gave judgment for the claimant. But the girl’s father, a brave
    soldier, saved her from servitude and dishonour by stabbing her
    to the heart in the sight of the whole Forum. That blow was the
    signal for a general explosion. Camp and city rose at once; the
    Ten were pulled down; the tribuneship was re-established; and
    Appius escaped the hands of the executioner only by a voluntary

Virginia was slain in 449 B.C., just in the midst of the long
convulsion which began with the secession to the Mons Sacer, and ended
with the Licinian Laws. During this century and a quarter, usury
drained the Roman vitality low. Niebuhr was doubtless right in his
conjecture that the mutinous legions were filled with nexi to whom
the continuance of the existing status meant slavery, and Mommsen also
pointed out that the convulsions of the third and fourth centuries, in
which it seemed as though Roman society must disintegrate, were caused
by “the insolvency of the middle class of land-holders.”[12]

Had Italy been more tranquil, it is not inconceivable that the small
farmers might even then have sunk into the serfdom which awaited them
under the Empire, for in peace the patricians might have been able
to repress insurrection with their clients; but the accumulation of
capital had hardly begun, and several centuries were to elapse before
money was to take its ultimate form in a standing army. Meanwhile,
troops were needed almost every year to defend the city; and, as the
legions were a militia, they were the enemy and not the instrument of
wealth. Until the organization of a permanent paid police they were,
however, the highest expression of force, and, when opposed to them,
the monied oligarchy was helpless, as was proved by the secession to
the Mons Sacer. The storm gathered slowly. The rural population was
ground down under the usury laws, and in 495 B.C. the farmers refused
to respond to the levy. The consul Publius Servilius had to suspend
prosecutions for debt and to liberate debtors in prison; but at the
end of the campaign the promises he had made in the moment of danger
were repudiated by Appius Claudius, who rigorously enforced the usury
legislation, and who was, for the time, too strong to be opposed.

That year the men submitted, but the next the legions had again to be
embodied; they again returned victorious; their demands were again
rejected; and then, instead of disbanding, they marched in martial
array into the district of Crustumeria, and occupied the hill which
ever after was called the Sacred Mount.[13] Resistance was not even
attempted; and precisely the same surrender was repeated in 449. When
Virginius stabbed his daughter he fled to the camp, and his comrades
seized the standards and marched for Rome. The Senate yielded at once,
decreed the abolition of the Decemvirate, and the triumphant cohorts,
drawn up upon the Aventine, chose their tribunes.

Finally, in the last great struggle, when Camillus was made dictator
to coerce the people, he found himself impotent. The monied oligarchy
collapsed when confronted with an armed force; and Camillus, reduced
to act as mediator, vowed a temple to Concord, on the passage of
the Licinian Laws.[14] The Licinian Laws provided for a partial
liquidation, and also for an increase of the means of the debtor class
by redistribution of the public land. This land had been seized in war,
and had been monopolized by the patricians without any particular legal
right. Licinius obtained a statute by which back payments of interest
should be applied to extinguishing the principal of debts, and balances
then remaining due should be liquidated in three annual instalments.
He also limited the quantity of the public domain which could be held
by any individual, and directed that the residue which remained after
the reduction of all estates to that standard should be distributed in
five-acre lots.

Pyrrhus saw with a soldier’s eye that Rome’s strength did not lie in
her generals, who were frequently his inferiors, but in her farmers,
whom he could not crush by defeat, and this was the class which was
favoured by the Licinian Laws. They multiplied greatly when the usurers
capitulated, and, as Macaulay remarked, the effect of the reform
was “singularly happy and glorious.” It was indeed no less than the
conquest of Italy. Rome, “while the disabilities of the plebeians
continued ... was scarcely able to maintain her ground against the
Volscians and Hernicans. When those disabilities were removed, she
rapidly became more than a match for Carthage and Macedon.”[15]

But nature’s very bounty to the Roman husbandman and soldier proved
his ruin. Patient of suffering, enduring of fatigue, wise in council,
fierce in war, he routed all who opposed him; and yet the vigorous mind
and the robust frame which made him victorious in battle, were his
weakness when at peace. He needed costly nutriment, and when brought
into free economic competition with Africans and Asiatics, he starved.
Such competition resulted directly from foreign conquests, and came
rapidly when Italy had consolidated, and the Italians began to extend
their power over other races. Nearly five centuries intervened between
the foundation of the city and the defeat of Pyrrhus, but within little
more than two hundred years from the victory of Beneventum, Rome was
mistress of the world.

Indeed, beyond the peninsula, there was not much, save Carthage, to
stop the march of the legions. After the death of Alexander, in 323
B.C., Greece fell into decline, and by 200, when Rome attacked Macedon,
she was in decrepitude. The population of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt
was not martial, and had never been able to cope in battle with the
western races; while Spain and Gaul, though inhabited by fierce and
hardy tribes, lacked cohesion, and could not withstand the onset of
organized and disciplined troops. Distance, therefore, rather than
hostile military force, fixed the limit of the ancient centralization,
for the Romans were not maritime, and consequently failed to absorb
India or discover America. Thus their relatively imperfect movement
made the most material difference between the ancient and modern
economic system.

By conquest the countries inhabited by races of a low vitality and
great tenacity of life were opened both for trade and slaving, and
their cheap labour exterminated the husbandmen of Italy. Particularly
after the annexation of Asia Minor this labour overran Sicily, and the
cultivation of the cereals by the natives became impossible when the
island had been parcelled out into great estates stocked by capitalists
with eastern slaves who, at Rome, undersold all competitors. During
the second century the precious metals poured into Latium in a flood,
great fortunes were amassed and invested in land, and the Asiatic
provinces of the Empire were swept of their men in order to make
these investments pay. No data remain by which to estimate, even
approximately, the size of this involuntary migration, but it must
have reached enormous numbers, for sixty thousand captives were the
common booty of a campaign, and after provinces were annexed they were
depopulated by the publicans.

The best field hands came from the regions where poverty had always
been extreme, and where, for countless generations, men had been
inured to toil on scanty food. Districts like Bithynia and Syria, where
slaves could be bought for little or nothing, had always been tilled
by races far more tenacious of life than any Europeans. After Lucullus
plundered Pontus, a slave brought only four drachmæ, or, perhaps,
seventy cents.[16] On the other hand, competition grew sharper among
the Italians themselves. As capital accumulated in the hands of the
strongest, the poor grew poorer, and pauperism spread. As early as the
Marsian War, in 90 B.C., Lucius Marcius Philippus estimated that there
were only two thousand wealthy families among the burgesses. In about
three hundred years nature had culled a pure plutocracy from what had
been originally an essentially martial race.

The primitive Roman was a high order of husbandman, who could only when
well fed flourish and multiply. He was adapted to that stage of society
when the remnants of caste gave a certain fixity of tenure to the
farmer, and when prices were maintained by the cost of communication
with foreign countries. As the world centralized, through conquest,
these barriers were swept away. Economic competition became free,
land tended to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands, and this land was
worked by eastern slaves, who reduced the wages of labour to the lowest
point at which the human being can survive.

The effect was to split society in halves, the basis being servile, and
the freemen being separated into a series of classes, according to the
economic power of the mind. Wealth formed the title to nobility of the
great oligarchy which thus came to constitute the core of the Empire.
At the head stood the senators, whose rank was hereditary unless they
lost their property, for to be a senator a man had to be rich. Augustus
fixed $48,000 as the minimum of the senatorial fortune, and made up the
deficiency to certain favoured families,[17] but Tiberius summarily
ejected spendthrifts.[18] All Latin literature is redolent of money.
Tacitus, with an opulent connection, never failed to speak with disdain
of the base-born, or, in other words, of the less prosperous. “Poppæus
Sabinus, a man of humble birth,” raised to position by the caprice of
two emperors;[19] “Cassius Severus, a man of mean extraction”;[20] and,
in the poetry of antiquity, there are few more famous lines than those
in which Juvenal has described the burden of poverty:

   “Haud facile emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat
    Res angusta domi.”[21]

Perhaps no modern writer has been so imbued with the spirit of the
later Empire as Fustel de Coulanges, and on this subject he has been
emphatic. Not only were the Romans not democratic, but at no period of
her history did Rome love equality. In the Republic rank was determined
by wealth. The census was the basis of the social system. Every citizen
had to declare his fortune before a magistrate, and his grade was then
assigned him. “Poverty and wealth established the legal differences
between men.”

The first line of demarcation lay between those who owned land and
those who did not. The former were _assidui_: householders rooted in
the soil. The latter were _proletarians_. The _proletarians_ were equal
in their poverty; but the _assidui_ were unequal in their wealth, and
were consequently divided into five classes. Among these categories all
was unequal--taxes, military service, and political rights. They did
not mix together.

“If one transports oneself to the last century of the Republic ...
one finds there an aristocracy as strongly consolidated as the ancient
patrician.... At the summit came the senatorial order. To belong to it
the first condition was to possess a great fortune.... The Roman mind
did not understand that a poor man could belong to the aristocracy, or
that a rich man was not part of it.”[22]

Archaic customs lingered late in Rome, for the city was not a centre
of commercial exchanges; and long after the death of Alexander, when
Greece passed its meridian, the Republic kept its copper coinage.
Regulus farmed his field with a single slave and a hired servant,
and there was, in truth, nothing extraordinary in the famous meeting
with Cincinnatus at the plough, although such simplicity astonished
a contemporary of Augustus. Advancing centralization swept away these
ancient customs, a centralization whose march is, perhaps, as sharply
marked by the migration of vagrants to the cities, as by any single
phenomenon. Vagrant paupers formed the proletariat for whose relief
the “Frumentariæ Leges” were framed; and yet, though poor-laws in some
form are considered a necessity in modern times, few institutions of
antiquity have been more severely criticised than those regulating
charity. From the time of Cato downward, the tendency has been to
maintain that at Rome demagogues fed the rabble at the cost of the
lives of the free-holders.

Probably the exact converse is the truth; the public gifts of food
appear to have been the effect of the ruin of agriculture, and not
its cause. After the Italian husbandmen had been made insolvent by
the competition of races of lower vitality, they flocked starving to
the capital, but it was only reluctantly that the great speculators in
grain, who controlled the Senate, admitted the necessity of granting
State aid to the class whom they had destroyed.

Long before the Punic Wars the Carthaginians had farmed Sicily on
capitalistic principles; that is to say, they had stocked domains with
slaves, and had traded on the basis of large sales and narrow profits.
The Romans when they annexed the island only carried out this system to
its logical end. Having all Asia Minor to draw upon for labour, they
deliberately starved and overworked their field-hands, since it was
cheaper to buy others than to lose command of the market. The familiar
story of the outbreak of the Servile War, about 134 B.C., shows how far
the contemporaries of the Sicilian speculators believed them capable of

Damophilus, an opulent Sicilian landlord, being one day implored by his
slaves to have pity on their nakedness and misery, indignantly demanded
why they went hungry and cold, with arms in their hands, and the
country before them. Then he bound them to stakes and flayed them with
the lash.[23]

The reduction of Syracuse by Marcellus broke the Carthaginian power
in the island, and, after the fall of Agrigentum in 210 B.C., the
pacification of the country went on rapidly. Probably from the outset,
even in the matter of transportation, the provinces of the mainland
were at a disadvantage because of the cheapness of sea freights, but
at all events the opening of the Sicilian grain trade had an immediate
and disastrous effect on Italy. The migration of vagrants to Rome began
forthwith, and within seven years, 203 B.C., a public distribution of
wheat took place, probably by the advice of Scipio. Nevertheless the
charity was private and not gratuitous. On the contrary, a charge of
six sesterces, or twenty-five cents the bushel, was made, apparently
near half the market rate, a price pretty regularly maintained on such
occasions down to the Empire. This interval comprehended the whole
period of the Sicilian supremacy in the corn trade, for in 30 B.C.
Egypt was annexed by Augustus.

The distress which followed upon free trade with Egypt finally broke
down the resistance of the rich to gratuitous relief for the poor.
Previously the opposition to State aid had been so stubborn that until
123 B.C. no legal provision whatever was made for paupers; and yet the
account left by Polybius of the condition of Lombardy toward the middle
of the second century shows the complete wreck of agriculture.

“The yield of corn in this district is so abundant that wheat is
often sold at four obols a Sicilian medimnus [about eight cents by
the bushel, or a little less than two sesterces], barley at two, or
a metretes of wine for an equal measure of barley.... The cheapness
and abundance of all articles of food may also be clearly shown from
the fact that travellers in these parts, when stopping at inns, do not
bargain for particular articles, but simply ask what the charge is per
head for board. And for the most part the innkeepers are content” with
half an as (about half a cent) a day.[24]

These prices indicate a lack of demand so complete, that the debtors
among the peasantry must have been ruined, and yet tax-payers remained
obdurate. Gratuitous distributions were tried in 58 B.C. by the Lex
Clodia, but soon abandoned as costly, and Cæsar applied himself to
reducing the outlay on the needy. He hoped to reach his end by cutting
down the number of grain-receivers one-half, by providing that no
grain should be given away except on presentation of a ticket, and by
ordering that the number of ticket-holders should not be increased. The
law of nature prevailed against him, for the absorption of Egypt in the
economic system of the Empire, marked, in the words of Mommsen “the end
of the old and the beginning of a new epoch.”[25]

Among the races which have survived through ages upon scanty nutriment,
none have, perhaps, excelled the Egyptian fellah. Even in the East no
peasantry has probably been so continuously overworked, so under-paid,
and so taxed.

   “If it is the aim of the State to work out the utmost possible
    amount from its territory, in the Old World the Lagids were
    absolutely the masters of statecraft. In particular they
    were in this sphere the instructors and the models of the

In the first century Egypt was, as it still is, preeminently a land
of cheap labour; but it was also something more. The valley of the
Nile, enriched by the overflow of the river, returned an hundred-fold,
without manure; and this wonderful district was administered, not like
an ordinary province, but like a private farm belonging to the citizens
of Rome. The emperor reserved it to himself. How large a revenue he
drew from it is immaterial; it suffices that one-third of all the
grain consumed in the capital came from thence. According to Athenæus,
some of the grain ships in use were about 420 feet long by 57 broad,
or nearly the size of a modern steamer in the Atlantic trade.[27]
From the beginning of the Christian era, therefore, the wages of the
Egyptian fellah regulated the price of the cereals within the limits
where trade was made free by Roman consolidation, and it is safe to
say that, thenceforward, such of the highly nourished races as were
constrained to sustain this competition, were doomed to perish. It
is even extremely doubtful whether the distributions of grain by the
government materially accelerated the march of the decay. Spain should
have been far enough removed from the centre of exchanges to have had
a certain local market of her own, and yet Martial, writing about 100
A.D., described the Spanish husbandman eating and drinking the produce
he could not sell, and receiving but four sesterces the bushel for his
wheat, which was the price paid by paupers in the time of Cicero.[28]

Thus by economic necessity great estates were formed in the hands of
the economically strong. As the value of cereals fell, arable land
passed into vineyards or pasture, and, the provinces being unable to
sustain their old population, eviction went on with gigantic strides.
Had the Romans possessed the versatility to enable them to turn
to industry, factories might have afforded a temporary shelter to
this surplus labour, but manufactures were monopolized by the East;
therefore the beggared peasantry were either enslaved for debt, or
wandered as penniless paupers to the cities, where gradually their
numbers so increased as to enable them to extort a gratuitous dole.
Indeed, during the third century, their condition fell so low that they
were unable even to cook the food freely given them, and Aurelian had
their bread baked at public ovens.[29]

As centralization advanced with the acceleration of human movement,
force expressed itself more and more exclusively through money, and
the channel in which money chose to flow was in investments in land.
The social system fostered the growth of large estates. The Romans
always had an inordinate respect for the landed magnate, and a contempt
for the tradesman. Industry was reputed a servile occupation, and,
under the Republic, the citizen who performed manual labour was almost
deprived of political rights. Even commerce was thought so unworthy
of the aristocracy that it was forbidden to senators. “The soil was
always, in this Roman society, the principal source and, above all, the
only measure of wealth.”

A law of Tiberius obliged capitalists to invest two-thirds of their
property in land. Trajan not only exacted of aspirants to office that
they should be rich, but that they should place at least one-third
of their fortune in Italian real estate; and, down to the end of the
Empire, the senatorial class “was at the same time the class of great
landed proprietors.”[30]

The more property consolidated, the more resistless the momentum
of capital became. Under the Empire small properties grew steadily
rarer, and the fewer they were, the greater the disadvantage at which
their owners stood. The small farmer could hardly sustain himself
in competition with the great landlord. The grand domain of the
capitalist was not only provided with a full complement of labourers,
vine-dressers, and shepherds, but with the necessary artisans. The
poor farmer depended on his rich neighbour even for his tools. “He was
what a workman would be to-day who, amidst great factories, worked
alone.”[31] He bought dearer and sold cheaper, his margin of profit
steadily shrunk; at last he was reduced to a bare subsistence in good
years, and the first bad harvest left him bankrupt.

The Roman husbandman and soldier was doomed, for nature had turned
against him; the task of history is but to ascertain his fate, and
trace the fortunes of his country after he had gone.

Of the evicted, many certainly drifted to the cities and lived upon
charity, forming the proletariat, a class alike despised and lost to
self-respect: some were sold into slavery, others starved; but when all
deductions have been made, a surplus is left to be accounted for, and
there is reason to suppose that these stayed on their farms as tenants
to the purchasers.

In the first century such tenancies were common. The lessee remained
a freeman, under no subjection to his landlord, provided he paid his
rent; but in case of default the law was rigorous. Everything upon the
land was liable as a pledge, and the tenant himself was held in pawn
unless he could give security for what he owed. In case, therefore,
of prolonged agricultural depression, all that was left of the ancient
rural population could hardly fail to pass into the condition of serfs,
bound to the land by debts beyond the possibility of payment.

That such a depression actually occurred, and that it extended through
several centuries, is certain. Nor is it possible that its only cause
was Egyptian competition, for had it been so, an equilibrium would have
been reached when the African exchanges had been adjusted, whereas a
continuous decline of prices went on until long after the fall of the
Western Empire. The only other possible explanation of the phenomenon
is that a contraction of the currency began soon after the death of
Augustus, and continued without much interruption down to Charlemagne.
Between the fall of Carthage and the birth of Christ, the Romans
plundered the richest portions of the world west of the Indus; in the
second century, North Africa, Macedon, Spain, and parts of Greece and
Asia Minor; in the first, Athens, Cappadocia, Syria, Gaul, and Egypt.
These countries yielded an enormous mass of treasure, which was brought
to Rome as spoil of war, but which was not fixed there by commercial
exchanges, and which continually tended to flow back to the natural
centres of trade. Therefore, when conquests ceased, the sources of
new bullion dried up, and the quantity held in Italy diminished as the
balance of trade grew more and more unfavourable.

Under Augustus the precious metals were plenty and cheap, and the
prices of commodities were correspondingly high; but a full generation
had hardly passed before a dearth began to be felt, which manifested
itself in a debasement of the coinage, the surest sign of an
appreciation of the currency.

Speaking generally, the manufactures and the more costly products of
antiquity came from countries to the east of the Adriatic, while the
West was mainly agricultural; and nothing is better established than
that luxuries were dear under the Empire, and food cheap.[32] Therefore
exchanges were unfavourable to the capital from the outset; the exports
did not cover the imports, and each year a deficit had to be made good
in specie.

The Romans perfectly understood the situation, and this adverse balance
caused them much uneasiness. Tiberius dwelt upon it in a letter to the
Senate as early as 22 A.D. In that year the ædiles brought forward
proposals for certain sumptuary reforms, and the Senate, probably
to rid itself of a delicate question, referred the matter to the
executive. Most of the emperor’s reply is interesting, but there is one
particularly noteworthy paragraph. “If a reform is in truth intended,
where must it begin? and how am I to restore the simplicity of ancient
times?... How shall we reform the taste for dress?... How are we to
deal with the peculiar articles of female vanity, and, in particular,
with that rage for jewels and precious trinkets, which drains the
Empire of its wealth, and sends, in exchange for bawbles, the money
of the Commonwealth to foreign nations, and even to the enemies of
Rome?”[33] Half a century later matters were, apparently, worse, for
Pliny more than once returned to the subject. In the twelfth book of
his Natural History, after enumerating the many well-known spices,
perfumes, drugs, and gems, which have always made the Eastern trade
of such surpassing value, he estimated that at the most moderate
computation 100,000,000 sesterces, or about $4,000,000 in coin, were
annually exported to Arabia and India alone; and at a time when silk
was worth its weight in gold, the estimate certainly does not seem
excessive. He added, “So dear do pleasures and women cost us.”[34]

The drain to Egypt and the Asiatic provinces could hardly have been
much less serious. Adrian almost seems to have been jealous of the
former, for in his letter to Servianus, after having criticised the
people, he remarked that it was also a rich and productive country
“in which no one was idle,” and in which glass, paper and linen were
manufactured.[35] The Syrians were both industrial and commercial.
Tyre, for example, worked the raw silk of China, dyed and exported
it. The glass of Tyre and Sidon was famous; the local aristocracy were
merchants and manufacturers, “and, as later the riches acquired in the
East flowed to Genoa and Venice, so then the commercial gains of the
West flowed back to Tyre and Apamea.”[36]

Within about sixty years from the final consolidation of the Empire
under Augustus, this continuous efflux of the precious metals began
to cause the currency to contract, and prices to fall; and the first
effect of shrinking values appears to have been a financial crisis in
33 A.D. Probably the diminution in the worth of commodities relatively
to money, had already made it difficult for debtors to meet their
liabilities, for Tacitus has prefaced his story by pointing out that
usury had always been a scourge of Rome, and that just previous to
the panic an agitation against the money-lenders had begun with a view
to enforcing the law regarding interest. As most of the senators were
deep in usury they applied for protection to Tiberius, who granted what
amounted to a stay of proceedings, and then, as soon as the capitalists
felt themselves safe, they proceeded to take their revenge. Loans were
called, accommodation refused, and mortgagors were ruthlessly sold
out. “There was great scarcity of money ... and, on account of sales
on execution, coin accumulated in the imperial, or the public treasury.
Upon this the Senate ordered that every one should invest two-thirds of
his capital on loan, in Italian real estate; but the creditors called
in the whole, nor did public opinion allow debtors to compromise.”
Meanwhile there was great excitement but no relief, “as the usurers
hoarded for the purpose of buying low. The quantity of sales broke the
market, and the more liabilities were extended, the harder liquidation
became. Many were ruined, and the loss of property endangered
social station and reputation.”[37] The panic finally subsided, but
contraction went on and next showed itself, twenty-five years later,
in adulterated coinage. From the time of the Punic Wars, about two
centuries and a half before Christ, the silver denarius, worth nearly
seventeen cents, had been the standard of the Roman currency, and it
kept its weight and purity unimpaired until Nero, when it diminished
from 1⁄84 to 1⁄96 of a pound of silver, the pure metal being mixed with
1⁄10 of copper.[38] Under Trajan, toward 100 A.D., the alloy reached
twenty per cent; under Septimius Severus a hundred years later it had
mounted to fifty or sixty per cent, and by the time of Elagabalus,
220 A.D., the coin had degenerated into a token of base metal, and was
repudiated by the government.

Something similar happened to the gold. The aureus, though it kept its
fineness, lost in weight down to Constantine. In the reign of Augustus
it equalled one-fortieth of a Roman pound of gold, in that of Nero
one forty-fifth, in that of Caracalla but one-fiftieth, in that of
Diocletian one-sixtieth, and in that of Constantine one seventy-second,
when the coin ceased passing by tale and was taken only by weight.[39]

The repudiation of the denarius was an act of bankruptcy; nor did
the financial position improve while the administration remained at
Rome. Therefore the inference is that, toward the middle of the third
century, Italy had lost the treasure she had won in war, which had
gradually gravitated to the centre of exchanges. This inference is
confirmed by history. The movements of Diocletian seem to demonstrate
that after 250 A.D. Rome ceased to be either the political or
commercial capital of the world.

Unquestionably Diocletian must have lived a life of intense activity at
the focus of affairs, to have raised himself from slavery to the purple
at thirty-nine; and yet Gibbon thought he did not even visit Rome until
he went thither to celebrate his triumph, after he had been twenty
years upon the throne. He never seemed anxious about the temper of the
city. When proclaimed emperor he ignored Italy and established himself
at Nicomedia on the Propontis, where he lived until he abdicated in
305. His personal preferences evidently did not influence him, since
his successors imitated his policy; and everything points to the
conclusion that he, and those who followed him, only yielded to the
same resistless force which fixed the economic capital of the world
upon the Bosphorus. In the case of Constantine the operation of this
force was conspicuous, for it was not only powerful enough to overcome
the habit of a lifetime, but to cause him to undertake the gigantic
task of building Constantinople.

Constantine was proclaimed in Britain in 306, when only thirty-two.
Six years later he defeated Maxentius, and then governed the West alone
until his war with Licinius, whom he captured in 323 and afterward put
to death. Thus, at fifty, he returned to the East, after an absence of
nearly twenty years, and his first act was to choose Byzantium as his
capital, a city nearly opposite Nicomedia.

The sequence of events seems plain. Very soon after the insolvency
of the government at Rome, the administration quitted the city and
moved toward the boundary between Europe and Asia; there, after some
forty years of vacillation, it settled permanently at the true seat of
exchanges, for Constantinople remained the economic centre of the earth
for more than eight centuries.

Similar conclusions may be drawn from the fluctuations of the currency.
At Rome the coin could not be maintained at the standard, because of
adverse exchanges; but when the political and economic centres had come
to coincide, at a point upon the Bosphorus, depreciation ceased, and
the aureus fell no further.

This migration of capital, which caused the rise of Constantinople,
was the true opening of the Middle Ages, for it occasioned the
gradual decline of the rural population, and thus brought about the
disintegration of the West. Victory carried wealth to Rome, and wealth
manifested its power in a permanent police; as the attack in war
gained upon the defence, and individual resistance became impossible,
transportation grew cheap and safe, and human movement was accelerated.
Then economic competition began, and intensified as centralization
advanced, telling always in favour of the acutest intellect and the
cheapest labour. Soon, exchanges became permanently unfavourable,
a steady drain of bullion set in to the East, and, as the outflow
depleted the treasure amassed at Rome by plunder, contraction began,
and with contraction came that fall of prices which first ruined, then
enslaved, and finally exterminated, the native rural population of

In the time of Diocletian, the ancient silver currency had long
been repudiated, and, in his well-known edict, he spoke of prices as
having risen ninefold, when reckoned in the denarii of base metal;
the purchasing power of pure gold and silver had, however, risen
very considerably in all the western provinces. Nor was this all. It
appears to be a natural law that when social development has reached
a certain stage, and capital has accumulated sufficiently, the class
which has had the capacity to absorb it shall try to enhance the
value of their property by legislation. This is done most easily by
reducing the quantity of the currency, which is a legal tender for the
payment of debts. A currency obviously gains in power as it shrinks
in volume, and the usurers of Constantinople intuitively condensed to
the utmost that of the Empire. After the insolvency under Elagabalus,
payments were exacted in gold by weight, and as it grew scarcer its
value rose. Aurelian issued an edict limiting its use in the arts; and
while there are abundant reasons for inferring that silver also gained
in purchasing power, gold far outstripped it. Although no statistics
remain by which to establish, with any exactness, the movement of
silver in comparison with commodities, the ratio between the precious
metals at different epochs is known, and gold appears to have doubled
between Cæsar and Romulus Augustulus.

    47 B.C.                       gold stood to silver as 1 : 8.9
    1 A.D. under Augustus,           “    “       “       1 : 9.3
    100–200, Trajan to Severus,      “    “       “       1 : 9–10
    310, Constantine,                “    “       “       1 : 12.5
    450, Theodosius II.,             “    “       “       1 : 18

As gold had become the sole legal tender, this change of ratio
represents a diminution, during the existence of the Western Empire, of
at least fifty per cent in the value of property in relation to debt,
leaving altogether out of view the appreciation of silver itself, which
was so considerable that the government was unable to maintain the

Resistance to the force of centralized wealth was vain. Aurelian’s
attempt to reform the mints is said to have caused a rebellion, which
cost him the lives of seven thousand of his soldiers; and though his
policy was continued by Probus, and Diocletian coined both metals
again at a ratio, expansion was so antagonistic to the interests of the
monied class that, by 360, silver was definitely discarded, and gold
was made by law the only legal tender for the payment of debts.[41]
Furthermore, the usurers protected themselves against any possible
tampering with the mints by providing that the solidus should pass by
weight and not by tale; that is to say, they reserved to themselves
the right to reject any golden son which contained less than one
seventy-second of a pound of standard metal, the weight fixed by

Thus, at a time when the exhaustion of the mines caused a failure in
the annual supply of bullion, the old composite currency was split
in two, and the half retained made to pass by weight alone, so as to
throw the loss by clipping and abrasion upon the debtor. So strong a
contraction engendered a steady fall of prices, a fall which tended
rather to increase than diminish as time went on. But in prolonged
periods of decline in the market value of agricultural products,
farmers can with difficulty meet a money rent, because the sale of
their crops leaves a greater deficit each year, and finally a time
comes when insolvency can no longer be postponed.

In his opening chapter Gibbon described the Empire under the Antonines
as enjoying “a happy period of more than fourscore years” of peace and
prosperity; and yet nothing is more certain than that this halcyon age
was in reality an interval of agricultural ruin. On this point Pliny
was explicit, and Pliny was a large land-owner.

He wrote one day to Calvisius about an investment, and went at length
into the condition of the property. A large estate adjoining his own
was for sale, and he was tempted to buy, “for the land was fertile,
rich, and well watered,” the fields produced vines and wood which
promised a fair return, and yet this natural fruitfulness was marred by
the misery of the husbandmen. He found that the former owner “had often
seized the ‘pignora,’ or pledges [that is, all the property the tenants
possessed]; and though, by so doing, he had temporarily reduced their
arrears, he had left them” without the means of tilling the soil. These
tenants were freemen, who had been unable to meet their rent because of
falling prices, and who, when they had lost their tools, cattle, and
household effects, were left paupers on the farms they could neither
cultivate nor abandon. Consequently the property had suffered, the
rent had declined, and for these reasons and “the general hardness of
the times,” its value had fallen from five million to three million

In another letter he explained that he was detained at home making new
arrangements with his tenants, who were apparently insolvent, for “in
the last five years, in spite of great concessions, the arrears have
increased. For this reason most [tenants] take no trouble to diminish
their debt, which they despair of paying. Indeed, they plunder and
consume what there is upon the land, since they think they cannot
save for themselves.” The remedy he proposed was to make no more money
leases, but to farm on shares.[44]

The tone of these letters shows that there was nothing unusual in all
this. Pliny nowhere intimated that the tenants were to blame, or that
better men were to be had. On the contrary, he said emphatically that
in such hard times money could not be collected, and therefore the
interest of the landlord was to cultivate his estates on shares, taking
the single precaution to place slaves over the tenants as overseers and
receivers of the crops.

In the same way the digest referred to such arrears as habitual.[45] In
still another letter to Trajan, Pliny observed, “Continuæ sterilitates
cogunt me de remissionibus cogitare.”[46] Certainly these insolvent
farmers could have held no better position when working on shares than
before their disasters, for as bankrupts they were wholly in their
creditors’ power, and could be hunted like slaves, and brought back in
fetters if they fled. They were tied to the property by a debt which
never could be paid, and they and their descendants were doomed to stay
for ever as _coloni_ or serfs, chattels to be devised or sold as part
of the realty. In the words of the law, “they were considered slaves
of the land.”[47] The ancient martial husbandman had thus “fallen
from point to point, from debt to debt, into an almost perpetual
subjection.”[48] Deliverance was impossible, for payment was out of the
question. He was bound to the soil for his life, and his children after
him inherited his servitude with his debt.

The customs, according to which the _coloni_ held, were infinitely
varied; they differed not only between estates, but between the hands
on the same estate. On the whole, however, the life must have been
hard, for the serfs of the Empire did not multiply, and the scarcity of
rural labour became a chronic disease.

Yet, relatively, the position of the _colonus_ was good, for his wife
and children were his own; slavery was the ulcer which ate into the
flesh, and the Roman fiscal system, coupled as it was with usury, was
calculated to enslave all but the oligarchy who made the laws.

The taxes of the provinces were assessed by the censors and then sold
for cash to the publicans, who undertook the collection. Italy was at
first exempted, but after her bankruptcy she shared the common fate.
Companies were formed to handle these ventures. The knights usually
subscribed the capital and divided the profits, which corresponded
with the severity of their administration; and, as the Roman conquests
extended, these companies grew too powerful to be controlled. The
only officials in a position to act were the provincial governors,
who were afraid to interfere, and preferred to share in the gains of
the traffic, rather than to run the risk of exciting the wrath of so
dangerous an enemy.[49]

According to Pliny the collection of a rent in money had become
impossible in the reign of Trajan. The reason was that with a
contracting currency prices of produce fell, and each year’s crop
netted less than that of the year before; therefore a rent moderate in
one decade was extortionate in the next. But taxes did not fall with
the fall in values; on the contrary, the tendency of centralization is
always toward a more costly administration. Under Augustus, one emperor
with a moderate household sufficed; but in the third century Diocletian
found it necessary to reorganize the government under four Cæsars, and
everything became specialized in the same proportion.

In this way the people were caught between the upper and the nether
millstone. The actual quantity of bullion taken from them was
greater, the lower prices of their property fell, and arrears of taxes
accumulated precisely as Pliny described the accumulation of arrears
of rent. These arrears were carried over from reign to reign, and even
from century to century; and Petronius, the father-in-law of Valens, is
said to have precipitated the rebellion of Procopius, by exacting the
tribute unpaid since the death of Aurelian a hundred years before.

The processes employed in the collection of the revenue were severe.
Torture was freely used,[50] and slavery was the fate of defaulters.
Armed with such power, the publicans held debtors at their mercy.
Though usury was forbidden, the most lucrative part of the trade
was opening accounts with the treasury, assuming debts, and charging
interest sometimes as high as fifty per cent. Though, as prices fell,
the pressure grew severer, the abuses of the administration were never
perhaps worse than toward the end of the Republic. In his oration
against Verres, Cicero said the condition of the people had become
intolerable: “All the provinces are in mourning, all the nations that
are free are complaining; every kingdom is expostulating with us about
our covetousness and injustice.”[51]

The well-known transactions of Brutus are typical of what went on
wherever the Romans marched. Brutus lent the Senate of Salaminia at
forty-eight per cent a year. As the contract was illegal, he obtained
two decrees of the Senate at Rome for his protection, and then to
enforce payment of his interest, Scaptius, his man of business,
borrowed from the governor of Cilicia a detachment of troops. With
this he blockaded the Senate so closely that several members starved
to death. The Salaminians, wanting at all costs to free themselves from
such a load, offered to pay off both interest and capital at once; but
to this Brutus would not consent, and to impose his own terms upon the
province he demanded from Cicero more troops, “only fifty horse.”[52]

When at last, by such proceedings, the debtors were so exhausted
that no torment could wring more from them, they were sold as slaves;
Nicodemus, king of Bithynia, on being reproached for not furnishing his
contingent of auxiliaries, replied that all his able-bodied subjects
had been taken by the farmers of the revenue.[53] Nor, though the
administration doubtless was better regulated under the Empire than
under the Republic, did the oppression of the provinces cease. Juvenal,
who wrote about 100, implored the young noble taking possession
of his government to put some curb upon his avarice, “to pity the
poverty of the allies. You see the bones of kings sucked of their very
marrow.”[54] And though the testimony of Juvenal may be rejected as
savouring too much of poetical licence, Pliny must always be treated
with respect. When Maximus was sent to Achaia, Pliny thought it well
to write him a long letter of advice, in which he not only declared
that to wrest from the Greeks the shadow of liberty left them would be
“durum, ferum, barbarumque;” but adjured him to try to remember what
each city had been, and not to despise it for what it was.[55]

Most impressive, perhaps, of all, is the statement of Dio Cassius that
the revolt led by Boadicea in Britain in 61 A.D., which cost the Romans
seventy thousand lives, was provoked by the rapacity of Seneca, who,
having forced a loan of ten million drachmas ($1,670,000) on the people
at usurious interest, suddenly withdrew his money, thereby inflicting
intense suffering.[56] As Pliny said with bitterness and truth, “The
arts of avarice were those most cultivated at Rome.”[57]

The stronger type exterminated the weaker; the money-lender killed out
the husbandman; the race of soldiers vanished, and the farms, whereon
they had once flourished, were left desolate. To quote the words
of Gibbon: “The fertile and happy province of Campania ... extended
between the sea and the Apennines from the Tiber to the Silarus. Within
sixty years after the death of Constantine, and on the evidence of an
actual survey, an exemption was granted in favour of three hundred and
thirty thousand English acres of desert and uncultivated land; which
amounted to one-eighth of the whole surface of the province.”[58]

It is true that Gibbon, in this paragraph, described Italy as she
was in the fourth century, just before the barbarian invasions, but a
similar fate had overtaken the provinces under the Cæsars. In the reign
of Domitian, according to Plutarch, Greece had been almost depopulated.

   “She can with much difficulty raise three thousand men, which
    number the single city of Megara sent heretofore to the battle
    of Platæa.... For of what use would the oracle be now, which
    was heretofore at Tegyra or at Ptous? For scarcely shall you
    meet, in a whole day’s time, with so much as a herdsman or
    shepherd in those parts.”[59]

Wallon has observed that Rome, “in the early times of the Republic,
was chiefly preoccupied with having a numerous and strong population of
freemen. Under the Empire she had but one anxiety--taxes.”[60]

To speak with more precision, force changed the channel through which
it operated. Native farmers and native soldiers were needless when
such material could be bought cheaper in the North or East. With money
the cohorts could be filled with Germans; with money, slaves and serfs
could be settled upon the Italian fields; and for the last century,
before the great inroads began, one chief problem of the imperial
administration was the regulation of the inflow of new blood from
without, lacking which the social system must have collapsed.

The later campaigns on the Rhine and the Danube were really slave-hunts
on a gigantic scale. Probus brought back sixteen thousand men from
Germany, “the bravest and most robust of their youth,” and distributed
them in knots of fifty or sixty among the legions. “Their aid was
now become necessary.... The infrequency of marriage, and the ruin
of agriculture, affected the principles of population; and not only
destroyed the strength of the present, but intercepted the hope of
future generations.”[61]

His importations of agricultural labour were much more considerable. In
a single settlement in Thrace, Probus established one hundred thousand
Bastarnæ; Constantius Chlorus is said to have made Gaul flourish by
the herds of slaves he distributed among the landlords; in 370, large
numbers of Alemanni were planted in the valley of the Po, and on the
vast spaces of the public domain there were barbarian villages where
the native language and customs were preserved.

Probably none of these Germans came as freemen. Many, of course,
were captives sold as slaves, but perhaps the majority were serfs.
Frequently a tribe, hard pressed by enemies, asked leave to pass
the frontier, and settle as tributaries, that is to say as _coloni_.
On one such occasion Constantius II. was nearly murdered. A body of
Limigantes, who had made a raid, surrendered, and petitioned to be
given lands at any distance, provided they might have protection. The
emperor was delighted at the prospect of such a harvest of labourers,
to say nothing of recruits, and went among them to receive their
submission. Seeing him alone, the barbarians attacked him, and he
escaped with difficulty. His troops slaughtered the Germans to the last

This unceasing emigration gradually changed the character of the
rural population, and a similar alteration took place in the army.
As early as the time of Cæsar, Italy was exhausted; his legions were
mainly raised in Gaul, and as the native farmers sank into serfdom or
slavery, and then at last vanished, recruits were drawn more and more
from beyond the limits of the Empire. At first they were taken singly,
afterwards in tribes and nations, so that, when Aëtius defeated Attila
at Châlons, the battle was fought by the Visigoths under Theodoric, and
the equipment of the Romans and Huns was so similar that when drawn up
the lines “presented the image of civil war.”

This military metamorphosis indicated the extinction of the martial
type, and it extended throughout society. Rome not only failed to
breed the common soldier, she also failed to produce generals. After
the first century, the change was marked. Trajan was a Spaniard,
Septimius Severus an African, Aurelian an Illyrian peasant, Diocletian
a Dalmatian slave, Constantius Chlorus a Dardanian noble, and the son
of Constantius, by a Dacian woman, was the great Constantine.

All these men were a peculiar species of military adventurer, for
they combined qualities which made them, not only effective chiefs
of police, but acceptable as heads of the civil bureaucracy, which
represented capital. Severus was the type, and Severus has never been
better described than by Machiavelli, who said he united the ferocity
of the lion to the cunning of the fox. This bureaucracy was the core
of the consolidated mass called the Empire; it was the embodiment of
money, the ultimate expression of force, and it recognized and advanced
men who were adapted to its needs. When such men were to be found, the
administration was thought good; but when no one precisely adapted for
the purple appeared, and an ordinary officer had to be hired to keep
the peace, friction was apt to follow, and the soldier, even though of
the highest ability, was often removed. Both Stilicho and Aëtius were

The monied oligarchy which formed this bureaucracy was a growth as
characteristic of the high centralization of the age, as a sacred
caste is characteristic of decentralization. Perhaps the capitalistic
class of the later Empire has been better understood and appreciated by
Fustel de Coulanges than by any other historian.

   “All the documents which show the spirit of the epoch show
    that this noblesse was as much honoured by the government as
    respected by the people.... It was from it that the imperial
    government chose ordinarily its high functionaries.”

These functionaries were not sought among the lower classes. The high
offices were not given as a reward of long and faithful service; they
belonged by prescriptive right to the great families. The Empire made
the wealthy, senators, prætors, consuls, and governors; all dignities,
except only the military, were practically hereditary in the opulent

   “This class is rich and the government is poor. This class is
    mistress of the larger part of the soil; it is in possession
    of the local dignities, of the administrative and judicial
    functions. The government has only the appearance of power, and
    an armed force which is continually diminishing....

   “The aristocracy had the land, the wealth, the distinction,
    the education, ordinarily the morality of existence; it did
    not know how to fight and to command. It withdrew itself from
    military service; more than that, it despised it. It was one of
    the characteristic signs of this society to have always placed
    the civil functions not on a level with, but much above, the
    grades of the army. It esteemed much the profession of the
    doctor, of the professor, of the advocate; it did not esteem
    that of the officer and the soldier, and left it to men of low

This supremacy of the economic instinct transformed all the relations
of life, the domestic as well as the military. The family ceased
to be a unit, the members of which cohered from the necessity of
self-defence, and became a business association. Marriage took the form
of a contract, dissoluble at the will of either party, and, as it was
somewhat costly, it grew rare. As with the drain of their bullion to
the East, which crushed their farmers, the Romans were conscious, as
Augustus said, that sterility must finally deliver their city into the
hand of the barbarians.[63] They knew this and they strove to avert
their fate, and there is little in history more impressive than the
impotence of the ancient civilization in its conflict with nature.
About the opening of the Christian era the State addressed itself
to the task. Probably in the year 4 A.D., the emperor succeeded in
obtaining the first legislation favouring marriage, and this enactment
not proving effective, it was supplemented by the famous Leges Julia
and Papia Poppæa of the year 9. In the spring, at the games, the
knights demanded the repeal of these laws, and then Augustus, having
called them to the Forum, made them the well-known speech, whose
violence now seems incredible. Those who were single were the worst
of criminals, they were murderers, they were impious, they were
destroyers of their race, they resembled brigands or wild beasts. He
asked the _equites_ if they expected men to start from the ground to
replace them, as in the fable; and declared in bitterness that while
the government liberated slaves for the sole purpose of keeping up the
number of citizens, the children of the Marcii, of the Fabii, of the
Valerii, and the Julii, let their names perish from the earth.[64]

In vain celibacy was made almost criminal. In vain celibates were
declared incapable of inheriting, while fathers were offered every
bribe, were preferred in appointments to office, were even given the
choice seats at games; in the words of Tacitus, “not for that did
marriage and children increase, for the advantages of childlessness
prevailed.”[65] All that was done was to breed a race of informers, and
to stimulate the lawyers to fresh chicane.[66]

When wealth became force, the female might be as strong as the male;
therefore she was emancipated. Through easy divorce she came to stand
on an equality with the man in the marriage contract. She controlled
her own property, because she could defend it; and as she had power,
she exercised political privileges. In the third century Julia Domna,
Julia Mamæa, Soæmias, and others, sat in the Senate, or conducted the

The evolution of this centralized society was as logical as every other
work of nature. When force reached the stage where it expressed itself
exclusively through money, the governing class ceased to be chosen
because they were valiant or eloquent, artistic, learned, or devout,
and were selected solely because they had the faculty of acquiring and
keeping wealth. As long as the weak retained enough vitality to produce
something which could be absorbed, this oligarchy was invincible; and
for very many years after the native peasantry of Gaul and Italy had
perished under the load, new blood injected from more tenacious races
kept the dying civilization alive.

The weakness of the monied class lay in their very power, for they not
only killed the producer, but in the strength of their acquisitiveness
they failed to propagate themselves. The State feigned to regard
marriage as a debt, and yet the opulent families died out. In the reign
of Augustus all but fifty of the patrician houses had become extinct,
and subsequently the emperor seemed destined to remain the universal
heir through bequests of the childless.

With the peasantry the case was worse. By the second century barbarian
labour had to be imported to till the fields, and even the barbarians
lacked the tenacity of life necessary to endure the strain. They ceased
to breed, and the population dwindled. Then, somewhat suddenly, the
collapse came. With shrinking numbers, the sources of wealth ran dry,
the revenue failed to pay the police, and on the efficiency of the
police the life of this unwarlike civilization hung.

In early ages every Roman had been a land-owner, and every land-owner
had been a soldier, serving without pay. To fight had been as essential
a part of life as to plough. But by the fourth century military service
had become commercial; the legions were as purely an expression of
money as the bureaucracy itself.

From the time of the Servian constitution downward, the change in the
army had kept pace with the acceleration of movement which caused the
economic competition that centralized the State. Rome owed her triumphs
over Hannibal and Pyrrhus to the valour of her infantry, rather than to
the genius of her generals; but from Marius the census ceased to be the
basis of recruitment, and the rich refused to serve in the ranks.

This was equivalent in itself to a social revolution; for, from the
moment when the wealthy succeeded in withdrawing themselves from
service, and the poor saw in it a trade, the citizen ceased to be a
soldier, and the soldier became a mercenary. From that time the army
could be used for “all purposes, provided that they could count on
their pay and their booty.”[67]

The administration of Augustus organized the permanent police, which
replaced the mercenaries of the civil wars, and this machine was the
greatest triumph and the crowning glory of capital. Dio Cassius has
described how the last vestige of an Italian army passed away. Up to
the time of Severus it had been customary to recruit the Prætorians
either from Italy itself, from Spain, Macedonia, or other neighbouring
countries, whose population had some affinity with that of Latium.
Severus, after the treachery of the guard to Pertinax, disbanded it,
and reorganized a corps selected from the bravest soldiers of the
legions. These men were a horde of barbarians, repulsive to Italians
in their habits, and terrible to look upon.[68] Thus a body of
wage-earners, drawn from the ends of the earth, was made cohesive by
money. For more than four hundred years this corps of hirelings crushed
revolt within the Empire, and regulated the injection of fresh blood
from without, with perfect promptitude and precision; nor did it fail
in its functions while the money which vitalized it lasted.

But a time came when the suction of the usurers so wasted the life
of the community that the stream of bullion ceased to flow from the
capital to the frontiers; then, as the sustaining force failed, the
line of troops along the Danube and the Rhine was drawn out until it
broke, and the barbarians poured in unchecked.

The so-called invasions were not conquests, for they were not
necessarily hostile; they were only the logical conclusion of a process
which had been going on since Trajan. When the power to control the
German emigration decayed, it flowed freely into the provinces.

By the year 400 disintegration was far advanced; the Empire was
crumbling, not because it was corrupt or degenerate, but because the
most martial and energetic race the world had ever seen had been so
thoroughly exterminated by men of the economic type of mind, that petty
bands of sorry adventurers might rove whither they would, on what had
once been Roman soil, without meeting an enemy capable of facing them,
save other adventurers like themselves. Goths, not Romans, defeated
Attila at Châlons.

The Vandals, who, in the course of twenty years, wandered from the Elbe
to the Atlas, were not a nation, not an army, not even a tribe, but a
motley horde of northern barbarians, ruined provincials, and escaped
slaves--a rabble whom Cæsar’s legions would have scattered like chaff,
had they been as many as the sands of the shore; and yet when Genseric
routed Boniface and sacked Carthage, in 439, he led barely fifty
thousand fighting men.



Probably the appreciation of the Roman monetary standard culminated
during the invasion of the Huns toward the middle of the fifth century.
In the reign of Valentinian III. gold sold for eighteen times its
weight of silver, and Valentinian’s final catastrophe was the murder of
Aëtius in 454, with whose life the last spark of vitality at the heart
of Roman centralization died. The rise of Ricimer and the accession
of Odoacer, mark the successive steps by which Italy receded into
barbarism, and, in the time of Theoderic the Ostrogoth, she had become
a primitive, decentralized community, whose poverty and sluggishness
protected her from African and Asiatic competition. The Ostrogoths
subdued Italy in 493, and by that date the barbarians had overrun
the whole civilized world west of the Adriatic, causing the demand
for money to sustain a consolidated society to cease, the volume of
trade to shrink, the market for eastern wares to contract, and gold to
accumulate at the centre of exchanges. As gold accumulated, its value
fell, and during the first years of the sixth century it stood at a
ratio to silver of less than fifteen to one, a decline of eighteen per
cent.[69] As prices correspondingly rose, the pressure on the peasantry
relaxed, prosperity at Constantinople returned, and the collapse of the
Western Empire may have prolonged the life of the European population
of the Eastern for above one hundred and fifty years. The city which
Constantine planted in 324 on the shore of the Bosphorus, was in
reality a horde of Roman capitalists washed to the confines of Asia
by the current of foreign exchanges; and these emigrants carried with
them, to a land of mixed Greek and barbarian blood, their language and
their customs. For many years these monied potentates ruled their new
country absolutely. All that legislation could do for them was done.
They even annexed rations to their estates, to be supplied at the
public cost, to help their children maintain their palaces. As long as
prices fell, nothing availed; the aristocracy grew poorer day by day.
Their property lay generally in land, and the same stringency which
wasted Italy and Gaul operated, though perhaps less acutely, upon the
Danubian peasantry also. By the middle of the fifth century the country
was exhausted and at the mercy of the Huns.

Wealth is the weapon of a monied society; for, though itself lacking
the martial instinct, it can, with money, hire soldiers to defend it.
But to raise a revenue from the people, they must retain a certain
surplus of income after providing for subsistence, otherwise the
government must trench on the supply of daily food, and exhaustion must
supervene. Finlay has explained that chronic exhaustion was the normal
condition of Byzantium under the Romans.

“The whole surplus profits of society were annually drawn into the
coffers of the State, leaving the inhabitants only a bare sufficiency
for perpetuating the race of tax-payers. History, indeed, shows that
the agricultural classes, from the labourer to the landlord, were
unable to retain possession of the savings required to replace that
depreciation which time is constantly producing in all vested capital,
and that their numbers gradually diminished.”[70]

Under Theodosius II., when gold reached its maximum, complete
prostration prevailed. The Huns marched whither they would, and
one swarm “of barbarians followed another, as long as anything was
left to plunder.” The government could no longer keep armies in the
field. A single example will show how low the community had fallen.
In 446, Attila demanded of Theodosius six thousand pounds of gold
as a condition of peace, and certainly six thousand pounds of gold,
equalling perhaps $1,370,000, was a small sum, even when measured by
the standard of private wealth. The end of the third century was not a
prosperous period in Italy, and yet before his election as emperor in
275, the fortune of Tacitus reached 280,000,000 sesterces, or upwards
of $11,000,000.[71] Nevertheless Theodosius was unable to wring this
inconsiderable indemnity from the people, and he had to levy a private
assessment on the senators, who were themselves so poor that to pay
they sold at auction the jewels of their wives and the furniture of
their houses.

Almost immediately after the collapse of the Western Empire the tide
turned. With the fall in the price of gold the peasantry revived and
the Greek provinces flourished. In the reign of Justinian, Belisarius
and Narses marched from end to end of Africa and Europe, and Anastasius
rolled in wealth.

Anastasius, the contemporary of Theoderic, acceded to the throne in
491. He not only built the famous long wall from the Propontis to the
Euxine, and left behind him a treasure of three hundred and twenty
thousand pounds of gold, but he remitted to his subjects the most
oppressive of their taxes, and the reign of Justinian, who succeeded
him at an interval of only ten years, must always rank as the prime
of the Byzantine civilization. The observation is not new, it has been
made by all students of Byzantine history.

“The increased prosperity ... infused into society soon displayed its
effects; and the brilliant exploits of the reign of Justinian must
be traced back to the reinvigoration of the body politic of the Roman
Empire by Anastasius.”[72]

Justinian inherited the throne from his uncle Justin, a Dardanian
peasant, who could neither read nor write. But the barbarian shepherd
was a thorough soldier, and the army he left behind him was probably
not inferior to the legions of Titus or Trajan. At all events, had
Justinian’s funds sufficed, there seems reason to suppose he might
have restored the boundaries of the Empire. His difficulty lay not in
lack of physical force, but in dearth of opulent enemies; in the sixth
century conquest had ceased to be profitable. The territory open to
invasion had been harried for generations, and hardly a country was to
be found rich enough to repay the cost of a campaign by mercenaries.
Therefore, the more the emperor extended his dominions, the more they
languished; and finally to provide for wars, barbarian subsidies, and
building, Justinian had to resort to over-taxation. With renewed want
came renewed decay, and perhaps the completion of Saint Sophia, in
558, may be taken as the point whence the race which conceived this
masterpiece hastened to its extinction.

In the seventh century Asiatic competition devoured the Europeans
in the Levant, as three hundred years before it had devoured the
husbandmen of Italy; and this was a disease which isolation alone
could cure. But isolation of the centre of exchanges was impossible,
for the vital principle of an economic age is competition, and,
when the relief afforded by the collapse of Rome had been exhausted,
competition did its work with relentless rapidity. Under Heraclius
(610–640) the population sank fast, and by 717 the western blood
had run so low that an Asiatic dynasty reigned supreme. Everywhere
Greeks and Romans vanished before Armenians and Slavs, and for years
previous to the accession of Leo the Isaurian the great waste tracts
where they once lived were systematically repeopled by a more enduring
race. The colonists of Justinian II. furnished him an auxiliary army.
At Justinian’s death in 711 the revolution had been completed; the
population had been renovated, and Constantinople had become an Asiatic
city.[73] The new aristocracy was Armenian, as strong an economic
type as ever existed in western Asia; while the Slavic peasantry
which underlay them were among the most enduring of mankind. There
competition ended, for it could go no further; and, apparently, from
the accession of Leo in 717, to the rise of Florence and Venice, three
hundred and fifty years later, Byzantine society, in fixity, almost
resembled the Chinese. Such movement as occurred, like Iconoclasm, came
from the friction of the migrating races with the old population. As
Texier has observed of architecture: “From the time of Justinian until
the end of the Empire we cannot remark a single change in the modes of

Only long after, when the money which sustained it was diverted toward
Italy during the crusades, did the social fabric crumble; and Gibbon
has declared that the third quarter of the tenth century “forms the
most splendid period of the Byzantine annals.”[75]

The later Byzantine was an economic civilization, without aspiration
or imagination, and perhaps the most vivid description which has
survived of that ostentatious, sordid, cowardly, and stagnant race, is
the little sketch of the Jew, Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled to the
Levant in 1173.

Benjamin called the inhabitants of Constantinople Greeks, because
of their language, and he described the city as a vast commercial
metropolis, “common to all the world, without distinction of country
or religion.” Merchants from the East and West flocked thither--from
Babylon, Mesopotamia, Media, and Persia, as well as from Egypt,
Hungary, Russia, Lombardy, and Spain. The rabbi thought the people well
educated and social, liking to eat and drink, “every man under his vine
and under his fig tree.” They loved gold and jewels, pompous display,
and gorgeous ceremonial; and the Jew has dwelt with delight on the
palace, with its columns of gold and silver, and the wonderful crown so
studded with gems that it lighted the night without a lamp. The Greeks
also roused his enthusiasm for the splendour of their clothes and
of their horses’ trappings, for when they went abroad they resembled
princes; but on the other hand, he remarked with a certain scorn, that
they were utterly cowardly, and, like women, had to hire men to protect

   “The Greeks who inhabit the country are extremely rich and
    possess great wealth of gold and precious stones. They dress
    in garments of silk, ornamented by gold and other valuable
    materials.... Nothing upon earth equals their wealth.”

   “The Greeks hire soldiers of all nations whom they call
    barbarians, for the purpose of carrying on ... wars with ...
    the Turks.” “They have no martial spirit themselves and like
    women are unfit for war.”[76]

The movement of races in the Eastern Empire proceeded with automatic
regularity. The cheaper organism exterminated the more costly, because
energy operated through money strongly enough to cause free economic
competition; nor is the evidence upon which this conclusion rests to
be drawn from books alone. Coinage and architecture, sculpture and
painting, tell the tale with equal precision.

When, in the fourth century, wealth, ebbing on the Tiber, floated to
the Bosphorus the core of the Latin aristocracy, it carried with it
also the Latin coinage. For several generations this coinage underwent
little apparent alteration, but after the final division of the Empire,
in 395, between the sons of Theodosius, a subtle change began in the
composition of the ruling class; a change reflected from generation
to generation in the issues of their mints. Sabatier has described the
transformation wrought in eight hundred years with the minuteness of an

If a set of Byzantine coins are arranged in chronological order, those
of Anastasius, about 500, show at a glance an influence which is not
Latin. Strange devices have appeared on the reverse, together with
Greek letters. A century later, when the great decline was in progress
under Heraclius, the type had become barbarous, and the prevalence of
Greek inscriptions proves the steady exhaustion of the Roman blood.
Another fifty years, and by 690, under Justinian II., the permanent
and conventional phase had been developed. Religious emblems were
used; the head of Christ was struck on the golden son, and fixity
of form presaged the Asiatic domination. The official costumes, the
portraits of the emperors, certain consecrated inscriptions, all were
changeless; and in 717, an Armenian dynasty ascended the throne in
the person of Leo the Isaurian.[77] This motionless period lasted for
full three hundred and fifty years, as long as the exchanges of the
world centred at Byzantium, and the monied race who dwelt there sucked
copious nutriment from the pool of wealth in which it lay. But even
before the crusades the tide of trade began to flow to the south, and
quitting Constantinople passed directly from Bagdad to the cities of
Italy. Then the sustenance of the money-changers gradually failed. From
the reign of Michael VI. effigies of the saints were engraved upon the
coin, and after the revolution led by Alexius Comnenus, in 1081, the
execution degenerated and debasement began. This revolution marked the
beginning of the end. Immediately preceding the crusades, and attended
by sharp distress, it was probably engendered by an alteration in the
drift of foreign exchanges. Certainly the currency contracted sharply,
and the gold money soon became so bad that Alexius had to stipulate to
pay his debts in the byzants of his predecessor Michael.[78] For the
next hundred years, as the Italian cities rose, the Empire languished,
and with the thirteenth century, when Venice established its permanent
silver standard by coining the “grosso,” Constantinople crumbled into

In architecture the same phenomena appear, only differently clothed.
Though the Germans, who swarmed across the Danube, often surged against
the walls of Constantinople, they never became the ruling class of the
community, because they were of the imaginative type. Money retained
its supremacy, and while it did so energy expressed itself through the
economic mind. Though Justinian was of barbarian blood, the nephew
of a barbarian shepherd, the aristocracy about him, which formed
the core of society, was neither imaginative nor devotional. Hardly
Christian, it tended toward paganism or scepticism. The artists were
of the subject caste, and they earned their living by gratifying the
tastes of the nobles; but the nobles loved magnificence and gorgeous
functions; hence all Byzantine architecture favoured display, and
nowhere more so than in Saint Sophia. “Art delighted in representing
Christ in all the splendour of power.... To glorify him the more all
the magnificence of the imperial court was introduced into heaven....
Christ no longer appeared under the benevolent aspect of the good
shepherd, but in the superb guise of an oriental monarch: he is seated
on a throne glittering with gold and precious stones.”[79] Here then
lay the impassable gulf between Byzantium and Paris; while Byzantium
remained economic and materialistic, Paris passed into the glory of an
imaginative age.

The Germans who overran the Roman territory were of the same race
as the Greeks, the Latins, or the Gauls, but in a different stage
of development. They tilled farms and built villages and perhaps
fortresses, but they were not consolidated, and had neither nations
nor federations. They were substantially in the condition in which the
common family had been, when it divided many centuries before, and
their minds differed radically from the minds of the inhabitants of
the countries beyond the Danube and the Rhine. They were infinitely
more imaginative, and, as the flood of emigration poured down from the
north, the imagination came more and more to prevail.

Although the lowest of existing savages are relatively advanced, they
suggest that the strongest passion of primeval man must have been fear;
and fear, not so much of living things, as of nature, which seemed to
him resolutely hostile. Against wild beasts, or savages like himself,
he might prevail by cunning or by strength; but against drought and
famine, pestilence and earthquake, he was helpless, and he regarded
these scourges as malevolent beings, made like himself, only more
formidable. His first and most pressing task was to mollify them, and
above the warrior class rose the sacred caste, whose function was to
mediate between the visible and the invisible world.

Originally these intercessors appear to have been sorcerers, rather
than priests, for spirits were believed to be hostile to man; and
perhaps the first conception of a god may have been reached through
the victory of a clan of sorcerers in fight. As Statius said eighteen
hundred years ago, “Primus in orbe deos fecit timor.”[80] Probably the
early wizards won their power by the discovery of natural secrets,
which, though they could be transmitted to their descendants, might
also be discovered by strangers. The later discoverers would become
rival medicine men, and battle would be the only test by which the
orthodoxy of the competitors could be determined. The victors would
almost certainly stigmatize the beings the vanquished served, as
devils who tormented men. There is an example of this process in the
eighteenth chapter of 1 Kings:--

“And Elijah ... said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the
Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people
answered him not a word.”

Then Elijah proposed that each side should dress a bullock, and lay it
on wood, and call upon their spirit; and the one who sent down fire
should be God. And all the people answered that it was well spoken.
And Jezebel’s prophets took their bullock and dressed it, and called
on “Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us!” But
nothing came of it.

Then Elijah mocked them, “and said, Cry aloud: ... either he is
talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he
sleepeth, and must be awaked.”

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves with knives till “blood gushed
out upon them. And ... there was neither voice, nor any to answer.”
Then Elijah built his altar, and cut up his bullock and laid him on
wood, and poured twelve barrels of water over the whole, and filled a
trench with water.

And “the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and
the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that
was in the trench.

“And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they
said, The Lord, he is the God.

“And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of
them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the
brook Kishon, and slew them there.”

The Germans of the fourth century were a very simple race, who
comprehended little of natural laws, and who therefore referred
phenomena they did not understand to supernatural intervention.
This intervention could only be controlled by priests, and thus the
invasions caused a rapid rise in the influence of the sacred class.
The power of every ecclesiastical organization has always rested on
the miracle, and the clergy have always proved their divine commission
as did Elijah. This was eminently the case with the mediæval Church.
At the outset Christianity was socialistic, and its spread among the
poor was apparently caused by the pressure of competition; for the
sect only became of enough importance to be persecuted under Nero,
contemporaneously with the first signs of distress which appeared
through the debasement of the denarius. But socialism was only a
passing phase, and disappeared as the money value of the miracle rose,
and brought wealth to the Church. Under the Emperor Decius, about
250, the magistrates thought the Christians opulent enough to use gold
and silver vessels in their service, and, by the fourth century, the
supernatural so possessed the popular mind, that Constantine not only
allowed himself to be converted by a miracle, but used enchantment as
an engine of war.

In one of his marches, he encouraged the belief that he saw a luminous
cross in the sky, with the words “By this conquer.” The next night
Christ appeared to him, and directed him to construct a standard
bearing the same design, and, armed with this, to advance with
confidence against Maxentius.

The legend, preserved by Eusebius, grew up after the event; but, for
that very reason, it reflects the feeling of the age. The imagination
of his men had grown so vivid that, whether he believed or not,
Constantine found it expedient to use the Labarum as a charm to ensure
victory. The standard supported a cross and a mystic monogram; the
army believed its guards to be invulnerable, and in his last and most
critical campaign against Licinius, the sight of the talisman not only
excited his own troops to enthusiasm, but spread dismay through the

The action of the Milvian Bridge, fought in 312, by which Constantine
established himself at Rome, was probably the point whence nature began
to discriminate decisively against the monied type in Western Europe.
Capital had already abandoned Italy; Christianity was soon after
officially recognized, and during the next century the priest began to
rank with the soldier as a force in war.

Meanwhile, as the population sank into exhaustion, it yielded less and
less revenue, the police deteriorated, and the guards became unable
to protect the frontier. In 376, the Goths, hard pressed by the Huns,
came to the Danube and implored to be taken as subjects by the emperor.
After mature deliberation, the Council of Valens granted the prayer,
and some five hundred thousand Germans were cantoned in Mœsia. The
intention of the government was to scatter this multitude through
the provinces as coloni, or to draft them into the legions; but the
detachment detailed to handle them was too feeble, the Goths mutinied,
cut the guard to pieces, and having ravaged Thrace for two years,
defeated and killed Valens at Hadrianople. In another generation the
disorganization of the Roman army had become complete, and Alaric gave
it its deathblow in his campaign of 410.

Alaric was not a Gothic king, but a barbarian deserter, who, in 392,
was in the service of Theodosius. Subsequently, he sometimes held
imperial commands, and sometimes led bands of marauders on his own
account, but was always in difficulty about his pay. Finally, in the
revolution in which Stilicho was murdered, a corps of auxiliaries
mutinied and chose him their general. Alleging that his arrears were
unpaid, Alaric accepted the command, and with this army sacked Rome.

During the campaign the attitude of the Christians was more interesting
than the strategy of the soldiers. Alaric was a robber, leading
mutineers, and yet the orthodox historians did not condemn him. They
did not condemn him because the sacred class instinctively loved the
barbarians whom they could overawe, whereas they could make little
impression on the materialistic intellect of the old centralized
society. Under the Empire the priests, like all other individuals, had
to obey the power which paid the police; and as long as a revenue could
be drawn from the provinces, the Christian hierarchy were subordinate
to the monied bureaucracy who had the means to coerce them.

   “It was long since established, as a fundamental maxim of the
    Roman constitution, that every rank of citizens were alike
    subject to the laws, and that the care of religion was the
    right as well as duty of the civil magistrate.”[81]

Their conversion made little change in the attitude of the emperors,
and Constantine and his successors continued to exercise a supreme
jurisdiction over the hierarchy. The sixteenth book of the Theodosian
Code sufficiently sets forth the plenitude of their authority. In
theory, bishops were elected by the clergy and the people, but in
practice the emperor could control the patronage if it were valuable;
and whether bishops were elected or appointed, as long as they were
created and paid by laymen, they were dependent. The priesthood could
only become autocratic when fear of the miracle exempted them from
arrest; and toward the middle of the fifth century this point was
approaching, as appears by the effect of the embassy of Leo the Great
to Attila.

In 452 the Huns had crossed the Alps and had sacked Aquileia. The Roman
army was demoralized; Aëtius could not make head against the barbarians
in the field; while Valentinian was so panic-stricken that he abandoned
Ravenna, which was thought impregnable, and retreated to the capital,
which was indefensible. At Rome, finding himself helpless in an open
city, the emperor conceived the idea of invoking the power of the
supernatural. He proposed to Leo to visit Attila and persuade him to
spare the town. The pope consented without hesitation, and with perfect
intrepidity caused himself to be carried to the Hun’s tent, where he
met with respect not unalloyed by fear. The legend probably reflects
pretty accurately the feeling of the time. As the bishop stood before
the king, Peter and Paul appeared on either side, menacing Attila
with flaming swords; and though this particular form of apparition may
be doubted, Attila seems beyond question to have been oppressed by a
belief that he would not long survive the capture of Rome. He therefore
readily agreed to accept a ransom and evacuate Italy.

From the scientific standpoint the saint and the sorcerer are akin;
for though the saint uses the supernatural for man’s benefit, and
the sorcerer for his hurt, both deal in magic. The mediæval saint was
a powerful necromancer. He healed the sick, cast out devils, raised
the dead, foretold the future, put out fires, found stolen property,
brought rain, saved from shipwreck, routed the enemy, cured headache,
was sovereign in child-birth, and, indeed, could do almost anything
that was asked of him, whether he were alive or dead. This power was
believed to lie in some occult property of the flesh, which passed by
contact. The woman in the Bible said, “If I may touch but his clothes,
I shall be whole.” Moreover, this fluid was a substance whose passage
could be felt, for “Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue
had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who
touched my clothes?”[82]

Anything which came in contact with the saint was likely to have been
impregnated with this magical quality, and thus became a charm, or
relic, whose value depended primarily on the power of the man himself,
and secondly, on the thoroughness with which the material had been

The tomb, which held the whole body, naturally stood highest; then
parts of the body, according to their importance--a head, an arm, a
leg, down to hairs of the beard. Then came hats, boots, girdles, cups,
anything indeed which had been used. The very ground on which a great
miracle-worker had stood might have high value.

The Holy Grail, which had held Christ’s blood, would cure wounds,
raise the dead, and fill itself with choice food, at the command of
the owner. The eucharist, though not properly a relic, and which only
became God through an incantation, would, in expert hands, stop fires,
cure disease, cast out devils, expound philosophy, and detect perjury
by choking the liar.

Every prize in life was to be obtained by this kind of magic. When the
kings of France made war, they carried with them the enchanted banner
of Saint Denis, and Froissart has told how even in the reign of Charles
VI. it decided the battle of Roosebeke.[83]

Disease was treated altogether by miracle, and the Church found
the business so profitable that she anathematized experimental
practitioners. In the thirteenth century Saint Thomas of Canterbury and
Saint James of Compostello were among the most renowned of healers,
and their shrines blazed with the gifts of the greatest and richest
persons of Europe. When Philip Augustus lay very ill, Louis the Pious
obtained leave to visit the tomb of Saint Thomas, then in the height of
the fashion, and left as part of his fee the famous regal of France, a
jewel so magnificent that three centuries and a half later Henry VIII.
seized it and set it in a thumb ring. Beside this wonderful gem, at
the pillage of the Reformation, “the king’s receiver confessed that the
gold and silver and precious stones and sacred vestments taken away ...
filled six-and-twenty carts.”[84] The old books of travel are filled
with accounts of this marvellous shrine.

   “But the magnificence of the tomb of Saint Thomas the Martyr,
    Archbishop of Canterbury, is that which surpasses all belief.
    This, notwithstanding its great size, is entirely covered with
    plates of pure gold; but the gold is scarcely visible from the
    variety of precious stones with which it is studded, such as
    sapphires, diamonds, rubies, balas-rubies, and emeralds ...
    and agates, jaspers and cornelians set in relievo, some of the
    cameos being of such a size, that I do not dare to mention it;
    but everything is left far behind by a ruby, not larger than
    a man’s thumb-nail, which is set to the right of the altar....
    They say that it was the gift of a king of France.”[85]

But beside these shrines of world-wide reputation, no hamlet was too
remote to possess its local fetish, which worked at cheap rates for the
peasantry. A curious list of these was sent to the Government by two of
Cromwell’s visitors in the reign of Henry VIII.

The nuns of Saint Mary, at Derby, had part of the shirt of Saint
Thomas, reverenced by pregnant women; so was the girdle of Saint
Francis at Grace Dieu. At Repton, a pilgrimage was made to Saint
Guthlac and his bell, which was put on the head for headache. The
wimple of Saint Audrede was used for sore breasts, and the rod of Aaron
for children with worms. At Bury Saint Edmund’s, the shrine of Saint
Botulph was carried in procession when rain was needed, “and Kentish
men ... carry thence ... wax candles, which they light at the end of
the field while the wheat is sown, and hope from this that neither
tares nor other weeds will grow in the wheat that year.”[86] Most
curious of all, perhaps, at Pontefract, Thomas, Duke of Lancaster’s
belt and hat were venerated. They were believed to aid women in
child-birth, and also to cure headache.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, a great venerator of the eucharist, used it to
help him in his lectures. When treating of the dogma of the Supper at
the University of Paris, many questions were asked him which he never
answered without meditating at the foot of the altar. One day, when
preparing an answer to a very difficult question, he placed it on the
altar, and cried, “Lord, who really and veritably dwells in the Holy
Sacrament, hear my prayer. If what I have written upon your divine
eucharist be true, let it be given me to teach and demonstrate it. If I
am deceived, stop me from proposing doctrines contrary to the truth of
your divine Sacrament.” Forthwith the Lord appeared upon the altar, and
said to him, “You have written well upon the Sacrament of My body, and
you have answered the question which has been proposed to you as well
as human intelligence can fathom these mysteries.”[87]

Primitive people argue directly from themselves to their divinities,
and throughout the Middle Ages men believed that envy, jealousy, and
vanity were as rampant in heaven as on earth, and behaved accordingly.
The root of the monastic movement was the hope of obtaining advantages
by adulation.

   “A certain clerk, who had more confidence in the Mother than
    the Son, continually repeated the Ave Maria as his only prayer.
    One day, while so engaged, Christ appeared to him and said, ‘My
    mother thanks you very much for your salutations, ... _tamen et
    me salutare memento_.’”[88]

To insure perpetual intercession it was necessary that the song
of praise and the smoke of incense should be perpetual, and
therefore monks and nuns worked day and night at their calling. As a
twelfth-century bishop of Metz observed, when wakened one freezing
morning by the bell of Saint Peter of Bouillon tolling for matins:
“Neither the drowsiness of the night nor the bitterness of a glacial
winter [kept them] from praising the Creator of the world.”[89]

Bequests to convents were in the nature of policies of insurance in
favour of the grantor and his heirs, not only against punishment in
the next world, but against accident in this. On this point doubt is
impossible, for the belief of the donor is set forth in numberless
charters. Cedric de Guillac, in a deed to la Grande-Sauve, said that he
gave because “as water extinguishes fire, so gifts extinguish sin.”[90]
And an anecdote preserved by Dugdale, shows how valuable an investment
against accident a convent was thought to be as late as the thirteenth

When Ralph, Earl of Chester, the founder of the monastery of
Dieulacres, was returning by sea from the Holy Land, he was overtaken
one night by a sudden tempest. “How long is it till midnight?” he asked
of the sailors. They answered, “About two hours.” He said to them,
“Work on till midnight, and I trust in God that you may have help,
and that the storm will cease.” When it was near midnight the captain
said to the earl, “My lord, commend yourself to God, for the tempest
increases; we are worn out, and are in mortal peril.” Then Earl Ralph
came out of his cabin, and began to help with the ropes, and the rest
of the ship’s tackle; nor was it long before the storm subsided.

The next day, as they were sailing over a tranquil sea, the captain
said to the earl, “My lord, tell us, if you please, why you wished us
to work till the middle of the night, and then you worked harder than
all the rest.” To which he replied, “Because at midnight my monks, and
others, whom my ancestors and I have endowed in divers places, rise
and sing divine service, and then I have faith in their prayers, and
I believe that God, because of their prayers and intercessions, gave
me more fortitude than I had before, and made the storm cease as I

Philip Augustus, when caught in a gale in the Straits of Messina,
showed equal confidence in the matins of Clairvaux, and was also
rewarded for his faith by good weather towards morning.

The power of the imagination, when stimulated by the mystery which,
in an age of decentralization, shrouds the operations of nature,
can be measured by its effect in creating an autocratic class of
miracle-workers. Between the sixth and the thirteenth centuries, about
one-third of the soil of Europe passed into the hands of religious
corporations, while the bulk of the highest talent of the age sought
its outlet through monastic life.

The force operated on all; for, beside religious ecstasy, ambition and
fear were at work, and led to results inconceivable when centralization
has begot materialism. Saint Bernard’s position was more conspicuous
and splendid than that of any monarch of his generation, and the agony
of terror which assailed the warriors was usually proportionate to the
freedom with which they had violated ecclesiastical commands. They fled
to the cloister for protection from the fiend, and took their wealth
with them.

Gérard le Blanc was even more noted for his cruelty than for his
courage. He was returning to his castle one day, after having committed
a murder, when he saw the demon whom he served appear to claim him.
Seized with horror, he galloped to where six penitents had just founded
the convent of Afflighem, and supplicated them to receive him. The news
spread, and the whole province gave thanks to God that a monster of
cruelty should have been so converted.

A few days after, his example was followed by another knight, equally a
murderer, who had visited the recluses, and, touched by their piety and
austerity, resolved to renounce his patrimony and live a penitent.[92]

Had the German migrations been wars of extermination, as they have
sometimes been described, the imagination, among the new barbaric
population, might have been so stimulated that a pure theocracy would
have been developed between the time of Saint Benedict and Saint
Bernard. But the barbarians were not animated by hate; on the contrary,
they readily amalgamated with the old population, amongst whom the
materialism of Rome lay like a rock in a rising tide, sometimes
submerged, but never obliterated.

The obstacle which the true emotionalists never overcame was the
inheritance of a secular clergy, who, down to the eleventh century,
were generally married, and in the higher grades were rather barons
than prelates. In France the Archbishop of Rheims, the Bishops of
Beauvais, Noyon, Langres, and others, were counts; while in Germany
the Archbishops of Mayence, of Treves, and of Cologne were princes
and electors, standing on the same footing as the Dukes of Saxony and

As feudal nobles these ecclesiastics were retainers of the king, owed
feudal service, led their vassals in war, and some of the fiercest
soldiers of the Middle Ages were clerks. Milo of Treves was a famous
eighth-century bishop. Charles Martel gave the archbishopric of Rheims
to a warrior named Milo, who managed also to obtain the see of Treves.
This Milo was the son of Basinus, the last incumbent of the preferment.
He was a fierce and irreligious soldier, and was finally killed
hunting; but during the forty years in which he held his offices,
Boniface, with all the aid of the crown and the pope, was unable to
prevail against him, and in 752 Pope Zachary wrote advising that he
should be left to the divine vengeance.[93]

Such a system was incompatible with the supremacy of a theocracy.
The essence of a theocracy is freedom from secular control, and this
craving for freedom was the dominant instinct of monasticism. Saint
Anselm, perhaps the most perfect specimen of a monk, felt it in the
marrow of his bones; it was the master passion of his life, and he
insisted upon it with all the fire of his nature: “Nihil magis diligit
Deus in hoc mundo quam libertatem ecclesiæ suæ.... Liberam vult esse
Deus sponsam suam, non ancillam.”

Yet only very slowly, as the Empire disintegrated, did the theocratic
idea take shape. As late as the ninth century the pope prostrated
himself before Charlemagne, and did homage as to a Roman emperor.[94]

Saint Benedict founded Monte Cassino in 529, but centuries elapsed
before the Benedictine order rose to power. The early convents were
isolated and feeble, and much at the mercy of the laity, who invaded
and debauched them. Abbots, like bishops, were often soldiers, who
lived within the walls with their wives and children, their hawks,
their hounds, and their men-at-arms; and it has been said that, in all
France, Corbie and Fleury alone kept always something of their early

Only in the early years of the most lurid century of the Middle
Ages, when decentralization culminated, and the imagination began to
gain its fullest intensity, did the period of monastic consolidation
open with the foundation of Cluny. In 910 William of Aquitaine drew
a charter[95] which, so far as possible, provided for the complete
independence of his new corporation. There was no episcopal visitation,
and no interference with the election of the abbot. The monks were
put directly under the protection of the pope, who was made their
sole superior. John XI. confirmed this charter by his bull of 932, and
authorized the affiliation of all convents who wished to share in the

The growth of Cluny was marvellous; by the twelfth century two thousand
houses obeyed its rule, and its wealth was so great, and its buildings
so vast, that in 1245 Innocent IV., the Emperor Baldwin, and Saint
Louis were all lodged together within its walls, and with them all the
attendant trains of prelates and nobles with their servants.

In the eleventh century no other force of equal energy existed.
The monks were the most opulent, the ablest, and the best organized
society in Europe, and their effect upon mankind was proportioned
to their strength. They intuitively sought autocratic power, and
during the centuries when nature favoured them, they passed from
triumph to triumph. They first seized upon the papacy and made
it self-perpetuating; they then gave battle to the laity for the
possession of the secular hierarchy, which had been under temporal
control since the very foundation of the Church.

About the year 1000 Rome was in chaos. The Counts of Tusculum, who
had often disposed of the tiara, on the death of John XIX., bought it
for Benedict IX. Benedict was then a child of ten, but he grew worse
as he grew older, and finally he fell so low that he was expelled by
the people. He was succeeded by Sylvester; but, a few months after his
coronation, Benedict re-entered the city, and crowned John XX. with
his own hands. Shortly after, he assaulted the Vatican, and then three
popes reigned together in Rome. In this crisis Gregory VI. tried to
restore order by buying the papacy for himself; but the transaction
only added a fourth pope to the three already consecrated, and two
years later he was set aside by the Emperor Henry, who appointed his
own chancellor in his place.

It was a last triumph for the laity, but a triumph easier to win than
to sustain. When the soldier created the high priest of Christendom,
he did indeed inspire such terror that no man in the great assembly
dared protest; but in nine months Clement was dead, his successor lived
only twenty-four days, poisoned, as it was rumoured, by the perfidious
Italians; and when Henry sought a third pope among his prelates, he met
with general timidity to accept the post. Then the opportunity of the
monks came: they seized it, and with unerring instinct fixed themselves
upon the throne from which they have never been expelled. According to
the picturesque legend, Bruno, Bishop of Toul, seduced by the flattery
of courtiers and the allurements of ambition, accepted the tiara from
the emperor, and set out upon his journey to Italy with a splendid
retinue, and with his robe and crown. On his way he turned aside at
Cluny, where Hildebrand was prior. Hildebrand, filled with the spirit
of God, reproached him with having seized upon the seat of the vicar
of Christ by force, and accepted the holy office from the sacrilegious
hand of a layman. He exhorted Bruno to cast away his pomp, and to
cross the Alps humbly as a pilgrim, assuring him that the priests
and people of Rome would recognize him as their bishop, and elect him
according to canonical forms. Then he would taste the joys of a pure
conscience, having entered the fold of Christ as a shepherd and not as
a robber. Inspired by these words, Bruno dismissed his train, and left
the convent gate as a pilgrim. He walked barefoot, and when after two
months of pious meditations he stood before Saint Peter’s, he spoke to
the people and told them it was their privilege to elect the pope, and
since he had come unwillingly he would return again, were he not their

He was answered with acclamations, and on February 2, 1049, he was
enthroned as Leo IX. His first act was to make Hildebrand his minister.

The legend tells of the triumph of Cluny as no historical facts could
do. Ten years later, in the reign of Nicholas II., the theocracy made
itself self-perpetuating through the assumption of the election of
the pope by the college of cardinals, and in 1073 Hildebrand, the
incarnation of monasticism, was crowned under the name of Gregory VII.

With Hildebrand’s election, war began. The council of Rome, held
in 1075, decreed that holy orders should not be recognized where
investiture had been granted by a layman, and that princes guilty of
conferring investiture should be excommunicated. The council of the
next year, which excommunicated the emperor, also enunciated the famous
propositions of Baronius--the full expression of the theocratic idea:--

   “That the Roman pontiff alone can be called universal.

   “That he alone can depose or reconcile bishops.

   “That his legate, though of inferior rank, takes precedence
    of all bishops in council, and can pronounce sentence of
    deposition against them.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

   “That all princes should kiss the pope’s feet alone.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

   “That he may depose emperors.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

   “That his judgments can be overruled by none, and he alone can
    overrule the judgments of all.

   “That he can be judged by no one.

   “That the Roman Church never has, and never can err, as the
    Scriptures testify.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

   “That by his precept and permission it is lawful for subjects
    to accuse their princes.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

   “That he is able to absolve from their allegiance the subjects
    of the wicked.”[97]

The monks had won the papacy, but the emperor still held his secular
clergy, and, at the diet of Worms, where he undertook to depose
Hildebrand, he was sustained by his prelates. Without a moment of
hesitation the enchanter cast his spell, and it is interesting to
see, in the curse which he launched at the layman, how the head of
monasticism had become identified with the spirit which he served. The
priest had grown to be a god on earth.

   “So strong in this confidence, for the honour and defence
    of your Church, on behalf of the omnipotent God, the Father,
    the Son, and the Holy Ghost, by your power and authority, I
    forbid the government of the German and Italian kingdoms, to
    King Henry, the son of the Emperor Henry, who, with unheard-of
    arrogance, has rebelled against your Church. I absolve all
    Christians from the oaths they have made, or may make to him,
    and I forbid that any one should obey him as king.”[98]

Henry marched on Italy, but in all European history there has been
no drama more tremendous than the expiation of his sacrilege. To his
soldiers the world was a vast space, peopled by those fantastic beings
which are still seen on Gothic towers. These demons obeyed the monk of
Rome, and his army, melting from the emperor under a nameless horror,
left him helpless.

Gregory lay like a magician in the fortress of Canossa; but he had no
need of carnal weapons, for when the emperor reached the Alps he was
almost alone. Then his imagination also took fire, the panic seized
him, and he sued for mercy.

For three days long he stood barefoot in the snow at the castle gate;
and when at last he was admitted, half-naked and benumbed, he was
paralyzed rather by terror than by cold. Then the great miracle was
wrought, by which God was made to publicly judge between them.

Hildebrand took the consecrated wafer and broke it, saying to the
suppliant, “Man’s judgments are fallible, God’s are infallible; if I
am guilty of the crimes you charge me with, let Him strike me dead as I
eat.” He ate, and gave what remained to Henry; but though for him more
than life was at stake, he dared not taste the bread. From that hour
his fate was sealed. He underwent his penance and received absolution;
and when he had escaped from the terrible old man, he renewed the war.
But the spell was over him, the horror clung to him, even his sons
betrayed him, and at last his mind gave way under the strain and he
abdicated. In his own words, to save his life he “sent to Mayence the
crown, the sceptre, the cross, the sword, the lance.”

On August 7, 1106, Henry died at Liège, an outcast and a mendicant, and
for five long years his body lay at the church door, an accursed thing
which no man dared to bury.

Such was the evolution of the mediæval theocracy, the result of that
social disintegration which stimulates the human imagination, and
makes men cower before the unknown. The force which caused the rise
of an independent priesthood was the equivalent of magic, and it was
the waxing of this force through the dissolution of the Empire of the
West which made the schism which split Christendom in two. The Latin
Church divided from the Greek because it was the reflection of the
imaginative mind. While the West grew emotional, Constantinople stayed
the centre of exchanges, the seat of the monied class; and when Cluny
captured Rome, the antagonism between these irreconcilable instincts
precipitated a rupture. The schism dated from 1054, five years after
the coronation of Leo. Nor is the theory new; it was explained by
Gibbon long ago.

   “The rising majesty of Rome could no longer brook the insolence
    of a rebel; and Michael Cerularius was excommunicated in the
    heart of Constantinople by the pope’s legates....

   “From this thunderbolt we may date the consummation of the
    schism. It was enlarged by each ambitious step of the Roman
    pontiffs; the emperors blushed and trembled at the ignominious
    fate of their royal brethren of Germany; and the people were
    scandalized by the temporal power and military life of the
    Latin clergy.”[99]



Until the mechanical arts have advanced far enough to cause the attack
in war to predominate over the defence, centralization cannot begin;
for when a mud wall can stop an army, a police is impossible. The
superiority of the attack was the secret of the power of the monied
class who controlled Rome, because with money a machine could be
maintained which made individual resistance out of the question, and
revolt difficult. Titus had hardly more trouble in reducing Jerusalem,
and dispersing the Jews, than a modern officer would have under similar

As the barbarians overran the Roman provinces, and the arts declined,
the conditions of life changed. The defence gained steadily on the
attack, and, after some centuries, a town with a good garrison, solid
ramparts, and abundant provisions had nothing to fear from the greatest
king. Even the small, square Norman tower was practically impregnable.
As Viollet-le-Duc has explained, these towers were mere passive
defences, formidable to a besieger only because no machinery existed
for making a breach in a wall. The beleaguered nobles had only to watch
their own men, see to their doors, throw projectiles at the enemy if he
approached too near, counter-mine if mined, and they might defy a great
army until their food failed. Famine was the enemy most feared.[100]

By the eleventh century these towers had sprung up all over the West.
Even the convents and churches could be defended, and every such
stronghold was the seat of a count or baron, an abbot or bishop, who
was a sovereign because no one could coerce him, and who therefore
exercised all the rights of sovereignty, made war, dispensed justice,
and coined money. In France alone there were nearly two hundred mints
in the twelfth century.

Down to the close of the Merovingian dynasty the gold standard had
been maintained, and contraction had steadily gone on; but, for reasons
which are not understood, under the second race, the purchasing power
of bullion temporarily declined, and this expansion was probably one
chief cause of the prosperity of the reign of Charlemagne. Perhaps the
relief was due to the gradual restoration of silver to circulation,
for the coinage was then reformed, and the establishment of the silver
pound as the measure of value may be considered as the basis of all the
monetary systems of modern Europe.

The interval of prosperity was, however, brief; no permanent addition
was made to the stock of precious metals, and prices continued to fall,
as is demonstrated by the rapid deterioration of the currency. In this
second period of relapse disintegration reached its limit.

During the tenth and eleventh centuries the Northmen infested the
coasts of France, and sailed up the rivers burning and ravaging, as
far as Rouen and Orléans. Even the convents of Saint Martin of Tours
and Saint Germain des Près were sacked. The Mediterranean swarmed with
Saracenic corsairs, who took Fraxinetum, near Toulon, seized the passes
of the Alps, and levied toll on travel into Italy. The cannibalistic
Huns overran the Lower Danube, and closed the road to Constantinople.
Western Europe was cut off from the rest of the world. Commerce nearly
ceased--the roads were so bad and dangerous, and the sea so full of

The ancient stock of scientific knowledge was gradually forgotten, and
the imagination had full play. Upon philosophy the effect was decisive;
Christianity sank to a plane where it appealed more vividly to the
minds of the surrounding pagans than their own faiths, and conversion
then went on rapidly. In 912 Rollo of Normandy was baptized; the Danes,
Norwegians, Poles, and Russians followed; and in 997 Saint Stephen
ascended the throne of Hungary and reopened to Latin Christians the way
to the Sepulchre.

Perhaps the destiny of modern Europe has hinged upon the fact that
the Christian sacred places lay in Asia, and therefore the pilgrimage
brought the West into contact with the East. But the pilgrimage was
the effect of relic-worship, and relic-worship the vital principle of
monasticism. In these centuries of extreme credulity monasticism had
its strongest growth. A faculty for scientific study was abnormal, and
experimental knowledge was ascribed to sorcery. The monk Gerbert, who
became pope as Sylvester II., was probably the most remarkable man of
his generation. Though poor and of humble birth, he attracted so much
attention that he was sent to Spain, where he studied in the Moorish
schools at Barcelona and Cordova, and where he learned the rudiments of
mathematics and geography. His contemporaries were so bewildered by his
knowledge that they thought it due to magic, and told how he had been
seen flying home from Spain, borne on the back of the demon he served,
and loaded with the books he had stolen from the wizard, his master.
Sylvester died in 1003, but long afterwards anatomy was still condemned
by the Church, and four separate councils anathematized experimental
medicine, because it threatened to destroy the value of the shrines.
The ascendency of Cluny began with Saint Hugh, who was chosen abbot in
1049, the Year Leo’s election. The corporation then obtained control
of Rome, and in another twenty-five years was engaged in its desperate
struggle with the remains of the old secular police power. But though
Hildebrand crushed Henry, the ancient materialism was too deeply
imbedded to be eradicated in a single generation, and meanwhile the
imagination had been brought to an uncontrollable intensity. A new and
fiercer excitement seethed among the people--a vision of the conquest
of talismans so powerful as to make their owners sure of heaven and
absolute on earth.

The attraction of Palestine had been very early felt, for in 333 a
guide-book had been written, called the _Itinerary from Bordeaux to
Jerusalem_, which gave the route through the valley of the Danube,
together with an excellent account of the Holy Land. In those
days, before the barbaric inroads, the journey was safe enough; but
afterwards communication nearly ceased, and when Stephen was baptized
in 997, the relics of Jerusalem had all the excitement of novelty.
Europe glowed with enthusiasm. Sylvester proposed a crusade, and
Hildebrand declared he would rather risk his life for the holy places
“than rule the universe.”

Each year the throngs upon the road increased, convents sprang up along
the way to shelter the pilgrims, the whole population succoured and
venerated them, and by the time Cluny had seized the triple crown, they
left in veritable armies. Ingulf, secretary to William the Conqueror,
set out in 1064 with a band seven thousand strong.

In that age of faith no such mighty stimulant could inflame the human
brain as a march to Jerusalem. A crusade was no vulgar war for a
vulgar prize, but an alliance with the supernatural for the conquest
of talismans whose possession was tantamount to omnipotence. Urban’s
words at Clermont, when he first preached the holy war, have lost their
meaning now; but they burned like fire into the hearts of his hearers
then, for he promised them glory on earth and felicity in heaven, and
he spoke in substance thus: No longer do you attack a castle or a town,
but you undertake the conquest of the holy places. If you triumph, the
blessings of heaven and the kingdoms of the East will be your share; if
you fall, you will have the glory of dying where Christ died, and God
will not forget having seen you in His holy army.[101]

Urban told them “that under their general Jesus Christ ... they, the
Christian, the invincible army,” would march to certain victory. In
the eleventh century this language was no metaphor, for the Cluniac
monk spoke as the mouthpiece of a god who was there actually among
them, offering the cross he brought from the grave, and promising them
triumphs: not the common triumphs which may be won by man’s unaided
strength, but the transcendent glory which belongs to beings of another

So the crusaders rode out to fight, the originals of the fairy knights,
clad in impenetrable armour, mounted on miraculous horses, armed with
resistless swords, and bearing charmed lives.

Whole villages, even whole districts, were left deserted; land lost its
value; what could not be sold was abandoned; and the peasant, loaded
with his poor possessions, started on foot with his wife and children
in quest of the Sepulchre, so ignorant of the way that he mistook each
town upon the road for Zion. Whether he would or no, the noble had
to lead his vassals or be forsaken, and riding at their head with his
hawks and hounds, he journeyed towards that marvellous land of wealth
and splendour, where kingdoms waited the coming of the devoted knight
of God. Thus men, women, and children, princes and serfs, priests and
laymen, in a countless, motley throng, surged toward that mighty cross
and tomb whose possessor was raised above the limitations of the flesh.

The crusaders had no commissariat and no supply train, no engines of
attack, or other weapons than those in their hands, and the holy relics
they bore with them. There was no general, no common language, no
organization; and so over unknown roads, and through hostile peoples,
they wandered from the Rhine to the Bosphorus, and from the Bosphorus
to Syria.

These earlier crusades were armed migrations, not military invasions,
and had they met with a determined enemy, they must have been
annihilated; but it chanced that the Syrians and Egyptians were at
war, and the quarrel was so bitter that the caliph actually sought the
Christian alliance. Even under such circumstances the waste of life
was fabulous, and, had not Antioch been betrayed, the starving rabble
must have perished under its walls. At Jerusalem, also, the Franks were
reduced to the last extremity before they carried the town; and had it
not been for the arrival of a corps of Genoese engineers, who built
movable towers, they would have died miserably of hunger and thirst.
Nor was the coming of this reinforcement preconcerted. On the contrary,
the Italians accidentally lost their ships at Joppa, and, being left
without shelter, sought protection in the camp of the besiegers just in

So incapable were the crusaders of regular operations, that even
when the towers were finished and armed, the leaders did not know how
to fill the moat, and Raymond of Saint Gilles had nothing better to
propose than to offer a penny for every three stones thrown into the

On July 15, 1099, Jerusalem was stormed; almost exactly three years
after the march began. Eight days later Godfrey de Bouillon was elected
king, and then the invaders spread out over the strip of mountainous
country which borders the coast of Palestine and Syria, and the
chiefs built castles in the defiles of the hills, and bound themselves
together by a loose alliance against the common enemy.

The decentralization of the colony was almost incredible. The core of
the kingdom was the barony of Jerusalem, which extended only from the
Egyptian desert to a stream just north of Beyrout, and inland to the
Jordan and the spurs of the hills beyond the Dead Sea, and yet it was
divided into more than eighteen independent fiefs, whose lords had all
the rights of sovereignty, made war, administered justice, and coined

Beside these petty states, the ports were ceded to the Italian cities
whose fleets helped in the conquest. Venice, Genoa, and Pisa held
quarters in Ascalon, Joppa, Tyre, Acre, and Beyrout, which were
governed by consuls or viscounts, who wrangled with each other and with
the central government.

Such was the kingdom over which Godfrey reigned, but there were three
others like it which together made up the Frankish monarchy. To the
north of the barony of Jerusalem lay the county of Tripoli, and beyond
Tripoli, extending to Armenia, the principality of Antioch. To the east
of Antioch the county of Edessa stretched along the base of the Taurus
Mountains and spread out somewhat indefinitely beyond the Euphrates.

Thus on the north Edessa was the outwork of Christendom, while to the
south the castle of Karak, which commanded the caravan road between
Suez and Damascus, held a corresponding position among the hills to the
east of the Dead Sea.

Beyond the mountains the great plain sweeps away into Central Asia,
and in this plain the Franks never could maintain their footing. Their
failure to do so proved their ruin, for their position lay exposed to
attack from Damascus; and it was by operating from Damascus as a base
that Saladin succeeded in forcing the pass of Banias, and in cutting
the Latin possessions in two at the battle of Tiberias.

A considerable body of Europeans were thus driven in like a wedge
between Egypt and the Greek Empire, the two highest civilizations of
the Middle Ages, while in front lay the Syrian cities of the plain,
with whom the Christians were at permanent war. The contact was the
closest, the struggle for existence the sharpest, and the barbaric mind
received a stimulus not unlike the impulse Gaul received from Rome; for
the interval which separated the East from the West, at the beginning
of the twelfth century, was probably not less than that which divided
Italy from Gaul at the time of Cæsar.

When Godfrey de Bouillon took the cross, the Byzantine Empire was
already sinking. The Eastern trade which, for so many centuries, had
nourished its population, was beginning to flow directly from Asia
into Italy, and, as the economic aristocracy of the capital lost its
nutriment, it lost its energy. Apparently it fell in 1081, in the
revolution which raised Alexius Comuenus to the throne. Because Alexius
sacked Constantinople with a following of mongrel Greeks, Slavs, and
Bulgarians, he has been called the first Greek emperor, but in reality
the pure Greek blood had long since perished. The Byzantine population
at the end of the eleventh century was the lees of a multitude of
races,--a mixture of Slavs, Armenians, Jews, Thracians, and Greeks;
a residuum of the most tenacious organisms, after all that was higher
had disappeared. The army was a mixed horde of Huns, Arabs, Italians,
Britons, Franks; of all in short who could fight and were for sale,
while the Church was servile, the fancy dead, and art and literature
were redolent of decaying wealth.

Nevertheless, ever since the fall of Rome, Constantinople had been the
reservoir whence the West had drawn all its materialistic knowledge,
and therefore, it was during the centuries when the valley of the
Danube was closed, that the arts fell to their lowest ebb beyond the
Alps and Rhine. After pilgrimages began again in the reign of Stephen,
the Bosphorus lay once more in the path of travel, and as the returning
palmers spread over the West, a revival followed in their track; a
revival in which the spirit of Byzantium may yet be clearly read in the
architecture of Italy and France. Saint Mark is a feeble imitation of
Saint Sophia, while Viollet-le-Duc has described how long he hesitated
before he could decide whether the carving of Vézelay, Autun, and
Moissac was Greek or French; and has dwelt upon the laborious care with
which he pored over all the material, before he became convinced that
the stones were cut by artists trained at Cluny, who copied Byzantine

But the great gulf between the economic and the imaginative
development, separated the moribund Greek society from the
semi-childhood of the Franks; a chasm in its nature impassable because
caused by a difference of mind, and which is, perhaps, seen most
strikingly in religious architecture; for religious architecture,
though always embodying the highest poetical aspirations of every
civilization, yet had in the East and West diametrically opposite
points of departure.

Saint Sophia is pregnant with the spirit of the age of Justinian. There
was no attempt at mystery, or even solemnity, about the church, for the
mind of the architect was evidently fixed upon solving the problem of
providing the largest and lightest space possible, in which to display
the functions of a plutocratic court. His solution was brilliantly
successful. He enlarged the dome and diminished the supports, until,
nothing remaining to interrupt the view, it seemed as though the roof
had been suspended in the air. For his purpose the exterior had little
value, and he sacrificed it.

The conception of the architects of France was the converse of this,
for it was highly emotional. The gloom of the lofty vaults, dimly
lighted by the subdued splendour of the coloured windows, made the
interior of the Gothic cathedral the most mysterious and exciting
sanctuary for the celebration of the miracle which has ever been
conceived by man; while without, the doors and windows, the pinnacles
and buttresses, were covered with the terrific shapes of demons and the
majestic figures of saints, admonishing the laity of the danger lurking
abroad, and warning them to take refuge within.

But if the Greeks and the Franks had little affinity for each other,
the case was different with the Saracens, who were then in the full
vigour of their intellectual prime, and in the meridian of their
material splendour.

In the eleventh century, when Paris was still a cluster of huts
cowering for shelter on the islands of the Seine, and the palace of
the Duke of Normandy and King of England was the paltry White Tower of
London, Cairo was being adorned with those masterpieces which are still
the admiration of the world.

Prisse d’Avennes considered that, among the city gates the Bab-el-Nasr
stands first in “taste and style,” and the famous Bab-el-Zouilyeh is
of the same period. He also thought the mosque of Teyloun a “model of
elegance and grandeur,” and observed, when criticising the mosque of
the Sultan Hassan, built in 1356, that though imposing and beautiful,
it lacks the unity which is only found in the earlier Arabic monuments,
such as Teyloun.[104] Indeed, the signs are but too apparent that, from
the twelfth century, the instinct for form began to fail in Egypt, the
surest precursor of artistic decay.

The magnificence of the decoration and furnishing of the Arabic palaces
and houses has seldom been surpassed, and a few extracts from an
inventory of a sale of the collections of the Caliph Mostanser-Billah,
held in 1050, may give some idea of its gorgeousness.

    _Precious Stones._--A chest containing 7 _Mudds_ of emeralds;
    each of these worth at least 300,000 dynars, which makes in all
    at the lowest estimation, 36,000,000 francs.

    A necklace of precious stones worth about 80,000 dynars.

    Seven _Waïbah_ of magnificent pearls sent by the Emir of Mecca.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    _Glass._--Several chests, containing a large number of vases ...
    of the purest crystal, chased and plain.

    Other chests filled with precious vases of different materials.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    _Table Utensils._--A large number of gold dishes, enamelled or
    plain, in which were incrusted all sorts of colours, forming
    most varied designs.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    One hundred cups and other shapes, of bezoar-stone, on most of
    which was engraved the name of the Caliph Haroun-el-Raschid.

    Another cup which was 3 1⁄2 hands wide and one deep.

    _Different Articles._--Chests containing inkstands of different
    shapes, round or square, small or large, of gold or silver,
    sandal wood, aloe, ebony, ivory, and all kinds of woods,
    enriched with stones, gold and silver, or remarkable for beauty
    and elegance of workmanship.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    Twenty-eight enamel dishes inlaid with gold, which the Caliph
    Aziz had received as a present from the Greek emperor and each
    of which was valued at 3000 dynars.

    Chests filled with an enormous quantity of steel, china, and
    glass mirrors, ornamented with gold and silver filagree; some
    were bordered with stones, and had cornelian handles, and
    others precious stones. One of them had quite a long and thick
    handle of emeralds. These mirrors were enclosed in cases made
    of velvet or silk or most beautiful wood; their locks were of
    gold or silver.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    Four hundred large cases, ornamented with gold and filled with
    all sorts of jewels.

    Various silver household goods, and six thousand gold vases, in
    which were put narcissus or violets.

    Thirty-six thousand pieces of crystal, among them a box
    ornamented with figures in relief, weighing 17 roks.

    A large number of knives which, at the lowest price, were sold
    for 36,000 dynars.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    A turban enriched with precious stones, one of the most curious
    and valuable articles in the palace: it was said to be worth
    130,000 dynars. The stones which covered it, and whose weight
    was 17 roks, were divided between two chiefs, who both claimed
    it. One had in his share a ruby weighing 23 mitqâls, and in the
    share which fell to the other were 100 pearls each of which
    weighed 3 mitqâls. When the two generals were obliged to fly
    from Fostat, all these valuables were given up to pillage.

    A golden peacock enriched with the most valuable precious
    stones: the eyes were rubies, the feathers gilded enamel
    representing all the colours of peacock feathers.

    A cock of the same metal, with a comb of the largest rubies
    covered with pearls and other stones; the eyes also were made
    of rubies.

    A gazelle whose body was covered all over with pearls and the
    most precious stones; the stomach was white and composed of a
    series of pearls of the purest water.

    A sardonyx table, with conical feet of the same substance; it
    was large enough for several people to eat there at the same

    A garden, the soil made of chased and gilt silver and yellow
    earth. There were silver trees, with fruits made of precious

    A golden palm-tree enriched with superb pearls. It was in
    a golden chest and its fruit was made of precious stones
    representing dates in every stage of ripeness. This tree was of
    inestimable value.[105]

About the time the monk Gerbert was accused of sorcery because he
understood the elements of geometry, the Caliph Aziz-Billah founded the
university of Cairo, the greatest Mohammedan institution of learning.
This was two hundred years before the organization of the university
of Paris, and the lectures at the mosque of El-Azhar are said to have
been attended by twelve thousand students. Munk was of opinion that
Arabic philosophy reached its apogee with Averrhoës, who was born about
1120.[106] Certainly he was the last of a famous line which began at
Bagdad three centuries earlier; and Hauréau, in describing the great
period of Saint Thomas at Paris, dwelt upon the debt Western learning
owed to the Saracens.

The splendour of Haroun-al-Raschid is still proverbial. The tales of
his gold and silver, his silks and gems, almost surpass belief, and
even in his reign the mechanical arts were so advanced that he sent a
clock to Charlemagne.

Humboldt considered the Arabs as the founders of modern experimental
science, and they were relatively skilful chemists, for they understood
the composition of sulphuric and nitric acid, and of aqua regia,
beside the preparation of mercury and of various oxides of metals. As
physicians they were far in advance of Europe. While the Church healed
by miracles, and put experimental methods under her ban, the famous
Rhazes conducted the hospitals of Bagdad, and in the tenth century
wrote a work in ten books, which was printed at Venice as late as 15
10. Practitioners of all nations have used his treatise on small-pox
and measles; he introduced mild purgatives, invented the seton, and was
a remarkable anatomist. He died in 932.

William of Tyre stated that the Frankish nobles of Syria preferred
the native or Jewish doctors; and though Saladin sent his physician to
Richard, Richard never thought of sending an Englishman to Saladin when
afterwards attacked by illness.

Even as late as the middle of the thirteenth century little advance
seems to have been made in Europe, for one of the most curious
phenomena of the crusades was the improvement in the health of the
army of Saint Louis after it surrendered. During the campaign various
epidemics had been very fatal; but when the soldiers were subjected
to the sanitary regulations of the Egyptian medical staff, disease

The Arabs had a strong taste for mathematics, and were familiar with
most of the discoveries which have been attributed to astronomers of
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

As early as 1000 spherical trigonometry was in use, and Aboul-Hassan
wrote an excellent treatise on conic sections. In 833 the Caliph
El-Mamoun, having founded observatories at Bagdad and Damascus, caused
a degree to be measured on the plain of Palmyra. By the thirteenth
century the Arabic instruments were comparatively perfect. They had
the astrolabe, the gnomon, the sextant, and the mariner’s compass,
and Aboul-Wafa determined the third lunar variation six hundred years
before Tycho Brahe.

To enumerate all the improvements in agriculture and manufactures which
came from the mediæval pilgrimage would take a separate treatise. A
French savant thought of writing a book upon the flora of the crusades
alone. The mulberry and the silkworm were brought from Greece, the
maize from Turkey, the plum from Damascus, the eschalot from Ascalon,
and the windmills with which, down to the present century, corn was
ground, were one of the importations from the Levant.

It might almost be said that all the West knew of the arts was learned
on the road to the sepulchre. The Tyrians taught the Sicilians to
refine sugar, and the Venetians to make glass; Damascus steel was a
proverb, Damascus potters were the masters of the potters of France;
the silk, brocades, and carpets of Syria and Persia were in the twelfth
century what they have been down to the present day, at once the
admiration and despair of Western weavers, while there can be little
doubt that gunpowder was the invention of the chemists of the East.

All the evidence tends to prove that the ogive came from the
Levant, and without the ogive Gothic architecture could never have
developed.[107] Prior to the council of Clermont the pointed arch was
practically unknown west of the Adriatic; but the Arabs had long used
it, and it may still be seen in the ninth century mosque of Teyloun.

In Palestine the Franks were surrounded by Saracenic buildings, and
employed Saracenic masons, and the attention of Western architects
seems no sooner to have been drawn to the possibilities of the ogive,
than they saw in it the solution of those problems which had before
defied them. An arch formed by two intersecting segments of a circle
could be raised to any height from any base, and was perfectly adapted
to vaulting the parallelograms formed by the columns of the nave.
Therefore, contemporaneously with the building of the church of the
Holy Sepulchre, the period of transition between the Romanesque and the
Gothic opened in France. The two most important transition buildings
were the abbey of Saint Denis and the cathedral of Noyon, and, while
the Holy Sepulchre was dedicated in 1149, the abbey was completed in
1144, and the cathedral was begun almost immediately after.[108]

Thenceforward the movement was rapid, and before the year 1200,
Christian sacred architecture was culminating in those marvels of
beauty, the cathedrals of Paris, of Bourges, of Chartres, and of Le
Alans. Yet, though sacred architecture tells the story of the rise of
the imagination as nothing else can, if it be true that centralization
hinges on the preponderance of the attack in war, the surest way of
measuring the advance toward civilization of rude peoples must be by
military engineering.

In the eleventh century, north of the Alps, this science was
rudimentary, and nothing can be more impressive than to compare the
mighty ramparts of Constantinople with the small square tower which
William the Conqueror found ample for his needs in London.

When the crusaders were first confronted with the Greek and Arabic
works, they were helpless; nor were their difficulties altogether those
of ignorance. Such fortifications were excessively costly, and a feudal
State was poor because the central power had not the force to constrain
individuals to pay taxes. The kingdom of Jerusalem was in chronic

The life of the Latin colony in Syria, therefore, hung on the
development of some financial system which should make the
fortification of Palestine possible, and such a system grew up through
the operation of the imagination, though in an unusual manner.

Fetish worship drew a very large annual contribution from the
population in the shape of presents to propitiate the saints, and
one of the effects of the enthusiasm for the crusades was to build up
conventual societies in the Holy Land, which acted as standing armies.
The most famous of the military orders were the Knights of the Temple
and the Knights of Saint John. William of Tyre has left an interesting
description of the way in which the Temple came to be organized:--

   “As though the Lord God sends his grace there where he
    pleases, worthy knights, who were of the land beyond the sea,
    proposed to stay for ever in the service of Our Lord, and
    to live in common, like regular canons. In the hand of the
    patriarch they vowed chastity and obedience, and renounced all
    property.... The king and the other barons, the patriarch and
    other prelates of the Church, gave them funds to live on and
    to clothe themselves.... The first thing which was enjoined
    on them in pardon for their sins was to guard the roads by
    which the pilgrims passed, from robbers and thieves, who did
    great harm. This penance the patriarch and the other bishops
    enjoined. Nine years they remained thus in secular habit,
    wearing such garments as were given them by the knights and
    other good people, for the love of God. In the ninth a council
    was assembled in France in the city of Troyes. There were
    assembled the archbishops of Rheims and Sens and all their
    bishops. The bishop of Albano especially was there as papal
    legate, the abbots of Citeau and Clairvaux, and many other of
    the religious.

   “There were established the order and the rules by which they
    were to live as monks. Their habit was ordered to be white, by
    the authority of Pope Honorius and the patriarch of Jerusalem.
    This order had already existed nine years, as I have told
    you, and there were as yet only nine brothers, who lived from
    day to day on charity. From that time their numbers began to
    increase, and revenues and tenures were given them. In the time
    of Pope Etigenius it was ordered that they should have sewn
    upon their copes and on their robes a cross of red cloth, so
    that they should be known among all men.... From thence have
    their possessions so increased as you can see, that the order
    of the Temple is in the ascendant.... Hardly can you find on
    either side of the sea a Christian land where this order has
    not to-day houses and brethren, and great revenues.”[109]

The council of Troyes was held in 1128, and in the next fifty years,
in proportion as the feudal organization of the Latin kingdom decayed,
the military orders increased in wealth and power. The Hospital held
nineteen thousand manors in Europe, the Temple nine thousand, and each
manor could maintain a knight in the field.

At Paris the house of the Temple filled a whole quarter; its donjon was
one of the most superb buildings of the Middle Ages; at a later period,
when the corporation took to banking, it served as a place of deposit
for both public and private treasure, and in times of danger the king
himself was glad to take shelter within its walls.

The creation of this monastic standing army was evidently due to the
inferiority of the attack to the defence, which made the civil power
incapable of coercing the individual who refused to pay taxes. The
petty barons who built the castles throughout Palestine were too poor
to erect fortifications capable of resisting the superior engines used
in the East. Therefore the whole burden of the war was thrown upon the
Church, and in all modern history nothing is more wonderful than the
way in which this work was done.

Within fifty years after the conquest the feudal machinery was in
ruin, and the strategic points, one after another, passed into the
hands of the strongest force of the age, the force which was incarnate

The fortresses built by the monks were the ramparts of Christendom,
and among the remains which have survived the past, perhaps none are
more impressive than the huge castles of the crusaders in the gorges
of the Syrian mountains; nor do any show so clearly whence came the
rationalistic stimulus which revolutionized Europe, shattered the
Church, and brought in the economic society which has ruled Europe
since the Templars passed away.

Twenty-five miles due west of Homs, at the point where the Lebanon
melts into the Ansarieh range, the mountains open, and two passes
lead by easy descents to the sea. Through the southern runs the road
to Tripoli, through the northern that to Tortosa. Between them, on a
crag a thousand feet above the valleys, still stands the castle of the
Krak des Chevaliers, ceded by Count Raymond of Tripoli to the Hospital
in 1145. Towering above the plain it can be seen for miles, and no
description can give an idea of its gigantic size and power. Coucy and
Pierrefonds are among the largest fortresses of Europe, and yet Coucy
and Pierrefonds combined are no larger than the Krak.

Compared with it, the works then built in the West were toys, and
the engineering talent shown in its conception was equalled by the
magnificence of its masonry. The Byzantine system was adopted. A double
wall, the inner commanding the outer, with a moat between; and three
enormous towers rising from the moat, formed the donjon. There were
stone machicoulis and all the refinements of defence which appeared in
France under Saint Louis and his son, and a study of this stupendous
monument shows plainly whence Europeans drew their military instruction
for a century to come.

The Krak was the outwork dominating the plain where the Christians
never made their footing good, and stood at the apex of a triangle
of fortresses as remarkable as itself. From its ramparts the great
white tower of Chastel-Blanc can be seen, midway between the outpost
commanding the mountain passes and the base upon the sea held by the
Temple; and from that tower the troop of Templars rode to relieve
the knights of Saint John, on the day when the crusaders routed the
conqueror Nour-ed-Din, and cut his army to pieces as it fled toward the
Lake of Homs, which lies in the distance.

But the white tower is unlike the donjons of other lands, and bears the
imprint of the force which built it, for it is not a layman’s hold, but
a church, whose windows are cut in walls thirteen feet thick, whence
the dim light falls across the altar where the magicians wrought their

Within easy supporting distance lay Tortosa, a walled town, the outwork
of a donjon at least as strong as the Krak, and built with a perfection
of workmanship, and a beauty of masonry, which proves at once the
knowledge and the resources of the order. No monarch of the West could,
probably, at that time have undertaken so costly an enterprise, and
yet Tortosa was but one of four vast structures which lie within a few
miles of each other. The place was ceded to the Temple in 1183, just
at the beginning of the reign of Philip Augustus, before men dreamed of
the more important French fortifications.

At Margat, a day’s journey to the north, the Hospital had their
base upon the sea: a stronghold whose cost must have been fabulous,
for it is perched upon a crag high above the Mediterranean, and so
inaccessible that it is not easy to understand how the materials for
building were collected. Viollet-le-Duc, who was lost in admiration at
Coucy, declared that it was colossal enough to befit a race of giants,
and yet Coucy could have stood in the courtyard of Margat.

The Arabs, who were excellent engineers, deemed it a masterpiece, and
the Sultan Kalaoun could not endure the thought of injuring it. After
he had mined the great tower and was sure of victory, he proved to the
garrison his power to destroy it, in order to induce them to accept
most liberal terms of surrender, and let him have the prize. Perhaps
the best description ever given of the work is in a letter written by
the Sultan of Hamah to his vizier to announce its fall:

   “The devil himself had taken pleasure in consolidating its
    foundations. How many times have the Mussulmans tried to reach
    its towers and fallen down the precipices! Markab is unique,
    perched on the summit of a rock. It is accessible to relief,
    and inaccessible to attack. The eagle and the vulture alone can
    fly to its ramparts.”[110]



As the East was richer than the West, the Saracens were capable of a
higher centralization than the Franks, and although they were divided
amongst themselves at the close of the eleventh century, no long time
elapsed after the fall of Jerusalem before the consolidation began
which annihilated the Latin kingdom.

The Sultan of Persia made Zenghi governor of Mosul in 1127. Zenghi,
who was the first Atabek, was a commander and organizer of ability,
and with a soldier’s instinct struck where his enemy was vulnerable. He
first occupied Aleppo, Hamah, and Homs. He then achieved the triumph of
his life by the capture of Edessa. The next year he was murdered, and
was succeeded by his still more celebrated son, Nour-ed-Din, who made
Aleppo his capital, and devoted his life to completing the work his
father had begun.

After a series of brilliant campaigns, by a mixture of vigour and
address, Nour-ed-Din made himself master of Damascus, and, operating
thence as a base, he conquered Egypt, and occupied Cairo in 1169.
During the Egyptian war, a young emir, named Saladin, rose rapidly into
prominence. He was the nephew of the general in command, at whose death
the caliph made him vizier, because he thought him pliable. In this the
caliph was mistaken, for Saladin was a man of iron will and consummate
ability. William of Tyre even accused him of having murdered the last
Fatimite caliph with his own hands in order to cause the succession to
pass to Nour-ed-Din, and to seize on the substance of power himself, as
Nour-ed-Din’s representative.

Certainly he administered Egypt in his own interest, and not in
his master’s; so much so that Nour-ed-Din, having failed to obtain
obedience to his commands, had prepared to march against him in person,
when, on the eve of his departure, he died. Saladin then moved on
Damascus, and having defeated the army of El Melek, the heir to the
crown, at Hamah, he had himself declared Sultan of Egypt and Syria.

With a power so centralized the Franks would probably, under the best
circumstances, have been unable to cope. The weakness of the Christians
was radical, and arose from the exuberance of their imagination, which
caused them to proceed by miracles, or more correctly, by magical
formulas. An exalted imagination was the basis of the characters of
both Louis VII. and Saint Bernard, and the faith resulting therefrom
led to the defeat of the second crusade.

The Christian collapse began with the fall of Edessa, for the County of
Edessa was the extreme northeastern state of the Latin community, and
the key to the cities of the plain. When the first crusaders reached
Armenia, Baldwin, brother of Godfrey de Bouillon, conceived the idea of
carving a kingdom for himself out of the Christian country to the south
of the Taurus range. Taking with him such pilgrims as he could persuade
to go, he started from Mamistra, just north of the modern Alexandretta,
and marched east along the caravan road. Edessa lay sixteen hours’ ride
beyond the Euphrates, and he reached it in safety.

At this time, though Edessa still nominally formed part of the Greek
Empire, it was in reality independent, and was governed by an old man
named Theodore, who had originally been sent from Constantinople, but
who had gradually taken the position of a sovereign. The surrounding
country had been overrun by Moslems, and Theodore only maintained
himself by paying tribute. The people, therefore, were ready to welcome
any Frankish baron capable of defending them; and Baldwin, though a
needy adventurer, was an excellent officer, and well adapted to the

As he drew near, the townsmen went out to meet him, and escorted him to
the city in triumph, where he soon supplanted the old Theodore, whom
he probably murdered. He then became Count of Edessa, but he remained
in the country only two years, for in 1100 he was elected to succeed
his brother Godfrey. He was followed as Lord of Edessa by his cousin
Godfrey de Bourg, who, in his turn, was crowned King of Jerusalem in
1119, and the next count was de Bourg’s cousin, Joscelin de Courtney,
who had previously held as a fief the territory to the west of the
Euphrates. This Joscelin was one of the most renowned warriors who ever
came from France, and while he lived the frontier was well defended. So
high was his prowess that he earned the title of “the great,” in an age
when every man was a soldier, and in a country where arms were the only
path to fortune save the Church.

The story of his death is one of the most dramatic of that dramatic
time. As he stood beneath the wall of a Saracenic tower he had mined,
it suddenly fell and buried him in the ruins. He was taken out a
mangled mass to die, but, as he lay languishing, news came that the
Sultan of Iconium had laid siege to one of his castles near Tripoli.
Feeling that he could not sit his horse, he called his son and directed
him to collect his vassals and ride to the relief of the fortress. The
youth hesitated, fearing that the enemy were too numerous. Then the
old man, grieving to think of the fate of his people when he should
be gone, had himself slung in a litter between two horses, and marched
against the foe.

He had not gone far before he was met by a messenger, who told him
that when the Saracens heard the Lord of Courtney was upon the march,
they had raised the siege and fled. Then the wounded baron ordered his
litter to be set down upon the ground, and, stretching out his hands to
heaven, he thanked God who had so honoured him that his enemies dared
not abide his coming even when in the jaws of death, and died there
where he lay.

The second generation of Franks seems to have deteriorated through the
influence of the climate, but the character of the younger Joscelin
was not the sole cause of the disasters which overtook him. Probably
even his father could not permanently have made head against the forces
which were combining against him. The weakness of the Frankish kingdom
was inherent: it could not contend with enemies who were further
advanced upon the road toward consolidation. Had Western society been
enough centralized to have organized a force capable of collecting
taxes, and of enforcing obedience to a central administration, a
wage-earning army might have been maintained on the frontier. As
it was, concentration was impossible, and the scattered nobles were
crushed in detail.

Antioch was the nearest supporting point to Edessa, and, when Zenghi
made his attack, Raymond de Poitiers, one of the ablest soldiers of
his generation, was the reigning prince. But he was at feud with the
Courtneys; the king at Jerusalem could not force him to do his duty;
the other barons were too distant, even had they been well disposed;
and thus the key to the Christian position fell without a blow being
struck in its defence.

To that emotional generation the loss of Edessa seemed a reversal of
the laws of nature; a consequence not of bad organization but of divine
wrath. The invincible relics had suddenly refused to act, and the only
explanation which occurred to the men of the time was, that there must
have been neglect of the magical formulas.

Saint Bernard never doubted that God would fight if duly propitiated;
therefore all else must bend to the task of propitiation: “What think
ye, brethren? Is the hand of the Lord weakened, or unequal to the work
of defence, that he calls miserable worms to guard and restore his
heritage? Is he not able to send more than twelve legions of angels,
or, to speak truly, by word deliver his country?”[111]

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the soul of the second crusade, was born
at the castle of Fontaines, near Dijon, in 1091, so that his earliest
impressions must have been tinged by the emotional outburst which
followed the council of Clermont. The third son of noble parents, he
resembled his mother, who had the ecstatic temperament. While she lived
she tried to imitate the nuns, and at her death she was surrounded
by holy clerks, who sung with her while she could speak, and, when
articulation failed, watched her lips moving in praise to God.

From the outset, Bernard craved a monastic life, and when he grew
up insisted on dedicating himself to Heaven. His first success was
the conversion of his brothers, whom he carried with him to the
cloister, with the exception of the youngest, who was then a child.
As the brothers passed through the castle courtyard, on their way to
the convent, Guy, the eldest, said to the boy, who was playing there
with other children, “Well, Nivard, all our land is now yours.” “So
you will have heaven and I earth,” the child answered; “that is an
unequal division.” And a few years after he joined his brothers.[112]
The father and one daughter then were left alone, and at last they too
entered convents, where they died.

At twenty-two, when Bernard took his vows at Citeaux, his influence was
so strong that he carried with him thirty of his comrades, and mothers
are said to have hid their sons from him, and wives their husbands,
lest he should lure them away. He actually broke up so many homes that
the abandoned wives formed a nunnery, which afterward grew rich.

His abilities were so marked that his superiors singled him out,
when he had hardly finished his novitiate, to found a house in the
wilderness. This house became Clairvaux, in the twelfth century the
most famous monastery of the world.

In the Middle Ages, convents were little patronized until by some
miracle they had proved themselves worthy of hire; their early years
were often passed in poverty, and Clairvaux was no exception to the
rule, for the brethren suffered privations which nearly caused revolt.
In the midst of his difficulties, Bernard’s brother Gérard, who was
cellarer, came to him to complain that the fraternity were without
the barest necessities of life. The man of God asked, “How much will
suffice for present wants?” Gérard replied, “Twelve pounds.” Bernard
dismissed him and betook himself to prayer. Soon after Gérard returned
and announced that a woman was without and wished to speak with
him. “She, when he had come to her, prostrating herself at his feet,
offered him a gift of twelve pounds, imploring the aid of his prayers
for her husband, who was dangerously sick. Having briefly spoken with
her, he dismissed her, saying: ‘Go. You will find your husband well.’
She, going home, found what she had heard had come to pass. The abbot
comforting the weakness of his cellarer, made him stronger for bearing
other trials from God.”[113]

Although his family were somewhat sceptical about his gifts, and even
teased him to tears, the monk William tells, in his chronicle, how he
soon performed an astounding miracle which made Clairvaux a “veritable
valley of light,” and then wealth poured in upon him.

Meanwhile, his constitution, which had never been vigorous, had been so
impaired by his penances that he was unable to follow the monastic life
in its full rigour, and he therefore threw himself into politics, to
which he was led both by taste and by the current of events.

Clairvaux was founded in 1115, and fifteen years later Bernard had
risen high in his profession. The turning-point in his life was the
part he took in the recognition of Innocent II. In 1130, Honorius II.
died, and two popes were chosen by the college of cardinals, Anacletus
and Innocent II. Anacletus stayed in Rome, but Innocent crossed
the Alps, and a council was summoned at Étampes to decide upon his
title. By a unanimous vote the question was referred to Bernard, and
his biographer described how he examined the evidence with fear and
trembling, and how at last the Holy Ghost spoke through his mouth,
and he recognized Innocent. His decision was ratified, and soon after
he managed to obtain the adhesion of the King of England to the new

His success made him the foremost man in Europe, and when, in 1145, one
of his monks was raised to the papacy as Eugenius III., he wrote with
truth, “I am said to be more pope than you.”

Perhaps no one ever lived more highly gifted with the ecstatic
temperament than Saint Bernard. He had the mysterious attribute of
miracles, and, in the twelfth century, the miracle was, perhaps, the
highest expression of force. To work them was a personal gift, and the
possessor of the faculty might, at his caprice, use his power, like the
sorcerer, to aid or injure other men.

One day as Saint Bernard was on his way to a field at harvest time, the
monk who drove the donkey on which he rode, fell in an epileptic fit.
“Seeing which the holy man had pity on him, and entreated God that for
the future he would not seize him unaware.” Accordingly from that day
until his death, twenty years after, “whenever he was to fall from that
disease, he felt the fit coming for a certain space of time, so that he
had an opportunity to lie down on a bed, and so avert the bruises of a
sudden fall.”[114]

This cure was a pure act of grace, like alms, made to gratify the whim
of the saint; and a man who could so control nature was more powerful
than any other on earth. Bernard was such a man, and for this reason he
was chosen by acclamation to preach the second crusade.

His sermons have perished, but two of his letters have survived,[115]
and they explain the essential weakness of a military force raised on
the basis of supernatural intervention. He looked upon the approaching
campaign as merely the vehicle for a miracle, and as devised to offer
to those who entered on it a special chance for salvation. Therefore
he appealed to the criminal classes. “For what is it but an exquisite
and priceless chance of salvation due to God alone, that the Omnipotent
should deign to summon to his service, as though they were innocent,
murderers, ravishers, adulterers, perjurers, and those guilty of every

Even had an army composed of such material been well disciplined and
well led, it would have been untrustworthy in the face of an adversary
like Nour-ed-Din; but Louis VII. of France was as emotional and as
irrational as Saint Bernard. His father had been a great commander,
but he himself had been educated in the Abbey of Saint Denis, and
justified his wife’s scornful jest, who, when she left him for Raymond
de Poitiers, said she had married a monk. The whole world held him
lightly, even the priests sneered at him, and Innocent II. spoke of
him as a child “who must be stopped from learning rebellion.” Indeed,
the pope underrated him, for he appointed his own nephew to the See
of Bourges in defiance of the king, and the insult roused him to
resistance. Louis raised an army and invaded the County of Champagne,
where the bishop had taken refuge. There he stormed and burnt Vitry,
and some thirteen hundred men, women, and children, who had taken
refuge in the church, perished in the flames of the blazing town.
Horror seems to have unhinged his mind, absolution did not calm him,
and at last he came to believe that his only hope of salvation lay
in a pilgrimage to the Sepulchre. On Palm Sunday, 1146, when Bernard
harangued a vast throng at Vézelay, the king was the first to prostrate
himself, and take the cross from his hands.

With that day began the most marvellous part of the saint’s marvellous
career, and were the events which followed less well authenticated,
they would be incredible. In that age miracles were as common as
medical cures are now, and yet Bernard’s performances so astonished
his contemporaries that they drew up a solemnly attested record of what
they saw, that the story of his preaching might never be questioned.

When he neared a town the bells were rung, and young and old, from far
and near, thronged about him in crowds so dense that, at Constance, no
one saw what passed, because no one dared to venture into the press. At
Troyes he was in danger of being suffocated. Elsewhere the sick were
brought to him by a ladder as he stood at a window out of reach. What
he did may be judged by the work of a single day.

   “When the holy man entered Germany he shone so marvellously by
    cures, that it can neither be told in words, nor would it be
    believed if it were told. For those testify who were present
    in the country of Constance, near the town of Doningen, who
    diligently investigated these things, and saw them with their
    eyes, that in one day eleven blind received their sight by the
    laying on of his hands, ten maimed were restored, and eighteen
    lame made straight.”[117]

Thus, literally by thousands, the blind saw, the lame walked, the
maimed were made whole. He cast out devils, turned water into wine,
raised the dead. But no modern description can give an idea of the
paroxysm of excitement; the stories must be read in the chronicles
themselves. Yet, strangely enough, such was the strength of the
materialistic inheritance from the Empire, that Bernard does not always
seem fully to have believed in himself. He was tinged with some shade
of scepticism. The meeting at Vézelay was held on March 24, 1146. Four
weeks later, on April 21, at a council held at Chartres, the command
of the army to invade Palestine was offered to the Abbot of Clairvaux.
Had the saint thoroughly believed in himself and his twelve legions of
angels, he would not have hesitated, for no enemy could have withstood
God. In fact he was panic-stricken, and wrote a letter to the pope
which might befit a modern clergyman.

After explaining that he had been chosen commander against his will, he
exclaimed, “Who am I, that I should set camps in order, or should march
before armed men? Or what is so remote from my profession, even had I
the strength, and the knowledge were not lacking?... I beseech you, by
that charity you especially owe me, that you do not abandon me to the
wills of men.”[118]

During 1146 and 1147 two vast mixed multitudes, swarming with criminals
and women, gathered at Metz and Ratisbon. As a fighting force these
hosts were decidedly inferior to the bands which had left Europe fifty
years before, under Tancred and Godfrey de Bouillon, and they were
besides commanded by the semi-emasculated King of France.

The Germans cannot be considered as having taken any part in the war,
for they perished without having struck a blow. The Greek emperor
caused them to be lured into the mountains of Asia Minor, where they
were abandoned by their guides, and wasted away from exposure, hunger,
and thirst, until the Saracens destroyed them without allowing them to
come to battle.

The French fared little better. In crossing the Cadmus Mountains, their
lack of discipline occasioned a defeat, which made William of Tyre
wonder at the ways of God.

   “To no one should the things done by our Lord be displeasing,
    for all his works are right and good, but according to the
    judgment of men it was marvellous how our Lord permitted the
    Franks (who are the people in the world who believe in him and
    honour him most) to be thus destroyed by the enemies of the

Soon after this check Louis was joined by the Grand Master of the
Temple, under whose guidance he reached Atalia, a Greek port in
Pamphylia: and here, had the king been a rationalist, he would have
stormed the town and used it as a base of operations against Syria. In
the eyes of laymen, the undisguised hostility of the emperor would have
fully justified such an attack. But Louis was a devotee, bound by a
vow to the performance of a certain mystic formula, and one part of his
vow was not to attack Christians during his pilgrimage. In his mind the
danger of disaster from supernatural displeasure was greater than the
strategic advantage; and so he allowed his army to rot before the walls
in the dead of winter, without tents or supplies, until it wasted to a
shadow of its former strength.

Finally the governor contracted to provide shipping, but he delayed
for another five weeks, and when the transports came they were too few.
Even then Louis would not strike, but abandoning the poor and sick to
their fate, he sailed away with the flower of his troops, and by spring
the corpses of those whom he had deserted bred a pestilence which
depopulated the city.

When he arrived at Antioch new humiliations and disasters awaited him.
Raymond de Poitiers was one of the handsomest and most gifted men of
this time. Affable, courteous, brave, and sagacious, in many respects a
great captain, his failing was a hot temper, which led him to his ruin.
He forsook Joscelin through jealousy, and the fall of Edessa cost him
throne and life.

After the successes of Zenghi, a very short experience of Nour-ed-Din
sufficed to convince Prince Raymond that Antioch could not be held
without re-establishing the frontier; and when Louis arrived, Raymond
tried hard to persuade him to abandon his pilgrimage for that season,
and make a campaign in the north.

William of Tyre thought the plan good, and believed that the Saracens
were, for the moment, too demoralized to resist. Evidently, by
advancing from Antioch, Nour-ed-Din could have been isolated, whereas
on the south he was covered by Damascus, one of the strongest places in
the East.

Such considerations had no weight with Louis, for, to his emotional
temperament, military strategy lay in obtaining supernatural aid,
without which no wisdom could avail, and with which victory was sure.
He therefore insisted on the punctilious performance of the religious
rites, and one of the most interesting passages in _William of Tyre_ is
the account of the interview between him and Raymond, when a movement
against the cities of the north was discussed.

   “The prince, who had tried the temper of the king several
    times privately, and not found what he wanted, came one day
    to him before his barons and made his requests to the best of
    his power. Many reasons he showed that if he would agree, he
    would do his soul much good, and would win the applause of his
    age; Christendom would be so benefited by this thing. The king
    took counsel, and then he answered that he was vowed to the
    Sepulchre, and had taken the cross particularly to go there;
    that, since he had left his country, he had met with many
    hindrances, and that he had no wish to begin any wars until he
    had perfected his pilgrimage.”[120]

This refusal so exasperated Prince Raymond that he threw off all
disguise, and became the avowed lover of the queen, who detested her
husband. Louis, shortly afterward, escaped by night from Antioch,
taking Eleanor with him by force, and thus the only hope for the
recovery of Edessa was lost.

For the emotionalist everything yielded to the transcendent importance
of propitiatory rites; therefore Louis ascended Calvary, kissed
the stones, intoned the chants, received the benediction, and lost
Palestine. Thus, by the middle of the twelfth century, the idealist had
begun to flag in the struggle for life.

An attempt, indeed, was afterwards made upon Damascus, but it only
served to expose the weakness of the men who relied on magic. By
the time the advance began, confidence had been restored among the
Saracens, the attack was repulsed, and Nour-ed-Din had only to move
from the north to throw the crusaders back upon Jerusalem, covered with
ridicule. Nothing conveys so vivid an idea of the shock these reverses
gave believers, as the words in which Saint Bernard defended his

   “Do they not say among the pagans, where is their God? Nor is
    it wonderful. The sons of the Church, who are known by the name
    of Christians, are laid low in the desert, destroyed by the
    sword, or consumed by famine. The Lord hath poured contempt
    upon princes, and hath caused them to wander in the wilderness,
    where there is no way. Grief and misfortune have followed their
    steps, fear and confusion have been in the palaces of the kings
    themselves. How have the feet strayed of those promising peace
    and blessings. We have said peace and there is no peace, we
    have promised good fortune and behold tribulation, as if we
    had acted in this matter with rashness and levity.... Yet if
    one of two things must be, I prefer to have men murmur against
    me rather than God. It is good if I am worthy to be used as a
    shield. I take willingly the slanders of detractors, and the
    poisoned stings of blasphemers, that they may not reach him. I
    do not shrink from loss of glory that his may not be attacked,
    who gives it to me to be glorified in the words of the
    Psalmist: ‘Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame
    hath covered my face.’”[121]

According to the account of William of Tyre, both sides felt the end
to be near. After the failure of Louis the Pious, Prince Raymond was
the first to go down before the storm he had too late seen gathering.
Nour-ed-Din fell upon his country with fire and sword, defeated him,
cut off his head and right arm, and sent them to Bagdad as trophies.
The wretched Joscelin died in a dungeon at Aleppo, while Nour-ed-Din
entered Damascus, and thus consolidated the Syrian cities of the
plain. Thenceforward the decentralized Franks lay helpless in the
grasp of their compact adversary, and all that was imaginative in the
Middle Ages received its death-wound at Tiberias. That action was the
beginning of the decay of fetish-worship.

The crusaders believed they had found the cross on which Christ died
at Jerusalem. They venerated it as a charm no less powerful than the
Sepulchre itself, and having this advantage over the tomb, that it
was portable. They thought it invincible, and used it not only as a
weapon against living enemies, but as a means of controlling nature. A
remarkable example of the magical properties of this relic was given in
the retreat from Bosra.

Baldwin III. was crowned in 1144, when only thirteen. The kingdom
was then at peace with Damascus, in whose territory Bosra lay; but,
notwithstanding, the child’s advisers eagerly listened to the offer
of the emir in command to betray the town, and hastened forward the
departure of an expedition, in spite of the protests of the envoys
from Damascus. On the march the troops suffered severely from heat and
thirst, and on their arrival were appalled to find a loyal garrison. A
siege was out of the question, and a regular retreat so hazardous that
the barons besought the king to fly and save the cross; but the boy
refused, and stayed with his men to fight to the last. The outlook was
terrible, for the vegetation was dry, and when the march began--

   “The Turks threw Greek fire everywhere, so that it seemed as
    if the whole country burned. The high flames and thick smoke
    blinded our men. Then were they so beset they knew not what to
    do. But when there is great need, and men’s help fails, then
    should one seek aid of our Lord, and cry to him to care for
    us; so did our Christians then; for they called the Archbishop
    Robert of Nazareth, who carried the true cross before them, and
    begged him that he would pray our Lord, who to save them had
    suffered death upon that cross, that he would bring them from
    this peril; for they could not endure it, nor did they look
    for other help than his. Truly, they were there all black and
    scorched, like smiths, from the fire and smoke. The archbishop
    dismounted and kneeled down, and prayed our Lord with many
    tears that he would have mercy on his people; then he arose
    and held the true cross toward the fire which the wind brought
    strongly against them. Our Lord by his great mercy regarded
    his people in the great peril which they suffered; for the
    wind changed straightway and blew the fire and smoke into the
    faces of the enemy who had lighted it, so that they were forced
    to scatter over the country and fly. Our men, when they saw
    this, wept for joy, for they perceived that our Lord had not
    forgotten them.”

Even then they were in extreme peril, for but one way was open,
for which they had no guide. Suddenly, a “knight appeared before
the troop whom no one in the host knew. He sat a white horse, and
carried a crimson banner, he wore a hauberk, whose sleeves came only
to the elbow. He offered to guide them, and he put himself in front;
he brought them to cool sweet springs; ... he made them sleep in
comfortable and good places. And he so guided them that on the third
day they came to the city of Gadre.”[122]

The mighty relic of the cross was taken and defiled by the Saracens at
Hattin, where the Christians suffered a decisive defeat, caused by the
impotence of the central administration at Jerusalem.

Reginald de Chatillon was the type of the twelfth century adventurer.
He came to Palestine in the train of Louis the Pious, and he stayed
there because he married a princess. He was a brave soldier, but
greedy, violent, and rash, and his insubordination precipitated the
catastrophe which led to the fall of the capital.

At the siege of Ascalon he so fascinated Constance, Princess of
Antioch, widow of Raymond, that she persisted in marrying him,
although she was sought by many of the greatest nobles, and he was
only a knight. Her choice was disastrous. He had hardly entered on his
government in the north before he quarrelled with the Greek emperor,
who forced him to do penance with a rope about his neck. Afterward he
was taken prisoner by Nour-ed-Din, who only liberated him after sixteen
years, when his wife was dead. He soon married again, this time also
another great heiress, Etiennette de Milly, Lady of Karak and Montréal,
and, as her husband, Reginald became commander of the fortress of
Karak to the east of the Dead Sea, which formed the defence against
Egypt. But as the commander of so important a post, this reckless and
rapacious adventurer defied the authority of his feudal superior, and
by plundering caravans on the Damascus road so irritated Saladin that
“in 1187 he burst, with a powerful army, into the Holy Land, made King
Guy prisoner, and the Prince Reginald, whose head he cut off with his
own hand.”[123]

Guy de Lusignan had been crowned at Jerusalem the year before
Saladin’s invasion, and when war broke out he was at feud with the
Count of Tripoli. The imminence of the common danger brought about
some semblance of cohesion among the nobles, who agreed to put
every available man in the field. The castles were stripped of their
garrisons so that they were indefensible in case of reverse, and about
fifty thousand troops were concentrated at Sepphoris in Galilee.

The contingents of the Temple and Hospital were well organized and well
disciplined, but the army, as a whole, was rather a loose gathering
of the retainers of thirty or forty independent chiefs, than a compact
mass, subject to a single will, such as the Egyptian revenues enabled
Saladin to put in the field.

Suddenly news came to Sepphoris, that the Saracens had poured through
the pass of Banias and lay before Tiberias. Dissensions broke out
at once, which Guy de Lusignan could not control. He was not a man
of strong character, and had he been, he was only one among a dozen
princes, any one of whom could quit the army and retire to his castle
if he felt so disposed. The Count of Tripoli, who seems to have been
the ablest soldier among the Franks, saw the folly of leaving water and
marching across a burning country under a July sun, instead of waiting
to be attacked. As he represented, he of all men was most interested
in relieving Tiberias, for it was his town, and his wife was within
the walls; yet such was the jealousy of him in the Latin camp that his
advice was rejected, and an advance began on July 3, 1187.

Three miles from Tiberias the action opened by a furious attack on
the rearguard, formed by the Temple and the Hospital. When they gave
ground Guy lost heart and ordered a halt. The night which followed was
frightful. The Moslems fired the dry undergrowth, and, amidst flames
and smoke, the Franks lay till dawn, tormented by hunger and thirst,
and exposed to clouds of arrows which the enemy poured in on them.

At dawn fighting began again, but the demoralized infantry fled to a
hill, whence they refused to move. The Count of Tripoli, seeing the
battle lost, cut his way out with a band of his followers, but Guy de
Lusignan, Reginald de Chatillon, and a multitude of knights and nobles
were captured. The orders were practically annihilated, the whole
able-bodied population cut to pieces, and the holy cross, which had
been borne before the host as an invincible engine of war, was seized
and defiled on the mountain where Jesus taught his disciples to love
their enemies.

Emmad-Eddin, an Arabic historian, has described the veneration of the
Christians for their talisman, their adoration of it in peace, and
their devotion to it in battles; and his words help a modern generation
to conceive the shock its worshippers received when it betrayed its

   “The great cross was taken before the king, and many of the
    impious sought death about it. When it was held aloft the
    infidels bent the knee and bowed the head. They had enriched
    it with gold and jewels; they carried it on days of great
    solemnity, and looked upon it as their first duty to defend it
    in battle. The capture of this cross was more grievous to them
    than the capture of their king.”



Most writers on the crusades have noticed the change which followed
the battle of Tiberias. Pigeonneau, for example, in his _History
of Commerce_, pointed out that, after the loss of Jerusalem, the
Christians “became more and more intent on economic interests,” and the
“crusades became more and more political and commercial, rather than
religious, expeditions.” [124]

In other words, when decentralization reached its limit, the form of
competition changed, and consolidation began. With the reopening of
the valley of the Danube, the current turned. At first the tide ran
feebly, but after the conquest of the Holy Land the channels of trade
altered; capital began to accumulate; and by the thirteenth century
money controlled Palestine and Italy, and was rapidly subduing France.
Heyd remarked that “the commerce to the Levant took a leap, during the
crusades, of which the boldest imagination could hardly have dreamed
shortly before,”[125] because the possession of the Syrian ports
brought Europe into direct communication with Asia, and accelerated

From the dawn of European history to the rise of modern London, the
Eastern trade has enriched every community where it has centred, and,
among others, North Italy in the Middle Ages. Venice, Florence, Genoa,
and Pisa were its creations.

In the year 452, when the barbarian migrations were flowing over
the Roman provinces in steadily increasing volume, the Huns sacked
Aquileia, and the inhabitants of the ravaged districts fled for
shelter to the islands which lie in the shallow water at the head
of the Adriatic. For many generations these fugitives remained poor,
subsisting mainly on fish, and selling salt as their only product; but
gradually they developed into a race highly adapted to flourish under
the conditions which began to prevail after the council of Clermont.

Isolated save toward the sea, without agriculture or mines, but two
paths were open to them, piracy and commerce: and they excelled in
both. By the reign of Charlemagne they were prosperous; and when the
closing of the valley of the Danube forced traffic to go by sea, Venice
and Amalfi obtained a monopoly of what was left of the Eastern trade.
For many years, however, that trade was not highly lucrative. Though
Rome always offered a certain market for brocades for vestments and
for altar coverings, for incense, and jewels for shrines, ready money
was scarce, the West having few products which Asiatics or Africans
were willing to take in exchange for their goods. Therefore it was
not through enterprises sanctioned by the priesthood, that Venice won
in the economic competition which began to prevail in the eleventh

Venetians prospered because they were bolder and more unscrupulous than
their neighbours. They did without compunction what was needful for
gain, even when the needful thing was a damnable crime in the eyes of
the devout.

The valley of the Nile, though fertile, produces neither wood nor iron,
nor men of the fighting type; for these the caliphs were ready to pay,
and the Venetians provided them all. Even as early as 971 dealings
with the common enemy in material of war had reached proportions which
not only stimulated the Emperor John Zimisces to energetic diplomatic
remonstrance, but made him threaten to burn all the ships he captured
laden with suspicious cargoes.

To sell timber for ships, and iron for swords, to the Saracens, was a
mortal sin in children of the Church; but such a sin was as nothing
beside the infamy of kidnapping believers as slaves for infidels,
who made them soldiers to fight against their God. Charlemagne and
the popes after him tried to suppress the traffic, but without avail.
Slaving was so lucrative that it was carried on in the streets of Rome
herself,[126] and in the thirteenth century two thousand Europeans
were annually disposed of in Damietta and Alexandria, from whom the
Mamelukes, the finest corps of soldiers in the East, were recruited.

Thus a race grew up in Italy, which differed from the people of
France and Germany because of the absence of those qualities which
had caused the Germans to survive when the inhabitants of the Empire
decayed. The mediæval Italians prospered because they were lacking
in the imagination which made the Northern peoples subservient to
the miracle-worker, and among mediæval Italians the Venetians, from
their exposed position, came to be the most daring, energetic, and
unscrupulous. By the end of the eleventh century their fleet was
so superior to the Greek, that the Emperor Alexis had to confide to
them the defence of the harbour of Durazzo against Robert Guiscard.
Guiscard attacked Durazzo in 1081, at the time of the revolution which
immediately preceded the debasement of the Byzantine coinage; and the
demonstration that Venice had already absorbed most of the carrying
trade, seems to prove that, during the last half of the eleventh
century, the centre of exchanges had a pronounced tendency to abandon
Constantinople. Moreover, the result of the campaign showed that the
Venetian navy was the strongest in the Mediterranean, and this was of
vital moment to the success of the crusades twenty years later, for,
without the command of the sea, the permanent occupation of Palestine
would have been impossible.

After the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, almost the first operations of
Godfrey de Bouillon were against the Syrian ports; but as he controlled
too small a force to act alone, he made a treaty with Venice, by which,
in consideration of two hundred ships, he promised to cede to her a
third part of every town taken. Baldwin made a similar arrangement
with the Genoese, and, as the coast was subdued, the Italian cities
assumed their grants, and established their administrations. In the
end the Venetians predominated at Tyre, the Genoese at Acre, and the
Pisans at Antioch. Before the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, the
spices, drugs, brocades, carpets, porcelains, and gems of India and
China, reached the Mediterranean mainly by two routes. One by way of
the Persian Gulf to Bagdad, up the Euphrates to Rakka, and by land
to Aleppo, whence they were conveyed by caravan either to Antioch
or Damascus. Damascus, beside being the starting-place of caravans
for Mecca and Egypt, and the emporium for the products of Persia,
had important manufactures of its own. Its glass, porcelain, steel,
and brocades were famous, and it was a chief market for furs, which
were highly prized throughout the Middle Ages, when heating was not

The second route was by water. Indian merchants usually sold their
cargoes at Aden, whence they were taken to a port in Upper Egypt,
floated down the Nile to Cairo, and bought by Europeans at Damietta
or Alexandria. The products of Egypt itself were valuable, and next to
Constantinople, Cairo was the richest city west of the Indus.

What Europe gave to the Orientals in return is not so well known; but,
beside raw materials and slaves, her woollens were much esteemed. At
all events, exchanges must have become more favourable to her, as is
proved by the increased supply of the precious metals.

Why the short period of expansion, which followed upon the
re-establishment of the silver standard in the West, should have been
succeeded by a sharp contraction is unknown, but the fact seems proved
by the coinage. In the reign of Charlemagne a silver pound of 7680
grains was made the monetary unit, which was divided into 240 denarii,
or pence.[127]

For some time these pence were tolerably maintained, but as the empire
of Charlemagne disintegrated, they deteriorated until, by the end
of the twelfth century, those coined at Venice were but a quarter of
their original weight and three parts alloy.[128] After Hattin a new
expansion began, in which Venice took the lead. The battle was fought
in 1187, and some years later, but probably before 1200, the grosso
was struck, a piece of fine silver, of good weight, which thereafter
was maintained at the standard. Half a century later gold appeared.
Florence coined the florin in 1252, Venice the ducat in 1284, and
between the two dates, Saint Louis issued his crowns.

The return of the precious metals to the West indicated a revival
of trade and a change in the form of competition. Instead of the
imagination, the economic faculty began to predominate, and energy
chose money as its vent. Within a generation the miracle fell
decisively in power, and the beginning of this most crucial of social
revolutions is visible in the third crusade, the famous expedition led
by Philip Augustus and Cœur de Lion.

These two great soldiers probably learned the art of fortification at
the siege of Acre, the most remarkable passage of arms of the Middle
Ages. The siege is said to have cost one hundred thousand lives, and
certainly called forth all the engineering skill of the time. Guy de
Lusignan, having been liberated by Saladin soon after Hattin, wandered
about the country, abandoned and forlorn, until at last he sat down
before Acre, in 1189, with a force inferior to the garrison. There
he was joined by the kings of France and England, who succeeded in
capturing the city after a desperate defence of two years. An immense
booty was taken, but the clergy complained that two secular princes had
embezzled the heritage of God. On the other hand, the troops had not
received the usual assistance from miracles; for though assaults were
delivered almost daily, none were worked, and the Virgin herself only
appeared once, and then so quietly as to arouse no enthusiasm.

After the surrender Philip went home, while Richard remained in
command. The whole country had been overrun, only a few strongholds
like the Krak des Chevaliers and Tortosa held out; and Richard, far
from following the example of the first crusaders, who marched straight
for the relics at Jerusalem, turned his attention to re-establishing
the centres of trade upon the coast.

He moved south along the shore, keeping close to his fleet, with
the enemy following on the mountains. As he approached Joppa, the
Saracens descended into the plain and gave battle. They were decisively
defeated, and Richard occupied Joppa without resistance. From Joppa
the road ran direct to Jerusalem. The way was not long nor the country
difficult, and there is no reason to suppose an attack to have been
particularly hazardous. On the contrary, when Richard advanced, the
opposition was not unusually stubborn, and he actually pursued the
enemy to within sight of the walls. Yet he resolutely resisted the
pressure of the clergy to undertake a siege, the inference being that
the power which controlled him held Jerusalem to be worthless. That
power must have been capital, for the treaty which he negotiated was
as frankly mercenary as though made in modern times. The seaboard from
Tyre to Joppa was ceded to the Franks; Ascalon, which was the key to
Egypt, was dismantled, and the only mention made of Jerusalem was that
it should be open to pilgrims in the future, as it had been in the
past. Of the cross, which fifty years before had been prized above all
the treasures of the East, not a word was said, nor does it appear
that, after Hattin, either Infidels or Christians attached a money
value to it.

Some chroniclers have insisted that Richard felt remorse at thus
abandoning his God; and when, in a skirmish, he saw the walls of
Jerusalem, they related that he hid his face and wept. He may have done
so, but, during his life, the time came when Christian knights felt
naught but exultation at having successfully bartered the Sepulchre for
money. After Richard’s departure, the situation of the Franks in the
Holy Land went rapidly from bad to worse. The decay of faith constantly
relaxed the bond which had once united them against the Moslems,
while they were divided amongst themselves by commercial jealousies.
The Temple and the Hospital carried on perpetual private wars about
disputed property, the fourth crusade miscarried, and the garrison of
Joppa was massacred, while Europe looked on with indifference.

When this point was reached, the instinct of self-preservation seems to
have roused the clergy to the fact that their fate was bound up with
the fate of the holy places: if the miracle were discredited, their
reign was at an end. Accordingly, Innocent III., on his election, threw
himself into a new agitation with all the intensity of his nature.
Foulques de Neuilly was chosen to preach, like Saint Bernard; but his
success, at first, was not flattering. He was insulted publicly by
Richard, and was even accused of having embezzled the funds entrusted
to him. At length, in the year 1199, Tybalt, Count of Champagne, and
Louis, Count of Blois, took the cross at a tournament they were holding
at the castle of Ecry. They soon were joined by others, but probably
the most famous baron of the pilgrimage was Simon de Montfort.

At the end of the twelfth century the great fiefs had not been
absorbed, and the Count of Champagne was a powerful sovereign. He was
therefore chosen leader of the expedition, and, at a meeting held
at Compiègne, the three chief princes agreed to send a committee
of six to Venice to contract for transportation. In this committee,
Ville-Hardouin, who wrote the chronicle of the war, represented Tybalt.

The doge was then Henry Dandolo, perhaps the most remarkable man Venice
ever produced. Though nearly ninety-five, he was as vigorous as in
middle life. A materialist and a sceptic, he was the best sailor, the
ablest diplomatist, and the keenest speculator in Europe; and while,
as a statesman and a commander, he raised his country to the pinnacle
of glory, he proved himself the easy superior of Innocent III. in
intrigue. So eminent were his abilities that, by common consent, he was
chosen leader of a force which held some of the foremost captains of
the age; and when, by his sagacity, Constantinople had been captured,
he refused the imperial crown.

Ville-Hardouin always spoke of him with deep respect as “the good duke,
exceeding wise and prudent;” and, indeed, without him the Frankish
princes would certainly have fallen victims to the cunning of the
Greeks, whom he alone knew how to over-reach, and whom he hated because
his eyes had been seared by the Emperor Manuel Comnenus, when he had
been upon a mission at his court.

In his hands the Frankish envoys were like children, bewildered by
the wealth and splendour which surrounded them. After stating their
errand to Dandolo, they waited eight days for an answer, and were
then tendered a contract which has the look of having been part of a
premeditated plan to ensnare the crusaders, and make them serve the

The Venetians bound themselves to provide shipping for 4500 knights
with their horses, 9000 squires, and 20,000 foot, with provisions
for nine months, for 85,000 marks of silver; probably about equal to
$5,500,000 of our money. But beside this the city proposed, “for the
love of God,” to add fifty galleys, and divide the conquests equally.
Whatever its character, and however much such obligations were beyond
the ability of the Franks, the contract was executed and sent to
Innocent for ratification, who approved it with the proviso that no
hostilities should be undertaken against Christians during the crusade.
The pilgrims were to meet at Venice in the spring.

When Ville-Hardouin returned, Tybalt was dying, and his loss threw all
into confusion. Possibly also the suspicion spread that the Venetians
had imposed on the committee, for many of the nobles sailed from other
ports where better terms were to be made, among whom was Reginald de
Dampierre, to whom Tybalt had confided his treasure. So, in the spring
of 1202, hardly more than half the knights presented themselves at
Venice, and these found it quite impossible to meet their engagements.
Even when the princes had sent their plate and jewels to the Ducal
Palace, a deficit, estimated at 34,000 marks, remained.

On their side the Venetians declined to make any abatement of their
price, but offered as a compromise to give time, and collect the
balance from plunder. As a preliminary they proposed an attack on Zara,
an Adriatic port, which had revolted and transferred its allegiance to
the King of Hungary.

Few propositions could have been a greater outrage on the Church. Not
only were the people of Zara fellow-Christians, against whom the Franks
had no complaint, but the King of Hungary was himself a crusader, his
dominions were under the protection of the pope, and an attack on him
was tantamount to an attack on Rome herself.

On these points difference of opinion was impossible, and the papal
legate, with all the other ecclesiastics, denounced the Venetians and
threatened them with excommunication. The result showed that force
already expressed itself in the West through money, and not through the

What followed is the more interesting since it can be demonstrated
that, when beyond the Alps, and withdrawn from the pressure of
capital, the French barons were as emotional as ever. While these very
negotiations were pending, the subjects of Philip Augustus had deserted
him in a mass, and had grovelled before Innocent as submissively as if
he had been Hildebrand.

The first wife of Philip Augustus was Ingeburga, a Danish princess,
for whom he had an irrepressible disinclination. In 1195 he obtained
a divorce from her, by an assembly of prelates presided over by the
Cardinal of Champagne. He then married Agnes de Méranie, to whom he was
devotedly attached; Ingeburga appealed to Rome, and Innocent declared
the divorce void, and ordered Philip to separate “from his concubine.”

Philip refused, and Innocent commanded his legate to put the kingdom
under interdict. At Vienne, in the month of January, 1200, at the dead
of night, the magical formulas were recited. When the Christ upon the
altar had been veiled, the sacred wafer burned, the miracle-working
corpses hidden in the crypt, before the shuddering people, the priest
laid his curse upon the king until he should put away his harlot.

From that hour all religious rites were suspended. The church doors
were barred, the bells were silent, the sick died unshriven, the dead
lay unburied. The king summoned his bishops, and threatened to drive
them from France: it was of no avail. The barons shrank from him, his
very men-at-arms fell off from him; he was alone as Henry had been at
Canossa. The people were frenzied, and even went to England to obtain
priestly aid. The Count of Ponthieu had to marry Philip’s sister at
Rouen, within the Norman jurisdiction.

In his extremity Philip called a parliament at Paris, and Agnes, clad
in mourning, implored protection, but not a man moved; a mortal terror
was in every heart. She was then in the seventh month. The assembly
decided that the king must submit, and Agnes supplicated the pope not
to divide her from her husband; the crown, she said, was indifferent
to her. But this was a struggle for supremacy, and Innocent was
inexorable. A council was convened at Néelle, where Philip promised
to take back Ingeburga and part from Agnes. He explained that she
was pregnant, and to leave the realm might kill her; but the priests
demanded absolute submission, and he swore upon the evangelists to
see her no more. Agnes, broken by her misery, set forth for a Norman
castle, where she died in bearing a son, whom she called Tristan, from
her sorrow at his birth.

The soldier, who belonged to the old imaginative society, had been
conquered by the Church, which was the incarnation of the imagination;
but Dandolo was a different development. He was the creation of
economic competition, and he trampled the clergy under his feet.

Although, apparently, profoundly sceptical, as the man must be who is
the channel through which money acts, he understood how to play upon
the imaginations of others, and arranged a solemn function to glorify
the Sepulchre. One Sunday he summoned both citizens and pilgrims to
Saint Mark’s, and mounting the pulpit, he addressed the congregation.

   “My lords, you are engaged to the greatest people of the world,
    for the highest enterprise that ever was undertaken; and I am
    old and feeble, and need repose, and am infirm in body; but I
    see that none can command and control you as I can, who am your
    doge. If you will permit me to take the cross to lead you, and
    let my son stay here in my place and conduct the government, I
    will go to live or die with you, and with the pilgrims.”[129]

Ville-Hardouin’s simple chronicle shows how perfectly the old man knew
his audience:--

   “There was great pity among the people of the country and the
    pilgrims, and many tears were shed, because this worthy man had
    so much cause to stay behind; for he was old and ... his sight

Amidst an outburst of enthusiasm assent was given. Then, while the
church rang with shouts, Dandolo knelt before the altar, in a passion
of tears fixed the cross to the ducal bonnet, and rose, the commander
of the finest army in the world.

And Dandolo was a great commander; a commander of the highest stamp.
He tolerated no insubordination, and trod the clergy down. When Peter
of Capua, the papal legate, interfered, Dandolo sternly told him that
the army of Christ lacked not for military chiefs, and that if priests
would stay therein they must content themselves with prayers.

A Cistercian monk, named Gunther, who had been appointed to follow his
abbot on the pilgrimage, kept a chronicle of what he saw. His superior,
named Martin, was so disheartened at Venice that he asked the legate
for absolution from his vow, and for permission to return to his
convent at Bâle; but this request the cardinal refused. The priests
had determined to stay by Dandolo and fight him to the last. Therefore
the abbot sailed with the Venetians, but he learned a bitter lesson
at Zara. There the clergy received a letter from Innocent, explaining
the position of the Church, and threatening with excommunication all
who should molest the King of Hungary. Simon de Montfort and a portion
of the more devout, who had from the first been scandalized at the
contract made with Dandolo, then withdrew and camped apart; and, at a
meeting called to consider the situation, Guy, Abbot of Vaux-de-Cernay,
tried to read the letter. An outbreak followed, and some of the
chroniclers assert that the Venetians would have murdered Guy, had not
Simon de Montfort stood by him sword in hand.[131]

On the main point there is no doubt. The priests ignominiously failed
to protect their ally; the attack was made, and nothing shows that even
de Montfort refused to share in it, or to partake of the plunder after
the city fell. There was no resistance. The besieged made no better
defence than hanging crosses on their walls, and on the fifth day
capitulated. First the Franks divided the plunder with the Italians;
then they sent an embassy to Rome to ask for absolution.

They alleged that they were helpless, and either had to accept the
terms offered by Dandolo, or abandon their enterprise. Innocent
submitted. He coupled his forgiveness, indeed, with the condition
that the plunder should be returned;[132] yet no record remains that a
single mark, of all the treasures taken from Zara, ever found its way
back to the original owners.

The Venetians neither asked for pardon nor noticed the excommunication.
On the contrary, Dandolo used the time when the envoys were at Rome in
maturing the monstrous crime of diverting the crusade from Palestine to

Just before the departure from Venice, an event happened which
Ville-Hardouin called “one of the greatest marvels you ever heard of.”
In 1195 the Greek emperor, named Isaac, had been dethroned, imprisoned,
and blinded by his brother Alexis, who usurped the throne. Isaac’s son,
also named Alexis, escaped, and took shelter with his brother-in-law,
Philip of Swabia. Philip could not help him, but suggested to him to
apply to the crusaders in Venice, and ask them for aid. Whether or not
this application had been arranged by Dandolo, does not appear. Alexis
went to Venice, where he was cordially received by the doge; but as
the fleet was then weighing anchor, his affairs were postponed until
after the attack on Zara, when an embassy from Philip arrived, which
brought up the whole situation at Constantinople for consideration.
In the struggle which followed between the Venetians and the Church,
the Franks lay like a prize destined to fall to the stronger, and in
Gunther’s narrative the love the priests bore their natural champions
can be plainly seen. In the thirteenth century, as in the fifth
century, the ecclesiastics recognized that over a monied oligarchy they
could never have control; accordingly the monks hated the Venetians,
whom Gunther stigmatized as “a people excessively greedy of money,”
always ready to commit sacrilege for gain.

On his side Dandolo followed his instinct, and tried to bribe the
pope by offering him an union of the communions. But Innocent was
inflexible. He wrote in indignation that the crusaders had sworn to
avenge the wrongs of Christ, and likened those who should turn back to
Lot’s wife, whom God turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying his

Yet, though the priesthood put forth its whole strength, it was beaten.
The power of wealth was too great. No serious defection took place.
Ville-Hardouin gave a list of those who left the fleet, among whom was
Simon de Montfort, adding contemptuously, “Thus those left the host,
... which was great shame to them.”[134]

Judging by the words alone, a century might have separated the writer
and his comrades from the barons who abandoned Agnes to Innocent; yet
they were the same men transplanted to an economic civilization, and
excited by the power of wealth.

On Easter Monday, 1203, the fleet sailed for Corfu, where another and
more serious split occurred. But the dazzling prize finally prevailed
over the fear of the supernatural, and, getting under way once more,
the pilgrims crossed the Sea of Marmora, and anchored at the convent
of Saint Stephen, about twelve miles from Constantinople. Since
exchanges had again returned to Italy, the vitality of the Greek Empire
had burned low. It was failing fast through inanition. But Byzantium
was still defended by those stupendous fortifications which were
impregnable from the land, and only to be assailed from the sea by an
admiral of genius.

Such an one was Dandolo, a born seaman, sagacious yet fiery; and,
besides, a pilot of the port. At a council of war he laid out a plan of

   “My lords, I know more of the character of this country than
    you do, for I have been here before. You have before you the
    greatest and most perilous enterprise which any men have ever
    undertaken, and therefore it would be well that we should act

He then explained how the attack should be made; and had the Franks
implicitly obeyed him, the town would have been carried at the first
assault. Three days later the allies occupied Scutari, the Asiatic
suburb of Constantinople, and lay there ten days collecting supplies.
On the twelfth they stormed the tower of Galata, which commanded Pera,
the key to the Golden Horn. While the action was going on, Dandolo
forced his way into the port. The entrance was defended not only by a
great tower, but by a huge iron chain, fastened to piles, and covered
by twenty galleys armed with machines.

Nothing stopped the Venetians. Disregarding the fire, the sailors
sprang on the chain, and from thence gained the decks of the Greek
galleys, whose crews they threw overboard. Meanwhile, one of the
Italian ships, provided with steel shears, bore down on the cable, cut
it, and led the way into the harbour.

The weakest part of the walls being uncovered, Dandolo insisted that
the only hope for success lay in assaulting from ship-board where the
battlements were lowest; but the French obstinately refused to depart
from their habits, and determined to fight on horseback. The event
proved Dandolo’s wisdom; for though the attack failed through the
mistake of dividing the force, and of attempting the fortifications
toward the land, the doge so led his sailors that Ville-Hardouin
kindled with enthusiasm as he told the tale.

When the old man saw his ships recoil before the tremendous fire from
the battlements,

   “so that the galleys could not make the land, then there
    was seen a strange sight, for the duke of Venice, who was an
    old man, and saw not well, was fully armed and commanded his
    galley, and had the gonfalon of Saint Mark’s before him; and
    he cried to his men to put him ashore, or if they would not he
    would do justice on their bodies; and they brought the galley
    to shore, and they sallied forth and carried the banner before
    him to the shore. And when the Venetians saw the gonfalon of
    Saint Mark’s ashore, and the galley of the lord ashore before
    them, they were all ashamed and made for the land, and rushed
    out from their ships pell-mell. Then might one see a marvellous
    assault. And thus testifies Geoffrey de Ville-Hardouin, the
    marshal of Champagne, who dictates this book, that more than
    forty declare they saw the banner of Saint Mark of Venice on
    one of the towers, and none knew who carried it thither.”[136]

Once a foothold on the ramparts had been gained, the Greeks fled,
twenty-five towers fell in quick succession, and the Italians had
already entered the streets and fired the houses to drive the enemy
from the roofs, when news was brought that Alexis was advancing from
the gates, and threatened to envelop the French. Indeed, the danger
was extreme; for, as Ville-Hardouin explained, the crusaders were
wondrous few when compared with the garrison, for they “had so many
men we should all have been engulfed amongst them.”[137] With the
instinct of a great commander, Dandolo instantly sounded a retreat,
abandoned the half-conquered town, and hastened to the support of his
allies. He reached the ground opportunely, for Alexis, when he saw the
reinforcement, retreated without striking a blow.

That night Alexis fled, leaving Constantinople without a government;
and the people took the blind Isaac from his dungeon and set him on the
throne. In theory, therefore, the work of the crusaders was done, and
they were free to embark for Palestine to battle for the Sepulchre.
In fact, the thing they came for remained to be obtained, and what
they demanded amounted to the ruin of the empire. Young Alexis had
promised 200,000 marks of silver, to join the crusade himself, to
provide rations for a year, and to recognize the supremacy of Rome; but
such promises were impossible to fulfil. During a delay of six months
the situation daily grew more strained, a bitter hatred sprang up
between the foreigners and the natives, riots broke out, conflagrations
followed, and at last the allies sent a deputation to the palace to
demand the execution of the treaty.

In despair, Alexis attacked the fleet with fire-ships, and his failure
led to a revolution in which he was killed. Isaac died from terror,
and one Moursouffle was raised to the throne. In their extremity the
Greeks had recourse to treachery, and nearly succeeded in enticing
the Frankish princes to a banquet, at which they were to have been
assassinated. The plot was frustrated by the sagacity of Dandolo, who
would allow no one to trust themselves within the walls; then both
sides prepared for war.

Defeat had taught the Franks obedience, and they consented to serve on
the galleys. They embarked on April 8, 1204, to be ready for an assault
in the morning. But though the attack was made in more than one hundred
places at once, “yet for our sins were the pilgrims repulsed.” Then the
landsmen proposed to try some other part of the walls, but the sailors
told them that elsewhere the current would sweep them away; and “know,”
said the marshal, “there were some who would have been well content
had the current swept them away” altogether, “for they were in great

This repulse fell on a Friday; the following Monday the attack was
renewed, and at first with small success, but at length--

   “Our Lord raised a wind called Boreas ... and two ships which
    were lashed together, the one named the _Pilgrim_ and the other
    the _Paradise_, approached a tower on either side, just as God
    and the wind brought them, so that the ladder of the _Pilgrim_
    was fixed to the tower; and straightway a Venetian and a French
    knight ... scaled the tower, and others followed them, and
    those in the lower were discomforted and fled.”[139]

From the moment the walls were carried, the battle turned into a
massacre. The ramparts were scaled in all directions, the gates were
burst open with battering rams, the allies poured into the streets, and
one of the most awful sacks of the Middle Ages began.

Nothing was so sacred as to escape from pillage. The tombs of the
emperors were violated, and the body of Justinian stripped. The altar
of the Virgin, the glory of Saint Sophia, was broken in pieces, and
the veil of the sanctuary torn to rags. The crusaders played dice on
the tables which represented the apostles, and drank themselves drunk
in the holy chalices. Horses and mules were driven into the sanctuary,
and when they fell under their burdens, the blood from their wounds
stained the floor of the cathedral. At last a young prostitute mounted
the patriarch’s chair, intoned a lewd chant, and danced before the
pilgrims. Thus fell Constantinople, by the arms of the soldiers of
Christ, on the twelfth day of April, in the year one thousand two
hundred and four. Since the sack of Rome by Alaric no such prize
had ever fallen to a victor, and the crusaders were drunk with their
success. Ville-Hardouin estimated that the share of the Franks, after
deducting some fifty thousand marks which the Venetians collected from
them, came to four hundred thousand marks of silver, not to speak of
masses of plunder of which no account was taken. The gain was so great
there seemed no end to the gold and silver, the precious stones, the
silks, the ermines, and whatever was costly in the world.

   “And Geoffrey de Ville-Hardouin testifies of his own knowledge,
    that since the beginning of time, there was never so much
    taken in one town. Every one took what he wanted, and there was
    enough. Thus were the host of the pilgrims and of the Venetians
    quartered, and there was great joy and honour for the victory
    which God had given them, since those who had been poor were
    rich and happy.”[140]

In obedience to the soothsayers, the devotees of Louis the Pious had
perished by tens of thousands, and over their corpses the Moslems
had marched to victory. The defenders of Christ’s cross had been
slaughtered like sheep upon the mountains of the Beatitudes, and sold
into slavery in herds at Damascus and Aleppo; even the men who, at the
bidding of God’s vicar, had left Dandolo to fight for the Sepulchre
upon the barren hills of Palestine, had been immolated. Five hundred
had perished in shipwreck, more had been massacred in Illyria, none
had received reward. But those who, in defiance of the supernatural and
in contempt of their vow, had followed the excommunicated Venetian to
plunder fellow-Christians, had won immeasurable glory, and been sated
with incalculable spoil.

The pilgrims who, constant to the end, had been spilling their blood
in God’s service, came trooping to the Bosphorus to share in the last
remaining crumbs; the knights of the Temple and the Hospital set sail
for Greece, where money might still be made by the sword, and the King
of Jerusalem stood before the Tomb, naked unto his enemies. Innocent
himself was cowed; his commands had been disregarded and his curse
defied; laymen had insulted his legate, and had, without consulting
him, divided among themselves the patronage of the Church; and yet for
the strongest there was no moral law. When Baldwin announced that he
was emperor, the pope called him “his dearest son,” and received his
subjects into the Roman communion.[141]

But yesterday, the greatest king of Christendom had stood weeping,
begging for the life of his wife; a hundred years earlier an emperor
had stood barefoot, and freezing in the snow, at the gate of Canossa,
as a penance for rebellion; but in 1204 a Venetian merchant was blessed
by the haughtiest of popes for having stolen Christ’s army, made war
on his flock, spurned his viceregent, flouted his legate, and usurped
his patrimony. He had appointed a patriarch without a reference to
Rome. All was forgiven, the appointment was confirmed, the sinner
was shriven; nothing could longer resist the power of money, for
consolidation had begun.

Yet, though nature may discriminate against him, the emotionalist will
always be an emotionalist, for such is the texture of his brain; and
while he breathes, he will hate the materialist. The next year Baldwin
was defeated and captured by the Bulgarians, and then Innocent wrote
a letter to the Marquis of Montferrat, which showed how the wound had
rankled when he blessed the conqueror.

He said bitterly:--

   “You had nothing against the Greeks, and you were false to
    your vows because you did not fight the Saracens, but the
    Christians; you did not capture Jerusalem, but Constantinople;
    you preferred earthly to heavenly treasures. But what was far
    graver, you have spared neither religion, nor age, nor sex, and
    you have committed adulteries, fornications and incests before
    men’s eyes.... Nor did the imperial treasures suffice you, nor
    the plunder alike of rich and poor. You laid your hands on the
    possessions of the Church, you tore the silver panels from
    the altars, you broke into the sanctuaries and carried away
    the images, the crosses and the relics, so that the Greeks,
    though afflicted by persecution, scorn to render obedience
    to the apostolic chair, since they see in the Latins nothing
    but an example of perdition and of the works of darkness, and
    therefore rightly abhor them more than dogs.”[142]

For the north and west of Europe the crusade of Constantinople seems to
have been the turning point whence the imagination rapidly declined.
At the opening of the thirteenth century, everything shows that the
genuine ecstatic type predominated in the Church--the quality of mind
which believed in the miracle, and therefore valued the amulet more
than money. Innocent himself, with all his apparent worldliness, must
have been such a man; for, though the material advantages of a union
with the Greek Church far outweighed the Sepulchre, his resistance to
the diversion of the army from Palestine was unshaken to the last. The
same feeling permeated the inferior clergy; and an anecdote told by
Gunther shows that even so late as the year 1204 the monks unaffectedly
despised wealth in its vulgar form.

   “When therefore the victors set themselves with alacrity
    to spoil the conquered town, which was theirs by right of
    war, the abbot Martin began to think about his share of the
    plunder; and lest, when everything had been given to others,
    he should be left empty-handed, he proposed to stretch out his
    consecrated hand to the booty. But since he thought the taking
    of secular things unworthy, he bestirred himself to obtain a
    portion of the sacred relics, which he knew were there in great

The idea was no sooner conceived than executed. Although private
marauding was punished with death, he did not hesitate, but hastened
to a church, where he found a frightened old monk upon his knees, whom
he commanded in a terrible voice to produce his relics or prepare for
death. He was shown a chest full to the brim. Plunging in his arms, he
took all he could carry, hurried to his ship and hid his booty in his
cabin; and he did this in a town whose streets were literally flowing
with gold and silver. He had his reward. Though a sacrilegious thief,
angels guarded him by sea and land until he reached his cloister at
Bâle. Then he distributed his plunder through the diocese.

Occasionally, when the form of competition has abruptly changed, nature
works rapidly. Within a single generation after Hattin, the attitude,
not only of the laity but of the clergy, had been reversed, and money
was recognized, even by the monks, as the end of human effort.

The relics at Jerusalem had first drawn the crusaders to the East, and,
incidentally, the capture of the Syrian seaports led to the reopening
of trade and the recentralization of the Western world. As long as
imagination remained the dominant force, and the miracle retained its
power, the ambition of the Franks was limited to holding the country
which contained their talismans; but as wealth accumulated, and the
economic type began to supplant the ecstatic, a different policy came
to prevail.

Beside the cities of the Holy Land, two other portions of the Levant
had a high money value--the Bosphorus and the valley of the Nile. In
spite of Rome, the Venetians, in 1204, had seized Constantinople; at
the Lateran council of 1215, Innocent himself proposed an attack on
Cairo. Though conceived by Innocent, the details of the campaign were
arranged by Honorius III., who was consecrated in July, 1216; these
details are, however, unimportant: the interest of the crusade lies in
its close. John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem, nominally commanded,
but the force he led little resembled Dandolo’s. Far from being that
compact mass which can only be given cohesion by money, it rather
had the character of such an hysterical mob as Louis the Pious led to

After some semblance of a movement on Jerusalem, the army was conveyed
to the Delta of the Nile, and Damietta was invested in 1218. Here
the besiegers amounted to little more than a fluctuating rabble of
pilgrims, who came and went at their pleasure, usually serving about
six months. Among such material, military discipline could not exist;
but, on the contrary, the inflammable multitude were peculiarly adapted
to be handled by a priest, and soon the papal legate assumed control.
Cardinal Pelagius was a Spaniard who had been promoted by Innocent in
1206. His temperament was highly emotional, and, armed with plenary
power by Honorius, he exerted himself to inflame the pilgrims to the
utmost. After a blockade of eighteen months Damietta was reduced to
extremity, and to save the city the sultan offered the whole Holy Land,
except the fortress of Karak, together with the funds needed to rebuild
the walls of Jerusalem. King John, and all the soldiers, who understood
the difficulty of invading Egypt, favoured a peace; but Pelagius,
whose heart was fixed on the plunder of Cairo, prevented the council
from reaching a decision. Therefore the siege went on, and presently
the ramparts were carried without loss, as the whole population had
perished from hunger and pestilence.

This victory made Pelagius a dictator, and he insisted on an advance
on the capital. John, and the grand masters of the military orders,
pointed out the disaster which must follow, as it was July, and the
Nile was rising. In a few weeks the country would be under water.
Moreover, the fleet could not ascend the river, therefore the army must
be isolated in the heart of a hostile country, and probably overwhelmed
by superior numbers.

Pelagius reviled them. He told them God loved not cowards, but
champions who valued his glory more than they feared death. He
threatened them with excommunication should they hang back. Near
midsummer, 1221, the march began, and the pilgrims advanced to the apex
of the delta, where they halted, with the enemy on the opposite shore.

The river was level with its banks, the situation was desperate, and
yet even then the sultan sent an embassy offering the whole of the
Holy Land in exchange for the evacuation of Egypt. The soldiers of all
nations were strenuously for peace, the priests as strenuously for war.
They felt confident of repeating the sack of Constantinople at Cairo,
nor can there be a greater contrast than Martin spurning the wealth of
Constantinople as dross, and Pelagius rejecting the Sepulchre that he
might glut himself with Egyptian wealth.

But all history shows that the emotionalist cannot compete with the
materialist upon his own ground. In the end, under free economic
competition, he must be eliminated. Pelagius tarried idly in the jaws
of death until the Nile rose and engulfed him.



Physical weakness has always been the vulnerable point of the sacred
caste, for priests have rarely been warriors, and faith has seldom
been so profound as to guarantee ecclesiastics against attack.
This difficulty was marked in the early Middle Ages, when, although
disintegration so far prevailed as to threaten the very tradition of
centralized power, a strong leaven of the ancient materialism remained.

In the ninth century the trend toward decentralization was resistless.
Although several of the descendants of Charlemagne were men of
ability and energy, the defence was so superior to the attack that
they could not coerce their vassals, and their domains melted away
into independent sovereignties until the crown became elective, and
the monarchy almost a tradition. During the tenth century it seems
possible that the regal authority might have been obliterated, even to
the last trace, had it not been for the Church, which was in sore need
of a champion. The priesthood cared nothing for the legitimate line;
what they sought was a protector, and accordingly they chose, not the
descendant of Charlemagne, but him who, in the words of the Archbishop
of Rheims, was “distinguished by his wisdom and who found support in
the greatness of his soul.” Hugh Capet succeeded Louis V. because he
was the best chief of police in France.

From such an alliance, between the priest and the soldier, has always
sprung the dogma of the divine right of kings. In mediæval Europe,
enchantment was a chief element of the royal power. The monarch
was anointed with a magic oil, girt with a sacred sword, given a
supernatural banner, and endowed with the gift of miracles. His touch
healed disease. In return for these gifts, he fought the battles of the
Church, whose property was the natural prey of a predatory baronage.
Every diocese and every abbey was embroiled in endless local wars,
which lasted from generation to generation, and sometimes from century
to century. A good example was the interminable feud between the Abbey
of Vézelay and the Counts of Nevers, and a letter of a papal legate
named Conon, which described one of the countless raids, gives an idea
of the ferocity of the attack.

   “The men of the Count of Nevers have burst open the doors
    of the cloister, have thrown stones on the reliquaries which
    contain the bodies of Saint Lazarus, of Saint Martha, of Saint
    Andocious, and of Saint Pontianus; they have not even respected
    the crucifix in which was preserved a morsel of the true cross,
    they have beaten the monks, they have driven them out with
    stones, and having taken one of them, they have treated him in
    an infamous manner.”[144]

Until the stimulus given by the crusades was felt, subinfeudation went
on uninterruptedly; the Capetians were as unable to stem the current
as the Carlovingians before them, so that, under Philip I., the royal
domain had become almost as much dismembered as the kingdom of Lothaire
a century earlier. Consolidation began after the council of Clermont,
and Suger’s _Life of Louis the Fat_ is the story of the last years of
the partisan warfare between the crown and the petty nobility which had
been going on since the time of Hugh Capet.

During this long period the kings had fought a losing battle,
and without the material resources of the Church would have been
overpowered. Even as it was they failed to hold their own, and yet the
wealth of the clergy was relatively enormous. The single abbey of Saint
Denis was said to have controlled ten thousand men, and though this may
be an exaggeration, the corporation was organized on a gigantic scale.

Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries it held in France alone
three cities, upwards of seventy-four villages, twenty-nine manors
attached to these possessions, over a hundred parishes, and a great
many chapels bringing in valuable rentals, beside numerous vineyards,
mills and fields, with fifteen forests of the first class.[145]

Suger’s description of the country at the beginning of the twelfth
century is highly dramatic. Every strong position, like a hill or
a forest, was a baron’s hold, from whence he rode to plunder and
torment the people. One of the most terrible of these robbers was
Hugh du Puiset, a man whom the Abbot of Saint Denis calls a ruffian,
the issue of a long line of ruffians. To the churchman, Hugh was the
incarnation of evil. He oppressed the clergy, and though hated by all,
few dared oppose him. At last he attacked Adèle, Countess of Chartres,
daughter of William the Conqueror, who went with her son Tybalt to
seek redress from the king. Louis did not relish the campaign, and the
monk described how the lady taunted him with the defeat his father had
suffered from the father of Hugh, who pursued him to Orléans, captured
a hundred of his knights, and cast his bishops into dungeons.

Afterward, an assembly was held at Melun to consider the situation,
and there a concourse of prelates, clerks, and monks “threw themselves
at the king’s feet and implored him, to his great embarrassment, to
repress this most greedy robber Hugh, who, more rapacious than a wolf,
devoured their lands.”[146]

Certainly the priests had cause for alarm, for the venerable Archbishop
of Chartres, who was present, had been captured, loaded with irons, and
long left to languish in prison.

Three times this baron was defeated, but even when a prisoner, his
family connection was so powerful he was permitted to escape. At last
he died like a wolf, fighting to the last, having impaled the Seneschal
of France on his spear.

Even singly, such men were almost a match for both Church and Crown;
but when joined in a league, especially if allied to one of the great
feudatories, such as the Duke of Normandy, they felt sure of victory.
One day, when Eudes, Count of Corbeil, was to join this very Hugh,
he put aside his armour-bearer who was attending him, and said to his
wife: “Pray, noble countess, bring the glittering sword to the noble
count, since he who takes it from you as a count, shall to-day return
it as a king.”[147]

The immediate effect of the crusades was to carry numbers of these
petty princes to Palestine, where they were often killed or ruined. As
their power of resistance weakened, the crown gained, and Louis the Fat
reconquered the domain. His active life began in 1097, the year of the
invasion of Palestine, and his absorption of the lordship of Montlhéri
is a good illustration of his success.

The family of Rochefort-Montlhéri owned several of the strongest
donjons near Paris, and was divided into two branches, the one
represented by Guy Trousseau, Lord of Montlhéri, the other by Guy the
Red, Lord of Rochefort. Guy Trousseau’s father was named Milo, and
all three went to Syria, where Milo was killed, and his son disgraced
himself. Suger spoke of him with extreme disdain:--

   “Guy Trousseau, son of Milo of Montlhéri, a restless man and
    a disturber of the kingdom, returned home from a pilgrimage
    to the Holy Sepulchre, broken down by the anxiety of a long
    journey and by the vexation of many troubles. And ... [being]
    panic stricken at Antioch at the approach of Corboran, and
    escaping down from a wall [he] ... abandoned the army of God
    and fled destitute of everything.” [148]

Returning a ruined man, he married his daughter to the illegitimate
son of Philip, a half-brother of Louis, a child of twelve; and as
his guardians, the king and prince got possession of the castle. This
castle was almost at the gates of Paris, and a standing menace to the
communications of the kingdom: therefore their delight was great. “They
rejoiced as though they had taken a straw from their eyes, or as though
they had burst the barrier which imprisoned them.”[149] And the old
king said to his son: “Guard well the tower, Louis, which has aged me
with chagrin, and through whose treachery and wicked fraud I have never
known peace and quiet.”[150]

Yet the destruction of the local nobility in Syria was the least
important part of the social revolution wrought by the crusades, for
though the power of the barons might have thus been temporarily broken,
they could never have been reduced to impotence unless wealth had grown
equal to organizing an overwhelming attack. The accumulation of wealth
followed the opening of the Eastern trade, and its first effect was to
cause the incorporation of the communes.

Prior to 1095 but one town is known to have been chartered, Saint
Quentin, the capital of Vermandois, about 1080,[151] but after the
opening of the Syrian ports the whole complexion of society changed.
Noyon was chartered in 1108, Laon in 1111, Amiens in 1113, and then
free boroughs sprang up on every side.

For want of the mariner’s compass, commerce could not pass north by
the Straits of Gibraltar. Merchandise had therefore to go by land, and
exchanges between the north and south of Europe centred in the County
of Champagne, whose fairs became the great market of the thirteenth

The earliest dated document relating to these fairs is a deed drawn in
1114 by Hugh, Count of Troyes, by which he conveyed certain revenues
derived from them to the Abbey of Montier-en-Der. Fifty years later,
such mentions had grown frequent, and by the year 1200 the fairs had
attained their full development.[152]

Weaving had been an industry in Flanders under the Romans, and in the
time of Charlemagne the cloth of the Low Countries had been famous;
but in the twelfth century the manufacture spread into the adjoining
provinces of France, and woollen became the most valuable European
export. The fleeces were brought chiefly from England, the weaving was
done on the Continent, and one of the sources of the Florentine wealth
was the dressing and dyeing of these fabrics to prepare them for the
Asiatic market.

For mutual defence, the industrial towns of the north formed a league
called the Hanse of London, because London was the seat of the chief
counting-house. This league at first included only seventeen cities,
with Ypres and Bruges at the head, but the association afterward
increased to fifty or sixty, stretching as far west as Le Mans, as far
south as the Burgundian frontier, and as far east as Liège. Exclusive
of the royal domain, which was well consolidated under Philip Augustus,
the French portion of this region substantially comprised the counties
of Blois, Vermandois, Anjou, Champagne, and the Duchy of Normandy.
This district, which has ever since formed the core of France, became
centralized at Paris between the beginning of the reign of Philip
Augustus in 1180 and the reign of Philip the Fair a century later, and
there can be little doubt that this centralization was the effect of
the accumulation of capital, which created a permanent police.

The merchants of all the cities of the league bound themselves to
trade exclusively at the fairs of Champagne, and, to prosper, the
first obstacle they had to overcome was the difficulty and cost
of transportation. Not only were the roads unsafe, because of the
strength of the castles in which the predatory nobility lived, but the
multiplicity of jurisdictions added to taxes. As late as the end of
the thirteenth century, a convention was made between fifteen of the
more important Italian cities, such as Florence, Genoa, Venice, and
Milan, and Otho of Burgundy, by which, in consideration of protection
upon the roads, tolls were to be paid at Gevry, Dôle, Augerans, Salins,
Chalamont, and Pontarlier. When six imposts were levied for crossing
a single duchy, the cost of importing the cheaper goods must have been

The Italian caravans reached Champagne ordinarily by two routes: one
by some Alpine pass to Geneva, and then through Burgundy; the other by
water to Marseilles or Aigues-Mortes, up the Rhone to Lyons, and north,
substantially as before. The towns of Provins, Troyes, Bar-sur-Aube,
and Lagny-sur-Marne lie about midway between Bruges and Ypres on the
one side, and Lyons and Geneva on the other, and it was at these cities
that exchanges centralized, until the introduction of the mariner’s
compass caused traffic to go by the ocean, and made Antwerp the monied

The market was, in reality, open continuously, for six fairs were held,
each six weeks long, and the trade was so lucrative that places which,
in 1100, had been petty villages, in 1200 had wealth enough to build
those magnificent cathedrals which are still wonders of the world.

The communal movement had nothing about it necessarily either liberal
or democratic. The incorporated borough was merely an instrument of
trade, and at a certain moment became practically independent, because
for a short period traders organized locally, before they could
amalgamate into centralized communities with a revenue sufficient to
pay a police capable of coercing individuals.

What the merchant wanted was protection for trade, and, provided he
had it, the form in which it came was immaterial. Where the feudal
government was strong, communes did not exist: Paris never had a
charter. Conversely, where the government was weak, communes grew
up, because traders combined for mutual protection, and therefore the
communes reached perfection in ecclesiastical capitals.

As a whole, the secular nobility rather favoured the incorporated
towns, because they could sell to them their services as policemen, and
could join with them in plundering the Church;[153] on their side the
tradesmen were always ready to commute personal military service into a
tax, and thus both sides benefited. To the Church, on the contrary, the
rise of the mercantile class was pure loss, not only because it caused
their vassals to seek better protection than ecclesiastics could give,
but because the propagation of the materialistic mind bred heresy. The
clergy had no police to sell, and the townsmen had, therefore, either
to do the work themselves or hire a secular noble. In the one case they
became substantially independent; in the other they transferred their
allegiance to a stranger. In any event, a new fief was carved out of
an ecclesiastical lordship, and such accessions steadily built up the
royal domain.

From the outset, the sacred class seems to have been conscious of
its danger, and some of the most ferocious wars of the Middle Ages
were those waged upon ecclesiastical serfs who tried to organize for
self-defence. In one of his books Luchaire has told, at length, the
story of the massacre of the peasantry of the Laonnais by a soldier
whom the chapter of Laon elected bishop for the purpose,[154] and this
was but a single case out of hundreds. Hardly a bishop or an abbot
lived at peace with his vassals, and, as the clergy were the natural
prey of the secular nobility, the barons often sided with the populace,
and used the burghers as an excuse for private war. A speech made by
one of the Counts of Nevers, during a rising of the inhabitants of
Vézelay, gives a good idea of the intrigues which kept the prelates in
perpetual misery.

   “O very illustrious men, celebrated for great wisdom, valiant
    by your strength and rich by the riches you have acquired
    by your own merit, I am deeply afflicted at the miserable
    condition to which you are reduced. Apparently the possessors
    of much, in reality you are masters of nothing; and more than
    this, you do not enjoy any portion of your natural liberty....
    If I think on these things I am greatly astonished, and ask
    myself what has become of, or rather to what depth of cowardice
    has fallen within you, that vigour formerly so renowned, when
    you put to death your Lord, the abbot Artaud.”

The count then dwelt upon the harshness of the living abbot, and ended

   “Separate from this man, and bind yourselves to me by a mutual
    agreement: if you consent, I engage myself to free you from all
    exactions, from all illegal rentals, and to defend you from the
    evils which are ready to fall upon you.”[155]

Wherever developed, the mercantile mind had always the same
characteristic: it was unimaginative, and, being unimaginative, it
doubted the utility of magic. Accordingly, all commercial communities
have rebelled against paying for miracles, and it was the spread of a
scepticism already well developed in the thirteenth century among the
manufacturing towns, which caused the Reformation of the sixteenth. At
Saint-Riquier the monks carried the relics of Saint Vigor each year
in procession. In 1264 the burghers took a dead cat and put it in a
shrine, while in another casket they placed a horse-bone, to do service
as the arm of Saint Vigor. When the procession reached a certain spot,
the reliquaries were set down, and a mock fight began between two
mummers. Then the bearers cried out, “Old Saint Riquier, you shall
go no further unless you reconcile these enemies,” whereupon the
combatants fell into each other’s arms, and all cried out that Saint
Riquier had wrought a miracle.

Afterward they built a chapel and oratory, with an altar draped with
cloth of gold, and deposited the dead cat and the horse-bone; and
simple pilgrims, ignorant of the sacrilege, stopped to worship the
relics, the mayor and council aiding and abetting the crime, “to the
detriment of the whole Church universal.”[156]

The clergy retaliated with frightful ferocity. As heresy followed in
the wake of trade, the Inquisition followed in the wake of heresy, and
the beginning of the thirteenth century witnessed simultaneously the
prosperity of the mercantile class and the organization of the Holy

Jacques de Vitry breathed the ecclesiastical spirit. One of the
most famous preachers of his age, he rose from a simple monk to
be Cardinal-bishop of Tusculum, legate in France, and Patriarch of
Jerusalem. He led a crusade against the Albigenses, was present at
the siege of Damietta, and died at Rome in 1240. His sermons burn
with his hatred of the bourgeoisie: “That detestable race of men ...
hurrying to meet its fate, which none or few could escape,” all of whom
“were making haste toward hell.... But above all other evils of these
Babylonish cities, there is one which is the worst, for hardly is there
a community to be found in which there are not abettors, receivers,
defenders of, or believers in, heretics.”[157]

The basis of the secular society of the early Middle Ages was
individual physical force. Every layman, noble or serf, owed military
service, and when a borough was incorporated, it took its place in
the feudal hierarchy, like any other vassal. With the spread of the
mercantile type, however, a change began--the transmutation of physical
force into money--and this process went on until individual strength or
courage ceased to have importance.

As soldiers the burgesses never excelled; citizen troops have seldom
been formidable, and those of the communes rarely withstood the first
onset of the enemy. The tradesmen themselves recognized their own
limitations, and in 1317 the deputies of the cities met at Paris and
requested the government to undertake the administration of the local

Though unwarlike, the townsmen were wealthy, and, in the reign of
Philip Augustus, the same cause which led to the consolidation of
the kingdom, brought about, as Luchaire has pointed out, “a radical
modification of the military and financial organization of the
monarchy;” the substitution by the privileged corporations of money
payments for personal service.[158]

Thus, from the time when the economic type had multiplied sufficiently
to hire a police, the strength of the State came to depend on
its revenue, and financiers grew to be the controlling element of
civilization. Before the crusades, the high offices of the kingdom
of France, such as the office of the seneschal, were not only held by
nobles, but tended to become hereditary in certain warlike families.
After the rise of the Eastern trade the royal council was captured by
the bourgeoisie. Jacques Cœur is a striking specimen of the class which
ruled in the fifteenth century. Of this class the lawyers were the
spokesmen, and men like Flotte and Nogaret, the chancellors of Philip
the Fair, expressed the notion of centralization as perfectly as the
jurists of ancient Rome. No one has understood the movement better
than Luchaire. He has pointed out, in his work on French institutions,
that from the beginning of the reign of Saint Louis (1226) the Privy
Council steadily gained in consequence.[159] The permanent civil
service, of which it was the core, served as a school for judges,
clerks, seneschals, and all judicial and executive officers. At first
the administration retained a strong clerical tinge, probably because
a generation elapsed before laymen could be equally well trained for
the work, but after the accession of Philip the Fair, toward the end
of the century, the laymen decisively predominated, and when they
predominated, the plunder of the Church began.

Abstract justice is, of course, impossible. Law is merely the
expression of the will of the strongest for the time being,
and therefore laws have no fixity, but shift from generation to
generation. When the imagination is vivid and police weak, emotional or
ecclesiastical law prevails. As competition sharpens, and the movement
of society accelerates, religious ritual is supplanted by civil codes
for the enforcement of contracts and the protection of the creditor

The more society consolidates the more legislation is controlled by the
wealthy, and at length the representatives of the monied class acquire
that absolute power once wielded by the Roman proconsul, and now
exercised by the modern magistrate.

   “The two great figures of Saint Louis and of Philip the Fair
    which dominate the third period are profoundly unlike, but
    considering the facts as a whole ... [they] have but moderately
    influenced the direction of the communal development. With
    the bailiffs and Parliament the monarchical machine is in
    possession of its essential works; it operates and will stop
    no more. In vain the king shall essay to arrest its march, or
    to direct it in another course: the innumerable army of agents
    of the crown does not cease for a moment to destroy rival
    jurisdictions, to suppress embarrassing powers, to replace
    everywhere private jurisdictions by the single authority of the

   “To the infinite diversity of local liberties its will is
    to substitute regularity of institutions; political and
    administrative centralization.”[160]

As Luchaire has elsewhere observed, the current everywhere
“substituted, in the paths of administration, justice, and finance,
the lay and burgher for the ecclesiastical and noble element.” In
other words, the economic type steadily gained ground, and the process
went on until the Revolution. Saint Simon never forgave Louis XIV. for
surrounding himself with men of mean birth, dependent on his will.

   “The Duke of Beauvilliers was the single example in the whole
    course of his reign, as has been remarked in speaking of this
    duke, the only nobleman who was admitted into his council
    between the death of Cardinal Mazarin and his own; that is to
    say, during fifty-four years.”[161]

From the middle of the twelfth to the middle of the thirteenth century
was an interval of almost unparalleled commercial prosperity--a
prosperity which is sufficiently proved by the sumptuous quality of the
architecture of the time. Unquestionably the most magnificent buildings
of modern Europe date from this period, and this prosperity was not
limited to any country, but extended from Cairo to London. Such an
expansion of trade would have been impossible without a corresponding
expansion of the currency, and as no new mines were discovered,
recourse was had to paper. By the year 1200 bills of exchange had been
introduced,[162] and in order to give the bill of exchange its greatest
circulating power, a system of banking was created which operated as
a universal clearing house, and by means of which these bills were
balanced against each other.

In the thirteenth century, Florence, Genoa, and Venice were the chief
monied centres. In these cities the purchase and sale of commercial
paper was, at the outset, monopolized by a body of money-changers,
who, in Venice at least, seem to have been controlled by the council
of merchants, and who probably were not always in the best credit.
At all events, they were required in 1318 to make a deposit of
£3,000 as security for their customers, and afterward the amount
was increased.[163] Possibly some such system of deposits may have
originally formed the capital of the Bank of Venice, but everything
relating to the organization of the mediæval banks is obscure. All that
seems certain is, that business was conducted by establishments of
this character long before the date of any records which now remain.
Amidst the multiplicity of mediæval jurisdictions, not only did the
currency become involved in inextricable confusion, but it generally
was debased through abrasion and clipping. Before clearings could be
conveniently made, therefore, a coinage of recognized value had to
be provided, and this the banks undertook to supply by their system
of deposits. They received coin fresh from the mints, for which they
gave credits, and these credits or notes were negotiable, and were
always to be bought in the market. The deposits themselves were seldom
withdrawn, as they bore a premium over common currency, which they lost
when put in circulation, and they were accordingly only transferred
on the books of the corporations, to correspond with the sales of
the notes which represented them. Thus merchants from all parts of
Europe and the Levant could draw on Venice or Genoa, and have their
balances settled by transfers of deposits at the banks, without the
intervention of coin. A calculation has been made that, by this means,
the effective power of the currency was multiplied tenfold. Of all
these institutions, the corporations of Genoa and Venice were the most
famous. The Bank of Saint George, at Genoa, was formally organized in
1407, but it undoubtedly had conducted business from the beginning of
the twelfth century;[164] next to nothing is known of the development
at Venice. Probably, however, Florence was more purely a monied centre
than either Venice or Genoa, and no money-lenders of the Middle Ages
ever equalled the great Florentine banking families. Most of the
important commercial centres came to have institutions of the kind.

The introduction of credit had the same effect as a large addition
to the stock of bullion, and, as gold and silver grew more plentiful,
their relative value fell, and a general reform of the currency took
place. Venice began the movement with the grosso, it spread through
Italy and into France, and the coin of Saint Louis was long considered
as perfect money.

With the expansion of the currency went a rise in prices, all
producers grew rich, and, for more than two generations, the strain of
competition was so relaxed that the different classes of the population
preyed upon each other less savagely than they are wont to do in less
happy times.

Meanwhile no considerable additions were made to the volume of the
precious metals, and, as the bulk of commerce swelled, the capacity of
the new system of credit became exhausted, and contraction set in. The
first symptom of disorder seems to have been a rise in the purchasing
power of both the precious metals, but particularly of gold, which
rose in its ratio to silver from about one to nine and a half, to
one to twelve.[165] At the same time the value of commodities, even
when measured in silver, appears to have fallen sharply.[166] The
consequence of this fall was a corresponding addition to the burden
of debt, and a very general insolvency. The communes had been large
borrowers, and their straits were deplorable. Luchaire has described
their condition as shown “in the municipal accounts addressed by the
communes to the government.”[167] Everywhere there was a deficit,
almost everywhere ruin. Amiens, Soissons, Roye, Saint Quentin, and
Rouen were all in difficulty with their loans, but Noyon was perhaps
the worst of all. In 1278 Noyon owed 16,000 pounds which it was
unable to pay. After a suspension for fourteen years the king issued
an ordinance regulating liquidation; a part of the claims had to be
cancelled, and the balance collected by a levy on private property. The
bankruptcy was complete.

The royal government, equally hardly pressed, was unable to meet its
obligations in the standard coin, and resorted to debasement. Under
Saint Louis the mark of silver yielded but 2 pounds 15 sous 6 pence;
in 1306 the same weight of metal was cut into 8 pounds 10 sous.
The pressure upon the population was terrible, and led to terrible
results--the beginning of the spoliation of the emotionalists.

Perhaps the combination of the two great forces of the age, of the
soldier and the monk, was the supreme effort of the emotional mind.
What a hold the dazzling dream of omnipotence, through the possession
of the Sepulchre, had upon the twelfth century, can be measured by
the gifts showered upon the crusading orders, for they represented a
prodigious sacrifice.

At Paris the Temple had a capital city over against the capital of the
king. Within a walled enclosure of sixty thousand square metres, stood
the conventual buildings and a gigantic donjon of such perfect masonry
that it never needed other repairs than the patching of its roof.
Beyond the walls the domain extended to the Seine, a property which,
even in 1300, had an almost incalculable value.

On every Eastern battle-field, and at every assault and siege, the
knights had fought with that fiery courage which has made their name a
proverb down to the present day. In 1265, at Safed, three hundred had
been butchered upon the ramparts in cold blood, rather than renounce
their faith. At Acre, whose loss sealed the fate of Palestine, they
held the keep at all odds until the donjon fell, burying Christians and
Moslems in a common grave. But skill and valour avail nothing against
nature. Step by step the Templars had been driven back, until Tortosa
surrendered in 1291. Then the Holy Land was closed, the enthusiasm
which had generated the order had passed away, and, meanwhile,
economic competition had bred a new race at home, to which monks were a
predestined prey.

In 1285, as the Latin kingdom in Syria was tottering towards its
fall, Philip the Fair was crowned. Subtle, sceptical, treacherous,
and cruel, few kings have left behind them a more sombre memory, yet
he was the incarnation of the economic spirit in its conflict with
the Church. Nine years later Benedetto Gaetani was elected pope:
a man as completely the creation of the social revolution of the
thirteenth century as Philip himself. Trained at Bologna and Paris, a
jurist rather than a priest, his faith in dogma was so scanty that his
belief in the immortality of the soul has been questioned. A thorough
worldling, greedy, ambitious, and unscrupulous, he was suspected of
having murdered his predecessor, Celestin V.

When Boniface came to the throne, the Church is supposed to have
owned about one-third of the soil of Europe, and on this property the
governments had no means of enforcing regular taxation. Toward the
close of the thirteenth century the fall of prices increased the weight
of debt, while it diminished the power of the population to pay. On
the other hand, as the system of administration became more complex,
the cost of government augmented, and at last the burden became more
than the laity could endure. Both England and France had a permanent
deficit, and Edward and Philip alike turned toward the clergy as
the only source of supply. Both kings met with opposition, but the
explosion came in France, where Clairvaux, the most intractable of
convents, appealed to Rome.

Boniface had been elected by a coalition between the Colonna and the
Orsini factions, but after his coronation he turned upon the Colonnas,
who, in revenge, plundered his treasure. A struggle followed, which
ended fatally to the pope; but at first he had the advantage, sacked
their city of Præneste, and forced them to fly to France. On the brink
of this war, Boniface was in no condition to rouse so dangerous an
adversary as Philip, and, in answer to Clairvaux’s appeal, he confined
himself to excommunicating the prince who should tax the priest and the
priest who should pay the impost.

Nevertheless, the issue had to be met. The Church had weakened as
terror of the unknown had waned, and could no longer defend its wealth,
which was destined to pass more and more completely into the hands of
the laity.

Philip continued his aggressions, and, when peace had been established
in Italy, the rupture came. Not realizing his impotence, and
exasperated at the royal policy, Boniface sent Bernard de Saisset,
Bishop of Pamiers, to Paris as his ambassador. Bernard had recently
been consecrated in defiance of Philip, and they were bitter enemies.
He was soon dismissed from court, but he continued his provocations,
calling the king a false coiner and a blockhead, and when he returned
to Pamiers he plotted an insurrection. He was arrested and prosecuted
by the Chancellor Flotte, but when delivered to the Archbishop of
Narbonne for degradation, action was suspended to await the sanction
of Rome. Then Flotte was sent to Italy to demand the surrender “of
the child of perdition,” that Philip might make of him “an excellent
sacrifice to God.” The mission necessarily failed, for it was a
struggle for supremacy, and the issue was well summed up in the final
words of the stormy interview which brought it to a close. “My power,
the spiritual power,” cried Boniface, “embraces and encloses the
temporal.” “True,” retorted Flotte, “but yours is verbal, the king’s is

An ecclesiastical council was convoked for October, 1302, and Philip
was summoned to appear before the greatest prelates of Christendom.
But, not waiting the meeting of this august assembly, Boniface, on
December 5, 1301, launched his famous bull, “Ausculta, fili,” which was
his declaration of war.[168]

Listen, my son: do not persuade yourself that you have no superior, and
are not in subjection to the head of the ecclesiastical hierarchy: he
who says this is mad, he who sustains it is an infidel. You devour the
revenues of the vacant bishoprics, you pillage churches. I do not speak
now of the alterations in the coinage, and of the other complaints
which arise on all sides, and which cry to us against you, but not to
make myself accountable to God for your soul, I summon you to appear
before me, and in case of your refusal shall render judgment in your

A century before, the barons of France had abandoned Philip Augustus,
through fear of the incantations of Innocent, but, in the third
generation of the commercial type, such fears had been discarded. In
April, 1302, the estates of the realm sustained the “little one-eyed
heretic,” as Boniface called Flotte, in burning the papal bull, and in
answering the admonitions of the pope with mockery.

   “Philip, by the grace of God king of the French, to Boniface,
    who calls himself sovereign pontiff, little greeting or none.
    Let your very great foolishness know that we are subject to
    no one for the temporalty; that the collation to the vacant
    churches and prebends belongs to us by royal right; that
    their fruits are ours; that collations which have been made,
    or are to be made by us, are valid for the past and for the
    future, and that we will manfully protect their possessors
    against all comers. Those who think otherwise we hold fools or

The accepted theory long was that the bourgeoisie were neutral in
this quarrel; that they were an insignificant factor in the state,
and obeyed passively because they were without the power to oppose. In
reality, consolidation had already gone so far that money had become
the prevailing form of force in the kingdom of France; therefore the
monied class was on the whole the strongest class, and Flotte was their
mouthpiece. They accepted the papers drawn by the chancellor, because
the chancellor was their representative.[171]

In July, 1302, Philip met with the defeat of Courtray, and the tone
of the ecclesiastical council, convened in October, shows that the
clergy thought his power broken. A priest relies upon the miracle, and,
if defied, he must either conquer by supernatural aid, or submit to
secular coercion. Boniface boldly faced the issue, and planted himself
by Hildebrand. In his bull, Unam Sanctam, he defined his claim to the
implicit obedience of laymen.

   “We are provided, under his authority, with two swords,
    the temporal and the spiritual; ... both, therefore, are
    in the power of the Church; to wit, the spiritual and the
    material sword: ... the one is to be used by the priest,
    the other by kings and soldiers; sed ad nutum et patientiam

A sentence of excommunication had also been prepared and sent to
France, which was to have been followed by deposition; but when it
arrived, Philip convened an assembly of prelates and barons at the
Louvre, and presented an indictment against Boniface, probably without
a parallel in modern history. The pope was accused of every crime. He
was an infidel, a denier of the immortality of the soul, a scoffer at
the eucharist, a murderer, and a sorcerer. He was guilty of unnatural
crimes and of robbery.[173]

The bearer of the bull was arrested, the property of the bishops who
had attended the council sequestered, and Philip prepared to seize
Boniface in his own palace. Boniface, too, felt the decisive hour at
hand. He tried to reconcile himself with his enemies, drew the bull of
deposition, and prepared to affix it to the church door at Anagni on
September 8, 1303. Before the day came he was a prisoner, and face to
face with death.

Flotte had been killed at Courtray, and had been succeeded by the
redoubtable Nogaret, whose grandfather was believed to have been burned
as a heretic. With Nogaret Philip joined Sciarra Colonna, the bloodiest
of the Italian nobles, and sent them together to Italy to deal with
his foe. Boniface had made war upon the Colonnas, and Sciarra had
been hunted like a wild beast. Flying disguised, he had been taken by
pirates, and had preferred to toil four years as a galley-slave, rather
than run the risk of ecclesiastical mercy by surrendering himself to
the vicar of Christ. At last Philip heard of his misfortunes, bought
him, and, at the crisis, let him slip like a mad dog at the old man’s
throat. Nogaret and Colonna succeeded in corrupting the governor of
Anagni, and entered the town at dead of night; but the pope’s nephews
had time to barricade the streets, and it was not until the church,
which communicated with the papal apartments, had been fired, that
the palace was forced. There, it was said, they found the proud old
priest sitting upon his throne, with his crown upon his head, and men
whispered that, as he sat there, Colonna struck him in the face with
his gauntlet.

Probably the story was false, but it reflected truly enough the spirit
of the pope’s captors. He himself believed them capable of poisoning
him, for from Saturday night till Monday morning he lay without food
or drink, and when liberated was exhausted. Boniface was eighty-six,
and the shock killed him. He was taken to Rome, and died there of
fever, according to the rumour, blaspheming, and gnawing his hands in

The death of Boniface was decisive. Benedict XI., who succeeded him,
did not attempt to prolong the contest; but peace without surrender was
impossible. The economic classes held the emotionalists by the throat,
and strangled them till they disgorged.

Vainly Benedict revoked the acts of his predecessor. Philip demanded
that Boniface should be branded as a heretic, and sent Nogaret to
Rome as his ambassador. The insult was more than the priesthood could
yet endure. Summoning his courage, Benedict excommunicated Nogaret,
Colonna, and thirteen others, whom he had seen break into the palace
at Anagni. Within a month he was dead. Poison was whispered, and, for
the first time since the monks captured the papacy, the hierarchy was
paralyzed by fear. No complaint was made, or pursuit of the criminal
attempted; the consistory met, but failed to unite on a successor.

According to the legend, when the cardinals were unable to agree, the
faction opposed to Philip consented to name three candidates, from whom
the king should select the pope. The prelate he chose was Bertrand de
Goth, Archbishop of Bordeaux. Boniface had been his patron, but Philip,
who knew men, knew that this man had his price. The tale goes that
the king visited the bishop at an abbey near Saint-Jean-d’Angély, and
began the conversation as follows: “My lord Archbishop, I have that in
my hand will make you pope if I like, and it is for that I am come.”
Bertrand fell on his knees, and the king imposed five conditions,
reserving a sixth, to exact thereafter. The last condition was the
condemnation of the Templars.[175]

Doubtless the picturesque old tale is as false in detail as it is
true in spirit. Probably no such interview took place, and yet there
seems little doubt that Clement owed his election to Philip, and gave
pledges which bound him from the day of his coronation. Certainly
he surrendered all liberty of action, for he established himself at
Avignon, whence the battlements of Ville-Neuve can still be seen, built
by Philip to overawe the town. Within an hour he could have filled the
streets with his mercenaries. The victory was complete. The Church was
prostrate, and spoliation began.

Clement was crowned in 1305, and after two years of slavery he began
to find his compact heavy upon him. He yielded up the patronage,
he consented to the taxation of the clergy, and he ordered the
grand-masters of the crusading orders to return to Europe, all at
Philip’s bidding. But when he was commanded to condemn Boniface as a
heretic, he recoiled in terror. Indeed, to have rejected Boniface as an
impostor, and a false pope, would have precipitated chaos. His bishops
and cardinals would have been set aside, Clement’s own election would
have been invalidated; none could foresee where the disorganization
would end. To gain time, Clement pleaded for a general council,
which the king morosely conceded, but only on the condition that the
excommunications against his agents, even against Nogaret, should
be withdrawn. Clement assented, for he was practically a prisoner at
Poitiers, a council at Vienne was agreed to, and the Crown seized the
Templars without opposition from the Church.

Criticism has long ago dispelled the mystery which once shrouded this
bloody process. No historian now suggests that the knights were really
guilty of the fantastic enormities charged against them, and which they
confessed under torture. Scepticism doubtless was rife among them, as
it was among the cardinals, but there is nothing to show that the worst
differed materially from the population about them, and the superb
fortitude with which they perished, demonstrates that lack of religious
enthusiasm was not the crime for which they died.

When Philip conceived the idea of first murdering and then plundering
the crusaders, is uncertain. Some have thought it was in 1306, while
sheltered in the Temple, when, he having suddenly raised his debased
money to the standard of Saint Louis, the mob destroyed the house of
his master of the mint. Probably it was much earlier, and was but the
necessary result of the sharpening of economic competition, which began
with the accelerated movement accompanying the crusades.

After Clement’s election, several years elapsed before the scheme
ripened. Nothing could be done until one or both of the grand-masters
had been enticed to France with their treasure. Under pretence of
preparing for a new crusade this was finally accomplished, and, in
1306, Jacques de Molay, a chivalrous Burgundian gentleman, journeyed
unsuspectingly to Paris, taking with him his chief officers and one
hundred and fifty thousand florins in gold, beside silver “enough to
load ten mules.”

Philip first borrowed all the money de Molay would lend, and then,
at one sudden swoop, arrested in a single night all the Templars
in France. On October 13, 1307, the seizure was made, and Philip’s
organization was so perfect, and his agents so reliable, that the plan
was executed with precision.

The object of the government was plunder, but before the goods
of the order could be confiscated, legal conviction of some crime
was necessary, which would entail forfeiture. Heresy was the only
accusation adapted to the purpose; accordingly Philip determined to
convict the knights of heresy, and the best evidence was confession. To
extort confession the Inquisition had to be set in motion by the pope,
and thus it came to pass that, in order to convey to the laymen the
property of ecclesiastics, Christ’s soldiers were tormented to death by
his own vicar.

In vain, in the midst of the work, Clement, in agonies of remorse,
revoked the commissions of the inquisitors. Philip jeered when the
cardinals delivered the message, saying “that God hated the lukewarm,”
and the torture went on as before. When he had extorted what he needed,
he set out for Poitiers; Clement fled, but was arrested and brought
back a prisoner. Then his resolution gave way, and he abandoned the
knights to their fate, reserving only the grand-master and a few high
officials for himself. Still, though he forsook the individuals, he
could not be terrified into condemning the order in its corporate
capacity, and the final process was referred to the approaching
council. Meanwhile, a commission, presided over by the Archbishop of
Narbonne, proceeded with the trial of the knights.

For three years these miserable wretches languished in their dungeons,
and the imagination recoils from picturing their torments. Finally
Philip felt that an end must be made, and in March, 1310, 546 of the
survivors were taken from their prisons and made to choose delegates,
for their exasperation was so deep that the government feared to let
them appear before the court in a body.

The precaution availed little, for the knights who conducted the common
defence proved themselves as proud and bold in this last extremity of
human misery, as they had ever been upon the day of battle. They denied
the charges brought against them, they taunted their judges with the
lies told them to induce them to confess, and they showed how life and
liberty had been promised them, under the royal seal, if they would
admit the allegations of the government. Then they told the story of
those who had been steadfast to the end.

   “It is not astonishing that some have borne false witness,
    but that any have told the truth, considering the sorrows
    and suffering, the threats and insults, they daily endure....
    What is surprising is that faith should be given to those who
    have testified untruly to save their bodies, rather than to
    those who have died in their tortures in such numbers, like
    martyrs of Christ, in defence of the truth, or who solely for
    conscience sake, have suffered and still daily suffer in their
    prisons, so many torments, trials, calamities, and miseries,
    for this cause.”[176]

The witnesses called confirmed their statements. Bernard Peleti, when
examined, was asked if he had been put to the torture. He replied that
for three months previous to his confession to the Bishop of Paris, he
had lain with his hands so tightly bound behind his back that the blood
started from his finger nails. He had beside been put in a pit. Then
he broke out: “If I am tortured I shall deny all I have said now, and
shall say all they want me to say. If the time be short, I can bear to
be beheaded, or to die by boiling water, or by fire, for the honour of
the order; but I can no longer withstand the torments which, for more
than two years, I have endured in prison.”[177]

“I have been tortured three times,” said Humbert de Podio. “I was
confined thirty-six weeks in a tower, on bread and water, quia non
confitebatur quae volebant.”[178] Bernard de Vado showed two bones
which had dropped from his heels after roasting his feet.[179]

Such testimony was disregarded, for condemnation was necessary as a
preliminary to confiscation. The suppression of the Temple was the
first step in that long spoliation of the Church which has continued
to the present day, and which has been agonizing to the victims in
proportion to their power of resistance. The fourteenth century was
still an age of faith, and the monks died hard. Philip grasped the
situation with the intuition of genius, and provided himself with an
instrument fit for the task before him. He forced Clement to raise
Philip de Marigni to the See of Sens, and Marigni was a man who shrank
from nothing.

When made archbishop, he convoked a provincial council at Paris, and
condemned, as relapsed heretics, the knights who had repudiated their
confessions. Fifty-nine of these knights belonged to his own diocese.
He had them brought to a fenced enclosure in a field near the Abbey
of Saint Antoine, and there offered them pardon if they would recant.
Then they were chained to stakes, and slowly burned to ashes from the
feet upward. Not one flinched, but amidst shrieks of anguish, when half
consumed, they protested their innocence, and died imploring mercy of
Christ and of the Virgin.[180]

Devotion so superb might have fired the imagination of even such a
craven as Clement, but Philip was equal to the emergency. He had
caused scores of witnesses to be examined to prove that Boniface
was a murderer, a sorcerer, a debauchee, and a heretic. Suddenly he
offered to drop the prosecution, and to restore the Temple lands to
the Church, if the order might be abolished and the process closed.
Clement yielded. In October, 1311, the council met at Vienne. The
winter was spent in intimidation and bribery; the second meeting was
not held until the following April, and then the decree of suppression
was published. By this decree the corporation was dissolved, but
certain of the higher officers still lived, and in an evil moment
Clement bethought him of their fate. In December, 1313, he appointed
a commission to try them. They were brought before a lofty scaffold at
the portal of the Cathedral of Paris, and there made to reiterate the
avowals which had been wrung from them in their dungeons. Then they
were sentenced to perpetual imprisonment. But at this supreme moment,
when it seemed that all was over, de Molay, the grand-master, and the
Master of Normandy, broke into a furious defence. The commissioners
adjourned in a panic, but Philip, thirsting for blood, sprang upon his

He gave his orders to his own officers, without consulting any prelate.
On March 18, 1314, as night fell, the two crusaders were taken from
the provost, who acted as their gaoler, and carried to a little island
in the Seine, on which a statue of Henry of Navarre now stands. There
they were burned together, without a trial and without a sentence.
They watched the building of their funeral pile with “hearts so firm
and resolute, and persisted with such constancy in their denials to
the end, and suffered death with such composure, that they left the
witnesses of their execution in admiration and stupor.”[181]

An ancient legend told how de Molay, as he stood upon his blazing
fagots, summoned Clement to meet him before God’s judgment-seat in
forty days, and Philip within a year. Neither survived the interval.
Philip had promised to restore the goods of the Temple to the Church,
but the plunder, for which this tremendous deed was done, was not
surrendered tamely to the vanquished after their defeat. The gold
and silver, and all that could be stolen, disappeared. The land was
in the end ceded to the Hospital, but so wasted that, for a century,
no revenue whatever accrued from what had been one of the finest
conventual estates in Europe.[182]

Such was the opening of that social revolution which, when it reached
its height, was called the Reformation.



Many writers have pointed out the relation between commerce and
scepticism in the Middle Ages, and, among others, Thorold Rogers has a
passage in his _History of Agriculture and Prices_ so interesting that
it should be read entire:--

   “The general spread of Lollardy, about which all the
    theologians of the age complain, was at once the cause anti the
    effect of progressive opulence. It cannot be by accident that
    all the wealthiest parts of Europe, one district only excepted,
    and that for very sufficient reasons, were suspected during the
    Middle Ages of theological nonconformity. Before the campaigns
    of Simon de Montfort, in the first half of the thirteenth
    century, Provence was the garden and workshop of Europe. The
    sturdiest advocates of the Reformation were the burghers of the
    Low Countries.... In England the strength of the Lollard party
    was, from the days of Wiklif to the days of Cranmer, in Norfolk
    [the principal manufacturing county]; and I have no doubt that
    ... the presence of students from this district must have told
    on the theological bias of Cambridge University, which came out
    markedly at the epoch of the Reformation....

   “English Lollardy was, like its direct descendant Puritanism,
    sour and opinionative, but it was also moral and thrifty.
    They who denounced the lazy and luxurious life of the monks,
    the worldliness and greed of the prelates, and the gross and
    shallow artifices of the popular religion, were pretty sure
    to inculcate parsimony and saving. By voluntarily and sturdily
    cutting themselves off from the circumstance of the old faith,
    they were certain, like the Quakers of more than two centuries
    later, to become comparatively wealthy. They had nothing to
    spare for monk or priest....”[183]

The Lollards were of the modern economic type, and discarded the
miracle because the miracle was costly and yielded an uncertain
return. Yet the mediæval cult was based upon the miracle, and many of
the payments due for the supernatural services of the ecclesiastics
were obligatory; beside, gifts as an atonement for sin were a drain
on savings, and the economist instinctively sought cheaper methods of

In an age as unscientific as the sixteenth century, the conviction
of the immutability of natural laws was not strong enough to admit
of the abrogation of religious formulas. The monied class, therefore,
proceeded step by step, and its first experiment was to suppress all
fees to middle-men, whether priests or saints, by becoming their own
intercessors with the Deity.

As Dr. Witherspoon has observed, “fear of wrath from the avenger
of blood” made men “fly to the city of refuge”;[184] but, as the
tradesman replaced the enthusiast, a dogma was evolved by which
mental anguish, which cost nothing, was substituted for the offering
which was effective in proportion to its money value. This dogma was
“Justification by Faith,” the corner-stone of Protestantism.

Far from requiring an outlay from the elect, “Justification by Faith”
discouraged it. The act consisted in “a deep humiliation of mind,
confession of guilt and wretchedness ... and acceptance of pardon and
peace through Christ Jesus, which they have neither contributed to
the procuring, nor can contribute to the continuance of, by their own

Yet the substitution of a mental condition for a money payment, led to
consequences more far-reaching than the suppression of certain clerical
revenues, for it involved the rejection of the sacred tradition which
had not only sustained relic worship, but which had made the Church the
channel of communication between Christians and the invisible world.

That ancient channel once closed, Protestants had to open another,
and this led to the deification of the Bible, which, before the
Reformation, had been supposed to derive its authority from that divine
illumination which had enabled the priesthood to infallibly declare the
canon of the sacred books. Calvin saw the weak spot in the position of
the reformers, and faced it boldly. He maintained the Scripture to be
“self-authenticated, carrying with it its own evidence, and ought not
to be made the subject of demonstration and arguments from reason,”
and that it should obtain “the same complete credit and authority
with believers ... as if they heard the very words pronounced by God

Thus for the innumerable costly fetishes of the imaginative age were
substituted certain writings, which could be consulted without a fee.
The expedient was evidently the device of a mercantile community, and
the saving to those who accepted it enormous, but it disintegrated
Christendom, and made an organized priesthood impossible. When each
individual might pry into the sacred mysteries at his pleasure, the
authority of the clergy was annihilated.

Men of the priestly type among the reformers saw the danger and tried
to save themselves. The thesis which the early evangelical divines
maintained was the unity of truth. The Scriptures were true: therefore
if the whole body of Christians searched aright they could not fail to
draw truth from them, and this truth must be the creed of the universal
Church. Zwingli thus explained the doctrine:--

   “Whoever hears the holy scriptures read aloud in church, judges
    what he hears. Nevertheless what is heard is not itself the
    Word through which we believe. For if we believed through the
    simple hearing or reading of the Word, all would be believers.
    On the contrary, we see that many hear and see and do not
    believe. Hence it is clear that we believe only through the
    word which the Heavenly Father speaks in our hearts, by which
    he enlightens us so that we see, and draws us so that we
    follow.... For God is not a God of strife and quarrel, but of
    unity and peace. Where there is true faith, there the Holy
    Spirit is present; but where the Holy Spirit is, there is
    certainly effort for unity and peace.... Therefore there is no
    danger of confusion in the Church since, if the congregation is
    assembled through God, he is in the midst of them, and all who
    have faith strive after unity and peace.”[187]

The inference the clergy sought to draw was, that though all could
read the Bible, only the enlightened could interpret it, and that
they alone were the enlightened. Hence Calvin’s pretensions equalled

   “This is the extent of the power with which the pastors of the
    Church, by whatever name they may be distinguished, ought to
    be invested; that by the word of God they may venture to do
    all things with confidence; may constrain all the strength,
    glory, wisdom, and pride of the world to obey and submit to
    his majesty; supported by his power, may govern all mankind,
    from the highest to the lowest; may build up the house of
    Christ, and subvert the house of Satan; may feed the sheep, and
    drive away the wolves; may instruct and exhort the docile; may
    reprove, rebuke, and restrain the rebellious and obstinate; may
    bind and loose; may discharge their lightnings and thunders, if
    necessary; but all in the Word of God.”[188]

In certain regions, poor and remote from the centres of commerce, these
pretensions were respected. In Geneva, Scotland, and New England, men
like Calvin, Knox, and Cotton maintained themselves until economic
competition did its work: then they passed away. Nowhere has faith
withstood the rise of the mercantile class. As a whole the Reformation
was eminently an economic phenomenon, and is best studied in England,
which, after the Reformation, grew to be the centre of the world’s

From the beginning of modern history, commerce and scepticism have gone
hand in hand. The Eastern trade began to revive after the reopening of
the valley of the Danube, about 1000, and perhaps, in that very year,
Berenger, the first great modern heretic, was born. By 1050 he had
been condemned and made to recant, but with the growth of the Fairs
of Champagne his heresy grew, and in 1215, just in the flush of the
communal development, the Church found it necessary to define the dogma
of transubstantiation, and declare it an article of faith. A generation
later came the burning of schismatics; in 1252, by his bull “Ad
extirpanda,” Innocent IV. organized the Inquisition, and the next year
Grossetête, Bishop of Lincoln, died, with whom the organized opposition
of the English to the ancient costly ritual may be said to have opened.

In Great Britain the agitation for reform appears to have been
practical from the outset. There was no impatience with dogmas simply
because they were incomprehensible: the Trinity and the Double
Procession were always accepted. Formulas of faith were resisted
because they involved a payment of money, and foremost among these were
masses and penances. Another grievance was the papal patronage, and,
as early as the fourteenth century, Parliament passed the statutes of
provisors and præmunire to prevent the withdrawal of money from the

The rise of the Lollards was an organized movement to resist
ecclesiastical exactions, and to confiscate ecclesiastical property;
and, if 1345 be taken as the opening of Wickliffe’s active life, the
agitation for the seizure of monastic estates started just a generation
after Philip’s attack on the Temple in France. There was at least this
difference in the industrial condition of the two nations, and probably
much more.

Wickliffe was rather a politician than a theologian, and his preaching
a diatribe against the extravagance of the Church. In one of his
Saints’ Days sermons he explained the waste of relic worship as
shrewdly as a modern man of business:--

   “It would be to the benefit of the Church, and to the honour
    of the saints, if the costly ornaments so foolishly lavished
    upon their graves were divided among the poor. I am well
    aware, however, that the man who would sharply and fully expose
    this error would be held for a manifest heretic by the image
    worshippers and the greedy people who make gain of such graves;
    for in the adoration of the eucharist, and such worshipping of
    dead bodies and images, the Church is seduced by an adulterous

The laity paid the priesthood fees because of their supernatural
powers, and the possession of these powers was chiefly demonstrated by
the miracle of the mass. Wickliffe, with a leader’s eye, saw where the
enemy was vulnerable, and the last years of his life were passed in his
fierce controversy with the mendicants upon transubstantiation. Even at
that early day he presented the issue with incomparable clearness: “And
thou, then, that art an earthly man, by what reason mayst thou say that
thou makest thy maker?”[190]

The deduction from such premises was inexorable. The mass had to be
condemned as fetish worship, and with it went the adoration of relics.

   “Indeed, many nominal Christians are worse than pagans; for it
    is not so bad that a man should honour as God, for the rest
    of the day, the first thing he sees in the morning, as that
    regularly that accident should be really his God, which he
    sees in the mass in the hands of the priest in the consecrated

Wickliffe died December 30, 1384, and ten years later the Lollards
had determined to resist all payments for magic. They presented
their platform to Parliament in 1395, summed up in their _Book of
Conclusions_. Some of these “conclusions” are remarkably interesting:--

    5th.--“That the exorcisms and hallowings, consecrations and
    blessings, over the wine, bread, wax, water, oil, salt,
    incense, the altar-stone, and about the church-walls, over the
    vestment, chalice, mitre, cross, and pilgrim-staves, are the
    very practices of necromancy, rather than of sacred divinity.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

    7th.--“We mightily affirm ... that spiritual prayers made in the
    church for the souls of the dead ... is a false foundation of
    alms, whereupon all the houses of alms in England are falsely

    8th.--“That pilgrimages, prayers, and oblations made unto blind
    crosses or roods, or to deaf images made either of wood or
    stone, are very near of kin unto idolatry.”[192]

When Lord Cobham, the head of the Lollard party, was tried for heresy
in 1413, Archbishop Arundel put him four test questions. First, whether
he believed, after the sacramental words had been spoken, any material
bread or wine remained in the sacrament; fourth, whether he believed
relic worship meritorious.

His answers did not give satisfaction, and they roasted him in chains,
in Saint Giles’s Fields, in 1418.

A hundred years of high commercial activity followed Cobham’s death.
The discovery of America, and of the sea passage to India, changed
the channels of commerce throughout the world, human movement was
accelerated, gunpowder made the attack overwhelming; centralization
took a prodigious stride, scepticism kept pace with centralization,
and in 1510 Erasmus wrote thus, and yet remained in the orthodox

   “Moreover savoureth it not of the same saulce [folly] (trow
    ye) when everie countrey chalengeth a severall sainct for theyr
    patrone, assignyng further to each sainct a peculiar cure and
    office, with also sundrie ways of worshipping; as this sainct
    helpeth for the tooth-ache, that socoureth in childbyrth; she
    restoreth stolene goods; an other aydeth shipmen in tempests;
    an other taketh charge of husbandmens hoggs; and so of the
    rest; far too long were it to reherse all. Then some saincts
    there be, that are generally sued for many thynges; amongst
    whom chiefly is the virgin Mother of God, in whom vulgar folke
    have an especiall confidence, yea almost more than in her

When Erasmus wrote, the Reformation was at hand, but the attack
on Church property had begun in England full two centuries before,
contemporaneously with Philip’s onslaught on the Temple. All over
Europe the fourteenth century was a period of financial distress; in
France the communes became bankrupt and the coinage deteriorated, and
in England the debasement of the currency began in 1299, and kept pace
with the rise of Lollardy. In 1299 the silver penny weighed 22 1⁄2
grains; Edward I. reduced it to 22 1⁄4 grains; Edward III. to 18
grains; Henry IV. to 15 grains; and Henry VI., during his restoration
in 1470, to 12 grains.

As the stringency increased, the attack on the clergy gained in
ferocity. Edward I. not only taxed the priesthood, but seized the
revenues of the alien priories; of these there might have been one
hundred and fifty within the realm, and what he took from them he spent
on his army.

Edward II. and Edward III. followed the precedent, and during the
last reign, when the penny dropped four grains, these revenues were
sequestered no less than twenty-three years. Under Henry IV. the penny
lost three grains, and what remained of the income of these houses was
permanently applied to defraying the expenses of the court. Henry V.
dissolved them, and vested their estates in the crown.

In the reign of Henry IV., when the penny was on the point of losing
three grains of its silver, the tone of Parliament was similar to that
of the parliaments of the Reformation. On one occasion the king asked
for a subsidy, and the Speaker suggested that without burdening the
laity he might “supply his occasions by seizing on the revenues of the
clergy”;[194] and in 1410 Lord Cobham anticipated the Parliament of
1536 by introducing a bill for the confiscation of conventual revenues
to the amount of 322,000 marks, a sum which he averred represented
the income of certain corporations whose names he appended in a

Year by year, as society consolidated, the economic type was
propagated; and, as the pressure of a contracting currency stimulated
these men to action, the demand for cheap religion grew fiercer.
London, the monied centre, waxed hotter and hotter, and a single
passage from the _Supplicacyon for Beggers_ shows how bitter the
denunciations of the system of paying for miracles became:--

   “Whate money pull they yn by probates of testamentes, priuy
    tithes, and by mennes offeringes to theyre pilgrimages, and at
    theyre first masses? Euery man and childe that is buried, must
    pay sumwhat for masses and diriges to be song for him, or elles
    they will accuse the dedes frendes and executours of heresie.
    whate money get they by mortuaries, by hearing of confessions
    ... by halowing of churches, altares, superaltares, chapelles,
    and bells, by cursing of men and absoluing theim agein for

One of the ballads of Cromwell’s time ridiculed, in this manner, all
the chief pilgrimages of the kingdom:--

   “Ronnying hyther and thyther,
    We cannot tell whither,
      In offryng candels and pence
    To stones and stockes,
    And to olde rotten blockes,
      That came, we know not from whense.

   “To Walsyngham a gaddyng,
    To Cantorbury a maddyng,
      As men distraught of mynde;
    With fewe clothes on our backes,
    But an image of waxe,
       For the lame and for the blynde.

   “Yet offer what ye wolde,
    Were it otes, syluer, or golde
      Pyn, poynt, brooche, or rynge,
    The churche were as then,
    Such charitable men,
      That they would refuse nothyng.”[197]

But the war was not waged with words alone. At the comparatively
early date of 1393, London had grown so unruly that Richard assumed
the government of the city himself. First he appointed Sir Edward
Darlington warden, but Sir Edward proving too lenient, he replaced him
with Sir Baldwin Radington. Foxe, very frankly, explained why:--

   “For the Londoners at that time were notoriously known to be
    favourers of Wickliff’s side, as partly before this is to be
    seen, and in the story of Saint Alban’s more plainly doth
    appear, where the author of the said history, writing upon
    the fifteenth year of King Richard’s reign, reporteth in these
    words of the Londoners, that they were ‘not right believers in
    God, nor in the traditions of their forefathers; sustainers
    of the Lollards, depravers of religious men, withholders of
    tithes, and impoverishers of the common people.’

   “... The king, incensed not a little with the complaint of the
    bishops, conceived eftsoons, against the mayor and sheriffs,
    and against the whole city of London, a great stomach;
    insomuch, that the mayor and both the sheriffs were sent for,
    and removed from their office.”[198]

By the opening of the sixteenth century a priest could hardly collect
his dues without danger; the Bishop of London indeed roundly declared
to the government that justice could not be had from the courts.

In 1514 the infant child of a merchant tailor named Hun died, and the
parson of the parish sued the father for a bearing sheet, which he
claimed as a mortuary. Hun contested the case, and got out a writ of
præmunire against the priest, which so alarmed the clergy that the
chancellor of the diocese accused him of heresy, and confined him in
the Lollard’s tower of Saint Paul’s.

In due time the usual articles were exhibited against the defendant,
charging that he had disputed the lawfulness of tithes, and had said
they were ordained “only by the covetousness of priests”; also that he
possessed divers of “Wickliff’s damnable works,” and more to the same

Upon these articles Fitzjames, Bishop of London, examined Hun on
December 2, and after the examination recommitted him. On the morning
of the 4th, a boy sent with his breakfast found him hanging to a
beam in his cell. The clergy said suicide, but the populace cried
murder, and the coroner’s jury found a verdict against Dr. Horsey, the
chancellor. The situation then became grave, and Fitzjames wrote to
Wolsey a remarkable letter, which showed not only high passion, but
serious alarm:--

   “In most humble wise I beseech you, that I may have the king’s
    gracious favour ... for assured am I, if my chancellor be tried
    by any twelve men in London, they be so maliciously set, ‘in
    favorem hæreticæ pravitatis,’ that they will cast and condemn
    any clerk, though he were as innocent as Abel.”[199]

The evidence is conclusive that, from the outset, industry bred
heretics; agriculture, believers. Thorold Rogers has explained that the
east of England, from Kent to the Wash and on to Yorkshire, was the
richest part of the kingdom,[200] and Mr. Blunt, in his _Reformation
of the Church of England_, has published an analysis of the martyrdoms
under Mary. He has shown that out of 277 victims, 234 came from the
district to the east of a line drawn from Boston to Portsmouth.
West of this line Oxford had most burnings; but, by the reign of
Mary, manufactures had spread so far inland that the industries
of Oxfordshire were only surpassed by those of Middlesex.[201] In
Wickliffe’s time Norwich stood next to London, and Norwich was infested
with Lollards, many of whom were executed there.

On the other hand, but two executions are recorded in the six
agricultural counties north of the Humber--counties which were
the poorest and the farthest removed from the lines of trade. Thus
the eastern counties were the hot-bed of Puritanism. There, Kett’s
rebellion broke out under Edward VI.; there, Cromwell recruited his
Ironsides, and throughout this region, before the beginning of the
Reformation, assaults on relics were most frequent and violent. One of
the most famous of these relics was the rood of Dovercourt. Dovercourt
is part of Harwich, on the Essex coast; Dedham lies ten miles inland,
on the border of Suffolk; and the description given by Foxe of the
burning of the image of Dovercourt, is an example of what went on
throughout the southeast just before the time of the divorce:--

   “In the same year of our Lord 1532, there was an idol named
    the Rood of Dovercourt, whereunto was much and great resort
    of people: for at that time there was great rumour blown
    abroad amongst the ignorant sort, that the power of the idol
    of Dovercourt was so great, that no man had power to shut
    the church-door where he stood; and therefore they let the
    church-door, both night and day, continually stand open, for
    the more credit unto their blind rumour. This once being
    conceived in the heads of the vulgar sort, seemed a great
    marvel unto many men; but to many again, whom God had blessed
    with his spirit, it was greatly suspected, especially unto
    these, whose names here follow: as Robert King of Dedham,
    Robert Debnam of Eastbergholt, Nicholas Marsh of Dedham, and
    Robert Gardner of Dedham, whose consciences were sore burdened
    to see the honour and power of the almighty living God so to be
    blasphemed by such an idol. Wherefore they were moved by the
    Spirit of God, to travel out of Dedham in a wondrous goodly
    night, both hard frost and fair moonshine, although the night
    before, and the night after, were exceeding foul and rainy. It
    was from the town of Dedham, to the place where the filthy Rood
    stood, ten miles. Notwithstanding, they were so willing in that
    their enterprise, that they went these ten miles without pain,
    and found the church door open, according to the blind talk of
    the ignorant people: for there durst no unfaithful body shut
    it. This happened well for their purpose, for they found the
    idol, which had as much power to keep the door shut, as to keep
    it open; and for proof thereof, they took the idol from his
    shrine, and carried him quarter of a mile from the place where
    he stood, without any resistance of the said idol. Whereupon
    they struck fire with a flint-stone, and suddenly set him on
    fire, who burned out so brim, that he lighted them homeward one
    good mile of the ten.

   “This done, there went a great talk abroad that they should
    have great riches in that place; but it was very untrue; for
    it was not their thought or enterprise, as they themselves
    afterwards confessed, for there was nothing taken away but his
    coat, his shoes, and the tapers. The tapers did help to burn
    him, the shoes they had again, and the coat one Sir Thomas Rose
    did burn; but they had neither penny, halfpenny, gold, groat,
    nor jewel.

   “Notwithstanding, three of them were afterwards indicted of
    felony, and hanged in chains within half a year, or thereabout.

        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

   “The same year, and the year before, there were many images
    cast down and destroyed in many places: as the image of the
    crucifix in the highway by Coggeshall, the image of Saint
    Petronal in the church of Great Horksleigh, the image of Saint
    Christopher by Sudbury, and another image of Saint Petronal in
    a chapel of Ipswich.”[202]

England’s economic supremacy is recent, and has resulted from the
change in the seat of exchanges which followed the discovery of
America and the sea-route to India; long before Columbus, however, the
introduction of the mariner’s compass had altered the paths commerce
followed between the north and south of Europe during the crusades.

The necessity of travel by land built up the Fairs of Champagne; they
declined when safe ocean navigation had cheapened marine freights. Then
Antwerp and Bruges superseded Provins and the towns of Central France,
and rapidly grew to be the distributing points for Eastern merchandise
for Germany, the Baltic, and England. In 1317 the Venetians organized
a direct packet service with Flanders, and finally, the discoveries
of Vasco-da-Gama, at the end of the fifteenth century, threw Italy
completely out of the line of the Asiatic trade.

British industries seem to have sympathized with these changes, for
weaving first assumed some importance under Edward I., although English
cloth long remained inferior to continental. The next advance was
contemporaneous with the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope. On July 8,
1497, Vasco-da-Gama sailed for Calicut, and in the previous year Henry
VII. negotiated the “Magnus Intercursus,” by which treaty the Merchant
Adventurers succeeded for the first time in establishing themselves
advantageously in Antwerp. Thenceforward England began to play a part
in the industrial competition of Europe, but even then her progress was
painfully slow. The accumulations of capital were small, and increased
but moderately, and a full century later, when the Dutch easily raised
£600,000 for their East India Company, only £72,000 were subscribed in
London for the English venture.

Throughout the Middle Ages, while exchanges centred in North Italy,
Great Britain hung on the outskirts of the commercial system of the
world, and even at the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. she could
not compare, either in wealth, refinement, or organization, with such a
kingdom as France.

The crown had not been the prize of the strongest in a struggle among
equals, but had fallen to a soldier of a superior race, under whom no
great nobility ever grew up. No baron in England corresponded with such
princes as the dukes of Normandy and Burgundy, the counts of Champagne
and Toulouse. Fortifications were on a puny scale; no strongholds like
Pierrefonds or Vitré, Coucy or Carcassonne existed, and the Tower of
London itself was insignificant beside the Château Gaillard, which
Cœur-de-Lion planted on the Seine.

The population was scanty, and increased little. When Henry VIII. came
to the throne in 1509, London may have had forty or fifty thousand
inhabitants, York eleven thousand, Bristol nine or ten thousand, and
Norwich six thousand.[203] Paris at that time probably contained
between three and four hundred thousand, and Milan and Ghent two
hundred and fifty thousand each.

But although England was not a monied centre during the Middle Ages,
and perhaps for that very reason, she felt with acuteness the financial
pressure of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. She had little
gold and silver, and gold and silver rose in relative value; she had
few manufactures, and manufactures were comparatively prosperous; her
wealth lay in her agricultural interests, and farm products were, for
the most part, severely pinched.

Commenting on the prices between the end of the thirteenth century and
the middle of the sixteenth, Mr. Rogers has observed:--

   “Again, upon several articles of the first importance, there is
    a marked decline in the price from the average of 1261–1400 to
    that of 1401–1540. This would have been more conspicuous, if
    I had in my earlier volumes compared all prices from 1261 to
    1350 with those of 1351–1400. But even over the whole range,
    every kind of grain, except wheat and peas, is dearer in the
    thirteenth and fourteenth centuries than it is in the first
    hundred and forty years of the present period [1401–1582];
    and had I taken the average price of wheat during the last
    fifty years of the fourteenth century, it would have been
    (6s. 1 1⁄2d.) dearer than the average of 1401–1540 (5s.
    11 3⁄4d.), heightened as this is by the dearness of the last
    thirteen years.”[204]

The tables published by Mr. Rogers make it possible to form some idea
of the strain to which the population of Great Britain was exposed,
during the two hundred and fifty years which intervened between the
crisis at the close of the thirteenth century, and the discovery of
the mines of Potosi in 1545, which flooded the world with silver.
Throughout this long interval an expanding commerce unceasingly
enlarged the demand for currency, while no adequate additions were made
to the stock of the precious metals; the consequence was that their
relative value rose, while the value of commodities declined, and this
process had a tendency to debase the coinage.

The latter part of the Middle Ages was a time of rapid centralization,
when the cost of administration grew from year to year but in
proportion as the necessities of the government increased, the power
of the people to pay taxes diminished, because the products which they
sold brought less of the standard coin. To meet the deficit the same
weight of metal had to be cut into more pieces, and thus by a continued
inflation of the currency, general bankruptcy was averted. The various
stages of pressure are pretty clearly marked by the records of the

Apparently the stringency which began in France about the end of
the reign of Saint Louis, or somewhat later, did not affect England
immediately, for prices do not seem to have reached their maximum until
after 1290, and Edward I. only reduced the penny, in 1299, from 22.5
grains of silver to 22.25 grains. Thenceforward the decline, though
spasmodic, on the whole tended to increase in severity from generation
to generation. The long French wars, and the Black Death, produced a
profound effect upon the domestic economy of the kingdom under Edward
III.; and the Black Death, especially, seems to have had the unusual
result of raising prices at a time of commercial collapse. This rise
probably was due to the dearth of labour, for half the population of
Europe is said to have perished, and, at all events, the crops often
could not be reaped through lack of hands. More than a generation
elapsed before normal conditions returned.

Immediately before the French war the penny lost two grains, and
between 1346 and 1351, during the Black Death, it lost two grains and a
quarter more, a depreciation of four grains and a half in fifty years;
then for half a century an equilibrium was maintained. Under Henry
IV. there was a sharp decline of three grains, equal to an inflation
of seventeen per cent, and by 1470, under Henry VI., the penny fell
to twelve grains. Then a period of stability followed, which lasted
until just before the Reformation, when a crisis unparalleled in
severity began, a crisis which probably was the proximate cause of the
confiscation of the conventual estates.

In 1526 the penny suddenly lost a grain and a half, or about twelve and
a half per cent, and then, when further reductions of weight would have
made the piece too flimsy, the government resorted to adulteration. In
1542, a ten-grain penny was coined with one part in five of alloy; in
1544, the alloy had risen to one-half, and in 1545, two-thirds of the
coin was base metal--a depreciation of more than seventy per cent in
twenty years.

Meanwhile, though prices had fluctuated, the trend had been downward,
and downward so strongly that it had not been fully counteracted by the
reductions of bullion in the money. Rogers thought lath-nails perhaps
the best gauge of prices, and in commenting on the years which preceded
the Reformation, he remarked:--

   “From 1461 to 1540, the average [of lath-nails] is very
    little higher than it was from 1261 to 1350, illustrating
    anew that significant decline in prices which characterizes
    the economical history of England during the eighty years

Although wheat rose more than other grains, and is therefore an
unfavourable standard of comparison, wheat yields substantially the
same result. During the last forty years of the thirteenth century,
the average price of the quarter was 5s. 10 3⁄4d., and for the last
decade, 6s. 1d. For the first forty years of the sixteenth century
the average was 6s. 10d. The penny of 1526, however, contained only
about forty-seven per cent of the bullion of the penny of 1299. “The
most remarkable fact in connection with the issue of base money by
Henry VIII. is the singular identity of the average price of grain,
especially wheat, during the first 140 years of my present period, with
the last 140 of my first two volumes.”[206]

After a full examination of his tables, Rogers concluded that the great
rise which made the prosperity of Elizabeth’s reign did not begin until
some “year between 1545 and 1549.”[207] This corresponds precisely
with the discovery of Potosi in 1545, and that the advance was due
to the new silver, and not to the debasement of the coinage, seems
demonstrated by the fact that no fall took place when the currency
was restored by Elizabeth, but, on the contrary, the upward movement
continued until well into the next century.

Some idea may be formed from these figures of the contraction which
prevailed during the years of the Reformation. In 1544, toward the
close of Henry’s reign, the penny held five grains of pure silver as
against about 20.8 grains in 1299, and yet its purchasing power had not
greatly varied. Bullion must therefore have had about four times the
relative value in 1544 that it had two hundred and fifty years earlier,
and, if the extremely debased issues of 1545 and later be taken as the
measure, its value was much higher.

Had Potosi been discovered a generation earlier, the whole course of
English development might have been modified, for it is not impossible
that, without the aid of falling prices, the rising capitalistic class
might have lacked the power to confiscate the monastic estates. As
it was, the pressure continued until the catastrophe occurred, relic
worship was swept away, the property of the nation was redistributed,
and an impulsion was given to large farming which led to the rapid
eviction of the yeomanry. As the yeomen were driven from their land,
they roamed over the world, colonizing and conquering, from the
Mississippi to the Ganges; building up, in the course of two hundred
and fifty years, a centralization greater than that of Rome, and more
absolute than that of Constantinople.

Changes so vast in the forms of competition necessarily changed
the complexion of society. Men who had flourished in an age of
decentralization and of imagination passed away, and were replaced by a
new aristocracy. The soldier and the priest were overpowered; and, from
the Reformation downward, the monied type possessed the world.

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was the ideal of this type, and he was
accordingly the Englishman who rose highest during the convulsion of
the Reformation. He was a perfect commercial adventurer, and Chapuys,
the ambassador of Charles V. at London, thus described his origin to
his master:--

   “Cromwell is the son of a poor farrier, who lived in a little
    village a league and a half from here, and is buried in the
    parish graveyard. His uncle, father of the cousin whom he
    has already made rich, was cook of the late Archbishop of
    Canterbury. Cromwell was ill-behaved when young, and after
    an imprisonment was forced to leave the country. He went to
    Flanders, Rome, and elsewhere in Italy. When he returned he
    married the daughter of a shearman, and served in his house; he
    then became a solicitor.”[208]

The trouble which drove him abroad seems to have been with his
father, and he probably started on his travels about 1504. He led
a dissolute and vagabond life, served as a mercenary in Italy, “was
wild and youthful, ... as he himself was wont ofttimes to declare unto
Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; showing what a ruffian he was in
his young days ... also what a great doer he was with Geffery Chambers
in publishing and setting forth the pardons of Boston everywhere in
churches as he went.”[209]

These “pardons” were indulgences he succeeded in obtaining from the
pope for the town of Boston, which he peddled about the country as
he went. He served as a clerk in the counting house of the Merchant
Adventurers at Antwerp, and also appears to have filled some such
position with a Venetian merchant. On his return to England in 1513,
he married and set up a fulling-mill; he also became an attorney and a
usurer, dwelling by Fenchurch, in London.

In 1523, having been elected to Parliament, Cromwell was a most
prosperous man. At this time he entered Wolsey’s service, and made
himself of use in suppressing convents to supply endowments for
the cardinal’s colleges at Oxford and Ipswich. When Wolsey fell, he
ingratiated himself with Henry, and thenceforward rose rapidly. He
became chancellor of the exchequer, master of the rolls, secretary of
state, vicar general, a Knight of the Garter, and Earl of Essex. At
once the head of Church and State, probably no English subject has ever
been so powerful.

Both he and Cranmer succeeded through flexibility and adroitness. He
suggested to Henry to accomplish his ends by robbing the convents, and
Mr. Brewer, an excellent authority, thought him notoriously venal from
the outset.

His executive and business capacity was unrivalled. He had the instinct
for money, and provided he made it, he scrupled not about the means. In
the _State Papers_ there is an amusing account of the treatment he put
up with, when at the pinnacle of greatness:--

   “And as for my Lord Prevye Sealle, I wold not be in his case
    for all that ever he hathe, for the King beknaveth him twice
    a weke, and some-tyme knocke him well about thee pate; and yet
    when he hathe bene well pomeld aboute the hedde, and shaken up,
    as it were a dogge, he will come out into the great chambre,
    shaking of the bushe with as mery a countenance as thoughe he
    mought rule all the roste.”[210]

Though good-natured where his interests were not involved, he appears
to have been callous to the sight of pain, and not only attended to
the racking of important witnesses, but went in state to see Father
Forest roasted in chains for denying the royal supremacy, which he was
labouring to establish. His behaviour to Lambert, whom he sent to the
fire for confessing his own principles, astonished even those who knew
him well. How he became a Protestant is uncertain; Foxe thought, by
reading Erasmus’s translation of the New Testament. More probably he
was sceptical because he was of the economic type. At all events, he
hated Rome, and Foxe said that in 1538 he was “the chief friend of the

In that same year Lambert was tried for heresy regarding
transubstantiation, and it was then Cromwell sentenced him to be burned
alive. Characteristically, he is said to have invited him to breakfast
on the morning of the execution, and to have then begged his pardon for
what he had done.

Pole described a conversation he had with Essex about the duty of
ministers to kings. Pole thought their first obligation was to consider
their masters’ honour, and insisted on the divergence between honour
and expediency. Such notions seemed fantastic to Cromwell, who told
Pole that a prudent politician would study a prince’s inclinations and
act accordingly. He then offered Pole a manuscript of Machiavelli’s
_Prince_. Such a temperament differed, not so much in degree as in
kind, from that of Godfrey de Bouillon or Saint Louis, Bayard or the
Black Prince. It was subtler, more acquisitive, more tenacious of
life, and men and women of the breed of Cromwell rose rapidly to be
the owners of England during the sixteenth century. Social standards
changed. Even in semi-barbarous ages a lofty courtesy had always
been deemed befitting the great. Saint Anselm and Héloïse, Saladin
and Cœur-de-Lion have remained ideals for centuries, because they
represented a phase of civilization; and Froissart has described how
the Black Prince entertained his prisoners after Poitiers:--

   “The prince himself served the king’s table, as well as the
    others, with every mark of humility, and would not sit down
    at it, in spite of all his entreaties for him so to do, saying
    that ‘he was not worthy of such an honour, nor did it appertain
    to him to seat himself at the table of so great a king, or of
    so valiant a man as he had shown himself by his actions that

One hundred and fifty years of progress had eliminated chivalry.
Manners were coarse and morals loose at the court of Henry VIII.
Foreign ambassadors spoke with little respect of the society they saw.
Chapuys permitted himself to sneer at Lady Jane Seymour, who afterward
became queen, because he seems to have thought the ladies of the court

   “I leave you to judge whether, being English, and having
    frequented the court, ‘si elle ne tiendroit pas à conscience
    de navoir pourveu et prévenu de savoir que cest de faire

The scandals of the Boleyn family are too well known to need
notice,[213] and it would be futile to accumulate examples of the
absence of female virtue when the fact is notorious. The rising
nobility resembled Cromwell more or less feebly. The mercenary quality
was the salient characteristic of the favoured class. Thomas Boleyn,
Earl of Wiltshire, made his fortune through his own shrewdness and the
beauty of his daughters. Mary, the younger, was an early mistress of
Henry; Anne, the elder and the astuter, was his wife. Boleyn’s title
and his fortune came through this connection. Boleyn was a specimen of
a class; in him the instinct of self-preservation was highly developed.
When his daughter Anne, and his son, Lord Rochford, were tried at the
Tower for incest, the evidence was so flimsy that ten to one was bet
in the court-room on acquittal. At this supreme moment, the attitude
of the father was thus described by Chapuys, who had good sources of

   “On the 15th the said concubine and her brother were condemned
    of treason by all the principal lords of England, and the Duke
    of Norfolk [her uncle] pronounced sentence. I am told the Earl
    of Wiltshire was quite as ready to assist at the judgment as he
    had done at the condemnation of the other four.”[214]

The grandfather of Thomas Boleyn had been an alderman of London and
a rich tradesman; his son had been knighted, and had retired from
business, and Wiltshire himself, though a younger son and with but
fifty pounds a year when married, raised himself by his wits, and the
use of his children, to be a wealthy earl.

The history of the Cecil family is not dissimilar. David, the first
of the name who emerged from obscurity, gained a certain favour under
Henry VIII.; his son Richard, a most capable manager, obtained a fair
share of the monastic plunder, was groom of the robes, constable of
Warwick Castle, and died rich. His son was the great Lord Burleigh,
in regard to whom perhaps it may be best to quote an impartial
authority. Macaulay described him as possessed of “a cool temper, a
sound judgment, great powers of application, and a constant eye to
the main chance.... He never deserted his friends till it was very
inconvenient to stand by them, was an excellent Protestant when it was
not very advantageous to be a Papist, recommended a tolerant policy
to his mistress as strongly as he could recommend it without hazarding
her favour, never put to the rack any person from whom it did not seem
probable that useful information might be derived, and was so moderate
in his desires that he left only three hundred distinct landed estates,
though he might, as his honest servant assures us, have left much more,
‘if he would have taken money out of the exchequer for his own use, as
many treasurers have done.’”[215]

The Howards, though of an earlier time, were of the same temperament.
The founder was a lawyer, who sat on the bench of the Common Pleas
under Edward I., and who, therefore, did not earn his knighthood on a
stricken field, as the Black Prince won his spurs at Crécy. After his
death his descendants made little stir for a century, but they married
advantageously, accumulated money, and, in the fifteenth century, one
Robert Howard married a daughter of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
This he hardly would have done had he not been a man of substance,
since he seems not to have been a man of war. The alliance made the
fortune of the family. It also appears to have added some martial
instinct to the stock, for Richard III. gave John Howard the title of
the Mowbrays, and this John was afterwards killed at Bosworth. His son
commanded at Flodden, and his grandson was the great spoiler of the
convents under Henry VIII., who also suppressed the northern rebellion.

Thomas Howard, the minister of Henry VIII., was one of the most
interesting characters of his generation. He was naturally a strong
Conservative; Chapuys never doubted that “the change in matters of
religion [was] not to his mind”: in 1534 he even went so far as to
tell the French ambassador that he would not consent to a change, and
this speech having been repeated to the king, occasioned his momentary
disgrace.[216] At one time Lord Darcy, the head of the reactionary
party, counted on his support against Cromwell, though he warned
Chapuys not to trust him implicitly, because of “his inconstancy.”[217]
Yet, under a certain appearance of vacillation, he hid a profound
and subtle appreciation of the society which environed him; this
“inconstancy” made his high fortune. He had a sure instinct, which
taught him at the critical moment where his interests lay, and he never
was deceived. Henry distrusted him, but could not do without him, and
paid high for his support. Howard, on his side, was keenly distressed
when he found he had gone too far, and when the northern insurrection
broke out, and he was offered the command of the royal forces, the
Bishop of Carlisle, with whom he dined, said he had never seen the duke
“so happy as he was to-day.”[218]

Once in the field against his friends, there were no lengths to which
Thomas Howard would not go. He never wearied of boasting of his lies
and of his cruelty, he wrote to assure Henry he would spare no pains to
entrap them, and would esteem no promise he made to the rebels, “for
surely I shall observe no part thereof, for any respect of that other
might call mine honor dystayned.”[219]

As Cromwell behaved toward Lambert, so he behaved toward the
Carthusians. Though they were men in whose religion he probably
believed as sincerely as he believed anything, and in whose cause he
had professed himself ready to take up arms, when they were sent to the
stake he attended the execution as a spectacle, and watched them expire
in torments, without a pang. Men gifted like Howard were successful
in the Reformation, and Norfolk made a colossal fortune out of his
polities. The price of his service was thirteen convents, and his son
Surrey had two; of what he made in other ways no record remains.

Such was the new aristocracy; but the bulk of the old baronage was
differently bred, and those who were of the antiquated type were doomed
to pass away.

The publication of the _State Papers_ leaves no doubt that the ancient
feudal gentry, both titled and untitled, as a body, opposed the
reform. Many of the most considerable of these were compromised in
the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, among whom was Thomas Lord Darcy. If
a mediæval baron still lived in the middle of the sixteenth century,
that man was Darcy. Since the Conqueror granted the Norman de Areci
thirty lordships in Lincolnshire, his ancestors had been soldiers, and
at his home in the north his retainers formed an army as of old. Born
in 1467, at twenty-five he bound himself by indenture to serve Henry
VII. beyond the sea, at the head of a thousand men, and more than forty
years afterward he promised Chapuys that he would march against London
with a force eight thousand strong, if the emperor would attack Henry
VIII. All his life long he had fought upon the borders. He had been
captain of Berwick, warden of the east and middle marches, and in 1511
he had volunteered to lead a British contingent against the Moors. He
was a Knight of the Garter, a member of the Privy Council, and when
the insurrection broke out, he commanded at Pontefract Castle, the
strongest position in Yorkshire.

A survival of the past, he retained the ideas of Crécy and Poitiers,
and these brought him to the block. While negotiations were pending,
Norfolk seems to have wanted to save him, though possibly he may have
been actuated by a more sinister purpose. At all events he certainly
wrote suggesting to Darcy to make his peace by ensnaring Aske, the
rebel leader, and giving him up to the government. To Norfolk this
seemed a perfectly legitimate transaction. By such methods he rose to
eminence. To Darcy it seemed dishonour, and he died for it. Instead of
doing as he was bid, he reproached Norfolk for deeming him capable of

   “Where your lordship advises me to take Aske, quick or dead, as
    you think I may do by policy, and so gain the king’s favour;
    alays my good lord yt ever ye being a man of so much honour
    and gret experyence shold advice or chuss mee a man to be of
    eny such sortt or facion to betray or dissav eny liffyng man,
    French man, Scott, yea, or a Turke; of my faith, to gett and
    wyn to me and myn heyres fowr of the best dukes landdes in
    Fraunce, or to be kyng there, I wold nott do it to no liffyng

Darcy averred that he surrendered Pontefract to the rebels because the
government neglected to relieve him, and although doubtless he always
sympathized with the rising, he promptly wrote to London when the
outbreak began, to warn Henry not only of the weakness of his fortress,
but of the power of the enemy.[221] When the royal herald visited
the castle to treat with the insurgents, he found Darcy, Sir Robert
Constable, Aske, and others, who told him they were on a pilgrimage to
London to have all the “vile blood put from” the Privy Council, “and
noble blood set up again,” and to make restitution for the wrongs done
the Church.[222]

This Aske was he whom Darcy refused to betray, but instead he offered
to do all he could “as a true knight and subject” to pacify the
country, and he did help to persuade the rebels to disperse on Henry’s
promise of a redress of grievances. In the moment of peril both Darcy
and Aske were pardoned and cajoled, but the rising monied type were not
the men to let the soldiers escape them, once they held them disarmed.
Even while Henry was plotting the destruction of those to whom he had
pledged his word, Norfolk wrote from the north to Cromwell: “I have
by policy brought him [Aske] to desire me to yeve him licence to ride
to London, and have promised to write a letter ... which ... I pray
you take of the like sort as you did the other I wrote for Sir Thomas
Percy. If neither of them both come never in this country again I think
neither true nor honest men woll be sorry thereof, nor in likewise for
my Lord Darcy nor Sir Robert Constable.”[223] Percy and Constable, Aske
and Darcy, all perished on the scaffold.

Darcy and his like recognized that a new world had risen about them, in
which they had no place. During his imprisonment in London, before his
execution, he was examined by Cromwell, and thus, almost with his dying
words, addressed the man who was the incarnation of the force that
killed him:--

   “Cromwell, it is thou that art the very original and chief
    causer of all this rebellion and mischief, and art likewise
    causer of the apprehension of us that be noble men and dost
    daily earnestly travail to bring us to our end and to strike
    off our heads, and I trust that or thou die, though thou
    wouldst procure all the noblemen’s heads within the realm to be
    stricken off, yet shall there one head remain that shall strike
    off thy head.”[224]



At the apex of the new society stood Henry VIII., who, like Philip the
Fair, had many of the qualities which make a great religious reformer
in an economic age. In reaching an estimate of his nature, however, the
opinions of Englishmen are of no great value, since they are usually
distorted by prejudice. The best observers were the foreign ministers
at his court, whose business was to collect information for their
governments. At a time when there were no newspapers, these agents had
to be accurate, and their despatches are trustworthy.

Charles de Marillac was born in 1510. He belonged to an old family, and
had an unblemished reputation. He had no leaning against Protestants,
for he was disgraced by the Guise party. He was thirty when in London
as ambassador of Francis I. After having been a year in England, he

   “This prince seems to me subject among other vices to three,
    which certainly in a king may be called pests, of which the
    first is, that he is so avaricious and covetous, that all the
    riches of the world would not be sufficient to satisfy and
    content his ambition.... From this proceeds the second evil and
    pest, which is distrust and fear ... wherefore he ceaselessly
    embrews his hands in blood, feeling in his mind doubt of those
    about him, wishing to live without suspicion, which every day
    augments.... And in part from these two evils proceeds the last
    pest, which is levity and inconstancy; and partly also from the
    temper of the nation, by which they have perverted the rights
    of religion, of marriage, of honesty and honour, as if they
    were wax, the which alloy can change itself into whatever forms
    they wish.”[225]

Cruelty was one of Henry’s most salient traits, and was, perhaps, the
faculty by which he succeeded in imposing himself most strongly upon
his contemporaries. He not only murdered his wives, his ministers, and
his friends, but he pursued those who opposed him with a vindictiveness
which appalled them. He was ingenious in devising torments.

Friar Forest, whose crime was the denial of the royal supremacy, he
caused to be slowly roasted over a rood which he had fetched from Wales
on purpose. They “hanged [him] in Smithfield in chains, upon a gallows
quick, by the middle and arm-holes, and fire was made under him, and
so was he consumed and burned to death.”[226] Henry relished the idea
of the show so much, that Chapuys thought him disappointed at not being
able to attend with his whole court.

His way of dealing with the Carthusians was equally characteristic. The
Carthusians were in the Church what Darcy was in the State: men of the
old imaginative type, of austere life and ascetic habits, in whom still
glowed the fiery enthusiasm of Hildebrand. They could not accept Henry
as God’s viceregent upon earth. The three priors--Houghton, Webster,
and Lawrence--were “ripped up in each other’s presence, their arms torn
off, their hearts cut out and rubbed upon their mouths and faces.”[227]

Three more were chained upright to posts, where they stood for fourteen
days, “without the possibility of stirring for any purpose whatever,
held fast by iron collars on their necks, arms, and thighs.”[228] Then
they were hanged and disembowelled.

In 1537, ten were still resolute. They were chained in Newgate like
the others, where, according to Stowe, nine “died ... with stink and
miserably smothered.” The tenth, who survived, was hanged.

Had Henry been hampered, like Darcy, with scruples about honour, truth,
or conscience, he too might have been undone. His power lay in his
capacity for doing what was needful for success. He enticed Aske to
London, and, when he held him, slew him. He pardoned Darcy, and then
sent him to Tower Hill.

Lacking force to crush the rebels, Norfolk, in the royal name, pacified
the people with pardon and promises of redress. They dispersed,
thinking themselves safe. Henry ignored his pledges, risings followed;
but, when the country had been tranquillized and his army was again in
peaceful possession, he thus instructed the Duke:--

   “Our pleasure is, that ... you shal, in any wise, cause
    suche dredfull execution to be doon upon a good nombre of
    thinhabitauntes of every towne, village, and hamlet, that have
    offended in this rebellion, aswell by the hanging of them uppe
    in trees, as by the quartering of them, and the setting of
    their heddes and quarters in every towne, greate and small, and
    in al suche other places, as they may be a ferefull spectacle
    to all other herafter, that wold practise any like mater:
    whiche We requyre you to doo, without pitie or respecte,
    according to our former letters; remembring that it shalbe
    moche better, that these traitours shulde perishe in their
    wilfull, unkynde, and traitorous folyes, thenne that so slendre
    punishment shuld be doon upon them, as the dredde thereof shuld
    not be a warning to others.”[229]

Norfolk was after Henry’s pattern. The rebels were his friends--men
with whom he had pledged himself to act shortly before. But he had
chosen his side, he had made his bargain, and he earned his pay. He
was never weary of boasting of his cruelty toward the defenceless

   “They shall be put to death in every town where they dwelt....
    As many as chains of iron can be made for in this town and in
    the country shall be hanged in them; the rest in ropes. Iron is
    marvellous scarce.”

He tried his prisoners by court martial, for he dared not trust the
juries. Many of the farmers declared they had been forced to join in
the insurrection through threats of violence, and these might have
been acquitted. “They say I came out for fear of my life, or for fear
of burning my houses and destroying of my wife and children.”[230] But
where Henry and Norfolk were concerned there were no acquittals.

In the same way Henry destroyed his ministers when he had done with
them. Though Cromwell was sagacious, he was less crafty than Henry.
Just before his fall the king made him Earl of Essex, and he lived
in such complete ignorance of his fate that his disgrace fell like
a thunder-bolt. Marillac has described how one day, in the council
chamber, Cromwell was arrested without warning, and “moved with
indignation, he plucked his hat from his head and threw it wrathfully
upon the ground, saying to Norfolk and to the rest of the council
assembled, that this was his reward for his services to the king, ...
adding that since he was so treated, he renounced all hope, and all he
asked of the king his master ... was not to let him languish....”

The Duke of Norfolk, having reproached him with all the villanies
done by him, tore from him the Order of Saint George, which he wore
about his neck; and the admiral, to show himself as much his enemy in
adversity as he had been believed to be his friend in prosperity, undid
his garter.[231]

From one point of view Henry’s vanity was a weakness, for it laid him
open to attack, and the diplomatic correspondence is filled with sneers
like this of Castillon’s: “Il n’oublye jamais sa grandeur et se taist
de celle des autres.”[232] Probably nothing in English civilization
has ever equalled the adulation he exacted from his courtiers, and
especially from his bishops; yet even this vanity was a source of
strength, for it made him insensible to ridicule which would have
unnerved Saint Louis.

On very scanty evidence, he caused his wife to be arraigned for incest,
and during the trial appeared in public so gaily dressed, and after her
conviction danced before the Court in such open delight, that Chapuys
himself was surprised:--

   “There are still two English gentlemen detained on her account,
    and it is suspected that there will be many more, because the
    king has said he believed that more than 100 had to do with
    her. You never saw prince or man who made greater show of his
    horns or bore them more pleasantly.”[233]

His manners, like those of Cromwell and Norfolk, lacked the courtesy
which distinguished men, even of his own generation, like Sir Thomas
More. He was gluttonous and self-indulgent, and, toward the end of his
life, so bloated as to be helpless. His habits were well understood at
Court, and suitors tried to approach him in the afternoon, when he was
tipsy. Marillac thought his gormandizing would kill him:--

   “There has been little doubt about the king, not so much for
    the fever as for the trouble with the leg which he has had
    which trouble seizes him very often because he is very gross,
    and marvellously excessive in eating and drinking, so that
    you often find him of a different purpose and opinion in the
    morning from what you do after dinner.”[234]

On May 14, 1538, Castillon wrote:--

   “Furthermore the king has had one of the fistulas on his legs
    closed, and since ten or twelve days the humors, which have no
    vent, have taken to stifling him, so much so, that he has been
    some of the time speechless, the face all black, and in great

The most marked characteristic of the feudal aristocracy had been
personal courage; but as centralization advanced and a paid police
removed the necessity of self-defence, bravery ceased to be essential
to success; Henry apparently was not courageous--certainly was not
courageous in regard to disease. When most infatuated with Anne Boleyn,
she fell ill of the sweating sickness; he fled at once, and wrote from
a distance to beg her to fear nothing, as “few or no women ... have
died of it.”[236] Marillac declared roundly that, in such matters, the
king was “the most timid person one could know.”[237]

On the other hand, he was habitually so overbearing as to be brutal to
the weak. Lambert was a poor sectary, of whom he determined to make an
example. He therefore prepared a solemn function, at which he presided,
assisted by the bishops and the other dignitaries of the realm. The
accused, when brought before this tribunal, apparently showed some
confusion, and Foxe has left a striking description of how Henry tried
to heighten this terror. Henry was dressed “all in white,” probably
emblematic of his purity as the head of the Church, and his “look, his
cruel countenance, and his brows bent into severity, did not a little
augment this terror; plainly declaring a mind full of indignation, far
unworthy such a prince, especially in such a matter, and against so
humble and obedient a subject.”[238]

Gifted with such qualities, Henry could not have failed to be a great
religious reformer at the opening of a great economic age. More
than five hundred years before, when society hung on the brink of
dissolution, the Church sustained centralization by electing Hugh Capet
king of France. A century later the armed pilgrimages to Palestine
had accelerated the social movement, and consolidation again began.
Generation by generation the rapidity of movement had increased,
communication had been re-established between the East and West, the
mariner’s compass and gunpowder had been introduced into Europe, the
attack had mastered the defence, and as the forms of competition slowly
changed, capital accumulated, until, at the beginning of the sixteenth
century, wealth reached the point where it could lay the foundation of
the paid police, the crowning triumph of the monied class.

The Reformation was the victory of this class over the archaic type
of man, and with the Reformation the old imaginative civilization
passed away; but with all its power the monied intellect has certain
weaknesses, and neither in ancient Rome nor modern England have
capitalists been soldiers. The Tudor aristocracy was not a martial
caste. Lacking physical force, this new nobility feared the ancient
farming population, whom they slowly exterminated; and they feared them
with reason, for from among the yeomanry Cromwell drew his Ironsides.
Therefore one of the chief preoccupations of the Tudor nobility was to
devise means to hold this dangerous element in check, and as it could
not organize an army, it utilized the Church. The land-owners had other
purposes for the priesthood than simply to rob it; they had also to
enslave it, and Henry’s title to greatness lies in his having attained
both ends.

He not only plundered as no other man has plundered, but he succeeded
in assuming the functions of God’s high priest, and becoming Christ’s
vicar upon earth. Upon this point there can be no difference of
opinion; not only are the formularies of the Church of England clear,
but Anglicans themselves admit it. Macaulay was of Henry’s communion;
Macaulay is an historian whose opinion on such a point commands
respect, and Macaulay has summed up the position of Henry VIII. as the
head of the capitalistic hierarchy in these words:--

   “What Henry and his favourite counsellors meant, at one time,
    by the supremacy, was certainly nothing less than the whole
    power of the keys. The king was to be the pope of his kingdom,
    the vicar of God, the expositor of Catholic verity, the channel
    of sacramental graces. He arrogated to himself the right of
    deciding dogmatically what was orthodox doctrine and what was
    heresy, of drawing up and imposing confessions of faith, and of
    giving religious instruction to his people.

   “He proclaimed that all jurisdiction, spiritual as well as
    temporal, was derived from him alone, and that it was in his
    power to confer episcopal authority, and to take it away....

   “According to this system, as expounded by Cranmer, the king
    was the spiritual as well as the temporal chief of the nation.
    In both capacities his Highness must have lieutenants. As
    he appointed civil officers to keep his seal, to collect
    his revenues, and to dispense justice in his name, so he
    appointed divines of various ranks to preach the gospel, and to
    administer the sacraments. It was unnecessary that there should
    be any imposition of hands. The king--such was the opinion
    of Cranmer given in the plainest words,--might, in virtue of
    authority derived from God, make a priest; and the priest so
    made needed no ordination whatever.”[239]

Under the Tudors commerce and industry were yet in their infancy.
Great Britain still remained substantially agricultural, and capital
primarily sought investment in land. The enclosure of the commons and
the confiscations of the monastic estates, together formed a gigantic
real estate speculation, with which faith had little to do, and which
was possible only because force began to express itself through another
type of intellect than that which had been able to defend its property
during an imaginative age.

The commercial community always demanded cheap religion. Under Henry
they inclined toward Zwingli, under Elizabeth toward Calvin, under
Charles they were Presbyterian; the gentry, on the contrary, were by
nature conservative, and favoured orthodoxy as far as their interest in
Church plunder permitted them. Henry and Norfolk stood at the head of
this class; Norfolk’s conversion to Protestantism has been explained by
Chapuys, and Henry remained a bigot to his death.

   “Shortly before he died, when about to communicate, as he
    always did, under one kind, he rose up from his chair, and fell
    on his knees to adore the body of our Lord. The Zwinglians who
    were present said that his majesty, by reason of his bodily
    weakness, might make his communion sitting in his chair. The
    king’s answer was, ‘If I could throw myself down, not only on
    the ground, but under the ground, I should not then think that
    I gave honour enough to the most Holy Sacrament.’”[240]

As to Norfolk, Chapuys has left his opinion in very plain words:--

   “He [Norfolk] has a good deal changed his tune, for it was he
    alone [in] the Court who showed himself the best of Catholics,
    and who favoured most the authority of the pope; but he
    must act in this way not to lose his remaining influence,
    which apparently does not extend much further than Cromwell

To attain their end, the rising class, at whose head these two men
stood, had to doubly despoil the Church in whose dogmas they believed.
They confiscated her lands to enrich themselves, and they suppressed
her revenues to buy the support of the traders. Finally, their lack
of physical force suggested to them the expedient of seizing on
the ecclesiastical organization and filling it with their servants,
who should teach the people the religious duty of submission to an
authority which distrusted an appeal to arms.

As Henry and Norfolk represented the landed magnates, so Cromwell
represented the mercantile community; and when the alliance between
these two monied interests had been perfected, by the appointment
of Cromwell as secretary of state, some time previous to April,
1534, events moved with precision and rapidity. They crowned Anne
Boleyn on June 1, 1533; in July the breach between the king and pope
became irreparable; in November, 1534, Parliament declared Henry
“Supreme Head” of the Church; and in the following winter the whole
administration, both civil and ecclesiastical, was concentrated in
Cromwell’s hands. He acted with astonishing energy.

In the autumn of 1535 he set on foot a visitation, preparatory to
the dissolution of the convents, and Parliament passed the bill
for suppression the next February. Cromwell also, as vicar general,
presided over the convocation of Canterbury, which made the first
reformation of faith. This convocation met in June, 1536, only shortly
before the Pilgrimage of Grace, and, under the fear of violence,
Henry and the conservatives were reduced to silence. The evangelical
influence for the moment held control, and the “Ten Articles,”
the foundation of the “Thirty-nine Articles,” together with the
“Institution of a Christian Man,” which were produced, were a great
departure from orthodoxy.

In the fourth article, the dogma of the “Supper” was made broad enough
to include Lutherans, and in the sixth, image worship was condemned. On
the other hand, “Justification by Faith” began to assume the importance
it must always hold in all really Protestant confessions. In one of his
homilies Cranmer, at a later time, showed the comparative futility of
good works:--

   “A man must needs be nourished by good works; but first he
    must have faith. He that doeth good deeds, yet without faith,
    he hath no life. I can shew a man that by faith without works
    lived, and came to heaven: but without faith never man had

   “Never had the Jews, in their most blindness, so many
    pilgrimages unto images ... as hath been used in our time....
    Keeping in divers places, as it were marts or markets of
    merits; being full of their holy relics, images, shrines, and
    works of overflowing abundance ready to be sold.... Holy cowls,
    holy girdles, holy pardons, heads, holy shoes, holy rules, and
    all full of holiness.... Which were so esteemed and abused to
    the great prejudice of God’s glory and commandments, that they
    were made most high and most holy things, whereby to attain to
    the everlasting life, or remission of sin.”[243]

The anti-sacerdotal movement under Henry VIII. culminated in 1536 and
1537, when the country rebelled, and the land-owners were in need of
help from the towns. As long as the latter felt uncertain of their grip
on Church lands, the radical mercantile interest was permitted to mould
doctrine; but when Norfolk had triumphed in the north, and Aske and
Darcy had been executed, a reaction set in. In November, 1538, Lambert
was burned for denying transubstantiation, and in 1539 the chapter in
the statute book[244] which followed that providing for the suppression
of the mitred abbeys, re-established auricular confession, communion
in one kind, private masses, and, in a word, strict orthodoxy, saving
in the single tenet of the royal supremacy. To have conceded that would
have endangered property. Twelve months later the landed magnates felt
strong enough to discard the tradesmen; the alliance which had carried
through the Reformation was dissolved, and Cromwell was beheaded.

Never did pope enforce the worship of the miracle more savagely than
did Henry. By the act of the “Six Articles,” the denial of the miracle
of the mass was punished by burning and forfeiture of goods, without
the privilege of abjuration. Purity of faith could not have been the
ideal of reformers.

Until quite recently, Protestants have accepted the tradition that the
convents of England were suppressed by the revolt of a people, outraged
by the disclosure of abominations perpetrated under the shelter
of monasticism. Within a few years, the publication of the British
archives has thrown a new and sombre light upon the Reformation. They
seem to prove, beyond a doubt, that as Philip dealt with the Templars,
so did Henry deal with all the religious orders of his realm.

In 1533 Henry’s position was desperate. He confronted not only the
pope and the emperor, but all that remained of the old feudal society,
and all that survived of the decaying imaginative age. Nothing could
resist this combination save the rising power of centralized capital,
and Henry therefore had to become the mouthpiece of the men who gave
expression to this force.

He needed money, and money in abundance, and Cromwell rose to a
practical dictatorship because he was fittest to provide it. On all
that relates to Essex, Foxe is an undoubted authority, and Foxe did not
hesitate to attribute to Cromwell Henry’s policy at this crisis:--

   “For so it pleased Almighty God, by means of the said Lord
    Cromwell, to induce the king to suppress first the chantries,
    then the friars’ houses and small monasteries, till, at length,
    all the abbeys in England, both great and less, were utterly
    overthrown and plucked up by the roots....

   “Of how great laud and praise this man was worthy, and what
    courage and stoutness was in him, it may hereby evidently
    appear unto all men, that he alone, through the singular
    dexterity of his wit and counsel, brought to pass that, which,
    even unto this day no prince or king, throughout all Europe,
    dare or can bring to pass. For whereas Brittania alone, of all
    other nations, is and hath been, of her own proper nature,
    most superstitious; this Cromwell, being born of a common
    or base stock, through a divine method or policy of wit and
    reason received, suffered, deluded, brake off, and repressed,
    all the policies, trains, malice, and hatred of friars, monks,
    religious men, and priests, of which sort there was a great
    rabble in England.”[245]

Cromwell’s strength lay in his superiority to those scruples of
truth and honour which hamper feebler men. He did what circumstances
demanded. His object, like Philip’s, was to blacken his victims
that he might destroy them, and, to gather the evidence, he chose
instruments adapted to the work. To have used others would have
demonstrated himself unfit. Mr. Gairdner has remarked in his preface
to the tenth volume of the _Calendar_: “We have no reason indeed to
think highly of the character of Cromwell’s visitors.”[246] This
opinion of Mr. Gairdner is supported by all the evidence extant.
Thomas Legh, one of the commissioners, not only always took bribes,
but, having been appointed master of Sherburn Hospital, administered
it “to the utter disinheritance, decay and destruction of the ancient
and godly foundation of the same house.”[247] Henry probably thought
him dishonest, since he had his accounts investigated. Even Legh’s
colleague, Ap Rice, though venal himself, and in great fear of being
murdered for his treachery, denounced him in set terms to Cromwell:--

   “And surely he asketh no less for every election than £20 as of
    duty, which in my opinion is too much, and above any duty that
    was ever taken heretofore. Also in his visitations he refuseth
    many times his reward, though it be competent, for that they
    offer him so little and maketh them to send after him such
    rewards as may please him, for surely religious men were never
    afraid so much of Dr. Allen as they be of him, he useth such
    rough fashion with them.”[248]

The next day, however, Ap Rice, in alarm lest his frankness might lead
to his assassination, wrote to beg his master to be cautious:--

   “Forasmuch as the said Mr. Doctor is of such acquaintance and
    familiarity with many rufflers and serving men, ... I having
    commonly no great assistance with me when I go abroad, might
    take perchance irrevocable harm of him or his ere I were aware.
    Please keep secret what I have said.”[249]

Ap Rice himself had been in difficulty, and Legh had exposed him,
for he admitted being “so abashed” at the accusation he could make no
defence. He had, also, certainly done something which put him in the
power of Cromwell, for he wrote: I know “from my own experience how
deadly it is for any man to incur your displeasure, which I would not
wish for my greatest enemy.”[250]

The testimony of such witnesses would be of doubtful value, even had
they expressed themselves freely; but the government only tolerated
one form of report. A good example of the discipline enforced is to be
found in Layton’s correspondence. He incautiously praised the Abbot of
Glastonbury, and was reprimanded by Cromwell, for he wrote to excuse

   “Whereas I understand by Mr. Pollard you much marvel why I
    would ... so greatly praise ... the abbot of Glaston.... So
    that my excessive and indiscrete praise ... must needs now
    redound to my great folly and untruth, and cannot ... but
    much diminish my credit towards his majesty, and even so to
    your lordship.... And although they be all false, feigned,
    flattering hypocritical knaves, as undoubtedly there is none
    other of that sort. I must therefore now at this my necessity,
    most humbly beseech your lordship to pardon me for that my
    folly then committed ... and of your goodness to mitigate the
    king’s highness majesty in the premisses.”[251]

The charges made by the visitors are of a kind notoriously difficult to
prove, even with ample time, and with trained investigators. Cromwell’s
examination was carried on by men of small worth, and in hot haste;
no opportunity was given for more than a cursory inspection of the
premises and the inmates:--

   “This day we leave Bath for Kensam, where we shall make an end
    by Tuesday, and then go on toward Maiden Bradley, within two
    miles of which is a charterhouse called Wittame, and Bruton
    Abbey seven miles, and Glastonbury seven miles.... If you tarry
    with the king eight days we shall dispatch all the houses above

The visitation began in August, 1535, and ended in February, 1536.
During these six months, four or five men, often travelling together,
undertook to examine one hundred and fifty-five houses scattered all
over England. “To judge by the proportion in Yorkshire,” says Mr.
Gairdner, “the visitors examined only about four out of ten.”[253]
So far as can be ascertained, the evidence upon which the reports
were based was generally of the flimsiest kind; either the scandal of
some discontented monk or nun, or the tattle of servants. There was
a striking instance of this at a nunnery in Chicksand, where Layton
accused two nuns of incontinence, although “the two prioresses would
not confess this, neither the parties, nor any of the nuns, but one old

When nothing could be elicited, the accused were deemed in a
conspiracy. At Newark the house seemed well ordered, and nothing
questionable appeared on the surface, therefore Layton charged the
monks with being “confederyde,” but he added that he would object
various horrible crimes against them, “which I have learnt from others.
What I shall find I cannot tell.”[255]

Where silence was taken as confession, the nuns especially fared
ill. Very generally they were too frightened, or too disgusted, to
answer. Even if such evidence were uncontradicted, no great weight
could attach to it, but it happens that there is much on the other
side. Not to speak of the episcopal visitations, which were carried
on as part of the discipline of the Church, Henry’s own government
subsequently appointed boards of commissioners composed of country
gentlemen, and these boards, which made examinations at leisure
in five counties, formed conclusions generally favourable to the
ecclesiastics. Two examples will suffice to show the discrepancy
between the views of the men whom Cromwell did, and did not control. At
Geradon in Leicestershire, Cromwell’s board reported a convent of White
Cistercians, which contained five monks addicted to sodomy with ten
boys.[256] The second board described the same corporation as “of good
conversation, and God’s service well maintained.”[257]

At Grace Dieu two nuns were charged with incontinence.[258] The country
gentlemen found there only fifteen White Nuns of Saint Austin, “of good
and virtuous conversation and living.”[259]

No one familiar with the development of police during the later Middle
Ages, could have much doubt that, on the whole, the discipline of the
convents would correspond pretty accurately with the prevailing tone
of society, and that, although asceticism and enthusiasm might have
declined since the twelfth century, subordination to authority would
have increased with the advance of centralization. Rebellious monks,
like those who tried to murder Abélard, would certainly have been rarer
at the time of the Reformation than at the opening of the crusades.

The crime of the English monks, like the crime of the Templars, was
defenceless wealth; and, like the Templars, they fared hardly in
proportion to their devotion and their courage. The flexible and the
corrupt, who betrayed their trust, received pensions or promotion; the
Carthusians, against whose stern enthusiasm torments were powerless,
perished as their predecessors had perished in the field of Saint

The attack of Cromwell’s hirelings resembled the onslaught of an
invading army. The convents fared like conquered towns; the shrines
were stripped and the booty heaped on carts, as at the sack of
Constantinople. Churches were desecrated, windows broken, the roofs
stripped of lead, the bells melted, the walls sold for quarries. Europe
overflowed with vestments and altar ornaments, while the libraries
were destroyed. Toward the end of 1539 Legh reached Durham, and the
purification of the sanctuary of Saint Cuthbert may be taken as an
example of the universal spoliation:--

   “After the spoil of his ornaments and jewels, coming nearer
    to his sacred body, thinking to have found nothing but dust
    and bones, and finding the chest that he did lie in, very
    strongly bound with iron, then the goldsmith did take a great
    forge-hammer of a smith, and did break the said chest open.

   “And when they had opened the chest, they found him lying
    whole, uncorrupt, with his face bare, and his beard as it had
    been a fortnight’s growth, and all his vestments upon him, as
    he was accustomed to say mass withall, and his meet wand of
    gold lying beside him.

   “Then, when the goldsmith did perceive that he had broken one
    of his legs, when he did break open the chest, he was very
    sorry for it and did cry, ‘Alas, I have broken one of his

   “Then Dr. Henley [one of the commissioners] hearing him say so,
    did call upon him, and did bid him cast down his bones.”[260]

By the statute of 1536, only those convents were suppressed which were
worth less than £200 a year, or which, within twelve months after the
passage of the act, should be granted to the king by the abbot. This
legislation spared the mitred abbeys, and as long as any conventual
property remained undivided, the land-owners kept Cromwell in office,
not feeling, perhaps, quite sure of their capacity to succeed alone.

In 1539 it had proved impossible to force the three great abbots
of Glastonbury, Reading, and Colchester into a surrender to the
Crown, and accordingly Cromwell devised an act to vest in Henry such
conventual lands as should be forfeited through attainder. Then he
indicted the abbots for treason, and thus sought to bring the estates
they represented constructively within the statute. The fate of Abbot
Whiting, whom Layton incautiously praised, will do for all. He was
eighty when he died, and his martyrdom is unusually interesting, as
it laid the fortune of the great house of Bedford, one of the most
splendid of modern dukedoms.

The commissioners came unexpectedly, and found the old monk at a grange
at Sharpham, about a mile from Glastonbury. On September 19 they
apprehended him, searched his apartment, and finding nothing likely
to be of service, sent him up to London for Cromwell to deal with,
though he was “very weak and sickly.” Cromwell lodged him in the Tower,
and examined him, apparently in a purely perfunctory fashion, for the
government had decided on its policy. The secretary of state simply
jotted down a memorandum to see “that the evidence be well sorted and
the indictments well drawn,” and left the details of the murder to John
Russell, a man thoroughly to be trusted. Cromwell’s only anxiety was
about the indictments, and he had “the king’s learned counsel” with him
“all day” discussing the matter. Finally they decided, between them,
that it would be better to proceed at Glaston, and Whiting was sent
to Somersetshire to be dealt with by the progenitor of a long line of
opulent Whig landlords.

In superintending the trial, Russell showed an energy and judgment
which won its reward. On the 14th of November, when the invalid reached
Wells, he wrote that he had provided for him “as worshipful a jury as
was ever charged here these many years. And there was never seen in
these parts so great appearance as were here at this present time,
and never better willing to serve the king.”[261] Russell wasted no
time. He arranged for the trial one day and the execution the next.
“The Abbot of Glastonbury was arraigned, and the next day put to
execution with two other of his monks, for the robbing of Glastonbury

He had the old man bound on a hurdle and dragged to the top of Tor
Hill, “but ... he would confess no more gold nor silver, nor any
other thing more than he did before your Lordship in the Tower....
And thereupon took his death very patiently, and his head and body
bestowed in like manner as I certified your lordship in my last
letter.”[263] “One quarter standeth at Wells, another at Bath, and at
Ilchester and Bridgewater the rest. And his head upon the abbey gate at

On the 17th of the following April, Henry created Cromwell Earl of
Essex, preparatory to slaughtering him. Within two months the new earl
was arrested by his bitterest enemy, the Duke of Norfolk, the chief
of the landed interest; on the 28th of July he lost his head on Tower
Hill, and his colossal fortune fed the men who had divided the body of



Like primitive Rome, England, during the Middle Ages, had an unusually
homogeneous population of farmers, who made a remarkable infantry. Not
that the cavalry was defective; on the contrary, from top to bottom
of society, every man was a soldier, and the aristocracy had excellent
fighting qualities. Many of the kings, like Cœur-de-Lion, Edward III.,
and Henry V., ranked among the ablest commanders of their day; the
Black Prince has always been a hero of chivalry; and earls and barons
could be named by the score who were famous in the Hundred Years’ War.

Yet, although the English knights were a martial body, there is nothing
to show that, on the whole, they surpassed the French. The English
infantry won Crécy and Poitiers, and this infantry, which was long
the terror of Europe, was recruited from among the small farmers who
flourished in Great Britain until they were exterminated by the advance
of civilization.

As long as the individual could at all withstand the attack of the
centralized mass of society, England remained a hot-bed for breeding
this species of man. A mediæval king had no means of collecting a
regular revenue by taxation; he was only the chief of the free-men, and
his estates were supposed to suffice for his expenditure. The revenue
the land yielded consisted of men, not money, and to obtain men, the
sovereign granted his domains to his nearest friends, who, in their
turn, cut their manors into as many farms as possible, and each farmer
paid his rent with his body.

A baron’s strength lay in the band of spears which followed his banner,
and therefore he subdivided his acres as much as possible, having no
great need of money. Himself a farmer, he cultivated enough of his fief
to supply his wants, to provide his table, and to furnish his castle,
but, beyond this, all he kept to himself was loss. Under such a system
money contracts played a small part, and economic competition was

The tenants were free-men, whose estates passed from father to son by
a fixed tenure; no one could underbid them with their landlord, and no
capitalist could ruin them by depressing wages, for the serfs formed
the basis of society, and these serfs were likewise land-owners. In
theory, the villains may have held at will; but in fact they were
probably the descendants, or at least the representatives, of the
_coloni_ of the Empire, and a base tenure could be proved by the roll
of the manorial court. Thus even the weakest were protected by custom,
and there was no competition in the labour market.

The manor was the social unit, and, as the country was sparsely
settled, waste spaces divided the manors from each other, and these
wastes came to be considered as commons appurtenant to the domain in
which the tenants of the manor had vested rights. The extent of these
rights varied from generation to generation, but substantially they
amounted to a privilege of pasture, fuel, or the like; aids which,
though unimportant to large property owners, were vital when the margin
of income was narrow.

During the old imaginative age, before centralization gathered headway,
little inducement existed to pilfer these domains, since there was
room in plenty, and the population increased slowly, if at all. The
moment the form of competition changed, these conditions were reversed.
Precisely when a money rent became a more potent force than armed
men, may be hard to determine, but certainly that time had come when
Henry VIII. mounted the throne, for then capitalistic farming was
on the increase, and speculation in real estate already caused sharp
distress. At that time the establishment of a police had destroyed the
value of the retainer, and competitive rents had generally supplanted
military tenures. Instead of tending to subdivide, as in an age of
decentralization, land consolidated in the hands of the economically
strong, and capitalists systematically enlarged their estates by
enclosing the commons, and depriving the yeomen of their immemorial

The sixteenth-century landlords were a type quite distinct from the
ancient feudal gentry. As a class they were gifted with the economic,
and not with the martial instinct, and they throve on competition.
Their strength lay in their power of absorbing the property of their
weaker neighbours under the protection of an overpowering police.

Everything tended to accelerate consolidation, especially the rise
in the value of money. While, even with the debasement of the coin,
the price of cereals did not advance, the growth of manufactures had
caused wool to double in value. “We need not therefore be surprised at
finding that the temptation to sheep-farming was almost irresistible,
and that statute after statute failed to arrest the tendency.”[265] The
conversion of arable land into pasture led, of course, to wholesale
eviction, and by 1515 the suffering had become so acute that details
were given in acts of Parliament. Places where two hundred persons
had lived, by growing corn and grain, were left desolate, the houses
had decayed, and the churches fallen into ruin.[266] The language of
these statutes proves that the descriptions of contemporaries were not

   “For I myselfe know many townes and villages sore decayed, for
    yt where as in times past there wer in some town an hundred
    householdes there remain not now thirty; in some fifty, ther
    are not now ten; yea (which is more to be lamented) I knowe
    townes so wholly decayed, that there is neyther sticke nor
    stone standyng as they use to say.

   “Where many men had good lyuinges, and maynteined hospitality,
    able at times to helpe the kyng in his warres, and to susteyne
    other charges, able also to helpe their pore neighboures, and
    vertuously to bring up theyr children in Godly letters and
    good scyences, nowe sheepe and conies deuoure altogether, no
    man inhabiting the aforesayed places. Those beastes which
    were created of God for the nouryshment of man doe nowe
    deuoure man.... And the cause of all thys wretchednesse and
    beggery in the common weale are the gredy Gentylmen, whyche
    are shepemongers and grasyars. Whyle they study for their
    owne priuate commoditie, the common weale is lyke to decay.
    Since they began to be shepe maysters and feders of cattell,
    we neyther had vyttayle nor cloth of any reasonable pryce. No
    meruayle, for these forstallars of the market, as they use to
    saye, haue gotten all thynges so into theyr handes, that the
    poore man muste eyther bye it at their pryce, or else miserably
    starue for hongar, and wretchedly dye for colde.”[267]

The reduction of the acreage in tillage must have lessened the crop of
the cereals, and accounts for their slight rise in value during the
second quarter of the sixteenth century. Nevertheless this rise gave
the farmer no relief, as, under competition, rents advanced faster than
prices, and in the generation which reformed the Church, the misery
of yeomen had become extreme. In 1549 Latimer preached a sermon, which
contains a passage often quoted, but always interesting:--

   “Furthermore, if the king’s honour, as some men say, standeth
    in the great multitude of people; then these graziers,
    inclosers, and rent-rearers, are hinderers of the king’s
    honour. For where as have been a great many householders and
    inhabitants, there is now but a shepherd and his dog....

   “My father was yeoman, and had no lands of his own, only he
    had a farm of three or four pound by year at the uttermost,
    and hereupon he tilled so much as kept half a dozen men. He had
    walk for a hundred sheep; and my mother milked thirty kine. He
    was able, and did find the king a harness, with himself and his
    horse, while he came to the place that he should receive the
    king’s wages. I can remember that I buckled his harness when he
    went unto Blackheath field. He kept me to school, or else I had
    not been able to have preached before the king’s majesty now.

   “He married my sisters with five pound, or twenty nobles
    apiece; so that he brought them up in godliness and fear of
    God. He kept hospitality for his poor neighbours, and some
    alms he gave to the poor. And all this he did of the said
    farm, where he that now hath it payeth sixteen pound by year,
    or more, and is not able to do anything for his prince, for
    himself, nor for his children, or give a cup of drink to the

The small proprietor suffered doubly: he had to meet the competition of
large estates, and to endure the curtailment of his resources through
the enclosure of the commons. The effect was to pauperize the yeomanry
and lesser gentry, and before the Reformation the homeless poor had so
multiplied that, in 1530, Parliament passed the first of a series of
vagrant acts.[269] At the outset the remedy applied was comparatively
mild, for able-bodied mendicants were only to be whipped until they
were bloody, returned to their domicile, and there whipped until they
put themselves to labour. As no labour was supplied, the legislation
failed, and in 1537 the emptying of the convents brought matters to a
climax. Meanwhile Parliament tried the experiment of killing off the
unemployed; by the second act vagrants were first mutilated and then
hanged as felons.[270]

In 1547, when Edward VI. was crowned, the great crisis had reached
its height. The silver of Potosi had not yet brought relief, the
currency was in chaos, labour was disorganized, and the nation seethed
with the discontent which broke out two years later in rebellion. The
land-owners held absolute power, and before they yielded to the burden
of feeding the starving, they seriously addressed themselves to the
task of extermination. The preamble of the third act stated that,
in spite of the “great travel” and “godly statutes” of Parliament,
pauperism had not diminished, therefore any vagrant brought before two
justices was to be adjudged the slave of his captor for two years. He
might be compelled to work by beating, chaining, or otherwise, be fed
on bread and water, or refuse meat, and confined by a ring of iron
about his neck, arms or legs. For his first attempt at escape, his
slavery became perpetual, for his second, he was hanged.[271]

Even as late as 1591, in the midst of the great expansion which brought
prosperity to all Europe, and when the monks and nuns, cast adrift
by the suppression of the convents, must have mostly died, beggars so
swarmed that at the funeral of the Earl of Shrewsbury “there were by
the report of such as served the dole unto them, the number of 8000.
And they thought that there were almost as many more that could not
be served, through their unruliness. Yea, the press was so great that
divers were slain and many hurt. And further it is reported of credible
persons, that well estimated the number of all the said beggars, that
they thought there were about 20,000.” It was conjectured “that all the
said poor people were abiding and dwelling within thirty miles’ compass
of Sheffield.”[272]

In 1549, just as the tide turned, insurrection blazed out all
over England. In the west a pitched battle was fought between the
peasantry and foreign mercenaries, and Exeter was relieved only after
a long siege. In Norfolk the yeomen, led by one Kett, controlled a
large district for a considerable time. They arrested the unpopular
landlords, threw open the commons they had appropriated, and ransacked
the manor houses to pay indemnities to evicted farmers. When attacked,
they fought stubbornly, and stormed Norwich twice.

Strype described “these mutineers” as “certain poor men that sought
to have their commons again, by force and power taken from them; and
that a regulation be made according to law of arable lands turned into

Cranmer understood the situation perfectly, and though a consummate
courtier, and himself a creation of the capitalistic revolution, spoke
in this way of his patrons:--

   “And they complain much of rich men and gentlemen, saying,
    that they take the commons from the poor, that they raise the
    prices of all manner of things, that they rule the poverty, and
    oppress them at their pleasure....

   “And although here I seem only to speak against these unlawful
    assemblers, yet I cannot allow those, but I must needs threaten
    everlasting damnation unto them, whether they be gentlemen
    or whatsoever they be, which never cease to purchase and join
    house to house, and land to land, as though they alone ought to
    possess and inhabit the earth.”[274]

Revolt against the pressure of this unrestricted economic competition
took the form of Puritanism, of resistance to the religious
organization controlled by capital, and even in Cranmer’s time, the
attitude of the descendants of the men who formed the line at Poitiers
and Crécy was so ominous that Anglican bishops took alarm.

   “It is reported that there be many among these unlawful
    assemblies that pretend knowledge of the gospel, and will needs
    be called gospellers.... But now I will go further to speak
    somewhat of the great hatred which divers of these seditious
    persons do bear against the gentlemen; which hatred in many is
    so outrageous, that they desire nothing more than the spoil,
    ruin, and destruction of them that be rich and wealthy.”[275]

Somerset, who owed his elevation to the accident of being the
brother of Jane Seymour, proved unequal to the crisis of 1449, and
was supplanted by John Dudley, now better remembered as Duke of
Northumberland. Dudley was the strongest member of the new aristocracy.
His father, Edmund Dudley, had been the celebrated lawyer who rose
to eminence as the extortioner of Henry VII., and whom Henry VIII.
executed, as an act of popularity, on his accession. John, beside
inheriting his father’s financial ability, had a certain aptitude
for war, and undoubted courage; accordingly he rose rapidly. He and
Cromwell understood each other; he flattered Cromwell, and Cromwell
lent him money.[276] Strype has intimated that Dudley had strong
motives for resisting the restoration of the commons.[277]

In 1547 he was created Earl of Warwick, and in 1549 suppressed Kett’s
rebellion. This military success brought him to the head of the State;
he thrust Somerset aside, and took the title of Duke of Northumberland.
His son was equally distinguished. He became the favourite of Queen
Elizabeth, who created him Earl of Leicester; but, though an expert
courtier, he was one of the most incompetent generals whom even the
Tudor landed aristocracy ever put in the field.

The disturbances of the reign of Edward VI. did not ripen into
revolution, probably because of the relief given by rising prices
after 1550; but, though they fell short of actual civil war, they were
sufficiently formidable to terrify the aristocracy into abandoning
their policy of killing off the surplus population. In 1552 the
first statute was passed[278] looking toward the systematic relief of
paupers. Small farmers prospered greatly after 1660, for prices rose
strongly, very much more strongly than rents; nor was it until after
the beginning of the seventeenth century, when rents again began to
advance, that the yeomanry once more grew restive. Cromwell raised his
Ironsides from among the great-grandchildren of the men who stormed
Norwich with Kett.

   “I had a very worthy friend then; and he was a very noble
    person, and I know his memory is very grateful to all,--Mr. John
    Hampden. At my first going out into this engagement, I saw
    our men were beaten at every hand. I did indeed; and desired
    him that he would make some additions to my Lord Essex’s army,
    of some new regiments; and I told him I would be serviceable
    to him in bringing such men in as I thought had a spirit
    that would do something in the work. This is very true that
    I tell you; God knows I lie not. ‘Your troops,’ said I, ‘are
    most of them old decayed serving-men, and tapsters, and such
    kind of fellows; and,’ said I, ‘their troops are gentlemen’s
    sons, younger sons and persons of quality: do you think that
    the spirits of such base and mean fellows will ever be able
    to encounter gentlemen, that have honour and courage and
    resolution in them?’... Truly I did tell him; ‘You must get
    men of a spirit: ... a spirit that is likely to go on as far as
    gentlemen will go;--or else you will be beaten still....’

   “He was a wise and worthy person; and he did think that I
    talked a good notion, but an impracticable one. Truly I told
    him I could do somewhat in it, ... and truly I must needs
    say this to you, ... I raised such men as had the fear of God
    before them, as made some conscience of what they did; and from
    that day forward, I must say to you, they were never beaten,
    and wherever they were engaged against the enemy, they beat

Thus, by degrees, the pressure of intensifying centralization split the
old homogeneous population of England into classes, graduated according
to their economic capacity. Those without the necessary instinct sank
into agricultural day labourers, whose lot, on the whole, has probably
been somewhat worse than that of ordinary slaves. The gifted, like the
Howards, the Dudleys, the Cecils, and the Boleyns, rose to be rich
nobles and masters of the State. Between the two accumulated a mass
of bold and needy adventurers, who were destined finally not only to
dominate England, but to shape the destinies of the world.

One section of these, the shrewder and less venturesome, gravitated to
the towns, and grew rich as merchants, like the founder of the Osborn
family, whose descendant became Duke of Leeds; or like the celebrated
Josiah Child, who, in the reign of William III., controlled the whole
eastern trade of the kingdom. The less astute and the more martial took
to the sea, and as slavers, pirates, and conquerors, built up England’s
colonial empire, and established her maritime supremacy. Of this class
were Drake and Blake, Hawkins, Raleigh, and Clive.

For several hundred years after the Norman conquest, Englishmen showed
little taste for the ocean, probably because sufficient outlet for
their energies existed on land. In the Middle Ages the commerce of
the island was mostly engrossed by the Merchants of the Steelyard,
an offshoot of the Hanseatic league; while the great explorers of
the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries were usually Italians or
Portuguese; men like Columbus, Vespucius, Vasco-da-Gama, or Magellan.
This state of things lasted, however, only until economic competition
began to ruin the small farmers, and then the hardiest and boldest
race of Europe were cast adrift, and forced to seek their fortunes in
strange lands.

For the soldier or the adventurer, there was no opening in England
after the battle of Flodden. A peaceful and inert bourgeoisie more and
more supplanted the ancient martial baronage; their representatives
shrank from campaigns like those of Richard I., the Edwards, and Henry
V., and therefore, for the evicted farmer, there was nothing but the
far-off continents of America and Asia, and to these he directed his

The lives of the admirals tell the tale on every page. Drake’s history
is now known. His family belonged to the lesser Devon gentry, but
fallen so low that his father gladly apprenticed him as ship’s boy on
a channel coaster, a life of almost intolerable hardship. From this
humble beginning he fought his way, by dint of courage and genius, to
be one of England’s three greatest seamen; and Blake and Nelson, the
other two, were of the same blood.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert was of the same west country stock as Drake;
Frobisher was a poor Yorkshire man, and Sir Walter Raleigh came from
a ruined house. No less than five knightly branches of Raleigh’s
family once throve together in the western counties; but disaster came
with the Tudors, and Walter’s father fell into trouble through his
Puritanism. Walter himself early had to face the world, and carved out
his fortune with his sword. He served in France in the religious wars;
afterward, perhaps, in Flanders; then, through Gilbert, he obtained a
commission in Ireland, but finally drifted to Elizabeth’s court, where
he took to buccaneering, and conceived the idea of colonizing America.

A profound gulf separated these adventurers from the landed
capitalists, for they were of an extreme martial type; a type hated
and feared by the nobility. With the exception of the years of the
Commonwealth, the landlords controlled England from the Reformation
to the revolution of 1688, a period of one hundred and fifty years,
and, during that long interval, there is little risk in asserting
that the aristocracy did not produce a single soldier or sailor of
more than average capacity. The difference between the royal and the
parliamentary armies was as great as though they had been recruited
from different races. Charles had not a single officer of merit, while
it is doubtful if any force has ever been better led than the troops
organized by Cromwell.

Men like Drake, Blake, and Cromwell were among the most terrible
warriors of the world, and they were distrusted and feared by an
oligarchy which felt instinctively its inferiority in arms. Therefore,
in Elizabeth’s reign, politicians like the Cecils took care that the
great seamen should have no voice in public affairs. And though these
men defeated the Armada, and though England owed more to them than
to all the rest of her population put together, not one reached the
peerage, or was treated with confidence and esteem. Drake’s fate shows
what awaited them. Like all his class, Drake was hot for war with
Spain, and from time to time he was unchained, when fighting could not
be averted; but his policy was rejected, his operations more nearly
resembled those of a pirate than of an admiral, and when he died, he
died in something like disgrace.

The aristocracy even made the false position in which they placed
their sailors a source of profit, for they forced them to buy pardon
for their victories by surrendering the treasure they had won with
their blood. Fortescue actually had to interfere to defend Raleigh and
Hawkins from Elizabeth’s rapacity. In 1592 Borough sailed in command of
a squadron fitted out by the two latter, with some contribution from
the queen and the city of London. Borough captured the carack, the
Madre-de-Dios, whose pepper alone Burleigh estimated at £102,000. The
cargo proved worth £141,000, and of this Elizabeth’s share, according
to the rule of distribution in use, amounted to one-tenth, or £14,000.
She demanded £80,000, and allowed Raleigh and Hawkins, who had spent
£34,000, only £36,000. Raleigh bitterly contrasted the difference made
between himself a soldier, and a peer, or a London speculator. “I was
the cause that all this came to the Queen, and that the King of Spaine
spent 300,000^{li} the last yere.... I that adventured all my estate,
lose of my principall.... I tooke all the care and paines; ... they
only sate still ... for which double is given to them, and less then
mine own to me.”[280]

Raleigh was so brave he could not comprehend that his talent was
his peril. He fancied his capacity for war would bring him fame and
fortune, and it led him to the block. While Elizabeth lived, the
admiration of the woman for the hero probably saved him, but he never
even entered the Privy Council, and of real power he had none. The
sovereign the oligarchy chose was James, and James imprisoned and then
slew him. Nor was Raleigh’s fate peculiar, for, through timidity, the
Cavaliers conceived an almost equal hate of many soldiers. They dug
up the bones of Cromwell, they tried to murder William III., and they
dragged down Marlborough in the midst of victory. Such were the new
classes into which economic competition divided the people of England
during the sixteenth century, and the Reformation was only one among
many of the effects of this profound social revolution.

In the first fifty-three years of the sixteenth century, England passed
through two distinct phases of ecclesiastical reform; the earlier,
under Henry, when the conventual property was appropriated by the
rising aristocracy; the later, under Edward, when portions of the
secular endowments were also seized. Each period of spoliation was
accompanied by innovations in doctrine, and each was followed by a
reaction, the final one, under Mary, taking the form of reconciliation
with Rome. Viewed in connection with the insurrections, the whole
movement can hardly be distinguished from an armed conquest of the
imaginative by the economic section of society; a conquest which
produced a most curious and interesting development of a new clerical

During the Middle Ages, the hierarchy had been a body of
miracle-workers, independent of, and at first superior to, the State.
This great corporation had subsisted upon its own resources, and
had generally been controlled by men of the ecstatic temperament, of
whom Saint Anselm is, perhaps, the most perfect example. After the
conquest at the Reformation, these conditions changed. Having lost
its independence, the priesthood lapsed into an adjunct of the civil
power; it then became reorganized upon an economic basis, and gradually
turned into a salaried class, paid to inculcate obedience to the
representative of an oligarchy which controlled the national revenue.
Perhaps, in all modern history, there is no more striking example of
the rapid and complete manner in which, under favourable circumstances,
one type can supersede another, than the thoroughness with which the
economic displaced the emotional temperament, in the Anglican Church,
during the Tudor dynasty. The mental processes of the new pastors did
not differ so much in degree as in kind from those of the old.

Although the spoliations of Edward are less well remembered than those
of his father, they were hardly less drastic. They began with the
estates of the chantries and guilds, and rapidly extended to all sorts
of property. In the Middle Ages, one of the chief sources of revenue of
the sacred class had been their prayers for souls in purgatory, and all
large churches contained chapels, many of them richly endowed, for the
perpetual celebration of masses for the dead; in England and Wales more
than a thousand such chapels existed, whose revenues were often very
valuable. These were the chantries, which vanished with the imaginative
age which created them, and the guilds shared the same fate.

Before economic competition had divided men into classes according
to their financial capacity, all craftsmen possessed capital, as
all agriculturists held land. The guild established the craftsman’s
social status; as a member of a trade corporation he was governed by
regulations fixing the number of hands he might employ, the amount
of goods he might produce, and the quality of his workmanship; on
the other hand, the guild regulated the market, and ensured a demand.
Tradesmen, perhaps, did not easily grow rich, but they as seldom became

With centralization life changed. Competition sifted the strong from
the weak; the former waxed wealthy, and hired hands at wages, the
latter lost all but the ability to labour; and, when the corporate body
of producers had thus disintegrated, nothing stood between the common
property and the men who controlled the engine of the law. By the 1
Edward VI., c. 14, all the possessions of the schools, colleges, and
guilds of England, except the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge and the
guilds of London, were conveyed to the king, and the distribution thus
begun extended far and wide, and has been forcibly described by Mr.

   “They tore off the lead from the roofs, and wrenched out the
    brasses from the floors. The books they despoiled of their
    costly covers, and then sold them for waste paper. The gold
    and silver plate they melted down with copper and lead, to
    make a coinage so shamefully debased as was never known before
    or since in England. The vestments of altars and priests they
    turned into table-covers, carpets, and hangings, when not very
    costly; and when worth more money than usual, they sold them
    to foreigners, not caring who used them for ‘superstitious’
    purposes, but caring to make the best ‘bargains’ they could
    of their spoil. Even the very surplices and altar linen would
    fetch something, and that too was seized by their covetous

These “covetous hands” were the privy councillors. Henry had not
intended that any member of the board should have precedence, but the
king’s body was not cold before Edward Seymour began an intrigue to
make himself protector. To consolidate a party behind him, he opened
his administration by distributing all the spoil he could lay hands
on; and Mr. Froude estimated that “on a computation most favourable to
the council, estates worth ... in modern currency about five millions”
of pounds, were “appropriated--I suppose I must not say stolen--and
divided among themselves.”[282] At the head of this council stood
Cranmer, who took his share without scruple. Probably Froude’s estimate
is far too low; for though Seymour, as Duke of Somerset, had, like
Henry, to meet imperative claims which drained his purse, he yet built
Somerset House, the most sumptuous palace of London.

Seymour was put to death by Dudley when he rose to power by his
military success in Norfolk. Dudley as well as Cromwell was fitted
for the emergency in which he lived; bold, able, unscrupulous and
energetic, his party hated but followed him, because without him they
saw no way to seize the property they coveted. He too, like Cromwell,
allied himself with the evangelical clergy, and under Edward the
orthodoxy of the “Six Articles” gave way to the doctrine of Geneva.
Even in 1548 Calvin had been able to write to Somerset, thanking God
that, through his wisdom, the “pure truth” was preached;[283] but when
Dudley administered the government as Duke of Northumberland, bishops
did not hesitate to teach that the dogma of the “carnal presence”
in the sacrament “maintaineth that beastly kind of cruelty of the
‘Anthropophagi,’ that is, the devourers of man’s flesh: for it is a
more cruel thing to devour a quick man, than to slay him.”[284]

Dudley resembled Henry and Norfolk in being naturally conservative,
for he died a Catholic; but with them all, money was the supreme
object, and as they lacked the physical force to plunder alone, they
were obliged to conciliate the Radicals. These were represented by
Knox, and to Knox the duke paid assiduous court. The Scotchman began
preaching in Berwick in 1549, but the government soon brought him to
London, and in 1551 made him a royal chaplain, and, as chaplain, he
was called upon to approve the Forty-two Articles of 1552. This he
could do conscientiously, as they contained the dogmas of election
and predestination, original sin, and justification by faith, beside a
denial of “the reall and bodilie presence ... of Christes fleshe, and
bloude, in the Sacramente of the Lordes Supper.”

Dudley tried hard to buy Knox, and offered him the See of Rochester;
but the duke excited the deepest distrust and dislike in the preacher,
who called him “that wretched and miserable Northumberland.” He
rejected the preferment, and indeed, from the beginning, bad blood
seems to have lain between the Calvinists and the court. Writing at
the beginning of 1554, Knox expressed his opinion of the reforming
aristocracy in emphatic language, beginning with Somerset, “who
became so cold in hearing Godis Word, that the year befoir his last
apprehensioun, he wald ga visit his masonis, and wald not dainyie
himself to ga frome his gallerie to his hall for heiring of a
sermone.”[285] Afterward matters grew worse, for “the haill Counsaile
had said, Thay wald heir no mo of thair sermonis: thay wer but
indifferent fellowis; (yea, and sum of thame eschameit not to call
thame pratting knaves.)”[286]

Finally, just before Edward’s death the open rupture came. Knox had
a supreme contempt and antipathy for the Lord Treasurer, Paulet,
Marquis of Winchester, whom he called a “crafty fox.” During Edward’s
life, jeered Knox, “who was moste bolde to crye, Bastarde, bastarde,
incestuous bastarde, Mary shall never rule over us,” and now that Mary
is on the throne it is to her Paulet “crouches and kneeleth.”[287] In
the last sermon he preached before the king he let loose his tongue,
and probably he would have quitted the court, even had the reign
continued. In this sermon Dudley was Ahithophel, Paulet, Shebna:--

   “I made this affirmacion, That commonlye it was sene, that
    the most godly princes hadde officers and chief counseilours
    moste ungodlye, conjured enemies to Goddes true religion,
    and traitours to their princes.... Was David, sayd I, and
    Ezechias, princes of great and godly giftes and experience,
    abused by crafty counsailers and dissemblyng hypocrites? What
    wonder is it then, that a yonge and innocent Kinge be deceived
    by craftye, covetouse, wycked, and ungodly counselours? I
    am greatly afrayd, that Achitophel be counsailer, that Judas
    beare the purse, and that Sobna be scribe, comptroller, and
    treasurer. This, and somwhat more I spake that daye, not in a
    corner (as many yet can wytnesse) but even before those whome
    my conscience judged worthy of accusation.”[288]

Knox understood the relation which men of his stamp bore to
Anglicanism. In 1549 much land yet remained to be divided, therefore
he and his like were flattered and cajoled until Paulet and his
friends should be strong enough to discard them. Faith, in the
hands of the monied oligarchy, became an instrument of police, and,
from the Reformation downward, revelation has been expounded in
England by statute. Hence men of the imaginative type, who could not
accept their creed with their stipend, were at any moment in danger
of being adjudged heretics, and suffering the extreme penalty of

Docility to lay dictation has always been the test by which the
Anglican clergy have been sifted from Catholics and Puritans. To
the imaginative mind a faith must spring from a revelation, and a
revelation must be infallible and unchangeable. Truth must be single.
Catholics believed their revelation to be continuous, delivered through
the mouth of an illuminated priesthood, speaking in its corporate
capacity. Puritans held that theirs had been made once for all, and was
contained in a book. But both Catholics and Puritans were clear that
divine truth was immutable, and that the universal Church could not
err. To minds of this type, statutes regulating the appearance of God’s
body in the elements were not only impious but absurd, and men of the
priestly temperament, whether Catholic or Puritan, have faced death in
its most appalling forms, rather than bow down before them.

Here Fisher and Knox, Bellarmine and Calvin, agreed. Rather than accept
the royal supremacy, the flower of the English priesthood sought
poverty and exile, the scaffold and the stake. For this, the aged
Fisher hastened to the block on Tower Hill; for this, Forest dangled
over the embers of the smouldering rood; for this, the Carthusians
rotted in their noisome dens. Nor were Puritans a whit behind Catholics
in asserting the sacerdotal dignity; “Erant enim blasphemi qui vocarent
eum [Henricum VIII.] summum caput ecclesiæ sub Christo,” wrote Calvin,
and on this ground the Nonconformists fought the established Church,
from Elizabeth’s accession downward.

The writings of Martin Marprelate only restated an issue which had
been raised by Hildebrand five hundred years before; for the advance
of centralization had reproduced in England something of the same
conditions which prevailed at Constantinople when it became a centre
of exchanges. Wherever civilization has reached the point at which
energy expresses itself through money, faith must be subordinate to the
representative of wealth. Stephen Gardiner understood the conditions
under which he lived, and accepted his servitude in consideration of
the great See of Winchester. With striking acuteness he cited Justinian
as a precedent for Henry:--

   “Then, Sir, who did ever disallow Justinian’s fact, that made
    laws concerning the glorious Trinity, and the Catholic faith,
    of bishops, of men, of the clergy, of heretics, and others,
    such like?”[289]

From the day of the breach with Rome, the British priesthood sank
into wage-earners, and those of the ancient clergy who remained in
the Anglican hierarchy after the Reformation, acquiesced in their
position, as appeared in all their writings, but in none, perhaps, more
strikingly than in the Formularies of Faith of Henry VIII., where the
episcopal bench submitted their views of orthodoxy to the revision of
the secular power:--

   “And albeit, most dread and benign sovereign lord, we do affirm
    by our learnings with one assent, that the said treatise is
    in all points so concordant and agreeable to holy scripture,
    as we trust your majesty shall receive the same as a thing
    most sincerely and purely handled, to the glory of God, your
    grace’s honour, the unity of your people, the which things
    your highness, we may well see and perceive, doth chiefly in
    the same desire: yet we do most humbly submit it to the most
    excellent wisdom and exact judgment of your majesty, to be
    recognised, overseen, and corrected, if your grace shall find
    any word or sentence in it meet to be changed, qualified,
    or further expounded, for the plain setting forth of your
    highness’s most virtuous desire and purpose in that behalf.
    Whereunto we shall in that case conform ourselves, as to our
    most bounden duties to God and to your highness appertaineth.”

Signed by “your highness’ most humble subjects and daily beadsmen,
Thomas Cantuarien” and all the bishops.[290]

A Church thus lying at the mercy of the temporal power, became a
chattel in the hands of the class which controlled the revenue, and,
from the Reformation to the revolution of 1688, this class consisted of
a comparatively few great landed families, forming a narrow oligarchy
which guided the Crown. In the Middle Ages, a king had drawn his army
from his own domain. Cœur-de-Lion had his own means of attack and
defence like any other baron, only on a larger scale. Henry VIII., on
the contrary, stood alone and helpless. As centralization advanced,
the cost of administration grew, until regular taxation had become
necessary, and yet taxes could only be levied by Parliament. The king
could hardly pay a body-guard, and such military force as existed
within the realm obeyed the landlords. Had it not been for a few
opulent nobles, like Norfolk and Shrewsbury, the Pilgrims of Grace
might have marched to London and plucked Henry from his throne, as
easily as William afterward plucked James. These landlords, together
with the London tradesmen, carried Henry through the crisis of 1536,
and thereafter he lay in their hands. His impotence appeared in every
act of his reign. He ran the risk and paid the price, while others
fattened on the plunder. The Howards, the Cecils, the Russells, the
Dudleys, divided the Church spoil among themselves, and wrung from the
Crown its last penny, so that Henry lived in debt, and Edward faced

Deeply as Mary abhorred sacrilege, she dared not ask for restitution to
the abbeys. Such a step would probably have caused her overthrow, while
Elizabeth never attempted opposition, but obeyed Cecil, the incarnation
of the spirit of the oligarchy. The men who formed this oligarchy were
of totally different type from anything which flourished in England
in the imaginative age. Unwarlike, for their insular position made it
possible for them to survive without the martial quality, they always
shrank from arms. Nor were they numerous enough, or strong enough, to
overawe the nation even in quiet times. Accordingly they generally
lay inert, and only from necessity allied themselves with some more
turbulent faction.

The Tudor aristocracy were rich, phlegmatic, and unimaginative men, in
whom the other faculties were subordinated to acquisition, and they
treated their religion as a financial investment. Strictly speaking,
the Church of England never had a faith, but vibrated between the
orthodoxy of the “Six Articles,” and the Calvinism of the “Lambeth
Articles,” according to the exigencies of real estate. Within a single
generation, the relation Christ’s flesh and blood bore to the bread and
wine was changed five times by royal proclamation or act of Parliament.

But if creeds were alike to the new economic aristocracy, it well
understood the value of the pulpit as a branch of the police of the
kingdom, and from the outset it used the clergy as part of the secular
administration. On this point Cranmer was explicit.[291] Elizabeth
probably represented the landed gentry more perfectly than any other
sovereign, and she told her bishops plainly that she cared little for
doctrine, but wanted clerks to keep order. She remarked that she had
seen it said:--

   “that hir Protestants themselves misliked hir, and in deede so
    they doe (quoth she) for I have heard that some of them of late
    have said, that I was of no religion, neither hot nor cold, but
    such a one, as one day would give God the vomit.... After this
    she wished the bishops to look unto private Conventicles, and
    now (quoth she) I miss my Lord of London who looketh no better
    unto the Citty where every merchant must have his schoolemaster
    and nightly conventicles.” [292]

Elizabeth ruled her clergy with a rod of iron. No priest was allowed
to marry without the approbation of two justices of the peace, beside
the bishop, nor the head of a college without the leave of the visitor.
When the Dean of St. Paul’s offended the queen in his sermon, she told
him “to retire from that ungodly digression and return to his text,”
and Grindall was suspended for disobedience to her orders.

In Grindall’s primacy, monthly prayer meetings, called “prophesyings,”
came into fashion among the clergy. For some reason these meetings
gave the government offence, and Grindall was directed to put a stop
to them. Attacked thus, in the priests’ dearest rights, the archbishop
refused. Without more ado the old prelate was suspended, nor was he
pardoned until he made submission five years later.

The correspondence of the Elizabethan bishops is filled with accounts
of their thraldom. Pilkington, among others, complained that “We are
under authority, and cannot make any innovation without the sanction
of the queen ... and the only alternative now allowed us is, whether we
will bear with these things or disturb the peace of the Church.”[293]

Even ecclesiastical property continued to be seized, where it could
be taken safely; and the story of Ely House, although it has been
denied, is authentic in spirit. From the beginning of the Reformation
the London palaces of the bishops had been a tempting prize. Henry
took York House for himself, Raleigh had a lease of Durham House, and,
about 1565, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose relations with the queen
were hardly equivocal, undertook to force Bishop Cox to convey him Ely
House. The bishop resisted. Hatton applied to the queen, and she is
said to have cut the matter short thus:--

   “Proud prelate: I understand you are backward in complying
    with your agreement, but I would have you know that I who made
    you what you are can unmake you, and if you do not forthwith
    fulfil your engagement, by God, I will immediately unfrock you.

Had the great landlords been either stronger, so as to have controlled
the blouse of Commons, or more military, so as to have suppressed it,
English ecclesiastical development would have been different. As it
was, a knot of ruling families, gorged with plunder, lay between the
Catholics and the more fortunate of the evicted yeomen, who had made
money by trade, and who hated and competed with them. Puritans as well
as Catholics sought to unsettle titles to Church lands:--

   “It is wonderfull to see how dispitefully they write of this
    matter. They call us church robbers, devourers of holly things,
    cormorantes, etc. affirminge that by the lawe of god, things
    once consecrated to god for the service of this churche,
    belong unto him for ever.... ffor my owne pte I have some
    imppriations, etc. & I thanke god I keepe them w^{th} a good
    conscience, and many wold be ondone. The law appveth us.”[294]

Thus beset, the landed capitalists struggled hard to maintain
themselves, and, as their best defence, they organized a body of
priests to preach and teach the divine right of primogeniture, which
became the distinctive dogma of this national church. Such at least was
the opinion of the non-jurors, who have always ranked among the most
orthodox of the Anglican clergy, and who certainly were all who had the
constancy to suffer for their faith. John Lake, Bishop of Chichester,
suspended in 1689 for not swearing allegiance to William and Mary, on
his death-bed made the following statement:--

   “That whereas I was baptized into the religion of the Church
    of England, and sucked it in with my milk, I have constantly
    adhered to it through the whole course of my life, and now,
    if so be the will of God, shall dye in it; and I had resolved
    through God’s grace assisting me to have dyed so, though at a

   “And whereas that religion of the Church of England taught me
    the doctrine of non-resistance and passive obedience, which I
    have accordingly inculcated upon others, and which I took to be
    the distinguishing character of the Church of England, I adhere
    no less firmly and steadfastly to that, and in consequence of
    it, have incurred a suspension from the exercise of my office
    and expected a deprivation.”[295]

In the twelfth century, the sovereign drew his supernatural quality
from his consecration by the priesthood; in the seventeenth century,
money had already come to represent a force so predominant that
the process had become reversed, and the priesthood attributed its
prerogative to speak in the name of the Deity, to the interposition
of the king. This was the substance of the Reformation in England.
Cranmer taught that God committed to Christian princes “the whole cure
of all their subjects, as well concerning the administration of God’s
word ... as ... of things political”; therefore bishops, parsons, and
vicars were ministers of the temporal ruler, to whom he confided the
ecclesiastical office, as he confided the enforcement of order to a
chief of police.[296] As a part of the secular administration, the
main function of the Reformed priesthood was to preach obedience to
their patrons; and the doctrine they evolved has been thus summed up by

   “It was gravely maintained that the Supreme Being regarded
    hereditary monarchy, as opposed to other forms of government,
    with peculiar favour; that the rule of succession in order
    of primogeniture was a divine institution, anterior to the
    Christian, and even to the Mosaic dispensation; that no human
    power ... could deprive a legitimate prince of his rights;
    that the authority of such a prince was necessarily always

In no other department of public affairs did the landed gentry show
particular energy or ability. Their army was ineffective, their navy
unequal to its work, their finances indifferently handled, but down to
the time of their overthrow, in 1688, they were eminently successful
in ecclesiastical organization. They chose their instruments with
precision, and an oligarchy has seldom been more adroitly served.
Macaulay was a practical politician, and Macaulay rated the clergy as
the chief political power under Charles II:--

   “At every important conjuncture, invectives against the Whigs
    and exhortations to obey the Lord’s anointed resounded at once
    from many thousands of pulpits; and the effect was formidable
    indeed. Of all the causes which, after the dissolution of the
    Oxford Parliament, produced the violent reaction against the
    exclusionists, the most potent seems to have been the oratory
    of the country clergy.”[298]

For country squires a wage-earning clergy was safe, and although
Macaulay’s famous passage describing their fear of an army has met with
contradiction, it probably is true:--

   “In their minds a standing army was inseparably associated
    with the Rump, with the Protector, with the spoliation of
    the Church, with the purgation of the Universities, with the
    abolition of the peerage, with the murder of the King, with
    the sullen reign of the Saints, with cant and asceticism,
    with fines and sequestrations, with the insults which Major
    Generals, sprung from the dregs of the people, had offered to
    the oldest and most honourable families of the kingdom. There
    was, moreover, scarcely a baronet or a squire in the parliament
    who did not owe part of his importance in his own county to his
    rank in the militia. If that national force were set aside,
    the gentry of England must lose much of their dignity and

The work to be done by the Tudor hierarchy was mercenary, not
imaginative; therefore pastors had to be chosen who could be trusted to
labour faithfully for wages. Perhaps no equally large and intelligent
body of men has ever been more skilfully selected. The Anglican
priests, as a body, have uniformly been true to the hand which fed
them, without regard to the principles they were required to preach.
A remarkable instance of their docility, where loss of income was the
penalty for disobedience, was furnished at the accession of William and
Mary. Divine right was, of course, the most sacred of Anglican dogmas,
and yet, when the clergy were commanded to take the oath of allegiance
to him whom they held to be an usurper, as Macaulay has observed,
“some of the strongest motives which can influence the human mind, had
prevailed. Above twenty-nine thirtieths of the profession submitted
to the law.”[300] Moreover, the landlords had the economic instinct,
bargaining accordingly, and Elizabeth bluntly told her bishops that
they must get her sober, respectable preachers, but men who should be

   “Then spake my Lord Treasurer.... Her Maty hath declared unto
    you a marvellous great fault, in that you make in this time
    of light so many lewd and unlearned ministers.... It is the
    Bishop of Litchfield ... that I mean, who made LXX. ministers
    in one day for money, some taylors, some shoemakers, and other
    craftsmen, I am sure the greatest part of them not worthy to
    keep horses. Then said the Bp. of Rochester, that may be so,
    for I know one that made 7 in one day, I would every man might
    beare his own burthen, some of us have the greatest wrong
    that can be offred.... But my Lord, if you would have none but
    learned preachers to be admitted into the ministery, you must
    provide better livings for them....

   “To have learned ministers in every parish is in my judgm^{t}
    impossible (quoth my Ld. of Canterbury) being 13,000 parishes
    in Ingland, I know not how this realm should yield so many
    learned preachers.

   “Jesus (quoth the Queen) 13,000 it is not to be looked for, I
    thinke the time hath been, there hath not been 4. preachers in
    a diocesse, my meaning is not you should make choice of learned
    ministers only for they are not to be found, but of honest,
    sober, and wise men, and such as can reade the scriptures and
    homilies well unto the people.”[301]

The Anglican clergy under the Tudors and the Stuarts were not so
much priests, in the sense of the twelfth century, as hired political
retainers. Macaulay’s celebrated description is too well known to need
full quotation: “for one who made the figure of a gentleman, ten were
mere menial servants.... The coarse and ignorant squire” could hire a
“young Levite” for his board, a small garret, and ten pounds a year.
This clergyman “might not only be the most patient of butts and of
listeners, might not only be always ready in fine weather for bowls,
and in rainy weather for shovelboard, but might also save the expense
of a gardener, or of a groom. Sometimes the reverend man nailed up the
apricots; and sometimes he curried the coach horses.”[302]

Yet, as Macaulay has also pointed out, the hierarchy was divided into
two sections, the ordinary labourers and the managers. The latter were
indispensable to the aristocracy, since without them their machine
could hardly have been kept in motion, and these were men of talent
who demanded and received good wages. Probably for this reason a
large revenue was reserved for the higher secular clergy, and from the
outset the policy proved successful. Many of the ablest organizers and
astutest politicians of England, during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, sat on the episcopal bench, and two of the most typical,
as well as the ablest Anglicans who ever lived, were the two eminent
bishops who led the opposing wings of the Church when it was reformed
by Henry VIII.: Stephen Gardiner and Thomas Cranmer.

Gardiner was the son of a clothworker of Bury Saint Edmunds, and was
born about 1483. At Cambridge he made himself the best civil lawyer of
the kingdom, and on meeting Wolsey, so strongly impressed him with his
talent that the cardinal advanced him rapidly, and in January 1529 sent
him to negotiate for the divorce at Rome. Nobody doubts that to the end
of his life Gardiner remained a sincere Catholic, but above all else he
was a great Anglican. Becoming secretary to the king in June, 1529, as
Wolsey was tottering to his fall, he laboured to bring the University
of Cambridge to the royal side, and he also devoted himself to Anne
until he obtained the See of Winchester, when his efforts for the
divorce slackened. He even went so far as to assure Clement that he had
repented, and meant to quit the court, but notwithstanding he “bore up
the laps” of Anne’s robe at her coronation.

In 1535 the ways parted, a decision could not be deferred, he renounced
Rome and preached his sermon “de vera Obedientia,” in which he
recognized in Henry the supremacy of a Byzantine emperor. The pang
this act cost him lasted till he died, and he told the papal nuncio
“he made this book under compulsion, not having the strength to suffer
death patiently, which was ready for him.”[303] Indeed, when dying, his
apostacy seems to have been his last thought, for in his closing hours,
as the story of the passion was read to him he exclaimed, “Negavi cum
Petro, exivi cum Petro, sed nondum flevi cum Petro.” All his life long
his enemies accused him of dissimulation and hypocrisy for acts like
these, but it was precisely this quality which raised him to eminence.
Had he not been purchasable, he could hardly have survived as an
Anglican bishop; an enthusiast like Fisher would have ended on Tower

Perhaps more fully than any other prelate of his time, Gardiner
represented the faction of Henry and Norfolk; he was as orthodox as he
could be and yet prosper. He hated Cromwell and all “gospellers,” and
he loved power and splendour and office. Fisher, with the temperament
of Saint Anselm, shivering in his squalid house, clad in his shirt of
hair, and sleeping on his pallet of straw, might indeed “humbly thank
the king’s majesty” who rid him of “all this worldly business,” but
men who rose to eminence in the reformed church were made of different
stuff, and Gardiner’s ruling passion never burned more fiercely than as
he neared his death. Though in excruciating torments from disease, he
clung to office to the last. Noailles, the French ambassador, at a last
interview, found him “livid with jaundice and bursting with dropsy: but
for two hours he held discourse with me calmly and graciously, without
a sign of discomposure; and at parting he must needs take my arm and
walk through three saloons, on purpose to show himself to the people,
because they said that he was dead.”[304]

Gardiner was a man born to be a great prelate under a monied oligarchy,
but, gifted as he surely was, he must yield in glory to that wonderful
archbishop who stamped the impress of his mind so deeply on the sect he
loved, and whom most Anglicans would probably call, with Canon Dixon,
the first clergyman of his age. Cranmer was so supremely fitted to meet
the requirements of the economic revolution in which he lived, that he
rose at a bound from insignificance to what was, for an Englishman, the
summit of greatness. In 1529, when the breach came, Gardiner already
held the place of chief secretary, while Cranmer remained a poor Fellow
of Jesus. Within four years he had been consecrated primate, and he had
bought his preferment by swearing allegiance to the pope, though he
knew himself promoted for the express purpose of violating his oath,
by decreeing the divorce which should sever England from Rome. His
qualities were all recognized by his contemporaries; his adroitness,
his trustworthiness, and his flexibility. “Such an archbishop so
nominated, and ... so and in such wise consecrated, was a meet
instrument for the king to work by ... a meet cover for such a cup;
neither was there ever bear-ward that might more command his bears than
the king might command him.”[305] This judgment has always been held by
Churchmen to be no small claim to fame; Burnet, for example, himself
a bishop and an admirer of his eminent predecessor, was clear that
Cranmer’s strength lay in that mixture of intelligence and servility
which made him useful to those who paid him:--

   “Cranmer’s great interest with the king was chiefly grounded on
    some opinions he had of the ecclesiastical officers being as
    much subject to the king’s power as all other civil officers
    were.... But there was this difference: that Cranmer was once
    of that opinion ... but Bonner against his conscience (if he
    had any) complied with it.”[306]

The genius of the archbishop as a courtier may be measured by the fate
which overtook his contemporaries. He was the fourth of Henry’s great
ministers, of whom Cromwell, Norfolk, and Wolsey were the other three.
Wolsey was disgraced, plundered, and hounded to death; Cromwell was
beheaded, and Norfolk was on his way to the scaffold, when saved by
the death of the man who condemned him. The priest alone, as Lutheran,
or as worshipper of the miracle which he afterward denied, always kept
the sunshine of favour. Burnet has described how readily he violated
his oath by participating in the attempt to change the succession
under Edward, “He stood firm, and said, that he could not subscribe
it without perjury; having sworn to the observance of King Henry’s
will.... The king himself required him to set his hand to the will....
It grieved him much; but such was the love that he bore to the king,
that in conclusion he yielded, and signed it.”[307] Like the chameleon,
he changed his colour to match the force which upheld him. Under
Edward, he became radical as easily as he had sung the mass under the
“Six Articles,” or as, under Mary, he pleaded to be allowed to return
to Rome. Nor did he act thus from cowardice, for when he went to the
fire, not a martyr of the Reformation showed more constancy than he.
With hardly an exception, Cranmer’s contemporaries suffered because
they could not entirely divest themselves of their scruples. Even
Gardiner had convictions strong enough to lodge him in the Tower, and
Bonner ended his days in the Marshalsea, rather than abjure again under
Elizabeth, but no such weakness hampered Cranmer. At Oxford, before his
execution, he recanted, in various forms, very many times, and would
doubtless have gone on recanting could he have saved himself by so

Unlike Gardiner, his convictions were evangelical, and he probably
imbibed reformed principles quite early, for he married Ossiander’s
niece when in Germany, before he became archbishop. Characteristically
enough, he voted for the “Six Articles” in deference to Henry,[308]
although the third section of the act provided death and forfeiture
of goods for any priest who might marry. Afterward, he had to conceal
his wife and carry “her from place to place hidden from sight in a
chest.”[309] Cranmer alleged at his trial that he had stayed orthodox
regarding the sacrament until Ridley had converted him, after Henry’s
death. But, leaving out of consideration the improbability of a man of
Cranmer’s remarkable acuteness being influenced by Ridley, the judgment
of such a man as Foxe should have weight. Certainly, Foxe thought him
a “gospeller” at the time of Lambert’s trial, and nothing can give so
vivid an idea of the lengths to which men of the Anglican type were
ready to go, as the account given by Foxe of the martyrdom of this

   “Lambert: ‘I answer, with Saint Augustine, that it is the body
    of Christ, after a certain manner.’

   “The King: ‘Answer me neither out of Saint Augustine, nor by
    the authority of any other; but tell me plainly, whether thou
    sayest it is the body of Christ, or no.’...

   “Lambert: ‘Then I deny it to be the body of Christ.’

   “The King: ‘Mark well! for now thou shalt be condemned even by
    Christ’s own words, “Hoc est corpus meum.”’

   “Then he commanded Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury,
    to refute his assertion; who, first making a short preface
    unto the hearers, began his disputation with Lambert very
    modestly.... Then again the king and the bishops raged against
    Lambert, insomuch that he was not only forced to silence,
    but also might have been driven into a rage, if his ears had
    not been acquainted with such taunts before.... And here it
    is much to be marvelled at, to see how unfortunately it came
    to pass in this matter, that ... Satan (who oftentimes doth
    raise up one brother to the destruction of another) did here
    perform the condemnation of this Lambert by no other ministers
    than gospellers themselves, Taylor, Barnes, Cranmer, and
    Cromwell; who, afterwards, in a manner, all suffered the like
    for the gospel’s sake; of whom (God willing) we will speak
    more hereafter.... Upon the day that was appointed for this
    holy martyr of God to suffer, he was brought out of the prison
    at eight o’clock in the morning unto the house of the lord
    Cromwell, and so carried into his inward chamber, where, it
    is reported of many, that Cromwell desired of him forgiveness
    for what he had done.... As touching the terrible manner and
    fashion of the burning of this blessed martyr, here is to be
    noted, that of all others who have been burned and offered up
    at Smithfield, there was yet none so cruelly and piteously
    handled as he. For, after that his legs were consumed and
    burned up to the stumps, and that the wretched tormentors and
    enemies of God had withdrawn the fire from him, so that but a
    small fire and coals were left under him, then two that stood
    on each side of him, with their halberts pitched him upon their
    pikes, as far as the chain would reach.... Then he, lifting up
    such hands as he had, and his finger’s ends flaming with fire,
    cried unto the people in these words, ‘None but Christ, none
    but Christ;’ and so, being let down again from their halberts,
    fell into the fire, and there ended his life.”[310]

In a hierarchy like the Anglican, whose function was to preach passive
obedience to the representative of an opulent, but somewhat sluggish
oligarchy, there could be no permanent place for idealists. With a
Spanish invasion threatening them, an unwarlike ruling class might
tolerate sailors like Drake, or priests like Latimer; but, in the long
run, their interest lay in purging England of so dangerous an element.
The aristocracy sought men who could be bought; but such were of a
different type from Latimer, who, when they brought to him the fire,
as he stood chained to the stake, “spake in this manner: ‘Be of good
comfort, master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such
a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put
out.’” And so, “after he had stroked his face with his hands, and as it
were bathed them a little in the fire, he soon died.”

Ecclesiastics like Latimer were apt to be of the mind of Knox, who
held “that sick as may and do brydill the inordinatt appetyteis of
Princes, cannot be accusit of resistance to the aucthoratie, quhilk
is Godis gud ordinance.” And as the interests of landed capital were
bound up with the maintenance of the royal prerogative, such men had
to be eliminated. After the death of Mary, the danger apprehended by
the landed gentry was a Spanish invasion, coupled with a Catholic
insurrection, and therefore the policy of statesmen like Cecil was
to foster hostility to Rome. Until after the Armada, Anglicans were
permitted to go all lengths towards Geneva; even as late as 1595 the
“Lambeth Articles” breathed pure Calvinism. But with the opening of
a new century, a change set in; as the power of Spain dwindled, rents
rose, and the farmers grew restive at the precise moment when men of
the heroic temperament could be discarded. Raleigh was sent to the
Tower in 1603.

According to Thorold Rogers, “good arable land [which] let at less than
a shilling an acre in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, was
let at 5s. to 6s. at the end of the first quarter of the seventeenth,”
while rent for pasture doubled.[311] Rising rents, and prices tending
to become stationary, caused suffering among the rural population,
and with suffering came discontent. This discontent in the country
was fomented by restlessness in the towns, for commerce had been
strongly stimulated during the reign of Elizabeth by the Spanish wars,
and the mercantile element began to rebel against legislation passed
in the interest of the favoured class. Suddenly the dissatisfaction
found vent; for more than forty years the queen’s ministers had met
with no serious opposition in Parliament; in 1601, without warning,
their system of monopolies was struck down, and from that day to the
revolution of 1688, the House of Commons proved to be unmanageable by
the Crown. Even as early as the accession of James, the competition
between the aristocracy and their victims had begun to glow with the
heat which presages civil war.

Had the Tudor aristocracy been a martial caste, they would
doubtless have organized an army, and governed by the sword; but
they instinctively felt that, upon the field of battle, they might
be at a disadvantage, and therefore they attempted to control the
popular imagination through the priesthood. Thus the divine right of
primogeniture came to be the distinguishing tenet of the Church of
England. James felt the full force of the current which was carrying
him onward, and expressed the situation pithily in his famous apothegm,
“No bishop, no king.” “I will have,” said he, “one doctrine, one
discipline, one religion in substance and ceremony;” and the policy
of the interest he represented was laid down as early as 1604, at the
conference at Hampton Court.

Passive obedience was to be preached, and the church filled with men
who could be relied on by the oligarchy. Six weeks after the conference
at Hampton Court, Whitgift died, and Bancroft, Bishop of London, was
translated to Canterbury. Within a week he was at work. He had already
prepared a Book of Canons with which to test the clergy, and this he
had ratified by the convocation which preceded his consecration. In
these canons the divine origin of episcopacy was asserted; a strange
departure from the doctrine of Cranmer. In 1605 there are supposed to
have been about fifteen hundred Puritan clergymen in England and Wales,
and at Bancroft’s first winnowing three hundred were ejected.

Among these Puritans was a certain John Robinson, the teacher
of a small congregation of yeomen, in the village of Scrooby, in
Nottinghamshire. The man’s birth is unknown, his early history is
obscure, but in him, and in the farmers who heard him preach, the
long and bitter struggle against the pressure of the class which
was destroying them, had bred that stern and sombre enthusiasm which
afterward marked the sect. By 1607 England had grown intolerable to
this congregation, and they resolved to emigrate. They had heard that
in Holland liberty of conscience was allowed, and they fondly hoped
that with liberty of conscience they might be content to earn their
daily bread in peace. Probably with them, however, religion was not the
cause, but the effect of their uneasiness, as the result proved.

After many trials and sorrows, these poor people finally assembled in
Amsterdam, and thence journeyed to Leyden, where they dwelt some eleven
years. But they found the struggle for life to be full as severe in the
Low Countries as it had been at home, and presently the exiles began
to long for some distant land where “they might more glorify God, do
more good to their country, better provide for their posterity, and
live to be more refreshed by their labours, than ever they could do in
Holland.” Accordingly, obtaining a grant from the Virginia Company,
they sailed in the Mayflower in 1620, to settle in New England; and
thus, by the eviction of the yeomen, England laid the foundation of one
great province of her colonial empire.



In the words of Mr. Froude: “Before the sixteenth century had measured
half its course the shadow of Spain already stretched beyond the Andes;
from the mines of Peru and the custom-houses of Antwerp the golden
rivers streamed into her imperial treasury; the crowns of Aragon and
Castile, of Burgundy, Milan, Naples, and Sicily, clustered on the brow
of her sovereigns.”[312] But with all their great martial qualities,
the Spaniards seem to have been incapable of attaining the same
velocity of movement as the races with which they had to compete. They
never emerged from the imaginative period, they never developed the
economic type, and in consequence they never centralized as the English
centralized. Even as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century
this peculiarity had been observed, for the Duke de Sully remarked that
with Spain the “legs and arms are strong and powerful, but the heart
infinitely weak and feeble.”

Captain Mahan has explained the military impotence of the mighty
mass which, scattered over two continents, could not command the sea,
and in the seventeenth century an intelligent Dutchman boasted that
“the Spaniards have publicly begun to hire our ships to sail to the
Indies.... It is manifest that the West Indies, being as the stomach to
Spain (for from it nearly all the revenue is drawn), must be joined to
the Spanish head by a sea force”;[313] and the glory of the Elizabethan
sailors lay not only in having routed this sea force, but in having
assimilated no small portion of the nutriment which the American
stomach should have supplied to the Spanish heart.

As Spain lingered long in the imaginative age, the priest and soldier
there reigned supreme after the mercantile and sceptical type had
begun to predominate elsewhere; and the instinct of the priest and
soldier has always been to exterminate their rivals when pressed by
their competition. In the Spanish peninsula itself the Inquisition soon
trampled out heresy, but by the middle of the sixteenth century the
Low Countries were a hotbed of Protestantism, and in Flanders these
opposing forces fought out their battle to the death. The war which
ruined Antwerp made England.

In 1576 Antwerp was sacked and burned; in 1585 the town was reduced to
starvation by the Duke of Parma, and its commerce having been scattered
by successive disasters, some of it migrated to Amsterdam, and some
sought shelter in the Thames. In London the modern man was protected by
the sea, and the crisis of the combat came in 1588, when the Spaniards,
having decided to pursue their enemy to his last stronghold, sent the
Armada to perish in the Channel. With that supreme effort the vitality
of the great imaginative empire began to fail, disintegration set in,
and on the ruins of Spain rose the purely economic centralization of
Great Britain.

Like the Venetians, the British laid the basis of their high fortune
by piracy and slaving, and their advantage over Spain lay not in
mass, but in a superior energy, which gave them more rapid movement.
Drake’s squadron, when he sailed round the world, numbered five ships,
the largest measuring only one hundred and twenty tons, the smallest
twelve, but with these he succeeded because of their speed. For
example, he overtook the Cacafuego, whose ballast was silver, and whose
cargo gold and jewels. He never disclosed her value, but the Spanish
government afterward proved a loss of a million and a half of ducats,
beside the property of private individuals. In like manner the Armada
was destroyed by little ships, which sailed round their clumsy enemy,
and disabled him before he could strike a blow in self-defence.

The Spanish wars were halcyon days for the men of martial blood who
had lost their land; they took to the sea by thousands, and ravaged
the Spanish colonies with the energy and ferocity of vikings. For
nearly a generation they wallowed in gold and silver and gems, and in
the plunder of the American towns. Among these men Sir Francis Drake
stood foremost, but, after 1560, the southern counties swarmed with
pirates; and when, in 1585, Drake sailed on his raid against the West
Indies, he led a force of volunteers twenty-five hundred strong. He
held no commission, the crews of his twenty-five ships served without
pay, they went as buccaneers to fatten on the commerce of the Spaniard.
As it happened, this particular expedition failed financially, for
the treasure fleet escaped, and the plunder of the three cities of
Santiago, Saint Domingo, and Carthagena yielded only £60,000, but the
injury done to Spain was incalculable.

No computation can be attempted of the spoil taken during these years;
no reports were ever made; on the contrary, all concerned were anxious
to conceal their doings, but certain prizes were too dazzling to be
hidden. When Drake surprised three caravans on the Isthmus, numbering
one hundred and ninety mules, each mule loaded with three hundred
pounds of silver, the fact became known. No wonder Drake ate off
“silver richly gilt, and engraved with his arms,” that he had “all
possible luxuries, even to perfumes,” that he dined and supped “to the
music of violins,” and that he could bribe the queen with a diamond
cross and a coronet set with splendid emeralds, and give the lord
chancellor a service of plate. What he gave in secret he alone knew.

As Francis Drake was the ideal English corsair, so John Hawkins was
the ideal slaver. The men were kinsmen, and of the breed which, when
driven from their farms at the end of the Middle Ages, left their mark
all over the world. Of course the two sailors were “gospellers,” and
Mr. Froude has quoted an interesting passage from the manuscript of a
contemporary Jesuit, which shows how their class was esteemed toward
the close of the sixteenth century: “The only party that would fight
to the death for the queen, the only real friends she had, were the
Puritans, the Puritans of London, the Puritans of the sea towns.”[314]
These the priest thought desperate and determined men. Nevertheless
they sometimes provoked Elizabeth by their sermonizing. The story is
told that one day after reading a letter of Hawkins to Burleigh she
cried: “God’s death! This fool went out a soldier, and has come back a

Though both Drake and Hawkins possessed the predatory temperament,
Hawkins had a strong commercial instinct, and kept closely to trade.
He was the son of old William Hawkins, the first British captain
who ever visited Brazil, and who brought from thence a native
chief, whom he presented to Henry VIII. As a young man John had
discovered at the Canaries “that negroes were a very good commodity
in Hispaniola,”[315] and that they might easily be taken on the coast
of Guinea. Accordingly, in 1562, he fitted out three ships, touched at
Sierra Leone, and “partly by the sword and partly by other means,” he
obtained a cargo, “and with that prey he sailed over the ocean sea” to
Hispaniola, where he sold his goods at a large profit. The West India
Islands, and the countries bordering the Gulf of Mexico, cannot be
cultivated profitably by white labourers; therefore, when the Spaniards
had, by hard usage, partially exterminated the natives, a fresh supply
of field hands became necessary, and these could be had easily and
cheaply on the coast of Africa.

At first Spain tried to exclude foreigners from this most lucrative
traffic; but here again the English moved too quickly to be stopped.
Wherever Hawkins went, he went prepared to fight, and, if prevented
from trading peaceably, he used force. In his first voyage he met with
no opposition, but subsequently, at Burburata, leave to sell was denied
him, and, without an instant’s hesitation, he marched against the town
with “a hundred men well armed,” and brought the governor to terms.
Having supplied all the slaves needed at that port, Hawkins went on to
Rio de la Hacha, where he, in like manner, made a demonstration with
“one hundred men in armour,” and two small guns, and in ten days he had
disposed of his whole stock.

As at that time an able negro appears to have been worth about £160
in the West Indies,[316] a cargo of five hundred ought to have netted
between seventy and eighty thousand pounds, for the cost of kidnapping
was trifling. No wonder, therefore, that slaving flourished, and that,
by the middle of the eighteenth century, England probably carried
not far from one hundred thousand blacks annually from Africa to the
colonies. The East offered no such market, and doubtless Adam Smith
was right in his opinion that the commerce with India had never been so
advantageous as the trade to America.[317]

Both slavers and pirates brought bullion to England, and presently
this flow of silver began to stimulate at London a certain amount of
exchange between the East and West. The Orientals have always preferred
payment in specie, and, as silver has usually offered more profit than
gold as an export, the European with a surplus of silver has had the
advantage over all competitors. Accordingly, until Spain lost the power
to protect her communications with her mines, the Spanish peninsula
enjoyed almost a monopoly of the trade beyond the Cape; but as the war
went on, and more of the precious metal flowed to the north, England
and Holland began to send their silver to Asia, the Dutch organizing
one East India Company in 1595, and the British another in 1600.

Sir Josiah Child, who was, perhaps, the ablest merchant of the
seventeenth century, observed that in 1545 “the trade of England then
was inconsiderable, and the merchants very mean and few.”[318] Child’s
facts are beyond doubt, and the date he fixed is interesting because
it coincides with the discovery of Potosi, whence most of the silver
came which supplied the pirates and the slavers. Prior to 1545 specie
had been scarce in London, but when the buccaneers had been scuttling
treasure galleons for a generation, they found themselves possessed of
enough specie to set them dreaming of India, and thus piracy laid the
foundation of the British empire in Asia.

But robbing the Spaniards had another more immediate and more startling
result, for it probably precipitated the civil war. As the city grew
rich it chafed at the slow movement of the aristocracy, who, timid
and peaceful, cramped it by closing the channels through which it
reached the property of foreigners; and, just when the yeomanry were
exasperated by rising rents, London began to glow with that energy
which, when given vent, was destined to subdue so large a portion
of the world. Perhaps it is not going too far to say that, even from
the organization of the East India Company, the mercantile interest
controlled England. Not that it could then rule alone, it lacked the
power to do so for nearly a hundred years to come; but, after 1600,
its weight turned the scale on which side soever thrown. Before the
Long Parliament the merchants were generally Presbyterians or moderate
Puritans; the farmers, Independents or Radicals; and Winthrop, when
preparing for the emigration to Massachusetts, dealt not only with
squires like Hampden, but with city magnates like Thomas Andrews, the
lord mayor. This alliance between the rural and the urban Puritans
carried through the Great Rebellion, and as their coalition crushed the
monarchy so their separation reinstated it.

Macaulay has very aptly observed that “but for the hostility of the
city, Charles the First would never have been vanquished, and that,
without the help of the city, Charles the Second could scarcely
have been restored.”[319] At the Protector’s death the Presbyterians
abandoned the farmers, probably because they feared them. The army of
the Commonwealth swarmed with men like Cromwell and Blake, warriors
resistless alike on land and sea, with whom, when organized, the city
could not cope. Therefore it scattered them, and, throwing in its lot
with the Cavaliers, set up the king.

For about a generation after the Restoration, no single interest had
the force to impose its will upon the nation, or, in other words,
parties were equally balanced; but from the middle of the century the
tide flowed rapidly. Capital accumulated, and as it accumulated the
men adapted to be its instruments grew to be the governing class.
Sir Josiah Child is the most interesting figure of this period.
His acquaintance remembered him a poor apprentice sweeping the
counting-house where he worked; and yet, at fifty, his fortune reached
£20,000 a year, a sum almost equal to the rent-roll of the Duke of
Ormond, the richest peer of the realm. Child married his daughter to
the eldest son of the Duke of Beaufort, and gave her £50,000, and his
ability was so commanding that for years he absolutely ruled the East
India Company, and used its revenues to corrupt Parliament. On matters
of finance such a man would hardly err, and he gave it as his opinion
that in 1635 “there were more merchants to be found upon the Exchange
worth each one thousand pounds and upwards, than were in the former
days, viz., before the year 1600, to be found worth one hundred pounds

   “And now ... there are more men to be found upon the Exchange
    now worth ten thousand pounds estates, than were then of one
    thousand pounds. And if this be doubted, let us ask the aged,
    whether five hundred pounds portion with a daughter sixty years
    ago, were not esteemed a larger portion than two thousand
    pounds is now; and whether gentlewomen in those days would
    not esteem themselves well clothed in a serge gown, which a
    chambermaid now will be ashamed to be seen in.... We have now
    almost one hundred coaches for one we had formerly. We with
    ease can pay a greater tax now in one year than our forefathers
    could in twenty. Our customs are very much improved, I believe
    above the proportion aforesaid, of six to one; which is not
    so much in advance of the rates of goods as by increase of the
    bulk of trade....

   “I can myself remember since there were not in London used so
    many wharves or keys for the landing of merchants’ goods, by
    at least one third part, as now there are, and those that were
    then could scarce have employment for half what they could
    do; and now, notwithstanding one-third more used to the same
    purpose, they are all too little, in time of peace, to land the
    goods at, that come to London.”[320]

Child estimated that, within twenty years, wages had risen one-third,
and rents twenty-five per cent, while “houses new-built in London
yield twice the rent they did before the fire.”[321] Farms that “their
grandfathers or fathers bought or sold fifty years past ... would
yield, one with another, at least treble the money, and in some cases,
six times the money, they were then bought and sold for.”[322] Macaulay
has estimated the population of London in 1685 at half a million, and
believed it to have then become the largest city in Europe.

The aristocracy were forced to tolerate men of the predatory type
while they feared a Spanish invasion, but after the defeat of the
Armada these warriors became dangerous at home, and the oligarchy,
very naturally, tried to purge the island of a class which constantly
menaced their authority. Persecution drove numbers of Nonconformists to
America, and the story of Captain John Smith shows how hardly society
then pressed on the race of adventurers, even where the bitterness of
the struggle did not produce religious enthusiasm.

Smith lived a generation too late. Born in 1579, he was a child of
nine when the Armada perished, and only sixteen when Drake and Hawkins
died at sea. Smith’s father had property, but when left an orphan his
guardians neglected him, and at fifteen let him set out on his travels
with only ten shillings in his pocket. At home no career was open to
him, for the Cecils rather inclined to imprison and behead soldiers
of fortune than to reward them. Accordingly he went abroad, and by
twenty-five had seen service in most countries of the Continent, had
been enslaved by the Turks, had escaped and wandered to Barbary, had
fought the Spanish on a French man-of-war, and at last had learned that
the dreams of his youth belonged to a past age, and that he must enter
a new path. He therefore joined himself to a party bound for Virginia,
and the hardship of the times may be gauged by the fact that out of a
company of a hundred, fifty-two were gentlemen adventurers as needy as
himself, none of whom sought exile for religion.

Smith’s voyages to America brought him nothing but bitterness. He
returned to England and passed his last years in obscurity and neglect,
and perhaps the fate that awaited soldiers under James, has been
nowhere better told than in Smith’s own words. He spent five years
and more than five hundred pounds in the service of Virginia and New
England, yet “in neither ... have I one foot of land, nor the very
house I builded, nor the ground I digged with my own hands, nor ever
any content or satisfaction at all, and though I see ordinarily those
two countries shared before me by them that neither have them, nor know
them but by my descriptions.”[323]

As long as the Tudor aristocracy ruled, Great Britain afforded small
comfort for men like Smith. That aristocracy had genius neither for
adventure nor for war, and few Western nations have a sorrier military
history than England under the Stuarts. Yet beneath the inert mass of
the nobility seethed an energy which was to recentralize the world;
and when capital had accumulated to a certain point, the men who gave
it an outlet laid their grasp upon the State. In 1688 the commercial
adventurers conquered the kingdom.

The change was radical; at once social, political, and religious. The
stronghold of the Tories had been the royal prerogative. The victors
lodged the power of the Crown in a committee chosen by the House of
Commons. The dogma of divine right immediately vanished, and with it
all that distinguished Anglicanism. Though perverted by the Tudors,
this great tenet of the Church of Henry VIII. had been at least a
survival of an imaginative age; and when the merchants swept it away,
all trace of idealism departed. Thenceforward English civilization
became a purely materialistic phenomenon.

In proportion as movement accelerates societies consolidate, and as
societies consolidate they pass through a profound intellectual change.
Energy ceases to find vent through the imagination, and takes the form
of capital; hence as civilizations advance, the imaginative temperament
tends to disappear, while the economic instinct is fostered, and thus
substantially new varieties of men come to possess the world.

Nothing so portentous overhangs humanity as this mysterious and
relentless acceleration of movement, which changes methods of
competition and alters paths of trade; for by it countless millions
of men and women are foredoomed to happiness or misery, as certainly
as the beasts and trees, which have flourished in the wilderness, are
destined to vanish when the soil is subdued by man.

The Romans amassed the treasure by which they administered their
Empire, through the plunder and enslavement of the world. The Empire
cemented by that treasure crumbled when adverse exchanges carried
the bullion of Italy to the shore of the Bosphorus. An accelerated
movement among the semi-barbarians of the West caused the agony of the
crusades, amidst which Constantinople fell as the Italian cities rose;
while Venice and Genoa, and with them the whole Arabic civilization,
shrivelled, when Portugal established direct communication with

The opening of the ocean as a highroad precipitated the Reformation,
and built up Antwerp, while in the end it ruined Spain; and finally
the last great quickening of the age of steam, which centralized the
world at London, bathed the earth in blood, from the Mississippi to the
Ganges. Thus religions are preached and are forgotten, empires rise and
fall, philosophies are born and die, art and poetry bloom and fade, as
societies pass from the disintegration wherein the imagination kindles,
to the consolidation whose pressure ends in death.

In 1688, when the momentum of England suddenly increased, the change
was equivalent to the conquest of the island by a new race. Among the
family of European nations, Great Britain rose as no people had risen
since the Punic Wars. Almost instantly she entered on a career of
conquest unparalleled in modern history. Of the hundred and twenty-five
years between the Boyne and Waterloo, she passed some seventy in waging
ferocious wars, from which she emerged victorious on land and sea, the
mistress of a mighty empire, the owner of incalculable wealth, and the
centre of the world’s exchanges. Then, from this culminating point of
expansion by conquest, she glided subtly, and almost imperceptibly,
into the period of contraction, as Rome went before her under the

Although abundant metallic currency does not, probably, of itself,
create mercantile prosperity, such prosperity is hardly compatible with
a shrinking stock of money; for when contraction sets in and prices
fall, producers and debtors are ruined, as they were ruined in Italy
under the later emperors. Toward the close of the seventeenth century
Europe appeared to be on the brink of such a contraction, for though
Peru had lavishly replenished the supply of the precious metals a
hundred years previously, the drain to Asia and the increasing demands
of commerce had been so considerable, that the standard coin had
generally depreciated. From the reign of Augustus downward, commerce
between Europe and Asia has usually favoured Asia, and this was
particularly true of the seventeenth century, when the value of bullion
fell in the West, and therefore encouraged lavish exports to the East,
where it retained its purchasing power. According to Adam Smith, “the
banks of Venice, Genoa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Nuremberg, seem to
have been all originally established” to provide an ideal currency for
the settlement of bills of exchange, and the money “of such banks,
being better than the common currency of the country, necessarily
bore an agio, which was greater or smaller, according as the currency
was supposed to be more or less degraded below the standard of the
State.”[324] Smith estimated the depreciation at Hamburg at fourteen
per cent, and at Amsterdam, early in the previous century, at nine per
cent; in short, all European countries suffered, but in England the
evil reached a climax through the inertia of the new aristocracy.

In England, silver had always been the standard, and by the third year
of Elizabeth the coin had been restored to its proper fineness, which
thenceforward was scrupulously maintained. But though the metal was not
degraded by the government, the stock of bullion, if not constantly
replenished from without, tended to diminish in proportion to the
growth of the country and the export of specie to Asia. After the
discovery of America, the value of silver in relation to gold fell, in
Europe, to about fourteen or fifteen to one, while in China or India
it stood pretty steady at from ten to twelve to one. Consequently
from 1600 downward, silver remained the most profitable cargo which
could be sent round the Cape of Good Hope, and, unhappily for British
prosperity, at the very moment when the East India Company came into
being, piracy ceased. The chief supply of bullion being thus cut off,
the strain of the export trade fell upon the coin, and within a little
more than a generation the effect become apparent in a degeneration of
the currency.

To make good her position as a centre of exchanges, England had no
choice but to supply her necessities by force. Cromwell understood the
situation perfectly, and had hardly assumed the office of Protector
when he laid plans to cut the evil at the root by conquering Spanish
America, and robbing Spain of her mines. To this end he fitted out
his great expedition against Saint Domingo, which was to serve him as
his base; but for once his military genius failed him, his commanders
blundered, the attack miscarried, and the island of Jamaica was all
that came of the campaign.

Meanwhile, however, that no time might be lost while fighting for the
mines themselves, Cromwell sent Blake to intercept the treasure ships
off the coast of Spain. At first Blake also had ill-luck. In 1655 the
plate fleet escaped him, but the next year, though forced himself to
go to port for supplies, he detached Captain Stayner, with six sail,
to cruise off Cadiz, and on September 19, General Montague was able
to report that his “hart [was] very much warmed with the apprehension
of the singular providence of God,” who had permitted Stayner to
meet, “with the Kinge of Spain’s West India fleete,” and take among
other prizes “a gallion reported to have in her two million pieces
of plate.”[325] If the “plate” were Mexican “pieces of eight” at four
shillings and sixpence, the cargo was worth £450,000, or considerably
more than the whole annual export to the East at the beginning of
the eighteenth century. Had the Protector lived, there can be little
doubt that, by some such means as this, he would have fostered British
resources, and maintained the integrity of British coin; but in less
than two years from the date of Montague’s dispatch, Cromwell was dead,
and the inertia of the Tory landlords paralyzed the nation for another
generation. No foreigner was robbed, and the stock of domestic silver
dwindled from year to year, until at the Revolution the golden guinea,
which, from its first issue in 1662 down to the accession of William
and Mary, had been nominally current for twenty shillings, actually
sold in the market for thirty shillings of the money in use.

   “This diminishing and counterfeiting the money was at this
    time so excessive, that what was good silver was worth scarcely
    one-half of its current value, whilst a great part of the coins
    was only iron, brass, or copper plated, and some no more than
    washed over.”[326]

One of the first acts of the new government was a complete recoinage,
which was finished in 1699; but the measure failed of its purpose, for
the reason that the exports of silver regularly exceeded the imports.

In 1717, a committee of the House of Lords considered the condition
of the currency, and Lord Stanhope then explained very lucidly the
cause of the scarcity of silver. Among other papers he produced a
report from the Custom House, by which it appeared that, in the year
1717, “the East India Company had exported near three million ounces
of silver, which far exceeding the imports of the bullion in that
year, it necessarily followed that vast quantities of silver specie
must have been melted down, both to make up the export, and to supply
the silversmith.”[327] For the decade from 1711 to 1720 the annual
export of bullion by the East India Company averaged £434,000.[328]
At the accession of George III., in 1760, Lord Liverpool estimated
that shillings had lost one-sixth, and sixpences one-quarter of
their original weight, while the crown-piece had almost wholly
disappeared.[329] Even Adam Smith admitted that because of this outflow
silver had risen in value, and probably purchased “a larger quantity
both of labour and commodities” than it otherwise would.[330]

In this emergency the British merchants showed the resource which has
always been their characteristic, and, in default of an adequate supply
of specie, relieved the strain upon their currency by issuing paper.
Mediæval banking had gone no further than the establishment of reserves
of coin, to serve as a medium for clearing bills of exchange; the
English took the great step of accelerating the circulation of their
money, by using this reserve as a basis for a paper currency which
might be largely expanded. The Bank of England was incorporated in
1694, the Bank of Scotland in 1695, and the effect was unquestionably
considerable. Adam Smith has thus described the impetus received by

   “The effects of it have been precisely those above described.
    The business of the country is almost entirely carried on
    by means of the paper of those different banking companies,
    with which purchases and payments of all kinds are commonly
    made. Silver very seldom appears except in the change of
    a twenty shillings bank note, and gold still seldomer. But
    though the conduct of all those different companies has not
    been unexceptionable ... the country, notwithstanding, has
    evidently derived great benefit from their trade. I have
    heard it asserted, that the trade of the city of Glasgow
    doubled in about fifteen years after the first erection of
    the banks there; and that the trade of Scotland has more than
    quadrupled since the first erection of the two public banks at

But although by this means a certain degree of relief was given, and
though prices rose slowly throughout the first half of the eighteenth
century, the fundamental difficulty remained. There was insufficient
silver for export, exchanges were adverse, and that stock of coined
money was lacking which is the form in which force clothes itself in
highly centralized communities. How England finally supplied her needs
is one of the most dramatic pages of history.

As Jevons has aptly observed, Asia is “the great reservoir and sink of
the precious metals.” From time immemorial the Oriental custom has been
to hoard, and from the Mogul blazing with the diamonds of Golconda,
to the peasant starving on his wretched pittance, every Hindoo had, in
former days, a treasure stored away against a day of trouble. Year by
year, since Pizarro had murdered the Inca Atahualpa for his gold, a
stream of bullion had flowed from America to Europe, and from Europe
to the East: there it had vanished as completely as though once more
buried in the bowels of the mine. These hoards, the savings of millions
of human beings for centuries, the English seized and took to London,
as the Romans had taken the spoil of Greece and Pontus to Italy. What
the value of the treasure was, no man can estimate, but it must have
been many millions of pounds--a vast sum in proportion to the stock
of the precious metals then owned by Europeans. Some faint idea of the
booty of the conqueror may be drawn from Macaulay’s description of the
first visit of an English soldier to an Oriental treasure chamber:--

   “As to Clive, there was no limit to his acquisitions but his
    own moderation. The treasury of Bengal was thrown open to him.
    There were piled up, after the usage of Indian princes, immense
    masses of coin, among which might not seldom be detected the
    florins and byzants with which, before any European ship had
    turned the Cape of Good Hope, the Venetians purchased the
    stuffs and spices of the East. Clive walked between heaps of
    gold and silver, crowned with rubies and diamonds, and was at
    liberty to help himself.”[332]

The lives of few men are better known than those of Clive and Hastings,
and yet there are few whose influence upon the fate of mankind has had
such scant appreciation. It is not too much to say that the destiny of
Europe hinged upon the conquest of Bengal. Robert Clive was of the same
stock as Drake and Hawkins, Raleigh, Blake, and Cromwell; he was the
eldest son of one of those small farmers whose ancestors had held their
land ever since the Conquest, and who, when at last evicted and driven
out to sea, had fought and conquered on every continent and on every
ocean. Among the throng of great English adventurers none is greater
than he.

He was born in 1725, and from childhood displayed those qualities which
made him pre-eminent on the field of battle; fighting was his delight,
and so fierce was his temper that his family could not control him. At
last, when eighteen, his father gladly sent him to Madras as a clerk in
the service of the East India Company; and there, in a torrid climate
which shattered his health, poor and neglected, lonely and forlorn,
he pined, until in melancholy he twice attempted suicide. But he was
destined to found an empire, and at last his hour came.

When Clive went to India, the Company was still a purely commercial
concern, holding only the land needed for its warehouses, and having
in their pay a few ill-disciplined sepoys. In the year 1746, when
Clive was twenty-one, the war of the Austrian Succession was raging,
and suddenly a French fleet, commanded by Labourdonnais, appeared off
Madras, and attacked Fort Saint George. Resistance was hopeless, the
place surrendered, and the governor and chief inhabitants were taken
to Pondicherry. Clive, however, managed to escape, and, volunteering,
received an ensign’s commission, and began his military career.

Shortly after, peace was made in Europe, but in India the issue of the
struggle lay undecided between the French and English, the prize being
the peninsula. Dupleix, the French governor of Pondicherry, was a man
of commanding intellect, who first saw the possibility of constructing
a European empire in Hindostan by controlling native princes. Following
up his idea, he mixed in a war of succession, and having succeeded
in establishing a sovereign of the Deccan, he made himself master of
Southern India. The Nizam’s treasure was thrown open to him, and beside
many jewels of price, he is said to have appropriated two hundred
thousand pounds in coin. This was the man whom Clive, when only a clerk
of twenty-five, without military education or experience, attacked and

Clive began his campaigns by the capture and defence of Arcot, one
of the most daring deeds of a generation given over to perpetual
war. Aided by their native allies, the French had laid siege to
Trichinopoly, and Clive represented to his superiors that with the
fate of Trichinopoly was bound up the fate of the whole peninsula. He
recommended making a diversion by assaulting Arcot, the capital of the
Carnatic; his plan met with approval, and, with two hundred Europeans
and three hundred sepoys, he marched to fight the greatest power in
the East. He succeeded in surprising and occupying the town without
loss, but when within the city his real peril began. Arcot had neither
ditches nor defensible ramparts, the English were short of provisions,
and the Nabob hurried forward ten thousand men to relieve his capital.
With four officers, one hundred and twenty British, and two hundred
sepoys, Clive held the town for fifty days, and when the enemy
assaulted for the last time he served his own guns. He won a decisive
victory, and from that hour was recognized as among the most brilliant
officers of the world.

Other campaigns followed, but his health, undermined by the tropics,
gave way, and at twenty-seven he returned home to squander his money
and contest an election to Parliament. He soon reached the end of
his resources, and, just before the opening of the Seven Years’ War,
he accepted a lieutenant-colonel’s commission, and set sail to take
command in Hindostan. The Company appointed him governor of Fort Saint
David, a settlement near Madras; but he had hardly assumed his office
before an event occurred which caused the conquest of Bengal. The Nabob
of Bengal captured Calcutta, and imprisoned one hundred and forty-six
of the English residents in the “Black Hole,” where, in a single night,
one hundred and twenty-three perished.

Clive was summoned, and acted with his usual vigour. He routed the
Nabob’s army, recovered Calcutta, and would have taken vengeance at
once had not the civilians, who wanted to be restored to their places,

Long and tortuous negotiations followed, in which Clive displayed
more than Oriental cunning and duplicity, ending in a march into
the interior and the battle of Plassey. There, with one thousand
English and two thousand sepoys, he met and crushed the army of the
Nabob, sixty thousand strong. On June 23, 1757, one of the richest
provinces of Asia lay before him defenceless, ripe for plunder. Eight
hundred thousand pounds were sent down the Hooghly to Calcutta, in one
shipment; Clive himself took between two and three hundred thousand

Like Drake and Hawkins, Clive had done great things for England, but
he was a military adventurer, one of the class in whom the aristocracy
recognized an enemy; and though in London he was treated with outward
respect, and even given an Irish peerage, the landed interest hated
him, and tried to destroy him, as in the next generation it tried to
destroy Hastings.

Upon the plundering of India there can be no better authority than
Macaulay, who held high office at Calcutta when the administration of
Hastings was still remembered; and who less than any of the writers who
have followed him, was a mouth-piece of the official class.[333] He has
told how after Plassey “the shower of wealth” began to fall, and he has
described Clive’s own gains: “We may safely affirm that no Englishman
who started with nothing has ever, in any line of life, created such
a fortune at the early age of thirty-four.”[334] But the takings of
Clive, either for himself or for the government, were trifling compared
to the wholesale robbery and spoliation which followed his departure,
when Bengal was surrendered a helpless prey to a myriad of greedy
officials. These officials were absolute, irresponsible, and rapacious,
and they emptied the private hoards. Their only thought was to wring
some hundreds of thousands of pounds out of the natives as quickly as
possible, and hurry home to display their wealth.

   “Enormous fortunes were thus rapidly accumulated at Calcutta,
    while thirty millions of human beings were reduced to the
    extremity of wretchedness.” “The misgovernment of the English
    was carried to a point such as seems hardly compatible with the
    very existence of society. The Roman proconsul, who, in a year
    or two, squeezed out of a province the means of rearing marble
    palaces and baths on the shores of Campania, of drinking from
    amber, of feasting on singing birds, of exhibiting armies of
    gladiators and flocks of camelopards; the Spanish viceroy, who,
    leaving behind him the curses of Mexico or Lima, entered Madrid
    with a long train of gilded coaches, and of sumpter-horses
    trapped and shod with silver, were now outdone.”[335]

Thus treasure in oceans flowed into England through private hands,
but in India the affairs of the Company went from bad to worse.
Misgovernment impoverished the people, the savings of long years of
toil were exhausted, and when, in 1770, a drought brought famine, the
resources of the people failed, and they perished by millions: “the
very streets of Calcutta were blocked up by the dying and the dead.”
Then came an outbreak of wrath from disappointed stockholders; the
landed interest seized its opportunity to attack Clive in Parliament;
and the merchants chose Hastings to develop the resources of Hindostan.

As Sheridan said, the Company “extended the sordid principles of their
origin over all their successive operations; connecting with their
civil policy, and even with their boldest achievements, the meanness
of a pedlar and the profligacy of pirates.” In Hastings the Company
found a man fitted to their hands, a statesman worthy to organize a
vast empire on an economic basis. Able, bold, cool, and relentless, he
grasped the situation at a glance, and never faltered in his purpose.
If more treasure was to be wrung from the natives, force had to be
used systematically. Though Bengal might be ruined, the hoards of the
neighbouring potentates remained safe, and these Hastings deliberately
set himself to drain. Macaulay has explained the policy and the motives
which actuated him:--

   “The object of his diplomacy was at this time simply to get
    money. The finances of his government were in an embarrassed
    state, and this embarrassment he was determined to relieve
    by some means, fair or foul. The principle which directed all
    his dealings with his neighbours is fully expressed by the old
    motto of one of the great predatory families of Teviotdale,
    ‘Thou shalt want ere I want.’ He seems to have laid it down, as
    a fundamental proposition which could not be disputed, that,
    when he had not as many lacs of rupees as the public service
    required, he was to take them from anybody who had. One thing,
    indeed, is to be said in excuse for him. The pressure applied
    to him by his employers at home, was such as only the highest
    virtue could have withstood, such as left him no choice except
    to commit great wrongs, or to resign his high post, and with
    that post all his hopes of fortune and distinction.”[336]

How he obtained his money, the pledges he violated, and the blood he
spilt, is known as few passages of history are known, for the story
has been told by Macaulay and by Burke. How he robbed the Nabob of
Bengal of half the income the Company had solemnly promised to pay,
how he repudiated the revenue which the government had covenanted
to yield to the Mogul as a tribute for provinces ceded them, and
how, in consideration of four hundred thousand pounds, he sent a
brigade to slaughter the Rohillas, and placidly saw “their villages
burned, their children butchered, and their women violated,” has
been described in one of the most popular essays in the language.
At Hastings’ impeachment, the heaviest charge against him was that
based on his conduct toward the princesses of Oude, whom his creature,
Asaph-ul-Dowlah, imprisoned and starved, whose servants he tormented,
and from whom he wrung at last twelve hundred thousand pounds, as the
price of blood. By these acts, and acts such as these, the treasure
which had flowed to Europe through the extermination of the Peruvians,
was returned again to England from the hoards of conquered Hindoos.



In discussing the phenomena of the highly centralized society in
which he lived, Mill defined capital “as the accumulated stock of
human labour.” In other words, capital may be considered as stored
energy; but most of this energy flows in fixed channels, money alone
is capable of being transmuted immediately into any form of activity.
Therefore the influx of the Indian treasure, by adding considerably to
the nation’s cash capital, not only increased its stock of energy, but
added much to its flexibility and the rapidity of its movement.

Very soon after Plassey the Bengal plunder began to arrive in London,
and the effect appears to have been instantaneous, for all authorities
agree that the “industrial revolution,” the event which has divided the
nineteenth century from all antecedent time, began with the year 1760.
Prior to 1760, according to Baines, the machinery used for spinning
cotton in Lancashire was almost as simple as in India;[337] while
about 1750 the English iron industry was in full decline because of the
destruction of the forests for fuel. At that time four-fifths of the
iron in use in the kingdom came from Sweden.

Plassey was fought in 1757, and probably nothing has ever equalled
the rapidity of the change which followed. In 1760 the flying-shuttle
appeared, and coal began to replace wood in smelting. In 1764
Hargreaves invented the spinning-jenny, in 1779 Crompton contrived the
mule, in 1785 Cartwright patented the power-loom, and, chief of all,
in 1768 Watt matured the steam-engine, the most perfect of all vents
of centralizing energy. Hut though these machines served as outlets
for the accelerating movement of the time, they did not cause that
acceleration. In themselves inventions are passive, many of the most
important having lain dormant for centuries, waiting for a sufficient
store of force to have accumulated to set them working. That store must
always take the shape of money, and money not hoarded, but in motion.

Thus printing had been known for ages in China before it came to
Europe; the Romans probably were acquainted with gunpowder; revolvers
and breech-loading cannon existed in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, and steam had been experimented upon long before the
birth of Watt. The least part of Watt’s labour lay in conceiving
his idea; he consumed his life in marketing it. Before the influx of
the Indian treasure, and the expansion of credit which followed, no
force sufficient for this purpose existed; and had Watt lived fifty
years earlier, he and his invention must have perished together.
Considering the difficulties under which Matthew Boulton, the ablest
and most energetic manufacturer of his time, nearly succumbed, no
one can doubt that without Boulton’s works at Birmingham the engine
could not have been produced, and yet before 1760 such works could
not have been organized. The factory system was the child of the
“industrial revolution,” and until capital had accumulated in masses
capable of giving solidity to large bodies of labour, manufactures
were necessarily carried on by scattered individuals, who combined a
handicraft with agriculture. Defoe’s charming description of Halifax
about the time Boulton learned his trade, is well known:--

   “The nearer we came to Halifax, we found the houses thicker,
    and the villages greater, in every bottom; ... for the land
    being divided into small enclosures, from two acres to six or
    seven each, seldom more, every three or four pieces of land had
    an house belonging to them.

   “In short, after we had mounted the third hill, we found the
    country one continued village, tho’ every way mountainous,
    hardly an house standing out of a speaking distance from
    another; and, as the day cleared up, we could see at every
    house a tenter, and on almost every tenter a piece of cloth,
    kersie, or shalloon; which are the three articles of this
    countries labour....

   “This place then seems to have been designed by providence for
    the very purposes to which it is now allotted.... Nor is the
    industry of the people wanting to second these advantages. Tho’
    we met few people without doors, yet within we saw the houses
    full of lusty fellows, some at the dye vat, some at the loom,
    others dressing the cloths; the women and children carding, or
    spinning; all employed from the youngest to the oldest; scarce
    anything above four years old, but its hands were sufficient
    for its own support. Not a beggar to be seen, nor an idle
    person, except here and there in an alms-house, built for those
    that are antient, and past working. The people in general live
    long; they enjoy a good air; and under such circumstances hard
    labour is naturally attended with the blessing of health, if
    not riches.”[338]

To the capitalist, then, rather than to the inventor, civilization
owes the steam engine as a part of daily life, and Matthew Boulton was
one of the most remarkable of the race of producers whose reign lasted
down to Waterloo. As far back as tradition runs the Boultons appear
to have been Northamptonshire farmers, but Matthew’s grandfather met
with misfortunes under William, and sent his son to Birmingham to seek
his fortune in trade. There the adventurer established himself as a
silver stamper, and there, in 1728, Matthew was born. Young Boulton
early showed both energy and ingenuity, and on coming of age became
his father’s partner, thenceforward managing the business. In 1759,
two years after the conquest of Bengal, the father died, and Matthew,
having married in 1760, might have retired on his wife’s property, but
he chose rather to plunge more deeply into trade. Extending his works,
he built the famous shops at Soho, which he finished in 1762 at an
outlay of £20,000, a debt which probably clung to him to the end of his

Boulton formed his partnership with Watt in 1774, and then began to
manufacture the steam-engine, but he met with formidable difficulties.
Before the sales yielded any return, the outlay reduced him to the
brink of insolvency; nor did he achieve success until he had exhausted
his own and his friends’ resources.

   “He mortgaged his lands to the last farthing; borrowed from his
    personal friends; raised money by annuities; obtained advances
    from bankers; and had invested upwards of forty thousand pounds
    in the enterprise before it began to pay.”[339]

Agriculture, as well as industry, felt the impulsion of the new force.
Arthur Young remarked in 1770, that within ten years there had been
“more experiments, more discoveries, and more general good sense
displayed in the walk of agriculture than in an hundred preceding
ones”; and the reason why such a movement should have occurred seems
obvious. After 1760 a complex system of credit sprang up, based on a
metallic treasure, and those who could borrow had the means at their
disposal of importing breeds of cattle, and of improving tillage, as
well as of organizing factories like Soho. The effect was to cause
rapid centralization. The spread of high farming certainly raised the
value of land, but it also made the position of the yeomanry untenable,
and nothing better reveals the magnitude of the social revolution
wrought by Plassey, than the manner in which the wastes were enclosed
after the middle of the century. Between 1710 and 1760 only 335,000
acres of the commons were absorbed; between 1760 and 1843, nearly
7,000,000. In eighty years the yeomanry became extinct. Many of these
small farmers migrated to the towns, where the stronger, like the
ancestor of Sir Robert Peel, accumulated wealth in industry, the weaker
sinking into factory hands. Those who lingered on the land, toiled as
day labourers.

Possibly since the world began, no investment has ever yielded the
profit reaped from the Indian plunder, because for nearly fifty years
Great Britain stood without a competitor. That she should have so
long enjoyed a monopoly seems at first mysterious, but perhaps the
condition of the Continent may suggest an explanation. Since Italy
had been ruined by the loss of the Eastern trade, she had ceased to
breed the economic mind; consequently no class of her population could
suddenly and violently accelerate their movements. In Spain the priest
and soldier had so thoroughly exterminated the sceptic, that far from
centralizing during the seventeenth century, as England and France
had done, her empire was in full decline at the revolution of 1688. In
France something similar had happened, though in a much less degree.
After a struggle of a century and a half, the Church so far prevailed
in 1685 as to secure the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. At the
revocation many Huguenots went into exile, and thus no small proportion
of the economic class, who should have pressed England hardest, were
driven across the Channel, to add their energy to the energy of the
natives. Germany lacked capital. Hemmed in by enemies, and without
a seacoast, she had been at a disadvantage in predatory warfare;
accordingly she did not accumulate money, and failed to consolidate
until, in 1870, she extorted a treasure from France. Thus, in 1760,
Holland alone remained as a competitor, rich, maritime, and peopled
by Protestants. But Holland lacked the mass possessed by her great
antagonist, beside being without minerals; and accordingly, far from
accelerating her progress, she proved unable to maintain her relative
rate of advance.

Thus isolated, and favoured by mines of coal and iron, England not only
commanded the European and American markets, at a time when production
was strained to the utmost by war, but even undersold Hindoo labour
at Calcutta. In some imperfect way her gains may be estimated by
the growth of her debt, which must represent savings. In 1756, when
Clive went to India, the nation owed £74,575,000, on which it paid an
interest of £2,753,000. In 1815 this debt had swelled to £861,000,000,
with an annual interest charge of £32,645,000. In 1761 the Duke of
Bridgewater finished the first of the canals which were afterward to
form an inland water-way costing £50,000,000, or more than two-thirds
of the amount of the public debt at the outbreak of the Seven Years’
War. Meanwhile, also, steam had been introduced, factories built,
turnpikes improved, and bridges erected, and all this had been done
through a system of credit extending throughout the land. Credit is the
chosen vehicle of energy in centralized societies, and no sooner had
treasure enough accumulated in London to offer it a foundation, than it
shot up with marvellous rapidity.

From 1694 to Plassey, the growth had been relatively slow. For more
than sixty years after the foundation of the Bank of England, its
smallest note had been for £20, a note too large to circulate freely,
and which rarely travelled far from Lombard Street. Writing in 1790,
Burke mentioned that when he came to England in 1750 there were not
“twelve bankers’ shops” in the provinces, though then, he said, they
were in every market town.[340] Thus the arrival of the Bengal silver
not only increased the mass of money, but stimulated its movement;
for at once, in 1759, the bank issued £10 and £15 notes, and, in the
country, private firms poured forth a flood of paper. At the outbreak
of the Napoleonic wars, there were not far from four hundred provincial
houses, many of more than doubtful solvency. Macleod, who usually
does not exaggerate such matters, has said, that grocers, tailors, and
drapers inundated the country with their miserable rags.[341]

The cause of this inferiority of the country bankers was the avarice
of the Bank of England, which prevented the formation of joint stock
companies, who might act as competitors; and, as the period was one
of great industrial and commercial expansion, when the adventurous
and producing classes controlled society, enough currency of some
kind was kept in circulation to prevent the prices of commodities from
depreciating relatively to coin. The purchasing power of a currency is,
other things being equal, in proportion to its quantity. Or, to put the
proposition in the words of Locke, “the value of money, in general,
is the quantity of all the money in the world in proportion to all
the trade.”[342] At the close of the eighteenth century, many causes
combined to make money plentiful, and therefore to cheapen it. Not only
was the stock of bullion in England increased by importations from
India, but, for nearly a generation, exports of silver to Asia fell
off. From an average of £600,000 annually between 1740 and 1760, the
shipments of specie by the East India Company fell to £97,500 between
1760 and 1780; nor did they rise to their old level until after the
close of the administration of Hastings, when trade returned to normal
channels. After 1800 the stream gathered volume, and between 1810
and 1820 the yearly consignment amounted to £2,827,000, or to nearly
one-half of the precious metals yielded by the mines.

From the crusades to Waterloo, the producers dominated Europe, the
money-lenders often faring hardly, as is proved by the treatment of the
Jews. From the highest to the lowest, all had wares to sell; the farmer
his crop, the weaver his cloth, the grocer his goods, and all were
interested in maintaining the value of their merchandise relatively
to coin, for they lost when selling on a falling market. By degrees,
as competition sharpened after the Reformation, a type was developed
which, perhaps, may be called the merchant adventurer; men like Child
and Boulton, bold, energetic, audacious. Gradually energy vented itself
more and more freely through these merchants, until they became the
ruling power in England, their government lasting from 1688 to 1815.
At length they fell through the very brilliancy of their genius. The
wealth they amassed so rapidly, accumulated, until it prevailed over
all other forms of force, and by so doing raised another variety of man
to power. These last were the modern bankers.

With the advent of the bankers, a profound change came over
civilization, for contraction began. Self-interest had from the outset
taught the producer that, to prosper, he should deal in wares which
tended rather to rise than fall in value, relatively to coin. The
opposite instinct possessed the usurer; he found that he grew rich when
money appreciated, or when the borrower had to part with more property
to pay his debt when it fell due, than the cash lent him would have
bought on the day the obligation was contracted. As, toward the close
of the eighteenth century, the great hoards of London passed into the
possession of men of the latter type, the third and most redoubtable
variety of the economic intellect arose to prominence, a variety of
which perhaps the most conspicuous example is the family of Rothschild.

In one of the mean and dirty houses of the Jewish quarter of Frankfort,
Mayer Amschel was born in the year 1743. The house was numbered 152 in
the Judengasse, but was better known as the house of the Red Shield,
and gave its name to the Amschel family. Mayer was educated by his
parents for a rabbi; but, judging himself better fitted for finance,
he entered the service of a Hanoverian banker named Oppenheim, and
remained with him until he had saved enough to set up for himself. Then
for some years he dealt in old coins, curiosities and bullion, married
in 1770, returned to Frankfort, established himself in the house of the
Red Shield, and rapidly advanced toward opulence. Soon after he gave up
his trade in curiosities, confining himself to banking, and his great
step in life was made when he became “Court Jew” to the Landgrave of
Hesse. By 1804 he was already so prosperous that he contracted with the
Danish Government for a loan of four millions of thalers.

Mayer had five sons, to whom he left his business and his wealth. In
1812 he died, and, as he lay upon his death-bed, his last words were,
“You will soon be rich among the richest, and the world will belong
to you.”[343] His prophecy came true. These five sons conceived and
executed an original and daring scheme. While the eldest remained at
Frankfort, and conducted the parent house, the four others migrated to
four different capitals, Naples, Vienna, Paris, and London, and, acting
continually in consort, they succeeded in obtaining a control over
the money market of Europe, as unprecedented as it was lucrative to

Of the five brothers, the third, Nathan, had commanding ability. In
1798 he settled in London, married in 1806 the daughter of one of the
wealthiest of the English Jews, and by 1815 had become the despot of
the Stock Exchange; “peers and princes of the blood sat at his table,
clergymen and laymen bowed before him.” He had no tastes, either
literary, social, or artistic; “in his manners and address he seemed
to delight in displaying his thorough disregard of all the courtesies
and amenities of civilized life”; and when asked about the future
of his children he said, “I wish them to give mind, soul, and heart,
and body--everything to business. That is the way to be happy.”[344]
Extremely ostentatious, though without delicacy or appreciation,
“his mansions were crowded with works of art, and the most gorgeous
appointments.” His benevolence was capricious; to quote his own words,
“Sometimes to amuse myself I give a beggar a guinea. He thinks it is
a mistake, and for fear I shall find it out off he runs as hard as
he can. I advise you to give a beggar a guinea sometimes. It is very

Though an astonishingly bold and unscrupulous speculator, Nathan
probably won his chief successes by skill in lending, and, in this
branch of financiering, he was favoured by the times in which he lived.
During the long wars Europe plunged into debt, contracting loans in
depreciated paper, or in coin which was unprecedentedly cheap because
of the abundance of the precious metals.

In the year 1809, prices reached the greatest altitude they ever
attained in modern, or even, perhaps, in all history. There is
something marvellously impressive in this moment of time, as the
world stood poised upon the brink of a new era. To the contemporary
eye Napoleon had reached his zenith. Everywhere victorious, he had
defeated the English in Spain, and forced the army of Moore to embark
at Corunna; while at Wagram he had brought Austria to the dust. He
seemed about to rival Cæsar, and establish a military empire which
should consolidate the nations of the mainland of Europe. Yet in
reality one of those vast and subtle changes was impending, which, by
modifying the conditions under which men compete, alter the complexion
of civilizations, and which has led in the course of the nineteenth
century to the decisive rejection of the martial and imaginative mind.

In April 1810 Bolivar obtained control at Caracas, and, with
the outbreak of the South American revolutions, the gigantic
but imaginative empire of Spain passed into the acute stage of
disintegration. On December 19 of the same year, the Emperor Alexander
opened the ports of Russia to neutral trade. By so doing Alexander
repudiated the “continental system” of Napoleon, made a breach with him
inevitable, and thus brought on the campaign of Moscow, the destruction
of the Grand Army, and the close of French military triumphs on the
hill of Waterloo. From the year 1810, nature has favoured the usurious
mind, even as she favoured it in Rome, from the death of Augustus.

Moreover, both in ancient and modern life, the first symptom of this
profound economic and intellectual revolution was identical. Tacitus
has described the panic which was the immediate forerunner of the
rise of the precious metals in the first century; and in 1810 a
similar panic occurred in London, when prices suddenly fell fifteen
per cent,[346] and when the most famous magnate of the Stock Exchange
was ruined and killed. The great houses of Baring and of Goldsmid had
undertaken the negotiation of a government loan of £14,000,000. To
the surprise of these eminent financiers values slowly receded, and,
in September, the death of Sir Francis Baring precipitated a crisis;
Abraham Goldsmid, reduced to insolvency, in despair committed suicide;
the acutest intellects rose instantaneously upon the corpses of the
weaker, and the Rothschilds remained the dictators of the markets of
the world. From that day to this the slow contraction has continued,
with only the break of little more than twenty years, when the gold of
California and Australia came in an overwhelming flood; and, from that
day to this, the same series of phenomena have succeeded one another,
which eighteen hundred years ago marked the emasculation of Rome.

At the peace, many causes converged to make specie rise; the exports of
bullion to the East nearly doubled; America grew vigorously, and mining
was interrupted by the revolt of the Spanish colonies. Yet favourable
as the position of the creditor class might be, it could be improved
by legislation, and probably no financial policy has ever been so ably
conceived, or so adroitly executed, as that masterpiece of state-craft
which gave Lombard Street control of the currency of Great Britain.

Under the reign of the producers, values had generally been equalized
by cheapening the currency when prices fell. In the fourteenth,
fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, the penny had been systematically
degraded, to keep pace with the growing dearth of silver. When the
flood of the Peruvian bullion had reached its height in 1561, the
currency regained its fineness; but in 1601 the penny lost another
half-grain of weight, and, though not again adulterated at the mint,
the whole coinage suffered so severely from hard usage that, under
the Stuarts, it fell to about two-thirds of its nominal value. A
re-coinage took place under William, but then paper came in to give
relief, and the money in circulation continued to degenerate, as there
was no provision for the withdrawal of light pieces. By 1774, the loss
upon even the guinea had become so great that Parliament intervened,
and Lord North recommended “that all the deficient gold coin should
be called in, and re-coined” and also that the “currency of the gold
coin should, in future, be regulated by weight as well as by tale ...
and that the several pieces should not be legal tender, if they were
diminished, by wearing or otherwise, below a certain weight, to be
determined by proclamation.”[347]

By such means as this, the integrity of the metallic money was at
length secured; but the emission of paper remained unlimited, and in
1797 even the Bank of England suspended cash payments. Then prices
advanced as they had never advanced before, and, during the first ten
years of the nineteenth century, the commercial adventurers reached
their meridian. From 1810 they declined in power; but for several
preceding generations they had formed a true aristocracy, shaping the
laws and customs of their country. They needed an abundant currency,
and they obtained it through the Bank. On their side the directors
recognized this duty to be their chief function, and laid it down
as a principle that all legitimate commercial paper should always be
discounted. If interest rose, the rise proved a dearth of money, and
they relieved that dearth with notes.

Lord Overstone has thus explained the system of banking which was
accepted, without question, until 1810: “A supposed obligation to
meet the real wants of commerce, and to discount all commercial bills
arising out of legitimate transactions, appears to have been considered
as the principle upon which the amount of the circulation was to
be regulated.”[348] And yet, strangely enough, even the adversaries
of this system admitted that it worked well. A man as fixed in his
opinions as Tooke, could not contain his astonishment that “under the
guidance of maxims and principles so unsound and of such apparently
mischievous tendency, as those professed by the governors and some
of the directors of the Bank in 1810, such moderation and ... such
regularity of issue should, under chances and changes in politics and
trade, unprecedented in violence and extent, have been preserved, as
that a spontaneous readjustment between the value of the gold and the
paper should have taken place, as it did, without any reduction of
their circulation.”[349]

With such a system the currency tended to fall rather than to rise in
value, in comparison with commodities, and for this reason the owners
of the great hoards were at a disadvantage. What powerful usurers, like
Rothschild, wanted, was a legal tender fixed in quantity, which, being
unable to expand to meet an increased demand, would rise in price.
Moreover, they needed a circulating medium sufficiently compact to be
controlled by a comparatively small number of capitalists, who would
thus, under favourable conditions, hold the whole debtor community at
their mercy.

If the year 1810 be taken as the point at which the energy stored in
accumulations of money began to predominate in England, the revolution
which ended in the overthrow of the producers, advanced, with hardly a
check, to its completion by the “Bank Act” of 1844. The first symptom
of approaching change was the famous “Bullion Committee,” appointed on
the motion of Francis Horner in 1810. This report is most interesting,
for it marks an epoch, and in it the struggle for supremacy between the
lender and the borrower is brought out in full relief. To the producer,
the commodity was the measure of value; to the banker, coin. The
producer sought a currency which should retain a certain ratio to all
commodities, of which gold was but one. The banker insisted on making a
fixed weight of the metal he controlled, the standard from which there
was no appeal.

A distinguished merchant, named Chambers, in his evidence before the
Committee, put the issue in a nutshell:--

    _Q._ “At the Mint price of standard gold in this country, how
    much gold does a Bank of England note for one pound represent?

    _A._ “5 dwts. 3 grs.

    _Q._ “At the present market price of standard gold of £4 12.
    per ounce, how much gold do you get for a Bank of England note
    for one pound?

    _A._ “4 dwts. 8 grs.

    _Q._ “Do you consider that a Bank of England note for one
    pound, under these present circumstances, is exchangeable in
    gold for what it represents of that metal?

    _A._ “I do not conceive gold to be a fairer standard for Bank
    of England notes than indigo or broadcloth.”

Although the bankers controlled the “Bullion Committee,” the mercantile
interest still maintained itself in Parliament, and the resolutions
proposed by the chairman in his report were rejected in the Commons
by a majority of about two to one. The tide, however, had turned, and
perhaps the best index of the moment at which the balance of power
shifted, may be the course of Peel. Of all the public men of his
generation, Peel had the surest instinct for the strongest force.
Rarely, if ever, did this instinct fail him, and after 1812 his
intuition led him to separate from his father; as, later in life, it
led him to desert his party in the crisis of 1845. The first Sir Robert
Peel, the great manufacturer, who made the fortune of the family,
had the producer’s instinct and utterly opposed contraction. In 1811
he voted against the report of the Bullion Committee, and then his
son voted with him. After 1816, however, the younger Peel became the
spokesman of Lombard Street, and the story is told that when the bill
providing for cash payments passed in July, 1819, the old man, after
listening to his son’s great speech, said with bitterness: “Robert has
doubled his fortune, but ruined his country.”[350]

Probably Waterloo marked the opening of the new era, for after
Waterloo the bankers met with no serious defeat. At first they hardly
encountered opposition. They began by discarding silver. In 1817
the government made 123 374⁄1000 grs. of gold the unit of value,
the coin representing this weight of metal ceasing to be a legal
tender when deficient by about half a grain. The standard having
thus been determined, it remained to enforce it. By this time Peel
had been chosen by the creditor class as their mouthpiece, and in
1819 he introduced a bill to provide for cash payments. He found
little resistance to his measure, and proposed 1823 as the time for
the return; as it happened, the date was anticipated, and notes were
redeemed in gold from May 1, 1821. As far as the coinage was concerned,
this legislation completed the work, but the task of limiting discounts
remained untouched, a task of even more importance, for, as long as
the Bank continued discounting bills, and thus emitting an unlimited
quantity of notes whenever the rate of interest rose, debtors not only
might always be able to face their obligations, but the worth of money
could not be materially enhanced. This question was decided by the
issue of the panic of 1825, brought on by the Resumption Act.

At the suspension of 1797, paper in small denominations had been
authorized to replace the coin which disappeared, but this act expired
two years after the return to specie payments. Therefore, as time
elapsed, the small issues began to be called in, and, according to
Macleod, the country circulation, by 1823, had contracted about twelve
per cent. The Bank of England also withdrew a large body of notes in
denominations less than five pounds, and, to fill the gap, hoarded some
twelve million sovereigns, a mass of gold about equal to the yield of
the mines for the preceding seven or eight years. This gold had to be
taken from the currency of Europe, and the sudden contraction caused a
shock which vibrated throughout the West.

In France gold coinage almost ceased, and prices dropped heavily,
declining twenty-four per cent between 1819 and 1822. Yet perhaps the
most vivid picture of the distress caused by this absorption of gold,
is given in a passage written by Macleod, to prove that Peel’s act had
nothing to do with the catastrophe:--

   “There was one perfectly satisfactory argument to show that
    the low prices of that year had nothing to do with the Act of
    1819, namely, that prices of all sorts of agricultural produce
    were equally depressed all over the continent of Europe from
    the same cause. The fluctuations, indeed, on the continent were
    much more violent than even in England.... The same phenomena
    were observed in Italy. A similar fall, but not to so great an
    extent, took place at Lisbon. What could the Act of 1819 have
    to do with these places?”[351]

The severe and protracted depression, while affecting all producers,
bore with peculiar severity upon the gentry, whose estates were
burdened with mortgages and all kinds of settlements, so much so
that frequently properties sank below their encumbrances, and the
owners were beggared. At the opening of Parliament, both Houses were
overwhelmed with petitions for aid. Among these petitions, one of
the best known was presented to the Commons in May, 1822, by Charles
Andrew Thompson, of Chiswick, which serves to show the keenness of the
distress among debtors owning land.

Thompson stated, in substance, that in 1811 he and his father, being
wealthy merchants, purchased an estate in Hertfordshire for £62,000,
and afterward laid out £10,000 more in improvements. That in 1812 they
entered into a contract for another estate, whose price was £60,000,
but, a question having arisen as to the title, a lawsuit intervened,
and, before judgment, the petitioner and his father had experienced
such losses that they could not pay the sum adjudged due by the court.
Thereupon, to raise money, they mortgaged both estates for £65,000.
In July, 1821, both estates were offered for sale, but they failed
to bring the amount for which they were mortgaged. Estates in other
counties which cost £33,166, had been sold for £12,000, and through the
depression of trade the petitioners had become bankrupt. In 1822 the
petitioner’s father died of a broken heart; and he himself remained a
ruined man, with seven children of his own, ten of his brother’s, and
seven of his sister’s all depending on him.[352]

The nation seemed upon the brink of some convulsion, for the gentry
hardly cared to disguise their design of effecting a readjustment of
both public and private debts. Passions ran high, and in June, 1822,
a long debate followed upon a motion, made by Mr. Western, to inquire
into the effects produced by the resumption of cash payments. The
motion was indeed defeated, but defeated by a concession which entailed
a catastrophe up to that time unequalled in the experience of Great
Britain. To save the “Resumption Act” the ministry in July brought in
a bill to respite the small notes until 1833, a measure which at once
quieted the agitation, but which produced the most far-reaching and
unexpected results.

According to Francis, the country banks augmented their issues fifty
per cent between 1822 and 1825,[353] nor was this increase of paper the
only or the most serious form taken by the inflation. The great hoard
of sovereigns, accumulated by the Bank to replace its small notes, was
made superfluous; and, in a memorandum delivered by the directors to
the House of Commons, no less than £14,200,000 were stated to have been
thrown on their hands in 1824 by this change of policy.[354] The effect
was to create a veritable glut of gold in the United Kingdom; prices
rose abnormally--fifteen per cent--between 1824 and 1825.

As values tended upward, a frenzy of speculation seized upon a people
who had long suffered from the grinding of contraction, and meanwhile
the Bank, adhering to its old policy, freely discounted all the sound
bills brought them. In 1824 prices rose above the Continental level,
and gold, being cheaper in London than in Paris, began to flow thither.
The Bank reserve steadily fell. In March, 1825, the fever reached
its height, and a decline set in, while the directors, anxious at the
condition of their reserve in May, attempted to restrict their issues.
The consequence was sharp contraction, and in November the crash came.
Mr. Huskisson stated, in the House of Commons, that for forty-eight
hours it was impossible to convert even government securities into
cash. Exchequer bills, bank stock, and East India stock were alike
unsalable, and many of the richest merchants of London walked the
streets, not knowing whether on the morrow they might not be insolvent.
“It is said” the Bank itself “must have stopped payment, and that we
should have been reduced to a state of barter, but for a box full of
old one and two-pound notes which was discovered by accident.”[355]
What happened in the Bank parlour during those days is unknown.
Probably the pressure of the mercantile classes became too sharp to be
withstood, perhaps even the strongest bankers were alarmed; but, at
all events, the financial policy changed completely. Contraction was
abandoned, the Bank reverted to the system of 1810, and in an instant
relief came. “We lent by every possible means, and in modes we had
never adopted before; ... we not only discounted outright, but we made
advances on deposit of bills of exchange to an immense amount.” The
Bank emitted five millions in notes in four days, and “this audacious
policy was crowned with the most complete success, the panic was stayed
almost immediately.”[356]

With an expansion of the currency sufficient to furnish the means of
paying debts, the panic passed away, but the disaster gave the bankers
their opportunity; they seized it, and thenceforward their hold upon
the community never, even for an instant, relaxed. The administration
fell into discredit, and turned for assistance to the only men who
promised to give them effective support: these were the capitalists of
Lombard Street, whose first care was to obtain a statute prohibiting
the small notes, which, they alleged, were the cause of the misfortune
of 1825. The act they demanded passed in 1826, and about this time
Samuel Loyd rose into prominence, who was, perhaps, the greatest
financier of modern times. Cautious and sagacious, though resolute
and bold, gifted with an amazing penetration into the complex causes
which control the competition of modern life, he swayed successive
administrations, and crushed down the fiercest opposition. Apparently
he never faltered in his course, and down to the day of his death he
sneered at the panic-stricken directors, who only saved themselves
from bankruptcy by accidentally remembering and issuing a “parcel of
old discarded one-pound notes ... drawn forth from a refuse cellar in

Loyd’s father began life somewhat humbly as a dissenting minister
in Wales, but, after his marriage, he entered a Manchester firm,
and subsequently founded in London the house of Jones, Loyd and Co.,
afterward merged in the London and Westminster Bank, one of the largest
concerns in the world. Samuel did not actually succeed his father until
1844, but much earlier he had grown to be the recognized chief of the
monied interest, and Sir Robert Peel long served as his lieutenant.
Loyd was the man who conceived the Bank Act of 1844, who succeeded in
laying his grasp upon the currency of the kingdom, and in whose words,
therefore, the policy of the new governing class is best stated:--

   “A paper-circulation is the substitution of paper ... in the
    place of the precious metals. The amount of it ought therefore
    to be equal to what would have been the amount of a metallic
    circulation; and of this the best measure is the influx or
    efflux of bullion.”[358]

   “By the provisions of that Act [the Bank Act of 1844] it
    is permitted to issue notes to the amount of £14,000,000 as
    before--that is, with no security for the redemption of the
    notes on demand beyond the legal obligation so to redeem them.
    But all fluctuations in the amount of notes issued beyond
    this £14,000,000 must have direct reference to corresponding
    fluctuations in the amount of gold.”[359]

Thus Loyd’s principle, which he embodied in his statute, was the
rigid limitation of the currency to the weight of gold available
for money. “When ... notes are permitted to be issued, the number in
circulation should always be exactly equal to the coin which would
be in circulation if they did not exist.”[360] In 1845 the Bank Act
was extended to Scotland, except that there small notes were still
tolerated; the expansion of provincial paper was prohibited, and
England reverted to the economic condition of Byzantium,--a condition
of contraction in which the debtor class lies prostrate, for, the legal
tender being absolutely limited, when creditors choose to withdraw
their loans, payment becomes impossible.

Perhaps no financier has ever lived abler than Samuel Loyd. Certainly
he understood as few men, even of later generations, have understood,
the mighty engine of the single standard. He comprehended that, with
expanding trade, an inelastic currency must rise in value; he saw
that, with sufficient resources at command, his class might be able to
establish such a rise, almost at pleasure; certainly that they could
manipulate it when it came, by taking advantage of foreign exchanges.
He perceived moreover that, once established, a contraction of the
currency might be forced to an extreme, and that when money rose beyond
price, as in 1825, debtors would have to surrender their property on
such terms as creditors might dictate.

Furthermore, he reasoned that under pressure prices must fall to a
point lower than in other nations, that then money would flow from
abroad, and relief would ultimately be given, even if the government
did not interfere; that this influx of gold would increase the quantity
of money, by so doing would again raise prices, and that, when prices
rose, pledges forfeited in the panic might be resold at an advance. He
explained the principle of this rise and fall of values, with his usual
lucidity, to a committee of the House of Lords, which investigated the
panic of 1847:--

“Monetary distress tends to produce fall of prices; that fall of prices
encourages exports and diminishes imports; consequently it tends to
promote an influx of bullion. I can quote a fact of rather a striking
character, which tends to show that a contracting operation upon the
circulation tends to cheapen the cost of our manufactured productions,
and therefore to increase our exports.” He then stated that during
the panic he had received a letter “from a person of great importance
in Lancashire,” begging him to use his influence with the ministry
“to be firm in maintaining the act,--to be firm in resisting these
applications for relaxation,” because in Lancashire the manufacturers
were struggling to “resist the improperly high price of the raw
material of cotton.” “That letter reached me the very morning that the
letter of the government was issued [suspending the act], and almost
immediately the raw cotton rose in price.”

    _Q._ “The writer of that letter was probably a man of
    considerable substance, a very wealthy man, with abundant
    capital to carry on his business?

    _A._ “He had recently retired from business. I can state
    another circumstance that occurred in London corroborative
    of the same results. Within half an hour of the time that
    the notes summoning the Court of Directors ... were issued,
    parties, inferring probably ... that a relaxation was about to
    take place, sent orders to withdraw goods from a sale which was
    then going on.”[361]

The history of half a century has justified the diagnosis of this
eminent financier. As followed out by his successors, Loyd’s policy
has not only forced down prices throughout the West, but has changed
the aspect of civilization. In England the catastrophe began with the
passage of the Bank Act.

No sooner had this statute taken effect than it necessarily caused a
contraction of the currency at a time when gold was rising because of
commercial expansion. Between 1839 and 1849 there was a fall in prices
of twenty-eight per cent, and, severe as may have been the decline,
it seems moderate considering the conditions which then prevailed.
The yield of the mines was scanty, and of this yield India absorbed
annually an average of £2,308,000, or somewhat more than one-sixth.

America was growing with unprecedented vigour, industrial competition
sharpened as prices fell, and the year of the “Bank Act” was the year
in which railway building began to take the form of a mania.

The peasantry are always the weakest part of every population, and
therefore agricultural prices are the most sensitive. But the resources
of a peasantry are seldom large, and, as the value of their crops
shrinks, the margin of profit on which they live dwindles, until they
are left with only a bare subsistence in good years, and with famine
facing them in bad. The Irish peasants were the weakest portion of the
population of Great Britain when Lord Overstone became supreme, and
when the potato crop failed in 1845 they starved.

Although the landlords had lost their command over the nation in
1688, they yet, down to the last administration of Peel, had kept
strength enough to secure protection from Parliament against foreign
competition. By 1815 the yeomanry had almost disappeared, the soil
belonged to a few rich families whose revenue depended on rents, and
the value of rents turned on the price of the cereals. To sustain the
market for wheat became therefore all-important to the aristocracy, and
when, with the peace, prices collapsed, they obtained a statute which
prohibited imports until the bushel should fetch ten shillings at home.

This statute, though frequently amended to make it more effective,
partially failed of its purpose. A contracting currency did its
resistless work, prices dropped, tenants went bankrupt, and, as the
value of money rose, encumbered estates passed more frequently into
the hands of creditors. Thus when Peel took office in 1841, the Corn
Laws were regarded by the gentry as their only hope, and Peel as their
chosen champion; but only a few years elapsed before it became evident
that the policy of Lombard Street must precipitate a struggle for life
between the manufacturers and the landlords. In the famine of 1846
the decisive moment came, and when Sir Robert sided, as was his wont,
with the strongest, and abandoned his followers to their fate, he only
yielded to the impulsion of a resistless force.

As a class both landlords and manufacturers were debtors, and, by
1844, cheap bread appeared to be as vital to the one as dear corn was
to the other. With a steadily falling market the manufacturers saw
their margin of profit shrink, and at last Manchester and Birmingham
believed themselves to be confronted with ruin unless wages fell
proportionately, or they could broaden the market for their wares by
means of international exchanges. The Corn Laws closed both avenues of
relief; therefore there was war to the death between the manufacturers
and the aristocracy. The savageness of the attack can be judged
by Cobden’s jeers at gentlemen who admitted that free corn meant

   “Sir Edward Knatchbull could not have made a better speech for
    the League than that which he made lately, even if he were paid
    for it. I roared so with laughter that he called me specially
    to order, and I begged his pardon, for he is the last man in
    the world I would offend, we are all so much obliged to him.
    He said they could not do without this Corn Law, because, if
    it were repealed, they could not pay the jointures, charged on
    their estates. Lord Mountcashel, too (he’s not over-sharp) said
    that one half the land was mortgaged, and they could not pay
    the interest unless they had a tax upon bread. In Lancashire,
    when a man gets into debt and can’t pay, he goes into the
    _Gazette_, and what is good for a manufacturer is, I think,
    good for a landlord.”[362]

In such a contest the gentry were overmatched, for they were but
nature’s first effort toward creating the economic type, and they
were pitted against later forms which had long distanced them in the
competition of life. Bright and Cobden, as well as Loyd and Peel,
belonged to a race which had been driven into trade, by the loss
of their freeholds to the fortunate ancestors of the men who lay at
their mercy in 1846. Peel himself was the son of a cotton-spinner, and
the grandson of a yeoman, who, only in middle life, had quitted his
hand-loom to make his fortune in the “industrial revolution.”

In modern England, as in ancient Italy, the weakest sank first, and the
landed gentry succumbed, almost without resistance, to the combination
which Lombard Street made against them. Yet, though the manufacturers
seemed to triumph, their exultation was short, for the fate impended
over them, even in the hour of their victory, which always overhangs
the debtor when the currency has been seized by the creditor class.
By the “Bank Act” the usurers became supreme, and in 1846 the potato
crop failed even more completely than in 1845. Credit always is more
sensitive in England than in France, because it rests upon a narrower
basis, and at that moment it happened to be strained by excessive
railway loans. With free trade in corn, large imports of wheat were
made, which were paid for with gold. A drain set in upon the Bank, the
reserve was depleted, and by October 2, 1847, the directors denied all
further advances. Within three years of the passage of his statute,
the event Loyd had foreseen arrived. “Monetary distress” began to force
down prices. The decision of the directors to refuse discounts created
“a great excitement on the Stock Exchange. The town and country bankers
hastened to sell their public securities, to convert them into money.
The difference between the price of consols for ready money and for the
account of the 14th of October showed a rate of interest equivalent to
50 per cent per annum. Exchequer bills were sold at 35s. discount.”...
“A complete cessation of private discounts followed. No one would part
with the money or notes in his possession. The most exorbitant sums
were offered to and refused by merchants for their acceptances.”[363]

Additional gold could only be looked for from abroad, and as a
considerable time must elapse before specie could arrive in sufficient
quantity to give relief, the currency actually in use offered the only
means of obtaining legal tender for the payment of debts. Consequently
hoarding became general, and, as the chancellor of the exchequer
afterward observed, “an amount of circulation which, under ordinary
circumstances, would have been adequate, became insufficient for the
wants of the community.” Boxes of gold and bank-notes in “thousands
and tens of thousands of pounds” were “deposited with bankers.” The
merchants, the chancellor said, begged for notes: “Let us have notes;
... we don’t care what the rate of interest is.... Only tell us that we
can get them, and this will at once restore confidence.”[364]

But, after October 2, no notes were to be had, money was a commodity
without price, and had the policy of the “Bank Act” been rigorously
maintained, English debtors, whose obligations then matured, must have
forfeited their property, since credit had ceased to exist and currency
could not be obtained wherewith to redeem their pledges.

The instinct of the usurer has, however, never been to ruin suddenly
the community in which he has lived: only by degrees does he exhaust
human vitality. Therefore, when the great capitalists had satisfied
their appetites, they gave relief. From the 2d to the 25th of October,
contraction was allowed to do its work; then Overstone intervened, the
government was instructed to suspend the “act,” and the community was
promised all the currency it might require.

The effect was instantaneous. The letter from the cabinet, signed
by Lord John Russell, which recommended the directors of the Bank to
increase their discounts, “was made public about one o’clock on Monday,
the 25th, and no sooner was it done so than the panic vanished like a
dream! Mr. Gurney stated that it produced its effect in ten minutes! No
sooner was it known that notes _might_ be had, than the want of them
ceased!”[365] Large parcels of notes were “returned to the Bank of
England cut into halves, as they had been sent down into the country.”

The story of this crisis demonstrates that, by 1844, the money-lenders
had become autocratic in London. The ministry were naturally unwilling
to suspend a statute which had just been enacted, and the blow to Sir
Robert Peel was peculiarly severe; but the position of the government
admitted of no alternative. At the time it was said that the private
bankers of London intimated to the chancellor of the exchequer that,
unless he interfered forthwith, they would withdraw their balances from
the Bank of England. This meant insolvency, and to such an argument
there was no reply. But whether matters actually went so far or not,
there can be no question that the cabinet acted under the dictation
of Lombard Street, for the chancellor of the exchequer defended his
policy by declaring that the “act” had not been suspended until “those
conversant with commercial affairs, and least likely to decide in
favour of the course which we ultimately adopted,” unanimously advised
that relief should be given to the mercantile community.[366]

There was extreme suffering throughout the country, which manifested
itself in all the well-known ways. The revenue fell off, emigration
increased, wheat brought but about five shillings the bushel, while
in England and Wales alone there were upwards of nine hundred thousand
paupers. Discontent took the form of Chartism, and a revolution seemed
imminent. Nor was it Great Britain only which was convulsed: all
Europe was shaken to its centre, and everything portended some dire
convulsion, when nature intervened and poured upon the world a stream
of treasure too bountiful to be at once controlled.

In 1849 the first Californian gold reached Liverpool. In four years the
supply of the precious metals trebled, prices rose, crops sold again
at a profit. As the farmers grew rich, the demand for manufactures
quickened, wages advanced, discontent vanished, and though values
never again reached the altitude of 1809, they at least attained that
level of substantial prosperity which preceded the French Revolution.
Nevertheless, the fall in the purchasing power of money, and the
consequent ability of debtors to meet their obligations, did not
excite that universal joy which had thrilled Europe at the discovery
of Potosi, for a profound change had passed over society since the
buccaneers laid the foundations of England’s fortune by the plunder of
the Peruvian galleons.

To the type of mind which predominated after 1810, the permanent rise
of commodities relatively to money was unwelcome, and, almost from
the opening of the gold discoveries, a subtle but resistless force
was working for contraction--a force which first showed itself in the
movement for an uniform gold coinage, and afterwards in general gold
monometallism. The great change came with the conquest of France by
Germany. Until after the middle of the nineteenth century, Germany held
only a secondary position in the economic system of Europe, because of
her poverty. With few harbours, she had reaped little advantage from
the plunder of America and India, exchanges had never centred within
her borders, and her accumulated capital had not sufficed to stimulate
high consolidation. The conquest of France suddenly transformed these
conditions. In 1871 she acquired an enormous booty, and the effect upon
her was akin to the effect on England of the confiscations in Bengal;
the chief difference being that, unlike England, Germany passed almost
immediately into the period of contraction.

The spoliation of India went on for twenty years, that of France
was finished in a few months, and, while in England the “industrial
revolution” intervened between Plassey and the adoption of the
gold standard, in Germany the bankers dominated from the outset.
The government belonged to the class which desired an appreciating
currency, and in 1873 the new empire followed in the steps of Lombard
Street, and demonetized silver.

Germany’s action was decisive. Restrictions were placed on the mints
of the Latin Union and of the United States, and thus, by degrees,
the whole stress of the trade of the West was transferred from the old
composite currency to gold alone. In this way, not only was the basis
of credit in the chief commercial states cut in half, but the annual
supply of metal for coinage was diminished. In 1893 the gold mined fell
nearly nine per cent short of the value of the gold and silver produced
in 1865, and yet, during those twenty-eight years, the demand for money
must have increased enormously, if it in any degree corresponded with
the growth of trade.

The phenomena which followed the adoption of the gold standard by
Western countries were precisely those which had been anticipated by
Loyd. Lord Overstone had explained them to an earlier generation.
In one of his letters on the “Bank Charter,” as early as 1855, he
developed the whole policy of the usurers:--

   “If a country increases in population, in wealth, in
    enterprise, and activity, more circulating medium will probably
    be required to conduct its extended transactions. This demand
    for increased circulation will raise the value of the existing
    circulation; it will become more scarce and more valuable, ...
    in other words--gold will rise....”[367]

By the action of Germany, Overstone’s policy was extended to the whole
Western world, with the results he had foreseen. Gold appreciated,
until it acquired a purchasing power unequalled since the Middle Ages,
and while in the silver-using countries prices remained substantially
unchanged and the producers accordingly prospered, prostration
supervened in Europe, the United States, and Australia. As usual the
rural population suffered most, and the English aristocracy, who had
been respited by the gold discoveries, were the first to succumb. They
not only drew their revenues from farming land, but, standing at the
focus of competition, they were exposed to the pressure of Asia and
America alike. The harvest of 1879 was one of the worst of the century,
land depreciated hopelessly, and that year may probably be taken as
marking the downfall of a class which had maintained itself in opulence
for nearly three hundred and fifty years.

This Tudor aristocracy, which sprang up at the Reformation, was one
of the first effects of the quickened movement which transferred the
centre of exchanges from Italy to the North Sea. They represented
sharpening economic competition, and they prospered because of an
intellectual gift, an aptitude they enjoyed, of absorbing the lands
of the priests and soldiers amidst whom they dwelt. These soldiers
were the yeomen who, when evicted, became pirates, slavers, commercial
adventurers, religious colonists, and conquerors, and who together
poured the flood of treasure into London which, transmuted into
movement, made the “industrial revolution.” When by their efforts,
toward the beginning of the nineteenth century, sufficiently vast
reservoirs of energy in the shape of money had accumulated, a new race
rose to prominence, fitted to give vent to this force--men like Nathan
Rothschild and Samuel Loyd, probably endowed with a subtler intellect
and a keener vision than any who had preceded them, financiers beside
whom the usurers of Byzantium, or the nobles of Henry VIII., were

These bankers conceived a policy unrivalled in brilliancy, which made
them masters of all commerce, industry, and trade. They engrossed the
gold of the world, and then, by legislation, made it the sole measure
of values. What Samuel Loyd and his followers did to England, in 1847,
became possible for his successors to do to all the gold standard
nations, after 1873. When the mints had been closed to silver, the
currency being inelastic, the value of money could be manipulated like
that of any article limited in quantity, and thus the human race became
the subjects of the new aristocracy, which represented the stored
energy of mankind.

From the moment this aristocracy has determined on a policy, as,
for example the “Bank Act” or monometallism, resistance by producers
becomes most difficult. Being debtors, producers are destroyed when
credit is withdrawn, and, at the first signs of insubordination, the
bankers draw in their gold, contract their loans, and precipitate a
panic. Then, to escape immediate ruin, the debtor yields.

Since 1873 prices have generally fallen, and the mortgage has tended to
engulf the pledge; but, from time to time the creditor class feels the
need of turning the property it has acquired from bankrupts into gold,
and then the rise explained by Overstone takes place. The hoards are
opened, credit is freely given, the quantity of currency is increased,
values rise, sales are made, and new adventurers contract fresh
obligations. Then this expansion is followed by a fresh contraction,
and liquidation is repeated on an ever-descending scale.

For many years farming land has fallen throughout the West, as it
fell in Italy in the time of Pliny. Everywhere, as under Trajan, the
peasantry are distressed; everywhere they migrate to the cities, as
they did when Rome repudiated the denarius. By the census of the United
Kingdom taken in 1891, not only did it appear that over seventy-one per
cent of the inhabitants of England and Wales lived in towns, but that,
while the urban districts had increased above fifteen per cent since
the last census, the population of the purely agricultural counties had

Moreover, within a generation, there has been a marked loss of
fecundity among the more costly races. The rate of increase of the
population has diminished. In the United States it is generally
believed that the old native American blood is hardly reproducing
itself; but, in all social phenomena, France precedes other nations
by at least a quarter of a century, and it is, therefore, in France
that the failure of vitality is most plainly seen. In 1789 the
average French family consisted of 4.2 children. In 1891 it had
fallen to 2.1,[369] and, since 1890, the deaths seem to have equalled
the births.[370] In 1889 legislation was attempted to encourage
productiveness, and parents of seven children were exempted from
certain classes of taxes, but the experiment failed. Levasseur, in his
great work on the population of France, has expressed himself almost
in the words of Tacitus: “It can be laid down as a general law that,
if in such a social condition as that of the French of the nineteenth
century, the number of children is small, it is because the majority of
parents wish it should be small.”[371]

Such signs point to the climax of consolidation. And yet, even the
rise of the bankers is not the only or the surest indication that
centralization is culminating. The destruction, wrought by accelerated
movement, of the less tenacious organisms, is more evident below than
above, is more striking in the advance of cheap labour, than in the
evolution of the financier.



Apparently nature needs to consume about three generations in
perfecting the selection of a new type. Accordingly the money-lenders
did not become absolute immediately after Waterloo, and a period
of some sixty years followed during which the adventurers kept up a
struggle, wherein they were aided by the discoveries of gold near the
middle of the century. Seemingly they met their final defeat at Sedan,
for the decay of the soldier, which had been in progress since the fall
of Napoleon, reached a point, after the collapse of the Second Empire,
even lower than after the consolidation of Rome.

From Alaric to Napoleon the soldier had served as an independent vent
to energy. Often, even when opposed to capital, he had been victorious,
and the highest function of a leader of men had been, in theory at
least, military command. The ideal statesman had been one who, like
Cromwell, Frederic the Great, Henry IV., William III., and Washington,
could lead his followers in battle, and, on the Continent, down to
1789, the aristocracy had professedly been a military caste. In France
and Germany the old tradition lasted to within a generation. Only
after 1871 came the new era, an era marked by many social changes. For
the first time in their history the ruler of the French people passed
admittedly from the martial to the monied type, and everywhere the same
phenomenon appeared; the whole administration of society fell into the
hands of the economic man. Nothing so radical happened at Rome, or even
at Byzantium, for there the pressure of the barbarians necessitated
the retention of the commander at the head of the State; in Europe
he lost this importance. Since the capitulation of Paris the soldier
has tended to sink more and more into a paid official, receiving his
orders from financiers with his salary, without being allowed a voice
even in questions involving peace and war. The same fate has overtaken
the producing classes; they have failed to maintain themselves, and
have become subjects of the possessors of hoarded wealth. Although
the conventions of popular government are still preserved, capital is
at least as absolute as under the Cæsars, and, among capitalists, the
money-lenders form an aristocracy. Debtors are in reality powerless,
because of the extension of that very system of credit which they
invented to satisfy their needs. Although the volume of credit is
gigantic, the basis on which it rests is so narrow that it may be
manipulated by a handful of men. That basis is gold; in gold debts must
be paid; therefore, when gold is withdrawn, the debtor is helpless
and becomes the servant of his master. The elasticity of the age of
expansion has gone.

The aristocracy which wields this autocratic power is beyond attack,
for it is defended by a wage-earning police, by the side of which the
legions were a toy; a police so formidable that, for the first time
in history, revolt is hopeless and is not attempted. The only question
which preoccupies the ruling class is whether it is cheaper to coerce
or to bribe.

On looking back over long periods of time, the sequence of causes may
be followed which have led to this result. First, inventions from the
East facilitated trade; then, the perfection of weapons of attack made
police possible, and individual bravery unnecessary; on this followed
the abasement of the martial and exaltation of the economic type; and
finally that intense acceleration of movement by machinery supervened,
which, in annihilating space, has destroyed the protection that the
costly races long enjoyed against the competition of simpler organisms.

Roman civilization was less complex than modern because of the relative
inflexibility of the Latin mind. Unable to quicken his motions by
inventions, the ancient Italian failed to discover America or absorb
India, and, for the same reason, collapsed without an effort under the
insidious attack of Asiatic and African labour. No industrial expansion
followed the influx of bullion under Cæsar, and therefore, when the
value of cereals fell, the evicted farmer either sank into slavery or
begged for bread from the magnates of the Senate. In modern times an
industrial period has intervened; the evicted long found employment
in the factories of the towns, and it has only been as contraction
has reduced the demand for merchandise, by diminishing the purchasing
power of the agricultural population, that those stagnant pools of the
unemployed have collected, which exactly correspond to the proletariat.
But, as each special faculty which, for a time, enables its possessor
to excel in competition, seems to bear with it the seeds of its own
decay, so the inventive, which once enabled the Western races to
undersell the Eastern in their homes seems destined to reduce all to a
common economic level, as Rome sank to the level of Egypt.

For nearly a century the inventions of Hargreaves, of Crompton, of
Cartwright, and of Watt, enabled Lancashire to supply Bombay and
Calcutta with fabrics, as, in the seventeenth century, Surat and
Calicut had supplied London, and this superiority appeared assured
until Orientals should acquire the momentum necessary for machinery.
One effect in Europe was the rapid increase of a population congregated
in towns, and bearing a marked resemblance to the “humiliores” of
Rome in their disinclination for war. True to their instincts, the
adventurers ever quickened their movements, ever extended the sphere
of their enterprises, and, finally, just as the Second Empire verged
upon its fall, they opened the Suez Canal in 1869. The consequences
of this great engineering triumph have probably equalled in gravity
the establishment of the gold standard, but the two phenomena had this
marked difference. The producers saw their danger and resisted to the
utmost the contraction of the currency, whereas the Canal was a case
of suicide. Thenceforward grain, raised by the most enduring labour of
the world, could be thrown without limit on the European market, and,
agricultural competition once established, industrial could only be a
question of time. The Canal made the importation and the reparation of
machinery cheap throughout Asia.

From a period, perhaps, as remote as Clive’s victories, the Hindoos
had experienced a certain impulsion from contact with the British,
but it was not until the building of railroads, under Lord Dalhousie,
that the severer phases of competition opened among the inhabitants
of India. Lord Dalhousie became Governor General in 1848, and, that
the acceleration of the next nine years culminated in a catastrophe
seems certain, for nothing can be plainer than that the Mutiny of 1857
was an outbreak of a martial Mohammedan population crushed under an
intolerable pressure.

The locality of the disturbance alone is enough to demonstrate the
accuracy of this inference. Dalhousie’s last act was the annexation
of the Kingdom of Oude. Of this province Lucknow is the capital, and
while Lucknow was one focus of the insurrection, Delhi, the capital
of the ancient Mogul empire, was the other. Once subdued by the
British, and reduced to an economic equality with subtler races, the
old Moslem gentry rapidly disappeared. Since 1857 these families,
which had maintained themselves for six or seven hundred years, have
rapidly fallen into ruin, and their estates have been bought by their
creditors, the rising usurer class.

Under immemorial native custom the money-lender, generally speaking,
had no forcible means of collecting debt; he relied on public opinion
and conducted himself accordingly. On the other hand, unrestricted
alienation of land was not usually incidental to proprietorship,
and thus the tenant for life, as he would be called in English law,
could only pledge his crops; he could not sell the succession. With
centralization came full ownership, and with it summary process for
debt. Following her immutable law, nature, having changed the form
of competition, proceeded to select a quality of mind to correspond
with the new conditions of life. She demanded improved vents for her
energy. Forthwith, under the pressure of accelerated movement and
advancing consolidation, the trammels of caste relaxed, the population
fused, and a new aristocracy arose, composed of the strongest economic
types culled from all the peoples who inhabit the plains south of
the Himalayas. This aristocracy is a strange mixture of blood, an
amalgam of the most diverse elements, of Parsees, Brahmins, Bunniahs
of different races, with gifted individuals from other castes, like
the leather-workers or the goldsmiths; but among them all the most
ruthless, the corruptest, the most hated, and the most successful, are
the Marwaris, who have been thus described by a British commission:--

   “The average Marwari money-lender is not a pleasant character
    to analyze; his most prominent characteristics are love of gain
    and indifference to the opinions or feelings of his neighbour.
    He has considerable self-reliance and immense industry, but the
    nature of his business and the method by which it is pursued
    would tend to degrade and harden even a humane nature, which
    his is not. As a landlord he follows the instincts of the
    usurer, making the hardest terms possible with his tenant,
    who is also his debtor and often little better than his

The effect of the selection of such a type as a dominant class must be
destructive to a martial population, whether it be French or English,
Mohammedan or Hindoo. The social revolution which swept over Oude after
its annexation has been referred to, but the fate which overtook the
famous Mahratta nation is even more tragic and impressive.

When, toward the close of the last century, the British were pushing
their conquests inland, the most formidable enemy they met were the
Mahrattas; and, perhaps, the most renowned battle, next to Plassey,
ever fought by Europeans against natives, was Assaye, where Wellesley
defeated Sindhia in 1803. These Mahrattas were tribes of Hindoo
farmers, who inhabited the mountainous country about one hundred miles
to the east of Bombay; a territory of which Poona has always been
considered the capital. Mounted on their hill ponies, these bold and
hardy spearmen were always ready to follow their chiefs to battle,
and, in the eighteenth century, became the terror not only of the
Mohammedans of the Deccan, but of the Mogul himself, at Delhi. Even
the English respected and feared them, and only subdued them in 1818
after desperate fighting. Then they were disarmed and subjected to the
combined action of peace and English law.

Soon after this conquest an inflow of Marwaris began. As early as 1854,
in Dalhousie’s administration, Captain Anderson stated that “two-thirds
of the ryots [were] in the hands of the Marwaris, and that the average
debt of each individual [was] not less than Rs. 100.”[373] Competition
continued unchecked as time flowed on, and in 1875 disturbances
broke out in certain villages near Poona, serious enough to cause the
government to appoint a commission of inquiry. After full investigation
this commission reported that up to 1872 or 1873 the peasantry had
seemed relatively prosperous, but that afterward “prices fell quickly,”
and that this fall had been accompanied by a rise in taxation of
somewhat more than fifty per cent.[374] Under this double pressure the
peasantry had rapidly sunk into insolvency, and the whole real estate
of the Deccan was passing into the hands of usurers, while the farmers
had become serfs toiling on the soil they had once owned, to satisfy an
inextinguishable debt. Precisely like the _colonus_, the delinquent was
not evicted, but remained, “recorded as occupier of his holding, and
responsible for the payment of revenue assessed on it, but virtually
reduced by pressure of debt to a tenant-at-will, ... sweated by his
Marwari creditor. It is in that creditor’s power to eject him any day;
... and if allowed to hold on, it is only on condition of paying over
to his creditor all the produce of his land not absolutely necessary
for next year’s seed grain or for the support of life. He is indebted
on an average to the extent of sixteen or seventeen years’ payment of
the government revenue. He has nothing to hope for, but lives in daily
fear of the final catastrophe.”[375]

Since Assaye three generations have passed away, and the Mahratta
spearmen have vanished. The Western Ghats are now tilled by a sluggish
race whom the British officers deem unworthy of their cavalry, and in
the place of those renowned and daring chiefs Sivaji and Holkar, stands
the Marwari under whom no ryots can prosper save those “who having
received some education are able to combat the sowkars with their own
weapons, fraud, chicanery, and even forgery.”[376] Apparently the same
destiny awaits every people which requires more than the minimum of
nutriment, or which is not gifted with the economic mind,[377] for the
“money-lenders sweep off the crops as soon as harvested, only leaving
with the ryots barely sufficient to eke out a subsistence till the
following year.”[378] That allowance, in the Deccan, is estimated at
about a dollar a month in silver--too little to sustain any but the
most tenacious organisms, even among Asiatics. Consequently, though the
population of India is increasing rapidly, the increase lies chiefly
among the aboriginal tribes who form the lowest castes, or in other
words among the non-martial or servile races. Men who, though enslaved
by the Aryan invaders of prehistoric times, and who have always been
subjected to extremest hardship, have been gifted, like the Egyptian
fellah, with an endurance which has enabled them to survive.[379]

Herein, likewise, may be plainly perceived the destructive effects
of the policy of the Western usurers upon the population subject
to them. By enhancing the value of their own money they have nearly
doubled the intensity of this Asiatic competition. In India, silver has
substantially retained its purchasing power, therefore the ryot now, as
in the days of Captain Cunningham, can exist on two rupees a month, but
he cannot live on less. Accordingly, the severity of his competition
with Europeans must be measured by the value of his wages when reckoned
on the European scale. In 1854 the ryot’s two rupees were worth one
dollar; now, through the appreciation of gold, they are worth about
sixty cents, and the effect is the same as though the tenacity of life
of the Asiatic had been increased four-sixths. Everything the Indian or
Chinese peasant produces with his hands, whether on the farm or in the
factory, has been reduced in price, in relation to Western peoples, in
the ratio of six to ten.

The cheapest form of labour is thus being bred on a gigantic scale,
and this labour is being accelerated by an industrial development
which is stimulated by eviction of the farmers, as the “industrial
revolution” was stimulated in England one hundred and thirty years ago.
For many years the cotton mills of Bombay have undersold Lancashire
in the coarser fabrics, and when, by means of a canal to the Pacific,
American cotton can be imported cheaply, they will spin the finer
also. Moreover, Hindostan is full of iron and coal which has never
been utilized because of the immense difference in the rapidity of
European and Asiatic labour, but the steadily falling range of Western
prices must force the cheapest product on the market, and when the
Indian railways have been assumed by the government, a new era will
have opened. The same causes are affecting China and Japan, and, under
precisely similar conditions, the centre of exchanges passed from the
Tiber to the Bosphorus sixteen hundred years ago.

Such uniformity of development in the most distant times, and among the
most divergent peoples, points to a progressive law of civilization,
each stage of progress being marked by certain intellectual, moral,
and physical changes. As the attack in war masters the defence, and the
combative instinct becomes unnecessary to the preservation of life, the
economic supersedes the martial mind, being superior in bread-winning.
As velocity augments and competition intensifies, nature begins to
sift the economic minds themselves, culling a favoured aristocracy
of the craftiest and the subtlest types; choosing, for example, the
Armenian in Byzantium, the Marwari in India, and the Jew in London.
Conversely, as the costly nervous system of the soldier becomes an
encumbrance, organisms, which can exist on less, successively supplant
each other, until the limit of endurance is reached. Thus the Slavs
exterminated the Greeks in Thrace and Macedonia, the Mahrattas and the
Moslems dwindle before the low caste tribes of India, and the instinct
of self-preservation has taught white races to resist an influx of
Chinese. When nature has finished this double task, civilization has
reached its zenith. Humanity can ascend no higher.

In view of this possible extermination of the martial blood in the
higher stages of civilization, the attention necessarily becomes
concentrated on what is, perhaps, the main point of divergence between
ancient and modern society,--the presence and the absence of a supply
of barbaric life. All the evidence points to the conclusion that the
infusion of vitality which Rome ever drew from territories beyond
her borders, was the cause both of her strength and of her longevity.
Without such aid she could never have consolidated the world. On the
other hand, the lack of this resource has been the weakness of modern
nations. One after another they have dreamed of universal conquest, and
one after another they have fallen through exhaustion in war.

Spain levied never a pikeman in America, and her colonies were a source
of debility in so far as they drained her of her youth. Had Rome been
similarly situated, she could hardly have carried the eagles beyond the
Bosphorus and the Alps. Perhaps Cæsar’s army was the best an ancient
general ever put in the field, and yet it was filled with barbarians.
All his legions were raised north of the Po, and most of them,
including the tenth, north of the Alps.[380] When pitted against this
force native Italians broke in rout, and one of the most striking pages
of Plutarch is the story of the gradual awakening of Pompey to a sense
of the impotence of Romans. Pompey himself was a commander of high
ability, and, until he split upon the rock of the pure martial blood,
battle had been with him synonymous with victory.

At first he felt such confidence, he laughed at the suggestion of an
attack within the Rubicon. With the conviction of the conqueror he
said: “Whenever I stamp with my foot in any part of Italy, there will
rise up forces enough in an instant, both horse and foot.”[381] A very
short experience of the men of the north sufficed to sober him; for,
though Cæsar’s command amounted to only twenty-two thousand, and his
to twice as many, he not only declined an action, but took what care
he could to keep the threats of the Gauls from his men, “who were out
of heart and despondent, through terror at the fierceness and hardiness
of their enemies, whom they looked upon as a sort of wild beasts.”[382]
Pharsalia stunned him. When the tenth legion routed his left wing, he
went to his tent and sat speechless until the invasion of the camp;
then he walked away “softly afoot, taken up altogether with thoughts
such as probably might possess a man that for the space of thirty-four
years together had been accustomed to conquest and victory, and was
then at last, in his old age, learning for the first time what defeat
and flight were.”[383]

Thus, in reality, barbarians consolidated the ancient world, and
the force which created the Empire, afterward upheld it. With each
succeeding century the drafts of centralized society upon the blood of
the country beyond the Danube and the Rhine increased, but the supply
proved limitless; and, when the Western provinces disintegrated, a new
imaginative race poured over Italy and France, creating a new religion,
a new art, a new literature, and new institutions. Among modern nations
the Russians alone have developed this power of absorbing kindred
conquered peoples; and yet, obviously, Napoleon would have fought his
campaigns under very different circumstances, and, perhaps, brought
them to a different end, had he, like Cæsar, had an exhaustless supply
of the best soldiers, altogether independent of the population of

Religious phenomena become explicable when viewed from the same
standpoint. Unquestionably scepticism has been to the full as rife
in Paris since 1789 as it ever was in Rome, and yet no new religion
has been born. Supposing, however, that a vast and highly emotional
emigration flowed annually into France, the aspect of life would be
completely changed. Christian saints and martyrs were not begotten by
the usurers of Constantinople or of Rome, but by barbarian soldiers
and Asiatic serfs, and Christianity could hardly have become a State
religion had the composition of society, as it existed under Trajan,
remained unaltered. Even in the reign of Justinian the aristocracy
carped at faith, and Byzantine architecture did not bloom until the
invasions of Alaric and Attila.

If, then, although nature never precisely repeats herself, she operates
upon the human mind according to immutable laws, it should be possible
by comparing a living civilization with a dead, to estimate in some
degree the course which has been run. For such an attempt an infinite
variety of standards might be suggested, but few, perhaps, are more
suitable than the domestic relations which lie at the basis of the
reproduction of life.

In a martial and imaginative age, where energy vents itself through
fear, and every man must be a soldier, the family generally forms a
unit; the women and children being under the control of the father,
as they were under the control of the patriarchs in the Bible, or
of the paterfamilias in Rome. In such periods the woman is sought
after by the man, and even commands a high money value; “And Shechem
said unto her father, ... Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I
will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel
to wife.”[384] The Homeric heroes bought their wives, and, moreover,
were very fond of them--an affection the women returned, for in all
classical literature there are few more charming legends than that
of Penelope. Divorce was unknown to Hector and Agamemnon, Ulysses
and Achilles. Marriage, in these simple ages, is usually a rite
half sacred, half warlike. When Abraham’s servant found Rebekah at
the well, he bowed his head, and blessed the Lord God of his master
Abraham, which had led him in the right way. A Roman wedding was a
solemn religious function accompanied by prayer and sacrifice, and, at
the end, the bride was carried to her husband’s house, where she was
violently torn from her mother’s arms.

Aristotle, with his unerring acumen, made this observation: “That all
warlike races are prone to the love of women,” and also that they tend
to “fall under the dominion of their wives.”[385] Undoubtedly this is
the instinct of the soldier, and, in martial ages, women are idealized.
When a foreigner asked the wife of Leonidas, “Why do you Lacedæmonian
wives, unlike all others, govern your husbands?” the Spartan answered,
“Because we alone are the mothers of men.” When at Rome Tiberius killed
the male serpent, thereby devoting himself to death to save Cornelia,
Plutarch, telling the story, remarked, “that Tiberius seemed to all men
to have done nothing unreasonable, in choosing to die for such a woman;
who, when King Ptolemy himself proffered her his crown, and would have
married her, refused it, and chose rather to live a widow.”[386]

In the Middle Ages, that greatest of martial and imaginative epochs,
marriage developed into the most solemn of sacraments, and the worship
of women became the popular religion. In France, especially, the
centre of thought, enthusiasm, and war, from the mighty fane of Paris
downward, the churches were dedicated to Mary, and the vow of chivalry
bound the knight to fight for God and for his lady.

   “It hath bene through all ages ever seene
    That with the praise of armes and chevalrie
    The prize of beautie still hath ioyned beene.”[387]

It might almost be said that the destinies of France have been moulded
by men’s love for women, and that this influence still prevailed down
to the advent of the usurers after the rout of Waterloo. On the other
hand, nature bred a type of woman fit to mate with the imaginative
man. The devotion of Saint Clara to Saint Francis is one of the most
exquisite lyrics of the Church, and for six hundred years Héloïse
remained an ideal of the West. Perhaps, indeed, that strange blending
of tenderness and enthusiasm, which was peculiar to the mediæval mind,
never found more refined and exalted expression than in the simple
hymn which Héloïse is said to have composed and sung at the grave of

   “Tecum fata sum perpessa;
    Tecum dormiam defessa,
    Et in Sion veniam.
    Solve crucem,
    Due ad lucem
    Degravatam animam.”

In primitive ages children are not only a source of power, but of
wealth, and therefore the highest merit of the woman is fecundity.
“And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, ... be thou the mother
of thousands of millions.” Also maternity is then a glory, and
childlessness a shame; and Rachel said, “Give me children, or else
I die.” “And she conceived and bare a son; and said, God hath taken
away my reproach.” That she might live for her boys, Cornelia refused
a crown; and when they grew up, she would upbraid them because “the
Romans as yet rather called her the daughter of Scipio than the mother
of the Gracchi.” But Cornelia’s father was the conqueror of Hannibal,
and her son was an agrarian agitator, whom the monied oligarchy
murdered for reviving the Licinian Laws. Apparently, one of the first
signs of advancing civilization is the fall in the value of women in
men’s eyes. Not very long after the siege of Troy, husbands must have
ceased paying for their wives; for, at a comparatively early date, they
demanded a price for wedding them. Euripides, born in 480 B.C., made
Medea complain that women had to buy their husbands for great sums of
money. In other words, the custom of the wedding portion had come to

As the pressure of economic competition intensifies with social
consolidation, the family regularly disintegrates, the children
rejecting the parental authority at a steadily decreasing age; until,
finally, the population fuses into a compact mass, in which all
individuals are equal before the law, and all are forced to compete
with each other for the means of subsistence. When at length wealth
has accumulated sufficiently to find vent through capitalistic methods
of farming and manufacture, children lose all value, for then hiring
labour is always cheaper than breeding. Thenceforward, among the more
extravagant races, the family dwindles, as in ancient Rome or modern
France, and marriage, having become a luxury, decreases. Moreover,
the economic instinct impels parents to reduce the number of possible
inheritors of their property, that its bulk may not shrink.

Upon women the effect of these changed conditions is prodigious.
Their whole relation to society is altered. From a religious sacrament
marriage is metamorphosed into a civil contract, dissoluble, like other
contracts, by mutual consent; and, as the obligations of maternity
diminish, the relation of husband and wife resolves itself into a
sort of business partnership, tending always to become more ephemeral.
Frequent as divorce now is, it was even more so under the Antonines.

On men the action of natural selection is, at least, as drastic. The
change wrought in Roman character in about three hundred years has
always been one of the problems of history. In the words of Aristotle,
the primitive Roman “was prone to the love of women.” Strong in his
passions, austere in his life, fierce in his jealousy, he set the
undisputed possession of the female as his supreme happiness. Virginius
slew his daughter to keep her from Appius Claudius, and his comrades in
the legions washed out his wrong in the Decemvir’s blood; while among
the stirring ballads of the fabled time which were sung at the farmer’s
fireside, none roused such emotion as the tale of the vengeance wreaked
on Tarquin for Lucretia’s death. Compare this virile race with the
aristocracy of the middle Empire. By the second century female purity
weighed light against money. Marcus Aurelius is said to have condensed
the whole economic moral code in one short sentence. His wife,
Faustina, was accused, by scandal, of being the most abandoned woman
of her generation, more notorious even than had been Messalina. When
the philosopher was urged to repudiate her, he replied, “Then I should
have to surrender her portion” (the Empire); and he not only lived with
her, but built a temple to her memory. Even if the story be false, it
reflects none the less truly the temper of the age.

The minds of noble Romans of the third and fourth centuries, under
the same impulsion, worked differently from those of their primitive
ancestors; they lacked the martial and the amatory instincts. As a
general rule one salient characteristic of the later reigns was a
sexual lassitude yielding only to the most potent stimulants. The same
phenomena were noticed among Frenchmen at the collapse of the Empire,
since when like symptoms have become notorious in London.

Taking history as a whole, women seem never to have more than
moderately appealed to the senses of the economic man. The monied
magnate seldom ruins himself for love, and chivalry would have been
as foreign to a Roman senator under Diocletian, as it would be now to
a Lombard Street banker. On the other hand, in proportion as women’s
influence has declined when measured by their power over men, it has
increased when measured by the economic standard. In many ways the
female seems to serve as a vent for the energy of capital almost as
well as men; in the higher planes of civilization they hold their
property in severalty, and, by means of money, wield a power not unlike
Faustina’s. If unmarried, the economic woman competes with the man on
nearly equal terms, and everywhere, and in all ages, the result is not
dissimilar. The stronger and more fortunate members of the sex have
grown rich and have bought social and political power. Roman politics
under Septimius Severus and Caracalla was much in the hands of women,
and Julia Mæsa, who was enormously wealthy, carried through a most
famous intrigue by purchasing the throne for Elagabalus.

In Rome, however, there was always a strong admixture of barbaric
blood, and, to the last, the barbarians married for love. Justinian
was an example. Born of an obscure race of barbarians in the desolate
Bulgarian country, he fell uncontrollably in love with Theodora, who
had scandalized even the theatres of Constantinople. His mother died of
shame; but Justinian persevered, and, while she lived, his devotion to
his wife never wavered.

In Rome and in Byzantium such women were the stronger or the more
fortunate; their counterparts are easily to be found in any economic
age. The fate of the weaker there was slavery; now they are forced by
competition into the ranks of the cheapest labour,--a lot, perhaps,
hardly preferable.

And yet art, perhaps, even more clearly than religion, love, or
war, indicates the pathway of consolidation; for art reflects with
the subtlest delicacy those changes in the forms of competition
which enfeeble or inflame the imagination. Of Greek art, in its
zenith, little need be said; its great qualities have been too fully
recognized. It suffices to point out that it was absolutely honest,
and that it formed a vehicle of expression as flexible as the language
itself. A temple apparently of marble, was of marble; a colonnade
apparently supporting a portico, did support it; and, while the
ornament formed an integral part of the structure, the people read it
as intelligently as they read the poems of Homer. Nothing similar ever
flourished in Rome.

Unlike the Greeks, the Romans were never sensitive or imaginative.
Properly speaking, they had nothing which they could express through
art; they were utilitarian from the outset, and their architecture
finally took shape in the most perfect system of materialistic building
which, probably, has ever existed. Obviously such a system could
only be matured in a capitalistic society, and, accordingly, Roman
architecture only reached perfection somewhat late, perhaps, toward the
close of the first century.

The Romans, though vulgar and ostentatious, understood business.
They knew how to combine economy and even solidity with display.
As Viollet-le-Duc has observed, “They were rich, and they wanted to
appear so,”[388] but they strove to attain their end without waste.
Therefore they first ran up a cheap core of rubble, bricks, and mortar,
which could be put together by rude slave labour under the direction
of an engineer and a few overseers; and their squalid interior they
afterward veneered with marble, adding, by way of ornament, tier above
tier of Greek columns ranged against the walls. That gaudy exterior
had nothing whatever to do with the building itself, and could be
stripped off without vital injury. From the Greek standpoint nothing
could be falser, more insulting to the intelligence, or, in a word,
more plutocratic; but the work was sound and durable, and, to a certain
degree, imposing from its mass. This system lasted, substantially
unimpaired, even to Constantine or until the final migration of
capital to the Bosphorus, the only difference between the monuments of
the fourth century and the first being that the former are somewhat
coarser, just as the coins of Diocletian are coarser than those of

Yet, although the monied aristocracy remained supreme down to the
final disintegration of the West, emigration began very early to
modify the base of society, by the injection of a considerable amount
of imaginative blood; and, as early as the reign of Claudius, this
new store of energy made its presence felt through the outlet of
Christianity. The converts were, of course, the antipodes of the ruling
class. They were “humiliores,” poor people, below the notice of a rich
man like Tacitus; “quos, ... vulgus Christianos appellabat.”[389]

These Christians held a position analogous to that of Nihilists now,
whom they resembled save in respect to violence. They were socialists
living under a monied despotism, and they openly prayed for the end of
the world; therefore they were thought “haters of the human race,”[390]
and they suffered the penalty. Primitive Christianity was incompatible
with the existence of Roman society, against which it was a protest,
for it “fully accepted the idea that the rich, if he did not surrender
his superfluity, kept what belonged to another.”[391] By right the
Kingdom of Heaven was closed to the wealthy.

Probably very few of these early Christians were Italians; most of them
were from the Levant, and that they were intensely emotional is proved
by their lust for martyrdom--they voluntarily sought death as a means
of glorifying God. One day Arrius Antoninus, proconsul of Asia, having
ordered certain Christians arrested, saw all the faithful of the town
present themselves before his tribunal, demanding to share the fate of
those chosen for martyrdom. He dismissed them in wrath, telling them
that if they were so in love with death they might commit suicide;[392]
and Renan’s account of the persecutions under Nero shows an incredible

Almost at once the effect of this emotional temperament became
perceptible. The paintings in the catacombs are, perhaps, the oldest
example of Christian art, and of these M. Vitet thus spoke many years

   “These decorations, made with the hand raised, in secret,
    hurriedly, and more for pious reasons than for love of the
    beautiful, nevertheless reveal to the most rebellious eyes
    and in spite of strange negligence and incorrectness, I know
    not what of animation, of youth, of fecundity, and, so to
    speak, a real transformation of that very art which, in the
    service of paganism, seemed then, we are all agreed, dying of

As the world disintegrated, and the imagination everywhere acquired
power, and with power wealth and the means of expression, an entirely
new architecture sprang up in the East, whose growth closely followed
upon the barbarian invasions and the progressive failure of the
Roman blood. The system of construction was Asiatic modified by Greek
influences,[395] and with this new construction came an equally new
decoration, a decoration which once more served as a language.

Mosaics of stone had long been used, but mosaics of glass, which
give such an incomparable lustre to the dome, were the invention of
Levantine Christians, and seem to have come into general use toward
the beginning of the fifth century. But the fifth century was the
period of the great invasions of Alaric, Attila, and Theoderic, and
during this period the population of Italy, Macedonia, and Thrace
must have undergone profound changes. In Italy the whole fabric of
consolidated society crumbled; south of the Danube it survived, but
survived in a modified form, a form on which the recent migrations
left an unmistakable imprint. Galla Placidia, the first great patron
of the pure Byzantine school, died in 450, after an eventful life
largely passed among the barbarians, one of whom she married. She began
to embellish Ravenna, and a comparison of these remains with those of
France and Italy of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries,
exposes the difference in the forces which moulded these three

With all its grace and refinement the characteristic of Ravenna was not
religious ecstasy, but rather an absence of fear of the unknown, and a
respect for wealth. There is nothing mysterious or terrible about these
charming buildings, which are manifestly rather a glorification of the
Empire on the Bosphorus, than of the Kingdom of Heaven.

At San Vitale it is Justinian, with an aureole about his head and
surrounded by his courtiers, carrying a gift to the shrine; or
Theodora, blazing with jewels, and followed by the magnificent ladies
of her household. At San Apollinare the long procession of saints are
richly clad and bear crowns, while the Virgin herself, seated on a
throne and revered as a sovereign, is as far removed from the vulgar
as Theodora herself. “Byzantine etiquette no longer permits her to be
approached directly; four angels surround her and separate her from
humanity.”[396] The terrifying was scrupulously avoided. “By a most
significant scruple, the artist, in reproducing various episodes of the
Passion, avoided the most painful, the Crucifixion.”[397]

Saint Sophia offers every indication of having been expressly contrived
to provide the large light spaces needful for such functions as those
depicted in San Vitale, and the account given by Procopius of its
erection sustains this supposition. According to Procopius, Saint
Sophia was a hobby of Justinian, who not only selected the architect
Anthemius because he was the most ingenious mechanic of his age, but
who also supplied the funds and “assisted it by the labour and powers
of his mind.”[398] The dome, “from the lightness of the building ...
does not appear to rest upon a solid foundation, but to cover the
place beneath as though it were suspended from heaven by the fabled
golden chain”; and the interior “is singularly full of light and of
sunshine; you would declare that the place is not lighted by the sun
from without, but that the rays are produced within itself, such an
abundance of light is poured into this church.”[399] Of the decorations
it is impossible to speak with certainty, since it is probable that the
mosaics which now exist were of a later period.

Perhaps, however, the most significant phenomenon about the church is
its loneliness; nothing like it was built elsewhere, and the reason
seems plain. There was but one imperial court which needed so superb
a setting, and but one emperor who could pay for it. Herein lies the
radical divergence between the East and West; the great tabernacle of
Constantinople stood alone because it represented the wealth, the pomp,
and the imagination of the barbarian shepherd who had been raised by
fortune to be the chief of police of the city where the world’s wealth
had centralized. In France every diocese had a temple magnificent
according to its means, some of which exceeded in majesty that of
Paris; and the cause was that, in France, the artistic and imaginative
caste formed a theocracy, who were not hired by king or emperor, but
who were themselves the strongest force in all the land. In the East,
the imaginative inroad was not strong enough to cause disintegration,
and the artists always remained wage-earners. In the West, society fell
back a thousand years, and consolidation began afresh. Six centuries
intervened between the death of Galla Placidia and the famous dream of
the monk Gauzon which contained the revelation of the plan of the Abbey
of Cluny, and yet six hundred years by no means represented the gap
between the Franks and the Burgundians, and the Eastern Empire, even
when it sank lowest under Heraclius. To Justinian the building of Saint
Sophia was a matter of time and money; to Saint Hugh the church of
Cluny was a miracle.

In France the churches long were miracles; the chronicles are filled
with the revelations vouchsafed the monks; and none can cross the
threshold of one of these noble monuments and fail to grasp its
meaning. They are the most vigorous of all expressions of fear of the
unseen. The Gothic architect heeded no living potentate; he held kings
in contempt, and oftener represented them thrust down into hell than
seated on their thrones. With the enemy who lurked in darkness none
but the saints could cope, and them he idealized. No sculpture is more
terrible than the demons on the walls of Rheims, none more majestic
and pathetic than that over the door of the Virgin at Paris, while no
colour ever equalled the windows of Saint Denis and Chartres.

With the thirteenth century came the influx of the Eastern trade and
the rise of the communes. Immediately the glory of the Gothic began to
fade; by the reign of Saint Louis it had passed its prime, and under
Philip the Fair it fell in full decline. The men who put dead cats
in shrines were not likely to be inspired in religious sculpture. The
decay, and the reasons for it, can be readily traced in colour.

The monks who conceived the twelfth century windows, or painted
the pictures of the saints, only sought to render an emotion by a
conventional symbol which should rouse a response. Consequently
they used marvellous combinations of colours, in which blue was
apt to predominate, and they harmonized their colours with gold.
Viollet-le-Duc has elaborately explained how this was done.[400]
But such a system was not pretentious, and was incompatible with
perspective. The mediæval burgher, like the Roman, was rich, and wanted
to appear so. He demanded more for his money than a solemn portrait of
a saint. He craved a picture of himself, or of his guild, and above all
he insisted on display. The fourteenth century was the period when the
reds and yellows superseded the blues, and when the sense of harmony
began to fail. Furthermore, the burgher was realistic and required a
representation of the world he saw about him. Hence came perspective,
the abandonment of gold, and the final degradation of colour, which
sank into a lost art. For hundreds of years it has been impossible to
imitate the work of the monks of Saint Denis. In Italy, the economic
phenomena were yet more striking; for Italy, even in the Middle
Ages, was always a commercial community, which looked on art with the
economic eye. One example will suffice,--the treatment of the dome.

Placed between the masterpieces of the East and West, and having little
imagination of his own, the Florentine banker conceived the idea of
combining the two systems and embellishing them in a cheap and showy
manner. Accordingly on Gothic arches he placed an Eastern dome, and
instead of adorning his dome with mosaics, which are costly, he had his
interior painted at about one-quarter of the price. The substitution of
the fresco for the mosaic is one of the most typical devices of modern

Before the opening of the economic age, when the imagination glowed
with all the passion of religious enthusiasm, the monks who built
the abbeys of Cluny and Saint Denis took no thought of money, for
it regarded them not. Sheltered by their convents, their livelihood
was assured; their bread and their robe were safe; they pandered to
no market, for they cared for no patron. Their art was not a chattel
to be bought, but an inspired language in which they communed with
God, or taught the people, and they expressed a poetry in the stones
they carved which far transcended words. For these reasons Gothic
architecture, in its prime, was spontaneous, elevated, dignified, and

The advent of portraiture has usually been considered to portend
decay, and rightly, since the presence of the portrait demonstrates
the supremacy of wealth. A portrait can hardly be the ideal of
an enthusiast, like the figure of a god, for it is a commercial
article, sold for a price, and manufactured to suit a patron’s taste;
were it made to please the artist, it might not find a buyer. When
portraits are fashionable, the economic period must be well advanced.
Portraiture, like other economic phenomena, blossomed during the
Renaissance, and it was then also that the artist, no longer shielded
by his convent or his guild, stood out to earn his living by the sale
of his wares, like the Venetian merchants whom he met on the Rialto,
whose vanity he flattered, and whose palaces he adorned. From the
sixteenth century downward, the man of imagination, unable to please
the economic taste, has starved.

This mercenary quality forms the gulf which has divided the art of
the Middle Ages from that of modern times--a gulf which cannot be
bridged, and which has broadened with the lapse of centuries, until
at last the artist, like all else in society, has become the creature
of a commercial market, even as the Greek was sold as a slave to
the plutocrat of Rome. With each invention, with each acceleration
of movement, prose has more completely supplanted poetry, while the
economic intellect has grown less tolerant of any departure from those
representations of nature which have appealed to the most highly
gifted of the monied type among successive generations. Hence the
imperiousness of modern realism.

Thus the history of art coincides with the history of all other
phenomena of life; for experience has demonstrated that, since the
Reformation, a school of architecture, like the Greek or Gothic, has
become impossible. No such school could exist in a society where
the imagination had decayed, for the Greek and Gothic represented
imaginative ideals. In an economic period, like that which has followed
the Reformation, wealth is the form in which energy seeks expression;
therefore, since the close of the fifteenth century, architecture has
reflected money.

Viollet-le-Duc has said of the Romans, that, like all parvenus, the
true expression of art lay, for them, rather in lavish ornament than
in purity of form,[401] and what was true of the third century is true
of the nineteenth. The type of mind being the same, its operation must
be similar, and the economic, at once ostentatious and parsimonious,
produces a cheap core fantastically adorned. The Romans perched
the travesty of a Grecian colonnade upon the summit of a bath or an
amphitheatre, while the Englishman, having pillaged weaker nations of
their imaginative gems, delights to cover with coarse imitations the
exterior of banks and counting-houses.

And yet, though thus alike, a profound difference separates Roman
architecture from our own; the Romans were never wholly sordid, nor did
they ever niggle. When they built a wall, that wall was solid masonry,
not painted iron; and, even down to Constantine, one chord remained
which, when struck, would always vibrate. Usurers may have sat in the
Senate, but barbarians filled the legions, and, as long as the triumph
wound its way through the Forum, men knew how to raise triumphal arches
to the victor. Perhaps, in all the ages, no more serious or majestic
monument has been conceived to commemorate the soldier than the column
of Trajan, a monument which it has been the ambition of our century to

In Paris an imitation of this trophy was erected to the greatest
captain of France, and the column of the Place Vendôme serves to
mark the grave of the modern martial blood. Raised in 1810, almost at
the moment when Nathan Rothschild became despot of the London Stock
Exchange, the tide from thence ran swiftly, and, since Sedan, the
present generation has drained to the lees the cup of realism.

No poetry can bloom in the arid modern soil, the drama has died,
and the patrons of art are no longer even conscious of shame at
profaning the most sacred of ideals. The ecstatic dream, which some
twelfth-century monk cut into the stones of the sanctuary hallowed by
the presence of his God, is reproduced to bedizen a warehouse; or the
plan of an abbey, which Saint Hugh may have consecrated, is adapted to
a railway station.

Decade by decade, for some four hundred years, these phenomena have
grown more sharply marked in Europe, and, as consolidation apparently
nears its climax, art seems to presage approaching disintegration. The
architecture, the sculpture, and the coinage of London at the close of
the nineteenth century, when compared with those of the Paris of Saint
Louis, recall the Rome of Caracalla as contrasted with the Athens of
Pericles, save that we lack the stream of barbarian blood which made
the Middle Age.


    [1] _History of Rome_, Mommsen, Dickson’s trans., i. 288, 290.

    [2] _History of Rome_, Niebuhr, Hare’s trans., i. 576. Niebuhr
    has been followed in the text, although the “nexum” is one
    of the vexed points of Roman law. (See _Über das altrömische
    Schuldrecht_, Savigny.) The precise form of the contract is,
    however, perhaps, not very important for the matter in hand,
    as most scholars seem agreed that it resembled a mortgage, the
    breach of whose condition involved not only the loss of the
    pledge, but the personal liberty of the debtor. See _Gaius_,
    iv. 21.

    [3] _History of Rome_, Niebuhr, Hare’s trans., ii. 599. But
    compare _Aulus Gellius_, xx. 1.

    [4] _Ibid._, i. 582.

    [5] _History of Rome_, Niebuhr, Hare’s trans., i. 583.

    [6] _History of Rome_, Mommsen, Dickson’s trans., i. 472.

    [7] Livy, xlv. 18.

    [8] _History of Rome_, Niebuhr, Hare’s trans., i. 583.

    [9] _Ibid._, ii. 603.

    [10] _History of Rome_, Niebuhr, Hare’s trans., i. 574.

    [11] Preface to _Virginia_.

    [12] _History of Rome_, Mommsen, Dickson’s trans., i. 484.

    [13] See _History of Rome_, Mommsen, Dickson’s trans., i.

    [14] See _History of Rome_, Niebuhr, Hare’s trans., iii. 22,

    [15] Preface to _Virginia_, Macaulay.

    [16] _Histoire de l’Esclavage_, Wallon, ii. 38.

    [17] Suet. _Aug._, ii. 41.

    [18] Tacitus, _Ann._, ii. 48.

    [19] _Ann._, vi. 39.

    [20] _Ibid._, iv. 21.

    [21] _Sat._, iii. 164.

    [22] _L’Invasion Germanique_, Fustel de Coulanges, 146–157.

    [23] Diod. xxxiv. 38. On the subject of the Sicilian slavery,
    see _Histoire de l’Esclavage_, Wallon, ii. 300 _et seq._

    [24] _Polybius_, ii. 15, Shuckburgh’s trans.

    [25] _Provinces of the Roman Empire_, Mommsen, ii. 233.

    [26] _Ibid._, ii. 239.

    [27] _Deipnosophists_, v. 37.

    [28] Martial, _Ep._, xii. 76.

    [29] Vopiscus, _Aurelianus_, 35.

    [30] _L’Invasion Germanique_, Fustel de Coulanges, 190.

    [31] _Le Colonat Romain: Recherches sur quelques Problèmes
    d’Histoire_, Fustel de Coulanges, 143.

    [32] _Organisation Financière chez les Romains_, Marquardt, 65
    _et seq._

    [33] Tacitus, _Ann._, Murphy’s trans., iii. 53.

    [34] _Nat. Hist._, xii. 18.

    [35] Vopiscus, _Saturninus_, 8.

    [36] _Provinces of the Roman Empire_, Mommsen, ii. 140.

    [37] _Ann._, vi. 16, 17.

    [38] See _Geschichte des Römischen Münzwesens_, Mommsen, 756.

    [39] _Monnaies Byzantines_, Sabatier, i. 51, 52.

    [40] _Monnaies Byzantines_, Sabatier, i. 50.

    [41] _Geschichte des Römischen Münzwesens_, Mommsen, 837.

    [42] _Monnaies Byzantines_, Sabatier, i. 51, 52.

    [43] Pliny’s _Letters_, iii. 19.

    [44] _Ibid._, ix. 37.

    [45] _Digest_, xix. 2, 15, and xxxiii. 7, 20.

    [46] _Letters_, x. 24. On this whole subject see _Le Colonat
    Romain: Recherches sur quelques Problèmes d’Histoire_, Fustel
    de Coulanges, ch. i.

    [47] _Code of Justinian_, xi. 51, 1.

    [48] _Le Colonat Romain_, Fustel de Coulanges, 21.

    [49] _Organisation Financière chez les Romains_, Marquardt,
    240; _Les Manieurs d’Argent à Rome_, Deloume, 377.

    [50] See _Decline and Fall_, ch. xvii.

    [51] In _C. Verrem_, IV. lxxxix.

    [52] _Cicero’s Letters_, Ad Att. vi. 2; also Ad Att. v. 21, and
    vi. 1.

    [53] Diod. xxxvi. 3. See also _Histoire de l’Esclavage_,
    Wallon, ii. 42, 44.

    [54] _Satire_, viii. 89, 90.

    [55] _Letters_, viii. 24.

    [56] _Dio Cassius_, lxii. 2.

    [57] _Nat. Hist._, xiv., _Proœmium_.

    [58] _Decline and Fall_, ch. xvii.

    [59] _Morals, Trans. of_ 1718, 4, 11.

    [60] _Histoire de l’Esclavage_, iii. 268.

    [61] _Decline and Fall_, ch. xii.

    [62] _L’Invasion Germanique_, 200, 204, 223.

    [63] _Dio Cassius_, lvi. 7.

    [64] _Dio Cassius_, lvi. 5–8.

    [65] _Ann._, iii. 25.

    [66] _Ibid._, xxviii. Latin literature is full of references
    to these famous laws. Tacitus, Pliny, Juvenal, and Martial
    constantly speak of them. There were also many commentaries on
    them by Roman jurists.

    [67] _L’Organisation Militaire chez les Romains_, Marquardt,

    [68] _Dio Cassius_, lxxiv. 2.

    [69] _Monnaies Byzantines_, Sabatier, i. 50.

    [70] _History of the Byzantine Empire_, Finlay, 9.

    [71] Vopiscus, _Tacitus_, 10.

    [72] _Greece under the Romans_, George Finlay, 214.

    [73] _Byzantine Empire_, Finlay, 256.

    [74] _Byzantine Architecture_, Texier, 24.

    [75] _Decline and Fall_, ch. lii.

    [76] _Itinerary of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela_, trans. from the
    Hebrew by Asher, 54.

    [77] _Monnaies Byzantines_, i. 26.

    [78] See treaty with Bohemund. Anna Comnena, xiii. 7.

    [79] _L’Art Byzantin_, Bayet, 16, 17.

    [80] _Theb._, iii. 661.

    [81] _Decline and Fall_, ch. xx.

    [82] Mark v. 28, 30.

    [83] _Chronicles_, ii. 124.

    [84] _Anglican Schism_, Sander, trans. by Lewis, 143.

    [85] _A Relation, or rather a True Account of the Island of
    England_, Camden Soc. 30.

    [86] _Cal._ x. No. 364. References to the calendar of State
    papers edited by Messrs. Brewer and Gairdner will be made by
    this word only.

    [87] _Histoire du Sacrament de l’Eucharistie_, Corblet, i.
    474. See also on this subject _Cæsarii Dialogus Miraculorum; De
    Corpore Christi_.

    [88] _Hist. Lit. de la France_, xxii. 119.

    [89] _Les Moines d’Occident_, Montalembert, vi. 34.

    [90] _Histoire de la Grande-Sauve_, ii. 13.

    [91] _Monasticon_, v. 628, Ed. 1846.

    [92] _Les Moines d’Occident_, Montalembert, vi. 101.

    [93] _Sacerdotal Celibacy_, Lea, 129.

    [94] _Annales Lauressenses_, Perz, i. 188.

    [95] _Recueil des Chartes de l’Abbaye de Cluny_, Bruel, i. 124.

    [96] _Bull. Clun._, p. 2, col. 1. Also _Manuel des Institutions
    Françaises_, Luchaire, 93, 95, where the authorities are

    [97] _Annales Ecclesiastici_, Baronius, year 1076.

    [98] Migne, cxlviii. 790.

    [99] _Decline and Fall_, ch. lx.

    [100] _Dictionnaire de l’Architecture_, v. 50.

    [101] _Annales Ecclesiastici_, Baronius, year 1095.

    [102] _Les Familles d’Outre-Mer_, ed. Rey, 3.

    [103] _Dictionnaire de l’Architecture_, viii. 108.

    [104] _L’Art Arabe_, 111 _et seq._

    [105] _L’Art Arabe_, 203.

    [106] _Mélanges_, 458.

    [107] See _Dictionnaire de l’Architecture_, Viollet-le-Duc, vi.

    [108] See _Les Églises de la Terre Sainte_, Vogüé, 217; _Notre
    Dame de Noyon; Études sur l’Histoire de l’Art_, Vitet, ii. 122;
    _Dictionnaire de L’Architecture_, Viollet-le-Duc, ii. 301.

    [109] _Hist. des Croisades_, xii. 7.

    [110] See, on the Syrian castles, _Étude sur les Monuments de
    l’Architecture Militaire des Croisés en Syrie_, Rey.

    [111] Letter 363, ed. 1877, Paris.

    [112] _Sancti Bernardi, Vita et Res Gestae, Auctore Guillelmo_,

    [113] _Secunda Vita S. Bernardi Auctore Alano_, vi.

    [114] _Exordium Magnum Cisterciense_, viii.

    [115] Nos. 363 and 423, ed. of 1877, Paris.

    [116] Letter 363.

    [117] _De Vita S. Bernardi, Auctore Gaufrido_, iv. 5.

    [118] Letter 256, ed. of 1877, Paris.

    [119] _Hist. des Croisades_, xvi. 25.

    [120] _Hist. des Croisades_, xvi. 27.

    [121] _De Consideratione_, ii. 1.

    [122] _Willam of Tyre_, xvi. 11, 12.

    [123] _Les Familles d’Outre-Mer_, Du Cange, 405.

    [124] _Histoire de la Commerce de la France_, 132.

    [125] _Histoire du Commerce du Levant_, Heyd, French trans., i.

    [126] _Histoire du Levant_, Heyd, French trans., i. 95.

    [127] See, on this question of cheaper money in the
    Carlovingian period, _Nouveau Manuel de Numismatique_,
    Blanchet, i. 101; also _Histoire du Commerce de la France_,
    Pigeonneau, 87 _et seq._

    [128] _Le Monete di Venezia_, Papadopoli, 73.

    [129] _Ville-Hardouin_, ed. Wailly, xiv. 65.

    [130] _Ibid._

    [131] _Historiens de la France_, xix. 23.

    [132] _Patrologiæ Cursus Completus_, Migne, ccxiv. 1180.

    [133] _Historiens de la France_, xix. 421.

    [134] _Chronique_, ed. Buchon, 44.

    [135] _Ville-Hardouin_, ed. Buchon, 51.

    [136] _Chronique de Ville-Hardouin_, ed. Buchon, 69.

    [137] _Chronique_, ed. Wailly, xxxvii. 178.

    [138] _Chronique_, ed. Wailly, lii. 239.

    [139] _Chronique_, ed. Buchon, 96.

    [140] _Chronique_, ed. Buchon, 99.

    [141] _Patrologiæ Cursus Completus_, Migne, ccxv. 454.

    [142] _Migne_, ccxv. 712.

    [143] _Historia Captæ a Latinis Constantinopoleos_, Migne,
    ccxii. 19.

    [144] _Bibl. de l’École des Chartes_, 3d series, ii. 353.

    [145] _Histoire del’Abbaye de Saint Denis_, D’Ayzac, i. 361–9.

    [146] _Vie de Louis le Gros_, Suger, ed. Molinier, 61, 62.

    [147] _Vie de Louis le Gros_, Suger, ed. Molinier, 70.

    [148] _Ibid._, 18.

    [149] Suger, ed. Molinier, 18.

    [150] _Ibid._

    [151] _Études sur les origines de la commune de Saint Quentin_,
    Giry, 9.

    [152] See _Études sur les Faires de Champagne_, Bourquelot, 72,
    74; and generally on this subject.

    [153] _Les Communes Françaises_, Luchaire, 221–225.

    [154] _Les Communes Françaises_, Luchaire, 85.

    [155] _Les Communes Françaises_, Luchaire, 233–234.

    [156] _Les Communes Françaises_, Luchaire, 260.

    [157] _Documents sur les Relations de la Royauté avec les
    Villes de France_, Giry, 59, 61.

    [158] _Les Communes Françaises_, Luchaire, 189.

    [159] _Manuel des Institutions Françaises_, Luchaire, 535.

    [160] _Les Communes Françaises_, Luchaire, 283.

    [161] _Mémoires du Duc de Saint-Simon_, ed. 1874, xii. 19.

    [162] _Le Commerce de Marseille au Moyen Age_, Blancard, 3.

    [163] _La Libertà delle Banche a Venezia_, Lattes, 26.

    [164] _Les Grandes Compagnies de Commerce_, Bonnassieux, 23.

    [165] _La Rapport entre l’or et l’argent au Temps de Saint
    Louis_, Marchéville, 22, 33.

    [166] _Ibid._, 42.

    [167] _Les Communes Françaises_, 200, 201.

    [168] The documents relating to the controversy are printed in
    the _Histoire du Differend_, Dupuy.

    [169] Dupuy, 48.

    [170] _Ibid._, 44.

    [171] See letters of Beauvais and Laon, of 1303, _Documents_,
    Giry, 160.

    [172] Dupuy, 55.

    [173] Dupuy, 351. Articles presented June, 1303.

    [174] See _Cronica di Villani_, viii. 63.

    [175] _Cronica di Villani_, viii. 80. Also _Ann. Eccl._,
    Baronius, year 1305.

    [176] _Documents Inédits sur l’Histoire de France, Procès des
    Templiers_, Michelet, i. 166.

    [177] _Procès des Templiers_, Michelet, i. 37.

    [178] _Ibid._, 264.

    [179] _Ibid._, 75.

    [180] _Cronica di Villani_, viii. 92.

    [181] _Continuatio Chronici Guilelmi de Nangiaco_, mcccxiii.

    [182] _La Maison du Temple_, Curzon, 200, 204.

    [183] _A History of Agriculture and Prices_, J. E. Thorold
    Rogers, iv. 72.

    [184] _On Justification_, Works, i. 60.

    [185] _On Justification_, Works, i. 51.

    [186] _Institutes_, I. vii. 1 and 5.

    [187] _Zwinglis Theologie_, August Baur, 319, 320.

    [188] _Institutes_, IV. viii. 9.

    [189] _John Wicliffe and his English Precursors_, Lechler, Eng.
    trans., 302.

    [190] Lechler, 349, note 1.

    [191] Lechler, 348, note. Extract from _De Eucharistia_.

    [192] _Acts and Monuments_, iii. 204, 205.

    [193] _The Praise of Folie_, 1541. Englished by Sir Thomas

    [194] _Parl. Hist._, Cobbett, i. 295.

    [195] _Ibid._, 310.

    [196] _A Supplicacyon for Beggers_, 2. Early Eng. Text Soc.

    [197] _Acts and Monuments_, v. 404.

    [198] _Ibid._, iii. 218.

    [199] _Acts and Monuments_, iv. 196.

    [200] _Agriculture and Prices_, iv. 18.

    [201] _Reformation of the Church of England_, Blunt, ii. 222.

    [202] _Acts and Monuments_, iv. 706.

    [203] _Industrial and Commercial History of England_, Rogers,

    [204] _Agriculture and Prices_, iv. 715.

    [205] _Agriculture and Prices_, iv. 454.

    [206] _Ibid._, iv. 200. For the average prices of grain see
    tables in vol. i. 245, and iv. 292.

    [207] _Agriculture and Prices_, iv. 734.

    [208] Chapuys to Granville, _Cal._ ix. No. 862. The State
    Papers edited by Messrs. Brewer and Gairdner are referred to by
    the word “Cal.”

    [209] _Acts and Monuments_, v. 365.

    [210] _State Papers_, ii. 552.

    [211] _Chronicles_, 1, clxvii.

    [212] Chapuys to Perrenot, _Cal._ x. No. 901.

    [213] See _Anne Boleyn_, Friedmann, i. 43, and elsewhere.

    [214] _Cal._ x. No. 908.

    [215] _Burleigh and his Times_, Essays.

    [216] _Cal._ vii. No. 296.

    [217] _Ibid._, xi. No. 576, Chapuys to Charles.

    [218] _Ibid._, xi. No. 576.

    [219] _Ibid._, xi. No. 864.

    [220] _Cal._ xi. No. 1045.

    [221] _Cal._ xi. No. 729.

    [222] _Ibid._, xi. No. 826.

    [223] _Ibid._, xii. pt. i. No. 698.

    [224] _Cal._ xii. pt. i. No. 976.

    [225] _Marillac au Connétable_, Kaulek, 211.

    [226] _Acts and Monuments_, v. 180.

    [227] _Cal._ viii. No. 726.

    [228] _Sander_, Lewis’ trans., 119.

    [229] _State Papers_, i. 538.

    [230] _Cal._ xii. pt. i. No. 498.

    [231] Kaulek, 193, 194.

    [232] _Ibid._, 82.

    [233] _Cal._ x. No. 909.

    [234] Kaulek, 274; _Sander_, Lewis, 162, and note 2.

    [235] Kaulek, 50.

    [236] _Lettres de Henri VIII à Anne Boleyn_, Crapelet, Lettre

    [237] Kaulek, 199.

    [238] _Acts and Monuments_, v. 229.

    [239] _History of England_, chap. 1.

    [240] _Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism_, Sander, trans.
    by Lewis, 161.

    [241] Chapuys to Charles, _Cal._ vi. No. 1510, date Dec., 1533.

    [242] _The Homilies_, Corrie, 49.

    [243] _The Homilies_, Corrie, 56, 58.

    [244] 31 Henry VIII., c. 14.

    [245] _Acts and Monuments_, v. 368, 369.

    [246] _Cal._ x. pref. xliii.

    [247] See citations to the original authorities in _Henry VIII.
    and the English Monasteries_, Gasquet, i. 454, and note.

    [248] _Cal._ ix. No. 622. In the _Calendar_ the letter is
    condensed. The extract is given in full in Gasquet, i. 261,

    [249] _Ibid._, No. 630. In full in Gasquet, i. 263.

    [250] _Ibid._, No. 630.

    [251] _Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries_, i. 439.

    [252] _Cal._ ix. No. 42.

    [253] _Cal._ x. pref. xlv. note.

    [254] _Ibid._, ix. No. 1005.

    [255] _Ibid._, ix. No. 1005.

    [256] _Cal._ x. No. 364.

    [257] _Ibid._, No. 1191.

    [258] _Ibid._, No. 364.

    [259] _Ibid._, No. 1191.

    [260] _Rites of Durham_, Surtees Soc., 86.

    [261] Wright, 260.

    [262] Ellis, 1st Series, ii. 99.

    [263] Wright, 261, 262.

    [264] Ellis, 1st Series, ii. 99.

    [265] _Agriculture and Prices_, iv. 64.

    [266] 6 Henry VIII., c. 5; 7 Henry VIII., c. 1.

    [267] _Jewel of Joy_, Becon. Also _England in the Reign of
    Henry VIII._, Early Eng. Text Soc., Extra Ser., No. xxxii. p.

    [268] _First Sermon before Edward VI. Sermons of Bishop
    Latimer_, ed. of Parker Soc., 100, 101.

    [269] 22 Henry VIII., c. 12.

    [270] 27 Henry VIII., c. 25.

    [271] 1 Edward VI., c. 3.

    [272] Brit. Mus., Cole MS. xii. 41. Cited in _Henry VIII. and
    the English Monasteries_, Gasquet, ii. 514, note.

    [273] _Eccl. Mem._, ii. pt. 1, 260.

    [274] Sermon on Rebellion, Cranmer, _Miscellaneous Writings and
    Letters_, 194–6.

    [275] Sermon on Rebellion, Cranmer, _Miscellaneous Writings and
    Letters_, 195, 196.

    [276] _Cal._ ix. No. 193.

    [277] _Eccl. Mem._, ii. pt. 1, 152.

    [278] 5 and 6 Edw. VI., c. 2.

    [279] _Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches_, Carlyle, Speech XI.

    [280] Raleigh to Burleigh, _Life of Sir Walter Raleigh_,
    Edwards, ii. 76, letter xxxiv.

    [281] _The Reformation of the Church of England_, ii. 68.

    [282] _History of England_, v. 432.

    [283] Gorham’s _Reformation Gleanings_, 61.

    [284] Ridley’s disputation at Oxford in 1554, _Acts and
    Monuments_, vi. 474.

    [285] _A Godly Letter to the Faithful, Works_, iii. 176.

    [286] _Ibid._, 177.

    [287] _A Faithful Admonition, Works_, iii. 283.

    [288] _Ibid._, iii. 281, 282.

    [289] _On True Obedience_, Heywood’s ed., 73.

    [290] _The Institution of a Christian Man_, Preface,
    _Formularies of Faith of Henry VIII._, Lloyd, 26.

    [291] See Burnet’s _History of the Reformation, Records_, part
    I. book iii. quest. 9.

    [292] _S. P. Dom. Eliz._ vol. 176, No. 69.

    [293] _Zurich Letters_, 1st Series, 287.

    [294] _Towchinge the bill and the booke exhibited in the
    Parliament 1586 for a further reformation of the Churche, S. P.
    Dom. Eliz_. 199, No. 1.

    [295] _History of the Non-jurors_, Lathbury, 50.

    [296] See _History of the Reformation_, Burnet, Pocock’s ed.
    _Records_, part I. book iii. quest 9.

    [297] _History of England_, ch. 1.

    [298] _History of England_, ch. iii.

    [299] _Ibid._, ch. vi.

    [300] _History of England_, ch. xiv.

    [301] _Queen’s conference upon Graunt of a Subsedy, etc._,
    1584. _State Papers, Dom. Eliz._, 176, No. 69.

    [302] _History of England_, ch. iii.

    [303] _Cal._ x., No. 570.

    [304] _Ambassades_, v. 150. Quotation from _History of the
    Church of England_, Dixon, iv. 450.

    [305] _Pretended Divorce of Henry VIII._, Harpsfield, Camden
    Society, 291.

    [306] Burnet’s _History of the Reformation_, Pocock’s ed., i.

    [307] _Ibid._, iii. 376.

    [308] Blunt’s _Reformation_, i. 475.

    [309] _Anglican Schism_, Sander, Lewis’ trans., 181. Also
    _Pretended Divorce of Henry VIII._, Harpsfield, 290.

    [310] _Acts and Monuments_, v. 230.

    [311] _Agriculture and Prices_, Rogers, v. 804.

    [312] _History of England_, viii. 425.

    [313] _Influence of the Sea Power upon History_, Mahan, 41.

    [314] _English Seamen of the Sixteenth Century_, 6.

    [315] Anderson’s _History of Commerce_, i. 400.

    [316] _S. P. Dom. Eliz._, 53.

    [317] _Wealth of Nations_, book 4, ch. i.

    [318] _Discourse of Trade_, Child, ed. 1775, 8.

    [319] _History of England_, ch. iii.

    [320] _Discourse of Trade_, Josiah Child, ed. 1775, 8, 9, 10.

    [321] _Ibid._, Pref. xxxi.

    [322] _Ibid._, 41.

    [323] _American Biography_, Sparks, ii. 388.

    [324] _Wealth of Nations_, bk. iv. c. 3, pt. 1.

    [325] Thurloe’s _State Papers_, v. 433, 434.

    [326] _Annals of the Coinage of Britain_, Ruding, iii. 378.

    [327] _Annals of the Coinage_, Ruding, iii. 470.

    [328] _Investigations in Currency and Finance_, Jevons, 140.

    [329] _Annals of the Coinage_, Ruding, iv. 26.

    [330] _Wealth of Nations_, bk. iv. c. 1.

    [331] _Wealth of Nations_, bk. ii. c. 2.

    [332] _Lord Clive._

    [333] Macaulay’s essays have been the subject of much recent
    adverse criticism; but, in regard to the plundering of
    Hindostan, nothing of consequence has been brought forward
    against him. All recent historical work relating to India must
    be taken with suspicion. The whole official influence has been
    turned to distorting evidence in order to make a case for the

    [334] _Lord Clive._

    [335] _Lord Clive._

    [336] _Warren Hastings._

    [337] _History of the Cotton Manufacture_, 115.

    [338] _A Tour Thro’ the whole Island of Great Britain_, ed.
    1753, iii. 136, 137.

    [339] _Lives of Boulton and Watt_, Smiles, 484.

    [340] _First Letter on a Regicide Peace._

    [341] _Theory and Practice of Banking_, i. 507.

    [342] _Considerations of the Lowering of Interests. Works_, ed.
    1823, v. 49.

    [343] _The Rothschilds_, Reeves, 51.

    [344] The Rothschilds, Reeves, 192, 199.

    [345] _Ibid._, 200.

    [346] Wherever reference is made to comparative prices of
    commodities, the authority used has been the tables published
    by W. S. Jevons in _Investigations in Currency and Finance_,

    [347] _Annals of the Coinage_, Ruding, iv. 37.

    [348] _Overstone Tracts_, 49.

    [349] _History of Prices_, i. 158.

    [350] _Political Life of Sir Robert Peel_, Doubleday, i. 218,

    [351] _Theory and Practice of Banking_, Macleod, ed. 1893, ii.

    [352] See Hansard, New Series, viii. 189.

    [353] _History of the Bank of England_, i. 348.

    [354] _History of the Bank of England_, i. 347.

    [355] _History of the Currency_, Maclaren, 161.

    [356] _Theory and Practice of Banking_, Macleod, ii. 117, 118.

    [357] _Overstone Tracts_, 325.

    [358] _Ibid._, 191.

    [359] _Ibid._, 318.

    [360] _Theory and Practice of Banking_, ii. 147.

    [361] _Overstone Tracts_, 573, 574.

    [362] _Cobden and the League_, Ashworth, 174.

    [363] _Theory and Practice of Banking_, Macleod, ii. 169, 170.

    [364] Hansard, Third Series, xcv. 399.

    [365] _Theory and Practice of Banking_, ii. 170.

    [366] Hansard, Third Series, xcv. 398.

    [367] _Overstone Tracts_, 319.

    [368] See _Journal of Roy. Stat. Soc._, liv. 464.

    [369] Dénombrement de 1891, 261.

    [370] _Annuaire de l’Économie Politique_, 1894, Block, 18.

    [371] _La Population Française_, ii. 214.

    [372] _Report of the Commission appointed in India to enquire
    into the Causes of the Riots which took place in the year
    1875, in the Poona and Ahmednagar Districts of the Bombay
    Presidency_, 12.

    [373] _Report Of The Commission Appointed In India To Enquire
    Into The Causes Of The Riots Which Took Place In The Year
    1875, In The Poona And Ahmednagar Districts Of The Bombay
    Presidency_, 159.

    [374] _Report of the Commission, etc._, 25, 26.

    [375] _Ibid._, 167.

    [376] _Report of the Commission, etc._, 168.

    [377] See _Musalmans and Money-lenders in the Punjab_,

    [378] _Report of the Commission, etc._, 168.

    [379] See _Brief History of the Indian Peoples_, Hunter, 50.

    [380] See _History of the Romans_, ed. of 1852, Merivale, ii.
    81, where the authorities are collected.

    [381] Plutarch’s _Lives_, Clough’s trans., iv. 123.

    [382] _Ibid._, 298.

    [383] _Ibid._, 142.

    [384] Genesis xxxiv. 11, 12.

    [385] Aristotle, _Pol._, ii. 9.

    [386] Plutarch’s _Lives_, Clough’s trans., iv. 507.

    [387] _Faery Queene_, Spenser, iv. 5, 1.

    [388] _Entretiens sur l’Architecture_, i. 102.

    [389] _Ann._, xv. 44.

    [390] _Ann._, xv. 44.

    [391] _Marc-Aurèle_, Renan, 600.

    [392] Tertullian, _Ad Scapulam_, 5.

    [393] _L’Antechrist_, 163 _et seq._

    [394] _Études sur l’Histoire de l’Art_, Vitet, i. 200.

    [395] _L’Art de Batir chez les Byzantins_, Choisy, 5, 6.

    [396] _Recherches pour servir à l’Histoire de la Peinture et de
    la Sculpture Chrétiennes en Orient_, Bayet, 99.

    [397] _Ibid._, 99.

    [398] _Buildings of Justinian_, Procopius, trans. by Stewart,
    i. 1.

    [399] _Ibid._

    [400] _Dictionnaire de l’Architecture_, Art. “Peinture.”

    [401] _Entretiens_, i. 102.


  Acre: siege of 130;
    defence of by Templars 171.

  Alaric: served in Roman army 61.

  Alexander, Emperor of Russia: breach with Napoleon 324.

  Alexis: treats with crusaders 139;
    death of 143.

  Anastasius: wealth of 51;
    builds long wall 51.

  Anglicanism, _see_ Church of England.

  Antwerp: rise of 201;
    centre of exchanges 201;
    sack of 287.

  Architecture: Italian 88;
    Gothic 89;
    Byzantine 89;
    Saracenic 90;
    crusading 100;
    Greek and Roman 372;
    Byzantine 375 _et seq._;
    Gothic 378;
    modern 382;
    _see_ Ogive.

  Armada: defeated by yeomen 256;
    loss of 287.

  Army, _see_ Police.

  Art: decline of 380, 381;
    _see_ Architecture.

  Articles, ecclesiastical: Six 232, 268;
    Forty-two 262;
    Lambeth 268.

  Attila: ransoms Constantinople 50;
    vision of 63.

  Aureus: depreciation of 27;
    passes by weight 31.

  Baldwin, Count of Edessa: 105;
    King of Jerusalem 105.

  Baldwin, Emperor of the East: 146;
    reproved by Innocent 147.

  Bank of England: incorporated 303;
    early issues of 319;
    suspends cash payments 327;
    policy of prior to 1810 327;
    resumes specie payments 330;
    hoards gold 331–333;
    paper in panic of 1825 335;
    Bank Act of 1844 336;
    suspension of Bank Act 344.

  Bank of Genoa: 168.

  Bank of Venice: 168, 169.

  Bankers: mediæval 168;
    increase of English country after 1760 319;
    poor credit of 320;
    increase issues in 1823 333;
    rise of great modern houses 321;
    policy of 328;
    supremacy of 344;
    absolute government by 353.

  Barbarians: imported by Roman emperors 39;
    lack of in modern times 363;
    formed strength of Roman armies 363;
    want of weakness in modern civilization 364;
    _see_ Coloni.

  Boadicea: revolt of 37.

  Boleyn, Anne: 212;
    sweating sickness 226;
    crowned 230.

  Boleyn, Thomas: character and rise of 213.

  Boniface VIII.: character of 172;
    quarrel with Philip 173;
    bulls of 174, 175;
    seized at Anagni 177.

  Bosra: retreat from 119;
    miracle at 119, 120.

  Boulton, Matthew: rise of 314;
    partnership with Watt 316;
    debts of 316.

  Bullion Committee: 328, 329.

  Burleigh, Lord: rise of 213;
    hostile to adventurers 256;
    family of typical landlords 267.

  Cæsar: army of 363.

  Capital: centres at Constantinople 28;
    Mill’s definition of 313;
    accelerates movement 314;
    accumulates at London 319;
    _see_ England and London.

  Carthusians: martyrdom of 221.

  Cecil, _see_ Burleigh.

  Champagne: fairs of 158;
    centres of Eastern trade 158;
    decline of 201.

  Chantries: confiscation of 259.

  Child, Sir Josiah: rise of 294;
    estimates England’s wealth 295.

  Church, Catholic: _see_ Early Christian;
    becomes dominant in Italy 63;
    secular character of mediæval clergy of 71;
    secular clergy of 73;
    claims of under Hildebrand 75;
    makes papacy self-perpetuating 75;
    emancipates itself from civil power 76, 77;
    schism of with Constantinople 78;
    character of clergy of at Reformation 264, 265;
    miracles of, _see_ Miracles, Cluny, Convents.

  Church, Early Christian: socialistic 60;
    acquires wealth in third century 60;
    officially recognized 61;
    favours barbarians 62;
    subservient to Roman emperors 62;
    based on miracles 63 _et seq._;
    imaginative 373;
    poverty of 373;
    art of 374.

  Church, Eastern: remains subject to the emperors 78–88;
    architecture of 89;
    plundered 145;
    art of 376.

  Church of England: an economic phenomenon 228;
    Henry supreme head of 228;
    robbed by landlords 230;
    orthodox under Henry VIII. 232;
    spoiled by Edward VI. 259, 260;
    Calvinistic 262;
    docile to lay dictation 264;
    faith of regulated by statute 266;
    without fixed faith 268;
    ruled by Elizabeth 269;
    hated by Puritans and Catholics 270;
    divine right distinctive doctrine of 271;
    organized as police by landlords 272;
    mercenary 273;
    types of clergy of 275;
    great bishops of 276 _et seq._;
    upheld by James I. 284;
    persecutes Puritans under Bancroft 285.

  Clairvaux: foundation of 109;
    appeals to pope against Philip the Fair 172;
    _see_ Saint Bernard.

  Claudius, Appius: a usurer 7;
    enslaves Virginia 8;
    enforces usury laws 9.

  Clement V.: election of 178;
    bargain with Philip 178;
    entices Molay to Paris 180;
    persecutes Templars 181;
    tries Molay 184;
    death of 185.

  Clermont: council of 83.

  Clive, Lord: birth of 306;
    campaigns of 307;
    Plassey 308;
    wealth of 309;
    attacked by landlords 310.

  Cluny: founded 72;
    growth of 73;
    controls papacy 75.

  Cobden: attacks landlords 341;
    origin of 341.

  Cobham, Lord: trial of 193;
    attempts conventual confiscation 195.

  Cœur-de-Lion: leads crusade 130;
    treats with Saladin 131.

  Coinage, Roman: copper 15;
    silver 20;
    debasement of 26;
    becomes gold monometallic 27, 30;
    passes by weight 31;
    of Constantinople 55;
    debasement of coinage of Constantinople 56;
    becomes silver under Charlemagne 129;
    Venetian 129;
    gold of thirteenth century 129;
    debasement of French pound 170;
    debasement of English penny 195;
    base money of Henry VIII. 206;
    standard restored by Elizabeth 300;
    recoinage by William III. 302;
    depreciation in eighteenth century 303;
    English gold of nineteenth century 330;
    passes by weight 326, 330;
    _see_ Gold standard.

  Coloni: debtors 33;
    barbarians settled as 39;
    predecessors of mediæval serfs 244.

  Commerce: _see_ Eastern trade, Fairs of Champagne, Slaving,
    West Indies.

  Commons: rights of tenants in 244;
    enclosure of, in sixteenth century 245;
    cause of Kett’s rebellion 250;
    final absorption of 317.

  Communes: rise of 157;
    character of 160;
    hostile to clergy 162;
    not martial 164;
    insolvency of 169.

  Constantine: built Constantinople 28;
    vision of 60;
    victory of Milvian Bridge 61.

  Constantinople: becomes the economic centre of the world 28;
    prosperity of after fall of Western Empire 49, 50;
    colonized by Roman capitalists 49;
    taxation of 49;
    poverty of under Theodosius II. 50;
    prosperity of under Justinian I. 51;
    population changes under Heraclius 52;
    becomes an Asiatic city 52;
    declines in eleventh century 53;
    civilization of economic 53;
    description of by Rabbi Benjamin 53;
    population of economic and cowardly 54;
    economic condition of in twelfth century 87;
    army of 88;
    sack of 144;
    _see_ Coinage and Architecture.

  Convents: mediæval founders of 68;
    efficacy of intercession of 69;
    Benedictine 72;
    early discipline of 72;
    consolidation of 72;
    Cluny 73;
    control papacy 78;
    armies organized by 99;
    fortresses built by 99;
    patronized for miracles 109;
    wealth of 154;
    attacked by feudal nobles 155;
    hostile to communes 160, 161;
    taxed by Philip the Fair 172;
    revenues seized by Edward I. 195;
    attacked by Lollards 196;
    bill to suppress 231;
    visitation of 235;
    visitors of 235–238;
    spoliation of 239.

  Corn: price of at Rome 17;
    distribution of at Rome 18;
    price of in 1849 345;
    Corn Laws 340;
    repeal of 340.

  Councils of the Church: Hildebrand’s propositions at council
      of 1076 75;
    of Clermont 83;
    of Troyes 98;
    of Étampes 110;
    Néelle 136;
    Vienne 184.

  Cranmer: rise of 278;
    character of 279;
    death of 280.

  Credit: dawn of in thirteenth century 167;
    rise of modern system of 303;
    extension of after Plassey 319;
    regulated by Bank Act of 1844 336;
    prices dependent on 337;
    weapon of the creditor class 349.

  Cromwell, Oliver: raises Ironsides 252;
    attacks Spanish America 301;
    intercepts plate fleet 301.

  Cromwell, Thomas: rise of 208;
    arrest of 224;
    vicar general 231;
    proceeds against convents 233:
    prosecutes Abbot of Glaston 240;
    death of 242.

  Cross: miracle worked by at Bosra 119;
    _see_ Relics.

  Crusade: first 84;
    takes Jerusalem 85;
    second, preached by Saint Bernard 112;
    suffers before Atalia 115;
    defeat of 118;
    crusading becomes commercial 124;
    third, led by Cœur-de-Lion 129;
    takes Acre 130;
    of Constantinople, preached 132;
    reaches Venice 134;
    diverted by Dandolo 139;
    attacks Zara 138;
    sacks Constantinople 145;
    of Damietta 150;
    defeated in Egypt 151.

  Currency: regulated by Charlemagne 129;
    mediæval 168;
    contraction of in thirteenth century 169;
    debasement of English 194;
    depreciation of in Middle Ages 204;
    under Henry VIII. 207;
    paper 303;
    management of by producers 326;
    by bankers 330;
    _see_ Coinage, Bank of England, Bankers.

  Dalhousie, Lord: administration of 356.

  Damietta, _see_ Crusade.

  Dandolo, Henry: character of 132;
    treats with Franks 133;
    takes command of crusade 137;
    diverts crusade 139;
    excommunicated 139;
    assaults Constantinople 141;
    shriven 147.

  Darcy, Thomas, Loid: character of 216;
    declines to betray Aske 217;
    execution of 219;
    dying speech to Cromwell 219.

  Denarius: depreciation of at Rome 26;
    repudiation of 26;
    of Charlemagne 128;
    of Venice 129;
    _see_ Penny.

  Diocletian: a slave 27;
    established capital at Nicomedia 27;
    returns to silver coinage 30.

  Divine right: defined 272;
    _see_ Church of England.

  Divorce: _see_ Domestic relations.

  Domestic relations: ancient and modern 365 _et seq._

  Dovercourt: rood of 200.

  Drake: rise of 255;
    death of 256;
    cruises of 288.

  Dudley, John, Duke of Northumberland: rise of 251;
    suppresses Kett’s rebellion 252;
    supersedes Seymour 261;
    quarrel with Knox 262.

  East India Companies: organized 292;
    English company commercial up to 1757 306;
    administration of 309.

  Eastern Empire, _see_ Constantinople.

  Eastern trade: in Rome 23, 24;
    centres at Constantinople 28;
    migrates to Italy 126;
    early routes of 128;
    character of in twelfth century 128;
    brings bullion to Europe 129;
    centres in Champagne 159;
    centres at Antwerp 201;
    at Amsterdam 287;
    at London 291;
    drains silver from Europe 299;
    effect of Plassey on 310.

  Edessa: position of 86;
    capture of 103;
    occupied by Baldwin 105.

  Egypt: cheap labour of 19;
    grain ships of 19;
    architecture of 90;
    conquered by Saladin 103;
    slave trade with Venice of 126;
    crusaders defeated in 151.

  Elizabeth: greed of 257;
    severe to clergy 269;
    letter about Ely House 270.

  England: Lollardy in 186;
    Reformation in, an economic phenomenon 190;
    debasement of currency in 194;
    martyrdoms in 199;
    condition of in Middle Ages 202;
    new nobility of 212 _et seq._;
    convents suppressed in 233 _et seq._;
    population of in Middle Ages 243;
    social revolution in, in sixteenth century 245, 246;
    not originally maritime 254;
    seamen of 255;
    prosperity of in seventeenth century 292;
    industrial revolution in 315;
    distress in after 1815 332;
    ruin of aristocracy of 341, 348;
    money-lenders autocratic in 344;
    _see_ Bank, and Church of England, and Yeomen.

  Exchanges: _see_ Rome, Constantinople, Eastern trade, Fairs of
    Champagne, Venice.

  Fairs, _see_ Champagne.

  Fetish, _see_ Relics.

  Fisher: temperament of 277.

  Flotte: chancellor of Philip the Fair 165.

  France: convents of in tenth century 72;
    Cluny 73;
    decentralization of in eleventh century 80;
    money of 80;
    barbarian invasions of 80;
    seat of Gothic architecture 89;
    ogive introduced into 95;
    emotional in eleventh century 107;
    disintegration of in tenth century 152;
    kings of enjoy supernatural powers 153;
    alliance of crown with clergy 154;
    consolidation of under Philip Augustus 158;
    centralization of under Saint Louis 165;
    depreciation of coinage of 170;
    estates of sustain Philip the Fair 174;
    castles of 202.

  Frumentariæ Leges, _see_ Corn.

  Gardiner, Stephen: on _True Obedience_ 265;
    rise of 276;
    death of 277.

  Germans: hunted by Romans for slaves 39;
    used as recruits 40;
    invade the Empire 46;
    character of in fourth century 48;
    adopt the gold standard 347.

  Glastonbury: suppression of 240.

  Godfrey de Bouillon: elected King of Jerusalem 85;
    his kingdom 86;
    his alliance with Venice 127.

  Gold: ratio of to silver in Roman Empire 30;
    fall of value of in sixth century 48;
    ratio of to silver in thirteenth century 169.

  Gold standard: in Rome 31;
    under the Merovingians 80;
    in England 330;
    Overstone’s views on 337;
    in Germany 347;
    elsewhere 348;
    effect of 347.

  Gunther: chronicle of 137;
    sails with Dandolo 138.

  Hanse of London: organization of 158;
    trades at fairs of Champagne 159;
    Italian merchants frequent 159.

  Hastings: Governor-General 310;
    policy of 311.

  Hattin: battle of 123.

  Hawkins, John: a slaver 289.

  Héloïse, hymn of 368.

  Henry IV., Emperor: breach with Hildebrand 75;
    penance at Canossa 77;
    death of 77.

  Henry VIII.: court of 212;
    character of 220;
    Lambert’s trial 226;
    supreme head 228;
    orthodox 229;
    suppresses convents 233;
    revises Formularies of Faith 266;
    helpless without landlords 267.

  Heraclius: disasters under 52.

  Hildebrand: prior of Cluny 74;
    propositions presented by in council of Rome 75;
    excommunicates Henry IV. 76;
    Canossa 77.

  Holland: decay of 318.

  Hospital, _see_ Knights of.

  Howard, Thomas, Duke of Norfolk: family of 214;
    character of 215;
    commands against Pilgrims of Grace 215;
    tries to corrupt Darcy 217;
    arrests Cromwell 224.

  Hugh Capet: elected by clergy 153.

  Hugh du Puiset, _see_ Louis the Fat.

  Hun, Richard: death of 198.

  Imagination: basis of mediæval Church 60;
    gives power to priesthood 63;
    cause of relic worship 64;
    vivid in age of decentralization 69;
    most intense in tenth century 72;
    evolves Cluny 73;
    cause of Hildebrand’s power 78;
    cause of crusades 82;
    inspires Gothic architecture 89;
    strong in Saint Bernard 108;
    weakness of Louis VII. 117:
    lacking in Venetians 126;
    its power in France in thirteenth century 136;
    strength of in Church up to 1200 148;
    a weakness in war 151;
    economic mind lacks 162;
    cause of Templars’ martyrdom 183;
    lacking in English reformers 191;
    Anglican clergy without 259;
    Tudor aristocracy without 268;
    strong in early Christians 373;
    in contempt in nineteenth century 380, 381.

  India: failure of Romans to conquer 12;
    hoards in 305;
    conquered by England 307 _et seq._;
    spoliation of 309–311;
    influx of treasure from 313;
    flow of silver to 320;
    value of bullion exported to in 1810 321;
    in 1840 339;
    centralization of 356;
    mutiny in 356;
    money-lenders of 357;
    fate of warlike tribes in 358;
    _see_ Eastern trade.

  Industrial revolution: begins 313;
    caused by Indian treasure 314.

  Innocent III.: incites crusade 132;
    excommunicates Philip Augustus 135;
    Dandolo 138;
    absolves Dan dolo 147;
    reproves Baldwin 147.

  Inquisition: organized 191.

  Jacques de Vitry: hates bourgeoisie 163.

  Jerusalem: capture of 85;
    kingdom of 86;
    conquest of kingdom by Saracens 123.

  Joscelin de Courtney, Count of Edessa: 105;
    death of 106;
    son’s death 118.

  Justification by faith: corner stone of Protestantism 187;
    economic device 188;
    taught by Cranmer 231;
    included in Forty-two Articles 262.

  Justinian I.: prosperity of 51;
    army of 51;
    taxation by 52;
    architecture under 53.

  Karak: castle of 86, 121.

  Kett, _see_ Rebellion.

  Knights of Temple and Hospital: origin of 97, 98;
    manors owned by in Europe 98;
    castles of 99;
    Knights of the Temple: possessions of 170;
    faith of 171;
    arrested 180;
    tortured 181;
    defence of 181;
    burned 183;
    disposition of property of 185.

  Knox, John: appointed royal chaplain 262;
    offered bishopric 262;
    breach with Dudley 263.

  Krak des Chevaliers: 100.

  Lambert: martyrdom of 281.

  Landlords: Roman 21;
    enslave their tenants 33;
    form aristocracy of Empire 41;
    not martial 42;
    English mercenary 212;
    rise of 227;
    confiscate Church property 230;
    evict yeomen 245;
    despoil chantries 259, 200;
    control Crown 267;
    without faith 268;
    organize Church 272;
    fear army 273;
    not martial 227, 245, 254, 255, 256, 267, 268, 283;
    persecute Nonconformists 295;
    persecute adventurers 295;
    conquered in 1688 297;
    jealous of Clive and Hastings 309;
    suffer after 1815 332;
    distressed in 1841 340;
    attacked by Cobden 341;
    ruined 348;
    of Oude 356.

  Latimer: describes his father’s farm 247;
    martyrdom of 282.

  Leo the Great: visits Attila 63.

  Leo IX.: election of 75.

  Licinian Laws 10;
    effect of 11.

  Lollards: description of 187;
    _Book of Conclusions_ of 193;
    policy of toward monks 195.

  London: hot-bed of Lollardism 197;
    population of in 1500 203;
    power of 293;
    population of in 1685 295;
    economic centre of the world 322;
    art of 381–383;
    _see_ Eastern trade and Hanse of London.

  Louis the Fat: defeats Hugh du Puiset 155;
    obtains Montlhéri 157.

  Louis VII.: character of 112;
    leads second crusade 114;
    quarrels at Antioch 117;
    superstition of 117;
    repulsed at Damascus 117;
    _see_ Crusade.

  Madre-de-Dios: capture of 257.

  Mahrattas: conquest of 358;
    disappearance of 350.

  Margat: castle of 101.

  Marriage: _see_ Domestic relations.

  Martin, Abbot: sails with Dandolo 138;
    steals relics 148.

  Marwaris: 357;
    destroy Mahrattas 359.

  Milo, Archbishop of Rheims: 71.

  Miracles: early Christian 63;
    mediæval 64 _et seq._;
    _see_ Bosra, Relics.

  Molay, Grand Master: lured to Paris 180;
    burned 184.

  Monasticism: _see_ Convents.

  Money: Rome depleted of 23;
    centres at Constantinople 28;
    rises in value under Empire 35;
    falls in value under Charlemagne 129;
    rises in value in thirteenth century 169;
    rises in fifteenth century 194;
    rises under Henry VIII. 206;
    falls after opening of Potosi 207;
    abundant stimulates movement 299;
    a form of energy 304;
    hoarded in India 304;
    falls at close of eighteenth century 320;
    rises in nineteenth century 337, 360;
    _see_ Capital, Coinage, Currency, Prices.

  Mons Sacer: secession to 9.

  Monte Casino: founded 72.

  Montfort, Simon de: joins crusade 132;
    leaves Dandolo 138.

  Montlhéri: lords of 156;
    castle 157.

  Nantes: revocation of Edict of 318.

  Napoleon: decline of 324;
    lacking soldiers 364;
    column erected to 381.

  Nobility: feudal French 154;
    English 216, 243;
    Tudor, _see_ Landlords.

  Nogaret: captures Boniface 176, 177.

  Northumberland: _see_ Dudley.

  Nour-ed-Din: Sultan of Aleppo 103;
    occupies Cairo 103;
    repulses Louis VII. 117;
    kills Raymond de Poitiers 118.

  Ogive: of Eastern origin 95;
    appears in transition architecture 96.

  Overstone, Lord: rise of 336;
    conceives Bank Act 336;
    financial policy of 337 _et seq._

  Panic: under Tiberius 25;
    of thirteenth century 169, 170;
    of 1810 325;
    of 1825 334;
    allayed by paper money 335;
    of 1847 342.

  Passive obedience: _see_ Divine right.

  Patricians: usurers 7;
    not martial 7;
    sanction Licinian Laws 10;
    _see_ Usury.

  Pauperism: under Henry VII I. 249;
    in 1848 345.

  Peel, Sir Robert: represents Lombard Street 330;
    separates from his father on money issue 330;
    his Resumption Act 331;
    effect of 331;
    repeals Corn Laws 340;
    parentage 342.

  Pelagius, Cardinal: commands crusade 150.

  Penny: the Roman, _see_ Denarius;
    of Charlemagne 129;
    depreciation of Venetian 129;
    depreciation of English in fourteenth century 195;
    under Henry VIII. 206, 207.

  Philip Augustus: regal of France vowed for recovery of 65;
    belief in intercession 69;
    commands crusade 129;
    returns to Fiance 130;
    divorced from Ingeburga 135;
    excommunicated 135.

  Philip the Fair: character of 171;
    quarrel with Boniface 172;
    defeated at Courtray 175;
    seizes Boniface 177;
    makes Clement V. pope 178;
    arrests Templars 180;
    tortures Templars 182;
    death of 185.

  Pilgrimage of Grace: _see_ Rebellion.

  Plassey: battle of 308;
    effect of 313.

  Plebeians: farmers 6;
    form infantry 6;
    sold for debt 7;
    secede to Mons Sacer 9;
    favoured by Licinian Laws 10;
    overthrow patricians 10;
    suffer from Asiatic competition 11;
    suffer from slave labour 12;
    insolvent 22;
    become _coloni_ 33;
    disappear 44, 45.

  Police, a paid: lack of, causes defeat of patricians 39;
    an effect of money 45;
    organized by Augustus 45;
    makes capital autocratic at Rome 46;
    impossible when the defence in war is superior to the attack 79;
    lack of, causes weakness of the Kingdom of Jerusalem 99, 121, 122;
    the weapon of an economic community 164;
    an effect of wealth and the basis of centralization 165;
    in England under Henry VIII. 245;
    destroys martial type 245;
    drives adventurers from England 254;
    resistless in nineteenth century 353.

  Pompey: defeat of 364.

  Potosi: discovery 207.

  Prices: fall of, under Trajan 33;
    rise of in thirteenth century 167;
    fall of in fifteenth century 203;
    rise of in sixteenth century 207, 283;
    rise of after Plassey 319;
    culminate in 1809 324;
    fall of in England after 1815 330;
    depressed by gold standard 337;
    fall of after Bank Act 339;
    rise of after 1849 345;
    fall of since 1873 349.

  Producers: predominance of 321;
    currency system of 328, 329;
    weakness of modern 349;
    Indian 360.

  Puritans: reject royal supremacy 264;
    resist ecclesiastical confiscation 270;
    eviction of clergy 285;
    emigration of 285;
    foes of Spaniards 289.

  Pyrrhus: admires Roman infantry 11;
    defeat of 11.

  Raleigh: family of 255;
    captures Madre-de-Dios 257;
    death of 257.

  Raymond de Poitiers: at feud with de Courtney 107;
    breach with Louis VII. 117;
    death of 118.

  Rebellion: of Pilgrimage of Grace 216;
    suppression of 222;
    Kett’s 250;
    in West of England 250, 252.

  Reformation: an economic movement 188;
    in England 230;
    under Edward VI. 259, 260;
    _see_ Church of England, Convents, Lollards.

  Reginald de Chatillon 121.

  Regulus: poverty of 15.

  Relics: magical 64;
    gifts to 65;
    list of English 66;
    worship of cause of crusades 81;
    true cross 119;
    plunder of at Constantinople 148;
    despised 151;
    relic worship costly 192–196;
    desecrated in England 200.

  Rent: rise of money value of in Rome 32;
    effect of 33, 34;
    substitution of for military service 245;
    rises in sixteenth century 247;
    effect of rise 248;
    rise of in seventeenth century 283;
    fall of after 1815 causes insolvency of landlords 332;
    dependent on Corn Laws 340;
    fall of after 1873 ruins gentry 348.

  Ridley: doctrine concerning sacrament 261;
    burned 282.

  Robinson, John:  congregation of 285.

  Rome: early society of 1;
    classes in 2;
    law of debt in 2–4;
    early army of 9;
    not maritime 12;
    slavery in 13;
    economic revolution in 14;
    a plutocracy 15;
    annexes Egypt 17;
    senators land-owners 21;
    great domains of 21;
    conquests of 23;
    unable to compete with Asia 23;
    foreign exchanges unfavourable to 23;
    insolvent 28;
    decline of 37;
    ceases breeding soldiers 40;
    later emperors of foreign adventurers 40;
    governed by a monied oligarchy 41;
    economic type autocratic in 42;
    women of emancipated 43;
    paid police of 45;
    barbarian invasions 46, 47;
    domestic relations in 369;
    art of 372;
    architecture of 381;
    _see_ Coinage, Slaving, Usurers, Usury.

  Rothschilds: rise of 322;
    establish house in London 323.

  Russell, John, Earl of Bedford: conducts trial of
    Abbot of Glaston 241.

  Saint Bernard: birth of 108;
    enters Citeaux 108;
    founds Clairvaux 109;
    recognizes Innocent II. 110;
    preaches second crusade 112;
    miracles of 113;
    declines to lead crusade 114;
    remarks on defeat of crusade 118.

  Saint Cuthbert: plunder of shrine of 239.

  Saint Denis: Abbey of 154.

  Saint Riquier: sacrilege at 162.

  Saint Sophia: architecture of 89, 377;
    desecration of 145.

  Saint Thomas à Becket: shrine of 65.

  Saint Thomas Aquinas: veneration of for Eucharist 67.

  Saladin: sends physician to Richard 94;
    crowned Sultan 104;
    kills Reginald de Chatillon 121;
    Hattin 122;
    campaign against Richard 130;
    treats with Richard 131.

  Saracens: architecture of 89, 90;
    household decorations of 90;
    philosophy of 93;
    sciences of 94;
    _see_ Crusades, Nour-ed-Din, Saladin, Zenghi.

  Schism: Greek 78.

  Seymour, Protector: confiscations under 261;
    executed 261.

  Sicily: cheap labour in 16;
    servile war in 16;
    cheap grain of 17.

  Silver: Roman standard 26;
    discarded in Rome 31;
    restored by Charlemagne 128;
    ratio of to gold in Rome 30;
    to gold in thirteenth century 169;
    Potosi 204;
    Spaniards plundered of 288;
    brought to England by piracy 291;
    ratio to gold in seventeenth century 300;
    standard in England 300;
    exported to India in eighteenth century 299–302;
    in 1810 320;
    discarded by England 330;
    by Germany 347;
    relation to Asiatic competition 360;
    _see_ Coinage, Currency, Denarius, Gold standard.

  Slavery: for debt in Rome 5;
    plebeians sink into 33;
    Roman population exhausted by 36;
    in West Indies 289, 290.

  Slaving: part of Roman fiscal system 34;
    by Roman emperors 39;
    Venetian 126;
    English 291;
    _see_ Hawkins.

  Smith, Captain John: career of 295.

  Solidus: _see_ Aureus.

  Somerset: Duke of, _see_ Seymour.

  Spain: empire of 286;
    war with Flanders 287;
    plundered by Drake 288;
    attacked by Cromwell 301;
    _see_ Armada, West Indies.

  Spanish America: revolution of 324.

  Suez Canal: effect of 355.

  Sylvester II.: thought a sorcerer 81;
    proposes a crusade 83.

  Syria: industrial 25;
    _see_ Architecture, Crusades, Eastern trade, Saracens.

  Temple, _see_ Knights of the.

  Tenures: primitive Roman 1;
    servile Roman 33;
    English military 244;
    the manor 244;
    modern economic 245;
    Indian peasant 356.

  Thompson, Charles Andrew: petition of 332.

  Tiberias: battle of, _see_ Hattin.

  Tortosa: fortress of 101;
    surrender of 171.

  Trade, _see_ Eastern trade, Fairs of Champagne, Slaving.

  Urban II.:  preaches at Clermont 83.

  Usurers: form Roman aristocracy 2;
    checked by Licinian Laws 10;
    absolute in Rome 46;
    rise of in England 321;
    absolute in Europe 353;
    Indian 357;
    _see_ Bankers.

  Usury: a patrician privilege 2;
    stronghold of in Roman fiscal system 5;
    ruins Roman provinces 35;
    basis of Roman slaving 36;
    _see_ Usurers.

  Vagrant Acts: English 248.

  Venice: rise of 125;
    slave trade of 126;
    illicit trade of with Saracens 126;
    population unimaginative 126;
    navy of 127;
    co-operates with Godfrey de Bouillon 127;
    holds Syrian ports 127;
    coinage of 129;
    participates in crusade of Constantinople 137;
    _see_ Crusade;
    packet service to Flanders 201;
    decline of 298.

  Vézelay: second crusade preached at 112;
    feud with Counts of Nevers 161.

  Ville-Hardouin: chronicle of 132.

  Virginia: story of 8.

  War: _see_ Police.

  Watt, James: invents engine 314;
    partnership with Boulton 316.

  West Indies: Spanish revenue drawn from 287;
    trade of lucrative 291;
    Cromwell attacks 301.

  Whiting, Abbot of Glaston: martyrdom of 241.

  Wickliffe: begins his agitation 192.

  William of Tyre: describes origin of Temple 97;
    defeat of Louis VII. in Cadmus Mountains 115;
    breach between Louis and Prince Raymond 117;
    the collapse of Kingdom of Jerusalem 118.

  Wiltshire: Earl of, _see_ Boleyn.

  Yeomen: form British infantry 243;
    small farmers 244;
    decline of under Henry VIII. 245;
    form Ironsides 252;
    weaker become agricultural labourers 253;
    become merchants 254;
    become adventurers 254;
    form English martial type 255;
    extinction of 317;
    migration to towns of 317;
    descendants of become manufacturers and usurers 341, 342.

  Zara: attack on 134;
    stormed 138.

  Zenghi: rise of 103;
    captures Edessa 103.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Law of Civilization and Decay - An Essay on History" ***

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